Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back on 2012

Achievements Unlocked for 2012!

  • Exploration: Europe and Midwest!
    • Road tripped to Arizona to visit college friends, whom I still really like!
    • Vacationed to England and Paris! People are different from us, and also similar!
    • Vacationed to Bryce Canyon and Zion's national park! Nature is beautiful.
    • Visited my family for Christmas. Nothing beats Mom taking care of you!
Muir woods in California
  • Baking and Cooking: Only 10% of recipes are too scary to try now!
    • Attempted to bake croissants, bagels, and lots of different kinds of bread (rye bread, yogurt bread, sad fail-bread).
    • Cooked all manner of strange food like corn chowder, clam chowder, wild duck, falafal, ramen (with homemade pork broth), and almond toffee.
almond toffee, before the chocolate goes on
  • Skills leveled up!
    • Learned to French braid my own hair
    • Currently re-learning to play the organ for church
    • Got into videogame journalism: did an internship with Killscreen (journal quote: "I will actually write stuff and it was go on the KS website! I'm so scared and excited!"), and now I contribute monthly to Nightmare Mode. Oh, and I'm on Twitter.
    • Wrote an interactive adventure game with Twine for the Adventure Time game jam!
  • Consistent Efforts!
    • Wrote weekly to my little brother on a mission
    • Took our dog for many walks, even when it was cold out
    • Got sick a lot, and had awful menstrual cramps, despite all the walking and good eating
    • Served a neighbor by babysitting her son three times a week for several months
    • Have been learning Japanese kanji consistently through WaniKani since... September?
    • Learned and then forgot the names of various clouds, and took pictures of them
these are just regular stratocumulus but the sunset is quite pretty
  • Leisure Time!
    • Found a fossil!
    • Played some awesome videogames like Persona 4 Golden, Journey, Resonance, The Blackwell Conspiracy, LittleBigPlanet Vita, Psychonauts, Devil Survivor 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Ghost Trick, and The Sea Will Claim Everything (I might go into more detail later on my videogamez blog).
    • Read a lot of books I wasn't wild about for book clubs
    • Read some excellent manga, like Skip Beat and Card Captor Sakura, and watched some great anime, like Natsume Yuujin-cho and Polar Bear Cafe (check out Crunchyroll if you want some free streaming anime). 
    • Decided not to bake every cookie for Christmas.
Did I fulfill last year's goals? I didn't update my videogame blog very much, but I did do a lot of videogame writing through my internship. I did read more manga and I also managed to finish some videogames I played. I made a videogame (though I couldn't keep up with the online computer science course I tried), and I've found a way to keep learning Japanese. I did make a nice grilled shrimp bento for a hike we had; I'd like to make more fancy picnic lunches in the future.

Am I different now?
I feel like I fit in a little more in my neighborhood now that we have lived here two years. I started a community Facebook page and that has helped me feel a lot more in touch with things that are going on around me (even if moderating the page stresses me out sometimes).

I have been really spoiled this year; my husband makes more money now and I haven't had to worry about money much. That's a really nice problem, but I want to be more responsible with the things I spend money on (for instance, I've bought a few books and a lot of games that I haven't "consumed" yet). I also want to be better about appreciating the things I have (organizing). Having more money has also made me less sympathetic to those who are always trying to save money, and I don't know why, because saving money is a good idea.

Working at my internship changed the way I view journalism and writing on the internet. Many news pieces are simply blurbs of other news pieces (tblurbs were what I wrote most of the time); I have newfound respect for those who take time to do primary research and do good journalism.

Earlier this year I was really discouraged about not being pregnant; every cycle left me discouraged. Charting my temperatures and working with a doctor helped me feel more like my infertility was something I could live with and that it might not go on forever. Eventually, God will remember Rachel

For next year (i.e., now):

I am looking into learning how to write indexes for non-fiction books. It sounds like something I might enjoy learning/doing. I want to do some more home crafts like quilting and maybe learn some embroidery. I'm beginning to think that I enjoy learning how to do things more than actually doing them? But maybe that's just a part of myself I need to learn to manage (like, it's okay to learn new things, but it's also good to improve on skills I've already learned). 

I want to find a way of getting out of reading book club books so I can spend time reading books I want to read. This might be difficult since I'm in charge of book club... I guess I could quit (snobby/impolite?), or simply set a list of books I've already read, or do such a terrible job that someone gets exasperated enough to volunteer to replace me.

I do have a cliche goal, which is to get my house more organized (we have several file systems going on, and lots of wasted space in closets). I'd like to keep up with my videogame editing/writing, organ practicing, kanji learning, and dog walking. 

It would also probably be good to add DDR or yoga to my exercise; I seem to have enough motivation to exercise for maybe two or three weeks and then something happens, like I get sick or have a vacation or start a job, and I get out of the habit very easily. Exercise seems pretty boring to me. We have gym passes but exercising at the gym just seems more boring than exercising at home. One of my goals is to learn how to ski in January... but I'm kind of scared to do it. Let me know if you want to join me! :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guide to decorating for Thanksgiving when you do not have decorations

I finally put away the Halloween decorations, but I had a small crisis when I didn't have appropriate Thanksgiving decorations to fill in the gap. So I present you my guide to decorating for a holiday when you don't really have any decorations.

1. What do you have that looks nice? I have a lot of books, so I use books as my starting point.
2. What kinds of themes can you attach to the holiday in question? I've been thinking about Thanksgiving a little, and besides gratitude and thankfulness and pumpkins, Thanksgiving has a lot to do with colonialization, survival, exploration, and food. And the East Coast.
3. Combine the two so you can explain your decorations! Decorations are all about context, right?

Lots of exploration AND colonialization in this one
East Coast and survival
Survival and food
This is from I SPY Treasure. Lighthouses are coastal; maybe even east-coastal?

okay here is some general Thanksgiving nonsense to prove I can do this
Cardinal and fox=east coast. My kangaroo represents the exotic "other" and fox and kangaroo have always been married, so it seemed like a good theme to bring up at Thanksgiving. An exotic otter may have been even better.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Spiritual Classical MIX TAPE CD

I made my little brother a classical music mix! I was thinking it would be spiritual classical. Most of the music on it is kind of sad or meditative--I'm not sure why I didn't think really happy music should go on it. I actually had Rutter's "O Clap Your Hands" on the long list (went through most of my collection to put this together). I also wanted to include some works you might not typically listen to if you're thinking "religious music times." If you'd like a copy I can burn you one. 

Track List for Rachel’s Spiritual Classical Mix, with brief commentary.

01 Three Songs of Faith: I Thank You God For This Most Amazing Day by Eric Whitacre. The BYU Singers are famous for performing these acapella works, but this recording will do.

02 Panis Angelicus by Caesar Franck, sung by Andrea Bocelli. I know, Bocelli is someone my mom listens to... but classical is for everyone.

03 Open The Kingdom by Philip Glass and David Byrne, sung by Douglas Perry. I always find myself getting misty-eyed and shivers from this song. It's not a typical religious style, but it's a sentiment I treasure--open the kingdom! Also, not sure what is up with the weird imagery in this vid.

04 Fugue for organ in g, BVW 578, by JS Bach. It's a classic. This video is shot in Bach's church too.

05 Da pacem Domine by Arvo Part. Part (who is supposed to have two dots over the a) conveys something mystic and resonant. 

06 Come, Let Us Worship from Rachmaninov’s Vespers. It's probably not like the other Rachmaninov/ff you know.

07 Symphony No. 3, iii, by Henryk Gorecki. This symphony is so heartbreaking, but also so beautiful, that I had to put it on, even though it took up a lot of room, length-wise.

08 From JS Bach’s BWV 639 Ich ruf zu Dir, taken from the soundtrack to Solaris “Listen to Bach (The Earth). I think there should be more synth arrangements of Bach's organ pieces. It's so calming.

09 River Waltz by Alexandre Desplat from The Painted Veil soundtrack. I just like The Painted Veil, no excuses here.

10 Koyaanisqatsi by Philip Glass from the soundtrack to Koyaanisqatsi. This has some of the super-deep basses like in the Rachmaninov piece earlier. Even though the name means destruction or chaos in... Hopi? I like that it's such a fatalistic and repetitive piece.

11 Always by Jessica Curry from the soundtrack to the game Dear Esther. The choral part mixed with Curry's simple piano makes this one of my favorites.

12 O Africa by someone with Cirque du Soleil. I admit, I just wanted to look cosmopolitan, but I think it changes things up pretty well.

13 In Church (Cyann & Ben Version) by M83 from the soundtrack to Stranger Than Fiction. I think I could listen to this one all day on repeat. Love the organ synth thing and acoustic guitar.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

what my days look like

A friend of mine does "Day in the Life" posts where she posts everything she did that day. It's a nice way to get a feel for her daily schedule without writing/reading it every day.

So my typical mornings are like this: get up at 9, clean and eat breakfast, make Adam a lunch, and then start work at 10. I say work, but it's my unpaid internship with the Kill Screen. After I write up 5 things, I call it done, which is somewhere between 12 and 2, depending on how fast I find things and how alert I am. Sometimes when I can't think of something to write I just refresh Twitter a lot, hoping someone will post a good link. And sometimes I end up playing games that I report on.

The past two weeks I've been practicing organ every day (today I practiced organ on the piano, since sometimes I don't feel like driving down to the church). This week I started a computer science course at edX, and I've been trying to review some kanji at WaniKani.

Some afternoons I have an errand to run. Yesterday I went into Provo to get my blood drawn and tomorrow my dog has a vet visit. I'm working on a quilt for a quilting class with a neighbor, and I think there is a book I'm supposed to be reading for book club. And my sister is making a videogame I want to help write.

I wasn't feeling all that great yesterday and spent a considerable amount of time playing Guild Wars 2. I think today I'm going to try making some muffins, and we have eggplant parmigiana on the meal plan, so I'll start making that around 5:30. Adam will come home between 6 and 7, and after dinner we'll take Koko on a walk. In the evening Adam likes to play on his iPad and sometimes I'll play a game too.

I know some people think they'd be bored if they stayed at home all day... but I don't feel bored.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We made tonkatsu ramen!

I was really disappointed that the Japanese cookbook I bought didn't have a recipe for tonkotsu (pork) ramen... but we decided to make some anyway (guess it's technically Chinese). We slow cooked a big pork bone overnight with some onion in a bunch of water for the broth. We baked some excellent pork tenderloin for the meat (just salted a little). We had way too much, but I guess that means pork salad in the future!

Adam cuts up the meat
We did Udon noodles but Ramen noodles would have been easy too. You can see the lotus root in this photo; we bought it frozen and just boiled it for five minutes. We also had some fish cake and green onion, along with medium-boiled egg for topping. I think the egg really made it! At the end we added some soy sauce. All the weird food was from the Asian market in Orem.

The weird-looking stuff is the lotus root. You put the broth over the toppings at the end.
The completed Ramen (well I guess Udon). This is what these bowls were made for!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Embracing my womanhood!

The following post has lots of details about lady things! So you can skip it if you're uncomfortable with that, although I don't know why you would be. I wanted to document my adventures in fertility in case someone else has the same problems.

So, many of you know I've been trying to get pregnant again (I'm not pregnant, just to clarify). Recently a friend of mine told me how someone gave her Taking Charge of Your Fertility for a wedding present, and she recommended it to me. This book looks like it's going to be another one of these natural remedies magical happy times cures, but it's not. It's about helping women become more aware of their cycles and fertile times, in gruesome and useful detail. Charting your cycle is as easy as taking your oral temperature every morning when you wake up. I'd heard about basal temperature readings, but most of the commentary on it was pretty negative, focusing on how it doesn't tell you that you've ovulated until afterwards, or that it's really finicky, or that you need to take readings somewhere other than your mouth with some expensive thermometer. Well, any oral thermometer will work.

I also started using these pre-ovulation tests this month, and got a positive result. So now I know that if I have some kind of fertility problem, it's likely not something to do with ovulation. I'll know more when I finish charting/keeping track of my basal (waking) temperatures for the month, and when I visit my OB/GYN next month. It's something little, but having this insight into my own body makes trying to have a child less like weird voodoo and a little more scientific.

Another awesome lady thing I have tried is the Diva cup. It's a menstruation cup that replaces pads and tampons and only needs changing every 12 hours. It reduces waste, since it's reusable, and it's a lot more comfortable than pads. There's also very low or non-existent risk of toxic shock syndrome since it's made of silicon. I heard about it a few years ago but I was too scared to try it. But now that I've tried tampons (like why didn't I do that earlier?) and gotten married, putting a silicone cup up my vagina is a lot less scary. It takes some getting used to, but it's SO MUCH BETTER than pads/tampons.

Last lady thing: I got my ears pierced! I probably should have gone to a real piercing place instead of Claire's, but it was less scary that way. Now I'm just paranoid that my ears will get infected and I'll regret it... but hopefully now children will be able to tell I'm female, even if I have my hair up (yes this is an actual problem for me).

Also: timp cave!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

God as psychologist

I've been thinking about how I view God and religion, and I think it's different from some of my fellow LDSs. I hate it when people say "everything happens for a reason," as if everything in my life were pre-determined. That just makes me feel like I'm playing a "guess what I'm thinking" game with God. Rather, I believe that humans were designed with religion in mind, but that it's possible God doesn't have to directly act as much as some believe He does. I think of this as a possible way that things could work, not necessarily the "right" way.

I believe that some religious activities are a kind of  psychological safeguard. The act of praying daily--organizing in our minds what we're thankful for and figuring out what we need (both great things to do anyway)--may help us be happier and goal-oriented, even if God Himself isn't paying all His attention to you (which seems kind of impossible to my mortal brain). I also think that things like FHE are going to bring families together because, duh, you're spending time together. I guess what I'm saying is that God is a shrewd psychologist in my mind.

In the LDS religion, we believe the Holy Ghost guides us to know what choices are right and if God is there. I also wonder if the experience of feeling the Holy Ghost may be... a part of ourselves. I think that God could design humans to have the feeling of the Holy Ghost when our spirits, or some part of our subconscious, recognizes certain feelings. If I were God, I'd certainly want to design things to be as self-sufficient as possible.

Another way I think God is a good psychologist is through having His worshipers give service. If we're not getting paid to do something unpleasant, we get cognitive dissonance about it. Sometimes it makes us value the work we're doing even more. I think people who work a lot at the temple must feel this way, because it seems like it would feel like a very boring job sometimes (kind of related: effort justification).

I still see God as a (sometimes) loving God, but the more I think about how He's set up religion, the more it seems like He really understands human psychology. Makes sense, right?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sexuality in the Decemberists's Songs

I like this kinda pretentious indie rock band called The Decemberists. Seeing them in concert was one of the highlights of last year's summer. As I was listening to them today I got to thinking about how they portray sexuality in their music. They're the kind of band that writes songs about all kinds of epic, dramatic things, especially murder and rape and revenge--very 19th century in some ways. One of my favorite songs of theirs is also about a rape. But to their credit, they have songs about consensual sex as well. I'd like to discuss both, so first off, take a listen to "The Landlord's Daughter" from The Crane Wife

This song is exciting and thrilling. It switches between major and minor chords, which maybe is a good depiction for something exciting but also wrong ("I produced my pistol, then my saber"). The lyrics pound out in iambic pentameter, and the song ends with a bang (gunshot). Immediately following is a somber song about burying a dead person, which wraps the violence up with some more appropriate somberness. Still, I feel guilty enjoying this song. Does it celebrate violence against women? Is it merely capturing the thrill that comes from that sort of violence?

In contrast to this predator-prey relationship, the couple in The Hazards of Love has a consensual love relationship. The song "Won't Want for Love" examines the longing Margaret has for her lover:

Margaret pleads with the forest to make it easier for her to see her lover, complaining that "the wood's all growing thick and fast around," acting as a metaphor for her growing need to see her lover (sexual and otherwise). Notably, the excitement isn't violent and demanding, but constant and dully urgent, like the bass's constant pulsing. Margaret acknowledges she is pregnant, but assures her lover that "all this stirring inside my belly won't quell my want for love." It's taboo enough to talk about women's sexual desires, but to acknowledge that a pregnant woman might still want some lovin'--that's what I like about the Decemberists. 

The bedroom scene depicted in "Isn't it a Lovely Night" from the same album is also refreshingly family-oriented. It focuses not just on "our breaths so switftly lifting from our chests" but also "Isn't it a lovely way we got in from our play / isn't it a babe? A sweet little baby." 

I like that there are popular songs about sex that aren't just about having a poker face or calling me babe, that acknowledge female sexuality as well as male sexuality. And I still don't really know what to feel about "The Landlord's Daughter."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nihonmatsuri festival Salt Lake City

After a morning of babysitting Adam and I went up to Salt Lake City for their Nihonmatsuri festival! A Japanese culture festival. There was lots of food and cosplayers (my favorites were Taft and the friend from Persona 4). We also checked out the new creek city center thing and ate some complicated food at the Tin Angel cafe. 

I've been doing a lot more writing these last two weeks! I wrote a successful article on the video game Journey on Nightmare Mode, a place that publishes some writing I admire. With twitter I feel like I'm seeing more news before it hits the major outlets, which is an accomplishment (figuring out who to follow, etc, although Twitter makes it pretty easy). I've also been tutoring a friend in writing! I've felt pretty busy, which I think is a good thing. Okay, now you can just look at this pictures. 

this nigiri had delicious umeboshi in it, and it smiled at me
there was some awesome flower arranging
cool fountain! I feel like such a suburbs girl being so impressed with urban art
this is just cute

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I was babysitting again, and we met a lady from my ward, who asked if I was "just home all day." I was like "I freelance a little but yeah I have a lot of free time." And it makes me feel a little guilty and useless, I guess, to admit that. I don't particularly like cleaning, and even on days I clean a lot, it takes less than an hour. I like cooking a little better but unless I'm making something complicated that doesn't take very long either. I guess I sometimes feel guilty about having free time, and especially today I feel that way.

I want to take Japanese 201 in the fall, but I found out that if I take it from BYU I have to be admitted as a post-bacc student (oh yeah, and parking is a nightmare, I wonder if I could drive to a bus stop somewhere). Maybe I could take a Japanese class from UVU? I saw an interesting job as an instructional designer that would have preferred me to have a master's. I know I'm forgetting my my dislike of how typical classes are set up and weirdly rely on grade motivations and strange assignments. Maybe I should look for a tutor instead of taking a class, or try to host a Japanese exchange student. I just want to do something that will make me awesome.

I guess today is one of those days where I feel like maybe I should look for a job to have something to keep me busy. I'm not disciplined enough to be consistent about volunteering (I find shelving books hard on my back and frankly, boring. Don't really have an excuse about indexing.). I feel like a leech on society, consuming things and not really creating anything in return. I don't usually feel this way, but today is just one of those days. Looking back on this post, it appears I am a guessing kind of person.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Longboarding down the Spanish Fork river trail

I picked up longboarding last week. Today I went for a lovely ride down the river. Biking is a lot like driving, and longboarding is more like "thrills and pushes*." Either you're going downhill and it's pleasant/exciting, or you're going uphill and working it. And it's completely deflating to come to a complete stop.
I'm so punk (not rlly). Also the sun is in my eyes.
I love it. I can look over to the river and pretend that I'm surfing. I practiced pumping with my left foot (I'm right-footed). I tried going down a huge and short hill and jumped off because I lost control (not as scary as it sounds. You simply move your feet from the board to the pavement and voila, you're not moving anywhere). I crouched down on my longboard, and at about 3 mph, I touched the pavement. It felt good.
the Spanish Fork river trail. It's nice for a beginner longboarder because all the inclines are really gradual. Sad because it's mostly uphill all the way back.
Yes, I live next to farms!
*I have to push off with my foot a lot but there is something called pumping that I think eliminates the need for this? I think it's basically wiggling a lot to build up momentum, and I can't really figure it out yet.

pinto beans, chicken, spinach, egg, and cheese? YES. Oh, I forgot salsa. Better than it looks.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


I made bagels a week or two ago. The funnest part was twirling the bagel holes:
make animated gif
yes, that is a little bento sauce container in the background

ready for boiling
they rose a lot in the pot! I should have only done 4 at a time
the finished bagels. They were excellent fresh, though a bit bland.
I've enjoyed making some unusual things! In other news, I have joined Twitter. Follow me @Rachel_Helps if you like, I am mostly using it for video game journalism networking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Croissants and bentos

I made croissants for the first time. It involved freezing butter, making dough have lots of layers, and overnight rising. In the first batch, I didn't line up both triangles very well and ended up with crab croissants:

The next batch had triangles that were the wrong shape and ended up looking like shrimp. They tasted good at least!

I made a bento using leftover crepe filling in an omelet.  

Adam made delicious apricot ham
the next day's bento was make-your-own-sandwich (bread not shown)
Today I felt really uninspired for bento-making. We need to go grocery shopping... I made a spinach omelet with some toast and then I had no idea what to do with the extra space, and the cottage cheese wasn't secure and probably got all over everything. Not every bento is beautiful, alas.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

February bentos

I got back into bento-ing this week! I think it was a combination of not having as many leftovers and getting cherry tomatoes. Seriously, cherry tomatoes go with everything. I don't always make cute lunches, but I always feel nice when I do. Kind of like dressing up or something. 

Kalamata olives with crackers and cheese and tomatoes, salad, and quinoa veggie leftovers. I had never had kalamata olives before, but they are really vinegary! Great on Greek salad with feta cheese.

More quinoa pilau leftovers. The egg salad and tomatoes went with the swiss cheese (hidden under the unleavened bread) as crackery thing topping.

The whole lunch doesn't fit in one bento! Veggies to steam and apples along with red tea went in this lunch. Also: adorable lunch bag I found at a botique here in Spanish Fork.

Leftover corn porridge (polenta) topped with fried onions and tomatoes. Turkey and cheese to go with the rolls. I also sent some apples and cole slaw too. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Culinary Adventures

Actual rice balls! Not pictured: lots of lettuce to go with the fruit

Adam and I bought a new Prius two days ago. It's really cool, with lots of gadgets (the polar opposite of our Civic, which doesn't even have cruise control). I love the car and am terrified to drive it, and I'm not sure how I feel about being a 2-car house. I wish that buses went out this far so I didn't feel like it was necessary. But now I can go volunteer at the library without driving into work with Adam and picking him up later (said library would try to squeeze me into their busy volunteer schedule. Oh, the joys of living in Utah). And the Prius will be much better for road trips and Ikea trips.

Made it with dried chickpeas
I've been trying to cook every weird thing I have ever wondered if it was possible to cook. Last week we made okonomiyaki and falafel, and yesterday I made hummus (apparently, this is what garbanzo beans are good for). I'm going to try to make miso soup later this week. I've been trying to keep up on reading Japanese, doing yoga, and making myself a real lunch everyday (sometimes I forget to eat lunch... other things are more exciting?). I bought a steam cleaner for the floor, and while it doesn't really pick up much dirt, it feels so wonderfully clean afterwards. I threw out our old mop which was basically a floor-sponge that was grossing us out anyway.

I have some ideas for an Oishinbo-like comic set in Utah, but I'm not sure if I'm good enough at drawing to pull it off. If I do put something together, I'll post it here and you too will be able to relish the joys of comic food writing. :-)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Goals follow-up: Extensive reading!

I've decided that for my goal in keeping up Japanese, I want to read in Japanese every day. This blog has some information on "extensive reading," and it sounds great: read in your target language and if you have to look up lots of words find something easier (the blog is also a great resource for online Japanese stories and how to buy used books in Japanese).

even their readers have a cute mascot
We've ordered more graded readers to help (we have Level 1, Vol. 1, whose five stories I finished this week. It's a great feeling to read a story without looking up tons of words!). I'm thinking I'll reread the stories to get the vocabulary a bit better. If I keep doing updates on this goal I will probably do it over at my failed Japanese language blog (I got really frustrated when youtube took down my 10-second clip of Fruits Basket. It's educational! It's fair use!). 

Also, we planned out this week's meals! We didn't follow the plan exactly but it helped a lot with the "whadya wanna eat tonight?" "I dunno, whadda you wanna eat tonight?" problem.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2011 summarized and thought about

Things I/We Did in 2011:
-Went to Japan, Bear Lake, Minecon, and California
-Raised Koko from puppy to... older puppy
-Themed parties (I know, dorky, but I think they are fun): Japan, Magic: The Gathering, Scrabble (was that this year? I can't remember), and Harry Potter
-Played about 40 hours of Persona 3 and I think I am only halfway through (but I beat Pokemon! And I have spent many hours playing Glitch. And I bought a lot of games... I need to spend less time reading about games and more time playing them.)
-Dropped out of grad school!
-Wrote about six articles for Deseret Connect
-Got to know my ward better somehow
-Decided to insist on tall jeans! If it's not long enough I don't want it!
-Attempted Christmas baking for the first time. It is a lot of butter and a lot of work.
-My husband's company was acquired by Autodesk. Holy taxes, complicated things.
Bear Lake's library is quaint; their raspberries imported.

little Koko!

Pretty much grown up?

How I think I have changed?:
-Mixed feeling about having children. I'd like to try it, but honestly some parents and children really scare me. Also I have decided not to stress out about being pregnant or not.
-I care more about cooking and housekeeping. These are things I will be doing a lot in the future, and dangit, I might as well get good at some of it, or find a way to get machines to do it for me (thank you, bread maker).
-I'm an elitist about some things. I don't have to tell everyone what I'm thinking about their taste in reading or music, but I am okay with thinking that some things are better than others. 
-I think I'm less abrasive with others. If I think someone's diet is stupid, I don't usually say anything (although... is sugar really that bad for us?). But if someone asks me my opinion on something, I will be gently truthful!

Some library books are gorgeous
Things I'm trying to do this year:
-I would like to post to my video game blog twice a week, or at the very least once. I want to write posts about psychology research on video games, and I want to do an analysis of all the video game post mortems I can find.
-Read more manga! Seriously if I am reading a good manga I feel like I'm on vacation. It is a luxury I want to indulge more! I recommend Oishinbo, an 80s manga about foodies.
this is a matter of life and death!

-My husband made a goal to either walk Koko for 30 minutes or play DDR for 30 minutes. I think it's a good goal! I guess I would like to do either or both of those things every day, and maybe do some more youtube yoga videos.
-I want to at least plan dinner in advance each week. It makes me less stressed out about preparing food. I would also like to make a few really gourmet bentos this year (for Acius, or maybe for a summer picnic or something).
-I want to beat some video games! My favorite part of playing a game seems to be the beginning but beating a game is also very satisfying. But I don't want to keep playing a game I don't like... I just have a hard time starting sometimes, and then afterwards I think "why don't I do this more often instead of checking facebook all the time?"
-I would like to keep up on my Japanese language learning somehow, but I don't have a good plan. Even if I made some sort of schedule I doubt I would keep it;;... but maybe I can try scheduling an hour a day to study.
-I still have some vague dream of making a video game with Acius, so work on that somehow?