Friday, December 31, 2010

Reality Check

This may come as a surprise, but I've been a little down the last couple of weeks. It seems that the trials just keep cropping up and just when I think the worst is over, something else happens. I shouldn't really complain too much because things could be a lot worse and I know that.

I just gave my 30 days notice at my apartment. I purposely did it before midnight because I wanted to be able to say that I left as much garbage in 2010 as I could. Whether it'll all stay there, instead of following me for at least the near future, no one knows at this point.

I never really understood why people would complain about moving home or why some might be hesitant to do it. I happen to love my parents and always thought "I'd just love to live at home again!" But I'm finding out actually having to do that really messes with your head. For no reason at all, it makes you feel like a big fat failure, even when the circumstances are beyond your control. Let me be clear, no one has even come close to saying the words "You're moving home?! What a loser!" Somewhere deep inside my head, though, those words are lurking.

I'm not completely set on it quite yet. I gave notice so that, if I don't have a job by the end of January, I won't be paying rent and throwing away half of my severance pay when I may or may not have a new job lined up in The City Beautiful. If an opportunity should come my way in the next month, I do have the option of taking back my notice and, as long as my unit isn't already rented, staying. That would obviously be the easiest option. Who likes moving? Not me. And the thought of boxing up all of my belongings is not even close to appealing. It will give me a chance to clean out, though.

One thing that I have realized (and kind of hate to admit) is that exercise of some form does make you feel better. I've tried to get myself back on track with my training since the marathon is in eight days. I wasn't excited about running with everything else going on, but I decided to suck it up and get outside. I'm glad I did because I had a decent run yesterday and feel like I might be getting the bug back. The true test will be what happens after the actual race. I want to keep it up, but I know it's going to take real discipline. One thing is for sure: if I'm living at home, I will be able to count on my dad asking me every single day "Did you run today?" The only way to avoid that will be to beat him to the punch by telling him "I already ran today." before he asks. Not having to hear that question might be incentive enough to get me outside. MIGHT be.

On that note, I need to go get myself in bed. I'm running seven miles in the morning. That's a start, right?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grum-py

I always try to be sort of careful when I post because I don't want to offend my "audience," but today I feel like no one ever checks this, so I'm not going to hold back.

My position in life is really starting to get to me. I never thought that, at 28, I'd be five years in to my career and find that the company I work for is shutting down and I'm (soon to be) unemployed. The good thing is that I spent the first five years of my career at the same company, so my severance package reflects that. I just can't let myself get to the point of thinking "I'll be getting the same paycheck through the month of March, so I have time to find another job. And if I don't find another job, I can always collect unemployment." No. Unemployment is the very last thing I want to collect. I know it's there to help when you hit a rough patch, but I'd just rather not even go there. To me, it sounds like a trap. And the amount I'd collect wouldn't even cover my rent.

The smart (and obvious) thing for me to do would be to find a job and start quickly. That way, I'd be earning a paycheck and still collecting my severance, which I would just sock away. At least some of it, anyway. Not that I plan on going on some shoe shopping spree or anything, but the likelihood of me staying in Orlando for much longer is faily low. Some of those monies will be spent on relocation unless I find a job somewhere that will defray my moving costs. That would be fantastic.

Back to the Orlando thing. I just haven't felt a strong pull to stay there. I have enjoyed my time there, but I don't feel like there is too much holding me there. Sure, I have a handful of great friends that I've made and will stay close with there, but I know that we'll be friends whether I live in the same city or not, so I'm not factoring that in. For the longest time, I felt like Orlando was the heart of hospitality jobs and that I could easily stay in or around the area and enjoy a fantastic career. Now I'm beginning to realize that there are a whole host of jobs that I could do that somehow tie in to my degree that aren't hospitality-specific. I guess I'm finally getting out of that hospitality = hotels and restaurants mentality. What the heck took me so long?

Don't get me wrong, I don't regret getting my degree in hospitality for a second. I'd do it over again without question. I just don't think I realized, while I was in school, that I wouldn't really want a job that required me to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It wasn't until I settled in to my (mostly) Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:30 job that that's really where I saw myself all along. Yes, I'm comfortable with having to work over the weekends periodically and having to work later than 5:30 when I need to, but consistency is what I crave. I want to be able to make commitments outside of work and keep them. I want to know that I can and will go to church every Sunday. So instead of littering International Drive with my resume and taking the first decent offer from a big name hotel chain, I'm being a little more selective and perhaps open-minded to which jobs I'm applying for.

It's almost funny how this has all affected me. I've been somewhat hesitant to tell people the after January I won't have a job because it feels awkward, but then I'm realizing that the only way to get people's help is to let them know. So I have told people that I've felt either needed to know or would be supportive and maybe even give me a lead or two. When I've had these conversations, I tend to laugh about it. Not because it's really all that funny, but that's just what happens. Maybe I'm just trying to lighten the mood because it is kind of a bomb to drop on someone. But there have certainly been those moments where I fall apart, where my brain just won't shut off and the what-in-the-world-is-happening-to-me thoughts won't stop. And then I crumble. And then I get mad because I'd finally gotten to a point where, for several months, I didn't shed a single tear and now I'm back to being that crybaby again. Only this time, instead of not caring who sees me because I can't think about anything but my own pain knowing that I was just a walking ball of raw nerves, I am overly conscious and feel weak for not being better able to suck it up and deal. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back in time to a year ago, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this is much better.

My dad keeps telling me how it's the refiner's fire and that all of these things that I'm going through will help me. I know that he's right, but it doesn't make it any easier. I don't discount the strides I've made over the last year at all. I know that I'm headed in the right direction, which is really the most important thing. Recently, I had some conversations with my parents and others regarding a personal step I'm looking to take. I will be waiting until my brother gets home, but I've had the thought that maybe these trials are to help further prepare me to appreciate what's to come and to make it all the better. I think it will and none of this will take me off course. And I'm certain that all of this is happening for a reason. I have to believe that or there'd be no point in enduring any of it. My impatient personality struggles, though, because I want to know NOW what the reason is and how it's all supposed to work out. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the lightbulb to go off about some other things that have happened, so I don't think there's going to be a quick, easy answer to this either.

Practice patience. So much easier said than done.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Sharp Left Turn

I seem to remember a lot of people being ready for 2009 to be over at the end of last year. I wasn't entirely sure what those people were really talking about, but I'm beginning to feel the same way about 2010. I'm just ready to kiss it good-bye and move on to 2011.

There have certainly been good things that have happened over the last 12 months, but the last month has brought on more stress and worry than I bargained for. In my last post, I mentioned that I'd gotten a promotion recently, but that several of my co-workers were let go. Less than two weeks after that took place, the remaining employees were told that the entire office is closing.

Merry Christmas, right? Yeah.

I completely understand that things happen for a reason and I'm interested to see what the future holds, but it's not the most convenient position to be in. I will start to think about the good things that will come from this like being able to try something new, meet new people, learn new things, etc. Then I end up thinking about the not-so-great things like not knowing anyone, not knowing what I'm doing, and starting allllllllll over again.

I really don't even know where to begin. I doesn't exactly feel quite real yet. Maybe it will after tomorrow, but who knows. I need to buckle down and start looking for a new job, but I've had this week scheduled as vacation for months and want to actually take a break. So currently, I'm rebelling against the job hunt. I think I will work on my resume a bit tomorrow.

I've got a couple of ideas of where to go from here, but I'm trying not to make any knee-jerk reactions. Being reactive was one of those traits that I tried hard not to pick up over the last five years.

So if you're reading this and happen to know of any jobs that someone with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management could handle, I'm available!

By the way, the ratio of laughing to tears in my life is frighteningly unnatural. I feel like I shouldn't I shouldn't be laughing about this as much as I have. Shock, perhaps?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Am I?

I think I might be getting close to calling myself a runner. I didn't set out to be one when I signed up to run the half marathon, but I sort of hoped I might end up that way. I think it might be happening.

It's been 10 days since my last run and I miss it. I mean, I really miss it. When I look out the window of the
hotel I've been staying in since last Wednesday and see people running, I get jealous. Really jealous. My running shoes have been at the bottom of my back, along with my other workout clothes, since I got here and I'm sad that I haven't seen them since last Tuesday night. I would love nothing more than to be able to get outside and get in a good four miles or so. My next run will be no later than Monday.

I think I've already decided, even before the race, that I will be signing up for another half marathon after this one. I don't know when or where it'll be, but I want the opportunity to train the right way (the OCD way that I wanted to from the start, following the schedule to the letter) and to see how well I do. My job hasn't exactly allowed me to do that this time, which is okay, but I want to give it a real shot.

It's amazing how this training has affected me. I love going for a run after work because it clears my head. I love having sore muscles every day because it means I pushed my body a little further than I thought it could go. I love getting dressed and not "feeling fat" every day. I can't say that I feel "skinny," but I do feel comfortable. Or I did until my workouts took a backseat to my job. Right now, my mind is all over the place, I'm not sleeping well, and I feel like a roly poly.

Some changes have happened at work over the last couple of months. I got a promotion last month, but that was overshadowed by several of my co-workers being let go due to a drop in business. A couple of them I consider to be really good friends of mine. I love them and look up to them and know that there's a reason for all of this, but it sucks. It really sucks.

I could use a good run in my life. Oh, and temperatures in the 70s.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Latest

Today ended week seven of my training for the half marathon. I have a schedule that I've been following, though I haven't been able to follow it to the letter like I would have liked to. Occassionally things have gotten in the way, like having to work late or travel or just plain not feeling like running, but I feel like I'm doing pretty well.

I've been trying to push myself every time I run, but sometimes it feels impossible to keep going. I kept hearing that eventually I will "level off" and I'll feel like I can just keep running even if I don't want to or don't think I can. Today I finally experienced it. The last time I really did any decent running was last weekend, but today I knew that I had to get out and run. Not only did I have to just get out and do it, but I had to do the seven miles that were on the schedule. No matter how cold it was or how early on a Saturday morning, I needed to get this done.

I was up earlier this morning than I get up for work every day. It was cold (yes, in Florida) and I wished that I could crawl back in my warm bed. At the same time, though, I wanted to run. I stretched and started out walking, but then picked up the pace. At the end of the first mile, I was like "That was easy. I'm ready to go again." So I took a little walking break and then started running again. At the end of mile three, I still felt great and wanted to keep going. Mile four was decent, but at the end, my legs started feeling it, but I didn't care. I was finishing all seven miles.

I finally did. An hour and forty minutes after I started, I was finished. I was already sore and knew that I would be for a while, but it didn't matter. In fact, I've kind of gotten used to being sore. It's a little strange when I don't have some ache somewhere. The little pains don't bother me, but I don't know if I'll ever get used to feeling like like my legs are going to detatch from my body at the hip.

The next couple of weeks are going to be tricky. I have a big meeting and am not sure that I'll be able to run or do any sort of working out. I am absolutely taking my running shoes with me, but actually getting outside for a run or getting to the gym could prove to be quite a challenge. It makes me a little nervous because the marathon is in five weeks and I don't want to slack off. Hopefully I'll be okay.

One way or the other, I'm running it. And I have every intention of crossing the finish line on my own. If not... Well, that's just not an option.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Civic Duty

I don't pretend to be in to politics. I almost didn't even go vote today, but after the eighth text from my dad telling me to "Vote early and vote often" I went. As I was waiting to get my identity verified, I overheard a poll worker telling some guy that he had to register ahead of time, he can't just show up and vote. She wasn't especially nice or understanding with him, but I think she was a lot nicer than those senior citizens that run the polls in Satellite Beach would've been.

I won't lie, I went in pretty blind. As I was walking up, I felt ill-prepared as I saw other voters studying their ballots like it was their final exam, but I just picked the next available booth and started winging it. I started to see a pattern as I filled in more and more bubbles as dark as I could.

When I was finished, I called my parents to tell them my strategy. I still think it's comical, if not clever.

*If there was a political party listed, I chose the republican candidate. For the record, had I had some sort of aversion to the republican candidate prior, I would've voted for someone of a different party, but the bridge never appeared so I didn't have to cross it.
*If it said "Shall so-and-so remain as..." I voted no. My grandfather thinks that getting new blood in office as frequently as possible is the way to go and that sounds good to me, too.
*If there was no party listed, I chose the most American name listed. I'm not racist, I just like the idea of Americans running America.
*If there was any sort of money that they were looking to get from the citizen, I voted against it. I'm short enough on cash without having to give any more away.

The one "issue" that stuck out to me was about class size. They were looking to increase the number of students a teacher can have in each classroom. While I don't have (and won't for a while) kids in school, I felt like the kids should get as much attention as possible and the teachers need less stress. I can hardly handle six to twelve 16- and 17-year-olds once a week. Having double (at least) that number, of any age range, five days a week would send me to the looney bin.

I probably shouldn't put my business out in public like this, but this is my blog. If you don't like my choices, oh well.

So now we just have to wait and see what happens. Not that I'll even notice.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I've Lost My Mind

Three blog posts in a seven-day span should make that obvious enough, but...

It's official. I am registered to run the
Disney World Half Marathon on January 8. Yes, 2011. Yes, a mere 12 weeks from now. I still can't quite believe it either and I'm just counting on Kelsey to drag me across the finish line! She was the person who sort of pushed me over the edge and finally talked me in to just going for it.

Actually, I'm looking forward to it. I've now paid money to run this race and I can't get a refund, so I have no choice but to train as best I can and then leave everything I've got somewhere on Disney property. I think I can do it. At the worst, I have to finish in three and a half hours, which breaks down to about a 16 minute mile. I'm fairly certain that I can walk a mile in 15 minutes. So run or walk, I should avoid being picked up and transported to the finish, to quote the rules posted on the website.

I've been pretty sore this past week, since joining my co-workers who have been training for their half marathon that's a little over a month away. As I was complaining about my aches and pains, they were quick to point out that I didn't exactly ease myself in to the training, I jumped in and I've kept up with them. My first question after that was "Yes, but are you slowing down so that I don't fall too far behind???" We're not sure, but I'll give myself the benefit of the doubt!

I'll start going by my training schedule this coming week, though I can't decide if I want to "go backward" and only run three miles on my first run, when I've been doing four or five with the girls, so we'll just see what happens on Monday. Maybe if I do drop back to three I'll push myself to do less walking than I have been. I know that pushing myself to keep running is something that I need to work on. This past week, my lungs were feeling pretty good, but my legs were hating me, so I think my body just needs to get it together!

The mental part of it will be interesting, too. I almost wish that I lived somewhere like Satellite Beach, where I could run through neighborhoods and not feel like someone is going to jump out of the bushes and get me at any given moment. It'll be nice to have that ability when I'm visiting my parents, but the majority of the time, I'll have to either have someone to go with me or figure out somewhere that feels safe to run alone. That's a tall order in O-town, though.

I'll probably be posting a good bit about my training. I may as well change the title of my blog to Digging My Own Grave - One Mile at a Time! Or, the reason I told my dad that I was running, Runners Are Skinny And I Need to Get Skinny! Gosh, I hope that happens. That would be the best thing to come out of all of this!

Can anyone suggest some good running music? I need to start figuring out which songs will help me want to keep a good pace.

Also on the agenda: new running shoes. Shoes had to be involved somehow!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spill

A friend of mine at work spills everything. We used to sit next to each other and every couple of days, I'd hear a cup tip over and see, out of the corner of my eye, her trying to stay dry. She used countless rolls of paper towels cleaning up these messes. If her keyboard were a person, it would never go to sleep for all the coffee that was spilled in it. Naturally, it became a big joke and we laugh every time she spills, especially when we're in a hotel and the hotel has just replaced the linens on her desk. It never fails.

Yesterday, I "pulled a Lauren." I had opened up a new bottle of water (to stay hydrated for all the working out I'm doing, of course) and was attempting to get the little plastic ring that detaches from the cap back down so that I could close the bottle again. The cap wasn't helping push it down, so I decided to try and do it with my fingers while the FULL bottle of water was open. Bad idea.

The bottle tipped over, toward me, off the desk, and poured right on to my lap, my chair and the floor. Prior to this moment, I was feeling as though I could really benefit from double hip replacement surgery after jogging/walking five miles the previous night. I'm still not sure how I was able to get out of my chair as quickly as I did.

There wasn't much water missing from the actual bottle, but by looking at me, you'd think the bottle would've been empty. For the better part of the day, I looked like this:


It wasn't just the front of my jeans either, it wrapped around to the backs, too. And I'm pretty sure that my jeans were still damp when I got home last night. I briefly thought about putting on my workout pants and throwing my jeans on the hood of my car for a while to dry out. I was afraid that some needy soul (read: homeless person) would take them and my favorite, though completely worn out, pair of jeans would be gone forever. So I suffered the wet jeans all day.

No need to comment here and say "It looks like you peed your pants!" Swells already beat you to it. I can always count on her.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Run, Forrest

I've been wanting to post for the last couple of weeks, but the things in my head either haven't been post-worthy or I'm not quite ready to put out there. Eventually, I may be able to get that crazy out in the open, just not today.

The two things that have been on my mind lately are
General Conference and running. Neither has anything to do with the other, they just happened to have come up in the same timeframe.

The weeks leading up to General Conference had been somewhat rocky for me. In fact, as I drove to my parents' house last Friday, I reached my breaking point. Perhaps the traffic jam that I got caught in was the straw that broke the camel's back and that's why I found myself taking an alternate route to Satellite Beach with tears running down my face. While it sounds like I'm looking for a pity party, I'm really not. Sometimes you just need a good cry. At least it was a decent time for one. Nothing is worse than breaking down in a crowd of people or at church (the worst!) where people want to ask you what's wrong and console you, but there's really no need for it or you're just plain inconsolable.

Needless to say, I needed a little pick me up. Thank heaven for
Elder Holland. I think everyone that I've talked to or blog-stalked since Saturday has mentioned his talk and how it touched them. For me, it was a great way to begin the weekend. And it was just that, the beginning. The other talk that still stands out to me was David M. McConkie's, mostly because I'm a Sunday School teacher and feel inadequate and overwhelmed a good majority of the time. I'm greatly looking forward to next month's Ensign to be delivered to my mailbox so that I can pour over all the talks again. It'll probably take me until Christmas to get through them all (especially considering the work schedule I'm looking at for the end of the year).

President Monson was, as usual, great to listen to. He's always been one of my favorite speakers and I love that he's our prophet. Whether it's because I'm old enough to appreciate or am finally paying attention, I've come to the conclusion that this is my favorite
First Presidency. I can't even put in to words how much I appreciate and respect them. There just. aren't. words.

After the pick-me-up from the weekend, I knew that I needed to keep that "high" going, so I did my best to try to stay positive on Monday. While I was definitely coming down from it all, it seemed to be a gradual descent. Knowing that I'd abandoned my drive to exercise for over a week and a half, I decided to get back on track. I sort of scolded myself in my head for avoiding Jillian, which would've been a lot more productive, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to enjoy the cooler weather that we've been having, so I went for a walk.

Then Tuesday came. I crashed. I was aggravated and negative and over every little detail of my life that I could think of. Luckily, a co-worker of mine invited me to go running with her. She's training for a half marathon and I told her that there was no way that I would be able to keep up, but I wanted to see her trail and give it a shot. (Forget being able to twist into a pretzel from all that yoga, I want to be a runner!) I definitely slowed her down, which I feel a bit guilty for, but I appreciate her sticking with me. I ran more than I thought I'd be able to, but walked the vast majority of the four miles.

When I talked to my dad later that night, he asked me why in the world I was running. My standard answer is and forever will be "Because runners are skinny and I want to be skinny." Wednesday I'd committed to going to an industry event, but the whole time we were there, I was wishing that I'd gone back to the park. That might be because I know what a slacker I am and that if I excuse myself even once, I may as well quit altogether. So last night we were back at it. I ran even further than I did on Tuesday, even though I was pretty sore, but still slowed down my motivator. And I brought my clothes so that I can go after work today if Swells is up for it. If she isn't, I'll be huffing and puffing around my complex by 6:00.

There's really no reason why I can't be a runner. I just have to realize that it's not going to happen overnight. And, if I'm starting now, I should certainly be able to run a couple of miles by the time Coley gets home. (Did you know we're getting dangerously close to the 3/4 mark? I've decided that when he has less than six months left in the mission field, I'll be allowed to get excited about him coming home. Six months is not a long time.) He used to have to slow down and walk for me when I was sucking wind, but I want to have to slow down for him. Yeah right, he'll still be able to run circles around me!

The next order of business to help myself be more light on my feet (and get skinny faster) is to start eating better. There will be a trip to the grocery store this weekend to stock my place with healthy options. I also need to get rid of the
cinnamon rolls* that I made for Conference. They are delicious, but they aren't helping me get in to my skinny jeans any faster.

*The recipe is way down in the comments. I think there's another one for one hour cinnamon rolls, but I used
Courtney's. I love her blog so it was no surprise that her recipe was great also.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rules Is Rules

I remember, when I was younger, having Sunday School lessons on consequences and how having rules don't necessarily restrict us, but give us guidelines to follow and keep us safe. While I'm not always the glass-half-full type, I did pick up the positive message. One shouldn't look at rules and commandments as things we can't do; we should think of all the freedoms they give.

I won't say that I always follow every rule I ever come across. That would be a complete lie (somethings else that drives me batty). I, typically, have a hard time doing something that I know to be wrong, though. If a sign says "No Parking," I'm not parking there. "10 items or less" and "no flash photography" mean just that. It's the hard and fast rules that I stick to. The grey, "yellow lights" in life are where I take my liberties.

A couple of years ago, my mom encountered a situation (which escapes me now) that must've caused years of frustrations to boil over. I can still see her standing in the kitchen, raising her voice to almost a yell and saying "I HATE RULE BREAKERS!" She kind of chuckled a little afterward, probably because the reaction surprised even her. And my dad, brother and I looked at each other as if asking "Is she going to throw something??" She wasn't referring to one of us, thank goodness, but that has since stuck with me.

You see, I'm with her. I hate rule breakers, too. Maybe because I find it extremely difficult to blatantly go against what someone has said not to do. Not only does it make me nervous about what consequences could have to be paid (the negative kind, you know), but I also worry that I may not be the only one to have to pay them. I feel like a lot of rules come to being because there wasn't a written rule to begin with (just the assumption of common sense), but someone or something took things a bit too far, one too many times. Which brings up another reason I have for trying not to break rules: I don't want to be the cause of anyone else losing privileges or some kind of freedom because I couldn't control myself. Or because I simply didn't care how my actions affected anyone else.

I guess, in writing all this out, I'm realizing that I'm almost more careful when other people could be affected than when it's just me who would pay the price. I also have a hard time when people don't take responsibility for their actions. Especially when they admit that they probably aren't doing the right thing, yet still say that the choices they're making are a direct result of someone else giving them a little rope.

I've made unwise choices in the past, have had to endure the punishments, and wanted to kick myself for being so careless or just plain stupid. I've also had the occasional that's-ridiculous-and-doesn't-make-enough-sense-to-adhere-to moments. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I still have them. When I was hung, though, I was hung. Maybe I just didn't get as much rope as the next person. But then again, maybe I have the keeper of my rope (be it parents, leaders, managers, teachers, etc.) to thank for being the way that I am today: a rule follower. At least 95% of the time...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Spinsterhood?

There's nothing like being asked to teach the 16 and 17 year old Sunday School class to make you reevaluate where you stand in life.

I constantly think of myself as being a 12-year-old trapped in the life of a 28-year-old. (Notice I didn't say in the body of a 28-year-old, because do I really look 28? No.) I will be driving to work some days and wonder how I ended up with a license, a degree, and a big girl job that makes (lets!) me travel outside the country. It's mind-boggling to me.

Then comes the reality check. When asked if I'd teach this class, my first reaction (outloud, even) was "I look like one of them!" Why would they possibly take me seriously or believe a word I have to say? They might be less ferocious if I come bearing candy every week. Right?

Then I started doing the math and realized that I am actually much further away from them in age than I'm comfortable with. Here's how I broke it down:

- I'm a good 11 years older than them.
- They weren't even old enough to go to Nursery when I was graduating from Primary.
- They were barely in elementary school when I graduated from High School. They weren't even in middle school when I graduated from college!
- I am conciously aware of two more
prophets than they are (though I was alive for three others). The one that they're most familiar with, since he was the prophet all throughout their Primary years, was prophet for 13 years. Which means they had just started Nursery when he was called.
- I don't think they would've even been in one of Coley's Seminary classes. That's the saddest part of all. Even Coley is old compared to them! He is, afterall, two thirds of the way through a mission!

I'm old. I'm just missing a bunch of cats. (Which I could easily acquire by simply putting a little dish of cat food outside my front door. There are plenty roaming my neighborhood.) I mean, seriously, what's next for me? Pantyhose? Flat, orthopedic Sunday shoes? Or (gasp!) pantyhose with open-toed sandals?

No way. Right here and now, I'm vowing to not go down that road. I can't and won't be that lady. Heels hurt my feet, but I will endure the pain to avoid looking the part of a spinster. In fact, I might just rock these shoes on Sunday, just to prove that I've still got it.

"Sister Luce! Are those your red and leopard sheets in that picture?"
"Why, yes! Yes, they are." Eat your heart out.

P.S. Jessica Simpson never, no never, lets me down.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Golden State

These pictures are in no particular order. Not only are my pictures in complete disarray, but blogger likes to make putting pictures in a certain order the more difficult than it really should be. So, without further ado...

This was underneath the Golden Gate Bridge going back to the car after we'd trekked (halfway) across.

I
just can't imagine that I'd ever get tired of seeing this. I'd like to give it a whirl, though!

My Papa has always been in love with Marilyn Monroe, so I couldn't pass up the chance to take a picture of the church that she married Joe DiMaggio in. (Coit Tower in the background.)

This picture cracks me up because that's what we did the entire time we were at Muir Woods. We couldn't stop looking up to try to see the how tall the redwoods were!

I don't know who Ana is, but I sure hope she at least gave the guy, who went to all this trouble, some extra brownie points for effort. I have no idea how (or why) he got down there to do this.

I want to live here.

Or here. I don't think it's asking too much.

My dad took this picture. The mom, in the middle, was pretty annoyed that he was taking a picture of her daughter. My personal opinion is that if you CHOOSE to look like this every single day, you (and your family and friends) lose the right to be upset when people want to take pictures of you for looking like you escaped from the circus. Come on. You know how crazy you look. You like the attention!

My dad took this from the San Francisco side of the bridge. He walked the whole way. This was a pleasant little surprise when I was going through their pictures! I love that it looks like a postcard with the flowers. Can you tell I'm ready to go back?

Our car drive (pictured below) was crazy and mean! My dad insisted he get in the picture with my mom and me, even though my mom wanted to get away from him as fast as she could! When we thought he'd be too grumpy to get in the picture, he really responded with a pleasantly surprised "Okay!" and even smiled.

This is all of the family that went to Russell and Kelsey's wedding. What's crazy is that this is only about a third of my dad's side of the family. It's a pretty decent picture, though! The wedding was fantastic. SO happy for those two!

We went to Monterey and the seals were the most active/entertaining there (as opposed to La Jolla and San Fran). If my dad had his way, I'd have been laying down on the ground with them, but this was as close as I was comfortable getting to them. They stink.

My cute little parents in Monterey at Fisherman's Wharf.

This was looking out over the Bay Area from the Oakland Temple grounds. I really just liked how long my hair looks and the color. Is that vain?

I have no idea where this was taken. I just thought it was funny to run across this picture where my dad and I both have our arms crossed. You can kind of see my racoon eyes. I somehow fried my face the day before. I still don't understand how it happened. It definitely snuck up on me!

So these are the highlights. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that there were over 3,000 pictures taken. It's amazing how many pictures you can take with digital cameras and iPhones. It's just too easy to snap picture after picture. I'm glad we were able to, because we did get some decent ones. They may not be exciting to someone else, but they certainly bring back the memories from our trip. That's really what it's about anyway, right?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Left My Heart

Sunday I returned home from being on a 10-day vacation with my parents. This was the second longest vacation we've ever taken. (The longest being to Utah for 17 days between my junior and senior years of high school, where half of our time was spent in a RV trailing my grandparents in their RV. THAT was a long 17 days.) Don't get me wrong. My parents and I get along really well and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with them. But after several straight days of being with them, I was craving my own space. After all, I live alone and love it.

Anyway... The long and short of it is that we covered a pretty good amount of California in a very short amount of time. We started out in Sacramento, stayed in Lincoln a couple of nights, slept in Walnut Creek the most nights (seeing very little daylight there), spent a few days in San Francisco (quite possibly my favorite city that I've ever been to), visited Sausalito, Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur. All that was in a week.

We spent a lot of time in the car, driving from point A to point F and back again. We were so many places and saw so many things that when I think about it, my head starts to hurt. It occurred to us during this trip that that's how we vacation, unless we go to Ft. Meyer's Beach. It's the only place on the planet that we can be and actually relax. Any other time we travel, we are constantly on the go and need a vacation to recover from our vacation.

Despite being in a Dodge Charger or Chrysler 300 for the better part of 10 days, we did have a good time. Thankfully, we get along well enough that we laugh hysterically at the same things and find humor in most uncomfortable or stressful situations. One minute, my dad can be driving like a maniac while my mom has a death grip on the car door (or her hand pressing through the roof of the car), screaming at the top of her lungs that he's about to run over someone or something. And the next minute I'm laughing at my dad for being in deeeeep trouble while he is looking at her like "What?" and she's laughing a nervous, aggravated laugh like "What idiot gave you a driver's liscence???"

Before we left, people kept telling my dad that he had to drive down Lombard Street in San Fran. After a somewhat terrifying experience in a cab going down Lombard in November (someone who drives down those streets every day), I wasn't thinking that my dad driving it was the best idea. We put him off for several days, to the point where he was almost getting mad that we hadn't gone anywhere near the crookedest part. In true WCL fashion, every time we discussed where our next stop was going to be, he'd say "Where's Lombard? I want to go down Lombard!" Finally, on our last day in the city, we allowed him to test out his skills. And, just like that scary cab driver, when we got to the bottom, he said "You wanna go again?!" Only without the Asian accent. No, no we don't. He swears that after about three trips down, he could go faster than the posted five miles per hour and do a great job. I want no part of that journey.

I liked San Francisco when I was there for work back in November. This time, I loved it. I think I'd like to live there, though I'm not sure I have the guts to make that move. At least not today. It is on my mind all the time, though. I guess I just have to determine if I could like to be there permanently, not just for a few days at a time. Vacationing somewhere and living there are two very different things, which I'm aware of. I just need to put some more thought into it. One of the big things that holds me back, I think, is the distance from my family. I do enjoy being close to them, so going from an hour and fifteen minute car ride to a minimum five hour flight would be tough.

We also spend a few days in San Diego for a wedding. I was there a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. This time, however, was a completely different experience. Perhaps it was because we were at the tail end of our vacation and were ready to get back to the comforts of home. Or maybe it was because we were constantly searching for the elusive parking space that never materialized. Either way, the highlight of our time there was the hour and a half we spent at the Mormon Battalion Historical Site in Old Town. We happened to stumble upon it on our way to dinner one night. (We knew it was there, just not exactly where it was or that we'd have time to go.) Though tired and hungry and a little bit grumpy, our time spent there changed our entire evening. Isn't it funny how a little taste of the Spirit will turn your whole day around?

Make no mistake. We had a great time. And I look forward to going back and dragging Coley along when he gets home. So, in order to turn this post's seeming frown upside down, here's a list of the highlights:

- Golden Gate Bridge, upclose and person (especially on Tuesday, when the fog actually burnt off and it was sunny and cool and beautiful)
- Dessert at Ghiradelli. A-mazing.
- Finding the Painted Ladies. Or thinking I found them. (I just realized I didn't. Next time. I'm on the right track, at least.)
- Riding the cable car
- Walking all over the city and not sweating to death
- Spending time with family and getting to know extended family much better (A - if you're reading this, we are WAY more alike than I ever would've expected. A most pleasant surprise!)
- Cooler weather
- Visiting three
temples in less than 10 days
- Sunset from the Oakland Temple grounds
- Driving along the PCH
- Delicious clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls
- The look on my mom's face when she first stepped into the freezing Pacific. SO funny!
- Sending Coley postcards from every place we visited, to let him know he's never far from our thoughts and we missed him
- Taking more pictures than I know what to do with
- In-N-Out
- R & K's wedding
- Getting splashed in La Jolla, though it was so un-funny at the moment
- Trying to figure out just what the heck a Presidio and an Embarcadero are and why they are so great that they're everywhere
- Seeing the Redwoods at Muir Woods

Lowlights:
- Parking
- Traffic
- Having to go back to work

Perhaps I'll post pictures in another blog, though I've posted a bunch on facebook. I may have more once I go through the ones I took on my camera and that my parents took. We must've taken over 3,000 pictures. I think that's just absurd.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Whoa, Nelly

Several months ago, a friend of mine "pocket dialed" me out of the blue. At the time, I wasn't really talking to anyone unless I absolutely had to. She had no idea what was going on in my life, but once I gave her a brief overview, she commented "Maybe that's why my purse called you. To check on you." As little desire as I had to speak, period, I was so thankful for her call. I'm sure she has no idea that our conversation put my mind at ease, if only for a few short minutes.

As I was leaving work yesterday, she called me again, though this time it was on purpose. When we last spoke, we talked about planning a weekend where she'd come stay with me and we'd just hang out and do whatever came to mind. Since our last conversation, I've thought of her a number of times in passing, but never got around to calling her. When she said she wanted to just see how I was doing, my mind immediately starting thinking of all the "excuses" I had for not calling her. The old stand-by ("I've been soooo busy.") seemed lacking. I have been busy, but not that busy. In fact, the real busy times I've had have been over the last month, not so much the last six. We chatted for a while and caught up and then again discussed getting together.

During our conversation, I mentioned that I often feel like I might be wishing my life away. I tend to like to be able to look forward to something or to know that there is some milestone or marker than I'm coming up on. That, I don't consider to be too bad; having goals is good and having something to work toward is good, too. It's the "I'll feel better/be happier/be content/have it made when I'm making more money/out of debt/married/have kids/in better shape" that is not the best. I would like to think that I am enjoying the stage of life that I'm in, but I do find myself wanting more or wishing I had something to fill the void-of-the-day.

I then found it interesting that I came across
this article as I was reading the Ensign tonight. You see, I'm forever in a hurry in my mind. In my life, I try to be on the early side. It stresses me out a little to be late or when other people are late. My mind is always racing, though. I'm always planning my next move, my next meal, the order in which I will complete menial tasks or errands, even pack my suitcase for a trip that's over a month away. Seriously, when I look at the clock and it's past 8:00 at night, I'm figuring out what time whatever I'm watching will be over so that I know when I'll be ready to start my nightly get-ready-for-bed routine. It's a little crazy sometimes.

After the conversation and the article, I'm really starting to realize that I do need to slow it down. I need to just let things happen and not be so concerned with what's to come. I really have little control over the things that I want so desperately to have control of. When things are meant to happen, they will. I need to be better at realizing that the best things that have ever happened in my life have been a surprise or have happened when I least expected it. And that it was when I took a step back and a long, hard look at what was happening to me that I realized that I couldn't have planned for things to have happened any better than they were turning out.

Does that mean that I'll stop counting down how much longer until Coley gets home? Doubtful. But I will think more about how I hope that he is soaking up every single minute of the time that he has serving and that he takes two years to recount all of his memories with us, once he is back.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Clank

We got my dad a Wii for Father's Day last year. After more than six months without touching it, I decided that it was high time we bowled again. Too bad I'd forgotten how sore you are after bowling game after game.

I even tried to teach my 70-something year old grandfather how to bowl. He used to bowl all the time and has a bunch of trophies from tournaments he'd competed in and whatnot. It was no easy feat trying to teach him because he had a stroke over 20 years ago. I was pleasantly surprised when he hung in there and bowled an entire game without giving up and saying he couldn't do it. The experience could've only been better if he'd won the game. Unfortunately I'm not capable of throwing a game just to go easy on someone. Is that mean?

For a short time this morning, my parents and I thought we might have to have a Wii marathon because it was so overcast and rainy. Luckily the rain stopped and we went to beach, even though it was far from sunny, and hung out for a few hours. When we were getting ready to leave, I decided that I'm ready for retirement. But only if I can just hang out and go to the beach whenever I feel like it.

We did manage to squeeze in a few games of bowling before I left. My dad was insistent on just one game. Then just one more. And then one more. He is hilarious to watch when things don't go the way he wants them to. He promised me that he'd be practicing and that he'd beat me the next time we play. We'll see about that. I have the best record in our house. In fact, I probably have the best record of anyone that's ever played on our machine! Yeah, I said it!

If only I could bowl another 298 game. That might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Thank goodness I had witnesses AND pictures of the TV screen.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

1000 Words

I have never claimed to be a fantastic photographer. I wish that I were but, instead, I must settle for what my little point-and-click will do for me. In reality, no matter how "good" the picture seems to be, it's no substitute for the real thing. Especially when you're in a place like Cabo.

I took almost a gig's worth of pictures while I was there. Below are some of my favorites, though they can never compare to what you see with your own eyes. I'm ready to go back.

Who wouldn't want to stay at a hotel with a lobby like this?


Dinner the first night at Mi Casa in San Jose. Absolutely worth every calorie. Especially the chocolate ice cream. We were resistant to even get dessert, but were talked into it by the wait staff. They brought out the ice cream and some flan. The flan was better than I've ever tasted, but I am by no means a connoissuer. I don't know how they made that ice cream, but I'd pay top dollar to have it delivered to me right this very minute.


I am terrified of lizards, so you can imagine what this scary little creature did to my heart rate. One picture was all I could muster and it was only to prove that I saw a wild iguana with my own two eyes. I'm not even close to kidding when I tell you that I scoured the sidewalk for him every time we got near that rock. Every. Single. Day.


I wasn't all that upset about waking up every morning, considering the view.


This little side street in San Jose had me wondering if this is what Coley sees every day. It definitely made me feel like we were that much closer, since we were already in the same country.


I got to attend the cooking class that was offered as an activity. Here I am, as the chef's happy little helper, making some of the best guacamole I've ever tasted. And I'm not just saying that because I made it. I'm convinced that it's all about the molcajete. I think I need one...


Please remove your hats and bow your head to show respect for what can only be described as Heaven In Your Mouth. I couldn't tell you which is better: the actual churro or the chocolate sauce.


This is what the front of the hotel faces. I would guess it's facing northwest, but I'm no boy scout.


Heading out of the marina.


All the ladies in front of El Arco. It looks like a backdrop, but it most certainly is not!




These two seals apparently decided that Sea Lion's Colony was much too crowded for them and found their own private island.


And then they posed for us. :-)


The arch from the Pacific side.


Those tiny little people in the lower left-ish part of the picture are taking wedding pictures. I don't know how they go there, especially without getting wet, but I bet they'll have some fantastic pictures and fun memories of their day.


This is the beach at El Chileno Bay, where we stopped to swim a little. You can also snorkel in this little bay. There may or may not be a picture of me doing a lame cannonball off the bow of the boat. Don't let anyone fool you; The water here is frigid.


You don't see waves like this in Satellite Beach! (And a little note to myself, from myself.)


One of my co-workers and I kept laughing about how wonderful every picture we took was and we were working especially hard on the ones that captured the reflection in the pool. This happens to be one of the better ones that I got.


My dad was a little disappointed that I didn't take the opportunity to go horseback riding on the beach. I probably should have and may, if given the chance, another time. It was still really cool to see the horses on the beach so close to the hotel every day.


We had a local artist paint this at one of our events. We tried our best to figure out how to get it back home with us, but ended up leaving it in Cabo with "Speedy." It was even more beautiful in person.


Dusk on my last night there.


The morning I left. I was anything but ready.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Angel Kisses"

The sun and I have always had a love-hate relationship. I like to go to the pool and swimming, but I hate sun screen. It feels gross and smells even worse. As a kid, my least favorite thing about being on vacation was putting on sunscreen. It was such a hassle, especially when you're already wet.

As a teenager, I wanted to be able to lay out like my friends did. The problem with that is that I would get sunburned and be miserable for days on end. Even if I put sun screen on when I first went out, I'd forget to reapply or just tell myself I'd suffer the consequences. Suffering the consequences of a painful sunburn are much easier said than done.

As an adult, I've finally made peace with the fact that I have to wear sunscreen. In the past couple of years (and with the invention of spray sun screen), I've gotten much better about it. I get annoyed with myself if I get burnt, but realize I have no one to blame but myself. I've also come to terms with the fact that I will never tan. Never. I'm still trying to figure out when people, who have known me for years, will figure this out also.

What I do get are freckles. I must have millions. When I am out in the sun for long periods, more start showing up, too. You'd think that, with as many as I have, you wouldn't be able to spot new ones. But the word "freckles" is weird. If you use the word to describe what someone looks like, it more a strike against them.

When people talk about mine, I sometimes feel defensive. In my head, I think "Don't talk about them! If you don't mention them, it's like they don't exist." I need to get over that and I'm starting to. Lately, I've seen more and more people that I think are beautiful and it has occurred to me that they have freckles, too. I think I'll keep working on mine. I don't have much of a choice, do I?

What I have yet to come across, though, is someone who wishes they had more. That'll be the day...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh Mexico...

I'm going to miss Cabo. It's strange that I've been here almost two weeks. In some ways, it feels like I just arrived and in other ways I feel like I've been here for months. I'm looking foward to seeing my family (the ones in the U.S. anyway), but I'm going to miss the great people I've become reaquainted with.

A few highlights:
- The shrimp. I've had it, on average, once a day. I don't know what it is about being here, but every time I would read a menu, whatever they were doing to shrimp jumped out at me. I wouldn't say that I've given up meat though.
- The fantastic weather. It's hot, but breezy, which makes you want to be out by the pool or on the beach allllllllll day long.
- The service at the hotel. Top notch, I tell you. If you ever go to Cabo, stay the Hilton Los Cabos. You will not be disappointed. And if he didn't look under age, I might be bringing a Mexican waiter back to the states with me in my suitcase.
- The view I wake up to every morning. It's just indescribable. And the fact that I can be standing in the shower and looking out at the Sea of Cortez's blue, blue water isn't bad either.
- The compliments. The attendees are thrilled with the program that we've put together. It's always nice to hear that people are happy with what you worked so very hard on.
- The churros. I'm having a moment of silence for them right now. They are a.maz.ing.

A lowlight... or five:
- Not being able to play on my iPhone and use my apps (namely WWF and Shazam. Watch out Sky Harbor. I can't wait to tap in to you WiFi!)
- The flies. They're as big as birds sometimes. I don't understand it.
- The language barrier. It's my own fault. I should really try to learn to speak Spanish. It would make life so much easier and more interesting.
- The fact that I'm probably not going to get anymore pool time before leaving.
- The frigid air blowing right on me all day, every day in the office.

One of the people that's helped us with the planning is from Cuernavaca. He was the nicest person the last time we were here and has definitely stolen a little piece of my heart because of Coley. We talked about Cuernavaca and where Coley's been. He actually lived in Salt Lake City for a while, so he told me he has lots of Mormon friends. And he told me I was "really cool" with his little accent. How can you not love someone who thinks you're cool?!

Coley's been telling me all of the places that he wants to visit after he gets home. I added Cabo to his list. He will not be disappointed. For now, he's busy getting used to being a District Leader. Did you hear?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm Moving.

Yep. I've given up on good old O-Town and I'm moving to sunny Mexico. I'm contemplating not even going back home. Ever. I'll just have someone pack my things for me. Or better yet, sell them. I don't need much more than what I brought with me. My lease is almost up...

I could not be having a better time. And I'm working! The food is fantastic. I've had some of the best guacamole in my life. It really gives Chipotle guac a run for its money. And the churros...

Last time I was here, my very last night in the hotel, I couldn't figure out what to eat. I'd had everything on the menus twice and nothing sounded appetizing. So I ordered the crazy combination of shrimp cocktail and churros. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I took my first bite of the churros. You can imagine my excitement when I found out that I was coming back here. Churros have been on my mind for the last six months. I'm pretty sure, if I haven't already, I'll be eating my weight in them. I don't know what's better: the fact that they are so fresh or the chocolate sauce that accompanies them.

And the people are so nice. I realize that it's their job to be nice to me and all, but they don't give you the "I'm only doing this because I have to and don't want to get in trouble" vibe. They are just so accommodating and kind and will do anything for you. I told one waiter that I wasn't used to being treated so well; I just don't know how to behave myself! I mean, I remember people, especially if they make an impression. But it blows my mind that the staff of the hotel remember that our team was here two years ago. In fact, one of the waiters asked about me a couple of months ago when people from my office were here. That's love. ;-)

My brother is already here. I just need to convince my parents that they should move, too. They have the beach, so my mom will be perfectly happy. Satellite Beach is great and all, but it doesn't hold a candle to Cabo. I'm sorry. And my dad... well, he's happy whenever my mom's happy.

So then it's settled. Anyone else want to join?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lately

My blog is boring. Maybe that's because the only things that I think about putting up here are crazy thoughts that are better left in my head or angry rants that would be a waste of time typing out.

I've been busy lately. Busier than I've been in quite some time. I reached my limit last Friday morning and had a melt down. It's funny to me (in hindsight, of course) that these things sneak up on me. The straw that broke the camel's back was a flat tire.

Looking back on it, there's really no reason for me to have flipped out the way that I did about a tire, but it was the last thing that I needed that day. What made me grateful to "only" have had a flat tire was hearing a fire truck outside my apartment, going outside to see what all the commotion was about and seeing firemen busting out all of the windows of a car that had caught fire in the middle of the night.

At that moment, I was thankful that it wasn't my car on fire. I was also thankful that the owner decided to park far away from my car that night, when I would typically be right next to the car or within a space or two. And that my dad didn't yell at me for waking him up at 1:45 in the morning to tell him about it.

Soon enough I won't have anything to worry about for a while again. I'm looking forward to it, but I know that after a day or two I'll be looking for something to occupy my time again. One day at a time, right?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adios... Almost

I leave for Mexico in a little over two weeks. I have been working so much lately that I haven't had the time to figure out what I need to do for myself before I leave because I've been so busy making sure all my attendees are taken care of.

I have to figure out what clothes I have that are acceptable to take and then go shopping to fill in the gaps. Last time I went to Cabo, I went crazy and acquired what I call the Cabo Collection. This time, I don't really have that option. Hopefully things work out. And by work out I mean I hope that I have enough clothes that fit.

The things I'm most concerned about is my DVR. I really need to sit down and take inventory of what I have scheduled to record and delete things that I can watch repeats of later. I feel as though the people at Bravo and the ABC are ganging up on me. Between the Real Housewives, Bethenny's new show, and the Bachelorette, I am going to have A LOT of catching up to do!

Thank goodness Jake and Vienna will be taking the dance floor before I leave. And I must say, unless there is another really crazy cast on Dancing With The Stars, this may be the one and only season I pay attention to. It's no So You Think You Can Dance.

And... I just realized that if my biggest worry is TV shows, I either don't have it so bad or I need to get a life. It's probably a healthy combination of the two.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Good vs. Evil

I've been trying to count calories lately and, frankly, I suck at it. I mean, I can do it. I just put what I eat into my little app on my phone and it counts them all up for me. But I hate, haaaaaaaaate accounting for every single morsel of food that I put in my mouth. It does nothing but drive me insane.

See, when I go home at night (and actually enter my dinner into the app) and have calories left over, I start thinking of all the things in my apartment that I could possibly eat so that I consume every single one allotted to me for the day. Eventually I get caught up in some show on TV and forget that I have calories left to eat or I just tell myself that it's better to be under than to go over. Those are the good days, when the angel on my shoulder wins or at least talks louder than the devil.

Then there's the devil. She tells me that if I have left over calories on Monday, it's okay to eat them on Tuesday. And if Tuesday's don't all get eaten, then maybe I'm on some sort of roll. And then if I'm good enough to get all the way to Friday with extra uneaten calories from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday, I can have pretty much whatever I want. I haven't consulted any sort of nutrition expert on this, but I'm afraid it probably doesn't work that way. I like to think it does, but I'm most likely wrong.

There are also the instances where the devil tells me that if I don't record something I've eaten, it didn't really happen. Usually those meals are things like burrito bols from Chipotle, dos tacos from Tijuana Flats, and banana ice cream with chocolate chips from Cold Stone. You know, the worst things for you. Though, surprisingly, the banana ice cream is not as bad calorie-wise you think. It's also quite tasty.

I also abhor working out. I feel great afterward, but actually getting started and getting through any sort of physical activity is like torture for me. I would love for this to be different. In my head, I'd love to run a marathon. Just one, to say that I did it. How in the world can I do that, though, if I can't even talk myself into going to the mailbox more than once a week? (Unless I'm waiting for my Ensign
to arrive. Then I check the mail every day. Where is it anyway? Isn't it usually delivered before the first of the month?) This past week I actually thought that I could, technically, start training now and run the Disney Marathon in January. Then I thought of all the things that would get in the way of that training schedule (traveling for work in June, vacation in July, the possibility of traveling again for work in October, a cruise in November, then the holidays) and that was that.

I am pretty decent at keeping New Year's Resolutions if I write them down. I think I'll write somewhere that I need to get some sort of marathon training plan together by the first of the year. That should be enough time to accomplish that task, right? Then, my New Year's Resolution for 2011 will be to train and run in a marathon... Sometime by the end of the year... At least a half anyway...

P.S. I was under my calories for three of the last four days. That means that I'm allowed to have an extra 530 calories today. Thank goodness because I'm sure my dinner at Chevy's tonight will put me over my daily allowance. One serving of corn tamalito: 190 calories. I might have two.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Under Where?

The title of this post is proof positive that I spend way too much time with Swells and that her cheese-factor is rubbing off on me. She proudly bears the title "Cheesiest Person I Know," but always reminds me that her mom could out cheese her any day.

I'm going to attempt to make this as modest or the least graphic that I can while still getting my point (if there is such a thing) across. If you're at all averse to talk of underwear - more specifically women's - then please exit now. If you choose to proceed, don't pretend that you were caught off guard.

Last night, instead of walking our (almost) three miles, we did some mall walking. She had a coupon for Vickie's for a free panty and $5 or $15 off of the purchase of one or two bras, respectively. She wanted something free, I thought could possibly put the discount to use, so we were on a mission.

I should mention that bras and bathing suits are the bain of my existence. This is probably due to the fact that neither are fun (for me) to acquire. For this reason, and because I'm such a creature of habit (shocker!), I prefer to stick to the things that I know or am comfortable with. So... you can imagine my frustration when I learned that my tried-and-true bra has been modified and no longer functions the same way that it used to and I have to set about trying things on.

I only found out about said change because the signage wasn't reading the same way I always remembered it. I didn't want to get stuck with something that I ended up not really liking, so I decided to head to the dressing room. (As a side note, I don't really like trying on clothes in the store unless I'm mentally prepared to do so. Getting un- and re-dressed gets old to me. Fast.) When I went in, I was greeted by an employee that asked me my name (odd), how many items I had with me (reasonable), and if I'd like a "complimentary fitting" (people pay for such things?). I gave her my name, said I had two items, and politely declined figuring that this wasn't my first rodeo.

While in the fitting room, I heard a male voice loudly asking a girl what her number was over and over again. It sounded as if they knew each other, not like a "Hey girl, lemme get them digits" type of conversation, but I couldn't see exactly what was going on. I did hear the sales person tell him that they couldn't allow males (or did she say men? either way...) in the fitting room and that he needed to beat it. I thought to myself, interesting concept. Though, if they really wanted to, they could just stand right outside the doorway and look in. However, it would probably become obvious what they were doing rather quickly.

After both pieces, exactly the same style and size, fit completely different from one another (neither working), I started to wave the white flag and deal with this another day, but as I was exitiing the fitting room, the girl Complimentary Fitter caught me and asked how things worked. I told her honestly that neither worked; one was too small, one was weird to me, though they should've been the exact same thing. She asked again if wanted that complimentary fitting. This time, I caved.

I was hoping with all that I had that this would be done inside an actual fitting room, though that didn't happen. I was then turned over to another of Victoria's proteges. She wasted no time whipping out her magic tape measure and wrapping it around me. After the second or third adjustment (and some other chit-chat), she finally said, laughing, "By the way, my name is Monica." That's when I understood the need for the first girl to ask me my name. It seems like less obtrusive if you know the person's name prior to getting that close.

When she had taken all of her measurements into consideration, she announced my size (with Swells right beside me. If we weren't that close before, we are now.) and I almost sent her back to training. There was no way that, over my clothes, she was getting a reading smaller than what the tag I currently had on unless it was "really holding me in." The only thing to do from there is to... re-measure, of course! Ah, yes. I knew what I was talking about. I even told her that there was little to no chance that I would purchase something that was a larger size than what I came in wearing. I think I saw her trying to do the math on that in her head, but she quickly gave up.

Over the next 45 minutes, I changed and modeled five or six different cuts, sizes, and styles for Swells, under my shirt, of course. The funniest part was how big her eyes got when I came out in the next-size-up specimen. She practically yelled "People pay good money for what you've got!" My only thought was "I'd like a refund. Or at least a do-over." but I didn't say it out loud. I'm trying to be more thankful for the things I do have.

At last, I make a decision. I went a completely different route than I was expecting to and today, I'm wishing that I'd come away with two colors instead of just one. I'm pretty sure that I'll end up back in the old Victoria's Secret again. I'm just waiting for that next coupon delivery from the mailman.

P.S. Before I could drive, a friend of mine and I went Christmas shopping with her parents and ended up in V.S. so that he could get her mom some pajamas. As we were walking out, he asked "Do you know what Victoria's secret really is? ... She's a slut!" :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All Over

I had a bunch of thoughts that I wanted to get out of my head. I couldn't organize them, so this post is what it is.

This is the first season that I've really watching Dancing With The Stars. I'm mostly watching because I want to see what happens with Kate Gosselin and Jake from the Bachelor. It's painful, though. They both make me cringe when I see them on my TV screen. I did realize tonight that I would probably appear like Kate if I were ever put in a situation like that. I feel her pain. I would be a horrible dancer and I wouldn't be able to pretend that I'm having a good time or like I know what I'm doing. It'd be written all over my face like it is hers. And I just don't understand Jake. It's a bit comical to me to see him trying his best to be Mr. Nice Guy, but I secretly love it when they show clips of him getting frustrated with his partner.

I spent ALL DAY Saturday, and most of the day yesterday, cleaning my apartment. It was in dire need of a good scrubbing and I'm so pleased with the fact that you can once again eat off the floor. I'm not completely done, but what I have left is a lot better than where I was Friday night. I actually wouldn't be embarrassed to have someone drop by unexpectedly. I could answer the door without hesitation. I might think twice about letting them use the bathroom, though. That's on this weekend's agenda. Along with cleaning out my closet. And, by the way, I HATE taking out the garbage. It is just so gross. I might have made a mess, too, by thinking that those big black garbage bags will hold whatever you can fit inside them. Not exactly true. Let's just say I had to do a little cleaning up of the sidewalk and stairs. That's just between us, though.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Parade of Ovens

I'm on my third oven in the 4 1/2 years that I've lived in my apartment.

I had problems with the original and it took the maintenence people at least three trips to my apartment to figure out that it was more than my imagination that was the issue. What it actually was, I wasn't told. All I know is that I burnt up some perfectly good Tombstone pizzas and not because I'm incapable of setting a timer. But they brought a new one. Perfect.

I don't know if you know this about me or not, but I like to bake. And since my parents have a GREAT oven that works ALL the time, I know that I'm not completely crazy when I have to bake the same cake several minutes longer in my oven (#2, mind you) than in their oven that is a couple of years old. My pound cake would bake in 77 minutes in my parents' oven (the recipe says 80... or 120 depending on how clearly I'm thinking.) Last week, I was baking my mom's chocolate cake and it took 28 minutes to bake, perhaps even a little longer had I not been so impatient, and it normally takes 20. The fact that the icing for said cake has to be started five minutes before the cake is done and did NOT endure the extra 8 minutes sent me over the edge.

I called the office to report oven number two a third time. The assistant manager was understanding, even though I'd already had a couple of the standard maintenence and a representative of GE out to take a gander. She told me that the regional maintenence person would be on property on Monday and would take a look, though the regular guys are just as capable. Great.

Monday afternoon, I knew that someone had been in my apartment because things were slightly askew. (Why, yes I am like the little bear from Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. Thanks for noticing.) When there was no note or plan of action, I called to find out the status of things and was told that I "might be" getting a new oven. Fine by me.

Today, I came home to oven number three. It's pretty, has a window, a light inside, and even two large and two small burners on the range. I was so excited about this little surprise that I sent a picture of it to my dad via text this afternoon. So far, it seems to cook the way a new oven should. If I don't die from the chicken I just baked, we will officially be in business. Though, the only real way to tell is to bake a tried and true recipe in that puppy and see what happens. I think I might be seeing some baking on the horizon.

The only down side: the oven is about a an inch too deep for my kitchen. I can't open my utensil drawer unless I open the oven door because the handle sticks out too far. And there is NO pushing it in any further or trying to squeeze the drawer around it. It's not happening. So... do I say something or lean over the oven door every time I need a spoon?

I know, I know. I'm never satisfied.

P.S. I know it's not exactly their job, but why do maintenence men move everything around to where they need it for their own purposes, then leave it where it landed? Why not take the extra two minutes to move the stuff back so it looks like they were never here? What if I couldn't lift the heavier things? Just asking...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Flashing Lights

I'll admit, I have been grum-py lately. It seems like every day it's something new that pushes my buttons. I've tried to just deal with it as best I can, but I'm not always great at "being a duck."

I never considered myself an emotional eater, either. I'm just an eater. But after a rough day last week, I called a friend of mine and asked if she wanted to meet at Chipotle for dinner. I also mentioned how close Cold Stone was to Chipotle and, with or without her, I'd be making a stop there, too, before going home. It was a hard sell, but she caved and we ate every bite of our burrito bowls and ice cream creations.

As much as I hoped that that day was the worst, or at least the last, in the streak, I was wrong. I'm fairly certain that a good portion of it is my fault. I think too much for my own good, but at the same time, the issues that are really getting to me are valid. I guess I just have to now figure out what, if anything, can be done about it. And if you know me, you how awesome I am at sitting back and waiting on things.

Tonight, after working a little late and treating myself to some Sonny's Drive-Thru deliciousness (even though I wasn't exactly hungry. see what I'm saying about the eating? it's sick.) I was greeted at the entrance of my complex with flashing lights. There were no less than 15 fire rescue vehicles lining the only way in and out of my apartment complex. For a minute, I wasn't sure if I was even able to drive anywhere close to my building, much less if I was allowed! After passing several uniformed men and none of them telling me to take a hike, I proceeded with caution. Now, I pass a place that sells (and decorates?) emergency vehicles on my way to and from work every day. It was as if they were having some sort of super sale in my parking lot!

I wish that I had some really good details about what the actual problem was. There wasn't anything on the news about it when I got home, but maybe they were waiting to see if another old lady fended off a carjacker before going with the apartment fire story. All I was able to figure out is that one of the building caught on fire. I don't know what the cause was or how much damage there is now, but I did see water pouring out of a couple of apartments.

The craziest thing is that when I saw all of these firetrucks and everything, I never once worried that maybe it was my apartment. I don't want to say that I was more concerned with just getting home and eating because I was worried about whoever is now out of a home, but I did want to just kind of get out of the way. I felt lucky that it wasn't me that has to find somewhere else to live and try and salvage my belongings. It definitely made me realize that things could be a lot worse. I try to remind myself of that, but it doesn't always do any good.

So, at least for the time being, I'm couting my blessings. I'm thankful that my home is safe (though I have little water pressure). I'm thankful that my family is always there for me, no matter what. I'm thankful that tomorrow marks the half-way point in my brother's mission and that he's doing great. I'm thankful that I don't have to sleep on the couch anymore just because of my stupid bruised tailbone.

I'm sure that there's a lot more that I have to be and am thankful for, but that's all I've got right now. And I'm sure that this isn't doing anyone but me any good anyway. Perhaps on Friday I'll be thankful to be taking a vacation day. My co-workers will probably be thankful not to have to deal with my cranky self that day, too.

Fingers crossed.