Wednesday, December 30, 2009

All You Need is Love

Holy Smokes. I love world-unity-feel-good types of movies. Don't you? Here's one to start out the New Year...

Also, Bobby, Shauni mentioned that you sort of look like the guy with the beard sitting on the front row of minute 1:04. I can definitely see it...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Steal-of-a-Deal



I love a good steal-of-a-deal. The best ones come from Goodwill on 1/2 off day and Deseret Industries. This one was too good to pass up, especially because it was a couple of bucks ($3.50, I think). A Big Bird cookie jar is priceless, almost.

Friday, December 25, 2009

To Do (Longterm List):


There are some important artists/concerts I need to see live before I die:

Mikhail Baryshnikov
Billy Joel
Neil Diamond
Nickel Creek


There are some important artists/concerts for which I'm going to have to die in order to see "live":

Michael Jackson
Louis Armstrong
Frank Sinatra
Gregory Hines


There are some important artists/concerts I hope I never see regardless of life status:

Air Supply
Michael Bolton
Kenny G
Dan Fogelberg


There are some authors I'd give an arm and a leg to as a few questions of/talk to:

Carson McCullers
Pearl S. Buck
John Steinbeck


There are some places I must live:

A few select locations back east
Nowhere cold or snowy
South America


There are some extended vacations I must take:

The Louvre and other scattered art museums (2 months)
Washington D.C. (1 month)
Peru/Machu Pichu (3 weeks)
Africa (1 month)


There are some graduate degrees I must obtain:

Children's Literature
Early American History
Physics


There are some languages to master:

Hebrew
Spanish
English


There's more stuff to say but it's 11:23 and I'm tired and my brain is shutting down. You know what? I'm going to head off to bed. But before I go, do you have anything you'd like to do? Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Can of Deliciousness


I must say I was quite pleased when we received a can of this joy from friends this Christmas season. Of course, there was a homemade label wrapped around the can instead of a cow face, but I barely even looked at the label. It was the insides I was after.

You ask "Sweetened Condensed Milk?" I reply with "What else would there be?" I'd like to explain how you too can obtain this desirable treat:

Take one can of the Eagle Brand America's Most Trusted Sweetened Condensed Milk and set it in a pot of water to boil for 3 hours. Keep the pot full of water, and make sure the entire can is always covered by water. Rotate the can around every 45 minutes or so. After 3 hours, take the can out and set it on the counter to cool. When it is not burning hot, put in in the refrigerator and leave it in overnight.

The can will be ready upon the morrow. Open it up to find ounces of pure deliciousness. The sweetened condensed milk will no longer be runny. It will be like unto a thick carmel dip, but better. Most consumers will chop up an apple to dip into it. I just get a spoon and start digging in.

Be good to yourself. Try it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Contemplating...




I have so much to say about books and literacy. There are so many valuable, enriching, useful resources and ideas I'd like to share that I think such a catered blog is called for. I do believe I'll do that.... one of these days.



Monday, December 21, 2009

You Might as Well Eat the Box = Falsehood



There are few precious foods that "hit the spot" in life. For me, Reese's Puffs still stands strong in first place. If your dog gets hit and killed by a car in the near future, sit yourself down with a bowl of that heavenly mana. You'll say to yourself "Yes, all is well." In one sitting I can suck down a whole box without realizing what I've done. How did I discover this delight? Let me tell you....

As a kid, guidelines for picking cereal at the store while grocery shopping were:

1. You may get a box of cornflakes.
2. You may get a box of shredded wheat.
3. Fruit Loops are a once-in-a-while exception.

It was common knowledge at our household that when it came to sugar cereal and nutrition "you might as well eat the box." The downfall for these strict cereal-purchase rules came when Life cereal was introduced during my fourth grade year. That cereal was a doorway that led to the good stuff. Still, the the same rules stuck for a long time, with the addition of:

4. You may get a box of Life.

Later on, much later on, a box of Reese's Puffs was brought home. "What is this strange foreign food?" I thought. Needless to say, it disappeared fast. Not long after, similar sugar cereals began to appear as grocery sales went on. The clincher for the downfall of the cereal rules took place one warm, welcomed afternoon when I arrived home from somewhere. Mom was sitting at the table and, what? A box of Reese's Puffs stood before her. What is in her cereal bowl? REESE'S PUFFS?! Shouldn't she be eating the box? This just couldn't be. She tried to change the subject, to detract from the truth of what lie before her, but there was no denying it. The change of heart was almost complete. Next time she wouldn't even try to hide it. I decided to celebrate her conversion by pouring a bowl for myself. You know what? The box was empty. Yes, she ate a whole box by herself and no, she didn't eat the box either.

Since that day, many a box of mana has passed through the household. No more cereal rules. No more cornflakes. No more shredded wheat. We don't by Reese's Puffs frequently, only here and there. I would/do eat that stuff for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. It's hard to keep it in stock. When it's around I tell myself to save some for others but I don't care for others as much as I care for Reese's Puffs. Puffs come first. Others next. Sad, I know, but that's one of my weaknesses I have to work on.... later.

So pick yourself up a box of manna. Reese's Puffs manna. You won't regret it. Not one bit.

P.S. The front of the Puffs box on this post flaunts calcium. Eat the box indeed. Huh!

Monday, December 14, 2009

News Flash

It's Christmas time and the spirit is spreading. I haven't been too gung-ho about it this year but I will admit a tear came to my eye when I watched this. Merry Christmas!

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video.

Comical Discoveries

I love this quote here below and the book that it came from for that matter. I read it a couple of years ago while living in Provo. The book is entitled Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs. It's a biography of Louisa May Alcott and it won the Newberry Medal in 1934. The book was simple, revealing, quick, and very enjoyable. As I read along, I was so fascinated by their lives and extreme circumstances of living. The quote/comment made in the book was stated in reference to the attitudes and living of the Alcott family during those times of hardship. It can be found on page 146. It is simply stated as thus:

There is no place where something comic cannot be discovered.

So true. So true. Don't some of the funniest moments happen in some of the most trying times? If you've ever seen the movie Steel Magnolias the phrase "Here. Hit Wheezer!" is a prime example of what I'm talking about. Do have a funny moment from a serious/trying time to share? Don't be shy. Say it via comment!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Destiny...

I was reading a bit about John and Abigail Adams yesterday. Abigail Adams grew up with books in her home. In fact, her father and grandfather each had several thousand. I had to laugh because just the other day I was telling my sister that I can say I literally have a couple thousand books. Maybe someday I'll have "several" thousand. As for now, I have no room left for my current collection. I have boxes under my bed, in my closet and in other odd places. All of my children's books are in the garage/kitchen entry way. Bless my dear mother for letting me keep them there.

How can one afford so many books you ask? One must visit D.I. or Goodwill on 1/2 off day many times over a matter of years. How does one keep track of all of them? I record them in an Excel database, but I haven't printed it out yet. I pretty much know which books I do have and don't. Only a rare 2 or 3 times have I come home to find I already have the book just purchased. Some would question my sanity, but it all makes sense to me.

My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast. For a little while The Little Mermaid was fighting for higher regard but B and the B won out. Maybe this clip will explain why. I still remember how I felt when I was little and the library scene came on. How I wanted that exact library! Even being so young and filled with awe, I subconsciously knew it was my destiny. Watch the clip to get a feel for what you'll be visiting when you come and call at my future home.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friday Freebie!

Today's Friday Freebie is book related, of course. Creature Comforts generously shares these three templates. One link is a library card pocket, another is the actual library card. The third link is a library style card that could be used as notepaper or something like that. Gotta love free printables. Enjoy!

Also.....

For the weekend, I leave you with a speech. This was delivered before the Senior class of the Cambridge Divinity college by Ralph Waldo Emerson on July 15, 1838. It's been a while since I've read it, and I can't remember the whole premise, but I remember how poetic it was. I can't remember if I agreed with all is ideas, but he sure said it masterfully.

The discovery came when I viewed the new Joseph Smith first vision movie at the Mesa Temple visitor center. Before the movie began, a quote flashed on the screen making the statement that God has spoken to his children throughout all the ages and there was never a time that needed it more than now. That isn't the direct quote. The direct one is much more striking. I had to know where it came from. I wanted the meat of it. Anyway. I found it. The source is HERE. It's delicious to read, though it is a bit heavy for one sitting. I had to read it in two or three sittings. At any rate, I'm going to read it again this weekend. Care to join me?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ding-Dong

Today I provide you with "The Ding-Dong". Not the kind that that locks her keys in the car repeatedly, but the kind you push at the doorstep. I do believe I'm going to start a series of how-tos for high-fives and knuckles. Todays is entitled "The Ding-dong". There has previously been posted "The Turkey". You can thank my brother James for these how-tos. I asked him where he learned all of them and he replied "Erica, I'm in junior high". I didn't think much good came out of junior high but I here now prove that wrong. Enjoy, and p.s. we filmed in in green mode. I don't know why but we did. I also don't know why my teeth are orange.


video

The Name Game

Note: I started out writing a post then it turned to a conglomeration of thoughts, sort of like a stream of conscious writing. Be warned. It might not all flow or fit together perfectly.

I get to know a lot of kids working at an elementary school that has hundreds upon hundreds of students. I've been at this school for awhile. This year marks the fourth year of my employment, I think. Anyway, I've filled so many different positions/roles that I've worked with tons of students. Every once and a while, a child will come up and say "Hi Erica!" after I exchange a hello, the inevitable question follows "Do you remember my name?" At this point working there, I usually don't remember the student. It sounds terrible, but there are hundreds of them. I spend hardly any time with many of them, but still, every time this happens a part of me desperately searches deep into the rusty storage files of names. Most times the question is posed, I feel the child imploring "Do you really know me?" The child is usually so searching that I feel like he/she can see right into my insides for that connection.

It is such a very present and real, almost tangible need to have people "know" me. Family, friends, and even strangers share those connections at times. I think such connections are part of what make us human.

It is easy to see people as objects sometimes. When such views/attitudes arise, those "knowing" connections are lost and the possibility for such is blocked. No wonder the first great commandment is to love the Lord your God. When we truly do, we cannot see people as objects.

Just the other night I was sitting at the counter with family members and a conversation about Christmas presents was being had. Though the recipient of the gift was right in the room with us, much unspoken conversation went on. It was almost eery (but not in a spooky way) to be able to converse so much with such little spoken word. There has to be those deeper connections for that to happen.

Sometimes there are longing feelings of loneliness or feelings of joy that even the most intimate of friends and family cannot "know". At times when I feel that way, I am drawn to prayer. At those times when I feel a longing to be "known", I am turned in/to a process of coming to know our Father in Heaven. The focus turns from me needing to be known to actively communing seeking rather to know instead of being known. This scripture comes to mind:


I'm not saying it isn't good to have the need of being known. It is natural and a good thing but maybe that need to be known is best met by seeking to know? Hm. I read this today and was grateful for the guidance of how to better "know" the Savior. It's all so misty in my mind so if you don't get it, well, I don't have the firmest grasp either. I'm still trying to understand the connections.

Back to names. I've been having random thoughts that aren't yet solidly formed but they all deal with names. First, as a baby born of parents who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a name and blessing is given officially at church. Names are important. A name is the label of you, the representation of who you are. Second, when we are baptized, we covenant "that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son". Interesting. The Son is known by many names. When we make that covenant, we covenant willingness to take upon us those names? Well, they all refer to Him and are representative of aspects of his being as a whole, but it's interesting to consider those names that we are willing to represent. From there, the journey continues to other times and places that names are dealt with, but I'll just leave it at that.

In connection with wanting to be "known". There is also wanting to be heard vs. listening. Chew on that.

All of these thoughts are random and a bit messy but there you go. There is so much to learn and so little time!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bob at the Crosswalk


Today I share with you a priceless photo of me. It's cold and I'm at the crosswalk in the morning. Having a blast? Hmm.

I share this picture with you because it includes my new, teddy-friend-for-a-day Bob. Bob has been rotated around my literacy class this past semester and I finally got to host him at the end. When I took Bob home, my assignment was to include him with me on an adventure, then have him write about it in his teddy bear journal. What other adventure would I want to take Bob on, other than crossing guard duty? None. How did Bob fare, you ask? I'll just share with you his journal entry:

"Crossing Guard Duty"

Today I protected the innocent pedestrian lives of exuberant, sweet children. Did any child get hit by a car? Not while I'm on duty! Nuh uh. Such incidents only happen at the other crosswalks.

Signing out,
Teddy-Bob
P.S. I was pretty thrilled about the official garb. Who doesn't like to revel in a little neon glory every once and a while?

So there you have it. Crosswalk Wonder-Bob and his sidekick Erica. Unfortunately, you can't stay tuned for more adventures with Bob. He went home to his family. Fortunately, you can experience the excitement of crossing guard duty for yourself! Yes, you! It's an important job full of dangers so I'll be there to coach you through the process. I'd like to say that your experience will be priceless, but it won't be. I charge $10 per morning duty experience. It's well worth the money, for me. Also, note, a complimentary photo will be provided.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Graffiti and The Boogey Man

I went on an adventure to an abandoned warehouse over the weekend with a friend. All in all, it was a good thrill. It was a little creepy, especially when we scared a bird and it, in turn, alarmed us with its puny darting and fluttering. I wasn't really scared until we got to a stairwell. Then my heart started pounding. At the top, there was a man with a gun. Just kidding about the gunman part. It was dark and steep. To sum it up, I was too chicken to go up. In addition, there was a huge face that looked like a sly devil of a man. He flaunted his bold height from floor to ceiling. I'll admit I was creeped out about that too. The feelings that I experienced can best be described by earlier events from my childhood....

When I was little, and my family would go on vacation to visit my grandparent's house, it was inevitable that at one point during the stay I'd have to go down in the basement to get a can of something for my grandma. I was sure that there was some bad guy waiting in the basement pantry (for you Ericsons, the one directly facing the stairs 25 feet away, not the one at the end of it). He was there, covertly waiting to get me. In my mind I knew such thoughts of massacre were foolishness, but my knowing heart screamed RUNN!!! I knew that once I started bounding up the stairs, my chances for living were almost sure.

Every kid gets scared like that at one time or another right? I hope I'm not alone. The part of this story where I may be alone is that even when I was in junior high, the mad dash for my life was still happening. Sure, I might not have been sweating by the time I got to the top of the stairs, but I was still quick on the job. That's for sure.

So as I approached the stairs in the warehouse, a remembrance of these distant feelings emerged and I firmly refused to go up. As I walked past the spooky picture, I almost thought he'd turn his head and follow my every move. CREEPY!! I quickly moved forward for the rest of the tour.

In honor of my weekend experience, I'd like to share with you a little video. It's pretty long and I got bored after a while, but It's entertaining to watch for a minute or two. Yes, it is a movie of graffiti. Yes, the graffiti comes alive. Maybe I was a little justified in my fears of the evil graffiti-man on Friday night?

Here you go.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Freebie!

It's been quite awhile since I've posted. I've been finalizing projects and assignments. Oh yeah, I had to start doing an online class that's due Monday. I looked at it at the beginning of the semester then stressed about it for the rest of the semester then finally buckled down and got to work this week. Not smart. I know. That's not the point of the post though!

I have been amassing bookplates as of this year and would like to share some with you. I'd give you all that I have so far but I need to put it all together. So tonight you get a little sliver. The big collection will come another Friday Freebie day. Tonight's segment consists of vintage bookplates. Check them out HERE. Aside from the freebie ones, there are some nice detailed ones to look at too. I have some modern ones if that's what you're wanting, but those will come a little later. Oh the anticipation!

I'm signing off with the our elementary school staff newsletter slogan, "Read on! Lead on!"!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Freebie!

So I bet there were a lot of good deals out there today, but not as good as the one I'm giving you. I found paper-toy website. I don't remember how I came upon it, but I did. That's all that matters. It's full of free kid stuff. It's for the child within you, or your own child, or some child you know. I haven't played with any, but I plan on making the spinners (linked below). Be sure to check out the whole website here. There's a ton of free stuff. Here are some of my favs...

Patrin's Frog (fold up frog box)
Paper Plane (put it together)
Animals (stand up alone)
Spinners (fun fun fun)
Paperdolls (and their clothes)

So happy Black Friday, though it's happy colorful-fun Friday at my blog.

Good times,
Slim Pikins

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


James has been teaching me some killer high fives. We made a little video of one for you. I'm looking a little scary, but you'll get the point.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

video

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Recommendations for the Day


I'm going to give a little shout out for Bipolar Disorder to increase awareness in this world so ill-informed. For those ignorant and those informed, I highly recommend An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison. Click HERE. She is accomplished and considered an authority on the subject and well respected in the academic community. Jamison herself has Bipolar Disorder and as the title states, the book is a memoir of her experiences. This book is very appropriate for a casual, informative, entertaining read. I recommend it to many people often. By reading this book the reader will gain somewhat of an understanding of what the disorder truly is and is not. Read it!


The second book I'd like to recommend is also by the same author but is vastly different in style. During her time writing Touched with Fire, Jamison was a professor of psychiatry at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Touched with Fire includes researched genetic lines of many famous writers, artists, and composers with probable Cyclothymia, Major Depression, or Manic-Depressive Illness (Bipolar Disorder). She includes selections of writing and prose from her subjects of research. I enjoyed the deep connections I found, and to a certain degree, understood what the writers felt. It was a bit haunting to read with a perspective similar (in a way) to their own. I also found the genetics fascinating. I found a link for the book. Click HERE. It's a Google thing and you can read through a ton of it for free.

I hate websites that sport famous people (with no credible documentation), claiming the individuals have some extreme disorder. I hesitate to add such sensationalism to my own page, but as a general rule, stating big names grabs attention and I hope that this tactic might suck you, the hesitant reader, into further interest. The final deciding reason I let myself post the below names is that the research on the individuals is in depth and credible, not some sensationalized list from a subpar website. I left out the information included with the individuals' names (If a person was placed in an asylum or psychiatric hospital, committed suicide, or attempted suicide). You'll have to read the book to find out what happened to who. So without further ado, I give you some of the well-known names contained in the book:

Poets:
Robert Burns, Victor Hugo, T.S. Elliot, Randall Jerrell, Edgar Allan Poe, Ezra Pound, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Walt Whitman, and Alfred, Lord Tennison

Writers:
Hans Christian Anderson, James Barrie, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kenneth Graham, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Leo Tolstoy, and Virginia Woolf

Composers:
Hector Berlioz, George Frideric Handel, Modest Mussorgsky, Sergey Rachmaninoff, Robert Schumann, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Irving Berlin

Artists:
Paul Gauguin, Hugo van der Goes, Vincent van Gogh, Michelangelo Adolphe Monticelli, Edvard Munch, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Jackson Pollock


SO to sum it up, if you read one out of the two, read An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, the first suggested one. I give it 5 solid stars and two firm thumbs up. If you've heard the term or, heaven forbid, used the term "she/he is so bipolar", the speaker (hopefully not you) most likely had no idea what tripped out of his/her/hopefully not your mouth. As a forewarning, the book is a bit graphic at times, so if you don't want to read a PG-13, don't read it, but do. Cast off your ignorance! Read!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Irritated

I don't know why I keep using the word "jazzed" lately. It's really irritating. I don't like the feel of it and it's especially distasteful to say it out loud. Let me give you an example of it's usage: "I'm so jazzed I get my Wednesday classes off this week!" Bleh! It makes me feel like a headache is coming on every time I use it. One other word that has been bothering me lately is the word "tickled", as in "I'm so tickled that you are coming to visit". AAahh! Why do I continue to use these ill choices of words? I wish they would leave my vocabulary bank alone. Scram! Git!

On the other hand, I just can't seem to get enough of the phrase "pleased as punch". I look for any opportunity available to employ it's use. I can't help but give a wide grin when I say it. Some other words I like to say/hear are regal, snack, and carnivorous.

Why do I have little word quirks? Surely there are word quirks in others. What are words you like and dislike?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tis the Season

Readers,

I normally wouldn't/won't post twice in one day but as Thanksgiving is approaching full speed, I need to get this to you before Monday rolls around! Here's a quick feel good, a must see: In the Spirit of Thanksgiving (Click on it). Have a tremendous rest of the weekend!

Over and out,
Slim Pikins

Today's To-Do's

I'm always so glad when Saturday rolls around. I get to do normal things that are not possible to accomplish during the week. I guess you could say that "Saturday is a special day".

To-Do:

Laundry darks
Laundry whites
Lauren's Christmas gift
Put together Shauni's Christmas gift
Organize class binders (Oh help!)
Vacuum
Clean Bathroom
Write Ryan
Write Kimberly
Drop book off at library
Visit the temple
Finish literacy project
Find box for other literacy project
Go make copies of literacy handouts for class on Monday
Iron dishtowel (is prep for next task)
Iron on dishtowel iron-on pattern
Shower?
Watch a movie tonight (Thankfully I'll be able to multi-task and get this done along with another on the list at the same time.)


So there you have it. There are many other things to be done, but I need to get started and those are the first that came to mind. The time for dilly-dallying is past. Oh, what would I do without Saturday!? What do you do on Saturday?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fantastic Freebie Friday!

Doot ta doo! Today for Freebie Friday I share with you today some pop-up goodness! When I was in first grade, I was fascinated by pop-ups. They were so magical. Now, I'm in, uh, 16th or 17th grade. I'm still fascinated by them and yes, they are still so magical.

I present to you Robert Sabuda. I have a book he contributed to, Brava Streganona! A Heartwarming Pop-Up Book. Tender, I know. There are some photos of the innards on Amazon, but some of the best ones are left out. I doubt you can check it out at your local library and I doubt you want to drop a 20 spot for it. So here's the deal. Come visit at my house and you can read it as many times as you want.


Here are some Robert Sabuda creations:
Robert Sabuda has free pop-ups you can make. There are three levels of ease/difficulty being simple, intermediate, and advanced. I recommend checking out the whole gamut of choices here. Here are instant visuals/samples. Click on the picture and you'll be connected with the instructions and pattern.


Simple:


Intermediate:



Advanced:



So in summary, this week's Friday Freebie is a wealth of pop-up opportunities, by Robert Sabuda, located here. Enjoy!

Problematic Plethora of Pending Projects

Currently, I have about a bajillion projects mid-processing. They're all too entertaining and I just can't get enough. Right now I'm busy enough with school and work that I don't have much crafty free-time. To alleviate the deprivation of reveling in crafty delight, I've found that I can crochet during the 1/2 hour car ride to class (What? Crochet and drive you ask? Answer: No, the carpool driver drives while I ride and crochet). I've crocheted some cute dishrags (I made them because they are very durable. The cuteness is just a bonus.) and am now working on the afghan I started in middle school. I'll definitely post a picture of the afghan when it's finished. It's a keeper.

So here's the problem. I'd like to make this beauty here below. There's no way I can start it though until my other pending projects are finished. I guess it's not too big of a problem, as I love working on my other beauties. Hmm. One day this one too will join the ranks.




If you click on the picture, it will take you to the source from which I found it. Also, don't forget that the blog post tomorrow will feature a Friday Freebie!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time: Late-ish

I just got home from class. It's been an action packed day, but I'm new to the blogging-world so of course I have an initial exuberance of devotion. Because I missed so many stop-and-smell-the-roses moments today, I'm guessing that maybe some of you did too. Presumptuous? I don't think so, really. Anyway, who cares? I'll share with you a video of a dog catching those precious, missed moments for me, then maybe you'll feel better too.


What You Missed from Michael Kontopoulos on Vimeo.


I'll here give a shout out and special thanks to Michael for taking care of the important moments in life. What a pro. He really is.

Here is one gem battling for the first-place-favorite spot. I couldn't bear to leave it out, even though it has nothing to do with missed moments. Well, now that I think about it, as far as missed moments and this video are concerned, I definitely think that by watching the video, you won't be wasting or missing any of them precious moments. That's for sure.


Machine that Tries to Draw Circles from Michael Kontopoulos on Vimeo.


So my friends, which one is your favorite? What'll it be? Note: Even if you thought the videos were irritating, a waste of time, ridiculous, or stupid, I'll have you know; such thoughts are not fitting and do not apply to these videos.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh Snap! Oh Snap!

There are certain care-free idiosyncrasies that elementary school children exhibit. No matter where you go, you'll find the same in any elementary school. I love it when I catch a child mid-idiosyncrasy. Doing so allows me to bask in that carefree state and then carry a little bit of that feeling on for the rest of the day. There are many, many idiosyncrasies of children, but here are my favorite carefree/trying to learn carefree ones:

Skipping
Skipping at full speed
Skipping so fast that tripping is inevitable
Whistling a clear, loud tune
Just whistling
Barely whistling
Blowing air, trying to whistle
Casually walking around with hands in pockets
Pulling treasures out of pockets
Whistling with hands in pockets
Whistling with hands in pockets while skipping (Just Kidding)
Snapping
Trying to snap

Some of these carry on into adulthood you say? Why yes, they do. Hopefully you're not the one skipping so fast that tripping is inevitable, but then again, if I'm around, maybe, hopefully you are. O.K. In all seriousness do you do any of these? At any rate, I'm definitely going to have to post other types of idiosyncrasies. These are just my favorite, care-free ones. Did I miss any other major carefree ones?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote For the Day

Well, I don't know how this posting-one-thing-every-day is going to go. It might become a little bit less frequent. We'll see.

I had to crack up when I read this quote. I'm almost 25 and still living at home with still a little time left to go. Fortunately I have a wonderful, loving, supportive family. I'm quite partial to them. I couldn't think of a better family for me to be in. I must say though, there are some times that I scream in my head "I'm 25 and still living at home!!! Get me out of here!!! This is ridiculous!!!" Yes, sometimes that's just how life goes. So here's the quote....

"Mama says that living in one room is a test of how much a family loves each other. She says anyone can get along in a palace where he can shut the door and sulk by himself but it takes real character to live with your elbows rubbing each other."

-Miss Charity Comes to Stay, Alberta Wilson Constant, 1959

What a crack up. If students at school don't want to do something, or if they whine about something hard, I tell them "Oh you're fine. It builds character." So I guess I got my own words right back at me. I'm building character! Who'da thought?

This quote comes from the book What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-ups from Children's Books. You can purchase it here. It's only $3.98! I, of course, got it at Goodwill for 50 cents. I'm sure I'll be posting quotes from it again. It's chalk full of some gems.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Poem and Speech for the Day

As for the poem, I found it while perusing through The Miracle of Forgiveness. It stirred something deep down within me. There is such substance, such passion, ideals, and power that comes from the writings of early America. Maybe it was the newness of the Nation's birth, from all that enabled its forthcoming, including the work, sacrifice, hope, and faith that produced such fruition. There was a variety of citizens/people that lived during the time. Many factors influenced the individuals themes and diverse ideas, yet there is a common thread of power and passion that I feel when I read those works. I love the writing of that time period! Here's the poem, a mere sample of the time period selection:

My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So turning gloomily from my fellow men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and, trembling, I forgave.

-John Greenleaf Whittier

Here is an excellent speech given by Douglas L. Callister. Callister was just recently released as a General Authority this past October Conference. The speech was given to students at BYU. It will give you something to think about. As it addresses literature and the arts I was interested immediately. If you aren't concerned about literature and the arts, maybe you will be after you read it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dafont? Dasright.



I'd like to share a freebie with you today. Maybe I should share freebies every Friday. Should it be Freebie Friday or Friday Freebie? I like the sound of Friday Freebie, and that's what it'll be unless someone would like to comment and suggest otherwise. I personally love Freebies, as long as they're quality, so quality is what I'll provide you with.

That being stated, I present to you www.dafont.com. It's a treasure trove of fonts... and they're all free! Here are some highlighted fonts to check out:


The fonts are bold, but fun to look at and even more fun to use. Like I said, it's quality. In this case, it's also quantity. Lucky you, it's a twofer. So this weekend, download your favorite font/s and type up something special. If you don't know what to write, try a love letter. If you don't have someone to write a love letter to, that's lame. Just kidding. Write yourself a love letter. Love letter not your thing? Try some hate mail. Just kidding about that one too. Type a to-do list. That's boring, but not if you use www.dafont.com!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Music for the Day


Growing up, music appreciation was big with my dad. Classical (as in orchestra/symphony/etc.) music was to be listened to on the radio. Rap and Radio Disney were not options; however, on Saturday afternoons cruising around town in the Acura, we absorbed classics from other genres. Classic rock was a basic staple for those memorable rides. Toto, Heart, Styx, The Cars, and Fleetwood Mac were all frequents. My post today hails an also Saturday-classics frequent that has become a solid piece of my soul, my music soul.

Paul Simon's album Graceland incorporates musicians from South Africa and is not like his earlier folkie albums recorded with Garfunkel. It is in itself its own unique genre.

Graceland flows through my veins. I listen to it now, and I might add, not just in the car on Saturdays. The songs are gems. If you don't listen to the whole genius of an album, listen to track 2, 3, 5, 6, or 8. If you prefer youtube, here is a live recording of Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes at a concert in Zimbabwe. Here is a the song Graceland from the same concert. He also recorded a music video featuring Chevy Chase in the song Call Me Al. As a side note, Simon keeps forgetting that Chase is supposed to do the lip-syncing. He slips up a bunch, but is still a music legend just the same.

I leave you with solid, quality music and the mantra of "rock on," or should I say "classics on!" to be heeded by the reader promptly.

Poem for the Day

Some People

Isn't it strange some people make
You feel so tired inside,
Your thoughts begin to shrivel up
Like leaves all brown and dried!

But when you're with some other ones,
It's stranger still to find
Your thoughts as thick as fireflies
All shiny in your mind!

-Rachel Field

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kindergarten Writing Time


I was visiting my mom's kindergarten class during writing time yesterday. One of the girls wanted to share her work with me. She wrote "I like Stuart." Why? I Don't know. What she should have written was "I like dogs." Why? Well, for one, she, in all seriousness, thinks she is a dog. For two, she drew a dog to accompany herself and Stuart. The best part is that the dog is wearing Sketchers. Blue ones. She (the writer/dog-girl) was pretty delighted that the dog had Sketchers on. This makes me chuckle.

As a side story note, at the beginning of the year, the kindergartners had to make handprints. Dog-girl came up with her fingers curled into fists, ready to go. She was confident in the knowledge that she doesn't have hands, but paws. Initially, she sounded like she was a few brain cells short of being human, which would probably qualify her as animal, which was what she was going for in the first place, but as time has passed, she has turned out to be very bright, very hilarious, and a little bit less dog than she was at the beginning of the year. Three cheers for the dog-girl!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Scripture/Thought for the Day

As a counselor at a youth conference, I attended with the youth a musical performance. It was accompanied by a slideshow of The Reflections of Christ. As the music was performed, the pictures moved along in sync. I had seen the original Reflections of Christ works prior to the conference so the slideshow wasn’t anything new, but at one point during the performance I was struck by one of the images. The particular work depicted Christ standing above a kneeling blind man. I was instantly fixated on the grip that the blind man had on his Savior. This was not a grip of desperation, but a grip holding firmly with knowledge of whom it was he clung to and what it meant to hold on with firm faith. He knew who Jesus was, and not by physical sight either. Unexpectedly, tears formed on the rims of my eyelids. I knew that man. I knew that grip. I knew his need. I realize that art is subject to the viewer. As I saw in that representation a man who recognized the Savior and knew to cling to Him, not in desperation but in resolution with rock solid faith permeated by hope and desire, another viewer will experience alternate insights and feelings.

Sometimes life experiences occur that move, change, turn, deepen, lift, carry, sustain, and awaken our inside in ways that words fail to accurately express. Viewing that picture at that particular time stirred some of those deepened feelings. There was moving with in me, and I didn’t understand completely what I was feeling inside.

Time has a way of allowing us to process experiences and grow in understanding. Time pressed forward about a year and a half and I found myself taking my grandparents to visit the original Reflections of Christ exhibit that had again been put on display at the Mesa Art Center. The artist, Mark Mabry was present and handed out small picture cards of some of the selected works. Lo and behold, the blind-man-rock-solid-grip was one of them. On the back of the card, the scripture St. John 9: 2-3 was printed.


St. John 9:2-3

2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.


I was impressed to find this scripture on the back. My prior experience with the work was even more individualized and significant now as I considered some personal inspiration received…

Many times in recent past years I have felt utterly helpless, plagued by my physical conditions that have had nothing to do with my choosing. The Savior shared the reason for the blind man’s condition, “that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” During my early struggles with Bipolar Disorder, before I even knew that I had it or what was going on with my mind and body, I would plead in prayer with my Father to know if I had done something wrong. If I had, shat was it that I’d done? Was I still doing something wrong? What is/was it!!!? Through my process of pressing forward, I have learned the error of my thinking. Just like the blind man, I hadn’t committed any “sin” that would result with this disorder I possessed. Genetics, chromosome 16 specifically, is the genetic weak link I am physically made of.

As I continued to consider the phrase “that the works of God should be made manifest in him,” another insight struck me. I’d previously considered the “works made manifest” to mean that the blind man would receive his sight by the miracle of Jesus’ restoring his sight. Now, as I saw myself in that blind man, I could see that the implications were also applicable inwardly. The Savior did physically heal the man. It was miraculous; the people did manifest Christ’s works in that physical manner but the lasting, necessary, miraculous, and essential work of the Savior was not that He was to go about healing the sick. His work is a deeper concerning matters of the inner man.

Individually, that blind, non-name-mentioned man had some important lessons to learn in life, just as I do. I don’t think that those changing, turning, deepening, lifting, carrying, sustaining, and awakening experiences were solely accomplished by his miraculous healing. If his physical healing was and is the way that Jesus’ works were/are accomplished, there are precious few that may find themselves recipients of that physical work. Could it have been that “the works made manifest” were personal for that man. Yes his eyes were physically healed and works were performed in front of an inquisitive crowd, but was it that man’s physical blindness that allowed him to truly see the works of God in his life?

I realize that I don’t know this man’s background. This man very well could have just been some random recipient of priesthood power, but I walked away with the understanding that I am that blind man. I have had a plaguing, physical blindness in my life. That blind man as portrayed in the picture had seen works of God in his life. His sure grip and humble kneeling portrayed that. This was before he was even healed. Likewise, it has been during those difficult, plaguing times that I have come to know my Father in Heaven and Savior more deeply. During my blindness His works were made manifest in my life in oh-so-individualized and specific ways. While my physical condition isn’t completely healed (though it is well-cared for now) I have received healing in ways that I didn’t see that I needed. I received some sight (I definitely don’t see all, but some). I have Bipolar Disorder and as I’ve sought, I have seen the works of God made manifest in my life in miraculous, individual, personal ways.

So I leave the scripture with you again:

St. John 9:2-3

2. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

3. Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Are you the blind man? Are the works of God made manifest in your life?


Here is a link for the Reflections of Christ Exhibit.

P.S. The blind man picture is number 10.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Quote For the Day

I just finished reading an excellent, non-fiction, young persons book entitled Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman. It won the 1988 John Newbery medal. My purpose for this post is not to give a book review, but a quote found therein; however, I highly recommend the book. Here is a link for the book Lincoln: A Photobiography.

And now, the quote:

Writing, the art of communicating thoughts to the mind through the eye, is the great invention of the world…. enabling us to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at all distances of time and space.

Abraham Lincoln

From lecture before the Springfield Library Association, February 22, 1860.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Initial Post

So the blog has begun. Slowly, but surely, it will blossom.For my first post, here is a hilarious ping pong game that should be treasured by all.As I didn't go out biking today, this heart-rate elevator was a good substitute. Enjoy.


video