12.25.2008

What is today, again?


Naturally, this post should be wishing you all a merry, joyous Christmas ... blah, blah, blah. But notice how it isn't ... That's the point of the blog header that reads, "Merry Christmas." If you all want the warm fuzzies of such a blog post, visit Mike.

My brother informed me this morning that I hadn't updated in over a week. Oops.

So.

This is awkward.

What to write about?

How about, as a Christmas gift to you, my favorite blog reader, I share with you one of my favorite songs? Some of you may be familiar with some of the songs I have written, "China," "Mexico," and the "Naked Song." It's clearly a talent I have. But did you know it runs in the family?

May this song bring you as much joy as it did for I ...

video

And of course, depending on exactly how mad you are, you can repeat as needed. Doesn't he look cute in his Christmas sweater-vest? :)

Well. Yeah. That's all I've got. The end. :)

12.15.2008

Slight exaggeration ...

Sooo ... I said when the blog reached 10,000 customers something really cool would happen ... Uhm, yeah. It's a blog. Exactly how cool could anything be that I could actually do?

I guess the best I can do is award anyone who reads this before 3:07pm on Monday, December 15, 2008 20 golden stars. Leave a comment as evidence. Mmm-k? Maybe this isn't really cool. But I am confident you'll get over it. :)
However, now is time to honor my 10,000 customer.


Haley Wilson Cutler! Woot! Woot!

Haley is super-cool for many reasons. Of course, the top being she reads my blog. ;) Other reasons why she is cool is because: she ran cross country at LHS, she always has the most adorable shoes, she married Cam Cutler {not only was he my across the street neighbor, I always, always wanted him for my little brother}, she is one of the most genuinely nice people you will ever meet, she is funny, she dresses so cute, and technically, my car is named after her and her family!! Here's to YOU, Haley!

In honor of your accomplishment, I am awarding you with 50 golden stars!! AND: just because I am sooo entertained that you arrived at my blog when it was at 9,996 and came back four additional times to be the 10,000 visitor, I am awarding you 10 more!!

Uhm. Okay. The end.

___

Hmm ... There seems to be some confusion here. There is nothing interesting down here. I know you saw this text, and that's why you're looking. But I think it's only fair to let you know that this whole bit of text will be ultimately unfulfilling. Granted, you might feel that about other things I've written, but this time it's different. I'm not even trying to be interesting here. Just annoying. Honest. So, go read something else. Something more rewarding. A book about chickens, perhaps. I know, chickens may sound boring, but it can't be much worse than reading this prattle ad nauseum, can it? Besides, chickens was just a random example. I don't even know if there are any books about chickens. Well, other than "The Little Red Hen," "Chicken Little," and the novelization of "Chicken Run". But that's not the point. The point is ... uhm, hmm ... What was the point? I forget. Well, anyway, sorry to have thoroughly wasted your time here, and I sincerely hope that you find something more worthwhile to do within the next few minutes or so. {Which is more than I can hope more myself, apparently.}

12.13.2008

Who?

Who's going to be the 10,000 visitor? Who, I say? A surprise awaits you ... So go check the clicker in the right-hand column and see if it is Y-O-U!!!!

12.07.2008

New Mexico ...


This is a little over-due. Oops.

This is what you get when you mix a little New Mexico, with the Basingers, with Thanksgiving ... While reading this, if you feel as though you are experiencing a little deja-vu, don't worry. You're not. You're just thinking about THIS post. :)

I got more photos for my "Waiting for Chance" scrapbook ...


Here Lindsay {Chance's sister, in case any of you forgot} and I wait for Chance as he makes arrangements for his windshield to be fixed.



And if you feel you've seen this photo before, you have. Yes, yet again ... we wait in the Walmart Vision Center for Chance to get his contacts. And yes, chocolate milk Chugs are what helped us survive the wait. Fortunately, this time it was only a 20 minute wait, opposed to the two hour wait in May. :)



On the count of three, everyone say, "Hi, Nat!" ... One, two, three: HI, NAT! This is Chance's friend who made the trip to New Mexico with us this year. He is on BYUSA with Chance ... and here Nat and I get to wait for Chance as he is speaking with a 50-year-old man who is in love with Chance. We waited for probably 20 minutes before I decided to practice my stick-shift driving abilities in Chance's car.


Now, let's move onto my second scrapbook that Chance has been an inspiration to create ... The "Die" scrapbook ...


He still continues to find ways to spell out "DIE" for me {the arrow is pointing towards me}. How sweet.


But, for a first time ... He actually did something nice with the Settlers of Catan pieces.


Sometimes he can be a super nice boy! :)

Speaking of the worst game in the world, Settlers of Catan. I think we played it seven or eight times. Poke.my.eyeballs.out. However, something new and exciting happened this trip home.


Lindsay won for her very first time!!! Do you understand what this means!? She beat Chance!!

And also, Chance let me do this:


... paint the white settlements, cities and roads pink! Can you believe it!? What a guy! I heart him ... Oh, minor detail: to do this, I promised I would play Settlers whenever he wanted and be happy about it! Oh, and actually try to be successful at the game. {Hey, what can I say? After losing 39,487,394,873 times, it's tough to try and remain optimistic. I should take lessons from the USU football team.} :)



Look how cute the pink looks!!! :)

Now, this next thing ... you might want to sit down for ... Take in a deep breath. Are you ready?

Chance.went.running.with.me!

After years of pestering, he finally took me up on my offer! SHOCKING.


Here we are after! I am still shocked. :)

On Thanksgiving the Basingers always invite the missionaries over for some grub. I've probably met more missionaries while at their home than at any other time. This Thanksgiving was no different ... Except for one minor detail ... We lied to the missionaries! We led them to believe that all of us {Chance, Lindsay, Me, Nat, and Travis [Chance's other friend]} were all siblings! Plus Chance's two brothers who weren't able to make it! The missionaries thought the Basingers had seven kids between the ages of 18-26!! Haha! The missionaries wanted a photo with the Basingers:

I'm so sure you can see the family resemblance that the missionaries did. :) We meant to tell them on Sunday at church that we weren't all siblings ... But the missionaries had brought some investigators and we didn't want them to think Mormons were LIARS! :)

With the missionaries we also played the most amazing game in the world, Ping-Pong Blow. Chance made it up during some of his BYU VP duties {clearly a productive office} ...


It's a little like Scum in the fact that if the ball gets blown off in your section, you have to go all the way back to the last spot ... And everyone tries to get the top spot. Quite possibly one of the most entertaining games I have ever played.


For my second straight Basinger visit in a row, I attempted to be domestic!



Trying to make homemade tortillas!

"Uh, Chance ... I think you have a little somethin'-somethin' right here on your face ..."

And ...

A little Basinger family love! I love these people oh-so much!

Annnd, the end. :)

12.02.2008

*W*A*N*T*E*D*
Dead or Alive

For peanut M&M larceny

DANIEL JAMES ROBERTS
{He may look all super nice, friendly, and potentially cuddly ... that's exactly what he wants you to believe!)}

Aliases: Dan, Danny, James, Danny-boy, Ed, and Arturo Raul Gonzalez

DESCRIPTION

Date of Birth: May 21, 1983 Hair: He has some
Place of Birth: Utah, USA Eyes: Two of them
Weight: We don't know, we've never tried lifting him.
Height: Over five feet, under seven. Sex: Not until he is married.
Race: Caucasian or Hispanic, how can anyone really be that sure?
Occupation: Thief, obviously. Scars or marks: None known
Remarks: Roberts is believed to have had plastic surgery.

CAUTION

The peanut M&M larceny and trafficking led by Roberts is allegedly responsible for the pilfering of countless bags (of all sizes) in 14 different countries. Roberts was placed on the White House Foreign Larceny Kingpin Designation Act list by President George W. Bush in 2007.

REWARD

The FBI is currently not offering any monies in his capture. However, Mindy is willing to split all redeemed M&M packages with you 50-50.

SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND LEGGED {he has two of each}.

If you have any information regarding this person, please do not contact your local nor federal law enforcement. Also, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate cannot be bothered with it either.

12.01.2008

101 things I am ...

grateful
for:
Mama, Style, Brandon, Hillary, Tiffany, Shteve, Bakertino, Babes, Missy-Sissy-Poo-Poo Pants, my clients, my job, Wilson, the people I work with, my new running buddy, all my old running buddies, being able to chat with Em every day, the internet, peanut M&Ms, being able to run, my EFY people, my seminary people, my Provo people, my Salt Lake people, my Logan people, my USU people, my New Mexico people, blessings, the Temple, flowers, things that smell nice, traveling, people who let me stay with them when I travel, USU basketball, post-it notes, space heaters, USU football, texting, people who have blogs, people who update their blogs, the color pink, running shoes, iPod shuffle, contacts, Adriane, toothpaste, good food, cream cheese frosted brownies, treats, sugar, chocolate, chocolate milk, chilled water, ice cubes, air conditioning, blankets, pillows, beds, President Hinckley, President Monson, all the prophets and apostles, teaching, roommates, that the Biggest Loser won't accept my application, flip-flops, home, many friends, my grandparents, my extended family members, laughter, chapstick, every board/card game that is not Settlers of Catan, cute winter coats, Christmas lights, Christmas, mashed potatoes, my cute apartment, the furniture in my apartment, warm clothes, mama's cooking, Tiff's cooking, people who listen, hugs, kisses, things that don't smell like exhaust, honey mustard sauce, gas prices going down, forgiveness, kindness, wit, freedom, the right to vote, America, church callings, teeth, speaking in Sacrament meeting eight times in the past 22 months, love, not getting pulled over by law-enforcement, scriptures, YOU, pens, the Ensign, email, my education, nail clippers, days off of work, memories, the little girls at church in Rexburg, the Gospel, the Spirit, the Atonement, Jesus Christ, and my Heavenly Father.

___

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

P.S. That list is in no particular order! :)

11.22.2008

Hawaii | Day One

Have you ever seen the movie Just My Luck? The one about a girl who always has absolutely everything go her way and the guy who if something could go wrong it does to him?

When I lived in Provo, Adam and I would joke that he was like the girl and I was like the guy. Everything good came to him and all minor and major mishaps came to me.

My roommate, Amy had an epiphany about this one day. She decided that all the lucky people in the world, like Adam, had soooo much luck because they were luck-suckers. They just sucked it right out of everyone else {like me}.

Well, with that in mind ... I will document my oh-so-fabulous trip to Hawaii!

It was pouring rain the day before I left for Hawaii. So much, that I figured I should get new windshield wipers for the drive to the airport ... Windshield wipers. How complicated can they be?
Evidently, very. It took myself, one roommate, and two people of the masculine gender {one of which was employed by the Checkers}, and a partridge in a pear tree to replace them. But with such a team, you'd think I would have no problems. You'd think.

Now, I am no windshield wiper engineer ... But, when this began to happen on I-15, I strongly felt something was wrong with the windshield wipers ...


I honestly couldn't be bothered with pulling off the freeway to attempt to fix it ... So, I didn't. I just hoped it wouldn't fall off. If anything, I am sure it was an entertaining sight for other drivers on the freeway to see. And while in all honesty, it didn't really affect the trip one way or another, it of course was only natural that my brand spankin' new wipers fall apart. I affectionately call this: Mishap #1.

Another story of note: on the flight to Portland I was sitting to this cute gal in her early 20's, clearly a college student. I began chatting to her {because as a Mormon, that is what you are supposed to do on airplanes} and found out that she was from Salt Lake and just heading to Portland to see some friends. She then asked me, "Are you from Oregon?" I told her I wasn't. She said, "Good, because you have so much pink with you that I wondered if they dressed differently there and I didn't bring anything pink!"

In my defense the only pink items I had with me were: my pink cell phone, my pink iPod, my pink carry on, and a pink hoodie. Oh, and a pink undershirt. And a pillow case with multiple colors in it, but including pink. Hmph.

Now, on the six hour flight ... What did I do? I am not sure! But I didn't do a darn thing anyone you suggested! No pun intended when I say those six hours flew by!

I arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii to be greeted not only by my luggage {Yay! Being a non-luck-sucker, I was worried!} but by Erika Annemarie Johnsen!

As we headed back to her home in Laie, we drove along the Kamehameha Highway which follows the shoreline. Oh, my word. So beautiful! At this point I would like to insert a photo.


Yes, you literally drive right along the shoreline and see uber-cool things like this random island, Chinaman's Hat. Which, at this point I'd like to add that Erika plans to swim to it one day, climb to the top and be King of the Island.

On the way home we stopped at the most perfect Hawaiian-shack place for dinner ...


Bad picture from my phone, but it kind of gives you an idea. We got to eat outside on this little patio/walk-way surrounded by all the Hawaiian goodness of greenery you could imagine. Inside all the workers were sitting around a table chatting away while they made one guy do everything else.

Afterwards we made our way back to Erika's and she prepared me for breakfast the next morning by watching Fifty First Dates. How did that prepare me you say? ...

Hawaii | Day Two


For breakfast Erika took me to the Hukilau Cafe for banana pancakes! Now, for anyone who has watched Fifty First Dates, you might remember the cafe looking a little somethin'-somethin' like this:



Now, don't be alarmed ... but it actually looks like this:




Mmm-mmm-mm-good!

We then decided we needed to see something of grandeur-ness. So we opted to hike to Laie Falls.


It had beautiful views of the the ocean ... yet, was quite tricky. It started off as a road that wrapped around the back of a hill and slowly narrowed from a road, to a trail, to a path not wide enough to put both feet side by side at times ... At certain points of the hike it involved using ropes to climb up and down and scaling rocks and trees. Between the incline, Achilles tendinitis, and the humidity, I was pooped. But we knew it would be worth it to see something like this:


Unfortunately, this is just an image I stole from a Google image search ... Because what Laie Falls really looks like, is this:


Laie Falls? FALLS? Are you kidding me!? Try Laie Water Trinkles Over Rocks! Oh, my word! If I was to write one of those nifty little books for travelers to give them some advice on what to do on their vacation, in my Oahu travelers guide ... I would mention the three-plus hour hike to Laie Falls, include the torturous terrain, rope climbing, tree and rocking scaling and say: It might not be worth it!!!

Buuut, we were good sports.


And pretended that this was an image worth saving forever through photo documentation. Trinkle, trinkle, trinkle ... Oh, what is that sound? The water dripping down the rocks. I call this: Mishap #2.
After our 384,793,247,897,897,324 hour hike we hopped into the ocean and then purely exhausted, we found a nice "We don't have to move or even stand" activity by attending a piano concert by the world renown, William Joseph. AMAZING. But even more amazing is what we saw on before the show even started.


Who are these people who ask? Well, the woman is Sheri Dew. And what is she "dewing?" {Sorry, couldn't help myself.} She is on a date!!! Yes, with Mr. Hawaiian Shirt Man!! Erika and I spent the 30 minutes before the concert trying to figure out if they were holding hands and exactly how interested they were in one another. Conclusion: He likes her.


Also one other thing to note on day two ... Naughty, naughty Erika .... She did this on my Facebook account.

26 Facebook messages and countless text messages and phone calls later ... I think there are still people who think it's true. PEOPLE. IT'S NOT. Hell would have to freeze over first. Seriously.


P.S. Some of your comments and excitedness for me was so super nice that it a. made me feel bad that I had to tell you it was a naughty trick and b. makes me want to get engaged -heck, I'd have to be on FIRE to ever receive that much attention again ... and even then I wonder!

Hawaii | Day Three


Today was the day to go back to Honolulu to rent a car. I have never rented a car in my entire life. In fact, I am not sure my family has ever rented a car on any of our vacations. 1. We either just drove wherever we were going. 2. We would take a shuttle to wherever we were going where we could walk {ie. Disney World} and 3. It's not like they just make rental cars that wheelchairs can go in {for my brother}. So, it never even crossed my mind. But we realized that if we wanted to do all we wanted to do on Oahu, we'd need a car.

So. We rode the bus to Honolulu. Normally a 60 minute drive in the car ... Oh, it's a three hour drive on the bus. Which is only to be expected because it is indeed the bus. However, as Erika put it, "For some reason in Hawaii they take that whole relaxed lifestyle to heart and they really stop every minute. They will stop at a stop, load everyone on, pull around the corner and do it again. You can honestly throw a rock to the next stop from the one you are on." BUT: It was all going to be worth it so we could go to Waikiki Beach and surf, followed by a visit to Pearl Harbor, and a luau at night {just to name a couple of things}.

After the three hour ride on the bus, we got to the car rental place. They asked for my credit car and my license. Annnnnd ... please welcome mishap #3 ... I left my license in Laie!

THE ONLY THING I NEEDED FOR THE ENTIRE DAY AND I LEFT IT!!

Options at this point: ride the bus for three more hours to get the license just to get right back on the bus for hours seven, eight, and nine to come back the car rental place or chill in Honolulu until 6:30pm {it was noon at this point} for Erika's friend to bring me my license. We opted for the prize behind door number two.

But this meant no Pearl Harbor and while we could make it to Waikiki Beach {an additional 1.5 hours ride on the bus even though it would only have taken 10 minutes to drive there} there would be no surfing or playing in the water because Erika had her laptop. We had intended on keeping it in the trunk of the car ... but remember, there was no car.

Here we are, not surfing at Waikiki Beach. :) With some of the other sights there.


We also did some browsing at the International Market Place where I found this:



That's right, a pink trash receptacle to go with my pink bag and pink phone. What would the girl on the flight to Portland thought of this?


When I finally got my license we couldn't bear the thought of 1.5 more hours on the bus, so we took a taxi. Annnnd finally ... we met:

A 2009 Ford Focus whom we affectionately named: NOT The Bus.

We then drove NOT The Bus back to Laie and on our way there, the first place NOT The Bus took us was here:


A little trailer to get mansalas! Oh, yum and happiness! Thank you, NOT The Bus!!

Hawaii | Day Four


Happily with NOT The Bus, we were able to get to some places we had wanted to previously! Our first stop was snorkeling at Shark's Cove.


However, the little red flags were out {to warn swimmers of death} so we passed on by Shark's Cove to go to calmer waters at Turtle Bay.


Then it was off to surfing.


After a 10 minute lesson from surfer pro Erika, here I am on a wave on Ali'i Beach on the North Shore. Okay. Just kidding. This actually happens to be a real pro at the Reef Hawaiian Pro International surfing competition that we were able to watch. :)

Then we were off to one of my favorite places!


The Dole Plantation. For those of you who knew me in high school, you know I wouldn't be too off the mark if I said I has a minor obsession with Dole. In fact, the entire girls' cross country and distance team in track were. We always wore Dole stickers on our foreheads during our races for "Dole Power." So, this was a dream come true.

Inside the plantation ... Erika got pineapple ice cream and I celebrated being in the Dole Plantation by getting ... crinkled french fries. Way to celebrate the Hawaiian spirit, Mindy. But they were certainly good! :)

Our next stop was where I wanted to go most: Pearl Harbor. We had done our research the day before to make sure we knew when the Visitor's Center closed and all to make sure we wouldn't miss it. We were informed it closed at 5:00pm, so we thought we were making super good timing arriving at 3:32pm.

Enter Mishap #4.

Sure. The Visitor's Center closes at 5:00pm. But the last boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial leaves at 3:30pm! I MISSED IT. I traveled over 3,000 miles and did NOT get to go to the USS Arizona Memorial. Ugh. I hate mishap #4. Here it is from the look-out point at the Visitor's Center.

Well, I couldn't pout too long. We had a luau to get to!! They had lots of different activities to do before the feast started ... Some of were :


Seeing tropical birds, watching the man climb the top of the tree, canoeing in the Lagoon {and not pictured, the Hukilau, ancient way to catch fish, and learning the Hula} ... I look disgruntled in that photo not because I am on a beautiful beach in Hawaii, rather because of the time and effort it took to make the little flower head dress!! It was so difficult! And when we asked the little, elderly woman for assistance she would say in her accent, "All wrong!" And then make us start the entire thing over!!! It took 45 minutes to finish ... But turned out alright I guess.



Other things to see from the luau ...



And that, friends, concludes day four. I really don't expect anyone to still be with me at this point since this is the most massive slew of posting ever. If you are, 10 golden stars for you. :)

Hawaii | Day Five


'Twas the Sabbath.

Which, of course, meant it was the nicest day with the best weather I saw all week. I think the Lord likes to tempt the surfers ... Erika says that the best weather is always on Sundays.

So ... we went to Church. It was in the same auditorium that I attended the piano concert in the previous Friday night. It was a day of reprimanding in the ward: attendance, reverence, and visiting teaching. Those naughty little BYU-Hawaii students. ;)

It was a pretty chill day ... We walked around temple grounds {I had already ran around the temple on one of my morning runs, but obviously not on temple grounds}.



Here we are in front of the temple.

We finished up day numero cinco by attending a devotional on BYU-Hawaii's campus with Sheri Dew and Wendy Watson Nelson {Elder Nelson's wife}. They are BFF. Notice: no mishaps on the Sabbath. :)

Hawaii | Days Six & Seven

Days Six & Seven


Woke up and decided to ...

... go for a run on the beach!! Loooved it. Oh, and remember how in New York I found a pair of running shoes on the street? It is only fitting that I found these in Hawaii:


Sure, they're mis-matching. But, whatev. Ironic. That's what it is. P.S. They fit.

The rest of the morning I spent at the Laie Temple Visitor's Center as Erika worked (sheesh, crazy employed person!). The Visitor's Center was absolutely amazing! There was a senior missionary there, Sister Jacobs, who happened to be from a little place called Logan, Utah! She spent the morning showing me around. I loved being there just as much as anything else I did while in Hawaii.

We then greeted mishap # 5: pouring rain!

All ocean/beach activities were out for the day. So we decided to see some sights in Oahu before it was time to return NOT The Bus and catch my red-eye flight later that night.

First, we decided to go the Valley of Temples.



It was built with no nails. Figure that out.

Not sure why these two photos are so blurry ... pretend they are not. After gonging that bell I strangely felt much happiness and blessed!




And here's the big guy now! He was inside the temple and you had to take off your shoes to go in. There was some ritual you could do with lighting candles once you were in front of him ... but there were no instructions, so I couldn't figure it out. Doh.




Oh, ya know ... Just playing in some bamboo stalks near the temple.

Just in front of it all. Word.

Then ... it was off to find the lighthouse! It was quite windy the entire time {as you will see from our oh-so-attractive photo}. But it was aaaa-mazing when we got to the top!


On multiple occasions, Erika would get off the path {sometimes jumping over fences} to get photos of her. She'd only do it when the senior citizens left as not to freak them out. But what about ME!? I really thought she was going to fall off the cliff at one point or another!!

On the way down from the lighthouse we were able to see the Dragon's Nostrils {little blow holes}.


There were also some tide pools that people often swim in ... if the weather had even been somewhat cooperative that day! Oh, well!


By this time we needed to head back to Laie to get my stuff so I could head to Honolulu for the airport and to return NOT The Bus. However, Not The Bus was having a slight problem.


video

Yeah, don't worry ... it just kept making that noise over and over and over and over for the remainder of my time with him. Ugh. Oh, well. He still was not the bus, so we were happy. :)

P.S. On my red-eye flight back to Portland there was a drunk girl who evidently had night terrors ... The entire flight. This entailed her screaming at the top of her lungs {while still asleep I mind you} and hitting and kicking the seat in front of her, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" "OWWW! OWWWWW! YOU'RE HURTING ME!" "STOPP IT!! NOOO!" Over and over and over ... kind of like the casino noise in NOT The Bus.

Whelp ... I guess that is my trip to Hawaii! Big thanks to Erika for playing: chauffeur, hostess, cook, tour guide, navigator, and one of the bestest friends ev-ah! :) Love you, Erika!!
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