30 June 2010

Family - Isn't It About Time?

This last weekend was fantastic! On Thursday evening, we were able to drive down to Manti with Kyle and Bridgett to see the Manti Temple pageant. The Manti Temple was gorgeous all lit up! And in the middle of the pageant a man dressed like the angel Moroni stood on top of the west tower with his white gown flowing in the wind. Incredible! I didn't get a picture of that, because it was way too dark by that point, but we did get a few pictures. Ignore Scott's weird facial hair and his nasty mop. He's already had a haircut (super short), and while I got him a shaver for Father's Day, Scott claims it makes his mustache grow faster. You'll be glad I didn't include a close up.

I love how there is a girl who's trying to get into our picture, and she looks so happy about it.

Kyle and Bridget are masters at taking pictures of themselves.

Then on Friday Christie, Steve, and Bree came to Provo for a reception and stayed the night at our place. That's right! It was COZY. Just kidding... well maybe for them. But I didn't notice tight spaces because I got the bed, and Bree slept like an angel.

On Saturday we went to Dairy Days at Thanksgiving Point, which Bree loved! Plus I got to shake a bag and ice cream came out. Mmmm cows milk!

After washing our hands thoroughly, we ate burgers at JCWs (which I will claim as my new favorite burger joint) while we watched USA lose to Ghana. Let's not talk about it...

I'm glad that Christie and Steve will live closer to us next year. Good thing we're still in Utah, right?

28 June 2010

Application Update

Knowing that we were not going anywhere for school in the next year, Scott and I briefly discussed what our Utah plans might be. Then we received a surprise – Scott’s advisor who approved his December graduation, retired. The advisors in her place informed Scott that he would no longer be able to take classes in the Fall and would have to graduate in August.

Good news and bad news: Good News - Scott’s graduating! He’s done so well in the last few semesters. He’s raised his GPA significantly, which will improve his med school application as far as academics go. To celebrate this I designed graduation announcement to send out to family and friends. Check me out! I’m a wanna-be designer! Just need to find a printer.

Bad news was this new proclamation threw off our plans. We could move, if we wanted, for a year. Scott could work full-time. There were a lot of new options that were very different from our previous plan. The loss of the Fall class option introduced some new challenges as well that would need to be surmounted, like health insurance and how to keep improving Scott’s application. Scott and I sat down to make plans and discuss pros and cons.

We decided that the option that had the best net benefits was for Scott to work full-time after graduation in August. He will be submitting applications this Summer and Fall to osteopathic medical programs and physical therapy schools. We visited the University of Utah a couple weeks ago for their Physical Therapy program information session. Scott left feeling like physical therapy is his ideal career. This weekend we are going to visit Colorado (any suggestions for July 4 activities in Denver area?) to learn more about an osteopathic medical school that is on the top of Scott’s list.

As part of our new plan, I will work part-time. PLUS, I have officially applied to the University of Massachusetts part-time online MBA program. *insert squiggly smile face*I have to admit that I’m pretty nervous. While I think my application is pretty strong, I’ve applied to programs before, felt like I’d found my next big personal discovery, and didn’t get in. Of course, looking back I know that I needed to be other places, like Provo to meet my husband, and had more introspection to accomplish. Now I feel like I have a better idea of where I want to focus my talents, and again I feel really good about the opportunity of completing an MBA program from anywhere that Scott and I may travel. My plan is to follow up the MBA degree with a certificate in non-profit management and then use my business skills in the non-profit world. If I’m not accepted to this program, then I will keep challenging myself and taking classes to figure out where it is that I need to focus my efforts.

More importantly my last day at BYU is in August, after which I will hopefully be taking a vacation with my schnookims to relax into this new arrangement.

That’s the plan… subject to change when the next twist comes, and there will most likely be more.

24 June 2010

Is there a Tree Expert in the House?

I would settle with someone familiar with Utah trees, even.

This is a picture of my favorite type of Utah tree outside of the Springville Museum of Art. "Why is it Katie's favorite tree?" you may be asking yourself in disbelief.

Well, let me tell you.

I first saw this tree within Temple Square in Salt Lake City at Kyle and Bridget's wedding. This tree must have been a part of temple square for some time because the trunk was ginormous, but dwarfed. Then flowing over this midget trunk were these fatty leaves. It seemed to be right out of a fairy tale, which was the perfect setting for wedding pictures. I sat and watched the happy couple and looked at these trees and imagined David the Gnome climbing from the leafy top, or a little window opening up in the middle to reveal the Keebler Elves and their delicious cookies. There's just something about this tree that makes me happy.

But only in the spring/summer... because in the winter this tree is just a trunk. It really doesn't have any branches, which is surprising because somehow this bushy bunch of leaves appears out of nowhere. It is a little bit of an eye sore on the winter lawns, like someone forgot to remove the rest of the bark when they cut off the top.

Can someone please tell me the name of this tree? I need to know for my future garden. I'm thinking.... Maze of evergreen bushes, leading to the center where this elvish tree SLASH eyesore stump (depending on the season) is the mystical center piece. No lawn gnomes allowed, only real ones.

23 June 2010

Book Giveaway on Railroad Classrooms

Yesterday I received my Christmas in June package from Amazon! I was so excited to open it up and start reading and listening right away. I read through the introduction to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day so I could have an idea for the science of making beautiful bread and the equipment I would need. This morning I popped my coveted Yo Yo Ma CD in my car to listen on the way to BYU. Then I brought my new Totto-Chan book with me to work, just in case I wanted to start reading during my lunch hour.

Then this morning I read that Railroad Classrooms, the blog I started following about education and the reason why I bought my Christmas in June, is having a book giveaway for Totto-Chan. Dang! I just missed an opportunity for a free book. But then I thought, "Hey! Maybe someone else wants to read it too." So here's your chance! Visit The Railroad Classrooms blog and leave a comment, or follow and you will be entered for a chance to read this book with me.

Here's the book synopsis, taken from Amazon.com:
"This engaging series of childhood recollections tells about an ideal school in Tokyo during World War II that combined learning with fun, freedom, and love. This unusual school had old railroad cars for classrooms, and it was run by an extraordinary man-its founder and headmaster, Sosaku Kobayashi--who was a firm believer in freedom of expression and activity.

In real life, the Totto-chan of the book has become one of Japan's most popular television personalities--Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. She attributes her success in life to this wonderful school and its headmaster.

The charm of this account has won the hearts of millions of people of all ages and made this book a runaway bestseller in Japan, with sales hitting the 4.5 million mark in its first year."

22 June 2010

Cartoons in Advertising

Since the first ever marketing class I've taken, I've become keenly aware of how advertising effects children. You'll see ads on TV between Nickelodeon shows that use characters to tell children to ask their parents for such-and-such toy or food product next time they are in the store. Someday I want to be the genius who develops a manual for teaching children about advertising so they are more aware of selling techniques. Not sure how effective that would be in helping children make healthy choices... if children would care or absorb. I mean, you're fighting a verbal battle against the likes of Sponge Bob and Dora. They are way more convincing and entertaining in a kids world, plus Dora throws in some Spanish occasionally to add some validity.

But I'm glad that there are some regulations regarding using characters to advertise to children. A significant reason for those laws was Joe Camel and the number of children who began smoking because a cartoon was suggesting it. Tobacco companies can no longer use cartoons to sell their products.

My mom sent me the article below because she knew of my passion on the subject. Yale did a study on food preferences based on packaging. It's pretty interesting, especially their statistics/opinion on whether a cartoon would help sell carrots.

Can Shrek 'Ogrecome' the Lure of Junk Food?

Read and understand my dorkiness!

17 June 2010

It's Official - Scott is Not Underprivileged

Scott got an email today from UCD today with a notice that we will not be going to California this summer for their Post Bac Program. As hard as he tried to appear "educationally and/or socio-economically disadvantaged" as they required, I guess they could see that we really are very very white. Neither of us have ever really felt disadvanted, but Scott wrote some great essays and brought up a lot of memories that were convincing at least to me.

So where do we go from here? Scott has received approval from his BYU advisor to take classes to raise his GPA, even though he could official graduate any time now, having finished his program requirements. He just finished a tough schedule of Spring term classes, and is preparing for a Summer term of two more and studying for the MCAT. We will probably visit some school campuses this summer to check out our options and make an impression with admissions staff. Then starting almost immediately, Scott is reapplying to Osteopathic programs and some Physical Therapy schools as well. We know that Heavenly Father has great plans in store for us, we just need to catch on.

As for me... Well, I will continue working at BYU until August. At which point, I will be a free agent as Scott would say. I'm looking forward to a little break (maybe some Prineville action?) There may be a masters program in the near future, but I know for sure I'll need to provide some sort of income.

But I can't really talk about opportunities for August that don't even exist yet!For now I'm just enjoying the present.

Great job, schnookims on your awesome finals scores! You're are the smartiest pants husband I know.

This is Scott at Einstien Bagels when we used a coupon to try out their Turkey Bacon Avacado Thin Sandwich. Don't be deceived... it's not turkey and bacon (dang it), it's Turkey-Bacon. Can you tell that Scott is saying, "Really? A picture for your blog? Can't I just eat my bagel in peace?"

16 June 2010

Lakers? Really?

I saw this driving home yesterday and had to take a picture to show Scott. I felt a little violated, like when U of U alumni drive in downtown Provo on game day with their car flags flying.

I blurred out the liscence plate, just in case any angry Bostonians are watching.

So.... it all comes down to game 7.

14 June 2010

Merry Christmas, from Mom and Dad

It's about time I used my Amazon gift card my parents gave me for Christmas this last year. It was just too difficult to decide what to get. There are so many options on my wish list!

But I was inspired to complete my order when I saw this blog the other day. Right after I posted my frustrations about the public school system, a coworker sent me a link to The Railroad Classrooms, which the new blog author created by inspiration from the book Totto-chan written about an ideal classroom in WWII Japan. Ummm, hello! I love WWII history books, I love good reads, I need postive feelings for education improvement, and it was $4.40 online at Amazon. How could I say no?

Also making their way to my cart were these items (gotta love Free Shipping):

Thank you Jandee for introducing us.

Yes, this is the very CD I've wanted for years and begged someone to get me for Christmas, but never before today purchased. I LOVE HEART LOVE the Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major.

Thanks Mom and Dad for Christmas in June!

11 June 2010

I'd Like to Buy a Bowel

Mr. Crohn's is my mortal arch nemesis. I have the power to temporarily disable him. He has the power to make me weak, provide pain at the most awkward of moments, and stink up my apartment (I give him all the credit for that one). Since being diagnosed in 1998, I have tried a variety of methods to tame this wild beast of a stomach but none have really tempered the situation. Maybe the closest I ever came was with probiotics (VSL#3) throughout college. Since then I've been to various specialists (haven't found one I liked) who have tried various medications. When those didn't work to my satisfaction, I kind of fell out of the habit of daily medicating. Not the best choice, as my parents would quickly point out. My back-up solution is always to start over with antibiotics, flushing out all the bad bacteria, and fighting the battle to dominate with good bacteria.

I can't take credit for the title of this post, though it really sounds like something I would say. It came from the title of a blog about a twenty-something with Crohn's Disease. I found it in my search for some information about fish oil, which I'm considering for my next bad bacteria battle. Yes, unfortunately another war is needed. I started following The Bright Side of Crohn's, a blog by another twenty-something woman who was diagnosed in 2008. It helps to have people who are keeping up to date with advances in understanding Crohn's disease, especially my parents.

Can't complain though, because my Crohn's is really mild in comparison to others. Poor Sammy has a bigger battle to fight with inflammation, and I have heard of others who have even more severe Crohn's than him. So I should be grateful, that the lessons I'm supposed to learn from this are not as painful or life altering. Yet I still find myself asking Scott, as if I was 15 and talking to my mom, "Can I get a new stomach?" My mom's answer was always, "Sure. Let's just cut it out right now. I'll get the knife." Surgery always seemed too extreme for me. I think I'll stick with trying out fish oil for now and eating as many calories as I can whenever I feel hungry enough.

P.S. The Bright Side of Crohn's just updated to say she had surgery and is currently Crohn's free. Dang! There goes my online blogging resource. Pretty sure that my Crohn's is genetic, so I'm not getting out of it that easily.

09 June 2010

Finding Your Personal Mission

A couple weeks ago we had an amazing BYU devotional titled "What Is Your Calling in Life?" When I say amazing, I mean totally blog worthy, wish I had heard this when I was in college, still need to hear it, recommended the video be posted on the BYU University Career Service website once it's released. AMAZING! The speech was given by Jeffery Thompson, a faculty member in the Public Administration program of the Marriott School. His outline for how to find your calling in life is well organized and dead on. He also addresses the myths around having a life calling. For those of you looking to find your next job, your major at school, or your career you should read/listen to this talk. Currently it's available on MP3 for free by visiting the BYU Speeches website. They will likely release a free PDF and video eventually. If they do I will be sure to embed it in this post.

Jeffrey Thompson picture from BYU News Release

Another GRRRReat article that I have found helpful, if this subject is on your mind, is "Personal Ministry" by Bonnie D. Parkin. It was featured in BYU Magazine, which luckily my student ward Relief Society President received in the summer of 2007 and read in our presidency meeting. Love it!

Then of course there is this article in June's edition of the Ensign, if you haven't already read it.

Let me know if you'd like some hook ups with Career Services. You have to take advantage of it while I'm still here!

P.S. Audio and transcript are available for this talk, here. Still waiting on the video.

07 June 2010

Education Reform = Send me to Hawaii

A couple weeks ago our Primary president at church announced that she and her family were moving because her husband, a Woodshop Teacher, was being laid off in the school district. They are moving south to live with family and find work. He loves his job, but programs like music, art, and technical programs like woodshop are being cut from school districts around the country.

Not that cutting woodshop is the end of the world, but I think it is a symptom that something is wrong with our educational systems that something like woodshop or music that was previously common , affordable, and an integral part of our curriculum is now being cut. On top of that, teaching is one of the lowest paying professions, which just doesn't make sense to me. If we value the education of our children, wouldn't we want to pay for the best and brightest teachers? What exactly inspired this nasty trend of budget cuts in education?

Supposedly, education reform is on the top of the country's to do list. Yet, from what I've read about Obama's Race to the Top applications, I don't really think it provides what our nation needs. I think what we need is a good review in finances and priorities. Though to be honest, I don't know enough about education administration to know what we need.

When my friend Jessica worked at a Utah charter school, I was so impressed with the quality level of education those kids receive and the amazing after school options they had as well! What can we learn from school districts that are effective? Somehow there are schools that still provide quality education, with all the extras included, and are compensating their teachers appropriately.

My coworker passed along this article the other day about how some schools are saving money, and successfully raising academic achievement by moving to a four day work week. It doesn't work for everyone, but Georgia has saved a ton of money and improved attendance and test scores. Hawaii has saved money by taking every Friday off (just ANOTHER reason why life would be much better in Hawaii). A four day work week sounds so much healthier to me, so I'm sure it's the same for growing kiddos.

I know you are all much more informed and opinionated on this subject that I am! What do you think is the solution to our education system woes?

03 June 2010

Eavesdropping at CBC

If you ever wanted to peek in on the world of semi-pro bloggers, this is your chance. Here is a list of Jandee's and my favorite quotes from last weekend's Casual Bloggers Conference:

From a presenter who described how she knew she wanted to start a serious blog - "I made myself the authority."

"I keep Target (the store) and my faith on the same level."

"My readers are like my fourth child. I love you guys!"

Panelist - "I have a transracial family."
Jandee - "Did she just say TRANS racial?"

"I'm so excited for this next speaker because we all want to learn more about monotonizing our blogs," one moderator said referring to monetizing.

This is a replica of a sign we saw outside one workshop room where one attendee apparently wanted to add a comment:

Casual Blogger Deep Thoughts

Deep thoughts it is! Luckily for me some of the speakers and panel members have written about their conference experiences. So the task of telling you about Day Two in the Casual Bloggers Conference is not so difficult.

The first panel discussion we listened to was about how to balance your online life. While this topic appears to be reserved for those who have an online life, I was surprised to take some snippets away for myself. Three lovely ladies discussed how to have blogging zen and work-life balance so to speak, including one of my favorite bloggers, Marta Dansie (click to read her very detailed notes on this workshop). The moderator asked a series of organization questions to the panel like, "What clues showed you that your online life was of balance?" or "What are your methods for organization?" Basically the premise of the discussion is that the world wide web is all too easy to be ensnared in for hours on end without accomplishing much besides window shopping and casual reading. For on-the-verge-of-not-being-casual bloggers, this time should be used for writing a post, making impact marketing moves, or really, just not being on Twitter.

Tips for balancing from panelists:
- Set a schedule and timer for how long you'll be online
- Write down what accomplishments you want to meet before sitting down at your computer
- Set small goals for your site
- Embrace organic growth
- Try "no guilt" blogging (get your life in order, a.k.a figure out the menu and go shopping and spend time with your family before sitting down to write and read)
- If you do what you love than that = time well spent
- Be yourself, have a voice, and don't copy

The net panel discussion concerned niche blogging. Do you know what a niche is? How should one pronounce niche? These were all questions we addressed in this panel discussion. We didn't stay long for this workshop because it was nearing the noon hour, but I did stay long enough to see the creator of Sugardoodle.net in PERSON! Seriously the most down to earth, casual person I heard speak at the CBC. I never even knew there was a single person (not a company) behind Sugardoodle.

Interesting story she told us - Sugardoodle was created because she had over 10 boxes of church materials in her basement and her husband said she needed to get rid of them. To her this was blasphemy, just not physically possible. She compromised by getting rid of them physically, but typing up all of her documents and storing them on a website (the most random name she could think of). One day someone emailed her to suggest a document that should be added to her personal collection. She had no idea anyone even knew her documents existed. Talk about organic growth!

Tips I did glean from this neeshay topic were, keep your website and knowledge updated and current, allow readers to connect with you on a personal level, and be unique. It may not be necessary to have a niche, as some people pointed out. Like Marta, some audiences come because they are people with interests like you. So you don't need to write all about food or all about mommies. You just write you.

Blogging and Faith was an interesting panel discussion that included all Christian ladies, mostly LDS blogger women, and then one guy from the YouTube channel Mormon Messages. Everyone discussed how they blog about their faith, whether it was open and direct or casually. Whether they used Christian or Mormon lingo, or avoided it for audiences who wouldn't know the definition. One woman talked about how she, as a mommy/grand-mommy blogger didn't discuss religion at first in her blog, because she didn't want to be seen as a stereotype. However, she felt that she was leaving out a large part of who she is by not writing about it openly. She also realized that she would remain a stereotype until she defined herself.

I really enjoyed this conversation, because I understand the various sides of the topic. I want to write for all audiences - for my family, friends, non-LDS high school friends and relatives, or complete strangers if they found something interesting here. I want them to know who I am. Am I afraid of rejection or mean comments? A little.... moderately... But I'm learning that my religion is not just that one building I spend three hours at on Sunday, it has molded me into who I am today and is so much a part of my daily life that my religion is my behavior (or at least I try). I like me! So you may see the word Primary in my blog writings or I might write about prayer, and you're welcome to ask me what that means and I will probably explain it a little for those who don't know.

The last workshop I attended was a Design Lab. I found out that a good place to get graphics is of course, iStock photo, but also Photopress (photos, not necessarily vector images) and Delicious Scraps. Also I wasn't aware that you could do animations in Photoshop (like blinkies) or have a corporate Photobucket account for $40/year. If you're curious about Blog Design, you can fill out a form on April Shower's site for a copy of her presentation. Also, she has great tutorials that pretty much summarize everything I wish I had learned in the class, but didn't have time for.

Welp, that pretty much summarizes Day Two for ya. Sorry it was lengthy! If you're curious about how to get into the monetizing thing, I can direct you to the most expert speaker at the conference from Day One. Would you be surprised to know that she now has a business teaching people to monetize? If you're interested in my swag bag discounts, they may be going to the trash sometime in the near future unless you want to save them. Next up - my CBC Eavesdropping post, complete with unicorn drawing!

02 June 2010

Why’d the Chicken Cross the Road?

I don’t know, but he definitely didn’t make it to the other side.

On my way up to Anne’s wedding reception in Roy on Saturday, I got a little lost. I had put the address into the GPS we have, but I accidentally pushed S 4500 W instead of W 4500 S for the street location. So I ended up on the opposite side of town from where I wanted to be. I corrected the GPS address when I discovered that there were no reception centers in the middle of farm land.

In correcting my course, I ended up on a road similar to Orem’s state street, a long straight busy street with strip malls and construction. As I was nearing the left turn for the reception center a chicken, that looked so similar to a rubber chicken that I’m starting to wonder if it wasn’t actually a different species, came running out of nowhere. He ran really quickly in a bee line between orange caution cones and straight in front of my car. For a moment I panicked! Can’t swerve to the right, because I don’t want to cause an accident with other cars. Can’t pause to miss the bird… he’s a quick little bugger.

Bam! Feathers everywhere. It was definitely a hit and run. There are still feathers attached to the front lights on my car. I haven’t wanted to pull them off without proper hand protection. Gross! I’m sure the chicken didn’t survive, yet I didn’t see the bird come out the back when I immediately checked my rearview mirror. I was a little concerned by that, but Papa Bukey said that if on the drive back to Provo I started to smell fried chicken, I would know where the bird had ended up.

01 June 2010

CBC Notes and Poll

My event filled weekend was a blast! Little Anne had a beautiful reception. Crew was blessed and given the appropriate name. I was able to visit with Twinner and her boy Zack (so stinkin' cute, and grown so much since I saw him last) at lunch with Maura on Monday. And then of course there was the Casual Bloggers Conference.

Jandee and I went up to Sandy on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning for casual blogger workshops. It was educational, though I'm not sure that anything that was said really surprised me. Whether that is my marketing degree talking or the quality of the conference, is hard to tell. Day one I attended sessions on "The FTC and You" and "E:Commerce." I was surprised to see that the majority of the information covered was not really for casual bloggers, but information about how to monetize your blog... or "monotonize" as some moderators would say. After thinking about it, this really did make sense, because if you're paying $175 to attend (which we luckily didn't, thank heavens for giveaways) you are probably more serious about your blog and wanting to turn it into a money maker. So Day One was how to advertise and use the internet to make money with your blog.

Day Two I attended the panel discussion "Blogging Zen: Balancing Your Online Life," part of a panel discussion "Niche Blogging: What it is and are you in one?" a panel discussion on Blogging and Faith, and "Make Your Blog a Work of Art" with designers April and Julie. This information was definitely more applicable than Day One, but still focused on the serious bloggers. I was hoping for more advanced information in design with April and Julie, since that is how the workshop was advertised. Instead we talked more about how to upload your header (a question from non-design oriented audience member) or how to be a professional non-graphic arts major designer.

It was fun. It was educational. I got a swag bag, that while not as exciting as Jandee's winner bag, was full of trinkets, discounts, and chocolate. I intruded on the world of semi-pro bloggers for a few hours, which made for some awkwardness and great people watching. Speaking of which, I plan on a post purely dedicated to Jandee and my favorite quotes from the conference. Priceless! There wasn't too much though, as the most casual of bloggers, that I felt I could currently apply.

However, I have considered that some of you may be interested in my notes. It seems only worth the $175 that I didn't spend to share some of this information with you. And as I really don't have time to write down all of my random information, I propose a poll. I'll post the poll on my blog for two days. The category with the most votes will receive my time and effort. Options are: Day One: The Monotony of Monetizing, Day Two: Deep Thoughts from Panels, or Swag Bag Discounts (a list of codes you can use from my swag bag).

Void where prohibited. (haha, had to throw that in after the FTC Lawyer workshop, just for fun).

P.S. For some detailed fun, read Jandee's review of the CBC. I ditto what she said.