Go Big Blue

Congratulations to the University of Kentucky Wildcat football team for beating the Clemson Tigers 28-20 yesterday in Nashville, TN. The last time UK won a bowl game was 1984 and Kentucky fans were celebrating everywhere yesterday. The celebration continued this afternoon when UK's basketball team beat the EKU Colonels at Rupp Arena.
Its good to be home. GO BLUE!

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Merry Christmas

I meant to post this video yesterday but was having so much fun with my family, a miracle for those who know my family, that I forgot. Actually it was my little brother's idea. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Love to you all and Happy Holidays!!

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A Czech Adventure

Last night our friend Sarah returned from 18 months in the Czech Republic. It was so nice to see her again!!

Fresh off 4 days in the airportFresh off 4 days in the airport Hosted on Zooomr

Poor Sarah had spent days stranded in route between Prague and Missoula. Two of those days in Canada. Her scheduled return of Friday finally happened on Sunday.

DadDad Hosted on Zooomr

Sarah's family is a hoot and I loved seeing the extended family. Her Grandma is in my congregation and she was so excited to see her again.

Hugging GramsHugging Grams Hosted on Zooomr

She looks so good! It was great to see her again. I'll see a bit more of her this week and I'll post more about it then!

Welcome Home, friend. Well done.

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More of what I love on YouTube

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The Butterfly of Happiness

As many of you may remember last summer was a very busy one for me. So many things happened, and I have wanted to blog about them for some time, but with my hectic fall schedule I never found time. Now that I am one grant proposal away from finishing this semester I thought I would share a story with you from July.
One of my favorite things about attending BYU were the Tuesday devotionals. If I did not haul my butt up to the Marriott Center I would faithfully watch the broadcast in the JSB. One devotional topic that has remained with me is the allegory of "the butterfly of happiness." The speaker likened happiness in life to a butterfly. Many people when they see a butterlfy try to capture it. People approach happiness in the same manner. Many people chase after things they believe will make them happy, i.e., boyfriends/girlfriends, marriage, education, success, etc. They become so focused on obtaining their "butterfly" they loose sight of the important things. There priorities are no longer what they should be. The speaker counseled his audience to be diligent in those things the Lord had commanded them, and then wait patiently for the butterfly of happiness to land on you. When the moment is right it will happen. The Lord will bless you in His own due time.
When I ride the metro home in the evenings I usually sit in the first train car. However, one July afternoon I chose to sit in a car that was further back. Exiting the car I noticed this beautiful butterfly lying in the middle of the platform. A child pointed the butterfly out to his mother as they walked past. The mother didn't stop even though the kid was obviously concerned. Knowing if the butterfly was not moved it would suffer further injury I scooped him up into my hands and then carried him home.
Exiting the metro station I passed the boy and his mother. The mother said she was relieved I was taking him home because her son had wanted to go back for the butterfly. I showed her the charm on my necklace and told her I had a soft spot for butterflies.
I honestly did not think the butterfly would stay in my hands on the way home but to my delight, he/she did. (I don't know how to determine the sex of a butterfly. My luck it was a female.) Anyway, I brought the butterfly inside and laid it on my kitchen counter for awhile. Thinking it would probably prefer to die in a natural setting I laid it in my flowerbed, checking on it periodically throughout the evening.
The butterfly was not my only guest that evening. A huge preying mantis hung out on the exterior wall of my apartment all afternoon. Each time I opened the door he was there staring at me with his/her wee beedy eyes. (Don't know how to determine the sex of a preying mantis either) Actually I thought he/she was kinda cool so I included a photo.
The point of the story is my butterfly died that evening. The butterfly of happiness, the ship I thought had finally come in, a symbol of great times ahead, died. What does that say about my happiness? How should I interpret that? Should I dismiss it as coincidence? Should I just be grateful for the time I spent with the butterfly? I don't know. I am open to thoughts or suggestions. How would you interpret the death of my butterfly? Or do you think the speaker's allegory is even relevant? I would like to think is somewhat substantial. I mean, I remembered it. Perhaps this won't be the last butterfly to cross my path. Who knows? I just wanted to share something that means something to me with you. As the new year approaches here's hoping each of us encounter our butterflies of happiness.

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My new favorite commercial.

The very end is my favorite.

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Amber is Cutting Edge

Today on Rachael Ray there was a challenge issued. 90 days with no dating.

I would like to refer everyone to this post for further proof that Boo is full of awesome ideas.

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Adventures in Geekdom

It's not often that I share my geeky reading with the masses but this is interesting. People ask me frequently what makes me a MacGirlForLife and these are will articulated arguments for the points I generally make.


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The Island Collector

The Washington Post Express was just fulll of goodies today. One article reported on a thirty-something year old widow who has spent $33 million this year alone purchasing islands off Connecticut's coast. The Mattabesec Indians used to inhabit the Thimble Islands.
The islands were named in honor of Tom Thumb. Tom Thumb found love on these islands. In addition, and this is the part that caught my attention, legend has it Captain Kidd buried treasure on the islands. People have been combing the beaches for centuries but nothing has ever been found. Duh, the with a name like that, the man was no dummy.
Christine Svenningsen confides her reason for buying the islands is to preserve them. As an artist, Svenningsen is renovating many of the historic homes while adding her own signature by repainting the furniture in bright colors.
Its nice to know someone else is living my life. I think Christine and I could be very good friends. I wonder where I could meet a man who would leave me $33 million. If anyone has any clues please let me know. I promise you would all be welcome on my island.

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Just for my Boo

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An adventure in selfishness

Today I finally found and redeemed gift cards from ages ago on Amazon. They made me able to buy this...

I've wanted one forever and I'm justifying it by saying that I'm going to bake for people for Christmas.

Why is this an adventure? Because I feel so indulgent that I allowed myself to buy this instead of buying presents for everyone else. And it's an odd feeling.

But it's ok. I'll bake it out.

Isn't it cute!?!

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Office Christmas Parties

Whitney (my receptionist here) and I drove to our Christmas party together. While there, we talked and laughed together because we didn't know many other people. You see, our company has only three offices and each of the offices are roughly 3 hours apart.

During dinner Whitney and I talked and laughed with our CEO and his wife who were seated at our table. When the time came, we took our place in the buffet line. We were ordered Whitney, The Wife, me, The CEO.

The CEO was giving me encouragement and his stamp of approval while Whitney talked to The Wife. When we sat back down, Whitney had an odd expression on her face. I asked what was wrong and she indicated that she'd tell me later.

Soon the band started to play and CEO and The Wife started to dance. Whitney leaned in for the story and said, "When we were standing in line The Wife asked me how I got here. I replied that I drove up from Missoula with you. She then said, 'I mean, why are you at the party?' So, I told her I worked in the Missoula office to which she replied, 'Oh! I thought you were here as a Significant Other."

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Christmas Present

Last night Kim and I braved the frosty night air for the light display on the Washington Temple grounds. Although the blue lights were a little shocking, I found the use of multi-colored lights a nice contrast to the all white lights used on Temple Square.
Seeing the Sister missionaries at the Visitor's Center reminded me of my own service. Walking through the exhibits I heard Sisters repeat the same message I had repeated thousands of times to multitudes of visitors. Listening to the Christus narration I was pleased to discover I still can recite the words. One of the things I anticipate is the opportunity to take my children to Temple Square and tell them all about my mission. I read about other sisters I served with doing the same and I honestly can't wait for that day, because all my friends are getting tired of hearing the same stories.
Looking at the international nativity exhibit I was reminded of a Christmas twelve years ago when my mom, brother and I saw the DC temple lights for the first time with my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Nancy. Although it was so long ago it seems like yesterday. I can still hear my mom say, "Look sissy, (this is one of the more appropriate names she calls me) here is one (referring to the mangers) from (insert country). Poor Jerry was bored to tears but patiently waited for us to finish. Afterwards we had Thai food in Arlington. So much has changed since then. It will be ininteresting to witness changes future years will bring.
Here is an example of the nativities displayed in the Visitors Center. I share this one, from Austria, because I know Steph will enjoy it.
After perusing the VC, Kim and I spotted this photographer taking pictures of the lights. Thinking he would be the perfect person to snap a shot of us together we approached him with the proposition. I have been wrong about a lot of things and this was one of those things. He made us stand there for who knows how long while he tried to take the perfect photo. All the photos he took were totally unacceptable. My face looked like a female Chipmunk. Impatient with our lack of progress, I thanksd him and we headed over to the fountain for some solo photos. Kim is a great photographer, which is evident by the photo (left). Leave it to a woman to outdo a man every time. I don't know why I bother.
I snapped one of Kim, same backdrop, that I hope she posts on her blog. She looks really cute.
I was surprised that the VC wasn't more crowded last night. Kim and I had plenty of space as we stood in front of the live, outdoor nativity scene. In spite of this, a Latino woman goosed Kim in the butt. Whether it was intentional or not we'll never know. As mentioned previously, there was plenty of room around us, making the butt bump unnecessary and very suspicious.
Last year Steph and I had discussed seeing the lights together. That never happened. I got caught up in school and work was crazy for Steph. I also had a slight bought with leprosy thanks to my idiot doctor and tried to avoid seeing people even more than I normally do. I missed her last night, wishing we could share this adventure with all our friends together. Perhaps next Christmas we can.
Best wishes to all our readers for a safe, relaxing, holiday season. I sincerely hope everyone finds the blessings they seek in the new year.
Merry Christmas or Chanukah.

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Ninety-Seven Percent

In November I submitted an Exterior Conditions Assessment for my Conservation class I am taking at the University of Maryland. My professor, David Overholt, assigned the project, which consisted of selecting a building, identifying problem areas, and then suggesting conservation treatments that the owner should pursue in order to preserve the building. My choice was the School Without Walls in northwest Washington.
Constructed in 1882, the school was a standard three-story, 12 room school, characteristic of those built in the 1880s. The model was based on J. Ormond Wilson's, Superintendent of Schools, for DC, in-depth study of international and American schoolhouse design. The study resulted from the need to provide a large number of new public school buildings for Washington's post Civil War burgeoning population. The findings were given to John B. Brady the architect commissioned to draft the building plans.
Initially named the Analostan School, in remembrance of Washington's early Native American population, it was renamed the Ulysses S. Grant school in 1890.
The Grant school functioned as an elementary school for white students living in the Foggy Bottom neighborhoods. In the 1940s the school was considered outdated. In the 1970s it was given to the School Without Walls, whose mission is to provide students the opportunity to use the city as their classroom.
The School Without Walls was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Despite its listing it needs a lot of work. The bluestone stairs leading to the entrance have dimensional loss. The paint on all the wood work is failing in some way, i.e. blistering, peeling, flaking, etc. The brick needs repointing where there has been total mortar failure.
What's even more discouraging is the interior. Birds nest in classroom ceilings. Original wood flooring, located beneath classroom floors is exposed. Leaks from roof damage are creating ideal conditions for mold. It is not an environment conducive to learning at all.
The project I submitted was 47 pages long. Granted 20 of those were documented photographs but I have never spent so much time on a project in my life. I could be wrong but it took a long time. The building is huge.
Anyway, I wasn't sure if my professor would approve of my project. This was my first time doing an ECA and I was nervous. Really nervous. What if I didn't have a future in preservation after all?
Well, I am happy to report I received a ninety-seven percent on my project. I couldn't believe it. I have told just about everyone I know but wanted to blog about it anyway because its a miracle. Honestly, I have never received a grade on a paper/project that high the entire time I have been in graduate school.
Now its on to an 8-10 page paper on the Carmichael House (photo left) followed by two 20 page papers, a two hour final exam and an 8-15 page grant proposal. It will be a miracle if I survive.

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One regret I may live with for the rest of my life is telling Brenden I could not see Regina Spektor with him at the 9:30 Club because I had to attend church. Perhaps fate will provide another chance.
I LOVE this song. I can relate but why is it I never end up with a guy by the end of the song?

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I'm Not Sure If I should Feel Flattered or...

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It's Everywhere Actually

I fell in love with Love Actually almost one year ago. Steph and Rina Bean introduced the movie to me and I instantly fell in love with the perv Rock Star, the hot office mate, and Hugh Grant's dance scene, to the Pointer Sisters, no less, a childhood favorite of mine.
In addition I totally relate to Natalie whose ex told her she had tree trunks for legs and a rather large "ass." Well genius look who ended up with the Prime Minister. Wish all girls with hamhock legs and junk in their trunk could say the same.
Rae and I watched it Thanksgiving night and then Kate was playing the soundtrack tonight in her car. I knew I needed to share. Enjoy!!

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Spy Museum...More Like Lie Museum

In May of 2005 I had the privilege to meet Stephen Weil, scholar emeritus for the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Weil was giving a presentation on "Rethinking the Museum and other Meditations" a subject he devoted the last years of his life to. In his obituary The Washington Post included this quote, "The boundaries defining a museum have become very loose these days," he said. "Polemical museums can certainly be very much a part of the mix. Museums are instruments or tools to carry out particular goals. People have agendas, and a museum is one way to advance an agenda. A privately funded museum doesn't have to give equal time."
In addition to discussing the changing nature of the museum Mr Weil also categorized museums according to their function or purpose. There are basically two types of museums; one whose primary mission is the care and collection of artifacts to be used for education and the other for entertainment. Museums whose primary agenda is to entertain are often privately funded. Privately funded museums often have healthier budgets. Able to afford expensive and showy exhibits they attract more patrons than a state or locally funded history or natural science museum does. The primary goal is not education but entertainment.
The Spy Museum can safely be categorized as an entertainment museum. With a ticket fee of $15/person the Spy Museum promises stories of intrigue and spy technology information. From the moment one enters until they are herded into the museum shop, a prevailing theme is repeated, "all spies live a lie. Spies often tell small lies because they live a lie everyday."
Interviews with CIA personnel broadcast on television screens throughout the museum echoed the same message. If you don't have nerves of steel and are unable to lie you could never do this job...the job of a spy.
Perhaps this is true. I honestly don't know the first thing about the requirements or the dangers of "collecting intelligence." I do know this. There are hundreds of children who tour that museum daily. What message are they being taught, "Its ok to live a lie because the most courageous and intelligent American citizens do just that. Its ok to tell small lies because if you work for the FBI or CIA that's what you'll be doing all the time anyway. Ridiculous.
There is nothing I value more in a person, an institution, an idea, than truth. If one can not be honest with God and self what is the meaning of their lives? For what purpose do they exist? If one can not be trusted what value do their words possess?
The museum has incredible potential. Its entertaining and informative. A little too much propaganda for my liking but everyone has an agenda. Although there were stories about the consequences of spies who lied for the wrong side, they did not sufficiently express the importance of honesty and loyalty to one's country and fellow Americans. If more honesty existed among men, countries and nations the nature of collecting intelligence would change. Then, perhaps, spies wouldn't have to live lies.

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S.A.D. 2006

I promised ages ago that I would blog these photos for my Rae and Boo. So! Here they are! This dinner was a blast. My favorites:

1) Our Coke

We never leave home w/o it.

2) Melissa! I love her!

Melissa and Me!

3) Perry. Seriously. Smartest drummer in the history of the world.

Perry the Drummer

4) Bill, Alisa and lap-dancing

Bill and Alisa

5) Barefoot. But not yet pregnant.


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Double Oh My...

This weekend Rae, Kim, Kate and I enjoyed Casino Royal. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about Daniel Craig and a blonde Bond but Craig as Bond was nice. Real nice. Connery had the voice, Brosnan the looks but Craig conveys this raw sexuality that Bond, as I imagine him, would exude.
Primal, is another way to describe him. Either way, I included this photo as evidence I am not crazy and for your drooling, I mean, viewing pleasure.
Although I was thrilled with Craig, I was less than impressd with Green as Vespa Lynn, or whatever her name is. She was not convincing and lacked the sensuality a true Bond girl possess. She was too boney and her "girls" looked granny. Honestly, I can't decide which aspect of her character was more unfortunate; her eye makeup or her saggy cleavage. I imagine every woman in the theatre was thinking the same thing. If not, they will upon seeing it again.
As an aspiring Bond girl, this was very frustrating to witness. Throughout the entire movie I couldn't help but think, "If only they had discovered me first. I would be crying in the shower with Bond, or I could be making love to James on the beach." I sure as hell wouldn't have been a cry baby. Bond girls don't cry...they make others do that. Bond girls are smart, sexy, sassy, mysterious, athletic, skilled in everything (that includes hair, makeup & fashion Ms Lynn), and voluptuous. I digress.
Returning to Bond:
Not only does he have great hair and killer blue eyes, which look unreal during the car chase scene, but he looks amazing in bowties. It may be a little difficult to see in this photo but, trust me, he's wearing one behind that big gun.
My friends are always teasing me about my attraction to men in bowties and glasses. Well, this Bond wears both. See photo below.
I don't want to reveal too many plot details but I will admit this...
Torture has never looked so good and sweatpants are incredibly sexy.

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What's in a Name?

Logo There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name

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My Kid Brother

I was only a little over two years old when you were born in Ogden on Thanksgiving day. Mom and Dad still love to tell the story about your birth. Mom was so worried about the turkey she took me and the bird over to the Godfrey's house on their way to the hospital. Unlike me, you were anxious to come into this world. You had mom's blonde hair and hazel eyes. Uncle Jerry still loves to talk about your egg head. Thank goodness it didn't stay that way.
I loved you from the beginning and was glad to help mom take care of bubby. Aunt Nancy's favorite story is when I managed to get you out of your crib, when you were crying and carry you down the hall, past the bathroom door, where Mom and Aunt Nancy spotted me carrying you like a football under my arm.
Everyone bragged that we were the best children and were amazed that we got along so well. Naturally this didn't last but I still remember how close we were back then.
When Mom and Dad our relationship was the only thing that was consistent. No matter what happened nothing could change the fact that you were my brother and I was your sister. We were in it together. Life wasn't easy for us. Dad was always gone and Mom was working nights and finishing nursing school. We had babysitter after babysitter who didn't give a rat's ass what we were doing. We fought a lot. You thought I was bossy. I was trying to help you out and keep you from getting into trouble. I thought you were lazy. You thought I was uptight. Through it all we still remained close.
Then I went away to BYU and you moved to Georgia. This was the first time we were ever apart and it was just as hard on me as it was for you. Dad says you often felt like I abandoned you but if I could have, I would have taken you with me. I worried and prayed for you constantly and still do.
You changed so much in Georgia. Church was no longer an interest for you. You traded in Petula Clark for NIN and other music I don't care for. You rebeled and worried Dad constantly. When you graduated from high school we all felt we'd witnessed a miracle.
After graduation and a slew of bad relationships, nice to know even you have them, you met Lauren. Although she didn't seem like your type, i.e. long, blonde hair, model-thin, younger, etc. she was good for you. It has been interesting watching your relationship with her grow. Seeing my influence on you decrease as hers increases.
Although we often tease you are the most selfish member of our family, I have watched in awe as you have offered Lauren selfless love. The transformation love can have on a person is incredible. Over the last four years, I have often felt our relationship change. Now you confide in Lauren. Instead of sharing things with me, she often speaks to me on your behalf. I love Lauren and its fun to have a sister I just don't want to loose my brother in the change.
Since your diagnoses we have often worried the implications it would have on your relationship and your future. It has been such a blessing seeing Lauren remain by your side through it all, i.e. the surgery and recovery. I have no doubt she will stay by you no matter what happens. I know she loves you and that makes me love her even more.
Saturday morning you called me with some exciting news. The night before you asked Lauren to be your wife. Being the typical man you are, I had to get the engagement details from your fiancee. I was so proud, and a little envious, when she told me you took her to a restaraunt in a historic home for dinner. Because she requested a private proposal you waited until the two of you were alone before you asked. Lauren said you were nervous. I think that's cute. I know she's happy and I hope you are too.
You fiancee asked me to be a bridesmaid at your wedding. I am not sure how I feel about that. I would prefer to be your best man, because I feel like I know you better than anyone but I'm sure that would embarrass you so I'll be a bridesmaid.
Lauren says the date is August 4. 2007. Did you know that is the same day I went into the MTC? I told Lauren but I don't think she really understood. Its ok. It just seems that every significant even in my life happens on the 4th or 24th of the month. Your wedding is one of the most important things that will ever happen and I am so excited you chose that date.
I am also glad you are getting married in Berea. I know how much that means to Dad and honestly I can't wait to eat spoon bread at your reception. You know me, I always get excited about the food. Anyway, its exactly the wedding I would choose for myself if I weren't getting married in the temple. That is, if I get married. :)
I love you Joshie. I am so glad we've made it this far. I hope no matter what happens in this life, you will always think of me as your sister and friend. I wish you peace and happiness as you embark on this new phase in your life. Please remember sissy will always be there when you need her.

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So Long Jack

I've never been a huge fan of westerns but I love Billy Crystal's 1990's spoof on the genre. From Norman, the calf, to Curly, the hardass cowboy, City Slickers is a classic. Incidently Palance won an Oscar for his role as Curly.
This afternoon CNN posted Jack had moseyed on to that big ranch in the sky. Although I am not familiar with a lot of his movies, I am going to miss ol' Jack. In my opinion Tinsel Town could use more actors of his calibar and character.
Witnessing the celebrities our parents grew up with pass away is a sad reminder, by extension, they are getting older too. Soon, our generation will be where our parents are now and so on and so forth.
So...so long Jack. Thanks for the memories and the laughs. As long as I'm watching City Slickers you will not be forgotten.

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The Adventures Continue

Friday night, as Kim and I were helping Steph load her car, I had a brief conversation with Steph's dad about blessings. Brother Harbour is constantly teasing me about speaking in church, something I have not done since I moved from Georgia. I declined the invitation to speak with a promise I would do it in January. He smiled and agreed that would be fine.
The subject of our conversation, however, is something that I ponder quiet a bit. Although I gripe a lot about the sad state of the world and its injustice I know I have so much to be grateful for.
My first Thanksgiving as a missionary, Sister Winwood (the mission president's wife) taught, "Gratitude is a mark of greatness." I have always tried to remember that.
One of the greatest blessings I've enjoyed since moving to DC is Steph's friendship. She often jokes our friendship was born in a bathroom, and so it was. I can still remember that first December day we spent together. She offered me a ride to Langley and picked me up at West Falls Church. A trend that would continue for thirteen months of our friendship. Although she told me she would arrive in a suburban I was surprised when she came barreling through the lanes of the Kiss and Ride. As I opened the door I kept thinking to myself, "Dear Lord, what have I done and what kind of people live here?" On the flip-side she probably thought I was a weirdo in my Garbo black hat and my bathroom stage fright.
Steph put me at ease almost immediately. She struck me as one of the most "real" people I had ever met and that appealed to me.
In the twenty-two months we've been friends we've endured so much together. Failed relationships, triumphs, disappointments, three moves, loss of friends, disagreements and so much more. She is my Ya Ya sister to the end.
We both kid that we were broken when we met and that's true. Looking back I can't believe how far we've both come. I could have never made it through five semesters without you. You kept me sane and helped me trust when I felt like all was lost.
I often tell you I have never had a friend like you. One who calls me just because she feels like it and not because she has a reason. It wasn't until I met you that I was able to do the same and, at times, I still struggle with that.
You showed me what it means to be fearless. You make a decision about love and you go for it, trusting and risking all. Although I could never do that, I stand in awe each time you do.
I have learned so much about relationships and myself because of our friendship and know I will learn so much more in the years to come. Thanks for all you've shared with me.
The photo above was taken during our last adventure together, (sorry Steph, but a trip to Wal-Mart does not an adventure make). We decided to travel up to Skyline Drive to see all the pretty fall leaves. Taking Rae, Kim and Hugh with us we all piled into Kim's suv for the trip.
Rae took this photo as we were posing for another. Good job Rae Rae.
I decided to use this photo of us because, let's face it, my hair looks amazing (thank you Manuel) and it is one of the few photos Steph and I have taken together that has actually turned out. We are horrible at self-portraits despite all our practice and we still have not managed to take one we both like. However, this photo will do until we have another adventure and can try again.
Although she is en route to Montana and I am in DC the Adventures of Bond Girl and Iron Bladder will never end. In fact, it's only the beginning.

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The Perfect Man for Me

Last night before Stephanie's farewell party, I decided to check my mail for the first time this week. Since moving to Halstead I check my mail once or twice a week. I have two reasons for doing so. 1: I usually do not receive letters from friends or family and 2. It takes me over ten minutes to get to my mailbox and back. A little inconvenient if I do say so myself.
However, last night, to my surprise I found a card from Rina Bean. She is the sweetest little sister or "blister," as Steph lovingly refers to her, anyone could have.
Inside the card was a picture of Channing Tatum. You may recognize him as the lead in Step Up and She's the Man. The card read, "Hey, Sabes- I found your man. :) Unfold the magazine article and look for the highlighted part. I found it one night at work. :) Love Sarina"
The magazine article had a short interview transcription beside Tatum's photo. After reading the series of questions and answers I finally reached the highlighted portion of the interview.
In purple it read, "Case in point: Your favorite movie is The Goonies." Channing's response, "I can recite every line. "Down here, it's our time!"
What can I say? Great minds think alike. Wish I could add great bodies think alike also but I don't think it would be appropriate. For those interested in seeing more of Channing's gorgeous body I suggest a google image search. There is one of him standing in a pond with nothing but a hat and boots on. It's pretty incredible. The amount of abs shots on this guy are endless. Good to know camera film is being put to good use on a southern man (Alabama) like Tatum.
Anyway, thanks Sabes for thinking of me. I love you and think its sweet that you would even pair me with a hunk like Channing.

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Where I've been...

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

I have some random states missing from my 74% but I'm nearly to my "All 50" goal!!

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Good News

After two years at GW, I finally received my first A from Dr. Longstreth on my mid-term exam yesterday. I honestly couldn't believe it. When I asked him if that was my "real grade" he replied, "Well, I'm not being nice." I responded by patting his hand while saying, "Now I can die a happy woman. My life has been fulfilled." He just laughed and crinkled his nose in true Longstreth fashion. I'm so excited I almost can't wait to take the final. When I confided this to Camille, a first year HP student from Arkansas who is also dating a hottie architect from OK, she called me a nerd. I don't think anyone has ever referred to me as a nerd before but I kind of liked it.
In addition this morning I read this in the Washington Post Express-
Bee Keeper: A scientist has found a 100 million-year-old bee trapped in AMBER in the Hukawng Valley of northern Myanmar, making it possibly the oldest bee ever found. The ancient bee is about one-fifth the size of today's worker honeybee.
Am I the only one that sees a connection here? Amber is a preservative. It is only natural that I would embark on a career in historic preservation. Also, amber preserves bees. This explains my uncanny goal to be a future bee keeper. Man, I love it when the universe comes together and I finally "get it."

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Ode to Boo

Because if she could've tried this, she would've.

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Skyline Drive -- Belated Blog

I am blogging this WAY past the time we actually went to Skyline but I couldn't pass up posting the photos I got of us there. Kim, Rae, Hugh, Boo and I decided to try and catch some fall colors on my last weekend in town. It was the perfect day. Kim is the ULTIMATE RoadTripPlanner. We had a great time and these are the proof.

Kim, Rae, Me and Boo


Bond Girl waiting for James

You can find the rest here.

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Even the Losers...

Get Lucky Sometimes, was one of my favorite Tom Petty songs while I was in high school. Beverly Hogge and I would rock out to Petty every morning on our way to school in her Mazda 626. Those were the days.
I have always been a baseball fan. My brother collected baseball cards when he was a kid and we still have shoe boxes filled with old Upper Deck or Topps baseball cards. While my dad was working Hurricane Andrew he bought Joshie the entire Florida Marlins Upper Deck collector's edition cards. My mom hid the cards, for safe keeping, before my brother could even bat an eye. I think she is still the only person who knows where they are to this day.
Although the Braves will always be "MY" team I have to admit I enjoyed watching the World Series this year even though Atlanta did not make it. To be completely honest the St Louis Cardinals have never been a team of interest for me until recently. When my teams are not involved in a sporting event I love rooting for the underdog. This year the underdog was St Louis. With only 83 wins during the season the Cards came from the bottom to take the World Series title. The stories about the team have been "in-card-ible," as ESPN puts it.
Although Scott Rolen is a hottie, my heart belongs to the SS, Eckstein. David (I love the name David) Eckstein has been described as one who gives150%. Injured, he continued to play when most players would have quit. His diligence and positive attitude rallied the team throughout the season. His enthusiasm is evident in a quote given during an ESPN interview following Game V, Eckstein was quoted as saying, "This just goes to show you why this is the best game in the world. This just proves again that anything's possible." From one underdog to another, congratulations on getting lucky.
(http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2006/news/story?id=2641275 is just one of the many articles praising the SS)

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You Belong in London
A little old fashioned, and a little modern. A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.No wonder you and London will get along so well.
What City Do You Belong In?

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You Are An Independent Girlfriend!
Whoa, Ms. Independent! Your guy digs your modern style...But he's sometimes left to wonder if you really like him.Keep that unique spirit, but show him your love a bit more often.No worries - you're light years away from smothering him!
What Kind of Girlfriend Are You?

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You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome
Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand
And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?

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Walter Reed

Some of you know that I attended a BBQ on Saturday at Walter Reed for the injured troops. It was a low-key affair but provided everything I would have wanted to see. There were food, tunes, folks and fun. Awesome Kasey organized some kick-butt donations for the guys directly and they seemed well received. Today Erin got a call that said we were welcome back any time and that the guys had a great time. It was then that I got excited.

I got the impresson that the type of activity we were throwing was foriegn to for the participants. We were just there to grill and hang. Hear stories, get to know them and spend an afternoon saying, "Thank you."

There were times I wanted to say it while I was there but I couldn't because I was afraid of the violence of my emotions.

Some of you may know that I had a Grandfather who was wounded in Korea and another who was lucky in Argentina. I loved both my Grandpa's beyond what I can express here. Each of them died some time ago but I still miss them and in these men, I saw them. In the missing legs topped by smiles. The awesome attitude surrounding me in the midst of some of the greatest prices I've ever seen paid. I saw their wifes, some of their children and I couldn't help but hope that I was repaying kindness bestowed to my family.

Each time I glimpsed that, I wanted to just hug the person I was looking at and cry my thanks. To tell them that I do vote. That I try to remember every time I speak ill of an elected official openly--they are the force that makes me safe.

I was sitting at a patio table in Seattle with my boyfriend over Labor Day. Some protesters set up on the corner just behind us and, as usual, Bas engaged the protestors in conversation. When that happens, I just sit back and learn. he said to the protester, "Do you realize what an awesome country this is? That you can be here without fear?!"

Those are the things that I hear in my head when I look at the side of a face--smooth where an ear should have been. I couldn't say "Thanks" but I could show it. I shopped, cooked and helped. I hope they knew.

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A new obsession

A Brawny commercial came on last night. I mention this only because it advertised my new favorite show. The Brawny Academy. Where they teach men how to be "real men."

Need an example? Curious beyond your wildest imagniation?

Don't say I never gave you anything.

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All good things must come to an end.

Even Project Runway. This season was awesome! I loved Jeffery all along and he's not disappointed me!

Last night Boo and I sat down to the final hour of our season together. It's become habit to spend Wednesday night together and I'm going to miss those nights! Amber loves fashion like I love cooking so last night was our ultimate Bravo! night--Top Chef began for a second season! And wow. Howard. Smokin' hot!

But I digress. For those of you who didn't watch PR, Jeffery won my love in a episode where the Moms of the contestants were invited as models. He was made to look a villian for "making his model" cry (this was the mother of Angela--whom he appeared to dislike.) Shortly thereafter, Jeff's Mom sits down with Angela's Mom and his story came out. He's a recovering addict who nearly killed himself. And now he has a thriving business and he's turning his life around. It was love for me, right then!

Of course, he added to my love with the quacking.

And finally, Tim Gunn--Boo's favorite part of the show. I must admit we were flabbergasted that the words used herein were considered "$3 words" but! that's American public education for you!

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On this Friday the 13th...

I present this...

to remind us of the following:

1) TGTC (Thank God Things Change!!!!)
3) How could we ever have thought that was cool?!
4) I am eternally glad the 80's are over but! I love seeing Boo in the get-up!

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Pandy Bear Cub

My former co-worker, Jacqueline, often remarks that her mother would like to move to Montana because there are more horses than people there. I am not sure if this is true, perhaps Steph could set the record straight, but it sounds like a good place to me. Actually, I have been to Montana several times, the last being with Stephanie, and it really is a wonderful state. I was proud to discover there is a Kidd, Montana but beware it doesn't have any services to offer, i.e. gas stations. One freezing November evening my roommate, myself and a hottie named Rob almost were stranded in Kidd, Montana. It was pretty scary.
Jacqueline's mother is not the only who prefers the company of animals to humans. My mother is the same way. She is almost a total recluse and only cries when she hears about animals being mistreated. She treats the family cats like they are her children. Its pretty insane. What's even more unusual is my brother is becoming the same way. He reacts almost violently to anyone who teases or upsets Chef.
What is it that endures humans to animals? Can this characteristic be traced to Adam? He obviously had a special relationship to the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, creeping things of every kind, etc. I wonder how he felt about pandas.
I saw a photo of Lun Lun's cub a few weeks ago in the Washington Post Express. Tonight while reading CNN.com I ran across this photo. Lun Lun and her cub are residents of Zoo Atlanta. As many of you know, Atlanta is my home and seeing this photo made me proud. What the National Zoo can do we can do just as well, if not better. The cub is female after all.
As you may have concluded the cub remains nameless. Nameless babies make me think of my brother also. Joshie has three birth certificates. Two that read "Baby" Kidd and the third with his full name, Joshua Ryan Kidd. I am not sure why it took my parents so long to decide on a name. Perhaps they assumed Joshie was going to be a girl. I just discovered my mother never had an ultrasound to determine the sex of her children before birth. (Another decision my parents made that I don't understand) I know they were going to name Joshie Autumn if he were a girl. Then we would have been Amber and Autumn. Another testament of God's mercy.
My parents also had an agreement that my mother would choose the first name and my father would choose the middle name. Heck. I think the mother should be able to choose both names because the father is already giving the kid HIS last name and that is permanent for the male babies and possibly the females too. Besides, the females can always hyphenate. In fact, I think I will insist on that should I decide to reproduce with some lucky man. Sorry, I know that's a scary thought.
In my house we refer to panda bears as pandy bears. This began while I was on my mission. My mother, desperately missing her favorite person, would take the missionaries serving in Atlanta site seeing. One Monday she took the Sisters to Zoo Atlanta to see the pandas. One of them being Lun Lun. Kelly Cole, one of the sisters serving during this time, still jokes about it with our family. I think I may have mentioned this before, but our family's ability to make up new words is a sign of genius. Yeah, you know it. So, here's to the suspense of waiting for the pandy bear christening and all the pandy madness that will follow.

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Warren (not Ian) Miller

One of the greatest shows in Missoula comes when Warren Miller's new films come to town. Years ago we just to get together and watch the awesome footage. The footage above is buy guys who were jumping for Warren but it's their personal footage.

I know I'm not ever going to ski like these people but I love to watch it! It's probably my favorite fall tradition. It's going to awesome to be back in MT where I can work on my skiing, see some blue sky and some real snow!!

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One More Reason...

to love my profession. This photo was taken on the ramparts of Fort Washington.
The first fort was completed in 1809 but was destroyed in 1814 by the resident garrison. (Bunch of dummies) Less than two weeks later Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant began reconstructing the fort. Colonel Armistead would replace L'Enfant as construction supervisor a few years later completing fort deux in 1824.
During the Civil War Union troops manned the fort which overlooks the Capital. The fort was never threatened by CSA forces and stands, relatively uncompromised, as it did in the 1860s.
Today Fort Washington is managed by The National Park Service. Although the fort is undergoing extensive restoration, the park is open to the public. Deer roam the grounds freely as couples walk their dogs in one of Washington's best known secrets. The photo above is a testament of its beauty.
Professor Overholt, my UMD professor, scheduled a field trip to the fort several weeks ago. (Thanks again Erin for the ride!) The purpose of our class was to examine the brickwork on the arch, ramparts and other buildings under reconstruction at the fort. Man's (meaning men and women) capabilites and achievements never cease to amaze me. Fort Washington, in my opinion, is an engineering miracle and worthy of a visit for those interested. Even if you're not interested in brickwork and bonding patterns who could miss a sunset like this?

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White and Nerdy

My new favorite song for laughs

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Anchors Away!

Last Saturday my American Studies 280.10 class met in Annapolis to study colonial brickwork. This was my first visit to Maryland's capital, so needless to say, I was excited.
Rising at 6am to meet Eric and Joey at 9 was not my idea of fun but it totally paid off. One hour later as we entered the Maryland State House we encountered a tour group of cadets from the Naval Academy. Immediately Joey and I grab our mirrors and apply lipstick. Lipstick makes everyone look better, right? I think my professor noticed because he desparately tried to steer clear of the cadets for the remainder of the morning.
As you can see, Orlando was not entirely successful. Ladies, meet Edwards, Class of 2009. Yep, you guessed it. He's 19 years young, if not younger. However, the way some of those cadets look at you, you would never know they were 19.
For instance. As we were waiting patiently for the cadet tour to leave the old Senate Chamber so we could review its architectural elements the cadets began to file in the room we were waiting. This forced us to line up and exit past the very men we were trying to avoid. Anyway, the oldest cadet, I am assuming he was the oldest because he was giving the tour which made him even hotter, gave me this look as I passed. Now, you see what I'm wearing. I looked horrible. However, this kid had the most intense look on his face. It was so sexy, I can't even describe it. Let's just say, I, a woman ten years his senior, blushed and grinned in a way I haven't in a long time. He wasn't the only one that made me blush. At the end of the group was the cutest cadet of them all. French blonde (meaning he had blonde hair and brown eyes), tall, slightly tan with the cutest smile ever. When he smiled at me I nearly fell over. I felt so pathetic. What is wrong with me? I think it must be the uniforms. There is no other explanation for it.
At the end of the day we retired to Orlando's porch which overlooks this amazing garden to the rear of the home. The porch, we learned has a reputation in Annapolis, because 43 cadets have proposed to their girlfriends on the very steps where we sat. (Future husband take note) Professor Ridout even has a painting, done by the previous owner of the home, a Naval officer, of a sailor proposing to his girlfriend on that porch. So romantic. Did I mention I love men in uniform? Oh yeah, and my dad was in the Navy?
Promising Beth, another student in the class, I would not take photos of the cadets I waited all day to get sneak a shot. Just before leaving Annapolis, Joey, Eric and I ran into Edwards, Class 2009. He wasn't the cutest cadet I encountered but he was nice enough. Eric thinks he has a nice smile and Joey thinks he has perfect teeth. He seemed annoyed that I requested a photo. No matter. I got what I wanted. The day was wonderful and I am totally in love with Annapolis. There are so many things I still want to do there that I can't wait to return.
Anchors Away, My Boys, Anchors Away!

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My Redneck Name Y'ALL

Your Hillbilly Name Is...
Penny Sue Hill

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To my BestBoo-dFriend

I felt like doing this on the blog. Don't know why. Perhaps I just want humanity to have a record of how much I love you. :) Or I just want it in our blog. That way you'll never lose it!

Tonight I'm listening to my music, cleaning my room and thinking about what comes next. Whatever it is, it means change. Mostly in our location and physical distance from each other. That's a hard thing for me to consider because I love having you in my life.

We met when I was a broken, mess of a person and you loved me anyway. Thank you. You're my perfect foil. Who knew a bathroom fan could start all this?

I want you to know that no matter where I go in the world and my life, I'll carry you and the mark of this friendship with me. It may sound like an 'ending' but I don't think it is. I think that I've changed for the better by knowing you. You're so strong, beautiful and smart. And I think we'll be friends the rest of our lives.

I just want you to know that I don't ever take you for granted, even when it seems like I do. :) I know that friendship, like marriage, is a daily committment and we have to fight to keep it on track and good. (even if they are easy fights.)

I don't think I would have gotten through Aly, my birthday, Rina leaving or this relationship w/ B. w/o you. You're the cornerstone of my sanity. And even bearing that weight, you've managed to move forward in your own education and edification. And you're still sane! That's freakin' amazing! And it shows that you keep it real.

I thought, the other day, about the poem I gave to Aly. My mind wandered and I wondered what poems I would have for differnt people. For you, I knew instantly. So here, my love, is your poem. I hope you believe it because I do.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suite a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the readh of my arms
The spand of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman.

Phenomenal woman, that's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

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No Wonder She's Smiling

Every morning during my 25 minute commute I read the Washington Post Express. This morning I found an article of interest and thought I would share the contents with you.
I have looked at pictures of the Mona Lisa many times. I have even seen her in the Louvre. However, I never noticed the hint of shawl she is wearing around her shoulders. One reason this detail may have escaped me and countless others is I did not realize it had a meaning or was of import.
This morning's article stated the mesh-like white shawl, which you can barely see a trace of, is an indication the woman was expecting a child. Leonardo's model, the Mona Lisa, was pregnant. For fellow Da Vinci Code fans, this makes perfect sense and is very exciting.
Now that I examine the photo more closely, notice how her hands are positioned. They are resting on her stomach. My pregnant girlfriends often place their hands on their tummys in like manner. So exciting!
Another exciting event relating to pregnancy is --I finally felt a baby kick inside its mother's tummy. I am 28 years old and the first time I have ever felt a baby move was Wednesday morning. It was the coolest experience ever and it totally made my otherwise not so great day; that and Project Runway.
Listening to Leslie talk about her labor strategy I felt total awe. Pregnant women are the most courageous people I know. Honestly, I can't imagine ever going through labor. Its not that I don't want to have children. I do. Its just a little scary thinking about a seven, eight, nine, ten, etc., etc., pound, did you read pound (?), baby come out of you. Agh! But, if other women can do it so can I. Thank goodness I can enjoy others children until my time. :)
While I am on the subject of babies I want to congratulate my former mission companion Sister Youngs who is now expecting her second baby. She sent me a copy of the ultrasound, which I will not post here, you can thank me later, which shows they are having a male child. Chris, Alisha's husband, is very excited because the doctor said their son is "like a horse." Yeah.
Then there is Lisa, a former roommate from BYU, who recently discovered her bun in the oven. Congratulations Lisa! You are living proof that Heavenly Father does answer prayers.
So while everyone else is out there having fun making babies I am still a single student who has nothing new to share on the Temple Square Mission website but continues to enjoy hearing that everyone who served before and after her is getting married or having children. Here's to graduate school and the hope that someday this Mona Lisa will have a reason to smile.

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My next big adventure!

So! As some of you know I'm dating a fantastic guy who is divorced and has two children. Recently I've taken to reading "self-help" books about parenting in blended families. You shouldn't mistake this for an engagement announcement. It's not. But in StephanieLand you prepare for possibilities. Even the slim ones. Mostly the fat ones, though, because those are favored in my land.

I'm off track. Returning to the topic of StepMotherHood. As I started to think about embarking on this journey I had a wonderful picture in my head. I would saunter in on the arm of the man I love. I would pat him on the shoulder, walk to his ex-wife and we would have an amazing, civilized, compassionate discussion about rearing the children together. This encounter would eventually breed harmony in both homes and we would work as a great big, loving team to produce stellar, intelligent WunderKids.

My book says I'm nuts. Oh. And all the rest of the research I'm reading agrees.

Basically it tells me that StepMotherHood is going to be a long, long, long, long process of patience, kindness and calm in the face of horrible brattiness. And if anything else happens, I'm damn lucky.

Honestly? It's not the most encouraging picture of my future I can think of. But! I refuse to be daunted by something as trivial as reality.

Here's what I want to know, our four readers--1) are you the product of a blended family? 2) What was the biggest mistake your StepParent made? 3) What was the best decision your StepParent made?

Anyone? Anyone? I don't really mind who comments on this. I just want to see if people will be willing to share so that I garner s'more tips.

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Never Met a Pumpkin I Didn't Like...

until now. I HATE organic pumpkin butter. It is disgusting. It doesn't get any better either when you put it on bread with peanut butter, like preserves, its still disgusting.
This is really disappointing and blows my former proclamation ("I love anything pumpkin") out of the water, because now, I don't.
Where this love of pumpkin originates I have no idea BUT I can tell you when it began; while I was a student at BYU. Great Harvest makes this pumpkin chocolate chip bread that's to die for. Anyway, every fall I would buy a loaf and eat one piece of bread with hot chocolate every evening before going to bed. It was my comfort food and is one explanation behind my current killer figure.
THEN I discovered pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were equally delicious and easier to buy replacing the Great Harvest bread.
LATER store-bought pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were abandoned for homemade, yes I do bake, Lehi Roller Mills cookie mix. These are my all time favorites. My fingers are itching to place my Fall 2006 order but I'm trying to exercise self-control. Too much of a good thing is not always good.
Pumpkin bread and cookies is just the tip of the iceberg folks. My pumpkin love extends to soups, seeds, pie, cheesecake, etc. For instance, the best pumpkin soup I have ever enjoyed is on the menu at an Italian restaraunt at Federal Triangle. Can't remember the name but its absolutely divine.
I even have a nickname relating to pumpkin. My mother is the only one who is EVER allowed or EVER WILL BE ALLOWED to utter the name. Its pumpkin doo-doo. Yep, MY mother calls me pumpkin doo-doo and that's on a good day. For years I have been trying to imagine what pumpkin doo-doo would look like but I think the answer is a mystery I will never solve. I have theories but I will spare you.
So with the advent of fall and October quickly approaching I thought my recent experience with pumpkin butter would be a good way to usher in the season. If anyone is interested in taking a jar off my hands, it's yours.

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President Hinckley & Relief Society

Since returning from my mission I have served in a variety of church callings. The calling I cherish more than any other was my position as an instructor in Relief Society (RS). Through this calling I was able to develop friendships with other women I believe will be eternal. I felt loved and nurtured in a way I don't in my current RS. Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy RS but somehow the atmosphere is different or maybe I'm different.

Last night I was able to attend the annual General RS broadcast at the Stake Center. Prior to the broadcast Brother and Sister Proctor shared a photo presentation on President Hinckley, (pictured in the photo left).

People often fault me for having a bad attitude about men and rightly so. However, there are a few men in this world I consider to be worthy of respect and admiration. My dad, is obviously one, President Hinckley and members of the church presidency are others.

Behind every good man is an equally exceptional woman. The Proctors also showed photos of Marjorie Hinckley, the prophet's wife, last night. Seeing this couple together, who have since been separated by death, was a poignant reminder of how powerful romantic love can be. Although I never had the privilege of seeing the prophet while serving on Temple Square, I did see his wife. We have a tradition on Temple Square for departing Sisters. The last evening as a missionary, Sisters are treated to what we refer to as "the last supper." For my MTC group this was a catered dinner, in a private conference room of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB). One of my fondest memories of the evening was the view. I have a thing for views. The conference room was surrounded by large glass windows, enabling one to see the Salt Lake Valley for miles. Seated at the table my view was of the Hinckley's apartment. Always trying to get a view of the prophet I looked for signs of activity through their apartment windows. Half-way through dinner I looked up and saw Marjorie Hinckley washing dishes. I have never forgotten that experience and continue to cherish it.

I'm not sure why but last night as I saw photo after photo of the prophet I was so touched. It has been some time since I've felt my heart soften. Since last night, I have tried to blame it on PMS or my sinus infection (I often become more emotional when I am PMSing or under the weather) but I think it was more than that. In fact, every time I see President Hinckley I feel peace. This is one reason I enjoy listening to him speak or learning about his life. Through his example he quietly inspires me to become a better person. I believe this is one of the many reasons people travel long distances or give up Saturday evening activities to see him. The Lord says, "By their fruits ye shall know them," and President Hinckley yields "good fruit." In forty weeks, under his leadership the Temple Department of the Church designed and constructed fifty temples. This is remarkable considering the time period it took to construct the first fifty. This is only one of his many accomplishments.

Following the presentation the Sisters were invited to enjoy refreshments (most Mormons love to eat) and mingle prior to the broadcast. During the fifteen minutes we had to grab food and our food storage bags, yes they handed out paper sacks filled with wheat, I was able to see and speak to Sisters I had not seen in a long time. One of these Sisters was pregnant. She is due in five weeks and is expected to have a baby girl. It was so nice to be among so many women who share beliefs similar to my own. Since moving to this area I have not felt like this was my home. Last night, however, I finally felt like I belong here; like I have roots here.

The theme of the broacast was entitled, "Encircled in the Arms of His love," taken from a passage in 2 Nephi (Book of Mormon). As each member of the RS Presidency spoke I felt an increase of love for the Lord and my fellow Sisters. I was reminded how much I truly appreciate this program and the way it continues to bless me with good friends.

The broadcast's concluding speaker was President Hinckley. It was the perfect conclusion to the evening. His comments to the women of the church were tender and inspiring as they always are. I am so thankful there are some men out there who truly comprehend the importance of women and their contribution to society. I wish more women, inside and outside, the Church were treated with the respect and appreciation they deserve. I hope I can meet a man one day who admires and respects me like President Hinckley loved and cherished his wife. At 95, the prophet continues to bless the lives of members throughout the world. Is it any wonder we sing, "We Thank the Oh God for a Prophet."

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Just in case you were wondering Rae:
Red Anne Rackham

"Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!"
Actually my real surname is even cooler; KIDD.
Capt'n William Kidd was a famous pirate in the 17th century. Don't believe me? This site is one of many you will find on Google http://www.piratesinfo.com/biography/biography.php?article_id=36.
This may explain my defensive nature. Eh?
Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd was on the USS Arizona December 7, 1941 when it was attacked by Japanese war planes.
My dad, Donny Lee Kidd was a sailor on the USS Independence during the Vietnam War.
And this Kidd, prefers to sail the seas peacefully; preferably with a boating instructor named George.

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Dirty Old Bear

Most mothers decorate their baby girls rooms in pastels. However, my mother chose bright colors, particularly red, blue, and yellow to decorate my nursery. My theory is she was holding out for a male child. She wanted to give my dad a son so badly she endured labor again so she could. My father was so excited my mom was having an "heir" he bought her a Gunnysak dress, which we still have and I wear 26 years later.
To compliment the bright colored sheets, baby blankets and clown wall hanging (I HATE CLOWNS) my mom also gave me a Winnie the Pooh bear, which she later sold at a yard sale along with my Ronald McDonald doll. I will never forgive her for either.
To fill the Pooh void in my life, the summer before my Senior year in High School I bought current Pooh (photo left) from the Disney store for my 17th birthday. I consider this to be one of the most ingenious investments I have ever made for several reasons.
Pooh is the best listener ever! He has been through everything with me and through it all he just smiles.
There are mascara smears all over his butt a result of a decade of disappointments. He has been the most consistent and comfortable bedfellow I have ever had. In fact, when you turn Pooh upside down and sleep on his butt he makes the perfect pillow. This also explains the mascara stains on his backside.
Pooh has been just about everywhere I have been; traveling to UT, KY, GA, FL, DC you name it. If I've been Pooh has too. He doesn't even need a car seat. He can actually wear a seat belt which makes him toddler Pooh; not baby Pooh.
So why am I blogging about Pooh? Well, two weeks ago we reached a milestone in our relationship. After ten years of being with Pooh I gave him a bath. I know the thought of sleeping with something for ten years without putting it in the wash is pretty disgusting but I was really worried something bad would happen if I did. You know, maybe his stuffing would come out or maybe his hair would fall out. You never know. So I waited. TEN YEARS. No one is ever allowed to refer to me as impatient EVER again.
Anyway, as the photo depicts Pooh is looking and smelling better than ever. He did such a good job throughout the wash and dry cycles that I couldn't resist bragging about it. Instead of being Dirty Old Bear, as Christopher Robin always said, Pooh is back to being just a, "Silly Old Bear."

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Tonight While I Was Celebrating One American Tradition...

...my guy was starting his own. I'm so happy for you, sweetheart.

Hugs and Kisses.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

This summer has been the summer of baseball. I have attended baseball games more this summer than any other in my lifetime. Please don't misunderstand. I LOVE baseball. I always have.
When my brother and I were kids we would sit on the front porch for hours looking at all his baseball cards. Both of us played on little league teams, with Joshie always being the superior athlete. Josh loved Mark McGuire and the Oakland A's while I rooted for the Braves.
Although the baseball cards are packed away and Josh has abandoned sports altogether I still enjoy watching baseball live.
I'll never forget my first professional baseball game. I grew up in Kentucky so Riverfront Stadium (Cincinnati Reds) was the closest venue to see a "real" game. I don't remember who we played but I remember how excited I felt looking down on the field for the first time. No matter how old one becomes, I don't think you could ever be too old to enjoy baseball. I think its one of those experiences that makes you "feel" young. Is it any wonder Americans have adopted it as their favorite "pastime?"
Tonight Steph, Hugh, Rae, Erin and I went to the Nationals v Braves game. This makes the third time I have seen the Nats play the Braves at RFK this summer. All I can say is the Braves fans didn't go home happy. The way I look at it I win either way when these teams play against each other. As the photo above depicts we had a great time with Steph scoring seats just behind home plate in section 312.
Rae is also very crafty at getting great tickets. For example, we spent several innings, this evening, watching the game in M-51 just behind the left fielder. The two of us abandonded the predominately Braves niche to find Steph, Hugh and Erin mid-way through the game. This proved a wise decision because I was able to get a few great photos of the racing Presidents.
Although George usually wins, tonight first went to Lincoln. Congratulations Abe!
With fall just around the corner and school becomming increasingly demanding, I am not sure I will be able to attend another game this season. I would like to imagine I will be in DC next summer but who knows? This time next year I could be living in a different city cheering for a different home team. One thing that's comforting about baseball-- No matter where you are there will always be a 7th inning stretch with a crowd singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

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