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