Friday, January 30, 2009

Random Facts about Me

My birthday should be in January.
Don’t get me wrong, I ♥ the month of May and love that I was born in May.

So why should my birthday be in January? At the beginning of every year, I automatically start thinking of myself as one year older. Case in point, I no longer think of myself as being 31. In my head, I’m 32. It’s a gradual transition. Just last week, I was teasing a friend that she’s older than me (by 4 months) and is 32 while I’m still 31. However, today I was daydreaming and referred to myself as being 32. That will be my age until January 2010 when I’ll start thinking of myself as 33.

It certainly makes birthdays easier – no trauma about being one year older because I’ve been thinking of myself as being that age for a good 5 months or so.

My speech impediments

I acquired a fun little lisp when I got my new teeth. It’s very pleasant (please note the sarcasm). Everyone tells me that they don’t notice it; I’m not sure if they’re just being nice or if the lisp is only noticeable to me. I hope it’s the latter, but if it’s the former, it means I’m surrounded by nice, if slightly dishonest, people. Either way, it bugs me. I struggle to say certain words, tripping over certain consonants, speaking as gracefully as an elephant on roller blades.

I also have a bit of a stutter/stammer. What’s the difference? Anyone??? Thankfully, like my lisp, it isn’t horribly pronounced, but I struggle with it. My mouth doesn’t process the words as fast as my brain whips them out, so I stumble over them or misspeak them. It’s worse in French, obviously, making me wonder if I’ll ever truly speak it fluently if I can’t even converse smoothly in my native tongue. Certain sounds ("sp", "st", etc) have a hard time making it out my mouth initially. I have to shove them out with a pitch fork. (That makes me think of when I had a forked tongue - have I told you that story?)

Dream jobs

I would love to be a book editor. I’m not creative enough to write a good-quality novel and not patient enough to write a worthy non-fiction book, but I know how to write, even if I don't always do it well. Reading someone else’s work, offering suggestions, making corrections, and being a small part of the creation process would be wonderful. I can’t believe people get paid to do it. Lucky people!

Most of you now this one: book store owner. All day surrounded by books and people who love to read books. Aaahhhh. It doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion. If pressed, I’d own or manage one of those big chain book stores (รก la Fox Books in You’ve Got Mail), but the ultimate dream would be to have my own unique store. Multi-leveled with open floors so you can see the upper levels, because I think it’s quaint and looks cool. Small in size – not sprawling – almost claustrophobic but only because there are books everywhere. Comfortable couches in which to try out a new book before buying it. Book readings by interesting authors as often as possible; authors like Neil Gaiman and John Updike (recently passed away – d’oh - too late!). A staff that is knowledgeable and who will introduce me and our clientele to new authors, books, and music. For this dream to come true, I’m afraid I’m going to need to be independently wealthy. Independent book stores aren’t financially stable and worrying about how to make ends meet would spoil some of the wonderfulness of owning a book store. So, if you know how I can become independently wealthy, I welcome your ideas.

A non-book-related dream job: jewelry designer and maker. At first, I’d make the jewelry based off of someone else’s designs – not being terribly creative naturally. After awhile, I hope I’d be able to see my own designs and translate them into a remarkable piece of jewelry. My first love is necklaces, but I’m also fascinated with bracelets and pins. I wish I wore pins. I wish I knew how to wear them artfully and tastefully. Rings, not so much, though I do like large rings. If my fingers weren’t so short, I’d enjoy wearing a really large ring every now and then.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Return to Happiness

In case you've been wondering, I'm back to my normal, mostly cheerful self. The sadness that came on me last week fortunately didn't last long. By the weekend I was too busy to be sad and I had such a nice weekend that whatever wisps of sadness still existed soon disappeared. Don't you think it's so much nicer to be happy than sad? I mean, I know there needs to be sadness in order to appreciate happiness, but why does sadness have to be so heavy? I feel 46 pounds lighter now that I'm feeling good again. Hmmm. There may be another reason for that feeling but for now, we'll say it's because I'm in a good mood.

In the spirit of Happiness, I've decided to make a list of things that make me smile/happy. And, since my last list got...ahem...criticized for not having an introduction, please count the preceding words as such.

What Makes Me Smile/Happy:

1. The annual winterly feud between us and our boss.
The man's skin must be 5" thick because he can get hot in a blizzard. It's the middle of winter and every day he's in the office he turns on the A/C around 3pm - wearing short-sleeve shirts. We've learned to wear long-sleeve sweaters when he's going to be at the office. (Otherwise, I wear short-sleeve shirts, since my co-worker likes the temperature to be closer to Phoenix in the summer.) From my desk I can see the temp controls, and when he comes to switch the heater on to A/C, I glare at him. He gives me a mischievous grin. I can also hear what's being said in his office, so whenever an afternoon patient mentions how chilly it is in his office, he and I exchange a look. I grin, he scowls. It's actually quite entertaining. And it makes me smile.

2. My Bike. It's an acquired taste, stationary biking. Usually there's no scenery except the sub-par scenery of a TV, so it can be a little monotonous. Also, it can hurt like a mug in between your legs and on your bum until you get used to it. I started out at 5 minutes a session but have gradually worked up to 25 minutes two times a day. I'm addicted to it. I even wake up at 6:45 to ride my bike - that's how much I enjoy it! There aren't a lot of things that I'll voluntarily wake up that early for! Part of the reason I enjoy it is where it's situated in my room - right in front of my east-facing window. I love watching the day slowly appear; a gradual lightening of the sky, the beginnings of color - it's beautiful. At night, I read. I have a book that I only read while biking, so it helps me get back on the bike after a long day - what's going to happen next in my book??? I feel good. I feel energized. It makes me happy.

3. Jeff and Liz. I seriously can't stop saying how much I like these two and how great they are as roommates. I love how we can sit and watch tv together; sometimes we laugh and talk, sometimes we don't say anything. It's comfortable. I love watching them interact. They've been together long enough that they don't act around each other - they are who they are. And they accept each other for who they are. They laugh, fight, tease, love, and bicker. I'm getting a view of a married couple that you can only get when you live with them - if then! It's very educational and actually gives me a lot of hope. I also really appreciate Jeff. He checks up on me. This might have annoyed me at other times in my life, but not now. I know he cares. He made sure I made it home from my date ok and that I felt ok about it. He texted to see if I survived the trip to and from my doctor's appointment and wanted to know how it went. Whenever I go out of town for a job, he texts to see that I arrived ok. He's a really nice guy. They both are wonderful. I smile a lot when I'm around them.

4. Calvin and Hobbes. I love Calvin. My oldest nephew reminds me of him sometimes. Very creative, intelligent, imaginative, and precocious. My favorites are Calvin's snowmen creations and the Dad polls. Oh heavens. They make me laugh.

5. Late Night Chats. Don't get me wrong, they kill me, especially since I now wake up early to ride my bike. That said, I love them. For some reason, a late night chat is special. Maybe it's because I feel like I can say things late at night that I wouldn't in broad daylight. Share things that I wouldn't otherwise. Confess when otherwise I'd stay silent. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I like them. Actually, thinking it over, probably the main reason I enjoy late night chats is the people I tend to have them with. These are people that I feel comfortable being myself with. People I trust. These people and our late night chats make me happy.

6. Food. Just because I'm losing weight doesn't mean I don't enjoy food. I just enjoy it differently. In fact, my current situation has led me to be a little creative. I find new ways to eat chicken/turkey/beef that will fit my new eating lifestyle (aka diet). My current favorite is shredded turkey breast meat, fat-free cheese, and either salsa or low-fat ranch on a mini tortilla, baked quesadilla-style. I can't eat the whole thing - last night I tried and it took me an hour to eat 3/4 of it, but it sure is tasty! It makes me happy that I'm learning to listen to my body and conquering the food addiction I've struggled with for years while still really enjoying what I eat.

7. Good Review. Yesterday, I read my evaluations from Rocky Mountain Power for last year. At each site, when I gave the guys their hearing results, I'd also give them an evaluation form for them to fill out, rating how good a job I did. They'd then give them to their managers who would send them to the head Audiologist for the company. I got great reviews! Every single person scored me at a good to excellent. Not just me but also the trailer, the equipment, etc.; everything about our company was great according to these guys. Plus, a lot of them wrote comments saying how nice/professional/pretty/knowledgeable I was. It felt good to know they thought I did a good job, these aren't always easy men to please. Good evaluation = smiles.

I could probably go on and on and on, but you probably want to finish reading this post before next year, so I'll stop with what I've got.

Thank you, Life, for giving me so many things to smile and be happy about. You're Awesome!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bring on the Rain

I jinxed myself last week with that Balance post. I should never have admitted to being so darn happy. I was kind of smug about being happy and the Universe hates smugness. Last week: Cloud 9. This week: Depths of Despair.

Okay, despair is a little melodramatic. I’m just sad. Fortunately, there are reasons I’m sad; there are few things that are worse than being sad for no reason. And fortunately, the reasons I’m sad aren’t huge or overly significant. They will pass. Probably in no time. ‘Til then, I’m sad.

The weather reflects my mood. It’s cloudy, there’s been a little rain, and more rain threatens. I’m not bright and sunny; neither is the day. How nice of it to share my mood. I’m even wearing a gray sweater.

A song I heard this morning keeps popping in my head – it speaks of my mood and the weather. It helps me feel better. I’m thirsty, too. (I always am nowadays, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Bring on the Rain – sung by Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw
Lyrics by Billy Montana and Helen Darling

Another day has almost come and gone
Can’t imagine what else could wrong
Sometimes Id like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war (cause)

Tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

It’s almost like the hard times circle round
A couple drops and they all start coming down
Yeah, I might feel defeated,
I might hang my head
I might be barely breathing - but I’m not dead

Tomorrows another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

I’m not gonna let it get me down
I’m not gonna cry
And I’m not gonna lose any sleep tonight

Tomorrows another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How I Think

1. I'm so happy for my ex-roomie who just got engaged!

2. When will it be me?

3. Will it ever?

4. I love this song. ("Seat Next To You" - Bonjovi)

5. What movie should I see tonight?

6. Anything is better than watching another episode of American Idol!

7. What am I cooking for tomorrow night?

8. Talk about procrastination - I need to grocery shop tonight!

9. I'm excited to try risotto for the first time - I've heard it's yummy.

10. Does he like me?

11. Is it time to dye my hair?

12. Would I look good with green eyes?

13. Alyson's eyes are so pretty.

14. Boy, food gets stuck in my "new" teeth a lot more than it did in my old teeth.

15. I may be losing my appetite for red meat.

16. Lately it tastes weird.

17. Better than Slim Fast, though!

18. I love it when Cardine drops by my office.

19. She looks good in purple.

20. I’m thirsty.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Your Input Is Requested, Please!

Today, during lunch, I read this interesting article. It's entitled "You Have No Friends: Everyone else is on Facebook. Why aren't You?"

I'm not on Facebook. I've been invited by my cousin, Aly, to join the Facebook craze but have resisted. I live on the computer at work, I don't like spending a lot of time on it when I'm not at work. I blog. Sometimes when I should be working (like right now). I don't need another online enticement to neglect my work. Blogging keeps me updated with many of my friends and family (except Aly who neglects her blog but not Facebook).

The article makes a good argument for joining the 150 million people who have Facebook accounts, but I'm not sold. A prospective employer really won't hire me because I don't have a Facebook account??? If I were an employer, I'd hire that person precisely because they don't, but maybe that's just me. I'm odd. Sometimes I can't believe I actually have a blog - it's so unlike me in some ways.

So, tell me, are you on Facebook? What do you think about it? Why do you like it? Why do you think it's a waste of your precious time? Why should I be on Facebook? What benefits are there to being on it? Why would I ever want to spend more time on the computer fiddling with Facebook?

Thank you for your input. You guys are awesome!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Years ago, I struggled with this question: How can I be content with where I am while working on accomplishing my dreams? I was "stuck" in school in Utah but really wanted to be living adventures in France or anywhere else (but mostly France). How to dream about the future without neglecting the present's potential? It was a long struggle, but in time I found the answer.


Since then, I've been amazed by how often Balance is the answer to my problems. Life, it turns out, is a big balancing act. That's not good news for someone as balance-challenged as myself. Oh! I could tell you stories that would make you cringe and laugh simultaneously! There was this time on my mission when... never mind, I'm getting off-topic. Sorry.

Fortunately, I'm learning to Balance better than I balance. The past few weeks, I've relearned an important Balance equation. Here it is:

Enough sleep + exercise + eating sensibly + spiritual nourishment + social interactions + just enough "me" time = A Happy Julie

Seems simple enough, eh? So why do I ever choose to un-Balance myself by neglecting any of these variables? (And they are true variables; what quantities work for me probably won't work for anyone else.)

Lately, I'm happy. I'm Balanced.

I'm finally sleeping well again - no insomnia and I don't hurt every time I move in bed so I sleep through the night.

I ride my bike twice a day for 15-20 minutes each time.

I'm eating sensibly (maybe too "sensibly" but that's a post for my other blog).

These factors have led to significant weight loss, and I feel the difference. I feel lighter. My clothes fit better. Or worse, in some cases; my favorite shirt is rapidly becoming too big.

I pray every night. I'm committed to church-attendance, if for no other reason than to be Obedient.

I'm no longer a hermit. In the coming weeks, I have various plans with friends and family; Ninja tomorrow, girls night next week, and cousins weekend next month, to name a few. Every week night, I enjoy the company of my roommates. We talk, we watch tv, we laugh. I love them!

They are the perfect roommates for me because every weekend I get my place to myself. I clean. I read. I do nothing. I cook. I watch movies. This weekend, I'm starting a puzzle.

The only thing I feel could be added to the equation is Service. I have a few ideas, one in particular that I really like, on how I'm going to bring further Balance to my life through serving others. I'll keep you posted because I'm kind of excited about it and hope it works out.

In Economics classes, I learned how many economic principles strive to reach an equilibrium. In theory, we can say what the perfect supply and demand balance (as an example) should be in a variety of different circumstances. In the real world, the economy never reaches an equilibrium - it's too complex; however, the various principles still work to get it as close as possible, though something then comes and sends it off in another direction.

So, until the next "something" comes along to send me off in one direction or another, I'm enjoying my time as close to Equilibrium as I tend to get.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'd Settle For Uneventful

I love road trips. I love seeing what I get to see on road trips; towns, hills, grassy meadows, beautiful sunsets, clouds, and the list could go on and on. I love meeting new people, even if it's just the guy behind me in the check out line at Flying J that can't believe I drive that big truck and trailer (I was wearing a skirt, nylons, and my nice shoes at the time). I love the solitude of driving for hours and hours with just my thoughts and a book on cd to keep me company.

However, I do not love Events. My latest trip to Casper, WY had Events.

Event 1: I've already touched on this in a previous post - the leaking of the trailer roof. Fortunately, the water is coming through the uncovered A/C unit and it isn't a structural problem with the roof itself. I've been trying to get this problem resolved for months. I'm quite mad that it hasn't been. Anyway, the front carpet is ruined. A few other things are ruined. The trailer ceiling, both front and back, looks like trash. It was embarrassing. Especially when water started to drip while I was testing on Friday. Fortunately, it didn't drip in the room we were in, but the drips were loud enough that we could all hear them, even with the door shut. One of the soldiers asked, "Is that water dripping inside the trailer?" I nodded and explained the leaky A/C unit. The only thing I had to put under the drip was the trash can! At least the carpet didn't get any more soaked than it already was. Is. It's still not dry.

Event 2: Have you ever considered the impact wind has on your gas mileage? I hadn't. I do now. It was sooooo windy in Wyoming! Friday and Saturday were bad, but Sunday was the worst! I could feel the truck fighting against it as we drove from Rawlins to Evanston. It's a trip I'd made before. I knew that I could gas up in Rawlins then not need to again until the TA 30 miles east of Evanston. It's where I always gas up and I always have about 1/4 of a tank left when I get to the TA. So, imagine my surprise when my "Low Fuel" warning comes on. It comes on when I only have 15 miles of fuel left. The TA was 20 miles away. I prayed and prayed and prayed. Oh please let the truck's computer be wrong. Please oh please let there be 20 miles worth of fuel in the tank. Please help the truck make it to the station. Please make the wind stop. The wind didn't stop, but the truck made it to the fuel pump. Honestly, I'm not sure the wind was the reason for my low gas mileage, but it's the only variable that was different from the other four times I drove that stretch.

Event 3: Ever since last October, when I had this experience, whenever I stop, for any reason, I check my tires to see how their tread is, to check for wire poking out like it was that time. Last night my last fuel stop was in Payson and I checked the tires like normal. No problems. So, I'm driving along, it's dark, I'm enjoying the book on cd, and I notice the car that just passed me brake and slow down. I also brake, thinking maybe they noticed an animal near the road or something on the road. A woman sticks her head out the window and starts pointing at my trailer. I drive up to the car and roll down my window. She shouts that I have a problem with one of my trailer tires, I shout a thank you, and get off the next exit, which was just seconds after she told me. I stopped and yep, the tire was blown out - completely shredded. Really, there wasn't a tire left, just splotches of rubber. I hadn't noticed a thing! I called my boss to inform him of the problem, since he's the owner of the truck and trailer. He didn't answer his cell or his home phone.

I decided it was a good time to try out my tire-changing knowledge, so I put on my gloves and fetched the spare tire and jack from the back of the trailer. Bad idea. As I lifted the tire, something inside of me said Heck no! and pain shot through my abdomen. I had to pause to catch my breath and prevent tears, it was so painful. Undaunted, I proceeded to the blown tire and attempted to loosen the lug nuts with the wrenches my boss had provided for such an emergency. He told me that I didn't really need the star bar that Dan at Walmart had suggested. Well, I couldn't get the lug nuts loose. I was in pain. I called my boss again. Again, he didn't answer either phone. I desperately held back tears.

Fortunately, I was only 10 miles or so from home, so I called my dad. He came. He got mad at my boss for not providing me with the needed tools and for a couple other reasons. His lug nut wrench (or whatever it's called) didn't fit the tire's lug nuts and he couldn't get them off with the normal wrenches I had either. He wanted to leave the truck and trailer there and let my boss deal with getting it back. Instead, he followed my suggestion and tailed me to my boss's house. Multiple times I tried calling my boss to tell him what had happened. Nothing. So, imagine my happiness when Dad and I arrived at his house to find all the lights on and both cars there. Dad wanted to go give him a piece of his mind (he doesn't get mad very easily), but I asked him not to. Dad helped me load my stuff into my car then he left. I was so grateful for his help! What a guy!

I stayed to fill out paperwork in the truck, then I called my boss one last time. Nothing. I finally left a message telling him to check the trailer to see if he could spot anything wrong. I was hurt. I was cold, in pain, frustrated, and hurt. It appeared that my boss was home ignoring my phone calls. He never called me last night. I desperately hope he had a good reason, like he was at the hospital administering to the sick or in a very important meeting or something.

He called this morning. I didn't answer it. He's called multiple times since. I haven't answered. My lovely coworker covered for me when he called the office and said I was on the phone. I just need some time before I talk to him. Please let him have a good reason for not answering the phone last night!

Yeah, I'll take unEventful any day and twice (make that 100 times) on Sunday.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Greetings from Wyoming!

Yep, I'm back in the great state of Wyoming, this time in Casper. I got a call on Tuesday asking me if I could work an event this Friday and Saturday. I drove to Heber Wednesday night after getting off work then drove the rest of the way today. It's not as long a drive as Torrington or Guernsey, but long enough. Two weeks after my surgery. My mom thought I was crazy. I probably am. I just can't say no to a job! I didn't even get a chance to catch up from being gone for 2 weeks. I love driving and testing - it's hard to say no when I get the chance.

I'm going to start saying no, though. Today, when I had parked the trailer and hooked it up, I entered to find water leaks from the ceiling throughout the trailer. A couple months ago, we found a small leak at the front, where no one goes, and last month we found it had spread a little. We've tried to have it fixed, but obviously it wasn't. The front room's carpet is soaked and the back carpet (where I work) is wet, though not soaked. The ceiling tiles in both rooms are warped, browned, and some of them have broken and I had to remove them. It looks so white trash.

I texted my boss and told him that I won't take another job until the trailer is in better condition. I then told him that the guys here have asked me to come back to Casper in three weeks. I told them I'd have to check my schedule. If the trailer isn't in primo condition (as much as it can be since it's 10 years old) in two weeks, I'm not doing the job. Or any other. He didn't think I was serious, but I assured him I am. Oh, I am. He's not the one that has to sit there as people look around and wonder why the ceiling looks so crappy. I'm proud. I want to do a good job. I want to look professional and my surroundings represent me. If they look crappy, I feel like I look crappy.

Deep breath.

Another deep breath.

Okay, I feel better now. Kind of.

The next two days are going to be long. I'm testing over 120 people each day. I was told that tomorrow they're bringing troops in three sections. The last section is coming in at 5pm! I'm normally done by then! At least I don't have to start until 9am, so I'll get to sleep longer than normal (I usually start testing around 7). I'm glad I enjoy what I do. It definitely makes the day better. And, at least I'm in Wyoming. It's my favorite place to go for work. I like the people, I enjoy the drive, and I don't have to worry about someone kissing me. Woohoo! Oh, and there are plenty of places to gas up along the way.

With no lamp posts to jump in my path.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I've read in various places that New Year's Resolutions are setting yourself up for disappointment. I don't agree, but I started thinking about one writer's argument. He said that setting goals for a 12-month period is too long and it's too easy to lose focus after so many months. I know people who don't seem to have a problem with the 12-month period, but I think I do. Afterall, last year's resolutions didn't last throughout the year.

So, this time, I'm going to set quarterly goals, starting, of course, with the 1st quarter of 2009. Hopefully, I'll remember to set 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter goals! It's an experiment. We'll see how it turns out.

1st Quarter Goals:

1. Attend church every Sunday I'm in town. Let's face it, I travel a lot. For work and for fun. Realistically, I won't be going to church if I'm driving home from a job in Wyoming. Fortunately, my church now starts at 11am - a much easier hour - so I'm more likely to wake up in time to go. I should have two years before church goes back to 9am, and hopefully by then I'll have established the church-going "habit".

2. Exercise every day. Every day means every day. Even if it's walking down the hotel hallway a few times before heading home or going up and down my stairs a few times. Mom has kindly offered to pay for a few months of a gym membership (thanks, Mom!), so I'll be able to combine strength training to riding my exercise bike (my current favorite form of exercise).

3. Read 3 Shakespear plays. That's one a month - very do-able. Ideally, I'd like to read the plays out loud with friends as it's one of my favorite activities we do, but reading them alone will be good, too.

4. Invite friends to my house at least once a month. I really enjoyed December's game night chez moi. I don't have a large home, but we made it work and I think everyone had fun. I did. I'd like to have a dinner party at some point. I have all these recipes I'd like to make and hopefully my friends wouldn't mind being guinea pigs for me. Teehee. Mostly, I want to see my friends. I'm finally coming out of my hermit stage and have realized that I've kind of neglected my friends, especially the ones still in town. Also, there are a couple people I'd really like to get to know better.

That's all. I think these are good goals because they are do-able, but they are things I'm not currently doing well, and they are things I want to do. They are intended to nurture my spirit, my body, my mind, and my heart.

I'll try to keep you updated on my progress.

Happy New Year!