Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting to Know Your Friends, Christmas Style

I'll try not to be a SCROOGE and pass on this tag that I got (via email) from Alisha Weston. I tag Erin, Annie, and Laura

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper - I like to use the comics for wrapping paper!

2. When do you put up the tree? Between Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas. I've never personally put up a tree; it's always been done by my mom or roommates. But when I am putting up my own tree I think I will do it right after Thanksgiving.

3. When do you take the tree down? A little after the New Year

4. Favorite gift received as a child? Two mice, with a cage, sawdust, food bowl, running wheel, and some other stuff for them. Everyone's gift to me that year was for my mice!

5. Hardest person to buy for? Everyone! I have such a hard time deciding what a good, meaningful gift would be for people. I've tried to start thinking of gift ideas way earlier in the year, otherwise I end up getting really dumb gifts for people. (I don't mind spending the money, though. You give me a good idea, and I'll buy it!)

6. Easiest person to buy for? Nicole Cordon. We just tell each other exactly what we want from each other!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I do have one, a rubber ducky set!

8. Mail or email Christmas cards? I've never sent out Christmas letters or cards! But I think it's a tradition I'd like to start. I'd probably do half and half emailing and mailing.

9. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Glow in the dark plastic dolphins...when I was at least 20 years old!

10. Favorite Christmas Movie? White Christmas

11. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Not that I'm willing to admit!

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Eggnog!
13. Lights on the tree? Lots of white lights

14. Favorite Christmas song? Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains

15. Travel at Christmas or stay at home? Traveling home from school

16. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen

17. Angel on the tree top or a star? An angel

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Our family opens one present on Christmas Eve, and then the rest of them on Christmas Morning.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Having to come up with gift ideas (again).

20. What theme or color are you using? Christmas!

21. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Clam chowder. Yum!

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Official

I moved apartments this week! All of my stuff is out of Lorie and Alec's apartment, so it's clean and awaiting their return!

And I'm alone in my new apartment because Jamie, my new roommate, went home for Thanksgiving. I went away for Thanksgiving too, but just up to Brigham City (If I lied to you earlier and said I was going to SLC, sorry! I was confused!), so I'm back before she is. I'm getting used to the place. It's in the same complex as the old apartment, so there's not THAT much to get used to, but there are some different noises here. The one that sticks out the most: the kissing noises that the fridge/freezer makes. It makes kissing sounds! I'm really not kidding. Every once in a while it will kick in with this whining sound, and then the kissing noises will start. Do you think it's trying to entice me? Interesting...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

9th East

Within the last 24 hours I've had two fun experiences going up the hill of 9th East from my house. Yesterday afternoon I was walking up 9th East, and I past a yard with a short chain link fence so I could see into the yard. I was noticing the fire pit and back yard furniture. Then I noticed a little sign attached to the fence next to the apple tree at the back part of the yard. It said, "Manzanas gratis. Lleve como quiere." "Free apples. Take as many as you want." I picked an apple from an obliging tree limb, grateful for the snack as I walked along.

Then, this morning, I was riding my bike very early up to the MTC to do some janitorial work. Yes, that's right, I told my former boss Shirley that I would come back and do a few days work during the Thanksgiving week because some of her students left Provo for the holiday. So, as I was riding my bike up 9th East in the pre-6 am hour, I saw a shooting star! It was really bright, and it was ahead of me and to the left a bit so I had a perfect view of it as it fell. It was very lovely!

I'm excited for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'm going to spend it with my sister Jenny, her kids, and my brother-in-law Craig and his family. Yay for Turkey Day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Abs Hurt!

But I'm grateful for my classmates for inviting me to come work out with them. I haven't worked out in a LONG time, and I've been thinking about getting back into it. I'd really like to start running again. But in order to do that I really need some motivation. Right now the internal motivation I have, knowing that exercise will feel good, is not enough to overcome all of the "other" things that I could do with my time. I could be cleaning, doing laundry, packing, doing homework, reading, doing things for my church responsibilities, sleeping. So it was very nice to have an external force reminding me that exercise would feel good, with the added incentive of peer pressure! They invited me last week, but I flaked out on them for some homework. This afternoon, however, I finished my only assignment due this week before going to work out, so I didn't have anything really nagging me to do it instead. Except packing...and preparing for FHE...and working on my powerpoint slides for my presentation next week...But I'll never have everything done, right? Why wait for that to happen?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lorie's Bike

It's been my mode of transportation this semester. I've ridden it all over town. And I have ALL KINDS of adventures on it.

Adventure #1 - Lorie's front brakes don't work. So I always have to have my right hand on the handlebars to brake when I need to. I, however, really like riding with no hands, especially when I misjudge how cold it is outside and I need to use both of my hands to re wrap my scarf and zip up my coat while I'm riding. So one morning I was riding along, performing my act, when a car pulled out of the Maverick I was passing, right in front of me, and I just barely got my right hand down to pull on the brakes before I hit this guy. I've GOT to start getting out the door on time so I have a few minutes to spare for readjusting my clothing to the cold rather than doing it while I'm riding.

Adventure #2 - One morning, a few weeks ago, I was riding along to school, minding my own business, when a car door swung open in front of me. I swerved and was able to miss it. That was the first adventure of that kind, and hopefully the last.

Adventure #3 - This is the most recent adventure, and the one that prompted this post. I was planning on having a dessert night with my friend/ex-teacher/ex-boss Rachel and her husband tonight, so I went to the store last night to buy ice cream and root beer. I parked the bike, went in, made my purchase, and came back to the bike. As I was unlocking the bike, I heard a man talking on the payphone down the sidewalk. He was talking strange. I'm not sure how to describe it, but his speech was being affected by something. He didn't have a speech impediment, and he was a native English speaker. I figured I didn't really want to stick around to figure out what the deal was. So I start pedaling a little faster than usual on my way back home. So when I went over a bump going off the sidewalk, I bumped a little harder than usual. And I'm not sure the bag could have withstood the usual bump, anyway. Under the pressure of the root beer bouncing up and then crashing back down into it pretty hard, the bag tore, dumping my ice cream and soda onto the pavement. I thought I had hit a rock and popped the tire because the hiss of soda escaping from the bottle was the first thing that alerted me to the problem. The second thing that alerted me to the problem was the soda that was being sprayed in my face and all over my clothes. In the end, though, there was still a half bottle left of root beer, and it still tasted really good with the ice cream.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Here are some news items that I'd like to share with all of you:

1. I'm moving in the next week! Lorie and Alec are getting married a week from today, and they want me out when they come back from their honeymoon (Selfish! They don't want me to share their house with them?). So I'll be moving into another apartment in our complex. My friend Jamie said that I could live with her for the month of December until I moved into my new place. And...

2. I'm moving back to Alta in January! Yay! I loved living in Alta before, and I think that it will be great to be back there again. It's such a short distance from BYU campus, the temple, and the English Language Center where I will (hopefully) be spending a lot of my time once I'm in the TESOL Certificate Program. And...

3. I'm applying for the TESOL Certificate in January! I've been working on making my online portfolio and resume better, and I've talked to a couple of people about writing me letters of recommendation. And I'll have graduated then, so my grades for this semester will be in, which I think will improve my GPA a bit. I really do feel like I've done well in my classes this semester. I just have to keep up the work until the end. I have group projects to work on in 4 of my 5 classes, so it'll be a rough end to the semester. But I can do anything for 4 weeks, and that's all I have left in the semester, including finals week. Yay!

Well, that's all my news for now. I am grateful for the developments in my life recently. And I'm so glad to graduate!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Surprise Birthday Party

My mom's 60th was on Saturday. And we surprised her by dropping in on her surprise birthday party! My dad is so cute, and decided to organize a surprise birthday party for her that night, tricking her into thinking that they were going to have dinner with just our neighbors, but really inviting several friends from church and other places. Well, when us kids heard about this, we decided that we wanted to be in on the surprise too! So earlier that week we all started making arrangements to travel to Flagstaff (only one sibling lives in Flagstaff). I was so excited about it all week, and thought about it a ton! And actually, on our way into Flag I thought to myself, "Did I blog about the surprise party?" It's totally the kind of thing that I would blog about (hence this post), and I'm totally the kind of person to forget the fact that my mother reads my blog! And I'm sure that that feeling of having spilled the beans was enhanced by the fact that I HAD posted this about my mom and her birthday. Fortunately, it was a false alarm and I hadn't ruined the surprise. The Packard memory strikes again!

So, all of us kids drove secretly to Flag this weekend and waited until about 20 minutes after the first surprise has been sprung on her. This is Ellie and Jace, while we're waiting.

Then we went over to our neighbors' (Lois and Nicole) house. We went in the front door quietly. My mom's back was turned toward the front door, so she didn't see us come in.

My Dad said that he had one more surprise for my mom, and then asked one of the us to come put our hands over mom's eyes to see if she could guess who it was. He specifically asked for someone "shorter" so that one of the grandkids would go up. Taylor did it.

After she guessed for a bit, they turned her around! Here are our faces as we yell surprise!

And here is her face when she saw us all! She was so surprised!

After the surprise, we all sat around and ate and talked and laughed and had fun and took a lot of pictures, as you can see below! Here I am picking my nose! Just kidding! You can see that my finger is just to the side of my nose, and closer to the camera, although I don't know what I'm pointing up for. Just thought it was funny!

Aren't the people in my family great!

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Two Good Things...Again!

For Two Good Things this week we wrote things that we were grateful for for every letter of the alphabet. The constraints were that we had to write more than one word for each entry, although they didn't have to be alliterative.

A to Z What I'm Grateful For

A lazy day
Benjamin Packard
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
Erin Packard Householder
Friends that love me
Good books
Hymns, lullabies, duets
Ice cream!
Joel, Joy, Jenny, Jill
Karl G. Maezer (just kidding, I couldn't think of a K)...Kidding around!
Laughter that heals my heart
Mom, Matt
New clothes
Optometry visit discounts
Playing in the rain
Quiet afternoons with my journal
Refreshing beverages after exercise
Sunny days at Beaver Creek
Technological advances
Unique cups, plates, bowls
Voices that blend naturally together
Wealth in my country
Xanthan gum
Yellow and blue anything
Zest flavoring

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two Good Things Part VII

It's been a long time! I was sick one week. And TGT was canceled one week. And I forgot about it last week! My schedule was thrown off because I normally get a ride with Sara straight from the temple to Chelsea's house, but I didn't go to the temple last week because of the need to get some school work done. So, aside from all of those excuses, it felt good to be back at Two Good Things tonight.

Each night we share good news with each other before we start writing. My good news was really fun, because it was more just sharing a good experience I'd had. While I was waiting for Sara to pick me up tonight from the temple, a lady pointed out the moon to me. It's a full moon, and there were clouds in front of it, but pretty wispy clouds so the light shown through pretty brightly. This caused a halo around the moon to appear, which was really pretty. I've seen the moon with a halo before, but as I kept looking at it I realized that on the outside of the halo there was a rainbow! Starting on the outside was the red, then orange, and so on, until the purple that was next to the white light of the normal halo! It was amazing! I just kept staring at it until the clouds blew away and I was left with just Mr. Moon. I've never seen anything like that before, and I don't know if I'll ever see it again. It was so beautiful. I'm glad I didn't have a camera with me because it could never capture the beauty that I saw, and I would have been so disatisfied.

Our prompt tonight was actually taken from The One Minute Writer. From what I've seen of it, it has some great prompts. It's really hard to write anything good in one minute, though, so it's a challenge. Normally we take quite a bit of time to write in response to our prompts, so having the limit was fun. Here are the results of 5 0ne-minute writing sessions:

1. What modern technology would you have trouble living without? - The modern technology I would have trouble living without would be my cell phone. I use it to connect to my most important people (sorry all you blog readers!).

2. Write about a war veteran you have know of, or known personally. - My dad is a ward veteran of the Vietnam War. He was in the National Guard (stayed in the U.S.), jumped out of planes, and developed a sense of independence to pass on to his family.

3. Write about a memorable party or gathering you attended. - A memorable party too place at my cousin's roommate's house. We read poetry, played guitar, and told jokes. It made me realize I like the "open mic" style of beatnik cafes and should seek them out.

4. What affect has a child, whether yours or someone else's, had on your life? - My niece Ellie has made me see my sister Erin in a different light. She is a strong woman, who can raise a child into adulthood. She is a mother who will have all the answers. She is beautiful in a way that is eternal.

5. Write about something nice a stranger did for you. - As I wait outside the temple, several people ask if I need a ride. I don't, but it's nice to be noticed and cared for. Even a stranger can make me feel loved!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm thankful for my computer and the internet.

But it is TAKING OVER MY LIFE! Last night I spent way too much time reading blogs. Who's?, you might ask, since I unsubscribed to so many blogs? Well, I spent most of that time reading a complete stranger's blog that I found through a link on another blog. Which was this other blog? An almost complete stranger's that I found through a link on another blog that I actually subscribe to. I'm not going to admit how late I stayed up. So, I think that I'm going to come up with a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to use my computer at home unless it is for school work, church, finances, or some other responsible activity. All blog reading must take place on campus, so that I am restricted to the lateness of the hours that I dedicate to blogging. It's sad that I have to do this, but necessary for the time being. I need to focus on classes and schoolwork, just until the end of the semester. This is my last semester of classes for awhile, and then I'll be pretty free after December. I just have to be strict until then.

On a more serious note, I'm thankful for when things don't turn out like you thought they would or wanted. Sometimes this is disappointing. Sometimes this is painful. But I am thankful for any experience that forces me to shut down my "take charge" attitude and pay attention to the things that I don't have control over...and to examine more closely the things that I DO have control over. A little more self examination never hurt anyone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weird Dreams

I read this post on Seriously, So Blessed this morning, and I thought it was hilarious because I had just been telling Lorie about my crazy dreams I had last night. So, in true TAMN fashion, here is my dream from last night:

I dreamed that Sister Miller from my mission was getting married (she really got married a couple months ago) and she decided to get all the sisters together to give away some old clothes she didn't need anymore now that she was getting married. We were having the party at one of her friends' house, and when she was done giving away her clothes Sister Miller said that she also wanted to make available some clothes and shoes that she had already given to this friend. She looked kind of unhappy. She went downstairs to her basement and brought up some mismatched shoes, and then went back to get some more. Miller said that she had given a ton of clothes to this girl already, so one of the other sisters went down to see if she needed help carrying it all up. When they didn't come back after a while, we went down the stairs to see what was going on. I was at the front, and I saw that the friend was really holding the sister hostage, and that she was setting off some explosives! I yelled to the sisters to all get away from the house because it was going to explode! It turned out that this friend was an alien and that she was trying to hide some alieny stuff in her basement. Then some government official showed up and was like, "We knew something strange was going on in this neighborhood. A spaceship landed around here and we never found it!" Yeah...odd.

I'm thankful for things that make me laugh when I wake up in the morning!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


The last post was an experiment, to help my mom learn how to use Reader. We needed a post on my blog that she hadn't read, so I provided one for her.

I'm thankful for moms (mine, in particular) who want to learn how to better stay in contact with their daughters (me, in particular). This Saturday is my mom's birthday (I'm sure she wouldn't want me to post her age here on my blog, but let's just say that in another 40 years she'll be 100), so I'm going to make a special post for all of the things that I'm thankful for about her then. In the mean time, I'm very thankful for all of the cool settings and options that Google produces for blogs and email and things (I also explained how to use labels and how to archive things tonight).



Thursday, November 6, 2008


I am thankful for snow. We had our first real snow fall this week, where the snow actually stuck to the ground and where the snow actually made me uncomfortable as I biked to campus. And it was wonderful! There are still some pockets of snow left here and there, and I expect us to get some more snow soon. It's winter!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm thankful for my financial situation...

In church on Sunday, we had a great lesson about budgeting and money-managing. I thought it was a great thing to do for a single's ward, where there are a lot of young people just realizing the importance of money-managing, especially as the economic state of the country is becoming a big influence in our lives. So I have decided to adopt a few of the suggestions that I heard Sunday into my own financial plan. Here are a few of the things that struck me:

Having a budget. This is the simplest thing that you can do to help yourself manage your money, and I've heard it so many times. And I've even made budgets before, but they have been much more simple than the monthly budgets that are recommended. I have made budgets for a semester, in order to determine what I needed to earn and what I would spend for the semester as a whole (in a very general way, of course, because it was for the whole semester). I saw them as a good way to estimate costs and income, and to have a general plan. But a monthly budget is a good way to keep yourself accountable to the overall budget. Also, tracking your expenditures for the first month of budgeting was recommended so that you could see what areas of your budget for the next month needed to be adjusted so you can have a realistic budget. Tracking also ties into the next great tip I got...

Trim off unnecessary purchases. During the tracking stage, I'm sure I'll notice all kinds of purchases that I "need" but don't really need. I'm sure I'll also notice areas where I spend more than I should, even if the purchase is necessary. I can take these trends into consideration for my budget for the next month, and also just in my thoughts about purchasing things. This will get me in the habit of thinking about a purchase before I make it and saying, "Does this fit into my budget?" If there's something that I want to buy that doesn't fit into my budget, I can plan it into a future budget and save for it.

"Save for it." The concept of saving for something has a few benefits. 1) Those things that really aren't worth buying will fall by the wayside. Those things that are really important to me will be saved for and bought. This limits unimportant purchases. 2) If I save for something, this does a couple things to save money based on interest: While I'm saving for an item, the money I'm saving for it is earning interest in the bank, and when I pay for an item with saved money instead of paying with credit and paying for it later, I don't have to worry about paying interest on the money I borrowed to pay for the item. And it's only putting off the purchase a little bit. 3) An interesting concept that a guy in my ward brought up was the idea of saving for something now that he doesn't need now but that he knows he will need in the future, like a car. He has a good car, but he knows that he will eventually need a new car. Why not start saving for it now so that he can borrow less (or nothing) when that purchase becomes necessary? That reduces the amount of interest he has to pay.

Paying yourself. I've heard this idea before yesterday, but it was good to hear it again. Just like we budget 10% of our money each month to pay tithing to the church, we should also budget 10% of our income to put directly into savings. I think that this can go into several different "funds" of money for the different things you're saving for, or just one fund of general savings. Maybe, if you're earning enough, you can allot 10% for general savings, and then additional percentages for items you're saving for.

Get out of debt. They gave examples of good schedules for paying several creditors so that you reduce the amount of interest your paying on your different debts. The idea that really struck me was that I should be saving now to pay off my student loan. I have 6 months after I graduate without any interest being charged on that loan, and my goal is to save the total amount of the loan before any interest starts accumulating. So I just started planning that into my budget!

There are lots of other suggestions and helps on the church website Check it out!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thanks Giving

I am so glad it's November! Thanksgiving Day is coming up, and I'm going to follow my cousin's example and focus my blog posts on things I'm thankful for this month.

I am thankful for the Book of Mormon. It's a book of scripture that was written by ancient prophets to testify of Jesus Christ, and it was brought forth by a modern-day prophet, Joseph Smith, to be a companion witness with the Bible.

A couple verses from the Book of Mormon that teach about giving thanks are Alma 34:37-38. In these verses a prophet names Amulek is testifying. He says, speaking of the things that he desires the people to do:

"That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

I am thankful for Jesus Christ and for all that he has done for me.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I am a linguistics nerd...

"To louse a person and eat their lice." That's a Lushootseed idiom for the verb "to love." Neat isn't it? Think about it: it's one thing to help a person become "better" or "cleaner" by lousing them and helping them get rid of their lice. It's an entirely other thing to eat their lice.

If you apply this to people's faults, this shows one real way of looking at love. You can like someone, and want to help them overcome their faults. But it's when you are ready to "eat" their faults, accept them as part of the person that you love, that you know you really love them.

This is one of the many reasons I love my major!