Thursday, December 28, 2006

I Must Have Been A Good Girl This Year...

...Because I'm actually going to get something off of my silly Christmas Wish List!

Due to a very generous Christmas present/year-end bonus from my boss, I have some extra money. (He gave me a large handbag full of one-dollar bills - it was very surprising and a lot of fun!) I have decided to spend most of the money in a responsible fashion (to pay off a little chunk of my dental bill), but 1/3 of it is going to go towards a VACATION!

I am so excited! My last true vacation was August of 2004 when I spent a week in Portland. The year before that I went on a cruise to western Mexico. The year before that I lived in New York and took several trips into Manhattan, one trip to Palmyra, and a trip to Washington D.C. This past summer and the summer of 2005 I only took little trips to Bryce Canyon that only lasted a day. Both those summers I took off three days for the Shakespearean festival, but that doesn't really count as a vacation. No, I need a honest-to-heavens vacation and I'm gonna get it.

I haven't done a lot of research yet (Christmas was just a few days ago, afterall), but I'm definitely leaning towards taking another cruise. Cruises are nice for several reasons; you pay for the cruise and don't have to worry about meals or lodging. Entertainment is provided on the ship and I can choose whether or not to pay for any of the cruise-sponsored port activities. Most importantly, I left my last cruise feeling truly refreshed and relaxed, unlike other vacations that made me feel more tired after the trip than before it.

In case you decide you'd like to join me on my cruise, here's what I'm thinking; the southern Carribean, the first part of August 2007. With the little bit of research I've done, I found a 7-day cruise for about $500 and a round-trip flight to and from Puerto Rico (where the ship sets sail) for about $500. I'm pretty firm about the first part of August, but I'm open to other destinations. I've heard great things about Alaskan cruises, but they tend to be more expensive. I don't want to go to western Mexico, because I've been there, done that. Hawaii would be nice, as would other parts of the Carribean. I would also like to try the New York/Canada cruises. So, if you're interested in taking this vacation with me, everyone is invited, email me or call me. I'm going no matter what, even if I go alone, but it would be really fun to share this experience with my friends and family.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What I Want for Christmas

Last year I had a lot of fun making this list, so I'm doing it again. The idea is to give you suggestions, but feel free to buy me something not on the list if you'd like.

My Christmas Wish List

1. A Vacation. Not just any vacation, either; I want to go all around the world, hitting all the major regions, without the use of airplanes. I could spend a lot of time in the places I really enjoy and less time in the ones I enjoy less. Of course, half the fun would be getting to the destinations, hence the prohibition of airplanes - trains, boats, hot air balloons, etc. allow for time to see things around me.

2. A Boyfriend. It doesn't have to be my crush, though I wouldn't mind if things developed with him along these lines. I would like someone with whom I can talk, share things, go on dates, etc. I'm not talking marriage, just dating. Maybe next year (or the next) I'll ask for a husband.

3. A Ponytail. I cut my hair in August and told the stylist that I didn't want to be able to put my hair in a ponytail. I've regretted that decision ever since. Yes, I'm glad that I do my hair down more often now - I think it definitely looks better. However, I miss the ease of styling my hair in a quick bun or twist when I'm running late for work.

4. A Log Cabin. Last year, if you recall, I asked for a castle. Imagine my disappointment when, early Christmas morning, I didn't find a key to a castle wrapped under my tree. So, this year, hoping for better luck, I'm willing to settle for something smaller - a nice cabin located on a remote, but beautiful and wooded, acre or so of Montana. Don't ask why Montana, it just sounds nice. In the spirit of generosity, I'd also be willing to accept a cabin on Cedar Mountain. Wow. I'm selfless.

5. Painting Lessons. Grandma Moses didn't start painting 'til she was 70, so I figure if I start now I'll be ahead of the game. In all seriousness, I doubt I have any talent for painting, but I'd love to give it a go. With the right teacher (I'm thinking Da Vinci, Monet, or Picasso), I'm pretty sure I could turn out something that would look okay on the front of the fridge.
6. A Jar of Homemade Blackberry Jam and Homemade Bread. Mmmm.

You'd better hurry - there's only THREE shopping days left!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006


So, here's a little update:

Ant is coming to my house tonight to watch a movie!

I can't believe I invited him, it was an unusually bold move for me. Here's how it came about:

He came into my office yesterday evening about 20 minutes before closing time. We spent 10 minutes talking about his hearing aid, leaving only 10 minutes before I had to leave. And, unlike most evenings where I can stay after work longer to talk to him, I had to leave at 5pm last night. (Our office Christmas party started at 5:30, and I had to run home, pick up my date (my mom), and head to the restaurant.) So, right at 5pm I told Ant that I needed to leave. It may have been my imagination, but he looked disappointed.

Anyway, after the party I went home and turned on Lord of the Rings 3, it was on TV, and after awhile I received a text message from Ant asking if the party had been fun. I replied and we started texting. At one point he asked me if I wanted to borrow a movie from him and I said yes. He offered to bring it to me tomorrow (or today, Saturday) and asked what time would be good. Well, my family is celebrating my mom's birthday today, Saturday, (she's turning 38 on the 17th), so I said I wouldn't be free until around 9pm. He said he'd bring it to me at 9pm and asked for my address. I typed my address into my phone then worked up a lot of courage and asked if he wanted to watch the movie with me.

He said yes, and now he's coming to my house to watch a movie! I've just gotta say that I would never have been so bold in the past. I was inspired by the recent boldness of my friend, Burnsie. She's my hero!

Anyhoo, that's what's happening.

Wish me luck! (All I want is to not make a fool of myself.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006



I feel silly admitting it; I should have grown out of crushes by now. Guess not.

I first met my crush, Ant, when I started my job 3 1/2 years ago. When he was a kid, he got really sick and lost all the hearing in one ear and most of his hearing in the other, so he wears a really powerful hearing aid in his 'good' ear. The first time he came in, I thought he was cute, but he's four years younger than I am, and at that time four years was just too big of an age difference for me (I was barely 26 and he was 22). His age was a turn-off, so I wasn't interested in him at all. Whenever he'd come in, I'd think he was nice and cute, but that was it.

That changed. Recently, Ant came to pick up a new ear mold, and in order to measure the tube to fit his ear, I had to get quite close. I realized he smelled really good. He smiled at me and... well... to put it one way, his age suddenly didn't seem such a big deal.

He came back the next week to see my boss about something, but I was on the phone when he arrived for the appointment and when he left, so I didn't get a chance to talk to him. However, he came back the following day (the day before Thanksgiving), and we ended up talking for two hours. He has since come in a few more times, and each time we've talked for an hour or so.

Talking with Ant is interesting. He speaks quite well, though there are words that bother him. He know sign language, of course, and has taught me several words and helped me brush up on the alphabet (I used to forget how to sign F, Q, and X). He also reads lips; it's a bit disconcerting to talk and realize he's focused on my lips. Sometimes, though, he looks right into my eyes while I speak, and that's a bit disconcerting, too. I like that our conversations are kind of interactive, not just words coming out of our mouths. Both of us have to concentrate to make sure we fully understand the other, and sometimes we have to write a word on a piece of paper to know what is trying to be said. Often, instead of writing a word, I try to spell it out using sign language. It's fun.

Please remember that this is just a crush. I don't know enough about him to know if I could like him, but I am definitely interested in getting to know him better. Besides, I have no clue if he's interested in getting to know me better (though, there have been a couple clues that he might be). It's just kind of nice to have a crush again; it's been awhile.

I'll keep you updated, if there's ever anything to tell.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiday Meme

My aunt, Booklogged, posted this meme on her blog, and I really enjoyed it. So, here's my meme:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Both. I only drink egg nog around Christmas, but I drink hot chocolate all winter long - I especially love Stephen's Chocolate Cinnamon Gourmet Cocoa.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? As a kid, my brothers and I would leave our stockings on a section of the couch or the loveseat. Santa would then leave our presents, unwrapped, by our stockings. Now that I'm older, Santa wraps my presents and puts them under the tree.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I really liked the white lights when they first came out, but after a couple years, it seemed that the white lights were taking over. Now I'm glad that the colored lights seem to be making a comeback. On my house, I like both. On the tree, I like to mix it up - some years it has white lights, some years it has colored.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Why? Who am I gonna kiss? My brothers? I don't think so. Maybe someday.

5. When do you put your decorations up? It depends. This year I'm shooting for the first weekend of December, if not sooner. It may be later. There's no hard-n-fast rule.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Mashed potatoes, made with whipping cream and butter, no gravy. I adore my sister-in-law's candied yams (no marshmallows - it's divine!). Green bean casserole. Okay, the whole turkey dinner - I love it!

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Christmas Eve, right before us kids would go to bed, my parents would set the time we would be allowed to wake up the next morning - usually around 6am. I'd wake up way before that time and lay in bed waiting patiently for 6am to show up on my alarm clock. Usually just before that time, my older brother would peak into my room and we'd sneak downstairs to check out our Santa presents. We'd play with our own presents first then our younger brothers' presents. Only then would we go wake up the younger bros. We'd play until the pre-determined hour that we were allowed to wake up our parents, then we'd wake them up. They'd check out our Santa presents, then we'd all open the presents under the tree. We still take turns opening our presents, either oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest, so everyone can see what the others get.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? My dad told me when I was in 2nd grade. I had walked in on him making my Santa present - a yellow kitchenette that I adored - and decided it was time he told me the truth. I don't remember walking in on him, so he could have waited a couple years, but I hold no ill-will towards him because he told me at such a young age. In fact, I enjoyed being in on the secret.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We used to, and sometimes still do. My mom would always pick the present we could open, and I was so excited, anticipating something really cool. It took a few years for me to figure out that the present would always be pjs. I love that tradition and, if I ever have a family of my own, I plan to continue it. Hmm. Even if I don't ever have my own family, I'm going to continue it. I'll buy myself pjs and open them Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? I'm just starting an ornament collection. I have several white and red glass ornaments. I've only used them once, last year in my apartment. My plan is to continue to grow the collection and also get red, white, silver, and clear balls. I'd like to start the tradition of buying an ornament every year that represents something about what's happened. For example, I'd like to get an ornament this year that represents finally graduating from college.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? I love snow when I can either play in it or just watch it fall. I prefer not to drive in it, if I can avoid it. I love nights when snow covers the ground and the moon is full. Beautiful.

12. Can you ice skate? My only time ice skating was with a guy I met at the U my freshman year. I was horrible and nervous, so he held my hand while we skated. Afterwards, we had ice cream and hot chocolate. His name was John. I can't believe I remember that.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My mom is great at coming up with awesome gifts. One year she gave me a cedar chest and I love it. Another year she gave me a mattress and box springs. I know that sounds like a strange gift, but it was perfect and so comfortable!

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family and tradition. My family doesn't have a plethora of traditions, but I really enjoy the ones we have. I love being with my family and I'm glad we're so close - both in location and in friendship.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pie. No question. I love pie. My favorites are chocolate pie and cherry pie. I also love pecan pie, banana cream pie, coconut pie, strawberry pie, peach pie, and cream cheese pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I like going around town to look at Christmas lights. I always get car sick, but it's fun. My mom always makes clam chowder for Christmas Eve and a egg and sausage casserole for Christmas breakfast. I love making candies with my sister-in-laws. A new tradition that I really enjoy is my office parties. We go to the same restaurant, eat, and exchange white elephant gifts. My boss lets me invite my mom since I'm not married. There's a lot of laughter.

17. What tops your tree? I don't have my own tree topper, and I'm not sure what I'll get. My mom has a flying Santa Claus. It's cute.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I prefer giving. I struggle sometimes to come up with a gift that I think someone will love, but there's no better feeling than finding the perfect gift for someone.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? The First Noel, O Holy Night, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, White Christmas, I'll Be Home For Christmas. I can't name them all, but I love all the hymns and most of the traditional songs.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?? YUM!!! I'm not fond of the fruity canes, but the traditional white and red canes are divine. I love them.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Thanksgiving is in TWO WEEKS! Where has 2006 gone? It seems like yesterday when I bought my new car, graduated, and was camping in the hills above Parowan. To me Halloween marked the beginning of the end - the start of the holiday season. shudder

This year I've noticed I'm grouchier than usual, and this bodes ill for the upcoming festivities. What is happening to me? I think I'm having a gratitude-attitude problem. Take my job for instance; I remember thanking my lucky stars and Him daily that I had such a great job. I still enjoy my job, usually, but I've begun to take it for granted. I forget what a generous, patient, wonderful boss I have, my fabulous coworker in whom I confide everything under the sun, and the challenges I face and learn to overcome on a regular basis. Instead, I focus on the things I don't have - you know, paltry things like a raise, insurance, and retirement - who needs those!? (The answer, I DO!! I won't tell you about the mind-numbing, black-out-inducing, eye twitch-causing dental bill I incurred this week. Sigh.) The point is, I don't want to be like Madame Bovary who married Monsieur Bovary when she thought he was romantic and sexy (my word, NOT M. Flaubert's) then grew bored and ungrateful as the years of domesticity set in. Though I know there are opportunities out there that exceed what I will ever have at my current position - until I take those opportunities, I'm determined to appreciate my job, my situation, my life, and certainly the many blessings bestowed upon me.

To that end, I'm going to list some of those blessings. I got the idea from my cousin's recent post, so thanks, Aly.

Why I'm a Lucky Bugger (in no particular order):

1. My mom. I have a fabulous mother, and I don't tell her enough how much I appreciate her. Not only does she let me live with her rent-free (I insisted upon paying her rent until I learned she planned on putting it in a savings account for me, then I suggested I just put it in my own saving account), but when I told her about my dental bill she offered me money (I refused) and, more importantly, moral support. She's always supported me in my decisions and always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She expects me to always do my best and that inspires me to be better than I think I am.

2. Friends. Throughout my life there have been a string of wonderful people I have called friends. The people have changed with time and circumstances, but what has remained the same is their acceptance of me for who I am, or am trying to be, and how we could/can talk forever about everything and nothing. I still think about some of my old friends - Elizabeth in Rexburg, Peggy from Delta, Jaime and Erin in Vernal, high school friends, mission comps (one has a fabulous blog, so I get to keep up with her goings-on), nanny pals, ex-boyfriends, and college chums - all out of my daily life, but never forgotten. I especially appreciate my current friends and hope that we keep in touch forever.

3. My job. I've already talked about it, so I won't elaborate. I'll just say that I really do feel lucky to have my job. It's not perfect and I may be growing out of it, but I'm still extremely grateful.

4. Health. Except for the odd cold/flu and despite my weight, I'm fairly healthy. I have use of all my limbs, my mind works well in most circumstances, and I never feel the need to visit the doctor's office. I hear well, and with the aid of glasses or contacts I have fine vision. In a few weeks my teeth will be in excellent order. Even that is a blessing. Yes, I'm paying a lot for it, but I caught the problem early and now can do something to prevent further problems - problems that would have cost even more than my current bill.

5. Nature. Did you see the full moon the other day? Breathtaking, absolutely amazing. If I had been born hundreds and hundreds of years ago, I would have worshipped the moon goddess. As it is, a clear, winter night sky is about the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Throw in sunrises, sunsets, sunlight shining through tree branches laden with leaves, fall in New England, Bryce Canyon, and the lazy river meandering through Long Valley and I'm terribly thankful for my vision so I can appreciate nature's beauties.

6. Family. My brothers keep me humble. They are patient with my imperfections. They are good men and I respect them terribly. They have married great women and have, and someday will, produced wonderful kids for whom I get to be the favorite aunt. My nephews and niece give me more joy than I deserve. I'm also glad to have such good relationships with my extended family. We're a close family and I'm thankful for it. A special shout-out to Aly and Cassie; I'm glad we've become so close this year and hopefully I'll go to the U and we'll be able to hang out even more!

7. Agency. Even though it would be easier if He told me everything I need to do in and with my life, I appreciate that He lets me make a lot of decisions for myself. It's hard, but I know I learn from it, and frankly I like making my own decisions. I'm also thankful for His confirmations of my decisions once I make them and for His gentle steering towards some of the best decisions I've ever made.

8. Miscellaneous. There are a lot of "little" blessings for which I'm grateful. Among these are a dependable car, the opportunity to vote, my brother K's bed on which I sleep - it's comfy to the max, books and the pleasure I get from reading, finally graduating, mom's leather couches, PBS, the Food Network, compliments, time to relax, sleep, makeup, hair dye, being single, my old ward, blogs, journals, and more things than I can think of right now.

You're right, Aly, listing your blessings does boost your mood. In case I don't get around to posting again before the holiday (I'm spending most of next week in Las Vegas), I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Conversion Story

My conversion took a long time; I fought it for years. Finally, a few years ago, I experimented a little and realized it wasn't as bad as I had always thought - a match was lit. A couple years later and the match finally started a fire. The fire has been in danger of going out several times, but lately it's going as strong as ever. Yes, I am a convert... a convert to country music.

Whew. That's when you know that you're really a convert, when you can admit it to the world at large. I know some of you have suspected it, I may have even admitted it to you when I thought you wouldn't blab it to everyone else. Now, it's out there for everyone to know. How did it happen, you ask? Good question.

When I returned home from my mission I found that radio station that I had previously listened to now played music that seemed harsh, extremely suggestive, and often vulgar. Living in a small town, there weren't a lot of radio options, so I turned to the easy listening station. It played a lot of good songs, but every so often it played a song that I just didn't enjoy, and it had a lot of commercials. On a whim I decided to try the country music station. It fit the bill because I didn't know any of the songs, the songs were clean, and there were very few commercials. Before I knew it, the songs became familiar and I could actually sing along to some of them. Unfortunately, my sensitivity to music didn't last as long as it should have and I gradually became accustomed to my former radio station's offerings. By the time I moved to New York, country music was relegated to a "last resort" option - I only listened to it when all the other channels had commercials.

When I returned home from New York, my mom reintroduced me to country music. She often turned the TV to CMT during commercials and soon I began to know the songs. (Side story: one time we were watching Tim McGraw sing "Real Good Man" and I was thinking how good he looked, when Mom blurted, "His butt looks sexy in those jeans". Yikes!) The conversion process was further enhanced when I joined a gym. The room I frequented (the cardiovascular room) only had one TV. The person in there first (or last) chose the TV station. I was rarely in there first, so I didn't have much choice but to watch CMT while working out. Soon, I was watching CMT while getting ready in the morning, had programmed the country station as speed dial #3 in my car, knew the words to most of the songs, and turned the gym TV to CMT even when I was the first or last person in the cardio room.

Then I moved into my apartment. No cable meant no CMT. A couple months laer my gym closed down. I was sad because it was a great place to work out. In fact, I'm still sad it closed... my new gym (I signed up last night) just isn't as fabulous. Again, no CMT. Slowly I stopped hitting speed dial #3 as often because I wasn't keeping up with the new songs. Country started fading from my listening habits.

Fortunately (?!?!?) fate stepped in and took charge. I moved home and regained access to CMT. My mom doesn't watch it any more, so I may not have started watching it again, but my coworker, Lulu, grew tired of the easy listening radio station. The new morning talk show hostess annoys Lulu, there's a million commercials in a five minute period, and they play the same ten songs over and over again (no exaggeration). So, Lulu tuned in to the country music station (there are now two in this little town). The rest is history.

Why I love country music: 1) it tends to be much cleaner than other genres, 2) the songs usually tell an interesting story, 3) I can relate to the stories/themes, and 4) the songs are easy and fun to sing along with (I can understand all the words). My current favorite songs: Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" and some guy's "Love You". I like angry chick songs and the video for "Love You", though sung by a guy, has an angry girl trashing her ex's truck. In fact, now that I think about it... both songs have girls trashing a guy's truck. Hmmm... that's interesting.

So, if you haven't tried listening to country music lately, why don't ya?

Friday, October 13, 2006


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one without someone to kiss or cuddle with.

Thanks, KW, for the pictures!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

To Record or Not to Record... What kind of a question is THAT?!

So, I took the GRE Friday. It's OVER!!!!!!!

I registered to take the GRE in Las Vegas, NV, not discovering 'til much later that I could have taken it in St. George - they didn't have St. George as an option on! Not wanting to have to drive the whole way to LV the morning of the test (in case of emergencies, I wanted to be closer) and not wanting to actually stay in LV, I decided to book a room at a hotel in Mesquite, about halfway between me and LV. I took half of Wednesday and all of Thursday and Friday off of work - to study for the GRE and to prepare for moving on Saturday - so I ended up being able to leave for Mesquite around 3:30pm Utah time. I arrived in Mesquite around 3:30pm Nevada time. I was exhausted (I had spent the morning moving), so I plopped down on the king-sized bed in my room and watched TV longer than I should have. I went to the buffet located in the casino adjacent to my hotel (I stayed at the Oasis), paid more than the food deserved (though it wasn't horrible), eavesdropped on the people around me, and studied my vocabulary cards. Upon reentering my room, I watched more TV. Sigh. I eventually worked up the "desire" to study and took a practice GRE test. I scored okay, so, after a few minutes looking up various tips, I watched more TV.

Friday morning I woke up early, to "study". I didn't. No, I didn't watch TV. I showered, dressed, realized I had forgotten makeup (yikes!), did my hair, and checked out. I arrived in LV plenty early; I wanted to make sure I could find the testing center. I tried to find a restroom, so I drove around the area awhile until finally stumbling across a gas station with the smelliest restroom I've EVER experienced. Since my test started at noon and supposedly lasted 4 hours, I worried about getting hungry, so I bought some peanuts in the gas station. I drove back to the center and discovered that the center had called to say I could start the test early, if I wanted. I wanted. I sat down in front of the computer a whole 30 minutes early. Three and a half (roughly) hours later I stood up from the computer, quite satisfied with my performance, if you want to know. My unoffical scores are Verbal 630 of 800 and Quantitative 670 of 800, making my total unofficial score 1300 out of 1600 - 81%. Yes, I feel good about that. Even after asking the attendant to define a "good" score (she said she has seen a lot of scores that were lower than mine - but maybe she just said that to make me feel good - who knows!), I still am not sure how well I did. The attendant said a lot depends on the requirements of the grad programs for which I apply. I guess that makes sense. No matter what, though, I'm pleased with my score; it could have been a lot worse.

Upon leaving the testing center I realized I needed two things; to find food and a bathroom. Not wanting to revisit the gas station experience, I opted to get out of LV before stopping to fulfill my needs. As it turned out, I didn't stop until I reached home. Well, I stopped at Wendy's to grab dinner (drive thru), THEN went home. Yes, I ran to the bathroom. Don't ask why I told you this, I just did, no reason.

I sent my scores to four universities; University of Utah, UNLV, University of Nebraska - Omaha (they supposedly have a good econ program), and McGill University (in Montreal - wouldn't that be FABULOUS!!). Those last two are a sign of my attempting to shoot for the stars, even if I miss; the first two are me being a little more realistic. I can also have my scores sent to additional schools, but I'm not sure what I'd need to do for that to happen, and since I don't have additional schools yet, I'm not worrying about it.

So, that's that. A bit of a rambler, I realize, but no apology; it fits my current mood. :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Holy Cannoli!

I can't believe it's almost been a FULL month since my last post! Where does the time go!? I'm warning you, this isn't going to be a long post, just a little update to let all of you know what's been happening to keep me so busy - too busy to POST!

1. Work: I've been working up a storm! A couple weeks ago I worked 15 hours in one day - from 5:45am to 8:45pm. What a long day! Besides that, lately I've been staying late at work to get everything done. I like being this busy, the days fly by and I feel so productive. I told my boss that I'm planning on going to graduate school. He took it okay, kind of. Of course, he wants me to be happy, but he wants me to stay. Every day he says something like "Are you sure you don't want to stay?" or "You can't leave, how will we get by without you?" It's flattering and I don't really feel pressured because I know he really cares about me and wants me to be happy - even if that means leaving. He's a good guy.

2. GRE: I'm taking the GRE this FRIDAY!! Yes, I'm a little stressed. I've tried to study a little bit every night, but I kind of slacked off at the beginning of the month. So, the last couple weeks I've been putting in lots of time and trying to cram all sorts of info into my brain. I just want to do well. The problem is that I don't know what "well" is. With the ACT I knew that 36 was the high, 30's were really good, and upper 20's were good. I have no clue what constitutes a good GRE score. Sigh. My boss said he only studied a week and got a "good score". He couldn't remember what his score was, though.

3. Moving: What was I thinking?!?! I'm moving the day AFTER the GRE! I must be insane. So, while I've been trying to study like mad, I've also had to pack, throw things away, take things to storage, etc. I decided to move because my roommate is moving sometime this year. I could have stayed by myself, but I want to save money for graduate school. When my mom offered to let me live with her again, I scoffed at the idea then realized I could save a good amount of money without having to get a second job or a new roommate. I already know that I get along with Mom. So, I'm doing it. Wish me luck.

Well, that turned out to be longer than I thought. No more, though. I have to go home and pack, move things to my storage shed, and study.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blind Date

Yesterday I had a date. A blind date. I'm not speaking figuratively; my date, K, is blind and has been since birth. I've known K for a few months (through my job) but never really thought of him beyond work. Last week I found out from a mutual acquaintance that he is "interested in me". The next day he called me at work and asked me out. When I asked what day and time, he said Saturday at eight. I thought, eight is a little late for a date, but okay, and I said okay. Then he said something to made me realize he might mean eight A.M. so I clarified the time and he confirmed that it was eight in the morning. I wondered what we would be doing that early in the morning, but I had already said okay, so I didn't say anything. Quite honestly, I wondered what we would be doing anyway; I've never known a blind person.

I arrived at K's apartment right on time and knocked. No one came to the door. I stood there, knocking every so often, for about 10 minutes. Those ten minutes seemed to last much, much longer. It was so awkward!! I finally left and treated myself to breakfast at IHOP - I was already up and ready, so why not? I didn't feel bitter about being "stood up"; I figured he probably had just slept in or maybe he didn't make it home from Salt Lake the night before. After breakfast I went home, climbed into bed (I haven't been getting much sleep lately), and read. A bit after 10am my roommate peeked in, after knocking, and asked if I had gone to K's. I told her what had happened and she told me that K had called her cell phone (it would take too long to tell why he called her phone, so I'm not going to) and had asked her to call him with my phone number. Instead, I entered his phone number into my cell, thanked my roommate, and went back to reading. I only had a few pages left of a really long book, and I really wanted to finish it. I called K a little before 11am and left a message. Shortly after he called back. I explained what had happened, he apologized and surmized that he had probably been in the shower, and I apologized that he had thought I had stood him up. We ended up talking for over an hour. He is really easy to talk to. After awhile he asked if I wanted to go to lunch and I said yes. I drove to his apartment once again and we went to lunch. After lunch we walked from his apartment to the college campus and I helped him navigate from one class to another. One route was especially challenging so we went over it a few times. It was hot, so we stopped a few times to rest and cool down. During those times we talked and talked. Really, we had the most interesting conversations! You all know how much I enjoy talking! Finally, we went back to his apartment and he asked if I would mind running him to the store. We went to Smith's and picked up the couple items he needed, then returned to his apartment. By this time it was just before 6pm. He asked what my plans for the evening were, implying that he wanted me to stay longer, but I was tired and just wanted to go home and rest and hang out with my friends. He asked me out for Tuesday night, but I already had plans, so we tentatively set Wednesday night as the next time to see each other, then I left.

I've got to say that this had to be the most interesting date I've ever had. Guiding him around was challenging but rewarding. When we first left his apartment to go to lunch, there was a moment when he needed to turn into the parking lot, but he didn't. I didn't know what to do! Was I suppose to say something or would he get offended? I ended up telling him he needed to turn right, then took his arm to lead him to the car. It felt so awkward, and I didn't want it to be that way the whole day, so I worked up some courage and told him that I had no experience with blind people and didn't know the proper etiquette. He was very gracious and said I had done just fine. Throughout the day I felt very comfortable about asking him questions about being blind and what I should do to help him. As we were going back to his apartment from the campus, he said that I had done really well and that I should consider being trained as a Guide for the Blind. I felt pleased that I had been helpful. Really, it had been very interesting trying to show him with my words, his walking stick, and the surrounding landscape how to get to his classes. There were times I felt quite ingenious; other times it was stressful trying to come up with a way for him to know what direction/sidewalk/turn he needed to take. He told me of training in Lousiana and the "tricks" he used to help him. One example: he uses the sun to tell which direction he's going. One time he turned the right way without my help and I asked how he knew to do so. He said that he knew he had to go north and he could feel the sun to the west, so he turned accordingly. I was amazed at his courage and his good cheer. He never became frustrated, even when I felt so for him.

I had a good time. K seems like a very good man, and I'm not opposed to getting to know him better. He openly admitted to thinking that I'm someone he could see being in a relationship with. It surprised me, since I feel like we hardly know each other, so I asked him what made him think that. He was very complimentary. He worried about scaring me away, but I assured him he hadn't. In the spirit of complete honesty, though, I told him that I'm not really looking for a relationship. Not that one is impossible, just that it isn't at the top of my priorities right now. I explained that I also have serious commitment phobias and trust issues. I jokingly asked if I had scared him off. He very seriously said no. It made me smile. After that moment he would occassionally allude to us seeing more of each other.

So, I had a date! It's always nice to say that my last date was recent, instead of months ago. And, if nothing else, K could end up being a new friend. All in all, I enjoyed myself immensely. Though there were a couple awkward moments, there weren't any bad moments and a lot of really nice moments. What more could you ask for in a date?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I am beginning to realize an important truth:

Just because something is "right" doesn't mean it will be easy.

It doesn't seem fair, but there it is.

After much soul searching, I finally chose my next great adventure. Then I opened the road map for the journey and discovered the way is fraught with hurdles. detours, and bad weather. I guess I expected heaven to pave a path of gold, lined with lilacs and lilies, that led straight to my destination.

Turns out the road to getting a graduate degree in economics isn't going to be a walk in the park. I figured that once I had made this decision I would be good to go. Nope. I am now faced with numerous decisions that include where to go for the degree and whether to skip my Master's and go directly to a PhD. I'm learning that the GRE is going to be a challenge no matter how hard I study. It's designed to be so. The most daunting task ahead is telling my boss that I'm leaving. SUU doesn't offer what I want, so I'm definitely moving on. He doesn't know yet. He keeps making comments like "Someday this will all be yours" that make me want to cry.

Many weeks ago I read a speech Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple) gave to the 2005 Stanford graduates. It was titled "You've Got to Find What You Love". He told three stories of how things initially appeared to be going the wrong way but they ended up being for the best. They brought about situations that were very beneficial but that wouldn't have ever happened without the "wrong things". For example, he was fired from Apple, the company he co-founded. It was embarrassing for him. Eventually he decided he really loved what he did, so he founded Pixar. During this time he also met his wife. Pixar was bought by Apple and Steve once again became CEO of Apple. Getting fired (a hard time) led to many opportunities.

I love economics. Though I'm not sure what I plan to do with it, I know I want to further my education in economics. The next step is clear and I'm going to take it, despite the difficulties. I ask myself, what opportunties are lying behind all those hurdles and along those detours? What will grow because of the "bad" weather? I have to trust that the path I see in front of me will get me where I need to go.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Deer Me!

"Good night, Julie", I heard my niece and nephew shout from the tent they shared with their parents.
"G'night", I shout back.
"When are you coming to bed?" my little sister asked from the tent she and I were sharing with our dad and her mom.
"I have no idea, I'm not tired at all", I answered. I rarely am at 10:00pm.

With that my family fell silent and asleep. This past weekend we were camping at Yankee Meadows for the second time this summer. The first time, which I had enjoyed thoroughly, I had gone to bed at the same time as everyone else and had spent a miserable few hours while my totally awake body tried to get comfortable on the hard ground. My body just doesn't sleep at that early, unless I'm sick or a missionary. Having learned my lesson, this time I opted to read by the fire pit, sans fire, alone. My dad loaned me a book (for the second time I had forgotten to bring one) and I read by flashlight. Clouds filled the sky, shielding the earth from any light from the stars or moon. Without the flashlight, everything was pitch black.

I hunkered down on a folding camp chair and read for a few minutes. I found that I couldn't concentrate on the book (though it promised to be very interesting) and finally turned off the flashlight. I sat in the dark, thinking, mostly about
my most recent decision. Gradually my eyes grew accustomed slightly to the blackness and I could make out the outlines of the trees and bushes. Being afraid of the dark and having an overactive imagination, my senses were alert to anything that seemed out-of-place. After just a few minutes my ears picked up faint sounds just behind me, not far off, that seemed like steps, by human or animal I couldn't tell; either scared me. Panicky, I quickly turned on my flashlight and aimed it in the direction of the sounds and directly at a now-frightened-to-almost-death doe. She stumbled over herself as she attempted to flee a.s.a.p. and darted off into the comforting darkness.

My heart gradually slowed down to a normal beat. I still couldn't read so I turned off my flashlight again, thinking that no way would the doe return after being scared off before. I was wrong! Within a few moments of turning off my light, she returned. I guess the grass she was munching on was extremely tasty. Maybe she found some of the food my niece had spilled. I turned my light on again, this time avoiding shining it directly at her. Instead I edged just the outer area of the light in her direction. She was a pretty big deer. Her ears stayed up and alert. My body froze and I barely dared to breath. My heartbeat raced. Slowly, she made her way further into camp and at one point she brazenly nibbled on grass just 4 feet away from where I sat. Frequently she would look at me, guaging whether or not I was a threat. I guess I wasn't because an eternity seemed to pass before she calmly walked out of camp, on to greener pastures I imagine.

I cursed my family for leaving me to experience such an awesome moment alone, again. The last time we had gone camping the same thing had happened. Everyone except me went fishing and while I read (a borrowed book) by the dying campfire, a doe wandered into camp - this time in front of me instead of behind. Both times I didn't even have access to a camera to record the moment! I told everyone that I wanted someone to stay (quietly) with me at all times, so I could share the experience with someone! Really, it was absolutely amazing to be so close to such a beautiful animal.

I've got news

Most of you know that I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. A couple times I've actually made the decision to stay where I am. Afterall, I've got a good thing going for me right now. I live close to my family, my ward is excellent, I have good friends, and I love my job/boss/coworker. Every time I decide to stay, though, it doesn't seem like a permanant decision - more like "this is what I'll do for now". I applied at numerous jobs around the country hoping that I'd get some overwhelming confirmation that I was going in the right direction. Nada. One evening a couple weeks ago I told my friend N that I couldn't figure out what I want to do, career-wise. She was astonished that I wasn't staying at my current job (I hadn't seen her since graduation). Then she said something that impacted me. She commiserated with me then expressed her certainty that once I figured it out I wouldn't let anything get in my way and would do whatever I needed in order to do it. It staggered me because in that instant I realized that I didn't have that attitude. I had been searching for an easy path.

After we parted I thought for hours about what she had said, then figured something out. I still don't have an exact idea of what I want to do, but I know that I want to be involved in economics. Economics fascinates me and I want to be better versed and more knowledgeable in it. Teaching econ at the university level sounds fun but so does working for the government or a big corporation or a nonprofit organization. To that end, I've decided to go back to school and get a Master's of Economics.

Whew. It's a relief, really. Finally a decision that I feel really good about. Yes, it's not an "end" but at least I feel like I'm taking a step in the right direction. I looked online and only two schools in Utah have Master's of Econ programs, the University of Utah and Utah State University. Of the two I'm leaning towards the U, of course. I'd finally graduate from the school I started with! The program seems more challenging at the U, too. And, I would rather live in SLC than Logan; more jobs and closer to my cousins who live/will live in the area.

Now I'm gearing up to take the GRE, an entrance exam for many graduate programs, including mine. I'm planning on taking it in a few months (no later than November) then applying to the two schools at the beginning of the year. Next fall I'll hopefully be starting classes! In the meantime, I'm going to try to keep up with my econ and finance studies. I don't want to get there and not remember anything! One evening a week devoted to reviewing econ and finance should be plenty. I also want to keep in the habit of studying! I'll stay at my current job until I move. I dread telling my boss. I know I'll cry. I also know that he'll be disappointed but that he will be happy for me too.

In other news, and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing, my roommate is moving out in the next few weeks! (I won't say why, in case she hasn't told someone who may be reading this and she wants to be the one to tell her news, understandably. If she hasn't told you yet, call her. If you don't know her and want to know why she's moving, email me.) Anyway, she told me this morning that she's thinking she'll move out the end of August at the earliest and mid-Sept at the latest. I'll miss her but I'm excited for her! She, too, has been contemplating what to do with her life and I'm thrilled with what she's decided to do for the next year or so. I've decided not to get another roommate; I've had two really good roommates in this apartment and I don't dare try my luck again. Plus, it may be kind of nice living alone. Maybe I'll turn her room into a sitting room/study. The money situation kind of worries me, but I may be getting a raise soon (cross your fingers) so that will help. Really, I'll be okay finacially until I start having to repay my student loan in November or December. At that time, if I need to, I can get another job to help out. We'll see. I'd rather get a 2nd job than a new roommate.

So, there's my news. I'll keep you updated on the process of taking the GRE, applying for a program, etc. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 17, 2006


For a little 'light' reading, I'm currently enjoying "The Armchair Economist" by Steven Landsburg. I read it for a managerial economics course a couple years ago and was fascinated by Mr. Landsburg's ideas. Really, if anyone is even remotely interested in economics, you have to check out this book!!

Anyhoo, he devotes the first chapter to one of the eternal laws of economics; people respond to incentives. My favorite bit was when he pointed out that seat belt laws resulted in an increased number of accidents. His argument is that when people think they are safer in their cars they drive more recklessly. Before, when their cars were less safe, people had an incentive to drive safely. Of course, safer cars meant fewer deaths per accident, but the number of accidents increased to the point that there are as many deaths now, after the seat belt laws, as there were before the laws were enacted. Please don't misinterpret, this man is not against seat belts. He just tries to find reasons for seemingly odd occurrences. Afterall, another law of economics says that all human behavior is rational. There's no accounting for taste, but people tend to act rationally. So, economists like to find the rational reasons behind seemingly irrational behaviors; like why products see an increase in sales when a celebrity, even one without a particular expertise, endorses the product. Why buy Pepsi just because some famous actor/actress is being paid to say they like it? Actually, he comes up with a pretty good answer, but you'll have to read the book to find out.

The point is, after reading this chapter I've started thinking about what some of my incentives are. Here are some I came up with:

1. I shower so I don't feel grimy. I love when I get out of the shower feeling all clean and fresh, but I hate the thought of showering. I'm not sure why.

2. I read the Old Testament so I don't look and feel foolish when standing in front of my class every other Sunday. A wonderful side effect of this is what I actually learn from studying the Old Testament.

3. This week I'm going to work at 8am instead of 9am in order to marginally make up for the many hours I lost because I took three days off last week for the Shakespear Festival.

4. I write in my journal 1) to have someone to tell all my secrets to, 2) therapy, 3) to pass on what I've learned and who I am to my descendants.

5. I call people to organize getting together with them, NOT to chat forever. Unfortunately, I don't get to see all my loved ones all the time, so speaking with them on the phone is the next best alternative.

6. I wear shoes I think are ugly because they are comfortable and airy.

7. I read to learn and to escape.

8. I'm staying in Cedar (at least for the time being) so I can be close to my family, to play with my friends, and because the thought of quitting my job makes me sad.

9. I like cooking because I enjoy mixing things together to make something wonderful, the smells, and because I like to eat.

10. I'm not married because I don't date. I won't list the reasons I don't date; they're too numerous and personal (sorry).

11. I stay up late at night to finish a good book, to play Monopoly on my cell phone, to talk to friends, to think about work, to daydream (I know, it's silly to daydream at night but I can't seem to help it), to watch a movie or "As Time Goes By", or to clean/organize my room.

12. I pay tithing because it's a commandment and because I've been blessed too many times to ignore.

13. I sing to entertain myself and my nephews and niece. To everyone else, I'm sorry.

14. I dream because there are so many places to go, people to meet, and things to do and I want to experience them ALL!

15. I pray to thank God, seek inspiration and guidance, and just to talk to my Father.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Cream of Spinach Soup, Anyone?

I didn't eat meat the entire month of June.

Don't ask why I decided to forgo meat for one whole month because there isn't a reason. I just decided to see if I could do it.

The answer: yes, I can do it, easily. I still ate dairy products and eggs, just no beef, chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, etc. I'm not sure I could ever give up cheese, but giving up meat wasn't too hard. There were some tough moments, naturally, but I found that generally I did not miss meat in my diet.

Why I liked going meatless
1. I ate more vegetables. There was one time at my mom's where the only non-meat foods were potato salad and carrots. There wasn't a lot of potato salad but the carrots were endless. I ate a lot of carrots.
2. I didn't overeat. Several times (three times eating out and a BBQ at my dad's) I could have ended up eating too much but didn't because I had opted for just the nonmeat sides. I finished the meals feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
3. Variety and creativity. I had to find new things to make and order new meals at restaurants in order to keep to my goal. I found many new foods to enjoy. My favorite new recipe: Mix one smashed avocado with a can of black beans (rinsed), lime juice, and a little fresh cilantro. Spread hummus on a flat pita (not the kind with the pocket - flour/wheat tortillas can be substituted, too), then spread with some of the avocado mixture. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds. I folded it like a burrito and enjoy!
4. Accomplishment. I like achieving goals, even if they are just for the heck of it.

Why I'm glad to eat meat again
1. Tuna fish sandwiches. I had one for lunch today and had forgotten just how yummy they are!
2. Chicken. I thought I would have missed chicken more than I did. Anyway, I have several chicken breasts in my freezer that need to be used and now I can.
3. Hmm. I can't think of a third. I guess there are only two reasons.

Overally, it was a good experience. MUCH easier than last year's fruit juice fast!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Early Moments

My earliest memory is our car's dashboard as my parents rushed me to the hospital. I must have been laying in my mom's lap because I remember what the glove box and dashboard looked like. Don't ask what kind of car we had or its color - I don't remember. If I remember correctly, I was 2 years old and had swallowed a penny. There must have been some threat to my health, maybe I wasn't breathing. I just remember the glove box and dashboard and knowing I was going to see a doctor because something was wrong.

My second earliest memory is the first time I lied (to my knowledge). I was four-ish and I was helping my brother, J., get out of his crib. He, C., and I shared a room and J.'s crying was disturbing my sleep. Mom and Dad were out for the evening and our mean babysitter had put us to bed early. I don't remember anything else about the babysitter, just that she was "mean" and that she came in the room while I was helping J. out of the crib. She (angrily, I'm sure) asked what I was doing. Panicked, I stuttered that I was putting J. back in the crib. Now I'm not sure she believed me, but at the time I "learned" that adults were gullible.

I had my first boyfriend in first grade. His name was Jose and I really liked him and he really liked me (who wouldn't - I was adorable in first grade!). One day our class watched The Dark Crystal and I got scared. Jose put his arm around my shoulders to comfort me. I remember putting my head on his shoulder and thinking that I was going to marry him someday. He moved away from Vernal at some point, either during that year or just after. I was sad, of course. Then he moved back in fourth grade and I was so excited!! Unfortunately we had grown up and apart. I thought he was a jerk. Sigh. I wonder where Jose is now.

My first kiss came much, much, much later. This guy I had liked for years finally clued in and we started dating. One night we had gone on a double date with my friend and his cousin who were also dating. After the evening's events we parked in front of my house. We were in the front seat and our friends were in the back. Turning off the car, K put his arm around me and pulled me close and we cuddled for awhile. My eyes must have been closed because I didn't see him coming in for the kiss. I don't even really remember what the kiss felt like. I just remember something happening and when it was over I thought, I think he just kissed me! I was disappointed that I hadn't paid better attention. Fortunately, he followed up that kiss with another when he walked me to my door.

The first time I rode in an airplane was when I left for Montreal to serve my mission. I had seen so many people get to go down the walkway to board and I had always been jealous - they were getting to go somewhere. When my turn finally came, I was so excited that I didn't even feel very sad to be saying goodbye to my family. I was finally going somewhere!! First we (my fellow missionaries and I) flew to Chicago, had a short layover, then flew into Montreal. The other missionaries were all clumped together at the front of the economy section, while I sat near the rear. On the way to Chicago I sat with a nice man from Salt Lake who was going to Chicago on business. He wasn't LDS, but he knew a lot about our religion. He was very friendly. When we got to Chicago the other missionaries expressed their jealousy that I had been able to talk about the church practically the whole flight to a nonmember. It got better. On the flight to Montreal I sat next to a lovely, old gentleman from Montreal who was flying home. He introduced me to the joys of ginger ale. He wasn't LDS, either. I had a great conversation with him and as we deboarded from the plane I was able to give him a Book of Mormon (he asked for one!!!). It was the best possible first airplane ride one could ever hope for.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

If I Had a Dollar for Every List I Make!

Okay! I'll submit! These cursed lists. Sigh. For others of this kind, please see cjane and cardine. I'm going to omit the last list (who I would want to do a list like this) and add one of my own. Just know that I'd like to read a list like this by everyone I know. Enjoy!

Things I want to do before I die:
1. Go to France
2. Run a marathon
3. See the Great Wall of China
4. Write a novel
5. Drive across the United States
6. Motorcycle across Europe
7. Sit in mud at a spa

Things I cannot do:
1. Fly
2. Write legibly with my left hand
3. See without corrective lenses
4. Reject a guy without making a fool of myself
5. Consume nothing but fruit juice for more than 3 days
6. Jump on a trampoline
7. Give up chocolate

Things that will attract me to my future spouse:
1. Smiles a lot
2. Avid reader
3. Kind of shy
4. Chivalrous
5. Good listener, good conversations
6. Honest and trustworthy
7. Likes me

Things I say often:
1. Possible, but not probable
2. Holy cow!
3. Holy canolli!
4. Thank you for calling Intermountain ______ _____, this is Julie
5. Ok
6. Excellent (a la Mr. Burns)
7. Please

I should say more: I'm sorry

Books currently reading/on my reading queue:
1. Old Testament (I'm the gospel doctrine teacher)
2. Something by Agatha Christie
3. The Bourne Ultimatum
4. The Bourne Legacy
5. Whatever I find at the library
6. Whatever I find at the library
7. Whatever I find at the library

Movies I could watch over and over:
1. While You Were Sleeping
2. Princess Bride
3. Hero
4. Father Goose
5. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea
6. The originial Star Wars movies (Episodes IV, V, VI)
7. A&E's Pride and Prejudice

Things I'm afraid of:
1. Spiders
2. Spiders in the shower
3. Spiders in my bed
4. Losing my hair, teeth, hearing, vision
5. Not achieving my dreams
6. The dark
7. Death; not my own, but others'

There you have it. Hope you learned something, I did. I didn't realize I couldn't fly until I tried it this morning after breakfast. Hmm. Doesn't seem quite fair.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My New Privacy Policy

It occurred to me recently that I am an open book. I don't keep anything about myself private; every aspect of my life is told to someone. I keep some things from some people, but I tell them other things that I don't tell other people. Some people I tell practically everything and what I don't tell them I manage to tell someone else.

I realize that being an open book isn't necessarily a bad trait. It could be worse, I could be completely closed and secretive. I understand that I develop relationships with people through communication and that sharing parts of my life is a way to become closer with someone. That's all good.

The problem is that I can't seem to keep some things to myself. In the past few months there have been things that I have shared that I wish I hadn't; things that only I could understand because they were my feelings, something I had experienced that was special only to me, or just really personal. I'm reminded of a scripture, Luke 2:19, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart".

So, I'm still going to be quite open about myself and my life, but I'm going to keep some things to myself and just ponder them in my heart. I'm already improving; I have one thing (just one) that I haven't told anyone - not even my mother! I had a couple more, but I ended up telling her on the way to Vernal this past weekend.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Title-Schmitle: I REFUSE to be Limited!

Oh, what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is green?
Do you sit by a stream, and lazily dream, while clouds go rolling by?
Is that what you do? So do I.

Since graduating I've read 7 books; all of them had over 500 pages. With all 7 I felt an absolute compulsion to read until finished. When I was at work I couldn't wait to get home to get back to reading. I didn't want to play with my friends, see my family, or even sleep until I was done. I hate putting a book down until I've finished it, even if it's a book I've read before - though the compulsion isn't as strong; unless it's a mystery, then it doesn't matter how many times I've read it or that I already know "who dunnit".

I realized that with all the reading I was doing I was spending a lot of time cooped up in my apartment. So, I started going to the park. I would spread out a blanket beneath a tree and read to my heart's content. One time I looked up at the tree and saw one of the prettiest sights I can remember. Another time I put my book down for a moment to watch the clouds go rolling by. I love picking out shapes and figures in the clouds. When I was a kid my cousins and I had a game where we would pretend the clouds were food items. We'd create a magnificent feast from those clouds. Aly, do you remember?

So, I've decided to stay put. I'm not moving and I'm not getting a new job. Actually, I may get an additional job, but I'll stay at my current job, too. I really want to pay off my car and student loans a.s.a.p., and a second job would certainly help me do it. My sister-in-law, Ree, works at Home Depot and suggested I apply there. I did. I'm not really qualified - I know nothing about home decorating or remodeling. On the other hand, I'm a quick learner and very friendly. They'd be fools not to hire me! If I don't get a second job, I'll be fine financially, but what will I do with all that free time!? Tee hee.

Last night I attended my nephew's preschool "graduation". It was so fun! I wish my graduation had been so enjoyable. All the kids were so adorable! They sang songs and danced a bit. There was this one little girl who almost made me start thinking it wouldn't be so bad to have a child of my own. Almost. A couple from my ward was there watching their oldest son graduate. We talked a bit and laughed at some of their son's antics during the program. I thought how much I like the members of my ward. They are so friendly! I feel like I belong. It's one of the reasons I decided to stay put. My family is another. My little niece and nephews are so cute and fun to be around. I treasure my relationship with them.

Of course, now that I've made the decision to stay at my job, all heck breaks loose. I've become totally destructive. Yesterday I broke someone's ear mold (a part of their hearing aid) and almost broke L's computer, and today I broke someone's ear hook (a part of their hearing aid). Sigh. I may not have a job much longer if I keep this up! No, fortunately I have a wonderful boss who just makes fun of me (gently) when I do things like that. He's a good man. He and L are the other reason I'm staying.

Now, don't give me a hard time if I change my mind. I figure this decision has a short shelf-life, and I may have to remake it every few months. Until then, though, it feels good to have made a decison.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Flowers: I love Them; They just aren't too Keen on Me

TODAY I daydreamed about getting flowers delivered to me at work. It's not too far-fetched. I had a boyfriend that actually did it! That was great. I still get happy when I think about it. Once I had a boyfriend who ordered flowers to be sent to me at work, but he canceled the order the next day because I broke up with him. I should have waited! I love getting flowers. My coworker gave me a beautiful bouquet of white daisies and red roses for my graduation and I was tickled pink! (Get it?!?!) My heart does happy jumps when someone gives me flowers and my cheeks tingle. I want my apartment to be simply cluttered with flowers - preferrably fresh, carefully picked from my flower garden, but realistically, they'd have to be fake.

You see, I love flowers, but they don't love me. I can't Grow them! Last summer when my roommate, Angel, went to Hawaii for a week, her flowers almost didn't make it. They did okay at first. By day 4 they started to slouch a bit. When she got home I was about to give them mouth-to-mouth. As soon as they saw her they started to cry with relief. I swear I did everything she told me to do! Can I help it that my thumbs are black? I once tried to get a thumb transplant, but my body rejects green appendages as standard procedure. My current roomie is planning on planting some flowers outside our apartment. I wished her luck and warned her not to count on my help if she wanted the flowers to grow and flourish.

So, I'll just keep daydreaming about receiving a huge bouquet of flowers at work. In case you're considering it, calla lilies are my favorite - but I'd be thrilled with any!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I have a sneaking suspicion that my life is about to change.

There have been a couple hints to support this suspicion: I graduated from college last weekend. I'll pause while you wake up from your faint... I won't go into details about graduation, if you want them you'll have to steal my diary or call me. I'll just say that finishing school makes me feel like the world has finally opened up and I'm free to do whatever I want (within reason) and go wherever I want (without reason). Inexplicably, Providence, Rhode Island keeps popping up in my head as a possible future residence. I'm also lightly considering getting a Masters in Statistics. We'll see. If nothing else, graduating has changed my evenings. No more homework, study groups, or cramming for tests! Just lots of time for reading. :)

Another possible (probable?) change: my roommate moving. Not just out of our apartment, but out of our town. As a friend, I'm excited for her to be making this change and sad that I won't see her as often. As a roommate, I'm thinking about the pros and cons of having the apartment to myself. I can afford it, but do I want to afford it? Would I want a new roommate? NO! Maybe I'll be able to find a cheaper, one-bedroom apartment in my same ward, close to my work. Hmm. Probable? Maybe my mom will let me move back in with her?! Hmm. Even if she did (improbable), it's not something I'm going to consider unless it's for only a month so I can prepare to move to Providence, Rhode Island.

Minor change: I got a new calling in my ward. I'm the gospel doctrine teacher. This Sunday is my first lesson. I love teaching and I look forward to learning more about the Old Testament. It will also help me get to know the people in my ward. So far I've really enjoyed this ward. I feel like everyone is so concerned about me feeling like I don't fit in that they try hard to make me feel like I belong. They are very friendly, not just for the first couple weeks but every time they see me. One of ladies I'm becoming friends with has 6 kids, was raised Jewish before her mom converted to Catholicism, and is now in the middle of a painful divorce. We giggle together in Relief Society and she always invites me to sit with her and her kids for sacrament meeting. If only I could remember her name!!

Actually, this ward and my new calling adds to the list of reasons to stay where I am. It's been awhile since I've enjoyed my ward as I do now. Add that to a job I like and being close to my family, and there are serious reasons to stay here. There are good reasons to move, too. Which set of reasons weighs more? I'm not sure. I'm not going to try not to worry about it. I trust that if and when the time is right to move, I'll know and will do it. Until then, I'm going to enjoy what I have and not go chasing rainbows. That in itself is a big change!