Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas

I feel like I should write something about how our Christmas went etc. etc. but I almost feel like that is old news now! I will write about it any way though, but I will warn you, it might be a little long for a blog post.

We flew from our moderately warm Los Angeles to freezing Salt Lake on Dec. 22. That was also our anniversary so this will be the second year in a row that we have spent our anniversary travelling. Yuck! We did schedule our flight late enough so we were able to go out for brunch at a nice little french restaurant before packing all our stuff and heading to the airport. It was also our pre-Christmas since we opened all our Christmas presents to each other before we left (or maybe they were all anniversary presents?).

Flight was good, airport wasn't as horrendous as we feared. We made it into Salt Lake in time to catch the tail end of my mom family's Christmas party. It was at the same chapel where we held our wedding reception exactly three years earlier. I had fun seeing all my aunts and uncles and cousins while Robert hid away watching the BYU vs. UCLA football game. Sunday we stayed in Magna and went to church with my family at my old ward. I got to see some old friends and it felt oddly like I was back in my teenage years. Might have had something to do with going to the YSA class. In the afternoon we met Robert's family at Temple Square, saw the beginning of a concert in the assembly hall (see pictures below), and took the classic pictures with temple and Christmas lights. Now it was really starting to feel like Christmas.

Christmas Eve we were with Robert's family in Provo. In the evening we went to his Aunt Deena's house in Orem for dinner, presents, and scripture reading/presentation. I need to figure out how I can edit some video from this evening to post. Christmas was excellent, spent at home with the Wheats (well, in Provo at Rob's grandma's house where we were all staying). We missed having David and Jen there with us this year since they have recently moved to San Antonio and couldn't make it all the way up to Utah. The next day we (Dad and Mom Wheat, Kevin, and Rob and I) went up to Park City and shopped the outlet malls. I got a nice sweater from Liz Clairborn to wear to work, exactly what I was looking for. Then we hopped down to Magna for dinner and went to the airport.

When we got there the departure boards said our plane was going to be ten minutes late and Kevin's, who was flying out to Denver to be with his fiancee, was going to be half an hour late. Kevin boarded his plane and was gone before our plane even got in SLC. We finally got on the plane an hour after we were scheduled to leave. Coming into Los Angeles we had a lot of wind and therefore turbulence. The kids on the plane thought it was really fun, they were laughing and having a great time on the airplane ride. The adults were trying to be light hearted about it too, but we all couldn't help but be a bit nervous. Coming into land the plane was going side to side and we were actually a little titled as we touched down. Then the pilot came on the intercom and told us all welcome to L.A. (etc. etc.) and everyone clapped. Yeah!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kevin's New Shoes Dance

video

Over Christmas every once in a while Kevin would come in wearing his new shoes and do this little dance. I think it might have had something to do with being excited to get engaged in a few days. Congrats Kevin and Ellen!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We Must "Feel the Way Others Feel"


“I learned that unless we feel the way others feel, we cannot be too effective in meeting their needs. I have often said we must feel another’s need before we can fill them. Sometimes we learn another’s language or culture and are able to feel the way they feel, but not always. Feelings go far beyond mere language or knowledge. To feel how others feel is a great blessing and is accomplished as we hurt with them, laugh with them, mourn with them, rejoice with them, cry with them, suffer with them, wonder with them, pray with them, experience miracles with them, and become reconciled to die with them if necessary." – John Groberg


I love this quote. Elder Groberg wrote it talking about his mission, but it applies to anyone who is trying to help other people, whether at church, work, or in your own personal life. One of the most important qualifications my line of work of direct social services is empathy for the clients (in my case, the homeless and low-income). Everytime I meet with a client I try to think of how I would like to be treated if I were in their same position.

I often get clients who get very upset for some reason or another, (especially if we cannot provide them a specific service they were seeking). They will yell, critize, and threaten. Whenever this happens and I feel like yelling right back at them or making a smart alec comment, I try to remember that I am seeing my clients at their worst. They are desperate for help and don't know where else to turn. When the day is over I will go home to my nice warm apartment that has plenty of food. I don't have to worry about how I am going to surive through the next month. My clients don't have the same luxery. When their day is over they will still be homeless or be worrying about their month-to-month survival. Hopefully we will be able to help them out of that situation, but immediate help, like food, only lasts so long and permanent change is far from instant.

I also try not to be overly judgmental. Yes, a lot of my clients have gotten where they are because of their own bad choices, but my job now is to help them, not to point out all their faults. There are other issues with homelessness that I will eventually write about, but the most important topic I feel is remembering to treat the homeless and low-income populations as people, people just like you and I. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand them. After all, we are all children of God and equally important in his eyes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Random and Weird

I was tagged by Rachel.

5 Random or Weird Facts About Myself:

1. One of my eyes are darker than the other. I didn't notice this until I was in my teens, and for a long time I wasn't sure if this was true or if was just the lighting. But in every lighting my eyes are different shades of brown. I also have a a purplish birthmark on my left eyeball.

2. My name rhymes with celery.

3. When I was little my favorite chore was washing dishes because I liked to build towers with the dishes in the sink. To this day I still don't mind washing dishes and actually find it kind of relaxing.

4. I have never broken any bones nor had any stitches. Kind of ironic considering Robert has had surgery five times, stitches six times, and broken two bones.

5. Robert says when I walk I curl my toes up.


I tag:

Kevin

Ellen

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Perfect Gingerbread House

Such deep concentration (by one of us at least)

The finished product
My Evaluation of Costco's Gingerbread House Kits: I like that the gingerbread house package came with everything all ready to go. All the major elements were all there and I didn't need any extra candy or extra frosting (we had some of both left over). I didn't like that that house pieces had little lines imprinted in the gingerbread for the door and windows, and even on the roof. I felt like it limited my ability to personalize my house. In the end it looked remarkably like the house on the front of the box. Shocker, I know. But, it sure beats baking the gingerbread myself, or even just having to walk all around the store to get candy, frosting, and graham crackers. I don't think I would have ever gone through the effort unless I had kids back home anxious to make this year's gingerbread house. I'm glad I went with the kit and had some Christmas fun with Robert.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Congratulations Robert!

Robert just found out he got a 91 on his financial CPA test! Two down, two to go.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

We


On this page I have written:
"Robert and I"- 6 times
"We" (referring to Robert and I, sometimes+other people)- 36 times!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Peru!

We're going on a trip! Robert and I are in the early stages of planning a foreign trip somewhere, and right now we are leaning heavily towards Peru. (By leaning heavily I mean Robert has a detailed itinerary for us already, complete with dates in late May.) Hopefully it will be a celebration for Robert passing all his CPA exams, but if not we are going anyway. We both love traveling and had a blast together in Guatemala a couple years ago. We figure we better get some of our traveling done before we have kids, especially places like Peru where you can stay for cheap. If anyone wants to join us let us know!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rearranging

Robert and I spent the majority of our weekend rearranging the furniture around our apartment. Last week we got DSL internet instead of the cable internet we used to have. However, we found out the only place the DSL connection worked was in our bedroom. So we had to bring our computer and computer desk into the bedroom, which meant we had to rearrange the bedroom. Then we had to take some furniture out of the bedroom and into the living room, so we rearranged the living room. We also got a new TV stand over Thanksgiving so we set that up and cleaned out the closet while we were at it. Whew! The layout

Putting together the T.V. stand

It felt like spring cleaning, but in December. Robert and I are liking the fact that it never gets really cold here. We haven't even turned on our heater yet. That doesn't mean it doesn't get cool in our apartment, but the temperature is nice enough that we can just put on some warm pjs and slippers and be good. Contrast that with last winter when Robert and I went over to checkup on his grandma's house in Provo while she was out of town. The heat was off in the house and it was literally freezing! I had never been that cold inside before.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BYU FOOTBALL!

The final BYU football game of the regular season was on Saturday in San Diego, and Robert and I were there. We drove down to San Diego with some friends from our ward. The Aztecs play in Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers. It was niiice. We had padded seats at the beginning of the game when we were up on the club level. After halftime we went clear down to like the twentieth row near the west end zone. There was so much space! I think there were more BYU fans there than San Diego, and since it was in a professional football stadium we didn't even come close to filling it up.
Robert's Mom told me that this game should be warmer than our game last week in Utah. It was warmer, but it sure was colder than we thought it was going to be, which might be worse since we weren't expecting it. It was drizzling on and off all morning and it was cold once the sun went down. Luckily the couple we went with had a sibling there who came prepared with some blankets.



video

Cougars Score a Touchdown

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Young Women in Excellence

We had our Young Women in Excellence program on Tuesday. The YW president and I are both new at the whole Young Women leader experience, so we were both kind of winging it as we planned. We had a lot of help from the YW president from the other ward we combine with, which we were so grateful for. Thanks Francis!

I am the only Young Women representative/leader from our ward because we only have one young woman, and she is not very active. So our Young Women are combined with another ward in our stake, but even combined we don't have very many girls. The YW presidency consists of the president, who is from the other ward, and me, the first counselor. For activities we combine with a third ward and usually have about eight girls attend.

Our theme was "Miss Confidence Pageant" because the Mutual theme for the year was "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly, then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God." YW in Excellence is really suppose to be about celebrating the personal progress achievements of the Young Women, but none of our girls were getting any awards. All of the five active girls in our ward are new to Young Women program (either converts or Beehives) so they have not gotten very far with their personal progress. We wanted all our girls to be able to participate equally, so we put on the "pageant" so the new girls could do something.

We started the pageant by doing a Modesty Walk, introducing each girl as they walked down the aisle with a modest outfit, each sporting a different color of the YW values. Then for the talent section we had a musical number with all of them singing "I Feel My Savior's Love." The last section was a question and and answer portion. The pageant was just a segment of the program (we did give out some medallions to leaders from the other ward who had earned their medallions, and we had a bishopric member and the stake Young Women's president speak) but it was the highlight of the night.

The girls all did fantastic! We were a little nervous how it would turn out because at 7:00 we only had one girl there! A couple more got there soon after and a couple more arrived right before the pageant (they had trouble with their ride situation). It was nice to be able to meet the parents of the girls not in my ward (which would be all of them).

Robert also took his second CPA test two days ago. He said it was difficult, more difficult than the last one, and he did not remember a lot of the things he thought he would remember. So now we are anxiously waiting for the results, but we don't expect to hear back any time soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

We got back late last night from Utah where we spent Thanksgiving. For Thanksgiving dinner we were with my Dad's family in Richfield, Utah. We had 58 people there! There was a lot of chatting, basketball, and of course, food.
The next day we drove up to Provo and hung out with Robert's parents and grandma because on Saturday we went to the BYU-Utah football game. We were way excited to go! Robert's mom found us tickets on Wednesday night before we left, so we packed up our warm clothes. There were some tense moments in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars prevailed, 17-10.




Monday, November 19, 2007

"I'm the best!"

Picture a home video of a Christmas morning in the late eighties. Everyone in the young Wheat family is gathered around watching as one-by-one they open their Christmas presents. Suddenly, the picture cuts to a scene taking place a few months later. A much younger Robert, say nine years old, is in the living room of his Florida home playing Nintendo with his brothers. Someone, obviously a child, is holding a video camera and recording the entire event for future generations to watch. After beating a level of Mario Brothers Robert jumps up and exclaims "I'm the best!" Then the scene cuts back to the Christmas morning the kids had just taped over.

After seeing this tape Robert's exclamation has become a sort of joke with Robert and I. Every time Robert does something well I tell him "You're the best!" Today Robert came home from work and exclaimed "I'm the best!" He found out today that he passed the first of four tests for the CPA with an 87%. He was also beaming about his first review at work where he was rated above average in every category. Robert's the best!

The Wonderful World of Google

I love Google. It honestly has so many cool things that I use everyday, and in a user friendly and familiar format that is easy for non-tech savy people to use.

For example, google maps. Yes, it is good for getting directions and I do use it for that all the time. But I also have built my own maps with the locations of different homeless shelters in L.A. Since I am fairly new to L.A. I would often have no idea how far or even in what direction a shelter was. So I imputed all the addresses into google maps and viola. Now I just look at the map and they are all laid out there for me. Plus I can change the little pinpoint so I can tell by looking at the map what kind of shelter it is.

Another feature I have recently discovered is the google reader. All of you who read blogs should use this (or some other reader...). You type in the web address to things like blogs or news websites and it tells you when there are new items. So you don't have to be continually checking blogs to see if there are any new posts, you just look at the reader page and it tells you what new posts there are for all the blogs y0u frequent.

Some of my other favorites are: gmail, igoogle, blogger, google news, and the good ole google search engine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Feeding the Homeless

For our Young Women activity this week we made lunches with sandwhiches, water, and some snacks. Then we went to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and passed the lunches out to the homeless. We leaders kind of stood back so the girls could pass out the bags themselves. Each girl had two bags for them to personally hand to the homeless person.

I was so proud of them! At first some of them were really shy and scared but after other girls started giving out their bags they were really into it. Before we started we told them how they could ask politely if the person wanted the bag ("Sir, would you like a free meal this evening? etc.") and they did really well. After a while we did have to tell them not to run at the homeless person full speed once they spotted them, they were just so excited to give out their bags.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Young Women Ideas

I was wondering if I could rack your brains. I am in the Young Women presidency in our ward (Well, actually I am the Young Women presidency in our ward since we only have one young woman, but we combine with another ward who is also pretty small.) and we will be planning our activities for the next year soon. I wanted to hear of some of your favorite activities as young women or ideas that you think would be fun to do with the young women. Thanks!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Success!

Yesterday was crazy busy at work. A lot of days are slow and I will just sit around all morning, but when I get one person they take up my entire morning. Yesterday I came in and had a family waiting for me already. An hour and a half later while I was still working with that family I was informed that I had two more families waiting for me. Half an hour later when I was finishing up with the first family I was told that I had three more families waiting for me in addition to the other two families that had already been waiting half an hour. Unfortunately there was no way I was going to be able to see all those families, even if I hurried. Plus, it's not fair for the families that had been waiting if I hurry them through. I referred the other three families to our downtown office and spent the next few hours with the remaining two families.

What was great about yesterday was for the first time I really feel like I am connecting with the families and meeting their needs. It was really hard for me starting out because I had no idea what resources were out there and which shelter accepted what etc. Now I am familiar with just about every family shelter out there so I know exactly who to call when I get, say, a couple with older kids, or a single mother with a small child.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Proposal

*If you haven't read the previous post you should before reading this one*
Three years ago today was November 2, 2004, election day. President George W. Bush was running against Senator John Kerry. That day I went and cast my first presidential ballot, in some random BYU building on University Ave. That evening Robert and I were hanging out at my apartment and he leaned over to me and whispered, “Do you want to go make out?”

Now this caught my attention and brought back a memory from when we were first dating. Robert had told me that one of his friends had planned to propose to his future wife, but they were with a big group of friends and he didn’t know how to get her alone. So he asked her (discreetly of course) “Do you want to go make out?” Robert seemed to really get a kick out of that story. So when he leaned over and did the same thing, I immediately was suspicious.

We decided to go for a walk by taking the Provo River Parkway towards Robert’s apartment. He was acting kind of distracted so I definitely knew it was coming. We walked over a bridge and stopped and looked over the river. For some reason we did something very unromantic, we started spitting over the bridge. Then we were talking on the bridge and Robert got down on one knee and proposed. Since he had not had enough time to get a real ring yet, he proposed with a purple CTR ring. I of course said yes and then jumped up and down and hugged him. A few minutes later he let his roommate come out of the bushes who had been secretly filming it and we went back to their apartment to watch the tape and see who had won the election.

The Story of How Robert and Melarie Ended Up With a 1 1/2 Month Engangement

Three years ago today Robert asked me to marry him. I was thinking about things that happened around that time and thought I would write them down and share with you.

This story starts a couple weeks before November 2. In October of 2004 Robert and I had been dating for about ten months. We had already talked about marriage and thought of it as something that would happen eventually, but not until the next year sometime. Ideally we were thinking April, but I was in my junior year of college and I really wanted to do a foreign field study in the summer of 2005. So we started thinking maybe August after I came home, although logistically we weren’t sure how that would work out, planning a wedding with me in a different country. Either way, we felt a wedding was still far in the future.

Around this time we found out that my dad had been called up for active duty to Iraq. He would be leaving for training that month, remaining in the U.S. until the New Year. Then he would go to Iraq for a year. Well that put a kink in our marriage plans. I wanted my Dad to be there for my wedding, but now that meant waiting until the next December. I was already having doubts about an August wedding because I thought waiting until August felt like forever.

The day before my Dad left for training Robert and I drove up to Camp Williams for the farewell lunch that they had for the soldiers and their families. On the drive there Robert and I were discussing what this meant for our future plans, and I turned to him and said, “Why don’t we just get married this December?” So that’s what got the ball rolling for our short engagement. My Dad would probably be able to come back around Christmas so we could get married a few days before Christmas. We suddenly had a lot of planning to do.

The first time we told anyone what we were thinking was when we were back at my apartment on a weekend evening. My brother Chris was there, as well as a bunch of my roommates. There was a lot of chitchatting among everyone, including Robert and I. We were having our own little conversation at the kitchen table about wedding things, and I asked, “Should we tell people?” After all, they needed to know too if they were going to be at the wedding. So as we sat there at the table we announced that we were going to get married in December. It was kind of out of the blue and everyone was shocked, but very happy.

We still weren’t “officially” engaged however. Robert had not talked to my Dad, had not gotten down on one knee and had not asked me “Will you marry me.” And I had no ring!

Stay tuned for the next installment of Robert and Melarie’s proposal.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lunch with the Govenor

Yesterday Robert went out to lunch with a bunch of his co-workers for a good-bye party for a co-worker who is leaving. Little did they know that Govenor Schwarzenegger was also in the downtown L.A. area yesterday discussing issues with the fires around L.A. The PWC employees chose the same restaurant that the Govenor chose to eat at for lunch, and they sat pretty close to him.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween is NOT an Excuse to Dress Immodestly

This is my soapbox issue for the month. I was looking at the ads for Halloween costumes and every costume they had for adult women were all skanky, short skirt, hooker shoes outfits. Just because it is Halloween does not mean it is suddenly okay to look like a hooker. What's worse is that this trend is now extending to little girls' costumes. I was reading this article about the costumes out there for little girls, costumes that portray ten year-olds as "sexy maids" etc. The child models in the ads are made-up with heavy makeup and the author speculates were probably told to make their "best sexy gaze." What kind of parent would buy this for their daughter?

Adopt-A-Family

The past month at work has been really busy because we have been signing up families for our Adopt-A-Family program, aka Sub for Santa. Every day I sit down with about ten families and find out a little about them, get their clothes sizes and ask them what things they need and would like for Christmas. It makes me feel so blessed, and so lucky to be born in a family that could afford to buy me new clothes when I was growing up. The number one thing that people ask for is clothes because after paying rent and utilities they barely have enough for food. Clothes and other essentials often get put off for a long time because they are not as important as shelter and food. Occasionally I will get people who are still low-income, but who are not in as dire need and ask for something like a DVD player.
When I ask the mother's what they would like for their household the most common responses are a blender, an iron, a toaster, towels, and blankets.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Day in the Life of Melarie

October 23:
1. Get up and drive to work

Robert and I carpool to work since we both work downtown.
Sunrise and traffic- there was a lot of smoke from the fires so the sunrise looked exta pretty.
Approaching Downtown

2. Work Site #1- PATH Mall

The PATH Mall is a "mall" of services for the homeless. Some of the free services they offer here are a job searching center, a barber shop, showers, hot lunches, case management and other agencies like Travelers Aid and, of course, The Salvation Army. Here I mainly help homeless families find an emergency shelter that has space for them, although I do occasional get people needing utility bill or rental assistance. They also have a homeless shelter on the upper floors. Here is my area

3. Work Site #2- Downtown Office


In the afternoon I go to The Salvation Army downtown offices. Here I also find shelter for homeless men, women, and families. Mostly though, we give out food and clothes and sign up families for our holiday programs.

There's my car! And yes I am parked in a handicap stall, parking is sparse in our lot and when I come in at mid-day I'm lucky to even get a stall. I just park in whatever area I can.

My office, it needs a little more decoration I think.

4. Come home and make dinner 5. Stake Temple Night

Robert didn't come because he was studying for his CPA exam that he is taking on Monday, so I just shot a quick picture from the car. I love how the L.A. temple just sticks out in the city, especially on this street. There's no ignoring it.

And that's it. A typical day in the life of Melarie.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Missing the Outdoors

The thing that I miss most now that I live in Los Angeles is that I hardly spend anytime outdoors. I go from my apartment to work and back to my apartment. I would like to be able to sit outside and read, but we don't have a yard to do that. The only place would be the park or the beach, which is always busy. The sad thing about living near the beach is that we don't go very often because it is a hassle to mess with parking. I guess what I especially miss is being able to be outdoors with not a lot of people around.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Inquiry is here, finally!

Yesterday when I went and got the mail there was a package in the mailbox for me. It looked like it was a book and at first I was really confused because I hadn't ordered a book online recently. Turns out the package was two copies of the journal Inquiry, a new publication put out by the Kennedy Center and the Anthropology Department. It was really exciting for me because my paper was in it! I had submitted it for publication a year and a half ago. Last year around this time I was revising it, and now it is pulished. It's feels good to see it in print, but I am also so nervous to have people actually read it. I hate having people read my academic papers because I feel so vulnerable. What if they don't like it? What if they think it's trash? I still haven't gotten myself to actually sit down and open the book to my paper yet. What if looking back on it I don't like it? And now it is out there for the entire world to read. Anyways, that's just a little bit of my insecure rambling. Really, the entire world is not going to read it, and most of the people at BYU who read it don't even know who I am.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Of the Beginning

Just a quick note- I posted this poem a couple years ago, but my last post made me think of it again, and I decided it was worth posting again. I love this poem!

By Susan Elizabeth Howe

O Daughters, I will speak
of excellent things. The opening
of my lips shall be from everlasting,
from the begining or ever
the earth was.

When darkness was upon the face
of the void, we were there.
When there were no depths, we
exploded against the bleakness
of density.

We watched the gassy sweep
of the galaxy, loved the forming sun
for its light, for its patience,
the stars for their distance
and immensity.

As Earth swirled in its sphere
we were centripetal. As seas
gathered together, we touched a finger
to the face of the deep.
As clouds meandered

into the sky, our cheeks moistened
in the mist. Bedrock settled
in our beds, and from us
soils learned to nourish.
We saw matter

organized-- hills everlasting, fountains
of the deep. Matter inspirited
as flower, fish, bush, beast,
all bearing egg or seed.
These we gathered,

enfloding spheres of truth within
ourselves, prepared with wisdom,
the wisdom of God, the God of light,
the light of the daughter
and the dawn.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Extrasolar Planets


And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. -Moses 1:33

When I was in high school I was a horrible chemistry student. I really liked science but for some reason chemistry was beyond me. I despaired one term that my chemistry grade was going to ruin my GPA because for the life of me I just couldn't do well on the tests. Luckily, my teacher allowed us to do a ten page extra credit report to bring our grade up a full letter grade! We were able to choose the topic ourselves as long as it had something to do with science. I chose to write my paper on the search for extrasolar planets.

Ten pages in high school was a long paper and by the time I finished writing that paper I felt like an expert on the subject. So I am still always interested in reading about the latest findings in the area of extrasolar planets. Today I came across this article on MSN about the ten most intriguing extrasolar planets. I was amazed to read that there have now been almost 230 extrasolar planets detected throughout the universe. Twenty years ago it was just a theory, now a new detection is almost a mundane occurance.

Back when I wrote my paper most of the planets that had been discovered were giant gassy planets, like Jupiter, because only the large planets made a big enough impact to detect their presence. Scientists figured there probably were other smaller planets closer to the stars they orbited, even multiple planets orbiting around the same stars. Now new advances in the way they detect the planets has allowed scientists to find a lot more smaller, rockier, planets, and, as the article shows, a whole lot of other kinds of planets. It makes me excited to see what other scientific discoveries (and not just space discoveries) the world will see in my lifetime.
...wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.- Moses 1:4

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hot Dogs and S'mores



Last week during Elder's quorum Robert was looking at the lesson manual, I'm sure trying to follow along with the teacher, when he was distracted by a picture of some people roasting marshmallows. He thought, "wow, that looks like a lot of fun," and immediately made plans with the person sitting next to him to go to the beach and have a little bonfire.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Tagged

Melanie tagged me last week, so here is a little bit about me:

5 things I was doing 10 years ago......(wow, ten years was a long time ago...and I was so young!)
1. I was thirteen and thinking back on it now I don't even know what I did everyday. I started junior high school and all that went with it. Seven (was it seven? i don't quite remember)classes all in different classrooms, with lots of new people. I had a real gym class for the first time and I had to run the mile for the first time. The very first time I "ran" the mile I actually walked/ran, mostly walked.
2. Going to the orthodontist every month to get those braces tightened.
3. Our stake was reorganized that year and they created a new ward, the West Mountain ward. I had a lot of fun as a Young Woman in that ward. Now I am in Young Women's again!
4. I played the clarinet in band
5. I went to Canada on a family vacation

5 things on my to do list today......

1) Call a client to have her come in and fill out an application for a transitional shelter.
2) Go out to lunch with Robert
3) Go to Mutual.
4) Put away the laundry
5) Cook up something for tommorrow's enrichment

5 songs I know the lyrics to.....

1) "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor
2) "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band
3) "Big Iron" by Marty Robbins (it's an old, old country song)
4) "Come Come Ye Saints" and many many other hymns
5) "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire.....

1) Buy a really nice house and hire an interior decorator to decorate the inside.
2) Go on a world trip (or a couple trips)- going to at least Spain, France, Italy, Japan, India, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. To begin with.
3) Invest it and become a billionaire
4) Create a charitable foundation
5) Buy some fancy clothes and new shoes

5 things I'll never wear again......

1) Sweaters that go down to my knees
2) Neon pink and green suspenders!
3) The bangs. Oh the bangs. Yeah, never again with that.
4) The same jacket everyday, all winter
5) Oversized t-shirts

5 favorite toys.......

1) Computer- it's not extraordinary or anything, but I am always using it
2) Library card- because there are so many things to get from the library!
3) Digital Picture frame- so I can actually see all the pictures that we have taken
4) Cell phone- its so nice to finally have one
5) Cable- a luxery we have at the moment

5 lucky people who get to do this next......
1) Katrina J.
2) Jessica R.
3) Annie F.
4) Chris S.
5) Tina T.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Surfing Wheats


While we were in Kauai someone spotted a random wave in an empty parking lot. So of course we pulled over, tumbled out of the car, and ran to the wave to take pictures.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Aloha!



We are back from our trip to Hawaii and we had a blast. We spent a week on Kauai and three days in Waikiki with Robert's family. His grandma has a timeshare on Kauai and invited us all to come with her this year. It was beautiful. The resort was right on the beach so anytime I wanted to could just go for a stroll along the beach. I really liked going out in the evening before the sunset and watch the surfers. One time we went out and watched the surfers we saw sea turtles catching the waves too. It was so Finding Nemo.

We did a lot of snorkeling which is something I had never done before this trip. The first time we went I had to sit down on the beach to get my fins on and then walk in backwards. I had a lot of sand in my swimsuit after that. I still get claustrophobic when I first get in the water because there is so much sand in the water near the beach. You can't see anything and your breathing is restricted and you don't really know where you are going. After a few minutes you get away from the beach, the water clears up, you get used to breathing through a stick and it is a lot of fun. My father-in-law got some fish food and it seemed like all the fish in our area were packed right around us.

We also did a lot of relaxing, which for me means reading by the pool. I started reading the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer a few months ago. The third book came out the week that we left, so I just had to finish it while we were in Hawaii. Now I can't wait for the fourth book. I also picked up For One More Day by Mitch Albom. It was a nice easy read about a man who gets to spend one last day with his deceased mother.

Waikiki was nuts! We went from small town relaxed Kauai to the heart of Waikiki, what a shock! Waikiki is packed full of tall hotels, tourists (a lot of whom were Asian), and just about every big expensive fashion store. It was nice for about an hour, then it was just nauseating. Luckily we spent a lot time around the rest of the island, visiting the Polynesian Culture Center, the Laie Temple, and the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Being an LDS Woman

"There is only one way I can visualize religion being a legitimate issue in an American political campaign. That would be if one of the canidates for the presidency had no religious belief." -Richard Nixon

I heard recently that in April a member of John McCain’s presidential campaign made public comments alleging that the LDS Church (Mormons) had ties to Hamas and related the treatment of women within the LDS Church to treatment of women under the Taliban. He also made comments questioning if members of the LDS Church were Christians, all comments directed at drawing support away from fellow presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

It is interesting that staffers of two other presidential candidates (Rudy Giuliani and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback) and the Reverend Al Sharpton have also made public derogatory comments about the LDS Church, and all three have subsequently apologized to the LDS Church and Mitt Romney. I find it odd that after three other figures in the limelight have come out and apologized for similar comments that staffers would still decide to make attack Mitt Romney’s religion. Leave it alone already! I know however, that this will probably happen again. What can I say, politics is a dirty game.

What bugs me most about this particular comment is, well, one, frankly I don’t see how anyone would connect the LDS Church to terrorists. That comment just baffles me. But what bugs me even more that than is the comment that women within the LDS church are treated like women under the Taliban. That is even more ridiculous.

As an LDS woman I do not feel like I am repressed. Why would I? Yeah, I am going to have kids and I will probably stay at home to take care of them, but that is my own choice. That is what I want to do. No one is forcing me. I can’t image a better way to live my life than being there for my kids.

I can just hear the responses now. “She’s been brainwashed! Of course she doesn’t really feel like that. Years and years of brainwashing has made her think that’s what she wants when really she is, in fact, oppressed.” Oh please.

Everyone has different ideas about the nature of reality. Every human has certain beliefs that allow them to synthesize the world around them. Different cultures and religions may have a different idea about the nature of reality than you do. You may disagree with their nature of reality, and they probably disagree about yours.

Religion is a set of beliefs that create an order of reality for individuals, beliefs that are so true to individuals that they seem “uniquely real” or common sense. Individuals will use these ideas to interpret their life experiences. However, these ideas do not necessarily need to be associated with an established religious organization. A person can develop their ideas by various social experiences. Everyone therefore, even those who do not participate in a recognized church, has an idea about the nature of reality. So this brainwashed theory? Well, I guess if I have been brainwashed, then so has everyone else.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

We Made It!



We have finally made it to L.A. and so far everything has gone very smoothly. On Friday we packed everything up in Provo. The only hitch there was that the gate to the service road in front of our apartment was not open like I had requested, so I had to make a few phone calls and go down to the housing office to get the key and open the gate myself. We were able to pack in like an hour and a half. Robert's parents, my dad, Robert's cousin Josh, and our neighbor Jake all showed up to help us move.

Robert's dad is a pro at the move thing, so we put him in charge of organizing the truck. I was a little apprehensive to see if we would fit everything in the truck, but we only filled it 3/4 full. In fact, we ended up taking things that we were originally going to leave behind, like the kitchen table. After we packed the truck we spent the afternoon cleaning and then I went to pick up Robert from the airport. I was very happy to see him after being apart for two weeks.

We originally planned on leaving at 4:00 a.m. so we could get to our new apartment by 4:00 p.m. to sign the lease. We slept in until 5:30 though and didn't end up getting going until 6:00 (Utah time). It was a long drive, but we only stopped for gas and ended up making the trip in about ten hours. In fact, at the first gas station I went in to use the rest room while Robert got gas. Then at the next gas station he told me that I had to fill up and he would go use the restroom. It doesn't work that way for me though! I have to use the restroom at every stop to prevent another bathroom stop somewhere down the road.

We made it to Mar Vista by 3:15, which gave Robert time to shower and clean up a little before we went over to sign the lease. Forty-five minutes after getting to the apartment we called Steve and Wendy over to help us move. We had ward members (Craig and Julie) Robert's cousin Daniel, and Steven and Wendy to help us out this time. We did it in hour. Now we just have an apartment full of boxes!

I was really happy that we could move into an apartment. We kind of had a close call with that one. We had just found an apartment we liked and found out on Thursday that we got the apartment. If not, we would have had to move into a storage place!

Now we have a lot to do this week. Well, I have a lot to do this week. Robert is going to go to work like normal. I am going to do all the moving stuff. I am glad that I don't have a job right now because it would just never get done. I told Robert I feel like his personal assistant because he just tells me, "I need deoterant and shoe laces from the store, and my suit needs to be dry cleaned." and I go and do it for him. I guess we make a good team.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mosaics


The Best of Police Beat


A compilation of the best "crime" stories at BYU this semester:

Accident - Personal Injury

Sept. 1: A building security officer was injured after biking down a grassy hill on campus. The officer did not see a bike rack at the end of the steep hill and ran into the rack. He suffered a broken wrist and elbow.

Animal Problem

Sept. 18: A deer was hit by a vehicle on Ninth East on the south end of Kimball Hall. Police responded and reported that the deer passed away. BYU grounds removed the deer.

Assault

Sept. 23: An assault was reported at the BYU vs. Utah State football game on Saturday. The victim, a male BYU student, was standing in front of the suspect, a female BYU student, and obstructing the female's view of the game. The female asked the male, who didn't have a ticket in that section of the stadium, to sit down or move. The man refused. An argument ensued and the event's staff asked the man to sit down, which he would not. The male victim allegedly called the suspect a derogatory name and asked her, "What are you going to do to get me to sit down? Slap me?" The female suspect then slapped the male victim. The victim did not press charges.

Oct. 23: An assault was reported in R Hall of Deseret Towers. One male student threw a bug on another male student who retaliated by spraying shaving cream on the male that threw the bug. Shaving cream got in the eyes of the first student and the argument quickly escalated and became a physical confrontation.

Building Problems

Sept. 8: It was reported that a heating or cooling duct over a stall in the women's bathroom in the Martin Building had been altered so that someone could possibly see into the stall. The alteration was corrected.

Disorderly Conduct

Sept. 15: The Creamery on Ninth East reported an argument. The confrontation began with two parties, then a third party attempted to intervene. The agitation was over the use of an Ipod.

Sept. 19: An individual reported male students singing to female students outside of Hinckley Hall in Helaman Halls. The males were advised to leave due to complaints.

Sept. 22: A female BYU student fell through the ceiling of the Thomas L. Martin Building while playing a game of hide and seek. The student was in an area of the building being remodeled where ceiling tiles had been removed for electrical work. Friends boosted the student into the opening where she fell through other ceiling tiles upon crawling around. She was not hurt.

Nuisance

Oct. 13: A student reported two male students throwing acorns off the bridge near the law building on East Campus Drive, hitting another student. When questioned, the male students said they were throwing acorns into the tops of trees to see the reactions of students who thought animals were making the noises in the trees. The students were asked to stop throwing acorns.

Property Damage

Nov. 21: A female student attempted to get the attention of two male students passing by Fox Hall in Heritage Halls by tapping on the glass window of the lobby. The female student shattered the glass window with her tapping.

Dec. 7: The glass of a vending machine in the Harris Fine Arts Center was shattered. A male student's friend paid for a Pot Tart that the vending machine did not dispense. Thus the male student leaned his shoulder against the glass in an attempt to tip the machine and get the Pot Tart out accidentally shattering the glass in the process.

Stalking

Nov. 3: A female student reported her ex-boyfriend approached her in the Talmage Building and held her against her will desiring to talk about things. When she tried to leave he restrained her. The male student was issued a no-contact letter.

Suspicious Activity

Sept. 13: A female student reported a suspicious male staring at females near the Morris Center. A police officer made contact with the man who said he hadn't been staring at anyone, but that he did say hello to a female with a baby. The man has already been issued a restraining order for a previous incident.

Sept. 29: A report was called in of an older man mumbling to himself on the intramural fields on Canyon Road. The man was gone when police arrived.

Nov. 2: A student in Helaman Halls received a letter with a large sum of money in it from an address in Salt Lake. The student does not know who sent the money and the incident is under investigation.

Nov. 24: An individual in Deseret Towers reported five suspicious men playing pool in the lobby of one of the halls. Upon investigation it was found the men were simply students playing pool with their girlfriends.

Theft

Aug. 25: The Creamery on Ninth reported a theft on Aug. 25. A boy entered the creamery bathroom with two bags of peanut butter M&M's. An employee noticed the boy did not leave the bathroom with the peanut butter M&M's and attempted to apprehend the boy. He fled before he could be detained.

Sept. 1: A male student reported his car stolen from the parking lot next to the Student Athletic Building on Sept. 1. Upon investigation it was found the car was not stolen but borrowed by a friend.

Sept. 26: A male student in Wymount Terrace reported his load of whites was stolen from the dryer in the community laundry room he had put them.

Weapon Offense

Dec. 6: Two suspicious males were reported at the Cannon Center in Helaman Halls. One of the males was reported as having a gun tucked in his waistband. Upon investigation it was found the males, not BYU students, had simulation guns with them and said they were waiting in the Cannon Center for a friend.