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.

Enjoy!

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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.
BG

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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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Regret

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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