Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Drawing Challenge Day #12 and 13

Everyone already knows about me being published in Woman's World magazine, but it is my definite most recent accomplishment. It can be picked up in the grocery stores in a few days. (Week of June 2)


Self explanatory, I think.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Junk Faxes That Bite Back

I get junk faxes at least once a day. The machine buzzes and beeps and churns out page after page of "Discount Cruise Prices" and "Sell Your Ancient Cell Phones" and "Exciting New Small Business Finance!" (That one just spewed out of the old machine as I was typing.) It's gotten a lot better since I put the fax number on the donotcall.gov list, but I haven't been able to eliminate everything.

So last week when a product specification sheet came through addressed to "Kelly" and did not mention a related project or give specific directions as to who I should direct the information, I tossed it in to the recycling bin.

Fast forward to today and some guy calls and asks for "Kelly" to which I tell him that there is no one in our office by that name. Irritably he says, "Well, I don't know why they would tell me that!" I kind of stared at the phone, surprised by how upset he seemed to be. "Well, is there an office manager that I can talk to?"

"Well, yeah. That's me. Somebody probably got confused, because my name is Shelli."

Oh. He was placated for just a minute and went on and on about how great his product is. As if I know anything about it.... as if I have any say as to whether or not his product gets used.

"I sent you a fax..." Oh! It was that guy. The guy who had the presumption to send me a fax and think that I cared about his product enough to look and read through the specifications of it and what it does.

I was honest with him. I am not the person he needs to talk to. The person he does need to talk to is not here today. "Can you send me some information that I can pass on to Kevin?"

Oops. I should have known that he would be all riled up about the fact that he had sent me information in that fax. "The information isn't going to be any different than that fax," he snipped at me.

"Well," I said. "To be honest, that fax headed straight to the recycle bin when I received it."

"WHY would you do that?!" He growled, in not so many words.

"First, the fax was addressed to 'Kelly'," I reminded him. "Second, it didn't reference a project, so I couldn't send it to a project manager. I didn't know what to do with it. So I put it into the recycle bucket." Not only that, but he didn't include any other contact information other than the return fax number. So I couldn't even question him as to what it was supposed to be.

The guy's attitude put me on the defensive and really irritated me. I had asked him if he would email me the information he wanted me to pass on to Kevin, and he later asked me "which method I preferred to get that information." BY EMAIL! I wanted to shout at him, but instead I just gave him my email address and told him not to fax me anymore.

And then when I hung up, I called him a nasty name. Because really, the little turd deserved it.

Drawing Challenge Day #11

I don't know how they expect you to draw a "turning point", but as I really sat and thought about this, I realized that I haven't come to any type of turning point at all.

Everything has flowed pretty naturally, and there haven't been any abrupt changes or anything like that. I thought about drawing my drive to Utah, or something related to BYU or...

But none of it, though it has affected the way my life has turned out, has been an actual "turning point."

So, I guess I am still waiting for that thing in my life that stops me in my tracks and makes me go a complete different direction.

Drawing Challenge Day #9 and 10

Monday, May 23, 2011

Drawing Challenge Day #7

I don't really think I need to explain this one.

Drawing Challenge Day #6

I don't think I've ever really been able to choose my favorite book. And now they want me to choose my favorite character from my favorite book!?

I have a sneaky suspicion that whoever wrote up this list assumes that everyone's favorite book is Twilight and everyone will be drawing Edward - or Jacob.

But I got over my Twilight obsession years ago.

Anyway, I was going to draw Peeta from The Hunger Games. But I'm still mad about the casting decision and I didn't want to try and draw somebody that looked better than who they cast, because as we can already see, my drawings really don't amount to much.

My newest favorite series is by Lauren Willig and my favorite hero is Turnip from The Mischief of Mistletoe. I started rereading it the other day, and I just love him. He's so great! So I tried to draw him and his ridiculous waistcoat, and got the above picture.

(If you haven't read the Pink Series yet, I suggest you do...just saying.)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Drawing Challenge Day #5

Drawing your best friend is hard, because it is hard to determine who you want to draw. And who will or won't be offended at how you depict them. My mom is my best friend, because she won't mind that this looks nothing like her at all. And she'd still let me post it on the fridge if I wanted to. She'd never do that herself, but she wouldn't take it down if I did.

The Spider that Disrupted Everything

Today was a rough day.

Not in a bad way, I guess. But I only allowed 20 minutes to get ready for church and then we had to park further down the hill of death than usual. So after huffing and puffing our way to the chapel (also known as the science building on campus) we listened to a few talks, some girl play the piano (amazingly) and began our Marriage/Family/Relationship/Dating class.

The class was going pretty well....and then a giant, fuzzy, black, fatty spider started crawling near my feet. But not close enough to my feet that I could kill him, just out of reach that I couldn't get to him, but close enough to give me the jibblies.

Normally, I am not afraid of spiders. I am perfectly capable of taking care of them myself. I'm pretty content to leave them alone, as long as they don't infiltrate my house and stay out of my way. On the chance that I do encounter a spider, I have a ritualistic heebie-jeebie dance that I do before squashing the thing.

Church is no place for a heebie-jeebie dance and shout of triumph after the victim's guts are spread across your shoe.

I kept an eye on it for a few minutes, but it was really giving me the creepy-crawlies. After all, it's one of those furry jumping spiders! And I had no idea where it would decide to go, and was that a spider that just crawled on my legs?!... no, it was just a phantom one playing mind tricks with me.

I decided to enlist the guy sitting two seats down from me. He quickly took to task with his shoe, trying to catch the litter bugger, but it was much too quick for him.

After a moment, the row behind us was involved. Laughing at the non-progress we were making in taking care of the hairy beast. And then it climbed the legs of the chair in front of me, and was residing on the seat (we have stadium-like seating) staring at us with his creepy green eyes - taunting us. We tried to pull the seat closer; a tissue from the row behind us was donated to dispose of the spider... and then he took off.

At this point, the six or seven of us that were invested in the location of the spider had gotten beyond the point of trying to pay attention to the teachers and were more concerned about the spider's movements. I felt bad that we were being so disruptive, but I didn't want that thing jumping on me!

The teacher caught on, saw the spider and asked who the "arachnophobic one" was. They all pointed to me. I'm not really that scared of them, just grossed out! But he admitted that the spider was gross; and well on its way away from us.

He had escaped our death sentence.

After class ended, though, the teacher took it upon himself to smash the littler bugger. And since we have Relief Society in the same room...

I can't say I'm not happy about that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Drawing Challenge Day #3 and 4

Day #3: My favorite food. I chose a bowl of rice and a bowl of unknown something (but is supposed to be yellow curry) because I could eat Thai everyday, probably, and not tire of it, but I also didn't want to draw anything too complicated.

My other thoughts were fish tacos. I was just going to draw a fish and write taco beside it. See, I'm lazy when I draw.

The laziness comes in to play for Day #4: My favorite place, too, because I would have drawn something related to home, or the cabin my grandparents lived in in Naches, Wa.

But I don't really have a favorite place. Sometimes it is in my car. Other times it is in a park somewhere, reading.

But I think I made a good choice. My bed is easy to draw, and I wouldn't get out of it on most days if I didn't have to.

Drawing Challenge Day #2

Day #2: Draw My Favorite Animal


I really don't have a favorite animal, but everyone knows that I love teacup piglets and want two of them. So I drew them... in a teacup.

Adorable, no?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Drawing Challenge Day #1

I decided to do a drawing challenge. It didn't take me very long to complete, but I learned two things. The first: I am not good at drawing. I have no natural talent for it. The second: I have no patience to make it look just a titch better. But probably because of the first reason.

Still... I did complete it, so I suppose that is saying something.

Here is Day 1:



It looks so much like me, doesn't it!

No. Not really. It looks like every other person I draw. Ha.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When Do You Give In?


I'm not a Sheri Dew. Or a Barbara Thompson. I don't know that I could ever reconcile or content myself to being single for the rest of my days, serving in the Church and living a full and meaningful life - when all I have ever wanted to do was have a home and family of my own.

LDS doctrine believes that you must be married - sealed, in the temple - to reach the highest level of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. The sealing is also important, because it binds a marriage for eternity. Instead of being married until death, you are married for eternity. The children that you bring in to the marriage are sealed to you, and your family continues on past the realms of this life.

The blessings of the temple are endless, just as the covenants you make go on for eternity. Eternity is a hard concept to grasp, but knowing that my own family - thanks to the faithfulness of my parents who were married and sealed in the temple - will be together forever is a great comfort and blessing to me.

I have never wanted anything outside of a temple marriage. And I won't consider not getting married in the temple as long as that seems like a viable option.

If you don't have the opportunity to marry in this life, we are told, that everyone will be given the opportunity at some point. Which is great. At least I know that I will have the opportunity....right?! Oh wait, sometimes that opportunity means waiting until the life hereafter.Whaaaat? Is that supposed to be comforting?

But then, you hear that if you don't get married and don't make it to the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom, you will be able to serve as "right-hand angels" of God. Or something. But if you don't get married, does that mean that you didn't have the opportunity? Or did you, but you missed it and never recognized it as it? And if you are one of the lucky ones that gets the opportunity after this life... does that mean.... we aren't talking about polygamy are we? Will that be our opportunity?

I hope not.

I suppose to some, that all might be a consolation. After all, to serve God is a blessing and a privilege. But to serve him directly in the afterlife - I suppose that would be pretty cool. Would that make you His executive assistants of a sort? Or maybe there are those that are comforted by the fact that they will get a husband after they die.

But for that to give any type of comfort at all, you have to have some eternal perspective and a lot of faith and even more patience than a woman who has fifteen children. I mean, you have to have to really understand some things. You have to know without a doubt that you are going to go on and not be sad and lonely in the situation you end up in and that eventually you will be...rewarded with something.

I lack that perspective. There is no consolation in my mind for not being able to get married in this life.

I'm not saying that I've given up hope.  Not yet.

But sometimes I think I ought to be prepared for that outcome. If my dating opportunities don't increase; if I don't find a new venue to meet LDS guys; if I scare away any potential suitor with my awkwardness and lack of confidence...

I said that I wouldn't consider a marriage outside of the temple, but the more I've thought about it since my last birthday, the more I wonder that if I know I'm not going to go to the very tip-tip-top of the Celestial Kingdom if I don't get married in the temple, what does it matter if I stay single or marry a non-member?

That feels like blasphemy. And if I had said that out loud instead of typing it, I might have whispered it in fear of being struck down.

Kidding.


Sort of. 

The thing is, if my options are to marry not at all or to marry outside of the church, I think I would choose the marriage option. In both instances, I would still go through the temple myself. I would maintain my activity in the church and keep the covenants I made.

In short, I rather expect that I would still make it to the Celestial Kingdom. Just not the very top. So, if no matter the choice, I get the same end result.... why would I choose to be alone in this life? I could find a companion, stay married until death do us part (a depressing thought, but better than being alone always, in my mind). There would always be the slight chance that he would convert years down the road and we could eventually be sealed.

The only thing I can't reconcile, is having a brood of children. With not one of them being sealed to us. Just little free floating spirits, not sealed to anyone? I don't know that I could do that. So I would not have children. But see... a husband would be a good consolation prize for not having babies. It would at least be half of what I've wanted my entire life.

But these are just thoughts. The truth is, I still believe that I am going to run into some nice Mormon guy and he and I will get married in the temple; and this whole discussion will be completely moot.

After all, dum spiro, spero. While I yet breathe, I hope.

Payday



I was doubting a little bit that Woman's World might not want my story. But, the arrival of their check makes me think otherwise. -- Look for my story on June 2, 2011.

It's probably not really that professional to be blogging and flaunting your paydays on the internet, but I'm really excited about this, because I think that there is something very validating and official about being paid a significant amount of money for your work.

Here's hoping that there are more of these little babies in the future!

Thoughts on Past Transgressions

A few years ago, when a friend of mine learned something about her then-boyfriend, she had to sit back and think as to whether or not she could handle what she had learned, or if she should cut her losses and move on.

It happens a lot. People make mistakes, and when it comes to finding a partner or spouse, you have to look at the past and decide what you can handle and what you can not. I don't think it makes you a bad person if you can't overlook someone's past, even though a lot of people are quick to put the "JUDGMENTAL" label on you, and make you out to be the bad person.

A long time ago, if someone had suggested that I might marry a guy who hadn't served a mission because he was boozing it up or sleeping around when he should have been preaching the gospel, I would have shuddered and adverted my eyes. That wasn't something I wanted.

I was also pretty self-righteous back then.

As I've gotten older, I've made more mistakes and realized that people aren't perfect. And while we are striving to become so, we can't expected to make it through life without the scrapes and bruises of making mistakes - living, learning and moving on.

So I changed my ideals. As long as my potential spouse was worthy to take me to the temple - despite anything that might have been done in the past - as long as he was currently in good standing with the Lord, then it didn't matter.

I was talking to Melissa, though, and I guess there are a few things that I might not be able to live with. What if he had been in jail? Would it matter that he had served his sentence, got off with good behavior and had a temple recommend?

Honestly, I don't know if I could handle that.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not to be provocative...



...but I was just having fun editing some old photos.

A Cheap Imitation

I've been meaning to write this post forever, but haven't been able to sit down and put it in to the words necessary to deliver the impact it hit me with.

We were discussing in Church the Spirit (a.k.a. the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, the Comforter, etc. etc.) and how it is felt by everyone differently, but generally it is described as being a warm feeling, good feeling.

For me, I feel the Spirit testifying that Christ is my Savior, that the Church teaches the true principles of Jesus Christ. I feel it through music and when I'm listening to the prophets and apostles. I've felt the presence of the Holy Ghost when I've prayed for comfort or strength or reassurance. I've felt it when I needed to know that God loves me and is aware of me.

As I sat there and thought about how the Holy Ghost's presence has influenced me and my life, someone said, "What to you think it feels like to do drugs? What do you think Satan is trying to do - if not imitate that which our Heavenly Father has given us?"

A week later, we were in our dating, marriage and family relations class listing the difference between lust and love. We've done this several times throughout my years growing up in the church, but one of the guys raised his hand and said that his father always taught him that "lust was a cheap imitation of love."

Lust is another way that Satan imitates the sacred things that our Heavenly Father has given us on this earth to provide peace, comfort, joy and happiness.

That Sneaky Devil! 

For some reason that really impacted me. I've thought about all those comments that go along the lines of, "If it's wrong - how come it feels/tastes/seems so good?"

I guess I never really knew the answer until now.

Of course it feels good. It is meant to. Whether by divine design (sex, etc.) or through chemical reactions in our body (drugs, etc.), these things are going to feel good and do things to us that we want to recreate. Just like we want to recreate the way we feel when we are sitting in serenity enjoying nature, or the powerful testimony of a chorus, or the peace we feel in the temple. And since Satan can't recreate peace, serenity and joy - he's just found ways to emulate as best he can, deceiving us as we go out and search for these feelings, and often creating an addiction on the way.

With sex, it is meant to be good because it was designed to be something that brings a husband and wife together. There is a time and place for it, and it is going to be pleasurable and something that wants to be done more than once (or so I hear.... *insert sardonic tone here*).

Opening Avenues

Yesterday at Church we were talking about missionary work.

The LDS Church has always been a church with missionaries. There were missionaries in Christ's established Church before the apostasy, and when the gospel was restored to the earth, it wasn't long before missionaries were called to go out and proselyte.

And while we do have some 60,000 full-time missionaries around the globe teaching about the restored gospel, we are also taught as members to open up avenues whereby we can talk about our faith. With technology and the internet and media coverage, there has been a lot of opportunity to bring up the church and talk about what I/we believe in and how it affects our lives.

It was just yesterday, though, that Melissa and I were thinking about how to meet more people - specifically guys - in order to open up our social circles, that I realized that missionary work and dating are very similar.

With both activities, you have to be on the constant lookout for opportunities to meet and talk to new people. Without being pushy or desperate, you have to be able to bring up the conversation and direct it towards a path that opens up a person's mind and makes them ask questions. Are Mormons Christians? What does it mean to be "sealed" to someone? What does she like to do for fun?

Both are personal and can be awkward and misconstrued into something that it never was meant to be. 

With missionary work, I can put my testimony and my beliefs on my blog and hope that someone will read them and not judge me - or think that I am judging them - and if they have questions, they know they can ask. I think it is easier to delve into interesting theological questions and if talking to someone, you can part with a respectful "agree to disagree" and continue on your merry way.

With dating, you have to go through the process of finding someone and selling yourself through a series of general, bland questions. It's a huge obstacle for me to overcome, because I'm terrible at small talk! There is nothing very interesting about me within the first five minutes of meeting me. My sparkle all comes from me being able to talk about whatever in front, without fear of being judged or condemned for being a little bit quirky -and maybe a little bit like a crazy person? (LO SIENTO! (sorry, only Melissa and our neighbor Sean will get that!)) I think I have some fairly interesting things to say; I'm fun! and funny! But most people aren't going to see that within the first meeting or two. Or if we never get past the da-darn small talk phase!

Another problem for us, is that now that we are graduated, we don't have as many opportunities to meet people. Melissa works in an office of women, and I work in an office full of married men. Outside of our ward, where are we supposed to meet new people? Where do people outside of church meet new people?
I suppose there is the stereotypical bars and clubs... but I'm honestly at a loss. 

We decided to ask our bishop's wife last night. She recommended a few places: institute, co-ed softball and maybe taking up a dance/art class at the community center.

I can't say that any of those things appeal to me. Institute is quiet-time. There isn't a lot of time to meet people, and even if you do stay and socialize for a minute afterward... see above paragraph. I don't know that I've ever gotten past small talk in a setting like that. Dance and art classes that are available will be filled with middle-aged moms. I am generally a hit with middle-aged moms, but since that isn't really what I'm going for, I don't see how it can help in the dating department. I am interested in taking a pottery class, though - I'm not going to lie. And softball. Now, this might be a good idea. 

It's probably a really good idea. Only 1) I suck at softball and 2) I'm pretty sure you have to have your team already put together before you can enter in to the league. If you do BYU intramurals, 
then you are still limited to those in your ward; and if you are trying to put together a team, then you are limited to who you already know.... So unless you are joining your friend's team filled with available men, who don't mind if you compromise their talent, then, as good as an idea it is, you probably aren't going to be successful.

Sandbagging

For FHE last week, we wanted to do something service-oriented. Since the people in Utah are continually praying for moisture, and spring has been particularly snowy and wet this year (who says prayers aren't answered?) that means runoff puts us at the risk for flooding - click here if you want to see the areas of impact expected.

Personally, in the seven years that I've lived in Utah, I haven't seen a real need for the moisture that people keep praying for. I remember walking to a graduation party in Ohio, saying how glad I was that I would probably never have to walk through wet grass again, because I was moving to a desert.

Well, that's not quite true. Not only did I not move to a desert. (Utah County is considered a steppe climate), I also have to walk through wet grass all the time. I have not yet seen a need for prayers with regards to precipitation, but I'm not a farmer and water has always run freely from any tap of any place I've lived. I'm sure I take water for granted...

Anyway, in preparation for the flooding, the Provo mayor has written a whole blog on what to expect and how to get sandbags (here) and the city is accepting volunteers to bag sand. (Did you know? Provo has the highest volunteer rate in the nation. Between 2006 and 2009, our average annual volunteer rate was 63.6%, and Provo residents, like the BYU student in the photo above, devoted an average of 149.7 hours of service per year.)

Bag sand... It's something that, from what I can tell, has been done for a really long time in order to curtail the raging waters of snow melt, saturated riverbeds and flooded natural levees, but it isn't something I've ever done. I guess growing up in Ohio - and more specifically Troy - we were lucky that the levee was built in such exaggerated terms that unless God decides to flood the earth again (multiple sightings of rainbows already this year tells me that it won't be this year!), I don't think flooding from the Ohio river is much of a threat. Still, Ohio is wet. And I'm surprised that we haven't done more sandbagging when I was growing up.

It was hard work, and I didn't expect to like it. The weather was rainy and nippy, and before I warmed up to the task, my fingers were numb with cold, making every time I hit them against something sting with pain. But sometimes it is nice to get your hands dirty, and get sand under your nails. No, that isn't right. It isn't nice to get little granules under your nails, and I should have definitely worn gloves before I decided to plunge my hand into the sand, but whatever. After a while, my hands were numb and I didn't notice when I took a chunk of skin out of my knuckle. My little group of three worked alone on one side of the sand dune while the rest of the group was on the other side.

We were trying to come up with the most efficient way to fill the bags, and came up with a very quick method of having one person set up the bags under the "funnel" (an orange construction cone, mounted upside down on a wooden horse) while another shovels in the sand, the third person removed the bag from the station and tied it.

It was hard work, and we were complaining of back aches and pains, and if I had gone much longer on the shovel, I would have definitely gotten blisters. But the efficiency and the tangible evidence of our labors made it worth it. And our groups was really kicking butt! Six shovelfuls filled the bag (probably a little too full) and we did almost five at one time. At one point, we figured out how many bags a minute, but I don't remember the figure.
This picture isn't from our group, but it shows the tools we were using. The girl on the right is using a sandbag as a chair. My group didn't do that - I was on my knees most the time, moving from one cone to the next. There wasn't time to just sit in one spot.

It was nice to do something different than childhood games and such for FHE, and afterward, we were treated to an ice cream cone from Macy's.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Did I mention...

I was talking to Mackenzie today on the phone and she was telling me how I should be jealous of her because she will spend this summer conditioning for two different sports (basketball and soccer) and will likely end up a lean, mean six-packed machine.

I'm jealous that she'll get to spend a lot of time outside, and even though her tan line will look funny, at least she'll have one.

I did warn her though that all that weigh lifting could lead to increased pectoral muscles and decreased boobage. I told her to be careful that she didn't "disappear" them altogether.

"Ahh. But I worked so hard to grow them."

Sometimes I forget how funny Mackenzie can be. I swear I died laughing. So funny.

Did I mention that I hate WordPerfect? I do. So so much. In fact, my keyboard has taken quite a beating today because I've been taking my frustration with the stupid software out on it. I don't understand how I can pound on the enter key, and NOTHING happens. Ugh.

I hate WordPerfect more than Stats.

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