31 August 2011

Kids Say (and Remember) the Funniest Things...

Today has been a monumental day. First of all, I passed out at work. (Awe.Some.) Never done that before!

Even more awesome than that: Jillian introduced me to a series of YouTube videos called "Kid History." I watched the first episode with tears streaming down my face because I was laughing so hard!

The premise of "Kid History" is to have the children recall a family story that the adults will act out--and the adults act out or mouth everything that the kids say! Huh-larious!

Check out these episodes on YouTube now! (The first one is here.) I need to catch my breath and watch the other episodes.



30 August 2011

100 Things about Me, Continued -- #76-100

76. If money were not an issue for survival (as in, I didn't have to work full-time in order to buy food and have shelter), I would love to stay at home (take care of the house, cook, be a mom) and write. And do something everyday to serve someone outside of my family.

77. If I don't recognize a phone number, I usually don't answer it. I assume that if they want to talk to me, they'll leave a message. Only problem is that my BlackBerry (for some reason beyond all logic and anything that I or the Verizon support staff can determine) often pretends that there's no more room in my voice mail box when there really is. So people have started texting me or calling my office to leave a message on my office phone since my BB is so temperamental. Ugh.

78. Evidence of how much I was in to the New Kids on the Block (besides the plethora of paraphernalia I owned and wore): I bought the cassette tapes or singles of every artist the New Kids worked with or promoted. For example...
  • Rick Wes (I think he was supposed to be some modern-day Elvis?)
  • Perfect Gentlemen (NK's producer Maurice Starr's son was in this group; single "Oh, La, La" was popular)
  • Ana (sang a duet, "Angel of Love," with Jordan Knight)
  • Seiko Matsuda (sang a duet, "The Right Combination," with Donnie Wahlberg)
  • Biscuit (Nk's bodyguard had 1 single, "Biscuit's in the House" [yeah, buddy!] and I choreographed a drill team number to this)
  • Tiffany (did a comeback CD in the early 90s called "New Inside." Donnie, as Dennis Cheese, produced that song)
  • Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch...
  • und so weiter, und so fort
79. My TV is usually set to the Food Network. Or USA network so I can watch reruns of NCIS to my heart's content.

80. My favorite kitchen utensil is my Pampered Chef spatula.

81. If the world ran according to my clock, stores would stay open until at least 11pm, and I wouldn't have to be to work until at least 10am.

82. I am usually late to appointments (even though I try very hard not to be). Just plan on that.

83. My favorite LDS apostle to listen to was/is Elder Neal A. Maxwell. I loved how lyrical his messages were--so beautiful and captivating. And he packed so much into each packet of words: like a matryoshka doll, you could keep opening them up and find more and more inside.

84. I read the Book of Mormon at least once a year--and each time I start with a fresh copy of the book, I look for a different theme as I'm reading. This year the theme is finding power in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

85. My favorite hymn in the current LDS hymnal is "Lead, Kindly Light" (#97).

86. On a typical day at work, I have an average of 4-5 hours of meetings. Out of my 8+ hour work day. (You do the math on how productive that would allow me to be outside of the meetings.) Hence, I usually am working through meetings when I don't have to pay attention to the discussion.

87. I think it would be adorable if my future husband proposed to me by asking "Will you occupy line 2 on my family group sheet?" I saw that in a cartoon once, and it made me laugh until I almost cried. What a nerdy proposal. Seems like it would fit me! LOL

88. If I were a crayon color, I would be macaroni and cheese.

89. When I was 6 years old, I thought that Skeletor lived in my bedroom and came out at night. I refused to sleep there by myself--not if He-man wasn't going to be there to protect me!


90. I'm a total "poser": If I know the camera is going to be clicking, I will make a crazy pose. Like this (photo to the right). I'm doing...what exactly? Who knows! It's like a "ta da! I have tape! Aren't I cool?!" kind of pose.

91. Someday when I'm an old lady, I want to rock a lilac-colored bob. That'd be awesome!

92. The best Halloween costume I ever wore was of  a granny genealogist, complete with curly grey wig, glasses on a chain, polyester pants, a fanny pack, and a t-shirt that said "I've lost my Census."

93. Typically, I get 4-5 hours of sleep per night. I could probably use about 2-3 hours/night more.

94. I take pictures of each hotel room I stay in. And of the food I eat (per Em's instructions). This helps my travels not blur into each other (as much...).

95. My food rule when traveling: If at all possible, do not eat at any establishment you can do so at home. I love to try local dishes and local restaurants.

96. My favorite Food Network show is Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.

97. I talked to Brad Pitt's grandma on the phone as per one of my work assignments. That's my claim to fame, haha!

98. According to the Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0 test, the following are my top 5 strengths:

99.  I like odd numbers of things, usually ending with a "7."

100. I loooooove trains and subways!
The ICE train from Vienna to Regensburg, Germany

The Secret to Obtaining ALL of Your Desires

I'm a go-getter kind of girl: usually, if I want something, I apply all of my faculties, keen intellect, and talents to the situation and work to obtain my desire. Many of the good things in my life have come about because of this hard work. (Faith without works is dead, right?)

And as I've gained a greater witness of and a more intimate relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I've included Them in the planning and execution phases of this process, which has yielded an even greater success rate. (Hooray!)

Notwithstanding the success I've had in my life, I've been feeling for a while that I could be more efficient in seeking and obtaining my desires (ooh, there's that efficiency again!)--that I could obtain my highest desires if I could figure out the optimal way to pursue these desires.

I started at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start), and evaluated my desires. I was especially concerned if they were "righteous desires"--i.e., those that the Lord would approve of--since I was attempting to work in concert with the Lord. After many days of evaluation and prayer, I felt confident that my desires were indeed the Lord's will for me.

Next up: my inputs. Was I putting forth the required faith and effort, commensurate with the value of my desire? Again, days of pondering, introspection, prayer, and evaluation resulted in confidence that I was doing my part.

I continued the evaluation process (this has been going on for over a month now) for each aspect of this process, and each time I found the same results: confidence that I was doing my best.

Yet...I was also aware that though I knew I was doing my best, there was something still amiss. But what was it?

That "what"--the secret I mentioned earlier--came to me this morning as I was listening (for the 1,000th or so time) to Elder Gene R. Cook's talk, "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." For years I've used this talk as a primer for increasing my understanding of faith in Jesus Christ and for how faith is a principle of power. I've studied this talk so often that I could almost quote it in its entirety.

This morning, though, within his introductory words (which I sometimes skim so I can more quickly dig into the "meat" of his teachings) I heard the answer I'd been seeking:
How does a person make things happen? How can someone be effective as a young man or woman, as a father, a mother, as leader in the Church, in schoolwork, in life? I submit that it is by doing things "the Lord's way."
-- Elder Gene R. Cook, "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," Church Educational System (CES) fireside, 8 November 1981, emphasis added
There's the secret: doing things in the Lord's way!

It's not enough to counsel with the Lord and then go and do: we need to counsel with the Lord and then go and do things His way. Though difficult to admit, I realized that I hadn't been doing everything in His way...which is why I've been stymied in obtaining my righteous desire.

Doing things His way requires great humility, patience, hope, and faith: to acknowledge that our "natural man" way is not necessarily the optimal way...and to want to do things however He sees is best--to yield to the "enticings of the Holy Spirit" and be willing to submit to the Father, to His way.
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
-- Mosiah 3:19 (emphasis added)
Doing things the Lord's way is certainly not always the easy way, nor is it the way that always brings instant gratification or instant verification that what you're doing will lead to your desire. In fact, sometimes I think the Lord's way is intentionally more difficult-looking initially to weed out all of those who don't want their desire badly enough. (Btw, I've learned that if you're not willing to pay the price for your desire in whatever currency is required, then you better pick another desire because you don't really want what you're seeking!)

And yet, the success rate for doing things the Lord's way is 100%--the best ROI there is! "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). I like those odds a lot better than the paltry single digit rate I touted was tantamount to "successful"!

If we seek the Lord's will, counsel with Him, and then go forth doing things in His way, we will obtain all of our desires--plus so much more that we never would've expected in our myopic understanding of what we could achieve.

29 August 2011

100 Things about Me, Continued -- #51-75

51.The only thing stopping me from getting my MBA at Harvard Business School (besides little things like, you know, writing amazing essays, getting accepted, finding $200k for tuition and living expenses, and moving to Boston) is algebra: when I took the GMAT a few years ago, I rocked the verbal section but not the math section. And conversely, when I took the GRE, I rocked the math section but not the verbal section. If there was a way that I could combine my scores from both tests into one uber score, then I wouldn't need to retake the GMAT and would submit my application...and then I'd try to figure out how to pay for everything!

52. Although I played school and dress-up like other kids did, my favorite game to play was Office. I loved to pretend I was the CEO and have my secretary (usually my little sister) transfer calls to me or take dictated notes that she would then pretend to type up on our Commodore 64 computer.

53. I would like to own a business someday that provides employment to a large number of people. I love the idea of "teaching a man to fish" by enabling people to help themselves.

54. I am nerdy, in so many, many, many ways.


55. I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen--and mostly what I cook turns out pretty edible. Ok, it's actually more than pretty edible: it's delicious! One of the downsides to commuting and working/traveling so much and to living alone is that I don't cook as much as I used to--in fact, I rarely cook anything beyond the basics (read: reheating left-overs or convenience foods). I love having dinner parties or cooking for someone else because it gives me an excuse to crack open the dusty recipe books and try something new and exciting.

I'm also famous for a homemade Mexican seasoning mix I make. Though some people believe it is laced with crack (because it's so addictive), it is simply herbs and spices combined with a pinch of magic and a few unicorn tears. The sought-after recipe will never be shared: if you want some Mexican seasoning, I will make you some, but I will not share the recipe! I've thought about marketing the stuff...I just haven't had enough time to devote to the product's development.

I've also considered starting my own restaurant at various times of my life. The only thing stopping me from doing that? The fact that I don't want to be trapped in a kitchen (or anywhere) for 20 hours/day.

56. I don't like cake very much--especially don't like frosting. For my birthday, I prefer Kneader's pumpkin pie or guava cake from Bamboo Hut.

57. I respect and admire celebrities and would consider myself a big fan of many of them, but I don't usually get "star struck" most of the time. The only exceptions have been for LDS "celebrities" Bronco Mendenhall, Sheri Dew, and Kim B. Clark--and me being "star struck" had more to do with being too excited to speak because I was meeting these inspiring, amazing people, than the fact that they were famous.

58. On the Meyers-Briggs personality test, I am an ENFJ--basically, an extroverted feeling person with introverted intuition.

59. I love taking personality and other tests to learn more about myself. 

60. I can eat Jell-o with chopsticks.

61. I am highly intuitive (see #58) and often feel drawn to certain things though I can't explain why. And I'm able to use this intuition to make decisions quickly. The downside comes when I try to force myself to figure out why ... thus poisoning my logical thinking with kryptonite and causing me to doubt myself. It's best if I just act on what I feel and not over think.

62. If I were to get an MBA from HBS (see #51), I would study Social Enterprise/Social Entrepreneurship. I love the idea of helping others throughout the world to become self-employed (see #53).

63. Something I've always wanted to do for my birthday: get dolled up (including getting my hair done), have dinner at a nice restaurant, and then attend a performance of The Nutcracker, my favorite ballet.

64. I am afraid of heights. And spiders.

65. When I'm sick, I am a "bad patient" (as Judy, my sister, or any number of people could attest). I don't like to slow down--and if I'm unable to sleep, then I get bored really easily...and end up watching marathons of America's Next Top Model or something like that. I'm too quick to say "I'm fine!" at the first sign of feeling better. When I had knee surgery, I went back to the office more quickly than I should have, which slowed the recovery process significantly.

66. I am a CrackBerry addict: Always, always, a-l-w-a-y-s have my BlackBerry with me and I constantly check for new texts, tweets, emails, etc. The only time I don't have it with me: when I'm in the temple.

67. I don't like talking on the phone and avoid it whenever possible. I prefer to speak to people face-to-face. Or text, email, or instant message.

68. I'm usually only quiet on a few occasions:
  • I'm pensive (have a lot I'm thinking about)
  • I'm hurt (need to sort out what I'm feeling and what to do about it)
  • During the final phase of exhaustion (after I've been through the silly and grouchy phases)

69. I can cry on cue but I have never used that gift inappropriately--mostly it's just a funny thing I can do. For example, family lore tells of how I was with my maternal grandmother in Walgreen's one Thanksgiving season and playfully asked her if she'd buy me a Barbie doll. When she said no, I pretended to burst into tears and made quite a scene...and then started laughing after a  fellow shopper walked by and looked sternly at my grandmother. Oh, and btw: I was at least 20-years-old when this happened. LOL.

70. I love to buy local. LOVE IT! Any and every chance I get, I will purchase locally produced food and other products. Money is power, and I try to be very conscious about where I spend my money. If I have the option, I choose to spend my money at local, family-owned establishments even if I have to spend a little bit extra to do so. Encouraging local economy is important to me. I love the idea of spreading the wealth around, helping local family-owned establishments survive. And I also love the sense of connection I have to those local businesses.
Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow. -- Dolly Levi, Hello, Dolly (1969)
And "evangelizing" good products or services is also important to me. I am a loyal customer. If I like a product or service, I recommend it to all of my friends.

71. I was diagnosed recently as being Celiac (allergic to gluten). Thankfully, Treeshka, who is also Celiac, has been there to tutor me through all of this. But I still don't pay attention as much as I should. As Joy would say, I'm a "crappy" Celiac! Giving up breads and pasta hasn't necessarily been the issue for me, it's discovering that so many (too many) processed foods have some form of gluten in them...and I've been getting sick from eating those unawares.

My one weakness still--and one that I'd endure the stomach pain from eating the gluten in it: a good German soft pretzel. (starts to salivate) Yummmmmm!

72. I couldn't (wouldn't?) swallow pills until I was at least 16-years-old.

73. Being an influential leader is an important goal I have. I am drawn to reading books about leadership (one of my favorites is Leadership and Self-Deception) and to learning from the great leaders around us. Mother Teresa, Vince Lombardi, Coach Krzyzewski (aka Duke's Coach K), Greg Mortensen (author of Three Cups of Tea), Julie Beck (LDS General Relief Society President), Elaine S. Dalton (LDS General Young Women's President), and Martin Luther King are only a  few of my numerous leadership heroes. I love to read stories about ordinary people who made an extraordinary impact on those around them.

74. If I have time to "read for fun," you'll usually find me with a business, leadership, or how-to book in my hands. Learning is fun to me!

75. I love to teach. My favorite callings in my church have been teaching callings (Sunday School, Relief Society, as a missionary).



100 Things about Me, Continued: # 26-50

26. For a few years during grammar school, I attended a parochial school. I was the only Mormon kid in the whole school, which was kind of fun sometimes--especially when the other students participated in weekly confession and I got to sit on the back pew and read a book. When one of my friends asked me why I didn't have to go into the confessional, I smartly replied, "Because I have nothing to confess!" (Had I been Catholic, I would've needed to go directly to the confessional box for that lie!)

27. And speaking of lies...my Maddy nickname originates from a lie I told about what my full name was. To be fair, I was eight-years-old and living in a South Milwaukee neighborhood where I was the only white girl. All of my friends had exotic names like B'Shara, Tangelique, Shaniqua, or Fo'shoshana. I felt left out because my name seemed so plain compared to theirs--and I didn't have an apostrophe or even a silent Q or anything like that! So, I lied and said the first exotic name that came to mind when they asked what my full name was: "Madeline" I said, pronouncing the name with a very thick, French accent. They were impressed. A few days later, they determined that I needed a nickname: Maddy. It stuck. (So much for an exotic name, huh?)

28. And another bit of fiction I perpetuated: I've had 2 imaginary boyfriends in my life. The first, Lee-nard, was in college, an inside joke that morphed into this story my friends teased me about (something about how Lee-nard was a tennis player from Perth, Australia). My friends would leave "love notes from Lee-nard" on my dorm room door or send me virtual flowers from him.
The other imaginary boyfriend was Chad Keychain. Same story: a funny quip I made morphed into this huge inside joke. Only this time, Chad was a Polynesian man living in Cheyenne, Wyoming (where I was, at the time, serving part of my LDS mission), and his grandfather invented the keychain. You laugh, but there were a few people who believed it was true! For the most part, however, it became a mission-wide inside joke. Even my mission president and his wife would ask me about "Chad." LOL. Awe.Some!

29. As you can tell, inside jokes are an integral part of who I am. I love them--and I have a myriad of them. I love to repeat an inside joke and make someone laugh. One of the best talks I ever gave in church was peppered with inside jokes. I don't remember what the actual topic I was supposed to be speaking about was (LOL); what I do remember is that I brilliantly incorporated many inside jokes from the Rocky movies and made my friends in the congregation laugh. Again, not necessarily the greatest thing for me to do in church; it certainly wasn't a very reverent thing to do! But it was huh-larious when I weaved the little gem that Drago says in Rocky IV ("If he dies, he dies") into my lesson about life after death. I did it so seamlessly that if you didn't know the origin of "If he dies, he dies," you would've just thought I was very insightful. (BIG GRIN)

30. I love flying.

31. I love cemeteries--but only during the day. In the light of day, they are peaceful, reverent places...but at night...well, I've watched too many horror films to let my imagination go there!

32. Although I like to dress up and be a girl, I have strong tomboy tendencies. E.g. When I was in the first and second grades, I enjoyed playing barbies with my girl friends, but then when I'd hang out with my boy friends, Barbie would join the army (complete with drawn on tattoos!) to play GI Joe or be Princess Lea when we pretended to be in Star Wars.

33. I love the concept of Facebook but am not on it much. I rarely post, rarely check.

34. My hair stylist (my friend, the fabulous Tish) and I just recently discovered that I have naturally curly hair. Who knew?!

35. I used to choreograph dances to NKOTB, Debbie Gibson, Bon Jovi, Sweet Sensation, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, and other 80s artists in my backyard and put on performances for my neighbors.

36. My first dancing was standing in front of the television on Saturday nights, shaking my little diapered booty to the Lawerence Welk Show.

37. I want to be abundantly wealthy so I can share my abundance of wealth with "the forgotten." And with my temporal needs met, I will be free to spend my days serving others.

38. Thinking is my strength but it's also my kryptonite: sometimes, especially when I am anxious about making a decision or about a struggle in my life, I think myself into a frenzy...to the point that I can't sleep. And I can also talk myself out of making decisions that might require "too much" risk (according to my brain).

39. I love having someone else brush my hair. It's very relaxing.

40. If left unattended, I could do genealogy research for hours and hours, stopping only to use the wash room and occasionally remembering to eat something.

41. I have an aversion to public restrooms, especially if they look like this from Como, Italy: 

42. I am a proponent for efficiency, which I blame or credit to my German heritage. If there is an efficient way to perform a task, I will find it--and find it quickly. There's too much to do in this life--too much fun to be had!--to waste time. I'm afraid, though, that my sister doesn't know what to do with me: she's not quite the efficiency-crazed person that I am. (I think I got all of the German genes...LOL).

43. I have an affinity for natural, holistic medicine, and actually prefer the natural to Western medicine for non-life-threatening situations. I'd love to learn more about the proper use herbs and essential oils.

44. I am fascinated by the idea that everything is energy. I voraciously read anything I can about Law of Attraction, etc. to better understand how to positively affect my life by obeying this law. And I love learning about the 7 chakras, including how to clear them.

45. According to Carol Tuttle's work about energy profiling, my dominant energy type is Type 1 with a secondary 4.
Nitrogen, Type 1: The bright, animated person who has a gift for new ideas and possibilities. The natural movement of Type 1 is upward and light. This can be seen in a Type 1 person’s personality and also their body language and physical features. A person with a dominant Type 1 expression is naturally an upward, light, upbeat person. Famous Type 1 people include: Rachel Ray, Goldie Hawn, Jim Carrey, and Will Smith.

Carbon, Type 4: The structured and exact person who has a gift for looking at the world through a critical eye and perfecting it. The natural movement of a Type 4 person is constant and precise. This can be seen in a Type 4 person’s personality and also in their body language and physical features. Famous Type 4 people include: Keanu Reeves, Simon Cowell, Demi Moore, and Audrey Hepburn.

SOURCE: Carol Tuttle, master energy therapist, "What is Energy Profiling?"
46. I used to dress my sister up in my Cabbage Patch premie's clothes (they fit her) and push her around in my doll's carriage. She was my living doll.

47. Weak ankles prevented me from moving on to pointe shoes in ballet, and they make skating dangerous for me (read: falling!).

48. I still have some of the jelly and friendship bracelets I wore in the 80s. But for some reason, they don't coordinate very well with my business professional attire. Go figure.

49. My parents thought I was going to be a boy. Oops. Sorry to disappoint y'all!

50. I've always wanted to build my own tree house and have sleepovers in it. And have a secret password. I'd let boys join me, though.

27 August 2011

"Listen, I'll be honest with you: I love Jesus, but I drink a little"

I've seen this clip many times before and laughed until I cried. Just came across it again and thought I should post it.

Gladys, the caller Ellen talks to, is huh-larious. A few gems from Gladys:
  • "Well, I'm sure that means something."
  • "You call me anytime. Do you have my number?"

26 August 2011

Maddy Loves...Family!

My family is dysfunctional, crazy, and sometimes unbearable. But we're also a pretty great bunch of people when we get together.
4 generations of head-strong, German women: Great Grandma (Bertie), me, Grandma (Audrey), and Mom
Holding my cousin Peter whilst my Dad holds me. (And yes, it's okay to say it: I *am* adorable, aren't I?!)
I heart my Dad. Always will.
Mom, me, and my sister (who has somehow seen fit to forgive me for teasing her that she was adopted).
Celebrating the opening of my sister's LDS mission call with our lovely grandmother.
My Dad's side of the family. A crazy bunch we are!
With my parents, grandpa, and sister at the airport before I left for my LDS mission to Colorado/Wyoming.

100 Random Things about Me -- #1-25

Treeshka is often an inspiration to me. And today that inspiration is to copy her post. (Imitation is a sincere form of flattery, right? So here's me flattering Treeshka with an homage to her recent blog post.)

100 Random Things about Me
or 100 Things that Make You Say, "Hmmm...That Maddy...she's a bit...(what's the word?)..." LOL
  1. Popcorn is a completely legitimate breakfast entree.
  2. Though my passport is from the USA, I think I am secretly Canadian.
  3. Life should come with a full arsenal of emoticons.
  4. When I was 5, I was convinced I was Wonder Woman. Still pretty sure I could rock the world if only I had those awesome cuffs. And an invisible helicopter. 
  5. I'm "predictably rebellious," according to Treeshka. Not exactly sure what that means....
  6. Eternity cologne is one of the best scents in the world. I have Yankee Candles with this scent (called by them Midsummer's Night) all over my house. And in my car. And in my office. And if I had a man who smelled like this, I'd be a goner! ;-)
  7. If given the chance, I would listen to 10 songs on repeat all day long:
    • "Rise N Grind" (Donnie Wahlberg)
    • "Forever" (Chris Brown)
    • "I Do Not Hook Up" (Kelly Clarkson)
    • "Around the Way Girl" (LL Cool J)
    • "Do It to It" (Cherish)
    • "Stuck Like Glue" (Sugarland)
    • "Take Ya Home" (Lil' Bow Wow)
    • "Don't Turn out the Lights" (NKOTBSB)
    • "Always" (Atlantic Starr)
    • "Real Good Man" (Tim McGraw)
        1. My favorite talent show performance: when my friend and I were "Silly Vanilli" in the sixth grade, complete with fake dreadlocks. Awe.Some.
        2. I am not keen about reality television shows (So You Think You Can Dance? and Dancing with the Stars are the only exceptions to this)...but I occasionally get "sucked in" and watch marathons of America's Next Top Model on VH1 or Oxygen.
        3. One of my favorite seasons of the year is March Madness. I anxiously await the Big Reveal on Selection Sunday...and then thoughtfully fill out the brackets. SPOILER ALERT: I usually pick Duke to win the Big Dance. I love me some Duke and Coach K! :)
        4. My (not so) secret love: Indian food, Bollywood films, and Bollywood music. As I write this, I am listening to "Chale Chalo" from the Lagaan soundtrack. Makes me want to get up and start dancing! Just wish I understood what they were singing. Haha.
        5. I don't like carrying a purse or a big bag. Although I can appreciate the love of beautiful purses, I don't think I'll ever own one because I wouldn't use it.
          SOURCE: http://mke2lax.blogspot.com/2007/11/pdx-mke.ht
        6. I have trained myself to NOT call a water fountain a "bubbler" (even though that's what it's really called...in Milwaukee...).
        7. Spending more than $100 on a pair of shoes gives me great pause. Unless they are flip flops or some form of sandals.
        8. Early in my career, I though that my fast-track was to become a librarian. Now I realize that I would've been too loud for that job. LOL
        9. The first German words I recognized as a child were those my Oma yelled at me when I was in trouble. I'm pretty sure there were some serious swear words in there.
        10. I love giving people nicknames. For example, one day in a staff meeting, I decided to call my boss "Tyrone," even though his name is simple Ty (not short for anything)--and he let me. Still lets me.
        11. I secretly wanted to be on the Mickey Mouse Club but I wasn't ever brave enough to audition.
        12. I am a night person. Unfortunately, my current work schedule doesn't accommodate that very well. I have the "night" thing down--i.e., staying up late working or doing other things--but the part that gets me is that I still have to get up super early the next morning. That's why THAT no work!
        13. I rarely paint my finger nails. My toenails, however, are rarely "naked" (i.e., without polish). And I don't think I could ever stand the feeling of having fake fingernails.
        14. My favorite ice cream is vanilla soft serve. DQ is one of the best.
        15. I've always wanted to marry a man with a German-sounding last name because it would be "good for business" and give me more "street cred," haha. (I do a lot of business with Germans and German-Americans.)
        16. I come from a boy scout family; both my parents and my dad's parents have been heavily involved with scouting for all of my life. I used to join my dad's troop on activities when I was younger (and I *knew* that all of those older boys were secretly in love with me, of course--even though I was 5 or 6 years old!), and later, I'd help him every year with Scouting for Food. I even have patches for doing this--just no cool khaki shirt to put them on!
        17. I wear an Irish Claddagh ring on my right hand and never ever take it off. (It's my homage to my mom's Irish ancestry.)
        18. I do not usually have the gift of nap. It's difficult for me to sleep on public transportation (buses, trains, planes) or in the car on road trips. Only when I'm extremely exhausted am I able to sleep. Even sleeping pills don't always do the trick. So, for me, red eye flights--where the point is for you to sleep whilst en route--only produce red eyes and a grouchy, exhausted me. Not necessarily the best idea for all involved.

        24 August 2011

        Maddy Loves...Laughing!

        Note: NEVER e-v-e-r leave your camera alone when Casey, Amy W8, and I are around. Just sayin'... :-)
        Laughing whilst dancing with Luke W.
        Wet and tired, laughing with Sister Marta at Hanging Lake (Colorado).

        Maddy Loves...Celebrating My Birthday Corner Gas Style!




        Some of my favorite Corner Gas bits:

        Karen Pelly: I got a riddle for you, Hank. Okay. A plane crashes on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Where do they bury the survivors?
        Hank Yarbo: Hmmm. Tough one. Right on the border, huh? Well, is there one larger chunk of the airplane on one side?
        Karen Pelly: No. It's broken directly in half, distributed over the two sides.
        Hank Yarbo: Wow, that's really tough.
        Karen Pelly: [Repeats herself] A plane crashes directly on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Where do they bury the SURVIVORS?
        Hank Yarbo: OHHHHH! The *survivors*.
        [pause]
        Hank Yarbo: Bury one on each side. 

        Oscar Leroy: Let me answer that question with another question: Shut up!

        Brent LeRoy: [in Dog River's extremely small library] Hey Alice, I was wondering if...
        Alice: Shh!
        Brent LeRoy: Pardon?
        Alice: [whispering] This is a library. Shh!
        Brent LeRoy: Well, we're the only ones in here.
        Alice: [whispering] I'm sorry Brent, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave if you don't keep it down.
        Brent LeRoy: [whispering] Okay, I was just wondering if you had a book on child psychology.
        Alice: [still whispering] On what?
        Brent LeRoy: [still whispering] Child psychology.
        Alice: [still whispering] "Jives on top of me"?
        Brent LeRoy: [sarcastically] That's right Alice, I want a book about jives on top of you. 

        Oscar Leroy: Don't come crying to me when you need a fuzzy red lobster!

        Hank Yarbo: [Brent and Hank are wearing the same shirt] Look at us, we're identical!
        Brent LeRoy: We're not identical, I have different pants than you.
        Hank Yarbo: Yeah, I don't even wanna get into your pants.
        Brent LeRoy: You're not gonna with that kinda whining.

        Maddy Loves...My Sister

        I only have one official, biological sister. That is much to my great disappointment. But even though I begged and pleaded, prayed to Heavenly Father and petitioned Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, all I got was the one sibling.

        Which actually turned out just fine because my sister is amaze-balls!

        We've always been close, despite the 7 years, 7 months, and 7 days difference in age.

        With my sister when she returned from her LDS mission.
        Holding my sister just after she was born (8 weeks premature).
        Together in front of the Idaho Falls LDS temple before she left on her LDS mission.
        At the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo. See the orange "dork dot" on her black name tag? I had one of those too when I entered the MTC. Ah, the memories!
        Just chillin'.
        Chillin' some more...

        Maddy Loves...People with Down syndrome!

        There's such a tender place in my heart for those who are perceived as "different" and/or "unwanted" or "unlovable."  Two of my cousins (one from each side of my family) are autistic, which has brought this issue very close to home for me.

        When I was at university, I had the privilege of directing a group called Unified Sports. The volunteer-led organization provided a weekly activity for people with Down syndrome and their families. It was during this wonderful time of service that my love for people with Down syndrome blossomed. Some of my fondest memories are from this special time.

        Orphans with Down syndrome harrow my heart with a great force. Someday I will bring (at least) one of those precious children home to live with me. And someday I will be in a financially abundant position to enable other families to do the same.

        Until those somedays...
        At the Special Olympics when Dustin won (another) gold medal!
        With Dustin as my "date" to a dance. (Love my crimped hair, eh?)
        With Eli Rios, a previous "boyfriend" with Down syndrome. (I break the hearts of these poor boys, huh? Haha.)
        With Dustin at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. So proud of you, Dust!

        23 August 2011

        Maddy Loves...Children

        ...Probably because I act like one most of the time, haha!
        My "niece" Brooke. Love her!!!
        Hangin' out on the 4-wheeler. Sooooo much fun!
        Despite the "head-butt hello" from Sammy here, he's super fun to hang out with!
        Holding a sleeping Jackson Keith. He smelled soooo good!
        Little Maddy and Big Maddy.

        Maddy Loves...to Dance!

        Hip hop. Hula. Irish. Folk Dance. Clogging. Lyrical jazz. Ballroom. Salsa. Ballet. I haven't met a form of dance I didn't like.

        One of the things I miss in my workaholic life is the opportunity to dance as much as I used to. Oh sure, I dance whenever and wherever I am: clogging down the aisle at the grocery store, bustin' a move while I'm driving, practicing ballet positions while standing in line--even doing a series of Chainé turns down the hallway of my office to pick up prints from the printer (like I did today!). But it's not the same. Not sure how to incorporate dance back into my life. I might not be able to have a career as a back-up dancer for Paula Abdul/Janet Jackson or be the principal ballerina in the Nutcracker as I dreamed of doing when I was younger. Hopefully, though, I can bring the happiness of dance into my life in a more structured, consistent way.

        My ballet debut in the Balloon Dance. And yes, if you ask really nicely, I'll recreate this pose for you in person. But only if you ask REALLY nicely. Ok, let's be honest: I'll do it without anyone asking!
        Practicing my clogging routine in my apartment. (I'm sure my neighbors below LOVED that!)
        Even on when serving my LDS mission, I couldn't NOT dance! Here I am teaching the hula to seniors at a care center where we served each week.

        Happy Birthday, Poppy!


        I love you, Poppy!

        Maddy Loves...NKOTB

        I was converted to Blockism in 1988 with the first strains of little Joey Joe singing "Please...don't go, girrrl." From then until 1991-ish, I was a Blockhead fanatic: I wore the t-shirts and tour jackets (covered in myriad of buttons, of course); NKOTB posters, especially of Donnie, my favorite New Kid, were hung on every available wall space; my parents allowed me to camp out over night to get a good spot in line for concert tickets; I religiously watched MTV and other television programs and diligently checked newsstands for any sign of new NKOTB information or pictures; and I had the blankets, CDs, the sleeping bag, the dolls, the cartoons, the trading cards, home videos, recordings of their pay-per-view specials, etc etc etc.

        When the group cancelled their July 5, 1991 (or 1992...I can't remember now) concert at Alpine Valley Amphitheater (in Wisconsin), I was devastated. And when I learned that they'd disbanded after their Face the Music album had come out, I was certain I would never recover. (LOL. Talk about being melodramatic, Anne Shirley!) Thankfully, I survived. :-D

        Even if the group had not reunited in 2008, I would've continued to be a lifelong fan. Over the moves of many years, I've made the tough decisions to give away much of my NKOTB paraphernalia. However, one thing I WILL NOT EVER give away: my faded, pink NKOTB blanket. As I write this, I sit curled up with it on my bed. Maybe it's a Linus-like security blanket. Certainly, it brings great comfort and sense of security when I wrap myself in it, especially when I'm sick. All I know is that when I see the faded faces of Danny, Donnie, Joey, Jordan, and Jon on that blanket, I feel happy and remember the joy of being a 13-year-old Blockhead, dreaming of the day when I'd be BFFs with NKOTB. Oh yeah, and when Donnie Wahlberg would fall in love with me. (Still waiting on both of those, come to think of it! LOL.) It's my Happy Blanket...and that's all I need to know.

        Maddy Loves...IKEA.

        Someday, I will have an "IKEA" house. And it will be wonderful.

        Good job, thank you very much, amen!
        IKEA in Milan. Awesome!

        Maddy Loves...The Kickstand Queen!

        I love me wee puppy, Olivia (aka The Kickstand Queen). As I've mentioned before, I never really considered myself a "dog person" (or even a "pet person"). I like animals...but I never imagined myself with a pet in my house as an adult.

        Cue Olivia stage left.

        Following the preparation by Simon "You are My Human" Geilman, a Maltese dog who ruled his domain and trained me to love being his human (LOL), all Olivia had to do was look at me with those yittle puppy dog eyes and it was over. And after seeing her "kickstand" leg and hearing about her previous life PM (pre-Maddy) where she was abused (one of her owners kicked her in the face and broke her jaw, so now her snout it crooked) and then abandoned with 31 other dogs in a house where she had to fend for herself... yeah, I didn't stand a chance!

        It's been an adventure (which I love) having Olivia live with me. She's training me well. Wish I could say the same thing about training her!

        Over the last 10 months, her health has declined dramatically, thanks to an autoimmune disease that attacks her joints, the arthritis in her hips, and the cancer growing in her stomach (which is a side effect to the strong pain meds I give her every morning). "Going for a walk" means I pick her up in my arms and carry her outside to a grassy area in my townhome area so she can "do her job" something she does with much difficulty and pain. I worry everyday about her--how much pain she's enduring and whether I'll come home from my office or wake up in the morning to find her expired. And there is much anxiety I feel as I try to make her life as comfortable and as happy as possible.

        But there is much joy. I love Miss Olivia.

        I love her little waggy tail greeting me when I get home in the evenings.  

        I love that she will scurry behind my leg during a fireworks display or a thunderstorm--that she knows I will protect her.

        I love that even though she will lick my hand (or face...or foot...or ankle...or arm...or face...or...) and wag her tail at me when we get up in the morning.

        I love the way she sounds like Wilbur the pig when she's sniffing around on the floor for extra bits of food.

        I love that she follows me around the house and that she just wants to be near me (not too close, mind you, but within a few feet--just to make sure that I'm not going anywhere.)

        I love that she rolls over onto her back so I can "do MY job," i.e. rub her belly.

        I love her gumption: even now, when she's in excruciating pain, she still tries sometimes to get up or down a few stairs, something that is extremely painful and difficult for The Kickstand Queen.

        I love how when she "runs," it looks like she's doing the bunny hop.

        I love that I can always tell when she's asleep because she snores. Loudly. (grin)

        I love that she allowed (imperfect) me to bring her home and attempt to take care of her.

        I love that she's taught me what it's like to love something/someone sooooo much that all I want to do is do what's best for her--what will bring her happiness (if dogs feel that...?) and will help her feel safe and comfortable.

        Yeah...I'd say I'm whooped! LOL.

        Maddy Loves...a Harley!

        One of the greatest sounds in the world? The guttural sound of a Harley Davidson's engine. Whenever I hear that beautiful sound, I pause and put my hand over my heart in reverence. Someday I will have my very own Harley. Someday!


        Maddy Loves...Doing Crazy Things and Finding the "Crazy" in Daily Life!

        My way of not getting sunburned at the Turtle Bay beach.
        Helping one of the Easter Island statues get his hat on.
        Playing a lovely melody on the uke'le'le.
        Finding (in a singsong voice) "another pe-cu-li-arity" wherever I travel. This one: chickens on the side of the road in Hawai'i!
        Bows on Christmas packages? $1.00. Wearing gift bows on my head? Priceless. LOL.
        Treeshka and I saw this HUGE wooden shoe as we were rushing through the Amsterdam airport. The shoe just begged to be in a picture!
        AWESOME hair after camping. A beauty, ain't it?
        Treeshka making friends with a Nutcracker.
        Stevie Wonder, er, I mean, Treeshka during one of our many (many, many, MANY) meetings at work.
        Thanks to Melissa and Tracy--and the big plastic pair of scissors--I was able to secure new employment: as an OFFICIAL ribbon cutter. Have plastic scissors, will travel!
        Birthdays are meant to be celebrated in full. And in this case, it means waking up the Birthday Girl very early in the morning, dressing her up in a plastic tiara and a fluffy boa, and taking her to breakfast so everyone can see her!
        One of THE best Christmas gifts E-V-E-R: our very own Nerf dart guns. And yes, we did, spend the rest of Christmas day shooting the guns a) at each other and b) at a bull's eye we'd drawn on the sliding glass door. It was EPIC!
        "I don't know why I'm SOOOO awesome! I just AM!" LOL.
        A little La Jolla love, baby!
        At The Spud Drive-in. Nothin' says fine cinema like watching a movie in your car in a field, surrounded on each side by horses and cattle. But at least they have delicious tater tots. Yes, indeedy!
        Just "hanging' around with Melganie, Suz, and Jenga Brittany
        "I'm ready for my close-up, dahling."
        The best way to consume whipped cream: directly from the can!
        At Garden of the Gods (Colorado) with Jonathan, Char, and Ry. (Char and Ry are astride a statue of a bull.)
        "Holy Mother of All ... freeeeeezing cold lake!" (Star Valley, Wyoming)
        No sleep? Check. 10+ hours in a car? Check. Waiting to hike 12 miles into Havasupai. Check!
        Que pasa, Nacho Jason?
        Boy! The world is heavy! I need to put my "back into it"!
        Wanna see what I just ate? Do ya? Do ya?
        Pretending to be a cheerleader at the boys' Turkey Bowl.
        Beds were meant to be landed upon. And blankets? Just capes waiting to be tied around your neck!
        Modeling the wedding items Celeste's soon-to-be aunt in-law thought were, um, pretty (?).
        Post-search for the Grand Daddy of All Puddles. Jessica and I ran around the BYU campus in our bare feet, jumping in e-v-e-r-y puddle we could find!