Monday, February 27, 2012

I work out

"It's crazy; I can see your hamstring bulge out every time you do that," says my trainer.

Good. That means there isn't so much fat layered over my muscles and that you can actually see my muscles!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Clean Room

My room is clean. Truly clean: dusted, vacuumed, bed made, clothes put away, drawers organiz....ok, the my desk drawers aren't really organized. But aside from that, it is clean. I always feel like I don't know what to do with myself when my room is clean. When my clothes are laying on the floor making it necessary for a pogo stick, I can find any number of things to do. There's always a book to be read, a show to catch up on, friends to hang out with, shopping to be done, baking to be done, etc. etc. etc. But when my room is clean, I feel lost. I feel like I should have a party in my room, but I can't find anything to do.

What does that say about me? It seems very, very backwards. Because my room is clean, I should be doing all of those things mentioned above. I have enough room in here to do yoga if I wanted!

I think there is a reason that the one novel I finished writing was finished while I was supposed to be doing Statistics. I'm driven by chaos and mostly by procrastinating. That's not a good thing, and it's about to change. Because I'm going to have to find something to do now that my room is GOING to stay clean.

Day 2, complete.

Conquering Celery

Remember this post? Remember the numerous Facebook status updates on how vile celery is? Get ready to be amazed!

For the past few weeks, I've been having cravings for some celery. But every time I've gone to the store, I've turned up my nose and walked right by. First, the price for celery has increased. Second, they were all looked pretty disgusting (i.e. wilted, brown, spotted, rotted, etc.). But today, I stepped into a new grocery store and there they were, freshly sprayed, glistening in the produce aisle.

I took it back to work, washed off three ribs, slathered them in the secret (i.e. key) ingredient and walked down to my desk where I greedily ate all three without flinching, without dry-heaving, and without throwing any of it out! (Except the really, really stringy parts that I couldn't deal with.)

Now, don't get mad. Let's look at the positives: I was craving celery. I ate celery. I liked the celery. There was green onion in the secret ingredient.

Ok, fine. I admit it: IT WAS A GREEN ONION CHEESE BALL! I filled the little crevice of the celery stalk with green onion cheese ball and I do not feel bad about it. It was so good.

Now, it has taken me since September to get to this point. I've bought celery a few times before, and never been able to finish the whole thing and I didn't enjoy the few pieces I did eat. But now things are going to be different.

I sort of can't wait until lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Taking the Lord's Name

Written in the 10 Commandments is that we should not take the Lord God's name in vain. Growing up, I was always taught that that meant not swearing and not using God's name as an exclamation or expletive. 

In Sunday School today, I was given a little more insight to this commandment. When we are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ, we are also covenanting to take upon the name of Jesus Christ. We renew this covenant with Him every Sunday when we partake of the sacrament.

"O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has[3] given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen." (Book of Moroni 4:3, Doctrine and Covenants 20:77)

To me that means, that when we fail to keep the commandments and go against the word of God, we are also taking His name in vain.

Perhaps everyone else already realized this, but to me, this is new and profound. It is not something I've ever thought of before. How grateful I am to have the Atonement, for the sacrament, and for Jesus Christ, so that when I do take God's name in vain, I can be forgiven.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love and Memories Part I

There are some songs that no matter where you are or what time it is, when you hear them, your mind gets transported back to a time or place or just to a person.

Here are a few of those:

Greatest Love Of All by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark
(Whitney Houston, Greatest Love of All)
This song takes me back to the house on Frank Street. My mom used to listen to Mix 107.7 and probably a few other stations, and I remember her making Amy and me pancakes and telling us that she was going to be on the radio because she had won some contest. We listened eagerly to hear her voice transmitted over the radio. I can't remember how much she won. There are a few other songs that came out in the early 90s that make me think of us driving around in the station wagon and such.

My best friend in elementary school, Jessica Hobbs, has a few songs that are dedicated to her.
The Sign by Ace of Base on Grooveshark
(Ace of Base, The Sign)
We listened to this song while driving to the Miami County Fair. Her mom paid for me to go almost every year, which was SO nice of her, I wouldn't have gone if she hadn't. We went the night where you could buy the bracelets to get on as many rides as your stomach could handle. We rode the tilt-o-whirl until they literally wouldn't let us on anymore, and then Pam would buy us elephant ears or funnel cakes.

Miami by Foals on Grooveshark

Are You Jimmy Ray by Jimmy Ray on Grooveshark

We used to listen to Will Smith or Sugar Ray while playing Paper Boy on the Nintendo while eating a cup of Oreos, filled and made soggy by milk, with a spoon.

The Joker by Steve Miller Band on Grooveshark

This was one of the first songs where I learned all the lyrics to. I have a horrible memory, and couldn't remember the lyrics while my friends all sang at the top of their lungs. My memory had room for this song and Torn by Natalie Imbruglia. The two of these songs always take me back to Laura Wharton's house, where we watched Lifetime movies about bulimia and created a baby out of water balloons that we had for a really long time.

Torn by Natalie Imbruglia on Grooveshark

And then there was Hanson. Jessica, Heather Ridenour and I had the three boys divided between us, and we all thought they were so cute. I was a fan of Taylor.

MmmBop by Hanson on Grooveshark

To be continued.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fan Club

Today during Relief Society, a member of the bishopric asked if he could set me apart for my calling. What, like I was going to say no? I never remember to get set apart for my callings, so if the bishopric forgets, then it usually doesn't happen. I didn't know if being Visiting Teaching Supervisor was a calling or an assignment, so I didn't worry about it. So I was set apart and then he gave me a quick blessing that I just felt, was really inspired. The wording that he used and the promises he gave were exactly the sort of thing I needed to hear, and what I need in my life. And it is just a testimony to me that the Lord knows us, our hearts, our desires, and our needs so personally.

Which went along with the theme of Sacrament meeting and the Relief Society lesson, which was on loving ourselves the way God loves us. After Brother Christensen shook my hand (after I had wiped my little tears, since I can't receive a priesthood blessing without crying, it seems), he told me that he wished there were 20 clones of me, thanked me for accepting the calling and being me and all these flowery, puffy things that while I think they are fairly ludicrous, I truly believe he is sincere when he is saying it. 

And then after Relief Society, two girls came up to me and asked me if I had been the one that made a certain comment in November. When I told them I was, they went on to tell me that they talk about me a lot (it can't be that much) whenever they talk about this ward. Mostly because they noticed that we all seem to make fun of the same things and whenever they looked up from laughing about one thing or the other, they would see that we (Melissa and me) were laughing about the same thing. They were telling me that I was funny, that they are still laughing at my jokes and that they thought I was cool. 

Puff puff.

How can I not love myself after such positive affirmations today? I feel unworthy, of course, but also very gratified, and.... it just makes me laugh! I love it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

This Friday Night

Sometimes I think it is really cool that I can say that I have friends all over the country -- all over the world, even. That is, it's cool until Friday night and I have nothing to do because all my friends are scattered throughout the world.

I'm just wondering what time is an acceptable bed time on a Friday night? 9:00 p.m.? 10:00 p.m.? I've already brushed my teeth and taken out my contacts...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

History of Roommates

I was reading a blog earlier that mentioned that she had stopped counting the number of roommates she had had when she reached 65. SIXTY-FIVE roommates! That is a ridiculously large number, I thought, but then again, I have moved many times and I had no real idea of how many I've had and how many was a lot. After my calculations, 65 is still a LOT of roommates.

In the past seven and a half years, I have had 29 roommates. I'm counting my Aunt, Uncle and cousin in most of this because I lived with them for several months.

Out of these 29 people I have lived with, the stats are these:

  • I am friends with 20 on Facebook
  • I am related to 4 -- 1 being my sister
  • Only 2 of them followed me (or I followed them) to a different apartment
  • I've completely lost track of 4 of them
  • 12 are married
  • 4 are/were divorced
  • 1 is engaged
  • 1 absolutely still hates me
  • 4 are over the age of 50
  • 7 have children*
  • 2 were from different countries (Venezuela and Russia)
  • 7 are from California
  • I was a bridesmaid for 1 of them
  • I attended 5 weddings
  • I attended 8 bridal showers, co-hosted 3 of them
  • I've met the parents/siblings of 13 of them*
  • Went home with 6 of them*
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with 4 of them*
  • Walked in on / overheard a make-out session on 4 of them

*Not including my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin

There have been times when I didn't want to go home because of roommate situations, but over all, I have had pretty good roommates. Considering some of the other horror stories I have heard, mine are fairly tame. And there are some roommates who are now my very best friends and I can't imagine that ending any time soon. Hopefully, we'll be the kind of friends that get together every few years, no matter where we end up, and force our kids to be friends and we'll keep on making memories.


In Stake Conference last Sunday, our Stake President, President Hatch, said something that I thought very relevant:

If we are focusing too much on perfection, we are giving the adversary an IN by making ourselves more vulnerable to his influence. He will use our imperfections to discourage us. Ultimately we can convince ourselves that it is too hard. If we are focusing too much on perfection, we are more easily persuaded to give up completely and push us from the straight and narrow.

Perfection is not the absence of mistakes or flaws. It is about perseverance. It's about moving forward and correcting our mistakes as we go along.
Matthew Hollister

The Art of Flirting

Last weekend, the Relief Society put on an activity that was supposed to help us girls learn how to get a second date, how to dress our body types, how to apply make-up, and how to flirt. From experts. When we arrived, we quickly discovered that the "experts" were other girls in our ward. I don't want to say anything too negative about the activity, because I thought it was a really fun idea (as opposed to my roommate, who was actually really angered by the whole activity), but it wasn't executed the way I thought it should be. There are some girls in our ward who could have really benefited from knowing how to dress their body types (I want to submit them for What Not to Wear) because they have pretty cute figures, but they just wear really frumpy, ill-fitting clothes that does them no favors.

We didn't really talk about how to dress any body type except for the girl's who was presenting the material. And since she is about five foot nothin', with no curves, she hardly fits the general population of our ward. I wanted somebody to get up there and tell some of these girls to find a bra that fits, quit wearing chunky sweaters that go long past their hips and only accentuates them, etc.

I was also a little...disgruntled about the flirting advice that we got. From how I understood it, we are supposed to slouch so we aren't taller or on the same eye-level as a guy, and simper up to them through our eyelashes. I don't even know how that's done; I definitely don't know how or why that would be effective. But there was one comment that I really did think was a great point.

When we think of flirting, see if represented on TV, or witness it at a party or wherever, a lot of it is watching the Flirter draw attention to themselves. Whether it is positive or negative attention, the whole point is to have eyes drawn upon them, hoping to provide enough flash to make themselves interesting to the opposite sex. It might be effective if you are looking for a casual hook-up. BUT, we were told that better flirting is done by drawing attention to your date, or to the person you are interested in. Make it less about you, and more about them.

What a novel ideal. It takes a little bit of the selfishness out of dating, and makes you less conceited. And you actually get to know the person. I love it. I think that everyone should do this when they are flirting. (Also, throw in some innuendo and witty banter, and you know I'll be hooked.)

Anyway, it's hard to make it all about the guy when he only stops in to my office once every ten months for precisely 45 seconds... The guy, of course, is the Les Olson delivery guy. He delivers toners and inks for our copiers and printers, but they last so dang long that it is months in between visits. He's cute. really cute. I tried to get better flirting tips from the girls at the activity, as to how to get this guy to ask me out, but no one really had any ideas better than the bend and snap (Thank you, Elle Woods). So the rest of the weekend, I plotted out the visit I knew would be coming on Monday. I even dressed nice -- wore a dress! -- and did my hair so that I was cute and feminine.

The problem with my office is that I sit behind a huge receptionist desk with a counter. It's a chastity desk. I feel like I'm miles away from the other people, which is usually preferable. Except for the Les Olson guy walks in. So Monday I was going to be on the other side of my desk working with the O&M manuals that my office has been buried in for well over a month. Only, he sneaked up on me! I didn't see his van pull up in time, so I was still stuck behind the chastity desk when he walked inside. There wasn't an opportunity to touch his hand, simper through my eyelashes or anything! Dang it. I didn't even have to sign for the order this time, because I had signed for it on Friday. Blast.

I guess I have ten more months to plot out some alternative method.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


I haven't mentioned much about the fact that I mentor a third grade student for about an hour, once a week. He's a funny kid that requires a lot of patience. When they first assigned me to him, they mentioned the fact that he had gotten in trouble for shoplifting, that he was sneaky but cute. His teacher made a comment that he was having a hard time following directions the first time they are given.

We started out the year by playing Connect 4, and I quickly got bored so I brought in a Scrabble card game and Mancala; we tried out a few different crafty things like working with clay and painting tote bags. He took to wanting to play hide-n-seek in the classroom where we play. There's not a lot of places to hide in a classroom, even if some of the cupboards are empty; and, he's not exactly quiet. I found him easy enough.

I don't know that I'm making much of a difference with him, but he seems to enjoy the hour that we spend together -- even if it is more because he gets out of class than it is anything else.

I haven't figured out a way to make his listening skills better. When I try to talk to him about it, he says, "I'm so good at listening to my teacher, she doesn't even have to ask!" He doesn't like to appear weak or ignorant. For instance, when I brought in Mancala, I was intending to teach him how to play as a way to hone his taking direction skills. He refused to say that he did not know how to play the game, though, I am certain he had never seen it before. When we went bowling a couple months ago, I asked him if he knew the time and the details and he said that yes, he knew everything about it. I got a call from his teacher the next day to say that he did not know anything about it!

Despite all of that, one thing that we have been able to do is increase his social skills -- or, I'm trying to, at least. He mentioned that the kids sometimes makes fun of him, and he doesn't seem to have a lot of friends. So, we started inviting a couple of kids from his classroom to come and play games with us.

The first week was a disaster. We went outside to play basketball. The two kids that we brought were quite good for third graders, and my little mentee couldn't keep up. He figured that out in about 15 seconds, and spent the remainder of the time kicking around snow and ice and wood chips. I had a hard time giving him the necessary attention while keeping an eye on his cohorts. The next week, we played Uno.

Uno is a favorite of mine, because it's a game that I grew up on. Of course, the Armstrongs have their own set of rules, and I had to teach the kids how to play to make it bearable. The two "friends" that were there, were hilarious and cute and caught on to the rules quickly. My mentee was jumping off the walls. He doesn't hold the cards in his hands. He gets frustrated if he doesn't get the "good" cards (i.e. Draw 2 cards, wilds, etc.) and he's a sore loser if he has to draw too many cards. He's never won a hand.

Because he doesn't like to lose, I should have known that he wouldn't want to play again this week. He brought two other little boys, and like the last two, they were cute, funny kids. We played a round of dominoes, and my mentee hated it. Then we played Uno, and he was bouncing around, hiding behind the boxes and not playing by the rules. We only played one, maybe two, hands before he broke out the Play-doh.

He hasn't wanted to play with Play-doh for months, but these two other little guys were so creative, making noses and Shrek ears and all kinds of things that they were all giggling and goofing around. I think it was a pretty positive afternoon.

Picking their "noses".
Next week, I'm insisting that he bring a girl or two, just to make it fair. And hopefully we'll have new games to play with because the program director said that they had purchased some for the school.

Maybe one day, this extra special attention will do some good for this poor kid. Until then, we'll continue to laugh at booger jokes and listening to me say, 1000x, "Come sit down!"

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