Wednesday, December 23, 2009

See ya next year!

As today is my last day of work until January 4, 2010 (woohoo!), I thought I'd take this opportunity to wish all of you a

Merry Christmas

and a

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bestest Weekend Ever???

If not the bestest ever, this weekend definitely makes the list of really great ones. Here's a quick run-down of why I had such a great weekend.

* Thursday night: Sam told me I'm beautiful. He had seen a picture of me so thought he was prepared for what I looked like, but when I opened the door Wednesday night (our 1st date), he said he couldn't believe how beautiful I am. *blush* Woohoo!

*Friday: it's Friday (which is almost always a good thing) and only one week before I fly to Paris!

* Friday morning: received an email from a guy telling me I'm beautiful. Can't ever get enough of that!

* Friday morning: received a phone call setting up an interview for a new job! I know it doesn't mean I'll get it, but I'm just glad to have a chance to meet the interviewers face-to-face.

* Friday afternoon: a female patient that tends to irritate me asked if I had changed my hair color and style. I said yes, she asked if I'd lost a lot of weight. I said that I had and she said she hadn't been sure if I was the same person, I look so different. She said that she always thought I was a pretty gal but now..."You're absolutely beautiful!" Again, who could tire of that??

* Friday evening: cousin Alyson comes for a visit! We eat at Ninja then play games at my Mom's.

* Friday night: Mom offers to teach the Primary lesson...even though it's my turn!

* Saturday morning: sleep in, ride exercise bike, check email and have one from the guy who called me beautiful the day before and two from new guys - one of them saying my picture is "very cute".

* Saturday afternoon: head south with Alyson, eat at Cracker Barrel, shop, and talk/laugh a lot.

* Saturday evening: 2nd date with Sam. He treats me so well - very respectful, considerate, and attentive. The way my dad taught me to expect to be treated. Oh, and he kissed me. Kissed me very well. *big smile*

* Sunday morning: slept in a bit but still made it to church on time!

* Sunday afternoon: the neighbor guys finally took me out shooting after church! And you know what? I wasn't too bad. Hit my target (Pepsi bottles) the first 4 shots I took with the 22 rifle. And, I took second place (there were 5 of us) in the shooting competition! (Jon won.) I also shot a 45 pistol - talk about power! It was an adrenalin rush and a lot of fun! Here are some pictures.

Me shooting the 22 rifle.


Me shooting the 45 pistol. That's Jon behind me.

* Sunday afternoon: annual candy making with my sister-in-law. This year we kept it to a couple batches each of divinity and peanut brittle, and one batch each of peanut butter cups and fudge. Easiest and quickest session we've ever had!

It was busy - filled to overflowing, in fact - but it was a great weekend! Now, if I can make it through the next few days (which are continuing the filled-to-overflowing-with-good-things theme), it'll be Christmas, then I'll be in Paris before you can say "Enfin!" Woohoo!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Confession and Sam

A week ago I signed up for Match.com.

Whew. That was like ripping off a band-aid...painful at first but easier as time goes on.

I won't go into the reasons I decided to abandon my previously firm stance of not joining an online dating site. Or why I chose match.com versus any other site, including ones that purportedly cater to my religion. Suffice it to say, it was a spontaneous decision that has led to some surprising results.

For example, Sam! He wasn't the first guy to notice me, but he was the first to email me instead of "winking" at me. I like a guy with initiative, so I was impressed that he had skipped the "I think you're interesting but I'm too shy/nervous/timid to do anything but wink" phase and jumped right into "I'm interested enough take a risk, put myself out there, and email you". I emailed back and for a week we had a nice email conversation.

I felt a connection pretty early on. He seemed intelligent, witty, and kind - traits I look for in a guy. He asked me good questions about myself, which is an easy way to endear yourself to me, or almost anyone for that matter. On Sunday, he suggested exchanging phone numbers and gave me his. I hesitated to give him mine. Not that I wanted to keep things strictly email, in fact, I was happy he wanted to move away from the computer. I worried because I tend to sound like an idiot on the phone. My normal quirky, talkative, charming flirtations sound stupid when not face to face. However, I got over it and gave him my phone number. He called me Monday right after 5pm, but I couldn't talk right then, so I called him later that night. We chatted for a couple hours and set a date for the next night; i.e. last night.

He lives 45 minutes south of me and offered to drive to my town for our first date. I appreciated that. In fact, I appreciated all the little things that he did throughout the date that were chivalrous and gentlemanly. We ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and had a lively conversation about all sorts of things. He's really easy to talk to and has interesting stories to tell - he's had some pretty cool life experiences. Afterward, we drove to the bowling alley but were turned off by the 45-minute wait to get a lane. Instead, we went back to my house and played Wii bowling and tennis. I killed him at both. Bwa ha ha! Eventually we partnered up at tennis and killed the computer's team multiple times. Bwa ha ha! We started getting pretty silly and almost lost a match, so we decided to stop and just talk before he headed home.

When it came time for him to go, there was that awkward "what's going to happen at the door" moment. He leaned in, I went for the hug, he went for the kiss. D'oh! He stuck around, though, so I knew he was going to give it another try - I'm really impressed that he didn't give up. At one point while we were chatting, he put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close, keeping me there for a bit while we talked. I had to look up (because of how I was leaning against him...he's actually barely shorter than me) at him while we talked and noticed him glance at my lips several times. I mentally prepared myself for a kiss, but he moved too slow. When he moved in for the kill...I mean, kiss...he did it so casually that I wasn't sure he was really going to kiss me, and I went for the hug again. Double d'oh!

Hello. My name is Julie. I'm 32 and a total dunce when it comes to kissing. I've been promised opportunities to practice...*blush*. Ahem.

He left this time, though at one point, as he stood in the doorway, he made a move that looked like he might make a 3rd attempt, but then he stopped himself. I felt stupid, so I emailed him as soon as he had left, knowing he wouldn't get it right away. I apologized for being so nervous at the end of the date and assured him that I wasn't opposed to him kissing me, if he wanted to. He emailed back awhile later and said that he did want to and that I shouldn't worry about what had happened - he hadn't wanted to rush me and would totally wait until I was ready if it made me feel better. I replied that it wouldn't. I told him that it has been awhile since I've been kissed really well, so I'm just a tad nervous that I won't know what I'm doing. Waiting would only make me more nervous. This is when he wrote back and promised to give me lots of practice if I wanted. *cheesy grin*

Hello. My name is Julie and I'm a bit of a hussy.

Before the whole scene at the door, Sam asked me if I wanted to go on another date with him. I said I did and we set a 2nd date for this coming Tuesday. Even though he offered to come up again, I said I'd go down for this date. I'd like to see his place, and he offered to cook for me. :)

So, even though I'm still cautious about this whole online dating thing, I'm glad I did it. I can't imagine how I would have ever met Sam otherwise. I'm not saying he is The Guy...it's way too early and there's a lot more to find out about him, but he has potential, especially for friendship if nothing else works out. And, there are a couple other guys, one especially, that have potential. Both live within a couple hours of me and one has already given me his email address and phone number and hinted at getting together. This is a lot more fun that I thought it would be.

*cheesy grin*

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

How are you doing? Staying busy up at the North Pole? How's the weather? Is Mrs. Claus still in good health? Please say hi to her, the elves, and all the reindeer - and you might mention to Blitzer that I didn't appreciate his...ahem...on my porch last year.

Well, it's that time of year again, believe it or not. I must say that I've been an exceptionally good girl this year. While helping my mom with her new kitchen, I only swore a few times when I touched the sides of the outlets and electrocuted myself. I didn't do a single April Fool's Day prank this year - that hasn't happened since 1993! I've made new friends, managed to keep old ones, and have even gotten in touch with some long-lost ones. I have stayed out of jail and in church, the latter being harder to do than the former, as usual. In short, I'm pretty proud of myself and hope that I turn up on the appropriate List this year while you're checking it twice.

Speaking of lists, in order to facilitate your Christmas present giving, I thought I'd write you up a quick list of things you could leave under my tree...just because I know you're busy and could use a time saver.

MY CHRISTMAS WISH LIST:

1. A New Job. One with a decent salary and health benefits would be a plus.

2. A Boyfriend. One that is attractive, funny, thoughtful, and who likes sports. Oh, and who likes me.

3. Mario Kart for my Wii and two steering wheels. It's ridiculous how much I enjoy this game! And, I'd really like to get better so I could beat my neighbor Jon a time or two.

4. A Maid. No, I'm not too lazy or too busy to keep my home spic-n-span...I'm just trying to do my small part to help the local economy. Jobs are scarce around here! *sheepish grin*

5. A trip to France. Oh wait...I'm already going!!!* Feel free to leave a trip to somewhere else under my tree then. My top 3 picks would be Denmark, Spain, and Alaska. And, it would be super nice if you left a similar trip under the trees of my cousins Aly and Cassie. Thanks a million!

In all honesty, I don't need a lot this year; I already have some amazing gifts: a wonderful family, amazing friends, a comfortable home, a good job, the Gospel, and a healthy body, among others. Anything else would just be the cherry on top.

As always, my best wishes to you and yours and full-hearted appreciation for your generosity and kindness.

Merry Christmas!

Julie :)



* I fly out of Vegas two weeks from today! Woohoo!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Driver's Seat

I knew the first time I got behind the steering wheel of my dad's truck that I wasn't a natural driver. I was 14, it was Christmas Day, and I had gone with him to run an errand. There was snow on the ground and no one on the streets when he asked me if I wanted to try driving. I didn't but said yes anyway. I drove for probably 5 minutes then was finished. Didn't want to do it any more. What was the big deal? Driving, schmiving.

I graduated high school and moved away for college, sans automobile. I walked or rode the bus everywhere and enjoyed the freedom of not driving. When I drove with others, I barely paid attention to what was going on in front or behind the car - I looked out the windows at the shops, people, and landscape around me, content - no, thrilled! - to not be in the driver's seat.

Most of my mission, I didn't have a car, just the last few months. I preferred being without one. I loved walking to appointments, sitting next to people on the bus and metro and talking to them about them, me, the gospel, politics (rarely - heated discussions seldom coincide with the presence of the Spirit, a missionary's main goal in life), and didn't mind the occasional sprint to the bus as it was about to leave our stop - it kept me trim...I gained almost 10 lbs when I had a car. Also, winter in Canada = ice storms = slippery roads, which, combined with my inattention while driving = a couple scary moments filled with prayers consisting of ohpleasestop, ohpleasestop, ohpleasestop!

I still dislike driving, even though I'm a professional driver (yeah, it sounds funny to me, too). I'd just rather not if someone else is willing.

And yet, I insist on being in the Driver's Seat all the time.

Without a second thought (usually), I can relinquish my safety and well-being into another's hands when driving in a metal box on wheels traveling at 75+ mph, but I really struggle when it's my Life and the "other" is the all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving Master of the Universe, aka God, aka my Heavenly Father. I mean, really. Some of the people I drive with are crazy drivers, especially...well, that doesn't matter. My point is, if I can trust them to get me there and home again without incident, shouldn't I be able to trust Him even more to do the same?

I think it's the planning that gets me. I'm a planner. When I'm driving Bertha and The Beast and going to a destination I've never been to before, I first go to Mapquest to get driving directions, then I turn to my handy-dandy fuel guide that a nice trucker gave me after this incident (please, for my sake, skip over the Shawn details!) that tells me where to find gas stations big enough to hold my rig and, very importantly, that have diesel. I'm able to plan where I'm going to stop all along the way. No surprises. When I drive with people...same thing, no surprises (rarely, that is). I know the route we're taking, no problems whatsoever.

Not so in Life. When I plot my course, things happen that take me somewhere totally different than where I thought I'd be. To be fair, I've generally been quite pleased with where I turn up, which should make me a lot more relaxed, but I'm not. It's not that I don't trust Him, I just want a hint or two about where I'm going and when/where the next stop is. I wouldn't care if I don't get married until I'm 64 (like my great aunt on my dad's side) as long as I knew this and could plan accordingly. Or, if I'm supposed to be the Next Food Network Star, it would be nice to know that I'd better book-it to culinary school!

I have several options for my future but have no clue what's going to happen - if anything! I could go back to school and get my Masters, then on to get my PhD so I can become a professor of Economics. Like I mentioned above, culinary school is another option, the one I'm leaning toward currently. However, neither of these options will happen if I don't figure out something to do with my home (i.e. rent or sell it). Or, I could stay here (and not have to worry about my home) if a) I find a new job, b) I get married (chuckle, chuckle), or c) neither happens, my house doesn't rent or sell, and I have to stay at my current job f-o-r-e-v-e-r. *shudder*

I'm not one that believes that God does all the steering. I doubt He's up there playing a grand game of Chess with all our lives. I believe that He allows us to make big and small decisions that impact our lives and the lives of those around us. I don't think He expects me to always sit in the passenger seat, it's just that I tend to never let Him sit in the Driver's Seat unless He hits me over the head with a 2x4 (which He had to do in order to get me on a mission).

So, with all the uncertainty* about what's going to happen next, I'm going to try harder to let Him steer a little bit. To have a little more faith that He knows where to take me and what stops I need to make to get me where I'll be happiest.

Wish me luck.




*One thing is for certain, though - I'm finally going to France! Woohoo! I fly out of Vegas around 8pm on the 25th of December, arrive in Paris around 6pm on the 26th, and arrive back in Vegas sometime on January 2nd. I'll spend a few days there by myself - I have lots of fun things planned - then will meet up with Cardine on the 30th for the remainder of the time. I'm so absolutely thrilled about this trip that it makes all the uncertainties a little easier to bear. Whew!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Today...

...I feel pretty. This gray skirt makes me feel flirty and feminine.

...I got stuck in my new coat. The zipper refused to go up or down. Eventually I pulled it (the jacket, not the zipper) over my head because claustrophobia was quickly setting in.

...I'm happy to see the sun again.

...my eyeliner tip broke off after I had applied it to one eye. There was none left in the "tube", so I had to MacGyver it enough to get some applied to the other eye.

...I'm going to play my new Wii for an hour. Must get better at tennis.

...I'm recuperating from putting on THREE Pampered Chef parties in less than a week. Whew!

...all I want to do is curl up with my book, a mug of hot chocolate, and a blanket. Right now.

...I'm temporarily forever giving up boys.

...is Thursday.

...I woke up in a really good mood. It had departed by the time I arrived at work. It came back, though.

...while riding my stationary bike, I'll watch my first ever episode of The Office, thanks to my cousins' advice and Netflix.

...is a lazy sort of day.

...I found out I get to be on the radio again in a couple weeks - November 16th, 9:10am, KSUB. If you're in the area that day, give it a listen. Click here to read about the first time I talked on the radio.

...I'm having a good hair day.

...I decided what I want to be when I grow up.

...I finally feel fairly comfortable/confident walking in heels again.

Today is a good day.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Utah State University

I had a great visit to Logan this past weekend. I picked up Shiree on my way, and we arrived at Sarah's house at 10:30pm Friday. Of course, we stayed up way too late talking but it had been awhile so we had a lot to discuss. Saturday we slept in, ate at a Thai restaurant, bought chocolates at the candy store and books at Borders, cooked yummy fajitas, then walked to the USU/SUU football game. We were a little late and had some trouble finding seats but eventually we did. Sarah, a USU student, wore a blue Aggies t-shirt. Shiree, having attended SUU but not really being all that serious about football, wore a cream shirt. I, having graduated from SUU and being a serious fan of the U (whose main color is red and whose rival's main color is blue), wore my only SUU t-shirt. I got it for free at a volleyball game, and yes, it's a volleyball t-shirt, but hey, at least it said SUU on it! Here's a picture of us:

SUU lost. However, I was thrilled that they kept the game close until halfway through the 4th quarter. Prior to the game, I had wondered if I'd be as vocal a fan in a sea of "enemies" as when I'm surrounded by people cheering for my team. I answered that question with a firm YES! I stood up, I whistled, I clapped, I shouted, I made it quite obvious that I was cheering for the visiting team. I've got to give the fans around me their dues - they didn't heckle me or give me a tough time at all. It probably helped that they were winning the entire game, but I'll still give them credit for being good sports. Overall, we had a blast at the game.

Sunday was the Sabbath, so we attended church, rested, and took a drive up Logan Canyon. It was beautiful! Sarah showed us a special spot that was peaceful and lovely. It was a nice, relaxing day.

Monday, before my meeting at USU, I walked around Sarah's neighborhood and up to the university. I could see myself living in Logan and attending the school; I was really impressed with both. So, I was kind of disappointed when I discovered during my meeting that the program wasn't what I wanted. The guy with whom I met talked about the three different Masters I could get, all heavily related to agriculture or natural resources. Yeah, not so much what I'm interested in. During this meeting, I also learned that there are two "branches" of Economics at USU. One is Economics and Finance and is part of the School of Business. The other is Applied Economics and is part of the School of Agriculture. Somehow, I ended up meeting with someone from the latter instead of the former. As I thought about it, I wondered if this guy hadn't fully disclosed what the other department could offer me. He made it sound like every Economics class offered at USU was doused in Agriculture. And he sounded a little bitter about the other "branch".

Back at home, I researched some more online and emailed the Economics and Finance department head. His PhD is in Econometrics and International Economics, two areas that highly interest me, and he earned both his BS and MS at USU. He emailed me back and said the Masters degree he earned is still available and it's more like a 1st year PhD program than a terminal Masters degree. He thinks it would be ideal for what I want to achieve and regretted that we hadn't been able to talk while I was in Logan. Yeah, me, too. Oh well. He told me to call him so we can discuss the program more and I will as soon as I get a spare moment. I'm excited that USU is still a possibility.

Next Up: I've tentatively planned a trip to Vegas for October 16-19 and hope to be able to meet with representatives from the culinary school and UNLV (their Masters program looks interesting). It also looks like my cousins will be able to be there that weekend, so it'll be another two-for-one trip: cousins weekend AND information gathering. I love killing two birds with one stone. Metaphorically, of course, I've never killed even ONE bird with a stone! Or with anything for that matter. I digress - surprise, surprise. Anyhoo, I'll let you know how that trip goes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Change Is In The Air

Whether it hits me or passes me by remains to be seen, but the potential for changes in my life is certainly present.

I'm not happy at work any more. Fortunately, I'm not mad at my boss like I was; we're actually getting along fairly well. He's changed, though, and that has changed how things are at work. I don't dread going to the office, but I don't look forward to it either. I work hard, but I don't put my heart and soul into the business like I used to. I want to be challenged and to feel like I'm doing something important. I want to love what I do.

So, I have a couple plans that I'm going to look into in the coming weeks.

Plan A is to go back to school and get a Masters of Economics degree at Utah State University in Logan. It would take me a year to finish, then the plan would be to get my PhD and eventually end up as a professor of Economics at a college or university. This is the safe route. I'm pretty sure I'd love being a professor and I already know I love Economics. I also have friends in Logan, which is a nice thing. This plan is also the most time- and money-intensive. I have a meeting with someone from the Graduate Program this coming Monday, the 28th, that will hopefully give me a better idea of what the program entails and whether or not it is what I want.

Plan B is to go to culinary school at the Cordon Bleu Institute in Las Vegas. It would take me a year to finish the program. This path is a little more uncertain. I know I enjoy cooking, but am I chef material? I'm not very creative. However, maybe learning how to cook will bring out a creative side to me that currently lies dormant. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy working in a mega busy kitchen, but I like the idea of a cute diner/restaurant that is busy enough but not hairy-stressful. A big plus to this plan: my cousin Aly lives in Vegas. I'll be going down to visit the school (and Aly) in October (date yet to be determined). I can totally see myself becoming excited about this idea after touring the kitchens and hearing about all the things I'll get to learn.

I'm not sure which, if either, of these plans I'll go with. I'm really quite happy where I live right now and would totally stay put if I found a new job here in town or if my current one miraculously changed back to being wonderful. However, I can't shake the feeling that something is going to change, something needs to change. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Surrendering

In case you haven't noticed, I'm not a very trendy gal.

I wear clothes that are classics - my style has been around since the early part of this millennium, if not longer.

My hair, though it changes length and color regularly, has never been styled like the "Rachel", the duck tail (thankfully!), or any of the other trendy styles throughout time.

I don't watch So You Think You Can Dance, The Office, or American Idol. (Though I've heard all of these shows are impressive. And, I AM trendy enough to watch ANTM!)

I don't have a facebook page or myspace account, nor do I twitter/tweet/whatever.

Blogging is about as trendy as I get, and even it has become pretty passe compared to facebook and twitter.

So, against character, I've gone and made my blog trendy (or at least trendier) by giving it a cute layout. At least, I think it's cute. I'm really into purple lately. I have a purple purse, my two favorite shirts and my favorite skirt are purple, I wear purple eye shadow (but not when wearing the purple shirts - I do understand the art of understatement), and now my blog is purple.

I like it. It isn't too trendy/cutsie. Just enough, in my opinion.

Anyway, happy Friday! I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Winner!

This morning, hurrying to get ready for work because I got out of bed later than usual, I heard the radio hosts announce they were going to give away tickets to this weekend's rodeo. They were going to "act" out a scene from a movie, and to win you just had to call and say from what movie the scene came. They said the phone number, but I wasn't close enough to my phone and couldn't remember the number by the time I got to my phone. Oh well, I thought, I probably won't know the movie anyway.

Then they started the scene; it was the scene where Princess Leia is being held captive by the Empire and the skinny, oldish bad guy (Gov Tuck???) is trying to get her to tell him the location of the rebel base, she refuses, and they blow up her home planet, Alderan.

I couldn't believe how easy this was and kind of wished I would have been able to call in. They answered a line and no one was there. They gave the phone number again and I hurried to punch in the numbers on my phone.

Busy.

I hit redial.

Busy.

I hit redial again.

"Hello, what's your answer?" It was the male radio host! I was on the radio!

"Star Wars" was my reply.

"Correct!" shouted the female radio host, "You're the winner!"

"Wait a second" said the male, "Which Star Wars movie?"

"Oh honestly" sighed the female, "The Star Wars, that's what they call it!"

"The first one" says I, "Well, not the first one, the fourth one actually, but the one that came out first, so yeah, the first one, I can't remember the other name for it, but the one that came out in 1977."

Stop, Julie! You're totally rambling!

Mercifully, I stopped talking. The female expressed her admiration that I knew the year it came out. I was going to say that it's the year I was born, but was afraid to start down another rambling path, so instead just said thanks.

They asked who I was going to take to the rodeo and my mind blanked, so I said something stupid about not knowing, it depends on who wants it most, or something like that. Stupid!

They told me to hold on and they'd get my info, then a commercial started and the female host asked me my last name (they had asked my first name on air), my address, and my phone number then told me where and when I could pick up the tickets. I picked them up before work.

I've never won anything from the radio before. Honestly, it's something I've never even considered trying - I'm usually too lazy. Today, the stars aligned in my favor and the easiest contest known to mankind (honestly, Star Wars, who doesn't know every line from that movie? *smile*) dropped in my lap and I actually took advantage of the situation. And, luckily enough, I won something that I really enjoy. Rodeos = fun.

So, yeah, now I need to choose someone to go with. I'd really like to go with a certain neighbor of mine, but recent events make me a little timid to ask him. No, I'm not going to go into details. Fortunately, it's been resolved and I'm moving forward, slowly and timidly. Besides, I have tons of awesome people in my life, so there's an abundance of people from whom to choose.

Today is a blessed day. Much better than yesterday.

Woohoo for winning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update

In case you're interested, last night was a lot of fun. I knew it would be; he and I have hung out together enough times that I wasn't worried about whether we'd have a good time.

We got to the game a couple minutes late. My fault, I had had a million things to do beforehand and fell behind due to a lengthy conversation with my boss. So, really, it was my boss's fault. *smile* The weather was perfect for watching softball, warm but with a cool breeze. Really, it couldn't have been better.

I warned him that I'm a vocal watcher and proved it when my friend Jeff got up to bat. He laughed when I told him I'm even worse when watching football on tv at home. He said something about him getting to see it firsthand when we watch football together, especially because he's planning on cheering for BYU just because he knows I'm a Utah fan. (Woohoo for future plans!)

The whole thing was really relaxed. We watched the game, cheered for Jeff's team, and chatted about softball, sports, and other things. Not too much though. I may be a talker, but I'm also a sports fan. I like to watch the game! It was a really good balance of both talking and just watching.

Jeff's team won quite easily, and afterward Jeff came over to talk to us. After awhile we were joined by a guy that all of us know and eventually Jeff and I were talking off to one side, quietly. Jeff told me that He is a keeper and that he (Jeff) thinks He likes me because of how He interacts with me. It was really good to see Jeff and talk with him. I really miss him, more than Liz, actually. And, it was helpful to get Jeff's insight into things.

After the game, we went to His place and talked for an hour about sports, religion, and dating before playing a few hands of Double Solitaire (I think is what he called it). I won each time, though just barely the last time. We laughed a lot. I like a guy who makes me laugh and who laughs a lot. It's very attractive. Just as we were finishing the last game, his roommate came home and the three of us played Sorry (we've played it every night for a few nights - I never win - I think that's why they like to play it since I tend to win a lot of other games *smile*). At 11pm, the time I had told them I had to go home because I worked early this morning (a testing job), a few of their friends came over. They all tried to get me to stay longer, but I resisted the temptation and went home.

As much as I'd LOVE for him to ask me out, I'm not holding my breath. I do think he likes me; we have a lot of fun together, he tells me things he says he doesn't tell other people, he compliments me in small ways, he picks up on things about me without me having to point them out, etc. However, he might not like me enough. It's perfectly reasonable to suppose that he likes me a lot as a friend and as nothing more. Or, he might like me more but not enough to be brave enough to ask me out. Or, he may not be in a dating frame of mind. Who knows! And really, it doesn't matter right now.

No matter how he feels, I enjoy spending time with him and really value his friendship. I'm just happy that I've discovered that I can invite him to do things, that he will probably say yes, and that we'll have a great time together and weirdness won't ensue. That was my biggest worry about asking him to the softball game; that he'd realize that I like him, freak out, and poof goes our friendship.

I think my mom's advice from yesterday is perfect and so I'm going to try my best to go with it: be patient. If it ends up happening, awesome. If it doesn't, at least I'll have a really great friend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Being Brave

Those of you who know me well know that I don't ask out boys. Not on first dates, that is. I'm very big on reciprocal dates - asking a guy out only after he has asked me out 2-3 times. I'm not against other girls asking boys out on first dates (I'm actually quite impressed by them), I just don't do it myself. There are reasons for this stance, but they are not the topic of this post.

Today, I got as close to asking a guy out on a first date as I could possibly get without actually asking him on a date.

I asked him if he wanted to go watch softball with me. He said yes.

Okay, tell me the truth, am I lame?

Never mind, don't answer that. I think I already know.

Here's the deal. I really like this guy. He does things that make me think he might like me (though they could be interpreted to mean he just enjoys my friendship). He's shy and really good-looking. And, I'm a coward.

I've heard that guys love when a girl they like asks them out but that they hate when a girl they don't like asks them out. Seriously, what's a girl to do? He's not asking me out. Is it because he doesn't like me or because he's shy and doesn't realize I like him. How to let him know I like him in case he likes me without making him worried I like him if he doesn't like me? See? This is why I don't ask guys out until they've asked me out a few times.

Not that this is a date. It's two people walking to the softball park and watching one of the people's old roommate's fiance play softball. No one is picking up the other. No one is paying for the other to do or eat anything.

Somehow, I'm not comforted. I feel like I've played my cards and am now just hoping for the best. This is how people get burned. It's also how people get big rewards. It's the law of Risk Management. The more you risk, the larger the potential reward or loss. I have a low Risk Tolerance - I usually only make sure bets. Maybe that's why I'm still in the game.

My brother often says "Go Big or Go Home" when we play games. I think it's his way of goading me into doing something foolish, but a lot of times I've ended up winning the game when I've adopted that attitude. I guess I've decided it's time for me to Go Big.

We'll see what happens.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hair Cut

Long hair is beautiful...

...on other people.

On me, it's limp. And annoying. And the back always flips out in a very unbecoming way. I find myself putting it up in a ponytail or a clip in order to get it out of the way. When I start putting my hair up three times a week or more, for several weeks in a row, it's time for me to cut my hair.

So, I did.

Before


After

Okay, so I don't think the before shot is very good. I was actually having a pretty decent hair day. (Oh, and I absolutely LOVE that purple shirt!) You'll just have to believe me that my hair wasn't looking good most of the time - especially the bangs!

I like shorter hair cuts. I think I look better, it takes less time to dry, and I use less shampoo and conditioner. Oh, and I can't do it in a ponytail any more. Pigtails, yes, but I try to avoid those since I think they make me look like I'm 9 yrs old.

That's it. Just thought I'd share. *smile*

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I love life's ebbs and flows. A few months ago, I felt like my life was a bit stale and that nothing really ever happened. Before I knew it, the tide turned and I'm being blessed with an abundance of activities, friends, and interesting experiences.

Take this past weekend for an example. I didn't have a moment's rest and I loved every minute of it.

Friday
...Got home from work without any plans for the evening
...Read outside on my porch for 10 minutes before neighbor came home
...Received text from neighbor asking if I wanted to hang out, I said yes
...Went to his condo and ended up helping him rearrange his living room furniture - I love rearranging furniture!
...Went with him to Big Lots and Walmart in search of a new TV stand for him
...Was invited to his friends' house, we accepted, and spent a couple hours chatting with them
...After answering questions about hearing, agreed to test their hearing - at midnight!
...Went back to neighbor's house, just the two of us, and talked til 3am

Saturday
...Woke up at 9am
...Rode my exercise bike for 25 minutes
...Showered, prepared for my "date" with my 6-yr old niece Brooke
...Picked up Brooke and went to Garden House for lunch
...Was at Garden House at the same time as a Shakespearean Festival party of sorts
...Introduced Brooke to both the founder of the Festival and my most favorite actor *swoon*
...After lunch, both of us had manicures - she received something special for being so well-behaved, the manicurist put flower stickers and cute designs all over her nails
...Brooke was in 7th heaven - finally being pampered like the princess she is!
...Bought peanut butter cookie ingredients
...On the drive home from the store, was rear-ended on Main St.
...No one hurt, other driver's fault, she's very cool and seems on the ball about getting her insurance to pay for the damage - let's hope it works out as well as it sounds
...At home, made peanut butter cookies, delivered some to neighbor couple who loaned us vanilla to make the cookies, the only item I didn't buy because I thought I had it at home but really didn't - however, I now have THREE boxes of baking powder and TWO of baking soda!
...Played PIUE for a bit before taking Brooke home
...Hurried home to prepare for party at my house - vacuumed, cleaned up cookie-making mess, made bed, ate dinner
...First party guests arrive shortly after 7, soon afterward everyone invited is there
...Play Hit or Miss - Cardine and I tied for 1st, woohoo!
...Each person used their scratch paper from the game to make an airplane
...Had an airplane flying contest from my porch - Warnser won - I'm pretty sure he cheated but I can't prove it
...Saw neighbor while outside, invited him and his friend to the party
...We played CLR, a very very easy dice game that is surprising really fun
...Went to neighbor's condo, took personality color quiz - I'm equal parts red, yellow, and blue
...Used answer sheets to make airplanes and had another airplane flying contest - Warnser won again, his plane flew into the yard three houses down
...Chatted a little
...Everyone left, neighbor and I talked until 3:45am

Sunday
...Woke up at 8:30am
...Prepared Primary lesson (first time I'd had the chance to even look at the lesson all week!)
...Ate brunch
...Went to church
...Slept and read for a couple hours
...Renewed my temple recommend (finally!)
...Visited Dad for a couple hours
...Visited Mom for a couple hours
...Arrived home just before 9pm
...At 9pm, received invite from neighbor to star gaze with him in his back yard, I accepted
...Stargazed for an hour or so, while eating home-cooked (but not homemade) bread with homemade strawberry jam
...Neighbor's roommate returned home and the three of us talked until 1am

Other than the part about being rear-ended on Saturday, the weekend was absolutely, amazingly fun. True, I didn't get a lot of sleep. True, I didn't win a single airplane flying contest. True, I ate too much junk Saturday night. True, I wouldn't change a thing...except maybe take a different route home from the grocery store. *smile*

Friday, August 07, 2009

Something New

I readily admit to being a bit of an impulse buyer.

Not a completely out-of-control impulse buyer, just an occasional, when the mood hits impulse buyer.

I'd worry about it more if the mood "hit" more regularly, but it really doesn't. I can usually talk myself out of most purchases, so I don't spend a lot of money on a regular basis. Especially since I rarely even think of buying things. Especially not expensive things.

However, when I decide I want to buy something and it fits into how I perceive my life, I buy it. As immediately as possible.

Last night, I decided I wanted a new tv so I could put my old one in front of my exercise bike, and with that, the decision was made. Within an hour, I had purchased this:
It's a Samsung 26" Flatscreen TV. I've named it Norman. Just kidding! Who would name their television! Honestly!

It's really light-weight so easy to carry, which was important as I live on the third floor. It was also surprisingly easy to set-up and I was watching it shortly after arriving back home. It fits my home well - not too big and overwhelming, but big enough. I invited my new neighbors up to see it, and they approve. Now they want a flatscreen tv, too.

It's funny because I have NEVER wanted a flatscreen tv before. And yet, I now have one.

Life has a sense of humor.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What I Love

I'm feeling pretty up-beat lately; life has been treating me fairly well. So, basking in my warm and fuzzy mood, here's a purely positive list of things that make me happy.

I Love...

...Waking up in time to see the sunrise

...Chocolate truffles

...Lower numbers on the bathroom scale

...Making new friends

...New neighbors - especially two who are male, single, attractive, and funny

...My church calling (job) - I teach Primary, the 11-year old kids

...Camping, especially with my family

...New possibilities

...Cemeteries

...Meatloaf - my recipe is my favorite because it's the closest to what Mom used to make

...Pink (the color and the singer)

...Sitting on my porch, especially when it's raining

...The smell of fresh-cut grass

...Starting a new book

...Rereading a favorite book

...Talking to old friends (or new ones) 'til the wee hours of the night - even if I have to wake up early the next morning

...Trying new recipes

...Retrying a recipe after messing it up the first time

...Tweaking a good recipe to make it one I really want to use often

...Having one recipe that never works out (bread) to keep me humble and to give me something to aspire to

...The pillow covers Cassie made me for my birthday

...Water

...Having a plan

...Playing croquet (extreme or otherwise)

...Brownies, pie, baklava, chocolate chip cookies, popsicles

...Getting emails on my BlackBerry

...Necklaces

...Watching softball

...Dinner parties - I'm thinking of having one soon!

...Guernsey, WY

...Cousins weekends

...Driving around town with my mom looking at new houses

...Living alone

...Hugs from my niece and nephews

...Getting book recommendations from my 10-year old sister

...Ribeye steaks cooked medium

...My home

That's a pretty good list for the time-being. There are certainly things that could be added, but I'll save them for another day. *smile*

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Day of Nothing-To-Do

Today, I had nothing to do.

My house was clean, no family functions, and no plans with friends. I was totally free to do whatever I wanted and what I wanted to do was NOTHING.*

One thing I've always enjoyed about a lazy day is the lack of a deadline. It's not a true lazy day if you know in the back of your mind that you have to be showered and ready to go at 5pm to meet up with someone. Kind of kills the lazy buzz, if you catch my drift.

I had no such deadline today. I reclined on my sofa content in the knowledge that I could stay there as long as I liked.

My phone rang at 4pm, Mom's ring tone. I sighed. I knew she'd want to do something together. I had a choice; I could agree to her plans and kill my lazy day or I could politely decline her invitation and continue in my day of nothingness. I chose the second option.

For about 2 minutes. I called her back and said I'd be over as soon as I put on a bra, changed my clothes, and put my hair in a ponytail. Oh, and I warned her that I hadn't showered, had no makeup on, and looked disgraceful. She didn't care. I spent a lovely few hours with her and my beloved Grandma; helping to hang the new window valances, playing cards, and chatting. They left for the play and I came back home, glad I'd chosen to spend time with them after all.

So, why did I chose to go over in the first place? Easy, I was bored. It had been so long since I'd had a day to do nothing - I thought I'd rejoice in it, but I didn't. The inactivity bothered me. Even as I watched tv, I had to be doing something else, even if it was just eating (which is bad on several levels).

I'm a little disgruntled to learn I'm becoming one of those people that can't be lazy or that doesn't enjoy being lazy every so often. Does the ability to be lazy need to be practiced in order to be kept? Kind of like the ability to stay up too late? I haven't totally lost these abilities, I can do both if needed, but I'm losing the enjoyment of them. I'd rather go to bed at a sensible hour (11pm or even 10:30pm), wake up early to exercise (6:30 or 7am), and continue to be active and productive throughout the rest of the day, at least intermittently. You know, an hour of tv followed with a couple hours of cleaning/playing/work/etc. Repeat pattern.

I think I'll live with this new shift, though. In fact, I can see myself becoming quite happy with how things are turning out. There's such a sense of accomplishment when one looks back on the day and knows that fun was had, people were enjoyed, and tasks were removed from the To Do list.

Sigh. I must be growing up...or something. *smile*


* I did make one exception - I had to water my garden plants!

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Weekend

This last weekend, I traveled up north to visit Adam.

And we got engaged.

Just kidding!

We really just decided to start dating again.

Just kidding, again!

No really, several people really struggled to understand why I'd go visit him if we're really just friends - we must be getting back together for me to go just to see him. Well, we are really just friends. Can't a friend go visit another friend? (That's a rhetorical question, I know the answer. It's "yes".)

Anyhoo, I had a great time. Adam's sister, Diana, let me stay with her and her family. I love them! I'm glad Adam and I are still friends so I can see them every so often. (There are other reasons, too, Adam!) His sister is so warm and welcoming and I've liked her from the first moment I met her - 4 years ago. Her husband is a quiet guy, so I didn't really get to know him, but he was really helpful Saturday - I'll explain later. Their kids are adorable. So well-behaved, polite, fun. Their third child, Ashley, was baptized on Saturday, so Adam's parents were also staying with Diana and her family. It was certainly a full house, but a fun full house. Everyone was so nice to me. I never once felt uncomfortable. In fact, I felt a part of the family the whole time I was there. I really appreciated it.

So here's a quick run-down of the weekend's activities, then I'm going to share some interesting moments that happened.

Friday: arrived around 7pm; toured Diana's home and was introduced to Joe and the kids; Adam's parents took him and me out to dinner - cute restaurant, delicious omelet!; played games with Diana, Adam's parents, and Adam's nephew Daniel; Adam and I watched Amelie - it was fantastic!; talked with Adam 'til 3am; went to bed and slept like the dead.

Saturday: was woken up at 8:30 by Addie, Adam's 12-year old niece in whose room I was sleeping, because she had forgotten her dress - she was so cute and polite and we had a nice conversation; woke up because I couldn't get back to sleep and got ready for the baptism; baptism went from 11am to noon - it was pretty standard except for the bizarre opening prayer; ate lunch with Adam at Kneaders - very tasty; Toys R Us for a present for Ashley (neice who was just baptized); tour of Adam's apartment; back to Diana's to change clothes; art museum - found a few paintings I'd actually buy if a) they had been for sale and b) I had the money set aside for such purchases; drove around looking at interesting homes (I LOVE doing that) and the Krishna temple; browsed an antiques shop/bookstore; ate dinner at Diana's; ran to the mall for a thank-you present to give to Diana and family; played games 'til 2am with Diana and their parents (they actually only made it to midnight); went to bed and slept like the dead.

Sunday: tried to wake up early to go for a walk but my body refused; finally got up and got ready then went to breakfast with Adam (who paid, grrr, I mean - thank you!); went back to Diana's and looked at a few of his family pictures; ate lunch with my host family; toured the garden; played games until time to leave; loaded up my car (which took awhile, see #4 below); said my goodbyes; drove home; other stuff unrelated to my trip; went to bed around midnight and slept like the dead.

Now for the interesting moments: (in no particular order)

1. Adam's dad: "So, Julie, when are you coming to Kanab to visit us?" It surprised me, quite frankly, so I stumbled a little bit with my answer - They know that Adam and I aren't dating, so why would they want me to visit them? was all I could think. I take it as a compliment, though. They must like me. I like them, too, and if it wouldn't cause assumptions to be made, would be happy to visit them. It was just funny and a little awkward at the time because it took me by surprise.

2. Adam's mom: "Buy a diamond!" When Adam and I were leaving to go to the mall, his mom shouted this from the dining room. Neither Adam or I heard her say it, but Diana told us about it later. Again, I take it as a compliment. When a mom likes you enough that she wants her son to marry you, that's probably one of the highest compliments you can get. Still funny, though.

3. Diana: "You better watch out, Julie, I think Daniel likes you." Daniel, if you recall from above, is Adam's nephew. His 28-year old nephew, in case you were thinking of some cute liittle 7-year old. This really took me by surprise. I'd only been in the guy's company for a few hours and had had no clues that he had taken a fancy to me. Her evidence was compelling, and funny, so maybe he did develop a little crush. Again, I'm flattered if it's true but am not interested.

4. Me: "I'll take it!" At the antique store, I stumbled across an old (though not antique) secretary hutch. The tag's price was too good to be true, so I assumed it was just for the hutch and not the drawers upon which it sat. I asked Adam if he thought I'd be able to fit both pieces in my car, and he said he thought I'd be able to. I asked the owner about the price, just to be sure, and was told it was for both pieces. Without a moment's hesitation, I said I'd buy it. I bought it, Adam's brother-in-law came in their surburban to take it to their house, then we had lots of fun figuring out how it would fit in my car. It didn't. Not really. With Joe's help, though, on Sunday we rigged it so that I was able to make it home with both pieces intact. Thanks Joe! Now they rest at my mom's house awaiting my brothers return to town this weekend. Then they (my brothers) will pack them up to my 3rd floor condo. My brothers don't know this plan yet, so please don't tell them. Maybe they'd decide not to come down afterall. *smile*

5. Addie: "Can you stay another night?" Adam found out that he didn't have to work today (Monday), so Addie asked if I'd stay longer. I really liked Addie. I liked all the kids, but I liked her the most, so I was touched that she wanted me to stay longer, even though it would've meant giving up her bed another night. It's fun to be liked.

6. Daniel: "I should probably stay here tonight in case Julie and Adam want to go back to our apartment." He said this to Diana. Again, Adam and I didn't hear it, Diana told us later. Don't ask me why he thought I'd go back to their apartment that night (Daniel and Adam share an apartment, in case you're a little slow on the uptake) or what he thought we'd be doing there. It's funny because I'm beginning to think Adam hasn't done good things with my reputation amongst his family. Four years ago, a distant relative of his came up to me at one of Adam's niece's wedding (again, don't picture a 7-year old) and asked if I was still living with Adam. Now this! I either scream "hussy" or he's not painting a flattering picture of me. *smile*

It really was an enjoyable weekend. The best part was getting to hang out with Adam. We do better as friends than we ever did as more-than-friends. In fact, he's become one of my best friends. He knows me better than most, accepts me with all my flaws, and can read me almost as well as my own family. I really love him like a brother-friend.

Thanks, Adam, for inviting me for a visit and for making it such a fun trip!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Garden

My brothers sometimes tell of the year one of them gave me a cactus for Christmas because all the other plants I'd ever tended had died. Surely, I couldn't kill a cactus.

I did.

Years ago, I had a roommate with a green thumb who decorated our tiny apartment with plants and flowers. She went on a one-week vacation to Hawaii, leaving me with detailed instructions on how to care for the plants and flowers - exactly how much water to give and how often, even singing suggestions!

By the end of the week, they were brown and wilting even though I followed her instructions to a tee.

A couple years ago, my boss's wife brought a plant to the office as an apology for a fight they had. My coworker and I knew we'd be the ones caring for the plant and neither of us were happy about it. She's about as good with plants as myself. So, we neglected it. For months. It sat on the lobby bookshelf becoming progressively uglier and uglier until it was a brown, wilted stalk with shriveled up leaves.

Then someone (probably my boss's wife) put it in my office. My office is in the kitchen (let's just leave it at that) and has a sink, so maybe she had watered the plant and forgot to put it back on the bookshelf. No matter the reason, the plant was in my office and there it stayed. For weeks I tried to ignore it, but I can't just sit there and watch a living thing slowly die, so I started putting a bit of water in it before leaving. Just an evening here, an evening there.

It started to get green. Little shoots started pushing up through the dirt. I knew it needed sunlight, but I worried that if I moved it back to the lobby, I'd neglect it again, so I left it in my office awhile longer. As it got bigger and greener and prettier, I started to feel a sense of pride at having resuscitated it. I finally felt comfortable moving it to the lobby and from there, getting daily doses of sunlight, the plant has really flourished. Even my coworker has gotten into keeping it healthy and will water it when I'm out of the office.

This last experience gave me a little confidence and I finally decided to do something I've wanted to do for a long time. I created a garden!

Even as a kid I didn't garden. My allergies were so bad growing up that time spent outdoors was filled with sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, and lots of complaining. So, while the rest of my family tended the garden, I cleaned the house. Hence, I have no knowledge of gardening.

My sister-in-law went with me to the local plant nursery because I didn't feel confident enough to pick out my own plants. I knew what I wanted, but wasn't sure how to get what I wanted. One thing I knew; I didn't want to grow anything from seeds - I wanted baby plants.

The next evening, I gathered all my supplies on to my beloved patio; plants, pots (one I've had for years thanks to my stepmother who gave me a pot of flowers one year - they died in a couple months and the pot has stood barren ever since), potting soil, Miracle Grow, watering can, scissors, and a spoon (for digging - it was the best I could come up with). I loved the feel of dirt beneath my nails (though afterward I scrubbed them spotless), the smell of earth, the flow of water from my watering can onto the freshly planted plants, and the well-being that came with doing something so...refreshing.

In the big pot, I planted one cherry tomato, one grape tomato, and one yellow sweet pepper. The middle pot contains cilantro (yummy!) and to its right are chives. I would have liked to plant more herbs, maybe parsley, rosemary, and dill, but they didn't have those herbs when we went. Maybe it's better to start off small anyway. I can always get more plants!

Now my beloved patio is even more special, a true bit of heaven-on-earth. I can't wait to start eating tomatoes and peppers from my garden and using fresh herbs picked right from my porch!

Sigh. Life is good.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Did You Know - Part III

... My first boyfriend's name was Jose?
* we "dated" in 1st grade.

...I'm currently reading 4 books?
* Lisey's Story by Stephen King
* The Appeal by John Grisham
* Flashback by Nevada Barr
* Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey

...I think beards can be sexy?
* not the bushy ones, though.

...I'm addicted to the soundtrack of Notre Dame de Paris?
* thanks, Adam

...My current celebrity crush is Charles Kelley?
* singer for Lady Antebellum
* he has a wicked sexy beard
* ok, both guys in the band have beards, but I like him more

...Before him, my celebrity crush was Simon Baker?
* the Mentalist, CBS
* however, doesn't look good with a beard

...Little sleep + no food + heat/broken air conditioner = grumpy Julie?
* this sums up my latest work trip to Lake Powell

...My phone is pink?
* nothing more to add

...I like to go to movies by myself?
* Angels and Demons, June 6th

...Green is my current "it" color?
* it was red

...I talk too much sometimes?
* many of you know this first-hand

...I avoid touching public bathroom door handles like the plague?
* they give me the heebie geebies

...Last night I forgot to eat dinner?
* no wonder I had such strong snack cravings last night!

...I once lost my balance and fell on my bum while watching someone toss a coin?
* cjane, Montreal, 1999

...I pretend heights don't bother me?
* really, I have the urge to jump
* that bothers me

...I walk 4 miles a day?
* sometimes more, if I get in two walks

...I overuse the thumbs up sign?
* woohoo! *thumbs up*

...I once burned my tongue on a fork?
* my brother said I had a forked tongue
* thumbs up*

..."Want" is my least favorite word to sign?
* feels awkward

..."Like" is my favorite?
* it's fun, you should try it

...I'm thinking about getting back together with one of my exes?
* can you guess which one?

...This is the first "Did You Know" that contains no lies?
* thumbs up*

You can find Did You Know Part I here and Part II here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Spider and the Fly

Close your eyes.

Picture a playground at an elementary school.

Now picture a huge, wide, gently-sloping, climbing net with the top end attached to the middle of the jungle gym and the other attached to poles and stopping just a few inches from the ground.

Got that?

Now imagine 20 or so giggly girls, about 8 or 9 years old, sitting as close to the top of the net as they can get and looking at the solitary boy, sitting at the bottom of the net, looking up at the girls.

I was one of those giggly girls, though not nearly as giggly or outgoing as I grew to be (I was actually a pretty quiet child, believe it or not). All these years later, I don't know how it started, but we ended up playing a version of the Spider and the Fly. The boy - I don't remember his name but can picture his face as if it had happened yesterday - was the Spider, the girls were the Flies. We'll call him John...because I like it as an alias.

The game boiled down to John choosing which girl he liked the most by eliminating the ones he didn't.

"The girl I like the most has blonde hair", he'd announce, and all the non-blondes had to leave the web. I was a natural blonde, fyi.

"The girl I like the most is not wearing a skirt", and those unfortunate girls with skirts left the web. I wore pants.

"The girl I like the most has freckles." Oh what a great time to have brown spots all over my face!

A few at a time, or sometimes one by one, John narrowed the field, finally leaving just two girls in his web. Unbelievably, I was one of them. Every time he made his declaration, I'd look at what I was wearing, check my hair for braids, color, bangs, etc, and generally make sure I could stay in the web.

I don't remember who was the other final Fly in the web with me, but I remember how we huddled close together at the top of the net...ahem...I mean, web... and nervously giggled while we waited for John's final pronouncement.

Maybe that's what the final two Miss America (or American Idol or ANTM) contestants feel like as they wait to hear who has won. Huh.

I knew I wouldn't be the Chosen One. I was taller than all the girls my age and most of the boys, an awkward situation. And yet, I didn't stick out but tended to settle nicely into the background. Sometimes I wondered if anyone would ever remember me because I was just average, nothing remarkable, not too quiet/smart/funny/troublesome/etc. I had friends but I wasn't one of the girls that boys noticed...I didn't realize at the time that most boys don't notice girls that way at that age.

John either took his time deciding which of us he liked most or he was nervous to finally make his choice irrevocably known to the rest of the grade (by this time, our game had garnered a lot of attention from non-playing girls and boys) but either way, it seemed like an eternity before he finally made his last pick.

"The girl I like the most is wearing a butterfly barrette."

Can you believe that to this day I remember that final sentence? Okay, I can't. All I remember is the shock and pleasure at realizing that I was the girl he liked most. He had chosen me! The loser...I mean, non-winner...whatever...left the web, and John climbed up to where I sat in amazement. We ended up spending the rest of recess sitting on the net together, holding hands, and talking.

Or something like that. I don't really remember what happened afterward. Quite honestly, the most powerful memory I have of this event is the feeling of being liked the most, of being picked from a bevy of cute, nice girls as the most cute and nice. I was the Fly the Spider wanted to catch!

More than 20 years later, this memory still makes me smile. It was the first time I realized that a boy could find me attractive. It boosted my confidence, helped me out of my shell a bit, and well, set the foundation for me becoming a bit of a flirt (reformed, currently).

Whenever I start to get bummed that there doesn't seem to be a Spider who likes me most, I try to remember that Spiders have different tastes and that somewhere out there is a Spider who likes curvy, blue-eyed, freckled, (currently) blonde Flies. 'Til our paths meet, I guess I'll just sit in this comfy web and enjoy the view.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Better Hearing Month

I'm so glad it's Wednesday afternoon - late afternoon - almost time to go home!

May is National Better Hearing Month, and to celebrate, my work had an Open House yesterday and today. We offered free hearing screenings, food, prizes, and a chance to see the inside of your ears. Aren't you sad that you missed it???

The whole thing was my idea, and for the past few weeks I've been busy getting everything organized. I really wanted to give the Open House a shot at success, so I contacted my friend at the radio station and set up a remote broadcast at our office for yesterday afternoon from 11am to 2pm. My boss wasn't thrilled; partly because he hates spending money on marketing and partly because he didn't want to talk on the radio. We got a really good deal on the broadcast, though, and I told him he'd only have to talk once since we had only three times to talk (once an hour) and we'd take turns. We've never advertised on the radio before, so it was definitely a gamble, a risk that I prayed would pay off.

The first time to talk on the radio came and both my boss and coworker were busy, so John*, the DJ, had me go out to the van to talk about what was going on, what we were doing, etc. Frankly, I was nervous. I'd never talked on the radio before and am pretty good at making myself sound foolish - not a good combination! John and I chatted while the last song played and I grilled him about what was going to happen; would he be asking me questions, how long should I make my answers, how would I know when to shut up, etc. He laughed and said I'd do fine.

Did I mention that John was H-O-T? Oh baby.

The song ended and John introduced where he was and asked me my name. I replied, tempted for half a milli-second to lie, I don't know why. See what I mean about my propensity for being silly? He asked me questions about the Open House and our office, and I answered fairly intelligently. I made him laugh a couple times - I couldn't control myself! - but overall I felt really good about how well I did. I was pleased that I'd gotten my turn over with and could relax the rest of the time.

My boss talked next and hated it. He sounded a little funny, frankly. You could tell he was nervous. Poor guy. Teehee.

The third time, my coworker was talking to her son and daughter-in-law, so John pulled me out to talk again. I was sad that my coworker wouldn't get the chance, but she grinned an evil grin that said, Haha, I don't have to do it! I worried about repeating myself, but John said it is good to say things over and over again. This time, I was a little sillier AND I talked a tad too much so we had to hurry to end in time AND we still got cut off at the very end. I apologized but John said it happens a lot. He told me I have a great radio voice and that if I ever want to quit my job I could do well in the radio business. I thanked him, and then floated back to the office - compliments do that to me. Especially from hot guys.

Turns out, we got more than three opportunities to talk on the radio. The fourth time, my coworker ended up getting to do it. She was fabulous! She is the queen of one-liners and sounded like a natural. The last hour, I got to talk two more times, making my grand total a whopping 4 times! I enjoyed it a lot, even though I think I sounded like a doofus, albeit a friendly, cheerful doofus! I'm thrilled that we got to broadcast 6 times instead of just 3 - more bang for our buck. Woohoo!

I felt a little like a celebrity; a small-time celebrity with less than 1 minute of "fame", but a celebrity nonetheless. *smile* Friends and family called and texted to tell me they'd heard me on the radio. When I introduced myself to people coming in for the Open House, they'd smile and say they'd heard me talk on the radio. We had a great turn-out and most of the people said they came because they heard about it on the radio. My boss finally admitted at the end of the day that using the radio had been a good idea afterall. Vindicated.

Okay, let's talk about John. He's married but has only been so for a few months. He dated his now-wife for a few months before that, so before that he was single! A single, attractive, age-appropriate guy had been living in my area for years and I never met him! Tragic, absolutely tragic. How many others like him (except still single) are out there that I'm not meeting? John and I discussed the fact that I'm still single and that he remained single for so long. He said we could have dated and had a lot of fun, though, he said, he's probably "too wild" for me since I'm Mormon. We could have dated!!! Not that we necessarily would have ended up together, but it would have been nice to see, and it was sweet of him to imply that he could have been interested in dating me. And really, the frustration I feel isn't because I "lost my chance with him", because frankly there never was a chance; the true frustration is due to not knowing any guys in my area I could be interested in but suspecting that some might exist and I just don't know it. Does that make sense? Sigh. I asked John where all the single guys over 30 hang out - because it would be helpful to find out - he laughed and said he has no idea. You're a ton of help, I joked. A little insider information could have been very useful.

So, I ask myself, at one point do I stop relying on "timing" and "Fate/Divine Intervention" and start actively trying to meet guys who I'd be interesting in dating? And, how does one go about actively meeting local guys; they don't come into my office (my ex doesn't count), I don't meet them at church, and I don't go to school or to bars. What's a girl to do?

Anyhoo, this post has taken an interesting turn, so I'm going to return to the topic on hand. The Open House was more successful than any of our previous Better Hearing Month ideas and I'm proud of how well we pulled it off. It's such a relief that it's almost over - one more hour - and that there was a steady stream of people when the radio station was here. Seriously, that was my biggest worry - that John would show up and think we were big losers because no one came to our Open House.

It was so successful that we're planning on doing it again next year. A few things we learned this time:

1. I bought too much food. I didn't want to run out, but I could have fed a third-world country with all the stuff I bought.

2. One day is better than two. Not that people haven't shown up today, but not enough to make it necessary to have the open house two days.

3. The radio brought in people. Woohoo!

I wonder if I'll be around next year. I guess we'll see! :)

* Name has been changed because I didn't ask him if I could blog about him. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Me, Lately

A Possibility
Last week, our accountant's wife, Holly, asked me if I would be interested in taking on a part-time job. One of their neighbors needs someone to do some simple bookkeeping and asked if she could recommend anyone. Holly thought of me. I was flattered. She said all they need is someone to send out bills once a month and do payroll for 8 employees twice a month. Easy! They'd provide me with a computer and everything I'd need so I could do it out of my house. If this works out, there's no way I'm getting another roommate once Liz moves out! What I'll make from this job would be quite a bit more than what I get in rent. I'd be able to save for my France trip in no time and then start working on some of my other financial goals. Holly said she'll let these people know that I'm be willing to do it. That's where it stands currently, so I don't know yet if it's going to happen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, though!

A Change
I highlighted my hair Friday afternoon. It was my reward for losing 75 lbs. Woohoo! When I chose this as a reward, I started thinking about how long it's been since I've gone lighter and realized it's been awhile! Funny, because I used to change my hair color every few months - to fit the season. Anyway, here's me before I had my hair done:











My smile is weird. Oh well.

I had planned on taking a picture with all the tin foil in my hair, but I forgot. Here's the after:











Why is it that I always look high when I take pictures of myself? It's the eyes. They look stoned or something. I wasn't, by the way, it just looks like I was. Anyway, it's fun to have a change, though I'm still getting used to it. I mean, I totally love my new look, but I still think of myself as having darker hair. I forget that my hair is different, so when I see myself in the mirror, I get a little surprise. I like surprises!

A Resurrection
In the above photo (the after shot), please note the dress I'm wearing (what little you can see). My mom bought me that dress as a birthday present in May 2000 - right after I came home from Montreal. Right now, I'm about 20 lbs heavier than when she bought it for me but about 25 lbs lighter than when I last wore it - on my cruise in August 2003. It was tight then; I couldn't even wear the matching jacket, I wore a white sweater instead. When I got home from the cruise, I banished the dress to the farthest part of my closet and vowed not to wear it until I had lost some weight. A couple years later, I removed it from my closet and almost donated it to the thrift store because I still couldn't wear it. It was in almost perfect condition, though, so I stuffed it in a box and have held on to it for that reason ever since. I recently found it while doing some Spring cleaning, and yesterday I decided to try it on since I didn't have anything I wanted to wear for Easter. It fit perfectly! I almost cried.

A Compliment
Will I ever get tired of guys being amazed that I drive Bertha and the Beast? This morning, I picked the trailer up from the repair shop (the leaky ceiling has been fixed!), and the guys that work at the shop gathered around to show me all they'd done. When it was time for me to head out, they all said how impressed they are that I can handle such a big truck and trailer. One guy even did the "We're not worthy" bow a few times. It was pretty funny. A little while later, while at a truck stop to gas up, a trucker man asked, "Baby, you drive that big 'ol monsta?" When I said yes, he patted me on the shoulder and said it's a beautiful thing to see a woman driving a big truck.

I know that I should be a little insulted on behalf of my sex because men are SO astonished that a woman can do this, but really, I'm tickled. Probably because I'm still pretty surprised that I can do it and that I love doing it. It's a little strange to think that last April I practiced driving (usually backing up) every morning, Monday through Saturday, all month long. It took me forever to understand how to drive that truck and trailer - it certainly didn't come naturally! So, I'll happily accept the compliments that guys give me for being able to do it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Upcoming Change and Something to Decide

Last night, my roommates told me they're moving out at the end of the month.

It wasn't a huge surprise - a few weeks ago, I asked Liz what her plans were following graduation. She informed me that she and Jeff had discussed her moving back in with her parents in order for them to save money for their wedding next April. They hadn't decided when she'd move out and I didn't press for an answer.

Once I got passed the initial shock of having other people in my living space (especially since I had only wanted ONE roommate but got TWO), I really enjoyed having Liz and Jeff as roommates. It was good to have someone to come home to, to discuss my day with, to laugh with, etc. They knew more about what was going on in my life than almost anyone else (besides Adam). And, I'll forever love Jeff for always taking out the trash for us. I'll love any man who will do that! :)

I'm ready to live alone again, though. I like leaving and coming back to the same house I left. I'm pretty persnickety about my kitchen; I like things just so. And, I have a list of kitchen items that I refuse to allow into the dishwasher, and they keep ending up in there despite my repeated pleas. I can't handle a messy kitchen; in all the other rooms I can handle a bit of clutter, but not the kitchen. It needs to be clean. The sink should be clean and food-free, the counters shouldn't be sticky, and the floor should be swept regularly (ideally each evening after everyone has finished cooking).

I'm getting off-topic, I apologize. Like I said, I have a thing about my kitchen.

Which leads to the decision I need to make: whether or not to get a roommate after Liz and Jeff move out.

There are two schools of thought regarding this decision. The first says, why not? It's free money! I do nothing but share my space, and in return, I get money. Good deal, no? The second says, you're too big a fussbudget, Julie, and should live alone until some insane man falls in love with you and wants to marry you.

I agree with both.

I'm going to France next year, so having an additional source of income would come in handy. I've saved all the rent money from Liz and Jeff, and it has really added up to a goodly amount! I ask myself, why not get a roommate just for the the next school year - nine measly little months? That would be a few thousand dollars that can go towards my France trip. I could be a little more particular about what roommate I get and make darn sure that they know what doesn't go into the dishwasher EVER and that they will be charged extra if they have someone over all the time (I don't think I'd mind having an additional roommate if I was getting paid for it).

On the other hand, with a little thought and diligence, I can save enough money for France without having rent money coming in. And I LOVE having my place to myself. I could turn Liz's room into a small den; putting all my bookshelves in there with a big comfy chair. That would be awesome! And, I could be as kitchen-obsessed as I want without bugging anyone else.

Here's what I bet ends up happening: I'll advertise for a roommate then be really particular about whom I choose. If no one meets my standards, then I won't feel bad about not having one. If an awesome one comes along, I won't feel too bad about sharing my beloved condo.

I'm so very, very thankful that I have a choice in this matter and don't have to have a roommate in order to pay my mortgage. That would be stressful.

I'll keep you updated, of course!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Resolutions - Part 2

To refresh your memory, this year, instead of having goals or resolutions for the entire 12 months, I decided to set goals for a quarter at a time. Let's discuss how I did.

1st Quarter Goals
1. Attend church every week I'm in town. I actually did fairly well on this one. I only missed church three times; one time I was sick and one time I had a guest visiting. I missed it a few more times due to traveling but those don't count, remember.

2. Exercise every day. I did really well on this one. Once I felt recovered enough from my surgery, I exercised in some way or another almost every day this quarter. I did miss a few days, naturally; a couple days when I was sick a couple weeks ago, a couple days last weekend while in Vegas with family (though I did get some physical activity moving boxes/furniture and walking the Strip/casino), and a few times due to poor planning on my part. All in all, though, I'm very pleased.

3. Read 3 Shakespeare plays. This one has to be far and away the easiest goal but I didn't accomplish it at all. Not a single play read. Good grief. I may need to rethink this goal as it obviously isn't important enough for me to even attempt!

4. Invite friends to my house at least once a month. I did ok with this goal. January I invited people over three times, once in February, and none in March. Not that there weren't people at my house in March, I just didn't expressly invite them over for the intents and purposes of this goal.

Now, on to my goals for the next quarter. For the past few days, I've been thinking about what I'd like to change in my life or what I'd like to focus on more. My 2nd quarter goals reflect my thoughts.

2nd Quarter Goals
1. Go to at least two meetings of church every week I'm in town. Although last quarter I did fairly well with going to church every week I was in town, I never stayed after the first meeting. I have always enjoyed the second meeting (Sunday School), so it should be fairly easy to stay at church a little longer. Cross your fingers.

2. Save $300 a month. (Not including income from renters.) I've never made an actual goal to save any certain allotment of money every month - I just stick excess into my savings account sort of haphazardly. As warmer weather gets closer, I start dreaming of trips to nearby national parks and am sure I'll find other ways to spend more money, so I need to have a savings plan in place in order to budget accordingly.

3. Play tennis and swim once a week (each). I'll still walk and ride my bike, but I want to add some variety to my exercise routine. I would love to have a designated tennis night and play every week like we have in past years! It may be a little cold to start right away, but once the weather is consistently warmer, I'd love to start playing again. Anyone interested in joining me??? And, I love swimming. It feels so good to be in the water, working my entire body at the same time. I hate the hassle of getting in and out of the pool, though, so I'm only going to plan on going once a week instead of more often (I'd go every day if a. I could walk to the pool in 10 minutes or less and b. it wasn't such a pain to change clothes, shower, swim, shower, change clothes). Now I need to go home and find my swimming suit - I haven't seen it since I moved last June!

4. Read or listen to French every day. I really want to be prepared when I go to France next year - I know my vocabulary is totally suffering from neglect. Adam gave me some French music to listen to (Notre Dame de Paris - thanks, Adam!) and I've purchased 5 books in French; two are full of short stories, one is a book of fairy tales, one is a sci-fi/fantasy novel, and the last is a classic: Le Petit Prince - I'm going to start it first because it's pretty famous and I've never read it. I'm betting that having a reason to do it (being able to converse in French while in France) helps me work harder at this goal than last quarter's Shakespeare goal (*moment of silence for that goal*).

Whenever I set resolutions/goals, I try to pick things designed to improve my mind, body, heart, and spirit. Since this quarter I sort of combined body and heart in one goal (tennis = physical activity and social interaction), I added a fiscal goal into the mix. It's my list, so I pretty much get to do whatever I want with it. Teehee.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Is Here!

Things I Like About Spring: (in no particular order, despite the numbers used)

1. Crushes. What is it about Spring that makes our thoughts turn to Romance? I don't know, and it doesn't really matter, I guess. I just enjoy having Spring crushes! My current crush developed this week: the new Fed Ex driver. He's cute, he's friendly, and he has a nice smile. I don't know his name. It doesn't matter - it's just a crush!

2. Flowers. I went for a walk earlier this week and noticed flowers beginning to sprout in my old roommate's yard. So exciting! Tulips, daisies, and daffodils are some of my favorite flowers (though I'm a sucker for just about any variety) and they are quintessentially SPRING. It's almost time for me to buy myself more flowers and I can't wait. I hope Albertson's has tulips when I lose two more pounds!

3. Green. This morning, sitting on my porch for a few moments before heading to work, I noticed that there are several trees in view that are beginning to get the slightest touches of green on their branches. Woohoo! I love my view year-round, but my favorite is when all the leaves are adorned with green leaves. I may be getting addicted to my porch.

4. Daylight. A lot of people complain when Daylight Savings starts. Yeah, I didn't love waking up an hour early on March 8th, especially since I had to wake up at 6:15 (which would have been 5:15 the day before). However, one morning of inconvenience (or a few mornings if you're one of those people who have to take a little time to adjust) is nothing compared to the extra daylight we get! I can now go for a good long walk after work - that is priceless in my book.

5. Warmth. Lately, heaven-on-earth = sitting on my porch basking in the warmth of the sun on a quiet weekend afternoon. There's just a hint of warmth on my face that managed to break through the chill. It's lovely. I love that my heating bill goes down this time of year because I'm being heated naturally by the sun. I've even cracked my bedroom windows open a couple times because my room gets so warm! Warmth and a slight breeze at the same time! Nice.

6. Spring Cleaning. There's a reason this phrase was coined and became so common - it just feels right to clean extensively this time of year. Maybe the increased sunlight sheds light on things that need cleaning. Or maybe we want our homes to smell as nice as the outdoors. Who knows. No matter the reason, that feeling of wanting to clean deeper is essential to my home staying in good form. That said, this year it may not be me that does the deep, deep cleaning. I'm thinking of hiring someone to do it. Yes, it's lazy, but I don't have kids that I can make clean the stuff I want cleaned but don't want to clean (i.e., the window sills, behind the kitchen appliances, the door frames, the floor boards, above the cupboards, inside the stove, etc.). I justify it by saying it's my little way of helping out the local economy. Teehee.

7. Softball. I'm not a huge fan of baseball on tv, but I love watching softball or baseball live. I'm lucky enough to live within walking distance of the local softball park, and I really enjoy walking over to watch a game or two a couple times a week once softball season starts. This year I actually know people who will be playing (my roommate Jeff and maybe one of my brothers) which will be neat, though it's still fun even when I don't.

8. Hope, Energy, Purpose. Maybe it's the new-ness of Spring, things coming back to life, that gives me a renewed sense of these three. I feel like I can throw off the things that are holding me back and become a newer, better me. Spring is a perfect time for me to make plans and goals. In fact, next month I'll be posting my 2nd quarter goals and I've been thinking of what they'll be.

Happy Spring!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

What a Weekend!

I had a delightful weekend!

And, quite frankly, I deserved it.

Going into the weekend, it had been 12 days since I'd had a day off and I'd been getting progressively more ill every day until I reached the pinnacle of feeling awful Friday morning. I took Friday off of work, spent the day with a fever (until I remembered that I have Tylenol, which claims - truthfully, it turned out - to reduce fevers), trying to cough up my insides, and generally wanting to die and put myself out of my misery. Yes, I'm a bit of a baby when I'm sick. Being ill led to missing a friend's party Thursday night and going to a movie Friday night with another friend.

Saturday morning, I awoke from a Nyquil-induced slumber feeling better than I had in days. I still couldn't breath normally and still coughed every few minutes, but I had more energy, I didn't ache everywhere, and the fever was gone. I opened all the blinds in my house, letting the Spring sun burst in. The light invigorated me even more, so I cleaned.

I love cleaning in the Spring. Something about new beginnings, I guess. I cleaned my bathroom, my bedroom, and my kitchen. And when I say cleaned, I mean cleaned! I even washed the inside of my dishwasher - you know, the parts that get gucked up somehow like the rim around the dishwasher door. Yeah, it was kind of weird, but it felt great to clean! I vacuumed and dusted, things I really dislike doing, and even contemplated tidying my spare bedroom. Didn't happen - I wasn't that crazy!

I finished in time to have a quick chat with Cassie, who had accidentally called me earlier. I didn't realize it had been an accidental call, so I called her back. I then showered and got ready for the day. It was still early, so I sat on my porch and read. It was a moment of heaven on earth.

A short time later, Adam came for a visit. He was on his way to his parents' home for the weekend and asked if he could come by for a little while. Of course, I said yes. We talked for a bit, then he showed me Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. It was funny and enjoyable and a little surprising. I loved it! We talked some more then he said goodbye and I waved him down the stairs.

Alyson returned from Las Vegas shortly after Adam left. We decided to go out for dinner - I had only eaten meagerly throughout the day - and chose The Garden House. She had never been, though we have tried to eat there several times. The soup was divine, like usual, as was the brownie sundae that we shared. After dinner, we picked up my mom and drove out to my brother's house for games. It was a really nice evening.

Aly and I got back to my home fairly early but offset this by staying up 'til 3am watching multiple episodes of Iron Chef America and talking. Staying up this late while recovering from a nasty cold wasn't the best of ideas, but it was fun nonetheless. I woke up late Sunday morning feeling slighly under the weather, but not horrible. We talked some more then decided we were both really hungry and so probably should remedy that a.s.a.p. by going out for breakfast. IHOP was our chosen destination, and I picked a very delicious avocado, bacon, and cheese omlette. Afterwards, we talked some more at my home, sometimes enjoying the sunshine from my porch, but mostly from my living room because it was quite windy as well as sunny. Alyson eventually left, and I was sad to see her go; it had been a fun visit.

Between her departure and my roommates' arrival, I read, napped, watched a little TV, and sometimes just sat on my porch and watched the world around me. I love lazy Sunday afternoons and I LOVE that the days stay light longer now. As the sun started to set, I went inside and rode my bike for the first time since Wednesday night. It felt great to get my legs pumping again. While riding, a good friend called. We've been playing phone tag for weeks, so I was thrilled that I was available to chat. I finished my ride as we talked then went back to my beloved porch for the duration of the phone call. It was great to sit there and watch the stars slowly appear as I caught up with my friend. I stayed out there after the call ended and read until bedtime.

This weekend rejuvenated my body, my mind, and my soul. I cleaned, visited with family and friends, and had time to ponder, read, and relax. Basically, it was the perfect mix, and I needed it.

Thank heavens for weekends like that!