Friday, February 29, 2008

Kiddies

So once you get married the questions begin: "When are you gonna have kids?", or "How many children to you plan on having?" And then once you have your first, that's not good enough I guess because then you get asked, "So when are you guys going to have another one?" Okay, so it's not like I hate people who ask me these questions. I mean, I ask other people the same thing too. Maybe it's just a conversation starter. But sometimes, depending on the person it comes from, I feel a lot of pressure to start having more NOW. Mike and I talked about this about a year after Vessel was born and we both agreed that we were perfectly content with our 1 little boy at the time. One child is very hard work as it is. Yes, it's hard work even though Vessel is like a dream child that hardly ever fusses or whines. Yes, it's hard work even though Mike helps out SO much with Vessel (sometimes maybe even more than I do!) In those ways I feel very blessed by the Lord. He knows my limits and He knows my strengths and weaknesses and I believe He gave me what He knew I could handle at the time.
Growing up, I was around kids often. In high school I babysat for several families in the neighborhood. I loved kids and they seemed to love me. We had fun together and I thought to myself, "I'm going to have 10 of these!" In college I took a lot of child development and family classes. I volunteered at preschools and daycares. I started to feel like my one true calling in life was going to be motherhood. Even in my Patriarchal blessing it talks A LOT about being a mother and specific things regarding my family and children. I was happy about it and I looked forward to starting my own family.
When we were blessed with Vessel, I was kind of thrown for a loop. It was a lot harder than I anticipated. This wasn't like babysitting anymore. This kid was mine and it wasn't like I was just taking care of him temporarily. It took more time to grown into the role of "mother" than expected. Even though things are easier now and I am more confident, I just don't feel ready to have another one YET. I don't know why, but I've kind of felt guilty about it lately. Perhaps in part of people asking me when I'm going to have another one. It seems like most families, at least LDS families have children fairly close in age. Kind of just get them all out of the way at once, ya know. Recently I've felt some pressure to do the same thing. Until yesterday.
Yesterday morning I went crossing at an intersection that required two crossing guards so I had a buddy to talk to. While we were waiting for school children to arrive we started talking a bit about ourselves and I learned that she had a 2 year old that she sometimes brought crossing with her. Then I found out she had 2 more children and they are all about 5 years apart. I was curious about that and she said she and her husband had planned it that way. That's what worked for them and their circumstances. She said she knew she wanted about 3-4 children, but she also knew she couldn't handle them all so close in age because of her particular life situation and personality. This conversation really made me feel better. Recently I've just had the feeling that I'll be less of a mother if I don't have as many kids as my body will allow me to and have them all like a year apart. But after talking to this mother I didn't feel like that anymore.
I thought about it a lot yesterday. I shouldn't worry so much about what other people are doing I guess. I need to do what's best for me and my family. I can't think that Heavenly Father is going to compare me to someone else or expect me to follow the same life path as anyone else. The thought of this really comforted me. Heavenly Father knows me as an individual and He knows what's in store for me and my family and I just have to trust that. I DO want to have more children, but I don't need to have them NOW, do I? Some people might have the approach of having them all in school together or out of the house around the same time. This really isn't an issue for me. I suppose Mike and I will know when the time is right to start trying for more.
For the most part I feel really happy with life right now and the way things are. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Just because I want to wait a few more years before giving birth again doesn't mean I don't like kids, especially my own. What works for one family might not work for us. This mindset just reassured me that even if we aren't doing what every other family in the neighborhood is doing doesn't mean we're doing something wrong. If I don't have my kids one after the other, it doesn't deter from my true calling as a mother. Having one child is great and I just want to focus on raising him right now. And if Vessel doesn't have a sibling really close in age to him, is that going to be detrimental to him? I doubt it.
Vessel is a good boy and I seriously couldn't ask for a better child. He's taught me a lot about patience, and love and I feel really blessed to be his mom.
Speaking of that kid, he's drawing right now. I can't seem to get a pencil out of his hand. It's like the only thing that he really likes to do. He doesn't want to play with any of his other toys. Just give him a pencil and some paper and he'll be content for an hour or more, no joke. And if you try to take it away, be prepared for a scream like you've never heard before! What really impresses me is that he holds his pencil with his fingers exactly like an adult would instead of in his fist. And when he's "drawing," his concentration is impeccable. I think it's very interesting how his little mind works.
I'm excited to see what our other children will be like, but there's no rush, right?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Day The Music Died

Hey all,
We took the music player off our blog because I guess the page wouldn't load for some people. How many of you miss it already?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Movies

Across the Universe












So, I finally watched this movie last week and I'll give it an A-. I liked the idea of incorporating Beatles songs into the story. It seems like the movie was created around those songs rather than the songs based around the story. One of the reasons is because all of the characters names are associated with Beatles songs. (Jude, Lucy, Prudence.) But there are several Beatles references throughout the movie besides the songs.
The story takes place in the 1960's. It is a story of love and war, music and freedom of expression, drugs, riots, and civil rights. I liked the entire movie, even the trippy parts such as the circus scene with the blue people and the water scene. Oh, and I kept trying to figure out if Prudence (played by T.V. Carpio) was a lesbian. Any thoughts? But I ABSOLUTELY loved it when she sang "I want to hold your hand." It is one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack and she has such a beautiful voice. If you like movies like Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet, or Pink Floyd's "The Wall" then you'll probably like this movie. If nothing else, the music was good, so go buy the soundtrack.

Stirfry Shrimp and Butternut Squash Soup


Another P90X recipe from last week. :)

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth, low sodium (or vegetable broth if you prefer)

1. Combine the shallot and garlic in a nonstick saucepan and cook over low heat until traslucent, adding a slittle water if necessary to prevent scorching.
2. Add the squash and chicken broth and simmer utnil the squash is soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.
3. return the soup to the pan and place over medium heat until heated through. Serve.

Serves 3

*This soup just wasn't "soupy" enough for me because it was a bit thick. But the taste wasn't so bad. Really healthy!

Shrimp Stirfry

Ingredients:
8 ounces shrimp, peeled (and deveined if you're like me)
1/4 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/2 cup red onion, sliced in wedges
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 1/4 cups snow peas, trimmed
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, halved
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, cubed
1/4 cup canned water chestnuts, drained
*or you could just do what I did and add a bag of those frozen vegetable mixes*


1.
Rinse shrimp and drain well.
2. Heat the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of the chicken broth in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until tender.
3. Add all the vegetables to the pan and continue to saute, stirring and adding more broth as necessary. Add shrimp when the vegetables are halfway cooked and saute until the vegetables are tender and the shrimp opaque.

*The flavor of this was okay, but a few days later I made another shrimp stir-fry that tasted much better to me. I sauted the shrimp in 2 tablespoons of honey butter and added fresh lemon juice to them as well as the vegetables.

"Bring It"

Mike and I just survived our first week of P90X. It was a killer, but oh so good at the same time. Don't know what P90X is? This blog gives a good review. This all started after Mike saw the infomercial. Yes, an infomercial. Don't judge us. He bought it cheap off ebay and so far it's been well worth it. Already we've both seen some results. Not dramatic, but hey, it's only been a week. The key is that we've been eating better too. A lot more protein, less fat, and less carbs. (Not NO carbs, less carbs.) I really dig this program because it doesn't promise a great body in just 10 minutes a day and allow you to eat what you want. It also doesn't cater to one body type. I think that's what appealed to Mike as well. It's not a gimmick or a get fit quick lie. You have to work at it. And trust me, we have been working hard all week lifting weights, doing plyometrics and yoga and making wise food choices. It's been intense, but I feel great. I really do. I didn't think my body would be up to the challenge, but my body is proving me wrong boys and girls. Anyway, we have been making way more meals at home now designed to fit around our personal dietary needs. The books have it all laid out for you. I like it when things are laid out for me because then I don't have to think. :) I have posted some of the recipes on our blog to give you an idea of what we've been eating lately. I'll probably post the ones I think are actually good, so check it once in awhile if you're interested. We have been keeping a food journal to show us what we actually put into our bodies. I know it sounds lame...counting calories and all. But I was surprised at how helpful its been. I've told a few of my friends about it so far, and they say stuff like "I couldn't do that because I love food too much." I love food too. You have no idea what kind of junk food junkie I really am. But somehow I'm still following the plan. This is a big deal coming from me, a person with practically no willpower. I wouldn't even be doing it if it wasn't for Mike. See, a long time ago Mike and I discussed taking a vacation to celebrate after we graduate. We were both going to be involved in the decision making and such, and then about a month ago he told me he wanted to surprise me. (yay, I love surprises!) So he's been making all these summer vacation plans for us, and I have absolutely no idea what we're doing or where we're going. But I have a feeling we might be in bathing suits a lot which would explain why Mike wanted to get P90X in the first place. After I found out about it I was like, "there's no way you're going to look all buff and hot while I look like a white, pasty blob!" So we've been committed to get in better shape, not just for the summer either, but for life hopefully. It's really nice to have someone there doing it with you and keeping you on track, ya know? So, that's why I agreed to do the program with him. And, you know what? I actually like it. So, nice job on that one babe. Just remember to "do your best and forget the rest," as our good friend Tony Horton would say. Oh, and one more thing...don't forget to "BRING IT."

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship with Food

"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it."--- Julia Child

You know what kind of food I'm talking about. Those gourmet meals delightfully assembled with what seems like only aesthetics in mind. I love food like that. But I haven't yet mastered the art of taking good photos of food, let alone non-food objects. I don't have pretty dinnerware, or pretty backgrounds. I envy those who do. There are several food blogs out there with wonderful pictures. Even my sister-in-law has some terrific photos on her food blog. Mine aren't so great...at least not enough to be hailed as "artsy fartsy." So with that disclaimer in mind, here are the pictures:

Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Dill Sauce, Wild Rice and Red Pepper Soup




This recipe came from the P90X meal plan cookbook with a few adjustments for our personal tastes. The meal also called for steamed asparagus but we forgot to pick it up at the market among other things. It would have looked nice on the plate, eh? Everything turned out really well despite that.

Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients
2 cups white wine (I used white grape juice instead)
1 onion, finely chopped
5 roasted red peppers (click on link to learn how to roast red peppers)
2 cups celery, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped (I used Roma tomatoes)
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups fat free chicken broth, low sodium
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon each: ground white pepper and ground cumin
dash salt

1. Heat wine (or wine substitute) in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, red peppers, and celery. Cook and stir.
2. Add tomatoes, tomato past, and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
3. Puree soup in a food processor or blender. Return to the pan, add seasonings, and heat through.
Serves 12 (I cut the recipe in half and gave what we didn't eat to our friends)


Lemon-Dill Sauce

Ingredients
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2 cups white wine (or white wine substitute)
2 tablespoons arrowroot
2 cups fat-free chicken broth, low sodium
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemongrass, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

1. Coat a large saute pan with cooking spray and saute shallots until soft (not brown), moistening with wine if necessary.
2. Dissolve the arrowroot in 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Set aside.
3. Add remaining wine to shallots and reduce by half. Add remaining chicken broth and reduce by half again.
5. Return the sauce to the pan. Add lemon juice and lemongrass and simmer over low heat fora bout 30 minutes, until thick. Strain out the lemongrass and stir in the dill.
6. Drizzle over grilled salmon.

The Shipster

When I got home from school today I saw that Mike cut Vessel's hair. He looks so cute and his head is so soft I just want to touch it all the time. I hope you can see it from these pictures. What a charming little man we have. Oh, on a side note, I thought I'd let you know some new words he learned:
Ouch (pronounced "autz")
mmm mmmm (as in NO)
What's this? or What's that?
Cheese (pronounced "chiss")
Dog (pronounced "gog")

I love this age!



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Girls Night In

Since last November some girlfriends from the neighborhood and I have gotten together once a month to have what we like to call "Girls Night In." We bring the latest project we're working on (scrapbooking, knitting, organizing, embroidery, you name it) and a treat to share with everyone. Then we all sit around talking, eating, and working on our projects...but, mostly talking. I'm not much of a social butterfly, but I actually enjoy these little get-togethers. It gets me out of the house and around women my age who I can actually open up to. And I seriously laugh a lot, and laughing is the best medicine I can think of for feeling down! These gatherings are something I'm really going to miss when we move at the end of the semester. Here is the project I worked on. I'm kind of burned out of making winter stuff...and just in time too, since Spring is on the way! Yay!

Tempura and Cream Cheese Wontons

Okay, there was a month there that I craved Asian food like everyday. Sushi, hot and sour soup, miso, wontons, even fortune cookies. One of my favorite Japanese foods to make is vegetable tempura and this night Mike wanted to try making cream cheese wontons like the kind you get at Chinese restaurants. So delicious, I could eat 100 of them.

We usually buy our tempura batter from the oriental market on 7th east and about 7th south. We also buy our tempura dipping sauce from there. You can make it homemade, but I find it easier to just buy it.


Our favorite vegetables to use: mushrooms (#1 favorite!) squash, potatoes or sweet potatoes, carrots, green peppers and onions.


Make sure your tempura batter isn't stirred too much and that it remains cold. I put ice cubes in mine and just let them sit there. I haven't figured out the best tasting oil to use yet, but vegetable or canola works just fine. Make sure your oil is hot enough by dropping a few small beads of batter in the oil. It should start to bubble nicely.


Cut up all the vegetables into small pieces and dip into batter before frying. Serve tempura with rice, miso soup, and dipping sauce.


Mike whipped up some great cream cheese filling recipe that involved garlic, green onion, soy sauce, ginger and some other great spices. But he doesn't remember what he put in there anymore, otherwise I'd share it with you. And you'd love it, because it was so delicious. You can google a cream cheese filling recipe if you want. I know a lot of them call for crab meat, but we didn't use it. Put a drop of the filling in wonton skins (homemade or store bought. you guessed it...ours were from the oriental market as well) and fry them up in between batches of vegetable tempura.

You Are My Sunshine

Vessel is going to be turning 16 months in about a week. Every month brings something new. About a month ago he learned how to unscrew the lightbulbs in the lamp on one of the end tables. Now he's figured out how to "plug" things into the outlets. He hasn't gotten electrocuted yet, so that's a positive thing, right? I don't know how much the little outlet stoppers would work at this point, because he could probably just pull them out if he tried hard enough. *sigh*

Since there have been a few days this month that have been sunny and somewhat warm, we've been playing outside in the afternoons when Mike goes to class. He loves exploring all around the complex and never wants to go inside. I can't wait to have a yard of our own for him to run around in! It will also be so fun to go for walks and play at the park this summer.

Vessel has been speaking more and more. A lot of what he says is still very unrecognizable, but there are some words that he knows for sure. They include: jump, book, kiss, Bob (his pillow,) head, boo (as in "peek-a-boo,") mom, dad, bottle, uh-oh, bye, no, car, shoes (pronounced "shjewz,") ball, nose, (although he says it in a whisper and backwards so it sounds like "tah.") If I say "jump!" he'll do a little boppin' bouncy thing with his legs because he can't quite jump up with both legs in the air yet. He loves to pull books out of the bookshelf and says "book" as he's doing it. If I ask him to give me a kiss he'll come toward me with a gaping mouth and plant his lips on me while saying "mmmm-aw!" His favorite "toy" is his lovey, a Spongebob Squarepants pillow. Those two are like Linus and his blanket. He loves to hide under pillows or in the closet and come out and say "boo!" When he drops something or falls down he'll say "uh-oh," only with a long, drawn out "oh." He says and waves "bye," even though sometimes it's a delayed reaction. Mike will sometimes leave the house and a minute later Vessel will look at the door, wave and say "bye." He says "no" a lot, which is pretty unfortunate because he got it from us saying it so much. He knows what not to touch, and he'll point and say "no." Sometimes he'll continue playing with something he knows he's not allowed to all the while saying, "no, no, no, no." If I ask him where my nose is he'll touch it. If I ask him to go get his shoes he will (if he remembers where they are.) He also thinks socks are shoes. Anything you put on your feet I guess. He knows that candles are hot, and so are pancakes. Sometimes during Saturday breakfast I'll put a little pancake on his tray and even if it's cool he'll rest his hand slightly above it and say "tah tah" meaning it's hot. It is so cute to listen to him and try to figure out what he's saying.

Vessel pretty much mimics every thing we say and do. After watching us do something we'll usually find him trying to do it himself later on. A few days ago he had a runny nose so I used the "snot sucker" to clear out his nostrils. The next time he saw the suction bulb he took it and put it up his nose. He also put some vapor rub all over his nose because he remembers me putting it just above his upper lip to help him breath better at night. If I put lotion or bathwash in my hand he'll dip his fingers in and then rub it all over his tummy because that's what we do to him. He also likes to mimic us by putting his toy phone up to his head. It's crazy seeing all the stuff he's catching onto just by observing and listening to us.

He loves to stack things, especially a set of plastic cups that fit into each other and stack together. He has figured out how to cup them in order from biggest to smallest. He also LOVES to draw and scribble all over paper, his legs, and toys, although I'd prefer it if he stuck to paper only.

He's always finding something new to get into. The other day Mike told me he learned how to pull open the dryer and put a jar of peanut butter in there. Luckily our dryer doesn't turn back on when you shut the door like some dryers do!

Vessel's got 12 teeth now, and luckily the last 2 molars he cut didn't really give him much of a problem like the first 2 did. He's looking a lot more grown up lately. He is just a handsome little boy. Whenever I take him out people will come up to me and tell me how cute he is. And he's such a flirt. He was smiling and babbling at these 2 little young ladies when we went to the grocery store over the weekend. He loves attention, but I suppose most kids do.
It just seems like there are so many things to tell about Vessie these days, but I think I'll have to wrap it up here, as I've got to go feed him dinner right now. Hope you enjoyed the update! Here are some recent pictures. He found my little bindis and begged me to give him one, so I did.

Our little bindi baby.




I Rock

Yay, it's official! I got my scholarship back! So remember how I told y'all that the scholarship committee withdrew it, then I wrote a letter of appeal and they denied my letter? So, I wrote another letter of appeal because, basically, I just wasn't going to take "no" for an answer. I gave a long in depth explanation of why I was entitled to it (because let's be honest people, I really was) and in the end they had to agree with me. I'm so happy!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Spring Fever

Last Monday was such a beautiful day that Vessie and I went outside to play and get some fresh air. Too bad it didn't last all week. :(


He found a pinecone to play with.



As we were walking around he spied a big patch of snow in the shade that hadn't melted yet, and so he obviously wanted to walk through it instead of on the grass.


He heard birds chirping!



He held a pine needle up right as I snapped the photo.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Reminiscing

So yesterday was Valentine's Day. I thought a lot about some of my greatest Valentine's. It's always been kind of a special day. As a kid, my grandparents gave me and my sister a small box of chocolates or some other little gift every year. It was so sweet of them to make us feel special like that. I know Dad usually got us a little treat too. And it seems like me and my friends exchanged candy or cards to show how much we appreciated each other's friendship. And Mike has always done something really nice for me every Valentine's day since we met. (Although, he does nice stuff for me every day, so Valentine's isn't so different!) But yesterday, as I was thinking about past Valentines, one really stuck out in my mind. One year, during my second semester at college, my mom brought over a huge gift basket of stuff for me. I was only working part time and going to school, so I didn't have a lot of $$. I knew Mom and Dad didn't have a lot of money either. So I thought it was really sweet that Mom would help me out like that. There were a lot of food items to get me through the next week or so, and some things for my apartment (like TP, shampoo, and stuff like that.) She also wrote me a letter telling me how proud she was of me. I thought it was the sweetest Valentine's gift ever. I really miss my mom a lot. She always made sure that my sister and I were taken care of.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Homemade Chocolate Pie


This recipe is courtesy of my friend Claire, so if you like it, thank her, not me. The pie basically looks like the picture here, except with a chocolate crust.



Ingredients:

For filling:
1/2 cup milk
20 large marshmallows
8 oz. of Hershey bar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Cool Whip
Snickers bar, Skor bar, or candy bar of choice

For crust:
2-3 TBSP melted butter
Oreo cookies

For crust, crush as many Oreo cookies needed to fill the bottom of a pie pan. Mix with the melted butter and press into pie pan.

For filling, mix the milk, marshmallows and Hershey bar pieces in a saucepan over low heat. Heat and stir until thoroughly melted. Cool completely. Whip the cream and fold it into cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into chocolate crust and refrigerate. Garnish the pie with Cool Whip and your choice of candy bar pieces and or chocolate syrup. Enjoy :)

Be Mine

Happy Valentine's Day! I don't care what anyone says, I think Valentine's day is a great holiday, whether you've got a special someone or not. It doesn't have to be just about romantic love. I think this holiday is a great opportunity to celebrate all types of love, and the world could use more of it! So, all you cynical, disparaging, love-less people of the world---COME ON GET HAPPY! This Valentine's day started out as your regular run of the mill day. I went to class and learned all about the null and alternative hypotheses in stats, then went to acting. Mike picked me up afterward and we went to an early dinner at the infamous PINE restaurant. It was a fabulous place. A little pricey, but I believe it can be fun to splurge sometimes, am I right? Man, I love food. Especially beautiful, well-prepared food that makes me want to savor every delectable bite. I'm such a sensualist! I'm sad that I didn't get pictures of our meal because it was so gorgeous like it came straight out of a fancy gourmet food magazine. I even brought my camera, but I just forgot about it until it was too late and we had already eaten every last bite. Oh well, you guys will just have to imagine it. We started with the popcorn shrimp, calamari, fennel, zucchini, and green bean appetizer. I was totally in the mood for seafood. For my main course I ordered the grilled salmon with roasted tomato whipped potatoes, roasted pepper tapenade, and citrus vinaigrette. Scrumpdittily! Mike ordered a grilled 21 day aged Angus Coulotte steak with blue cheese and bacon mashed potatoes, and a Cabernet reduction sauce. For dessert we shared the butterscotch creme brulee with fresh berries. I swear, one day when we're rich I will have my own personal gourmet chef. (oh, and while I'm fantasizing about being rich I'd also like to add that I'll have a masseuse and personal trainer...) Anyway, Mike and I had a good time. When we got home I saw a vase of a dozen red roses on the table from my sweetheart. It was a simple but thoughtful gift. They are lovely and I adore having fresh flowers in the house. Then I began making a killer chocolate pie to take to the Valentine's dance at the church hosted by the EQ. I'm telling you, you MUST try this pie, because it is to die for! Babysitting was provided by some of the young women in the ward so we were able to take Vessel. Mike and I had a blast cutting a rug and bustin' out on the dance floor with our mad skillz. Gavin picked out some great songs, including Thriller, Ice Ice Baby, and other classics. He also played some swing and waltz ditties, so Mike and I were able to brush up on the moves we learned in our dance class together. We also learned some Irish polka dance which pretty much amounted to Mike and I swirling and stomping about until we were dizzy and out of breath. Good times! The best part was that we got couples pictures taken just like at a high school dance. It was sweet! Gotta capture the memories, right? It turned out to be a pretty fun night. Here are some pictures of me and my two loves:




Us with Tracy and Gavin:


Scotty with his dad Wade. When I babysat Scotty this week, I helped him make the crown for his dad to wear to the dance. Wade and Anne (his wife) are like the best dancers ever! I was so amazed (and envious) of their abilities and they totally showed everyone up!


Monday, February 11, 2008

What Would You Do?

Today I was forwarded an email from a friend in Idaho that went like this:

ONE MORNING YOU OPEN YOUR EYES, AND IN THE CORNER OF THE ROOM, RIGHT ABOVE YOUR HEAD, YOU SEE THIS. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

So, I went ahead and forwarded it to all my contacts, including a dear friend of mine in Japan named Toru and his wife Atsuko. Tonight I received 2 replies from Toru. I just cut and pasted them from my email.

Response 1:

Thank you Jamie for your unique and joyful e-mail.

I’d like to answer your question.

When I found it in a morning, I think of the great reproductive power Including in the nature

and the big existence of the motherhood.

Of cause, I know that you American people usually hates the “spi-d-e-r-“. I don’t know why.

I don’t know why you sent us this information, though it should be confidential and

unauthorized distribution should be strictly prohibited.

Anyway Atsuko and I are happy to know that you also have a nice time. Love Toru.


Response 2:

I’d like to inform you her idea.

What would Atsuko do? She said that she’d vacuum them all with the electric cleaner.

Even if she unfortunately failed to catch the big target, she could exterminate the smaller targets.

It is the method of cleanness, safety, certainty and quickness. But she think that it is cruel a bit

to them, because there is almost no spider with the dangerous poison in Japan. Toru

Anyway, I love those Japanese folks! It is so funny and cute to read emails and letters from them. Thanks for making me smile Toru!


Friday, February 8, 2008

Anotha Tag

Carrol just tagged me (I think Karen did this one too) so here is another post about yours truly:

10 Years Ago:

I was a sophomore in high school. It was my first year in the brand new school they had just built. I wasn't old enough to get a real job, but I babysat my neighbor's two children. I had my license but no car to drive. I had several crushes. I was huge into music. I wrote in a journal EVERYDAY. I loved peanutbutter M&M's. I was just trying to survive high school.

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:

1. Clean the house before Steph gets here
2. Do some homework
3. Take my stupid phone charger back to T-Mobile and get a new one
4. Go grocery shopping
5. Work on the scarf I'm knitting

5 Things I Would Do If I Were Suddenly Made A Billionaire:

(wow, that's a LOT of money)
1. Pay a lot of tithing!
2. Start a college fund for Vessel and future children
3. Give most of it to charity or people in need
4. Build our own house
5. Invest and save!

3 Of My Bad Habits:

1. Biting my nails
2. Interrupting people
3. Procrastinating

5 Places I Have Lived:

1. St. Anthony, ID
2. Rexburg, ID
3. Marugame, Japan
4. Salt Lake City, UT
5. ????

5 Jobs I Have Had:

1. Big J's Restaurant (cook, cashier)
2. Artco (phone rep)
3. Rexburg Nursing Home (dietary aid)
4. Marugame International academy (English teacher)
5. Salt Lake County Sherrif's Dept. (crossing guard)

5 Things Most People Don't Know About Me:

1. I'm actually very loyal to my friends
2. I like Rod Stewart
3. I'm kind of a "girly girl" at heart
4. I hate to cook
5. I hate washing the dishes

I will now tag:

1. Tracy
2. Tracie
3. Mike
4. Bekah
5. Chris
6. Whoever else reads this

Thursday, February 7, 2008

O.........Mai........Gash

Tonight before I left for a business dinner I mentioned to Jamie and Amanda that I don't really go for "fancy" food. In fact, it usually ends up being really expensive crap that tastes worse than a flip'n frozen pizza. Now that I'm back.............I have to abandon my previous standpoint .

A couple of our brokers from a certain investment bank flew into Salt Lake to schmooze us tonight, so we all went to a nice restaurant by the name of Tiburon in Sandy. I was pretty nervous about it all day, because I saw from the menu that they were a "fancy" place, but I have to say that it was possibly the BEST MEAL OF MY LIFE! Here's what I ate:

Appetizers included freshly made lobster and crab cakes, chicken polenta, and a few fancy soft cheese dealios. Pretty good start, I thought.

Next, we were brought out a salad that I was skeptical of when I first saw it: spring mix with a slice of fancy cheese on top, a sweet spicy vinaigrette dressing, topped off with roasted pumpkin seeds. Ya, it ended up being the best dinner salad of my life!

After a cup of fresh raspberry and lemon sorbet to "cleanse my palette," my entree came out: a filet mignon topped with foie gras (a soft, delicate liver from a goose that was force-fed through a tube for the last four or five months of its life). It was AMAZING! I feel bad about the goose, but this was the best steak ever made! It was so soft and flavorful that I let every bite of it sit and melt in my mouth for a minute or so--something I wouldn't do with a normal steak, let me tell ya.

For dessert, I was brought this big goblet full of dark Belgian chocolate mousse, topped with toasted almonds, blueberries, raspberries, a cherry, a strawberry, a slice of kiwi, and more dark chocolate shavings. It was so beautiful that I felt kind of bad about destroying it, but wadayagonado?

Anyhoo, that's my story of the bestest meal ever. The tab ended up at about $65.00 per person, and with 13 people in our party, I was glad I was one of the schmoozees, rather than a schmoozer.

No More Television

Last night I brought up to Mike that I don't want to watch television anymore. It is a waste of time and it just distracts me from doing important stuff like homework or playing with Vessel. I hate it! Sometimes I turn it on during the day just for background noise so I don't feel so alone when Mike is at school or work. But really, it's starting to bug the crap out of me. Plus, I don't want Vessel picking up any of the stuff he sees or hears. There is rarely anything positive or uplifting on anymore. It's always sordid comedies, television tabloid crap, who's doing who, what so-called important celebrity said or did, and distasteful shows that strive to tear people down and make fun of them. Sure, I admit I've actually laughed at some of those shows before. But I'm starting to see what a negative impact it has on me. Okay, so some of you might think I'm coming across as "holier than thou" or starchy (whatever that means.) I just don't want Vessel to be exposed to all that negative junk. I especially don't want him to become a couch potato later in life so I want to set a good example now. Yeah, as he gets older he might think I'm just a stuffy, restricting mama, but oh well. What do you other moms think? Am I just overreacting or is television the devil?

Television

The Moment of Truth

After watching this show last night I decided to pull the television cord out of the wall. Yes folks, I am banning myself from watching TV from this point on, unless it's news, and even then don't count on it being Fox13 news either. This show just proved to me how greedy people can be when they are willing to come on national television and reveal all their dirty little secrets for money. They risk losing their jobs, losing relationships, and losing respect from other people. But I'm having a hard time telling if this show is bogus. For instance, last night this guy named Brandon admitted to drunk driving, making racist jokes about his girlfriend's family, stealing money, thinking his girlfriend was boring, and even hitting on another girl. Then this question came along: "While working as an underwear model, have you ever stuffed your underwear?" He said "NO" and the computerized female voice announced "FALSE." Okay, why would he lie about that and not lie about all that other incriminating stuff? He looked absolutely shocked. I think the guy got totally ripped off, or the lie detector tests are completely inaccurate. Probably both in this case. Plus one of the contestants from last week's show (George) is an actor, not just some Joe Schmoe of the street. So is it rigged? Hard to say. Either way, this show is so evil. The audience always cheers and applauses (not sure if it's encouraged by the producers or what) when a correct answer is given. Even if that answer is "Yes, I've helped someone smuggle drugs into the country" or "Yes, I have driven while intoxicated." The audience should be booing these people off the stage. Plus, the show builds up too much suspense. The host takes way too long to ask the questions, repeats the rules too many times, and the pauses between when the answer is given and confirmation of whether or not it is true is TOO LONG. It's ridiculous. There is nothing good on television anymore. Don't know if there ever was. Even still, I have wasted so much time getting sucked into the box when I could've been doing something productive. But not anymore. Television will no longer be apart of my family's life. So, thank you, Moment of Truth, for being the straw that broke the camel's back.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Classes

Well, I've been in school for about a month now. I have to be honest, I don't really like school. I can't wait to be graduated and move on with my life. I guess there's a lot I don't like. For one thing I don't feel like I fit in. Here's an example: I am taking an aerobics class and I think I must be the only one endowed. All the girls in the locker room walk around in their cute little Victoria's Secret bra and panty sets. And really, I don't mind that, it's just that I feel awkward when other people watch me change into my garments after working out. I get a few weird looks. I guess my alternative is going into a stall with a toilet to put my clothes on, but that just seems so high school. Another thing is that I am really uncomfortable with nakedness. The towels they provide for showering are skimpy little pieces of cloth. There's no coverage and I NEED coverage. Don't get me wrong, nakedness is fine in the right situation. It's not that I think the human body is gross or something, I guess I'm just not into being around a bunch of naked girls who are so open with their bodies. Call me insecure. I think I just like clothes. I love the feel of clothes. Even walking around in my own apartment alone on a hot summer day I would feel more comfortable wearing clothes than strutting around nude. Anyway, back to what I was saying. I don't fit in. I know there are a lot of older adults taking classes at the U, but in my classes, most of the students are straight out of high school. They're into dating, and going to clubs and bars. They live in the dorms, throw parties and eat on campus. I'll go through the Union to go to one of my classes and I'll see clusters of little cliques at every table snapping pictures of their friends with their cell phones or talking about the Superbowl (barf.) That's all fine and dandy, it's just that I'm at a different stage in my life so I can't really relate anymore. I just go to my classes in the mornings, then go home to be with my kid so Mike can go to his classes in the afternoons/evenings.
So, these are the classes I'm taking. Aerobics, Acting I, Statistics, Drawing, and Mediation.
Aerobics is actually a pretty good class. I have to get up earlier than I'd like, but once I get moving and get those endorphins pumping through my body, I feel great the rest of the day. The workouts are always super intense, at least more so than any workout I'd come up with on my own. We do a lot of circuit training and step aerobics. I can definitely feel it the next day. The first week I swear I had shin splints. My body feels so old. I'm not a teenager anymore, that's for sure. My bones creak and my knees ache, but all this exercise is better on my body than being sedentary, right?
I thought drawing would be a fun class, but I learned something about myself: I don't like to draw. I much prefer painting. Drawing takes a lot of time. I want immediate results. I'm so impatient. I just want to see the finished product like RIGHT THEN instead of hours of painful, meticulous detail. But my teacher is pretty cool and a very talented artist. He's had a lot of practice though. He's all about "art for art's sake" and hates photography. He figures we might as well take a photograph if we intend to make our drawings look perfect. He wants us to draw what we see, and draw things from our perspective, which I can appreciate.
Statistics is rather boring. I just want to take my teacher onto Oprah or some other talkshow for a surprise makeover. He's got long, greasy, gray hair pulled back into a ponytail and one of those thick straps on his glasses that holds them close to his face. He's got a scruffly gray beard and wears a fanny pack. He might look debonair if he just cleaned up a bit. Anyway, stats is such bore and the homework is very time consuming. We just got our first exam back and I did much better on the questions dealing with math (formulas, calculating, etc.) than the questions dealing with words (definitions, etc.) I was surprised because I've never considered myself good at math. But here's another thing I learned about myself: I actually don't mind math once I know how to do it and I even kind of like it. Hard to believe coming from me, right?
Acting is my favorite class. My teacher is so eccentric, energetic and fun. We warm up everyday doing stretching and breathing and the best part is that she makes us slap ourselves all over our body. I love that I can be totally crazy, loud and outgoing in that class. And even though all the students are very different from me, it's the only class that I don't worry about not fitting in. I've even made some friends. We just got done performing etudes, which are short, neutral skits. For instance, the one that my partner and I chose to do went like this:

A: We can't stay here.
B: Why not?
A: It's not safe.
B: You keep saying that.
A: Because it's true.
B: You're overreacting.
A: Not this time.
B: It seems quiet enough.
A: Don't kid yourself.
B: When do you think it will happen?
A: Could be any moment.
B: Or maybe never.
A: I doubt that.
B: Are you afraid?
A: Even more than yesterday.
B: At least we're together.
A: But for how long?
B: Does anyone know we're here?
A: I'm sure of it.
B: Did you just hear something?

We had to take our lines and create a situation and make the words our own. So we tried out several things, including acting out different emotions and talking in accents. It was fun. In the end we came up with the idea to be twins in a mother's womb, and I (character A) was slowly being expelled into the outside world. I even got a cd with sounds of the womb from the library to use for the background. Another couple selected the same etude, but took it in entirely different direction by creating a military scenario. It's been really fun to work with scripts and act them out the way I see it.
Then there's mediation, which is actually over now. The class was two weekends in a row and then it was done. Although it was an excellent class and I learned a lot, I'm glad to have one less course to worry about.
Anyway, that's school in a nutshell. Oh, and before I close this entry, I have some good news. I think I may have gotten my scholarship back! I wrote another letter to the scholarship committee chair person and she talked to my department and they recommended that the financial aid department give me back my Spring portion. I was really assertive and wouldn't take no for an answer, and it looks like it may have paid off! It just needs to be approved by one other person, so wish me luck! I'll let you all know if and when it's official.

Books

Difficult Conversations
by Stone, Patton, and Heen

Everyone has their own way of dealing with difficult conversations. It seems that I’ve used the same methods for coping with uncomfortable and complex discussions my whole life. Sometimes my methods work, but usually I feel like there’s not a whole lot of progress being made. I’ve had some pretty intense conversations in the recent past, and I can’t help but think “Where was this book when I needed it!” This book has seriously changed my view on the way I handle hard-to-talk-about issues with loved ones, friends, neighbors, employers, and everyone in-between. There are many factors involved when it comes to how people react to certain events. We’re not all the same and we each have different experiences that contribute to the way we view things. Often times during a heated debate I can’t help but think “I’m right and that’s the end of it” or “I know exactly why they did that.” This book was a wake up call to me and made me realize that I can’t assume to know other’s intentions. My way of thinking is so habitual and so deep-rooted that it has been easy to forget such a simple thing as “don’t assume to know everybody’s intentions.” It was nice to be reminded of that, even though I already knew it deep down. The book also helped me to consider the fact that there is truth to both sides of the story. It suggested ways to explore each other’s stories and try to understand where the other person is coming from, which is something I really need to work on. According to the book, all difficult conversations share a common structure. The book addressed three conversations: the “What happened,” “Feelings,” and the “Identity” conversation. The book gave wonderful examples of how to work through each tricky conversation. One thing that I discovered is that I can embrace the other person’s story and understand them without agreeing with them. I also learned how to avoid blame and I have since been consciously making an effort to recognize my contribution to specific problems when they arise. Difficult Conversations taught several ways to break negative habits that surface when it comes to dealing with complicated topics. It mentioned ways to be a better listener by asking questions, paraphrasing, encouraging the other person to express their feelings, and acknowledging those feelings. It also gave insight on using the “And Stance” and reframing to “translate” words into ideas that are more helpful. But one thing I really liked is that the authors of the book acknowledged the difficulty of mastering some of these skills. It actually takes a lot of patience and practice and I feel like the authors didn’t expect the reader to become an expert overnight.The book was well written and easy to read and understand. I also genuinely feel like it offered valuable concepts for dealing with many of life’s conflicts. So far I have tried out a few of the book’s suggestions and they have truly made a difference in the outcome of my conversations. It’s great to have all these helpful hints from the book, but it would be nice if the people I regularly talk to were also aware of these tactics, and that’s why I would recommend this book to everyone I know. At this point I have urged a couple of my friends, including my husband, to read it. Overall, I’m glad that this book was required for my mediation class, otherwise I probably would have never read it, let alone known it existed.

Fooey and Super Tuesday

I have been wanting to watch Across the Universe for over two months now! It never came to theaters here, or at least I never saw it listed. Last Thursday they were showing it for free at the Union. Mike and I were going to go until he remembered he had a meeting with the EQ presidency at the very same time. So I went to Blockbuster yesterday to rent it with a giftcard we got for Christmas, and the clerk told me it wouldn't be available until today. arrrgh. So, instead I spent the giftcard on the most recent Rolling Stone mag with Radiohead on the cover. sorry babe. Today I checked every RedBox location in my area and the movie is all rented out! Fooey.

On a side note, today is super Tuesday. Obama and McCain seem to have done well for themselves. Ahhhh, I wish there was someone worth voting for. Right now I'm not leaning towards anyone.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mike's Rebuttal to Jamie's List

1. Where did you meet your husband? Swinger’s Party

2. What was the first thing said? “Looks like I’ve got your keys”

3. What was your first date? My place

4. How long did you date? Three months before mishy mish, then four after (including engagement time).

5. First kiss? IT WAS GOOD. See Jamie’s answer.

6. Where did you get engaged? IT WAS GOOD. See Jamie’s answer.

7. When did you know you loved each other? It didn’t take long to fall in love with my Dove. She’s the most fun and smart and sassy broad I’ve ever known, and it only took a couple of weeks before it was serious. I have to admit………I disagree with Jamie’s story, though. I remember the soggy night standing in her room, and I admitted that I thought I might be falling in love. We didn’t make the official declaration to each other until like a week later, and we were standing outside my apartment in middle of the night. In fact, I think we had broken into that pool that night, too………

8-a. What does your ring look like? Sterling silver with a blue diamond

8-b. Where did you get married? IFT

9. How did the reception go? Sweet! I punched my roommate JonJon in the face when I found out he made some retarded comment to Jamie’s parents about how “I used to sleep with Mike, but now he’ll sleep with your daughter.” It was good times. We’re not all that formal, and I have to admit I didn’t even know I was supposed to dance with my Mom. I think we were both kind of feeling awkward, so we ended up doing this spastic tango that luckily for both of us didn’t last too long.

10. Where did you go on your honeymoon? Technically, we didn’t have one. We didn’t go anywhere but to our new apartment……….although we were there for about three weeks before school started.

11. Do you have pet-names for each other? Jamie’s right

12. What’s your favorite thing to do together? Either the twist or the mashed potato.

13. Do you show affection in public? Oh Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh

14. Do you have a song? We have the John Denver song, but we don’t really go “oh, they’re playing our song!” when we hear it. We just decided on it because we felt obligated to have a song. Good one, though!

15. 5 top places/things I want to see or see again: India (riding an elephant), African jungle place (riding an elephant), Egypt (riding a camel), Okinawa (riding a small Japanese person), New Zealand (riding a sheep)

Mediterrenean Pizza


This is Mike's and my favorite pizza. It is better with a thin crust, but I haven't mastered the perfect thinness yet. Practice, practice. :)

Ingredients

Crust:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 TBSP dry yeast
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP malted milk (optional)

Mix and let yeast rise. Add 4 cups flour. Knead for 8-9 minutes. Place ball of dough in an oiled glass or metal bowl. Make sure top of dough is brushed lightly with oil (I use olive oil.) Cover with saran wrap and let the dough rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. After doubled in size, punch dough down and separate into 2 balls. Roll into thin circles and place on pizza pan or baking stone. Using a fork, make little holes all over the bottom of the crust. Brush with olive oil. Then add:

As much mozzerella and feta cheese (fresh parmesan works well too) as you want
Fresh spinach (preferably organic)
Sundried tomatoes
Fresh mushrooms
Grilled chicken (although our last pizza didn't have chicken on it and we actually liked it more that way)

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

*I have been experimenting with making a better crust by adding herbs to the dough for extra flavor. If anyone has some good ideas for making a great tasting thin crust, let me know!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The History Behind the Mike and Jamie Duo

There have been a few tags going around so I thought I'd join the fun. I'm going to combine a couple of them instead of making individual posts. If any of you read these, post the same thing on your blog!

1. Where did you meet your husband? Mike and I met while attending Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho.) It was a rainy Sunday evening and I decided to go to ward prayer for the first time in a long time. Mike, who lived in the apartments across from Arbor Cove, came with his roommates. Coincidentally, going to ward prayer was the first time in a long time for him as well. I really believe something told both of us to go to ward prayer that night. Otherwise we probably would have never met.

2. What was the first thing said? So I was sitting in the Arbor Cove lounge on one of the couches. Ironically, I was next to this guy I was dating at the time. He was on one end and I was sitting in the middle so there was a place to sit on the other end of the couch. Mike came over to me and asked, "Can I sit here?" I ended up talking more with him than the guy I was with.

3. What was your first date? We drove my Mustang to Idaho Falls so I could purchase the latest Radiohead album. Then we drove clear in the heck out into the boonies to this place called BJ's Bayou. Mike ordered alligator and then we sat there and marveled at the ridiculously gaudy New Orleans decor. Later that evening we stopped at my cousin's birthday party and had cake and ice cream.

4. How long did you date? 3 months before his mission, and then about 1 month after his mission.

5. First kiss? It was a week after we first met. We had been talking at his apartment for quite some time. It was getting late and we knew we'd get written up for breaking curfew if we got caught, so we decided to book it out of there. On our way out, we stopped in the hallway of his apartment for a minute. And then I pretty much just attacked him. He didn't mind.

6. Where did you get engaged? Mike asked me to come over to his place after my shift ended at work because there was something he wanted to talk to me about. When I showed up, there were a bunch of girls over just chillin' with him and his roommates. I was kind of bothered by it. Mike asked me if I wanted to take a walk so we could have some privacy to talk. I had a feeling he was going to officially ask me that night. Because he suggested we take a walk, I expected that he was going to take me to some special place to propose. I asked him what he wanted to talk about. And then he said some really trivial thing, and I thought, "You wanted to have a serious conversation about this?" I was anticipating something big, but it didn't happen. We walked through the park and a few blocks down from his apartment. The whole time I was waiting for him to pop the question. I was getting frustrated thinking it wasn't going to happen because he was too scared to ask me or something. I was annoyed because we had been walking for what seemed like forever, and I was in a dress and high heels since I just got off work. It was a cold night and my feet were killing me. Finally, Mike decided it would be best to go back. So I was going to drive home but Mike told me to come up to his apartment for a minute. When we got up there, the enter place was draped in white sheets. Norah Jones was softly playing on the CD player and there was a table set up draped in white with a bottle of virgin champagne in a bowl of ice, two goblets, a single red rose, and a ring box. Candles were lit all over the room casting a heavenly glow on the white sheet background. He asked me to look in the ring box. When I opened it, it was some cheap fake ring and I about threw it at him! Then he pulled the real ring out of his pocket and knelt down and asked me to be his wife. We danced and drank the sparkling cider completely alone. Then I realized that all those girls were over at the apartment earlier to help decorate the place while Mike used our little walk as a diversion.

7. When did you know you loved each other? We fell in love with each other really quickly. I remember the first time we admitted it to each other. It was late and we had just "broken into" the hotel swimming pool across the street. We were always doing crazy stuff like that. So we jumped in with all our clothes on and then ran back to my apartment. We were standing there in my room soaking wet, hair dripping, just laughing. Then Mike said he should leave, but before he left I softly said I wanted to tell him something in all seriousness. He knew what I was going to say and it turns out he wanted to tell me the same thing.

8. What does your ring look like? This is a weird story. Before my mom passed away, I was talking to her on the phone one afternoon. I had known Mike for a little over a month at this point. My mom mentioned that she had a really vivid dream about me the night before. The dream was that I had gotten married and my husband had blonde hair and blue eyes. She talked about the details of the wedding, but more particularly she talked about my wedding ring. She said the center stone was a ruby with diamonds on each side. I thought it was interesting, and then I forgot all about the dream. Nearly 2 1/2 years later, Mike and I got engaged. I told him I didn't want a diamond, but instead I wanted a blue sapphire. I had read sometime earlier that sapphires represent honesty and fidelity. Though a diamond represents everlasting love, I felt like a sapphire was more fitting and I didn't want something "traditional." Mike got my ring custom made and I didn't know what it looked like until he slipped it on my finger the night of our engagement. So it's a simple ring. A platinum band with a bright blue sapphire stone in a tension setting with two diamonds on each side. My mom's dream was almost right...I've got a blonde haired, blue eyed husband and though the stone in my ring isn't a ruby, rubies are actually in the same gem family as sapphires. So close enough.

8. Where did you get married? Idaho Falls LDS temple.

9. How did the reception go? Hmmm...it was okay I guess. Since the church house was free of charge, we ended up having it there in the cultural hall/gymnasium. I thought everything looked beautiful...excpet the basketball hoops. I liked our backdrop and since we got married before Christmas, we had some decorated Christmas trees and my bouquet was made of all white roses to kind of look like a giant snowball. The one thing I didn't like was the food we ended up having and I was actually quite embarrassed about serving it to our guests, but we didnt' have anything else. Oh, and I wish we didn't have to stand in line and all that junk. Mike and I wanted to have a big dance party but figured nobody else would be into that. We originally planned on having a non-traditional reception. But since we were low on $$ and family members were helping us plan everything, we ended up just doing the standard thing. Everyone helped so much though, and I appreciated everything my family did for me!

10. Where did you go on your honeymoon? We drove to Pocatello that night and stayed in the pirate themed room at the Black Swan Inn. Then we drove to Utah the next day to go to our open house at Mike's parents' home.

11. Do you have pet-names for each other? I have called Mike "babe" practically since the day we met. He calls me "dove" or "my dove" and sometimes he'll call me "beautiful" or "my love."

12. What’s your favorite thing to do together? Back in the day we were pretty wild and did lots of crazy stuff that may or may not have been classified as criminal activity. We have mellowed out a bunch since then, or maybe we're just more mature now. Plus we have a kid, and that limits us to some of the things we can do. For the most part we just like to joke around with each other, play video games, watch movies, snowboard, take walks, try new restaurants, and pretty much anything that is fun and freakin' sweet. Oh, and we like to...ya know....

13. Do you show affection in public? Yeah, we're not afraid to hold hands or kiss in front of other people.

14. Do you have a song? There are lots of songs that remind me of Mike. But I think the closest thing to our song is called Annie's song by John Denver. I try not to think of Annie when I hear it though.

15. 5 top places/things I want to see or see again: 1. India 2. Africa 3. Southern California like Disneyland or the beach 4. Ireland 5. I'd also like to visit Japan again.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Self Discovery

Something happened. I got caught up in the day-to-day. I don’t even know who I am anymore. This reality just hit me like a ton of bricks. I often feel like life becomes a routine and I lose sight of my goals, I lose sight of myself, and I plateau. I think when I hear something over and over again it becomes so ingrained in me that I stop attaching meaning to it. And this is what I need to overcome. I need to find real meaning. I need to center myself and take a deep look at what’s under the skin. What defines me? What drives me, inspires me, motivates me? What am I passionate about, if anything? What are my beliefs and why are they so? What do I value? How strong is my faith? What experiences and ideas have brought me to this point? What am I good at? What do I know to be true without a doubt? These are all questions that need to be answered before I can feel very confident and comfortable with myself. This is going to be a year of reflection and learning. A year of self discovery. And hopefully a process that will allow much growth to come of it. There are some parts of myself that I have tucked away for too long because I was afraid. I want to be more fearless. I want to learn to embrace my quirks and idiosyncrasies instead of hiding them away shamefully. I want to stop relying so heavily on opinions that don’t matter. I want to find out who I really am. I know this sounds crazy, like why shouldn’t I know myself after almost 26 years? But I don’t. I’m determined to figure it out though. So, the quest begins.