Monday, December 14, 2009

If I hadn't already packed my camera...

...I'd show the best parts of the weekend:
  • When Santa Claus sat next to me on the tube. (And when I got to Camden and saw that Santa was sitting next to everyone on the tube.)
  • The electrician who opened a side panel on his repair truck to reveal a full tea service. (Silver kettle and all.)
  • The Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square. (And the even better one in the Finsbury Park apartment.)
  • The primary children dressed for the Nativity and singing Away in a Manger at the Christmas concert last night. (Especially the ginger-haired brothers dressed as the wise men.)
  • The evolution of sorting out my luggage so that I can bring home the maximum amount of chocolate without going over the weight limit. (My first attempt came in at a whopping 86 lbs.)
  • The assortment of activities I did to pass the time because I was too excited to sleep. (It was like Christmas Eve two weeks early.)

Friday, December 11, 2009


I don't really watch TV over here, but on the rare occasion that I do, I have to say the commercials are one of my favorite parts. I anticipate them in the same way I anticipate trailers at the movies. You might even say it's like watching Super Bowl commercials ALL THE TIME.

For example:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Facelift FAIL

In August 2005, the Royal Mint held a competition to design a new look for British currency. Over 4000 entries were submitted and Matthew Dent was chosen as the winner. His design premiered in April 2008 and is a very modern tribute to tradition as it turn the various denominations of coins into puzzle pieces that fit together to form the Royal Arms, with the pound coin displaying the full design:

I rate the design to be a "very" on the coolness scale. (Mostly due to the fact that I feel compelled to collect all the pieces in a way that I never was with the US state quarters collection craze.)

However, I rate the project in general a FAIL and I'll tell you why. On the opposite side of each coin is an image of the queen. The queen was also pictured on the last several currency designs as featuring the monarch has been a tradition for centuries. Here is what has been on the coins for the last several years:

But as part of the facelift, and to commemorate her over fifty years' reign, a new image of the queen was produced and dstributed:

I just don't see how the inclusion of a double chin is an appropriate way to commemorate Elizabeth's long reign, or that it in any way, shape, or form fits the definition of a facelift...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

Amidst the carnage of the Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army penned a few hurried lines. Dissatisfied with the result, he tossed his pad away. It was retrieved by a fellow officer who sent it to Britain and on December 8, 1915 McCrae's lines ran in the London papers:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Moina Bell Michael was one who caught the torch. Moina was in Europe when war broke out in 1914 and served in the war efforts before returning home to America. When the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, she continued volunteering in New York City. On November 9, 1918, two days before the Armistice, she came across John McCrae's poem and was deeply moved. She responded with her own poem:

We Shall Keep The Faith

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Moira then began formulating an idea for the poppy to become a symbol of those who sacrificed their time, talents, and lives in the Great War. She launched her campaign in March 1919 and it quickly spread to England, France, Australia, and all over the world.

Veteran soldiers who had been wounded in the war and were unable to work were tasked with making the silk poppies. The flowers were then sold and 100% of the profits were given to support veterans and their families. When Moira died in 1944, over $200 million dollars had been raised in the U.S. and England alone.

In England, the British Legion has continued Moira Michael's efforts. Veteran soldiers still work to assemble the more than 36 million poppies, 107,000 wreaths and sprays, 800,000 Remembrance Crosses and other Remembrance items that will be made at the Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey, this year. The poppies are sold by volunteers throughout London during the weeks leading up to Armistice Day. These flowers adorn the lapels of men, women, and children all over the city who wear them to honor both veterans and soldiers on active duty. This year, the Poppy Appeal has raised nearly £4.4 million to date.

I had the honor of attending the services at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday this year where I witnessed the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William, and other members of the Royal Family and peerage, as well as the Prime Minister and other dignitaries place wreaths of poppies at the base of the monument. Their wreaths were soon obscured by the dozens of flowers presented by companies of soldiers and veterans who marched down Whitehall.

I was able to experience the two minutes of silence that echoed from Westminster to Trafalgar Square.

And I was able to see for myself the sea of poppies adorning the breast of every single person in attendance who braved the cold and the rain to show their gratitude--to those both living and dead--for the lessons they have taught in places such as Flanders Fields.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things that Hitler and I have in common

This is where I go to school:

It's called the Senate House and its massive space is mostly consumed by the renowned Senate House Library, as well as the administrative offices of the University of London.

Construction on the building was completed in 1937 and since then Senate House has enjoyed quite a variety of footnotes in both world history and popular culture.
  • The foyer was a shooting location for the films Spy Game and Batman Begins, representing a courtroom and the lobby of CIA headquarters, respectively.
  • The exterior is used as the set for Bertie Wooster's New York apartment building in the Wooster and Jeeves television series.
  • The imposing art deco facade was the inspiration for the Ministry of Truth building in George Orwell's 1984. (In an ironic twist, Senate House actually served as the headquarters for the Ministry of Information during WWII.)
  • There is a persistent rumor that Adolf Hitler ordered Senate House to be spared by the Luftwaffe as he planned to use it for the Nazi headquarters in the UK after the success of Operation Sealion.

So basically I'm having the time of my life where Hitler would have felt at home, which feels just a little bit wrong.

Then again, the Fuhrer also felt right at home with all things from his authentic Vaterland and we don't hold that against German Chocolate Cake...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

O.K.! (L-A-H-O-M-A)

So probably the only thing Oklahoma and London have in common is the Laurence Olivier Award Hugh Jackman won for playing Curly in the West End.

But wouldn't you be busting out "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" if this is the first thing you saw when you opened your window?

Because that's what I did.
And I'm Oklahoma-O.K. with that even if this is technically Westminster.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

one bottle o' pop, two bottle o' pop

Despite being a red-blooded American, I've adjusted to the metric system quite well. Besides being familiar with two liters of soda, I can make rough conversions in my head from mile to kilometer, and from ounce to gram, etc. On a semi-related note, I can even handle thinking about the weather in degrees Celsius and the day in military time.

But, when ordering a four-pack of tupperware on in order to turn leftovers into subsequent meals for the week, I failed to make the conversion. When I saw the containers were 5x7x3, I naturally assumed the dimensions were in inches.

But when I opened the box, I saw this:

At least now I have a waterproof case for each of the library cards I've gotten since coming here...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I think I tripped on reality...

So I'm pretty sure someone slipped a Mickey into my drink this past weekend because things sure got fuzzy for a while there. Horizon tilted, faces morphed and changed, colors swam in and out of focus, music was loud and jarring, and nothing made any sense. I think I was high.


I might have seen this:

It's a toss-up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“Love and a cough cannot be hid.” -George Herbert

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

Between walking through the buildup of pollutants one expects to find in a big city,

breathing the trapped air circulating and recirculating in the tube stations,

and forgetting to shut my windows before bed when half the building chain smokes through most of the night on the sidewalk outside, (Albeit five stories down but inexplicably upwind from my apartment.)

I've developed a bit of a sore throat and a cough.

Throat Coat herbal tea from Traditional Medicinals (which I had the foresight to bring with me) took care of the first part, and a trip to the chemist will hopefully take care of the second as I returned with this:

They also sell a formula for "chesty" coughs should things go south. But with an adjective like "tickly", one can't help but feel a little better right away.
I only love.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I think I'm falling for you

Last Sunday, I packed a lunch and in between conference sessions I walked over to Hyde Park to have a picnic here:


I cannot wait for the rest of the leaves to turn.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

once more unto the breach

I don't think anyone could have been more surprised than I was when the plane's wheels touched down at Gatwick. My surprise was threefold:
  1. It was the best landing I've ever experienced. The rubber kissed the tarmac so softly I swear it didn't make a sound. And if I hadn't had a window seat I wouldn't even have realize we'd landed.
  2. I was about ten seconds away from having to apply for an Atlanta driver's license. Remember that one time when I complained about qualifying for Texas citizenship? Yeah, that was Club Med compared to this pond hop.
  3. As I took the Gatwick Express into the city, I had to keep pinching myself that I was really back in the Motherland. Coming back for more than a brief visit had always been a fuzzy hypothetical, so it took me awhile to believe my bleary, sleep-deprived eyes.

Since I've had a few days to settle in, I've run the gamut of emotions, but one thing remains constant: It was the right thing to come here. Everywhere I go, I'm constantly accompanied by a sense of peace and 'rightness' that puts a bounce in my step and a smile on my face.

So, please Mind the Gap in posts as I've been settling in. Next stop: Awesomeness.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The best laid plans...

or should I say worst late planes?

So, I'm not in London. If everything had gone according to schedule, I should be crawling into bed in my new flat after forcing myself to stay awake all day. Instead, I've been chillaxing at the airport in Atlanta for the past fourteen hours.

Apparently Atlanta almost became the new Atlantis last night and hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled. After a four-hour wait in Cincinnati, I got into Atlanta at about 1:30 a.m. The ever-so-helpful customer service rep said that all the hotels were booked and the next flight out was at 10:25 p.m., a full twenty-four hours after my scheduled departure. "If only you had gotten here sooner," he continued, "you would have had a comfortable bed to sleep in."

So I found my way to a semi-quiet terminal, dragged two benches together, and snatched a few minutes here and there between bouts of shivering. Luckily I had my pillow, a jacket, an eye mask, and my "Serenity Now" mix on my iPod. I really wish I wasn't traveling alone so someone could have laughed at how ridiculous I looked. Around 4 o'clock, they started buffing the floors and even Josh Groban's pipes couldn't compete with the noise, so I woke up and wandered a bit. I found one shop open and bought a ridiculously overpriced fleece blanket, but was able to catch three more nearly uninterrupted hours of sleep so I'll count that as a draw.

Around 8 o'clock I got up and washed my face as well as I could in the cold bathroom water then wandered into a duty-free shop. The angel workers there cleaned me up with some Clinique samples then gave me a MAC makeover. I may not have felt like a million bucks afterwards, but I no longer looked like a twenty-dollar hooker (:

Thanks to some finagling by my dad, I was bumped up to a 5 o'clock flight and have spent the last eight hours in the Delta Crown room. The chairs are a lot more comfy, so I've gotten in a bit more sleep. And there's free Wi-Fi. Plus they keep plying me with water and limes (no carbonation for me when travelling). There's also these adorable little trifles in the cutest little individual cups that make me want to steal some -- just like I was tempted my the plastic sacrament cups when I was little. (Anyone else, or was that just me?)

Okay, I can by that last sentence that I'm getting delirious. Just like my plans, when I'm tired, I often go askew...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

mix 'n match

So, this one time I'm moving to London in five days. And I'm still struggling with that whole "packing" concept. Leaving all my books behind is bad enough, but narrowing down my clothing options is a close second on the masochistic packer scale.

My mom says I should employ the mix 'n match technique where at least a dozen different outfits can be created using only two pieces of material, five safety pins, and an upholstery stapler.

Well, ever since I and a note to my mother were stapled together by my first grade teacher, I've avoided that contraption as much as is humanly possible. And my current wardrobe isn't exactly London city streets appropriate either. And my process of elimination is somehow adding more clothes to my "must-have" pile.

So something like this is looking more and more appealing:

Lauren and I passed this store while joyriding in Iowa one night this summer. We thought it was so funny.

Now I'm wishing I'd had the sense to stock up while I had the chance.

After all, mixed polyester is at least one step up from sweats, right?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Flashback Friday - September 11th

I feel like I need to do something to commemorate the anniversary of September 11th, but I doubt I could find the language to do it adequate justice. Words come easy: terror, courage, faith, fear, love, pain, strength, sadness, disbelief, regret, patriotism, freedom, but combining them into a cohesive, fitting tribute escapes me.

There is a term in psychology called Flashbulb Memory. It defines a memory that is formed during a moment of extreme emotion. The memory takes on such preciseness that it resembles a photograph in quality. Personal events such as car accidents, the death of a loved one, or a wedding day can become flashbulb memories, but they often are the result of shocking or unbelievable events that carry significance for an entire nation or even the world. The most universal flashbulb memories are the assassinations of JFK and MLK and September 11th.

I can still vividly remember, as I sure most of you can, where I was, what I heard, and how I felt. Time, however, changes things. Facts later revealed, wars later fought, sites later seen, and stories later heard all have added weight and significance to my initial flashbulb memory.

I am a horrific journaler, but 2001 happens to be one of my more prolific chronicling phases, and it is interesting to go back and read what I wrote that day while I and the world were still in shock and, some might say, blissfully unaware of just how far and deep the shock waves would ripple and spread from the wreckage at Ground Zero:

September 11, 2001

Today America was attacked by terrorists.

I was doing my hair this morning when a lady called in [to the radio station] and said a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I thought it was bad weather or something. I took Taylor to piano and while we were there a plane crashed into the other tower. They said it was terrorists.

Soon, a plane crashed into the Pentagon. Another plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Later, we learned a man called his wife on her cell phone, he knew they would die, so he said they were going to do something about it.

Osama Bin Laden is the suspect.

Both towers collapsed to the ground and thousands of lives, including those of rescuers, were lost.

I couldn't believe it. I cried on the way to school. It is the first ward of the new millennium. I can't understand how people can be so evil.

We watched the news all day at school and saw the events as they happened. It was horrible. You could see people jumping out of the towers.

Suddenly, I don't feel safe anymore. America has been attacked and I don't know what is next.

I had seminary last and we talked about the Second Coming and how this is one of the signs, but the end is not here yet.

Today is 9-11. It is a symbol.

I hope that we can forget our differences and band together against this threat.

Freedom suddenly has a whole new meaning to me. I can no longer take it for granted.

Flashback Friday - Flash Forward

I submit that this is one of, if not the best Jim Halpert/Dwight Shrute pranks:

I'm with Brad Paisley in thinking this would be one sweet trick (and pretty useful too), but I'm 99.9% sure a letter from Future Meagan isn't coming any time soon.

But thanks to this sweet site, I can write to Future Meagan. You should try it too!

It's also cool to read (with caution) some of the public entries.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

You're a Sly One, Mister M

So I was heading in from some errands this afternoon when my neighbor beckoned me over to the fence and offered me two perfectly luscious, just-picked tomatoes. I love tomatoes, so I eagerly accepted, charmed by the Home Improvement-ishness of it all.

I got into the house and pretty much immediately sliced one up to eat. When I was finished, I opened the fridge to put the other one in the vegetable crisper and this is what I saw:

It turns out that over the last few days, my generous neighbor has been targeting my family members one by one when we are alone and unarmed and gifting (a.k.a. foisting) a good percentage of his harvest to us.

Sneaky, Wilson, very sneaky...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mrs. Mac

If only finding Mr. Right were this simple...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the bare necessities

So I've started the long and arduous process of sorting, storing, and packing for my upcoming move. Packing isn't my favorite thing in the world to do, it's not exactly in spider territory, but it definitely ranks higher than, say, getting struck by lightning.

And the worst part this time around is limiting myself to the "essentials". My heart actually hurts as I regretfully remove pictures, knick-knacks, and books (Oh, the Books!) from my pile of things to take.

I realize that I'll be grateful when I don't have to pack lunches of fruit-scented candles or fashion a dress from the pages of Gone with the Wind (Yeah, right. Like I would reserve valuable space for that waste of a tree, but I'm sure you get my point). But on the other hand, I know how depressing bare walls and empty shelves in a university-style setting can be, so there are some "frivolities" that will edge out some socks and a shirt or two if need be. And my tiara tops the list.

Laugh if you will, but I'll wear that beauty on my head if I have to. I got my tiara earlier this year as a thank you for the work I did at a conference. It came with one of the nicest notes I've ever received:

Dear Ladies,

I am writing to you today to express my gratitude for all of the hard work you did for us at the conference in Dallas.

The entire event was well-planned and executed, as always, and we could not have enjoyed such a successful meeting without all of the hard work that each of you contributed.

More specifically though, I wanted to tell you all just how much I enjoyed myself. The big suite was fantastic, and hosting the several functions up there was more fun than I’ve had in years.

I really felt special. Very special. So special that I probably annoyed a lot of people by telling them just how special I was. Ordinarily, I’m not the kind of person who spends a lot of time making herself feel special—I don’t do tea parties, or big fancy dress-up balls, didn’t have a huge fluffy wedding, don’t go to the spa—so it was a real surprise to me to totally love feeling special for a few days.

And I just want to thank you all for making me feel extra-special for a time. You have no idea what a remarkable gift that is.

In return, I wanted to send you each a little something special. So when you need to feel special, just put this on, and remind yourself what an extraordinary gift you gave me, and hopefully feel that I am returning it to you in a small way.

With kindest regards and great thanks,


Sweet, huh? And you know what, I totally pull it out whenever I need a little boost.

I don't know about you, but I think feeling special should be on every girl's list of bare necessities.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Listless: The Prequel

Today I was cleaning out the notes on my iPhone when I came across this list from almost a year ago:

Funny Things I Heard at the BYU/Utah State Football Game
  • "Most teams count points. We count first downs."

  • "This BYU timeout will also be a media timeout."
    "What? The media hasn't gone home yet?"

  • "That's another Utah FOURTH DOWN!"

  • "I think I just pulled something."

I really need to start keeping a journal. Life is just too funny to let all these gems go to waste (:

Friday, August 21, 2009

today i made a new best friend

I hate spiders. The are the most disgusting, abominable, awful, beastly, cloying, creepy, detestable, distasteful, foul, frightful, ghastly, grody, gross, gruesome, hateful, hideous, horrid, horrific, icky, loathsome, lousy, macabre, monstrous, nasty, nauseating, nerdy, noisome, objectionable, obnoxious, odious, offensive, outrageous, repellent, repugnant, revolting, rotten, satiating, scandalous, scuzzy, shameless, shocking, sleazeball, sleazy, stinking, surfeiting, vile, vulgar, yecchy, yucky, (thanks, (but really, 'nerdy' as a synonym of 'disgusting', what's up with that?)) creatures on this planet.

I also don't like shots, needles, blood, tourniquets, or extending my arms while someone kneads the heck out of the insides of my elbows.

Let's recap.

Meagan hates:
  • Spiders
  • Being a lab rat

Unfortunately, Meagan also hates the idea of dying cold and alone in a foreign country, so to NIMH she went, just to make sure everything was in working order. Luckily, the Institute was on 800 North and not in some arachnid-infested field, so there could have been worse ways to spend a Friday morning. (Meagan is nothing if not optimistic.)


So off I went, bracing myself as I waited outside of the lab for Mary, the new technician, to call me in.

"Meagan, come on in. This will only take a second."

"That's what they all say. I have deep veins that take issue with being poked."

"Hmmm. Well I'm pretty good, so I'm sure I'll be able to handle them."

"Yeah, that's what they all say. But my veins really hate it when they're disturbed. It takes forever to find them, and they begrudge every drop of blood. Last time it took 10 minutes and five pokes in three separate locations to get even one vial filled. You should probably just start with my hand."

"I don't like starting with hands. It is more painful and leaves a bigger bruise."

"I know. That's what they all say, but I'd rather have one bruise on my hand than a bruise on each arm AND on my hand."

"I'm sure you'll be fine."

*sigh* "Yeah, that's what they all say." (Meagan is nothing if not a bane to every phlebotomist's ego through verbal hammer blows of annoying repetition.)*

Mary tied on the tourniquet and began kneading my left arm. Three minutes later, she let out a frustrated "hmmm". Wordlessly, I held out my right arm and tried not to let her see me rolling my eyes as she made her first prick on my right arm.

I'm not sure if the sudden widening of my eyes mid-roll caused the dizziness, or if it was the veritable fountain of blood spouting from my arm into first one, then two of the waiting vials. I was so shocked I momentarily let my gaze slip from the hideous cat-themed calendar and actually watched. That was how I caught the smug look on Mary's face before she turned away to label the vials.

"Wow. You are really good. I stand corrected." (Meagan is nothing if not willing to admit she's wrong.)

"Yeah. That's what they all say."


I couldn't have said it better myself.

*I realize I sound like a total snob in this conversation, but in my defense, I'd like to point out that getting worked over for blood work is only #2 on my list of things I hate in this world. And it would be #1 but for the breadth of two extra hairy legs stuck on a bug.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So, I was feeling like I was perma-this:

Which made me think of this:

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
~Frank Lloyd Wright on Technology
So I took a little break to do some of this:
  • Boating
  • Tubing
  • Traveling
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Camping
  • Road-tripping
  • Sight-seeing
  • Travel-planning
  • Packing
  • Unpacking
  • Repacking
  • Chatting
  • Swinging
  • Singing
  • Temple-going
  • Movie-watching
  • Game-playing
  • Murder-solving
  • Picture-taking
  • Sleeping
  • Lift-riding
  • Napping
  • Partying
  • Working
  • Playing
  • Rinsing
  • Repeating

And I'm pretty sure all my bruises, bumps, and scrapes are proof that my push-button finger might be the only limb atrophying (:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It's been a while since I've blogged. It's not that I don't have anything to say, in fact I have tons of stuff I could talk about. June has been one of the craziest months in recent memory and I don't think I've been this tired since finals week in April 2004:

This is Bekka and me minutes after finishing up our last set of Freshman year finals. Note that my dark circles extend nearly to my chin. You may find it interesting that despite being on death's door (and a short 6-weeks after being bedridden with pneumonia), I left about five minutes later to hike the Y. Ouch.

I'd like the record to show, however, that although I may be acting like a freshman again, I've learned a thing or two along the way (such as making regular use of cucumber slices so my eyes don't get that bad.)

Despite a wealth of new-found knowledge, for some reason I've felt really listless when it comes to blogging. So I'm trying the only cure outside of homemade vegetable remedies that I can think of:

Now I'm listful (:

Friday, June 05, 2009

Flashback Friday - D-Day

In honor of those soldiers who both lived and died on the beaches of Normandy, today's Flashback Friday is a little bit different. Tomorrow is the 65th Anniversary of D-Day. I have no fun facts, only respect and gratitude for those heroes.

Here's a song written by British artist John Tams paired with footage of Operation Overlord:

And you can click here to link to the U.S. Army's site for more information, including interviews with veterans who were there.

Monday, June 01, 2009

It's the freakin' weekend

The grandparentals were in town for this:

So there has been much craziness for the past few days. Not the least of which was when my mom broke one ankle and sprained the other which pushed back Flashback Friday another week. (Unless you count reminiscing about the last time she sprained her ankle at the Heaton Ranch '91 Reunion.)

But even with all the drama, it's always fun when grandpa comes, when grand[ma] comes. Hooray!

Some choice quotes of the weekend:
  • "A day without a nap is a wasted day." -Grandpa
  • "I don't like other people driving my car because they let people get in front. I see no reason why anyone should pass me." -Grandpa
  • "Feña's fondest dream is to be related to Ward." -Taylor

That last one came when, after talking for 5 minutes with our neighbors two doors down, grandpa discovered his dad and our neighbors' great grandma were siblings. That makes us their 3rd cousins.

This pleases everyone to no end.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

zero (in)tolerance

In an embarrassing lack of syzygy, me, myself and my immune system are having a bit of a spat. While me and myself are strong supporters of health and wellness, my immune system finds that (in)tolerable. Because once you're in, you're in, right?

Right. In bed.

It started with an annoying little tickle in my throat three days into my trip to Cali, but when I woke up after a 7+ hour crash post-Thursday morning flight home with a 102 degree fever I figured I better get myself checked out.

And came home with a veritable pharmacy of drugs catered toward severe allergies, ear infections, and pneumonia.

For the second time this year.

So I have literally spent the last 4.5 days in bed with my left ear glued to a heating pad, and my right hand glued to my inhaler. It's sickening.

On the plus side, I read 5 books from the tower on my nightstand. And a diet of white grape juice, water, and the occasional packet of Lipton's noodle soup (the only things I can stomach with pneumonia) didn't hurt me on the scale at all either (8 lbs.).

In summation, the only thing of note in my life right now is a truly scary pallor due to zero percent sun.

But let me share a couple Cali pics from before I got sick:

I haven't had a birthday cake in literally years, but the hotel was kind enough to send me these cute and fabulously delicious mini cupcakes for my birthday. My favorite were the carrot and red velvet cakes.

I spent about 4 hours at Disneyland the whole time I was there, but at the end of the night, Disney hooked us up with some sweet VIP seating for the fireworks. They were awesome.

And the Onion never lets me down on my birthday...
Oh, plus there was an earthquake.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

(wo)man catcher?

Poor girl never knew what hit her...
(Witnessed in Rock Canyon Park on 5/5/09.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

booked for bad behavior, i should be

Over Christmas break, the fam undertook the nearly overwhelming project of sorting out all our books. I’m not what our final count was, but I know the Excel document was running at 150+ pages of titles. Family projects = INSANITY.

But we finally (mostly) got it finished with 7-8 boxes of duplicates/cast offs left over that Lauren has been selling on

One of her books was returned in the mail a couple days ago looking like this:

As you can see, it was plastered from top to bottom in Nutcracker and Native American art stamps (and thus obviously not insufficient in postage), so I was curious as to why it was returned.

You might not be able to read it, but the hand-written note in the lower corner says, “Refused. Must come direct from online bookstore or publisher.”

“That’s weird,” I thought. Then I took a closer look at the address. Santa Rita Jail. Suddenly that battered package seemed so sad. Some poor inmate was just trying to save a couple bucks on some reading material, but no such luck. I felt really bad.

Noticing that the corner was ripped, I peeked inside to see what he’d hoped to read. Harry Potter Book and the Goblet of Fire.

Wouldn’t it have been ironic if it was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban?

And this is why I am a terrible person.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Chastity Chair

As I mentioned before, Bekka and I took in a BYU baseball game last weekend. We were in the bottom of the second when something a few rows in front of us caught our attention:

This couple was holding hands across an empty chair. With further investigation, we found that the girl was wearing a ring but the guy wasn't, which could only mean one thing: Girl was surreptitiously cheating on absent husband by holding hands with random Boy two seats down.

Alternatively, the couple was engaged and saving a seat for the Holy Ghost...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Once upon a time...

...mommy got dressed up to go out and play with the puppies:

"She looks like Punky Brewster," said Meagan.
"Now would be the perfect time to bring your boyfriend home to meet the parents," said Taylor.
"She's the unibomber!" said Ian.
"Wazzup, Dawgs?" said Mommy.

And they all died laughing.

The End.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flashback Friday - School Daze

Having completely forgotten that BYU graduation was going on (although the insane traffic should have tipped me off), I headed down to Provo last night for some Jdawgs and baseball goodness.

It's true that the sea of caps and gowns made me feel a little nostalgic, but it mostly made me excited to start school again. Which then got me thinking about the last time I was a beneficiary of the British education system:
This is the school I went to for 3rd and 4th grade. As you can see, I was quite the fashion maven in the mandatory plaid shift dress and matching polyester jumper. (The fluorescent green fanny pack was optional and my own fantastically successful attempt at accessorizing, thank you very much.)

But wait, there's more!

Here we are wearing the mandatory blazer with the embroidered school logo on the breast pocket, the mandatory straw boater (replaced by a mandatory black felt bowler in the winter months), the mandatory white knee-highs and Mary Janes, and my absolute favorite mandatory accessory: the black patent leather briefcase (which replaced the brown leather satchel that was mandatory in Form 2).

And to accompany the mandatory uniform, mandatory report cards at the end of every term:

Some highlights:
  • Nine-year-olds being graded on elocution. As you can see (if you click to enlarge), I had "great enthusiasm for verse and learn[ed] and perform[ed] [my] recitations with confidence." To bad entertaining a crowd with ease didn't stick. I could be a rich woman.
  • In music class, I made "very pleasing progress with [my] recorder." This is because I was a proud member of the recorder club. We blew. In a good way...
  • My "unexpected and disappoint[ing]" maths score was prophetic.
  • My "uninhibited gusto" in art made me lose ten house points later that year when I went a little "gusto" with the papier-mache paste. Totally worth it though.
  • And the best news: I got my highest marks in history (96%). Hopefully my penchant to "participate freely and spontaneously in class" serves me well come this September...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

happy earth day!

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth (1804)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Flashback Friday - Spring Break

{oops...wrote and forgot to post this...}

Okay, yes, I've taken a bit of a vacation from Flashback Fridays. Time to repent. So let's talk about vacations. Specifically: Spring Break.

My family has been on Spring Break this week, and while I love spending time with the fam, it's wreaked havoc on my work schedule. Which meant I had to spend a significant part of my weekend catching up in my basement office instead of enjoying the lovely spring weather ):

Not that not having a Spring Break is anything new. Bless you BYU, but having negative percent vacation days during winter semester is one of your biggest failures.
So one semester, we decided to take matters into our own hands. The result:

Spring Break 2006: Barcelona

During study abroad, several members of the LC took advantage of a long weekend and low airfares to travel and dispersed to Austria, Scotland, and Sweden (I think), etc. We chose Spain.

Fun Facts:
  • With two whole semesters of Spanish under my belt, I was the most fluent of our group. This fact has Justin in hysterics whenever he thinks about it now (post-Bolivia mission).
  • The Mediterranean sun--even in early April--gave me one fantastic sunburn. Strangers pointed and winced everywhere we went.
  • The valet at the Hilton was hot.
  • A glimpse of the Picasso museum, a tour of Gaudi architecture, a stroll down Las Ramblas, and a sampling of Paella and Spain's best export (chocolate con churros) were all on our list of things to do. But let's be honest, all we really cared about was the beach:

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Main entry: in·san·i·ty
Pronunciation: \in-ˈsa-nə-tē\
Function: noun
Definition: (a) extreme folly or unreasonableness (b) something utterly foolish or unreasonable
Ungrammatical sample sentence: This weather is insanity.
Twelve hours ago:

Twelve minutes ago:

Now, I could start spouting off all sorts of crazy, but as my good friend Albert Einstein once said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

So I'll just stop while I'm ahead...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

British or Bust

Despite opening myself to ridicule, I'm going to admit I'm an on-again-off-again fan of American Idol. (This shouldn't come as a surprise.)

But lest you stop reading, thinking this is a blog in honor of Adam Lambert. It is so not. I'm off-again this season, and if you need a reason, here it is. Creeper.

There have been, however, performances in past years that have given me shivers in a good way. Here, for example.

But despite the wow-factor of some of these numbers, I've never been as touched by American Idol or its other reality counterparts as much as I have been while watching the British versions of these shows.

Anyone remember Paul Potts? Brilliant. I watched every one of his performances during the premiere season of Britain's Got Talent (thanks to Youtube) and was blown away. Every. Single. Time.

And now there's a new winner in town. Meet Susan Boyle. Love her. Season 3 just started on Saturday.

Inspiration is now just a Youtube search and a click away...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


When I was a baby, my grandma had a little poodle mix named Napoleon, "Nappy" for short. We were great friends:

Nappy was Grandma's favorite. He went everywhere with her and she attributed some of the happiest memories of her life to the short time they were together. A time which was tragically cut short when Nappy tried to take the steep, old stairs of my grandparents' Michigan home too quickly and fell, breaking his neck.
My Grandma mourned for about three years, until she learned that Nappy's mother was having another litter. She decided to buy one, and when the puppies were weaned, she picked one that looked just like Nappy. Same color fur, same curly hair, same chocolate eyes. In fact, the new puppy looked so much like Nappy that she named him Rerun.
While he never replaced the sweet memories Grandma had of her time with Nappy, the memories she had with Rerun were just as sweet. And Grandma always said that she loved Rerun all the more because she'd had Nappy first.

Well, I've had my own Nappy. (Steep, scary stairs included.)
Now it's time for a Rerun.
Same city. Same neighborhood. Much longer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Top Ten

Love, Love, Loved this weekend:
10. Peeps. Bought two weeks ago and left out to harden.
9. Deviled eggs. Always taste better in dyed shells.
8. Easter bread. As part of a delicious dinner with tons of family.
7. Chocolate. Eggs, bunnies, wrapped in pastel-colored foil.
6. Ward choir number 1. "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount" with some a capella goodness.
5. Ward choir number 2. Men's a capella version of D&C 76:22. Sublime.
4. Baptisms in the Draper temple. One of my names was "Theophilia". So coolly appropriate. Also met with some of the temple presidency.
3. Sacrament talks. Practically perfect in every way.
2. Relief Society lesson. Amazing, per the usual.
1. Palpable Spirit all weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2009

the picky eater test

My friend Mindi says it's possible to determine if you are a picky eater by answering these three questions:

1. Do you like green olives?
2. Do you like black licorice?
3. Do you like seafood?

If you answer "no" to any of these questions, then you are a picky eater.

Well, I was super happy to discover green olives in Andy's empanandas yesterday; when it comes to licorice, black is my flavor of choice; and fresh seafood is pretty much the only reason I would ever by tempted to move to the west coast.

So I pass the picky eater test.

But while I was in Seattle a couple weeks ago, I'll admit my heart (stomach) failed me just a little when I encountered this:

But I quickly recovered. And it wasn't bad. And I could drink a gallon of that sauce every day for the rest of my life and not get sick of it. Yum.

And yet I still can't bring myself to touch a PB&J with a ten-foot pole....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." -Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss, but I hate this quote. Probably because I can't stop crying.

My puppy Sammy is gone.

Lilah is kind of lazy. Whenever we take her on a walk, she stops every 20 feet or so and looks up at us with eyes that say, "Are we done with this ridiculous process yet?"

But Sammy wasn't like that. He loved going on walks. And he loved going on runs even more. So on Saturday afternoon, when he saw a runner going past the back fence, he took advantage of a momentarily open garage door and took off to join him.

The car didn't even have time to swerve.

I was working on some editing in my room when I heard a horrible, staccato, almost mechanical sound that I couldn't identify until it tapered off into pain-filled whining. I rushed to the window to see a man and woman jump out of their car as a crowd of neighborhood kids crowded around a black shape curled up on our front lawn.

With a sinking heart I ran outside and saw that the prone figure was Sammy. One of his back legs was sticking out at a strange angle and Delilah was licking one of the several raw scrapes on his head. He had stopped whining at that point, and was just looking up at us with pain-deadened yet trusting eyes. And my heart broke.

Dad and Ian rushed him to the Animal Hospital as the driver of the car and his wife apologized profusely and repeatedly. We could only tell them it would be okay, and that it wasn't their fault. They finally left, and La and I waited anxiously on the couch with Delilah between us.

A dose of painkillers, one round of anesthesia, two x-rays, and a little over an hour later, we got the news. Sammy's head and paw wounds were superficial, but his back leg had received a compound fracture close to the hip. The prognosis wasn't good. Technically, the break was healable, but would take surgery and at least six weeks of no movement followed by months of rehabilitation. Even after that, the breaking point would be under constant stress, and given that Black Labs are already at higher risk for hip dysplasia, Sammy would still feel almost constant pain.

The decision was both the hardest and the easiest.

Sammy would hate being kenneled for weeks, and being limited in movement for the rest of his life would have killed him. Death by inches. So we decided to let him go, before he even woke up from the anesthesia and had the chance to feel pain and fear again.

I know it was the right decision, but that doesn't stop the tears.

At first they were heavy, uncontrollable sobs as our family tried to cope. These eventually faded to fits and starts of gushing tears, and now they've progressed (digressed?) to silent, steady tears. The kind that seep through the cracks in your soul.
  • I cry because I loved Sammy more that Delilah, and my first thought was why couldn't it have been her.
  • I cry because I love Delilah too and that's a horrible thing to think.
  • I cry whenever I go into the backyard and see his toys strewn about.
  • I cry because Delilah won't even touch them.
  • I cry because Lauren thinks it's her fault for leaving the door ajar for that flash of an instant.
  • I cry because, even in her pain, Lauren spared the couple that hit Sammy by telling them that he was all right when they called to ask.
  • I cry because I saw Sammy's empty bed.
  • I cry because someone took it away and tried to fill the space with the end table that would match the one holding Sammy's favorite chew toy, but for the teeth marks going up one of the legs.
  • I cry because Delilah can still smell him and looks for him every time she enters a room.
  • I cry because she was finally tempted by his chew toy, but stays tensed while she plays with it, waiting for Sammy to jump on her for touching his things like he always used to do.
  • I cry because Delilah is still growing and now she wears Sammy's collar. And she hates it.
  • I cry because my mom was looking at dogs for sale on Craig's List. Even though we all know a square peg won't fit in a round hole.
And I cry because these cracks in my soul are like the hole in the dyke. And now an ocean of hurts is threatening to burst my carefully constructed dam.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm being so flaky it's scary... please enjoy your weekend (Friday the 13th and National Pie Day). Consider it my gift to you.
I promise I'll be back when I can stay in one time zone for more than 2.5 seconds.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Flashback Friday - Toothless

Did you know that tomorrow is National Tooth Fairy Day? Well, now you do. So let's talk about teeth.
This is me the first time I had a retainer (circa 1991). I was smack-dab in the middle of losing all my baby teeth and my adult teeth were coming in all sorts of wonky. If I clenched my teeth and stuck my tongue through the spaces, it made a perfect "W". I have a picture of this somewhere, but my hair is even crazier than it is in this picture--I know, hard to imagine--so I didn't really look too hard...

Tragically, my retainers were somehow lost during our move to England and it was months before I saw them again. By then they didn't fit anymore. It all worked out in the end though, because I only had to have braces for 11 months between 7th and 8th grade. Take that, Karma.

But I still have my post-braces retainers. They're sitting in they're lovely little turquoise case in my bathroom closet. Every few months when I get out a new toothbrush I see them a feel a little guilty. But I'm no masochist, so there they stay.

Fun Facts:
  • My dentist's name is Dr. Payne. It wasn't until my third or fourth visit that I got the irony of that. What can I say, homophones are my Type-A drug of choice.
  • I discovered the Tooth Fairy wasn't real even before the Santa Claus myth was busted. I found a note I wrote to her in my mom's jewelry box along with my tooth. I don't remember feeling sad or bad, mostly annoyed and embarrassed that I had been fooled by such a juvenile scheme. I was 5 at the time.
  • I haven't had a cavity since I was 11.
  • Flossing daily is the first of my New Year's Resolutions to fail...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Flashback Friday - Seattle

I'm going to Seattle in a couple weeks. That got me thinking about how long it's been since I've been back (6 years), which got me thinking about the reason I was there last time (choir tour), which got me thinking about my most* favorite class senior year (choir).

I've been in a few choirs in my day, but let's face it: I can't sing a note. But that's okay, because we all know the "most obvious reason [for choir is] the flirting between the sections." (Don't you love how I just quoted myself from my senior yearbook...)

That's right. I caved to nostalgia and broke out the old yearbook. (Conveniently located on a shelf in my room after I dug it out of a box of junk in the garage a couple weeks ago to try and identify some facebook friend requests. I can't believe I've already forgotten so many.) Seems like I'm not the only one whose eyes weren't always on the music:

"I love concert choir because of the altos I am privileged to sing with." - Darrell M.

The altos (:

And of course we loved the basses and tenors right back (:

But you had to be careful of where and when you looked, and "watch out for the big eyes or [you'd] end up on [Ms. B's] hit list!" - Steve B. and Johannes G.

Good times. Good times.

Fun Facts:
  • One time, Adriane and I snuck to Taco Bell during a concert because we were starving. Of course we still had our choir robes on because we had to sing again, so we elected to go through the drive in because it was faster and less conspicuous. Obviously we didn't expect the cashier at the pickup window to openly laugh at us. Or to point us out to all the other workers so they could come over and join in. (But that's just what he did.)
  • I also loved how it was kosher to be late to class as long as you brought Ms. B a snack. (The snack didn't have to be kosher.)
On an unrelated note, this is a pic of me at the Seattle Temple. My hair has passed this point and is officially the longest it's ever been. (Obviously now I just want to cut it all off again.)

*And by most I mean not so much...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

when it snows, you have two choices...

...shovel or make snow angels. ~ unknown
dear mother nature,
thanks for the reminder. and the yummy smell.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

summer afternoon - summer afternoon... me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the english language. ~henry james
dear mother nature,
are you quite finished?
meagan and henry

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flashback Fridays - Puppy Love

Right now we have two black labs named Samson and Delilah and we love them.

I really do think it's true that pets make you live longer more fulfilling lives. Sammy and Lilah are hysterical to watch and interact with and super smart too. They've figured out how to open the door to their room and will surprise me while I'm working a couple times a week. Yep, I love pets.

Which is a good thing, because we've had a lot of them. This is Ian with our Rottweiler Marco back in 1999. He was one of our favorites. His favorite game was to knock Ian down flat on his back and lick face off. It was Ian's favorite too. Sort of. Our favorite game was to give Ian Marco's leash and then kick a pear down the street and watch them go. Ian liked that one even better...

Fun Facts:

  • The first pet I can remember was our cat Tiger. We had him in Canada. Taylor's favorite game was putting him in a grocery bag and swinging him around her head. He loved that.
  • Then there was my cat Scamper. His favorite game was pretending he was a mountain lion. The mountain lions didn't like that so much.
  • A few months later Tay and I got golden retriever puppies that we named Sinbad and Samson. (Obviously I really like that name.) One day I was walking Samson and he found a bird that had fallen out of its nest. I rescued it and named him Tweety and kept him in a fish tank on our back deck. His mom actually found him and fed him Box Elder bugs every day. He was almost big enough to fly when Scamper decided to include him in a game of mountain lion. Tay and I planned a wonderful funeral.
  • It was also during this time that Tay and I were big on herpetology. Our record was 13 lizards, 7 horny toads, and 4 snakes at once. We kept them in ice cream buckets in the barn.
  • Then there was the time I went to England leaving behind a dog and two cats. Four months later I came back to two guinea pigs and two bearded dragons. Ian's favorite game is letting the dragons out to run around my room. It's my favorite too. Not.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

lest i lash out with an angsty facebook status...

.... i'm going to release some negative energy here. (it's already been one of those weeks.)

first, i'll do this:
things that amuse/annoy me one a scale of 1 to 10*
  • people who say "irregardless" - 1
  • spelling errors or misused words in general - 2
  • angsty facebook statii - 3
  • publishing house editors who spell my name wrong when paying me for editing services - 4
  • internet flash ad games - 5
  • unsolicited dating advice - 6
  • hospitals - 7
  • false pretences - 8
  • political pundits - 9
  • crass humor - 10

now i'm going to do this:

*1 being mostly amused, 10 being completely annoyed

Friday, February 06, 2009

Flashback Friday - Changes

I got carded a couple weeks ago. I don't feel old enough to be flattered by that, but I thought it was funny. (Especially since I was buying canned air at the time.) Later, as I was relating the experience to a colleague, she asked me how old I really was, and I honestly had to think about it for a second. Forgetfulness like that makes me feel too old:

My mom always says she's an 18-year-old living in an [insert real age here]-year-old body (I've been sworn to secrecy on this) and I think I her that more and more as time passes. Every once in a while something will happen like my baby brother gets his license, or I have a five-year high school reunion, or they start playing Chicago on the oldies station, and time slaps me upside the head because I haven't been paying it enough attention. Sometimes this makes me sad, sometimes I am proud, sometimes I feel nostalgic, and sometimes I get so excited I can barely hold it in. But it is always disconcerting.

That's why I love, love, love, this picture:

This is a picture me at eighteen months. But let's be honest, besides the height difference (one of the few times it's actually noticeable--yay!) this could have been taken today. Matching sweats? Check. Wild and crazy hair? Check. Kicking back in the office? Check. Lunch at my desk? Check. (I even had ravioli today.) This reminds me that while change is inevitable (except from a vending machine), some things--hopefully the best things, the essentials--don't have to change too much. (Also that I have been prepping for this job for over two decades.)

Fun facts:

  • I was born partially deaf in one ear and have never regained full hearing. This made me speak with a lisp when I was younger, and while it has faded, I recall one home video in particular where I was trying to catch Shultze (a puppy named after Herbert Schultze by my Grandpa, a veteran who retired from the U.S. Navy as Chief Petty Officer. He recognized men of honor on both sides.), so I ran around yelling "Shul-thee! Shul-thee!" It's pretty cute, but I'm glad that's one thing that has changed (:
  • I learned to read at a very young age and was reading Green Eggs and Ham out loud to my mom less than six months after this picture was taken. I've never stopped. (Reading in general, or Dr. Seuss in particular.)
  • My grandma still has that booster seat. It's seen her through over twenty grandchildren and at least ten great-grandchildren.

Both these pictures remind me that even though I still cringe when I see Ian behind the wheel of his car, or think that I don't know enough to be a high school graduate, let alone have a Bachelor's degree, or vividly remember dancing around the house with my mom to her brand-new Chicago 17 cassette tape (probably even in those same purple sweats), I don't have to feel like I'm getting too old for any of those things.

Instead, like the namesakes of Bill Watterson's iconic duo, I can enjoy the faded, "70s" color of the past for what it was and be grateful for what it still is because "there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."

And for the things that have changed, I can "take my [next] voyage. A great leap in the dark."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

mars and venus in the bathroom

When I was young, my hair was pretty wavy. And instead of settling down, it's only gotten more and more contrarily curly as I've aged.

I've mounted all sorts of defenses in response:
  • Blow dryers
  • Paddle Brushes
  • Round Brushes
  • Curling Irons
  • Flat Irons
  • Hot Rollers
  • Straightening Sprays
  • Pomades
  • Bobby Pins
  • Clippy Claws
  • Hats
  • etc.
It's quite the ordeal.
So every once in awhile, I just take the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach (aka "shake what your mama gave you") and pass on all the primping. The blow dryer takes a holiday and mother nature takes the wheel (with a little help from the AC when I was commuting to SLC) to result in something like this*:

It's very freeing.
Except one day, whilst I was waxing rhapsodies to my mother about my liberated state, my brother snidely remarked, "I wish you'd liberate some counter space in the bathroom while you're at it." (Because of course, you can't trust Mother nature before applying gel, mousse, and de-frizzing serum at the very least...)

*results not typical