Reason #242 Why Craig is the Best Husband Ever!

Earlier this week, I had to pump my own gas. Now, you are probably thinking that I must've had a boring week since I am writing about pumping gas and while that may be true, (don't judge me and my laundry doing, grocery shopping, in bed by 10:30 self) but that is not why I am writing about it. It's because it really is a monumental thing in my life to have to do so.

It seems like such an everyday thing, but I haven't had to do it is a really long time. You must realize that I hate hate hate getting gas. The machines always stop working when I try to use them and I can't figure out how to scan my stupid grocery card to get a discount and then my hands end up all smelly. In the past, if I knew I had to get gas, I would avoid driving my car, and it wasn't about the money, just the hassle. And if I did have to, it would practically ruin my day.

But I say, "In the past" because Craig is super sweet and knowing how much I hate the gas pumping experience, he makes sure I don't have to if at all possible. Even though I drive the car to work more than he does, I am pretty sure that Tuesday was the first time I had pumped gas in the last 12.5 months. Yep, since we got married! And I hadn't really even realized it until I was standing there waiting for it to fill. He really is a pretty great guy.

What would you do?

Update: Well, You guys are either really giving, caring people, or really good self liars (I bet there is a better term for that). I totally would want Craig to pick me. And he knew it but said he still wouldn't...even if it was 100% that I would die. He's so cruel. Meanwhile, I would be trying to telepathically send him this message: "Do not even think of waking me up. It is just a job, I have boundaries. If the vice-president and the entire cabinet can not handle this situation and make an proper decision on their own, it is on their hands, not mine. And if you and the people trying to convince you to wake me up can't accept their authority, you might need to look at your own egos. The whole reason we are even in this mess is because some people though that it was better for one man (well, woman in my case) to die for the sake of the whole country, isn't it. Uh-huh, I thought so."

Oh, I tried to keep the story simple so it wouldn't be confusing but in the episode of 24 that brought about the "discussion," some guys tried to kill the president because they thought he was making a poor decision and they wanted the vice president in charge. But he didn't die, he was just in a coma. But then the vice president was going to send a nuclear bomb over to a country who was helping the terrorists which other people thought would just start up WWIII so they wanted the president back in charge and woke him up. Now, I realize that this post makes me seem way into 24, but I am not really, it is a little too violent for my tastes, but I was just so appalled that Craig would just kill me off like that. That is precisely why I am never going to run for President.

Craig and I had a little disagreement last night over a moral/ethical hypothetical situation. We thought you, our loyal readers, might like to chime in with your views. (If any of you have seen the last season of 24, this story might seem vaguely familiar, and in fact, it did serve as the impetus for the discussion - but don't let how that story turned out affect your decision one way or the other please).

Okay, say one's wife is in a induced coma that is allowing her to survive the swelling due to severe brain trauma. Taking her off the medicine that is keeping her in a coma would most likely kill her or at least cause severe retardation. But she needs to be awakened because she is the only person that can stop the U.S. from launching a nuclear attack on the middle east that could quite possible starting World War III. You, the husband, are the only person with the legal ability to override the doctor's decision to keep her in a coma. Would you wake her up and risk killing her in order to save the lives of the many people who might die in the future or would you let her heal and risk another world war? Is your obligation to save the life of your wife more or less important than the lives of a larger amount of people you haven't mad vows to?

I will withhold both of our views until the people have spoken. Then whoever dared to disagree with me, even unknowingly, will never be called my friend again - just kidding, we really would like to know what you think.


Mansfield Park: a review

I wasn't really planning on writing about each Austen movie shown Sunday nights on PBS, but I had to write about this one because it was so bad. And nothing gives me inspiration to write more than a badly done Austen film.

I knew it was going to be bad when in the first 5 minutes, Fanny told us that she was in love with Edward. I shouldn't have been told that, I should have been shown that. That was the case in the whole movie. People were doing the right things (well, kinda, they left a lot out) but they had to tell us, or have others tell us, what they were feeling and thinking. Lame.

Also, Fanny was a bit annoying. Why was she always running and skipping and giggling? She was supposed to be shy and meek and frail. And her hair was always down. She just looked like a really big 12 year old. The movie didn't give you any idea of who she was. And don't even get me started on the fact that she caved and was in the play. The whole point of that part of the book was that she wouldn't be in the play even when Edward caved. Silly director/producer/script writer people.

I must say though, the end where Edward has the epiphany that he loved her, was highly amusing. I thought he was having a seizure or something. Although to be fair, I think Edward's acting was the one good thing about this adaptation. But when the two of them danced, it went from amusing to embarrassing. The kind of embarrassing when you turn red that you are even having to watch the scene.

Overall, it was very very bad. I would recommend the '99 version but I didn't really like it either. It was too opinionated about slavery which came from right field. So if you want to know what happens in Mansfield Park, you had better read the book.

Oh, I found the horrible scene on YouTube. Here is when Edward finally figures out that he has loved Fannie the whole time. And all because she choose purple. Who knows what would have happened if she had said maroon? It is just the first minute or so. But if you keep watching you can see another huge blunder when Edward goes into her bedroom while she is getting ready for bed. Highly improper.

WFMW: Lent Help

Next week is a themed WFMW so I will share my Lent tip early. I love giving up something for Lent. If you have never done it, try it, you'll like it, except when you hate it. Because no matter what you choose to give up, God will use it to teach you something. And if you are anything like me, sometimes it will be a big struggle. But I find that having a specific Bible verse on hand to act as a little mantra really helps get past those tough times when I just want to cave.

This year, I am giving up worrying about the future by instead praising God for where he has put me right now. Whenever I have doubts and catch myself not letting go, I just say Matthew 6:34 in my head: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I actually learned that verse in a song when I was little so I really sing it to myself.

A couple years ago I have up being sarcastic. That was one the of hardest Lents I have ever been through. And I failed miserably, but at least I caught myself and apologized to those around me. I don't think there is anything wrong about being sarcastic at certain moments, but it is easy to let that become the norm without even realizing it. An appropriate verse for those of you brave enough to try the no sarcasm thing: Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger."

There are even good verses for those of you sticking with the more typical Lenten idea of giving up sweets. My favorite: Pr 25:16 If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit. It's hard to find room for dessert after that one.

But you can find your fill of tips with no fear of vomiting by heading over to Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW.


Floral Fabric - ick.

I'm feeling very lazy about blogging right now. That normally happens when I have nothing to say but I have 4 posts I want to write...I just don't feel like writing them. But Craig has posted twice since my last post plus the end of January is quickly approaching and I really want to get back into the 40 ppm (ppm = post per month for those who don't know my made up acronyms) so write I must. Side note on acronyms: did you know that technically it is correct to call them alphabetisms or initialisms, heavens knows why you would do that though, you would just sound stupid.

One thing I am not feeling lazy about is sewing. A friend and I spent Saturday night hanging out at Joann's while our husbands were at their men's book study. We looked at patterns and fabric and got all excited but now I am sad. I just don't have the skills yet to make any of the cute patterns I saw. It is becoming increasingly difficult to convince myself that I don't want to jump into a vintage style dress with darts and zippers and lots of gatherings before I have even made a simple skirt. I know that I don't but that dress was just so darn cute.

But I bought myself a book of simple patterns for around the home that I can use to practice my pattern following on and they are cute too so hopefully that will appease my inner id (or is it ego? Freud is confusing). They are simple and should be quick enough that I can complete them in a day or two. If projects take too long, I get bored with them.

So now I have to go buy fabric which might be fun or might be depressing and frustrating. It was really hard to find cute fabric for Craig's quilt, which still isn't done because I got bored (see above). This town has lots of people (I was very pc there, it should probably read SAHM) who do scrapbooking and sewing so there is a lot of fabric but it is all ugly. Okay, not all, but let's just say I have plenty of options if I am looking for something flora or anything that could possible be mistaken for a Laura Ashley design. And that isn't quite what I am going for in my living room. I might have to resort to my friend the internet, which has lots of cute fabric for reasonable prices, but it has to come in the mail and I am feeling the urge to sew now, not in 5 days. In 5 days I will probably be feeling lazy about sewing and ready to start blogging more but I will not be able to blog about my cute new finished sewing projects because I will not have done them. It's a vicious cycle which I blame totally and completely on floral fabric.

Big Show in Town

I was surprised yesterday by a poster I saw on the bulletin board near the bathroom at the local Borders. It turns out that none other than Eve 6 is having a concert here. I was a fan of their debut CD when it came out back in 1998. In fact, I still own it. I think I also saw them in concert once with Green Day or someone in Houston in the early part of this decade. But I haven't heard much from them recently. But I guess that's because they disbanded for three years.

The concert is April 9 on the USU campus. Here's some info. Now, Logan doesn't get much in the way of concerts, at least by people I've ever heard of, which was the main reason for my surprise. But apparently, Eve 6 is starting small. Check out their schedule here. It includes everal places I've never heard of. And the concert here will take place in the campus fieldhouse, which, as I recall from my one visit there, is basically a gym.

So I'm going to go to this, but I wonder who's going to be there. I would imagine that people who know Eve 6 are my age or so, so the show wouldn't be too attractive to the high school and college set. But maybe the novelty of such a concert in this town will bring them in. If so, I'd better reach into the back of my closet and pull out my mosh-pitting shoes. Kids still do that, don't they?

Lame Names

The local paper had an insert this weekend called "Babes of 2007." Unfortunately, it was referring to babies, rather than attractive women. Anyway, in what is fast becoming an annual tradition (here's last year's entry), I sift through the parent-submitted entries to bring you the Stupidest Baby Names of the Year:

  • Jex
  • Dreyson
  • Chanz
  • Braxon
  • Bracken
  • Rieker
  • Dax
  • Teancum
  • Riot
  • Kaizlee
  • Bentley
  • McCole
  • McKenrie
As you can see, modern parents apparently get more, uh, "creative" with boy names than with girl names, as I couldn't find too many girl names to ridicule. Of course, you must realize that my standards had to be pretty high low to keep the list size manageable. However, it seems that people can just throw a "Mc" in front of anything and make it a name for a baby girl. Why don't I try it? How about McSewage? Isn't that cute?!


Fiscal Discipline

I saw the Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, on Fox News Sunday today, and he looks like he might be the toughest cabinet member ever. I'd say inflation is no match for this guy.


I'm Glad I'm No Longer Methodist...

...if they're going to do stupid things like this:
The nation's largest and most prominent mainline Protestant denomination, the 11 million-member United Methodist Church — whose members include both President Bush and Senator Clinton — is set to take up the issue of whether to divest from companies that do business with Israel.
The reasoning, of course, is that they think the Palestinians, Syrians, etc. are just friendly, peace-loving people that are being cruelly oppressed by Israel. Which is, of course, 180 degrees from the truth. These countries are interested in only one thing, the destruction of Israel, and the Palestinians are just a pawn in their larger game.

This makes no sense from a political and factual standpoint, and much less from a religious standpoint, since the Church would basically be turning its back on the Jews. I'm glad that my tithing money is no longer going to the Methodists.


Free digital scrapbooking supplies

I recently started the switch from old fashioned scrapbooking to digital scrapbooking. I like that it takes up a lot less space and I think it will save me money. Since I am just starting out, I don't want to spend a lot of money on it buying brushes and embellishments that I am not even sure how to use yet. Enter ShabbyPrincess.com. They have the cutest digital scrapbooking kits, with matching paper, ribbons, alphabets, and more - all coordinated. It makes it so easy to put together really great pages. And best yet, they offer quite a few of them free! And they are not ugly like many of the free supplies I have found online. I have used, and love, the dinner party, vintage floral, and festival sets and I am just waiting till I can find the perfect pictures to us with urban kiwi. She also offers some for sale and now that I am confident that I can actually do this digital scrapbooking thing, I just might have to try them out. ShabbyPrincess - it works for me.

Edit: I decided to post some of the pages I made on my Monday off, all in just a couple of hours. Click on them to see them bigger. Here is a two page layout of "out day at the beach."

And here is a page for Amanda's bachlorette par-tay! (My first completed page, yah for me!)


Farewell, Fred

As you know by now, Fred Thompson has departed the GOP race. It is unfortunate that he did not do better in the early primaries, but after his 3rd place finish in South Carolina, there wasn't much reason for him to hang around. His departure will likely help Romney the most in Florida, or maybe Rudy. It is speculated, however, that his absence will help the dreaded Mike Huckabee in Southern states on Feb. 5. I hope not.

As for the future, I have decided to throw my support to Rudy Giuliani. Read about that decision here.

I'm not sure what it means for the GOP that the only true conservative candidate was rejected. While Fred did have his flaws, I would have thought he would have gotten many more votes in the early contests. I hope this doesn't mean the party is moving towards the center, especially on economic issues, which is where Huckabee and, to a lesser extent, McCain, would take us.


Thoughts on the Day - Updated

UPDATE & BUMP: Go here to find pictures of the events described below. Page 4 shows (censored!) pictures of the scantily-clad dude. Pages 6-7 show the couple that should have won, and Page 9 shows the couple that did win. Pages 13-14 show me, and Page 18 shows the kids that won the costume contest.

I decided to devote a separate post to my impressions of today's Polar Plunge, apart from the pictures and videos of me in my previous post. In all, I wasn't too pleased with things. I hate to criticize a charitable event with many volunteer contributors, but my criticism will be constructive.

The main problem was with the tents. There were two heated tents near the plunging area for men and women to go into before and after jumping in the water. The tents were not labeled male/female, nor was there anyone there who knew which was which. Several people were standing by the tents, wondering which was which, until I unilaterally declared one of them to be the male tent. Since I was standing there anyway, I shared this declaration with several waves of confused plungers, until the designation became established.

Also, last year the guy tent (and I'd imagine the ladies tent as well) had a large tarp on the ground so people didn't have to stand on snowy, dirty ground. This year, there were two tarps nicely folded in the corner. I looked around for someone official to ask if they were to be spread out, but finding nobody, I went ahead and spread one of them out somewhat. Not all the way, since it was huge, but enough to make room for anyone who wished to use it.

Another point of contention is that there were no bleachers there, unlike last year. Thus, all the spectators had to stand in a ring around the ice, which kind of cluttered things up.

Finally, on a more trivial note, there were several categories of plungers, and the best contestant in each category won a prize. Local and state law enforcement officials did the judging, and they were horrible. Worse than the worst referees I've ever seen, and even worse than that French judge at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Here's Exhibit A: the Scantily Clad competition. These are the two competitors in this category:

While the guy on the left is not pleasant to look at, he is clearly more scantily-clad, and should undoubtedly have won the competition (note the looks of horror on the faces of the two people to his right). But alas, he did not.

Next was the couple's competition. The first couple was two guys; one wearing short Euro-shorts, and the other wearing shiny silver pants. They were reminiscent of Ace and Gary, and were quite funny. The next couple was two people dressed in Sith Lord robes and carrying light sabers. The final couple was some guy and his daughter. There is really no reason why Ace and Gary should not have won, but they were robbed by the Star Wars couple.

I did not see most of the costume contest, since I was in the tent after my jump, but I hear that some guy and his daughters, who were dressed like princesses, won that one. A princess, of course, is the most generic costume ever. Why not award someone who showed a little creativity? It seems like, in the case of the scantily-clad and costume contests, all you have to do to win is be a kid. Ridiculous.

I will add two things I liked about the day. This year, a platform was added at the jumping point, which made it easier to get a good takeoff with out slipping on the ice. Also, the participants were grouped by category, and the winner of each contest was announced immediately. These were two good changes from last year.

UPDATE: The father of the princesses WAS A COP! He even jumped in his uniform. So the judges gave the prize to one of their own. Completely unfair!

Northanger Abbey: a review

If you are male, or a female who doesn't like Jane Austen (do those exist?) you should stop reading because this will be very boring to you. It might be very boring to those of you who do like her but that is a risk you can decide for yourself whether to take or not.

Anyway, on to the review. Northanger Abbey is actually one of the (or maybe the only) Jane Austen book I have not read so I can't really say how well the movie followed the story but I can say that I like it. It probably was not as good as the book but now I want to read the book so I’ll know for sure later. It was pretty obvious that it was her first book because it was much simpler than her later works with less characters, simpler plot, etc. I actually liked that because it gave the characters a chance to develop in the short 90 minutes they had. And Austen's characters are really the best part of the books, imho. I adored Catherine, especially since even though she was young and naive to begin with, she was able to learn and develop without being hit over the head by the lesson unlike others (cough, cough, Marianne, cough…sorry, but she gets on my nerves sometimes, and yes, I know she isn’t a real person).

Other, more trivial but still important, aspects of this movie I liked:

1) Costumes were very well done. Here is an article all about the bonnets in the movie. The movie did have exceptionally nice bonnets.

2) Characters were not ugly. Nothing is worse than a homely actress who is supposed to be playing a pretty young girl whom all the gentleman adore. Except perhaps an ugly actor playing the love interest, see here (but before you click on that link, promise me you will not judge me by my former Xanga). Or when the initial love interest that turns out to be a scoundrel is hot but the new love interest is not. Tragic. But nope, in this movie, Catherine was quite pretty and Henry Tillney (aka – good guy) was cute, even with the elf feature, while John Thopre (aka – bad guy) is, well, ...not. In fact, he reminds me of Jemaine from FOTC , although I'm not quite sure why. Weird.

3) I could understand what they were saying. In some of the older versions, they seem to try too hard with the accents, leaving me unable to interpret the dialogue, which is really quite frustrating.

In short (or long), I hope that the other productions that I haven’t seen but will be watching in the upcoming weeks will be as good.

Curling Tonight!

If you've always wanted to learn to curl, here's your chance.

WHAT: Learn to Curl Clinic
WHEN: Tonight (Monday), 7:30-9:30
WHERE: Eccles Ice Arena, North Logan
COST: $10 for adults, $5 for students

Be there.


Rec Story 2: I am such a sweet stalker :-)

So while I have only hinted at it on this blog, it is widely known in my world of real life friends that I was sooo in love with Craig before he even knew what my major was. But what even my real life friends don't know is the extent I went to to be in his presence. Some may refer to this behavior as stalking but since we were friends, I prefer to NOT think of it that way. And I didn't romantically pursue Craig in the sense that I asked him out, or initiated anything, cause I'm old fashioned and don't believe in such things. Like Ruth, who laid herself at Boaz's feet, I simply put myself in situations where I knew he would be. And I happen to know when he went to the gym.

But let me back up first. Our church college group met at the cafeteria for lunch every week. I started going as a way to get more involved at church and after a few weeks, I mentioned it to some others, including Craig, and invited them to come too. Several of them, including Craig, did so, but Craig always left first to go to class.

One week though, he was complaining that he couldn't go to the gym because he had forgotten his socks. This stuck in my mind. Since I didn't have classes in the afternoon on Wednesday, I normally went back to the dorm after lunch to lay on my bed and try to study, which would inevitable turn into a nap until my roommate would come back and we would watch TLC's Trading Spaces. When I heard that Craig went to the gym after class, I figured that maybe I could be a little more productive with my Wednesday afternoons.

I figured Craig left about 15 minutes before everyone else to get to his 1:50-2:40 class. If I left at 2, walked to the gym, and ran for about 30 minutes, I would finish at about 2:40-2:45, just when he should be getting to the gym. So that is what I started to do. And lucky for me, the bike rack was right in front of the window by the treadmills, so I could actually see when he arrived. Of course, the treadmills were facing the wrong direction so I would have to run looking over my shoulder for the last 5 minutes but when I saw him arrive, I would hop off, wipe down the machine, and casually walk out just when he would be walking in. Then we would chat for a minute or two and continue on our way (while he would internally be realizing what an health conscious and athletic person I must be). Oh, my brilliant plan. And, because I wanted to be subtle, I would intentionally miss him some weeks, because if I met him every week it would be soooo obvious.

Looking back, some would be embarrassed by this story. I am not though, because, well, I got him. If I didn't, this story would be sad and pathetic but now it just makes me think about what great self confidence I must have had for I never seemed to think about the fact that maybe I didn't look that great in my old t-shirt and gym shorts, sweaty and red from running.


I Came, I Saw, I Plunged

I know you all wanted to join me for the Polar Plunge today, but since you couldn't, here's the video (MacKenzie could have zoomed in more, but maybe next year).

Before the events in the video occurred, the announcer called forth all the people entered in the costume contest portion of the event. I quickly came forward, because my bare feet were cold. The only other costume people that came forward, for whatever reason, were that pirate behind me and his kids, although there were many more costumed people.

As you learned in the video, I dressed as Donald Trump. Sure, the hair wasn't too accurate, but wigs are hard to come by, and exaggeration is the key to humor. You'll notice that my wig came off when I hit the water; that's what I was looking for after I jumped in. Here are some photos:

Notice the shorts.

Look at that form.

Oooh, wet T-shirt!


I might have to boycott

I am feeling fashionably restless. I want a new hairstyle but I can't decide what. I want a new pair of nice jeans but I don't have the energy to get them. So I have decided I need a new purse. I have always always wanted a Fossil purse and this will actually be the first purse I have gotten since graduating college and getting a job (let's not talk about how pathetic that it) so I finally feel like I can justify it. So I go online and what do I find. This. I am appalled. Appalled. Now, because of my political views, I feel like they do have the right to make such a hideous accessory. But I do think I might have to boycott. It makes me feel so sad.

Edit: I decided to give Fossil the benefit of the doubt and tried to find an Aggie bag. I did find these so apparently they do more than just tu, but they still seem to have an unequal amount of that particular university. But this might redeem them enough for me to buy a bag. Because, well, I really really want one. I also like how all the schools they show are from the south. I guess nobody from Harvard wants a themed purse, but southern women love their school apparel.


Your Local Taliban

Over at El Otro Bloggo (the other blog), I wrote about a quintessential Utah story. Some students want to force Gold's Gym to get rid of R and PG-13 rated material on the TVs and put up blinds so they can't see the ladies in the aerobics classes work out in provocative clothing. Click on over there to read my denunciation.

My Rec Story, Number I

1) How I almost met Daddy Bush (aka the non-story)

So my friend and I noticed toward the end of our freshman year (thanks to our loving parents that told us over Christmas break), that we had gained a few pounds. So we decided to work out Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Since we were too nervous to go into the rec by ourselves and try and use the scary machines had each other to hold us accountable , we actually did a good job of actually going. Until one day, when I just didn't feel that good. I wasn't sick, but I could feel I was getting sick and I knew I had a test later that day so I IM'ed her and told her I just couldn't make it. And I felt a little guilty about it but I knew I would see her at lunch and could explain then. She shows up at lunch all excited. "Guess who ran next to me today" she exclaimed. "Well, it wasn't me," I told her, annoyed that she hadn't even seemed to miss me. "George Bush, Sr." she shouted. "Like, he used the president, and he ran right next to me."

My mouth dropped, Daddy Bush, running where I was supposed to run. I was so mad, but I couldn't be mad at anyone other than myself. That was supposed to be my treadmill. If I had only dragged my butt out of bed, I could have been "this" (imagine my fingers very close together) close to a former POTUS. It was my chance, and I blew it.

You think that would have motivated me to go to the gym and I was for a short while, but then, a month or so later, I skipped again. And guess what....he was there again. This time, my friend hadn't gone either but we both heard rumors around campus that he was there and when we asked another friend who often was there at the same time as us, sure enough, he had stopped by for a little exercise. She told us we should have expected it because he had a program that night so he was in town, but come on people, what are the odds! I am still bitter. And I think that is why I still don't like working on in gyms, either that or I am lazy. And that is how I almost met Daddy Bush.

PS -Craig and I really didn't plan on having three gym related posts all in a row.

Let's get physical.

Craig and I started a new workout plan this week. Well, actually I started it because he already had a gym membership and now I have one now too but we are both going to go together. He has been going there since he moved here but once I got here, I started hogging the car so he couldn't ever go after work. And once he gets home, I always seem to convince him to stay and hang out with me, "Craig, don't you want to stay here with me and watch a movie and eat ice cream instead of leaving me, all alone, to go run on a treadmill for 30 minutes." See it's not that hard to do.

So we decided either he would quit cause it's a waste of money unless he actually goes, or I would join to and we would go together (everyone say ahhh, how sweet). Yes, yes it is very sweet of me because I hate working out. I like to swim, I like to do yoga, I don't like do things that involve sweat (Some of you may say that yoga involves sweat, but not when me and my friend, Mar-mar, did it.) But I am willing to do it for Craig. And because when I work out, I feel like I can eat more ice cream, and I love ice cream.

But what I do not love, paying to work out. Spending money to do something I really don't want to do. Yuck. I went to the Rec at A&M but I had to pay for that in student fees whether I wanted to or not so it I might as have gotten my use out of it. Plus, I really did need to go in college because I definitely experienced the freshman 15 effect. So I will now tell my two Rec stories. Except one is more of a non-story. But my lunch break is over so you are going to have to wait until tomorrow.

Guest Post - Guatemala Mission Trip

My sister Stephanie just returned from a 12-day mission trip to Guatemala. She is a nurse, and she used that training as part of the medical team within her group. I asked her to tell our readers about the trip, and she filed this report:
My year started out with me going to Guatemala for a mission trip. The group included 29 people of all ages. Within this group there were 4 sections: medical (7 people, myself included) construction, daycamp, and a women's group. We left on the 1st of January and made it to Guatemala City that night. Here we stayed at a "decent" hotel where I swear I heard a gunshot not too far down the street from my room. But obviously I made it to the next day.

The next day
we journeyed from our hotel in Guatemala City to Lemoa, which is where we stayed during our trip. Lemoa is very small, actually, all it really has is one small "tienda," or store, which basically had candy and soda, and then an orphanage and a school. It is a very rural area. We stayed at a Methodist camp. The building was made of cement and had no heat. You're probably thinking, you're in Guatemala, you don't need heat, but at night it would dip down to around 40 degrees so we could see our breath at night while trying to sleep. There were 2 showers for the ladies and 2 showers for the men, and we each had 4 toilets. Now in Guatemala, no matter where you are, you can not flush your toilet paper down the toilet because their sewage system cannot handle it. That was hard to adjust to at first, but I finally got the hang of it.

A couple things that drew my attention when arriving in Guatemala were the trash and the dogs. Most people dump their trash off on the side of the road so there is trash EVERYWHERE. Some people burn it so there will be huge clouds of smoke. At our camp, the people would burn our garbage and toilet paper so you did not want to be around when they were doing that! And then there were the dogs. There are dogs running around EVERYWHERE! Most of the time you didn't know if they were rabid or not. They would mostly steer clear of you and vice versa. But one unfortunate girl on our team was playing with some kids and a dog got a little excited and nipped her. She had to be flown back to Mayo early to get a series of rabies shots that they didn't have in Guatemala. After that, I really steered clear of the dogs.

For the medical portion of our trip, there were 4 nurses and 3 doctors. We went to 6 different villages in 6 days. Most of the patients we saw have never seen a doctor or nurse before in their lives. We saw about 350 patients in those 6 days. We would set up our "clinic" usually in a church in the village. Our doctor's rooms were separated by sheets and ropes. Two of the nurses ran our "triage stations," where we would get blood pressure, weight, height, temp, blood sugar, and what their complaint was. From there, they would go see one of the doctors, who would prescribe them with pills, and then the other two nurses ran the "pharmacy" where we dispensed the medications and taught them about the meds and when to take them. I was getting really good with my Spanish by the end of the trip and was even able to tell patients how and when to take their pills and what their pills were for. Most of the things we seen in our clinic were infections, parasites, body and head lice, hypertension, diabetes, pain, asthma, dry eyes, etc. We also were able to dispense multivitamins, reading glasses if needed, and toothbrushes to the adults and children. The ages of our patient varied from 2 months old to 104 years old. You're probably thinking, I bet the 104 year old had so many problems, well no, all the guy wanted was some glasses so he could see. He walked out of the clinic that day one of the happiest people in the world because he was now able to see the faces of his children/grandchildren. Needless to say, we all got hugs and kisses from him before he left.

When we had some down time, we were able to play with the children. We brought along a few things such as tennis balls, crayons and paper, and stickers. You would've thought we were giving each of these kids a Nintendo Wii there were so excited. We also played their favorite game, Pato Pato Ganzo, or Duck Duck Goose in English. Being able to make the kids laugh and smile was very rewarding. Oh, and one more thing about the medical portion of the trip. We had to travel about 2 hours one way to get to the different villages. The roads were not nice paved roads but small, dirt BUMPY roads that wound around the mountains. I would look out the bus window and see directly down the mountain. Needless to say the bus rides were NOT a favorite part of the trip.

All in all, this was probably the best trip of my lifetime and when it was time to leave I decided that I didn't want to. I tried to convince the group to let me stay but they just weren't having it. Seeing all the poverty around Guatemala really opened my eyes and made me realize how lucky we really are and how often we take simple things for granted, like flushing your toilet paper down the toilet.


My thoughts on our temple tour

Craig's post on our temple tour was very factual, he described what we did and saw. Mine will be a bit more subjective. First off, I want to say that I am very glad that we had a chance to go and see the temple. Having a number of Mormon friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, I think it is great that I can learn more about something that is so important to them and I hope that my understanding even a little bit more about their religion helps me understand and relate to them better. My faith is a huge part of who I am and if someone didn't know that, they wouldn't really know me. I tend to assume other people are the same way. (Even atheists have beliefs that influence who they are.) But I digress, on to my thoughts on the tour.

Honestly, my first response to seeing the inside of the temple was disappointment. Maybe it is because of the secretiveness/sacredness, or maybe it is because our tour guide told us to prepare to see something beautiful 5 million times (+/- a million), but I was expecting something....more. It was clean, and new, and obviously thoughtfully designed, but I'm not sure if I would have said beautiful.

It was also very different that I was expecting in it's layout. Since all I knew before hand was that people got married there and went there to do baptisms, I was picturing something more church like and not as subdivided into little rooms. Or even something more like old testament temples with an outer area and an inner "holier" area. But it wasn't like that at all, as Craig's post showed. But that is why I went, because I knew that my thoughts on what it would be like were wrong and I wanted to correct them, it just surprised me how wrong I was.

Another thing that disappointed me was that their was no one around afterwards during the little reception area that could answer questions like we were told their would be. I know that it was quite busy and they were trying to move everything along so logistically maybe that would have been hard but I was frustrated by that. They promised cookies and question-answering people. Craig got his cookies, where were the people?

And while I do know some LDS folks, I feel a bit awkward randomly asking them questions, especially since I know they aren't supposed to talk about many aspects of the temple ceremonies. I don't want them to feel pressured to talk about something they don't want to or have to feel bad if they can't talk about it. So I have decided to ask them here. I'm not going to ask anything I know can't be answered just kinda general stuff but still, no one has to answer if they don't feel like it and they don't have to feel bad about it. But I am curious. [Aren't I such a people pleaser? :-)]

Here they are:
  • How often does the "average" person go to the temple? When we lived by the temple I saw quite a few people going there every day but they can't all be going to get married and they don't all come out with wet hair so they aren't doing baptisms, are they? But isn't the ceremony/endowment/instruction - that is what the tour lady called it, whatever that may be, always the same, so why go over and over again? I don't think I would really like going to church much if I always sang the same hymns and heard the same sermon, it would be like that lame groundhog day movie. Am I missing something?
  • The tour lady described, in very general terms of course, what occurs in each room. Well, every room except the celestial room. There she talked mostly about the symbolism and left us with the impression that it is a room where you sit and chill. But if that's where you end up after all the instructions you have previously received, then you get there and you just sit and ponder? Is that right?
  • I know I had more but it has been almost a week and thoughts about meal planning and work projects have pushed them out of my mind, So here is my last question, via KVNU, If Mitt Romney becomes president, will the secret service be allowed into the temple with him, or will he not be able to go?

Who Sucks?

The Western Athletic Conference has decided that a certain cheer used by Utah State basketball fans is "offensive," and the University informed its students that this cheer is no longer allowed. What is the heinous chant that has drawn such ire?

When the Utah State men’s basketball team took on New Mexico State last Saturday, there was something different about the students.

They turned out in force with most wearing blue and were as loud as ever, but one of their chants had been shelved. “You Suck” can no longer be used at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

The students had used it when a visiting player was called for a foul or after an Aggie opponent made a free throw, adding “still” between the previously mentioned two words.

Last time I heard, the WAC was a collegiate, rather than a high school, conference, and USU was a university, not a high school (although some might disagree on that). This cheer seems like pretty small potatoes for a bunch of college kids.

The ultimate blame for this goes to the WAC, but Utah State pressed the issue, which led to the banning of the phrase:

Following the Hawaii game at the Spectrum, a WAC referee told Randall the “You Suck” chant could be translated as offensive. [Athletic Director Randy] Spetman decided to call the league office and inquire. The head of WAC officials called it “borderline,” Spetman said. Spetman then went to WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

“His (Benson) staff called back and determined the chant was outside the guidelines of sportsmanship,” Spetman said. “That we needed to take action to have the students change.”

The issue was addressed at a Board of Regents meeting on the campus of Utah State on Friday morning. Spetman decided by noon something needed to be done. With key league games coming up, the Aggie AD didn’t want something to happen to hurt the team.

If Spetman hadn't gone out of his way to press this issue all the way to the Commissioner, the chant would probably still be allowed. It's always better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission, as I always say.

Some are claiming this is a First Amendment issue, but I disagree. When you buy a ticket to a sporting event, you agree to abide by the rules of the venue. If USU banned using the phrase on campus, however, that would be different (although they might get away with that, as many universities have "speech codes"). I'd say USU has the right to ban the phrase, but that doesn't mean they should.

At this point, however, if fans use the phrase during a game, the team can get hit with a technical foul , so that should shut it down pretty quickly. USU students will have to be creative to come up with ways to protest and circumvent this ruling. And I'm sure they will.

Designing woman

I am working on a new design for the blog. Nothing major really, just some tweaking on the old design. I have it all planned out but I will be implementing it gradually over the next few weeks since I didn't get it done my Christmas illness from you-know-where and my laziness in the weeks that followed. I am hoping that by posting this, I will feel compelled to actually get to work.

The point is, if you notice anything weird here, it will probably go away in an hour or too but if it doesn't, please let me know. Especially if you use a browser other than Firefox like I do since I have no way of knowing if something only looks bad in Internet Explorer. (Sidenote: If y'all are using explorer, please just change to Firefox, it is so much better, you'll thank me.)


Testing Time

The Jeopardy! online test is back. Our friend Rachel used this test to earn a spot on the show awhile back, and I hope to follow in her footsteps. We Mountain timers can take the test January 30th. If you're interested, click the link above.

Oh my goodness

Let me repeat - Oh, my goodness. I am so super stoked about this that the tragedy of me missing the first week doesn't even put a dent into it. Months of Jane Austen. I hope my heart can take it.


Temple Trip

LDS temples are not open to the general public. According to Wikipedia:
However, to experience the temple firsthand, one needs to convert to the faith, and then (after a year's membership) obtain a temple recommend to enter. The recommend is obtained from and signed by the member's bishop after passing a one-on-one worthiness interview, in which one's commitment to the gospel is reviewed. The recommend is also signed by the member's stake president after a second one-on-one worthiness interview, and finally by the member themselves. By signing his or her own recommend, the member acknowledges their responsibility to ensure that they remain worthy to hold the recommend. Once issued a recommend remains valid for a period of two years.
However, during the period between the completion of construction and the dedication of a temple, open houses are held, allowing the general public an opportunity to tour the building. Open houses are currently being held for the new temple in Rexburg, Idaho, and the two of us took a trip up there Saturday with a couple of friends to check things out. Here it is:

The tour was quite efficient. As we arrived, we were directed into the parking lot by ushers in orange vests. We were then shown to the chapel of the building next door to the temple, where we waited for our turn to go to one of the six video rooms to watch a 10-minute video on the purpose of temples and the history of the Rexburg area. The couple directing our tour then took our group (of about 30) over to the temple via a tented-over, heated walkway. Before entering, volunteers put white plastic booties over our shoes, presumably to protect the carpets. During the tour, numerous ushers were in place throughout the building to direct us and, seemingly, to keep us out of certain places.

Cameras were not allowed on the tour, so the following pictures were taken from the brochure we were given. You may notice, as we did, that the place is reminiscent of a luxury hotel.

Our first stop was the Baptistry, where baptisms are performed on behalf of those who have died. The font rests on the backs of 12 oxen, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The tour guide emphasized the "beauty" of this room.

After walking through a chapel, we proceeded to the Ordinance Room, where, according to the literature, "an overview is given of the Lord's plan for his children." The walls are painted as they are (by a local artist!) to invoke the Creation. There is a projector screen at the front of the room. The tour guide instructed us to notice the "beauty" of this room.

After a trip through the ladies' dressing room, we proceeded upstairs to the Celestial Room. This room "symbolizes life as eternal families with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ." I think you just kind of hang out in this room. The tour guide mentioned that this is the brightest room in the temple, and also that it is "beautiful." Note the chandelier.

Our final stop was up the stairs again to the Sealing Room. This is where marriages take place. There were four of these rooms, giving the temple the potential to be a veritable marriage factory. Mirrors on opposite walls of the room, providing that perpetual mirror effect, symbolize the eternal aspect of LDS marriage. This picture does not depict a small, square, padded bench in the middle of the room with padded space for kneeling all around it. It also does not depict the pattern that was basically carved into the carpet, as we were told. The design had a wheat theme, as did the rest of the temple interior, in recognition of the area's agricultural heritage. This room is also, you guessed it, "beautiful."

Finally, we returned to the building where we started out for refreshments. Comment/information cards were also available. No questions were taken during the tour (in fact, silence was encouraged, in order to feel the impact of the building), but we were told that there would be an opportunity for questions at this point. However, I only saw one or two people that I could have directed questions to, and in such a large, busy room, that was not feasible. But I got to eat a lot of cookies.

In all, it was an informative, worthwhile trip, and a rare opportunity. We may get to do it again in Twin Falls this summer.

P.S. These guys were there, too.

One year down, many more to go.

On this day, one year ago, Craig and I stood in front on our friends and family and vowed to God and each other that we would love, honor, etc 'til death, yadda yadda. I've tried to think of what I want to say in this post but nothing can really express all that I have to say about this year.

The thing that first comes to mind is whew, we made it. Okay, that may not be what you were expecting to hear, but this past year has been a challenge for me. Mostly because God has been refining me and I am stubborn and for the first several months, I didn't always want Him to. Once I let go, things got much better. But that is a subject for another post...

I love Craig more now than I even thought I could a year ago and I wouldn't take back one second of this year because it was just what we both needed. But I'm glad we are no longer "newlyweds." I like that I already know how Craig feels about the direction the toilet paper falls and what his ideal p.b. to j ratio is. I like that he now knows the difference between my "I've had a bad day and need a hug" expression and my "I've had a bad day so you had better give me space" expression. (I am pretty sure he likes having that knowledge too.) As many of my friends are getting married soon, I wish them all a great first year. But I can't help but think the first couple months of marriage are a lot like high school. When you are in them, people are always telling you that it is the best time of your life and you are wondering what is wrong with you that you are finding it such a challenge. Now there are some great things about being in high school, but it wasn't the best part of my life and it was a challenge. There are some great things about those first few months of marriage, but I hope it isn't going to be the best time of our marriage. I have a few plans for the the next 40-50 years and I'm thinking they are going to be even better.

Now I'm going to completely switch gears and brag a bit about Craig and his anniversary plans for me. We did most of the celebrating Friday because if we had wanted to celebrate today all we could have done was go to Wal-mart or to go buy beer in Nibley - not so romantic. He had kept the plans a secret but on Thursday night I finally dragged it out of him. He bought me flowers and took me out to dinner at Hamilton's, which honestly, we were both a bit disappointed with, but it had a nice atmosphere and the free anniversary cheesecake was tasty. Then we went to see "The King and I" which was quite good and something fun and different (and Loralee is in it). Today, I wasn't expecting anything because we had already done stuff but he got up early and surprised me with breakfast in bed, and it was French toast - my favorite! He got away with the surprise because he always gets up early on Sunday to watch political talk shows while I sleep away. I like surprises but it is hard to really surprise me as I will nag and nag until I find out. So it was quite delightful and I have to say, when it comes to romantic plans, Craig does good.


Tamest Bachlorette Party Ever!

Notice I said tame, not lame. And the title isn't really true because my bachlorette party was spent getting our nails done and going to Starbucks - tamer, but again, not lame.
At Amanda's party, we actually had drinks with alcohol in them. But the waiter was quite surprised that we were so calm, collected, and not prone to talk about penises. Not that he has had a lot of experience working with classy ladies, seeing as he was a pirate.
Oh, the rest of the picture is showing Amanda doing a "posture test". She passed.

Amanda had said she wanted a clean party so we took her literally and got her lots of bubble bath, lotions, etc. Here she is opening her presents. I'm not sure why it's such a struggle.

This is soap that is shaped like a fortune cookie. Isn't it cute? But don't eat it Amanda, it won't taste good.
Just a couple more pictures. Looking fierce, Amanda, looking fierce.
And here we are, ending the evening being serenaded by Goose, Ace Ventura, Dread Pirate Roberts, and Peter Pan.I only have one more thing to say about the night - fun times were had by all.