Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Granny Style

I'm kind of weird. I'm what I guess is called ambidextrous. I write with my right hand, but I do just about everything else with my left hand.

I had to teach myself how to eat with my right hand, because when there are 10 people crowded around a small table, you have to use your right hand. I still cut meat with my left hand, but that's not as big a deal.

Because all of my siblings are right-handed and because I write with my right hand, my dad was convinced I was not left-handed (even though that's how I often referred to myself). We didn't have a whole lot of money growing up. Going out to eat was saved for very special occasions, and likewise going to the movies or bowling or other kinds of activities that cost a deal of money for such a large brood.

When we had a day off school for a holiday, we did whatever my dad had in mind. He wouldn't often tell us about it beforehand. Instead, we'd just pile into the van and go wherever he took us.

When we'd go bowling, he was so determined that I was right-handed that he would not let me bowl with my left hand. Now, I'd try to throw the ball with my right hand, but it was an utter disaster. So I ended up bowling with the ball between my legs. Until I decided I was too old to keep bowling like that. One time, I threw the ball with my left hand in rebellion, against my father's demands. My mother stood up for me and my father, upset, stormed out of the bowling alley.

He walked the approximately 4 1/2 miles from the bowling alley to our house. And the rest of us stayed and bowled, but I felt horribly guilty for upsetting him. I wished I'd just bowled "granny style" instead of making him walk in the heat all the way home and ruining the day for us all.

To this day, I still feel frustrated when I bowl. I've learned that the balls are drilled for right-handed people, which puts left-handed bowlers at a disadvantage unless you bring your own ball. And I'm not anywhere near good enough to make up for that handicap. I guess that's part of the reason why I don't bowl much.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My New Neighborhood

I have been thinking a lot lately about life in Arizona versus life in Washington. I grew up in the same house I lived in until moving out for college, and my parents are still there. We knew most of the surrounding neighbors, and part of that was because many of them have been there for years and years also.

But when I bought my house in Mesa, it was on a street with a lot of other families. In fact, one time I counted the little patio homes and duplexes on the street and figured that there were over 60 on that one street! I knew I was safe in that house, even though I lived alone. There was almost ALWAYS someone outside of their house, and that someone usually included my neighbors across the street.

One time I accidentally locked myself out of my house around 10 pm. I saw lights on in their house and went and knocked on their door to see if they had tools I could borrow to pull off my screen door to get inside. They turned off their lights and pretended not to be home when I first knocked, and I continued knocking for about 5 minutes or more until someone finally came to the door. Well, they helped me out but it was with great reluctance. They were nice enough, but it was barely more than a "hi" in passing that was exchanged between us the whole time I was living there. Their daughter lived next door to me, and I was lucky to get a "hi" back from her. My neighbors that lived on the other side of me didn't seem to like me after an incident shortly after I moved in when I had yard work done while the man who lived there was sleeping in the morning hours (not too early). So, basically, it wasn't a friendly street.

But I understand that Arizona tends to have higher attrition than some other places. Especially my new neighborhood. People have lived here for years. Several of our neighbors are original owners too. The house we purchased is old, and the original owners and/or their family lived here until selling it to us.

So maybe people in Arizona don't want to invest as much into getting to know their neighbors or building relationships with them, because they know or think their neighbors will move away. Or maybe it is just the area I bought a house in that is like that. Or maybe it was just my surrounding neighbors. Maybe they just thought I didn't fit in.

But when we moved into this house, we were welcomed by friendly neighbors all around us. We got a plate of cookies and some hand picked home grown flowers from one neighbor. We got phone numbers for our neighbors and even some recommendations regardling local services. We invited the 10 closest neighbors over for our housewarming party. Most of them came, and even one who didn't come brought us over a greeting card and gift card to welcome us. We live in a pretty cool neighborhood.

To say thanks to our neighbors and for fun, we gave mason jars full of a brownie mix to them for Christmas. We got a chance to sit and chat with a couple of them while delivering the jars. And for the new year, one of them gave us a jar of homemade raspberry jam.

We enjoy our house, and this neighborhood really makes this feel like home.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reluctance to post

There are certain things I'm nervous about letting people know about for various reasons. One of those reasons is that I don't want it to sound like all I do is complain. Another of those reasons is because it's scary sometimes being so open and personal. So, what I do write is not always easy but is in a weird way therapeutic.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I'm still trying to find out what's wrong with me. Physically and mentally and emotionally I'm not feeling right. It's almost a regular thing for me to play this emotionally taxing game called Guess When Your Period Is Coming. It's not like a fun game where you win cool prizes. Rather, the prizes include cramps and mood swings. And while I'm waiting for the game to end, I stress. I usually give in about a week after my period "should" have come and get a pregnancy test. And maybe I schedule a doctor's appointment or contemplate scheduling one to find out what's going on. Or maybe I stress out about ways to reduce my stress levels, stressing that my stress may be causing this. But it is a guarantee that my mind will run wild with worst-case scenarios. Like, "I'll never be able to have kids. I have bad ovaries. Maybe I'm going through pre-menopause already. What if there's something horribly wrong and I'm going to die?"

So, that's part of what's going on with me. And then there's my expectations as to where I should be in life versus where I am. I'm making the same amount (or less)than I was in my last job in Arizona. And that was while I was still in school for my masters degree. I am not living up to my potential. I am grossly over-qualified for my job. And yet, because of this economy, I am unable to even get an interview for the jobs I'm applying for that I am qualified for. It's not like those pay very much, but at least it's a little more than what I'm making right now. And at least the jobs I'm applying for might be challenging and rewarding and fulfilling. Yeah, I'm unhappy with my job. That doesn't help matters.

And there are other things going on, but that's about all I'm comfortable talking about right now. I've realized just how hard it has been for me to move to this state where I really haven't fit in and haven't found the happiness and peace of mind I've been looking for. And everything is wearing on me so much. I don't know how much more I can handle. I'm hoping that one of these days I'll start getting the answers and help I need and job lead that'll take me in the right direction. And here's to hoping that comes before I lose all hope.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fun on my day off

So today is my first day off in a while. I don't have anything I "have" to do, but I have been productive so far. And I wish I had more time.

I slept in until about 5:15 or so this morning. Yes, that's sleeping in around here. Granted, I always wake up when Joe's getting ready for work in the 3 o'clock hour, but I easily fall back asleep when he leaves until my alarm goes off.

Realizing I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep, I finally got up about 5:30. I wrote in my journal, checked my email, and made some lists of things I could do today. I also watched A Cinderella Story. I love Hilary Duff.

I went to Target, where I stocked up on household necessities like toothpaste, soap, shampoo & conditioner, toilet paper, etc. I also purchased a cheap camp stove so that if we lose power we can still heat up food. And, being proactive, I purchased some fuel for it too. I think if there was going to be a big power outage this year like there was a couple years ago, it probably would've already happened with the big storms we were getting around Christmas. Still, it's best to be prepared. And if I don't use it for that reason, I have something to take camping. Woot! I haven't been camping since I moved up here. I should take a Saturday off and go with Joe when it gets warm outside.

After Target, I went to this store called Shoes & Feet to look for shoe insoles. I got an expensive but nice pair of cross trainers there, and I realized that I need a little more support for the arches of my feet. But with a $60 price tag for the kind I liked, I decided to refrain and see if I could buy something cheaper somewhere else. On my way to another shoe store nearby, I noticed a Payless. I saw some insoles there, but they weren't near the quality that I figured would actually do anything for my arches. Where's Dr. Scholl's? I did, however, find a $10 pair of black tennis shoes (they were on sale). I have been looking for black tennis shoes for some time, so I was happy. I'm even happier that they don't have shoe laces for the kittens to gnaw at.

Next I went to the farmer's market for some zucchini (so I can make chocolate zucchini cake). I picked up a couple bananas while there too, so we can make some more yummy fondue (I have cuties and pineapple and strawberries and apples that need to be eaten!).

And then I went to Fred Meyer, where I spent about $100 on groceries. I saved some money due to sales and coupons they had, and I stocked up on things like $2 boxes of Cinnamon Life cereal and $1 orange juice containers (Joe drinks so much of that stuff!). Exhausted, I came home and put everything away. I realized I was overcharged for a sports bra I picked up at Target, so I'll have to go back there, which is okay, because I want to look for some jeans at a nearby store, and I'm going to check out another shoe store for insoles.

On my possible to-do list as well is walking and/or working out at Curves, donating some items to a local second-hand store, washing some laundry, and getting some birthday cards ready for the mail tomorrow. Plus, I also have on my list taking a nice bath and doing some reading and getting a pedicure. I was going to do that professionally, but I decided to save that money (and I spent plenty today already!) and just use my massaging foot bath and stuff I have here.

Hope you're enjoying your day! I know I am, and I'm not even being as lazy as I was thinking I might be!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Teacher/Student relations

I've now seen several times (thanks to my Seattle Times RSS feeds) a link to an article letting me know it's okay for teachers in this area to have sex with their 18-year-old students. It's not a felony. Oh, well thank goodness for that!

I remember having an ethics course for my counseling degree where we talked at length about unethical behaviors. It's amazing/frustrating/shocking/whatever to hear that a lot of these behaviors that are such no-no's for counselors are okay for other professions. Or maybe some people who are practicing these things are just unethical.

For example, it's not okay to barter for counseling services. Big no-no. I don't care if you can babysit my kids in exchange for a free counseling session. I can't do it or I could be in SERIOUS trouble. Now, if you want to exchange goods for piano lessons, I'm all ears. :)

Also, it's not okay to have sex with 18-year-old clients. It's not ethical for a therapist to have dual-relationships with clients. That means, as much as someone might need or want it, I CANNOT and WILL NOT counsel someone I'm friends with, someone in my family, or someone I know from other associations (like my plumber or neighbor or whatever). In fact, if I run across a file for someone I know as part of my current job, I'm not even supposed to talk to them about quitting smoking.

In high school, one of my favorite teachers was married to another teacher at our school. I never had her as a teacher, but I heard that they got married after she was a student of his. Did anything inappropriate happen while she was a student? I hope not, but the question is there. It has been there for me and other students like me because of their past. It's not my business (or is it- that's another debate, I suppose), but it's natural to wonder about those things. That's why ethics strongly discourage relationships with anyone you've PREVIOUSLY counselled. Maybe you only met with them once-- it doesn't matter. Imagine that relationship ending badly and then the person trying to say that you acted inappropriately in your professional setting. So, the ethics of relationships with previous clients in the state of Arizona, as I learned it, was no relationships allowed for 5 years after terminating a professional relationship.

If you think all this is unnecessary, just look at the complaints filed against counselors in your state. Many may not be founded on anything, but many are, and that's sad. I previously worked with someone who went on to massage therapy school in another state. The last thing I'd heard about him was that he'd been arrested for inappropriate touching of one of his clients. True? I'm not sure. But it is very possible.

Stick with the teacher/student fantasies if you must.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"What kind of neighborhood do you live in?"

Saturday, I was working and heard a noise outside. Being curious, I looked out the window and saw 2 people riding on a motorcycle on the sidewalk toward my mailbox. They stopped briefly at my mailbox, opened it up, took out my Netflix movie that I was returning, shut my mailbox, and rode off. I tried to get the license plate number, but I couldn't see it at all. And in looking at that, I missed details the police asked me, like what color the bike was, what color their clothes were, and what color their helmets were. I was just in shock that it happened. I had tried to open my window to yell at them, but I didn't even have time to get that open before they were gone.

So, yeah, I called the police. They came and took my statement (I didn't have much to tell) and gave me a case #. I decided to drive around the neighborhood to see if I could find them (I figured it was a very low chance, but I wanted to try, because it didn't seem like the cops would try). So when I got in my car, it was probably about 15 minutes or more since it happened. I stopped when I saw a neighbor's flag up. I figured I should tell them what happened to me so they could check to see if their mail was still in the box. A sweet older woman opened the door and we got to talking. She gave me her name and phone number in case I need anything, and in talking, I found out she was getting rid of some books. She gave them all to me. There are some books I'll give away, but there are at least a few that interest me and maybe even a few that'll interest Joe.

Netflix was cool about the whole thing. I called to report the missing DVD, and they said they weren't going to charge me for the movie. They have already sent a DVD to replace it, which is nice.

I had to stop working early to talk to the cops, but since it didn't take too long to deal with that, it was a nice time to relax before my company's holiday party Saturday night. I went with my friend Stacy and we had a good time. The food was nice and there were some friendly folks at the table.

It was such a weird day. I keep thinking, "Did I really see that, or was it a dream?" I guess it's time to buy a locked mailbox!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Things I've done

Here's a list of things you may or may not have done. Bold those answers that apply to you and repost.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch-hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thirdhand smoke?

It's the latest reason to quit smoking. Some are arguing that the negative effect from what is being called thirdhand smoke hasn't been proved, while advocates for people to quit smoking are using it as another reason to encourage people to quit.

What is "thirdhand smoke"?

Well, if someone smokes, particles from smoking stay with you. Your hair stinks, your clothes stink, your fingers stink, etc. Thirdhand smoke is exposing people to these particles and possibly making them sick. Does it just affect kids with asthma, as some are saying?

I don't know enough about all of the medical aspects of smoking, nor have I run any studies myself, but if it's another reason people are quitting, great! In fact, I heard about thirdhand smoke on the news or read something about it and was at least a little bewildered, but then I spoke with someone the following day who had also heard about it and it motivated her to quit.

Really, when you think about all the things that you touch and the dead skin cells that your body sheds and what is on your hands and skin, it doesn't surprise me that you may be putting other people's health at risk by smoking. After all, colds and pink eye and chicken pox and germs are spread very easily.

Just how harmful is it? I, for one, would prefer not to find out first hand. Riding the bus next to someone who has been smoking is torture enough for me. I definitely don't want to touch them.
I just watched this, and it was pretty amusing, so I thought I'd share.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What should I blog about?

I like to write. Actually, I take that back. I LOVE to write. My problem is not knowing WHAT to write about. I mean, I really doubt anyone wants to read my movie reviews or what I'm eating or watching on TV or how I repeat myself time and time again while working so I sometimes get myself mixed up and think, "Is this the person who told me ____, or was that someone else?" or "Did I already say this to this person?" Yeah, my job is really THAT repetitive/boring.

So, what DO I write about? I have a blog where I list the things I'm grateful for, and that's more for me than anyone else really. I have a blog where I talk about goals I'm working on, and that's more of a journal for me also. I thought about blogging about counseling lessons/skills or something like that that I've learned from all my schooling, but I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in reading tips/techniques/babblings about all that.

There WILL be upcoming blogs about ghost sex and gays & squirrels taking over the world. I'm sure those will be entertaining, at least.

What are your ideas? What should I write about?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Being a good girl

I'm not depriving myself of chocolate. But I am trying to be good with going to the gym and going on walks. I almost talked myself out of walking today, but I did it, even though it was pretty nippy outside and was sort of snowing as Joe and I were walking together (it was nice of him to volunteer to walk with me). We kept a slower pace, checking out various houses in our neighborhood. We sometimes find ourselves passing by a house we looked at just a few blocks away, and I'm always so glad we didn't get that house... it's like there is a definite division of where the neighborhood goes from pretty nice (where we live, thank goodness), to fairly nice with a few exceptions, to cheaper housing. And that house is right on the line of the second and third categories. What makes the difference? Well, one of my guesses is that we have a homeowners association. I am grateful for that!

Anyway, we didn't walk for a full hour, but it was fairly close (50 minutes, give or take). And yesterday instead of walking on my lunch break, I took a longer lunch break and went to the gym. Tomorrow I have an interview in Seattle and I think I'm going to drive to it, so I won't lose as much time on the bus (I'm a bad girl and will have to pay for parking, though), and then I can go to the gym and/or walk tomorrow too.

Anyway, it's time to be a good girl and go to bed. Later!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I am always hesitant to set resolutions for the new year because I don't want to fail and it seems like they are always broken. But I do it anyway. In 2008, I started working on some of my goals as the year progressed. I met some of my goals like buying a house and getting a job but I didn't meet some like losing weight and getting pregnant (which in my mind go hand in hand). And I have other goals I'm still working on that I've made progress toward accomplishing, like making friends and becoming more involved at church.

So, I'm going to continue to work on those things I've already started working on. I'm going to get my butt back in gear with going to Curves. I'm going to go 3 days a week. And on top of working out (because that alone wasn't helping me lose weight, which is why it got easy for me to get discouraged and stop going to the gym- combined with some injuries I've experienced), I'm going to walk at least 60 minutes a day, at least 3 days a week. I would say every day, but 3 days a week is a good place to start. I will lose 5 pounds and 3 inches in January.

I'm also trying to change the way I look at food. I have been "rewarding" or "treating" myself with chocolate because I'm addicted to it. But is it really a "reward" or a "treat" if I have it all the time? Does something stay a special benefit, or does it become part of a routine when you do it every day or almost every day? Maybe if I work out my 3 days a week and do my walking 3 days a week I'll reward myself with some chocolate. And maybe I'll cut down the other food-related rewards.

Plus, I think part of my problem has been the way I look at food. I eat according to my mood. I WISH I was one of those people who didn't eat when I was feeling stressed, because I would probably be at my target weight already if that were the case. Anyway, I shouldn't eat something because I am in the mood for it as much as I should eat to give my body nutrients it needs. Menu planning, which I recently started, is already helping out with this. We had a healthy dinner last night that I really wasn't necessarily in the mood for, but I felt full after eating it, and that's what eating should be all about.

I also always have goals related to my spirituality, and those goals are always renewed each year. The biggest thing I have been noticing is when I'm prepared for church, I get so much more out of it. I am not always good at it, but I try to read ahead of time for lessons in Relief Society, and I need to add to that reading ahead for Sunday school. I get some LDS Living emails with Sunday lesson helps, and I've decided that instead of deleting them like I have been since getting them that I'll use them to help me get ready for church.

Do you do resolutions? If so, what are yours?

(I'm also considering watching The Biggest Loser, which I've never done before, because maybe that'll help me stay motivated and possibly inspire me. We'll see)