Sunday, November 25, 2007

Da Vinci

William was such a trooper (as always) and came with me to see this exhibit at the Metreon in San Francisco entitled "Da Vinci: An Exhibition in Genius". It turns out that he had seen a different exhibit about Leonardo Da Vinci in Japan so it was even better that he came along. The exhibit was interesting because they took all of the notebooks of Da Vinci and actually made the inventions that he described and then told the logic behind them and if they actually worked in real life. What the exhibit didn't say was if Da Vinci had tried/made all of these inventions before or if he just wrote about them. His anatomy sketches of the human body are so detailed- it was neat to be able to see them close up. But, my favorite part was where they analyzed two of his most famous works- the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. They actually photographed the images with a special photospectra camera that identifies all of the different layers on the painting, showing where changes/alterations were made. Through the magic of computers, they were able to remove the top layer of varnish to show what the Mona Lisa actually looked like after completion by Da Vinci- the colors were much more vivid- with lighter blues and reds.
Check out the difference! Additionally, she had more of a smirk on her face, as well as eyebrows and eyelashes, to name some of the things that they found. It is so amazing to see how computers and technology are providing an even greater understanding of these pieces of art. I can't wait to see the findings from other great works of art.

Black Friday

So, my experience with Black Friday was only when I went with my cousins down in Richfield, UT when we would go to Christensen's, Kmart, and Maurices. Since those days many years ago, I really have somewhat avoided Black Friday. We would go shopping with my mom the night before Thanksgiving to miss out on all of the crowds but still get some Christmas shopping done. What I did not know is that William is a HUGE fan of Black Friday. Fortunately, he's not "hard core" and getting up at 4 am or even midnight as some stores did this year, but he loves to go out and experience the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and especially to see all of the Christmas decorations. He feels that it helps to put him in the holiday spirit.

So, this year we went in the afternoon to the Great Mall. No, that's not a nickname- the real name of the mall is "The Great Mall". It's in Milpitas and it has TONS of stores. I'm not sure how many, but its quite massive. We thought that most of the crowds would have left by then, but we still drove around for 20 minutes before we finally found a parking space. Once inside, we walked around, shocked at some of the lines that would wrap around the stores- like the Aeropostale line or the Auntie Annie's pretzel line. It truly seemed like EVERY store (at least that we went into) had a line- EXCEPT Santa Claus. Yes, there was NO LINE for Santa. Poor guy was frantically yelling "ho,ho, ho" and waving to try to get our attention. What an irony that the only place without a line was for the one bringing the presents.

We- especially William- were sadly disappointed by the LACK of Christmas decorations at this mall. They did have a store with fiber optic christmas trees- which are SO cool, but unfortunately, even this experiences was tainted by one of the store workers following and hovering over us throughout the entire store. I hate it when workers do this- its fine to ask for help just once, but if I need help, I will come and find you. So annoying. Which is sad because these were truly Christmas trees for Silicon Valley nerds like my husband.

I proudly only bought myself a pair of earrings and the rest of the gifts were for others- so it was a moderately successful day. Oh, and William got his much desired pretzel dog after much hassle. We waited in line and got to the front only to hear that it would be another 10 minutes. So we walked to another where they were out, and a third where the line was SUPER long and not moving. We finally ended up going back to the first store where they finally had the pretzel dogs. Sadly, even the Great Mall did not finish all of my shopping, but it was amusing to walk around and see the massive amounts of people.

A Day of Giving Thanks

I began my Thanksgiving morning by babysitting for 2 nine month olds while their parents all ran a 5 K. This experience made me very grateful, on two accounts. First, I was so glad that I didn't sign up for the race because I had been sick earlier in the week. Second, I was so thankful that I have not yet (and no time in the near future) have been blessed with kids. Fortunately, Tyler slept most of the 3 hours, but Leah was awake for most of it. She cried for about 20 minutes in her crib and I feel bad if they cry for too long so I played with her. She was truly fascinated by CHEERIOS. For 30 minutes they entertained her as she would grab one or two with her fist and then shove them in her mouth. It was funny because she had to be holding a couple in her other hand but would never eat those- it was just a comfort to hold them. I could see that she was getting tired but was nearing a meltdown, but thank heavens for the X-Box. I was babysitting at the friends house and they have one of those screens that changes shapes and colors while music is playing so she actually became so mesmerized by it that she fell asleep on me. She slept for 30 mins on me and then Tyler woke up so I went to go put her down and she immediately woke up and started screaming. I don't know how parents of twins do it because it is hard to try to carry both at the same time. I didn't attempt it- I would put one down and run and get the other. After having their naps, both babies were in great moods, so it was fun to play with them. Tyler is hilarious and doesn't crawl but rolls around to move- like a steamroller. He's quite fast so you have to keep an eye on him. Couldn't catch him doing it, though.

Leah has such a great laugh- it sounds like she's faking it because its like "Ha". Here she is doing it
So cute- here they are playing together. Their parents say that Leah is betrothed to Tyler
I was grateful that I had the opportunity to play with these adorable little kids and have extreme admiration for all of those mothers, for their never ending energy and patience. And what great parents are Leah's and Tyler's to have such good babies.

Then, I returned home to fix our dishes for the Thanksgiving feast. I found this recipe for sweet potatoes on Google and was quite nervous as to how it would turn out, but given that it has so much sugar, pecans, and marshmallows (oh- and a little sweet potato to go with it), it was actually a big hit! Everyone loved it- although you can only have a little more than one helping since its so rich. We also did mashed potatoes and drinks. William made this white hot chocolate, but it was a bust- mostly due to the almond extract we added at the end. At least we had one success- and lots of other drinks to compensate.

We went over to our dear friends who also live in our apartment complex- the McPhie's- for the dinner. They were in charge of the turkey and did an AWESOME job. Rachel brined the turkey (marinating it in apple juice and spices for over 24 hours) and it was SO good- the turkey was incredibly most and delicious. Here is her husband Scott carving it up-

There were 4 other couples from our ward that joined us- the Layton's (with baby Leah), the Murdock's, the King's, and the Johnson's. Everyone brought INCREDIBLE food- literally, EVERYTHING was so delicious! Here's a photo of the spread
We all sat down to eat and then we each went around the circle and said one thing that we were grateful for. Scott went first and said "eternal marriage" (probably what everyone would have said) so I did the next thing that was on my mind- health. I was sick for a while and unable to do very much and so it just made me so grateful that it was only temporary and that I have a body that can do so much. William said that he was grateful for work- that it is an eternal principle and that he now has a job that he really enjoys. This was my favorite part of the day because these are all people that I too am grateful for. They have welcomed us and extended hands of fellowship and friendship to us that has made this transition to California so great.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we waddled over to the park where a few played football or frisbee, but I could only sit and digest. William had the right idea by laying down and having a little nap.

We had a great time talking and laughing at the park- especially listening to Travis tell his story about how he chased down a guy who broke into someones car- only to have stolen Harry Potter!
And just look how cute little Leah is in her winter coat and beanie

William and I enjoying our second Thanksgiving together- the 1st of our married lives.

When then had dessert- pies and cheesecake (a delicious gingerbread one with an out-of-this world crust!) and then played MAFIA. It has been YEARS since I played this game, but it was still just as rousing and entertaining as ever. People truly get so animated and passionate about the game (I admit, a little of that might come from me) and then there are others who don't say a word- and THEY turn out to be the mafia. Good times were had by all on this day of thanksgiving.

Here are a few of the other blessings that I am truly grateful for-

- My sweet William
- My dear family
- My new family for welcoming me in
- the gospel of Jesus Christ
- temples and eternal families
- my testimony
-MY HEALTH- truly invaluable and you don't really appreciate it until your sick
- dear, dear friends who inspire me and support me from all over the country (and world)
-the scriptures and the guidance they provide
- being able to teach Sunday School with my husband
- that we have great Sunday School kids
-the warmth of California
- the eased stress of my current life
- being able to finally have time to work on my writing and research
- being ABD - just need the dissertation for my PhD!
- having the opportunity to teach my own class at Brandeis
- being able to publish with my mentor- on several occasions
- my trials, since they do teach me so much (I still am trying to be better about this one)
- traveling
-reading good books
-a comfortable apartment since I spend most of my day here
- the Internet- what a blessed invention. There is no way that I could do my phd and research from California without it
- lappy (my laptop)
- ice cream and gummies
- crying at a movie (I'm such a baby that I cry even at not supposed to be sad ones)

I really just am so grateful to the Lord for so richly blessing my life, and for giving me such great people to share it with.

Friday, November 23, 2007

1st Half Anniversay

So, on Monday William and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary. Yes, we are those lovey-dovey newlyweds that do things like that. He brought me home the most BEAUTIFUL pink roses- it was such a nice gesture that it brought tears to my eyes. He then took me out to eat up in Palo Alto at the Cheesecake Factory, one of the restaurants we like (too bad it wasn't Not Your Average Joes). The true irony of the Cheesecake Factory is that I love their cheesecake so much, but unless I just get cheesecake (and eat the brown bread), I'm too full from their food to even eat the cheesecake. William wanted food and of course we were stuffed (even though I just got the avocado egg roll appetizer - which is really good). So , we walked around pretty University Ave and stopped by the Apple store (for him) and the bookstore (for me). We then picked up a slice of cheesecake to share at home- the Dulce de Leche and it was good. I love the Vanilla Bean so much, and this was just one notch down from it- it still had the light texture that I like so much.

All in all, it was a great way to culminate 6 months of marriage, and I have to say that it has been better than I ever imagined. William is so perfect for me- continually making me laugh, listening to all my crazy stories, indulging me in all of the crazy adventures that I love to go out and have- even when he is tired, and continually putting my happiness central in his life. Marriage to him truly is better than all of my dreams combined. I love you my sweet William and am so looking forward to celebrating a lot more 6 month anniversaries together. (Ok, as time goes on, it will be ok to just do an annual celebration :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


In some form or another, nearly everyone has experienced rejection of some kind. It may be from a group of friends, a person you were romantically interested in, a club/team/organization you wanted to participate in- to name just a few. But, for those individuals who are writers, rejection can come from publishers, reviewers, and the public.

One writer who I was shocked to learn experienced rejection from publishers was L.M. Montgomery. L.M. Montgomery wrote the novel Anne of Green Gables as well as the follow-up series and dozens of other books. This novel, considered to be one of the classics, was actually rejected from 5 different publishers. Four of them returned it, as she wrote "with a cold, printed note of rejection" and the other only gave it "faint praise". Five different publishers. She was so upset that she placed the manuscript in a box and didn't look at it again for quite awhile. When she later found it, she re-read parts of it, and not changing a thing before re-submitting it to another publisher, and it was published. What an incredible story. It just goes to illustrate the subjective nature of writing and that TIMING is critical. It was rejected by 5 publishers and so she could have deemed it as worthless, but she just needed some time to recover before submitting it off again.

L.M. Montgomery wrote about this story and also the story of her career as the self-titled The Alpine Path. This autobiography is a candid retrospect of her childhood, young adult, marriage, and success after several novels. When she was first asked to write this series of autobiographical articles about her "career", she was surprised as she felt "Could my long, uphill struggle, through many quiet, uneventful years, be termed a 'career'?"

When she was a young child, she kept a poem that became the 'key-note of my every aim and ambition" throughout life and she says that it best describes her journey
Then whisper, blossom, in thy sleep
How I may upward climb
The Alpine path, so hard, so steep,
That leads to heights sublime;
How I may reach that far-off goal
Of true an honoured fame,
And write upon its shining scroll
A woman's humble name

Her struggle to get her book published and be acknowledged as a writer was a hard and steep climb and as she writes "It was not an easy ascent, but even in the struggle at its hardest there was a delight and a zest known only to those who aspire to the heights"

This account means so much to me. L.M. Montgomery is my great great aunt from my father's side and so I have always felt somewhat of a special kinship with her. But I have never related to her nor admired her as much as after reading her account. I can most definitely relate to her rejection- and it is only now, weeks after occurring, that I am able to talk about it.

I have been working on a particular research paper for over 2 years, both conducting the research, writing, revising, and writing again. It actually won an national award at a sociology graduate student paper competition earlier this year, so after having received the go-ahead of my adviser, I submitted it to a peer-reviewed journal, only to have it full on REJECTED. No "revise and re-submit", indicating it has publishable potential for the journal but a flat out rejection. And both reviewers said that the paper had "rich sociological potential" but didn't live up to it. I have had my writing critiqued for years and it has been hard, but nothing prepares you when you receive your first rejection from a peer-review journal. I was heartbroken and literally sobbed myself to sleep. I sent my trusted adviser my comments and he actually said that they were "fairly positive". I was quite shocked, for I felt they had been quite harsh, especially the first nit-picky reviewer who went through the paper line by line and pointed out "errors". This sweet mentor was able to later talk through the comments with me, and try to set me off in the right direction. Having had a little distance from the event, I re-examined the paper and the comments and have agreed with some of them, particularly by the 2nd reviewer. However, I have yet again hit a road-block for which I will need to discuss with my adviser. It was so comforting to know that this writer, whom I completely and utterly respect, had her seminal work initially thrown aside, criticized from so many. She could have given up and said that it was worthless, but instead, after some needed time, she kept going an eventually had her dream accomplished.

While this story has particular application to writers, I truly feel that it applies to nearly everyone since rejection is something so common in our lives. While it may be disappointed, alright devastating, at times, it provides us with a turning point. Are we going to give up, just because it is hard? Or are we going to continue to climb and "never give up"? This is only one story of enduring to the end, and I know that there are thousands of others out there, of individuals living every day lives, who are making successful "careers" for themselves in whatever their chosen field- writing, motherhood, friendship, managing, construction etc. While we may not know the same level of success of L.M. Montgomery, we too can feel that inner satisfaction of achieving our dreams by never giving up and continuing on, despite the hard, steep Alpine path.

Pizza and Pizookie

So when my friend Lisa came out to visit, she told me that she had just gone to Oregano's restaurant in Arizona and had PIZOOKIE- this delicious half-baked cookie with ice cream. I've had it several times there and absolutely LOVE it. So it made me start craving it. I got online and searched to see if there were any other restaurants near us that served Pizookie- and there was. It's called BJ's Restaurant and so William was kind enough to indulge me. We got one of their deep-dish pizzas and it was SO GOOD. I haven't had pizza that good in a LONG time- especially since it is a thicker crust. I just kept commenting to William how much I was loving the pizza. Then, for the much anticipated Pizookie. Unfortunately, their pizookie is not as good as Oregano's- still good though, just not incredible. So I somewhat satisfied my pizookie craving, but have now spawned their pizza craving. I'm SO glad that an incredible finding still happened. I'll just have to go back to AZ to get my pizookie fix . . . .

A Little Something for Everyone

Generally, I feel as if I am continually dragging William to different museums, and he always goes and seems to like it- or just tolerate it sometimes. However, on Saturday, we went to his kind of museum. Its called the Exploratorium up in San Francisco and it is awesome. They have all of these hands-on exhibits showing some of the cool, fun, and unusual aspects of science, and they also provide a brief explanation as to the principles guiding how it worked. I like it because its fun and you feel like you learn something (although I still will never fully understand physics and some electronic mechanics). William was in HEA-VEN. We spent 4 hours there and still didn't finish seeing everything, for which he was quite disappointed. I loved seeing how excited he got at testing out each station, sometimes explaining to me how the mechanisms work (doesn't mean I fully got it), and especially when he had epiphany's that he had never had before. I enjoyed it myself, but even more because I LOVED seeing William get this excited about a museum. Here are a few photos of us trying out some of the exhibits.

Another example of the "tools of translation" that I taught my students in my biology sections at BYU. This is definitely a more expensive model than mine made out of transparencies.

This sticker for entrance PERFECTLY explains William- always logical.
He'll do nearly anything for a drink of water when he's thirsty
Here I am being spun around in a chair while the bike wheel is spinning

We lucked out and got a SWEET parking space- right near the entrance! That never happens- so it was a sign it was going to be a great day. After getting kicked out at the museum closing, we walked around the exterior. I have been to San Francisco many times before moving here with my family, but I've never been here. I absolutely LOVED it. I totally enjoyed the museum, but I just LOVED this- it had become my new favorite place of San Francisco. It reminds me of my beloved public garden in Boston- it is so cute, romantic and beautiful. It's called the Palace of Fine Arts and it is just beautiful- and we hit it at the perfect time at twilight.

This is my personal favorite

Afterwards, we drove to Ghiradelli Square and got one of our favorite sundaes- so yummy!

Then we walked around the wharf a bit and shared clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Soooo good and savory. We did it in reverse order to ensure that we had enough room to truly enjoy our ice cream.

All in all, there was a little something for each one of us today.

Leaf Peeping

So, after having lived in New England for 5 years, I have now adopted the term "leaf peeping" into my vocabulary. What exactly is leaf peeping? It's taking time to view and see all of the beautiful fall leaves changing colors. They call it "peeping" because sometimes the leaf colors just "pop" out- or so that's what I was told.

Obviously, I'm not in New England this year, but I was still able to enjoy some quality leaf peeping in BOTH Utah and California.

Here are some of the beautiful fall leaves from my neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah. Notice that the most vibrant color that caught my eye was YELLOW.

I thought that this was so picturesque with the cute bench it it.

I love the 3 colors that appear on this one tree

And I did not stage this photo- it was in front of one of the neighbors and I'm sure their kids assembled it. It just looked so cute I couldn't resist.

And these are from the Google Campus in California. William kept telling me how gorgeous they were so I came over for lunch one day and stayed to take photos. Notice just how beautiful are the RED leaves.

My only other thoughts about leaves are that I love to walk around and kick them up, to hear the crunch under my feet. I also love to see them falling from the trees. However, continually having to rake leaves is not my favorite so I am so happy that we live in a studio apartment. I do enjoy the Mountain View Method of gathering leaves. You get one of the big backpack leaf blowers and blow all of the leaves into the street. I haven't stayed long enough to observe, but it doesn't appear to me that they pick them up. They could though, I just have yet to see it. Definitely the easy way to go when it comes to leaf raking.


I don't know how many people have seen this TV series on USA but it is HILARIOUS! Definitely my new favorite. The only problem is that we don't have cable, so I have to watch the free episodes that they have online. I wasn't feeling well the past few days, so I watched all 6 that they have online. The premise of the show is that this guy has these acute powers of observation and so he pretends that he's a psychic to help the police department solve cases. It is a riot. The main character, Shawn, is such a good actor- just cracks me up. I HIGHLY recommend it.
I LOVE mysteries. My favorite tv shows growing up were Murder, She Wrote and Matlock- both mysteries. This too is a mystery- but really funny and clever as well. I don't really like the CSI shows- they are just too gory and weird/twisted story lines for me. And I also tried to watch Monk (William thought I might like it, since he solves mysteries too), but I just find him way too annoying.

William came up with a good idea I had never thought of. There needs to be a show bringing together Jessica Fletcher and Ben Matlock where they get to solve- and defend- a case together! What a great idea! My two favorite classic mystery tv characters combining forces- it would be truly unstoppable. Adding the psych guy would be too much, since he is so funny and they are just on the serious side. So Jessica and Ben duo it will be. Now, who do I contact to get this idea happening . . . . . Unfortunately, I already met Angela Lansbury so I can't tell her this fabulous idea in person.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Puppy

Back at my parent's house in Utah, is the 4th Stults' daughter- Miss Spankie. We have had her for over 10 years but even though a little gray is starting to appear, she will always be my puppy. Some of her other nicknames from me include "Spanks","Pups", and "Wolf Cub". As you can see, with her long hair, this terrier mix resembles a wolf cub.

I truly adore this dog- she has had a hard life. After being attacked by a huge dog not on a leash, Spankie had to have a full hip replacement and so her one back leg never fully recovered (she uses it a little). Then, to make matters worse, she has fairly bad arthritis. Given this, she has gotten to be meaner in her old age. My sisters are afraid to pet her because sometimes she growls at them. BUT, she has never done this with me. I spent a good amount of time rubbing her and cuddling with her.

I think that she likes me still because she knows that I will always take her on a walk. I run in the mornings and so she will see me getting ready and follow me around until I take her. She understands the words "you ready" and will immediately head for the door. Here she is on our walk from my visit last week with all of the pretty leaves in our neighborhood.
And how can you resist this face! Yes, as my dad says, this dog is "manipulative". She truly is so smart. She will go into the laundry room where we keep the treats and bark until she gets one- it is especially bad when we do laundry. Another funny thing she does is that since she has to take medicine, my parents put the pills in some meat. There was awhile where she didn't like some of the pills so she would manage to eat just the meat and spit out the pill. It made my mom so mad. My mom calls Spankie "The Toddler" since she can be so demanding at times.

For example, my parents take her on a walk in the evenings. They used to just go to the high school, but then she would refuse to get out of the car and they would have to drive around to another school or park before she would get out. And there has been multiple times where they would get home and she would refuse to get out of the car. The trick is that they cook some meat so she can smell it . . . and then say the prayer. Yes, my dog Spankie is a religious dog. She will not eat her food unless we say a prayer. Thus, if we are going out to eat, we still have to say a prayer so that she will eat. She can be in another room but once she hears us saying the prayer, she will run in and give a little bark to let us know she's here. Hilarious. These are just a few of the reasons why my puppy cracks me up. And who couldn't love a face like this

A "Modern" Weekend

Last weekend I joined the rest of my family- minus our newest member William, who had to work- in Utah for my youngest sister Sarah's senior dance recital. This is the first and last performance that I was able to see of her during her college career, since I have been in school the rest of the time. It was so great to see her perform so incredibly- what a talented dancer she is!

We were hard core fans and attended all three performances- that's over 6 hours of dance- and a post discussion with the company. Sarah is the president of the BYU dance ensemble- a modern dance group. Here is the photo of Sarah on their bulletin board in the RB!

I have personally never been good at modern dance, so I quite admire those who can do it because it is something that is quite organic, and you have to move your body in unique ways and make it still look good. For me, modern dance is like modern art. There are some pieces that I appreciate because they are challenging the boundaries of what is "art" and doing something unique. There are other pieces that I love and feel really represents a feeling/concept/idea in a new way. Other pieces I just don't get and other pieces that I just don't like. All of these were found at Sarah's dance concerts. Fortunately, I quite enjoyed and liked the pieces Sarah was in, but some of the other ones were just painful, especially having to sit through them 3 times.

The after performance discussion was interesting, since you are able to ask the choreographers exactly what they were trying to convey in the dance. One performance had a giant image of a multi-colored woman in the back and so I asked the choreographer what she meant by it. I was so disappointed to learn that the artwork had nothing to do with inspiring the dance- she just found it the day before. I thought that was tragic because that was the only thing that helped me to make sense of the dance. Here is Sarah and some of her fellow dancers at the discussion.

There were a few dances that I did not like- especially the first one where it begins and ends with a homeless bum on a park bench. The dancers then come in and out around the bench- it was just not very well done. I also didn't like the "I am a woman" dance where the girls yell out phrases like " I have a voice" and "I'm not a barbie" and "I am a woman"- I understood what they were trying to do to empower women but I actually think that they re-enforced stereotypes of women. It just got to be fairly annoying. The worst one was a dance where they literally just ran around in circles- different directions, and not even in interesting patterns. Having to watch these three times meant that we sadly started to really mock them by the last performance.

BUT- there were several dances that I really enjoyed. My favorites included- release (a modern hip hop), the sign language dance (they used sign language throughout the dance), the "trash" dance (called "under the tundra" where the girls wore skirts of spray painted plastic trash bags and moved like penguins/autobots)- check out Sarah here in this costume and one of the poses from the dance- definitely unique!

and then here are the Stults girls having some fun with dance

And here is the fabulous Sarah and my mom enjoying a well-earned celebration dinner at Sarah's favorite restaurant- Olive Garden.
Overall, it was SO GREAT to be able to see my sweet sister give such INCREDIBLE performances! I am so proud of my little dance major and had such a great time being with my family, although we wished William could have been there because he would have had some funny comments about all of it. At least he can watch the dvd of the performance over Christmas :-) But he can luckily fast-forward through the weird ones.

Airline Security

So, upon leaving the Salt Lake Airport to return back to the Bay area, I spent some time in the line waiting to go through security. At Salt Lake, they have an actual person who walks through the line and yells things that you can and cannot have. When you listen for 10 or 15 minutes, you hear some new things as the lady gets bored. You cannot take lip gloss or mascara through the line- they have to be placed in the little zip lock bag. And take off your watches and belts- Salt Lake has one of the most advanced security systems in the nation- even if you made it through the line in Denver, you won't make it here. I actually find that somewhat disturbing- if "national security" is such a priority, why don't they have the same equipment everywhere to prevent "leaks"? But the ultimate disturbance is that the lady said that they now allow LIGHTERS through security. LIGHTERS!?! You can't take lip gloss (without putting it in the bag) but you can have a lighter. Why don't they just provide lighters in the smoking sections for those who want to? It seems to me much more hazardous to have, but then again, I'm not in the business of national security- I only wait in the line.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Not Complaining

This story truly affected me, so much so that I got emotional and shed a few tears. It is something that has caused me to be truly grateful for all that I have been blessed with.

Here is a photo of an adorable 2 year old girl from India. I love this photo of her with her family because she is just so HAPPY. There is just pure joy on her face, despite her circumstances. For what this picture doesn't show is that she has 8 limbs- 4 arms and two legs. How is this possible? It turns out that her mother was initially expecting twins and one twin died while in the womb and the arms, legs, and some organs got incorporated to her body.

There is a photo/video of what she looks like with this but I am giving a WARNING because it is something that you don't see everyday- William said it was un-nerving for him. So I give you the luxury of choosing for yourself if you would like to see the story.

Anyways, just a few days ago, she had major surgeries to remove the other 4 limbs and additional organs and to construct a pelvis. Before the surgery, she wasn't able to stand or walk, which she should hopefully be able to do in time. The hospital actually was kind enough to pay for the surgery, since there was no way this family could afford it. It just warms my heart to see this kind of kindness extended to better the life of this little girl.

I was so upset to read that a "circus" (no further info) offered to BUY the little girl from her parents. How SICK is that. They were trying to treat this girl like she is a "freak" to make themselves money. This disturbs me because despite all of the kindness in the world, there are still so much that is just wrong.

I am so glad that this little girl was born in India because there, they have a very different view of physical deformities. They actually revere this girl since she looks like one of their many legged goddesses, so she is like a mini-reincarnate of it. That makes me so happy to know that the rest of the community immediately around them was so welcoming and embracing of her- not treating her as "an outcast" or a "freak" but truly making her feel special.

Of all these things, what hits me the hardest is the look of joy and happiness just radiating from this little girl. If anyone would be "justified" in deserving self-pity and being sad and angry at their circumstances, it is this little girl. Yet, the doctors noted that she is so playful and gets along well with others. This is what has caused me to realize that there are times that I have been so ungrateful for what I have. I would criticize that there was some flab here and there and that my acne is sometimes a bother and that this would be something that would make me sad or upset by all of these "difficulties". When the reality is, I can go running 6 days a week by myself, enjoying all of the beauty and great weather in California. I have two arms that I can type with, two eyes to read, and ears to hear all of the beauty around me. I have so much to be happy and joyful about, yet sometimes too much energy goes into criticizing and demeaning what I do have. I want to be like this little girl- to embrace my circumstances and BE HAPPY with my current situation- and enjoy EVERY DAY of my life and be so grateful for the things that I can do. And to also RADIATE this kind of happiness to those around me, just like she does.

Thus, I'm going to stop my complaining and begin my rejoicing in all that God has blessed me with.

NOT a Game for One Couple

The other evening, I was in the mood to play a board game- not just any board game, but Cranium. This is such a fun game to play with a group of people because you answer all types of questions from trivia, to spelling/words, to charades/humming, and then art with claydo/drawing. I thought that it wouldn't be too different playing it with just the two of us . . . WRONG. We found out that we only two people- and of course each one of us was our own team in the spirit of true competition, you can't do the charades part nor the claydo/drawing because you need someone else to be able to guess. We could do the other two categories so we just substituted one for each of the other two (eg. if landed on charade, you take a trivia one instead).
And it is a good thing that we weren't able to play with the claydo because the claydo had turned NASTY. It somehow became all crystallized and crumbly- we'll need to replace it before playing it with anyone else. But, even with just two categories, we were still able to have a good game.

Except for the fact that I kept getting the WORD questions. These are HORRIBLE. They totally remind me of the verbal section on the GRE where they give you a word that no one has ever heard of before and ask you to choose the definition. The same is with this. But, they have other types of word questions that are just as hard. Like hangman with very few letters and a vague clue and you can't "guess" letters as you go along. Needless to say, since I kept getting this section, I was WAY behind and yes, William won.

I was quite proud though that I got a trivia question about "What artist was never famous during their lifetime?" and it was my favorite artist Van Gogh. Its so lucky that I got that question because William had no idea who it was and so it would have been a waste.

Thus, I still enjoy the game Cranium but feel that to be enjoyed to its full capacity and doing the fun charade, drawing, claydo stuff, it needs to be played with more than just 1 sole couple. Thanks William for being a good sport and humoring me on our try!

I give it a BEE +

William and I went and saw The Bee Movie made by Jerry Seinfeld and I really liked it. The story was quite clever and took a direction that I had not anticipated. The story picked up speed and humor as it went along. I quite enjoyed myself.

William thought that it was fun, but rather was a movie that he would have rather seen on video. He thought that the main character development was better in Ratatouille over Bee Movie, so that is the main rationale behind his decision. I liked Ratatouille, but I personally favored Bee Movie over it. So it might have to do with sense of humor styles. I love shows like Blades of Glory, Billy Madison, Dodge Ball, Zoolander, but William doesn't like them at all.

There you have the viewpoints of both Cheryl and William. Hopefully, this will help you to BEE more prepared to see the film

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Chocolate Sushi

So I have driven by this restaurant several times called "Chocolate Sushi" and I have been totally intrigued by it- chocolate in sushi? This I've got to try. And my friend Gerry was all about it too, and William willingly tagged along since they had other Japanese food there too. We sit down and take a look all over the menu, and to our surprise, NO CHOCOLATE SUSHI! Maybe its just on the dessert menu. I asked our waiter and he laughed and said they did not have any chocolate sushi, but they did have chocolate cake. What kind of a name is "Chocolate Sushi" if you don't have any sushi made of chocolate! The food was still good- but the best part was the sink in the bathroom. It was a giant marble slab with a moat running all along it and the water came out of the wall to fall in the middle of the slab. I've never seen anything like it, and it completely captured my attention that I made both Gerry and William go to the bathroom so that they could see it. I'm still upset about there being no chocolate sushi because I was excited to try it. So don't go to the Chocolate Sushi restaurant if you want to try chocolate sushi.

A Friendly Face from Boston!

My dear friend from Boston, Lisa, came out for a visit to San Francisco and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with her. I realized that as I was driving back to Mountain View, we never got a photo together this trip. But no worries- I have one from when we were in Boston attending the Antje Dukot concert (a fabulous local artist).

William warned me that the traffic going up to SF would be horrible, but I left at 9 am and missed all of the traffic. And I managed to pick Lisa up in Presidio and not get lost. We went to
the De Young Museum of Art in Golden Gate Park. We got in for free since I was given a year membership as a wedding gift from my friend Erin Prestwich. We talked as we walked around and saw some interesting exhibits, the coolest being a portrait of George Washington made entirely out of his face from the dollar bill. The Museum has an observation tower so here are some views of SF and the Golden Gate Park.

Here's a photo of the tower from the outside.
Lisa then requested that we go to her favorite Nordstroms in Downtown SF- and its 4 complete floors of a mall. She even said that she would pay for parking- which ended up being only $2.50! We found a parking garage nearby which was only $2.50 for the first hour, which is pretty competitive with parking meters, and much easier to find. She even showed me this adorable red jacket that I ended up buying- and fortunately it was on sale. And Lisa was so excited to get a Jamba Juice at the mall- and was kind of jealous when I told her there was one right up the street from our place in Mountain View.

All in all, it was such a fun visit to catch up with this dear friend who brought news about all of the Boston happenings. Thanks for spending part of your time with me Lis!