Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

This is such a fun day to ponder.  Think "Pirates of Penzance."  Think "marriage proposals by women."  Think "years that are divisible by 100 and 400."

Okay, so maybe it doesn't hold that much magic for all of you.  But I was really excited for this day to come around this year.  It adds one more day to my birth month, prolonging the magic (And you know I love Cake).

My birthday this year was pretty nice.  I turned 28.  And while that does seem to be getting a little up there (that's almost 30, people), I still feel very young and happy with my age.  I loved my present from Dave, which is a Nook!  Yes, we've joined the people of the e-readers!  I finished my first book on it about 3 days after I got it.  It was The Help, which I thought was amazing.  And I have already downloaded about a bazillion free books from Google Books that I plan to read.  Their offering of classics is great!

Also for my birthday, my sister-in-law Anita and her husband Dean came down to Nevada from Utah and hung out with us for the Presidents' Day Weekend!!  We had a lot of fun.  We went shopping in Las Vegas, visited the Strip, and went to eat at The Wicked Spoon, which is an amazing buffet.  Seriously, if you are ever in Vegas and don't mind paying quite a bit for REALLY amazing food, you should try it out.  And not only was the food amazing, they offered a lot of different kinds of food and the presentation was really cool.  One of their desserts was a brownie with fudge sauce.  It came in its own little saucepan!  Fun!  I don't know if I'll ever go back again (Okay, it was expensive: $35 per person), but it was such a fun way to celebrate my birthday.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, What a Wierd-o I Am!

This week Dave and I are in Las Vegas for a few days.  Dave is taking the Bar exam today, tomorrow, and Thursday.  We decided that it would be easier to stay in Vegas so that Dave wouldn't have to get up really early to make it to the testing site on time.  But we are (and I mean mostly I am) pretty cheap (and we've recently had some expensive days, since I had my birthday a couple of weeks ago!!!), so we decided to bring food for most of our meals with us.  We are keeping it in a cooler with ice.  This is not the normal approach to staying in a hotel in Vegas, let me assure you!

But I felt like it was a good decision for us, and I was totally happy doing it.  When we went in to check into our hotel, there was obviously going to be a lot of stuff to bring in, and I decided to bring in some of the food that wouldn't fit in the cooler (cereal, silverware, plastic bowls, etc).  But we found out that we were a little early for check in and couldn't get to our room for a couple of hours.  No biggy.  As we headed back to our car, we discussed some options for killing time.

Dave suggested that we go to Mandalay Bay to see the shark tank.  Since we were trying to save on money on this trip, my immediate response was, "Is it free?"  Dave and I were walking across a parking lot, and he was a little ahead of me since we were walking out of the way of cars and there were other pedestrians on the side of the road.  I had to speak kind of loudly.  And suddenly, a ridiculous image of myself came into my mind:

I was carrying a grocery bag with two open boxes of cereal and plastic bowls, asking loudly "Is it free?"  I looked like a BAG LADY!!!  The people around me didn't know me or what we were talking about.  They just knew how crazy I looked.

To be honest, I didn't really get any crazy looks from anyone, but I felt ridiculous.  It's a good thing that Dave and I know how to laugh at ourselves and each other.  I can tell that this one is going to go down in the history books.  I can imagine us saying to each other years from now, "Is it free????!!!!!"  :D

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Hogar del Niño Project

Please check out the button to the right for "The Hogar del Niño Project."  It is an organization (run by my friend Rachel) which sends volunteers to work in an orphanage in El Salvador.  Please check it out if you or a family member would be interested in volunteering!  They are specifically looking for volunteers for this summer, but they send volunteers all year round when they can get them.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

When Dave and Merry Have Fun...

Things like this happen:

video


We had just finished watching "The Devil Wears Prada" and felt the urge to catwalk.  :D

Kidney For Kristy

On Tuesday, February 14th, my niece Jessica will turn 18!  That's right, she was born on Valentine's Day.  Sometimes I can't believe that she will be a "real" adult because it seems like she was just born!  Aren't memories weird that way?

Jessica is a mostly healthy girl.  But she had to have a kidney transplant in 2007, so sometimes she gets sick since she has to take immune suppressants to keep her body from rejecting it.  However, she's really grateful to have the kidney.  My brother Matt is the one that gave her his kidney, and everyone in the family really looks up to him for the sacrifice he made for her.

Not everyone with kidney problems is lucky enough to have someone in their family able to donate one.  They have to be put on a list and wait for one to become available.  And because of the expensive cost of the immune suppressants that I mentioned before, people aren't allowed on the list until they can prove that they will be able to afford the medicines and take good care of the kidney they receive.  This means that she has to have the $5000 for her first year of medications for a year saved up before they'll put her on the list.

All of this is leading up to a story I recently read about on my niece Steffani's blog.  Her friend Heather has a cousin who needs a kidney (Here are a couple places on her blog that she talks about her cousin:
http://browneyedbell.blogspot.com/p/kidney-for-kristy.html, http://browneyedbell.blogspot.com/2012/01/kidney-4-kristy-deadline.html, http://browneyedbell.blogspot.com/2012/02/thankful-thursday-v61.html).  She has been attempting to get on the kidney transplant list for a few months.  But the thing that is holding her back is the $5000.  She has about $800 left to earn.  But she has to get it by February 29th.

If any of you want to get involved, you can donate to her kidney fund here.  Or you can share this story and this link on Facebook or your blog: http://www.giveforward.com/kidneyforkristy.

I hope that she is able to get on the list.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Greyhound: Strange New World

I said that I would post another blog post about riding the Greyhound Bus.  And this is a LONG post!!!  I have a lot to say about the Greyhound.  I only remember riding the Greyhound three times (although I may have ridden as a child; I don’t remember if I did), but each time I’ve had quite the experience.

The first time I remember riding the Greyhound was when I was 20.  It was 2004, I was at BYU for summer school, and after summer school was over I was going to go on Study Abroad in China.  Soon after I would return from China, I was going to turn 21 and I was planning on going on a mission.  I thought that it would be best if I did what I could to prepare for my mission before going to China, so I decided to have my wisdom teeth pulled in the break between spring and summer terms.  I rode the bus down to Flagstaff so that I could get a discount that an LDS doctor offered to any local LDS members preparing to go on missions.

Most of what I remember from this trip is that I was sitting next to a woman who was obviously not all there mentally.  She talked to me about her family and how badly they treated her, about her bad luck in love and work, and many other things that I thought were too personal for anyone to share with a complete stranger on the bus.  I surmised that her lack of inhibition was due to mental illness or drug abuse.  I did my best to be polite, but it was an uncomfortable 8+ hour bus ride.

My next experience riding the Greyhound was during this last summer.  I was riding it back to Utah from visiting Dave in Nevada.  It was cheaper than flying and we were trying to find cheap ways for me to travel so that we could see each other more often.  Dave drove me to the bus station, which was in quite a scary part of Las Vegas (Isn’t the Greyhound always in the worst part of town?).  I went in to check in and check my suitcase.  Then we had about 45 minutes before the bus would start loading.  We decided to go for a drive so that we could spend that time together.  It was worth it, because I missed Dave so badly during the summer that every minute together counted.  But it meant that I was in the back of the line at the bus station and that I had no chance at getting a window seat.  Because this was a night route, the window spots were quite coveted so people could lean on them and sleep.

I chose an aisle seat next to a nice looking man, hoping that he wasn’t a weirdo.  And I was right!  He was actually very nice.  We asked each other about where we were from, and why we were in Nevada.  Then we talked about our final destinations, and that’s where the story gets interesting.  I told him that I was going to Salt Lake to continue working and studying.  He said that he was going to Reno to meet his fiancé there.  Then the whole story spilled out.  They had come together to Vegas to look at property.  They were planning on buying a house there for the winters (They were both from Canada.).  Well, this was their first road trip together, and while in Vegas he discovered that his fiancé was an alcoholic.  He couldn’t believe how much she drank.  When they started to fight over it, he left his hotel room to take a walk.  When he returned, she had taken his car and he didn’t hear from her for almost 24 hours.  When he did hear from her, she was in Reno and asked him to take a bus to meet her there.  The poor man had to ride the bus all the way up to Salt Lake before it turned and went over to Reno.  I think his ride was going to take about 24 hours.  Also, he had been (and still was) worried about her, and then he was anxiously talking about how he didn’t know whether to end the relationship or try to help her.  This story took up about an hour of the drive, and by the time that was done, it was late and we both tried to sleep as well as we could on the moving bus.  This is by far my most normal experience on the Greyhound.

My last experience was my ride from Flagstaff to Las Vegas after Steffani’s wedding.  The really interesting part took place in the bus station.  There was a nun who was from Vietnam.  She was talking to me about all of the different places that she had served as a nun and she mentioned that she had lived in Nanjing, China, for a while.  That was where I lived for a semester for study abroad, so I started talking to her about it, and she immediately broke out in Chinese.  I could understand some of what she was saying about Nanjing and the different things that she liked about it, but much of it went over my head.  It’s been about 5 years since I’ve studied Chinese at all.  Eventually, her bus was leaving and I could breathe a sigh of relief.  I really need to improve my Chinese again.

Then I started talking to the woman in line in front of me.  She was talking about how she was so excited to get home to her dogs.  She’d been gone for several weeks.  I thought, This is a conversation I can get into!  I really like dogs.  So we started talking about the kinds of dogs that she has.  I mentioned that I really wanted a dog, and that I was in the process of convincing Dave to get one (I don’t really want one right now, and I won’t want one until we have our own house.  But I know that it will take several years to convince Dave, since he is pretty opposed to dogs.).  Her response: “Don’t convince him, just go and get one.”  I kind of laughed because I thought she was joking, but she went on and on about how I shouldn’t let myself be controlled by my husband and that if I didn’t just go out and get a dog, then I wasn’t a real woman.  I should just get the dog, and then force Dave to deal with it because doing anything otherwise is letting myself be oppressed.  Hmm.  I had to just stop talking to her because there was no convincing her that just showing up with a dog would be equally as inconsiderate as his denying me a dog.

Immediately after this, the man behind me started talking to me, since he’d overheard our conversation.  He, too, was looking forward to getting back to a pet, his cat.  He then proceeded to tell me about all of the nasty, gross things that his cat regularly does.  I won’t go into details because what he was talking about was very indelicate!  This was the last straw.  I did my best to get out of that conversation, and then I immersed myself in a book so that no one else would talk to me.  Greyhound buses (and stations!) are full of weird people!!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Politics, Schmolitics


Last Friday I went to a political rally for Ron Paul.  He was here in Pahrump!  Can you believe it?  I am not necessarily that interested in voting for Ron Paul, but he was campaigning for the vote in Nye County and other medium size counties in the state, since he knew he wouldn’t get the vote in the larger counties.  And he won Nye County by a landslide, so I guess his campaigning worked.  Anyway, he was the only one that was coming to Nye County, so I decided that I’d go to his rally just to see what it was like.

Unfortunately, even though Ron Paul won in Nye County, he didn’t really give Nye County the much in return.  He had scheduled his venue to open at 12pm and to speak at 1pm.  As I said before, I’m not that much of a fan of Ron Paul’s, so I decided that I would show up right before he spoke and not worry about getting a good seat or anything.  Well, when I got there at about 5 minutes to 1, he was already speaking.  It turns out that he found out about something else going on in Vegas that he wanted to get back for, so he started speaking early.  I heard him for about 5 minutes, and then he left.

Oh well.  He wasn’t really campaigning for my vote anyway.  Dave and I were gone the next day so we couldn’t caucus.  But that sounds like an interesting experience, and I’d like to do that sometime in the future.

The reason we were gone on the day of the caucus was because we went to a wedding!  Dave and I went to Utah for his parents’ wedding…their remarriage.  It is so awkward to say that without explaining it for people who don’t already know that his parents were divorced.  But, now that we have that out of the way, it was a good wedding.  They were married in Denise’s father’s house by an LDS bishop.  It was a simple ceremony, with half of their children there and Denise’s brother Jon and his wife.  Her father said a few words first, and then the bishop said a few words and married them.  It was good to be there and witness this step that they are taking to start a new life together.  I hope that they are happy and that they work hard to overcome the problems that caused their divorce.

Dave was also able to schedule a job interview in Utah the Tuesday after that, so we stayed in Utah for several days and got to hang out with family every day.  It is so good to see family members!  It would be so wonderful to live closer to family again.  We don’t know yet about this job and if it will work out, but Dave is definitely going to keep looking and applying for jobs in Utah (and Nevada, once he passes the Bar exam).

So, all in all, it was a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Goal


I'm doing pretty well at keeping up with most of the goals I made at the beginning of the year.  The two goals that I have done hardly anything with are my creativity goals.  I've only played the piano a couple of times since the beginning of the year, and I haven't thought about scrapbooking once.  But I just put scrapbooking and piano on my "To Do" list, which will probably make me think about them more.  So we'll see how that goes in February.

My January goal went pretty well.  I studied quite a bit about being a servant in the scriptures and discovered some ideas about serving that were very satisfying to me.  I am going to continue this line of study for a while longer.

My goal for February is to think of and implement four surprises for Dave, to let him know how much I love him!  Fun Valentine's Day goal, huh?

What are some things that you all plan on doing for Valentine's Day?