Category: Random

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

dragons loyaltyToday I have been given an award tag by a fellow blogger I have enjoyed following.  She is a teenage blogger named Natalie who blogs about Disney and makeup on her blog Disney Freak with a Bit of Mascara and does a great job with it. You would never know that she is so young by her writing.

She even delights in pointing out the flaws in my favorite Disney movies like Little Mermaid and Frozen. LOL. It’s all in good fun and she does a good job stating her opinion in a thoughtful and coherent way. And she’s always respectful of people who think differently which is a great attribute in a young person (I sound like I’m 150!).

Everyone check out her blog and give her some more followers.

Anyway, she has tagged me and it is a pretty simple one.  Here’s the steps.

1.Thank the person who nominated you for this award.

2.Include the award logo.

3.State seven facts about yourself.

4.Nominate a few other bloggers.

As far as facts about myself you guys know everything there is to know about me.  So most of this is a review to my regular readers but I hope you enjoy it.

7 Facts About Me

  1. I have a lazy eye and have had surgery twice to help correct it.  Read here Strabismus
  2. I served my LDS Mission in Indianapolis, Indiana and it was a grueling but incredibly valuable experience.   They are getting a temple this month!!  So excited.
  3. This weekend will be my 10th finish in an open water swim race. (assuming I finish of course).  The last one I finished was Bear Lake Monster Swim
  4. My cousins and I love playing board games especially scrabble, boggle and bingo.
  5. 3 of my cousins closest to me in age have passed away. (That’s a sad fact but true).
  6. I graduated with my MBA in 2008 from University of Phoenix and it was a very proud moment for me.
  7. I’ve never been kissed and I’m 34.  Not ashamed just the way life has worked out. I’m happy with who I am.
  8. Lastly I currently have 2 blogs, a youtube channel, pinterest, periscope, snapchat, twitter, facebook, and more.  It’s madness but I love it!!! :

I always struggle with these kind of tags or nominations because I don’t want people to feel like they have to do it.  They seem kind of like a chain letter but I have fun doing it so hopefully others do as well.

I nominate

Animation Curration- http://theanimationcuration.com/

Swanpride (she’s never done anything like this on her blog but I would be genuinely curious to learn more about her.  Nevertheless check out her great feminist media blog) https://swanpride.wordpress.com/

HopeforHeather who faces a crippling chronic illness but has great strength.  Definitely worth checking out her blog https://hopeforheather.wordpress.com

Veronica’s Cornucopia-  She does the cookie swap I participate in each year and is an awesome blogger and Mom. http://veronicascornucopia.com/

The Simple Things- does a lot of travel and other updates and is a delight to read.  Check out her blog if you are in the mood for a pick-me-up https://jessicarlin.wordpress.com/

There you go.  That’s good for the moment.  Thanks for the nomination and love all of you.  If anyone wants to do the post feel free even if I haven’t nominated you directly.

The Oddness of Modern Community

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned on this blog I am going to be in New York next week! On Tuesday night I am taking the red eye to the Big Apple and going to be visiting until Saturday!  I am so excited because I love New York, get some time off work, see a show, visit with my sister and meet up with a bunch of friends I’ve never met before in real life.

Let me explain that last one for a second.  It’s an interesting situation.  You guys know I like the show Survivor.  I find it fascinating to look at the choices men and women make in the game and how every game is different with a different style of win (except for Sandra who won twice).  It’s now going into Season 30 and we have a very promising season with a lot of super fans after season 29 was a super snoozefest.

I would say I was a big fan at the beginning of Survivor and then picked it up again in spurts when there was a Utahn on the show and then with Heroes vs Villains I started watching again regularly.  I missed One World and Philippines but got the rest of the seasons but nobody I know is into the show, which is frustrating because it is the kind of show you want to talk about with others. 
In fact, I miss the social aspect of movies and TV.  In my 20s it was quite common for me to gather with friends and watch American Idol, Survivor, Lost or The Office.  Now that never happens.  Same thing for movies.  Most movies I go to by myself these days.

But around Season 26: Survivor Caramoan I stumbled on a podcast where former Survivors Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach were talking about the show each week and I loved it!  A lot of people don’t care for Caramoan but I love Dawn and Cochran and it was my introduction to the podcast and the Rob Has a Podcast Planet.

I think someone could enjoy Rob’s podcast even if they didn’t watch any of his shows.  Kind of like I enjoy Car Talk and I hate cars.  Rob’s just so personal, funny and engaging.  Plus, it was so much fun to get involved on the chatroom and talk about the episode.  Again, it reminded me of those times in college when media was a group experience.

Well last year Rob made a proposal to his little planet that if we would support his podcast for .25 cents an episode he would give a monthly patroncast where we could ask questions and set up a patron group to further discuss the show.  Wanting to support Rob I decided to become a patron and so I joined the facebook group at the same time.  I believe I was in the first 100 patrons in the group.  Now I don’t know how many hundreds of us there are but it is an active vibrant group with patrons from all around the world.

rhapWe even did a secret Santa last Christmas where I came up with a gift for a woman named Ana from Brazil and I received maple syrup and some bacon bowl makers from a patron named Rebekkah from Canada!  Each week we talk about whatever reality show is on (Big Brother, Amazing Race and Survivor being the big 3) but also scripted shows, movies and occasionally other silly news.  There have been a few cantankerous souls in the group and some people are too sensitive about spoilers IMO but for the most part its been great!

It sounds crazy but I really feel like it is a community of friends and it seems amazing to me something as silly as a podcast about reality TV could bring people together in a community.  It shows it really doesn’t take much to gather people together, especially in the world of social media and the internet.  But I think even in real interaction if you can find something you have in common with another person, it can be the silliest thing and yet that is enough to start a friendship and get people talking.  I’ve seen it a 100 times that a shared love of dolls, books, Judy Garland, musicals, whatever it is, it’s all it takes to get the ball rolling and create a relationship.  Get enough of those balls rolling and you have a community. Kind of amazing!

I’ve seen it with my open water swimming- how a love of the water and being outdoors brings people who have little to nothing else in common together and fast friendships are formed.  It seems to me sometimes all it takes is finding that one thing you have in common with someone, no matter how stupid, and you can make it work.

Anyway, when Rob announced they were doing a live podcast in New York on March 11th I initially dismissed it.  Who flies across the country after all to listen to a podcast?  That’s crazy talk!

But then the rest of the community kept talking about it and it sounded like so much fun. A few weeks ago I decided to look at plane flights just out of curiosity and to my surprise they weren’t half bad, and then I found a hotel which was reasonable and in a safe neighborhood.  The idea kept germinating and I finally said

“What the heck!  Why not! I’m a super predictable person and for once I’m going to do something strange and fly across the country for a podcast!”

So I got my ticket and it turns out my sister is going to come down the day after the show and we are going to spend a couple days in New York together!  It should be a ton of fun!

There is a side of me which still thinks I am nuts for going to a podcast and meeting strangers but another side is really excited (and nervous) to meet all these people I’ve interacted with over the last year.  I’ve heard their voice when they call into the podcast.  I’ve read their posts, sometimes surprisingly personal and I feel like they are friends.  I really do.

I just hope it is a good experience and people aren’t too rowdy.  I normally don’t go to places like bars or comedy clubs but it is 300 people and the girl I am sitting with doesn’t drink and there are other dry members of the group so it should be good.

I love being a part of this strange modern community so I hope it is a lot of fun.  At the very least it will be something new and different and that is a good thing.

(Plus I get to meet a whole bunch of famous Survivor contestants which I am very excited about!!!).

Have you ever been a part of a community that was unusual or strange?  Maybe played bunco with girlfriends for years or have a group of online chess players or something like that?  I’d love to hear about your experience.  Do you agree sometimes all it takes is finding the one thing you have in common with another person and a friendship can be built?

Well, I look forward to sharing the week with all of you.  Take care!

Why I Am Jealous of Introverts

introverts2

Any reader to this blog knows I am an extrovert. I think anyone who shares their life online is pretty extroverted but in some ways I am jealous of my introverted friends and family (who occasionally make me crazy with their introverted ways!).

1. I’m jealous of introverts following, not leading

It would be so nice not be expected to lead all the time.  Extroverts are often turned to for leadership and most of the time it is ok because we are the most outspoken about how we want things done. But sometimes it can be exhausting and I just want to be a follower.

Perfect example is in my new Midsingles committee.  There are a 11 stakes involved and who ended up leading discussions- me.  I was up front trying to corral everyone’s thoughts and write them on the board, trying to make the meeting run as smoothly as possible and we only went over by 10 minutes.

There was a side of me that was exhausted but a little exhilarated after because it was a challenge leading the meeting.  There was another side who wished I could have just sat in a corner and written down what I had to do and be done with it.  But then who would lead the meeting?

In this case I don’t know if there was anyone who could have led the meeting and I was happy to do it but I do envy how little introverts have to lead others. It’s hard being in charge!

introvertextrovert-by-boris-pramatarov2. I also envy introverts lack of a need for social interactions.

If I am not actively meeting new people,  making friends, spending time with friends, I get depressed.  My introverted friends can have an evening out with the hubby or a friend once a month and be fine. The older I get the harder it is to get together with friends and sometimes I wish I could turn the part of my brain which needs it off and be happy regardless.

That said, I do a great many things alone and am comfortable with it but it is never my preference; whereas, introverts may often prefer to be alone.

3. I envy how much work people must do to get to know an introvert

On the same breath I think sometimes introverts have different relationships than extroverts.  Because they are usually quiet and more reserved it takes more effort to get to know them; thereby, making the friendships they do achieve very meaningful and important.

My friends mean everything to me but as an extrovert I am extremely easy to get to know.  I literally have no secrets with the world and I think that is a good thing; however, it can lead to me investing more in friendships than others and being disappointed when people flake or aren’t as serious about the friendship as I am.

Introverts-or-Extroverts34. I’m envious of the way introverts learn and study.

There are all kinds of stereotypes which go along with being an introvert or extrovert, but one of the most prevailing is that introverts are more academic and smarter than extroverts.  There is probably some truth to this notion because introverts are more likely to read and do other solitary academic activities.

The challenge can be as an extrovert I need to express my thoughts on subjects in order for me to finish out my thinking.  This can be seen as combative or challenging to introverts who don’t want to debate topics especially in a group.  Groups can be frustrating because I am always asked to lead but it is the best way for me to actually learn most topics.  I can read something by myself 4 or 5 times and not get it but then have a discussion with a friend and pick up right away.  I guess I’m envious of the brain which doesn’t need the social component to learn if that makes sense.

I mean how many brilliant people have been extroverts? Not many…

5. I am envious of an introverts ability to listen

Because introverts are typically more soft-spoken and quiet (at least in groups) they tend to be good listeners.  Sometimes I can get frustrated at them not expressing their opinions or sharing their thoughts with me.  It can feel closed off, even dishonest, when they are probably listening, pondering and formulating opinions by themselves.

While I may be formulating my opinion while they are talking, waiting to express it, introverts are usually listening to what I am saying and then communicating carefully what they feel and think.  There’s something great about that which I have worked on over the years but will never be my top attribute.

Listening takes focus for me and I have learned to bite my tongue and let everyone share.  But it’s hard for me so I envy those who just want to listen.

chickenextravert6. I envy an introverts peacemaking skills.

Jesus said ‘the meek shall inherit the earth”. Why does He speak so highly of the meek introverts? I think it is their peacekeeping skills that help calm down us extroverts.  I get passionate and excited about a variety of topics and it is my introverted friends who pull me down from the ledge and get me to see both sides, even when I really don’t want too.

Sometimes introverts can frustrate me because they seem to not have opinions on anything.  It’s so hard to know what they like or dislike, or where they stand on key issues.  However, often it is the introverts who see the middle ground, the compromise, and I am able to let go of my pride and concede at least a few points.

In the end we are who we are and we can’t change that.  We can work with it and tweak it but our core personality is always with us.  We all have different gifts and can learn from each other. All of these introverted traits I try to apply as much as I can in my life without it stifling who I am. And I am sure introverts have a list of reasons they are jealous of extroverts.

Thankfully we can all learn from each other, be patient and get along no matter what ‘vert’ we are.

My Top 10 Favorite People

bestofbest

Just kidding…

I wanted to start this post off with a crazy title because I want to talk about our societies seemingly insatiable need to quantify and rank everything.  Why do we do that? Why can’t we just enjoy something for what it is instead of wondering if it is better than something else?

If you don’t think it is a problem check out watchmojo.com.  They have lists for everything and when I say everything I mean everything.  Like here is their list of the Top 10 Ruthless Dictators (this is wrong on so many levels).

They also have a Top 10 Infamous Mass Shootings and a Top 10 Worst Humans of All Time. Why? Why does such a thing need to exist and what does it say about human nature that it does? I think we feel an innate need to make order out of chaos and somehow ranking everything makes us make sense of what we don’t understand.  But I think just because it is a natural impulse does not necessarily mean it is good.

Why would we never rank the people we love? Why do most people refuse to admit they have a favorite kid? Well because we love them all in different ways.  The things I love about my Dad are so different than my Mom that ranking one above another is completely impossible.

The more I’ve thought about it I think that is the case with almost all rankings (or hate them all equally depending on the list!). I always want to have about 10 ties because I like things the same or I appreciate different things in different ways.

I first thought about this when I was ranking the Disney Canon for my Disney blog. I’m happy with my list.  It is fairly accurate of my feelings but I am also a little frustrated with it.  A lot of people were upset with me having The Lion King at 13 and I was upset too because I love that movie. Same with Aladdin which got pushed down to 19!

My rationale was Lion King humor is a little annoying and a few of the songs are a little corny but it’s great.  I love it.  It has a fantastic villain, amazing artistry and a story that pulls at my heartstrings.  Aladdin was 20 simply because I think the 18 other films are more artistically special but I love Aladdin so it’s very frustrating.

In a way it is kind of silly to compare the movies.  I mean there isn’t much in common between Fantasia and Aladdin aside from being animated movies and yet there I was comparing them.  Why? Because I felt I had to make a list after watching all 54 films. I felt my readers wanted it and I felt a need to do it myself as a conclusion of the project.

I’ve also seen this list making tendencies in my Survivor forum that I’m a part of.  People are constantly wanting to rank Survivor winners, contestants, and seasons. The great thing about Survivor is no two winners are the same (except for Sandra who won twice!).  Meaning each one has used a different strategy and won in a different way, so ranking them becomes kind of futile.

I guarantee you if I were to make a ranking of winners there would be people who would be upset with me for putting so and so too high, and so and so too low.  People would debate it for hours and not the pleasant kind of debate (at least IMO).  The kind of debate that is exhausting.

Just like I was left frustrated at Aladdin at 19 I am sure I would be frustrated with a winner I love not being high enough on my own list!

I prefer lists that are in no particular order and just a bunch of things I like but even those can be frustrating because I invariably forget to include something. Like the other day I made a list of my favorite Disney sidekicks and going into it was going to put Sgt Tibbs from 101 Dalmatians and I completely forgot about him!

What do you think about this tendency of our society to quantify, list and rank everything?  Do you like it or are you sick of it like I am? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section.  Thanks!

Strangers

stranger2All right kids let’s gather round and talk about strangers.  Oh what a spooky sounding word.  2 blogs, facebook, twitter and a youtube channel should tell you something about my comfort level with strangers.  To me a stranger is just someone you haven’t met yet.

There are several things that got me thinking about the topic of strangers.  The main thing is nearly every woman I have told about the cookie swap in person has asked ‘you ate them? Aren’t you afraid of pot brownies and razor blades?’  They all say pot brownies and razor blades which I find funny because if you saw the cute men and women on the cookie swap facebook page it’s the last thing you would guess.

Let me just say this to assuage anyone’s fears.  Pot is expensive and I don’t think the average weed enthusiast is going to be mailing off their prize to total strangers especially when they are bloggers who have a reputation to keep up.  The likelihood of that happening is about a million to one.

I would have a better chance of someone mailing me a $100 bill than pot brownies and razor blades.  The razor blades come from old urban legends about razor blades in apples at Halloween.  Well as far as I’ve read there is no proof that such a thing happened even once let alone a regular occurrence amongst the cookie makers of America.

So why do we have this irrational fear of strangers? If you ask most people ‘are men and women really good at heart?’.  Most people would say yes (except the cynics and they aren’t likely to be baking cookies for a swap…).  So why is it that we immediately jump to the worst of worst case scenarios? I’ve seen this so many times in my life.

For example, when I built my basement apartment I heard every horror story about creeps, weirdos and nuisances destroying apartments.  Aside from my Dad, who was all for the idea (he claims it was his idea which is not true! I wanted an income property way back), most people thought I was nuts.  In reality it has been one of the best experiences of my life.  I have met truly wonderful people and been able to have help with my mortgage and provide a home for 3 great couples.

It puzzles me…

The other experience that made me think of this was actually a negative one.  You guys know I love The Messiah and go to a Messiah Sing-in every Christmas.  Well, this year I decided to go to the one at Abravanal Hall because I was in town for Thanksgiving.

My friend got sick and cancelled on me at the last minute and I wasn’t able to find anyone to replace her but off I went by myself.  When I got downtown I decided to park at the Marriott because City Center was closed.

When I entered the elevator I saw an old man with a veterans hat on.  We started talking and I assumed he was a guest at the hotel.  I told him I was going to the concert and he sounded interested.  So without really thinking it through I said ‘do you want my extra ticket?  It is just going to go to waste.’.

To my surprise he jumped at the chance and as I rushed out of the hotel to make the beginning of the concert I heard him say ‘great you can be my date…’.  Oh no, I thought to myself.  This could get weird.  Unfortunately he caught up to me rather quickly because I have my knee injury (not at 100% yet but improving).  Well, it turned out he was just parking at the hotel like me and it became clear very quickly he saw this as a date and unfortunately the tickets were sitting next to each other.

When we got to the symphony we had to wait to get in and a man made a huge stink over having to wait (it was so uncomfortable).  I would have just left but I knew he would follow me out so why not hear the beautiful music? So we go in and the concert was so awkward.  He tried to put his hand on my back on several occasions and I am not a touchy feely person at all.  Do not touch my back on a first date or whatever this was (take notes boys!).

He talked the talk of a Mormon man but then he mentioned his divorced wife and a few things he said made me squirm.  I told him very little about myself but just enough for him to know of my standards (no personal information).  So the concert finally ended and I left and thankfully he had to get his coat from the coat check.  I told him ‘It was nice to meet you but I’ve got to go’.  And then he said ‘but wait we can go get drinks’.

Can you believe he asked me to get drinks?  He also claimed he was good at guessing ages and then guessed I was 41…So obviously not so good.  I said no thank you and bolted out of there as fast as my poor knee would let me.  (I was sore for about 2 days afterwards but a girls got to do what a girls got to do).  Honestly he was probably harmless but I’ve learned in my life when you get that feeling follow it and get out of the situation as fast as you can.

So, that was a very upsetting situation but what do I as a woman and person to process it?  Do I let that stifle my nature and make me nervous about eating cookies from strangers?  Heck no. After all, I knew what to do and I did it.

The Lord or your conscience or whatever you want to call it helps us know what risks are worth taking in life.  In my experience, 99% of the time people astound me with their kindness, goodness and insight.   Perhaps next time I’m in an elevator I’ll take a moment to say a silent prayer and be cognizant of what God is trying to tell me before blurting out offers but I’m not going to let it frighten me.

stranger

Now we of course teach children to be afraid of strangers but maybe we teach the lesson too well? Parenting is another whole ball of wax I won’t try to dive into but I just know for me whether it is cookies or a comment on a blog I’ve written strangers have benefited my life.  With a little bit of common sense and calculable risk taking it is a huge blessing in my life and I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.

I guess what I am trying to say is look at the actual risks of a situation and not let an extremely rare circumstance stop you from interacting with the world.  Maybe stranger danger has been taken too far?  It’s just cookies after all.  No razor blades or pot (at least to my knowledge…I wouldn’t know what it tasted like anyway. Ha).

Sorry for rambling a bit but just something on my mind.  I love people and really do think a stranger is a just a friend I haven’t made yet in 99.9% of the time.

Trees, Turkey, Meals and Lights

Hi guys!  I just wanted to give you a little update on my life.

Well to begin with Christmas has arrived. Got the lights and the tree up!

lightswindowThis year I rented my Christmas tree which is a completely brilliant notion.  Instead of having to store a giant tree all year and lug it out, decorate it by myself, I signed up and for the price of a house cleaning it is set up, stored, decorated and taken down at end of season.

treeAs some of you will remember from years past I have a memory tree with ornaments from travels and all other parts of my life.  I also have little picture frames that have black and white photography of my friends and family, which is especially nice this year as I will not be seeing family and my best friend Emily is away.

I have a few new ornaments to add to the tree.  Some I got in Tampa and these fun Disney ornaments to pay tribute to my Disney project and blog this year.

disney ornamentIn other news Thanksgiving has been a lot of fun.  I went to my aunt and uncle’s for dinner and it was a full house of cousins and relatives.  I was in charge of making the salad and it turned out pretty tasty.

—————————————————————-

And now a little recipe.

saladArugula Salad with Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Dressing

Arugula

pomegranate pips  (put pomegranate under water and it makes it easy to de-seed)

butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced into 1 inch cubes

parmesean cheese

walnuts

cranberries

apple cider

apple cider vinegar

olive oil

shallots finely diced

digon mustard

maple syrup

Start with butternut squash on baking sheets with olive oil and maple syrup. Put in 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until the cubes are tender but crusted on outside.  While cooking mix 2 tbsp vinegar, 3/4 cup cider, 2 tbsp syrup, 2 tbsp shallots in saucepan.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until mixture has thickened.  Then add1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp mustard, 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Put in jar and shake until mustard is emulsified.  I added a little water because my vinegar was strong.  If you like it sweeter add more syrup . If you want more mustard go for it!

I used a cranberry walnut mixture I bought at the store but if you don’t have that then I would roast the walnuts before.

When serving add arugula, butternut squash, walnuts, cranberries, pomegranate pips, parmesean shavings.  Add all ingredients and top with dressing and serve!

———————————————-

Since I wasn’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner I decided to order one from my local market, Harmons, so I could have some leftovers!  It was pretty cool I got everything from a full turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and 2 pies for $100.  Pretty cool right?

So I portioned it all into meals and have them ready in my chest freezer for many holiday meals to come! Pretty clever right?

dinner dinners

So that’s my little holiday update. I hope you are all doing great and having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Make sure to check out Scrooge month on my other blog.  I’m having a blast watching and writing about these films of the story I love so much. I just posted yesterday about the Alistair Sims classic and today on the Disney stop motion effort.

Something to Talk About

calvin_and_hobbes_phone_fun21

So yesterday my friend called me with some exciting news.  I listened and couldn’t have been more thrilled for her success and I told her that.

“that’s so great! Congratulations” I said in a few different variations as she told me the news.  That took a few minutes or two and then we both kind of sat on the phone for a few seconds neither really knowing what to say.  Then I came up with a few follow up questions and we chatted and she went on to tell the news to everyone else.

Contrast that to a call I had with the same person where I was telling her all about Big Hero 6 and then we talked about movies, her kids, Halloween and everything else. We talked for over an hour about silly stuff without any trouble.

Isn’t that weird?  I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days and I find it a very odd phenomenon. Why when someone has something genuinely exciting in their life do we have nothing to say and yet we can talk for hours about stuff that is fun but doesn’t really matter?

I think part of it is with big news there really isn’t room for discussion.  It is just kind of happening and it is either wonderful or sad.  You genuinely express the appropriate emotion and then what do you discuss?  I feel this is particularly true with a baby announcement.  Someone says ‘I’m pregnant’ and you say ‘Congratulations.  That’s so wonderful’. What to say next after you learn the due date?

The only thing I can think of is to ask about her health “How have you been feeling?” or “when do you find out the sex of the baby?”.  But there isn’t really a discussion.  Maybe if you got into broader topics like parenting there would be discussion.

A wedding is different because there are so many follow up questions.  “How did he propose?” “When are you getting married?” “Where?” “Colors, dress etc”.

I guess not every phone call needs to be a discussion I was simply surprised to see I had so little to say about big news and so much about a movie I’d seen.

It makes me wonder how much of my life is spent talking about silly things? But I guess as long as people I’m talking to are happy that’s what matters.  It’s a funny thing we do though. Don’t you think?