Sunday, December 6, 2009

Amy Does a Sleep Study

I was thinking about all the books we read to kids to introduce them to things like Kindergarten and the doctor's office and the dentist. Mostly I remember Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books that told me about his adventures getting a new sibling or being babysat.

Before I went to a sleep clinic to get a sleep study, I thought, "This would be a perfect kids' book. Except that kids don't do sleep studies, really. (Although I learned later, looking up pictures for this post that kids DO do sleep studies. This would be an awesome children's book!) But I'm kind of anxious to see what's going to happen and wish this was a topic covered in those Little Critter books."

So I'm now going to share with you my experience, because I've always wondered what it would be like.

I came through the door about 8:45 p.m. or so, showed them my copious amounts of paperwork (that's covered in Amy Prepares for a Sleep Study. It's five volumes.), my insurance card and my driver's license. I paid my copay, which was ridiculously low compared to some people's - yes, I peeked at the check-in list - and then the tech walked me back to my room.

It was kind of like a hotel room, except there weren't any windows, and the bathroom was a lot bigger than any I'd ever seen at a hotel/motel. Oh, and there was a camera and microphone. I sat down on the bed, took the pre-study questionnaire (Have you had any caffeine today? Was your day especially stressful? Did you take any naps?) filled out the waiver form (saying things like "You can't sue us for the water-soluble glue we're going to be putting in your hair") and got ready for bed.

I left my door open, as instructed, and was greeted by the tech a few minutes later. In between this I read my scriptures, some of my book and watched a little Castle. She came in to put all the sensors and wires on me that would monitor my sleep.

I want you to imagine a robot.

Now, I want you to imagine opening up that robot. Just slitting him open like a tin can - see all those wires?

Now pull them out of the robot and attach them to various parts of a human.

I seriously had at LEAST 50 wires, coming out of places like my shins to monitor leg movement; my head to monitor brain waves, eye movement and jaw clenching; and my chest to monitor my heart rate. Now, add two straps (like belts, only made of nylon with those snaps you have on a fanny pack) to my chest and stomach to monitor breathing. A pulse monitor went on my finger, as well.

Also, there was this oxygen-tube-like thing that went into my nose to let them know if my breath was coming from my nose or mouth. Except it was pointy. And in my nose all night long. Along with having that, one of the best parts was having my head marked on with pen to see where the head sensors were going to go - she was not all that gentle with her marking and I think I still have the grooves embedded in my skull.

Then it was time for the mask fitting, in case they decided my oxygen levels were too low and I needed to use a CPAP machine to get into deeper sleep. That wasn't too bad, actually. Except for the fact that I had to put it on over all my other crap.

After this arduous task of 45 minutes, she asked if I was ready for bed. I was getting sleepy, and although it usually took me a good hour or two to get to sleep (even with working out and not taking any naps and such) and I hadn't been that early to bed in a long while (it was 10), I decided that that's what I was there for and said sure.

Before we could say goodnight, my tech had to make sure all of the monitors were working, so she had me lie on my back, then had me look to the right and left with my eyes, sit up, stick my tongue out, make three loud snoring noises, and various other exercises I don't remember. Then she told me I could get into any position I wanted and go to sleep.

Oh, yeah. Like that was going to happen.

You know how dogs look on a leash, tied up in the front yard? That's how I felt. I felt compassion for those dogs. And leash kids.

I'm a tosser at night, so every time I would turn over in bed the straps would get stuck on my pajamas and I'd have to figure out how to pull my pajamas straight without moving the straps. The pulse sensor finger thingie was also a problem. It seemed the wire was just barely too short to reach positions I wanted to be in. Oh the cruelty.

Also, it was a balmy 65 degrees in the room - freezing, even in my nice thick jammies. My tech gave me one tiny blanket and told me if I needed more to knock on the headboard. Odd instructions, but I guess they could hear me and help me that way. By the end of the first hour or so (although I had no concept of time because they didn't have kind of night-vision clock in the room) I was turning into an icicle and after hemming and hawing a bit in my mind, I knocked on my headboard. My new tech opened the door and asked what I needed. I said a blanket, and I was going to ask for my socks in my backpack at the foot of the bed, but figured the extra blanket would help.

Not so- my feet were still freezing a good 20 minutes later.

Not wanting to bother my tech again, I thought that even with all my wires, I could probably reach my backpack and get my socks without bothering him. I guess I forgot he was watching my every move - he came in about 30 seconds after I got out of bed, asking if I needed any help, since he'd seen me sit up. I was stretched out like a dog at the end of his rope, performing a probably humorous ballet, straining to reach my backpack and the coveted socks. He chuckled a little, put the bag on my bed, and left again, saying that he was just outside if I needed anything else.

I was glad I didn't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I feel bad for people with bladder problems who have sleep studies.

About 30 minutes after I fell asleep, to my reckoning (my results said later I woke up 34 times), my tech was there, waking me up with all the cheeriness of a morning person. I groggily said good morning, happily was liberated from my wires (that dang nose sensor went first!) and was instructed to get ready for my day - the glue they used on my sensors was water soluble, after all, so I could take a shower to get rid of it - fill out a morning questionnaire, and have a complimentary breakfast at Kneader's.

It took a good 20 minutes to get all of the glue out of my hair alone, all the while trying to stay in the warm spray of the shower, considering the room and bathroom were still FREEZING. Even so, I was falling asleep.

I braided my hair, packed up my belongings, finished the questionnaire and was out of there. Although I rather horribilize it here, it wasn't so bad.

Especially since I got to go home and sleep a good eight hours.

Coming up next time: Amy Gets Her Sleep Study Results and Amy Gets a New CPAP Machine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My hat's off to you, William Goldman

So, I just finished reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It's been one of my goals to read some of the classics that I've somehow missed over my past 23 years.

Might I just say - hilarious and fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I LOVED the pretending to skip over satirical, long, dull parts about the royalty picking their clothes and packing them and such, which was supposed to signify how ridiculous the upper classes are, but really would just be boring. Also, those chapters never actually existed, since the "original" book was by William Goldman. The whole facade was genius - I don't know if I could cut my writing enough to do that. Also, it's a story within a story - with enough detail to make your head spin.

However, even though it was fake, it made me think of some other books that would be thoroughly awesome if the boring parts were chopped out of them. Here is my list of ones that come to mind:

Crime and Punishment - really? It took her 10 pages to walk down the stairs?

Grapes of Wrath - I don't care if those intercaloric chapters had a deeper meaning, and the tortoise trying to get across the road signified the people struggling in his story - they were boring and unnecessary, in my opinion. I also don't believe that is a correct interpretation. Steinbeck was padding his novel for all he was worth, making the masses think his third-grade story about his pet was really deeply significant. Yeah, yeah, I might still be bitter for having to read it in 11th grade - if you have read it, you understand. Also, if you cut out those chapters, you lose nothing of the story. Maybe you lose the artistic depth, but that's it. Maybe.

Persuasion - now, I'm not dissing Jane Austen at all. All I'm saying is that there were some parts in this book that were snooze-fests. Cut out all the family tree stuff, please! We don't really need to know the history of the family to understand the idea that the father stunk and pedigree mattered to him. Besides that, I heart this book.

Now that I've thoroughly alienated the entire English academic community, I'll move on.

Actually, I lied. I want to talk about the movie The Princess Bride first.

I love when writers take actual dialogue from the book to use in the movie. If the author has a great line in there, why not use it? Thank you, William Goldman, for doing just that. Bless you. It was so fun to hear lines from the movie that I'd read in the book. The casting was also fabulous. Lots of no-name actors, except Mandy Patinkin - Becca has informed me, but marvelous acting nonetheless. Might I say near-perfect matching of the characters in the book to the movie? I just did.

Other random thoughts I'd like to share:

I made a thumb cake for Becca's birthday, like the one in an episode of the TV show Glee. It was mostly thought up by my mom, but mostly executed by me. I'll post a pic of it on here when I find the camera.

Micah is still hilarious. Lately, he's had a sarcastic laugh that I blame Calvin and Hobbes for: the classic "Har har". I can't help but laugh when he whips that one out. Also, he's let us know that the first commandment is not actually love God like you all thought, but, and I quote, "Have babies." Wow. Thanks Micah, for that information.

I'm actually kind of getting into a video game. I know! Hang me now. But I started playing around with Boom Blox, and although I've mostly given up on some parts, there are levels I've tried a good 20 times to do well in. I can't believe it, but it's true.

I still love Harry Potter. I used to read them all in order right before J.K. would put out another one, and now that I've missed a few summers, I've found they're still just as enjoyable.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A tribute to Brooklynn, Eck and Jack-Jack

It's time for a tribute to my sister Brooke, her husband Eric and their son Jack.

No - it's not their birthdays.

No - they didn't buy me a house or a Jaguar (mmm...Jaguars...).

No - they haven't died - but they might as well have - they're moving back East. Just joking! No, really - Steph! Keep reading this post! I promise my cheap shots on the East Coast are done.

It's just that they'll be so far away from me - and Brooke's having my first niece in December, too. I was going to dress her up in hats and bows and purses and bracelets...etc, etc. I know I totally still can spoil her(and believe me, I'm going to visit as often as I can and send packages and such) but it would be more convenient if they were still 30 minutes away. And I could do it more often. And I could be more sure that Brooke and Eric weren't unspoiling her - ruining all my marvelous Aunt Work.

I was helping them clean and pack a little Monday night, and when they left to say goodbye to a friend I sat in their living room, thinking about the good times we'd had there. Sleepovers, talks, movies, dinners, visiting Eric after he had knee surgery and was on pain meds, visiting Brooke after Jack was born, "Rosalinda" - Brooke's Spanish alter ego - coming out after she stayed up late, and sharing many many jokes.

We took a few road trips all together - one to Denver to see Wicked and one to California to play, play and play some more.

This post is gradually declining into a eulogy of sorts, which is creeping me out. Let me just say - yes, I'm sad they're going, but I hope they have so much fun and lots of cool experiences, and I'll keep on keepin' on for the next two years. It'll be over before I know it, probably.

I hope Jack remembers me - except there's that baby amnesia thing. Hmmm...maybe a package will have to include an Amy-mobile or something...

P.S. - I was thinking the other day about how the president of the US is really just like an student body officer at any school - they can promise all they want to put pop in the drinking fountains and have chiminichangas every day for lunch, but when they get into the position, they realize how little power they have and how things really work in their establishment. Without them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And, yea, verily I thought about writing about my job...

...but when you work for the government, kind of - I'm a contractor, and get security clearance and have to go to a totally secured building with a siren flashing when you're in a room because you don't have top level security clearance, and take a quiz on what you can and cannot use and do when on an Air Force computer, even when it's unclassified, you get a bit paranoid.

I've probably said too much already.

Actually, all I do is lay out and do some editing for CrossTalk, a Department of Defense software engineering magazine, and we really don't even have to be on base, except for the fact that it helps us to be closer to our editorial board.

But I shouldn't complain - it's just a different world there and I guess I'll get used to it. I hope I will. I might not have time because my job is temporary, which might possibly translate to full time. Guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For deciding to not write about my job, I sure am saying a lot about it. Ah, well, life goes on.

In other news, it's time for me to get my life all balanced out again because I'll be working 9-hour days with every other Friday off - something that should be interesting.

What else is interesting is sociology in real life - work dynamics with all new coworkers, journalists versus engineers, new jokes about jump drives, and a tenuous relationship with people I might not be working with six weeks from now.

Life is fascinating, no?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Very Merry Unbirthday

Sometimes I think Brandon wants to get back at me for being his editor on Scroll for a good two years - which is fine by me. It was so worth it.

He's been getting on me to blog, like I haven't blogged in the last couple of months...oh, wait. I haven't. I'm done with the guilt associated with that - I'm just going to blog now.

I've been gone on vacation to California and Seattle, so when I got back, I thought it was time to have a summer par-te.

I had a couple of ideas for a theme, but ended up deciding on an Unbirthday theme - although I didn't realize I was planning it on a day that four of my friends had their actual birthdays. Caryn wondered if she could come, since it was actually her birthday...I said no, of course. ;)

I also decided that since it was everyone's unbirthday, except for those four, I'd invite everyone, whether I thought they were in the area or could come or not. It led to quite the interesting mix of my friends: family, high school, college, roommates, roommates' family - I had it all. I was surprised how many were able to come - both those who reserved on Facebook and those who didn't.

For some reason I didn't think it would be that big of an occasion, and so when I started to realize how many were coming, I started to panic and went into overkill mode - I made 62 cupcakes for this thing, blew up a good 18ish balloons with puzzle pieces inside and about 20 balloons beside that. I visited my family's house, the dollar store and Big Lots to get some supplies.

And then it was time - and I wasn't ready. Thank the heavens everyone else was almost as late as I was - although I did blow dry my hair and do my makeup while a couple of guests were decorating the house and some cupcakes.

I made some introductions and then we started playing - it was time for the card game spoons.

And then there were 5.

Whittled down to 4 - who will survive?

Elliot, Lisa and Tiffany battle for the number 1 and 2 spots.

Epic Battle Over the Spoons - Family Style

Lisa uses her age advantage over Tiffany to snag the title of Spoons Champion - and the spoon.

I called the next game we played "Because I Could" - I put puzzle pieces in balloons (which I wasn't sure I could) and had two different teams of boys and girls pop them and then put the puzzles together. It was great fun and fascinating to see how the teams worked together. Oh, and the puzzles were Care Bears and Power Rangers.

But, alas, someone cheated on the girl's team side and kept some of the boy's pieces, and the girl's team lost some of their pieces in a popped balloon, so we switched puzzles and did it again. The boys won and got to choose a prize from my crappy dollar store prizes - yes, that's what I called them.

It was time for white elephant gifts. There were some high high quality gifts in that circle - almost as high quality as my dollar store prizes. I personally won a Cindy Crawford exercise tape - I believe it's important to have at least one video in your collection that makes people do a double take. There were also some rock-awesome guitar glasses and a Cat in the Hat hat that switched hands a few times.

Here's what everyone ended up with.

The Grand Finale was decorating cupcakes, putting candles in them, lighting them up and singing happy unbirthday to ourselves.

Yes - we are just that amazing.

In other news, I've finally finished most of my Pay it Forward stuff and proceeded to give Deb her painted pistols with her name written on them, and a video entitled Cowboys.

She looks crazy awesome in this pic I took of her with her loot.

More Pay it Forward to come - someday soon...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Question about "He's Just Not That Into You"

So - I watched He's Just Not That Into You a few weeks ago and I was wondering about something.

You know how they talk about how girls tell each other stories - basically rumors - that help each other get along with their specific situation? And the main guy character says, "They are the exception, not the rule." For instance, one of the girls is having an affair (dumb dumb dumb) and her friend tells her she knows a man who left his wife to marry the girl he was having an affair with and they've been married for 30 years.

An old roommate told me a story once about her friend who chased a guy, rather than the other way around, and he married her. Is this one of those stories that's an exception? Because it's feeling like it is - unless it's one of those things some girls can get away with because they're gorgeous, which makes for maybe a few more exceptions than normal. Or is our society truly changing and women have more power in dating relationships than they used to and are breaking social norms left and right?

For most relationships I've seen, most of the chasing has to be mutual - although I have seen some relationships where it seems that one person gives up and allows themselves to be caught. But is this just a perception on my part or a reality? I really wonder how some relationships work.

These are the things I think about sometimes - weird.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A flying conspiracy

Yes - it's been over a month since I've written on here. Again. Good thing y'all have Google readers and such, so you don't have to check it every day, wondering if I've posted something new - so, you're fine. :)

As I was packing for my trip to Houston to see my adopted sister's wedding, I realized to my annoyance that there is a conspiracy going on in the flying business.

The first component was not being able to take over 3 ounces of fluid on a plane. (Thanks a lot, liquid explosives bomber man.)

The second component is the oh-so-nice addition that has been more recent - having to pay for all luggage that's checked.
(Thank you airlines and gas companies.)

I didn't think it would be that much of a problem, until I looked at all the things I had normally checked and forgotten long before boarding.

Perfume - I do not have less than 3 ounces...I ended up spraying about 100 times and getting some into a random bottle I bought from the Dollar Store because I couldn't figure out how to open it and pour some out from one container to another.

Hair product - I'm not talking shampoo or conditioner - those were fine to find in less than 3 ounces. I'm talking serum and pomade and frizz-be-gone. But it ended up that I didn't have enough room in my quart(!) bag anyway, so these weren't even considerations in the end.

Deodorant - I have recently fallen in love with the new Secret gel deodorant. Crap - GEL. So I settled for some solid Secret - in a tiny container, thank goodness.

Face wash - this is the story about my exploded bottle of facewash. It got a tear in the plastic about...a year or so ago, and ever since then it's been slowly disintegrating. So I keep it in a plastic bag. I was pretty much so angry at this point that I *gasp* just chucked it in my bag and hoped security didn't find it. They didn't. All they cared about was my roll of pennies - they left my bag in the x-ray machine FORever, with me sweating that they'd find my secret stash of liquid.

And yet, as I was griping and complaining about everything, I remembered a clip from YouTube - and I felt contrite. Instead of taking three hours for the flight, it could have taken me a good 24 - and that's in a car, not by horseback or wagon or walking.

But I could have at least taken more than a 3 ounce canteen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Man, I love these kids

As per a request from a few people, here are pictures of my team. Not in action, which hopefully I'll get in a few weeks when I have more time, but they're still pretty awesome.

Since I was the only coach to be at picture day (I'm not even sure the kids remember my dad now) I was in the team picture and picture with my "child". A bit awkward, but I guess I have been to the most games so far, so it's all good.

From back left to right: Kaleb, Ashley, Jordan and Micah.
From front left to right: Sierra, Elaina, James, Kyson and Kanyon.

They are hilarious. Kaleb, James and Micah all know each other from the neighborhood, and so it's hard to tear them apart and keep them from ripping each others' hats off. Or uprooting the field, one blade of grass at a time. In fact, I have a hard time keeping any of my kids from doing that. Ashley's my little shadow - she's adorable. Jordan is one of my star players who pays attention the entire time and blasts it off of the tee. Micah is also this way, but he tends to get distracted by his friends.

Sierra is the youngest player on the team and had a hard time understanding what to do first off, but now gets what to do and smacks the ball and runs the bases with the best of them. Elaina is one of my other stars - who knows what's going on at all times and seems to enjoy playing. James is like Micah - a great player when he's not being distracting/distracted. Kyson is adorable and has the funniest laugh - he also pays attention and is usually one of the first ones in line when I start one. Kanyon understands and plays hard, but has allergies, so she's itching her eyes a lot. I feel bad for her, but she seems to have a pretty good time.

All for now from the little old lady who lives in a shoe. Er, mitt?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tiny Tikes Teeball

I feel like I'm in that Strongbad email where he dusts off his computer screen and shoos the cockroach away. I'd like to give a shout out to Deb for encouraging me to get back on the proverbial blog horse - considering I am now assistant coaching teeball and it's hilarious.

My dad asked me to assistant coach my little brother's team - not telling me that he'd be gone most Thursdays at institute. But I was still down, even after I realized I'd be alone half the games.

The first practice pretty much rocked - not only did it seem we had a really young team, it started hailing about an hour into it. Micah looked up and said, "Ow!" So smart in so many ways, yet looks up in the stinging hailstorm. I will never understand the way that mind works under that red hair.

This is only the beginning of many, many good times I've had on those fields.

Let me tell you the number one thing you need when you're coaching teeball - energy, energy and more energy. If we're batting it's, "Does everyone have a helmet who's batting?" "Is everyone in a safe place so they won't be hit by the bat and/or the ball?" "Who's up to bat now?" "Good job! You almost hit the ball!" "Good job! You hit the ball! Drop the bat and run to first! Run to first! Run to first!" This is especially important for one of my players, who understands how to get the ball, but doesn't understand that this doesn't pertain to right after she bats.

Then, after batting it's fielding, which means I have to get them all out of helmets and into mitts and out on the field. Ah, repetition. "Green! Time to go out on the field! Out on the field! Out on the field!" I feel like a broken Speak 'N Spell. Then, it's keeping everyone in their places and getting them to look for where the ball is going. Some kids just get it, some kids don't, and some kids just don't care. It's fascinating trying to figure out which it is for each child. "Pay attention green!"

I've found a good way to keep the kids from piling on each other when they're all trying to get the ball is to say the name of the first person to get to the ball and say, "Ashley has the ball" over and over, until they let them alone.

One of the hard parts about teeball is that nothing really matters - there aren't any points, outs or real innings, so nothing that any of the kids do really matters. This means it's hard to keep them focused and teach them the basics of baseball when there aren't immediately obvious consequences to their actions. No one wants to be on any other base or area but first because nothing happens beyond that point. We really emphasize throwing it to first, rather than the lead runner. I remember learning to throw it to the base with the lead runner my first year of softball and thinking, "Really?"

Another great time was during pictures - it was a Thursday, which meant I was flying solo. Oy - I was really grateful for the parents to help me keep them in order from shortest to tallest while I tried to figure out just exactly where we were supposed to be going. Plus, I totally didn't think about it and had treats handed out after the game, which was consequently before pictures. Crackles.

Getting the kids to understand what the photographer wanted was...okay. Again, some got it, some didn't. But they were all adorable in their pics. I was in the group pic and complimentary pic with my "child," since my dad wasn't there to take it.

Weird. Did I really just do a whole post about teeball? Welcome back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Virtual Tour Part 2

After an incredibly, ridiculously long wait it's time for part two of my virtual tour! It started here, if you missed part one.

Here's my bedroom. I bought those good-looking boxes for my scrapbook I might make one day.

Oh! And then a feint to the upstairs bathroom.

Jetted tub - makes me happy.

Semi-artsy shot of the counter.

$100 waterbed - yes, I am from the 80s. I heart my hodgepodge of blankets - one of which was made by Caryn, with a matching pillowcase. She's amazing.

Nightstand I made in high school, my IKEA lamp, CD alarm clock, cute vase from my cousin Clarisa's wedding with dollar store flowers, humidifier and various other books and stuff.

Closet #1 - shoes, games, bags, random stuff...Man! I love having two closets.

And yet, Closet #2 is bulging full.

I love this sign above my door.

What bedroom is complete without a Homestarrunner poster? Complements of Brandon.

Wall-o-photos and dresser - what's taken me the longest to finish.

I made this bookshelf. From a box. I'm still ridiculously proud.

Hot rack my friend Steph made for me- it's now a hat rack. :)

Shelves o' friends - one of my fav parts of my room.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

For a limited mortal time only - personalized trials fit to your very special life

I had an epiphany about trials the other day because of a couple of things in my life, enumerated below:

1. I'm listening to a book on CD called The Boleyn Inheritance which talks about the period just after Queen Anne Boleyn is sent to the block. It talks of Anne of Cleaves becoming queen and Katherine Howard then catching the eye of the king and eventually marrying him, after Anne of Cleaves is pretty much divorced from the king. Katherine Howard is a ridiculous flirt and part of the book is her narration, which makes me laugh. She is the most vain person I've ever read of or even heard of - she's forever saying, "I'm the prettiest girl at court," even when she's just a maid-in-waiting. She even moans a bit about how it's hard to be the prettiest girl in court - and how she wants to be good, but it's hard when she attracts so much male attention.

Eventually, she gets sent to the chopping block for adultery. Whoops. I had a thought while I was listening to her go on and on: "I'm glad I don't have to worry about vanity - I don't have a problem with it, really."

2. I was talking with someone about her friend who has guy troubles. Now, her troubles are different from the normal girl's guy troubles - she has a hard time deciding what she wants because she's always been pretty and popular. When she starts getting serious with a guy, she thinks about how many other guys want to date her, and usually ends up breaking up with the guy she's dating to date someone else. If there's the slightest bump in the relationship, she starts thinking that it can't work out. Now, she's never learned that this is not the way to act in a relationship because there are always plenty of guys to take her ex-boyfriend's place.

I was thinking, "I don't have a problem with sorting out guys and not wanting to make relationships work - when one comes along, I almost have the opposite problem."

3. I was watching a CSI that had show girls on it, and the owner of the establishment was talking about how one of his ladies was getting old - she was 27.

Bottom line: Everyone has their own trials, and some people have the trial of being beautiful and popular. I've never really thought about how it would be hard to be beautiful and popular - but I guess you would have more temptation with the opposite sex, and sometimes you wouldn't know who your real friends were. I'd have a hard time not basing my self esteem on my good looks and people liking me, which could all go away with old age, or even a tragic accident that left me horribly disfigured.

Maybe THAT'S why the Phantom of the Opera turns out like he does! He was a male model, and then...

I guess we all have our own trials. I was reading in 1st Nephi, and I realized that everyone in Nephi's family has their own personal trials, along with generally being in the wilderness and such. Sariah has to deal with her sons not being with her, while they go into Jerusalem to get the plates from a man who's not known as the nicest guy. She's already sacrificed to go to the wilderness, and part of her thoughts were probably that at least she'd be able to be with her family. Lehi has to deal with his son being more humble than him, at a time when hunger had its own voice, and the Lord speaking directly to his son instead of him. Sam and Joseph have to watch their brother Nephi being beaten up by Laman and Lemuel time and again.

I don't think the Lord gives us more than we can handle on this earth, but I do think sometimes He puts us in the situations that are the hardest for us. I can remember thinking a few times, "I'd almost rather have any other trial but this one" and wishing to trade lives with someone - but everyone has their own cross to bear.

This reminds me of one of my fav quotes that I can't find for the life of me. It goes something like this: "If you were to assume everyone was in the middle of a huge trial, and would treat them with kindness as such, 90% of the time you would be right."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Smorgasbord Statements

Time for random snapshots of Amy's life!

Yes, I know I have yet to post pics of my room. It's slowly coming together. I finally fixed my waterbed - draining and refilling one of the water bladders last night, after adjusting its position so it actually lay flat (thanks to Caryn for her help with that). Also, I put away a box of stuff I had yet to unpack from my parents - and I filed some stuff I had crammed under my bed. What's left: file stuff crammed in my nightstand, put up the rest of my pics, get a family pic to put up, sort my nick-nacks on my dresser and other places. Someday soon I might take pics and post them, whether my room is completely ready or not...

I won a Pay It Forward contest, which I think is a fun thing I'm going to try. I won over at my friend Jess' blog. Who will win? I'm kind of excited to see who it is...below are the rules, in quotes.

"The details + the rules:
1. Be one of the first THREE bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to a handmade item from me - something crafty or yummy, who knows?!
2. Winners must post this challenge on their own blog, meaning that you will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift -anything!- for the first THREE bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway!
3. The gift that you send to your 3 friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And, remember: It’s the spirit and the thought that count!
4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it! If you are not one of the top three commenters on this post, you can still play along."

I've always assumed that once you get to a certain age, you've got balance all worked out. Now, I realize that you have to adjust when you get married and have children and such, but I thought living on your own was living on your own, regardless of what you were doing. But living on my own without having school is completely different from having school. I now have no time in the day to do things, but several compressed hours from 6-11ish. It's funny - if I cram my night with things to do and accomplish a lot, I feel cheated of my night and exhausted, but if I stay home all night I feel lazy. I guess it's a constant battle no matter your age or marital status. Joy. :)

I'm now a co-author of a blog my brother Brandon started called "Things We Learned From Lost Last Night". It's fun stuff - although, I don't usually think of theories on my own. I talk with Brandon about questions I have and craft them from there, kind of. I've only done one post so far, and it wasn't about a theory, so we'll see how that sorts out.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Bachelor

I was watching bits and pieces of The Bachelor with my roomies - mostly watching 5 minutes here and there as I made my way around the house.

And all of a sudden, I was thinking, "Why am I watching something I see every day and saw at BYU-Idaho every day?"

I never really felt the weight of the statistic - that states there are more men than women until everyone turns 18, and then there are more women - until I went to BYU-Idaho. I'm told there are actually more men there than women, but many of those men are married. I never got exact numbers.

I was in a ward (66th!) that was an entire apartment complex put together - 8 guy apartments and 16 or so girl apartments. As you can probably imagine, this led to many-a-contest for male affection, and I'm told this was the way it was for most wards at BYU-I: there was "The Ward Desirable" that pretty much got hit on in every modest, BYU-I way possible. Oh the egos of formerly humble men that got inflated to ridiculous proportions because they made rounds on Sunday nights to every girl apartment and received mounds of baked goods.

Oh, the scene of catty women fawning over a male who takes what he can get because, heck, why not? Granted, the rating is taken down a notch because of the gospel and such, but once I started thinking about it, the comparison was still eerie. Thousands of BYU-I students play out episodes of The Bachelor without even knowing it! It doesn't get much better in the "real world," either, after you graduate. Oh, single's wards.

Is there any other reality show that pretty much shows us what we see every day? Why the heck is The Bachelor still popular? Maybe because women think it's nice to see it happening to someone else. I was thinking that a truly original reality show with things that didn't happen all that often in real life would be The Bachelorette, with lots of men fighting over the same woman, but I guess it ran and bombed a few years back.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Church talkers should go straight to...

Maybe I'm obsessed with this, or maybe I can't think of anything else to blog about, but I'm going to blog about the church talkers who sat behind me on Sunday. Or did I sit in front of them?

We got there about two minutes early and I randomly picked out a row, about midway between the pulpit and the back. I thought that was pretty safe, and the other time I'd been to the ward it had been pretty silent and pleasant and we had been in about the same place.

I kind of listened to the conversation of the two guys behind me, talking about one guy's date and how it was okay, and they talked 'til like 3 in the morning, but she's too high maintenance. I'm not gonna lie - I eavesdropped like a bandit. Do bandits eavesdrop? Well, I was and now they do.

And then the meeting began.

And they kept talking.

And talking.

And talking.

Now, I can't say I'm not guilty of talking in church - who isn't? - but I NEVER hold an entire whispered conversation. I have held an entire note conversation, however.

So, there they went, going on and on about something (I could no longer hear intelligible words at this point), and I did the whole act of turning my head several times, looking at them surreptitiously every five minutes or so. I then turned around and said, "Shhhh," while I was smiling, trying to not come off as the quiet police but wanting them to be quiet and kind of not caring all the same.

Then, near the end of the meeting, with more and more anger bottling up inside of me, I snapped. Kind of.

I spun around, and, still trying to keep my cool, said, "Could you be quiet? It's kind of rude to talk right now." Then I smiled - but I'm sure it was rather strained and came out rather maniacal. I don't know that I would want to see what that smile looked like.

They gave me that look like, "Stay cool, sister." And resumed their conversation about five minutes later.

Here are the thoughts that went through my head:

"I wish they would be quiet."

"I shouldn't judge them, but they're kind of interrupting the whole meeting. Not the whole meeting - I'm exaggerating. But I'm sure they're bothering more people than just me."

"Maybe if I were more righteous I could ignore them and focus on the meeting."

"I need to have charity."

"I don't want them to think I'm the quiet police, but I'm not supposed to care what people think about me if I'm doing righteous things. But is it righteous to tell someone to be quiet? Is that charitable? Do I have charity for these talkers? No." *say a little prayer to be more charitable and have Heavenly Father forgive me for being so angry in church.


Moral of the story? Sit in the front row.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Half of a Virtual Tour of My New House

Okay, okay, okay - I've procrastinated long enough. It's time for y'all to see photos of my house. But, because it would take lots and lots of pics to show it, and my room's not completely finished yet, I'm only going to give you 3/4s of the tour. Deal with it. ;)

Welcome to my house!

This is my door. If you look to your left, there's the upstairs living room. It's got very comfortable couches and a fireplace, the latter of which isn't working because of a gas problem.

We're moving away from the living room...

To the dining room! This is the smallest room in the house - which I don't mind, considering I don't sit there all that often, contrary to the evidence of my book and food on the table right now...

That door leads to my deck - yes, we have one. It's awesome, but not so much in the winter. I'll try to take a pic of it when it's light and I'm home - if the two happen to coincide someday.

This is my kitchen - well the window seat in my kitchen. My roomies call it the Dorothy Kitchen because it's so bright red and blue. I love it. No more two-butt kitchen - there's actually room!

Here's the actual kitchen part of the kitchen.

These stairs are off the kitchen to the downstairs.

This is the first room you see - which is kind of a hall. It has an electric piano and storage space.

This is the washer and dryer I use in the laundry room. They're pretty amazing - you can set all types of cycles. I'm easily impressed when it comes to appliances.

This is the downstairs living room - it has awesome 70s wood paneling and couches from that same era. I pretty much love it, even though I haven't spent that much time in it so far.

This is the kitchen that's just off the downstairs living room. That fridge isn't actually plugged in yet (it needs to be cleaned out) and I don't think the water works there. Also, there's not so much as a microwave on the counter. Or a stove or anything. Good thing the upstairs one is so big. :)

Downstairs bathroom.

Sink and cupboard and such in the downstairs bathroom.

Thanks for joining me on my virtual tour. Join me soon for the rest of it!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Since I've been gone

Well, since I've moved I've had a lot on my mind. Here are a few points:

I have no idea how to put things together. I read one list of directions for the rack for my file folder box and my eyes glazed over. Even with the pictures on directions, sometimes I'm still in the dark. This makes me feel incredibly incompetent, yet grateful for people who have the logical sense to put things together. Here's to the engineers of the world - I salute you.

It's weird that my home is now still a house, but contains no family - that I know of, yet. When I head home from places now, I have to remind myself I live in Holladay.

Getting organized/decorating my room - I'm awful about it. I still have empty boxes and my old bed hanging out. I get the urge to organize at the oddest times - like 1 a.m.

Trying to organize five different girls' cars, plus their friends' is hard, especially when you have to line them up in order of departure in the morning. Although, when you know you're pretty much the last one to leave, you just try to park in front.

The end, for now. Pictures of my new place to come...sometime in the future.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

An ad I actually like

Much of my time at the Park Record consists of building and changing ads for the paper, which is not my favorite thing to do design-wise.

But my favorite things might change because of this ad I just made today.

(Except girls in white dresses still ROCK!:)

It's been CRAZY - what with the Film Guide for the Sundance Film Festival going to the printer on Monday and production having one less day to work on it because we thought it wasn't going to actually happen because there weren't any ads sold for it - until Monday. So, two of us are working on the layouts for the actual Guide, and three of us are working on ads for it and for the upcoming Saturday paper. I've built and changed about 100 billion ads today alone and want to change my name to Ad Amy. What do you think? Or AdGirl. Or AdTastic. You get the idea.

Seeing as I built all the ads, it wasn't surprising that I built an ad for [NAME OF ADVERTISER DELETED] It was going to be built in black and white originally, and I still liked it then, but then the guy from the resort emailed me and asked if it was going to be in color, so I switched out everything to color - and fell in love.

[Picture of this ad deleted because owner of said anonymous company was upset that I put it up here - even thought I built it and I have some creative license attached to it, I just decided because he wanted me to take it off I would - because I work for the Park Record and anything I make for them also belongs to them, so it's legally tenuous and I don't want to have to deal with it.]

I especially love the coupon - it just feels more professional than anything I've made in my life. It was kind of a fluky thing, too, putting the logo in the coupon- it was because I couldn't fit it anywhere else. I also just discovered Onyx font and it just works for this ad.

In moving news: I'm finally moving into my little house in Holladay. I've been postponed from Saturday to Monday to Tuesday to tonight - mostly because the van I'm moving in was in the shop. Oh, and my own car. But tonight's the night and I'm stoked! Pics to come.

In Micah news: He told me he had two brains yesterday.

"How did that happen?" I asked

"Well, I have a brain from preschool and one from kindergarten," he replied sensibly.

I thought to myself, "Wow - that kind of makes sense," and actually said out loud, "So, I have 18 brains? I've gone to 18 years of school, counting preschool and kindergarten."

"Yep," he said.

Then he told Becca his theory and she asked how many brains a person could get.

He said something to the effect of "however far they go in school."

That kid...too smart for his own good and not even in first grade yet. Oy.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cardinal rules

I've been thinking a lot lately about cardinal rules we all hold near and dear to our hearts - as a family and as an individual.

I should probably back up and explain what I call cardinal rules and at least a partial explanation of why I've been thinking about them.

Example of a cardinal rule: For many people, being on a time is a cardinal rule. You're never late - the end. To be late, especially on a regular basis, is the most rude thing you could ever do to this person; they can't fathom a good enough reason to be chronically tardy and are horrified and profusely apologetic when something happens to make them late.

Other areas for cardinal rules - cleanliness, germs, tact, honesty, church callings and attendance, etc.

I was talking with my mom about someone who bothers her sometimes with her/his seeming lack of consideration, among other things. I brought up the fact that since I'd grown up with her, I knew all of her cardinal rules, and unless I wanted to be in trouble, I avoided breaking them like the plague.

Other people who have not grown up with me, yet are trying to join the family, don't have the luxury of knowing these rules offhand, and must learn them. Sometimes they learn them by breaking them and facing consequences for rules they didn't know existed.

We talked about how cardinal rules are good things to follow - but sometimes aren't the most important things in life. Almost everyone has a different set of them - at least some of them are towards their good.

Maybe we all need to take a look at what are cardinal rules for our lives - what we live and die by - and whether they're really important.

Heck, I know I am.