Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Wyoming Trip

I went to Wyoming this past week-end and it was a great deal of fun. Traveling to Wyoming is always a great ordeal since I fly into Denver, CO and then get picked up there by family. The car ride from Denver to either Rawlins or Saratoga, WY (where all my family lives) is generally 3 to 4 hours. So, its an ordeal for whoever is driving me as well. BUT, it's always worth it to hang out with the fam.

I flew in Saturday morning and mom picked me up from the airport. We had a great time on our drive back to Saratoga just chatting. We also stopped in Laramie, WY to go to the Wal-Mart, of course. Laramie is about an hour away and its the closest Wal-Mart. One goes when they can.

Anyways, I spent the rest of Saturday and then all of Sunday with my mom. It was pretty simple, we just went to church Sunday morning and then hung out at their house Sunday afternoon. Simple, but very pleasant-which is how I believe life should be, ya know. Simple and pleasant. I was sad to leave.

But more goodness ensued. My sister, Camille, picked me up from Saratoga Sunday night and took me back to her house in Rawlins. On Monday I got to hang out with her and my niece and see most of my family in Rawlins. I say most of my family because I made no effort to see my brother. Again, keeping things simple and pleasant.

Monday night I had dinner with my biological father, Howard, and his wife, Robin. The big news was that I got to have a tour of their new fifth wheel trailer. They are retiring in a few months and then they are going to travel around the US. Its really just one of the coolest things ever and I'm so excited their doing it. When William and I retire one day, its exactly what we want to do. After and in between serving several missions for the church, that is.

Tuesday my sister, my niece, and I made our way back to Denver for my flight home. I actually took a red eye out that night, so Camille and Leah stayed the night in Denver which worked out really well. I checked into the hotel with them and was able to take a shower and get myself ready for a long night. And I used the airport shuttle at the hotel which meant Camille didn't have to wake Leah up in the middle of the night to take me to the airport.

It was wonderful to see everyone, but I have to say that the highlight was really hanging out with my wonderful little niece, Leah Marie. Not only is she just super funny and smart and cute, but she LOVES me. She's thinks I'm the most fun person ever. It's such an ego booster. When I was brushing my teeth, she wanted to brush her teeth. When I was putting on make-up she wanted to put on make-up. When I was eating fig newtons, she wanted to eat fig newtons (this was unfortunate because they have red dye in them and she is very allergic). She also requested that I read her bed time stories and sing her bed time songs. She has a hard time calling me Aunt Leah though. She can actually say both of those words just fine (she says so many words!)and she did use them together once, but she's still working out the fact that we have the same name. I think its an identity issue that confuses her, so she generally just calls me Aunt. Good enough.

This picture is a funny one. I asked her to help me with my luggage at one point (she really likes to be involved) and so I had her pull the carry on case around the house and from the car to the hotel, etc. When we were all settled into the hotel she kept requesting we go for a walk and insisting the luggage needed to come with us (Go walk! Bring this! Me do it!). We took several trips up and down the hallway. It was just killer cute. I miss her terribly.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My True Color

I'm all about the online quizzes and questionnaires lately. Someday I'll make another substantial post.

I don't know about the accuracy of this one. It seems like an extreme version of me.

Take this test!
Your color is black. The color of night. Serene and mysterious, black conjures up images of elegant evening gowns, dashing tuxedos, and gleaming limousines. Traditionally a symbol of success, black also represents power and an uncompromising demand for perfection. Not surprisingly, you tend to set challenging goals for yourself and do whatever it takes to achieve them — your strength of character is second to none. This unfaltering determination, along with your natural elegance, impresses people. But keep in mind that your personality might be intimidating to some. Try to temper your demanding side with a little softness — trust us, it won't kill you. Overall, though, black is the color of professionalism and achievement, which means it's clearly the color for you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The old Tagging

This is the quiz that I mentioned that I was tagged on that I forgot to do. Megan kindly reminded me which one it was, as she was the one who tagged me. I'm glad she did, because this is a fun one:

The Husband Quiz

1. What is his name? William John Silverman Jr.

2. How long have you been married? 3 1/2 years

3. How long did you date? About 6 months, including engagement.

4. How old is he? Will be 32 in May.

5. Who eats more? He eats more in volume. But, really, he has more volume (see the question #7).

6. Who said "I love you" first? I'm pretty sure it was him. I'm pretty sure I never would have let myself be vulnerable enough to say it first.

7. Who is taller? Well... he's 6'2 and I'm 5'3 & 3/4.

8. Who sings better? We both do okay. I sing alto in the church choir and he sings bass. We are both rock stars in the car.

9. Who is smarter? That is a true toss up. We're equally matched.

10. Whose temper is worse? His is more of an eruption, if thats what you mean. Mine is more of a slow burn.

11. Who does the laundry? Mostly me. But he does sometimes, and he always folds and puts away his own clothes. Eventually.

12. Who does the dishes? His washes and loads the dishwasher. I unload the dishwasher.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Facing the bed, me.

14. Who pays the bills? Me, for the most part.

15. Who mows the lawn? We've got no lawn. But it would be him.

16. Who cooks dinner? Him 75% of the time.

17. Who drives when you are together? Him.

18. Who is more stubborn? Another area that we are equally matched.

19. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Always him.

20. Whose parents do you see the most? We live thousands of miles from all of them.

21. Who proposed? William

22. Who has more friends? Me.

23. Who has more siblings? I do.

24. Who wears the pants in the family? I'm gonna say me, but its another close call.

I tagged almost everyone I know on the last one except for Debra A. because she was the one who tagged me, so... I tag you Debra! (And anyone else who wants to do it. If you're a boy and want to turn it into a wife quiz, I don't think thats bending the rules too much.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I got tagged!

Debra tagged me for this, and I'm being responsible and doing it right away. I was tagged by someone else for something else a few weeks ago. I kept saying I would do it later, but then I kept forgetting. And now I can't remember who it was or what it was about. I'm not dropping the ball on this one. Before getting started I wanted to say that Debra and I were best friends in middle school/junior high. I moved away in the 9th grade, and life happened and we lost touch. We recently reconnected, and the funny about doing this little game is that I am amazed by how much we still have in common. It reminded of this quote: "True friends are the ones who never leave your heart, even if they leave your life for awhile. Even after years apart, you pick up with them right where you left off." My life is clustered with people I feel this way about, I have so many old friends that I really care about that I've connected with over the last year, including Debra. I feel pretty blessed. Anyways, enough sap. Just know that I copied several of Debra's answers.

Here's how you play: Once you have been tagged, you have to write a blog with 16 weird, random things, facts, habits or goals about yourself. At the end, choose 12 people to tag, listing their names and why you chose them. Don't forget to leave them a comment (You're It!) and tell them to read your blog. You can't tag the person who tagged you, so let me know when you've posted your blog, so I can check it out.

1. I love brussel sprouts (one of Debra's answers).

2. I spend too much time on my lap top. Rest assured that if I'm at home, I'm on the couch and its on my lap.

3. I've been trying to have a baby for almost 3 years. I got pregnant once, but miscarried at 9 1/2 weeks. I think about having a baby once every 3 seconds.

4. I love to take pictures (one of Debra's answers). I especially love to edit digital pictures with graphic programs.

5. I am addicted to Reality TV (one of Debra's answers).

6.I am a creature of habit. I even have a chore chart that I follow.

7.I really like staying in hotel rooms.

8.I listen to books on audio when I go running/walking in the mornings.

9.I love McDonald's. The cheeseburgers. The McNuggets.

10.My life revolves around my faith and my religion. I believe that's how its supposed to be.

11. I love cream cheese, ranch and sour cream(one of Debra's answers - but I'm also adding Mayonnaise).

12.Along with spending too much time on my laptop, I am an internet nerd. I belong to forums that I post on regularly. I have online friends.

13.I lost a little of 30 lbs last year. I'm focused on loosing 10 more, not because I really feel like I need to, but just so that I don't gain the 30 back. You gotta stay focused on the goal.

14.I take so many pills that I recently bought pill organizers. Most of them are related to me trying to get pregnant, but it still makes me feel like a grandma.

15.I love, love, LOVE Disney World. Our annual passes expire at the beginning of March and I'm DESPONDENT about it.

16.I can't eat soggy bread. It makes me gag.

The tagging (thinking of 12 people is hard):

1. William

2. Camille


4. Kelly

5. Jenn

6. Sara C.

7. Rachel

8. Megan

9. Chelsea

10. Sarah H.

11. Sonya

12.Tyler (And I would say his wife Debra too, but she doesn't blog like she should).

I'm definitely too lazy to send notices out to these people (that could be number 17). But if you see it and do it, do let me know.

Oh, the Excitement!

The released a few photos of the cast of the Twilight movie that's due out in December. This is the Cullen family. I'm all giddy about it. That, and the fact that I'm feeling much better today. I think the plague is going away!

Monday, February 18, 2008


This past week-end we had a smashing time in Atlanta. One of the first little joys I experienced upon arriving was looking out of my hotel room and seeing the Georgia Power building. My family lived in the Atlanta burbs when I was much younger and my dad worked in this building for about 9 years. It was just funny to see it outside of my window.

Most of the time in Atlanta was spent doing school stuff (since I was there for a school conference after all) but we did get to do a few fun things.

We did a tour of the CNN Headquarters. The funnest part of that was when William got to be an anchor. He got to sit down behind this desk and read a news story. He did so good ('cause he's got such good 'radio voice') and it was so fun. Afterwards someone else on the tour asked him if was going to change careers.

We went to the Atlanta Underground too. Its basically the Atlanta from days of yore that has been redone and is a mall now. Its under the modern Atlanta, so it feels like you're in some kinda secret place. Although its not secret at all... there are signs everywhere.

We also tried to go to the Coke Museum and the Georgia Aquarium... but we tried to do these things on a Saturday and they were just so crowded and busy that it didn't work out. Also, I came down with the plague (okay, it was just a really bad cold) and didn't feel like doing much anyway. We did visit the Centennial Olympic Park, which was pretty cool.

As I mentioned, I came down with the plague while we were there. This morning was the second morning in a row that I thought, surely today I will start to feel better, and have been disappointed. Its just a bad cold, but I don't like it none the less. I did, however, discover these tissues. Its heaven in a box (or plastic packet if you get the 'to go' pack). Pregnancy also evaded me again this month, and so I told myself that the silver lining is that I get to take cold medicine. Of course, we all know that's a bunch of crap - I'd so rather be pregnant.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dwight howard superman nba slam dunk 2008 all star weekend

Here's a video that has the first three dunks, but not his last, which is unfortunate because it was fun too. Sorry about the seemingly endless replays of the second and third dunks. Enjoy!

Dwight Howard takes flight on All-Star Saturday Night!

Here's the "Superman" dunk. It's grrrrreat!

A New Era of Creativity

For years the NBA slam dunk contest has hovered just above mediocrity, ratings and interest dropping every year and the participants barely able to produce anything worthy of a cheer let alone the once standing ovations reserved for greats such as Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. Well, good-bye mediocrity and hello brave new world. Last night's NBA slam dunk contest was the best and most creative one I have EVER seen. Dwight Howard, the big man from Orlando, pulled out some of the most amazing dunks I have ever seen. He scored two perfects in the first round. He would have easily scored two more perfects if the guest judges had scored the final round (he had two more AMAZING dunks), but for the first time ever, the fans got to vote. Dwight Howard received a whopping 78% of the vote against his opponent, Gerald Green. I couldn't even begin to describe the magnitude of Dwight Howard's dunks, from jumping from behind the backboard and dunking with the left hand to flying through the air with a cape a la Superman, he wowed the entire arena, bringing EVERYONE to their feet, NBA superstars and lay fans alike. I highly recommend visiting or or youtube to catch a glimpse of what the judges called two or three of "the top five dunks of all time." Bravo, Dwight Howard. As you can see, above, I have posted a couple videos. There are plenty more on Youtube if you search for "2008 Slam Dunk Contest." Well worth seeing.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A really long post about taxes.

First of all I want to thank everyone who responded to my post on taxes. Between Blogger, Myspace, and Yahoo! Answers I got 20 or so responses. It was so helpful for my paper and I really appreciated it. The people who scored direct quotes were William (favoritism, I know), Amelia (I actually took the names Mr. Millionaire and Mrs. Foodstamps and ran with them throughout the paper. Thanks for that.), and Megan. I used ideas from everyone's posts though, especially Tyler's and Rachael's.

Next, I want to apologize to everyone who chose the proportional tax as their favorite. I used your quotes/ideas as the 'wrong answers' in my paper. I hope we can still be friends.

So, to highlight how I feel about the progressive tax and why it really is the most fair, I'm just going to share with you a couple of paragraphs from my paper that I feel like sum it up nicely.

Why progressive tax are the best:

For example let’s simplify the process and see how it works in action. Let’s assume a society wherein you can live on at least $30,000 a year. We’ll say Mr. Millionaire makes $500,000 a year and Mrs. FoodStamps makes $20,000 a year. We’ll tax Mr. Millionaire 25% and Mrs. FoodStamps 5%. This means that we’ll collect $125,000 from Mr. Millionaire and $1,000 from Mrs. FoodStamps. Since Mrs. FoodStamps is left with only $19,000 and she needs $30,000 to really make it, we’re going to give back her $1,000 and take $10,000 from Mr. Millionaire’s taxes and give it to her. The government will deposit $115,000 in revenue, Mr. Millionaire will be left with a measly $375,000 to make ends meet, and Mrs. FoodStamps will have her $30,000. When all is said and done, since we know it cost $30,000 to get by, Mrs. FoodStamps will put all of her money back into the economy, without being able to save any. But she will, at least, be able to get by. Mr. Millionaire will have the option of saving $345,000, if he wishes, after spending his $30,000 worth of necessities (but really we know he’ll spend much more than that).

But what if there was a proportional tax, we’ll say at 15%? Mr. Millionaire gets taxed $75,000 and Mrs. FoodStamps gets taxed $3,000. Mrs. FoodStamps now only has $17,000 to live on, which we know is $13,000 short of what she needs. But, we’re going to hit a snag here. As it turns out the government actually needed $115,000 in revenue to function. Between Mr. Millionaire and Mrs. FoodStamps they’ve only collected $78,000. So, not only are they not giving Mrs. FoodStamps any of Mr. Millionaire’s collections, they’re not giving her $3,000 back either. So, the government has $78,000 and a deficit, Mrs. FoodStamps is definitely finding out how she can get on food stamps, and Mr. Millionaire will be able to save at least $395,000 of his $425,000 left after taxes. This is not exactly a “win-win” situation. A proportional tax system is a figurative sort of ‘regressive’ since it leaves the poor worse off than they would be otherwise.

Megan pointed out that proportional taxes can be made less regressive by exempting taxpayers below a set poverty level (this was properly cited in my paper, but there is no need for that here). For example, Mrs. FoodStamps might be exempt from paying taxes since she makes less than $30,000 a year. The main problem with this, of course, is that now we’ve left the government with $75,000 and slightly larger deficit. It is important for tax payers to remember that their taxes help the government and all off its subsidiaries to function. A nation with out enough revenue will borrow money, driving down the value of the dollar and making us all a little poorer. A state or municipality without enough revenue will have to simply cut programs, which will leave us with substandard libraries, roads with potholes, a police force/fire state using outdated technology. In short, the effects of too little revenue reach wide and deep.

These numbers are obviously crude, and the tax system is more complicated that what is explained here. It does, however, draw a picture that we can understand in order to determine how these taxes affect society at large. We can see that when we tax the rich less, everyone else looses ground.

You may totally disagree with me, but like I said, I hope we can all still be friends. BTW, it was a position paper, so I was allowed to opinionated.

For the record, I thought it was interesting that so many people spoke of the regressive tax as stupid, idiotic, etc. Sales taxes are regressive. Sales taxes are regressive because they are a fixed amount, everyone pays the same taxes for any given good no matter what they make. If sales tax is set at 5%, then both Mr. Millionaire and Mrs. FoodStamps pay $1.00 in taxes on a $20.00 item. That $1.00 is a larger proportion of income for Mrs. FoodStamps than it is for Mr. Millionaire. So, you're all probably paying regressive taxes everyday. Where's the outrage?? (Property taxes are also regressive, but this post is already way too long.)

And for Amelia, who asked for more about the VAT tax: Go here, this gives a pretty good description of it. Usually its describes as a regressive tax, but obviously the poor are hit harder with is than the rich. BUT, often consumption goods (necessities like food and clothing) are exempt from VAT. So, ideally VAT is just applied to goods that can be expensive because its rich people that are buying them anyway. I think its fishy, but whatever.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Some help with my homework, please!

If you are reading this, I'm going to have to require that you leave a comment when you are done. (Pretty please!)

I'm writing a paper on tax equity. I'm including a stint about public opinion in this paper, and I think it would be great to actually include input from regular people. So, read the following descriptions of types of taxes, and then leave me a comment telling me what you think is the most fair and why. If you're super lucky, I'll quote you in my paper, and then you'll be famous. If thats not incentive, I don't know what is.

Progressive tax: People at higher economic levels pay a greater percentage of their income or wealth in revenue than do those at lower economic levels. For example, if you make $0.00 to $25,000.00 a year you might pay 12% of your income to a tax, but if you make over $100,000.00 a year you might pay 20% of your income to the same tax.

Regressive tax:the opposite of progressive. The lower income would pay 25%, and the higher would be 12%.

Proportional tax:All parties pay the same tax rate, no matter the income. If you make a lot, you pay 15%. If you make a little, you pay 15%.

The Value Added Tax (VAT): VAT taxes each level of production on a manufactured good. Let's take a crib for example (because I'm always thinking about babies). The lumber yard gets taxed, the factory where they make the pieces get taxed, the factory where they put the pieces together gets taxed, the store that sells it gets taxed, and then the consumer gets taxed. The idea is a dispersion of tax burden.

I tried to make those descriptions neutral, because I don't want you to know what I think until you've told me what you think. Maybe after I've finished the paper I'll post again and tell you what I think.

Please help me!

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Perfect Failure and a Perfect Game

So this past Sunday I hung my commitment not to watch sports on the sabbath in order to catch a glimpse of history. The 18-0 Patriots were looking to cap off their record-breaking season and seal their fate as the greatest team in NFL history. However, the Giants had another idea, a different sort of history if you will. Eli Manning came of age in the playoffs, and in the Super Bowl, he cast off Peyton's shadow while leading his team on a game winning drive, throwing a touchdown pass with less than a minute left to take a 17-14 lead ... the final score. Bravo, Eli and the NY Giants for giving us all one of the greatest NFL games in recent memory. Congratulations! So history was made, even if it wasn't the history I was hoping for. Yes, I am a Patriots fan. Whadda ya do?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Gordon B Hinckley

This is old news by now, but I've had a busy week and haven't had time to put my thoughts down. I just wanted to say a few words about Gordon Bitner Hinckley and what he means to me. I was born in 1978, and so, really, for me President Hinckley was a constant figure in my life because he has been serving in the leadership of the church for so long. He has always been a symbol of love, faith, humor, kindness, and MOST ESPECIALLY the idea that each day I can strive to be a little bit better and a little bit closer to the Savior than I was the day before. I think that, more than anything else, was the message I heard him share with the world over and over again. I am going to miss him terribly.

Don't get me wrong, though. His death has not exactly brought me sadness. He served the Lord for a long and happy life, and 97 is a good age to return to his Creator. And, it makes me happy to think that he is reunited with his sweet Marjorie, who was another one of my role models.

Anyway, the point to this little ode is just that he's been inspiring me my whole life. And his memory will continue to inspire me to be a little better everyday. I feel like Glenn Beck said it really well in his little tribue:

To read more about Gordon B Hinckley go here.


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