Saturday, December 26

Blogging resolution

For Christmas my mom and dad were the bomb.com and got me a new laptop. It is actually a graduation/Christmas present...yes, graduation from college which happened in 2002. But let me tell you that it has been WELL. WORTH. THE. WAIT. Yesterday while I was exploring my new gift my sister Kerri told me that now that I have a computer I should blog everyday. So in attempt to not let my little sister down I am blogging today, and while make an attempt to blog everyday...ok, so that is REALLY NOT going to happen, but hopefully I will be better. And while I'm thinking of goals, resolutions, etc perhaps I will post mine for 2010. I've actually never been much for resolutions...I'm pretty much a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl and so resolutions don't usually work out well for me...but at times in my life I find myself wanting to be better and so I decide to work on a particular trait or issue. A few months ago I found myself wanting to be a kinder person. I've realized in the last few years, but more pointedly so in the last few months, that kindness should NEVER be underestimated. And so for the last few months I've been working on being a kinder person, and I think that it is a worthy resolution for 2010. I can't think of a catchy phrase...like "Life will be sublime in 2009"...but that is ok because someone else made me a nice little rhyme that I learned as a child. I'm thinking of getting it tattooed on my wrist...however until I make a firm decision I will post it here:

"I want to be kind to everyone,
for that is right you see.
So I'll say to myself, remember this:
'Kindness begins with me'"


And as a plea to all those who read this, I would love your help in working on this, so when you see me, or read my blog, or email me, or text me, or call me...ask me how my resolution is going.


Thursday, December 17

There really is a "Funeral for the Whales"!!!

Many moons ago...I believe it was the summer of 2002, the Russell family found themselves cruising on a a ship off the coast of Alaska. It was a wonderful vacation filled with laughs, love, and lies...."LIES?!" you say? Yes, lies. One balmy Alaskan day the four Russell children found themselves in the cruise ship's cafe. As they sat there laughing and eating...probably ice cream...(give me a break, it's been a few years since this trip) they heard a song on the loud speaker and began discussing it. The oldest of the Russell children, Brooke, thought it was reminiscent of an Enya song (YES, I like Enya). While the youngest, Kerri, said she actually knew what the song was. It was a song called "Funeral for the Whales". She went on to explain that it was on a video she watched in her American history class. The song was played anytime a cruise ship hit a whale and killed it. Of course the other three Russell children were skeptical, and called Kerri out on her "Funeral for the Whales" tale. She laughed and admitted that it wasn't a song played when cruise ships hit whales, but that it really was a song from the video she watched in history class...she even went as far as to give the title of the video..."America the Beautiful" or something like that. She said the song really was called "Funeral for the Whales" and that it was part of this video. Well, as far as the Russell children go (no offense other Russell children) Kerri was definitely the kindest, and most honest...so why wouldn't Brooke have believed her. (I would dare say that Kelli and Scott believed her too, but they would just deny it).

The trip ended, after much merriment and good times were had. Months went by or perhaps it was only weeks, but one day Kerri started laughing as she told everyone that "Funeral for the Whales" wasn't real and she had made it all up. The Russell family had a good laugh, and now refer to any of Kerri's "stories" as "Funeral for the Whales".

The other day I was browsing through my MSNBC RSS feeds and came across this story about a group who is working to save the whales from the Japanese whaling industry. I laughed right out loud..."Funeral for the Whales" DOES exist! You can see it performed here! It is actually quite an interesting story and the song is a bit creepy and might actually do it's intended job of scaring off the whalers.

Wednesday, December 16

Ten Reasons Why Scottie is my FAVORITE BROTHER EVER!!!

10. He is FUNNY. He makes us ALL laugh. ALL the time.

9. He is HUMBLE...seriously...I'm amazed at his humility because if I was that great, there is NO WAY I would be humble!

8. He is GENEROUS...he has a "homeless fund" in his car for people standing on the street corners.

7. He is an EXCELLENT listener.

6. He makes good beef jerky.

5. His "Dad" skills are TOP NOTCH!
(Word on the street is that his husband skills are too...Mattie?).

4. HE. IS. PATIENT.

3. He is a very spiffy dresser.

2. He has always been there for me when I needed advice.

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON WHY SCOTTIE IS MY FAVORITE BROTHER?!?
...
1. HE IS MY ONLY BROTHER!!!!!


I LOVE YOU SCOTTIE...
and that really isn't the number one reason...the REAL number one reason is that you are truly the best example of what a "real man" should be!

Sunday, December 13

Thankful

I just have to quickly say how thankful I am right now. I missed posting anything in the way of "thanks" for Thanksgiving...and my last post was NOT so Christmas-cheerish....but as I sat in my parent's living room tonight watching White Christmas (ha ha ha) with my mom and sister, and earlier playing Mario Kart with my brother and sister (in-law), and about three minutes ago while reading my aunt's blog...I realized that I'm truly blessed and SO VERY LUCKY to have the family that I have. We're far from perfect, and yet for me...they are THE. PERFECT. FAMILY.

I'm especially grateful that we can be together for eternity...I don't feel that way ALL the time ;) but in the big picture...it's pretty rad!

In the words of Tina Turner, they are "simply the best".

Monday, December 7

Christmas Cheer...not here....


I realized today that it has been over a month since I last posted. I apologize to my avid readers (insert sarcasm). I usually am all about the writing, but I've felt uninspired this holiday season...which is really a shame because generally I enjoy the holidays...unfortunately I'm lacking in holiday cheer this year. I have made attempts to find my excitement...Thanksgiving dinner was tasty enough, and I did get to see The Blind Side which was excellent, and spending time with my extended family is ALWAYS a good time.

But then Thanksgiving was over and now it is December and I should be jumping for joy with Christmas cheer...but I'm not. I went Christmas tree shopping with some friends last week to see if that would help...not so much. I watched a Christmas devotional last night and listened the the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing...and yet I am STILL lacking in the Christmas cheer department. This week I'm going to attend the Mo Tab's annual Christmas concert and hopefully that will help. This evening I am off to see the Zoo Christmas lights...and I'm sure some time this week I will make it downtown to see the lights on and around Temple Square...until then you can call me Scrooge. No...actually you can't. You see I'm not actually in a BAD mood, I'm just NOT in the Christmas mood. Suggestions of course are welcome :)

Friday, October 30

I don't know why...but it STILL bothers me...

that many, many moons ago (2003 to be exact) the Dixie Chicks were ostracized for the following comment: "Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." I understand that the political climate was vastly different than it is now and that they said in London but imagine if they had made that comment just two years ago...

I'm not a political person. I vote because it is a right and civic duty, but I don't often have strong feelings regarding out political leaders...I didn't have strong feelings about W, and I don't have strong feelings about Obama...but I DO have strong feelings about the Dixie Chicks...I'm not even sure why, since I don't love country all that much...but it just seems so ridiculous to me that these things happened to them...so unfair...and I AM a fan of justice...I do know you reap what you sew and you have to pay the piper, etc...but what happened to them was so extreme and as I sat here listening to Taking the Long Way, I could not help but get irritated all over again.

I realize this was a random outburst, but still after all these years, it really frosts my cookies!


Tuesday, October 13

My Dad


Today is my Dad's birthday...and in true Brooke fashion here is a top ten list of why my dad is the greatest....

10. He has a great smile...and because of that...so do I!

9. He has really great hair and you can't really see the gray, and I'm super excited...because I got his hair too!

8. He's very friendly, and can have a conversation with just about anyone...I think I got that from him as well.

7. He can sleep anywhere...I mean anywhere! And it has made for some hilarious times!

6. He's adventurous...he started skiing and biking in his forties.

5. He doesn't really like chocolate...and neither do I...so take that all you chocolate lovers!

4. He is a hard worker.

3. He drilled into my head...in a nice way...the importance of an education.

2. He also taught me that you can't always get what you want and because of that...I am a better person.

And the #1 reason why I have the best dad ever...

HE'S MY DAD AND I LOVE HIM.


Thursday, October 1

BEST BUY IS LAME


I wanted to title this "Best Buy Sucks" but my mom hates that word, so in an effort to bring happiness to her life we will go with lame.

I have been in the market for a new computer for a while and I have been saving up to buy a Mac. But when I found out I was losing my job I decided that I should probably NOT spend almost $2,000.00 for a new computer. I have always liked HP and have had good luck...and I don't mind "being a PC". So with that I set out last Thursday to buy a new laptop.

I looked around for a while...had two not so helpful sales people bother me...the first guy was totally unwilling to give him his thoughts and opinions about ANYTHING...what is the point of a sales person if they are unwilling to sale you on something!? Best Buy needs to take a lesson from Nordstrom. (Thanks for all your help Becky...my aunts, grandma and mother would not have been so well dressed).

Finally I decided on one...an HP...very pretty, very white...just like me ;) The sales girl who was now helping me was so insecure and really had NO idea what she was doing, but I was patient, and she took me to the customer service desk so that the "Geek Squad" (who were not nearly as handsome as Zachery Levi) could install some antivirus software and set up my new HP notebook. It cost me $60.00 for their work, but it was worth it since I didn't want a bunch of ads, etc constantly popping up. They said it would take about 2 hours...it took three, but I was ok because the Geek Squad member who helped me was nice. I took my laptop home to play. Since I did not have the password for the wireless network at my complex I did not get on line that day. But I tested other things out and it was great. I was super excited!

I went to my mom's the next day to try out the Internet, but was unable to pull up any websites. All signs pointed to me being connected and my mom's computer was working, as was my sister's in law...so I figured it was a product problem. I took the computer back today....here is what happened:

After making a few attempts on the same secured network I took it back. The Geek Squad guy ran some diagnostics and determined that there were 12 viruses on my computer. I had never even managed to get on line. I had had the computer less than a week and had not really used it. The rep said it would be $130.00 to remove the viruses or I could return it but would lose $94.50 for a restocking fee, AND I would not receive a refund for the Standard Security and Performance check. I was extremely upset, since the security check had been in vain. I was also upset because I was never even able to use the product. Not too mention that Geek Squad rep that helped me today was totally unsympathetic and had no customer service skills at all. I will not being shopping at Best Buy again, or using the Geek Squad and I will be more than willing to tell anyone about my poor experience...hence the blog. I have written Best Buy a letter and will be MORE than happy to discourage ANYONE from shopping there. Having worked in customer service for many years I know how damaging one bad experience can be...I am happy to do that damage!

Thursday, September 17

Red Lobster virgin...NOT ANYMORE!!!!



PREFACE:
my mom told me that I have been to Red Lobster before, but I have no recollection, so I am considering my visit on May 3, 2008 my first visit.

PREFACE TWO: This even happened over a year ago and for some reason, the post never made it to the blog...so my apologies to Sweet Alice for this mistake...as it was one of my most favorite evenings out with Alice EVER!

So on May 3 2008 I made my inaugural visit to Red Lobster. It was definitely the best inaugural visit EVER! First of all...I was with Alice and that is ALWAYS a most excellent time when Alice and Arnold hit the town.

The night as far as my mood did not start out the best...at least for me...but I was just not in a great mood. Alice dragged me to Ben's Cookies. As you may know Saturday night at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake is the BEST TIME EVER to be driving in your car. Anyway...we drove around looking for a parking garage that was not full. We attempted to pull into one and a man began yelling "WATCH THE WAND...YOU CAN'T COME IN HERE" We laughed but honestly it was all either of us could do to keep from swearing at the guy...I believe that Alice did tell him to chill out, but other than that we just backed out of the driveway and made our way to Ben's Cookie's.

Then it was off...far, far away from the Gateway. Alice wanted to go to the Cheesecake Factory, but the wait was almost two hours, and frankly...neither of us are very pleasant when we're hungry. So she gave me a list of other options and I chose Red Lobster as I had never been before and it was just across the way from where we were.

Thus began one of my favorite dinning experiences ever.

1st: As we were sitting in the entrance waiting for our table two boys and a father looking fellow walked out. A spring in their steps and satisfied looks on their faces. Obviously, they had been fed well. The older of the two boys was chattering on delightedly and removed any doubt we may have had about the enjoyment of their meal when he said, "That was the BEST crab I have ever tasted!" I bit my lower...it was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. Jen and I were clutching out sides with suppressed laughter...apparently he has only spent time in land-locked state...or at least never visited a more reputable seafood establishment.


2nd: As I was devouring, yes, devouring my crab legs...that were NOT the best I've ever had, but not too shabby....I was cracking one open and a piece of shell went flying and hit Alice right in the eye. I could not have planned it better. We were laughing so hard, and it was right in sync with the direction of the night.

3rd: Finally our evening came to an end. Jen said that I should document the occasion with a photo of the sign, and I commented that "It's just a restaurant" Boy was I WRONG! A man and his wife who were in the parking lot smoking an after dinner cigarette hear my comment...the rather burly, tank top wearing man looked at me in what was shock and awe sprinkled with a bit of disgust and replied very seriously "Red Lobster is not just a restaurant, it is an experience." I can't remember if Jen and I held our laughter...oh wait...we didn't have to...we were so taken aback by the seriousness of his comment that we just stared at him as we walked to our car. When we got into the car we burst into laughter and tears.

It was such a great "first time". For sure one of the best I've had!!

Sunday, September 13

Brandi Carlile

On Thursday September 10th I attended the best concert I've ever been to, with my best friend Courtney Nichole Ruttenbur Bulsiewicz. It was amazing and wonderful and just a really great time. Brandi Carlile is one of the nicest, if not the nicest musician I've ever met...and I have met a handful of them. And they have been super nice...as my sister pointed out...Ingrid, Tristan Prettyman, Lenka...so, so nice...but Brandi...perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she resembles my youngest sister, Kerri, and Kerri is just the sweetest girl I know. Anyway...words cannot even begin to describe the concert. Aubry did an excellent job of writing about the End Zone performance...check that out here. I wish I could say something more articulate about the concert, but I can't...so check out the pictures and just make sure that next time Brandi Carlile is in your neighborhood you go see her!

Check out the photos here!

Thursday, September 3

Kelli Jean Russell...Kell Bell...KJ...Kelli...Kelli Jean...

HAPPY 20th Kelli...today...September 3, 2009, my sister, Kelli Jean Russell, is 20 years old. The one thing that I remember about Kelli's birth is that Scott and I each got a new Nintendo game to play once my parent's went to the hospital. I also remember that she was a fat baby! A. BIG. FAT. BABY. But so cute and adorable...and she use to do this thing where she would jump up in the air and then land flat on her bum...she was wearing a diaper and apparently there was enough padding because she would do it on the carpet or the kitchen floor...anywhere...it was so funny. Other things I remember about Kelli is that she was that she drove me crazy when she was in elementary school...luckily...we've grown close and she doesn't drive me nuts anymore. And so...in the Brooke Lee Russell birthday shout out tradition....

TOP TEN REASONS THAT KELLI ROCKS MY SOCKS!!!


10. Have you seen this post? Just listen. Enough said.

9. She pees her pants often, and is not afraid to share it or show it...she may have learned that for me...but I pretty much think it is a sign of her confidence!

8. I like her style. She is a kool kat.

7. She is now a T-Bird...and I'm sure she will, sooner than later, be a TRUE T-BIRD!

6. She likes to go to movies with me.

5. She isn't the best driver in the Russell family, but I do feel pretty safe riding with her.

4. If I was stranded on a deseret island (yes, deseret...that is not a spelling error) and I could only have one person with me, I would pick Kelli because if SHE was stranded on a deseret island and could only have one person with her should would choose Jesus.

3. She is nice to people...genuinely nice.

2. She is a life guard and could save my life if I was ever drowning...she could save YOUR life too.

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON KELLI ROCKS MY SOCKS....

I am her favorite oldest sister!!!!

I LOVE YOU KELL BELL!!

Have a great birthday! See you soon!

Tuesday, September 1

Done and gone.

Yesterday, August 31st was my last day at Beneficial Financial Group. Unemployment here I come! Just kidding...well, I will be unemployed, at least for a little while...but do not fear...there is a plan. :) The first part of the plan includes a trip to Yuma, AZ (yes, it is hot, but for long, lost best ever friends, who've once again been found, it is worth it...right?...just kidding Jess...TOTALLY WORTH IT...PEEING MY PANTS WITH EXCITEMENT)!

Moving on...sorry...the second part of the plan includes finding a part time job, with IHC...because...(third part of the plan)...I am going to nursing school!!! I am going to start my pre-reqs at SLCC in January, hopefully I only have one semester of pre-reqs, and then apply for entrance to the nursing program. Can I just tell you that I am SOOOOOOO excited for nursing school! I really, really am...which is not the best articulation...it's probably a good thing I didn't major in English. Anyway...that is pretty much the update of my life. I enjoyed a day of sleeping in...although I was wide awake at 6:00am...and if that is the case tomorrow that will be just fine...I just really wanted to sleep in today...so I went back to bed until 9:30!

I think the thing I am most happy about is that I can get things done...things I want to do and I don't have work to get in the way :) Unfortunately without work I will get all of these things done in much less time and will be extremely bored...that is the theory anyway...possibly not what will actually happen...we shall see.

I will say this about my time at Beneficial...though I may not have always enjoyed the work I was doing...I ALWAYS enjoyed the people I was working with...they really did make my job worth it, enjoyable, and on those really rough days, bearable...so to all of my co-workers...I would like to say thank you for making the last three and half years worth while...and a special thank you to all those who were so patient with me in the morning when I was ornery! :)

Tuesday, August 25

originals and covers by Kelli Jean

My sister is truly amazing.

DECEMBER SNOW-ORIGINAL


PUMPKIN PIE-ORIGINAL


Umbrella-Cover


One & Only-ORIGINAL

Monday, August 24

Mom, Mama, Mommy, Mother, Lorie

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to my wonderful mother. I would tell you how old she is but I'm really not sure...for years I kept telling people she was 29...but then I was suddenly 29 and that just didn't add up anymore...so now I still tell people she is 29, even though I'm 30. In all fairness, my mom is still super young at heart, as evidenced by this previous post. And in my, apparently new found tradition, my birthday dedication would not be complete without a top ten list...so here you go mama!

Don't hate me mom...I just really love this picture!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM

TOP TEN REASONS WHY MY MOM ROCKS THE CASBAH

(because she really, really does)


10. She is a great cook...not only do I have family to back me up on this, but also friends, who have enjoyed many a delicious "Sunday dinner" at the Russell home

9. She has a great love for literature...(which is a benefit as an English teacher)...and even better, she has passed it onto her children.

8. She is a great driver. I am one of the most nervous passengers of all time, but I've ALWAYS felt safe with my mom...she IS the best driver in the family. (Sorry Kerri...you're the best kid driver, but mom is definitely best overall)

7. She taught me to keep a clean home. Even though she thinks that her house is often a mess, it really isn't, and I keep a clean home because of her example (though as a young child it was SUPER annoying to feel as if I was always cleaning)

6. She married my dad and they made some of the best. kids. EVER!

5. She has unwavering faith in her beliefs. She is, always has been, and always will be, my greatest example of that.

4. She has a sense of humor that is rivaled by very few...and she has passed it along to her children.
3. She has always done an amazing job of making every one of her children feel like we are her favorite...at least I feel like that :)
2. She is close to her immediate and extended family and has taught me the importance of doing the same.

1. She is my mama!


I LOVE YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Sunday, August 23

watch it

My friend Cali posted this on her blog recently...since not all of you who read my blog, read her blog, I thought I would pass it along...it is worth every minute of your time.

Saturday, August 22

Jonah Boy Turns One

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JONAH BOY!!!
On August 23rd, Jonah Scott Russell will have completed his first year of life! As cliche as this sounds, it really does seem like only a few months ago we were in Midway at the cabin and Mattie went into lLabor. That was a crazy day full of driving, triathlons, weddings, police citations, but most importantly...the debut of Jonah Scott Russell. He has truly brought joy to our entire family...as well as Mattie's. If I had a music player on my blog I would have Gladys Knight and Pips, "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happen to Me" Because the J-man is the best thing to happen to the Russell family! I hope that many more "best things" happen...Scott, I'm talking to you...MORE BABIES! :)

I love you Jonah boy...happy birthday! I'm sure you'll be spoiled! And of course no "shout out" blog entry would be complete without a top ten list...

TOP TEN REASONS THAT I (but probably just about everyone) LOVES JONAH BOY...

10. He has the cutest smile...genetics are wonderful.

9. Making Jonah laugh is one of the best highs around.

8. He LOVES to have his picture taken (as evidenced by the photo above)

7. He is such a stylish dresser (although that would be more props to his mom and dad)

6. When he was younger (I know, how much younger can a one year old be) I would hold him and talk to him in his ear and he would fall asleep and I could hold him there for hours...those are probably still some of my favorite moments of life ever!

5. He likes me again...he went through a little phase during which he would cry when he saw me...glad that's over...DON'T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN JONAH! ;)

4. He puts everyone in a good mood. Seriously...if you're having a bad day, go hang out with Jonah for a while (although this may not be true for his parents...because let's face it...what kid really puts their parents in a good mood all the time)?!

3. He is a little ball of personality! Such an entertainer.

2. He is turning into a "chatty Kathy"...or "chatty Chad" (since he is a boy)...now if I could just understand what he was saying....

1. DUH...HE IS THE CUTEST NEPHEW EVER!!!

I LOVE YOU JONAH!

Monday, August 17

coolest family ever

So as mentioned in the previous post my sister Kerri just turned 18 on Friday. For her birthday she decided that she wanted to go sky diving. So she wrote a will and the whole family drove out to Sky Dive Utah in Erda/Tooele...not sure of the city limits...basically I have the coolest family ever...as evidenced by these photos!
Heading out to the plane...amazingly...neither of them seemed nervous...my mom was worried about the whole "height" issue, but the jumpers assured her it wasn't a height thing...and sure enough when they landed Kerri confirmed it. "It wasn't a height thing at all...you couldn't even see the ground!"





Here is Lorie coming down. They free fell for about a minute and then about 8 minutes of floating and spinning and flipping...how could you NOT love that!









Here comes Kerri!


Goose and Maverick return triumphant...and EXTREMELY STOKED!!!













My mom loved it so much that she tried to convince my dad...but he feels like jumping out a plane isn't something he really ever needs to do...keeping trying mom!








I would say, all in all it was a pretty great 18th birthday for Kerri (and my mom)!

(To see an entire album click this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=101247&id=668944314&l=966cc12a90)

Friday, August 14

The last 18.

Today, August 14, 2009, my youngest sibling turns 18 years old. I am somewhat shocked by this fact. My little baby sister is now of legal voting age...if she were to find herself getting caught in any illegal activities she would be tried as an adult (most likely anyway). My sister Kelli will turn 20 on September 3rd and then Kerri will be the last teenager in our family. I'm not sad to see them growing up...it is so odd that they're closing in on adulthood...well...young adulthood...but in truth I'm SUPER excited about it. As we've all gotten older we've become closer as siblings. Spending time with one another is so much more enjoyable...which if funny because most of the time while we're together we are still acting as goofy and immature as ever...but somehow...as pseudo grown-ups its ten times more entertaining....strange how that works. Anyway...Kerri...I love you and am so lucky to be your sister. HAPPY BIRTHDAY...here's to you...



TOP TEN REASONS KERRI IS AWESOME

10. She is HI-LARIOUS...Kerri comes up with the quickest, wittiest remarks on the spot.


9. She LOVES Jesus and she isn't afraid to let people know. :)


8. She is really just the salt of the earth. So humble and loving and so genuinely kind and good.


7. She is a fabulous dresser and someday when I'm wealthy I will pay her to be my personal shopper.


6. She possess the wonderful ability to find the humor in most situations and can laugh a lot of things off that others may not find as humorous. Go Lady Wild Cats basketball!!! ;)


5. I've said it before and I'll say it again...her natural athletic abilities are INSANE!


4. She can ALWAYS bring a smile to my face.


3. She is brave (or crazy...not sure which one) as evidenced by her upcoming sky diving adventure.


2. She tells the best knock knock jokes





and the #1 reason that Kerri is awesome...




HELLO...SHE IS A RUSSELL...and ALL RUSSELL's are AWESOME!

Monday, August 10

random musings and an update or two...

My sister Kelli has been giving me a hard time about my lack of blogging...and I suppose a month is a long time to go between blogs...so here goes...

I do have a Russell Family Vacation- "Idaho Style" to blog about...but that will have to wait...left the pictures at home...sorry mom.

So let's see...what can a I blog about...

Ok...first...let's talk about my love for Facebook...I didn't want to love it...but I do...I have found so many friends...that I otherwise would have missed out on...for example...Jessica Smith Kinsey...Jessi was my very best friend my junior senior years of high school...I wouldn't have made it through without her...and her mom and sister...and I am INSANELY excited to go and visit her in Yuma...ok so not necessarily excited about the Yuma part, since even at the end of September it is still in the 90's during the day...but to see my dear friend...I will even brave the hellacious heat of Yuma, Arizona

I also love being able to see how some of my favorite friends from Chicago and Las Vegas and SUU are doing...it always brings a smile to my face...be it a status update, or pictures, or comments...it's just nice to know how my friends are. Speaking of...if anyone from Chicago knows where Stephanie Thomas is...or how she is doing...I would love an update!

Ok second...My friend Jennifer Platts is awesome...that just can't be said enough. I could list all her wonderful qualities and accomplishments...but that really could take quite a while...so let me just say this...I'm truly blessed and so very lucky to be able to call her my friend.

Also I'd like to give a "shout out" to my friend Aubry ...who I continue to be amazed by...thanks friend.

Oh...perhaps an update on the job search/career/life decision...I have narrowed it down...I am either joining the Peace Corps or going to nursing school...perhaps even both...all feedback is welcome.

Oh...and one last thing...I have such a wonderful family...so funny, and always entertaining...last Sunday at dinner we had a classic "Wall" family water fight...it started with my little cousin Cameron who LOVES water fights...but he never seems to be able to get enough people excited on a Sunday evening to have one...I'm not sure what it was about this last Sunday...perhaps it was the sweltering heat, or the "drought" between water fights...whatever it was...it spawned a pretty decent water fight in which almost all members of the family...except maybe the wusses...got soaked...including Grandpa IVon, who has always been a champion water fighter! Thanks again Camo for the great time!

There you go Kell Bell...and everyone else...and I promise...more to come this week from R.F.V. Idaho Style!

Wednesday, July 15

Yes...seriously.

So having attended a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince…I was a wee bit sleepy when I awoke this morning. I was definitely in a pleasant mood…as the activity keeping me up so late was so FREAKING AWESOME!!!! Nonetheless, I was tired. I picked out my outfit…white shirt, black skirt, sandals. However I realized I was missing a button on my shirt. I couldn't’t find a replacement, nor would I have had the dexterity to sew a new one on this morning…due to lack of sleep…no worries…I would just change up my outfit a bit. I added a tie and vest…which covered the missing button…not to mention…I looked cute :) …so I was ready to be on my merry way. I slipped on my flip flops and threw my sandals in my bag. Throwing it over my shoulder I glanced around my apartment (yes, I can glance around my entire apartment in one turn of the head…but it’s a good size for me) and noticed I had not opened my sliding door. As I enjoy open windows more than AC I walked over to open it. I felt a nice cool breeze…cooler than usual…but no matter…that just meant it might not be as warm today as predicted…I started towards my front door, but my hand on the door knob, and turned…suddenly…with the door only slightly ajar…I realized I was missing something…MY SKIRT! Yes folks…that is right…I made it to my front door without realizing I was not completely dressed. It turns out the cool breeze wasn’t because of the cool temperature, but the lack of clothing…bummer dude…Tuesday’s weather was perfect!!!

What can I say!? Sometimes I get distracted…REALLY distracted.

Tuesday, June 30

Sarah and Hillary

this video is probably my favorite thing that came from the recent presidential campaign. It still leaves me rolling on the floor laughing!

Monday, June 29

open mouth...insert foot...it's who I am.

When I was in sixth grade at Gray M Sanborn Elementary in Palatine, IL we studied ancient societies...including ancient Egypt. My teacher was AMAZING and we did some pretty cool things, including visit the inside of a pyramid!

One thing we learned was our initials in hieroglyphs. Interestingly enough...or perhaps very telling...my initials are a foot and mouth. I can't remember which is B and which is R...but either way it seems very fitting, as I, on a VERY regular basis, manage to stick my foot in my mouth...and unfortunately for myself, and those around me, not literally. (Although I am pretty sure I can do that too........yep.......I can...gross). Anyway...as this has happened time and time again in my life...from early preteen years, to the oh so formidable teenage years well into my 20's and of course...my roaring 30's. One might think after THREE decades of this nonsense...well perhaps not quite three, but close...one would learn...but I have not. And to those who are caught in the wake of this horrible habit, personality trait, fault, etc... I sincerely apologize. Perhaps you will find comfort...at least a bit, in the fact that it happens multiple times in a mouth and their are multiple casualties...so I'm not singling anyone out. I am trying my best to be better...but I do apologize for past transgressions, as well as those to come!

PS If anyone has some hints...besides thinking before I speak...I am ALL ears...even though that hieroglyph is not part of my name...unfortunately.

Monday, June 22

Wouldn't it be nice if sometimes our lives had a refresh button? Or a "back" button. Sometimes I think that would be nice. Yes, yes I do.

Friday, June 19

No offense meant...I just don't get it...

Twitter...I don't get it. Who would I follow? Why would I follow? How would I follow? What would I follow? Where would I follow? I get Facebook. I get blogs. But I just don't get Twitter. Can someone please explain it to me?

That is all. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17

Unemployed...in the near future

So as of August 31st, 2009 I will no longer be an employee of Beneficial Financial Group. It was announced Tuesday to the company at 11:00am that there would be a restructuring, and by noon a press release had gone out. In the first moments of the meeting I was feeling somewhat stressed...but within minutes of the meeting ending, my worries seemed to subside. Any stress I was feeling was more for those around me who are expecting children, who are the sole income earners for their families (although I am the sole income earner for me family...but I digress)...as for my own worries...they were practically none. I tried to be worried...I really did...in fact this week, each day I have tried to worry...tried to feel stress...but I can't seem to conjure it. I am so excited...a whole new adventure, chapter, whatever you want to call it lies ahead of me...HOW CAN I NOT BE EXCITED!?

As for what I'm going to do...I'm not sure. But I do know that I am going to start studying for the GRE again, and start filling out grad school apps. I will of course be looking for a new job, but perhaps not in the financial field. I have always wanted to work in the non profit sector or with student involvement on the university level...so if you have any suggestions, or leads, please email me or leave a comment. I am pretty much open to anything. :)

Another exciting aspect of all of this is the possibility of relocating...I don't have to stay here. I do love it in Utah, and especially downtown. Which does bring me to one part of the sad news...I may have to move out of my apartment and perhaps out of the Avenues and out of downtown. I don't want to and I'm going to do my damnedest to stay in the Avenues...but I am being realistic...so any suggestions or tips on housing would be appreciated as well :)

So that is the exciting news in my life...and folks...it really is exciting...I am so happy and so excited. It's liberating when you're single and 30 to be forced to make a big life change. I truly appreciate this kick out the door and into a new chapter of my life. The stress may hit me soon, or later...or maybe it won't...I know for sure that I will be sad on my last day of work, as I leave behind my wonderful co-workers...and I will definitely miss seeing my green-eyed crush at Roula's Cafe :)...but there are wonderful opportunities and new experiences that lie ahead and I am jumping out of my skin to find out what they are!

Send your suggestions for a new career path, job leads, vacation ideas, school ideas, etc....I am open to entertaining all ideas and suggestions. They are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, June 9

bored at graduation

Now, as I mentioned in my previous post , I am extremely, EXTREMELY proud of my little sister...however...graduations are generally boring...speakers that I don't care about...and a LONG processional in which I know all of five students. I will say this...one of the speakers at my sister's graduation was hilarious and engaging (partially due to her Australian accent I'm sure), but she was very witty and made the truest statement regarding the graduating class...any graduating class for that matter...she noted that in the audience of grads where future doctors, future lawyers, and even future Wal-Mart employees of the month. Anywho...other than that speech Scott, Mattie, Kelli and Jonah and I had to find ways to entertain ourselves...here is a documentation of what you do with your siblings when you're bored at graduation (and remember Ker Bear...we are still VERY proud of you)!

The pomp and circumstance had begun and the soon-to-be grads were making their way into the auditorium. My dear, sweet mother says to take a picture of Kelli...what she meant was take a picture of Kerri...but always being a VERY obedient child...I did what I was told!



I then continued to take pictures of Kelli all while trying not to fall asleep. I imagine those around us may have been a bit irritated, but we enjoyed ourselves!



And of course no Russell family gathering would be complete without pictures of the J-Man! Although...he was not so photogenic this day....

But still cute...and I still ADORE him!

He did begin to get a bit camera shy....

Or perhaps a bit bored with the photo shoot....
Or perhaps...just flat out annoyed! Still love him!

All in all it was another graduation...although I was a bit teary-eyed...as this is the last of the Russell children...I suppose now that all of us are high school graduates we will have to give up the shenanigans of childhood sibling rivalry...but probably not :)

Friday, June 5

Kerri Ann Russell

This is a little shout out of congratulations to my littlest sister, and youngest sibling, Kerri…who is graduating today from Woods Cross High School.

Go Wild Cats!
(Incidentally all four of the Russell siblings are Woods Cross High School grads)
Here are a few things about Kerri to commemorate this day:

1.When Kerri was born we thought maybe she was switched at birth since she had a head full of dark, dark hair and gorgeous olive skin…gratefully she was not, so we don’t have to give her back to anyone.

2.When she was…three or four…I can’t remember…she broke her leg sledding at Mount Charleston (?) in Las Vegas (yes, you can go sledding in the winter in Las Vegas…you just have to make an effort). But the funny part about it (yes there was ONE) was that because of the cast she walked in perfect time and synchronization to the song “Lovely Ladies” from Les Miserables. HILARIOUS!

3.Kerri is one of the kindest and most gentle souls I’ve ever met. She really isn’t much of a fighter (although Kelli may have a different view). She is FOR SURE the peace maker in our house.

4.She has natural athleticism and has always had a perfectly, toned body…without really trying.

5.She is funny! Seriously…Kerri is one of the wittiest people I know…and half the time she isn’t even trying!

6.She is the best driver of all the girls in our family (mom excluded...and Mattie, but only because I've never driven with her)…sorry Kelli…but it’s true.

7.She is going to grow up to be a really great mom someday.

8.One thing I really love about Kerri is that she enjoys spending time with her family…the only person I know of that wins out over time with her family (especially Mom, Dad, and Jonah) is Mackenzie (but she is kind of a family member anyway)

9.She is VERY smart. Possibly the smartest of the five siblings. (sorry guys...but it's true...although I think Mattie might give her a run for her money).

10.SHE IS THE BEST YOUNGEST SISTER I COULD I ASK FOR!
Congrats Ker Bear! I love you!

Wednesday, May 20

"How do you like them apples!?"

Well actually, I LOVE me some of them apples! It's true. I loves apples...but only Fuji, Pink Lady and Gala (although they are sometimes hit and miss). But I could eat an apple everyday. In fact...I do eat an apple almost everyday. And sometimes with a little side of a mini red babybel cheese...love those too. Seriously..a crisp apple, that isn't too sweet...perfect snack! One of my favorite snacks...and since I have cut most sugar out of my weekday diet, it is a serious fix to any sugar craving that may come along. Yes indeed, I. LOVE. APPLES.

Plus..how does the saying go..."An apple a day keeps the doctor away."...well I have not been to the doctor in a while...so they must be working.

No I don't really enjoy candy apples, or caramel apples from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory...I do however love apple pie...with a side of vanilla ice cream (which I also love) delightful treat! Oh and my mom makes some create apple crisp and apple cobbler...I think her apple dumplings are good too, but my only memory of those involve my dad slicing his hand while cutting the apples and having to get stitches...but I'm sure hers are great nonetheless (everything she makes is great...well ALMOST everything...you know what I'm talking about mom).
Well that's it...I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my dear sweet treat the apple.

Friday, May 8

some quick thoughts about random things

First of all...the greatest candy bar wrapper in the world is the wrapper for the Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar. Seriously...it doesn't get any better than this....It's so simple and pure and looks like what I imagine perfection to resemble. It isn't that I love Hershey's chocolate, or even chocolate in general. I do enjoy chocolate, but it isn't my favorite thing at all...but this wrapper...I'm taking it home to frame it. I love it! So simple.



Second...last night I saw Miss Saigon put on by the Pioneer Theatre Company. It was really great. Kim was wonderful, and Ellen was the best Ellen I have ever seen...and I am not just saying that because I enjoy reading her blog every now and again, she really was that great. "Her or Me"...oh wait...I mean "Now That I've Seen Her" (WHY...why did they change the lyrics) is one of my favorite songs in the show and it was amazing...the emotion with which she sang was so powerful, you could feel it! In fact she was so great, I am tempted to fly to FL to see the debut of Wonderland...not too mention it sounds like a great show. The Engineer was probably the best Engineer I have seen as well (I have seen the show three times now)...in fact I think Jonathan Pryce would be the only person to top last night's Engineer. There were some of the cast members that weren't my favorite, but overall it was a great performance and I was once again reminded of 1) why I love live theatre, especially musicals and 2) why I LOVE Miss Saigon...so beautiful, so gut wrenching...LOVE IT! (Oh and Chris was NOT AT ALL unattractive).


As I was sitting at my desk today I glanced over at my board that holds my desk decor...family photos, pictures of places I'd rather be besides work, you know...just stuff to help me get through the day. I noticed one thing in particular today...this-This is a picture (greeting card) of Luke Skywalker...as many of you may know. My friend Ashely gave it to me as a going away card when I moved from Las Vegas to Salt Lake. On the inside of the card are some very kind words from Ash. Such a wonderful card. I kept it because the words inside mean a lot to me, and because I love Star Wars, I really do. I will admit that Han Solo is my favorite...who doesn't love Harrison Ford, but Luke has such a great emotional journey throughout the trilogy that it is difficult not to love the guy. Plus, he was SUCH a part of my childhood.
There is a quote, as you can see in the picture, that Ashely included in the card as well...a Star Wars quote of course: "Mind what you have learned...Save you it can." What a great note to give someone...wonderful advice. Advice that I keep with me always. It hangs right below the picture of Luke. It was some of the best advice anyone has ever shared with me. I've said this before but Ashely really has been one of the greatest friends I've ever had. Thanks again my friend. You rock the casbah.

Sunday, April 12

Shoes


I have always worn Converse All Stars...aka Chuck Taylors. I wore them in elementary school, junior high, high school, college and beyond to this very day as I sit typing this in my gray Converse All Star low tops. I LOVE THESE SHOES! I have never loved a brand of shoe the way I love Chuck Taylors...I have had low tops, and high tops...bright turquoise blue high tops, multi color low tops, the classic black high top, gray low tops (today's choice) and a handful of others. (I think the only other brand of shoe that I have come close to loving as much as Converse All Stars are Simple). Converse have always been there...have always been my favorite and I have always stuck by them...except for once...

I was in junior high, seventh grade I think. I have never been one to want whatever was "cool" at that moment...I have always been a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl...never one to grasp at the hot new trend...until seventh grade and L.A. Gear. Some of you may be too young, (or too old) to know what L.A. Gear shoes are. They are high tops...sometimes with double laces that are multi florescent colors; they also made The Pump high top (just as Dave White), as well as a style that lit up when you walked. But I just wanted the classic pair, with double laces and of course...the most important part of the shoe...the L.A. Gear California license plate key chain that came attached to every pair. In all honesty it was really that cheap, plastic key chain that I wanted...not so much the shoe...but I begged and pleaded and did finally get a pair of those shoes and that coveted key chain. I don't know how many times I wore them, I don't even remember what they looked like (for sure not the picture) and I couldn't tell you what my favorite outfit was to wear with those shoes. They were quickly forgotten and cast off into "The Land of Passing Fads".

But not my Chucks...I love wearing any pair of low tops with shorts or jeans or even dress pants. I loved wearing my turquoise low tops with my bright pink shorts and a white t-shirt (it was the late 80's...or early 90's...give me a break). I can wear my black high tops with jeans or even a nice pair of gray or black dress pants. They are comfortable, they breath, I don't have to wear socks if I don't want to, and after a week of walking around Boston in them my feet didn't hurt. I have always had Chucks and I probably always will.

And so it is with our life...constantly bombarded by passing fads, chances at momentary relief from our struggles and frustrations...but we can't give up what we really want, for what we want right now. Because what we really want will always be there for us to lean on, to cry on, to vent to, to bring us peace of mind, and joy. So when decision making time comes...ask yourself..."Is this plastic key chain really worth turning my back on my Chucks?"

Monday, April 6

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

HELLO DISTINGUISHED FRIENDS, FAMILY AND COLLEAGUES.
I come to you with a request for your donations and support for a great cause. The flier below should explain everything. If you have questions please email me at brooke.russell@gmail.com or leave a comment on the post.


If you are willing and able PLEASE support the cause. ANY and ALL donations will be greatly appreciated! If you would like to donate money that works as well, just shoot me an email. I will be happy to collect your donations, or my two esteemed friends who are heading up this philanthropic venture will drop by on the 18th. So, leave a comment on this post or email me to let me now what works best. Thank you again!
For additional information please click here.

Saturday, March 28

Amphibious Sanctuary

This post is in part dedicated to my friend Stephanie Jewett. Stephanie is the original search engine. A while back we were talking about the old skool rules of being quiet in a library. Stephanie...who really does have a degree in library science and is indeed a librarian...feels that the "rule" of being quiet in a library is inane and should be done away with. And I have to agree...there are places in most libraries set aside for silent study...so really, what is the point of "shhhusing" people? ...at least in the library....
I have been swimming since I can remember. Swimming lessons were a constant in my childhood. I even swam on the city swim team in junior high. I was never going to be Janet Evans, but I loved to swim. It came easy...in fact it came so easy (well except the butterfly stroke...I just cannot coordinate the dolphin kick with the butterfly arms) that I assumed swimming was just something that everyone knew how to do...I have since found that many, many people do not really know how to swim. However, I digress. What I have always loved...even as a child going to swim lessons at the YMCA, was the feel of the indoor pool. I love the smell of the chlorine, the moisture in the air, the feel of the cement on my bare feet. There is nothing like that initial contact of water on skin as you enter the pool...whether a dive, or a splash...I love it. Indoor or outdoor...but there is something I find so calming about an indoor pool. If I am just swimming for fun with friends, hanging out at the pool...then outdoor is the place to be, but for my laps...I prefer the indoors...the tabernacle of H2O.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way, and the other night my watery solace was irreverently interrupted. I was at a rec center doing laps. It was about 9:00pm when I began. I love doing laps in the evening. There is not the distraction of "open swim" and I can focus simply on my workout. However, there are the occasional pool patrons who decide that they are going to pretend to swim laps, so they can stay at the pool past "open plunge". It drives me bonkers. They are loud and obnoxious and distracting. They are not really doing laps, they are taking up precious lane space and even getting in my way at times.

One of the reasons I like to swim in the evenings rather than the mornings (besides the obvious LOATHING to get out of bed) is that in the evenings it is calming and quiet. I like to hear the soft echos of the water, the tempered splashing of a swimmers freestyle or back stroke across the pool. As I glide back and forth across my lane (ok so it probably is not that graceful) I can think about things, work out issues in my head, plan my week, etc. (this is what I like about walking and running alone). For me, an indoor pool is really a sacred place. I am not trying to be sacrilegious...it just is what it is.

The other night, however, that was not the case. As I was doing my laps I was getting so perturb about the noise these kids were making (not to mention they really were getting in the way). The water is a calming place for me, so I was able to continue my workout, but not without irritation. As I swam back and forth I found myself wishing there were pool rules about being quiet after a certain time. My thoughts turned to the conversation I had with Stephanie. The "shush" does not need to be a rule in the library anymore...we are beyond that...I do think, however, that it is time to take the "shush!" rule out of the library and into the pool. Voices echo in the indoor pool, and are amplified (which is not at all the case in a library). This is not to say I am against having a good time while swimming...during open swim yell and shout all splash, etc...all you want. But during my lap swim..please...SHUSH! Let me swim my laps in the sanctity and peace of that aquatic cathedral.

Wednesday, March 18

things

so the last five or six days have been just amazing, in terms of weather...and not too shabby in terms of everything else either...but because of this amazing weather I have been hard pressed to remain inside. Of course at work I am limited to the amount of time I spend outside, but after work and on Saturday I have spent most of my time outside walking, running and hiking through my neighborhood and the Capitol area of Salt Lake. As I am have been on these treks I have noticed things that just made me happy...well...actually filled me with such joy that I had great difficulty suppressing the grin and even laughter that seemed to be bursting at the seams. And it isn't just outside things that I have found greater enjoyment from...it is anything...so I have decided to list just a few of these...

1-the girl at the iPod store. I was looking for an attachment so I could listen to my iPod in my car. She showed me where they were and then told me that I could find one for about five bucks at Wal-Mart. I will ALWAYS go back to the iPod store...it was like Miracle on 34th Street all over again!

2-the new Old Navy Commercials...especially the most recent one containing some indecent mannequin exposure. I was laughing so hard that I could not breathe when I saw it yesterday. If I had needed to pee at that moment, I would have peed my pants. It is that funny. Just thinking about it right now, I am laughing out loud...in an empty house where everything echos!

3-yesterday as I was traipsing through my neighborhood I saw two kids on a swing...two junior high age kids...laughing like little children on a swing...who probably would never admit to doing that to any of their friends...but it was pure enjoyment watching them. The were so happy...not a care in the world...not worried about all the insanely ridiculous and painful aspects of teenage life...just happy that a childhood swing, hung from a tree, was still there.

4-S----T----R----E-----T----C-----H-----I-----N-----G! I love it. In college when I took a modern dance class we would have stretching days...they were so great...I was so flexible...and now I make a point to do it everyday...usually because I have been running or hiking or walking...but it is just great...I don't know what else to say...I love it. I do.

5-Asparagus...grilled on my grill...it may be the greatest green veggie ever! a tiny bit of butter to keep them from sticking...a little salt a little pepper...perfection! Spring weather heaven!

6-the view of the Salt Lake Valley from the top of 11th Avenue. Those mountains are gorgeous...all snow covered and jagged...b.e.-U-T-FUL! (Yes, I know I forgot the "a")

7-listening to my blaring music in my headphones and singing along as I jog through my neighborhood...without any thought of anyone that I pass along the way...well other than throwing them a smile. People are very friendly in my neck of the woods.

So there you have it folks...seven things that even now as I write about them...fill me with true joy.

Tuesday, March 3

Today is the day...I think

So today...about fourteen years ago (I think...or was it the 5th), my matriarchal grandmother died (my mom's mom). I has just turned 16, and the two weeks leading up to her death will forever be imprinted in my memory. But I don't really feel like reliving those last few weeks, they were rough (...granted my best birthday ever took place at the start of those two weeks...anyway...) I just wanted to write a few things about her. I am the oldest grandchild on that side of the family...just turned 30...a milestone for sure...and on my birthday there was a moment when I really missed my grandma Wall. I never knew my dad's mom. She died when I was two or something like that. But I knew my grandma Wall very well. As a kid growing up in Palatine, IL I use to spend the bulk of my summers in Utah with my grandparents. I have some of the best memories because of it, and have a great relationship with my extended family (especially my mom's two sisters...who are numbers 2 &3 on my list of 100 most influential people). Here are a few of my favorite memories, etc...I have because of her:

I love school...that comes from my parents as well, but my grandma was a teacher and in the summers my grandma taught school (year round I believe) and since I was out here in Utah without my parents I would go to school with her sometimes. It was there in my grandma's resource class that I learned the "dot system" for doing addition...and you better believe I still use it today!

I also have a deep love for reading, and that to is in large part due to my grandma. When I was little, since I was the only grandchild for a while, I was SOOOOOO spoiled, and one summer, or Christmas, or birthday...I can't remember exactly, my grandma sent me a tape on which she and my aunts and uncles had recorded some books for me. It is actually a true treasure. It has my grandma's voice on it, as well as my Aunt Becky's (who died of Leukemia when I was about four).
I try to be a nice person...nice to everyone (it doesn't always work out that way...but I'm trying)...and I learned a lot of that from my grandma Wall. She was the kindest person that I have ever known.

I KNOW my extended family and I love them...and that has SO much to do with my grandma and her sisters and the efforts that they put, and continue to do so, into regular family gatherings. About a year ago, my Aunt LaRae died. She is one of my grandma's sisters, my great aunt. But in many ways it was really like losing a grandma again. Since my grandma's death her sisters have always been so loving and wonderful...almost like surrogate grandma's. I am so grateful to my grandma for keeping them close so that I was able to have to opportunity to know each of them.

During the summers I spent in Utah each night when I went to bed my grandma would come into my room and tell me stories about her childhood and growing up on a dairy farm, and living with her dad...who was quite a character...I imagine he and I will get along very well. I am so grateful for those moments.

She and my grandpa use to come and visit us when we lived in IL. I remember nights falling asleep with my head on her lap while she and my mom would talk. I don't remember the conversations...but I remember the calm that I felt, and the love that I felt.

I remember one night, we were visiting from Las Vegas. We had recently moved from Palatine. My grandma and I were talking one night in the kitchen and I was telling her about my friends back in Palatine. I was worried about some of them, and wished I was there to help them. I remember she sat there listening, and then gently explained that people are going to make mistakes and so often there is nothing we can do about them. We just have to let them, and love them always.

I also remember sitting in that same kitchen in the summers. I would lay across a counter (that is no longer there) while she would clean the kitchen. We would watch the Price is Right, and which ever soap opera she liked (I can't remember which). I don't know why I loved that so much...but I did. I loved when she would let us use the hose on the trampoline, when she would just sit outside in the evenings after dinner and talk to me. I especially loved watching her get ready at night...sitting in her chair with all her lotions and creams...I remember the smells and the way she would put lotion on my hands while I sat and watched. I remember how she and my grandpa would let me watch a movie with them in their bed. I remember her voice...I love that voice. I miss that voice...and I miss her. I know how lucky I am to have known her as well, and for as long as I did. I am grateful to her because of how she raised her children...I have the best mom in the world, and great aunts and uncles because of her.

She was an exceptional woman, and truly the best grandma a kid could have. Since I really only got one...I think that is why I got the best!