Monday, December 29, 2008

What a Christmas!

Here are some random photos from our Christmas in Bainbridge.
Highlights from the trip included:
*Branagan got engaged. Claire will be an addition to the Webb Family on April 11th! HOORAY.
*Canoeing/kayaking down the river in 80 degrees
*Christmas traditions like going to the Square to hear the BBBB (Bainbridge British Brass Band), scones on Christmas morning, and swimming in the wrapping paper.
*The Zoo with the Harpers
*Family pictures in the Harpers amazing backyard (watch pictures to the end to see some cute ones of Branny and Claire)
*Spending time with cherished friends and family

We hope your Christmas was wonderful too!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Eight Books From '08

Well another year of reading down and now this is my second annual book recommendation post. I love reading a good book and recommendations of a good book. So if you have one to recommend leave it in the comments. Here are my favorites from the year:

8.Massacre at Mountain Meadows

In 1857 a group of 120 men women and children were massacred by Mormon settlers and to a lesser extent a Native American tribe in Southern Utah. Many books have been written on this subject recently, mostly with a polemical bent of one kind or another. This three hundred page book deals only with the events leading up to the Massacre, and not the aftermath. It is not apologetic and is a somber and sad account. I spent every page hoping the tragedy would not happen, that those trying to prevent it and those in authority in Cedar City would stop the events from escalating. I was fascinated with the ingredients that combined and the lessons can be drawn from this event. Three Mormon historians wrote this account after combing the LDS archives and included information that has not been published before. This book is not for everyone. If you like Western or American history or are intrigued by this event, this is a concise account that offers the most up to date account of what happened.

When I went to Monticello with my brother-in-law, Branagan, last year, we went on a slavery focused tour of Jefferson's former residence. The park service had recreated the sheds his slaves lived in and showed us broken bits of plates, tools, and trinkets they had found from an archaeological dig. We were told about Jefferson's mistress, her brother whom he took to Paris to learn cooking, and other slaves and what their lives were like. The tour was fascinating and so I wanted to read more. This book recounts the history of the Hemings family and their relation to Jefferson and spends a great amount of time postulating about Jefferson's relationship and children with Sally. The author is at a great disadvantage because the lives and feelings of most of his slaves passed away without being recorded. A lot of these pages are speculative and I feel like the book could be condensed, but a good read. I think you need to couple this book with a founding fathers or laudatory Jefferson type biography so you can learn more about the strengths and positive contributions of Jefferson in addition to his shortcomings.

6.The Bin Ladens

My father-in-law gave this to me as a gift and it is a quick and informative read. It tells the story of how the Bin Ladens came to be one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia and how their son turned to the dark side. A great book to understand current events and get a peek into a Middle Eastern culture and the interface between our world and theirs.

5.The Dark Side
In response to September 11th, the White House and Congress began to rethink many of its policies in regards to war and terror. As the pursuit of terrorist was ratcheted up, policies and laws that were in place were disregarded and questioned in the pursuit of Al Qaeda. What is torture, extreme rendition, the rights of those accused and those not accused? Does torture work and when is it allowed? What gives America the moral high ground? This book is well documented and explores these vital questions with specific examples. Though it does have a left leaning tint, its well written, researched, and documented and is not just another anti-Bush book.


I try every once in a while to read a book of fiction that I should have read already but haven't yet. Last year it was Moby Dick. This year it was Frankenstein. This is a book you can read in one sitting and it is actually a pretty good read. The passionate chase between creator and monster and the memorable quotes by the monster such as "You are my creator, but I am your master;-Obey." and "I am malicious because I am miserable" make this book live up to its fiendish reputation.

3.Unaccustomed Earth

A collection of short stories, often morose of Indian transplants and their descendants trying to adjust to life in the western world. This author wrote the Namesake, which was made into a slow but great film. I read very little current fiction and am very picky in this department, but enjoyed this book. I admire the authors prose and ability to document life in a literary way. My favorite story is about Rahul, the alcoholic brother who comes back into his sisters life and the Sisters ambivalence about the part she played and will play as he returns. Her short stories that are pretty gripping and great for someone with a low fiction tolerance, like me.

2.Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death

This is a fun book. Around the turn of the century, before the study of the paranormal was pushed to the fringe, mainstream scientist were trying to settle the questions of the soul and afterlife through the scientific method. The author narrates spooky events. Prominent scientists going to seances, documenting deceased people appearing and peoples ability to sense that a love one has passed away that is away. One scientist tries to figure out why someone weighs less the moment after they die. Though ultimately scientists moved on to other fields of study after this, it's fun to learn about academia and general spiritual beliefs in the late eighteen hundreds.

1.The Nine (By Jeffrey Toobin)
I love books where I can learn about a subject I don't know much about and wouldn't be able to tolerate in another form. I guess what I'm saying is I love an author who can explain and introduce a world that was before foreign or difficult for me. I'm no lawyer. I get bored reading about the law even though I know its important. This book translates the highest court's personalities and desicions to non-lawyer types such as myself. How should the law be interpreted and how do the characters of all the justices interact and affect the law? What direction is the court headed and where is it going? For a guy like me (and perhaps Governor Palin) who can't name many court cases, this is an excellent and remarkably breezy introduction to the recent history of the supreme court. The profiles of the justices are fascinating. The book really is written to inform more than a pulpit for the author to say who is right or wrong or what should happen. This book is great and I recommend it to all.


1.Note On rereading:
I try to re-read some Flannery O Connor each year, so that doesn't count as a new book this year. I recommend her fiction to all. She's my favorite fiction writer. I reread Wise Blood and it was funny and intelligent and on message as I remember it. Also we podcasted Jesus The Christ which is great to listen to when driving. I reread Rough Stone Rolling which is a great read if you are in to LDS Church History and studying the life of Joseph Smith.

2. Here is a list of 2008 books I got through and took my favorites from:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby Gabe and Santa

Christy and Luis were not only gracious in accepting my invitation to the church Christmas party but let me hold Gabe the whole time (except for the few seconds when I let Santa hold him). Tessa the Messa, one of Christy's students, sure is hot stuff now as she was the first to see Baby Gabe and have her teacher watch her in the Christmas play.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CTR 8's are GREAT

We had an end of the year party for our primary class. I single-handedly tried to control 11 eight year-olds in a movie theatre while we watched Bolt. It is about a dog (Bolt)with super powers in a T.V. He really thinks he is a super dog and enters the real world and has to learn that he really is a super dog without the special powers. The kids didn't seem to get it because after the movie I asked them how they liked it and they said, "Why did they take away his super powers?" I tried to explain that he never had them but they insisted that he did.
We then shipped the kids to our little apartment for pizza and cupcakes. We soon realized that our place is much too small for 11 kids and spent the rest of the time outside. We have grown to love these kiddos. I get a kick out of the mischievous boys. I asked one what another girl's name was in a different class and he said, "Blob." We will miss them in January.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tis The Season

The Christmas tree has been put up at the Lindgrens.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Million Dollar Baby

I have never been good with confrontation. When put in a sticky situation, I normally suck it up and then stew about all the things I should have said to get my point across. I guess I just don't like anyone to feel awkward or maybe I'm just not that quick on my feet. It can even be as simple as when I get my hair cut and I don't like it. I will lie and say "it's great" and then spend the next week wishing I had her even out the layers. Confrontation can be a really good thing, even necessary when done tactfully and without getting emotional. Ryan does a great job at this when working with people with borderline personality that are trying to manipulate him. There have been many times I have asked him advice on how to deal with difficult patients and situations. Finally, an event has occurred where I walked away thinking I did it right.

I have been wanting to go to this kickboxing gym for a while. It is a real training gym with a ring in the center and punching bags all around. I bought hand wraps and got my old sparring gloves out of storage. The gym is in an old warehouse and a little intimidating with big burly guys everywhere. The owner told me to pay after the class as it had already started. A punching bag is great way to get out frustration and aggression. Class finished and I went to pay.

First, the owner told me that I read the price wrong from his website but when we both revisited it, he was clearly wrong. I then corrected him again on something else and
he said, "What's your name?"
me----- "Cheyney"
Him---- "Janey, you are f*@$asdling getting on my nerves!"
SHOCKED Me-- "Really, the F word. You think that is appropriate."
Him------- "This isn't Jenny Craig. I say _____ ____ and _____ whenever I want."

My first instinct was run. Do I pay first and then feel horrible about it? It seems obvious now how to respond but I wavered a bit. I had to go against my nature and stick up for myself. I mustered a little courage and notified him I was not paying, was no longer interested in a membership and made my exit.

Still after, I thought of what zingers I could have said to him about how he treated customers, how he had a personality disorder, or where he could stick it. But then I was proud that I said what I needed, didn't stoop to his level, and didn't cry.

Do you have any examples of when confrontation has worked for you?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving at the Hills

We spent Thanksgiving with the Hills and Thompsons down in Newnan, Ga near Atlanta. It's great to be around family during the holidays. The Webb's and Harpers are on our good list for Christmas, so we'll get to spend more time in Georgia with friends and family in late December. All these Georgians are pulling us towards Georgia and making it seem like the place to be, though were happy in NC (for now). We went Ice skating in downtown Atlanta. The night before we made ginger bread mobile homes, on display here.

I was not as diligent as a I should have been photographing the Thanksgiving dinner and everybody. Here is a sweet compilation video the Hills made that video and pictures from the thanksgiving festivities near the end.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It snowed and I can prove it!

Were having a cold streak here in North Carolina. It snowed last night and there was still some flakes on our cars when we went to work. Tonight it is going to get down to 21 degrees. Brrrr!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rivalry Week

The final play of the game the last time BYU played at Utah. To hear the U's announcers make the radio call click here

This Saturday BYU heads up to Salt Lake for their annual rivalry football game against the University of Utah. Every year is a big game, but this one matches two nationally ranked top 15 teams. BYU has won the last two meetings and this Saturday is set to be another classic competition.

We'll be watching here in Raleigh at a local sports bar. The wife actually thinks Utah will win, so this post reflects only Ryan's views and is not an official Cheyney and Ryan post.

Right now the Vegas line has Utah winning by four points. Odds are against either team winning three years in a row these days. Utah is ranked #7 and BYU is ranked #14. But the experts are wrong.

Here is my prediction: Utah feels a lot of pressure and has the most to lose in this game. BYU comes out and pulls ahead, deflating the till then undefeated Utes fragile ego's. BYU's offense is great this year, and that means a lot at a place known for their great offense. Utah rallies a little but can't get back. When BYU shows up, magic happens. Final score 33-24 BYU

So what is your prediction?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stolen phone

I thought my phone was lost somewhere in a puddle in the parking lot. Unfortunately, it was at Ryan's work amongst the not most trustworthy. Lost turned into stolen by a teenage girl. Her cute grandmother called the office to report she had stolen it and that she could not force her to return it. She has been texting and making calls for 2 days. I originally reported it lost but they didn't cancel the service. So NOW the phone has been canceled, a new one has been ordered and I don't have any phone numbers!

It sure is going to be fun entering them all in manually. But will you please give me your number so I can call you some day! Just email me!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fall Leaves in Raleigh

I (Ryan) went for a walk today and wanted to share some pictures of the leaves changing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations to the President Elect!

"Political opponents can have a little trouble seeing the best in each other. But I've had a few glimpses of this man at his best and I admire his great skill, energy and determination. It's not for nothing that he's inspired so many folks in his own party and beyond.

Senator Obama talks about making history. And he's made quite a bit of it already. There was a time when the mere invitation of an African-American citizen to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage and an insult in many quarters. Today, it's a world away from the crude and prideful bigotry of that time. And good riddance. I can't wish my opponent luck, but I do wish him well.

Whatever the outcome next month, Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country and I congratulate him."

John Mccain

On Barack Obama October 16, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Crazy Sis

My sister posted this video on her facebook and I thought, "That girl so crazy!" I miss my Kay Kay.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Battleground Count Down

Eleven days left till election day and we've cast our vote. North Carolina has early voting and we made our desicions official last night. It took about fifteen minutes with no lines at a polling place right next to where I (Ryan) work in Raleigh.

North Carolina is one of the contested states for the presidential election and and also has a Senatitorial Election (Elizabeth Dole is the threatened incumbant) getting some attension. You can't turn around without seeing a sign, hearing an advertisement on TV or receiving a lot of junk in your mailbox. NC has historically been a red state but migration and political sentiment have moved this state into the purple territory. Biden was here yesterday, Pallin earlier this week, and the Presidential Canidates were here last week and I'm sure will be back soon. I missed all the Politicans but I did get to go to a free James Taylor Concert/Obama rally on my lunchbreak on Tuesday.

Can you believe all of the election primaries, pagengentry, and political stuff has been going on for at least a year now without resolution? And now its just time to see what happens. I'm just counting down the days till election. I can't wait to watch the news. I can't wait to hit refresh on the internet to see the updated results. For a political junkie, the 4th is like the super bowl. The presidential winner seems pretty clear in my mind, but which states will go which way ? What will the Senate look like? And what color will the Tar Hill state be on the 4th?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Busy Weekdends

We have had a couple of great weekends waiting for us on our return from Europe. We made a trip to ATL for a quick visit with Wendy, Justin and kids. We packed in watching the girls cheerlead (Who's gonna rock the house.. Rock it all the way down) and a carnival where Julie, Trevor and Ruby won a flat screen T.V. It was so great to see family and friends that feel like family. It really makes me want to move there.

Then we were off to Wicked. The musical I have been dying to see for years. We finally got tickets in the nose bleed section so it was almost like watching ants perform. It was still amazing and brought tears to my eyes many times because I was so happy to be watching it. Then we had a great time with my folks, the Russians, soul food, and an intercity church.

Fast forward 4 days and we were on a plane to Dallas/Fort Worth for two reasons.
1. BYU TCU game. Most know how this game ended. 7-32! Wrong game for us to attend. Ryan may or may not want to expound on this.
2. Kari and Shaun- (the main reason for the trip) Best friend for many years. We have shared many adventures, too many to name. We got to go to the temple, Texas State Fair, and shopping for fetus Olivia. We are so grateful to them for their hospitality and letting us crash their first year anniversary!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Computer Down

I just wanted to let all know that we have sent our companion of 5 years to the hospital. He needs a hard drive transplant and is in a coma. In his absence, I have been reintroduced to books and quality time with Ryan. I do feel out of touch with the world, others blogs, and Grey's Anatomy.

So, if you haven't gotten a comment on your blog or a returned email, pray for a quick recovery for our little Toshiba.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I love Paris in the Fall

Last trip post! Thanks for enduring.

Unfortunately, I cant post pics from this part of the trip because our computer just died.

I got to go to Paris as a kid with my family and with Krista in 2000. One can never get enough of it. What an enchanting city. My dad recommended for us to stay in the motel we stayed in 18 years ago which ended on being 1 hour outside of the city. You dont go to SLC and stay in Toole (unless you are Kari). You dont go to L.A. and stay in Van Nuys. So, it was nice to see the motel for nostalgic purposes but even nicer to get a hotel 2 blocks away from Notre Dame. Shout out to Justin for letting us use his Rick Steves book from 1999. It saved our lives!

We packed so much in in 3 days. I was most excited to go to Versailles. I have read a biography on Marie Annetoinette and was so excited to get to walk in her footsteps. I have walked her entire life from Holfburg Palace in Vienna, Austria (where she was born) to Versailles, the Petite Trianon, and the Hamlet. The Hamlet was an area she had made to look like a peasants village with gardens, water wheel, swans and circular staircases (?). I could have spent all day there as it was a great getaway. The next day we went to where she was held prisoner in Paris, the Conciergerie, during the revolution and Place de la Concorde where they chopped off her head.

We loved Paris and saved tons of Euros by getting a 2 day museum pass so we could do it all. We even kissed under the Eiffle tower (which helped stop a fight or spat). We loved it and wish we had more time in France.

things we did:
Sacre Cure
Notre Dame with climb to top
Arch de Triumph
Champs Elysee
Eifle Tower
Shakespear's bookstore
Musee Dorsay
Napoleon's tomb
Rodin museum
Seine river tour at sunset!
Yumalicious food with lots of crepes and nutella

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Day in Amsterdam

We were able to lay over for about ten hours in
Amsterdam(The Lonely Planet Travel guides are great) and do a quick run through of some points of interest.
Amsterdam was really cool and I would love to explore this city more one day. It was like heaven coming back to the tasty food and comforts of the west. Everyone was on bikes and they had dedicated bike lanes everywhere. The canals were cool to see, and the public transportation was great. They had a cool flower market that made me wish I had a garden right now.
As far as the seamy side of the city, we didn't make it to the red light district. We didn't quite know where it was, and I'm afraid of places like that so Cheyn had to tell me about how she walked by it before when she was in Amsterdam. We inadvertently walked past an adult bookstore, so, does that count? We also walked past some stores selling marijuana and mushrooms so we got that experience.
We Hit Three Museums:
Anne Frank House Museum

The museum was excellent. It was personal and had just enough info without getting me overwhelmed. It was fascinating to see the annex where the family hid and to see Anne's room where pictures from popular magazines remained on the wall. And then we were off to The Rijksmuseum

We had see the state art museum next. I love Rembrandt's paintings humanness and common dignity. I really love his commoners as biblical characters paintings. At the museum they praised Rembrandt for being one of the first artist to paint subjects as if they were in motion. They had a good collection including a couple giant paintings like Night Watch (pictured above). I guess its such an important painting to them that they made a statue version of it. Can you spot the person not originally in the painting?

The third museum we went to was the Van Gogh. It was impressive with over a hundred of his paintings displayed. I never knew he spent part of his life as an evangelist before he became a painter. I also didn't know Japanese art and color was influential on his style. This was one of my favorite museums as well as Cheyns.After that we headed back to the airport and we were on our way to Paris.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Istanbul was Constantinople

by cheyney

They Might Be Giants put this place on the map for me when I was a kid and I have been interested in going there since. It was so interesting to be in a Muslim country. It was during Ramadan and so there was a party every night. We went to Mosques, Cistern, Sultan's palace and Harem, Spice Street and new city.

One of my favorite experiences was the Turkish Bath. It was not particularly relaxing or even enjoyable. I felt like a little kid getting a scrub down from my mom. First we had to purchase an abrasive wash cloth for them to scrub our dead skin away.
They separated us, men and women (the women were mostly nakey). I was introduced to "my lady" who took me into a big room with lots of sinks, where I was supposed to rinse off with warm water. Then she took me on a stone slab in the middle of the room (with many others) and harshly scrubbed my whole body with the tough wash cloth and showed me all of my dead skin. I guess, this turkish bath was long over due. Then more rinsing and back to the stone slab for a "massage" which was soapy and quick. The stone was slippery but she would push and pull me to where she wanted me. "Sit up, flip over." Really, like a mom cleaning her kid.
Then back to the sinks for a shoulder and face "massage" and hair wash. I sat on the floor in between her legs. My face massage consisted of her rubbing shampoo in my face. I finally realized that this was not supposed to be relaxing just cleansing.

What an experience! The dressing room was nice and I tried my first turkish delight, not so bad covered in coconut. Now my body is totally exfoliated.

On to Ephesus

Another Post on the events of our trip:

After reading guidebooks and talking to a few friends that had already been there, we knew we really wanted to see the remains of Ephesus. We took an early morning ferry from Samos, Greece to South Western Turkey, and spent the day in Ephesus.
My milkshake brings brings all the boys to the yard
The first site we saw when we got to Ephesus was the remains of the Temple of Artemis (AKA the Temple of Diana). In its hey day it was suppose to be a big deal: One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, a marble structure three times the size of the Parthenon where a cult worshiped a multi-jugged fertility goddess. Since then they really let the place go and all that was left of it was some stones in the foundation and a reconstructed pillar.
From Ephesus, Turkey

Up next on the list was the excavated remains of Ephesus. Ephesus was the biggest town in "Asia" during the Hellenistic age. During Roman times the town was where one of the first early Christian congregations was located. Paul, John, and Mary supposedly lived in the area at one time. It was eventually totally abandoned and recently excavated. The remains were amazing.

For the Bible fans out there(See Acts 19) this is the theater where Paul was taken to when he got into trouble by some of the citizens. All the silversmiths that made images of the jugged lady above got together and convinced the government to kick Paul out because of the uproar caused by his preaching.

From Ephesus, Turkey

Here are more pictures of the remains. They were breathtaking.
From Ephesus, Turkey

From Ephesus, Turkey

From Ephesus, Turkey
From Ephesus, Turkey

After that we got Cheyn all Muslimed out and visited a Mosque.
From Ephesus, Turkey

The final place we went was to the Remains of a church, which some traditions believe was built over the grave of John.
From Ephesus, Turkey

The church, built in the sixth century, was in a cruciform shape with a baptismal font in the center of the foundation and Johns grave at the top of the cross:
From Ephesus, Turkey

From Ephesus, Turkey

Greek Islands

Warning: We are still talking about our trip and giving highlights about each place.

by cheyney

This was my favorite part of the trip. It was the only time we got to slow down our pace and leisurely soak in the atmosphere. We didn't go to the well known touristy island, Santorini featured in many movies like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but we did go to Lipsi, recommended by Rick Steves. Lipsi was small, quaint and beautiful. I loved the bluer than blue water and white washed buildings.

My favorite was renting scooters and riding them up and down the island. Neither of us have driven scooters before. When we went to rent, she wouldn't let us because of our lack of experience. There was only one other place on the island renting them and so we went pretending that we were experts. We figured out how to start it, but Ryan was having trouble getting it to go. Just as the man was about to change his mind, Ryan put it in full throttle, finally lifted his feet off the ground and we were off. We were pretty much the only ones riding around on the island so it was all ours to enjoy.

From Samos Lipsi Patmos
From Samos Lipsi Patmos

From Samos Lipsi Patmos

Our next island was Patmos, where John wrote Revelations. We went to the supposed cave and saw where John prayed and layed his head. I reread Revelations and it still is over my head. It is cool to see where it was written and the view John had while writing, not bad.

From Samos Lipsi Patmos
From Samos Lipsi Patmos

From Samos Lipsi Patmos

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside.