Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Congrats on Adulting, a Presumed Trophy for Millennials

I was at Target this afternoon and saw this trophy.  At first I wondered why Target was selling these, until I read what it said: "Congrats on Adulting".  Honestly I did laugh.  Then I rolled my eyes.  Then I laughed again.  A trophy for those who get participation awards, to go along with Monopoly for Millennials.

Growing up in the early 80's, and graduating High School class of 2000, I get lumped into the Millennial generation, though I still argue my age group falls into a micro-generation, lost in between X and Y.  The Xennial.  A little bit analog; a little bit digital.  I was a kid before the internet caught on and everyone had cell phones.  In a way I'm glad for it.  Technology is a help but a hindrance, and it's nice unplugging to get back to basics.

Even so, I'm still technically a Millennial, the generation that gets teased.  We're such easy targets.  But I don't take it personally.  I like a good laugh.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Mickey Mouse Memories Come to a Close, and Disney Wisdom Gets Ready to Launch Next Year

This is the last month for Mickey Mouse Memories, a year long celebration the Disney Store did to celebrate Mickey for his 90th year.  Each month a different Mickey was sold with a decade theme.  I found out about this collection in May, just in time for the Mickey Mouse May 1950's atomic plush.  It's still my favorite.

The Mickey Mouse Memories set came with a plush, mug and pins, all sold separately.  I didn't collect any of the mugs, managed four plushes (May, October, November, and December), and seven pin sets (January, April, May, September, October, November, and December).

This morning I woke up around 1:30 am to get the plush and pins online.  The system was being super slow, spin-wheel of doom, but after 30 minutes the order went through.  Then I got to the mall by 7:00 am with my Mom and got a couple more plushes and pins, so this early morning purchase will be Christmas presents. 

As of this morning the plushes, pins, and mugs were still available.  And it wasn't too crazy at the mall.  Not too bad at all.


I love the quote on the bottom of Mickey's foot.

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." ~ Walt Disney

Only the first and last Mickey in the series got Disney quotes on his foot.

 Really beautiful pins.

And we got a free gift!  Only available at the store.

Playing card sized cards with each of this years Mickey's.

 If you turn the cards over and put them together they show next years theme.

 Disney Wisdom.

Each month, on the third Saturday, there will be a plush, pin, mug, and journal.

 I'm interested in the pins and journal.

 Dumbo is pretty cute, don't know if I'll get him, but I'm interested in Mushu.

 June is the hardest quote to read.

There was speculation that 2019 would be Minnie Mouse, but I like the Disney Wisdom idea.  I won't be getting all of them, though I do want all the pins.

Pin collecting is my favorite.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Seeing My Grandpa's Updated AncestryDNA Region Results Has Me Dreaming of Ireland

(Last September in the Wicklow Mountains, Ireland)

A few months ago there was an update to AncestryDNA results.  They always send the message that our DNA doesn't change, but their information, samples, algorithms, etc, get better.  My percentages changed: 55% Ireland & Scotland, 37% England, Wales & Northwestern Europe, 4% Sweden, 2% Norway, 2% Germanic Europe.  So I think this means I'm 55% Celtic and 37% Anglo Saxon.  Could be wrong.

I was excited to see what my maternal Grandparent results had changed to, did it better match what I know from research?  My Grandma A: 50% England, Wales & Northwestern Europe, 31% Germanic Europe, 15% Ireland & Scotland, 4% Norway.  All her Iberian Peninsula, which was about 14%, gone.  My Grandpa R: 90% Ireland & Scotland, 8% England, Wales & Northwestern Europe, and 2% Norway.  His 90% Ireland and Scotland are no surprise.

Then yesterday I got an email that said AncestryDNA has 150 new regions, 92 regions in Ireland.

I had to see what Irish regions my family taps into.
I personally only tap into one: East Cork & Waterford.  I might have to collect more crystal. :0)
My Mom taps into four: South West Munster, East Cork & Waterford, East Cork, and Iveragh Peninsula.  My Aunt Tam taps into those four plus North Munster.

 Then I looked up my Grandpa.  9 whole regions, all in the South of Ireland: South West Munster, Iveragh Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, East Cork & Waterford, North Munster, East Cork, West Cork, Killarney, and East Beara Peninsula.  The Mahoney's, in which I'm connected, originate in the south of Ireland, so these results match that.  My Mahoney line dead ends in Newfoundland, so having this regional confirmation is nice.  My O'Neil line dead ends in Maine, USA, though the clan history is more north Ireland.  The other Irish family names in my line aren't prominent enough to have a coat of arms or clan history.

 This is exciting, because the two times I've visited Ireland it was this region, and it felt like home.  It was wonderful.  Beautiful landscapes and very nice people.  Now I want to return and see so many places, mainly the Ring of Kerry, but traveling up the coast from Cork to Waterford would be fun as well.

Okay, I just want to go back to Ireland.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Power of Faith

"Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."

A truly powerful talk.

I've been thinking a lot recently about faith and the World.

And I've been thinking a lot recently about light waves, or more specifically the Electromagnetic spectrum. 

We're suppose to believe what we see, right?  Seeing is believing.

And all we can see, what's been seen for centuries, is apart of the visible light spectrum, the classic colors of the rainbow.  That's all we've known.  Yet it wasn't until the 1800's when William Herschel discovered infrared and  Johann Ritter found ultraviolet. Parts of the light spectrum beyond what we can see, yet bees use ultraviolet sight to find flowers.  So, did ultraviolet just come into being in the 1800's because that's when we found out about it, or has this form of light always existed?  It's always been around.

After the discovery of infrared and ultraviolet came microwaves and x-rays and radio waves.  Waves you can hear.  Waves that allow you to see bone.  Finally gamma rays were discovered in the early 1900's, the last part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

But sometimes I wonder if this spectrum is finished.  Are there other waves we've yet to discover?  Are there other waves of light that are experienced in ways beyond sight?

And where does faith come in?  

Do I need a hard defined spectrum of some sort, "spiritual promptings exists at so and so megahertz", to believe promptings of the spirit to be real?  No, I don't.  What I've felt exceeds anything the scientific community tells me.

One of the greatest trials of faith I've experienced was when I tried to get into the music program at Brigham Young University, Provo, auditioning for the classical voice department.  At the time I was attending Utah Valley State College, now a university, and was going to wait a year to finish my general eds and get an associates.  But when my Mom and I were driving by BYU one early Winter day, we both felt, at the same time, an overwhelming feeling that I couldn't wait, I had to transfer as soon as I could.

After some research I found out that the music auditions were at the end of January, so I had about a month or so to prepare.  And I had to be academically accepted by BYU as well, which I doubted would happen.  I didn't feel smart enough to get into BYU.

Long/short of it.  I auditioned.  Cried after the audition because I thought I messed up, and failed the listening portion by a single point, only to learn I didn't have to take the auditory test due to the fact I completed two semesters of music theory at UVSC.  Got accepted by BYU.  Earned a 1/2 tuition academic scholarship.  And then . . . around March or so I found out I was on the waiting list for the school of music.  I emailed and was told if I didn't hear anything by April/May, to assume I wasn't accepted.

What was I to do?  What was I to say?  I knew I needed to go to BYU, because I felt the spirit so strongly.  What should I study?  I didn't hear anything from the music department, so I signed up for English courses.  The whole Summer passed, I did telemarketing to earn money, and it broke my heart every time I told someone I was going to major in English instead of Music.

The only thing that kept me going and focused, and that I was on the right path, was when I prayed sometime in the middle of Summer.  I pleaded to God, begging to know if I was doing the right thing.  I loved UVSC.  I wanted to go to BYU, but was intimidated.  Then, as I was praying about English, I couldn't say the word in my mind.  I didn't even try to speak it.  I couldn't.  And then, all of a sudden, with my eyes closed, I felt the most amazing feeling of love pour over me.  It was sudden and powerful.  So overwhelming that it felt like I was bathed in light.  That's the only way I can describe this feeling, it was the most exquisite outpouring of love and light.  All my fears were calmed and I felt peace. 

Then, a week before the Fall semester started, a FedEx guy knocked on the front door, handed me a large expedited envelope to sign for, where I found a smaller envelope inside, return address: BYU School of Music.  Shaking I opened the letter, my acceptance into the School of Music, voice department showing in bold letters.  I had 24 hours to accept, or it was going to the next person on the waiting list.  That day I headed to campus, accepted my entry into the music program, met a councilor, changed my schedule, and marveled over the power of faith.

I know God lives.  I have a testimony in the power of the Holy Ghost.  And during this Christmas season I celebrate our Savoir and Redeemer.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My New Favorite "Get Away From The Crowds" Spot at Disneyland, and another place to see the Galaxy's Edge contruction

I love Disneyland.  It seems no matter how many times I visit it just never gets old.  But, as much as I love this place, crowds are synonymous with all Disney parks.  Every now and then it's nice, while in the parks, to get away and take in what Disney does best: atmosphere.  When you enter Disneyland you truly are transported, and there's so many ways to escape.  And there's also little nooks and crannies to explore.

I found a new favorite place at Disneyland to go to when I want to get away from the crowds, sit down, kick my feet up, and enjoy a break: The Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country.

The restaurant itself is standard burger fare.  Regardless, if you need a place to sit there's plenty of seating upstairs and down, much of which is in the shade.

I grabbed a far spot on the top deck looking over the Rivers of America.  This spot is far enough away that you can't hear people in the main parts of Critter Country.  You can hear nature bird effects for the river, a native American flute, the Columbia sailing ship passing by, those exploring Tom Sawyer Island, and the passing train.  It's away from everything, yet it feels like you're in the middle of the magic.  If Walt Disney was alive I think he would enjoy this little nook.

For now this restaurant is quiet.  I wonder what it will be like when Star Wars Galaxy's Edge opens, as Critter Country is one of the entry points into this new land opening up next year.  By the way, you can get a view of the construction for Galaxy's Edge at the restaurant.

Want to know one of the best ways to see Galaxy's Edge?  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, right when you take the first big drop at the top.  You see the new land in full panorama, and man is it big.

Watching Columbia pass by.

I grabbed a drink and a ginger bread cookie inspired by the Haunted Mansion.  The day before I tried getting a ginger bread cookie at the Beauty of the Beast restaurant in Fantasyland, Red Rose Taverne, but it was sold out.  Holiday Ginger Bread cookies sale out early.  You can also try the "grey stuff" at Red Rose as well, which is interesting with fruit stuff in the middle.

View of the river from the top deck.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

How Latter-Day Saints Like to Party

My sister-in-law Lindsay and I had a little laugh when we saw how much Sparkling Cider, and other variants, were stored in the fridge for Thanksgiving.  Honestly, it's nice that there's such a good variety.  Thank you Martinelli and Welch's.  Having options make it easier for those of us who don't drink alcohol.

As I was just getting over a mild case of the flu last Thursday I could only muster a little drink and tried the Rosé.  Tasty.  A little different, but good.

It's funny, though, living in Utah Valley.  You know Holiday season is just around the corner because grocery stores will suddenly get in carts of sparkling cider.  There was a huge section, cartons of sparkling drinks, at Winco a few weeks ago, in preparation.  A funny sight.  I can't remember if I ever saw such a thing in California growing up.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Living With Gratitude

"When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives.” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

This morning I watched Thomas S. Monson's talk "The Divine Gift of Gratitude," which is where the two quotes in this blog post came.  A wonderful talk.  If I could copy and paste the whole thing I would.

We live in a World where so much is taken for granted.  There's tragedy, we all endure trials, but for the most part we have so much to be thankful, even in the hardest of times.  I get caught up with the "glass half empty" mantra.  When times are tough it's easy to view life through micro moments, instead of taking a step back and viewing everything as a whole, seeing the little things all together.

It seems lately I've been very blessed.  Blessed in that I've been given opportunities to travel.  This last year has been filled with highs and lows.  I've really struggled.  But overall I shouldn't complain.  I'm thankful.

So I hope this day, Thanksgiving, you can find all the many ways to be thankful.  That you're with family, and if not, you're with friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.

“The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.  Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!” ~ Joseph F. Smith

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

ZenPop November 2018, Japanese Stationery Subscription Box

ZenPop November Stationery Box 2018, Winter Magic Pack

This box actually made really good time this month getting here, arriving early last week, but I was in California.  It arrived around the 12th, which is really good.

ZenPop Japanese Stationery Pack has 10 or more stationary items per box.  You can make a one time purchase, or select a subscription plan of 3 or 6 months.  One box per month and those who get a subscription receive a bonus item.  A single box is $29.50, 3 months is $28x3 = $84, and 6 months is $27.50x6 = $165.  Shipping is free (boxes come from Osaka Japan so this is a great deal) and plans don't automatically renew (which is fantastic).

All quotations throughout this post come from the info paper.
November 2018: Winter Magic Pack
"2019 is a special year for Japan because the current emperor will abdicate in May.  The abdication will mark the end of the Heisei era, and the government will announce the name of the next imperial era in April 1, 2019.  We are so excited to welcome this special year with you.  We hope you like the adorable stationery in this pack.  And we hope your new year will be filled with peace and positive growth!"

I actually really like this box.

I'm starting with my favorite item.

It's so cool.

 Kokuyo Harinacs No Staple Stapler

"This is one of our most unique stationery items we have ever included.  You can staple papers without any staples!  Can you guess how it works?  This works great for about 5 sheets of paper or less.  It punches a hole and folds in on itself.  Perfect for keeping notes or receipts together.  And there are no staples if you have children around or you need to shred stuff.  Cool, right!?"

I'm constantly trying to find staples when I staple things together, and have since just resolved to folding paper in various ways to keep them together, which never works.  This little paper-less stapler does the job well and easily.  I'm so glad this was included in the box.  This will probably get the most use.

It's neat how the paper is punched out and then tucked back in.

 Doggy One Point Markers

"2018 was the year of the dog.  But dogs are cute no matter what year it is, so use these adorable sticky notes when you need a smile or for a little extra boost in your life."

Being a 1982 babe, I was born in the year of the dog.  This box is nice because they're celebrating the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, having both dog and boar items.  I love these cute little doggies.  So adorable.

Otoshidama Pochi-bukuro

"Pochi-bukuro is a special envelope used to give Otoshidama.  Otoshidama is a custom where money is given from Parents and relatives to children on new year's day.  Children in Japan really look forward to getting their Otoshidama every year.  Make someone smile and give them something nice in these gorgeous little envelopes."

I've heard of this tradition, giving money in small envelopes.  I'm trying to figure our how to use them.  This pack comes with 3, and 2 of my nieces and my nephew are old enough to get excited by small amounts of money, so I should practice this tradition with them.  Or maybe I'll get gift cards or something.  Just the right size for that.  We'll see.

Winter Ippitsusen

"Ippitsusen literally translates as "one stroke paper," and it's meant to be used to write a quick note to yourself or someone else.  Of course you can use this pretty pad of paper any way you wish!"

This is really pretty paper.  These are suppose to be Winter themed, but with polar bears being in the north, and the nice constellation theme, I can use this all year long.  Sample pages are shown a few images below.

Kokuyo Beetle Tip Highlighter

"This highlighter has a tip that looks like a beetle horn, and you can use it 3 ways!  Make thin strokes, make double lines using two tips at once, or use the fat tip to highlight normally.  I'm sure there are more creative ways to use it as well, just gotta try it and see!"

This is an interesting highlighter.  Never seen one like it.  With the different shaped tip you do have to look before you mark, but getting different types of lines from a single tip is a neat feature.

Sakura Knock Ball Pen - Lamé

"This ball point pen has sparkly colored ink.  It's not lame it's lamé!  It has a translucent body, a unique shape and a handy little clip.  Use this pen anytime you need to add some color or sparkles to your day."

A nice sparkly pink pen.  I'll have fun using this.

Winter Washi Tape

"You'll get one of 8 different possible winter patterns of washi tape in this pack.  Cozy crafting time is coming!"

This washi tape is very pretty.  I love the deer with the simple Winter backdrop.

2019 Desk Calender

"In Japan, it is said that the animal of the year (from the twelve zodiac signs) will bring the luck to your family and prosperous business if you have the zodiac animal with you.  2019 is the year of the boar, so this desk calendar might bring good luck to you."

A nice simple desktop calendar.

Each sheet is double sided and features an image tied to that month.

Winter Letter Set

"In East Asia, there is a traditional way to think of "seasons", which we divide one year into 24 seasons.  Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter are all divided into 6 micro seasons."  There's some good info of each micro Winter season on the information paper: Rittou, Shousetsu, Taisetsu, Shoukan, and Daikan.  Right now where I live we're in Shousetsu: It begins to get colder and colder.  It starts to snow, although it won't lay at this period."

I'm so glad this stationery set is large enough to send in the mailing system.  Deer again, a theme I don't mind repeating, and the little chickens are cute, too.  Really like this item.

Shibanban Flake Stickers

"Shibanban's washi new year stickers!  Let's say goodbye to the year of the dog.  All the designs of the stickers are something to bring you luck, such as noshi (folded paper), daruma (good luck doll) or inuhariko (papier-mashe dog)."

More cute dogs.  I really like these stickers.

Fun designs, especially the dog on top of Mount Fuji.


Only received by those who subscribe to a 3 or 6 month plan.

Kiguru - Me Eraser

"A cute addition to your pencil case, this eraser comes in black or white and features a costume wearing bird!"

A simple, but nice easier.