Friday, September 30, 2011

preparing for general conference

In years past, I've embarked on intense training programs and set lofty goals of reviewing all the talks from the past conference on the week before the next. But this time, I just couldn't do it. It's not that I don't have the time, I have loads of time these days but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. In lieu of my traditional pre-conference read-a-thon, I've been thinking, taking inventory of my life and exploring my options. Because, this stage of my life is a gift - a gift I didn't ask for, a gift I didn't prepare for. But it's a gift, for which I am immensely grateful and intent on using. So here I sit, pondering this gift that I don't even quite understand and comes with great responsibility and unknown possibilities. 

So this weekend, while listening to conference, I'll be knitting* and pondering what I'm going to do with the rest of my life**.

* Some traditions are sacred, more about my new knitting project later.
** I was recently fortunate to attend a fireside-of-sorts with Elder Bednard. And he said, "It wasn't until I was called to be an apostle that I knew what I was going to do with the rest of my life." I paraphrase, but it was kind of refreshing to realize that its something we all have to do - deciding what to do with our lives and it isn't something that we do once but continually throughout our lives.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

good day sunshine

It's been a bit of an off day. The sort where climbing back into bed feels like the only sensible thing to do. But I fight it I did - for better or worse, I coaxed myself out of bed and made it into work. By lunch I was still entertaining fantasies of crawling back to bed, so I took action. I took 2 ibprofin (for my head ache) and headed out. I picked up a big diet coke on ice and a chocolate chocolate chip cookie with my lunch and made my way to the park. If medication, caffeine and chocolate weren't enough some fresh air was sure to help.

And then the sun came out. The heat of summer has past, but instead of crisp autumn air, we've had a lot of grey and damp weather around here. Though I hate to complain about the weather, I'd been craving some sunshine. And my oh my, did it feel good. If the sun hadn't ducked behind a cloud, I might not have been able to drag myself away. I found myself singing this on my way back to work. 

This video made me smile. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the high life

Last week my parents came to town and we had a grand ole time. My Dad was here for a conference and they put them up in the fanciest room in the smanciest hotel. How fancy? you ask, you can check it out here. And here's a fuzzy picture of the view from their window. That's the Washington Memorial there and in front of it, that'd be the White House.

Here's a clearer picture (I used the window sill as a tripod and my timer here). Do you see that window there? Best I can tell, the first family was unwinding with a little television after a long day. I've never wanted a pair of binoculars more in my life. We were at least a block away and all we could make out was the flicker of a television/monitor. But I'm pretty sure the secret service followed me home that night after all my stealthy photography.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

fall viewing guide

One of the best things about fall is all the new shows on tv. Yes, I watch a lot of tv. But guess what? I'm not ashamed. All you out there that are too busy or simply too good for tv, well, I won't tell you that you're missing out but I ask you, how many mittens did you knit last year? Knitting and tv go together like movies and popcorn, but the end product is prettier and doesn't get your hands all greasy.

As an avid tv fan, I've been pretty jazzed about the return of some of my old faves: Grey's Anatomy (holy 2 hour season opener!), Modern Family (oh, so funny), Parenthood (incredibly good drama while staying real), Fringe* (Is a world without Peter Bishop a world worth living in? over-dramatic? me? have you seen that stubbly chin?)... I'll stop there - gosh, there is some great tv out there!

Today I want to talk about Parks and Recreation. It's quirky, it's funny and it's highly unappreciated. Maybe it's because it started out a bit weak. And maybe it's just not you're kind of funny but if you haven't seen it, I advise that you start with one of the classics. May I suggest, Flu Season (season 3), or the Hunting Trip (season 2). Skip season 1 and come back to it later once you're hooked - it's funnier that way, I promise.

Here's a clip from the Hunting Trip. I'll set it up a bit. Amy Poehler's character, Leslie, talked her way into the guy's annual hunting trip. And on the trip someone accidentally gets shot in the head (it's just bird shot so nothing too serious). Leslie, takes the fall for it even though she didn't do it. She's an experienced hunter and knows what she's doing and when the park ranger starts asking her what happens she has to lie. Let's take a look:**

Pretty funny, right?

As for new shows, there are a bunch of new shows that have just come out and to be honest, it's an underwhelming lot. The lone exception, Prime Suspect. The trailer was totally engrossing - I'll be following this one. (It's on and

So there you have it, my fall viewing guide.

* I'm seriously peeved that I missed the season premier and fox won't let me watch it online yet - so please, no spoilers!

** Totally channeling my inner talk show host, how'd I do?

Friday, September 23, 2011

every now and then

I sat next to the boy, or should I say man, almost by accident - we make eye contact as I take the seat next to him. The chairs are close together and he nudges me, whispers something and my heart begins to swell. It's only small talk but In that moment his heart and mine are inexplicably connected. I can't focus on anything that is happening arround me - I am fixated on the man next to me. 

He leans forward and I am consumed by desire to run my fingers across his shoulders. I fight the urge staring at my hands folded in my lap. I don't know what's happened but in that moment I am his. He whispers something and I lean in closer, wishingwishingwishing I could just place my head upon his strong shoulder, to collapse into him and surrender the emotional will that holds me firmly together.

But I wait - propriety and fear ultimately preventing me from acting on my simple desires. After all, it's probably just in my head. I doubt that he felt anything at all. These all consuming emotions were likely only hormones - loathsome hormones - hormones that lead me to question my own sanity. 

There's nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

wild life photography

Well it turns out that despite my planning I didn't take any pictures in Pennsylvania last weekend. Not that it wasn't beautiful and no that I didn't think of it, it's just at most of those Kodak moments I was behind the wheel and neglected to stop. So I'm sharing a few pics that I took in my own backyard, er actually my front yard. There are dozens of these little rabbits that call my neighborhood home and from the performance I saw last week, there are sure to be a dozen more in no time, dirty rabbits. I find it interesting that they have taken no interest in my vegetable garden but I'm grateful and I guess they like the wild stuff better and there's no shortage of that.

Also some bumblebees on my Bee Balm. I just love Bumblebees and this Bee Balm really surprised me with such a lovely color.

We also have squirrels and a mysterious burrower that we've never seen but he keeps his hole quite tidy. Not to mention the birds, it's quite a menagerie.

Friday, September 16, 2011

welcoming fall

Don't you just love fall? It's one of my favorite seasons and I love that it last so long here in DC. Temperature started to drop right on cue the day after Labor day and this weekend is predicted to be delightfully crisp. To celebrate the coming of autumn I am going to one more baseball game tonight and tomorrow I'm headed on up to Amish country. My sweet mom is coming for a visit and we're hoping to catch a harvest festival, to drool over phenomenal quilts, and partake of some of the wholesome goodness of Lancaster County.

And you know what I did last night? After laundry, that is, man did I have a lot of laundry. Well, I charged the battery for my camera. Yes, I planned. I had to tear my room apart and actually put some things away as well to find it. But it's done. I have a fully charged battery. And I hope that that planning pays off and I remember to take some photos this weekend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

did I do that?

It takes a certain talent, or should I say an exorbitant level of clumsiness, to spill yogurt on one's trousers, blouse and hair while eating breakfast her desk. The culprit: a trader joe's yogurt squisher convenient, yummy and lethal.

It's always fun to rush down the hall towards the ladies room covered in pink goo. Did I say always? because this was a first for me. It's not like I regularly wear my breakfast in this fashion, yet to deny that that this is the first time my Squisher has malfunctioned would be a lie. Back at my cube, I sit fingering through my crusty hair, hoping no one noticed and broadcasting my embarrassing moment on the internet.

But seriously, yogurt in a tube?!? Squishers, we're dunzo.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

reflections on 9/11

It was my senior year at Utah State. I had just gotten out of the shower and turned on the radio as I was getting ready for class. Even then my radio was always set to NPR. I don't remember exactly what I heard - something about a terrorist attack on New York City but I didn't even know what the World Trade Center was at the time. I hurried and got dressed while engrossed in what I was hearing. In the living room I found my roommates already in front of the tv - we sat and watched in horror at the footage of collapsing buildings, missing planes and human suffering. I was late for my morning class but the professor didn't start on time. I remember that at the beginning of class he said something like, "I don't know if you have all seen the news today but there is currently a no fly zone over the United States". It was so strange to hear the events that I had seen on the news wrapped up into this simple statement.

I filled up my gas tank that night. It seemed like a good time to have a full tank of gas. And people were saying that gas prices might go up - as if that were the most important thing to worry at a time when gas prices were close to a dollar. But it was something to do. Something to do when there was nothing to do. It was all too much to take in.

This past week, I've found myself contemplating how the events of 9/11 have affected me. And I think that the most telling moment was a few weeks ago, when there was an earthquake in DC. What? you may say, there was an earthquake on the east coast? how haven't I heard about this? Yes, it was truly overblown in the media. But in that moment when the building around me was shaking, I wasn't thinking earthquake, I was thinking bomb/explosion/attack. My current office is located between the White House and the Capital and when the ground began to shake and the immediate confusion passed I got this deep pit in my stomach, my muscles clenched and I thought of 9/11. As the rumbling continued, I thought "I didn't hear anything, I would have heard something" something more than rumbling, I was searching my memory for a bang, a roar. It turned out to be nothing more than a minor earthquake but in that moment I was preparing myself to experience some of what I watched on 9/11.

This morning  I was on my way to church with just enough time to get there on time when my exit was blocked and before I knew it I was crossing the river into the District. I should have known better. My route goes right past the Pentagon. I spent the next hour fighting my way back to Virginia. I was an hour late to church but an hour well spent. My detour took me through the tidal basin. Past the Jefferson Monument. And while stuck in ridiculous traffic I listened to NPR's special coverage of the anniversary and listened to accounts of people at the pentagon that day. It was rather fitting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

look what I found

I've been shopping for new bedding for weeks and found little to get excited about. I don't have a lot to spend, but even if I did, I don't know what I'd spend it on. There is simply nothing out there that excites me. I'd been browsing at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Target, Ikea, Crate and Barrel, Garnet Hill, the Company Store - and they all left me underwhelmed.

It's not that there's nothing good out there just couldn't find what I was looking for. I wanted something with character, something to go with my freshly painted walls, new bed and the wool blanket that I bought in Scotland (it's one of my few possessions that has come along with me on all my moves).

I kept thinking that I need an awesome quilt, but hadn't come across any in my searching.

There was a time when the idea of making a quilt lit a fire in me. I loved picking out the fabrics and pattern. I loved the process: cutting and sewing and assembling and stitching. It really is a glorious process. But then it happened. I burned out. It may have been around the time that I lost my job at a quilt store, but I'm not entirely sure. All I know that I've lost that passion and the idea of making a quilt is sickening to me now.

I still love the finished product and craved a quilt for my bed. And then one day as I was browsing on etsy... light bulb! Out of curiosity, I started searching for antique quilts and guess what, there are some real beauts. And what i was surprised to learn, is that some of them are really quite affordable. Well the ones that are a little worn are anyway, and there is something really lovely about well worn quilt - gives it character. 

So after mulling it over for a couple of days, I just ordered this one:

And I'm crossing my fingers that it's as lovely in person as it is in it's pictures. It may need a little TLC but I'm up to task - mending I can do.

Here are a few others that I just adore and are still for sale.