Friday, November 27, 2009

If you think you are having a bad day...

consider the Secret Service agents who let two attention grabbing, would be reality tv personalities "crash" President Obama's first state dinner. Although it is all kinds of ridiculous on the level of people trying to get attention--again (seriously, doesn't anyone just want to have a nice quiet life anymore?)--it is a little alarming. What if they weren't just attention seekers? I feel very safe in DC, but sometimes I also forget I do live in the nation's capital. With the president. So, obviously, it could get a little interesting. I still trust the security of the nation, however. But I do feel bad for those who had a little slip up in their job the other night. Reminds me of why I'm not doing anything connected to the safety and security of others. I would not handle that well. But I am grateful for all that do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do All Counties Have This?

In my research I have discovered that Montgomery County, Maryland, has its own official Coat of Arms, Flag, and Official Bird and Blossom. I do not recall Cache County having the likes.I did a--very--quick search and found that the Sheriff has a flag in Cache County. No coat of arms that I can tell. No flag. No bird. No blossom. I guess the county could have a contest? Maybe an Aggie would be represented?

Montgomery County, MD
(No...I don't live here. I live in Alexandria, VA. They also, as far as I can tell, do not have an official flag, coat of arms, bird, or blossom. They have a seal, but I am sure Logan does as well. So, Logan shouldn't feel bad. Alexandria is pretty great and very old, as far as US cities go.)

Official Bird and Blossom: robin and dogwood

Official Flag:

Official Coat of Arms:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Desperate Times For All

Hey, even museums have to find a way through the difficult times :) Ha, ha...

To find out what The Met is doing about it!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Belong To Me

Surprise! Believe me, no one was more surprised than me when the song I had been singing along to happened to be a Taylor Swift song. But then again, life is kind of surprising. I am surprised I actually rooted for USC tonight. I am surprised that I love where I live so much. I am surprised that the thought of moving anywhere doesn’t scare me so much anymore. I am surprised I survived without living so close to family last year. I am surprised I enjoyed my collections management internship this summer. I am surprised that I am actually very scared to turn 31 next month and leave single ward status forever. I am surprised that I am still emotional eight years after September 11, 2001. Life is surprising. Whether it is categorized as a “good” or “bad” surprise, life catches me off guard all of the time. The trick is finding some contentment that in all types of surprises, I can rest assured I can never guess what will come next. I am also surprised I am done with my Monday assignments and it isn’t even Sunday night (or Monday afternoon!).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Like My Fellow Commuters

It is official. I am now tired of commuting. It wasn't too bad for awhile...but now I am ready for it to be over. I have to say, though, that I really like my fellow commuters. I feel that those commuting north from Salt Lake are great. Whenever I hear of accidents, traffic problems, etc., they seem to be concentrated on the commute going SOUTH. Read into that what you will...but I have concluded that I owe everyone who commutes north a thank you!! Good job! There is only one little slow down spot in Kaysville and there have only been a couple of little accidents...but nothing major. So, I have been overall very grateful. I expected much worse.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Reading

Ah...summer reading. Thinking of light hearted paperback reads? Ha. Well, apparently I have missed the memo entirely on what is appropriate summer reading. I will just blame it on grad school. I put off reading things I have wanted to read because of grad school, so the summer is when I do my "for myself reading." Don't judge, but these are two books I would recommend, though I must emphasize, not for any fun, or escape value. If you are looking for something to get your mind off anything of a serious nature, these books are most certainly NOT recommended.

I started my summer off with The Kite Runner. I really felt like The Kite Runner had an amazing story of confronting the awful things we do, trying to reconcile and sometimes hide from them, and finally reaching redemption and confronting the costs of our decisions. The hope of love, amidst the most awful of circumstances, was illustrated vividly in this well written story. Most people I have talked to really have liked the book, but be warned, it deals with some hard story lines and some intense violence. It is set in Afghanistan beginning with the Soviet take over. It follows the story of a wealthy boy, and his boyhood friend through a moment that alters their lives and friendship. I was riveted and could not put it down. I felt the book was beautifully and simply written.

I just finished Massacre At Mountain Meadows, and lets just say, this book makes The Kite Runner seem almost cheery. I mean no disrespect to the awful events in The Kite Runner, but at least there is a sense of hope in the power of love and redemption at the end of The Kite Runner. Massacre At Mountain Meadows just made me wonder exactly how much evil lies in each human heart. I am sure most are aware of the basic events of the horrific story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I, however, somehow have never taken the time to learn the details of what happened and was horrified at the atrocity that occurred. The book is wonderfully researched and written and tells a very clear and gripping story. I was riveted by this book. I haven't read anything else on the Mountain Meadows Massacre to compare it to, but I felt the book was fair and balanced and painted a clear picture of what was happening in Utah at the time of the event. The authors really tried to explain the actions of the leaders in Southern Utah, and how the massacre was eventually carried out. It is very informative. However, despite the explanations of what was happening with the Utah War, society, mindsets of the time, etc., etc., I was left with the most sickening feeling in my soul about what evil must rest in each individual heart if allowed to be manifest. The authors really tried to explain how such mass violence occurs, and tried to explain the context, but at the end of the day, a group of men methodically masterminded the deception of emigrant men, women, and children and massacred them with their own hands, and the hands of ill-fated Native Americans. I was, and am more than ever, unsettled at how this happened. The book did not answer that question, and I am afraid no book ever can. But it was VERY informative, well written, and--I felt--balanced in the treatment of something so horrific I can't even comprehend it.

So, hopefully your summer reading is much more cheery, but I do recommend both of my summer reads thus far!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Love

Things that go through my brain read a lot like news briefs from the radio these days. Wonder why? Ha, ha, ha. I have listened to a lot of NPR, it is true. I feel very informed, adequately alarmed, and cautiously hopeful for the future because of my news listening. And I like to pass on interesting things you may not hear other places.

Okay, this is why I love people. Since 1929, a giant red light has flashed on the Pittsburgh's skyline and spells out the name of the city. On July 4th, Tom Stepleton was watching fireworks with friends and realized there was a K in the morse code. It was not just an errant K...the spelling of Pittsburgh had become Pitetsbkrrh. On Monday, the name had become Tpebtsaurgh. They say the code still runs on 1930's technology. So, I'm thinking it is time for an upgrade.
NPR link: (there are You Tube videos of the blinking lights...and yes, I watched them)
I love this because a) Pittsburgh actually has a red light spelling out the city name, and b) someone actually knew what a K looked like in morse code.

[On the flip side...I don't love tourists and escalators. I thought maybe it was just a DC thing. Nope. It extends to all corners of the country.]

Other things I love this summer.
Convenience Stores. Yes, I love them. I am going to chalk it up to my drive across the country. But where else can you find only junk food, soda as far as the eye can see, snacks, and very interesting people? I find I feel compelled to stop at them now...even though my trips have not exceeded 2 hours one way thus far into my summer.

Almond Joys. This is linked to the above. When my dad shared an Almond Joy with me over the weekend, I forgot how tasty they were! AND he informed me they sell cookie versions of them. Though generally only at convenience stores. Thus, the conversation about c-stores. (And no, I have not found the cookie version yet, but I am actively looking).

21 Guns. The song (hence the italics), not actual guns. I ignore the blatant anti-war message [I will post about my views on our war(s) later...**]. I personalize the message to my own, personal, life. It speaks to me in a very bizarre way. A few songs have done so in the recent past...Viva la Vida, for example. 21 Guns is a bit depressing, so I won't quote any lines here. But, it is what it is.

Chex Mix. The kind you buy (I would never be ambitious enough to make it...). It is so good and has a much better zip than my old love, Goldfish. And I just realized a lot of my loves revolve around food. I promise I do not weigh 500 pounds yet...

**I am not pro-war (like I think war is an answer), but I am also not pro what Green Day is saying about war. I have other opinions I will share later, I am sure.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Soap Box For The Day

I am sorry, but I just have to say it. $1.4 million for a funeral?!! Are you even kidding me with that? And from a state that is in such an economic mess that they had to issue IOU's to people! IOU's! I understand that Michael Jackson was a great musician. I really do and I appreciate his music and legacy to the musical industry. I value the creative process. I value the arts. Good job. But really? Coverage and tributes 24/7. We are fighting two wars, Iran and western China are in a bit of chaos, North Korea is lead by crazy town with nuclear capabilities, but please, lets focus on Michael Jackson every second of the day. My grandma was reduced to watching a dog show on tv because there was nothing but Michael Jackson coverage (and that was before his funeral/tribute)! I too like to escape this crazy time we are in, I really do. But consider this. We (myself included, don't you worry) love to hate Bush for the way America is viewed around the world. But $1.4 million for a musician's funeral. Could the rest of the world possibly dislike us for other reasons? And it is no wonder California is millions of dollars in debt.
[I am not supporting Bush, by the way, with the above comment. No worries, I could provide another post about Bush and how I feel about him. But I won't.]

Okay, I'm done. Sorry. I tried to refrain. But for me, someone who is just trying to make it through grad school, watching her family struggle in living honest, decent, good lives while trying to raise a kid, run a farm, and pursue their own creative ventures, it is just crazy to see the focus we give to music/sports/movie stars. How about a little attention to those giving their lives for our country, working to find cures for diseases, or participating in causes to help out the human race in very personal and real ways? I is a soap box.

And understand that I do think Jackson deserves tribute and more than normal recognition. The bottom line is the over the topness of it all. But the media does overkill really well. I will always, in the end, blame it on the media! Ha... I won't even get started on Sarah Palin. Overkill. Okay, I'll just say one thing. She needs to disappear and quit talking. I am bound to never vote Republican again if they use her as their poster candidate. If she would just stop whining about being picked on! What did she expect?!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


NPR tells me that the next “it” thing for movies will be making movies based on board games. I know… Who wants to see Monopoly on the bigscreen? However, as NPR reminded me, I will remind you: Remember Clue?

You think the internet is always going to be there for your news perusal, that you will be able to access it when you want and get what you want. But one person was able to cause internet sites to nearly overload and caused outages on some popular news sites. That person is, of course, Michael Jackson.

And for things I did not know…Did you know Parley P. Pratt was murdered in Arkansas in a story full of drama? I am still a little fuzzy on how I missed this fact all my life. My dad didn’t quite know all the dramatic details either, so I feel okay.

Did you know Sir Isaac Newton at one time was also warden of the Royal Mint, and thus in charge of catching counterfeiters? Admittedly, I barely understand the science and physics behind why he is famous, but I do like to know randomness about people's lives!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Majoring In What We Need?

I had a friend mention the other day that she believed people major in what they need. Her example, she says, are the countless people who go into counseling and actually need counseling. I thought this was fascinating and immediately applied it to myself (When I tried it with things like my engineering majoring friends, or computer this or that, I started drawing blanks...go figure). Jenette's undergrad major: History. Jenette's grad major: Museum Studies. Is there something that draws me to these majors? Aside from the interest factor, I think there might be something to my friend's theory (for me, anyway...).

I am fascinated by the past. And particularly the material culture left by those in the past. You've heard the phrase, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." And so I ever so hopefully look to the past. But increasingly realize that the same mistakes are made over and over and over again--and often by cultures that study the past! Yet I am still fascinated. Fascinated enough to want to work in a museum where the aim is to NOT let go of the past. And so, here's the tie to my life... I am fascinated by my past. And I search my past trying to make sure I don't repeat the same mistakes, but anyone who has read my journal (which, incidentally, is no one but me), will see I repeat the same patterns over and over. And I don't let go. I don't let go of a lot of things I should. I wrote this little thing in 2004. It applies to my life in 2009 even more...

Letting Go
Holding on--until I cannot move
from what I thought would save me.
Fastened forever to an ideal that wasn't real--
Holding back from the beauty
that could be my life.
A flash of lightening--briefly--
exposes the mountains
To show me a new beginning.
But to get there,
I must let go.

So, amidst this lame attempt at poetry (?? ha--don't judge too harshly!), I find my dilemma. How do you learn, let go, remember, forget, and move forward, all at the same time? Impossible... but I am moving on from the year of two broken hearts and an uprooted life. Let's hope I have learned from the past.

Other random history quotes I found, which I enjoyed immensely:
"History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again."
--Kurt Vonnegut

"The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different."
--Aldous Huxley

"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future."
--Alex Haley

"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past. "
--Edward Gibbon

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."
--George Bernard Shaw

Monday, June 15, 2009


It may seem like I'm obsessed with Google, and I might be just a little bit, but Google failed me. Usually, I'm quite confident I can Google anything and within a few minutes I can find my answer. It is how I can have credibility when I give my dad a hard time for still relying on his trusty encyclopedia set. Or when I tell my mom, "Oh, yeah we can find out how to tie a quilt without knots on the internet." However, I was too over zealous. Because my quick usual searching methods left me without what I was looking for. And so now, I don't know where to go for answers! Oh, to be a product of the technological age! It's a good thing I learned some survival type skills (i.e. starting camp fires, milking cows, etc.) at the Heritage Center, just in case the world's technologies really fail.

(Oh, I started my internship at the Church History Museum. I want to share fun stories, but I'm scared. I signed some confidentiality paper and so I am lost. What will I talk about? My best stories always seemed to come from work! Actually, I think I'm fine. I am an intern, let's be honest. I will not be in on any secret meetings. Though, on the second day I was standing guard for an original Book of Mormon, handwritten Book of Commandments, and other such interesting Church stuff. Ha.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Poor Choice of Road Trip Snacks

As I was cleaning Cornelius (my car) today, I realized I made some poor choices for road snacks late in my trip across the country. Junior mints and powdered donuts are examples of such bad choices. If the junior mints get loose (which one may have in my car), they melt into a puddle of chocolate, mint goo. And powdered donuts, well, that speaks for itself. Mind you, those were my poor choices in Wyoming. By that point in the road trip, I was tired of the trip and wasn't thinking clearly. Up until then, my packed at home chex mix, apples, granola bars, water, and cherry tomatoes had served me very well (oh, and diet coke...well! I traveled over 2,000 miles after all!). I had cheerfully weathered the rain of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and the miles of nothingness of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas. I got to spend some quality time thinking about my life. But by Wyoming, for some reason I thought, "Hey, powdered donuts! That is an excellent idea!" Ha. Not quite.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Perfect Evening

Someone asked me this evening what I would do on my own free time in the evening (this was to gather what it is that I like to do). Right now at this time in my life? I asked. Yes. Homework. And for breaks I would do my chores, like grocery shop, do laundry, etc. But obviously, as much as I love school, this is not how I would voluntarily spend my time. So, anything in the world, how would I love to spend my evening, this evening? Maybe we always want what we can't have, but here is what my perfect evening would be:

I would come home from work (developing exhibits and educational programming, of course!), with my commute being no longer than a half hour. After some dinner and relaxation (Maybe write! Or read for fun!! How earth shattering!) I would breathe in the crisp spring air, throw on my walking shoes and head for the River Trail in Logan Canyon. Nothing grand, nothing monumental. A simple walk along the Logan River. That would be the perfect evening. The sound of the water, the birds and the smell of the fresh air and trees. And then, after the sun had set, and I was relaxing with friends, I would step outside to look at the stars. It has been too long since I have really seen the stars.

(Yes I am aware these are pictures of the Wind Caves Hike. I, sadly enough, do not have any of the River Trail that I could find quickly!! I will remedy that this summer...But it IS Logan Canyon. Close enough.)

I guess I will find a Logan Canyon/River Trail here in my new life. But to experience nature, alone, with relatively minimal people is something I miss. (I miss it so much, I am doing my entire exhibit on open space. Ha.) To be sure, there are chances for outdoor things here. It is all just so used. I can't think of a better word...but there are so many people, things just look worn out, from the city to nature. I am guessing I just haven't searched hard enough (a Logan Canyon equivalent is most certainly NOT 15 min away here...). I will find it; until then, I have my hope of the perfect evening.

[Please don't misinterpret what I am saying... I really like it here. I love the trees and the green and the moisture and the monuments at night and the hustle and bustle of the city and the amazing people I have met. But, if I am honest, I just want a simple walk along the Logan River.]

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do You Have An Alias?

If you don't, you should get one. (And have an updated passport so you can quickly leave the country...though your passport should have your real name, not your alias. I think you would get in trouble with your alias on your passport.) It is very handy to have an alias, or what I like to think of as a "fake name". Fake names come in handy in many instances; with sales people, in awkward social/possible dating situations, ordering get the idea. I will disclose my fake name, because people who read my blog are probably my friends and so I don't need to lie to you. My fake name is Isabella Barker. My family will catch on to the Barker. Isabella is just a name I have always loved (and if anyone is familiar with the Christmas song, "Bring a torch Jeanette Isabella", well....that explains itself). However, I am sad that Twilight has forever ruined Isabella for me. Twilight it fine, I guess...but Bella is kind of an annoying character, I won't lie. Anyway, this is the ramblings of a procrastinator. Better I ramble about this than what I should be doing! (No one cares to read exhibit labels in a museum, much less on a blog!!!)

And now an easy question: Have you ever Goggled yourself? Yes. You all have. Some of us are (un)fortunate to have strange and unique spellings of our name so we do not have to wade through pages of other people to get to us! Anyway, as further exhibit that Google IS trying to take over the world, apparently it is possible to create a Google profile that appears when your name is searched. It is supposed to be another social networking kind of thing, to take on Facebook, of course. You can read more about it here:,8599,1893965,00.html

(I am really digging Time these days, I don't know why...)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Preparation is Key

Hypothetically speaking, say you were the president of a major world country. Or, you are the head of the national health organization in said country. In a neighboring country, a deadly strain of a flu virus breaks out and kills some people. World leaders begin calling it a global pandemic problem. What do you do? Do you assume and prepare for the worst, calling for a costly production of a vaccine, talk of closing the border of your neighboring country (whom you already have tenuous immigration problems with), recommend people cease non-essential travel to that country, and suggest closing schools? Or, do you assume that, like a lot of things like this, they will fizzle out before too much damage is done? Because if you choose the later option, somehow, THIS will be the strain that truly is a global pandemic that decimates the country. So, you have to prepare for the worst. I, in my own life, often assume the worst, but never quite prepare for it. That means I am worried, but never prepared, which brings more worry. Lesson learned: Preparation is key.

In my research and reading of the news for this hypothetical situation, I discovered that something similar happened in 1976. I don’t remember this, I wasn’t born I can honestly say, nor have I ever heard about it. Apparently a case of the swine flu broke out in the US killing one individual and infecting hundreds. Pres. Ford ordered a nationwide vaccination program (costing $135 million). Unfortunately, the vaccine caused some people to develop Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease. And nothing really happened with the flu (thus, I have never heard about it). Anyway, those are just the facts of that one case. I thought it was pretty interesting. Lesson learned: Preparation can backfire; You cannot be 100% prepared for everything and anything that could happen, but you can do your best...

Here’s the entire article:,8599,1894129,00.html

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What Luck!!

You know those moments that are so small, they aren't really worth mentioning...except somehow they mean oh so much? About three days ago, my sunglasses broke. They had served me well, in fact I considered them the most perfect pair I had ever run across. So I was sad. And I was even more sad because I knew I would need to look for a new pair soon. Choosing sunglasses seems like an easy enough task, but for me, somehow it isn't. They have to feel right, look right, block the sun right...there are a lot of variables. And unfortunately, what is popular right now doesn't really mesh with me. Last night while shopping at Target, I took a look at the sunglasses wall. I sighed...there are always so many choices! Why with all the choices?! And then, there it was! The EXACT same pair of sunglasses that had just broke! (I mean exact, not similar.) What luck!! I was overjoyed probably more than I should have been. But sometimes, those little things can either send you over the edge or really just make your day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Google Kind of Makes Me Nervous

So, does anyone else get a little nervous about opening their Gmail account? No? Well, that is good. A good sign you’re not as paranoid as I am! There I am, just innocently opening my email to see what great invitations, deadlines, or opportunities await, and my eyes are drawn to the right of the screen. There they are--Advertisements. But not just your random mortgage, loose weight, better than botox ads I get in my Yahoo account. Oh no, Google is so much better. Somehow they KNOW what your email is about. So I open a random email about tickets to a baseball game from some person on a random listserv I belong to. And then, there they are, ads for baseball stuff—baseball in general, Nationals tickets, LDS posters (since it’s an LDS listserv), etc. Granted, sometimes Google gets confused and it doesn’t quite match. But ultimately, I am pretty sure Google is positioning itself to take over the country. They know too much…now if they combine with Facebook, they would take over the world.

So apparently today is Earth Day...

And this post, my friends, is the way I get to take a break from my darn museum about puppets. I thought museums just took people’s crap (that’s what the Heritage Center did, after all). But NO, apparently there are guidelines above guidelines and forms above forms to follow and fill out. I get to make all that up (isn't school great?). Very helpful and so much fun. Seriously, who knew I would rather be writing my 25 page research paper? Not me…but somehow it seems easier.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

There and Back Again

Well, I just couldn’t stay away from my dear blog! It is like a friend, in a sad sort of 21st century way! I just like to write too much and share, I suppose. I tried Facebook, but I didn’t really like it too much, to be honest. This is just so much more me, I have decided.

I have nothing much profound to say, but that today was snowy (meaning a few flakes), and rainy, and damp, and dreary. Really, the perfect day for how I felt. I had to pull out the wool coat again after retiring it amidst the beautiful spring weather last week. But that’s okay, because when the weather is nice, I have a hard time studying. And I should really study. I have a lot to do… I am developing a (hypothetical) exhibit this semester after all, among other such museum like things!

So here are some random photos from the past few months…

Monticello at Thanksgiving. I want to go back at a more picturesque time of the year!

National Building Museum...

Kennedy Center and Don Quixote Statue...