30 January 2008

I'm a Movie Star!

Hey, y'all! Check this out! I'm in a video for my company.

Also, the first time that the commercial shows me talking, it pans to a photo of a man and woman holding hands. Those are my dad's parents.

Pretty cool, huh?

29 January 2008

How old are you, anyway?

I've always prided myself on being mature. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it is the case. I have a few quirks, though, that are especially childlike (or childish), and I just don't want to let them go.
  • I adore kiddie cereals (MaltOMeal brand, of course). I know that granola is the best for me, but all I really want is Lucky Charms! It has marshmallows for pete's sake! And don't even try to give me Cheerios unless you've put sugar on that bowl of cereal first.
  • I can only read digital thermometers. Really. I just can't see the line on those mercury-based glass thermometers.
  • I really don't like my food to touch. Actually, it all boils down to flavors. Peas in mashed potatoes are fine. Peaches in mashed potatoes are NOT fine. Those flavors should not and do not go together. Gravy on salad? No thank you. This is one reason I really like to make my own plate.
  • Sometimes I eat nothing but candy all day.
  • I get really eager about surprises and sometimes feel like I just can't be patient enough to wait to find out.
What are some kid-like things you refuse to give up?

27 January 2008

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Last week, Eric and I went to Texas to visit my family one more time before we take off to New Zealand for a year. We had a great time eating good food and spending time with the fam.

One day while we were there, we went down to Austin and San Antonio. We stopped in Austin to visit my old roommate, Janssen, and that was a lot of fun. It was exciting to see her and her new house.

Then we continued on down to San Antonio where we went to the Alamo and went on the River Walk. I hadn't been tot he Alamo since I was about 7, so I was glad to be able to go again. It is a very cool place, and I highly recommend that you go some time. After all, it is FREE! The River Walk was also a lot of fun. I'd like to go back some time when it's a little warmer because it is also free!

26 January 2008

"Two Enthusiastic Thumbs Up!"

I've always enjoyed this bit by Bryan Regan, but yesterday it especially hit home for me.

23 January 2008

My Celebrity Look-Alikes

I did this for no reason whatsoever. Apparently, I look more like a man than any other female celebrity. What can I say? My name should probably be Maude.

Also? I have NO IDEA who most of these people are!

And then I decided to do it with this other picture because, you know, it would be funny. I mean look at the picture! I look like a grandma! Or, as the little widget shows, I mostly look like a bunch of men including Slobodan Milosovec.

16 January 2008

Places I've Been

I saw this over at one of my favorite blogs, and I thought it sounded fun. Basically, you list all the places where you slept at least one night during the last year. It just sums up your travels for that year. I've decided to do 2007, and go ahead and tack on 2006 too.

I am so excited that in 2008 I can add international cities to my list! It will be just grand!

14 January 2008

Frugality is my Middle Name

I took a cooking class at BYU just for kicks and giggles, and it was great. I really enjoyed it. I learned lots of things, but one of the most important was my teacher's motto: Live frugally and travel. It is a motto I fully intend to adopt; in fact I feel like I already have. After all, we're leaving in 28 days to go to New Zealand for a whole year, and it won't put us into debt at all.

A girl who lived on my floor freshman year has set a goal to save money this year, and she requested tips. I decided that my tips would make a great blog post.

  1. You absolutely must, must, must create a budget. First, create a year-long budget looking at your overall expenses and noting the months where your expenses might change somewhat. Then do a monthly budget based on your yearly estimates. Each month create a new budget. Then put that budget on the fridge where you will see it all the time. Let's say you allot $150 that month for groceries. Every time you come home from buying groceries, deduct it on the sheet and make a note of how much you have left in your grocery budget. Also include your savings on each month. If the last week of the month comes and you only have $10 to spend on groceries, you better not spend more than that. Remember that when you go over, you are only hurting yourself in the savings department. You can also "borrow" the money from another category (like gas, eating out, or miscellaneous). I had to "borrow" from miscellaneous a few times when there were expenditures like a broken car or if I forgot to factor in a birthday or something.
  2. Set goals for yourself about how much you want to save, in what amount of time, and for what purpose. It's much easier to stop yourself from spending money when you know ther will be a return of some kind.
  3. If you want to save money on groceries, you have to make a list! Then when you go shopping, don't buy things that are not on the list, unless you realize upon seeing it that you meant to add it to your list, and just forgot. The only things you can buy that were not on your list are NEEDS, not wants. Of course, I'm not super-strict about this. Sometimes if I see something on sale (and it's really a sale, and not a pretend sale) then I will go ahead and buy it.
  4. Base your grocery list off of what you already have in the house and what is on sale. Buy in bulk ONLY if it's something you would already use and it's something you buy a lot of. For instance, I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts a lot. So when they are on sale, I buy lots of packages. When I get home, I divide them into plastic bags based on the amount I would usually use in one dinner. Then I can defrost for only one meal.
  5. Eat leftovers. Don't make a new dinner if you've got perfectly good food that's already been prepared. Don't buy your lunch when there is food you can pack. (This is not my strong point!)
  6. Rice. Pasta. Beans. Legumes. Cheap, filling, healthy.
  7. When you are considering buying something that you are not sure about, ask yourself, "Would I rather have this or would I rather have the money?" Also, you can give it to a sales clerk and have them hold it overnight. Then, if you still really want it, you'll make the effort to go get it the next day.
  8. Set budgets when you travel. Don't let yourself spend more than you already planned.
  9. Open a savings account so your spending money and your savings money are separate.
  10. Shop around for big expenses like flights.
  11. Get a credit card that will earn you points on things you will use. Eric and I have a card for airline miles. It's a good card, and we will actually use the miles.
  12. If you are really having to save, remember that sometimes you have to make sacrifices. You might have to have a second job. You might have to work when you'd rather play. You might have to live in a lousy apartment for a little while. You might have to cook dinner for you elderly landlady every night for reduced rent. You might have to set your heater or a/c to a less-than-comfortable setting. The sacrifices you are willing to make all depend on how much money you need/want, and what you're willing to do to get it.
And those are my 12 cents. Mostly, saving money is about discipline. If you don't have it, you just have to practice building it in yourself. And really, writing things down will help you do that. I've heard that when people are told to record a behavior, that behavior automatically changes; when you write down every single expense, you will stop spending so much, because you'll tell yourself, "I don't want to write this down!"

13 January 2008

Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, Volume II

Before I talk about the Sunbeams today, let me first say that Eric came home on Friday. And you know what? He caught an earlier flight than he had planned, so I got to seem him three hours earlier than I anticipated. And you know what else? He surprised me by telling me that he had made reservations for the Chef's Table and a lovely little bed and breakfast called Hines Mansion for us for that very night. Everything was splendid.

And that's why I keep him around.

On to Sunbeams-

As you may recall from last week, I spent a good deal of time getting little Noah to warm up to me. All for not. Because when his dad brought him to class today, Noah sat down for approximately 2.7 seconds then chased after his dad and refused to stay in class by himself for most of the rest of the time. Eventually his dad left, and Noah survived.

And Logan? He still whispers. He's an interesting kid because he really just likes to observe and is pretty disinclined to participate. And yet, after we sing a song and I ask if we should sing it again, he always whispers "no." So instead, I try to let him choose which song we should sing. Of course, what really happens is that I stand up and perform a song while the kids stare at me, ignore me, or maybe join in for a couple of motions. Logan lives across the street, and he is really crazy about Kathleen. When I showed the kids pictures of my family and Eric's family, he found and pointed out Kathleen before any of the kids found me.

Joseph stayed in class today and was pretty much in his own little world the whole time. He spent a lot of time going through my bag and entertaining himself with the scissors, glue sticks and crayons that I had gotten from the library. And then he fell asleep on my lap during Sharing Time.

Then there was Zach who wanted to show me all the cool things he could do like jump high, throw his clown in the air and run fast. I felt like I did a pretty good job of "redirecting" him, as it is called. When he showed me how fast he could run, I asked him if he could run that fast back to his chair. When he showed me how high he could jump, I told him that was great and then told him I wanted to see how reverent he could be in his chair.

Then there was Karisa who was visiting for the second week. She was cute and good and actually spoke audibly this week.

So, all in all, nobody said or did anything hysterically funny. I really enjoy teaching them, although "teaching" is too strong a word since really I just play with them. It's interesting how different the kids are and how much of their personalities are already established, and yet they are only three years old!

09 January 2008


Usually I don't post about Eric working grave shifts or Eric being out of town because I don't want to announce to the Internet that I am alone and vulnerable. But now that I live with Eric's parents I feel okay telling you that Eric is on a cruise. Right now. Without me.

And I think that is very lame.

Of course, he is escorting a mentally handicapped guy, so it's not an ideal situation for him either.

In some ways it's nice to be all alone. I mean, I did get to watch Gone With the Wind last night. And I'll get to devote a few other evenings to just reading Gone With the Wind. Plus I get to sleep spread-eagle, diagonally across the bed all alone with nobody hogging the blankets.

But, you know, he's my husband, and I kind of like him around. I'm sure I will be elated to see him on Friday.

08 January 2008

Movie Classics

I may have mentioned previously that my dear mum got Eric and I some great books about New Zealand for Christmas. She also bought me Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird because I had never read either. In fact, I haven't even seen Gone With the Wind.

Make that hadn't. Tonight I watched the whole thing. And I loved it. I adored it. I finally understand the fascination with the whole thing. And I watched it with subtitles so I could finally understand what the heck those people were saying! Most importantly, I finally understand the obsession with Clark Gable, who plays Rhett Butler, of course. My oh my! He is amazing! Why didn't he get the Academy Award for Best Actor that year? Is it because he swore?

He really had the best lines. I mean really, I hope to quote this one as often as possible:
...you need kissing badly. That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how.
I think that might be one of my favorite movie quotes of all time, and I fully intend to put it on my Facebook profile.

Meanwhile, I will continue reading the book and perhaps will have finished it by the time we leave in 33 days.

07 January 2008

Nintendo Wii

Eric and I spent a good deal of time during Christmas break with his old high school buddy, Jon, and his wife, Carrie. Most of that time we played the tank game on the Wii. It was tons of fun. We played on teams, and Carrie and I were pretty amazing. One night two of Eric and Jon's friends came over, Ryan and Joe, and we all took turns playing the winner. Carrie and I pretty much dominated, which thrilled us to no end. At one point, Ryan said, "How are the girls winning at a tank game? It defies genetics!" I replied, "It's all about communication!" "Co-what?" Ryan is funny.

Really though, I love the Nintendo Wii! The graphics are simple, the games are simple, and I guess that's why a lot of people don't like it. But I totally dig simple, mindless computer games, and that's the sort of games you've got with the Wii. They are just fun! To me, games aren't about the graphics anyway.

In addition to the tank game, we played a little cow racing and a couple of other games. The overall essence of the Wii is fun. They are games anyone can enjoy, not just people who are good at and play video games a lot. Your grandma would enjoy the Wii. Really. It's just that fun.

06 January 2008

Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam!

I can't believe I've gone nearly a whole week without a post! I'm not sure what happened there.

At church, I teach Primary. This has been going on for quite some time now, and it isn't the first time I've taught Primary. When I was a senior in high school, I started teaching the Valiant 9 class (kids turning 9 during the calendar year), and that was a lot of fun. Those were some good kids, and it was great for me to teach the basics of the gospel at that time in my life.

In our last ward Eric and I taught the CTR 7 class (kids turning 7 during the calendar year) together. We taught the class for a little over a year and had two classes for about six months each because we started teaching in about June and classes change at the new year. Teaching that class was an entirely different ball game than teaching the 9-year-old class. It was much harder to maintain the attention of the kids and a lot more difficult to keep them reverent. However, I learned then that Junior Primary is tons more amusing than Senior Primary!

Then Eric and I moved again, and I was called to teach Primary again. I taught the Valiant 10 class. Entirely different experience yet again. And frankly, not as enjoyable and in many ways more difficult than the 7-year-olds. I think that was because some of them were "too cool" for Primary. I also think they were at an age when the activities that go with lessons were not really applicable to their maturity level. I started teaching them in September.

Because of the new year and the change in classes, I was asked to switch over to Sunbeams (kids turning 4 during the calendar year), and BOY! was I excited! I have two nephews who are in Sunbeams in their own wards, and I just think that age is a fun one. The kids are just beginning to really grasp basic concepts and yet they have attention spans comparable to goldfish. Plus, have you ever heard a 3-year-old talk? They say hilarious things! For instance, Nephew Dave calls himself a Sunbean, not a Sunbeam. I was really looking forward to teaching this class, and I anticipated that it would be extremely difficult to keep the kids engaged for 40 minutes.

What I learned today was that I, apparently, am completely terrifying to a three-year-old. Or at least that it will take the kids a few weeks to warm up to me. Keeping their attention wasn't very difficult, but I found their engagement levels to be minimal. In fact, it was pretty much a one-woman-show as I sang songs and did actions while encouraging the kids to join in. All the while, they merely stared at me either in complete and utter fear or simple fascination and amusement. The emotions varied depending on the time spent in class and the child.

I was really hoping to have some great "Listen to what the Sunbeams said today" stories, but that just didn't happen. Maybe as they warm up to me they will talk to me a little bit more. For now, this is what I've got:

In opening exercises, I sat next to Noah who kept his head down and wouldn't look at me even a little bit. As the meeting progressed, he gradually moved closer to me and began cuddling with me, still not looking at me. Then he climbed in my lap, but still wouldn't look at me. The Primary separated to our classes, and Noah obediently came to class (unlike a couple of others who were not thrilled to leave the big Primary room). Still, Noah didn't look at me. We played a game that involved the throwing of the cube. Noah would throw the cube, but still no eye contact. Somewhere along the way he quit being shy and started talking only for me to find out I couldn't understand a word he said! He speaks English, but he is really difficult to understand!

Also, in my class are Joseph who went with his mom instead of staying in class, Grace who was never afraid of me, Karisa who said about three words to me the whole time, and Logan who spoke to me a little, but only in whispers.