Monday, March 30, 2009

March is cruising right on past

Oh my word! I can't believe that tomorrow is the last day of March! Where in the world did this month go? Well, now that I think about it, I guess it went to trip preparations, Speak's birthday, vacation (probably the most fabulous part of all, I must admit), return from vacation, catch up from vacation and finally almost be on top of things again. I think that pretty much sums it up. I have been an active participant in everything I've done over the past month, so I can't say I don't remember what I did, but I'm just amazed at the speed in which it all happened!

I'm also going to have a little rant here about the weather. So I know this is Utah and like Idaho, Utah's weather is as changeable as it comes. And the catchphrase for March is "in like a lion and out like a lamb" although in our case, that has been reversed. It came in calmly like a lamb, but then it tricked us by snowing more this month than in February. It's torturous to have it be 70 degrees one Saturday so I'm running around in capris, a T-shirt and open-toe sandals and then the next day it gets overcast and snows! Cruel, cruel joke! And this is all because I took my coat apart. . .

Okay, I'm sure taking my coat apart had nothing to do with the change in the weather, but it sure is interesting to think it might have had something to do with it. The only reason I mention it at all is because I have a very nice double-lined coat. It's the kind that's actually three in one: a nice heavy coat with two layers, a jacket or a rain jacket. I've now taken it apart twice because the weather seemed to be getting nice so I thought I would be safe to do so. However, both times I did that, the weather turned nasty and it snowed. The moral of the story is: leave my coat put together until I'm certain it's really spring outside! (It might take until June, but we'll just have to see.)

In any case, I'm wishing March the happiest of farewells tomorrow and am hoping April brings actual spring weather as well as flowers, showers, Easter and all that good stuff. I hope you've all had an equally good month!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes I'm a sports fan

So I have to be honest: I'm not really a big sports fan. If I see a game on TV, unless I have an outstanding reason to watch it, I'll probably change the channel. However, I feel like there is a certain appeal to attending a live sporting event from time to time, particularly when I get free tickets or go with a group of friends. Such was the case last night.

I think it has to do with atmosphere more than anything. It's exciting to be in a sports arena feeling the excitement of the crowd, listening to the music that accompanies different aspects of the game and seeing the players race down the court or the soccer field or even run around the bases. It can draw and keep my attention in the way that TV sporting programs never can.

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a Jazz game. It's been awhile since I've been (almost a year in fact), but it was exciting! Not only was it an engaging game but I also attended with friends, which only makes it that much better! I loved all the music they play during time outs, the measures they take to get the crowd excited and cheering for the game and watching/listening to the fans. Plus, I've been to enough Jazz games in the four years I've lived in Salt Lake City that I know most of the players. That also makes a difference to my sports viewing experience. I find it difficult to care when I don't know who any of the players are.

I have to tell you that one of my favorite aspects of the game was teasing my very dear Speak about Kyle Corver, who became "your boy." It's a long story, but pretty much Kyle Cover is a family joke between her and her mom so when I invited her to come, I asked if she'd like the chance to see Corver in person. . . After he was put into the game, he started making a splash right away by scoring 9 points off the bat. Hands down he also had the best assist of the game, so that also made it more entertaining.
Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching a major sporting event last night. Who knows, perhaps I'll be attending another game again soon. We'll see. Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Speak kept trying to take a self shot of the two of us, but her aim was rather off. She did pretty good with this one, except she's making a funny face. . .

In case you were wondering, yes we were in the nosebleed section, but we still had a great time.

Proof that she went to a major sporting event. . .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nothing much to say

I realize that it's been quite some time since I've written a regular blog post. Originally, I was intending to write a long post all about my trip to DC, but I think I've changed my mind about that for now. Part of it stems from the fact that I put up my first album of pictures on Facebook (anybody who is friends with me should check there if they want to see about it) and the other part is that I've told many different people about it already. I don't want to bore anyone from telling the same stories over and over and over again. . . (this is something I've become quite paranoid about thanks to Speak).

The gist of that whole paragraph is that I guess if I haven't told you about my trip already, you'll have to call me or contact me in person to find out more. :)

I have a lot on my mind tonight just with different things we talked about in church today and having attended the Draper Temple dedication this afternoon (what a wonderful experience!). However, I'm not feeling like I should pour all my thoughts into my blog for everyone to read, so I'm just going to say that I realized some things today that I need to change in my life. Wish me luck as I set goals and figure out just what I need to do to get myself onto higher ground And that I can keep in mind that change doesn't happen overnight but is a gradual process that takes time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

DC was great and now I'm back. . .

Hello everyone! It's been awhile since I've posted, but I promise I have good reasons for not writing until now, most of which are because I was on vacation. And anyone waiting in anticipation to find out all about my trip is going to be sadly disappointed. I had a lovely trip to DC (despite the terrible weather we had the entire time we were there) and I got to see a lot. However, I'm still recovering from the breakneck pace we kept whilst we were there to see the maximum amount of DC sites we could in a week, so I'm not feeling up to writing an in depth blog post tonight. Thanks to Kathryn for being such a wonderful hostess and carting us all over the city and beyond! I can honestly say I'm glad I never had to drive there, but I sure did think the Metro was divine. It got us right where we needed to go, and in a reasonable amount of time too. Fabulous!

I promise I will write more in a future post, but here a just a few pictorial highlights I'll post right now. Enjoy!
Here's me in the National Mall with the Washington Monument behind me on the very first day there, the one where it wasn't overcast and rainy, even if it was jacket weather. We had no idea how lucky we were to get such great weather that day!
Open wide. My what dirty teeth you have! How long has it been since you brushed them? (This is in the Natural History Museum in case you were wondering. :)

Here's Yuri and me with Mt. Vernon (the home of George and Martha Washington) behind us. We went on Friday.

Here's Kathryn and Yuri with Old Town Alexandria behind them, our other destination on Friday. I was told it's just like Georgetown but parking's a whole lot cheaper!

Okay, that's all for tonight, but I promise to post more tomorrow. Actually, anyone who is friends with me on Facebook should check there because I will put a full album, but probably not until this weekend because that's when I'll have time.

P.S. Sorry if the spacing is all wonky. It always does that when I post pictures, and it doesn't matter how much I try to fix it, the spacing is still off. Ugh!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One more bit of exciting news

Okay, I was not intending to do this post, but again, I'm feeling excited so I have to post it before the excitement fades. And there's that whole accountability factor too.

A few months ago I wrote in here about the Biggest Loser competition I'm participating in at work. It's been great for me because it's helped me to make better choices in the food I eat and has encouraged me to become a more regular gym attender. And the work is paying off because I feel like I'm starting to look better and, most importantly, I'm feeling better about myself. Honestly, I think that's the most significant change I've experienced from participating in this competition. Having a positive view of yourself is a powerful thing, and it's been so long since I've felt anything close to that.

Anyway, we still have a month left to go, but today was the 60-day unofficial weigh in. I didn't feel I could have possible made much progress because of my birthday and going home to my parents' house twice (where it's very difficult to eat healthfully) and because exercise has been a bit more difficult to come by lately. I was shocked when I discovered I lost 6 pounds! How in the world did that happen? But apparently somehow it did. I even stood on the scale a second and third time just to be sure. I guess sometimes miracles do occur. . .or all that hard work really does pay off. This brings the total weight I've lost since January up to 9 pounds. I feel pretty good about that even though I hoped to have done better.

In any case, this is a victory worth celebrating, which is why I had to share it in my blog. I have 30 more days to participate in the competition, which means that once again it's time to up my game! Vacations can be tough because it is awfully hard to eat healthfully away from home, but I'm sure I can do it! I have pretty much accepted that I don't think I'll win the competition, but at least it's helping me make positive changes in my life, and that's worth an awful lot!

Washington, D.C.--here I come!

It's really late right now, and I must go to bed so I can make it up in the morning, but I'm too excited to not share my enthusiasm with somebody! Tomorrow is the day--I'm officially leaving the state to go back East, where I've never been before! Yippee!! Not only do I get to see my very dear Kathryn, whom I haven't seen for about eight months now, but I also get to visit the very fabulous D.C. at the same time! And our good friends are coming out on Saturday, so we'll get to play with them too. Good times, fun people! What more can you ask for?! I am also having a very much-deserved break from work! Wa-hoo on that one!

I'm sure I'll post some photos here once I get back. Stay tuned for more exciting updates! I don't know if I will be able to blog while I'm away, but I'll try. If not, check back next week for more information on my exciting trip!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Four girls, one night and one HOTT british man. . .

There we were, four friends gathered together on a Sunday night. The purpose: to watch the four-hour BBC production of North and South. *Sigh *

For any of you unfamiliar with it, it's the story about a girl named Margaret, who moves from her happy home in the south of England to the north, where the industrial revolution is taking place. There she meets Mr. Thornton, a rough mill owner, whom she initially dislikes. Margaret befriends some of the mill workers including the daughter of the person destined to become the union president. She teaches John to see a different side of the mill workers and their plight. Of course you can guess what happens. . .

Anyway, through all of this is the growing attraction between Margaret and John. There's always a romantic tension and chemistry between the two of them and for die-hard romantics like the four of us, it just adds to the appeal of the movie. Plus, you have to wait four hours for it, but there's an incredibly steamy kiss at the end which sends girls into a roomful of sighs, exclamations of excitement and peals of giggles.

Pretty much Richard Armitage, who plays Mr. Thornton, is one very attractive British man. He has an excellent profile, very sexy blue eyes and he looks great walking through cotton. If you happen to be a die-hard romantic like the four of us, you should probably check out North and South.

This is right before the steamy kiss I was talking about before. Oh yeah!

Suggestions anyone?

I want to start off this post by being excited because this is officially my 50th post! Yay! Go me!

Okay, with that out of the way, I'm ready to move on to the meat of this post, and I'm afraid it's going to be rather of a rant. I apologize in advance, but I'm hoping that my rant might bring about some suggestions, so after you read this, please feel free to comment if you know something that would help me out.

I have now lived in Salt Lake City for four years, and I have yet to find a decent place to get my hair cut! I've gone places that did a decent cut, but service and styling my hair (how do I know if I really like it if I can't see what it looks like once it's dry?) are seriously lacking! I've been annoyed by this once before (and have avoided that place like the plague ever since) and was determined to find a good place, but sadly it hasn't happened yet. Here's my latest hair cutting story.

It's now been over three months since I got my hair cut. That's a long time, and it had grown out. I liked it just fine, but I could tell that it had lost its shape so it needed to be cut. I hacked it off short in August and have been loving the look, but I sure do enjoy having slightly longer locks so I have options as to how I can fix my hair, but this is beside the point. Anyway, my plans on Friday fell through, and with my good friend Smirk, I found myself wondering around Bountiful. I saw a Great Clips and remembering that my very dear Speak has one of the Great Clips that she really likes (I should've called her to check because this is the one she had a terrible experience at--just my luck!), I decided to stop in and see how much a haircut would cost.

I should add here that when I say haircut, I mean the whole package deal--wash, cut, dry and style. It pet peeves me to no end when you go to a hair cutting place and they want to charge you extra for every little service. Grrrrr! I am willing to pay for that service for the peace of mind to know that somebody good is taking care of me, but I have yet to find that here. But I've branched into a tangent, so I'll continue my story.

I only meant to inquire at Great Clips, but before I knew it, the lady was taking my info down and pretty much scheduling me in. I didn't notice the sign with the prices right above our head (my bad, I know) or I would've put the kibosh on that. The haircut itself is only $13, but they wanted $5 for the shampoo and a whopping $16 just to style it!! What do they do, load your hair with product or something?! The last time I checked, styling my hair does NOT take that much product, even expensive ones. In fact, all it takes is blow drying it, putting a spray to protect it from the hot styling tools and straightening it. None of those equal $16.

Again, not having seen the sign, I didn't know about this great rip off in price but found myself scheduled in about half an hour. I asked her if they would at least dry it, and she said they wouldn't let me go out in the cold (it was around 40 degrees that night, so it was quite chilly) with a wet head. I thought this meant at least a full dry.

Nope! I was mistaken. The lady who cut it said my hair looked pretty clean--don't worry, it was because I had washed it that morning--so I opted not for the expensive shampoo. The lady cut my hair (this is another aside but I found it funny that she kept saying Yeah in this really nasally voice that I found kind of annoying) and she was okay. She finished and started drying it, but she stopped halfway through. She asked if it looked okay, and I peered into the mirror and nodded my head. I couldn't REALLY tell because, well, it was still damp. If I had been able to, I would've been upset that she left my bangs longer than I told her to and the sides looked funny, but I was already irritated enough that I didn't notice.

I promise I am not an excessively cheap person. As I mentioned before, to me, a haircut is a service and I will pay to have someone that I know is good do it. That's why I try my hardest to have my hair cut when I go home to Idaho all the time because the lady I like has been doing it since I was 16, and I trust her (and her sister who also works in the same salon) completely. Plus, they put it as one specific price and don't charge extra for every little thing. I would rather go to one of them and pay for the haircut "package" so to speak than pay someone whom I don't know is good an exorbitant fee to maybe do a good job. Yikes!

Do any of you, faithful blog readers, know somebody in the Salt Lake Valley who is relatively good and costs a reasonable amount of money? I'm getting seriously desperate here! Please help me avoid having another bad haircutting experience!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In another life. . .

I was thinking about it tonight, and I think I've pretty much convinced myself that in a previous life I was a dancer! And perhaps to make it even spicier, I'm pretty sure I was a Latin dancer.

There's something so special and magical about letting yourself get lost in the music, making up your own dance moves or being successful at following someone else. I must confess that even though I love dancing, I'm not very good at it. My favorite style of dancing is to turn up the music really loud (usually when nobody else is home) and make up my own moves! I do make a decent follow though. A few weeks ago at a home evening activity we learned the cha-cha. My partner is a dancer, and he kept showing me new moves. I did pretty well following him. Last year I learned to swing dance, and although I'm not very good at it, I sure do love it! I forget when I go long periods of time without dancing how much I love it until I do it again.

Latin dancing in particular has always fascinated me. Tonight I was doing a Zumba workout tape that my sister let me borrow. I've done Zumba (which is basically a combination of Latin dance moves done as an aerobic dance workout) before, so I was excited to get my Latin groove on again. It was really fun, despite the fact that I think the instructors are annoying and the class members have horrific workout clothing. It was just fun to let myself do these moves, no matter how silly I might have looked doing them (this is why I don't have a mirror anywhere downstairs. . .) Zumba is also an excellent workout, so I feel good about that too.

I have learned that one of the keys to a successful exercise program is to find something you like and do that. I suppose since dancing is something I enjoy, it's good that I can use it as a workout! In addition to Zumba, I also recommend the Dancing With the Stars cardio dance tape, Hip-Hop Abs and the Latin Flavor dance section of Yoga Booty Ballet. Even if you're not a great dancer you can still have a blast doing these moves. Try it sometime!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Wonder of the . . . Library

Umm, my last post was pretty depressing, and I apologize for that. I had a hard day at work (well a hard week really) and then some other things went wrong, and my blog provided a perfect outlet for me. However, I am feeling better now and I want to move on to happier subjects. I meant to write this particular post on Friday but I went out of town this weekend to my parents' house and it's always crazy there. So this is the first opportunity I had to write.

On Friday I went to the Salt Lake City Library for the first time in what seems like ages. Okay, it hasn't been ages but it has been several months. I had to pick up an item I put on hold and then I ended up perusing the books just a bit, which provides the inspiration for this post.

I was reminded of just how much I LOVE to read! I know this is going to sound completely nerdy, but there's something magical about looking up into those shelves of books full of stories that I'm sure I would love to lose myself in. I've been addicted to the written word ever since I first learned how, and I forget sometimes, well until I pick up another book again, just how much I love it. I haven't checked out any books for awhile because I didn't have time to read them, and I'm pretty sure I still don't, but it sure was fun to do it anyway! I'll find the time to read. . . it's what I always do when something is a big enough priority.

I have another nerdy confession: I love to smell books! I really love the new ones but I also enjoy the old ones. I can't quite explain it except to say that along with the magic of the story I also find the smell intriguing. Smells are also an integral part of memories, so in a way, I'm making a memory of the book, or what was going on when I read the book, by smelling it. Sometimes just breathing it in makes me happy. I can't say that smelling a book would entice me to read something I had no intention of reading before, but it does take me into a happy place.

Now that anyone who reads this thinks that I'm officially a nerd, I'm going to close!