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Day 4: Is there anybody out there… like me?*


Today’s “Build a Better Blog” task required me to analyze a top blog in my niche.

My niche?

Is there any other blog in the world in my niche?

I was stumped.

So instead, I started scanning through my friends’ blogs. I heart my friends. I heart their blogs. These are some of them (in random order):

Mama’s Boys – Linds and I became friends our senior year of high school, but we went to school together since kindergarten. It’s sad that we missed out on all of those years of friendship we could have had, but we made up for it, possibly all in one weekend that involved squirt guns, walkie-talkies, cell phones, undercover gang patrol cops, and an accident.

Phabulous Phippens – Mine and Karen’s friendship came and went because she came and went moving to and from Utah and always back to the same school from elementary through high school. This included a short stint in a musical, getting in trouble with the typing teacher, and attempting to sing in choir first thing in the morning. When I have kids, I’ll expect to call her frequently for advice.

Shanny’s Life – Shannon and I also went to school together since kindergarten and became almost friends in high school, but REALLY became friends as roommates our freshman year in college. That happened because I leaned over in Calculus, senior year, and said, “Hey, I need a roommate and you’re going to BYU. What’s your social security number?” (I also follow her husband, Clark’s blog, Bethletard. It’s a good one.)

The M’s – Sabrina shares her blog with her husband-how cute are they? And again, she’s a friend who I went to school with since kindergarten, but didn’t really become buds until senior year. Are we noticing a theme yet? However, we do have some moments of connection prior to that, including hiding in a garage with baby quail (sometime in 3rd grade, perhaps), and having Calculus study sessions in my basement where we rewarded ourselves with playing some type of wrestling game on the N64 after.

my little adventures… – Meghan, Meghan, bo Beghan experienced the Larrie friendship curve. This is where it takes some time before she realizes my quirks are actually endearing and then decides that we should spend Valentine’s Day eating Thai food with our Korean friend and then bake mountains of chocolate chip cookies while listening to Outkast. Can you believe they allowed such unruly behavior at BYU? Thankfully, the friendship curve doesn’t seem to be a bell curve; no sloping down yet.

Scattered Starlight – English majors UNITE! Somehow, Katie and I never got to know each other during our tenure as English majors at BYU, but we became friends afterwards, thanks to my sister-in-law, her best friend, Genny. Now we get to connect in a myriad of ways, from reading each others’ blogs to twittering back and forth or posting on each others’ Facebook walls. Yep, we’re TIGHT.

v1.2 – “Kaakun” was in a BYU ward. I have no idea how we became friends because there are many, many holes in my memory from that year of school. However, I do remember him and Rachel playing the “state game,” his commentary during mine and my roommates’ ice skating finals, and drawing on his apartment window in the middle of the night. Since then, there have been Vegas weddings, broken beds, and vomiting at Crown Burger. Sweet, sweet memories.

Family blogs: life of laina – I’m so happy my brother married Laina, for many reasons, one of which is that she blogs and it’s consistent, unlike her husband, Thane, who recently started up again on his blog, My Separate from Wife’s Blog. Nobody else in my family really blogs so I adopted my sister-in-law, Tracy’s family: Aimee, internal conversations & ramblings of aimee heffernan; Scott, Vote of Die Blog; and Ryan, The Idealistic Investor.

Tiffanie – I am a fan of our story. We met briefly during the ’99-’00 school year when she visited my roommate from Kansas. Then, I ended up in that same roommate’s wedding party where her best friend from Kansas, Tiff, did not. Seemed odd and so I was hesitant to talk to Tiff because I was the bad guy in this situation. Then, many moons later, she moved to Salt Lake and we ended up in the same singles ward. I went up to her and said, “Are you from Olathe, Kansas?” Who’s heard of Olathe and who can pronounce it right? Me. That’s who. Oh-lay-thah.

Two of my roommates who weren’t actually roommates: Nichole-The Audrey show, and Leslie-The Collyafaces. We lived next door, but both apartments got along so well, we would have knocked down the wall that separated us if we could. Now, I just stalk them via their blogs where they post pics of their adorable little girls.

A Day in the Life of Clancy – I knew Clancy when I was younger, but she was always the big sister. Instead, I spent all of my time running around with her little sister, Lacy-climbing cherry trees, rollerblading down Harrison (from 1300 E to 1100 E), doing art projects and playing Nintendo. However, today, Clancy and I go rollerblading down Harrison. Wait. No, we don’t because she doesn’t even live in Utah. Instead, we just stalk each others’ blogs and hit up the jokes on FB chat. It’s a beautiful relationship.

Norton News – Amy and I rocked the basketball court (and sometimes the bench) in high school. I miss her motivational speeches tailored just to me and my emotional rollercoaster ride that was high school sports. Then, she motivated me through a summer of door-to-door sales by sending lengthy emails. Now, she’s got an adorable little family, house, life, etc. It’s fabulous.

View from the Bushes – Every time I read the title of his blog, I think of a peeping tom. However, Ross is not… as far as I know. He’s the former coworker who I initially judged by appearance (longer hair, scraggily beard) and then got over that and realized he was an English major turned geek with the sharpest wit in the department. He moved on to bigger, better things than our web dude at work and now I have to stalk him via his blog. And we have Facebook. Too bad I only got one date with his brother-he would have been a catch.

My sister blogs. Oh wait, no, no she doesn’t, otherwise I would have included it in the family section above. But once, her roommate tried to set up a blog for the two of them: Merphanie. That lasted long. The other roommate, Kasi keeps up the blogging on her own site: Kismet of Kas. Also, I follow Martha’s blog, MOSTLY MARTHA. I’m pretty sure we’re both Mrs.-Lake-trained writers.

I know-this list is getting very long. I skipped over some people because they haven’t blog very recently. (Or because I don’t want them to know that I read their blogs regularly, mwahaha.) The rest of the blogs that I follow are written by people that I do not know… AT ALL.

Here’s a quick list of SOME of those: almost literary, Normal Mormon Husbands, The Art of Over-Thinking, Why Mormon Girls Stay Single, Lifehacker, Mashable!, Seth’s Blog, etc.

Okay, I’m tired of adding hyperlinks so you’ll just have to guess what all the other blogs are that I follow. What blogs do you follow?


*When I started typing this subject line, I was singing in my head, Pink Floyd’s Is There Anybody Out There? There’s not much to sing, though. Basically, while writing the remainder of this awesome blog post, I was repeating over and over in my head, “Hello, hello, hello” fading out.

Look What I Wrote Today


You would think after another busy weekend, I would have massive amounts of rambling to do. Perhaps I would share all the intimate details if I wasn’t so tired and coughy. (It’s my blog; I make up my own words.)

Don’t get me wrong, though. The weekend was rather fabulous although I should have slept more.

Plus, the cherry on top was seeing some of my Unspeakable pals, Kow, Bean and fam Sunday night. It was worth the drive to P-town.

Now I’m at work. Surprise. And there’s plenty to do. Surprise.

So rather than take the time to create a witty post about something that happened this weekend, I will simply cut and paste what I wrote this morning for work. Now, you will see why I’m so good at my job… because of the YEARS of honing my mighty writing skills as I earned my English degree from the prodigious BYU. Enjoy this brief, but enormously interesting SQL query:

select distinct

cast (masterSetting.setting_value as varchar(32)) as

‘setting_value’,

mastersetting.CLTD_ID,

test.test_number,

test.test_name,

test.ARUP_TEST_NUM,

test.USE_ARUP_TEST_DATA

from

dbo.tblCLTDMasterSetting mastersetting (nolock)

inner join dbo.tblCLTDSetting setting (nolock)

on mastersetting.setting_id = setting.setting_id

and setting.setting_name = ‘LTD Name’

inner join dbo.tblCLTDTest test (nolock)

on mastersetting.CLTD_ID = test.CLTD_ID

where test.use_arup_test_data <> ‘0’


Political Link of the Day: “Big 3 Bailout: The Ultimate in Lemon Socialism…

I’ll tell the INTERNET about my weekend, because the boys never asked…


I often go out for lunch on Fridays with an ever-changing group of coworkers. Last Friday that included Freddy, McJosh and Hoss. We went to Barbacoa and ate outside, which was quite nice. I was excessively tired from the upstairs neighbor and her boyfriend waking me up around 1:00 a.m. and again around 5:30 a.m. the night before. This meant that I wasn’t the one asking questions and keeping conversation alive. So instead, McJosh asked Hoss, “What are you up to this weekend?”

He listed off some chores, taking the wife’s car to the shop, not much else.

McJosh said he’d be playing with his kids.

Freddy mentioned the he doesn’t really like to make plans.

I waited patiently for them to all take their turns and then ask me what I was up to.

I kept waiting.

I’m still waiting.

I’m just going to tell myself that they never asked because they didn’t want to be JEALOUS.

Seriously. My weekend was a bit jam packed.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT.

Friday night, I enjoyed a delectable dinner of macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. Yum. Then I convinced Mern not to take a nap and instead go to an Olympus High School football game with me. Really. Just because I didn’t go to football games when I attended East High School doesn’t mean I don’t want to go to a former rival high school’s football game nearly 10 years after graduating. (I’m not old; I’m experienced.)

We went to watch our nieces who were performing with a drill team camp at half time. Little Jane, the three-year-old, stole the show. Her t-shirt was nearly the same size as her, her hair just barely fit into pig-tails and she was the best little hip shaker on the field. Annie and Emma did a great job, too, of course.

We left after the show (before the football game finished) and then I stalled by taking Mern to buy kitty treats at Dan’s because I REALLY needed to get them NOW. By the time I returned Mern home, all the lights were off and she noticed a few little heads peeking out the window. We walked in and the kids yelled, “Surprise!” They were so excited to be in on the secret. Especially Abe and Jane who previously only knew that they were going to have a sleep over… SOME WHERE.

The rest of the surprise birthday sleep over went as follows: pizza, decorating cup cakes, laughing in the front room, watching All Dogs Go To Heaven, almost sleeping, waking up to a sick Jane, not particularly enjoying the mattress that I slept on, and eating McDonald’s breakfast with ibuprofen.

When I got home, I really considered taking a nap before remembering how much I hate waking up – if I fall asleep now, I might not want to get up and clean up (myself and my home) before the swimming party / pot luck.

So I managed to stay awake by cleaning the kitchen. We’re talking about really cleaning here, too. Spraying the sink and counters down with Lysol, letting it soak, and scrubbing it clean; vacuuming then mopping the floor; wiping down the stovetop and microwave; cleaning the dishes and loading the dishwasher. I also cleaned the laundry room which mostly meant sweeping up kitty litter that those darn cats had tracked out of the box. Now I can walk barefoot in there again.

Eventually, I got my place cleaned up, cleaned up myself then went to the store to pick up food. That’s a lot of getting up when I really just wanted to lie down.

Before long, the party was happening at my place when Bean and her little cutey, Adie came over. We, of course, played with Pogi and Adie got the giggles playing fetch while Bean was changing into her swimsuit in the bathroom. Just as we were finished getting ready to go out to the pool, Kow, J and their three little girls pulled up. Yes, it’s true, internet. I like to hang out with married people and their kids. We had a fabulous time.

After swimming, we chowed down on sandwiches—croissants from Costco are delightful. Then my fabulous friends helped clean up and we sent Bean and Adie on their way. Kow, J, the girls and I then went for a little ride over to Iceberg for shakes, which we ate in my parking lot while waiting for Nettie and Dave to stop by and say hi. Eventually, all of the married people left and Joel-in-the-box came over to finish my shake. Have you seen the size of the ‘mini’ shakes? Trying to describe it with the word “huge” would be an understatement.

I then made Joel-in-the-box come with me to my indoor soccer game (at 11:10 p.m.) where I scored a couple of goals in the first half and therefore assigned myself to play defense in the second half. Yes, I scored in defense, too from just over the half line. I think the goalie was trying to guard a player instead of his goal. After soccer, we finished off the evening watching the US men bring home the gold in basketball.

Okay, are you still with me? We’re on to Sunday now. I’ll make this day short: breakfast at Mern’s, church where two people talked to me (I sort of gave up making an effort anymore), dinner at the parents’, birthday cake and presents, then home to feed the cats and water the plants.

So there you go, internet. That was my weekend.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and A Wrinkle in Time


In part to make up for missing a review last week and also to honor two of my buddies / ol’ pals who took my fabulous survey (link in upper right), it’s a two-for-one book review this Saturday! Woot woot! And these two books are ones that if you haven’t read, your life is SERIOUSLY INCOMPLETE so you better click on them and buy them immediately from Amazon so that we can be friends again. The first book is my ABSOLUTELY FAVORITE and Katie mentioned that she recently picked it up on a trip to B&N. (Katie is SO like me when it comes to visiting a fabulous bookstore; we can’t leave without armfuls of tasty literature and I heart it when she shares on her blog her latest bibliophile purchases.) The second book is one that I recently lent a copy to my niece, Annie. It’s also listed on Kow’s list of books she’s read on Goodreads.com. She rated it five stars out of five stars and I must say, I agree. (Kow is another girlfriend who I can ALWAYS count on for a good reading recommendation or to discuss one of the myriad novels we have devoured.)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was published back at the start of the 20th century and follows the story of the protagonist, Francie, as she grows up in a very underprivileged Brooklyn family. She loves to go to the library; she loves to curl up with a book hidden beneath the branches of a tree outside her flat’s window; she loves to take in the lives of the people living around her. It’s a beautiful book because it takes you back to when you were a kid and still had the energy to take in everything happening around you.

When I was living in Pennsylvania for a summer while making an attempt at selling study guides door-to-door, I would reward myself for putting in so many hours or getting a couple of sales by going to the Chambersburg library, curling up in a chair by the window and rereading this book. It’s one of the books that gives me comfort because this little woman that Betty Smith created, Francie, shares with me her courage, hunger, practicality, observations and love of books. She is a literary figure that mirrors the Tree of Heaven, which grows up out of the cement cracks or cellar gratings in Brooklyn; struggling against the odds to survive and blossom. My parents gave me this book for Christmas when I was in high school and it’s one of the most cherished in my library.

A Wrinkle in Time is a book that most everyone my age read when they were in elementary school, or so I thought. Lately, it’s come up in conversation several times and the friends that I was talking to didn’t know it. Gasp! I forget that not every kid read it so eagerly and after finishing, quickly picked up the next Madeleine L’Engle book in their mom’s library until she had read all of those, then road her bike to the city library to check out more. I even wrote the author a letter and she replied. I think that I am long overdue to read some more L’Engle books.

I had to read summaries online to remember all of the details (clearly, it’s time for a refresher), but before long I started to recall how as a child, I loved the literary relationships with L’Engle’s characters in this book: Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin O’Keefe. They meet a stranger on a dark and stormy night who talks about a tesseract—a wrinkle in time. And then the adventure takes off through space and time, searching for Meg’s scientist father who disappeared while involved in secret government research on tesseracts. Just a warning to you, though… if you haven’t read this, be prepared to enjoy it so much that you, too, will want to read everything L’Engle has written and wish she was still alive so you could write to her with your admirations.

You know how there are some sweet memories that you will always hang on to? I still have mine of walking through the library in Sugarhouse and finding a treasure of L’Engle books—shortly after looking up the address in another big book downstairs of L’Engle’s publisher. I can almost smell the library now.

Triple Larrie


I know, I was supposed to write a book review today. So sorry. It’s only the second week of this new “Saturday post” and already I’m flaking out. Typical.

Apparently, life gets busy what with Pete and G moving away (weep), soccer, organize my home with help from my fab Aunt, a BBQ to see my Uncle while he was in town, then hit up the scene downtown with the girls. Where would YOU fit ‘write a blog entry about one of the books you recently read’?

Since I flaked, how about if I just post up some more intimate information about me. Why? Because Puk tagged me.

It comes in threes:

Joys:

  1. My big bed
  2. Scoring a goal
  3. Jane running down the driving shouting LARRIE!

Fears:

  1. Financial insecurity
  2. Having somebody break in to my home
  3. Losing a finger or hand so I can’t play the piano

Goals:

  1. Move up the career ladder
  2. Fix my back
  3. Get in better shape

Obsessions:

  1. My TV
  2. Checking work email at midnight
  3. Blogging

Surprising Facts About Me:

  1. I do things on Ambien and don’t remember
  2. I miss my old ward
  3. I can’t touch my toes without bending my knees

Riveting, I know. And now the part that seems so strange… tagging somebody else. But, I will do it, because it was rather cool to see that Puk thought of me enough to actually tag me on her blog. So see? By me tagging you, I’m thinking of ya.

Tagg-ed: Katie, Kaakun, Kow

A Little Narcissicm is Good For You


The “good” DOC is not in today. Even though I have to work, he seems to think he can take a holiday for Pioneer Day. Fine; be that way. I will then take the time to talk about ME. Like I never do this on my blog, right? But guess why I know you’ll want to read through this whole list? Because you are FASCINATED with me. I know by some of your survey answers. Yes, this is the same survey that I told you to take before because you will, SERIOUSLY, get a kick out of it. (Link to the left if you haven’t noticed.) On to ME…

100 Things about ME.

Frequently Dining at a Nearby Coffee Shop


I really can’t complain as I’m getting a little help from work for installing internet at home, but it’s been difficult living without it and I will have to continue feeling so disconnected from the world UNTIL THE 13TH. Yikes. Until then, I thought that I could borrow a little bandwidth from the neighbors, but they’ve all secured their networks. I was so surprised. And no, I haven’t attempted to hack into anybody’s. Instead, I’ve been going to some of the places were I have profiles and access—namely my brothers’ and parents’ homes. And then Saturday night, in order to get some things done for class, I went to a coffee shop up the street from me.

Try and imagine: it’s Saturday night and you just got home from a fancy shmancy awards dinner (the Best of State awards dinner, to be exact). You try jumping onto a neighbor’s wireless network only to find them all protected. So I decide to stop into the shop up the street that has crepes and is open until 1:00 am—I asked Lilly at dinner the other night and they have wireless.

The shop is called the Greenhouse Effect and they have a recycling bin in the back (so I can still be good to Mother Earth since we don’t have one at my new complex, if I choose to drive my recyclables to this location… save the planet or save gas, hmm). I pulled in a little after 11:00 pm and went in to order a peach-raspberry Italian soda. I forgot to ask them to put cream in so it wasn’t quite sugary enough for me, but you really can’t do wrong making one of those. It was too hot and stuffy inside and I made the mistake of sitting outside.

Why was it a mistake? Who do YOU think eats outside on the patio of a coffee shop at 11:00 pm on a Saturday night?

I should have braved the humid warmth inside instead of coughing in the wafting smoke from the cigarettes of the other diners outside.

It wasn’t too bad at first and I started reading through the discussions from my class while checking in with Kow and Kaakun (who else would be online with me on a Saturday night?). And then two foreign men came towards me.

I honestly thought for a minute that they were going to talk TO ME. Couldn’t they tell from my intense stare at my laptop screen that I was participating in classroom discussion? But they didn’t talk to me. At least not that I could tell. I have no idea what language they were speaking so for all I know, they were talking about me the whole time in Bulgarian or Russian or perhaps Aeolic Greek. The English translation possibly being:

“Check out the chick at the table in the corner.”

“She looks rather stuffy compared to the rest of this crowd.”

“Yeah, and I haven’t heard her cuss once.”

“Let’s sit by her and blow our smoke at her.”

“Amen, brother.”

As soon as the first guy lit up, I thought about getting up and relocating to a table below the porch, but would that be rude? I don’t know why I was worried about being rude to these men. Clearly, they didn’t care about the air I was breathing.

I bid farewell to Kow and Kaakun, closed up my laptop and took my lungs home. When I go back next for more schoolwork, I’ll sit inside and work up a sweat. Also, I’m going to try the crepes next time. I’m not sure they can compare to Meghan’s.