Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time Out

I went to the temple today in the middle of the day, and it was just what I needed. It felt good to just be there and not worry about things. My mind did start to wander a few times, but not for long. I brought it back to the important moment at hand. I'm trying this new thing called putting my priorities in line, 'cause, hey--no one likes a hypocrite. I spoke in church a few weeks ago about the importance of priorities when it comes to relationships, and mine with God can always be improved upon. I'm looking forward to the General Conference of the church this weekend. Some of my favs to look out for are:
Henry B. Eyring
(I love an emotional man, what can I say? He always moves me.)

Jeffrey R. Holland
(The guy nails it every time. Whatever he says is just what I need to hear. Always.)

And, of course, President Thomas S. Monson, the living prophet of God.
Yeah, I'd say I definitely am looking forward to hearing his words, 'cause really, they're God's.

This conference couldn't come at a better time of my life. I'm in the last weeks of my education, about to embark on a new part of my life. Direction is what I'm looking for and is exactly what I will find this weekend. For that, I am grateful.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm So Blessed

One of my favorite children's books of all time is:
This sweet little bird who hatched while his mother is away getting him food, goes searching for his mother. He approaches various animals and objects, each time asking them, "Are you my mother?". He cannot seem to find her, and eventually shouts in desperation, "I want my mother!". As fate would have it, he makes it back to the nest just as his mother is returning, and they are happily reunited.

I don't know why this particular book popped into my mind just now, except for the fact that today is my mother's birthday, and I'm so grateful that she is MY mother. And also grateful to know that I, too, will soon be reunited with her. There! That's the connection. ha. I knew it was somewhere. I'm a nerd, I know. But my mom would never say so. She also would never tell anyone how often it is that I've shouted, "I want my mother!" demonstrated by calling her multiple times a week, doing most of the talking in our conversations, complaining about this and that. Mom, you're so patient and kind and understanding. I would be so annoyed with me over the years, at my neediness and negative attitude sometimes. YOU'RE THE GREATEST MOTHER, EVER, MOM! I LOVE YOU!!! Happy Birthday!!!:)

Five Weeks

Okay, so I'm already counting down. Duh. I have only five weeks until classes end. FIVE. That's a big deal. I can count that on one hand. While it will be strange to close this seemingly everlasting chapter of my life as a student, I think I'm ready for it. I'm about to be a "professional." Not saying I'm highly skilled in the career field about to embark on, just yet, but that I'm about to begin the career chapter of my life. And what's going through my mind these days is, I better prepare myself to feel like a "grown up".

Let's be honest, being a student has kept me in this perpetual world of feeling like a kid. What's added to this feeling is the fact that I've yet to marry and have children. I think that would also make me feel "grown up". But alas, a student only have I been, and it's been... fun? I swear I've been on this educational path not completely by choice. While a lot of it has been fun, it's been really hard work and sometimes I've wondered why I've kept going. I like to think and also believe that someone else had this educational path in mind for me. How I explain maybe not always loving what I do, but feeling like it's what I'm supposed to be doing is summed up in this scripture:

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God"-Romans 12:2

I feel like this educational path I've walked down has been largely God's will. And that I came to New York to experience what I have, resulting in shaping who I am and what I am to become. For that, I'm grateful. And not just the educational path, but all paths I go down lead me to who I am. It's just that the educational path has definitely been the most prominent in my life, so far. I'm excited to walk down others soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Beating a Dead Horse

Lately I feel like I've been posting about things on Facebook and then coming on here and blogging about it, hence, the title of this post. But I cannot resist writing of this topic in more depth on here. The new Broadway musical, just opened and I've been reading a lot of reviews/opinions on it from both Mormons and non-Mormons. You can guess what that's been like. It's strange, actually, reading reviews from members of the church who have seen the show. One person said something like, "well, those who are more conservative or the really righteous Mormons probably shouldn't go see it--they'll be offended." This sort of statement boggles my mind. If one Mormon is offended by the content, wouldn't or shouldn't all be offended, especially if it's targeting the beliefs and doctrine? Forget that it's strange. All religions have strange things about them, and people have claimed that this musical doesn't just make fun of the Mormon religion, but all religions (so, that makes it okay, right?). At first, I wasn't offended, but more irritated and confused by it all. And then I kept reading about it and some details of what is said and occurs during the play was enough for me to change my mind. I'm all for poking fun and laughing at our quirky Mormon culture ways, history, whathaveyou. But when the fun targets sacred doctrine, that's another story.

So, the guys who do the show "South Park" are known for their satire. They LIVE and THRIVE on making fun of other people, namely groups of a certain types of people, whether it's political, racial, or religious, etc. These are the guys behind this show, and they think Mormons are idiots, albeit, kind idiots (one article quoted one of the two guys saying he never met a Mormon he didn't like). Have they poked fun at the Mormon religion and it's culture and people before? Yes. You could say they've been "beating a dead horse" for decades. It's not a big surprise that their musical is no different. In fact, from what I've read, it sounds a lot worse, as in more offensive (which makes sense because they don't have TV networks to censor them).

The statement I made on FB was mostly focused on why and how they pulled this off. From the minute I heard this musical was actually on its way, I thought, how is it possible that they can use "The Book of Mormon" as its title? Does the church not have copyright laws on the title of this book of scripture? Guess not. But it doesn't matter. The church won't be hurt by this.

Anyway, I could go on and on and point out more things I've read and pick things apart, etc. But I won't. I wanted to end on the church's official response to this show:

"The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but The Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."

You can see it here . I love it. It's pure and simple and to the point.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Spy with My Little Eye

All this time I have been in New York City, and still I hadn't experienced any celebrity sightings. Although, I did see the main woman from "Law & Order: SVU" (Mariska Hargitay) in Central Park my first summer here, but would've never known it if it had not been pointed out to me. I also swear I once saw Jennifer Garner walking out of Central Park while talking on her cell phone. But anyway, now I can say I've seen and recognized two people in the biz. Both sightings are of men who are not the most popular or famous celebrities. In fact, they probably go throughout their days with not many people catching on to who they are. It was fun for me to recognize them.

The first sighting was as I walking up Columbus Avenue (near my apartment) with a friend. A man was walking toward us and I happened to look at him and catch his eye. He looked familiar to me and I couldn't place it at first. A few hours later I remembered that he was in one of my favorite movies of the 80s, "Chances Are". He's been in other things, but this is the one that stuck out to me (the main character is a young, very attractive Robert Downey, Jr. so, duh. Of course I remembered that one). But anyway, this is him, Joe Grifasi!

He's also been on "Law & Order" and movies like "13 Going on 30". More of a TV guy, I think. He lays low.

The second celeb sighting was the one and only Joel Godard, former announcer for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"! Okay, so this one I was super excited about. I was an avid Conan watcher for many years, and for sure remember this guy:

I asked how long he was the announcer on the show and he said 17 seasons! That's a long time. The writers/producers/whoever on that show had him doing some really strange things, at times. He always had this huge, kinda crazy smile on his face, no matter what they had him saying or doing. But anyway, I saw him waiting at my bus stop near my internship on the Upper East Side. He was waiting for the same bus. When I stared long enough to know it was him for sure, I went up to him and asked if he was who I thought he was. He was the nicest man! He asked me my name, and we ended up chatting on the bus for multiple stops. I know, so random, but it was so awesome to me. We talked a little bit about Conan and about the way things ended for him, etc. We talked about New York and California, traveling and school. He mentioned his wife and son. Anyway, it was fun. My favorite part of our conversation was when he said I must've started watching Late Night with Conan when I was pretty young. I told him I must've been in high school, which was in the mid 90s and that I just turned 31 this month. He then said, "Oh, okay. You're older than I thought you were". To that, I told him, "Thank you!"

No, it wasn't Brad Pitt or Tom Hanks, but it was fun to spot these guys out and about. It kinda makes me realize that people are just out there, doing their jobs and living life. At least, these guys get to do that without all the cameras and press in their faces.

Monday, March 21, 2011


After a long, snowy winter, I'm excited to exclaim that it's officially Spring! See?!

The tulips and other plants are popping up from the earth. It's a beautiful sight to behold.

Enter rainy season. Now if I could just find rain boots that don't rub against my feet! Yep, the striped ones are going back. My stupid feet and their sensitivities.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rested and Relaxed

Well, the last Spring Break of my life is over. I am quite satisfied with it, as it has felt exceptionally long. I feel like I haven't been to work in a month! I did have those two classes, so I can't say the same for school, but honestly, a break from my internship was what I really needed. It's hard to stay motivated doing really hard work when not being paid for it. I should want to help people out of the goodness of my heart, and I can say that I have really gone the extra mile quite often in my non-paid internship--I realize that I'm there to gain the experience and am grateful for it. But anyway, it was a great week off and I feel rejuvenated.

Friday was the most gorgeous day ever. It was almost 70 degrees. I babysat and we went to a playground in Central Park. Here's adorable Ava:

I love her! I can't believe I didn't take any of Brandon. I'm not playing favorites, I promise. It is the age, though. I must say between one and two years is my fav.

Afterward I went around the shops in the area and found a gem in a thrift store:

How could anyone give this away?!? I actually saw the album "Ten", Pearl Jam's first album, as well! Unbelievable. And then, my eyes saw this and I purchased without hesitation:

This movie is one of the main memories I have of when my sisters, cousins, and I would spend the night at my grandma and grandpa Koch's house! "Flash! Aaaaaaaah!" Oh yes. I can't wait to watch this. There IS a VHS player in my apartment. And to close my week I went 80s dancing with some friends at a club called The Pyramid. I'm rarely in the mood to go dancing--I don't know why. But when I do go, I'm always glad I did. It was a lot of fun. Good people and good music = good times.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Stay in All Day Day

I didn't exactly where green today. I stayed home and relaxed, then did some homework, then babysat tonight. Yes, there was parade festivities I missed out on and parties elsewhere, but that's okay. I saw the parade here in New York last year when my mom and sister were here visiting. I also saw it when I was visited NYC for my first time ever in 2001. The parade here is the longest running St. Patty's parade in history! It first began in 1762. That's before the Declaration of Independence was even signed! Crazy.

And I don't mean to be sacrilegious with the title of this post. I think any holiday that celebrates the arrival of Christianity to any country is worth a day of recognition. Most of what I see happen on March 17th (or March 12th if you're in Philadelphia) is people wearing green and getting drunk and not thinking of any saint at all.
Pardon the foul language above, but I think I've made my point.

Day 3 of Spring Break Was A-Okay

I went to day two (and the last) of my mini course, "Outcome Management". To be honest, today was tougher to sit through than yesterday. I was so bored after the halfway point and it showed. I started doodling in the margins of my notes, which is always a sure sign I've checked out. While I believe that good management makes a big impact on the outcome of program services, I just don't have the brain for management thinking. I told the class (of 6 students and 1 professor), I'm weird because I'd rather be told what to do than to tell others what to do. Give me a task and I'll get it done, but don't ask me how to tell someone else how to do something. That's just the way I am, and I don't mind.

After class, I went to DSW to use my $5 off birthday coupon! I've been in desperate need of new rain boots--ones that actually fit me and don't leak! So, behold!
They're adorable and thanks to Megan for helping me decide between two designs via picture text!

I babysat some adorable kids tonight after shopping. One is only four months old. Feeding him a bottle and wrapping him in a blanket made me super excited to hold my new nephews! Ugh! I can't wait. But, this has to happen, first:

I got this in the mail today. Eeeek! I can't believe it. I also can't believe this:

Only in New York are there New York City-themed paper goods.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Feel So Wicked

My last ever Spring Break is off to a grand start! I slept in Monday and stayed in all day, did laundry, watched "Pride and Prejudice". I don't know what it is about that movie, but it makes me want love, even though the characters, Lizzie (aka: me) and Mr. Darcy (aka: the man I've yet to meet), have quite the rocky start. He's proud and she's prejudice. Pride and prejudice! A genius title.

Then, today I had day one of a two-day mini class I signed up for as an elective (during Spring Break?! I know, it is kinda crazy). It wasn't so bad. I was there at 10 am and out by 3:30 pm and onto Times Square to try and win tickets to see "Wicked". And guess what?! It worked!
Well, technically, my friend Veronica won tickets. Her name got drawn and I got to benefit from it! I put up a Facebook post, asking if anyone wanted to join me to up the odds of winning, and Veronica literally upped the odds BY winning! Amazing. The show was amazing. The seats we had were amazing, as were the costumes, music, singing, acting, the set, etc. All wonderfully amazing. I'm so happy I finally saw that show. To make the night even greater, we got dinner beforehand at this place called Juniors that is know for its cheesecake. We got burgers and fries that came with the largest onion rings I've ever seen. And then, of course, we shared a cheesecake. It was the best cheesecake I think I've ever had. What a fantastic night! And all that for under 50 bucks!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spontaneous Road Trips Are Fun

Those who know me well know I have the tendency to be spontaneous in life. When I was 20 years old, I decided to move to California and within two months I was there. Same with Utah--decided to move, was there a month later. Road trips happen quickly, too. And last weekend was just that. I heard my friend was going to Philadelphia, inquired about it, and she told me to come along! So, I did. And it was awesome. I had no idea that Philadelphia was only two hours away by bus. If I had know that, I would've gone long ago, I think. I only went for one night and a day, because I was speaking in church the next day. Still, it was really fun. There was definitely more I could've done and seen, but it actually was a perfect day and a half trip. I loved getting out of NYC and into a smaller, cleaner city for a change. I can check Philly off my list of major cities, now. See below for evidence of what I saw and did:

First place I saw was good ol' TJ's. I stopped in and bought a toothbrush. Second stop, Jim's Steaks for a cheesesteak sandwich!Third stop, a place listed as a "chocolate bar" called Golosa. Yes, please! The hot chocolate and desserts here were amazing. The owner is an award-winning chocolatier and this is the only shop in the whole country that has his chocolates.
I ordered flower tea and a biscotti cookie sampler that was priced as one item on the menu. Only $6.75! I love non-New York prices! And look at this presentation! Adorable.This is the hostel we stayed in, called Chamounix Mansion:It used to be an old mansion with amazing common rooms, like this oneAnd this was outside the room we stayed in. A nice touch, right?
Breakfast at this place called Green Eggs Cafe was amazing. I ordered an item called the "Kitchen Sink". It was a delicious conglomerate of eggs, cheese, potatoes, red and green peppers, onions, with fresh biscuits and gravy on top. It was so good! And so much food! First stop after breakfast, Philadelphia Museum of Art! Yes, that is a statue of Rocky outside, since here is where he ran up the steps. True story. Rocky is real.Saw some awesome paintings, like this one.Next stop, the Eastern State Penitentiary. This place was massive and a little bit creepy. It closed down in the early 70s and was just abandoned, left to deteriorate. Below is the cell that Al Capone was kept in for a short time.Apparently, he was treated like royalty, since he was a famous criminal.This is "Death Row".
I have a ton more pictures, but this will do. It was an excellent trip with two awesome people, and I'm so glad I went. Where to next?!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Consumers, Don't Be Fooled

This kind of stuff makes me so mad.
These two items cost the same. You would think the one that looks bigger would have more material. Think again! That massive package on the right is HALF of what is on the left. HALF! I'm onto you Oral B. Slap the word "Ultra" on a product and make the package bigger and sucker those people into thinking they're getting a great deal. Whatever. Glide is better anyway. Seriously. Have you TRIED their Deep Clean floss?! It will change your life!

Older and Wiser

I had a fantastic birthday week last week. I spent it eating good food and hanging out with great people. That's all anyone needs in life, right?? Basically. I went to see "Driving Miss Daisy" on Broadway
starring James Earl Jones!!

It was really cool to see him live and in action. He was excellent, of course. I'm glad I saw that play now, because it's ending soon. And also, he's getting pretty old! I'll always love that Darth Vader voice of his.

On an older and wiser note, I feel like I have learned a lot about myself these nearly two years in New York, things I like about myself and things I don't like. One thing i don't like is that the older I get, the more overwhelmed I feel about life. Not good, right? Well, let's just say that's normal. More life means more responsibility. And more responsibility means more stress. I guess it's the way I learn to handle that stress that matters.
Cheese fries, anyone??

Friday, March 4, 2011

Have I Mentioned Life is Hard?

The first few months to 2011 have been a little bit unreal. I'm realizing that I'm at the age where major life changes are happening all around me, ALL the time. Babies upon babies are being born to my family and friends, and death is taking its toll on my loved ones, too. My best friend's dad passed away yesterday. We have been talking over the last week or so about him, and she has kept me posted about his progress. He battled cancer multiple times, among other ailments throughout his life, and this time what the doctors tried in order to help him just wasn't working. My heart aches for her and her family, and the hardest part is being so far away from them at such a time (I love you, Megan). Not that I could do anything to change how they feel, but just being able to be present and sit with loved ones in times of mourning is a good thing.

I was homesick before, but now, after all that has been going on at home, the homesickness is escalating. And the fact that I'm so close now to actually moving back to Las Vegas, it's even worse, which is ironic. I know it's coming, so it makes it harder to hold out till the end. I can do it, though. Besides, I don't have a choice.

I've been asked to speak in church in a few weeks, and the topic couldn't be more fitting for me right now--"priorities in our lives". With everything going on at home, I think it's obvious of what my focus is going to be. That, and I think it's a subtle hint from God that I could use some review on the subject and apply it to my own life. An article was shared with me to use when preparing my talk, and I thought I'd share it

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On This Day...

...I was born!!! Today is the day I entered the world, a mere 31 years ago. Time flies when you're having fun! Seriously, my life has been pretty stinkin' good, so far. I know I've complained PLENTY over the years, but I cannot deny what I've been given. It is much. Very, very much.

So far today, I got to sleep in a little bit and wake up at my favorite time to wake up (9 am). Bliss! Then, I ate a delicious homemade sandwich with some of my favorite things on it--rosemary ham, avocado, tomato, provolone cheese--with my favorite chips (Sun Chips Original) and carrots and celery. Next, I get to be a part of a mom and a baby reuniting for good.

Tonight, it's on to the Shake Shack for my favorite hamburger and fries in the city!
I heard they give out a free custard on your birthday!! Free ice cream, here I come!

Like I said, life is good.:)

So, I went to Shake Shack and this was their featured menu today!

Banana Bread-flavored custard?!!? I thought I was dreaming. A few sweet friends bought me a big scoop of it and we devoured it! Delish!!!

I also wanted to point out, I didn't have to wait for a single bus or subway today! They all were arriving just as I did! Seriously a birthday miracle and gift. Made my day.

And last, but not least, my Netflix arrived in the mail today and it's "Daria," the animated show that was on MTV in the late 90s!
I loved this show! I watched the first episode. So good.

A roommate surprised me with a card and a movie theater gift card and another roommate bought me a cake and candles! Like I said, I live a good life. I can go to sleep thoroughly satisfied.