Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Heartsong

Have you ever noticed how much music affects you; what sort of influence it has on memories you have and your life in general?

I know that, at least for me, music has a huge impact in my life. Music has the ability to instantly alter my mood. It is something that I usually take for granted. Most days find me humming my way through life. I hum in the halls and at lunch at the Jr. High. I hum in the car. I hum at the store. I hum while surfing the web. My life is one giant concert of humming.

Unless I am paying special attention, I don't realize I hum. I never realized what a problem it was until about two years ago when the 20-month old little girl I nannied for began humming all the time. She would hum to herself in the car, hum her dolls to sleep. I thought it was obnoxious until my mom pointed out that she probably learned it from me.

I am fully aware that my humming makes me sound like an idiot. The sad part is that most of the time, I do not hum melodies of songs. I harmonize. I am sure it does not help my I'm-not-crazy case.

Songs have the power to literally take me back in time, to a specific moment. I can usually remember smells, sights, sounds, feelings, etc. simply by hearing a song. For example, the song Starry Eyed Surprise by Paul Oakenfold reminds me of driving down 8th East in Orem with my friends Bonnie and Elizabeth. We (or I should say they) went tanning for Elzabeth's birthday. It's about 11:43 pm on a warm summer night. I am heading home, trying to make curfew because I was late the night before. I remember wondering how long those happy days of my youth would last, but knowing there was no way to answer that querie.

Lake Michigan, by Rogue Wave, takes me immediately back to Nauvoo, IL (or I should say the road above town) I've been gone for about 4 days, and am already incredibly homesick. I am stressed out at being in a situation where I have nearly no control. As stressed out as I am, I cannot help but notice the beautiful farmland we are driving through. It is quite lovely, and easy to imagine the early LDS saints fleeing from mobs across this very farmland.

Music has amazing powers. Whether it is the power to freeze a moment in time in your memory or the contagious humming, Music is amazing. Utterly Amazing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I sing you to me

That line is from Australia (the movie). The narrator said it constantly to Nicole Kidman's character. I absolutely adored the movie. It was a great movie, and I was crying pretty much constantly for the last half of the movie.

It was a really blunt look into the race struggles that Australia has had in the past. It was odd, to be honest, because it was set during WWII. When I think of the war and that whole era, I just assume that Australia was still an island full of convicts. There were several profound moments in the movie for me.

The first was when someone said something to the effect of to breed the black out of them! It was in reference to the island where they were sending kids who were 1/2 Aboriginee and 1/2 white ("Creamies"). That struck a chord with me because I realized that, had I been born just a few decades before I was (and obviously in Australia, too) I could have met a similar fate. Not because I had done something wrong, not because my parents had, but because Society as a whole looked down upon the mixing of the races.

That's the odd thing about society. We live in a free country. We are free to do pretty much anything that we want. The hold up comes when we do something that infringes on the freedom of someone else or something that society has deemed bad. Usually, all it takes is a few people to agree about any given point for it to become taboo. 12 jurors can decide the fate of one person. 9 judges interpret the constitution. We are free to choose our actions, but not free to choose the consequence. That's done by society as a whole.

I feel like I'm on a soapbox right now, but society once saw me as the product of some sort of deviant behavior on the part of my parents-Labeled an anomaly. It makes me think pretty hard about the types of labels I apply to others. I know that for myself, I understand the part in the movie where the narrator explains that he is a Creamie- He doesn't belong to the white man, and doesn't belong to the black man. He belongs to no one.

We often get on our high horses and preach about how much further we are from our racist, hate-filled grandparents/ancestors, but the truth is that we are not. Perhaps the hate is gone from the labels, but they still exist. When I am around white people, I am labeled as Tongan. When around Tongans, I am labeled white. Neither is willing to accept me blindly as one of them. I myself apply labels to people. Skin color is the most noticable characteristic you see. Maybe that's ok, as long as it is not acompanied by hate. Who knows.

The bottom line is that I could ramble on about this forever, but there's a line from the movie that I love.
Just because that's how it is, doesn't mean it should be.

I hope to be able to one day fully raise above the "labels" of our society. Someday, right?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We acknowledge our dependence

I know this is a little late, but I wanted to blog about Thanksgiving nonetheless.

I read a quote in October about Thanksgiving by William Jennings Bryan (I have yet to Google him; I have no idea who he is or what he did) he said On Thanksgiving day, we acknowledge our dependence. Dependence is not a term that Americans take kindly to (dependence on foreign oil, dependence on foreign money, etc) we generally do not like to be dependent on anyone or anything. Dependence is like 4-letter word in the USA. We have gone to war several times to avoid that fate. So, when I read that, I was offended-until I thought more about the sacred meaning of dependence.

Thanksgiving is a day that we as a nation have set aside to acknowledge our blessings (and in some cases, our hardships) It is a time to rejoice and be grateful. An action word. Literally the act of giving thanks.

This Thanksgiving convinced me that Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday (even more than Christmas. Blasphemy, I know). I did not do anything spectacular, just the normal family together time. I didn't eat anything different. This year, it just meant something different to me, and I realized a lot of stuff. I realized that I am grateful for my family. I realized the blessing I have to be employed, to have insurance and security. I am extremely grateful to know that my family can be together forever. I realized that even without my Grandma, Thanksgiving can be an enjoyable family activity. I realized that, like the hymn says, I need [the Lord] every hour I am absolutely dependent on the Lord and his goodness. Nothing I have or will ever hope to have in my life would be possible without the Lord.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~H.U. Westermayer

I hope that I can follow the example of the Pilgrims and set aside time to give thanks for my blessings, and see the blessings in my hardships, too. I have so very much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am anti-doctor

So, this past week I visited the doctor/hospital more than I have the entire rest of the year combined. And it has not done much to make me want to visit it more. I decided I am against doctors. At least for now. Maybe check back in a while, perhaps when I am sick and need them again.

This post is mainly for my own use, for record-keeping, etc. Feel free to read on if you like, otherwise, I won't be offended.

It all started on Monday, when I went in to the Doctor to check up on my thyroid levels (another long story, probably for another post, another day) I mentioned casually my feeling that the reason we have struggled for 5 years to regulate them was because I have a growth on my pituitary gland (all hypochondriac symptoms aside, it actually makes sense) The doctor agreed, so I was scheduled to have a CT scan of my brain (or the section called the Sella) to see if there were any weird growths, rampant brain cancer, etc.

Tuesday afternoon, I leave work early and head over to the hospital. I am actually excited about the CT scan (I've had one before of my head) but mostly excited because I have the feeling I am about to be proven right. I walk in, receive random compliments from the tech about my bag, and lie down. It's painless, and over in a few minutes. Then, I'm off down the hall to get some blood drawn, and on my merry way.

Wednesday morning, I receive a call from the doctor's office telling me to call back and get my test results. So, I call back during my lunch to be informed that (like this is a huge surprise to me by now) my blood work was back, and the levels are way low. Big surprise there. That's the whole problem. Anyways, I ask the lady if my CT results are back, and she says no. So, I hang up the phone. Literally 5 seconds later, my phone rings. I answer it, and it's the same lady.

Is Latu There?

Yes. This is her.
This is Carol from Dr. *****'s office. I have some test results for you from your CT scan yesterday.

Yeah, I just finished talking to you.
Oh! I'm sorry! I JUST saw these results!

You're fine. What do they say?
Well, it looks like there is a growth on your pituitary. We're going to have you go in for an MRI.

That's the part where my heart hit the floor of my car. Possibly the parking lot beneath. It was absolutely crushing. I have never been so horrified at being proven right in my life. There are not words to express how absolutely terrified I was at that point. I pulled it together long enough to to schedule the MRI for the next morning, but then I fell to pieces.

To make matters worse, the one person I needed to talk to at that point (my mama) was MIA. So, I cried for a minute, and then went back in to work.

Thursday morning, I was awake before dawn (even though I work mornings, I try never to greet the sunrise) and getting ready. They did not give me a whole bunch of info about how to prepare, but I knew the "M" in MRI stood for magnetic, so I made sure I was not wearing any metal (the last thing I wanted was to have to wear a hospital gown for the MRI)

When I saw the machine, and how incredibly tiny it was, I started getting VERY anxious. (Up to this point, the only thing I could imagine was a scene from House, where they do an MRI on a newborn. The MRI machine absolutely dwarfs the baby. I just assumed that the MRI machine they were using was a baby one, and they had adult machines that were 4 or 5 feet in diameter. WRONG!)

It was a lot of talking myself down and prayer that kept me from a full-blown panic attack once I got in the MRI machine. (that, and there was NO way I was going to do it again because I was moving and ruined the pictures) I was in up to my knees, struggling to keep my breathing in check, and wondering why, if they were imaging my brain, I had to be in the tube up to my knees. I got through the 45-minute process, and then the waiting game began.

Friday I got the fateful call from Carol, my favorite test-results reader.

Um.... looks like your pituitary is normal!

..... OK.... That's good, right?
Yep! Have a great day! Click.

So, either I was healed (which is incredibly possible, because of the priesthood blessing I received) or the radiologist read the CT results wrong (or, the radiologist read the MRI results wrong, and my brain is slowly being taken over by a tumor, unbeknownst to us all)

Whichever option is right (I won't know until I go into the doctor again) it has me looking at the world just a little differently.

I have spent a long time focusing more on the things I don't have, and not enough time focusing on the blessings I do have. Just in time for Thanksgiving, I am determined to be a more grateful person.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eye opener

So, the history teacher across the hall from me is doing a pretty powerful demonstration on slavery today. About two minutes into the period, I started hearing two people yelling in some funky language (German, Dutch, something like that) Concerned that there were kids in the hall yelling/fighting, I went out there. It was then that I realized that the yelling was coming from the class across the hall. I shrugged and went back to my work.

A few minutes later, I went out to look again (the yelling has not let up or stopped) only to see all the kids lined up along the center of the room, laying parallel to each other on the floor. Then, I remembered; they are doing a unit on slavery. Suddenly, the screaming and awkward placement of the kids made more sense.

With this new knowledge, I was just a little jealous of the kids at my school. It is a pretty awesome demonstration; strange men come into your classroom, start yelling and giving orders in a language you do not understand. All of the sudden, you realize your teacher is nowhere to be found. Then, they start picking off the kids who are defiant or do not follow directions (directions which are given in a foreign language!). You are forced to lay practically on top of each other (all the while trying to understand the constant screaming) and then taken to another room, where you see the kids who were taken out getting "whipped." It would be an awesome day to be in an 8th grade US history class at this school.

I wish the kids in these classes would really stop and think about how powerful this demonstration could be if they let it. None of us really knows what it was like to be a slave in the 1800s. None of us can fully understand the fear and confusion, but for one 90-minute block, these kids were able to experience just a little. Hopefully, one day they will look back on this day and silently thank their teachers for the lesson they learned. Maybe they will realize that it has helped make them more compassionate, more empathetic, and just an all-around better person.

I guess that's the goal of every teacher for every child, that someday they will realize that a you had an impact on them for good. I know that I vividly remember only a few of my teachers all through school, but the teachers I do remember are the ones who cared enough to help me succeed. The ones who gave up on me because I talked a lot or gave them attitude or constantly ditched their class are gone from my memory. I am left only with the ones who pushed me even when I pushed back, who refused to let me become one more statistic. It is for those teachers that I am forever grateful.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Note: this post is not intended to be a blanket statement about protesters, "gays" Californians, or any other group. Mostly just a choice few who are doing things I do not agree with (and also happen to fall into the above categories)

I hate protesters. Mostly because I feel like any issue that people feel passionate enough about to protest over is one in which they will also feel passionate enough to try to force their beliefs on me. I think it is great that people who disagree with Prop. 8 want to protest its passing, but I do not think it is great that they are focusing their anger and frustration on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Nor do I think it is great that the minority in California is trying to force their desires on the majority.

I am not thrilled that Obama won the election, but I have enough sense to realize that my opinion is contrary to the opinions of most of the country. Should I blame the democrats for lighting a fire under voters, and spurring one of the most amazing voter turnouts EVER? No. I think that any time you can get people out and voting is good for our country. Unfortunately, this election's turnout did not sway the vote in my favor. But there is always next time.

Proposition 8 is a heated topic. One that hits close to home for a lot of people. But don't use my temple, and my religion as your scapegoat. Voters in California passed the Proposition. If you disagree, too bad. In every competition or election, there has to be a winner and a loser. You just happen to fall on the losing side this time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh crap, a Democrat.

I just thought this was pretty funny.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The original man in my life

Well, Saturday was my Daddy's birthday. The big 55. That's like Senior Citizen discount status. It's hard to believe that he's so old, and even harder to believe that he's still here. It's been four years since he was diagnosed with heart failure. Four years since he's been on the heart recipient list. Four years of touch and go. He's by no means the hearty, strong man from my childhood, but he's here. The statistics and doctors said that he would not make it this far, but he has and he's still chugging along. I love him for it.

I respect and love this man so much. He is truly a rock in my life. Sometimes we butt heads and view the world differently, but the bottom line is that he is a hard-working man with a solid head on his shoulders.

My daddy has a third grade education, but he is the most informed and smartest people I've ever encountered. He has a calming influence on people, and a way of deescalating situations. His sense of right and wrong is infallible. He taught me to respect authority and appreciate the many blessings I have, especially my citizenship in this great nation of ours. He taught me the value of family, and to respect and cherish my mother. He is the most giving and charitable men I've ever met.

Overall, and most importantly, he is my Daddy. I cannot count the blessings I have that spawn from him, but I know that I'm so very blessed to have him in my life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chicken, rice, and corn from a can

Disclaimer: this post is dedicated to my baby sister, Pene. It just might get cheesy or sad or personal. If you don't want to hear about it, I suggest you move along.

Usually, I say that I cannot remember life without my sister. I'm here to tell you it's a big, fat lie. But not a horrible one, I don't think. I have exactly one memory from before she was born.

My earliest memory is from when I was about 2 years old (plus some 5 or so months) It was the night my baby sister was born, and actually the only memory I have without her in it.

I have a vivid mental picture of our house in Salt Lake; it's night time, and we are eating dinner. You guessed what's for dinner; chicken, rice, and corn from a can. Nothing too fancy. Just fried chicken, sticky rice, and corn. I don't remember much beyond that, except that my older siblings were there, and I colored a picture. I also remember a man there, who I'm assuming was probably my cousin Tui, who I guess babysat us a lot.

After that, pretty much all my memories involve my sister. We were always the "little girls" and did pretty much everything together. Whether it was bullying the girl next door into letting us play (she had THE coolest toys) and then fervently denying it to our mom, or trying to convince a neighborhood kid that we could get him deported to Canada, we were quite the pair. We fought constantly with each other, but I knew she always had my back.

When I think of how a good sister should be, I usually think of a Jane Austen book. The sisters in her books were usually pretty close to perfect, and always totally devoted to each other. My sister has always been the Jane Austen sister, and I'm so grateful to have her in my life!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A window to my soul

Well, today my sister decided to get her hair highlighted. While in line to check out at Sally's, I decided that I wanted a change also. Because highlights would be wasted on my hair (my hair has natural blonde highlights, and is pretty golden brown in the first place) I decided I would put black streaks in.

So, dye-in-hand, we headed back to my sister's house. At the last moment (which was kind of the trend today) I decided to just put in a window of black. I'm really glad I did, mostly because I think I would have had another Fiddle on my hands if I had put in the streaks. So, I now have the change I wanted, but it's subtle enough to not make me regret it. I guess it could be a window to my soul; it's cold and dark =)

Friday, October 17, 2008

I always hated being it...

Well, I've been tagged again. This time by my sister (it has actually been a few weeks since she tagged me. I've been busy; leave me alone!)

Rules: Get the book that's on your nightstand (or whatever you happen to be reading).Open it to page 56 and find the 5th sentence. Post the next couple of sentences on your blog, along with these instructions. Do not go and find your favorite book; it has to be the one you are reading now! Tag five other people to do the same.

The Book:

Well, I'm currently reading Brisingr. For those who don't know, it is the third and final installment in the Eragon series. It is a series I would recommend if you like fantasy, but you have to remember that the first draft of Eragon (the first book) was written when the author was 15. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with 15 year olds writing books. Just don't expect incredible writing. If you want motivation to write, this is the series for you (I'm absolutely certain I could write a fantasy book as good, if not better)


The Quote:

"I don't want it to fall on her."

Eragon looked back at the wretched butcher. He had no more time for mindless wanderings. He had to choose. One way or another, he had to choose. . . .


I don't know what's right, realized Eragon. His own uncertainty told him that it would be wrong to kill Sloan or return him to the Varden. He had no idea what he should do instead, except find a third path,one thatwas less obvious and less violent.


Well, because I haven't read this far yet, and I don't know what comes next, that's all you are getting. =)
I tag: No one. If you want to participate, join in! If not, I'll survive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thank you, Mr. Brown

Well, the A/C in my car was not working very well this spring, so finally my mom took my car in and got it filled up with freon (sp?) It was amazing how well it worked after that, and I was loving the frigid air inside my car...at least for about a week. Just about a week after it got fixed, the A/C started making a really weird noise any time it was on. The higher the fan was, the louder the noise got. It was really loud and obnoxious. I just avoided using the A/C for a while, but it finally got to be too much, so I took it into the shop. Well, $400 later, I found the source of the A/C's problems:

You got it. Mr. Brown's ID and this random hotel paper were stuck inside the intake valve of my air system, causing the noise. If the ID were not so old, I would contemplate sending Mr. Brown the bill for "fixing" my air conditioner.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I am: sad it's getting so cold.
I think: I am always right
I know: I should be sleeping
I am: Tired
I want: To be content
I have: Pretty much all I could ask for
I dislike: not being in control
I miss: my grandma
I fear: strangers in the bushes
I feel: giddy
I hear: the fan on my laptop
I smell: my Scentsy
I crave: Cheesecake Factory
I cry: When I'm extremely angry
I search: craigslist obsessively
I wonder: Where my life is headed...
I regret: Taking my time for granted
I wish: I could go back to only having one job
I love: my "real" job
I care: too much about insignificant details
I always: hum
I worry: not enough, too much
I am not: very patient
I remember: my childhood as idyllic
I believe: I am destined for greatness
I sing: in the car
I don’t: care enough to be nice
I argue: for the sake of arguing
I write: with my Sharpie pen
I win: when I change the rules
I lose: focus a lot
I listen: to music with a good beat
I don’t understand: self harm
I can usually be found: at work. If I'm not at one, it's the other.
I need: lots of sleep
I forget: I can't always be in charge
I am happy: when I only work one shift per day

Friday, September 26, 2008

And still the sun shines...

In some sort of cruel irony, on this beautiful day, I just found out that one of my really good friends growing up has passed away. I am still in the denial phase right now, but I know that next phase is coming so fast. I guess I should take advantage of the fact that I can look at the situation with almost no emotion right now.

I first met Evan Chang in Summer Strings. It was June of 1998. We were both 12, and the world was at our fingertips. It's hard to think that that was 10 years ago. He was the cellist I wished I was; dedicated, focused, and just naturally talented. That tended to be the trend with Evan. He was also one of the truest friends I've ever had. He was always there for me, whether I put him in the fore or background of my life through the years. He truly was a special person, and I'm grateful that I knew him. His life was cut so short, but I am glad that he has finally found some peace.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kinda random bits...

So, here's the scene. I have just accepted a new position as a Tracker at a Jr. High (Trackers track the attendance and behavior of students; catch high-risk kids before they spiral too far downward, make referrals to Truancy school, participate in IEPs, etc.) The principal takes me to the top-secret key closet to get the Tracker's keys. After we grab the keys, we go back to his office to inventory them and fill out the paperwork. There are TONS of keys on the ring, as well as a whistle. He makes the comment; 'you know, I don't think I've ever heard this whistle blown' and continues to inventory the keys. It's not until he inventories the third gym key that he decides to look more closely at the label on the keys. Yes, folks. He had grabbed the Track keys, not the Tracker keys. I was almost tempted to ask if I could keep the whistle =)

Well, after working 11 days in a row, I have the day off today. It's not the longest amount of days in a row I've worked, but it feels different because I've been working a lot more doubles. I am getting used to having two jobs, and I don't feel as frantically busy (or tired) anymore. I mostly am just getting used to how busy I am and I think I like it. I have never appreciated my free time like I do now. I feel more productive because I'm constantly working, but also because I'm learning to make my time off be more productive.

Good things that have come from working at the Jr. High:
I guess kids aren't always trying to manipulate. Crazy.
I realized that I absolutely LOVE my other job
I have a really good threat for Small Brother if he ever decides to act out or be bad at his Jr. High
Getting paid a month behind means I'm getting a check in June after NOT working for a month.
I am picking up some useful Spanish (well, useful if I'm ever buying drugs or cussing someone out)
I am sure there are more pluses to working constantly with teenagers, but I'm about to be late, so I gotta go!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pls don't call them "Precious Ones"

I think that this lady is absolutely hilarious. After being a nanny (and meeting a prospective mom who was EXACTLY like her from New Jersey) I could not help but laugh at her listing. It was hilariously funny, and, I am sure, SO true. The entire story is generating a lot of press, and a lot of hate mail, apparently, but I just think it's great.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Workin 9 to 5

Well, I decided to get a second job. Today was my first day, and I think that it went (overall) well. I am officially the new tracker at one of the Jr. High Schools around here. =) It is very similar, yet very different from my current job, and I'm way excited to see how it goes, and how I end up liking it.

I can tell from the get-go that I have to learn to relax a lot more while there, which will be hard because on Thursdays and Fridays, I will work at the Jr. High, and then at my other work immediately after, but hopefully I will be able to find the balance! Today was a good day, so I'm looking forward to my new job (and realizing that my life will be absolutely filled with Junior High drama. oh Joy!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I guess hindsight is 20/20...

I found this post today in my drafts section. It makes for a pretty funny story, so I decided to post it. It's from July 3, 2008. I did not add anything to it, so I guess I'll give you an update. Yes, we did indeed break the golf cart (new gaskets or something along those lines. I mostly was too embarassed to really pay attention when Grandpa was telling me) No, I did not burn down the house in Malad; Yes, I realize now that I am probably less responsible with fireworks than all the pre-teen cousins we had at the house that night doing fireworks; and finally, NO, I do not think the grandkids are allowed to go 4wheeling without grandpa any more, and YES, you can go ahead and blame us for it =)

Well, today, Vili, Pene and I decided to go 4wheeling at the ranch before the salmon bake started. Great idea. Into the car we go, and we drive up to the ranch. Once we got there, we realized that there were three of us and only two 4wheelers. In comes the genius idea to drive the golf cart to the mouth of the canyon so that we won't have to drive the 4wheelers all the way down to trade out with the third person.

Well, Pene and me start out and go exploring up the canyon a bit, and the guilt starts hitting me. We really should go back and switch out Vili. So, we start down the canyon to where we left him, but he's nowhere to be found. As I am looking around, I notice a set of tracks that are too close together to be a 4wheeler that are heading up the canyon. Surely not, I tell myself. Well, I decided to follow the tracks up the canyon, and sure enough, 10 minutes later, and at about the very top of the canyon, I find Vili and the golf cart.

Now's the part where we fast-forward past all the 4wheeling (just a side note: going through the river first gets you wet. Being the second person through gets you wet AND muddy.)

So, we've had our fun up the canyon, and get in the golf cart to come back down when the golf cart refuses to go anywhere. We think it's out of gas, and not really wanting to drive all the way back down the canyon to get gas then come back up, I get the genius idea to push the golf cart with the 4wheeler while Vili steers/works the brake. It seems to work fine for most of the sections (mainly the flat or down-hill sections) but makes me hate life when I'm pushing the golf cart up a hill. Long story short, we finally get the golf cart out of the canyon, fill it up with gas, and it still does not move. Eventually, we just get a rope and tow the golf cart back to the ranch. Maybe I should listen more to the voice in my head that said "golf cart and canyon are not a good mix"

Later in the evening, I had another great idea that did not quite pan out how I expected. I had a bottle rocket-type firework that had a broken stick. No problem, right? I figured if I just stuck it into a standing up tent pole, all would be fine. Not so much. The only problem was when the rocket tried to take off. It did NOT go straight up like I assumed it would, but instead perpendicular to the tent pole; right over everyone's head (did I mention that at this very moment, the bishop was visiting?) and straight into the roof of Grandpa's house (Oh, don't worry. It is just the house that MY grandpa's Grandpa built. Nothing too valuable or sentimental there...) Thankfully, it missed hitting anyone while flying past their heads, and mostly just sizzled on the roof.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well, I was just thinking of a few things today that really annoy me. Here you go.

*Overly helpful people just annoy me. Seriously, sometimes I just want to yell at them! If I wanted your help, I would ask. Thank you, overly helpful.

*When people have their windows down and music really loud at stoplights. Actually, it mostly just annoys me when they're listening to retarded music. I feel like people who want to listen to music I don't like should do it with the windows rolled up, at least.

*Having my hair cut. It is always a really emotional time for me. (Emotional mainly because the only times I do it is when I finally get sick of how much shampoo/conditioner I use, so I go get my hair cut out of anger.) Sadly, the anger is ALWAYS replaced with remorse soon after. I miss my long hair, but I DO NOT miss getting my hair cut, and I don't miss how much shampoo/conditioner I used to go through.

The biggest reason I'm growing my hair out now is that I don't want to feel pressured to talk to some random lady while she cuts my hair. I really wonder if there is a "small talk" class/requirement in cosmetology school. I feel like the biggest brat any time I get my hair cut because I just don't care to share my entire life story (or even how my day's been) with the complete stranger cutting my hair. The ones that absolutely drive me batty are the ones who assume that my lack of response is just because I'm shy, so they pry EVEN MORE! If I'm not talking, I'm probably fine not talking.

*I just remembered that I used to have a yellow bird (and by used to, I mean like only a few months ago). A Cockatiel. Don't ask me what happened to my cockatiel named Sunshine, because I really don't know, and now it's annoying me. At one point, I gave it to my aunt/uncle and their kids, but they gave it back. Then it was here for a while, and now it's not.

*The way slippers disappear in this house.

*This one could probably go with the hair one, but I just hate small talk. From everyone--The grocery store clerk, the guy at the counter, you name it. Today, I went in to pay a bill, and was perfectly content with the silence. The guy I was paying, however was not. He kept looking all over (which, I'm not gonna lie, TOTALLY made me feel guilty of something) until his eyes found the window, at which point he asked me about how likely I felt rain would be. "umm.... I wouldn't doubt it" What am I supposed to say? 'Well, depending on which meteorologist you consult...' Goodness, I hate small talk. Get in, get out, get on with your life.

*It totally annoys me that I can be driving along, following every traffic law, driving a 100% legal car, and a cop pulls up behind me. *Panic sets in* I don't care what I'm doing or who I'm doing it with. I feel guilty as SIN. My heart rate and breathing do not drop back to normal until at least a full 90 seconds after the cop has left.

*I am absolutely certain there are many more, because I'm in quite the cynical mood, but for now, that's it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another smashing round of TAG!

Well, Megan tagged me, and I've never been one to back down from a dare, so here goes.

What I was doing 10 Years ago:
10 years ago, I was just coming back from my first ever experience with GIRLS CAMP. Yeah, it was tons of fun, what with the girls I shared a tent with constantly sneaking off to smoke... Little did I know, as a young, impressionable beehive, that I would go on to attend girls camp for the next 8 years straight...yeah, so what if this is my first year NOT going to girls camp?

What is on my To-Do list today?
I'll do tomorrow.
*Wake up before 9 am (this may not seem hard, but believe me, it is)
*Troll through craigslist and ksl.com to find apartments, then call on said apartments so that when Vili calls to ask about it, I will not feel guilty.
*Call HR and get a new badge
*Go play at Seven Peaks (cross your fingers it's not overcast)
*Go to Talia's house to pick up all the junk I left when I was there last week
*Decide on something fun to do for FHE (like seeing Step-Brothers =)
*Do it

What are 3 habits of mine?
*Turning off lights. I sometimes turn off TOO many lights, which tends to cause contention.
*Humming. I seriously hum constantly to myself (like a crazy person). I never really noticed it (or put two and two together to realize that other people can FOR SURE hear me hum) until the little girl I nannied for started humming all the time. It gets really embarassing when I catch myself humming and realize I've been harmonizing.
*Facial Expressions. I say A LOT with my face.

3 Things you might not know about me:
*Sometimes when I leave messages or get off the phone with someone, I repeat what I said and decide if my voice sounded weird... I think it's probably more weird that I obsess about it than however my voice sounds...
*I am able to cope with, and actually ignore most of my OCD tendencies, but most of the time, it takes a lot less effort to just give in. Especially at work. I love it, because for the most part, it is a completely structured and predictable environment.
*I fell out of our tree house and cracked my head open when I was four. Actually, now that I said that, I didn't crack my head open then. I cracked it open tripping on the only stair in the entire house... I mostly just fell a lot.

4 TV Shows/Movies that I Love:
The Closer
I adore that show. I really am attached to the characters, and it's got a good plot.
10,000 BC I don't care what anyone else says. It's a really good movie with a cute storyline.
Monk I especially love the older seasons. They played into his OCD a lot more then, and it was pretty scary how many parallels I saw between my own OCD urges and Monk's.
Gilmore Girls What can I say? I just love the witty banter, but I'm so incredibly angry that Lorelai and Luke are not married.

4 Books that I Love:
Lord of the Rings
I am absolutely astonished at the entire world and civilizations that Tolkien created. LotR is an entire world that you can escape to any time you wish. The amount of thought and detail he put into his writing is amazing.
The Book Thief This is my favorite book of the hour. It's a really interesting concept.
Chronicles of Narnia Another fantasy land to escape to. This one just comes with its own religious references
The Book of Mormon I feel like the lightning bolts or dagger eyes will come out if I don't list it. =) In all seriousness, it is a book written by my ancestors for my day. How can you go wrong with that?

4 Jobs that I have had:
Trainer at Provo Canyon School
Legal Clerk
Concessions at Keauhou Cinemas

5 Places I have lived:
Well, I've moved like 15 times in my life, but it was always between Utah and Hawaii, so:
Salt Lake City, UT
Orem, UT
Kona, HI
Makawao, HI
Kaneohe, HI

5 of my Favorite Foods:
There is nothing better than a nice, crisp salad
lu pulu If you don't know, I can't really explain. Except that most people say it looks like cat food...
Chili's molten chocolate goodness Who cares about the name? You know what I mean
Thanksgiving Dinner (sans Pumpkin Pie) I feel like it all counts as ONE because you gotta have it all or nothing. Who eats stuffing in the middle of summer?
Macadamia Nut Shortbread MMMmmmm! is all I need to say

Who have I tagged:
My mamma

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Life is Beautiful

Well, yesterday I went to Idaho for a few hours because we were having a family gathering in memory of my dear sweet Grandma, Jenna Lee.
I did not know anything was going on until Thursday night after work. Vili and I had to work Friday at 3, so we knew that we would probably spend about as much time in the car as in Idaho, but we decided to go for it. I am so glad we did. It was so wonderful to see all my family again, and it was amazing to be able to sit at my grandma's grave an entire year after the fact and not feel the aching pain of missing her.

Jenna Lee 1935 - 2007

I also realized yesterday just how good life is. I am blessed with an amazing family that, despite my weeknesses, loves me. I am happier when I'm with them than any other time, and I cannot wait to spend eternity in their company. I am blessed with busy, active, loving nephews, and the most adorable niece/princess anyone could want. The best part is the kids are all returnable =)

The bottom line is this; I am blessed to live in the beautiful (even if it is brown-colored) Utah Valley. The earth is a beautiful and majestic place and I am so glad to be here. I am absolutely blessed to be a citizen of the United States of America. It is a land of promise and I am proud of its great heritage.

All around, Life is Beautiful

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Favorite Links

Entertaining to read.

More true than I want to admit.

Makes me feel like there are other people out there.

On occasion funny.

It's funny laughing at other people's failures.

Favorite Posts

Latu couldn't decide which of her posts were her favorite, so she had me (her younger sister) pick my favorites.

I picked my top eight, though there are certainly more good ones in her archives. Some of these are funny, some are serious, and all of them will--true to my sister's talent--make you think about life in a different way.

About Latu

Well, my name is Latu. I am a 23 year old, on-again, off-again college student. My eventual goal is to become a Guardian ad Litem, so technically I am Pre-Law.

That about covers any small-talk questions you get while attending school, (name, age, major, and what you'll do with that major) but I am not finished :)

I work at a juvenile treatment center in the Provo, Utah area, and quite like my work most days. I am pretty bipolar with my personality; sometimes my bleeding heart drives me crazy and sometimes I am just the meanest cuss you've ever met. I try to stay pretty pleasant, but I can make no promises for people who wake me up in the mornings.

Once, I had surgery that they promised to wake me up from immediately after. Well, 4 hours after the surgery is done, I remember the nurse talking to me and just wanting her to shut up. I woke up to find my arms and legs strapped down and the nurse extremely frustrated at having to spend hours waking me up. I don't think she understands how extremely frustrating it was for me that she would not shut up no matter how many times I tried to swing at her!

I hate the color test (red, blue, white, yellow personality types) because none of the answers ever apply perfectly, and I feel like people judge me off inaccurate answers. That being said, I am half red, half blue.

I am quite critical of everyone. Some people get offended and emotional about it. I usually just get over it and brush it off as normal.

I get over things easily. It is a blessing and a curse all in one. Sometimes, I wish I could freeze my anger and thaw it out to use again later, but usually I end up forgetting why I thought any given situation was such a big deal. Good thing for traumatic situations, bad thing for holding grudges :)

Well, I really am not sure what I was supposed to write here, and I hope I am not getting graded on this, but that's about me!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sun Poisoning

Well, this is the first summer in a while that I have really felt like just laying out and getting dark. (Probably because I was SO frustrated with the winter that never ended this year)

It's also the first time I've ever experienced sun poisoning. *Insert horror-movie scream*

It's awful. I really do pity people who get burned a lot and have to deal with this a lot.

Until my 2nd degree sunburn heals completely (which basically entails me never seeing sunlight) any time I go into the sun, I break out in tiny white blisters all over my shoulders. Somedays, I don't even think about the fact that I'm going outside. Other days, I put on some sunscreen but forget to reapply it. Pretty much, either way, I break out with blisters. There is no escaping it. It is incredibly frustrating, especially because the last thing I feel like doing right now is sitting inside for a week or so until this sunburn can heal.

My life is just so difficult =)

Oh yeah. Also, I got peed on by a dog at a 5th of July BBQ. ><

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Secrets

I am a big fan of Post Secret. Here are some of mine. Mostly, they're random thoughts I have that I feel like are too short to warrant an entire blog post on.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Moses and Masey

Well, Talia and family were at our house for the past couple days, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. It's been so nice to have them around. Masey absolutely loved having Moses around. Jenna Lee has slowly gotten more used to us all, and even (gasp!) let me hold her. Having my Moses around has reminded me how much I adore that kid.

On Tuesday, Talia, Pene, Darl, and I went (with the kids) to Seven Peaks. We stayed for almost 8 hours, and by the end of the day were all sunburned. I got sunburned on the top of my knees, but there was literally a splash mark of white on my left knee where I apparently got some sunscreen on. It's not something I could duplicate, and I wish I had taken a picture of it, it was pretty funky. Everything else got a shade or two darker, and my hair got lighter.

I say that it was all worth it, and Bless the dear summertime!

I am not too happy about the sunburn, but I have to admit that I absolutely adore summer. It's by far my favorite season. I love the sunshine, I love the warmth. I love walking from an air-conditioned building/car, and just feeling so warm from the sun. I love the perfect nights. I love the breezes. I love the festivals, carnivals, and fairs. I love camping, I love dusk. I love looking up at the stars. I love seeing storm clouds roll in. I love the flowers, the smells, and I even love the dry, crispy grass.

I just LOVE summertime!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Well, a few weeks ago, I was talking with my mom and sister about how much I wish I had a cello, and want to save up some money to buy one and play again. Well, Cellos (at least the sort I want) are quite expensive, so it's a faraway dream for me. Violins on the other hand (especially because I don't need a professional one) are much more affordable. So, a few weeks ago, I bought a violin on Ebay, and now, I'm in the process of teaching myself to play. I'm still awful at it, but I dream of one day being able to fiddle with the best!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's time.

Well, I've been in a sort of funk ever since Grandma died. I generally avoided family functions because it caused me way too much anxiety to be around my family without Grandma. I've been perfectly content to just work my life away.

That is, until Memorial Day.

It was incredibly quiet at work that morning, so around noon, I called my mom to just check in and see how things were going. I literally felt my heart drop to the bottom of my chest while my mom told me about who all was there, what they were doing, etc.

I miss my family. I miss hearing the screen door slam and kids footsteps running through the house. I miss the sound of babies crying. I miss the quick trips down to Thomas Market. I miss the Malad Drive-In; I miss the craziness of a house full of people. I miss the sound of cars pulling up over the gravel. I miss my Grandma's wind chimes, and the constant background noise they are in Malad. I miss my cousins. I miss my Aunts and Uncles. I miss my Grandpa. I just miss my family.

This might seem like a pretty sad post, but it's so incredibly refreshing to realize this. I knew the time would come when I'd want to be near my family again--when I would be able to appreciate the impact and example my Grandma had on me, and at the same time let myself stop mourning her death. It's taken a while, but I finally feel like it's time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Always playing catch-up

Well, it's been FOREVER since I have posted anything, so here is my catch-up post. =)

The brown baby (Masey) has learned the art of speaking, and--lucky for me--one of his favorite words is "Tu!" It was adorable that he knew my name (for all of about two minutes). After that, it's kind of gotten annoying to constantly hear him calling me. I sometimes wish I could fast-forward time, because I know that when he grows up and moves past me, I am going to miss these times (and wish I had appreciated them more) But I guess the first step to appreciating it is to deal with the annoyance now =)

I realized how much I absolutely love and cannot live without mountains while in Nauvoo. The first morning in the midwest, I kept seeing shadows through the window of the bus, and I subconsciously assumed they were mountains off in the distance. It was seriously such a let-down to realize, "no, those are not mountains, and you will not see real mountains for quite a while"

As you probably assumed from the above paragraph, I went to Nauvoo (as well as all churchy-type destinations between here and there) I saw the city Beautiful, the valley of Adam-Ondi-Ahman, touched the majestic Mississippi River, stood where the Prophet Joseph was martyred. Overall, it was an absolutely amazing trip, but horrible because it's made me want to go back (and if you could see all the stuff I bought while there, you would know why that's a bad idea. Mormons will buy anything.)

Well, that's just a highlight of the past month for me. Not too much special going on. Mostly just working away!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Well, here I am, at work. It's 5:00 am, and I've got two more hours left of nightwatch before I can go home. I'm perched on the floor, 7/8 of the way down the hall, at the only spot where there is an internet connection, typing away.

I figure now is as good a time as any to blog, especially because my mom updated her blog. I would seriously feel like a loser if I didn't update mine also!

Not much is going on in the life of Latu right now. I got my first pay check (or will get it tomorrow) with my new supervisor's raise, and I can tell you it sure makes it easier for me to come to work, knowing I am making what I used to make at time-and-a-half =) I've worked about 14 of 16 hours so far today, and I am so ready to go home and sleep. Even the empty beds are looking appealing at this point.

I'm going to Nauvoo--the city of Joseph--with Vili and his ward at the beginning of May. I cannot even tell you how excited I am, and how much I am looking forward to that great experience! I am excited to see the sights, go to the Nauvoo temple, see Adam-ondi-Ahman, I am even excited to be bitten by Mississippi River mosquitoes!

Probably the only other interesting bit of info is that I sprained my knee pretty badly a week ago, and it's just within the last day that I've been able to bend it enough to sit on the floor, bend down, jog, get out of chairs, etc. The gist of the story is that I, along with about 10 other staff, pretty much got told by a girl we had for a few days, who ended up being HUMONGOUS and assaultive. My ankle constantly cracks now, and I've been trying to hide my limp for days, but for the most part, my knee's a lot better; I've got nothing to complain about! (except for maybe my lack of sleep, but complaining is not going to fix that problem!)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I took the plunge....and came up breathing

Well. I did it. I applied for a promotion at my work. I was really on the fence about it, doubting myself, etc. Until I sat down and realized (or was told by my boss' sister) that if my own boss is telling me to apply, I probably should apply. So, I took the plunge, applied, and interviewed. I found out this week that I got the job! I am way way excited, but almost overwhelmed when I sit and think about the amount of responsibility I will have (on weekends, I'll be in charge of our entire treatment center, all the staff, and the 100+ girls there) But I am also so humbled and grateful that I've been so blessed. At barely 22, I am the youngest employee at my work, I've only worked here 6 months, and yet I've been given this amazing blessing and opportunity. I know it will be stressful, draining, and a LOT of responsibility, but I am way excited for the challenge!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Such a descriptive word. I really like it, and it perfectly describes how I've been feeling lately. "A feeling of thoughtful sadness" is what Google says. I guess not so much the sadness, but definitely the thoughtfulness.

There are two different opportunities for advancement in my job right now, and I am really torn about whether I want to go for them or not. One of them would be doing the exact same thing I do now; just randomly, and working with a different group of girls every day (So my exact job, minus the emotional attachment). The other is a supervisor position- one that I'm being encouraged to apply for by my boss; but I am not sure I am ready for.

Part of me says, go for any opportunities you can. But another, more insistent, part of me would rather stay where I am--in a position I know I am great at--and not mess with the equilibrium. I do it quite often. I would rather have the "evil I know" that the evil I don't.

I am fully aware that this is not a normal-or healthy, really-philosophy, but it is completely worth it for me to stay somewhere I don't necessarily enjoy, if it means avoiding change. The unknown terrifies me more than anything (except maybe failure) and has a huge role in shaping my choices, thus my future.

I'm sure that in the end I will go for one of the other positions, and I am even relatively sure I will do well at either. But for now, I think I will just take advantage of the opportunity to be all melancholy for a while and enjoy the job I have while it's here.

It's good to reevaluate and contemplate every so often. I think that everyone should do it every once in a while. Even if it's only an excuse to use the word Melancholy. =)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My sister

Sometimes, I just need my Moses fix. I don't know what it is exactly, or why, but Moses has always been my favorite type of therapy. Seeing him come running up to me or listening to him prattle on about his day is like an instant decompression from any stress I'm under.

When I was in Ogden and going to school, he was my instant stress reliever. When I was a nanny and spent basically every waking moment with kids, all I would need to do is come to Talia's house and see Moses to remember why I became a nanny in the first place. He's just an adorable kid all around, and a huge blessing in my life.

I decided last night, though, that Moses is not the only reason I come to Talia's house. Sometimes I just really need my sister's advice. She is always willing to listen to my problems (or the things in my life that I see as problems) and give me sound advice. There is never a problem that I take to her that she does not advise me to pray/fast over. She is such a wonderful example of womanly virtue for me to follow. I just feel so incredibly blessed to have her in my life.

My sister is 8 years older than me, but she is one of my dearest, closest friends. When I was younger, she was always the incredibly cool older sister. She could do no wrong in my eyes. Now, through more clear eyes, I see that she has faults just like the rest of us, but she is a strong, spiritual, successful woman, and I would consider myself blessed if I turn out half as well as she has.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rocky Mountain Power Sucks!

Well, the title may or may not be completely self-explanatory, but basically, Rocky Mountain Power Sucks. The Malad Valley of south-eastern Idaho is my haven, my escape, and my heritage.

My family has lived there/owned land there for four (actually, my generation is the fifth) generations. My great-great-grandfather emigrated there from Wales, and raised a family on land that's still "in the family." My great-grandfather and grandpa were born and raised there. My mom spent her childhood visiting her grandparents in Malad, and I spent my youth visiting there. The Malad valley is more than just a beautiful, scenic, and serene place to visit. It is the most heritage I have. It is the resting place of the mortal bodies of four of my grandpa's grandparents. It is where the physical body of my dear, sweet grandma will lie until the second coming.

It is the place I run to when I need a break from life. It is, in every way imaginable my haven. So, when I received an email titled "Help us save the Ranch," my heart dropped out of my chest and into my stomach. The beautiful Malad Valley is in danger of being overrun by huge power lines, with basically no public input or thought of the public impact.

So, here is my plea; visit the link above, write Rocky Mountain Power (or even PacifiCorp, their mother company) write to the Idaho Attorney General, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, write to friends, co-workers, anyone who will help get the word out. This cannot be allowed to happen to my beloved Malad.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My addiction

Well, if my work would let me, I would constantly work 80 hour weeks. It is my vice and my addiction. I work almost that much as it is (65-70 hours, usually) and any time someone asks why, I say that I need the money and leave it at that. Lately, I've been wondering for myself why I constantly work that often. I do not necessarily save loads of money (even though I know I should) I don't have tons of huge bills to be paid. I'm really very good at my job, but my family is convinced I am working myself to death.

The reason I have come up with is that I am, in some weird way, trying to avoid my life through an addiction to work. Work is stressful, exhausting, and incredibly draining. Life can be rewarding, fun, happy (and is, when I have a random shift or day off) It should be an easy choice between the two, but I have chosen the unlikely option.

I think the reason is that, while work is stressful, draining, exhausting, it is work. I do not need to take responsibility for any of it. If something goes wrong, I can write it off in my conscience, and when my shift is over, return to life. Life, on the other hand, is wonderful, and I quite enjoy it, but when something goes wrong, there is no one BUT me to take responsibility. The only place to run to is work. I think this is why I choose to work constantly, with only short spurts of life thrown in. I would rather give up any happiness I could gain from life in order to avoid the possibility of sadness. I guess I am a fair-weather life liver. If I can't have all happiness, I'd rather not have any.

I've tried to convince myself that this is an absolutely normal and healthy outlook, but now that the prospect of three full days off from work staring me in the face, I am terrified. I feel almost like a junkie who has just been thrown into the drunk tank, suddenly faced with the prospect of an entire weekend spent detoxing and sober. There will be no work to numb the impact of life for me, and the thought panics me more than I can describe.

I have no idea what the next few days have in store for me (and the thought is scary), but I am really excited to find out. (and absolutely determined to use self-control and NOT go into work early)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My sister refuses to blog

Well, my sister refuses to get herself a blog, and I think these pictures are adorable, so here are some updated pics of the Princess and Mo [Edit: After I posted this, I emailed her a copy of it, and inspired her to finally start a blog =) The kids are still cute, though!]

Monday, January 21, 2008

Genius Ideas =)

Well, I got a gift card for Christmas to a department store that I never (ever) go to. I knew that I did not really want clothes or shoes, but I had really wanted to find a new perfume. So, I had this really good idea to use the gift card for perfume.

So far so good, right? Well, because I worked every day (usually doubles) for two weeks after Christmas, I figured I would "beat the crowds" and just buy it online. So, I went to the store's website, read some reviews, and bought me my perfume. No problems there, right? I even got free shipping!

Yeah. It was not until after the box arrived and I had ripped it open, that I realized (actually, I had to have it pointed out to me by my mom...) perfume is officially on the There are some things you just should not buy online, list.

Never heard of this list? Neither had I, but I imagine that it includes such items as wigs, cars, makeup, wedding dresses, perfume, undergarments, caskets, tattoos, bathing suits, artwork, real estate, shoes. (it's got a lot in common with the Things you should NEVER buy used list) Either things that cost insane amounts of money, or things that, in order to function properly, really need to be smelled, tried on, and compared to twelve other options, before being finally chosen (Overall, things that need to be seen/bought in person)

The bottom line is this; If anyone knows of a grandma-type person (or someone else who has lost most of the function of their nose) who wants some extremely strong perfume, it's available currently on ebay. =)

Monday, January 7, 2008

About time...

Well, I figure it's about time to write another blog. I decided that I am pretty much an every-other week blogger, and it's coming up to pay day again, so here goes. :)

It's weird to think how quickly time has passed for me, and how much changed in 2007.

On this day in 2007 (well, ok actually the 5th), Talia and I were in Denver for the day, rushing around like crazy people to get my passport so I could fly to Australia on the 8th. Masey was an adorable infant, Mosese was my constant, adoring companion and my sanity. Beautiful little Jenna Lee was just a faraway dream. I was a live-in nanny, and I was getting ready to fly across the world to spend the rest of the month of January in the Land Down Under.

In 2007, I met each of my dad's four sisters, and all of my first cousins on that side for the first time. I flew (by myself) to the other side of the world, and watched water drain clockwise. I spent almost a month with complete strangers who also happened to be family, and learned a lot about myself and how blessed I am to live in this great nation.

2007 was the first full year in my life that I did not attend a single class in school since I turned 5 and went to Kindergarten. (I did some independent study/online courses, but did not step foot in a classroom.)

2007 was the year that I turned 21. Wow, I'm legal. I almost feel like a failure because I have done nothing special since becoming "legal" No drinking. No gambling. No car rentals with the $10-a-day surcharge. I haven't even had to renew my drivers license yet.

2007 was the year I bought my first "real" car, complete with payments, insurance, etc (I figure the $300 car my parents bought me in High School does not really count)

2007 was the year I got my first credit card (and with it my first credit card debt)

2007 was the year of the most unbelievable Girls Camp ever. (complete with bear sightings, cougar sightings, rattle snakes, me running over/bursting the water pipe that supplied the camp with water, me falling off a bridge and getting a compression fracture in my heel, having to rush one of my girls down the mountain to the hospital after 11 of the girls were stung by a hive full of angry hornets)

2007 was the year of my Grandma. I spent the first half of the year making every effort I could to spend time with her and make memories with her (and by default, my family); and the last half of the year making every effort I could to NOT think about her or spend any time with my family. I learned that I can survive without my Grandma, it's just not nearly as comfortable or easy as having Grandma around.

2007 was the year I decided that I hate small children, and it was probably time to quit my nanny job.

2007 was the year I started my first "real" job; complete with 401K, retirement planning, stock options, and office gossip...

2007 was, overall, a year full of learning for me. I like to think that I learned a lot about myself, the world, and life in general. Hopefully, when I look back at 2008, (which I am beginning to think will be the year of Obama) I can say that I've made as much progress as I did this past year.