Tuesday, July 29

Bar update for the fam...

Ah the wonderment of the Nevada Bar... held in a casino, and a whole day longer than the Utah Bar. The pass rate is at a happy 60%, compared with Utah's pass rate at over 80%. Blessed Nevada - there's your oxymoron for the day.

Taylor's staying across town to be close to the test and maximize study time, so he's essentially cut off from all of us. But the nice man let me come out and eat dinner with him tonight, and I got an update (this is mostly for the worried parents that can't call him)...

Today was 4 essays (difficult enough to eat up 8 hours), tomorrow is the deathly Multistate Exam (200 multiple choice - supposedly the killer), and Thursday is the final 4 essays. Today I've prayed more than I ever have in my life, and the prayers will probably double tomorrow!

The first day was pretty brutal. A lot of the computers had software glitches and a number of people ended up having to hand-write the last portion. Luckily my half-dozen prayers specifically for his computer, power-cord, and software to function properly (yes, Taylor told me several horror stories from his Bar prep class) ...paid off. Taylor wasn't affected! If any of you have seen his handwriting, you understand the relief that brings (knock on wood)! Thank heavens for all the wonderful family members fasting and praying in Utah.

Tomorrow I'm headed back out there, and even get to stay overnight while Taylor studies and preps for the final stretch. He's requested his pillow from home and his U2 t-shirt. For good luck?

Saturday, July 26

What we're all about.

My friend Emily used to ask people "What are you all about?" when we were in high school, and it quickly became one of my favorite questions. So here's what we're all about right now...

Of course we're all about the Bar right now. Yesterday Taylor told me all about principles of agency for the first 2 miles of our run. I'm getting really good at nodding and saying "Yeah," "Uh huh," and "Okay, I have no idea what you just said." But a week from now we will be arriving in Moscow and the Bar will be HISTORY!

We're all about REI. Honestly, REI is mecca for traveling. I absolutely love that travel items have been on "Clearance" for the past MONTH. Lovely. We are all about travel-sized items right now, as you can see. Earlier today I was figuring out what we had, what we needed, and I had to snap a picture. Note the excessive amount of Clif and Luna bars. We'll make it!

While, we're on the subject of Clif bars, I am all about Trader Joe's. Actually, I've always been all about Trader Joe's. 99 cents for Clif bars. Lovely. Oh, and Mango Passion granola? Pretzel thins? Frozen mint chocolate cookie cheesecake for $1.50? Oh, that's a FULL cheesecake by the way. Love Trader Joe's. Plus most everything is organic, which is awesome. This morning I was reading something by Alice Waters and she said if we're willing to invest $100 on a pair of Nikes, we should be more willing to invest more in buying healthy, organic, locally-grown food. Amen, Alice.

During work I've been passing some of the slow time with the amazing books at Anthropologie. Fabulous books on Paris and French markets. I can't wait to go! Choice book all the wifeys should check out: The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. I am obsessed with her lately although she kind of reminds me of Hillary Clinton which kind of rubs me the wrong way. Alice is pretty much the one who started the whole organic movement and owns the AMAZING restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Someday we'll be able to afford to eat there. I totally watched a special on her this morning on the Sundance Channel featuring her and Mikhail Baryshnikov, the legendary dancer that my mom obsesses over. Also Paris: Restaurants and more (Tauschen Publishing), Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, The French Market (by the amazing Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat), and so many others...

We're all about Almond Crunch right now too. Thanks to my wonderful mother who brought it to us from the Salt Lake Costco - this is one of my family's favorite snacks - chunks of almonds with a sweet glaze - all organic, all healthy. A Lake Powell staple. It's a huge bag, and it's almost gone. And it's been less than a week.

Also Google Reader is something everyone should be about. Plug in all the blogs you read, and it tells you when they've updated so you're not checking every blog every day - a big time-saver!

A good picture from Tuacahn...What are YOU all about?

Wednesday, July 23

What a time to be a Turner!

I don't have any recent pictures to go along with this blog, but I know that pictures are what keep people engaged in a blog, so I'll see what random photos I can find in our Pictures files to keep you entertained. They're connected in no way with the text, so don't read and re-read this blog looking for "deep" connections. This is, after all, Tally writing the post.

Let's see, what's going on...
Figure A.

1. Taylor's parents were here Friday & Saturday, and my mom and sister Liz came down Monday and we had girls day & night out Tuesday night in St. George. Saw "Les Miserables" at Tuacahn... AMAZING! Everyone try and go to Tuacahn sometime. You will love to backdrop of the red rocks and stars... beautiful. I finally got my birthday present from my parents... a sewing machine! Now Taylor can have the beautiful madras 3-piece suit he's always wanted!

Figure B.

2. The Bar starts in less than a week, and will be OVER a week from today!!! Taylor is a study machine - he has more discipline than I've ever seen in anyone. At this point I would say he IS the Bar. He honestly studies 16 hours a day, and has for the past MONTH. Anyway, so think of your dear friend Taylor next Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday. My mom was joking that our families should "stagger" our fasting in order to cover the entire three days. I can't wait to have my husband back.

Figure C.

3. We leave for Russia in 8 days! Rick Steves said you should be able to pack everything you need in a carry-on, but my mother-in-law's response made me feel better: "Well, he doesn't shop!" Argh, how do you pack for Ukraine/Russia/Paris? I know our bags are going to get lost because we have multiple short layovers and Taylor has really bad luck with luggage (our bags were lost the first 3 days of our honeymoon). If any of you have any packing suggestions or wealth of experience/knowledge to share, please help!

Figure D.

4. I'm frantically finishing an article for the Journal of the American Viola Society about the Riley Collection before we leave for Russia. It's such a privilege to be able to honor him in this article, but it is so stressful writing for an academic audience! Most of the readers of this Journal are professors and musicologists which is absolutely intimidating and has led to hours and hours (and hours) of second-guessing my overall ability to write a coherent sentence.

Figure E.

Okay, that's all. Go play.

ABOUT THE PICTURES -
Figure A: Some random ancient bird we saw at the Washington D.C. zoo in 2006. Looks like a painted ostrich crossed with a pterodactyl...
Figure B: Picture I took while driving down Millcreek Canyon in Fall 2004. Honestly 3 minutes from my parents' house.
Figure C: Taylor at the 2006 World Cup game in Frankfurt, Germany. Cool shot!
Figure D: My great-grandparents - Alexander Joseph McDonald & Mary Elizabeth Jensen (parents of my grandpa Jack Alex McDonald).
Figure E: Child on leash at Disneyland. Taylor's uncle Jim took this picture, it was too funny. Whoever invented the child leash had problems.

Monday, July 14

Beware the effects of the Bar!

The first item on this post is here by request of Taylor. Taylor has claimed for the past year that the second he started studying for the Bar full-time he would cultivate a quality beard. True to promise, July 1st began the adventure. But a visit to the Temple Saturday drove him to shave it all off, though he couldn't resist a little tribute to Juan Valdez before saying his final farewell.

Here's a picture so you can compare...
Now Taylor...

I fell off my chair when he walked in the room, and was on the floor laughing for quite a while.

Sadly the beard has said farewell. Poor Taylor. His dreams of being the next Chuck Norris were plowed over by the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo. Chuck Norris would have decapitated the Mach 3 and forced it to grow its own beard.
Last night we had our friends Leila & Bob over for dinner, along with our cousins Ryan & Jamie who recently moved to Henderson! Leila went to BYU law school with Taylor and is also studying for the Bar, while Ryan is about to start medical school. It was a great get-together, talking about school, stress, budgeting, you name it. Why didn't I take a group picture?!

The highlight had to be dessert, graciously provided by Bob. All night Leila kept saying she didn't want the credit for making dessert, and it wasn't until Bob brought out his cookies that we found out why...
Yes, that would be Bacon & Chocolate-Chip Cookies. Bits of bacon & chocolate chips along with a succulent strip of bacon on top. They were... interesting. Who knew you could make bacon cookies? Sounds a little Iron Chef to me (remember the bacon ice cream?).

Thursday, July 10

Taggage

I've been tagged by my cousin, but before I get to the tag, here's a little something to make this post worth your while.
Last night I conjured up some art for our little place. While I was working on the Maurice Riley Collection at BYU I noticed that we were throwing away a lot of envelopes (there's like 2,000 letters in his collection from all over the world), and so I started saving the stamps off of what we were throwing away, hoping to create some sort of memento to remember the 500+ hours I spent cooped up in the library.

So last night while Taylor entered into his seemingly 15,000th hour of study I started peeling & gluing, and here's the end result! I was so excited to find a use for these black frames and get something on our walls that cost $0. Hooray for recycling!

Three weeks from today is the final day of the Bar! Because it's a 3-day exam and held at a casino across town (welcome to Nevada), they encourage you to stay at the casino because of all the horror stories of car accidents, road closures, sleeping in, etc. So we went online to book Taylor a room at that casino and though their usual rate is $35/night, during the three days of the Bar they raised it to $200/night. Not so much. There's another casino across the street (again, welcome to Nevada) charging $30/night, which I thought was hilarious. Gotta love casinos for that very reason - they assume you're spending $1000 on gambling, so they charge $30 for your room. :)

Taggage:

Angry Chicken is the blog of a lady in Portland who is so creative & cute - I want to be her!
4 places I visit over & over:
I haven't really been somewhere over and over since we moved here (okay, other than casinos), so rather than give a list of grocery stores I'll give you the websites I visit over & over.
1. www.apartmenttherapy.com
2. www.washingtonpost.com
3. http://angrychicken.typepad.com
4. www.foodnetwork.com

Kenzie & I on one of our usual drives to Jackson Hole when school got a little stressful.

4 people who call me regularly:
1. Tay
2. Mom & Dad Oldroyd
3. Mom & Dad Turner
4. McKenzie, my little mutt-face

Mom & Liz cooking up a storm Thanksgiving 2005

4 favorite foods (my current cravings):
1. Anything my mom makes
2. Anything my mom-in-law makes
3. Cheese fondue @ The Blind Dog (Park City)
4. California Pizza Kitchen's Pea & Barley Soup

Robby & Nelson get whipped by my mom, nicknamed "Suicide Sue"
4 places I'd rather be:
1. Parkview Drive, sitting by the new pool (I knew we'd get a pool once I moved away from home permanently!).
2. Yale Avenue, playing with Lorenzo & eating delicious food.
3. Skiing in Park City with my family.
4. Lake Powell (the early '90s Lake Powell)

4 movies I'd watch over & over again:
1. Calamity Jane (Doris Day, my absolute favorite)
2. Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson version - I cry every time)
3. Pride & Prejudice (BBC version - my sister and I have it memorized)
4. Any Gregory Peck film (Valley of Decision, Roman Holiday, Gentleman's Agreement, To Kill a Mockingbird...)

4 bands/groups I love to listen to:
1. Wilco
2. Winterpills
3. Ryan Adams
4. Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis (I have a half-dozen songs I could listen to all day)

4 people tagged:
My family bloggers!
Molly Kate, Mindy, Jen, Jo, Josh, Annie, Tori, Traci, Lauren, Jamie, Jessi, and Blaine. :)

Monday, July 7

DAMBOREE!

The Fourth of July brought a day of work and studying, In-N-Out (which was completely dead), and as per Taylor's suggestion (and due to his utter brilliance) a trip to Boulder, Nevada. Why Boulder, you ask? Because Boulder is the home of the great DAMBOREE! Yes, I will be capitalizing DAMBOREE throughout the post - it seems fitting.

Boulder (home of the DAMBOREE!) is a 15 minute drive from Henderson - over the hill, southeast of Vegas. Drive east as far as you can on I-215, pass the sign that says "Freeway Ends", and you're almost there. Once over the hill you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, and looking over a completely empty valley it's an eerie sight. The cool thing is that Lake Mead is 5 minutes away. Oh, and THE Hoover Dam (as opposed to the other Hoover Dam of the Black Sea...).
We found a spot to sit and enjoy the fireworks at the top of a hill, overlooking some baseball fields. About 10 minutes before the fireworks started the sprinklers went off down on the fields, and we had fun laughing at the people scrambling to find dry ground. 30 seconds into the fireworks show the sprinklers went off where we were sitting, and due to good ol' Oldroyd luck I was sitting ON a sprinkler head. Taylor was pretty dry, I was absolutely soaked. But the fireworks were AMAZING - we were so close that we got a little nervous sometimes that the fireworks would hit us.
We took lots of pictures! I highly suggest the DAMBOREE for all of you, only wear rubber shorts.

Another reason to love Boulder: they have good taste in street names.
Which brings me to an apology that needs to be made to the state of Nevada and its citizens and/or former residents. Yes, I have been homesick for Utah. Yes, I cried two weeks ago on my way to St. George when I crossed the border into Utah. Yes, I cried the night before surrendering my Ski Utah plates and driver license for the Nevada plates and high school ID... I mean driver license (Taylor made that observation, just to be clear).

Last night during our cross-continental 39ers iChat I may have taken my exaltation of Utah and defamation of Nevada a little too far and in the joking I possibly offended (or worried) some people. I promise I am really enjoying Henderson! It's a beautiful city, very un-Vegas, and the people here are so nice and friendly. Of course the DAMBOREE helped, too. We are very blessed to be here, and feel so lucky to be in a nice area and have such great opportunities. Yesterday I took comfort when a sister in Relief Society bore her testimony and said it only took 4 years to not hate Henderson.

So don't worry - contrary to popular belief when I get pregnant and have a baby I will not deliver on the state line so the baby can have a Utah birth certificate (although I considered that a couple of weeks ago). Nevada is cool. Come visit please. :)

In other news, Taylor is off work for the entire month of July to study for the Bar (less than 3 weeks away). He's decided to cultivate a beard, earning him the name "Grizzly Adams" at Church yesterday. I don't have a current picture, but this one of him in Switzerland is pretty accurate of the beard's progression. His favorite novelty t-shirt, too - the whitetail deer - compliments of Gen-X Clothing.