Thursday, January 28, 2016

Protected On My Drive Home: The Things That Almost Happened, but Didn't

I'm really counting my blessings right now.

I'm feeling so incredibly blessed and thankful.

A couple bad things almost happened to me, but thankfully didn't.

Right before I left to go home from Highland dance tonight my instructor, Kathryn, was prompted to warn me about deer, because they've been out in the area.  The warning made me feel a little nervous, but I didn't worry too much. 

Then, as I was about to drive out of the housing area, the radio station I was listening to suddenly stopped playing.  A feeling to be careful came over me, and I changed the station.  Then, a mile down, I got the prompting that I was driving too fast.  I was going 40 mph, the speed limit, but I slowed to 35 mph, and then I suddenly saw them, two deer on the side of the road making a run for it.  It was so dark I barely saw them, but I was able to slow down enough to let them pass.

When I was about 3 miles from my home another feeling came over me, a feeling that I needed to slow down again and merge to the far right lane.  My car at that point started shaking pretty bad, and I knew it was more then the road being bumpy.

My head went into prayer mode, "please let me get home, please let me get home, please let me get home," over and over.  And as I drove I hit all green lights and was able to make the turns.

When I got out of the car an overwhelming odor of burnt rubber hit me, and after investigating with a flashlight I found the flat tire.

I have to get new tires now, and I hope the rim wasn't damaged, but tonight could have gone so badly.  I feel so blessed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fill Your Life With Wonder

"When you're filled with wonder,
the world is a wonderful place to be."

~ Winnie the Pooh

Growing up is important, but it seems, in the growing up, there are childlike traits we should never let go:  Imagination, hope, faith, the ability to fiercely dream, quick to forgive and forget, and trust.  To a child's heart the World is full of possibility.  Anything is possible, including growing up to be a cat or a dog.  I taught Sunday school for several months once to a bunch of 3-4 year old's.  They all had this ability to sporadically turn into animals, meowing and barking all over the place, at the same time.  It was amazing, and a little frustrating.

Out of all the amazing childlike traits we should never lose, the ability to wonder is one of the most important.  When we wonder we pause.  We see the invisible.  We see the intangible.  We see the what ifs and what can be.  The ordinary becomes extraordinary.  Our day to day doldrums become magical.

Lets never lose our ability to dream.

Lets never lose our ability to wonder.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Full Spoiler Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It's been over a month since Star Wars: The Force Awakens came to theaters.  It's safe to fully talk about it, right?  Without spoiling something for somebody?  If not, too bad.  I've waited long enough.  And if you haven't seen Star Wars yet, what are you doing with your life, anyway?  I don't mean to judge, but seriously.

Right after I saw the movie the first time I did a short spoiler free movie review, so I won't repeat any of that here.  I'm just going to get right down to it.

The very first thought I had when the credits first started to roll was, "This is the third time I've seen this movie," thinking about The Phantom Menace and A New Hope.  A lot of people I've talked to mentioned all the A New Hope similarities (there's so many), but there were a crazy amount of similarities between A New Hope and The Phantom Menace as well.

My family was split after the first showing.  My Mom and brother Robbie loved it for what The Force Awakens is.  My brother Michael, Steven, and Dad were like, "it's okay, but we've seen it all before."  I've heard some say it's because it's Star Wars.  A Force Awakens is very Star Wars.  And all I can think after hearing those arguments is this: Is it really good storytelling when you have seven movies that are all remakes of each other? Referring to episodes I-III being slight mirrors of IV-VI.  George Lucas said, talking about episodes I-III, "You see the echos of where it all's going to go, it's like poetry, it's sorta, they rhyme."  And there's a good video on YouTube that shows some of this poetry, entitled Star Wars Poetry: by Mca Free.

Just some of the similarities between A New Hope and The Force Awakens: droid carrying sensitive materials, a force sensitive desert dweller, a bigger death star, father figure dies, etc.

And JJ Abrams has responded to the "rip off" claim.  From THR’s Awards Chatter:

"I knew that, whatever we did, there would be a group of people—and I was just hoping and praying that it would be smaller than not—that would take issue with any number of things. But I knew we weren’t making the movie for any other reason than we believed that it could be something meaningful and special and entertaining and worthy of people’s time . . . I can understand that someone might say, “Oh, it’s a complete rip-off!” What was important for me was introducing brand new characters using relationships that were embracing the history that we know to tell a story that is new — to go backwards to go forwards."

Maybe a part of my problem is the fact that I've grown to love the now no longer canon Star Wars Expanded Universe.  The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn, picked up where eps IV-VI left off when I was a kid.  It was a full feast for my imagination.  And a part of me is bitter that Mara Jade, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Captain Gilad Pellaeon, Talon Karrde, and mentally insane jedi clone Joruus C'baoth are no longer canon.  So many interesting ideas and fantastic new characters.  And I was hoping against hope that at least one of these characters would return to canon.  It didn't happen.

I've grown to really like the new character introduced in The Force Awakens: Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Maz Kanata, BB-8, and to some extent Kylo Ren.

Rey is a really likable character.  I am bothered by how perfect she is at everything.  I'm not claiming she's a Mary Sue, that's a staple of fan fiction where the author inserts an idealized version of themselves in a well established universe, or as example when Eugene Wesley "Gene" Roddenberry created Wesley Crusher for Star Trek TNG, a classic Gary Stu.  She's just good at so many things.  If it wasn't for her fear of abandonment, what would be her flaws?  She's a quick learner when piloting the Millennium Falcon, picks up the force super quick, a skilled fighter, incredible knack at fixing things, speaks all these languages including Wookie!, and if you've read Star Wars: Ray's Survival Guide (a really fun and interesting book), she's really good at drawing, too.

But even though I wish she had some flaws or struggles beyond environmental/circumstantial, she is still a really interesting and likable character.  And I like newcomer Daisy Ridley's portrayal.  She's got that no-nonsense strong thing going on, and admirable traits, such as when she wouldn't sell BB-8 for food rations.  She's the perfect foil to Adam Driver's Kylo Ren.

And of course the whole "who are her relatives" debate is quite enjoyable.  The obvious choice would be her being the long lost daughter of Luke Skywalker.  It would make the "poetry" of episode I, IV, and VII complete, where each trilogy starts with a force sensitive Skywalker desert dweller.  The balance would make sense.

Or she could simply by the new "chosen one."  Succeeding where Darth Vader failed in bringing balance to the force.  Kylo Ren wants to finish what Darth Vader started, but maybe he's simply mistook what it was Darth Vader was suppose to complete.  Kylo, aka Ben Solo, is emulating the wrong side of Anakin Skywalker, and Rey has the opportunity to truly finish what the Chosen One was suppose to accomplish. In this way Rey really would be Kylo Ren's true foil.  So is she descended from Anakin Skywalker?  She looks an awful lot like Shmi Skywalker.  Or maybe she is also of a virgin birth, making her family connection even more complicated.  So then the question would be, are the Star Wars Trilogies a Skywalker arch?  Or a Chosen One arch?  A fulfillment of the Chosen One prophesy: Mace Windu said, "You refer to the prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it's this…boy?" Maybe it's not "the boy."  Maybe it's Rey.

Rey's new friend is Finn, FN-2187, played by John Boyega.  He's the most relatable of the new characters.  (He doesn't speak Wookie!)  And I like his humor.  Though why, if he's a character with morals, did it take for him to finally crack after his stormtrooper friend die?  Maybe it's all that time spent in sanitation.  Why would the New Order send a group of sanitation workers to retrieve important information?  Is this his first mission?  And if not, why now?  Plot device, but seriously.

And did Poe Dameron kill Finn's stormtrooper friend??!!  The one who's bloody fingers streaked Finn's stormtrooper helmet.  Seriously, that's what I noticed the third time I saw the film, and I'm not sure I saw that correctly.  But if Poe did, what would happen if Finn found out?  Especially after their quick friendship.  Maybe they'll never realize.

The third new character Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, is the Resistance top X-Wing pilot.  His opening scene with Kylo Ren is an immediate breath of fresh air. A quick verbal jab at the start of the film, in the middle of conflict, that The Force Awakens is going to be fun, have humor, and clever writing. Another great character.

Maz Kanata, the 1000+ year old force sensitive bar owner, played by Lupita Nyong'o, is like the extroverted untrained version of Yoda.  Wise and bold.  And I heard there's a deleted scene where she drops the roof on a couple of stormtroopers.  That would have been fun to watch in the film.  I'm not a huge fan of CGI characters, but she's very well done, and I never thought once "she's not real."  She feels very real.

BB-8.  When all the BB-8 merchandise started coming out I was a little dubious.  They're trying to replace R2-D2!!  But I love BB-8.  He's cute.  And the scene with Finn, where BB suspects Finn isn't apart of the Resistance, and they do the "thumbs up," was really charming.

And last, but not least, Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo, the disappointing offspring of Han Solo And Princess Leia, the immature man-child with a crazy Darth Vader obsession.  There is something quite terrifying with a man who has crazy power, but no self discipline.  A spoiled brat who loses it whenever he doesn't get his way.  It's unpredictable.  It's uncontrollable.  His lack of discipline makes him dangerous.  He's been indulged.  Instead of calm, quiet strength, he's reckless.  He's no Darth Vader, which enrages him all the more.  He's not suppose to be Darth Vader.  His quest would be complete if he was.

With repeated viewings I'm growing to like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

As annoyed as I was at first with there being ANOTHER Death Star, it makes sense when you realize Kylo is trying to walk in his Grandfathers footsteps. If only he learned from Vader's mistake and didn't make it so easy to destroy.  The folly of imitation?  I did like how it was called the Starkiller Base, a homage to Luke Skywalker's original name, Luke Starkiller.  Also, Luke Skywalker was, in early drafts of A New Hope, a female protagonist, so Rey fills that roll.

I'm still perturbed by the whole Map to Luke Skywalker plot line.  It makes no sense in my mind how R2-D2 has a part of the map, and a floating hard drive of sorts has the missing piece.  Why would there be two parts of a map for a man that doesn't want to be found.  This plot element is the weakest part of The Force Awakens.

All in all, though I've dealt with early disappointment with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the movie is growing on me.  I enjoyed it yesterday far more my third time seeing the film then my first.  I love the humor, the banter, and the cast chemistry. There are some really great moments.  I love the return to practical effects with less dependency on CGI, which is what made episodes IV-VI pure magic.

And I'm glad The Force Awakens didn't end with an awards ceremony!!  Thank you for not having an awards ceremony.

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 2016 POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review and Thoughts

 DRUM-ROLL!!!!  I like this month better then last month

 POPSUGAR Must Have is a monthly subscription lifestyle box for gals.  The cost is $39.95 a month, free shipping, but it's cheaper when you subscribe with a 3, 6, or 12 months subscription.  On any month you can receive goodies for home, a book, fitness, snack, makeup, pampering, fashion, etc.  You never know what you're going to get, only that it will be fun and worth around $100, give or take a little.

 The Big Reveal!

 The handy information.

 I've heard so much about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which I thumbed through at the bookstore but didn't buy.  My sister-in-law is obsessed with that book and talks about it often.  I'm interested in the method, but nervous, as I'm no hoarder, but a pack-rat.  A sentimental pack-rat.  After looking through the pages I'm inspired to go through all me things again and tidy up some more.  Get more organized.  This has become my favorite item in the box.

 The illustrations in this master class are so cute!

The rabbit on the right pretty much sums up how I feel about my books.

 Patchology FlashMasque Trio, $20

I've been wanting to try a face mask sheet for some time, but never justified buying one, so I was thrilled when I found out we were going to get facial sheets in the January box.  Each sheet, one for revitalizing, hydrating, and illuminating, only takes 5 minutes to work, and requires no rinsing.

 Blue Sky Day Designer Weekly Planner, $15.99

I'm not a big fan of getting planners in the January box.  It seems pointless, especially since this box came so late in the month.  I'm already using a planner.

 With that said, I'm going to make this planner an exclusive Talea Studios book to keep the progress on projects more organized.  To make sure large and mini goals are kept in check.

I've read on forums that some people are going to use the planner for meal organization and exercise.

This item goes right along with the theme of organization, and I think it's cool Pehr Designs gave us the larger size, not the smaller.  This bin is well made and sturdy, yet easily collapsible for easy storing if not in use.  A nice, unique item for a subscription box.

This item makes me upset.  Not because it's shower gel, I love shower gel and these are nice scents, but because of what they're claiming this set is worth: $22.  Not Soap, Radio has a shower gel set with 7 bottles at 2 oz. each for $22.  You can buy a single 2 oz. bottle in any scent for $3.  And yet this set of 5 one ounce shower gels is valued at $22.

I appreciate the item.  I don't appreciate dishonesty.

 Project & INC Summer Snow Sugar Free Gum, $1.99

I'm cutting back on sugar, so sugar-free gum is a nice snack item this month.  It's sweetened with maltitol, which you must be careful with in large doses, but as a small food item it's fine.  I wish the flavor of the gum lasted longer.


Chapstick Total Hydration 100% Natural Soothing Vanilla – Value $2.99

I won't complain about getting more chaptick.  This time of year you can never own too many!!

So overall this was a good month.  The items go together nicely, and I like the theme: Organization with a little relaxation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Great Invention: Snow! -_-;;

(A conversation I had with my Dad last week)

Me: Snow!  I hate snow!  I hate Winter!

My Dad: What a great invention!

Me: How is it a great invention?

My Dad: You create these things called mountains.  You put snow on it, and in the Summer, when there's no rain, you have water flowing down the mountain all year long, even when you don't know where the water is coming from, like Bridal Veil Falls.  It's a great invention."

(I see the logic, it's true, but I still don't have to like it!  Goodness, I promised myself at the end of my California trip last November that I would never grumble about snow again.  This was a total failure last week!  Snow is a blessing.  A blessing.  And without it I wouldn't love Spring and Autumn so much . . . though when I was living in California without snow I still loved Spring and Autumn, so there you go.)

Friday, January 15, 2016

Mall Palm Trees

I love how the Provo Towne Centre Mall has Palm trees running down the center of the lower floor walkway, seeming to float on the second floor at eye level, at least where I'm currently standing right now.

For a moment I can pretend I'm in California, and that there isn't snow outside, with more snow scheduled for tomorrow.

There's 65 days till Spring, in case you need something to look forward to.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

101 Goals in 1001 Days Revisited; What I Actually Accomplished

I didn't realize my 1001 days were up!!  March 4, 2013 through November 27, 2015. Wow, how time flies.  So how did I do?  I only accomplished 13 of them, but that's still 13!  Not zero!! 13 out of 101 = 13%, if you round up: 13/101 = 0.1287. And some of the goals I accomplished are filled with incredible memories which I wouldn't have at all if I didn't set these goals.

1. Enter a Music Writing Contest

I entered a music writing contest in 2013 by submitting the song "How Do I Feel the Spirit" to the church music contest under the children's song category.  I didn't win or place, but got a nice letter of rejection in response.  My first rejection letter. I've got to start somewhere.  I do want to expand the song as both a solo piece and full choral piece.  That would be a good project.

2. Get An Original Music Video Online

This was quite the project!!!  And it wouldn't have been possible if I didn't have the help of two of my brothers Robbie and Steven.  I wrote lyric and melody.  Steven and I arranged it, with Steven splashing together all those cool sounds.  Robbie directed and storyboard the video, coming up with cool shot ideas, and then edited the whole thing.  Steven did all the fancy graphics.  My only cringe of complaint is in the chorus where the vocals suddenly get louder then needed; I think we discovered that it was caused by accidentally layering the voice.  It's also why I haven't put the single up for download, because I want to fix it, but Steven and I couldn't figure out how.  I might have to rerecord it, along with finally getting the piano arrangement version out, which would be a good 2016 goal!!!

Here's a behind the scenes video, with arrangement track only.

3. Eat 1 treat or less a day for 3 months

The whole idea of one treat or less comes from the fact that I love treats way too much, and one treat allows the indulgence without the overeating or depriving.  Thing is, I didn't just do the Eat 1 treat or less goal, I went an entire 3 months not eating any sweats, muffins, cereal, etc!!!  At all.  It was quite an accomplishment.

And then I developed bad habits again -_-;;  I'm a work in progress.

4. Do a Ropes Course

 I went camping with some church friends a couple years ago, and this was the first stage in the ropes course.  We had two courses to chose from, and I went for the easier option.  I'm really scared of heights!!!  Like, I hyperventilated the entire time.  Oh my gosh, I was so scared!  You have no idea.  But I did it :0)

5. Ride the Lift at Sundance and Go on a Hike

 This last Summer I rode the Sundance ski lift all the way to the top.  I don't know if what I did can count as a hike.  I walked around and enjoyed the AMAZING sights!  That counts.  Heh.  But the views really are amazing.  And anyone who lives here in Utah has to try it.  There's a point on the platform next to the restaurant--they have really yummy nachos and turkey sandwiches--where you can see both Utah Lake and Deer Creek Reservoir, all in one spot, looking left then right.  It's really gorgeous.  Oh, and the cell reception is the best in the valley because there's a cell tower up there.

6. Send a postcard to myself each month for a year

It seemed silly at first when I decided it would be fun to buy postcards, write a note on it, and then mail it to myself, even in the same city.  As in I drove two miles to drop the postcard off at the Post Office and then waited two days to get it back.  Sounds really silly.  But now I have all these postcards from trips and other adventures sitting in a special box.  It's such a fun way to journal, and looking at the postcards and stamps I've collected is really fun.

7. Receive my 100th Postcard through Postcrossing

When I first started Postcrossing the idea of getting 100 postcards seemed like a crazy high number.  By November 27, 2015 I didn't receive 100 postcards.  I've received over 500 postcards!!  From over 40 different countries.  And I'm still getting postcards.

8. Get a passport

I had a passport when I was a kid, but it was expired by the time I graduated High School.  I wrote down this goal because I really want to travel, and this was the first step.  Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first, which is why it's one of the most important steps when achieving a goal.

9. Visit Another Country

 I visited Japan!!!  That was an incredible goal accomplished.

Here's all the blog posts I've written about this trip thus far.  I still have 3 or so more posts I want to write.

It was amazing :0)

10. Visit Yellowstone

 In 2014 I visited Yellowstone.  Many years before I had visited the Grand Tetons, which are amazing, and only West Thumb in Yellowstone.  I wanted to return so badly, just to see all the natural wonders.  Walking on top a super volcano is really cool.

11. Visit Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde!!  A long time ago, when traveling on another trip, I picked up a collection of brochures.  And one of the brochures was all about Mesa Verde.  As soon as I saw a picture of Cliff Palace I knew I had to visit!  And I'm so glad my brothers, sister-in-law, and I were able to make the trip.

Cliff Palace was amazing.  Petroglyph trail a highlight.  Balcony House scared me to death: That last climb!  It's an amazing place to visit.

12: Have a Game Night

 Having a Mine Craft LAN party totally counts, right?

13. Ride the Heber Valley Railroad

 Riding the Heber Valley railroad was just a really fun thing I wanted to do.  The train, for this voyage, only went to Deer Creek and back.  I really want to ride it again, but this time to Vivian Park and back.  And try one of their theme nights.  I wonder if they're going to do a mystery train this Summer.  Solving a mystery while riding the train sounds really fun.

And those are the 13 goals I accomplished!  Now I need to plan out another 101 goals, including many I didn't accomplish last time.  If I start the next set of goals on Saturday January 16th, 2015, then it would end on October 13, 2018.  These next few years are going to be crazy.  Got to have some good things to look forward to :0)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Mini Movie Review

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

It seems tradition now, every few years around Christmas time, that I see the latest Chipmunk movie with my Dad.  My Mom doesn't have much interest.  So for the first, second, and third movie it was just the two of of.  This time around, for the 4th movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, we took my 4 and 5 year old nieces.  It's always good to see a family movie with the kiddies; they will find amusement in places adults may not, making the movie even more enjoyable, and testing rather a movie is truly a family film or not.

My nieces were quite excited.  The first Chipmunk movie I showed them was The Chipmunk Adventure (1987)--Off To See the World is an incredible song--which they both loved. And I've shown them the 2007's Alvin and the Chipmunks, and 2009's Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which are both good.  I never showed them Chipwrecked because I never bought it, because I didn't care for it.

So as we drove to the theater my nieces had the biggest smiles on their faces.  My 4 year old niece had the biggest grin, and I asked if she was excited, and she said, "Yeah," still grinning, and then explained how she calls them chicks, because they're chickmunks.  I didn't correct her.  She'll figure it out eventually, in the same way she no longer says Winnie-The-Poop, but Winnie-the-Pooh.

In The Road Chip the gang is back, except once again the chipmunks find themselves separated from David Seville, which is a recurring theme.  He's working with a new musical artist while romancing his girlfriend in Miami.  The chipmunks are left at home in LA with their potential future step-brother.  The Chipettes are barely in the movie due to judging American Idol.  And somewhere in there the Chipmunks with potential step-brother in tow decide to "road chip" across America to Miami.

Chaos ensues, naturally.  And there's a new villain who's an air marshal.  Oh, and all the random flash mobs whenever the Chipmunks sing.

The plot, unfortunately, was sloppy.  Some slap-stick scenes were a little too off the wall for my tastes.  But this is a family flick for kids and the movie plays well to that audience.  (I did grow quickly annoyed with this movie's villain, and found myself rolling my eyes whenever he was on.)  I missed the chipettes, but it was nice having the chipmunks be the focus.  And it was nice seeing them in humble circumstances.

Overall the movie had cute moments and fun music.  I was smiling throughout and "LOLed" on quite a few occasions.

My nieces loved it. They sat through the whole thing, and watched it intensely, enjoying the songs and humor.  I didn't get to see the very end because my little niece needed a potty break, and we got back just in time for the credits.  Ah well, my Dad explained what happened, and I'll have to see it again later to see the movie in its completeness.

MPAA:Rated PG for some mild rude humor.

PS. I wrote this review while Off To See The World, from The Chipmunk Adventure, played on loop.  It really is a good song.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mary Poppins Logic

A Conversation my Mom and I had while driving one day.

Me: That must be a very uncomfortable way to travel.  Holding an umbrella with one hand while carrying a suitcase with the other.

Mom: When you're Mary Poppins it doesn't really matter.  She probably doesn't even feel pain.

You know, that's some pretty sound logic.

(As a note, Mary Poppins was technically carrying a carpet bag, but the purpose is the same.  Carpet bags are so cool, one of these days I'll need to get one.)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Martinelli's, Utah, California, and New Years

Happy 2016!!  Can you believe we've been in 2016 for a week now?  I keep writing 2015 instead of 2016, so a part of me is still trapped in the past.

Last week, while perusing around Costco for New Years stuff, I stumbled upon this giant crate of Martinelli's sparkling Cider.  I don't think I've seen this much Martinelli in one place, and my first thought was, "Only in Utah."  This drink is definitely the special occasion drink of choice around these parts.

And then memories of visiting Costco many times in Visalia and Oxnard CA came to mind.  Since moving to Utah over a decade ago, and adjusting to life in this new state--and it is an adjustment, even though I'm LDS aka Mormon--I seem now to always forget Costco has wine aisles in other states.  They don't here.  You can't by wine or alcohol at all, and at typical grocery stores it's nearly the same.  The alcohol is found in the soda section.

The same startled remembrance would also happen all those times I would shop at Albertsons and Vons in Ventura while visiting my grandpa before he sold his home.  (Man, I'm kinda going through withdrawals.  I miss those visits.  Totally took it all for granted.)  But it was always weird walking around California grocery stores and coming upon the wine section.  The things we forget.

You know what's weird!!!???  This Summer I will have lived in Utah for 15 years.  It doesn't seem possible.  I lived in Porterville for 14 years, Kindergarten through my first year at College (PC & COS), and before then Southern California, totaling 19 years in the state.

So Happy New Years everyone!

I hope you haven't given up on any New Years Resolutions.  I'm only just starting mine.  Last night Highland dance stated again, and I have three classes next week.  And this weekend I'm revamping my "diet," and I put the quotations around diet because I need a way of life, not a temporary system.  So this weekend I'm going to clean out the fridge, evaluate the extended pantry, look through cookbooks, and go grocery shopping.  It will be quite the project, but it will be good.

Here's to a great year!  It will be interesting.