Friday, February 27, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All. Welcome to another edition of A Week in Review. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?

What the heck?
I have not posted one thing on this blog all week! That really isn’t like me. I guess it’s been an uneventful week, and I had the stomach flu, which is weird because I don’t get the flu, I’ve had it maybe one other time since high school, but I got it this week and was down for a couple of days. But let’s not carry on about that because it’s boring. Sometimes it’s ok to talk at length about health and illness, but then there are other times when it just bores a person to death. I think that most find it boring most of the time.

My youngest brother’s birthday was this week. I can honestly say that Courtney is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I remember Mom and Dad telling us that they were going to have a baby – they had us all sit down together at the dinner table. Of course Marla and I were convinced that he was going to be a girl, because we already had three boys, and only two girls, so it was only right that we have a third girl to even things out.

Mom and Dad went to the hospital during the night, and when I woke up the next morning Aaron told me where they had gone. It being February in Minnesota a blizzard was raging, so school was cancelled, and we went to a neighbor’s house for the day. That evening we got the call that we had a new baby brother. Geesh was I angry, Marla and I both. I think that it was at that moment that I learned that nothing is fair in this life, a tough lesson when you’re seven.

The next day we went to the hospital. I had a picture in my head of what the baby should look like – dark hair and chunky, rosy cheeks. He looked just like that. And I loved him. He was, of course, still suppose to be a girl, and the fact that he was a boy didn’t stop Marla and I from dressing him up in our old dresses when he was a toddler, but still, for a boy he was very cute, and so much fun.

Here are a couple of my favorite Courtney stories. When he was maybe five years old, which would have made me 12, he liked me to read to him. He’d come up to me and say, “Ang, let’s read.” Mom and Dad had a collection of children’s books that were all about American history. I think that I’ve mentioned them before. Court loved the war stories, especially one on the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. The first time we read it, I came upon the name of a German general that was just impossible to pronounce, all j and k and z. After stumbling over it a few times, Court said very matter of fact, “Just call him Frank.” Frank he was from then on.

My other favorite story – Dad, Court and I were riding in an old Plymouth van through a field that Dad was working on at the time. Court was five or six years old. He was sitting in the front seat of this van, with the window down, and he was leaning out of the window with his arms bent and elbows hooked over the window/door frame. He was doing this so that he could look at himself in the rear view mirror make funny faces. Dad slowed down to make a left turn, and when he turned the inertia on the van made Courts door, which must not have been tightly shut, swing open. He held onto the window frame for the full swing, until the door was wide open, and then let go and dropped into the ditch. I wish so bad that I could video the picture in my head and post it here. You’d laugh for days. Dad shouted, “Well!” (one of his favorite things to shout), stopped the van, and Court climbed back into his seat, shut the door, and we were on our way. He wasn’t hurt, just very dirty. What kills me (well I guess it all kills me) is that we acted like Court falling out of a moving van was no big deal. Pretty typical, really.

I still love that boy. We were very close growing up, and are close still. I’m grateful for a brother who is also one of my great friends. There’s no one who can make me laugh like he does. Today he’s an optometrist in Rochester, MN, is married, and has two little boys and a little girl due next week. He’s done very well. He’s a good man, a good husband and father. And now that he’s driving a mini van (because of the three kids), he’s officially older than I am, which is nice for me.
Courtney with his wife Andrea and their little boys, Spencer and Andrew, on the train at This is the Place park.

A History of Britain
If you, like me, are a freak for the British history, then do I have a DVD set for you, “A History of Britain” written and presented by Simon Schama. It’s brilliant. Five disks with fifteen hours of England’s history – England has been around for a long time. When I was home on Wednesday I sat for about three hours watching all of these fascinating people and events, and it was great. You know, I’m still taking English classes thinking that English is my major, but I have to wonder if I’m in the wrong field. Maybe History…? Anyway, I found on a set of books that go along with the DVDs and ordered the first one. Now I can watch the video, and then read up on the things I didn’t fully understand. So awesome. And now I’m laughing at my own ridiculousness.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Thanks, as always, for your kind consideration.
You are loved.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello all. It’s time once again for the award winning weekly column A Week in Review. Actually, I haven’t won any awards, it’s just fun to say.

Have you been working out?
Yes, I have been working out! This week I started an exercise program. I’m walking during my lunch hour at work (been doing that for a while), and this week added some upper body work with weights. I do that at home in the evening. Years and years ago, Melody and I got together at her house almost every day to exercise along with Cindy Crawford and her Ultimate Challenge workout video. I was in pretty good shape then. This last Monday I dug out that video, picked up my weights, and for the first time in a decade did a real arms, shoulder, chest and back workout. It hurt all day Tuesday, and on Wednesday, and I thought to myself, “This can’t be good for me. What was I thinking?” Yesterday I tried it again (against all reason), starting with some yoga to stretch out, and then the weights, and it felt good. I still feel good today. It is amazing how quickly exercise can make a girl feel better. My head is clear, I feel a bit more toned, and I’m in a better mood. It’s good. Now I just have to stick with it.

Next week I give up sugar – cookies, treats, desserts. Making changes on step at a time. No more of those delicious chocolate muffins like the one I ate about 10 minutes ago. Goodbye muffins. I will miss you.

I’m looking forward to the Oscars on Sunday. Earlier this week Melissa mentioned inviting some people over for a little party. At first I thought “What? People in the apartment? Why? Why would they come in here?” But after giving it some thought, I’ve decided that it might be fun, and I might actually participate. It’s at times like this that the introvert in me really shows itself, but I will try to ignore her.

Melissa and I are both movie fans, and we see a lot of them in a year. I’ve seen most of those up for awards. Some I liked, some I didn’t. We did go to Slumdog Millionaire, which is likely to win best picture. It’s good, very good. Part sad and tragic, part very happy. I was actually more entertained by Benjamin Button, but if Millionaire wins I won’t balk at it. Like I said earlier this week, it’s important not to take anything Hollywood/celebrity too seriously. I do love movies, and am a real fan of some actors and musicians, but I try to keep a healthy separation between being a fan and being obsessed to the point of mental anguish when something or someone goes wrong. So, we’ll watch the Oscars. I’ll love some of the dresses and wonder what eye shadow and lipstick so and so is wearing. I'll be disappointed if Kate Winslet doesn’t win, and then will go to bed and sleep soundly. It should be a good night.

Every now and then I get a card with a letter from my dad. He sent one this week, and it made me happy. Dad writes good letters. There’s usually something about the weather and the work he’s doing. If it’s summer time then he’ll give a report on the garden. There are always little phrases interjected that are smart and funny. I hadn’t realized until these letters that he’s a good writer. He does read a lot, which I think helps a person’s writing skills.

In fact, I often credit dad for my own love for books because he read to me when I was young. Almost every night he’d sit on my bed and read Marla and I a story. Some of them were from a collection of children’s picture books on American history – so awesome. I remember one night he was reading to us, and I fell asleep, so he got up to go. I heard the light switch go off, sat up and asked if the story was done. He laughed, and then sat back on my bed to finish it. Good job dad. Well done.

It’s a coworker’s birthday, and there’s cake. I did have a chocolate muffin…but I am giving up sugar next week, so I should have some while I still can, don’t you think?

It’s my nephew Noah’s sixth birthday today. He’s a cute boy, and lots of fun, and he comes with his own special story. Aaron and Kristi had Cortni, who is 21, but not able to have more children. After several years of trying all of the medical options they decided to adopt, and went through the process with LDS Family Services and then started the long wait to be chosen by a birth mother. By the time Noah came along, it had been about 10 years of hoping a praying for another child. I remember well the day that my mom called to tell me that they were getting a baby. My eyes teared up, and I thought, “This little boy gives a perfect brightness of hope to anyone who knows what it’s like to wait for the things they want most.” He’s brought Aaron and Kristi a lot of happiness.

I think that’s it. Thanks, as always for your kind attention.
You are loved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I hope my friend Elise doesn't mind me snatching this off of her site (of course, she snatched off of somewhere herself), but these two posts made me laugh out loud, so I wanted to share. First:

And then a video on the plot of the Star Wars trilogy, told by someone who's never seen it:

Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn't seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's ok

Today I was reading on CNN that A-Rod has offered an apology for his "stupid mistake" in taking steroids, and I thought to myself, "I don't care." And the same goes for all famous people - I don't need your apology. Not so much. I don't need it because your actions haven't hurt me. I am not in any way offended by your drug use or profanity laced tirade or shoplifting or whatever. If you were to come into my home and insult me personally, then yeah, you'd owe me an apology. Otherwise, it's ok. Don't worry about it. You've only hurt yourself.

Should the day come when I am personally or profoundly affected by the actions of a superstar, then I'll need something other than an "I'm sorry." I think that I'll be calling up Tiffany and asking her for a consultation with her psychiatrist husband.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Random Stuff

I went for a walk durning my lunch hour today and was totally unprepared for the elements. I checked the temperature online, and it said 32 degrees. I can handle that, so off I went. What I didn't realize was that the wind was blowing at about 10 degrees, and after I'd been out for about 2 minutes it started to snow. Not fluffy snow, but those little round pellets that hurt when they hit your face. Lovely. I stuck it out though, and got in about 35 minutes of exercise. Luckily the snow wasn't so heavy that it soaked my hair. The hair is still ok.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people in my way. Man I hate that. You know what I mean - you're in a hallway at church, or at the store, or in a crowded place and get stuck behind someone who is just moseying along as if he or she is the only person in the place. Too often they mosey in groups. I always want to yell, "Move!" at the back of their heads. I suppose that would be considered rude, but is it really any more rude than taking up so much space? I don't think so.

I've never found a blog template that really suits me. You know - the one that makes you say, "Yes, that's it. That's me." I suppose I'll keep looking. My cute niece Sierra found one that really suits her. It's bright and happy and pretty, a perfect fit.

My strange pen fetish showed itself again this morning. I was going through my desk drawer and found about 32 pens, not including the highlighters and markers. That's way too many. But there were only 6 that I was willing to donate to the supply room. A girl never knows which pen she'll be in the mood for. The quest for the perfect pen has taken up many years of my life, and I haven't found it yet. In the mean time I'll use one of the 26 left in my drawer.

Our ceiling sprung another leak last night. It's our fourth one in about as many months. Honestly. And they always happen late in the evening so that we are dealing with maintenance until 11:00. Melissa did most of the dealing last night. Good girl. Luckily this time it's the water heater in the apartment above us, so they won't have to cut holes in our ceiling and wall again. I swear the whole building is falling apart. One morning I'm going to wake up in a pile of rubble.

Saturday Night Fever is one of those movies that I'd always heard about but had never seen, so when it was on tv the other night, I decided to watch it. What a dumb movie. Have you seen it? So dumb. If you're thinking that it's all a lot of fun getting down at the disco, then you are wrong. There is plenty of disco, and those parts are fun (Travolta had some great moves), but anything away from the disco was just sad. People making bad choices and messing up their lives. I suppose it was supposed to be gritty. The ending was awful. Don't go there ok? If you haven't seen it yet, then don't. Look up the dance scenes on YouTube and call it good.

In three days it will be February the 14th. Ah, that lovely day of love. I used to hate Valentine's Day with fierce anger and bitterness. There was a time when I honestly prayed for a full week prior for the strength to endure the day. Now I'm just numb to the whole thing. I think some refer to this feeling as being "dead inside". Just kidding, it's not that bad. Actually, this year I bought card making kits and made valentines for all of my nieces and nephews. They were pretty cute, if I do say so myself. I don't know that the kids care too much about getting cards from me, but I had a lot of fun sending them. And I sent something to my mom and dad and Aunt Beverly in Chicago. When I was a kid, my Grandma Ruth sent us cards for almost every holiday, and each one had $2 in it. We loved that so much.

I'm reading through this now, and realize that it all sounds grumpy. I'm really not grumpy today. Really.

Well, I do have work to do, and should get back at it.

See ya.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Died too Young

I saw that the list of "stars" for the next season of "Dancing with the Stars" was announced yesterday, and as always it brought with it a touch of sadness. I can't help feeling like signing up for that show is the final nail in the coffin - you've officially announced that your career is DEAD. Or, the poor soul is missing a fame lost long ago and wants just 15 more minutes in the spotlight. Either way, it makes me feel bad.

This year's casualties include Jewel, Denise Richards, Lil Kim and Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Gos. I don't know why, but Jewel and Belinda Carlisle are especially sad. The Go-Gos used to be so cool.

Here's something from better days.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Week in Review

Welcome to another edition of A Week in Review, the post that tells you all about my week. I bet you’re on pins and needles.

I’m back at the learnin’. Last Friday after work I drove my newly repaired car down to the BYU bookstore in Provo to pick up my text book. It’s a great big thing called the Norton Anthology of English Literature. Sounds kind of cool, huh? I love just the word literature, and adding English to it gives me a thrill. The class is on the history of British literary history, and my first assignment is to read “The Dream of the Rood” and “Beowulf”. I wonder if watching that newish computer animated version of “Beowulf” starring Angelina Jolie would be the same as reading it, or close enough? Just kidding, I know it wouldn’t be. In fact I feel ashamed of myself for even comparing the two. Movies are great, but some of them sure do rip apart the classics. And besides, my roommate told me that this particular movie was terrible. I’ll just read the book.

I also went to my first French class since deciding to go back. I’m one of four students, and the only girl. The other three are men, two in their 30s and one who’s maybe in his 50s. I think it interesting that these guys are taking French. I don’t know why. I guess it just seems to me that French has more of a female appeal. Actually, one of them is a biker, and plans to go to France this summer to ride some of the Tour de France route. Sounds fun.

Speaking of movies…
I have to say that I’m worried about Joaquin Phoenix. What happened to that guy? He’s a very talented actor, handsome, had an ongoing career, and then he announced that he was going to give it all up to work on his music - rap music. What the hell? And then he grew out every hair on his head and started wearing sunglasses all of the time.

Dude, it’s backwards.

I know that other people’s life choices are none of my business, and a person can’t get too caught up in the world of celebrity. It’s not healthy. But still, I have to wonder what is going on? Someone really should try to help him out.

Another Oddity
I was in the ladies bathroom here at the COB yesterday and heard Guns and Roses “Sweet Child of Mine” playing from somewhere. I think it was a cell phone ringtone. Someone in this building has Guns and Roses on their phone. That’s awesome.

I read on the Writer’s Almanac today that it’s the anniversary of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”, and I mention it because I really love Steinbeck. When I was first back from my mission, I decided to read some of the classics that I had heard of all my life but hadn’t read, and many of those were from Steinbeck. I think that I started with “The Grapes of Wrath”. He has the unique ability to describe an object or event or idea or feeling with real depth and very few words. Not many writers can do that. Too many are way too wordy. Steinbeck can sum something up in a few short sentences, and you think, “Yeah. That’s it.” He makes it seem so simple.

He has a book called “Travels with Charley” that’s a nonfiction account of a trip he took across the country in his truck with his dog Charley. They started out in Maine, drove across the Northern US to California, and then through the Southern US back home again. It’s fascinating. Steinbeck made a point of going through Fargo, ND, which is right across the border from where I grew up, because it was always on the news as being one of the coldest places in the country, and because he’d noticed on several maps that it’s right in the middle of the country, right where the fold is in the map, or the break between pages in an atlas. I had never noticed that before. It’s a very good book. I’d love to drive the country someday. Start in San Francisco and take I-80 all the way to New York.

I think that’s it for this week. It’s been a while since I’ve had a quote to share. I’ll work on that for next time.
Until then, thanks as always for your….well, you know.
You are loved.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things from my Past

My dear friend Kelli has been doing something fun with her blog. Each week she posts a new question to write about. It’s meant to be a means of writing down stories from your past and establishing a personal history. She’s done two questions now, and I’m going to answer them both in this one post.

1- Who was your first love?

I’ve never talked much about my love life because there’s not much to tell. I’ve been pretty much single all along. But I have dated, and been in love, and even been kissed full on the lips – believe it or not – and I remember my first boyfriend very well.

His name was Justin Sparhawk. He was a very cute blonde who could play the drums, was a great dancer, and loved biking. He had a quiet personality, which I really like even now, but was confident and fun, and he treated me well. He was very good with compliments.

We met at Ricks College, now BYU Idaho, in the fall of 1988 when we were both brand new Freshman. I was at the first dance of the semester with Marla (who was in Rexburg attending Cosmetology school) and a friend from Minnesota named Andrea Miles. A little back-story – Justin’s family lived in a small town in Minnesota that was within our stake boundaries when we were in high school, and then his family moved to Provo. I didn’t know him then, but Andrea had met him a few times. Andrea saw him at the dance at Ricks, walked right up to him and asked, “Are you Justin Sparhawk?” He stuck with us for the rest of the evening, and then after the dance we went all to the Maverick for giant sized drinks. That Maverick was a hub of social activity in Rexburg, Idaho. We dated steadily from then on. I honestly don’t remember what we did on our first date, but on the whole we did the usual things: movies, dances, hanging out and watching tv. He took me to Homecoming. I had a bright pink dress with poofy sleeves and a poofier skirt, very 80s.

One night we went dancing at The Galleria, another hot spot in Rexburg, and afterward he walked me home. We stood outside talking, and then he gave me a hug, and then he kissed me. It was my first kiss, and took me completely by surprise. The air was cold, so his lips felt cold at first. It tingled and made my head spin.

A first kiss should make your head spin, but that makes it hard to remember any more details. I’m wanting to write that last paragraph better, but that’s all I’ve got. I do remember, very well, doing a lot more kissing after that and really liking it. Really liking it.

We didn’t date for very long, about four months, and then he broke up with me, and it broke my heart. I cried for weeks. My poor sister and roommate were kind of worried, but like all first heartbreaks it eventually healed. I dated others during my college years, and after, and fell in love again a few times over, even more in love than I was with Justin. But you never forget the first. He really was nice, a good choice for a first love.

Question 2 – What was your first car?

This topic does not bring back the emotions that the first one did. My first car was a light blue Ford Escort. I don’t remember the year, but I bought it in 1990 or 91, so it had to have been a late 80s model. I really liked my little car. It was so, so much fun to have it all to myself. I guess I don’t have any exciting stories to tell, certainly nothing like I’ve got with my Honda. I drove it for about a year and a half, and then needed to be rid of it because I’d decided to go on a mission. Barry and Melody were co-signers on the loan, so they traded it in on something new for themselves. That cleared my loan, which was what I needed. I went home to Minnesota for a few months, and then was off to the California Santa Rosa mission.

I learned how to drive in the hay fields back on my parent’s farm. I was maybe nine or ten years old. Dad would put me behind the wheel of our 1977 Ford pick-up truck, get it moving for me, and then have me steer it straight ahead while he and my brothers threw the hay into the truck bed and a trailer. When I was a little older, he took me out on the gravel roads to learn how to work the clutch. We all had to learn with a stick shift first. Of course, that’s all we had in our vehicles, so there wasn’t much of a choice, but Dad was adamant that we learn how to drive a stick. Once you can do that, he said, you can drive anything. He was right.

Those are my stories. It makes me smile to think back on all of this now. I think that one of the benefits of doing this is that you remember the good things that make up your life. All of the little parts and pieces of the whole, and on the whole I’ve been pretty lucky in my experiences. If you'd like to do some of this, you can get ideas from Kelli, right here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009