Month: June 2013

Why I Dye My Hair

The other day I was having a conversation with a girl on twitter and she said she ‘would never dye her hair’ and that she ‘preferred to age gracefully’.  I told her to wait until she was sprouting gray hairs at 25 and we’ll talk.  At 32 I’m not exactly looking to ‘age gracefully’.  Especially being unmarried gray hairs are one more thing that says ‘old maid’ to potential companions.  I’ve already got enough of those signs to deal with, let me keep a few pretty things about myself a little longer.

It would be one thing if I had to have plastic surgery or inject botox into my body to look younger.  That I would never do but a package of hair dye doesn’t seem so bad.  Most people don’t even know that I have colored my hair because I keep it pretty natural.  People don’t think I’m strange for altering my complexion through makeup and mascara.  I don’t think hair dye is all that different.  It doesn’t last forever and is a beauty treat that makes me feel good.

Usually I go to a salon to color my hair but I’ve been having a hard time finding a new one since my stylist moved to Chili.  This isn’t my first time dyeing my own hair ( I would NEVER cut my own hair) and 1/1 on success rate.  1 I liked, 1 not so much.  Hopefully this will make 2 out of 3.

Either way, I like to feel pretty, not because its my inherent worth but because I think I’m beautiful and I feel more beautiful without gray hair.  Is that really such a crime?  We all do things to help us feel more beautiful and happy but they aren’t the base of our happiness.  I am happy because I’m a daughter of God and I have His Gospel.  I just feel a little perk of pleasure when I look nice and feel beautiful.

Now I just have to find a guy who likes my version of beautiful.  Maybe there is a hair color he will like? JK.  Who knows?  Life is crazy but I think I’m going to like my new hair.

What do you do to feel more beautiful?  What are your favorite health and beauty products, treatments?



Underrated Movies

movie-clip-art11-287x300So a few weeks ago I wrote a story on movies I felt were overrated.  Now those were not necessarily bad movies I just didn’t think they were the amazing 5 stars everyone else seems to. The follow up naturally becomes what are underrated movies that deserve more playing time?

I actually struggled in coming up with a list because some of them seemed difficult to defend but I enjoyed them nonetheless.  Some might think how could I not be into the Godfather and like Sweet Home Alabama or The Blind Side? I can’t explain it.  I just do. So here are some underrated gems to check out by category:

Rom Coms that do the genre right- anyone knows I love a good romantic movie but they have been the scene of some truly horrific flops in the last 10 years.  Some that were unjustly ignored are:

IQ- a funny movie starring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins and Walter Manthau about Einstein’s niece falling in love.  The banter between Einstein and his buddies is hilarious, the chemistry is right on.  Its available on netflix so check it out (many on this list are on netflix).

Sweet Home Alabama-  Predictable? yes.  do some of the jokes fall flat? yes, but I really enjoy this movie.  I LOVE Josh  Lucas.  He is super sexy and Patrick Demsey plays the other man with a lot of class.  They do not take the easy way out and make him a jerk.

Just Wright- A movie nobody saw with Queen Latifah and Common. The Queen is divine as a physical therapist tasked with helping an NBA player come back from an injury.  Yes, its predicable but you need some of that in this genre.  Its really a fairy tale with the prince charming a basketball player and Paula Patton as the somewhat evil stepsister (god-sister in this story . She’s a gold digger with a heart and boy is she pretty)

Return to Me- Similar to IQ this sweet love story of a girl who gets a heart transplant but then falls for the widower of the heart donor. Its sweet and how great to have a Hollywood romance where the character falls in love without the girl revealing a scar on her chest. A very clean simple movie with a great group of older actors playing the Irish/Italian family of the Minnie Driver character.

Better Off Dead- I can’t really defend this movie except to say that it makes me laugh every time.  A boy is infatuated with his girlfriend and then is dumped for the captain of the high school ski team. To get back he decides to ski the K-12.

Hijinks erupt with everything from Howard Cossell Japanese taxi drivers, animated burgers, a paper boy who wants his $2, a mother who boils bacon and makes goo for dinner and a brother who cuts out coupons from boxes before the cereal is eaten.  What can I say?  It just makes me laugh.

Drama’s that deserve  to be seen-

Marvin’s Room-  A gut wrenching drama with Meryl Streep, Dianne Keaton, Robert Deniro and Leonardo Dicaprio.  It reads like a good play. Two estranged sisters get back together when  one is diagnosed with cancer.  Dicaprio plays a teen with severe behavior and mental illness issues but it is done in a realistic way.   Every performance is good.  It felt like watching a real family.

Warrior- Not enough people saw this great sports/family movie.  The conceit is predictable.  We know the brothers will end up fighting against each other but the journey is so well done.  All the performances are great.  Tom Hardy is super hot and Nick Nolte is totally believable as the alcoholic father everyone has discounted.  The fight scenes are not overly long and the tension is built perfectly.  Great example of its genre.

Secret Life of Bees- Another movie with a strong ensemble cast that nobody saw.  Based on the bestselling novel by Su Monk Kidd tells the story of a little girl who runs away from home in 1964 South Carolina. She finds a new home with a family of black women that knew her mother and are beekeepers.  I loved the book and the movie.

Jane Eyre 1996- I have yet to dislike a version of this story (including the 2011 filming) but this one may be my favorite big screen adaptation.  Charlotte Ginsberg is the most plain Jane but that totally works for the character.  William Hurt is brooding and fun as Rochester even without a British accent.

The Blind Side- Obviously this film has its fans as it won an oscar for Sandra Bullock but amongst critics it is frequently chided as sentimental and even manipulative.  My answer to that is so what?  Hasn’t sentimentality always been an essential aspect to the movies? Even going back to Gone with the Wind or Mrs Minver.  If it is done well I enjoy a good hearted fable that helps encourage me to be a better person.

This story is of course about future super bowl winner Michael Oher and how he is adopted by the Tuohy family of Mississippi.  Its the kind of movie I want to watch when I’m having a bad day or feeling discouraged and I don’t think that is a bad thing.  Our society could use a little more hope and little less cynicism.

Children Movies You Might Have Missed

Winnie the Pooh Movie- Finally a movie designed for little, little kids.  Its short enough for them with a simple sweet story that I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for.  I LOVE the music.  No winking humor for adults just an unabashed little kids movie (5 and under)

Holes- The first time I saw this movie I was blown away.  I called my family and said ‘you have to see it’.  They weren’t as impressed but I thought it was so creative.  Weaving a story of a kid sent to a desert camp to dig holes and an cowboy love story that ended badly leaving a curse on the entire family.  I still think it is brilliant.

Where the Wild Things Are- This movie has its fans and I admit it is one you either go with or don’t. I did.  When I saw it in the theater half of us thought it was amazing and half a big bore.  I loved its realistic depiction of a child, without any of the cloying sweetness of most Hollywood movies.  This is a real kid with tantrums and stubbornness.

Then he is given the chance to actually lead creatures, creatures that feature all of his good and bad traits and he realizes how hard it is. He gets a new empathy for his mother.  I loved the music, voice acting, the kid is a great actor (plus looks like my step-nephew).  Its different but I totally bought it.

Ponyo-  A weird but delightful animated movie from Hayao Miyazaki who made Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away.  Both of those are better movies but this one is more like My Friend Totoro and is designed for little kids. The story is simple but the images are so creative and the basic idea so dazzling that the kids have room to write some of their own story.  It is about a little boy that adopts a gold fish that is the daughter of the great sea wizard.  The ocean begins to search for the adorable Ponyo and everything begins.

Classics You Should See-

Talk of the Town- At its release this movie was nominated for Oscars but I doubt many have seen it.  Certainly Cary Grant’s other comedies such as Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday (both wonderful) are more popular but I love Talk of the Town . It has Jean Arthur who plays the high school crush of town good-for-nothing Grant who has been framed by a union for a fire that killed a man.

Knowing the jury is rigged Grant escapes from prison and seeks refuge at Arthur’s summer home which is soon to be occupied by a potential supreme court nominee played by Ronald Coleman.  Justice vs mercy is amazingly mixed in with some great slapstick.  I laugh my head off at this movie and think about philosophy at the same time.  A rare combination.

Brigadoon- The Gene Kelly musical most people haven’t seen.  Lerner and Loewe’s broadway musical comes to life about a town that ages only one day every hundred years.  Kelly and his friend stumble upon the town on a hunting trip and meet the lovely Cyd Charisse.   Some great songs such as Almost Like Being in Love, There but for you go I, Waitin for my Dearie and other great music and dancing.

Lili- A movie most people probably haven’t seen but a sweet fairy tale with amazing dancing.  Its the story of a girl named Lili played by Leslie Caron who stumbles upon a circus in a small town who agree to give her a job as a magicians assistant.  Young, she botches the first night and runs away in distress.  To her surprise she stumbles upon a puppet show and the puppets start to speak to her.

She agrees to be the MC for the puppet show but gets so lost in the illusion that she doesn’t remember who is behind the scenes. Could it be jaded carnival operator who is bitter about his career in dance going down the tubes because of an injury? You will have to see! The dancing is magnificent and like I said it is a gem.

Summer Updates

S0 it got to be 103 degrees today. Let’s just say SUMMERRR is here! I have been having a great time.  Summer is always so much more fun for me than Winter.  Just the addition of open water swimming makes my life better.  (Swimming in an indoor pool just isn’t the same). I’ve been able to see all my swim friends that I somehow miss in the winter.

Here are some highlights

I’ve been to plays including Wrinkle in Time at BYU which was mind blowing and Tarzan at Scera which was good.

My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time.  She's so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I've ever seen
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time. She’s so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I’ve ever seen

I’ve been working really hard at my new job with Poler.

like this photo tons.  Been a happy time in my life.
In my office. I like this photo tons. Been a happy time in my life lately.

I’ve been reading a lot, especially rereading Jane Austen to get ready for book club. Its funny because I talk about them a lot but I haven’t actually read them in a long time.  They are just as brilliant as I remember.


I’ve been swimming up a storm.  I wish I could go everyday but with work and other responsibilities there just isn’t time.  Went last Saturday to Deer Creek and today to Blackridge Pond in Herriman.

The girls ready for a swim.  Love open water women!
The girls ready for a swim. Love open water women!
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek.  Got curves?
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek. Got curves?


Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek.  First swimming injury
Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek. First swimming injury
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.

Other fun things…I performed in master class on Wednesday and sang Wishing You Were Somehow Here from Phantom of the Opera.  I’m no opera singer but it was fun to let my diva out.

Speaking of diva’s Drop Dead Diva started on lifetime which made my BFF Emily and I very happy. We had dinner together and a little diva watching party.  It did not disappoint.  Great season opening.  I think made even better by the fact that it almost didn’t happen.

emilyThe meal turned out really good.  It was buccatini (my new favorite pasta) with fresh cherry tomatoes, sausage, parm and fresh herbs from my container gardens which drumroll ARE STILL ALIVE!

Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my basil has gotten.  I guess I don't kill all living creatures :)
Look how big my basil has gotten. I guess I don’t kill all living creatures 🙂

I also made flank steak for the first time to great success

flank steak
Not bad looking right? Flank steak is my new favorite

I went to a Josh Turner concert with my friends Emilee and Rachel M (I know a lot of Rachel’s and Emily’s!).  He was super entertaining and has the most sexy voice I think I’ve ever heard.  Its low and he has an old fashioned southern drawl.  His band was really good too.  It was a great night.

Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Josh Turner and the crowd
Josh Turner and the crowd

All in all its been a great summer!  Hope you all have a great 4th and enjoy the hot weather as much as I do. 🙂

Update on Book Club


This is quick post but I thought I would let you all know where the book list was at for my book club.  We are currently on book 35 which is a miracle in the world of book clubs.  The members have changed over the years and I’m the only one who has read all 35 books but I don’t have any problems with that.  Its been a pleasure to have a reason to read all of these books and I look forward to more books to come!

Most of the books I have read before and I don’t mind that at all.  Rereading books is like visiting an old friend and I love sharing them with new friends.   The reason I started with books I’ve read is because I was in a book club years ago where we went off a supposed ‘contemporary classics’ list and almost every book I hated.  Like not just disliked.  Truly hated.  (I always tried to be postive and find something I liked but some months it was hard- Catch 22 I know has its fans but I thought it was cynical and depressing).

It just wasn’t worth my time to read these terrible books so when I started my club  I decided someone in the club has to have read the book. Most of the time that person ends up being me but not always.  I’m always up for suggestions as long as the group is up for it.  Aside from the having read rule, I also try to keep the books pretty squeaky clean (I tried to venture a little outside that box once and it didn’t go over super well, so we stay PG in general).

Also, I usually pick a book that is around 200 pages or we give more time to read a longer book (for example, when we read Rebecca early this year we had 2 months because it took us all longer.  The benefit of having a small group is you can communicate and make changes when needed).

And I’m always looking for new members.

If you haven’t come out please do.  Our next choice is to read any Jane Austen book.  I read Pride and Prejudice and thoroughly enjoyed it.  We will meet July 13th 10 am at Kneaders in Draper.  I know it will be worth your time if you come.

What books have you enjoyed in your book club?  Have any of you lasted longer than 35 books for a club?  My aunt has a club that has been going for a decade.  That is an amazing accomplishment because people move and get busy.  I’ve found I have to be in near constant recruitment but to me it is worth it.  I really love it.

So here’s what we’ve read in 35 books

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
My Life in France by Julia Child
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The River Between Us by Richard Peck
Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
Marriage and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverely Campbell
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Hunger Games vol. 1 by Suzanne Collins
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle  by Avi
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Book Theif by Markus Zusak
Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Chosen by Chiam Potok
No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes
The Gift by Lois Lowry
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Jane Austen book (I read Pride and Prejudice)

200th Birthday Pride and Prejudice

(part of this posted yesterday without my realizing it.  Sorry)

We decided to do something different this month for book club.  Instead of all reading the same book we decided to each read a Jane Austen and then we would meet and discuss them.  I’m looking forward to it.  So, I had to decide which Jane Austen to tackle.  I have read all of them, of course, so it would be rereading for sure but which one? I realized I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice for years, maybe since college, and it seemed ripe for another perusal.

So this week I started to read it again, both via traditional and audiobook, and I wondered at first if I would be as dazzled as I was at 17.  That year I was going to community college, living in California with no friends and I had a month long winter break to fill up.  In desperation I decided to read Sense and Sensibility.

Its funny because its probably Jane Austen’s most challenging book (its pretty slow moving) but being a big fan of the movie I loved it.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I immediately read Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion within the course of my break.   Its hard to say what I responded to so quickly in Jane Austen’s prose.  They have such austere characters within the confines of a culture so distant from my own; yet, I was completely engaged.

(so I didn’t realize this blog was published yesterday. Sorry guys.  Here’s the rest of it)

In the end, the long lasting effect of Pride and Prejudice and other Austen novels persists  because her characters are fully-rounded, strong-willed women.  This translates to any era and gives all women something to hope for.  The fact is marriage and romance will always be the grand desire of the human heart because we all seek to be understood by at least one person with that one person being forever loyal to us.  All of Jane Austen’s  characters spur social customs and refuse to settle for anything other than complete understanding in the marriage relationship

Pride and Prejudice is her masterpiece.  It creates characters who do not even know their own hearts until they meet.  It is a story that teaches the reader about human frailty.  If left only to our own devices (as Darcy remarks about his childhood) we will develop certain flaws that will cause us to see the world incorrectly.  It is only when someone points out those flaws that our world is opened and we can truly love.

Both Darcy and Lizzie fail to see anything but their own perspective or point of view.  That is such a hard lesson to learn and how great to have characters in a novel help educate us!

Pride and Prejudice also shows that the human brain knows intrinsically what will make us happy.  It is only when we listen to the world’s definition of happiness that we are left cold.  Lizzie knew that a marriage of convenience, despite its worldly benefits could never make her happy, and what is life if it is not happy?  Darcy must have also known that Lizzie was the person who could make him happy despite her refusals.  Both characters learn that when your soul is telling you to go a direction, even if socially divergent, go, run if you have to.

One of the most flawed characters in Pride and Prejudice is Mr Bennett.  He makes no choices in his life and is content to let it pass him by.  A lazy parent at best, Mr Bennett doesn’t intervene with Lydia or the girls until disaster strikes and even then he admits he will get over the shame more quickly than he should.  Lydia is an idiot, but she is young and at least she has made choices and has passion.  I can respect that much more than idly sitting by and doing nothing.

Wickham is of course the true scoundrel of the story.  Having all the appearance of good nature but none of the moral fortitude he oils his way into every situation, getting what he wants at great cost to others.  However, he does provide an important boost to the plot.  By being true evil, he lessens and then removes any remaining angst the reader feels about Darcy’s pride and conceit.  Perhaps pride is not so bad when it helps avoid wreckless abandon, theft, lust and depravity of Wickham? He also gives Darcy a dramatic way to show his love for Lizzy that leaves her (and the reader) overwhelmed.   There is no doubt Darcy LOVES Lizzy after what he has done.

I happen to believe that all modern romantic comedies can be traced back to Pride and Prejudice and Taming of the Shrew. In both stories you have strong willed souls who are right for each other but just can’t see it.  This tension makes the reader route for them along the way.  Both are written with a wit and satire that makes the journey fun (something most rom coms have lost today).

With both, you feel immediately that the characters are good, if flawed people and you want to see them happy.  That is what most rom coms today miss when they borrow the old formulas.  Yes, the characters don’t like each other at the beginning, but they are both quickly presented as good people who you want to be happy.  The reader is rooting for some resolution all the way and when it seems to be the most impossible the book is at its finest.

I think this is why Pride and Prejudice bears so well to all kinds of treatments whether it be Bollywood, the 5 hour BBC, or the 2005 Kiera Knightly version.  Its hard to make me not like these characters and get drawn into the story.

Yes, we know how it will turn out but its the delightful journey of ‘how’ that makes Pride and Prejudice so great.

It is truly a masterpiece and I enjoyed reading it again.  You should read it again too!

Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 and is 200 years old this year.  Happy Birthday!


My Dating Resume

So yesterday I posted my dating resume to the blog and it got a ton of hits.   Originally it was more of a joke than a serious dating idea but maybe I’m on to something? My friend suggested I simply the post the resume and that seemed like a good idea.

So forgive the repetition but here goes.

Here’s some things about me to recommend me to your single friends out there:

I’m in my early 30s and look like this


I’m a great athlete and love beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans.  Swam 5 open water swims with 2 more to come this year.


I also can kick most anybody’s butt. I’m tough as nails.  MMA is my specialty.


I’m also a great reader, philosopher and deep thinker.  Love good conversation and debate.


I also love the arts, movies, music and theater and the symphony.  Here I am after performing at Hale Center Theater


I take great joy in writing both this blog and my recently completed nanowrimo book


Looking for a great cook?  I’m that too. I love to entertain and form groups.  I’ve had a book club for over 3 years and I give cooking lessons to my friends.


The finished product.  So good!

I’m also a great friend and aunt. Loyalty, honesty and friendship are everything to me. Always have been.

My friend Emily and I at a book signing

My friend Emily and I at a book signing

Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii.  Dear friends

Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii. Dear friends

Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii

Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii (I love Hawaii and love to travel)


My niece and me
My niece and me

I work from home for Poler LLC and love being my own boss and having freedom

Lastly my faith is everything.  Without it I would just be an anxiety ridden, unhappy mess.  I would sooner give up breathing than give up my faith.


So there you go.  That’s my online resume for any guys out there to read.  I think I’m pretty great.  Not perfect but got a lot going for me.  I’m fun and try really hard to be a good friend.  I work hard, am honest and I know what my many flaws are and am working to do better.

So if you know someone who is single show him this page and then let him decided for himself if he wants to be set up with me.  That should make your life easier.  Who knows right!

Anyway,  That’s me.  Find me some dates people! 🙂

Modern Mormon Dating Woes and a Resume

Its no great secret that my church is a church of marriage and family.  After all, we have an entire proclamation on the family and have fought tooth and nail for traditional marriage to be protected and encouraged.  All that is good and wonderful but where does that lead the rapidly growing group of single adult members of the church without families? Well, you can either hack it out alone ignoring much of the doctrine that doesn’t relate to your life or you can


(or some mix of both to survive).

The second option is hard.  Its hard to find people to go on dates with.  That is my constant problem.  And yes, I’ve tried multiple online resources and nothing.  I’ve asked my friends to help me but evidently they don’t know many singles which I get.  Hmmm.  Who else? Don’t go to singles ward any more so could meet someone at the gym or at swim stuff or something like that but its hard.  I signed up for a matchmaking service but it is based on the men and they haven’t matched me yet.  They make a big deal about being ‘active’ which is a nice way of saying skinny because nobody thinks of someone like me as ‘active’. even though I am.

So where does that lead me? Ok.  Back to option 1.  Hack out a good enough existence for yourself and ignore the second part. Make the church work for your life because you know it is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet and you don’t care that a large part of doctrine you can’t practice yet.  Ok maybe you care a little but everyone wants companionship some of the time.  You don’t have to be a robot because you are single.  So you do your best to take what you can and develop a strong relationship with God and hope that someone sets you up with a friend or you bump into Mr.  Sunshine.

Part of the problem with set-ups is my friends say things like ‘I don’t see you two together’.  I wish they would let me be the judge of that.  I had another friend say ‘you wouldn’t want to go on a date with just anyone’.  Unless he’s a rapist and murder I probably would let them buy me dinner.  The standard doesn’t have to be so high.  I can learn something from a date even if it isn’t ‘the one’.  Plus, how do I know ‘the one’ if I haven’t met ‘not the one’.

I wish I could have a bunch of dates and get  a flavor for what I want.  I really have no idea.

The problem is when you do finally get a date your expectations tend to be a little out of whack because you haven’t had one in 6 months.  You either think this person might be the one, really likes me or, has big potential, instead of just a casual date.  Usually that’s a nightmare.

Even if it is a nightmare date you have so few that I’ve found myself hoping the rotten date would call me again after it.  I don’t know why but it feels better to go on another rotten date than nothing.  Silly but true.

I’m embarrassed to admit the last date I went on was last October and that was only after rather incessant begging to my friends because I didn’t want to go to a reunion alone. We had a great time.  I enjoyed it immensely.

What made me think of this is I have season tickets to the Scera Shell and they are having Josh Turner coming next Tuesday.  It crossed my mind- this would make a great date activity but could I for the best of me think of a guy to ask? Not so much.

Its a problem.  Where have all the good men gone?  Where are you hiding?  I’m a nice girl!

Here’s some things about me to recommend me to your single friends out there:

I’m in my early 30s and look like this


I’m a great athlete and love beautiful lakes, rivers and oceans.  Swam 5 open water swims with 2 more to come this year.


I also can kick most anybody’s butt. I’m tough as nails.  MMA is my specialty.

DSCF0896-001I’m also a great reader, philosopher and deep thinker.  Love good conversation and debate

988662_10151621772677239_175637564_nI also love the arts, movies, music and theater and the symphony.  Here I am after performing at Hale Center Theater

dscf0348I take great joy in writing both this blog and my recently completed nanowrimo book


Looking for a great cook?  I’m that too.

The finished product.  So good!
The finished product. So good!

I’m also a great friend and aunt. Loyalty, honesty and friendship are everything to me. Always have been.

My friend Emily and I at a book signing
My friend Emily and I at a book signing
Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii.  Dear friends
Stephanie, Angie, Camille and I in Hawaii. Dear friends
Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii
Emilee and Rachel in Hawaii


Lastly my faith is everything.  Without it I would just be an anxiety ridden, unhappy mess.  I would sooner give up breathing than give up my faith.


So there you go.  That’s my online resume for any guys out there to read.  I think I’m pretty great.  Not perfect but got a lot going for me.  I’m fun and try really hard to be a good friend.  I work hard, am honest and I know what my many flaws are and am working to do better.

So if you know someone who is single show him this page and then let him decided for himself if he wants to be set up with me.  That should make your life easier.  Who knows right!

Anyway,  That’s me and that’s the state of dating at my age.  Its darn to impossible.  So in the meantime I am hacking it out on my own.  Hoping for a bad date if I’m lucky.  Sigh…

Anything I Can Do You Can Do Too!


Today I went visiting teaching and told my girl about my swim.  Her response was ‘Wow!  I could never do that!’.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that response in the last 3 years (crazy that I’ve been open water swimming for 3 years btw!).  It can actually be quite discouraging because I want to inspire people to do as I do, not make it seem impossible.

If you haven’t noticed I’m not exactly the typical athlete with a svelte figure.  Every swim I’ve done I’ve weighed between 275 and 310 lbs (yes, I just admitted that to the world. Deal).  I’m a big girl and always have been.  It wasn’t all that long ago that  just the idea of swimming for a mile felt impossible but I had a gentle friend put in my path who never wavered in his support of my seemingly impossible first swim back in 2011, and I did it!

I’ve faced other challenges besides my weight such as a fall down the stairs, chronic pain/fibromyalgia, PCOS, hormone problems, diabetes scare, and more, so training isn’t always easy or even possible.  I’ve faced personal challenges, heartaches and disappointments, which have felt like a fall down the stairs.  I’ve spent a greater part of a year looking, building, buying and moving into a new house.  I have at times dealt with crippling anxiety and even panic attacks that can make goal setting difficult and self acceptance challenging.

I’ve had all the challenges any of you face and yet I’ve completed my swims.

I don’t want to sound like a great hero.  In fact, I am trying to prove the reverse- that there is nothing particularly special about me.  If I can do it, so can you.  Even people with minimal swimming experience have made amazing strides with consistent practice.  I have seen people barely be able to cross the length of a pool, swim a mile in the GSL 6 months later.  I’ve seen people conquer fear of water, waves, being submerged, etc and do great things.

The way I see it you have 2 choices in life.  You can either take chances or watch as other people take them.  Even if its not an open water swim, I am sure there is something that you look at and think ‘I could never do that’.  I guarantee you ‘THAT’ is the thing you ‘NEED’ to do!  There is nothing more satisfying than doing something you never thought you could do.  It could be singing a solo in public, painting with watercolors, running for public office, starting a small business, writing a novel, entering a triathlon, giving blood.  Whatever. Find out what that is and DO IT!

Now you may not succeed.  My friend Goody had a goal to swim the Catalina channel in California.  He was in the water for 16 hours and eventually it had to be called off.  It was devastating but he took it like the trooper he was.  You know what he had to face this year? Cancer. I can only imagine the fighting spirit he developed in that water and setting a bold goal helped him in his victorious battle.  He also became the first Utahn to swim an ice mile in below freezing water.  So, your victory may come in a different way than you had planned but it will come.

Part of the reason I know all of you can do what you dream of doing is because I face the same doubts and fears.  Every time I swim I face anxiety about whether I’ll be able to finish.  Not just before the race but many times while I’m swimming.  I got to the point in the last GSL swim where I could hardly move my right arm.  The current was killing me and I could do about 20 strokes and I’d be pushed inside.  I had seen a woman give up early in the race and I wondered again and again if it was going to be my outcome.  I guess I decided I wasn’t going to let the lake lick me and it didn’t and that is the real victory!

I have a quote on my bookcase by the divine Nora Ephron that says ‘Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim’.  Stop saying ‘I could never do that’.  Stop it!  Think of things you can do and haven’t tried and do them.  Go for it!

I can think of so many times when this advice has benefited my life.  Because of a demon of a choir teacher, I was petrified of singing in public for years.  I even refused to lead the music on my mission because I had been so humiliated as a teen.  That said- I always knew it was something ‘I wish I could do’ but thought I just wasn’t made for singing.

In 2006 I was so miserable with life that I sought fulfillment in anything and signed up for voice lessons.  My first recital my hands were shaking and my skin was pale, but you know what I got through it and 7 years later it turns out that singing in public is actually something I’m quite good at.  I’m not saying I have the greatest voice in the world but the acting and performing is a strength.  That’s the blessing of doing hard things, of pushing yourself. You find out what you are made of and it constantly surprises you!

Last year I had a goal to introduce someone to open water swimming.  I felt it had done me such good and I wanted to share the favor.  Unfortunately I come in contact with relatively few new people so I didn’t know how I would complete this goal (speaking of impossible goals!) but I had faith and even made it a matter of prayer.  Well, in April of that year I discovered #ldsconf on twitter and made a ton of new friends while watching General Conference. One was a girl from Washington State named Abby.

We still have never met but she read about my prep for the GSL swim and my race last  June and one day she asked me if I thought she could be ready for the race on the Columbia River in September.  “Sure!” was my gleeful reply.  I remind you I had never met this person and yet I felt confident she could do it.  Later I remember asking myself ‘You don’t know this person.  What if she has a terrible experience and then blames you?”

Well, fortunately she swam it and had a wonderful swim with a great time.  Life is usually like that.  We need a little encouragement to do hard things and then we pass that gift on to other people.  We are the heroes of each other or we should be.  That’s the great thing about doing hard things is it inevitably puts you in the path of other dreamers, and your life is so much the richer for those relationships.  When I think of the people I have met through just swimming and singing I am blown away.  The decision to try seems self evident for the friendships alone.

Like the poet says:

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old.
Today might be your last chance to hold tight to the hand of the one you love and show all you feel.
If you are waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
Because if tomorrow never comes, you certainly will regret for the rest of your life
Not having spent some extra time for a smile, a conversation, a hug, a kiss,
Because you were too busy to give that person what ended up being their last wish.
Then hug tight today the one you love, your friends, your family, and whisper in their ears how much you love them and want them close to you.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone so stop saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I could never’ and go and do it!
There. That’s my pep talk.  Eat your heart out Zig Ziglar. Sure love ya!
Also some did not get to see my little bit of fame from the TV the other day.  With the music and everything I was quite the culminating hero to the piece. (part 2).  I hope somebody sees it and says ‘wow. She looks like me.  Maybe I could do…’

GSLOW 2013

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about how I was taking a slower approach to training this year compared to last year.  I had been feeling pretty good with my decision and my pain levels have decreased considerably but I still wanted to participate in the Great Salt Lake Open Water Swim like I did last year.

Open water swimming is such a big part of both my physical and social life that the idea (even suggested by my doctor) was too painful.  I talked to Gordon and Josh about and they agreed I could take it slow and there wouldn’t be a strict time limit.  (some races have an hour and I knew unless the water was perfect that would be tough).

I was really hoping to get more training in before the race, at least in the pool but between my treatments and new job I could barely make it to the gym let alone the pool and/or open water. I was being trained this week so I couldn’t make the clinic or other swims at GSL either so I was going to the swim fairly green and untrained.  (Oddly enough I wasn’t that nervous maybe partly because I’ve done it once before and I hadn’t built it up in my mind (see my post When Goals Make You Nuts before last years race!)).  In fact, yesterday it hardly even felt like a pre-race day at all.  (I did get nerves but nothing like before.

Anyway, this morning came and I brought cupcakes to the race and headed out to the lake.  This year was a little different because most of my friends from Utah Open Water either weren’t participating or were doing the 8 miler which started and ended at different times than my race.  I missed seeing the familiar faces but grateful to see some of my dear friends.  My friend Etsuko was first to catch my eye and she was positive and happy like usual (although I knew she felt as unprepared and as nervous as me!).

Looking confident before the race
Looking confident before the race
Etsuko sporting the new SLOW swimsuits and a smile
Etsuko sporting the new SLOW swimsuits and a smile

This year the race started in a different way.  Instead of going down the marina to the start buoys we had to climb over rocks and swim out to the start.  Jim said he thought it was really a mile and a 1/4 but Gordon said he measured and was sure so I trust him.  It felt longer maybe because of more of a swim to get the start line?  It wasn’t my favorite way to start the race especially when the opening whistle didn’t wait for  Etsuko and I to get there. Oh well!

Off we went and I felt pretty good at first.  In fact, a woman swimming with Etsuko and I cancelled her swim about 15 minutes in because the salty water was too much for her.  It is an experience.   (Listen/read the account made of the lake, water and race on NPR’s All Things Considered here)

I got more water in my nose and mouth than I would have liked and that is a huge detriment at the GSL.  People think it is the same as the ocean.  It is NOTHING like the ocean.  I think they say it is 5 times saltier than the ocean and it feels.  My friend Kate calls it ‘going for a quick pickle’. Your whole body reacts and let’s just say that after being in it for an hour and a half every tender part of my body feels tender still! Thank goodness I have found great goggles although I needed to put more anti-fog because I could not see the finish line at all.

One of my problems with the race was I kept veering to the right and wasting energy and as I would try to go to the left it didn’t seem to help much.  Finally I resorted to long stretches of breaststroke and I’m not great breastroker.  (Will need to work on that for future races).  It was the only way I felt I could see my targets.  The current was giving me tons of grief.  (the current in the GSL can be as strong as an ocean and it was powerful today!).

I say this every time I swim but it is true- part of the thrill of racing or open water swimming is that I don’t think I can do it.  Not before the race; although that is true.  I’m talking in the race I felt like I couldn’t do it a hundred times.  Today was especially rough because I was so far behind everyone (my lack of training did show but I was proud of myself) and I couldn’t see anything to sight- partly because of my goggles but also there just wasn’t a ton to look at and the finish line is always such a mirage.

Strange thing this year is it was so shallow I walked a large section of the end.  It was so shallow I couldn’t even breaststroke it home.  That’s why the video looks a little strange.

A neat thing this year is Talkin Sports crew at KUTV 2 entered a reporter in the race and is doing a 2 day piece today and tomorrow.  I’m not sure why but they picked me to interview when I finished (maybe I was last or maybe I was crying because I really didn’t think I was going to make it.  When I saw Etsuko at the finish line I lost it!).  Anyway, he interviewed me and I’m excited to see it air tomorrow at 10:30 (it is a 2 part bit with my part airing tomorrow).

This video is kind of long so feel free to zoom it up to about 2:20.  The interview is on there and my emotional finish.  (I will post a link to the published interview once it airs if they post it on the website)

After the race Etsuko, her lovely family and I went to my place showered and had a quick and tasty lunch of hotdogs, potato salad, watermelon and cupcakes.

Here are some more photos of the day.

Etsuko and I at finish line!
Etsuko and I at finish line!
Now that is goggle eyes!
Now that is goggle eyes!
Proud finisher
Proud finisher
Being interviewed
Being interviewed
Tasty post-race lunch
Tasty post-race lunch with Etsuko’s family
All of my medals (center one that says GSLOW in black that is this years)
All of my medals (center one that says GSLOW in black that is this years)

It was very meaningful to me and the fact that I finished with such simple training gives me more confidence than ever before.  I knew just me, alone can do it!  I don’t need some big regiment to finish (although it would have helped not going to lie).  I think my performance will only go up from here because of the mental boost this swim has given me.  GO SLOW!