Wednesday, February 05, 2014

2013 Top Ten

10. Arrested Development Season 4

Ahhh, remember this? Back in May I (and maybe you?) stayed up one night very late, until 1:am Mountain Time, to being watching Season 4 of Arrested Development. It’s my favorite show (if you haven’t seen it, please give it a shot and let me know what you think – also, know that you can’t watch it passively, and that there are swears in one of the versions of the pilot), and previously there had only been three seasons (I’ve got two sets each of all three seasons on DVD, you know, just in case something goes wrong with Netflix or whatever). I binge-watched the entire season, which was released all at once. I still remember how giddy I felt when I heard Ron Howard’s voice and saw, of all people, Kristen Wiig as young Lucille Bluth. I know not everyone loved it, and that’s fine. I loved it.

9. Driving Across the Country/Traveling

somewhere between Champaign and Lincoln

One of the very first things that happened in 2013 was that our van died. Died dead. Our best friends saved us by selling their car to us, a favor I don’t know I can ever repay. As our best friends currently live in Georgia, I flew there and drove the car back. I drove from Augusta, GA, to Champaign, IL – a slight detour to spend a few hours with my brother and his family. I then drove from Champaign to Lincoln, NE, to spend a wonderful evening of running and eating and talking and television with my friend Wendy. Leaving Lincoln, I made it to Lyman, WY, where I was stuck in a blizzard and spent a night at my friend Lezlie’s cousin’s motel, The Gateway Inn. I finally (and cautiously) made it back to Provo.

Other trips:
~ Washington, DC (February) – Training and lobbying for Shot@Life (see #8), and to see my friends Martha and Charlotte, and my sister.

With Charlotte

~ Augusta, GA (March) – to visit Waldo & Jen again, for the occasion of their daughter’s baptism, and Easter

With Jen

~ San Diego, CA (April) – with Li’l ~j. (not so li’l anymore) for a cheer competition; got to stay at my old roommate’s house, and see my kind-of step-brother every day we were there

With Jeff

~ Nowhere, WY (June – seriously, I have no idea where we were) – we went on a mock pioneer trek and camped as a family, with other families from our church congregation.

~ Hollywood, FL (June) – I spoke at a convention on behalf of Shot@Life (see #8). I was there for approximately seven hours total.

~ Oberlin, OH (August) – To attend my dear friend Martha’s wedding.

With Martha

8. Lobbying/Speaking at Conferences

As mentioned in #9 I traveled to Washington, DC, in February for champion training for Shot@Life, and to lobby on Capitol Hill. This year I was one of about ten in the National Shot@Life Mentor Circle, which was really cool. In DC there was a group of eight women from Utah (a great showing) to learn more about Shot@Life, and together we attended meetings and met with various representatives’ staffers. I was nervous about lobbying but it was all a very interesting process, and I hope to be able to do it again.

Awesome team from Utah

Speaking of speaking, I was able to be the keynote speaker at this year’s General Federation of Women’s Clubs Annual Convention. What a thrill to be able to associate with those stellar women, and get to know more about their organization and the good work they do.

With Nancy Jones and Madame President Mary Ellen Laister

I also was one of the presenters in Utah’s inaugural ListenTo Your Mother show. It was an evening of inspiration in many forms, and I’m grateful for the friendships which have come from the experience. Here’s my presentation:

7. Communal Sock Basket

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point this year I decided I was done sorting socks. My oldest three girls can pretty much share socks with each other (as can my youngest two kids), and going through the guessing game of which belongs to whom while doing laundry is not worth my time. The blue square laundry basket, placed in an easily accessible location for all, is now the happy home to all clean-and-out-of-the-dryer kid socks. When my kids come to me before school saying they don’t have socks I direct them to the blue basket. If the basket gets too full, or if we have five or ten minutes when we’re all home at the same time, we have a quick Get Your Socks party. Laundry has long been my favorite chore, and now it’s even moreso.

6. Scooter

In August we bought a scooter. It’s not easy being a large family with just one car, particularly when the car is needed for instances when only my husband or I need to go somewhere (leaving the other of us, and the kids, without a vehicle). Learning that scooters get about 90mpg we figured out that even with the monthly payment and maintenance we’d be saving money (ga$oline), and that has held true. There’s really nothing like riding a scooter in the summer (though I could do without getting pegged in the face with bugs). For locals, I highly recommend The Scooter Lounge in Orem. We happened to purchase their 1,000th scooter, so we got some awesome stuff with it (I love the messenger bag the most). 

5. Acting

Backstage with Ames & Ben right before our final show

This year was when I really got back into (began?) acting. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in on an auditioning class during the winter semester and I learned so much during those months. In May I worked a few days as an extra on the set in Goshen. In June I had my first theater audition in 18 years. In July I began rehearsal for a musical that ended in November. In November and December I worked in film at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in Provo. In December I began rehearsal for my first-ever straight play. I love the challenge, the process, the work, the experience, the growth. A major part of me has been brought to light and I feel more like my true self.

4. Having a Job

In 2013 I began working from home. I work for Wake Up WorldCommunications and I write, mainly about global health issues, mainly having to do with women and children. My lovely boss (who is also my friend) lives on the East coast. Having this job has been a tremendous blessing for me and for my family, and I’m very grateful for it.

3. Running

Having done triathlons in the past with the attitude of I love swimming and I love biking and when it’s time for the run I figure I should just get it over with, I decided that 2013 was going to be my year of learning how to run a little better and a little farther. In January (while in Georgia, in fact) I began training for my first half-marathon and I stuck to my running schedule, even with the traveling I was doing. At the beginning of May I ran the Provo City Half-Marathon, which begins in Provo Canyon, down the River Trail, and on to University Avenue, ending at the city center. What a beautiful run and a draining experience. There are no words to describe the exact color of the mountains being reflected in the Provo river at sunrise, but golden comes close. At about 300 North University Avenue I saw the finish line and unexpectedly began to choke up, which isn’t great when you’re trying to run. It was a very emotional experience and just thinking about it as I write this makes me think I should be training for another right now.

With Lisa

As a surprise, Carina signed me up to run Ragnar WasatchBack, a relay race of 12 people in two vehicles, over two days. Together we ran from Logan (on the border with Idaho) to Park City, about 198 miles. It was exhilarating and frustrating and exhausting, and I’d totally do it again.

2. Flipagram

This is my favorite new app, and I only began using it at the very end of the year, but I’m kind of obsessed. I first heard about it from my oldest daughter when she used it as part of a birthday gift for her best friend. Essentially you put pictures together in a slide show set to 15 seconds of music. The more pictures you add, the faster they flip through. I used it to make a sort of year-in-review for myself, and one for each of my kids. Plus one of pictures of my kids sleeping, because if you follow me on Instagram you know that a significant portion of my pics are of my kids sleeping.

1. In The Heights

What can I even say about this? Being in Hale Center Theater Orem’s production of In The Heights was one of the best experiences of my life. The soundtrack, and even some of the dialogue, has become a regular in my family’s repertoire. (Heads up for those who saw the Orem production: if you get the Broadway cast recording please know that there is some language that you didn’t hear in Orem’s show.) The cast members are some of my very favorite people on this planet. The story itself, about home and community and family, resonates very strongly with me. I was just thinking the other day, about how some people talk about their Dream Role. My Dream Role is to be anything in In The Heights. If I could do any show, I’d do this one again. And again and again.

My favorite videos of the year:

 My favorite pics of the year (see also: Instagram):


Laura Muir said...

Cute post! Good for you for getting back into acting! It's always good to do something that helps you use your creativity. I totally understand that "feeling like your true self" thing. Whenever I take time to really express myself I feel that way too. :)

On another note. The little part at the bottom of your blog where it says "I always trusted Snape" totally made me laugh! Love it!

Find me here:
Laura Muir

Kimberly Job said...

What a fun peek into your life!! You have such a variety of interests. I think it's awesome. And P.S. -- We have a sock basket too.

Janet said...

You've made me want to rent a scooter for the summer. How much was it?? I looked briefly on their site and didn't see info.

You have accomplished so much this year personally and professionally! I'm so happy to see you live your dreams of acting.

I'm cheering you on!


Emily said...

How did I not know about number 4? That's awesome! Love everything about this post but mostly you.

wendysue said...

Whenever I mention you, my kids say, "You mean Jenny, that came and slept in our basement?" Yep. That one. Remember when we ran on the icy streets, ate all kinds of food, and watched Parenthood? I could do that every night. I love your top 10!

~j. said...

Laura - thank you! I think it's important for moms to find a creative outlet. Snape forever!!

~j. said...

Kimberly - thanks! Why didn't I think of a sock basket earlier? It's changed my life.

~j. said...

Emily - I'm not sure! But thank you so much, my friend.

~j. said...

Janet - thank you for your support! It's good to look back and see how far we've come, no? As for the scooter -- check out their fb page, or just pop in. Ask for Dave, tell him I sent you. :)

~j. said...

Wendy - I remember that night fondly and wish I had taken more pictures (I think the only one I have is of Amanda on tv). Your home is so welcoming and warm -- that was honestly one of the best nights of sleep I'd ever had in my life.

~j. said...

...and, Wendy -- I wish we could have sleepovers all the time, too. :)