Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm overdue for an update

Joe and I had a great trip to Utah. We arrived on Christmas eve a little later than expected because of delays (possibly weather related), but we were greeted by my sister (sister #1) and her family and whisked away to the house of another of my sisters (sister #2) for dinner. People were ready to eat (and a few already were) when we arrived, and so we didn't have to wait for food, which was nice. We had some really great food (pork tenderloins, stuffing, potatoes, etc) and it was like no time had passed since I saw my family. Dysfunctional as we may be, I love them so much! I wish they could've all been there! But I digress...

We stayed at the new home of another of my sisters (sister #3) for the first few days of our trip. Even though she has a 3-year-old and a 9- or 10-month-old, it wasn't too hectic, and Joe and I found it enjoyable and relaxing. She and her husband were wonderful hosts and they kept us well fed.

On Christmas, we watched their kids open presents and the adults all got some presents too. Joe and I were expecting to maybe have one or two presents to open (from my parents, since we'd already exchanged gifts with his family and each other), but in addition to the gifts my parents gave us (one to him, two to me, and one for both of us), I got a gift from sister #2 later that day. Sister #3 (the one whose house we were staying at) hosted Christmas dinner, and we enjoyed pasta, homemade pizza, and lots of spinach & artichoke dip. Then we played some games and chatted and had a great time.

The following night was dinner at sister #1's house, which we got to after being dropped off by sister #3 to sister #2's house to carpool (are you lost yet?). My parents and another sister (sister #4) and her family were staying with them. We had Mexican food. Again, everything was delicious! I could've sat there and eaten tons of homemade tortillas, but I decided to stick with a more well-rounded meal. We played more games and then headed back to sister #3's house to sleep.

Saturday we went to PF Chang's for dinner after running some errands and relaxing at sister #3's house. We switched places with my parents for the rest of the trip, so we were now staying at sister #1's house with sister #4 and her family while my parents stayed with sister #3. We did this because we had plans to go to Joe's sister's house to spend Sunday with her and her family.

We went to church with Joe's sister and had lunch and dinner there. We also played some games with her family and then headed home. Once arriving back at sister #1's house, we played the Newlywed Game with sister #1 and sister #4 and their spouses. It was a lot of fun.

Because of a late night on Sunday, Joe and I slept in until about 9:30 am (which was far less than 8 hours of sleep!). We decided we needed to have some Sonic on our trip, so my brother-in-law drove us there. About two hours later, he and my sister (sister #1) took us to Salt Lake to have lunch with one of my other sisters (sister #2) and her husband before being dropped off at the airport.

We were exhausted when we got home, but we were glad to have that vacation and get to see so much family. We were happy to be home sleeping in our own bed last night, and we were happy to see our kittens. They survived and didn't tear the place up while we were gone, which is a good thing. And other than a few very small patches of snow, that is all melted, which was another nice thing to come home to.

In other notes... we played a game called Scruples, which is referred to by members of my family as "the sleep on the couch game." There wasn't a whole lot of arguing between couples, but I did get frustrated and quit at the end when everyone ganged up on me. In my defense, I was so sick of playing and just wanted to win (which I apparently wouldn't have).

Also, I ate more than enough junk food (candy and fudge, mostly) to make up for my lack of such indulgences the rest of the Christmas season. I wouldn't be surprised if I gained 3-5 pounds this trip.

In addition, I disobeyed the doctor's instructions to wear an ace bandage and use a crutch to help my healing ankle (a snow-related accident with a horribly boring story). It still hurts on occasion, but it seems to be doing a lot better.

I played Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii and found it quite fun. If I had that sort of game or even Rock Band for the XBox, I would probably play a lot more, so I guess it's a good thing I don't.

Pre-made plans don't always work out, and that's okay. We were supposed to do some scrapbooking, but we never got around to it. I did, however, come prepared with the 2 pages that were suggested to give to my siblings for their scrapbooks. One of those pages was our Christmas letter with the picture on it, and the other was a picture collage I put together into a word document. I found it quite humorous when I heard the following from my oldest sister (sister #1): "Lisa (sister #2) called me and said she was very concerned about you because of the picture in your Christmas letter." Apparently, she wasn't sure whether or not I was serious in that photo and thought I was turning into my mother or something. So, I wanted to assure everyone that the picture was taken in jest and is in no way, shape, or form serious. In fact, we have decided to start a new Christmas tradition of awful sweatshirt/sweater pictures to include with Christmas cards. I already have a great/awful idea for next year's photo.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Storms

They're coming my way. I may lose power. I don't know how long, but apparently power was lost for up to 8 days for some people living near me in 2006, and this storm is supposed to have a bigger impact than that storm. We could get anywhere from 3-8 inches of snow. So church will probably be cancelled again. We now have firewood for our fireplace if the heat goes out, and some food that doesn't need to be heated. Whee! So, I'll write more when I can. TTFN!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I haven't written for a while because I've been busy and yet nothing has really happened. Last Sunday, we woke up to snow and church was cancelled. Joe was sort of bummed, because he was all ready for church and just about to head out the door when he got the call, so he had to make several phone calls to pass the word around.

But since we had the day free, it was nice spending some time together. We even invited over a few friends from the ward and played games. We had a great time, and I was more than happy to share my chocolate chip cookies with others so I didn't end up eating them all!

The whole week has been cold with icy and/or snowy streets, so I have stayed inside more or less all week. Today there's sun out, but the cold is keeping the snow around. In fact, a lot of it may turn to ice and then we're expecting more snow and freezing rain on Sunday which can make the roads slippery and dangerous. No thank you! I'm glad I work at home so I don't have to brave the streets like I did last year when I swear I almost killed myself.

And on the plus side, Joe was let out of work early yesterday because of the weather. He drove slowly and carefully home and stayed here the rest of the day. It was kind of weird having him here while I was working to have him greet me after my work day, but it was nice. He got today off because of the weather too, and I'm sure he's been playing Xbox games just about all day long.

Since we finally got our Christmas letters out, I figure it's safe to post the picture we sent out with it here. I hate this picture, but I love it too. Yes, it was supposed to be purposefully bad, but I was still hoping for something a little better. Still, you can see most of the awesome badness of my holiday sweater I found at the local thrift store (we got the mugs and wreath there too). I already have a great idea for our next Christmas letter photo, and I'm keeping my eye out for some tacky/festive/bad/scary sweaters to replace these, or we might be sporting them next year too.

We've had a memorable year, with our honeymoon, move, break-in attempt, job changes, kittens, and everything else life has thrown at us. We're excited for Christmas and the chance we have to spend it with some family, and we hope to be able to spend time with our family next year too. We hope next year is full of fun surprises for us and you as well.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saving Money, Saving Sanity

My friend Katz posted a blog here where she shared some of the things she's doing to help save money. She asked others for their input, and when I started thinking about what to write, I realized it was enough to fill a post, so here goes...

I am not the most frugal person. I am not very thrifty at all. But some of my mom's good habits have rubbed off on me. To be honest, when I think about being good with money, I often think of my sister Karri as my role model. She got almost the same degree as I did without student loan debt at the end of her program because of her thrifty ways. And she and her husband have some really good financial ideas and investments. I want to be like her in so many ways.

Anyway, I feel like a big part of saving money requires organization and planning. I remember my mom used to cut coupons and scour the grocery ads for deals, often going to many different grocery stores. I tend to stick to one grocery store, but I have been known to hit up more than one and bring coupons to help cut some costs. In addition, I've recently started doing some menu planning. I used to eat solely based on what I FELT like eating, making food related to how I was feeling. But food isn't supposed to replace therapy or friendships or other things that affect your mood. It's supposed to sustain you. Planning has helped me remember this, and I can plan based on what I already have in the house as well as what I have coupons for or what's on sale, which is a bonus. And, planning ahead helped me get some Martinelli's apple cider for Thanksgiving (what we were told to bring) at $2 a bottle instead of the later sale price that was $2.50 at one time and $3.00 at another time, or even paying full price when it's not on sale.

Joe and I used to each get $20 a week for lunch and $20 a week for allowance. We've stopped both those habits (although I think the allowance is a good habit we should restart to avoid over-spending), and we instead talk about purchases before making them (usually). Instead of spending $40 a week on lunches, we now spend significantly less. I buy frozen entrees for Joe to take with him to work. They are usually $1-$2 each, which is a heck of a lot cheaper. And with me working from home now, I grab leftovers or a sandwich or something like that for lunch, which also helps me avoid the snack machine temptations and other temptations that were around my office (HELLO Specialty's Cafe & Bakery!).

We use Netflix, and we use it enough to justify the expense. The movies we watch take up time we would've spent watching movies anyway, but we're often watching at home instead of spending just shy of $20 by going to the theater.

I also combine my errands to try to make fewer trips, another habit I picked up from my mother. If I know I have to go to a certain area for something, I see what else I might need to do/get in that same area.

We reviewed our cell phone plans and joined into a family plan, saving us quite a bit of dough. When we found we weren't using nearly as many minutes as we had combined, we saved money by switching plans yet again. We downgraded our cable bill by comparison shopping (it's amazing the kinds of deals you can get when they think they'll lose your business!) and getting rid of some channels we never watch. We tend to drive my car instead of his car (mine has better gas mileage and uses cheaper gas than his) when we're together. We take the bus (sometimes, but not frequently) or we walk when we can and it is feasible.

We don't eat out nearly as much as we used to. We don't go out for dates tons, and we don't spend tons of money usually when we do. And we're currently working on a budget. With the money we save, we set it aside so it doesn't just get spent on something else. Saving money helped us buy a lot of (needed!) new furniture recently (which is finally being delivered this week!).

Lastly (for now), I purchase some things off-season and shop second-hand stores sometimes during a particular season. We're thinking about buying a pre-lit Christmas tree after Christmas so we'll have it for next year. I've bought a lot of discounted decorations that way. We still have some candy canes from last year that were super cheap (and they give hot chocolate a great flavor when melted in it!).

But I'm not super thrifty by any means. And I know some of you are. What do you do to help you save money and your sanity?

How I feel right about now

After 3 months without my period, I'm all messed up now!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Joe and I usually only have Sundays off together, but we were able to spend Friday evening and Saturday together this past weekend as well, which was quite nice. Because of this rare opportunity coupled with stress we've both been experiencing, we decided to take a mini-vacation. It was very nice being able to spend time just the two of us together.

We drove to Seattle on Friday and stayed in a hotel not far from the Seattle Center and Westlake Center. We were fairly hungry shortly after we arrived, so we decided to walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner. We looked at the list of suggested places to eat that was provided by the hotel, and we decided on one we actually knew how to get to from walking without looking up directions. It was described as a 24-hour diner, so we were thinking it'd be something like Denny's. The name of the place is 13 Coins, and it far exceeded any of our expectations. Joe had a philly cheesesteak sandwich and I had some spinach stuffed ravioli. Delish!

Saturday we went on the Duck Tour. It wasn't as informative as I had hoped, but it was nice being able to see different parts of downtown Seattle and spend some time on the water. We did get to see the house on the water that is the Sleepless in Seattle house and some other historic sites. After the Duck Tour, we visited Pike Place Market and had some amazing donuts (the tour guide from the Duck Tour recommended the donuts) and did some browsing. We stopped by a toy store in Pioneer Square and got a great lunch at Speciality's Cafe & Bakery. Then we headed to Westlake Center and walked around. I saw a store the offered extra dark hot chocolate, and it was like heaven in my mouth! Afterward, we went back to the hotel and hung out a bit before going to see a disappointing Christmas show (we left in intermission). But we had a very nice day.

My mother-in-law asked me yesterday what my favorite part about the day/trip was and it was just being able to spend time with my husband making some memories together and just relaxing. It was just the kind of mini-vacation I needed.

We are excited to take a vacation later this month to see some of my family and some of Joe's family for Christmas, but it was nice to be able to spend some time together alone.

If anyone wants a mini-vacation (or longer) and needs a place to stay, you are always welcome here!

It's nice having today off work too, but there are lots of errands to run, and the kittens are currently at the vet getting immunizations, fixed, and declawed. I'm sad that they might be in pain, but it'll be nice not to have our couch (or curtains or other furniture) scratched up any more than they already have been by the kittens.

I'm also excited that I've made a new friend at church. We're going to start walking together (starting today) and she's really sweet and cool.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Parenting Tips

I grew up in a home with about a billion kids. We kids joked that my parents must've been looking for cheap(ish) labor when they had all of us. After all, replacing the roof was probably a lot cheaper (even if it did take approximately 242 times as long as it otherwise would have and required a trip to the ER and surgery when my sister fell off the roof), and I'm sure adding 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a basement would've cost more than it did too (I was too young to remember the injuries sustained there, but I'm sure there were some then too). Then there are the everyday and weekly chores we completed, gardening when we were younger, and free babysitting that the older siblings provided for the younger siblings. Hello child labor!

I often find myself thinking about how I was raised. I think I turned out okay, despite what my therapist might think (just kidding; I don't have a therapist...yet).

Anyway, I honestly believe that the people I know who are parents do the best they can with the skills and resources they have. And they seem like really good parents, for the most part. Of course, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes. I can think of several things I'd like to do differently than my parents did, but maybe that's just me and this psychobabble I've been brainwashed with in school. That doesn't mean I think my parents were terrible parents (and they still play the parental role quite frequently, although I am weaned off the teat and the wallet for the most part).

My mother-in-law and I recently had a conversation about the different ways we were raised and it sounds like she thinks the way she was raised was much better than the way anyone else in the universe could possibly ever be raised. She wrote down some parenting basics from her mother, her father, and herself and emailed them to me and others. I can imagine what she was thinking: "My unborn grandchildren are in grave danger of being neglected/abused/raised by a monkey! There is work to do, and stat! Gotta do some flinging at the monkey in hopes some will stick before the monks/monkettes are being fermented/scarred for life!" Then one of her far superiorly raised sisters added some tips of her own and emailed them (this was promptly forwarded to me as well). I realized people like to talk about how much more they know about things than I do. After all, I'm almost a certifiable idiot! I make up words like superiorly and monkettes. Help! Do it for the chilluns!

So, my question to you parents is this: what words of wisdom do you have to share with a gal like me who wants to emulate things I've seen/heard others do? I guess the non-parents can respond too, because we don't only have terrible ideas (right? Or is this idea another one of my dur-dur-dur flashes of "brilliance" only a mother could love tolerate?).

Tell me what you do that is wonderful. I want to learn from your experiences! I want to take your knowledge, wisdom, creativity, etc and soak it in like a sponge so I don't end up a horrible failure as a parent (no, this isn't an announcement). After all, I'd like your kids to want to babysit for my kids one day, and we all know how much it can suck the life out of you to babysit someone who is a terror in motion! Hopefully they'll allow me to pay them with baked goods or something. After all, I believe in supporting child labor but don't want to break the bank! More money for me to save for a therapist. We all know I could use some therapizing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I am so happy! It was a rough month without adding this to my plate, but I'm so glad I did it. I'm very proud of myself. I wrote a novel- start to finish- no outline or anything- in 30 days. It's a rough first draft, but it's halfway decent.

Now maybe I'll get some motivation to continue working on the other novels I've been working on forever!

Joe and I also saved a lot of money in November for that challenge as well. We don't have the final tally yet, but it was close to or over $1000. here are some things we did to save money:

Sold the entry bench & LoveSac
Sold some DVDs
Worked LOTS of overtime
Didn't eat out as much

And with that money we saved, we found we had enough money to purchase some big-item things we'd been wanting. Within the next week or two, we will get a new couch, love seat, chair, and ottoman. We purchased a free-standing mirror for the bedroom and a bar set for our kitchen. It's great!

In addition, on Friday night, Joe and I went to his mom & step-dad's house so I could interview his mother for the National Day of Listening. It was a great experience, and we took turns interviewing each other until all four of us had been interviewed. Then we had a good conversation before calling it a (late) night.

It has been a stressful month and I've complained a lot, but I made it through. Most of my Christmas shopping is done already, and we're not getting a tree this year since we'll be out of town (we may buy a fake tree after Christmas to keep for future years), but we put up some lights outside and did a little decorating inside (very little, but better than none). We are looking forward to our trip to Utah to see family!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The kittens

My sister-in-law and her family are here.

They brought their dog, Maggie.

My kittens have never been around a dog.

They were not happy to see Maggie.

I was holding one of my kittens when she saw Maggie.

I have a bruise and puncture wound where the kitten responded when she saw Maggie.

They are going to be declawed soon.

At least they're not running away and scratching as much when the dog comes in the room now.

They're getting so big. Joe calls them each "The Kitty," instead of their real names, and I often call them each "My Baby," so we probably really confuse them sometimes.
Inspector Cassandra Cuddle Bunny (or Sandy for short) seems to know her name and often comes when called, like a dog. Not always, because she likes to do what she wants to do. She does seem to understand the word "no" also. That doesn't keep her from scratching our couch up and returning to the scene of the crime to scratch more of it shortly after she stops when being told "no" anyway.Ashley (or Ash for short) usually is the more rambunctious of the two. She is stubborn, often trying to get up on the countertops and bites and scratches more. She loves to play.

Here's the vicious monster-dog, Maggie:


November 28th is the first National Day of Listening. Click here for more information. I think it's a good idea, and I plan on participating. Of course, I listen every day, as part of my job and counseling skills, but this is much more than that. I'm thinking maybe my MIL or my husband or maybe even a neighbor.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And... "relax"

At work, I have the opportunity to participate in a trial for group stress calls. Stress is probably something I hear in over 90% of my calls as something that makes it difficult for someone to quit smoking or to stay quit once they've stopped. When getting background information and I ask them what brought them back to smoking when they've tried to quit, stress is the #1 answer I hear. So, the idea of this is pretty fun for me.

Plus, I figured that I could personally use some stress-management techniques. Well, what I've "learned" really isn't anything new, but it is a good reminder. I've been trying to put those ideas into action. So far, they haven't really helped me lower my stress levels, but they have helped me to calm down briefly in the moment instead of being so reactionary.

It's been a very busy couple of weeks for me. In addition to planning for the holiday dinner and then the quilting event, I also had to do some visiting teaching on 3 separate(!) days this week. Yes, I was busy with something church-related outside of the home 4 days other than Sunday this week. Plus, if I was actually fulfilling my other calling, I think I would've had things to do related to that Thursday night, Friday night, and tonight (I already had things going on Thursday and Friday). Joe apparently told someone at church in the bishopric a couple weeks ago that these 2 callings may be too much for me, and it's his opinion that they haven't set me apart yet because maybe they're trying to find someone else to be the Young Women's Athletic Director. My other calling is more than enough work in and of itself!

Well, I guess we'll see. I didn't go to the Regional Volleyball Tournament, but there wouldn't have been anything for me to do since they already have a coach and I haven't been involved in their volleyball season, but if I was supposed to be involved, no one told me. In fact, I only spoke briefly with the Young Women's President once about the calling, and she said something about getting me prepped for basketball in January. Apparently she thinks I'm supposed to coach the girls. Ha! Just because I watch basketball (and very infrequently now) doesn't mean I know a THING about coaching or even various positions.

So, it'd be nice to think I get a break now after such hard work, but I'm afraid that break might only be a week or two, because there are already other things coming down the pipeline for December.

But, I'm feeling better. Just some deep breaths and now "relax."

Friday, November 21, 2008

You're rich!

If you don't think so, check out this website.

Sometimes a little perspective helps me feel better/more grateful/spoiled.

We extended opportunities to the women at church to help out with needs in our area. One of those opportunities was for quilting (and all you had to do was tie quilts- even I was able to do that, and I'm craft-retarded). I went mostly because I was basically told it had to be done and no one else was willing to do it (good old church callings!). Well, I found someone who actually knew something about quilting who was willing to kind of take over the night of, because I really didn't know what I was doing. And I found someone else who also enjoys quilting who was planning on coming. I was feeling pretty good about it.

And then they were the only 2 people who showed up. Pathetic. Infuriating. Disappointing. Angering. Loathing. Agitating.

Where the *expletive deleted* were all the other women who have so much? Is an hour of their time too precious to help out a suffering human being? They don't have enough themselves to be able to help others? Not even when all it takes is TYING A FREAKING BABY QUILT?

Well, I took the 3 baby quilts that were tied Wednesday night to the house of an older woman in church who volunteered to sew up the edges with her machine just yesterday afternoon. She called back just a couple hours later with them done. Not a big sacrifice for her, but at least she was willing to help and opened her yapper to volunteer when I said, "Hey, there's this big need. I'll even call or email you with reminders and there will be treats. There's a sign-up sheet going around. Please sign up."

I can't even get the women at church to fill out a stupid, simple, basic survey to let me know what they're WILLING and ABLE to do. Are they too concerned that they'll actually have to commit to helping someone else out if they admit a talent/ability? Are they too lazy/rude/disinterested/self-serving/selfish/etc to even take that little effort to complete the survey and expect me to telepathically know everything about them, their wants, their needs, their skills?

This is a big reason why I've been so frustrated.

At least I had some help. And we had a lovely time chatting and munching on the snacks I so generously provided.

I am still pissed just thinking about it. I don't want to be a part of this group of women if this is how they conduct themselves. Those 3 women who ended up helping (and those who can honestly say in their heart that they would've if they could've, but for whatever reason couldn't) excluded.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The end of my rope

Lord, please bless me with patience. Lord, please give me the strength to endure when I feel like quitting, like giving up. Please help me not to reach through this phone and strangle this person because I'm already frustrated. Please help me get through this minute, this hour, this work shift, this day, this week, this month, this year. I need your help. I can't do this on my own. I'm ready to give up. I WANT to give up. I want to quit this job. I want to quit my callings. I want to roll up in a ball and go back to bed. I want to cry. I want to be held. I want to feel supported by someone other than my husband.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

I seriously want to know. Yes, it's about women issues, but men can respond too, if you so choose.

Let's say that you had a fairly regular cycle. Then when things start to get super stressful in your life (the last year of a masters program, for example), you skip a period here & there (let's say 2-4 skipped periods in approx 1 year-14 months). You know it's not normal, so you try to follow up with doctors, and they basically blow you off, saying it's probably stress related and not to worry, blah, blah, blah.

Then let's say that you think things are starting to get normal again and stress levels should be coming down. In fact, it feels like they're coming down, so you are starting to get confident that cycle would be returning to normal. But it doesn't. In fact, you seem to be skipping every other period now. Worried?

You go to the doctor more, get more blood tests and fun stuff like that run. You take pregnancy test after pregnancy test and they all come up negative, so it's not that. You are told you have PCOS and need to lose weight. You TRY to lose weight-- you try HARD. Nothing is happening. You continue to seek for answers and find none, but you take the pill the doctor prescribed, trusting in his confidence that it will make everything better.

You take the pill for over a month. No results. In fact, instead of it making things better, you start to wonder if it's making things worse. You notice occasional spotting (they say that's normal, apparently), and you notice some signs that indicate your period should be coming in a certain time frame, but it doesn't.

Two and a half months have now gone by and still nothing. You were starting to wonder if the 60-day cycle was becoming normal, but it's well past that 60 days now. You took another pregnancy test, but it's negative.

Do you go to the doctor for more tests? Do you wait until the 90 day without a period mark and see if one comes then (like you skipped 2 periods instead of just skipping one)? Do you assume you're just going through menopause early or something like that? Do you self-diagnose? Do you eat a bunch of chocolate, gain a bunch of weight, and say, "screw it all!" in hopes that there will at least be some relief with that? Or do you do something else?

Of course, part of me says I'm just overreacting and to wait it out. After all, my doctors haven't been worried. And I've been to a LOT of them since this started. Do I really want to go through more tests and spend that extra time & money trying to figure out what's wrong only to hear the equivalent of, "Nothing is wrong" or "The cause for your misery is still unknown" or something like that?

My husband says it's a case for Dr. House. I WISH I were so lucky to get help like that. Then again, I might have to practically die before a solution is found, and I don't know if i want to go through that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Piece of cake and a big plum.

I just parted with my LoveSac. I'm not quite sure when I bought it, but I know that it was when I was in Florida with my younger sister, Erin, who was meeting with someone for modeling. She had never flown before, and she wanted me to go with her, so I obliged. It was a horrible trip. We arrived in hurricane season, and if I remember correctly, came not too long after a hurricane had caused some noticeable and still unrepaired damage to nearby areas. Then, while we were there, we heard of a hurricane warning. We ended up having to end the trip early so we wouldn't get stuck in Florida with some crazy hurricane. We got some of the last seats on a flight back to Phoenix- for the price of what our round-trip tickets had originally cost us. Messed up, huh?

Anyway, the one good thing about that trip was my LoveSac. I bought it at some mall that was near our hotel. It was shipped to me, and the UPS lady had to roll it up the stairs to get it to my second-floor apartment's front door, because of the weight. It came in an oversized bag (kind of looking like an oversized duffle bag), and I could never get it anywhere NEAR that size when trying to move it after that.

I have some good memories with that LoveSac. Many of those memories include trying to move it from one residence of mine to another, but it has been a nice place to cuddle while watching movies. I remember chatting with Joe on the phone after we met while sitting on the LoveSac and watching him via my webcam. Yeah, I'm a dork. Anyway, it seems that I grew out of it and it didn't really fit in our house anymore. It has found a new home. (Although, I must say it did seem to fit in nicely with my Mesa home. It was nice having a large enough space to put it where it didn't get in the way or look out of place. I just wish I had a picture that captured that a little better.)

So, with the sale of the LoveSac and our old entry bench, we have now gotten more than 1/2 way to the $1000 savings challenge this month. We have saved $696.10. Yay! When I work overtime the day after Thanksgiving, that'll give us almost an extra $200, putting us very close to reaching our goal. Granted, some of the stuff we did to earn/save some of that money aren't things we could do all the time, but it hasn't been all that hard to get that savings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Irregularity and other such blatherings

So, maybe I just have an irregular cycle now. Maybe I have a fallopian tube issue. It seems like the have-a-period, skip-a-period cycle is here to stay. Every month is frustrating. How many times do I have to take pregnancy tests "just in case" anyway? I'm pretty sure I'm not pregnant right now, yet I haven't had my period since September (like you care, right? lol). Ever since I started tracking them online at My Monthly Cycles, I'm seeing a pattern emerging. Maybe this is the new norm for me. It'd be nice to figure out what all this is about, though. For about a month now, I've been weighing myself almost daily, at the same time each day. When I gained about 5 pounds from one day to the next, I figured it must be water-weight and that'd mean my period was coming. That was about a week ago. Ugh. Not ever knowing when I might start really sucks.

So, last night was the Enrichment Holiday Dinner. I received a call about an hour before I was supposed to head to the church to start setting up. It was the Relief Society President. She had asked me when we were setting up and said she'd be there to help. She also told me that the Enrichment Counselor in the presidency wouldn't be able to make it because she was sick. That was the woman who was planning on decorating, bringing the food, etc. I heard she would send her husband with everything, but I didn't know how to take over. I'm NOT good at either of those things.

I drove to her house to get the green beans so I could get them ready for the night. She handed me canned green beans (I have always preferred frozen, but after tasting them last night, I might have to change my ways-- they were yummy! Maybe I just did a great job adding salt and butter, lol), and I figured, 'Okay, I shouldn't have any problems with this.' I called my mom just to verify how to prepare canned green beans, since I've never done that before. Quit laughing at me. There were no directions on the can, and I didn't want to ruin the only vegetable we'd be having.

Joe, bless his heart, was trying hard to be very supportive. He was asking what he could do to help. You see, I had to take the bus to Seattle for work yesterday. And the buses don't run early enough to get me to work for 5:00 am, which is when my shift starts. So I had to flex my shift (start later, end later), plus add on the time on the bus and to-and-from the transit center, so I got home around 4:00 with a few details to iron out still. And I wanted the chance to relax just a little bit. Anyway, I got a little help from Joe (he printed directions for the place I was to pick up the green beans and then turned my flat-iron on while I drove to pick them up, plus he made some phone calls for me as I tried to track down a microphone) and lots of other help (THANK GOODNESS!). The Enrichment Counselor did show up to help set up and ended up staying.

The program was nice. There was lots of participation from people who attended, everyone loved the food, and we had everything clean well before 9:00 (past my bedtime). This was all good, since I had been getting a headache all day that I was worried was turning into a migraine. Well, it got a little better, but it's back (and worse) today. Why I'm writing this right now instead of trying to get some rest, I don't know.

Time to lie down. I was in the office yesterday to attend a training having to do with stress. And I've come to the conclusion that I'm sick today because my body has been in a chronic stress state. Now that the threat/alarm/stress has been managed (for now, until next week, I think), my immune system is kaput. I wouldn't be surprised if that has also at times played a role in my period mystery.

Oops. Sorry about the lack of warning there. :P

Monday, November 10, 2008

Find a penny, pick it up...

I was just informed of this website by my husband. He heard about it on the news and found his name on it. Apparently if your name is on there, you have some money owed to you. Check it out, and let me know if you find your name on the list. I've looked up several people on there, and I have found a few that I know, and some that may possibly be someone I know.

It's worth a shot.

Click here

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Words and Frustration Beyond Words

I slacked on my writing a couple days this week. It's hard to spend a full 8 hours in front of a computer while working and then get back on the computer to write for an hour or two, especially when my husband tempts me with going out to eat or watching some TV and cuddling together or there's cleaning to do and I'm so worn out physically and mentally and emotionally. Because of my exhaustion, I've been sleeping 9 or more hours a night for several days. So add all that together, and it's been rough. Today I woke up quite early (after going to bed early again last night and getting 9+ hours of sleep), and I got over 3,000 words written during the course of the day. I'm about where I want to be right now in my word count, but I'm starting to wonder where the heck I'm going with this story.

Part of me wants to stop this nonsensical writing and pick back up with one of the books I have in progress. Those books are my babies. This book I'm writing now is like a doll. It's like my practice for something that matters more to me. But it'll sure be nice to have it written, and I believe it'll give me a sense of accomplishment.

I really dislike my church callings (Relief Society Enrichment Leader and Young Women Athletic Director). In fact, part of me wants to say I hate my callings. Yes, they're voluntary, but I was asked to do them for a reason (I'm still trying to figure out what that reason is, because I don't think God wants me to have a nervous breakdown, but that's where I'm headed), and I just feel like I NEED to accept callings when they are extended to me for my own good or something. So many things that I want and so many things I expect (in relation to how I want to fulfill those callings) just make it tough for me to really feel satisfied because of how things are turning out so far. I found out a week ago that I had until this Wednesday, the 12th, to prepare for our holiday dinner for the women at church. Geez, no pressure at all there. I am supposed to have a board/committee anyway, so I should get some support, right? Well, so far I'm really worried about how it'll turn out, because I'm not really getting enough support (at least I'm getting some, I guess). How can someone fulfill their calling if they won't even communicate with me? How can I tell them what they can do to help if they don't show up to meetings, return my phone calls or stay at church the entire time so I can get a chance to talk to them? I feel like asking to have the slackers released and get some people doing this who will actually DO their part.

I have been trying to get the word out for a book club. I have been instructed by the Relief Society President not to give up on it, even though I've been to two book club meetings since joining the ward, and I was one of 3 people at the first meeting and one of 2 people at the second meeting. (I was called to be Enrichment Leader before the second book meeting. The book had been picked out at the first book club meeting I attended. The only person who came to that second book club was someone who was not at the first book club meeting I'd been to.) So, I figured I had to do more to get the word out and get it organized. I had everything set up. Then last Sunday, due to some very large disconnect between me and the Relief Society Presidency (meaning, they plan things and schedule things and have opinions about when I should and shouldn't schedule activities, but then they don't communicate such decisions with me in a timely fashion, if at all), I find out that we can't have the book club on that night because it's now the same night as this dinner (which we'd had planned for a different night that I found out last Sunday was no longer a good night for the dinner). So, I tried to let everyone know that the book club would be postponed, only to learn that it appears about 2/3 of the women at church were never informed of the book club meeting anyway (I had given someone sign-up sheets that were supposed to go in each of the binders that are passed around in the different meetings, but when I went to pull out those sign-up sheets today, they weren't even in there).

I created a survey when I was first called to Enrichment Leader. The survey was for the women to take to help me in my calling so I could learn their talents and interests and create groups and activities accordingly. I even had the survey emailed out so those who wanted to complete it that way could do so easily. I've only received 4 back. FOUR! I've announced it several times and requested people to fill them out, but no one is doing it. If you raise your hand and say you are going to support someone in their calling, when they practically BEG you to fill out a survey, YOU TAKE THE FIVE MINUTES IT WOULD TAKE TO DO IT, AND YOU DO IT! If you don't, you're not supporting them!

I was told that my callings are all about delegating. I can't delegate when I have no one to delegate to. Then I was told last week I was supposed to be in one meeting I hadn't ever attended because I had never heard anything to that effect before. How can I be in two places at once? I also learned that the Young Women President's expectations of me included my being an athletic coach (volleyball, basketball, etc). I don't have those skills. I told the person who asked me if I would take on that second calling that I'm not athletic at all. He said it wouldn't be a problem, because that was not what the calling was about. Sounds like more disconnect, and I don't know what to do about all this. The frustration is overwhelming!

So today I decided I want to quit. I know I won't, but I want to. And I think that made Joe sad to hear from me. I'm so stressed over all this that it's breaking me.

Then, just like that, I started getting a teeny bit of support today. Here a little, there a little. Maybe there's some hope after all.

(I really don't know how to explain my frustration without long, drawn-out explanations other than to say that I feel completely unsupported by 98% of the people at church when I NEED their support. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I don't think they are. And I will be GLAD in about 12 days when 2 different nights of activities I have to organize for one of my callings and a 3-day tournament I have to help out with for my other calling have all been taken care of. Five extra days of church in 2 weeks, not to mention a 6th extra day for a stake conference? And each of those nights will mean getting less than 8 hours of sleep for me- possibly even less than 7 hours of sleep. Yeah... I'm working WAY too hard!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


We're still waiting for the window to get fixed. I had to call several companies, and I found out that many of them only make "custom" windows that could take weeks to get installed, or they only deal with auto windows, or they charge an arm & a leg. I mean, someone actually thought I'd spend $650 for a window to be replaced in my garage? Do they think I'm high or dumb?

Joe told the men at church the story of what happened (or at least a shortened version of it) as he was hoping to find out that someone might know someone who could fix a window for cheaper. He heard back from someone tonight and it sounded like the window could be replaced for about $200- and that's a double-pane storm window (which we don't need but Joe would prefer).

In the meantime, we are getting a new alarm system. I say new because they are going to replace the alarm system we have right now (which is approximately 15 years old and can use some updating). It's worth a few hundred dollars plus a monthly fee for me to feel safe. We're even paying for some sort of cellular connection, meaning the alarm company would still be contacted in the case of someone cutting the phone line. I normally would've considered talking myself out of this feature thinking it was unnecessary, but considering the circumstances of just a week ago, I decided this was a very necessary feature, and I will be glad to pay for it!

I'm not thinking too much about the incident except for when the kittens make noise when I'm upstairs and they are downstairs, which has been happening more frequently (and loudly) over the past week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Heaven in my mouth

I tried out the peanut butter cup cocoa yesterday and it was awesome. There was a little bit of peanut butter chunks in the bottom, but it was so delicious it was all I could do to stop myself with one cup. I had one more today. I couldn't resist.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's hard to hold a candle in the cold November Rain

November is already shaping up to be a busy month for me. It is my own doings, and I hope I like the results.

Not only have I decided to write a novel with the National Novel Writing Month motivating me, but I've also decided to step up my gym attendance and focus a little more on healthy eating (excepting Thanksgiving day where I WILL indulge). Plus, I'm working on adding to food storage in case of emergencies and also planning for a dinner at church in a few weeks and reading a book for a book club meeting in a couple weeks. I also need to step up my walking, but with the weather turning to the rainy season, I may have to drive to a nearby mall to walk around or something. I did find a co-worker who wants to walk together, so I'm going to have to send her an email and see if she has any suggestions.

Meanwhile, we have to save up money for our December trip (we've already bought most of our Christmas gifts, and we probably won't do much decorating this year since we will be gone and the kittens are in their super-curious mode lately, making messes everywhere). And I read about a challenge to save $1000 in 30 days, so we are going to try that this month also, so we can use that money for the aforementioned (for more information about the challenge, click here).

I have the opportunity to work overtime (up to 10 hours extra each week) as work goes into the busy season. And we have a couple items that we're going to sell (our LoveSac and our entry bench), so between those things, we could get quite close. But instead of spending $35 or more going out to eat, we're going to eat in and count those savings. We're going to be frugal with our spending, and we're going to keep track of where we've saved money and how much. We've already cut back expenses by combining our cell phones into a family plan (and then reducing minutes when we realized we weren't using nearly as many as we were paying for). Plus we still have our DVR and cable TV, but we've cut back expenses there by shopping around and trying to leave our current service provider (it's amazing how much money they'll knock off your bill if you just threaten to go to a competitor). We will probably have additional expenses coming up now that we're going to be sure we have an activated alarm system and we have to pay to replace the broken window, but I think we can still manage it.

So while it is getting chilly out, maybe I'll adjust the thermostat a couple more degrees and use the "I'm cold" excuse to cuddle and bundle up a bit more. I have some of Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Cocoa to help keep me warm. Yum!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Freaky Friday

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Trying to go to sleep on Wednesday, I kept hearing weird noises that woke me up when I was actually able to sleep or kept me from sleeping. I remember hearing a doorbell. It must've been a dream. But it woke me right up and I could've sworn that someone was at my door, even though it wasn't quite 2 am. It was so real that I had to remind myself that I wouldn't have been able to hear the doorbell so clearly (if at all) through the noise-making air purifier in my room. That didn't help make it any easier to get back to sleep.

Yesterday, I kept multiple lights on until it was light outside. Even then, I had difficulty feeling at ease because it was actually during the daylight that they tried to rob me. So the fear hits when it's dark out, but also when it's light out.

Today is better. I don't know when I'll feel back to normal. I swear, it was a kind of horror-movie feeling to have the phone line cut while I was calling police, but I'm so glad I had my cell phone (and had taken it with me when I went from my office to my bedroom).

Joe told me that he spoke with a police officer (someone he was deployed with, actually), and was informed that the guy they caught gave a full confession. He also said they know who the other guy is but just not WHERE he is, so there are a few cop cars waiting for him to appear in one of a few different locations so they can arrest him. I may be asked today to see if I can identify him from a montage that has been put together by an officer. But even if I can't, apparently an officer was able to identify him (apparently the officer saw him jump over a fence). So, that's good news there.

There are tons of crows outside right now. Not quite enough to remind me of The Birds, but still way too many for me to feel comfortable. Creepy! Happy Halloween, I guess!

I'm getting really excited about starting my novel. I have been thinking about what I want to write the book about and playing with a few different ideas. And I now have a word-counter on my blog for anyone who cares to keep tabs. Or you can always look at my user profile here. I doubt anyone cares quite as much as I do. I do want to add writing buddies, so if you're participating (Alicia and anyone else who might be interested), please give me a link to your user profile, because I have to go to that profile to be able to add you as a buddy, and that is the only way I know how to access profiles.

This is going to be something keeping me busy for the next 30 days, but I'm totally okay with that. I looked at the 16 pages I've written for one of my works-in-progress to check out the word count there, and I believe it was only about 6000 words. I think I wrote that much in a day or two, so that's not too bad, but I'm going to have to gather my thoughts/ideas a bit more today so I can get started and just write.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A close call

Today, while I was working, I heard someone ring my doorbell. At first I ignored it, but shortly afterward, he rang it again. I wasn't on a call, so I went into "personal" time, thinking I'd check and see who was at the door, even though I don't expect anyone during the day. I looked out the window to see if I recognized the car outside my house, but there was none. I did see a male walking across the front of the house, appearing to be talking to the person at the door, as if motioning for that person to walk with him. I guess the person at the door said something, because this male started to approach my house, while the person at the door rang the doorbell some more.

At this time, I realized something was not quite right, as the person at the door continued to ring the doorbell several times, wait a minute, and then ring the doorbell again. I knew that I didn't recognize the person I'd just seen outside my house, so I figured I probably wouldn't recognize the person at the door either.

I tried to call the police officer who works on the high school's grounds to see if she would be willing to drive by or something. I wasn't able to reach her. So I tried calling the local police department, and they encouraged me to call 911.

By the time I started speaking to a 911 dispatcher, the doorbell ringing had stopped. I grabbed my cell phone out of my office and took it with me into my bedroom, locking the door behind me. I was informed that an officer was on his way to check it out. While talking to her, I heard glass break and reported that. Then before long, our call was cut short. I realized the line went dead, and I grabbed my cell phone and called 911.

Before long, there were SEVERAL cop cars in my area and a helicopter overhead. One suspect was apprehended and I was driven in the back of a cop car to see if that was the person I saw. It wasn't. Shortly after being driven back to my house, I was asked to look at another suspect. It was not the person I'd seen either. Then a K9 unit was brought in to try to find the suspect. He's still at large right now, as far as I know.

The suspects broke a window that goes into our garage. That was the glass I heard. They cut our cable and phone lines outside, which is why the phone went dead. I also lost my Internet connection and had to call the on-call phone for work to let them know what happened, since without phone or Internet, I would not be able to work or to let anyone know I would not be able to work. I spoke with a supervisor there and told her what happened (or rather, what was happening at the moment). Comcast and Qwest had GREAT customer service today and both sent someone to our house already today to fix the cut lines (this incident happened about 4 hours ago, and I called them probably about 3 hours ago).

While the police were here, they guessed the lines might have been cut because the suspects wanted to disable an alarm system if we had one (we do, but it's not set up at the moment- we're definitely going to do that now!). But one officer said that it is a group of teenage boys. They look for houses they think are empty and bust in a door. He thinks that it is some of these teenage boys who came to our house and the doorbell ringing was to make sure no one was here (but I'm still glad I didn't answer the door because who knows what would've happened). Anyway, he was saying that he has never seen cut wires before, and he thinks that maybe they heard me on the phone with 911 and cut the wires because they were concerned about me contacting the police.

Either way, I'm glad I got out of it with only some cut wires and a broken window (and a few hours lost pay at work and me being really shook up).

She's writing, she's writing, she's writing a novel

I have decided to join the National Novel Writing month challenge to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st & 30th. I know it's not going to be high quality work, but it's going to be fast paced enough to keep me from scrapping everything I've written and starting over time & time again (like I tend to do).

Are you interested in joining me for the challenge? You can sign up here. I may start writing in the forums today to get myself pumped up for Saturday.

Heck, I'm already excited. I have wanted to write a novel as one of my life-long goals. I've wanted to join this before, but I've never really known/remembered when it takes place.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Here, have some cake

I know I haven't posted for a while- and for good reason.

After work on Thursday, I headed to the airport to make it to Arizona for my baby sister's wedding on Friday. It's hard for me to picture her older than a teenager, so it was pretty surreal to see her getting married. Her new husband, Steve, seems like he'll fit right in with our wacky family. YAY!
My trip was very short, because I wanted to spend part of my husband's birthday with him. I got home Saturday afternoon and we went to Bellevue for a retreat of sorts. I got us a hotel room by Bellevue Square, and we watched a couple movies from the room and went to PF Chang's for dinner with his mom and stepdad.

I have felt as though I have been slacking on some of my church duties. I'm finding it a challenge to balance relaxing with working with 2 church callings plus visiting teaching and job hunting and trying to lose weight and preparing for the holidays. I find myself often overwhelmed at the thought of everything that needs to be done, and sometimes I feel like I have accomplished NOTHING. At least during my day off yesterday, I was able to get some cleaning done around the house. And on Sunday I was able to upload some pictures I took to help pass time while Karena & Steve were being paraded around and posed for shots. Here are some of my favorites:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can I PLEASE sit at the "cool" table?

I'm starting to have dreams (fantasies?) about going back to school. I've been in school so much that it really feels like my life is missing something right now. Or maybe I'm just sick. Part of me thinks a community college class at a time might be enough, but part of me wants another degree. I have so many areas of curiosity because I'm trying to figure out what I want to do in life that I really don't know where to begin. I've even been thinking about being a school teacher (whereas before I thought about being a school counselor, it doesn't look like that's realistic for me with my current schooling here in Washington, unfortunately).

I'm just glad I don't have to sleep to dream. They're always much more enjoyable than many things I deal with on a day-to-day basis. I mean, having the same conversation on the phone over & over, day after day is just so thrilling, but it just doesn't compare to being able to fly.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I took this recipe out of a copy of Reader's Digest some years ago. This recipe was posted as the best chocolate chip cookie recipe after a contest they'd had. I finally got around to making it, and now it's the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I make. We like to make some homemade ice cream and cut up some cookies and add them to the ice cream for some chocolate chip cookie ice cream- it's awesome.

Mom's Ultimate

1 cup soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups quick oats
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar together. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, stir into butter/sugar mixture. Add vanilla, then dry ingredients and chips. Drop small balls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F.

To save time, I usually just make this as cookie bars. Just as delicious either way. If you think it's too chocolaty for you, you don't have to add all the chocolate chips.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What would Emily Post do?

A few weeks ago we got a notice from someone trying to repo a car belonging to one of the old residents who lived here. We may have a forwarding address, but we're not certain, as the house was bought from that person's parents, and I don't think he lives there. We didn't give that address to the repo company. Maybe we should have, but it's not really our place.

Around that same time, we noticed some sheets nailed right outside our front door. My husband brought them inside, and they basically said that our house was going to be put up for auction in December because we owe over $10,000 for payments. We were furious and confused, because it wasn't written to us. But it also wasn't written to the previous tenants (as far as we could tell) or the previous owners. (We've actually paid more than what is owed on our mortgage payments, because we want to pay the house off sooner if possible.) Then I noticed, upon further inspection (I was looking for a phone number to call to complain), it wasn't meant for us. It was meant for some of our neighbors. Joe took the papers over to their house (and the bowl we'd had since our housewarming party) and spoke briefly for them. I bet they're probably embarrassed about it all, but so are we. We shouldn't know anything about their financial situation. But now we do. And I have no idea what to do about it.

With the economy being what it is, of course there are people struggling all over. But what should be done in this kind of situation as proper etiquette? When financial information is shared with someone that is not any of his/her business, is it best to pretend not to have received that information? I think that's probably the best route to go, but I just don't know.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Mormon woman's questions about supporting Proposition 8

I've remained more or less silent on this issue as I have done some studying and pondering about it. For anyone who is not Mormon, it just seems like some religious fanaticism or someone cramming their spiritual beliefs down your throat and trying to blur the boundaries between church and state. But for Mormons, it's something different than that.

I was very surprised and caught off-guard with a letter that was read during church one week. It was official from the leaders of the church, encouraging us to donate means to helping protect the family. Some years ago, a proclamation was issued by the church on the family and the church's views of the family. But the LDS church has always believed in agency, or the ability of people on this earth to choose for themselves how they want to live. Yes, they may break laws instituted by the nations in which they reside, and then they are bound to the consequences of breaking those laws. The LDS Articles of Faith declare some basic tenants of faith held by members of the church. I find #12 to be of particular interest here in looking more closely at Proposition 8, as it relates to laws.

You see, my initial reaction of shock to the letter encouraging support of Proposition 8 came because it seemed like such a statement as to say, "This is what members of the church believe." I know lovely people of different backgrounds-- cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, socio-economic status, sexual orientations-- and I think they should all be able to make whatever decisions they want in their life, accepting the consequences (for better or worse) that come with those decisions. Isn't that what agency is about? So why would I support Proposition 8?

A lovely, sweet woman at church wanted to organize a "calling party" at her house, where we would bring our cell phones and start dialing to talk with people in California about why they should vote yes. I rolled my eyes (inside, because if I were to actually do that, it would be rude!). She started to reference this article in her reasoning as to why our getting involved in any way is important. Well, what she was saying caught my interest (genuinely), and I decided I wanted to read the article.

So I later looked up the article and read it with interest. The part that really struck me started in the section of "Tolerance, Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom" where the author wrote:

"The prospect of same-sex marriage has already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states already are challenging the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and only place children in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in Boston has stopped offering adoption services.

"Other advocates of same-sex marriage are suggesting that tax exemptions and benefits be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not embrace same-sex unions. [17] Public accommodation laws are already being used as leverage in an attempt to force religious organizations to allow marriage celebrations or receptions in religious facilities that are otherwise open to the public. Accrediting organizations in some instances are asserting pressure on religious schools and universities to provide married housing for same-sex couples. Student religious organizations are being told by some universities that they may lose their campus recognition and benefits if they exclude same-sex couples from club membership. [18] "

So religious organizations will be forced to act in accordance with practices/views/etc of people outside their organizations or risk lawsuits, fines, loss of rights, loss of accreditation? I have a problem with THAT. I mean, wasn't this country founded on the premise of religious freedom?

However, as I've learned more about other aspects of the arguments against allowing gay people to marry and how there are flaws in those arguments (for example, children CAN be pulled out of health courses due to religious beliefs by their parents, so no one can FORCE them to be taught something a parent does not want them to be taught), if what I'm reading is correct, who is to say that there isn't a flaw in this line of reasoning as well? So why am I to believe that these things that "could/would" happen actually "could" or "would" happen?

Yes, people are told to take a stand for what they believe, and I believe both sides are doing just that. Yes, religious people often believe that they must take action when their religious freedoms are being threatened. Yes, LDS people are taught to share beliefs/convictions with others through word and deed. But is trying to cram something down someone's throat helpful or harmful to "the cause" you believe in (this goes for both sides)? I know not everyone is cramming, but I also know I feel crammed! All the way up here in Washington state.

Why should I support this proposition? I'm conflicted thinking about the different sides of the issue and hearing valid points on both sides. I'm just glad I don't live in California (or Arizona or Florida for that matter). I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

So, fellow Mormons, is this something you are backing on faith alone that the church leaders will not lead you astray? Is this something you've decided to trust is necessary? Or do you really believe it is necessary, and why? I'm not asking to mock. I'm asking to understand. Because if I am supposed to support this proposition (which it sure sounds like I am), I want to make sure that I'm supporting it from an informed perspective where I can really get behind the cause. Even after reading the article, I'm not sure how (and if) I can. And if I can't, is that okay? How am I supposed to know that it's okay to disagree with this issue if I can't bring myself to agree with it?

And to anyone and everyone else out there, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good news!

Click here

No one should have to deal with that. This is good news! I just hope the ban is enforced!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I want to have kids. I don't know if my health issues are getting any better, but I definitely don't seem to be losing any weight. And I'm trying, I swear. I'm working out more than I have in quite some time, and I'm burning more calories than I was when I used to work out a few years ago (and lost a decent amount of weight very quickly). It's disheartening. I don't want to have kids while I'm as fat as I am, because getting pregnant will just make me fatter and make things that much more difficult. But we had talked about possibly starting to try before the end of the year months and months ago. Now it seems like losing weight is just an excuse to put it off even longer. Then there is everyone else with their opinions-- trying to tell us what to do when because they are experts.

So, I'm trying to figure out what is my priority right now and what should be my priority right now. I could use some divine intervention/guidance, but I have a feeling I'm going to have to work hard at finding an answer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New job stuffs for Joe

Recently I have aquired some new job responsibilities at work. As part of the program, I get a little more pay (woohoo!) and I have some training to do in Salt Lake City, UT. I'm actually in UT right now in my hotel room (missing my awesome wife). I'm really excited for this new opportunity to broaden my work skills and I'll be a part of another team at work too in addition to the team I'm currently on.
I'm going to be here (Homewood Suites) all week. This gives me the chance to visit my sister Kit and her wonderful family on Thursday when my training is over. The room I get to stay in is really nice, with a kitchen and tons of space. It's almost like a small apartment or something. They have a pool and hot tub, but they're both outside and closed for the season.
There is one other team member from work that is here for the training too. We were both supposed to be on the same flight to UT but the flight was outright canceled due to mechanical issues. They didn't have another flight until tomorrow morning (that wouldn't work) so I had to call around and arrange another flight. I was able to do that just fine but my team mate ended up getting a later flight and not having her luggage at all (even longer story). So she is stuck here with just the clothes she is wearing and her purse. Unfortunately, she arrived late enough that all the stores are closed (I guess stores in Salt Lake City don't stay open very late or something?) and won't be open until class has already started tomorrow morning. Since I have the rental car, I was able to pick her up from the airport and I'll probably end up taking her shopping after class so she can get some stuff.
Anyway, that's the latest of my adventures so far. :)


Identity Theft/Voting Update

So, I made a call today. And another. And another. And another. And another. I have more calls to make, but it sounds like what happened may have just been an error from the department of licensing. You see, when I moved, I had to report my address change. I completed a form and printed it. I signed the form and left it with my husband's form (he needed to sign for his address change as well). There was a spot on the form to check a box to have your voter registration updated. I didn't check the box, because I'd already taken care of that after the move. Well, my husband hadn't updated his voter registration, so he checked the box for himself, and he saw that it wasn't checked for me and did that.

Apparently somehow someone else's information got entered under my name, and the form that was sent to update the voter registration also had that other information. So the DMV and the voter registration both have me listed as living in Vancouver. I do want to make sure that I review copies of my credit reports to make sure there isn't anything on there that is fishy, but I've requested an absentee ballot to be mailed to me so I can still vote in the state and general elections (no local voting for me though, bummer). I have to go to the DMV to update my address, apparently. And I really doubt I'm going to get any answers as to how the heck my address ever got listed as a Vancouver address in the first place. I tried to get some help by talking to someone in their customer service department, but he was a total jerk.

Joe is at a work training in SLC this week. It's going to be weird not talking to him. It's going to be weird mostly only talking to the kittens since I don't really talk to many people other than him on a daily basis.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

You know it's gotta be bad when

I start feeling bad for political candidates. I could list all the reasons why I feel bad for various candidates for various offices, but I won't. Why? Because I'm more frustrated with the fact that I might not be able to vote in the election, through no fault of my own.

At work, an email went out about voters who were placed in inactive status. I went to the site and saw that I was listed as inactive. From the email, it sounded like some people were placed into that status because of moves they'd made without updating their address. Well, I had updated my address for voting as soon as I moved. I'd even received an updated voter registration card in the mail. And then when updating my address for some other agency, there was an option on the paperwork to update your voter registration address too. Well, the form was ready to be mailed in except it was waiting my husband's signature, and he noticed that box was not checked on my form, so he checked that too. I got another updated voter registration card.

So, I didn't understand why it was showing I was an inactive voter. But I clicked on the box to update my address and it's still showing me as inactive. Only I didn't realize until past the registration deadline that it said I was registered in Clark county, and you're supposed to update information a completely different way if you're changing counties. So I may very well still be in inactive status unable to vote (although I'm going to take my card and try to do it anyway!). What's most frustrating/annoying/concerning is that I have NEVER lived in Clark county. How the heck am I listed as being in that county in the first place? Identity theft? Error in inputting my information (possibly with my zip code or something)? What the heck??? GRR!!!!

It got cold in Washington just a few days ago. More or less out of the blue. While I don't need any extra calories, I am glad it's hot chocolate season again!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Budget help

I just found out about this site where you can get help with budgeting if you are interested. It looks like it could be pretty cool.

LDS Personal & Family Finances


I don't know much about this service, but it sounded like something that might interest someone who is expecting, so I thought I'd share the link if you want to check it out.

Baby Alert

Monday, October 6, 2008

I LOVE Mondays now!

I'm excited for today. Since I started having Mondays off, I haven't looked forward to one with anything other than delight. But today I actually have plans other than cleaning and relaxing and sleeping in.

I have gotten a late start, but I'm going to head to the gym soon. Then I'll come home and get ready to go out with a girl from church. She's somewhat close to my age (I don't know how old she is, actually), and she is a childless married woman who is pregnant and going through some pretty bad morning sickness (she told me she can't have anything except French bread and Coke right now). I was told by another woman at church that this woman is home alone during the day with nothing to do, no car to get around in, and stuck in an apartment that is often dark because of where it is in the apartment complex. So I called to see if she wanted to do something. That is very out of character for me, especially since she and I have only very briefly talked a couple times at church. But she seems sweet, and she was so grateful to get the opportunity to leave the house. We're going to play it by ear, but I'm thinking we'll probably go to the Super Mall in Auburn. Shopping is always a good time! I just hope she's feeling well.

This weekend I really enjoyed watching General Conference on TV. It's cool that one weekend every 6 months I get to stay home and hear church messages and beautiful music on TV. I've recorded the different sessions and plan on watching them again or for the first time (I had to miss the first one on Saturday because I was working). I had thought a lot about what I felt were questions or concerns I have at this time that I was hoping for some guidance and inspiration, and those were answered this weekend. I LOVE that!

Anyway, I realized that I never wrote our cats names on here. Part of the reason is because the cat Joe named (the black one) has been given a name, but not a full name (I think). It sounds like he wants to add to it but isn't sure what to name her. So for now, she's Ashley. The other cat is Inspector Cassandra Cuddle Bunny, or Sandy for short. They're getting so big already!

Why I don't let the kitties in my office while I'm working

Monday, September 29, 2008

Learning how to delegate

I was just asked yesterday at church if I'd be willing to accept another calling. Then as I was listening to hear what that calling might be, I heard talk of a piano player being needed for the primary children and thought for sure that was what the calling would be. Well, I won't officially be called for another 2 weeks, but the calling is very different than that. In fact, it's another calling with a big time commitment. Like with my Enrichment Leader calling, I was told a big part of my calling will be delegating to others.

My thoughts on delegating are as follows:
1. I'm a perfectionist. If I think something should be done a certain way and don't know WHO can do it that way, I try to do it myself.
2. I hate inconveniencing people. If I don't think someone wants to help, I won't ask.
3. I am shy. Ugh. I HATE being shy. I LOATHE it.
4. I don't know most of the people at church. Yeah, I've been there since May (with the exception of the weekends spent out of town), but I haven't met too many people. When I've gone to events where people would be there I could meet, I'd try to meet some, but it's tough (see #3).
5. Because of #4, I don't know who has what talents/skills/abilities/interests that might help me in the delegation process. I'm trying to get that kind of feedback from people at church themselves (I created and sent out a survey, but most people haven't responded to it at all).
6. If I can't get someone to come to a meeting after saying they'd be available to attend, how can I entrust someone to take on a bigger responsibility?

So it boils down to this: I don't know people and therefore have not built up trust in depending on them. I used to think I was the kind of person to trust someone until they gave me reason not to trust them, but now I am starting to realize that it's deeper than that. I don't trust people I don't know. And if I know you to some degree and you've already let me down in that capacity, it's hard for me to build trust in you in another capacity.

If I try to delegate to others and they fail, I worry it'll look bad on me (since it is ultimately my responsibility). And I don't think that's necessarily an unfounded fear. In fact, when I first started my new position, I heard a lot of complaints. No solutions, mind you, but complaints. I'm asking for solutions, but I'm not getting those responses to help me figure out what solutions would appease the complainers. And now I'm finding myself joining them in complaining, which I hate.

Another part of my problem is that I don't know a whole lot about what either calling really entails. I don't know what the perceptions are of others that someone in that calling would need to do in order to be perceived as fulfilling their calling successfully. Because I'm a perfectionist, I want to do things properly and well. But it's hard to say I'm doing either when I don't know what standards I'm being held to.

Guess I should try to find a book or two about delegating and/or trusting others.

I have a lot of learning/growth to do. Guess that was why I was put in my calling (and will be put in my new calling shortly) in the first place.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Free Museum Day

I subscribe to Rss feeds from The Seattle Times, and I stumbled across this and thought I would share in case anyone is interested.

Tomorrow is a day that you can get free entrance into a museum for you and a guest at participating museums. You do have to fill out some information and print a pass, but it's a great way to have a cheap date. :)

Full information can be found here in the article.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our babies

Here are the (female) kittehs we got last night. The tabby scratched my chest hard enough to draw blood (stained my white t-shirt, actually) before we'd even taken them to our car (the neighbor was pulling his car out and they got so scared). We haven't named them yet. Any suggestions are welcome. Joe will probably name the black kitten and I'll probably name the other kitten. I kind of like Chelsea Kitten, but we may go with titles, and Ambassador Chelsea Kitten or something like that just sounds a little weird. And is it just me, or does the black kitten look like she is posing seductively?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Much needed day off... more or less

Sunday I was getting ready to leave church for the day when I noticed a man looking around for someone. He found her and started to hand back to her the copy of Breaking Dawn that he'd borrowed from her. I could not control myself. I accosted her unaware (she has no idea who I am because she's younger and I'm new), asking if I could borrow the book to read since I've been on the waiting list at the library for so long. She agreed but was probably perplexed at the least. I was excited beyond words.

I decided that I was going to take my day off, Monday, off. In fact, my plan was to stay in bed as much as possible and just read Breaking Dawn. I started the day that way, but when Joe called to tell me that he wasn't able to get into his school class for this quarter (bummer!) and that he was on his way home, I decided to get up, get dressed and ended up getting a little bit done.

I even made chicken Spanish rice bake (a spin on a healthy whole grain recipe I had tried before) for dinner, we looked on craigslist for different kittens available, and we started working on getting our digital pictures sent to a pharmacy where we could pick them up so we can finish our wedding and honeymoon photo albums.

I didn't finish Breaking Dawn, but I came pretty close. I have less than 100 pages left. The story has really changed, and I had seen some things coming before they did, but it'll be nice to finish out the series and not have to wonder what people are talking about or what is coming next.

So, since we're probably going to become "kitteh" parents tonight, I may not finish it right away, but I'm going to do so before Sunday so I can give the book (and maybe some cookies or something) to the bewildered girl I snaked it from.

Left out

Sometimes it is hard being childless when around people who are parents or expecting or both. I don't want to get knocked up before I'm feeling physically ready (not that I necessarily WOULD be able to get preggers and stay that way right now), and I don't want to do it because I want to fit in. And I sure don't want to have a baby because my sister-in-law told me to so her son could have a cousin closer to his age. Yeah, because making HER and her child happy is what my life is about....

Having said that, Joe and I have talked about getting pets. Part of me wants a dog because I've never had a pet dog that was MY dog. We had a couple dogs when we were kids, but they belonged to the family, and then ran away from home. I think my parents were relieved, and they didn't try to get them back. In fact, it was years before we had any more pets, but we finally were adopted by a stray cat, which led to cats becoming a part of our family.

Joe likes cats because they're more low maintenance and mellow. I don't dislike cats, but part of me wants a pet that is a bigger responsibility than a cat (not that they aren't a responsibility). Anyway, we'd decided to get a couple kittens when we moved into the house, but with everything that had been going on, we kept putting it off.

Now we're going to get a couple kittens. Maybe tonight. If not tonight, soon. I'm excited. They'll be our babies until we're ready for a human baby.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Because of everything that has been going on and will be going on, I have had to use my "vacation" time for anything and everything other than a vacation. I'm trying desperately to help my husband realize how important some things are for me so that he doesn't just brush them off like he has been doing. I need a vacation! I need a day off! I need a day I don't have to play hostess, work, clean, cook, shop, etc.

I tried to talk him into at least getting a hotel room in or near Bellevue when I had a Saturday off (the same day as his grandmother's memorial service), because since Sunday is the only common day we have off work, I didn't know when else we'd get the chance. He turned that down. I tell him I want a puppy because I want a pet that requires a little more maintenance so I can actually HAVE something to do and something to interact with during the lonely day hours when he's not around. It's going to get even more tough when he starts school again on Monday. At least his work is letting him go back to school, even if just for this quarter. But he wants cats and that is that so there is no discussion to be had about a dog.

I had scheduled a doctor's appointment for Thursday way back when- I HAD Thursdays off at that point in time, but I had to schedule the appointment out months in advance because that was all that was available. And now that I work on Thursdays, I wouldn't be able to go to that appointment unless I took time off work. This is time I don't have (since I have to save the time I do have and time I will earn between now and the end of October to go to Arizona for my sister's wedding). So, in a desperate plea for help, I posted my request to switch someone shifts. I begged someone to let me work for them on Monday so I could go on Thursday, but I got no responses. I had to call and cancel the appointment today. I won't be able to get in to see the doctor until sometime in December. They weren't quite sure when that would be, since she hasn't posted her December schedule yet, but the only other doctor I could've seen only had openings in late December when I was scheduled to work, so I will have to wait. This is a doctor I should've seen over a year ago. So frustrating!

Stress is starting to pile up again, and I can feel the difference. I'm not sleeping well, I'm coughing more, and I'm prone to the stress-eating I hate. Ugh. I'm still walking on my lunch breaks (but I'll have to go to the gym on my lunch break tomorrow instead of walking), but I'm also craving that sweet chocolate comfort food, and that's not good. I really have a problem saying no to chocolate when I know it is around and in an edible form.

I'm still looking for a job. I'm losing hope in this economy. At least I'll get extra money next month in this job!