Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Break: Christmas in LA

December 23
- Headed to SLC for my late night flight to LA.
- Got picked up from the airport by my little brother, Luke, and went to eat a late dinner at

December 24
- Got a mani-pedi with my mom.
- Headed to OC where I had a reunion with a few of my high school girl friends. It was so much fun catching up with the girls. I can't believe where everyone is 7 1/2 years after graduation!

[Jessica, Me, Aubrey, Kristen, Shannon, Lauren, Jamie]

- Went back to LA where Luke, my mom, my dad, and I played our annual Christmas Eve Monopoly game.

December 25
- Woke up and opened Christmas presents.

[Luke; money, slippers, books, and a camera]

[Me; books, Beauty and the Beast, an ESPN hat, and Toy Story 1-3]

- Headed to OC for the Neilson Christmas Party.
- Watched the Lakers loose. It was a very depressing game.

December 26
- Watched the Chargers loose. WHY?!

December 27
- Went to the LA Zoo.

[Asian Elephants; the bull]

[Asian Elephants; the cows]

[Me and the giraffes]



Overall I really enjoyed being home with my family and friends for a few days.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Pamper Yourself

Along with a nice phone call from my boss I also got a sweet Christmas bonus this year!


So what do you do when you get a nice bonus? Go and spend it in Vegas!

I decided to pamper myself this weekend... why not?

I stayed at the Bellagio in a Tower Suite which overlooked the pools/gardens (I really wanted a lakeview but they were all taken). My room had a king sized bed, a large tub with jets, and drapery and sheer controls that you can operate from bed!

I really wanted to see O but it's on break until later this month so I went and saw KA (a Cirque Du Soleil show) at the MGM Grand Hotel instead and I'm glad I did. It was amazing! The acrobats were incredible, the story was fun, and the entire stage constantly rotated. I kept hearing people say, "how are they doing that?!" and I was constantly thinking the same thing! It's definitely the best Cirque show that I've seen so far!

I forgot to tell you but I completed my 100,000 meter rowing challenge! It was supposed to take 30 days but I did it in 7. Needless to say I was sore and deserved a massage.

So I got one!

While at the Bellagio I got an 80 minute hot stone massage and a facial. Both were heavenly!

To top things off, I went to a huge dance party with a bunch of my friends that live in Vegas. There's nothing like dropping it like it's hot with one of my best friends, Emily, and a great group of people.

Overall it was a great weekend! I have been working hard and thought I deserved a nice "vacation".

I almost forgot! I bought these super cute boots too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Geminid Meteor Shower

I woke up at 2am Tuesday morning so I could see this:

I was worth it.

I really needed a wish.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Choice

I can't believe how many people emailed me about the blog I wrote last week. I really appreciate all the love and advice. It means a lot coming from people that are going through or have gone through what I am experiencing.

After a lot of thinking (and crying), I've decided to not do "the drug" right now. I think with the combination of sunless tanning, some good face washes, and maybe some therapy (which should help reduce my unnecessary stress) I can get this acne under control.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The 2010 World Armwrestling Championships

I don't like Mesquite, NV. I've stayed in a lot of places over the last few years (nature of the work) and Mesquite would have to be my least favorite. I always dread going to NV because my boss would rather have us stay in Mesquite instead of Vegas (which would be my choice).

This last week I was sent to do a survey just north of Vegas with my co-worker, Heidi, for our big pipeline project. I begged my boss to let us stay in Vegas but, of course, he said no.

So Heidi and I headed to Nevada to do our survey.

Since we are awesome, Heidi and I finished the survey faster then expected. I called my boss to let him know and he told us to head back to Mesquite to hang out for a few hours while he tried to come up with something for us to do.

To kill some time Heidi and I headed to the Casablanca Hotel to get some lunch and walk around. While we at lunch our server asked us if we were "in the competition". We laughed and said no and then she proceeded to tell us that the 2010 World Armwrestling Championship was taking place right now in town. WHAT?!

Apparently it's a huge deal! Over 1600 contestants from 31 different countries! And the best part?! Admission was FREE!

So Heidi and I headed over to watch the competition. It was so awesome! The place was full of super buff guys from all over the world. I still can't believe how intense it all was.

My favorite team (next to USA of course) was Sweden! The Swedish were really into the competition and they showed their pride buy wearing Viking helmets and waving the Swedish flags.

I'm still not a huge fan of Mesquite but being able to go to the 2010 World Armwrestling Championship made it tolerable!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Beauty is Pain

I'm 25 and I still have my teenage acne. It covers my face and my back. It's embarrassing and painful. I've been to SO MANY dermatologist and I've been on EVERY type of acne medication (no joke) and only two things have ever worked: "the drug"* and sunless tanning.

I hate sunless tanning. I don't like being hot and sweaty when I'm not working out. I hate that it makes you smell like burnt chicken and that it leaves rings around my eyes. I hate that if you sunless tan you have a higher chance of getting cancer. I hate it all. Except that it clears my skin... I love that.

I've been on "the drug" twice already. Not only did it clear my skin but it keep my skin clear for about a year after I stopped taking the medication. My clear skin came at a price: "the drug" made my depression worse.

It's hard for me to admit but I've been depressed for most of my adult life. It affects me everyday. It's the reason why I'm quick to get emotional. I get mad easily. I get upset easily. I get frustrated. I have little patience. I have anxiety.

I'm having a hard time right now. I'm sad. I'm disappointed with my life. I'm lonely. I'm tired. I'm unhappy. I don't sleep. I forget to eat. I don't really care about anything anymore. I cry... a lot. I thought I was special. I thought I was supposed to do something with my life. I thought I was going to be great. Instead I've accomplished nothing and I'm alone. I wish I could just quit my life and start over.

That being said... is it worth it? Should I go back on "the drug"? Should I put myself through pain just so that I can have clear skin? It seems like a simple question but it's not. I'm starting to scar! My acne is getting so bad that it's embarrassing! Sometimes it actually hurts! It sucks!

I don't want to be sad any more but we all know that's not going to happen. I have to just deal with it. If I'm going to be miserable I might as well get clear skin. Right?

I have a Dr. appointment next week and I need to decide by then.

*I prefer not to say the name because the blog is public. If you want to know the real name then email me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Missing My Bed

I decided, kind of last minute, to go home to LA for Thanksgiving. Even though it was a short trip I was able to see some friends in Vegas (I flew out of there), go to Missy's (my sister-in-law) baby shower, go out to dinner with the family for my dad's birthday, get a massage, finish my Christmas shopping, have Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, and see all my married cousins, so it was worth it!

[The Neilson Clan]

[Missy, Me, Tiersha, and Tahnee]

After a long weekend, I flew back into Vegas just in time to find out that the freeway was closed down in Cedar due to another storm. Luckily, my best friends fiance let me crash on his couch for the night.

I woke up early the next morning, drove back to Cedar (instead of taking 2 1/2 hours it took about 4 1/2 because of the storm), got to work, was told we were heading to Vegas to go hiking, went home, unpacked, repacked, and headed back to Vegas for the week.

After a long week of hiking in the Vegas desert, we headed back to Cedar where I went home, unpacked, repacked, and then headed to Provo to attend my cousin, Tiersha's, Christmas Party.


So where am I now? Well, after another long and fun weekend I am finally back in Cedar. But not for long. Come tomorrow night I will likely be back in Vegas or St George for work.

Being in the field can be fun but sometimes I really miss my bed... hotel beds suck and mine is so comfy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Concept 2 Holiday Challenge

I've recently gotten into indoor rowing. It is hard but so much fun!

In addition to my awesome work out schedule I am also going to do the Concept 2 Holiday Challenge. The challenge consists of rowing 100,000 or 200,000 meters between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Not only does this keep off the "holiday weight" but, according to the Concept 2 website, "For every person who rows ... at least 100K during the challenge, Concept 2 will donate $.02 for every kilometer (1000 meters) you accumulate" to a charity. I think that's pretty sweet.

I've calculated it out and I can row (on average) 5,700 meters in 30 minutes. So it'll take me about 9 hours to row 100,000 meters and 18 hours to row 200,000 meters.

18 hours of rowing in 30 days.

Challenge accepted!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Deal Breakers

I wrote this as my facebook status on 10.17.2010:

"Having 'deal breakers' is just another way of telling people you are judgmental"

I immediately got some productive feedback from a few of my friends:

Shaina: "The only deal which is broken for me is someone who chain-smokes... hard not to be judgmental when I'm gasping for air. Otherwise, totes."

Tom: "I love that game" [He is referring to the fact that we used to play "the deal breaker game" while out on digs to help pass the time.]

Syanna: "Amen, there are just a few really important things, like being able to breathe that really matter."

Malorie: "I'm with Tom. That game saved our sanity in Sand Hollow" [Sand Hollow is a dig we were all on together]

Cheryl: "Of course, unless you are talking about abuse. Like abuse-y abuse."

Ok I guess my original facebook status post wasn't 100 percent correct. To some people, I would say most, chain smoking is a deal breaker. To most, not all, abuse is a deal breaker. There are others. Like I could never be with a guy that believed that Hitler's "racial purity" idea was a noble and great thing or that the Holocaust didn't happen.

There is a difference between big deal things (being a Nazi) and small, stupid things (not being outdoorsy [see below]).

I was hanging out with some of my SLC friends and the deal breaker conversation came up. One guy actually had a list. I full blown list! "Deal Breaker One: If I pick up a girl for a date and she's not wearing high heels. Deal Breaker Two: If I'm on a date with a girl and she brings a water bottle in her purse [apparently he thinks that if a girl brings a water bottle it's not because she is thirsty, it's because she thinks that he is too cheap to buy her a water bottle]. Deal Breaker Three: If the girl has ever had sex [keep in mind this guy was religious and believed that sex should be saved for marriage]. Deal Breaker Four: If the girl doesn't like the Utah Jazz. Deal Breaker Five: If the girl isn't outdoorsy. Deal Breaker Six: If the girl..."

The list went on and on and on! The only thing that kept going through my mind was "Whoa you arrogant jerk! Who do you think you are?!" [Ok I used other adjectives but I won't repeat them here]

A few of these really got to me. One was Deal Breaker Three. I understand that people believe that sex is sacred and should be saved for marriage (I believe that too); however, there is no way that you should ever judge someone for not being a virgin. What if she had been married before? She still saved herself for marriage BUT the marriage didn't work out. What if she wasn't religious until she was older and she had sex before she was converted? Are you still judging? What if she just "messed up"? What if she wanted to wait for marriage but fell to temptation. What if she believes that sex is sacred but it's okay out of marriage if you are in love? Who are you to judge her? You can't tell me that YOU'VE never made a mistake.

What about Deal Breaker Five? Say the girl is not outdoorsy and the guy is. Maybe this is something that she could learn to love. Take her on a small hike to a pretty waterfall. Bring her into it slowly. Don't throw her into an ultramarathon or a hike up Mt Everest! And, in the end, if she doesn't enjoy it then maybe outdoors can be "your thing"... you know, go on a hike or campout with the boys. You know couples don't have to do EVERYTHING together. Do they?

Now there are real deal breakers that people need to look out for. My cousin, Cheryl, pointed out a perfect example: abuse. That should be a deal breaker to EVERYONE. Abuse is sick and so sad and no one should have to go through that. But that's not what I'm talking about.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is... don't judge people based on a set of rules. You may end up missing out on someone awesome.

BUT I guess I wouldn't want to be with someone who would judge me with their deal breakers anyways. As my dear cousin, Tiersha, put it, "Well, who want's a d&%$#@ like him anyways."

Humm... so judge away, use your stupid deal breakers if you must.

I guess this conversation was just rendered moot.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hard Work Pays Off

"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated" - William James

I am a good archaeologist. I know my stuff. I work hard, fast, and efficiently.

Sometimes I don't feel appreciated. Sometimes I feel like my hard work is over looked.

I got a call today from my boss at "corporate" (which is always a nerve-racking thing). He made small talk and then told me the real reason why he called. It was to tell me that he appreciates me. He appreciates all the hard work I do and he hopes that I will stay with the company for a long time.

I've been feeling down lately so I really needed that.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I LOVE the Dentist... the Ortho? Not so much!

"I always look for something to criticize about people... But with you I can't! You have a perfect mouth!"

This is a direct quote from my Dentist.

My work finally got dental insurance so I went to the dentist this week. It has been over 3 1/2 years since I've had a cleaning (this is a LONG time when you are used to going every 6 months for the last 20 years) and I was excited to go.

I got there, filled out my paper work, met my dental hygienist, took some x-rays, and then started the cleaning process. About half-way through my cleaning the hygienist asked me how long it had been since my last cleaning. "Um... over 3 1/2 years probably". She paused, looked at me and said, "No way! It looks like you JUST had them cleaned! What ever you're doing keep it up!"

After my cleaning, the Dentist came in to have a look. Not only did he compliment my clean teeth but he raved about how great my mouth looked. My mouth better look great! I had braces 3 times for a total of 5 years [damn orthodontist]!

So what do I do? What is my secret? I know you are dying to know. So here it is:

Every night before I go to bed I brush my teeth for 2 minutes with my Oral B electronic toothbrush (it has a self timer)

Next I floss

And finally I rinse my mouth with Listerine

The trick is to use the Listerine RIGHT after you floss, you have to hold it in as long as you can (feel the burn), and then after you spit it out DON'T rinse your mouth out and don't drink anything, just go to bed. This way the Listerine continues to work as you are sleeping.

I know some people hate the burning feeling that comes with Listerine but there are other types that don't burn as much.

I'm not a Dentist and I know very little about teeth but this is what I do and I've NEVER had a cavity and my Dentist thinks I have a perfect mouth.


And a special thanks to my parents for making me go to the dentist as a kid!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I lost some readers

I had a few people tell me recently that they don't read my blog any more because it makes them "feel sad" or my post are "too depressing".

I'm sorry. I'm sorry that READING about my depressing life is making you sad.

I apologize that I write about my feelings and that it makes YOU feel blue. Because obviously I am so happy with my life right now. I'm sorry it's been so hard on you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"You gotta mix it up!"

6:00 am - Wake up and do an abs work out video
6:40 am - Watch Sports Center and eat a bowl of Special K cereal
7:30 am - Go to work where I am either sitting at my desk all day or hiking through the wilderness
12:00 pm - Eat lunch (usually a salad or chicken and brown rice or a PB sandwich)
4:30 - 5:30 pm (depending on the day) - Leave work and head to the gym
5:30 - 8:00 pm - Gym time
8:15 pm - Get home, eat dinner, read, watch TV
10:30 -11:30 pm - Bed

This is me on an average day. Notice something? I spend anywhere from 2-4 hours working out on a day when I am in the office and even more when I am out in the field.

I eat healthy and I am addicted to working out. What's wrong with me?

I asked this question to a personal trainer at my gym. She responded with 5 simple words: "You gotta mix it up!"

"Alright! What do I do?"

She grabbed a gym class schedule and listed out the 4 classes I should go to:

Uni Flex: Dumbbell class to music
Cyclo-Cross: Cycling class with intermittent strength/fitness routines
Free Flex: Barbell class to music
Rowing: Indoor rowing class

"I'm there! Let's do this!"

And I did! Here is my weekly gym schedule:

Monday: Uni Flex (1 hour) and Rowing (30 minutes)
Tuesday: Zumba (50 minutes) and Cyclo-Cross (1 hour)
Wednesday: Free Flex (1 hour) and Yoga/Pilates (50 minutes)
Thursday: Powerball (1 hour) and Zumba (50 minutes)
Friday: Rowing (1 hour)
Saturday: Rowing (1 hour)

I can hike all day through rough terrain without breaking a sweat. I can run for miles with no problem. But 7 minutes into my Free Flex class I was dripping in sweat... literally! I needed a towel! It was amazing! I couldn't stop smiling!

It's Friday night, I'm sore, and I've gained 5 pounds this week (muscle maybe? Yea, let's just say muscle), BUT I'm loving my new work out schedule! I'm still working out a lot but I've gotten away from my regular routine and my body is reacting.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to build a pipeline:

First you clear

Next you trench

Then you lay

Rain or snow

Sun or fog

We work!

What do I do exactly?

My job is to walk along the trench and check for cultural materials all while wearing my safety goggles, orange vest, steel toed boots, and hard hat (I tend to blend in with the construction workers). Easy enough right? Don't worry, I steer clear of the backhoes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Great Pumpkin... I Want to Believe!

I heard a great idea once (I think it was from my drama teach in middle school) about how to avoid eating so much candy during Halloween:

She said that her and her husband taught her kids about the Great Pumpkin (kinda like Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny) and how every year he would come and leave the kids presents in exchange for their Halloween candy. So every year her kids would dress up, go trick-or-treating, come home, pick out five pieces of candy (to keep), and then put the rest of their candy into their newly carved jack-o-lanters for the Great Pumpkin.

That night the Great Pumpkin would come, take the candy, and leave a present.

The next morning the kids would wake up to find their present (maybe PJs, toy cars, or new shoes... something small) which was left by the Great Pumpkin.

What about the candy? They (the parents) would throw it away! The kids don't need it and neither did they!

I think it's a brilliant idea!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sheep Parade

Every October Cedar City has a Sheep Parade and Rodeo.

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning for a stroll down Main St...

Old Cars


I was a hoot watching people, not dogs, herd the sheep.

I also got to see some of my friends that were participating in the parade as bagpipers and cowboys!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Weekend in SLC

During my five days up north I never went to sleep before midnight, but it was all worth it.

When I tell people that I am going to an Archaeological Conference they always respond with something like, "What do you have to talk about? Hasn't everything already been found?"

In short, no, not everything has been found. Archaeology, like other sciences, is a ongoing field. New information and discoveries are always coming in. The best way to hear about these discoveries is to read about it in various Anthropological/Archaeological magazines BUT I don't have time for that! I would rather hear about it during a presentation then read about it.

Conferences are fun because the field of Great Basin archaeology is small so if you don't know someone chances are you've heard of them. As for me, I know a lot of people because I've been working in the Great Basin for the last 6 years (not as long as most, but long enough). I have made a ton of friends and it's a blast to see them a couple times a year (at conferences)!

Old college friends:
One of the highlights of my trip was being able to go to dinner (at CPK!) with my college freshman roommates! It has been a few years since I've seen most of them and it was so great to catch up. I know we all blog BUT it is always more fun to see everyone!

[Picture from one of our previous reunions. 2005 maybe?]

I also stayed with Emily for a few days which was a blast! It makes me sad that I would be able to hangout with her as much once she gets married and moves away so I gotta soak it all up while I can.

BYU Football:
I went to the BYU football with my cousin, her husband, and their kid. There is no way I would let the rain stop me from enjoying a little college football! BYU won... well, Wyoming lost... but I still had a great time!

Overall it was a great 5 days! Thanks to everyone for making time to see me!
*Special shout out to Nate and Mal, Coleen, and the Searcy's!*

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GBAC Road Trip

I am heading up to SLC for the Great Basin Anthropological Conference (GBAC) today and I couldn't be more excited!

Not much compares to spending two days in a large conference center with a bunch of old, plaid-wearing, bearded men; listening to presentations; seeing old professors and coworkers; and mingling with fellow archaeologist!

Since I don't make it up north very often, I will also spend the week trying to meet up with my friends and family members that live in northern UT.

Hopefully I'll be seeing some of you soon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Born to Run

It was a hot summer day, the hike was burley and I was sweating like crazy. All of a sudden I heard my coworker say, "Court, I can't do this anymore. We just weren't built for this." I paused and immediately thought back to my Biological Anthropology/Evolutionary Biology class and replied, "Yes, yes we were."

We were built for more then just long distance walking, we were built for long distance running. It's in our genes. It's part of our history. Why do you think we out lived the smarter, bulkier, tougher Neanderthals? Because we could run!

If you have ever ran, or walked, or stood on your own two feet you should read this:

Have you ever had an injury from running? Did you then go out and buy really nice, cushy, expensive running shoes and then get injured again? Do you want someone or something to blame? Blame your shoes! Our ancestors didn't have Nikes 200,000 years ago and they were just fine. And you know what? We don't need nice expensive shoes now.

The book is about long distance running and it focuses on a tribe of running people called the Tarahumara. These people have the secret of ultramarathon running and they are willing to share it. The book is full of facts, research, and an amazing story. I don't want to spoil anything but I promise if you read it you won't be disappointed.

P.S. Have you seen these? They may look ridiculous but they are amazing!