Month: January 2010

Music Galore II

It is no secret that I am a huge music fan.  In fact, one of my most popular posts is called Music Galore.  As this was written in 2008 I thought the subject was worthy another entry.  While my favorite music groups has not changed since that entry, I have been introduced to some new artists and sampled some great albums.

1. Let me start off with my current favorite album.  It is by one of my top ten artists- Michael Buble.  His album Crazy Love is appropriately titled because I am crazy in love with it.  Particularly all of the bubbly, happy songs like this one.

2. I love Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor but I’ve recently posted about both of them.  Another recent cd that I love is Norah Jones new album The Fall.  She has continued with her streak of smooth, cool songs that are great for everything from work to car trips.  This is my favorite of the new songs.

3. I can’t do an entry on new music without mentioning the glory of Glee.  I am in serious withdrawals waiting until April for my next fix!  I’ve got the entire season on my DVR and I intend on keeping it there until April.  I just love it! Glee combines my love of music, theater and even television.  The only thing I didn’t like from this season was the fake pregnancy storyline.  It seemed too far-fetched for anyone to believe.  Some of the plot is contrived and obvious but the music and cast chemistry make up for any problems. I hope in the upcoming season they give a song to the deliciously evil Coach Sue Silvester (hilarious!).  I think Poor Unfortunate Souls or perhaps Before He Cheats would be funny.

4. Finally, I’d like to promote a new artist that I am enjoying who is local to Utah- Benton Paul.  Last year I saw him with David Archuleta and I loved his performance.  He has just put out his second album and both the vocals and song-writing are strong. Recently he has been featured on a few tv shows and one of his songs was covered by Joe Jonas.  Aside from his weird name, he is quite the talent!

 

That’s all I can think of at the moment.  I will update again soon.  Enjoy the music.

Things I Like About President Obama

My  readers will probably be stunned to read this title of my post.  Clearly I am not a fan of most of the President’s policies and opinions.  I think the bailouts, TARP and the budget have been financial disasters.  I also have concerns with his views on abortion, health care, the environment, and other issues.   Still, with today being nearly a year after the inauguration  it seemed appropriate to mention a few things I admire about President Obama.

1.  I admire his life story.  I’ve read his book Dreams of my Father and found it very moving.  It is amazing that the son of a single mother and an absent father from Hawaii has made it to the Presidency.  Just the determination he showed to gain an elite education and a law degree would be impressive on its own, let alone becoming senator and then president.  Notice I didn’t mention his race as a point of praise.

Of course it goes without saying that his election as the first African-American president is a tremendous moment for our country. I was just reading a book about the Jim Crow South and find it amazing that things could be so different between 1950’s and today.  It gives a girl cause to hope for good things to come in the future.

Another aspect of his life story that I appreciate is his diversity.  Growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia has given him a real-life understanding of the world, and the way many foreigners view America.  While I am nervous about his views on global governance, I do think Obama’s worldview is helpful and admirable.

2. I admire his family.  From all I can gather he seems like a loving husband and father. He has frequently expressed his love for Michelle and the girls, which I love to hear. I think it is a good thing that the Obama’s have been out on a few dates as President and First Lady.  It sets a good example for other American couples.

President Obama has also came out in support of marriage to the chagrin of many liberal followers.  In the 2008 Presidential questionnaire he said:

“I do not support gay marriage. Marriage has religious and social connotations, and I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman.”

It would be easy for a man abandoned as a boy to repeat the destructive patterns of his father.  I admire that President Obama chose to be a transitional character and be a good father and husband.

One of my favorite quotes of his is about the family:

How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities.

But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child–it’s the courage to raise one.

3. I agree with his views on immigration.  I know this is a hotly debated issue but it is one I tend to differ from Republicans on.  I feel our current system is too difficult (my sister-in law was from Canada and it took her a year to get a greencard after marrying my brother and she had an attorney).  There are many hard-working, good people that deserve a shot at the American Dream.  If you look at the history of immigration in this country, the immigrants have always proven the doubters wrong.  They have always been a benefit to our country.  President Obama shares this view:

“For all the noise and anger that too often surrounds the immigration debate, America has nothing to fear from today’s immigrants. They have come here for the same reason that families have always come here–for the hope that in America, they could build a better life for themselves and their families. Like the waves of immigrants that came before them and the Hispanic Americans whose families have been here for generations, the recent arrival of Latino immigrants will only enrich our country.”

4.  I admire his desire to help the down-trodden, ill and hurting.  I believe he sincerely wants to help others with his programs and policies.  Do I agree with the actual policies? No, but I can still admire the heart that inspired them. Perhaps I am naive to their liberal wicked desires for control (or so many conservatives claim) but I prefer to believe the best in people until proven wrong.

I admire the desire of many liberals to relieve suffering and pain but the problem I have is that the cure often becomes worse than the disease. The government should be minimally involved in our lives- it should be just enough to protect rights and keep people from starvation and revolt.  Beyond that there are other, more effective avenues for assisting the needy, preserving the environment and educating our youth. It seems to me that the government works best as an overseer rather than a manager.  For instance, the national parks need some government enforcement to prevent wildlife poaching and destruction; however, the parks service is notorious for its terrible management of  park funds and other resources.

Those are the four attributes that come to mind immediately.  Perhaps I will add more later as I give it a bit more thought.  I’d love to hear your ideas on the President but be clean and as non-combative as possible!

Ps. If any of you are in Massachusetts vote Brown!

Nothing Unexpected

A few weeks ago my friend Camille did a blog posting entitled Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me.  I have thought about this entertaining post for a while and wondered what my ten items would be.  To be honest, I can hardly think of anything that would surprise my friends.  I guess I am a pretty out-in-the-open person.  Most of my friends know what I like to do, my weird quirks, and my other interests and likes.  I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing?  Maybe I am the kind of person that is reliably simple.  I have never been a big dreamer.  A friend of mine has this bucket list of things she wants to do in life such as visit every state and read the “1000 Must Read Before You Die” books.

I never did.  The only thing I have passionately wanted to do since I was a little girl was graduate from BYU- and I did that nearly 8 years ago.   Yes, I’ve wanted to to get married, have a family and contribute to society for most of my life; however, I was never specific about what type of family, home or career I want.  I knew that I wanted to be dynamic and interesting- make a difference in the world.   For the most part I think I have done that but even today I do not have specific things that I dream about doing or secret surprises about my life.  I don’t know why, I just don’t?  Does that make sense?

The fact that I can’t come up with a bucket list or even a list of surprising things makes me wonder if I am the dynamic, interesting person I wanted to be.  On the other hand, if the world knows your interesting then  does that make you any less interesting?I don’t think so.  I like my life.  For the most part, I am happy and content.

In the end, I can only live my life in the best way I know how. Whether it surprises others is out of my control.

So, here are a few things that are interesting about me.  If a few surprise you all the better.

1. I enjoy jazz music.  I just recently downloaded a singer called Jimmy Scott, and he is amazing.  My new favorite.  Here is one of his songs.  What a voice! He had a genetic abnormality that made his voice never mature.  I think it is beautiful.

01 Anchored By My Side

05 An Evening In Paradise

2. I hate tomato juice.  V8.  Yuck!

3. I am a cheese snob.I hate Velveeta, cheese singles wrapped in plastic, nacho cheese…you get the idea.

4.  My favorite flowers are lilies and orchids. (flowers welcome anytime!) I love pink and purple.

5. I am foodie and have recently become a huge fan of Julia Child. (More to come on that later).

6. I’ve had 3 surgeries in my life.

7. I went to the principal’s office twice growing up, both times were in middle school. Both times over silly things.

8. I occasionally like to watch a cheesy romantic movie on lifetime or hallmark channel- especially with a good friend like Camille.

9. There are more times than I would care to admit that I have almost purchased stuff from an infomercial.  Somehow I always stop myself.

10. I am the one person in my family that is not a good photographer.  I can’t seem to keep the camera steady enough.

11. I think most handicrafts are really dull- sewing, knitting, quilting, even scrapbooking…not for me.

12. I enjoy wrapping presents.  I used to hate it but now it is one of my favorite parts of buying a present.

13. I wish I had a pen pal that I could write juicy, rich, letters to. Sadly I must be happy with my blog.

14. I love kitchen appliances and already have a food processor, kitchenaid mixer, stick mixer, toaster, rice cooker, electric fondue pot, electric tea pot, and crockpot.

15.  I dream of having a nice kitchen with beautiful french pots and knives that really do slice a tomato a centimeter thin with ease.

16.  I want to go to England some day and take the Jane Austen book tour, see all the sights from the movies and her life (and Elizabeth Gaskell while I am at it).  Then I want to take the chunnel and go to Paris for another week visiting the art, cafes, bridges and markets.

17. I hold onto grudges way longer than I should.  For instance, when I think back to my high school choir teacher I still feel a little upset. Silly I know, but she was evil.

18.  I wish I could have nice furniture, clothes, purses and shoes. In reality, I probably couldn’t justify the expenses even if I had the money but a girl can fantasize.

19. If I had money I would install a year round infinity pool in my house.

20. I have a Dwight bobblehead that smiles at me while I work.  My friends gave it to me with love and excitement.  In an odd way it reminds me that I am loved and to laugh at life.

Please make some comments.  Let me know how surprising your life is…

I am a Bandwagon Fan and Proud of It!

As anyone who has read my tweeting of late knows- I have been sick.  For the last month and a half I’ve suffered from a sinus infection that refuses to go away.  Even now after my second dose of antibiotics I am still phlegmy and not 100%.  Cross fingers that I will be 100% by the end of the week.  Needless to say the last month and half have been difficult and at times discouraging.  Thank goodness I have a job that is flexible and understanding (although the billable hours have been low, I’m surviving).  I went to the doctors on Monday and he said sinus infections are not considered chronic until they hit the 3 month mark!  Can you imagine feeling miserable for 3 months!  Shocking and depressing to even think about.

One of the things that depressed me about being sick is that it caused me to abandon my exercise/healthy eating regimen.  I had lost 5 lbs and was doing great.  Now as I improve, I must start again….what a discouraging thought, starting again.

What have I done to keep myself sane- you ask? Well, among other things I have been watching the college Bowl games.  My brother in-law got me started (and he taught me a lot about the game along the way!) during my breaks at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Of course, I had to watch the BYU winning game (MAACO Bowl), but I’ve also caught many others including the great matchups of Ohio State vs Oregon (Rose Bowl), LSU vs Penn State (Citrus Bowl), and Boise State vs TCU (Fiesta Bowl).  I’m actually excited for the BCS championship tomorrow between Texas and Alabama.

It’s funny because I haven’t followed any teams except perhaps a passive interest in BYU.  Some would scoff at my type of fair-weather fan claiming that intense devotion and passionate following is the only way to be in a sports fan.  I have several points in response: First of all, I have had a lot of time on my hands trying to get better.  Second, I enjoy almost any type of intense competition (wrestling, golf, and MMA I just can’t get into- sorry boys!).  Ever since I was little I liked both watching and attending sports games/matches.  I’ve been to Orioles and Oakland A’s games for baseball and Kings and Jazz games for basketball.  I also had the thrill of attending a variety of events at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake (I will do an entire post about the Olympics in Vancouver. I LOVE the Olympics.  It’s wierd but it is the most intense competition there is.

The Olympics is really the only sporting event I never miss.  Everything else is hit and miss.  I will have a year where I get into the NBA playoffs, March Madness, the World Series or like this year the college bowl games.  In my defense my skitsafrenic approach makes me surprisingly informed on a variety of sporting events.  When I went on my cruise last year the boys at my table were all surprised at the random sports trivia I knew.

My approach also keeps sports in balance and for the entertainment it is meant to provide.  I keep the players at a distance and enjoy the competition before me without the time-sucking effort of fanatical idealization.  Look at Tiger Woods, if he had been kept in his place and simply appreciated as a source of competition- not a hero, or an idol, or a spokesman- than perhaps his temptation and fall would not have been so great. He should be enjoyed as someone who plays an exciting game of golf- and that’s it.

So that is my defense of my bandwagon approach to sports.  In a weird way I am grateful for the bowl games and the pleasant distraction they have been this fall.  Next up Vancouver Olympics 2010!!!!!!