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Showing posts from November, 2016

Red Lights and Spiritual Protection

The Netherlands is a very tolerant country, and for the most part, this has served them well for hundreds of years. But because of this attitude, most everything is now considered legal. Things that would be considered vices here in the States are no big deal over there - prostitution and marijuana are prime examples. It was also the first country to allow same-sex marriage, and gender-neutral restrooms are widely available. Another thing that Amsterdam is very well-known for is having a "Red Light" district. And many people come to The Netherlands to participate in all these things outside their home countries. As a covenant-keeping member of the LDS church, I was determined to stay away from those things, and in particular, stay away from the Red Light district. And we were able to do that, until our last evening, when we wandered in there by accident. Amsterdam is well-known for its many churches, and we had gone to visit some of the more famous ones, the Old Church (O

When in Europe...

Fashion seems to be a big deal in Europe, and Amsterdam is no exception. And you're not considered fashionable unless you have a fabulous scarf. Of course I wanted to get in on this, and made it one of my goals to come home with a fabulous scarf. I looked for one everywhere we went, but they were either too thin, or too expensive. Finally, on our last night there, helped with a little inspiration from some Oorlog-style frites, we stepped into a shop that specialized in cheap scarves and luggage. And for 15 Euros, I was able to find not just a scarf, but a hat to go with it. It's not as colorful as I had hoped for, but it's thick and WARM, and long enough to cover me from head to toe. It's also sure to get me through another hated Salt Lake winter.

Amsterdam - Museums

One of the things we did before leaving on our trip was purchase "I Amsterdam" cards. These cards allowed us free transport around the city, as well as complimentary access to most museums, and a canal cruise. We put our cards to good use, taking the train all over town, and visiting at least half a dozen museums. MC Escher Museum -The Hague Museum dedicated to the works of MC Escher, who specialized in optical illusions. The museum is located in the former Winter Palace of a former Queen Mother. Queen Wilhelmina, who ruled from exile during World War II, also lived here at various times. Rijksmuseum The Rijksmuseum holds many Dutch treasures, and they are very proud of it. We saw so many interesting things there, but my favorites were some of the more well-known ones by Rembrandt, and a self-portrait of Van Gogh "Self-Portrait" - Van Gogh "Nightwatch" - Rembrandt's masterpiece, and one of the world's most famo

Amsterdam - Church and Family

On Friday, we took a side trip to visit The Hague (Den Haag) and Rotterdam. It's the capital city, and beautiful. My chief reason for wanting to visit The Hague was to see the temple. It was a bit out of our way, but worth it for me. The temple is small, but beautiful, and beautifully situated. After an afternoon in The Hague, we took the train over to Rotterdam for an evening visit. My reason for wanting to visit Rotterdam was that I found an ancestral connection who had left for America from Rotterdam in the 1730's. I thought it would be cool to be there and feel that connection, and express my gratitude for his courageous decision to leave his home and make a new life for himself in America. Sunday, we got ourselves to the local Amsterdam ward for sacrament meeting. It was a very cold day, and when we arrived (after 5 train transfers), we found the building to be under renovation, and without heat. But the members were great, although small in number,


A couple of months ago, my pal Cyndee suggested we make a quick trip to The Netherlands. She needed to spend some money to maintain her Medallion status, and I needed a getaway before starting grad school in January. It seemed like a win-win, so a couple of weeks ago, we took off for Amsterdam. It was my first overseas trip, and to say that I enjoyed it is an understatement. Here are a few of the highlights: Food What can I say, the food in The Netherlands was amazing. I would go back again just for the food. Frites (French Fries) - served in a paper cone, topped off with different flavors of mayonnaise. Try it Oorlog style, with mayo, satay peanut sauce, and chopped onions Amsterdam Cheese Company - All the Gouda you can eat, and free samples of each variety. Over here, we call them "Cool Ranch" Fresh Herring Sandwich Presentation is everything - Hot Chocolate from a specialty shop in The Hague If you can get past the wooden shoe, I'm h

Kristin Armstrong

A week or so ago, my company brought in 3-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong to visit with us, and share her motivational message. Her event is the Cycling Time Trial. She's from Boise (or as I like to call it, Bwahzay, which as we all know is one of my favorite cities), and is affiliated with the company through her role as a community health advocate. After her talk, she took a few minutes to take photos, and we all got to heft her 2016 Gold Medal - heft being the appropriate word, as it must have weighed several pounds. Such a nice gal, and a great message about setting goals, having vision, and surrounding yourself with the right people. I made sure to take a lot of notes.

She's a (Re)CBAP

Received notice last week of my acceptance for re-certification as a Certified Business Anlysis Professional through IIBA. No big exam to sit this time, but I did have to apply, and verify how many hours I had spent in professional development over the last three years. Thankfully those hours, and then some, were all accepted, and I can maintain my CBAP status for another 3 years. Yay me!


Disney's new animated movie "Moana" is out in theaters this week, and what with having some extra nieces and nephews in town, it was a prime opportunity for Aunt Tracie to treat them to a show, and celebrate our Samoan family's Polynesian culture. The consensus was that everyone loved it, so we give it 5 stars. I'm sure having a little treat to go with it helped. But the important thing is that I maintained my "World's Best Aunt" status for another holiday weekend.

Family Temple Day

Both of the Oregon sibs and their families were here to have Thanksgiving with us, and as our last activity together, the teens and the grownups all descended upon the Oquirrh Mountain Temple yesterday morning to perform temple ordinances on behalf of some of our ancestors. It's not often I get to attend the Temple with family, let alone nieces and nephews, so it was quite a moment for me. It was a very cold and blustery day, but it was a blessing to all be together. And hopefully our ancestors appreciated our efforts.

Feeling the Spirit in a Casino

Piggybacking on my last post, I was a little less than enthusiastic initially to be going to the Conference, particularly because of the locale. The Las Vegas strip is generally not somewhere a covenant-keeping member of the church should be. There's gambling, pornography, smoke, loud music, and noise pretty much everywhere you go, and it's not somewhere the Holy Ghost usually hangs out. The welcome sign should really say "Great and Spacious Buildings R Us", and Caesars Palace is a perfect example of this. If you know your Roman history, Rome at the time of the Caesars was particularly given over to hedonism, and we all know how that eventually turned out. So, knowing I was going to have to spend a week in this atmosphere, I prayed pretty hard beforehand. The gist of my prayers was that I would be able to feel the Spirit, and be a light and an example to the people around me. Also - since I would be leaving on a Sunday, I made sure to give myself time to attend my s

IIBA Conference

This past week I was fortunate to have attended the annual IIBA Conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I've wanted to attend it for several years now, and finally, SelectHealth decided to send me. Hooray! Despite my hatred for the locale (let's just say that Las Vegas is not my favorite city), the Conference ended up being fantastic. I met and mingled with Business Analysts from all over the world, got to know the folks at Global headquarters (including sitting at the same dinner table as IIBA's CEO), added to my list of LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers, and in general came away feeling energized and ready to fight the good BA fight. The food was great, the hotel and event staff was incredible, and despite having to walk through the casino to get to it, my room was a perfect sanctuary. Viva Las Vegas! (Gorgeous room)  (Fabulous bathroom) (My view from the 27th floor) (My Mormon neighbors) (Good friends from the Salt Lake chapter)