Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mr. T

So I was on my way home from work last night minding my own buisness and sitting on the T. There I was squished between two VERY large people. On my L was nice lady and on my R was a weird man. This wierd man precedes to ask me all kinds of personal questions to which I answer some and don't answer others. He was very strange. Needless to say I was glad that he only sat next ot me for a few stops and then got off.

After he left the train the women next to me said she was about to hit the guy for asking me all those questions and she was glad I didn't tell him where I lived or where I worked or anything because she was afraid he would hunt me down. We laughed and I got some great book recommentdations from her.

Oh how I love the T!

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Pure in Heart

Recently I was reading Jacob 3:1-2 (in the Book of Mormon) about the pure in heart. Jacob gives many marvelous promises and blessings to those who are pure in heart: "...console you in your afflictions...plead your cause...send justice upon those who seek your destruction." He also warns his people about their destruction and the cursing of their land if they are not pure in heart.
This got me thinking....What does it mean to be pure in heart?

Being the English nerd that I am I looked for things in the scriptures that would help me to better understand what it meant to be pure in heart. The only solid thing I could come up with is in verse2: "...for ye may,[meaning receive all the blessings mentioned above and more] if [we know this" if" is going to refer to the pure in heart] your minds are firm, forever.

So part of being pure in heart is to have a firm mind. What does that mean?

I would love to hear what you think it means to be pure in heart?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Orleans


I made it!This city is one of a list of places I want to visit (even before the devastation of Katrina and the national awareness). I love Jazz and this is the heartland and birthplace of Jazz!


I couldn't fit it all in. The conference I came for took up most of my time but I did get to wander around a few places. Guess that means I'll just have to go back!


Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. This where the Mentoring Conference I went to was held and where I stayed whilst I was in New Orleans. This hotel is incredible. I stayed on the 12th floor and there was this amazing gym on the 16th floor(the roof). There was also an outdoor lap pool on the roof. I loved the gym and worked out every day while I was there at least an hour and more sometimes. The hotel was clean, people were organized and kind, and the conference was marvelous.


This was my hotel room. It was nice and cozy. I got to order room service, watch T.V. (haven't done that in a loooong time), and sleep in that amazing bed. Also I got to meet the maid that cleaned my room a few times and gave her a pass along card...who knows.


The famous Bourbon Street. Now I, like most of you, have heard about this street. The Mardi Gras parties, the beads, the balconies, the drinking, the fun, and so forth. This street isn't so bad by day but by night it turns into a modern day Sodem & Gamorah. I'm telling you The Strip (Vegas) doesn't hold a candle to this place.

One night I was walking down the street minding my own buisness checking out the night life (keep in mind it was barely 7:00pm at night) when these three guys surrounded me and were all talking sweet to me and trying to get me to come into this seedly place called "Darling Girls"---YUCKY! I declined, pushed the guy in front of me away and quickly got lost in the crowd. Let me tell you that the place they wanted me to go into had pictures of porn all over the entrance of little girls...like 12-15 yr old girls. Just thinking about it now makes me sick to my stomach.

So Bourbon Street with all it's infamy was not my scene...although I did check it out a few times and enjoyed the free jazz music.


This place is famous--or infamous for the jazz musicians that have played in this hall.Originally built as a private residence in 1750, the hall has evolved into a tavern, inn, photo studio and an art gallery. The inside of the hall contains portraits of the musicians who first filled it with the beautiful sounds of New Orleans Jazz.

Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961. The hall was created as a sanctuary, to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz which had lost much of its popularity to modern jazz and rock n roll. Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the hall’s founders, wanted a place where New Orleans musicians could play New Orleans Jazz, a style, they believed, should not disappear.

Today, over 40 years later, the hall is still going strong. On any given night, the hall is filled to capacity with people eager to hear New Orleans jazz played by veteran musicians in their 70’s and 80’s and younger musicians learning and embracing music that is both sweet and very beautiful.


This is what New Orleans is all about for me! The minute I saw that this conference was being held in New Orleans I knew I had to go. I am a lover of Jazz and have always dreamed of listening to jazz in New Orleans. It loved it! In order to listen to the music you have to order a drink. I asked for something non-alcoholic and the girl said that they didn't have anything. A few minutes and two other waitresses (I guess they don't get the non-alcoholic request much) later they made me some orange juice, strawberry mix drink thingy. I only drank it although it was SICK but well worth the $6.75 it cost just to hear that sax and trumpet melt my heart.


So this is what is looks like without the gazillions of people that will come swarming around this place in a just a few minutes.


This is a very typical pizza/drinking stop you will see all over on Bourbon Street. The margaritas and daquaries are ready-made to go (including the alcohol).


This place had incredible Italian Food. I had their Chicken Caprice and it was such a beautiful night so I ate outside (where the pic was taken). Now before you go screaming at me for eating Italian in New Orleans...no worries. Here's a list of the authentic foods I ate in this festive place:
Gumbo, Jumbalia, Cajun, Po'boys, Seafood, Creole, some stuff I don't even know what they call it, and more.


The restraunt mentioned above was the only place I could find a non-alcoholic drink(and belive me I asked). After being in the city for a few days and seeing all the fantastic drinks all the restraunts make I just wanted to have a fun drink...but I guess they don't make them for people who don't "drink". So I was really happy that they were willing to make me a virgin strawberry margarita.


Yummy!


Curtains and fountains of boas...


I think after being on Bourbon Street after the Saints first football game since Katrina on Monday night (the city never went to sleep...it was crazy) that this is as close to Mardi Gras as I want to be.


Yes this is me in Pink...and lots of it. This is a one time only deal and so I lived it up.


Some of you may know of my obsession with the name Eliot...well I find it wherever I go!


Royal Street was the street my hotel was on. This street is famous for its antiques and artists.


This me standing in Jackson Square. More about this historic place here. The finger that you seen in the corner of this picture is of the kindest man I randomly met while on my walk to Cafe Du Monde. I was a little lost and asked him where to go--instead of just giving me directions he walked me there and told me a lot of history about the French Quarter. He was very kind and it was great to learn a little about this amazing historic place.


This is a THE PLACE for beignets and coffee. I had some fantastic beignets (didn't so much try the coffee). Beignets are like little scones covered in power sugar...and I mean covered! Check out Cafe Du Monde and all its historic yumminess.


The muddy Mississippi!


Everything is better with Pirates. The street name was orginally called Orleans Alley but was changed to Pirates Alley in the mid 1960's because it was such a popular tourist site (this made it easier for tourists to find...I just wandered upon it). more here


This alley has a lot of folk lore about it. Some say it was a pirate haven but others say it was a place where slaves were sold. Yes, Preston...I did think of you!


These flags were hanging everywhere--and a reminder that hope isn't lost.


And truly I felt the hope in this city!


On Wednesday morning I ditched the closing stuff at the conference and enjoyed the beautiful (and hot) last morning in NO. I decided to go to the Historic Museum of New Orleans. Inside I was given and emotion tour of the befor and after affects of this beautiful city. I wasn't able to actually get out to the destroyed areas becuase of the conference and the rain on Sunday but the pictures in this exhibit were stark, naked, real, and painful to view. What tragedy and sorrow, but what courage, hope, and faith exists in the the hear of Louisiana!


I absolutely loved New Orleans and hope that I make it back here someday. My only regret was that I didn't have anyone to share it with. This place is magical (well some parts of it are anyway). What a trip, what a great conference, and what fun!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Papasita

I love my Dad! He is such an amazing teacher, friend, and father. Here is great article about my dad becoming the new bishop in Lodi. It's cool to see this kind of interview in the newspaper.

Check it out
here

Detox Week #1

Postive
  • I feel great!
  • I lost 6 lbs. this past week
  • strengthens my self-control
  • 1 person joined, 1 wants to in the future

Negative
  • lots of small headaches
  • achiness
  • I miss foods with substance...bread, carbs, etc.

This past week has been great. I've had lots of small headaches, achiness, and tests of my self control, but lots of great things have come out of this detox diet. While on this diet my co-worker joined me and a roommate wants to do it also. Chelsea and Mike are doing well also. In talking to them we've discovered that going on this diet helps you to realize the foods you crave. Chelse craves sugar and I crave carbs. So yeah, onto week 2...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Welcome Back


This was my Welcome Back cake. Since I'm not a huge fan of cake or ice cream or chocolate etc. they made it with my favorite....jelly beans! How sweet (pun intended) is this cake!


My friends are amazing! I only left for a few days and they had a cake, a poster, and lots of love awaiting to surprise me as soon as I got off the plane.

Off to see my family

The Shields Family o'fun

While I was home I was able to go to Camryn's first soccer game of the year. I got to see my sister's Kaitlin and Alexa perform for the Prophet at a big Temple Celebration Dance Festival. I also to watch my brother Clay play in one of his first flag football games. Lastly, I was able to spend some time with my sister Danielle and her boyfriend before she took off back to school at BYU-I. It was great to see my family and great to live by Chelsea out her in Boston!

BBQ at the Andersons...my parents best friends and neighbors (Brother Anderson is the old bishop that my dad replaced). I was worried about breaking the news to my folks that I no longer eat red meat (we are a


So we decided to go bowling as a family on Labor Day. It was really fun and my dad got 4 strikes in a row at the end of the run. Way to go Dad!


There she sits. This was my grandma's piano that she gave to my mom--who made me and all my other siblings play on it. I have lots of feelings toward this piece of wood. Mostly now however, I just love coming home and playing on "my" piano.


I was just playing the piano and then my cute sister Camryn comes up and starts to sing. It was really great to be able to sing and play with her. What a rock star she is!


This is Ali getting frustrated with practicing the piano...This is all too familiar to me. Thank goodness I don't have to take any more piano lessons and I can play whatever I want to my heart's content. Yes mom, you were right!



Kevin's goodbye gift to Danielle. How sweet!


My sis and her boyfriend, Kevin...."Parting is such bittersweet sorrow..."

This is Danielle packing up all her things and wondering how in the world she's going to take it all back to BYU-Idaho with her....good luck sis!

This is where Danielle Slept all summer. You can't see it but she is on the floor behind the couch in the family room. What a trooper!


I watched the Sacramento temple be dedicated in the stake center to L of the the temple. My Dad & Mom got tickets to go inside. It was a beautiful ceremony!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Game--Another Win

Red Sox Game w/ the peeps I love!


Ju- Ju- Bee, Diana, & me


Game hair...yes I braided this myself


Kylee & Timothy


K. Marie & Kylee


Kylee & Julie


Bill, Carrie, & Richard


Anna & Christy


Marie & Preston (such a cute couple)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Toothpaste

I finished my first tube of toothpaste in my entire life! Crest's Lemon from Ju-Ju-Bee...thanks.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Detox Diet

Some of you know that I've been having really bad headaches and migraines recently. So I decided to do a few things to see if I could get rid of them:
1. Get a massage to relieve tension
2. Go on a detox diet for 2 weeks to get rid of unhealthy toxins

My sister, Chelsea and her husband, Mike are also on this detox diet. We decided that we wanted to do a natural detox diet, not one where you have to take any pills etc. This is great for me because it will help me to figure out what foods, if any, are causing my migrains. As I take most foods I eat out of my diet for 2 weeks--then reintroduce them slowly back into my diet--I will most likely be able to see how my body reacts to each.


Detox you might ask, what kind of diet is that?

Detox, short for detoxification, is the removal of potentially toxic substances from the body. Although detox is primarily thought of as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, the term is also used to refer to diets, herbs, and other methods of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body for general health.Some of you may be unfamiliar with detox diets. Detox diets are free of chemicals, pollutants, and food allergens. After a detox diet, which usually lasts one to three weeks, many people feel mentally and physically rejuvenated and notice improvements in digestion, mental clarity, allergies, frequency of infection, energy, and severity of symptoms.

Foods I can eat

1) Fresh Fruit:
All fresh fruit.

2) Fresh Vegetables:
All fresh vegetables. Great detox foods include broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, onions, garlic, artichokes, beets, red and green vegetables.

3) Rice:
Brown or basmati rice, rice cakes, rice crackers and rice pasta.

4) Other Grains:
Quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat can be used instead of rice. They can be purchased at a health food store.

5) Beans:
Split yellow and green peas and lentils are easiest to digest and require the least soaking time. Other acceptable legumes include kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and adzuki beans.

6) Nuts and Seeds:
Unsalted nuts, seeds and nut butters can be sprinkled over any meal. Includes flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews and walnuts. Avoid peanuts.

7) Oil:
Extra-virgin olive oil

8) Condiments:
Vegetable salt, sea salt, vinegar, naturally fermented soy sauce or tamari, any culinary herbs or spices, limited amounts of honey.

9) Herbal Tea:
Herbal non-caffeinated teas, green tea.

10) Other Beverages:
Water, lemon water, 100% natural fruit and vegetable juices, rice milk

Foods I can't eat

1) Sugar:
Refined sugar and mixtures containing refined sugar, including sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, brown sugar, turbinado. Avoid artificial sweeteners.

2) Dairy Products:
Milk, butter and other dairy products.

3) Wheat:
Wheat and products containing wheat.

4) Gluten:
All gluten-containing grains, including barley, rye, spelt and kamut. Some people are sensitive to gluten, a protein fragment in these grains.

5) Caffeine

Coffee, both regular and decaffeinated, black tea, and other drinks containing caffeine should be reduced. Green tea is a great substitute to regular coffee.

6) Other Foods to Avoid

  • Yeast
  • Alcohol
  • Food additives and preservatives
  • Chocolate
  • High-Fat Foods
And so it begins...I'll let you know how it goes

Friday, October 06, 2006

Gotta love the punks!

If there is someone to blame... it would be Grandpa Gus or Dad. Both of them had/have soft spots for the punk kids, the kids that seemed to just get by, the ones no one really bothers, the kids that always seem tired, the ones that distract from the lesson, and yet they keep coming to seminary. The kids that slide into class, don't say a word, and slide out. Yes, I blame my love for the trouble-makers on Granpa and Dad!

So when I was asked to speak at a seminary morningside this morning I went looking for them...and sure enough there they were. They slid in just after the opening prayer and before I stood up. Three boys in the back that didn't want to move over when I asked them to--the ones on the third row in ties (loosend, of course). "It must be a game day" I say and they nod. That's when I decide this devotional will be for them.

So I shared some thoughts and ask the students to participate. I ask them about thier favorite principles from General Conference. Then a girl raised her hand and said something about God's love. So I ask everyone in the room, "How do you know God loves you?" After a few fantastic answers I look at my back rows joes and ask them directly...

At this point when the boys don't answer I think I would have normally moved on or said something to fill the awkwarness but teaching a year of seminary taught me differently. It is okay to wait. So I waited...I smile and then the boys started to talk and laugh nervously to one another and when they notice I wasn't going away one of the boys asked me to repeat the question, so I did. A few girls--probably feeling bad for the guys--answered and then I looked back at them. One of the boys finally said. "I know God loves me because of all the great opportunities He gives me." And there you have it! I think if my heart could smile it would have.

I know that those 40 minutes I spent with those kids this morning probably didn't do much, but that breakthrough-with those boys-was exactly what I needed. I agree wholeheartedly in what Elder Eyring said about teaching the youth of the church. He asked us to raise our expectations. I'm amazed what having high expectations and love can do to people.

PS one of the back row boys came up to me on his way out and said thanks and that he was sorry he didn't say more...he was tired. We talked football a little and he went on his way.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"I had a bad day..."

Facts that need to be known before I begin this blentry:
1. I love my job
2. I don't mind public transportation
3. my 11:10am was the best part of my day
4. my 10:30 pm was the next best part of my day
5. General Conference this past weekend was fantastic!

MY DAY

4:00-8:00 am
Puking due to migrain (3rd migrain in 3 weeks).

8:00am
Call my boss to tell him I'll be late to work. Remember that our phones are whacked and we don't have voice mail.

8:00-11:00am
Try to get some sleep, take drugs to get rid of migrain.


11:10am
Talk to my amazing sister Chelsea just for minute while waiting for bus.

11:30 am
Sit on the T next to what seems to be a nice old friendly man who is asking all sorts of question and then asks me if I'm Mormon (I told him I moved out here from UT). He tells me he's a member of the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS). He goes on to belittle me and make fun of UT and the "Mormons" in his humorous way the rest of the T ride. He asks if I served a mission and upon my answer tells me that my mission was just a big waste of time. Then in the next breath he invites me to go to the JFK library and museum with him and he even offers to pay my way. I politely decline as I'm on my way to work.

12:30 pm
I grab lunch and get to work. As usual I have a gazillion email to reply to, 3 people to hire for AmeriCorps positions before TH, 20 volunteers to attend to, and numerous other events (see below).

2:30pm
I am asked to dig through our recycling pile of mountainous papers to find a fax I know I sent weeks ago.

3:00pm
Find the fax and in the process dig head on into the process of organizing our recycling. This is an enormous job that isn't mine, but just hasn't gotten done and I'm sick of the overflowing mess! So I call recycling place and set up a time for them to pick up for us (my boss had asked for me to do this before but I didn't have the time) still don't but it got done.

4:00pm
Get a call from this women I've been working on a marketing project at work. I am not a marketing person but I've been my best and I've been keeping her in the loop, but the pictures we're using for our billboard project are in the process of getting to her via another marketing agency we are working with. She precedes to chew me out...and I mean she was ruthless--swearing and all (guess she wasn't having a good day either). She ends our lovely conversation by hanging up on me. No joke I think I said one word (hello). I don't even like this project.

4:30pm
So I guess she didn't get to say her fill because she goes on to write me an email about how we are deliquent etc. I can't belive it!

4:45pm
Boss doesn't want the recycling company I picked. Boss basically asks me to brown nose the lady mentioned above and lye to her and tell her I was wrong and so forth. Boss adds 3 more "High Priority" tasks to my to do list. Exactly how many tasks can you have on your "high priorty" list before they aren't high priority any more?

5:30pm
Time I should be going home but instead I am putting together a list of tasks and projects I'm currently working on or doing on a regular basis. I'm doing this because my boss asked me to do so. The list when I finish is 4 pages and make me sick to my stomach and I guess I look it because my co-worker looks at me and asks me what is wrong?

7:30pm
Leave work for the day.

10:30pm
Come downstairs in my house to find the most wonderful friends a girl could ask for!