Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008 top ten

I'm so behind in my blog posting - especially my pictures. My old laptop is seriously on its last legs, and even uploading pictures to it from my camera left the possibility of crashing the entire thing. But, I got a new computer for Christmas, and it actually lets me upload pictures. So, Halloween to present pics are forthcoming. To start, here's a recap of my top 10 favorite things from Christmas 2008:

#10: happy girls under the Christmas tree
#9: making our annual gingerbread house
#8: gorgeous sunrises from my front porch
#7: dresses that make my girls feel (and look) like princesses
#6: falling asleep surrounded by Christmas loot

#5: Christmas cookies a la Pioneer Woman

#4: cross-dressing nutcrackers

#3: hugs from happy kids

#2: enough snow (over a foot on Christmas day alone!!) to say we had a white Christmas.

#1: the Barbie house Santa brought. It has already given the kids hours of entertainment!

**I've given up trying to fix the formatting on this post. The more I mess with it, the worse it gets.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Movies vs. reality

Have you ever watched a romantic comedy that was just wonderful - the chemistry between the characters was amazing. You were totally drawn in. You didn't want the movie to be over, and when it was, you felt disappointed in your own life. Maybe even a bit sad that your own life wasn't more romantic and exciting - that you needed more spark?

I know I have.

In a recent article by BuzzSugar, this very issue was addressed. Since the article was short, I'll quote it all here:

According to relationship experts at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, romantic comedies give people unrealistic ideas about love and sex, and cause them to "fail to communicate with their partner."

Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.
The university's Dr Bjarne Holmes said: "Marriage counselors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it. We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds. The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize."

Do you think this is true? Is real-life romance a big ol' letdown? Sure, lots of people like the idea of a perfect man or "happily ever after," but does that mean we're all unable to separate fantasy from reality?

Also, have you ever had an experience that could have been right out of a romantic movie (think John Cusack holding up a boom box)?

I know for me, real-life romance is definitely not a "big ol' letdown" but I will admit that there are times that I wish for more spark. There is comfort and security in knowing that I have someone who isn't leaving me, and I love having a husband who is around. But it would be nice to have a few more heart-pounding moments that take my breath away - I guess you trade those for the comfort of a life-long partner.

And I've never had a "John Cusack holding up a boom box" type of moment either. I have had moments that seemed right out of a movie, but maybe more of a horror or drama - certainly not romantic comedy material. But then again, who has?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Speaking of burgers

Apparently Whoppers are good. So good in fact, that a company has made a cologne that smells just like a flame-broiled Whopper. Its called: Flame by BK. And if you want, you can smell like one too.

If you don't believe me, just read these customer testimonials:

Chris from WV says:
This is the best chic getter ever. I can't beat the horny pregnant hoes off me. They smell me a mile away. Thanks for such a great scent trust me this is a great way to meat woman!!!

Chick Magnet from Hades, AL says:
At first I was a little wary of your product, I mean, I've tried other things to help maintain my "chick magnet" status, such as the infamous "wolf sweater" or maybe just a pair of hot pants, but I really was missing the ultimate compliment to my attire, the Whopper Flame. Now the ladies literally want to eat me, literally....if only they had the fry vat body spray as I'm tired of wearing 5 hour old "Big Mac special sauce deodorant" wearing off and smelling like milk left in the sun for 3 days. It's folks who create stuff like this that are the "real men of genius."

Amanda Creek from Virginia Beach Ink, VA says:
I received Flame in the mail two days ago....yesterday I wore it to work for the first time. As a tattoo artist, our tip amounts vary greatly..... but yesterday not one tip was less than $50!!!!! I know it had everything to do with wearing flame....... THANK YOU!

Now I know what to get my husband for Christmas. And at only $3.99 a bottle I should be able to buy a dozen bottles so that we never run out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Just in case anyone is wondering, I'm a whopper virgin. What's the big deal? Are there really that many people in the U.S. who have never had a whopper? Maybe I should be on the commercials. :)

And yes, I've eaten a big mac before - once. It was awful. I really don't get what all the hype is about hamburgers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes Brynlee, there is a Santa Claus

Holiday photo evolution - well, at least the evolution of the pictures on my computer at work.

Here's 2008 - doesn't it seem like Bryn is studying Santa to make sure he's real? I love this one:

Both girls 2008:
The whole family, complete with a real-live reindeer, 2007:
Just under the tree (stranger anxiety year), 2006:
I guess I don't have a 2005 on the computer at work :(

Just G, 2004:

Monday, December 15, 2008


Carrie (I’d link her blog, but since its private you wouldn’t be able to read it anyway . . .) tagged me weeks ago – and I’m finally getting around to completing the tag. It took me awhile to come up with stuff. I also changed it up a bit – hope that is ok!

7 things I can do:

1. I can do a backwards dive off of the diving board.
2. I can crochet – and I actually like it. I learned at a youth activity in high school, and I’ve made several Afghans since. Totally relaxing hobby, although I rarely have time for it now.
3. I can sing alto and harmonize. I also play the guitar and piano (sort of – since I never practice). There was a time when I was really good.
4. I can lead music well. My piano teacher taught me how to lead music when I was only 7 or 8. Its actually natural to me, and I can tell the timing on a song that I’ve never seen the sheet music to. I’ve lead the congregational singing in church (started when I was 14), lead the children’s singing at church, and I’ve even lead some choirs. Who knew marathon mom was musical?
5. I can ski – snow and water. And I love it. I’m not very good at either one though, but I still have fun.
6. I can do most things with either my left or my right hand – I’m ambidextrous.
7. I can bargain shop for hours. I rarely pay full-price for anything. I have a knack for finding good deals and I love it. Right now I’m wearing some Big Star jeans that I found for $40, and they’re so cute!

7 things I cannot do:

1. I cannot whistle – there was a time in my life when I could whistle. Then I got braces, and I lost the ability.
2. I have absolutely no artistic talent. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Its pretty sad, considering the fact that I have so many artistic family members.
3. I cannot speak foreign languages. For some reason, I have a huge hang-up when it comes to trying to learn a language – I can’t even correctly pronounce the words. I can read and understand that way, but when it comes to speaking I’m lost. I don’t think I could ever live in a foreign country.
4. I cannot lose weight for the life of me. Believe me – I’ve tried. The scale just doesn’t want to budge. I think I’m ready for drastic action.
5. I cannot throw a ball – ok, I suppose technically I can throw a ball, but I do it like a frreakin’ girl. It embarrasses my jock-husband. Apparently I look “re-todd-did” when I try. He’s asked me not to try anymore.
6. I cannot go without sleep. I need a good 7-8 hours a night to function.
7. I cannot cook. I’m a terrible cook, and almost anything I try to make ends up disgusting. My husband can’t even try to eat it. I wish I could be better, so that my family could have some yummier meals. Oh well – at least there’s Café Rio to do it for me.

7 totally random facts about me:

1. I’ve flown a small airplane over the skies of Utah County. I had a boyfriend who had a small plane. He took me on a date once, and let me take the controls of the plane. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.
2. I’m afraid of deep water. I had a slightly scary experience while fly fishing in the Madison River in Montana. Ever since, I’ve been terrified of large bodies of water.
3. I’m also terrified of heights – like seriously freaked. I get dizzy leaning over a balcony. I’ll subconsciously pick at a hangnail till it bleeds, or bite my lip until I get a sore. Its my least attractive trait.
4. I bite my fingernails and pick at my skin. It’s a terrible habit. I’ve noticed that G does it too.
5. I hate talking on the phone, and avoid it at all costs. I’m sure people think that I don’t like them – I just don’t like talking on the phone.
6. I don’t make friends with women very easily. For some reason, I’ve always related to men easier than women. I have a few really good girl friends, but for the most part, most of my female friends are more like acquaintances. Its been difficult since I’ve gotten married, because it is no longer appropriate for me to hang out with “the guys”. Expect when my hubby has friends over.
7. I am allergic to almost everything. It makes life interesting. A few years ago, I was a youth advisor at church. We had a slumber party with the girls at one of the other leaders’ houses. I was so allergic to her cats that I ended up in the ER the next morning. Good times. (yes, I do have a cat)

7 foods I love:

1. Salad – I know that sounds like a cop-out – I’m sure my readers are thinking that no one really loves salad. But I do. I could eat it every single day.
2. Dill pickles – another totally strange one, I know. But some days I crave them – and so does Bryn apparently. The other day at the store, she cried until I bought her pickles.
3. Apple deserts – it doesn’t matter what it is. If there is apples in it, I have no will-power
4. Pumpkin – along with the apple stuff. If there is pumpkin in it, I’m powerless to resist.
5. Café Rio – I love, love, love anything from that place – especially the salad. I know I’ve already claimed salad as #1, but this seriously deserves a category all its own.
6. Grapefruit. I love me some ruby red grapefruit. I actually eat it like a giant orange. Mmmm. I’m getting hungry.
7. Chocolate chip cookies – especially Paradise Bakery cookies. I have no weakness to those either.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flashback bloggers

Remember my old Flashback Friday posts? Where I would post old pictures that I scanned in (usually of terrible quality) and then reminisce about them? Well - I've decided to start Flashback Friday again. I like looking through old pictures. And just so I don't bore anyone (we all know how awful it can be to go through other's old photo albums) I thought I'd "shake things up" a bit - by posting flashbacks of some of my blogging buds. I'm also leaving out the names, in case anyone wants to try and guess. The qualifications for these pics, is that they were all prior to the year 2000. So, without further ado, here are some old, poor quality pics and weird blogger spacing that I can't figure out:

This picture was taken in Washington DC, about 1998. We're standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I'm the psycho on the left, and the girl on the right is on my blogroll. She and I were roomies through most of college, and then after we graduated until I got married. She's a fun and crazy person who is now a very successful woman, and I only wish the picture was better.

This next picture was taking in the Narrows at Zion National Park. There was a close wildfire that was casting a strange color to the sky, which is why we all look "fake baked". I'm in the black tank, and the girl in the hat next to me is also on my blogroll. She was also one of my fun roomies, and is now also a successful woman. She was such a genuine person (I'm sure she still is too). And as a side note, check out the stomach my right hand is touching. It was as nice as it looks ;)
Ok - I'll admit it - I only posted this pic because I wish my ass was still that nice (that is me on the right - the one who looks like she's a second away from falling on my butt). But there is also someone in my blogroll in that pic - you can see her face above that guy's shoulder (and don't ask what that guy is doing, because I don't know either). But don't fret: I've got a better pic of her later. . . . dang I wish I could still wear that pair of jeans!
This is another pic of some roomies. I'm obviously on the left, and the girl on the right is also on my blogroll. She is one of the funniest, most spontaneous people I've ever had as a friend. She's now a mommy of 3 beautiful children, but I'm sure she's just as fun as ever!

Ok - here's a better pic of the ice skating girl. She's the cutie in the cowgirl hat - and yes, that really is her hat. We were horseback riding in Jackson, Wyoming. She and I were never roomies (which you might think was the trend here), but we were great friends. She even caught the bouquet at my wedding, and actually was the next one married (but not to that guy in the pic)

This final picture is also a roomie - we lived together in college for just a few short weeks. But she's hilarious, as you can probably tell from that pic. I actually just recently reconnected with her through facebook, and from what I can tell in her blog, she's just as crazy as ever. Good times!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What happens in Vegas . . .

Last weekend, I went down to Las Vegas to compete in the Las Vegas Marathon. Technically, I "only " ran the half, but 13.1 miles is still noteworthy. I actually didn't talk too much about the race prior to it, because I hadn't trained at all. If I did badly, then I just wouldn't have to mention it. And I really was expecting to do badly. Since my foot injury in August, the longest run I'd had was barely 4 miles. I knew I was going into Vegas under trained and unprepared, so I wasn't expecting to do well. Honestly, my time wasn't stellar, but I did manage to run most of it (albeit slowly), so I suppose it is worthy of a race report. Pictures are coming - they're on my camera at home, and will hopefully be up shortly.

The race started on the Las Vegas strip promptly at 6:07am with a fireworks show at Mandalay Bay (on the southern end of the strip). The route began northward up the strip, and the first 5 miles were fun. I was feeling good and strong - the feeling that I was born to run. I intentionally kept my iPod on slow songs to help me keep my pace slow. After 5 miles, the route continued northward, but we were now out of the traditional "strip". The scenery became seedy bars, strip clubs, and wedding chapels - the part of Vegas that most people don't see often. It really dropped my motivation level - running along flat streets with boring scenery wasn't nearly as exciting. I was still able to keep up running, but I was starting to struggle. By mile 7, my injured foot was hurting and I had to pee, so I stopped at a port-o-potty. Stopping was a mistake - I never did regain my stride. I struggled the last 5 miles, and alternated slogging with a brisk walk. The scenery was boring and ugly too - I was running along the back of the casinos, next to the freeway and railroad tracks. Even Eminem's Till I Collapse and Cake's I Will Survive did little to light my fire. I finished just under 3 hours, which is a pretty pitiful time - its a full 30 minutes slower than the SLC half that I ran in April. But I was happy to be done. My brother ran the full marathon, and finished around 4:30. His girlfriend who also ran with us took 14th place in the half - they both pretty much kicked my butt.

Highlights of the race:

1. All the "freaks". There were people running dressed as Elvis, men dressed as women, women dressed as brides (there was a run-through wedding chapel on the route) and even a drunk Native American man running in jeans with a beer in his hand (I'm not sure he was an actual participant). There were actually a lot of people running at the beginning with drinks in hand. The people watching couldn't be beat.

2. The fireworks at the beginning did a lot to get me pumped up and ready to run.

3. The volunteers were wonderful.

4. The field of racers was much less serious/athletic than the average race. I was much more "mid pack" than I normally am.

5. The wonderful high that came when the race was over. Its the reason I run.

Low lights of the race:

1. The shirts - I paid $95 for registration and got a crappy cotton tee. I was expecting a tech tee (that I may actually wear again) for that price.

2. The spectators - there were so few people cheering along the route (there were a few drunk people gawking at us). Even the finish line was pretty pitiful - so few people cheering and minimal crowds. I've been to much smaller races with 10 times the crowds. It was a bit anti climatic to come to the finish line without the cheer of the crowd. The announcer at the end of the race was really annoying too.

3. The route - was boring and flat, which gets tiring on the body after awhile. Hills are good, because they work different muscles. The flat route made me quads extremely tired. The route was ugly too - I guess I'm spoiled from having nice scenery along my runs.

4. The "goodies". Other big races I've run have great goodies at aid stations: gels, fruit, people with Icy Hot to rub on tired calves. There was none of that at Vegas - only water and Gatoraid (which is good too, but not as good).

Overall, it was a great experience, and I'm so glad to have been able to participate. I'm already planning my next big race, although I'll never do Vegas again. There are so many other races that are much more fun.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Meeting Boomer

I have to make an apology to my readers. Yesterday I posted the list of 100 things, and highlighted which ones I'd done. Well, reading through my comments, there was a question from a couple of my readers asking which movie I'd been in. I thought that was funny, because I've never been in a movie. In fact, I didn't even remember that question being on the list. But, sure enough, I had highlighted that. As I was doing the list, I read that question as ever having been to a movie, and I thought how silly that was - hasn't everyone been to a movie? Anyway - I wasn't trying to mislead anyone. So, in an attempt to redeem myself, here is the story of meeting a famous person: the story of meeting Boomer Esiason. In fact, not only did I meet him, I inadvertently went to a Christmas party at his house.
I was 17, and a junior in high school.  My sister and I were driving to a dance at our church, but because we were earlier than we wanted to be, we decided to just drive around a bit.  It was raining/misting a bit, and also quite foggy (as it tends to get in Kentucky), and I had also taken some cold medicine that had made me a tiny bit groggy - that is my defense anyway.  The neighborhood we were driving through was hilly, and we were driving down an especially large hill.  At the bottom of the hill, it was quite foggy, but I could see the road continue back up the other side, so I kept driving.  Unfortunately for me, the road dead-ended about where the fog started - and I kept driving.  I ended up getting my very snazzy, green Chevy Corsica (hey, this was 1991) high centered on a large mound of dirt.  All the rocking and engine-gunning I could do did nothing to get the car moving again.  Two of the tires were actually just spinning in air, and there was a large mound under my feet where the car had actually buckled.
Great - I was stuck.  And here we were, on a cold and rainy night, stuck on a residential road.  We were a good 2 miles from any type of commercial establishment.  It was raining pretty hard, and I had no jacket (I was too "cool" for jackets back then).  Being that this was well before the days of cell phones, we had no choice but to knock on doors and ask for help.  Just down the road, was a house all lit up.  It was obvious they were having a Christmas party, as there were several cars parked out front.  We chose that house, because surely someone would be inside to help.
We nervously rang the doorbell, and who should answer the door, but Boomer Esiason himself.  At that time, he was still the QB of the Bengals, and they were actually a good team back then.  I just about died.  He was so nice, and invited us in.  I told him that I was just there to use the phone, because I had run my car off of the road in front of his house.  I told him that I needed to call my dad, and then probably a tow truck.
But, he had a better idea.  He was having a party, and there were several other football players at his house.  Surely they could get my car from atop the mountain of dirt.  About 6 or 7 other players went out to my car, and tried their best to get me unstuck.  But to no avail.  My little Chevy Corsica was no match for the defensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals.  One of the poor guys had on some white pants (it was 1991) and he got really muddy - I felt badly about that.
I had no choice but to make the call to my dad.  And I was scared - my dad was a very scary person to me back then, and I knew he was going to be upset.
I nervously dialed the phone.  When my dad answered, I immediately spilled out my story:
"Dad, I'm sorry, but I ran the car off of the road, and I'm stuck on a pile of dirt."
"Where are you?" He asked.  "And are you and Jen ok?"
"Yes Dad, I'm ok.  I'm actually at Boomer Esiason's house.  He tried to help me, but the car is just too stuck.  I need some money to call a tow truck."
My dad started laughing.  He honestly didn't believe me.  I think I actually had Boomer get on the phone to explain the situation to my dad, but that part is a bit fuzzy.  In the end, he gave me the credit card number and I called the tow truck.
While we were waiting, Boomer invited us in and they were so friendly to us.  They asked us where we were headed, and I was too embarrassed to admit that we were headed to a nerdy church dance.  I lied, and told them we were on our way to a party.  Then Boomer asked me if I'd do him a favor - his 17 year old nephew was there visiting from Colorado for Christmas.  He was really bored, and wondered if we'd mind taking him to hang out.  He brought the kid over to meet me, and he was a hottie - definitely a 17 year old girls' dream come true.  But, since I'd lied, there was no way I was taking him to a nerdy Mormon dance at the church.  So, I told another lie, that I wasn't feeling up to partying, and I just wanted to go home.  I missed my chance on that one - I'm sure had he gone with me, we'd have fallen madly in love and lived happily ever after.  Oh well - at least I learned my lesson about telling the truth.
Finally, the tow truck showed up.  The driver was actually a kid who used to ride my bus - a kid who I had mercilessly teased.  And unfortunately he remembered me.  He refused to take the credit card information since it was just numbers and not the actual card, and told me that unless I had a valid form of payment he wasn't helping me out. 
I was still stuck.
That is when Boomer came to my aid again, by offering to pay the tow truck driver for me.  I declined his first off, but he insisted.  So, he paid the driver for me.  Of course I sent him the money back the very next day, but he was very generous and probably not expecting to get the money back.  He was such a generous and kind person, who could have been a big jerk when I interrupted his Christmas party.
And that is the story of meeting Boomer.  Did that make up for my lie about being in a movie?

Monday, December 01, 2008

100 more things

I've copies this from several blogs. The things I've done are in red:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
- I counted this, although I didn't actually jump. I got all strapped up, looked down, and told the guy that I couldn't do it.
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept overnight on a train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when your're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden a gondola in Switzerland
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen Amish country
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
- as an EMT, but never a patient
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in movie
55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades - I didn't take a tour per se but I did go there, so it counts to me
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. One cavity or less