Sunday, December 30, 2007

What a difference a year makes...







This blog is dedicated to my awesome brother Jacob. He's made so many good changes in his life this year, and is happier, healthier, and more successful than he's been in a long time. He's risen to the occasion and bettered his life. He's freaking out about getting an A- in his Chemistry class, when he used to flunk classes like nobody's business. The top picture was taken when he was druggy sickly last Christmas . The next picture was taken during his darkest days of 2007. The next two were during the summer as he was cleaning up his life, and the bottom one was this week on Christmas eve. He looks healthier than ever. I'm proud of my brother, and am excited to roadtrip to Michigan with him this week!

Christmas Pics

Christmas Morning Pictures....Rosie got her Orange Sweater from Santa!!! Mom got her automatic scrubbing bubbles shower cleaner, and dad got his Zune dock. I got an Ipod dock alarm clock and new satin pajamas. I gave Mary some CDs and Shawn displays how much candy that Santa leaves in in the Watson stockings. A few Christmas eve pictures follow.








Sunday, December 23, 2007

Rosie's Snowy Photo Shoot

Here are some pictures that my good friend Zach took of Rosie at Murray Park yesterday. He's one of the best photographers that I know...if you're in the market for a photographer (baby, wedding, family, etc...) Zach is your man!



Murray Christmas!


Greetings from Murray! After a crazy year of being across the country from my husband, and a crazy month of packing, planning, and moving...it feels so good to be "home" in Murray!

There's no way I could have gotten through this insane week of moving without Eleanor, Debbie, Jake, Mary, Lizzie, Andrea, Brett, Anastasia, the Elders, and Rosie....packing and cleaning by my side. I worked my last day at Montclair Hospital, finished up Christmas shopping, gave multiple rounds of "See ya Soon" hugs, packed my car to the gills, and drove up to snowy Utah. I dealt with torrential rain on days I needed to dumpster-dive for boxes. I ate my last Animal Fries, Sweet Potato Stack and BJ's Pizookie. I had my last four hours of dental work (with a monster boil by my lip to prove it). I suffered through 5 hours of smoky-smelling movers packing my life away into a semi truck (and having to pay over $600 more than my original quote) I had three "incidents" with my car, giving Cami a few more battle wounds. I closed up utility accounts, put in my change of address forms, turned in my modem, and said goodbye to the "blue house" that's been so good to me for the last 18 months.

It's unreal to think that I'm moving across the country from all the friends and family I have. It's unreal to think I'm trading in my tees, capris, and flip flops for parkas, thermals, and snowboots. Trading palm trees and ocean for naked deciduous trees and the Great Lakes. Trading the Clean Air Act for "Smoking or Non?"

But in between the reality of my California existence and the surreal future of my Michigan life...I'm blogging from my parents' blue leather couch that holds so many memories...Family Home Evenings, recovering from my ARDS nightmare, making out with HS boyfriends, birthday circle memory games, folding mountainous loads of laundry, and countless other parties and domestic tasks. My feet are propped up on the long-loved coffee table that I gave to my parents when I moved to Cali. The hand-made stockings that my mom assembled when we moved to Murray are hooked on the mantle to my left, and the blue-and-pink adorned Christmas tree is in view to my right. I'll be attending church at the good ol' Highland Ward today. The only two things that could make my time at home better is Taylor...who plans to fly out to SLC on the 26th and 27th....and listening to Amy Grant's Christmas CD...my dad's mainstay holiday music continuously played during every December since 1993.

Merry Christmas. Joyeux Noel. Mele Kelikimaka. Feliz Navidad.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Help!

If anyone out in cyberspace that reads my blog, and is in the vicinity of La Verne....HELP! I have tonight and tomorrow to pack up my house. The truck comes Thursday at 7 am, so it's crunch time!

If you have some free time tonight or tomorrow...call me asap. I'm freaking out! I'm running out of boxes too...and it's been raining like crazy and my dumpster dives have been wet and unsuccessful.

*hyperventilates*

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 Meme

1) Where did you begin 2007?
After falling asleep watching episodes of the Twilight Zone with Lissy and Tyler, Taylor and I watched the ball drop at home.

2) What was your status by Valentine's Day?
Happy and married…and in the same state as my hubby!

3) Were you in school anytime this year?
Yes...June-November. I start up again in January.

4) How did you earn your money?
Montclair Hospital Medical Center and Chino Valley Medical Center. I was an administrative assistant in Medical Staff Services

5) Did you have to go to the hospital?
Yes, every work day! I went to urgent care twice, and had to have a biopsy at the dermatologist, but this year was pretty uneventful health-wise.

6) Did you have any encounters with the police?
No, but Taylor got two speeding tickets.

7) Where did you go on vacation?
I had some R&R in Florida, Utah, Idaho, and San Diego. I also spent two days in Michigan looking for apartments, but it was hardly a vacation.

8) What did you purchase that was over $1000?
My used Camry.

9) Did you know anybody who got married?
A few people…friends from high school and siblings of other friends

10) Did you know anybody who passed away?
My aunt’s mother

11) Have you run into anybody you went to high school/primary school with?
Yeah...quite a few. The best friend that I reconnected was Nicole McGill. We weren’t really close in HS, but we sure bonded this year!

12) Did you move anywhere?
I’m moving to Michigan next week!

14) What concerts/shows did you go to?
John Mayer, Fall Out Boy, Keane, Gliss, and a few other local gigs. I was supposed to see Ben Folds, but due to unfortunate Hollywood parking obstacles, we missed their whole set.

15) Are you registered to vote?
Yes, but I didn’t make it on election day this year

16) Who did you want to win Big Brother?
I don't watch it. My favorite shows this year at Grey’s Anatomy, ER, Private Practice, Biggest Loser, Heroes, Journeyman, Ugly Betty, and The Office.

17) Where do you live now?
A house, but I’m just about to move into an apartment

18) Describe your birthday?
Very enjoyable. Taylor just returned from a month in of training in Kingman, so I was able to go out to lunch with him. I had a party at my house with some of my good friends and family.

19) What's one thing you thought you'd never do but did in 2007?
Accept Nickie as a suitable nickname. I’ve never felt comfortable with Nikki or Nicky, but Nickie works for me. Thanks Lizzie!

20) What has been your favorite moment?
One of my favorite moments was when Jacob and Mary were down visiting, and we all went to Dockweiller Beach together. We had a blast.

21) What's something you learned about yourself?
I'm stronger than I think I am...and I can be successful independently of my husband’s day-to-day support. It has been a real struggle living on the other side of the country from Taylor. I think a year ago…that if I’d been told that I’d be basically living as a single parent, I probably would have spontaneously combusted. Now that I understand this, I feel more secure in moving out to Michigan, taking out a vow of poverty, and living with my husband again.

22) Any new additions to your family?
No one in the immediate family, but Cooper, Ethan, and Ava were born to my cousins

23) What was your best month?
Probably February…because I was in the same state as Taylor the whole time

24) What music will you remember 2007 by?
Garden State Soundtrack and Imogen Heap, My favorite song that was on the radio was probably “Dig” by Incubus.

25) Who was your best drinking buddy?
Liz and all her tea glory. But nothing was as intoxicating as the laughter.

26) Made new friends?
Yes. The four new friends that made the biggest impact on me were Brett, Kathryn, Anastasia, and Mary S. Conveniently, we went out a few times as a group and had lovely times.

27) Best new friend?
I’d have to say Brett. He’s a scholar and a gentleman.

28) Favorite Night out?
It’s a tie, the John Mayer concert experience with Lizzie, and the Genghis Cohen, Hollywood Walk, and 101 CafĂ© night with so many of my new friends.

Santa S.O.S!!!

Rosie's #1 item at the top of her list for Santa is a "Fuzzy orange sweater, size Medium." I have searched at Target, Gap, Old Navy, Limited Too, Nordstrom, Macys, and even thrift stores with no luck. It can't be striped, it can't be cable knit...must be a solid, fuzzy sweater. I've showed her other cute orangish sweaters...but none of them have been up to her standard. She thinks that Mrs. Claus will be knitting the sweater by hand...so when I shop for sweaters she says, "Mom, you're wasting your time!"

So...if you find a fuzzy orange sweater, size medium (and preferably under $30)...please let me know!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Little by little

This weekend Taylor came home for a day and a half to help us pack up the house. We got about 20 boxes squared away, and went through the junk in the shed. We still have a long way to go, but I'm not quite as stressed as before. Thanks for asking.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Trying times and cynicism?

casablanca
"You must remember this, a kiss is still a
kiss". Your romance is Casablanca. A
classic story of love in trying times, chock
full of both cynicism and hope. You obviously
believe in true love, but you're also
constantly aware of practicality and societal
expectations. That's not always fun, but at
least it's realistic. Try not to let the Nazis
get you down too much.


What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life?
brought to you by Quizilla

Baja Fresh in Michigan


Yesterday, Taylor had one of the happiest moments of his time in Michigan....he found out that Baja Fresh is in the area. He was driving down Haggerty in Northville, and VOILA! A Baja Fresh within 5 minutes of Canton! Taylor has complained that he hasn't had any Mexican food better than Taco Bell in Detroit, and it wasn't for lack of trying. (Q'doba is blah, btw) Not only will Taylor be able to easily get his Baja Burrito or Burrito Ultimo, he is excited about the idea of smuggling home a sackful of condiment cups full of roasted pepper salsa to keep him warm on those cold, Michigan nights.

Baja Fresh is a special place for Taylor and I....we met at the now-defunct Baja Fresh in Murray. After three days of Mingle-winking, emailing and a phone call, Taylor met up with me for lunch at Baja Fresh. April 10, 2004, to be exact. We also listened to John Mayer's "Room For Squares" in my car, when the Baja Fresh employees started giving us the evil eye for taking up their table for too long during the lunch rush. As this time, Taylor talked about how he knew he'd never be happy living long term in Utah. He'd just gotten out of an engagement where his fiancee was content to live in Sandy, Utah for the rest of her life. He wanted to have a career that would satisfy his "wanderlust" and need to see the world. He was an international relations major at the time, but on the brink of BYU academic suspension. Who knew that 6 months later he'd be married to me, and three years later living his dream. All thanks to Baja Fresh.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

CRJ-200 1, Duck family 0




Yesterday was Taylor's first flight out of O.E. training. He was on reserve for the day with a three-day trip planned for Tuesday. He got called in for a quick out-and-back to Wausau, Wisconsin. It was a cold, snowy day in Detroit...but after an hour and a half of de-icing they took off no problem. But as they came in for the landing approach, Taylor and the captain saw a flash of birds. Within half a second, a group of ducks crashed into the plane. They lost control of the nose wheel door and lost hydraulic system 3. It smashed the radome, went through the nose cone, then the radar, then the bulkhead, ending up in the forward avionics bay. Warnings and error messages were flashing, and luckily they were able to get down the landing gear before the hydraulic system bled out. Passengers snapped pictures of the plane after deplaning on the tarmac. It was one of those "once in a career" moments...and it was on Taylor's first flight out of training.

Any witty comments for his pictures?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gratitude

Here's a rundown of what's filling my heart with gratitude at this time:
A happy husband who is finally living his dream
A lively, curious daughter who keeps me guessing (and showered with hugs and kisses)
A home in a good neighborhood, in a good ward, near friends, family, and freeways
A job that keeps me bringing home the bacon
A functional mind and body
A functional washer and dryer
A functional car
A bank account that's not completely empty
A fridge and cupboards that are not completely empty
The upcoming opportunity to live as a nuclear family unit in a new place to explore
A good cell phone and laptop to keep me connected to those I can't see on a daily basis
Participation in a true religion that inspires, challenges, entertains, motivates, and helps me through life's tough times
A world full of music, theater, entertainment, and culture to keep me creative

This list is not all inclusive, obviously. But on this Thanksgiving I have so many overwhelming blessings that listing them in this fashion would tend to take away from the depth of my gratitude. I'm a lucky girl.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Three Weeks Notice

Today I submitted my letter of intent to resign. According to Lizzie, I wrote a picture-perfect letter of resignation. My last day will be December 14th-ish. It was going to be the 14th, but that's the day of our big formal Christmas party and the managers will all be busy preparing...so in order to give me a proper send-off (i.e. free lunch) my manager crossed off December 14, and penciled in December 17.

So I've done it. I've made an official step to moving to Michigan. Sure, looking for jobs and apartments online is part of the process...but now it means no more procrastination. I'm bringing home empty boxes from work, mentally inventorying my closets and bookshelves, and savoring some of the things that are truly California (currently I'm eating a teriyaki bowl from Spikes.)

According to Rachel, I'm not allowed to talk about "Turkey Day." But hopefully in the next day or so I'll post a Thankful For list...stay tuned

Friday, November 16, 2007

"AND NOW IT'S TIME TO WATCH ANOTHER CARTOON HERE WE GOOOOO!!!"

My first TV appearances were on “Ramblin’ Rod,” a Portland children’s cartoon plus live audience morning show. The kitschy show was interspersed with Popeye and Looney Toons cartoons, but the gold of the show was the chance for local kids to be seen on TV throughout Oregon and southwest Washington. The kids would have an opportunity to introduce themselves on camera, and say what city they were from. The luckiest kids were asked a lame question about the city they were from. (Tualatin is the home of the Crawfish Festival, btw) Rumor is that Krusty the Clown is said to be loosely modeled after Rod, considering The Simpsons creator Matt Groening is from Portland. The closest thing I could compare it to is Stanley Spudowsky’s Clubhouse on the movie UHF. My dad worked at KPTV channel 12, and knew Rod. He would usually give me a little extra camera time and I could tell a joke or say that my dad worked for the station. His trademark attire was polyester pants and a cardigan sweater covered in buttons and lapel pins, all gifts from admiring kiddie-fans. Kids with birthdays would get to stand in front of this big wooden tugboat, hand him a pin, announce their age, and Rod would make a comment like “Seven is Heaven!” or “Eight is Great!” Then all the kids would sing along with a pre-recorded soundtrack of the birthday song. (if you watched at home, you could follow the bouncing ball on the screen to follow the lyrics)There was a smiling contest during every show, where hokey music would play and the camera would pan the children in the audience for about a minute. The camera guy would then get to choose a few kids out that had the best smiles, and get a prize. One kid per day would get the SUPER SMILE WINNER prize, which was usually a free pizza at Chuck E. Cheese. I can recall at least two times that I won the super smile winner award. I’ve got a great smile, but the victory probably had something to do with my dad being friends with the camera guy. Hopefully in my upcoming move I’ll uncover my VHS recording of my last appearance on Ramblin’ Rod, with my 7th grade friends for my 13th birthday.

Ramblin' Rod was on KPTV 12 for over 30 years. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 69. For more info on this delightful part of my childhood...click here.

Hallelujah, I love him so!

Just a little update....Taylor did it! He passed his O.E. That means he's a REAL employee, done with training with Pinnacle. But that also means that we've decided to move to Michigan. The next month or so will be an adventure, but it means so much to me that Taylor's achieved a lifelong dream.

Motown, here we come!

6 Odd Facts about Me

It's time for another blog...the 6 odd facts about me. I didn't ever get officially tagged, but I still liked the idea of it. So here goes....

Times New Roman font- Times New Roman font drives me bonkers. I hate that MS Word always defaults to this atrocious font. It makes my eyes hurt. It frustrates me. It is uncreative. I switch documents over to Arial font as often as I can. Times New Roman should be retired. Seriously.

Earthquakes- in the 18 months since I’ve moved to California, I’m pretty sure I’ve thought about earthquakes every day. I’ve never been in an earthquake, but I have this morbid desire to experience one. As my time in Cali may be drawing to a close, I have had more anxiousness and excitement about earthquakes. I’ve been google-ing and wiki-ing earthquakes, faults, and archival quake photos. Yes, I know that they are destructive, scary, unpredictable, and devastating…but part of me feels like experiencing an earthquake is just as essential to living the California lifestyle as the Hollywood sign, Disneyland, In-N-Out, the Santa Anas, and being stuck in traffic on the 405. I’ve had a bizarre phobia since childhood of being naked in the shower during and earthquake and not being able to find my clothes before I have to meet at a disaster shelter. I think that experiencing an earthquake would help me overcome this childish fear.

My hair- My parents had decided on naming me Rachel, until I was cesarean’d out of my mom’s body with a mop of black hair. My parents named me Nicole because my hair was “black as coal.” (I can’t imagine being a Rachel, no offense) It’s always been extra thick, slightly coarse, and usually unruly. I started getting charged the adult price for haircuts when I was about 10. I’ve permed it a few times to even out my naturally wavy/curly hair. But I typically prefer it straight. The flat iron was the best invention in the past decade for my beauty happiness. I’ve always wished that I knew how to French braid it….but attempts at learning have turned it into a kinky knotty mess. I occasionally suffer from scalp dermatitis, and the only shampoo to consistently treat it is $200-per-4oz.-bottle Loprox (It’s been much better since I’ve lived in Cali). I have a widow’s peak and lots of wispies along my hairline. My neck used to be extremely “man-hairy” until May, when I decided to purchase a series of laser hair removal treatments. It’s so much better than it used to be…but it’s still not quite perfect. If any of you decide to try laser hair removal, be aware that it’s not going to be exactly what you expect…strangely painful, random regrowths, and unpredictable rashes. My hair recently has been more wavy than usual….just like it was when I was pregnant (DON’T FREAK OUT, the test was negative!) I’ve been going to work with my “wild hair” a day or two out of the week. Also in the hair category would be my plucking obsession. I love my Tweezermans... blue, pink, red, and black. They are the best tweezers ever. They keep my browline in check. And my husband in constant fear.

Nuts- I am picky with nuts. I don’t like peanuts, but I do like creamy peanut butter or peanut sauces…as long as I don’t have to chew the texture of the peanut. I have “food sensitivity” to walnuts. I haven’t had any Benadryl-worthy allergic reactions to walnuts recently, but I did have a few throat-swelling, rash producing walnut episodes. Pecans and brazil nuts give me cankers, and I don’t like the taste or texture either. I will, however, eat pecan pie and pick out the nuts because the gooey sauce is so tasty. Hazelnuts and macadamia nuts I can stand, but usually don’t eat if I can help it. I do like cashews, almonds and pistachios…but they must be on my own terms.

Almost famous- I’ve always wanted to be a famous. Not celebrity-paparazzi-tabloid-corrupt famous, but well known enough that random people would recognize me for something that I had accomplished and get compliments. I want to influence many people in my life, not necessarily for the things I do, but for the way I made them feel. But part of me really does want to be celebrity famous. When I was I kid, I would interview myself in front of a mirror. The “interviewer-me” would talk in a different accent; British, southern, French, valley girl, thug…and I would talk in my normal voice. My first TV appearances were on the Ramblin Road show…which experiences require their own post altogether. I was in multiple plays and singing groups, and love to be in the spotlight. I was also an anchor on SpartanVision…the Murray High School morning television show. I don’t think I’ll ever be featured individually in a magazine or newspaper, but hopefully I’ll get another chance at 15 minutes of fame.

Foreign Candy- I believe that candy almost always tastes better from another country. American chocolate is waxy and so-so…bring on the European chocolate! I begged my mom to take me to the Asian market for Pocky and rice paper candy as a kid. A trip to Canada showed me the joy of Smarties….not the chalky citric acid mini-montrosities…but the creamier Nestle M&M clone with prettier colors. I also love the Rowntrees fruit pastilles from England. But my favorite foreign candy is Hi-Chew. I discovered it at an ABC store in Hawaii. It’s a creamier, softer version of Starburst…with more realistic flavors. It comes in green apple, purple grape, strawberry and other fruit flavors, but the best flavor is yogurt. It sounds odd, but it’s delicious and refreshing. For a couple of years I purchased it off of a website called Melonmoon.com, but they closed up shop. I had a friend in Japan send me a care package full of Hi-Chew a few months ago, and it was lovely. Liz told me that she’s seen it at some at a cute market in Diamond Bar, but I haven’t yet picked any up.

Michigan: Part 2

I never really finished my account of my Michigan trip. I was lucky enough to get my first-choice flight home on Sunday. I also got an assigned seat when I checked in, which typically doesn’t happen when flying standby. Not a lot was significant in the last day and a half…just some apartment hunting, shopping, and having a night alone at the Clarion. But these following topics were curious enough to bring up in my blog, since I’ve been thinking about them for the last week.

Blinking red light left turns – In the left turn lane at stoplights, it threw me off to see a blinking red light. I thought Taylor was running a red light. Instead of having a solid green light when yielding to oncoming traffic, the red light blinks when it’s time to yield. Most lights give you a protected left turn arrow at the end of the light cycle, but some just go to solid red and you have to wait to turn in the next cycle. The stoplights are also big yellow columns that have lights for all 4 directions of traffic.

No right turn lanes – So much congestion on side streets would be eliminated if there were right turn lanes. Instead, traffic backs up and random people slam on the brakes because nobody uses turn signals. It’ll take some getting used to.

Rest stop between airport and Canton – Detroit Wayne Metro airport (DTW) is about 25 miles west of downtown Detroit, and Canton is about 10 miles north of the airport. It was funny to see a rest stop in between DTW and Canton, because you don’t have to drive too far from the airport to feel like you are in a forest. Hope that my bladder is never weak enough that I can’t make it home from the airport without stopping.

Colorful houses – Not many stucco or brick homes in Michigan, but lots of colorful painted homes. People are more adventurous with color there than I am used to. It reminded me a lot of Martha’s Vineyard. I saw plenty of Blue and Gold homes in Ann Arbor, which made sense for UM. But seeing a pepto-pink gabled home with plum trim? I guess in the snowy winter whiteouts, you do what it takes to find your home.

Value City – After driving by three or four times, Taylor and I were curious about a store called value city. The best I can compare it to is Big Lots meets Ross meets K-Mart meets Payless Shoes. Very bizarre combination. Prices were pretty cheap, but the only thing we bought was a pair of gloves for Taylor. We didn’t venture into the Value City furniture store next door. I can only imagine…

Meijers – You know how some movies and tv shows will make up their own version of a warehouse store or chain grocery store? Meijers is Michigan’s version of the Walmart. The signage, store layout, products offered, and general feeling was the same…but the lines weren’t long and there weren’t as many screaming kids as Walmart. The best part was their international foods section. I will enjoy having easy access to several of my hard-to-find favorite confections.

I-94: Detroit or Chicago – I’m used to seeing Ogden, Pocatello, Provo, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego on freeway signs, since I’ve driven I-15 for the past 11 years. But it was a trip to see an interchange where my options were Detroit or Chicago. Oh, the places you’ll go!

Smoking section restaurant selection – I don’t think I’ll ever be used to having a waitress was me “Smoking or Non-smoking?” I’m glad I’ve lived in states that have had smoking banned for years. Going into a restaurant that allows smoking is never very pleasant, but I was happy to be in the far corner away from the smokers. And on the topic of smoking, it was crazy to see the Speedway Gas station chain advertising cigarette prices on the same sign as the gas (Unleaded $3.19, Premium $3.39, Marlboro $4.87)

Grits – I finally tried grits. Erin made grits on Saturday morning. They’re kinda like cream of wheat. But instead of adding sweet stuff (brown sugar, honey, ice cream, etc) to bland hot cereal, the base flavor tastes like chicken broth. Added on top was a mixture of meat, eggs, and salsa. It was different, but I liked it.

I've been tagged

I didn't ever get tagged by anyone to blog about six crazy habits about myself, but Lizzie did tag me to devise a list of 5 courses I would take to improve my life. I tag Steve, Zach, Wahlee, Nicole, and Celeste to do the same....

Five Courses to Improve My Life

How to deal with a husband in perpetual training 101: I had no idea in late 2004 that “training” to be an airline pilot would be so complicated. Ground school, private pilot rating, multi-engine, instrument, commercial, Jet U…and now Pinnacle. He’s always in training! His life is dotted with one test or checkride after another. He gets stressed, which adds to my stress. Three years and $100,000 later…tomorrow we should have an answer of if his O.E. is complete and he joins the ranks of a reserve F.O. He will continue to have first-class FAA physicals, type ratings, and other misc training throughout his career. I need a class to train me to cope with his training.

Magnifying your talents, and uncovering the ones you’ve hidden under a bushel 202: I used to consider myself a good actress. I used to consider myself a good musician…dabbling in guitar, handbells, bass guitar, percussion, cello, violin and of course…years of piano and voice lessons. I also was really good at speaking French for a while. I’m sick of how often I say “I used to be able to do that.” I need to rediscover my talents, especially related to the arts. I don’t want to go by the screen name “cuteculturechick” if the only culture I participate is a spectator of concerts, plays, and movies.

Dental Hygiene and slave labor opportunities to pay for massive dentist bills 303: I have bad teeth. I don’t ALWAYS brush and floss twice a day. But I’m more careful with my teeth than a lot of people I’ve talked to. Between my parents and I, over ten thousand dollars (out of pocket) was been paid in my life for dental work. I have another $2600 awaiting me as soon as I can afford it. I have dental insurance, but I still can’t get the care I need. I am thinking of ways to creatively raise funds to help financially support my local DDS.

How to realize it’s okay to pay full price (occasionally) 404: I have never in my life had a point that I felt comfortable financially. My parents said “no” to most of my requests that didn’t involve birthdays, Christmas, and the beginning of the school year….all in the name of “we’re really broke.” I’ve been a college student, with my sole support for a semester being $500 in student loans, and the proceeds of selling refurbished VCRs. I’ve been the wife of a student for approximately 8 years (almost 5 with Steve, just over 3 with Taylor) and a single mom for almost a year. I’ve had times where I worked two jobs, and still had to beg for money from family to pay my utilities. I was raised on thrift stores and clearance racks, and still have a crazy obsession with getting the best price possible. I have a ridiculous variety of punch cards, 2-for-1 coupons, and various discounts in my purse pocket at any given time. I try to get student and employee discounts whenever possible. I subscribe to many email newsletters on how to cut corners and save a little dough. I’m not sure how much more frugal I could be. So when I actually have to pay full price….GAH! I feel like a failure and that I have been ripped off. As Taylor’s career progresses and we get a little less strapped for cash…I will be ready to accept the idea that full price is just a reality.

Coping with the unexpected route 505 (senior seminar): Divorce, illness, unemployment, chronically ill relatives, depression, obesity, bad jobs…there are very few things I know I can count on to be a constant in my life (i.e. the Gospel) I get a set idea of how things should happen in my life, fully knowing that nothing goes as planned. But trials and suprises pop up and sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air and saying “C’est Finis!” This class would definitely have to be taught by someone older, more spiritual, more experienced and more wise than myself.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Really quick

I'm not sick anymore. I'm happy about that. Z-Pak, popcicles, and a day off work helped me recover from tonsillitis and an ear infection.

Halloween was full of lots of candy. And Rosie was a major flirt.

Right now I'm blogging from Canton, MI. I was lucky enough to get a seat on a totally booked flight from LAX yesterday. Sure, I missed the first flight at 5:00 PM (which consequently had 3 seats left, but I didn't get on the flight due to a broken printer...WTF??) but I did make it on the 10:00 PM flight. It was just over four hours in a cold cabin between two snoring businessmen. I arrived at 5:00 AM, Taylor picked me up, and I crashed on the couch at Mike and Erin's about 6:00 AM. After 3 hours of sleep, we had breakfast, played with adorable 2-year-old William, then headed out. We had lunch at Panera Bread (mmmmmm) then drove to Ann Arbor. I've been looking into jobs there at the University of Michigan. But after driving out there (20 miles on the freeway = 35 min with very little traffic) and going through crowded one-lane streets through Studentville USA, I decided I should be looking at other locations than just UM. It's a cool town. I'm sure that if we move out here, I'll go out and enjoy it. We probably won't venture into Detroit proper on this trip, but it's been interesting to get a taste of the area.

Oh, and we saw "Dan in Real Life." It's great...I recommend it.

p.s. Taylor's still not done with O.E. He's nervous...he has an appointment with a higher-up in Pinnacle's training department on Monday. Hopefully it won't be a pink slip.....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Which is worse?

Is it worse to have tonsilloliths or actually know what they are and how to remove them?

It looks like a trip to the doctor is in order. My right tonsil is swollen, my glands are swollen, my ears hurt, and my nose won't stop running. At first I though it was just allergies, but I'm fearing that I'm coming down with my third case of tonsillitis this year. I'm pretty sure I've got an ear infection too.

Sorry this blog has been abandoned for a few weeks. I haven't had much to say. I'm still not sure about the if/when details of a Detroit move. I haven't had any bursts of creativity or amazingly fun activities to descriptively dissect. I've seen Taylor twice this month, and both visits were lovely.

Maybe if I stay home sick, I'll give a more detailed blog.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My score

For those who only know what's going on in my life through my blog, I just wanted to let you know that I passed my final!

I got a 78%...which is pretty great. I talked to my advisor who said the 54% passing score on the test was equivalent to a B...so I did great.

I'm still not sure how I did so well. So many of my answers were only guesses. But I'm happy nonetheless.

Tonight is Nikki Forova at Genghis Cohen, then a night on the town in Hollywood with some of my favorite Cali people.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The big exhale...

I am done with the semester....at least 99% done for now. I can breathe again. My evenings will be much more free for the next month. Unfortunately, I also think I just bombed the final. After 4 months of studying, analyzing, memorizing, preparing and praying...I thought that I was justified in walking confidently into the University of La Verne testing center.

Boy was I wrong.

For two hours and 80 questions, I was forced to stare at a computer screen with my heart beating fast and my mind blank. I've never been a good test taker, except for in French class (I always seemed to be more intelligent en Francais) Questions were asked that I knew the answer to...but the multiple choice selections never seemed to include the answer I was certain would be correct. All of my silly mnemonic devices (like how you AdaPT to the PATh/Goal theory and SMuRF communication styles) did me NO good. I was left guessing. And most of the guesses were shaky because any of the answers could have been argued to be correct. Terminology that was not used in the textbook, glossaries, and pre-made course flashcards was the majority of the test.

The course that I've been taking is a 12-credit one. Not just a total of 12 credits=1 full-time semester of 1-3 credit course choices. It's 12 credits = pass the class or you don't get credit for the whole 5+ months of work. I'll have one chance to retake it, so hopefully I can redeem myself if I don't get the 54% pass threshold. Usually on tests I'm able to tell right off if I got half the questions right. On this one...who knows.

I have to wait until Monday for my score. So much for a totally relaxing study-free weekend.

At least I have Genghis Cohen to look forward to on Saturday night.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Still Undecided

Yesterday I looked on the Trader Joe's website and found out that there are a couple TJ's in the Detroit metro area. Could moving there really be that bad if I can get my Pirate Booty, smart water, organic sliced mushrooms and Promax bars???

I am still feeling undecided about my future plans. I'm not feeling very settled at work lately...each day a feel twinges of job insecurity that I can't quite put my finger on. I'm happy that Taylor's time in Memphis is drawing short, and I'll probably see him this weekend for our anniversary. But I won't be able to see him for very long...and it troubles me. In my prayers and soul searching, I don't feel like I've gotten a clear answer for what is the best course for my family. When I give people the 2 minute version of the decisions that I'm facing...the usual response is "Your family needs to be together, even if it means Detroit." But the 2 minute version of the decisions I'm facing isn't adequate to tell others of the full weight of the decision.

October will consist of a lot of researching, job-hunting, soul-searching and figuring out the best course for the Bullock family. Hooray for tough life decisions!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Only in California...

Only in California do you see:

A Jaguar parked at the Dollar Tree

A Wal-mart parking lot with more BMW, Mercedes, Porsches, and other luxury cars than sensible economy cars

A spankin' new Bentley stop up traffic on Fairfax just to stop for a coffee and newspaper at the sidewalk vendor

Today is Saturday

Things I need to do today:
Grocery shopping
Take Rosie shopping for a birthday gift
Take Rosie to birthday party
Primary program practice 4:30-6:30
Drop by Weight Watchers to weigh in
Read the last 64 pages of my textbook and take the practice final
Ship out a birthday gift for Taylor
Vacuum
Do more research on Detroit (living areas, schools, jobs, etc)
Pay car payment, credit card bill, electric bill, daycare tuition, and student loan payment

But to be honest...I don't really want to do any of it today. I'm perfectly content in my pajamas, reading random blogs, and snuggling with Rosie on the couch as she watches Spongebob.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Prius Envy

Yesterday, my neighbors two houses down came home from the dealership with a shiny new Toyota Prius. I've been a closet fan of the Prius since my friend's family purchased one a few years ago. And as a self-described "autophile," there's a part of me that has a deep sense of envy when someone I know gets a new car.

I only have to look back one year to the day I came home with the Fittle...my black 2007 Honda Fit Sport. It was unique-looking, fun to drive, and had tons of fun features. I was over-excited for the chance at being the envy of my neighbors. But it didn't take long before someone else got a cooler car, the payments became out of control for our budget, and I knew that having the newest and greatest car wasn't a necessity.

I'm happy with my Camry. It has it's quirks....like a super-sensitive alarm system that blares out for no apparent reason occasionally. But it's dependable and affordable, and a sensible option for a mom. But a small flicker in me feels the "Prius Envy." So here's my little blog about the Prius...and then I can get on with my homework.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Beautiful Rose

Today is Rosie’s 7th birthday. My darling, sweet daughter is 7. Lucky number 7.

In some ways, when she came into my life…I didn’t feel ready. I was young; I hadn’t been married as long as I felt necessary before bringing a child into the family equation. I wasn’t sure if I was “grown up” enough to be a mother. But being a mother has helped me “grow up” in ways I’d never expected, nor could have experienced without her.

From her earliest days (i.e. 5 days old) she was thrust into an environment of people who love and adore her. I was unable to care for her as the grips of death tried to beckon me near. As I nearly succumbed to the illness that almost left her motherless, she was taken in by extended family, friends, and ward members. Her happy temperament has instantly endeared many people to her since this time.

Rosie is friendly, empathetic and caring. She seeks out the sad and shy kids and brings them into her circle. She has consoled me on nights that I’ve been sick, depressed, lonely, stressed, and hopeless. We haven’t had the “typical” family life, dealing with divorce, remarriage, and now a loving husband/father that lives on the other side of the country. But out of these trials and experiences, our bond has grown so strong.

We’re buddies. We’re pals. We’re partners.

She has a zest for life. She scatters happiness and hope everywhere she goes. She has a quick wit and infectious smile. She’s willing to try new things. She tries to act grown up, but then her streak of silliness will remind me that she’s 20 years younger than me.

And she’s beautiful, adorable, cute, and lovely. I could look at her all day. But she rarely sits still long enough for me to keep a close eye on her. But that’s okay, because I want her influence spread around for all to enjoy.

I'm a lucky mom.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Priceless?

One caramel Nips candy that I broke my tooth on: about 3 cents
Root canal and gold crown to repair molar #16: $965
Knowing that I'm supporting the career of a local dentist? Priceless.

Barf!

Even with dental insurance, I will have to pay almost $1000 for one tooth. And that doesn't include the 4 other crowns that I need. I've got awful, soft teeth, and I'm not always 100% on brushing and flossing. I haven't been to the dentist in just over a year, and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. I'll have to apply for financing because it'll be a couple thousand to get all the work done that I need. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Personal DNA

Monday, September 3, 2007

A quick triplog

I got in from St. George about two hours ago...what a long, hot drive that was! There was massive Vegas/holiday traffic that I hit around Stateline, and in all the normally 5-hour trip was 8-hours. The temperature got up to 120 in the desert, which was no fun at all. But my car did fine, Rosie didn't complain much, and now I'm home resting on my comfy couch.

Here's the short of it-

Friday- left work around noon. Picked up Rosie and hit the road. Decided to take the floor invitation with the cousins. A phone call the morning I left smoothed over some doubts I had about actually being okay to stay. I had dinner with their whole Bluhm family at Olive Garden, and went to bed early to prepare for an early morning.

Saturday- Brandon and Gary ran a half-marathon that ended in Gunlock. The ladies met up at the end of the race to cheer them on. Went back to the house, packed up, and went shopping with Rosie. Ate lunch at Cafe Rio, and did some school shopping for Rosie. Checked in early at the hotel, showered, and waited for my family to arrive. Went swimming, and had dinner at Outback.

Sunday- Slept in a bit, got some breakfast at the hotel, and went to a sacrament meeting in town. Came back to the hotel, bummed around for a few hours, and waited for dad's cold medicine to kick in. We went to Zion National Park, took the tram all the way to the end, did a hike at Weeping Rock, took a bunch of pictures, and visited the museum. Drove back into St. George, picked up some dinner for mom, and visited for the rest of the evening.

Monday- Had breakfast, bummed around the hotel with Mary, and stayed till checkout. Said my goodbyes and got family hugs. Went to the store to buy all the bags of Dill Pickle Lays (only 11 were available) so my coworkers will be happy. Drove for 8 long, hot hours, and now I'm home.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Family = Friends ??

This blog has been a long time coming in my head. It all started around March when I found out that my cousin in Oregon was getting married. I moved from Oregon when I was 13, and after this move I lost contact with most of the members of this particular family. They were the family I grew up thinking was the coolest....cool house, cool cars, cool clothes, etc... They were fun to be around and spend holidays with. Even though I had other cousins that were lovely and fun to be around, and accepted me unconditionally...I wanted these cousins to LIKE me. When I moved away, and as the children in that family grew up, my bond with this family dimmed somewhat. I didn't visit often enough to keep close ties, and it was before everyone was email saavy and cell phone-toting. There's been a part of me for the last decade or so that felt like I missed out on some great years with this family. The last time I've seen any of them was at my Grandpa Watson's funeral in 2002.

Last year, on a whim, I decided to look for these cousins on Myspace. I was happy to find three of them, and quickly added them as friends. One lives in LA, and I was hoping that I would get to meet up with him since we were living in the same metropolitan area. I started leaving comments and inviting him to get together for dinner. Most comments went unanswered, or had a very non-committal reply. I figured it would take some kind of family occasion to finally see them again. When I found out the youngest was getting married, I was thrilled at the thought of an excuse to head up to Portland, renew some old bonds, and reminisce of the good 'ol days.

I sent this cousin an email, full of congratulations. I asked her when the big day was. She gave a very curt reply, stating that I was not invited...no cousins were invited. They didn't have enough money to invited everyone related. This was a shock to me. For both my weddings, I made it a priority to think of every single person I was related to, and make sure they were invited. Even though some family members are not "close" relatives, I can't think of excluding any that were happy to be a part of my celebration. If any family was overlooked, it was a sincere mistake.

Last weekend was the wedding. I got the play by play from my grandma. She said that there were a lot of family member that were not invited. It brought back some of the feelings that I felt growing up...maybe I only get to spend time with these cool people because we have the same bloodline. Am I fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or whatever enough to catch their eye to spend time with? I know I'm a pretty likeable person. I typically make friends quickly, even in the most bizarre situations. But for a family member to not think I'm worth spending time with? I have a really, really hard time with it.

So as I've been mulling over this situation this week, I've been planning this trip to St. George. Friday night was planned to spend with Taylor's cousin and his wife. I had asked a few weeks ago if it was okay to stay with them, and they said they were happy to have Rosie and I come. A few days ago, I called to confirm that we were fine to stay. She said that a few more family members were coming into town, but there should be plenty of room. So tonight around 10:30, as I'm packing up my trip-things, I get a call from this cousin. She says that they have too many people staying at their house, and they just don't have room for us. A huge wave of this, "Am I fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough, etc..." sentiment is rushing through my head. Logically, I understand that the immediate family is more of a priority, and a house can get overcrowded with guests. But this family member is married to Taylor's cousin...who is part of the family HE grew up thinking, "Am I fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough..." and "Am I only spending time with them because we have the same bloodline?"

I'm just not coping with these feelings well tonight. I'm feeling lonely, and vulnerable, and disappointed, and stressed. I had been planning to go to Memphis to see Taylor for the holiday weekend, but decided that airline tickets were too expensive. I wanted to go to SLC to see some close friends and my family, but it's not practical to travel that far in my circumstance. I've already gotten the time off work to head to St. George on Friday. But is it worth a $75 hotel room for me to go up early? Do I want to take the pity offer of "You can stay on the floor if you can't make other arrangements?"

And how do I overcome these self-justified feelings of rejection that may not even be true or valid in the eyes of my extended family? Have I alienated any family members, having them worry if they were "fun enough, or cool enough, or smart enough..." for me to like them?? Is is ridiculous for me to assume that family = friends? It makes me envy the people that ARE friends with their family.

These are the life questions that I fear may keep my brain on overdrive tonight. And I don't need a sleepless night if I have a long drive ahead of me tomorrow....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So stinking hot!


This week has been a scorcher! I only have so much tolerance for heat, and I feel like I'm at my wit's end. It's hot at home, hot in the car, hot at work....I never seem to feel like I'm at a comfortable temperature. I should be doing homework, packing, cleaning, or anything more productive....but I'm just chilling on my couch in the family room (with the best air conditioner in the house.) I haven't blogged all week, so I'm going to get caught up.

I had my annual review at work. It went pretty well, except I got a needs improvement in adherence to company policies (i.e. internet, email and cell phone use). I've gotta cut down...but it's so hard! Today was the first day that I didn't send a text for an entire workday. It was terribly difficult. What else was said? That's confidential!

Tomorrow I'm heading off to St. George for the Labor Day weekend. I had planned to drive up to SLC, but decided the drive was too long to be the only driver. I told my parents I wasn't going to come...then they called me and asked if we could meet halfway. Unfortunately, it's going to be hot there too. But I'll have a swimming pool at the hotel, and I'll be with family, so I'll be fine. I hope to grab some Cafe Rio and Nielsen's Frozen Custard. I'm toting home as many bags of Dill Pickle Lays that I can find (my coworkers are obsessed!) If you want your chip fix, let me know how many you want.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My urban dictionary word of the day







Snarkolepsy


A disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of snarkiness, usually to the dismay and/or hilarity of both the diseased and onlookers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Shuffle

Put your ipod on shuffle, and list which songs come out in this order...No Cheating. It's freaky how some are so accurate!

Will I get far in life?
Title:: The Way That You Love Me
Artist:: Paula Abdul

How do my friends see me?
Title:: Childrens Crusade
Artist:: Sting

What's my best friends theme song?
Title:: The A-Team
Artist:: Theme song to the A-Team

What is the story of my life?
Title:: Peace of Mind
Artist:: Boston

What is/was high school like?
Title:: Prison Food
Artist:: Ben Folds

How can I get ahead in life?
Title:: Sweetest Perfection
Artist:: Depeche Mode

What is the best thing about me?
Title:: Collective Heartbeat
Artist:: Howard Jones

How's today going to be?
Title:: Find the Cost of Freedom
Artist:: Crosby Stills Nash and Young

What's in store for this weekend?
Title:: Tongue Tied
Artist:: Aqualung

What song describes my parents?
Title:: Last Beautiful Girl (ROTFL!!)
Artist:: matchbox twenty

How's my life going?
Title:: This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race (LOL)
Artist:: Fall Out Boy

What song will play at my funeral?
Title::We've Only Just Begun
Artist:: The Carpenters

How does the world see me?
Title:: The Ghost in You
Artist:: Psychadelic Furs

Will I have a happy life?
Title:: My one and only love
Artist:: Sting

What do my friends really think of me?
Title:: Common Pleasure
Artist::Jason Mraz

How can I make myself happy?
Title:: Even Better Than the Real Thing
Artist:: U2

What should I do with my life?
Title:: Back to Good
Artist:: matchbox twenty

What is some good advice?
Title:: Ave Maria
Artist:: Viva Voce- A Concert of Images

What is my signature dancing song?
Title:: Promises Promises
Artist:: Naked Eyes

What do I think my current theme song is?
Title:: Policy of Truth
Artist::Depeche Mode

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Title:: Trouble
Artist:: Coldplay

What do I really want from life?
Title:: How Deep Is Your Love
Artist:: Bee Gees

What should I do to help others?
Title:: If I Could Give You More
Artist:: Harry Connick Jr

What should I do to help myself?
Title:: No Such Thing (LOL!)
Artist:: John Mayer

What should I do to succeed in life?
Title:: Bring Him Home
Artist:: Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Showtime!

What is my one important goal in life?
Title:: Hands Clean
Artist:: Alanis Morrisette

Much Better

Just a quick post...I'm feeling a lot better than yesterday. There were a lot of emotions that needed to come to a head and I needed to have some deep pondering time. I still don't know exactly what the future will bring for the Bullock family (who ever knows?) But I am struggling less with the inadequacy I felt over the weekend.

I decided that flying out to Memphis would be too expensive over Labor Day. I think I'll drive up to Utah to see my family. Liz might even roadtrip with me to make sure that I don't fall asleep on the 666 mile (seriously!) drive from La Verne to Murray. I need something fun to look forward to, and I think a jaunt up to the SLC may be the ticket.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The last 24 hours...

I will admit it. I'm an emotional person. When I feel anything, I typically feel it very deeply. I typically care too much for things that I shouldn't be wasting my time on, and have a deep sense of guilt for the things that I didn't accomplish because I spent so much time on whatever it was that occupied my time (wow, that was a run-on sentence!). I also am a selectively private person...if I open up about anything personal to others about myself, I blurt it all out on that particular topic. I keep a pretty confident facade toward the public, as I've learned that you are more likely to make friends and be surrounded by positive people if you are positive yourself. But a lot of it is a facade. I have learned the art of the fake smile. But today I can't give a fake smile. I actually feel quite miserable. And where better to share it than in a blog, eh? So here is a inhibition-free account of my life at the present.

The last 24 hours, I have been feeling a massive, raging sadness and loneliness. I have shed more tears than in recent memory. And not just tears...massive, globulous tears that are so big that they slide down my cheeks and down my neck and shirt within about 2 seconds flat. If I lay on my side, my ear will fill up with tears and overflow into my hair. I have a headache the size of Montana. My chin has quivered uncontrollably, and my face contorted to some pretty unattractive positions as I've sobbed myself into oblivion. I cried on the phone with Taylor, cried as I washed dishes, cried as I IM'd a friend, cried as I drove, cried myself to sleep, cried through sacrament meeting, and just got off the phone from crying to Taylor again. I'm crying as I this blog is being written.

And why am I crying??? I am realizing the fact that I'll never be as perfect as I set out for myself to be. My adult life has never been "easy" or "normal" for more than a few months. Large trial after large trial have beset me often. My life is so overwhelming right now...full time work, full time school, trying to be a good parent (who spends sufficient, entertaining, and enriching time with Rosie daily), trying to be healthy and lose weight again, missing my family in Utah, not being a burden on my family here, coping with my husband on the other side of the country for the rest of the near future, etc... I feel like every aspect is sagging in my life...I don't get much positive feedback at work, which makes me doubt if I'm appreciated and meeting everyone's expectations. I'm having a hard time keeping up with my course of study for school (l've already decided against the fast track to graduation). I have gained back over 20 pounds in the last 6 weeks, that took me 8 months to lose. I make it to the gym less and less, rely on food for stress relief more and more, wake up later and later in the morning, and haven't been keeping up on daily spirituality (i.e. scriptures, meaningful prayers, PREPARING my primary lesson before Sunday morning)

But the hardest part is being married to a wonderful man that I rarely see. He's finally making strides in his career, got a paycheck this week, and is doing what he needs to do to make our family succeed financially. But he's still far away, I don't know when I'll see him next, and his future plans aren't established securely enough to plan on anything long term. His assignment to Detroit was confirmed this week, but he won't actually go to Detroit for a few months. It would be ridiculous for me to relocate to Memphis for now, but I am wondering if a Detroit relocation will be a reality in the next few months.

Detroit has never been a city I've had any inkling to visit, let alone move to. Yeah, I know there are good neighborhoods and cultural diversity and things that I've come to enjoy in LA...but Detroit? How do you even fathom moving to a region you have never even explored? I don't know anyone that lives there to get an honest perspective on the D-town lifestyle (and although the wikipedia account is thorough, I refuse to base my future on a website.) I don't know how strong the church is there, how far I'd have to drive to a temple, and how I'd cope living away from ALL family when Rosie gets baptized next year.

Yes, I understand that I may be getting ahead of myself at this point. Pinnacle may announce a west coast hub and we'll just be content to stay in So Cal for the time being. But what if moving is the right thing? With the thought of still working full time and moving without my husband here...AACCKK! I can't even hypothesize over it.

I'm tired. I think I'll cry myself to sleep for a Sunday afternoon nap.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rosie's new 'do

School starts in a few weeks, and Rosie was needing her bangs cut like crazy. I found a coupon for a kids' cut at Fantastic Sams, and it had a picture of an adorable little girl with a shaggy short haircut. The caption said something like "A good haircut will assure you a good seat at the lunch table." She fell in love with the picture, and I think she actually misunderstood that you had to get that haircut for the discount. (She knows how I get about bargains...)

Anyway, we stopped by FS on the way back home after dinner last night. A cute Thai girl (with spiky hair and blue bangs) took three different types of shears and the clipper to my daughter's head. She made it a little shorter than the picture, but it looks so adorable. It's a big change, but she apparently loves it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Four Way Stop

Recently I have been re-evaluating my driving skills. When I was driving with my dad in Utah, he said that I’ve definitely turned into a ‘California Driver’. I guess it is true; I drive more aggressively and take more risks on the road than I used to. There are more freeways to navigate, some with bizarre interchanges (605 south to the 10 east???) Even when I’m on my game, I tend to narrowly escape possibly cataclysmic collisions.

Despite the SigAlerts, motorcycles zooming past me in the carpool lane, random flashes of “the bird”, sobriety checkpoints, and freeway-parking-lots-for-no-apparent-reason conditions, I think the most annoying part of my daily commute is 4-way stops. I have six that I make between my house, Rosie’s daycare, and work. I think every driver that I encounter at these stops learned to drive out of a different manual. Which is very possible with drivers from different states and countries sharing the road.

The worst intersection is on McKinley, between White and Garey. I have never seen so many people running a stop sign and unapologetically acting like it doesn’t exist. All rules of right of way seem to not apply. Even the Pomona PD officers can’t seem to get it right at that intersection. Sometimes other drivers will wave me through, then immediately peel out and try to plow into me! Does Cami (short for Camarillo, my Camry) have a sign on her, saying “Hit Me! I need the insurance money?!?”

The LA County Fair is coming up in a few weeks, and my drive between work and home crosses through Fairplex territory. I dread the thought of driving home through fair traffic. I can only imagine the havoc of the dreaded intersection with fairgoers not familiar with the area.

Ed-u-ma-cation

"You can't let your personal issues conflict with your business or educational goals." Aquarius, Yahoo Horoscope, 8/16/06

I’m just over two months into my semester at WGU. I finished the introductory course (Education without Boundaries), I’m about 2/3 done with my 12 unit Leadership and Professionalism course, and hope to finish another class by November. My switch into working student at WGU has been a lot more successful than the semester I took at the U of U in 2005. I had time to work on coursework while I was working in Pathology, but it was hard taking up an evening a week to been in class. I like a lot of things about the online format. I have a loosely-recommended course of study to follow, but I can excel ahead if I like, or can take a week off if “life happens”.

Getting an education isn’t easy. I was the wife of a student for 4.5 years with Steve, and I’ve been the wife of a student with Taylor for almost 3 years. For all of the procrastination I’ve remedied, flash cards I’ve written, unexpected student fees I’ve paid, and crazy finals’ weeks that I’ve endured…I feel like I should be higher up in the academic spectrum than an undergrad senior. Even though my major is Business Management, I know more about health sciences and aviation than I ever thought I’d know. I should have an honorary triple major or something beyond my second MRS degree. I guess that’s part of being a wife.

Taylor’s nearing the end of his first week at Pinnacle. So far it’s been either basic HR/orientation/introductory stuff, or review of what he was learning at Jet U. Pinnacle pays for a decent extended-stay hotel for their new hires, much nicer than the dorms at Jet U. He’s rooming with Clint, a buddy from Jet U. It’s been a super hot and humid week in Memphis. The Memphis airport is very close to Graceland, but Taylor doesn’t want to brave the heat and crowds for the Elvis’s 30th Deathiversary.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Smart is sexy

"Being an intellectual is not the same as being a snob. Feeding your brain is sexy"
Yahoo Horoscopes, Aquarius, 8/15/07

So far, nobody knows that I've started this blog. Good thing, since I haven't posted anything a few weeks. I think about what blogs would be fun and witty to post, but I never actually sit down and type it out. Excuses, excuses.

Liz's birthday was last week. On the actual day, I went out to dinner with her and her mom. It is such a hoot to spend time with them together. We had hoped for a gelato run, but we decided to hit a book club instead, and by the time it was over, the gelato shop was closed. The big party was Friday night. The highlight of the evening was Federicos princess cake. Their marzipan is delightful! I met a few more of her friends, reconnected with ones that I met previously, and giggled as Rosie sprayed down and styled Brett's hair with a squirt gun.

Saturday Rosie and I went hiking with Brett in the Santa Rosa mountains near Murrieta. Brett had been talking about a beautifully green area with interesting vernal pools. Unfortunately, the last time he went was in the Spring of 2006, before this massive drought. Everything was dried up, including the pools. But we hiked nonetheless. Rosie led the way through the sweltering heat to the adobes, where we stopped for some food. We played around on the big rocks and took some pictures. On the way back, we spotted some random watermelon vines (one of the only living plants in the area). The hike back was difficult, as most of it was uphill. I stopped for a few "shade breaks" and followed a coyote in a nearby field. We were gone about 3 hours...quite a workout!

Monday night I went to the Gliss show at the Viper Room with Liz and Brett. It was my first show to be "on the list" and have to enter through the velvet rope. We met up with Patrick and Jessie, and rocked out for the next hour. The band before I'd never heard of, and wasn't terribly impressed with. Gliss, however, rocked! I loved how the members traded off instruments, and captured the crowd. The set was fairly short, but definitely worth the drive to Hollywood. After waiting in a cloud of cigarette smoke to meet the band, we headed off to the 101 Cafe. We had hot chocolate and sweet potato fries ("Orgasmic," according to Patrick). I fell asleep on the way back, and finally crashed into bed at 2 am.

Currently, I'm about halfway done with Deathly Hallows. I've hit that point that everyone says you can't put the book down. Unfortunately, I have to put it down to do some homework. But as my horoscope says...smart is sexy. I'd better go feed my brain.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back to Blogger

I've been a blogger for a few years now, but I never seem to stick with the same blog. I'm giving Blogspot another try. I'll probably post the same stuff on myspace and this place, so forgive my redundancy.

The good news of the day is Taylor's job offer from Pinnacle Airlines. He has been awaiting this call for the past two weeks since his interview.
He was hired as a first officer airline pilot for a CRJ-200 jet. He'll start 7 weeks of training in Memphis on August 13. His journey to actually making money as a pilot has been a strenuous, expensive, and unpredictable two and a half year adventure. He'll be living the dream he's had for himself since he was three years old.

Life is once again tolerable and happy. We've had a lot of trials in the last month, and it seems fitting that the job offer came on July 31st...we can start August fresh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Grrrrr! Thanks, but no thanks...

Sometimes I just don't get the curveballs that life sends me. I just checked my email and got the most generic "Thanks, but no thanks" email. But let me backtrack…About two weeks ago, right when I got back from my trip to Utah, I received a call from the recruitment department at the IHC Employment Center in Salt Lake. They said that they had an excellent position available and wondered if I would like to be considered. Off the cuff, I had a phone interview, was told all about this very prestigious senior executive assistant position for the LDS Hospital CEO. I got the impression that I was exactly what they were looking for. We talked about the negotiability of the salary, and I thought it would a feasible employment option. The recruiter excitedly told me to anticipate a call from the hiring manager within the next week for a phone interview.

The idea of a completely different life change in a short amount of time really threw me for a loop. I looked at a horoscope that basically said that events from last August (starting my current job) would open up a new opportunity around June 28 (the day I got the call) that would suddenly come into my life that would turn my life upside down, and the rest of the year would be much easier. Coincidence? I thought not. Lots of prayer and pondering occurred, and I felt like this would be a good opportunity for the family, even though a move right now would be difficult with Taylor in another state. It was a more prestigious position, at a more prestigious hospital, and I thought it would be good for my career, and good for the family. I rationalized around all the reasons I should stay in Cali, and decided that I would take the job if it were offered to me. I took the risk of talking to my boss, letting her know about how serious I was about considering the new position. I was pretty confident it would work out.

I had the phone interview yesterday, but it wasn't with the hospital executives as I was originally advised on my first call from the recruiter. It was the administrative assistant that works in the department, who would have been my coworker. She asked a lot of the generic HR questions, described the position, and said that 2nd interviews in person would be scheduled in the next week or so. I didn't really get a vibe either way on if she liked me or not, and figured that she left the door open enough that I was still a candidate in consideration.

All day today I've been poring over the possibilities of moving, stressed over my possible life changes (as well as Taylor's airline interview that was yesterday…which he's had no answer on yet). My work internet has a new filter that wouldn't let me into my hotmail. I opened up to a few coworkers about the possible job, and started looking into airline fares for coming up for a 2nd interview. When I got home this evening, I opened my email to read this…

We appreciated the opportunity to discuss your experience and background related to this position. We have narrowed the field of candidates to those whose training and experience most closely matches our needs. Unfortunately, you are not among the final group of candidates being considered.

Talk about an impersonal way to respond to a candidate that was RECRUITED by the company! If they weren't genuinely interested in me, why did they think about putting my life through mini-hell for the last two weeks? Why did they hype up the job so much…telling me I was a perfect candidate, and one of the most qualified so far? I like IHC, and had a lot of good experiences as an employee, but I also have had a lot of negative experiences.

For instance:

Two and a half years ago, I interviewed for a position at a clinic within IHC. I had a fabulous interview, got along great with the staff, and was practically dragged from the parking lot back in to have an immediate 2nd interview. That interview went well; I was given a lot of reassurances about how I'd be a great addition to the office, and left feeling pretty confident. Within a day, the clinic manager called me to say that I was their top candidate; they were finishing up the hiring process, and would be extending the job to me as soon as HR finished their stuff. Two days later, a 30-second phone call from that same manager advised me that HR overrode their decision and decided to hire someone who had previously worked in that office.

How does a large corporation get away with this? It seems the human in HR has turned inhuman.

I need some reassurances that I'm still a good person and qualified individual. I know I am…but sometimes I just need to hear a few compliments. Can you give me a few comments? Any unleashed rage upon the company that's left me in such a whirl the past few weeks?

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