Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Royals Downtown

With the last five posts being about the Royals, my blog is officially overtaken by them. Like I said, it's an exciting time. Saturday I decided to drive to KC and watch the game at the Power & Light District with a ton of other people. Weather was perfect, the crowd was excited, and the game started out promising. Then the Royals took a nose dive.

I left mid 7th inning. I listened to the rest of the game in my car as I drove back home to Topeka. I sure hope we win tonight.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Old Foto Friday

Halloween 1985. I chose this because 1) it's nearly Halloween, and 2) 1985 was when the Royals were last in the World Series. In case you didn't know, I'm a Royals fan. In 1985 I had no idea who the Royals were; I was just excited about my clown costume and trick-or-treating.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Series Game One

The Royals are in the World Series for the first time since 1985. This is a big deal. All of Kansas (and Missouri, too, since that's the state they actually play in) is going crazy about this. Anywhere you go you see people sporting Royals gear. My newsfeed on Facebook has become inundated with Royals articles and play-by-plays of the games. It is awesome. I decided to be a Royals fan when I moved to Kansas last year, and it feels pretty darn good to have them playing in the World Series.

Topeka Metro has "Go Royals!" on our buses, and employees can wear jeans if wearing a Royals shirt. I insisted on getting a picture of all of us on Tuesday before the game.

My co-workers: Terri, Susan, Denise, Me, Alan and Maribeth

Then I met my friends at Johnny's Tavern in Lawrence to watch the game. The Royals did not play well, but it was a fun night anyway. I mean, as fun as it can be when your team loses badly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Royals Sweep

Saturday night, on a whim, I purchased a ticket for the Royals/Angels game at Kauffman stadium. I knew that if I didn't I would sit at home that night, upset that I couldn't watch it on tv and then annoyed that I hadn't just bought a ticket. There's something about experiencing an event first hand that makes it so much more cool.

It was a great night for baseball, even if it rained a bit. The fans were excited and the Royals played great. I was actually kind of annoyed that I had to stand much of the game. But I was very glad that this game did not go into extra innings.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Work Trips and Royals Games

Tuesday afternoon I left for a work trip to Grand Rapids. Tuesday was also the day the Royals played in their Wildcard game. It's their first time in the post-season since 1985. So it's kind of a big deal. At the KC airport there were a lot of people sporting Royals gear. I was not wearing my Royals shirt, so to make it known I was also a fan I said, generally very enthusiastically and loudly, to those wearing shirts/hats, "Go Royals!!"

I continued this at the Minneapolis airport. We missed our flight, and was able to watch the game in the hotel. The Royals won in 12 innings, extending their play in the post season.

Game 1 was Thursday night, and I was  now in Wichita with my City co-workers for the Kansas APA Conference. We sat in a sports bar with other planners and watched the game. It was the best. The Royals won Game 1 in extra innings.

Last night was  Game 2. Sadly I was not able to watch (it's Foxtober, however these games are on TBS, a channel I don't have). I looked into getting tickets for the upcoming home games, but they are very expensive. Maybe I'll look into tickets again after they win this series....

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First NFL Game

As I was driving home from the airport after dropping Em off, I got a call from my friend Janae. On her 30 Before 30 List is "Go to an NFL game". She's turning 30 in November, and in her quest to complete the list asked if I wanted to go to the Chiefs/Patriots game coming up on Monday night. Clearly my answer was yes.

It was a perfect night for football. Janae and I had so much fun. The fans are crazy, but all of them were so nice! Fireworks shot off every time the Chiefs scored. Everyone seemed to stand the entire time the opposing team was on the field. We all wore red. It was awesome.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Sister Was Here

Since moving to Kansas a year and a half ago, I have not had anyone come out and visit me. Sure, my mom and Ivy were here when I moved out, but that was just a couple days and did not involve any site seeing or eating out or general vacation-y things; we unloaded, unpacked, and then they left. So when my sister was available to come out I was pretty psyched.

She arrived last Thursday and left Tuesday afternoon. We went to the Plaza, the Alamo Drafthouse and Oklahoma Joe's in Kansas City. I showed her my loft and where I work and the streets I drive on. We went to a Royal's game, the state Capitol, Brown v. Board Historic Site. She went to church with me, met my friends, had dinner with my friend, and attended a bridal shower with me. We took a road trip through Kansas to see the geographic center of the contiguous United States, the larges ball of twine, and the Garden of Eden. We ate at local restaurants and diners and just had a great time.

Then she left and it was sad. I'm used to being alone most of the time, with just Biscuit to give me company. This isn't a bad thing, as I have lots of friends to do things with when I want to be social. But having my sister here was different. She knows me so well and I loved having her see what my life is like here and her being a part of it. I drove home from the airport feeling sad that I was alone again, even though I'm alone all the time.

My life is Kansas is fine. Pretty good actually. But sometimes I miss being around family and spending time with them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Amber!

Growing up Amber and I were inseparable. We had sleep overs every weekend. We spent nearly every after school together. Her family was my family, my family was her family. I used to spend a month of my summers in Topeka while she was visiting her mom. Here we are in front of her mom's home on her birthday, July 2, 1997. Man we are just so cute. At this point we're both 14 and have grown out of our chubby phases and are legit teenagers.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Ward is Awesome

My ward is small, in numbers and in the size of our building. We meet in the Institute building on KU's campus. Sacrament meeting is held in the large classroom, and what I love about it is the pictures on the walls. A beautiful painting of Christ hangs in the front, and during the sacrament, or when I'm singing, I look at it and think about all he Has done for me. Lots of times sacrament meeting feels very intimate, or like a small gathering of friends having church discussions.

Today was one of those Sundays where everything was perfect. I truly feel like everyone is welcoming and truly cares about the people in our ward. We support one other, we laugh at their jokes, we share in their triumphs and setbacks. One of our speakers today started his talk with his own singing of "Keep the Commandments." It was awesome, and everyone in our ward loved it. I would never have the guts to do that! He doesn't have a singing voice, but we all knew that he was sharing a piece of himself and his testimony.

Sometimes life can be hard. Work can be stressful, and we can worry about a lot of things. There's sadness and illness in this world for many people that I love. But when I go to church I always feel better and with the desire to hold onto the faith that I do have. It's powerful.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad

My dad grew up in Sanpete County, Utah in a little town called Moroni. He had six brothers and sisters, falling at number five. In high school he played football. He went on a mission to Central America, then attended BYU. Because of this we attended a lot of BYU football games while I was growing up. We were pretty hardcore.

My dad worked really hard to support us. Many times he had two jobs and traveled a lot. It's only been as I've gotten older that I realize the sacrifice this was and how much I appreciate it. I've learned to work hard from dad and to keep going no matter what.

When I was a kid I remember my dad having a mustache for a little while. I didn't like it because when I'd kiss him goodnight it would scratch my face. I also remember my dad being an imposing figure when I was little. I knew he loved me, but we didn't really say it. After my parents divorced it was just my dad and me living together. I learned a lot about my dad during that time and I'm so glad we had it.

No matter what I've done my dad has supported me. He never fails to tell me how proud of me he is and that he loves me. These aren't words we've always said to each other, but somewhere in my late teens it became something we do.

My dad has always been great at fulfilling his church callings. Many of the young men in our ward growing up can remember being taken to BYU football games or working the books during the summer with my dad. He cares for other people.  He's been a good son and brother. And, if he has given you a nickname it means he likes you. That's one of my favorite things about him.

My dad is a pretty cool person, and I can't imagine not having him. Hope he sticks around for many, many more years.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Project in June

Hey! So I'm doing this in June. It's off to a great start--the first one had to reschedule due to work changing. But hey, there's still 27 days in the month.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Watch The Grapes of Wrath

I like checking out the film version of books I've read. They make for interesting comparisons and discussion on what the director (or studio or screenwriter) decided to keep, if some things are considered "unfilmable" and how that's tackled.

Since I just finished The Grapes of Wrath I checked out the film version from the library. The film is directed by John Ford, a classic and well-loved director from the 40s who directed many westerns starring John Wayne. He's an integral piece of the film. Also integral is the cinematographer, Gregg Toland. He's most well-known in the film community as the guy who shot "Citizen Kane" a masterpiece in filmmaking that was groundbreaking in its  deep focus shots and use of light. Those are both on display in "The Grapes of Wrath," which was filmed a year before "Citizen Kane."

I won't quibble with the difference from the book and the film. A film, while obviously tied to its source material, should be evaluated on its own merits and taken as its own entity. So while the movie hits all the plot points it needs to and shares the same message, it is a visual medium and that's what I want to evaluate it on.

The movie is breathtaking. It opens with a very wide angle shot, setting the scene of Tom Joad returning to his home after four years in prison. It's beautiful. Then there's a classic John Ford scene shot through a door frame--it's marvelous.

The scenes that are lit with only a candle are amazing. The scenes are allowed to be dark. The candle is legitimately the only source of light in the scene, which is highly unusual for any film. It takes guts and a knowledge of the camera and light and the material. Toland nails this.

 Ford has some pretty great actors to work with. Henry Fonda as Tom Joad is just as he needs to be: a man doing his best in the worst of all possible scenarios, quiet but talkative when he needs to be. There's a reason the character is iconic. I was blown away by John Carradine's performance of Casy, the once-preacher who's lost the spirit. He wasn't at all what I pictured, but he captured the character perfectly.

As always, I reference you to read Roger Ebert's essay on the film, as he more eloquently states what I love about the film. Read it here. And for something really great, check out the New York Times' original review of it in 1940.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dueling Movie Reviews

I like to read movie reviews because it's an art to be able to describe why a movie is or isn't good. While at Snow College in my very first film class, my teacher required us to write reviews of the movies we watched. We couldn't just say we liked the film, we had to describe why. Which meant we had to look deeper into our thoughts and put those thoughts to words.

I never really excelled at this. I can read a review and think "Yes! That's exactly what I was thinking. This reviewer has captured my exact thoughts."  I have a hard time making my thoughts and feelings be coherent sentences. Maybe they've used too much CGI, or the characters seemed one-dimensional, or the story was rudimentary, or the director cobbled scenes together oddly. I'm not good at making that sound like a review.

But others are. I wasn't planning on seeing Maleficent because it just didn't appeal to me, so I felt ok reading a review for it at The Atlantic. The reviewer did not care for the movie; they said the directing was bad, there was too many special-effects  and the actors in their roles were awful. I like this review because it expressed thoughts I imagine I would have about the film. (I don't hate CGI, but I definitely think they should be used less, and this reviewer captured my sentiments perfectly). Read the review here.

Then I mosied over to NPR and read their review of the film. All the things that the other reviewed disliked about the film this review loved. She gushed about the director, Angelina Jolie, the story, the CGI-battles and the actors. Read that review here.

I love these opposing reviews and the different perspectives they have on the exact same piece of work.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Church History Tour

If I had posted on Friday, this would  have been my Old Foto Friday:

Friday after work I headed to Liberty, Missouri with friends for a conference. Maybe I should specify that it was a Young Single Adult conference. Nevermind that I'm  not technically a "Young" Single Adult anymore since I turned 31 in April. Never mind that I have never been the type to attend youth conferences, even when I was a youth. Never mind that past experiences let me know that everyone who attends these things are way too young for me. I really was going to see the church history sites and have a weekend with my friends. And maybe also to dance.

I will post these pictures and let you think that I had the most amazing time of my life.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Baseball, Fireworks and Goodbyes

Royals game in the cold Friday night. The fireworks and company made it worth it. Leo and Andrew are both graduating from KU this weekend and will be leaving us. It's hard saying goodbye to friends.

Scott, Paige, Leo and Janae

Tomas took a nap during the game, so we naturally took photos

                                                Me, Tomas, Andrew, Leo, Paige, Scott, Janae

Friday, May 16, 2014

Old Foto Friday

It's graduation weekend in Kansas, with the local high schools, Washburn University, and KU all having their commencement ceremonies this weekend (did you hear that First Lady Michelle Obama was in Topeka!) Here's Lindsay and me at our high school graduation in 2001. We were super excited about going off to college together that summer.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bike for Work

Today was the Second Annual "Ride With the City Manager". Last year it was hot and humid. This year it was windy and not even 70. Last year I was bombarded by the news and had to give my very first interviews. This year I didn't give a single interview (on the day of the event; I gave two the week before). Last year the City Manager rode with us. This year he did not due to an injury. What was the same: my sweet blue bike.

That's my boss Bill, Suzie, my other boss Carlton, and me in front of City Hall

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Thunder Wakes

Last night I woke up from a dead sleep at about 2:30 am. Not two seconds after my waking a huge clap of thunder hit the sky, followed by a flash of lightning. And right then, as I woke from sleep, I had this thought/dream that all the thunder had built up while I was asleep and couldn't release itself until I was awake. Silly---possibly. Not true---probably. But in that moment between fully-awake and fully-asleep, all things seem possible and true.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mashed Potatoes Like Mom Makes

I am in charge of my ward's monthly Linger Longer meal. Since today was Mother's Day I asked that everyone bring a dish or dessert that their mother was known for. I decided I would make mashed potatoes, since my mom grew up on a potato farm in Idaho and they were a staple of our Sunday dinners.

I thought 'How difficult can this be?' I even called my mom this morning to check--peel and cut potatoes, place in a pot and boil until they get soft, mash the potatoes and add some butter and milk, then proceed to eat. I did all the steps, but my potatoes did not turn out as they should have. They may be simple, but mashed potatoes is still a skill I need to work on and master.

My mom has been making mashed  potatoes for years; I've made them once. My mom can do a lot of things, and maybe someday I'll be as cool as her.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Old Foto Friday

This is my mom and me at the Topeka Zoo. This was the year my mom and sister drove out to Kansas to pick me up. Maybe '94, but possibly '95. I have chosen to wear socks with sandals and my 'Girls Kick Butt' shirt, with one of those tiny backpacks that were so popular in the mid-90s. My mom, however, is sporting some pretty cool birkenstocks, which I remember trying to wear occasionally. Also, my mom has rockin' legs with skinny ankles, which she passed onto me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Read The Grapes of Wrath

A few years ago, I bought a copy of The Grapes of Wrath at the Borders in SLC that was closing. It's the "Steinbeck Centennial Edition" with the awesome cover and pages that I love. I started reading it a few months after I purchased it. But I never got farther than the second chapter.

A couple months ago I came across on article on NPR about a world-wide book club they were hosting to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publishing of The Grapes of Wrath. I took my long-unopened copy off my bookshelf and started reading. And reading and reading.

The book earned Steinbeck a Pulitzer and National Book Award, and it's worth those awards and more. Steinbeck writes like a poet when he describes the land. He makes you see the sun and the weathered crops and the rain as it falls. You see the devastation and feel the heartache; he somehow finds words for the feeling of farming and working the land and being cut down and being so tired but trudging on.

Then there's the people--the Joad family, who make the trek from their desolate, family farm in Oklahoma to the rich lands of California. Their hope and optimism for what the state will bring is sad. The trek brings loss to the family, but they also experience kindness and generosity. They experience what it's like to be looked down on as an "other" and "Okie". The treatment of migrants is so awful that I couldn't believe it. What someone will do for food, to feed your family, is not something you should ever have to know.

Ma Joad, to me, is the star of the novel. She takes charge and does what needs to be done. She knows the importance of family and staying together. She is quite simply amazing.

Many lament the book's critique of capitalism. But it's a fair critique, at least for the time frame. Sometimes I'm still idealistic in believing we can live like those in the government camps--taking care of ourselves and all working together. At least read it so we can have a good discussion.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Why Riding Your Bike is Better Than A Car

Tonight I needed to go to the store to return something and to pick up a prescription. Since it's Bike Month, and because it's not too hot and humid (just yet), I hopped on my bike and started the ride. As I rode on streets I don't normally travel, I saw neighborhoods, homes with kids playing in the front, pedestrians walking, and other bicyclists. And I really saw them, because instead of zipping by at 40+ miles in the confines of my car I was passing by at a leisurely pace on a personal level. I waved at other cyclists, we said "Good evening," to each other, and shared a moment.

Cars are certainly useful, and I'm glad I have one, but they're very isolating. You're usually by yourself, blocked off from other people by metal and glass. You don't wave or talk to other drivers. The destination is what's important. And sometimes that's important, but I don't think it always is.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday

Yesterday was beautiful in Kansas--the weather was just right for an Easter Sunday. I didn't go on an egg hunt, or have anything let for me by the Easter bunny; I didn't have a new Easter outfit or eat a nice Easter dinner of ham and mashed potatoes. I attended church and thought about Christ and how important His resurrection is to the world. Feel free to check out this video "Because of Him". I had a lazy Sunday evening filled with a nap, reading and baked ravioli.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Old Foto Friday

It was National Siblings' Day this week, so here's a photo of my siblings and me. This was my brother's graduation from high school in May 1997. We are all clearly dorks. I am wearing socks with sandals, Emily is wearing an over-sized Jazz shirt, and Jared, well, he's in his cap and gown which I guess is ok.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Choose One Thing

Last night, at the insistent urging of my sister, I went to the movie theater and bought a ticket for Divergent. I have not read the book and knew next to nothing about the story and characters. Which, if you know me at all, it kind of a good thing because then I don't have any expectations. When you have no expectations, then you're very rarely disappointed.

Anyway, the story takes place sometime in the future in a rundown Chicago. Everyone is separated out into one of five factions. When you are 16 (or so, as the main character and her brother do this at the same time and it's not mentioned that they're twins; maybe the book explains this) you take a test that tells you what faction you belong in, however you don't have to pick that one. But once you choose, you have chosen for life. Many end up in the faction they grew up with, but some don't. Our main character, Beatrice (later known as just Tris), was raised as Abnegation (selflessness), her test shows she's Divergent (meaning she excels at three of the factions) and ends up choosing to join Dauntless (bravery) because she feels like that is the right choice for her. She leaves her family and will never see them again.

(Side note here: Remember how everyone and their grandma was reading into Frozen and it's deeper meanings? Do you want me to do it too, but with Divergent? I could say that the movie is just one long advertisement for going against your parents and hanging out with the "cool" kids because they're more fun. They get to jump out of trains and wear black and get tattoos and police the city and be all around reckless and fun-loving, while the other faction lives in box-like homes and have to wear brown frocks and not look in the mirror and have to help people. Man, how boring is that?! Of course this is a little bit ridiculous. We can get messages out of any movie if we try hard enough, and it's usually personal to just us.)

At the Choosing Ceremony everyone recites the mantra "Faction over blood." This just seemed really sad to me. The whole concept of having to choose one way of life to be stuck with forever, and not get to be with your actual family, was really depressing. What I love about my life is the opportunity to be eclectic and like lots of things and do lots of things. I can help people, or I can be smart and go to school, I can showcase bravery or honesty whenever. I like knowing that I can love transit and bikes and watching sports and eating ice cream and traveling and reading and going to church and not having to fit into one description until I die.

In the movie, the faction system supposedly makes things easier to run because people know their roles and don't stray. But if we don't interact with other people with different views and ways of thinking then we'll never have new ideas. It would be a very sad to world live in.

And now I've read too much into the movie. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed it enough. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Captain America

When my sister and I were prepping two years ago to see The Avengers, we made a plan to see most of the individual superhero movies to be prepared. On Mother's Day we rented Thor from RedBox and watched it with my mom. One weekend we rented The Incredible Hulk. Another weekend we rented Captain America: The First Avenger. This one was actually the only superhero movie I was not entirely enthused about seeing. While watching it I fell asleep. Neither my sister or I were taken with the film. However, I enjoyed Cap in The Avengers, as I felt his character worked better in smaller doses (and possibly, also, in the present time?).

So I wasn't planning on seeing Captain America: Winter Soldier any time soon, let alone on opening weekend. But since I like spending time with the friend who invited me I decided to go with it. And I was pleasantly surprised. (All of the preceding sentences start with a conjunction; I should probably work on fixing that....)

The movie was a little slow in getting exciting and piquing my interest, but that's not necessarily a bad thing since it eventually did. Captain America still isn't my favorite superhero (I'm not even sure who my favorite superhero is...) but I least like him enough. I liked the interplay between him and Black Widow and am glad they aren't pushing a romance between them. I really liked his friend who works at the VA and later becomes integral to their mission. I liked Robert Redford, who has a really nice head of hair, in his duplicitous role.

What I didn't like: the scene where Nick Fury is attacked in his car. It went on for way too long.

There were moments when I was genuinely shocked and truly engaged in the story. Way to go Cap, for becoming interesting (at least to me; I know lots of people, including my 9 yr old nephew, love Cap). I suppose it is sort of nice to have a superhero who isn't racked with torment or guilt or has major issues like Batman (and the recent Superman). Maybe I should love that he's so wholesome and square.

Just came across this article from EW about the movie, it's pretty interesting:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Old Foto Friday

Em and I on the day Ivy was born.  On Thursday Ivy turned 13.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Do People Still Blog?

Many of my friends and family who used to blog regularly now never blog. What has happened? Have their lives become less interesting? Have their lives become too busy? Have they lost the use of their fingers and don't want to learn how to use a voice-activated keyboard?

I'm blogging less, too. I used to compose blog posts in my head at work and during events. I rarely if ever do this anymore. And I should be blogging because I live in a different state than my family and many of my friends and they (maybe) want to know what is going on in my life.

As my cousin Erica stated, #InstagramAteMyBlog. Perhaps this is true of mine, as well. Whatever the reason, I will attempt to blog more.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Old Foto Friday

I've shared this photo before, but yesterday I was going through all the photos that Google+ saves for me from my blog. This was Michelle and me working on Snowmen way back in Feb/Mar 2009. Good times.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Awesome Friends

I have really awesome friends. And this past week I've spent a lot of time with them. Last night we attended an Open House for the architecture firm our friend Jess works for. They just moved their offices downtown and wanted to show the place off. It was very cool.

Also, Jess and I run in the same professional circles and work with some of the same people on different projects. Yeah, we're cool young professionals.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Back in the Groove

I may have been in funk the past few weeks. Lots of reasons for this, none all that interesting to delve into. Suffice it to say I let more than a few things go by the wayside as I embraced the funk. I started coming out of it last week, but really kicked it to the curb today. I think it all started with me making the choice to walk to work. It really is a fabulous feeling. Tonight I decided to take my first jog/run of the year. The weather was  nice and I felt great as I was running around downtown. When I got home I did all the things I've been putting off--folding and putting away my laundry, doing the dishes, straightening my living room, cleaning off my counter of the clutter that overtakes it, cleaning out my fridge and taking out the trash. I felt like I do on Saturday mornings--productive and useful.

Funks are a natural part of life (at least of mine). I don't generally mind them, but I also love being back in the groove.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


The past two Sundays at church have been kind of amazing. The talks and music and events and people and everything in general was just really great. There was a time not too long ago when I was a bit indifferent to church and attendance of it. I'm far from perfect, and not every Sunday is filled with amazingness, but the past two were and I felt like it was worth mentioning.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Old Foto Friday

Perms were all the rage when I was a kid (maybe they still are; I have no idea). Em and I even got matching perms one time, as evidenced in this photo from August 1992. I imagine we got them just in time for the new school year. We're also wearing the same shirt in different patterns, which I'm also pretty sure were new for the new school year.

That wallpaper is pretty awesome, right?! And those knives against the wall--I currently have those in my loft right now. And those mountains in the background.... :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

By My Own Two Feet

Yesterday I had a training/meeting that was in a building downtown. The weather was nice (for March; it was a little cold in the morning but it had warmed up to high 40s by the time 5 o'clock rolled around). I decided to walk, since I live downtown and it was just five blocks down from me. I loved the feeling of my own two feet getting me somewhere. I loved seeing the City and the shops and the people on the street.

When I lived in New York I walked all the time. Obviously. I didn't have a car and the subway was super convenient. The walk from my apartment to the 1 train on 137th St was a measly .21 miles. I made this walk whenever I wanted to get anywhere in the city. More walking was usually required when I got to the end of the line, as well, to make it to my final destination. I did it in the rain, heat, snow, wind. There was no other option.

Now I have a car. I live very close to both my jobs. In fact I mapped it on GoogleEarth--0.34 miles to Topeka Metro and .64 miles to the City. Measly, right?! But I never walk or ride my bike! How lame is that. Today though, after my pleasant and awesome walk the day before, I decided to walk to work. I can literally stand at the alley-way between Kansas and Jackson and see where I work.

The walk was awesome. I'm going to try to make this a weekly habit. At least on the days I don't have to go somewhere on my lunch or right after work. And probably not on the days it is snowing or raining. Luckily, though, we're supposed to have excellent weather this week.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's Oscar Sunday

Church has been cancelled today, but not because it is Oscar Sunday. We had some snow and sleet last night (which would make the roads rather slick) and it's supposed to snow again this afternoon. (For anyone counting, this makes 3 times church has been cancelled in the year I've lived here.)

So now I'm wasting away my time far less spiritually as I wait for the red carpet to start at 6. Which means I rummaged through my old photos and found the ones of Lindsay and me when we were in L.A./Hollywood in fall 2003. When we made the choice to not move to L.A., we then had a day or two to be tourists. We did an NBC studio tour, went to a Jay Leno taping, scoped out the handprints at Graumann's Chinese Theater and visited the Kodak Theater. The Kodak Theater (now the Dolby Theater, or Hollywood and Highland Complex) is where the Oscars are held every year. It was pretty cool for two Oscar-watching, movie-loving gals.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Wall Project

I've been wanting to fill up this large empty wall for quite some time:

Late last summer I bought and spray-painted a bunch of picture frames. I perused Etsy to find prints to put in them. And then I couldn't get the pictures to hang on my concrete wall. Nails wouldn't work and I didn't have the proper tools to drill holes in the wall. I sort of just gave up.

But then I needed to paint the wall due to an unfortunate incident where my attempt to plan ahead caused paint to come off. And then I got the idea to use those velcro strips to hang the frames. It worked and now I have this:

Some of the frames are still empty as I search for the right prints to put in them. But I love it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

Last week I randomly came across the trailer for the film The Fault in Our Stars. It's based on a book, which I remembered having seen on a display at the book store, so I knew it was fairly well known. However I didn't know anyone who had read it. The trailer made me want to read the book. I went to Barnes and Noble the next day and bought it.

And then I read it in less than a week.

It's the story of two teens who meet at a cancer support group and become friends. The book really is lovely and beautiful. How can it not be when the main characters are named Hazel Grace and Augustus and they go on a quest to meet a reclusive author who lives in Amsterdam? You'd think the book would be sad because it's about kids who have cancer. But it's not sad, and it's not "about kids who have cancer." It's about two people relating to each other and they just happen to have cancer. Read it, you will not be disappointed. I'll lend you my copy.

How We See Ourselves

I got a letter in the mail today from a friend. I love that I have friends that send me cards in the mail. I also love that I have friends that point out my good qualities. Lots of times we get bogged down in our bad qualities because we live with them and see them everyday (at least I do). Friends see our faults, too, but choose to not focus on them. I know that with my friends I am always thinking about the positive things I see in them, because I love them and want them to know that they're awesome. I just think it's nice to be reminded that it works the other way, too.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love In the Mail

I received some pretty fabulous Valentine's cards in the mail. Obviously we should always tell the people we love that we love them. But that's hard for some people, so I think it's nice that we have a day where we it's expected to show your love. My mom and sister both sent me amazing cards that said everything they wanted to. I know that my mom and sister love me, but it's nice to get a card that says that. I'm super sentimental so cards and such always mean a lot to me. My brother sent me photos of my niece and nephews and it just made my day. My friend Jess made me a very cute card.

Valentine's isn't just for lovers.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

One Year in Kansas

I've been in Topeka, Kansas for an entire year. This still seems slightly strange to me. I've said it before and I'll say it again--never, in a million years, did I think I'd be living in Topeka, Kansas. But I'm here, and I've made the most of it.

The year has seen a lot of things happen. Slowly but surely I get more comfortable in my job. I know the Bikeways Master Plan and can actually talk with people about it. I presented at Board Meetings and a conference and held public meetings. I was interviewed for the newspaper and the news channel (making the front page of the paper on my bike). I discovered there was a lot I didn't learn in school. I went to Portland for a bicycle design workshop.

I got a cat and she is awesome. Fat and awesome.

I went to Royals games and a BYU basketball game. I went to a Matchbox Twenty concert. I went to Lawrence (a lot) to hang with friends. I ate out and went to movies and met new people. I bought a new car when mine got totaled while it was parked in front of my building. I did two 5ks with my friend Amber. I hosted my ward's Halloween and Christmas parties. I had my own Book Club get together at my place. I dated.

I even found time to travel to Salt Lake and to Denver and to Vegas. I walked in graduation.

It's been a pretty great year, full of ups and downs and awesome moments and learning moments. And I know I'm right where I need to be. For now.

The Princess Bride

There is nothing better than experiencing a favorite movie from years ago, that you've only ever seen on an old VHS or DVD, on the big screen. Last night some friends and I experienced The Princess Bride at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. It was slightly amazing. Mainly because everyone there was clearly a fan, and it was fun to hear people quote certain lines quietly to themselves (which I did, too), and to hear the theater laugh at parts I've never laughed at before. It was truly a fabulous night, made all the more fabulous because we had ice cream afterward.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Belong in North Dakota

At least according to BuzzFeed and its "What State Do You Actually Belong In?" quiz. Here is my result:

 I actually think this is a pretty accurate reflection of me (however I don't see why North Dakota is the state that represents this). I've been told I come off cold and uninterested when people first meet me, and that I'm hard to read. But I really do love and care deeply.

BuzzFeed has all sorts of quizzes. Spend a an hour or so getting lost in them.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

More BBQ

Lunch at Lonnie Q's today with two friends. Lonnie Q's is a famous east Topeka BBQ joint that is only open for two hours during the lunch period, and two hours at night. Normally there are lines out the door; thankfully today was rather cold and we were able to get right in and get our food in no time.

The food was good, especially the cheesy potatoes served as the side. Lonnie is quite the presence, offering to get me a refill and asking if our food was okay. He let me try the turkey in case I wanted to try it next time. He even said yes when I asked to have our picture taken, because it was my first time and I'm not from Kansas. He's seriously a very cool dude.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day Productiveness

Topeka got pounded with snow all day yesterday. I think the official amount was 13 inches. There was so much snow that Topeka Metro and the City called today a Snow Day. What did I do with my free day? I slept in, worked out, did my taxes, made cookies, made granola, attempted to fix the un-painted spots on my wall (it did not go well; I think I made it worse), organized all the random pieces of paper in my desk, took out the trash, did the dishes, folded my laundry, cleaned off my car, watched Jeopardy!, addressed Valentine's cards to friends and family, painted my toenails, and, of course, called my mom to wish her a Happy Birthday.

I do not want to go to work tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy 61st Birthday to my mom today! Last year, since she was turning 60 and I knew I was moving away, I threw her a party. This year I sent her a card.

Hope you have a great day, mom!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Annie and Tess

I recently finished reading two books that had two female leads that, while not necessarily similar, reflected similar aspects of being a woman that I found interesting. I always over-identify why anything I'm reading.

The first is Joy in the Morning by Betty Smith (who wrote the lovely and beautiful A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). This is a simple book about Carl and Annie, two crazy kids who decide to get married when they're 20 and 18, respectively, the summer before Carl starts his last year of law school at a college in the Midwest. What's really sweet about this story is that it's the love story that's generally not told--the one after the couple gets married. It really is just Carl and Annie dealing with their first year of marriage, getting pregnant, and wondering how they'll make everything work. There's nothing earth-shattering or exceptional in the novel, and I suppose that's what life is like in general. Right after they get married, Annie says, "But it was so quick! It takes longer to buy a hat than to get married. I don't feel married." This sums up exactly my thoughts on marriage. Annie is quite strong-willed and friendly to everyone. I just really love her. Carl is afraid that if his wife starts reading she'll start having thoughts of her own and then  not need him anymore. I suppose I can forgive this for the time period it's set in, and Carl actually realizes the lame-ness of thinking that.

The other I recently finished is Tess of the d'Urbervilles. This story is really quite tragic (it's written by Thomas Hardy so what do you expect). Tess, a pretty country girl, is forced to make a connection with her wealthy relatives. She unfortunately gets taken advantage of by her "cousin" and ends up with an illegitimate child who dies before he's one. She vows to never get married because she does not feel worthy of it. However, she is pursued by a gentleman at the dairy farm where she works and, against her better judgement, decides to accept his proposal of marriage. When she confesses to him, on their wedding night and after he's confessed to his own "sins", he decides she is not the person he fell in love with and leaves her. He goes off to Brazil and leaves Tess to fend for herself. She's so shamed to admit to anything, for fear she'll sully her husband's name, that she must endure many difficulties. It is really quite tragic to see how tied her life is to her husband's, and that she essentially has no path of her own. She's certainly capable of making her way through life, but she defends and defects to her husband so often that I just want to shake her. Obviously the late 1800s were a different time period than now, but I really just feel sad for Tess.

There were aspects to both Annie and Tess that I could relate to. Their stories are both happy, sad, tragic, beautiful, and incredible. I think that women and their roles and what is expected of them have come a long way and for that I'm glad.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Trivia Champs Again

Saturday was the library's quarterly trivia contest. You might remember that we won last time. We had the same core team from last time. So obviously we won again. Trophy number two for our shelf (we actually have them displayed at the Institute). Good thing the people on our team know random (but sometimes useful) information.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chinese New Year

Friday night was Chinese New Year. We traveled to Independence to the church's Visitors' Center where they were having a night of celebrations. We learned how to sing "Love One Another" in Chinese, ate Chinese candy, learned how to make origami, failed at using chopsticks (at least I did), and made bookmarks with Chinese symbols/sayings. The missionaries there were very nice and helpful and put on a fun night. I sat next to some kids while doing origami, and as I helped them with the folds and difficulties of making a horse out of paper, I missed my nieces and nephews.

Happy 2014-Year of the Horse!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Old Foto Friday

This is my friend Tina and I at her wedding. We met at Snow College in a Chemistry class. She met a boy and got engaged and asked me to be in her wedding. This was summer 2002.


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