Life Updates: by MacKenzie

I'm not at work today because, well, I no longer work there. Not too long after I started there, I got offered a job as a chemist and I really had to take it. Friday was my last day as a staff assistant and I was sad to leave. I liked it there, I liked helping people, I liked the people I had to help - overall it was a nice little job. But off I go, to more money and a job in my field. I don't start until Wednesday which gives me two days off to get other stuff done and let my anxiousness build.

Now I am the type of person that will fight tooth and nail to avoid change, even good change. These last few months have wrecked havoc on my nerves, moving to a new state, getting married, changing jobs, changing jobs again, and that's right, once more, changing jobs. And this is my first big career-type job so overall, I am pretty much a basket case right now. But hopefully, once I get used to this job, I will like it, they will like me, I won't have to deal with any more big changes, and my poor little soul will get calm to down. During this adjustment though, I have really been learning to lean of God for reassurance. He wouldn't drag me through all these changes for everything to end up a mess, would he? I don't think so, he has a plan and I trust him.

And don't think I am all anxiety, I am also really excited. I will finally be a real scientist doing real research-type stuff. I will be working on stuff for some big guys like the National Science Foundation and NASA. That is tres cool and don't think I am not super-pumped about it. So overall, everything is working out just like I knew it would but my new job might mean also some new changes for you, my loyal readers. You might have noticed that my posting have increased in frequency during the last month and a half or so. That is because I tended to have quite a bit of free time at work (You can't answer the phone if no one calls, and you can't fix the copier if no one breaks it). That will be ending. I have a feeling this new job will keep me pretty busy. Hopefully I will stick with my goal to post regularly, but I make no promises.


My dog days of summer

WARNING: I just read what I wrote, and it came out a bit meaner than I meant it to be. This is probably due to the fact that I am PMS-y. I am going to leave it how it is though because 1) I am still PMSy so even if I re-wrote it, it would be any better and 2) I meant it all, I just wish I has said it better/nicer. So if you still want to read this, you have been warned.

Someone recently brought up Bob Barker and it got me thinking about the mandatory spaying and neutering laws that are being brought up in CA. I had meant to write about this earlier but forgot. I know that the bill already died but too bad, I still want to rant. (And I am confused about the exact laws and what is going on with that, but I don't really care because it is California and you could never get me to live in California anyway, even for a million dollars, I'm talking about the principle.)

Personally, I like the idea of spaying and neutering. There are way too many dogs and cats out there that don't have homes and it makes me sad :-( All the pets my family have owned have been surgically altered so at to prevent more baby animals from entering the world (except our fish, that would just be weird). But, policy wise, I don't think it up should be up to the state to dictate to me what I can and can't do with my dog. If I want a dog with testicles, I should be able to have one. I will also have to be the one to pay the vet bills when the dog gets testicular cancer, or pay to have to carpets replaced because he has marked up the whole house, but that should be my choice.

And I don't think a law requiring s/n will really do that much. In most cities, there are already strong financial incentives for law abiding citizens to spay and neuter in addition to the very reasonable reasons the ASPCA informs us of. The people who don't s/n are the same ones who don't register their animal. They take their chances that the police will not find out that they have unregistered pets because they believe that the police will be otherwise occupied catching robbers and keeping Lindsay Lohan off our streets. So we are going to force the people that take care of their pets, and maybe do some knowledgeable, but hobby level, breeding, to fix their animals? Even if you think it is a great idea to spay and neuter every single dog and cat in CA, it shouldn't be government's business to make that happen.

On a related note, I also don't agree with no-kill shelters, despite the fact that I volunteer with a no-kill organization. Actually, it is because I work with a no-kill organization. I go out to the shelter and pick up dogs and take them to PetSmart so they can be adopted. The dogs that we take there are almost always really great dogs. Sometimes they have little problems, like pulling on the lead or a tendency to eat their owner's pet hamster* but I don't think that should be a reason for a dog to have to die, especially when it is just laziness on the part of whoever owned it before and a few weeks of love and discipline will help a lot. But we find them new homes and when they get adopted, it makes me really happy. And when an new owner comes back a few weeks or months later with their dog to show everyone how great he/she is and what they have learned, it makes me really really happy. I am glad that we were able to take a dog from the pound where it would have been put to sleep and turn it into someones beloved pet.

But there are other dogs to. The ones that we don't take to PetSmart because they couldn't handle it. The ones who aren't really adoptable. I see them, week after week, at the shelter, knowing that they will probably stay there till they die. In a cage, or tied up outside, with almost no interaction with other dogs or humans. They just sit there, getting less and less adoptable. What kinda life is that? I think it would be better for them to be put down. Don't get me wrong, the shelter I work with is great and the organizers and other volunteers are able to do amazing work, that is why I spend my time there. But you can't save everyone.

Before I volunteered for these last few months, if someone would have asked me if I like the idea of a no-kill shelter I would have said yes, because who wants to think about killing puppies and kittens? I wanted to think I was a baby animal lover, not hater. But I don't think animals should have to suffer because I want to feel good about myself. That is really just selfish.

Now, I know that a few of you will be thinking, even if you don't leave a comment, that I must be a cruel horrible person because I think we should let irresponsible owners' animals make babies all over the place and when we can't do anything with them, to kill them. And if you want to think that to feel better about yourself and your own love of mandatory laws and no kill shelters, go right ahead. But unless you got up early yesterday and spent almost 10 hours hanging out with a pack of smelly (cute but definitely smelly) dogs, I don't want to hear about it.

*(side note to Sasha's previous owner: if your dog had eaten a mouse you would probably have been thrilled, how was she supposed to know that the small furry thing running around your house was your pet and not a pest, why get rid of a well trained, adorable dog just because of that one little issue?)


Step 3: The Payoff

At this point, if you were like me, you might be thinking that this was a lot of work for a stupid signature and you shouldn't have started in the first place. But guys, you are so close to being done and you have already done all the hard parts, so stick with me.

First you need to save the picture to Blogger so it can be a big boy picture and have it's own url. The easiest way to do this is to make a new post and insert the picture, aligned to the left. Now save the post as a draft. Since this is a team blog, I titled mine Mac's signature DO NOT DELETE so Craig would know what it was, but as long you don't have a problem with blogger fairies out there randomly deleting your drafts, that won't be necessary. Now it is saved on Blogger, to find out where it is saved, just go to edit html and look for something like this:

(img src="http://bp2.blogger.com/whateverreallylongurlbloggerassigned/yourfilename.png" align="left" /)

[except that instead of ( there will be < but if I actually put the < there, G=Blogger tries to put the picture in]

Copy that whole chunk of code. Now go to Settings>Formatting and scroll down to Post Template. Whatever you put in the Post Template will be in every post, so paste the code for that picture right there and save it. CONGRATULATIONS! You've done it. To check it out, just try to create a post and see it there, waiting for you. For our blog, I put both signatures in there, then we just delete whichever one we don't want when we post.

Step 3's technique can be used for any graphic, not just your signature. You can put a picture of yourself at the bottom of every post although I'm not sure what that would say about you. Or you could put a picture of something random just for fun. You can also change the alignment by replacing left with right to mix things up. Or try and come up with your own ideas, you learn the most by figuring things out yourself. Having said that though, if you have any questions, I will try and answer them, or point you to someplace that can. I really am just learning this stuff myself but hopefully you have found this little tutorial to be helpful, or at least entertaining.

MacKenzie's Friend

Here's the dog I named after my lovely wife. Unfortunately, this dog has yet to be adopted since I named her about a month ago.


Yeah, Shut Up!

John Edwards says "they want to shut me up!" Well, he's right. And not because I fear his message of "ending the war and universalizing health care." It's because he's a joke.

Never mind the hair, the fact that he worked at a hedge fund "to learn about poverty", or the fact that he has his wife out there doing his dirty work for him. I base my assessment on his positions.

This poverty bit he does is straight from the 1960's, and his solutions are no better than the ones enacted back then. The best way to reduce poverty is to promote economic growth. Edwards' tax hikes. minimum wage hikes, and protectionism will do exactly the opposite, as any Economics 101 student could tell you.

He's also wedded to the idea that government health care will be better and cheaper, when in fact the opposite is true.

I must give the Democrats some credit, though. They didn't actually nominate him for president in 2004, and I don't think they will in 2008, either. That has to count for something.

Step 2: Design your Signature

Now that you have the perfect font, you can design your signature. This part is pretty easy but there are some weird sidesteps you have to take. If you are blessed (and I do mean blessed) enough to have Photoshop and know how to use it, you would probably do better to just do it there and completely ignore this post. I, however, do not have Photoshop, a fact which makes me sad. People often have mental wish lists of things they want when they have money, like cars, houses, every single video game known to man, etc. I dream about when I have enough money to justify spending it on Photoshop. When that day comes, my signatures and my header image will be so crisp and non-pixelated it will make me giddy. Until then, I have to do it this way:

I used PowerPoint. So just open up PowerPoint, make a text box, write your name inside and change it to your "special" font. You'll want the signature to be about the same size as you want your font to be in the end. You can resize it later, but it looks better if you do so now.

Now you want to make the background. You can put any color behind it or leave it white but that will stick out against your posts and might look odd. You will probably want it to blend in completely with your post's background so no one even knows there is a box there. Here is where we find a slight problem and have to take that first detour. The colors in Blogger are listed by their hex codes, but the colors in PowerPoint are in RBG format. Don't panic because after a little searching, I found a converter to make life easy! Now leave PowerPoint where it is for a moment, go to blogger and under the Template tag go to Fonts and Colors. Click on whatever color you have for your background and in the little box on the right, it will show you the hex code for that color (# followed by 6 number/letters). Now go to the converter and under Hex Code is: type in that code and push convert to RBG. Now in the RBG area above that, it will show you the proportions of Red, Blue and Green you need to make that color. Right those numbers down or use your super human memory to store them in your brain.

Back in PowerPoint, make a rectangular box slightly bigger than your text box. (Don't just go and try and color the background of the text box, often times the letters stick out of the box and it looks weird, trust me.) Open the format box and under go More Colors go to Custom. Now you will see three boxes with familiar labels. Change the Red, Blue and Green numbers to what you wrote down and click OK. Now the background of your signature will completely match the background of your posts.

That was the hardest part of Step 2, so pat yourself on the back for getting it done. Now place the box over the text and if the box covers it over, right click the box, and go order > send to back. Now it should look all pretty.

Now you have to save it, but you don't want to save it as a PowerPoint, you want to save it as a graphic. Hence the second detour. Go File > Save As and in the Save as box click down at Save as type: and save it however you want to save it. GIF, JPEG, and PNG will all work but mine always came out clearer when I saved it as a PNG file.

Now you saved the whole PowerPoint screen including a lot of white area but you can easily crop that out. Close PowerPoint and open up the graphic in whatever program you want. I used my lame Microsoft Picture Manager. Now just crop away all the white and extra color around the signature. Okay, now breathe. It may seem like a lot of work, just to make a little tiny graphic but it isn't that bad once you actually do it, it just takes a while to write it down. But if you have Photoshop, that would have been a lot easier. $600 easier? I'm not sure, but a little easier.

Now that we have a cute little graphic with your signature inside, we will work on actually putting in your posts. But I need a break so you'll have to wait for Tomorrow's Step 3: The Payoff.


British smiles

This article has some really lame "spoilers" about House. But go there anyway so you can see a picture of Hugh Laurie playing in a bumper car. That smile = adorable.

Step 1: Find your Font

In honor of hitting our 100th post, and because I didn't want to wait until someone asked me how to do the cool signature thing, I have decided to bless you all with the knowledge, in the form of a 3 part series, whether you want it or not. It took me quite a while to find out how to get it to work and considering how many blogger help sites are out there, there is a shocking lack of information about this subject. So, If you don't have a blogger blog, you can just skip these posts, or read them and see how very cool it was of me to figure it all out on my own.
Step 1: Finding your font.
Picking the right font is crucial. While you could use any font you already have on your computer, that would be very boring and pointless. Who wants to go create a cool signature in Times New Roman, really. You need a font that screams "you". For Craig, that font was PhontPhreaks Handwriting, for me Angelina. There are tons of sites out there than have fonts free for downloading, but here is a good start. These are all handwriting fonts, which are perfect for signatures. And this site allows you to put your name in to see exactly what it would look like instead of just relying on their sample.
Once you pick your font, click on the download button and well, download it. I find it easiest to download it to my desktop since I will be deleting it soon anyway. See how easy this is. Okay, now it is on your computer, you just need to extract and apply it. Don't get scared, you'll be okay. Find the folder you just downloaded and right click, then click on extract all. Now there will be another folder that contains the font folder unzipped. Leaving that right where it is, open up My Computer > Local Disk > WINDOWS > Fonts. Somewhere in the process, your computer might try to tell you that you shouldn't be opening this particular folder, but just ignore it and tell it to show you anyway, don't worry, your computer won't explode. (Just don't go messing with other stuff in there, I don't have any idea what will happen and I will not feel responsible)
Now you should have two folders open on your desktop: the Font folders which lists all the fonts your computer has, and the folder of the new font you just downloaded. Just cut the new font and paste it into the Font folders so it can live happily with all your other fonts. You can delete the two new folders that I told you to put on your desktop now. They aren't needed anymore. If you want to make sure that the font is really there, you can open up Word or PowerPoint, type something, then try and change the font. In your list, nestled with your other fonts, will be your new one. It should even be in the right spot, alphabetically speaking. See that wasn't hard, was it? Now, you might be thinking that since you are the only person who will have the font "ToSexyForMySignature" on their computer how is anyone else going to be able to read it. Don't worry, we will officially be making it into a graphic so it will all be okay. That comes tomorrow in Step 2: Designing your signature.


New Haven for Illegals

New Haven, CT (a quite appropriate name, in this case) today unveiled its illegal immigrant ID card. For $10, those who acquire the card can access city services and use it as a limited debit card. About 250 of the city's 10-15,000 illegals showed up to get their card. Of course, the pro-illegal Catholic Church is behind this:
Rev. Jim Manship, of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Fair Haven, said he spoke about the cards Sunday to his congregation, which includes many immigrants, and applications were distributed. "People will come out," he said Tuesday. "These folks are incredibly resilient and incredibly hopeful."
Now, if I were in charge, here's what I would have done. I would have had ICE show up with dozens of officers and a couple of buses and arrest everyone in line to get the card, for immediate deportation. I would then have cut off all federal aid to the city of New Haven, until they eliminated this ID card.

Simple solution, if you ask me. Too bad nobody else thought of it.

Injuries and Maladies

My brother broke his leg. Not my 14-year old brother who routinely participates in injury-causing activities like roof climbing and skateboarding but my older brother; the 24-year old engineering PhD student. Anyway, I guess he broke it Saturday but didn't find out until Monday that it was actually broken and not just a bad sprain like he thought. That is probably the biggest difference between my brother and I (besides the gender thing). His pain tolerance is really high while mine...is not. If I get a splinter in my finger my family will hear about it for hours (I feel better when I know others can sympathize and what better way than to make them feel my pain by hearing about it all the time, right?) while he can go two days with a broken leg before going to the doctor. Hopefully, his abnormal pain tolerance will stay with him until next Thursday when he has surgery and they put a metal plate in his leg to keep it all together. Please pray for him and whatever pain he does have.

Another injury that is not at all at the same level but only proves my point about being whiny with pain, occurred last night. We had just gotten home from a surprise birthday party for a friend. It was a lot of fun but I was exhausted and was getting ready for bed in the zombie-like state that occurs when I haven't slept/napped in the last 10 hours. (Sleep and I are good friends). Standing in front of the closet, I turn to go find something to put on the 1.5 million bug bites I got while outside watching the boys men try and light fireworks when all of a sudden, I see this cell phone flying at my face. It seemed to happen in slow motion but I still couldn't do anything before it hit my smack dab in the middle of my forehead. I stumbled and fell onto the bed, trying to figure out what happening when Craig rushed over and repeatedly tells me how sorry he is. Apparently, he walked past the bedroom door and was trying to gently toss my cell phone onto the bed so I could plug it in. This really was a very nice gesture because I always forget to get it out of my purse and then I have to get up out of bed to get it (or call Craig and make him). Unfortunately, right as he tossed the phone, I walked past the door. Even through the pain, it was funny and my crying and laughing were intertwined. I do have a bump of my forehead now which should be good for guilt-tripping Craig for at least a day I think so all is well.

Saving for College

I've been pressing my parents to start a 529 plan for my high school-age brother, but I thought I'd pass this information on to any parents out there who happen to read this.

In short, a 529 plan is the best way to save for college. Not only are withdrawals from these accounts tax-free (like a Roth IRA), but these plans are also beneficial at FAFSA time, because they don't count against your grant eligibility as much as some other options do. 529s allow anyone to contribute (parents, grandparents, aunts, etc.). Also, 32 states let you deduct plan contributions from your state taxable income ($5,000/year in North Dakota, for example). Many plans have handy age-appropriate portfolios you can choose from (heavier on stocks for younger children, more bonds for older ones).

Every state has its own 529 plan, but you are free to use any state's plan. Utah's plan is a good pick for non-residents, or so I hear. If you do a Web search for 529 + your state, you should find all the info you need. Get to it.


Does anybody know what day it is?

It's the 24 of July so you know what that means? You don't? Well, let me tell ya. Today is Pioneer Day, an official holiday in Utah. Now, since I am not from Utah, Pioneer Day is kinda new to me. Technically it is a state holiday so I don't have to go to work but it is really a religious holiday for the Mormons. Also called the days of '47, it celebrates the arrival of Brigham Young and his followers into Utah and the Salt Lake Valley. I didn't realize it before, but it seems to be celebrated more than the 4th of July. There are parades all over the state and Logan is having a big festival with a rodeo, pie-eating contests, and "high-stakes bingo" (listed as suitable for ages 3-99). It is weird to watch the "news" shows this morning because all the ones from SLC are talking about the holiday, the events and everything that is going on but you change over to the Today show and it is just a normal day where they are focusing on Drew Carey's new gig as the host of The Price is Right (which I approve) and how to keep your animals cool during the summer (I guess I approve that too).
As a Lutheran/Methodist/Episcopalian, I won't be celebrating but I will be enjoying my day off with some cleaning, laundry and a bit of shopping. I am sad to say that Craig still has to work but at least he gets to spend the day somewhere with proper air conditioning.


Islamification of Europe

As increasing numbers of Muslims have moved to Europe, many have not adopted Western culture. In fact, they are bringing their culture to Europe. This is most horrifically apparent in the custom of "honor killing", in which men kill daughters or sisters who reject forced marriage, date European men, or cast off their hijabs. This is a recent account:
A Kurdish woman was brutally raped, stamped on and strangled by members of her family and their friends in an "honor killing" carried out at her London home because she had fallen in love with the wrong man.
Here's another example. Europe's lax immigration laws, and inability to assimilate immigrants, allow insular Islamic communities to develop, and young people who want to embrace the culture of their new home are prevented from doing so, often brutally.

Whether Europe will resist the erosion of Western culture by their new guests remains to be seen, but cracking down on honor killing would be a good place to start.


Big Week

The proprietor of the KVNU blog was gone this past week, so I ramped up my production of posts. I touched on the Money top places to live list, Virginia Tech, paying for organs, and other topics. Check it out.

I also found a weather station in Laketown, UT:

Caught Red-handed

This is the man who says he isn't interested in Harry Potter. I'll let you form your own judgments.

Day at the Beach

Tired of being stuck in our tiny hot apartment, Craig and I decided to spend yesterday at Bear Lake. It was difficult for me in the morning because I was so engrossed in Harry Potter but I managed to eat my cereal and get into my swim suit while still reading and I even read on the way there, despite the fact that we were driving through trees so I kept getting that half shade-half sun blinking effect that sometimes happens. I thought I was going to have a seizure. We got there early enough to grab a good spot on the sand. Craig went off to have a fun time frolicking
while I roasted in the sun, trying to finish. I eventually took a 10 minute break to cool off in the water but then was drawn back so Craig joined me although his reading material was boring compared to mine (or compared to an anatomy textbook for that matter)
About 12:30 I finished. [Total reading time was appr. 5 hours, I would have read it all through the night but Craig couldn't sleep with the light on and I didn't want him falling asleep on the drive up to the lake and killing us so at 2:30 I turned off the light , despite the fact that I waited at the store for over three hours but had only read for about an hour.]
Since I was know able to breath normally, we grabbed lunch and immediately jumped into the water - we live on the edge. We had brought a picnic and a blanket but other people there were a tad excessive. The people behind us had a brought along a store bought canopy, a makeshift canopy made from a tarp and poles, and a propane grill. It was ridiculous and took them about an hour to get everything set up when they could have been having fun like we were, relaxing in our "boat."
Some people just don't know the thrill of a simple day at the beach.


Modesty's the hottest!

Back in my young single days (ya know, 7 months ago) I read the articles on Boundless every week. Overall, their articles don't apply to my life as much anymore, but I highly recommend it for any single Christians out there and I still read their occasional posts about money management and theology. I also like the related blog since it covers a larger variety of topics. One post this week was about modesty and it really caught my attention. I want to talk about it but thought I would address the plank in my eye before moving on to the specks in others.

Before I got married I though I had the modesty thing all under control. As a teenager I didn't really care about what I looked like so I mostly wore loose jeans and baggy t-shirts. It was pretty easy to be modest. In college, I started caring a little bit more about how I looked but I still believed I did a good job about staying appropriately dressed. Then I got married and I thought I was an adult now so I didn't have to worry about that anymore. I wear professional-type clothing at work and at home I wear jeans and tops (but they are cuter than when I was 14, don't worry). But thanks to Craig, I have been finding out that maybe I just wasn't aware of when I was being immodest.

Craig: Do you think you will be comfortable in that?
Me (in a tank top): Yeah, it's like 90, I think I will be fine.
Craig: But I'm not sure if...no, I guess it is okay.
Me (now looking in the mirror): I could change into something with sleeves?
Craig: That might be good

We have actually had 3 or 4 similar conversations in the last couple months. I don't ever remember that happening before we got married, maybe because he couldn't tell what I was wearing over the phone, or maybe because now that my body belongs to him too he is a little more conscious of how much being shown. But I'm glad that he is helping me become more aware.

In general, I don't think the Christian world does a great job of this. There seems to be this great divide when it comes to how Christian girls and women dress. The one side doesn't think about it enough. I have seen girls at church, sitting with their fathers, that could only be described as looking like hoochiemamas. Even some of the amazing Christian women I know still care a bit too much about being "hot" and not beautiful and attractive.

Now that I have given myself the goal of being more conscientious about how I dress, I have been thinking about my friends that do a good job. One was my former roommate, Linsay. I can't remember her ever wearing something inappropriate but she always looked really cute.

That leads me to the other side of the divide. Those that seem to work too hard on being modest and now enough on still being attractive. The nice thing about the program mentioned in the article is that they want these girls to be fashionable too, and they are. The girls in picture are wearing some really cute things. I am still working on getting the cute part down, fashion really isn't my thing, but I think that looking nice is almost as important being modest. Your clothes say a lot about me, and I don't want others to see me, a Christian, as someone who doesn't care what kinda of message she send to the world. And personally, I have no desire to look like I'm 5 years away from being a "jumper mom." It's unnecessary and not always a very good witness. I never want a non-Christian to feel like they might be interested in learning about this Jesus guy, but not if they are going to end up looking like someone from little house on the prairie.

While I may theological issues with the LDS church, I think this is an area were Mormons do pretty well. Which also makes it nice for me living here. Once, I was wearing a little cami around the house but Craig wanted to go run errands so I went and put a t-shirt underneath it. I came out and told Craig that I was ready to go because now I looked like a Mormon . . . I meant it as a good thing. But why can they get a handle on being attractively modest but most Christians can't?

On a non-modesty not - this will be my last post until I finish reading Harry Potter. Like Rachel, I will be distancing myself from any media source that could tell me something I do not wish to know until I read it myself. But don't fret, I won't be gone long.

Potter Predictions

The book I, and the rest of the world, have been waiting for is getting so close to being available that I am getting giddy just thinking about it. I thought I would give you my predictions and hopes for the book, mostly because I want to sort out my thoughts before I sit down to read it. Don't take too much stock in my ideas, they will probably be about as accurate as most of Prof. Trelawney's predictions.

Oh, and mom (or anyone else), if you haven't read up through the last book, don't read this because it might contain spoilers. Just finish the Half-Blood Prince and come back and read it if you really want to.

Snape: Friend or Foe?
I am going to say friend although I kinda want him to be bad. Probably because I like the lines between good guys and bad guys to be really thick but Rowling just made it so obvious that he was bad in the last book that I think he will have to end up being good. (Although, maybe she knew that everyone would think that since it was so clear that he was bad, he must be good, thus allowing her to make him bad in the end, while still being surprising, hmm...) Unlike others, I'm not 100% convinced that his last actions were under the orders of Dumbledore, because I think that is a little too easy and she typically makes her explanations a little bit more convoluted, but it does make sense and I won't be completely shocked if that turns out to be the case. (okay, that was a bit wishy-washy but what do you really want from me?)

Will Harry Live?
I don't want him to die but more than that, I don't think the prediction makes it clear that he has to die like other people think. Part of me feels like if he does die, it won't be because she wanted to do that for the sake of the story but because she didn't want to get pestered later about other books or she wanted to shock people and get attention, but is it even possible for this book to get more attention? No, she should just make Harry live. Maybe maim him badly, but keep him alive. The other part of me trusts her and thinks that if she does make Harry die, I still can't imagine not liking the book. I might cry though, hopefully Craig is around to mock me.

Will Voldemort Die?
There seems to be a lot of people out there thinking that big ol' "He who must not be named" is going to survive but I really think that would make a very stupid ending. Again, I think the only reason she would do that would be to prove that she could, but seriously, that would make for some poor literature. What is the point of a novel (or 7) about good and evil if evil wins in the end?

Who will die then?
If Snape turns out to be good, I hope that he dies. Not because I particularly want him to die, but because I think he might be considered a "main character" and that would mean one less main character that I actually like will have to die. We already know I don't want Harry to die. And I don't want either Ron or Hermoine to die because, I too, want them to live happily ever after and make red-headed babies. (Along with another particular couple, but that is another story) In fact, I don't want to make a real prediction on this question because if I pick right, I will feel like I condemned them to die, even though I know that my thoughts have no real bearing on an already written book by an author that lives on the other side of the world. But if I pick wrong, then writing what I think/hope will only make me more sad when those people don't die and others have too. Although if pressed, I would say one of those two will probably die. I think Neville might also die, because he has shown to be more than meets the eye and with the prophecy and stuff out there, I think he is going to play a bigger part in the story. In fact, I hope that Neville dies a really heroic death, maybe even saving Harry. That would be cool. So, to summarize that long paragraph: I hope it is Snape and Neville but I don't really believe that it will be.

That is all I have for now. If you have any predictions or thoughts or hopes or really anything to say about Harry Potter, I would to looovvvvee to hear it. Craig isn't into the series so I don't really have that many people to talk to about it. In fact, because I feel like being a stinker and getting him into "trouble," I will confide to you that, while we were in line to see the movie, he actually told me that he is saddened by people's love of Harry Potter and the fact that so many adults are into this "children's book" says something, and he didn't mean something good, about society. I was so shocked by his statement, and his nerve to say it while waiting in a line to see the movie (for an hour!) that I couldn't even come up with a reply. I just shook my head at him and remained speechless. So, even if you don't have anything to add to the HP discussion, you should at least come up with a witty reply to Craig. (Rachel, I think this would be a good job for you).


I'm a rebel

You may not believe it but I am about to offer proof. Everyday, I go downstairs and grab a paper towel from this paper towel dispenser before I eat my lunch.

At first glance, this may appear to be your average, everyday, paper towel dispenser. Don't be fooled. It is obnoxious and I hate it. Mostly because of that stupid little sign. It has completely unnecessary instructions saying to pull with both hands. If that wasn't enough, it has those instructions in three different languages along with three different pictures showing you the proper and improper ways of using it.
I don't know why this causes me to hate it so passionately but it does. Maybe because I feel like it is looking down on me, or maybe because I feel like it is ridiculous that it needs so much instructions but there is probably some law saying that it is needed. So you know what I do, every single day, just to spite this stupid machine and whoever wrote that stupid sign? I pull with only ONE hand. It's true. I have never used both hands to get myself a paper towel and I don't think I ever will. It's the principle. See, I really am a rebel.

Time to Give Up on Palestine

President Bush is determined to continue with the peace process between Israel and Palestine. While I can see that this would be a big legacy-builder, I think he's wasting his time. The Palestinians have proven time and time again that they're not interested in peace. Electing Hamas to run their government in 2006 was one of the clearer signs that this is the case.

Part of pushing the peace process, of course, is to send cash to the Palestinian leaders, since they are incapable of setting up a functioning economy. And now we're sending them even more. Most of this money goes into the pockets of corrupt leaders. Yasser Arafat was worth an estimated $300 million, and you know he didn't earn that through shrewd business ventures.

With that kind of largess coming in, no wonder Palestinian leaders don't want peace. That and their burning hatred of Israel, of course. Also, Israel provides the Muslim world a ready excuse. Economic trouble in Iran? Blame Israel. No economy whatsoever in Palestine? Blame Israel. Civil war between Hamas and Fatah? Blame Israel. If peace was achieved, who else would they blame?

Actually, I can answer that. They'd blame Britain for knighting Salman Rushdie. They'd blame Denmark for mildly offensive cartoons. They'd blame the pope for making accurate comments about them.

But like I said, Bush should give up on this fool's errand. He should spend his time appointing more judges and closing the border.


Banana fana fo fana

When you get older, you are supposed to like foods you didn't when you were younger. This hasn't really happened with me, at least not yet. I keep trying things like black olives, mustard, and feta cheese, thinking that someday I will like them because I'm an adult now and you are supposed to like that sort of stuff as an adult. But each time, I find them more disgusting than the last.

There is only one food that I remember not liking but now I do - bananas. When I was in school (kindergarten to be precise, my only "real" school experience) my mom used to pack me a banana in my lunch sometimes and write messages on the peel with a marker. It was very cool. So either I like bananas then, or my mom just forced them on me anyway. But when I was in middle school, I hated bananas, except for banana bread which doesn't count because it doesn't really taste like banana that much. And then, when I was about 14, I changed my mind and decided that I loved bananas. I love plain bananas, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and I even like bananas in my ice cream (well, only if it is peanut butter or chocolate ice cream). I am still kinda picky about the ripeness of the banana though, I like them the day after all the green disappears, before any brown spots ruin them. That is more of a texture thing though, once they get spotted, they get too smushy and I can't deal with that. I have also held onto my distaste for those fake banana flavors, like banana runts or those gross "banana fudge pops" you could get at A&M's cafeterias. Those are especially bad because the title is so deceitful - it's just a banana flavored Popsicle, there is no fudge to be found!

Despite my tumultuous relationship with bananas, I hope that in the future, the foods I love remain dear to my heart. And maybe someday, I will be able to stomach mustard on my sandwich or feta on my salad, but that might just be too much to ask.


Your Nearest Weather Station, Part III

I've had mixed success searching for weather stations lately. The one in Ogden in on the property of a power plant, so it's only accessible from 7-3:30. Since it's an hour away, that doesn't work with my schedule. The Riverdale station is on an Air Force Base, so I can't get in there, either. I was unable to locate the station in Heber, but I found the one in Morgan. Here it is:


According to the polls, Fred Thompson is in a close race with Rudy Giuliani for the top spot in the GOP Presidential race. However, his candidacy is still in the exploratory stage. There were rumors that he would enter earlier this month, but that didn't happen. Now there's talk that he may wait until September to enter. The word is that he would like to enter the race in first place, and that he's working on getting endorsements from Christian groups. I'm starting to get impatient for him to enter, but if he can pull his strategy off, it would be worth waiting a while longer. Plus, maybe this will teach future candidates not to start campaigning so darn early.

Really Old Crap

Last week at work it was pretty quiet and not much to do so I decided to take on the Copy Room. It is my job to make sure it is stocked and organized but ever since I got there, I had been wanted to go through and clean it out. I thought there was a lot of old and unused stuff in there but it wasn't until I really started cleaning things out that I realized how much stuff and how old it really was. Luckily, I had the digital camera in my purse so I am able to share all my sweet finds with you all.

A 1996 Olympic special edition UPS envelope. Notice the EXTREMELY URGENT print on the bottom. I really want to send someone something in this envelope.

A 1984 Fed Ex Guide book. I wasn't even born in 1984! You guys aren't really getting the whole effect here though because this picture makes it hard to see just how incredibly awful this guy's haircut is.
We actually had 2 boxes of this stuff. That is about 30 bottles of correction fluid thinner.
We also had boxes of carbon paper. But I shouldn't feel bad for throwing them out because if you notice the price, they are only 5¢ a box.

Special Delivery stickers. Again, since they only cost 19¢ I felt like I could risk throwing them away.This is only a fraction of the typewriter stuff that I found. The round things in the front are actually different fonts. I didn't know you could change the font on typewriters but apparently, you can. I don't know a lot about typewriters and actually found this stuff to be really cool. But I think my lack of knowledge made some of my co-workers feel old, so I stopped asking questions.
These are shading plates. I don't know how old they are, but I couldn't find anyone in the office that knew what they were or how they were used. We did a little bit of educated guessing though and came up with a theory. Inside the envelopes are metal squares with different raised patterns on it. We think that if someone wanted to make a graph in the days before computers, they used these plates with carbon paper to give the different sections different darknesses and patterns. Anyway, that is our guess. If you know for sure what they are used for, let me know.



In my previous post about the trip, I left off a detail about our drive back which I now feel compelled to share. Hopefully it doesn't backfire.

Since it was an official business trip, Craig drove the company truck. It is a little bit dusty since they typically use it to go out in fields and woods but we saved wear and tear on our own car and I felt safer. Ours isn't a bad little car but it does tend to break down at the most inopportune times. If the stories weren't so fresh in my mind, they probably would be funny but for now let's just say we have gotten our money's worth out of AAA.

About half way through our trip home, I started thinking about pick-up trucks. That got me thinking about those girls at A&M that I always made fun of. The ones whose boyfriends have trucks and when they go anywhere together, the girl always sits in the middle seat while the rest of the world is wondering why they can't let the poor boy have some elbow room since there is a perfectly good, full size seat right next to them. These girls were often the same ones who showed up to class in really short skirts and heals and then had to find a way to sit on the hard plastic chairs without exposing too much underwear or sticking to the seat in a unattractive way - by the way, they usually failed in these attempts. Anyway, I always ridiculed these girls when I saw them, sometimes aloud to Craig or my girlfriends, but always internally. So yesterday, knowing that my time riding in a truck with Craig was coming to an end, I moved over to the middle seat. Just to be funny of course. But then, I found that I like it there and so I stayed for the rest of the trip. It's kind of embarrassing to admit, but I had to tell yoo, I just couldn't live a lie.

I'm trying to think of what lesson I should have learned from all this. Do I need to examine myself and find out why I am so judgmental? I have decided that no, I do not. I am pretty sure those girls were just as ridiculous as I previously though they were so I don't feel bad for forming my opinions about them based on where they sit in a truck or what they wear to Biology 101. I am just going to start letting myself be ridiculous every once in a while too and others are welcome to think ill of me all they want.

Here's the story, of a lovely lady....

I am guessing that you have already noticed but in case you are really dense, somethings have changed a bit around here. I was tired of being confined by blogger templates so I decided to make a few changes. I had no idea that a few "simple" changes would take hours and hours of my life. I would like to thank Craig for being patient with me as I screamed at the computer a number of times. Blogger is great about making some things simple to change but then when you go to edit the html and just tweak it a little bit, things completely disappear. I need to stop thinking about it cause it is giving me a headache.

Yet, now that it is done, I feel relieved that our blog no longer looks like a million other blogs out there. It still isn't perfect but I need to stop being such a perfectionist, especially since my html skills are less than great. But I have learned a lot so if any of you want help changing your background or the size of your header, let me know and I can point you in the right direction. I will also warn you that before it is over, you might feel like killing someone.

On a related note, if any of you know how to put in changes like font and background with specifications based on the author, please tell me how. It doesn't sound hard but I can't get it to work. Or if you know how to add a signature to each post, that knowledge would also be helpful.

P.S. Please vote in our poll at the bottom of the sidebar.


Sappy love note

Craig and I have now been married for 6 months. In some ways it seems like it was only yesterday that I was sitting in Marlis's living room trying to throw up while LuBecca fixed my hair.

But when I think about how much has changed and how much we have changed, it seems like it has been a long time. Growing up is hard, but I am really glad I have Craig to grow up with. I love you, Craig! The End.


I feel like I need to catch me breath. I am not the type of person that does spontaneous fun things. I just read that last line and it made me sad, but I know it is the truth. That is why the last 48 hours have been exhausting for me, but all in a good way. It started at lunch time on Wednesday, I was down in the lunch room, eating my PB&J sandwich and reading a book, like I do every single day. Then, Craig calls and says his boss got jury duty so he has to go to this conference, which just happens to be at a resort, so do I want to join him. Instinctively, I said no, because that was not in my plans for the week, but the more I thought about spending the day at a resort, the more I was drawn in. There were a lot of good reasons to go:
1. Our anniversary is the 13th so this would be a good way to celebrate.
2. We had made plans to watch Harry Potter that night, so if he left me I knew I would just sulk all night thinking about how I should be watching that.
3. Do you really need a reason to take a day off work and relax at a resort?
So, I called him back, we rushed home and packed in about 15 minutes (which is why I forget my belt and toothpaste), and I came back and had to fill out the paperwork to take the last hour of the day and the whole next day off of work, get it signed by the appropriate people, and make sure everything that needed to be taken care of at work was all done. It was very stressful.

4:00 came around and off we went. The resort was so great. The area was green and lush, the weather was cool (unlike Logan). Craig had the conference dinner to go to so I just walked around the calming resort and then grabbed dinner. I had never eaten at a restaurant all alone before and it was a bit unnerving but I survived and spent the next bit sitting on our rooms porch watching the fountain in the pond. Craig came back and we spent the evening swimming in the pool and relaxing in the mineral bath, which is basically a hot tub with naturally heated mineral water. Luckily this water was mostly calcium and very little sulfur so it didn't smell like rotten eggs like most other mineral water.

The next day, Craig was off doing conference-y things until lunch time so I grabbed breakfast by myself again. This time it wasn't as bad eating alone. At first I thought that the people around me were thinking that I was some weird cat woman that was only there because her mother paid for her little trip to the spa in an effort to get her to fix herself up and meet a guy, which would never happen if she just stayed in her house all weekend, reading romance novels. Which was obviously not working because look at the poor girl, she is wearing her flip-flops and her hair is in a pony tail. Doesn't she know this is a resort! But then, I realized I was wearing my wedding ring, so maybe people were thinking that I was just eating breakfast while waiting for my husband to finish golfing so we could go off and enjoy our couple's massage at the spa. This was a much better scenario to me and would also explain the flip-flops.

[FYI: I am not really that full of myself that I think that all the people eating there were thinking about me, but eating alone gives one lots of time to think. I also don't want you to think that I look down on people to go eat at restaurant by themselves. If you want to do so, more power to you. But this wasn't a typical restaurant, this one was part of the resort - a very couple-y resort. The two couples we know that have stayed here before have come on their anniversaries and the woman I met there that day had gone there on her honeymoon.]

Breakfast was also more fun because the porch was open so I ate outside by the pond, watching the fish and the ducks swim, with the waterfall in the background soothing away all the stress of the previous afternoon while dreaming of my life full of couples massages with a golfing husband.

After breakfast, I went swimming in the crater (don't worry, I waited 30 minutes so I wouldn't die) From the outside, the crater looks like a weird hill made of limestone with a hole in the top. But inside it is full of nice warm mineral water. By itself, that wouldn't be very cool, but they have made a tunnel into it so you can walk in and go swimming. And the hole that was originally there, serves as ventilation so it doesn't get humid and smelly down there like most caves.

On my way, I met another wife who had been abandoned there while her husband was at the conference and she was nice and took pictures of me enjoying my therapeutic soak. . .

...and swim. It looks like I am the only one in there, but there were quite a few scuba divers, they are just underwater. The water was a very pretty blue-teal color and it looked like it was clear but the divers disappeared fairly quickly, apparently they hang out 65 feet below on the bottom.

When I first got in the water, the divers were still getting all their gear set up and I didn't really like being in there by myself. I know that there wasn't anything in there, but being in a pond in a cave where you can't see much beneath you but you know it is very deep is scary. I tried really hard not to think about all those scenes from movies and books where creatures emerge from caves and ponds but all I was hearing in my head was "my precioussss." (In the BBC book on tape reader's voice). Luckily, it wasn't long before the divers were in there and I could rest assure that if there were monsters below me, they would go after the divers first.

After my refreshing swim I hung out with the other wives and then Craig and I headed back. The drive was about 3 hours but it was pretty and it was nice to just hang out together before we rushed around to make and eat dinner in time to head over to Harry Potter with enough time to get good seats.

My Harry Potter Analogy...

is here.


A Ginormously Bad Idea

Webster's (or more officially, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary) just announced the 100 words they are adding to the latest version. Apparently, this adding of new words is has become an annual tradition over there. I have no problem with them adding new words to the dictionary, times are changing and there are legitimate words that need to be added. DVR, for example, is a word (or abbreviation) that I approve of them adding. IED, is also acceptable in my book. I don't really have much of an opinion about agnolotti, other than the fact that the entry is amusing. "Crunk" is getting me close to an eyebrow raise but I have to put my foot down somewhere, and when I do it lands on ginormous. Ginormous is NOT A WORD! Ginormous is what happens when people put together two other words! Now, I have no problem with people doing this, and I have been known to tweak words of my own on this very blog, but I don't think because people do this, we should make it a legitimate word. Webster obviously knew that some people would have a problem with this because their president felt the need to comment:

"There will be linguistic conservatives who will turn their nose up at a word like `ginormous.' ... But it's become a part of our language. It's used by professional writers in mainstream publications. It clearly has staying power."

I don't consider myself to be a linguistic conservative, but I have a feeling other people might think "ginormous" is a ginormously bad idea too. What will be added next year,"
badonkadonk butt"?

I do love dictionaries though. I actually asked for (and received) one for Christmas not too long ago. I enjoy spending time looking through it, finding words I didn't know, and looking up the actual definitions to words I think I know. It can be quite surprising how different the technical definition is from the one people commonly use. In the past, whenever I wanted to have some fun dictionary time, I would get out my trusty Webster's dictionary. But now, since Webster's is apparently trying to be the "cool" dictionary, I will be switching over to an Oxford English Dictionary. And by "now," I really mean whenever I buy an Oxford English Dictionary, which I will be doing soon.




Let's have a little heart to heart

Most of you already know this, but I have a heart condition, Neurocardiogenic syncope to be precise. Basically, it causes me to faint, typically at the most embarrassing times possible. If you so desire, you can learn more about it here, or through the very reliable source of Wikipedia, under it's other name Vasovagal syncope. The first site has more scientific info, but the second site has more interesting information, like the fact that in one Scrub's episdode, JD is diagnosed with a form that is triggered by defecation. I am apparently very lucky, because I do not have that particular form. That would really really stink, lame pun totally intended. My form typically comes from exposure to painful or unpleasant stimuli, dehydration, prolonged standing or exposure to heat. My family has always known I was a fainter, but so what if I faint when I get a shot or having blood drawn. That's not that big a deal. But then, I fainted when I had my eyes dilated, and they started to think I was weird. When I was 14, I hit my elbow on a towel rack and was out cold. When my mom discovered me lying unconscious, she decided it was time to see a specialist. I was only 14 when I was diagnosed and for some reason, I have always assumed it would better as I got older, but it hasn't. But looking back, I don't think my doctor ever told me it would get better, apparently I am just a really optimistic person. Since then I have had a number of "episodes" but since I am able to recognize it early on, I have only lost consciousness a couple of times. Today, I had another episode that just made me fee, well, lame. I was reading an article in the NY Times and it mentions someone fainting. It just mentioned someone fainting, there was no talk of blood or anything gruesome at all! Read it yourself if you don't believe me. Half way through the article, I knew I had to stop, so I decided to go to the copy room and take a break from the computer. I barely got there before I had to sit down on the floor and put my head down. I have decided that I really need to take my doctors advice and increase the salt in my diet, next time I am at the store, I will get some potato chips. That is the thing about this particular condition, it stinks but the remedies aren't too bad.


Bush Program

I wish I was back in CS for this:
Jenna Bush, granddaughter of President H.W. Bush and daughter of President George W. Bush, will give a lecture on her book, Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope.

A Love Story

I don't really consider myself to be a materialistic person but every once in a while, I am given (or buy) something that makes me really really happy. This past weekend was one of those times. At home, we have a laptop. It is great and I am very thankful to my brother for letting us borrow his as Craig's was really old and my computer would have taken up about 1/5 of my entire apartment. However, it only has one of those little squares that you move your finger around on, instead of a nice, normal, easy to use mouse. I hated it from the very beginning. Craig has never had any problems with it so I figured it was just because I was not used to it but 6 months later and I swear it is giving me more problems now than before. I try to open Firefox and suddenly there are seven open windows! I try to click a line in an email to fix a little typo and it goes a line above, then a line below, then a line above. I accidentally delete photos when all I want to do is rename them. Honestly, I think it realized my true feelings and now hates me back. But the only thing I was really doing on our home computer was checking my email and blogging here so I just couldn't justify buying a actual mouse, especially since the cheapest our Wal-mart had was $20. But lately I have been doing a bit of graphics work and I just couldn't handle it so Craig suggested (okay, demanded) that we buy a mouse before the insurance agency has to pay for a new computer because this one accidentally fell out of the window. So on Saturday, we swung by Best Buy and there it was - a little mouse, (cute, wireless, optical - it was all I have ever wanted in a mouse), all alone on the shelf, on sale for $5. I call that destiny. My mouse and I have been so happy together these last 3 days, I just hope the honeymoon phase lasts for a very long time.


Coming Back to the Heart of Worship

Our church here in Logan is a little of the formal side. Some may see it as purely ritualistic but I actually get a lot out of the liturgy so it is a good fit. That said though, they loosen up a bit during the summer. Some weeks we even have guitars and praise music. Craig doesn't really like praise music in general but I do, if it is done right. There are two areas in which praise music in church services can go awry, the presentation and the songs themselves.

One of the most annoying presentation problems occurs when the song is repeated and repeated till all you are thinking is "when is the song going to end." This thought is a far cry from the thoughts of worship and praise that one should be thinking. I love "Create in my a clean heart" but I have no desire to sing it's 4 lines 20 times in a row!

Another presentation problem goes back to the point of songs in church. They are there for the worship of GOD, not the singers, guitar players, drummers, etc. I hate it when the set-up feels more like a concert for us instead of a situation when the instruments and singers are assisting the congregation in lifting praises to God. These are pretty easy things to fix in a church service, if people are aware of the problems and care enough to change.

The other problems are with the songs themselves. Just because a song is a "Christian" song doesn't mean it makes a good praise song, often times it just means a song, kinda about God, that doesn't have anything bad in it. There isn't anything wrong with those songs, but it doesn't mean we should sing them in church.

There are also a lot of P&W songs that sacrifice making sense in order to rhyme. They are just strings of little cute phrases that don't really relate to one another. Then there are the songs that are really self-centered and/or full of phrases that I can't sing because they aren't true. A prime example of this is found in You are Worthy of My Praise:

I will worship
With all of my heart
I will praise You
With all of my strength
will seek You
All of my days
I will follow
All of Your ways

I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

I will bow down
Hail You as king
I will serve You
Give You everything
I will lift up
My eyes to Your throne
And I will trust You
I will trust You alone

There are a lot of 'I's in that song, I counted 12 'I's and 7 'My's, but only 8 'You's and 2 'Your's. Isn't something wrong with that picture? And look at the words, why should I be singing a song about all the things I am doing for God. Shouldn't we instead be praising God for all he does for us? But I can't even sing this song anymore because I know it isn't true, do I really praise him with all my strength or give him everything? I know that I don't. I should, but I don't. Maybe the song should be:

I will try to worship
With all of my heart
I will try praise You
With all of my strength
will try seek You
All of my days
I will try follow
All of Your ways ...

Luckily, I have really been enjoying the Praise and Worship music at our church this summer because they have managed to avoid all these issues. We have a few guitar players that do a good job of leading without being the center of attention and we have had some great songs. In fact, we sang one of my favorite songs today, Lord of the Dance. While on this site it is a more hymn-like than how I typically hear it, if done fast it is a lot of fun to sing, tells a great story (the best in the world) and doesn't get too old, too fast. It is a great example of what a good Praise and Worship song should be like. I challenge you to look at your favorite P&W songs and see if they really should be your favorites. If so, let me know what they are.

This post wasn't meant to pick on P&W songs. I know that hymns are not immune to these problems either. I think most of you, at one time or another, has had to sing a hymn with really silly lyrics, or worse, one that is so hard to sing and awkward that you have to try not to laugh as the whole congregation struggles to put it together. But over time, the really good hymns have risen to the top and left most of those below. Hopefully that is what happens to more contemporary church music too.

National News

Back in February, I commented on the old site about a local incident that made national news. In that case, a hockey player dropped trou on ice and was cited for lewdness. Well, there's another local story that made national news, and it again involves unnecessary legal action.

In this case, a 76-year-old woman has been banned from using the bus system because she accosts people that, in her mind, have too many kids, and suggests they use birth control. Last time she got on the bus, they arrested her for trespassing. The bus spokeperson says she "intimidates" riders. If you are intimidated by an old woman, I think you have problems. As a bus rider, I can also say that, if this is all it takes to get kicked off the bus, I can think of a dozen or so others (mainly in the high-school age bracket) that should also be evicted. Maybe I'll start requesting it.


Festivities of the Fourth

We had quite a fun time celebrating the 4th of July. In Logan, the city firework show is held the night of the 3rd so we actually spent 1.5 days commemorating the birthday of our great nation...that is how patriotic we Utahns are. Technically, we started preparing on Monday, when we drove by the grassy knoll to stake out our claim to watch the fireworks. There were already a couple blankets down, but we still got a great spot. I also baked a cake since it had to cool before I could decorate it.

Tuesday night we had friends over for a now-festive cake.

The cake was very tasty, especially the frosting which consisted of 4 ingredients: cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. I absolutely love each of those items and with a little captain planet action their powers combine to form edible heaven. I do wish the cake was a bit neater though. The icing forming the white stripes was supposed to be piped with a cake tip but I couldn't see buying a bag and tip just for this one thing so I used a ziploc bag but it split half way through the process and I had to scramble to stop the icing for covering me and the kitchen. Also, it is hard to get strawberries to fit into nice neat lines. The original recipe called for raspberries and they would have been a lot easier to line up but the raspberries in town were expensive and didn't look very good. Plus, I like strawberries more than raspberries and when you are doing the baking, you get to make the decisions.

After cake, we drove over to our pre-claimed spot. Neither us nor the other couple had been to Logan's show before so we didn't know what a big deal it was. Everyone in town was there! A lot of them went to the actual show in Romney Stadium with it's local singers and color guard performance but we were both too lazy to sit in bleachers when we could lay down on a blanket and too cheap to pay $6 a person to do so. Obviously we weren't the only lazy, cheap people out there.

The show was a lot better than I was expecting from a town Logan's size. The traffic was also more than I would expect from a town this size. It took an hour to get home and we only live about 10 blocks away. In hindsight, we should have walked.

Tuesday was a little less structured but we still did sneak some patriotic activities in there. For example: We watched Live Free or Die Hard. This was the first Die Hard movie I had ever seen and I wasn't expecting to enjoy it but it was okay. Improbable, but okay. And since the story takes place on the 4th of July and America is saved from terrorists, I feel like it can legitimately be considered a 4th of July movie. After that, we waded in the river and collected golf balls, not because we have a need for golf balls but because we were hot and they were there. Finishing up the day, we picnicked at a local park and enjoyed a little shade and fried chicken. If fried chicken isn't patriotic, nothing is. Here are some pictures to round out my long post.

I'm not sure why Craig is making this face.

I'm looking relaxed, maybe a little too relaxed.

Again, why can't Craig just smile normally?

Where's Waldo?

Found him.