Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Being Older

When I was younger I was very good at journal keeping.

Then it got to the point where I was really only journaling "big" things like "Oh HI, journal...So long story short there's this boy and he HELD MY HAND TONIGHT!!" Bubbles bubbles bubbles.

Then it got to the point where I was really only journaling once a year - the night before my birthday.

I don't think my journal knows I got married. Or started college for that matter.

But today is my birthday. And, though I didn't write yesterday - I still think I remember how yesterday (my last day of being "the big two-zero") felt.

My twentieth year was certainly a doozie.  Not what I would have expected for myself for my twentieth year.  In fact, at the cusp of my twenty-first birthday (last night) I found myself having a come-apart all about "who am i? what am i doing? where am i? where am i going?" because none of it seems to line up.

Turns out some of those feelings may have been valid, but mostly I was/am just tired.

But despite my crazy mind and non-traditional (or overly-traditional, depending on the way you look at it) life choices, I think I'm doing okay. And that's mostly what one should want to feel, I think, on their birthday. That they're doing okay. I may have made a few interesting turns, and I'm certainly taking some different side roads - but they're prettier than inter-state highways, anyway.

I can be patient.

My sweet sister - who wrote a neat and disgustingly accurate blog regarding my birthday that you should all read because its hiLARIOUS - gave me a gem of a gift. I didn't feel like getting my shmancy pants camera out so i took mirror-image pictures with my macbook. Sorry they're backwards.

It says, "What to focus on: Happy." Could there be anything more perfect?
I submit there could not.

Thank you, Emmy.

And welcome, Twenty-One.

Emmy also left secret BALLOONS outside my door for when i got home :) 

And the prettiest, happiest necklace from my mom.
And pure, sweet, thoughtful, present-giving, favorite-present love from my husband.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Family Portraits

Check out my new blog where I just posted some new family portraits!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have another (new) blog

It's up and running!

It's official!

It's beautiful!

It's my "PHOTOG-BLOG!"

To be associated with one, Elizabeth Helen Photography, for all photography-related posts.

You'll visit often, won't you!?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Europeans are Smarter than Americans.

Because they know the difference between this:

and this:

when using one of these:

When I drive home from school or work, I usually have to use a round about.

The point of a roundabout is to keep traffic moving.


It's not a four-way stop, people.

C'mon everybody!!

Let's REMEMBER what we learned in TRAFFIC SCHOOL!!!!

In Real Life?

I was thinking about Transformers the other day. I know. Weird. It's because our landlord has these guys redoing our driveway - extending it and paving it and crap. And at night they've been leaving their gi-gumbo sized equipment in the driveway. And when you come home late at night, and all you see is this massive silhouette of machinery glinting with the evening's dew, well it's creeptastic, okay?

And I've been thinking to myself - there are some movies that I could handle as being real.  Cars, for instance. I wouldn't mind it if my cars talked and had personalities. Superhero movies would not be so bad in real life, either. If there's a super-villian hanging around town, I'm okay with it as long as Batman or Spiderman will kick his patootie.

But Transformers? Dag gum that would be scary. And I'm real, real glad it's all pretend.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So...When it Comes Right Down to it....

What I've learned in school this week:

1. In employment situations, everyone is (basically) just trying to impress each other.
Example 1: Hey look! I came up with this great product idea!
Sure, someone might need that product. But it also could get you a promotion.

Example 2: Hey look! I made 10 sales today!
More money for you, and your boss thinks you're a great salesman.

Example 3: Hey look! This boring snoring report is really well organized!
Menial work suddenly becomes praiseworthy!

2. In school, everyone is (basically) just trying to impress each other.
Example 1: I've got a 4.0 GPA!
Impressed future employers, friends and family members abound!

Example 2: You only studied for 2 hours? I studied for 10!!
Academic badge of courage.

Example 3: I understand the concept just fine, but the teacher is asking me to prove it with this busywork. I'll do it for YOU, teacher!!
Teacher feels satisfied seeing quantifiable results.

I guess what I've realized is that most actions are a double-edges sword. You may be TOTALLY jazzed about doing service, so you become the president of a service organization.  But the fact does look really good on a resume, and that never hurts, does it?

What I'm saying is - I just wish that we could all just be real people. I wish we could just get to know each other instead of feel like we have to impress each other.  I should just be able to like to sing, and not have to feel I need to be the best singer for people to believe that it's a legitimate hobby. 

Sure a resume scratches the surface to show what kind of a person someone is.  But people are so much more than the objective outcomes they produce or positions they have filled.

And isn't learning supposed to be an individual thing? I'm in school because I want to be, taking classes that interest me, so I'm a better thinking and thus a better citizen of the universe?  Why has education become a system of proven, executable outcomes focused on homework and test content, rather than the students and what they're absorbing.

I just feel like humans get easily distracted. In trying to formalize the emphasis of "important things" we just end up getting way off track sometimes.

And forgive me for the GIANT, sweeping generalizations I have made. These are all just extreme examples to help me maybe get my brain into words, which is usually sort of difficult.

Also - whenever I say "when it comes right down to it," as in my title, I think of this:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Magic

I was inspired by my dear new friend, Marie, and her sweet blog

See, this fall has been THE MOST magical. There is something about the crisp air and chilly feelings and I'm loving it.

Tradition says one should take a ride around to see the fall colors. Marie says I should take pictures and call it a "wander" or something similarly dreamy like that.

So my husband and I wandered around Aspen Grove up Provo Canyon!


Doesn't it look like glowing, yellow lace?

Or little gold coins hanging on branches?

Or something out of a fairy tale?


Glowing canyon :)

I suppose Utah is pretty gorgeous, after all.  I've become quite attached to the beautiful nature around here and it hits me in my heart every time I see it. (In a good way.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Thing I Hate the Most.

It's road-kill.

I hate it. 

Any time I see a poor something on the side of (or in the middle of) the road, I can't help but get chocked up in the back of my throat.

I feel like I saw a lot of road-kill this last weekend and it made me a little ill inside.

I can't help but wonder what poor Mr. Raccoon was doing when tragedy hit.  What was it that was so distracting to him that he didn't see the semi-truck bounding down the road? Was his wife in labor?  Was he just brining back the Thai take-out he had gone to pick up? Or maybe he died heroically, because Mr. Raccoon Junior was playing in the road (against his mother's strict "no-playing-in-the-road" rule) and Mr. Raccoon senior ran out to push him out of the way of the semi-truck just in time.

Or the sweet deer?  Did the driver and she make eye contact first? Why didn't the driver slow down?  Why didn't the deer back away? Why? WHY?!?!?!

And SO. HELP. ME. (me AND my emotional state) if it's a cat or - MUCH WORSE - a dog.  Sometimes I can't bear to look too closely so as to avoid seeing that. Ignorance, in this case, is bliss.

 This one time I was running at my parent's house.  There is this fabulous loop of a hill that's great to run or walk when you need a good 20-40 minute work-out.  And on the hill behind the house there was a dead squirrel in the center of the road.

That wouldn't do.

Upon further inspection (with no touching, I promise), I determined that the poor thing was indeed dead.

I found some sticks and tried to shift her wee body out of the center of the road because, let's face it, to die by car is bad enough, but to die by car and then get run over again and again and again is a WHOLE other story.

But the sticks weren't working. The poor thing had bled a bit and was stuck to the blazing-hot asphalt.

So I went home for supplies.

I filled two 44 ounce cups with warm water, and grabbed a shovel.  Then I returned to Mrs. Squirrel (her little baby-feeding tummy was apparent. She was definitely a Mrs.)

I poured the warm water around her body so it would loosen her from the street. Then I scooped her little body onto the shovel.  Then I put her up into the woods on the side of the street, and covered her wee body with earth.

Poor thing.

If only all sweet ill-fated creatures could have such a burial.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Very Own DIY.

I follow Design Sponge fairly religiously and my favorite posts are the DIY before and after posts.  Every time I see something inspiring, which is often, I resolve to do something myself.

So I did.

In the move in/move out hullabaloo that occurred at the end of August this last summer, someone left behind a sad looking dresser. It was totally cheap and falling apart. It was left in the front entry way outside our apartment door. Eventually, someone moved it outside. It got rained on. It got soggy. There were bugs in it. And I took pity.

So I brought it inside, let it dry for a few days, and made the Home Depot my best friend.

Check it out!!


So sad! It was peeling already from the rain...

Broken, crooked drawers.

I bought "Paint Stripper" and covered it. You can see its acidic goodness seeping in, here. Don't get that stuff on your skin, though. It burns. I wore bright orange utility/rubberey gloves. It made me feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future when he dresses in his yellow "space suit."

Then I used a scraper to peel off the white not-really-paint-but-I-don't-know-what-else-to-call-it paint.

Then I sanded it.

And in the process of scraping it fell apart, so I put it back together (making a shelf with two drawers instead of four drawers) and filled in all the screw and nail holes with putty stuff and left it to dry over night.

Then I primed it:

 And was SO EXCITED to paint it! (Just LOOK at how EXCITED I am! Or perhaps that's a look of mild apprehension? I don't know. You pick.)

And I painted.

Drip, drip drip.

TAH DAH!!!!!

Complete with festive lantern and candy corn!

It's so cute I could just die.

This project comes highly recommended.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Bought a Piece of Pizza

Today was Sunday. Sunday is a day to rest, go to church and think.

I usually end up thinking about all the things I do wrong.  Feel guilty. Repent of my dastardly ways. You know the drill.

But sometimes you can think about the things you do right. And that's okay, too.

See - I bought a homeless man a piece of pizza.

I was walking around, window shopping and the like, and there he was, asking for money for food. 

Now - this is one of those "life things" I have a real hard time with. People who ask for money. I don't know if it's politically correct to label these people "homeless" or "beggars" or something like that. I just don't feel entirely comfortable with it. Not all of them are homeless, or need to beg. 
And that's just the problem.

It's problematic because many of them ARE homeless and DO need to beg.  But  what are they really using the money for? Many of these people use it for booze and drugs. But some don't. Many actually need food.  And some of them have dogs, and they need food for their dogs, too!

I just never, never know.

And usually, when I walk by someone with a cardboard sign that reads something about needing help and "God Bless" I just put my eyes to the ground and justify my way by them with something like "Sorry I don't carry cash" (which is actually often the case) or with no words at all.  

But this time, the man was actually asking for money for food.

I figured, if he's going to buy food with the money (or so he says) why not just buy him food?

So I went to the closest food place - a pizza joint - and bought a large slice of deliciously cheesy pizza.

I did this at the end of my day of shopping (I saw him just an hour and a half earlier) because while I was shopping I couldn't get his face out of my mind. He had a bright face. Bright eyes.  I think I saw his spirit, a little, and it was good.

But for the life of me, all day, there seemed to be nary but a Starbucks in sight. 
Until I found the pizza place.

So I walked back to this bright-spirited man and said "Sir, did you need some food?" And he looked right at me and said "Yes!" and then I handed him the warm, yummy pizza and said, "Here you are. Have a wonderful day!" And I walked away, with just one more glance to see him lift the box and reach in.

Now - previous events of this day left me in a less-than-Christ-like state. Unfortunately.  And I had to go meet my ride, so I was in a bit of a hurry. Had I had more time, I think I would have liked to sit and talk with this man while we ate. Maybe I would have bought an entire pizza to share with him. Who knows.

But I felt good afterward, and I think the pizza must have made him feel good, too.  I can only assume, of course, but I do know that pizza always makes me feel good.

The Falloween Decor

I went for a wee visit to my sister's the other day because she had some boxes of clothes she was going to give to good-will and, as we all know, little sister always have first dibs on older sister's good-will-box.

While there, I noticed her Falloween display, as I've decided to call it. It was (is)  gorgeous arrangement of fall inspired things - leaves and candles and what not - interspersed with some Halloween delights - "spooky, scary!" and jack-o-lantern lanterns. 

So I totally ripped it off. Shamelessly. I went to Tai Pan trading, where she got much of her stuff, and made my very own Falloween display. And I will give her credit where credit is due.

Now, before I show you pictures, will you allow me a brief word about Halloween decor? I have pretty solid opinions about it.  And here's the main solid opinion: I like Happy Halloween. Not Scary Halloween.  No blood and guts and gore and zombies that hang by the door and scream at me as I walk past. It's a cheap thrill and, come on people, I'm just not that kind of girl. I like happy carved pumpkins that smile at me and look like they're winking, too, because of the flickering candle inside. I don not appreciate the trend of carved pumpkins with their pumpkin guts spilling out of their mouths to simulate pumpkin barf.  I know I eat too much Halloween candy, you don't need to take the responsibility of carving me a pumpkin to illustrate the negative repercussions. I like happy. traditional costumes. Please, put a white sheet over yourself and cut eye holes in it. Please do NOT put a gerrymandered headband on that makes it look like you've been screw-driver-ed thru the head. Ew.

So, needless to say, I have created a fun, happy, positive, uplifting Falloween display. Emphasis on the Fall, with a little "Halloween" and inspired by my sister.

 My Falloween display.

Sister's idea to put the pumpkin candle thing on the candle stand. Brill.

The sister has something that says "Spooky." Can't remember if it's this exact one. Candy corn, orange ribbon, and orange candy-filled goblet are my genius. 

 CANDY!! Inspired by my friend Rose.

Cute, cheerful, sparkly-winged bat! There is a little one hanging in the display. I named it Waldo. Can you find it? 

Halloween sparkle garland! 

Fresh gourds!! And by "fresh" I mean that I picked the ones that had the least amount of fruit flies buzzing around them.

Again, with the lights on so you can see. I love the little balls of twigs. They're reminiscent of haystacks. Hooray for them.

Happy Falloween, everybody!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flex those Metaphorical Biceps!!

Go ahead! Watch it. Start around 2:18.

Sometimes that's how I feel. The little yellow one with the googly eyes.

I'm not shy about that fact. It's just true.

I know what I'm good at and I know what I like. Oftentimes I just stay where I am because it's safe.

I could have majored in something other than music when I came to college. But may I be honest? I was too nervous to branch out. I've been doing music my whole life. I get it. I'm good at it. Though I may not LOVE it - it was the safe choice. And I wrote off other majors before I had even really tried them, e.g. "I can't be a nursing major...I wouldn't be able to do the chemistry classes..."

And I succeed. That's a fact. And it's a fact I'm really grateful for. But the reality is, I succeed largely because I keep myself in arenas where I know I can be successful. Tricky, right?

And totally subconscious until a day or two ago.

But I'm graduating soon. And I have so many ambitions. And what's funny is, I can do new things and hard things if I don't think about them first. Like that one time I planned a month long, seriously successful escapade across Europe.

But planning my future? Really?

I think "I can't do that. I'm not good enough at such and such a thing."
And the like.

I hate thinking that way. It's sort of embarrassing. And by "sort of" I mean "really."

I'm deciding that I need to try things before I decide whether or not I'm good at them or like them. I'm really good with food! I'll try anything, a few bites, before I write it off completely. (Because, let's be real, fish ARE food and they and their little crustaceous friends are DELICIOUS!)

So I'm trying to turn a new leaf - to try to be a renaissance woman (but just with a lowercase "r.")

And even though I've just really done it mentally, at this point, it feels really good so far.