I continue to fall deeper in love with J.J. Abrams.

Obviously, this love stems from Lost. Speaking of which, we went and saw Mission Impossible this weekend (also produced by JJ). I was so excited with Sawyer came out but the minute I leaned over to saw that to Danny....they killed him. Two minutes in the whole movie, are they serious? Stupid. Anyway, I loved Lost. I watched the first five seasons in one semester up at USU  so that I could watch the final season on time. I loved Jack, loves Sawyer, LOVED Boone, kind of like Kate and loved Sun.

Well come to find out my new Netflix obsession, Felicity, (thanks Jord) was also written by JJ. I think it is pretty funny Felicity was one of J.J. Abrams first shows. It is the complete opposite of all of his stuff that is so popular now but it still features really awesome character.

D and me have also been watching Alcatraz, which is also by JJ and also amazing. If you are a Lostie, Alcatraz is for you. There is more of a theme to it than Lost but there is a ton of stuff you don't know which is very Lost-ish. So good!

Anyway, thank JJ for starting Birthday Week off right. I played hooky from school today to have a lunch date  with Jord and have a Felicity marathon.


melanie rae thon

Today I attended the lecture series in the library. Melanie Rae Thon, an amazing writer of shorts, poetry and novels, was speaking.

Melanie read a part of her new piece The Good Samaritan Speaks and a part of her book Voice of the River. I loved both pieces: the first, because of the difficult questions she asks and the remarkable list she creates with beautiful rhythm to it; and the second, because of the depth of her characters and how she weaves these finite details of a character's life throughout the action of what is happening. It's sentences like "If I had the patience to count every grain of the sugar it would add up exactly to my humiliation", that swept me up in her reading. 

The Q&A was lovely. One girl asked Melanie if she did research for her books and Melanie gave the most beautiful response. To paraphrase, and do her no justice at all, she said her books were a lifetime of research. She was doing research for pieces she did know she would write. On the occasions she did know she was going to write, she would read as many texts as possible, watch as many films as possible and get as immersed in the subject as she possibly could before she would write. For a book with a prison scene she went to Montana's State Prison and there she saw the most beautiful gardens in a world of grey stone and realized that the inmates were the gardeners. That image of beautiful gardens at the prison struck her and stayed with her and then emerged in "Voice of the River". 

Melanie also talked about this idea of "catalytic conversion", her writing doesn't come from some theme or experience or idea but this wonderfully compilation of all of those things. Her goal for her writing is to render moments "everything is love" and to somehow capture that philosophy about people any way she can. For her it is through writing; for her writing is prayer. 

She talked about this really beautiful story of a Jewish woman in a concentration camp that was going to run to the electric fence and get riddled with bullets because that would be a better way to die than starvation. When the time came for her to run, she felt the sun on her arm. It only took the sensation of warmth on her skin to put the world in perspective. This Jewish woman went on to not only live but to have her spirituality survive. All because of this simple experience with sunlight. 


I have been feeling entirely January. The same as the clouds: too tired to snow but too tired to move away. Grey.  Melancholy. But not unhappy.

Maybe it is the realization that me and D will be moving out of Utah come summer. I'm excited to have a new adventure, new job, new scenery. Still, it will be hard to be away from family. I'm close to my family, in that obsessed, can't go a month without them kind of way. Maybe that is the reason it will be good to move away. Let me and D become our own sort of family.

Has anyone noticed the trees? When I'm walking in to work in the morning they take my breath away. I love bare, dark, icy trees. Set against the glazed-over mountains I am moved by the gorgeousness of God. How beautiful this Earth is, even in January.


martin luther king jr.

Last weekend we were sitting around with Danny's two BFFs complaining about not having any cool plans for the long weekend. Around 8:00 PM on Friday night, Evan suggested we go to Disneyland. We all laughed and kept working on the puzzle. A few minutes later, Evan says, "Seriously, let's go to Disneyland. Right now!" So we did. We packed up, got treats and gas and were headed to California by 9:00 PM.

We drove through the night, ate at Denny's around 7:00 AM and were in the park by 8:00. It was awesome! It was gorgeous weather, never too hot, never too cold. The best part was D giving us the ultimate fast pass. Wheelchairs in Disneyland are THE.BEST.THING.EVER. For example: Indian Jones had a 55 minute wait time, we enter through the exit and were seated in the ride in just under 12 minutes. The longest line we waited in was for Pineapple Dole Whips. It was possibly one of the best trips to Disneyland I have ever had (and I have had some seriously magical times there). I think we were high from the lack of sleep and just the spontaneity of it all.

This is possibly my favorite picture from the whole trip. Poor kid, strapped to his leash, he is just out of reach of the spinning ball floating on water all the other kids are playing with. And little Annie was so stinkin' cute.

We also got priority seating for the World of Color. It was amazing! It really was as good as everyone has been saying. The boys thought it was good, almost as good as their turkey legs. 

Well we crashed at this really classy $45 hotel that night. Loaded up on continental breakfast and then decided to head to Santa Monica Pier. Again, beautiful weather unlike any January in Utah (even the nice one we have been experiencing). We loved just hanging out at the Pier, watching street performers, riding the Ferris Wheel, eating at Bubba Gumps and hitting up the funnel cake stand. I have never been so homesick for summer. 

Late afternoon we decided to head to Vegas and do the strip. We pulled in around 9:00PM and hit some Chipotle, making all of his dreams come true. We went to the new City Center which was beautiful and I gambled for the first time, $2 on a slot machine (what a waste). We stayed with Brit's sister that night and hung out with his adorable little niece and nephew. 
The next morning we intended to head straight back to Provo but then we found out National Parks have free entries on national holidays.Thus we made one last stop, Zions.

We did the drive and just managed one hike with D on his crutches. It was gorgeous, I think our next weekend vacation will be Zion's and the Grand Canyon. It was one of the funnest weekends ever. I am such a planner. I plan out our semesters and work schedules and med schools and every thing else imaginable. I think I said "I can't believe we are doing this!" about 1,000 times. All I know is I am loving my last semester of college and I'm rocking the very "Elaine" lifestyle.

Thank you, Dr.King for the best weekend ever!


Blair Waldorf

D and I went to Costco today and not just for sample Saturday, we actually bought things (and spent less than $100, go us!). While there we saw at least 15 girls in tights. Not skinny jeans, no even the jeggings, straight-up tights. I know this is nothing new, I just can't believe this fad hasn't passed yet. At least Blair gets it.

Tights seem to be a theme for us. Last night D took me on a date to Spanish Fork and our crazy waitress also had tights on. We have yet to find any decent Chinese food in Provo so we went to a little place on main street down there. To no surprise Lucky 5 was a let down but it was fun to go out. We also went and saw Moneyball, which I loved! It actually shocked me to see Brad though, he is getting old. I guess we are all growing up.

Anyway, tights aren't pants. Spread the word.


Mark Burns

While driving to Sandy and back today, we were listening to the radio and I got a blast from the past. D and I were laughing about our favorite songs and how the lyrics are forever burned into our brains. I became very grateful that my 10-year-old self's dreams did not come true. If they had I would be married to Mark Burns (lead singer of BBMak) and still be dressing like Sporty Spice (fake tat and all). To this day I do not understand how N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys gained more popularity that the hot foreign, guitar playing studs known as BBMak. I was obsessed with them and this music video in particular (probably because it was the only one of their videos that aired regularly on the Disney Channel).

The other main dream I remember (this is a very vivid memory taking place in Breann VanOrden's very pink bedroom) revolved around choosing one song we could have written and sung professionally. This was a passionate subject for me at the time. I'm sorry to say I choose "Lucky" by B.Spears herself. Probably because it related to my life so much at the time...

Nope, that can't be it. Because I didn't live in Hollywood nor was I pretty AT ALL.  Notice the glasses, braces and big rolls in my hair. Awesome.

Boy down in front. That's Thomas Meyer, option #2 for a husband. This option passed when we hit the 6th grade I was an entire foot taller than him.


Ben Flajnick

I watch the Bachelor religiously, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Okay, maybe a little but I'll admit it anyway. However, I am especially excited for this season (not because of Ben's third grader on the way to picture day hair or the new crazies stepping up to challenge Michelle Money's legacy - why are the nut jobs always from Utah?) because it is my first season playing Fantasy Bachelor. I did some intensive research last season to find the perfect site, which ended up being fafarazzi.com. Fafarazzi let you pick three bachelors/bachelorettes each week and rewarded points for roses, ncmos, name calling, bromances, saying "she's not here for the right reasons" and so on. Unfortunately, they went out of business just a few weeks ago so I was forced to choose a much crappier site last minute.

I don't know what to expect from this site or this season but I look forward to kicking my families butt. We have 12 of us playing (still waiting on you COPE twins and TRAVIS, MOM, and AUNT SANDY) and the smack talk has already begun. I mean families that play together stay together, right?

Don't forget to pick your players each week before noon on Mondays! Go team Kacie B.

Steve Ells

It was a really good/hard year for the Catts fam; for us, the theme of 2011was "find joy in the small things". It was our first whole year of being married and we grew a lot. We moved into the FDL, went through the months of med school prep, D broke his leg, EFY summer was really hard, I threw my back out again and fall was my hardest semester of school ever. But we also went on some really fun and simple getaways, spent a lot of time with family, made some really amazing friends in our ward and spent time with old best friends as well. So here are some of the top moments of 2011 (they were REALLY hard to choose) and some wishes for the upcoming year. 

The Top 11 Moments of 2011
(in no particular order)

11. Having a break through at Chipotle so now I can love it with D!

10. Stealing a fire place with the Johnsons....and getting rained on in the tent. 

9. Our 1st anniversary spent at Snowbird

8. Weekend at the cabin

7. Getting the job at the Fleur-de-Lis

6. HP at midnight! (worth every second)

5. St.Geezy weekend and the home show with Aunt Sandy

4. Danny doing awesome on the MCAT/ getting his first few acceptances

3. Seeing Les Miserables for the first time!

2. Finally being brave enough to cut my hair.

1. Trip to Chicago!

Top 12 Wishes for 2012
(again...in no particular order so don't judge me)

12. Baby numero uno.....eh, Danny?

11. Running a 5K

10. Peacing out on Provo

9. Learn to play a few hymns on the piano

8. Reading our scriptures every night

7. Getting a puppy

6. Going on a European cruise for graduation

5. Making it to every temple in Utah

4. Getting into the Air Force and/or winning a million dollars

3. Loving the last semester of college/ getting published

2. Winning the HGTV Dream Home

1. D getting into an awesome med school!


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