Monday, September 26, 2011

Shakespeare Said it Best

In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Juliet laments about the fact that the love of her life is despised by her family merely because of his surname. She says, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

So if this is the case and a name doesn't really change anything, then why would I change the name of my blog? To put it simply, I had to. Some outside entity actually sat me down at my computer with a gun to my head and forced me to change the name.

Actually... I decided that my life isn't really all that normal. It's actually superb, amazing, and extraordinarily exciting. In short, it's perfect. No matter what happens in my life, I know that is exactly how it is supposed to happen and therefore it is perfect.

So goodbye Una Vida Normal. My Life=Perfect is here to stay! Same blog - new outlook on life. Get ready for some amazing new posts!

Harry Potter is Real Life

Not a lot of people can find many parallels between their life and that of Harry Potter, but I like to stretch myself and see how far I can push it. So here is my own personal set of Harry Potter characters and my life at BYU-Idaho. Both Harry and I have moved on, but the characters remain the same.

Of course I'm Harry. I'm not the brave and ofttimes emotional Harry that you see in the books, but I'm the main character of my blog and therefore the main character of the Harry Potter series.

Rick Lee Roper is my Ron Weasley. He is my best friend and we have A LOT of adventures together. He is loyal and his family is always so nice to me. For sure a Weasley family.

Julie Larson is my Hermione Granger. She is very brave (hence the Gryffindor) and a true friend. Hopefully she will end up marrying my best friend and then we'll be related in some way.

Caitlin Hendrickson is my Ginny Weasley (duh). She is beautiful and bold. She goes after what she wants yet is reserved in her own special way.

Ben Burke is my Neville Longbottom. He didn't really become anyones favorite until the end of the series - and he didn't really become a good friend of mine until the end of my college career. But I for sure couldn't have defeated Voldemort without him.

Stuart Spieth is my Hedwig. This may seem really strange, but Hedwig is Harry's oldest friend and she is the only one that goes home with Harry. Stu and I have been friends since elementary school, and calls Estacada home, just as I do.

Anna Baird is my Luna Lovegood. A really smart girl that definitely lets her blonde shine through. I for sure like to make fun of her for her ditzyness.

My Quidditch Team
These girls and guys are my teammates. Emma is Alicia Spinnet, Valerie is Angelina Johnson, and Kami is Katie Bell. In the books the quidditch team is a lot closer than in the movies. So I'm basing these characters off of the books. My team is like family.
And of course, the quidditch team would not be complete without Fred and George Weasley. Shawn is Fred and Bryce is George. Shawn had to be Fred because he transfered schools and Fred transfers as well... sort of. :)

Dave Borchardt is my Dean Thomas. Larger character in the book than the movies - but a very loyal friend, but not as in the main story as others.

Hopefully Kira does not get mad, but she is Seamus Finnigan. Again, a minor character in the movie that has a larger part in the book. True friend to Harry and a true friend to me.

And finally, Kati Miner and Sam Bryant are Parvarti Patil and Lavender Brown. Inseparable girls who I could really see loving divination and Professor Trelawney.
Clearly Harry Potter has changed my life. But so have all of my friends from BYU-Idaho. So it is only natural to attempt to combine the two.

Anxiously Engaged

Yes, I am engaged to be married. The wedding is set for February 3, 2012. Am I excited? Duh. I hope you wouldn't ask such a strange question. However, I'm not as detailed as my bride to be, so I will be copying and pasting her words in regards to the proposal:

"He took me out near the Snake River in Rexburg Idaho and had it all planned out, but I was clueless since we were just going to do something he had planned a couple weeks ago on a date but we ran out of time. He had gotten 2 pillowcases for us to draw a story on, but the rule was that he and I were the main characters, it could be any story, something that has happened or something that hasn’t and that we were drawing it for each other. Then after we were done we would show each other. Once we got to his designated spot he pulled out 2 camp chairs and set them up back to back. We took out the markers and got to work. He finished way before me so I felt bad because I was taking my time to make sure it looked half way decent since I’m definitely not an artist. I finally finished and he said I had to present mine first. So he patted down the bushes around us to make a somewhat stage for us to stand on. So I presented mine. I did a collage of previous dates we had been on and us in a hot air balloon in the middle just for fun. I also wrote on top “the best is yet to come…” Then it was his turn. He went on the “stage” and showed me his and he did the same thing! It was set up a little differently, but he put symbols of dates we had been on and memories we have. Then he said “But mine has a back side to it…” He flipped it over and he had drawn stick figures of him proposing to me! I was kind of caught off guard by this and he says I took a step back and then started to cry, happy tears of course though. He then knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him! And I said yes! Then I ran and gave him a hug before he even had a chance to put the ring on me, but apparently as I gave him a hug the ring went flying into the bushes. I had no clue that this happened so after I gave him a hug he said that we needed to go find the ring because it flew in the bushes. So we got down and started searching for it. It wasn’t too hard to find but I thought it was perfect; every engagement has to have a story like that."

Basically she is perfect. I am beyond excited to spend the rest of my life (and eternity) with her. She makes me want to be a better person and each day I am grateful that she is in it. We are getting married in the San Diego temple. February cannot come soon enough!

This was our first date in November 2008

The Thursday before I proposed. We were in the Verizon store right next to the ring store where I'd purchased the ring earlier that day. :)

Post Graduation Employment

Since graduating from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Communication, I have yet to work in anything related to my degree. In fact, I have been working on a farm instead. This is not my favorite type of work, but it has been such a blessing. It has given me money to help pay the bills. It keeps me close to Rexburg (or in other words: Caitlin). It gives me a unique experience that I can blog about. And it makes my dad really happy that I now know how to drive a tractor.

The main work I've been doing has been injecting manure into fields. That's right. I work with poop all day everyday. It makes bathing that much better and it gives me an excuse to listen to audiobooks. I've already finished The Things They Carried, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, all sessions of General Conference, and half of Moby Dick. I just downloaded El Libro De Mormon too, so now I'll get to practicar mi espanol. To me, this is a pretty nice perk of the job.
Every once in a while I'll get to do some other random things. This past week I painted all day long. I took a before picture - but when I was covered in white paint and could barely see my own skin pigment (I literally felt like Michael Jackson) I forgot to take an after picture. Oh well. Here's to many more adventures post-graduation! Hopefully I'll find a communication job in the near future.

Kimberly FHE

A few weeks ago Julie, Rick, and I attended an FHE in Kimberly, Idaho. It was a lot of fun (sort of). We went on a mini hike and enjoyed a small waterfall. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.
Here is the whole gang after the "hike"
Naturally Rick had to hike to the tallest point and wave his arms around like a maniac.

Julie Ann Larson. This was the highest point she climbed.

Julie and I on our way back down.

Posing in front of the HUGE waterfall. I'm glad the hike only lasted about 5 minutes, otherwise I would've been disappointed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Great Life

I may have just spent the last hour or so looking at pictures of myself on Facebook. No this is not something I normally do, but I LOVED spending time with my memories via Facebook.

How did I ever get so lucky? I really can't describe how wonderful my life has been. BYU-Idaho has changed me in so many ways. I had the BEST roommates, wonderful FHE sisters, and I met my beautiful and amazing future wife. I was able to take classes that prepared me for my future, classes that were stressful, classes that were stress relievers, and classes that introduced me to new concepts that have changed the way I perceive life.

I know that I no longer attend BYU-Idaho and I have graduated and moved on, but BYU-I will always be a part of who I am. Luckily I can be reminded every day about how great BYU-I is via this video. Yes, that stunningly gorgeous girl at the beginning of the video is my fiance. It gives me an excuse to watch it over and over again. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The End of a Journey

First off... hit play on this video so you can get a feeling of how this post will go. No need to watch it, just let it play as you read.

I've been really slacking at posting all about our road trip so I figured I would just finish them all off and then catch up on the rest of my ultra exciting life. So here goes!

We went to Delaware! I know it seems a little nerdy, but I was so excited to pass through a corner of this tiny state. For some reason I've always loved Delaware. Maybe it's because it was the first state, or maybe it's because it looks like a mini Idaho. It doesn't really matter why, but I am so obsessed with one day living in (or maybe vacationing to) Delaware. I'm so glad we were able to drive through it. We went to Virginia (hence the reason we passed through Delaware) and we went to stay at my cousins house. It was so much fun being able to catch up with her and her husband. It has been up to 8 years since I last saw them so it was a lot of fun hanging out there. We went to the fair with their family and had a great time going on rides and enjoying fair food with the kids.

After we left their house we went to our friends house in another part of Virginia (more western) and hung out with Ms. Colleen Johnson for the next few days. We were able to go see the monuments and the temple and a few museums. Basically it was a blast. Here are a few photos from DC:

The Washington Monument
The Washington DC Temple
Me, Colleen, Emily, and Ben at the metro station
The US Capitol
We were able to have a tour of the Capitol that Colleen arranged for us. The guy who gave us a tour is LDS and he was interning on Capitol Hill. He knew sooo much information about the building - even where the tiles came from in each room. His plethora of knowledge made us curious about other historical sites in the DC area, so when we went to the Library of Congress, we snuck into another tour group to get all the details on the rooms.
Emily and Colleen with the Virginia statue
So patriotic in the nations capitol. :)
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Playing around in an open amphitheater in Arlington Cemetery
Colleen and Ben in the amphitheater
This is the Library of Congress. SO HUGE and SO BEAUTIFUL

After a few days in DC we were off to our next adventure in North Carolina. Ben and I split up during this leg of our journey *tear* but we were able to survive without one another for the week we were in NC.
I went to Asheville, North Carolina to visit my best friend Lacy Duncan. She is getting married to her fiance Jay (super great guy, I approve) so her mom flew out at the same time I was there and we were able to help her plan her wedding. We went dress shopping, saw the band play that would be at their wedding, went to a baseball game, ate some amazing food, and visited the Biltmore Mansion. Lacy and Jay sure know how to be tour guides and show their guests a good time. Although I would never want to live in North Carolina, this was the best part of the trip. It was so great to be with old friends/family and enjoy a week relaxing in the south.

Jay, Lacy, Linda and me at the baseball game
The inside of the Biltmore Mansion (where Richie Rich was filmed)
Us outside the mansion. Literally the biggest house I've ever seen in my life. 250 rooms on 8,000 acres. Let me know if you've seen something bigger.

After our week of separation we had to reunite to finish our trip and the next stop was Nashville, Tennessee. My friend Preston Johnson lives there so we hit him up for a good time. We went to some music joints to see live music in Nashville. We went to the Parthenon - which is strange because you wouldn't think there would be a life size replica of this Greek architecture in Tennessee. But it was HUGE and added a little Grecian culture to our trip. We also visited the largest hotel I've ever seen (strange how we visit a lot of big things on our trip). You may want to check this out if you ever go to Nashville. It would be worth it to stay for a night. Nashville is for sure one of my new favorite places. I would love to go on vacation there again.
The Parthenon

Preston, me, and Ben

After Nashville we started our long trek home. Our next stop would be Kansas, then Wyoming, then Idaho. Here are a few of the last things we saw:

St. Louis, Missouri: Gateway to the West!
And of course, Waffle House. We had to stop here on the last day of our journey. Ben is completely obsessed so of course I was dying to go. Jim Gaffigan explains it perfectly. I absolutely loved it!

Well that is it for the Road Trip of the Century! (or whatever it is that we're calling it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Completing New York

A trip to New York City would not be complete without the following:

A trip to the top of the Empire State Building. The view is amazing, and you can't fully comprehend how many skyscrapers there are until you see them from above. It's breathtaking.

A chance meeting with a former FHE sister. Yes, Alexis Cannariato just happened to be in the ward we decided to attend while visiting Manhattan. You know what they say, FHE family is forever.

A trip to Central Park. My favorite part of the city was of course the humongous park smack dab in the middle. It is crazy weird how the park engulfs you and you forget that there is a booming metropolis on all sides. We for sure spent hours walking through the park on Sunday.

A trip to see the Statue of Liberty. We didn't get off the boat, but we took a Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan to see the statue. It's pretty cool. Next time I want to go inside. But for my first time, simply seeing it was enough.

Oh yeah - a few other things that complete a trip to New York City:
  • Seeing a dead rat floating in the Hudson River
  • Riding the Subway (and actually understanding how it works)
  • Visiting Ground Zero
  • Eating every meal from street vendors
  • Making fun of people from New Jersey
  • Having rain and wind so hard that your umbrella turns inside out
  • Not being able to cram everything into the 3 days you're there

Monday, September 5, 2011

Los Museos de Nuevo York

While in New York City we got a CityPass, which basically gives you tickets to all sorts of cool things at a discount rate. With our CityPass we were able to visit 3 museums. The Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim.

I felt like I was in Ferris Bueller's Day Off when they spend
part of the day in an art museum. I don't know how much I appreciate all types of art and by the end of the Museum of Modern Art we were done looking at weirdo modern art. But we continued to visit the other museums, and we found that there were quite a few things we enjoyed. Below is a sampling of some of our favorites.

This is at the Museum of Modern Art - basically trash art. I was all sorts of confused until Ben noticed that it was from the set of Waiting for Godot, which may be one of the most strange plays I have ever seen.
We also posed with some of the more interesting pieces in the museum. We found this hay art. 48 bales of hay wrapped in a gold wire. Can't really see the wire until you get up close, but it really gives the hay an artistic feel. Ha! Yeah right. That was ridiculous.
Here I am posing like the OK man in all these photos. He literally carried an O around with him and would take pictures posing as a K. Modern art. Who really understands it?
Frida Kahlo, one of my favorites.
Starry Night. So amazing.

Elvis by Andy Warhol.
This piece was great. If you look to the bottom right you will see a small red mouthpiece. This mouthpiece was used in all the photographs to give normal people the best facial expressions I've ever seen. It may have been the best display we saw.
This African garb was on display at the Museum of Natural History.
My favorite dinosaur!

We also visited the Guggenheim museum. You can't take pictures inside (although there wasn't anything I would've wanted to photograph). The museum is really famous for it's architecture, so you get to enjoy a picture of the outside. But if you ever go to NYC, limit the amount of museums you see. You can easily get burnt out on the abundance of art and artifacts.