Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year in Review - 2008

As 2008 comes to an end, it's fun and fitting to look back at all the things that have happened this year. It's been an interesting year - sometimes I can't believe I experienced all I have. Here we go:

Places Visited: (new places in italics) - I travelled a lot this past year!!!
Portland, OR
Salt Lake City, UT - a dozen or more times
Beaver, UT
Montrose, CO
Grand Junction, CO (I'd passed through it, but never stayed)
American Fork, UT
Tooele, UT
Price, UT
Cheyenne, WY
Page, AZ
Bullfrog, UT - the drive from Page to Bullfrog qualifies as the most interesting drive all year.
Guernsey, WY - favorite place I went to for work
Delta, UT
Richfield, UT
Torrington, WY
Scottsbluff, NE - I jaunted over to Nebraska while staying in Torrington.
Vernal, UT - a couple times
Logan, UT
Charlotte, NC - just the airport, but I'm counting it because I'd never been to NC before!
Boston, MA - I'd been to the outskirts, but not downtown
St. John, New Brunswick
St. Martin, NB
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Sydney, NS
Bar Harbor, ME
Ogden, UT
Layton, UT - a few times,;once for work, the others for fun
Denver, CO

Guys Dated: 1 - a decrease from the 3 from last year, but I'm okay with it. I was too busy to date this year.

Number of Boyfriends: 1 - not too bad. Better than most years!

Guys Kissed: 2 - the same as last year. I'm not sure how proud I am of the second guy, but it sure made life interesting! I still can't believe I let him kiss me again in Denver!

Homes Bought: 1! I love my home. And, slowly I'm adding to it, making it even better.

Biggest Accomplishment: getting my CDL.

Not My Proudest Moment: letting Shawn kiss me, multiple times, even though I had a boyfriend. I still shake me head when I think of it.

Surgeries: 1 - go here to get updates

Weight Lost: 30 lbs

Languages "Learned": 1 - sign language. I'd like to improve both my other languages this coming year.

Accidents: 1 - that darn lamp post!

Roommates: 2 - kind of.

Favorite New Book Read: The Red House Mystery by AA Milne - short but so enjoyable
Runners Up: MacBeth by William Shakespear (made more enjoyable by reading it aloud with friends), The Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke (I've read 3 of the 11 in the series), An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimon (second time reading and woefully left off of last year's list). In 2009 I'm going to start recording the books I read so I'll have a better idea of what I read this time next year. :)

Fun Activities/Events: Cruise, Shakespear Festival, potluck dinner with friends, cousins weekends (especially the last one - was so glad Kristi came this time!), weekly movie night alone, driving Bertha and the Beast, numerous dinners with my wonderful friends, Pampered Chef parties, Thanksgiving in Vernal, playing Wii with my family, reading Shakespear out loud, and tons of other things I can't think of right now. It was a fun year.

Happiest Moment: Unlike last year, I don't have one clear winner, so here's a few:
Waking up in my new home, seeing Dad sealed to Paula (it was bittersweet), learning to back up the truck and trailer, moving back home after spending a week at Mom's, being told by a good friend that he thinks I'm beautiful, cooking in my kitchen

Toughest Moment: Again, no clear winner, but here's a couple that were hard:
Telling Anthony about Shawn, breaking up with Anthony, spending my birthday alone in a hotel room shortly after breaking up with Anthony, admitting to running into the lamp post, deciding to get a roommate (turned out awesome, though!), 10 days of nothing but SlimFast, water, apple juice, and popsicles.

Biggest Reliefs: 1) Breaking up with Anthony. I was so worried he was going to propose before I got the courage to end it! 2) Passing my CDL driving exam. 3) Eating solid food again after more than 2 weeks.

Regrets: I can't think of any. I know I haven't always made the best decisions this year, but each time I made a "mistake", it turned out okay and/or I learned from it. (I wrote this at the end of last year's post, but it fits with this year so well, I decided to keep it.)

Hopes for the new year: Stay next post will be about my new years resolutions and plans.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This Christmas

Hi Everyone!

I'm back in the blogging world and glad to be here. I hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine was...interesting. Well, it was as good as it could possibly be under the circumstances.

I won't be writing a whole lot about it since I'm covering most of it in my other blog - my surgery coloring everything about this Christmas. However, I like the idea of recording what presents I received and gave to help me out next year when I'm trying to remember (I have a horrible memory sometimes).

Dad: My younger brothers and I went in together and gave him a Blu Ray disc player. I'm excited to watch something with it since I've heard there's quite a difference.

Mom: Pampered Chef red stone pie dish and pot separator. I ♥ Pampered Chef's stoneware!

Kevin: Massage pad that can be used at home or in the car - I was jealous when he was using it, it looked so comfy! - and a foot water spa/massager.

Friends/Cousins: a box of mini, colored dice

Liz: Pampered Chef rectangle stone - did I mention I love PC?

Boss: personalized t-shirt and mug. The mug has his picture with "Awesome Audiologist". The shirt has a muscle man on the front with "Husband, Father, Bishop, Audiologist, Boss, AuD Student, Home Teacher, Geocacher" on the back.

Coworker: A bag of Pampered Chef goodies; apple corer, measuring cup, corn butterer, oil spritzer

Macey: Earrings and jewelry box - she loved the jewelry box and was in desperate need for one.

Porter: Checkers/Chess. I had bought him a DVD but then heard that his favorite recess activity was playing checkers. His dad told me that he didn't have his own set.

Brooke: I commissioned a tutu for her from Melissa - it was so cute! She loves it! Go here for more info and pictures.

Scott: red light saber and R2-D2 figurine

Mom - 2 bar stools that look perfect at my kitchen bar and shephards for my Willow Tree nativity

Dad - black tv stand, Sarah MacLaughlin cd, the next 4 books of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries series by Joanne Fluke (Dad gives us money, we buy our presents, then take them to him to wrap for us to open on Christmas.)

Kevin - IKEA stuff to make hanging "storage" for my kitchen. There's a couple long rods on which I can attach hooks and clips. Then I can hang a variety of kitchen items from these hooks and clips, including a wood cutting board from IKEA. I'm still not sure how it's going to work out, but Kevin got the idea from my mom who heard how much I liked Framed's kitchen hanging "storage".

Boss - three games (Zooletto, Hit or Miss, and Ticket to Ride) and money. My family has played the last two to-date and really enjoyed them.

Coworker - pomegranate candle and stationary cards.

Friends - original photographs, scarf, piano music cd, Pier 1 candle

Cousins - 10 black frames perfect for how I'm decorating my living room (Aly) and still a mystery (Cassie) - I like getting presents "late" as it keeps the fun going longer.

Liz and Jeff - apple cinammon scent diffuser that looks like a red crystal ball and a picture of red flowers on a yellow background - both are perfect for my planned living room decor!

Grandma - a Christmas book, a great tradition!

Please don't think I think Christmas is only about the presents. I do tend to get thoughtful gifts and I love thinking about what to get people, but presents are not what I think about when I think of Christmas. Spending time with my family (for good and bad), food, and parties with friends come to mind when I think of Christmas. This Christmas had most of these things (no Chex Mix, candy, poppy seed cake, or caramel corn for me this year!), so it was a good Christmas.

And, due to my surgery, I wasn't nearly as stressed as usual.


Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Time

Tomorrow I'm going in for surgery.

In a way, I can't believe it's actually going to happen. I'm not nervous about the surgery - I'm ready for it. I received 2 blessings (one from my home teacher last night and one from my dad today) that were very comforting and brought me a lot of peace.I love priesthood blessings. It was especially sweet to get one from my dad.

As unpleasant as the last week has been (partaking of just SlimFast, water, and popsicles), it has proven my resolve and prepared me for the path ahead. I'm sure it's still going to be tough sometimes, but at this point I'm not having any second thoughts or doubts.

Thank heavens!

So, since I may not blog for awhile, I want to wish everyone...


Monday, December 15, 2008

Dear Santa...

I've been a pretty good girl this year.

Yes, there have been a few hiccups in the past 12 months (kissing a guy who wasn't my boyfriend, hitting a light post, cursing more times than I can count - usually while driving B&B, and *ahem* blogging instead of working *ahem*), but I definitely think I've been a good-er girl this year than last year. Nobody's perfect. And, I promise to be even more good next year!

So, if you'd be so kind as to look over my Christmas List and maybe put a few things under my Christmas tree, I'd really appreciate it.

My Christmas List

Not only are these ruby slippers snazzy and would look great with my favorite outfit, but they're also pretty darn handy. Do you think they just work for returning home whenever you want, or can they take you anywhere?

I promise I wouldn't use this elevator all the time - I know that going up my stairs is good, and needed, exercise. I'd just use it after grocery shopping, when returning from a trip, or basically whenever laden with heavy stuff. I promise.

In case you don't know, Santa, this is Simon Baker. If I found him under my tree, I'd be the happiest girl! He has gorgeous eyes, a charming smile, and he's Australian! Wow. I can already imagine cuddling with him in front of a fireplace. If you can't get him, I'd take...

...a beagle instead. What a cutie! My coworker just got one and I'm wanting one pretty bad now. Did you know that they don't shed? And, I hear they are good cuddlers.

In the event that I actually get Simon Baker for Christmas, I'll need this in order to have something in front of which to snuggle with him. There's nothing like watching a fire with someone to make you feel all warm and content. Aaahhh.

These pretties are my favorite dessert. I ♥ them more than words can express. Can I make a simple request, though? Will you please delay giving me these until I can start eating food again. Thank you!

Since buying a home, I have found that most of the things I really want have to do with improving it. I'd love this baby, especially if it came with the aforementioned fireplace. And man. Or dog. Really, as long as it includes a treasure trove of books, I'll be happy. See how easy-to-please I am?

I've always wanted to take a train trip somewhere, anywhere, as long as it's interesting and picturesque. It would be fun if I had company, so will you also give this gift to someone I love to talk to, please? You're the best, Santa!

I hope you enjoy the snack I leave for you this year. I couldn't help but notice that last year not only did you eat what I left for you, but you also ate the divinity I had hidden in the cupboard. I'm glad you liked it, but I was a teeny bit disappointed to not have any when I woke up.

Please pass on my well-wishes to your wife, the reindeer, and all the elves.

Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas!

Julie :)

P.S. I'll be staying with my mom on Christmas Eve, so don't worry about going to my condo. It'll save you a trip - you can bring my presents when you bring my mom's. See how thoughtful I am? Thanks again!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Continued Colorado Craziness

I can't decide if I need to stop traveling to Colorado or if I should go there every month! I've been in that state three times in two years and each time interesting things have happened. The first time, an ex-boyfriend and I decided to try rekindling romance. You can read about the last time I was there here. I just returned from another trip to Colorado and, boy, was it interesting!

I left Wednesday night directly after work and drove a few hours, staying the night in Green River, UT. No biggie. Standard drive. Standard hotel. Standard.

Thursday, I hit bad weather and roads just east of Glenwood Springs. I panicked a bit when I kept seeing signs warning that commercial vehicles had to have chains or else were breaking the law. I didn't have chains (dang it, I should have listened to my boss!). At one point, police cars were directing vehicles; they'd either wave them on or signal for them to pull over to put on chains. The policeman waved me on, so I figured that I was okay without the chains. Thank heavens for 4-wheel drive and a duely! I don't usually mind driving in bad weather, but this was so stressful! I worried about the trailer and how it would react if I had to stop quickly or started to slide, so I drove pretty slowly. If I never have to go through that Vail pass in the winter again, it'll be too soon. No doubt, it was beautiful - what scenery I saw since my eyes were pretty much glued to the road and my side windows - but I would've gladly given up the beauty if it meant not having the stress and mental fatigue as well.

When I finally got down from the pass and into Denver, it started snowing harder and I hit major traffic. It took me almost 90 minutes to get from the west end of Denver to my destination, Aurora, on the other side. When I got to the base, I was so tired of driving and manuevering around cars, but I still had to go through an inspection of my vehicles and set up the trailer. Fortunately, someone was there to help me because there was a wall of dirty ice completely surrounding both the trailer legs, which need to be lowered before unhitching the trailer from the truck. It took us about 20 minutes to get enough ice off to be able to lower the legs. On top of it all, I worried about the snow piling up on the roof of the trailer because we recently discovered that we have a leaky roof. All night I worried that water would leak in, destroy more ceiling tiles, and possibly leak on to the space heaters causing a fire that would burn down the entire trailer. Yes, I was awesomely tired.

Friday, I was pleased to discover the trailer intact. The snow had stopped after I had checked into the hotel so very little had accumulated on the trailer's roof. I hurried to set up everything so I could start at 8am then waited and waited. No one came. After 45 minutes, I called Sgt. M, who had met me at the base the night before, and asked what was happening. He didn't know why no one had come. Almost an hour later, I still hadn't seen anyone. As some of you know, I'm not the most patient of people, especially when being kept waiting. Especially when I wake up a whole heckuva lot earlier than I like to make sure I'm on time. Finally, the guys started coming. I was on fire. I was testing faster than I've ever tested. Cpt. H, who checked on me from time to time, was extremely impressed. He said I was a lot faster than the guy they've had since the last time I worked with them.

Saturday, I slept in a little because I didn't have to set up the trailer. Just as I finished calibrating the audiometers, Shawn walked in. I had kind of hoped that he wasn't there since I hadn't seen him Friday. Nope. He had thought it was that other guy, so he hadn't bothered to come out to the trailer. (Everyone I had met in April came out to chat with me at some point or other once they discovered I was there, and they all were so glad I was there instead of the other guy. It made me feel good.) He had overheard some soldiers talking about the lady doing the hearing tests and he wondered if it could be me. When he saw the license plates, he said he got excited to see me again. He gave me a huge hug like we were best friends that hadn't seen each other in years. I wondered if he was going to kiss me, but the door opened and a couple soldiers walked in. I got them into the booths and started their tests. Shawn and I conversed for a little bit while I monitored the tests. He said he needed to get back inside but that he'd come back to see me later. He leaned down and hugged me again - his face nuzzled in the crook of my neck, kind of tickling me. It actually felt really nice.

I was on fire again and in 3 hours I tested 65 people - lots more than I was "supposed to". The head honchos of the medical corps called Logistics to see if they'd authorize me to keep testing (it wasn't quite noon, so I could've tested a lot more people and they really wanted the help), but Logistics didn't want to pay me more, so I was told to close up shop. All the time I was testing, Shawn would come to chat but nothing else could happen because I always had people in the trailer waiting for their turn. Fred stopped by - remember him? He came during one of Shawn's visits and didn't stay long. I barely got to talk to him, which really disappointed me. I'd like to get to know him better. I trust him more than I do Shawn. Fred asked if I was working on Sunday and I said no. He frowned and said he wouldn't be able to get away again that day but had hoped to come chat with me more Sunday. Sigh.

It was shortly after this that they had me stop. I gathered up all the paperwork, prepped the trailer for travel, then went inside to finish up the paperwork. I asked a soldier to help me locate one of the people who could help me, he brought me Shawn. For the next hour, Shawn and I took care of the paperwork, sometimes having to go all over the armory to find this officer or that officer. We finally got into an officer's office in order to fax something that needed to be faxed. While it was being faxed, Shawn closed and locked the door from which we'd entered, saying that we'd leave through the opposite door. When I was ready, I headed to the door. He chuckled and said that we were locked in. I knew he was joking so I laughed and said jokingly, "Oh no! What are we going to do now?" Just as I asked, I tried the door and it really was locked. I turned around and he stepped towards me saying, "I can think of something." Then he kissed me.

When I accepted this contract, I figured I'd see Shawn. I thought about what I'd do if he tried to kiss me and had decided that I wouldn't let him. The more I thought of it, I became convinced that he wouldn't even try. Afterall, he obviously wasn't interested in me because it's been ages since we've been in contact (though I did kind of discourage further contact, subtly, awhile ago). I should have been more on guard, but I just couldn't believe that he would actually kiss me again. And, when I'm completely honest with myself, I would have been disappointed if he hadn't. What can I say? He's a great kisser.

This time was just as good as before. It wasn't a makeout-type kiss. Just a mildly long, lingering kiss. Heaven help me, that man has soft lips!! It took a lot of effort to pull away because every part of me wanted to wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him long and hard. I guess I'm easy, just not that easy. He chuckled and pulled me back in for a hug, whispering, "You are so sexy when you blush." I pulled away, laughingly thanking him, blushing furiously. Finally, I said I really needed to go so I could try to take a nap and asked him to please open the door. He did, rubbing my back as I walked through. The room was crowded with people, and I swear each of them turned to look at us as we entered. He walked me out to the hallway, then gently took hold of my arm to turn me towards the correct door when I mistakenly sstarted in the opposite direction (that place was such a maze!). We were almost at the door when a soldier came and said they needed him somewhere. He looked annoyed but had to go. He turned to me and made me promise to find him before I left the next day. I said I would, and he left.

Today, I arrived at the armory and there were tanks surrounding the trailer. Typical, I thought, just typical. When I pulled up, a group of soldiers who were having a smoke break, came over to chat with me - I had tested them all - I've found that soldiers are really friendly once I've tested their hearing, for some reason. We chatted about the truck and they mentioned how impressed they were that I drove it and the trailer. Finally, the tank drivers came out and moved the tanks so I could hook up the trailer. They stayed around and helped me, I love how polite military men can be! They all called me Ma'm, both young and old. I was tempted to leave without seeking out Shawn, but I decided to try to find him since I'd promised. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. No one knew where he was. I don't have his phone number since I lost it with all the others when my old phone died. I had opted against asking him for it when he asked if I had the same phone number when he noticed my new phone. (He also noticed my haircut and said he liked how it frames my "gorgeous blue eyes" - see what I mean, he's a player.) I figured, if he wants to talk to me, he could call me. I finally gave up and just left. I had mixed feelings about not seeing him. A part of me was relieved, another part of me had really hoped for a goodbye kiss.

The roads and sky were wonderfully clear as I went over the Vail pass this morning. I listened to a book on cd and enjoyed the scenery I had only caught glimpses of before. I pulled off I-70 at Glenwood Springs to gas up. I should say that it's tricky to get into this gas station with a big truck and trailer, something I had discovered on the way to Denver. However, since I had figured out how to do it, I wasn't too stressed and took the same steps I had before.

I was a little too confident, I guess, and wasn't as cautious as I tend to be. I ended up taking the turn too narrowly and hit a light post!!! I broadsided it and the top fell off (think one of those 8' decorative light posts, not the really big ones). I cursed. Repeatedly. I pulled over and had no idea what to do. I checked the trailer and determined it was travel-worthy, so I drove the short way to the gas station and filled up. When I paid the clerk, I asked her for the phone number for the police. I explained what had happened and she told me I should just go without reporting it because most likely no one had seen it happen!! No way! I imagined doing what she suggested and then later paying the consequences. If nothing else, I'd feel guilty about it forever. She gave me the number and I called it when I got back to the truck. A policeman came, assessed the situation, ran my driver's license and registration, and checked my insurance. Finally, he told me that he wouldn't issue me a ticket since it would mean me having to return to Glenwood Springs to appear in court. He said that the city would bill our insurance company and told me it how much it could cost to replace the post if needed - it could be less if they only have to repair it.

As soon as they left (another cop had driven up for some reason), I got in my truck and had a good cry. This was my first ever accident and only the second time I've had to talk to a policeman due to driving. I just felt fortunate that it was such a minor accident and that the trailer was okay, the truck was okay, I was unharmed, and no one else was harmed. I called my boss and left him a message quickly explaining that I'd been in an accident but that everything was okay and I'd talk to him when I arrived home.

I've got to give my boss credit, he could have handled it differently. He could have grilled me about what I'd done wrong, made me pay for the light post, or even taken away my commission for the job. Instead, he made sure I was okay emotionally. He never made me feel guilty or bad about it, just offered me comfort and support. I did tell him what had happened and what I could have done differently, but he didn't rub it in, he actually said he could see why it had been so difficult to maneuver that turn. What a guy! He did interrogate me about Shawn, though, and teased me mercilessly when I admitted to letting him kiss me. Seriously, my boss cracks me up! Sometimes I feel like he's more like a brother; sometimes an annoying brother, but a brother just the same.

I'm so glad to be home. I'm so tired. It was a crazy trip, good and bad crazy, but I think I'm ready for some boring-ness for a little bit, at least for a day or two!

Monday, December 01, 2008

My New Arrival

Tomorrow, I'm expecting a new arrival - a new cell phone! This past weekend, while in Vernal, my cell phone died. I'm not sure why but it's practically irreversible - it could be "flashed" but I'd have to go to another city to do it and there's no guarantee that it would work and stay working. The actual phone is okay but the software disappeared somehow. It's gone. When I get my new phone, I won't be able to transfer the phone numbers to my new phone because there's absolutely nothing on my old phone. I was given the choice to pay $50 for a new phone just like my current phone to be sent to me, or I could pay a tad more for an early upgraded phone. Guess what I chose.

Say hello to my new phone, the BlackBerry Curve (mine is pink - I was lazy and didn't look for a picture of a pink one). As I got thinking about a new phone, I decided I want something that I could use as a planner, too. I needed something for appointments, documents, internet, and other stuff I use for work. So, it's a bit more than a regular phone and it has a required service package that is more than my normal phone charge, but I'm hoping that my boss will pay for the extra since I'm going to be using it for work (we've discussed it briefly a couple times). I also splurged a bit more and got a travel charger, protective case, and BlueTooth. I kept thinking about driving the truck and trailer and how much safer it would be if I could talk on my phone while keeping both hands on the wheels.

Yeah, I'll do anything to justify extra expenditures once I get on a roll! Heavens.

My biggest concern was not having a phone on my trip to Denver this week. I'll need it to keep in contact with the officer in charge so she and her staff know when to expect me so they can have a spot ready. I want it in case of emergencies. It'd be nice to have in case I'm having a hard time staying alert and choose to call someone to keep me awake (I'm experimenting with not munching while travelling). No problems, said the Verizon rep, it'll be delivered tomorrow. Tomorrow! Perfect. Then I'll have a little time to fiddle with it and figure it out (I'm not really tech-savvy).

It's been kind of weird not having a phone for three whole days. I have no idea what time it is 50% of the time. My mom had to walk over to my place yesterday to tell me something. My roommate Jeff texted me yesterday morning - never got it. I wanted to text my brother about Fantasy Football, couldn't. So annoying! It'll be nice to have a phone again. I guess I rely on it more than I thought.

That's annoying.