Friday, February 28, 2014

Flashback Friday in a Forest

"A Forest" Copyright 2014 Jill Henrichsen
An abbreviated post for the Friday. Good news coming down the pike! Happenings at work for Chris show that the planets are aligned. 

We haven't broken ground yet on the house, but we're getting closer and closer. The bank of course is holding things up, but at least we're at this point in the process. We are looking into where we can rent because school starts the first week of August and I want the kids to have a clean transition and start school there, and the house won't be finished being built by then. I don't necessarily want to rent in a palace, but I'm hoping it's just a little bigger than our current house.

Anyway, "A Forest" is complete. If I mess with the color anymore, it'll turn into a muddy mess!

As promised, I hope to do one of these flashback posts once a week.

I'm pretty sure this is sometime in 1995. The Phoenix Zoo. Man, it was hard prying myself out of that turtle shell. I mean, that's an oyster shell! Haha! There's a picture of Chris goofing around in the turtle shell you can see behind me. I wonder where that picture is?
Phoenix Zoo - Age 20?
11 Years Later! Ugh...I was losing weight when this picture was taken, but I wasn't "there" yet. I love 2 year old Christian's chubby cheeks and I miss Mikelle at that age (2 months from turning 6). And I LOVE the way Chris looks in this picture!  Rawrrrrr.....
June 2006 - Durango, Colorado
Busy weekend ahead! Another trip over to Wickenburg, Mikelle has the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration, and the Gilbert Temple Dedication on Sunday!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What...the....What? In a Forest...

It has been a roller coaster ride of emotions lately. Can I just say, that if we make it through this house building process without me killing someone (or myself) or ending up in the nut house, it'll be a miracle. Therefore, if my blog posts completely stop, it's clear that one of those three likely occurred. Or at the very least, I'm in a padded room and not allowed around any sharp objects.
And if the house stuff isn't enough, there's day by day life "fun". Have you ever been in a situation with multiple parties ('people' being the parties - not the good kind of parties that have cake and pizza) that became uncomfortable and then hurtful, but in the beginning of the discomfort and hurt, if simple human COMMUNICATION was used from all parties involved, the level of hurt and anger would not have been anything close to the ridiculous calamity that it became? 

Seriously, if I'm not receiving the communication that I deserve as a member of the human race (this can be in any situation - home, family, friends, work, church, etc....) my overly stimulated creative mind begins to move into directions of possible reasons for that lack of communication, and that's not a good place for my head to be.  Trust me on this. 

Seriously, please communicate up front! This doesn't just apply to me. It applies to everyone!

And then... during all that, the weirdest surprise came out of left field. So I'm at church at Sunday and I'm in the little classroom about to start the lesson to my small group of 10-11 year old girls, and one of the counselors in the Stake* Presidency asks to see me for a second. 

*The STAKE is a group of wards and the Stake Presidency is over that group of wards. Think of it like a school district: The schools are the wards and the stake is the district office. 

He wants to see me? Remember what I said about my overly stimulated creative mind? So of course I'm thinking, Uh oh...what did I do now? Or worse... No, I do not want my husband in the bishopric... or even worse than that!.... I had to find Chris as the stake counselor wanted to speak with the both of us. Finding Chris took some doing and in addition, my poor 10-11 year old girls were left alone without a teacher.

I wish I could remember exactly how it was said, but basically, the counselor said to both of us that the Stake President felt that Chris and I should be able to attend the Gilbert Temple Dedication at the temple on Sunday, and would we be able to attend? 

(The Dedication is going to be broadcast to various satellite locations around the area due to amount of people...the temple itself couldn't possibly hold that many people for the dedication there on site, so only limited people would be able to attend at the temple)

Maybe my reaction sitting right there looked calm and collected as if he was just telling us about his day. However, inside we were both something like:

OMG...isn't this baby so adorable? I want to gnaw on that face!
Oh yeah right, as if I looked THAT good with my gobsmacked
I am still confused as to why we were extended this special invitation. I think President Monson is going to be there! Great, what stupid thing am I going to end up doing in front of him? Then again, there will still be quite a crowd at the temple, so maybe I can still hide in the back. And if you're reading this and thinking, "Those two get to go? THOSE TWO?" My response is:

"I know! Right?!"

I would love to know why we have received this amazing privilege. In fact, I want all the answers in life, and clearly, I know I won't receive all of them, or even some of them. Or I won't receive them in the time table I want. Therefore, I'll just be thankful to receive such a wonderful opportunity.  Plus, in this past decade since we've been in this stake, I haven't exactly made the Stake President's job very easy. But if he felt Chris and I should be able to attend, then he's obviously not holding any grudges or reservations even though I've been a real pain in the patootie on a few occasions. 

I try to remember these 7 rules (at right), but I fail miserably on most of them (right now, the #6 is my biggest offendee). Then I try again tomorrow.

Speaking of the temple dedication, the youth has been a part of HUGE Cultural Celebration they're preparing for. It's this Saturday and yes, President Monson will be there as well. Last weekend, Mikelle, as well as the rest of the youth were at an all-day practice preparing for it. There are over 12,000 youths in this region. Here are some pictures from that rehearsal day:
Mikelle's group is in the Dark Blue
Hot Dog Time
See Mikelle? She's in the Dark Blue. :-)
And from the sky! Amazing, isn't it?

Whole Skin with Keyboard

Her Custom Artwork from December 2012
Outer Skin Art
I haven't had an art update in a while. My awesome return customer who lives near Toronto wanted me to use the artwork I made for her back in 2012 and have a skin made for Mac Book Pro. These were the results. It's en route to her now, and I hope she loves it!

Regarding the image shown at left, I was challenged by a friend to mix certain art styles into a concept and I've been very frustrated with it. We'll see how it comes out, but at this point, it's one of those things that I'm just sick of dealing with!

Next, as I deal with finishing the above, I've been working on a piece called A Forest. I know I could have just done a fun design with trees, but music is such an influential part of me, that it just had to be a tribute to A Forest by The Cure.  I love the video to A Forest (click on link) because it shows a very young Robert Smith before he donned his trademark hair and make-up.  

I would have loved to include more Cure song tributes within the trees in "A Forest", but I had to limit to the obvious, and also "The Walk", "In Between Days", and a shout out to "Lullaby".  Otherwise, it would become to crowded.
"A Forest" Pre Make-up, if you will...
"A Forest" as the make-up application begins....

A video that is a great example to Robert Smith's look of the more well-known hair and make-up is this one, Just Like Heaven.

I would love to create a tribute piece to Just Like Heaven, but I'm still not sure how I would approach it. Remember that post some weeks back about favorite songs? I didn't really choose my official favorites then because there are too many. However, Just Like Heaven would be there for sure. If there was a soundtrack for how young love felt before reality, heartbreak, and arrogant elitist selfishness eventually succeeded in smashing it into a million pieces, it would be that one. 

However, I'm veering off the beaten path again and I have to focus! (that's a common problem I encounter when it comes to listening to too many Cure songs at once....)

Until next time...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday

The overwhelming feeling with preparing for this move has splintered into other emotions, because I've been going through a lot of stuff in our garage while the weather is more permissible to do so. 

However, let me just get this out of the way NOW.... this Winter has been the biggest disappointment to us desert dwellers. 

While the rest of the country is being pelted with snow and a term that is being overused on all news outlets as "The Polar Vortex", Arizona didn't even get the memo to have our nice winter temps of the 60s with some clouds and rain. The other day it almost hit 90. That was depressing for February. No, that doesn't mean I want the "Polar Vortex". But having our regular winters would be nice.

Okay. I got that out of the way. 

I've been trying to work in the garage to organize, decide what can be donated or thrown out, and otherwise try not to feel too overwhelmed. I found where I stashed a lot of photos. It was no surprise to me that these pictures were pretty much 1990s and earlier. When I had Mikelle in 2000, it was as if anything that happened before then was forgotten. From 2000 on, it seemed every picture and every scrapbook layout and everything I carried with me, had to do with my children. That's great, and I'll always do that (they're adorable! What can I say?), but these "lost photos" need to be re-visited. No, I'm not going to post all of them. But I'll include some highlights. 

Plus, having them scanned in helps with record keeping (yes, pre-digital camera days! They did exist, and not very long ago. Kids, ask your parents....) and by having them in a Facebook album and blog entry here and there, it'll remind me of what needs to be done to continue to organize, document and make sense of it all.  I'm a "visual" person. Without visual reminders, I'll forget completely.

In 1996, Chris and I hiked the Havasupai Trail (that has the most beautiful waterfalls and places that the modern world should never touch! I love it down there!) with some co-workers of mine from Wells Fargo. I can't remember what month we went, but I think it was most likely in October. I had done the hike previously in 1989 just before high school. This 1996 trip was the second time I did the hike. It's been too long now, and I really want to do it again! Let's just say, if you plan to do it, obtain the CORRECT shoes. Common sense, right? Yeah, you'd think so! 

Havasupai Trail - 1996 (ages 21 and 26)
Jenny's Wedding

In August of 1996, my cousin was married in Salt Lake City. I was happy to grab, what was then a very affordable airline ticket, and head on up there. Plus, going somewhere where you can be outside in August and not die? Even better. 

My baby hunger is showing in these pictures below. I had been married almost 2 years when these were taken, but it was not time yet for us to have kids. First of all, I was only 21. I know I married young (19), but it didn't mean we needed to start having kids that young.  I knew we were going to wait quite awhile and I don't regret it for one second. But it didn't mean I didn't want to "steal" all the babies I could! I certainly did that with baby Alyssa!
My cousin Lori and I, with our cousin Jana's baby Alyssa. 8/2/96
Myself with my cousin Jana's baby Alyssa. 8/2/96
At the reception later that evening, with yes, baby Alyssa again. 8/2/96
Yes, I love Goats. I had them when I was little when we lived in Laveen. I miss having Goats.
This photo on the left was taken 7 months later on a nice more wintery February day that Chris and I went to the Renaissance Festival east of town. I love the Renaissance Festival. I haven't gone for a few years. It's going on right now, as a matter of fact, but with this ridiculous warmer weather AND trying to get this house building started, I don't have any desire to head there this year. But I still love going there.

A couple of months after the goat loving (I know, that sounds so wrong...), Chris was able to pull off a surprise birthday party for me. He was acting rather strange right before (and so was my friend Hilary, now that I recall), but I seriously had no idea what was going on. It was pretty awesome. 
Chris and I and then Bruce and Liz. Bruce is doing what Bruce does. We should re-create this picture...
I don't know why my eyes look blue in that picture. I don't have blue eyes. I think they had the "red eye" effect and I tried to use a red eye pen that didn't quite work out well.
My high school friend, Randall, and my Rio Salado College, friend, Cassandra...I've lost touch with both of them! :-(
Mark Cherry and my friend Hilary
Omigosh...I can totally see Mikelle in my face in this picture...poor kid!
And to the left is a couple of weeks later....Hil and Jill on Mill! (Mill Avenue in Tempe, that is. And yes, it's Mark again!) What is up with the "Mom Jeans" I'm wearing?!

It's hard to believe that these pictures were 17 to 18 years ago. I admit I'm having a difficult time with how fast time seems to move forward.  In childhood, it seemed time moved slow and we had so much of it. Now, the same amount of time moves 3 times as fast, or at least that's how it feels. However, we are lucky to live in a time where we can remember things so easily with photos and videos.

My goal is to post something like this every Thursday or Friday. Because if I miss Throwback Thursday, there is always Flashback Friday. Or, if I'm really on the ball, there may be Way-back Wednesday.

Until next time...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Temple Challenges

My Sunday Doodle from 2/16/14: The Irony of Trying to Quiet an Anxious Mind...
I'm not sure how to go about this post because it's more of an LDS specific issue, and two, it's not exactly shown in the most positive light. Then again, I don't want my blog to only display the candy-coated parts. It shouldn't be a soap opera of dirty laundry either, so I hope I'm finding a happy medium. 

I apologize up front to any of my non-LDS readers who may have no idea what I'm talking about.

I love going to the temple. The Gilbert Temple opens next month.  Chris and I went to the Mesa Temple for a session over this weekend. I wanted to go on my own during the week last week, but a puking kid and other things kept getting in the way. It's not that I didn't want to go with Chris. I just didn't want to go on a Saturday. He is off Mondays too, but so is the temple.
My favorite picture of the Mesa Temple - 1937 Snow!
I love sitting in the Celestial Room. I love participating in sealings for those who have passed on. I enjoyed doing baptisms last month with Mikelle and Chris (though one nice temple worker was afraid of my pink if it would run into the water and on the white outfit. I assured them it wasn't going to run into the water....)  

I loved attending a sealing last month for some friends of ours who were married a little over a year previously. Congratulations, Mark and Maggie! That same day, just outside the sealing room, it was a delight seeing a cousin of Chris and his wife and chatting it up. I loved that.

But I don't like the endowment sessions. There, I said it. 

I want be able to sit in the Celestial Room without having to go through an endowment session beforehand. Is there a way to do that? Am I horrible for wanting to do it that way?

Original of my Mesa Temple Motif from 2011 and Alexander's hand...
What is my problem? Well, the session is too long for one thing. I'm too fidgety. I always feel like I need "something to do" while I'm sitting there. Yes, it's part of my anxiety and ADHD. I get that.

Three, I'm hot. No matter what, I'm too warm and uncomfortable. It only gets worse as the session goes on. 

Four, I fall asleep or have the hardest time trying to keep from falling asleep. It doesn't matter if I had a great night of sleep and I was wide awake when I arrived. With the quiet surroundings, and the periodic lights being down and then not being able to "do anything", it's like some kind of drug.

Five, I'm too tall and I feel crammed into the chairs. This particular time last weekend I did hold out for an aisle seat, even though it looked weird that I didn't just follow behind the person in front of me and sit down in the same order. 

Reason Six is another reason I prefer not to discuss here. Well, I have a couple of those, actually.

The endowment session recently had new updated movies (same as the movies before, just a more updated version of them) and everyone was talking about them as if it was so exciting. I felt guilty that they wanted to rush to the temple to see them, and I certainly did not want to do that. I was dreading the other aspects of the session that make it so difficult for me that I already addressed above.

This weekend was the first time I was in a session to see one of the new movies. I guess there are two new ones, just like there were two movies before. There were aspects about it that I preferred to the older ones from about 20 years ago, and then again, there were parts to the older ones I liked better. 
Gilbert, Arizona Temple Opening March 2014

But that newness didn't help me with my anxiousness and overwhelming feeling trying to fight falling asleep.  Then when we finally arrived in the Celestial Room, it was so crowded and then I was overwhelmed with anxiousness worrying about the kids at home and feeling like we just should get going. It's so frustrating. I avoided endowment sessions for a few years, and then in the last couple of weeks began to crave being in that Celestial Room. Then I finally was, and I felt pushed out. By my own doing. 

 But I needed the experience of being in the temple and being able to sit and think, pray and meditate and I am frustrated that these obstacles seem to always get in the way.

Please comment if you have any thoughts. But only comment if you'll be loving or supportive. You don't have to agree with how I feel, but if you're going to be rude or judgmental, I'm not interested. 
Gilbert, Arizona Temple - Dedicated next month, March 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

It Says I'm Iron Man, So Okay, I'm Iron Man!

I don't place much credence in these hokey online quizzes that people share right and left on Facebook. They're fun, but that's about it. I don't share my results that often. One said I was mostly like Cookie Monster. Just because I love sweets, that means all my personality tastes point to Cookie Monster? Yeah, okay...
HOWEVER, I had to take this one: Which Avengers Character Are You?

I didn't even cheat and answer the questions that I "thought" would favor Iron Man. But that is the result I received by just being honest. 

I must say, there is a reason I have been a huge Iron Man fan since Robert Downey Junior took the helm, and yes, RDJ has been eye candy for me since junior high and especially since Chaplin in 1992.  But it goes beyond that. I've loved the Tony Stark character's tenacity and "do it my way" modus operandi with an attitude of sarcasm and endless supply of snark. 

However, especially after seeing the third Iron Man, I have identified many parallels in my own life to the character (symbolically, of course...if I try to wear that suit and fly, I'll crash before I even take off, or I'd fly like The Greatest American Hero...remember that goofy 80s show?). I admired how Tony said how he felt, he certainly wasn't fake, and he stood up for what he believed in - even if it wasn't with the masses and it made him appear crazy.  And yes, the PTSD he experienced was almost welcoming in a way to show that no matter how tenacious, stubborn, and driven he was, he was still a fallible human being.

Of course Tony Stark pulls it all off better than I do, but that's alright.  He has more funding.  Haha  ...Well, his preference in beach front architecture is a little too modern and cold for my taste. But give me his kind of money and I can donate to classrooms everywhere where only teachers' control the funds and how they're spent. I'll happily annoy school administrators everywhere and enjoy exasperating them in ways that only a Tony Stark type can with a tub of popcorn!

(This would be after I acquire my private plane and Oregon second home, of course...)

This was the hardest question to answer. I'm not going to say which one I decided on, but how do you answer a question where all your huge negative flaws are listed? 

Until next time...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Love - Amour - Amor and NPR!

(Disclaimer: Our computer problems have been resolved - sort of. Before there was a virus that was hard to find and get rid of. I had all my stuff, but it moved like a lagging dead zombie looking for brains. NOW...everything moves quick and fast (thanks Tev!), but some of the programs aren't back yet. I can't do any photo editing and it's frustrating. Especially with my art that I planned on editing and posting.   Therefore, this entry has some issues that won't be resolved just yet, but they will soon.)

On Sunday the 9th, I wanted to do some Valentine pictures of the kids before church. (That way, they'd already be dressed up.)

I'm not sure how they turned out. I guess there is the fantasy of how the pictures should look, and then there's the reality. Hopefully these pictures fell somewhere in between. 

There's Mikelle with her new haircut!
My genius handsome boy - turning 10 next month!
(Check back for proper editing for this to be flipped vertically)
(Check back for proper editing for this to be flipped vertically)
My Silly Lovy Boys!

My Goofball Boy with Mommy's Kissy Lips!
Working hard to hold the Love!
Too cute, No shoes again - ran in the dirt and being cute to get away with all of it!
Mommy Smoochies with her Crazy X-Man!
And what is up with my hair? More like "down" with it! I swear I styled it! But it's just hanging there like pieces of straw with no volume! Grrrrrr.....

NPR Nerdiness Valentine

Chris and I celebrated our Valentines Day yesterday on the 13th due to the Wait Wait Don't Tell Me show in Phoenix! We didn't have the stomach bug that Alexander had, but Chris was not feeling well with some throat achy thing.  And sorry, but I have to squeal in delight that I'm back in Size 10 jeans! Since....I don't know...2009? I don't know. I knew I was probably back in them last month, but I wasn't able to go shopping for jeans. Seven and Earl jeans are my kind of jeans (great fit for my Amazon body... :grrrrr:  ) so when those Size 10 Seven's fit, I was delighted. 

Now let's STAY there!

Back to the evening...I was a little irritated because even though we left early, we still didn't gt into downtown Phoenix with enough time to sit and have a nice dinner. We ended up sitting at the bar at The Strand (yummy!). There was only one seat, so Chris gave it to me, and when we received our food, he still stood there and ate. 

That wasn't exactly the Valentines ambiance that I was hoping for, but it was still a great place with GOOD Italian. Plus, this lady who was sitting at the bar next to us stood up when she saw Chris eating while standing up and said, "Take my seat. My son does that (eats while standing up) and it drives me crazy...." She took her martini glass and went to the other  end of the bar and waited for another seat to open. Chris turned to the bartender and said, "Can we please get that ladies' drink for her? She was so nice to give up her seat...." Yes, my husband is quite the gentleman, even if it was a woman who gave up her seat for him.
Carl Kassell and Peter Sagal

Anyway, so then we skipped down to the show. I was disappointed that Bobcat Goldthwaite wasn't one of the three panelists as originally scheduled.  It was Kyrie O'Connor, Bryan Babylon, and Maz Gobrani. (sidenote: I'm usually not into bald guys, but he is one good looking bald guy! Probably due to his Middle Eastern roots...if all balding guys looked like him, I don't see male-pattern baldness as much of a problem!)

Maz Jobrani
Yesterday's February 13th Phoenix show will be broadcast on NPR tomorrow (Saturday February 15). Check it out! 

Who was the surprise guest? Well, the show was 'on location', so we knew the special guest had to be an Arizona local. I was thinking, "PLEASE PLEASE don't be Sherrif Joe or Governor Brewer. Please no...." 

I sort of got my wish. It was our Junior Senator, Jeff Flake. At first I groaned, but it was pretty good and he really rolled with the jokes and fun when it was his turn to be interviewed and take the quiz! There were all kinds of jokes about him being Republican and how many NPR listeners are more on the Democrat side. Well, it was my centrist Republican husband (the only kind of Republican to be if you're must be a Republican) introduced Wait Wait to me years ago, and I do find the show very bi-partisan. 

I don't think this part will be on the show that will be broadcast, but Peter Sagal, the host,  said they don't get a lot of Republican guests and he wishes he would so it'll appeal to a wider audience and portray just how bi-partisan Wait...Wait really is. 

Highlights of the show? Probably the jokes the panelists made about climbing Alligators (listen to the show) and the part where Senator Flake spoke about the time he spent alone on a desert island thousands of miles out in the middle of the Pacific. He said he was so bored, he would use a Sharpie and put numbers on hermit crabs as they muddled by. Chris laughed and turned to me and said, "That's sooooo something you would do!"

I'm sure there are other funny bits that I'll remember after I listen to the show tomorrow. If you're Phoenix local, it's on 91.5 at 11am and then again on Sunday at 10am.  

So what's on the agenda for our official February 14th? Not much. Root beer Floats with the kids after a heart-shaped Papa Murphys pizza! I'm looking forward to just chilling tonight!

Happy Valentines Day! Check back for photo editing.