Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to go see one of my FAVORITE musicals, WICKED, here in Salt Lake. Through the immense generosity of a dear friend, I sat in the center of the eleventh row and cried four times over the course of three hours, sometimes in joy, sometimes in sadness and sometimes just in awe.

I love Wicked for so many reasons: the music, the costumes, the dancing, the cool set and special effects, the connection to literature. But, mostly, I love the lessons that it teaches about standing up for what you believe in, looking beyond the obvious because things aren't always as they seem, and giving people a chance to show you how good they can be. I cry every time when I hear "For Good" and I think about all of the people who have impacted my life. Thank you to you all reading this, it is true for me that "so much of me is made of what I learned from you."

If you haven't seen the show, find tickets somewhere and see it at the first chance you get. And buy good seats...they're worth it. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

It's official. I bought a plane ticket tonight for my trip to Washington D.C. and New York City in June! I'm SOOOO excited. I haven't been to D.C. since 2000, and I've NEVER been to NYC, which is a tragedy considering my love for Broadway. My roommate and I are going for a week and a half, and I can't wait to embark upon that grand adventure.

Things I'm excited for in D.C.--

1) Seeing Kevin and Dana

2) Going to the Holocaust museum

3) Exploring the Smithsonian

4) Visiting all the monuments...not in 20 degree weather this time :)

5) Going to various and sundry other place of historical significance...suggestions?

Things I'm excited for in NYC--


2) The Empire State Building

3) Carnegie Deli

4) Central Park

5) Shopping

6) Riding the subway (yes, I know it's disgusting)

Anybody have any tips on what to do while we're there?

Monday, April 20, 2009

So, I can't decide on one thing to write about, because too many exciting things have happened in the last week, so...here is my top 5 list!

5. I made Easter bread (albeit a little last-minute, due to my spontaneous trip to California), and it turned out pretty well! I think so, at least. You can judge for yourself.
4. I got a new roommate! Her name is Brenda, and she has been great so far. She makes my life more exciting and less expensive. A great combination. Isn't she cute?

3. I fell in love with Susan Boyle of Britain's Got Talent. She restored my confidence in the ability of a truly talented person to overcome the materialism and body image-obsession of the media world. If you haven't gotten a chance to see the video that had the most hits on YouTube last week (over 100 million), you MUST watch it. You won't regret it. I promise.

2. I also made friends with two wonderful ladies in my stake. Their names are Beth and Margaret, and they are the most wonderful women. Our ward did a service project on Saturday cleaning up the yards and houses of widows in the area, and we were privileged to meet these two ladies. I am excited to go back and visit them.

1. I became a back up dancer for a rap artist!...Yes, I know, I'm not the most ghetto person ever, however, I've made some major progress in the last week. I had the baggy clothes and everything! In truth, we had our faculty variety show and I was trying to be supportive of my friend who wanted to perform Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice, Baby." It was fun, but I don't think I'll be quitting my day job any time soon. Can you see me?


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On a Whim...

Last weekend was Spring break for me, and while I had planned to lay low and sleep a lot, I got a last minute chance to go to California for a few days with friends. I very rarely do big things spontaneously, but I decided this was worth going out on a limb for. And, I'm happy to report that it was worth every bit of sleep that I lost! Here are some of the highlights...

1. Reliving a childhood of fun memories at Disneyland. I thought it would be crazy with crowds because of Spring break, but we managed to go on all the big roller coasters and never waited more than a 1/2 hour. How's that for good timing?!

2. Conquering motion sickness. Well... kind of. I wasn't smiling quite as big at the end.

3. California poppies (at the Getty Museum)--they're so HAPPY!

4. When girls are little, they dress up dolls; when they grow up, they dress up boys! (The boys secretly enjoyed it, too, and they walked away with some great clothes!)

5. Watching the sunset over the ocean...few things are more beautiful.

5. Squishing myself into a kiddie ride on the Santa Monica pier. Even better, watching everyone else do the same, especially the boys!

Hmmm... I think these hermit crabs need bigger shells.

6. Dancing anywhere is a good idea, but dancing barefoot in the surf to music only I can hear with waves breaking around my feet...perfect.

7. Exploring caves and scaling rock faces...in a skirt, no less!

8. An Ariel moment: just think, "Part of Your World--Reprise."

9. The whole gang (at the top of the cliff we climbed up)

10. Taking in the view...and what a view it was. (Incidentally, this picture was taken on the ferry over to Balboa island to eat dinner at Ruby's Diner. It's a great spot, even if we did almost miss our flight because of the detour.)

But, sooner or later, you have to go home...and there is nothing like your own bed!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Will Come!


I love this holiday! Not only do I love the fun of Easter eggs, candy, and REALLY good Russian food, I love the infinite message of hope in this holiday. Of all celebrations, Easter is the ultimate celebration of triumph. On this day, we celebrate our Savior, Jesus Christ, who triumphed over death and paved the way for our exaltation. What a glorious feat he accomplished that day so long ago, something that I'm sure I will continue to strive to understand fully for the rest of my life.

I am reminded of one of my favorite talks from General Conference in 2006, entitled "Sunday Will Come" by Joseph B. Wirthlin. Elder Wirthlin spoke of the dark times in our lives, and how we can compare that (in a much smaller way) to the difficulty of the Savior's final days on earth. Even in those darkest hours, we can have the reassurance that "Sunday will come," just as it did for the Lord of all.

Here is my favorite excerpt from that powerful testimony:

"Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

"But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

"No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come."

P.S. - Listen to the whole talk here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Have you ever felt like a plant that's just not getting quite enough water? You sit there, hoping someone will walk by and turn on the sprinklers or that a big storm will come through? Well, the rain is falling. Make sure to take some time to catch some in your mouth...

This weekend has been one of getting back to the basics of work, my personal life, family, and friends. I have been surrounded by reminders that life really is wonderful if we look for the joy that is there. Not, mind you, that I was terribly unhappy before, just tired, a bit frustrated, and wishing for a little pick-me-up.

I went to a conference for work Thursday and Friday that got me all pumped to go and teach again. Not that I didn't want to teach before the conference, but it reminded me of what I have to offer the world and put the responsibility for my success squarely on my shoulders--no scapegoats allowed. Plus, I learned some handy ways to remember some cool brain facts (sorry to those of you have have been subjected to my goofy hand motions; I just get ridiculously excited when I learn something new). Just remember one thing, worksheets don't grow dendrites!

Saturday and and Sunday, I sat back and soaked in all the truth spoken in the 179th annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of the snow on Saturday, it was a great weekend to stay inside. And what better thing to do inside than watch a prophet of the Lord and his apostles speak to the world. I love these men. They have such an awareness of the issues that the world faces today. They all address them in different ways but with the same message--Come unto Christ.

My favorite talk was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk Sunday morning. Listen to it this week while you do the dishes or something. Any of the other talks can be heard here.

So, once again, I feel like I can take on the world with confidence. I don't know everything, but I don't need to. I can make a small difference in my own way in my own corner of the world. I am so grateful for the rain that fell this weekend. My previously wilting plant is feeling much more hopeful today!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My new purchase...

I'm really excited. I have been looking forward to buying this particular item for quite some time. Some girls are crazy about shoes, others save up for purses. I, on the other hand, splurged on saffron.

If you're in my family, you know exactly why this is a big deal, especially at this time of year. If you have no idea what saffron is, let me explain. Saffron is one of the lesser known spices. It is the world's most expensive spice by weight, so I don't buy it often...or, ever, really. But, it is an essential ingredient in Russian Easter bread, kulich. I remember eating this just about every year growing up, and I loved it!

Stay tuned next week for a report of my cooking adventure!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To be or not to be? That is the question...

For all you Shakespeare lovers, here's something fun.

For all of you who think Shakespeare is overrated and underwhelming, here is a little evidence to the contrary.


We are all unwitting Shakespeare quoters, sometimes “without rhyme or reason.” If you are “in a pickle” because you have been “eaten out of house and home” and even your “salad days” have “vanished into thin air,” you are quoting Shakespeare. You’ve been “hoodwinked” and “more sinned against than sinning.” No wonder you’re not “playing fast and loose” and haven’t “slept a wink” and are probably “breathing your last.” It’s “cold comfort” that you are quoting Shakespeare. If you “point your finger” at me, “bid me good riddance” when you “send me packing” and call me a “laughing-stock,” “the devil incarnate,” a “sorry sight,” “eyesore,” and a “stone-hearted,” “bloody-minded,” “blinking idiot” and wish I were “dead as a doornail,” then I would say that you possess neither a “heart of gold” nor “the milk of human kindness,” especially considering that we are “flesh and blood.” Now that we have gone “full circle” and you are still waiting with “bated breath” since I have not been able to make you “budge an inch,” it is “fair play” for me to quit this sermon since Shakespeare himself taught me that “brevity is the soul of wit.” After all, it is a “foregone conclusion” that we all speak Shakespeare’s language!

Just for fun, here are some neat links:

Cool facts about Shakespeare, the Globe Theatre, famous quotes, and more!

Full Text of Shakespeare's Plays

P.S. - I love this guy!