08 December 2008

Hair DO and Hair Dont's

So recently I felt the need for a cut and color. I went to the Paul Mitchell beauty school here in Provo and they squared-off my cut and put in some dark brown and red low lights.
This picture doesn't quite give my new do justice, but let's just say it adds some spice to my hair.
Scott's hair had been getting pretty long before the Thanksgiving holiday. He likes to have hair growing competitions with his older bro, Steve, and also he likes to get a reaction from family on how disgusting his hair can get. Once that happens, he can get it cut.

Well this time, as I was preparing to go to Paul Mitchell, Scott asked if they would be able to braid or perm his hair. And they probably could...
...Except that his cousin beat them to it. Mindy overheard a conversation about braiding Scott's hair and said, "I can do cornrows in your hair. It seems long enough, and I've done it for friends many times before."
Scott was all over that! Considering the reaction he could induce from his mother and the possibility of "looking like" Randy Moss (despite the fact that Scott's not even close to ethnic) for the Turkey Bowl game, there really wasn't an option of NOT braiding.
So the day before his family came into town, Mindy braided Scott's hair into cornrows. All I have to say is DISGUSTING. Funny, but disgusting. And let me tell you, that's a lot kinder than the comments Martie had for Scott when she saw his hair!



19 November 2008

Aunta Kate... again!

My newest niece was born this afternoon! Casey Elizabeth Cavanaugh was 7 lbs 15 oz at birth, with a skinny, LONG body and cute, pinned-back ears. If you don't know her sisters, Meghan and Mackenzie, then you don't know that Casey is a very different pregnancy and a very different baby already!

I am certainly accented to be an Aunta again, and mostly envious of Annie's short and uneventful deliveries. Though I obviously haven't had any babies of my own yet, I already know that mine will not be a total of TWO hours long, and only one large push as was this most recent with Annie. At least I know that my babies will be just as cute!

07 November 2008

The Grinch Who Stole the Early Holiday Thunder

It seems like Christmas is coming out a little earlier than usual this year. Is that because we feel the need to be more cheerful during the troubling economic times? Or because stores want us to feel like we should start our Christmas shopping earlier? I was at Burlington Coat Factory in SLC last weekend, November 1 to be exact, and Christmas music was already streaming across the stores system. Subliminal message???

In any case, we were discussing the issue at work when an older woman in the office stomped in and crashed at her desk. Surprised at her gloominess, but not wanting to start a 15 minute dramatic monologue from the usually chatty colleague, we ask her what the matter was. "Why are they already playing Christmas music on my morning commute? I haven't even taken down my Halloween decorations yet!!" She sassed. We tried to make explanations or find the optimism in the situation, but she refused to see it.

The students at the front desk are normally full of pranks and sarcasm, but this un-festive attitude really flared their spirits. They started a full-on campaign to bring Christmas early to this woman's life. Humming classic Christmas melodies while doing their work, changing her screen saver to a Christmas Tree by the Fireplace scene, and asking the whole department to contribute by telling this lady how lovely she looks in red or wishing her a Merry Christmas.

The icicles may not have melted from this woman's brow yet, but I can tell the corners of her mouth perk up a little bit with every new holiday remark.

So if you feel like aiding the effort to save Christmas, hang a little holly, hum along to the department store's radio, or go ahead and send an anonymous holiday eCard to a certain secretary at BYU. Any little bit helps!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

05 November 2008

Excerpts from Greatness

In my opinion, some of the best speeches of this election season were orated last night. There was no spite in their words or actions, as there had been in debates and ads. There was no deceiving. I felt like I saw more of the original individuals who began this race in last nights' closing comments, then I can remember.

John McCain was honorable and gracious. It was the first time in a while, that I began again to feel his great love and passion in serving our nation, rather than just to win the voting battle. Senator McCain helped me to remember that we should support OUR new president with all our capacity.

"Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth...."

"These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to [Obama] tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.
I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. And please believe me when I say no association has ever meant more to me than that.

It is natural. It's natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again...."

"Every candidate makes mistakes, and I'm sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been. This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life, and my heart is filled with nothing but gratitude for the experience and to the American people for giving me a fair hearing before deciding that Sen. Obama and my old friend Sen. Joe Biden should have the honor of leading us for the next four years.

I would not -- I would not be an American worthy of the name should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. "

Obama was clear, full of gratitude, and inspiring. He also reminded citizens that it doesn't matter who we voted for, the president has been chosen. It is not our choice on how we want to respond. And there is much to do to get our country to an ideal position.

"There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair. The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand..."

"In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too..."

"America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper [age 106], what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America."

03 November 2008

Hollywood says, "DON'T Vote!"

I voted early... What are you going to do?

26 October 2008

Pertussis: An Innocent Football Game?

I've been working on this video all weekend for my Epidemiology class. I just tried uploading it on YouTube so let's see how this goes:

Thanks to Kyle Westover, my husband Scott, and new niece Bree for their appearances.

Final edits may be made before turning in this social advertisement to my teacher.

15 October 2008

My Niece-in-law

I'm excited to announce that I am an aunta, again! This time there is a new niece among my in-laws. Former bridesmatron at our wedding, Christie Thornock, gave birth to Baby Bree this afternoon at 1:16 PM. 8 lbs 4 oz, 19 inches, and incredibly cute baby cheeks.

(Pictured above with Grandma Chandler)

14 October 2008

Are you allergic to chickens or eggs?

"Umm... no? Why?"

"Because the vaccination is inccubated with chickens and eggs," my cartoon-scrub-wearing nurse, prepared with juiced up needle, informed me.

BYU offers free flu vaccines for all full-time employees who use the school insurance. I figured I would take advantage of the deal, since they offered the vaccines in my building during my lunch hour.

I'm not a huge fan of needles or blood, so I distracted myself while she injected my upper right arm with the vaccine. Seconds later I was walking away with my lollipop and Bugs Bunny bandaid.

Once I got back to my office space, I began to feel the soreness in my arm, or at least started feeling paranoid about the soreness in my arm, which then moved to other bodily areas. So I looked up the CDC info on the influenza shot. Soreness is normal. Phew!

I had been a little concerned about the flu shot this year for a couple reasons. First, I JUST was out of office with a 24-hr bug. I didn't want my immune system to be overwhelmed by other pathogens. Nurse mom corrected me, though. The 24 hour bug, like other gastroenteritis problems, are often referred to as a flu but are not related to influenza. The flu vaccine actually contains three strains of inactivated respiratory viruses. So it wont give you the flu and will prevent more serious diseases, like pneumonia.

My second concern came when Scott got out of his O-chem class, an hour before my shot was to be administered. He said that every year the influenza vaccine is created by tweaking the formula from the year before. His teacher just told them that last year's formula was ineffective, so this years formula is unprecedented.

Nevertheless, I did go, and I did get a lollipop. Wikipedia says good things about this years vaccination... and as we know from The Office, Wikipedia is always right.

Time will tell if this preventative meassure is worth the effort and random soreness (not the price, since it was free).

29 September 2008

Body Image & The Media Assignment

** For the Women's Health evening class that I'm taking at BYU, we had to tab the positive and negative ideas portrayed in fashion magazines and then write about it. My reflection paper is below. I feel like I'm missing important facts or a paragraph clincher, so please feel free to use your editing skills to share your opinion on the topic with me. **

I am discouraged by the way society views “the media.” Big, bad magazines and television shows! “Who are these corporate executives that are forcing negative images and ideas of womanhood down our throats?” These are the types of statements I hear in our Women’s Health class. And you’re right. The CEO and Marketing team are sitting up in their corner offices looking at the next issue of Vogue and deciding what the next episode of Desperate Housewives will be about, and they say to themselves, “Sex sells.”

But who’s buying this scandalous material? Why do you think the content of these magazines hasn’t changed in the last 50 years? Why wont any other normal doll beat out the Barbie empire? Let’s just take that pointed, angry media finger and admit that there are four fingers pointing back at us.

The media is giving us exactly what we’ve been asking for: the freedom to imagine we are someone else. Someone prettier, more fashionable, and popular. The media portrays what they have discovered is society’s ideal body image – skinny enough to fit through a door with three other people, a hair style, face, and outfit not of our own and deemed perfect, all in a happy or successful life.

Popular magazines portray this ideal in a variety of ways. Models pounce the catwalk with a feisty, almost non-existent expression, wearing an outfit and coiffure that no one in their right-mind would actually strut down Main Street. They are conveying a character that we wish to emulate. Movie stars lives are paraded before us as a constant reminder of how “the elite” spend their time. Editors compare red carpet outfits and who wore them best, so we can imagine what it means to be someone besides our average selves.

Don’t misunderstand - if anyone is for the promotion of a healthier attitude and lifestyle among women and society, it’s me. I have witnessed the effect of the media on young women around the world. I know women, including my younger self, who wanted to emulate the look and life of a star, and I felt the negative effects that character swap caused. I am not a fan of the position we have put ourselves in today.

On this note, I am proud of the people who stand up to the media to tell them their ultimate standard for womanhood is off. I appreciate those who have protested the placement of pornographic material in stores, to protect the eyes of our children. I find courage with those who have written editorials to Seventeen to remind them about the message they are portraying. Thank you women of the world for writing to the producers of Gilmore Girls when the show’s plot became immoral and pointless.

The more we raise our voices towards this misperception and stop endorsing outlets for negative body image, the closer we get to healthier women. So stop buying the magazines or reading them at the check out stand. Change the channel when the shows you are watching take a unwanted direction. And most of all, let’s stop blaming the marketing man and take responsibility for the image we’re petitioning.

01 September 2008

Flash Mopping

It's Labor Day, and Scott and I have school and work off. We were planning on hiking in Provo Canyon, but the weather turned ugly last night and this morning we woke up to a hail storm. So we decided not to tread outdoors, but instead turned on Hidalgo and looked up alternate classes to take this Fall (I can take up to six credits in Evening Classes as a benefit of my job at BYU.).

Walking into the kitchen for a movie snack, I mentioned to Scott that we needed to stop by the store sometime because we were out of sugar and Swiffer pads. I'd noticed some spots on my linoleum kitchen floor and was hoping to mop them away while I had time. 

One step more towards Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and I was in a deep puddle of water and leaves. Scott!!! We have a flash flood in our kitchen. I grabbed the mop, and Scott found three cleaning towels to sponge the water outside. 

These pictures make it look like I had Scott do all the work, which is partially true. He used the towels and I mopped. The pictures also make it look light outside, but it was pretty dark and stormy in Springville.

On the bright side, my kitchen floor is now sparkling clean, and we're planning a trip to Home Depot for better weather stripping.

21 August 2008

Tribute to Fanny Pak

Tonight, the winning dance crew will be announced on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC). I have to admit though, that I lost interest when my most favorite group - from day one - was eliminated a few weeks ago... Fanny Pak!

Scott and I were in Sacramento when we heard the news. Fanny Pak is a dance crew from California that dances to their own beat, you could say. They are totally '80s and genius on the floor. ABDC is only on it's second season but is seeing the same old story when it comes to new dance crews. I mean, how can you top the perfection and outstanding performances of Jabawockeez, or the tightness of Kaba Modern from season one. At the start of this season, we weren't seeing much reason to tune in for unique dance moves and stunts... until Fanny Pak entered the scene. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to every episode when Fanny Pak danced. The crew always "Turnt it up" and "...gave... 100 and 50 THOUSAND percent" as Lil' Mama would declare. In fact, Fanny Pak is the only crew to ever receive a standing ovation on the show by all judges, and the S.O. was given when Missy Elliot was judging the variations on her own tracks.

The real tragedy of Fanny Pak being dismissed from ABDC - right before the final showdown of crews - is that they were kicked-off... by the judges... on '80s challenge night... after performing possibly the most hilarious dance routine of all time. Fanny Pak was given the song Maniac from Flashdance to perform to. They turned a master-mix of the song into a storyline highlighting an ABDC dance contest, including ever infamous judge reactions. If you haven't already viewed the presentation, it is a must see. 

Go to www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/dance_crew/videos-full-episode.jhtml and search in episode eight for Fanny Pak's  MANIAC performance. It wont disappoint!

18 August 2008

Baby Blessings

'Tis the season for weddings and baby blessings. I was privileged enough to go to the baby blessing of Zachary Ryan Sant this weekend, after celebrating the graduation of his mum, Ashley (aka Twinner, for those who know her best). Zach had the greatest little white vest outfit on for the occasion. He was also so excited to be bless on Saturday morning that he woke up around 3:00 am just chatting away all happy like. So around 10:00 am when we took these pictures, he was more than ready for a nap. In fact, Daddy Sant said he has never seen the boy conk out faster.

I took some really amazing pictures of Mommy and baby underneath the church yard tree... but I used the sister-in-law's camera (a Canon Rebel.. oooh ahhh). So I don't have the proof. I'll have to steal pictures from Ashley at some point to post.

13 August 2008

Last Day at DecisionWise

Tomorrow (Thursday, August 14) I will say goodbye to my work home of the past two years. I have been in Provo since October 2006. I spent the month in temporary Kelly Services posts, meanwhile applying for many jobs and interviewing for one. I got that one job!

November 1, 2006 was my first day at DecisionWise, Inc. My job title was Assessment Project Manager, and though the title had changed with business strategy changes throughout my time at DW, I returned to the original title again to finish out my DW journey. I will be leaving DecisionWise to start a new job at the Counseling and Career Center at Brigham Young University in Provo, where my husband, Scott, is attending school.

Besides being incredibly excited about a change and new job, I am excited for the benefits that BYU offers. In the past few months I have been applying to master's programs for Public Health at BYU and U of U. My main areas of interest in public health revolve around research and social marketing. There are many health topics in society which intrigue me, like Women and Children health, population- based health, nutrition, group psychology, and epidemics. In finding the program at BYU, I discovered that the mission matched exactly what I had imagined myself doing. So I will be pursuing a career in Public Health and will start that pursuit by taking classes while working at BYU.

With my leave tomorrow, I have been reflecting over my time at DecisionWise and how working for the company has made an impact on my life. I would like to take a moment to record in blog some of my favorite DW memories:

1. My first day at work - I arrived around 9:00am to do paper work and afterward sat at my Very Own Desk. I shared an office room with Candice Blankinship, another project manager. I remember being so excited to learn new skills and absorb everything that was being taught to me. I also remember having the benefit of leaving early if all my work was done (which... I didn't have any work at that point) OR staying later if I wanted to get paid for the hours.

2. My second day at work - (Don't worry, I'm not going day by day.) I came to work on my second day all dressed-up, corporate-like, similar to my first day. However, unlike my first day, I came to the office and discovered that everyone else was in jeans and sweatshirts. I felt WAY out of place! 

3. March Madness brackets - Every year DecisionWise had prizes for those who guessed the majority of winning college basketball teams correctly during March Madness. Not only was this a fun way to route for my favorite teams, it was also the first connection that Scott and I had when we were first flirting. You could basically say that we hooked-up because of the bracket.

4. The Elevator Speech contest - During one of our many business direction meetings, it was announced that the company would have a contest to see who could best describe the new service strategy in 30 seconds. The idea behind the short description was to imagine we were describing to a friend/ random stranger what we did at our job... with only had a grocery line's or elevator trip's worth-of-time. My essay won Most Creative!

4. Dallas - It was my first ever business trip. I visited, with a DW consultant, a client of mine in Texas for which I had done some intensive work. I had my own plush room in a hotel, adjacent to the financial company headquarters, and a daily stipend. I felt extremely corporate!

Probably my most favorite memories are ones that wouldn't make for great short stories. Mostly, I enjoyed the people I worked with: our office manager, Deb, and her fun personality, stories, and amazing catering skills; the consultants, Tracy, Juan, and Paul, and their jokes and wives with catering skills; Charles, our sales guru, and marketing co-conspirator; and all of the many project managers that I have worked with during my time at DecisionWise. Good times!

07 August 2008

Our SYTYCD Winner!

No, I do not have the inside track on tonight's So You Think You Can Dance winner... merely a strong opinion. Scott and I have watched every episode of the 2008 season of this, my most favorite ever, summer show. (Surprised to know my husband loves dance shows? So was I!) We made sure to watch the first couple episodes before our wedding, we watched the show during our honeymoon week, and we've always caught up with shows online or with TiVo when we had other Wednesday/Thursday evening obligations.

I've known since the tryouts and choosing of the Top 20 that I enjoyed the male dancers this season much more than the females (a rare statement for the show). The guys have personality in their dancing, and they are enjoyable to watch. Will has genius skill! Mark has quirky personality and dance moves. I can't keep my eyes off Twitch's solos. When Joshua Allen threw a ballet move in his Vegas audition, I knew he was someone to watch.

Over the season I have grown to love the dancers more for their particularly well performed numbers, even the girls. Katee is lucky she is so good, because Scott and I were not so impressed by her Vegas stunt, but started forgiving her after the No Air routine. Chelsie and Mark had such fun personalities together and really brought each other along on the SYTYCD journey as far as they could go. My all time favorite dance of this season is still their Tabitha and Napoleon routine to Bleeding Love.

The final four dancer group is not comprised of all the dancers Scott and I would have chosen as our favorites. However, it does include the dancer we felt would win ALL ALONG. We want to state now, before results are tabulated, that we vote the So You Think You Can Dance winner to be...

Joshua Allen

Joshua Allen Top 4 Solo

Either that or crown Tabitha and Napoleon the winners of this years season, because they are a fantastic addition!

No really, we felt that Joshua's solo last night and dances were typical of his excellence and fun personality.

When he lost his shoe last night... priceless! I chuckle every time I watch it on YouTube.

4 real!

05 August 2008

Twilight Confessions

I refuse to read Twilight.

My friend, Yoko, first introduced me to the book about a year or so ago. We were having a chick flick night, watching one of my favorite movies, Under The Tuscan Sun, when she mentioned how she couldn't put the book down and was utterly obsessed with the sequel. I LOVE to read, so any time someone recommends a book I take it very seriously. But when Yoko said the book was about teenagers and vampires, I just couldn't pull myself up to reading such a plot. Granted, the synopsis sounds an awful lot like Harry Potter, and I had no moral dilemma reading all seven books in that series. After our movie night I almost forgot about the new reading epidemic, except for the fact that everyone in Utah is also fixated on the book. The mere fact that the author, Stephenie Meyer, is a graduate from BYU may have inspired this connection.

I was reminded of Utah's love for the series, however, when Scott and I were in the dollar theater (thank heavens for dollar theaters!) watching the previews before Iron Man. We had walked into the noisy theater, with a bottle of water and bag of Skittles hiding in my purse, and sat down in two middle seats in one of the center rows to enjoy the movie. We hadn't thought there would be many people at the movie, since Scott first saw the movie in the big-boy theater for his bachelor party back in May. So the movie had to have been in the dollar theater for quite some time. Also, the semester at BYU had ended, and we assumed that not many college students would be in town. Yet we didn't anticipate the striking number of middle school and high school students that would be at the late night show time.

Surrounding us were many couples with their own smuggled snacks, and around them were scores of gaggley teenagers. I could barely hear the trailer for Tropic Thunder, over the drone of tween laughter and "whispers," not that I cared to hear the trailer, but it's the principle of the matter. Only minutes later the teaser trailer for the Twilight movie flashed on the wide-screen. The theater suddenly became eerily quiet, with oohs and ahhs and real girly-toned whispers. With this sort of reaction to a trailer, I expect that like the book, the movie will do very well. I was still not convinced to take part.

At work today, one of my coworkers mentioned how she had stayed up until midnight to buy the fourth book at the late-night bookstore premier. When the next workload pause came up, my lunch break... I used my talent of internet researching to find out more about this fad. A warning: Looking up Twilight on Wikipedia will not bring up any information about the book, series, or author. However, it will give you a scientific description of the time between night and day commonly refered to as "Twilight." Discarding those facts, Google sent me in a better direction towards the author's personal site and explanation of how she started writing the series.

I admit, her writing style is one that I enjoy. In fact, not to sound boastful, but she sounds a lot like me. This particular passage sounds like something I do all the time:

All this time , Bella and Edward were, quite literally, voices in my head. They simply wouldn't shut up. I'd stay up as late as I could stand trying to get all the stuff in my mind typed out, and then crawl, exhausted, into bed (my baby still wasn't sleeping through the night, yet) only to have another conversation start in my head. I hated to lose anything by forgetting, so I'd get up and head back down to the computer. Eventually, I got a pen and notebook for beside my bed to jot notes down so I could get some freakin' sleep. It was always an exciting challenge in the morning to try to decipher the stuff I'd scrawled across the page in the dark.

I remember my mom first telling me to keep a pad of paper and pen by my bed because I would often receive some of my best ideas right before going to sleep. Then I had to figure out what I scribbled down in the morning and see if it still made sense (my pre-sleep thoughts weren't always realistic). The author also described months of editing upon editing (also something I'm proned to do, just in shorter increments) as she tried to get up the courage to send the manuscript to publishers. In the meanwhile, she continued to type out the characters' story.

Stephenie's story of writing Twilight is quite inspiring. You can even watch her tell more about the experience with an religious twist by watching a tidbit of her BYU fireside . Reading Stephenie's description of the Twilight experience and watching the sudden successes in writing and blogging around me makes me more anxious to keep writing. It also makes me think twice about not reading the book. Maybe I'll wait until the last Twlight book comes out and prices are lowered. That's what I wish I had done with Harry Potter, rather than wait years to read the next addition and then peel through massive weight-of-a-book in a matter of hours.

01 August 2008

The Network is Trying to Tell You Something

I have been sitting at my desk for several hours now with nothing to do but blog. My job at DecisionWise revolves around the computer, so when anything happens with the computer, I might as well go home.

Currently our inhouse network is crashing. (I believe it is that serious.) We have two networks, one that supports our online survey system, and one that supports our inhouse files. The technically supported survey system will work even if there is a major planet-wide catastrophe. People would still be able to go online, through earthquake and fire and tidlewave to give feedback to their managers and organization.

Our internal network has been showing signs of a "mental" breakdown for quite some time. It takes several minutes for Excel or any other Microsoft document to open. Strange noises have been coming from the nearby server room: beeps and loud bzzing and screams! Whether the issue is data overload or lack of technical management, (We have no current IT professional to manage the in house system. Our last guy went to Omniture...) I feel that the thrashing volcano is about to erupt. We have already seen the smoke, and we are now seeing flying debris.

With nothing to productivly work on and plenty of upcoming due dates, all three project managers gathered in a common area to discuss this tragedy and why someone hadn't already told us to go home. "This is because of data overload." "This is a no IT issue." "This is, 'Project managers are expected to work at 100% efficiency with few resources." The conversation reminded me a whole lot of those Yoplait commercials, but in a different Light.

So I've decided to share one of my favorites, that fits the season SO well.

31 July 2008

The Dangers of Costco

I almost died in the Costco parking lot today!

That wasn't what you expected, huh? I imagine that when most of you read the title of the blog you thought, "Heck, yes! I hate going to Costco. It's SO dangerous! Every time I go, I buy stuff in bulk that I really would only want in a smaller quantity. Yet I justify getting more because it's wholesale." Okay, maybe I'm the only one who buys unneeded items at Costco.

But the OTHER reason why Costco is dangerous is because the people who go there are in The Modern Rutt, as I like to call it: they want to pay less for more, they want food to be ready to eat faster, and they don't want to take the time to exercise off the extra calories, so they're either obese or they buy bulk Hoodia pills at Costco. (P.S. I don't recommend looking up obese in google. It's not a pretty picture.)

Back to the point... me! For lunch today I decided to go to Costco because I needed gas in my Toyota Matrix. When I arrived at the Costco gas pump, there weren't many cars in line. I sat idle in the back of the gas area for a bit trying to remember on which side of the car my gas tank was located, when I noticed in my peripheral vision, a large blue mini-van (also typical of Costco) backing up at a speed of about 20mph.

Uh, a little fast for a parking lot Sir/Ma'am! The car was swerving right and left in my direction. I remained in the back of the gas area watching, thinking to myself, "The driver of the mini-van is probably tired of waiting two minutes for that particular two-sided gas pump. Even though all queues are the same length, said driver will probably back up half way into the gas area, since that is how far they would need to back up to get into a new line."

In the amount of time it took me to think this long, but very insightful thought, the car continued to swerve at intense speeds in my direction, NOT stopping half way. Only feet from my car did I recognize this and start to scream. He was definitely not stopping half way. He wanted to come all the way to the back of the parking lot and stop in my driver's-side door.

Now this is going to sound very much like Seriously, So Blessed; but I swear it was only by divine intervention that I was able to stop screaming and honk the horn. Milliseconds after I honked, the minivan was able to halt to a complete stop.... INCHES away from crashing in my driver's-side window. Though there was no damage, let's just say that I was more than grateful that my parents insisted that I have side air-bags when I purchased my first car.

Hyperventilating, I stayed idle in the back of the gas area to regain composure before even thinking about my original task of remembering on which side of my car the gas tank was located. Meanwhile, Mr. Minivan sped his modern-self to a new, shorter line. When I finally had enough strength to put my hand on the steering wheel and press lightly on the gas pedal to bring myself up to the adjacent gas pump, Mr. Minivan came jogging over from his place.

"I'm so glad you honked the horn!" Me too, Mr. Minivan... ... He continued, "I looked back in my rear view mirror and there was nothing back there." That's because you're driving a minivan.

My new cousin-in-law Kyle says that Costco gas causes more maintenance issues in cars than other gas brands. While I'm still waiting for the stats report on that rumor, I'm starting to believe that Costco fuel does add to the danger of store.

P.P.S. Happy 2 Month anniversary to us!

18 July 2008


My husband, Scott, doesn't know his own strength. On Tuesday of this week he flipped open his cellular phone and watched the top half detach from the bottom, wires and all. This happened while he was at work, so when he came home distraught, his little pout begged for sympathy.

I didn't give him much. "Oh, that's too bad, Pookes! Good thing my contract with T-mobile is up in September," I said. His pout didn't like the idea of several months without cellular connection. His poor phone is like a chicken after its head is chopped off... the bottom half still runs. In fact, at 6:30 a.m. the bottom half of Scott's phone called his sister Christie and left a 20 minute static message.

Then, Scott had a brilliant idea! He could use the Bluetooth he had only used before as an ear accessory to initiate calls from his decapitated phone. The picture to the right demonstrates how one might use said
bottom-half-of-phone/Bluetooth contraption.

Exhibit A:Scott chatting with his sister Christie, for real this time.

Scott is now convinced that decapitated phones are the wave of the future. He told me I should get a Bluetooth for my flip phone, and then asked, "If you have multiple Bluetooth devices, do you call them Blueteeth?" Suuuurrre, Scott!

And now for those who are anxious to see pictures of our semi-decorated apartment, I took the following pictures this evening. Ignore untidiness and focus on our new decorative pieces.

(Left: our cute kitchen table and extra kitchen shelving, Above: Spike in his new home next to our 3 Ls art)

(Left: Our new, big, red, Paris clock and Right: Yes, a picture of our bathroom)

(Left: King-sized guest room which will be cleaner when we have our queen bed in the other room, Right: This image is for Christie. Its coming off the wall when we get wedding pictures.)

15 July 2008

Passion for Business Learning

Anyone that knows me will also knows that I have a passion for business and marketing. In fact, if you were to ask my best friend, Maura, she would tell you about one post-ER drive where I was hopped up on morphine. (I promise, this story is going somewhere) We were driving back to her parents house in Farr West after visiting the hospital, and we passed by one of those electronic bank signs that tell you the time and temperature. I don't remember the phrasing of the ad that was displayed after seeing 2:42 a.m., but I do remember commenting on how and why the advertisement was effective. I ALSO remember Maura and Cole laughing hysterically at me. Only I would be analyzing an electronic bank advertisement in the wee hours of the morning while overpowered by hospital drugs. I can guarantee, though, that my analsis was very insightful.

Knowing that little tidbit of personal information, you may not be surprised to know that I was also entirely intrigued when my BzzAgent FrogPond showed a link to HarvardBusiness.org. Harvard has one of the top MBA programs in the country (of course that would make sense since they are one of the most prestigious schools in the U.S.). In fact, the current president of BYU - Idaho is the former dean of the Harvard Business School. Must be why the Harvard Business program is so excellent! Or it may have something to do with the school's focus on student case studies. In either case, Harvard Business Reviews are known as a great resource in the business world. The publication provides real-time facts and helpful tips to improve your business by studying great businesses and leaders from around the world.

My visit to the Harvard Business Publishing site grabbed me from the start with the home page featured article. This article, written by a certain Jeff Stibel, highlights a contest initiated by Netflix to improve the online, video rental company's recommendation system. Computer geeks universally used complex algorithms in attempt to resolve this problem and win the prize. However, it was not until an unemployed psychologist took on the task that victory was found. The psychologist used his knowledge of the brain to create a program that would more accurately recommend movies that one might enjoy based on similarities to other movie watchers/recommenders. The author of the article compares this discovery to facts in a recent top-seller, Blink (one of my favorite books on marketing and the brain). With such an inspired recommendation system, I am now excited to start my four-month queue on Netflix, given to me and Scott as a wedding present from a very dear and corporate-hot friend!

If you have a chance, you should visit HarvardBusiness.org and see what it has to offer. You may even become just as enthused as I am about brainy Netflix and digital bank signs.

09 July 2008

Empowering Africa

First of all, let me just say that for this blog I learned how to capture a screen shot. I did some web research and found that for Windows systems, keyboards typically have a Print Screen button. I stared at my keyboard for awhile and found that it has a "Prt Scrn" button. Once your screen shows the display you want to capture, all you need to do is press the Print Screen button. You then paste the copied image into an image application and save. The task was slightly difficult as this computer doesn't have a picture application, so I'm quite proud of myself that I was able to successfully upload the image onto my blog.

A couple of months ago I noticed that my friend Shawna Hulme Packer had a message under her chat name, saying that her husband had been gone for weeks and would be home soon. Since she was newly married, I wondered why her husband had been away for so long. She responded to my Google chat to inform me that Ed was in Africa installing merry-go-rounds in village schools to provide power. He was part of a senior capstone group from BYU that traveled to Ghana for the project. I thought the idea was ingenious: converting child-play energy into electrical power to light village school houses in rural Africa! So ingenious, I remember telling friends and family about it.

Today I was reminded of my conversation with Shawna when I saw an article on BYU's webpage about the project in Ghana.

The article explained that a company called Empower Playgrounds had used donor support and BYU manpower to install the playground equipment for village schools in Essam, Ghana this spring. With my interests in Africa and public health, I HAD to go to the website to oggle their technology and mission of the organization. The website is under construction, but you can see a sneak peek of what the site will look like... I'm impressed!

The idea is simple. It's a wonder it hasn't been thought of before. I wouldn't be surprised if we see more kenetic playgrounds being constructed around the world.

For more information, visit http://www.empowerplaygrounds.org/main/.

30 June 2008

Our First Married Date

My blog is starting to look like one of those baby albums with Baby’s First Step and Baby’s First Word. But really, everything after you’re married is so fun and new as you combine two different lives and styles. New events become a couple's FIRST mArRiEd experience! Moving on...

For my wedding gift to Scott, I gave him two tickets to see a Broadway show in Salt Lake City, a gift certificate for Benihana (which is around the corner from the theatre), and a tie and cologne that I bought in France for my future husband (cute, I know!). The show was at 8:00pm on June 28, which gave us just enough time to return from our wedding and become settled in our apartment to have a Saturday date. So we dressed up (Scott in his blue shirt from Anchor Blue that I ♥, and me in a summery skirt/t-shirt outfit) and headed north from Springville to SLC in the early afternoon.

Our first pre-date stop was to IKEA. Scott and I have been searching for accent furniture pieces for our apartment, and the next item on our list is a bedside table. Of course, we haven’t gotten our other bed yet so it’s not vitally important that we have a bedside table now, but we thought we would look. We walked through the maze of IKEA and couldn’t find any bedside tables we adored, however we did find prep bowls, a pie tin, and Spike! Spike is our new house plant that I’m quite excited about. He has become a great part of our little family as he fits perfectly in our kitchen window.

Finding the maze end, we packed up Spike and other IKEA finds and drove to Sandy for my first ever DSW Shoe trip. Oh the joys of DSW! I mostly wanted to see the infamous store, but ended up walking out with a new pair of comfortable white flats for my date outfit (much better than the flip flops I was wearing). I’m so glad that my husband feels comfortable enough with himself to take me to a shoe warehouse! Of course, he DID pick out more shoes he loved walking around the store than I was able to fall in love with for myself. FYI, he currently wants a pair of casual brown shoes or plain white tennies.

Our reservation for Benihanas was at 5:30pm, which in retrospect was a little early for an 8 o’clock show. I had ideas of the tepanyaki-style dinner lasting much longer and then being able to enter the theater at 7:00pm. However, Benihanas seated us immediately, and we ended up with a private table (normally seats 6), so food service wasn't quite as drawn out. Dinner was fantastic though! We had a sushi appetizer (Spicy Tuna Roll) and chicken and steak for our main course.

Since we had time between dinner and the play, we decided to walk around Temple Square. We walked into the Visitor’s Center to watch a movie about the the 40 year construction of the temple, and we searched for our ancestors a little bit on the center's computer program. We also searched around hoping that the church made Pass-A-Long postcards, since I’ve started this Postcrossing.com program.
Postcrossing starts by having you send a postcard somewhere around the world (it can be a store postcard or homemade, and you can say whatever you would like to the person receiving), and once that postcard is received you will receive a postcard from somewhere else around the world. I thought it would be fun to get real mail in our mailbox instead of just bills - and even better- we could send some church information since it's a Utah postcard and people are probably curious. Unfortunately the church doesn’t make Pass-A-Long postcards. I’ll have to let Church marketing know that postcards would have good ROI.

To end the date, we watched The Drowsy Chaperone at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Salt Lake.

The play features the actor who plays Gilbert Blythe (ladies, you know who I’m talking about) as “Man in Chair.” Yes, that is his listing on the play bill. You never find out too much about Man in Chair, except that one of his favorite musicals of all time is "The Drowsy Chaperone." The synopsis: Man in Chair narrates the musical as you listen to the music on his record player. His apartment becomes alive with scenes and characters from the play-in-a-play. The plot of The Drowsy Chaperone is old school, and the script is quite funny. Scott and I give the performance two thumbs-up!

All-in-all it was quite a fun first married date!

25 June 2008

Breaking Tradition

It appears that I have a problem with posting only one new blog message per month. I certainly have done a not so great job of sharing stories, so I will break tradition today (and hopefully keep breaking it) by telling you a story that happened only this last weekend.

Scott and I drove to Lehi on Saturday to buy the rest of our wedding registry items and use gift cards at Target, Bed Bath and BEYOND, and Kohls. We were in Target looking at pots and pans, when I realized that I needed to use the bathroom. So i decided to risk the bacteria grossness of a Target lu, and left Scott looking around isle 32 for a few minutes.

When I returned, Scott was leaning over the Target cart talking to a high school age girl. Scott works in Lehi at a Physical Therapy office so I thought this must be a patient who recognized Scott in the store. This is the conversation I walked into:

"Oh, is this your girlfriend or sister?" the high school looking girl asked.

"Actually, this is my WIFE." Scott replied.

"Well she's very good looking as well."

Turns out the girl was from TruTalentManagement, a modeling/acting agency in Salt Lake. She told us that we should both consider a career in modeling and took down Scott's phone number on her formulated tracking pad. She tore off our contact information from her TruTalent pad, and stuck it into her purse with at least 20 other papers sticking out (part-time tracting job? I think so.)

Of course, Scott thought the whole thing was hilarious, or maybe that was me. He kept saying, "For 8 years I've wanted to be a male model, and for 8 years people have laughed at me. Well, who's laughing now." (Office Quote)

Too bad I don't still have a copy of the glamour shot my parents got me for my 10th birthday! It would come in handy right now!

16 June 2008

Coming Soon to a Computer Near YOU!

(Dad Cavanaugh, Mom Cavanaugh, Bride, Groom in front of Sacramento Temple)

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Chandler recently returned from their honeymoon!

Pictures of the wedding, reception, and snazzy new apartment will be posted as soon as we catch our breath from that whirl-wind tour.

05 May 2008

My 1st Apartment

Scott and I have been setting up OUR 1st Married Apartment! The search for this fabulous abode was a little rocky and required exhaustive research, but it was well worth the effort!

If you haven't before heard of Craigslist, then here is our bzz: Scott and I have become expert Craigslist searchers. To prove it, the fruit of our works includes an affordable two-bedroom spacey apartment in Springville, UT with washer and dryer included; a sofa bed and loveseat; AND a king-size mattress, box, and frame in very good condition for $75 (bed set was $75, not the whole apartment).

Searching for an apartment in Provo was quite a difficult task. You wouldn't (or if you know Utah Valley maybe you would...) believe how many couples get married in the spring and want to arrange for their Provo apartment in March. Our first real-estate attempts were to start a new contract with a married apartment complex. There were options, but only one that we actually thought appealing. That became the back-up plan. Our next step was to search for contracts being sold, either on the BYU vacancy listings or through craigslist. It seemed like every time we arranged to look at apartment, the contract was sold before our viewing appointment. Then, when we actually were able to walk through an apartment, the contract was sold while we were deliberating.

Finally, Scott and I just decided: if we like how the apartment looks on paper/on pixels, and we feel good about the apartment and neighborhood when we visit, then we will make an offer immediately. So that's what we did. We found a great apartment in north Springville, for a very reasonable price, it was cleaner and roomier than all the apartments we had seen in Provo, and it included a washer and dryer. We told them we would bring by a check in the morning (Blessing #1).

I was able to start moving in my belongings during the last week in April (Scott doesn't move into the apartment until after we're married). The DAY the apartment became available, we found the sofa bed and loveseat for a very good deal from a BYU student couple who was moving to Georgetown for med school (Blessing #2). We moved the couches over that evening. This meant that I would have SOMETHING to sit on or even sleep on if needed. I didn't have to be out of my previous apartment until May 1, so I slept there and moved out my lesser-used belongings, one Toyota Matrix load at a time.

Then, on May 1st, after packing all of my final possessions into my car, with the intent to sleep on top of our lovely couch (covered with a fantastic suede couch cover from Bed Bath and Beyond as a gift from my parents); miracle of all miracles with this apartment so far, Scott found our new "guest bed"(Blessing #3). The king bed is incredibly comfy to sleep on, so if you're ever in the neighborhood and need a place to stay, OUR new married apartment might be most comfortable choice.

We also were able to buy an end table, kitchen table, and matching chairs at IKEA, thanks to the help of "Big Curt." The table has two leaves hidden underneath the square top. We think this is pretty special, because it means we can leave the table a square when dining for two, and reveal the leaves when we have a party.

Check out the pictures of our bare apartment... fun accessories to come after everyone contributes to the "Scott and Katie are a cute couple and need a cute apartment Fund." We're working on shortening the fund title.

Suede couches in our living room    +    The IKEA table and matching chairs that Scott assembled

Our kitchen with green stove    +      Scott having so much fun putting together the IKEA chairs

The most awesome-ist Craigslist find, YET    +    Currently empty Master bedroom, with Katie's junk crowding the walls

Our itsy-bitsy bathroom with washer and dryer    +    View from front door, with Scott putting together IKEA furniture

30 April 2008

Wedding Planning = Hectic

I've been told by friends that I'm a slacker when it comes to blogging. In an effort to make up for my laziness, I thought I would updated all readers on my wedding plans. The benefit of informing you is that I'm also informing Scott at the same time. j/k Scott is actually pretty involved in planning. He loves to give his opinion on which whisk would provide the greatest power in the kitchen, as we are registering; he arranged for all of the tuxes from Men's Warehouse; and he even helped pick out our color scheme - Raspberry Sunset.

Our first step in planning this special day was to decide when and where Scott and I were to be married. We prayed about it, and both felt good about May 31,2008 in the Sacramento Temple of The Chuch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When we called the temple all of the sealing rooms were available that day, including the largest room (capacity 50 people)! We think we must have picked the right day! Our sealing is set for 11:00am.

Next step, drive to Sacramento to meet with the caterer, decorator/florist extraordinaire, bakery, and dj. We wore ourselves out with one jam-packed day of appointments... eating cake, choosing flowers, deciding what food to serve and the number of guests, and checking out the John Chandler estate, where the reception will be held.

When we returned to Provo, Scott and I arranged for my old roommate, Jaclyn, and my great friend from BYU - Idaho, Shandee, take engagement photos for us. Scott picked out four outfits for the occasion! The pictures turned out beautifully, despite the unending wintery Provo weather. Jaclyn then volunteered to design our announcement (which we readily accepted, as she is an awesome graphic artist).

With dresses purchased, tuxes arranged, invitations in the mail, cake ordered, and fantastic people working with us from Sacramento; the next item on our list is to organize the luncheon. Any suggestions?

Only I would be so lucky to escape from the hectic planning world for a few hours to attend my classy and only slightly scandalous bridal shower this last weekend, thrown by my best friend Maura Lansford, and future sister-in-law, Christie Thornock. I was joined by college roommies, Relief Society friends, my adopted family members, and future sisters. I felt very loved and pampered!

And now... I should probably get back to my planning check list. Don't want to miss anything important! But I will write again, with more insights on how the wedding planning world turns.

14 February 2008

A Valentine's Miracle!

Well if you haven't already heard, Scott and I are engaged to be married! The date is set for May 31, 2008 in the Sacramento Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The engagement is most definitely a miracle for Scott, since he has known all along that we would be getting married. The miracle is that I caught on to the vision. :)

Scott and I had a little self portrait contest, to see who could take the best GQ photo. Though he put in a good effort, I'm pretty sure I won. The pre-liminary results are not yet fully tabulated, though there are rumors that Scott will call for a recount in Florida.

03 January 2008

A WICKED Awesome Christmas Vacation

This is the second consecutive year that the Cavanaugh family has gathered in Monterey, California to celebrate Christmas. Since Matt and family are in the Air Force at the base in Monterey and cannot travel far, parents and siblings come to him. It was an extra significant holiday season, as my niece Mackenzie celebrated her first birthday and brother Sam celebrated his 22nd.

I arrived a little later into Monterey than I had expected. My flight from Salt Lake City departed on December 23. After an hour of flying, the Delta connections plane made an attempt to land in foggy Monterey. After one downward attempt, the plane made a drastic jolt towards the skies and the pilot announced that we would be landing in Oakland. Granted, the coast had some thicker fog than I've seen before in California; but I have a feeling that if the pilot had had experience with Alaska Airlines and southeast Alaska trips, he would have made at least one more attempt to land in Monterey and it may have been successful. Either way, I arrived in Monterey via bus at 4:00am PST on Christmas Eve.

Christmas was a very relaxing time, which is exactly what I needed. Work has been pretty crazy lately and flu bugs are being spread like wildfire. I was excited to sleep in, lounge on Matt's couch, and play Guitar Hero with my brothers. Not to mention, how much great food there was (Thanks, Annie!).

The day after Christmas, my family had lunch with Scott (boyfriend, oooh!) and his parents at Chevys in San Leandro. It was fun to have my parents and Matt’s family meet Scott's parents, and though the conversation was at times embarrassing I would say that lunch went well. :) After lunch, I went back to Sacramento with the Chandlers so that Scott and I could drive down to see WICKED in LA.

Whatever you hear about Wicked, know this: The music and lyrics are addicting, the characters are captivating, and you will never watch The Wizard of Oz in the same light again! It was amazing, and I loved it!

To close off my fantastic Christmas break, I came home to a slow and quiet office where nothing catastrophic had happened while I was gone. A stress free and event filled holiday!

Happy New Year to all my friends! Good luck with your New Year's resolutions!