Friday, August 31, 2007

Flashback Friday IV

My parents Kent & Jan met in junior high school in Salem, Oregon. They dated on and off (mostly on) for the next seven years. They eventually wed.
Aren't they cute?

My sister Alaina is a honeymoon baby and I came along 19 months later.

This week's installment of Flashback Friday is dedicated to the time when we were a family of four. It would be nearly six years until Kendall came; two and a half more before Mallory was born and our family was complete.

Before we get to the foursome of family photos, can we pause for a moment and look what a stylish little boy I was. Rockin' the bowl cut and polyester. Whoop!

Please note: Alaina and I are not twins. You may notice that we're wearing the same outfit in nearly every photo. This was perhaps the last time our clothing styles ran parallel.

Williams' Family Reunion 1983

Just last week, a few of us were giggling about family photos and Olan Mills. Low and behold, in this photo you can see the trademarked gold-foil stamp in the bottom right corner.

Our bed time was 7:30. Growing up in Phoenix, land of heat and eternal night; we often went to bed when it was still light outside. We didn't have a lot of money, so my mom sewed a good chunk of our wardrobe and babysat other kids. (I love exchanging "poor" stories with my friends--isn't it interesting how most of us grew up with less money?)

Crazy how even back then Alaina and I were as brown and as blonde as we are today. Still don't look alike.

We lived a pretty good life.

**Update: Alaina would like me to point out that she used to be taller than me. I'm sure my Mom would point out the same. Dad is barely holding on to the claim of tallest in the family.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Today's blog is brought to you by the number 8

Hola amigos, buenos dias! ¿Cómo sea? Hoy yo tengo escribiendo con solamente el número ocho. ¿Listo? Lea y goce.

8 Things I'm Passionate About
1. Being in the know
2. Hot Tamales, Skittles, Diet Coke
3. Technology
4. Creating experiences
5. The mood altering effect of the right song at the right moment
6. Finding the perfect partner for conversation. Present count: 3
7. The time spent on or with members of my immediate family: sisters, parents, cousins, grandparents
8. Living a spiritually-guided life

8 Things I want to do before I die
1. Increase the perfect conversational partner count
2. Watch 8-10 seasons of Friday Night Lights, each getting season improving on the previous
3. Write something worth reading
4. Have my kids love and admire my parenting skills as much as I do my own parents'
5. Master the challenge of looking just as good at the end of the day as I do at the beginning
6. Have nice wedding photos. I'm not the most photogenic of people--so it's not just a want, but also a need.
7. Own a home.
8. Be in the temple with my parents and four sisters. Grandparents would be a bonus.

8 Things I say often
1. "Done and done."
2. "Don't think, just ______."
3. "Guess what?"
4. "Yeah, I saw that! Crazy huh?"
5. " _______ is the new ________. "
6. "Those who know me well..."
7. "Do you watch ______?"
8. "Waah-waah." (2nd waah pitched lower than the first)

8 Books I've recently read
1. Terrible teenage romance novel thinly veiled as vampire fantasy fiction #1
2. Terrible teenage romance novel thinly veiled as vampire fantasy fiction #2
3. Terrible teenage romance novel thinly veiled as vampire fantasy fiction #3
4. Tuesdays with Morrie
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
6. In Touch Magazine
7. Pandora's Book
8. Marley & Me

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over
1. "Motorcycle Driveby" - Third Eye Blind
2. "I Need You" - Faith Hill/Tim McGraw
3. "Without Love" - Original Broadway Hairspray soundtrack
4. "Goodnight and Go" - Imogen Heap
5. August and Everything After - Counting Crows
6. "Have a Little Faith" - Mandy Moore
7. "You'll Think of Me" - Keith Urban
8. "Stealing Kisses" - Faith Hill

8 Things that Attract Me to My Best Friends
1. Conversational bounce-back
2. Humor
3. Quickness
4. How they treat/value me
5. Mental creativity
6. Shared interest in the little things
7. Comfortable silence
8. A sweet ride

8 things I've learned in the last year
1. Picking up and packing out isn't as hard as you'd think.
2. Maybe an iPod isn't such a bad thing.
3. The resiliency of the heart is an amazing thing.
4. The fine balance between holding on and letting go.
5. Self diagnosed social anxiety disorder is just that; self-diagnosed.
6. I really can do anything on the Internet.
7. If you live by the motto, "Don't think, just _____" you have to be prepared to live with the consequences.
8. Look to God and live.

8 People that I think should do "8"
1. Kendall, Alaina, Mallory
2. Stephanie
3. Melissa
4. Mary
5. Erica
6. Rachel Eve
7. Alicia
8. Michele
* Anyone else who wants to. I chose people I can count on to respond or who haven't already been tagged or won't soon be tagged. But if you're willing, I'd love to hear from you too!

So, anything I missed in the 8's above?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Predictability Strikes Again

Conversation this morning as I waited in line to purchase my cinnamon-spice muffin and Diet Coke from the cafeteria one floor down:

Cashier: $2.50 please.
Me: Here you go.
Cashier: Where are you from?
Me: Arizona.
Me: Why?
Cashier: You always say "cheers." I was just wondering where it came from.
Me: Oh yeah, I forget I do that.

I kind of like having quirks.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Great Boston Adventure

I need to get this blog out. I'm not going to lie, the photos have been uploaded since 10AM, but I haven't had the motivation to blog. However, Monday is almost over and I'll want to move on to bigger and better things tomorrow.

The Great Boston Adventure (GBA) was a smashing success! We spent Saturday living like true tourists. For those who I haven't told, there's this great card you can purchase that let's you in to just about everything Boston has to offer for an overhead fee. The price for 1-day in Boston was a whopping $49. We would have paid more than double to do everything at cost.

We we planned our trip, no one had any idea it would take place in record-breaking heat. Boston in August isn't the most pleasant experience regardless, but try 95 degree heat with high humidity. The humidity pushed the "feels like" temperature into the low 100's at certain points. Remember, we were outside most of the day. Awesome. The great Sweat-Off Contest began at 8:30 am when we met in one of the T stations.

Our first stop was the Museum of Science. In actuality, it was from the Museum that our Duck Tour departed, but we missed the first tour of the day and had a few minutes to spare.

Julie found this really strange button below a giant stuffed (the real, done-up taxidermist kind) animal display. Push, hold, and sniff. I can't believe she actually pushed the button.

In the "Human Body" exhibit, Ju and I found our prehistoric men. You can tell by the color of our faces how bloody hot it was outside. At 9:15 in the morning. Clayton (welcome visitor! enjoy our sweltering heat!) enjoyed looking into his future.

Finally. Our Duck Tour began. For you out-of-towners, Duck Tours are a staple of Boston Tourism. Several tours leave on the hour and half hour, all day, every day from several locations. The site describes a Duck Tour as this, "You've never toured Boston in anything that comes close to Boston Duck Tours. The fun begins as soon as you board your "DUCK", an authentic, renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle."

My squinty eyes are physically unable to remain visibly open in the sun beating down. This is about the chipperest we looked all day. Smiling and looking happy required too much energy. Energy had to be stored and rationed to keep the will to live alive.

On our touristy-McTourist Duck Tour, we saw many a building. See exhibits below:

Fanueil Hall -- the British something or other historically important. It has lion and unicorn statues on the top (that match what's on the front of your passport)! Unicorns..?!

The Hancock Tower (the tallest building in Boston) -- when it was built, the 585 panels of glass kept popping out and breaking on the street.
Five Hundred Boylston -- this is a portion of the building I work in. Another terribly important Boston landmark.

Seats on the Ducks are first come first serve. Being the cool kids that we are, we of course had to sit in the back. (Actually, it's well known these are the best seats on the Duck. Best photo opps. Also the most direct sunlight. Maybe we're the dumbest kids on the Duck.) Quien sabe?

Brian had a good time using the features on his camera. I've never been to Asia before to have my photo taken with an Anime character. Now I don't have to. Holla what what.

We finally got off the Duck, had to scratch the Fenway tour due to time constraints, and hit Quincy Market for lunch.
After a delightful breadbowl of chowder, magenta-colored Chinese food, a trip to CVS for drinks, snacks, and motion sick medication we went to the Boston Aquarium.
Hello penguins, you're cute. HOW is it not too hot for you? Aren't you native to Antarctica? It's at least 80 degrees in here! No wonder you're standing with your belly pushed up against the sprayer. Your life is worse than mine. I'm sorry.
Hello creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy creepy swimming animals in this giant 3-story aquarium. I'm glad I got to see you up close and personal. I can now cross snorkeling off my list of things to do. I am too scared to stand less than 3-feet away from you with a thick piece of glass between us, let alone let you swim up and brush against my naked leg in the ocean. Forget it. I see your buggy eye staring me down. You, Mr. Fish are twice as big as my torso! And I am tall! I have a long torso! I kept jumping as you and your friends swam laps. Phew. Thank you for reminding me that I shall stick to land sports.

And on to the big event. Whale Watching! This was the event most of us had been looking forward to most of the day. We got on the boat a few minutes early and nabbed prime spots. We sweated out 30 minutes in the blistering heat, in direct sunlight on the top deck of the boat. No wind, no shade. The Great Sweat-Off was back in full swing. Our fab seats would be the trips saving grace later on as we had front row views of the whales in action.
Our 4-hour tour began rather uneventfully. I'd double-dosed on anti-motionsick pills and was feeling the calming effect of the boat's rocking. That medication saved my life. It, however, did not save Clayton's life. Or any of the other four in our group who took medication late, or threw up said medication.

But then we started to see WHALES! And everyone perked up a little! Or a lot! And the crowding, and shouting, and photo taking began!

Now I'm not going to lie, I'm an excellent whale watcher. It's true. I saw many a airblow before the loudspeaker lady pointed them out. Sometimes my knees would get the quivers just before a whale surfaced--I think I had magic motion sick medication. This photo is of a mother and baby whale who stayed pretty close to our boat for quite awhile.

Mike wanted me to tell everyone he was also a very good whale watcher. (But not as good as me.) He did coin the motto of the trip though, "This is the life." I believe it was said mostly in jest, but the acronym TITL has been born.
Most of us fell asleep on the way back to Boston--we pulled into the harbor just in time to see the sun set behind the buildings. A nearby wedding had just released the peace doves, and the mermaids sang us welcome back to shore.

We finished the evening with a 4-hour experience at the Cheesecake Factory. Between travel, waiting, eating, and traveling home, it took four hours. Who'dve thought? Never had food tasted so grand, or seven sweaty people enjoyed it so much.

As we waited for next to forever for our table, Clayton, Brian and I took photos of how we were feeling at that exact moment. Brian must have had a better time than Clayt and I did.

All in all, the GBA was a smashing success. At dinner, we did a run-down of our favorite moments. There were many--and I think each of us (correct me if I'm wrong friends) would do the GBA again in a heartbeat. Highly recommended!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Flashback Friday III

Most of you probably don't know that I volunteered for the Salt Lake Winter Olympics in 2002. It was my second year at the Y, and I was 19 years old.

Thousands of volunteers got stuck in the bitter cold, working security or cleaning up events. I, however, had a pretty amazing volunteer job. Mysteriously promoted from "press runner" (aka grunt) at Soldier Hollow, I found myself in the elite Donor program, acting as a personal guide/assistant to a family who made a personal $5 million donation to the game.

Outfitted with an official Olympic vehicle, cell phone, and wardrobe, I was ready. BYU gave students a week off school in February; I missed an entire month. A solid month. It. Was. Awesome.

I'd never driven in Utah before (I was carless my first four years in the Prov). I'd never driven in winter conditions before. I didn't even know how to get to Park City.

Nonetheless, I was entrusted with a brand new 15-passenger van. With a gas card. 10 days before the actual Olympics began. I am rather lucky, it's true. (Ask me about accidentally scraping the top of that van at my grandparent's condo and the chunk of the garage door that's still missing sometime. It's a story.)

The family I chauffeured had 12 tickets to three or four events a day. Guess who typically got to go with them? Donating $5mil also gets you into some pretty amazing food service tents. Guess who typically got to eat with them? Now, I'm not saying it was all fun and games. In fact, I cried a few times and wished the Olys would hurry up and end. BUT. I got to see and do some pretty freaking amazing stuff. Including (but not limited to)...
  • Women's Halfpipe (do you see how good our seats were? I've circle where you can see us sitting. This picture was in an Olympic book my Gma bought. I'm immortalized!)
  • Women's Moguls
  • Men's Halfpipe
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Bobsleigh
  • Hockey, hockey, hockey -- including several crazy Canadian games
  • Pairs Freestyle Ice-Skating (that's right. the Canadian/Russian drama-rama. I was there!)
  • Ice Skating Exhibition Show
  • Close proximity to both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies
  • Medal Ceremonies with concerts including: Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Lifehouse, NSYNC, and other rockin' early 2000's bands

Long story short, I've always loved the Olympics. I can't believe they were in Salt Lake, and even crazier, I can't believe I played such a big part.

To this day though, I wonder whose job I accidentally took--but I sure hope they enjoyed looting through bags and manning the metal detectors.


I've always been a little of an event planner. (See Prom, All that Jazz, Disco Birthday Extravaganza, etc.) This week, stars, planets, comets, galaxies, space shuttles, and aliens collied and threw up in my inbox. I find myself the coordinator of more simultaneous events than I could have imagined. It's amazing my head hasn't exploded. The email chains on some of the events have reached in the low 30's. Besides taking care of 8 college math books that are behind deadline, I am or have been helping plan some of these activities:

This doesn't include emails from the ward list serve, blog comments, BNB emails, email "chats" with my sister Alaina, or any other number of back and forth. As much as I love email, it's keepin' me moving lately.

Perhaps the largest scale event planned this week however, was the exceptionally rash, impromptu, spontaneous decision to go to Ireland. IRELAND.

If you know me well (how often do I use this phrase? Sheesh, I'm pretty predictable huh?), you know I can find great deals. Anywhere. At anytime. Especially on travel. So that's the back story. I found a pretty fantastic deal on a flight, hotel, and car for four people in the off-season of western Ireland, known to UKers as "holiday Ireland." We had to act fast, so I shot out some feelers and those feelers turned into solid commitments, and within 45-minutes of finding the deal, we were sold on traveling.

We will be staying at the Adare Manor in Shannon, Ireland's leading hotel resort and one of the 500 best hotels in the world. We have a 2-bedroom townhouse with living room, dining room, full kitchen and washer/dryer. I think I'll be taking more food to Ireland than clothing. We'll probably run the wheels off our car--I'm looking forward to driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road. We may take a day trip to England or Scotland or some other passport stamp-worthy location.

I, of course, can't get Garth Brooks' song, "Ireland" out of my head. I had to download it and it's kind of been on repeat. Ireland, I'm coming home. I can see your rolling fields of green, and fences made of stone...

February seems like an awfully long time from now. Good thing all the holidays are in between to keep my brain occupied!

So that's it. What I've been working on this week. This moonlighting thing is tough! It's kind of making me a stress ball. Sadly, I love to have my hands in the pots... and someone's gotta do it...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Right Frame of Mind

Last night, we celebrated the beautiful Peggy's entrance into the world. What better way than candlestick bowling? For those of you who don't know, and that's probably most of you since it's a New England thing, candlestick bowling is different than standard bowling. Instead of two bowls per frame, there are three. Instead of bowling one frame at a time, you bowl two. Instead of 10 pound+ balls, 2.5 pounders. Instead of "normal" shaped pins, very straight ones that don't fall the same. Long story short, it's much harder. Much, much harder. I think I bowled a 52, but that's due to my frustration around frame 5. It was then that I started trying to skee-ball as many balls down the lane as possible before they were swept away. I didn't get yelled at until the 10th frame. Safe.

Here's a little story for you.

We arrived, and I was super excited to bowl. Look at the joy and wonderment on my face. I even bought new lucky-duck socks for the occasion.

Everyone got their shoes. Everyone's were the same.

Except mine. The kids pointed and laughed.

Peggy, the lovely birthday girl, came and whispered in my ear that things were going to be okay. Because as Strongbad says in my favorite Homestar Runner ever, "Every one is different, No two people are the same."

Spontaneous dancing ensued.

Happy Birthday Peg! I'm sorry I'm such a crappy candlestick bowler.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Blue Skies

I noticed a trend today at lunch:
I always knew blue was a popular favorite color; I found this wordy stat: "Blue is a favorite color of both men and women of all ages. However, men have a much stronger preference for blue than women."

My sluething today verified what I always thought. Proof is in the pudding.

Please note: I was going into the Marshall's to actually shop; I didn't have intention of stalking, I just couldn't help it.

Interactive Quiz: How many men in blue shirts did you see in the photos above?

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!