Newness for a New Year

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Shout Out

Congrats to the Cougars for moving up in the polls without evening playing. I guess I should actually be thanking USC, Georgia, and Wisconsin for losing. But, 8th in the AP and 7th in the USA Today Poll is quite a feat. Way to go Cougars! I found this article about BYU that does a nice job of explaining what makes BYU so different and yet so great. It is a respectful article that actually gives BYU the credit it deserves.

For all of you Ute fans out there, you should also be proud. The Utes are looking sharp this year. I hope they perform well against Oregon State.

Movies, Movies, Movies

I haven't blogged about movies I have been watching lately. Tonight, I saw Forever Strong and decided it was time to catch up.

I will start with
Forever Strong and work back a bit. This is a really good movie. Yes, it is a sports feel-good movie, but I like them, so it works. Besides, it is about a Utah team and I love all the familiar shots. I especially appreciate that the juvenile detention center he is sent to is in Provo, by my old house, and one of the hills he runs on (from the juvenile center) is now the street I live on, in Salt Lake City. He does some serious jogging in the movie. Aside from the Utah factor, the movie has a solid cast (including many Utahans who aren't annoying) and good acting. I appreciated how the characters were portrayed, and I felt like the setting and evolution of characters was developed well. This is a good movie that is motivating and inspiring.

Elizabeth I (HBO mini-series): I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys history or period pieces. It is two-part series starring Helen Mirren as Elizabeth I (not to be confused with her role as Elizabeth II in The Queen). It begins 20 years into her reign (which makes sense since Mirren, as fabulous as she is, couldn't pull off a young Elizabeth). But, she certainly pulls off Elizabeth 20 years into her reign until her death. The movie seems to get at Elizabeth as a person, with all the conflict and the character. I felt for her and all she went through to give her life to the Crown and her people. It captures her as a monarch but more as a person. Although this is an HBO series, it isn't sex-driven. It does, however, make sure that all the killing scenes are realistic. I found that I couldn't handle the torture and the treasonous executions. I had to cover the screen, fast forward, and press mute. Yes, I had to press mute. Even the sounds were a little much for me. But, from watching the making of the movie after, I found out that Mary Queen of Scots' beheading was actually tamed down a bit, which is hard to believe. I am glad that public executions and quartering have gone out of fashion in this part of the world. I haven't seen the Hollywood versions of Elizabeth, but I am interested in them. If anyone has seen them, I would like to know your opinion.

About a Boy: I have heard about this move for some time, and I finally watched it. Of course, I wanted to see it because I love Hugh Grant, even if he usually plays a jerk. Well, he didn't let me down in this one. He is a jerk, but then, as usual, he changes into a more redeemable character. I think this is a brilliant movie that exposes so much about human interactions and the potential for growth when you give someone a chance and offer sincere friendship. If you haven't seen this, then watch it soon. It does have a lot of British swearing in it, but if you are like me and still refuse to learn or acknowledge exactly what the meanings of such words are, then it doesn't quite have the same effect.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2: Yes, this is a girl movie. If you aren't a girl, I don't think you like this. And, maybe some of you girls won't like it either. But, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the first one as well, so if you didn't like the first one, you might not like this one either. From what I am told, it combines the rest of the books into one movie. It didn't bother me because I haven't read the books yet, but some people didn't like how it all fit together. I enjoyed the adventures, and I liked the character development. There were a couple of lines that really stuck out to me, so I guess I felt particularly connected to some of the story lines. It is a feel-good movie for girls and for anyone who has a close set of girlfriends.

Gidget Goes to Rome: I know most of you are reading the title and you can guess that the movie was less than spectacular. But, you are wrong, it is worse than that--it is wretched. I think I first saw this years ago. My roommate and I decided to watch it again the other night, thinking it couldn't be that bad. And, most of you know I am not opposed to overly sappy movies. But, this isn't overly sappy; it is just pathetic. I love the original Gidget, and even the presence of James Darren in this film couldn't save it from its own horridness. So, even if you think, I haven't seen that in years, I should watch it again. Don't. Don't do it to yourself. Don't even watch it to see Rome. If you want to see a good old movie with shots of Rome, watch Roman Holiday. I think one of the things that makes it so horrible is that they change the characters--much like the Anne of Green Gables Continuing Story, which is also horrible. You can't just change the characterization without spoiling everything that has already been done. So, if you are ever in the mood for Gidget, stick with Sandra Dee. The Hawaiian version is also no good. Remember, Sandra Dee.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The opposite side of Incredible

Since I just posted about how incredible it is to run across America, I hesitate to post these two sites, but maybe the contrast will be good

20 worst foods in America

20 most sugar-packed foods in America

Check these out. And, if you eat any of them, you might want to reconsider.


Have you heard about the two men running across America? They are running across Utah today and for a day or so.

Check them out here and here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Books and Bookcases

My friend Salli asked me a few weeks ago about what one thing I wouldn't be able to take out of my budget, besides necessities.

I said books.

This probably seems like a very obvious response for me. But, when I purchased a new bookcase a couple of weeks ago for all my books, I was a little amazed at how many books I have accumulated. For the first time in a few years, I have all my books in one place.
Here is my beautiful new bookcase, which I bought at IKEA. I love it. Joanie and I put it together and it was so much fun to organize some of my books. And don't worry, this isn't my only bookcase, I have three others.

Friday, September 19, 2008

For Grammar Geeks Like Me

I finally read up on the difference between an en dash and an em dash. I will post what I learned, but I wonder if anyone knows the difference. If you cheat and look online, please admit it in your response. I won't think less of you.

It was never that great to begin with

I read an article today about how Hershey's has taken out the cocoa butter from their chocolate and replaced it with vegetable oil in many of its products. They even have to change the wording to say "chocolate product."

There is an uproar among some chocolate lovers, but all I have to say is that Hershey's has never been on the top of my list for "good" chocolate. After experiencing "good" chocolate and even "exquisite" chocolate I will never go back to Hershey's.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blue Hands

I just looked down at my hands and noticed a blue hue all over them. I couldn't figure out where it would have come from. I have been just sitting at my computer working for the last hour or so. I picked up everything in front of me and looked at it for any sign of blue. Nothing.

Then, I remembered. I put on a new pair of dark jeans this morning. I ignored the tag that said I should wash once before wearing so the dyes don't get on anything light colored. I figured I would be wearing a dark sweater and my chair at work is black. What could happen? Why do I always think I am the exception? Today, I am not the exception and my blue hands prove it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to Blogging: Coming Together

I like to think of myself as someone who believes in the interconnectivity of life. We all rely on each other. We need other people, and luckily for us, there is a Grand Designer that guides us through experiences and to people. We often think we know where we are going or what we should end up as, but we are usually off base. C.S. Lewis said that we can expect some discomfort as God remodels us because we can only imagine that he is making a cottage out of us instead of a beautiful palace. But, in rare moments when we can look back and see how all those days of cottage dreaming really were moving us toward the palace, something in life changes.

I love the verse in Genesis that reads, "And God remembered Rachel." Now, I am confident that God never forgot about her, but sometimes we feel as though we have been forgotten. Deep inside I know that what Elder Maxwell said is true: "We are His work and His glory, and He is never distracted." But, I do get distracted. I sometimes get so caught up in wondering what will become of me that I forget that I am becoming someone all along. And, it is true that God remembers us. I have felt that truth so fully in my life as this past month has unfolded in unexpected ways.

Many of you know that I ended my job at BYU in August. My one-year (extended a second) appointment ended and I felt I needed a change. I knew that I needed to leave Provo and try something new. I was hoping the move might be to a completely new place, maybe Boston or Portland. But, my heart kept telling me Salt Lake. It wasn't my first choice, for various reasons, but amid all the unknown days, I knew I should move downtown. I found a roommate: LauraLee. We worked together for two years at BYU. She just started at the U in the law program. We found a nice place just west of the university. I am a short 4-minute walk from my Trax stop and I have all the stores I need on 4th South. It is ideal.

I won't go into the details of my job search, but I will say that as of the third week in August, I was still unemployed. The thing is, I felt such peace about it. I knew I needed to be in Salt Lake and I trusted that the peace I was feeling would mean that I would secure a job downtown. Well, thanks to Mindy (Hepworth) Heywood, I found a job. Mindy and I have been friends since third grade, and at my 10-year reunion in July I spoke to her about her work in Instructional Design. Well, as I was searching Craig's List for jobs, I came across an opening for an Instructional Designer. I emailed Mindy to see if she could tell me about the firm. Turns out, it was her firm. From that point on everything fell into place. Thanks to Mindy and her excellent work, Allen Communication decided to take me on, mostly by association I think. So, thanks for being so outstanding Mindy.

And now I work and live downtown. I love it. My Trax stop for work is right at Sam Weller's bookstore, which is a wonderful place. I can eat my favorite Greek food any day of the week. I hardly drive--thank goodness. I love the people I see and meet everyday.

When I think about all I have been experiencing, all I can say is that I am saturated in newness. For many years, I have thought about how much I would love an urban life. Of course, I always thought it would be in an Eastern city, but I think this move is exactly what I need.

And what we need is often different than what we want. When I was a bold and befuddled 18 year old, I never could have imagined my life now. I couldn't have known the richness I would experience, the people I would meet and the places I would visit. Seemingly unimportant events in my life have combined to make a very unexpected and stunning present.

Thank you all for your support as I have transitioned to this newness. I couldn't have done it without you. I realize that as much as I think I have accomplished something in my life, I really haven't accomplished anything on my own. I am surrounded by so many amazing people. You encourage me and help me see in myself what I have yet to become. I believe it was Tennyson who said, I am a part of all I have met. Well, I believe all whom I have met are a part of me.

As I sit blogging on this easy September evening, I sit in happiness at all the possibilities that life offers. Sometimes we need to vigorously work to figure out what is next and sometimes God wants us to trust him. He wants us watch in wonder and awe at his unfolding purposes for us. So, where ever you are at in your lives, I hope you can look at the beauty of how your life has unfolded and sit in peaceful anxiousness for what is to come. It might just happen when you least expect it.