Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just wanted to say...


With Thanksgiving upon us this week, we wanted to share some things we are very thankful for. Hope you enjoy the list (in no particular order).*

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
- Martin Luther

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.
- Henry David Thoreau

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
- Aldous Huxley

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
- John Ruskin

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.
- Pablo Picasso

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
- Leo Tolstoy

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
- Thomas Aquinas

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
- Buddha

I have a lot of great memories, but I can't imagine anything more exciting than the life I have now.
- Rob Lowe

I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.
- William Tyndale

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.
- Walter Bagehot

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
- Thomas Jefferson

Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.
- Norman Cousins

Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.
- Margaret Mead

What I've enjoyed most, though, is meeting people who have a real interest in food and sharing ideas with them. Good food is a global thing and I find that there is always something new and amazing to learn - I love it!
- Jamie Oliver

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is - full of surprises.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Testimony is as elusive as a moonbeam; it's as fragile as an orchid; you have to recapture it every morning of your life. You have to hold on by study, and by faith, and by prayer.
- Harold B. Lee

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunlight is painting.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
- Mary Poppins

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
- George Bernard Shaw

Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.
- Napoleon Hill

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
- C.S. Lewis

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
- Claude Monet

I don't know if it's just me or everyone, but the whole vibe with skiing is not so much thriving on competition against others as it is against myself and the clock.
- Picabo Street

A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into.
- Ansel Adams

My experience has been that work is almost the best way to pull oneself out of the depths.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
- Langston Hughes

It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

*This list could go on and on, but we are so very thankful for life and everything that comes with it. We hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

the district

One reason why we love Columbus?

Its proximity to a bunch of fabulous places, including:

Washington D.C.

We decided to take a road trip over Veteran's Day weekend to go and hang out with my sister and her husband. The time passed much too quickly, but we loved every minute we got to spend in such a great place with awesome people.

Playing Settlers

Lindsay is on the phone with my dad in this picture. Turns out, I forgot to tell him that we were going to D.C. for the weekend, and he called my cell phone to find out some info about my sister since she's as terrible at answering her phone as I am. Since I was sitting across the table from her when he called, I handed over the phone straightaway. Needless to say, my dad was surprised.

East doors of the D.C. temple.

Most of the leaves have fallen in Columbus, but we saw gorgeous Autumn scenery the whole weekend in D.C. This is the bridge connecting the entrance/waiting area to the rest of the temple.

Tallest LDS temple from ground to spire.

A lovely way to start the day.

After the temple, we met up with Dave and Jen Holtkamp for lunch at Old Ebbit's. We met them in Scotland last year and love hearing of their adventures now that they live in D.C. while Dave gets his Master's from GMU. Not sure why we didn't take a picture with them, but we loved getting together.

After that? The Mall.

Steve told me to think tall.

So this is me, thinking tall.

And here we are at the WWII memorial between the Washington monument and Lincoln memorial.

More of the WWII memorial.

And some more. We loved the fountains (that's the Lincoln memorial in the background).

My wonderful Buckeye

The monument includes a pillar for each state and U.S. territory involved in the conflict, all of which surround a beautiful central fountain.

Washington monument from the Lincoln memorial.

The Adamses visiting Mr. Lincoln.

Whenever I read or think about the Gettysburg Address, I remember an excellent book that I was introduced to in the 8th grade - Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. If you haven't read it, you really should.

There is a picture like this of me and my siblings when we're all little kids sitting on these very steps. Here's to you Scott, Cullen and Lindsay. Wish we all could have been here together this time too.

Explanation of the Mister's face: Missus' first time cutting hair.


Nathan was nice enough to show me how to do it, since I'll likely be cutting it from now on and need to know what I'm doing.

A view from the George Washington Parkway, en-route to Clifton for some spectacular scenery.

Here I am, goofing around on the train tracks in Clifton, minding my own business...

And there's Nathan, also goofing around on the train tracks, definitely not minding his own business. He knocked me off at the perfect moment, but unfortunately, Lindsay didn't capture his scheming maneuvers fast enough.

He doesn't know who he's messing with apparently. Christmas break, here we come.

I don't think we've ever mentioned where the name "Team Adams" came from for our blog. Steve came up with it, and I was very impressed with his inspiration. For years and years, my dad has been trying to persuade his daughters to jump on the "Team Irvine" bandwagon: an Irvine pairs/ice-dancing/daddy-daughter ice-skating team. Steve picked up on the Team Irvine references while we were dating and decided Team Adams would be a fitting title for the blog documenting our adventures.

If we can balance this well on train tracks, who knows what we can do on the ice with a little practice...

Maybe a synchronized waltz jump.


Gorgeous Clifton scenery.

Enjoying a raspberry concrete on the way back into D.C.

Yes, that's right, a concrete.

Lindsay and Nathan took us to the Nielson's Frozen Custard Virginia branch - just as good as the Bountiful headquarters. Lindsay explained the family connections and how everything ties together, but all I know is that we enjoyed one tasty concrete in Virginia.

That's me and my sister at the foot of the Jefferson Memorial. A little off the beaten path of the Mall, but always worth a visit.

The memorial is based on Jefferson's design for his home at Monticello, which in turn, was based upon the architecture of the Pantheon in Rome.

The sculpture of Jefferson is cool, but the inscription around the dome (what I was reading when Steve snapped the picture) is even cooler:

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
-Thomas Jefferson

It was a fantastic weekend and we can't wait to go back.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Here are the latest happenings from Ohio:

First stop: The Book Loft in German Village

Steve was antsy to get out of the house one night so we decided to go see some random, 32-room bookstore in German Village to check out the selection and see if there is anything we had to have to expand the Adams' library.

A little chaotic, but a really fun place to explore for a couple hours...

No books, but one KKA to go, please.
It was raining pretty hard when we decided to leave, and the friendly cashier offered each of us (myself, Steve, Joe and Jacob) a plastic bag to get from the store to our car.

Woot woot!

I was really excited to go visit our friendly neighbors, especially when I got to see a gigantic picnic basket on the side of the road on the way there...

How cool is that?!?!? We had just browsed through a book (at the Book Loft, two days prior) about funny landmarks one can see while driving across the U S of A. Didn't see this one in the book, but I laughed when we saw it en-route to visit the Amish.

Welcome to Amish country!
We didn't keep a tally, but I believe we saw at least twenty buggies being pulled by horses in and around Walnut Creek, OH.

Most people we saw were really friendly and waved back at us as we passed by. Couldn't help but think of Pres. Faust's Conference address in 2007 about the Amish (the one about forgiveness).

A peek into their world.

Steve was hoping we'd get stuck behind a buggy, which we did (multiple times). For some reason, getting stuck behind a horse and carriage in downtown SLC drives me nuts, but being stuck behind a horse and buggy in Ohio's Amish Country was the coolest thing ever.
Go figure.

We had to check out the local library. From the little that I know about this culture, they strive to keep the outside world at a distance, and stay close to home. I read a handbook on Amish culture and remember three rules that (generally) determine their behavior:
1) Does this keep me apart from the world?
2) Will this divide my family in any way?
3) Will this take me far from home?

An interesting sight in the library that caught my attention was seeing the Amish with the world at their fingertips, thanks to the internet. The 12.5 mile radius (horses can travel 25 miles in a day - another piece of info in my Amish handbook) that constitutes the normal boundaries of the Amish isn't as restrictive as one might think.

A paradox?

Steve really liked these. All that stuff in there...

This was in the late afternoon, so I assume this nice woman was heading home.

Last stop: The Gallery Hop

The first Saturday of every month is set aside as a gallery hop - all the galleries in the Short North stay open until 10:00pm. Steve planned the evening, and we ended up spending time with some friends from the Glenn school for dinner and a night of gallery hopping.

Future city managers, agency administrators, public policy analysts...

This is Alex.
As you might imagine, he always makes us laugh.

Not exactly sure what is on top of my head, but I couldn't resist trying it on. I may have to come back to this vintage shop next October when I'm coming up with my Halloween 2011 attire. Speaking of that, congrats to Alisha Clark for guessing the identity and context of my Halloween 2010 costume - Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady) at the Ascot Races.
"C'mon, Dover!"
A very funny scene...

Art lovers (or pseudo art lovers) trying to figure out what they're looking at.
I don't pretend to understand Contemporary art.

We stopped in a little shop and struck up a fun conversation with the owner/shop designer. I saw this decoration on the window ledge and asked how much it cost. Officially, it wasn't for sale, but the owner said he'd let me have it for 5 bucks.
We didn't have any cash on us, but told him we'd be back. We came back about 40 minutes later and he said that right after we left, another person came in and had their eye on the same decoration. They said that if it was still there at 9:40pm, they were buying it.

We went back at 9:30pm.


It reminds me of something I'd find at the Kimball Art Center in Park City, and if you haven't been there, you should definitely go. Park City also has a gallery stroll - it's on the last Friday of every month. The Kimball should have their annual glass Christmas ornament exhibition up right now, and if you find an ornament you like, you can purchase it on the spot.

Happy hopping/strolling.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Election Day

I failed in my civic responsibility this year and am quite ashamed of myself.

Two reasons for this: I am not registered to vote in Ohio, nor did I request an absentee ballot in enough time to have my vote count in the Utah election. It won't be happening again, that's for sure.

Joe, Steve and I decided to go and hit up the dollar theater for some cheap entertainment because we figured we'd watch the returns after the movie ended when there was actually something to say rather than mere speculation. We didn't participate, but we figured we'd at least celebrate (or cry).

First movie: Eat Pray Love
(We saw this last Saturday, but I wanted to share a few thoughts)

Loved it!

Some people have gotten carried away with the book and have tried to copy Ms. Gilbert's journey of discovery. Sad, but true. I must say, however, that there are some very valuable lessons to be learned from the author's experiences.

One of my favorite parts of the movie happened to take place in Italy. After seeing the trailer for this movie I knew the cinematography would be fantastic, and I was not disappointed. An awesome moment is captured when the friends are gathered together eating Italian food, and there is a huge plate of spaghetti (seen above) with the parmesan cheese being sprinkled on top of it in slow motion while the Queen of the Night aria plays in the background. It is absolutely brilliant.

Second Movie: Inception

We saw this last night while the votes were being counted.

It blew my mind.

I'm definitely going to need to see this a few more times. The story line is still working itself out in my head. Most people I've talked to say that you should plan to see it more than once to catch all the details you missed the first time.

Done deal.

And that was how we spent Election Day 2010. Though I shirked my civic duty, I participated in some good 'ole American entertainment at the dollar theater. After the movie ended we came home and checked out the election returns to see what's going to happen to our country over the next two years...

Monday, November 1, 2010


Shock, n. [shok]
a sudden or violent disturbance of the mind, emotions, or sensibilities.

I am still in shock today.


I got the mark for my dissertation yesterday.

During an Orientation meeting in September 2009, the first piece of information I heard regarding the dissertation that would be required to complete my degree:
Don't expect a mark of 80 or above - that's impossible for anything less than exceptional work produced by PhD candidates.

Great. The director speaking to us must have felt our dismay because she quickly asked, "how many of you are from the United States?"

I raised my hand (along with 30 or so other people at the meeting).

She then said, "How does a score of 80 look on an American transcript? Pretty mediocre, right?"


That's when I was introduced the craziness known as the UK marking system. Anything that falls between 70 and 100 is awarded a distinction. The reason we were not to expect 80 or higher is because professors and administrators feel that Masters' students do not have the background, research experience or adequate time to spend on one topic to deserve such a high mark - it's pretty much an exclusive privilege of PhD students. So anything over 80 was non-existent, and anything over 70 was still pretty rare.

The grading scale we came to know and love pretty much looked like this:

40-49: Thanks for trying
50-59: Good
60-69: Great
70 and above: Distinction - we think you're awesome.

Somewhat comical, but true. Average marks usually fell somewhere between 58-66 for students in my program.

26 March 2010 - the day I promised myself I'd do whatever it takes to earn a distinction - no pleasure reading, no facebook, no wasting time, constantly research new sources, take tons of notes, question every argument, cite every source, etc. etc. etc. A quote I have come to love, which truly captures the essence of my dissertation experience is by Jim Rohn:

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment."

Here's what that looked like:

This is on a light day - usually our front room looked like a tornado had hit Piersfield Terrace, leaving books, papers, post-it notes, etc. strewn about the room.

16 August 2010: I turned in two copies of my completed dissertation, flew back to the States the next day, and started the waiting game to receive my final mark.

Not a big fan of that game, but at least I kept myself really busy.

31 October 2010: Halloween just got even better.

I got a 79.

I am truly stunned. I felt really good about this paper and know I gave it everything I had, but a 79 far exceeded my expectations. I was shooting for 80 or above - even though I was told it was impossible I still worked to the grading rubric that qualified for that score - all the while thinking that it would likely end up in the high 60s, maybe low 70s.

Was it all worth it?

Absolutely. I can't keep from smiling.

I know I've already thanked you a bazillion times, but to my amazing editors - DRI and LIR - I couldn't have achieved this without you. Thank you. And a big thanks as well to all of you who sent lovely thoughts and prayers on my behalf - they were felt and answered.