Sunday, April 27, 2008


Numbers 21 - I learned today that it's best not to loathe that which god gives you.

east wind

last weekend we had some wind. well, i think we weren't the only ones. earlier i posted a bit of a letter from some guy who is in charge of the busses used by the army in iraq. i got another letter this morning (my sister gets them from his wife - same ward - and forwards them). apparently he had some wind. there's a good gospel lesson in it and since it's sunday - here i am sharing it with you all!

I've spent the week wondering at the quiet of this new place. Then, night before last, in the dead of night, there came a howling wind that rocked my hooch! I looked out the window and was astonished at the thick dust that blew through the camp, nearly blotting out my porch light completely. I have a new appreciation for the scriptural phrase, "the east wind." ("...if my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction.")
"In the Middle East this east wind is called a "kham-SEEN." The 'kh' sound is a hard 'H' that's forced through a narrowed throat, as if clearing the throat lightly. Besides the obvious destructive force of the wind itself, it brings thick dust that does three things worth thinking about, especially if you can see the symbolic nature of the phrase. First, it stings and blinds the eyes immediately. Second, the fine dust gets into your lungs and literally chokes you. Third, it darkens the sky and surrounds you with 'thick' darkness that you can feel.
"As morning came, the dust had abated, but the wind continued to rage throughout the day. By afternoon, as it began to subside, it had left destruction in its wake. It had strewn garbage all across the base, it had blown the plywood bus stops over and moved them around and broken some of them up, it had blown the Porta-Johns over and left human waste in big pools on the ground, it had even moved many of the heavy orange Jersey barriers from one spot to another! Some of the brave souls who had ventured out in the wind had opened their vehicle doors and had them wrenched from their grip, springing the hinges and making the doors unusable. Inside the closed buildings there was a layer of thick dust on everything. Going through one of these dust storms is an astonishing experience, though not nearly as astonishing as looking at the destruction after Hurricane Katrina."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Night on the town

For fun this evening I attended the utah symphony to hear carmina burana - oh heaven!!!! Best music ever, possibly. Then I took trax towards home with these ladies. Lena's fashion pain convinced me to insist on borrowing this homeless grocery cart. Trish was good enough to push. Lena only let us do it for about a block but i'm glad she did. It made for a party. Leann is the other happy partier in the photo. The rest of our symphony going group opted for red rock treats. Everyone has to follow their own drummer. Did I tell you the show wasawesome? It was.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

For betsy

I tried to post last night but it didn't take - most of my posts are done by mobile - maybe mobile posting is broken. So i'll try again.
Read hebrews 10 & 11. Oh so good. Faith and patience. Rely on your testimony and keep up the hope!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I'm a winner!

Look what I got from my tax job! We had the celebration party tonight - I also got my bonus check. All together, my gross income for this job just barely covers the cost of my trip to dc I plan to take in june. My store was number 9 out of 27 stores in utah for most returns. Or some cool statistic like that. Our franchise was number 1 in the state. Our sister store was number 1 in the state barely beating st george. We're winners! And I think I made a connection for my next minimum wage job - I may get to be a cashier this summer at albertson's! That was one of my dream jobs since I was 6. A cashier, a teacher, a nurse, and a hot air balloonist. I think options 3 and 4 are off the list.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


as a lover of social studies i just ate up this article - like it was cheesecake! (or in my world ice cream.) see what you think. it comes courtesy of the ny times. one good paper.

April 17, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
Divided They Fall

If you’re a Democrat, your candidate won in Wednesday night’s presidential debate — that was obvious, and most neutral observers would recognize that. But the other candidate issued appalling distortions, and the news commentary afterward was shamefully biased.
So you’re madder than ever at the other candidate. You may even be more likely to vote for John McCain if your candidate loses.
That prediction is based on psychological research that helps to explain the recriminations between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — and the reasons why Senator McCain should be smiling as the Democratic campaign drags on.
To understand your feelings about Wednesday night’s debate, consider the Dartmouth-Princeton football game in 1951. That bitterly fought contest was the subject of a landmark study about how our biases shape our understanding of reality.
Psychologists showed a film clip of the football game to groups of students at each college and asked them to act as unbiased referees and note every instance of cheating. The results were striking. Each group, watching the same clip, was convinced that the other side had cheated worse — and this was not deliberate bias or just for show.
“Their eyes were taking in the same game, but their brains seemed to be processing the events in two distinct ways,” Farhad Manjoo writes in his terrific new book, “True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.” It’s the best political book so far this year.
Mr. Manjoo cites a more recent study by Stanford University psychologists of students who either favored or opposed capital punishment. The students were shown the same two studies: one suggested that executions have a deterrent effect that reduces subsequent murders, and the other doubted that.
Whatever their stance, the students found the study that supported their position to be well-conducted and persuasive and the other one to be profoundly flawed.
“That led to a funny result,” Mr. Manjoo writes. “People in the study became polarized.”
A fair reading of the two studies might have led the students to question whether any strong conclusions could be drawn about deterrence, and thus to tone down their views on the death penalty. But the opposite happened. Students on each side accepted the evidence that conformed to their original views while rejecting the contrary evidence — and so afterward students on both sides were more passionate and confident than ever of their views.
That’s what we seem to be seeing in the Democratic primaries. Even though the policy differences between the two candidates are minimal, each camp is becoming increasingly aggravated at the other. A Washington Post poll published Wednesday found that more than one-third of Democrats say that they may not support their party’s nominee if it is not their own choice.
Another challenge is the biased way in which we gather information. We seek out information that reinforces our prejudices. One study presented listeners with static-filled recordings of speeches that they believed they were judging on persuasive power. Listeners could push a button to tweak the signal, reducing the static to make it easier to understand. When smokers heard a speech connecting tobacco with cancer, they didn’t try to improve the clarity to hear it more easily. But they pushed the button to get a clearer version of a speech saying that there was no link between smoking and cancer. Nonsmokers were the exact opposite.
This resistance to information that doesn’t mesh with our preconceived beliefs afflicts both liberals and conservatives, but a raft of studies shows that it is a particular problem with conservatives. For example, when voters receive mailings offering them free pamphlets on various political topics, liberals show some interest in getting conservative views. In contrast, conservatives seek only those pamphlets that echo their own views.
Likewise, liberal blogs overwhelmingly link to other liberal blogs or news sources. But with conservative blogs, the tendency is much more pronounced; it is almost a sealed universe.
The situation isn’t hopeless. Similar psychological processes govern our perceptions of race, yet we’ve made great progress in revising our views and reducing prejudices. The same is true of attitudes towards gays.
The only solutions I see are personal ones, to work out daily to build our mental muscles. Just as we force ourselves to nibble on greens and decline cheesecake, we should seek an information diet that includes a salad bar of information sources — with a special focus on unpalatable rubbish from fools. The worse it tastes, the better it may be for us.
If that’s why you’re reading this, congratulations! And thanks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


There was something sad about this doorway to a big empty pit. It's the corner of 2100 s 1100 e where the blue cat cafe used to be. Now a dirt hole. Hopefully soon it will be something worth looking at besides this ruin. I visited this corner on Friday (last) when I was feeling a degree of ruin myself. I'd taken the day off to regroup. I believe in holidays - take them!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

spiral jetty trip

when some friends recently brought up the topic of the jetty i jumped on the chance to lead the group, so yesterday, a group of about 10 of us headed north. the group had intentions of being larger, but considering our departure time was 8 am many found it convenient to back out at the last minute. their loss i say. maybe i'll lead another group up there in the future - i seem to love it every time i go. here are a few photos to document our adventure:

cindy ran into a guy she knew from provo days - he was carrying a golf club. odd.

the rocks were gorgeously covered in fine white salt debris. other rocks - further up the hill - had random lichen stuff growing on them. i loved all the colors and variations.

while walking to the end of the jetty i came across this treasure. it reminded me of mark's jacket from a new orleans trip (i'll have to blog that some time). it also reminded me of smithson's vision in making the jetty - the debris and decay of humanity. or something like that. i should really look it up and make an accurate statement here. or i can just trust you all to do your own googling.

in the middle of one of the loops people had made these miniature jetties. they look kind of worm like and sort of creeped me out. i think i'd rather they weren't there. luckily, when the water is a normal level they are covered.

here i am posing for my jetty portrait. the inner rings are behind me. you'd think no one was there (cindy did a good job framing it - thanks) but really besides our group there was the group cindy had a connection to and then a few other family types showed up at the end. plus on the drive home we must have passed at least 10 cars on their way out there. hooray for early morning trips!

this is my foot touching the final rock of the spiral. i believe you have to walk to the very end - otherwise what's the use of driving so stinking far and then only looking at the spiral's end.

on the way, we had fun playing with the salt foam. (some suggested raw sewage is dumped in the lake - but we have no verifiable evidence - again - someone feel free to do some googling.) i like how this blob looks like a large cloud in the background.

on the shore - when we first approached the jetty we discovered a mini one embedded in the sand. dainon is doing a find job as vanna.

i wanted to document the low level of water. these are my feet standing on the lake bed - next to the jetty. when i've been there before the water would have come up to my knees.

this is a photo from afar so you can see the largeness of it. that black thing down on the left, though, is not a car. i'm not sure what it is!
and one of the coolest things about this outing - was that i managed to get home in time to change into a dress, attend a surprise bday party and then attend a wedding reception. it was a full day of driving and friend bonding.

type test - it's all the rage

86 words

Speed test

making a buck on stupidity

i read an article in ny times yesterday about american idol vote casting. apparently the american public is bad at dialing and are causing havoc for a variety of people who have to deal with the mis-dials. american idol, in their altruistic way of solving the problem, has the host emphasize over and over during the show to be careful how you dial. anyway, i guess some utah company saw a chance to make some money but got voted against in court. i'm not sure if i'd agree with the judge.

"As Callers, ‘Idol’ Fans Often Lack Real Talent" By Edward Wyatt Published: April 12, 2008

In 2004 the Federal Trade Commission ordered a group of Utah telemarketers to pay $40,000 in restitution to “American Idol” viewers who had been charged for their mis-dials. The commission said that Telemarketing Inc., of Orem, Utah, bought up the rights to toll-free numbers that were similar to the Idol numbers in the hope that viewers would mis-dial.

When they did, a recording instructed callers to dial a 900 number to cast a vote. When they dialed that number, the callers would be charged for the call and then given the correct number to dial to vote for “Idol” contestants, which the commission ruled was a deceptive practice.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Banana snacks

This is an example of one of my latest greatest finds at the asian market near my house. Yummy honey drenched banana bites. Try them and you will see!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

my conference report

just doing a bit of blog stealing. plewe posted this photo of our conference party - but i wanted to use it to comment on my weekend. can you tell which person above is not related?

saturday i was super productive in terms of walking. mostly i read ender's game but since i was already doing a lot of sitting for conference i made myself walk and read. so i went to the library before the first session and then to the asian market between sessions. i was proud of myself for managing to put it aside when the speakers were on.

sunday i spent the day with family. we drove up to the slc to go to the afternoon session with plewe. i learned an important lesson. don't leave your seat without a ticket. those volunteers take their job seriously and without proper ticket they won't let you back in - and i mean just into the auditorium after a quick trip to the facilities. i was sure the elderly man was joking when he said he wouldn't let me back in. luckily the sis in law had her ticket and was able to go fetch mine. there was a fire marshall sitting near by us and some public relations guy named phil brought me joy as he tried to show how hungry he was by patting his head and rubbing his stomach - this was before the session started. anyway - it was a good time. oh, and i enjoyed lots of talks. i was awake for bednar's when he reminded us that besides praying you have to take action. do something about what you're praying for. at least that's what i got out of it. i've been slow to take action lately. decisions are hard to make!

good love

here's an email from a friend who knows how to compliment:
oh then i'm not sure if i can go if you are not there. its like paris without eiffel tower.

Monday, April 7, 2008


you know how there are those days when you just get hungry all the time - not real hunger, but stress hunger? well today i just want to eat everything. unfortunately, the lunch i brought doesn't have a lot of yummy snacky kind of things to eat. i have curry - and an orange. i also have (had) a tupperware of collard greens. yep - that's what i ate in my stress-hunger drive. there's a can of beans in my desk drawer. if only i had a can opener handy.

Friday, April 4, 2008

another quote

i can't stop! this one plewe shared with me a few months ago - it came from a book that her friend shared with her. i love how they go round and round! oh - i believe it's from cs lewis, originally. he must have shared it with someone.

"Troubled soul, thou are not bound to feel but thou are bound to arise. God loves thee whether thou feelest or not. Thou canst not love when thou wilt, but thou art bound to fight the hatred in thee to the last. Try not to feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good. He changes not because thou changest. Nay, He has an especial tenderness of love toward thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and His heart is glad when thou doest arise and say, "I will go to my Father." Fold the arms of they faith, and wait in the quietness until light goes up in thy darkness. For the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go to do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feeling: do thy work."

wearing love

i just returned from the rest room. the only reason that matters is because while i was there i looked in the mirror and was reminded that i'm wearing pair of earrings a good friend gave me last year for my bday. it's like i'm wearing a bit of love. hard to not feel good when you're wearing love on your ears.

more quotes

call me unoriginal, but i really liked this bit i heard on npr this morning. it's from robert kennedy - from a speech he gave announcing the death of mlk. he's quoting a poet named aeschylus:

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forgetfalls drop by drop upon the heart,until, in our own despair,against our will,comes wisdomthrough the awful grace of God.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


okay, so i stole this. sort of. plewe found this article by dallin h. oaks online and shared it with me. i love it so much that i must share it publicly. as plewe described it, this article is one of the best expositions on the atonement and faith and repentance. read it! apply it! here's an excerpt of my favorite part for those who just like to skim blogs:

Why is it necessary for us to suffer on the way to repentance for serious transgressions? We tend to think of the results of repentance as simply cleansing us from sin, but that is an incomplete view. A person who sins is like a tree that bends easily in the wind. On a windy and rainy day, the tree bends so deeply against the ground that the leaves become soiled with mud, like sin. If we focus only on cleaning the leaves, the weakness in the tree that allowed it to bend and soil its leaves may remain. Similarly, a person who is merely sorry to be soiled by sin will sin again in the next high wind. The susceptibility to repetition continues until the tree has been strengthened.

When a person has gone through the process that results in what the scriptures call “a broken heart and a contrite spirit,” the Savior does more than cleanse that person from sin. He gives him or her new strength. That strengthening is essential for us to realize the purpose of the cleansing, which is to return to our Heavenly Father. To be admitted to His presence, we must be more than clean. We must also be changed from a morally weak person who has sinned into a strong person with the spiritual stature to dwell in the presence of God. We must, as the scripture says, become “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord” (Mosiah 3:19). This is what the scripture means in its explanation that a person who has repented of his or her sins will forsake them (see D&C 58:43). Forsaking sins is more than resolving not to repeat them. Forsaking involves a fundamental change in the individual.


it's a hugely favorite topic of mine. i came across this quote today so i thought i'd share:
“In our approach to life, patience also helps us to realize that while we may be ready to move on, having had enough of a particular learning experience, our continuing presence is often a needed part of the learning environment of others.” – Neal A. Maxwell

niece stories

my nieces have a bunny that visits their front yard. this is a picture of the youngest trying to communicate with it - she makes sniffing sounds.

as for her older sister, well, it's best if i just copy paste the story about her directly. it's a bit inspiring. it is a good start to my day, at least. just for background - it's about an interaction she had with the babysitter:

At some point during the evening Lanelle tried to get Tamela to jump on one foot with her. Tamela told her that she is old (she’s not really that old; her only daughter is 18) and it is hard for her to do that sort of thing. Lanelle replied, “You should ask Heavenly Father to help you and he will help you do hard things.”

here she is in one of her favorite outfits, i like to think she takes after me: