Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Good Life in 2011...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It's that time of year again... when it ends.  As has been customary for the last few years, I put together a little Candrian family pictorial "Year in Review" video.  It just dawned on me that I have a bunch of funny videos I could have added... but... whatever. The pictures will sum up our 2011 well enough.  I promise to make next year's video slightly more flashy.

To sum up 2011 in words would be near impossible. But I will use this one word to do the best I can: unpredictable.  For me, the year started out completely in the dark. My job with a former senator was ending, and I had no idea what was in store. I only knew that I shouldn't be worried about it, so I wasn't.  And, just a few weeks later, a call came. It happened to be from one of the only other member's of Congress (my list was very short) who I was interested in working for on Capitol Hill. And thus ensued a multitude of blessings. I am grateful beyond words.

So, I hope 2011 has treated everyone else well too.  Life is unpredictable, and sometimes pretty unexpected, and that's what makes it so memorable. Merry Christmas to all of you, and here's to a fantastic 2012 with more adventures and blessings to come.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today on Capitol Hill...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Capitol Hill is typically filled with the "who's who" in the political world, as you can imagine of the arena where laws are created.  And today was no different, I suppose.  I don't normally get excited over too many of the big shots though, unless there's a journalism connection (as I've explained here and here) but today we had two "distinguished" guests make appearances that I got a little excited about.

First up... we had a man whose face I was very familiar with growing up, thanks to cinematic favorites such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Yes...  ladies and gentleman... I bring you Harrison Ford... straight from our nation's capital:
He was in town, earring and all, meeting with the Senate General Aviation Caucus (yes, there is such a thing).  My boss is part of it, so I got to tag along for media purposes, of course.  For those of you who don't know, Mr. Ford is way into GA.  You can read more about his visit with the senators here

But this morning, well before Mr. Ford's visit, I got to take a peak at another visitor that I was even more pumped was making an appearance at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, which my boss is also a member.  The topic of the hearing was about charitable giving. So, who better to testify then our very own Elder Dallin H. Oaks.  

It's amazing the feeling a man with such strong conviction can bring into a room, even when there are democrats there (sorry, I had to). You can read more about his visit here.

So, things at work have been keeping me pretty busy, I guess you could say.  It's a lot of work sometimes keeping track of who's going to be where at what time around here.  But the views from my drive* home lately help solidify that I'm in the right place.

*Don't worry, these pictures were taken while traffic was at a standstill. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Birthday TWO you!

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I feel like my blog recently has turned into one of those "mommy blogs" that some people find slightly annoying.  While I don't apologize, I whole heartedly admit that I quite enjoy being an aunt.  So, for the time being we can dub this an "aunty blog" until further notice.

This little guy (my oldest nephew) turned TWO today. And even though he can't yet read, I wanted to give him a birthday shout-out.


One day he won't think it's so cool to hang out with his aunt, so I have to have fun with it while I can.  This video is kind of random, but it cracks me up.  This particular night at dinner he was told he had two options, so in the video he is trying to explain them, before he gets distracted by practicing his emotions. Check it out: 

I Skyped with him on Sunday and he politely demanded, "Aunt Andewa come to Michael's house!"  Oh how I wish I could take vacations there more often.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Vacations, Please

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I love vacations. I. LOVE. VACATIONS.  I live for vacations. I wish Americans would just hurry up already and implement the European mentality of having several months a year worth of vacation time. Out of all the bits and pieces that American culture has borrowed from other countries, it will forever blow my mind that this simple concept was never implemented.

I tried explaining this to someone at work this week and their response was, "Yeah, but those countries aren't very productive."  Well, you tell me which "productive" country's economy seems to be struggling right now?  (Hint: Starts with an U and ends with an SA) They seem to be doing just fine in Sweden. So, it seems to me a little more r & r time could do America some good. Agreed?   

On that note, my latest vacation to Stockholm was just the rejuvenation I was craving.  But, as all vacations go, it ended much too quickly. And now I'm already ready for the next one.  I'm thinking somewhere with warm weather, and a beach, should be calling my name in the next few months. In the meantime, I will think of these wonderful people and places with fondness:  

Thanks Rob and Lorena for being so hospitable!  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Time for Everything

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN -- The other day, my hilarious nephew Michael and I went on a little outing to a shopping center not far from his house. It was such a nice, sunny day that I decided to buy him an ice cream cone. After all, what two-year-old doesn't like ice cream?

It wasn't until we got home that I realized why it took him more than two hours to eat it. His mother informed me that he had never had an ice cream cone before. This was his first.  WHAT?!  Really?!  Well then, I guess that would explain the several minutes of confusion (in several locations, I might add) that ensued, before he finally figured out exactly how to eat it. 

When we finally made it home, we played a little game of "what does ice cream taste like." This kid cracks me up. Evidently, the feeling is mutual:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

One Last Summer Vacation

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN -- The last few days of summer are winding down, and I'm spending them in Stockholm, where it already feels like fall. I've been hanging out with these little balls of energy:

At the park...

At the "beach" on the Baltic Sea...

And spending a bit too much time on my iPad. Good thing we found some head phones! 

Six more days to go...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wear Sunscreen

PHOENIX, ARIZ.-- The year I graduated from high school, the big graduation song on the radio was "Wear Sunscreen."  Remember that one? It's not really a song, but just some guy giving all sorts of life advice, the prominent one, obviously, being to wear sunscreen.

Well, this past weekend I took a walk down memory lane with two of my favorite high school friends, Jill and Sommer. We met up in Phoenix to celebrate Jill's engagement, and were quickly reminded how important it is to follow the advice of the man in our graduation song to wear sunscreen. The Arizona sun is pretty brutal this time of year. Brutal. BRUTAL. And thus, after listening to it for the first time in years, we decided this song really does offer a lot of great advice... 

I was reminded that this line from the song holds a lot of wisdom in it, "Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.  Work hard to bridge the gaps and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young."  I sure love these ladies and have tremendously appreciated their friendship over the years... 

Jill, Sommer and Me
Also... congrats to the happy couple!

And "trust me on the sunscreen."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Live from the Rotunda

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- You would have thought I was a star-struck tourist on Capitol Hill today. I didn't even have a run-in with a celebrity or a famous politician either. Go figure, they're always walking the halls up here, but I don't usually get excited over any of those. (I probably couldn't spot a movie star if my life depended on it anyway. In fact, one time I shared an elevator with a famous actress, and my co-worker had to point her out to me.) Instead, I had an encounter with one of the most highly decorated network evening news anchors of the modern era, and I felt like a little kid in a candy store.

Thanks to a dear friend who works for a committee that's always "in the know," I got word that one of my journalism idols, Brian Williams, would be broadcasting the Nightly News live from the Russell Rotunda. He was in town recording a series called "Congress, Behind the Scenes," set to air on Dateline this weekend.  So, after work, I walked briskly through the tunnel that connects the Senate office buildings to the Russell Building so I could catch a glimpse of the broadcast icon. Soon enough, he made his debut.

I didn't just stick around until I got a good look at him. No, just a glimpse didn't satisfy me. I was one of those annoying onlookers who doesn't go away. I'm talking really annoying. I was even annoying myself, but I couldn't make it stop. I even tried telling myself, "Okay, Andrea, you've seem him. Time to go home." But I couldn't stop being interested. I just kept watching, snapping pictures and waiting. I was being completely unprofessional. And I knew it. I should have told onlookers I was just an intern, and maybe the situation would have explained itself away, but I had no shame.  So, when the 30 minute Nightly News broadcast ended and the famous anchor started walking away, I bolted after him. He went into the Kennedy Caucus room to meet a few people, and I just waited outside. Like a stalker. I should have been embarrassed at my behavior, but I was too excited at the chance to meet him.  So, when he popped back out to say hi to some kids (a five and seven-year-old nonetheless), I just squeezed myself into the line. Sorry kids, don't mind me.  I handed one of their parents my camera and they gladly obliged to my unprofessional request as I jumped in to shake his hand before he walked away. Pictured below:

"Hi, my name's Andrea. I'm a dork and love watching the news. In fact, if I had to pick a journalist to marry, it would be you. You just have a way with words!"  

That isn't exactly what I said, but something equally as dorky ensued. "Hi, I'm Andrea. I used to be a reporter, and both you and Andrea Mitchell are my journalism idols. And Ken Strickland." (Ken is a producer for MSNBC, standing in the middle of the picture wondering why I had suddenly gone cuckoo.)  To which he replied, "Andrea Mitchell is much more deserving, but thank you." And that, my friends, is the entire story. After we shook hands, I continued to snap a few pictures for a few others, until his handlers told us to take it easy while Mr. Williams filmed a stand-up. If you happened to miss the Nightly News tonight, and seeing Brian Williams live from the Russell Rotunda, you can watch below. Just know, that I was behind the cameras somewhere with big, googly eyes, snapping pictures and acting more or less like an intern:  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

KNOXVILLE, TN -- The Candrian's sure aren't known for our singing, but little JB knows how to put on a show, when he can keep his focus.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's a Twin Thing

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA -- It's pretty easy to get lonely for family on the East Coast sometimes, so when any family member who lives relatively close to D.C. invites me down/up/over, I usually don't hesitate to oblige.

One of my favorite cousins (it's a twin thing), who I feel is more like a little brother, has been serving his mission for the past two years in the Richmond, Virginia mission.  He's been in Virginia Beach for the last several months, which is roughly three hours from D.C., on a good traffic day (which, I'm not sure if one of those really exists).  You may recall that Amy and I popped in to his ward during Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago...
November 2009
We decided that before his mission ended, I needed to pay him a visit at church again. So, of course I told him no problem -- I'd make it happen.  So, this weekend, it was Elder Jeppesen's last Sunday as a missionary, so I headed down to Virginia Beach.  I was a tad under the weather and didn't know if it was going to happen, but how could I turn down a request to visit one of my last (and favorite) relatives on the East Coast?  Not possible. And I'm so glad I went. Last night I decided to stop by his apartment to leave some cookies at his door... not thinking he'd be home.  Well, turns out, they had just gotten back, and were heading out for ice cream.  So, I tagged along.  It was so great hanging out with him and his mission companion and hearing the latest and greatest from life in the Richmond, Virginia mission as a missionary. And, even better yet, everyone was singing his praises at church today, and told me what a good missionary Elder Jeppesen was and how much they were going to miss him.  I told them I would pass the information along to his mother, because I'm sure she'd be so proud of this kid...  (I know, he's not even a kid anymore...  crazy...  )

June 26, 2011
His twin brother is in Ghana right now serving a mission, and gets home in October.  If only he knew that all it takes for me to visit is an invitation, I would so be there.
I think this was circa 2005
Kirk, Brittany, Michael, me
Two years goes by pretty quick. But I'm grateful for cool moments like this weekend that the East Coast provides me.  And since all my East Coast relatives are pretty much gone now, I'm open for visits in other regions of the country/world too.  Please direct all invitations here.

Friday, May 27, 2011


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Back during my reporting days, I liked reading biographies about other journalists.  Sometimes they were inspiring, somestimes entertaining, and sometimes they made me not want to be a reporter.  One such biography I read that encompased all those reactions was Andrea Mitchell's from MSNBC. 

Today this broadcast journalism icon was on Capitol Hill speaking to press secretaries in the Senate. So, I brought my copy of her book, and as soon as she was done speaking, you better believe I darted straight to the front of the room to meet her, and to have her sign my book. She couldn't have been more gracious. And she was pretty excited to hear that I used to be a reporter as well and that my name is also Andrea. We have so much in common. See the look of pure joy on her face...

She was very excited to find out we share the same name

I didn't know my picture was being taken, or I would have turned around and cheesed it up for the camera.
It says, "For the other Andrea- Best Wishes - Andrea Mitchell
And now I'm off to the beach.  What a great Friday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Then & Now

SALISBURY, MD- I can think of fewer things more refreshing than getting away for the weekend with good friends. This past weekend I hung out with two former BYU roommates, Rachel and Bethany, on the Eastern Shores of Maryland, where Bethany lives. I was roommates with them about eight years ago, and I can't tell you how glad I am we live in the same area and still keep in touch.

                            THEN (2002)                                                            NOW (2011)

*Dewey the dog replaced Chrissy in the "now" picture. But, I'm told Chrissy is alive and well somewhere in Oklahoma.

The weekend was centered around funny stories, good food and donuts.  Just what I needed!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"I got you!"

KNOXVILLE, TN- Everytime I've needed a smile or a good laugh this week, I watch this video.  It works like a charm:

(Please ignore my big butt, and the fact that my camisole is sticking out (no it is not my underwear). Thank you.)

Weekend Visitors

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The SF Giants came to town this weekend for a four game series against the Washington Nationals.  So, as any good dad would do, he came to watch the games with me.

Our national champions didn't play so well. Their star pitcher, Tim Lincecum, didn't pitch like much of a  star of anything on Friday. Here he is mid-windup... 

On Saturday they brought in their secret weapon, Brian Wilson, who sealed their only win of the weekend. It was fun to watch and fun to see how many Giants fans live in our nation's capital.

And it was sure nice to have my dad around for a few days!

Go Giants! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Down South

KNOXVILLE, TN- I headed down south to Tennessee for Easter this year to spend the weekend with Brittany and her family. The weather was mostly hot and humid, and I witnessed a nasty, windy thunderstorm my last night in town. Thankfully I made it out before the big storms hit this week. 

While I was there we made a stop at the zoo...

Hit up an Easter egg hunt... 

Played outside...

...and in James' favorite place: the dirt.

And we took a little day trip to the Smoky Mountains. It was lovely. 

By the end of the weekend, James was pooped.

And these flowers in Britt's front yard... no longer exist. Last night those big tornado-ish storms ripped them out altogether. I'm glad Britt and her family are all safe, even though their neighborhood didn't fare as well.  

I have been glued to the news all day. My prayers go out to all the victims of these deadly twisters.