happy birthday to my dad

Yes, yes, the Chicago post is coming. I had a fabulous time, foot pain and all, but today is my dad’s birthday, so using that as an excuse, I’m going to post some things that I have been thinking about for a while (for posterity…so this post may totally bore any of you not related to me, or who don’t know Nev).

My dad is hilarious. He tells the lamest jokes ever (we were discussing adoption tonight and he once again mentioned that one of my sisters was adopted…but then they brought her back) that always make me laugh. With him? At him? Does it really matter?

One of his favorite funnies (not so much a joke) is referring to himself as Good Old Dad. Create an acronym and you’ll get the humor in it. His favorite is to remind us to thank “Good Old Dad” for whatever it is he has done for us at that moment.

He doesn’t really share how he feels, but it is obvious through his actions. He has moved every one of us multiple times. He has installed crown molding, recessed lighting, kitchen cabinets, and painted more walls than I could ever count. He pays for plane tickets for us to visit each other and we know that, no matter what happens, he will be there if we need him (like for me, now, as I live in the apartment over his garage). And, as seen above, he lets his granddaughters play with his hair.

He has always been a great example of hard work and frugality. Unfortunately, I only inherited the former…my spending habits I got from my mom. And even though he wishes I could figure out the real difference between wants and needs, he is really good about not making me feel bad about my inability to do so.

In teaching us about hard work, he also taught us the importance of each step in a project. In any project, there are four steps. You probably thought that it varied based on the project, but it doesn’t. There are always four and only four. Sure, within those four, there might be multiple tasks that must be done, but any and every project can be subdivided into the following four steps:

  1. Prep: this step includes planning and setting up for the project.
  2. Do: pretty self-evident.
  3. Clean up: again, not much explanation.
    1. Most people would think the project was over at this point.
    2. Most people are mistaken. Step four is not only the most important, but also requires the most time.
  4. Admire: this step can be done alone, at first, but in order for any project to be truly finished, you must actually include at least one more person in this step. This step requires “ooohs” and “aahs”. Not necessary to this step, but definitely encouraged, are phone calls to others who are not able to be part of Step 4 in person, photographs to be shared for years to come, and later discussions about just how great the project turned out.

I have to say I have a pretty great dad, even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything. So here’s a big birthday wish to my favorite dad ever! Happy Birthday, Dad.

Oh, and thanks for dinner.

i’m really sorry your mom blew up, ricky

  1. I am grateful for chance meetings in the bookstore. I ran into this random boy that used to be in my ward but moved to Boston (as I discovered today). He wants to go out tonight. I really shouldn’t, but who am I to pass on a date with a nice, French speaking male. Seriously, the French gets me every time. ETA: While I did want to go out, I forgot that I had talked to my dad about going out to dinner and since I’m out of town the rest of the weekend, my dad won.
  2. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to work with Sowers of Hope.
  3. I am grateful for my family’s Old Navy Christmas P.J. tradition. Justin is ordering them all today and I’m excited to have new ones. This year, the pants are gray with red and white candy canes.
Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

thoughts on marriage

Yes, I realize that I am not married, but I decided to go to the marriage and family relations class on Sunday and it was fascinating. I really have to be studying for a French mid-term right now, but I wanted to share this thought from the instructor. I think it’s brilliant.

“I believe the reason so many
marriages become lackluster is that people fail to deliver in marriage
what they were
selling in courtship.”

Think about it.

musical memory flashback

Without music life would be a mistake.
~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I love music! I know I’ve shared this many, many times. Music packs so many emotions with it, and then you combine it with memories that correspond to different music phases in your life (at least in my life) and you have a very powerful combination. Certain songs can instantly transform my mood and transport me to a different place.

This weekend, as I was writing essays (pre-mental breakdown…which, by the way, is much better), I was listening to music, as I am wont to do at any given minute of any day. Rascal Flatts just came out with a new album and I happened to be listening to that. Yes, I am a music lover who likes it all, including country…and my snobby music friends still like me (yes…I just called you snobby). While, obviously the album is new and I am creating new memories with it, it is very similar to their first album (thank goodness…I did not love the last one).

While listening I had, what I call, a musical memory flashback. There are certain songs that I can guarantee will do that for me. This was a little different because it was new music, but Rascal Flatts’ first album was a favorite while I was involved with The Canadian and this new album brought back those memories.

I loved The Canadian. Even better than how I felt about him was how he made me feel about me. He was probably the kindest of all the boys (always boys…maybe when I’m 30 I’ll start calling them “men” or at least “guys”) with whom I have ever been involved. He made me feel like a Pulitzer Prize winning super model/goddess. So much kindness and love and respect.

For a while, after things ended between us and I had moved on to different, less kind boys, I somehow bought into this weird belief that the only reason The Canadian treated me so well and said such nice things to me was that I was a little out of his league, that being involved with someone in my league* meant I would feel “just good enough” all the time. Sometimes my head gets filled with crazy notions that take a while to dispel.

Back to Saturday…so I was listening to the new album, this song in particular, and I started to feel all of these happy feelings. I thought about this fling of sorts. I started to think about The Canadian and how he made me feel. I thought about how integral that relationship was in my life. It is the relationship by which I have determined (as of Saturday) to judge all others, in terms of kindness and respect. It is nice to have such wonderful memories fill my soul with just the sound of a song. It is nice to realize that I deserve to be with someone who makes me feel that good. And to realize that I always want the person I am with to feel as good as The Canadian made me feel. And all of that from a song. That is the power of music.

*I am not really a believer in “leagues”…I have decided to subscribe to the “comfort” theory. I think you should always feel “comfortable” with the person you are with. If you are out with the Significant Other and his/her friends, you should not feel above or below them, and if you bring the S.O. out with your friends, if you are constantly worried about how everyone will interact, that’s a bad sign, as well. You have chosen your friends for a reason…the S.O. should fit in with them. And that’s how I feel about that.

dear you…inspired by my trip to SF

Dear nice guy who sat next to me on my flight from SLC to OAK,

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of talking on planes. I like my “alone” time, which is why I always get a window seat and why I generally look away from anyone who sits next to me. I just like to read my books, listen to my music, do my thing. But you were so nice and so friendly and I really enjoyed talking to you, so much so that I thought twice about keeping to myself on my flight home. And you told such good stories and made me feel so good about being 29 and single. Thanks for a great conversation. And, because we started talking before the plane was entirely boarded, no one sat between us, which meant I had more leg room. It was fantastic!


Your row mate

Dear Happy Donuts,

Thank you for being open 24 hours so that, when Erika picked me up late and I didn’t get to go to Fenton’s, I was still able to enjoy a delicious treat. (Erika, I know it wasn’t your fault). Your donuts were delicious. And it was so fun to see all of the random people in a donut shop at 11:00 pm on a Thursday. It was fun to imagine who they were and what their lives were like, especially the table of guys speaking French. Why is it that any guy speaking French can make me weak in the knees? Especially when he’s native? So hot!

Back to you, Happy Donuts. I was so grateful, but then I just craved you. I couldn’t stop thinking of you. It was bad. Maybe 24 hours isn’t such a good idea. And when I’m cursing you on Thursday, remember that I don’t really mean it.

Missing you dearly,


Dear Bay Area,

Why must you really be the perfect place to live? Why must all of the housing options be so expensive? Why must your climate make me so happy? Why does your air smell sweeter and your sun shine more beautifully than any place on earth (except maybe Tuscany…but I don’t speak Italian, so I’m not planning on moving there)? Why do you have to make me hate where I live every time I visit you? Why does my heart flutter at just the thought of your two beautiful bridges? Why? Why? Why? Why? Everything is better in San Francisco. Everything!

I’m sad.


Dear guys who still travel in threes in their mid-thirties,

Really? You are how old? I was reminded of Draco Malfoy and his two sidekicks. Two less attractive, not as intelligent side kicks. Here’s the thing…Mr. Frontman is generally attractive and charismatic, but you two wingmen…not so much. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be attracted to you, except that the fact that you are all about being a wingman makes you so not appealing. Do you just hang out, hoping to get Frontman’s toss-offs? Do you think that hanging out with Frontman makes you more appealing? Do you realize just how reminiscent of high school your little posse appears? Could you please just grow up already? I’m sure you are very nice, but don’t you get tired of all the girls going for Frontman? Don’t you want girls that want you? I so wish I understood. Can someone help me to understand? Please.


A girl who, while somewhat socially inept in large groups, at least tries to appear approachable

Dear MBA grad who went to my first choice school,

If I got nothing else out of this weekend other than my conversation with you it was totally worth it. Thanks for being so honest about your experience at said school. It has given me a lot to think about. I have totally revamped my choices as a result of our conversation and the thoughts you shared. I’m still applying to choice number 1, but if I get in (and it’s possible I won’t, although you also made me feel better about that), I will think long and hard before I make my choice. And you were attractive and so interesting to talk to…if only you hadn’t been in your 40s…I just can’t bridge two decades.


A prospective MBA student who appreciates any insight from an experienced source

Dear Palo Alto,

It’s really too bad that Stanford is so very selective and that recruiters don’t like it, or I might consider applying and I might get in. As it stands, I am not applying and will not, therefore, get rejected. But if you had a different school, oh how I would love to live in your beautiful city. Such a great place. Such beautiful homes, old money homes. Such a large population of brilliant minds. Such beautiful green hills. Oh how I do love you! Perhaps someday. Although, let’s be honest. If I end up back in California (which I hope to) I will probably be working in SF and living there, as well, since it’s about the same cost of living. But, if you had a school I wanted to attend and could get into, I would do it. In a heartbeat. As it is, I’ll be applying to the school across the bay, and I like that town, too.


A girl who really messed up her undergrad

Dear guy from Las Vegas,

Just a little thought…Desperation does not smell good.


Dear Shannon Hale,

Thanks for writing such a great book. It was a bit of a slow start, but I loved it. So cute. So romantic. So sweet and clean. Just the way a fairytale should be. And it was so well written…I have discovered some new favorite quotes and that is a big deal.


A hopeless romantic

Dear Chloe,

Remember that even though this weekend was less than ideal and you seem to have no prospects, you are so glad that you aren’t married. You made the right choice. Sure, life isn’t going to be a fairytale, but you deserve to fall in love with someone wonderful, who makes you feel good about yourself and doesn’t make you defend your feelings/thoughts/decisions all the time, and someone who makes you laugh and can have a great conversation and shares a mutual attraction. And if your story could turn out just a bit like a good book, that would be nice, too…although you don’t need to hold out for that if you meet Mr. Perfect For You. And don’t get so set on your plans and goals that you aren’t willing to shift just a bit.