Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Diamond Spotting

I hear the robots from American Idol will be singing all Neil Diamond tonight. I don't know if I can watch them desecrate such amazing work by the Master Songwriter. I've loved Neil since my parents blasted his music in our station wagon when I was a young girl. Yes, I had great taste in music even then. For all you haters of Neil, let me help you see the light--

He was a master then:

And now he is KING:

He's one well preserved guy. I love him. Adam begs me to throw away my "Diamond Head" t-shirt that I bought at his concert a few years back. It has holes and the letters are faded, but I can't seem to part with it. All the Barney girls were on the second row of his concert and he even winked at me (from his awesome revolving stage). So, if you haven't unearthed your love of Neil, I'll make you a playlist of his "must-haves" and it will blow your mind. Once you've turned--Rod Stewart is next....:)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I think this is the first time I have been tagged, thanks to my sis Rachel!

A-attached or single: Attached, at the hip mind you..
B-best friends: Adam, my mom, Melanie, Dana, Rachel and Larry
C-cake or pie: CAKE.
D-day of choice: Friday!
E-essential item(s): a good book and DVR (thanks Rachel)
F-favorite color: Purple
G-gummy worms or bears: Not really fond of either of them
H-hometown: American Fork, UT
I-indulgence: Masterpiece Theater
J-January or July: July
K-kids: None, but lots of OPK's ("other people's kids" Nat, do you remember when your dad first said "OPK's? I've used it ever since!)
L-life is incomplete without: Family, Niel Diamond and Bret Michaels :)
M-marriage date: 16 August 2000
N- number of siblings: 3 sisters, 1 brother
O-oranges or apples: Oranges. I once told my younger sister, Rachel, that the inside of an unpeeled orange is the coldest place on the earth. I don't think she believed me...
P-phobias or fears: Guns. I freeze up whenever I see one.
Q-quotes: I guess whatever Andy Bernard from "The Office" says, especially the conversation he has with Dwight about his TransAm (you can find it here)
R-reasons to smile: My nieces and nephews.
S-season: Fall is my fav!
T-tag friends: Nat and Adam.
U-unknown fact about me: I want to start taking violin lessons again.
V-very favorite store: Barnes & Noble.
W-worst habit: Never making the bed in the morning.
X-x-ray, ultrasound, or mammogram: Ultrasound--can I order a baby?
Y-your favorite food: Anything associated with a BBQ (answer stolen from Rachel...I happen to love BBQ's too!)
Z- Zodiac: Aquarius

Travelin'

***I meant to post this a couple weeks ago, it's a little late--oh well***

(4 April 2008)
I am so happy to be back in the USA! After an extremely interesting and memorable trip, I finally made it home and am just now getting back to D.C. time. We visited Bucharest, Romania and Tbilisi, Georgia for about a week.

Bucharest was our first stop and the city was charged with energy and anticipation for the NATO meetings.





Cops and soldiers were stationed on every corner and official motorcades zipped through every street. The NATO meetings were held in Parliament Palace--the second largest building next to the Pentagon. Sheesh, it is huge:






After my boss and I were finished with our meetings, we were able to explore the city again and meet up with a few of our Romanian friends. Ricky, who I met last year in Romania for a conference, and his wife, Kristina, spent time with us on the weekend and helped me buy a lot of trinkets and souvenirs! They are a wonderful and hilarious couple:

We were also able to spend a lot of our time with Nicole (her last name is too long for me to remember)! She was so gracious to spend most of her free time from work with me and Larry.




I had mentioned to Nicole that if there was enough time, I would like to go visit one of the LDS chapels in Bucharest. To my amazement, she knew exactly where one was and what time the service started. I didn't think I would have time to go to church on this trip, but was so excited when we arrived and a baby-faced missionary from Pleasant Grove, Utah was standing outside the church greeting the members and visitors. I was able to stay for a couple hours and it was wonderful to see the Church in action in a foreign country:


The chapel was surprisingly big!




Another favorite stop was the Bucharest Library. Go figure--Katie liking a library! I wish my mom could have seen this beautiful building. She's the reason I am such a book lover and would have loved this!



The last night in Bucharest we had a dinner with many of our friends at a traditional Romanian restaurant. Don't mind the hostage-looking photo with the newspaper....they all thought it was pretty funny that this would be my photo if I was ever kidnapped.






Next stop was Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia (just across the Black Sea from Romania). After a quick flight and layover in Istanbul, Turkey, we arrived for our extremely short stay in this beautiful country. Here's a map of the country to get a better idea of where we were. Georgia is the country in brown--it's as close to Iraq as I ever want to get:

We stayed at the Marriott in Tbilisi and just as I suspected, there was a Book of Mormon in the night stand. It was great to see, even if many of the people there haven't even heard of LDS.


Right outside the window of my room was the Freedom Square, which is crowded at all times-day or night. This square is supposed to function as a round-about, but there really is no rhyme or reason to how people drive. Our taxi's didn't have any seat belts and many windows were cracked or had holes in it. Pedestrians also don't have the right of way--something I learned very quickly. I decided to follow the old people whenever I needed to cross the street. I figured they have lived this long so they must know the secrets of survival. Here are a few pics from my window and the streets around the hotel--







The last night of our visit, our friends took us to a traditional Georgian restaurant. It was such good food--a lot of meats, breads and cheeses.

The best part of the night were the Georgian dancers and singers. Here, again, are a few pics--



..yes that is a real bottle of wine on his head!--and here are some short (and poor quality) video smidgets. First up--the singers are warming up (I think)...

video
Okay, now they're crackin'--take a listen..
video
Oh boy, the first dancer of the night. He really gets down at the end ...
video

Here's a bit of a beautiful lady at the first of the clip..yes, I realize half of it is sideways :)
At the end is the dude with the bottle on his head. Now where in the world can you watch a guy dance with a bottle of wine on his head while still looking semi "macho?" Here, at the end of the clip, the dancer gets ready--
video


..and off he goes.....!
video



..and finally, two beefcakes for my sis, Mel-

video
...yes those were real swords and I was a tad too close for comfort.

Okay, I think I'm done with this entry, finally! I wish the videos were easier to see, it was quite amazing. I'll be back soon with a report on our California trip--lucky you.