Hi friends! I hope you are all doing well. I’ve gotten to an interesting point in my life where I spend a lot of time formulating, writing/filming, and crafting my … Continue reading Compliments for the Opinionated
Disneyland Day 3
Some things you might not know about me from reading only this blog- I have hard time being happy (even in the happiest place on earth) when I am A. Tired, B. Sore, or C. Hungry. I realize this may seem very ‘first world’ of me but there you go. We are all weak in our own way.
Well, today started out pretty good. I was feeling strong after my relaxed day yesterday and ended up spending the morning alone at California Adventure. I like spending time by myself. I like that nobody can hear me groan and I can go at my own pace, eat what I want, do what I want. I suppose this is slightly unhealthy of me but again that’s the way it is with me!
So everything was going well and then after a few hours my feet were beginning to hurt and I headed over to Disneyland to meet up with my sister and Mom. I waited for the omnibus which was taking forever. Then I decided to take the train and as I was traveling realized I didn’t have my cell phone. I had to wait until the train stopped, walk back to the omnibus area and it wasn’t there. (It was also close to 100 degrees plus humidity!). I went to lost and found and spent time filling out a report with a rather unhelpful lady (and very hard to understand).
I also didn’t know my sisters cell phone number or I would have called her to meet up. My Mom didn’t have her phone. Anyway, I had no idea what to do. Then we called my Dad ( I realized I only have 4 phone numbers memorized. Not good!). He was able to reach Madi’s phone and she actually had my phone! I guess someone had found it and called the last number which was her. Thanks kind stranger.
Anyway, I was pretty stressed out and then when I went to get back into the park I couldn’t find my ticket. Despite taking a photo of me and stamping my hand they still require a ticket. Sorry Disney but that is dumb! The whole situation made me cry.
A lot of this has to do with my frustrations over my pain and my unmet expectations of training and working hard on my physical fitness. I was hoping to have more energy and fun this trip. It was very disappointing.
So that was the drama for the day (worthy of a Disney movie right?). Don’t worry though. It got better quick.
I’ve learned from this trip something about myself. I like vacations where I can sleep, reconnect with myself and soak in sun (and swim as much as possible). My Mom referred to Disneyland as a ‘walking vacation’. Here’s what I now know: I don’t like walking vacations. I like sleeping vacations.
Good thing to learn about myself right?
So, I don’t want you all to think I didn’t have a good time or am ungrateful because that’s not true. I did have fun. I am grateful, especially for my Dad, everyone at Poler and my roommate for making this all happen. Thank you so much!
Now tomorrow I’m going to the beach. HURRAY!!!! I can’t wait.
So you’ve got to keep learning and growing. Hope you are all doing well.
If You Love Kids Why Don’t You Get Married?
All 5 of my nieces are above average in intelligence and vocabulary, and I’m not just saying that as a proud aunt, its true. My oldest niece reads a book a day and can converse on a variety of topics. Sometimes I think it is hard for her to be the oldest and spend so much time with younger, less mature minds.
I think I have a pretty good relationship with my nieces despite the fact that none of them live near me. That said, I know there is a lot of my life that seems like a mystery to them. I live in Utah. I’m not married. I don’t have kids. How can that be? In fact, the last couple of years every time I see my oldest niece she says ‘Rachel, why aren’t you married?’. Yesterday it was ‘If you can take care of all of us little kids, why don’t you get your own little kids to take care of?
Ah the simplicity of youth. I wish marriage was the result of readiness or abilities. Unfortunately there’s this annoying thing called choice and chemistry…Sigh.
Sometimes I wish I could just have 4 or 5 options and just pick one and make it work. This randomly meeting the love of my life thing isn’t working out very well. Set ups and online dating provide few dates so I am left just trying my best to answer my nieces question. What do you say? Here’s how the conversation goes?
“Well, I can’t have kids until I get married and I can’t get married until I fall in love”
Her response “Well why don’t you fall in love?”
My response “I’m ready but sometimes it just doesn’t happen”
She looks at me skeptically and adds
“If you don’t get married and have children how can you be happy?”
Sigh…I’m sure many young moms are thinking this kid has no idea how hard it is and that is true! However, there is also great happiness.
I finally have to say
“I don’t know why I haven’t fallen in love, but I hope I will someday”
Still with worry another niece says:
“You should just adopt your own babies”
“That would be fun but hard to do all alone” I reply
Then the conversation wanes. If only there were better answers to all these questions. And yes, I’ve tried online dating and its not for me.
That’s what I hate the most about dating is how impotent it makes me feel. There is this big life goal that I know will add to my happiness (even eternal happiness) and there is almost nothing I can do about it. How do you force love? Force someone to love you? You can’t. You just have to hold out hope and be happy.
It’s just frustrating to have such a big thing in the human experience that is so outside our control. I sometimes feel like I’m missing out on the most human experience.
To have lived and never fallen in love? Is that a life at all? Art, music, movies, books would say no.
I know that it is, but it still makes me sad every now and then that I don’t have a better answer to “Why haven’t you fallen in love?”
Why indeed? Only God knows.
Interview Part 2
I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next entry in this trilogy of interviews, so I won’t keep you any longer. Here goes…
What do you think makes a good marriage partner? I think it is just that, a partnership. There shouldn’t be a sense of domination in any way. Nor should one spouse feel overly defined by roles or responsibilities but the entire marriage should be a joint responsibility.
Too many people lump the decision of having kids and getting married together. The two should be separate choices. You should ask the question do I want to be with this person if we don’t have any kids at all? Then you can say as a separate question will he be a good father? That said, I really can’t imagine anyone that I would want to marry that wouldn’t also have the qualities of a good father but I think the 2 questions should be separate.
To me a good test of a relationship is will the person sit through something they don’t care for just because you are in it. I’m not saying they have to love it but is your participation enough to count them in. This is true for both people in the relationship. He better get used to sitting through a swim meet and cheering and I can go fishing or do whatever outdoorsy thing he loves. The other person’s happiness should make you happy most of the time (we all have our moments).
Another test- does the person make things fun that would normally be a drag. For instance, I’ve always said I want to go dancing with my boyfriend. I hate dancing, so if I can have a good time doing that we have genuine chemistry. Maybe that’s silly but there you go.
Finally, the best couples I know have an intellectual chemistry which is tough to define. Do you find the person you are with interesting? Not that they have to be interested in the same things per say but do they approach problems with a similar vigor, are you fascinated by the world? Do you listen to each other in a complimentary way? I could never be with someone who thought I was dumb or vice versa.
Why do you think so many marriages fail? Actually in my life not many do. Amazingly enough at 30 not one of my friends that I have seen get married has gotten divorced. I have met friends after they were divorced but never seen the entire process from someone in my peer group. Even in the Mormon church it seems highly unlikely that there wouldn’t be 1 couple. None of my cousins or siblings have gotten divorced. Perhaps that will happen in this decade but so far so good.
I think when marriages do fail it is usually because of selfishness. People begin to feel that their needs are more important than their spouse, and a partnership becomes 2 separate entities coexisting. Every situation is different and some times people just aren’t compatible but I think usually there is some kind of selfishness involved.
How can you comment on marriage as a single woman who has never had a relationship? Well, it doesn’t take getting shot to know it is not a pleasant experience. Some things you can extrapolate as an observer of life and human nature. I’m sure I will learn a lot when it is my turn but a girl can’t spend 3 decades and not develop any of her own ideas on the topic, so there!
I also have relationships that while not romantic have taught me something about how they work.
What is your ideal family? I have no ideal. I have never been a dreamer in that regard. I’ve only had one time in my life (BYU) where an expectation lived up to lead up. Most of the time it is best to take things as they come and be grateful for what you’ve got.
Will you be happy unmarried, without kids? Yes. It has never been a big dream of mine to get married or have kids. There are lots of reasons why but all I’ve wanted since I was a toddler (literally) is to be on my own, making my own life choices. If the situation comes I will be happy and grateful but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being happy if it doesn’t.
If you did have kids how would you want to raise them? What is important to you in parenting? I believe that kids should be in the world but not of the world. So, yes expose them to movies, literature, friends, education, but do it in a way that maintains their innocence as long as possible and allows them to have true fun. I don’t think kids should be manipulated to be mini-parents. They should be guided and counseled but also feel free to express their own views and ideas. I want my kids to know that I like being with them and that they matter to me and to God.
I do love the homeschooling movement and feel if done well it can give your children the best opportunity to flourish. You can communicate with your child in a way that no teacher can (as wonderful as they may be). The argument against homeschool is always a social one but I feel this is silly because public school can be just as much of a social nightmare. Any education requires monitoring by a parent and an active voice that makes actual learning the priority, not the grade received.
I love that with homeschool a parent takes ownership of how and what is taught to her child. She takes ownership of her child’s peer group, social activities and moral teaching. Not that they don’t have those things, as some might claim, but they are guided by a parent. There may be some who want to offer their children up to the alter of community good but not me. It may seem odd for a single girl to have an opinion on homeschool but I think you will find there isn’t much I don’t have an opinion on!
(I will add that clearly homeschool doesn’t work for every situation. I’m just saying that it would be my first choice if given the chance).
What did your parents teach you about parenting/life? My mother continually teaches me to nurture others. She is a very selfless person. In fact, she even gave up her freedom of movement when restricted to bedrest for most of her 6 pregnancies. This was a very difficult time for our family but she taught me that sacrifices are the most golden family moments. Its like on my mission- the moments where I had given my all, were the one’s where I became a true missionary. The moments in a family where you give all is when you are a true family.
My Dad teaches me each day to find joy in the journey. I get stressed out with the details of life. I put loads of unneeded pressure on myself and always have. He has always been someone who can see a way out of stress and is a true optimist. He also has a zest for life that I admire and hope to emulate.
What do you think is a true friend? In the quest to save the family sometimes I feel we could focus more on friendshiping in the church. Especially in the single-world friends have been a huge support for me. As wonderful as my family is when I think of the trials of my life I can also see a friend who was there to see me through.
I’ve also had so many laughs with friends over the years. A true friend loves and deserves love back. A true friend sacrifices time to be with you. A true friend has chemistry that just works. A true friend listens when you need to vent and gives you frank counsel when required. A true friend you could see every day and yet go years and still have that connection. A true friend should not be work in the traditional sense. It should be a happy work. (Its actually hard to describe a true friend, but you know it when you see it!).
One of the things I have struggled with in the last few years is maintaining an active social life. It used to be so easy for me to gather people together. Now it seems so difficult. Even to have lunch with a friend can take weeks of planning. I wish I had one friend I could call on a Friday night with nothing to do and do something. That almost never happens. People are just too busy. Even getting people to come to book club or other activity can be so hard. I’ve noticed I have more success with dinner parties or when hosting something for my swim group. Not sure why but I’m trying to figure it out. I love to entertain and would love to plan cute get-togethers. After the year I’ve had I kind of got out of the habit. The Christmas Swimfest gave me a ton of confidence and I already have a Valentines Swimfest in the works.
It just sometimes feels that while friends are so important to me, they are less important for people with families. There are exceptions which I am very grateful for and I understand the predominance family should take. That said, it can still be hard and lonely to feel that everyone else has moved on to the next step and you are still in college-mode. As much as I loved college nobody wants to be at the same spot forever.
What is the hardest thing to do as an adult? Finding balance. It always seems that one part of my life is taking over whether it health, work, family struggles, exercising whatever. Achieving balance is the goal of a lifetime.
In what ways has adulthood disappointed you? This is such a good question for me because I wanted to be an adult so badly. I would say the greatest disappointment is the mundanity of life. I don’t know what exactly I expected but so much of life is routines and doing the same thing over and over again. Even in the most glamorous jobs there is a fair amount of tedium. Its just part of adult life.
I also wish I had taken more advantage of time off as a young college student to explore or go places. I think because my parents traveled I assumed I would be able to do that later, and I have been very blessed in that regard, but its hard! Its hard to find the time, get off work, get ready, catch up when you get home etc. Its something I should have enjoyed more when I had the chance.
I was also in a rush to finish everything. I set a goal and I want to get it done now. This is why weight loss has been so tough for me because it is not something that can be done right in a few months. It takes years, a lifetime really. I don’t like things that take a lifetime! Again, I should enjoy the journey more.
If you could have your dream job what would it be? I think it would be cool to work in a political campaign. I also love public speaking and think I might take a stab at politics some day. I feel I would be a good advocate for causes I believe in but I am sure the whole process would drive me crazy (again the waiting and the tedium are my struggles!). Also, I think it would be great to teach college, especially at BYU. I have pondered a PHD before but there are so few positions in the liberal arts that it does not seem like a good choice. Still, it would be my dream job.
Are you disappointed to not be doing your dream job? Yes but I’ve learned that how I work is much more important to me than what I am actually doing. Working from home and being my own boss is worth any sacrifice- even working in accounting all day! I get chills and feel nauseated at the thought of going back to ‘cubicle Hell’ as I call it.
My only regret in working alone is I don’t have the chance to mentor people. I benefited greatly from mentors in my youth and I hope to someday have that chance as an adult. I’ve enjoyed teaching in my ward the last 2 years and feel I have been a mentor to some of the younger girls (and I feel I mentor my younger siblings) but I’d like to find someone that I can really guide and mentor.
What is your greatest flaw? Definitely holding grudges. I grew up seeing the world in terms of bullies and victims. That’s how I survived. I learned that people who abuse do it again and I kept them in that spot forever. There are still people from my life that I struggle with anger and resentment towards. I know it only hurts me but it is tough. I get better each year at forgiving and hopefully by the end I will be something like my Grandpa Richards who loved unconditionally. That is my goal to be like him because he was so much like Jesus. My relationship with Christ helps polish me each day and that includes grudges, resentments, fears and everything else.
Do you wish you were skinny? I’d be lying if I said No. As I mentioned in my last post judgement has always been tough for me to absorb and unfortunately being fat carries tons of judgement. I still feel great resentment at anyone who places a label on me because of my weight. It would be nice to not deal with these judgements. However, I suppose society would just find something else to judge and I’d have to deal with it. I do appreciate the strength my journey has given me and being heavy forced me to rely on God for praise because in a few moments that was the only place I could get it. And maybe I do a little bit of good correcting prejudice and speaking out. If that was the case, it’d all be worth it.
Well, that’s a lot. Probably more than any of you care to read but it does me a great deal of good to say it. The next entry will be on my views on the political and social issues of the day. Should be pretty fun! (I have had an interest in politics since I was in grade school and voted in every election since I turned 18. It is very important to me).
I was going to entitle this post “Things I Hate” but then backed down from it. Let’s just say I want to share some things that irritate me. Please don’t be offended or take it too seriously. It’s all just little irritants.
So here goes. Things that drive me crazy:
1. People that assume obese people just need to ‘get up off their buts’ and all their problems would magically melt away.
2. People that assume skinny people are healthy
I hate dieting
3. Anyone who makes exercise seem easy. If I lost a pound everytime someone said ‘lose 10 lbs in 10 days’ I’d be half my weight.
4. Anyone who makes dieting sound easy.
5. People who feel sorry for me because I am single and oh wouldn’t I be happier with a man.
6. People that assume I will meet someone just because I lost weight. Tell that to all my married plus size girlfriends and my single skinny friends.
7. People that assume I have tons of free time because I am single.
I hate dieting
8. People who think I don’t work as hard because I telecommute (try having your job staring you in the face 24/7)
9. People who think a single woman over 30 must be a lesbian if she doesn’t date.
10. The stereotype of the bitter, lonely, cold, icy, working woman. (Seriously, how many movies do we have to see that in?)
11. That an overweight person is somehow less intelligent, caring, diligent or thoughtful because of their weight.
I hate dieting
12. That diabetes is the fault of the individual not genetics. Really isn’t stigma just another word for stereotype? How about instead of treating someone as less because of their disease we support them.
13. People who lump the tea party in with terrorists, extremists, fascists. Disagree with their ideas fine but let’s only call actual terrorists, terrorists.
14. People who cant rationally discuss a topic without getting defensive or resorting to name calling. (I hate it when the only thing people will talk about is movies or gossip. I like talking about movies but have something to say about them and be prepared to discuss your opinion.)
I hate dieting
15. People who flake out on group projects, callings, assignments. I hate it when I have to babysit or micromanage others.
16. People that are compliment ruiners (“Its no big deal”).
17. Also, one-uper’s. Meaning someone I tell I swam 1.2 miles and they say “I backpacked 20 miles for 10 days in the desert sun…”)
18. People who spend more time reading about Kim Kardashian then actual important issues such as the problems in Europe or Libya.
I hate dieting
19. People who talk during movies or criticize what I’m watching on television while I’m watching it. I don’t need the audio commentary!
20. People who tell me I’m throwing my money away on rent. Tell that to all the people in Vegas who have seen home devaluation by 66% since 2007!
Anyway, that’s off my chest. What things drive you up the wall? Most of these items are culturally based stereotypes or assumptions. This makes them especially difficult to counteract.
Did I mention I hate dieting?
Not as Bad as it Could Be
So I have to admit I have been feeling a little down the last few days. Its just hard to have a sore throat and I feel like this whole year has been so chocked full of challenges. It just seems such a cruel trick that the year I try the hardest to get in shape is the year my body falls apart on me. In one year I’ve fallen down a flight of stairs injuring my spine, had surgery on my eye, been diagnosed with diabetes and fibromyalgia and had tonsillitis repeatedly.
I know I’ve had many triumphs including finishing my races, making tons of new swim friends, downgrading diabetes diagnosis to a less than pre-diabetic level, but it has been a tough year. Let no man deny me that! Anyway, I was driving home from taking my brother to the airport today stuck in bumper to bumper traffic feeling sorry for myself when I turned on the radio to hear a traffic update. The traffic reporter got on and for each area he had the same diagnosis:
“It’s not as bad as it could be but plan on extra time.”
For some reason this struck me as hilarious, particularly for a traffic reporter. How is it helpful for me driving to know it isn’t as bad as it could be? That doesn’t tell me if there is construction or an accident or if there is an alternate route to take but in a way it is helpful. As bad as life can get “its not as bad as it could be”.
It just made me laugh and count my many, many blessings. Its funny how a little thing like that can pick you up and make you think isn’t it? Tomorrow I have to get back to work on the Poler products because people are waiting for me to learn how to invoice and create purchase orders (it really was a bad week to be sick). I hope I can keep this positive message in mind as I am sure it will be a long day. “Its not as bad as it could be”
Hope you all have a great day!
More Random Thoughts
Today I have a lot on my mind, so I’m afraid this will be another one of my random, all-over-the-place posts.
1. I just watched Say Yes to the Dress and it has me all fired up. There is a girl who is a 20 (which is still a touch smaller than me). She can’t fit into any of the sample plus size dresses (this is the Atlanta show which doesn’t seem to have the plus size selection of Kleinfelds). Anyway, as she fails in trying on the bridal dresses the upset woman says “Its not that bad. I’m not that big. I’m not this horrible person”. What is wrong with our culture that big girls feel their size is not just a health concern but a sin, an evil- that it makes you a horrible person. It is a classic example of the prevalence of fat stigma in our culture. It makes me crazy!
2. So the former political science grad in me has been eating up this recent debt ceiling debate. I find it fascinating to watch the back and forth and try to guess what is going to happen (not only now but in 2012 as well). It is a source of pride for me that the principles I helped fight for in the tea party rallies are being instituted by both parties. Of course, I am the biggest fan of the cut, cap and balance bill but I think any spending cuts are a step in the right direction.
I’ve also given it a lot of thought and I don’t know what I would do if I was in Congress. I respect the representatives that are sticky to pure principles but I also understand those that are accepting a practical compromise. I will be very curious to see how everything plays out. What would you’all do and why?
3. Today I made delicious whole wheat banana bread. It is really good and actually good for you. Here is the recipe:
1/3 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup clear agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (2 large bananas, 4 small bananas)
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat oil and agave together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing
4. Relationships are so confusing. Its like the great mystery of life. How does anybody get together in the end? It happens every day so we just accept it but it seems impossible sometimes. We hear a million talks in the church about how great marriage is and how we should all get married- if someone would please tell me how to do that I will be glad to oblige? Anyway, finding love is hard and that’s all I have to say on the topic.
5. I am in need of good book suggestions. I just finished reading the July-September book club picks (Life as We Knew It, All Creatures Great and Small, Anne of Green Gables- 2 out of 3 were terrific). I figure I can’t read the October book so quickly (I’ve read it before, the Book Theif, but I want it to be fresh for book club). Anyway, I am looking for engaging, creative, whimsical books. They can be sad or even tragic but it just has to be something with likable, interesting characters. I like historical fiction, classics, high-quality chick literature, poetry, and even some fantasy. Please send me your recommendations. Even if you think it is not my cup of tea please let me know what you have enjoyed and I will give it a shot.
6. My quest for the open water swim is going well. As I mentioned in a previous post I had a great effort last week. It was exhausting but thrilling. I did 5 tough work outs in one week. However, this week was not quite as successful because of some stomach upset. I have stepped up my dosage of victoza and once again my body did not like it. I was doing so well for weeks that I thought I could up the dosage but not so much. Anyway, we will see. Including tomorrow I will get 4 workouts this week which is pretty good considering I had 2 sick days. I just want to be ready for the swim. Next Thursday I will do a practice swim so that will be a good test to see if I am prepared. If not, I can wait for the October swim but I hope I can participate. Wish me luck!
7. Today is the end of week 1 for the cpap machine. It has been a hard adjustment but I’m improving each day. Its difficult to get used to sleeping with a mask and it is hard to keep it from leaking. I also miss being able to read before going to sleep. Thank goodness for ipods. (Also, thankfully I am not in a couple because the mask is not a romantic look!).
So that’s my random thoughts. Love you guys!
I sat down to write three or four different blogs tonight and I finally decided I just had too much on my mind. So, in a shift from my normal style of topic based posts I am doing things a little bit differently.
Things on my mind:
1. I can’t believe that Casey Anthony was acquitted. I am sorry but a mother (or aunt, or grandma or human being) does not lose their child for 31 days and not say anything to authorities. Then there is the duct tape, emails, smells, the partying and pathological lying. Just the fact that a case is based on circumstantial evidence is not a reason alone for reasonable doubt. No prosecution’s case is perfect because usually if it is than there is a plea deal and no trial! Reasonable doubt is not no doubt. It just makes me sick that she could do this to her beautiful daughter and that she is getting away with it. I’m sorry but it does. Plus she was not found to be innocent. I hate it when people say that . All she was found of is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There’s a difference!
2. The debate of a debt ceiling has also been on my mind. Unfortunately I think the Republicans will capitulate to the President and continue the status quo of debt without any guarantee of real reforms. Cuts will be bantered about but no sacred cows will be touched, no real entitlement reform. Neither party wants to be seen as the ‘bad guy’ that is hurting babies and senior citizens- how about who is hurting our entire country? The greater debt we sink into the weaker our country becomes. The only thing that Obama seems willing to cut is defense- something very comforting with the 9/11 ten year anniversary quickly approaching us (even if he cut the entire defense budget it still wouldn’t make a dent when compared to entitlement reforms of medicare, medicaid and social security). Now Moody is considering lowering our rating, which means the dollar gets weaker, while the Chinese get stronger. Is that what we want? Not me. Come on Republicans- get some guts!
3. On an entirely different note- Can’t wait for the new Harry Potter movie to come out. I wasn’t nuts about the last one because I felt it dragged a bit, but I am eagerly anticipating this final chapter. Every review I have read is full of praise (97% on Rottentomatoes.com). I am not a huge fantasy fan but I loved the books and have also thoroughly enjoyed the movies. The performances, special effects, and screen adaptations are first rate. Its nice to have one summer movie to look forward to. It just wouldn’t be summer without it. Btw- my sister is seeing it like 4 times this weekend! Now that’s hard core
4. On another movie note I saw Woody Allen’s new movie Midnight in Paris over the weekend and loved it. For some reason it hasn’t gotten much play but it is a whimsical and funny story of a liberal writer who arrives in Paris with his less-sincere fiance and her parents. He wants to soak up the mystique of Paris (the photography is great- makes you want to go to Paris so bad! Anyone interested?). Meanwhile, the fiance is more interested with her pedantic professor friend who muses in a different sort of way- he is all about knowledge, even trivia, where the writer wonders about life and love. One night he steps through time and ends up in 1920’s Paris and then meets his literary and artistic idols of the day such as Gertrude Stein, Picaso, and Hemingway. The movie asks the question- would life be better if only we had lived in a previous golden age?
5. I must admit that coming back from my break has been harder than I would have thought. I miss the ocean so badly it hurts. Sometimes I pretend the sound of the traffic outside my apartment is the waves and then I almost don’t want to step on to the patio and have the illusion ruined. Its been cloudy and gray here and yesterday I was feeling a little depressed. I have also been struggling to get low blood sugar readings (they are ok) here like the I did in Hawaii. It makes no sense because I ate terribly in Hawaii. I think it may be that I went longer without eating so my levels got low and just couldn’t rise as much as they do, even with mediocre food. I have been back at the diet front; however, and I think I have already lost 1 lb.
6. My trainer is setting up a boot camp system that will help me record my progress in ways besides weight loss. Starting next Wednesday we are going to do a set of challenges (push ups, tricep curls, crunches etc). Then we will repeat the same things every 6 weeks with a small prize for improvement. I am very excited about. I am also on the lookout for long-term goals for this year, something sort of like surfing was for me the last 2 years. Any ideas?
7. Read a book this week that was a real snooze (how do you make the end of the world so dull? she does it!) but one of the things that annoyed me is the author threw in a number of references of how lame Fox News is and how the President from Texas (obviously President Bush) is an idiot. It didn’t have anything to do with the thoroughly boring story but it still annoyed me. If you want to write an opinion piece call the New York Times, don’t write a novel and subject the rest of us unwillingly to it.
I also reread All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its funny because you wouldn’t think an animal-phobe like me would like a story about a country vet but I do. You see the story really isn’t about the animals- but the animal owners. I counted over 40 different characters that Herriot creates throughout the book. They are funny, sad, charming and totally delightful. It is a terrific book- particularly for the light and airy days of the summer. If you haven’t read it- read it!
8. Had a Chinese cooking lesson with my friends Taylor, Darcy and Melissa. Was a lot of fun and totally what I needed to get out of my funk. We made egg rolls with pulled pork, pineapple, cabbage, carrots and scallions; along with wantons stuffed with real crab and cream cheese. I even bought a fry daddy for the activity- something I’ve wanted for years and felt was too fattening. Its still for a rare indulgence but it is healthier to fry at home. Anyway, it was a good time and just what I needed. Sadly I did not take any photos. I always forget because other people in my family were always taking the photos. Plus, I’m kind of in between cameras right now. I am still researching before I buy a new one.
9. I received, you won’t believe it, a REFUND from my eye doctor for a payment I had made previous to my surgery. In order to work I had to pay my doctor $1356- part deductible and part my 20%. Well, I get my mail coming home and there is a refund check! I call the doctors and they said the insurance company only applied $695 to the deductible so the rest was sent as a refund! Who ever gets money back from the doctor? When does the insurance company cover more than expected? Never. I still can’t believe my good luck (and let’s be honest I was due for some good luck after the year I’ve had!)
10. What did I do with that refund? Well, I spent a small portion of it on an item I have wanted for several years- I bought a kindle! Over the course of this trip I realized how much I wanted one and how tired I was of lugging around those heavy books. I went ahead and ordered the 3G wireless and have been downloading up a storm- mostly novels before 1923 which are free! I have all my Jane Austen, George Elliot and Elizabeth Gaskell. Its great! I can also download all my audible downloads on the kindle at no extra charge. I’ve always loved gadgets but come on the kindle is just fun!
Anyway, so those are my random thoughts for the day. I love you all. Thanks for listening to me ramble…
Love Hate Relationship with Technology
Yesterday I had a few friends over for book club. As we chatted over Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns the topic of technology was introduced. In the novel the spirited grandfather named Rucker resists technology coming to his life and the town of Cold Sassy. He does so because he knows it will change everything (which it in fact does- even changing the name of the town). He also resists it because it takes away some of his power, prestige and control. Here’s a man who is wise and weary being trained in technology by his young grandson. Eventually Rucker gives in and embraces technology to impress his new, spirited bride.
In a certain way I can relate to this dilemma. There is no doubt my life is better because of technology. Even just a few years ago I could not have managed both my jobs from my home office like I do today. I LOVE my job and am so grateful I can- receive calls about the properties at anytime, do team view chats with colleagues, have conference calls over the internet, email documents quickly etc. The internet also makes it easy to advertise our rental properties. About 80% of our referrals come from a website called www.vrbo.com– a site which charges only $250 a year for an ad (small potatoes when it comes to advertising budgets!). I don’t even know how we would get the word out about vacation rentals before the internet. I guess through the newspaper?
I also completed my education mainly via the internet. I received my MBA from University of Phoenix using their FlexNet program which is 1/3rd ground, 2/3rd internet. This convenience allowed me to squeeze my education into any gap of time. I could turn in papers, or watch lectures at 3am. I received my degree while working thus eliminating some of the debt incurred using traditional methods of education. Working while going to school also allowed me to apply the concepts from class in a “real world” setting. This was often more valuable than anything taught by a professor or included in a textbook.
I love technology because of the ability it gives me to communicate with loved ones at low cost. My sister is in England and I miss her greatly. However, thanks to Skype I talk to her through a video-chat for free as long as I want! This would have been $100’s just a decade ago. Through blogs and facebook I can also see photos, read updates and keep at least a passing acquaintance with friends that are far away. In my fantasy everyone would be living close to me, and I could drop in unannounced for visits, chatting merrily together…..But in the meantime I enjoy the little online tidbits I get from gone but not forgotten friends. With my recent fitness goals I have also used the internet to help keep track of my training, share my journey and receive support from everyone- even total strangers!
There are so many other ways technology benefits my life. I could go on about my favorite gadgets (DVR and IPOD being at the top) but I won’t bore you.
Despite all these advantages sometimes I hate technology. I feel like it has made people cold, non-familial and rude. Gone are the days when you were expected to visit and talk with people you didn’t like. In previous societies people needed each other more for survival. One of my favorite things about old books like Jane Austen’s novels is that the characters always had something nice to say. Even if she hates the woman she is talking with, the Austen hero would be forced to ask “How is your mother’s health?” or “Is your family well?” etc. Now even with people we like, we screen calls, fail to respond to texts, and ignore emails. I think I would die of shock if someone actually RSVP’d to one of my parties. Most of the time it is a text a half hour after saying they can’t come- if that. I have friends and colleagues that have become almost impossible to reach over the phone. It is all texting all the time. I am sorry but sometimes I actually want to talk to a human being!
Part of the problem is our lives have become more complicated. I recently got a new computer and have been amazed at the difficult process of installing, loading programs and getting it ready. My laptop is only 2 years old but it seems archaic compared to the new desktop. I’m no expert, but I don’t think things changed as quickly in Austen’s time. Life was simple consisting of work, family, marriage, daily sustenance and socializing. Technology can feel a like an insatiable appetite ever looking for the next great life-saving meal (or in this case gadget).
I check my emails many times a day and am constantly updating facebook, twitter, my blog etc. I am also always working and even though I love my job it can be a bit invasive. They say that responding to an inquiry within 2 hours gives you an 80% higher chance of booking the reservation. Knowing this, it makes it hard to turn my phone off or not check my email because I feel guilty about the leads I’m missing. My greatest blessing of flexible work can at times become a curse. Sometimes I just turn it all off anyway and enjoy life, but I don’t do it half as much as I should.
I won’t even get started on the woes of dating and technology. Too many men my age are addicted to World of Warcraft, Everquest, and Command and Conquer. I have been in conversation with boys (inviting them to a party or something) when they actually will forget I am in the room they are so entrenched with their game. The real world is staring at them in the face, talking with them, and they would prefer the virtual world. It makes me crazy! That’s just one example of technology messing up dating. It’s too easy to be a hermit, or even just lazy. People used to feel more of a drive to find the “third place” in their lives- a place where they could interact with the community, make friends and maybe find love. Now the “third place” is the internet, which is lame if you ask me.
It’s always interesting to see around Christmas time my friends and I usually go on more dates. This is because many guys are encouraged to bring dates to company parties. When given a reason they date, but if left to their own devices it becomes more rare. In previous generations there were more reasons to date- to find a companion. If only for survival, a spouse was essential. I don’t know if that makes sense! Let’s just say it takes a lot to get a guy to ask a girl out now-days.
Anyway, I will continue my love-hate relationship with technology because its not going anywhere! How do you’all feel about it?
I think this clip expresses my feelings well:
A few weeks ago my friend Camille did a blog posting entitled Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me. I have thought about this entertaining post for a while and wondered what my ten items would be. To be honest, I can hardly think of anything that would surprise my friends. I guess I am a pretty out-in-the-open person. Most of my friends know what I like to do, my weird quirks, and my other interests and likes. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing? Maybe I am the kind of person that is reliably simple. I have never been a big dreamer. A friend of mine has this bucket list of things she wants to do in life such as visit every state and read the “1000 Must Read Before You Die” books.
I never did. The only thing I have passionately wanted to do since I was a little girl was graduate from BYU- and I did that nearly 8 years ago. Yes, I’ve wanted to to get married, have a family and contribute to society for most of my life; however, I was never specific about what type of family, home or career I want. I knew that I wanted to be dynamic and interesting- make a difference in the world. For the most part I think I have done that but even today I do not have specific things that I dream about doing or secret surprises about my life. I don’t know why, I just don’t? Does that make sense?
The fact that I can’t come up with a bucket list or even a list of surprising things makes me wonder if I am the dynamic, interesting person I wanted to be. On the other hand, if the world knows your interesting then does that make you any less interesting?I don’t think so. I like my life. For the most part, I am happy and content.
In the end, I can only live my life in the best way I know how. Whether it surprises others is out of my control.
So, here are a few things that are interesting about me. If a few surprise you all the better.
1. I enjoy jazz music. I just recently downloaded a singer called Jimmy Scott, and he is amazing. My new favorite. Here is one of his songs. What a voice! He had a genetic abnormality that made his voice never mature. I think it is beautiful.
2. I hate tomato juice. V8. Yuck!
3. I am a cheese snob.I hate Velveeta, cheese singles wrapped in plastic, nacho cheese…you get the idea.
4. My favorite flowers are lilies and orchids. (flowers welcome anytime!) I love pink and purple.
5. I am foodie and have recently become a huge fan of Julia Child. (More to come on that later).
6. I’ve had 3 surgeries in my life.
7. I went to the principal’s office twice growing up, both times were in middle school. Both times over silly things.
8. I occasionally like to watch a cheesy romantic movie on lifetime or hallmark channel- especially with a good friend like Camille.
9. There are more times than I would care to admit that I have almost purchased stuff from an infomercial. Somehow I always stop myself.
10. I am the one person in my family that is not a good photographer. I can’t seem to keep the camera steady enough.
11. I think most handicrafts are really dull- sewing, knitting, quilting, even scrapbooking…not for me.
12. I enjoy wrapping presents. I used to hate it but now it is one of my favorite parts of buying a present.
13. I wish I had a pen pal that I could write juicy, rich, letters to. Sadly I must be happy with my blog.
14. I love kitchen appliances and already have a food processor, kitchenaid mixer, stick mixer, toaster, rice cooker, electric fondue pot, electric tea pot, and crockpot.
15. I dream of having a nice kitchen with beautiful french pots and knives that really do slice a tomato a centimeter thin with ease.
16. I want to go to England some day and take the Jane Austen book tour, see all the sights from the movies and her life (and Elizabeth Gaskell while I am at it). Then I want to take the chunnel and go to Paris for another week visiting the art, cafes, bridges and markets.
17. I hold onto grudges way longer than I should. For instance, when I think back to my high school choir teacher I still feel a little upset. Silly I know, but she was evil.
18. I wish I could have nice furniture, clothes, purses and shoes. In reality, I probably couldn’t justify the expenses even if I had the money but a girl can fantasize.
19. If I had money I would install a year round infinity pool in my house.
20. I have a Dwight bobblehead that smiles at me while I work. My friends gave it to me with love and excitement. In an odd way it reminds me that I am loved and to laugh at life.
Please make some comments. Let me know how surprising your life is…