How does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Big problems are composed of smaller, albeit interconnected, problems. Solving the smaller problems will have an implication on the larger problems.

25 July 2011


Sensational. Spine-tingling. The stuff legends really are made of. Amy Winehouse's voice is charged with pain and her jazzy delivery serves to deepen the sense of soul and personality. It is an emotional sucker punch. She's got such an incredible voice! One of my favorites, actually.

Her personal problems were legendary - especially her addictions to alcohol and drugs. My friend, John, posted this to his facebook, "My work as a substance abuse counselor grants me daily insight, awareness, and compassion regarding the constant struggle, deep pain and, at times, seemingly insurmountable battle of addiction. Until we have walked in those shoes, let us not cast condemnation..." I think we are all too quick to judge the addict. What a sad life many of them live. However, I hope to one day see more success in programs and more support to those that suffer addictions. I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach and counsel people that are substance abusers - their pain and suffering is tangible. They are human beings that made an honest mistake that spiraled out of control. I am grateful for my time I have spent with these human beings. Most of them are wonderful people that have hopes and dreams - just like we all do.

The infamy overtook the artistry and this young artist seemed unable to get well enough to live up to the legend she had become. Such a pity to see such a young life fall to addictions. Rest in peace, Amy Winehouse. Thank you for sharing your talents.

22 July 2011

I am giving myself a complex! These damn bugs - I am not sure if they are centipedes or silverfish, but whatever they are, they need to take their party somewhere besides my room! I am secretly hoping that the life of an insect is much like a cartoon movie, where they all communicate to each other and know who and what to watch out for. In that case, I expect the whole community that seems to be nesting in my room, to move out tonight (or if I am lucky, sooner!). I have literally killed 3 adult of these whatevers and 5 babies....just tonight! On top of that, I killed one about 5 days ago. AND there is still at least one more adult running around my room somewhere - he is hiding, but I am determined to kill him, too when he comes back out of hiding! This is NOT okay and now I feel like they are crawling all over me!

Between the bugs and the heat wave that is hitting the East Coast, I feel like I am back in Africa! The heat index, which is what it actually feels like outside and is calculated by combining the actual temperature and humidity, reached 113 today - in some areas of Virginia, 123! Tomorrow it is expected to be even worse...reaching 115 or higher. In fact, this is actually quite unusual - the heat index hasn't hit 110 in over 7 years and it's been more than 15 years since it reached 115. Talk about living in a sauna! I just want to stop sweating!!

21 July 2011

Someone else's thought

I was recently blog stalking (I know, I know) and came across some random person's blog that I don't know, but I LOVED what she had written. I am not taking credit, but don't know who the girl is, so can't really give her much credit (other than I assume she is Lauren, or that person she calls Lauren in this post), but I really like what she's written...makes me want to email her and be friends with her - my thoughts exactly, but since she puts it so beautiful already, I am just going to repost! Thank you, Lauren, or nameless girl I don't know!

dear world:

for the past 9 months i have totally taken you for granted... but on the other hand... i had my own little world i needed to figure out. gasping in this microcosm for breaths of air coming from outside of the saturated bubble of people who actually know what the word REAL means... i seriously thought i was going to be stuck in a place where people thrive off of trends... a constant competition of who has the latest urban wear... the newest accessories they claim to be what's "in"... and their tongue speaks that of what they only want others to hear.... blah. get me outta here! uh yeah i will admit.... and be the first.... who doesn't wanna feel cool? who doesn't wanna be loved? who doesn't wanna be talked about in facebook chats and/or wall posts? but one thing i have learned... i'd rather be known for influencing somebody's life by helping them recognize their inner soul, rather than be known for wearing a retro/vintage blazer at "the loft". i'd rather be known as the girl people wanna take a walk with... rather than the girl people facebook stalk because she "clearly" knows the coolest people... only shops at nordstroms.... and is tagged in every utah county dance party known to man....

some people think that when people go off on rages like this they are just jealous... that they wish they really had what they mock? sure i guess some would? but world.... do you wanna know why i love lauren? because i can be by myself all day and feel like i accomplished so much just by knowing who lauren really is. i can honestly look in the mirror and smile because i like what i see.... and i'm not talking about physical... i'm actually proud of who i'm becoming. i feel like as i continue to dig deep... my whole self is becoming more and more radiant... the more i dig the more i find... the more i find the more i learn.... the more i learn the more i grow... and the more i grow the more i expand into something extravagant. my hope and prayer is that day by day i can reach out to others and help them realize what i am learning to see each and every day.

i enjoy the moments in my day where i get to pick apart my feelings, and evaluate why my mind reacted to what i felt. i get WAY to caught up in my mind and sometimes it takes me a while to realize how powerless i really am over other people's thoughts, stupid decisions, and even when i see those i love most putting on masks to role play who they think society wants them to be... it's hard... something so simple brings me back to home plate...."god... grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change... the courage to change the things i can... and the wisdom to know the difference..." the disease of codependency is sooooo real... i need to make a post solely on my story of a family addiction.... 


Because I love Apple so much, I thought I would promote my most recent purchase. It is pure genius, which is why I love this company so much (besides for their amazing customer service, which I have vouched for before). I recently bought the newest version of the ipod nano. With as much travel as I do, I decided it would be a great purchase - it takes up much less space and is much lighter than my regular ipod. It's not only a great purchase for traveling, but is also great because it clips on and is great to take running with me. In fact, when I first purchased the nano, I took it out for the first time to go running and dropped it in the parking lot of my gym, where the entire front shattered. I took it into the Apple Store, where they replaced it, without them! Okay, so all that being said, I discovered today that it has a radio on it! You have no idea how excited this made me feel! I have been missing being able to drive, purely because that was my time to listen to NPR. I can now listen to NPR on my commute to work though. I love it! Best. Invention. Ever!

19 July 2011

Home Sweet Home

Yes, that's right, home sweet least for the time being! After living on my cousin and his wife's front room for a month, I finally was able to find a sublet. I am living in Capitol Hill, just a short walk to our Nation's Capitol building. I am in love with my neighborhood, lots of cute cafes, Eastern Market, and beautiful, old buildings!
I think this last weekend was one of the first weekends I stayed in DC since moving here. It was kind of refreshing not jumping on an airplane and jet-setting to another state, even though I missed out on one hell of a Moab trip, which I am a bit sad about. I was able to spend some quality time with roommates and friends, deep clean the house, and get moved in to my bedroom (since I have been here now for a couple weeks and been living out of suitcases).
Lots more updates to come soon! I've gotten really bad at getting on here and writing. I have lots of pictures and lots of stories though. 

18 July 2011


I started this on 2/16/2011, when my Grandpa was put on hospice. I wanted to add a picture before publishing, but clearly have never gotten around to scanning here it is 5 months later. As I read through this though, I thought of my trip to Utah last weekend and listening to Grandma "Weez" and how depressed she is. She not only is getting up there in age and is unable to do the things that she once was able to do, which I think would be depressing in and of itself, she also is feeling the loneliness of Grandpa (and me) not being around. It's sad to listen to her. I wish there was more that I could do...

This whole emotional saga has brought up some sharp memories of the 3 year span between my Grandma Staley passing and when my Grandpa Staley finally passed. Grandma seemed to leave so quickly, I hardly remember her being down and out. But oh do I remember the morning she left us - the first of my Grandparents. Mom came and woke me and Steve up while it was still dark outside, (probably around 5am?) to let us know. I think they waited until the other three woke up on their own before telling them. It was heart-wrenching to watch Grandpa those following months and years though. His pain was emotional - he missed her terribly and wanted nothing but to be "put in his hole next to her". Sadly those are actually the last words I remember him saying to me. I unfortunately was in the middle of nowhere, off the coast of Italy - Sardinia, to be exact - when he passed. Unable to make it back for his funeral or the last week he was around, I was very grateful that I had taken advantage of the afternoon before I left for Italy to spend with him. It was hard being away from my family through that. I was grateful that I was surrounded by my Clog America family that was supportive until I reached my (at-the-time) fiance, who held me up and emotionally supported me until I was able to make it home and have some closure, with family. Closure for Grandpa Staley was difficult for me to find. After talking things over a lot with my dad and uncle, I decided it was best for me to stay in Sardinia and not attempt to make it home for the funeral. As much as I hate funerals, they are good at offering some closure, which I never realized until this situation. I searched for that closure for some time after coming home. I think it came collectively - I watched my dad mourn, we talked, I sat in their lonely house as my mom would clean it out and organize their valuables. Eventually that closure came. I am not sure when or how, but it came and I was at peace. There is a moment mixed into that time period though that I don't share with many, because it is so close to my heart that it still brings tears to my eyes. The day I got home from Italy, we went and dedicated Grandpa's grave. They had waited for me to do that part (usually done at the burial service by those of the LDS faith, but was not done, since Grandpa's funeral was conducted by his Presbyterian Dad did this later on). Afterward, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to their house. I said yes, but I wanted to go alone, with just the two of them. For some reason, I didn't want all the other siblings going. We wandered through the house for a bit and then mom and I got looking through a few things in the kitchen and the back green-house/patio area. After awhile I realized that Dad had been MIA for quite some time. I found him upstairs, in his old bedroom, crying. He came down when he was ready and we went to leave. We hadn't made it halfway out of the driveway before a bit of an argument erupted. Dad wanted to know why mom had put the flower box (yes, the one that was on the side of the house, decaying) in the garbage. After mom had explained herself, Dad got even more upset, "you can't just throw that stuff away - my dad made that, with his own two hands!". Dad lost it. He is such a gentle man, with so much emotion. Watching my dad mourn not just the loss of his father at that moment, but of both of his parents, still brings a tear to my eye today. I dread the day...
I never published this post that I started a few months back (like most of my posts that I started between Jan and June). I want to work on putting them all on my site though and catch things up a bit. So if some of my posts seem a bit out of order or even out of date, that is because they are!

Today was Grandpa's funeral. What an emotional day. I think holding back my emotions for so many weeks caused an even bigger issue for my tear glands today. They couldn't keep it in any longer. My eyes were already so puffy from last night, but then somehow I ended up the one sitting by Grandma during the funeral. Maybe this was a good thing, since she and I have shared a lot over the last year...I know she is comfortable with me and we have a special bond, but it was almost a cruel things to do to one another! Neither one of us could hold it together during the song that the whole family sang, Always (Frank Sinatra). She wasn't supposed to sing it, but she wanted to.

I'll be lovin' you, always
With a love that's true, always
When the things you've planned need a helpin' hand
I will understand always, always

Days may not be fair, always
That's when I'll be there, always
Not for just an hour, not for just a day
Not for just a year, but always

Days may not be fair, always
That's when I'll be there, always
Not for just an hour, not just a day
Not for just one year but always

All the time

Making her grand entrance!
Me and my baby sis
Never a Larsen event without the strings!
WWII Veteran
When the flag was presented to Grandma
Me, Grandma, and my great Aunt Virgie
Larsen kids
Staley family
We color coordinated really well!
He learns from the best of us!
Such a ladies' man!
His funeral was definitely a celebration of his wonderful and exemplary life. It was also a great excuse to be able to have the Larsen family all in one place. I am very close with the cousins my age and it was nice to be able to all be together and share some quality time together. 

Brunch (the morning after the funeral) with a few cousins
To end, another Frank Sinatra song, because I think it is fitting to Grandpa...what a great life he lived! His exit was beautiful - quietly with Shirl and Grandma by his side, but with all of his children and many grandchildren close by within hours before he left us and the home filled with lots of reminiscing of childhood memories of him and lovely music. He was very thankful to everyone and graciously expressed that until he could no longer say anything at all. I am so grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful person in my life and the opportunity I had to live with him and be with him while he was moving on to the next life! 

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain

I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets I've had a few
But then again too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes there were times I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out, I faced it all
And I stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes it was my way

Love you so much, Grandpa!