Friday, December 26, 2008

the mega mall

last night as i was fighting to stay awake while tim and my high school best friend, jon, were playing zombies ate my neighbors on the super nintendo, i didn't think i would be going to minneapolis today. as had happened a few years ago, scott was at his sister's in
wisconsin and suggested we meet up at the mall of america, coloquially known as "the mega mall."
it wasn't that i didn't want to go; i did. it was more a combination of it was becky and brady's last day in town (not that i don't see them often in provo; it's just... different in minnesota), they were staying the extra day because the roads were looking bad, and, perhaps the deciding factor, it was already 1:30 a.m. and i didn't look forward to getting up 6 hours.
surprisingly, the sleep issue was overcome, although the road concern was not frivolous. i checked numerous weather report sites, and chose to disregard the bold red line on the map, running from my house to the twin cities, signifying "severe road conditions", deciding that the other three reports that don't show any dangers can't be wrong.

3 out of 4 websites were right; i went 77mph the whole way.
the roads were wet, and when the sun broke through, landscape in front of me became brilliantly blinding. i've let owning glasses exclude me from owning sunglasses, and now i was paying for it. so much, in fact, that i gave way to complete humilty and fumbled around for my father's "old man" sunglasses--the over-sized kind that fit over a pair of standard spectacles. the tragedy is that, despite my having only ever seen them worn by aarp card holders, they are actually very convenient and effective. and, since i wasn't trying to impress anyone on the now sepia-toned great plains, i didn't mind like looking like willy wonka.

driving past the town signs, it's easy to see that this is indeed the land of 10,000 lakes: detroit lakes (great swimming), pelican rapids, fergus falls (they were "the otters", and our pep band would cheer for them, too, because it was fun).
i love this state, and every year that i come back, that feeling deepens. i want to photograph it as i see it, the magic what i grew up with and now appreciate, and i drove though beautiful cold fog this morning. i wished for a camera and a place to shoot the trees diminishing into the white atmosphere.

in my mind, the trip takes four hours. but that was under "60 mph" rules. now, it takes three. to get to the belt route, anyway. another 20 minutes to the mall, and then 40 minutes to move from the off ramp to the mall parking ramp, the distance of a ten-minute's walk. we used to stop here the day after thanksgiving, and i loved the energy of it all.
patience provided me a parking spot, and i texted the location of my car to myself, knowing i would otherwise forget the cartesian coordinates: "P4-D8-florida".

i found scott and his wife near the entrance to bloomingdales, looking over the shirts and asking why anyone would pay $247 for a t-shirt. i didn't have an answer for him, but i did want to grab something to eat. as with every other aspecy of the mall, the mega mall boasts two large food courts, epitome's of the mall rat culture in all it's fast food glory. we opted for the fifties-nostalgia burger joint, "johnny rockets", and paid three times what we would for the same meal deal available at in-n-out burger. so be it.

i've never been a mall junkie, yet i often enjoy seeing the great commercialism that makes up so much of who we are, and i like to dip my feet in it. and if you're going to do that, why not enjoy it at its best?
the mall was surging with people. people, people everywhere, and still everyone seemed to fit and make room. every store was advertising sales, usually 50-70% off. i wandered into a jeans store and came out twenty minutes later with what are now my favorite pair of jeans. lucky, indeed.

scott was a great roommate for several years, and got married after he graduated and moved to texas. there's so much to like about him, and his steady and stable disposition make a good addition to any group. i had the chance to briefly meet his wife, angela, over some cheap chinese food earlier this year, but it was fun to get to know her more in the mall. they are perfect for each other, having a nice balance of matching corresponding attributes while alligning together in other traits. being with cool people like that makes me smile.
angela noted that gamestop always smells like smelly boys. i had never thought about this, and wandered in. and then wandered back to her and promptly agreed.

we met up with scott's older siblings and their respective offspring and found the disney store. the youngest got excited over the camp rock paraphenelia while i got excited over the wall.e paraphenelia. the nylon wall.e doll almost won my $9.99, as did the equally-priced eve notebook/journal. i think had wall.e been plush, i would have gone for it. he's a robot, but he should be tactile.

it was a bit of a shame that i drove for fours only to spend three with my friends, but the roads were becoming potentially precarious. i was enjoying the mall so much that i would have liked a friend to go meandering with for another hour or two, but now was not the time. i said goodbye to scott and soon realized that, despite have the location written down, i could not find my car.

ten minutes later and one level down, i was in the car and out on the road. i took 494 west to get here, so i would take 494 east to go back the way i came, right? made sense to me, but either i misunderstood or the civil engineering committee of minneapolis disagreed, because i took a different and longer way back to I-94. don't get me wrong, this was the scenic route, and i got to see the unniversity of minnesota, augsburg college, the state capitol and catherdral in st. paul, and much of the downtown area; it's just that a four-hour drive can get long without anyone else to sing along to the ipod with.

and i got lost again in elk river when i stopped for gas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

eve

certainly the most magical night of the year, anyway.

a few years ago, my friend sent me this as his family's Christmas greeting.
i think it's wonderful.
video
merry Christmas = )

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas card rejects

for whatever reason, i ended up with my hands on the keyboard when it came time to write the caption for the family Christmas card. after much deliberation, we went with listing our names.
my favorite (serious) suggestion was "the gustafsons: so much more than just a Christmas card."
other ideas that didn't even get that far:

we like you.
love, the gustafsons

a lot of effort for a little card.

the frozen chosen

warmest wishes from 20 below

who knew so much could happen in 365 days??

another without police involvement;
there's so much to be grateful for!

what a long, strange trip it's been...

the people we don't like got an
envelope of coal.

we're sick of doing Christmas cards.
enjoy this one.

everything we thought of was boring
or immature.

how many of us can you name?
(middle names are double points)
answer key next year.

we've made it another year!
did you?

happy hanukah, kwanzaa, festivus, and tabernash

join the mormon church

you never visit.

a lovely new mom, an eligible bachelor,
and, well, we love jeff.

photography by the cats.
they're getting better.

bah weep granah weep ninni bong

love, the stevensons

a picture's worth a 1000 words.
write what this says to you.

jeff and tim's lovely wives took
the picture.

tim's not wearing any pants there.

Monday, December 22, 2008

chungking express shipping

the short before the show: i was in a crabby mood today. i don't like being in crabby moods. i'm trying to work on that.
but i went to see wall.e in the dollar theater here. there's so much i love about that movie... at the core, i love wall.e for the same reason that i love ducks: he's just doing what he can do and being the best at it.

the feature presentation: when we arrived here on friday night, i was expecting to have a few packages waiting for me. one was in my room, but nothing else had arrived. strange, but i decided to give the shipping industry some more time.
today i checked my criterion order and it said that it had been delivered on the 16th. to the office. and signed for by "muller."
i had had criterion change my shipping from utah to minnesota the day it shipped (turns out it would have arrived in provo before i left), so sent them an e-mail to find out where they had shipped the box and were things got mixed up.
i thought about it.
ok. "office"/"house", tomato/tomato, fine. whatever; it got delivered. and with their electronic signature thingers, maybe "valerie" read as "muller."
i mentioned to my mom that the tracking number said it had been delivered here days ago. she asked what movies they were, (criterion's first blu-rays, chungking express and the third man, for those of you interested), and then said that they had arrived. but, in the flurry of package activity that is Christmastime at the gustafsons, it seemed that they had been wrapped and were probably under the tree already.
i had a good laugh about this and smiled in the false sense of security akin to when a movie seems it's over, but there still 20 minutes left.
i came home from some friends' that night and there was chungking express, shink-wrapped and lovely on my desk. everything was solved and it was a happy ending.
like an fbi detective rushing in with new lab results, criterion had returned my query. the address they had shipped it to lacked the starting "2" of my parents' house. they had called, and found that this muller character had, indeed, signed for it at the office, which was probably two miles west of here. the criterion rep offered to do further research and track down the fedex driver and find out just who gave it to whom.
to quote alice, "curiouser and curiouser...."

where did this disc on my desk come from? mom said she must have ordered it for me, but i never told her that i wanted it. is the third man wrapped under the tree? what is "muller" doing with my movies?

my mother is very good at keeping track of all the Christmas inventory, and she has it all logged somewhere, we just haven't bothered to check yet. afterall, nothings going to change much in the next few days anyway. so i'll wait until everything under the tree is revealed and go from there.

further, my dad's present that i ordered on dec. 2 hasn't arrived, and i haven't heard back from the company on that one. maybe he's on the naughty list and santa intercepted it?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

warmed up to zero

in my junior high health class, there was a kid named paul. i don't think i ever said much more to him that "hi", if that, even though he was in my grade through high school.
when i walked into sacrament meeting today, amidst a pleasant flurry of excited greetings from friends, i noticed paul, sitting in the back. i hadn't seen in him ten years, but it was unmistakeably him. it seemed as if he was meeting with the missionaries, and i made it a point to talk with him, even though i didn't know what i'd say.
the ward's Christmas program ended, and my time was taken up with laughing with old friends and new babies; a good while into sunday school, actually. and paul was gone.
coming out of sunday school, i about walked right into him. i didn't think he'd remember me, and he didn't, but when i asked him what he'd been up to, he said that he and his dad had been baptized in may. i've sometimes wondered what it would have been like if someone from school (of 1500 students and 2-6 mormons) had joined the Church, but never did it occur to me it would be paul. probably because i never talked with him.
there was something very cool about the whole thing.

a few years ago, becky and i got to accompany my dad on one of his high council visits out to a little branch about an hour from here. we got to speak along with him, and i really enjoyed that. (so did the branch; they liked having new people around) while it certainly wasn't going to happen, i have a secret desire to teach a week of sunday school here in fargo. ...a secret desire publicly posted on the internet. it would be fun to come back to my old ward and preach.

i'm home. and i love it.
the longer i'm away from the area, the more i notice and appreciate the culture here: a staunch community adapted to cold, harsh weather, kept warm by kindness and hospitality. i loved being at the mall yesteday, bustling with Christmas shoppers. the snow is so cold that it doesn't stick, but blows in great drifts across the parking lots and yards. i grinned as i wrapped my long coat around me and ran to the car: this is what winter and Christmas feel like, and it's wonderful. today i found out that tim was similarly elated when he stepped out of the airport last night. it's part of being minnesotan.

i like being in my home, too. my mom is being an excellent hostess to everyone, and as she was exlpaining to me that she had set out a towel and where to find a washcloth should i need one, i reminded her that i'm not really a guest--this is my house.
which souded a little weird. perhaps it isn't my "house", although it still feels like home. mom has been excellent in redecorating and remodeling over the years (so much so that, when i got a picture of becky's graduation reception during my mission, didn't recognize the house until i noticed the dishwasher), and some room looks new everytime we come home (this it's the main bathroom).
but with a little memory and imagination, it's easy to slowly wind back time, to remember the children that used to run through the halls, the furnace room that was scary with a sense of imagined adventure, the laughter and fun of being with my friends. i've lived in each of the three children rooms, so much that it's getting pointless to say "jeff's room", because we're not sure which one that is anymore.

it's home. it looks different, but it feels the same, and i like it that way.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

813 mile car trip*

i'm in nebraska.
i slept for about 2 and a bit hours last night, which made me a more docile co-pilot that i usually am. but brady and i crossed wyoming without any forboding snow sightings. actually, that's not accurate. we did see some snowy, stormy clouds, and, with the sun breaking through, i got some good pictures. i was wishing i had someone else's lens, but i made due with what i had.

if you've ever ridden in a car with my sister, you will know that you will invariably be made to play "the atlas game", whereupon she will grab the discount wal-mart atlas and begin testing your state trivia. becky will be riding with us tomorrow to minnesota, and even though brady and i fancy ourselves as knowing our geography, we decided some practice wouldn't hurt.
not only do we not know our world capitols, but my knowledge of state capitols is shameful. i'm embarrassed.

carrots are another staple on car trips (at least, in my family), and, for much of my childhood, were cut into neat sticks by my mother. then the baby carrots were invented. different, but still comfortable and bite-size. and that's what i was expecting when brady said he brought carrots. i reached behind my seat and hefted a large plastic bag stuffed with what i termed, "bugs bunny carrots"; large, whole carrots, with the ends chopped; washed, not peeled. true to what my sister says, they were very "crunchy." and fragmenty; i choked on one as i was getting my pre-payed change at the truck stop.

brady and i chose all truck stops. perhaps it was because we were on I-80, the transportation industry artery of the country (try saying that ten times fast); passing all the semis along the way, brady noted how they aren't as refined as other professions, but all of us depend on truckers. the friendliest truck stop was in nebraska, with a few patrons saying "hi" to me, along with a sign on the door advertising "rifle cases for $75." this is the real deal, folks.
in contrast to the log-like carrots of earlier, i hunted down a pair of pink snowballs. i found not the hostess kind, but mrs. freshley's. tim and i conducted a taste test earlier this year and found that "her" cupcakes beat out hostesses, although i'm still split on the snowballs.

not only does nebraska boast a billboard advertising "fun and recreation on jeffrey lake in brady, ne", but they seem to have a love with museums. the history of kool-aid, paperweights, plains pioneers, germans from russia, and military vehicles; all in nebraska. not good enough? how about a museum that is built over both sides of the freeway? it was dark, so i couldn't see what it housed, but i did noticed a painting of a wizard on the side.

and, due to an ice storm, i will be here until friday. thankfully, we've got singin' in the rain....

lastly, i recently washed my "minnesota" hoodie, since it smelled like campfire. it shrunk, and now is just slightly too small. that's only relevant in that i'm wearing it and it's been bugging me all day.



*it was actually 894, but then it wouldn't match the song. strictly a creative decision.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

the weekend update

i really haven't felt like posting this week.  or, rather, i've wanted to post, but haven't had anything to say.  now that the week is over, i see that a fair amount of things have happened, worthy of mention.  nothing stellar, but the stuff of life nonetheless.

monday.  ok, i lied: monday was stellar.
stellar A: when i scheduled the annual "muppet+nog party", i explicitly told my sister that i would deny any work offered to me that day; i would not miss this party.  and, lo and behold, i got a call from cosmic pictures on saturday in need of a good camera assistant.  man, sometimes the stars align against you.  or, perhaps not.  it turned out that the shoot was not only an awesome position (me sitting behind the camera, instead of next to it), but it would be 8 hours at most.  ...meaning i could work a good day and still make it in plenty of time for that party.  man, i love it when the planets align and the tumblers of the universe fall into place.
the shoot rocked so severely that i was in a great mood as i stopped by macey's to buy a lot of eggs, cream, nutmeg, and whole milk.  i even remembered to use my trendy canvas shopping bags (thanks, criterion!)
which leads to...

stellar B: the muppet+nog party went more or less as planned.  last year i made just enough for everyone to get one glass full.  this year i bought enough to make two for everyone, but the first batch was a quadruple recipe, which had even my largest bowls brimming to the top with noggy goodness.  suffice it to say, that was enough work that we didn't make the second batch.  everyone got one glass of seriously dang good nog, and i've still got a ton of dairy products in my fridge.
michael caine sings, "if you want to know the measure of a man, you simply count his friends!"  such being the case, i am worth 15 awesome friends and two babies.  i'm pretty happy about that.  we sang along as best we could, we laughed a lot, and ate homemade oreos (thanks, jaime!) and ginger snaps (thanks, natalie!)

tuesday.  i've decided i'd like a blu-ray player.  a bit of research revealed that a playstation 3 was actually the best blu-ray player out there and tim helped me find a great deal on ebay (did you know that if you use microsoft's new search engine to buy things on ebay under certain conditions, they'll give you money back?  100% for real!), and my ps3 came today.  hooking it up is an evolving nightmare, but i've already watched wall.e twice.  i have an unabashed crush on that movie for so many reasons....
we also watched the childhood favorite, a claymation Christmas, and tim showed us dr. horrible's sing along blog, about which he wrote a good, insightful essay.

wednesday.  after the chris's photo-endorsement of the hogle zoo's Christmas lights, mark and i decided to ask some nice girls on a zoo date.  i like monkeys.  and the porcupine.  and the poison dart frogs.  and we saw some cougars, too, who didn't mind my camera flash.  and we stuffed mark inside an egg.  all followed by some seriously good pizza at stoneground pizza, our very favorite (and possibly hexed) pizza joint.

thursday.  another day of work at cosmic, more awesome times had by all.  and, miracle of miracles, i made it to mandy anderson's wedding reception.  i wanted to, because a) mandy's great and b) i wanted to keep my resolution to attend receptions, and an insider tip let me know that people were still in line when i was getting back in town.

friday.  i had a fine list of things i needed to do today.  then mark called and suggest we go to ikea to buy some furniture.  mostly, i went because of the meatballs.  that evening was our ward Christmas party, for which I was not too eager.  nor did i have a skit, and, when they said "each committee should prepare a skit", i suspected that "sunday school" may be included in that.  the party was actually great, with robust attendance, plenty of food, and a couple of really good skits, the best being the brower family doing a puppet performance about the joys of fun-sounding words like "blubber", "macadamia", "gazebo", and, my favorite, "tuberculosis" (the chris, i thought of you from the start).

saturday.  i ran errands in the wet snow while listening to the soundtrack for a charlie brown Christmas.  itunes had it as part of their $4.99 sale this week, and i'm absolutely enraptured with it.  i went to the byu bookstore and mailed a package that i should have mailed off yesterday, and another that i should have mailed off in, oh, september.  and i picked up ratatouille on blu-ray at best buy on sale and marveled at its beauty as i tossed together a noodle stir fry that i'd rate about a 6 out of 10.  
that night i went i filled in with bekahjo as she set up some friends on a date to the lights at temple square.  had i known we were going to ihop, i wouldn't have eaten beforehand.  i ordered a hot chocolate, which was nice and rich (think heated hershey's syrup).  two cups was enough for me.  the rest of the evening, the lights, the company, the conversation, was, true to form, pretty much great.  except for the roads; they were really icy.

sunday.  because i had a meeting with the stake presidency smack in the middle of my sunday school lesson, i only taught for 15 minutes, then passed the torch to another teacher.  i wanted to talk, ever so briefly, on one of the more misunderstood (or simply unknown) topics in the Church, the house of israel.  but that's really hard to do in 10 minutes.  and harder still when it seems everyone is talking.  in short, it wasn't so good.
hometeaching, however, was good.  great, actually.  but, sad.  see, when i moved into the ward three and a bit years ago, i was given the best hometeaching companion ever.  and i never would have expected that jonpaul would be so great.  we seemed so different: when i drove, we were listening to general conference.  when he drove, we listened to rap.  but we complemented and clicked.  for the year and a half that i was in charge of hometeaching, i made sure to never change us.  when the new elder's quorum presidencies came, i threatened old testament-style consequences if we were ever split up.  i can't remember all the people we hometaught, but, just as group 2 taught me how great f.h.e. could be, together we learned how truly wonderful hometeaching is.  jonpaul moved his records to a new ward a few weeks ago without telling me.  today, as we were making our final visits, he said that the reason he had stayed in the ward as long as he had was because of hometeaching, and he didn't tell me until the change was final because i was the only person who could have convinced him not to go.  i'll miss him dearly.  i've had some great companions (my manfriend jack, the chris, that guy named mike...), but i don't think i will ever have another companion like jonpaul.

as i finish typing this, i'm enjoying the charlie brown soundtrack and savoring a bowl of berries and yogurt.  i'm stoked that jess comes into town tomorrow, and brady and i drive to minnesota on wednesday.  and becky's updated me that caleb seems to really like people who sing in the car....  : )
this isn't a great post, but it gets you caught up.
and that's why you read this, right?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"trust visions that don't feature buckets of blood"

on wednesday i went to byu to sneak into a piano room for a bit.  sadly, they were all full of legitimate students, leaving me wandering through the main lobby of the hfac as i wondered where on campus might have a private piano for a nice boy like myself.  the bfa show on display wasn't doing much for me, and as i looked up at the displays on the higher floors, i remembered hearing on classical89 about the museum of art's show on "searching for meaning in art in the late-60s."
the title of the exhibit led me to think that it was rebelling against the uber-esoteric styles of the stereotypical "modern art": a plain white canvas, a four-foot steel cube, or a page from the phonebook, all being called "Art."

the exhibit was, in fact, those sort of items, the first being a seven-foot industrial-made "X".

i had learned about these movements of "minimalism" and "conceptual art" in my art history class.  these were the days when dr. magleby would display a painting by mark rothko and the dudes in baseball caps behind me would mutter, "you've got to be kidding me--that's art??"  to be fair, the giant, partially-eaten cube of chocolate entitled "gnaw" took a little explanation, but once i saw where the artist was coming from, i quite liked it.

be it a movie by andrei tarkovsky or a series of sculptures by sol lewitt, art of this sort is better appreciated when you learn about the environments and movements they had come from, and to understand what they were trying to evoke in the viewer.
there was a 13-minute video that helped give an introduction to what was going on in the art world at this time.  the rolling stones' "gimme shelter" led way to a narration by campbell grey, the museum's director and former member of our stake presidency back in the day.  president grey often gave the best talks at stake conference, and i loved meeting with him for temple recommend interviews, as it was encouraging to talk with someone strong in the Gospel with an appreciation for art.  instead of decrying the cussing in "o brother, where art thou?", he praised the film for its allegory.
in the video, he explained that as art forms were expanding, painting had lost much of it's uniqueness to photography, leading the artists to ask, what can painting do that nothing else can?  the essence of painting was "flatness", and pure, perfect flatness is what these works strove for.

conceptual art, like the best movies, realized that art cannot exist without a viewer, and so the viewer is an important part of the work.  therefore, the piece does not do all of the creation, but part of that is left to you: what do you think when you see that?  what do you feel?  one work was two parts, a small, white, square canvas, and a second frame, with a written guarantee that in that canvas was a 10" circle; it's up to you to see the circle.

as for the giant X or the series of open metal cubes on the floor, the environment becomes part of the work, and there is no mark of the artist.  no brush strokes or weld marks.  but look at how it takes up the space in the museum, how the light in the room reflects on it.  it looks different depending in the angle you are standing (or sitting) when you see it.  it takes more thought and effort, but once you understand how to approach these works, it's some pretty cool stuff.
as i was walking through the gallery, i caught a glimpse of the "religious art" wing down the hall.  after all of this, those paintings of people seemed so... straightforward.

i think i'm going to visit minneapolis' museum of art over the Christmas break.

one final thing; a lot of museums have little headsets you can carry that will give you a guided tour of what you're seeing.  the moa has a cool idea: pull out your cell phone and dial a number, then enter the number next to the work you're looking at, and right there you get a brief lecture on it.  neat.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the living Church

the loftiest tree in the forest has fallen, leaving us bereft of its shade.  a powerful voice, undiminished by the ravages of pernicious disease, has spoken its last great sermon, testifying one final unforgettable time of Jesus the Chrst.
an era of leadership under spencer w. kimball, n. eldon tanner, marion g. romney, and bruce r. mcconkie is fast drawing to a conclusion.  we are bereft of our great ones.
but hearken, and see--mighty leaders are among us and will rise; and lo.

so wrote elder john k. carmack of the seventy the day after the passing of elder bruce r. mcconkie (quoted from his talk given at a byu fireside may 5, 1985).
i thought of that when the first presidency was reorganized earlier this year.

from 1995 to 2004, the first presidency and quorum of the twelve were unchanged.  it was the era of president hinckley, the time when all of my friends and i were in high school and college.  those fifteen men guided us as we learned to step out of our nests and grow into our own.  for nine years, those names and  their order were so familiar: president gordon b. hinckley, president thomas s. monson, james e. faust.  boyd k. packer, l. tom perry, neal a. maxwell, david b. haight, russell m. nelson, dallin h. oaks, m. russell ballard, joseph b. wirthlin, richard g. scott, robert d. hales, jeffrey r. holland, and henry b. eyring.  they issued the proclamation on the family.  they signed their names to the testimony of the Living Christ.

i remember hearing that this was the longest time in the modern history of the Church that the leadership was unchanged.  then, one morning, i heard that elder maxwell had passed away, and jack wrote a small tribute to him on our apartment white board.  a week or so later, i woke up to find him writing about elder haight.
"did he pass away?" i asked, half jokingly.
"yes."
it was pretty cool that they left so close together.

a few years later i was loading film in the dark room on a movie when mister west on 101.9 announced that james e. faust had passed away.  during the general conference a few months later, we were listening to elder wirthlin's talk on the radio in car ride home.  as we sat down in front of the tv, i remember the very powerful image of elder nelson standing silently and firmly behind him.  i didn't know what had happened, but elder wirthlin was giving his talk with all the energy and determination he had.  recently, elder holland said with such love, "within the ranks of the general authorities of the Church, there is no man more beloved than joseph bitner wirthlin."
four months later, our beloved president hinckley returned home to marjorie pay.
and, last night, elder wirthlin was called home, having been a good and faithful servant.

within four years, five of the fifteen apostles finished their work on the earth.

the first presidency is now thomas s. monson, henry b. eyring, and dieter f. uchtdorf, who wasn't even in the twelve five years ago.  we've come to know and love elder bednar, elder cook, and elder christofferson.  and we'll learn to love another new apostle in early april.

we are part of a living Church.  president monson and his counsellors and the twelve, down to elder d. todd christofferson (and whomever is next) will lead us and carry the Church forward in ways that president hinckley could not do, but will do so only because of the immense work that was performed before them.

"come what may, and love it."

Monday, December 01, 2008

resolute

i was at a friend's house and saw her list of resolutions tacked on the wall.  what i thought cool about them were that they were divided into different categories (financial, social, personal, spiritual) and that they were half-yearly.  it seems common to set what we'd like to do, then figure we'll just be doing it by september.  if you've got until july, that's an easier time frame to get going.
thinking about what i want to do better, i wondered, "why wait until january?"

some of mine:
  • attend and/or give gifts to the weddings to which i am invited (i'm off to a good start!)
  • practice the heck out of my accordion and piano
  • travel somewhere big (china, turkey, sweden, antarctica, mongolia, chichen itza)
  • buy an atv
  • read like i wanted to this year (one book a month; i finished my 88-page january book in august)
  • learn photoshop (iphoto's nice and all, but i was meant for bigger things)
  • start an internet rumor
  • take other adult education classes: car maintenance, sewing
  • direct a commercial or movie
  • learn investing
  • become first aid certifide
  • learn to ride a horse
  • do a triathlon with my sister and/or brother-in-law
  • learn a little about html
if i can do that, it should be a pretty good year...