Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Camping, Projects, and Trips

The last two weekends were a blast!

March 9-11: We started it off by some fun Friday camping.  It has been quite a while since we last camped.  I believe that our last camping trip was about 1.5 years ago when we did a backpacking trip up a canyon near American Fork and spent one night up there.  So as the weather has been getting better and better here in Pahrump I have have been wanting to go camping more and more.  We decided that the time had finally arrived, so we found a spot to camp about an hour away from Pahrump, on the way to Vegas.  There are some mountains that you have to go over to get to Vegas, but instead of going over them we turned before we hit them and went up Lovell Canyon.  About 12 miles up the road we chose a spot we liked and unloaded.  Dave had taken a few hours off from work that afternoon so we could get set up in the daylight.  It was around 5 when we arrived.  We got the tent set up, built a small fire pit, and started cooking our foil dinners.  Yum!!  While we waited for the dinners to cook we took a (very) short hike.  Then after dinner it was getting quite cold (it is still pretty cold in the mountains and there was snow on them after a storm a couple weeks ago), so we sat in the tent, played cards, read, and talked.  So we didn't spend too much time in the actual outdoors on this camping trip.  But it was fun to get out and do something new.  And we plan on doing it a few more times while the weather is warming up (and not yet too hot).

Saturday was a project day.  We went to Home Depot and bought supplies and came home and fixed one of Dave's dad's antique chairs that we have here.  A couple of the stretchers (horizontal support pieces joining the legs) had broken and almost all of the stretchers needed to be re-glued to keep the chair stable.  We also started to fix the other antique chair that was broken (similar issues with stretchers), but we ran out of time on that one.  Dave will likely fix that one evening this week.  Here are a few pictures of the process:

 Cutting the stretchers to the right length

Sanding the ends of the stretchers so they'd fit in the holes.

I was helping too!

We used twine to pull the pieces tight and keep them that way until the glue dried.  The pens tightened the twine.

 The other chair that needed fixing: We had to screw in a large piece that had broken.

Then Sunday was spent at church, relaxing at home, reading, preparing for a funeral for a ward member this Tuesday, eating yummy food, taking care of laundry, and altogether enjoying being home together.  It was a great weekend!

March 16-18:  The next weekend we drove to Flagstaff for a surprise birthday party for my best friend, Nicole Cordon!  Nicole was my friend in elementary, junior high, and high school.  We've stayed in touch over the last 10 years since I moved away from Flagstaff, and her friendship is a treasure to me.  She turned 30 this week, and her brother organized a fun surprise party.  It was fun to eat, talk, see people from Flagstaff that I hadn't in a long time, and celebrate the life of my good friend.

That night we stayed at...a house.  Haha!  I don't know how to say whose house.  If I say "my parents' house" then I have to explain that they don't live there, my brother does.  But if I say "my brother's house" then I also have to explain that it isn't really his, he's renting it from my parents.  Oh well, you get the picture.  We played games and had fun talking and catching up.  My brother Ben and his wife Megan were visiting as well, and Joel and Pam were gracious hosts.  On Saturday we went for a walk and I got some pictures of my beloved pine trees (one of the things that I miss most about Flagstaff).

I love the increasingly warmer weather and that we can get out and do more things on the weekends!  What are some fun things that you've done on your weekends lately?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Isn't Life All about Perspective?

I have two recent examples that show me that much of what we feel in life is really determined by perspective.

#1: Last night Dave and I were playing a game of chess.  Early in the game I made a dumb move and lost my queen.  And the game went down hill from there!  I was sure that I was going to lose.  But I counted it as almost a victory when I fought Dave to a stalemate.  And Dave had been sure that he was going to win.  So he was pretty disappointed when we stalemated.  So I was happy and he was sad, even though we ended up getting the same "score" in the game.  Perspective.

#2: I have set goals for myself of different things I want to accomplish during the day, or a certain amount of time I have to work each day on my project.  But I frequently don't meet those goals.  I decided that I needed to give myself an incentive to meet my work goals.  So now I have a set amount of time that I have to work each day.  If I don't work that long, I have to eat 1.5 inches of black licorice for every 10 minutes I come in under that time.  On Tuesday I didn't get 1 hour and 10 minutes done.  So I had to eat 7 units of black licorice, or 10.5 inches (about 1 piece).  I HATE black licorice!  So this is really motivating for me.  Yesterday I hadn't quite made my goal, and I worked in the evening so that I could get the time in and not have to eat licorice.  It's not that the work is any more interesting to me.  It's that eating licorice is worse than working on my project.  Perspective!

So what are some things that give you perspective in your life?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It Doesn't Take Much

. . . to make me happy.

Just a new pair of flats that I love (and didn't cost a thing!).

P.S.  Thanks, Janssen, for inviting me to participate in your weekly "Doesn't Take Much" series.  You can check out her latest post in the series at Everyday Reading.  She does it every Friday.

Saturday, March 10, 2012 Profiles

You've probably noticed the button to the right that says "I'm A Mormon."  Well, we only have one button, but Dave and I are both Mormons!  Or, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You can check out my profile or Dave's profile, and please feel free to share them or the website with any of your friends interested in learning more about the LDS Church.

My faith is very important to me.  I am so glad to be a believer in Jesus Christ.  Here are some things that I think about as I think of how I live my faith:

In my congregation, I am part of the leadership in our women's organization, the Relief Society. I occasionally teach a lesson on spiritual matters to the women at the beginning of the month. I also plan and coordinate monthly activities that help them fulfill the purposes of Relief Society: "Relief Society prepares women for the blessings of eternal life by helping them increase their faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need." I especially want to help women fulfill the first purpose by helping them increase and feel satisfaction in their faith in Jesus Christ.

I love participating in the Relief Society. I like to attend activities that bring the women closer together. The women of the church need to stand together and support each other by relating through common experiences. The organization assigns visiting teachers to visit each woman and make sure that her individual needs are being met. I love being a visiting teacher. I love to get to know new women and to develop relationships with them.

An important part of my faith is giving service. So I am always looking for new service opportunities.

Another important part of my faith is the effort that I make to improve my knowledge of and faith in my Savior. Some of the ways that I make that effort are reading the scriptures daily, praying daily, giving service, and attending church meetings.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tag!! Random Things

I was not tagged by my niece Steff at Iffy Inklings.  :D  But I am doing the tag anyway!

Here are the rules: 
1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them.

Random Items:
1. When I make lists, I like to have the numbers for each item written down before I write the actual items.  So, for example, before I started typing my random things about myself, in my blog post I had this list of just numbers:
And then I filled them in.  :D

2.You don't have to look any farther than the first post on my blog to find something truly random.

3. I really like the band Creed, and other Christian rock.

4. I don't like cheese on things with warm meat, usually.  I am okay with it in lasagna and dishes like that.  But I don't like it on hamburgers or sandwiches with warm meat.  I also don't like cheese dips.  Basically, I don't usually like it melted at all.

5. I do not like the feeling of my pants pulled up.  For example, if I am wearing pajama pants to bed, I take about 30 seconds after I lie down to pull the legs of the pants down after they are pulled up by the blankets when I get in.  I also have to straighten my shirt so that it's completely covering my belly and not bunched up on one side.  This drives Dave nuts.

6. I don't really like ice skating that much.  It's a mixture of disliking being cold, disliking the chafing of my ankles by the skates, and unpleasant memories of awkward hours spent at the ice skating rink in Junior High.

7. I am probably not going to watch any of the Hunger Games movies.  I really liked the books, but they were really violent.  Usually movies are even more so than the books (Lord of the Rings?  Anyone?), so I don't think that I'm interested in watching it in a movie when I censored the violence in my imagination while reading the book.

8. I am such a nerd and I love to sit in the car and listen to NPR instead of getting out of the car and going inside.

9. I LOVE onions and garlic!  And I love that supposedly that's the reason why I hardly ever get bitten by bugs or mosquitoes.

10. I usually don't wear dresses.  When I dress up, it is almost always a skirt and shirt combo.

11.  For three summers now, Dave and I have wanted to go camping in Washington State, near Lake Ozette.  And we've put it off each time.  Hopefully Summer 2012 is the time we make it happen!

Here are the questions that Steff asked:

1) What is your favorite game to play on your phone? My phone only has game demos, so it's really annoying to play the games on my phone cause they quit after like 2 minutes.  But when I'm really bored, I do enjoy 2 minutes of Tetris.
2) What was something silly you did as a kid? Imaginary friend, suck your thumb until you were ten, etc. When I was little, I had a hard time understanding the difference in age between my sister and me (she is only 15 months younger than me).  So when I turned 4, I thought that for sure that year we would end up being the same age.
3) What is your favorite brand and style of shoes? I don't have a favorite brand, but I like flats.
4) What is the most money you'd pay for art in your home? I'd pay maybe $50 for something that I really liked.  And I guess I'd also pay for it to be framed (inexpensively).  I'd actually like to do another post just talking about a few of my favorite paintings.
5) What's your favorite food you can find in the frozen aisle? Ice cream.  Did anyone expect me to answer differently?
6) Do you like to travel? Yes, I love it!
7) Do you wear glasses or contacts? Both.  I prefer contacts, but I am starting to wear glasses more and more to give my eyes a rest from the contacts (since they have started to have some kind of auto-immune reaction to them, which causes eye irritation).
8) What genre of book do you like to read? Fiction of all kinds.
9) What is a job you wish you could do? (Even if you thought you didn't have the brains or ability to do it, like gymnast or astronaut or something.) President of the United States.
10) Do you like hot or cold weather? Cold.
11) What is your favorite drink? (Alcoholic or not.) Milk.

And here are my questions for Camber, Lorie, and Sara.

1. If there was one place that you would want to live, where would it be?
2. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
3. Who are you planning on voting for in November?
4. What is your favorite thing to do to waste time?
5. What is your favorite song to listen to right now?
6. What are you reading right now?
7. Do you like shoes?  How many pairs do you have?
8. Does your husband ever force you to try something that you detest (like licorice)?
9. Could you tell that there was a story behind Question Number 8?
10. What is one rule that you implement/plan on implementing with your children?
11.  Do you currently own or want to own a pet?  What kind of pet?

(Again, as I was coming up with my questions, I wrote down the numbers 1-11 first.  :D) 

Okay, so this tag was a little more involved than I wanted it to be.  So, if you don't want to do all of that, you can get rid of the random things at the beginning, or you can just have the people you tag answer the same questions as you instead of creating new questions.  Or you can have them answer the same questions as me.  Or do whatever you want to (gosh!).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir

October was a fun month.  We were gypsies, did some traveling, dressed up, and enjoyed being outside since the weather had finally cooled off (Unfortunately, though, not many of these activities were accompanied with the camera, so there are no pictures!).  Here are some things we did:

The first weekend in October was General Conference.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had their semiannual General Conference on October 1-2.  This is when members are addressed by the general leaders of the church (based in Utah) in about 10 hours of meetings stretched out over the 2 days.  Men and women speak, and discuss different topics and issues that members of the church and people outside of the church are faced with in today’s world.  I really enjoy General Conference every 6 months.  Some of the talks that I enjoyed were Elder Uchtdorf's talk You Matter to Him, Elder Ardern's talk A Time to Prepare, Elder Waddell's talk The Opportunity of a Lifetime, and Sister Dalton's talk Love Her Mother.

The second weekend in October, I got to speak at a baptism.  A woman and her teenage daughter joined the church and were baptized into our ward.  I had been meeting with them with the missionaries as they learned about the church, so they asked me to give one of the talks.  I spoke about the gift of the Holy Ghost, which people receive after they are baptized, when they are confirmed as members of the church.

Then, after the baptism, Dave and I jetted out of town to meet my mission companion Emily.  She was visiting southern Utah from her home in Georgia, and I got to meet her, her husband Benjamin, and her children Joshua and Caleb in Mesquite, Nevada.  It was a long drive (6 hours total) for a short visit (about 2.5 hours), but it was worth it!  I haven’t seen her in a while, and we live all the way across the country from each other!  We hung out at a park for a while, and then ate dinner together.  Here we are at the end of the visit:

The third weekend in October was kind of crazy.  I was having some eye troubles, where my right eye was pretty red and tender to the touch.  I thought I had pink eye, but my eye wasn’t itchy.  Since I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment, I thought that I would just ride it out.  But by Saturday, my eye was so sensitive to light that I couldn’t open it, and there were tears streaming out of my eyes.  We went to the urgent care office in Pahrump and got a prescription for eye drops.  I had some good days after that, and some more bad days where I had to lay in bed with a blanket over the windows to block out the light.  On the good days over the next week, I was able to get out and do some fun things, but eventually I had to go see an eye doctor, which is when I found out that my eyes had developed an immune reaction to my contacts!  They are doing much better now, but I wore my glasses for about a month while we were letting my eyes heal.

Fortunately one of the days that my eyes were doing fine was the Saturday of the next weekend, because that was the day of the Monster Dash!  It was a 5-k race that Dave and I did.  We even made costumes for it (although we didn’t run in them).  Dave came in in 9th place, and I got 16th place.  And we won a free pizza, got awesome scary-looking t-shirts, and our entry fee got us into a Pumpkin Day carnival.  Okay, the carnival was mostly for kids, but it was still fun to walk around and look at the animals, work our way through a hay maze, and get my hand painted!

The last weekend in October was a fun one.  We had to head to Utah for Dave to be sworn in as a lawyer on the 31st.  Since our friends, the Ashtons, were driving from Phoenix through Vegas to go to Utah for the swearing in too, we decided to meet up with them in Vegas and explore the strip.  Our camera battery died, so I will have to get pictures from Ann to post here.

We got to see family that weekend.  Dave’s cousin Jill and I dressed up and went to a BYU Halloween party.  We dressed up by putting on hats, attaching leaves to the hat brims so they dangled in front of our faces, and then blew the leaves whenever they got in our way.  We were leaf-blowers.  :D  We went through a maze made out of all of the recycled trash from BYU’s campus and won Frisbees made out of recycled plastic.  It was fun.

Then the actual swearing in ceremony was good.  It felt like such an accomplishment to be there, listen to the speakers talk about the profession, and hear the oath be administered, and I wasn’t even the lawyer!!!  I was so proud of Dave, I could have burst!  Dave put so much work into passing the Bar in Utah, and I’m sure he’ll do just as well in Nevada.

And that was the month of October for us!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Leading a Balanced Life: Goal for March

One of my professors at BYU taught a class for the graduating TESOL graduates.  He taught a segment about how to create personal mission and vision statements, to help you see what is important to you and what you need to do to keep those things in perspective.  This is important for any professional to understand so that they keep themselves from burning out.  He shared a talk by President Hinckley titled "Life's Obligations", about leading a balanced life.

In it President Hinckley talked about four important obligations: 1. to your vocation, 2. to your family, 3. to the Church, and 4. to yourself.  About our obligation to ourselves, President Hinckley said, "Our lives become extremely busy. We run from one thing to another. We wear ourselves out in thoughtless pursuit of goals which are highly ephemeral. We are entitled to spend some time with ourselves in introspection, in development."

The full article can be found here.  I feel like I do a bad job sometimes of making time for personal introspection and development.  Yeah, I have a lot of time for myself, but a lot of my personal time is spent on either my master's project or entertainment.  My time is full of reading, researching, materials writing, listening to radio, watching TV.  But I think that I would see some good rewards in my life if I took more time to meditate and reflect.  This has been something I've thought of doing for a long time, but I have never implemented it.

So that is my personal goal for March.  I am not going to try to meditate every day.  I know that would be setting myself up for failure!  But I think that I will try to do it 4 days a week, for just 10 minutes.  I am going to put a chart up on the magnet board in my kitchen, where I can see it and be reminded to take that time (I am so motivated by charts!).

Have any of you taken time to meditate regularly?  What positive/negative results have you seen?  Any suggestions for how to do it?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

So a guy goes on a walk...

So, the bar is all done-sies. I went to work right afterwards and realized I was having trouble seeing straight; three days at a bar will do that to you. You know what they say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

We have got some great bars here in Vegas!

For the sake of all those future lawyers out there, I hope that in the future, states will just make you pay money and then have you jump through a hoop, literally (and I really do mean literally).

This little girl is all ready to be a lawyer, she can jump through hoops!