Sunday, November 29, 2015

While deciding on my menu for the next week, I came upon a link to a recipe that said "Easy Mac and Cheese with a Surprising Ingredient".

I clicked on it.

The surprising ingredient was cottage cheese.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

times infinity forever

I Suppose the Weekend was Pretty Great: A Report

Wednesday: I spent the night trying not to throw up, worried about giving a talk. Caleb told me he would give the talk instead.

Thursday: I enjoyed Thanksgiving with a few friends from church. We brought mashed potatoes, carrots, ice cream, whipping cream, orange Jello (woot), lemon meringue pie and pumpkin pie from Costco (aw yeah). Lots of fun and eating was had. It was a good time and we enjoyed ourselves. We got home and Caleb asked me about the talk I was going to give on Sunday. Cue anxiety.

Friday: Caleb and I drove to Harrisburg, PA, to visit the National Civil War Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution. Now, I realize that things like museums are going to be a bit harder to enjoy with young children under your watch, but this museum was a big disappointment to me. I had heard it was a great museum, thorough and unbiased (from both the North and the South perspectives). I felt like more than half the exhibit was spent on before and after the war, and then half the exhibit that focused on the war was spent talking about Gettysburg. Also, I had to pay to get in (which isn't that big of a deal), and there was a lot less to look at and learn about than any of the free Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. Soooo....kind of disappointed. But it was still a nice day out. We also stopped at Walmart before our drive up to PA, and picked up a few pretty good leftover Black Friday deals, without the crowds (a running shirt for Caleb, some Carter's jammies for next year for Claire, and some cheap new movies that we will probably never actually watch). Leftover turkey and mashed potatoes was had for dinner, and all in all it was a pretty good day. Then I remembered I had to give a talk.

Saturday:  Caleb and I spent the majority of the day at home. I sat down at the computer a few times to try and type out a talk. I spent a lot of time on "productive procrastination": listing some items on eBay that have been waiting for weeks, catching up on laundry, thinking about putting out Christmas decorations (only thinking), etc. Every time I sat down to type, I just froze up and started sobbing. I know, completely irrational. Finally around 6 or 7 Caleb told me he was just going to do it. Yes, I am a baby. I will deal with this another day, but this weekend was not the right time for me. I realize that it will never feel like the right time. But oh well.

Sunday:  Claire slept in until 8 (after waking up at 5 to nurse). SCORE! Caleb gave the talk at church and totally rocked it (regarding Sabbath day observance). Several people came up and told me they had things to work on in their life, and thanks to Caleb for bringing it up in such a great way (I think this is a good thing, as they didn't look ready to hurt me). Claire and I walked the hallways for all of Sunday School, and she passed out asleep halfway through the third hour. After church, I practiced a piece for the upcoming ward Christmas party, practiced a piano duet with my older friend in the ward, and just as she was leaving, she turned back around and invited me to be her plus one at the Christmas fireside for temple workers tonight. It wasn't really convenient, but decided to do it anyway. Caleb was very supportive, even though he had schoolwork to do, and encouraged me to go. So 1 hour after getting home from church, I drove over to her house and off we went to the temple. It was a great fireside. All the temple workers and invited family (or invited plus ones in the case of a single temple worker) were in the top floor of the temple in the priesthood room. The fireside's music was provided by the Mormon Choir of Washington, and the speakers were the whole temple presidency, and 3 area authorities. It was really great being in a giant room filled with people singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful".

As we walked out of the temple, they had turned on the festival of lights display just for the fireside as it let out. It was absolutely beautiful, and a perfect way to start the Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

That's One Way to Ruin Thanksgiving

Caleb just got a phone call at work tonight asking me to talk in sacrament on Sunday.

I have not been asked to talk since I was in high school.

Want me to play a musical number? No problem.

Want me to learn how to play the organ? Sure, I'll do that.

Want me to speak? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU ASK ME TO DO THAT.

I feel like I'm going to throw up.

I have no problem with the time commitment and necessary attention for writing a talk. It's the actual talking that is terrifying.

I wish that those of us who get anxiety about this type of thing should just be able to say "Gee, this kind of thing stresses me out to the point that I can't enjoy my life from the moment you asked until 4 hours after it's over; could you please assign someone else? I'll help in any other way. I'll clean the whole church building myself for 6 months. I'll run the whole Primary program if you want. I'll be the nursery leader until I move! Just please don't ask me to talk."

But we say yes anyway.

***Edit***

When Caleb got home from work and home teaching last night, he saw the state I was in and said he was willing to talk instead. Love that guy. I've had a huge problem with anxiety ever since I went through delivery with Claire. I was in the bathroom for a half hour trying not to throw up last night. I've asked him to let the bishopric member know he's speaking, and that it causes me huge anxiety to speak. He's pretty nice like that, and I'm pretty sure the bishopric members are pretty understanding. They just can't know those types of things if I don't let them know, right?

***Second Edit***

He was just kidding. I still have to speak.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Prideful Feelings

In a moment of weakness, I purchased Adele's new album on Saturday.

I've had it on with only 3 breaks to listen to the radio since then (and I've spent a good amount of time in the car).

Parenting secret of the week: If Claire is inconsolable in her carseat, get the CD back to track 1 (Hello). Instant calm. She also sings along with the chorus each time!!!

I must say, I love it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Phantom Trash Can

Maybe you've heard about my trash can drama.

When we first moved here, I didn't realize that we needed to purchase our own trash can. Living in student housing the previous 5 years, there was a dumpster at each complex I lived in. And most cities in Utah have the city-provided/taxed industrial trash cans.

Not so here.

After a week or two of living in our first apartment here, I realized I had to buy my own trash can at the store. Sorry downstairs neighbors! I had thought their trashcan was THE trashcan for the house, provided by the landlord.

When we moved 8 months later, we brought our trash can with us. Our new apartment had 4 identical trash cans with the house number spray painted on each. Not wanting to be a leech on the house "community", we added our trash can to the mix.

A couple weeks later, it disappeared. But I saw it several times at the door of the person who lived in the basement. What a meanie.

It was rude, and silly, especially because that guy was a jerk and yelled at people all the time for things that made him mad (Caleb included - luckily I escaped his wrath), but it didn't bother me too much. There were still trash cans we could use.

1 year later, we moved to another apartment. There were 2 trash cans out front, both with the house number sprayed on, I believe. We didn't purchase a new one, as there were only 2 apartments in the house, and I safely assumed that the last tenant left his trash can for our use. Our upstairs neighbor doesn't ever put trash outside, either. I think he takes it with him every time he leaves the house...not kidding...he's told me he doesn't want any trash in his house at all, to keep rats away. Which is kind of funny, because none of the mice we've had have gotten into any of our trash or mess on the ground - they go straight for the food in my pantry.

But anywho.

One of the two trashcans disappeared within a few weeks. So we were down to one. I can't remember when the other trashcan disappeared, and if I replaced it before I left for Utah for the summer. But I do know that when I came back, there were no trash cans to be had.

After a few weeks of keeping the trash in the house by the door all week, I went out and purchase a new trash can. They're not terribly expensive, but $25 every time someone steals your trashcan can add up!

Literally. 2. days. later. the trash can was gone. I'd like to give the benefit of the doubt to the thief and say maybe the city workers threw the trash can back to the wrong side of the street and someone thought it was theirs, but I'm doubtful.

After that, I decided not to purchase a new trashcan. So we are more careful about what gets put in the trash bags, and keep it by the door all week. Bless Claire's little heart, her stinky diapers have not been so stinky lately, and it has not caused a smell problem in our apartment.

Last week, however, a trash can SHOWED UP in front of our house.

I did not buy a trash can. Caleb did not buy a trash can. I highly doubt the guy upstairs bought a trash can. He probably would have said something to me, too.

So I'm left to wonder, did someone realize they stole our trash can and buy us a new one?

Did someone take pity on us and buy us a trash can?

Did someone steal this trash can and put it in front of our house and now people think WE are the THIEVES?!!

I really can't say. Caleb has some anxiety about the whole thing. He refuses to use it! He insists we keep retaining the trash in our apartment, and last night when he put the trash out on the street, he did not use the trash can (for anyone with a horrified look on their face about the idea of putting bags of garbage on the street, it's completely normal. Trust me.).

Imagine his surprise this morning when someone had placed all our garbage in the can and put it on the street.

The garbage mysteries continue!

Luckily for us, this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A CHI Flat Iron Review

I was given a CHI regular ol' flat iron for my 18th birthday, or for graduation. The details are fuzzy for me on what was a grad gift and was a birthday gift because (1) I was/am spoiled and (2) they occurred 2 days apart.

I used it. It was awesome. I think my mom spent just over $100 on it (they are usually less expensive now I think?). It always made my hair perfectly straight, and curled my hair beautifully as well.

It still does.

Through college, my roommate's flat irons would break. Each time, I'd recommend buying the kind I had. The response was, "Psh. I can't afford a hundred buck flat iron. I'll get my usual $20 one." Now, I can't fault anyone for not purchasing something they can't afford (this is a good quality, I'm pretty sure). But 3-4 months later, it would break again. And every 3-7 months my roommate was purchasing a new flat iron.

Until she finally purchased a CHI in our junior year.

I have never purchased another flat iron. My friend has never purchased another flat iron.

7.5 years later, it is still going strong. Where the cord connects to the tool, it is starting to separate, and while I do yearn to have a shiny new flat iron, it's nothing a little black electrical tape can't fix. It will live on.

Go buy a CHI. The original, regular kind.

The end.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reconciling

Scenario 1:

Scene: corner gas station, you're filling up on gas for the week. This gas station and intersection is frequented by people asking for money, as there are multiple bus stops within feet of each side of the intersection. You get asked for money 40-50% of the time that you come to fill up your tank.

Random woman walks up to you as you're finishing up at the pump, inquires, "Hey hon, do you happen to have 75 cents for the bus?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, I don't have cash on me today."

"Oh, don't worry about it! Sometimes you can help, sometimes you can't."

As you drive away, you watch the woman walking up the street, presumably on the path her bus would have taken her.

Scenario 2:

Scene: crowded food market across the street from your house. You come here probably once every other week or so for lunch.

After ordering your food, you pull out a $20 bill to pay. Someone reeking of alcohol rushes up to you as you are handed change, asking, "Hey, can you give me a couple bucks? Can you buy me lunch?"

"Sorry, no."

You leave the market place quickly and quietly, as you don't want the man to see where you live.

Scenario 3:

Scene: intersection on the way to church. The roads leading up to this intersection have a nice median with about 15-20 feet of grass between traffic. The grass is home to several tents, a mini Hooverville of sorts.

You sit in your car with your family inside. A woman who likely hasn't showered in weeks taps on your window, asking for change. She yells at you, pointing to her tent, "I LIVE RIGHT THERE! LOOK! I CAN PROVE IT!"

You politely smile and say hello.

Scenario 4:

Scene: most any busy intersection in our city.

A person holding a generic cardboard homeless sign walks up and down the rows of stopped traffic, head down, or big smile as he waves, or with just an emotionless stare. As the light turns green, he just stands there between lanes until all the traffic has passed and he can return to the sidewalk, to start over again when the light turns red.



Matthew 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him 
that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.



I've been pondering this a lot the last couple of years.

How do I give to everyone that asks, while still being self reliant and smart with money?

How do I balance the desire to help those who genuinely need or can benefit from my little donation with being wise about who I help? I've watched many people who wore homeless signs walk back to their homes. We've had a lifelong Baltimorean in our car who pointed to someone and said "Hey! That guy's not homeless! He's really rich - I know him!" with a big laugh. I see the same guy every week at the gas station asking for money to get home across the city because his car broke down.

I pay tithing, I pay fast offering, and I give extra when prompted to other things like the humanitarian fund on the tithes and offerings slip.

I understand that is giving and how I can give, but Jesus literally said in the Sermon on the Mount to give to everyone who asks.

Thoughts?

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Gift That Keeps Giving

I just got a notice in the mail from the director of finance at my previous job, notifying me to the balance in my 401(k) account, where the employer contribution from 2014 had been deposited (as a nonprofit, the board of directors would vote once a year on a set percentage to contribute, and the lump sum would be deposited yearly).

As bad of a move as this was, I never opened a 401(k) account at my last job (I know, I should have, especially as a math major. duh.).

The amount they deposited in the account I never created was not much. Only 5% of what I would've made in a month there.

But.

It was something.

They. are. awesome.

I want my job back. If only I could bring Claire along. ;)

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Think I'm Tired

Every news story or TV show or movie I watch lately keeps making me cry.

What gives.

Including a show I watched this weekend on Netflix - the Ben Carson Story.

Regardless of your political affiliations and opinions, this is a great movie. It's really inspired me to try better at life in general.

Go watch it.

And then turn the TV off and read some books.