Monday, February 28

February=Love: the 28th

(so I really did want to post this on the 28th...but I guess I am struggling with the scheduling feature of blogspot)

February=Love: the 28th
It is the last day of the month.
There are so many things still to write about.
I could make a blanket statement...
say that I love my life.
Which I indeed do.
I could say that I love that I have the ability to feel love.
It is probably the best motivation that I have in my life...
loving those around me, wanting the very best for them...
does it get any better than that?


But I think what I will end with is my lifetime love affair with reading.
I love to read.
I love books.
Many, many different books.
From different authors.
different time periods.
different genres.

I've rarely met a book that I didn't love.
and I can't really say that I've met any books that I didn't at least like.
I think that almost always you can find something worthwhile in a story...
some life lesson.

some of my most beloved...

The Power of One
Bryce Coutenay

The Great Divorce
The Four Loves
A Problem of Pain
A Grief Observed
The Screwtape Letters
C.S. Lewis


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Matilda
Boy
Going Solo
Roald Dahl

The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Richard Bach

Written on the Body
Jeanette Winterson

The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway


The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein

There's a Wocket in my Pocket
The Cat in the Hat
Horton Hears a Who
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
The Lorax
Dr. Seuss

The Velveteen Rabbit
Margery Williams

Brave New World
Aldous Huxley

Animal Farm
George Orwell

Hamlet
Williams Shakespeare

The Princess Bride
William Goldman
(of course this is the version which Goldman abridged from S. Morgenstern's classic tale of true love and high adventure)

To Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee
(to be read every four or five years)

The Boxcar Children
Gertrude Chandler Warner

Night of the Twisters
Ivy Ruckman

The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

The Book of Jonah
Jonah the prophet

The Book of Ether
an account of the brother of Jared and his family abridged by Moroni

My Name is Asher Lev
Chaim Potok

Hiroshima
John Hersey





And truly...this list is never ending...

but I will stop now.

I hope you had a lovely February.

I think that March shall be March Music Madness
a little b-ball
and some tunes!

Sunday, February 27

Questions for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences...

Why is it that when hosting the Oscars people who are normally HI-LARIOUS, become awkward and non-funny? (seriously Anne could join SNL she is hilarious)

Melissa Leo?
(I mean she was great in The Figther, but Oscar worthy?)

Really?! You have to show the E.T. silhouette? some of us are still petrified of E.T.

How can you possibly think that Social Network's score is better than Inception's score?

Also...how many dresses are you going to make Anne Hathaway wear?

Why are there little kids singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow"?

Why are all the winners coming back on stage?

And why do we keep getting close ups of Melissa Leo?

And last but not at all least...WHY does Leonardo Dicaprio keep getting snubbed?!

February=Love: the 27th

Rebecca Louise Fischer, Sara Anne England Greener, Jessy Kay Excell Allen
and Becca Williams Doutre...
this post is dedicated to you.
February=Love: the 27th
taking a shower.

I know there are those of you out there who are probably shocked that I've never mentioned this before.
You are probably my old roommates.
So in the case that someone is doubting my deep and abiding love for taking showers...
yes...deep and abiding...
then all you have to do is ask any number of roommates that I've had.
They have definitely had some input.

If I could shower three times a day, I would.
(And no, I am NOT a germ-a-phob.)
There is nothing I detest more than when I have to take a quick shower.
To me a quick shower is ten minutes...but even fifteen or twenty is never quite enough.
Thirty minutes at least.
Unless of course the hot water is broken...
or irresponsible roommates (who are NOT those listed above) forget to pay the gas bill.
Then it is get in
rinse.
turn off the water.
soap up.
turn on the water.
rinse.
get out.
repeat if necessary for hair washing
(which happens almost every time I shower...and I still have amazing hair)

I can't believe that anyone who has read this post is all that surprised by this.
(A shower is typically part of a bathroom.)

In college I would shower at 3:00am sometimes...
because of course you're still wide awake at 3:00am when you're in college.

One of the highlights of showering for me is the fantastic singing that happens while in the shower.
My favorite song to sing in the shower is
I learned all the words by the time I was probably 3 or 4 I would imagine.
A close second is
I learned all the words to this one by the time I was ten or eleven.
My parents listened to the oldies station all the time.

Not only are showers a good time to exercise my vocal chords
but they are relaxing.
And a good time to work out the mysteries of the Universe.

While I LOVE swimming...whether it be in the pool, the ocean, a river or a lake...
NOTHING takes the place of the refreshing feeling a shower brings.

Last summer I spent many, many Fridays at Pineview.
I loved every minute of it.
One of best parts of those days was coming home after a long day in the sun and water and taking a shower.
It was the cherry on top of those wonderful summer days.

If I'm in a bad mood the shower is the perfect place to sulk and let my anger wash away (pun totally intended)
If I'm in a good mood then there is much joy and singing.
If I'm tired it is a refreshing wake up.
If I'm tired it is a soothing lullaby.

After all...we never know when a zombiepocalypse is going to happen...
so let's follow Tallahassee's advice and

Friday, February 25

February=Love: the 25th-a musical love

February=Love: a musical love
Adele

Yep...here is another super fantastic live performance!

And if you STILL haven't bought the album...
GO. NOW.
she sounds almost exactly the same live as on her album!

Thursday, February 24

February=Love: the 24th-a musical love

February=Love: the 24th-a musical love
Adele...again
I told you...her album came out on the 22nd...so...enjoy this live performance
and then just go get the whole album.
and while you're at it download some Mumford & Sons 
and just for good measure, a little Arcade Fire


February=Love: the 24th

February=Love: the 24th
ma. mom. mommy. mama. mother.
I LOVE my mom.
Not unlike Jonah, my mother has made quite a few appearances on my blog.
And if you know her, you know exactly why...
she is the cat's pajamas
the bee's knees

and if you don't know her and don't know why she is
the cat's pajamas
the bee's knees
and
the dog's bollocks

you can learn.
and

and for my mom...
this is for you.
(and the rest of the fam, I suppose)

"I love you so much"

video

Wednesday, February 23

February=Love: the 23rd-a musical love

February=Love: a musical love
Adele
yes, I know, again
but her new album, 21, was released yesterday.

So,
listen.
love.
and increase your music collection.



February=Love: the 23rd

February=Love: the 23rd
this should come as a surprise to no one
at least no one who reads my blog
my February 23rd love is none other than
Jonah Scott Russell

come now my friends...
you knew it was going to happen at some point this month
and today was as good a day as any...

covered in flour waiting for the sugar cookies to bake
We all know how much I love him.
you can click 
and
And of course
and 
here

And really, let's face it, if you just did a search for Jonah on my blog you'd probably come up with a couple posts regarding Jonah and the whale and more than a handful of posts on Jonah boy.

But before you roll your eyes in exasperation just remember...
Scott and Mattie are having a baby girl Russell this summer...
So now there will be TWO kids that I will blog about nonstop!!

February=Love: the 22nd (yes, I know it is a day late)

February=Love: the 22nd
the bathroom...
yes...
I love the bathroom.

Not public restrooms...but my own bathroom in my own house.
Not specifically the house I'm in now...
although it is a house full of fantastic bathrooms.

You may have read my earlier post about Wonjun...
well some of Wonjun's and my best conversations have taken place in the bathroom.

It is a good thinking place.
(and remember...I am not specifically talking about the toilet, but the entire bathroom)
our conversations have taken place in 
the shower, 
on the toilet, 
on the counter next to the sink, 
while sitting on the floor, 
or while in the bathtub.

It is always quiet and relaxing.
It is a very private place.  
It feels safe and secure and I know that no one is going to bug me...
unless I invite them in.
(and Wonjun is the ONLY one that ever gets invited in)

While I was in Washington my friend Aja and I were discussing living in Hawaii on a few acres of land in an Airstream trailer and we were discussing how I wouldn't need a bathroom in the trailer because I could have one outside...and I was kind of sad about that thought.  
Because as super fantastic as an outdoor shower and toilet will be...I would miss being able to go lock myself in the bathroom.
However Aj did point out that my trailer wouldn't be too huge so it would be like a bigger, yet still enclosed and private space.  
Not too mention if I'm in Hawaii when will I not want to be outside?

Monday, February 21

February=Love: the 21st-a musical love

February=Love: the 21st-a musical love.
I love Sue Sylvester.
While Glee is not my favorite show ever, I think that Sue Sylvester is one of the funniest characters on television and I usually find a way to stay caught up on Glee, although I never manage to see it when it is actually on. (what night is it on anyway?)
I also tend to really like the musical numbers, especially the ensemble ones.
So this particular Glee episode had a double bonus for me; an ensemble number that INCLUDES Sue Sylvester. Watching Jane Lynch get so into Sing by My Chemical Romance had me laughing out loud. Not too mention how could you not love that plaid track suit.
(although why are they dressed like lumberjacks?)
And so my friends...enjoy today's musical love.

Incidentally Sing is a fantastic song to blast with the windows down while your driving.






Sunday, February 20

February=Love: the 20th

February=Love: the 20th
I love

It really is a coincidence that this is my February love today.
It was not a conscious choice on this sabbath day.

I could not let the month go without acknowledging one of the best things about my life.
"I belong to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I know who I am.
I know God's plan."
Being a member of the LDS church means having the fullness of the gospel in my life.
And having a fullness of the gospel means knowing that I not only have a Savior who was willing to die for me,
but also a Heavenly Father who was willing to sacrifice his Son for me.
A sacrifice that will allow me to return to my Father in Heaven.
Having the fullness of the gospel in my life means that I know where I came from.
It means I know where I'm going.

Perhaps I could have learned all of these things without being a member of
but I think it might have taken a lot longer.

The truth is out there. There is truth everywhere. In many, many religions.
But the restored Priesthood and the gospel in it's entirety can only be found in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness was ushered forth through a boy who was only 14 when the restoration began.
And though his life ended on June 27 1844 when he was only 38 years old
the gospel has moved forward and will continue to do so.
(click here for previous post about this)

What I want most in this life is probably to just feel genuine happiness and see others feel the same.
And I find that so often because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.




Saturday, February 19

February=Love: the 18th & the 19th-a musical post

February=Love: the 18th & the 19th-a musical post
Yes…I did not post yesterday. It was kind of a crazy day and by the time it ended it was almost 4:00 am.
So today I bring you multiple live musical performances from the 2011 Grammys that I L-O-V-E-D.


1st: Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers & Bob Dylan
(and seriously, after you watch this…if you're not a hard-core-in-love-fan of Mumford & Sons…
I think you might be deaf)



2nd: Rihanna, Eminem, Skylar Grey & Dr. Dre:
Love the Way You Lie/I Need a Doctor
I was never a huge fan of rap, but Eminem and Jay-Z changed all that for me.
and Skylar Grey and Rihanna…their voices are super fantastic.





3rd: "Forget You" Cee Lo Green & Gwyneth Paltrow
And this was made even more fantastic live performance of what "Forget You" would have been,
by the additions of the Muppet's and Gwyneth "I'm awesome at everything" Paltrow
(EW gets credit for the new name of GP)



So there you have it folks…not one, not two, but THREE musical loves
because I love all of you!

Thursday, February 17

February=Love: the 17th

February=Love: the 17th
Wonjun
I.LOVE.Wonjun.

There is a very good possibility that some of you reading this do not know who...
Wonjun is.
(yes, who)

this is wonjun
I will tell you who he is.
Wonjun is my oldest friend and my very best friend.
His mother is from Morocco and his father is from Greece.
He does not live with his parents. He has never lived with his parents...as far as I know.
As far as I know he has always lived with me.
We spend pretty much all of our time together.
We have the same job at the same place.
We did have a two year hiatus from one another while Wonjun was in Marseille France.
He had to wear a white shirt and tie AND a name tag pretty much everyday for those two years.
It was a rough two years to be without him.
But the year he came home was an even tougher year...I mean for me, I was having a rough year.
But being the absolute best friend that he is, he stood by me and I got through it.

He is about 5'11". He has a prominent roman nose. Dark hair, dark eyes...almost black...and a nice olive-ish complexion which I am jealous of everyday.
We like all the same things.
We don't really argue...
but we do often disagree.
We have a LOT of discussions ranging an extremely vast spectrum.
Pretty much we talk about everything under, near, above, around and through the sun.
I don't know what I would do without Wonjun.
Though I imagine that someday one or both of us will get married and we will have to go our separate ways.
That will be tough...but I think we will both know it is the right time.

You may be wondering why I picked today to talk about Wonjun...
well it is because today is Wonjun's 32nd birthday.

I can't believe we've been friends for that long.
There are so many things I never would have gotten through without you.
I love ya buddy!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONJUN!
Here is to another 32 years!

February=Love: the 17th-a musical love

February=Love: the 17th-a musical love
Can't Help Falling in Love with You
by Elvis Presley

this is my ALL.TIME.FAVORITE.SONG.
I LOVE music
but there is not a song I love more than "Can't Help Falling in Love with You" by Elvis.
Lots of people have done lovely covers.
But when I hear Elvis's version...the one you can listen to below...I melt.
Every time.

So for your listening pleasure, but mostly for mine ;)





And here are two other of my favorite Elvis songs...just for good measure...because how can you not love that velvety voice?!


Wednesday, February 16

February=Love: the 16th

February=Love: The 16th
I love when a person, place or thing brings such joy to me that it causes happy tears and goofy grins that I can't wipe off.

Most of this months blog posts (if not all of them) do exactly that.
And I LOVE that feeling.

Just being happy for no discernible reason can bring tears to my eyes.
But more often than tears,
a huge goofy grin spreads across my face and I can't wipe it off and then I start laughing.
Like right now...
as I'm typing this...
I'm think of things that make me feel this way.

Perhaps it seems silly to be so excited about the ability to feel this.
But I don't think so.
"Men are that they might have joy."
(2 Nephi 2:25)
And in those moments, I feel like that is what I'm experiencing.
A little minuscule taste of what awaits me on the other side.

I don't take being happy or experiencing that joy for granted.
Sometimes being happy is really tough for me...
as I'm sure it is for a lot of people.
I'm not implying my life is more difficult than other people's...just that being happy doesn't come easy.
(People often think I'm in a bad mood, or upset, or ornery...
I think it's because my mouth naturally turns down.)
So when these moments come I soak them up like my hair soaks up the sun during days at Pineview.

I often think of these moments as tender mercies of the Lord.
At times I think that my entire life is made up of tender mercies.
I feel so lucky and so blessed to have the life that I do.
And so in those moments when I can truly feel and outwardly express the joy that comes from them...I go with it.
I never want my Father in Heaven to doubt how I feel about my life
and all the persons, places and things in it...
and most especially...
how grateful I am to be able to feel both joy and sadness...
but especially the joy.

Tuesday, February 15

February=Love: the 15th-a musical love

February=Love: the 15th-a musical love.
My newest musical love is
Sister Rosetta Tharpe

This musical find is courtesy of my friend Marie Heywood.
(if you're in Provo go to The Parlor for lunch or dinner.
And if your not in Provo, go to Provo and then go to The Parlor for lunch or dinner)

This makes me so happy.
I told Marie that I wasn't sure if it was 
Sister Rosetta...
the Gibson she is tearing it up with...
or the choir backing her up.
Probably all three!




can I get an "amen" ?

February=Love: the 15th

February=Love: the 15th
The Parent Trap
I LOVE THE
(1961)
I love
Maureen O'Hara.
(when I die I'd like to meet her as soon as possible.
After all the hellos with family of course)
I love

My all time favorite movie.
No competition.

To this day I laugh out loud whenever I watch it.
And while Dennis,
Natasha (RIP),
and Lindsey (bless her heart)
did not totally ruin the remake...
NOTHING will ever be as wonderful as the original.

If you have not seen it, please, this weekend, or today, rent it...not just buy it...
every home should have a copy of The Parent Trap.
(oddly enough I only have it on VHS...but I have a VCR)



And because it is such a classic...
and a VERY close second in the race for Brooke's favorite movie of all time...
a little shout out to
THE SOUND OF MUSIC
I mean what is not too love?
it's got nuns and Nazis.

Sorry there is not video.
Copyright patrol is all over this one.
Just have a double feature tonight or this weekend.
watch them both.

Monday, February 14

a visit from cookie cupid

Today this delight came fluttering through my office. It was fantastic. Along with the joy, laughter and love, cookie cupid brought a giant homemade and intricately decorated sugar cookie, FOUR chocolate covered strawberries (homemade as well) and of course what would Valentine's day be without conversation hearts!



Here's a little taste...

video


February=Love: the 14th-a musical love

February=Love: the 14th-a musical love
Really...what else could I post today but this:
who doesn't love L-O-V-E

February=Love: the 14th

February=Love: the 14th

Today I could write about so many things.
I could write about the history of Valentine's day...
which I find extremely interesting...
so do yourself a favor and Google it 
or just check out what the History Channel website has to say.

Last year this was my Valentine's post.

Since this year I'm writing everyday and specifics I don't feel like I need to dedicate this post strictly to Valentine's day.
I will say this...(again...see last year's post)
Valentine's day has never really been about romantic love for me.
I mean that is included, but I think it's great that there is a day set aside to remind us to tell people we love them.
(something we should do more than once a year)

And with that...I'm going to tell my sister Kerri Ann Russell how much I love her.
Why did I pick February 14th as the day to write about one of my most favorite people?
Because it is Kerri's half birthday.  So it seemed appropriate.
(it is also my cousin Amy's (she is the 5th of February on my first love post half birthday.  Happy half birthday to you as well.  I think you should take yourself on a cruise)

I've written about Kerri before...I think on her birthday.
But I just want to tell you (Kerri) that I love you. 
I'm so grateful and lucky to have you as my sister.
You are funny...so, so funny.
You make up the best lies 
(all in fun of course...funeral for the whales...it's a good story...ask me.)
You are very kind and are often thinking of others.  That is a great trait to have.
You are smart...I think the smartest of the Russell siblings...
the ones related by blood...
Mattie might be smarter than you ;)
You have common sense.
You are genuine.
And you are truly wise beyond your years.
(shorts and I still love to talk about her birthday party last 
year and the conversation we had with you)
You thirst for knowledge.
You like to know how things work just to know.
You have such a strong testimony and you are not afraid to share it.
You work very hard in school.
You're very good with money.
You are very good about setting goals and making plans for you self.
And then reaching those goals and following through with your plans.
I could continue for a long time.  
I think you all, including Kerri, get the picture.
I hope that everyone has the opportunity to have a sister like Kerri.


So there you have it folks...my February 14th love.


Sunday, February 13

February=Love: the 13th

February=Love: the 13th
Las Vegas.

Yes, you read that correctly.  
I have what I might truly describe as a deep and abiding love for Las Vegas, Nevada and it's surrounding suburbs...
much of my love goes out to Henderson/Green Valley specifically.

I know this may seem odd.  
I don't like to gamble.
I've only ever played slot machines...
which are kind of fun, but a waste of time.

I lived in Henderson, Nevada for about two years.
I attended Green Valley High School for my freshman and sophomore years.
Those were overall 
(quantifying for my Woods Cross friends)
my best high school years.
And things were by no means perfect...
but I had some great times...
some of the best of my childhood.
I came to understand who I was at my core.
I met people who changed my life...
whose influence I still feel today.
I could write a novel about my time in at GVHS and in Henderson...
perhaps I will...
I think I have a first chapter somewhere actually.
But I will spare you for now.
Instead...check out the brief slide show.

This is Mike, Brad, Aja, Brooke, Danny and Mary.
Some of my very favorite friends.
We're at Aja's 16th birthday at Leaps & Bounds. 
For some reason Aj and I really LOVED making things out of cardboard.
(and I still do...can't speak for her, though I would lean to yes)
Brooke, Bri, Kyle and Michelle as the cast of Peter Pan for the home coming float
Sean and Brooke at the Renaissance Fair.
Many of you know I do NOT like Halloween...
for many reasons...one of them being the dress up part.
So you may be surprised to learn that we dressed up often.
The year before this I was wearing the Jester costume.
Danny, Brooke and Aja hiking/climbing at, I believe Spring Mountain.
We would go hiking a lot...and we usually ended up climbing mountains without equipment or a way down.
It's amazing none of us died.
Repelling in the Subway at Zion National Park.


Just looking at these makes me realize what an awesome teenagehood I had there.
not to sound cheesy, but it was unique...
I know how lucky I am to have had those two years.

Great friends
(which I've managed to find everywhere...don't get your panties in a bunch)
TONS of swimming
sand volleyball
playing on the varsity basketball team
sweet 16 parties to rival MTV's.
pool hoping and getting chased by hotel security
riding the CAT bus.
people watching...possibly the greatest on earth!
McCarran airport (pre tightened security)
Seriously...you can have so much fun at an airport.
In-n-Out burger...which is now in Utah thankfully!
Best vanilla shake in the state.

I know I was so lucky to live there.
Despite the horrible weather in the summers.
Like I said...a deep and abiding love.

Saturday, February 12

my date with Jonah

Last night I had a date with Jonah.

As many of you know he is my favorite date.

We made cookies.

Best. Idea. Ever. Seriously.

The night began with a carpet picnic of pizza and crazy bread
and watching Toy Story 3...of course
(which incidentally Jonah almost has memorized)


But Toy Story 3 was no match for making and decorating cookies...


Rolling out the dough
we're working on the importance of actually rolling the rolling pin ON the dough.


Jonah also REALLY loved spreading the flour on the counter so the dough wouldn't stick
Apparently you can never have enough flour as evidenced by his pants.


This was Jonah telling me that HE was going to use the cookie cutters all by himself.
I can't believe I didn't get more pictures of that.
Trying to explain to a two a half year old how to make the most efficient use of the dough by spacing the cookies close together when cutting them out is not very easy.
But that is ok because that just provided more opportunities to roll out the dough.


Then it was on to the frosting while the cookies were baking.
Jonah was pretty good about adding the ingredients...
This was very serious business and he was so good about helping.


He just had a difficult time getting a FULL cup of the powdered sugar...
video


Posing for the camera while getting ready to add food coloring to the frosting.


True fun is not had unless a real mess is made!


As usual my date with Jonah was great. Lot's of laughing and eating cookies.
I would show you pictures of us decorating the cookies but Jonah was more excited to eat them without frosting.
I love this picture...and especially our matching dimples!

Love you J-man!

February=Love: the 12th-a musical love

February=Love: the 12th-a musical love
The Dixie Chicks
Yes...you read that right.
I LOVE the Dixie Chicks.
Ever since my friend Jessi K played Goodbye Earl for me.
She knew I didn't love country, but assured me I would love the song.
And as usual, she was right.
I thought it was hilarious and my love for the Dixie Chicks was born.
I love so many of their songs.
Goodbye Earl
Cowboy Take Me Away
(because it reminds me of Jessi AND it's a good song)
Traveling Soldier
(because it reminds me of my brother AND it's a good song)
Top of the World
Taking the Long Way
I Believe in Love
Easy Silence
Everybody Knows
Bitter End
You Were Mine
And many more...
in fact I don't think there is a Dixie Chicks song that I wouldn't enjoy listening to.

But my one of my favorites is
Not Ready to Make Nice
I love the video
and the live Grammy performance
and I love why they wrote it.
One of my favorite documentaries is Shut Up and Sing.
I would like to have posted both the Grammy performance and the video...
but alas, copyright does not allow me to post a good quality video of their Grammy performance. So click here to see it.
And watch the music video below.



And if you miss the talent of the Dixie Chicks like I do...
check out Courtyard Hounds.

And while you're at it...
check out Dan Wilson
of Semisonic fame
of Hotel Cafe Tour fame
and co-writer of many of the Chick's songs with the Chicks themselves.