Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Part I

Turns out, Halloween at XanGo is much like Halloween at Nu Skin. Not that that was a huge surprise. I copped out, as usual, with a Halloween t-shirt an a bullet hole in the forehead. & yes, I do look that bad today. I mean, if you got shot in the head, you'd look pretty crappy too. But people here haven't seen it before, so they're all pretty impressed. Most of my team (minus the other two girls) went to lunch at Cafe Rio in Draper. Imagine the people you see to the right all sitting at a table. . . along with a Clint Eastwood look alike and a girl with a bullet hole in her head.

Needless to say, we got a lot of looks. Including an old guy who was truly concerned for me, a line guy making our food who told me it looked "authentic", and a little girl who smiled widely for Clint the Chipmunk, and then got scared of me. . . (and a little of Dainon, let's be honest).

Have you ever seen anything cooler than a chipmunk on a skateboard? No? I have, the same chipmunk riding that skateboard down the road at Thanksgiving Point. Oh, the joy.

This guy won the Costume contest and $1000. I can't imagine spending that much time on a costume. Thanks anyway.

I'll update you on the rest of the night later. . . I'm sure there will be Tanner pictures to share.

PS. Forgive me for the layout change. After I saw my 13th blog with the polka dot layout, I had to change it. I couldn't take it any more.

Our weekend

OK, it's Halloween, but I'm not going to have something festive to post until later, so I thought I'd post these.

We had a little anniversary dinner for my parents over the weekend. They've been married for 30 years. That seems like a very very long time. I spent what felt like 30 years scanning their old slides and making them into a slide show, complete with Carpenters and Captain & Tennille music with a little Jack Johnson in there at the end for good measure.

It turned out great, thanks to Nathan's skills. I still have a good 10 year gap in there, but I'm making progress, and it will be done for real by Christmas if I have anything to say about it.

We made a big dinner (and when I say we, I mostly mean Ben, with the assistance of Natalie & Jenny, because I was upstairs stressing about the video) and set up the dining room with table cloths and place cards and everything. You'd think I would have thought to take a picture before we ate. I didn't. I took one between dinner and dessert. & they're still pretty, they just don't give the overall effect.

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Today is ungood

I left my head phones/ear buds in Syracuse. What does that mean? An entire day of NO music. I have only the stressed out drone of my office mates preparing for convention to fill my brain. BLECH.

Also, sometime before tomorrow morning i have to come up with a Halloween costume. Otherwise, those same office mates will mock me for being a party pooper. But I sort of want to be a party pooper. . . that's just sad. . .

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I have a ritual in the morning when I get to work that generally includes checking the top news stories on Yahoo! & CNN. Usually I just breeze through them, realizing that there will, of course, be more deaths in Iraq today, Paris Hilton has probably done something stupid, and someone has probably shot or kidnapped someone else somewhere in this country. I'm not sure why I feel compelled to keep up to speed on current events, but I do. Today was a little bit different. I followed a link on Yahoo! talking about some ads that an organization called ONE had made. We all know that Bono and various other celebrities have been on a crusade of sorts for assistance in dealing with poverty and AIDS in Africa. It's been a story ever since the G8 summit in 2005. But it has become, for me, something that I hear about all of the time. I see Oprah on her show building schools for children in need of an education. We hear about Madonna building orphanages in Malawi. Apple has created red ipods, among other things, to bring attention to this problem.

For some reason, this morning, I paid closer attention.

The ONE campaign has a fantastic web site and has made some really powerful commercials. Their goal is to support the fight on AIDS and poverty by asking Americans to support a one percent contribution of the US budget (roughly 25 billion dollars) to this problem. ONE isn't asking for anyone's money. This is a non-partisan issue. There are republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives in support of this issue. Don't let the appearance of all of the left wing celebrities persuade you that this is a one sided issue. ONE just wants a signature, in virtual form. They ask for an email address, but who doesn't have a junk mail account? You won't even notice the extra mail. It doesn't ask for any other contact info.
Go to the web site, ONE.org, and watch the commercials. Read what they have to say, and sign the petition. Or, go to YouTube and watch the commercials and some behind the scenes interviews. http://www.youtube.com/theonecampaign

That is all.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I'm Gettin' Healthy

I have been doing REALLY badly with making healthy choices for myself lately. . . make that for a long time. Long enough to have gained back all of the weight I lost in the mystery weight loss of 2002. Truthfully, there wasn't much mystery in it. I was going to the gym for an hour a day and eating every 2 hours like my doctor told me to. Of COURSE I dropped 30 lbs. Since then, all of my Coke drinking, fast food eating, lack of water and exercise have caught up with me. Big time.

SO, I am making a pact with myself.


1) I will wean myself off of my Coke habit, starting with a promise to drink a total of 16 oz or less a day.

2) I will drink 2-3 liters of water a day as well. Most of it at work, where I actually remember to drink water, and where it won't get me up three times a night because I drank it too late.

3) I will limit my fast food intake to once a week. Period. I will bring my lunch to work instead. I can probably eliminate 500 calories a day just by eating real food instead of fast food.

4) I will eat something every 2 hours. I will bring my bags of almonds and carrot sticks to stash in my desk. I will keep an apple in the drawer. I will set an alarm on my Outlook to remind me to snack.

5) I will eat breakfast. Be it a granola bar (I am in love with the Kashi peanut butter granola bars at the moment) or yogurt. I will start my metabolism early in the day.

6) I will exercise. I have a million options. I have a gym in our clubhouse with treadmills and a pool. I have a full fledged gym here at XanGo at my disposal. & until it gets REALLY cold, I have a great paved path through the neighborhood that I can run on. No more excuses. 3 times a week to start. Seriously, how hard is that? I have nothing to do.

And, when I'm done, I better fit into my skinny clothes again. Or I will cry.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I have a confession to make. . .

I bought a Christmas album today. I am, as a rule, totally opposed to starting to celebrate Christmas before December first. I'll blame this lapse on two things:

1) I went to a Christmas concert on my birthday this year. For those of you that are unaware, my birthday is in August. It was a fluke thing. They were recording the concert to send to troops overseas. It was, officially, the first time I'd heard Christmas music on my birthday. Maybe it just threw me off for the whole year.

2) It's Sarah McLachlan!! How can I NOT buy it? Especially when I can get it from the Russians. . . I mean, that's just a no brainer.

I'm only going to listen to the songs once, and then I'll put them away until December. But I had to do it. I had to.

Halloween Fun

I love the end of the year as it offers SO many opportunities to have friends and family over for some serious craftiness. I have no idea why this brings me so much joy, but it does. Always has. I love to watch everyone carve their pumpkins and see all of the crazy things they come up with. This year, so as not to support the Great Satan (as Ben calls Walmart) and because it seemed like more fun, we went to a little pumpkin patch down the road to pick out our squashes. SO much more fun pulling them right off the vine. & there was a great little spot to take Tanner's picture too.

Seriously, HOW cute is this kid? SOOOO cute.

There were many different shapes and sizes. Nick went for his traditional word carving. This year opting for "Woot". Far less offensive to have on the porch than last year's "Shove It" Vanessa attempted, and succeeded at, carving a TINY little pumpkin. It looks a little angry, and it wouldn't light with it's top on, but you have to be impressed that she did it.

Ben decided to help perfect Kevin's pumpkin after the Goertzens left, by giving it various head wounds. I don't think it's what Kevin had in mind, but it was very entertaining for Ben. I was feeling Martha Stewarty and decided to do 2 small pumpkins and a squash with a drill. It may have been the most fun I've ever had carving a pumpkin. SO easy. & I really like the final look on the porch. That's Ben's Jack (From The Nightmare Before Christmas) in the back there. &, of course, Nick's WOOT pumpkin.

Jer & Emily made a team effort for their pumpkin. Jeremy carved & Emily painted. I think eyebrows were really the crowning touch.

And, to add to the insanity, we also made carmel apples. It was a very full kitchen. We tried this 2 years ago, and had no idea what we were doing. The carmel that time ended up turning hard as a rock and all of the apples were completely inedible. We did much better this time, thanks to Jenny. She went to a class and got educated on the process, so it turned out much better this time.

Kevin made the world's craziest carmel apple. I think he added every kind of chocolate and topping over the top of the carmel. It put me into sugar shock just looking at it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

First 10 songs. . .

I stole this idea from someone else's blog, thinking it sounded like a fun little exercise for me. I'm not sure it will be much fun to read, but I had fun writing it. I thought it might be interesting to do once a month to see how my listening patterns change. The idea is to write a little something about the first 10 songs that come up in your itunes shuffle. These are the first 10 from mine:

1. Everytime It Rains, Charlotte Martin -- This song will always remind me of the spring Ben came back to Utah, because he brought this song with him. I think it came from a Barnes & Noble CD of new songs and new artists. I fell in love with it, and subsequently made a CD called "Weather" containing only songs about rain, sun, snow, etc. . .

2. Paperweight, Joshua Radin & Schuyler Fisk -- This is from the Last Kiss soundtrack, which is one of my new favorites. Joshua Radin is popping up on all sorts of soundtracks lately, and I LOVE his stuff. I'm a sucker for the "guy with guitar" folky kind of music in the first place, but this guy gets to me on a whole other level. Also, the lyrics are fantastic. I think most of us can relate to the feeling.

3. I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer, The Cardigans -- I have always been fascinated by the super long song titles. I have no idea why they can't be more concise. But I think that's pretty pot/kettle of me. I went on a Cardigans kick a year or so ago, and found this. It's a great angry break up song. The kind you want to sing at the top of your lungs when you're mad at someone.

4. It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing, Shania Twain -- This song is ultimately depressing to me. It's also a break up song, but the kind that you cry through while you sing along. I am not much of a country fan, but a little crossover like Shania occasionally is nice. . .

5. Back To You, John Mayer -- I have a huge thing for John Mayer. I know that there are lots of people who disagree, but this album in particular was the soundtrack of my life a few years ago. His lyrics just connected to me in a huge way. And this song is the best of those. I am the kind of person that doesn't give up on relationships very easily, hangs on long after I know it's really over. What better way is there to express that neurotic tendency musically?

6. I Will Love You, Fisher -- I can never figure out what's happening in this song. She is expressing something so sweet and intense, but she sounds sad. It's like she's singing it to someone she's already lost. I've always loved it, but it's not happy.

7. Allemande, Keane -- While I am a sucker for "guy & guitar", I may be almost as much of a sucker for "guy & piano". I love how clean and simple Keane's music is. I know it's gotten less so in some of their newer stuff, but this is a gorgeously uncomplicated song. I love it.

8. I Will Follow You Into the Dark, Death Cab for Cutie -- This song has always reminded me of a pact that Whitney & Kevin made in high school. It was one of those "If we're both single when we're 35. . ." kinds of things, signed in ketchup on a napkin at Wendy's. I can't decide if it's that, or more of a stalker ex-boyfriend thing. Regardless, it sticks in my head every time I hear it, and I love it.

9. Happy, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins -- I was introduced to this group one random day when I was listening to Dainon host a radio show and he played You Are What You Love and it really stuck with me. Jenny Lewis is the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, and I've always found her voice particularly haunting. This whole album makes me feel that even more. It's a little off kilter. A little weird. But all good.

10. Sooner or Later, Michael Tochler -- I don't know how old Michael is, but I think he's singing this to teenagers. It's got a cool message that a lot of us could take to heart, really, about not letting other people's opinions of us influence who we are. Some days I really need this message. Ben brought this back from FL with him too, I think, and I've had it in my itunes ever since.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Top 10 TV shows

I'm pretty much over a lot of the new shows, to be honest. I'm recording a lot of them, and not really getting back to watching them. I completely removed Smith from my schedule, and Kidnapped moved, but I barely noticed, because I'd stopped watching that too. I gave up on Jericho this week. The following are the shows I'm still recording, in no particular order:

1. Extreme Makeover Home Edition-- How can you not cry EVERY single week? It's just too cool for words the stuff they do for people.

2. Brothers & Sisters-- truth be told, I'm 2 weeks behind. & I may not catch up. Unless I have a night of total boredom to catch up.

3. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip-- Oh how I heart this show. It makes me giddy.

4. Heros-- We are behind on this show. We missed last week. But I really really like it. Monday nights are SO cool again.

5. Boston Legal-- It's funny again. & I care. There's no way you can watch it and not laugh at the ridiculousness of this law firm. They're insane. And that's OK.

6. Lost-- It's got me a little bit on the edge of not caring after this week. . . but I think that's because I find Locke BORING. I'll be excited again when they get back to the interesting stuff. Up until last night I was on the edge of my seat.

7. The Nine-- This is on my maybe list. It's interesting, but not to the point of losing sleep to watch it.

8. Six Degrees-- Same thing. Although I am strangely drawn to the Campbell Scott/Bridget Moynahan story line.

9. Ugly Betty-- it's cheesy and contrived, but somehow, I still like it. I still get sucked in. Probably because the characters are likeable. Also, funny is important. There's not much funny on my TV list.

10. Grey's Anatomy-- By far my favorite. I am tripping over myself to watch it as soon as possible. I can't wait to see what happens, and what will come out of their mouths next. My favorite line from this week. Meredith to Bailey, "You're pretty". YAY!! But am I the only one that thinks Chandra Wilson (Bailey) is doing something weird with her voice this season? Probably. I'm shutting up now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Getting realigned

Back in my Nu Skin days, and during my divorce, I was having really awful problems, AGAIN, with back pain and migraines. I had tried everything on earth to fix my stupid back, being told over and over again that I had a herniated disc, but it wasn't something that could be fixed with surgery. & every other thing the doctors tried, including the injection of large doses of cortisone INTO my spinal column, had not worked. I was going to a pain specialist who gave me drug after drug after drug, just trying to treat the pain. Everything he gave me had awful side effects and made me want to scream. On my last visit to his office (my choice, not his) he literally threw up his hands and said, "I don't know what to do with you. I have no idea why none of this is working." I never went back.

After relating my frustrations to Maureen, at work, she suggested I go see Dr. Hanson. He was a chiropractor that came to Nu Skin a couple of times a week to treat people that worked there. I was scared to death of chiropractors, having been cautioned that with a herniated disc, if they adjusted you wrong, you could be paralyzed. But I was at my wits end, so I made an appointment. I showed up armed with my MRI films (which, looking back, I think I was supposed to return to the hospital, but I never did) and a lot of cynicism. He talked to me for a few minutes about my symptoms, looked at the films, and said "I think I know exactly what's wrong with you. How do you feel about needles?"

It turns out, Dr. Hanson, this 6'5" white guy from Oregon, was a licensed acupuncturist. I've never been afraid of needles, and, as I said, I was ready to try anything, so I gave him free reign. Over the next few weeks he gave me huge bruises working the stress out of my hip muscles and stuck at least a hundred needles in me, some of which were buried several inches deep in my hip and hooked up to electricity. You'd think it would have been awful. But it was the opposite. He had FINALLY figured out what was really wrong with me, and he had a solution. My headaches dropped off to almost non-existent. My back was barely a problem. I finally felt better!

Every once in a while, and usually during times of stress, the pain would come back, and I'd go to see him and he'd set me right again. Sometimes it took a couple of sessions. Sometimes only one. But I would always get back to normal pretty quickly.

Then I got laid off.

The stress of being jobless, on top of getting married, etc. . . has taken a toll on me the last 6 months. My back has really started to bug me. I was really starting to wish I still worked at Nu Skin so I could go see Dr. Hanson again. So I started doing a little bit of research. Turns out, he's on my medical plan, AND, he has an office in Sandy, much closer to my office than Provo. The first time I went to see him I had been having weird shoulder pains that were really intense. It was really weird and different. I finally bit the bullet and called his office.

He is a little bit of an anomaly as a doctor. He actually remembers you. He remembers what was wrong with you and why he treated you, but he also remembers stuff about your life that you tell him while he's treating you. How he does this, I have no idea. It's very impressive, even if he does have note cards stashed away somewhere. I like it. Also, in his office, he has a water massage table. If I needed one more reason to think it was awesome that I could go to his Sandy office, this pushed me over the edge. It was fantastic. I used to see them in the mall and think they were a nice little gimmick. I sort of wanted to lay in one of those freaky cocoons. This was not quite that, but it was a wonderful massage.

Sadly, in the course of that visit, it turned out I had torn a muscle, but neither of us knew that. I woke up the next morning in horrible pain and had to go to the family practice doctor to figure out what had happened. But I'm going back today. My shoulder is healed and our trip to AZ did a number on my already hurty back. I need to get myself realigned. . . and lay on that fancy massage table again. Hooray!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Weekend fun in AZ

It's been almost a week since I posted anything. . . but I have a really good reason. Ben's mom was in an accident on her bike a couple of weeks ago in which she sustained some pretty major breaks to her leg. And the timing was awful. They were supposed to be painting and moving into a new home this week. An awful situation for any time, but especially in the midst of all of that stress. So. . . . We took a road trip to AZ. It was a crazy whirlwind couple of days. 13 hour drives each way & 3 days straight of painting. Here are a few of the highlights.

First stop, Panquitch. And this poor bear. She's huge, looks like she may be carrying a little bear bun in the oven, and to add to the pressure, is chained up in front of the mini-mart. Now, that's just cruel.

Yes, you read that right. This was apparently an Italian restaurant. We kicked around the idea of actually eating here, but thankfully decided against it. The name of the place was entertaining enough. Just across the dirt parking lot was the gas station we had actually stopped for, with this sign above the door:
Yes, yes it was. This was in Arizona, but I can't remember the name of the "town" on the exit sign. This sign says it all.

This is the very pretty house from the outside. It's very Arizona, and, according to Ben, a very Hess house.

This is the living room. Most of Sunday I spent up on a ladder painting this room. Ben and his dad have permanently cricked necks from painting every ceiling in the house, including these VERY high vaulted ones. But Ben doesn't like ladders, and his sisters are. . . vertically challenged, so I got up and did the high parts of the walls.

The kitchen, laundry room, and closets were a joyful combination of semi-gloss paint over semi-gloss primer. A very tricky combination. The paint slides all over the place, rather than sticking where you put it.

One thing I'll never paint two tone without again:

It's this amazing little edger tool you can get at Walmart that does an amazing job cutting in the edges of two toned paint. A LIFE SAVER.

On the plus side, the weather was perfect, not cold and blustery like Utah right now, and there were some killer sunsets:

And there was also some yummy food. Awesome Mexican and Chinese food from some local restaurants. And lots of good company. It was great to spend time with Ben's family without the distraction of lots of little people. I felt like I got to know them a lot better this way.
On the drive back, I stopped in Page to let Ben drive again. . . I didn't want to face this monster that crosses over Lake Powell:

I am terrified of bridges. & this one was VERY high. I would have taken a picture of how high it was from the bridge itself. . . but I was curled up in the back seat closing my eyes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's Wednesday, but it's LIKE Friday. . .

I'm feeling a little scattered right now, and this blog will probably reflect that, but I'm in need of emptying the "random crap" part of my brain, so this will be the result of that.

It's Wednesday morning at the XanGo building (and, in case you wondering, I capitalized the G on purpose. I was indoctrinated to this practice during my 3rd week with the company in a friendly email from a co-worker. If we don't capitalize all of the letters, then we capitalize the X AND the G.) I'm not real thrilled to be at work today, truth be told. And this is being exacerbated by several things:

a) I'm sick. I'm not sure where the cold started. I believe this time, finally, it's Ben who started the disease. It's usually my fault when we both get sick, and I feel guilt. Not feeling guilt doesn't make me any less sick though.

b) Someone decided that 67 is the perfect number of degrees for this office. & unlike my safe comfy little library at Nu Skin, I have no control over the temperature of my work space. The whole stupid floor is 67. & I sit under an air vent. I wore a sweater today, but I am still REALLY cold, which cannot be making me less sick.

c) We're going on a road trip. It starts in the morning, and it's going to be a very long drive. Add to that the fact that I haven't packed, Kim is coming to our house at 8 (we're leaving early in the morning, so she's staying over tonight. It just makes sense), and it's LOST night. Which means I'd LIKE to have my house clean, my stuff packed, and be sitting on the couch in the living room at 8. But I'm running in slow motion, because, as previously stated, I'm sick. . .

Which brings me to a point I would like to make with the rhymers of this world. Who created the "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" fallacy? I'm pretty annoyed with that little lie right now. It's fall. & in the fall I LOVE apples. They are a wonderful little treat that I can easily cart with me to work without making a mess and enjoy during one of my MANY hungry moments during the day. Eating apples is supposed to give me a sense of well being. I'm eating FRUIT! For a SNACK!! & I LIKE IT!! I almost feel sheepish admitting it. But it's also supposed to keep me healthy. Along with the 3 oz shot of XanGo I chug down every night, I'm supposed to be feeling better. I'm supposed to be able to AVOID the doctor by eating apples. Well, I'm here to tell you, I have had an apple a day for the last 2 weeks, and I am still sick. I'm just saying. Don't make up the stupid rhymes and teach them to children if they're not even true! It's false advertising, pure and simple.

New thought.

Once upon a time, about a year and a half ago, Dallas & I took a road trip to Disneyland. We spent at least a week before the trip making what we called a "music chain" set of CDs. Esentially the trick was to name a song that related in some way, title or artist, to the song before. It's pretty simple really, but it was the making of one of THE best road trip compilations I've ever had the joy of listening to. It was like 400 songs long, which meant, even though they were MP3 CDs, there were 2 of them. It was brilliant.

Well, we are going on a road trip tomorro, as previously stated, so the goal of the day is to stock Minnie (my ipod Mini. I know, not that creative. We can't ALL be as clever as Ben is when naming inanimate objects) with as much music as I possibly can that we can enjoy on our 14+ hour-each-way-drive. This is slightly tricky for several reasons.

a) On a road trip, the music is CRUCIAL. It can make or break a road trip. Honestly. I really do feel that way.

b) Kim (Ben's sister) is driving with us. I don't know what Kim listens to.

c) I have HUGE broad tastes. I like new music. I don't like to listen to the same 15 songs over and over and over.

d) Ben does. He likes the songs he knows. He likes to sing along. & he's tricky to get hooked onto something new. I'd say, on a CD of 18 new songs that i provide for him to try out, 1, MAYBE 2, win. The last CD I made for him, Ruby Blue was the winner. He likes repetition. He likes to already know he loves stuff. Have I made this point already?

e) I have 4 GB to work with. As ipods go, this is not a lot of space. But, in the 3 months I have worked on my special little mac laptop, I have listened to a LOT of music, added the songs I really liked from the huge stack of music back up I have in my drawer, and still only have 2.85 GB on my machine. I don't want to fill the space with crap. I don't want to get bored. (I'm probably just a snob) But I feel this strong urge to have 4GB of music to work with. . . is that so wrong?

f) I'm taking this whole music thing WAY too seriously and Ben & Kim aren't going to care in the least. It only matters to me.

On the plus side, I don't have to be back here in this COLD COLD building for another 5 days. & I get to see where Ben's parents live. & I get to get out of this valley for a while. I'm excited. Even if the point of the trip is to paint walls & move stuff. It's still going to be nice to get away.

It's cold & I'm sick, but it's still like Friday on Wednesday.