15 December 2011

You might be a grad student if....

  1. ...you can identify universities by their internet domains.
    •  Who can't?
  2.  ...you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels. 
    • I'm not a huge novel person, unless there is something interesting in them. So....yes....
  3. ...you have difficulty reading anything that doesn't have footnotes.
    •  this is why I enjoy Jen Lancaster, she does footnotes.
  4.  ...you understand jokes about Foucoult. 
    •  I'd rather not comment.
  5. ...the concept of free time scares you. 
    •  What is this "free time" of which you speak?
  6. ...you consider caffeine to be a major food group
    •  HECK YES!!
  7. ....you've ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
    •  Done, and done.
  8. ...Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.
    •  Never did seem weird.
  9. ...the professor doesn't show up to class and you discuss the readings anyway. 
    •  Have done this, many times.
  10. ...you've ever travelled across two state lines specifically to go to a library. 
    •  Does InterLibrary loan count?
  11. ...you appreciate the fact that you get to choose *which* twenty hours out of the day you have to work.
    •  Yes, some days working all night was the only time I had to work. Then 4 hours of sleep was a luxury.
  12. ...you still feel guilty about giving students low grades (you'll get over it).
    •  I got over this one really fast.
  13. ...you can read course books and cook at the same time.
    •  Often to the detriment of my food, but not too often.
  14. ...you schedule events for academic vacations so your friends can come.
    •  Doesn't everyone? I mean, this is just common courtesy, right?
  15. ...you hope it snows during spring break so you can get more studying in.
    •  I'm in Utah, it did snow during Spring Bre....wait, I didn't get one.
  16. ...you've ever worn out a library card.
    •  Yes, I have. I maxed out my limit of books regularly. They shouldn't limit grad students to 50 books. Really? It's like they don't understand. (Someone overrode this for me, once.)
  17. ...you find taking notes in a park relaxing.
    •  You have to get fresh air at some point!
  18. ...you find yourself citing sources in conversation.
    •  Um.....no comment....
  19. ...you've ever sent a personal letter with footnotes.
    •  You guys read my blog. I'm sure you're not surprised that I've done this.*
  20. ...you can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
    •  Yes. Yes, I can.
  21. ...your carrel is better decorated than your apartment.
    •  During my thesis writing? Yes. It was.
  22. ...you have ever, as a folklore project, attempted to track the progress of your own joke across the Internet.
    •  I track words in the COCA. It's more my field's style.
  23. ...you are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read.
    •  These people are not normal!
  24. ...you have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar.
    •  Replace bar with just about any other place, and yes. I have.
  25. ...you rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
    •  Not just coffee shops.
  26. ...everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
    •  Everyone speaks, so this is not hard to do.
  27. ...you have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
    •  Yeah, I am ashamed. :-(
  28. ...you have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
    •  Well, no. Because I just put them all on my laptop. Scanning saved me HUNDREDS of dollars in copying costs.
  29. ...there is a microfilm reader in the library that you consider "yours."
    •  It's called the internet. But I did have areas of the library that I thought were "mine."
  30. ...you actually have a preference between microfilm and microfiche.
    •  Film. Actually, see above.
  31. ...you can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library. 
    •  Yes. And you know what times of day to avoid it.
  32. ...you look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes.
    •  You can get so much more done when there are professors around!
  33. ...you regard ibuprofen as a vitamin.
    •  It isn't?
  34. ...you consider all papers to be works in progress.
    •  They are. There is always more fine tuning.
  35. ...professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore.
    •  Nope, in fact, Dr. Manning actually told me something was less important (for another class, that wasn't his class) and to not worry about that, and to focus on the item he needed. (for publication, mind you.)
  36. ...you find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text. 
    •  Yes! Where did THEY find their information? And can I steal it?
  37. ...you have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
    •  Let's not talk about what my room looked like when I had all my thesis books.
  38. ...you have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
    •  If I have this elusive "free time," I feel like I'm not doing enough. That I'm being lazy and that I need to find something to do.
  39. ...you reflexively start analyzing those greek letters before you realize that it's a sorority sweatshirt, not an equation.
    •  Haha. Not so much for me, though I still think of some in terms of math.
  40. ...you find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade".
    •  Yeah, it's just easier to speak in terms they understand.
  41. ...you start refering to stories like "Snow White et al."
    •  It's her story, the rest just helped. So be concise, makes more sense.
  42. ...you frequently wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy. 
    •  Months.
  43. ...you look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
    •  Sometimes you did enough to get by. And if you couldn't, the clothes were worn anyway.
  44. ...you have more photocopy cards than credit cards.
    •  Again, I scanned to my laptop.
  45. ...you wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication". 
    • It should. Some of my best ideas came from talking to myself.

There you have it. Now, you know what I'm signing myself up for....

*time to footnote the source of the list: Penn State Math Department

07 December 2011

My Take on Modesty

This blog post made me happy*, sad, angry, defiant, and a whole host of other emotions. I especially empathized with her plight. But I'm a woman, so why wouldn't I?

Here's the thing. I'm okay with teaching modesty. I think it's important. I'm not okay with modesty lessons that teach women to feel like this writer did. That? Is unacceptable. As the blog author notes in a follow-up; defining modest isn't easy...because it's always in terms of someone else. I'll let you read what she says. But this quote is awesome:
"Just teaching girls to cover-up is a cop-out. Covering or uncovering isn’t the issue. The issue is why we do what we do. What’s important is to fight the idea that women are objects to be looked at, and that message is reinforced, not combated, when we teach the modesty doctrine."

As for me:

Growing up, I got the LDS perspective on modesty. I heard the "men are carnal, and if they see your ankle, they'll react like it's 1805**" lectures. I heard all of them, and my already twisted brain latched on to them to some degree. I don't blame any of my body image issues on the modesty talks. It wasn't their fault; I was already a bit messed up on that account.

However, thanks to my parents, those lessons never stuck. Ever.

We were only bought modest clothes. (Except for our shorts, but YOU try finding modest shorts when you have freakishly long legs like my sister and I have! Haha.) Why were we only bought modest clothes? Because of the Temple. From a young age, my parents made the Temple a central goal for us. Why buy clothes, then, that we would just have to modify or throw away when we went to the Temple? It didn't make sense.

What this resulted in, when I did go through the Temple 3.5 years ago, was that I did not own any clothes that I couldn't still wear post-Temple covenants. All of my clothes were still appropriate. I was proud of myself, for that fact. I'd been warned by friends that my wardrobe would drastically shrink. It did not.

The other thing my parents did well -- without realizing it? -- was that modesty was also encouraged as self-respect. It was never about "men are carnal animals that you're responsible for" it was always about me. My self-worth and my self-respect were at the forefront of the teaching.

Even my brothers were encouraged to be modest. My mom never understood how it was okay for men to wear sleeveless shirts, but not women. My brothers weren't allowed to wear tank tops. They weren't allowed to wear shirts that had no sleeves. And they wore undershirts under their white shirts (because, those are, in fact, see-through, fellas! Hate to break it to you.) so that they were equally modest.

In my house modesty was for everyone, not just girls. And it was never about the other-sex's response to what we wore. I never felt that if I tried to wear a tank top my parents would chastise me with "you look like a slut in that, go cover up."

(To be quite honest, my sister and I walked around our house in jeans and our bras as we got ready in the morning. Why? Because, you try getting ready in a HOT bathroom fully dressed. And as long as we're in full-disclosure here: when we would change in front of everyone, we did get in trouble. "You're brothers/dad are here!" Yeah, and if they're staring at me..that's gross...and not my problem. They just didn't look. They didn't want to see it. It's called respect...at least in my family it is. Oh, the immodesty stories I can tell***....haha...someday...someday....)

I'm glad I had such an open/honest family. It saved me from the worst of these lectures (and so much more!). And to be fair, this isn't LDS specific (clearly!). I've heard these discussions in other religious and non-religious circles. It's an epidemic that needs to be stopped.

The way I dress does not make me the person to blame for your inability to behave/keep your thoughts in check. The way I dress is up to me, and the image I want to portray to the world. In other words, if I want people to think I'm a hipster, I'll dress like one. If I want to be taken seriously at work, I'll dress professionally and not casually. Etc. That's it.

I love clothes. I love playing with them and changing the way I look by changing my shirt. It's fun. Dressing in the morning, should be fun. You should look at yourself in the mirror and think "Damn! I look good." Without even a smidgen of regret for looking good. Because you have a right to love yourself. And that includes loving the way your clothes look on you.

*******The original blog post is great, and I'm not trying to minimize her experience or anyone who had similar experiences, just trying to offer my perspective and my experience.*******

*Happy because my parents were awesome and counter-acted problems. So I was happy that I had a good family, and then sad that others were so negatively effected by these types of lessons.
**The Shins - Turn a Square. Look it up. Love it.
***They're really great, and mostly involve me...so they're not going to be full-disclosure on other family members.

Much Love...

Miss Megan - the snow was taller than her.
Do you know why I love this girl? Besides the fact that she's absolutely beautiful?

Because, when I told her I was going to "squeeze the stuffing out of her" (a.k.a hug her) she responded "but I don't have stuffing."

Yep, she's one smart kid.

06 December 2011

How to Know that I Care...

Because I never choose anything over sleep.

**I'm sorry if the swearing bothers you.**

27 November 2011

Hugo: Amazing

Tonight, I saw Hugo. Amazing. This movie is worth the 3D experience. It's beautifully done in that respect.

The story is rather cute, and though some things are predictable, overall, the movie doesn't disappoint in the story telling. It reminds us of where movies came from. It reminds us to not forget the past and to love every minute of our lives.

It is beautiful.

25 November 2011


I blame my Grandmas for this.

22 November 2011

Today's Rant Brought to You by the Number 31

It's a 2 part rant.

Part 1:
I dislike my ward. There are a few people in the ward I like. Let me be clear. There are about 5 people I feel I have any sort of real connection with. That's it. Going to Church should be relaxing and uplifting. I find it stressful. I shouldn't feel so out of place in a ward where people are my age. But I do. A lot.

We're supposed to be each others family. But my ward members live with their families (for the most part), so why do they need a ward family? They don't. The people I get along with don't live with their families and need a ward family to help sustain them. So what it comes down to is this, my ward is very cliquish,  split down the middle with people that grew up together on one side, and those of us transplants on the other. Very few people cross this line. I've tried. It doesn't work.

Which means, that if I am still in this ward when I turn 31, I will not be upset to leave. At all.

Which brings me to Part 2:
There are three types of wards in Utah. (I have to specific here because the second type I mention only exists in Utah.)

  1. Young Single Adult: This is for anyone age 18-31, and single (unmarried).
  2. Mid-Singles: This is for anyone age 31+, and single (unmarried).
  3. Family: anyone can attend these wards, but if you fall into one of the other demographics, you're encouraged to go to those wards.
This age distinction seems rather arbitrary to me, and for those who know me: I HATE ARBITRARY RULES!! </yelling>

I get why they don't want someone who is 40 in a ward with 18 year olds. I understand. I do. But the way we currently define the wards seems silly. I'm 29 and in a YSA ward. I have no connection to the kids who are 18-22. None. At all. I have more in common with my roommates (who attend the Mid-Singles) than I do with ANYONE in my ward. But I can't go to their ward, and they can't come to mine. Silly.

What really bugs me, is that this distinction cuts people off. Say I liked my ward, and I got kicked out at 31. Then what? I'm now cut off from the people who had been supporting me through my life. And I have to start over at one of the most difficult times in my life? Not cool. It explains why a lot of people my age go in-active. We know we don't fit into the ward life. We know that no one really knows what to do with us. We're aberrant. Anomalies. And we feel it.

So, what I propose is simply new distinctions. Something along the following lines:

  1. Young Single Adult: 18-25. This will cover most people IN college. And give you a bit of time after you're done with your schooling.
  2. Single Adult: 26-35 (about there...I mean, it is, after all, arbitrary, right?)
  3. Family: Anyone. At all. :)
Seems a better division to me. I don't feel like a Young Adult. I am an adult. I've been through college, I have an advanced degree. And I'm in a ward where most people are still working on their first degree. Or are still figuring out what they want to do, so not in school...not really working either...Mom and Dad take care of that, right?

Can we agree that something needs to change, at the very least?!

21 November 2011

So...funny story...

I blame Cindy and Confuzzled for my lack of posting this weekend. And they can't really say it wasn't their fault. Haha.

I think there is a misconception that people of faith (any faith) are blindly obedient to their leaders. While this does, in fact, happen, I don't believe that all faithfuls are 100% behind their beliefs 100% of the time. I know I'm not. But! I think this is normal and healthy. You grow from struggle. You learn from doubt. And so, I give you a little Oscar Wilde for your morning:
"To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die."
Foster a bit of doubt. It might just renew your faith.

17 November 2011

Book Club: Lolita

It always amazes me, how much we can talk about at book club. We never are quite able to stay focused on the book, and someone is always bringing us back to it. "To come full circle...."

We're currently reading Lolita, though. This book doesn't allow you to not talk about it. THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY.

The writing is fabulous. Nabokov wrote it in English. Wait, that's a Russian name. But yes, this man is trilingual. So when he writes a book for the English market, he writes it in English. He doesn't write in his native tongue, and wait for someone to translate. Also? Hello, I need a dictionary. It's great. I can understand what he's saying without looking up some of the words, but holy crud! His vocabulary is EXTENSIVE.

You're meant to hate the narrator. And you will.

However, like anyone else who has read this book, it's a definite must read. You can't really explain it's brilliance until you've experienced it.

I'm sure not everyone loves this book, but there is something about it, that is truly unique and amazing.

15 November 2011

Ducks: Explained

This linguistic moment is brought to you courtesy of Wikipedia's page on ducks.

The word duck comes from Old English *dūce "diver", a derivative of the verb *dūcan "to duck, bend down low as if to get under something, or dive", because of the way many species in the dabbling duck group feed by upending; compare with Dutch duiken and German tauchen "to dive".

This word replaced Old English ened/ænid "duck", possibly to avoid confusion with other Old English words, like ende "end" with similar forms. Other Germanic languages still have similar words for "duck", for example, Dutch eend "duck" and German Ente "duck". The word ened/ænid was inherited from Proto-Indo-European; compare: Latin anas "duck", Lithuanian ántis "duck", Ancient Greek nēssa/nētta (νῆσσα, νῆττα) "duck", and Sanskrit ātí "water bird", among others.

Some people use "duck" specifically for adult females and "drake" for adult males, for the species described here; others use "hen" and "drake", respectively.

A duckling is a young duck in downy plumage[1] or baby duck;[2] but in the food trade young adult ducks ready for roasting are sometimes labelled "duckling"

And because no duck post is complete without a picture:

Baby Mallards

Still Battling Sleeping Issues....

But over all, today was a much better day. :)

So here's a gratuitous picture of me and my "boyfriend":

He just had a birthday, recently! Yay, for birthdays. He's a cutie.

13 November 2011

No Snappy Title Today, Sorry

Yesterday, I missed blogging. Why? Well, two reasons...
  1. I had blood work done
  2. I started Prednisone.
Blood work and I are not friends, I pass out if care is not taken. Then I'm "out of it" for several hours afterwards. I managed to take a nap, which was happy since I started the Prednisone after my blood work.

Why is a nap a happy thing? Well, Prednisone is known to cause sleep issues. I slept 5 unrestful hours last night. Tried to take a nap today, and managed about 30 minutes in the 2 hours I was laying down.

Also? My legs ache. I hate it. I can't get comfortable, even if I want to. I've tried everything.

Moral of the story? If your doctor tells you that he's treating you with Prednisone...tell him "no, thank you" even if you know it's the only thing that will work.

11 November 2011

What Does It Say About Me?

What does it mean when all my plants have to be lined up in a row. I can't have a row with multiple plant types. It just doesn't happen.

10 November 2011

I (will) Have a PhD....in Horribleness!

Well, not exactly...but I will tell people that I do. :) Because? It's funny.

I got my GRE scores back today.

Verbal: 159 (equivalent to a 590)
Quantitative: 155 (equivalent to a 700-710)

(I know, doesn't make sense to me either.)

I'm in.

Anywhere I want to go. I'm in. I did it. And there is no one awake to scream in joy with me!


09 November 2011

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends...


Beautiful kids, beautiful signing, beautiful message.

Speaking of beautiful:

I miss signing.

08 November 2011

Sometimes...The Answer is "No"

Usually, anniversaries* are happy events. Someone is born, married, engaged, etc. Some anniversaries, however, are not happy events.

Yesterday, my parents celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary. The were sealed 31 years ago. Yay! Happy.

Today? Today marks the one year mark of a miracle that did not happen. I'd tried to shut down from feeling, so that this day could pass and I could pretend that everything was fine.

But, this is not healthy behavior.

So I sat down and let myself feel the emotions that had been carefully locked away. I let the tears fall, I let myself know that it is human to miss people. Even with all the religious reasons to feel at peace and happy. It's okay to miss people. It's okay to feel upset. It's okay to not understand.

You move forward anyway. Slowly you pick up the pieces and figure it out.

Today, I miss my cousin. Today, I feel empathy for the pain his parents are suffering. For all who loved him, today, I wish you some ounce of peace.

*I originally typed "anniversaires" the French plural. /sigh

Monday 11/7

Sorry, no blog post yesterday. I fell asleep really early. Which is to say prior to 10. I had planned a post, and forgot.

My Monday was "awesome"? How about you?

Sunday, I learned what my "low tire pressure" light looks like. I just assumed the cold weather had brought this one, and planned on adding a bit o'air to the tires on the way to work.

I never made it to work. I did, however, discover how easy it is to call my roadside assistance line and set up a stranded girl appointment. I had someone come put my spare on for me, and then drove the "screwed tire" to Les Scwab to fix.

My car is happy again. :)

06 November 2011

A Quick Sunday Thought.

Blessings of the priesthood are shared by men and women. All may qualify for baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. All may take upon themselves the name of the Lord and partake of the sacrament. All may pray and receive answers to their prayers. Gifts of the Spirit and testimonies of the truth are bestowed regardless of gender. Men and women receive the highest ordinance in the house of the Lord together and equally, or not at all (see D&C 131:1–3).

- Russell M. Nelson "Woman -- Of Infinite Worth" October 1989

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...


6 inches. Yep.

(Note this was Nov. 5...Remember, remember the fifth of November...)

05 November 2011

Grumpy is as Grumpy Does....

Yesterday, I had a meeting at work. 45 minutes into it, we all find out that we are going to round-robin read our way through a document. <sigh>

The meeting leader started out reading. M chimed in that she thought this was a silly idea and that maybe we should not proceed. The leader seemed to take some offense at this and made a comment along the lines of "too bad, this is what we're doing."

At which point I chimed in and mentioned that I have no attention span and would not be able to pay attention to the reading and if the people who had made the document would like to point out specific concerns and highlights, then that would be more effective use of our time.

A jumped in at this point to say that there isn't really anything specific the creators had to mention and that reading it through would be a great way to familiarize ourselves with it.

I restated that it felt like we were being treated like we were 2. And that if we made mistakes in our editing because we hadn't read the document than that was on us and we should be held responsible for that. But having us all read this (over the phone, mind you) in a round-robin setting was not the best option. That my attention span would not allow for it and I'd much rather read it on my own later.

The meeting leader said "that's unfortunate" and continued with the reading. I hung up. And muttered something about "oops, my phone just hung itself up."

The meeting ended a few minutes later. I asked my coworker K if someone else had complained since the meeting had ended early. He said "yes, but they handled it better than you did." Oh wait, he didn't say it as much as he barked/yelled it at me.

So I asked another coworker, J, if she thought I'd been rude. This had not been my intent. She replied that it did come across that way. M started a conversation with me in which she thanked me for sticking up for her and stating the same concerns. I asked if I'd been rude, and she said "I didn't think you were being rude, but I know you.

So I apologized to those I had interacted with. I just couldn't believe that no one took M's concerns seriously. And treated her like she didn't know what she was talking about. Also, I was the only one willing to voice what everyone else was thinking. (Several in the meeting came to me after the meeting and said they had all been thinking what I had said. I was just the only one to say it.)

Generally speaking, I'm very quiet in meetings. If I do voice dissent, it's done in a very cordial manner and I usually don't care enough about what is being discussed to actually fight for anything. But yesterday? Apparently, something snapped. Probably from the blatent lack of regard the meeting leader showed for one of her coworkers. I really hate that.  You don't have to like our opinions, but you do need to be respectful.

But what bugged me the most about this was not that I was called out for being rude. I needed that. And I appreciated M and J for telling me that I was rude, but they understood I wasn't intending to be rude. (The two I apologized to also said  I came across rude, but understood my point and were not upset with me.) What bugged me the most was K's reaction and his rude behavior towards me. The very thing he was upset with me about, he was doing to me.

What makes this even stickier is that K and I are friends. We get along quite well most days and even have done things outside of work. Friends get to be grumpy with each other on occasion. I can't really issue a complaint to my boss about it, because K was probably reacting as a friend and not as a coworker. And today, we're fine. He didn't apologize to me (which, he probably should...but I won't push it), but he did reach out to me as a friend.

Maybe he was having a bad day and just used his friend as a person to release frustration. Doesn't mean he was right, but maybe there was something else bugging him. <shrugs> I just ignored him the rest of the day, and would have continued to do so today if he hadn't extended a small olive branch.

03 November 2011

More Conversations with a Four Year Old

Who is apparently turning 16 this year, who knew?!

It's been a week or so since I had this conversation with my nephew. My sister was doing something in the kitchen, Maxwell talked to me...then Wesley came over and there was a kerfuffle over the phone that ended with Maxwell crying. However, I had talked to him for a good 5 minutes before Wesley came on the scene. It's hard being 3 when no one is being nice to you!

M: Maxwell, I already talked to you, it's Wesley's turn. Wesley, do you have the phone or did Max take it?

W: Mommy has a phone. Daddy has a phone. I don't have a phone. I need a phone.

M: You need a phone? But you're just a little guy!

W: YEAH! I'm too little. I need to grow up!

M: I think you have a few years to go before you will need a phone.

W: Yeah, I need to be bigger so I can have a phone.

Ah, kids. They certainly make me smile. A lot.

02 November 2011

Reconciling the Past and Present

As an LDS woman, I belong to a group known as the Relief Society. Like any good society, we have a president, two counselors, and a secretary. For my local group, I am the 1st Counselor. This means that I am in charge of making sure lessons get taught each Sunday.

I'm currently working on a lesson for this coming Sunday. Being that it is November, I'd tentatively planned on doing a lesson on "Thanksgiving." Lame, I know. After talking with my friend, Cinderella*, I decided to modify my lesson and title it "Being Thankful for Me!" I think too many of the women in my Church see their life as a formula, or a checklist. Then if we don't check off the items in the right order, or on some right time table, we feel frustration and like something is wrong.**

I'm in the researching stages. I could live in the research forever, those who know me understand that I just love to do the research and see where it takes me and then when the research is deemed done (it's never really done), I love talking about the research and spreading the knowledge around.

I did a preliminary search of General Conference talks for titles that seemed to fit my need. I pulled up several and made a list. Now, I'm carefully reading each and then marking it off my list. (Taking copious notes, and gleaning ideas along the way.)

I don't make any apologies for my lack of connection with the current General President*** of the Relief Society. I have never been able to make a connection with her or what she teaches us when she talks. I do have a connection to one of the counselors, but that was made independent of her talks. She's an amazing woman. I'm sure the president is as well, but I can't bring myself to like her.

In the past, we've had some great presidencies. I don't always remember their names or their teachings with clarity, but I remember feeling like they loved me and that they wanted me to know that God loved me and that our life plans were so interesting and unique that no one could have a simple checklist to mark off. Checklists don't exist. Not tidy ones at least...

I lamented to a friend, that I miss the leaders of the past. I cited Sister Sheri L. Dew as one that I particularly missed. I remember listening to her speak and I KNEW that I could do anything and be anything and that a checklist for my life would be a silly means to gauge my success and failures. She talked about living the Gospel, about not being ashamed to be different. She embraced being a people that were meant to stand out from the crowd. She was a progressive, forward-thinking individual....like many who taught along side her.

Our current president seems more concerned with a 1950s ideal for womanhood, than actually teaching me anything useful for MY life. She speaks to a specific demographic, and I feel left out and like I don't belong in her worldview.

I can honestly say that I had not felt that way until the last few years. I can honestly say she has greatly influenced me and my feelings of discontent. I can honestly say I will not be sad when she is released. (I do understand, that I am the only one responsible for how I feel, but she doesn't help the situation.)

How do you reconcile the past that seemed to speak of a bright and beautiful future, with a present that leaves you feeling like you're left out of that once bright and beautiful future?

*My friend, Cinderella, is the author of Cinderella's Pear. She blogs about food issues and dealing with living gluten-free, allergy-free, and the like. Check her out!

**Please note, this is not a criticism of my faith or my Church. This checklist issue is bigger than any one demographic. I guarantee you ask anybody about what they thought their life would be, they would have a list of things. Whether they accomplish their goals or not, everyone has a checklist.

***In the LDS faith, each level of leadership is mirrored up a ladder. The local level has wards, and each ward has a mirrored copy of the highest level of organization. We call that level the "General" level since it covers the whole Church. Those of us on the ground-level are often referred to as "local leaders" haha. There are several levels between the local level and the general level. Much like the Catholic organization has churches (or parishes); a dioceses (over several parishes); and so on up to the Pope.

01 November 2011

Only Bite You Forever!

Too Funny.

So, apparently, having an emotional breakdown on God has the same effect as having an emotional breakdown on any man. He steps up His game.

Last night was Halloween, as I'm sure you're all aware. I cried over a box of donuts and apple cider. It's like my grandma left a HUGE hole in my life. Not saying that the way we're working the traditions isn't a great thing. Just saying that sometimes, you see the things she used to do and she's not there doing them, and you just lose it. And, you start crying. And then, you start praying. And then, you breakdown emotionally, and God does what any man would do when faced with a sobbing girl: He tries to fix it. (Ever notice the panicked look in a man's eye when you start crying? Hilarious, when you think about it.)

So enter today and ridiculousness ensues.

Friends popped out of the woodwork and started saying "let's get together and do something*!"

Some start by posting on Facebook an innocent comment, with an innocent request to get together and chat. And then chaos ensues, with not-so-random name dropping and planning. (it's all on Facebook, if you want to see it.)

Then you tell your work friend about the "something" and she says "romance in the work place rears its head once again." And you say, "planning the marriage; we like the idea of 6/6/12." Because that? is ridiculous at it's core.

And that, is my life. My week went from dull and lifeless to one big mess of things to do and places to go.

So crying is just as effective on God as it is on the mortal variety of man**.

*Doesn't this movie look beyond ridiculous?! Holy hijinks, Batman!

**Though, I would imagine this is more Heavenly Mother's doing. She probably hit Him and said "you do something now, or I will...and YOU won't like WHAT I DO."

06 October 2011

Conversations with a Four Year Old

I called my sister today, on the way home from work, as I always do. She put me on speaker so that she could change Nolan's diaper. Maxwell took the opportunity to say hi to me, and to tell me he loves me. Then Wesley took over the call:

W: Hi No-No!

M: Hi Wesley! I love you!

W: I love you, too, No-No! What you doing?

M: Driving.

W: Where you going?

M: I just got done with work; I'm driving to my house now.

W: You should come here and we can make pancakes together.

M: I wish I could! But I can't.

W: Why not?

M: I live in Utah; you live in Idaho.

...conversation continues a bit on various topics I don't know what he was talking about...but Wesley said they were going to Wal-Mart to get taco supplies...

W: You should come make tacos with us!

M: Wesley, it would take me 5 hours to get there! You'd be in bed by the time I got there!

W: Oh...hang on a second...we need to figure out how to get you here faster!

HAHAHAHAHA. That kid cracks me up.

04 October 2011

Air Show...

I don't have many photos from the day, my camera battery died...and I was without charger. But here they are:

I learned I could add captions. Fun!

That's one big plane!

 "Look, Boss! De plane!!"

 Oh man, I look scary here. 
Good thing Squish makes up for it.

 "So Daddy, what does that do again?"

 Charles and the Squish next to a plane.

"You can't make me leave!"
"Wanna bet?"
Then my camera died. 

On a side note: I can figure out how to edit one photo per blog. Then it just starts saving over the other edit. Hence, only one with a fun quote on it. <sigh> I will beat you picnik!

03 October 2011

My 25th Birthday - at Nicole's place

Thanks to my great friend Nicole, I had a birthday party to celebrate my quarter century on earth (plus shipping and handling).

 The spread, and cake.

 Andee and Becky being themselves...

 Being Asian...

 Being Indian...or South-east Asian...
 Joseph handled the "man-work"
 Miss Nicole and Miss Megan

 The cake had the requisite 25 candles
 All lit up and no where to go.

 I only managed to blow out like 8 of the candles;
that fact may have made my night.
 Joseph "fixed" the name for me.

 Each time I removed a candle,
Andee added a candy corn.

 Why dirty plates?

Joseph tried to split a candle in two
and learned that this was rather dangerous...
to say the least.

I really have great friends who make my life enjoyable...It was a great birthday, thanks y'all!!

28 July 2011

Listening for the Spirit

This will be a short testimony of sorts.

People talk about hearing a voice. This is a common theme. They heard someone say "do this" or "you should call" or any combination of what are normal thoughts, but don't quite feel like your own.

Today, that didn't happen for me.

I had a friend mention to me that she had felt something off happen. We got back to work and she headed away from her desk. I didn't see her go. When I turned to comment on my sandwich, she wasn't at her desk. My first thought was "oh, she did decide to go eat on the balcony." But then I remembered her comment from earlier. I looked again. Her sandwich was still on her desk. I put two and two together and got four. I went to the bathroom and found her there.

After helping her out and collecting her work items, she thanked me for coming. She'd been pleading with the Lord to send someone to help her. And I came. I didn't feel particularly inspired to go. Just thought I should see if she was okay when I went to use the restroom myself.

But truth be told, if I hadn't need to use the restroom myself, I would have waited several minutes more before going to find her.

Sometimes the Spirit doesn't sound like an actual voice. He can bring understanding to your mind when you most need it. And that's what He did for me today. He helped me understand enough that I acted when I didn't know why. Wasn't even thinking that my friend was in distress or that something was amiss.

Be open to understanding.

28 June 2011

This *Literally* Made Me Cry

From happiness. 

Also, read the comments. They're great. Especially the ones that mention wishing Church could be a place where we discuss our struggles and really share with each other.

Wouldn't that be nice?

24 June 2011

Ah...the Good Ol'Days

Looking back at photos of old-school bedrooms, you'll not one thing, and one thing in particular: lack of furniture and stuff.
Notice: Bed. Dresser. Desk. That's it! I guarantee that there is nothing else in the room, except maybe and armoire. Simple. Nothing much.

Why happened to the days when rooms weren't full of stuff. And superfluous things. Old homes even tended to lack extra things in other rooms of the house. The sitting room/parlor/living room/etc had chairs to sit in, a rug, and a couple small tables. Maybe a piano.

When did we become a nation of collectors of unimportant things? Why are our lives so crowded by things that we don't have room to live?

My bedroom is home to a bed, a bedside table, a dresser, a desk (that doesn't even function as a desk right now, it holds my TV), a filing cabinet that is home to my printer, a set of shelves, and a shoe shelf.

I lack floor space to do anything in my room. Granted, I'm renting a single room in a house, but still. I can't wait for the day that I can have my bedroom be my bedroom. My living room, a living room. My home, a home.

*sigh* One day!

23 June 2011

Forget Getting Out of Debt

You know all those feel good stories you hear in conference about how they committed to getting out of debt and BAM! the answer/solution fell right into their laps?

Bullshit. All of it.

Or, I just have an EXTREME case of the luck o'the Irish. When it comes to finances. Among other things.

So yeah. If you make a commitment to get out of debt, don't worry...here's how it'll play out for you. A TRUE story.

First, you'll get a decent job and be all "suh-weet! no debt here I come."

Then, you'll get laid off from said job. Thus INCREASING your debt just so you can survive. You know...food and all? Plus, you may become anemic. Meat is pricey. Can't just go eating that whenever you want. However, you will have an AWESOME friend that will help ensure you are getting enough iron...Once she realizes that you aren't getting enough. Tender mercy? I think so.

After that, you'll actually finish your Master's degree and think "<sigh of relief!> now, I can find lucrative work and start paying this debt down.

You won't.

You'll find work as a receptionist that BARELY pays enough for you to meet minimum payments. Oh, and this? doesn't include money for anything after the minimum payments.

You'll finally get out of that job into a job that pays more than you've ever earned. And you'll think "finally! I can pay off my debt and live DEBT FREE and SAVE MONEY and HAVE FOOD STORAGE. Nope.

You will find that THIS is the exact time that everything that you NEED starts to cost you an arm and a leg.

My check engine light came on today. Pray it's cheap. Or I may just fall off the bandwagon. Because, I literally can't take this anymore.

I pay my tithing. I'm going to church. I even went to church when I was feeling like I didn't belong and cried every Sunday because of that. But I went. I just can't do this anymore. I just want to be obedient. And I can't.

22 June 2011

Ducks, Better Late than Never

I missed my obligatory blog post about ducks. I suck. Sorry.

So here are some African ducks, as seen at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

Why are the African? Well, they were in the Safari exhibit, so they MUST be African.

21 June 2011

Re: Cloud Walking

Well, I'm not sure what needs to be said here. Because part of the news is good, and part is "get off your butt and keep fighting."

I'll explain.

I sent a proposal on ideas I have for the YW's manual to one of the brethren that oversees the YW program (with the General Presidency). He hasn't responded. I sent a follow-up email and still have heard nothing. I need to get off my butt and keep fighting for this, but I just haven't found motivation to call. Mostly because I'm a coward.

The good news is rather simple. I met with Sister Allred, and she is the feistiest petite woman I know. There was a disconnect in our conversations at first, but by the end I felt like I'd met a kindred spirit.

To summarize (and I'll try to post more details later):
  • She and the others are aware and concerned about the aging demographic of single women.
  • She promised me our mothers cry for us at night. (I did try to argue against this one. It just seems silly that my mom would cry over something as trivial as this when she has shed tears over things mothers should never cry about. But Sister Allred was insistent.)
  • The above statement means this: they (as a presidency) are likewise concerned.
  • She was emphatic that if we as sisters don't feel like we belong in our wards/stakes then it is the male leadership that has failed. The Bishop is the shepherd of the ward, if we are not feeling like we belong, then the responsibility falls to him to help us. If we ask for callings, calling changes, better home or visiting teachers, he needs to comply. Because these things can help ease our loneliness and help us feel needed and useful.
  • She doesn't understand why men don't marry us because WE. ARE. AWESOME.
Overall, good meeting. I left feeling like I had been heard, and maybe...just maybe, the next time Sister Allred speaks she'll talk to us. About us. Beacuse, she really does love us. That I know.

20 June 2011

I Only Have Myself to Blame

I work all day as an editor.

I also am helping write articles for my job.

I go home at night, and I don't get a break from all of this.

I have a book I'm trying to help get published (by being an assistant editor.)

I have a book chapter that needs revisions so that it can be published.

I have a presentation that needs revisions. (For those that don't know, this means I have a paper that needs revisions and about a week before the presentation, I'll have to create said presentation.)

I guess it's a good thing I love doing this? Because honestly? I should be feeling burned out by now.

19 May 2011

Red Iguana? Over-hyped.

I went to Red Iguana....once...

We didn't have to wait that long, but I was completely underwhelmed by the food. Completely. I had such high expectations that I was really looking forward to it.

Imagine my disappointment though, when I could only try one of their moles. I'm (mildly) allergic to peanuts so most of them were off-limits. The one I did try, seemed bland to me. See, I'm a spicy-food-loving girl. I was raised on it. Yum. These moles (my foodie friend that was with me tried all of them and agrees) had impressive lists of ingredients, but when tasted they fell flat to me. There really was no flavor layering or complexity.

Think of it this way: It was like taking 5 paints and mixing them together for brown. Instead of each color maintaining some semblance of its former self. That's what these flavors did. They blended together so much that the food tasted brown. There was no discernible remnants of where the flavors came from. It was just brown, and not beautifully layered flavors.

I know that Guy Fieri loved the moles and said they were "money." We are all entitled to our opinions.

I don't get the Red Iguana worship. I really don't. I've had much better Mexican food in my day. And you can get food that compares (extremely well) other places. I recently read a review of Red Iguana that said "The food was great, there is no doubt about that, but not so out of this world impressive that I would turn up and queue for a long period." There is probably no way I will eat there again (lactose intolerance aside, I love to eat Mexican food. But the stomach ache is not worth the Red Iguana....), unless it was for a friend and I loved that friend a good deal. She knows who she is. ;)

The food isn't bad. I'm not saying it is, I'm just saying it's unimpressive and over-hyped.

24 March 2011

RE: Jon's Mom

Your mom's arms are so short, she has to tilt her head to scratch her ear!


Your mom's so old she's in Jesus's yearbook!

That's all

10 March 2011

Walking on Clouds

For those that don't know, I met with a General Authority (GA) yesterday. He is a friend's uncle, and I got the hook-up. I know that I'm lucky to have a friend with an uncle who is a GA, because this is not a normal occurrence for most Church members.

Thank you, dear friend. You totally made my day...make that life!

The meeting was more than I could have hoped for. We talked about how it's hard to be a single adult in the Church.

I'm not talking in-college-single-adult. I'm talking career-holding-single-adult over the age of about 25. Up until then, singleness is tolerated fairly well. At my age, it's looked on with pity, uncertainty, and even disdain. (Not by all, but all three have been directed towards me in one way or another.)

People like me are given advice:
  • Well, if you just did ..... I bet you'd find a guy.
  • You know I bet it's because guy's find you ..... so if you were less ..... I bet you'd find a guy.
  • You can be a mom too, we're meant to be nurturers and you can nurture without being married and having your own kids!
Thanks, but none of this is good advice and to all of you, I call your bullshit. Thanks, but none of this is actually helpful to anyone who is single. It makes us secretly hate you. Clearly, you're married and oh-so-incredibly-happy and that makes you an expert on getting married and being happy even if I'm not married! Neither of those is true.

Anyway, I digress. The Elder I met with, told me that he agrees that the plight of the singles isn't great. That the Church once upon a time had a council who's sole purpose in being was to make sure our needs were being addressed and taken care of. This council hasn't existed in about over 30 years. He'd like to see it reinstated. I would too.

We talked about how I feel it's harder to be female and single in the Church. (I'm not trying to minimize the plight of the single men, I promise.) You see, there's a difference in what the young men are taught and what the young women are taught. Go ahead, do a quick comparison. I'll wait.....

See? We are taught, as young women when we are most impressionable, that we are only meant to marry and have babies and be great home makers. There are a few lessons on choosing vocations, getting educations, being independent...but we all know that we won't need those lessons. We're to be wives! mothers! and we'll rock at it.

Until it doesn't happen.

I pointed out this discrepancy to the Elder, and he said "that scope is much too narrow! I agree with you."

He wants me to talk to the Relief Society General President about my current situation. (And others like me.) He wants me to talk to the Priesthood leader who leads the council over the Primary, Young Men, Young Women, Relief Society, Elder's Quorum about possibly changing the curriculum to be more inclusive...without diminishing our divine roles.

He's asked me to sit down and figure out what I would have liked to have been taught, now with hindsight in my favor. And present that to those who can make a difference.

I can't even tell you what this feels like. Some emotions: nervous, happy, scared, ecstatic, joy, terror, freedom, validation, vindication..........

I feel like God is smiling down on me. Like He is opening up a path to me that I couldn't have dreamed of walking down. It's as if He is saying, "look, this is why you've done all you've done and why things were the way they were. I needed you to do this."

But most of all. I feel like my grandma is proud of me.

I miss you Grandma. This is for you.

07 January 2011

The Ocean of Grief

Have you ever experienced grief? Specifically, grief from the loss of a loved one? It sucks. That's all there is to it.

I've experienced a lot of grief of this nature in my life. A lot. Twenty times or so. I've counted. In one of my darker moments I started a mental list of all the people who's passing had a direct effect on my life. I came up with 20. I won't list them out here, because that's personal. But grief and I are on a first name basis.

Here's what I've learned about grief: it's a bitch. But it's very predictable...if you understand the ocean and how it works. I'll explain:

First, let's talk about waves. Waves are comprised of two parts: the crest and the trough. The crest is the high point, and the trough is the low point. See Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Waves Explained
Imagine you are visiting the ocean. The water is calm, it's so calm that it is perfectly still. You walk out into the ocean and you stop when the water hits your chest. As you're standing there, the waves start to pick up. As the waves grow you notice that when the crest washes over you, you're completely submerged. (If you remain flat footed on the ocean floor.) But when you're in the trough portion of the wave, the water is only at your waist. This is how waves work.

As waves wash up on the shore, the surface water is moving in, but below the surfaces the water is moving backwards. This ebb and flow can create a situation where the water stops washing up to the shore and instead gets caught in a tumble that builds until the ocean waves behind gather enough steam to push the water forward. If you've spent time standing calf deep in the water, you'll understand this phenomenon. (Refer back to Figure 1: the "orbital path of water, is similar to this...only closer to the shore.)

Imagine standing calf deep, and feeling this tumble of water. Now, your feet are sinking deeper in the sand as the water moves the sand around you. When the big burst of water comes up from behind you are knocked off balance and will find yourself submerged - mostly.

Grief acts in much the same way as the ocean. It hits you in the same way the waves do. When you're first thrown into the sea of grief you find yourself chest deep in the ocean. That first wave comes at you and you feel like you're drowning. That you're never going to be able to breathe again. Then the trough comes. You're able to plant your feet back down and gather your strength back to you. Until the next wave hits, and you're struggling to break the surface again.

Slowly, you're able to get yourself back, near the shore of normal life. You can see it in front of you, tempting you, calling your name. But you're feet are stuck in place, held there by the swirling grief that is still trying to keep you back, preventing you from moving on. As you're getting ready to take that last step out of grief, you find that sudden slam of grief that hits your from behind. You're knocked off your feet again, but this time your head remains above the grief. You momentarily panic, but you're able to recover faster than before. And slowly, you step out of the grief and into normal. It is a new normal, but normal nonetheless.

The secret to surviving grief: don't fight it. If you start fighting the ocean, you will drown. If you fight grief, it will destroy you. Ride the waves, and they will slowly move you back to normal.

I return to the ocean. When you're out in the middle of the waves and you pick up your feet, you can start riding the waves. Think of the surfers - they don't get caught in a perpetual crest/trough cycle. By riding the waves, they are returned to the shoreline. Like them, those found in grief can ride the waves to the shore. By picking up your feet and allowing yourself the chance to feel the grief, to experience the grief, you will allow yourself to heal and return to normal. When you try to keep your feet on the ground, and you fight against the grief because you don't want to feel, you keep yourself stuck where the grief will beat you until you can not stand anymore.

Grief is not there to destroy you, it's there to help you heal. Often, it'll feel like it takes you forever to reach normal. It happens. Each bought of grief is different, each time you are faced with loss, you are dumped in the ocean of grief at a different place than the time before. I have found myself only waist deep with loss. Other times, I find myself treading water when after being unceremoniously dumped. You can never quite predict where you will find yourself.

If you're lucky, you'll find yourself with a life preserver out there. Faith, family, friends. These life preservers can help you keep your head above the waves as you slowly find your way back to normal.