Monday, April 23, 2012

Facebook Messages

I happened to open my Facebook messages today and found a whole bunch of random "emails" that I've never seen before. All from random people that don't have pictures, for instance:
Alan B*nder
  • hey there
    hey there Shelli. you look fantastic.
    email me. my emai is sweety@freemailboxonline.com for my personal images.
    make sure to send it there and not through FB. -June 23, 2011
Or this one, sent on Friday:
Faris Al*in
  • how r u?

    Im Faris from UAE

    Studying in Cali State university Long Beach

    I like going to gym, beach,
    soccer, volleyball......

    I love traveling been to: UK,
    greece, Australia, singapore,
    thailand, malaysia, thinking to
    go to Spain and Italy soon.....


    Lets chat
I wonder how many responses they actually get? Is it because I complain about being single too much?


How to Talk to a Single Person

When hanging out with a single person, I understand that it can be difficult. Our state of singleness seems to consume us and we talk of little else (but let's be honest: sometimes you bring it up when you ask if I'm dating someone). It can be a lot like new parents that talk of nothing but their children's poop and sleep schedules -- and I'm sure, just as annoying. (Though, c'mon! Sometimes our date catastrophes and inexperienced views of what married life should be like are entertaining!)

I get that it is annoying when some days we take on that view that we will be single forever. That despite the fact that we know we are awesome and quite a catch, we sound more pessimistic, downtrodden, and deflated of self-esteem. BUT, there are some things that you can say that will pull us right out our funk... and make us want to give you a facer.

Bottom line is: We don't want your pity. We don't want your false promises. And we really don't want to be told that if only we would do/say/be this THEN it will happen. Also, we never ever want to hear that we somehow have it better because we are single.

That pitying tone of, "Awwwwww............Someday it will be your turn" or, "it's obviously not the right time for you" is enough to make me roll my eyes and walk away, but I'll probably be imagining something a lot more violent as I do it.

I also don't want to hear about how you miss your single days.

And I really don't know how to answer you when you ask me why. Why. WHY? How do you expect me to answer that? Oh, I suppose I'm still single because I'm a heartless raunch that is only interested in a guy for his money and flashy sports car. But really, it's probably because I'm thinking about it all the time. And everyone knows that you have to stop thinking about it before anything will really happen. "You just have to give up, and that's when the magic happens."

Reassurance given with a promise that it will happen because "you're pretty enough, I'm sure you'll find someone really soon," is not reassurance. Can you give me a written guarantee on that? Where do I sign? And what do I get when it doesn't happen?

And please, for the love, don't ask, "Have you tried online?" It seems to me that every married person I know has suggested this as the go-to solution to not having a man. Let me tell you about online dating: it's not for everyone. It's creepy and weird, and yes, some people have made great, successful matches from it. But also, some people have married wanted felons and been knocked up by a total strangers who they thought they knew from meeting online. The whole process is inorganic and just because it worked for your cousin's best friend's sister's coworker (or, if it worked for your brother) doesn't mean it will work for me.

That, of course, goes with any and all dating advice... Your story is not my story.

I'm torn about things like party invites, babysitting, and set-ups.

I want to celebrate your birthday, and if that means being the only single person in the room, then I'll suck it up and do it. But don't expect me to want to spend my Friday nights, or even weekday nights, hanging out in a group where I won't get the chance to meet new, single people. Also, I don't mind keeping you company if your husband is out of town, but if that the only time you have to hang out with me, then why are we still friends? I'm not hanging out in the rafters waiting for your phone call just because you're "single" for the night or the weekend.

I'm perfectly happy to babysit your kid(s) if you and the hubster need a night on the town. I am. (And some of you out there haven't been taking advantage of this!) But I know other friends who have been totally taken advantage of because they are single, and siblings or friends just expect them to want to give up their nights to babysit for free because they don't want to pay a babysitter and don't think the single person has anything better to do. Also, I can't do it last minute all the time. I have a life.

Set-ups. They are terrifying and awkward, but they are a lot more natural than online dating. I hear all the time from married friends, "I just wish I knew some normal, single guys for you!" And then there are the ones that have somebody picked out and talk them up, but then nothing ever comes from it because they don't follow through. On the one hand, don't assume that because I'm single and he's single, we're bound to mesh. But on the other hand...

My favorite person to talk to when I'm feeling particularly bad about being single is my friend Roberta. She does it the right way, because she's full of hilarious anecdotes, tells me why I'll one day make a great partner to some lucky man, and let's me talk about all the things I would do if I had a man. I usually hang up the phone with my ego four times its original size.

Bottom line: Mostly, when single people are venting about their lack of romance and relationship, they are really in need of a diversion. You want to know how to talk to a single person?

All we need is a little acknowledgement that our loneliness is justified. Give us a hug. (We don't get these enough!) And help us remember what a catch we really are.



Friday, April 20, 2012

One-Handed Make Out Bandit

I have a topic that I want to blog about, but I don't know how to put it out there without totally slandering myself. Instead, I wrote a five page journal entry about it. And I've sat and discussed it with anyone who will listen to me for five seconds. But somehow, putting it on my blog where anybody can read it, seems a little final and a lot too risky.

So instead, I will tell a story that happened many moons ago. It is the tale of the One-Handed Make Out Bandit. 

Really, the name says it all. Though, you should be warned that this story does not particularly shed the best light on myself...

Over the summer, I went through a very low point in my life that I have mentioned before as my "Moment of Weakness". It was during this moment that I decided I needed to try again my luck at online dating roulette. For several months, nothing really exciting happened. I was propositioned by not one, but THREE guys in wheelchairs, and was about to throw in the towel when I got a very original, very funny sort of message that perfectly intrigued me. It helped that the one or two pictures he had posted also seemed to fall under "my type". 

We emailed back and forth only a couple of times and I really felt like if nothing else, we would be great friends. It was also around this time that I discovered I was doing the whole internet dating thing wrong, and so I agreed rather quickly to meet him at one of his improv comedy shows. During the show, I was impressed with how cute I thought he was and only slightly shocked to notice that he possesses a deformed hand. (He had two working legs, though, so he met the bare minimum requirement.) After the show, we exchanged quick hellos, I re-extended my invite for him to come to a ward munch-n-mingle that I was planning/hosting/commandeering and he attended. It was fun, and quick. 

So now, by the time that we went on a lunch date, we had two quick meetings under our belts and I was feeling much more comfortable because it wasn't some creep I met on the internet. Lunch was excellent. Like, really excellent. We worked close enough to each other that we walked our separate ways, and I called my mom and talked about how nice it was to go on a very fun, normal date.

We went and saw Eurydice at UVU.
I was supposed to leave town on Friday night, but postponed the trip so that I could go to dinner and then attend a very weird play on UVU campus. Again, I was so pleased with how fun and witty he was. He challenged my wit, too, and I felt like I was keeping up with him. He wasn't shy and often talked to the strangers around us, drawing them in to anecdotes and kept me laughing.

And that was the end of the date.... that he had planned. We discussed going to my house and watching a movie, but it was a perfectly blustery night with only a little bit of sprinkles, and I convinced him to go on a walk with me. We headed to Carterville Park and....

...

It was a good night. 

I left town for the weekend and got a total of three texts (I'm guesstimating. The point is, that while he texted me, it was not very much) and then when I got back... nothing.

A week went by. Then two (again, guessing). I got bored one night and suggested another walk, which spawned a texting conversation in which we discussed my upcoming birthday. And then my birthday came and went and finally I got a text that said that he needed to tell me something.

Since I already knew that he wasn't in a wheelchair, I couldn't possibly think of what, after weeks of nothing, he needed to tell me. But, he felt it was necessary to inform me that he had started seeing someone else.

*Shrug.*

And so there you have it. Few people can say that they have been played by a one-handed man. (Though, I guess technically he does have both hands.) But now a few more people can joke with me about the One-Handed Make Out Bandit.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Faith Putty

I can already hear the arguments to this post, but I've decided to post it anyway.

Yesterday in Relief Society we were talking about the importance of sustaining our leaders. I think it is an important lesson. One of the things that my mom made sure to tell me every time I had something negative to say about the way things were being run at church was that "criticizing your leaders is the first road to apostasy" or some such thing.

Here's what I know: I know that Heavenly Father has placed a prophet -- with the same keys and authority that ancient prophets from the Bible held -- on the earth. His name is Thomas S. Monson. I know that Heavenly Father calls leaders to preside over the church in different capacities. From apostles, to area seventy, to stake presidents, bishops, etc. etc. etc. I know that the Lord qualifies the leaders that he calls.

I also know that the men and women that are called are human. They make mistakes. They have their own weird prejudices.

Now, the way that the lesson was taught in RS, yesterday, there were a few quotes that if I had been in the mood to play devil's advocate, I might have raised my hand and done so. But I didn't really see the point, and we ended up going over 10 minutes anyway, so who's to say we'd have ever got out if I had raised my hand. But there was one comment that caught my attention.

A visiting mother of one of the girls in our ward mentioned that we all needed to have our own "faith putty". Because there are times when things don't make sense or we just can't reconcile one thing with another. Those are the times where people who think that logic is the be-all and end-all find a hard time moving forward in the gospel. They get hung up on these little things that they can't explain and can't progress. But the woman in class suggested that we needed to just slap some faith putty and move on. Continue to progress. And then, after a while, when the time is right or we have increased understanding, we can go back and look at these little details that don't quite add up.... yet.

Because I think there are a lot of "not yets" in the gospel. We may not understand everything. We may not be able to reconcile what we want to do personally and what we are being told to do. God has given us our freedom to choose and our judgment to use for our own sakes, but I don't think we should ever let ourselves get hung up on something we don't understand or where logic doesn't make enough sense. There are a lot of areas in our lives where we have to apply our faith putty and know that God will give us the answers we seek at a later time. We can't go through life thinking that we'll never have to practice faith. And sometimes it will be a little bit of blind faith -- but I don't think that that is a detriment to us. I think it will only bring increased blessings later.

This Weekend

Since Bethany's Birthday fell on a Tuesday night, we pushed celebrations back until Friday. Then we loaded up and headed to Trafalga where we played a rousing game of mini-golf in chilly temperatures, hit some of the arcade games (Tommy impressed everyone with the highest boxing score -- he is stronger than all the middle school students in Lehi!) and Bethany and I tried a few laps on the Go-Karts.

Happy Birthday, Bethany!
 The Go-Karts were kind of silly, because there were only two of them. I had the double-seater and decided to let this kid in line double up with me -- and he wanted to drive. So I let him. I thought it was pretty magnanimous of me, but he didn't even say thank you or anything.

After the Go-Karts, we finished playing some arcade games and Bethany cashed in her tickets for friendship bracelets. We went to Cold Stone and had a brownie and then came home and went to bed!

Saturday I woke up periodically, but decided to get out of bed when I noticed that I had received a text from the Tommy Brittain Gun Club saying that we were meeting in an hour.

Tommy Brittan Gun Club
The scope on the handgun was dead, so I spent a lot of time shooting the shotguns this time around. I did a lot better than the last time -- I even had some of the first shots with those blasted guns. It was really, really fun, as usual!

Afterwards, I went and got Thai with a friend and we watched The Hunger Games. I think it is better the second time 'round. And then I went home and started reading the book again. So. Good. I stayed up way too late last night finishing it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Earthquake Strategies

Today in our office meeting, my boss told us that we needed to come up with an evacuation/strategy plan for if we were to experience a major earthquake while we are in the office. I sit outside the conference room during our meetings so I can answer the phone, but he said my name so I stood in the doorway and listened as they plotted out how they would leap from the windows and run out the door in four seconds flat.

The main topic of discussion was how to contact their families, since they all have wives and children who would, of course, be wondering about them. And I'd imagine that if something drastic were to happen, they would all want to get to their families as quickly as possible. I-15 would be a parking lot, and so there was some talk about taking railroad tracks and such down to Payson and Spanish Fork where the majority of them live.

Since Kevin included me when he said that we should know what we are doing, I thought of what I would need to do. Since I wouldn't really have anyone that I would be desperate to seek out (i.e. husband, children, etc.) I imagined all sorts of leisurely time while the rest of my world would be surrounded with chaos, panic, and a sense of urgency. In theory, if I were left unharmed, I could start walking back towards my apartment and maybe stop to administer my rudimentary first aid to any of those who had been hurt.

Kevin said that it was proven that though phone calls during catastrophe don't always go through, but text messages do; so I imagine that I would shoot off a quick text to my parents who would be tucked safely away in Ohio and would probably be wondering about me (if they had heard on the news what happened) and then... I guess I would want to know what happened to the few possessions I have at my apartment. If my car were crushed by trees, I only live some 2.5 miles away from work, so I could walk that easily enough -- provided there weren't some gaping hole or crack formed from the earthquake.

So what do I need to do if there is a giant earthquake in Utah? I suppose I ought to just survive it. And then... nothing.

Maybe I will get some water bottles and put them in my car, so I have access to those at least.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

His Grace is Sufficient



Today in Sacrament Meeting the Bishop quoted from a devotional given by Brad Wilcox at BYU last year. The whole thing is amazingly profound, and I would beg that you click this link and read it in its entirety. Trust me, you want to.

But today is Easter, and so we focus on the Atonement and the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Many people, including members of the Church, that don't understand the Atonement. We don't understand what exactly is required of us, and think that it is definitely more than we are giving and probably even more than we think is possible to give. Many people think that we don't believe that we are saved by grace.

I have born-again Christian friends who say to me, “You Mormons are trying to earn your way to heaven.” 
I say, “No, we are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it (see D&C 78:7). We are practicing for it.” 
They ask me, “Have you been saved by grace?” 
I answer, “Yes. Absolutely, totally, completely, thankfully—yes!”
I don't think I have ever thought of it that way, but I have been taught that those that aren't prepared for Heaven won't want to be there. They won't feel comfortable in a place where they haven't striven to belong.

I think the main point of the article that really hit home for me, was that so many people believe that the Church is exclusive. That we somehow claim all the rights to heaven and that it is impossible for others to make it. But the Atonement is completed. Christ has already paid for everyone's sins. So everyone is entitled and welcomed to come to Christ.* We are all going to be resurrected. We are all beloved sons and daughters of God and he wants us back.
In the past I had a picture in my mind of what the final judgment would be like, and it went something like this: Jesus standing there with a clipboard and Brad standing on the other side of the room nervously looking at Jesus. 
Jesus checks His clipboard and says, “Oh, shoot, Brad. You missed it by two points.”
Brad begs Jesus, “Please, check the essay question one more time! There have to be two points you can squeeze out of that essay.” That’s how I always saw it. 
But the older I get, and the more I understand this wonderful plan of redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, “Let me stay.” No, he will probably be saying, “Get me out of here!” Knowing Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.”

I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. For the knowledge that he lives; he knows me personally; he loves me unconditionally.


*It should be understood that we believe that there are necessary saving ordinances and that it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that holds the restored priesthood power to act in the name of Jesus Christ and to perform these ordinances as Christ directed when he was on the earth. 

**READ THE TALK!!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

90-day Fitness

While I was home for Christmas, I made a pretty big decision. It took me almost my whole Christmas break to decide whether or not I wanted to commit to 90 days of doing something that I would inevitably hate, and cost a pretty penny to boot.

A friend of mine was sponsoring a 90-fitness challenge. She would train us three times a week; provide us with tips and tricks for managing our weight, getting stronger, and general health for our bodies; and take a lot of pictures to monitor our progress. I was nervous about starting, but it's Alaina... and she's pretty much the nicest trainer anyone could ever have.

Over the past three months, I have to admit that I was wishy-washy on the diet. I did increase my vegetable intake, and I made an semi-effort to keep my carb intake to a strictly after workout comsumption... But I have felt myself getting stronger. Instead of dreading the workouts, I was often happy to have the time come when I would grab my gym bag and change as quickly as I could at the bathroom at work and head off to meet Alaina and Janessa (my partner in crime, my competition and quickly my friend during my workouts).

I started the three months with two goals: to see some progress, and to enjoy what I was doing.

I am happy to say that I accomplished both.

There were certain workouts that I hated. But mostly, I hated them because they were challenging and hard, and even though I didn't want to do them, they were the exercises where I felt the most progress. I still can't do a pull-up. I have lost any significant amount of weight, either. (Ok, 13-lbs isn't nothing, but...) But I feel stronger. A lot stronger.

I think the most surprising thing of all: I'm devastated that it is over.

There are several things that I absolutely loved about working out with Alaina.

  • She's pretty much the nicest person ever. But don't let that fool you. She doesn't let you get away with doing half-baked work-outs. She encourages you to go heavier, harder, and longer. 
  • She is very knowledgeable. I have terrible knees, so that meant that instead of squats, she had to come up with an invariable amount of exercises that worked the same muscle groups but didn't make my knees scream in protest.
  • She listens to all your complaints, and then still expects you to do it. 
  • The workouts are varied. We never did the same things two weeks in a row. I never knew what to expect. They level in difficulty. They level in how much fun I had doing them.
  • She's hardcore. She had surgery halfway through our 90-days, and refused to be laid up. She showed us up in her cast everyday.
I think my favorite things of the whole workout were the medicine balls. We didn't get to use them often because there was often a class going at 6 PM, which is when I trained. But! I loved them. They hurt and were so fun! 

Alaina has a blog that you can read here: http://alainawoodfitness.blogspot.com/
You can also find her on Facebook and on Youtube.
Now that it's come to an end, I've got to quickly come up with what I'm going to do to replace it. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cakes

Last month, my good friend and fellow FTC member and I took a Cake Decorating 101 (or, Wilton's Cake Decorating Class, Level 1) through UVU's Community Education program.

We were fairly excited about the prospect of discovering some amazing, untapped, innate skill that when put to use would make us millions of dollars when we opened our own bakery. Then, we tried to frost our cakes. Even the crumb coat was a pain in the butt, and over four weeks, we decided that this was maybe not our calling.

We did have fun. In fact, I think the class voted us as those that had the most fun. (Although, that is probably more because we sat removed from the rest of our class mocking them instead of joining their very friendly, very strange all-inclusive group.) And while they didn't know that we were often laughing at them, they heard a lot of snickering and giggling and assumed we were having a good time.

The first cake, we showed everyone up with ability to do cute designs and excellent borders. Our cakes were round. And we even sliced them apart and put in a very sugary filling. Most people who ate the cake were not so impressed with the frosting (Wilton frosting is disgusting) and the filling made the cake extra sugary.

The next week, we practiced on cupcakes, and got bored.... or.... something, and they turned out like this:


But the last class was a disaster. The cakes cooked too hot (my conjecture) and didn't come out of the pan. We tried to glue all the pieces together, but we were using frosting that was much too heavy. We didn't quite have enough frosting, so we made do. In the end, we had lopsided, non-circle cakes. Both of us were in bad moods.

We learned how to make roses and do writing in our last class. By the end, all the other ladies were working hard on their cakes to make them look presentable and classy. Meghan and I had given up from the beginning. They ended up looking something like this:



Pure magic. One of the tricks that I learned in this class was to use a Hersey kiss as the center of the roses. I couldn't believe how much EASIER it made making those blasted flowers.


In the end, Meghan and I learned that we weren't really cut out for the grunt work of cake decorating, i.e., the crumb coat and frosting of the cake; we weren't cut out for the real creativity of the whole thing; and we definitely weren't really cut out for the detail work.

Don't hold your breath for a Pottsie Bakery to turn up any time soon.

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