Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ego Stroking

During the last semester of acting, we had a substitute teacher for a couple of weeks. Every once in awhile I meet someone and it feels like your souls instantly recognize one another...I immediately liked this chick!

She later found me on Facebook and we met up today for a "quick" lunch...three hours later we'd covered a hundred topics and couldn't believe how quick the time had passed. I think we were good for one another. I was able to offer a listening ear for her to talk through some things that she usually has to keep tight to her vest. And she was able to offer an ego stroking like none I've ever had before!

I'm not sure that the exchange was equal in value. But I hope the level of relief she felt after getting things off her chest came close to the level of confidence I walked out of that restaurant with! If half of what she said is remotely true, then the only thing standing in the way of some theater is me and my own insecurity. In addition to loads of compliments, she shared a list of great contacts and referrals.

Have I ever mentioned that my greatest asset are my friends?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Austin Glen Denney
Feb 26-May 24, 1982

There are few service men or women in my inner circle. I am immensley grateful for the sacrifices that are made every moment by soldiers in my behalf, but for me, this holiday always holds memories of my little brother.

My brother has been on my mind a lot recently. There are a few reasons that I can pinpoint:
- The 29th anniversary of Austin's birth and death has just passed. While I haven't always paid attention to the date in previous years, I did this year.

- My recent move has put me a short distance from the cemetery where he is buried. I drive by often. I have always made an effort to stop there once a year, but I find myself drawn there for no obvious reason these days.

- I've been feeling like a lousy steward of my own life these days. I've been given so much opportunity and resource and I am not proud of what I've done with it. And I wonder what he would have done with the same opportunities if he had been given them instead of me.

- It's amazing to me how vivid the memories remain from 29 years ago.

It's a beautiful view eastward across the Salt Lake Valley and up to the mountains. I spent a long while there this past week. I have been doing A LOT of soul searching. I am hoping to understand the decisions I have, and continue, to make. I believe that the birth, life, and death of Austin have had the greatest impact on who I am today, what I value, and who I hope to become. I wonder about who he would be? Which of our family members he'd be most like? What my relationship with him would be like? Would he have a wife and babies...or would he be keeping me company on the singles side of things? Who would I be?

I want to find more appreciation for my time here in mortality. I want to learn to take better advantage of so many opportunities that he never had. What words of advice would he offer me if he could? What does he now know that would bring me hope and patience in the things where I lack?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: Behavior Change

President Boyd K. Packer, April 1997 General Conference:

"I have long believed that the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior."
I had three thoughts sprout from this qoute:

1.) My own behavior. I am constantly reading books and articles and talking things out with friends hoping to finally hit the trigger to improve myself. Rather than studying the gospel from an academic approach and looking for general enlightenment, I need to better integrate what I've learned into the process of improving myself.

2.) As a teacher of the gospel. As I learn and understand the doctrine, my only concern should be to teach the truth of this doctrine. As individuals come to understand the truths, The Spirit will teach them the specifics of how it can improve their life.

3.) As I council with friends and family. I should strive to discuss and see things from an eternal perspective and spend less time just rehashing. If I am able to apply experiences to my understanding of the doctrine, my testimony of those things will be improved. As my testimony improves, I will better be able to share it with others.

I will begin with the Doctrine of Love and the Doctrine of The Atonement.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


So Good!!!!

I just got home from seeing Urinetown with The Russian. The script is witty, the music is clever, the cast was impressive!! Definitely going on my list of auditions in the future!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember when..

Remember when my brother John coined the phrase "tanorexic" to describe someone who doesn't realize how tan they are and continues to subject themselves to more rays?
Remember when I was a victim of the tanorexia disease?
Remember today, when I became a recovering tanorexic the moment I looked in the mirror and said to myself, "Self, you are tan enough. You can lay off for a bit."?
Ya, that was a good, good day! I'm healed!

Remember when...

Remember when I used to describe myself as a gym rat. Ya, I barely remember either. BUT...I'm loving the gym these days. After only a short while of commitment, I see and feel some awesome changes in my body.

I'm genetically pre-disposed to be addicted to working out, but somehow the last few years caused me to forget. Watch out world! I remember now!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

So Much Time...So Much To Do!

When I meet someone new, or catch up with an old friend, and they learn about my unemployment status, nearly all of them offer me the same cautionary advice: "Don't waste this time that you have!"

I don't think that advice is motivated by what they know about me, because many of them haven't known much at all. I've tried to figure out why there is so much concern about what I might do with this gift of time. Either in spite of the advice, or because of it, I am a busy, busy bee!

I've attended the temple in the middle of the day. I've dug into my online courses. I've read books from every category...and I've written down many thoughts. I've gone to theater classes and then spent time developing that craft. I've reached out to friends who have grown distant. I've learned more about the friends who are near. I've attended rock concerts on a work night! And the theater more than once in a week! I take late night phone calls from friends who just need to talk it out.

While there is always more I can do and better choices I can make, I think it's safe to say that I recognize that this is a gift of time and that I am very appreciative of the opportunities it has afforded me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Occasionally, after a very good date, I'll wake up the next morning with a Happiness Hangover. I start to stir before an alarm or disturbance...and by the time my consciousness catches up with me, I realize I have a huge grin plastered on my face. A piece of me wants to snuggle down deeper and have a dreamy sort of morning, but the bigger piece of me cannot contain my joy and my body just has to move. So I find myself uncharacteristically up and at 'em early, early, early.

The morning after the U2 concert last night, resulted in the most awesome Happiness Hangover I've had in a long time. Seriously better than the morning after the very best date I can think of!

Shoot! Now I have that fantasy to measure against!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011


Every now and again I'll find myself obsessing over an issue. I run it over and over and over until long past the time those around me are sick of hearing about it. A few days past that point, it will finally occur to me that I'm sick of it as well.

I've made conscious effort to "fast" from these issues. I tell myself and those close to me who might ask that I'm just going to take a 12 hour, or 7 day, or whatever time necessary period away from the topic...my lips will be sealed! And without fail, as soon as I do that, my mind begins to spin with thoughts and feelings and ideas! Suddenly it is the only thing I can think about.

Any advice on how to move on from a topic when you've exhausted yourself over it and deep down you know there's no undiscovered solution lurking around the corner?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: Prodigal Sons and Daughters

(I actually have been learning about this over the past 4 weeks as I prepared to teach a Sunday School lesson...but baring testimony of a truth can definitely solidify understanding)

While this is a well known parable among LDS saints, I believe there is always a knew pearl of wisdom to be learned.

I am not known for having an impressive vocabulary, so I tend to do my fair share of looking things up to try and improve and to keep myself in check. But in all my life, I never bothered to look up the definition of “Prodigal”. It seemed straightforward in context. Prodigal Son must mean something about the “Returning Son” or the “Restoration Son”, right? Wrong! When I learned the definition of the word, I immediately started polling my friends and it turns out the majority of us had made this same assumption. But we were all wrong. As defined on dictionary.com: Prodigal - wastefully or recklessly extravagant. The Prodigal Son was the Wasteful Son.

I had heard the following quote from President Hinckley many times:
"I ask you to read that story. Every parent ought to read it again and again. It is large enough to encompass every household, and enough larger than that to encompass all mankind, for are we not all prodigal sons and daughters who need to repent and partake of the forgiving mercy of our Heavenly Father and then follow His example?"
Previously I interpreted it to mean,"are we not all sons and daughters striving to return home"...but with correct translation I now understand it to mean, "are we not all wasteful sons and daughters". Fortunately, I was in a humble state of mind and instead of taking it as an accusation, it fell on me with relief. See, I am a wasteful daughter. I know this about myself. I waste time, and opportunity, and knowledge, and blessings, and resources. Although I strive to busy myself with the best things, I am often distracted by a boatload of good things. And I worry about it. I worried about it a lot last week. But as I really studied these verses, I was reminded by the spirit that the Lord wants even an ungrateful, wasteful daughter like me to Return to Him.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day from Hale!

While many were waiting in great anticipation to be swept up into Heaven for Apocalypse 2011, I spent my day in Hale...a dramatic way of announcing that I spent 9 hours bouncing between auditions for The Hale Centre Theatres (SLC and Orem)!

SLC Hale at 10:00 a.m. to fill out paperwork and calm my nerves for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Truth is, it's a lousy show for female parts...but my coaches kept saying that auditioning is a numbers game, so I threw my hat into the ring. And I BLEW IT! Seriously, this isn't a self deprecating comment, my audition was laughable! So bad that it was beyond embarrassing. As I waited outside for callback information, I secretly prayed that I wouldn't get called back simply so that I wouldn't have to face the casting crew again...Prayer answered! meaning, they didn't want to face me again either! My confidence was s-h-o-t! I didn't want to finish out my day, and had others not been counting on me, I probably would have gotten take-out and spent the day watching T.V. and nursing a Diet Coke.

1:30 p.m. Mock monologue audition with a panel of local casting and talent. Against the wishes of my coach, I avoided the emotionally taxing "Joan of Arc", and read Lucy from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown". While I should have taken the challenge of the dramatic scene, I really needed energy and a confidence boost, which I received. The panel was very complimentary and gave me enough confidence to remind me that I used to think this was a fun and good idea!

3:00 p.m. Mock vocal auditions with Ms. Bonnie. I would be revisiting "Always True to You in My Fashion" from "Kiss me Kate" in my evening audition, and I desperately needed this opportunity to get my mojo back. Whew! The confidence from the monologues and the familiarity of my coach and classmates reminded me again that while I'm having fun, I'm also pretty entertaining!

6:30 p.m. in Orem where all of the pressure would be. "The Drowsy Chaperone" is currently my favorite musical. It's soooo good in a train wreck sort of way and the Chaperone character is a dream role for me...this very audition was the thing that motivated me to set the goals and take the classes and the headshots! Being involved would be a dream!
The audition group was small, and I was much more calm. And boy did I entertain! I even elicited a tiny smile from the director and a "You're so fun to watch" from another auditioner! This theater doesn't offer callbacks immediately, so I'm checking my email every 30 minutes hoping for just the chance to be called back!

It's lofty to think that right out of the gate I'd land my favorite role in my favorite musical, but a girl can dream, right? I mean, that is what all if this is all about...me searching for a dream!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Girl's Got Mad Skillz

That would be SIL Kristy with her camera. After what felt like a million photos (but was probably only 50), I have some shots that I think I can live with...at least until I can change my face (by losing more weight!). It's too late for a poll...auditions are in a few hours, but check it out:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vitamin D

How much is necessary? How much is too much? I've taken my Seattle Attitude to the land of artificial sun...and I think I'm addicted!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


All you blog stalkers, I'm begging you to come out of hiding to share your photo taking tips! My cute SIL has offered to take my headshot photos this week but I can't bring myself to going to her house to have her pull the trigger because I HATE, HATE, HATE photos of myself. Remember?

So, I am begging you, what tricks do you know and use to guarantee a decent photo of yourself?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weather Forecast

Rainy. Dreary. And that's how I'm feeling. I thought I was in some kind of psychological or emotional funk...but tonight my body threatened to shut down on me. On rare occasions my body, with no obvious warning, freaks right out on me. Heart palpitations, cold sweat, paleness, the shakes, dizziness! And just about the moment that I think it's gone on long enough to justify a trip to the doc...it's gone.
Can this sad, sad weather have that much influence on on my body?!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Community Theater

I am spoiled with lots of opportunity to attend high quality theater. I go so often that I'd completely forgotten how painful it is to sit through community theater...but I was reminded tonight! Ouch!

Bless their hearts. It wasn't all bad, but it was bad enough that I had to confess to myself that if I can't make it big, then I'm not passionate enough about performing to make it small.

Does that make me a snob? Yes, yes it does. It also makes me question that performing could be the thing that fills the big, gaping hole I feel in my soul.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: The Essentials

I started today longer than usual on my knees. I am definitely feeling lost. Perhaps it's my ADD approach to trying to "find" myself? I feel like I'm knocking on a million doors and getting no answers. So my lengthy plea was to be reminded of who I am.
Logically I know the answer to that question, I am a child of God. But I'm not feeling as special as that statement sounds. I need a hefty reminder. I think I got a good hint as to how to find the answer.

I was asked to populate three categories in relation to my spiritual health:
  • Essentials
  • Importants
  • Nice to Haves
It was surprising to realize how much time I've been spending in the Nice to Haves category....and, consequently, how little time I'm spending in the Essentials and Importants. I might try to argue that it's rehab for ignoring the Nice to Haves for so long...but it's not a very good argument.
It is clear to me that the reminder that I am asking for will come to me as I spend more time in the Essentials category of my life.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Anxiety Setting In

I have one week to prepare for a huge, theatrical day next Saturday:

10:30 a.m. - Audition for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in SLC
1:30 p.m. - Mock audition with comedic and dramatic monologues in SLC
7:00 p.m. - Audition for "Drowsy Chaperone" in Orem

AND I need to finalize a resume and bite the headshot bullet.

I keep telling myself that it's about meeting the goal of auditioning...that it's not about getting a role or even a callback...that it's the experience and not the success that matters. I totally am not buying what I'm selling! I'm crazy nervous.

What was I thinking?

Friday, May 13, 2011


(The group I went with...we have funky zombie eyes)

I was on T.V. today...much more than I wanted to be.

A friend offered tickets to a studio audience and wooed me with phrases like door prizes, raffles, give-aways (queue visions of Oprah size generosity here). It was interesting to see things from a behind the scenes perspective. And we were VIP, so we definitely experienced perks...but our VIP seating came with a curse...direct view of us for most of the show. Blech!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


1.) I'm good at it
2.) It pays really well
3.) Offers come with zero effort on my part
4.) They seem to be 98% of the available positions I find

Have I lost my mind thinking I can escape this career path?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


One of the things that helped me to feel some confidence in unemployment was having paid off my car loan and not having that expense every month...but, I should have known better!

$1,200 in needed repairs! And not the kind a girl is supposed to ignore." Timing belt" doesn't sound like such a big deal, but the word on the street is it's no joke.

Deep breath........deep breath..........deep breath.........

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On a Dare

I went with my boys to dine on Ethiopian food...

One of the boys posted the photo to his Facebook page and received the following response:
"was that before or after you ate it?"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fast Five

Last week, my crew and I saw the fifth installment to the best 5 episode movie series of all time!

Check it out here:

and here:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: Divinity of Motherhood

I was blessed to come to a fantastic woman who took seriously, her role as our mother. She was involved in every aspect of our lives...even when we weren't aware of it! I have never doubted for a moment that her every move was in my best interest. Being loved by her taught me exactly what motherly love means.

So, who would be surprised to hear that I long for the opportunity to love the way that she loved? Sometimes, when the absence of the opportunity is breaking my heart, I pray for the desire to be removed from me. I've met women who have no interest in becoming mother's, so I know it's possible...I just haven't figured how to get to that place on my own.

But, how can I expect that the most divine part of who I am would ever be suppressed?

I'm lucky to have been taught how to be a great mom by my earthly mother and equally lucky to have been given the divine desire to become that great mom by my Heavenly Mother.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Genius Marketing Tactic

Some men can be soooooooo creative!

This afternoon a friend sent a mass email through Facebook:

A girl I know in Houston (met her at one of the single conferences I went to. Known her for 3-4 years), asked if I knew any ladies to set one of her friends up with.
He is looking for a date to the U2 Concert. She said she is a nice guy, just a little nerdy. So if anyone is willing to take a risk and contact a guy, there is a U2 concert ticket and probably dinner in it for ya.

Hysterical and genius, right? The guy is bloody brilliant! Without paying an $80 monthly membership fee, he just got something better than an eHarmony account! He'll have an army of women vying for his attention!

Out of curiosity, and an impulsive fascination with gambling, I sent the following:

I just got an email from a friend, of a friend of yours asking me to reach out to you because you're looking for a party companion to a U2 concert...and I think you might be the smartest man in the world!
So, what are you going to do now that your in-box is flooded with emails, and you have more options than you can possibly know what to do with?
For the purposes of the concert, you probably should know that I'm not afraid to sing or dance along in public...which, depending on your preferences, might make me the very best, or very worst option.
I also have exceptional hygiene and know how to have a mean conversation...anything else you want to know, just ask!

Zero expectation, but you know if he responds, I will sooooo blog about it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

B!#@7 Wives

Awhile back I blogged about an article suggesting a short list of reasons why a woman older than 30 is still single, the first being that the woman is a bitch. But (shameful confession next), I've been taking advantage of some of my free time to catch up on Bravo's Real Housewives and those chicks are wicked! Seriously awful, whiny, manipulative, vapid, ungrateful, bitchy women...with handsome, rich husbands?!

So...I don't get it. What's the appeal of a witchey woman?

Was she that way in the beginning? Is there something about the abuse and drama that is attractive to men? Or were these women charming and charitable until after the "I dos"?

I need to know! If that's what attracts a man, then I need to get less sleep, starve myself to anger, and learn to see only myself in the world. I think those things will get me to bitch, faster than any other method. I'll miss happiness and laughter, but I'll be able to beat my husband into submission and use his bank account to finally get the extensions I've always wanted!

But, if bitchiness is just a symptom of marriage...well then, maybe I'm not all that interested anymore!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Google Exodus

Okay! Okay! I know my comedic timing is all off and Passover already happened, but I got a good laugh and thought you might too:

Or link to it here: http://youtu.be/BIxToZmJwdI

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

100 Days

A Facebook friend recently extended a challenge to do something noteworthy over the next 100 days. It's been a good benchmark for me to consider...I am beginning to see how imperatively I need some direction in my life.
There are some goals that I have made my priority for this time in my life, but I had yet to set hard deadlines for these achievements. Day 1 was April 30...I'm 5 days in and have some specific targets outlined, which is a good start.
By August 7 I will:
  • Have reached a new goal weight
  • Completed 2 University Independent Study Courses
  • Auditioned for a stage production
  • Decided on my next job/career
  • Kissed a new boy
Any assistance is greatly welcomed...especially in the kissing department ;)

What would you like to accomplish in 100 days?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Professional Head-shot

This year my goal for hobbies/pastimes is to audition for a stage play. I've been taking theater classes and loving it, but it's about time to put it all to practice and put it out there. But I'm terrified. In large part because of a goal from 2010 that I failed to meet.

Auditions require a head-shot. But I hate photos of myself. There are maybe a handful of pictures that don't thrust me into a deep self-hate. So for 2010 I decided that I would either, change the things about myself that I disliked or learn to love myself the way that I am. Well...I didn't. My stomach still turns every time someone whips out a camera. While I have become incredibly skilled at dodging the camera lens, I have learned to not make a big fuss when I get caught in it's range...it's just caused me to develop a quick "untag" reaction to offending FB photo posts.

In addition to harboring a long list of things about my image that disgust me, I also honestly believe that I am not photogenic. Many times I will see a decent reflection in the mirror and then have to repress nausea when viewing a photo taken just moments later. I even had a professional photographer tell me last summer that she could make anyone look glamorous...but the final image was atrocious! There have to be tricks to looking good in photos...but I have a LOT to learn!

Monday, May 2, 2011


I got a persuasive text message yesterday afternoon:
"Church dairy downtown, 1:00-5:00. How men everywhere. Shirtless hot men. You bottle milk with them...the hot men."
So I agreed to go.

It wasn't at all like the sales pitch. We gathered at a warehouse where we cut and packaged 1 lb blocks of cheddar cheese. There were no "hot men" and the average men who were there, were wearing heavy sweatshirts as we were working in a refrigerated storage room.

But! It was a pleasure to serve. Everyone was kind and friendly and it felt good to contribute to society somehow.

The LDS church does so much in terms of Humanitarian work and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a small part of the large work they do!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What I Learned in Church Today: Plan A

A common strategy for dealing with disappointment in life is to give up on Plan A and come up with a Plan B. Today it was addressed many times that there are no various Plans to develop. Our life has one plan, and it is the best plan design for our needs and personality...the plan most likely to help us return to our Heavenly Father...the plan we are living right now.
There is a ring of truth to that. I think that part of the expectations I have for myself in my current circumstances is to get comfortable with my life's plan and to see how I can make the most of what I have.
Lately I've been more aware than usual of my tendency to focus on what seems to be missing rather than celebrating all that is not missing. Making the most of my plan will come as I increase my ability to be grateful for all that I have.

"In the premortal existence, Heavenly Father prepared a plan to enable us to become like Him and receive a fulness of joy. The scriptures refer to this plan as "the plan of salvation:, "the great plan of happiness", "the plan of redemption", and "the plan of mercy". The plan of salvation is the fulness of the gospel. Because of this plan we can be perfected through the Atonement, receive a fulness of joy, and live forever in the presence of God.

We are now experiencing mortal life. Our spirits are united with our bodies, giving us opportunities to grow and develop in ways that were not possible in premortal life. This part of our existence is a time of learning in which we can prove ourselves, choose to come unto Christ, and prepare to be worthy of eternal life. It is also a time when we can help others find the truth and gain a testimony of the plan of salvation."