Tuesday, June 19, 2007

it's official

I've moved to Wordpress.

Find me here: http://littlestbird.wordpress.com/, and don't forget to update your links if you have me listed.

My husband moved too, and I really like his new blog. Find him here: http://johnron.wordpress.com.

Anyway, come say hi at my new place.

Friday, June 15, 2007

why not make several moves at once?

I'm thinking about moving my blog over to wordpress. Now that I see what it can do, I'm not sure why I didn't choose it instead of blogger in the first place. I'm still thinking it over, because I'm not sure it's worth the hassle. Plus, I don't want the few of you who do read this blog to stop because I move.

But I'm leaning more and more toward wordpress by the minute...

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

i write.

I am a writer. Why am I telling you this? Because I finally feel as though I am reaching for my dreams rather than just wishing for them. I have always wanted to be a writer (and I always have been -- I've kept a diary since I was five years old.)

But lately I've felt the pull to make my writing dreams a reality. Some of you have asked what exactly I'm writing, so I'll tell you. I've been polishing my poetry and getting it ready to send out, planning and writing posts for a new blog with a different focus, brainstorming my novel. I've been writing. And this is a good thing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Are you living your dream?

JD at Get Rich Slowly (one of my favorite blogs on personal finance) has a great post about doing what you dream and daring to fail. You can find it here. It's an inspiring post that helps you look at whether you're living your dreams or making excuses for not doing so, and suggests how you can work to change your situation if you need to.

I'm inspired. In fact, I've been inspired for a while. I've been making a few changes in my life, and they are happening slowly but surely. Some of them (like finding a new job) is a forced change because of our upcoming move. But my dream of being a writer is something I'm finally working to make a reality. I'll keep you posted on updates there.

What are your dreams and are you working toward them?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

book review -- the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

This book is old news by now, but I finally read the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, by Mark Haddon. I'm so glad I finally read it! What an amazing book. It's a simple story -- an unusual boy sets out to solve the mystery of who murdered the neighbor's dog. But the boy, Christopher, is such an endearing, believable narrator. It's a heartbreaking story that manages not to be sad. (I can't read sad books!)

I recommend that you race to the library or bookstore if you haven't yet read this book. My only caution is that it contains some language. Other than that, you must read the curious incident of the dog in the night-time!

Monday, June 11, 2007

i'm still haunted

We are back from our trip to Nevada. The graduation went well, and we had a fun party with the family.

Meanwhile, a ghost update. The ghost didn't do much haunting while John was away. Thank goodness. I was scared enough staying by myself for two nights without dealing with strange sounds and ghostly manifestations. I'm glad John's back.

However, last night John was catching up on reading my blog. He was sitting in the living room, reading the post I just wrote about the ghost. Suddenly, and for no reason, the standing fan in the living room turned itself off. Hi, Stella. Yes, we still believe in you.

As for Stella, we've lived here two years and noticed her presence for most of that time. She has never harmed us though, so we figured we could coexist with her, and we have. Now we're moving, and the owner of the place wants to sell the condo. I wonder if the new owners will notice anything out of the ordinary...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

my sister is graduating

My youngest sister graduates from high school on Friday. I'm proud and happy for her, but occasions like this also make me a little sad. She's my baby sister, and she's grown up now. My family has been changing a lot over the years (siblings getting married, having kids, moving to different places), and Lexi was the sibling who lived at home and wasn't moving on to new life endeavors. And now she will. It's exciting and sad at the same time!

So anyway, I'll be in Nevada this weekend, but I'll leave you with a copy of the poem Lexi is going to read in her valedictory address. It makes me cry every time I read it. (Oh, I was alerted to this poem because of Deborah at Exponent II.):

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life—

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

--William Stafford

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

living with a ghost

We have a ghost in our condo. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that fact before.

I survived last night without John. He is in Tucson until tomorrow, so I am on my own until then. I don’t mind being alone, most of the time. I like having time to do whatever I want to. I can eat cold cereal for dinner and no one will complain. And I can entertain myself just fine. But I get scared at night. Mostly because we have a ghost living with us.

This ghost, whom I have named Stella, does many little things like turning on lights and opening closet doors. But those aren’t a big deal. I can always blame that on me – perhaps I forgot to close my closet door or left a light on and forgot about it.

There are other things that are a little bit harder to explain. One morning, I went into the living room and sat on the couch. Suddenly I felt a huge draft – the front door had swung wide open, even though we had locked and bolted it the night before.

Recently, I was home alone (these things usually happen to me when I’m home alone) and decided to empty the top row of the dishwasher. It didn’t take long – there were only bowls and cups in there. Five minutes later I went back into the kitchen for something and was shocked when I looked at the open dishwasher. Right in the front, in plain sight, and BRIGHT GREEN, was one cup. Perhaps I overlooked that cup when I emptied the dishwasher, but likely not.

Another time, I was home alone getting ready for work. I noticed how absolutely silent the house was. Suddenly, I heard a whirring noise. The fan in our bedroom had suddenly turned on.

And then there’s the strange noises I heard one night (again, I was alone). It sounded like a light bulb exploding, and it happened a couple of times. I never figured out what caused it. I was too scared to get out of bed and check.

Another time when I was alone at night, I saw someone walk by our bedroom door. I assumed it was John, just getting home from his school party. But when John didn’t come into the bedroom to greet me, I realized it wasn’t him. I was terrified that someone had entered our house and was going to kill me. Luckily for me, it was just Stella.

Perhaps you are like my mom, and you don’t believe in ghosts. But I do. And she's not an evil ghost, though she makes things scary for me late at night. Come back soon, Johnny! I need you...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

endearing things

I think I got this idea from Jamie's blog a long time ago.

Things I do that others might find annoying but my husband is required to find endearing:

1. I throw my dirty clothes on the bedroom floor.
2. I make sarcastic remarks at commercials and tv programs I find cheesy or implausible. I do this a lot.
3. I sometimes talk during movies in the theatre.
4. My brain doesn't process sound very quickly. So I ask, "huh?" and "what?" way too often.
5. I pout when my feelings are hurt. And they get hurt way too often. (just ask John)
6. I talk like a baby. All my sisters do it. My brother, too. The year I turned 26, my sister who was then 11 said, "I twenty-six. I talk wike baby." It's an annoying yet strangely addicting behavior.
7. I quote movies all the time. "I know, right?"
8. I say "wah" when I am sad.

Annoying. But endearing too, right?

Monday, June 04, 2007

things to be thankful for

We spent some time with my sister and brother-in-law recently. My niece Sareny said the prayer to bless the food. Remember her obsession with my lip gloss? Well, in her prayer she said, "Thank thee for Holli. And her lip gloss."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

the things that matter

I just got back from the wedding and reception of one of my best friends -- TK. It was a beautiful reception. I was impressed that she could make a church cultural hall look so elegant. Kudos to her; she always was creative like that. And seeing her so happy made me happy too.

A few old friends were there, and it was so wonderful to see them again. It was almost like old times. Almost. I started to get a little sad, knowing that we're leaving all our friends and family in just two months.

TK's wedding was in the Mesa LDS temple, and it brought back memories from my wedding. I knew that I was marrying the right man; I was so happy. And I was completely overwhelmed that day by the strong feeling that God loves me. I wasn't expecting that, but it was just one of those things that I suddenly knew. I knew that God loved me, and I knew that John loved me. What else mattered? It was the best day of my life, and the best decision I ever made.

Friday, June 01, 2007

i'm back

Sorry. I’ve been sort of MIA lately. Here are the excuses:

1. I’ve been at Disneyland (the happiest place on earth) with John and several other members of my family. We had such a great time, but I was exhausted by the time we got back on Monday! It’s taken me all week just to recover.

2. I’m searching for a job, and I have 8 weeks to find one. So I’ve been in hyper focus mode. I spend time job searching every single day.

3. Work has been so busy. My boss leaves on vacation today, and I have been racing against the clock to finish projects before he left.

But those are all just excuses. I’m back again, ready to post again, because I have a LOT to say! So much going on. My husband broke the news a while ago on his blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the fact that John and I are moving to Georgia at the end of July. I have so many emotions surrounding the move that it’s probably best saved for its own post. But needless to say, we are very busy cleaning, packing, finding a place to live, and job searching. And trying to see family and friends as often as we can before we live very, very far away from them.

Anyway, more thoughts later. Happy weekend all!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

make a difference

I recently started browsing through No Impact Man's blog. He decided that he and his family would try to make no impact on the environment for one year, and he chronicles his adventures on his blog. It's a drastic but fascinating concept, sort of like a modern day Walden Pond.

Anyway, for those who want to make a difference but aren't ready to live without electricity and running water, another blog, Crunchy Chicken, is hosting a 'Low Impact Week,' which will be June 1 - June 7. She gives lots of good tips and ideas for making small changes for just one week. I think I'm in. I've been wanting to reduce my impact on the environment in small ways, and this is a good way to start. I'll post my plan for Low Impact Week later...

If you're up for the challenge, join me!

Monday, May 07, 2007

tagged for a meme

I forgot that I was tagged by Abel a while back, but I finally remembered, so here are my enlightening answers to this meme:

Three things that scare me:
• Public speaking
• Losing the people I love
• A murderer breaking into my house and killing me (or even worse)

Three people who make me laugh:
• Other family members
Kristin Chenoweth

Three things I love:
• Cuddling w/ my husband
• Spending time w/ family
• Accomplishing goals

Three things I hate:
• Cooking (I’m finally going to admit defeat here – I really don’t like it.)
• Being told what to do
• Yelling

Three things I don’t understand:
• Why people love reality tv
• Why we are all obsessed with celebrities (I include myself in this)
• How I have collected so much junk over the years

Three things on my desk:
• Pictures of family
• Miniature rock garden
• Dead plant – I seem to kill them all

Three things I’m doing right now:
• Racing against time on a work project
• Decluttering the crap out of my house (not this very minute)
• Wishing I had gotten more sleep last night

Three things I want to do before I die:
• Have children
• Write and publish a young adult novel
• Learn to play the mandolin

Three things I can do:
• Bake bread
• Run (or jog, more precisely) a 5k
• Chinese calligraphy

Three things I can’t do:
• Knit (I’ve tried)
• Fly (I dream I can, but when I wake up, I actually can’t)
• Go very long without crying.

Three things (or people) I think you should listen to:
• Your conscience
Ray LaMontagne
Andrew Bird

Three things (or people) you should never listen to:
• Your inner critic
• Negative influences in your life
• Ashlee Simpson

Three things I’d like to learn:
• To play the guitar well
• To be a better wife
• To paint

Three favorite foods:
• Mediteranean food
• Mexican food
• Corn Chex (I can’t stop eating them. And we actually have an off brand.)

Three shows I watched as a kid:
• Smurfs
• ABC Weekend Specials (with O.G. Readmore. Remember him?)
• Disney Sunday night movies

Three things I regret:
• Having a boyfriend in high school. I should have just enjoyed my friends.
• The times I didn’t listen to my heart and listened to my fears instead.
• The things I’ve done to hurt family and friends. But as my dear husband said, how else do we learn?

Three people I tag:
• Anyone else who actually reads this blog and wants to share…(if you do put this in your blog, link to it in my comments, so that I can find your blog and read your thoughts)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

book recommendation -- Peeps

Here's something weird. Last week, without talking to each other, my sister and I both happened to randomly browse our individual library's teen section, stumble upon the book Peeps, by Scott Westerfeld, and both checked it out. It's a good book, so we both read it last week. We discovered on Sunday that we had both read it at the same time...kind of spooky!

Anyway, Peeps is a fascinating twist on vampirism. And before you say anything, let me add: I do not usually read vampire books, so for me to have liked this one says something. Vampirism is actually a parasite, and it's spread by saliva or sexual contact. (And with that, realize that Peeps would probably be rated pg-13.)

I highly recommend this book, and in fact, I'm planning to read anything I can find by Scott Westerfeld. He's brilliant!

Monday, April 23, 2007


Just posting my next self portrait challenge pic. I had decided that I was going to give up SPC, because I was a little put off by the nudity on their website (the theme is the body, after all), but I decided I just won't look. I still want to participate. The body theme will be gone soon enough. Besides which, the nudity isn't alluring or anything. Just the opposite. Which makes it 'art' as opposed to something else. However, I don't really care to see you naked, whether it's art or not! But the main thing is, I still want to take pictures. So I will

thanks for the advice

Thanks to everyone who replied to my request for back pain advice! I ended up going to my primary doctor, and she referred me to a back specialist, and also to physical therapy. So I think I'll be set.

Meanwhile, sueing the university seems more and more appealing the longer this stupid pain lasts. They are paying my doctor bills, sure. But I want them to compensate me for the pain I'm feeling, my inability to exercise, my limited ability to clean my house, for the things I've had to miss out on because of this, and for the emotional pain.

I'm serious. The past 11 days have been seriously unfun. I have to sit down and get up using my arms. I really didn't know how good I had it, health-wise, until this accident. I mean, a bad back makes everything painful and more difficult.

But I'll stop complaining now and instead feel thankful for all the blessings I have. And I have quite a few!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Please give me your advice!

Okay, so I need your advice, especially if you've had back trouble before. But even if you haven't, please leave me a comment if you have any advice.

So here's the deal. I hurt my back, so I got x-rays. The x-rays came back with nothing broken, but with something that "might" be a muscle spasm. So I feel like I need more information. I may or may not have a muscle spasm, or I may have something different going on. And if I do have a muscle spasm, what should I do about it?

Here's my dilemma. Worker's comp is paying the doctor bills because it happened at work. (And they are so lucky I'm not suing.) But according to worker's comp, I can only see one doctor. Once I've seen a doctor twice, I have to stick with that doctor. Stupid, but those are the rules. So I need to choose my next step carefully.

I went to my primary care doctor for the initial check, which gave me the kn0wledge that I "might" have a muscle spasm. So I can still see someone else. SO HERE'S WHERE I NEED ADVICE: who exactly should I see?

My chiropractor? I like her; she's pretty good. A few session w/ her might resolve things. But Dr. Pam has an aversion to any western medical practices, which doesn't sit well with me. I don't trust western medicine any more than I trust any other type of medicine, but I still like to consider it a possibility.

An osteopath? This seems like a more holistic approach, which sounds good to me. But I've never been to one, so I don't know if they'd be able to help my back.

My primary care? She may be able to refer me to physical therapy, which I've done in the past and liked. But who knows if she would refer me.

Another option I'm not thinking of?

Seriously folks. I need help. Advise me. What would you do if you had back pain and a possible muscle spasm? Thanks for your help!

Friday, April 13, 2007

and the moral of the story is...

I'm going to attempt to explain the crazy circumstances that ended with me at home all day today instead of at work.

Yesterday at about 4pm, I was walking back to my office from a work meeting across campus. The wind was so bad that I had to close my eyes to prevent dirt and debris from getting in them. By chance, a co-worker and a student worker drove by in our office's golf cart.

"Can we give you a ride back to the office?" Of course you can! So, with cell phone in hand, a purse and some papers in the other hand, and a laptop bag slung over my shoulder, I hopped on the back of the golf cart, facing backward. I didn't have a free hand to hold onto the sides. Can you see where this is going?

Anyway, we got to our parking lot, stopped, and then the cart took off again. My body, unfortunately, did not take off as quickly as the cart did. I could feel myself sliding off, and I also knew that there was nothing I could do about it. So I flew through the air and landed pretty hard on my back. I said a bad word. But do you blame me? What would you do if you had just flown off a golf cart, landed on your back which now hurt like the dickens, and felt extremely embarrassed at the thought of anyone seeing what had just happened?

And people did see. They all ran over and crowded around me to see if I was okay. And I was, sort of. My back hurt bad enough that I didn't want to get up. But when a woman suggested calling the paramedics, I said no -- I mean, I fell off a GOLF CART for crying out loud! How badly could I be hurt? But she suggested that we call anyway, just to be safe. And that is what she did.

Two minutes later, I heard sirens in the distance. I was mortified. "Please tell me that those sirens aren't for me." But they were. A fire truck drove up to the parking lot. An ambulance was there. Five firemen came over to me, quickly checking my head and back for injuries. They offered to drive in the ambulance to the hospital. I said no way would that be necessary. Again, it was a golf cart accident.

I got home and assessed the damage. My back hurt pretty badly. My cell phone sustained some nasty road rash. Thanks, cell phone, for taking one for the team. That would have been my hand otherwise. My back hurt, but otherwise I felt okay. But then I tried to sleep last night and I couldn't. The pain in my back radiated down my leg, and the pain in my leg made it impossible to sleep. So I stayed up reading until I was so tired I knew I would fall asleep no matter how much pain I was in. Which I did.

But that decided it. I stayed home from work today, calling HR to get worker's comp information and made an appointment to see my doctor. Most of my day was spend reading and watching movies as I iced my back and tried to get comfortable.

The highlight was getting the back x-rays. If someone had told me that x-rays involves getting mostly naked and lounging in a hospital gown for 20 minutes in a waiting room full of old guys, I might have thought twice about getting said x-rays. Or I would at the very least have chosen my undergarments a little more carefully this morning. Ha!

But the bottom line is: I fell off a golf cart. And you can feel free to laugh about that. Because that is what I am doing right now, though I am cursing the golf cart in the same breath.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

top five tv shows from my childhood

In other news, I present to you the top five tv shows from my childhood (and possibly of all time):

The Smurfs
La la la la la la, la la la la la. Some of my favorite characters: Hefty Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Smurfette, Gargamel, Johan, PeeWee, Asrael. No cartoon has ever been better. (Don't even try to deny it.)

Family Ties
Alex P. Keaton reminded me of myself. Not that I'm a Republican (though back then I may have been), but because he did his own thing even when his family didn't understand him. And because he was selfish and self-serving, and let's face it - I can be that! He always ended up doing the right thing, though. One of those shows I watched faithfully.

Saved by the Bell
My six favorite TV friends. (As opposed to those other TV friends.) These guys graduated from high school the same year I did, so how could I not adopt them as my own? I was not as obsessed as another person I won't mention, but I did tune in almost every Saturday. "Hey, hey, hey, hey! WHAT is going on here?!"

Silver Spoons
I liked Ricky Schroeder. But I LOVED Jason Bateman who played Derek, the smarmy but lovable friend. I watched this show faithfully every day after school in junior high.

Three's Company
Two words: Jack Tripper. This show introduced me to words like "affair" before I could even comprehend what that was. So admittedly, it probably contributed to the corruption of a young Holli Jo. But I loved it anyway.

Honorable mentions:
Perfect Strangers
Who's the Boss?

I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting. What are your all-time favorites?

you're at your best with an ache in your chest

I'm an intelligent person and I can be fairly self-aware, which is why I don't understand why I'm so damn insecure all the time. Pardon my french. But it's the way I feel tonight.

Monday, April 09, 2007

pat's run 2007

Well, Pat's Run was simply amazing. We (me, John, family members) finished the race, and I even finished faster than I thought I would. I had planned on walking the course, but my enthusiasm took over once we got there, and I started the race jogging. I walked most of it, but it ended up that I jogged a mile or two. I'm really sore now as a result.

Anyway, I posted most of my thoughts on the matter here, if anyone cares to read it. If not, just know that it was a wonderful experience that I would do again in a second. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I went running yesterday, and plan to do more walking/running several times a week. I see a 5K in my not too distant future, as well. I'm inspired.

chance meeting at a birdbath

I met Jewell Parker Rhodes today. She is truly one of the nicest people I have ever met. She writes novels and she is the current director of the Piper House. I want to be like her.

Here’s how it happens. I had finished up with a meeting across campus from where I normally work. I was walking back to work but decided to take a little break first. I stopped at Piper House and sat beside a fountain, reading Girls in Pants.

Suddenly there was a bird in the fountain; he was black, and purple, and velvety looking. He walked around the fountain, eyeing me. Then he jumped in and splashed himself all over. I watched in fascination for a couple of minutes until the bird flew away. Jewell Parker Rhodes was suddenly next to me and said, “Wasn’t that beautiful?” She proceeded to tell me the history of Piper House, and how she had insisted that the fountain be put in, along with several other details that make Piper House so inviting.

I knew exactly who she was, but she of course didn’t know who I was. Yet she talked with me as if we were old friends. We introduced ourselves to each other. We exchanged our dream of writing a young adult novel (she writes mostly adult fiction). She asked me to email her so she could mail me a book. She said that we would bug each other until we had started writing our novels.

Meeting her has inspired me, not just to write (though she did inspire that), but also to be a good human being; to love and to embrace life. I am filled with light, just because of her wonderful spirit. I want to be that for other people. I feel so blessed to have met her.

Friday, April 06, 2007

ready for pat's run

My parents and sister are in town so they could do Pat's Run with us. There are seven of us on our team, and we are so excited! There is just something cool about thousands of 'athletes' getting together and running a race. I say 'athletes', because I don't really consider people like me an athlete. I just feel privileged to be among people who actually are.

Anyway, the race shirts are AWESOME, even though they run ultra small, there is a buzz on campus because of the race, and we have to get up bright and early in the morning to make it here by 7am.

We actually did another walk through of the race yesterday. I'm a little sore today, so I guess I didn't train like I should have. Tomorrow we shall see how I do! I'm getting very excited. I'll try to take pictures so I can post a couple.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

self portrait challenge -- eye of my storm

Here's my self portrait for the week, my first one ever. This one is called 'eye of my storm'. My weekend was rough; this week has been hard, but between all that, on Monday evening, I experienced a reprieve. John and I sat on our balcony, holding hands and talking about the future as we stared out at the view we wouldn't be seeing for much longer -- Camelback mountain where John proposed, the golf course, the lone palm tree off in the distance. Things have been rough both before and since, but for that one moment all was right.

To see more self portrait entries, go here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

i will get better

The doctor called to tell me that my hormones are not out of whack. They are completely normal. So that is not the reason I have had such emotional turmoil for the past few months. Perhaps it is the serotonin that is messed up in my brain.

I almost wouldn't believe that there could be a simple, logical reason for such an illogical and emotionally painful condition. People sometimes ask me why I am depressed, but the truth is that I often don't know. Other people don't understand why I am so sad when my life is so blessed. And the truth is that I don't know that either; that is part of the cruel irony of depression--that while the golden sun of good fortune is smiling its rays down upon you, you can't feel it at all. I feel like I have missed out on beautiful and wonderful moments of my life because depression robbed me of my ability to see and know and feel.

I have finally sought real help (again) for this condition, because I don't want to miss out on any more moments. I don't want to look back and read page after page of sad and confused journal entries. I don't want that anymore--not that I ever did want that, but now I realize I want something better, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get that something better.

So I wait for the treatment to kick in. I wait and I hurt and I fight back tears and pray. I am humbled. I wait some more. I know that one of these days the fog will start to lift and I won't have to try so very hard to smile or appear happy. And perhaps there will be a magical day when I can just *be* and enjoy the beautiful moments of my life.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

i'm going to take pictures

So much is going on in my life right now, some of which I plan to post about, to sort my thoughts out. But first, I just wanted to mention one thing. I signed up for Self Portrait Challenge. I've been wanting to for a while, but I finally did it.

Basically, they give you a theme for the month, and each week you post a photograph (a self portrait) you took that deals with the theme. I'm no photographer, but I want to be. I figure this is a way to get in the habit of taking pictures. So bear with me if I post some amateurish or bad photos. At least I'll be taking pictures.

This month's theme is: the body. So stay tuned.

Friday, March 30, 2007

sang as they walked

John and I went on a four-mile walk yesterday. It felt surprisingly good. And the best part is that we did it in about an hour, which is fast for us.

We were actually doing a practice walk for an event we signed up for: Pat's Run. Proceeds from the race go to the Pat Tillman Foundation. I think it's a worthy cause, and I'm happy I get to be a part of. Not to mention that Pat Tillman is my dad's hero; I knew this run would mean a lot to him.

So next Saturday we (along with five other members of my family) will be walking 4.2 miles for Pat's Run. I'm so excited. My original plan had been to run this, but it turned out that walking was the better choice this time. I do have a goal that a year from now I (and I hope John too) will be running a 5k or two.

Monday, March 26, 2007

he's back

My husband was in Texas this weekend visiting a school there. Not in the city featured on his shirt. I'm just glad he's back.

But now we must talk of packing and cleaning and job hunting and finality. I'm not ready yet.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

seeing with new eyes

Young children have such an amazing outlook. I wish I could see the world through a child's eyes just for a while.

In my writing class we are working on using metaphors in our writing, and it's not my strong point. My three-year-old niece grasps the concept much better than I do.

The other evening she was over at our house. The moon was a shiny sliver in the sky. My niece ran over to the window and looked out. She gasped in surprise and awe, "There's a diamond in your sky!!!" She couldn't stop looking at the diamond hanging in our sky.

Monday, March 12, 2007

the reason is you

Two years ago today, John and I were married in the Las Vegas temple. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married two years already, yet I feel as though I’ve been with him forever. Anyone who knows us can see that we’re MFEO; there’s no one who understands me or loves me better than John does, we both have our ‘quirky’ sense of humor, and we can entertain each other for hours on a road trip. I’m more comfortable with him than with anyone else I’ve ever known.

I waited a long time to find the right man to marry, and there were times when I lost hope that he was actually out there. But John came along and made the wait so worth it.

I love you sweetie. You’re truly my soul mate.

update on my goals

I announced last week that I had set a goal to exercise 5x a week, and I’m updating you on my progress. Last week I didn’t hit 5x. But I did do 3x, which is much better than I usually get. This week I plan to get the full five.

I just got back from my morning break; I walked around campus for 15 minutes. It’s an easy way to get my exercise in. Unfortunately, it’s starting to get hot around here; I’m going to have to find another simple way to exercise, because the heat is already killing me.

I also signed up for Joe’s Goals. I like it so far. I wouldn't say it's exceptionally motivating, but I do actually feel motivation if I know I get to check it off a list. So I think it’s good. At least I get to see the progress I’m making. I like it.

And if you’re wondering about the body fat percentage test I took…I’ll just say it was discouraging. My fat content hasn’t changed in the past two years, despite the effort I’ve put in to improve my health. I guess I’ll have to make some more changes. I have a feeling it’s the eating habits that are dragging me down.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


So remember that one time when I said I would share a picture of the valentine card I made for John? Well, I'm finally doing that. Just remember that it's pretty much my first attempt at paint ever. But I like it anyway, flaws and all:

And you know what John got me? This:

If you know me, you know this was the perfect gift. I'm romantic, and I love poetry. So the combination was perfect. Now I just need to light a fire in our unused fireplace and have John read love poems to me. (Thus far he hasn't.) But anyway, that was our Valentine's day.

railroad wings

I am listening to Patty Griffin's newest album, children running through, and it is amazing. As always when I listen to her music, I feel I understand what life is about, and it's sweet, and it's a little sad, and it's always beautiful.

Patty is just amazing, which is why I am so excited to be going to her concert this Saturday. A coworker of mine loves Patty's music just as much as I do, so when she found out she was coming to Arizona, she bought tickets. Her husband can't go, so I'm going with her instead.

Patty Griffin is one of those artists I would practically DIE to see live. There aren't many people in that category -- Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Nick Drake (he's dead, so I really would have to die to see him), Alison Krauss. Maybe a couple of others. Bands come and go, but there are some musicians whose voices stay with you. Patty Griffin is definitely one of those.

"All these years along the lights are growing dim
I hear you sing your song in the next room
And as far as I can tell most everything means nothing
Except some things that mean everything"

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

i'm gonna do it

Okay, I am publicly announcing that I set a goal to exercise 5 days a week for at least 15 minutes. I signed up for Leo's March Challenge over at Zen Habits. Go sign up too--any goal you want to work on for the month of March.

They say if you tell people about a goal you're more likely to achieve it (because of the negative publicity if you don't). So I'm testing that theory out. The real challenge is setting aside 15 minutes and actually doing it. 15 minutes doesn't sound like a lot, but you'd be surprised how often I DON'T exercise for any amount of minutes. I'm starting out slowly to get the habit. I'd like to work up to 30-60 minutes of exercise. But first things first.

And to kick it all off, I coincidentally signed up for a health screening today. By 10am I will know my height, my weight, and my body fat...oy. I'll let you know how that goes...or not!

more goals

Oh, and I succumbed to Joe's Goals. (It's a goal tracking tool.) I don't know yet if I'll like it, but I'll let you know once I try it out. Anyone have any experience with it?

Monday, March 05, 2007

dark day

My emotions have been all over today, but right now I am down. I woke up that way; must have been my dreams. But I feel so useless. So utterly pointless. I'm scared of some of the changes that are coming up in the near future. I haven't blogged much about any of those changes, because...well, because. I will soon.

Anyway, it's days like this that make me wish I had never heard the word depression before and didn't know a thing about it. Just this morning I was feeling thankful for the things that depression had given me--things like compassion and patience. It has made me humble and brought me closer to God. For those things I am thankful. But right now I don't feel so very thankful for what feels like a curse.

I'm off to spend time with a dear friend on her birthday. She's a relatively new friend, but her love and understanding has helped me survive some dark days. Her capacity for compassion is incredible; I want to be like her when I grow up.

John is off doing some important things, but I can't wait to see him tonight. His love for me is also quite amazing to me. Having someone love me that much has definitely helped me make it through the tough times. I will feel better soon, I know it. But I'm glad I have him to love me through it until I do.

i've wanted to do this for some time

I want to start a website. I have a couple of ideas for it. I love the thought of providing resources for people, of gaining readership and building something that people can come to and enjoy. But here's why I hesitate:

1. I tend to move from one topic to another. I fall in love with an idea for a while, but then I move on to the next thing I fall in love with and leave the former thing sitting alone by itself, wondering why it's suddenly so very alone. (Case in point -- DDR. Six months ago I was in LOVE with DDR. Now? I use it about once a month, if that.)

2. I don't post consistently enough right now. If I did start a website, I would need to post frequently -- daily would be optimal.

Well, those are the main reasons for my hesitation, but...I think I'm just going to create one anyway. I need an outlet. And I might as well do this. The fact is, the topic I'm thinking about has been on my mind for a long time -- for two years, at least. It's actually a topic I've always been interested in, so I'm less likely to abandon it.

I'll let you know if I actually do it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

our saturday hike

We hiked South Mountain yesterday. We brought a camera, but the battery died the second we got it out. :( South Mountain was gorgeous, and we saw quail, a cactus wren, a robin, a desert squirrel (that came right up to me when I called it), and a road runner. The hike was beautiful, but we underestimated it.

It looked like it would be a relatively flat hike, and roughly three miles. It turned out to be somewhat of a climb and was more like five miles. So we were out there for two hours. I'm pretty drained today. I think we'll try South Mountain again, but maybe after we're a little more conditioned for it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

lip gloss

My nearly three-year-old niece is obsessed with my ‘lip plumper’ lip gloss. It tingles on your lips when you apply it. Any time we go to my sister & brother-in-law’s house, Sareny runs to me as soon as I come in the house and says, “I want some lip gloss.”

The other day, John and I were planning to go to their house for dinner. Sareny asked her mom, “Is Holli coming over? And her lip gloss?!” I think she probably meant to say, “Is Holli’s lip gloss coming over?”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

a happy happy birthday to you from me

I skipped out on my writing class last night to go to a Phoenix Suns game with John. It was totally worth it. Partly because I'm getting bored with my writing class (which probably means an MFA in creative writing isn't in my near future). And partly because basketball is my favorite sport of all time--both for playing and watching--and John has easily sold me on the brilliance of the Phoenix Suns as a team. But mostly because it was so nice to spend some time with my husband.

Especially since yesterday was his birthday eve. Which means that today is...Johnny's birthday!!! Yay. Happy birthday, sweetie. May this year be your best one yet. (You get to look forward to being born in the summer of your twenty-seventh year.)

I'm excited about the presents I bought/made him. I'll soon post pictures of what I made (plus a couple of pictures from Valentine's day). The homemade item I'm proud of because I used my sewing machine by myself, made something without a pattern, and though it has its flaws, it's not bad for a first try. Anyway, can't wait to celebrate tonight.

Happy, happy birthday Johnny dear.
Happy things will come to you all year.
If I had one wish then it would be
A happy, happy birthday to you, from me.

Holli Jo

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

freeing myself from clutter

My house is a lot cleaner since I posted last. I'm following advice from Zen Habits, and I'm working to develop some simple habits. Here are the current two habits I'm working on:

1. I make our bed every morning. Something about the bed being made changes my whole outlook.

2. I put my clothing away every night. No more piles of clothing by the side of the bed.

I'm working on other stuff too, but these are two habits I am building this month. I will tell you that it has made a difference. I'm more willing to clean up other areas of the house. I'm more empowered to accomplish projects that I have been putting off for two years. TWO YEARS. That is how long we've been married and living in this condo, and that is how long I have waited to print out my wedding pictures. (It's more complicated than just printing the pictures; I also have to find out why some of the pictures have bad resolution and contact my photographer who is also a good friend and have her fix them, and THEN print them. So I'm not just lazy.) But the point is, I feel empowered to actually do all those things I've had on my list.

setting goals for my health

I wish I could find a doctor I had any faith in. I've been experiencing some vertigo/dizziness problems. I went to the doctor today because I am sick of this feeling.

She checked my ears for an inner ear problem and checked my eyes to see if it was a nervous system problem. I guess it wasn't that, because her only advice was: "Rest your eyes every 15-20 minutes."

Thanks. That's $10 advice I could have dispensed to myself. My only other option is to go with the advice of my chiropractor, and drink a special detox beverage. She thinks my hormones are out of whack, and a good detox would clear things right up.

What do I think? I think I need to treat myself to a strict regimen of exercise 5x a week (no excuses!), and seek out a new counselor. The exercise because of all its healing properties, and the counselor because I need a sounding board and because I want to learn to think in new ways. Healthy ways.

I really think exercise is the key to many, many problems in life. Exercise is better than many (if not most) prescription drugs at curing ills. Why I'm not strict about doing it, I haven't figured out. But that's going to change. I'm going to treat exercise like a prescription. It takes longer than swallowing a pill, but I know for me it's just as necessary.

So, along with my house-cleaning habits, I'm going to add exercise in.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

zen attitude

I found a website called Zen Habits that I hope will help me get organized. I really like the site so far.

I've just been frustrated (once again) by the fact that my house doesn't stay clean longer than five minutes. I don't have a system set up, and I also have bad habits such as putting my clothes in a pile by the side of my bed at night instead of hanging them up or putting them in the laundry hamper.

I'm tired of it. The clutter gets to me and I feel unsettled. And I feel like I can't start a new project or do anything fun until I get the house in order. But my house is never fully in order, so I never really get any projects done.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy arizona day

And happy Valentine's day, too. I found this cartoon, and it made me think of my husband. He loves his diet soda. And I love him, so it all works out.

My writing class is tonight, so the Valentine's celebration will not begin until about 8pm tonight when I get home. I am bringing home delicious mediterranean food from one of our favorite restaurants -- Phoenicia Cafe.

And then while we're eating, we might as well watch LOST, even though TV watching is so anti romantic and all that. But...it's LOST!

Anyway, today I am thankful I married John. He is so good to me. We are soul mates if ever there were any. He is my life and my love, and I have truly been blessed to have him.

Happy Valentine's day, sweetie. I love you so hard!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

be my valentine

I had a brilliant idea for Valentine's day. I wanted to make something for John, and I came up with a great idea. I've been feeling crafty lately, so I decided I wanted to make him something homemade. I've also been working on a homemade painted card, and I'll post a picture of it soon. It's my first attempt at painting anything at all, so...let's just say it's a little primitive. But I'm proud of it.

So last night found me in Joann fabric, searching for the right fabric for the project and at the same time collecting things I would need -- bobbins, pins, thread, etc. (I have no supplies for sewing at all.) This was all fine until I saw an ex-boyfriend. He's the one that I am embarrassed to have dated. It just feels so awkward to see him. Not to mention that the last time we saw each other (at least a year ago ago), we both pretended we didn't know each other.

This time, we were about two feet apart when we saw each other. By then, there was no way to pretend. We said hi, he's getting married, blah blah blah. I felt so very awkward. Then he starts asking about my project, saying, "Come with me. Let me show you a few things."

I did NOT want my ex-boyfriend to help me with my husband's valentine present, nor did I want him giving me tips about fabric or sewing. Thank goodness my husband called right that moment. He was having a sort of emergency. So I said, "Good to see you. Congrats. I've gotta go." And I left the store.

I tried two other stores for something cool or unusual. But nothing spoke to me at all. So you know where I ended up? The grocery store. I bought my valentine present at a grocery store. It's not homemade. But there's always next year, right?!! At least he gets a homemade card...

Friday, February 09, 2007

today is a gift

I'm exhausted. I'm mentally, emotionally, and physically spent and there's pretty much nothing left. There are many explanations and reasons for why I am at this juncture, but what matters is this: it's time to take care of me.

And on a happy note, it seems that I have lost 3 pounds. I had given up on trying, which may be the secret here. I've tried for overall healthy, and tried to be active, but I stopped counting every single calorie that I ate. And that's when I finally lose weight...Interesting.

Monday, January 29, 2007

papago park

John and I hiked Papago Park this weekend. Isn't it beautiful? I wanted to take pictures, but ended up not doing so. However, we are awfully proud of doing a 4-mile hike.

I only wish my eating habits were as proactive and healthy as my exercise is. Baby steps, I guess. We have a scale now, though, so I am trying to be more accountable so I can see the scale go down and not up...

Anyway, the hike was fun. We plan to do it again. The trail was poorly marked, but I guess that was part of the adventure -- figuring out where to go next! I'd like to go hiking or walking 3x a week, but it's hard to squeeze it in to our schedules...it's our aim, though.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

my favorite day

It’s my birthday, so I’m going to do a year in review. Some great things have happened this year, and surprisingly, I’ve done some great and interesting things. Sad and hard things have happened as well, but life is like that.

I think I’ve developed as a person this year, and that’s important to me. I think it’s taken me longer than most to get to this point, but at least I got here. This year, in 2007, I look forward to so much more growth and discovery of who I am. Here’s to another wonderful year.

p.s. I look really hot in my new clothes I'm wearing today. Do I care that it's capris and a short-sleeved shirt in the middle of winter? I don't care -- I look hot!

On to the list:

I had jury duty for the first time in my life. We got a puppy and a day later realized we shouldn’t keep it. I took a Chinese calligraphy class at ASU. John & I spent our first night apart when John flew to New York for a fellowship assessment. John and I went to San Antonio and also celebrated my birthday there. John gave me a mandolin for my birthday. (I have yet to master the instrument.) John went to the emergency room (it turned out to be an infection that was causing his throat to swell.)

I got a raise. John turned 25. We started seeing a nutritionist. I got bronchitis.

We had our first wedding anniversary, and spent the night in Tucson. I joined SparkPeople.com. I got fake strep throat. I had a weird reaction from the penicillin for fake strep throat, and the rx was to go to the tanning bed.

John and I both got pneumonia. My little sister got married.

John graduated with an MPA and was the top scholar/citizen. We bought a PlayStation II and Dance Dance Revolution, and life hasn’t been the same since.

We jumped on the LOST bandwagon and caught up on all the episodes. John gave me an iPod. Just because. We babysat our niece while our sister had our nephew.

Stuff happened, but I don’t remember what…

We took a tour of Colorado City. And some other stuff I don’t remember anymore.

My family began their virtual walk across America. John and I locked ourselves out of our house and had to get a locksmith to let us back in. John took a trip to Athens, Georgia to visit the school there.

Barbra Streisand called me personally to remind me to vote. John visited Lawrence, Kansas and Bloomington, Indiana to visit potential schools. John got a new job. John and I went with my dad to see the drag races in Las Vegas.

John and I both voted. (Thanks, Babs, for reminding us.) John and I took a trip to Newark, Delaware to see the school there. We saw a performance by Dolan Ellis, Arizona’s state balladeer.

John got Karaoke Revolution, and life hasn’t been the same since. I got a Magic Bullet and sewing machine for Christmas, and life hasn’t been the same since. I registered for a writing class. We started hiking in earnest.

John and me, for my birthday last year in San Antonio:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

birthday cake

I want to make this cake for my birthday:

I don't actually like to eat cake, but I love the way it looks and the traditional birthday feeling it gives you. So, great solution -- fake cake! I won't actually make it, because come on! All those ingredients and work for...a fake cake. But I'm going to file this in my someday file. Everyone should make a fake cake at least once in their lifetime.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

wild and precious life

I haven’t mentioned how my writing class went last week. I haven’t written here at all because I’ve been busy writing for the class.

I go into the classroom on Wednesday evening and sit around a circle with about 20 other people. I look at each of them, knowing I will know them all a lot better by the time this class is over.

The teacher makes odd jokes; he tells us we must write ‘real’-- from our hearts. He tells us we must write for 30 minutes, five days a week. He tells us we will be ‘sharing’ our writing with the class. He tells us that this class will change both our writing and our being, or he will personally refund our tuition money.

The teacher says, “If you can’t commit to these things, now is the time to get up and leave.” One person left. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to get up and walk out the classroom door. This class scares me – this writing ‘real’ and sharing it with strangers. But I didn’t get up. I stayed. I know this class is what I need.

The syllabus shares a line from a poem by Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

That is why I am staying. For the possibilities. For the chance to see myself and the world in a new way. For the chance to live my one wild and precious life.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

picture interlude

John and I on our family's annual Christmas eve hike.

John and I at Lake Mead during Christmas after feeding the fish and ducks.

Us on our hike in the White Tank Mountains last weekend.

looking at the bright side

I've had a bit of a bad week. Feeling a little better now.

I'm going to list some of the good changes going on in my life so far this year.

1. I made bread. Not for the first time (maybe the third time), but the first time that it tasted good. And boy did it ever! Sometimes, I'm a really good cook.

2. I go on walks and hikes with John. Our goal is three times a week, and we're doing pretty good. Last Saturday we hiked in the White Tank Mountains. This week I think we're going to try Papago Park. Being outdoors with the one I love really improves my mood. Winter in Arizona is so wonderful.

3. I sewed something. John gave me a sewing machine for Christmas, and I used it! I can't wait to get better at sewing so I can try some of the projects I have floating around in my brain.

4. I'm still registered for the writing class...it starts January 17th. I'm still nervous, but still moving forward with it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

it's a new year

So I've had about a million things I wanted to post on here, but something kept me from it. It's like I got shy or something.

But I guess I'm over that. The new year is upon us, and unlike many people, I love the new year, it is significant to me, and I look at it as a new beginning. Which I could use right about now, so I'm already loving the new year.

I'm so happy. I feel ready for new things. I have a lot of things I want to say, but I guess I'll save them for my next entry.

Happy new year.