Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Cry for Me [Tuscaloosa]

I do love to come up with clever song-title posts. Even if they make me seem conceited. It makes me smile when I come up with them. And then I realize how dorky I really am :). But here it is... another song-title post :).

Today is it. Can you believe it? I really can't. Seriously. It's bittersweet.

Yesterday, my day started out normally. I arrived at work 15 minutes late (okay, so that's a little less than normal... usually I'm only 5 or 8 minutes late). I did my usual work for the morning. Then, at 11, we headed out to catch the bus to Swen's for my good-bye luncheon. See, the Crimson Ride goes right by the shopping center where the restaurant is, so we figured it'd be easier to ride the bus than to drive and lose our parking places. So that's what we did. And it was very quick. So we all got into Swen's and got our seat. There were only 6 of us who went, but it was very fun. With smaller groups, we all get to be part of the same conversation! Not so with large groups. So, the people who went were me, Annie, Patricia, Le, Suhua, and Mattie. We got several pictures. And the department all chipped in to get me a nice sweater from the University and a key chain with the well-known A for Alabama. And after talking to Christina on Tuesday, who informed me that it was "chilly" in Washington on Tuesday (yeah, as in two days ago!), I'm thinking I'll get lots of use out of that sweater! And it's a fluffy soft sweater! The card was also very nice. Everyone in the department signed it. It was hilarious! William wrote, "No more naked trolls!" because I used to "moon" him with a blue-haired troll (that is now packed and ready to move to Washington). I blogged about this back in October. And Michael wrote, "No more mice!" And you should all remember that story, since it was recent :). Oh, and since we went to eat Chinese food, we had a great (and hilarious) discussion about the fortunes. Patricia's husband said that you can always append the words "in bed" to the end of your fortune and it makes it totally hilarious. And, he's right. So, we all read ours out loud and we appended "in bed" and we just laughed and laughed and laughed. Try it next time. It's funny. Want to know my fortune? "The only way to have a friend is to be one." I'll let you add the two words mentally :). Oh, and then afterwards, we went into the boutique next door and looked around. And that's where we got someone to take the group shot, since it got pretty busy in the restaurant and there was no one available to take our picture.

I left work after lunch, because I had a dentist appointment. I went by the apartment and helped Stefanie do a few things there before it was time for me to go to my appointment. And good news all around! No cavities, and both the dental hygienist and the dentist said I have great teeth! Woohoo! So then it was back to the apartment to help Stefanie some more. You should know I am an awesome packer. She was sure she wouldn't be able to fit everything into her car. I got it all in there and there was even extra room! And it was quite a feat, let me tell you. But, I've done enough packing for a lifetime... I've learned. By 6:00, Stefanie was gone. But not before pictures! And please excuse our black feet in the one picture... We were doing a lot of walking around outside barefoot... And by the time it was time for pictures, we didn't have anything to set the camera on!!! So, we used a granola bar box for the second picture. Aren't we cute!?!
Me and Stafanie
Stefanie and me

Once Stefanie was gone, it was really weird. I mean, it didn't feel real that I'm probably never going to see Stefanie again. I even told her that. It's just strange! Virginia came by at about 6:30. Originally she was just going to come to get some of the perishable foodstuff that I was giving her. But she had made me an offer on Sunday that I could stay at her place my last night in Tuscaloosa if I wanted. I decided to take her up on the offer. Because the apartment was so empty. And I also didn't even have a sheet to sleep under that night. So, I got a shower while Virginia was awesome and took all the trash out. Then I finished cleaning the bathroom, did one last sweep of the apartment, packed up my car, and I left. That was it. That simple. And thank you so much, Virginia, for giving me a place to stay on my last night! Not only was it 100% more comfy than sleeping on the floor with no blanket, it was also nice to spend my last night here with a friend! I will miss you and all the hanging out we did! I know I'll see you in 3 weeks to pick up my stuff. But even so, I want you to know that I'm glad I know you! And Virginia and I ate cake and ice cream (because we can, and because I am bound and determined not to fit into the skinny pants I packed for Panama... Guess I'll have to run around pant-less...hahaha). We did that while we watched an episode of Frasier on youtube and two episodes of Wings. And we laughed :).

Today is my last day at work. And Le has already started crying. It's so sad! So, we took several pictures of the four of us in our little corner of the world on the 4th floor of Gorgas. So, enjoy :).

Oh, and I keep forgetting to add this picture! This is what my stuff looks like at Virginia's! Thanks Virginia for the picture!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cell Phones and 100 Things About Me -- Part 6 of 10

So I find it funny how attached we are to cell phones. I am no exception. Sometime around 8:45 last night, my cell phone stopped connecting to anything. In other words, I couldn't make calls, calls couldn't come in, I couldn't send a text message, I couldn't even contact Verizon in any form or fashion, including accessing my voicemail. I'm happy to report that, while that was still the case at 11:30 last night, it was not the case this morning at 7:15. Yay. Not that my phone goes ringing off the hook or anything, but it's really nice to have access to the outside world. And my cell phone is it, since we don't have a land-line. And now I know why, sometimes, it's good to have a land-line. Actually, this happened to me once before when I lived in Dothan. It was weird. And again, the next morning, when I drove far enough away from the apartment, it worked. Who knows...

I worked on cleaning the kitchen a bit last night. All major furniture has been removed from the apartment. It's really quite empty. It's strange. I'm leaving work early today for a dentist appointment, and am going home afterwards to work work work my little tail off in the apartment. I have to pack all my stuff, then pack it into the car. Because tomorrow, when I leave in the morning, I am not going back. So weird! I guess I should make sure to get pictures of everything I want to have pictures of this evening... Oh, and I also went to sleep with a headache. I'm happy to report that is gone too.

And now, to the Nilla List!

51. I know how to muddle through "playing" the piano. But I'm not very good at it.
52. I'm not very good because, if you took all my lessons and crammed them back to back, they'd equal maybe one year. But I didn't take them back to back, so it went more like this: took lessons in 4th grade for a few months -- quit. Took lessons in 7th grade for a few months -- quit. Took lessons in 11th grade for a few months -- moved to Dothan and never started taking lessons again.
53. I got my B-badge when I was in kindergarten. A B-badge was the little card that I could show at the pool that indicated I knew how to swim, so I didn't have to have a parent there with me.
54. I still have my B-badge... it's in my scrapbook. But I look nothing like the picture on it, since that was my kindergarten picture.
55. When people first meet me, they think I am quiet, because I don't say much in a group of people or around people I don't really know. I'm pretty sure I have trapped numerous people this way. They eventually find out I have the problem of "I'm talking and I can't shut-up" and they are probably very sorry they hung around long enough to find that out ;).
56. I don't really like seafood. I will eat fried shrimp if it doesn't taste fishy. But really, fishy smells turn me off, so I rarely eat seafood at all. Yuck.
57. I don't really like the beach. The salt water irritates my skin and the sand gets everywhere. I mean everywhere.
58. People usually think I'm weird when I tell them #56 and 57 because I grew up in a place where I could visit both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the same day (1 hour apart). Oh well. So sue me :).
59. I'm not a really big fan of leftovers. There are very few meals I will eat as leftovers, and very few of them are chicken dishes. Because chicken, in my opinion, that has been refrigerated after being cooked tastes like old chicken to me. It's gross. So if I eat a chicken dish leftover, it's because the chicken is mixed in like a casserole or something like that where the "old" taste is camouflaged by the other ingredients. Ick. Just thinking about old chicken taste is grossing me out.
60. I once made a fort in the jungle with Brad and Christina. I was in charge of using the machete to cut the path, since I was the oldest. We even had an escape path through black palm in case of fort raiders.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

100 Things About Me -- Part 5 of 10

41. I don't make my bed. I think it is the most pointless chore, because I'm just going to get back into it that night. I remember when my parents used to tell us to make the bed, I would declare, "It's not like Queen Elizabeth is going to show up and see our beds unmade."
42. I had a smart mouth when I was growing up.
43. I got smacked in it two whole times in my life, once by each parent. I'm thinking.... Okay, actually I'm knowing... that I deserved to get smacked for being a smart-alec a whole lot more than twice.
44. One time I was supposed to set the table for dinner, and I thought it would be clever of me to see if I could balance 5 plates on my head. It wasn't. They fell, and all but maybe 1 broke. My dad was not impressed.
45. We used to have a chore chart that indicated which chore we were responsible for on which day of the week. There were 3 chores we rotated: washing dishes, walking the dog, and setting/clearing the table. My dog-walking days were Wednesday and Saturday. I am almost positive my dish-days were Monday and Thursday. I don't know why I remember this.
46. I still remember both of our phone numbers from Panama. And I remember the whole history of the numbers too. So, I'll share it. Originally we only had one phone line. The number was 52-6986. Then one day they decided to add another 2 to the front, to make them 7 digits. So then it was 252-6986. And then one day they decided to change the 5 to a 7 in the prefix. I don't know why. So then it was 272-6986. This happened the summer of 1995. Our "upstairs" phone number (we called it that, because it was ONLY upstairs in mine and Christina's bedroom and Brad's bedroom, whereas the other one was in my parents' room and in the kitchen) was 272-2068.
47. I also remember what our alarm code was for the house and that we had to append "7" to the code to turn it off; "3" to the code to put it on stand-by so we had 30 seconds to get out the door; and "1" to the code to turn it on, like when we went to bed at night, so it would sound if anything opened at all.
48. I remember a lot of useless information.
49. I won an award in kindergarten for losing the most teeth that year.
50. That same year, I also knocked myself out by running head-on into a green pole. But, that's a story for another time. And fear not, it's on my "to-be-blogged" list :).

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Getting Old!

But it was a wonderful weekend. Although it was very, very busy! And I am exhausted!

Friday, I left work and went home to get a shower. Then Virginia came by and picked me up and we drove over to the hospital here to meet up with Stephanie Vickery who has been in town because her dad is in the hospital. The three of us went to the Temple. On the way there, we hit torrential rain, and several people actually pulled off of the interstate. But, the most awesome thing I've ever seen.... A complete rainbow. We could see where it looked like it ended on both sides. It looked like it was right over the interstate and we could see the whole thing. It also seemed as thought it was moving with us, and I could look out my side window and see where it looked like it touched the ground. I have never seen anything like it. It was amazing. (There was no visible pot of gold ;)). After about 10 minutes of driving in the downpour, we were out of the worst of it, and eventually we drove out of the rain completely. We swung into a drive-thru to grab dinner. We at in the parking lot at the Temple. Then we got out and took pictures.
Me and Virginia at Birmingham Temple
I got home some time around 11:30 that night. I was tired! And I full enjoyed my last night of sleeping in my bed for who knows how long. Except that I woke up at 6:30 Saturday morning because I'd dreamed about giving a talk in church (probably because I really was giving a talk in church :)). In the dream, I was trying to give the talk, but the microphone was on this really long metal arm that was bendable (best way I can describe it is to tell you to picture a metal fold-out contraption or Johnny 5's arm from Short Circuit). Anyway, for the life of me I could not get that microphone to be in the right place where both everyone could see me and I could talk into it comfortably. Yeah, I have strange dreams. Anyway, I have weird dreams. I was able to go back to sleep and slept until 8:30 when I got up, ate strawberry banana oatmeal, and got to work on more packing. I took apart my bed and maneuvered all that to the wall. My room was so empty! It's amazing. I moved all my boxes to the living room so they were all ready to go. I was so disillusioned that it started raining 2 hours before we were supposed to start moving. And it didn't look like there was in an end in sight. I called Virginia, who looked itt up on the, and she said it wasn't listed as being isolated thunder storms until 6 p.m. I was concerned. It's not like I have a lot of time to work with here ;). But, in answer to prayer, the rain stopped, and we were able to get my stuff moved in 2 loads. A great big thank-you to Thad, Chris, and Virginia who helped me move!!! So, now all my stuff is in an 8 1/2 by 5ish foot space in Virginia's apartment for 3 weeks. It's rather amusing to see the pile against the wall. After eating some dinner, I went home and got a shower. Then I went back to Virginia's to use her computer and she and I also went to Wal-Mart. I was pretty bushed by 10:00, so I headed home. I talked to my dad for a while, and then read a little before bed. I had decided not to blow up the air mattress, because I'll just have to deflate it in a couple of days, and I figured sleeping on the floor wouldn't be so bad. I used to do it all the time when I was a kid. Okay, so not the most brilliant of ideas... espcially after a day of moving. I ached in some severe ways. And every time I thought, "oh my back!" I felt like an old lady ;). And let's just say I made a decision to make good use of the couch until Rachel comes to get it.

My talk in church went well. I spoke on temple work, and I got several compliments. I went to nursery for the last time (I was released as nursery leader, since I'll be heading out). One of the parents brought me a rose and thanked me for taking such good care of her child. I thought that was so sweet.
Rose from one of the parents from nursery
Of course, it's not sweet that I can't seem to take a decent picture to save my life here recently.

After church, I went to Virginia's to burn the last of the family DVDs (nothing like cutting it short, right ;)?) and the B.C. Thanksgiving and Christmas DVDs. Plus we had root-beer floats. Yummy :). I like the fizzy bubbles. I got home around 4:30, got the chicken marinating for stir fry, read, took a shower, cooked and ate dinner. Stefanie went to the church with Allyson and Stephen to meet the missionaries and a guy from her work. She came home around 9:30 with Allyson and Stephen, and I was on the couch in my jammies. Because the couch is the only comfortable place I have to go to read now. So we sat up talking and laughing until about midnight when Allyson and Stephen left and then Stefanie and I talked until about 1 this morning. I slept on the couch -- much more comfy than the floor. But I am soooo very tired. I just can't do this 1:00 in the morning thing and then get up for work and not feel tired thing anymore ;). I like my sleep! I had another weird dream about all these people I used to know in Panama. It was all of my old guy friends from there and their spouses, and we were all in the ward building in Cardenas at one point and I remember saying, "Man, it seems like no time has passed at all, but I know that it's been 11 years! You guys are all married with children now, so obviously time has passed!" Yeah, I dream a lot. I know I've said that a lot, but it's true.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where Are You Going?

Well, as promised, here is a picture of me and Loretta.
Me and Loretta

6 days. That's all I have left. It's really just so hard to believe. But as I see my room become more and more sparse, it is very real.

This post is a song-title post, by the way.

So, where am I going? Onward and upward. I'm on my way. But my time here in Tuscaloosa has brought me many, many things. Many realizations about my own life and about who I am. And who I want to be. About 2 weeks ago, I was driving and pondering. (A hazard of being Nilla is that you can ponder while doing almost anything). And I suddenly realized the point at which my life's path started becoming clear. And it amazed me. And it made me remember another realization that came to me here, a year or more ago. At that time, I looked back over the past couple of years and realized that, quite literally, the path to choosing my career had been made clear to me. And I've been on track ever since. I will tell you that becoming a librarian was never part of my grand plan when I was growing up. I will admit that I originally thought I would be an elementary school teacher. And then I decided on Journalism. And then Chemistry so I could go into Forensics. But then one day, as I miserably plowed through Differential Equations, I realized that I was completely unhappy with the classes I was taking. And the more I thought about the path I was pursuing at that point, the less happy I was with it. No matter what kind of education I had ever planned to get, part of my plans for my future had always been to be a wife and mother. And, like my mom did with us, I wanted to stay home with my children. I started to realize that, if I got into a field that required finely tuned skills, there would be a good chance I'd lose those skills if I left work for a few years to raise my children. Now, this may not be true for everyone, but it seemed to me that it would be true for me. I've certainly become rusty with my Spanish now that I don't really use it. Granted, I could re-acquire those skills. But in a science field, I figure things are always changing so fast that 10 years out of it would leave me very behind. So I began pondering what I really wanted to do. And the answer was: be home with my children. I knew in my heart that there was no greater thing I could do, and it was the desire of my heart. And, since I'd been working in libraries at that point for 6 years, I felt like this was a career that could make me happy should I need to work, and one that I would always be able to go back into if I should stay home with my children for several years. Being that the library degree is a master's degree, and that there is no specific undergraduate degree for it, I was able to decide what I wanted my major to be in undergraduate at that point. I decided I really liked English, and I have always excelled at it. I already had so many math credits that I made that my minor. And everything fit perfectly. Absolutely perfectly. Not a single class was wasted, and I made the change at the perfect time.

Of course, this also lined up with my job at the time. As I said, I had been working in libraries for 6 years by that point. That almost wasn't true. As you know, I was a branch librarian. Now, there was not a lot of money to be made as a branch librarian with no education in a small town in Southeast Alabama. Seriously, I was making about $6.50 an hour and working 30 hours a week. Now, don't misunderstand me. I loved the job. But I knew it wasn't going to help me get my education, and other things. I saw an ad in the newspaper for a job at Troy University in Dothan for a library assistant position. I applied for it. After a month, I hadn't heard anything and I actually forgot about it. Then one day, out of the blue, the director there called me to come in for an interview. I was so excited! I went for the interview, but was emailed the next day and informed that I had not gotten the job. It was a let-down, of course. But by the next day, my spirits were up, and I decided I would tweak my resume to display secretarial skills. The bottom line was that I needed a full-time job making more than $6.50 an hour. And since we were talking about moving to Dothan, I figured it would be best to work in Dothan. So, that morning I got my resume all ready and I was going to start looking for a job as a secretary somewhere. At lunchtime, I was driving into town to look at a possible apartment for us to move into when I got a phone call from Troy! Turns out I was the second choice and the first choice turned the job down. Of course you know that I took the job. The reason I mention this is that I realize I probably wouldn't have considered getting my MLIS if I had gotten out of librarianship at that point. But, the path opened up. Furthermore, my working at Troy helped me get a much less expensive education.

But, back to the school side of it. Now, I am notorious about having things planned out. I would plan out my semesters all the way to the end -- which classes I would take when. Now, Troy Dothan is not a huge school. It's a nontraditional university, and there aren't as many class offerings, so you aren't guaranteed that a class will be offered every semester. In fact, the majority of the upper-level classes are only offered once a year. I was on track for graduating in August 2006 when all of a sudden they split a class into two separate classes, one of which became required, but which they were not offering until Fall 2006. I was devastated! Here I had been working so hard, going to school full-time, working full-time, to get the classes I needed, and this happened! I had just about resigned myself to having to wait until December 2006 to graduate when they decided to offer the combined class (required) one last time for those of us who wouldn't be able to graduate without it. This meant I would have to take 5 classes in Spring 2006. But it was either that or delay graduation. So I did it. Once again, the stumbling blocks were removed. I graduated in August 2006.

During this time, I also had applied to graduate school at UA for my MLIS. I had applied for the online program. Sometime in May 2006, I learned I had not been admitted to the online program, but that I had been admitted to the school in general. Again, I was so distraught. In order to get my MLIS, I would have to go to campus in some form or fashion Moving to Tuscaloosa meant having to find a new job. Not moving would mean I would take longer to finish and would spend a lot of money in gas. At first I thought I could get my degree going 1/2 time at a campus in Birmingham. I started looking for jobs in Birmingham in public libraries. I even interviewed for one. I was not happy with the woman who interviewed me and didn't know if I wanted the job if she offered it to me. Well, she didn't offer it to me, so that worked out well. And it worked out even better, because I found out that it would have taken me about 4 years to get my degree that way, because they only offered about 1 class at a time at the campus in Birmingham. So, I started to look in Tuscaloosa. Immediately, 3 jobs in the library here on campus opened up. I interviewed for 2 of them and was called for an interview on the 3rd, but as I was already assured I had one of the two positions in cataloging, I didn't take the circulation interview. Things moved quickly, and I got the job. After a slight scare in apartment hunting, once again the stumbling block was removed, and I had an apartment that I could afford and that was safe, although it was definitely older. But, it was mine. And then I started work, and learned that this University kicks in tuition assistance from day one. What a blessing! 100% of one class per semester, plus 50% of each additional class on top of that each semester. And then I got 2 scholarships.

Of course, Tuscaloosa hasn't been without its stumbling blocks too. Remember I got evicted in September and wasnt' sure what I was going to do. But, that stumbling block was removed and I became Stefanie's roommate, which was a huge blessing in so many ways. Then, once again, I thought I wasn't going to get to graduate in August, because they weren't offering that one class I needed. But once again, that got fixed. Everything worked together, the timing is right. I am done with school, and my lease is up August 8th. This is the time for me to move on. I know it is.

So, where am I going? I'm going to Washington. Why? Because I know that's where I am to go at this point. I don't know why yet. But I know that's where I'm supposed to be. And I know that, just as the path has been made clear -- as the stumbling blocks have been removed repeatedly -- it will be that way again. I am being guided and directed, and I am blessed. And I will forever remember Tuscaloosa as a place where I witnessed miracles in my life in various forms; where I became stronger, even though it felt like I never would; I have gained insights and seen the way the Lord has worked in my life to bring about blessings for me; and I have learned. I have learned. And I am working toward what I want -- the desires of my heart, one day at a time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kindness and 100 Things About Me -- Part 4 of 10

So I spent yesterday doing more packing. I am almost done. Seriously so close to being done. I think I'll probably take pictures of my room tonight (albeit with boxes piled high) so I have a recollection of what this apartment looked like. Empty :). Virginia stopped by and ate dinner with me -- barbecue beef from the crock pot. I made some more homemade granola (which wasn't as good as the first batch, since I didn't read the directions quite carefully enough), so that I could use up some of the ingredients. When I decided I'd done enough packing, I just read The Club by Jane Heller. I have to have it finished by next Wednesday, and with everything else going on (i.e. packing) I'm not reading as much as I would like to. However, after this weekend, when everything has been moved out, I will have nothing to do but read! Anyway, I turned out lights at about 11 and fell asleep pretty quickly. And slept very soundly. Now, I made the executive decision to pack my alarm clock and just use my cell phone as my alarm. Genius, right? It really is. Unless you have a bad habit of hitting snooze. Which I do. Problem is, the cell phone doesn't have a snooze.... well, actually I think it does, but I am not functioning enough at 7:00 in the morning to figure out what to press. So, I just open the phone and shut the phone, thereby deactivating the alarm. And then I proceed to convince myself I can doze for 10 minutes. But when I gain consciousness again, it turns out to be 7:26, and the cell phone doesn't have the nifty feature that my alarm clock does, where I can set the time ahead 10 minutes to try to trick myself out :). So, it's never a good morning that starts like that. And, inevitably, I then get behind the 2 biggest idiot-drivers in all of the county, I'm sure. A chick who barely goes the speed limit on the little 2-lane road I must travel to work, and then, when I finally get to a point where I can go around her, the idiot that is now in front of me wants to get into her lane, but instead of speeding up to get in front of her, he slows down to get behind her. So, now there is no room for me to get into that lane (which I needed to get into, but I wanted to go around slow chick), so now I'm forced to miss my exit and go to the next one. And now I'm behind the ridiculous buses. Sigh...

But then I get to work. And I am sitting at my desk, filling out my time sheet, when Loretta -- who works for housekeeping and has the unfortunate job lately of discovering the rats, comes around the corner into my cube with a beautiful purple bag (Julie, it's purple!). Inside the bag (which is insulated) is a bunch of lunch goodies. And I mean a bunch. And it is such a sweet surprise! And how kind! And this is the beginning of another good-bye. And I had no idea that she thought enough of me to think of me. She won't be here next week, so she brought it this week. But tomorrow (since, even though I thought about bringing my camera, but I was running late and didn't give it a second thought), I'll have my camera here, and I'll be taking a picture with Loretta and the bag, since I'll be brining my lunch in it tomorrow. But, thanks to camera phones, I at least was able to take a picture of the bag and its contents for you :).There have been such wonderful, good people placed in my life. And I feel so very blessed. There are good, kind people everywhere you go. And I am so thankful to have met so many of them.

And now, for 10 more things about me (because I'm trying to get through this list before I leave for Panama!):

31. I am almost positive I could exist on bread and cheese.
32. I've always wanted a two-story (or upstairs/downstairs) house.
33. I used to want to have a spiral staircase in my house.
34. I hate cookie-cutter houses... I want my house to be different, and not cut from the same pattern as everyone else's in the neighborhood. If this means I have to live outside of a neighborhood, so be it.
35. I cross-stitch, but I always give away as gifts the things I make. I don't think I have a single thing I've ever cross-stitched.
36. The lowest report card grade I've ever gotten was a D -- and that was in 9th grade, during the third quarter of Geometry. I hated Geometry. Plus I was in the throes of my rebellious years.
37. I have a BS in English with a minor in Math, and am technically done with my Master of Library and Information Studies degree, which, thankfully, is a terminal degree, so I doubt I'll be going for anymore degrees in my lifetime.
38. I used to ride horses. I loved it, and I miss it. I kind of wish I could ride one more time with my instructor from Panama -- Zoya. She was from Russia and only spoke Spanish and Russian. She was so sweet and nice. I wonder if she's still there...
39. I have a large birthmark on the back right side of my neck. I was always so self-conscious about it that I never wore my hair short, and I never wore it up in a ponytail. Now, I don't even think about it.
40. When I was younger, I planned to dye my hair blonde and get blue contacts when I got older. I also hated my name. I wanted a name like Stacy or Wendy or something like that. Now that I could do those things (including legally changing my name), I don't have any desire to :).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Ratventures of Nilla

I swear, it must be me...

So yesterday I was sitting here working. All of a sudden, William calls out calmly, "Oh rat!" I said, "What?" And he said, "A rat." I said, "Are you serious?" He said, "Yeah, and it's a big one." Well, he got up and said, "I'm going to go get a box." I rapidly closed out of the programs in which I was working, and I left my cubicle. The good news is that, at that point, the rat hadn't been in my cube. It crawled into a huge shelving unit that spans the wall between my cube and William's cube. Well, in the end, we found out that these rats had a nice little home underneath the bottom shelf of the shelving unit. Ugh. And this rat was massive. Turns out they had been stealing Hershey Kisses that had been set out at Easter time and bringing them to their little home. It was completely disgusting. I took a picture, but I think I'll pass on this one. Anyway, the rat ended up escaping to freedom yesterday by climbing over my cubicle walls and jumping. And then visiting someone else's cube, who screamed, and then running off. At least I know why it was they were always found back near my cube. Ugh. I was starting to get a complex. I spent a good 30 minutes disinfecting my entire cubicle yesterday, after the rat got cornered in my cube and scaled my cubicle wall. I even sprayed the fabric on the cubicle wall with lysol. I don't care if it smells like lysol for years... at least it's been sprayed.

Good news! I finally got my other grade! I graduate with a 4.0 GPA in graduate school! Yippee!!!

Sad news: I went to my last class of Institute here last night :(. I always learned so much there, and last night was no exception. I will miss it. But, I hope they will have a good Institute program in the area to which I'm headed. We shall see...

Bad news: It's freakin' hot outside. The last several days have reached upper-90s and low 100's. Yes, that's what I said. And with something like 99.99999% humidity. I talked to my mom on Saturday and I said (out of curiosity, since I'll be there soon), "What's the weather like there?" And she said, "Oh, today will probably be a cooler day." I said, "What does that mean?" And she said, "Oh it'll probably reach into the 70s today." I said, "Okay, if 70s is cool, and you were complaining about it being hot the other day, what do you consider hot?" And she said, "Well, it's been getting into the 80s." Sorry, Mom. I have no sympathy for your stifling 80-degree weather. Maybe I'll be sad about it in 5 years. But right now, that sounds like what we would consider "cool." Let's just say I won't miss the heat and humidity of Alabama ;).

*And I forgot to say that Julie knows the movie quote!*

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ten Years Later, Nine Days to Go

So yesterday I met up with Diana. Diana was in the Young Women's presidency in Panama when I was in Young Women. She was the Beehive advisor or counselor, so Christina was in her class. But we were a small group of girls, so we all knew each other quite well. I remember one night we had a sleepover party at Diana's house. We watched Now and Then and slept all over her living room. It was a lot of fun. I don't remember everything we did, but I do remember the next morning we ate cereal, and Diana sprinkled chocolate milk mix into her bowl of cereal, because she said she didn't like to drink the milk without it being chocolatey. This was a novel idea to me. It never would have occurred to me to do something like that :). I also remember that, the Wednesday before we moved away from Panama, we saw Diana and Paul at church. They had just had their first baby -- a little boy named Andrew. When we had told everyone we were moving to Dothan, AL, everyone's response was, "Where is that?!?" Well, that Wednesday night, Paul and Diana were excited to show us that one of the baby things of Andrew (I think maybe it was a plastic-covered changing mat) was made in Dothan!

So anyway, a lot changes in 10 years. And here's the proof:
Andrew, Diana, Talia, and Lindsay
Diana now has three children. And Andrew, whom I held when he was an infant, is definitely not a baby anymore! But, Diana looks like she hasn't aged a day! We met up at Panera Bread here, and enjoyed a lunch (thanks, Diana, for treating!). We sat and visited there for about 2 hours. Diana had to drive an hour back home for some things she had to get back to, so we weren't able to visit longer than that. But it was a wonderful visit. We did a lot of catching-up on life. She was amazed to learn that Brad has 3 children and Christina has a daughter. I think it's times like that when you really realize that the time really has gone by. Ten years! It's just crazy.

So, here are Diana and me. I am looking rough. Oh well. At least it was a great time :).
me and Diana

After lunch with Diana, I went home and washed a load of clothes. I also dozed for a little while. Yes, I know I should have been packing. But, I wasn't. I went by the apartment office and talked to them about what all Stefanie and I need to do when we move out. In 9 days. I'm in the single digits... can you believe it? I really can't. I can't believe that in 2 weeks, I'll be in Panama. I am so excited.

After a shower, I went to Virginia's and we went to Hobby Lobby and then to this Mexican restaurant called Las Tarascas or something like that. We split a steak quesadilla and some bean dip. Very yummy. Thanks, Virginia! Then we went back to Virginia's to work a little on our houses again. And I was supposed to work on burning more of the family DVDs (I'm kind of running out of time...), but I forgot. Crapola.

Monday, July 21, 2008

642.1 LIB

Although I can't say this with any certainty, I think the library-themed party (which was a total hit :)) would be classified, according to Dewey, somewhere around the title of this post :). Or at least the book that tells about the party would be :). And, I'm officially a library nerd!

Librarians have more fun. It's just the truth. :). Or maybe I'm biased.

So Thursday night I went to Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment at church. I learned how to make Tinge, or Tostada de pollo en chipotle, or Chipotle chicken tostadas. Very easy to make. Very delicioso! On Friday, I worked all day and then went home and worked on packing for a couple of hours. Well, several hours, actually. I got a pretty good bit done. It's all starting to come together, as far as getting packed out is concerned. Which is good, since I need to move my stuff to Virginia's this Saturday... Oddly enough, I didn't sleep in very late on Saturday. I woke up at 8:15, and was wide awake. So, I finished Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck. I like his books. They are mainly geared towards young adults. Once I was done with that and had gotten some cereal in me for breakfast (the breakfast of champions, you know :)), I went back to the work of packing. It is amazing how much I have packed up. I'm really just down the nitty gritty stuff... stuff that can't be packed before the very end, like a few pots and pans, etc. Woohoo! This hasn't been so bad packing. Probably mostly because I didn't unpack a lot when I moved in. However, you would be amazed at the stuff you accrue, even in 10 months. When I wanted to take a break from packing, I did stuff like making our library stacks (for the library party) and also making our text for our salad... See:
The text in our salad
That really wasn't that hard to do. And that's the only proof you'll have that there was text in the salad.

April and Courtney arrived around 4:15. We put away the stuff they brought (fudge, and ingredients for the vegetable soup), and then we headed to Hudson's Dirt Cheap, where April and Courtney bought a lot of stuff for less than $15. We even got some Mad Libs. I'll be using these on my siblings when I get to Washington. Because I'm slightly of the loser-variety, and I think those are fun :). Then we went to Krispy Kreme to get breakfast for Sunday. See, Stefanie had this coupon to buy 3 donuts and get 3 donuts for free! Stefanie wasn't going to use it, so she gave it to us to use. And use it we did. I got a lemon-filled and a custard-filled. Courtney got a lemon-filled and an apple-cinnamon filled, and April got two chocolate-glazed. And since we were very hungry and we still had to go by Target and then go home to make the dinner, we each ate a fresh donut on the way to Target :). We picked up the stuff we needed at Target, and then we headed to the Piggly Wiggly, where they sell cold Pepsi products in the machines outside for 35 cents each. So, we each got 2. Then it was back to the apartment. In our absence, some people had come to pick up the stuff that belonged to the girl that lived with Stefanie before I did. So, it looked way different and much more empty. I guess this means we really are moving out! So, we got the soup a-cookin' and watched an episode of My So-Called Life. We had a hot date with Jordan Catalano. By the time that was done, it was time to get working on our table-scape. And so we did. And finished up the soup. So, for your viewing pleasure... Here is a slide-show!

You can always click on the slide show and that will take you to the album and you can view the pictures at your own pace :). Because you'll notice they each had a little picture and some text in front of them... It's good stuff. You'll want to read those :). And may I also say that I now want to read I am the Cheese. Because that little synopsis I found for that makes it sound very good.

The food was fabulous. I really really liked the vegetable soup. I will make it again. It will be especially good on cold Washington days :). After eating, I loaded up the dishwasher, and we set up Trivial Pursuit 80s edition. The game began all smiles.... But my smiled turned upside down when I lost. I lost!!!! I was appalled to say the least. I don't know what's going on with me! Although I will say that we did alter the rules a little toward the end, because it was getting late. So, perhaps I'd have had a chance to come back if we'd kept the original rules. But those sports and leisure questions really really kill me every time. And then April goes and gets hers on the first try, because she can name more than one boxer from the 80s... And wouldn't you know it, she picks to guess the right one: Sugar Ray Leonard. Ugh. I will say that the very first sports/leisure question I got I also got right... It was about boxing, and I only could think of one boxer: Muhammed Ali. And it was right! Too bad it wasn't a pie question :(. Also, I don't know diddly about what happened in the headlines in the 80s.

On Sunday morning, we got up early, because April and Courtney had to be on the road by 8. So, I packed them up some leftovers, gave them their second donut (we should have taken pictures with our donuts that said something like, "Shhh! Donut talk loudly in the library!" I am such a loser!!!), and said my goodbyes to them. And so here is another good-bye... April has been such an awesome friend, and I'm so glad we met in library school. We have many fond memories from class, and I look forward to keeping in touch with her and seeing where we both go in life :). And hopefully, at least once or twice somewhere down the line, she can visit me, or I can visit her, and we can re-kindle the library-themed girlie night :). So, here are the rest of the pictures from that night, including three gorgeous can-can librarians :). Okay, well, 2 and a half :).
Jean-capris clad can-can librarians
Clicking this picture will take you to all pictures from the night, including the food :).

Sunday was church. After church, I invited Virginia over to help eat some leftovers. We visited and had a good time chatting. Then I read some more of The Screwtape Letters. I need to get that finished before I head to Dothan, so I can give it back to Tammy! Then my home teacher came by to share a message. Then Brad called. Then Diana called to firm up plans for meeting up today :)! And then Julie called. And then I got a shower. And then some guys who mainly speak Spanish that Stefanie works with came by to meet with the missionaries, and I was able to brush up on my understanding-Spanish skills as I translated for Stefanie and Allyson. Allyson's brother Matt was there also, but I think he got the gist of it, and he was too far away to hear what I was saying. I've got to say, it's pretty awesome to understand another language. I'm thankful that I do, and that, though my Spanish-speaking skills are less than stellar (I've certainly gotten rusty over the past 10 years), I am still able to understand it. And I also have to say that I'm sorry I didn't get to know Allyson better before I leave here. I think she and I would have really it it off. Sigh. Oh well. After the missionaries and the guys Stefanie knows from work and Matt left, Stefanie, Allyson, and I sat around gabbing until 11, and that was a lot of fun. So, it was a really fun weekend. I was very productive, getting everything packed up and ready. And I had a wonderful time! And today should be really neat, since I'll be meeting up with Diana, whom I haven't seen in 10 years! So, expect more pictures tomorrow :).

Oh, and let me give a shout-out to Christina's blog. It's finally been updated after 5 months!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blog-Stalking Idea #5

I was rather ho-hum on whether or not I'd even blog today. Nothing much to say... imgine that! I spent my evening working on packing. I'm rather proud of how far I got. I have a whole pile of stuff I need to take to good-will... A lot of clothes I'm parting with because I never wear them. I don't even know why I kept some of them this long. The good news is that most of what I'm getting rid of is not being gotten rid of because it's too small. I just seriously don't wear them. Hopefully someone else will finally get some use out of them. Anyway, so that's what I worked on. That, and re-writing the Panama list on an un-scribbled on piece of paper so I could add some things, and so I could have it torn out of my little notebook to take with me to Panama instead of having it packed in a box in T-town while I'm out of country... So you see how interesting my evening was ;).

Although... Brad called me to tell me he got some of my mail from the University. What the heck?! Well, due to some weird error of the postal world (which they refuse to correct, I might add), when Brad and Tarylyn moved into their own place, they did a change of address form. And so now a lot of things with our last name (whether that mail is intended for Brad's family, my mom, or -- now -- for me) go to Brad's house. It's a lovely situation. One they have tried to fix for over 6 months now to no avail. I do believe I'll be going in to have a little chat with the idiots that work at the post office up there. I mean, really... how hard is it to differentiate between first names??? Ugh. And then I slept very very soundly last night. So soundly, in fact, that when I finally became conscious that I was hitting snooze, it was 7:26. For the record, I am due at work at 7:30. Do you think I made it? Nope. But anyway, while in the midst of getting ready for work, my cell phone rings. I mean, really... who calls me at 7:30? Turns out Brad does. Because Brad is driving over 300 miles to work today, and it's 5:30 his time. I guess I shouldn't be whining about 7:30, right? Ick. So, we talked the whole rest of the time while I headed to work, and he reminded me of episodes of Garfield and Friends... a great show from our childhood :).

Okay, anyway, so I was blog-stalking a few minutes ago and came across this idea on my friend's sister's blog. She's also now my blogosphere buddy, so at least I stalk her non-anonymously :). Anyway, I thought this would be fun. Here's the "game":

A Stroll Down Memory Lane
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

I mean, you guys know how I love to write memory lane posts, so you know this was very cool to me. So, amuse me and play along :). I'd love to hear your memories of us... perhaps there's one I don't remember :)!

*And Julie guessed the movie quote!*

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

100 Things About Me -- Part 3 of 10

Before I begin my list, let me say this: I put in my 2 weeks' notice yesterday. My last day is still the 31st, but due to not wanting to have to set silly goals for the next year in a meeting today, I went ahead and took my resignation letter to my supervisor yesterday. My supervisor is actually leaving this week. Her last day is Friday. All I know is that the next 2 weeks are going to fly.

It seems like there was something else I was going to say, but I can't remember what it was. Oh well. Perhaps it will come to me.

21. I know how to drive a stick-shift car.
22. Up until 1998, I flew at least every other year from Panama to the States for vacation. So flying has never been a novelty to me as far as I can remember.
23. In 1997, Brad, Christina, and I flew from Panama to Atlanta by ourselves and were meeting up with my mom in Atlanta. That meant I was in charge. When we were going through customs, the customs guy asked me and Brad (my 13-month younger brother) if we were married. GROSSSSS. Ewwww. Ick!!! I mean, really dude? I was 16 and he was 15. Did we really look like were were old enough to be married? And what was Christina? Our kid? I mean, our passports all had the same last name!
24. I think the absolute worst way to die would be to run out of oxygen...
25. So you will never find me in outer space or scuba diving.
26. I am not a dare-devil... I do not find adventure in doing things like sky-diving.
27. My favorite color is something like hunter green.
28. Back in my school days (except in 6th grade when I was actually part of the "cool" group), I always sat in the first seat on the bus, right behind the bus driver... I know, such a loser. I was a senior in high school, sitting behind the bus driver.
29. My dad says I should have been named Margaret. Instead, that's my middle name.
30. I scored a 29 on the ACT back in 1998. It was the only time I took the test, and I was happy with my score, so I didn't take it again.

Oh yeah! I finally remembered what it was I wanted to say! So, April and I are having a girlie night this weekend. We thought it would be neat to do a theme around libraries, since we both just got our library degrees. But, what kind of food can you have? April thought up Dewey Decimal Soup (vegetable alphabet/number soup) and buns (as in a librarian's bun). The only thing I can come up with is a salad and call it "leaves" of something... Which is lame. So, I'm calling on my creative friends out there to help me come up with library-theme food -- or book-themed... I looked online and couldn't find anything!

*Julia-Ann has guessed the movie quote correctly!*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blogging Blues

Lately I've had a case of blogging blues. I just haven't felt like writing a whole heck of a lot on my blog. I've skipped numerous days, and even when I have blogged, the posts have been less-than Nilla-like. They have not droned on and on and on and on with endless (and pointless) details. Perhaps some of you said a little prayer of thanks for that ;). Today, I feel a desire to remedy that... at least somewhat :).

First order of business: Maybe it's me.
So remember all the rodent/death stories? Well, it seems I have another to add. A couple of weeks ago, several of us found evidence (in the form of poop) of mice in our cubes. Nice. Nice. So, they baited traps, and while I was away on vacation, I know they caught at least 3 (2 of which were in the trap they put in my cube, so that makes the count for rodents and death go up 2 for me). Once again, say it with me... nice. Yuck. Still gives me the willies. Anyway, upon my return, there was no more evidence of said mice, and all the cube world here was happy. Until yesterday. I was sitting here, cataloging a book, minding my own business. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something scurry around the corner of my cube, into my cube. It was suspiciously small and gray. I thought to myself, "Did I just see that?" I looked by my cart of books and saw nothing. Then I moved the cart of books. And there was a huge mouse. Huge. Borderline rat. The jury is still out on whether it was a mouse or a rat. I don't really care. Anyway, it cornered itself in a section of my cube under an extra chair. I stood where it couldn't get out (after gasping audibly at the sight of it, because, really, who expects to see this?). I called for Annie. No answer. I called for my supervisor Bethany. No answer. But I can't move, or the stupid thing will run away! Finally Annie says, "Who are you calling?" I say, "Someone, anyone!" So Annie walks back toward me, and I say, there's a mouse!" And she says, "In the trap?" And I say, "No, it's alive" (the trap had been removed before I got back from vacation). Annie peeked around the corner to where the mouse/rat was, and she freaked out. Then Bethany finally heard us and said, "Is something wrong?" And we were both like, "Yes! There's a mouse!" So Bethany calls it in, I'm still standing there, trying to keep the mouse cornered everytime it tries to venture out of it's spot. Annie gets a box to try to trap it. Bethany comes over with a box to try to trap it. But it's under that stupid extra chair. So, they tell me to back up to see if it will come out. Well, it does. And it runs straight for Annie and Bethany! Annie throws the box down to try to trap it. Failure. It runs toward Annie, and it must have gotten on her foot, because the next thing I know, Annie is jumping in the air, and the mouse is airborn! (Let me just take this moment to say that I replayed this scene in my mind last night before falling asleep and I was just laying there laughing to myself in bed). The mouse/rat scurries over into William's cube. William was on break, so he missed the excitement. Bethany goes over there to try to get it, well the mouse is crawling up Williams cubicle walls! In the end, one of the guys who works on the floor came and got it in a box. I left work after that (because it was my early day, not because I was traumatized by the mouse), so I don't know what became of it. I don't even know where it came from. But I sure am sad that it decided to scurry into my cube. Ick. Oh, so this increases by rodent count by another one... I'm not sure if it increases the death count, though. They might have released it. But anyway, it seems rodents and death are still following me... So maybe it's me?

Second order of business: What are the odds?
So, in the 2 years I've been at this juncture in my life, I have gotten in touch with various friends and acquaintances from my past. In January, you may recall, I drove to Atlanta to see my friend Emily from Panama, whom I had not seen in 1o years. Check this out! Another person from Panama got in touch with me again. She was one of my Young Women leaders (well, she was in the YW Presidency, but was actually "over" the younger girls) in Panama. So, another person I haven't seen in 10 years. Anyway, turns out her husband is stationed at an Air Force base about an hour from me! So, she is driving here with her 3 kids next Monday and we are going to do lunch! How neat that she got in touch with me and we found this out a mere 2.5 weeks before I move away! And to top it all off... While I'm in Panama, I will likely see several people with whom I used to go to church there, because I already know of 2 families that will be there for the Temple dedication, and one of the people will be Chimene, who was the mission president's daughter and my friend.

Third order of business: Cool stuff
Okay, so I had to think of something to name this, and cool stuff sounded pretty cool :). For several weeks, Virginia and I have been pondering making little Family Home Evening things with these little houses she bought at the Dollar Tree (I told you this place is awesome). We finally made some headway last night... Well, okay, so I made some headway. Anyway, I'm really excited about how it's going to turn out! It's still a work in progress, but I have a picture of my work so far.
My Family Home Evening house
The flower pots will eventually have pictures glued over the foam "flowers." The pictures of each family member, that is. Because one of these days I'm going to have the family I've always wanted :). In the meantime, I'll make my cutesy Family Home Evening chart thing. See, we are counseled by church leaders to set one night a week aside for our family. We do not schedule any other activities on that evening. It is time for the family. It is a time of learning and fun and togetherness. So, each little "room" will eventually be wall-papered and labeled with the different categories, like "lesson" or "snack" or "activity." Then the flower pots (which represent the family members) will be moved around each week so the different family members are responsible for different things during family home evening each week. I look forward to implementing this in my family some day. But I have been so excited that Virginia and I came up with this idea for the houses she bought! I'm not usually very creative, but this one has been fun. Although I did learn that, even at age 27, I'm not old enough to use a glue gun without burning the snot out of my finger. I have a lovely blister right in the middle of my left index finger. It burned for hours! Genius. Pure genius. But Publix brand chocolate trinity ice cream is so good for these kinds of things. The carton was ice cold and therefore good for my finger. The contents were good for every other imaginable reason. Except the calories. So I ignored those :).

Final order of business: Hello good-byes
Ah yes. The time has come. With 16 days left here and crazy schedules had by all, my good-byes have begun. Friday night, Jeni and I shared our last message as visiting teaching companions. We went out to both Alex's and Debbie's. Debbie and Greg are the sweetest people ever. I will miss them incredibly. They are amazing people with huge hearts and they are humble and just so kind. So, here is a picture of the four of us (and if you click on it, you can see the t-shirt and card they got for me, along with the cards Annie gave me the other day).
me, Debbie, Jeni, and Greg
Jeni invited me over on Sunday to eat my last meal at her house. And she had made me a special good-bye treat. And it was fabulous. Chocolate and mint. And you can't go wrong with that. I stayed at her house until about 11:30 and we watched National Treasure 2. It seems so odd that it was the last time I'll see Jeni. I hope she knows how much she has touched my life. She was my first good friend here, and I know without a doubt that her being assigned as my visiting teaching companion was a blessing for me from my loving Heavenly Father who knew how lonely I was here, and who placed someone in my life with whom I could connect and get along and be friends. I will forever be grateful.
My good-bye cake from Jeni

And Elka, I have missed you tons. And so, just for you, I will hunt down a ticker for my trip to Panama :). But, it's 20 days from today. 3 weeks from yesterday and I'll be boarding another plane to exotic places where I hope to find ojaldras somewhere... (Fried bread dough... I can smell it now as I think of it... mmmmmm :)).

Oh, and wish me luck with packing. It's a bore :). Oh, and in other moving news... I reserved the Penske truck yesterday. And I have already earned back the $48 it cost me to renew my AAA membership. I saved $217 on the rental because of AAA. Plus over a $100 for reserving via the web. Total is still going to be over $1500 just for the rental. Yikes. But, that's also because I'm towing my car. But yikes. And at 10 miles per gallon and gas prices as they are. Double-yikes. But, it will be okay. Of that I have no doubt :).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

100 Things About Me -- Part 2 of 10

Well, since I have nothing new and exciting to report. Except, check this out... Talk about a reality check! I have exactly 21 days left at my job. That is 3 weeks. That means I have to put in my 2 weeks' notice next week! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. In roughly 6 weeks, I'll be in Washington. Strange to think about it that way, really. Also, I have gotten one of my grades -- the information technologies class grade. It was an A.

And, to the list!

11. I love the dollar store. Especially Dollar Tree here in AL. You have to know a good deal in order to make it worth your while... But if you're good at that, then you will enjoy the store :). Last night I bought 3 Mountain Dews for $1.00. Now that's a good deal.
12. One day I hope to have a semi-professional kitchen. This means I want it to be big, and I want to have the really nice Subzero refrigerator. I want lots of cabinet space. And two ovens would probably be good.
13. I love to cook, even though I haven't really done as much cooking over the last two years.
14. My pet peeve is a dirty or cluttered kitchen.
15. Clutter everywhere else doesn't irk me nearly as much as in the kitchen :).
16. My absolute least favorite chore is cleaning the shower.
17. I don't like mayonnaise in anything except chicken salad or pasta salad. I do not put mayo on my sandwiches -- I'm a mustard-only kind of gal.
18. I want to grow a garden. Not as interested in the flowers as in the vegetables, etc.
19. I want to own my own home.
20. I am excited about my future. I know it will be bright :).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And We're Back

Well, that was a lovely relaxing several days off of work :). It was filled with lots of fun laughs and yummy food as well :). And let me just say Shayla is adorable! She looks so much like her daddy. And her little brow is always furrowed, as though she is pondering the world. So cute! Because I have lots of work to catch up on, I will probably let the pictures tell the story... I visited Heath and saw his new condo on the way down to see Julie. Then I spent tons of time hanging out with Julie and Shayla and Alysha. It was lots of fun and laughs. At one point, Julie and I went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for our yummy food night. We were driving home when we heard a pop! Julie's first thought was that we'd been hit by another car. My thought was that it sounded like a gun shot, but then it also sounded like it came from the car. I looked in the back seat and noticed in the grocery bag that I could see dough in the bag!!! That's right... the tube of french loaf dough had exploded! Half of the dough was propelled out of the tube. It was hilarious :). That was our Juliebean and Nilla memory of the trip... We laughed so hard :). Good times.
Me, Julie, and Shayla

Also, I have separated the food pictures out into my food album. So... Here's Alysha dishing up her plate, and you can see our spread :). It was very very yummy. That was also the night we watched The Bucket List. It was a bittersweet movie.
Alysha and our spread

And would you believe they still haven't posted our grades!!?? I'm not worried or anything... Just curious. I'll let you know what I find out :).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Early Birthday to my Mommy!

Well, my mom's birthday is on Saturday. I will not be here on Saturday. In fact, I won't be here for several days. I will be visiting the 'Bean and her new baby Shayla! I have not met Shayla yet, and I have been waiting (not-quite-so-patiently, because it's beyond me to do so) to meet her! And now the chance is finally here! So, just so you know, I'll be gone for several days. That being said, I want to tell my mommy happy birthday! Not that she reads my blog or anything. Because she doesn't. And then, when I ask her if she has, she says, "No, I know. I'm terrible!" I'll catch up her when I'm up there :).

So, Elka actually has requested stories about my mom. So I've been saving them up for her birthday post. So, Elka... here you go!I'm going to go ahead and say what every person says about their mom... I have the best mom ever! She is probably the most patient person I've ever met. Which is something I don't understand, but I really admire it. She's also always happy. She always looks on the bright side. Always. And she always finds the good in everyone. Always. I've noticed that, when I've been at my lowest, and I call her and cry, she cries with me. My mom is a strong woman, but she has a tender heart. And there have been many times she has said to me, "I wish I could take your pain so you wouldn't have to have it." And I know she means it. And I know that, to mean that as sincerely as she does, it takes an immense amount of love -- to desire to take someone else's heartache and grief and pain. My mommy is selfless. But she is also so funny. I love my mom so much, and here are some reasons why...

I can remember so many things my mom did for us over the years, sacrificing things for herself to do them. For example, she always packed our lunches every morning. She could have made us get up and pack them, but didn't. She made our sandwiches, packed our cookies, etc. every single day. And for the record, this was the majority of our school years. Buying lunch at school was a very rare treat. Another example of this was when I wanted to take cupcakes for my birthday to school and to seminary and to the pool. My mom stayed up late baking them and frosting them and packing them for me the next day. And then, that morning of my birthday, she came in and sat on my bed and sang happy birthday to me as she woke me up. And she hugged me that morning. And I'm tearing up just remembering. I was her 16-year old baby, and it was my birthday, and she was going to make it special for me. And it was... I've never forgotten it. Another example of her selfless actions was that she supported me, even if it cost extra money or took extra time. In 10th grade, I wanted to lose weight (an on-going endeavor, but I'll tell you something amazing to me... I weigh about 5 pounds more right now than I did in 11th grade -- and remember, I'm in camel stage right now). Anyway, my big plan was to eat fat-free food. So my mom bought me all the fat-free stuff I wanted -- ff poptarts, ff fig newtons, snackwell's cookies, ff American cheese, etc. And every morning for breakfast, she cut me up different kinds of fruit (and remember, fresh fruit isn't exactly cheap). These are the things my mom did for me. And I'll never forget them. Ever.
Of course, she's always good for a laugh. Just ask her sister (my aunt Hila) or her niece (Elka). Or even one of her kids (like me, Ben, Brad, or Christina). For example... My family always had cats. My mother thought it was hilarious to "torture" them by annoying them. Now, before you get any wrong ideas, my mom wouldn't hurt a flea. So how would she torture the family cats? you might ask... The answer is two-fold. She'd either put peanut butter on the roofs of their mouths and then watch them lick at it like crazy trying to get it unstuck. Or, she'd roll tape and stick it to their paws and watch them walk and try to flick off the tape at the same time. And she'd laugh harder than you can imagine. I told these stories to Julie's mom, and Julie's mom laughed. She said she'd like to meet this woman. And she's never forgotten this story about my mom either.
This other story is funny to me. I thought I'd written it already on the blog. Turns out I didn't. I searched for it, but it's not there. If, by some weird chance, I did, please bear with me. Remember how I told you that my mom purposefully butchered songs? (Oh, by the way, she remembered another one: Instead of singing "Winnie the Pooh", she would sing "Windy old poop"). Well, she also unintentionally butchered other things. Who out there knows the main characters' names in The X-Files? Yeah, you might think it's Mulder and Scully. But you'd be wrong -- if you were to ask my mom. She thinks their names are Scullet and Mahone. She asked us one night if we were going to watch Scullet and Mahone. We were like, "What?!?" I'm not sure how we discovered that she was talking about X-Files. But we cracked up laughing when we did. Also, I'll never forget when Brad and I came home from school one day. This was in 1995 or 1996 (I could look it up, but I'm lazy). We came inside and she said, "Did you guys hear that Rapper Shaker died?" Again, I'm sure she was met with blank stares and the "Huh?" expression from us. Turns out she was sharing the news that Tupac Shakur (the rapper) had been shot. Those are two classics for me and Brad.

Well, there you have it. Some stories about my mom. I know I have about a million of them. But those are some good ones. Elka and Aunt Hila, feel free to share some if you'd like.
I love you Mom!!! Happy Birthday!

*And Stacy has guessed the movie quote correctly!*

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

100 Things About Me -- Part 1 of 10

Well, I have seen a list like this while I've been blog-stalking. And I think I'm also going to do it in phases, rather than have to think up 100 things all at once. This way, I can think up 10 at a time, and then I can use this list as filler on days (like today), when I don't have much of anything interesting to say. However, I tend to have a hard time coming up with any of these, so we'll see how it goes. Maybe it gets easier as you go on?

1. I am the second of four children.
2. My older brother (Ben) is nine years older than I am -- and yes, we have the same mom and dad :) -- there was just a huge gap.
3. My younger brother (Brad) is only 13 months younger than I am. Which is probably why he and I are so close. And also why he will never be as cool as I am :).
4. My younger sister (Christina) is pretty much my polar opposite. Despite this, she and I have a neat relationship, and I can't imagine life without her.
5. When I was about 12, I wanted 12 children. Mostly because I loved babies. Then I found out about all the pain associated (and for some reason, the clincher for me was the episiotomy procedure -- that did me in), and somehow 12 seemed like way too many.
6. At this point in my life, I'd like at least 3 children, but I'd really like 4, and 5 would be okay with me too.
7. I recorded MTV videos from the summer of 1995 to some time in 1996. I still have the VHS tape, and I also have the list of all the songs and things I recorded.
8. I used to think my MTV videos on VHS would be valuable to society one day. (I had delusions of grandeur). I imagined a day when there were no more music videos, and people would come from miles around to watch my videos.
9. In light of the above, I now realize that youtube has robbed me of my dream. Darn youtube.
10. I love to make lists. I come across old lists from time to time, and I have to smile at myself, because I realize that that part of my personality has been showing for a long time :).

*Kira and Elka have guessed the movie quote correctly!*