Friday, September 12, 2008

New blog!

BJ and I decided that we should join the masses of married people that have joint blogs. We haven't done much to it yet... just a few posts spanning the the last several months. (We started it while we were still engaged.) We finally got a background on it that we like (thanks for the picture, Travis!), so we decided it was time to share it with the world. If you are Google Reader folks, a) good choice and b) take a moment to go look at the actual blog. We don't want BJ's hard work at making it pretty to go to waste. :) It's nothing much yet, remember, but we wanted to share it while it's still in its infancy.

That means I will slowly wean myself off of this blog and onto that one. I'm not sure what the final outcome will be... we shall see.

So, without further ado... our blog:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hanna - 1; Me - 0

Well, looks like I didn't avoid Tropical Storm Hanna. Both of my flights were canceled. [sigh] But I was able to get new flights and I'll still get home tonight... just three hours later. At least, that's the plan for now, as I sit in the Philly airport. Hopefully it'll stay that way come Atlanta. Y'all are remembering me in your prayers, right? :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Missionary Moment

So... being a missionary scares me. Like... spitless. Talking to some random stranger about religion? Scary! I suppose if the stranger brings it up and asks questions, I'm fine. But I really can't fathom a situation where I would be the one to bring up the topic of religion and what we Mormons believe.

That is... until today. So, I'm at this luncheon. When I walked in, most of the tables were full and I didn't see anyone I knew, so I just picked a partially-empty table and asked if I could sit with them. They agreed readily, saying that they were a table of strangers. Then I heard a voice say, "Well, not anymore." I looked up and across the table from me was Steve! Hahaha. Go figure.

Anyway, so we all got talking and I mentioned that I work for FamilySearch. (Now, the problem with saying this is that the Digital Book project is just a teensy weensy bit of FamilySearch. Also, they only quite recently even put us on their website. So I always fear that when I say I work for them (or wear the shirt with the logo on it (which is everywhere at conferences)) that people will think I will know how to use FamilySearch. Hmm... perhaps I should learn how to use it...) They asked what I do and I told them that I was part of the Digital Book Team, which was only a tiny part of FamilySearch, but then explained our mission of digitizing family history books and putting them online for the world to access. One lady asked how much it cost to access. I told her it was free to everyone. Susan, the lady next to me, looked doubtful. "Why would you do that?"

!!! Now what? Perfect opportunity, but how do I explain without babbling forever? I think that's another reason why I'm scared of missionary opportunities. I don't know how to simplify things. How do I answer this questions without a huge discussion about temples and sealing and then gosh, we'll have to get into priesthood keys and I'm not entirely clear on that, and ahhhh! I don't have time for this!

Instead I used previous conversation to help me. Susan is quite new to the genealogy world. She did her genealogy, but did it all by herself. She had no idea the network that was in the world... people wanting to help other people put family histories together. Once she experienced this network she was shocked at how many people wanted to freely share everything they had done with her. Why would people be so nice and sharing? She loved it. So when she asked why we would do all of this work for free, I reminded her about how genealogists wanted to share everything and told her that's what we were doing. "Why should our Family History Library be limited to only those people who can come to Salt Lake? We want people to be able to do their genealogy sitting at home at 2 am in their pajamas." Another lady commented on how those were called "Slipper Genealogists" and conversation went on from there.

Here and there questions were asked about the Church's projects, but most of those questions I deflected to Steve. (Oh thank you, Steve, for being at that table! I really need to learn so much about us before I do anything like this on my own!) I think he convinced half of them to do Internet Indexing by the end of it. (Did you know you get a free subscription to if you do? Who knew?)

Susan got a phone call she had to take and left. I got this feeling after she left that I needed to tell her more about why we do this. Why we think it's so important that we provide these services for free. Oddly enough, I wasn't even afraid about it. Of course, about a minute before she came back they started the lecture (which was hilarious. I'll have to blog about that in and of itself). So when she came back I couldn't say anything to her. But through the entire presentation bits of things I could say kept creeping through my mind.

After the lecture was over, conversation just never lent itself to an easy opening while we gathered our stuff up. So I made a point to leave as soon as Susan did. Of course, now fear enters. What am I gonna say? Can I really do this? !!!!! I really almost just said goodbye and left. But I didn't! Be proud everyone!

Susan and I were walking down the hall, towards the classrooms where the next set of sessions were (even though I had every intention to go the opposite way back to my room so that I could go do some touring before I leave) and just chit chatting. A pause finally came and I worked up the guts to say, "So, you were wondering why we're willing to do this for free." Her faced lit up in an "I knew it! There really is a catch!" sort of way. But I plowed on. "We believe that families are forever. We don't believe that they have to be separated at death. So we need to put families together now. So you were asking why we're willing to do this for everyone and not just members of our church? Well, aren't we all family? We were joking back at the table that we were all related somehow, so everyone should have the opportunity to be together. It's not fair to keep a family apart just because they don't belong to our church." Her expression changed as I was speaking. She looked thoughtful now. "I'm sorry I was skeptical," she said, "but in this day and age, everything seems to have a catch. It's refreshing to know that there are still genuine people out there."

I figured this would be the end of the religion topic, but I was wrong. It was her turn to look really nervous as she stammered her way through a question for me. "What is the difference between LDS and Mormon?" Shocked by the question (I had expected polygamy or prophets or Word of Wisdom), I took a second to answer. But I told her the official name of our church and how LDS was just a shortened form. Cuz really, who wants to say, "Oh, you're Catholic? I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." It's just too long, so we decided to shorten it for ease of conversation. Then I explained how Mormon was a nickname given to us because we believe in the Book of Mormon. I explained a little about the Book of Mormon (oh, why didn't I bring one with me?!) and how people used the term against it, but how we don't take offense to it, because the Book of Mormon is such a central part of our religion. But because people don't believe we're Christian (enter different beliefs such as the Trinity here), we wanted to change our focus so that people know that we are, in fact, Christian. Thus, we use LDS, which indicates our full title, which includes Jesus Christ, instead of Mormons. We use both, though. LDS is just more formal while Mormon is more casual.

She was a little confused because she thought LDS and Mormon were two different sects. Like, a break-off group or something. So I explained to her that when Joseph Smith died, there werebreak-off groups. That's why there are now RLDS (now Community of Christ) and FLDS (I think that's what it's called?) churches. We have some of the same basic doctrine, but there are significant differences. For example, the FLDS have been all over the news because of polygamy, whereas we don't practice that anymore. (The look on her face told me that I hit right on the money of what she had been thinking.)

At this point we had been standing outside of the classrooms for awhile and she really needed to get into a session. I wished her luck with her genealogy and she wished me luck with my touring of Philly. Then she gave me a hug and thanked me for being willing to share and talk with her. Then she asked my name and we talked about how I just got married (yes, my name tag says Tianna Lovell), and she went off to class.

As I walked back to my hotel room, I couldn't help but be a bit pleased with myself. I had done it! I've been praying for missionary opportunities and for the courage to act upon them when they came... and I did it! I truly was blessed today. First, to sit by Susan, second to have the impression, and third, for receiving the courage to act upon it. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about it. I may not know everything, I may babble too much, my voice may have shook through the whole conversation, and I maybe didn't say all of the things I should have said (whoa - this sounds like me on Fast Sunday if I get up to bear my testimony), but I knew I did what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. And now I have a friend in Susan.

Wanted: Prayers

I fly out of Philly on Saturday early afternoon and have a layover in Atlanta for several hours. I'm really nervous because Tropical Storm Hannah is on her way, and will quite possibly interfere with my my flights and cause delays and all that jazz. Meh. I don't want to be late. Could you please all pray for me and good weather? I have no desire to be stuck in an airport during a tropical storm.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Room Service

I got breakfast this morning via room service. (Question: how much should you tip room service people?) Here's a bit of our conversation as I filled out my receipt:

RS: Is this your first time in Philidelphia?
Me: Second. But the first time I was, oh, about 13. So I don't remember much.
RS: [laughs] Where are you from? What city?
Me: (knowing that he'll have no idea where "Ririe" is, I decide to go for the state.) Idaho.
RS: Idaho? I've heard of this. [pause] Is it an island?
Me: [stifles a laugh] No. Do you know where California is?
RS: Oh yes, California!
Me: It's north of that.

As he left the room I heard him muttering to himself, "Idaho... Idaho..."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mike and Chocolate

So, Mike took all of us and some of our partners (and one other lady, Monique, that he "felt like he should invite") out to dinner tonight. I had no idea when I walked out of my room how amazing this would turn out to be.

So we went to this family-style Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel. Our waitress was this hilarious black girl (I'm not being discriminatory... it just helps understand her attitude and it becomes important later in the story.) named Dee. She came out and introduced herself and explained the family-style dining (we get two appetizers, two salads, two pasta dishes, two meat dishes and two desserts, then we all share them). Then as she was walking away Mike stopped her. Now, I should tell you that Mike loves to take people out to dinner and refuses to let anyone else pay. He's just a great guy that way. So anyway, he stops Dee and said just loud enough for everyone to hear so they wouldn't try to go behind his back and pay, "I'm the only person at this table that has any money." Dee's face lit up and she squealed and ran around and gave him the biggest hug from behind and said, "Oooh! My kind o' man!" The look on Mike's face mixed with the unexpected behavior of our over-energetic waitress was too much, and we all just about died in giggles.

Dinner ended up being fantastic... but way too much food. For starters we had two salads (a caesar salad and a house salad), onion strips, giant mushrooms covered in some sort of breaded topping, and crab cakes. I could have easily eaten enough to be content. However, knowing that there was much food yet coming, I resisted. The main course included lobster ravioli, lasagna, chicken parmesan, and chicken marsala. I ate as much as I could while still leaving room for dessert.

All during the main course we just sat and talked. Sue dominated the conversation, and man am I glad that she did. She told us the most amazing stories of things that had happened in her library (she's the director). Everything from a Mexican guy who washed his hair in the toilet to a guy who chased a 12-year old around the parking lot with a belt to a registered sex-offender who came into the library, pulled up his picture on the sex-offender website and showed it to the person sitting next to him. Let me tell you, Sue is a riot.

Finally came dessert. Strawberry cheesecake and vanilla bean ice cream with toppings on the side. Typically I'm not the biggest fan of cheesecake. It's just too rich to take more than a few bites. But this stuff, man oh man. It's fantastic. Utterly fantastic. It was so light and delicious. Mmmmm...

Anyway, so Dee came out to give Mike the check. He looked at it and asked her if tip was included.

Dee: "Yes. 18%."
Mike: "Make it 20."
Dee: "Are you sure?"
Mike: "Yes."
Dee: "Are you sure?!"
Mike: "Unless you don't want it."
Dee: [puts out her hands in a "stop" signal] "No, no, no!"

At this point, she squeals again, runs over to Mike's side, gives him a side hug and pretends to kiss his cheek. Then she straightens up and starts to leave. But not before Mike gets his say. In a loud voice he hollered after her, "I didn't get a real one!" We thought it was going to end at that because she was busy looking over a bill at another table, but as soon as she finished she came back over, very visibly prepped herself, then leaned over and kissed Mike on his outstretched cheek. We all laughed and clapped. As Dee left this final time she remarked to the rest of us, "Now he can't say he didn't have chocolate for dinner."

I'm not sure I've ever eaten or laughed so much in one sitting.

1776 --> Philadelphia

So, I'll try not to babble too much this trip, as I tend not to finish my trip blogs when I do that. But there are some stories that simply must be told.

So I'm on the plane when I noticed that the guy in front of me is playing some sort of trivia game on his TV. (There was a TV on the back of every seat.) So I decided to see what all there was. I found Bookworm and Bejeweled, but they cost $5 each. Yipes! Anyway, so they had this trivia game, and it was free. I'm horrible at trivia, but whatever. After a turn or two I realized that I was playing against the other passengers in the plane. One of the contestants (there were only 4 live players at the time) was Steve. (I work with him and he was sitting just a few seats away from me.) Humored, I started playing. And he destroyed me. I didn't realize how good Steve was at trivia. He took first place, in fact. (Hah! The look on his face!) But then again, I had come in halfway through the round. So we started a new round and I actually held my own. I was rather impressed with myself. I stayed in first place for awhile (until the guys back in the back of the plane started playing and dethroned me). Steve kept glancing back at me, apparently trying to discompose me, but it just made me laugh.

Later, long after I gave up on trivia, I was just sitting around listening to Harry Potter 5. I'm engrossed in the story when, from somewhere in the plane I hear, "911 Emergency" in a very official, emergency-like voice. Scared me to death. I quickly turned off my iPod and started looking around. The guy across the isle from me had his laptop open and was trying frantically to turn it off, close it (the audio continued), mute it, anything. It took him awhile, but he finally succeeded, red-faced and thoroughly embarrassed. I'm pretty sure he works for Family Search, but I don't know who he is.

Next adventure: baggage claim. I stood there, waiting for my luggage for 45 minutes. It was ridiculous. Steve was very nice and waited with me, even though his luggage came through quickly. Toby and her mom also waited patiently a ways behind, even though they didn't check any baggage. We would later all share a taxi to the hotel. While I waited, and waited, and waited, I started people watching, luggage watching, and a bit of eavesdropping. I got something interesting out of all of them.

People-watching: There was an Amish family there. I feel really dumb because I saw them, tried to figure out what religion they were (the headdress simply wasn't Muslim) and finally decided they must be Amish. Much later that night at dinner I was talking about how Jalin served her mission here and when we picked her up we spent about 2 hours in Philly and the rest of the time out in rural areas. Someone commented, "Yeah, with the Amish." And suddenly it clicked. Of course the people at the airport were Amish... we're in Pennsylvania! [rolls eyes at self]

Luggage-watching: My favorite was this luggage for an entire family that went around and around and around. How did I know they belonged together? Because they had written their name and address really large on the side of the luggage with a Sharpie. Also? They were from Vietnam. Awesome.

Eavesdropping: The lady standing next to me had been in Missoula, Montana and had a direct flight back to Philly. However, the plane coming in that would then take them was delayed. So they waited. And then the plane finally came in and as it was landing got struck by lightening! So, of course, they couldn't fly in that plane. So they ended up getting shipped to SLC and from there to Philly. Anyway, best part of the story... the passengers of the lightening-struck plane got off. Huey Lewis steps off the plane and says, "Dude. That was awesome. I have to do that again."

There was also a large crowd of missionaries just arriving. The missionary president's wife was there, welcoming them, and it was all just fun to watch.

Lastly was the taxi ride. Now, I realized that my taxi-experience is rather... unusual. I'm not sure I've ever ridden in a taxi in the states, but I've ridden in far too many in foreign countries. I was shocked to see a posted rate (my favorite being that while waiting, the charge is counted per 38 seconds. ... why?! Who's gonna do that math?!), a credit card machine, a list of rights for passengers and driver, a no smoking sign (with no smell of smoke to boot) and the ID of the driver in the window. So strange. Also, I was shocked that four of us got from the airport to the hotel for only $37. And that included a tip. Who knew that taxis are reliable in America? I did struggle remembering this was an American taxi, though, as the driver was quite possibly Muslim and there was no A/C. I had to keep reminding myself that as I mocked the fact that the essential parts of the ID were hidden by sticker remains on the window, he could understand me. So I had to keep my voice down.

Who knew travel could be so interesting in the States, too?

A note from the plane

So, I'm flying to Philadelphia today for a conference for work. I got to the airport and realized that when the Church booked my flight a couple of months ago, I wasn't married. Yup, my boarding pass says "Tianna Lovell". But guess what my drivers license says? "Tianna Homer" !!!

I got to the security guard (after waiting in lines for 3 miles) and immediately explained my situation. I ended up pulling out credit cards in both my married and maiden names, my CostCo card and my business cards. Next up was going to be my temple recommend, but by then he decided I had showed enough ID to believe me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jerusalem, the end

Hey everyone! I finally finished my Jerusalem entries. You don't see them here because I decided to post-date them back to the actual date they were written about. (As I will be doing with all of the Jerusalem posts.) So if you actually care enough to read the last three (they get shorter progressively) you can find them here, here, and here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Next project: Thank You cards

I love ArtCo. While I was in Idaho this week I bought over 300 thank you cards and 225 (I miscounted. Oops?) envelopes for a grand total of $6.50. You can't buy 20 thank you cards and envelopes at WalMart for that price.

I suppose this means I now have to start sending out thank you cards, huh?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jerusalem pics

So, people keep telling me that my Jerusalem blogs are long and boring and would be much better with pictures. Well, guess what. My pictures aren't nearly as cool as Travis'. Lucky for all y'all, Travis happens to be updating his blog with pictures of our trip right now. (Well, not this very second as I am currently using his computer, but you know what I mean.) So, I'm going to go back to my old posts and put in links to his corresponding blogs, starting with June 22, 2007 and just updating links whenever he does.

If y'all don't have the energy to spare to go back and look at each individual blog, you can go here and just see all of his Jerusalem pictures. Be sure to check back often as it will update as he puts new pictures in.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Luncheon

Ok, I promised pictures, here they come. We'll start with the luncheon. There's not a whole lot to say. The pictures say most of it. We had the luncheon at the central location of Thanksgiving Point. Beautiful. The food was amazing. The company was superb. Both dads gave excellent, tear-jerking speeches. BJ gave an adorable one, too. All of the women (moms and me) tactfully declined speaking. Throughout all of the luncheon, Jalin's kids came up and hung around at the front table. They love me, what can I say? (Ok, let's be honest. They love Grandma and Grandpa and I'm pretty sure they've all chosen BJ as the new favorite.) Ok, let's just enjoy pictures with random interjections by me.

This is Cody with Grandma and Grandpa Lovell while Grandpa said his peace. He, of course, made me cry. (Grandpa, not Cody) But that's expected, right? He's my Daddy. And I'm his baby. This was a big moment for the both of us.
This is Kristen, who spent half of her time sitting on my lap and playing with the both of us.
BJ's dad wrote me a letter, kind of explaining BJ to me. At the end he gave me the letter. I'll cherish it forever. It definitely made me cry. BJ's mom is sitting next to BJ.

Now BJ tells the story of how we met and such. It was adorable. He did a beautiful job of telling the story. All happiness. I maybe was supposed to speak, too. Instead I clung to him and just smiled at everyone staring at us.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wedding pictures

I response to the hounding I have received to get pictures of the wedding up on this blog, I present a compromise (since I don't have any pictures here with me). Travis, my brother who was also my photographer, posted pictures on his blog. So here I present to you some pictures of The Wedding Day and also The Idaho Reception*. I'll get more pictures up when I actually take time at home to find and blog them.

*Please note that Jessica's dress was done by the Idaho reception and you can see many pictures of her in it. Also, my dress, all of the little girls' matching dresses, my mom and sister's dress and all of the little boys' bow ties and cummerbunds were made by my mom and sister. BJ's oldest sister's (who, unfortunately, is not pictured in these blogs, but will be shown in later blogs of mine) dress was made by his mom. Don't we have the most awesome families EVAR?


Ok, ok, so it's finally time that I write about the amazingness that was the day of my wedding.

The amazingness actually started the night before. My mom stayed up way too late, trying to finish up my dress. We all agreed that was probably the most important one to get done. I, however, decided to go to bed so that I wasn't half asleep on my wedding day. (I maybe stayed up till like... 2 or something.) My former roommate, Melissa, had come down to do my hair and makeup and ended up staying up later with my mom. I had just gotten into bed when I heard a tiny knock and my door creaked open. It was Melissa. She had a problem. She had been ironing my veil (it was super wrinkled) and was all done and looking to make sure she hadn't missed any spots when out of nowhere she spotted, in horror, a giant hole melted into the veil! She felt incredibly awful... I mean, there were tears in her eyes. (Ok, let's be honest, if I were in her shoes, I would have done the same thing.) She was convinced that she had ruined my wedding. I, however, thought nothing of the sort. By this point I was so apathetic about everything that I had to keep myself from laughing. I assured her that it was ok and it'd all work out. We had to go buy a slip in the morning, so we'd just get a veil, too! No big deal.

Next morning I got up at some ridiculous hour, like 6... after only 4 hours of sleep. Melissa did my hair and makeup (I looked beautiful! Thanks Melissa!!!) then started doing Jessica's hair whilst I gathered everything together. Then Jessica, Melissa and I took off to do shopping. First it was BYU to get a gift for my sister, Jalin, who was my matron-of-honor.

As we left BYU, I realized I was out of gas, so I stopped to fill up. One crazily expensive tank of gas later, we hopped back in the car... and it didn't start. My heart sank. We were on a time crunch as it was. My car had done this before a few times. I just had to keep trying and in 10-15 minutes, it would start. But we didn't have 10-15 minutes! We sat there, laughing about the whole thing, slightly anxious about the passing time, when Melissa offered the first logical suggestion, "Why don't we say a prayer?" Jess and I just looked at each other... until I asked Melissa if she would say it. She chastised our lack of faith, then said a prayer.

Now, let me be clear here. I wasn't being faithless... I just... I dunno... didn't think about praying. I knew it would start in another 5-10 minutes, so why bother God? I mean, I had already been saying silent prayers to please let it start and please let us get everything done in time. I guess I'm just not used to saying formal prayers for little things like that.

When the prayer was over, we all looked at the ignition in anticipation. Would it start? I turned the key; the engine revved. Jess and I both looked shocked; Melissa looked smug. The engine died; we all laughed. Melissa blamed our lack of faith. I just laughed and said, "But it was so close to being the perfect Sacrament Meeting talk!"

At this point I got desperate and started talking to my car. Now, this car was bought brand new by my brother, Damian, back in 2003. Last year I totaled my car, so he sold this'un to me. It had been a perfect little car for Damian... no problems at all. Then I took ownership and it started falling apart. I had no idea what the difference was. Did the car miss Damian's kids? Maybe he missed Idaho? Perhaps he didn't like his name? (It was Charlie, for the record.) We had several long talks whenever something went seriously wrong. After the last trip to Saturn where I replaced two tires (I had replaced the other two only a few months before) and had to put off two other very costly repairs (the not starting being one of them) the car and I had a very long talk where I plead my case. He had worked very nicely ever since.

Until that morning. Why on my wedding day? Did he know I had plans to sell him once I got married? Was he rebelling? So now I was desperate and had a little chit chat with Charlie, begging him to work. Jess and I talked about it and decided that perhaps Charlie was having an identity crisis and was really a girl. What if we renamed him and made him a her? The first feminine version of the name "Charlie" that I could think of popped into my head. "Charlita?" The car started immediately.

Charlita it is.

Next stop? Walmart. Several miscellaneous things later, we were on our way to the mall. Miraculously, we were right on time. First stop? Alysse's Bridal.

"Do you rent slips?"
"Do you sell them?"
"Do you rent veils?"
"Do you sell them?"

I tried on slips while Jess and Melissa looked at veils. I picked the slip I want, then realized that the veils cost about $60-100 more than my mom bought my original one for at Michael's. But if I bought another one at Michael's, it'd be wrinkled and we really didn't have time to iron it and such! Luckily, the nice lady that works there was eavesdropping and she was much concerned about me, since I was gonna be late for my own wedding. "If you buy the veil at Michael's and bring it back, we'll steam it for you. You should never iron it."

So Melissa and I headed over to Icicle to get jewelry while Jessica went and got the veil. She called my mom once she got there, because they didn't have the same veil I had before. Mom told her to ask me what I wanted. Jess, bless her, knew I couldn't care less at this point, and picked the one that she liked best. It was beautiful. She had it back and steamed before Melissa and I were done picking out jewelry.

We met back up at the mall and sped home to meet Mom, Dad, and BJ. We all then rushed to Thanksgiving Point, arriving to my own wedding luncheon 45 minutes late. [sigh]

The only other point of stress for the rest of the day was the fact that Mom didn't get Jessica's dress done in time, so they were all late to the reception. And Jess wore her new top with the skirt that she wore to the temple.

Other than that, the day was beautiful, relaxful, and perfect. It'll get its own blog later ... with pictures.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I was looking through pictures to blog about today and saw this one. It made me laugh again. Please note the sign on the top right.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thanks, Cary!

Less than an hour after posting my last post, I received the following on my Facebook wall:

Reasons why Tianna is awesome:

1. She has the best quote of all time on her Facebook from the best movie of all time. (Hint: mashed potatoes)

2. She has a Harry Potter quote of the day on her Facebook.

3. Her last name is Homer. That is cool."

In another wall post:

Do you really have a relative named Dianna Lovell--and if so, was that planned? Yet another reason why Tianna is awesome.

Dear Cary ~

I have no idea if those posts were due to this blog, if you even read this blog, or if it was just random coincidence. Point is, it was well timed and I love you dearly for it. Thanks for a much needed pick-me-up. :D

~ Tianna

Jesus said love everyone; treat them kindly, too

I used to think that I was an easy person to get along with. I never had any enemies; people that I wasn't friends with didn't dislike me... we were just never friends is all. I have never hated a soul, nor do I ever plan to. I am nice to a fault... it's really easy for people to walk all over me. I guess I've prided myself on my ability to make and keep friends and never be disliked.

This phase in my life is the one where my pride is met with humility.

It started a year ago when my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend (who just happened to be my friend as well) got jealous of all the time I spent with him. There was much drama before there was forgiveness. That was a really hard time for me. I don't like it when people don't like me. Luckily, with time, we've all worked out our differences and are friends again.

Currently I have a couple of friends who are quite mad at me, and I'm not sure why. I wish I knew what I had done so that I could apologize or change. We were once good friends. There was drama. Now I am disliked. I hate loosing friends--especially ones I was once so close to.

Also currently I'm in the middle of a row with my former landlady. (I've been listening to Harry Potter and it's showing up in my vocabulary.) It saddens me because I loved that house and hate to leave it with a tainted memory. Also because I hate the idea that my landlady is mad at me. Also, because I would like at least part of my deposit back. I sent her a letter explaining my side of the story, hoping we could work something out. I haven't heard back from her yet except an email that clearly showed that she hadn't forgiven me. But point is, now she is mad at me, and I'm sure her daughter and son-in-law are, too. All of them I had been on good terms with for a long time. [sigh]

I desperately hope that this concludes the list of people angry with me. It hurts my heart to know that I have hurt other people and pray desperately for forgiveness and renewed friendship. Or at the least, non-bitterness. I do try to live kindly and not offensively. Alas, I am not perfect, as my track record is starting to show. For a long time it really got to me. Yes, there have been tears. I'm now coming to the conclusion that I simply can't be perfect and loved by all, as much as I would love to be. I guess the only thing left to do is to pray for strength to continue forth, being better and more loving every day. Having no idea how to change the past, I can only try to make the future better.

If anyone happens to read this that falls into the category of "Angry at Me", please, I beg you, find it in your heart to forgive me. I miss you. I've never meant to hurt you. If I don't know that you fall into this category, please tell me what I've done wrong so that I can reconcile my wrongs. I've never meant to hurt you, either.

Can't we all just be friends?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Flowers = joy

Our new landlady pays someone to come take care of our yard (though, we still water it). This is fantastic in that we never have to mow the lawn or trim the rosebush. In fact, one time BJ was home when he came, so he asked him to take out the rosebush that was concealing our spigot (which made for an interesting time in watering the lawn).

One morning I was in the living room and heard a weed whacker outside. About an hour later I went outside to water plants and noticed that one of two actual plants (as opposed to weeds) in the flower bed had been weed whacked! And, of course, it was the one with the flower bud on it. I was heartbroken. I didn't even know what kind of flower it was gonna be, but I loved the leaves and the bud.

Having had a lot of success with starts of plants by simply cutting off a stem, putting it in water, then planting it when the roots are long enough, I decided I'd stick it in water—just to see what happened. If nothing else, perhaps it would at least have enough time to bloom.

Today it bloomed! It made me so happy! And it's beautiful. Anyone know what kind of flower it is?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Kitties need help! Puh-lease?

Due to a ginormous miscommunication between myself and my former landlady (please don't get me started) Jess, Rachel and I need to find new homes for our kitties. There are two adorable cats that are in desperate need of good homes. I can't bear to let them go to a shelter where chances are great that they'll just be euthanized. They started as inside cats and were quite well-behaved. (Drawly, one of the kittens that we found a new home for, is currently an inside cat.) For the last few months, all of them have lived outside and have done perfectly well out there. Thus, they can be inside or outside cats.

The momma cat is Sonja. Isn't she adorable? She makes a wonderful house cat. She's very quiet and calm. She rarely jumps on things or scratches furniture. I was quite amazed at how well she acted in the house. She's rather timid about new places, so she may hide for the first few days, but she does come out of her shell. And she loves to be pet under her chin. And now I present, Sonja (look how good of a Momma she is):

Sir Guy (named after the BBC Robin Hood character that we are all in love with) is just becoming a teenager. Since we had to take his brother and best friend, Drawly, away, he has been a lot more calm and loves attention, though he'll only let you hold him for a short time. He can be quite playful and is great fun to watch climbing trees. (He has even become adept at climbing down.) He has this very entertaining sideways jump and loves to chase after anything that moves. And now I present, Sir Guy (How can you resist those eyes?):

Please, please, I am begging anyone who can give these kitties a good home to step up. You can email me at or give me a call if you know my number. We have one cat carrier if you need it to move the cat. We'd like to keep them together, but understand completely if you can only take one. We also have a kitty litter and some litter to go with it. But only one, so first come, first serve.

If it comes down to bribery, I offer one dessert of your choice (assuming I can make it) to anyone who will give them a good home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Invite

Many of you may not have gotten this. It's not a personal insult, so please don't take it as such. I had no idea how many people there were in the world until I had to start listing them. Added to BJ's list and both of our parents' lists, let's just say people are bound to get lost in the cracks. Every day I have a revelation as to someone that I left out (or in one case, an entire group of people) and feel awful. But then I decided, hey, this is my wedding. I'm not gonna spend the entire time feeling guilty. So, if you never got one I ask that you do one of two things a) blame it on the post office (there is at least one person I know I sent one to that has never gotten it and several invites that have been returned) or b) give me your forgiveness as a wedding present. Let's all be friends, k? And with that, let me present to you... our invite!

Map to the Riverton reception (1454 Riverton Ranch Rd. Riverton, Utah. Tomorrow, June 20, from 7-9) can be found here.

Map to the Idaho reception (13134 N. 130 E. Ririe, Idaho. Next Friday, June 27, from 7-9) can be found here. (This'un was a bit trickier. I had to set it up as getting directions to a specific place. Hope it works!)

Also, we're registered at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.
BJ: "Gifts welcome."

Friday, June 6, 2008

France, part 9 - Lunch at Le Beouf sur la Place

So, I'm noticing that my blogs are centered around food. Well, what can you expect when I spend my entire day at work and eat such crazy meals? Don't worry, I'm gathering up pics for a more random picture blog. Also, I'm in the airport, waiting for my flight to Paris. I'm sure I'll have some fun non-food pictures there. Also, I didn't eat breakfast yesterday, so you don't have to see another picture of that. I suppose I could have taken a picture of my orange juice can from my mini-bar... oh well. Too late now.

Lunch today was at a very French restaurant (cuz they haven't been before now?) in Pessac (where we actually are. About 20 (?) km outside of Bordeaux. Isn't this just a fun picture? A large collection of tables outside... it just seems French to me. We sat inside, though, which I was grateful for, because it was a kind of cold day, and I didn't have a jacket. (Smart, Tianna. Don't pack a jacket. You're cold-blooded, for heaven's sake!)

JP likes to take pictures of everything. Her camera didn't have a good enough zoom, however, to get a good picture of these coffee cups, so I took it for her. I have to admit, despite the fact that I hate that smell, the cups are kind of cute.

Here is my placemat. "Eet ees everyting French! Wine, goat cheese, and bread." I was amazed at how beautiful the drawing was for something that was just thrown away. No, I did not keep it.

Here is our menu. Once again, all in French and no pictures. JP got the top middle one. Her potatoes were good, but I wasn't really in the mood to try crazy foods like she was. Plus, it had the pattee stuff like she had the night before, which was much better than the raw fish, I must admit, but I wouldn't want to eat it in large quantities. By this point, my stomach was just begging for a Hawaiian pizza or mashed potatoes. In fact, I went home that night and begged BJ for real food when I get home.

I ended up getting something off a hand-written menu: Salade, Serrano, tomates, mazaxelle, melon 14 €. Translation: Salad with tomatoes and mozzarella and melon on top of ham. "Is the ham cooked?" (I was paranoid by now.) "Umm.. I don't know. I seenk maybe not." "Well, if it is, can they make it without it? Or at least put it on the side?" He asked the waitress. Apparently I was making a fuss, because they argued back and forth for awhile, though she would randomly laugh, so I wasn't afraid I had made her angry. (Though, for the record, it was really busy, so I couldn't blame her for being frustrated at taking longer at our table.) When she left, Franck informed me that it was entirely up to the cook and whether he was in a good mood or not. I crossed my fingers. I guess we caught him on a good day, because they ended up putting everything on the side. (Yes, the ham was raw.) I have to say, the tomatoes and mozzarella were really good together. (JP says one of her favorite treats is melted cheese and tomatoes on toast. I must try this. It also had some unknown spice, some crazy pepper that has to be a mix of peppers and sea salt. The salad had sprouts and tomatoes and lettuce and was again drenched in some sort of vinaigrette that was far too strong for its own good. Poor Franck always looked up when I was pulling a face because the dressing was too strong. I'm sure he thought I hated it. It wasn't too bad. Especially with the cantaloupe that was divine... even with the spices and dressing on it. Though, I will admit that I was coveting JP's potatoes. She let me have one and they were good. Really good. But I do tend to favor potatoes... I'm an Idaho girl! :) But by the end, I was too full to even eat what she had left over.
Next... dessert! Having been impressed by the île flottante at the Hippopotamus, I decided to have another go at it. I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten half of it... so it looked a lot better about 3 minutes prior to this. But let's just say, it was delicious. These amazing desserts make the crazy gross food almost worth it. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

France, part 8 - seafood dinner

After the beach, Franck and Phillip took us to this crazy French restaurant on the beach. Because it was on the beach, guess what kind of food they served? You guessed it! This is what I saw on the way in... needless to say, I was slightly nervous.

Here is our menu. Feel free to enlarge it. With no pictures this time, Franck and Phillip spent a lot of time detailing the menu for us. It was a three-course meal. For the starter, I got the white fish with coconut, for dinner, the bas, for dessert, the chocolate cake with red fruits on top. Let's see how I fared...

Here's the white fish with coconut. Umm... they forgot to mention that the fish was raw!!! Eww! Gross. I didn't even realize it until my fork was almost in my mouth. Y'know, the point where you just can't stop it. And once it was in, I couldn't just spit it out. Talk about rude in a fancy, shamancy restaurant. So I swallowed. But not w/o gagging first. I had no napkin in hand, so I just put my hand in front of my mouth to hide my rudeness. But JP saw the horrible look on my face and busted out laughing. I quickly swallowed and drank a bunch of water and joined her in her continued giggling. We both giggled randomly throughout the rest of the night. In fact, if you mention it to her, I'm sure she'll start giggling again. Needless to say, I did not even attempt to finish that one. Tom finished it and Dennis got really close. Kudos to both of them. (Though, I did see Dennis struggling with a straight face a couple of times.) The stick in front was some sort of pastry and it was really good. The cherry tomatoes to the left were super potent (Travis' worst nightmare, I'm sure) and the brown stick they were sitting on wasn't a stick, come to find out, it was some sort of tomato paste. Remarkably good, actually. (Thanks to JP for being brave and trying it first!) Oh, and what's that stuff on the garnish that looks remarkably like bits of raspberries and blackberries?

... caviar! (Gross. And no, I didn't eat it.)

Now on to the main course. The sea bass. This was decidedly more tasty. Quite good, in fact. It is sitting on top of a bunch of apparently really expensive mushrooms. "Ehh.. not too bad. Probably two one hundred euros per kilo." That's like, $300-400! "But eet ees not as expenseeve as zee ... what you call it? black, under zee ground [we later figured out they were truffles]. Zose sell for one or two sousand euros per keelo." No wonder these people have no problem forking out 38 euros for dinner as if it were McDonalds.

Check out JP's shrimp! That thing is huge! Though, once you got past the shell and all that (which she had to pull off by hand), it ended up being about the size of the shrimp back home. She ended up trading her plate with Franck to have the same thing I had. (That was the plan from the beginning. They'd get different plates and she'd try both. If she liked his better, they'd swap.)

Finally, dessert! Once again, the French have outdone themselves. This chocolate cake was super moist, even still a bit doughy (but in a good way... like undercooked brownies) with really delicious french vanilla ice cream on top. It's sitting on top of some sort of sauce that I couldn't quite place. It was a little tart, but really sweet, too. If that's possible. There was also some raspberry sauce at the bottom which was amazing. Then there was one raspberry (which was a shame, because that raspberry was packed full of flavor) and one... I dunno what. It's the orange thing on the left. It looks like a cherry tomato when you bite into it, but it doesn't taste like a tomato at all. More like an... apricot, maybe? The flavor was familiar, but I couldn't place it. Tom said he accidentally planted some one year in his garden... he thought it was a tomato plant. It had some clearish leaves (That turned yellow upon drying) that apparently grow around the fruit. Anyone know what it is? And lastly, there was the stick-looking thing. If you recognize it, you know what it is. A pastry-like thing with chocolate flavoring. Mmmmm.. Seriously... the best way to end any dinner.

And lastly... guess what I ate? You'll never guess. Escargot! That's right, snail. Don't believe me? I didn't think you would. So JP took a video for us. (After I did it, the pressure was on. Tom did it, then Dennis (I have pictures of both), then JP did it. She was rather nervous, but we peer pressured her into it. And we got a video of her, too. Now no one can doubt!) (Also, I kept the shell to bring home as a souvenir. Though, they took it with my plate and I had to have Franck ask for it back. Every time the waiter came near our table for the rest of the meal, I guess he said something about it, then would leave. Finally he brought it back. Did you know that when snail shells are wet, they are really super soft? To the point of easily tearing? Learn something new every day. Don't worry, it's really hard again, and you can't even see the torn part unless you know where it is.)

It's not as easy to see on this little screen, but the couple on the right of the video realize what I'm doing halfway through and are really entertaining to watch. She looks so full of pity for me. Bless her heart.

France, part 7 - Where Tianna goes to the beach! ... sort of

Another blog of small blogs, for sake of space.

After work, Franck and Phillip (the two i2s guys we worked with) decided to take us to the beach, since it was only 40 mins away and I had never been to the ocean. I approved. Well, we never actually made it to the beach, per se... we made it to the top of a giant sand dune that separated the beach from the forest we parked in. Here are a few of my pictures from the beach. I'll explain 4 at a time.

Me at the bottom of the dune; my first view of the ocean; the guys waiting for us up top (cuz JP and I liked to stop and take pictures. They're learning how to wait quite well); and some random guy playing the guitar up top.

A view of the Atlantic ocean looking west; our two guides: Franck and Phillip; I'm not sure what the flag is for, but I liked the picture; on the way down the dune (we didn't take the stairs this time), we discovered that or legs could easily be swallowed by sand. Look how far JP's leg is! She's pointing to her knee for a reference.

A view of the forest; a random tree I thought was cool; you know how I love taking pictures of flowers... esp. when they're not really flowers, but rather greenery pretending to be flowers; Terrasse anyone? We don't want you to get lost or confused!

You can find graffiti anywhere!; I liked the texture of this building wall; the guys waiting for us... again. :)

France, part 6 - lunch at the Hippopotamus

i2s (pronounced eye two ess) decided to take us to lunch. Nice of them, really. So they took us to this restaurant called the Hippopotamus. (This picture makes it look like a hole-in-the-wall, but it's just the back. The trees block the rest of the building which was decently sized.) First they gave us menus in French. Luckily, they had pictures. You think I'm indecisive at American restaraunts when I can read the menu? Hah! You ain't seen nuthin' yet. We all probably sat there for 15-20 mins, just trying to decide. Well, except Dennis. He just always gets steak. Wouldn't it be nice to always just know what to order? Also, they brought us out English menus halfway through. They were much smaller... much less detail. Though, to be fair, we couldn't read the detail on the French menu. They didn't do a very good job explaining what everything was, this time, though (They have since improved dramatically). Even in English we couldn't figure out what everything was. And even the stuff I did understand, I had never tried before.

I ended up ordering goat cheese on toast atop lettuce and raw beef (I'm sure it was raw) "cooked" (I think they mean soaked... maybe boiled for 10 seconds) in lemon juice. I tried one piece of the meat and never touched it again. I ate one full piece of toast and goat cheese, but that goat cheese is really thick and I maybe gagged once cuz my mouth was so full of it. Luckily, no one saw it, since I got my napkin up so quickly. :) I started on the second piece but just couldn't finish it. Also, I ate a fair share of the lettuce. Despite being dripping in lemon to the point of pucker power, it was still the tastiest thing on that plate.
To make up for the less-than-stellar main course, JP and I happened upon the best thing about France... their desserts. This dessert takes the cake. (No pun intended.) It was a sampler platter including (starting on the right and going counter clockwise) strawberrie, chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks (which was quite amazing), pineapple that tasted remarkably like cobbler or something, crème brûlée (thought of you, Kristy!), and île flottante. That was divinely delicious. It's basically beaten egg whites (meringue, if you will) atop a vanilla-like pudding. I may have to learn to make it.

Needless to say, I was quite stuffed.

Oh, and don't forget the mints on the way out. JP calls them Hippomints. Not to be confused with Picklemints like I thought she was saying. :)
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

France, part 5 - work

Yes, yes, it's true. We're actually working over here, too! Believe it or not. This bright orange and yellow building is the home of i2s, the company who produces our Copibook scanner. Well, let's just say you'd never get lost going to work...

This is the bit of forest they have preserved while building all these new buildings around i2s. I kind of like all of the trees here. It's pretty.

Just some greenery. You know how much I like plants! You can't tell, but there's some pretty flowering looking stuff behind all of that that doesn't show through in the picture. Maybe I'll take another picture today? (Yipes! I'm almost late for work! A shout out to JP who reminded me that I had OJ in the mini bar or I would have starved to death today!)

Welcome to i2s! The people who have made this wonderful trip to France possible.

Thank you for your visit to my blog! :)

Maybe I should tell a little bit about work. And only a little bit because I only have 5 mins left! We got to work and the guy (Franck) started training us on how to use the Copibook. I was slightly bored as I already knew how to use the Copibook. Luckily, he would randomly throw in random tidbits that I had no clue of, and it would make me pay attention and be worth my while. Then we went to lunch, which I'll blog about next, and came back and whoa... food mixed with jet lag? Bad combination. Dennis, Tom and I all were nodding off the rest of the afternoon. JP did a fabulous job keeping her eyes open... even if her brain wasn't working. :) Sadly, this is the part that I actually thought we were coming for.... the technical stuff! What cords plug in where, etc. Luckily there's a technical manual. [whew!]