Sunday, December 13, 2009

All in a Normal Holiday Season

Long ago I wanted to try and get into the 2012 London Summer Olympics with speed walking. However, my dreams were dashed once I realized that those people can walk faster than I can jog. So, I went back to the idea board, and realized that maybe I'd just have to settle going to watch the Olympics. And since London is so far away and so expensive, I thought maybe Vancouver, BC would be better. And then, ya know, I thought, hey, why not watch athletes perform here?

My brother-in-law facilitated this pre-Olympic event by sharing tickets to the World Cup Speed Skating at the Utah Olympic Oval. (Come to find out, everyone's tickets were free, but hey, this is a high profile event we're talking about, so it's not an important detail). It was pretty awesome to see just how fast those men and women fly around the track, and we even witnessed one wipe out. And my ticket says I get a 2-for-1 admission to come ice skating to the rink in the future.

Outcome = awesome time to watch some pretty fast athletes and talk and joke with the family. We even got to see Jenny Wolf from Germany make a new world record in the 500m race, and put up her new placard in the front lobby area. Note: while it was very professional and showy, I feel bad because the 'y' in her name on the placard was put on backward. Tsk. Poor girl. Speed skating just doesn't get the respect (or notice to detail) it deserves.

Since I'm always wanting to try new stuff, maybe once I actually become decent just ice skating, I'll look into speed skating for my new winter sport of choice. And maybe start to dream about competing in the Olympics again.

While that filled up our afternoon, the evening was filled with beautiful lights, music, and stories in word and dance. No holiday could be complete without seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, this year featuring singer Natalie Cole (daughter of Nat King Cole), along with author and historian, David McCullough. My favorite part of the whole concert was Mr. McCullough telling part of the history behind "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas". One more reason why I love America, and one more reason why I love history.

My next favorite piece would have had to been Organist's Richard Elliott's arrangement and rendition of "Good King Wenceslas". Mr. Elliott is pretty much a genius at the organ. His feet are flying everywhere, even criss-crossing, while his fingers are amazing enough switching up and down the keyboards and changing the organ voices. Wow, I just want to learn how to get through a hymn successfully, even with years of organ lessons.

And my dad suggested that maybe we install and trap door and pulley system to set up our tree next year. If the Conference Center can get a two-story tree up in about 20 seconds, I figure we can get our eight foot tree up in two minutes. Could be a fun project for dad in his time off this winter with the weather too cold for fishing.

To give you an update of the holiday season to date, I've been busy trying to become more of a "homemaker" (i.e., one who hand makes food and decorations for home). While I don't have my own home, I am putting together a tree skirt about two nights a week, and over the Thanksgiving break I made cinnamon rolls and homemade wheat bread. Which should not be out done by my early morning adventure outside on the grill to brown the roast for Sunday dinner today. And don't forget that I finally bottled my own peaches and made raspberry jam this summer. My, I'm growing up.

I love how I get to enjoy the traditional with a bit of a mix-in of the non-traditional events this year. Yep, I love my life. Christmas doesn't need presents. I've already how a pretty awesome one so far.

Thursday, November 19, 2009



'Tis the season to enjoy and bask in happiness. Life is truly great. Love it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I [Use to] Agree with Bronco's Wife

"He's only a football player--I mean, really, what can he do?"

I really like Holly Mendenhall, BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall's wife. She says it like it is. She focuses on her family and important things. She once ran her own travel agency business in Missoula, Montana, lost out big when having to sell it, but got her family out of debt within only a few years time because of her self-discipline. Bronco says that she is "the glue" in their family, and to the football team he coaches. I think she's a spectacular, down-to-earth lady.

And her first summation of her husband, after their dating break-up, is something that I used to think about many-a-college athlete, even at BYU. "He's only a football player--I mean, really, what can he do?" However, after a few years time she caught Bronco reading a book, catching her off guard, causing her to think that he had matured and should maybe give him a shot.

Tonight the BYU football team caught me off guard. I decided to go to their fireside the eve before a home game to see what all the commotion is about these things. And it was nice that it was only a block away from where I live at the stake center down the street.

Lots of kids, from very young to high school age (and my age as well--I'm still a kid) were in attendance. I thought that the evening would have some feel-good stories, a few musical numbers, and some good words of encouragement from the coaches.

And it did. But there was more to it. When Bronco says that this football team is a means to shape young men, he's definitely right. With the simple talks that were given, they were given with testimony and the Spirit, and they gave me some important things to think about tonight. As Lavell Edwards stated tonight, "We are all learners and we are all teachers, beginning at a very early age." Every single one of these speakers focused on their testimonies of Jesus Christ and the happiness it brings into their lives, the strength it gives them, and what it means to be a true disciple.

Wow, I couldn't have been more wrong. So much for judging. So much more to think about just being and doing--just like these football players.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Round 'em up!

How many people can say that they get to enjoy this scene at work every morning? Well, the rangers at Antelope Island State Park do get to enjoy this scene annually, as they round the bison up to do regular "check-ups" (i.e., go to the doctor) and figure out which extra ones they will sell to keep their herd numbers to 500.

Luckily for me, I got to be a part of this experience as part of a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) experience at the NRPA (National Recreation and Parks Association) Conference in Salt Lake City this past week. For one whole day I learned about and experienced Antelope Island and it's round up, complete with eating a bison burger--which I do recommend.

I won't bore you with all details, but I will say I plan to go back to Antelope Island with my kids at work for a great field trip and/or camping trip. They do really awesome educational presentations, there is biking and hiking all over the island, bison and antelope abound to the point that I feel like I'm on a Disneyland safari ride, and you can even try out swimming and kayaking the open water.

And possibly my mom and I will try out it's nice sand beach and sweet, soft, rolling waves as we paddle surf.

All I can say is: I love my life!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Love ya heaps

Something to help us decide what to spend our time on in our day to day lives. It's definitely help me refocus.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Things I Like

1. Working as a recreation therapist. Playing for work is not a bad deal, and the kids are a bonus...well...sometimes :)
2. Getting my hair cut. One of the simplicities of life that is absolutely fantastic as you get a
head massage, look beautiful, and feel rejuvenated all in one.
3. NZ fish and chips. But when you can't go to NZ, Barbara's Fish Trap's are just as good.

4. The fall harvest. I love fresh food. I love cooking and eating fresh food. Fresh food does the body good.
5. Wide open spaces. I live next to open fields that have horses or cattle, and I only have a short drive up to Hobblecreek Canyon or to go and run in Mapleton. I definitely should look into a road bike.
6. Having a garage for my car to live the luxurious life. I live in a house. Not an apartment, or a condo, or anything that says "I'm a student or single person who doesn't quite yet know what to do with my life." While I don't own my house, I feel that I have moved up in the adult world, while at the same time am being spoiled rotten since I can't ever say that I will NEVER live in an apartment or condo again.
7. The arts. Music from symphonies. Vivid pictures, or engaging landscapes. Great minds. New ideas. A good story. Something new to enjoy and learn. Relaxation. Me and a good book :)
8. The fact that I can run and play and enjoy tennis...and a multiplicity of other sports and outdoor ventures.
9. The seasons. Fall is my favorite. September is my favorite month. I should take a day off, just as an Ode to September.
10. Technology. Specifically my new phone that let's me read my text messages without even having to open my phone. Pretty darn sweet, eh?
11. Traveling. A Mexican cruise. My grandmother's home in Idaho to plant flowers. Jackson Hole river rafting and hot tubbing in Idaho Falls. San Jose Bay area camping, Redwood forests, Stanford, and Half Dome at Yosemite. Southern California beaches and an LA wedding. Shakespearean Festival. Moab. Mount Timpanogos. Possibly Europe next year...
12. Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimately because of the people that I have connected to and become friends with. Good times.
13. People I know. They make me happy, and they make me smile. They give me a lot to look up to. And they rarely make me upset or mad. Could I be luckier? I submit that I cannot.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Soul Smiles

What a legacy to remember, and what great character and goodness to continually reach for, stretch for, and achieve. I love President Hinckley, and whenever I get to listen to his recorded voice, the Spirit speaks calm to my mind, the worries of the world shrink in stature, and my heart is glad.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A little slice of NZ...except in Scotland

The picture above was taken of the wall in one the hostels on our travels around the country....I believe it was in Queenstown, for our adventure-town get-away. For those who do not understand the humor, NZ is populated with roughly 4 million people. However, the sheep population runs at 40 million. Thus, these little guys were everywhere....

Okay, I can't take credit for finding this sweet video. Well, I did find it, but on the family member's blog of a friend's blog of a friend's blog. All I can say is just enjoy the video. It's pretty darn awesome! Ah, the memories of scattered, dotted seas of white on rolling green hills throughout NZ....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Two words: El Beautiful-o!

All I can say is that I had one of the greatest runs of my life today.  No I did not win a race, nor reach a new PR.  Nope, it wasn't like I felt like Rocky Balboa after conquering a major mountain, nor did I even want to attempt one.  

But two things rocked my world today: my running buddy and my running route.  My incredible sister and I are training for the Hobblecreek Half, and she's the one that came up with the running route--the other fantastic piece of today's running pie.  Please take note of all of the green within the city boundaries on the satellite image, plus the nicely situated mountains that are covered with foliage as they take part of the Uinta National Forest.

Yep.  Love my life. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

So close, yet so far

A couple of Sundays ago, Christy and I were working on Indexing projects for the LDS Church.  It's where you look at scanned copies of records in their original handwriting and try to decipher what is on them.   I began working on U.S. Census records, but with my mother as our family genealogist, she encouraged us to begin working on U.K. Land Tax records.

I figured, big deal, this will be easy.  America was principally founded by people from the British Isles, our English language comes from them (but we do drive on opposite sides of the road), so how different--or difficult--could these records be?

Ha!  Much-o difference-o.  Definitely different.  Made me think about how on my Mexican cruise I kept seeing American stores or franchises, yet the Mexican way of life was totally different.  So interesting to me that things can be so similar in a multiplicity of ways, but thinking and ways of life can be so different.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This is the house that Jack built

My view looking directly south from my window.  That canyon on the left, where the mountains dip, is Spanish Fork Canyon.

Some of the twin homes built a few years before our townhouse.  Also look at the flimsy trees just planted in February on our street.  Does anyone know what kind they are?

Living on the second floor of a townhouse in a new subdivision definitely has its perks.  I have an awesome view to the south of the mountains surrounding Spanish Fork Canyon.  I can check how the construction on 400 South is coming along, and before that began I could check the rush hour traffic each day.  It's quiet.  No one really drives down here, and at night you can here crickets and frogs.  Little kids running up and down the street screaming in delight (or anger) can be heard on a regular basis, especially with the increase in warmer weather.  And, something really quite new to me, is the makings of a house.  Or townhouses, to be exact.

While growing up in Bountiful, we had some neighbors move into an empty lot next to us after it had been empty for most of my young childhood.  I still remember the day they came to bulldoze it down.  As kids, we would run around in the alfalfa and long grass, climb and pick peaches from the last of the peach orchard remains, and catch praying mantises and pill bugs.  As the youngest of the Newman clan, I was the only one still fascinated with running around these empty lots.  I remember just wandering around, looking to see if I could find anything of interest to pick up and look at for the day, when I heard a loud rumbling coming down the street.  A bulldozer!  Is it coming to dig up this dirt right here?!  In my mind I knew I was being dramatic, but childhood is so much more fun that way.  However, it really was coming right for that plot of open land.  Run away!  Run for your life!  This was getting exciting, and I didn't want to die by the swoop of a bulldozer!   To this day I'm sure that the guy operating the machine was laughing at a little seven or eight year old girl running out of the lot up to her house, only to sit on the lawn and watch the dirt-digging event unfold.

Well, our neighbors built their home, but unfortunately I never really took note of how they did it.  Part of that could have been due to the fact that our house is on higher ground, and the large cement retaining wall hid much or what was happening.  However, my big chance has come again, and I get to watch them build the townhouses from the start to finish right from my very window--pretty impressive front row seats, I might add.

Each morning, if I'm not already up, I am alerted to the beginning of the day by the sounds of something being hit by something else, or the sound of diesel engines running, or the back of forth of workers in mixed English and Espanol.  Today, as it was my day off, while I was working from my computer and fixing lunch, I would look out the window to watch the mix and pour the cement.  Quite fascinating how many times they go over the stuff to try and smooth it out as much as possible.  And, I am impressed by the aiming and estimation of where and how much cement to pour--you really don't want to make a mistake with that stuff coming down the chute pretty quickly.

Before that I saw them dig the foundations, set up the wooden frames to pour the foundations, take them off, spray them with some black stuff that looks like waterproofing stuff, fill up the foundations (these have no basements), make sure the important pipes are wall marked before they poured the cement, and now the pouring of the cement.  No wonder homes cost so much.   This has been taking weeks to just get this far, and a lot of people are involved.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Would you like a little Kari in your life?

Instead of watching info-mercials on television late at night, I read my friend's blogs.  And thus I was quickly roped into signing up for a homemade gift by my friend Jessie from Utopia (the Ultimate Team I belong to that is doing amazing things at tournaments without me).  She was offering a homemade gift to the first five people who responded to her blog, the payment for this service being that I offer this same service myself.

So, if you want a little bit of Kari in your life, be one of the first five people to respond to this blog, and you will be the proud owner of something unique that I will make just for you.  If you live far away, please include an address or some sort of contact information.

It's spring time--let's spread the happiness!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Defer

It's not my fault that I haven't been updating my blog lately.  I didn't even think about my blog until a few days ago.  After logging on, instead of reading my own stuff (since I already know what I wrote), I quickly went to my side menu of the all the blogs that I like to read.  And then I sat and read those updates for about an hour (or three) or so.  So much more spectacular than what I have to share.

I mean, who should be writing on their blog when there is nothing new and exciting to report? Nothing that will challenge the rival blogs out there.  So I defer.  Check out all my friends' blogs.  They have much more exciting things going on at this time in their lives.

However, as I don't have much of anything new to report (except that I'm going to Mexico for the first time, and on a cruise for the first time), or any updates (no Ultimate tournaments until March, I still have my job after layoffs at work, I'm learning a lot--and still have far to go--as I play on my ward's b-ball team, I'm enjoying my new desk, I'll be playing the piano and teaching in Church in the upcoming weeks, and I now have a gym membership that I have to pay for for the first time in my life), I guess I'll give you a little insight into the routine of my day.

I realize that much of my time has been filled with a few things that I have begun to give more priority: reading and watching television.  What I was giving my time to before that, I'm not quite sure.  But I'm enjoying these two activities much more than I have in the past, simply because of the quality of the content.  Christy and I are now on to Season 2 of The Cosby Show, which is even better than the first season, if you can believe that.  It's kind of like a night time bedtime story--one episode in twenty minutes, two episodes in forty.  And then we watch the weather before parting our ways to slumber peacefully.  

Once I'm in my bed, all snuggled up and comfortable, I read a chapter in the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt--each chapter is only about seven to twelve pages long, and so it's perfect to end the evening.  I'm finding that the more I learn about our Church's leaders, past and present, the more I discover (or just recognize) they were ordinary men and women dedicated and focused on extraordinary things.  In short, they were humble, teachable, and letting faith pave the way before them.

So, as you can see, why would I have to have anything amazing to report?  Nothing spectacular, just purely entertaining and enriching.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Business Travel

Usually, my business travel deals with taking trips to local state parks, and the occasional 3-hour drive to Utah's infamous national parks.  Oh yeah, and there's the weekly winter trip up to Sundance.  But I had quite the unusual assignment just a few weeks ago.  I had the glorious experience to fly to Las Vegas--in December, mind you--to enjoy it's wonderfully warm, sunny the airport.

Yep, that's right.  I grabbed a plane from SLC, flew to Vegas, quickly grabbed dinner at the Quizno's in the slot-machine loaded airport, before I met up at the Delta ticketing counter with a new girl my work was admitting to our program.  And, all by myself.  I was a bit worried that I didn't know her background issues when special security decided to do a pat-down check.  Luckily, she acted like a normal person and didn't flip out in tantrums or ninja moves, and I could rest assured for the rest of our journey.  Granola bars, fruit snacks, crayons, and picture books filled the rest of our slightly-over-an-hour-flight back to SLC.

From 11:00 pm to midnight our drive to Springville was serenaded by Christmas carols over the radio waves in my luxurious company car, a 2001 Chevy Impala (with the "low tire pressure" warning light blinking the whole way).  I checked her in with night staff as the rest of the girls' cottage slumbered away, and returned home at 1:00 am.  

It was quite the interesting trip, just never lending itself to much tourism or site-seeing.  No wonder businessmen never like to travel for work.  Luckily, my next trip to Vegas will be for Ultimate Frisbee with Utopia.  All play, and no work.