"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free Giveaway! Happy Birthday Marcelle!

Today is photographer Marcelle Calder's birthday, and in honor of it she's doing a give-away! She has some pretty fun prizes, and the details are given on her photography blog http://marcellecalder.blogspot.com so be sure to check it out! It ends tonight, so sooner is better than later, and now is best :)

And even if you're not too interested in getting free stuff, you should check it out anyway because she's awesome! I heard about her like 8 months ago through her brother Morgan, who was in my ward at the time. She's super nice and great to work with! She did a fun little photo shoot with me and Trevor at the Provo Library back before we were even engaged, so look through her portfolio and find us! That photo shoot was part of the reason I wanted to have our wedding reception at the Provo Library. It's just such a cool building.

Anyway, be sure to check it out today! And happy happy birthday Marcelle!

Aren't Sundays Wonderful?!

I've always been partial to Wednesdays for some reason. For as long as I can remember, I've just associate happy good feelings with them. Maybe it's because that's the day that my friends the Maughans would come over for piano lessons and stay to play back when we were little kids? Or because it was the day of the week my dad would let us have oatmeal for breakfast growing up instead of cornmeal, cracked wheat, or rice? Or because it's the day I used to have my first demi-pointe class? Or because that's when I had variations class with Mr. Slava? Or because it's the day the social dance labs at BYU usually are? Or because it's the day I usually have off work lately? Or because it's the day I have ballet each week now? Or maybe I just like the way the word sounds? Or some other reason? I really don't know. I just know I really like Wednesdays. Always have.

None of that really pertains to this post anyway, I just have a random train of thoughts apparently...this post is about Sundays! This past one in particular. And this may end up being more of a 'gush' than a 'post'...but my posts are turning out that way more and more, so I suppose that's nothing new.

Usually we have church at 9 am, which is way too early in my personal opinion. But this week we had a late night, and we were going to a different sacrament meeting for a missionary farewell later, so we slept in an hour :) Nursery was unusually fun! Probably partly because I actually got a decent amount of sleep, and also because there were only 6 or 7 kids instead of up to 13. We hardly had to do anything! So we relaxed a bit and talked to the other parents in with us while we played with the kids.

After our 2-hour block of babysitting was over, we headed over to the Bishop's office to pay tithing. As Trevor was writing a check and filling out the form, I got to listen in on some of a sacrament meeting talk of the ward after us (Marci Edgington's ward coincidentally!). I only heard maybe a minute or so of the middle of the talk, but it was still very powerful. He said it much more eloquently and powerfully than I can, but basically he was talking about how being at church and listening to the speakers invites revelation and inspiration, and that same spirit and message is there regardless of whether or not you choose to come, and whether or not you choose to listen and let yourself hear. So come to church and partake of the blessings. I guess it's kind of like having an extra large of your favorite milkshake right there in your hands and just staring at it instead of eating it. Or even pouring it out on the ground. It's just such an obvious waste; why do it? Then when we were handing in our tithing, the bishopric member (I still don't know names...oops) asked us if we wanted to go to conference, and handed us 2 tickets and a parking pass for the Sunday afternoon session!! The lesson here: Pay your tithing, and you will be blessed! Sometimes more immediately than others. And if we had waited to pay till next week, we wouldn't have gotten the tickets!

Then we came home and got some snacks, and went to the missionary farewell. It was for a friend who I actually don't even really know...haha interestingly enough, we heard about each other through friends when we were both searching for short ballroom partners. We added each other on facebook and almost tried out with each other, but didn't for whatever reason. Then a semester later we almost tried out again, but didn't again for whatever reason. But we're friends on facebook and we both have a similar circle of friends through the ballroom world, so we pretty much are! There were about 15 or so of us fellow BYU ballroom dancers there to hear him give his farewell talk. We all sat together and it was like we were a little ballroom family :) Can I just say that I LOVE the bonds that form within the ballroom world? And also the Mormon world :) The chapel we met in was really cool! One of the walls was stained glass, and the ceiling looked like an upside-down bowling alley! I don't know if the big pipes for the organ were real, or just decorative, but the organ sure sounded amazing!...even though it was really slow, and we all felt like we were just plodding along. Especially during one of the most funeralistic versions of Called To Serve I've ever sung.

I really wish I had just written this on Sunday, because I remember especially loving the first speaker's talk, but I have no idea what it was about now. Oh well, that's what I get for procrastinating I guess! Geoffry's farewell talk was about the power and blessing of personal revelation. One of my favorite topics :) It was really simple, sweet, and strong, and the fact that there were so many of us all there just to hear him just made it all the more...I don't even know what the right word is...so I'll say cool? But that's not quite the one I'm looking for. Special? Moving? Something along those lines? Articulateness is not my forte.

Anyway, after Sacrament meeting me and Trevor went home and cleaned up our living room a bit before the home teachers came over. A clean house feels so nice :) Our living room furniture isn't that impressive, so we wheel out the two office chairs for them to sit in when they come. We had a nice little visit, and a short, but direct, lesson about General Conference this coming weekend and how sometimes what we 'hear' or learn isn't always limited to the words that were said. Basically the take home message of this Sunday's teachings was to be in the right place at the right time, and be doing the right things so that you can have the presence of the Holy Ghost and hear what God knows you need to hear. We also found out there are going to be monthly get-togethers for the younger couples in our not-so-young ward! Yay!

Then we went to have dinner with some new friends in the ward. Their daughter is in our nursery class, and she's definitely my favorite. She's like the only one that really gets what's going on. When we try to sing action songs with the kids they just stand motionless and stare at us like we're aliens or something, but she actually understands and does some of the actions. She also really likes telling the boys to chase her :) They served us super yummy homemade pizza, and this delicious guava juice drink, and as it turns out, the husband graduated from BYU with the same major as me! We all had a nice chat for awhile, and then their daughter woke up from her nap and she was so happy to see us, especially Trevor! It was sooo cute! She'd be doing something and look over at us and just start giggling and smiling! She even came over and gave Trevor her three favorite toys, which her parents said is pretty rare. I don't blame her, I'm completely smitten with Trevor too :) We were too full for dessert so they sent us off with a plate full of some of the THE best brownies I've ever tasted!

And then we went home and I spent hours on facebook and reading people's blogs and reading my dance anatomy book, and fell asleep at like 11, and it was just a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Plans for a Happy Day Off

Today is Wednesday! My my favorite day of the week! And as per usual, I'm wasting my day off. I stayed up really late last night finishing my blog post Hello, Gorgeous that took me waaaay longer than I meant for it to, and then Trevor was still going strong on homework, researching tablets to replace his defective laptop, and whatever else...so I stayed up too! When I finally woke up and looked at the time on my phone it was like 12:30 pm. Yay for sleeping in!!

Since I had clearly already missed breakfast, I decided it was probably time for dessert and ate a poptart. Brown sugar and cinnamon :)

Things I learned from this experience:
- microwaving a poptart for 3 seconds like it says on the package does absolutely nothing
- even after it is finally warm, a microwaved poptart just doesn't hold a candle to a toasted one
- I am incapable of eating only half of one, despite what I may tell myself
- one poptart has about twice the calories, 3 (or more) times the fat, and a ton more sugar than sugary breakfast cereals. Why they are marketed as breakfast food for children is beyond me
- eating something that sweet when I wake up before drinking lots of water will give me a headache

Then I repented and made myself half of a sandwich on multigrain bread with breaded chicken tenders, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, onion, a squeeze of lime (they turned yellow after I bought them...I do not understand), cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing. Yum! The blend wasn't as good as I wanted it to be though. I blame the bread. I didn't buy any white bread, so I guess it's all my fault really.

Anyway, now it's 4 pm and I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop in my pj's with greasy unwashed hair, wearing yesterdays makeup, surrounded my clutter and messiness, I need to find myself a new job, I haven't done any of the things I planned to do today, and all I can think about is making these adorable ballerina cupcakes that one of my friends posted pictures of on facebook a couple days ago! Surely I can do better for myself than this :)

I've got about 4 hours before ballet SO
Plan of action:
 1) shower and look cute. (45 minutes) It sounds vain, but my day goes sooo much better when I look good, or at least feel like I do :)
 2) submit applications and resumes to at least 3 places. (90 minutes. and then 2 more later tonight) I'm 5 minutes from finishing one already, and I've contacted employers about two other ones. Maybe go drive over to The Chocolate and check it out. One of the girls from ballet is related to the owner, so that might be an in if they're hiring and I like it there?
 3) spend at least 30 minutes on the kitchen. (40 minutes) It needs it! Plus then I'll have space to make the cute cupcakes when I come home from ballet!
4) get dinner ready for when Trevor comes home! (20 minutes) I've got leftover taco supplies from dinner last night, and 2 extra chicken filets that I didn't eat when I woke up, so that should be easy :)
5) get ready for ballet and stretch (30 minutes), and go to class knowing that I accomplished things today! yay!!
6) pick up stuff from the grocery store on the way home, and make cupcakes tonight!!
7) practice the song on the piano that I'm playing in Sacrament Meeting this week
8) apply for more jobs until bedtime!

Yay!! So that's the hope for the rest of today! Now I'm off to conquer laziness!

Hello, Gorgeous

This past Saturday was the legendary BYU vs. U of U rivalry football game! Trevor bought a ticket from an old roommate that couldn't go, and went off with the man friends and a backpack full of snacks to have a grand old time at the game! The Cougars lost miserably though, and Trevor lost his crackers as well as his voice and his overall enthusiasm for the football season (as did pretty much everyone else around here) during the game.

Fortunately for me, I don't even care about football! Instead of watching the game, I camped out on the couch with a canister of cheddar Pringles in one hand and a package of Chips Ahoy chocolate chunk cookies in my other (which have been completely demolished by now), and scouted out some chick flicks on Netflix. In my browsing I happened upon the movie Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand. What's Up Doc? (also starring Barbra Streisand) has been one of my favorites for awhile (I even wrote a post about how much I love it a month or so ago!), so I decided it was worth a shot. And oh my goodness I am soooo glad I did! I LOVED it, and that movie is right up there now on my list of favorites! It was really refreshing to watch a movie that's actually about relateable personal experience, growth, change, and the realities of life for once, instead of centering around special effects, action, sex appeal, shock factor, and record-breaking box office sales. Plus some elements of her character remind me a bit of myself, which was kind of fun to see. She even looks a bit like me sometimes, and her hair was not all that different from how I had mine for my wedding.

Haha ok so maybe I'm pushing it and I actually don't look any more like her than any other random girl who had similar hair, or was posed the same way. Anyway, after the movie finished I was just bursting with things to write about from it!...but I procrastinated, and now I can't remember them as vividly or passionately. Oh well. Here's what I still remember:

*heads up, this is another one of my overly long, meandering, random thought process, somewhat directionless posts :)
p.s. spoiler alert later on

I think what struck me most from the movie was how much Barbra Streisand's character changed as life happened. The different stages and personalities went through were so real it was like I was living them all through her, and finding and understanding the pieces of myself that I saw reflected in her character. I'm guessing most girls can relate in a similar way.

The movie starts with Barbra (her character's name is Fanny Brice...awful name) walking into a theater dressing room. She's all glammed up and sophisticated, and as she walks past a large mirror she stops and looks at her reflection thoughtfully for a minute, then says her famous line, "hello, gorgeous" in an almost "who am I really?" kind of way with tears in her eyes. Then she sits in one of the seats of the empty auditorium, and the movie is her recalling her past that led her to this moment in time.

She starts out as an ambitious nobody small-town girl who wants to be a star, but she just doesn't fit the mold. The directors, and even her friends and family, tell her she's not pretty, her legs are too skinny, her nose is too big, she doesn't have the physique, she's not good enough, she doesn't look like the other girls, etc. and they won't even give her a chance. Seriously, what girl hasn't felt like that at some point? Girls are constantly bombarded with messages - both direct and indirect - about what they should look like or be like, and that if they don't measure up, they are a failure. How do you even be one of those "other girls" that is "normal" anyway?

Fanny puts on a tough face despite all the blatant opposition and confidently tells her critics she is "the greatest star, but no one knows it yet", and "You think beautiful girls are going to stay in style forever? I should say not! Any minute now they're going to be out! Finished! Then it'll be my turn!". But she is really just a broken-hearted little girl whose self image has taken a hard beating, and whose big dreams have been shattered.

Fanny's quirky personality, coupled with her persistent determination and natural talent, eventually do lead to success though. And then a mysterious, rich, good-looking, smooth-talking gentleman (Nick) with a fancy ruffled shirt comes to see her after the opening night of her first big debut, and of course she is just blown away by him. And what girl wouldn't be? Lets be honest, we all secretly (or not so secretly) have fantasized about our larger-than-life, perfect Prince Charming. And after being an innocent, awkward, small-town nobody wanting to be loved and noticed for years, who wouldn't fall head-over-heels for some dreamy guy that just appears out of nowhere and starts showering you with attention? The novelty is just an irresistible dream come true! Except in this case, and in most cases, it's only a novelty. The womanizer kisses her goodnight and leaves with the promise of seeing her again soon, and when he doesn't end up being true to his word, she's the one who ends up getting hurt just like countless other girls in similar situations have. She fell prey to imagining him to be the story book character she wanted him to be, instead of seeing him for who he was. 

A little over a year later Fanny and Nick meet up again by chance because Fanny is on tour as a well-established star, and Nick happens to be betting on a horse race in the area. Fanny of course falls for him again in spite of the pain, and once again lets him use his charm and charisma to trick her into thinking he is everything she dreams of him being. Over the next few days she decides she loves him, and suddenly he has to leave because he lost everything betting on the horse race. It isn't until then that she realizes that he doesn't even really have a job or a life. All he does is gamble. Despite all that, she still decides she can't live without him and gives up her career to leave everything behind and catch up to his boat and surprise him! Then she is just so ridiculously excited to be a wife, and have a house and family, that she convinces him to marry her. Fanny's blindness to the realities of life blows up in her face later (BYU 2-week engagement story anyone?). It turns out gambling men with no real jobs don't make good husbands. Nick is never there for her, ends up owing everyone tons of money, and eventually gets himself thrown into jail for doing something with faulty bonds or something...I don't really know what that means. Fanny is strong and completely blinded by love throughout the whole thing, and her 'happiness' from her relationship exists mostly in her mind. Near the end when things are getting progressively worse, her mother finally tells her, "when you look at him, you see only what you want to see." Fanny blindly insists, "I see him as he is; I love him as he is.", to which her mother responds, "Fanny, love him a little less."

I'm used to happy endings, but this movie didn't have one. Well, not unless you count looking back on your life and realizing you got everything you thought you wanted (a career of stardom and the man of your day dreams), but the reality of it doesn't match up with your dreams. Her optimistic exuberant words "Life's candy, and the sun's a ball of butter!" from earlier years turned into "I guess it's not funny; life is far from sunny when the laugh is over and the joke's on you". Poor girl!

So now for the sake of having somewhat of a point other than just raving about this movie that I'm totally in love with now, I'd have to say the take-home message of the movie is to know what you are getting yourself into and don't let your fantasies get the best of you! Real life isn't like the movies (ok well maybe on occasion, but rarely), so be smart about it. If Fanny had been able to see Nick for who he was before she just rushed in and married him, she would have led a completely different life, and probably would have been much happier. Sadly, I think plenty of other girls (and some boys too) do kind of the same thing, and end up getting hurt and used, and left to wonder whatever happened to the perfect life they dreamed of? For all my musings of being a princess, living a fairy tale, and Trevor being my prince, I did put quite a bit of logic and reasoning into my life decisions. I had a list of things I thought were unacceptable for my future spouse (rash temper, excessive debt, inability to hold a job or get good grades, not trustworthy, substance abuse...), and a list of things I really wanted (ambitious, capable of and on track to get a 9-5 career with regular hours, easy to communicate with, productive and organized, reliable, religious strengths...), and I made sure he was at least mostly in line with them before even starting to date him. Deciding to marry him was an even more in-depth process. But choosing to approach it in a practical and realistic way instead of allowing myself to be swept off my feet by some random guy who seemed like a likely candidate, means now I get what I really wanted all along. Not just what I may have thought I wanted at various points in time :)

So yep, in spite of the sad ending, I still LOVED the movie, and I've been thinking about it ever since!! Barbra Streisand is a phenomenally talented singer and actress!! I'm going to watch it again this weekend :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our First Date :)

For those of you wondering how I went from a newly single girl chatting on fb with a random guy who happened to start talking to me who I wasn't even interested in, to being married to him and just ridiculously in love in less than a year...here's a continuation of the story.

The day after that first facebook chat and phone number exchange, Trevor - true to his word - texted me something about being tired and taking a nap or something. I responded courteously, he responded, and I didn't perpetuate the conversation. Then four days later - one year ago from today - was our first date. Ok, so actually it was a couple hours less than that. Friday, September 17th, 2010.

I was closing at work that night, and had to stay late. When I finally got off around 9:30, I was greeted by a text from Trevor asking if I had plans for that night. I assumed it was too late by that point and texted him back telling him about my work situation. He called me almost immediately (or maybe he texted again first and then called? irrelevant) and asked if I wanted to go to Comedy Sports at 10:15. I was tired from a long, hard, stressful day of work and didn't feel like putting forth the effort of a first date with an almost stranger, plus I was sweaty and stinky and gross and had maple icing spilled on my jeans and shirt, and my pants were all wet from standing in water while the cleaner started mopping the floors around me, and my hair had been in a bun and a hat all day and I had a line across my forehead from the hairnet...not to mention I hardly even knew this guy and I didn't really care about going on a date with him or not, it's not like I was desperate for male attention or dates (I already had another date planned for the next night), I was still adjusting to being single, and quite frankly, I really wanted to just say no and go home and relax. But for whatever reason, the word that actually ended up coming out of my mouth was "yes".  So I told him my address and scurried back to my apartment.

I pulled into the parking lot at my apartment the same time as a little white car. I grabbed the easiest parking spot and then realized I had probably stolen it from the car...which happened to be Trevor, but he found another spot a couple cars over. So he got to see me pre-primping, and walked me to my apartment to change speedy-quick and try to make it to the show in time.

He was SOOO nervous when we were talking in the car on the way and it was just so adorable!! That's what stands out in my mind about him the most about our first date :) So guys, when you're nervous and your voice is shaking, and you feel like you're making awkward conversation or just whatever, don't be too embarrassed. Just remember she might actually find it endearing. Sometimes anyway. This was definitely one of those cases. We talked about how he served in the same mission as my uncle, and how he accidentally talks in a weird accent when he's nervous, and that me and my roommates talked in weird accents late at night, and the red and blue fly swatters that you use to vote at Comedy Sportz that he had in his car.

Then we got there and realized he still needed to buy me a ticket, but there was a huge line of people hoping to maybe squeeze in, and we were right at the end. Luckily, a couple of guys up at the front were really nice and let us go ahead of them. Just like that. I have no clue who there were, but I owe them big time! It was Trevor's sister Celeste's birthday, and her and her husband had saved us seats with them once we made it inside. Trevor was a regular at Comedy Sports and had a couple friends that were performing that night. They were super funny!

From what I remember, I thought the show was just hysterical. Unfortunately, my ex called and texted me repeatedly throughout the entire first half and it was more than a little disconcerting/distracting, but Trevor was a really good sport about it and kept telling me if I needed to take the call or text back that was totally fine. I didn't of course. You don't call or text anyone when you're on a date. Especially not another boy, and most definitely not your ex. That's beyond rude. I did send him a text during a bathroom break telling him that I wouldn't answer for another hour or because I was on a date...that was a bad idea. I just wanted him to understand why I couldn't respond so he wouldn't think I was ignoring him or being mean. He didn't take that news well, and continued to attempt to contact me, and once my date was over I ended up spending an hour and a half on the phone with him reminding him that I was single and explaining why it was ok for me to go on a date.

So amid all the post-work exhaustion, and onslaught of communication attempts, plus the not-especially-interactive atmosphere of Comedy Sports, I didn't spend a ton of time getting to know Trevor on that date. He happened to know one of my roommates a bit from ballroom, so he walked me up to my apartment and stayed a bit to say hi to her and talk to all of us for a few minutes. Then he left, and I did my usual sub-conscious date assessment. All in all it wasn't too memorable. It wasn't the kind where once you get dropped off you shut the door and let out a big sigh of relief that it's FINALLY over, or one of the kinds that you post happy facebook statuses about and just can't wait to tell your roommates every detail of over and over and over with a smile that's just exploding off your face! It was just another date. My overall assessment: meh...nothing special...if he asks me out again, I might say yes, but not for sure.

To be continued...

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'd Rather Be...(insert something other than "at work")

I had a revelation today; I hate my job. Fortunately/unfortunately there are enough pros about my job to have kept me there for the past year and a half, and to make staying there still seem like a plausible option. So I guess what it boils down to is that I can either suck it up and keep slogging through and enjoying the good parts, or I can quit and get a different job I want more and risk losing the pros and potentially also hating my new job. That sounds a little uncharacteristically pessimistic coming from me, but this is real life and I'm looking for real happiness, so aiming for a realistic perspective seems more productive than a falsely optimistic one.

So here is my list of pros and cons as I try to figure out my best course of action.

!!Disclaimer!! This is not intended to be a bash on the company I am employed by. They are awesome, treat their employees exceptionally well, and I HIGHLY recommend them as a student job! These lists are things specifically from my personal experience that might not pertain to other people/personalities/departments/whatever, plus I'm long done with the student job phase, and I'm hoping for a more ideal career-type job.

Reasons to stay:
- excellent pay. I would be hard-pressed to find this good of a pay rate somewhere else with my useless degree and lack of work experience
- BENEFITS! Insurance is a MUST with my unwell stomach predicament, and my husband is working a student job with no benefits at all. This is probably the largest reason to stay. Loophole: I am covered under my parents insurance for the next few years and by then Trevor will probably have a real job. That still leaves Trevor without insurance till then though. Plus only having to pay $3 a prescription refill just can't be beat.
- it's a great workout. It keeps me skinny and strong :) I definitely do NOT want to have a sedentary desk job or something where I for sure will get super fat.
- fast-paced means not bored. I spent enough time standing around doing nothing and being almost bored to tears working as a cashier to know that I am absolutely and utterly miserable under those conditions.
- it's reliable. It's a good solid company that is doing very well for itself, and there's not much danger of it going under and laying off employees
- once I leave, it will be practically impossible to ever get rehired because so many other people are just dying to get hired there
- I actually do enjoy it sometimes, just not all the time.
- I almost always enjoy my coworkers. We've had lots of laughs and some good deep insightful conversations sometimes.  
- It's more enjoyable than other things I could be doing? Like being a cashier, pushing carts, doing construction, slaving away trying to understand computers or math, changing diapers at an old folks' home, driving a pizza delivery car...etc. 
- location. It's close by, and ballet and grocery shopping are basically on the way.
- it's what I know. I don't like starting new jobs and having to learn everything and be the useless new hire. Staying is safe.

Reasons to leave:
- I don't like not having a regular 9-5ish schedule, and I hate that I have to work Sundays sometimes. Granted the past month or two have been very consistent and very ideal shifts and I've been loving it! I get to sleep in, and still be done at a decent hour! But that isn't the norm.
- I smell gross and look gross after work every day without fail. 
- There are maybe 2 coworkers that I would even consider aspiring to be like. There are definitely individual qualities in all of them that I admire and wish I had, but none of them are really living my idea of a dream life. None that I know of anyway. And overall I quite honestly don't want to be like many of them. So...that's another pretty good indicator to me that this isn't my ideal dream career. You're supposed to inspired by your superiors.
- I'm not using any of my talents. There is no natural way for me to excel. Ballet, ballroom, piano, making things look cute, girl talk, smiles, stuff related to my degree, foosball, girliness...nothing. Package the food. Go faster. Shut up and obey. Be a machine. If it doesn't get done right, take the blame. Do it all again tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It could easily be done as well or better by someone with much less education, and significantly less time and emotional investment in the arts, and basically someone very unlike me. I'm just a waste of a sunshiney girly girl when I'm there.
- I'm not interested in working retail as a career. I don't want to be a supervisor or manager. There is no ladder of success in this field that I want to climb, it's just a dead end. 
- I'm not happy. I'm just not. There are definitely moments, and occasionally the majority of a work day that's good, but usually it's just a convenient source of income and benefits that I have to endure for a couple hours and then I can go home and do something else I'd rather be doing.
- my manager has a rigid "no" policy when it comes to discussing scheduling, which is not entirely his fault. Policies are policies, and you can't make an exception for one person and not another. That wouldn't be fair, and I understand that. Some requests do seem reasonable enough to be met with a bit more understanding though, at least from my perspective. For example, there is no need to give a girl a hard time and try to make her feel like a greedy selfish hog for requesting a week and a half off for her own wedding, just because July happens to be a busy week at the store. Just saying. It also makes things ridiculously frustrating when I can't plan on doing any of the things that I really want to do (ballet class, yoga, ballroom lessons, ballroom competitions, ballet performances, piano lessons, photo shoot, education week, or anything else that also has a schedule) because I am required to have all hours of every day of the week available for my 24 weekly hours to be scattered sporadically through. I can't even ask for, say, Tuesday nights after 7:00, or whatever. It's pretty frustrating.
- it's really stressful a lot of the time, and I do not respond well to stress. Spending all day stressed doesn't do good things to people, especially me.

So what do I do now? I don't really know exactly, but the plan is to update my resume, and turn in applications at absolutely every place that I think might have comparable pros, and less cons, pray a lot, and hope that I'll find something that will ultimately make me happier! We'll see if I'm actually successful at finding a better option, but I'm feeling unusually hopeful in my quest at this moment, and maybe something will actually work out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sometimes the World DOES Revolve Around Facebook

Exactly 365 days ago (Sunday September 12, 2010) I got on facebook hoping to entertain myself. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 6 months the previous week, and was still getting used to being single again. I chatted online with a couple friends, a prospective dance partner, my ex, and this guy Trevor who I didn't even really know. He just popped up and started talking away.

We had met once in the hallway of the Richard's building outside room 270 several months earlier (late March maybe?). He had Gold II Latin the hour before I had Gold II Standard, and he happened to see me in the hall one day and came over to introduce himself. We exchanged names and that's basically the extent of our conversation. He added me on facebook after that first encounter when we both currently had significant others, and I didn't see, hear, or think of him until a year ago today when he started talking to me randomly. (Later he told me I was on a list of a bunch of  'potentials', and when he was bored and saw I was single on facebook, he decided I was worth a shot :)

From our facebook chat I learned that Trevor worked for the church doing computer things, and that he had to work till 4 am once or twice every week, and that night was one of those nights. I remember talking about stake conference for a bit ( Julie B. Beck, Boyd K. Packer, and bunch of other cool people spoke), and a little bit about my recent breakup, some of Trevor's experiences growing up in Provo, and probably some dance stuff and just random conversation. We chatted until ridiculously late/early about how working till 4 made classes miserable, and he asked for my number so he could text me to keep himself awake in class the next day. Sneaky deaky :) I was chatting with my ex at the same time too, and the two of them know each other. Not very well, but they performed on the same ballroom team, so they at least know each other by sight. As soon as I told my ex I was talking to Trevor, he got upset and said Trevor was going to ask me for my number and ask me out. I told him nope and honestly that I wasn't even interested in him anyway, but then sure enough, Trevor got my number. And five days later he asked me on our first date...and the rest is history!

And now here we are, exactly a year later, and I'm on facebook chat at 2:30 am again, talking to Trevor while he works. Except this time, at 4:00 he's coming home to me :)

Thank goodness for facebook!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicken Salad and Peanut Butter Balls

I found a couple yummy easy recipes this week! That always makes for a good day!

Chicken Salad
(this was adapted from "Charlie's famous chicken salad with grapes" from food.com, but I tinkered a bit to make it how I like it...so now it's not really the same :)

- 2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 - 2/3 c. chopped onion
- 1 cup red or purple grapes cut in halves (I added more)
- pepper to taste

Mix it all together in a large bowl, and enjoy!

We ate it sandwich style on Costco's new torta rolls and it was sooooooo good!!

We halved this next one, and it was still plenty! But there are only two of us. I also think it's waaay too buttery, so this is my adjusted version to try next time

Peanut Butter Balls
(the original recipe from justapinch.com is here)

1 1/3 c. peanut butter
2 c. graham cracker, crushed (coarser chunks make for nice texture :)
1 1/4 sticks margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 c. powdered sugar
at least 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs. shortening

mix together the butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Then add graham crackers, and then the powdered sugar. Put in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen if needed. Melt chocolate and shortening on the stove over low heat, stirring constantly. Roll peanut butter dough into small balls and dip/roll in melted chocolate, or dust with powdered sugar or cocoa.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Clumsy Me

Remember those awkward teenage years? Some of us remember them more awkwardly than others...me being the case in point. Whoever said dancers were graceful clearly hasn't met me! At least I was always good at laughing at myself :) I found this article I wrote for a family newsletter in the end of 2004 (I was 16), and thought it was worth a post.

It's in dire need of some editing...but I didn't want to change it too much from how I originally wrote it. I apologize in advance for my terrible sentence structure, heavy overuse of the word "cuz", and all my other annoying writing quirks and flaws!

"This school year I keep having these majorly stupid moments. I can’t believe it. I usually run into doorknobs and stuff but now I just keep accidentally doing all this stupid stuff. It started with running into the child protection gate and getting this huge bruise on my hip. I’ve done that sooooo many times since then too. Then I was running up the stairs for whatever reason and we have this gate that goes on like the fourth step to keep Peter from going upstairs and I definitely saw the gate cuz I remember thinking it was kinda pointless to have it up since he was asleep. So anyways I start running up the stairs and I’m staring right at the gate and it’s like I forgot to stop and climb over it or something, I just keep on running and then all of the sudden I hit it. Surprise surprise. I was in mid step and one leg hit it and the rest of me got thrown over the gate like a hurdle. I guess when I landed I slid down the gate cuz I ended up with a great big bruise all down my shin and my ankle. That was in September and I still have a lump on my left shin.

Then before Spanish lab I was standing in the hall with the rest of my class waiting to go into the classroom. Someone came up behind me and was like “Hi Karin!” so I turned around to say hi, but I forgot that I was wearing a backpack and it hit the bulletin board on the wall behind me and fell on the floor and all the papers and pushpins and everything went flying off. My whole class turned and stared at me and I just kinda like heh heh, oops.

Then I tried to change a light bulb but I dropped it and it hit me on the head.

I was on a hike a few weeks later and a bunch of people were stretching and stuff and trying to touch their toes. I was like oh I can do that and bent down but I forgot I was wearing a backpack and it flipped off my back, hit me in the head, and fell on the ground. Then I kinda wished I hadn’t said anything cuz everyone was looking at me.

Later after the hike I got a cup of hot chocolate and didn’t have time to drink it before I got in someone’s van to get driven to somewhere else with 10 other teens to be driven home by another someone else. I asked the driver if it was ok to bring hot chocolate in his van. He said yeah as long as I didn’t spill it. I figured there’d be cup holders in it and I would probably finish it before long so I was like oh I won’t spill. Just my luck, there weren’t cup holders. Who makes a van without cup holders anyways?! The drive was really bumpy so I couldn’t drink it or I’d spill all over. It was like 3 in the morning cuz it was an overnight hike and I was sooooooo tired, so I just sat there fighting to stay awake and not spill my hot chocolate. The ride was way longer than I thought and right before we got to wherever we were going I dosed off just long enough to pour my entire cup of hot chocolate out in my lap. It looked like I wet my pants really bad except it was brown. I’m kinda glad that I was too tired to remember who else was in the van. Hopefully they were too tired to remember I was in there too. The funnest part was having to sit in it for like four hours while I waited for the people driving me home to get there. I hate sitting in wet jeans.

The next day I went to a home school dance and I carpooled home with a friend and some other home schoolers. I was sitting in the back of the station wagon and I couldn’t open the door cuz my hands were full of crackers and chocolate so one of the guys came and opened the door but I still didn’t have hands to climb out so I was just gonna jump out. I could tell I was gonna have to jump far so I jumped really hard. Unfortunately I jumped up instead of out. I banged my head on the top of the station wagon so hard that it bounced me out of the car and down and my feet hit the ground so hard it kinda knocked the wind out of me. Only the guy that opened the door and the girl sitting in the back with me actually saw it cuz it was the back of the car but everyone heard it cuz my head made this awful sound and they were all like what happened and were all worried and I was just laughing cuz they were all so worried and I didn’t even hurt at all.

Then the day after that I had to take Peter in the hall during Sacrament meeting and when I opened the door I banged it into some kids face that was on the other side. I felt so awful but I burst out laughing cuz his brother saw too and he started laughing really hard. I’ll bet everyone on the last few rows could hear it. I had to run to the mother’s lounge cuz I was laughing so hard I was dropping Peter.

Yesterday I was just drinking water from my water bottle and I’m not sure how I did it but I ended up scraping up my lower gum. The girl I was talking to started laughing and was like yeah, only you could hurt yourself drinking water. Then today I accidentally kicked a little girl that was watching me do the Waltz of the Flowers and I tripped over a piece of tape in rehearsal and ran into the barre. I’m not sure even how I did that. It doesn’t make any sense." 

Yes, I was a clumsy girl. Thank goodness I've grown out of that phase! At least partially anyway...

How Not to Transport a Kitten

I held the cutest little orange kitten today, and my life was nearly complete :) But then I gave it away. The end. And now for the beginning and middle of the story.

Trevor's sisters became the owners of a ridiculously adorable super tiny little orange kitten named Tigger, and took on the responsibility of finding him a good home. I LOVE kitties, so I decided to adopt him! Problem solved! Except I'm allergic, and Trevor doesn't like cats...so actually we had to scratch that plan.

I told one of my coworkers about the kitten though, and he happens to live in a very mouse-infested basement, and desperately wants a cat to kill the mice. Yesterday he even found one inside his blankets, and then it ran up inside his shirt. Sick!! This little kitty is feisty enough to attack the chihuahua and dominate, so the hope is that it will be a good mouser. So today I picked up the cat after work, and he came and took it home.

Slight problem...I didn't have a cat carrying cage and neither did Trevor's family. They gave me a tall box to put him in for the drive, which seemed like a plausible idea for just a less than 10-minute drive. Before I had even turned onto the next street the cat was already hanging over the side of the box, ready to jump out. I shoved him back in and kept driving, but he kept jumping out. At the first red light I shoved him back in the box (very lovingly of course :), folded some of the flaps over, and put one of my work shoes on top to keep it closed. Just a couple seconds later and he had knocked my shoe off the top and was climbing out again. I tried just shoving him back in a couple more times as I drove, and then finally I got to a red light long enough to fold down all the box flaps and interlock them, and put both work shoes on top. Another 30 seconds later and my shoes went flying off and out popped his little head, mewing loudly. Really? For the next few minutes I resorted to picking him up and putting him back in with one hand every three seconds or so as he climbed out, while driving with the other hand. There are waaaaay too many corners, red lights, crosswalks, pedestrians, and stop signs on that commute I've decided. And did I mention I was driving stick shift? At one point I absolutely needed both hands to drive, and of course the mischievous little kitten seized the opportunity to jump onto the floor of the car and start running around my feet and the pedals. That was really not cool, so I pulled over, folded down and interlocked all the flaps again, put both shoes on the box, and kept one hand firmly on the box the entire rest of the way home. Meanwhile, my coworker called me four times, but there was no way I was answering my phone and letting out the Houdini ninja kitten yet again.

We finally made it home safe and sound, and I got to play with the kitten for a couple minutes. He's so cute!! Then my coworker showed up, and he didn't have a kitty carrier either. His brilliant transport plan was also a cardboard box...strapped to the back of a motorcycle! What?! At least when the kitten jumped out of my box it was confined to the cab of the truck instead of plunging to an instantaneous death, and then being run over by cars! I was fairly certain that tomorrow I would be greeted on my drive to work by spattered bits of kitten, and I went inside and prayed my little heart out for that kitten's life! Then like 15 minutes later I got a text with a picture of a mouse that the kitten had already killed. So I guess he made it safe and sound, and is already getting down to business at "kitty Disneyland", as my coworker called his mouse-infested house.

So the sad news is that I don't have a kitten. But the good news is that the kitten is alive, and I am not responsible for cleaning the litter box, or cleaning up cat puke! All's well that ends well I suppose :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Happy Random Pot-luck Kind of Day Off

It seems like it's been kind of awhile since I've written a more journal entry style post; I'm about to put an end to that. Heads up, there is no real point to this post.

Lately I haven't had as many hours at work, and Trevor has been working almost as much as me, plus going to school full-time, and being busy with homework. So basically I've been kind of bored and largely unproductive for the past long while. Today was actually somewhat interesting for once though (well, mostly just random) so here we go.

My day started off at about 8:30 when I didn't get up. I hit snooze as per usual, but today that meant not seeing Trevor before he left for school. Sad! Eventually I got up, got myself looking socially acceptable, and headed off to my 10:00 doctor's appointment where I learned that I gained 6 pounds in the past 2 months, my blood pressure was 90/46 but the doctor wasn't even phased by it, and if my nausea doesn't improve in the next month or so they are going to stick a camera down my throat (ew?!) and check out  my stomach. I also learned that you can feel how much solid waste is in your intestines by pressing around in your stomach area...both cool and really weird.

On the way home I stopped at a thrift store because I need good cute comfy skirts to chase kids and sit on the floor in since I'm a nursery worker now, and I can usually find a couple cute skirts for cheap there. Bad choice. I walked out with a new skirt and shirt, two pairs of shoes (sparkly pink flats for $5? How could I say no?!), Cranium, Munchkin, and two books. But at least it was only $32 for all that :)

Once I made it home I fell asleep for an hour or so before I was awakened by a rather desperate text from a coworker who wants me to give him Trevor's sisters' kitten to hunt the mice that have taken over his house. He even found one in his bed. So gross!!

Then I ate the rest of the All-American chocolate cake from Costco that was left over from our wedding reception in Maryland, had some lunch too, got prettied up, and headed out the door to get a Utah driver's license. This is my sixth attempt at getting this done since the wedding by the way. First we went to the wrong location, then we went to the right one but we didn't have two pieces of mail with our new address on them yet, then we went but the line was forever long so we decided to leave, then we came and waited in line and finally made it to the counter only to find that we still needed to get my birth certificate, when I got it I tried to go but couldn't find the folder with the rest of the information, but this time I had everything! Unfortunately, when I got there I was informed that they were no longer doing testing for the evening. So I came home empty-handed AGAIN! But I'm getting up early and going first thing before work tomorrow morning!

Trevor came home from class about 45 minutes after that, so I made chicken alfredo with basil and bacon bits, and a strawberry-spinach-poppyseed salad and cleaned up the kitchen for when he got home. After dinner, my grandpa informed us that a neighbor who I've never met, don't know the name of, and wouldn't even recognize on sight, had just come over to let us know how upset she is that we haven't come knocking on her door offering to mow her lawn...which I still find a little weird and random, but oh well. We went over to talk to her about it, but someone else was already mowing her lawn, so I guess all is well?

Then it was time for ballet! Yay!!! Before class the teacher told me she had just spoken to the director of the studio about me, and she wants to recruit me to be in a performance they're doing in November!!! Double Yay!!! It's called Pioneer Legacy, and it's a true story taken from pioneer diaries and choreographed to an original score composed by the director's husband. It sounds super cool and super fun! I really really hope Costco will be able to work with me on scheduling so I can do it! Class was really good, and I'm starting to make more notable progress at getting back the strength I used to have. I still have a long long way to go though! I did manage to pull out a few lovely triple pirouettes though :)

I decided to buy one pear on the way home. Why I ever think I can really walk out of a store with only one thing is beyond me. I bought oranges, kiwis, lemons, limes, pears, bananas, two bags of frozen berries, and four cinnamon rolls. All those healthy options, but of course I came home and ate a cinnamon roll. I'm hopeless!

And then I wrote a blog post and fell asleep. The end. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sleepy Puppy

My husband is the cutest! Especially when he's only half awake. You know how kittens and puppies get ridiculously cute when they're sleepy? It's the same way with Trevor.

Last night / this morning he didn't get home from work till 4:30 am. Then he had a headache and didn't sleep well. Needless to say, he was pretty tired today! I woke up awhile before him, so I went into the living room to stretch and read and do whatever while letting him get some needed sleep.  About an hour later my laptop died, and after walking over to plug it in, I looked up and saw him staggering towards me like a zombie with his eyes barely open. I got all excited that he was finally awake and asked him if he wanted me to make pancakes or something for breakfast. He mumbled "no", and laid down on the floor and curled into a ball at my feet and fell right back asleep. Poor guy! He woke up and missed me enough to get out of bed and come find me, but was too tired to stay awake more than a few seconds! It was soooo cute :)

Despite how ridiculously cute it was, I couldn't just leave him on the floor like that. I helped him up and helped him walk down the hall and get back in bed where he could sleep properly, and this time I stayed put so he wouldn't have to leave to find me. I love him :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day for a Workout!

Me and Trevor live in a basement (another reason for spiders out the wazoo), so it can get very cold in our house. It's not usually a problem in the morning or afternoon since the sun shines in and warms things up a bit (plus it's summer:), but come late afternoon it starts to get cold. I don't do well with the cold. Unfortunately this means most of my time not spent at work, is spent laying on the couch huddled under a blanket eating junk food and doing nothing but read, spend time on my laptop, or watch movies. That plus eating more because of my decrease in nausea after being married (it's still an issue for sure, but not as severe as it was. thank goodness!), plus not having to go up and down several flights of stairs a day, plus not having to be out and about to see Trevor, plus not taking ballroom lessons anymore, plus not walking to campus, means I've put on a few pounds in the past couple of months. Whoops. I'm not "fat" per se, but I'd rather not head in that direction if I can healthily prevent it. SO I need to work out more, and find a fun way to do it. Sedentary living does not become me. I've also started up ballet again and it's frustrating how much muscle I've lost.

I'm deciding to combine these two problems and turn them into a solution. But first, a story. Once upon a time - back when I was a dancing machine - I had nice big thick legs. Very strong, but very bulky. Ballet uses a lot of muscles you don't normally use, but because my quadriceps and other muscles were so overpowering, I limited the ability of my weaker correct muscles, which means I was consistently using the wrong muscles and getting myself stuck fast in a spiral of incorrect technique and reducing my progression. Shooting myself in the foot, for short. I remember learning in high school that when a limb is in a cast, the muscles shrink from lack of use, and half wishing I could get my legs put in casts for a bit so I could lose what I had and start over. There are exercises and things you can do to strengthen the correct muscles, but I either didn't know them, or was so exhausted from school, work, early morning seminary, and endless hours of dance, that I just didn't do them.

Now I got my wish of having significantly weaker legs, plus I have some extra time lying around, and I have the knowledge and resources (thank you BS in Exercise Science!) to write myself an exercise program to get what I lack while burning off those extra pounds I've picked up on the couch :) Essentially, I'm going to be my own personal trainer, and give myself the body I've always wanted!

I'm also planning to start another blog for dancers, and post the things I know and the things I learn, so they can benefit too while it still matters, instead of waiting around till they're old and married and gave up on ballet years earlier :)

My Dance Anatomy textbook I ordered came in the mail yesterday, and I'm already devouring it and loving it!

Nursery Survivor!!

Me and Trevor got new callings in our ward! Nursery helpers! Yep. That's right. So the next time you're having trouble staying awake and focused during your 3 hours of church, just remember that for two hours of it me and my husband are playing with toys, blowing bubbles, and eating fruit snacks and pretzels :)

Today was our first time, and it actually wasn't too crazy! I'm sure I'll have much more interesting adventures in the weeks to come, but I figured since we survived our first week (and on a fast Sunday too!) it merited a post!

First off, here are some random memories of the kids:
- one of the kids has a glass eye which he sometimes take out and chews on......fortunately I didn't encounter that today!
- one little kid gets really excited about things (bubbles, toys, life, etc.) and he randomly jumps/bounces/flails and screams shrilly. It's sooo funny!...for the first few minutes
- one of the girls with super cute hair had a soaking wet diaper which she would intently rip pieces off of and eat. bleugchaghhag!
- one kid hates shoes. Apparently today was the first day he's left them on!
- one kid had this awesome longish curly almost hobbit hair with some sort of styling product in it
- one kid shoved another kid over, which knocked down another one or two innocent bystanders
- one kid loved the doll strollers. He had no interest in pushing them around or putting toys in them though; all he wanted to do was sit in it. So he just sat in there happily doing nothing for awhile.
- one girl (poor thing!) had the cutest little hat, but all the other kids kept snatching it right off her head the entire two hours! She was easily the quietest kid in the nursery, and she just didn't make a peep even when her returned hat would be re-stolen by a different kid just moments later. Poor little tolerant bullied child!

Anyways,  my nursery adventure started out sending cars back and forth across the table with three of the little boys. Two of the cars were the kind where you push the head of driven down and it zooms off all by itself, and one of them was Cookie Monster in a helicopter, which makes no sense to me. That kept them entertained for a lot longer than I thought it would! I'd push the head down and say "ready..." and one of the little boys would yell "set go!", and we zoomed those cars! Within just a few minutes, one of the other kids made a b-line to my purse and stole my water bottle. I was going to try to get it back, but he stuck it in his mouth, so I just let him keep it. He went and threw it in the toy shopping cart, and a couple minutes later I saw another kid wandering around with it in her mouth. It's trash now. After we did that for a good long while the kids ran off to do other stuff, and I got to play with two little girls. They were so quiet compared to the boys!

After some more playing, it was lesson time. Everyone sat on the floor and the lesson the other leaders gave went about like this: "This is a picture of Jesus. At church we learn about Jesus. Who's ready for a snack?!!". I'm going to guess that preparing these lessons will be significantly easier for me than when I taught Relief Society. Just a hunch.

Then they all got little chairs and squirts of hand sanitizer (one kid promptly started smearing it all over his face and on his eyes), and these cheese puff things (the same kid shoved them all in his mouth at the same time and started choking and stole the water of the kid next to him). Meanwhile this darling cute little red-headed kid was crying for his mom, so Trever scooped him up and he just hung onto Trevor and stopped crying. It was sooo cute :) Trevor gave him to me a couple minutes later and I got to hold him for a bit, and help him do some of the action songs. He missed snack time so I fed him another girl's snacks that she wasn't at all interested in, but as soon as I started doing that she decided she wanted some, and then another kid wanted to be fed too. I felt like I was feeding ducks or something putting those cheese puffs in the kids's mouths.

Next was bubbles! Those kids LOVE bubbles! Me and Trevor had to stand up while blowing bubbles so we wouldn't get attacked. They jumped around in the bubbles screaming these ear-splittingly high pitches! This one kid flopped on the ground and a little girl came over and started stomping on his face. He didn't even cry. What a trooper.

Then we had more playtime. I showed a couple of kids how to use the car elevator that sends the car down the ramp on the Fisher Price parking garage toy, and one of them probably spent half the time playing with it! We played some before snack time too, plus all of the second play time. He insisted that I be with him, and even gave me an assigned seat next to him so I could play too. Awhile later he decided to move to the tiny plastic kids' table and showed me right where I was supposed to sit. I was too big though, so I went and got a chair so I could still sit with him. That was not ok with him. I had to sit in the spot he chose for me. Conveniently, another kid decided he wanted to play cars too and that distracted the first kid enough that he forgot about telling me where to sit. Then, just as the sharing problem was getting bad, a toy phone in my hands magically started ringing and it was the second kid's "mom"! I can't believe how well that worked actually...he wandered off happily talking to no one on the play phone for a good little while and totally ignored the toy he had wanted so desperately just seconds earlier.

Then finally church was over and the parents came one-by-one to pick up their kids, and me and Trevor went home feeling victorious and promptly fell right to sleep for a good three hours or so!

The Good Life

For the sake of posting something, let me just say that dates for married couples are a wonderful idea, and whoever invented them is awesome! I LOVE dates with Trevor, even when they only involve us eating leftovers on the couch while watching Psych, or grocery shopping (and taking an hour to buy the milk because we have to walk up and down each aisle and talk each other out of buying our random impulse splurges) and doing the dishes. Married life is the best :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dressed Up Spaghetti

Trevor loves anything pasta, and I'm always up for low-effort yummy food! Spaghetti is pretty high up there on the list of quick, easy, cheap, college student foods (right after top ramen, breakfast cereal, and mac-n-cheese). Unfortunately it's also pretty high up there on the list of boring and mundane if you just do it the "pour the sauce from the can onto the noodles" way, so I decided to mess around a bit. Nothing too fancy, but enough to make feel more like I actually made a good dinner for me and my husband instead of like two students hanging out and eating whatever was around.

I took a regular can of sauce and added about 3/4 cup of grated fresh zucchini (extra veggies without tasting like it), 1/4 cup of fresh chopped onions (great texture not to mention flavor), and some sausage (!) I had cooked up earlier and frozen, and simmered them on the stove while the pasta cooked.

I also made my mom's ridiculously simple - yet ridiculously good! - recipe for bread sticks, and let them rise (I put the oven on warm and turned it off, and then let them rise inside to speed things up) while I cleaned up the kitchen for when Trevor got home.

1 ½ cups warm water
1 Tbs. dry yeast
3 Tbs. sugar
3 ½  to 4 ½ cups white flour

2-4 Tbs. melted butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbs. dried parsley flakes

Add yeast to ½ of the flour.  Add sugar and warm water.  Mix until smooth.  Add remaining flour and turn out onto floured surface.  Knead until smooth.  Divide into 16 to 24 equal parts.  Roll into sticks and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise until doubled.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with mixture of Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and parsley flakes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes (until lightly browned.)

There is always extra topping, and it's absolutely delicious (not to mention it looks fabulous) sprinkled on top of your spaghetti :)

So Trevor got his pasta, and I got to feel like I was a wonderful little homemaker feeding my husband a delicious meal with meat, fresh veggies, and bread, for only about an hour or so of work. Win!

A Lesson in Flossing

I'm terrible at flossing my teeth. If there was a trophy awarded for America's most infrequent flosser, it would be mine. And I would win it again every year. (For the record, I am a good diligent brusher, don't worry, and I have only ever had one cavity in spite of my life-time of flosslessness :)

I know I'm supposed to floss, but it's just such a hassle.  I have to stay up an extra couple minutes when I really just want to be sleeping, it gets my gums bloody because it's been months between flossings and I hate sleeping with that nasty bloody aftertaste (water doesn't effectively rinse it out and mouthwash on bloody gums is just too painful to be an option. fail), just the flossing itself can hurt, getting back to my molars is almost enough to set off my gag reflex sometimes, it smells less than wonderful, I always wind the floss around my fingers too tightly and it cuts off my circulation, and I have to deal with this big long mess of gross icky floss during and afterwards. It's not quite my idea of fun. Not to mention, there will always be more junk between your teeth tomorrow...so why not just wait till then and get it all out at the same time and save yourself the trouble? Or maybe a week later? It saves time and effort that way.  Plus my dentists, hygienists, and parents have harassed me about it plenty, but you know what? I didn't floss yesterday and I didn't die and no teeth rotted out, so what's the big deal?

Just a couple months ago I had a conversation/whining session discussing flossing with a few coworkers who felt similarly on the issue. Then a few weeks later, one of my fellow flossing failure friends from the conversation came to work after having just received a bill for a root canal. It was roughly $1500. He of course vented for a bit about the whole procedure, and how frustrating it is to have to pay that much money. Then his advice to the rest of us was something along the lines of "so the next time you're asking yourself if it's worth the effort to take the extra 2 minutes to floss instead of just going right to sleep, the answer is yes. It's worth it".

Ok, so it's just some advice about how to prevent an unpleasant procedure and an extra unwanted expense, but it's also some pretty deep life counsel if you want to look a little deeper and go the analogy route (which I love taking!).

Needing a root canal is no good, but fortunately there is a fairly inexpensive way to help prevent it (flossing) that only takes a minute or two each day. It can seem like just a useless annoyance because the results of one day of flossing are not immediate, but if done consistently it can make all the difference.

Big changes are usually brought about by small acts that build on each other. As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." It's easy to give up on frustrating little things, and then get dis-heartened when we do not reach our goals. We've heard the saying, "A journey of 1,000 miles begins with 1 step", but that is just the beginning. The journey itself is comprised of hundreds of thousands of individual steps, repeated over and over and over until the destination is reached. One step may not seem like a very big deal. It only moves you a few inches away from your previous location. But if you don't move those inches, you will never reach your end point. So if you're wondering 'is this one step worth the effort?' the answer is yes!

Here's another example.  One pound of body fat is worth about 3500 calories, so if you only increase your calorie intake by 100 calories a day (a couple bites of pizza, 4 hershey kisses, less than 1 serving of ranch dressing...), by the end of the year you will have gained 10 pounds. If you aren't watching what you eat, excess will slowly build up and you'll end up with an end product you don't want. There's the root canal. That little extra splurge is easy to make because the results of 100 calories on your body aren't immediately noticeable, but the damage is still being done. It can easily be combated though by cutting back 100 calories instead (flossing your teeth!). Put the left overs in a bag instead of forcing them down, skip the bag of chips, or whatever else. Again the results aren't immediately noticeable, but they are still happening. And more importantly, good habits are being formed! (Ok so maybe the reason I thought of that example in particular is because I've gained a bit of weight in the past month or two, so it's on my mind, but it's still a good example!)

The same thing applies to pretty much every goal. Want to avoid getting an F? Do your reading and homework assignments every day. Want to be better at playing the piano? Don't skip a day of practicing. Want to get promoted at work? Go and do your best every day even if no one notices. The process of achieving things can get tedious and frustrating when the results are not apparent, but just remember, "the next time you're asking yourself if it's worth the effort...the answer is yes. It's worth it!".

And yes, I flossed my teeth last night :)