Friday, May 30, 2008

I Think I'm a Camel...

I think I retain water as soon as warm weather hits Alabama. And then the scale goes up 5 pounds. And then I am sad. Until the weather cools off again and I magically lose the 5 pounds just as magically as I gained them. This is my theory. Because it happened last year too. Or maybe I'm just a heifer and it takes 6 months for my eating habits to catch up with me. Either way, it's lame. Funny, though, because my body doesn't sense a need to "store fat for winter" and heifer up then. Perhaps it's the Panamanian Princess part of me coming out... The part that says, "I don't know how to heifer up at winter, since it wasn't cold there. But I know how to store water!" Of course, after 10 years, you'd think my body would figure it out, right? Anyway, I guess, given my seeming propensity for mice, it's a good thing I'm a camel and not an elephant ;)!

Last night I went to Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment at church with the Relief Society. We had two very awesome and practical and useful lessons. Followed by wonderful root beer floats with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream (man, I'd forgotten just how great that stuff is). But, I digress (and have probably also given you guys reason to believe that I am not, in fact, a camel, but am instead a pig). The lessons were great. The first one was a general budgeting class. Just tips one lady gave on ways her family (with 10 children) has saved money and met their goal of staying out of debt. One of her tips was, "never buy new. There are plenty of people out there who get rid of practically new stuff." Thrift stores, garage sales, and looking in the ads are great ways of finding spectacular deals. I have to say Julie is very good at finding amazing deals at garage sales. If we lived closer, I'd be going with her... She knows how to find the treasures! Another tip was to learn how to do things yourself by reading. Many home-improvement projects can be done yourself, rather than hiring it out. Of course, it requires self-discipline. But, it saves a lot of money in the long run. Another good tip was for young mothers (which I hope to one day be a semi-young mother ;)). She said, "Don't buy your kids a bunch of toys. They'd rather play with you when they are young. Instead, invest that money for your child's future." Anyway, these were great tips, in my opinion. There were many others, but those were some big ones that stood out. Following that lesson, we had one on budgeting for meals and planning out meals. I have tried this before, somewhat. I think I want to try it again. I think it's also particularly effective if you have a family and your meals have to be bigger than 1 serving. This sister grocery shops once a month. So, she plans out her menu for the month -- about 25 meals -- and then keeps a list of what she needs for each of those meals. That way she gets everything at the grocery store that she needs, and she won't have to make extra trips -- which cost gas and, let's face it ladies, we all know we buy "extra" stuff each time we go to Wal-Mart. Anyway, she doesn't assign a meal to a specific day, that way she has options when she wakes up that morning and she can look over her list and say, "What do I feel like eating tonight?" Anyway, I think it's a good plan. I want to give it a whirl. So, those are just a few tips I picked up last night.

I have big plans for the future ;). I want to have a garden (I wonder what grows well in Washington?). I want to be a smart budgeter. I think I haven't done too badly here. And I will say that I agree with one of the the statements in the lesson taught by the first sister. She said that she feels that, if we have righteous desires and righteous goals (like staying out of debt), Heavenly Father will put things in our path to help us accomplish that goal and still have what we need. I too feel that is true. I have seen it in my life. When we show we are willing to sacrifice and don't have a burning desire to "keep up with the Joneses," we will have all our needs met and we will not have to go into debt for it. And, in my experience, I've found that I even have a lot of what I want too. I hope I am able to continue along this path so that I can be completely debt-free one day, and hopefully sooner than later!

Okay, that's about all I can really think of to say. It's Friday. I'm glad. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow!

*And, Anna and Kira and Stacy guessed the movie quote correctly! (Anna -- I actually bought the movie thinking I might like it. It was $5 and I figured it's a "classic," and given other factors, I really expected that my opinion of it (which wasn't favorable before, either) might have changed with perspective. I watched it. I didn't like it. But, when I was watching it, I got my movie quotes, so I used one ;))*

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You Stink!

Well, in the interest of keeping those memories I mentioned yesterday closely tied to yesterday's post (for reasons that will soon become very obvious to you), I have decided to write about them now. And trust me, you won't want to miss this.

Okay, I will say, given the facts, that one of two things (or possibly both) follow me from place to place -- or apartment to apartment. The choices are:

1. Rodents
2. Death

(Sadly, because I'm 4 for 4 on the death one, I'm thinking it's probably that one first...).

So you all know the story about the two mice rescued by Stefanie. And their short lives as our "pets." So, on this story, we're 1 and 1 -- 1 rodent, 1 death. Let me continue to enlighten you on my past.

So, the first year of our marriage, Heath and I lived in a little 1-bedroom apartment across the street from the library at which I worked (very convenient for rolling out of bed 5 minutes before work -- but as that is not pertinent to this story, I'll leave it at that). Now, the landlord lived next door and the wife was the previous librarian, who I replaced when she retired. Anyway, the building in which we lived was actually an old church that the landlords had bought and converted into 3 small apartments. Ours was the smallest, at 1 bedroom. And it was cheap. I'm thinking we paid about $200 a month for that. Anyway, built onto the back of the building was an old wooden structure that used to be the pastor's "house." That part wasn't rented out, but the landlord used it for his personal storage. So one week before we were to move out, I went into the bathroom. (Our washer and dryer were in the bathroom, by the way. And there was no vent for the dryer... It was like a sauna in there when the dryer was running -- ah, newlywed life). I smelled a faint smell of rot. But only got a whiff of it every here and there. I got Heath to come in there and smell, and he didn't smell anything. Which made me believe it was my imagination, because his sense of smell is something like 100 times better than mine -- it's practically super-human ;). But, I got another whiff of it and thought, "Oh, I'll just light a nice candle (it was probably vanilla -- right Julie ;)?) and it will go away." And that was pretty successful. I believe that was a Saturday or Sunday. The next day (let's call it Monday), the smell was stronger. Heath smelled it too now. And we only smell it in the bathroom. But it's distinctly a rotting smell. And it's strongest against the wall where the washer is. So, we pull out our washer and dryer, thinking maybe a sock fell down into the washer somewhere and was molding away (which wouldn't explain the rot smell, but hey... you explore every avenue). We tip the washer on it's side and end up learning a lot about washing machines -- did you know they are basically hollow except for that tub? So, nothing in the washer. Then we checked the dryer, thinking maybe something crawled in there and got heated to death. Nope. So then we have to reconnect everything. And we still have no explanation and we just settle on keeping the bathroom door closed at all times and holding our breaths while in there -- except in the shower, of course... We'd have died without breathing for that long. By Tuesday, the smell is even stronger. It's becoming unbearable. The smell almost makes it worthwhile to impose the old girls' camp porta-potty-rule: once in the morning and once at night -- hold it the rest of the time. Or use the library across the street. Because I had the keys. Because I'm cool like that. Anyway, we determine that we must get to the bottom of this mystery. It is bad now, and we are trying to pack, because we are moving, literally, in 4 days. So you can imagine the state of our little apartment. Well, I go into the bathroom and look up at the ceiling. I see a little brown spot that looks like liquid has soaked into the ceiling. So I wonder... did a mouse die up there and it's decaying onto the ceiling. Gross, I know. Well, our bedroom had an entrance into the "attic" (remember, this is a converted church building, so the actual ceilings are way way higher than the ceiling they added for the apartment). So Heath gets up there and shines his flashlight in the general direction of the bathroom. He reports that he can see the insulation matted down in a spot. So, our money is on a dead mouse. I tell him I'll tell Mr. Rice the following day. Mystery solved. So the next morning, we somehow survive the swamp of decay that is what our bathroom has become. Ick. I have class that morning. I get home around noon. I don't even make it inside the door when I am slammed with a smell so powerful, I know I can't stand it anymore. There had been a time when we seriously thought we could just endure the smell, since, shirley, it couldn't get any worse by the weekend... but those days and plans were long gone, because, shirley, the smell had become unbearable. (I just called you Shirley twice, in case you didn't notice :)). So, I walk over to talk to Mrs. Rice, since Mr. Rice isn't home at the moment. She tells me she smelled it too when she went out to their storage area to get canning jars. She said she'd tell him as soon as he got home. So, I went on to work and opened up the library like a good librarian -- always serving, even in the face of trials ;). Hahaha... Mr. Rice came over when he got home, and I explained to him our thoughts and discoveries. Then he disappeared over into the apartments. And I was cringing slightly at the disarray he would find in our messy apartment. Right around 3:00, he returned. He told me he'd been up in the attic over our bathroom, but that spot was just a wet spot from rain water. He said he'd looked around up there everywhere (and it was nice and hot, so I'm sure it wasn't pleasant for him). He found nothing. So, he said, he got to thinking... He went into the storage area and started looking around with his flashlight... And he found it. He came over to see if I wanted to see what it was. I was a little unsure... But, I went. I put a note on the door that said, "Be back in 5 minutes" and walked across the street. I wandered through the old building with him and his flashlight. And there, against the wall (the other side of which is our bathroom) is a dead cat. Ewwwwww.... It's no wonder it smelled so bad!!! That was AWFUL! And I'm sure it wouldn't have ended quickly. That was a big cat. So, Mr. Rice took it and buried it somewhere -- a job not for the likes of me. So, I totally wanted to make a sub-heading for this story and title it (and link it) this: Smelly Cat. But that would have given it away, and I like telling this story the way it happened to us. Oh, and this smell might have actually rivaled "OOo-stank" smell.

If you're keeping score, we're now: Rodent - 1; Death - 2.

Like I said, we moved away that weekend (and with the removal of the dead cat, the smell was removed also). We moved to a townhouse in Dothan. This was around May 2004. Sometime around December, I was sitting on one end of our couch and I started to smell rot and decay again. But again, only in whiffs. And when I'd go to the other end of the couch, I didn't smell it. So, again, I thought it was my imagination. But, as the experience, when sitting on that end of the couch, persisted, I started to grow suspicious. And then, one night, Jon and Julie were over. Julie was sitting on the "stinky" end of the couch. I said something to her about how I always smell something when I sit there (obviously I was a gracious hostess, since I allowed my guest to take the stinky end). And Julie says, "Yeah, I keep getting a whiff of something." So, proof that it wasn't my imagination just recalling the smell of the cat! So, we pull out the couch and search inside it, thinking something crawled up in there and died. No dice. (Hey, at least our furniture and appliances are clean). Eventually, it becomes clear that it's something in the wall -- probably a mouse that has died. And we will just have to wait until it's finished rotting. I guess we should just be thankful it was a mouse instead of a cat... A mouse is smaller.

Rodent - 2 (we assume)
Death - 3

Several months later... In the same apartment/townhouse, I was baking a cake for my friend Donna, whose birthday was the next day. I had it all mixed up and had just put it in the oven when I started to smell an overwhelming urine smell. It STUNK. I called Heath in there. After much searching, we found that there was mouse pee and other stuff under the stovetop. The good news is that the oven wasn't contaminated, but even so... We were horrified. And we didn't want to smell that any longer. So, we turned off the oven (which was heating up the surface and making the pee really smell) and took my uncooked cake out of the oven. And the next day we reported this. Now, we hadn't seen any mice. But obviously they were scampering around somewhere. So, we came home the next day and saw poison had been put out, the stove was cleaned up completely. The consensus was that they were getting in behind the stove (kind of like with the mice at the apartment Stefanie and I share). Perhaps apartment owners should look into a way of preventing this??? Anyway... After several days (or maybe even weeks), Heath got home before I did one day. I'm glad too. He was greeted with a kamikaze mouse on the kitchen floor. Based on evidence, we are pretty sure the mouse jumped to its death from the counter-top (and yes, we disinfected EVERY surface that night). Heath took pictures to prove it to me (not that I doubted him... But how often do you come home to kamikaze mice?) and then cleaned it up. I think the picture was also meant to be evidence for the apartment complex. Don't know if we ever shared it with them. Don't think I have the picture either... And I'm not going to search for it in my picasa pictures at home. On the up-side... kamikaze mouse didn't stick around long enough to smell.

So, rodent -- 3
Death -- 4

So, in 3 of the 4 apartments I've lived in since I moved out of my parents' house, this is what has followed me. Although I do want it duly noted that in my apartment I was living in this time last year -- alone -- I didn't have any mice or cats or dead mammals. I had to RAID a roach. But no mammals died. So, maybe it wasn't/isn't me, after all... ;). I wonder what joys the future holds in my new homes.... I tremble to imagine.

And for those of you who are now totally grossed out by this post, just be glad you only read it and didn't experience it ;).

*And Heath has guessed the movie quote correctly! And he even "sang" along with it in writing.*

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Post too Random to Name

How's that for a title?

I will get to my leave of absence in a minute... First, let me begin with a story... A story that explains why the Nilla Life is never as vanilla as one would think, given the name ;).

First let me say that photobucket let me back in and so now all these pictures, when clicked, will take you to my album (which I just added these to the one with my passport and solo-girlie night pics).

So, Monday morning, I'm getting ready to leave for work. Stefanie, who is definitely my opposite in this issue (I mean, who wakes up at 7 in the morning when it is unnecessary? -- Stefanie ;)) was already awake and had eaten breakfast. She walked past me in the hall and said something like, "Hey girl." I replied in kind and went into the kitchen to get my stuff while she went into her bedroom. Suddenly I hear her yelling, "Hila! Come here, quick! I don't know what to do!" Oh my gosh... I'm thinking it's going to be a roach. I get in there... There's a little baby mouse coming out of her closet. Coming out slowly, I might add. It doesn't look like a healthy mouse to me... It looks like it's dying. I mean, we're talking about baby baby mouse. She's like, "What do I do?" I, of course, have no idea. She goes, "Okay, you just go to work, I'll call the apartment people." Which is what she is doing when I leave for work. Of course, I got off work on Monday at 11:15. I get home and walk in the door. I'm met by Stefanie who stands there and looks at me with a sheepish smile on her face. Somehow I'm reminded of a little girl. I say, "What?" And she says, in a sheepish voice to match her sheepish smile, "Can we keep them?" Mind you, by this time I've all but forgotten about the mouse (which is why I forgot to mention it in my last blog post). I'm like, "Keep what?" I turn around and she points at a little shoe box with a washcloth draped over it and little eyedroppers inside. This is what I find:
Our pets
And what am I supposed to say? No? So then I get the whole story... Apparently there was a nest under her dresser. I asked what the nest was made of, and she said insulation. I said, "I wonder how it got under the dresser?" And she said, "Yeah, I know... You'd think we'd have noticed a big ball of insulation walking down the hallway." I so totally laughed. Because it is, after all, what I was thinking. As she pulled more stuff out of her closet, she found two more baby mice. One, though, was already dead. Stefanie said, "It was in rigor mortis." So, she introduced me to Sandy and Eggo (think San Diego, since Stefanie loves that place). I asked her what maintenance said. She said he showed up with gloves and a bucket, because he thought she wanted them caught and killed. When he saw the little home she'd made for them, he was like, "Okay, I guess I'll go now." Hahaha... Oh, and it turns out they were coming in through a hole in the wall behind the stove. Which is funny, because Stefanie told me a few weeks back that she thought we had mice. I said, "mice? What makes you say that?" She said, "Because I got munchie at 2:00 one morning and came in here and flipped on the lights and saw something scurry across the kitchen under the stove. I figure it was either a mouse or a really weird frog that doesn't hop." And statements like that are exactly why I adore Stefanie. I laugh every time I think about it. Anyway, I went to Wal-Mart after being introduced to our new pets. By the time I came back from Wal-Mart, Sandy had died. I asked Stefanie, "You didn't throw him in the trash can, did you?" She said no. I'm thinking she threw him outside in the bushes. Turns out she flushed him. Burial at sea. Actually, that was the rigor mortis one she flushed. She left Sandy in the shoebox for the majority of the afternoon because "Eggo would snuggle up to Sandy." She admitted that it was morbid, but she didn't have the heart to separate them right away. Stefanie was a good mouse-mommy. She fed Eggo milk with an eye-dropper and that little piggy had a huge tummy. Sadly, Eggo didn't make it through yesterday. He died sometime after 5:00. So, these happenings make me think of some more stories to tell you... But as this post will be long enough (trust me), I will keep them in my mind for another day. Trust me, they are stories you won't want to miss.

Oh, also on Monday afternoon, I was putting away papers I'd written for school. Okay, I'm a bit neurotic. I've kept all of my major papers. So, I found one of the many spots I keep them... In this big manilla envelope. And I figured I should look through some old papers from my undergraduate degree. Let me tell you... I had one teacher that would slay us. She was great. I respected her, I learned a lot from her. She forced me to think outside the box (a feat at which I do not thrive). I got so far outside the box once that I wrote a paper about how a stool empowered one of the characters in a play. Go figure. She liked that paper too. I got an A-/B+ -- no easy thing. It was the last paper I ever wrote for her, and the topic came to me like a revelation while I was in the shower. Anyway, she would grade our papers in like 3 or 4 different colors of ink/highlighter/pencil. This paper was not one of the two that I got an A-/B+ (and no, I'm not sure why she graded like that). But just so I can give you all an example...
It's a beaut, huh? That one merited me a B-/C+. Ouch. I still got A's in all her classes, though. She just demanded a lot of us. She taught me what passive voice is. So, I just thought I'd share.

But, on to some fun news! So, Monday night, Stefanie and I decided, since she wasn't working, to do Family Home Evening at home! We ended up inviting Virginia to join us. Stefanie planned the lesson, and I was in charge of treats and the activity. The activity was watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Stefanie had never seen the whole thing, and she'd made the comment on day that all the Indiana Jones movies are based around religious stuff. Our treat was Coldstone ice cream, because I had a coupon to buy one, get one free. Ah, sweet indulgence. I got "all lovin' no oven." And I was so busy driving and taking pictures that I was the last one to finish! woohoo! And it was soooooooo good.
3 monkeys eating ice cream
Gotta love Coldstone.

Oh, I do want to say that, in preparation for the fat-filled indulgence we knew we were going to consume, we ate a healthy dinner of salad:
The healthy part

And finally, my leave of absence. So, yesterday I had a dermatologist appointment to determine why my hair is falling out. It was everything I wanted to hear (well, except for the fact that I had to get another blood test so they can test my iron levels). My hair loss is not related to my hormone imbalance. He said the type of hair loss I am experiencing comes from other types of hormone issues or from stress. And, if my iron levels aren't up to par, my hair won't be able to grow back in correctly. Or also if my life doesn't become less stressful. Maybe I internalize all my stress. Who knows? I really don't. The point is, I took in pictures from when I had lovely hair and said, "I just want to know that my hair can be like this again." And he said, "I think it will be." He said it will take time. I swear, I think my life is one big exercise in patience. And we all know how good I am at that. Sigh. In fact, I find myself wanting to doubt his diagnosis because I'm still losing hair (as though his diagnosis would be the magical switch that would stop my hair from falling out). I'm soooo impatient. So, I need to figure out how to stop thinking about my hair (since that's obviously not helping me to de-stress). I need to figure out how to stop worrying about everything. I think a Panama vacation is just what I need. And also the end of schooling. How fortunate that I shall have both in about 2 months. Yee-haw!

Also, I have added a new category to my blog... It consists of my blogosphere buddies -- defined as people I blog-stalk that I have not formally met and who do not mind me putting their blog there. The first person I asked is my friend Kira's sister Anna. We've left comments on each other's blogs before, so I figured I'd ask her :). She was kind enough to say yes :).

*Julie has guessed the movie quote correctly!*

Monday, May 26, 2008

Montgomery Missives

It is officially getting hot in Alabama. I was okay with it holding off longer than usual. I'd be even more okay with it holding off another two months or so. The weather didn't ask me, though. Stefanie and I noticed yesterday that the air conditioner has been running... a lot. We bumped it up a little so it wouldn't be as cool. We have both been loving the comfort of a cool apartment... Not sure how much we'll love it when the electric bill arrives.

On Saturday I got up and headed for Montgomery. I would like to reiterate that gas prices are hideous and, in Julie's words, obscene. In 6 months they have climbed $1.00 per gallon. That's just FYI. But, Montgomery was so fun, it was worth it. I'm just incensed about the gas prices. Thought I would rant a bit more about them (as I'm sure everyone reading this will agree with me 100%). Anyway, so I guess I mis-judged the timing for reaching Montgomery. I thought it would take me about 1.5 hours. I guess not. It was about 2 hours. I obviously don't keep good track of time when I'm making the drive all the way to Dothan. I always thought Montgomery was my half-way point. Not so much. But, this means that next time I drive to Dothan, I'll realize that Montgomery is over halfway, and that will make me happy. Except not for the drive home. Because then it's less than halfway. Of course, there's a good chance that the next time I drive to Dothan, I won't be making the drive back here anyway... But, I digress.

So, Tammy and I met up in the parking lot in front of Bed, Bath, & Beyond in Montgomery. I will just say that I love that store. If someone gave me a million bucks, I could successfully spend a lot of it there. I almost bought a little set of four mini trifle bowls -- individual trifle bowls! They were adorable! Okay, so maybe I got the froo-froo kitchen gene. I love kitchen gadgets. I have decided (as I told Tammy) that I intend to have a professional-like kitchen one day with a Subzero refrigerator. Anyway, I did manage to overcome the temptation of the trifle bowls, because they will be one more thing I have to pack. I will buy them in Washington -- surely they have a BB&B there. After Bed, Bath, & Beyond, we walked down to Barnes & Noble. Such a hazardous place to go when you are a book-lover. I'm proud to say I was able to resist temptation there, as well. But I love books. I love to walk around and browse and see what's out. I love to see what's being recommended for summer reading. I love to add to my list of books to read (the one in which I never seem to even make the slightest of dents). I am a librarian to the core. Because I also don't like the way they have things set up in bookstores. It drives me insane. It is not librarian-friendly. But, I love books. A lot. By the time we finished in B&N, we decided we were hungry. So we got into my car and I drove us over to Olive Garden for the soup, salad, and breadstick lunch.
It was fabulous, of course. And the conversation was tons of fun! Following our very filling lunch, we went across the highway to the Fresh Market. Okay, go ahead and laugh at me... (Elka will, because I did this to her in NJ when I saw the ACME grocery stores and oohed and aahhed over them). The Fresh Market is a grocery store, but it is the coolest grocery store I've ever seen! The ambiance is great. I really can't explain it's greatness. But everyone to whom I've shown it (like Julie and now Tammy) has commented that "it is a nice grocery store!" Julie thought it was as cool as I did :). Heath and I found it one time when we went to Montgomery for the day. He and I just loved it. Anyway, so they have a little bakery section -- with the yummies under the glass showcase. And so I treated us to some cheesecake. Which we took to Panera Bread, bought drinks, and sat and ate our cheesecake in there.
I think we sat in there over an hour just chatting away. When we got tired of sitting in there, we walked up to T.J. Maxx and just "window-shopped." Except I did buy something for Julie. And I saw a skirt I'd really liked to have gotten, but I was staying to my strict budget of the cash I'd brought with me, so I didn't. Then we decided to go to Best Buy and browse the movies. Again, didn't buy anything. But I like to browse and add things to my mental "to buy one day" list. Yes, I have a million lists -- not all are written down. We headed back to Tammy's car and decided we still had lots to discuss, so we went back into Barnes & Noble and went to the Starbucks. I tried the strawberries and cream frappucino. It was good. But it was no vanilla bean frappucino. I think I'll go back to the vanilla bean one. Sorry Julie... I did at least try to go with strawberries and cream (even if I don't when it is a scented candle :)). I'm just so vanilla. After about another hour or so of conversation, we decided we'd better hit the road. By this time, it was about 6:45 and we both had quite a ways to go. (You can just call me Vann-Nilla White) (Okay, I'm laughing... If you didn't get this, let me know and I'll explain ;)).
Okay, you know I have pictures. And I'm about to post them. But, first I need to tell this story. Because otherwise you might think I was vain. So, we're standing by Tammy's car talking some more. I see myself in the reflection of her car windows and I think, "huh... I don't look half bad." So, I decide to have a picture of myself taken looking "not half bad." Only the picture looks horrible (it's the one of my being "Vann-Nilla White" above). And I really can't understand how my reflection can be so deceiving! So, after Tammy and I get into our respective cars, I sit in the parking lot and take multiple pictures of myself to try to capture whatever it was I thought I saw in the reflection. Some of them look hideous, by the way. Which makes me laugh. So then I think, "Huh... I wonder what I look like when I laugh?" So I snap a picture. And it's horrible! So then I laugh even harder and snap another one. And, you get the picture (no pun intended). Thank goodness for digital cameras that allow you to "waste" space... And get immediate results. Anyway, I deleted most of them, because they were AWFUL. But there was the one that wasn't too bad, so I kept it. I was chewing gum, by the way. And since I have no shame... I am sharing it with you! Hahaha.... And I know you can all laugh at that story. That's part of why I'm sharing the picture. (Well, I ended up having to load them up individually into blogger instead of using photobucket, because I couldn't remember my password, so now it won't let me log-in... I'm annoyed).So, on the ride home, I think, "I should call Julie." So I do. And I end up leaving a message. Within 10 minutes, she calls me back. We talk for a long while. Then she says, "I'm so glad I thought to call you when I saw on your blog that you were going to be driving from Montgomery! I read that and thought, 'Oh! I hope she calls me!' But then I remembered Alysha has my cell phone, so she can't call me! So I called you on Jon's and I'm so glad you were still driving!" It was so wild to me that Julie hadn't even gotten my message... She was thinking of me when I was thinking of her! Too funny! So she pretty much talked me all the way home, which was so fun! She's still fired for not leaving a comment on my blog when she read it, though ;).

Sunday was church, and after church, I took a nice long nap. Very long. I dreamed. And I read in my dream. It's funny, because in my dream, I was reading all these words and they actually meant something cohesive to me. But in real life, as I think back over what the words were, they didn't make sense, and some of them weren't even real words. There was one that said "cqal." But, there was "Mom" (she was who wrote what I was reading -- oh, and I should admit that I was reading blog comments on someone else's blog in my dream... dream blog-stalking). Yes, random tidbit, but weird about me nonetheless. Stefanie cooked hamburgers and sweet potato fries for us to eat for dinner. Then we went for a walk.

And, today, even though it's Memorial Day, I'm sitting at work. Blah.

Oh, and by the way... I'm watching you ;)!At least my eyes are still pretty ;).

Friday, May 23, 2008

I [Am Now Debt] Free!

Well, almost... And it's only temporary :). But, I'm going to celebrate anyway!!! Oh, this is a song-title post, but just be warned... This video features the members of Queen dressed up like women. It's kinda scary.

So, do you know the exhilaration that comes when you log into your online banking and see this under the credit card account: Balance (8.87)!?! That means they owe me money! Actually, that probably won't be true once the finance charge comes through. I called to get the payoff amount, so I payed more than it was showing I owed. Hopefully that 8.87 will cover the finance charge like the guy said it would. The sad part is that it won't remain at zero for long, since it will cost a pretty penny to move across the U.S. But, I will be building up funds in the meantime to help cover those expenses, so hopefully I will not owe much once I make it to Washington. Anyway, I think it's an awesome thing... I am credit card debt-free! I met my goal!!! Yay!!! Now the only thing I have to pay off is the small amount of money I owe in student loans for my undergraduate degree!

I have to say, I have been blessed. I have seen that, as my goals have been righteous desires, the way has been paved that I might accomplish them. Because I worked at both Troy University (during my undergrad years) and now here, I have gotten huge huge huge tuition breaks! I know these were blessings. I just feel so completely overwhelmed at the hugeness of the blessings I have witnessed in my life. I would even classify some as miracles. I will honestly say that there is no rhyme or reason to how I could live very comfortably (having everything I need and most everything I want), travel as I have, go to school, and still manage to pay off my credit card debt on the salary I make. It was not logical for me to think I could do all I have done in the 1.5 years I've been here. I know this absolutely. And so I know that the fact that I have been able to accomplish this is evidence to me (even though I don't need evidence to know it), that Heavenly Father always keeps His end of the bargain. When we do as He has asked, He will bless us. There is no sacrifice too great, and He will compensate that sacrifice beyond our hugest imaginations. I know it is a true principle. I have seen it in my life. Anyway, I just thought I would share those feelings. Because I truly am amazed.

So, Stefanie and I went for a 30-minute walk yesterday. It would have been longer, but she had already scheduled for her Home Teacher to come by at 6. So, we just took a short one. I guess Stef and I are doomed to smelly walks. It doesn't seem to matter which part of the trail we walk, it's stinky. This time I think it was animal poop we kept smelling. From the kind of animal that eats a lot of insects, from the looks of the piles on the trail. Ew. Next time we walk by the river, though, I plan to take pictures. That walk we took on Saturday (by the river) reminds me a lot of Panama for some reason. However, next time we walk by the river, I don't plan to be a genius and recommend walking up to the water/sewage treatment plant. I think it horrified Stefanie when I told her that's what it was -- that they recycle the water. Poor Stefanie... I think by living with me, she has lost some of her sweet innocence.

So yesterday, Elka and I had a fun blog-comment conversation on her blog about blog-stalking. She's trying to decide whether or not to announce her stalking tendencies to those whom she stalks. Her reason for this is that one of the people she would regularly stalk went private, and I think she was highly offended! (Hahaha). Anyway, so someone else (other than she and I) finally chimed in on her blog, and so when I was reading that comment, I thought, "Hmm... who is this person?" So then I blog-stalked them. And she was talking about how she always leaves a comment when she is "blurking" so the blog-owner knows she was there. And there were 3 comments on hers, so I clicked to see the comments. One comment was her own and she was telling Elka that "Nilla sounds funny." (How hilarious to read about yourself on a stranger's blog). And then Elka replied, "She's a riot. And she loves stalkers!" I asked Elka why she couldn't be more specific and say I love blog-stalkers. Saying I love stalkers is kind of creepy. I'm so blaming her if I get mugged ;)! I'm starting to think I should make a category on my blog called "My blogosphere acquaintances." Then I can just add the blogs of people I have "met" through the blog world, but only if they say it's okay. Which would mean I'd have to admit it. So far I'd have like 2 (because those are the only two to whom I have confessed). Because if I add people I blog-stalk but that I know/have met (like Nicole), then I should put them under my friends/family blogs, because I actually know them. So, Nicole, if you're reading this, you'll have to let me know if it's cool that I add yours :). Oh, so though I'm not sure why I should expect my blog-stalkers to leave me comments when my blog-invitees don't, I will invite them to do so anyway ;). (And totally kidding about the blog-invitees. I'm not dissin' them (how's that for some 90's terminology?)).

And, as a side-note... Is the English language not so totally radically awesome and versatile? Okay, so I know it's a difficult language to learn for non-English speakers. We have some pretty wacky rules, it's true. But in the last 8 years (at some point in there), we have added new terms like "blurking" "blogosphere" and "blog" to our vocabulary! It will not be long before they show up in a dictionary. I think that is awesome. (In case you didn't know :)). Good grief -- am I really that old? 2000 was 8 years ago? What has happened?

I had more weird dreams last night. I dreamed several different ones. All very vivid. I wonder why I dream more sometimes than others... Or rather why I remember them better. In one, I was somewhere where some guy robbed a place. He might have shot someone, I don't remember. But when he left the building, he had set off a trap where bullets or something were going off everywhere. I saw several people get shot by those bullets. It was kind of gruesome. Probably the goriest dream I've ever had. I don't really think I'll describe it here, because it was very gory. And the really weird part is that I don't remember feeling scared in the dream. I do remember that I saw my reflection, though, and I was super-skinny. Obviously I was dreaming.

Well, I'm gearing up for a fun weekend, but it's also depressing to see the gas prices. Ugh. I'm working at the Temple tonight and then tomorrow I'm driving to Montgomery to meet up with my friend Tammy and just hang out. Woohoo! It'll be fun. And, as usual, the weekend will go by far faster than it ever should be allowed to do. So, I hope you guys have a great one!

*And Julie guessed the movie quote correctly!*

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere...

But none running in my sinks!

So, I got home from work yesterday and noticed a huge truck parked out by one of the other apartment buildings in my complex... The truck said "So-and-so's sewage and drain service." I thought to myself, "Man, I'm glad it wasn't our building!" And then I thought, "I hope it doesn't affect us!" "'[Twas] a dream devoutly to be wished," because when I turned on the sink, all that came out was a slow stream. And that was on full blast. But, there was still some water, so that was good news. I was able to get a shower (okay, so it was really more of a bath). But by 9:30, there was no water at all! Stefanie ended up having to drive across the street to Amber's to shower, so Amber was kind enough to send her home with a pitcher of water so we could do necessary stuff like brush our teeth and wash our hands. Oh yeah, and (okay, this kinda gross, but it was funny), so I told Stefanie, "Well, the new rule for the night is 'if it's yellow, let it mellow.'" She turned to me and laughed and said, "I'm thinking, even if it's brown, we don't have a choice." The girl cracks me up. So, since we were catapulted back to days of yore involuntarily, Stefanie and I decided to chronicle this little adventure where the washing of hands took two people. (And witness my lovely glasses... Like I said, they were super-cheap).
And may I just make one small observation? You really don't know what you have until you lose it. You just don't realize how much you depend on running water until it's gone. Seriously don't think I could function without indoor plumbing. So, while I was setting up my camera for that staged shot (I'd already washed my hands when it occurred to me that this was a photo opportunity), I somehow had the thought come into my head, "I'm no Helen Keller." I told Stefanie that and she laughed, but didn't get it. And after I explained it to her, she was like, "I was so hoping you'd explain it, beause I didn't get why it was funny." And for those of you who don't get it, it's because the famous scene from the play is when Annie Sullivan is pouring water onto Helen's hands at the water pump and that's when Helen first starts to learn to sign. And I'm hoping that doesn't sound like I'm being mean, either. My mind makes weird connections, and so posing for the picture of Stefanie pouring water on my hands made me think that. I'm not being mean to Helen Keller! So, the good news is that we had running water again this morning. I'm telling you, there is never a dull moment in the Nilla life! (Or maybe I just perceive it that way? Stefanie told me that maybe the reason I can make things sound interesting is because I view life more interestingly than others -- like the writers of Seinfeld). Oh yeah, and the other funny thing in connection with this picture: So, the idea to take a picture of this came from Stefanie asking me to take a picture of her brushing her teeth using this pitcher of water. And when she said that, she was like, "Hila, we are such losers!" And I said, "No! We just like to find the fun in life!" So, I took a picture (it's on her camera) of her, and then told her to bring the pitcher to the kitchen when she was done so we could stage the picture of me washing my hands. So, we got to talking about other stuff and she came out to the kitchen. I was setting up the camera, and when it was about time to take the picture, I said to Stefanie, "Did you bring the pitcher?" She laughed and said, "no" as she turned back to get it. I jokingly said, "Stefanie! It was the one thing you were in charge of!" She laughed so hard and told me I'd better put that on my blog. So I did :).

So, I have had the weirdest dreams lately. Tuesday night I dreamed the following:
So, I'm driving and I turn onto this road. Only the road stops, kind of like a cliff, and I'm looking down into a huge canal or something. There is a woman there trying to figure out what to do. And I just drive right off and explain to her that the cars will float in the water (where this logic comes from, I don't know). So she follows suit. And sure enough, our cars float to some little building where our cars end up on a conveyor belt out of the water and we are then in this big meeting room (not in our cars). Somehow my friend Emily from Panama is there and she's setting up all sorts of treats and stuff in a new room. And before long, many of the people I knew from Panama are in there too. It's like a mini-reunion. Jose and Steven Bowman are the other two people I remember being present. I end up taking a picture with Stevie, even though, in real life, we were never friends of any sort. Anyway... it was weird.

Oh, and Virginia came over to the apartment last night and brought the fixings for a delicious salad. I cut up the rotisserie chicken breast she brought while she sliced the colorful peppers. The salad was lovely and we put the chicken in the salad. It was a very healthy meal. And then we watched Juno. After the movie, I talked to April. It's so weird that April and I never see each other in class anymore! So, we caught up on the thrills of life. Not that mine is particularly thrilling ;). But she had airport stories to tell, and you know if you have an airport story, it's always a good one.

P.S. I just realized I have my shirt on backwards... Apparently obtaining a 4.0 GPA in library school doesn't require you to know how to dress yourself properly, and it doesn't mean you're the brightest crayon in the box, either ;)...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Comeback Kid

So I was chatting with Alysha through gmail chat the other day. And she said something about loving something. I think it was bowling. I said, "I like bowling." And she said, "I LOVE bowling!" And from somewhere deep inside, the obvious comeback bubbled up from inside of me, and I said, "Well, then why don't you marry it?" And then I laughed at myself. Because I'm so hilarious. Okay, not really. But because I remembered those corny lame comebacks from my childhood. So, following will be the appropriate responses to various comments or questions posed to you.

Of course, I have already given you the first one, but I will repeat it in case you missed it:

Statement/Question: "I love x" (x being the variable here :))
Appropriate Comeback: "Well then why don't you marry it?"

Statement/Question: "Where is x?"
Appropriate Comeback: "Up your butt and around the corner."
(Okay, so I realize this one is a little crude. But if I'm going to be honest and tell you the comebacks, this one has to be included, particularly because it is so lame as to be hilarious to me. I mean, really? Who came up with that as a response?!?)

Statement/Question: "You are such a dork (or loser or dummy or idiot, etc) (technically I should have put 'x' here too ;))
Appropriate Comeback 1: "I know you are but what am I?"
(FYI -- this statement repeated over and over can really give rise to some great fights between siblings).
Appropriate Comeback 2: "I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you."
(This one is particularly awesome since it's also a poem. And this one also could instigate fights when said repeatedly to a very frustrated sibling).

Okay, that's all I have. So, now I'm opening up the blog for your suggestions and memories :).

So yeah, kind of a lame post today, but I don't have much of anything exciting to tell you. Stefanie cooked some very yummy spinach lasagne roll-ups and she made 2 types of bread. Plus we had salad. And I had made cupcakes with Emily on Friday, so I'd frozen many of them for dessert for last night. And Institute was good. And I slept very well :). But I am still tired :(.

Oh, and just to keep you guys up-dated on things like job search stuff. I have found another job for which I plan to apply. It's not exactly where I would like it to be (it's in Olympia, which is an hour's drive away from my family), and it doesn't pay nearly as much as the other job (half of it, actually). But, I'm much more qualified for that position. See, with the other job, I would still have to commute, but I'd have the option of commuting most of the way by ferry, and that would give me time to do stuff, like read. I could make use of that time. But if I have to DRIVE the whole time... Well, that's kind of a waste of time. Plus it kills on gas. So then I'd logically have to move to wherever the job was, and that nixes the whole moving in with my mom thing. Which, although it may seem like a weird desire to some people, seems to me like it would be ideal. We'd be more like roommates than mother/daughter, given that we are both adults now. And my mom is easy to live with. And it'd save us some money. So anyway... Oh, but I should say that the other job for which I applied -- the one that pays incredibly well and for which I am not technically qualified -- I haven't heard anything back on that yet. I fully expected to get my rejection letter pretty fast. I mean, I had to fill out the rejection letter when I applied. So, unless they didn't get it (like my application got lost in the mail), I guess they are either actually considering me, or they decided my lame-o application and lack of meeting their qualifications didn't even merit a rejection letter. Hahaha... Guess I'll have to see. But seriously, now is the time they said I should expect to start hearing something, and as I haven't heard anything, I guess I will assume I'm not going to. And I totally don't want that to sound pessimistic and defeatist. I'm not crushed or anything. I just applied knowing that I don't meet their qualifications, so I had no delusions of grandeur. Just figured it couldn't hurt to try ;). And, with the job search, I'm not feeling particularly rushed. I am not above taking "lower-level" jobs in order to get my foot in the door. But, in order to get those, I'll have to actually live in WA. They aren't going to wait 3 1/2 months (now that the Panama trip pushed back my arrival time in WA) to fill a position for a library assistant when they can fill that locally. So, that's my story :)!

*And, Kira and Aunt Hila know the movie quote!* (And I'm pleased to say I have had more guesses this time than at any other time! And most of them have been correct!)

And P.S. -- dig into your deepest memories and see if you have any comebacks that I missed ;)!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lots of Random Information

So, you might as well prepare yourself for lots of randomness. Because that's just how the Nilla rolls. Allow me to tell you a lovely story to begin... It's about me. So, I was telling Virginia the other day that I am reading Pride and Prejudice. It's a great story. However, I have had a hard time plowing through all the wordiness. I said to Virginia: "I don't like wordy! Just get to the point! Don't beat around the bush with 5 million descriptions!" And as I said those words, it occurred to me how ironic they are. How often do I share 5 kajillion (not just 5 million) details with each of you to finally arrive at my point? An innumerable amount. My apologies. Do forgive me. However, I won't say that I will change. It seems to be in my nature to give the whole history. I'm not sure why. The story just isn't complete without it. But you can laugh at me and my irony. And oh, I really am liking P&P. It just took some getting used to to try to get into the language.

Okay, so to begin, I figure I should at least categorize things for you so you know what's coming. So, here we are:

Memory Lane:
So last week, I was sitting here at work, thinking of Panama and the Shorty & Slim song talking about the song from the 3rd album called "Transismican" and these lines:

Driving by cement plant one day where de trees dem a covered with poison dust
I saw a Mac dumper full of scrap metal racing a chino man fruit truck

So that reminded me of the cement plant (and seriously, the trees around it really were covered in poison dust... you'd drive in and start seeing the gray trees and it would get thicker and thicker as you got closer to the plant). And that reminded me of this time we were headed somewhere as a family (probably to the river). Christina was young and she was calling out all the billboard signs. Only she wasn't reading them, she was assigning them a description. For about 10 in a row, they were all billboards for Camel cigarettes. So she called those "camel". Well, then, I guess to break the monotony, there was one with a hand holding a dart. And she dubbed that one "poke." Okay, so it's not that funny like this, but at the time, listening to Christina say, "Camel, camel, camel, camel, camel, camel, camel... poke" out of the clear blue was hilarious. So, I was all proud of this memory, because it's one Brad and I haven't laughed at for years. So, I waited all day until 9:00 when my minutes were free to call him. And he's such a loser! I got the lamest response ever! He said, "Yeah, I remember that." No laughing, nothing. I had waited all day for that?!? And so when I told him what a disappointment he was, that's when he started laughing. That loser.

Bad News:
Okay, so this isn't really tragic or anything (well, that's not true, of course it is!)... NKOTB (or New Kids on the Block) have tour dates and places posted on their website. I'm just going to say that I feel jipped. They aren't even leaving the Northeast! They are going to Canada. But I think the farthest South or West they are going is Illinois. A whole heap of good that's going to be doing this gal who'll be in Seattle. Sigh...

Good News:
Two items of business here... I have made an amendment to my future plans. I will not be working until August 1 as previously planned. I have decided that, since I don't get off early anymore on Fridays, I'm just going to make July 31 my last day of work. Then I'll leave work and head straight to Dothan that evening. That way I have that Friday to run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to say my goodbyes to everyone in Dothan. As a sad side-note... I want you to know that I have realized in the last week that leaving Alabama will be bittersweet. Aside from birth, all of the major events of my life have happened here. I know there will be more major events to come one day. But there is a sadness in realizing that... And the other piece of good news? Cheesecake Factory is awesome! So, when I went with Karen the other weekend, my receipt printed out with a survey thing. I filled it out online and they sent me a $10 gift certificate that is good at any Cheesecake Factory! Yippee!!! And I know if I don't use it here, I'm positive they'll have one in Seattle!

My Weekend:
And finally, as I usually update the world on my weekend or my days... Mostly for journaling purposes for myself... On Friday, Emily S came over to my place and we went to Northport Diner. It was down-home cooking, kind of like Kathy's Kountry Kitchen in Dothan. But it's set up like a real diner on the inside. So that was good. I, of course, got mac and cheese as one of my sides. And they had delicious yeast muffins. Oh my goodness, those were good. (I'm having a strange craving for bread lately). Then we returned to my apartment and made cupcakes with homemade frosting. Yum. And we watched French Kiss. Then Stefanie got home (she'd been at work) and we ended up staying up until 2 a.m. talking about life. See, sometimes I am not so old... On Saturday, I slept in until noon. Mostly because I could. And because I'm lazy. And because I had a good excuse: I'd been up until 2 a.m. Hahaha... Stefanie and I decided to take a long walk down a trail that goes right by the river. It also goes right by a restaurant that looks out on the river, and the restaurant is open on that end. It felt awkward to walk in front of all those people. But whatever. We just talked and kept on walking. At the end of the trail is a water treatment plant. It sounded like a waterfall. I told Stefanie I wanted to walk over and see it. Well, we didn't get very far when the wind turned against us and we got a whiff of what that smelled like. We pretty much sacked the idea of getting any closer and turned around and headed home. That was gross! I even got a little sun on my face! My legs, though, which are incredibly white, seem to be beyond help. Virginia and I headed to her friend Tim's house. Tim lives with and takes care of his mom. Anyway, we had Stake Conference, and since we are not lucky enough to have the stake center here (I got spoiled in Dothan, because that was the stake center), we decided to stay at Tim's house that night after Stake Conference. That way we didn't have to use as much gas (because his house is about 30 minutes from here rather than 45, plus we only drove over and back once). So, after Stake Conference, we watched 27 Dresses (thanks Emily for letting me borrow that!), and then we went to sleep. And on Sunday, Tim's mom cooked a huge breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast, and I had scupernong jelly for the first time ever. Then it was back to Stake Conference. After that, we ate some lunch (which Tim's mom erroneously refered to as 'dinner' and I didn't have the heart to correct her ;)), and then Virginia and I drove home around 2:30. Yesterday was a pretty plain old day. I got off work at 11:15 and went by the bank (because my ridiculous bank closes at 5 on Friday, so I missed it on Friday). Then I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple of ingredients for Stefanie to make dinner for tonight, since she signed up to feed the missionaries. I also spent the afternoon watching Ice Age 2 and taking a nap (because I'd stayed up until 2 a.m. again talking to my dad on the phone) and then getting a shower, making meatballs for spaghetti, and then watching Another Thin Man. I have really enjoyed those movies. Today, of course, I'm back at work. Until 4:45. And then we're feeding the missionaries. And then we have Institute! Yay!!! I get to go to 2 whole weeks of Institute, before it's interrupted by 4 weeks of school. And then 4 more weeks of Institute, or at least a couple, I hope. So, now you are caught up... Don't you feel better?

Also, since I was posed a couple of questions in my blog comments...
Julie -- I have thought I would eventually use the same movie again with a different quote. But I haven't yet, so your guess is not correct. But I know you know the movie.
Elka -- every once in a while I hear squeaky springs, but not very often anymore (which is a wonderful thing). I do, however, get the pleasure of hearing him pee. I can seriously hear it through the ceiling. Lovely. And I was woken up by another argument about 1 1/2 months ago and it sounded like he was fighting with an elderly person. Not physical fighting, just yelling. He was being berated by the older-sounding person for taking someone to his grandmother's house.
Nicole -- I'm sorry to say I cannot give you a gold star. I can, however, recognise your movie-quote expertise by listing you as one of the correct guessers! (And I can also say that, in my real life, I actually spell recognize like an American and not an Englishman. I guess P&P is rubbing off on me! -- but I'll leave it like it is in here for your pleasure and because it gives me a chuckle, especially with this little explanation at the end!).

*And on that note: Elka, Stacy, and Nicole have guessed the movie quote correctly!*

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm Very Glad...

...That he's my dad. And I know he loves me too ;).

Happy Birthday to my DAD!!!!

Okay, so yeah he drives me absolutely bonkers sometimes... I seriously think he thinks up ways to rile me up on the phone so that I can have a "heated" argument with him and keep him on his toes. He knows I'm smart enough to give him a run for his money and make him wiggle out of his useless arguments ;). I guess he hasn't learned the cardinal rule: "Never go up against a [Nilla] when [winning an argument] is on the line! Hahahah... hahaha....hahah" (Okay and for those of you who totally didn't get that... That was a very doctored-up quote from The Princess Bride. Awesome movie, by the way.) Anyway... So, here's my dad, through the ages:I've told a lot of stories about my dad... I want to share a few more. To begin with... Did you know my dad is fluent in Spanish? Well, he is. And he's also a Mr. Fix-it. He knows a lot of stuff about lots of things. As I've mentioned in the past, he has fixed my car for me in various ways. He also knows how to re-wire a house. Those aren't his only two skills, of course. But they will suffice for now :).

One time, after I had been inducted into the National Honor Society, my dad and I were driving home. In Panama, they have street vendors who will actually approach your car and try to peddle their wares. (I had forgotten about them... I wonder if they will still be there?). Some of the vendors sold bags of limes (for a buck! and these were huge bags!), some sold puppies (I know, sad), and some sold roses. Anyway, on that day, my dad bought me a pink rose in celebration of my induction into NHS.
When I was growing up, it was hard to trick my dad. He was, after all, my dad. And it can be pretty hard to trick dads... Well, as I mentioned before, my dad is a Mr. Fix-it. One of his hobbies in Panama was fixing up old cars. He still likes to do that, but doesn't do it as much anymore... Anyway, so on Saturday, if he wasn't running errands with my mom, he would be out front under the carport, working on his cars. Well, one day, I saw Brad or Christina's fake coral snake laying around. So, I though, "Hmmm... I wonder what'll happen if...." So, I opened the front door while Dad was over in "his room" (part of the enclosed section of the carport where he had all his "junk"), and quickly dropped the plastic snake out there by the door. Also realize that my dad is quite aware of the poisonous snakes of Panama... and the Coral Snake is one of those. Anyway, so I hurry back inside and go peek out the window that looks out onto the carport to watch his reaction. Let's just say I wasn't disappointed... Dad was walking over, pretty much not focusing on what was in front of him. Obviously the color of the snake caught his eye, because he stopped. And when it registered, he jumped back. Then he inched up to it and saw that it wasn't moving... So he kicked at it. And when the snake didn't react, that's when he realized it was fake. So, he picked it up and put it inside. I'm not sure when I told him that I was the culprit... But I got a good chuckle. Also, please realize this snake was very real-looking.
My dad taught us to value life in all of its forms. He never killed anything for the sake of killing it. And there are very few things I can think of him ever killing. And even those he had to kill to keep us safe (like the nest of fer-de-lance snakes in the yard where we played), he felt incredibly guilty about. If possible, he would much prefer to catch the animal and release it than to harm it. He did that with a boa constrictor snake one time. He coaxed it into a huge jar and drove it up to the jungle and let it go. I've always appreciated that my dad taught us this, both in word and in deed.My dad often tells me that having your kids grow up doesn't make you stop worrying about them. And I know he means it. I know my dad smiles with me when I am happy. I know he cries with me, literally, when I hurt. I've seen him do it. I know he loves me. And I love him very much. And that is just one of the reasons why I know that I will cherish the trip we are taking to Panama. It will be a great father/daughter adventure. And though I'm sure he'll make me crazy at least some of the time (but fear not, I make him crazy too :)), I know that the memories we will create there together will be things I hold dear for the rest of eternity.

I love you Dad. Happy Birthday!

More to come about my weekend....

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Hilarious Wisdom of Jack Handey

So, I wasn't going to post anything today...

But then my friend Virginia emailed me the link for today's "Deep Thought by Jack Handey." And because of what my post was yesterday (and might I mention I seriously thought I might get more feedback than I did!), I couldn't help but laugh and thought you guys would laugh also :).

So, here was Jack Handey's deep thought for today:

"Whenever someone asks me to define love, I usually think for a minute.... then I spin around and pin the guy's arm behind his back. Now who's asking the questions?"

Is that not hilarious????

Maybe that's why I didn't get very many comments... Hahahaha.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Love Defined

So, in pondering over some of my blog posts and other thoughts I've had, I find that I often come to the subject of love. In a society where love is portrayed more by lust than by actual love, I wonder how many realize the counterfeit they are being sold. Love is such a beautiful thing. I have been loved throughout my life. There are so many different types of love. Like the love my parents have for me. Or the love I have for my siblings. Or the love I have for my nieces and nephews. Or the love I have for my friends. Or the love one has for a spouse. Or the love spoken of in John 3:16.

Interestingly enough, Stefanie and I were discussing love the other day. I'm not even sure how the conversation turned that way. Somehow we discussed one-night stands and how low a person's self-esteem must be to do that. I pondered out loud if it isn't that these people identify love with lust, as though the two are interchangeable. It is sad, really, to mistake one for the other. By mistaking lust for love, a person misses out on so much. Love, real and true love, lasts forever. It does not fade with the aging of the body. In fact, I would guess the opposite becomes true. I would guess that, as two people (obviously I have begun to focus on married love) create a life together and grow together, the love they experienced on their wedding day only becomes deeper. Because it's easy to love someone when everything is like a fairy tale. But when real life happens; when trials come and difficulties come, that's when you really learn about loving the other person. My Institute teacher said one time that real love is something newly-weds don't really understand. That even he, who has been married for over 25 years, doesn't fully understand it. He described a couple, quite an elderly couple. The wife was very frail and weak and spent most of her days in a hospital bed at home. But on the day Pres. Archibald went to visit them, the wife wanted to get out of bed and sit in a chair to visit. The husband helped her -- a feat that took something like 20 minutes -- to get out of her bed and walk the short distance to the chair. He never rushed her, never pushed her, never got annoyed with the time it took for her to do it. But he stayed beside her, slow step for slow step, holding her up until she made her way to the chair. Pres. Archibald described it, saying he felt as though he was witnessing something intimate in those moments; a level of love even he had yet to understand. I think about Pres. Hinckley and Sis. Hinckley. They emanated love for each other, even after 60-something years. I remember one time, after she had passed away, Pres. Hinckley talked of her, telling about their life together. He talked of when they met and how Marjorie had been the girl of his dreams. And as he began to talk of the present, he spoke of how she was, once again (now that she had gone before him), the girl of his dreams. I guess it was significant to me that he used the word "girl." To him, she was every bit as beautiful as the day he married her, I believe. And, oh, I don't know... This song just popped into my mind.

Anyway, I'm not saying there isn't love in large gestures. But I think it's also in the small ones. Think of the O. Henry story, The Gift of the Magi. Love isn't lust. And lust most assuredly isn't love. Love is something you just know and can't describe. At least, that's what I think. And so, I want to see if anyone will offer their thoughts... What are unique ways you show love? Not the things like candy on Valentine's Day. But the little everyday things that you do because you love someone -- whether that person realizes you do it or not. Because love is selfless. And when you love someone, you really do things to show it that you wouldn't otherwise do. So, if you don't mind sharing, please tell me some of yours ;). Or even some of the ones the people who love you do for you. And these can be serious or funny, by the way.

So, here is love defined, Nilla-style :). And I'll add yours as you give them to me.

Love is...
  • giving the other person the bowl that looks like it has more ice cream
  • letting the other person win
  • a phone call to share a forgotten memory, because you know they'll laugh too
  • Jon plugs in and charges my cell phone for me every night.

    When we both worked, he would always find my keys and crank up my car every morning. Which was so great when it was cold cause he would turn the heat on full blast, so it would be warm for me.

    When I make dinner, I always fix Jon's plate and bring it to him. (These from Juliebean)
  • Kissing her and telling her I love her before I leave for work every morning. Even if she's not awake enough to remember it.

    Make sure to remind her every day of how beautiful she is. (These are Heath's)
  • sacrifice.
    controlling my anger.
    not saying yes to everything even though it's easier. (children)
    knowing we have forever.
    not feeling overwhelmed or burdened at the thought of waking up to the same face every day. (These are Elka's)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Making the Grade

So, grades are finally posted! And I got 3 A's! Woohoo! Now, if I can just pull off 2 more A's in the summer, I'll have completed my master's degree with a 4.0. But, I won't let it go to my head... I hear that graduate-level grades are highly inflated. So, my A's are probably really worth a C, but they know you can only have so many C's [they won't graduate you if you don't have a B average], so they inflate the grades ;). Haha... I don't know that for sure. But I did hear that graduate classes get grade inflation. Although, the source of that comment was the crazy teacher I had, so I'm not sure how true it is.

Totally overslept this morning. It's a bad sign. I don't need to start being late this early into the "new schedule." But I was tired. Last night I went with Emily (from church) to a baby shower for another girl from church. I actually don't know the girl who's having the baby, but I figured I'd go anyway (and yes, I took a gift -- cute little froggie onesies and wipes). Anyway, the food was good. You know that's a big deal to me ;). Other than that, I didn't do much else yesterday. I talked to my mom. I went to bed sometime after midnight -- and that's because that's when I turned off the lights.

Random comment of the day: washing dishes by hand really wreaks havoc on your hands. More specifically the hand that holds the soapy sponge and scrubs the dish. My right hand's skin is very dry. I put lotion on it last night. I need to bring lotion to work. I always notice my poor hand when I'm not in convenient vicinity to a lotion bottle. Perhaps Annie has some in her cube. I'll know she's read this when she comes back and gives me an answer :). Hahaha. Hi Annie!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Panama List -- So Far

So those of you fortunate to know the levels of my neurosis will be fully aware (without having been told) that I have been studiously making my Panama List ever since the inklings of this Panama trip got started. And just so you know, excitement over the Panama trip is my new reason to lay in bed tossing and turning and not letting my mind rest enough to go to sleep quickly. Last night I was pondering going to Los Rios swimming pool, because my dad told me that it is still open. Anyway, I was telling my dad all about my list on the phone last night. He laughed and said, "You're really getting excited, aren't you?" I absolutely am. It's weird, because, I mean, I lived there once. There were a million things I could see at the drop of the hat on pretty much any occasion. And yet it never really occurred to me to do so when I had the chance. [Perhaps this is why I do crazy stuff now like taking pictures with golden peanuts and the Blues Brothers... And I would recommend that to everyone -- find out what is unique about where you are and make sure you do it. One day you will be glad you did. Trust me, I don't give a flying fig about football, but I recognize the fact that Bear Bryant's statue is like a huge deal here, so I have now taken like 3 different pictures with the dude.] Now that I will be going back as a tourist -- yikes! -- I see it differently. I have 2 weeks to hit all the things I want to see and do. So, in honor of Nilla lists in all their forms and fashions... here is my Panama list so far (with brief -- or not-so-brief -- explanations of anything that I think needs explaining).
  1. Casa de Helado -- should it be a surprise that the number one thing on my list involves food? Of course not. Anyway, this is the "Ice Cream House." And may I just say, I am hoping that this place still exists. They have the most delicious vanilla ice cream -- soft serve style. Oh my. The vanilla is like nothing you've ever tasted. Well, that's not exactly true. Mexican vanilla extract is different than what we use here in the U.S. And it is soooo good. And I think that's what is in their ice cream at Casa de Helado. The closest I've gotten to this flavor is one time when we had like an ice cream social at church in Dothan. One of the sisters made homemade vanilla ice cream and she had the Mexican vanilla. That's how I learned of its existence.
  2. Pizza Italia/Sorentos -- okay, we have to hit one of these pizza places. The pizzas are soooo good. It would be neat to go to Sorentos and see if that one waiter that always served us is still working there. But Sorentos was always hard to get to, as it is in the middle of the city. I wonder if my dad's memory will serve him. I hope so. Because I certainly don't know where to go! My dad keeps telling me he's going to make me drive in the city so I can see what the traffic is like. I told him that was fine -- I've conquered Atlanta. He laughed and said it was like comparing apples and oranges. We'll see about that :). So anyway, yeah. A pizza.
  3. Ft. San Lorenzo -- this is on the "Atlantic side," which is also known as the side we didn't live on. Anyway, these are old ruins and it is sooooo cool.
  4. All 3 sets of locks: Gatun, Pedro Miguel, and Miraflores. Just because. And this time it will occur to me to get a picture of myself in front of the locks. I'm such a dope. I did take pictures at each of the locks when we were moving, but it never occurred to me to put myself in the picture. And isn't it lovely that digital cameras now exist? What did we ever do without them? (I must confess that I once thought I would never own one, because I liked having my pictures the 'old fashioned' way... What can I say? I'm pretty much a late adopter, technologically speaking).
  5. Cross the Puente Centenario -- this is the new bridge across the canal. When I moved, there was only one bridge across the canal that was always open (and very congested with traffic). That was the Bridge of the Americas. Well, I guess they decided that they needed another route, so they built this new bridge. This is one thing I know I'll get to do, because when I mentioned it, my dad was like, "Oh yeah! I want to drive over that too!"
  6. Los Rios swimming pool -- what's to say about this?
  7. Los Rios Elementary School -- this was my elementary school. I want to walk all around the whole thing. I wonder if they'll (whoever owns it now) let me actually have access to the building? I'll just turn on the Nilla charm... Hey, it's not such a far-fetched idea if I am to believe that fortune from the fortune cookie back in February that informed me that I would get everything I want through my charm and personality. Hahahaha.
  8. Curundu Jr. High School -- see explanation above. If nothing else, I hope I can get close to the "cafetorium" and take a picture. IT was a huge dome-shaped building that looked like a planetarium. But it was our cafeteria/auditorium. How hilarious.
  9. Balboa High School -- really really really am hoping the Nilla charm works here and we can get inside and take pictures on the breezeway between the 6/7/800s and the 1/2/300 buildings...
  10. Panama Canal College -- which I understand is now the Panama branch of FSU (Go gators??? Kristin will KILL me if I got this wrong... I guess I could google it, but somehow it is much more hilarious this way, with me guessing). I never went to school there, of course. But if you are able to get onto the field outside, there is an awesome shot with the Bridge of the Americas looming behind you. And I mean looming. Also, this is where we used to have to go when Mom was taking college classes. I've told you the story before, and it is here if you want to read it again (or for the first time). (And aren't you glad I didn't just start telling it again?)
  11. Niko's Cafe -- Okay, this place was awesome. Brad made fun of me once, though. We went in to the one in El Dorado and ordered. Here I was, probably in Spanish 4 at the time, and speaking much better Spanish than Brad ever did. But I always felt self-conscious in speaking it. So, we get up to order, and Brad orders the "gyros con papas" (this is gyros with french fries) in a very Espanol-way (meaning he sounded authentic). Then it's my turn and I say, "One of those club-sandwich thingies" in a very gringa-way. Brad has never let me live that down. I wonder if he remembers it. Perhaps I'll call him and ask him tonight. Anyway, they have since built a Niko's right there at what used to be my high school. We'll definitely be hitting this place up.
  12. Don Lee -- this was the Chinese restaurant we went to every once in a while. My parents always got the vegetarian chow mein. And once I got old enough to realize how good that was, I started getting that too. When I mentioned this to my dad, he perked up. He said, "Yeah, man... I haven't had chow mein probably since you guys left Panama." See, for all the "hassle" I am, I am awesome. It pays to have a daughter that thinks of mundane details like vegetarian chow mein. Just FYI.
  13. Chinese Gardens -- this is mostly to buy Chinese plums. I wonder if I'll be able to get them through customs? Anyway, if I can, I'd be happy to bring some to anyone brave enough to try them. You'll have to give me a holler and let me know if you want some :).
  14. Cardenas -- this is the little town in which we used to live. This actually takes up three slots on my actual list, because I'm very detail-oriented, and I don't want to forget anything. So, naturally we want to go by our old house (of course, there is no hope of going IN, but at least to go see it). And speaking of mundane details: totally want a picture at the bus stop. Cool stuff. You'll understand when you see the picture. Also want to go to Clay Hill. This is where the neighborhood kids would play when it was really rainy and the clay/mud was sooo messy. It ruined your clothes, so you better have been wearing trashy clothes. Anyway, during dry season (which it will not be dry season in August), we would play all over clay hill and go into the jungle portion of it with all the saw grass. Cool stuff. Also, we have to go down to the dead end with the balance-beam type pole. Not to mention going into the big field behind our house and up to the big tree. Not to mention "island hopping" at the dead end and staying out of the orange muck. Ewww. Christina knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the island hopping. One day you will too, because I will have my dad take pictures (unless Christina does end up getting to go, in which case, she will be taking pictures).
  15. Find pan de huevo = egg bread. Oh my heavens..... That is some of the best bread EVER. I have found its equal nowhere. It has a particular smell and taste and it is sooo good. I don't think there's an exorbitant amount of eggs in it or anything like that... But they braid the dough and it looks like eggs. I think that's where it gets the name. I could, however, be wrong. But, according to my flawless memory ;), the bread does not taste "egg-y".
  16. Food food food... I thought of another... We need to find ojaldras (pronounced o-hall-drus). This is fried bread dough. It is delicious. And you can't laugh at this if you are a Southerner.... you guys fry twinkies. So there is nothing wrong with frying bread dough :)! (And I will admit that I am actually saddened that I never took the opportunity to experience the fried twinkie at the Peanut Festival when I had the chance... There's no telling if I'll ever have that opportunity again...).
  17. Stephen's Circle... If it is still there. Well, the circle is, but the reason for going might not be. See, this is where all the vendors with the local wares would do their selling. A tourist place, really. This is where you buy the molas and the tagua nut figurines and everything else you can imagine. Anyway, my dad said that they got moved out of there, but he knows where they are now (the vendors), so either way... I just need to go get the souvenirs that I never thought to get growing up.
  18. Goethals monument. I actually did take pictures there before we left. But I would like to go back and get a now picture.
  19. The Administration Building. Sadly, I don't think you're allowed to go inside anymore, unless you work there. Inside there were beautiful murals painted on the domed ceiling in one spot. Too bad I didn't realize that I'd regret not going in and taking pictures when I could back when I was 17... (Can you believe that was 10 years ago??).
  20. The Causeway -- this is a strip of land that goes wayyy out to some beaches and stuff near what used to be Ft. Amador. You can get awesome views of the Bridge of the Americas there. Also very pretty sunsets. We used to go there to catch hermit crabs. But that is a story for another time...
  21. Panama Viejo -- this is "Old Panama." It's awesome looking. Kind of like Ft. San Lorenzo, but not really. Very old tower building, though. Sadly, I never took pictures there when I was growing up. Particularly sad, because it wasn't for lack of opportunity, since I rode horses right behind it... What was I thinking to never get pictures of me at Panama Viejo? The answer: I wasn't thinking. You really do get wiser as you get older.
Of course, there are other things that need to be done. Have to go do the dual citizenship thing. Going to the Panama City Panama Temple dedication, of course. Dad has now decided he wants to go to the Boqueron (I always spell that differently each time I write it...). I'm not as wild about that... I can see us getting stuck on the mud road. My dad actually told me that he got stuck one time in the Pinto (he left the Pinto down there longer than he left the other cars). Four guys came and helped him get out. As I'm not a fan of such adventures, I would really rather put the kibosh in it. However, if Christina does get to go (and that's a big if at the moment), she has mentioned wanting to go to the river. Also, Dad has to go to Boquete to take care of his mother's land there... And if we're going to go all that way, then I say we might as well continue on up the volcano (it's name is El Baru) and see the sights there as well. Ugh... 7 hours in the car though. YUCK-o. So, this will be a fun-filled, exciting trip. Although, I've already been informed by Dad that he wants to enjoy his time there and not end each day with his tongue hanging out, gasping for air due to any whirlwind pace of mine... Who, me ;)??? Seriously, though, I do want to take a chance to enjoy each experience. And I might just have to face the fact that I won't get to my whole list... And so those things will go on my future list. Perhaps I'll go back to Panama on my some-day honeymoon... Right?

So, can you tell I'm totally psyched about this trip? Like, totally dude. It's radical.

Also, Elka and Stacy have guessed the movie quote correctly!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Heifering Up...

Let's face it... You all know how I love food. So, it really shouldn't be a surprise to you, or to me, that I stood on the scale yesterday evening and saw that I had gained 5 pounds since the last time I weighed. It was one of those, "Oh shoot" moments when I realized I would have to scale back a little on my eating (no pun intended ;)). Actually, I shouldn't have weighed myself when I did for an accurate weight. Hahaha... I am currently wearing and fitting into a pair of my skinny pants, so it's not like I'm really a heifer. But when I stepped on the scale and saw that, I literally laughed. So, let me give you the rundown of my food consumption this weekend and you see if you can determine where I went wrong ;).

Well, you saw my splurge for my solo girlie night. Enough said about that in my last post, I do believe.

Friday I worked until 11:30 -- my last opportunity to do that. On the up-side, today I get off at 11:15. So yippee!!! I'm all about early afternoons off. But I see I'm already getting off-topic, so I'd better right myself :). So, if you keep up with my blog comments, you will see that Stefanie invited me to eat lunch with her on Friday. See, she has these meal plan things here at the University, and it's a use-it-or-lose-it kind of deal. And since Stefanie is going to BYU next year, she would be losing hers. So, she invited to treat me to lunch at Lakeside Dining. Man, it reminded me of an airport terminal in some ways, at least the airport in Tocumen (Panama), because you had to go down into the food area and you could look up and there were all glass walls where people could sit and eat and look down on you. Anyway, it was a buffet and it was awesome. I didn't even know places like that existed on campus. I think they try to hide them from me :). Okay, in spite of the fact that I said I really heifered up this weekend, I want you to know I did not make a pig of myself at this place. I didn't go back for seconds. But I did get dessert. They had delicious soft chocolate chip cookies. I mean, they were good. You can see them in the picture. (Again, I will embed multiple pictures and clicking on any one of them will take you to where you can view them all).

Me and Stef at Lakeside

So, after leaving lunch (oh yeah, Stefanie also used up two more meals for us to get to-go plates. Probably we should have done this at the time we were getting our first plate, because by this time, I was packed and nothing looked good. But, in the interest of kind-of-free food, we both loaded up so we'd have extra food stocked. I admit it... I took home more cookies :). And a huge 20 oz. cup of chocolate milk. After dozing in my room and trying to sleep off my very full tummy (yeah, probably should have been out running or something), I went to Wal-Mart. But you know they say it's good to shop on a full stomach, because then you don't impulse-buy. I can attest to that. Nothing looked appetizing at Wal-Mart. However, as I cannot pass up a good deal, when I saw 2 different Ben & Jerry's flavors in the little pint containers at $1.00 each, I had to get them. And in my defense... one of them was strawberry banana frozen yogurt. (And so it really doesn't matter that the other one was peanut butter cup, because they cancel each other out :)). Just FYI -- I have not eaten any of either of them yet. No need to, as I am still working on the mint cookie frozen yogurt ;).

So, after Wal-Mart (by the way, I was highly annoyed that Wal-Mart did not have any black slip-on sandal-y type heels), I tried to find a shoe-store in my vicinity. Alas, it was not to be had. So I ran home and showered, did my hair and make-up. This is why you don't take naps when you have stuff to do... Luckily, I had 15 minutes before I needed to be at the reception thing. Yeah, I'm neurotic. I have a thing with being on time, and it usually leaves me feeling awkward. But I can't seem to help myself. But anyway, since I didn't want to be early to the thing, I ran over to Target (pronounced tar-jay) and they did have some shoes for me! Yippee! And then I was only like 5 minutes late to the reception thing. But I was still one of the first to arrive. And it was awkward. April, Courtney, and April's boyfriend Mark got there about 5:30. And finally I was able to feel more normal. So, we decided to get some food and then we wandered off by ourselves to visit. Okay, so I don't know who planned that menu. I'm sorry, but yikes. There were a few things I could/would eat, like cheese cubes. And some things I thought I would eat and then later regretted. That happened with most of the food (and there wasn't much, trust me). Okay, so the mini sandwiches were pimento cheese (very Southern for those of you who don't know). These would have been fine with me. Except that they ended up being on rye bread! Ugh! Ick! Blech! I only found that out after I took a bite!!! Ick. Yuck! I hate rye bread. It tastes like licorice! And don't argue with me. It does. And then I moved on to eat whatever spread that was with the crackers. Oh my gosh... One smell of that stuff made me think twice. I let everyone smell it. I'm not even sure what it was. I tasted it a little. And yuck! I don't know what it was. Mark ended up eating it (I'm not sure how he could) and he decided it was hummus mixed with some herb of some sort. Whatever herb it was, it was potent. And so I ate the other cracker plain, and it was stale. And then, because the woman hosting this said that someone told her you couldn't not have something sweet... She pointed th way to the cookies and candy. Gingersnaps and a small bowl of jolly ranchers. I kid you not. Ugh. You know how I love a good spread. This was definitely disappointing. What can I say? I'm a food snob. Good thing I ate such a huge lunch. So, April, Mark, Courtney and I sat around laughing and talking. Courtney was bored stiff and ready to go. April looked over at me at one point and said, "Why did only the nerdy people from the program show up?" I looked at her and said, "Do you know what this says about us?" How depressing! Anyway, be glad you weren't there. So, we managed to sneak away by about 6 and decided we needed real food. And after much deliberation, we decided on IHOP (which Courtney finally realized stands for International House of Pancakes). The IHOP part was the best part... Real food, lots of laughs.

Mark, April, Courtney, and me at IHOP

Friday night I talked to my dad and Brad, and then I went to sleep.

On Saturday, I got up early and headed to the Temple in Birmingham. Karen met me there and afterwards, we went to the Cheesecake Factory. Delicious. I must recommend the Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple. It is divine. I should probably branch out again and try something new... BUt the last 3 or 4 times I've been, I think I've gotten this one. It is soooo good. It's very rich though. I was sorry I ate the whole piece in one sitting after I was done. I rarely do that. But I didn't eat as much of the lunch as I normally do, so I thought I had room for the whole piece of cheesecake. Apparently I had room, but it wasn't a nice fit or anything. Karen and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. It's so nice to see friends I don't get to see very often.

Me and Karen at Cheesecake Factory

I drove home, got a shower. Decided I needed to come up with something cute for the nusery kids to do for their moms for Mother's Day. It also needed to be inexpensive. I mean, I can get reimbursed for anything I purchase for nursery. But that's a hassle, and it's not really about the money. I know I can find cute crafty things to do and not spend a ton of money doing it. So, I went to Hobby Lobby and looked around. I found stuff to do home-made cards and came up with a simple idea that would be different. In years past, the kids have put their hand print on a paper with the poem about handprints on the wall, etc. I wanted to do something different. So, this is what I did:

Mother's Day card

That was my example one. And you know what? I'm sending that one to my mommy. It'll be late, of course. But it's hers just the same. I started thinking yesterday as I decided to write in that card and get it ready to send to my mom about why it is we now just purchase our cards as adults. I'm not saying bought cards aren't nice. But who said that just because you could afford a bought card, that you should? I may be 27, and my thumprint might not be as cute and adorable as that of the little 2 year olds... But something tells me my mom will love this card. It has something no store-bought card has... It has a part of me in it. Again, I'm not knocking store-bought cards. I just thought about how, when we couldn't afford to buy the cards, we made do with what we had... And somehow those probably were more of us.

Anyway, I watched two movies on Saturday night. I watched The Thin Man, which was a recommendation from Tammy. I liked it. It is older and about a detective and his wife. But they are a funny couple. Very cute. Will probably borrow the others from the public library also. The other movie is from where the quote of the week comes, so I won't tell you what it was. But it was a present to myself, since it was on sale :).

And, in conclusion, I called my mom and wished her Happy Mother's Day yesterday. I also called Christina and Tarylyn and talked to my grandmother and aunt a bit. And I hope all of you mothers had a wonderful Mother's Day!

And, oh yeah... So I got a most unexpected compliment on Sunday. A girl that helps out in nursery (Celeste - she played 80s games with me once) is moving this week. Before she left at the end of the day yesterday, she said to me, "I just wanted to tell you that I think you are one of the prettiest girls in the Ward. You have a classic beauty." I thought it was a very nice thing to say. She will be greatly missed in nursery. She was such a huge help.