Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You have to really want it.

This is our much awaited, much rehearsed song for the 2008 Ward Talent Show. I was so crazed trying to get my costume together I forgot my camera, so I recruited the help of my friend Jon, to record it with his real video camera, but his file was too large to put on my blog. So instead you have to go to this link. I couldn't get it to load on my home computer, but after about 4 minutes it loaded on my computer here at work. So good luck. And thank you, Jon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What? For me?

Wow! I got a blog award from one of the coolest people I know! Her name is Jaime Mormann Richardson and I worked with her at the LRC at BYU. We kinda kept in touch after school, but not really. Now with the advent of blogs we are reunited in mutual admiration. Be sure to check out her blog sophistimom. She is a culinary and all around lifestyle genius. I want to be a mom like her someday. I loved her post on manners.

I've received a blog award once before from someone I've never met named Abel, but I visited his blog regularly and I was flattered to get a mention from him. However, I failed to follow the rules and list my 5 current favorite blogs. So I'm going to do that now. Because I follow so many great blogs, it's hard to pick five. I feel like it's setting me up for hurting feelings. Please don't let me hurt your feelings if you're not on here. These just happen to be on my mind right now.

1. Kells Belles
This is my sister in law. I remember her talking to me earlier this year about starting a blog. I'm so glad she did, because I smile everytime Google Reader tells me she's updated. She's a great writer and I laugh out loud at her stories about her kids.

2. Miss Sorenson
This is my friend Kristi. It took her way too long to start a blog, but it was a winner from the beginning with the stories about her first graders. "Kids Say the Darndest Things" ain't got nothin on this blog.

3. Cupcake Blog
If you know me, you probably know I love to bake, and if you really know me you probably know I love miniature cupcakes. And if you're a trusted friend you know I had a dream last year to start my own cupcake business. Hasn't happened, but my adoration for creative mini cupcakes lives on. My friend Shannon introduced me to this blog and the first picture I saw was a mini apple spice cupcake with caramel on top and a wooden stick stuck in it. I was hooked. I didn't necessarily want to eat it, but I thought it was pure genious.

4. Red Delicious
I don't know if this breaks the rules because I've really only read one or two posts by this blogger. But the post I link to has got to be one of the funniest things I've ever read. Not a whole lot of her recent stuff has captivated me, but this one post is worth the mention. She's a pastry chef which might explain her bias.

5. The Cinematic Experience
Instead of choosing John's blog and/or Cameron's blog, which are usually excellent, I'm going to go for the hybrid. This is their new joint effort in a movie review show that actually airs on Comcast Channel 6 (I think -- I don't have cable so I have to watch it on the blog). The blog needs some work on its layout and aesthetic, but that should come with time. Each post is a 5 minute episode of them reviewing a different movie. They don't claim to be experts or anything, they're just an average movie goer like you.

On a completely different note, I feel I should report on my week of not spending and if it was painful or not. I was stellar. Except for today...but listen to this: I am planning a trip to New York and round-trip Delta flights were only $218! Come ON! You don't say no to that fare, even if you weren't planning a trip. I could have waited until tomorrow but if fares go up I will kick myself. And THAT would be painful. I think I made the wise choice.

I'll tell you what, I have a weekly obligation to my church to design and print the Sunday program. I typically upload the file to Kinkos' website for them to print every Thursday and charge it to my credit card. I do this on Thursday because I don't work on Fridays and it's easier to just take care of it at my work computer. Because I'm devoted to my goal I emailed the file to myself so I can order it tomorrow. The thought did cross my mind to just bag the whole not spending thing since I already charged my card for the airfare but then I thought, "No, I am not going to be that person who throws everything out the window because of one little slip up (if you feel good about calling it that)." Just because I used my card doesn't mean I stop trying.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Pain of Not Spending

I was listening to Planet Money on NPR (I recently subscribed to this podcast that updates me on the economy everyday and explains it in a way I understand). The episode was called “The Pain of Not Spending.” They talked about the recession and said spending was down 1.2% in September. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but apparently it is. They said that’s enough for you to notice a drop in inventory and a drop in prices.

A drop in prices sounded great until they talked about the pitfalls of deflation. Spending is an important indicator of a recession and they said in September the American consumer was our last hope for the economy, but people stopped buying things. I haven't felt the pain yet.

So here they are telling me that the consumer is hurting the economy by not spending money. Yet, we’re told not to live beyond our means (even the guy explaining this said he’s cut his living costs). Getting loans that we can’t afford to pay back is a big part of what’s wrong with the economy, right? It’s a big part of all the foreclosures and the banks not wanting to lend to each other, right? So is it people with money that aren’t spending it? Is that the problem?

For a few days now, I’ve been thinking about how much money I spend. I mean, I’m always thinking about what I spend, but lately I’ve realized I’ve been spending a lot more than I usually spend.

I bought 4 items at Costco the other day and spent $60. And I spent $40 at the grocery store the day before – that’s $100 on groceries in two days. I remember in college I got by on $50 a month. I ate a lot of soup and peanut butter sandwiches, but I got by.

I eat out a lot more and I cook more elaborate meals. I also have more money than I used to. But still, I think saving money is fun, so despite what economists are telling me to do, I’m going to stop spending money – for a little while.

I decided to see how long I could go without handing over cash or my credit card. I have a freezer full of food, I have a tank full of gas and I think I’m going to try it. I’m giving myself through Thursday (I have a hair appointment on Friday). So if I count yesterday (and I’m going to) that should be 5 days of not spending. I’ll report back and let you know how painful it was.

Now, don’t get all literal on me and tell me I need to turn off the water and gas and everything – utilities are excluded from this exercise. I went to the dentist for a crown today, but I don’t plan on paying him for awhile.

And if you think it would be funny to tempt me by inviting me to lunch, you’re right. That’s funny. It’s also mean. But I’ll still say yes; I’ll just eat before I go or pick off your plate. Or I have a coupon for a free lunch at La Sage Bistro, we can go there. Or you can buy my meal and I’ll get yours next time.

I’m trying to think of the random expenses that could come up…this should be interesting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We’re placing artwork in the gallery this week for the opening on Friday night. Fletcher (he hangs the shows) usually puts the art out there, rearranges it and then comes in and asks for my opinion/advice on where things should go. This is our statewide annual exhibit which means none of the paintings really have anything to do with each other, so it’s a difficult show to place. I have little reasoning for why I place things the way I do. Sometimes it has to do with size balance, color balance or similar styles. But this show is different; this show has a lot of portraits. As I was moving things around I realized I was making up stories about the people in the paintings and putting them by other paintings with people that fit the stories.

The sick looking children were already placed on one wall, so that’s all set. But there’s a painting of a disturbed looking woman in a wedding dress holding a glass of wine. I think her fiancĂ© had been cheating on her for awhile but she was feeling the pressure to get married as she got older. The wedding party has been going on too long and she finally found some solace and sat down with a drink. But from where she’s sitting she can see her new husband dancing with the bridesmaids and looking at them in a way he never looked at her. She’s not upset because she’s become numb to the whole situation; she’s just unhappy and resigned to a loveless marriage of mistrust and infidelity.


Anyway, I decided to move the disturbed-looking woman with her glass of wine by the dead baby painting – I don’t think the baby is supposed to be dead, I think he’s supposed to be at his christening (he’s wearing some serious Snoop Dog bling) but he looks pale and a little too still…

There’s also this family portrait. I can’t figure out what year it is supposed to depict. The father looks Grapes of Wrath-ish so I thought maybe 1930s, but then the mother’s glasses look like 1964, so who knows. They’re posing outside on their porch like they were having a snapshot taken. We put them next to this little painting of a highway. I decided they’re getting their picture taken before their family road trip.

Making up stories about people is usually more interesting than what is really going on, which is one of the reasons I think people gossip way too much, but I digress…

Has anyone ever listened to Delilah on 106.5? I never did until I went on a road trip down to St. George with a couple friends. Steve, the driver, seemed to have an itinerary for our road trip that involved CD listening, radio listening, regular check-ins on temperature, appetite and bladder status, and then there were scheduled moments of silent contemplation. Towards the end of the trip he turned on Delilah. If you’re unfamiliar with Delilah, this is how it works: someone calls in and tells a story about someone in their life that they want to dedicate a song to. It varies from a middle aged mother whose wonderful son is serving in the armed forces to a 20 something man who needs to let his newlywed know how perfect he thinks she is to a 10 year-old girl who wants to tell her mommy that she loves her despite the dramatic divorce. Sometimes there are confessions. Once Delilah hears the story, she picks a song to play for them. Steve introduced the game of skipping the story part and just listening to the song and then making up our own story as to what prompted that song choice. Way more entertaining.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


The Wasatch Paranormal Investigators contacted me and asked if they could bring their equipment to my building and check out our ghost.

I’m familiar with our ghost, I mean, I’ve never met her but I’ve heard stories. People call her the purple lady because she died in a purple dress as she ran across the railroad tracks to retrieve an engagement ring.

Last year the Ghostbusters of Utah came to the Rio Grande on Halloween and took these pictures. You can see a black shadowy figure in one and a purple mist in the other . I don’t know if ghosts are supposed to be consistent or whatever or maybe the make and model of the camera dictates which paranormal features will show up. Anyway, I find it suspicious.

One night I was working late and the security guard asked me to go upstairs and check out the women’s rest room because he could see the light was on where we were standing and it shouldn’t be. He said no one had been up there for hours, and it’s a sensor light. He thought maybe the purple lady was in there. Does anyone else see the irony in this story? Maybe the paranormal is outside the jurisdiction of our guards.

I’m interested to see what kind of equipment these investigators will bring.

Like I said, if I have ever felt any kind of “presence” I didn’t make the connection to it being a ghost. But I have experienced other kinds of phantoms.

If you’ve ever had really long hair and then chopped it off, you feel hair phantoms for a few days. You’ll try to toss your hair and it’s just not the same. Or you’ll run your fingers through it and your hand keeps going even though your hair already ended. I’ve heard of amputees feeling “phantom pains” from their limbs they no longer have. I guess I think of my hair as an appendage.

It’s strange, because even though my dog Buddha has been gone for a couple years, and never even lived with me at my current house, every time I close the fridge or the freezer door something at the top shakes and it sounds exactly like his dog tags when he’d trot into the kitchen. I look around the corner for him every time. Sweet puppy.

And every time I finish a bowl of cereal, I set the bowl down on the carpet below the couch so my cat can come and finish off the milk for me – even though I don’t live with my kitty anymore. Poor Scooter.

I’ve heard rumors of what could be Scooter’s unfortunate future and I may have to start a “Save Scooter” campaign pretty soon. I’d take him in myself except his mere existence might kill one of my roommates if my other roommate doesn’t kill him first.

Monday, October 06, 2008

And my soapbox looks artsy too.

Recently, the Salt Lake Tribune published an article on the presidential candidates’ platform on the arts. The Americans for the Arts wrote to each candidate awhile ago asking them to release their position on public funding for the arts. Obama organized a 33 person committee to research the topic and responded with a comprehensive, well thought out and clear plan while McCain released four sentences that read like something cut and pasted from general statements as to why art is nice. I typically don’t write or even talk about politics, but some things get me going.

Not only do the arts define our cultural history and make life worth living, but economically, arts are an asset to our country. Artists and art-related nonprofits generate about $166.2 billion in revenue per year and $12.6 billion in annual taxes.

It is businesses such as Apple, Pixar and Procter & Gamble that seem to thrive in this economic crisis. You better believe they have trained artists and designers working for them. If you think about it, the competitive business edge belongs to innovators who add an aesthetic touch and provide creative solutions. These are the stand-out businesses that people take notice of. And finally leaders in government, business, and education are becoming savvy to what those in the arts have always known: to fuel creativity and innovation, you need to invest in the arts.

I rarely take the time to read comments on these articles, let alone comment myself, but after reading a couple reactions to the Obama/McCain statements on the arts (which you can read in the Trib article I linked above), I had to say something.

Seriously? Arts platform? Who cares? I can't believe this is a story.

tivogirl: It is no surprise your post drips with disdain for art. TV addiction has eroded our intellectual capabilities, modeled ineffective problem-solving skills, decimated conversation, promises instant gratification, and acts as a superficial barrier to boredom. Studies reveal people often know more about fictional sit-com characters than they do their own friends, spouses and children.

Art instead is a language that cuts across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhances cultural appreciation and awareness. The arts help students succeed in school and life by providing them an opportunity to develop habits of mind such as critical and creative thinking, perseverance and dedication to task. On the highest levels of literacy, in the realms of social and personal growth and development, and in the development of higher-order thinking skills, the arts provide an ideal setting for multi-faceted and profound learning experiences.

After the events of 9/11 who among us was not moved by the playing of our national anthem? For me, nothing is more profound than standing side by side with the families of fallen soldiers as the trumpet weeps Taps into the still and grief laden air. Literature, painting, sculpture, photography, dance, and theater, have touched each of us. What do we bequeath young lovers, if not poetry and music? You and your family may find no value in art. You, like millions of Americans may prefer Seinfeld to singing, painting, dancing, or playing the piano. I do however appreciate a candidate that provided a well-crafted, thoughtful and detailed platform that demonstrates a profound appreciation for the arts and its place in the great history of our nation and our world. In comparison, John McCain submitted a platform dripping with the same disdain as you have displayed here. No wonder he is your candidate, and if he wins, I hope you and your family, enjoy what you deserve.

tivogirl and one hand clapping:
I had to comment briefly on your exchange...I don't think very many people look deep enough to see the art in everything around us. Even an episode of Seinfeld employs an innumerable amount of artists: writers, set designers, wardrobe, film editors, cinematographers, lighting design, ACTORS, musicians. I would like to see, just for one day, what the world would look like without the influence of art (and yes, even public funded art). It will be a bland, silent and dreary day, but at least people might get a clue.

Anyway, I thought I’d post that because I doubt anyone will read my comment seeing how it’s several days after the article was published. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to vote, I’m just letting you know how I feel about public funding for the arts. I have other examples on the vitality of arts education (not only for children but for adults and seniors as well), but this is all I have to say for now.