Monday, May 26, 2008

Today, I'm Remembering...

On this Memorial Day, I am thinking of the following people:
1. My great-grandmother, Big Gano. First, the name's explanation: This is my mom's grandmother. When my mom was little, she pronounced Grandma "Gangaw." The name stuck. Then, when my older sister was born, she heard my mom say "Gangaw," but was unable to pronounce it herself. So her version was "Gano." Then, to differentiate between my sister's (and my) Gano and our Great Gano, we called our great-grandmother "Big Gano" and our grandmother "Gano." Big Gano died when I was pretty young, so I don't remember much about her. My most vivid memory about Big Gano was a gift she gave me for Christmas or my birthday (I don't remember which, but they are basically the same). My cousin Amanda had this half stuffed animal, half plastic animal that was a monkey with suspenders. He was carrying a plastic banana in his hand. He was AWESOME! You could feed him his banana, carry him by his suspenders, stand him up on his white shoes... Also, he was pretty tall, so that was cool. Anyway, I really loved Amanda's monkey, so Big Gano bought me my own. I think that was the last gift I got from her before she died, so that made it even more special. Later, I had people tell me that the monkey is ugly and I guess from an objective viewpoint, it really is. But I LOVED it and I still treasure it as being one of my all-time favorite childhood toys.
2. My grandmother, Maw. This was "Gano." After our Big Gano died, we stopped calling her Gano and started calling her Maw. I think my cousin Amanda was the one that started calling her Maw. Towards the end of her life, she was always pretty sick and had to be on oxygen 24 hours a day. She lived with my aunt, who is a nurse and took care of her on a daily basis. I used to go stay with Maw on Saturdays when my aunt was at work so she didn't have to be alone. Mostly I just sat around and watched Nickelodeon and got food for Maw when she needed it and checked on her to make sure she was ok. Sometimes I would sit in her bedroom with her and talk. I wish I had done that more, though. I remember giving my mom a hug after Maw died to try to comfort her, but I felt so helpless. Strangely, I don't remember anything about her funeral, other than seeing her casket being lowered into the grave after the funeral and my great-uncle (her brother) watching so carefully to make sure the top of the casket was facing the right direction. He really loved her.
3. My grandpa, Papa Shirley. He died when I was really young, so I actually only have one memory of him. From what my parents tell me, Papa Shirley lived with my family for a short time when I was about 2 years old. In the house we lived in, there was one hallway of our house that we didn't use because it didn't exactly have a floor. I remember that you had to tiptoe between the pieces of wood that made up the foundation to get back there. Anyway, Papa Shirley lived in one of the bedrooms in that hallway and my one memory of him is seeing him walk down that hallway and into the kitchen. He was wearing a suit and had gray hair. My parents said he always wore a suit.
4. My great-grandmother, Mimma. I have several memories of Mimma. When I was younger, she lived in Sweetwater, Texas and we used to go to her house for Thanksgiving and Easter. (We probably went out there other times, too, but those are the only times I remember.) Later, she moved to a retirement home in Dallas and we were able to visit her more often. We would go out to eat with her at Luby's, which must have been her favorite restaurant, because I really don't think we ever went anywhere else, except for the cafeteria at her retirement home. Finally, in the last few weeks of her life, she had to go to a nursing home. When we went to see her there right before she died, I don't think she new who we were. I remember seeing her being pushed down the hallway in her wheelchair by a nurse and her foot was dragging on the floor. I heard her whimpering, but I don't know if that was because it was hurting her foot or she was in pain for other reasons. Either way, I remember being shocked that my Mimma, who was so sweet and caring and alert, had physically regressed so much that she couldn't even express her pain. There must have been hundreds of people at her funeral. Near the end of the services, my aunt Mary stood up and told a memory of Mimma. Many others followed and I listened from the back of the room to all of these people I didn't even know talk about how wonderful Mimma was. I felt so proud to be her great-granddaughter. To this day, I feel a special closeness to Mimma and I miss her and think about her often.
5. My cousin, Cameron. Cameron was 12 years younger than me and lived in Houston, but our families used to get together at least once or twice a year. My first thought about Cameron was that he was the odd one out in his family, with his bright blonde hair! He was a beautiful child and very sweet. But the most impressive thing about Cameron was his faith! At only 8 years old, Cameron understood God's plan for him better than most adults ever do. During his battle with cancer, his mom sent weekly emails to the entire family updating us on his treatment. I was constantly amazed by the funny, positive, and inspiring things Cameron said. His parents said that he often remarked, "I'm glad I had a brain tumor because I've gotten to meet so many new people." He passed away on September 29, 2005.


1. I read an interesting book this week called "Pretty is What Changes." It is about a woman's struggle to decide whether or not to have a prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy when she finds out she has a gene that makes her highly likely to one day get breast cancer. It made me think and it made me cry, so it was a darn good book according to my criteria.
2. I went on my final Goblin Valley/San Rafael Trip for work. (Was that really this past week? It feels like forever ago.) It was crazy windy! I had to sprint away from the fire every time the wind picked up and still got a few ouchies. And the sand! Oh, the sand! It was everywhere! My teeth, nose, eyes, hair, sleeping bag, water...EVERYWHERE. The first day actually wasn't as bad. It was HOT (it was forecast to be 97...I don't know if it made it), but a storm started to come in late afternoon and it rained a bit, which cooled things down. It was still too hot to sleep in the tent, though. This made for a dilemma. Do we sleep in the hot and stuffy tent, our one haven from the sand, or do we sleep outside and brave the sandstorms? In the end, we chose outside. I had to keep turning my face every time the wind blew, but eventually I fell asleep and didn't notice it anymore. When I woke up, I could hardly open my eyes and my face felt like sandpaper. Oh, but lest you think this account is a complaint, please note that I was grateful for this experience. The whole trip, I thought "I'm so glad I have a place to live that provides protection from the elements!"
3. I watched the new Indiana Jones. I don't get understand all the complaints about the movie. I thought it was thoroughly entertaining. And I may have a crush on Shia LeBeouf.
4. This may seem boring, but I got a new work phone! Now, my phone/radio actually looks like a cell phone instead of a satellite phone. That thing was huge.
5. In light of my recent discovery of the joys of solitary recreation, I took a drive up American Fork Canyon today. I mostly drove around and looked at the mountain scenery. I also got out of the car and wandered around a meadow for a while, looking for some good photo ops. I found this amazing little creature which I later found out from this great website is a hummingbird moth. It's called that because it's actually a moth that is often mistaken for a hummingbird. I also photographed another moth (or maybe a butterfly) and I think I got a pretty good picture...which is good because I accidentally knelt on an ant bed to get that picture and I would have been bugged (pun intended) if it had been in vain. So the first two pictures are of the hummingbird moth, the third is an unidentified moth, and the fourth is me by the river that is next to the moth meadow. It was a beautiful spot!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This week's GREAT things & an eco-friendly intruder

I'm only doing 5 this week. Not that it wasn't a good week, but I would have to really stretch to find 10 interesting things.

1. I went camping at Goblin Valley State Park with work. We hiked Little Wild Horse (again) which is such a great canyon. It was nice weather, too.
2. I biked to Utah Lake (again). This time I went with Renae and Kyle and we took a picnic. Lots of fun.
3. I got an extra $200 on my paycheck this week. Granted, I worked lots of extra hours, but still...the extra money is nice.
4. I biked to work on Thursday. Coincidentally, last week was National Bike to Work Week.
5. I made homemade bread (again) and it turned out delicious (again)! I'm eating it right now.

To make up for the 5 things I didn't write, I have 1 very funny story. Last week, my parents' house was broken into when they weren't there (not the house they live in normally, but the house on their ranch in the country). Apparently, the intruder opened and ate several cans of food, slept in my dad's bed, and...well, that's pretty much it. BUT, here's where it gets interesting. Nothing was damaged or missing in the house (except that he forgot to replace the screen on the window through which he entered) and he even left an obvious pile of money untouched. But to top it off, he was considerate enough to dispose of the Gatorade bottle he drank in the RECYCLING bin. What a nice guy. Who says trespassers can't be eco-friendly?

Monday, May 12, 2008

10 GREAT things that happened this week

From time to time, I like to write down things I'm grateful for or things I love or other similar feel-good lists. Because, feels good. So I thought, "hey, why don't I do this every week?" followed by, "yeah, then I'd actually have something to blog about!"

1. I watched the Kite Runner. It's wonderful. Unavoidably sad, but really, really, really wonderful. You HAVE to read the book, though. The movie is beautiful, but there is so much more to the story. Also, while you're at it, read A Thousand Splendid Suns which is also by Khaled Hosseini, but is even better.
2. I took a group of girls at work camping at Arches. It was probably the best camping trip I've been on for work. The weather was kinda crazy with 40 mph wind gusts that blew over our tents and got sand EVERYWHERE, but it was a blast! What could have been a frustrating situation was just downright hilarious and exhilarating.
3. I biked to Utah Lake by myself. I've finally realized I don't mind spending time by myself. In fact, I seek it out now. Anyway, the path is really easy, so it's just a relaxing, fun ride. It was pretty populated on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but once I got to the lake, I took a side road that runs along the lake shore and found myself completely alone. It was nice to just sit. And listen. Until my mind got carried away with thoughts of what could happen to a girl all alone on the lake shore and how long it would take for anyone to find out. Then I biked back to the busy trail as fast as my little legs would take me.
4. I made bread for the first time. Homemade. From scratch. By hand. By some miracle, it turned out wonderfully delicious and I don't think I can go back to store bought bread. I made 2 more loaves today. Again, they're delicious. I don't know what's happening, but I think I might be learning to cook!
5. I taught Sunday School today and it went well. I never really know what to expect when I teach lessons at church, but I was really pleased today with the involvement of the class. It was just really nice. I enjoyed teaching.
6. I discovered Hot N Spicy soynuts! They are full of protein and full of spicy flavor! Mmm mmm.
7. A coworker was really helpful to me even though it wasn't convenient for him.
8. I saw some old friends that I haven't talked to in at least a year! It was fun to catch up and remember old times.
9. My best friend, who just got home from a year-and-a-half mission, called me! Again, fun to catch up and remember the good ol' days.
10. I talked to my mom and my grandma on Mother's Day (today). They're great. I've really learned a lot from both of them about how to be a mother and a nurturer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Remember when you did these things all the time in like...middle school?

Well, it turns out they're still kinda fun.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
Pretzel maker/cashier at Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels, copy machine snob at BYU (I despise poorly made/crooked/grainy/otherwise sloppy copies), graphics girl for BYU Daily News, and recreation therapist at a treatment center.
Four movies I've watched more than once:
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 13 Going on 30, Rudy, Pocahontas
Four Places I have lived:
Mesquite, TX, Dallas, TX, Provo, UT, and Middle of Nowhere, Idaho. While I only lived in Idaho for about 5 weeks, I swear it still counts! I can prove it because when I was applying for my current job, I had to get a background check in every state I have lived in for more than 4 weeks. So now you know. If you've lived there for more than 4 weeks, it counts.
Four T.V. Shows that I watch:
None regularly, but if I catch them, I love: Bizarre Foods w/ Andrew Zimmern, What Not To Wear, Gilmore Girls, and The Office.
Four places I have been:
Mexico, DC, NYC, San Francisco
Four Favorite Foods:
Yogurt, Tomato and Mozzarella salad, Chicken Marsala, Bluebell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (I really like dairy products)
Four Places I would like to visit:
New Zealand (can November get here already?!), Florence (to see Michelangelo's "David"), Asia (I know that's extremely large and vague, but really...I'd like to go anywhere in Asia), Atlanta (mostly because it's home of the world's largest aquarium and I LOVE aquariums!)
Four things I am looking forward to this year:
visiting New Zealand, riding my mountain bike, hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park, spending the 4th of July in Texas

Vatican keeps parish records from LDS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Vatican has ordered Catholic dioceses worldwide to withhold member registries from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who perform posthumous baptisms.

The order was issued by a clergy mainstay, the Vatican Congregation for Clergy. Officials said the step was taken to prevent members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from baptizing by proxy their Catholic ancestors.

The order was first reported by Catholic News Service. There was no immediate response from the LDS church's world headquarters in Salt Lake City.

Msgr. J. Terrence Fitzgerald said the Catholic diocese in Utah already has a policy to restrict baptismal records only to those entitled to see the records.

One LDS genealogist, Russell Bangerter, told the Deseret News that the order cracks down on the free flow of information. Bangerter said the LDS church has an open-door policy at its own Family History Library.

The Vatican's directive calls baptisms for the dead a "detrimental" practice and directs each Catholic diocesan bishop "not to cooperate with the erroneous practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

LDS authorities haven't seen the letter. "It would really be premature for us to say anything," church spokesman Scott Trotter told The Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday.

Posthumous baptisms by proxy have been a common LDS practice for more than a century. It allows the faithful to have their ancestors baptized into their faith so they may be united in the afterlife, said Mike Otterson, a spokesman at the church's headquarters.

The practice has come under fire from Jewish groups who say the names of Jewish Holocaust victims are still showing up in the church's vast genealogical database for unwelcome baptisms.

Former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley has said the baptismal rite is only an offer of membership that can be rejected in the afterlife by individuals. "So, there's no injury done to anybody," Hinckley told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview.


Information from: Deseret News

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Sherry, I thought of you when I read this. Thoughts?...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My latest obsession

When it comes to my favorite interests and hobbies, I usually go through phases. My current phase is BIKING! I just bought a Gary Fisher mountain bike that I am so excited about! I just got it a couple of days ago, so I haven't taken it on any trails yet, but I've been riding it all over town and I am loving it! I'm going to try to ride my bike instead of drive my car as much as possible. (I'm still trying to decide if I want to bike the 6 miles to work every day. I know 6 miles is not that far on a bike, but I am just a little wary of arriving at work all sweaty...and getting hit by a car on Provo's busiest street. Hmm...) Hopefully I will become a stronger biker, cut my gas expenses, and help the environment! I'm so excited!

Here is a picture of my bike from the Gary Fisher website. The only differences are that I switched out the rim brakes for disc brakes and platform pedals for clipless pedals. But isn't it beautiful???