Feng Shui

Our Realtor Kevin asked us if we were into "feng shui". Neither Danny nor I believe much in the good energy, bad energy flowing stuff. But there is definitely truth about the state of your home reflecting the state of your mind, and even to the extent that if your home is decluttered and clean, you can feel the spirit better. Well, at least that's how we feel. I know that's especially true for me. When the house is clean, I feel a LOT less stressed. I can relax and think about things besides, "augh I need to do the laundry AGAIN." That being said, Danny and I both think that there is definitely such a thing as too clean, and that a little bit of clutter makes people feel more welcome and at ease than none.

But that being said, no, we do not believe in feng shui as it relates to spirituality.

Last night, Danny and I started looking up some things about feng shui online, though. I guess our Realtor put the idea in my head. Here we are in a teeny tiny studio hotel room (for the next month). It was really cluttered and crammed, and I was mostly excited to see if there were any ideas about how to better use the space.

It turns out there is a TON of stuff about how to apply feng shui in a studio apartment. And so I used some of those tips, and spent the first 4 hours of the morning decluttering and organizing the apartment. It was actually kind of fun to do. And now there is so much more space!

Example: before, there wasn't room to put Jane on the floor on a blanket. But now there is, and it's just in time for her to start scooting! I put her on her tummy on a blanket, and a teddy bear in front of her. She kept chirping and reaching out for him, but ended up scooting herself about a foot backwards away from her goal. It was funny to watch. She got frustrated. It's the first time I've ever noticed her moving with a purpose. 

So, thank you, Realtor Kevin, for introducing us to feng shui, so that Jane could learn how to scoot!


What I've been doing all day

...is reading the "Luxe" series by Anna Godberson. Yesterday I finished "The Luxe", the first book in her series. Last night I made Danny take me to Barnes and Noble so I could get the next one. And I finished it today.

We were wondering earlier what we would do together for a date tonight...another trip to Barnes and Noble, perhaps?

Because I am SO SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MAD AT HER for the ending of the second book. And that's all I'm going to say because if you're into teen fiction, you will want to read it for yourself.

Mostly, it's annoying knowing what the solution to all of their problems is: if the characters in the book just used their massive fortunes to go out west and convert to Mormonism, then they would actually be happy. But noooooo they have to care about "society" and other suck nonsense. Pff.

But that doesn't stop me from wanting to read the next one. And there's even still time today to go out and do something so that I don't just stay in the hotel all day. My visiting teacher gave me permission to just sit in bed and read all day sometimes, and not worry about being one of those "Bountiful Wives", but seriously...maybe I'll go to the bookstore, get the next book, and go to the park and read...yeah...


Review of the Menil Collection

After a nice lunch in the park with Danny and Jane, I decided to go to a free art museum. I don't want to always end up staying inside by myself all day. In fact, I think it would be good (but very hard) if I could get out every day for at least a little while. I think that will be hard because I just like being home so much, even when home is a studio hotel next to a loud light-rail.

I did some research earlier, and decided to go to see the Menil Collection. All in all, I'm glad that I went.

I give the experience a 3/10.

But that's just because I really hate surrealism. It's kind of rare for me to have entire genres of art that I hate, but I can say with absolute certainty that I hate surrealism. It's scary, ugly, creepy, dark, and there are too many naked women's body parts. The museum had a good sized collection of surrealist art. There were even a few pieces by Magritte, the all-time most world famous surrealist ever, as far as I know. His pieces are also some of the all-time most creepiest and weird. And naked-women-body-part-emparted. Bleaugh.

The museum itself was nice enough. Only 1 floor. Big ceilings. Good parking. A/C. Lots of light. Weird vents in the old wooden floors. Right next to some college. Lots of students and moms with tiny babies, like me. Looks like a storage unit from the outside, but that's probably on purpose.

It's kind of sad because that one piece by Magritte is the only one that really stands out in my head, now that I'm home. It's called "Le Viol". You probably shouldn't google image it. Just saying that makes me know for sure that my sister Sarah will. Ha. It's actually got an interesting concept, but it's scary piece and not suitable for children, and frankly me either. Surrealism is oozing with post-war anxiety. It just freaks me out. I'm not about to argue that it's not a valid form of art, or a "good" form of art (even though I reserve the right to THINK that!), but it's just freaky and I don't like it.

But seriously, there couldn't be another piece in the entire museum for me to ponder more than a nasty Magritte?

What bugged me, actually, was the collection went from shards of every-day objects (lots of idols, actually - one from Sumer that was really beautiful, had lapis lazuli eyes) from the ancient B.C. past, to Yves-Klein-esque (they had something by Klein, actually...not a famous piece, but something) blah from the '70's. With nothing in between.

In my opinion, the 70's period of art was a real drag. Lots of monochrome canvasses. There was one exhibit that was just a bunch of scribbles. Huge lack of craft. I mean, it's okay to be weird, innovative, and original; I prefer to admire pieces of art that also have craft. That's the difference between these pieces and lots of contemporary art. I've seen fantastic contemporary art that is weird, innovative, original, but also awes you by the artist's sense of craft. If you use mixed media, MASTER that medium. Don't just scribble a bunch of lines on paper, tape it together, and put it in a pretty picture frame. Why not? Because it's dead boring to the viewers. Okay, so the goal isn't to "shock and awe" people, but I think most good art attempts to leave the viewer with something long after they have gone. The art in this museum just didn't.

But I did text a picture of a funny monkey mask from New Ireland to Sarah; it reminded me of a picture she posted on Facebook of if Sarah Jessica Parker and a monkey had a kid.

Still, I can't even really remember what the monkey mask looks like, while the Magritte is still there (and I don't want it to be). Bleaugh. Next time I think I'll go to a nice, pretty impressionist exhibit.

Blog Goals 2010

Okay okay, so nobody but me is interested in my personal blog goals...you don't have to read this post if it is boring to you. It's fun for me.

I'm reviewing/revising the last blog goals that I had:

1. Post often: i.e. every week on this blog, every week on Jane's blog, and every week on our family blog. Since we moved a billion miles away from all our siblings, I'm thinking about writing a monthly email update (SHORT! Don't worry!) to send to everybody, but also to post on the family blog, possibly? My blog archives say that I wrote 53 posts in 2009. That's an average of once/week. Of course, I did write like 5 in one day a few times. But hey. I swear that soon I will update Jane's blog. I know that's the one that people actually care about.

2. Organize my labels. Yes I will get to that.

3. Increase my followers to 25 by next year.
Okay, so with the google followers I think I now have 7 or 8. But with my feedburner subsribers, it's like 39. So that's good.

4. Increase my feed subscribers to 25 by next year. CHECK!

5. Comments: Get at least one comment per post. So here's why I completely changed my template AGAIN. My mom has been telling me for months that she couldn't comment on my last template. I just thought...well...sometimes she's not the most tech savvy person. But then this week I had like 4 people tell me on facebook that they couldn't comment either. Sorry to underestimate you, mom! So I found a blog template that should be easy peasy for people to comment on. I'm not so much digging the whole transparency thing. Thanks, Kelly, for recommending http://shabbyblogs.com - I found the one I like on http://www.yummylolly.com (I'm glad she changed her name to "yummy lolly" from "suck my lolly". That just sounds dirty! But her templates are good.) So NOW you can comment!

6. Post more about my spirituality. I haven't really done this so much yet. But I can and should.

7. Weekly Polls: I really think that polls are cool on blogs. I want to have one about once/week. Actually, I tried this for a while on my other blog, and it wasn't as cool as I thought it would be. No more.

8. By this time next year, 4,000 hits!!!!! I think I will make that goal, as it's only January and I have 3,300 something hits.

9. No complaining posts. Well..................................that's easier goaled than done.

10. Monthly Funny Things post. This is a good idea.

New Goals:

11. Post a picture and/or a link with every post. That's more interesting and fun for people to read.

12. Do a sidebar list of all the books I've read in 2010.

13. Do a sidebar list of all the movies I've seen in 2010.

14. DO NOT CHANGE TEMPLATE FOR 6 MONTHS: I can change the template again in June, but not before. If I do, it will be a pain in the rear. It is actually ALWAYS a pain in the rear to change templates. Sigh. Maybe someday I will get into making my own, because it seems a lot more productive than searching miles and miles of the internet and only encountering junky crap that people try to pass off as templates. Sigh.

Okay that's it! Let's get cracking.


"The Luxe" by Anna Godbersen

Finished on 1/20. I started reading this book three days ago, and had to finish it. It's a scandalous soap opera set in old New York "High Society" - Edith Wharton-esque. I must say, I guessed the ending about 1/4 of the way through, but  it was still fun to read and I'm looking forward to the sequel. Thanks for the good read, Mary!



So, it's been a while since my last update. Danny and I arrived here exactly 2 weeks ago. And by here, I mean Houston, Texas.

Danny got a job at Baylor College of Medicine, which we decided would be the best option. He also had a job offer in Salt Lake. It was a tough call: a job close to family but less in his field vs. a job far from everybody we know but exactly in his field. We chose the second option. Danny bargained with both of them, and got them both to basically try to outbid each other for him. So he got a much higher salary, which is great.

We found the house that we want...but it's 45-65 minutes away from his work. So that really, really stinks. One of my New Year's resolutions was to eliminate the following words from my vocabulary: retarded, sucks, awesome, freak, and things of that nature. But if I hadn't made that resolution, I would be using a different word than "stinks" to describe the situation.

But that really is the only bad thing about it. I mean, there are lots of tiny repairs that need to be done, as well as some major changes to the inside (like it has laminate floors which are so ugly!!!), but for the most part it just needs some updating and then it will be worth much, much more. The location is perfect, the ward is great, it has a pool, it's right by the Elementary School (which I'm learning is one of the really good ones...it has pre-K there???), and it's the right size: 4 bed, 2 1/2 bath. That sounds snobby. We could definitely be comfortable in a smaller home. But this is a good option, too. Also, it's literally less than 2 miles from the church. So that's great.

We love the house, and we're working on getting the loan approved. Right now we are living in a hotel. We just moved hotels from way up north in the Willowbrook area to down near the Med Center, which is where Danny works. There is a shuttle from here to the front door of his work, so that is awesome.

Jane is doing very well. I'm glad we moved hotels because this one is slightly bigger. In the other hotel, if she was out of her crib, she had to be on the bed because there was no floor space. But here there is some floor space. I'm glad because yesterday I caught her from rolling off the bed. I know that I was supposed to not put her on the bed ever since she could roll, but that's sometimes easier said than done. But that seriously scared the heck out of me, so I am glad she can just roll around on the floor now instead.

I'm looking for good places to buy cheap nice furniture. I don't really know if that's possible. The biggest purchase we will make in the next few months (after the house, obviously), is a pool cover.

Anyway, that's what's going on here. Houston is beautiful. Perfect weather; 70ish degrees, breezy, usually a little overcast.

Gotta jet - bye!


"The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton

Finished on 1/14. I loved this book., especially the ending. I have been thinking about it for days. It was fun, interesting, and witty. But don't read it if you're looking for something super light-hearted, or a mindless read.