Friday, October 31, 2014

Awaiting the Halloween Onslaught

I'm sitting here at the kitchen counter typing on my phone, because my laptop is having issues, with three full bowels of candy sitting in front of me.

They're coming!

Kids, girls and boys, plus the occasional "too old to be trick or treating" teenagers, fully clad as princesses and super heroes.

They're coming for candy, and I've got candy duty this year.

Maybe I'll slip on my red cowgirl hat to appear somewhat festive, or wear the tiara I splurged on at Disneyland last May.

It's not everyday I can wear a tiara and get away with it, unless I'm cleaning the house and need to feel a tad bit glamorous whilst mopping and dusting.

Tiara it is!!

So I sit here, finishing a chocolate frog I've been saving for today.

Meanwhile I need to peruse the book case for a good book, to keep me company between door knocks and bouts of "That's so cute" "Please take one." Teenagers are the ones you must watch out for.

So "Happy Halloween!"

And tomorrow I brace for the onslaught of "too early" Christmas tunes for all our shopping needs . . .

The holidays have begun, complete with a weekend forecast of snow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

OK Go in Japan, The Largest Rube Goldberg Machine in the World, and a Park

"I Won't Let You Down" by OK Go.

I love OK Go!  They have the most innovative music videos.  They're crazy brilliant.  And their new music video, released just a couple days ago, takes place in Japan, which simply ups the video's cool factor.

You HAVE to watch till the end.  It may seem like CGI digital or something, but it's not.  It's all real.  And that final aerial shot of Japan . . . breathtaking.

And now for an OK Go classic: "This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine"

Here's some fun facts: My alma mater Monache High School from Porterville CA set the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Rube Goldberg Machine on July 31, 1997, between my Freshman and Sophomore year, and maintained the record until 2005, which was broken by Purdue University.

My High School maintained the record for 8 years, which is really cool.

My HS Physics teacher Blomgren wrote this in 2010

"Thought you might be interested in knowing that the original Guinness World Record for a Rube Goldberg Machine was set by a team of students at Monache High School in Porterville, California.

"This record was set July 31, 1997. In keeping with the spirit of Rube Goldberg’s cartoons, the machine was built entirely from common objects. The machine included a phonograph, bicycle, film projector, sink, rocket, cannon, bow and arrow, toaster, blender, coffee maker, rubber chicken, etc. etc. etc. In all the machine had (according to the rules established by Guinness) 113 steps. Its function… to give 50 pennies change (one at a time) for two quarters.  In 2005, Purdue University students broke the Monache record. Two years later, a new record setting machine was built by students at Ferris State University. I believe they still hold the record."

The record was taken back in 2012 by Purdue, which you can read about on the official Guinness World Record page.  This new record was set by the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers Rube Goldberg Team, and has 300 steps.

You can see the video below.

I still think it's cool that the Guinness World Record was held for 8 years by High School students.

And lastly, the very first OK Go music video I ever watched, which so happened to be while eating lunch at the Ventura mall.  The TV screens in the food court don't always state the name and artist behind the videos they show, so it actually took me a couple months to find the video online.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

That's how I do Yoga

Krista shared this picture of my nieces doing yoga with their aunt Erin, and I couldn't help but giggle when I saw Leah's pose.

That's exactly how I feel every time I attempt Yoga.

In other news my Mom and I sang "A Window to His Love" last Sunday as a duet.  We haven't performed this song together in 14 or so years.  Crazy.  But it's a really beautiful song, and something I aspire to everyday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why You Can't Trust Movie Trailers! Spaceballs Interstellar Style

And this is why I don't trust movie trailers!
Granted, I love movie trailers.

Really, I do.

So much so that I grumble if I'm standing in the concession line instead of sitting on a theater seat right when the trailers roll.

But then it's also annoying when a movie doesn't fit the trailer--lack of excitement, pacing, etc--or when everything in the trailer gives the plot away, so then seeing the movie is just watching an extended 1 1/2 hr. trailer.  Pointless and a money waste.

That aside, this trailer does make me want to see Spaceballs again, if anything for sentimentality sake.  Though, now that I think about, I kind of want to re-see Galaxy Quest instead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Enjoying the Last Bits of Fall at Sundance Ski Resort

 Sundance Ski Resort is a nice short drive from where I live, and since my Grandpa has come to live in Utah, we've been visiting more often then we used to.  It's so beautiful!  And I regret not taking more advantage of this quaint location in the past.

The restaurants are expensive, so we (my Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, and I), like to look around the gift shop, and then get the turkey bacon avocado sandwich from the deli, along with yummy cookies and brownies.  Then we just sit back and enjoy the scenery as we eat.  Afterwards a walk around is always in order.

These pictures are from a week ago.  A week before that we came up to Sundance as well, and I really wish I got my phone out and took pictures, because the fall colors were so much more vibrant in dazzling oranges, reds, and yellows.  The trees around Bridal Veil Falls were particularly enchanting.  They lost a bit of colorful oomph last week.  And I'm sure even more this week.

 Look at the fish!

 Right behind the lodge there was a beautifully bright orange/red tree, which refused to show up in the picture.  You also can't see the mountains, so you'll just have to use your imagination :0)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fun Cover of Shake it Off, Motown Style!

While cruising the net earlier this afternoon I stumbled across this really fun cover of Taylor Swifts "Shake it off," with a Motown twist.  It's great, and I love the chords.

Von Smith is a little pitchy in parts, but it proves that no auto tone was used in the making of this video.  great vocals and interpretation.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Next 5 Years, Overcoming My Regrets . . .

(I picture I took while on a camping trip.)

"Often the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive yourself.  Discouragement is part of that test.  Do not give up.  That brilliant morning will come." ~ Boyd K. Packer

I think I'm about to get really personal here.

I've been struggling a whole lot these last couple weeks.  The trip to California was great.  I needed a break from life, to regain focus after that whirlwind of deciding to serve a LDS mission, being super excited about this opportunity, and then praying and realizing that my purpose is elsewhere.

And during the process of preparing for a mission--end of August/early September--I kept getting this overwhelming, almost suffocating feeling.  A feeling that the World was changing.  We were possibly heading into hard times.  And then the choice: Where do I want to be?  With my family or abroad?  I felt the question, felt the Lord allowing my agency, and felt my place is here.

What is coming?

I don't really know.  Honestly, I don't.  Sometimes I feel a whole lot crazy.

But I'm a news/current event junkie, and I need to know what's happening in the World, and, admittedly, with Ebola, ISIS, etc, It's hard not to become paralyzed with fear.

I've been feeling the fear.

And I've been feeling the regret.


Lots and lots of regret.

Not being married.  Not having a family.  Worry that I'll die never knowing either of these things.  Crazy?  Yup.  But as a Latter-Day Saint who's 32 and single, marriage and family is everything, and not having these things make me feel like a failure.  And I regret not being bold enough.  Regret letting my introversion keep me from being social at times, keeping my exposure to guys at a minimum.  My fault.  Entirely my fault.  I've got no one but myself to blame, which doesn't make my regret any easier!

And then there's my music and talents.

I have so many ideas!  3 book ideas (a sci-fi series for adults, fantasy series for kids, and an LDS romantic comedy where I can vent all my single 30+ frustrations).  I have 5 musicals I'm working on.  Obviously not finished.  Far from finishing any of them.  And Songs.  So many songs I want to sing and perform!  And I'm allowing insecurities from stopping me.  Oh, and games I'm working on with my brothers.

I've been blessed with talents and ideas, and I don't have anything to show for it.

My self to blame.

Entirely me.

And hypothetically, what happens if there is an Ebola pandemic in the near future?  I've heard from two sources that it's possible over a million people here in the States can be infected by late January/early February.

Nature has a balance and cycle, and we're technically/statistically overdue for a pandemic.  Modern medicine has helped slow the cycle down.  But we're overdue.  And even if the situation in Texas becomes controlled, that doesn't mean others have come here with a 21 day incubation time, or people sneak over the Southern border for help, issuing a pandemic birth.

So, hypothetically, what if something happens?

What if something happens and I die?

I've been feeling it.

Feeling like if I die now I'm dieing a total failure.

And I hate the feeling.

Several weeks ago I was watching The Blaze, and they were discussing something that happened 5 years ago, and how its changed them.  And another comment how, in only 5 years, you can become a whole new person.
And then I got to thinking, not liking at all what I've become.

What happened 5 years ago that could explain who I am now?

And I remembered: Exactly 5 years ago I was laid off from a really good job working as a Press Clipping Editor.  The money wasn't great, but I had independence.  I was moving in a positive direction.  And then the economy tanked, and a lot of people started getting laid off all over the Nation.

I was hoping I wouldn't join the statistic.  I survived the first round of lay offs at the company.  But when our head supervisor retired early, and I gave her a hug during her going away party, I knew something was wrong when she said, "You're all good workers.  Everyone here are such good workers."  I stood back as she started to cry, and I felt the dread.  Sure enough two weeks later I was let go.

And I let that define me.  I didn't think it was defining me.  But it has been.  Failure.  No matter how hard I tried it wasn't enough.  Failure.  And without realizing it that feeling of failure and that it doesn't matter how hard I work, I'm going to fail regardless, has dominated my subconsciously.

Goodness, last week I had one of those "losing teeth" dreams that I haven't had in over a decade.  In the dream I lost two of my front lower teeth, they were loose and I pulled them right out, and then I tried to sing.  In the dream I recorded myself singing and all I could focus on were the missing lower teeth in the video.  After waking up I searched "Losing Teeth in Dreams," and I gathered from several sources that losing teeth is symbolic of insecurities, abandonment, getting left behind, powerless, helplessness, etc.  Nothing good.

The dream literally woke me up.  I knew these feelings were deep, but not that deep.

"Often the most difficult part of repentance is to forgive yourself.  Discouragement is part of that test.  Do not give up.  That brilliant morning will come."  I feel like I need to repent for not using my time wisely.  For not living up to my potential.

But I can't fully repent unless I forgive myself.  And if I can't do that, I won't be able to move forward.  And I need not be ashamed of discouragement.  It's apart of the process.

I don't know what will happen to me.  Will I die in a few months?  Anything, honestly, can happen.  A meteor can fall from the sky and hit me on the head.

It's good to be smart.  It's good to be aware and prepared.

But it's also important to live.

I can't waste what I have of the present and immediate future with worry and regret.  That would be a true crime!  And then I'll really be regretful of my paralysis!

I'm going to focus on living.

I'm going to focus on the future.

And I'm going to work on making my actions in the present count towards the future, so that, in October 2019 I'll be in a great place.  And these last 5 years will be a blessing, because I learned and overcame, and thus became stronger in the process.

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." Richard G. Scott.

Here's to the next 5 years! :0)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Adorable Nephew and Nieces + My Sleep Deprived Insanity Whilst Awaiting the Blood Moon

Aren't my Nieces and Nephew adorable?

I love them so much.

The oldest is proving to be such a good big sister.

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it."
- George Moore

I'm preparing for the fact that this blog post
may be my most random blog post to date.

Why?  Because It's 2:06 a.m. in the morning as I type this portion, and I'm starting to feel it.  And Why am I sitting here this late writing this?  Because in a few hours is the Blood Moon, and I'm determined to not miss it.  I slept through the last one, and I just read on a website that blood moons 3 and 4 will not be easily visible on the west coast.  I couldn't find that information anywhere else, but I figured I couldn't take the chance and later regret not seeing something so astronomically historic.  Sure, there's going to be more blood moons, it's a typical occurrence, but blood moons aligning on Passover and the Feast of the Tabernacle twice over isn't so common.

2:13 am: That being said, I'm sitting here listening to Impossible by James Arther on loop.

An Anne of Green fan vid is to blame.

I've been listening to the song on repeat on Spotify.  Must-Download-Soon.  And I'm on a "look up Anne of Green Gable" fan videos kick.  Can't get enough.  It's proving I'm ready for another Road to Avonlea marathon.  There's something about this time of year that does it to me.  The cool air, changing of the leaves, crispness.

I love Autumn.

Anywho, before coming up here to start this blog post (wow, I am tired.  I just froze for 30 seconds trying to think and remember what I was going to write . . . ), I walked up the stairs and The Olaf Cat pounced at me playful like.  Typically he gets put in the Laundry room around 11 pm where he sleeps, but with my brother Steven and I staying up for the blood moon, we're letting him roam the house.  Olaf is possibly entering Crazy Cat Mode, which is typically quite amusing, just not at two in the morning.

It's 2:28 a.m., I think I'll catch up on some television.  Haven't seen this weeks Big Bang Theory, Sleepy Hallow, or Gotham.  The eclipse starts at 3:15 a.m., but the full eclipse isn't until 4:55 a.m.  I've got time.

3:20 a.m. and the eclipse has started! I essentially ran up here to grab my glasses cleaner. Smudgy glasses = a not so fun viewing experience.  There's clouds overhead.  Really hoping I'm able to get a good view of the moon during mid-eclipse.

BTW: The Olaf Cat didn't go into Crazy Cat mode.  He casually sat on the other side of the coach acting quite mature for 4 months.

Grabbed my blanket, sweater, and fuzzy socks.  Ready for some night gazing :0)

3:36 a.m.: The moon's being attacked by clouds!!

. . . there's a wonderful view of Orion.

(Just grabbed my Kindle so I can read The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as I wait.)

5:05 a.m.: I did get to see the first part of the eclipse, but right when total eclipse came, and then the mid-eclipse at 4:55, the moon was buried behind a layer of cloud.  I could see the red, but barely.  Very, very barely.

I'm a little disappointed.  It was nice, though, laying on top a blanket on the ground with two more blankets covering me, just starring at the sky.  I could see stars through the wispy cloud brakes.  There was a peacefulness in listening to the night and hearing the cars on the I-15 in the distance.  Feeling the crisp 55 degree air.

But I'm tired.

Trying to focus on the positive and not the disappointment.

5:25 a.m.

Goodnight World.

Now is not the time for insomnia.

Sleep in premium this early in the morning.

5:32 a.m. On the bright side I can say I've seen a blood moon.  So now I'm seen a blood moon, honey moon, blue moon, annular solar eclipse, transit of Venus, moon crossing over Jupiter, and several meteor showers.  Not bad.

Still want to see a full solar eclipse.

5:39 a.m.: Who am I kidding?  I'm disappointed.


Monday, October 6, 2014

These Elephants Can Draw Better Then I Can!

Last night when I was meandering about the internet I stumbled upon a video of Suda the Elephant, from Taiwan, painting.  It was amazing!  That's better then anything I can draw!  Can this possibly be real?

I watched more video's of Suda painting.

Apparently most elephants are trained and can only paint one picture, whereas Suda is about to paint 15 different pieces.

As I investigated further, I began to read that elephants are trained to mimic strokes and lengths from their masters.  That they're not true artist in the sense of the word, simply copiers.  And most of them have been abused and tortured in able to be compliant towards this coaching.

I read a really good article on entitled Elephant Painting, with evidence towards these accusations. (A quick search can lead you to other information detailing the cruel abuse towards these animals.)

In the video above you can definitely see the master guiding the elephant.

And then I found these two video's, Part 1 and 2 of Awesome Elephant Artist from the BBC, showing Hong paining abstractly, without couching.

Hong seems to be enjoying it.

At least these Taiwan elephants seem to be enjoying the music, having fun, and painting freely.


And here you go, a Sarah original!  Yeah, brilliant . . . :P

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Free Download to David Archuleta's Beautiful song "Glorious," Meet the Mormons, and LDS General Conference

A few days ago David Archuleta released his latest single "Glorious" from the documentary coming to theaters October 10th entitled Meet the Mormons.

This song is absolutely beautiful.

When I love a song it goes on repeat, and I literally had it repeating for an hour last night right before going to bed.  This song actually kept me up to 1 am!  I just lay there, listening, letting the words seep into my heart.

And you can get a free download!

Just go to the link to get download information.

It's really easy.

From Facebook: "Meet the Mormons is a feature-length documentary that tells the stories of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from around the world. The film will appear in theaters across the United States beginning on October 10th, 2014. Our goal with this production is to help people understand our faith in a more complete way and to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ leads Church members in their lives. All net proceeds from the film will go to charity."

I'm going to see it this Friday.  I'm really quite excited, and I think it's really cool that net proceeds are going to charity.

The Meet the Mormons Website has good information if you're interested in the film, and here's a list of theaters this documentary will be played in.

And if you don't want to wait till October 10th to "Meet the Mormons," our 184th Semiannual General Conference is about to start!  Literally, in less then an hour.

General Conference is such a big deal!  Well, I'm always super excited for it when it comes every April and October.  And all my LDS Facebook friends get excited, too.  It seems, without fail, a couple weeks leading up to conference my facebook wall becomes filled with quotes, general conference reminders, articles talking about the best way to get the most out of conference, etc.  And then twitter and facebook explodes when conference is on, everyone sharing favorite quotes, feelings, and lessons learned.

And what's an LDS General conference?

It's when all the Latter-Day Saints in the World, aka Mormons, gather together to receive counsel, guidance, and inspiration from our Prophet, Apostles, and other Church Leaders.  And this Conference, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, leaders from other parts of the World who don't speak English as a native language can give their talks in their Native language.  I'm So Excited!!  (I wonder if Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who's an Apostle, will speak German.  Everyone's wondering that.)

Conference is Today and Tomorrow, Oct. 4th & 5th, in 5 sessions.


October 3, 2015
Saturday Morning: 10 AM MST
Saturday Afternoon: 2 PM MST
General Priesthood Meeting: 6 PM MST

October 4, 2015
Sunday Morning: 10 AM MST
Sunday Afternoon: 2 PM MST

Each session is 2 hours.

And anyone can watch.

You don't have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

There's so many ways to watch.

And if you miss it, there's various ways you can still see our Conference.  It's available on YouTube in just a day, and 1-14 days on and 2-14 days on the Gospel Library App in 80 languages.  (English, Spanish, and Portuguese are the first languages available.)

I'm going to be watching on TV, all sessions and programs in between are scheduled to tape.

Just a few more minutes :0)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Gratitude Week

I was flipping through a The Complete Peanuts book, year 1963, when I came across this Sunday strip.  Lucy is berating her life, self pity, everything's wrong, when Linus comes in and recommends she finds something to be grateful for.  She then rebukes that until Linus says, "Well, for one thing you have a little brother who loves you . . ." and he gets a big hug.

We all have something to be grateful for.

Facebook is a funny place for all its tagging, sharing, and whatever popular thing is getting passed around.  A few weeks ago all my friends were doing the grateful challenge, where, for one week, you list three things a day you're grateful for.  Usually I don't accept challenges on Facebook, but this time I was more then willing to participate.

From September 18 - September 24
(I was visiting California during this time.)

1. I'm thankful for proscription glasses, because living life in a blur would be no fun at all.

2. I'm thankful for cars, so that I was able to travel from Northern Utah to California in a couple days, instead of the alternative of walking . . . which would take longer then a couple days. 

3. And I'm thankful for "The Thomas Jefferson Hour" podcasts, which is the only thing my Grandparents, Mom, and I agreed to listen to the entire car trip . . . all 13 hours on the road. So well done and fascinating. I wasn't in the mood for 13 hr. of Carpenters music, as much as I love them . . .

4. I'm thankful for the Hubble telescope, which allows us to see the wonders of space.

5. I'm thankful for my family, because family is everything.

6. I'm thankful for toothbrushes and toothpaste, because it's easy to take simple inventions for granted, and even though I still get cavities from time to time, my dental health would be a lot worst.

7. I'm thankful for the Ocean, because it reminds me of Earth's vastness.

8. I'm thankful for HGTV, mainly because I watch it so often, kinda like today with my Mom and Grandma. (Nice brake from all the news we watch.  Kinda keeps the sanity.)

 9. I'm thankful for the wind, because I love how it feels, all cool and crisp, and the sound of moving leaves.

10. I'm thankful for MP3s. The sound quality may not be up to the same standard as vinyl or even CDs, but it's incredible that, on a small, tiny device, I can carry thousands of songs wherever I go, and can choose between a copious amount of genres and artists, whatever my musical whims. It's extraordinary! 

11. I'm thankful for smart phones. Even though I'm in California, away from home, I'm able to stay in touch with everyone I love, thanks to the technology behind this little screen. Star Trek in modern life.

12. I'm thankful for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Music of the Spoken Word, which I'm watching on TV right now. Choral music is so beautiful. And I forgot how much I love Aaron Copland!

13. I'm thankful for a bed to sleep in. This last week I've slept on my Grandpa's couch and it has been rough, but then sleeping on a couch is a huge blessing as well, so I'm thankful for this, too.

14. I'm thankful for memories. No matter what I'm going through, good or bad, I can reminisce over special moments.

15. I'm thankful for clean feet. Last night I was cleaning my feet with a wet wipe, and suddenly I was thinking about the Savior, the moment when he washed his disciples feet. We take clean feet for granted.

16. I'm thankful for water, because water truly is my favorite drink, and having a dependable, purified water source is such a blessing. I grew up in Porterville CA, and right now wells are dried up in East Portverville and other central CA towns.  The situation is scary.

17. I'm thankful for the TuneIn radio app and the NHK Live TV app, because it's my dream to one day visit Japan, but I currently don't have the means to do so. (These tools are a great way to experience different cultures.)

18. I'm thankful for fly swatters, because right now there's a fly flying around the living room I'm sleeping in, and I don't have one.

19. I'm thankful for frozen dinners. Okay, I need to cook more, granted, and I'd probably lose some weight if I did (except for when I discovered that I'm really good at baking, in which I gained weight), but I won't deny how nice it is to take a meal out of the freezer and pop it in the microwave.

20. I'm thankful that ants like to hibernate in the Winter, at least in Utah. These last several days visiting my Grandpa's home in Ventura has been one ant catastrophe after another, and the realization that it doesn't matter what time in the year I visit, those dang ants keep getting into things. I hate ants.

21. And last, but not least, I'm thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, so grateful.

I need to keep a gratitude journal.  This was such a great experience.  There were a couple days I didn't feel like being grateful, and yet when I sat down to think of three things to be grateful for, I was immediately humbled and felt better.

Now I challenge you to find something to be grateful for :0)