Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Car Quandary

K will be getting his driver's license on April 5th (not like we're counting the days or anything). He has expressed a distinct dislike for driving a manual transmission car. (Another topic entirely. People, men in particular, should have in their list of skills the ability to drive a stick. But, whatever.)

We have two vehicles, a Tacoma truck (auto) and an Acura RSX (manual). K has been driving the truck whenever we insist that he practices driving. He does just fine, very well in fact, but it is not going to be practical to have that be his main source of transportation when he can drive solo. We're going to get him a sturdy, used car, most likely a 4-door Honda or Toyota sedan.

So that has made me think about trading the Acura in sometime this spring for something fun for me to drive. I have narrowed the list down to three cars, as you may have noticed by my sidebar poll. The options are: Volvo C30, Lexus IS 250 and the Mini Cooper S. I did not include the Porsche Cayman or 911, because I'm just not at the point where I wouldn't feel guilty about spending that much for a car (even though the Cayman can be had used for about half the cost of a 911--it's still a lot of money, and I was always feeling guilty about the Lexus 400h).

Here are my thoughts so far:

Volvo C30


Twihards may recognize this as Edward's car in Twilight. Well, I saw it first, so there! It's fun to drive, cute, has good gas mileage, is relatively inexpensive, very safe (it's a Volvo, after all), and there aren't 50 of them in the MD parking lot already.

Mini Cooper S



Well, what can I say? The Mini is adorable, fun to drive, has great resale value, I could buy a used one in good condition if I wanted to, and J would be ecstatic (but she can't drive a stick, either!). However, they are ubiquitous, and that's the main thing that puts me off about them. If I did get one, I would pick the non-metallic blue.

Lexus IS 250



This is a perfectly attractive sedan, and I loved my other Lexus. It would have both heated and cooled seats, probably room for all 5 of us, if we ever needed to travel all together and didn't want to use the truck. It comes in dark blue, which I think is quite nice. I think it would be fun to drive. However, the thing I worry about is that it would be sort-of "Mumsy", you know--mature, stolid. If we get another 4-door sedan for K to drive, we could always take that if we needed a sedan. As much as I love the luxuries in the Lexus, I'm not completely sure that I need to spend the $10K more than the Mini or Volvo.

Rowdy says, "You owe it to yourself to at least look at the Subaru Impreza WRX". Hmmm...I think that it's more that he would like one. They're used as rally cars. They come in the four-door model, and I'm sure that they're snappy to drive. But I don't like the scoupe on the front or the spoiler on the back. I'll have to test-drive one just to see what they're like. You never know, I might like it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here In Utah...

We took our time driving up to Salt Lake, staying overnight in St. George. T, my FIL, works for a resort-management company, and he reserved a lovely condo for us just outside of town.

It was rainy, then snowy on the drive up to Salt Lake. Hooray for our truck! We were able to negotiate the different conditions without any trouble.

Tuesday night, we just hung around at T and L's house, playing with Beelzebrock (our new name for the littlest McLaughlin) and B-rad.

J and M came up from Lehi. M and some friends celebrated their last day of school before the break by wearing women's thongs over their pants. They made it through their first two classes before they had to take them off. I think that was pretty hilarious.

R and I took his sister, Tory, up to Brighton to snowboard. It was my best boarding day ever. I only fell off the lift once, and I even taught T and another random lady I rode up the lift with how to get off without falling. R got me to go up the Majestic lift with him. I had to stop several times on the way down the run because my quads were so tired. I need to stand up more and not keep my knees so bent, apparently.

And then last night, we watched the Poinsettia Bowl. Not that I'm that much of a Utes fan, but it was still good to see a Mountain West team clobber their opponent.

Today is opening presents with the kids in the morning, Jamie and Amy and their family arrive later today, and Molly and Craig and their kids should roll up about midnight. I'm going to try to stay away from all of the treats at T and L's house. Yesterday, I was not at all successful in doing that.

Merry Christmas to all! Hope your holidays are wonderful and filled with love.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Traditional Christmas Adwenture, Huzzah!

We're headed up to Utah today to spend Christmas with the Bricco clan. This is our year to have the kids for Christmas, and all of R's siblings will be at his parents' in Taylorsville. I have this week off, so we're getting on the road in just a few hours. We'll stop in St. George tonight, then continue up to SLC tomorrow. Our sweet friend, Amber, works in the hospitality industry and helped us out with a great deal on a hotel room for the week. With a total of four kids, their spouses and twelve grandkids (and one on the way), T and L's house would be bursting at the seams if we were all staying there.

When we go on long car trips, we like to listen to audio books. A few of our favorites have been: The Hobbit, Guests of the Ayatollah (about the Iran hostages), The Bin Ladens and The Devil Under the Microscope (the story of the discovery of penicillin). We also like to listen to old radio programs and the comedy channels on satellite radio.

The title of this post is from Blackadder's Christmas Carol. Here's a snippet of it, courtesy of YouTube. The quote in question comes at around the 4:40 mark.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I have been busy...

as I'm sure you all have. Here's a rundown of what I've been up to:

12/2--Attending the world premiere of "Think Global, Race Local". We were told to dress up, so we did. I wore an LBD from Target (about $20), a fabulous faux fir jacket from Forever 21 ($37.50) and jazzed it up with a fancy ring from FXXI ($5.90). Handsome date--priceless!

12/3--RS Christmas party
12/5--California Grappling Championships
12/6--church, tithing settlement, hanging with the Wildes and playing Rock Band for the first time. Meh. I'd rather learn how to play instruments for real.
12/7--My return to the ballet world. It had been 12 years since I last took class (actually, maybe longer), so I decided to go to "Absolute Beginners". Turns out, that class was combined with a beginner/intermediate class. It ended up being more like an advanced beginner level. I LOVED it, and I was able to keep up okay. It made me happy enough that
12/8--found me back in ballet class again. This was definitely more of an intermediate class. My mind knows what to do, but my body still needs some time to figure it out again. At the end of class, I told the teacher that I hadn't taken class for 12 years. He said, "Really? Wow! You did really well today. You're going to be sore tomorrow, though." Actually, I did need to ice my hip when I got home and took a vicodin before bed, but I didn't feel all that bad the next day.
12/9--Visiting Teaching! My companion, Lenora, and I got all of our visits done!!
12/10--Scouts meeting
12/11--work a normal workday, then 5p-7p shift, then 7p-7a
12/12--then it's straight to Advanced Cardiac Life Support class from 7:45 to 4:30, home, grocery shopping, taking a BLS course online, spending time with the fam, finally going to bed at 9:30 p.
12/13--finish ACLS, then home for a nap. Rowdy made his famous (in our house anyway) homemade chicken pot pie, and the missionaries came over for dinner.

Interspersed in that was lots of Christmas treat making. I've made Swedish shortbread cookies, gingersnaps, Heath bars and Swedish toffee to give as gifts. Rowdy has made some amazing smoked salmon and beef jerky.

Heath Bars

...or, as I've been calling it, "Christmas Crack".

AmyJo Jacobson, my dancing pal from South Carolina, taught me this easy and delicious recipe for homemade Heath bars. Since I can't see a really reasonable way to mail all y'all some, I'll give you the recipe here, and you can make your own. Not as fun as getting a care package, but still...

Ingredients:

1 c. butter
1 c. light brown sugar
saltines
milk chocolate chips
nuts, such as sliced almonds, if desired

1) Preheat oven to 400F.
2) Line a jelly roll pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, then line the pan with saltines. Set aside.
3) In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar. Heat to boiling, and let boil for four minutes, stirring constantly.

4) Pour the toffee mixture over the saltines, and bake at 400 degrees for five minutes.

5) Cover the toffee and crackers with milk chocolate. Let melt for two minutes. Spread the melted chocolate over the toffee.


6) If desired, sprinkle chopped nuts over the chocolate. Touch the nuts into the chocolate.


7) Let the candy sit until the pan is cool-enough to place in the freezer. Freeze until set.
8) Break the toffee into irregular pieces, like peanut brittle.

9) Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Medalists

Rowdy and Keiler competed in the California State Submission Grappling Championships last Saturday. Rowdy worked very hard to prepare, including losing 9 pounds in about a week. Keiler, on the other hand, was just there to have his first Brazilian jiujitsu competition experience. He's only been consistently taking class for four months, after all.

So, guess who brought home the gold? Yep--KRB! What a proud moment for all of us!

Sadly, Rowdy came up against a guy who happened to know how to expose and capitalize on his weaknesses. It was best 2-out-of-3, and R came up short this time. But, no matter! He won the silver all the same and learned some good lessons.

Looking relaxed beforehand

Discussing strategy

K and his instructor, Alex Brandao

Awwww!


The super-proud parents




And then he advanced to yellow belt the following Monday

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shameless Promotion Division Here At Rad Life Plaza

My very lovely and talented younger sister, Karen, has written a beautiful Christmas song and recorded it with her group, Bobtown. Check it out here. Feel free to buy their album when it comes out. Buy several, so you can keep one and give the rest as gifts.

Ben McAdams, who many of you know, has announced his candidacy for the Utah State Senate seat vacated by Scott McCoy. He is intelligent, compassionate, dedicated, fair-minded and capable. District 2 will be very fortunate to have him as their senator. Senator McCoy's replacement will be decided by delegates, but when you have the opportunity to vote for Ben McAdams for public office (and I hope that we all will have that opportunity some day), he will be worthy of your support.

And finally, another of my New York friends, Evan Smith, has returned to the live music scene (apart from playing the organ in church). His band, OnSeven, performed tonight. I checked out their MySpace page and was really impressed.

Monday, November 30, 2009

And on the 30th day, she rested.

Grateful for:

Leslie, Amberly's "sort-of cousin" who started it all, Amberly for promoting the Gratitude Project, and all of the people who accepted the challenge and gave me so much food for thought and insights over the last month.

Workdays that go smoothly. I am 100% sure that Heavenly Father loves my patients and wants to bless them in they ways they need.

Conference talks that keep popping into my mind at opportune times.

The opportunity to work extra this month and next. Overnight shifts aren't very fun while I'm doing them (particularly between about 2 and 6 am), but it's so nice when payday rolls around.

Missionary letters that are forwarded to me each Monday. They are so full of enthusiasm, testimony, encouragement and faith. I'm strengthened by their example, and I know the people they're teaching are, too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Two more days of gratitude

not really...I will still be grateful, even if I'm not blogging about it.

Today's list:
1. Having Kilo come home and getting to see J and M for a little bit yesterday.
2. A comfortable bed to lie in when I'm sick.
3. Netflix.
4. Substituting in the Nursery. Those kids were so cute and amazingly quiet.
5. Turtlenecks when it's cold.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rainy Day Grateful

We had the first significant rain in weeks and weeks and weeks today. I love rain, we needed it, and I am so grateful for it.

Today was the funeral for a very sweet sister in our ward. She was 88 years old. Her posterity half-filled the chapel, and friends and other family filled and overflowed the rest.

She was such a lovely person. One of our first weeks in the ward, she introduced herself and welcomed us into the ward. Her friendship was very genuine. A little over a year ago, she had a stroke. Her short-term memory was impaired, but her memory of hymns and gospel principles was solid. She could recite all 13 articles of faith, and she could bear her testimony with surety. Those things were a part of her, and it was obvious in how she lived her live and how she raised her family.

I am grateful for the Plan of Happiness, that Heavenly Father sent His son to earth, that Christ lived and died for us, and that through the Atonement, we can repent and return to our Father.

I'm grateful for the restoration of the Gospel, that the Priesthood was restored, that we can make covenants that bring us closer to God and give us the chance to be with our families forever.

I'm grateful for the good examples I see all around me of people who love the Lord and serve others.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Gratefuls

1. My education and training. The things I do at work are often life-altering (usually in a good way), but sometimes procedures are life-saving. Today, one of my procedures definitely fell into the latter category, and things went very well.
2. Going to the movies with my sweetie. We saw "The Fantastic Mr. Fox". It was good, but keep in mind that it may be slow-moving for small children.
3. Leftovers! I made an extra-big turkey in order to have leftovers.
4. Beverly, one of my "private patients". I see her every Friday. She has such a positive, pleasant way about her.
5. Finding something new. I happened on Schott's Vocab in the NYTimes today. Very entertaining, if you like playing with words.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

1. Amy's three things she was grateful for included how well we all get along as a family. I totally agree. It's a blessing to be able to enjoy your family members, and I'm grateful for that. We've had a great time with Jamie and Amy and their kids. I'll miss them, and I'm glad that we'll get to see them at Christmastime.
2. My computer was totally acting up this morning. I'm grateful that it came back to life. Even though it's almost six years old, I'm not ready to get a new one.
3. I was a little inattentive when it came to the turkey today. Fortunately, it's better to be lucky than good, and it turned out wonderfully. I'm grateful that our dinner was a success.
4. The KitchenAid did its magic on the roll dough. I'm grateful that I could let go of my guilt feeling about buying it.
5. We're good friends with a family where the mom is an intern and had to work today, and the dad had sinus surgery two days ago. Their daughters had Thanksgiving dinner with us. I'm grateful that we had such abundance that we could share our dinner with the girls and send them home with lots of leftovers for their mom and dad. I'm also grateful that the we and the girls (aged 9 and 12) get along so well and have fun together.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sexiest Man Alive

R: Why did they pick Johnny Depp? Would you leave your children with him?
D: There's just something about Johnny Depp. Besides, one of the sexy things about him is that he is a really good dad.

No, in my opinion, the true sexiest man alive is this guy:


I'm grateful that he knows how to put himself together.


I'm grateful that he is healthy and strong.


I'm grateful that he loves his kids so much and is a fun dad.




I'm grateful that he's a tough competitor.




I'm grateful he married me four years ago today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Consumer Guilt

I'm going to buy a KitchenAid mixer tomorrow on my lunch hour. I have to admit that I feel somewhat guilty about making this purchase, though I have a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond, which will bring the price down to what Kohl's is offering as a sale price, and it's not like we will suffer financially because of it.

The thing is, I have a perfectly okay stand mixer. I say perfectly okay, because it runs, it has all of its parts, and it handles basic functions. But I've had it for probably 15 years already. It was a hand-me-down from my friend, AmyJo, who received it as a hand-me-down from her grandmother, who probably had the mixer for 10 years before AmyJo got it, and AmyJo probably had it for five years before she gave it to me. So the mixer is most likely 30 years old.

It doesn't have a dough hook, which is its only negative, really. Since I've been making bread more often, I think that it would be a handy thing to have. And you can get lots of fancy attachments, like juicers and ice cream makers, to stick on the KitchenAid.

I'm worried that I'll buy it and not use it enough to justify the purchase. I also feel wasteful, but I won't just throw the mixer away. I'll give it to the Salvation Army or something. And I guess that I'm being a good American and boosting the economy with my $230 purchase. And I think they're made in America. So, I shouldn't feel that guilty, right?

Jinx!

So I was driving in the car with Rowdy today and we were listening to a comedy channel on XM. The comic was doing a bit about how no wedding present is for the man. And as he listed off gifts and commented on them, Rowdy and comic said in unison, "Aw look! It's a ladle!" We both busted up laughing until Rowdy said that his stomach hurt. The funniest part was that R had never heard that bit before. He just knew what would be a completely unexciting wedding present for a man.

Yeah. It was funny. Maybe you had to be there. Or be a man.

24 hours of gratitude

Nah, I don't have the energy to think of things for that.
1) I am grateful to have a bed that is relatively comfortable and comes furnished with a hot redhead.
2) Running, hot water! Yay! What a wonderful thing to be living in a time and place where I can just step into the shower and be warm. I would not have been a good pioneer.
3) Brazilian Fruit Bowls. Bananas, mango, pineapple, coconut, strawberries, yogurt and acai.
4) Work ran a little late, as it does, and I had to run off to presidency meeting without lunch. I am grateful for the ability to get through everything though I really felt like I was running on fumes the whole time. Things always seem to run smoothly and a lot gets done in our meetings, thanks to our organized president. Plus I think that we all work hard to be in tune so that things just flow.
5) Facebook chat. I talked to my SIL, Molly, for a little bit last night. That was fun.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Grateful for...

1) Rowdifornia burritos--like a California burrito, but with baked yam fries instead of french fries.
2) Celestial help at work today. It was a crazy day, but it could have been crazier.
3) The Felt 35 women who are my oldest friends outside of my family and great role models.
4) Oliva. Every other Monday, I walk into a fresh-smelling, tidy and clean home with sparkling bathrooms and a grime-free stovetop.
5) My scooter, Scootie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 22

My heart is full of gratitude today for:

1) Jamie--Rowdy's brother, my BIL. A stalwart husband and father and as cool as you would expect a Bricco to be (which is mighty cool).
2) Amy--Jamie's lovely wife. Chic, sweet, and fleet! She's that kind of girl who throws on jeans and a tshirt and looks like a million dollars.
3) Jaiden--the raddest 9yo boy I know. He rocks the 'hawk. I love how even-tempered and what a good brother he is.
4) Thaiya--7 yo gymnast and dancer extraordinaire. How can you resist her big brown eyes and "I love you very much"?
5) Jetrin--perpetual motion machine, giggle box and charmer. My favorite almost-2 yo.

Jamie, Amy and Co. arrived yesterday from Denver. They agreed to watch the fights with us at the Wildes last night, which was pretty sweet. They're off to The Magic Kingdom for two days, then back to SD for Thanksgiving. I'm glad they can spend some time with us. We just don't get to see them often enough.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

21st Century Gratitude

Here are five things that have been part of my life in the 21st Century that I'm particularly grateful for:

1) Rowdy. I will post more about him next week, but he is definitely the best thing to happen to me in the 21st century.
2) A subset of that blessing is having J, K and M in my life. I knew that Heavenly Father would come through somehow on my having an opportunity to be a mother.
3) Internship,residency and fellowship. Not every moment of those SIX YEARS was filled with joy, but I am so grateful to have had that chance. It opened many doors for me.
4) Ending up in New York for the first half of the first decade of the century. I was dubious at first, but it was the best place for me to be at the time. It was the embodiment of Nephi's statement, that Nettie reminded me of when I really needed it: I know that (God) loveth his children; nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things.
5) And then, here I am in beautiful San Diego. If I hadn't come to California, I wouldn't have ended up with Rowdy. I have a job that I enjoy with people I like spending time with, our neighborhood is pleasant, our ward is truly a ward family to us, and we've been able to do some fun things here. And did I say that it is bee-you-tee-ful here?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Today's List

1. My scooter. It gets me where I need to go economically.
2. A restful evening.
3. My thoughtful husband.
4. Clean drinking water.
5. Computers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ni'm I'neteen*

plus a story from Vietnam with pictures!

Rowdy and I took a cooking class in Hanoi at our hotel. Our instructor was Nguyen Thanh Van, the Assistant to the Executive Chef at the Hotel Metropole. She was delightful. Our first stop was the outdoor market in the Old Quarter. It was crazy and chaotic--lots of live animals, baskets of produce, people and mopeds everywhere.

Then it was back to the schoolroom in the hotel's Spices Garden restaurant. Thanh taught us how to make Vietnamese banana flower salad, deep-fried spring rolls, marinated pork grilled in bamboo, grilled chicken skewers with lemon leaves, steamed fish with beer and herbs and sauteed pumpkin branches with garlic.

Of course we were able to taste everything, and everything was delicious. We both received goody bags with an apron, cooking chopsticks, a wire holder for barbecuing, spring roll papers, vermicelli, black mushrooms and all of the recipes for our day's dishes.

And then, we were able to have an all-you-can-eat lunch in Spices Garden! It was heavenly! We had snail soup, and even that was delicious.

Today, R, K and I made banana flower salad and shrimp spring rolls. We need practice to make things look prettier, but everything was still delicious.

Today, I'm grateful for:

1) The cooperation and ease with which R, K and I worked together in the kitchen. I love my boys (including the one that's not here and our girl, of course!).
2) The opportunity to travel and see the beautiful, wide world and the interesting people who live on this earth with me.
3) Patience. It's something that I have struggled so hard to gain.
4) 30 Rock.
5) Book club tonight at Liz's with her, the Amys, Marilyn, Juli and Kathy. You don't have to have read the book to come to our club. We have a good discussion, but it mostly is about getting together and catching up.
6) SWBH, who will know immediately where I got the title of this post. (It's from The Muppet Frog Prince.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On on the 18th day, she posted

Let me tell you how grateful I am for:

1) Heavenly Father making our bodies so they metabolize acetaminophen and ibuprofen differently. That way, I can alternate them when Aunt Irma comes to visit and I still have to function at work. The first two hours of work were horrid until all of the pain relief kicked in.
2) A co-worker with a fridge full of Diet Coke that he's willing to share. There's nothing like it to help me get through four hours of reading ultrasound.
3) The power of prayer and the answers that came when needed. It was a struggly kind of afternoon.
4) Periodical bonanza this week! Real Simple, Cooking Light and Saveur magazines and the Boden and Tiffany catalogs. I marked probably 20 recipes in CL, picked out a turkey recipe from Saveur and got some ideas for homemade Christmas gifts from RS. Tiffany has some darling stuff, but I have a bowl full of jewelry that I don't even wear. If I could, I would fill my closet with Boden. Their clothing is well-made, cute and fits well. It's fun to snuggle up on the couch with magazines and catalogs.
5) Amber and her generous sharing of hotel perks as well as her Nutella cheesecake. People will want to stay in our hotel with us over Christmas. As soon as I get the recipe for the cheesecake, I'll pass it along.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What day it is again? I've lost track.

So tired, but also grateful for

1. A good dentist appointment for R. He's the only one of the three of us who didn't reach and exceed the deductible. K's first round of fillings seemed to go well, too.
2. The Madagascar Christmas special. We're watching it now and having a very good time.
3. Abundance, including leftovers on a day when I just couldn't face figuring out what to make for dinner.
4. Having to think about gratitude daily, so when I'm exhausted and annoyed and frustrated I can stop and remember to be grateful that I can help someone who really needs me, that I work with people who are doing the best I can, and those thoughts help me keep it together and behave more kindly to others.
5. My big sister and her example of giving today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A couple of things to add...

I just read Amberly and Jaime's posts for today, and I thought of two things I wanted to add...

1) Not to be bandying about the sacred, but I was told in a blessing once that I should always be grateful for the things I have and that I would find many rich blessings in just being grateful. I have really gained a testimony of this in my life, and there have been tiny, tender mercies given not only in my life but obviously in that of all of us who are part of what I call The Gratitude Project.

Yesterday, R turned to me in church and said, "I just realized that I will only be able to spend two days with Jamie and Amy when they're here." So I said, "Well, be grateful that you will have those two days with them. We haven't seen them in ages." And then the thought came to me, and I feel like it was inspiration gained from being grateful, "Honey, why don't you just drive up and spend a day in Disneyland with them?" Okay, maybe that would have been obvious to others, but our minds weren't open to thinking about options until we were grateful just for the fact that we would have a few days with family we never get to see.

2) Jaime mentioned that she was grateful for how things sometimes don't go according to plan. We had that experience here in K's life today. K had been planning for a couple of weeks to try out for the wrestling team. The tryout was going to be a 5-mile run, which he could've done fairly easily. However, because of certain vagaries of his school's schedule, he ended up having to run in the gym, do a bunch of calisthenics, and then do some wrestling drills. In the middle of the drills, it became apparent to him that being in wrestling would interfere with jiujitsu. So he decided not to join the wrestling team. If he had been able to just do the run, he would've been on the team before he realized that he wouldn't be able to participate in the sport he really likes and has a lot of talent in. So what might have been a let-down ended up being a positive experience. Where he was unsure about competing in an upcoming tournament, now I think he's actually going to do it.

Sweet Sixteenth

Today, I am grateful for:

1) A good dentist to take care of my family's considerable dental needs.
2) Dental insurance.
3) Being on call. Maybe I will be able to work enough to cover the part our deductible does not cover the NINE fillings for a certain young man who has had particularly poor dental hygiene up until now and hopefully has learned his lesson.
4) Dental floss, toothbrushes and prescription toothpaste. Yes, prescription-strength toothpaste.
5) The eventual empathy I'll be able to muster up from my prior experiences having dental issues and being a stubborn teenager.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Gratitude Project, Days 14 and 15

Somehow, the day got away from me yesterday, and I never had time to post.

Yesterday's Gratitude List:

1. Being friends with a family who shares some common interests, particularly (and unusually) MMA. It's always fun to watch the fights with the Wildes.
2. Beautiful San Diego weather.
3. The energy to run/walk (yep, being honest here) for an hour and then serendipitously ending up at a Pilates floor class for 40 minutes.
4. The wisdom to know when a sale is a bargain, or if it is better just not to buy anything.
5. Hot showers

The theme for Sacrament Meeting today was, it should not surprise you, Gratitude. One of the speakers said, "Gratitude is like gravity; it's not just a good idea--it's the law." He also took some of his text from a talk by President Faust, who mentioned that two things he was grateful for were gentle, sweet-smelling soap and oatmeal.

One of the group of bloggers whose Gratitude list I'm following mentioned a couple of days ago that she thought her previous day's list was "lame" because she said she was grateful for windshield wipers and crayons. Well, if President Faust could say over the pulpit that he was grateful for soap and oatmeal, no one should feel bad that they are grateful for such seemingly-mundane things as windshield wipers and crayons. They make our lives better and really can be a blessing at times.

So for today:

1. A good son who made gnocci with tomato sauce for lunch. (Not from scratch of course; that would be quite the feat.)
2. My sisters in the Relief Society. The more I know them, the more I love them.
3. Parents who taught me to say "thank you". I don't remember it being stressed particularly, but I think that Mom and Dad must have taught by example. R, K and I thank each other for little things all the time, and it really helps us to have the Spirit in our home.
4. The opportunity to take the Sacrament.
5. The priesthood. I'm grateful to have it in our home. Tonight is Priesthood Preview. It's the third year in a row that I get to attend. The speakers always present something that gives me new insight into some aspect of the priesthood.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grateful the Thirteenth

1. Thankfully, tomorrow is a chance to reset, renew, and recharge. Too much of the wrong kinds of food today and not enough exercise this week.
2. Penny and Aaron had a baby girl yesterday! I'm grateful that all went well, and they have their sweet little Sandi with them.
3. We thought that Keiler was going to get a promotion from white to yellow belt at jiujitsu today. I'm grateful that I have a good support staff at work and we work well together, so that I could get out of work in time to run over and watch the end of his class. He didn't get promoted today, but it was fun to watch him.
4. So I'm grateful for how jiujitsu has helped Keiler to blossom.
5. I'm grateful for the love of reading that my mom instilled in me. She taught us how to read, as I recall, mainly by reading to us. Our dad read to us also. He especially loved reading Dr. Suess books to us. But Mom read us chapter books that were her favorite as a girl, like The Secret Garden.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On the twelfth day of gratitude...

Two blogs filled me with joy today and made me grateful for:

1. The internet
2. The gospel and how it brings joy and peace to our lives
3. The way that "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass"
4. Marvelous missionaries who are serving with honor and dedication and being great examples



The blogs are:

Developmental Delays, written by my friend Linda's niece-in-law. Her first child had a severe genetic disorder and wasn't expected to live more than a few minutes, if at all. But she lived until she was almost four years old, and her life was pretty remarkable.

and

Sorella Mallory Hansen. This marvelous sister missionary is Amberly's cousin. What a fireball! She is serving in the Italy Rome Mission (lucky), and she is tearing it up! Her posts are entertaining and inspiring.

I highly recommend checking out those two sites. Go do it now. I'll wait.

As part of my calling, I am a Unit Commissioner for the Cub Scouts in my Stake. Yeah, I have no idea what that means or what I'm supposed to do. I went to the monthly meeting tonight, and I feel even more at a loss. But it was really neat that the meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance. I probably haven't said the Pledge since I visited a DAR meeting when I was in med school, hoping for a scholarship. My patriotic feelings from yesterday were enhanced by it, and once again I am:

5. Grateful for my country and the liberties we enjoy here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Half a Dozen on the day before the 12th

1. Today I threw together a dinner. There was leftover roasted chicken in the fridge and a lonely potato and some english muffins in the pantry. The chicken was pulled and thrown in a pot with some BBQ sauce, K put together some baked french fries, and we had a dinner much, much better than the McRib sandwiches that were advertized as we ate dinner and watched The Simpsons. I love food. I'm so grateful for enough food to eat and the opportunity to feed the people I love.
2. R gets very emotional when it comes to patriotic things, and I just don't. But I am patriotic, and I am so thankful to live in this country and for the people what have sacrificed to keep us free.
3. I am so grateful that my husband loves me and thinks I'm attractive. He both shows and tells me how he feels. That's important.
4. Like Jaime, I am grateful that Netflix is sending Flight of the Conchords, season 2. Having things to laugh at is a great blessing.
5. It's Rad Tech week, and I am grateful to work with some great ones. You know how sometimes you meet people and feel like you have met them before? I totally felt like that when I interviewed here.
6. It's double-punch Wednesday again!!! How can I not be grateful for Fiji Yogurt's deliciousness?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Tenth Day of Gratitude

1. I'm grateful that my work schedule has built into it a half-day off every week that is inviolate. It doesn't matter how busy we are, I will never be pressed into staying over. Rowdy and I had Brazilian fruit bowls for lunch, then I was able to just sit and talk to him and his jiujitsu friends, then I picked Keiler up from school, went on a big grocery shop, and then made a very satisfying dinner.
2. I have this talent for being called to a calling just as it reaches its busiest time, which is daunting, but I'm grateful for the pressure of having to jump into things and see what we can do as a presidency. Everything will seem easy after that.
3. Rowdy has had a few days lately when he hasn't felt well. Maybe Remicade isn't working as well for him as it used to, but it has been a blessing to have almost two years of him being Crohn's flare-free. I'm so grateful for that.
4. I'm grateful that K listened to us and went to his Biology teacher to make up some missed homework. I'm also grateful that she let him make it up.
5. My friend Melissa emailed me today. She has A LOT going on in her life all of the time. I'm so grateful for her friendship and the chance to touch base with her. She's one of my heroes for putting up with all of the crap that goes on in her life and still staying strong.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Fairy Tale Life

STEPMOTHER. The word just sounds ugly, and is it possible to say it without at least thinking "evil" before it?

Four years ago, when I married Rowdy, I didn't really know what to think about being a stepmother. Definitely, I didn't want to be the wicked kind. Rowdy said that I'm just a mother, not a stepmother or "Jayvee" version of a mother. My mothering was just as valid as the mom who bore the kids.

Annnddd...I just couldn't quite believe that. After all, she did bear them, care for them from their births, sit up with them when they were sick. I was just the one-weekend-a-month mom. Not to say that I didn't just fall in love with all three of them from the get-go, and not that we don't have a good relationship (well, one of them de-friended me on FB, but I'm a mom, not a friend, so whatever). It's just that I felt neither fish nor fowl.

It occurred to me this morning as I was considering some parenting issues that we've been having that what I really wanted to be was the Fairy Godmother. I swept into their lives with the time, desire, money and experience to grant their every reasonable, life-improving wish and give them the whole wide world.

Well, life isn't like that, although I do have my own particular gifts and skills that I can give the kids, and I know there has been a reciprocal relationship when it comes to enhancing each others' lives. Part of the "problem", if you can call it that, is that I came along at exactly the period in their lives that kids start to pull away from parents. They didn't need me to tuck them in or read them stories or teach them to walk. But they do need nutritious meals, a good example, a listening ear and encouragement.

I'm just frustrated because I thought that I could turn a young man who has potential but little drive into a go-getter living up to his potential with a wave of my magic wand. He has a different timetable and different needs than I do, and I just can't change that. He's got to want to make changes, and when he's ready, I hope that I can be there to help. I'll definitely be there to cheer him on. Meanwhile, can he just turn his dang homework in???

And with that, let's go to the Gratitude Five for today:

1. Two of my colleagues each lost a parent this week. These coworkers are younger than me, so their parents can't be all that old. I'm grateful that my parents are well overall, though my mom slipped the other day and gave herself a good shiner and maybe a broken nose. They look and act much younger than their ages, because they have energy and are interested in life.

2. We have a new lawn. It's artifical grass, but it looks very spiffy, especially compared to our neighbors' lawns that are all dying because of water restrictions and the plague of bunnies we have. I'm grateful that Rowdy spent the time to organize the whole things and tear out the sod. And, as a bonus, I'm grateful for the savings in our water bill and in our water usage.

3. The internet is a marvelous thing. I'm thankful for the ability to keep in touch with so many of my friends. My BFF Stephanie and I emailed back and forth today. She gave me some good suggestions about how to help K with his schoolwork issue.

4. I'm grateful that, when I was done working late and starving and had an empty larder (almost), I was able to pick up a roasted chicken at the grocery store, have K make us oven fries with the yam in the pantry that was lonely and finish the last of the salad from yesterday.

5. I'm grateful for Tootsie Rolls, just because they're yummy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eigth is Greath

1. Last Sunday, we arrived at home at 2 am and slept for probably six hours before we had to get up and get ready for church. We were still pretty exhausted, and my m-i-l had a flight to catch, so we left after Sacrament Meeting. It was very difficult for me to leave my ward family early. The warmth and the Spirit I feel when I'm with them is wonderful, comforting and uplifting. It's great to be able to discuss gospel principles and have my testimony strengthened, as well as to partake of the sacrament. So, I am very grateful for my wonderful ward family and the restored Gospel that we share.
2. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in the Stake Primary. I still don't feel quite up to speed, but these things take time.
3. My mom is an awesome cook. (I know I've said that before, but it's 100% true.) I'm grateful that she is willing to share her knowledge with me and that cooking and food binds us. She gave me her beef stew recipe today. Man, it was delicious--all comforting and tasty!
4. I'm grateful for my mom, dad and sisters just because they are wonderful people, and I love them.
5. Jaime posted some lovely pictures of Central Park in the fall. I'm grateful for her thoughtfulness and the beauty she shared.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lucky Seventh

R got on a local mtb forum and put together an all-girl ride today. He did it just for me, because he felt that I would possibly enjoy riding if I went with some other women of my same riding ability.

Well, I ended up having a good time, though I wimped out on a couple downhills and just didn't have the gas to ride uphill all the way in a couple of places. We rode a total of about 11 miles and had the added benefit of a little repair seminar from a mechanic at North of the Border Bicycles. The shop kicked down some very cute t-shirts for us, too!

R and Jake were taking out all of our sod in preparation for installation of an artifical lawn on Monday. When I returned home from my ride, I pitched in and helped for a couple of hours. Needless to say, I am exhausted now, but it's that good kind of exhaustion.

So here's my five for today:

1. I'm grateful to have a husband who is concerned that I wasn't having fun and went to the trouble to put something together to get me excited about riding.
2. The Pink Bicycle of Death was kind to me today. I'm grateful that I didn't get hurt at all.
3. Kristin, Tara, Juliette, Misty, Allison and Rachel were so fun to ride with. I'm grateful to have met them and hope that we can ride together again soon.
4. We had a little session sharing experiences we've had riding with our SOs, which was definitely bonding for us. I'm grateful to know that there are others out there who feel the same frustrations and weaknesses as me.
5. I'm grateful for a strong body that can ride as long as I did today and then be able to help R and J (and PJ, who picked up some of our sod to plant in his yard) and still be able to move.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November the Sixth

1. Today is my friend, Cristy Greenwood Jones', birthday. I'm grateful to have had her as a friend for 30+ years. She's Superwoman--working as an RN in a very busy ER in Ogden, going back to school to get her BSN, mother of six, snow and waterskier, wife of Rob (who I had a crush on in 7th grade).
2. Finally, Desiree has 'fessed up to being pregnant WITH TWINS! I am so grateful that she's working through her morning sickness. Congratulations to her and Scott. They're going to have such cute kids.
3. I am so grateful that this workday is over. I walked into chaos, with one room down, the other room occupied, my secretary and a tech screaming at each other, and my schedule backed up for two hours. Fortunately, I was able to see two of my "private patients". I'm grateful that they like and trust me and want me to perform their care.
4. But I am grateful that I was able to get through my six cases before 4:30, and I was able to pick up some extra money at the end of the day.
5. Pizza for dinner is always worthy of my gratitude.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bonus Round

So, here's five more, and a response to a request from Amberly:

1. Running with K this afternoon. K is trying out for the wrestling team in a couple of weeks. The tryout is simply running five miles, and he (and we) weren't sure if he could do it. So R and I decided to help him out and run with him. We went out to Mission Trails Park, and K ran 4.5 miles and I ran 4. We'll keep at it, but I'm sure that he'll do just fine. His jiujitsu experience is going to help him pick up wrestling.
2. My awesome hairstylist, Morgan. She wasn't upset at all that I was 20 minutes late, and my hair is cute again. She also cracked me up reciting lines from Zoolander, since we were talking about Malaysia.
3. My sweet husband who was forgiving of me being upset with him for a communication error.
4. A great presidency meeting. I think that we got a lot done.
5. Everyone else's "Daily Five". It seems to be spreading!

So, what wisdom do I have to impart on teaching the Articles of Faith? Hmmm...I always feel like I am about ten steps behind everyone else, so this will probably be obvious to everyone else, but here goes:

For one thing, I love songs to help me remember things--names of the latter-day prophets, the preamble to the constitution, the books of the bible, etc. That didn't work with K, since he really isn't into music, but it does work for some.

But, just memorizing the words doesn't add to really understanding the principles taught in the Articles of Faith. Our bishop uses the third Sunday of every month to teach the Primary kids what the articles really mean. If they're too young to have it memorized, or just have a hard time reciting from memory, he tries to get the kids to at least understand the concepts presented.

Everything kind of flows in a logical pattern. The most important things first: "we believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost."

Okay, now let's go to the beginning of things: "We believe that man will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's trangression."

So, if we're going to be punished for our own sins, how can we ever be saved? "We believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

Now what do we need to know? Well, "we believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost." If you didn't have faith in Christ, would you repent? Once you have repented, you need to be baptized (of course, repentance is an ongoing process). And when you have been baptized with water, you need baptism by fire, or the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Who performs those ordinances? "We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer the ordinances thereof."

And so on. Get the pattern? Being able to rattle off the words is fine, but there needs to be understanding of the concepts in order to be an effective missionary and to strengthen our own testimony of the gospel.

5! 5! 5! 5! Let's sing a song of five!!

The day is just over halfway over, but I think I'll still put in five now, reserving the right to put in five more later in the day.

1. I am so grateful that I have an appointment with my hairdresser later today. My hair is looking ratty.
2. I am thankful that I still have clothes that fit, though I am being pretty tubby lately. Thank goodness I can re-join Weight Watchers online, have a good gym to go to and the weather here is nice enough to exercise outside, too. (That's sneaking in three more things to be grateful for!)
3. Keiler and I talked about the Articles of Faith last night. I'm grateful that I recently taught a Relief Society lesson about them and also had Bishop Smith's example of teaching the principles included in the A of F, not just memorizing them.
4. I'm grateful for paydays (and, I suppose, Paydays).
5. I stopped by Deseret Book yesterday to look at some things for Primary, and ended up buying a book entitiled, "Weakness is Not Sin: The Liberating Distinction That Awakens Our Strengths", by Wendy Ulrich. I got it for someone else, but I have gleaned some good information from it. That information really is something to be grateful for.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

5 for the 4th

1. I'm thankful to be able to go to the temple today. I miss being there every week.
2. Smoked salmon from our own smoker! Keiler made the smoked salmon fettuccine while I talked him through it. It was delicious, but my mom's is still the best.
3. Fiji yogurt. Delicious flavors and toppings and sitting with the boys, playing Yahtzee.
4. My friend Mimi! I'm glad she stopped by for a visit today.
5. A day that was slightly cool, just enough to be able to wear one of my new sweaters.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Daily Five

1. Not having to work until Friday!
2. A neighborhood where we have good friends and can play in the street.
3. All of Jo's hard work paying off--she's Sterling Scholar in English for her school!
4. K's pleasant and cheerful nature, which make living with him a joy.
5. The absolute adorableness of B-rad and B-rock, who undoubtedly got it from their mama.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Today's Five

Today, I'm grateful for:

1. Naps
2. Tylenol
3. A significantly decreased power bill
4. Brazilian fruit bowls
5. Yoga

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Malaysia



Here are some pictures from the Malaysia part of our adventure.

We left home on Wednesday night around 6 and drove up to LAX. Our plane left at 11:30 pm. We had a layover in Taipei for two hours. Fortunately, we had passes to the VIP lounge. It makes a huge difference to have someplace quiet with free food and internet in which to pass the time.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport at 3:00 pm on FRIDAY. Good old international dateline! Needless to say, we were tired, but were able to pull it together to go to the Pole Position tour group dinner that night.

We met lots of Aussies and Brits (and a Scot or two). They were really nice, fun people. Jeremy Burgess, Valentino Rossi's crew chief, was the guest of honor and talked and answered questions for a long time. This group really knows their GP, so the questions were all relevant and interesting.

On the way back to the hotel, one of our group passed out (still not completely sure why) and hit his head, sustaining a nasty laceration on his scalp. Rowdy volunteered his EMT skills in the bus, then we both checked him out as best we could and bandaged him up when we got back to the hotel. He made a good recovery.

Our hotel was actually in Putrajaya, the seat of the national government in Malaysia. All around us were beautiful parks, federal buildings and housing for government workers. Malaysia has the goal of becoming a first world country by 2020, so they are spending a lot of money on infrastructure. Things are clean and well-ordered, but they need to hire better city planners. Our tour guide told us that there is just one shopping center for 20,000 people in Putrajaya. People have to travel into KL to do their grocery shopping.

The weather was hot and steamy, very much like Austin or Charleston. The rain held off until just before the MotoGP final. Fortunately, it was a short storm, and the race started pretty-much on time.

Vale was on pole, but he took it slow into the first corner and Casey Stoner took off. It was Stoner-Pedrosa-Rossi, thanks to Andrea Dovizioso's crash and a poor grid position by Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi easy won the Championship, so there was much celebration. We weren't in a good position to see the podium, other than on the minijumbotron, but we were close enough to see and smell the champagne as Vale rained it down onto his supporters.

As we waited for our departure to the airport on Monday, we took a walk through the garden next to the hotel. There was nobody there, but there are so many "don'ts" that maybe people just can't be bothered. Or maybe it isn't located near enough to a residential area to make it worthwhile for the average Malaysian to visit.

Accepting the Challenge

Amberly has challenged one and all to record five things they're grateful for every day in November.

1. My mother-in-law, who spent the last 12 days here in San Diego, away from her loving husband, home and routine to look after K while we were gone. She was a good sport about it, even though she broke her wrist last week.

2. The funds, time and freedom to go to new places and see new things.

3. General good health.

4. Home cooking.

5. Home. Home, home, home.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Goooood Byyyyeee Vietnaaaammm!

Surprisingly, I have never once said, "Good morning, Vietnam!" while we've been here.

It's been lovely, but it's time to go. We need to get back to our boy, let Grandma go home and nurse her wounds and be with Grandpa again, and slowly return to real life.

Pictures and stories will be posted over the next week or two. We have over 800 pictures to go through. I hope that we will convince more than one or two people to come check it out over here.

Four quick highlights:

The beauty of the lake in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Cooking class, complete with a trip to the market, lots of schwag and a big lunch at the Spring Gardens buffet.

The excitement of the MotoGP race!!

Quantity and quality time with my sweetheart, who is my favorite traveling companion.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hanoi

We will post pictures when we get home. You'll just have to take my word for it that Hanoi is lovely, bustling, crazy and charming.

Yesterday, we spent $40 for breakfast and $5 for 20 minutes of internet at our hotel. Then we went exploring the Old City, and realized that we could get internet for about $0.20/hour and the best pho I have ever eaten for $2.

We sat by the pool, even when it was drizzly, visited a temple, walked around the lake, and shopped at a mall. This morning, we're going to attend a cooking class, which includes a trip to the outdoor market. That will be so cool!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dream Destination

Our bus to and from the racetrack was called "Dream Destination". The weekend was wonderful, and almost as nice as dreamed. I never got to see my hero close up, but got pictures with the eventual first and second place racers, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, and the fifth place racer (that's fourth loser to Ally), Nicky Hayden. Nicky was actually pretty nice.

Malaysia is a beautiful country, and we would definitely come back here for a visit.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update from the road...

We arrived in Taipei, Taiwan, an hour or so ago. Our layover here is two hours. So far, I've been dazzled by the Hello Kitty store (didn't buy anything), we've had Chinese sweets, bought our customary magnet and have been hanging out at the VIP lounge. They have many neat things to eat for breakfast. I had a delicious baked sweet potato and Japanese curry. Rowdy had a steamed pork bun, curry, rice, a croissant, and Laughing Cow. Just goes to show you which one of us can afford to take in more calories.

I could use a massage and a shower. We'll have to see what awaits us in KL. Tonight is a party for the people in our MotoGP tour group. Tomorrow is qualifying and walking through the paddock at the track. Hope we get lots of autographs!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gotta Love It

From Slate.com:

Welcome to the "80 Over 80," Slate's annual list of the nation's silver lions: fourscore elder statesmen, business leaders, and cultural icons who have each remained influential into their ninth decade and beyond. As always, we've ranked these still-twinkling stars according to their power and importance, with extra credit given for energetic achievements post-80 and for being really, really, really old.

The top spot this year goes to 82-year-old Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only person on the list to rule over millions of people as a prophet of God. Enjoy it while you can, Monson—you're only old once.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ten-Day Asian Adventure

I've gotten my shots, we bought books for leisure time, all of the necessary travel arrangements have been made, the bags will be packed soon...it's time for another Bricco Adventure!

Yes, folks, we will be traveling to Sepang, Malaysia to watch this man win his NINTH world championship.





We also will visit family of a friend who live near Kuala Lumpur.

And then it's off to Hanoi to stay at the Sofitel, not the Hilton. Good thing I know how to ride a scooter now. We might have to reprise our Roma Adventure, this time with both of us on Vespas. My aesthetist suggested that I sign up for a cooking class, also. That sounds totally fun!

The best part of it is spending ten days with my sweetie, having an adventure. There's no one else I'd rather travel the world with.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rise and Shout!

We went to the BYU vs. SDSU game today. I bought tickets from the BYU Alumni chapter, so we sat in the Visitors' section.

As it had been probably 20 years since I owned a BYU shirt, I visited the bookstore on line. This is to remind me of the days when I actually was a participant in BYU dance, as a member of the corps in the ballet company.

These two jokesters bought themselves SDSU shirts. It's not like they have any ties to State besides just living near it. They just like being contrarians.

Small-Head Cosmo usually creeps me out a little, but his expression was perfect when he was doing a little break dance. He's much cuter and less-creepy to me now. Rowdy said he'd take a picture of me with Cosmo, but that would just be dorky.

BYU did win, despite their not-always-stellar play and quite good play from the Aztecs. A win is a win, but I don't think that the Cougs are going to be in the top 20 on Monday.

***Well, the Y actually moved up in the rankings. Yay!! And yay as well to UT and Bozo State!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Here's something I've learned in life


No matter what your situation, no matter how tough the road, you can have true peace, happiness and contentment in your life. It's your choice, but you don't have to do it alone. The Savior, Jesus Christ, is there to guide, comfort, console and teach you. You just have to let go and follow Him.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

John 14:27

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So now I can tell you...

that I am the first counselor in the Stake Primary presidency. I'm very excited to work with Julia and Michele, and even more excited not to be president.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tender is the dinner




We had dinner last night at Tender Greens, which is my new favorite place.

The premise is that it's local foods, fresh and tasty, with emphasis on vegetables (yummy!), inexpensive to purchase and delicious to eat.

I had Salade Nicoise with tomato-basil-bread soup. K and R had flank steak with mashed potatoes and salad. R also had the wonderful tomato soup. We were all too stuffed to try one of the fantastic-sounding desserts. Dinner for three came in at around $40.

(The pictures just do not do this food justice.)

Lazy Saturday

Well, for two of us, anyway. Rowdy, being Rowdy, went on a lengthy MTB ride with his co-worker, Jacob (who looks a lot like Jake Gillenhaal, in my opinion--but he's not).

I have had a real yen to go clothes-shopping, but have felt guilty about spending too much money. You see, R and I are just a week and a half from taking our one big vacation of the year, complete with first-class flights, VIP treatment in Malaysia and a swanky hotel in Vietnam.

But, girls will be girls, and I went shopping anyway. I went to Kohl's, which significantly lessened the financial blow of buying a cute military-style jacket, two sweaters, a top, a tablecloth for Thanksgiving and a necklace/earring set to go with a dress I purchased from Target for the pre-MotoGP race party our first night in Sepang.

With each thing I tried on, I imagined Clinton and Stacey's critique. I don't think they'd be overjoyed with the disjointedness of my purchases, but each of them had a certain place in my wardrobe. A very cute poplin blazer (only $20, as I recall) was rejected because it would really need tailoring to emphasize my waistline. It didn't quite hit me the right spot on my hips, either. That's one of the challenges of being long-waisted.

I've been perusing the websites of different photographer who are either of my acquaintance or a relative of a friend to see what people are wearing and how they wear it. It all looks so easy and effortless on other people--plain top or top-with-cami underneath, simple cardigan, maybe a belt, a necklace, jeans. I'm not sure why I either don't feel like I can pull that off or don't buy similar things and just give it a whirl.

Hmmm....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Conference Thoughts

This last General Conference was one of the best, in my opinion. Maybe I was just ready to be taught.

Elder Scott's talk about personal revelation was very pertinent to my life and things I've been needing. I like how he outlined a technique to getting and processing personal revelation:

1) Exercise faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and ask
2) Record the impressions you receive
3) Ponder those impressions
4) Pray and review with the Lord what you think you've been taught
5) Express gratitude to the Lord for that inspiration
6) Ask if there's more you should know

The last thing I recorded in my journal synopsis of his talk is, "As you pray with all your soul with fervor and gratitude, you can consistently be guided by the Holy ghost in all aspects of your life." That seemed tailor-made for me, since I feel so much the need to be guided in all aspects of my life--marriage, parenting, work and now my new calling...

...which I cannot divulge the title of at this time, but will after Sunday. I can say that I'm not the boss of anything, thank goodness. But it is still enough of a stretch for me that I'm thinking, "Ohmyheck! What do I have to contribute to this?"

Elder Holland's talk about and testimony of the Book of Mormon was so powerful that I felt transfixed to the couch and like I could hardly even blink. My own testimony of the Book of Mormon, the Savior, and Joseph Smith's role in restoring the true Church were strengthened and magnified. It will be interesting to see if that same feeling comes across in the printed version. I think it will.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Good Way to Find Out If My Mom is Reading My Blog




Who is that person on that snappy little scooter? Is it Racer X???

No! It's Meeeeee! Wheee!!!

It was a surprise for me when I got home from work today. Since I pretty much just travel in a 2-mile circle (home, work, church, gym, store) most of the time, why not just get a little scooter instead of a new sedan?

(See my helmet and gloves Mom? Safety first!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Parenting

This parenting thing, it's tiring. Tonight was the Open House at K's school. This is probably pretty standard for most schools, so just skip over this if you've been through it 100 times already, but we basically went through our kids' whole school day in 2 hours.

K is an intelligent kid, but the thing that has kept him from doing as well as he could have since junior high is his not being willing to just do the assignments and rack up the points if he's not interested in the subject matter. Well...tough noogies. That's the way to get through to the next level. If you can't do that or aren't willing to do that, you're really no better than the kid who doesn't have the intellectual ability to do the work.

Anyway...I think he's annoyed with us that we sat him down after I got home and asked him about different homework assignments, extra credit projects and the exam he has tomorrow that he neglected to tell us about. But you know what? I don't care. It's my job to make sure he does his best. It's my job to teach him how to be the person he was sent to earth to be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Domesticity


Rowdy commented today on how my natural womanly instincts for domesticity, mothering and making home more spiritual have kicked in lately.

I'm cooking a full-on dinner almost every night, because it's easier to cook for three than for two, I want K to have a healthy diet, and both K and R appreciate my cooking.

For example, K suggested we have pulled pork sliders one night. So, K and I made homemade rolls (using the awesome recipe from The I Do Cookbook for the Bride and Groom) when he got home from school today, and I cooked a pork roast in the crock pot all day.

Delicious, easy and I taught my teenage son how to make rolls in the process.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In Praise of Men

One of the things I really like about men and what makes them fun to work with is that they are so not into drama. It's forgive and forget and move on. Yay.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Inner Peace, Likely Through Chemicals

Maybe it's just the Prednisone talking, but I had the most wonderful feeling of calm today. For once, no free-floating anxiety, no matter what was happening. I hope I can hold onto it for awhile.

Or maybe I just had to turn 45.

Thanks everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes. You make my life so sweet.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

When Irish/English/Swedish/Danish/German/French Eyes are Swelling

Ugh! For about a month now, I have had periorbital swelling, or swollen, itchy, red and UGLY eyelids. It is usually worst in the morning, just after I awaken, so I assumed that I was allergic to something on my pillow.

At first, I thought it was the Moroccan Oil that I was using. I reasoned that it would rub on my pillowcase at night, and I'd rub my face into it while I slept. So I stopped using the oil, washed my pillowcase and pillow cover well, used Preparation H to diminish the swelling, and basically just dealt with the annoyance.

That seemed to work initially, but the swelling would inevitably return. My allergist suggested Claritin in the morning, eyedrops twice a day, Cortisone ointment on my lids and Zyrtec at night. Again, it seemed to work at first, but then I'd wake up one morning and look like I'd bawled all night. I certainly felt like crying, because I looked so horrible.

Finally, on Friday, I had had enough. I went to the Urgent Care Clinic to actually see a doctor who was not me (for the physician who treats herself has a fool for a patient). This MD recommended that I also take Flonase, oral steroids, get a new pillow and get anti-dust-mite pillow and mattress covers.

They say that everyone takes Prednisone at least once in their life, and I was able to go almost 45 years before I did. But, so far, things are working. It will be a couple of weeks at least before I look normal again, but at least the itching isn't as bad, and my eyes are now just wrinkly (grrrr!!!) and slightly red, instead of puffy, wrinkly and very red.

Lovely Day

For my birthday this year, Rowdy arranged for me to have a spa day at The Lodge at Torrey Pines.

I started with an 80 minute massage, followed by a much-needed eyebrow wax and facial. Then I had two hours until a mani/pedi. The lodge is at the edge of Torrey Pines State Park, so I went for a short run into the park. The weather was perfect--a little overcast, not too hot, not too breezy. And then I played in the pool at the lodge and ate lunch.

It was almost completely perfect to sit by the pool, eating a delicious salade nicoise and drinking a Diet Coke. The only thing missing was my sweetie.

After the mani/pedi, I came home and changed, for we were off to SKYSHOW!!! Every year, SDSU has a big fireworks show after their first home game. I love fireworks, and this was the best show I've ever experienced--better even than watching the SeaWorld fireworks from Fiesta Island.

(See Rowdy's blog for photos.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Brand New Day

It is early, earlier that I have been up for several months. The plan is for me to take the boy to early-morning, run for 45 minutes while he's in class, then drive him to school. A win-win situation, I hope.

Good luck, Son, on your first day in a new school. At our house, we all feel so strongly that this is the place for you to be right now, and we are praying, hoping and working for your success in achieving your goals.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thinking On Two Wheels

I've noticed, as I read other blogs, that people name their bikes. My bike's name, if it has one at all, is The Pink Bicycle of Death.

R has been working as a bike mechanic at a Trek store. The employees had a big demo day on Thursday where they were able to see the 2010 models and get some technical training. As we were talking about the day, he said that they had a presentation by a female about how to sell bikes to women. R said, "It made me think that maybe I'm not being very nice to you when it comes to riding."

Today was a demo day for the public out at Mission Trails. I took a rode bike out for a little spin. It was actually my first time out on a rode bike, so it felt a little weird at first. But it was fun. Then I took a high-end mountain bike out on the trails. That was actually a lot of fun. I just went out by myself, on fire roads, so nothing technical. It was black and pink, just like my Pink Bicycle of Death.

I had the chance to talk to the girl who gave the "female specific" presentation. She said that what she tells people is that they need to be sensitive to the fact that some women are getting a bike because their husband or their boyfriend want them to ride. The woman may not really be into it, or may have some serious reservations about it. She may have had an experience before where said husband or boyfriend or and ex- variety has pushed them to ride somewhere beyond her capacity, ending up in scrapes, bruises or worse.

That led to R and I giving her an example of how R will tell me that a ride "isn't too technical" and I'll be fine, but it ends up (for whatever reason) that I think that a part the ride is beyond my capacity and walk it. R said, "And then I just get pissed at her". Trek Girl will forever be in my hall of fame, because she said, "Well, what needs to happen is that you need to stop being pissed at her." And then to me, she said,"I'm sure that you have a lot going on in your life, and it doesn't make a difference if you're an awesome mountain bike rider or not. So just walk things that you don't want to do and don't worry about it."

R is mad really because he feels like I'm shortchanging myself. I'm mad at myself because I want to be braver or more capable, but sometimes I'm just nervous about things. TG's suggestion is that I go ride by myself or in a group without R more often for practice. I need to figure out a way to do that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I was mentioning to Rowdy the other day that I was sad that I didn't have a new calling. He said, "But you're a new mom! That's your most important job right now."

Well...it's not like I have a neonate that's keeping me up at night and needing me every minute. But there are still some things that we're adjusting to. Take last night, for instance. We dropped K off at the church for the YM/YW fifteen minutes early, and as we drove away, R said, "Are we bad parents for dropping him off so early?" It was like the first time parents feeling bad about getting a babysitter.

As part of his "To Do" list today, I had K read the first three chapters of his Biology textbook, with the thought that we could discuss it when I got home from work. You know, mitosis, meiosis, cell membrane, active transport. I'm all over that. Well, the textbook's layout is just a bunch of activities. No facts, no information, just "Break into small groups and discuss how humans are different from other creatures", and "Try to use a key without using your thumb. How do humans' thumbs differ from other primates'?" I am paraphrasing, but beyond that, not making it up.

Parents with high-school-age children: is this typical for textbooks these days?

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's A Boy!!

Announcing...in our home...

KRB
69" and 140 lbs

No midnight feedings--he can take care of himself. He's potty trained already. There will be early morning wakeups for Seminary, helping and encouraging with homework and driving practice, debate tournaments, jiujitsu training and competitions, fencing practice (perhaps).

It's my first time as a full-time mom, and I couldn't ask for a better boy.

Here are pictures of his room. They're all "after" pictures. The "before" was your basic thrown-together furniture, including a dresser I've had since I was 7 and a bed I've had for at least 15 years. The bed and the dresser found a good home with one of Rowdy's co-workers, who had been sleeping on a tile floor for the past few months and keeping his clothes in cardboard boxes.





There is a dresser, as well as pictures of two of his siblings. If I had had pictures of D and L, I would have added them. There's a calendar/white board for communication and planning and "Welcome Home" banners. I added two SAT study guides to the bookshelf. No pressure...they're just there for light reading, a little study break....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The TV Is Fixed!

And there isn't anything on tonight that I want to watch. Darn.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Would you rather...

work to the sound of a 2-year-old screaming bloody murder while she gets a voiding cystourethrogram* or have the maintenance people drilling in the ceiling above you?

Hmmm...I don't even have to choose today! I get both!

*A tube is put into the bladder through the urethra, then the bladder is filled up with a dye that we can visualize with x-rays. You can see why the kids hate it. It's not just the tube, it's the being immobilized that also sends them into a major tizzy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Light Reading

Reading the New York Times is a habit that I have gotten out of somewhat since I have left the Big Apple. Since I can't do without at least the Saturday and Sunday crossword puzzles and the Sunday Styles section, I have continued with a weekend subscription.

My weekday reading is sporadic and via www.nytimes.com. There's always something to glean from the pages of the Times, whether those pages be virtual or tangible.

Yesterday, I read an article about parents who fret and fume about their local ice cream vendor. More people should be like the SWELL gang, who know their ice cream man by name and spend relaxing summer and early fall afternoons eating cones on their front step. The article made me miss Mr. Softee. I'll have to go to Foster Freeze and get a chocolate-dipped cone.

There was an piece today about Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. She kind of bugs me, but we're discussing the book at book club next week, so now I have some extra information to share.

And finally, Trinny and Susannah from the British version of What Not To Wear have a new show on TLC, premiering tomorrow. But I will be missing it, since our ridiculously-expensive Samsung flat-panel TV has been broken for a month now and will probably remain in that state for two more weeks.

Getting Ready For the New Addition

Rowdy and I stayed up until 1 am last night changing over our guest room to K's room. I have to say that I rock at putting together IKEA furniture. Pictures when the new bedlinens are in place.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lest You Think It's All Fun and Games At Our House

We've had some drama around here lately, the kind that comes with dealing with the aftermath of divorce, coupled with the volatility of the teen years, the pain that mothers experience when their kids start leaving the nest, poor communications skills and just the vicissitudes of life.

I am trying so hard to be understanding of the people that are hurting inside and hurting others by lashing out. I feel sad for them, sad for the people that are just trying to do their best and find their way in the world, and sad for the messenger who has been taking the heat for the message.

I'm proud of the one who can put aside her own hurt and loss and be understanding, caring and supportive. I'm proud of the one who is making a difficult transition in the hopes of being more than he was and more the person he can be. I'm proud of the one who has done everything he can to be mature, kind, firm and reasonable.

I'm grateful for my parents' and my in-laws' ability to get through their children's teen years without killing us. I definitely can see what a monumental task that was.

Someday, this will be ten years ago. My guess is that things will work out eventually. I know that with love, patience, compassion and understanding, we'll all grow in a positive way from this.

Just...breathe.

Mes Dents Sont Mal

Is that the way to say it? My teeth are bad? Well, any way you say it, it's a pain.

Today, I had salad, chicken soup and a chocolate muffin for lunch. Nothing too hard. Then I popped a piece of gum in my mouth, and a chunk of one of my many crowns came off! Arrrgggh!!

Fortunately, I was able to finish up my patients and ride my bike over to the dentist's office for a temporary crown. And now the Lidocaine is wearing off. Phooey!!

Shoreh, my dentist, says that she has the same teeth clenching problem that I do. She suggests I wear my bite guard all of the time, not just at night. R said, "Are you going to be okay with lisping when you talk to people?" Hey, if it saves my teeth (and crowns), I'll do it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Afternoon Adventure Part the 2nd

Jordan and I went surfing for an hour after I got home from Jury Duty. The waves were what they call "poor", as in form, and small. But we're still pretty much newbs and had a great day out there. Warmish water, catching some good waves, standing up, it's all good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Afternoon Adventure



J, K, R and I went kayaking at La Jolla Shores this afternoon. The weather and water were perfect. Seals swam alongside and underneath us, barked at us and basked in the sun. Overall, it was a beautiful way to spend an hour.
My Rad Life!