Monday, December 21, 2009

A new endurance sport

There I was minding my own business on a Saturday morning, when I looked out my window and saw this:


That’s a lot of snow, especially for a Californian. Since this is my first East Coast winter, and I’m still quite excited about the idea of snow, I thought it would be a stellar idea to commence the day with shoveling. I’ve been told that it’s best if you keep up on the snow clearing instead of waiting for it to grow into an insurmountable task.


I found the shovel and began to attack the driveway with all the vigor and vim I could muster. I was delighted to find that even though I couldn’t make it to the gym, I was still going to get an amazing full body workout.IMG_0644

Brandie joined me. We worked and worked and worked.


Then a voice came from the window. The voice indicated that we could keep shoveling if we were having fun, but there was a snow blower that the voice would be using later.

Since I’m a succor for endurance activities that challenge my physical capacities, I responded that I was having fun and continued to shovel. Brandie’s enthusiasm waned (she has a lot more snow shoveling experiences on her resume being from Utah and all). Mine eventually waned, too.

Sunday morning there was rumor that the snow blower needed some repair. Brandie, Dantzel, and I suited back up for our snow shoveling task and began working away. The voice came again, oh the High Priest Group Leader would be coming over to help repair the snow blower. With hopeful, but doubtful hearts we dug for a bit longer and then went in for hot chocolate and lunch.

Said HPGL came over, but was unable to fix said snow blower. Brandie and I headed out again as the sun began to set to tackle the driveway. Our hope was that we could clear the snow before it iced.

The voice came again. No one has to go to work tomorrow. We’ll all work on it in the morning. The driveway will get icy if we shovel it now.

It’s morning. No one is shoveling. There is ice in the driveway. I don’t have to go anywhere until Thursday morning. Perhaps the snow blower will get fixed before then. Hmm. My back muscles have that energized feeling after a grueling, yet satisfying workout. I’m content blogging, baking, and playing scrabble.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A picture's worth a thousand words (Part II)

Once again, I took my camera, but I forgot to take pictures of…

  • The Squirrel Proof Feeder – Aunt Carmela has in ingenious contraption for feeding birds, but not squirrels.
  • The FEAST – Aunt Carmela spoiled us with turkey, dressing, yams, THE BEST BEETS EVER, dinner rolls, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, cream cheese pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie… You get the idea. DELICIOUS!
  • The Performance – James and I performed Deck the Plate with Lots of Turkey and Count Your Many Blessings for Aunt Carmela and George Ann.
  • The Scrabble Game -  All will be glad to know that James is competitive in Scrabble, but has not yet beat me.
  • The Philly Cheese Steaks – James had his first authentic Philly cheese steak this weekend @ the West Chester Diner.
  • The Christmas Lights – The trees along the drive home were spectacular with their trunks wrapped in vibrant LED lights.

However, I am improving and did take pictures of…

  • the Thanksgiving feasters,


  • the old house we found on our walk,


  • and the vegetation at Longwood Gardens.

 IMG_0539IMG_0548IMG_0553IMG_0555IMG_0547         IMG_0549 IMG_0552IMG_0551

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The worth of soles – or why I’m not buying new shoes

I used to buy a lot of shoes. I’m not a shoe collector, like some girls. I just go through them quickly. I’ve been pondering my shoe situation lately, and I keep thinking, I’m going to go get some new shoes. But I haven’t bought a single pair since I’ve moved to VA. I’m reluctant to.

A Sunday evening conversation

J: I like your shoes.

me: Thanks, they could use a good shine.

J: Mine, too… If you look closely.

me: But yours are not nearly as scuffed as mine.

J nods in agreement

me: I’m really hard on my shoes. Not sure why. Hmm.

The theme of old shoes has surfaced quite a bit in my readings lately. First Elder Holland advised: “Smile at an old pair of shoes,” and then he proceeded to quote Henry David Thoreau:

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only dispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. [Walden (1854), 1, “Economy”]

A Monday night text conversation (paraphrased since my phone scolds me if I save too many messages)

me: …Hope you’re enjoying the rain.

J: I’m eating chocolates and working on a group project. It’s raining?!?

me: I’m leaping through the parking lot at Giant with Dantzel. You need to at least find a window if you can’t get outside to jump in a few puddles.

J: I just walked home from the metro.

me: Did you find any puddles to jump in?

J: not in my dress shoes! Otherwise I would have.

me: Ha! Now you know why my dress shoes are so scuffed.

President Monson shared a story about President Kimball and his shoes:

One day I was sitting in the temple near President Kimball. As I looked down, I noticed that he had a large hole in his shoe. And I mean large! His stocking showed through. After the meeting I said to Arthur Haycock, President Kimball’s secretary, “Arthur, you can’t let the President wear those shoes.”

Arthur responded, “Has he got that pair out again? He has many pairs of shoes, and I frequently hide that pair, but he searches and finds that particular pair most of the time.”

President Kimball was known for his statement showing his humility: “My life is like my shoes—to be worn out in service.”

If the prophet can wear shoes with holes, I can wear scuffed and worn shoes, too! I’d like to be like President Kimball and wear out my life and shoes in service, but I better start taking better care of my body and my shoes so they last long enough to be of worth! Perhaps I shouldn’t be jumping in puddles in my dress shoes anymore.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Enveloped in art

Today I was making a list of things I want to experience in DC. Of course exploring art galleries was firmly added to my list.

Then I started thinking about my relationship with art and how it has shaped my life. I know, waxing a bit profound for someone staying home with a cold on a rainy fall day.

The first art exhibit that spoke to my soul and moved me debuted at the Hammer Museum in 2004: Lee Bontecou: A Retrospective.

Her goal in creating her sculptures was to incorporate “as much of life as possible—no barriers—no boundaries—all freedom in every sense."

Her sculptures were created from cold, rough canvas, welded iron, and black paint. The canvas was salvaged from industrial laundry conveyer belts. She manages to transform these materials into organic forms that express a “glimpse… of the fear, hope, ugliness, beauty, and mystery that exists in all of us and which hangs over all the young people today.” What I love is the beauty in the shapes and curves, contrasting with the depths of the black circles that almost swallow you alive.

Untitled 1959

Her work reminds me of a line from Modest Mouse:

So much beauty in dirt.

So much beauty it could make you cry.

That’s life for me: taking the dirt, the canvas, the iron and shaping it into something beautiful and meaningful that encapsulates the process of becoming.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's all in the eye of the beholder

So there I was minding my own business, running to the post office before it closes on a Monday evening to send off my application for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. It was supposed to be post marked no later than November 1st, but I hadn’t decided to apply until October 28th and it required a Bishop’s interview. Eek! So, at my boyfriend’s suggestion, I decided to send it priority mail.

Here’s the conversation that transpired at the end of the transaction that makes me shake my head (and yes, I’m in VA where when you go to the post office you have a LONG conversation about what you’re mailing):

(Click on the comic strip to make it larger)

Silly things Jocelyn says

As I walk out the door I hear him reiterating “Running totally counts.”

I guess I feel like I don’t work out anymore since I’m not following a training plan, I don’t lift weights, and I haven’t been to a gym for months. However, when you consider I rode 42 miles this weekend and jogged 15 miles last week, I guess that most people would say that I work out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What to wear?

As a kid my dad taught me about the weather. I’d ask what’s the weather going to be like today. He would respond, about like yesterday. He was usually right. That method worked beautifully in California.

So, now here I am in Virginia. I think to myself: What’s the weather going to be like today. Well, about like yesterday. So I put on my sketchers (sans socks), grab a sweater, and run out the door. No, it is not about like yesterday. It’s COLD. By the end of the day, I couldn’t feel my numb little toes. Suzanne, my office mate, recommended I wear socks the rest of the year. She even offered to provide dressing advice via text if I so desired. Suzanne will let me know when it’s no longer sock weather, she assured me.

So today, I think to myself: What’s the weather going to be like today. Well, about like yesterday. I was mighty cold yesterday. I better wear my scarf. Suzanne comes into work. Looks at my desk where I have my scarf neatly folded. Is that a scarf? It is NOT scarf weather  yet. Socks, yes. Scarf, no. She was right, the scarf was a bit too much.

Maybe I need to take up her offer and start texting her my wardrobe conundrums before I leave the house.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

She flies through the air with the greatest of ease…

So there I was minding my own business, going for a jog with my roommate and neighbor, when all of a sudden everything shifted to slow motion mode.

I saw my foot strike a root. I felt my body fly through the air. I thought Wow I’m flying through the air for a long time. I’m really not looking forward to landing. This isn’t going to feel very good. Sure enough I eventually landed, but now I was sliding. Still sliding. I wonder when I’m going to stop sliding. What will be my course of action once I stop sliding. Am I still really sliding? When I stop I’m going to jump and keep going. I’ve got my plan. Now I just need to stop sliding. Eventually I stopped sliding.

I’m not sure when slow motion mode ended. I may have laid on the ground for an eternity or just moments before I decided that I better get up and start running again.

My friends offered to cut the run short, but how lame would that have been. My knees still would have stung at home AND I would have been sad that I missed a beautiful run around the lake. Talk about double whammy.

Even though, I like to include pictures on posts, there are no pictures today because no one likes to look at scabs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some people like to make life a little tougher than it is

The lyrics to a favorite Cake song keep running through my head

Some people* like to make life
A little tougher than it is

So, Monday I realized that I could move. I thought about it and decided Monday afternoon to put the ball in motion. Amazingly, everything fell into place quite nicely in less than 24 hours. Now I have just over a week to move. It’s a good thing I hadn’t finished unpacking.

Everyone keeps asking me why, and I don’t really have a good answer. There are pros and cons. It just felt right and it goes along with my recurring theme of making life a littler tougher than it is.

I’ll be living with a friend from my ward in a basement apartment close to work. The place is beautiful and has a great yard. I’ll post pics once I’m moved in.

*some people=Jocelyn

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

You’re looking for me?

Last Sunday, towards the end of Relief Society, a member of the bishopric came into the room. The RS president asked if he had anything he wanted to share and he indicated, No he was just looking for someone. Knowing that I have a calling and am new to the ward, I was certain it wasn’t me. I packed up my things and prepared to slip out the back door, when he comes up to me and asks if I have a minute. It takes me a moment to process and realize: he was looking for ME. I jokingly tell him, you know I already have a calling, you’re probably really looking for someone else. He laughed and stated Oh you have no idea, do you. So, he asked me to speak in sacrament meeting today.

At my sister’s request, I’m sharing my talk here as a Google Document. Well, what I would have liked to have said if I had been able to use more time. Unfortunately I had to do some editing at the pulpit to allow the second speaker some time.

Thank you to everyone who sent me their thoughts, prayers, calls, and texts. I could feel your love and encouragement.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lions, and tigers, and bears?

Well at least that was the hope. Dantzel and I headed to the National Zoo RIGHT after work in attempts to take in some zoological beauty. Since the zoo didn’t close until 6pm, we thought arriving by 4pm would allot enough time for some wild animals. However, most of the four legged creatures were already taken off exhibit for the evening.

We enjoyed the walk and were quite entertained by the elephants, pandas (which we eventually found in their indoor enclosure), and meerkats.


elephant trunk

water plants 1
water plants 2

Stories my officemate may tell

Order and Structure were Just Beginning to Emerge

Ken Fandell
color photograph / archival ink on paper
13” x 19”






So apparently my officemate is convinced I have OCD. Here are a few samplings of things she’s said (in love and jest) since we’ve met.

Oh, Jocelyn, you want things to look so nice and they’re just not.

I’ve been in this office for 4 years and never noticed the cabinets leaned.

I was telling my roommate about you: what did I say? Oh, you are so planned ahead. You have the next 3 weekends planned already.

Your books are stacked by subject!

Despite my compulsions for order and beauty embodied in a world free of clutter, my officemate and I get along quite well. Her cheerful grin and calming advice keep the tone light and uplifting while we chip away at the daily tasks of documentation, scheduling, and honoring IEPs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A new look

Ever since I moved to VA, my blog has felt dated and stale. So I gave it a makeover this week. Say goodbye to flowers and cutesy

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and hello elegant via blogmundi and bloggerbuster.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

People will forget…

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.
-Maya Angelou

This evening I found myself completely enthralled while soaking in Ken Fandell’s explorations about the process of creating his art and defining significance. My brain was making a gazillion connections about my life and the processes that I’ve contemplated and studied.

The bag, calendar, and notepad that were sadly left at homeI went to grab my trusty notebook to jot down the thoughts that jumbled around in my mind, only to remember that I had decided to “pack light” and left the house with just my phone, wallet and keys. How could I go to an artists talk at a gallery without my trusty recorders: notepad, pen, and camera?

The concepts of his art touched my soul and invigorated my mind. He talked about ideas of communication and context. He spoke about finding significance in the mundane. I felt connected to humanity as he spoke and I left the lecture completely electrified.

Here is a piece entitled Evermore inspired by the photographs from the Hubble telescope.


This was one of my favorites that he showed during the lecture. It deals with the concept of narcissism and infinity. He compared his sending a picture of himself to a friend with what would happen if the Hubble telescope just took pictures of itself.  While there is a place for introspection, we need to step out of our personal criticism and self centered view in order to focus on the magnitude and beauty that can be found outside ourselves.

The next piece is the video he used to open the lecture. Originally he titled it It’s Hard, but after a friend pointed out that he should have been using a toothpick, it was renamed It’s Hard and I Could Use Some Help.

Its Hard and I Could Use Some Help 

I loved his description of the thoughts behind this piece and the transformation of meaning based on context. I wish that I could remember everything he said, but I’m just left with the emotions I felt while listening to him speak about the processes he’s exploring.

I love the idea of process. We are all going through our own processes to become who we are and who we will be.

Kudos to my friend Kaysha Gurell for her great post on DCist, to the Hamiltonian Gallery for hosting an enriching evening, and to Dantzel for humoring my need for art on a Wednesday night in DC.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lions and tigers and ambiguous language: oh my!

I changed my blog tag line to:

Stories from a Californian who finds herself loving life in Virginia while attempting to mind her own business, a surprisingly difficult task.

The speech language pathologist in me is concerned about ambiguous language. Is it clear that the task that is difficult is minding my own business rather than loving life in Virginia? Loving life in VA comes easily. Minding my own business has become a bit more daunting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beware of Pride or Silly things I say

Small talk 101: don’t point out issues of pride to people you don’t know.

So there I was, minding my own business, talking with a new friend at FHE when a young man comes up and starts chatting with us. Of course he asks the typical questions about how long we’ve been in the ward and where we moved from. Yada, yada, yada. The same conversation I’ve had a gazillion times.

Then, said young man, makes a disparaging comment about people in southern California. I’ve also heard this a gazillion times, too. He eludes to Californians’ tendency to be caught up in fashion and entertainment.

Instead of just rolling with the small talk, what do I do? (you ask in rabid anticipation.) I tactfully (insert rolled eyes here) explain, “Oh, well in DC people are self-satisfied with their intellectual thoughts and politics while in CA people focus on how they artfully present themselves and their taste in entertainment as a way of measuring their importance. It’s just a different kind of pride and haughtiness. I’m very good at identifying pride: it’s one of my skills.”

Who says that kind of thing? *shakes head as she identifies her own pride in her ability to spot pride*  Sheesh!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Minding my own business doesn’t cut it here in VA

So, now that I live in a world of politics and current events, minding my own business apparently isn’t enough anymore. I’m expected to have opinions about health care policies and economic reform. After the small talk about the weather, the conversation often turns to politics. Eek! Somehow, I’ve managed to evade learning about such matters and often feel overwhelmed when I try to step into the world of political and economic education.

So here’s my question: how do you digest news? Where do you turn for your savory bites of current events and politics?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Your problems lie in your curls


♫ Take all your problems And rip 'em apart,
Carry them off in a shopping cart,
And another thing you should've known from the start,
The problems in hand are lighter than at heart,
Be like the squirrel girl, be like the squirrel,
Give it a whirl girl, be like the squirrel,
And another thing you have to know in this world,
Cut up your hair, straighten your curls,
Well, your problems hide in your curls. ♫

-White Stripes Little Acorns from the album Elephant

Through the last few years, I’ve tried to live this song to its fullest by breaking problems into bite size parts, oh, and of course straightening my curls thanks to my flat iron. However, the humidity here in VA has thwarted my attempts and I have to deal with a whole new set of problems that I’m sure hide in my curls.

DC 025

Friday, August 21, 2009

Someday I’ll figure out the metro or Take me out to the ball game

This afternoon I told my mom my Friday night plans of meeting up with some friends and heading to the Nationals game. She expressed some concerns about navigating and actually connecting with each other. I should have listened. (You’d think I’d learn to listen to my mom by now. She’s usually always right)

Arianne and I successfully met on the Braddock Metro platform, but our trip eventually turned into a comedy of errors as we got on one wrong train after another. 45 minutes after the game started, we successfully met up with the rest of our party. Rick was so surprised that a group of five girls would show up late. It really was out of character.

I think Rick and Steve were sad they invited us, as once we arrived, the Nationals didn’t perform as well (their 2-2 score diminished to a 3-7 loss by the end). Rick even blamed me for the weather.   ; )

Since no one expected a victory, all woes of tardiness and bad mojo were forgotten once the fireworks started. I’m always a succor for fireworks, especially when they’re augmented by lightning. Pretty spectacular, if you ask me.

After a cab ride to VA that involved an interesting $8 surcharge for the size of our group, the ladies stopped at 7/11 to finish the night with a classic Slurpee. Yum!

Pictured (left to right):

Rick, me, Arianne, Steve, Julie, Amy, & Jenny


Tweet, tweet:

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And since this is a Fieldtrip From Franconia post, here’s some historical information about the Nationals:

  • The Nationals play in the first major stadium to meet (and exceed) the requirements for an accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Structure.
  • The architect for the stadium used the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art for inspiration in the look.
  • The field is 24 feet below street level and the main concourse is level with the sidewalk, which means you don’t have to climb a bunch of stairs to get to your seats.
  • The Nationals aren’t known for winning. They currently have 43 wins and 79 losses this season.

Fun facts brought to you by Nationals Park Facts

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It’s just a different pace

Another sign that I’m not in California anymore:

IMG_0365 IMG_0361   

You have to drive SLOWLY on the freeways here (so slowly, that you have time to take pictures while you drive? *raises eyebrow*)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This is the house that Spite built


523 Queen Street

While poking around Old Town Alexandria on Saturday, Christina, Lindsey and I stopped at the Spite House on Queen Street. It was built in 1830 by John Hollensbury to prevent horse-drawn wagons from speeding through the alley. In fact, the internal walls of the 325 square foot home include grooves from the wagon-wheel hubs of offending speedsters.

The New York Times did an article and slide show about this home that includes pictures of the inside. It’s quite impressive how well they used the space.

IMG_0370 Lindsey at the Spite House






Monday, August 10, 2009

A picture says a thousand words

My brother says maybe 10, but he’s an amazing navigator. We made it to VA without any wrong turns.IMG_0273

Brent and I aren’t great conversationalists when it’s just the two of us. Fortunately we had Harry Potter on audio CD to keep us going for our drive from UT to DC.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away." - Eudora Weity

On my trip I was able to have happy reunions with friends from days that have passed. However, I forgot to take pictures of these dear people!

Gretel, my sophomore roommate, and I went to lunch at the Creamery on Ninth, and I forgot to take a picture.

I met up with Nicole, an apartment mate from my freshman year at BYU, for dinner at the Brick Oven Pizza, and I forgot to  take a picture.

Carrie and Jim, my amazing home/visiting teachers from Redlands, had me over for dinner, and I forgot to take a picture

Keith, a friend from my ward as a kid, and I went to lunch in Salt Lake City, and I forgot to take a picture.

I stayed with Christine, a friend from high school, and I FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE.

And did I take pictures of my cousins and their families? Nope. I guess I was too busy enjoying the moment.

You may ask, what did I take pictures of, then. Well, what anyone would: the posters in the Primary Resource Room in Salt Lake about using visual supports and making accommodations for children with disabilities:

Here are the friends that I did photograph (See I’m not a lost cause, I just have LOTS of room for improvement):

Mikey and Melissa Me, Mikey, and Melissa at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, UT

Aaron in Logan

Aaron and me in Logan, Ut

Grandpa and Grandma

My grandparents in Provo, UT - I think I have Grandpa’s grin

The Smiths

Sarah, Danny, Dan, Kaelah, and me in Colorado

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm on a hunt...


So, my bathroom walls are this color..


behr-colorsmart-29 towels

and my towels are this color.


I need some artwork to put over the toilet that ties together my natural color palate of my room(browns, olive green, etc) and the blue of the bathroom walls. After that I’ll be hunting for some rugs and a shower curtain to coordinate. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Not in Cali anymore…An encounter with a shopping cart

While site seeing in Baltimore, we were chased by a lady and her shopping cart. Apparently this lady frequents the area and has a tendency to get a bit belligerent. I didn’t take a picture of her because I was a bit frightened, to tell you the truth. In fact, we crossed the street and hid in a shop to evade her.

Eek! I’ve never been chased by a woman with a shopping cart before.