Thursday, June 30, 2011

Florida Recap

Florida is hot. And humid. BUT, I spent a wonderful 5 days with 3 boys that just wanted to be with me every second. Who wanted to sit by me at every meal. Who wanted to hold my hand all the time. Who wanted to sleep in my bed. Too bad they aren't even accountable yet, and are related to me. :0) These nephews are so much fun to be around and it was fun to get to see Crew as a full on toddler. And the brother and sister-in-law...always fun.

This trip originated when I realized I wanted to see a rocket launch. Turns out the Atlantis was scheduled to launch the end of June, and my brother had just moved to Florida. Two in one. We hung out at the pool, ate, bowled, mini-golfed, watched movies (Gulliver's Travels...hilarious), Hollywood Studios (love that Tower of Terror), Kennedy Space Center (the launch was delayed, sad), games, more food, talked, laughed, sweat. Such a fun trip. Thanks Rob & Tara!!

Rocket Garden...check out the clouds...some incredible thunder & lighning storms, and great downpours.

Here's the shuttle Atlantis...all ready to be launched. So cool to get to see it all set. It launches July 8.

Cannon and Carter.

Seriously, how yummy is this kid?!?!?!


Nudge, Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. By Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein.

I didn't finish this book. Which is weird for me, and I still feel guilty and compelled to finish it. But I have been working on it since April and I am not quite halfway. I took it on my last trip to knock out some of the length of the book, but I decided to sleep (it wasn't my fault there was no one else on my row and I could actually lay down...or that the plane was 1.5 hours late in leaving...)

From what I read, it was actually quite interesting. It's about choice architecture. How there are so many things in our lives that influence how we choose something. Just like how physical architecture adds to our overall feeling and functionality of a building. I couldn't quite figure out if this book was trying to teach me how to manipulate people or how to make better choices myself by being aware of presentation and how I am affected by it. Possibly effected :0)

I got lost in the section on economics. Not my strong suit. And after glancing at everything else, I didn't want to finish it.

Our minds are incredible things. Yet somehow we miss so much. We get programmed in one way and it's hard to see anything else. We create our own paradigms. I'm impressed with the people who figure out our irrationality and help us to use the brain in a better fashion.

I'm not done reading "sociological thrillers," but this one just didn't satisfy me. Even though the cover is pretty cute.

Another Fablehaven

I finished an exciting book while on my vacation to Florida. Mostly just the plane ride though, those kids were entertaining.

This book (book 4) was another fun adventure. With a little romance thrown in, and a huge twist that I didn't see all. One of the things that I'd like to incorporate into my life is the napsack that is used. It has an entire room inside the napsack, yet it's secret. That would've helped with all this moving business. I could just live in my car and crawl into the napsack and be done.

One more book to go in this series, and then I need something else. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Last summer, as my older brother and I were travelling to Kenya, I had the opportunity to read "Fablehaven." Whichever book it was that I started to read, I had zero interest in it. Disappointing fans everywhere. And I'm sure the inflight movies were more alluring to a book, right?

I decided to retry this endeavor, and it turns out that the book I tried wasn't the first one. Starting at the beginning of a series always makes a huge difference.

I am a huge fan of this series. I have now read 3, with the 4th in my possession, just waiting to read it on my trip to Florida tomorrow. Such a fun read!! And even though the books get thicker and thicker, the story is just entertaining. No real deep thoughts on this series. Even though some obvious connections could be made about the power of good.

And, reading fun easy books like this makes it way easier to not do the things I need to be finding someplace to move...and then blogging about it. Hey, at least I made it to the internet! :0)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Time to Upgrade?

This is how I had to hold my phone in order to text, since the screen started shorting out. Kind of cramped my neck a little.

So I got to upgrade to this phone. I think I skipped a few of the evolutionary steps in phone usage. At least the old phone had a camera. It may not have worked very well and maybe the images were 2 pixels, but it was a good phone to me. And I am really glad to have a fancy pants new phone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Yesterday I went to Chick-Fil-A twice. Yep. Twice. I don't think I've even gone to Zupas twice in one day, and that is my favorite eatery.

Last week, I went with some friends to this fine establishment, and we were informed that on June 14, whatever was purchased, would be given to you the next visit (between June 15-30). That's a true buy one get one free. So yes, I went there twice. Those chicken nuggets are really hard to say no to.

I remember many years ago, this restaurant existed in the Crossroads Mall of Salt Lake City. I was always afraid to eat there or talk about it because I couldn't say the name. I know that's RIDICULOUS, but I realized that just yesterday. I still like to call it "Chick Fill Uh."

Several members of my family are enamored by this restaurant. So much so that for my nephew's birthday party, it was catered by Chick-Fil-A. I also learned from a friend who frequents this place so often, that he is "this" close to getting a button on the cash register that has HIS order programmed into the system. That's dedication to the company and to the patrons.

It's nice to know that companies know how to get people to come and eat with them. I am exponentially increasing my visits just this week. Well done.

They,of course, would respond, "My Pleasure."

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Geography of Bliss

The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner (pronounced Whiner)

This guy had a theory that when people talk about happiness, it's more of a destination. So he set out to find where, geographically, the happiest places on earth are. With the help of the World Database of Happiness, located in the Netherlands, he found some of the higher ranked places of happiness - according to surveys, etc. He visited and then profiles 10 countries (America included) to find out why these places would be happy - money, location, breathing exercises. He interviews people in those places and gets an indicator as to why those people are happy, and where they see themselves on the happiness scale (1-10).

This book is filled with little nuggets about what happiness is all about. Trust is huge. Volunteering. Relationships. The prior reader of my copy highlighted several of those nuggets along the way, which is always convenient to have someone prior say "hey, this seemed important to me." That's why I always bought used books at college.

Something that really struck me was after starting this book, I came across a talk by Elder Quinton L. Cook. The title of the talk was "The True Path to Happiness." There will always be those seeking happiness, after all "men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). He highlighted a few things we must do to have happiness. Keep the Commandments, Serve others, Relationships...especially the family, recognize and honor our past. Interesting that these things came up in the book. But I have the opportunity to learn these things from a Special Witness of Christ. It is truly through the Lord Jesus Christ that we are led to happiness. Does that mean we will be happy 100% of the time? Maybe not as the world defines it, but there will be peace in our lives because the Spirit will be with us. Christ is the intergral part of this Plan of Happiness.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

That's the Birthday Spirit!

I received one of the most thoughtful birthday presents the other day. I know, my birthday was the beginning of April. What can I say, my birthday is kind of a big deal :0) Or, I just don't see my family very often. Or, what goes around comes around.

Either way, I got me a giftcard to Walgreens!! I absolutely LOVE that store. There are always so many treasures and necessities in that store, all for a good price. You can get your blood pressure tested, fill a perscription, get visa pictures taken, develop film, find the perfect nail polish color, red box, find "as seen on tv" products, meander through all the aisles and not see anyone, buy shirts from the city that you live in (I once got a shirt with a pack of running horses with my friend Carly. Somehow we convinced our flag football team to be called "The Mares" and we all wore those shirts. ew) and watch yourself in the big mirrors while you go throughout the store.

I have already gone there twice to see what I want to spend my money on. I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Food Mystery

I bought peanut butter last Friday. Saturday, I decided to make a sandwich. I open up my jar and find that the foil had been broken and a big scoop of peanut butter had been taken out. It made me a little nervous and annoyed that I had bought a jar of peanut butter that had already been used. Suck.

Sunday, I'm enjoying my delicious break the fast meal of a chocolate shake, tomatoes and potato chips, when my roommate confesses to eating my peanut butter. Phew! What a relief! Which also means she's busted for stealing my food.

Lesson learned though, always check to see if seal has been broken before purchasing.

Born to Run

The next book I read as a retired person was "Born to Run." This was given to me by my sister while I was in Idaho. It's a totally true story about this guy (the author) who helps to orchestrate this rockin' race in Mexico with some ultra-marathoners and a group of native runners called the Tarahumara. Throughout his narrative, he talks about ultra-marathons (roughly 100 mile long races), different runners and their stories and how it all culminates in this one race. Also, a lot of great information about shoes and why animals can actually be run down by humans.

It was definitely intriguing, and kept my attention, so it was a quick read.

Born to Run, Christopher McDougall

It made me want to try and train a lot better for my ragnar relay, but that lasted just a few days. And I don't think I ever want to run an ultra-marathon, or even a regular marathon. But it is amazing what our bodies can do.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Da Vinci Code

During my second week of retirement, I read The Da Vinci Code. Okay, so I read it in 1 day. Let's not get technical.

I really like this book. It's such an adventure! And even though I've read it before, and seen the movie, it was like reading it for the first time. And, the movie doesn't really follow the book's storyline.

Alas, I like this book. And it's a quick read. And I like the swearing and violence. Wow, the books I read kind of tell a lot about me, eh? :0)
This isn't my favorite Dan Brown book. It would have to be Angels and Demons, followed by Deception Point.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Power of One

Upon retirement, I inadvertently set a goal to read a book a week. I'll try to catch you up on the three that I've read already.

The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay.

I remember watching this movie when I was younger, and thought it was a good flick. And then I was on a date last year, and we were meandering through a book store (which, turns out it's appealing when I guy has at least read something in the last little while, which this young chap had not done, although it is nice to feel really smart. Pick your battles, right?) and I saw this book. I didn't know it was a book! So, a few days after the date, I went and bought it. I figured it would be wise of me to not pay for it in his presence. Although I could have gotten him to buy it...hmm...

Anyway, I read it and loved it. Especially the sweat words. I shouldn't find happiness in those kinds of things, but I do.

It's a historical fiction about a boy growing up in South Africa during apartheid. This is a hard subject for me. But he ended up going to a boarding school and getting picked on, and then one day he discovered this power that he had inside of himself to conquer anything. And he does. The rest of the book is about how he struggled, but gained some great experiences along the way. He became a boxer, and oh, I can't tell too much. It was a good read.

Here's what it says on the back: in 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams - which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.

Put a little bit better than me...:0)

Friday, June 3, 2011


Over the past 3 weeks or so, my sweet grandma has been chilling at the hospital. She had an infection in her leg. I think it's almost better, and hopefully she'll be returning to her home.

This lady is incredible. She's 95 and mostly survives on her own. She's had a few roommates through the years, but she's quite content to just play solitaire and eat toast.

I got to go visit her, and then I got to spend the night with her while I was in Idaho. When I got to the hospital, a sweet neighbor lady was sitting with her. Christie is a German immigrant and so met my grandparents through that. When I came into the room, Grandma's hands were so gross. I really thought that her ailment was a lot worse. Come to find out, Christie had totally lathered up Grandma with lotion. Gave her a good rub down. This wasn't totally pleasing to Grandma. She leaned over to me and said "how long is she going to be here?" Kind of hilarious.

Deep admiration of this lady stemmed throughout the night. She handled jokes and dished some out. When she got awakened during the middle of the night to have her blood tested, she was as pleasant as could be. Impressed. I also had the sweet experience of hearing her talk in her sleep. That's weird, I know, but older people get cooler dreams, and so I had a little insight to what's going on.

One thing has been learned through all of this. I need to start reading "You and Your Aging Parent" stat. Maybe even get me a leatherbound copy, put my name on it and keep it with my scriptures. My parents aren't getting any younger, and I want to provide as much help as I can.

Thanks Grandma, for the great sleepover.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


There is nothing like thinking you're quite the healthy gal until you go visit the parents for the week and you end up doing chores. And I'm not talking the regular chores of doing the dishes, and making the bed. I'm talking using a hammer and chisel to break down a brick wall, and then using a sledge hammer to break the cement underneath it. Oh, and then haul all that away. Or shoveling dirt. Or pulling out weeds and dead branches from all the trees around the house. Or scraping all the paint off the trim of the house. Or painting the ceiling. Or taking the wallpaper border down. Good grief! My body is spent! I'm happy to be back in Utah where I don't have to do any of that kind of stuff. Do my parents sound like slave drivers?

Actually I loved every minute of those chores. I love the little conversations that happen. The thoughts my mind takes. The sun. The dirt under the fingernails. The grossness of sweat and dirt and whatever else catches on your body. Just feeling exhausted. It's invigorating. I'm glad I get to do things like that. I wish I would've loved it more when I got to do it everyday :0)