Thursday, July 30, 2009

The red, it filters through

I have a very special announcement.

I've given this a lot of thought over the years, but especially recently. I never expected to make the realization I've made. I had embraced it as a child, but gave it up in the last ten years. I've even denied it on many an occasion. Well, not so much denied, but rather took this long to decide it once and for all. Much to my surprise, and, if you know me well, yours, it's come back into my life and I'm really rather excited about it.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have a favorite color.

Really and truly.

I fully and unabashedly love the color


It's all over my clothes and in my home decor. It's the first color I look for in those silly online quizzes that ask you your favorite color. I don't obsess over it, but it's there and I'm finally embracing it.

All those years I said I didn't have a favorite color? It was true. I didn't, but I do now.

I just thought you'd want to know.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Sorta Fairytale

Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Stretch.

Stretch had just finished a long day at work, but knew that the kickboxing class at her gym would burn some calories and give her the energy she needed to accomplish her projects at home. Unfortunately, she'd been standing at work for about four hours and something about the class just didn't agree with her feet. No problem, she thought. She was already in workout clothes, so she would just go home and ride her bike for a bit.

Now Stretch lived in a little apartment on a quiet street. Down the street was a lake that, according to research she'd done previously, was a 3.5 mile loop around. Stretch had wanted to explore this trail and decided there was no time like the present. And off she went, armed with her helmet, watch, house keys, and iPod. She'd only be gone 40 minutes, so she left her phone and water at home.

Stretch loved it. It was perfect biking weather and the trail was fantastic.

I forgot how much fun this was, pondered Stretch. I haven't done this since I was a freshman in college. I like it!

Then, she discovered the real mountain biking trails. Well, real in that they were narrow and had rocks, roots, and little dips to conquer. That's where the real fun began, even with a little Eep! that escaped her lips as she rode over a bridge with a snake on it. Whether she rode over the snake, she'll never know, but she's certainly glad she didn't have long enough to discover what it was and potentially let it bite her. That would be bad.

As she rode, she took a right fork and ended up at some ball fields.

This isn't right. I'll turn back and take a left. I lost sight of the lake a while ago, but I think that will keep me on the correct trail.

And so Stretch did. She rode and rode. She rode until she came upon an exit to the trail that was on a residential street, with a name she didn't know.

Well, there's got to be a main road around here somewhere. It's going to get dark soon, I haven't seen any distinct trail makers for awhile, so I think I'll stick around here and find that main road.

It didn't take long to see a road rising above the trail. An overpass. An intersection of the Beltway and a main road that Stretch was quite familiar with, but was astounded to realize she'd left the lake park a LONG time ago. She didn't want to take that main road (it's BUSY), but decided that the side street looked familiar, and would take her back in the direction of her house.

It did, but then it looped back around and took her right back to that same intersection.


Back on the trail, she went under the street, hoping there would be a safer entrance on that side. Not so much. She debated asking the people she passed where she was. Or stopping at the nearest residence she found and asking for help. Whenever that happened. Knowing her friend Mr. T lived off that main road she thought about just riding to his place and surprising him and asking for a ride home, but since she hadn't seen him for awhile, she figured that was no good.

The first building she saw was a swimming pool. There was someone there!

As surprised as he was to see a very tired biker, he gave directions to that main road. The one she'd passed so long ago. The directions were a little sketchy, and she stopped a few times, catching her breath and hoping someone would pass her and stop and ask if she was okay. But, just as her new friend had promised, there was the main road.

She turned left, and headed east. The good news? She knew exactly where she was. The bad news, this was a CRAZY busy road, she was going to have to go through/over a freeway entrance/exit, and she'd already been riding for 90 minutes.


Stretch hugged the right side of the road, since her life truly depended on it. The ride over the entrance? Fine. She knew how fast the cars coming up behind her were going (she'd taken out the earbuds some time earlier). The ride over the exit? Possibly some of the scariest five seconds of her life. Cars exiting the Beltway are quite speedy and not expecting a biker. And it was getting darker by the second.

Completely winded, Stretch decided to walk her bike up the next hill, conserve some energy. Of course, it was during this time the cutest male biker pulled up alongside her and made sure she was okay. She assured him she was and off he went. Stretch hoped that he saw her when she rode up to the intersection he was waiting to turn left at, because she didn't want to look like a total failure.

Stretch kept riding. That's all she could do. She stopped at a fast food joint for some water, but quickly got back on the road. The long, long road. She turned right, and decided to stay on the sidewalk, since the road wasn't well lit. Finally, she turned right again. A mile later, she turned left.

Oh that glorious left was her street, but she had another mile to go.

I've made it this far.

She climbed the last hills, and cruised into her driveway. Home rarely looked so good.

Once inside, she downed a glass of water and tried to map her ride.

What Stretch thought was going to be a 40 minute 4.5 mile trip, turned into a 2.5 hour tour and was probably at least 18 miles.

Stretch was exhausted, dripping in sweat, but completely proud of herself. She'd accomplished something big, and knew the next time she tried such a distance, she'd go faster and have a better idea of where she was going. Though, she was pretty sure she'd never be able to retrace that same exact trip again. Nor did she want to. Stretch wanted a shower, dinner, trail maps, and a bike lamp.

Stretch is going to be very sore in the morning.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday is a special day

Saturday = my favorite day of the week. They're mine to fill as I see fit, with any manner of shenanigans or tomfoolery. No two are exactly alike. Some are busy. Some are not. Usually they include activities both responsible and not, so even if I spend a lot of the day goofing off and doing fun things, the entire day is not wasted. Of course, John Lennon supposedly said "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." And with how much I love summer? Summer Saturdays are The Awesome.

Today was no exception.

I woke up nice and early (okay, admittedly, this was not my favorite part of the day) and went to the church to help clean the building. That goes by rather quickly with enough people. And following another girl around and replacing the trash liners isn't terribly difficult. Also, there were doughnuts.

Then, it was time for the stake Cultural Arts Day, which, conveniently, was at the same building. (See how I sign up for church cleaning on the day same day I'm already planning on being at the church? Yeah, I'm thoughtful like that sometimes.) They had a handful of classes throughout the building designed to introduce the participants to various new hobbies or talents. I attended biographical writing and woodworking, and all I wanted to do immediately following is finish the biography project I started when I was 12 or 13 (I wonder where my notes are . . .) and build a wood studio in my garage. One of those will likely happen sooner than the other. What I did instead was get my car washed and grocery shop. Weehoo.

This afternoon was the most adventurous part of the day. I joined other DC Defenestrators for a street improv project involving a lot of people carrying bananas or dressed as bananas, and one dressed as a gorilla trying to quit his banana addiction. We did a couple of freezes at Sculpture Garden and Navy Memorial, and filmed some chase scenes on the Mall. Seriously. It was random and nerdy and totally enjoyable. I'll post the footage as soon as I see it.

Tonight I had the option of cleaning my apartment or going to a gigantic multi-stake luau. I'd had my fill of crowds and small talk (plus, I didn't feel too great - too much sun + not enough water), so I chose the former. I've also been out just about every night this week, so I needed a quiet one at home.

Which is the glory of Saturdays. I have that option!

Plus, I got to hang my new clocks.

Maybe it will help me be on time more often if I actually know what time it is, without relying on my cell phone or the digital clock that's sort of hiding in my living room. Only time with tell. rimshot

Why did you do today? What's your favorite day of the week?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Want thingamabobs? I've got twenty

My hard drive at work died over the weekend. A sudden, maybe painful death. Sadly, it was alone at the time. No one should die alone. Unfortunately for me, he took everything with him. All my bookmarks. My computer settings. MY CIRCULATION RECORDS FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS.

Fortunately, my catalog records remain, so I'm actually not all that distressed. Put out? Sure. Distressed? Not so much. Also, I have three other computers I can use in the meantime.

So, what does one do when all their cataloging is finished and their computer is waiting for a new hard drive? Lucky for me, the exact same thing I was already planning on: weeding and building my library in Unicorn Ecole.

And hoo boy did I weed. That's all I've done for the last two days. I'm covered in dust (and since I live so close to work now, I dashed home mid-day today to trade my nice shirt for a not so nice shirt) and thoroughly disgusted with some corners of this place.

But I did find some fun things here!

Musically themed wrapping paper?


First aid stuff from who knows when?


A box full of Mickey Mouse ears?

Check and check.

The trash can I've probably emptied at least 7 times.

And everything I weeded.

It feels good. Even if I did ask myself questions like:

"Do Band-aids expire?"
"Why do we have diaper rash cream and flushable wipes?"
"How does one use 8mm data tapes?"
"Will someone vacuum this today? Now that I've uncovered all the roach carcasses?"
"Will procurement pick this stuff up soon?"

All of these can be answered with either "I do not know." "I do not want to know." OR "Oh please I hope so."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to take a very long shower.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So look out for those beauties oh yeah

Dear Drivers,

In most states (and definitely the ones I have lived or currently live in, I've checked), bicyclists have every right to be on the road as you do. So, be nice and share the road. If you stay to the left, I'll stay to the right. Honking and yelling at us scares the crap out of us, so avoid that, unless you want to startle us and possibly cause an accident. And no, I will not ride on the sidewalk. It's even more uneven than the road, and ends in random places.

Watch out for us, and I'll watch out for you. And we'll all get home safely.


With the exception of the people who've inspired this letter, I really enjoy riding my bike around. I don't do it as often as I should, but when I actually get out and get a little distance behind me, I love it. The wind in my face, the satisfaction of getting somewhere under my own power, and the endorphins are all just great. I also love knowing that the hard core bicyclists are training on the same streets I ride. It is quite hilly after all.

So biking? Two thumbs up from me. I got eight miles in today, and it felt fantastic.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I'll just unplug it for to-day

I hit a pretty big milestone at work today. Everything I personally needed to catalog before I build the library in the circulation software and, sort of simultaneously, physically reorganize the place is CATALOGED!!!!

Why, yes, I have been working on this project as much as possible for two years. The first day of actual cataloging was almost exactly two years ago. And it's done! Monday, I can open Unicorn Ecole and actually use it, instead of just looking at it and thinking "someday". I will also keep throwing things away. It's sort of nice that there just aren't enough trash cans around to do it in one day. I have a LOT to do around here still, but when an entire phase is complete, that's a reason to celebrate. Also, I'm happy that other librarians are excited for me and recognize my knowledge and professional status and willing to help me with various things, even when the non-librarians don't.

So, what to do to celebrate? Well, I think I'll go grocery shopping and hit up Bed Bath and Beyond (melted cheese on a plate + hot water = cheese melted into my dish scrubber sponge). Fun, non? Maybe I'll order a pizza. After the grocery shopping and before tonight's wedding reception. I took the groom on a date once, about a month before he started dating his now wife . . .

What I'll definitely do is share this week's SOTW - "Daylight" by Matt & Kim. It's already on the playlist, but the music video is worth enjoying, so click on song title. I'll be darned if you don't smile too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

No one here's getting pigeon holed

It's a bit of a running joke in the LDS Church that once in a music calling, always in a music calling. This has pretty much held true for me, with the exception of a few years here and there. My callings thus far:

12-13: Beehive Class President
14-15: Young Women's pianist
16-17: Laurel Class President
17: Stake Girls Camp Youth Leader Music Specialist
18: Sacrament Meeting Greeter (why we had an oboist as our choir director, I'll never know)
19-21: Ward Music Leader (and de facto everything else when necessary)
21-22: Ward Choir Director (was called as the ward music leader to replace the one who was moving out, but I ended up moving to DC before she left)
22-23: Relief Society pianist
23-24: FHE Group leader
24: Ward Emergency Preparedness co-chair

As you can see, more often than not, I've had a music calling. I've even volunteered to play or lead music in wards I'm only visiting in, which is why I've ended up playing in wards in North Carolina and even in London. It's always tempting in a new ward when filling out a new member sheet to not write down my music talents. Still, I always do, because they're going to find out sooner or later. In fact, my reputation preceded me this time around, because I'd met some of my new ward members during the Institute play and one of them made sure I met the ward choir director my first Sunday.

So, when the first counselor in the bishopric of my latest ward asked to meet with me, I had a feeling a music calling wasn't far behind. I was right, and soon accepted the calling of Special Music Coordinator. He mentioned that he knew how we musically talented people feel, since his wife is a violinist, that we're always in music callings, and that he didn't want me to feel pigeonholed. I assured him that, while it's true that I've had my fair share of them, I didn't feel pigeonholed, plus I'd recently had an 18 month break. It didn't hurt that I've been told more than once that the bishopric has been praying for someone to move in who would be perfect for that calling and they felt strongly that it should be me, once I'd arrived. How can you say no to that? I didn't, of course, and I'm really rather excited about it.

I've wondered why those who have Masters degrees in choral directing, people who could make real money doing it, volunteer their time to direct ward choirs. Or professional teachers teach Sunday School classes. Then I realize I'm doing the same thing. I have professional music training, and donate my time to the church. To me, to be pigeonholed is to be trapped, with no way out. And I don't feel that way about any calling I've ever had, and I've finally realized why.

Among other things, I have covenanted to live both the laws of sacrifice and consecration. Originally, the law of sacrifice was the faithful offering the first of the flock or crops, the best of what they had, to the Lord. "Because the great sacrifice of the Son of God ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood, today we live the law of sacrifice in other ways." (Elder Monte E. Brough) One of those ways is our obedience in doing what the Lord has asked us to do, including our service in the church.

As Elder Bruce R. McConkie said "Sacrifice and consecration are inseparably intertwined. The law of consecration is that we consecrate our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the Church: such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord’s interests on earth." (Emphasis mine.) We also read in Exodus 32:29 "Consecrate yourselves to day to the Lord . . . that he may bestow upon you a cblessing this day."

So, when it comes to church callings, why not offer our best talents? I don't have what it takes to be a great Sunday School teacher, but others do. I don't know that I have the patience to teach Primary lessons to rowdy 6-year-olds. But I do have a knack for planning, organization, and music, so why not combine them into my current responsibility? Our exaltation depends on our obedience to our covenants, and while we aren't required to live the law of consecration to its fullest at this point, we are required to be willing to. I see no better way to show that willingness than to do what I do best, even if I could get paid elsewhere to do it. I'll always be happy to serve my Heavenly Father, even if I never have anything but a music calling again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is the summer of fair weather

I made a list last year of what signifies the start of summer to me. Now, I didn't go to Duck Beach, I haven't really done any star-gazing, and I've had a Sunday morning on the Mall instead a Sunday Night on the Mall, but it's still summer. In addition to the rest of that list, this summer includes bike rides, afternoons at the pool (yay friends with pools!), and the light at the end of the tunnel of both school and my major work project.

It's no secret I love summer. LOVE it. Favorite season by far. I love the warmth of the sun and the long days. I feel so energized and full of life. Winter - bleak and depressing. Spring and Fall - too unpredictable.

So that leaves summer, and I love it.

And, of course, the summer music. Thanks to my own music discoveries and a rather informal survey of friends, I've put together a rather perfect summer playlist, found on my sidebar. Almost every one of these songs inspires me to run and skip through a field, barefoot.

My favorite submission though, and this week's Song of the Week, is one from Captain Deviance, who heard it described as "folksy explosions in the sky." I couldn't add it to my playlist, but you can find it by clicking here.

Happy Summer everyone!

Did I miss any of your favorite summer songs? Sound off below!