Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You've probably heard...

...but it's exciting enough to say it again.

I'm going to marry him!

Then we'll have the same initials. That will be fun.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saturday I played with penguins.

See that necklace-lanyard-badge of a ticket? 

That baby gave me direct access to feed my love for penguins.

(Not to feed the penguins. That's not allowed.)

This family came with Michael and me to spend some quality time with the birds.

Jaren and Lydia were told multiple times that if you are loud or you move a lot, 
you have to leave.

They sat wide-eyed and dead still the entire time.

But... they still said they loved it :)

And how could you not! Look at this little guy.

The eleven penguins at the Sandy Aquarium have their own names and personalities.

And their own mate. Except for Ghost Rider. None of the other penguins really like him?

He was kind of a bully. But I thought he was cool.

Lydia got a little freaked out when he came over to nibble on shoe laces.

You can't touch the penguins, but they can touch you.

Jenny had a dream that I put fish oil in my shoes before the aquarium,
and the penguins attacked my feet.

Wasn't a bad idea, really.

This man knew everything about those little guys.

Best job ever, right?

Except for the smell, the 40-degree water, the "bruises the exact shape as their fins" (true story),
the bites from serrated beaks, and cleaning up poop.

Almost the best job ever.

Here's a little sample of the experience:

Such a blast. Throw in lunch at IKEA and putting up a Christmas tree that night,
and life is seriously, seriously good.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dream Come True

This will be me on Saturday.

I really did buy a Groupon to meet penguins. 

And I am so, so (ridiculously) excited about it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Big Easy

There was a day in July when I mourned the end of field trips.

...but that was before I had ever experienced a business trip.

A little more work, a little less bus -- but still, good deal.

Enter New Orleans.

Last week I headed down to the Big Easy for an education conference.

Dirty city, good food.

Here's the famous Bourbon street, with golden boy dancing for all the drunk people.

I think he made more money than I did that day? But it's cool, I can't dance like he can.

He does have the benefit of being black, though.

We watched another group of street performers in front of this cathedral.

They were hilarious and filled with racial comments that white people could never get away with.

That night we headed to Mulate's for some southern Louisiana cooking.

There was a sweet old man almost half my height that danced every dance that night.

He asked me to do a little country swing number. I was honored.

I found out his name is Bill, he travels around with the band and dances every song,
and after our duet he gave me a little certificate that said I was an "official Cajun dancer."

Even dirty, smokey cities have cute, old Bills.

Over the week I ate (or was talked into eating):
Alligator gumbo, barbecued oysters, fried calamari, Louisiana redfish,
crawfish stew, jambalaya, red beans and rice, bread pudding, dirty rice...

...and beignets from the famous Cafe' Du Monde!

I've been craving one of these since I saw the Princess and the Frog,
and I didn't even know what they really were until I ordered one.

Deep fried dough loaded with powdered sugar.

Deep fried (almost anything) loaded with powdered sugar.

We ate that healthy (right?) snack while walking along the Mississippi River,
and listening to steamboats play music.

I wanted to be Tom Sawyer.

Ok, maybe Becky Thatcher.

And that was my week of southern hospitality.

Plus, #38. And counting.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Easy as 1, 2, ......3?

Last night I caught the Michigan GOP Presidential Debate that I missed earlier this week.

Then I threw up.

Flu? Probably. Or maybe my interest in current events doesn't keep politics from making me literally sick sometimes.

You should still watch this though...I don't think it's contagious.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Let's Go Fly...

Two things always happen when I drive past the Point of the Mountain.

First, my cell phone calls drop. Always. 
Do you think they mess with signals around the prison? I could be persuaded to believe that. 

And second, I see people flying. 
Paragliders of all colors soar around the mountain and give me air cravings.

Recently my friend said she was getting a group together to go experience this driving distraction firsthand. 
Had to go!

Michael & I went for his birthday -- unfortunately we had very different experiences, and his was not the better one.

Take-off fail = Birthday present fail.

But he lived to tell the story (of how he and his guide bounced down half the mountain in their attempt to fly), 
and he's up for trying it again. 

My guide had me climb the top half of the mountain and chase down some better wind.

Thank you, Mr. Guide. I'm all for skipping the bounce experience.

We climbed up the ridge of the mountain, then took off from a steep incline. 

He had me stand in front of him, told me I would be jerked backwards, then to sit back. I figured he gave me that instruction as a prep, but he was talking real time. 
Before I had even imagined worse-case scenarios, we were flying!

He taught me how to pull the canopy and maneuver the turns. Then he took over to do some fancy 360s and other tricks I could have enjoyed forever. It was like a roller coaster with no rickety track or jerking head.


I risked the life of my phone to capture it all on video,
so be grateful! 
Warning: May cause dizziness.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Good night, October

I'm kind of a Halloween hater.

Strong disliker, at least. But I have to admit, this year was pretty good.

Maybe it's because I didn't go to a Haunted House...

Mostly I think it's because there are cute kids in my life.

Look how brutal pumpkin carving is:

The inside of a pumpkin is about the nastiest thing I've ever touched.

I could never take anatomy.

But look, he turned out pretty cute!

Halloween is a big big deal at my work. People went all out.

Or so I heard. I didn't see any of it because I was a blind mouse. Three of them, to be exact.

And that's my boss, the farmer's wife. With a real knife. 

My eyes are closed in this picture? It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Here's my whole department, looking pretty dang good.

Everyone's cute families came at the end of the day to go trick-or-treating.
It was so fun to have Jenny and Jaren there!

Jaren had a refreshing way of labeling everyone.
"Hi, batman costume!"

Then we did a little more trick-or-treating in Lehi to top it all off.

Sugar highs are real, people.

And now, November! 
I love the holidays way too much. Christmas music will be played tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Then and Now

I wish I knew how many hours it took to get this piece of paper!

Mmm, no I don't. It's probably better not to know.
It was a lot of hours. And dollars. And late nights. And projects. And tests.
And late nights.

But more than that, it was a lot of great classes, memorable professors, (43!) wonderful roommates...
and many much-needed naps in Memorial Hall of the Wilkinson Student Center.

That paper came from four great years.

Now I'm happily working at THIS place:

I'm an event planner there, which I love.

It's a great company, and I'm so grateful to work there!

I work with seriously talented (and happy) people.
Everyone sincerely enjoys what they do and believes in what we're working toward.

Bonus: the job is close to these cute kids,
so I'm still loving living with family!

Every morning after breakfast Jaren questions me.

J: "Where are you going?"
M: "To work!"
J: "Again??"

Moral of the story: no more asking me if I want to go to grad school, deal?
I just don't. Not now. Maybe later. Maybe not.
And I need you to be ok with that. I'm definitely ok with that :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Auntie M

I want to be a cool aunt.

There is no shame in pursuing that status. 

It involves letting movies go past bedtime,
driving through those way fun car washes,
and letting my bed serve as an in-house trampoline.

So what happens when the cool aunt is in charge of making dinner?

Yep, cookies and milk.

Lydia can't contain her joy.

I assured Jenny that she could ignore nutritional norms when it involves my future kids.

Cookies are a great way to earn brownie points.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Running Around.

It's a good thing I love driving, 
because that's pretty much all I do these days.

In the last three weeks, Saturn-Saturn has gone from:
 Provo to Lehi to Salt Lake to Cedar to Provo to Lehi to Provo to Lehi to ...
you know. Lots of places.

But it's great, because my destinations always involve friends, family, or job interviews.

Kind of loving limbo.

And always loving grandma:

We stopped to visit her on our way down to Cedar today.

Cedar is just a two-day stop on our way to DISNEYLAND!

Happiest place on earth, right? 
(Even if you get there with all eight Miners in one car? We'll find out.)

 I've been trying to get Jaren excited about his glorious near future...

M: "There are these teacups, and you sit in them and spin fast, and it's really fun!"
J: "You sit in...cups?"
M: "Um, yeah, big cups. It's cool!"
J: "And what makes them...spin?"
M: "Um, you turn a wheel thing. It's cool!"
J: Skeptical look of a four-year-old.

I gave up and let YouTube convey the coolness of spinning teacups.
I probably could have picked a more exciting ride to describe.

Doesn't matter. Two days and he'll see it all for himself!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Sunny State and Hoosiers

Look at this beautiful sunset! 

And then look at these beautiful people.
After Boston I met up with the Daetwylers in Florida for some beach time! It was the perfect setting to catch up on all the country music I missed out on this summer -- definite beach theme going on there.

Good people, good food, good beaches ... bad sunburn.
Just add aloe into the equation and life is great!

 Michael's dad is the captain of this sweet boat, but the wind didn't cooperate too much.
All the grandkids didn't mind though, it still made a great stationary pirate ship for them.

And look! Wild dolphins! I've only seen the SeaWorld kind.
These were way better.

They didn't want to have much to do with us when we got in the water, 
but it was so fun to watch them swim and play.

We also saw a (small) shark, an alligator, and plenty of jellyfish.
We didn't try to play with those.

But in Nashville we ate some fried alligator tail. That's even cooler than seeing one, right?
(I'm not going to tell you what it tasted like because you have to try it,
but if you're guessing it's like chicken you may very possibly be right.)

We stopped to walk around the Opryland Hotel, it was incredible.
I've never seen so many beautiful plants in one place!

From there we drove the rest of the way to the famous Evansville, Indiana.
It's famous to me just because Michael has been defending it to me for the past year -- 
I had no mental picture of Indiana before I met him. Then when I finally decided on prairies
fields and fields and fields, he got pretty defensive. 

Now I have to admit I was wrong. 
It's green and beautiful and full of fireflies, but it could use some mountains.
(I can't admit total defeat or Michael will just run with that.)

We visited a neighbor's farm to get the whole Indiana experience -- 
or maybe just to see lots of fun animals.

Miss Ella found a pony just her size! 
I'm sure she wanted to take that home to Japan with her.

Cows are my favorite. 
You just look into their eyes and they're nothing but pure.
Not stupid, just pure. Don't confuse the two.

Maybe milking goats isn't actually a typical Hoosier thing,
but it was definitely fun.

And so was this. 
That little white stream is exactly what you think it is.

Florida and Indiana and the road trip between was such a great time.
The Daetwylers were so nice to let me join them!
And I can't think of a better way to put off the dreaded job search.

But now I'm home, and I'll grow up ... kind of.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Creativity in a Bottle

Sorry my blog took some time off.

I'm still taking some, but my blog is back in business.

I've been running around BostonNewHampshireFloridaAlabamaTennesseeKentuckyIndianaUtah...
but I'm back now.

I'll tell you more soon.

Possibly the tomorrow kind of soon.

But for now, you just get this playdough hint of what I found in Florida.

It's kind of a big hint.

(For the record, that is a smiling dolphin. Jaren kept calling it evil, 
so I don't want anyone else getting that very wrong impression.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Back to Beantown

Left DC with these on my lap. Naturally.

Got to Boston and picked up Al's. Naturally.

But yes, I do love my sister much, much more than cupcakes and sandwiches.
So this pic captures the best of Boston :)

And miss Rachel came along! 

I'm so glad she did. Except we took her to the beach in New Hampshire our first day,
and sent her home with a sunburn that committed us both to never getting a sunburn again.

For real this time.

Look at beautiful Boston! This is a view from a Duck Tour...

...driven by yours truly! I'm not even ashamed of how excited I look about it.

The Duck Tour boats go straight from the road, to the water, back to the road.

I really do promise this isn't turning into a food blog...
but we had to take part in the Cannoli battle in Boston.

Mike's Pastry vs. Modern Pastry!
Just get both.

This was Rachel's first time to Boston, so she needed the Freedom Trail experience.
I love the old cemeteries in the middle of downtown.

On Sunday we walked around Harvard after church.
We're thinking these steps had something to do with Legally Blonde? 

Mt. Auburn cemetery has a great view of Boston.
Stop noticing how sunburned we are.

We had a nice woman take a picture of us and Paul Revere,
but Paul Revere didn't make the shot.

He's there though. Picture him on a horse.

Beautiful Boston Common.

I'm sad the week is already over!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wrapping Up Summer

Last day of work! 
Had to throw this up to prove I didn't just move to DC to play all summer.

I'm going to miss taking walks in DC, and constantly stumbling upon history.
The theater where Lincoln was assassinated is just a couple blocks away from my office.

And Lincoln himself (ok, the commemorative version) was just a couple blocks away from the Barlow.

I'm going to miss taking walks to his memorial and thinking about life on those steps.

That right there is my favorite spot in DC.