Monday, July 31, 2006

The year we were born

Today, my dear readers, my husband turned 25 years old. Matt has continually heckled me about being an old lady since I turned 25 (3 months ago). Pay back time. Ok, not really. I mean, I don't think you could really consider a cake with candles that read "Over the Hill" as pay back. But, it's good enough for me I guess.

So far the b-day loot he's received is:
  • a couple of cards
  • some sweet mula from his parents
  • three cds from me
  • a superman action figure from the life cereal box sweepstakes thingy
I know there are a few more things on the way, but this is his haul year-to-date.

So to commemorate his birthday and our birth year, I've decided to take you on a little trip down nostalgia road and revisit the year 1981.

The Top Grossing Movies of 1981
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Superman II
  • Stir Crazy
  • Nine to Five
  • Stripes
  • Any Which Way You Can
  • Arthur
  • The Cannonball Run
  • The Four Seasons
  • For Your Eyes Only

Top 10 Songs of 1981
  1. Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes
  2. Endless Love, Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
  3. Lady, Kenny Rogers
  4. (Just Like) Starting Over, John Lennon
  5. Jessie's Girl, Rick Springfield
  6. Celebration, Kool and The Gang
  7. Kiss On My List, Daryl Hall and John Oates
  8. I Love A Rainy Night, Eddie Rabbitt
  9. 9 To 5, Dolly Parton
  10. Keep On Loving You, REO Speedwagon

Top 20 TV shows of 1981
  • Dallas
  • 60 Minutes
  • The Jeffersons
  • Joanie Loves Chachi
  • Three's Company
  • Alice
  • The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Too Close for Comfort
  • ABC Monday Night Movie
  • M*A*S*H
  • One Day at a Time
  • NFL Monday Night Football
  • Archie Bunker's Place
  • Falcon Crest
  • The Love Boat
  • Hart to Hart
  • Trapper John, M.D.
  • Magnum, P.I.
  • Happy Days
  • Dynasty

  • Interesting news of 1981 (taken from wikipedia)
    • January 13 Donna Griffiths, a schoolgirl in Pershore, Worcestershire, UK, begins an uncontrollable series of sneezes that end September 16, 1983- after 978 days
    • January 20- President-elect Ronald Reagan succeeds Jimmy Carter as President of the United States of America.
    • Minutes after Reagan becomes president, Iran releases 52 American hostages that had been held captive for 444 days - Iran hostage crisis ends
    • March 30 - President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley, Jr. Two police officers and James Brady are also wounded.
    • April 1 -– Daylight saving time is introduced in the USSR.
    • June 5 -– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that five homosexual men in Los Angeles, CA have a rare form of pneumonia seen only in patients with weakened immune systems (these were the first recognized cases of AIDS).
    • July 29 -– Lady Diana Spencer marries Charles, Prince of Wales.
    • August 1 - MTV (Music Television) is launched.
    • August 11 - The original Model 5150 IBM PC with a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 processor was released in the United States at a base price of $1,565.
    • August 19 - US President Ronald Reagan appoints the first female US Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O-’Conner.
    • November 30 - Cold War: In Geneva, representatives from the United States and the Soviet Union begin to negotiate intermediate-range nuclear weapon reductions in Europe (the meetings ended inconclusively on Thursday, December 17)
    • December 28 - The first American test-tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, is born (Norfolk, VA)

    Popular Toys around the 1980's
    Cabbage Patch Kids
    Care Bears
    Mattel Football
    Pound Puppies
    The Rubik’s cube
    Strawberry Shortcake
    Teddy Ruxpin
    Trivial Pursuit

    I hope you enjoyed this little flash back. (Please forgive my formatting atrocities. Blogger's being weird with me tonight.)

    Sunday, July 30, 2006

    Svithe: Perspective

    Last weekend when my brother was driving from Chandler, AZ to Snowflake, AZ for the Pioneer Day Celebrations, my niece took note of the thermometer reading as they wound their way up the mountains. When they left the valley it was roughly 119* (the low that day was 95!). As they hit Payson it was around 80*, to which my niece exclaimed, "80 degrees! That's winter weather!" They continued up the mountain only to find rain and lower temperatures. Snowflake was in the 60's and rainy; upon noticing this she said, " 68 degrees! That's really winter weather!!"

    Funny how our life experiences can influence our perspective on normalcy and reality. Or is it the other way around? Is it that our perspective of our life experiences creates our reality from which we conclude what is normal?

    I used to be into photography so this little snippet caught my eye.
    A wide angle lens, for example, shows more of the scene than would a "normal" lens from the same perspective. A telephoto shows just a small part of the same scene, but from a far closer viewpoint. A fisheye lens can be so dramatic, that it will show the feet of the photographer taking the picture. All these lenses show "reality" in their own specific way. None of them is particularly more "true" than another, even though we consider lenses that show life differently than our own eyes show it to be "distorted."

    In the same way, we form our perspectives on life filtered and changed by our lenses of experience, prejudice, viewpoint, and our personal outlook on life. Change the lens, you change the perspective. Change the perspective, you change the approach. The reality of the situation has not changed. Only our view of it changes.

    Are you looking at a particular challenge in your life? Are you confronted by a fear so debilitating that you cannot adequately address it? Are you worried about a particular problem, haunted by a failure in the past? Are you concerned about your future? Change your perspective, and change your life. It sounds like a platitude, I know. It sounds even too Pollyanna-ish to be responsible. It would be ludicrous, except for one very important thing -- it works. (taken from this article)
    We got our hospital bill for the surgery. Out of pocket we'll end up paying about $2500 which feels like a lot to us right now (especially since we just bought a house and depleted the vast majority of our savings). But, after looking at what we could have been paying had we not had insurance (around $28000-29000 with Urgent care, Ambulance, Hospital, and Surgery), I'm very grateful it's only $2500.

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Eez you deef?

    My Grandpa Grider once told us this joke during our weekly Sunday visit.
    An old man, while having a check up, asks the doctor if there was any way he could find out if his wife was hard of hearing.

    The doctor replied, "If she won't come in for a hearing test, you could try talking to her when you get home. If you get no response, then move a little closer and repeat what you've said. If she doesn't hear you at first, you can gauge just how deaf she is by how close you get, until she does hear."

    Armed with this information, he sets off home. Opening the front door he notices his wife in the kitchen down the hall, with her back to the door. Closing the door quietly, he says to his wife, "Hi honey, I'm home, what's for dinner?"

    He gets no response, so he moves a little closer and says again, "Hi honey, I'm home, what's for dinner?" Still no response; so he enters the kitchen,and says, "Hi honey, I'm home, what's for dinner?" Again she doesn't respond, so he walks up to her touches her arm and says, "Hi honey, I'm home, what's for dinner?"

    With that she reels around and shouts at him, "Chicken and potatoes, for the fourth time, you deaf old man!"
    I can empathize with the old guy. I swear I'm partially deaf. At least hard of hearing. Maybe it's because I grew up in a house with seven loud kids and two loud parents, all clamoring to be heard above the rest.... No kidding, when my mom and I listened to football games on the radio we could identify my dad's voice whether he was on the field or in the stands!

    When Matt and I were first married I'd be talking to him in what I considered to be a normal "indoor" voice after we woke up. I can't tell you how many times he'd wince and ask, "Can you please talk softer? You're hurting my ears." He, on the other hand, is often too quite for my shell shocked ears. I continually have to ask him to repeat himself as I draw closer; half the time I can't hear him until we're in the same room. To make matters worse, by the time I actually get within hearing range, he often decides he's done repeating himself, and it's just too bad so sad for me. I missed my chance. We're the classic tale my dad used to act out for us (minus the head blippin' of course).

    'How you come on, den? Eez you deef?' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Kaze if you is, I kin holler louder,' sezee.

    Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

    'You er stuck up, dat's w'at you is,' says Brer Rabbit, sezee, 'en I'm gwine ter kyore you, dat's w'at I'm a gwine ter do,' sezee.

    Brer Fox, he sorter chuckle in his stummick, he did, but Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothin'.

    'I'm gwine ter larn you how ter talk ter 'spectubble folks ef hit's de las' ack,' sez Brer Rabbit, sezee. 'Ef you don't take off dat hat en tell me howdy, I'm gwine ter bus' you wide open,' sezee.

    Tar-Baby stay still, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

    Brer Rabbit keep on axin' 'im, en de Tar-Baby, she keep on sayin' nothin', twel present'y Brer Rabbit draw back wid his fis', he did, en blip he tuck 'er side er de head.
    I'm a visual, hands-on kind of girl. I don't know if I'm not an auditory learner because of my less than sensitive ears, or visa versa, but I've noticed that I really struggle listening to people unless I'm interactively participating in the conversation. I frequently find myself nodding and saying, "uh hu" as someone's explaining a concept, though I truly have no idea what they're saying. In college I found that I couldn't remember a single thing my teachers said if I didn't write it down the moment it come out of their mouths. In one ear, out the other.

    I've been noticing that this has seeped into my work habits as well. As my boss is giving me instructions, I'll find myself nodding and thinking, "oh I can remember that", but four or five instructions later I've quite forgotten what I was supposed to do with the invoice that was blah, blah, blah...if I haven't written it down or had some hands on experience with the concept he's trying to pass on. I need to work on that.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Names we know and trust

    Macey's, oh Macey's, where art thou? Oh yeah. I left you in UT. As I was grocery shopping last night I came to the conclusion that I truly miss shopping at Macey's grocery store. Good prices, clean store, easy set up, and it generally had what I wanted. Sure it wasn't a gourmet grocery store, but it was a great to buy the staples for a kid on a budget.

    I've had a really hard time finding a grocery center I deem worthy of weekly shopping. With a Kroger, Albertsons, Target, and Walmart within 3 miles of me, you'd think I'd be trouble free. I have to admit, the Walmart here is the absolute nicest Walmart I've ever been in, but the produce is lacking and they rarely have a good brand variety. I love shopping there for other items, it's just not so great for groceries. Why not shop at the Target that's practically sitting on top of the Walmart? Well, first off, this Target is not a Super Target. It is old, run-down, and is one of the worst Targets I've been in. It's not horrible, just not good. Our neighbor calls it "El Targhetto." The Kroger and Albertsons near us both operate along the same run-down lines, unfortunately. Not one of those locations carries good produce.

    I was quite surprised by this. When we came here to find a house we shopped at a Kroger in Frisco and it was nice, big and had its own tortillaria! The stores by us, however, don't even carry one good brand of tortillas, let alone make them fresh.

    I've started driving about 15 min. to a different part of McKinney to shop at Tom Thumb and a newer Kroger. And that is what got me thinking about names we trust. For you west coasters who've never heard of Tom Thumb or Kroger, neither had I. Though, if you were more observant than I, you'd have realized that Kroger is the "store brand" carried in Smiths because Smiths, is in fact, Kroger in disguise. Mormon version? Maybe.

    Upon walking into Tom Thumb we discovered that it is the eastern alias for "Safeway." I never really shopped at Safeway growing up, but that was the main grocer in Matt's young life. Our first few years of marriage he'd make wistful references to Safeway's sourdough bread and birthday cakes. We just thought the bread was impossible to replicate outside of the Bay Area, but upon arrival here, we were happily proved wrong thanks to Tom Thumb. Maybe it's sourdough just doesn't work in a desert a good humid climate? Possibly. As for the birthday cake, we will see on Monday if it lives up to expectations. It's Matt's birthday coming up and he's requested a "Safeway/Tom Thumb" white cake with raspberry filling and butter cream frosting. Hopefully this will be as delectable as in his childhood memories.

    Anyway, I've noticed here that those two grocery names are not the only things with aliases. Did you know that "Best Foods" is "Hellmanns"? What about "Famous Dave's BBQ sauce" being labeled "Corkeys" here? (Matt thinks these are not the same, however, they have the same little icon and the same exact taste, so I have my suspicions.)

    I know it's a matter of competition and bigger companies buying out struggling stores and products, but it is odd to see things labeled differently at first.

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    No good, very bad day

    Don't you ever feel like Alexander? Gum stuck in the hair, the bank screwing you over, a check you should have deposited but realize is now void because it's been longer than 30 days? Yeah. Me too.

    As for my previous post, I will now tell you why it was not in actuality bank fraud in the exact sense of the phrase. I will also enlighten you as to why I think America's credit system is total crap.

    You see, it apparently started about 7 years ago when I opted to get only a debit card rather than a student credit card. Had I gotten a credit card like any normal student, I'd have been able to avoid all this hassle I am dealing with right now. I'd always been taught to stay out of debt and I did that completely. I viewed credit cards as slippery little buggers that could ruin your life if you weren't careful. I wanted to buy only what I had money for and nothing more. I didn't know how to dance their little credit card jig. And truthfully I didn't want to play their little game. Sure I could have used the credit card like a debit card and paid it off completely every month, but I didn't.

    I didn't really know that I would have a big fat zero when my credit score pulled up. I also didn't realize what that big fat zero would me for me in the way of opportunities and necessary expensive expenditures. I thought have a checking and savings account in good standing would count for something. I thought that your debit card would help. I thought it would be better to pay things off as you go. But no. It didn't and it wasn't. I don't have bad credit; I have no credit. When we bought our house I wasn't allowed on the mortgage because of it. Not even with my husband, who has very good credit, as a co-signer.

    So, as long as I have a husband I guess it's not that big of a deal if I have no credit. He could buy the cars and the houses. But after I found out I couldn't be on our mortgage I began to wonder what would happen if something ever happened to him. I would be totally screwed.

    My siblings all told me I should get a credit card. "With self-discipline the rewards cards are amazing! I don't know why anyone wouldn't have one!" So, I began to look into it. I found that as a person with no credit, those rewards cards were out of my reach. I couldn't qualify because I had no credit at all. I compared all of the credit cards available to a person with no credit or bad credit. The choices really were not very appealing in the least. Students have decent basic cards available, but now that I'm a graduate, the options are slim. They all had what I considered to be high annual fees and no redemptive qualities. Many of them were just pre-paid credit cards which I really wanted to avoid because of the shear stupidity of the whole sham.

    So, last week I looked over Wells Fargo's options. They weren't much better, but their annual fees were lower than the others so I thought, "what the heck, I'll get one. I gotta start building credit somehow." I took the plunge and applied for their secure credit card (the only card they offered that was available to me). BIG MISTAKE. Mainly because I didn't understand the wording of the application. They said that they'd used my checking account as collateral. I thought that meant if I were to overdraw my limit, they'd use my checking as overdraft protection. So I went ahead and set a $2000 limit so I could pay all my bills, buy groceries and gas, etc. with it each month.

    That's where that $2000 I thought was taken by bank fraud comes in. What a secure credit card really means is that it's a pre-paid credit card. You know, the thing I really was trying to avoid. The limit you set yourself is promptly taken from your checking account and put in a mule account for the new credit card. That is where that money went. Because our mortgage payment and that application cleared within a couple days of each other, our account went into overdraft.

    What an incredibly STUPID concept. What is a pre-paid credit card if not a debit card? Come on? Tell me. Stupid piece of crap is what it is. If I can't earn credit by being a responsibly debit card owner and I can earn credit with a pre-paid credit card, this system is JACKED UP! [expletive inserted here]!

    So I canceled the credit card. You think that they'd be able to just electronically give us our money back. But no. They can only send us the money in the form of a check. A check?!? Fine. Ok. Just give us our money back. They took of the overdraft fee but promptly told us that was our one and only time we'd have that taken off for us.

    And another thing. Why in the world would you be penalized for closing an account? Huh? Give me a good reason. What if I just want to change banks because there were more WaMu's accessible here than Wells Fargo? Why should I be penalized because my previous bank is now over a half an hour away?

    And yet another thing. Why should I be penalized every time my credit is reviewed? Is it like some old document parchment that can't see the light of day too often or it will disintegrate? Our credit is checked when we apply for a new credit card, a loan, a phone account, a cable account, when we want to buy a fridge, etc., etc., etc. If it is required for them to check there is no reason I should be hurt by it. Jerks. Kick a lady with glasses when she's down why don't you.

    On the up side, nobody stole our identity.


    It looks like we are recent recipients of bank fraud. I looked at our account today to see if our mortgage payment went through and it had. Only problem was we didn't have sufficient funds in our checking to cover it so our account went into overdraft (luckily just went onto Matt's credit card so we don't have to pay outrageous fees or anything). I had no idea how that could be since I had specifically checked our account before I sent in the payment and we had enough to pay multiple payments if we had wanted to.

    Matt spotted it first. A $2000 tele-transfer to a credit card that was not ours. What the heck was a tele-transfer anyway? Apparently it's when you call in. When you call in you have to give the account number and your pin number to access the bank information. I don't know how in the world anyone would have that information. I've never told anyone my pin and the only time I ever punch it in is when I'm using the ATM or checking out at the grocery store. Matt's even more paranoid and secure with his info than I am.

    I'm currently on the phone with a Wells Fargo rep. trying to get it figured out. This dang well better be taken care of with our money reinstated to us and the overdraft erased. That's all I have to say.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Testing, Testing, 123

    I'm a working girl once again. So far this week I've gone to two networking meetings, sat in on two flooring bids, tried to help a very picky and indecisive man pick out carpeting without his wife present, and I sat in a chaotic office this morning during "training."

    It's exciting. And tiring. And a little scary. Not to mention overwhelming.

    As I stated earlier our new found friends have hired me on for their carpet cleaning business doing office work and some networking. They opened business one year ago this week, so they're pretty darn young in terms of small business. They struggled a lot the first six months, but they've really been doing quite well since January. The owner is one year older than me and has the true entrepreneurial spirit. His business's motto is "World conquest begins in your home town."

    My job arose out of necessity. Because his business has been growing, he's become increasingly busier and he stopped doing office work other than scheduling about a month and a half ago. So there is a stack of work waiting for me. They've never had an office manager other than the owner himself, so I can foresee the training being a bit chaotic and hap-hazard; kinda like being thrown into a lions den. On the plus side, they're pretty flexible, quite understanding, and I can make the job my own since no body's gone before me on this one.

    I will be required to become a trained and certified carpet technician, so I have a big three ring binder filled with nuggats of information such as, "Hot, liquid polymer is pumped through a spinneret to create a fiber." that serves as a study guide. I'll eventually have to take a class and the most expensive test I've ever taken.

    Aw man. I thought I was done studying and test taking when I graduated 2 years ago...

    Back to the books my friends. Wish me luck.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    It's hot

    and I feel sticky.

    It makes me want to sleep.

    It's about 102* right now. Luckily the humidity is relatively low at 28% right now or it would be worse. I don't know if I believe that or not though. It feels thick out there.

    The sun was bleeding communist red today. When I was in China trying to teach the kids colors I would ask them questions such as "What color is the sun?" fully expecting a resounding "YELLOW!" when infact it was a resounding "RED!!" From that day on I noticed, the sun did indeed bleed red there because of the pollution. I've noticed the last two days that the sun was very large and red and could be beheld with the naked eye because there was so much junk in front of it called pollution.

    Another funny Chinese color story was when I asked the kids what color my hair was. I was expecting "brown" but I received the shout "YELLOW!" I said, "really? yellow?" Then I turned and asked their Chinese English teacher, "What color would you say my hair is?" After scrutinizing me he said, "Golden?" I'm sure he would have said yellow also but could tell that was not the answer I was after. It reminds me of the teeth whitening commercial where the teacher asks her kindergarteners what color her teeth are. "Off white!" "Cream" "Mother of Pearl!"

    Kids. Telling it like it is.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Food, Friends, and Fun

    This weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to meet my friend Mizike and his fiancee Sky Princess. I've known Mizike for about a year and a half now from playing World of Warcraft, but we've not had the opportunity to meet in person until this past weekend.

    The restaurant was the nicest that Matt or I had ever attended. The lights were so low the waiter had to bring a flashlight for me to see how much pepper he was grinding onto my dish. They had a live Jazz band that was quite good. The guy on the keyboard was their singer and I had to look up there more than once because the voice coming out did not seem like it fit with this skinny, tall, white guy. There were a few couples that got up and danced while the rest of us watched on, talking about why we wouldn't be able to get our men up there to dance. The only drawback to the band was that we were sitting right in front of them, and they were loud enough that we had to shout to speak to one another. Our waiter, with his face reddened and neck straining, had to shout every time he came over. At one point he apologized it was so loud and said it was the band's first time playing there.

    Poor Mizike is a soft spoken guy; a low talker for you Seinfeld watchers. We could see his lips moving, but more often than not we couldn't hear a word he was saying over the boisterous music (even though he was speaking his loudest). Sky Princess knew what he was trying to say so she would translate for him so we could hear. She and I were blessed with projectile "out door voices" that come in handy for situations such as this.

    Sky Princess was good at making us feel at ease with her beautiful smile and easy going personality. I laughed and smiled so much from their stories and good conversation that by the end of the night my smiler was a bit sore. My favorite story involved a backwoods rundown gas station, a "present" that consisted of giant greasy fried frog legs, and an ending of shock and tears. Sky Princess was not amused until after she got over the initial shock and horror. It made for a great story though!

    They were very generous with a very nice house warming gift as well as buying our dinner. It was very pleasant and enjoyable, and I'm just sad that their time here is coming to an end shortly as he's just found a new job in Wisconsin, and they'll be moving there on Friday.
    Thank heavens for the internet and easy means of meeting new friends and staying in touch with old!

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Just a Temporary Change

    It was driving me crazy that the other template was malfunctioning, so I've temporarily changed it to this. Hopefully the blue template will clean up its act and I can restore that one soon.

    Up and down and all around

    I used to think that PMS was the biggest hoax ever. I really did. The first 6 years after hitting that wonderful phase in puberty I didn't experience any noticeable side effects like cramps, bloating, extreme mood swings, etc. My relatively easy experience led me to believe that women were just making it up. I thought that because men didn't experience menstruation that women were able to trick men (or bosses, or teachers, or kids) into letting them have some guilt free bad days a couple days a month. I mean, it's a real easy excuse, isn't it? I used it once in sixth grade on my male teacher who was very strict about bathroom passes. I really needed to go so I just told him I was on my period and I needed to go. Worked like a charm. So wasn't PMS the same kind of little white lie?

    My first semester of college I roomed with a girl who had horrible symptoms where she was doubled over in agony once a month. I then was convinced that some people really did have PMS issues and I was just very lucky to not be one of them.

    And then I got married. I swear, the only time I cry irrationally is on cue each month. I get teary-eyed over commercials and dance competition eliminations; over dinner, my husband's lack of appetite, and over choosing not to accept a job interview because the job required Sunday work. In my mind I can logically tell I am being irrational, but I can't stop myself from feeling like I have to cry about it all. It gives me the distinct feeling that I'm going a little crazy (and then I want to cry about
    that as well). Then you add in wanting to be pregnant and knowing that this horrible display of emotion most likely means I will find out in the next couple of days that I am, in fact, not pregnant, and that sets the water works into motion yet again.

    As we were going to bed last night Matt said, "I wonder what it would be like to be a girl with all these intense emotions..."
    Luckily I always feel better when I wake up and I realize there wasn't real cause for my tears. My real emotional times are generally limited to about half a day once a month. I guess that's not too horrible compared to being doubled over in physical pain.

    Anyway. To clarify an above statement, I received a call yesterday from the library saying they wanted to interview me for an assistant librarian position. It was only part time and it required that I work one Sunday a month. We were just called to be CTR 5 teachers, so that meant we'd be in charge of wrangling and teaching the 5 turning 6 kids for 2 hours of church. (Well, we're in charge of 1 of the 3 CTR 5 classes! This primary is HUGE!) So, taking that job meant I'd be leaving Matt by himself with 5-8 little kids once a month. Plus it would mean working on Sunday which I try to avoid if possible. Since it was only once a month I figured it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but when I told Matt he really didn't feel good about it. After all, we didn't
    need my income; so, I probably shouldn't work on Sunday unless it was very necessary to our livelihood, which it obviously wasn't.

    So I called in this morning to say I wasn't going to be coming in for the interview on Monday. I was a little bummed about this because I was happy to have an interview and a possibility.
    As I was getting ready for the day the morning, I heard the phone ring though I wasn't able to answer it. I decided I'd call one of my friends it could possibly have been. It wasn't her, but since I called, she was wondering if I wanted to go grocery shopping with her. Always readily looking for an excuse to get out of the house, I told her I would LOVE to. She and her husband own their own successful floor cleaning business. As we were driving she said, "you know, Celia, we're looking for an office assistant and my husband was wondering if you'd like the job. It's only part time, probably 3 days a week, but your hours would be flexible and I'm sure you could work out dropping off and picking up Matt." YES! That's awesome! So, if all goes well and as planned, I should be starting with them next week.

    So I went from down and crying and ultra emotional last night to quite content and happy today. It's a crazy life we emotional girls lead, now isn't it? Never a dull moment...

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Gah! What happened?

    I don't know what happened to my blog, but for some reason after I posted this morning my background color changed. Since all my entries are written in white, they are now unreadable. I didn't touch anything on the template, so hopefully it will change back on its own...

    What in the world?

    Oh, and I passed 1000 visitors today. =) Yes!

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    So You Think You Can Dance?

    My latest favorite past time entertainment has got to be the show "So you think you can dance." Absolutely amazing. The thing that gets me is that the contestants on the show are ages 18-28; they're young, but they are dang good. Each person has a specialty, but they are randomly partnered with people of different genres. Some have professional training, and some are self taught. Some times they get to perform the style they're comfortable with, and some times they have never even seen the style of dance performed! They draw their dances out of a hat and are expected to learn very difficult choreography in genres ranging from waltz to cha-cha to contemporary to krumping. Imagine a stiff ballroom dancer having to learn how to get jiggy and hip hop or visa versa. And they do it. Amazingly well.

    Dance is exhilarating. It is the ultimate expression of life in my mind. Joy, pain, passion, elegance. Just watching these people make me experience the emotion; they capture a snapshot of life in a 2-3 minute whirlwind of movement. They make it look so easy and seamless.

    My desire to dance began early. My older sisters had taken dance and it just seemed like so much fun. I begged and begged my mom to let me take dance lessons.

    Sept. 20, 1987--age 6
    We had my first dance recital. J. and I had matching costumes. They were purple with gloves and purple ribbons in our shoes. I lost one of my front teeth. [I'm pretty positive this had nothing to do with the dance recital.]

    Back then I didn't know about Latin or Ballroom Dancing, but I sure did love to shake my hips and let myself go. There wasn't a whole lot in the way of style choices. We had tap, ballet, and later, clogging. Yes, clogging. That was the beginning of the end of my first era of dancing. It was just a little too geeky for even me.

    I always looked forward to dances in Jr. High and High School. Not that anyone ever really danced at school dances. Unless, of course, my dad was one of the teacher chaperones. My peers all loved watching my dad let loose and have fun. Luckily I wasn't one of those kids easily embarrassed by their parents! I thought it was quite fun to get down and do "the vulture" or some other cool move my generation hadn't ever seen. Slow dances generally meant standing on one place barely moving your feet just so you could have an excuse to get close to a member of the opposite sex. I started losing interest around my Junior year because of that. Talk about Bo-ring!

    College brought dancing to a whole new level for me. I had choices. A lot of them. I unfortunately did not take full advantage of my dancing opportunities. I took only 4 semesters of dance, but what a rush. It gave me a chance to learn and compete dances like cha-cha, west coast swing and samba. (The picture to the left is me before a cha-cha competition. Looking pretty slick in that little black getup.) Yes I did learn things like waltz and foxtrot, but those were too stiff and formal for the likes of me. I liked to move and interact with my partner. I loved Latin dancing. Hip gyration. Passion and fire. The works. You can't get much better than the samba. I can't stop my hips and legs from moving when a samba beat comes on. I even made it to the final round of competition out of 9 heats and hundreds of couples in my division of samba!

    I really wish I could have learned contemporary and modern dancing. Those are right up there with Latin dances for watching purposes. Unfortunately I think my dancing days are over. Matt detests dancing and he can't for the life of him understand why I enjoy watching it! Plus we'd make horrible partners, him at 6'2" and me at 5'3". My luck and he'd knee me in the stomach!

    So I will live out my dancing dreams through these contestants for now and probably forget about how much I love it when the show ends. Hopefully there'll be a next season!

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    When are you considered a "grown up"?

    Last night a "20 something" door-to-door sales guy stopped by to pitch us some sort of supplemental educational program for children. When I opened the door he kind of stammered, "Are you...?" "Is this...?" trying to decide if I was the matron or a child in our house hold.

    I quickly said, "I'm the owner of the house, can I help you?"

    To which he hesitatingly asked, "You...You're the mom of the house?"

    "No, I'm the owner."

    "Oh, you don't have kids? You guys newly weds?"

    "We've been married 3 years."

    He looks at me incredulously and asks, "3 years?! How old are you, if you don't mind me asking?"

    "I'm 25."

    "25?! And you've already been married 3 years?! Did you go to school?"

    "Yeah, I graduated from college."

    "You were 22 when you graduated?" (As if you can't go to school while your married...)

    "No, I was 23."

    "Where'd you go?"

    "Brigham Young University."

    *He stares at me with a blank look.*

    I further explain, "It's in Utah."

    A look of understanding came into his eyes at that moment. "Oh. Utah. You a Mormon?" (As if that explained and answered all his previous questions.)

    "Yeah," I laughed.

    "Yeah, you look like a Mormon."

    I smile and say, "I hope that's a good thing!"

    He shrugs, "It's not a bad thing or anything."

    I'm totally laughing by this point. "Just a different thing?" I ask.

    "Yeah, a different thing. Well, I better keep going and try to find people with kids." And he turned to go to our neighbors.

    It was quite a humorous exchange for me. I'd been painting all day so my hair was back in two little pig tails. I do think I look pretty young when my hair is like that.

    That made me start thinking, though, "what is a socially acceptable age to be married?" And in a similar vein, "when are you considered a grown-up?"

    I think the two are quite connected. I have to admit that I cringed in high school when more than one of my classmates and friends got married the summer after we graduated at age 18. I was worried for them and hoped that sometime later in life they didn't leave their kids and husbands because they had a "I never had me-time" break down. I wanted them to get an education of some sort, and though that was still possible after getting married, it could easily be disrupted by unexpected (or expected) children. I felt very strongly that they needed some time to be on their own; to see who they were in different contexts and how they'd handle living with roommates from different backgrounds and with different household rules. I also felt they needed to learn how to manage money, budget and "be the boss" of their lives before they were given charge over a household, spouse or kids.

    It's interesting to see those same friends 7 years later. Some of them now have 4 kids at age 25 and have very happy marriages and lives. Some of them are struggling a bit more, but managing to make it. And a few of them have gone through or are going through the breakdown and realization that they never had a "me-time" without worrying about taking care of a husband and kids.

    Looking back I feel like I got married at the optimal time for me. I had time to work and figure out how to budget and be money-conscious. I had time to do things that would have been difficult after marriage (i.e. go to China). I had time to get my education and live with numerous roommates (some that I got along with great and some that drove me a little crazy) and figure out how to create a household with people other than your family-of-origin. I feel like I had a lot of "me" time. At age 22 I very much considered myself a responsible adult and did not feel like I was "sacrificing" my 20's and "time of freedom" to get married.

    So why is it so very hard for people to believe that I got married at age 22? I know that there are quite a few people that cringe and feel the same thing for me at 22 that I felt for my friends at 18. Sure there are other things I could have done more easily when I was single, but nothing that was so incredibly important that I just couldn't miss. Or that I couldn't do when I was married. Is it because many people don't consider themselves to be responsible adults at age 22?

    Maybe it's because I don't drink. I never felt the desire or compulsion to go drinking and clubbing. Maybe people feel they'd miss out on that.

    Maybe it's because I didn't believe in having sex outside of marriage? (Not that I got married just for the sex. A lot of people really think that.) I mean, maybe some people are addicted to the thrill and surge of new sex partners and can't imagine having to limit or commit themselves to one person...I don't know.

    Maybe some people are just afraid of commitment. Or maybe their parents had a really crappy marriage so they don't want to rush into anything. Hmmm...I guess there are a lot of reasons that could explain people's bewilderment and looks of incredulity.

    What do you think?

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Two pictures collide

    And apparently they cause some confusion. =) So here are the two separately. I croped them both, and I resized the closeup baby ultrasound and used it multiple times.

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Photoshop fun

    I took a production printing class in High School for a year and a half. The boundaries and projects were all very lenient and we pretty much got to do whatever we wanted so long as we got the few Ryobi printing press jobs done that the school had for us. During our down time my wonderful friend and I would go take pictures, develop them in the dark room, and then we'd hand paint them or scan them and mess with them in photoshop.

    We were let loose to figure out how to do things on our own. I was never very good at figuring out the computer programs on my own. I struggled playing with the program and figuring out it's capabilities and limitations. I liked things to be shown to me. I liked being taught. My friend was always so good at exploring on her own. Two years after high school she had her graphic design degree and business to boot. A marriage, two kids, and five years later, her business is booming by word of mouth and she gets to work from home. She's quite amazing.

    I enjoyed photography more than the computer graphics. I loved hand painting black and white photos. I loved the vinegar smell of the dark room (though I didn't particularly enjoy smelling like the dark room when I left though that was very common). It was magical watching the white sheet under the red light transform into recognizable objects and people. The summer after my Junior year, my teacher let me borrow some of the school's old dark room equipment. My parents let me commandeer their hall closet under the stairs, and I was engaged with dark room joys and picture generation for three months. I spilt some chemicals in there once and it smelled like vinegar for probably a year or more. What wonderful parents to allow me my dream though it inconvenienced them! They never once complained and always encouraged the development of our talents.

    After my Senior year I heard of someone selling dark room equipment and chemicals. I had dreams of doing photography for a living so I bought it all for $350 (quite a large chunk of money for a girl who was paying her way through college); it's sat untouched in my parents' spare bedroom ever since. I didn't make it into the photography program at BYU, and I'm not doing photography for a living. (Although I should really reconsider since digital wedding photographers here start at $2500 and they don't even make prints of the pictures! They just give the couple a digital slide show and a CD with all the pictures so they can print them if they want them!) Anyway, I don't have room here for a darkroom, and I doubt I ever will, so I've decided to give it all away. I'd try and sell it on eBay, but shipping would be completely outrageous, and I don't even know if it works!

    So lately I've turned back to photoshop. I really ought to take a tutorial to find out all the cool things I don't know that I'm missing, but so far it's been quite enjoyable. I don't mind figuring things out on my own now, and the internet magically provides me with answers to almost all my questions. I guess I'm growing up.

    So here are a few things I did tonight. Mizike, if you want any of these, by all means use them. If not, I'm not offended in the least. I just took your title and tried to run with the imagery, so if you have something else in mind, tell me and I'll go with that. It's great practice for me and I'm learning to unleash creative powers again.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    New Look

    I was getting bored of my other page so I'm trying my hand at the html stuff and design too. It's kind of kicking my butt, but I have plenty of time to read up and learn more I guess. It may need a little fine tuning, but what do you think?

    A new rhyme

    For us the rhyme should be:

    Rain, rain
    Stay today and
    please come back
    another day.

    It rained yesterday for the first time in a very long time. There's a slight chance that we could get a little more rain today too. Heaven knows we need it. That means I don't have to spend my entire morning and evening switching out hoses and moving around sprinkler heads in our low-tech sprinkler system. Hooray!

    We're concidered to be experiencing "sever drought conditions" here in TX. And as far as I can tell, we have been since 1998. That's not good. That means we've had one year more of drought than Joseph of Egypt. Luckily there wasn't a famine to go with our drought. We're pretty lucky with our piping technology that we can borrow water from other regions if it comes down to that. We're also pretty lucky our food comes from all over the country (and world for that matter).

    I've decided, though, that because of this incredible technology and lack of personal starvation and reprecussions, there are a lot of schmos out there that don't understand what a drought really means, and they don't follow the watering restrictions and guidlines. Like they have water to waste. In a near by county there recently was a fire and not enough water in their city's water tank to put it out. They had to pipe water in from a different city to keep the damage to a minimum. Wisen up people!

    That picture above really is what the ground looks like here if it's not been watered by sprinklers. There are even a few spots in my own yard that look like that, and I water as much as I'm allowed! It makes for shifty house foundations and there are a number of houses here that have problems with cracking foundation because of it....

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    Svithe: On Marriage

    Today on MSN there was a story on "why he's not the marrying type." It proceeds to list 4 reasons: 1. He needs his space 2. He's married to his work 3. Been married before and got burned 4. Has gray hair but still emotionally 22 yrs. old

    Here's my take on "why he/she's not the marrying type":

    He/she is selfish and tends to put more value and importance on
    • Work
    • Play (sports, shopping, video games etc.)
    • Their time
    • Their space
    • Their needs
    • Their wants
    • Their looks
    than on you, the relationship, or a possible future family.

    Disclaimer: It is NOT my opinion that every single adult is selfish. It is also NOT my opinion that every married person is unselfish. There are plenty of wonderful, unselfish single adults. On the other hand, there are plenty of selfish married people; that's where crappy and unhappy marriages and plentiful divorce cases originate. All I'm saying is if you're single and wanting to get married, steer clear of people who fit the afore mentioned categories.

    My take on a generally happy marriage:

  • Come to grips with the fact that life isn't fair and that a happy marriage will require work.
  • People are people and will most likely do annoying things from time to time. Be quicker to forgive than to anger.
  • Acknowledge both you and your spouse are worthwhile and valuable; respect each other.
  • Remember their needs and wants are just as important as yours.
  • Be willing to do what makes your spouse happy (so long as it is uplifting and worthwhile).
  • Be aware of your selfishness and how it hurts your spouse and/or children.
  • When you're frustrated, try not to "horriblize" your spouse (ex: "you always" or "you never").
  • Figure out the root of the problem rather than the surface issues and conflicts and then try to work on making it better.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself. (I'm working on this one still. It's a hard one for me sometimes.)

  • Are you doing your part? Am I?? It's good to take a little self evaluation once in a while.