Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lappy is Back

I had quite the scare last week as my beloved laptop- "Lappy"- as I affectionately call him (I wish that I could take credit for this name but it actually came from Strong Bad's computer on Homestarrunner.com- BTW, if you haven't checked out his emails, you should cuz they are HILARIOUS) was having major problems. On Wed evening last week, William's birthday precisely, Lappy was not making the connection from his power cord to the laptop. I thus went into a panic because it has ALL of my research on it (not to mention music and photos) and I had not backed up recently. Fortunately, it was after William's birthday dinner but it still was a major freak out moment and it ruined the rest of the night. I was able to hold the cord in at a specific angle to just get power and William quickly burned my research files and then started on my music and photos- and only got partway through them before Lappy died. I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of relief I had knowing that at least my data was safe. I have most of the photos in various places so it would have been sad to lose some of them, but really, I was just happy to have my current files.

I took it into Radio Shack the next day as William thought that the problem might be the power cord. It turns out that it wasn't the cord but something "inside the computer" (which I later learned is called the power jack) and so I would have to take it to a different store. I Google Mapped the closest repair shop at it turned out to be right at the end of our street and it was called "Quick Fix". And let me tell you that they lived up to their name. I took in Lappy on Friday where they confirmed the diagnosis that Lappy had a loose/broken power jack. They could replace it but it might take up to a week since I have a not-so-common brand of laptop (Averatec). I was just so happy that they could fix it because I have a special coding program on my computer for my dissertation and was sad to lose it. To my complete shock and utter delight, the Quick Fix geniuses were able to fix Lappy in a few hours since its the same part as an HP!!!! And it was a relatively cheap fix if you ask me (much cheaper than a new laptop) and I had my beloved Lappy back.

And so, I am writing this entry while on Lappy and the major take-home lesson from this whole experience is to BACK UP MY DATA more frequently than I was doing so I'm glad that I just had a little warning experience and not a total disaster.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I am so excited to announce that I officially am published! I co-authored a book chapter with my advisor, Peter Conrad entitled "Medicalization and Contestation" and the book itself entitled Contesting Illness: Processes and Practices is finally in print. It is really quite exciting to see that it actually happened. You can see my name in the list of authors on the book site on Amazon.

An article of mine was published last year in the Brandies Graduate Journal entitled "Internet Addiction: Emergent Medicalization of a Behavioral Disorder". There is actually an online PDF of the journal if you are interested in reading it- my paper is the first article in the journal. Still, exciting as these are, I still need to publish my own sole authored article in a major journal. My greatest dream though is having my own book which I hope will be a reality . . . once I finish my dissertation! I hope to have my name in print even more so stay tuned

Friday, February 15, 2008

Our First Married Valentine's Day

William and I very happily celebrated our second Valentine's Day together, and our first of what will be many of us as a married couple. William had me come over to Google for lunch where I had a delicious Lobster Risotto. After work, we exchanged gifts. I got him the new Sarah Brightman CD that he didn't have yet (I found it on my "retail therapy" day) and so we were able to listen to it on the way to dinner. William loves her voice, but thinks that she looks pretty scary on this cover
I think it is more of ethereal.

William literally was a sweetheart and gave me a heart shaped box of chocolates! I was so excited because this is such a romantic icon and I had never received them before. He also gave me an itunes gift card ;-) Look how beautiful the packaging is

MMMM- Chocolates. He definitely knows the way to my heart! And a little itunes to make my heart really sing (or rock out as I like to put it).

William took me to dinner at Ristorante Portofino in Pacifica, off the Pacific Coast Highway. It was voted "Best Romantic Dinner Spot" in the Bay Area (I'm not sure by whom though) but I have to admit that it was beautiful, romantic, and a great dinner. It is out in Rockaway Beach and is located inside the local Best Western. The hotel itself has a "lighthouse"- more for show than anything- but some stunning views.
I like the way the rocks look with this cool camera effect.
Even at nightfall, it was very beautiful to watch the crashing waves. I really enjoy "water" shows like the Bellagio fountains and this coastline proved to be just as entertaining. We watched for 20 minutes as these huge waves would crash into the rocks, and some even large enough to make it onto the platform where we were standing. While we were eating, we saw a gigantic wave come and pound onto the platform and we were glad that we weren't there because that would have placed a cold damper on the evening.
And the view was still stunning from our table inside.

But, with the big windows, it was impossible to get a photo showing us clearly along with the water in the background. We did attempt both shots as our waiter was very kind to indulge us.

Adding to the romance, they had a fireplace

The food was great- they brought out warm sourdough bread to begin with, William and I shared a bowl of clam chowder and then I got one of the best sauces I have ever had. I got the gnocci with a 4 Cheese Cream Sauce which was HEA-VEN. The gnocci was ok- not the best I have ever had, but the sauce was unbelievable- it even had the gooey strings when you picked it up. I know that William was sick of me raving about it, but it was so good. For dessert, we shared their chocolate ice cream cake, which was great as well. I am generally not a fan of actual cake inside of ice cream cakes (I know, somewhat ironic) generally because it is too dense and detracts from the ice cream. But this cake very much complemented it- so much so that I didn't realize there was actual cake in it until we were almost finished. We were impressed that they even put a heart on it for Valentine's Day.

I couldn't have asked for a better evening to spend with my Valentine.

Kooza: Cirque Du Soleil

Both William and I LOVE Cirque Du Soleil. I've seen: Mystere, O, Ka, and Corteo and William has seen: Corteo, Allegria, and Varekai. But, we have never seen one together as a couple. So, as an early Valentine's gift, we went on Tuesday night to their traveling production KOOZA in San Jose.

So, what exactly does "Kooza" mean? Even after seeing it, I'm still a little fuzzy on it. But, reading the little blurb on the website did clear some things up about it. It's about a boy named "Innocent" (you don't know his name in the show)- a loner who is trying to find his place in the world. He meets all of these different characters along this journey. There's the very basic synopsis.

Here's William excited to go inside for the show

The performance was held inside this giant circus type tent and I thought that it looked so neat so you can enjoy another photo of it in all its splendor
And just in case you didn't believe it was really Cirque Du Soleil, here's a close up of the name on the tent
We actually had AMAZING seats for the performance- just a few rows back and off to the left side. It really gave a more intimate experience
And I LOVED where they housed the orchestra and was the main entrance for the performers- it kind of reminds me of something that would be in Phantom of the Opera.

The show itself was fairly unique in that it was more in a traditional "circus" style with more emphasis on the clowns and then center performances. I know that I wrote earlier about my dislike of clowns, but these ones weren't too scary. I think it is because these ones actually talked some. They did require a lot of audience participation for the skits. At the beginning, one of th clowns had a leaf blower and was messung up people's hair and he even blew out the full tub of popcorn from one of the people on the front row! That guy just looked so mad that he had lost all of his popcorn. William was just happy that the didn't do that to ours and that we were several rows back. Another clown sketch had a lady come up from the audience and "magically disappear" off stage to later reappear after one of the acts. We though it was kind of unfair that she had to miss one of the acts- hopefully, they let her watch it backstage. One man from the audience came up on stage only to be completely pick pocketed, and he was totally unaware of what went on! And finally, one woman in the audience was taken on the ride of her life when her chair just shot up and down into the air! She had the best reaction- she was just laughing and would make a few scared type noises as it happened- she was even in the middle of the theater. That must have been a shocker to have been airborne.
Speaking of popcorn, we got some and I only had a little because it was so salty, but William ate the rest and so at intermission, he was dying of thirst and of course, no drinking fountains in the tent and so we bought a soda. Its actually a great marketing ploy because they charge so much for each and they probably purposefully make the popcorn so salty that you have to buy a drink to satiate your thirst. Those business people think of everything! The drink made us laugh because as we looked down at our cup, we saw this

Wait- I thought that we were here seeing Kooza. Wasn't Varekai that the LAST show that was on tour??? I guess hat they had a lot of cups left over and so they just decided to be "green" and not let them go to waste. (And save them a few greenbacks as well).

The tricks themselves were incredible, as always. Individuals rolled around on top of giant plastic balls and even added additional people on their shoulders while riding them. A few of the "not as cool" ones was a guy who stacked up about 13 chairs high and did handstands on top of them. It just seemed little too easy as the chairs all fit perfectly. Some of the cooler ones were: the caged hamster like balls that rotated around and 2 guys pushed them and jumped around on top of them (I actually liked the version they have in KA better), the Gumby girls- these 3 girls who are insanely flexible and it is slightly disturbing, yet fascinating at how they move their bodies (probably less disturbing since there is choreography), a guy and girl doing lift and dance moves while he is on a unicycle, 4 trapeze artists who 2 rode bikes while another guy sat on a chair balanced on a rod between them, and my personal favorites- people who were on stilts who would be catapulted while still on the stilts, flip around, and then land ON THEIR STILTS on a soft mat! It was unbelievable! One of the tricks didn't work (they tried it twice) was a guy standing on another guy's shoulder and then a third guy was catapulted up to land on top of them after spinning 3 times in the air. I just think that the angular momentum of the spinning guy is too much to suddenly stop and land perfectly on another guy's shoulders. We enjoyed the show- it wasn't nearly as "odd" or "bizarre" as some of the other performances we have seen. And we are looking forward to the next 2 performances we will see next week!

No more S.A.D. Days: My First Valentine

Having been single for a quarter century, I really did not like Valentines Day- or SINGLE AWARENESS DAY (S.A.D.) as I used to call it. I never was dating anyone and so most days were spent commiserating with some of my other single friends :-)

BUT, last year in 2007 was the first time that I actually had a VALENTINE and enjoyed the day! And what made it even better was that I was already engaged to William at the time. William was so cute and took me to the Omni Parker House for dinner. I had lived in Boston for 5 years, yet had not made it to this cultural icon. This restaurant is where Boston Creme Pie originated, as well as Parker House Rolls. However, the weather was not so sweet to us. There had been a terrible snow storm earlier in the day and then was sleeting rain when we went to dinner- but, we very crazily went anyways since we had "reservations". Unfortunately, I thought that parking would be crazy that night so we parked on the other side of the Common and the Omni Parker House was on the other side. I never realized just how big the Commons are until that night when we had to dash across them in the freezing rain, only to find out there were closer parking spots. I felt SO BAD (I'm still apologizing to William for it and it is our little joke now) The rain scared off a few people and so the restaurant was not packed like it should have been, which was nice because we could take our time. I got clam chowder as an appetizer, along with 2 baskets of rolls (William is so funny- he said that these rolls tasted just like his mother's and I laughed and told him that she probably got the recipe but this is where it started. I then got the Boston Scrod, a house specialty, and the Boston Creme Pie as I wanted the night to be in honor of the Boston classics. In general, I am not a fan of Boston Creme Pie because the custard is gross, but I LOVED this one. It was light creamy, and delicious. With the exception of the HORRIBLE weather, the night was perfect and so romantic.

Dinner alone would have been sufficient, but Sweet William outdid himself and got me some Godiva chocolates in beautiful packaging.

And if you thought that the packaging was beautiful, the chocolates were even more gorgeous- and they tasted just as divine!
I LOVED having a sweetheart on my first Valentines last year! And I never have to be S.A.D. again!

History of Valentine's Day

The History Channel has a LOVER-LY website about the history of Valentine's Day. Additionally on the site, the greatest romances, movies, and some love letters are also there to feast upon.

One of my FAVORITE love poets of all time is Pablo Neruda. I first encountered his works in a Latin American Literature class I took at BYU for my Spanish minor. I LOVED this class, especially the poems of Pablo Neruda. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poems and he is the poet featured in the movie "Il Postino" (The Postman) which I highly recommend. His poems are still beautiful in the English translation, but they are even more stunning in Spanish due to the lyricism and tempo of the words. My favorite grouping of poems is called "Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada" (20 Poems of Love and a Song of Despair). And here is the one that I find most fitting of an expression of my love for my husband this Valentine's Day.

And because Love battles

And because love battles
not only in its burning agricultures
but also in the mouth of men and women,
I will finish off by taking the path away
to those who between my chest and your fragrance
want to interpose their obscure plant.

About me, nothing worse
they will tell you, my love,
than what I told you.

I lived in the prairies
before I got to know you
and I did not wait love but I was
laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose.

What more can they tell you?
I am neither good nor bad but a man,
and they will then associate the danger
of my life, which you know
and which with your passion you shared.

And good, this danger
is danger of love, of complete love
for all life,
for all lives,
and if this love brings us
the death and the prisons,
I am sure that your big eyes,
as when I kiss them,
will then close with pride,
into double pride, love,
with your pride and my pride.

But to my ears they will come before
to wear down the tour
of the sweet and hard love which binds us,
and they will say: “The one
you love,
is not a woman for you,
Why do you love her? I think
you could find one more beautiful,
more serious, more deep,
more other, you understand me, look how she’s light,
and what a head she has,
and look at how she dresses,
and etcetera and etcetera”.

And I in these lines say:
Like this I want you, love,
love, Like this I love you,
as you dress
and how your hair lifts up
and how your mouth smiles,
light as the water
of the spring upon the pure stones,
Like this I love you, beloved.

To bread I do not ask to teach me
but only not to lack during every day of life.
I don’t know anything about light, from where
it comes nor where it goes,
I only want the light to light up,
I do not ask to the night
I wait for it and it envelops me,
And so you, bread and light
And shadow are.

You came to my life
with what you were bringing,
of light and bread and shadow I expected you,
and Like this I need you,
Like this I love you,
and to those who want to hear tomorrow
that which I will not tell them, let them read it here,
and let them back off today because it is early
for these arguments.

Tomorrow we will only give them
a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf
which will fall on the earth
like if it had been made by our lips
like a kiss which falls
from our invincible heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a true love.

Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Holocaust Memorial

Literally in the shadow of the Legion of Honor lies a holocaust memorial. This is one of the more graphic ones that I have seen and it really invokes powerful feelings- especially from the man staring off through the barbed wire. And to think that a few people think that Holocaust never happened. All you need to do is go to an actual concentration camp to realize the true horror of that experience. As it says in Dachau, 'Never Again'.

Legion of Honor

My friend Erin from Boston gave us a very thoughtful wedding gift- a year long membership to two museums in San Francisco: De Young Museum and the Legion of Honor. I went to the De Young Museum back in October with my friend Lisa and as you can tell from its appearance, it is very modern. The Legion of Honor is the opposite- its exterior is completely classical and houses more of the ancient up to impressionist/post impressionist works.

Here is a view of the whole museum

As you enter the main courtyard, you are greeted by the Thinker reminding you to take time and truly ponder the art inside (or else at least look like you are doing some serious thinking)
It seems that they are trying to imitate the pyramid at the Louvre, but on a much smaller scale
I had only less than 2 hours to spend there so I only saw the special exhibit they have entitled "Marie Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at Versailles". The exhibit ends this upcoming weekend so I wanted to make sure that I was able to view it. I have been to Versailles twice, yet I have never had enough time to take the tours of the Petit Trianon and the Hamlet- I've only seen their exteriors. This exhibit had many of the artifacts from these venues as well as some of the history of their construction and usage. I didn't know that Louis XVI could only come to the Petit Trianon when Marie invited him and that this venue was initially created for the mistress of Louix XV. They had several videos and photos showing the layout of the articles in the rooms. What I thought was so ironic was that these were the "scaled down" versions of luxury and compared to the main palace at Versailles, I would say that they are, but they are still incredibly detailed and ornate. Particularly the room of Marie was in a garden theme and had intricate vines lining the chairs and golden basket weave around many of the items. Despite seeing this exhibit, I still think that I will need to go back one day and visit the actual sites . . . . but who knows when that will happen.

And some of the most beautiful views actually occurred outside of the museum. It is perched upon a hill and is surrounded by the ocean and the bay and has stunning views like this
And this is my favorite of the Golden Gate Bridge in its full glory
I will definitely be back several times to see the upcoming exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the permanent collection. I happened to walk through a room of Rodin and found that the museum owns over 80 of his works so I will DEFINITELY be coming back for an in depth visit with them. I really love this museum- it is definitely my favorite so far here in SF.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

SF Ballet- Part Deux

I hardly know any French so I will limit my use of it to the title. Yes, for the second weekend in a row, I attended the San Francisco ballet. It was a different set of 3 performances and since their season is so short, I need to get all of the ballet in that I can :-) I discovered that the SF Ballet has THE BEST student rush ticket policy that I have ever seen. You call of the morning of the show and find out if they have any tickets available and they even have 2 price ranges- $10 for balcony and $20 for orchestra. And then they will immediately reserve you a ticket that you pick up at Will Call where you show them your student ID and you get the tickets! And unlike any program I have heard, you can also get a SECOND ticket, and they don't need to be a student! How great is this- you had better believe that I will be attending the rest of the seasons performances.

I also discovered something yesterday that I had not anticipated. In my previous post, I had mentioned about how William had accompanied me and my friends to several ballets while we were dating and engaged in Boston. I asked him if he was interested in going yesterday and the truth comes out. He said that the ballet is ok, but not his favorite, and I actually think that this is the really sweet part- he went so much with me to impress me and win me over. That is so adorable that he tried (and still tries) so hard to impress me. He said that he was willing to go with me if I wanted him to, but I said that I was fine going by myself. He truly is so thoughtful and considerate of my feelings- I really appreciate him ;-)

Since I was going by myself, I decided to sit in the orchestra and it provided me a completely different perspective than the balcony. Its not to say that I like one better than the other- they both have their strengths- but I am glad I had the floor for this performance. The balcony is better at seeing the overall patterns, staging, and choreography of the group dances while the floor allows for a better view of the facial expressions and interactions. The floor was perfect because two of the pieces had a smaller cast- with a maximum of 8 people on stage at a time- but with most of the time spent with only 1 or 2 individuals on stage. I had never seen any of the short pieces, but they were incredibly good- all 3 of them.

The first number was called "Filling Station" and was a fun, comedic piece set in a 1950s gas station and the unique characters who came in. This one dancer came in as a rich, very drunk woman and totally stole the show because she had to dance on point, yet look like she was very drunk so she had these unique moves to her performance. The second piece was choreographed in 2004 but to music by Bach. The set design was fairly basic, with an empty stage and everyone dressed in black, but it really allowed the choreography to speak for itself. It had a modern take on classical ballet and it perfectly fit with the music. The final piece was by Balenchine and it was a part of his Jewel series but they only performed one movement- Diamonds. All of the costumes were white with glittering "diamonds" and it had a larger number of dancers and was extremely graceful. I would love to see it paired with the other two movements- Emeralds and Rubies. All in all, I very much enjoyed myself, especially when the very tall man sitting in front of me for the first piece traded places with his wife for the last 2 numbers. And I didn't even have to ask :-)

Why California is the Most Populous State in the Union

So, I had never really understood why everyone raves so much about "California". I mean, I LOVE Disneyland- I've been there nearly every year of my life- and to LA several times and to San Diego and I thought that it was fun, but I wasn't sure what the big deal was about it. Now, I know. It's THE WEATHER. After having spent 5 years in Boston with "THE BITTERNESS" as I refer to it, I now understand just how great it is to be here in CA. I grew up in Utah where there is snow, but I never really understood the purpose of a scarf. I totally thought that it was just for fashion and then I moved to Boston and found out that it is a NECESSITY. Utah is cold, but its a dry cold and it never really felt bitter. Boston has bitterness due to the humidity- its the type of coldness that pierces your soul and makes you afraid to even walk from building to building with 5 layers of clothing.

The opposite is here in the peninsula of the SF bay area. The "winter" was just a rainy season. It rained most of January and there were a few intense storms, but it always hit 50 degrees during the day. It was so nice to not have to worry about shoveling, scraping our car, and just dreading going outside again. (We did get in some shoveling at my parents house when we were in Utah, so we had our fill for the year). It always made me laugh to hear people complaining about how cold it was because they had to wear a jacket because it isn't that cold to warrant complaining. This week has truly been PERFECT weather. Sunshine, blue skies and in the mid 60s- it truly just lifts your mood and makes you want to be outside when the weather is like this. It really is glorious, especially considering that it is FEBRUARY. However, the only drawback to this great weather is that a huge number of people have also figured it out and live here as well, greatly inflating the housing prices. We like to say that its a "Weather Tax" and I have to say that, at least for the moment, I really don't mind us paying it. I finally understand why William was so anxious to get back here after spending 3 years here and then moving to Boston for 2. I'm truly going to soak up the sun!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

War Memorial House: Home of the San Francisco Ballet

Last Saturday, my friend Dyan and I went to go see the San Francisco Ballet. I am a HUGE ballet fan and I saw nearly every performance of the Boston Ballet while I was there. I LOVED the Wang Theater there- it is truly so spectacular that it truly is an event in and of itself to go there to see the beautiful architecture and enjoy the magical ambiance of the place. William was great to go with me to a few of these concerts, and I actually think he liked a few of them :-)

Unfortunately, I can't find where I put some of the photos of the Wang interior (they might be on actual film) but here are a few photos of me and a few friends enjoying some time in the gorgeous lobby (this photo really doesn't do it justice). Carmen, Amy, me, and Julia at the ballet.
William and I while we were just dating inside a portico trying to look like the donors behind us (hopefully, not quite as "distinguished")

But, have no fear- the good times at the ballet are continuing here in San Francisco! The only sad thing is that their season is only from Jan-May so they cram in a lot of ballets in a short period of time. I really enjoyed their "Program #2" where they did 3 choreographed shorter works. I LOVED choreographed by George Balanchine- a piece in the more classical style but with really unique and intricate formations that I was able to appreciate from the balcony :-) I also enjoyed the more contemporary piece by Mark Morris where the piano player was at the back of the stage and they danced around him- the pianist was kind of an organic part of the experience. It was fun because Morris added elements of surprise, like having the dancers make a grand entrance, only to then quickly exit off. I did not like the 3rd piece. It was based on a Russian fairy tale called the Firebird and the music is INCREDIBLE! Its by Strativinsky and is so moving and the story is really great too, but I felt that this modern choreographer did ok, but really didn't capture the full essence of the piece. It really could have been so much more powerful.

And just like the Wang, the War Memorial Theater is quite beautiful as well. Although, we had quite the hike up 5 flights of stairs to get to our balcony seats, but it was still a great view
I really love the designs on the ceilings
And this is the entrance to the theater with all of the patrons after the show.

Thanks so much Dyan for coming with me! And if anyone else is interested in seeing any of the remaining performances, just let me know because I will definitely be going some more

The Dentist

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of going to the dentist (sorry Adam and Jonathon and those others I know out there who are dentists!) but this time wasn't so bad. I have always had the same dentist out in Utah for most of my life, even when I was in college and grad school. I would always schedule my appointments to be when I was in Utah. Since moving to the Bay Area, I was quite hesitant about finding a dentist, but I totally lucked out and found one super close to my house, covered by our insurance, and dentists that I like. Today was great- normally, I don't like the polishing or drill scraping but they had really great machines, especially the drill cleaner had water in it so it didn't hurt as much. And, the best part is that I had NO CAVITIES and no extra work needed to be done. HOWEVER, they gave me this new fluoride treatment that I now DESPISE with a passion. Last time, I got the foam trays which I actually don't mind so much because the fluoride gunk is liquid so it doesn't feel gritty on your teeth. This new fluoride they "paint" on your teeth (like fingernail polish my dentist said) and then you let it sit for 30 minutes. Easy enough to put on, but it GLOBS up like no other and leaves nasty chunks all over your mouth and teeth. I had to literally BRUSH my teeth after the 30 minutes to get it off, and still some remained in my mouth. It was so nasty. I'm all for innovation, but not when it is WORSE than the previous version. I'm definitely going to ask for the older treatment when I go back, or at least get some "study" results that show this method has TREMENDOUS benefits over the older version because I cannot stand the gunk again. At least it happens only every 6 months.

Monday, February 4, 2008

U2 in Dublin!!!

Alright, Alright. So, I did see U2 in Dublin, but let me clarify a little bit. I saw the U2-3D IMAX movie last Friday night with William in Dublin, California. Yes, there is a DUBLIN California that is about 45 minutes from where we live and one of 2 theaters in the area showing the film. William really isn't a U2 fan so I have to THANK HIM profusely for going with me to this. IT WAS AWESOME- the next best thing to being at a live concert. Basically, it is just a U2 concert with cool 3D effects like Bono reaching out his hand to stroke your face (Yeah, I melted). And then they also layer some of the footage so that you can see like both the Edge and Adam at the same time. It truly is exciting- and I got to notice some details like:

Larry had a glass next to him of a liquid that looked like beer :-) (So that's why he's such a great drummer!)
The Edge has an AWESOME sliver sparkly guitar
Adam and the Edge have an incredible number of different guitars
Bono is the only one who changes or wears different outfits at performances. They are mostly black based (sadly, no leather pants though) and he even has several different colored glasses too that he switches.

Their repertoire was great- they have had SO MANY great hits that there are so many songs they could have chosen. But, here's a list: Vertigo, New Years Day, Beautiful Day, Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own, Love and Peace, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet the Blue Sky, Miss Sarajevo, Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, One, and for Encores- the FLY (I haven't heard this song live before since it was from Achtung Baby but it was great) and WITH OR WITHOUT YOU. I was getting really nervous that they wouldn't perform my favorite song of all time, but they saved the best for last- it was incredible. That song is honestly so magical- it just melts me. Oh- and during the credits they played Yahweh.

U2 is my favorite band of ALL TIME- they are all such true musicians who love to perform and each one of them is SO TALENTED. Just the best at what they do. And Bono truly is still so sexy. He really is a poet- the lyrics just resonate with my soul. What really hit me about the songs from this concert is that so many of them have political messages to them. That is probably my favorite thing about the band is that they truly use their fame to help CHANGE the world and make it a better place for EVERYONE to live. Rock on guys!

Here is a photo of me after the concert- just GLOWING from the experience. If you are at all a U2 fan, you do not want to miss out on this! And, while is still doesn't compare to the live experience, it is much cheaper and worth it.

"A New Year, A New You"- LITERALLY

So, our first enrichment activity for the year was entitled "A New Year, A New You". It was a night of nutrition, fitness, and make-up information to help us get the year started right. One lucky individual was going to get a makeover to be the model for the tips. I declined putting my name in because I thought that I wouldn't get picked, but later on, Sara Hurst, the one in charge of the raffle bowl, said that she was putting my name in. I said okay because there were about 15 other names in there and what was the likelihood that I would be called. I should have known that I would be the first one drawn. It was slightly embarrassing because I had to walk around the room and have everyone look at my "bushy" eyebrows because they were soon to be "shaped". They really needed them as I normally get my eyebrows waxed, but haven't found anyone here in CA to do it yet. Thus, I was the "guinea pig" as Katie put it and was her demo for nearly an hour. They would cut back and forth between us and the nutrition and fitness info but it was just amazing to me to hear just how healthy one sister in our ward is. She only places olive oil as a seasoning on her food- she grills and or steams all of her vegetables and meats and eats some peanut butter and ice cream occasionally. I was literally just amazed and she looked fabulous being over 40 and having a little boy, but I was thinking that there is NO WAY we could do that because William is not a fan of vegetables. I really have to try to get him to eat them so, maybe we will just try a little harder to incorporate a bit more "green" into our food intake.

Back to the makeover. She also put mascara on my eyes with liquid liner on top that she "squeegeed " (her term) into a straight line and then placed normal pencil eyeliner on my bottom lid, but ABOVE my lashes, so right on the crease before my inner lid. I've never done this before and it was kind of painful so I'm not sure that I will be able to do it everyday. She later placed 4 different colors of eyeshadow on and several layers of lip gloss. It was nice to know that I have GREAT eyelashes- I don't need to curl them, just put mascara on. This was a really involved makeup routine and it was nice to have done, but I told Katie at the end that I could not spend that long every day on it. But, I did pick up some new tips. And I had to walk around and model again so that everyone could see the difference. And, here are a few photos of the results.

Up close and personal- you can see the work she did on the eyebrows and eyes.

And finally, the overall effect. (William took this photo from a "high fashion" angle).
Up until a year ago, I never really wore very much makeup. I usually would just wear mascara, some foundation, and a little eyeshadow and chapstick. I started expanding my makeup while I was in Boston due to my good friend Jamie who helped me to become more aware of makeup, but it wasn't until last year in Las Vegas with my sister Sarah and my mom that my ability with makeup dramatically increased. Sarah and I both got makeovers from Clinique and the girl who took care of us did an AWESOME job. I FINALLY found a foundation that matched my skin tone perfectly and she taught me how to use a makeup brush to apply it. I will never go back to just the finger or sponge application again. I also used foundation, blush, and . . . . EYELINER. Yes, I discovered just how much I like eyeliner- and how it makes a difference- with the Clinique Navy Blue Quickliner. Some of the best stuff. My mom is a GEM and loved how I looked and so she bought me most of my materials and I am SO GRATEFUL, especially for the brushes. After this latest makeover, I am now doing liquid liner on my top lashes and will experiment with that to see how I like it. I'm making makeup progress- slowly, but surely :-)

The nice thing is that William really likes me WITHOUT MAKEUP! He keeps telling me that he just likes me how I am naturally (a sign of true love) and that if I want to wear makeup, that's great. Basically, it is whatever I want to feel good. He was really shocked by the above makeover because when I got home, he was like "What happened" and I asked him if he liked it, and in a smart husband way, he said "You're beautiful whatever you wear" and "Whatever makes you happy". He's learned well.