Wednesday, September 10, 2014


A couple of posts ago I talked about taking picture of interesting people. I like to do this. And I also said that sometime in the future I would post about taking pictures of people and having it go horribly wrong. 
This is that day, and this is that picture.

It all happened one day right around the time "Batman, The Dark Knight Rises" came out. I was waiting for a prescription and I saw this charming fellow. It just kind of cracked me up that he was basically the antithesis of Batman. Bright neon colors, portly, sedentary, visually challenged and sporting casual, open-toed rubber footwear (at least he got the rubber part right). 

I wanted a picture of him, oh how I wanted a picture. I decided it was definitely possible if I wrangled myself into the right position and then pretended to be looking at my phone, I could just sneak a quick picture. Come on. Admit it. You've all done it right? ( Please say yes, if only to make me feel a little less voyeuristic.) 

So, I got into position, snapped the picture, and looked at it... (This is how my inner dialogue went. I remember it clearly.) "Dang, bad angle. I needed to do it again... But he looked right at me... surely he knows what I'm doing. No, how could he? I'm being very careful to look away and seem totally disinterested, I'm just being paranoid."

I then proceeded to move a few feet over and try again. Right after I snapped the second picture, he looked at me again. I quickly hurried out of the room before I made up too many more stories of what he, or any other people, knew about me.

I then proceeded to post the photo, I'd obtained through cunning, of "Anti-Bat", in all of his glory, on Instagram, with a hashtag #christianbalewouldbesoproud

I felt a little smug, and got a good laugh from all those who saw it.

Now comes the embarrassing part. 

Fast forward a couple of hours. I went to take another picture, this time, in my darkened house. As I snapped the shot, my flash went off. GHEEEEEE! What? My flash is NEVER on! Then, the dawning realization that it was also on when I took "Anti-Bat's" picture came slowly drizzling into my awareness. 

Apparently, it was so bright in the pharmacy that I hadn't noticed a flash, but someone on the other side of the camera would have seen it for sure. Especially one on whom the camera was aimed and sat only a mere arm's length away. THEN I proceed to not only take 1, but 2 (TWO!!) pictures! I was mortified and thoroughly embarrassed. Even though I'm sure he would have never seen my picture on Instagram, I removed it IMMEDIATELY. This not who I am! I don't openly mock a person I know nothing about (I only do that to people I know intimately - ha, jokes).

Embarrassing as that was/is though, I didn't stop taking pictures of people in this manner. The lesson I did learn is, to always check to see if the flash is turned off before taking sneaky photos of people's questionable fashion choices. That lesson has served me well. I have more of these type of photos that I'll share at a later date. 


Now, just so we can have a little bit of the emphasis taken off of me and my blunders and my probable creepiness, here are a few pictures (that someone else took) that I find quite hilarious and random, two of my favorite things. 
No explanation necessary.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I cried...

Three years ago when I ran a marathon I titled my post "I Cried at Mile 18" (read it here). This time I just cried. I cried for a myriad of reasons. 
I signed up for this race thinking to redeem myself from last time. Not that it was so horrible, but I really did want to "run" the whole way. If you read the last experience I had to walk the last 5 miles or so. I don't know why I felt the need to do better than this, but I should have left well enough alone. 
I was a little sketchy going into this race. I was running alone, I had had some terrible runs in the weeks prior, I didn't want to get up at 3:30 am.
But let me not get ahead of myself.
I want to start off with how I actually started the race.

Look at me, here, by myself. I survived. I just horned my way next to a fire barrel while I was waiting and I was happy (and warm) as a clam (are clams warm?). I took this picture just as the sun came up over the mountains, the light and warmth was such a morale boost. I was happy to be there.

This was my first cry. Seeing the sea of people stretched out before me and feeling the zip in the air as everyone started forward on their goal. All these people (one way or another) had prepared to be here. This wasn't a group of slackers. This was a group of people that were dedicated enough to 1) sign up all the way back last fall, 2) train for at least 6 months and 3) get up before the sun to be high up on a mountain in the cold, and I was one of them. Big boost for the state of mind.

I don't know exactly what point in the race this was but look at me, I was relaxed and happy.
Running photos of me aren't my favorite, but I can deal with this one, if for nothing else than to confirm to me that running is a happy place.

I texted this picture of me to Brad and Caroline about the 7 mile mark. 
My text said, "1/4 done, doing well." I remember how good I felt. Only 3 more of what I had just done! Totally doable.

(I can tell by this picture that I was in pain. See how I'm holding my shoulders? I think I'm trying to lift myself up and keep the weight off my knees. It was before I started walking in ernest though because I still had my sleeves rolled down.)

Somewhere around 1/2 way my knees started hurting. It was the same pain I had experienced last time I ran this marathon, only about 8 miles sooner. 
At this point I had only made it 1/2 way. I knew from past experience that I couldn't last the rest of the way. I had a decision to make. I ran as long as I could (maybe to mile 14.5). Then I had to decide,

Should I quit? 
-After all I had made it longer than a 1/2 marathon. 
-No one would blame me. 
-I wasn't out to prove much. 
-I wasn't letting anyone down (except maybe myself) if I quit.
-12 miles would take a long time to walk 

Then, I remembered my goal (to do better than last time). I knew this was no longer an option, but in order to even save face with myself I had to at least finish. I knew I would remember quitting for a long time to come. I didn't know if I could face myself if I quit. I knew it was going to be extremely hard, but until I persevered on, I didn't know how hard. I had thoughts of quitting (from pain and humilitation) almost at every mile after that until I reached the end.
This was my first sad cry of the race.
Next cry: I lost pace with those who were in my same running category (this isn't a real thing, but  you become accustomed to those running around you. They run like you, they dress like you, they seem to have basically the same mentality as you and you feel like you can relate to them)
Third cry: After a while the 5 hour marker passed me. I knew there was no keeping up
More crying: The 5 1/2 hour marker passed me. I tried running with them for a while but in the end I fell behind. Never to catch up.
I cried some more: After a while I started noticing people around me that were clearly on a lower running scale than me. Those who were older, chubbier (yes there are a few), and less athletic. I was walking, they were still running. I cried.
Still more crying: The police officers who had been patrolling the race rode past and told us we had a half hour to be out of the canyon. I didn't know how far I still had to go but I knew they wouldn't be telling us if we we were almost out. Sob.
The crying didn't end: Finally, right toward the end, people who had walked the whole race were starting to catch up. What a blow to my ego. Luckily by that time I was on flat ground and my knees recovered just enough to walk a little faster. 
The reasons all blurred together: I was embarrassed, my ego had taken hit after hit, my knees and feet hurt excruciatingly, my fingers were swollen to the point of hurting, I was in the last 50 people (out of 9,000) to cross the finish line, I felt bad that I had made Brad and Caroline and Arnell wait for so long, the vendors and barriers were being taken down by the time I got in, no one was in the grandstands cheering, I was more than an hour and a half later than my anticipated time...

Look at this picture, I'm pretty sure I was deep into a good cry here. Luckily sweat an sunglasses obscured most of this. (also take note of my ring here being swallowed alive by the puffy skin on my finger)

 Before you get too depressed though I have to point out some of the many good points about this race.
There were many, many fun and funny people along the way. Ogden Technical University was one of my favorite. Here I am posing with their poster of Grumpy Cat. They also had other signs with Yoda, Napoleon Dynamite, Ron Burgundy, Nacho Libre' etc. etc. etc.

 I WAS prepared mentally - even though I had my doubts. 

The weather and the scenery were FABULOUS!! So so beautiful!

Brad and Caroline texted me throughout with words of encouragement. I don't think I could have made it except I knew they were cheering me on with words like
"You don't have to go fast... you just have to go"
"You should be PROUD of yourself! Wish I was there walking with you"
The picture above is Brad meeting me right at the end. He hugged me and walked for a little way with  me I  of course cried from exhaustion,  and let down, but most especially from the support and encouragement.

I told Brad at the end. "One good thing is I NEVER have to do this again if I don't want to."
And after all was said and done, I got the SAME metal that all the other runners got. I finished. I crossed that line.
  I fought the good fight, I finished the course!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Love (work) Week -- Day 2 (Baking Soda Orange)

Sheesh, between laundry, helping Brady with homework and helping Brad plan a mutual activity, I almost didn't get Love (work) week -- day 2 done before it was day 3. (If you missed day one go here.)

So, in case you were wondering I'm a little bit obsessed with the color orange. For some reason I am just  drawn to it. You might even say I LOVE it.

This is my latest "orange acquisition", an orange sweatshirt from American Eagle. What makes this find doubly good is the price. Have you ever bought a sweatshirt from AEO? Ya, they're expensive. The other day I happened up on this little gem. It was already on clearance plus all the clearance items were an additional half off AND on top of it all, I had a coupon for 25% off of my entire purchase. Voila! $9.60. Favorite store, favorite color, AWESOME price!

I love all shades of orange, but this bright orange is my favorite. I call it baking soda orange. I held the box of Arm & Hammer baking soda right up to my sweatshirt. They were an exact match.

Speaking of Baking Soda orange… check out this bad boy sunrise! There are advantages to getting up early some days! Don't you LOVE it? I do.

Here's some of the orange I have in my house. My mantle is one of my favorites when it comes to mime decoration. The picture frame I got at an antique store in Jackson California (shoot, maybe it was Sonora) anyway the ceramic bird (yep, that's what that blob on the right is) came from the DeAnza Flea Market. It was a had-to-have. I paid more than I wanted to but haven't regretted it for a second. My dear friend Annette made me the banner. She made it at my house and right under my nose. I didn't even know she was doing it. I LOVE it! It was just suppose to be for the fall but I love it so much I've left it up. Just off to the left is an old orange gas can. I suppose I should have photographed it too, but you'll just have to use your imagination.

Now before we get off the "orange" subject all together, I just had to post this picture. This ginger didn't realize that his devastating charm and extra special attention to style got him a space in LOVE week. 

I've decided I LOVE taking pictures of interesting people. Here's the latest offering. I wish you could really see his boots. They are knee high cowboy boots with his dark washed jeans tucked into them. Snazzy! His hair was buzzed very short but he still managed a center part that, of course, compliments any face, even those with full-on Grizzly Adams beards. Yikes!  I'm not even going to mention the "lollypop" effect here. It really is his most striking feature. I could tell he thought he was really something special.

(SIDE NOTE: look for a post someday about taking pictures of interesting people and how it can go extremely wrong.)


Moving on.
These aren't orange but I just had to post my extreme love of these ca-ute aprons that my friend Denise Shattuck made for my girls who helped out at activity days tonight. This is officially Kelsi's calling but Afton went with her tonight to help out with a Daddy Daughter event. They each came home with one of these. Maybe you can tell, but she attached a double string of pearls to each of them. Way too adorable. Denise's talents and skill set never cease to astound me! Maybe I'll be her when I grow up.

So, tomorrow (Day 3). I'm going to be talking about my media LOVE. I have it in spades!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Love (work) Week -- Day 1

Technically for this to be love week I should have started on Saturday. I decided to just go for the 5 day plan so we'll call it "Love (work) Week".

So, I'm gonna start it off right with the 3 people in my life that I love most (we'll talk about the 4th later). These guys make everyday meaningful for me.

I'm already mourning the fact that before the year is out 2 of the 3 will be gone.

I love the energy they bring to the house. They are a crack-ups. Yes, they make messes; yes, they remind me how uncool I am; yes, they require food and attention but I know most of my identity is linked to them. And soon, too soon, my job requirements will change and that will make me sad.

What they don't know, and what I'm just starting to realize is, not only do they give me an identity they also give our family an identity. After they are gone, Brad and I will just be that old couple sitting by ourselves in church. We won't go to park day, we won't be invited to parties or outings or trips with families that have young children (or children at all), we won't know what's going on at the high school or in the youth program. It won't matter if there is girls camp, or scout camp or EFY or a school holiday. It'll just be us oldies, rocking on our porch in our rocking chairs.

However, I'm glad for the people they are becoming. I'm glad to be their mom. I'm glad they are all here with me right now.

I LOVE them!!

Stay tuned for Love (work) Week -- day 2 tomorrow, where I plan on being a lot less sappy and way more superficial.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Lost is Found

(I thought I was so neat finding these)

This is a story that some may find boring but that I would like to record for my own personal memory, which seem to be getting shorter the older I get.

A couple of months ago Dad asked me if I had the box of Christmas slides from our family from about 1979-1989. Hmmm, I knew at one point I wanted to do a project with the pictures of the family Nativity. I didn't remember borrowing ALL the pictures but I figured if I borrowed the Nativity ones I likely had the whole lot somewhere in my possession. I told him I would look.

I was starting to worry that I had borrowed them and then somehow lost them or accidentally thrown them away.  This is not my nature. I may be as messy as a teenage boy's bathroom floor, but I am pretty organized (it's kind of a weird thing). I was worried because I go through my stuff often enough that I would remember if I had seen it in say, the last 5 years. I hadn't. But, I set off with a wish and a prayer and before too long I found a large yellow box with Mom's handwriting labeled "Christmas". I actually was amazed at how relatively easy it was to find it, considering I truly hadn't seen them amongst my stuff.  I chalked it up to my amazing organizational skills.  I returned the pictures, embarrassed that I had held onto them for so long, but happy that I wasn't destroying valuable family memories.

A few days later I got a message from Dad thanking me for the pictures, but pointed out that none of the Nativity pictures were with them. Again, this fit the profile, since my original project was involving the Nativity pictures. For sure I took them out and put them somewhere special in preparation for the project.  I even vaguely remembered talking them to get made into prints at one point. This put the image of them in a photo developing envelope into my mind. This is ALL I had to go on and I wasn't even sure this was accurate.

I started stressing in earnest. I had already been through my spare photo drawer and through all my boxes of photos during the first round of looking. I really had no idea where to go now. I prayed. I looked around. I prayed again. The vague picture of the photo envelope was in the back of my head but  I had no idea where else to look. And I just had the sinking feeling that I had somehow gotten rid of a box that had them in it.  A few months previously I had gone through a lot of my stuff and purged. It's not like me to blindly get rid of stuff without looking through it to make sure. But what if I had missed it? What if it went out with the box of old "empty" scrapbooks? Only slightly less depressing was that it was in the box of old negatives (from ages ago) that was where…? In the attic? I wasn't even exactly sure.

I tried to keep the faith. I prayed some more. I looked some more. I relooked in places I'd already looked. I looked in weird places like the pasta cupboard. I don't put stuff in weird places very often but it doesn't hurt to look right? Nothing… just pasta. During this whole ordeal I just kept picturing the primary children in our ward. Part of the Primary Presentation in Sacrament Meeting a month or so previously involved some of the kids telling about instances where their prayers were answered. Often the story was, they lost something. They prayed. They found it. I was not having the same luck, er…answers to prayers.

I did know if it was in my house I would find it. I had a feeling it was, but I couldn't be sure. Was it in my Christmas Decorations boxes. If so, which one? Would I have to drag them all out and look? I was beginning to feel hopeless. It isn't my mission in life to destroy family memorabilia and history. It has always been my goal and reputation to preserve it. To make it meaningful. What was I going to do if I never found them. How could I face Dad? How could I tell any of my family? These few crazy pictures have great meaning to all of us. I was cursing myself for being careless, for being a procrastinator (I should have just done the project and been done with it - gave the pictures back and never put myself into such a bad predicament). I stressed that my organization skills weren't what I thought they were. I was mad at myself for not noticing I had them for so long. We're talking years here. YEARS!!

Finally I had exhausted all the viable options. At least twice I sat on the couch and pondered calling Dad and picturing myself breaking the news to him, that I simply could not find them. The thought of this propelled me back up and into the depths of searching. Most of my efforts were centered in the garage where I have my scrapbook studio and the most logical place that they would be. I just kept seeing, in my minds eye, the envelope sitting over in the corner of that room. Of course I had looked there a million times already but my last ditch effort, I went to that area again. I knew it was fruitless but was putting off calling Dad. I told myself this was the last place I was going to look.

In that corner of the room is also 3 drawers. The top drawer is almost empty with just a label maker and a few extra cartridges. The second drawer is full of pictures. The ones that, by this time, I had looked through picture by picture. I found many photo envelopes but NONE contained what I was looking for. The bottom drawer has file folders FULL of cardstock.  It's very, very full and I have been into that drawer several times a month for the past several years. There were no pictures there for sure. But, did I mention I was desperate? I looked in the top drawer.  No. Middle drawer, no where else for me too look I had looked at each of those front and back several times. The bottom drawer. How could anything like a thick envelope of slides have gotten stuck there? Especially with me looking in it so often. I would have seen them. I opened that bottom drawer and saw a little peek of red and blue sticking out from the bottom of the picture drawer above it. What? I reached in and pulled out 2 photo envelopes that were stuck to the bottom of the other drawer. The first envelope had nothing important, my heart sank just a little bit. I knew that the other envelope HAD to be them or that I would be telling Dad they were gone forever.

I don't need to tell you! IT WAS THEM! It was amazing. I felt the biggest flood of relief. I started bawling on the spot. I immediately called Dad with the news. He, of course, was very, considerate, and let me just blather on and on with my story (sort of like I'm doing here in this blog post). He told me that he was glad I found them but told me that he wouldn't have disowned me had I not been able to find them. I glad he was so forgiving. I'm not sure I would have been so nice to myself.

Maybe it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to the average reader. But to me it was huge. It was also an amazing reality check on getting answers to prayers. Even though I felt hopeless at certain points and had raw nerves by the end, I tried to keep the faith. I really was trying to listen to the promptings. I have a feeling the reason it took me so long is because I was having a grown-up version of having my prayers answered, just like those primary kids. Looking back I could see Heavenly Father waiting patiently by the side, directing me, but letting me look. Not only did it teach me how to listen, faith was also restored in my organizational system.

And just for the record, I found about 10 other random slides that I had borrowed over the years, that were stuck in random places.

I guess the moral of this story is, don't lend stuff to Stef. But if you do you'll eventually get it back.

By the way, the date on the photo envelope was 2001.

(other important family memories)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Once a Runner...

Several years ago I made a post about being a real runner. Here's the link if you'd like to read it. Strangely enough, even though I wrote that post when I was in my running infancy I think it still pertains to the way I feel about running.

What I'd like to add to it, at this point, is another reason why I think I must be a real runner, and that is, my solitary state. I run alone. Everyday when I run, I run alone. Now don't don't get me wrong. I actually like it, for the most part. I get to set my own pace. I don't have to make conversation while I'm trying to run (which I'm not very good at anyway). I don't have to work around anyone else's schedule. You get the idea. But it has really hit home this past week or two as I face running an actual race alone.

The Santa Barbara 1/2 marathon is coming up in a couple of weeks. I kept waiting for someone else to say they wanted to run it with me. Brad was game, but ended up pulling his hamstring and getting a horrendous case of poison oak that derailed any sort of training on his part. In the end no one came forward. Last year it was just me and a bunch of the guys that ran it. It was kind of weird but, I loved knowing that there was someone else out there that I know running the same course, someone that I might catch a glimpse of, even if we weren't running together. It just wasn't in the cards this year. So, then the question begs the answer, should I run it anyway?

Well, I guess the answer is YES! I signed up and booked our hotel last week (luckily I have an awesomely, supportive husband who will at least accompany me to the race, even though he can't run). I am running the race alone! I don't know whether to cry or whether to raise my arms over my head and and roar.

I envy those who have training buddies, who depend on each other, who motivate each other, who have similar goals, who can talk about aching shins, or being chased by dogs together. I envy those run in groups or pairs, who inspire others to want to run with them, who get others to say, "Well, if you're doing it, I want to do it too." It sounds sad. It is for a second I guess. This is they way life works though, right?

Don't pity me... It's Ok, this has just proved to me that I MUST be a real runner. While looking at a blog today I found some words that truly inspired me. In the end it doesn't matter what other people are doing. I choose this. I feel good when I run, especially long distances. It makes me feel self-masterful. It makes me feel like I've achieved something. And I have. And somebody, somebody who wrote this, out there understands.

So really, I'm not a die hard. I struggle EVERY single time. I've learned I just can't think about it too hard.  I just have to tell myself, I'm going, determine how far and make sure my gear is prepared. Then I just have to go. No rechecking my email or Facebook. No warming up just a little more. No fiddling with my iPod. I just have to start the workout and GO! Seriously if I think about it too much I end up not going. I also have to remember not judge a run by the first mile, and in most cases by the first three miles. I have to remember that I am never sad I got out there to run AFTER I'm finished.

Positive self talk is important and there has to be lots of it. I think I've learned a lot of life's lessons by running.

1. Be positive
2. Be prepared
3. Don't give up
4. Pay attention
5. Keep it simple
6. Endure to the end
7. Enjoy God's creations
8. Count your blessings
9. Some days are harder than others
10. Good stuff comes after you push through the hard stuff

Here's a picture that just kind of says it all. Pretty much how I feel everyday before I go out.

Here's another thing that has happened to me recently, but sadly, instead of continuing on, I turned around and came back (only a mile shorter than intended, but still) I'm going to do better in the future if this happens.

It's also my intent to enjoy things more. Look around me, maybe stop to take a picture or two. Make it into art. Artist inspire me. I want to be a running artist. 

Here's to running 10 miles tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Love Week -- Day 5

I LOVE my Apps!
I could go on and on but my apps (some better on iPhone, some better on iPad)
I'm not trying to be original here, these really aren't anything new... it's just what I LOVE.

Staying Connected


Photo Editing

 Phonto (easily put fonts on your photos - even from your own library)

Filter Mania 2 - lots and lots and lots of filters for your photos

Label Box (puts labels on your photos)


Candy Crush - I'm not a gamer person really. But this is strangely annoying and addicting. Try playing without buying anything. To me, I call it an automatic "you've-been-playing-too-long"shutoff valve.

So I mostly think I'm pretty smart, but I usually get creamed in this game.


We haven't had TV hook-up for about 6 years (with a brief period where Brad decided he wanted to watch hockey playoffs - that lasted about 2 months) Believe it or not, when we actually had TV the kids didn't even know what to do with it. -- We rely on these things. REALLY! It's the way to go. We have all 3 of these for about $30/month (maybe less).

Hulu Plus


Amazon Prime - instant view

 Kindle App
(I also use iBooks and Nook - all free Apps)
Pandora -- I'm probably in the dark ages, but I like it. I've heard some say Spotify is the way to go. I have it, but I have no idea how it works or why it would change my life.


 Pinterest -- Duh, no brainer


I also LOVE this!

In 1 month from tomorrow, we have been in our house for 10 years. Storage has been inadequate to say the least. Our bonus room which is an awesome space has just been a catch all for things we don't have any other place for. WELL, now we actually have some space. Words can not begin to describe how happy this makes me. It has cost me a lot of mess and aches and pains (lots and lots and lots of screws, aw, my aching arm) But now it is all ready to fill.  Kelsi is already giving us a preview of how it's going to work.  Poor girl, sleeps in that room and there have been no closets or drawers to speak of, Ta-da! Until now!

(Shelves in the closet? Happy thought indeed. -- sorry, just a little Pride and Prejudice humor there)

I LOVE daisies.
Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?
Kathleen Kelly does (Meg Ryan via You've Got Mail) and so do I!
I planted 4 plants in my yard yesterday. I'm kind of excited about it.
(Ya? Well, you try doing a self portrait of you and a tiny thing on the ground)
And my last LOVE of the day is THIS!
Bahahahaha! All circa 20 years ago! These started circulating yesterday on Instagram. It made me extremely happy! Giddy even!! Big Hair! Bangs! Stache! The thing that made me laugh the hardest were the comments about Brad.
- Friend of Magnum PI
- Babe-like
- Zorro
- "If only they had put me in the game, we would have won State!" Uncle Rico
- Can you say "Rich Corinthian leather?"
- Good Gravy! Look at that stache!

                   Stefani and Brad Meyer                                               Christy and Rob Eggers

                   Caroline and Arnell Anderson                                    Mark and Melinda Lawrence