Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dancing Sisters

So, both of my sisters Cynthia and Sarah are INCREDIBLE dancers- both in their own unique style. And I have had the opportunity over the past month to view in person the amazing dancing capabilities of both of them.

First, Cynthia had a West Coast Swing dance competition in San Jose, just a short 20 minute drive away from where we now live in Mountain View. William and I were able to watch her perform over a two day period and had the pleasure of watching her take 3rd place overall in the novice division. Here are some photos of her dancing-

My sister Sarah is a dance education major at BYU and so dance truly is her life. And even when she goes to appreciate others dancing, she never passes up and opportunity to share her amazing talent. My mom, Sarah and I all went to see Sarah . . . . , a modern dancer. She did her own show, having only a few numbers with other people in it. She has a fluidity of motion that is incredible- Sarah said it is true "organic movement" providing the much more eloquent description than mine. At the end of the show, one of the pieces involved individuals from the audience coming up and dancing- and Sarah went up! Here are some photos of her in a spontaneous dance event- and of course she looks great!

My sisters truly are the talented ones with dance. Back in the day, and for a good portion of my life, I was a clogger, but my sisters definitely help to elevate dance to true art form level. I'm so proud of both of you!!!

Crazy Leslie

So, my best friend Leslie Layman is truly so amazing- we were freshman year roommates at BYU living in Deseret Towers, U Hall, the 2nd floor (I loved to call it 'U-2'- after my fave band . . . and I didn't have to pay extra money for it). We have been best friends ever since- BFF (Best Friend Forever) and will be forever. Anyways, back to our freshman year. My good friend that I have known my whole life- Matthew Sjoblom (you can check out the adventures of his family on his blog) was also at BYU and got to know Leslie and gave her the special nickname of "Crazy Leslie". And I must say that there are times that his characterization is true. Here is the most recent example from my FUN, FUN visit here to Utah.

Yes, that is Leslie fly fishing along with this statue in the Wells Fargo Building in Salt Lake. Check out that incredible form she has!

And here is Leslie on stage providing the sound effects to this performance of an Olympic Luge run at the comedy improvisation show entitled "Laughing Stock" at the Off Broadway Theater in SLC on Friday night. You can check out part of her amazing performance on this You Tube video. (And I apologize in advance that you can hear my laughing throughout most of it- sorry Les if it distracts the true beauty of your performance!)
video

She even received a FREE pass to return to the theater for such an incredible performance.

But, as I am now beginning to see, it is not just that Leslie herself is "Crazy", but rather it is just enhanced by the people she is with. See, what the photos don't show is that her fiance Ben Evans suggested her posing like a fly fisherman AND also was the one who kindly volunteered her at the show. Thus, it seems to me that Ben himself is also crazy and that Leslie is perfect for him because she actually has the guts to carry it out. Here is some pictorial evidence of Ben's individual craziness.
Ben's is the decorator of the pumpkin on your RIGHT- the REDHEADED step child- as he titles it. Ben's crazy in that he is pretty non-traditional in his pumpkin making. Instead of just doing triangle eyes, he put in actual pupils and other features that look very human like, rather than the typical Halloween pumpkin on his left.

Thus, I feel that Ben does have enough craziness to marry my darling Leslie and will continue to help make her life exciting and not like everyone else. This type of craziness is what I LOVE and ADORE about my Leslie and am so happy for both of them!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Google!

So, Google's birthday was actually YESTERDAY- Sept 27- and it turned 9 years old. I'm so glad that you were born Google to give my husband such a great job and to provide us with FREE gourmet food!

Yesterday on the Google homepage, they had a celebration pinata on their search page. But alas, it was one day only because today it is no longer there. But apparently- and to my great surprise- that was it for celebration. They didn't even have cake for the employees- at least to William's knowledge. Maybe they are just denying the fact that they are aging . . .

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Time Capsule

My dear friend from my freshman year and also my European travel buddy last summer, Michelle Scullin, and I got together for dinner and then chatted at my house afterwards. We looked at this book from the series entitled "The Brick Testaments" and this one is about "The Ten Commandments". Basically, this guy has created pictures out of LEGOS illustrating stories from the Bible. This book focuses on Moses in the Book of Exodus from his being placed in the basket to the ark of the covenant. It is actually quite clever and fun to look at. He has a website- check it out if interested. I found it at the San Francisco airport when I was waiting to fly to Utah in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art store they have there. What a gem of a find. I digress- while we were examining this book, I remembered something from the past . . . . THE TIME CAPSULE.

When I was in Young Women's at our church, on February 26, 1997, for one of our activity nights, we assembled our own individual time capsules. They are in the metal dry pack cans and we got to seal them up. I was supposed to open it the night before I got married- WHOOPS. That day is 4 months overdue. So, Michelle was here to witness the event. I had forgotten what I had put in there- and for a good reason. Much of it was LAME.

Here's a list of the contents.
1. Front page of the Deseret News on Feb 26, 1997- main article about people being invited to sleep in famous rooms at the White House.
2. Shopko Ads- why, I have no idea. Maybe to compare prices? The M&M bags were on sale for $2 which is still a good deal today
3. 2 toys from Wendy's Kids Meals (My friends and I used to go at least twice a week during high school to Wendy's- and the kids meal was the best because you got the mini frosty to dip your fries in). The toys themselves are pretty lame- a little pin ball maze and some "watch" (no way to tell time) but had a little scene inside.
4. An Old Navy sack- this was my favorite store at the time
5. The most recent edition of our high school newspaper- The Colt Roundup, with a headline of "Student Brodcasters Extraordinaire" of Jen Vetterman and Tya Godfrey- and nothing of real relevance in the rest of the paper.
6. Ad for the U2 Pop Mart Concert- my first one that made me a convert- that we had tickets for on May 7, 1997
7. Movie ads for Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back since they were just re-released in the theaters at that time (yes, it is pathetic but that was my first time EVER seeing them)
8. The top 10's- tv shows (1.ER and 2. Seinfeld), movies (1. Star Wars and 2. Absolute Power), Videos (1. Bambi and 2. Riverdance), and Music (1. Wannabe by Spice Girls and 2. Un-Break my Heart by Toni Braxton). Oh the classics. This was actually one of the more INTERESTING things that I included
9. Signatures of some of the girls in my class like Mindie Recksiek, Brooke Zentner, and Sara Summerhays to name a few- (just in case any of them became famous- I'm sure they are already treasuring mine :-)
10. Magazine Ads- for J Crew (I don't know why- I only have like 2 items from them ever), the latest pastel trends, Hard Candy nail polish, a kitchen, the outside of an "English" house (what it said in the article), and a red car- the ever luxurious Chevy Cavalier (very different from my silver Honda accord that I now have), photos of prom dresses, picture of Winnie the Pooh and Company (I was into them- I still have my Eeyore wallet), 3 photos of Leonardo DiCaprio (I was a bit obsessed after Titanic first came out), a photo of George Clooney, one of Chris O'Donnell (I actually got to see him at Boston College since he's an alumni), and Sean Connery. Oh- and also my horoscope (I'm a leo) and my favorite part is "There happens to be a new guy on your horizon- if you are interested. But you might have to go somewhere unusual to find him". Little did I know that "on the horizon" meant about 9 years later in Boston.
11. A 1996 penny
12. a "things to do" piece of paper- with nothing listed on it
13. red sparkly streamers/filler- to add a bit of color
14. Lists from my church class and a school class about how they would describe me- all having to be "nice". Here's my person favorite- from someone who didn't sign their name "Food is good" (I do have to agree with that!) and another is "Hope ya have a great day"- from Jason P (not quite sure who most of these people are on the list)
15. A list of my "predictions" for the future- my favorite is what I will be in the next 10 years- "College Grad (yeah!!!! I did that one) and Nobel Prize Winner". Yeah, so that one DEFINITELY did not happen- but if you aim for the moon and miss, you'll at least land among the stars :-). Oh- my other favorite is what my husband's career will be- I put "whatever". Yea! So William fulfills that!
16. A Silica Gel Packet to keep all of this great stuff preserved and fresh

BUT, here is the crowning jewel of them all- my LISTS. Yes, I loved to keep lists- I had a "Babe list" of guys who are cute but have great personalities as well (1st is Christian Bale), "Sexy Old Men" (1st and the best is Sean Connery), the "Wife Beaters" aka guys who look good in a wife beater tank top (1st Tom Cruise), and the personal favorite- the "KNOCK list" of code names we had for guys at our high school who we thought were cute. Number 1 was "WD 40" and another one of my faves was "FM 100"- but I'm definitely NOT telling you what their real names are :-)

These lists and predictions were the best part about it, as well as the top 10 lists. Other than that, the majority of the stuff in my time capsule was LAME and I was like "Why did I put that in there???????"

Hmm- what would be good to put in a time capsule now? I at least have a LONG list of what NOT to put in ;-)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

3x5

John Mayer has this song that I love called "3x5" where he notes "Today I finally overcame, trying to fit the world inside a picture frame". Well, I'm not quite to that point yet- I still try to take pictures of things, even though it can never fully capture the moment- usually you have to "see it with your own eyes" (again, John Mayer- what a poet). And these are definitely not my best work of photography- especially since they were taken from a moving car. But it did catch a fleeting moment where I saw this beautiful sunset which "brought me back to life" (thank-you John Mayer!) helping me to realize that there are beauties ALL around me- whether I am in Boston, the Bay area, or Utah. What a spectacular sunset over the mountains, which still just awe and inspire me even after so many years.
So, while I am sure that many of you wish that I didn't post these not-so-great photos and maybe have followed John Mayer's advice of not having "a camera by my side" to "see the world through both my eyes" instead of these , I am glad that I took them to remind me to see the beauty in every place I'm at. Thus, I will continue to take my photos- maybe not 3x5's, but in 4x6's.

NEVER a dull moment

WITH MELBA!!!!! So, I just spend the morning with my dear friend Melba (check out her blog!) who I knew from Boston and is now living in Provo. She fortunately was up in the area near my house and spent the afternoon with me where we had great conversation and great laughter over many things.

First, this news article that I found. It is truly BIZZARE- but you know it has to be real because it is just too weird to be made up. A guy bought a bbq smoker at an auction and when he got it home, opened it up to find a HUMAN LEG in it!!!! And the owner wants it back- he had it amputated and for "religious purposes" kept it in the smoker. Here is the story about it- the written piece is better than the video- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20982414/?GT1=10357

We had a great laugh over that one. We also went to one of my absolute favorites- Cafe Rio- for lunch. I just LOVE their veggie salad and tortilla (which I always eat first- its the best part!) with half creamy half cilantro dressing (either one is too much but it is the PERFECT combo)and it was even better with such great company. Melba is one of those friends that it doesn't matter how long it has been since you have seen them, things are just as good as they ever were. I'm lucky to have such a sweet and fun lawyer friend :-) Who will soon be a bailiff (in order to get a great clerkship).

And that wasn't the end- on the drive home we were behind this unique road work truck- see the attached seat off to the left. Here are guy sits and picks up the orange cones from along the middle of the street. It was so unique and entertaining to watch since we had never seen anything like it. Here's a question for you- would you rather be the driver or the guy in the seat?
Our hands down response it to be the driver because it is way too hazardous to be in that chair- a huge truck could come by on the other side and smack you with its side mirror! Truly a scenario that should be on Saturday Night Live. And GREAT times like this always happen with my friend Melba making the time spent with her always a true pleasure and never boring!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with Peter

I don't know how many of you have ever read the book "Tuesday's with Morrie" by Mitch Albom, but I really like the story- even more that it took place at my Brandeis University. Morrie Schwartz was in the Sociology department- my department even- and was a great mentor to Mitch in teaching him about life. My mentor at Brandeis- Peter Conrad- is even more incredible and I feel very lucky to have been able to have given him a guided tour of my home of Salt Lake City for the past 3 days. Peter Conrad is one of the top medical sociologists in the world- he is most famous for his work on "medicalization" which is the process by which life events/traits take on a medical definition and medical treatment. Most of his work has investigated ADHD and now the appearance of adult ADHD and how it became a medicalized problem. My father teaches and sees patients at the University of Utah Medical School and has heard me talk and write alot about medicalization. My dad then arranged for Peter to come and present his work at "Grand Rounds"- the physician term for a morning lecture. Peter did an excellent job- as always- being quite lively and entertaining, yet passing on the key arguments and support. He presented to a standing room only crowd and then later that day in the Sociology department and then again at a small discussion group that evening.

In his free time, I was able to show him some of the beauties of Salt Lake City, as this was his first visit- and I too was reminded of just how beautiful it is. I first took him on the tram at Snowbird up to 11000 feet for a gorgeous view of the mountains. He also very kindly took this photo of me as well.
I also was able to take him to Temple Square where we took a tour of the 21,000 seat Conference Center
View of the Salt Lake Temple- where I was married 4 months ago- from the roof gardens of the conference center

and then to the newly restored- and earthquake safe- Tabernacle. This was really neat for me because this was my first time seeing it since the renovations- and it was quite beautiful, as you can see.
And then to the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for this stunning, picturesque view of the temple

And then another view of the temple from the reflecting pool. This was actually one of the best times that I have been able to see the temple in the pool- and the photo turned out pretty goodFinally, since the weather has been so beautiful and perfect, he wanted to spend the rest of his time outdoors so we hiked up to Ensign Peak to have a stunning view of the entire valley, from the Great Salt Lake to downtown to the University of Utah. Here's the downtown view
And finally through Memorial Grove and part of City Creek Canyon. I truly enjoyed his visit- not only for hearing him speak and hearing his advice and help on my dissertation, future papers, and plans, but especially for hearing more about his life outside of academics. I have known Peter for 3 years and knew a little bit about his family and heritage, but I now know so much more and have an even greater respect and admiration for him. We also were able to discuss religion- he asked me specific questions about my faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and our basic beliefs (including our views on divorce, tattoos, godhead, diet coke) and I was able to ask him about the Jewish faith and he told me about some of the traditions that I had not known about, especially for the orthodox sect, and how much they read the Torah, separate dinner plates for meat products and milk products, and what gives Challah bread its great and unique taste (its eggs- in the batter and brushed on top).

It was so great to be able to spend so much time with him, especially since I won't be seeing him on such a regular basis anymore, given that we are on opposite coasts now, but I feel truly so lucky to have such an incredible mentor who has helped me to become a better medical sociologist and provided me with opportunities that I could have only dreamed of. Brandeis truly is an amazing place, as you can see that the legacy of mentors like Morrie Schwartz continues today.

Oakland Temple

Here are some photos of the beautiful Oakland Temple at night.

And here is the view from the temple at sunset- and the appearance of the moon- over the San Francisco bay area- "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid . . . " (Matt 4:14)

2 Stories

Here are two interesting stories that happened to me last week-

1. I babysat for the adorable 3 year old- Clara Lianne Barr. You can check her out on the cleverly titled blog- "Raising the BARR" at adamliannebarr.blogspot.com. We played outside and she really enjoys having pretend picnics. She'll pick up rocks, leaves, sticks and label them as a food item as we sit down on the sidewalk and pretend to eat. Well, she picked up a rock and said that it was "salmon"- "mmm- yummy" was her response. I was flabbergasted- I was such a picky eater up until I was in high school (or later) much to the sadness of my parents. I truly think that my taste buds were more sensitive because when I would literally gag when I ate a lot of things- particularly vegetables (I still do that with canned green beans- couldn't get over that one). Anyways, I knew that the salmon was because of her amazing mother Lianne- and when Lianne returned home, she informed me that Clara LOVES both smoked and cooked salmon. All I have to say is that Lianne is one incredible mother and that she needs to publish a book for others to follow.

2. Later that same day, William and I went to a Chinese restaurant in Mountain View- which will remain nameless. Their sweet and sour chicken was a unique hot pink color, which made it not appetizing at all to me (see- I still have some of the picky eater in me :-) I told William after that we are never going to another restaurant again without the recommendation/endorsement from a TRUSTED source because there is nothing worse than wasting calories on gross or even just ok food. I think that is a bigger tragedy than even the loss of money. ANYWAYS, the point of this story is that they were playing CHRISTMAS music nonstop- Rudolph, White Christmas. Remind you, it is still September so Christmas is 3 months away.

Random, I know, but that was my Saturday!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The AMAZING Target

So, I have always been a big fan of Target- especially now due to the generosity of many dear friends from our wedding :-) . I lived just down the street from one in Boston and not too far from one here in California. However, the Target near our place does not have a photo center. I printed off some digital photos from our wedding and I had to go to Sunnyvale (the town next door) to pick them up. What I discovered at this Target was that it is 2 stories. I had assumed that this would create a problem for shopping carts, but they came up with a solution that I have never seen before. A cart escalator. Yes- a special escalator to place your shopping cart that carries it up and down while you ride on the normal stair escalator. I was so amazed by this- and a little frightened- so I didn't use it the first time- I wimped out and took the elevators with my cart.

But, this second trip, I was ready- and with my camera to document it.
I actually had an embarrassing moment- so , I am all excited and go to push my cart in, and the escalator won't take it!!! And to make matters worse, this lady was right behind me with her cart wanting to go down. I'm struggling and another gentleman came over to try to help, but to no avail. It stopped the cart escalator. So, I embarrassingly struggle to remove my cart and fortunately, it started up again. The woman behind me then tried it and was able to get it to work- you just have to push your cart in really hard and fast so it will take. She even stayed to help me get mine on- but it made it! Here is my cart going down the escalator.
I asked my friends who live here, Lianne and Candace, if these kind of carts at Targets are "normal" and they said that they are pretty typical of stores here- that many are 2 levels and thus have these carts. Candace said that when she lived in NYC, she used them all the time at the Costco. I have just never seen anything like it before- and have finally used it, my pride only slightly damaged.

Who Knew!

So, the other evening, William and I were over at the place of a couple from our church who live in our same complex here in California. Their names are Scott and Rachel McPhie and they have such a cute 6 month old boy- Tyler. Well, they had just put him to bed when we came over and we had sat down to enjoy yummy dinner. We were at the table for about 10 minutes when Tyler just started crying. We continued on with the response that he would probably just cry himself to sleep in a minute. Well, instead of that happening, his cries got louder, to nearly hysterical, mad crying. So, his dad went in and picked him up and took him into the bathroom, still crying, and . . . . here is the amazing part . . . turned on the faucet and ran the water into the sink and IMMEDIATELY, Tyler stopped crying! It was incredible- after about 5 minutes of Scott holding him and running the water, he put him back to bed and he was asleep! It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen because it was so instantaneous- and something that I never would have thought of, despite my years of babysitting. Rachel said that she read that babies like "white noise" and that running water is a good one of them and that Tyler just loves it. So amazing just how effective it was. Who knew! Maybe if my parents had known this, they could have tried it on me . . . .

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Weddings Galore

This summer was definitely full of weddings . . . . including my own :-) But this post is completely dedicated to those of others.

It was also the wedding of my old roommate from last summer in Boston, Lyanna, to Alan. I was a part of this relationship from the beginning. I was one of the major champions for Alan- such a quality guy- and I'm happy Lyanna took my advice but even happier that they are married. Here are some photos of them at the Salt Lake Temple.


At their ring ceremony at Red Butte Gardens- so beautiful! Here is a photo of Lyanna's dad walking her through the garden to the ceremony. And then lovely Lyanna before the exchanging of rings.


They did the most interesting thing- I've never seen it done before at any other wedding. They took colored sand- white and pink- from 2 different containers and each poured it together at the same time into one. Here is the finished product.

The adorable flower girl who dropped rose petals along the path.

The beautiful bride with her friends.
Alan's fan club
Aw- aren't they just the cutest couple!
The reception- dancing and cutting the cake


The happy couples- Alan and Lyanna still live in Utah and we are in California- a long way from Boston where we originally me.
Right after that, we went to William's brother's wedding at the Salt Lake Temple. Chris and Karen- such a cute couple- and she now has the title of being the newest member of the Kunz clan. I'm just happy that I convinced William to wear my father's pink tie- doesn't he just match the wedding party perfectly.


The Kunz Men- and who is that handsome one leaning in on the end :-)

Here are some of the photos from their lovely reception up near Karen's hometown of Layton.


Of course, my husband was the out-of-control photographer. Here he is on the floor getting a shot of them.

But this is my personal favorite- him as plant head!!!


And I love cakes and am super impressed that Karen's sister made and decorated this one- and with fondant, which can be tough at times. Way to go- it is beautiful!


William is just happy that he wasn't last to get married.