{ Relaxing Saturday + beenie }

I think there is something to be said for taking half a saturday to do almost absolutely nothing but enjoy the day. Indoors. In your pajamas. At least that's what my Saturday was today, and it was highly enjoyable. I finished crocheting the beenie pictured above this morning (thanks for the tips and inspiration, Ali), did laundry, made some asparagus, sweet potato and rice for lunch (delish), and watched Dan in Real Life while unpicking some letters on a pair of coveralls I got the other day at the DI (only $6! and they are all kinds of sweet). It was quite nice.

{ Sue Visits! }

For those of you from Huntington who remember Sue Leuschel, she's now Sue Senkovich, and she and her husband Nick came to visit Utah last weekend. They currently live in Arizona, but Nick's sister, Tammy, is trying to convince them that they should move to Utah. I, for one, think that is an excellent idea, so Sue and I spent last Saturday night in Salt Lake seeing the sites and unabashedly discussing all the great reasons why Sue and Nick should move here.

Highlights included Ruth's Diner, a tour of the adorable homes in the Avenues, city views from up near the Capitol building (one of my favorite sites in SLC at night), temple square, the conference center, a quick run through the Gateway, and we finished the night off with european hot chocolate and a game of speed scrabble at the Cocoa Cafe. Sue said I did a good job at convincing her (awesome!), so I'm looking forward to having her as a neighbor. Sue is one of those great friends who, even when you don't see each other or even really talk for 2.5 years (actual time period), your reunion evenings include lots of completely comfortable laughter, joking and good times...like there was no absence at all. So wonderful.

(NOTE: I'd like to confess that two out of the three times I typed "Nick" in this entry, upon proofing I found that I had in fact written "Nicki," not "Nick." Glad I caught those. That could have been confusing.)

{ Belt-tastic }

You may remember Scott from the "Great glasses debate" posting about 3/4 of a year ago. We still happen to be friends, and he still happens to be doing as rad of stuff as ever (not that the glasses post would give you an idea, but you should take my word for it). The latest rad adventure was made manifest to me when I stopped by Scott's house Saturday morning to say hi. I walked into his room only to find a factory of BELT GREATNESS!

As Scott related, he had purchased an entire cow (yes...an entire cow) of leather and made these sick belts to sell in local shops around town/to his friends/on etsy/etc. SO COOL! I am impressed. I went over tonight and viewed about half of his finished belts (complete with buckles), but I only have photos of unfinished belts from Saturday to share. It's cool though -- they capture the true essence of the first-discovering-of-the-coolness excitement anyway...

The brown-toned belts on the bed. He makes them using a mixture or paint, stain and random pattern objects.

The grey, funky belts drying on boxes.

Scott modeling his favorite belt.

And this is a lamp in Scott's room that I just thought was sweet. No wonder he's so creative -- how could you not be working around good-looking objects like this?.

{ Hemoglobin Schmeemoglobin }

After some intense training and eating sufficient amounts of fish, beef and spinach over the last 6 days, my blood donation today was golden!

Iron level? 13.77
Facial expression upon finding out said iron level? FAT smile. And I'm pretty sure I said something like "BAM! I totally rocked it!" to the tech taking my hemoglobin levels.

As an added bonus to the happy feelings I got donating today, I also got a sweet little bow on top of my bandage. So rad. My tech had given me one these last time I donated, so I requested it this time for good-looking-ness' sake. If you gotta wear the big bandage, may as well make it cute(r), huh?

{ Rejected }

It's usually a challenge to convince myself to give blood (I sometimes have a hard time remaining calm when I have needles inside my body), so it's been a goal of mine for the last few years to conquer my aversion to donating.

While it takes me a while to work up my nerve, about every 4 months or so I convince myself to go to the donation center. I was feeling pretty good about myself today when I went in to give blood until the nurse informed me my iron levels were too low to donate.

"You need to be at least at a 12.5 to donate," the nurse told me after testing the blood from my left ring finger. "You're only at a 12.4" Sad, huh? I mean, I guess I was kind of relieved. But mostly just sad since I was doing so good to have gotten myself in there in the first place.

She had another nurse come in and test a different finger after my reading was too low, just to be sure my levels weren't high enough (I guess a second prick can sometimes read higher and then you are eligible to donate.) But the reading from my middle finger on my right hand only garnished a 12.2 iron-level reading. Even more sad. So, instead of donating, I sat and kept my friend Natalie (who had adequate iron levels) company while she donated.

I'm going to eat some leafy greens, lentils and fish this week and try my luck again next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

{ Boots at last! }

You may or may not have noticed, but I have slightly sizely calves. Not in a bad way, but in a I-ride-bikes-and-live-an-active-lifestyle way. So, trying to purchase a cute pair of riding-style boots to wear with my fall outfits has proved quite the feat over the last three years. That is, it PROVED difficult until last week when I found these rad boots at Nordstrom (they just arrived in the mail cause the store didn't have my size in stock). And for 40% off nonetheless!

I find them the perfect balance between being dainty and awesome.

Small wedge heel = perfectly feminine, while
Chunky rider style = perfectly masculine.

Oh man...life is good.

{ Fully engaged in life }

The quote of the day came from a Church Educational Fireside that I watched this evening while crammed in my little living room with 10 other people (it was a cozy). It comes from President Thomas S. Monson -- the Prophet and President of the LDS church.

"He who soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; however, he who soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully." -Pres. Thomas S. Monson

So simple and true no? It goes right along with some thoughts I was writing the other day. I had written the phrase "I want to believe that life really is what you put into it." Looks like that thought was confirmed. So, Here's to living life fully -- giving it my all. Cause really, I'm not sure it would be all that amazing if I decided give any less :)

{ Enjoying Ash Mae }

I'm supposed to be designing a newsletter for a freelance client right now but have decided blogging about this will be more enjoyable. I went to the extremely enjoyable BFA show of an acquaintance of mine (Ashley Mae Christensen) this evening, and it made me sad that we aren't closer friends.

The only artwork of hers that I had seen previous to the show were lovely birds as shown below (I use this one as my desktop because I love it so much -- it's just so warm):

So I went to the show with the anticipation of seeing more of the birds which I am so fond of, only to be met with something even more wonderful. The best way to describe the show, as I saw it, in one line or less is this:

"A completely engrossing and beautiful step into Ashley Mae's mind."

It was a step saturated with awe, admiration of beauty and peaceful remembrance. So so nice to enjoy for an hour this evening.

The paintings (rendered on that coarse colored paper you used to make those hand turkeys in elementary school) were hung on grey walls. They seemed to represent a melding of memories, feelings and impressions that Ashley had had in her life at sometime, all pleasant or thought-provoking. And they were accompanied by about 10 of her stories, thoughts and poems scattered throughout the artwork. I think the words were my favorite part of the exhibit. They all just shared such beautiful things, and they made me want to pause and soak in the beauty of life more often (see writings below). Too often, at least in my life, I think stupid things like busy-ness seem to get in the way of remembering to soak in how stunning life really is, which is sad. This was a nice reminder.

A small sign near the door of the exhibit said something to the affect of "If you see a painting you particularly enjoy, sign your name next to it. It is yours, as a gift..." How awesome is that?! I signed my name next to the piece that is pictured at the top of this entry; it reminded me of being lifted upward (as it resembles a balloon and has a parachute in the background), and all that that entails. And I loved it most because of its bursting, full color. I will be grateful to have a tangible memory of tonight.

Below is a picture of some of the words that accompanied the paintings. I have transcribed them below the photo for your reading ease. I also included the words to one chunk of text that is not pictured. They were my three favorite writings there.

pictured on left:
I think it’s an amazing thing to be brought out to sea on someone else’s ship for a short while. Maybe we feel nervous, maybe it seems that they are captaining all wrong, that the anchor should be placed sooner, that the waves are too big, but then we look up and see that we’ve been taken to a beautiful place, entirely new, we’ve never seen the sea like this before. We look back and see that we are a long way from shore, with only the hope of trust that our friend will get us back safely. And most likely they will, though perhaps not in the way we would have done it, but they have been doing things this way, maybe all their lives, it is their essence. You love that essence, embrace it, don’t seek to mold it into your own, even if you do know a more efficient way home. You do this because next week you will invite them out on your ship, and they may feel just the same way you once did, but you will both be the better for the experience. The sea, with all it’s monotony, may be a new place because of the way you saw your friend look upon it.

pictured on right:
I have been thinking about something Katy read to me from a book. It talked about in making a decision, often the most difficult thing about it is the decisions not made because of it.
Life could go a 1,000 ways. That’s scary. We make the best of what we choose. We create joy. There is a difference between joy and fun, I love fun, but I want joy. On a farm maybe?

not pictured but equally as loved:
Today Davey and I went climbing a tree. Davey was far up in the bendy branches and I was just perched on the lowest one, swinging my legs in the autumn air. I looked up and said, “Davey you’re good at climbing trees.” He said thank you. I said, “Davey, are you scared?” and I heard him say from above me as I looked up at the bottoms of his shoes, “I’m always scared on the way down.”

Every so often, and it does not come about easily, in one sitting, or even forty, we create a line, an image, a thought that stops us, reminds us there is something more, a God. To me, that brief and inexplicable revelation of understanding is like the moment lightening flashes, you know you’ve seen it, it was beautiful, and for s split second, it revealed the whole valley to you. Fell upon you and blessed you in the dark and in the rain.

I wish I had a proper explanation for my humanness, I wish I could sit down with you and tell you what it’s like, all of it. But then again, part of me doesn’t wish to tell you at all, part of me only wishes to experience with you the first star of the night. We could stand next to one another and see it high in the orange sky, above the mountain line, below the falling blue, the crickets would be singing, but us, we would not talk at all. How could we ever explain anything, even less, beauty. In the air between us, maybe God would tell us something, like how we don’t need to be afraid, even when we are falling.

{ Fruity }

Today at work I got paid to draw/create a heart (the human-organ kind) out of fruit. Here's the end product, composed of strawberries, prickly pear cactus, pineapple, apple, pomegranate, blueberry, acai berry and raspberries. I thought it was silly enough that I should share :) If anyone needs any other organs made out of produce, you just let me know.


{ The slogan }

So, this evening, my good friend Katy and I were discussing my desire to do a triathlon this year, and the conversation went kind of like this.

"Really -- my body is built for this kind of thing!" I said. "I mean really...I just need to start working out so I am fulfilling my genetic...ummm...genetic...uhhh..."

"...potential," she finished my sentence.

PERFECT! Yes. "Fulfilling my genetic potential." I like it. Fitness slogan of the year. Guess we'll see how the training goes.