Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Off the grid

I've been in Phoenix two days now. In the morning we're taking off
South of the border for four days in the fun, sun, and surf. Whoop.
Hope everyone is enjoying their post-holiday activities--I know I will
mine! I'm going off the grid until Sunday. I have faith internet
activity will march on without me. XOXO.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Flight from Hell

I mean, I really did it to myself. I've never had much problem with flying the friendly skies, but get a load of the whale of a tale I experienced in the last few days.

Thursday (departure day)
9am - Wake up to another day of falling snow. Heavy falling snow. Snow is falling so hard that Brenda's car does a downhill half-spin as she takes me to work.
2pm - Snow is still falling heavily. I'm anxious about my flight; surely planes don't leave in this type of weather? Airline websites say there are slight delays, but nothing major.
6pm - Dad (the travel guru) gave the green light on heading to the airport--we agreed that I needed to get out of Boston and as far West as possible.
6:30pm - Arrive at the airport. It's a ghost town. Lines are short and I'm feeling like everything is going to work out. Flight is set to depart on time at 8:17pm.
8:00pm - Board flight a little late, but it's all good because I'm on one of the flights leaving the still snowing city. I'm riding first class (high in the sky) next to a nice woman headed to Sacramento.
8:05pm - Two early 30's women stumble on board. They met at the hotel bar and are liquored up. Any guesses where they'll be sitting?
9:30pm - The liquored ladies have been screeching and cackling for 90 minutes now. All the first class passengers were turning around to glare, or making funny faces/hand motions to each other about the LLs. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief when we finally pull back from the gate. We get de-iced and get in line for takeoff.
10:30pm - The snow is still falling hard. We're second in line for takeoff. LL1 (who models for J.Jill and has three kids, a poker-loving Nana with a face-card printed vest, and an iPhone she blasted Rihanna from) gets up from her chair, sprints to the front of the cabin and busts her way into the bathroom. Mind you, the flight crew has told us repeatedly not to get up. Chaos ensues.
11:30pm - We're number 1 in line for departure. Oh. But. Wait. We've fallen below the minimum gas supply to make it to Vegas. We must turn around, go back to the gate, gas up, de-ice, and get back into line. Chaos ensues.

12:00 midnight - Our plane has been gassed. We should be set to go, right? Think again. Our flight crews are technically passed their union-allowed working hours. Our flight attendants have already worked a 14-hour day; add in our near 6 hour flight.... They could have walked and been just fine. Lucky for everyone, they wanted out of Boston as badly as we did. The legal issue was with the pilots; the FAA allows 8-hours of flying only. We had to wait for several supervisors and FAA personnel to sign off on the hour overage.
12:30am - There is much rejoicing when our plane finally gets into the air. I've been in seat 2A for four hours at this point.
1:00am - The movie their showing is The Santa Clause 3. I think I'll pass.
2:00am - The LLs continue their quest toward emptying every liquor bottle on the plane. By this point I've heard many a story about LL2's drinking habits (got so wasted at the holiday party Tuesday night that she slept in her car, doesn't need an excuse to drink, frequently can't remember the night before)--and she proves it's true. The cackling hens continue their cackling.
3:00am - THe LLs are watching a movie on LL1's iPhone. Their volume of chatter increases when they try to talk over their headsets.

LAS VEGAS - 10 hours after arriving at the Boston airport
6:30am - We finally land in Vegas.
3:30am - Switch to Vegas time.
3:35am - The gate attendant hands me my new flight schedule. I'll leave from Vegas to Portland Saturday night at 7:30pm. 40 hours from the current time. I grovel with the desk and am booked on a flight to Phoenix where I'll be standby to Portland. Getting stranded in Phx isn't so terrible as I have family to stay with.
4:00am - Find an empty gate, pull my hood over my head, set my alarm for 6, and lie down on the floor to get some sleep.
5:30am - It's too cold and hard to sleep for longer than 7 minutes at a time. The stores are finally opening; buy a fountain drink at Burger King and sit, nursing it at a table. Pseudo-sleeping on the floor was not good to me--I look like I've had a hard night. A really hard night.
6:30am - Board the plane. Late. Everyone's on, we push back.
7:00am - And wait.
7:15am - And wait.
7:30am - We're told that there's weather in Phoenix. I'm sorry, what? There's never weather in Phoenix. Air traffic control will let us know in 22 minutes whether or not we can leave Vegas. They're advising we turn back now, but we can wait. If I don't make the connection from Phx to Portland, I'm done for the holiday. I'm on the phone with my Mom, seeing if she can buy a ticket on another airline to get home.
8:00am - We're given the go-ahead. Much internal rejoicing when we get off the ground.

PHOENIX - 18 hours after arriving at the Boston airport
9:00am - We land in Phoenix.
10:00am - Switch to Phoenix time.
10:01am - I'm on standby, so I rush rush rush to my gate. Miracle of miracles, they have a seat for me. Much rejoicing throughout the land. In celebration, I decide to indulge on the best of all airport foods--the pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut.
10:15am - Pizza goodness is resting comfortably in my stomach. Outlook is better. I should get in line to board the plane but decide to reward my long days travel with some Starburst.
10:20am - Approach Hudson News counter to buy my Starburst. Wallet is missing.
10:21am - In full on freak out mode.
10:22am - Pizza Hut does not have my wallet. The customers in line certainly have crusty looks for me.
10:23am - Dashing through the terminal to where I sat, eating my pizza.
10:24am - Wallet is found, still under my seat.
10:25am - I march right over and board my freaking plane.
10:45am - Much internal rejoicing when we get off the ground.

PORTLAND - 24 hours after arriving at the Boston airport.
2:00pm - We land in Portland.
1:00pm - Switch to Portland time.
1:15pm - The girls are here to get me. They're circling the airport as my flight's bags are circling the luggage concourse.
1:30pm - Guess whose bag didn't come? Are you really even shocked?
2:00pm - Lost bag claim ticket filled out. The girls pick me up. They're probably shocked by my crazily unkempt appearance--staticky hair, baggy eyes, mismatched clothes... I can hardly think straight. I don't even really care my bag is lost, I'm just so happy to actually be in Portland.

4:00pm - Get a call. They have my bag. When can I come pick it up? Oh, 8pm? Great.

8:00pm - Go to airport to pick up my bag.
8:01pm - THEY DON'T HAVE IT.
8:10pm - It's not in the lockbox.
8:15pm - It's not in the back.
8:20pm - They see my claim ticket, but it's been closed out in the computer.
8:25pm - More is done to try to locate my bag. The airline people are confused.
8:30pm - A holy Christmas miracle when my bag is actually found in the lockbox.
8:35pm - I tell the luggage desk woman this has been the FLIGHT FROM HELL and wish her a Merry Christmas. I think she can tell how haggard my day has been.

SO there you have it. 24-hours to get from Boston to Portland. (I flew on a 6 hour direct flight in September.) 30-hours for my luggage to arrive.

The only good that came from this experience was a long blog. I hope you enjoyed it. However, much like I jinxed myself by reading about Flights from Hell, you've now jinxed yourself. Not a smart move. Trips from hell are like that video in The Ring; you've got to pass it on to expel it from your system.

Safe and happy travels.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reality Roundup

I love LOTS of things. You regular readers (and those of you who actually know me in person) know that. In fact, most of the posts I write are heralding my love of something. I'm pretty consistent. Of late, I've routinely blogged about two things I love very much. The first has been my fabulous family, the other has been the Biggest Loser.

Last night was the live Biggest Loser finale. I'm pretty sure the promo commercials gave me chills and caused a little tearing--I was kind of a mess during this show. It just made me so happy to watch these people. When I was little, I never dreamt I'd grow up to live vicariously through people who've lost hundreds of pounds of weight.

At one point last night, I sent my cousin Rachel (and biggest supporting lover of my BL blogs/f-book status updates) this text: "It's pretty bad when you wish you weighed more so you could have a big transformation, right?"

I love love love reality-based competition shows (see #40). Several of my shows have wrapped lately--America's Next Top Model, America's Most Smartest Model, the BL... but I've become a Project Runway lover. How did I miss out on Bravo's hit for three seasons!? All that lost time... And you know what January brings... IDOL! But even better, once Idol ends... DANCE! Oh wow, the prospect of that makes me happy. Lest you think I have no pride when it comes to reality-based competition shows, I'll have you know I absolutely refused to watch the mother/daughter pageantry show "Crowned" on the CW. It was on while I was doing laundry and packing my bags, but I just couldn't stoop that low. Few, it's good to know I still have some personal values and code of conduct.

And since you stuck around through yet another blog about the BL, enjoy these photos from last Friday night. The Celtics (20-2, woot!) game and Whitney's Ugly Christmas Sweater party. I love the festivitiy of everything around the holidays.

P.S. Our seats are not nearly as terrible as they look. Worth every penny.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Love - It's Black and White

I'm sure she's going to hate this, but I love this photo. I just found it the other day.

It's not perfect; she's six months pregnant* (with her) and I'm wearing much too much makeup for a home-thrown prom. But this is my sister Alaina, and I love her and can't wait to see her!

I guess I could have waited for Flashback Friday (as this was taken Summer 2006), but I couldn't wait!

Between our hair color difference, upward vs. downward sloping smile difference, and general "don't look alike-ness", you wouldn't guess we're sisters! Bless the Wms eye-squint and nose shape for keeping us similar.

In addition to being a rockstar mom and therapist, she also takes amazing people-based photos. Check them out.

*Not to say that six months pregnant is imperfect, I just know she's going to make comments. Prove me wrong Lain!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tips for Snow Removal


December is now half-over. Since Thursday, the Heavens have opened and delivered more snow than all of last winter combined. Kylee and I have shoveled nineteen inches in less than four days. That's a lot of snow. Especially with one broken shovel, one shovel from 1972, and neither of us with waterproof gloves. We're snow-shoveling rock stars.

It started raining at the hour mark; our "Utah powder" turned back-breakingly heavy. When we were 92% of the way done with the driveway, four plows came by, dumping a mountainous ton of salty, wet, and HEAVY snow and slush. Ky and I just laughed, took a breather and then sucked it up enough to continue. My car is now parked at the top of the driveway and I think the freezing rain may have cemented it to the ground. Good thing I leave for HOME(!) in three days and probably won't need to drive before then.

Church was cancelled yesterday due to the extreme conditions; we call that a "Get out of jail free card." On Saturday I had figured we may get snowed in, so stocked up on the necessities; a full tank of gas and Diet Coke. The rest of the afternoon I bummed around in my jams drinking straight from a 2-liter (with a straw; I'm not that ill-mannered), watching movies, and chit-chatting on the phone. Considering I worked from home on Friday and didn't go out much on Saturday, I had a pretty lazy weekend. Talk about awesome.

Lemme circle back to my snow removal tip. Invest in a snow blower; it'll save your achy-breaky-back. And since I can ONLY throw snow over my left shoulder you may not recognize me the next time you see me--I'll be the hunchback with one super-defined shoulder and lower back. What what.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tips for Sharing Public Transportation

  • If you're going to walk slow, fine. If you're going to vary your walking speed, fine. But please, for all that's holy, walk a straight line. This allows walkers with a faster gait to judge the gaps and navigate around you.
  • Don't give me the stink eye if melting snow from my arm drips on you. You have a seat on the T/bus. I'm standing; I win the pity card every time.
  • If I'm sitting on the inside seat on the bus and you see me push the stop button, gather my things, and stand up; this is your cue to adjust yourself so I can get out. This is unspoken rule. Don't make me miss my stop again; I'll drip water on you.
  • Can you try a little harder to get off the T faster? I'm politely waiting to get on, but my carnal self is jumping up and down screaming for a seat. Your meandering is going to cost some poor seat-rider melting drops from Heaven.
  • Here's a shout-out to all the seniors still riding public transit; I admire you. I'm thankful to those of you who hug the far right wall and use the banister to ascend or descend the stairs. I know that's not an easy feat. Here's the tip; if you are also elderly, disabled, portly, leisurely, or on a lazy stroll, hug up on that wall too. Don't try to pass any one. You're creating a stop we New Englanders only like to see our Pats offensive line use.
  • Have your fare ready to go. You know the bus/T is coming--don't read your Metro, or zone out on your iPod and then look surprised when it shows up.
  • It's okay* to talk on your phone on public transportation. Please don't shout.
  • If you don't have to take public transit, thank your lucky stars.
So there you have it, tips for making the commuting experience just a tiny bit better. Lest you think I'm ranting (okay, I am), I do like seeing the humanity on the T. I love when people give up their seats for the elderly, for women, or for children. I like when someone helps hoist a stroller up the steps. I like when people stop to answer questions. Or find mutual satisfaction in grumbling about something (like the 4 hour commute home through the snow yesterday), etc. etc.

This list comes after a nightmare-ish commute yesterday and are just a few simple, every-day tips that can help make public transportation a little more bearable for all.

To all you commuters out there--have I missed any you feel need to be pointed out?
*It's not okay. You're bothering everyone.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Turning the Quarter

Warning: This is going to be a long blog. Like a quarter of a century-long blog.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who called, emailed, facebooked, commented, sang, texted, visited, or used any other means of wishing me a happy birthday. Birthdays just get better every year! It's becoming rather traditional on the morning of December 9th to ponder how on earth next year's birthday could be any better. I continue to be blown away.
As mentioned last week, fourteen of us girl friends were set to attend the Urban Nutcracker in the Back Bay. The show mixed ballet, flamanco, tap, jazz, swing, stomp, etc. to the Nutcracker storyline and music--we had a fun time kicking off the holiday season.

Let's get right to the goods, shall we? Photos.

n704146646_459083_5914n704146646_459081_2986 Nat'sBirthday! 001Nat'sBirthday! 002n704146646_459082_4435 Nat'sBirthday! 004

While I was in the Nutcracker, I missed phone calls. SO many phone calls. In fact, I don't think my phone has ever received so many calls in one day. Scratch that, I don't have to wonder, I'm sure of the fact. Within minutes of each other my Oregon family (Mom/Dad) and my Utah family (Aunt Cheri/Uncle Randy/Rachel/Kendall) called and sang Happy Birthday, immediately followed by our family birthday song. The format of the call was exactly the same and I was shocked by the proximity of the calls. Alaina, Erica, Mallory and my oldest brother/cousin Corey called to wish me a happy day. An email from my oldest sister/cousin Mary and my seven "siblings" all checked in. A missed call from G&G in Salt Lake and a card from my Gma Wms at home completed the family well-wishing. I definitely felt the family love on Saturday.

Due to scheduling conflicts, I spent the majority of the afternoon and evening alone, getting ready for our Holiday Party/25th Bash. I'd just picked up my birthday dinner from Joe's (if I had to eat alone I was at least going to do it in style!) and had just sat down to put my feet up and take a breather when a number I didn't have in my phone rang. I'm not going to lie, I was feeling a little lonely at the moment.

I picked up the phone and low and behold... a choir of angels started singing--surprise surprise, it was a call from most of my out-of-state besties, conferencing in from around the country. Joe, Jamar, Nate, Krista, Nici, Jason, Dave, and Laura popped in and out of the 20-minute call. I really just sat there shocked and in quasi-denial that it was actually happening. To get everyone on one call at the same time was a logistical and engineering feat!--and as I told them, one of my favorite moments of the day.

I had the energy to finish the prep work for the party, got myself gussied up, and enjoyed the festivities of the evening.


Nat'sBirthday! 008 Nat'sBirthday! 028 Nat'sBirthday! 006

Last year I wore traditional 70's pantsuit for my birthday. This year, I may have overdressed myself just a little, but Julie told me I'd never regret wearing the dress on my 25th. She's right! I didn't... and I was hap-hap-happy to wear my Christmas pin on it.
Nat'sBirthday! 036Nat'sBirthday! 034 Nat'sBirthday! 038

Nat'sBirthday! 033

My roommate Toni made this gorgeous three-layer carrot cake. I got all the candles on the first blow--hope my wish comes true! They made me give a speech afterward; I kind of wish I had the speech on video; I'm pretty sure at least six people shed tears.
IMG_2874Nat'sBirthday! 026Nat'sBirthday! 027

And somehow, I was photo-ed without elbows yet again.
IMG_2880Nat'sBirthday! 014Nat'sBirthday! 017Nat'sBirthday! 015

Once upon a birthday time (two years ago), two little angels sang me a song. I had mentioned this to Julie quite some time ago who must have stored it away for future use. How can a girl not feel loved with this in her life?

Long story long and photo-filled, I had an amazing day. Can you tell how much I love having a holiday birthday? Are you as happy as I am that I didn't wear heels for the nine-hours I was on my feet? Are you angry at my bangs for being un-photogenic? Are you sick of seeing my Christmas pin yet? Don't I have beautiful friends? Again, I appreciate all the well wishes--I felt exceptionally loved.

Here's to the next 25! As my birthday speech so eloquently said, "I hope most of you will be around the next year, some of you I'll be trying to squeeze out."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Flashback Friday XV

A hundred years ago, I taught a Gospel Doctrine class at BYU. It was hard to keep people's attention for longer than a small-talk conversation in most cases--let alone a 50 minute class!

We were teaching the New Testament and an entire lesson was devoted to Paul and his travels. The lesson was comprised of four short stories--miracles really--of Paul's missionary work to the Corinthians. Taking it back to Primary, I decided we needed visual aids to tell the story. Thanks to the generous tithes of LDS church members, each classroom in the MARB was equipped with a computer and projection equipment and we were in business.

I don't remember the exact stories to give you the run down, but here's a snapshot of some of my most favorite MS Paint creations. My favorite details are the midget dissenter, the guy sleeping during Paul's mission report, the French ship captain, the one-handed girl, Brigham Young's great-great-great-great-great-x100 grandfather listening to Paul preach while under house arrest, and Paul's general appearance.

Doesn't this kind of make you want to read these stories? Even just a little? If I'd given Paul pants, would you be more or less inclined to read the source material?

I probably should have given him pants. Or a tunic at the very least.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Unfriendly Skies

I just can't help it, I'm hooked on reading Flights from Hell.

Fun as it is, I'm starting to get pretty nervous about my rapidly-approaching flights to Phoenix, Portland, and Ireland.

Flying the friendly skies never seemed so ___________.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


It's an undisputed fact for this generation that music is power. To be perfectly cliched, it moves, changes, and at times inspires us. Now don't get me wrong, I love music as much as the next guy--but I'm not one of those people who live and breathe music.

By this point in our relationship, you should know what I live and breathe. Do you have a guess? If you're going to say the Biggest Loser, you're only partially right (another Tuesday with Hot Tamales and tears? Check.). If you're going to say my Gucci fannypack, you're only partially right. If you're going to say donuts, Skittles, Joe's, the Celtics, finding deals or being lucky, you're only partially right. Hmmm. Maybe I need to rexamine the things I live and breathe--I have a lot going on!

If you guessed Entertainment, you're mostly right. If you guessed Entertainment and how it intersects with my daily life, you're spot on. When I say "Entertainment", I mean TV, movies, books, music, and pop culture. Pretty much anything reports on. (Geez, I love my E-Dub.)

Music has the most profound meaning in my life when it marries two things. My favorite "musical moments" occur when music becomes a soundtrack to something else--a TV show, a movie, a moment, or a memory. Like smell, music has the ability to take us to a far away time and place. But this post isn't about just the moments and memories. It's about entertainment + moments/memories.

Exhibit A - Mannequin is one of my most favorite childhood movies. The theme song from this movie always reminds me of this movie--and it gets surprising airplay on lite radio. Oh wow. I just read that this song was nominated for an Oscar. An Oscar? I love this movie even more. In fact, I think I shall throw a Mannequin party now. I found this most awesome clip on YouTube; why did I even doubt it existed?

This clips together all the very best parts of the movie!

Exhibit B - Now I didn't watch all the seasons of Dawson's Creek. In fact, I think I only had spotty viewings of Seasons 1 & 2. Nevertheless, can anyone hear this song and not think of this TV show? It takes me back to early High School that's for sure...

So readers. It's your turn. I know you all have musical moments that changed your life--however, I want you to give me musical moments + entertainment moments that you remember. Deal? I can't wait to read what you come up with.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Brain Dumpity-Dump

  • This is my 470th post. Last year, my end of the year post was #200. At one point, I'd hoped this year's last blog would be #500. With 26 days to go, and 30 blogs to write, it doesn't look like it's going to happen. I've been slacking the last few months.
  • My hair has been red for eight months now. I remember after the first six weeks when I had to decide to take it back to blonde or continue with the red, Kendall told me to give it at least six months. That felt like such a long time back then! And now I'm rocking the bangs too.
  • This post is dedicated to Whitney. She asked where my blog was -- here I am!
  • Saturday night while having dinner with a friend, I "lost" one of my favorite earrings. (It was found on the ground.) Today at lunch, the same earring was lost. No air-quotes this time. That sucker jumped ship. You have no idea how many one-r earrings I have. Drives me crazy.
  • It finally snowed in B-Town. I now understand why commuters hate winter. Last year I didn't hate the cold so much, but now that my socks are always wet, and the wind is always blowing right through my coat as I wait... and wait... and wait... for the bus, I understand. I also understand that I need a new (ugly) winter shoe collection.
  • Our house is festive. I hung white lights in our family room and down the front banister and now our house isn't just beginning to look a lot like Christmas... it's in the middle-stages of looking like Christmas.
  • My TV show plug of this brain dump is "How I Met Your Mother." That show is oh so very funny. Have I let you down before?
  • The Celtics continue to excite the NBA basketball community. 13-2. Best in the NBA. I can't wait til they start playing some higher-ranked Western Conference teams. I've been to three games already and the Bucks next Friday!
  • Thirteen of my girlfriends and I are going to a Saturday matinee of The Urban Nutcracker. We decided to kick-off the Christmas season with a show; and this is combination ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and swing set in urban Boston. Ohhhhhhhh I'm excited. Really though, how fun does that sound?
  • My hair froze this morning. Wearing it wet isn't really an option any more. How was I to know it was going to be 6 degrees with wind chill?
  • 6 Degrees. That's what we call population control.
  • I read a blog (no, it's not any of my reader's... i think) that drives me crazy. I can't stop reading it though. It's written by a LDS female somewhere in CA that thinks she has all the answers to life. Relationships, politics, relationships... Mostly, she just comes off sounding exceptionally bitter, crabby, and self-righteous. I can't stop reading! I really should, because it just makes me a little angry in side. I didn't know people like this actually existed.
  • Please bless I don't write crabby, bitter, self-righteous blogs. Oh geez. I hope I don't.
  • About a month ago I found bags of Hot Tamales at Target on clearance for 14 cents (similar in size to a bag of Skittles). I bought every one they had in hopes that I'd eat less--because when I buy the huge box, I'll eat the box until it's gone. This plan has only proven marginally successful. Mostly, I think I'm just creating more trash.
  • Somehow, I always seem to sit myself on the bus in front of the man screaming into his cell phone in a foreign language. Any commuter can tell you that phones on public transit are the worst! I'm not above talking on mine every once in awhile, but I sit in the back (where there are less people) and face the window. I can't stand the thought that people can hear me talking--this is the same at work and at home. (Is there a clinical name for fear of people overhearing your one-sided conversations?)
  • Has everyone forgotten that Angelina used to have a girlfriend? Or wear blood in a vial around her neck? What about Tom Brady impregnating his girlfriend and dumping her for a newer, hotter, less-pregnant model? Why do we laud these people as heroes? They may be beautiful, but these are the role models we use?
  • I really enjoyed doing my visiting teaching in November.
  • Julie, Charlotte and I are singing in church on Sunday. We're singing O Holy Night. It's been kind of stressful getting it together--I hope it pays off. I don't even like singing; I don't know what kind of crazy idea this was.
  • On Facebook, you can play Scrabble against your friends. For as wordy as I am, I'm a terrible Scrabble player. I don't know what it is; I just brain block completely. Four-letter words are about as high as I can spell.
  • Well, I guess that's it. When I sit for a few minutes trying to hard to think of something else to write, it's my cue to wrap it up.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

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