Monday, December 31, 2007

The Last Day of 2007

Have you ever wasted away almost an entire day? I have. Today as a matter of fact. Granted I have not been feeling well, I have a bit of a cold, enough to make me feel icky and want to sleep and really never warming up despite being covered in multiple layers of clothing, a nice new fuzzy soft robe (Christmas present from H) and the heat in the house cranked up. So, I guess I should cut myself a bit of a break. But, I really could have done something today. Anything. I will be making rolls in a bit for our New Years Soiree over at Karens. We are basically partying with anything left over from Christmas or in our storage. So roast beef sandwiches, salad, chex mix, juice, some chocolates and whatever else we can find. Last year we did fondue and it was really pricey. All those dipping things cost money. I have to work 8 hours tomorrow so I guess that is the real reason I don't want to do anything today. I am rewarding myself in advance for all my hard work tomorrow. Like that logic? I haven't even showered, and yes it is 2:50 p.m. But showering would mean removing all my warm layers and I have no desire to do that. There is no real reason for me to post this kind of laziness but since I have run out of books to read, shows to watch and naps to take, I was left with posting on my blog.

Let's make 2008 a more industrious, goal-setting and goal-reaching kinda year. I have my goals....Do you?

1. Do better at Weight Watchers this year than last. I lost 20 pounds last year. I wanted it to be WAY more. But my goal is to do better in 2008 than in 2007. Not a bad goal, this is something I can live with.

2. Graduate from school. This goal is so close to being done and really will take minimal effort. But since it is a huge accomplishment for me, I am adding to my goal list for the year. This goal also includes deciding on nursing school and/or changing jobs.

3. Put more time into practicing my religion. Practicing piano, reading my scriptures, praying more regularly (mornings mostly), and opening my mouth to share the gospel whether through service, testimony or example.

Wishing you and yours a prosperous, productive, and peaceful New Year! Happy 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Newlyweds

Congratulations to Dane and Bridget. They both looked beautiful, thrilled and content all at once. All our best wishes and love to you!

The Happy Couple!



The Cake!



The Kiss!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas The Night Before Christmas

and I am quite certain that no one will read this post. We are ready for Christmas. The stockings are full, the presents are stacked under the tree and it is 10:45 at night. I am tired and ready for a good night's sleep before the mayhem of unwrapping begins at 9 a.m. I know its late to start, but I am getting up at 6 a.m. to get a start on my 8 hours of work I have to do. That way I can get in 3 hours beforehand when no one else is awake. Believe it or not, my children have never gotten up very early on Christmas morning. This is such a change for me because when I was a kid I would get up at 3, 4, 5, 6 until my parents would allow us to open presents.

And for the terrific, and very surprising news....... I got 99/100 on my history final. SHUT UP! I was sure I had blown half of the final and was seriously hoping for only a 90 at best, very, very best. I thought I might hit 85 if I was lucky. But 99? Sa-Weet. So I have a 95% in that class. Life is great!

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Day

Today is Joseph Smith's 202nd birthday. Happy Birthday to the man who shaped my faith in Jesus Christ and gave his life for his faith. One day I hope to thank him for his leading role in the restoration of the gospel.

Also, today I am posting my 100th post. Time flies when you're having fun! I sure have enjoyed this new adventure and feel so much more connected to family and friends.

Today is also a banner day because I am playing the piano for the primary kids during sacrament meeting. I have never, ever done this before and am starting to get nervous. I have practiced to a fault and if I flub up it is because I am nervous. But I have learned that through practice and prayer the Lord sustains me. I am looking forward to the peace that a prayer will bring while I am playing.

On a grim note: My children discovered their Christmas present from Santa. We got the first hint when Mackson left a note for Santa attached to the Christmas tree that said, "Santa, would you please be sure to leave some batteries for the RC car I am getting? Enjoy the cookies. Love, Mackson." That kid is bold. So after talking with Harold about what to do in this situation and whether or not they had actually seen the stash.....after prayer and scriptures the other night I say, "Who here knows what they are getting for Christmas?" I said this in a very snide voice, so they knew I knew. At this point Sav was already pouting on the couch about us making her go to bed at 10 p.m. on a non-school night. She points her toe at her brother and says it's his fault. Then Mack proceeds to blame Harold. (When we had had a particularly rough day getting the kids to cooperate last week Harold threatened to take back the gifts and proceeded to go down into the basement to fetch the presents. This gave away the secret location and Mack then gave Sav the info and they both checked it out.)

I asked them how it felt to know their presents in advance and if they were happy with themselves for ruining their own surprise and also ruining some of the fun for their mother and father. They were crying and wailing, blaming anyone but themselves. Harold started laughing and they cried harder, which made him laugh more. It was hysterical.

We debated about whether to take the presents back and get something different...but ultimately I couldn't be bothered. I am going to set those dang presents out on Christmas Eve while they are sitting there and will make sure they know my disappointment, hopefully this will teach them never to snoop again.

I snooped once when I was about 12 and found out a few gifts I was getting and it made for a horrible Christmas, I never snooped again. I hope my children learn their lesson this year. I sure have learned mine, I will be stowing gifts at my friend's houses instead of my own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Week's Worth of Blogging Shoved Into One Post.

Without going into too much detail, my finals pretty much went how I thought they would with one exception: My history final. I was completely prepared for 8 out of the 10 questions he asked, rolling the dice, hoping only one of the other two would show up. I was unlucky and he asked both of the questions I wasn't prepared for. So I had to flub an answer on how Mao was as a politician. Yikes. I'm just glad it's over.

I wanted to be done with school by today because today is the one-year anniversary of when I went into surgery. I have thought a lot lately about whether or not the life I have led this past year is one that the Lord would be pleased with. I am feeling like I have progressed both because of going back to school but also personally. I gained a greater testimony this year of the Savior and his love for us and that he knows us personally and that when you feel like no one else in the entire universe understands you or what you are going through that there is one person who does. I really have felt the Savior's love this year and I am not just talking about one year ago during surgery, though that was a big event, there have been other trials that have felt even bigger believe it or not. I guess that is what life is about. Progression, harder and harder, building spiritual muscles. I read on Collette's blog about believing, about how as her father in law was sick and dying that her mother in law said, Now is the time to decide whether you really believe what you profess to believe. That touched me so deeply and I want to make my testimony heard, I Believe. In those defining moments when you have to decide whether or not everything you profess to be true is really true, I am here to tell you, Yes, It's True.

I just realized that my surgery has some things in common with when I delivered my kids. So, here are my comparisons and if they don't shed a very flattering light on me or my husband.....well.....

1A: The night before I went into surgery I had to do a bowel prep. I was only allowed to have clear liquids from about 3 o'clock until after surgery. At around 8 or 9 after we picked up my parents from the airport we all went out to eat. I ordered French Onion Soup, broth only, and Sprite. Harold proceeded to have a huge meal with dessert and everything.

1B: When I was in labor with Mack and couldn't eat, Harold kept going to the Father's Cupboard and eating string cheese, danish, whatever he could find. I was ticked. And he had just had a huge meal at KFC prior to arriving at the hospital. I wasn't hungry so much as bitter that he would eat, knowing I couldn't, on both occasions.

Lesson Learned: Stress makes Harold eat.

2A: When I arrived back into my room after postop recovery one of the docs explained to me how surgery went and what they had found. Harold asked if I would remember any of what she said and she answered, "Probably not." I remembered everything, despite my drowsiness, I was just so exhausted from the surgery and from hearing the good news I could barely speak.

2B: After Mackson was born the doc kept saying he thought Mack would weigh in at over 10 pounds. I was shocked, but you wouldn't have known it. I was so tired from labor that I didn't even say one word for about 30 minutes after his delivery. I am sure I looked pretty hashed too.

Lesson Learned: Uterus or baby, my memory does come through for major events.

3A: While I was in labor, walking up and down the hallway of our apartment Harold cleaned the entire house in preparation for my delivery and my mother's visit.

3B: While dealing with the colon prep aftermath and lying on the couch, Harold cleaned the entire house in preparation for my mother.

Lesson Learned: Harold likes to come home to a clean house when he comes home from the hospital. And, he doesn't want my mother (or his for that matter) seeing a dirty house.

4A: My mother attended both of my births, and my father attended the first one as well.

4B: My mother and father were there in the waiting room with Harold during surgery.

Lesson Learned: No matter how old you get, my mother is still my mommy and my dad is still my daddy.

5A: My best friend in California, Lisa, came and saw me prior to Sav's birth. After Mack's birth Karen came and brought me donuts and chocolate milk.

5B: One of my dearest friends Robyne came with her husband to see me postop after surgery.

Lesson Learned: It is the best of friends who come to the hospital. (I know Karen would have been there had she not just had a c-section one week prior.)

LIFE LESSON LEARNED: I have the most amazing husband, children, friends, parents, and family. I love you all and on this most beloved of holidays may we all BELIEVE!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Miss Me?

Three days with no new blog. Man, you would think I was at the end of the semester or something, getting myself to my last day of classes, preparing for finals, writing terms papers. Oh yeah! I am doing all those things. :)

My bio professor finally announced no final, gave us the cut off amount of points for an A and that was that. At least one A this semester. Sweet. He also brought llamas to class yesterday. If I can get my pics from my phone to download I will definitely post them because these things were a mere 2 to 3 feet from me with no fence between us to keep me safe. The biggest one was the closest. Here is the deal: I sit in the front row, same seat, every day we have class. I was tempted to sit further back yesterday but I knew I would come off looking like a wimp. Instead I sat in my usual seat and put the collar up on my jacket and prayed that thing wouldn't spit. I asked the teacher if we were safe. He said no sudden movements and I should be okay. But I watched the big guy get edgy and it was making me edgy. We had an interesting discussion about the animals and I got a serious whiff of what my prof's farm smells like and we were excused for the semester.

Then during my final history class I had a couple of questions to clarify with the teacher's assistant about the study sheet they gave us for the final and the TA ended up helping me out in a way I cannot talk about, having been sworn to secrecy. I am serious....I think the young TA was taking pity on the old girl up front. Thanks dude, you rock!

Then my last prof brought in donuts and went over our final grades. I will be happy with a solid B in that class, which is somewhat disappointing based on the fact that English is my major and my best grades this semester are general ed requirements. Boy the tables really have turned for me.

I have plenty to do in the next couple of days. If I do another post between now and Tuesday night (which is my target time for being done with finals) it will be because I can't take studying any more and needed a break. Catch you on the flip side.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Biology Rocks

Okay, who ever thought they would hear me say that? or write it, whatever. I have thoroughly enjoyed this class, it has been fun to learn and fun to go to class. What I am about to tell you in no way effects how I truly feel about biology, but it doesn't hurt the love either.

Today in biology class my professor opened up the word document that contained the final and projected it onto the big screen. He did this the other day and foretold that he would do this every day as an incentive to keep us coming to class. I didn't need an incentive because I like going to that class, but I like looking at the final too.

So today he opens up the final and proceeds to go through every question, yes every single question. I madly type up notes so that I can study from them when some student in the class says that he has typed up the final and has now emailed it to everyone in the class. I check, sure enough the final is in my inbox. The teacher is cracking up at this point but then says, I didn't want to tell you this until Wednesday but for the final I will go ahead and post the final on blackboard (online teacher/student aid) and all you will have to do is email me your responses.

Let me recap. I saw the whole final, got all the answers in class and I have a copy of it in my email. Now all I have to do is send in my responses next week.

Yes, I will be getting an A in the class. A lot of that has to do with my teacher who rocks the planet, but I did study quite hard for the other tests and feel like I put in some serious time trying to learn the stuff and so I feel my A is deserved.

My teacher and I: This is what I call a symbiotic relationship.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another time to remember...

About one year ago (Dec 4 or 5) I had my first appointment with Karen Zempolich, M.D. She is a gyncelogic oncologist up at Huntsman Cancer Institute. I was referred to her because she could do the hysterectomy as well as lymph node sampling via a laparoscope. This way the procedure was less invasive and the short-term recovery was phenomenal. When I had been referred to her I called my insurance. This was a frustrating process that ended up bringing blessings. I remember one day when I had been on the phone with the insurance company, I had been bounced all over the place and wasn't sure if I could see the doctor I wanted or if Huntsman was a covered facility. This particular day was hard not because I wasn't getting answers, but because when you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis the last thing you want to do is talk about it on the phone with a stranger. It was the oddest thing. They talked about it like it was an every day occurrence, which it is, but not for me. My friend Karen and I were going to lunch that day and I came out to her car and just cried and cried. Frustration, anger, sadness, worry, I was experiencing it all. And I just needed to cry. I just need to take a minute to thank all my friends and family who listened to me cry and who comforted me, not with their words, but with their presence.

Dr. Zempolich asked when I wanted surgery, giving me a couple of options and I chose December 19th. I could have waited until January, but I knew it had to be the 19th. Harold and I both did. We made arrangements for the surgery and called my mother to let her know so that she and my father could get a flight down here. Also, Christmas preparations needed to be done in warp speed since I needed it done by the 18th. I had about 2 weeks to get everything done for the kids. We made it, we actually got everything done as quickly as we needed it to. Gifts bought, wrapped and under the tree.

It ended up that any procedure and any doctor at Huntsman was covered. My insurance set me up with a cancer specialist liason who I could contact directly which was a huge relief, and then they informed me that since Huntsman was 55+ miles from my house that my insurance would pay for lodging, gas and meals while we were up there. Wow, that was amazing!

Harold and I received so many blessings during this time. Even though we were stressed out and extremely worried, we knew that all would be well and that there were so many people who loved us and would help.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Haircut



I was watching What Not To Wear the other day and got an itch to cut my hair. I called up my good friend Kim who is an amazing hair stylist and got it whacked off within the past hour. Here is my debut.....thought I might catch the new "do" from a couple of angles.

Lesson for the day: When you feel good, you look good.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Piano Practice

I have been so good. I diligently practice the piano every day, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour. Last night I trooped over to our building and got myself into the chapel and practiced on the piano there, to get ready for the 3 Christmas songs the primary kids are singing on the 23rd. I will do this again at least a couple of times, and the next 2 times I will bring someone to sing for me. I am getting better and better at the songs....but I'll admit--I cheat.....I leave off notes. I do. I can't help it. I need to make the song easier for myself and less stressful so I leave off notes. Karen was laughing at me about this last night when I made her sit and listen to me play. But she wasn't laughing in a make-fun kind of way, I like to think she appreciated that I improvised in a way that will help me be a better player (at least for now).

I have been praying pretty hard lately that I will get the help I need when I need it so these poor primary kids don't suffer.

On a lighter note: Last night a lady in the primary presidency called. Her daughter is getting baptized this weekend and she asked Harold to play the piano at the baptism. A slap in my face? Yep. Do I care? A little. I told Harold she was obviously looking for someone who could give her a mistake-free performance at this special occasion. Harold said she came to the wrong guy.

Reason 3579 why I love my Harold.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Teacher Evaluations

It's that time of year, not finals, not the end of another great year, but the time when I get to evaluate my teachers. I went online (I love the internet, I'm old enough to know what the world was like without it and I can honestly say life is a whole lot better with it than without it) and did it yesterday afternoon while I was waiting for my ride off campus. I couldn't help myself, I made comments on every single eval. And, I made sure in a couple of them that my comments were identifiable to me. Is that wrong? I put stuff like,

"I came back to school after years away to finish my education. I had originally taken Bio 100 as a freshman but wanted a better grade and therefore a better foundation should I decide to pursue nursing. I thoroughly enjoyed this class. The teacher was informative, knowledgable and didn't take himself too seriously."

Okay that wasn't a direct quote, but it was the jist of what I said. I kind of wanted the teacher to know that the old girl in the front row really enjoyed his class. I know he won't see this until after finals are over and grades are in, that is the reason I used that particular forum to voice my approval. I didn't want to go up to him and say, "Hey, I really, really enjoyed your class" right before the finals and final grades. My biggest fear is to look like a brown noser (a term we used to use in the 80s, for those of you who are too young to know).

Didn't you just hate the kid who immediately made contact with his/her professor on the first day of class? I know it is a smart thing to do, but I always hated that guy/girl and I never wanted to be that person. But I have read about being a successful student and I know that sitting on the front row is key, as well as making contact with your professors. So, I didn't run right up the first day, but I have sat on the front row and I eventually made contact with all my professors, or TAs (who are really the ones grading my stuff anyway) in an effort to be "successful."

Of course I will post my grades at the end of this semester, and I can let you all grade me. Was I a "successful" student or not. You decide.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Final Countdown

Here I am, two weeks away from finals week, plotting out my homework/studying course. I can't believe the semester has gone so fast. I have had more fun going to school this semester than ever before. I have enjoyed every part of school: The backpack, sitting on the front row of biology and history like a geek (see an 80s colloquialism book), feeling like the oldest one on the block and therefore the most wise (humor me here), walking up the hill to school(even though I am sure it hasn't done me a bit of good, cardio wise), the professors, the twilight zone, the idiotic games the student body play during lunch, the flirting (not mine), the whole atmosphere. I am feeling very grateful to have had the opportunity to go back to school. I am still wondering what I am going to do when I grow up. I still think about nursing school and am starting to check out scholarships, hoping that there will be one for a nontraditional student like myself who didn't get the most stellar grades back in the 80s and 90s.

Don't get me wrong, this semester hasn't been easy. The house has suffered, my children and husband have suffered, I have found it very difficult to get my homework done when no one else is around (for the most part) so that school doesn't interfere more than it already does, trying to get my job in too.

I guess what I really want to say here is that I have learned a few things about myself.

1. I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for as far as juggling many different life balls.
2. I have more brain cells than I thought I did and when I feel two of them rubbing together and making a spark I am delighted.
3. I am setting an example for my children. I originally wanted to finish school because I just wanted to finish. But now I think a lot more about how this affects them. They will see their 38-year-old mother doing homework, going to school, writing papers, taking tests and wanting to succeed. And in about 5 months they will watch me, looking pretty ridiculous in a cap and gown, walking to a podium to receive my diploma and they will be proud, as will Harold and my parents (all of whom have sacrificed a lot for my education in the past and present).

So before the next two weeks get ultra ugly......Thank you Harold, Sav, Mack, Dad and Mom. Your support and your love and encouragement have meant the world to me. I feel it every single day.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Aftershock

It has been two days since the big bang and unfortunately the reality is setting in. I am sure that having only one car isn't going to be too big of a problem. I am sure there will be times when it becomes a hassle, but for the most part we have done this before and know how to get around with only one vehicle.

The car will go to a good cause. We will be donating it to the Kidney Foundation. Right now the car sits outside our house, parked the wrong way on the street and snow is threatening for this weekend. We will need to get the dead dinosaur off the streets for the snow plows to come through. And our homeowners association freaks out at any vehicle parked for more than 24 hours in one spot.

I told Harold that this situation is funny in every way, except financially. And right before Christmas too. But, it won't effect Christmas because actually we will be able to drop the car from our insurance and be $15 richer this month as a result, however the van is more of a gas hog so that $15 will probably go to the gas tank. So all in all, a wash.

I guess what I am trying to get to here is that I am not too worried about us, but I am a bit bummed out, and I know Harold is too.

Do you ever feel that when you pray for something that you have no right to pray for it? There are children suffering all over the world from hunger and disease and here I am, sitting pretty, never hungry-not really-and can afford to make my copay when someone gets sick. I haven't really talked to the Lord about our current problem because I feel like it is so trivial, so materialistic. I am embarassed really to bring it up. So I haven't. But I have thought about it.

Then last night during our missionary meeting when I was supposed to be paying attention my selective attention deficit disorder kicked in and I grabbed Harold's scriptures to take a look. The book opened to 3rd Ne 13:31-34.

"Therefore take no thought, saying "What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Therefore take no thought for the morrow , for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."

Here is what I got from this scripture: I have what I need, the Lord sees to that. So, if he feels we need another car, there will be a way. If not, then we make do with one. And that's okay.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Kabang!!!

Have you ever met anyone in your life who has had two cars blow up while they are inside the car?

Well, you have now. He is the one on the right. Yes, our Geo Prizm blew up today while Harold was on his way to work. This happened once before when we had the Honda CRX, so this is officially the second time this has happened to him.

Dang, that thing was paid for too! Our friend Steve looked at the car and there are two holes in the engine block. Well, at least we have another car (the van). We are now a one-car family, again.

I just want to dedicate this post to my loving husband. He called to tell me this happened and we just laughed and laughed. Thank you Harold for being such a wonderful man. I love you and I wish better things for your future (no more cars blowing and possibly finding out we have inherited a fortune from a long lost relative who has always admired you!) All my love and big hugs to the man who survived.

p.s. I chose this picture because this is what I imagine Harold looked like when he heard the first "bad noises" coming from the car.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Steppin' it up a notch

I have been thinking a lot lately about why my Weight Watcher motivation has taken a huge nose dive, this despite the fact that I have come to a complete standstill on weight loss, my left knee is in chronic pain and I just plain feel lousy due to overeating most of the time.

So, in an effort to ramp things up, before they get completely out of control for the holidays, I have a plan.

How many of you out there are either on a diet program, exercise program or want to be on one?

I am going to keep this blog as my daily ramblings site, but I would like to start a new blog just for those of us who need some extra motivation/support. This will not be a guilt site, but a sharing site. A place to go wherein you can share tips, recipes, food journals, motivational ideas, etc.

If you need help starting an exercise program, someone to be accountable to for what you eat each day, or you need some sweet low-points/low-cal recipes this new blog site will be for you.

If you are interested, leave a comment telling me about it. I will start a new blog, get everyone who is interested signed up as a user to that site, so that we can all log in and post what we need to.

I am looking forward to a new motivating adventure!

Monday, November 26, 2007

One Turkey Day Ago....


Last Thanksgiving Harold and I hosted the dinner in our town. Our house wasn't big enough (or cat-free dander enough) to have the whole clan.

I had just been given the news that I would need surgery to remove what was probable cancer. I was stressed out and completely on edge. The dinner was nice, we held it at our church's Relief Society room. Everyone from the Johnson side was there. After dinner was over and the dishes were done, it was starting to look like everyone might be heading out. I knew I wanted a blessing before everyone took off. I had been laboring over who to ask for the blessing. Harold had given me a blessing already the first or second night after we got the news, but I thought I should ask him to give it. But for some reason I really felt like it should be my father who was voice to this particular blessing. I was very worried about offending Harold. I didn't want to send a message that his blessing wasn't good enough, or that I trusted my father more. I just felt like my father should be the one. Looking back I can see that it was a good thing my father gave the blessing, for both Harold and I. We needed someone with more objectivity than either of us. Granted, he is my dad, so I am not sure just how objective you can get when your daughter asks for a blessing of comfort and hopefully healing.

I asked my father to be voice, Harold to participate, Paul, David and Matt (my brothers) and Jeff and Justin (my brothers-in-law)to join in the circle.

The blessing was very specific. During surgery the doctor would find the cancer, it would be in a specific place and it would be completely removed.

From that moment on I knew I would be cured, 100%. I felt really guilty all during the coming month before surgery when people would look at me with sadness in their eyes to ask how I was doing because I really felt great. I knew it would be over soon, that I was off the hook and for some reason I was given a second chance. I knew there were others, even within my own family and ward, who were suffering more than I would ever suffer from cancer.

The picture above is of the men in my life who were part of that amazing day. Thanksgiving has always been a great day for me, for the opportunity for to count my blessings, but for me it will now forever be the day that my Heavenly Father communed with me through His power, through my father, through my husband and through the hands of the worthy priesthood holders whom I love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gobble Contest 2007


This is Mackson doing his best turkey impersonation. He was voted by his class as their #1 turkey. Today he competed in front of the whole school against all the other turkeys. This video doesn't do his turkey sounds justice, he really did sound like a turkey based on what we heard online this morning when we were looking for turkey videos. He got a large candy bar just for participating, the grand prize was a turkey (cannabilism at its best, yum!) He is introduced under a pseudonym: Orville Koocher. Apparently this was for anonymity.


Here's our little turkey!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Surprise!


Yesterday Harold got home from his meeting and said the 2nd counselor wanted to see us at 11:15. What? Why? We both have callings already. So we traipse on down and I was called to be the primary pianist. I am extremely excited about this new adventure, as well as extremely nervous. I have never had a pianist calling before, don't know how to follow a chorister, and have to practice like a mad woman for hours before I can get through the songs without major mistakes. I had all of 15 minutes to prepare for yesterday but I said a prayer and made it through without too many mistakes. I have been wanting a piano calling so that I would be forced to practice and get better, now I need to prove to the Lord that I mean what I say.

We had a great time with the Smith Family last night and I took tons of pics, but I will have to post those later as I am on my way out the door for school this morning. I have my big biology presentation to do today. I am nervous and excited. I am hoping my mouth doesn't go completely dry like it did when I taught R.S.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Answers

1. When Abraham Smoot died it was discovered that his personal fortune was gone. Why?
He spent it trying to keep BYU's doors open.

2. Kimberly Clark can be found where on campus?
In the bathroom, on the TP and paper towel dispensers.

3. Where does a picture of Emma Hale Smith reside?
South side of the library, all RS president pics are there.

4. The basement of the Joseph F. Smith Building has Wifi capability. T/F
True on the east side, false on the west. I have no idea why.

5. The Clark building just south of the library is a.) The Herald Clark Building, or b.) The Harold Clark Building.
The answer is A. I just noticed because when people mispell my Harold's name they do it that way.

6. The Twilight Zone sells spiral binders. T/F
Nope. Tried to buy one yesterday and had to tromp all the downstairs in the bookstore to get one.

7. During her Short Story class Jeanna was found to be in the library today. T/F
True. Although I wrote the quiz before I did this. I had to get some other stuff done and had to cut out of class.

8. The Eyring Science Center has a cafe. Which days are the cafe open?
Mon-Thurs only.

9. What team is playing against BYU this weekend?
Wyoming.

10. In 2006 BYU defeated UofU. T/F
True. I saw a clip of it in Biology today, in reference to pickle juice alleviating muscle cramps. (student presentation).

I have to say I am disappointed that no BYU students tried to answer the ??s. Maybe I didn't give enough time, but I can't come back later today to give answers because of the big Par-Tay. Wish all us fairy-loving humans good luck.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pop Quiz

Since I have been subject to the ever popular Pop Quiz, I decided that it was time for me to give my fair readers a pop quiz of their own. So, get your brains working...This quiz is about BYU. So, if you consider yourself a fan, an alumni, or a current student you better get a good grade! I will post the answers later today (or tomorrow). You may answer in the comments section. The person with the highest score gets (drum roll please) THE GLORY!

1. When Abraham Smoot died it was discovered that his personal fortune was gone. Why?
2. Kimberly Clark can be found where on campus?
3. Where does a picture of Emma Hale Smith reside?
4. The basement of the Joseph F. Smith Building has Wifi capability. T/F
5. The Clark building just south of the library is a.) The Herald Clark Building, or b.) The Harold Clark Building.
6. The Twilight Zone sells spiral binders. T/F
7. During her Short Story class Jeanna was found to be in the library today. T/F
8. The Eyring Science Center has a cafe. Which days are the cafe open?
9. What team is playing against BYU this weekend?
10. In 2006 BYU defeated UofU. T/F

Good luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

First Oncology Appointment

One year ago today Harold and I had an appointment to see Dr. Andrew Soisson. He works mainly in SLC but has a clinic within the women's clinic in Provo once a week. As I mentioned before, I knew that an appointment with this particular doctor meant cancer but when I told Harold we were seeing an oncologist he didn't know what that meant.

The appointment was in the afternoon. The doc was in surgery and we had to wait sooooo long. Eventually the nurse came in and offered us Fast Bucks which is Intermountain's money that you can use at the gift shop, cafeteria, and cafe. We took the Fast Bucks but we didn't use them because we were fasting. The entire Nichols and Johnson clans had been contacted and asked if they would fast with us.

Harold and I walked across the street to Big Lots and perused the aisles. We ended up buying some kind of Christmas decoration. While standing in line we had one of those instances where there are a bunch of people so a new sales associate comes up and opens another register. Then, from behind me, some obnoxious woman darts to the other register, completely ignoring us and the fact that we have been standing there for a while, waiting. I was ticked. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate when this happens and I get super angry and sometimes even start loudly telling the person who did this what I really think of them. I didn't do that, but I turned to Harold and said (with a mischevious grin), "Doesn't that lady know I have cancer? Would she have been so rude if she did?" Harold didn't think it was as funny as I did, but for me humor is the best medicine.

We went back to the doc's office and he finally showed up. Up to this point no one had actually said cancer. Funny how you can get a referral to an oncologist, but they won't say CANCER! I guess they just weren't sure. There was proliferative hyperplasia (excess of cells), that we knew for sure. The doc offered us a couple of options.

1. He knew we were wanting more children so he could send us to a fertility specialist to see what the chances were of getting pregnant. If the chances were good the doc would put me on some kind of medication for a few months that had a 50/50 chance of working. I would be monitored after a few months to see if the medication worked. If so, great. If not, we go to option #2.

2. Complete hysterectomy. I told the doc if I did have a hyst that I wanted it done laparoscopically, which is using instruments through small incisions in the stomach instead of a large incision. The doc said if I wanted it done that way that I would need a referral to a doc up at the Huntsman Center in SLC because that doc was the only one who could do a laparoscopic hysterectomy and still do lymph node sampling.

The doc wanted us to think about this for a couple of days and let him know. I knew right then that #2 was the right option for me/us. But, I felt that Harold might need some time to talk about it alone. We left the exam room and as we were walking down the hall Harold and I started talking and both felt very strongly that we needed to do the complete hysterectomy right away.

We turned around, found the nurse that the doc had told us to contact and started making arrangements immediately. We got an appointment with Dr. Karen Zempolich up at the Huntsman Cancer Institue in SLC.

I later found out through reading my medical records that the doctor didn't feel that our chances at fertility were very good and that his offering of option #1 was basically to put our minds at rest concerning the issue.

The thing is, we didn't need the fertility specialist to tell us anything. Through the fasting and prayers of both of our families, we knew what needed to be done and felt it very strongly.

There are times in my life that I can say with 100% certainty that the Lord's hand was there and that the spirit was speaking to me. This was one of those times. I don't think I ever thanked my family (Nichols and Johnson) for their fasting and prayers on that day, November 15, 2006. Thank you, your efforts made all the difference.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Random thoughts

1. I saw a shirt today that said, "I refuse to advertise for any brand." I liked it.

2. Cow bells rock.

3. My English professor said he spotted two youngsters in an embrace in the hall. "They were pecking each other like a chicken picking up seed. I wanted to tell the boy to grab that girl and give her a decent kiss." He may be old, but he rocks.

4. My major midterm that I took yesterday went fine. Not as well as last time, but okay. I forgot a major event in India's history (the All-Indian Conference) and the name of the Taiping Revolt in China's history. Considering all the details I had to remember, I consider forgetting those two events a minor infraction.

5. The other day my history professor yelled and swore at the class. Well, mostly it was at a guy who was asleep.

6. Matt and Julie started blogging, and I could not be happier. By the way Matt, that pic of your car on fire may have been your best day, but I have to say that one of my best days was when I saw that picture.

7. I spent a better part of this afternoon contemplating quitting Weight Watchers. Karen made me go. I actually lost 2 of the pounds I had gained back. Shocker.

8. I went to quilt night tonight at the old ward building, with the ladies from the old ward, and Karen. I asked about defecting back to the old ward.

9. Throwing a fairy party for a 12 year old isn't as easy as it originally looked.

10. Are we really one week away from Thanksgiving? I actually have two friends who are done with Christmas shopping and one of those friends also has all her presents wrapped. How did I get such over achiever friends anyway?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

12 Years Ago Today


From Humble Beginnings.....


Sav and Jer


Swinging along


Halloween: Anakin Skywalker


Our Beautiful Girl


The Birthday Girl with the woman who knows.

On that day at about 7:00 a.m. I got into the shower and felt a weird spurt. I was pretty sure it was my water, but it had not broken. Harold was set to fly out that day, he was working as a flight attendant for Reno Air at the time. He went to my doc appt with me and the doc did three nitrazine tests, two of which came back positive for fluid. Harold called his work and said he wouldn't be coming in. The doc admitted me at 12:00 or so and the pitocin started at about 2:00. At 9:00 p.m. the doc came in looking like she had just come from dinner on the town. She said I looked "fresh as a daisy" (which isn't exactly how I felt) and she broke my water and said she would be back at 5 a.m. the next morning. The first contraction that hit after the water broke was insane and I knew I needed an epidural, especially if this was going to go on for another 8 hours. I started requesting one and the anesthesiologist was busy, so they gave me a shot of Nubain until he could get there. I later found out that the nurse told Harold I was moving along pretty quickly and that an epidural might slow things down. Together they made the decision NOT to give the the drugs. (I won't go into that now, because this isn't supposed to be about me.) Two hours later, at 11:11 p.m., which you will note wasn't the 5 a.m. the doc said it would be, our sweet daughter was born. 7 pounds 3 ounces, 21 inches long. She spent the first night crying out as if in pain every 1 minute or so, all night long. I didn't care. The adrenalin was pumping and was completely thrilled. Savannah Quinn, you are a blessing. We love you. Happy, happy birthday!

Monday, November 12, 2007

One year ago tomorrow....

I didn't want to post this on the actual anniversary because I didn't want to overshadow Sav's birthday. But I wanted to take the opportunity to remember what happened one year ago, tomorrow.

I was bustling around trying to find the ice cream that Sav wanted to make her ice cream pie/cake for her 11th birthday. I had to stop at three different stores to find the right kind, but it was worth it because it was the exact kind that she wanted.

I stopped at my friend's house so that I could assemble the ice cream pie/cake and then put it into my friend's freezer, I didn't have room in mine.

As I was talking to my friend she asked me if I had received a phone call from my doctor's office yet on the results of my biopsy. I had had an endometrial biopsy about 10 days before. I hadn't heard from them yet and my friend encouraged me to call. I was still at my friend's house and used her telephone. I reached the doc's office and told the office staff that I needed to get the results of my biopsy. While I was waiting for the results, one of the medical assistant's got on the line and said to wait a little longer, and I didn't even realize that there might be a problem. I even got disconnected from their office once and had to call back. I sat on the line waiting when my PA came on the line. Her name is Sue, and I love her. As soon as Sue came on the line I knew something was up because you never get the PA or the Doc on the line when results are normal.

Sue read me the lab report and said I had endometrial hyperplasia. I knew immediately that this was bad. She said that she had talked to the doc in the office and they weren't going to mess around, they were referring me to Andrew Soisson. I knew from my work at the hospital in transcription that Dr. Soisson was a gynecologic oncologist.

(An interesting thing about the biopsy is that when I was in Sue's office and she was trying to get the tissue for the biopsy, she was struggling to obtain the tissue. She said that it was a quick, simple procedure, and really it was, but apparently this time it was more difficult than normal. Sue was saying to me that maybe we wouldn't get the sample after all, and I was fine with that so I said, Okay, don't worry about it then. Right at that moment, the instrument slipped into where it needed to go and she got the sample.)

I sat, stunned, at my friend's kitchen table listening to the results. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I thanked her for the information and hung up. I told my friend what Sue had said and my friend knew also that this was not good. I quickly left because I had to get home.

At home my kids had arrived home from school and were with my sister Amy. Amy and her husband and kids were living with us temporarily as they had just moved to Utah a couple of weeks before.

I was shaken and trying not to cry. This was Sav's birthday and I could barely hold it together long enough to ask her how her day had been, it being her birthday. She was visibly worried and I excused myself to go upstairs.

Amy came up and I wept on her shoulder. I was sure I had cancer. I called Harold and unintelligibly told him about my conversation with Sue and told him to come home immediately.

The caller ID on the phone showed that the doc's office had tried to call me earlier that day, but I had been too busy running around for the birthday celebration and wasn't home for the call.

When Harold arrived he was asking a lot of questions that I didn't have the answers to. I called Sue back up and asked all kinds of questions, and asked her to email me a copy of my lab report. I asked her directly if I had cancer. She didn't ever answer me directly. She did say that if it was cancer, that endometrial cancer is the "best" to get.

Harold was stoic. It's interesting how when I am completely losing it he can really hold it together.

We had to get downstairs so that we could finish getting Sav's birthday dinner ready.

I can't remember when I called the rest of my family, I am pretty sure it was the same night because I am the kind of person that needs the support of family immediately. I don't hold anything back and share all the information I can to rally my family around me.

My appt with the oncologist was for two days later, it was a long wait.

(This story goes on until December 22, with stops along the way at the oncologists office, the referral to Huntsman Cancer Center, at Thanksgiving, surgery and the final call about pathology. I will write about those events when those days arrive.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. McDonald's for 1 hour.
2. Orange Julius.
3. Things Remembered.
4. DiMattia's Pizza.

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Sense and Sensibility.
2. Pride and Prejudice, A&E version or the new hollywood version.
3. M:I3
4. Sabrina.

C) Four Places I have lived:
1. SJ, CA
2. Pleasant Grove,UT
3. Banff, Scotland.
4. Orem, UT.

D) Four TV shows that I watch:
1. Lost.
2. What Not to Wear.
3. Brothers and Sisters.
4. The Office.
(All these are via the web.)

E) Four places I have been on vacation
1. London, England.
2. Paris, France.
3. San Diego, CA.
4. Seattle, WA.

F) People who e-mail me regularly:
1. Mom.
2. Fellow students, wanting notes.
3. Ebay Motors (thx to Harold ordering a part long ago).
4. Fragrance.net, because I looked at their site once. HOW CAN I GET MYSELF OFF THIS LIST?

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Tacos.
2. Raspberry Filled Donuts from Hostess.
3. Chocolate chip peanut butter bar from Hickory Kist.
4. Anything with Cheese.
(Is it any wonder why I need Weight Watchers?)

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Anywhere but here (at work, supposedly).
2. In bed, sleeping in, where Harold is.
3. Sunny California.
4. Having a Saturday night family date night, sandwiches and a movie.

I) Four friends (fellow bloggers) I think will respond:
1. Abbie.
2. Holley.
3. Katie.
4. Julie.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Poverty....

Today in Biology we talked about poverty. Our professor showed an amazing CD and after class a young man showed this video to the professor. I had not seen this before and felt like I should share it.

Remember: Fast Offerings and Perpetual Education Fund. As well as any other charity you feel so inclined to support.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzoNInZ2ClQ

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Productivity

Today, since I didn't have to work (see my last post) I spent the day doing homework, okay and a little online television (yes Dale, I did watch our show, and it was great, except that stupid Lena, I am hating her). I completed my take-home test for biology which had to do with energy and photosynthesis. I am soooooo glad my prof made this a take-home test. It was open book of course, just not open friend. If I had to take that test at the testing center you would have seen my great attitude about going back to school take a serious nosedive. Even with my book and the internet (hello wikipedia) wide open I struggled. But I did learn and that was what the professor wanted from us, so mission accomplished.

Tonight Sav and I made invitations for her birthday party next week. She has been telling me for about a year that she wanted a Tinkerbell party. I talked her into "fairies" so that it would seem a little more tweenager instead of juvenile. Here is a copy of the pic we used for her invitation:


Cute huh? I am excited about her party and as I think about it, being at her party will mean that my history midterm has already been taken, which means I will really be having a good time!

Believe it or not, chaste pictures of fairies are kinda hard to come by. You wouldn't believe the half nude pics we had to endure to find this pretty one. And here I was sitting there with Sav going, "Um, not that one." To which she replied, "Um, no." Like mother like daughter.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Quickie updates

1. I am currently getting an A in both my history and biology classes. Yippee. Funny how my grades in my major classes are both B's. Hmmm. But if I can keep up the momentum, I can get the best GPA I have ever had in my entire life.

1B. I got a 95/100 on my 1st history midterm. Nice!!!

2. Several people asked about the doc appt the other day. Everything is fine and I will save all the juicy details of that for next week, as I have an anniversary of sorts and will post about it then. I can say though that my doctor is moving to a different hospital, which presents insurance challenges that I have neither the time nor inclination to handle right now.

3. My daughter is now 1 week away from turning 12. Holy crap.

4. Britty-The birthday card was great!

5. Thanks to all who wished me happy birthday.

6. Weight Watchers is still stinky, only because I have no self control lately. Shocker.

7. Happy Birthday Kelly and Gary, my Irish Twin Cousins.

8. I have to work from 7:45 to 12:00 tonight and I am BITTER.

9. I have recently discovered that my jeans are way too short, I look like an old woman with no fashion sense. I have to buy some new jeans soon, so I can look less out of date on campus.

10. I got my classes lined up for next semester, only 9 credit hours and at the end of April I will be, as they say in France, FINIS!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Day After

Not my best picture ever, but here is the birthday girl in all her 38-year-old glory. It doesn't look too bad, at least I don't think so and Harold still thinks I'm gorgeous!
Here is my cake, it doesn't have the waxy pumpkin candies like when I was a kid, but I loved it.

Here are the kiddos in the costumes. These pics were taken before school. Mackson actually looked better at night due to the fact that I got better with the makeup as the day went on. I did some great eyeliner action and he looked terrific. Savannah ended up trick-or-treating with some large purple colored shades on and we had someone ask if she was dressed as Paris Hilton. Yikes. Not exactly the look we were going for. But she loved that wig and had a great time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You look like a monkey....


In about four hours it will be official, I will have been on this earth for 38 years (I was born at 4:55 a.m.). There is one thing I have always been grateful for when it comes to birthdays.....my brother Paul has always been older. For some reason this little fact pleases me and makes any pain at getting old kind of disappate. Plus, if you are going to have a birthday on a holiday, pick Halloween. It feels like the whole world parties with me. I will be dressing in my usual costume, the one I have been using year after year for about 26 years now, I am dressing as.....drum roll please.....the birthday girl. This costume comes in very handy because essentially I can pick any outfit I want and when people ask what I am dressed as I tell them "I'm the Birthday Girl" and they, with a smile, wish me a happy birthday. When it comes down to it, I enjoy a day that is all about me. Who cares about the dumb candy anyway, I get birthday cake. So what if people dress up? I get presents. So what if the doorbell rings all night? I get tacos for dinner. So what if teenagers who are way too old and whose parents should be laying down the law are out trick-or-treating? If they are older than 12 I make them sing Happy Birthday to me before I hand over the Kit Kat. All in all, I love my birthday and I don't care if I am 38 or 78 I am going to live it up and have a grand time.

P.S. One little bummer? I am skipping two classes to attend the Halloween parade at the kids' school. I wouldn't care normally but I am getting a test back in History and a paper back in an English class. Dang, I am desperate for those grades but it will have to wait because the little kiddie parade is the highlight of my day/year. I get to watch the best looking Hannah Montana and the cutest little pirate parade past me. [Happy sigh]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Remind you of anyone?

Sorry I don't know how to import video into my blog, until I figure it out, this will have to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W95Y8hNQiH8

Monday, October 29, 2007

Indignities

Harold and I just got back from SLC where I had a follow-up appointment at the Huntsman Center. We had to wait for two hours to see the doctor and another hour to get a chest x-ray. I realize that doctors and hospitals are busy, and that there are people there who are very sick and require more attention than I do, but I was very, very disappointed in the wait. One of those hours was spent half undressed with a sheet on an exam table.

We had planned on carving pumpkins tonight with friends. We were home two hours later than planned and I had to call a friend to take the kids because I was worried about them being home alone and I had to cancel the pumpkin carving as well.

Then when we arrived home our daughter was thinking we would still have the pumpkin carving activity and when she discovered that was not the case she was livid. She pouted, crossing her arms defiantly across her chest, her head bowed down with a frown on her face that would scare the living daylights out of anyone. I restrained myself. I actually thought of throwing things and screaming, telling her that my day hadn't been all the fun, and that her poor father not only had to wait all that time with me, he had to drive for two hours to get me to the doctor and back. I kept my mouth shut and waited. Eventually Harold addressed the bad attitude and he and I calmly explained that our day hadn't been all that exciting and that we were disappointed too. I think it was much more effective this way than if I had thrown the coffee table, cereal bowls and all, into the air, screaming as I went.

Okay, in an effort at full disclosure, I gave the RS lesson yesterday on Elder Holland's talk entitled, The Tongue of Angels. This is an area in which I need some serious help. But, the talk really helped me tonight and we avoided a major scene that would have escalated and become very ugly.

Today I am grateful for inspired leaders who know what we need and when we need it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The top 38 reasons I love Harold (the birthday boy)!

1. His love of the gospel.
2. His hands, so strong.
3. His work ethic.
4. He tells me I am beautiful.
5. His infectious laugh.
6. His sense of humor, even if he does laugh at British comedy.
7. He laughs at my jokes.
8. He gave me Savannah.
9. He gave me Mackson.
10. He loves people.
11. He is the sole caretaker of our yard.
12. He makes me feel special.
13. He doesn't watch sports. (This one is HUGE! for me.)
14. He goes to the temple every week.
15. He plays the organ with UMPH!
16. He holds FHE.
17. He brings us together for family prayer and scripture study.
18. He is kind.
19. He is gentle.
20. He is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. (Wait, does Harold do that?)
21. He appreciates a clean house and works hard to make sure it gets clean every week.
22. I NEVER have to ask him to clean or do yard work. (He asks me, but that's another story.)
23. He appreciates a home-cooked meal.
24. When I make a Sunday meal he gets right up and does the dishes.
25. He encourages me to do my best (school, gospel)
26. He loves the Savior.
27. He can make others laugh, just by his presence, he has a joy about him.
28. He takes pride in what we own, even if I call it white trash (i.e. the Geo)
29. He can find a common ground with anyone.
30. He got an education and by doing so set a great example for our children.
31. If I get to Heaven, it will be because of him.
32. He never, ever gets after me for going astray from Weight Watchers.
33. He values our time together as a couple and takes me on dates every week.
34. Whenever he hears a jet engine he looks up, even if he is driving. Although this scares me, I love that he has a passion for something so amazing.
35. When I break down, he lifts me up.
36. He likes to play so we get out of the house do DO THINGS. He NEVER sits around.
37. He listens to me, no matter what I want to talk about.
38. He promised me when we got married that we would spend our 75th anniversary together when we are 100. It may not happen, but I know he feels the same today as he felt then, even more so.

All my love to my forever friend and handsome husband. Happy Birthday Lima!

Love, p.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who is The Real Me?

I couldn't help it, this was fun.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car): Scooter Villager
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Peanut Butter Panic Cinnamon Oatmeal
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name): J-Nic
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Monkey
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born): Marie Santa Clara
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first): Nicje
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink): The Green Pepsi
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers): Floyd Grant
9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Coconut Lime Twix
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ): Jeanne Edward
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Namba Nampa
12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Fall Tulip
13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”): Peachie
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Brownie Maple
15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”): The Reading Wind Tour

State of Mind

What do you call the phenomenon where you are tired but for some reason you stay up late and watch episodes of Lost downloaded for $1.99 from Apple.com and then peruse the web for another hour beyond that. I wouldn't call it insomnia, maybe hysteria? No that isn't right either, at least according to wikipedia.org. How about insanity, meaning behavior influenced by mental instability. That could work. Or stupidity-as in lacking intelligence as opposed to being ignorant or ill educated. I don't like that one either.

Ooo,ooo, I found it. Addiction: a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individuals health, mental state or social life.

Yep, that's it. Hi, my name is Jeanna and I am in internet addict. Hello Jeanna!

Next thing you know I am going to have to take a sledge hammer to my laptop to rid myself of the terrible chains that are dragging me down. I think I would rather hide in my closet and secretly surf the internet for websites and blogs, as long as I can access my neighbor's WiFi.

It is 1:13 a.m. and I would prefer not to be held responsible for what I say, but at 1:17 I am hitting the hay. Nighty night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Rules of Engagement

This post is in honor of Dane and Bridget. (For those of you reading this from the Johnson/McGiven clan, please see the Smith Family Blog link to your right.)

Thirteen years ago this week Harold and I got engaged. I say "this week" because neither Harold nor I can remember the exact date. Here is what we do know. On October 21, 1994 we attended the wedding of our friends Karen and Travis. We went to the Manti Temple, the luncheon, and the reception. We even remember that Harold got stopped by a policeman (the only reason I didn't use 'cop' was because of my Uncle Gary and my respect for policemen everywhere). Harold was able to talk his way out of a ticket for a moving violation (running a red light) by telling the officer that his birthday was only 5 days away and he was turning 25 and about to get his insurance rates dropped, so please, please, please have mercy. And the officer did.

So then, the next very concrete event we can remember was October 26, which is Harold's birthday.

Somewhere in between the 21st and the 26th we were engaged. This leaves Oct 22, 23, 24 and 25. I know it wasn't the 22nd because that would have been a Sunday and we got engaged at a restaurant so the 22nd is out. It wasn't the 25th because I distinctly remember telling someone that I had better make Harold's birthday decent on the 26th because he had given me the ultimate gift "a couple of days ago." So that narrows things down to the 23rd and 24th.

If I was forced at gunpoint to choose a date I would pick the 24th because it was a Tuesday, I had skipped class (my bad habits run deep) that night and I don't think they have night classes at BYU on Mondays, but I could be wrong. So there you go. Nothing too definite.

As for celebrating the day we got engaged, if it is today, Harold is currently sitting in his underwear eating a homemade sandwich and salt and vinegar chips while I sniff at it because I have already eaten my points for the day and can't have anything to eat right now.

If the blessed event is to be celebrated tomorrow I will be at quilt night with the ladies while Harold spends "quality" time with the kids.

Either way, I have no regrets. I would say yes all over again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Top 10 Thoughts

1. Last night we played Taboo with the kids. The teams were guys against the girls. Harold was giving clues to Mack and the word was "lazy." Harold's first clue was, "Sometimes dad is this," to which Mack replied, "A jerk!"

2. When Mack was giving clues to Harold he said, "When girls wear this they are being immodest" and the answer was "bikini."

3. The other day on campus I saw a guy wearing a sweatshirt that said, "Pizza King." Here is what I want to know, do they ever print those shirts in anything smaller than an XL. Anyone making that kind of declaration wouldn't be any size smaller than that.

4. I saw another guy wearing a shirt with a hand holding playing cards that said, "I'm kind of a big deal." (Yes he was an overweight slightly frumpy guy.)

5. I'm all for being self aware, but I don't buy shirts that say "Hostess Raspberry Donuts are my best friend," or "The reason I look so angry is because my jeans are cutting off my circulation" or my favorite, "Size 3X shirt and proud."

6. Two weeks ago I informed the kids that only 1 towel per week was needed. I warned them that any more than 1 towel in their laundry basket and they would be folding and putting away all the laundry by themselves. Today Mack had 4 towels after two weeks and Sav had 11.

7. Weight Watchers has been going really well this week, way better than in the past couple of months. I feel better and feel like I am actually getting back on track. Anyone who has read the weigh-in results will know why I felt motivated this week.

8. A freak October storm blew in some serious cold air and snow this weekend. Picture me pouting.

9. A friend of mine was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, only to find out at an emergency appointment to address the problem that the nurse had read her someone else's results.

10. Paul and family got evacuated today due to the San Diego fires. Some homes in their neighborhood were burned, but so far they think their's was spared, but they cannot be sure. Any and all prayers will be appreciated.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Controversial

Yesterday in one of my English classes my teacher asked us what it is that women want to do, and the difference between women and men. Based on the story we were reading he was getting at male/female roles in society/church. A guy in my class said, "Men are rational and women are emotional." The teacher asked if anyone wanted to throw a book at the dude. I wasn't too concerned about what he said because he is young and will eventually learn that stereotypes while sometimes applicable are never very flattering. So the teacher said, "Well that is a stereotype but not entirely false." Which I was fine with. I raised my hand and said, "Women want to be nurturers, we want to nurture and you can't say that is stereotypical because that is in the Proclamation to the Family." Then a girl a couple rows down turned to me and said with a sneer, "It says in the proclamation that our primary RESPONSIBILITY is to nurture."

Um, did I say something offensive here? If so, what on earth was it?

Commentary: I am so sick and tired of walking on eggshells when it comes to gender roles in our society/church. The proclamation is clear that the Lord has given men and women different different jobs to do and that is something to embrace and rejoice over. Why do young girls get so offended by the thought that motherhood is just as worthy of an occupation as anything else? I would never tell anyone that I am a great nurturer, but I want to be because I have that God-given power within me.

Also, what that girl said was semantics. If the Lord says our primary responsibility is to nurture, guess what, that means the Lord gave us the tools, that need is within us even if we aren't that good at it.

Hey wait, don't I go to BYU? I almost forgot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tweenagers

Today the pre-teen hormones of my sweet daughter reared their ugly head.

Lets roll the clock back by about 6 hours. My children arrived home from school to find that I was not there. This isn't completely unusual since school has started and the kids know the drill: call mom. They called and asked if they could play and I said no because I dont' want them toodling around the neighborhood when I am not there to keep track of their whereabouts. I did tell them that they could go to my friend's house and stay there until I get home. They were weighing their options and I said, "Call me when you decide what to do." In the meantime my friend's kids were on their way to my house and I was fine with that. Let me explain, my friend Karen and I were out together so if our kids want to get together to wait for our arrival that is fine. Soooo, my kids go over to Karen's house and never call. Okay, fine, I said they could do that. The errands we were on took longer than we thought and while on our way home we are both calling our houses to try and get the kids. It takes about 3-4 times of repeated calling and finally there is an answer at Karen's house. My daughter is there and I ask to speak with her. I say, "Where is your brother?" and here is where things gets sticky, her reply, "I don't know."

WHAT???? Since this story has become super long, the short of it is that my son is literally running around the neighborhood, unsupervised and no one is sure of his exact whereabouts. I tell my daughter to get her butt out the door, find her brother and get the heck home. "Can I still play?"

WHAT???? Are you on drugs? I mean, was there a stranger at your elementary school today handing out special candies? Come on!

Then it was a he-said, she-said game of blame and I was so ticked I sent them to clean their rooms, which was BADLY overneeded.

Here's the good part. "NO!" she cries! Over and over again. Then she is screaming and crying and becoming a limp rag as I try to haul her upstairs myself. Then once she is in her room, there is slamming, banging and kicking on her door. I was patient and after several kicks and the kicking calmed down I said to myself, one more kick and I will go upstairs. Yep, she kicked again. I marched up and told her the next time she kicked the door on my house she was going to be making the house payment for the month. (I know idle threats don't work but when this kind of hormonal rage is going on, who has their wits about them, answer me that!)

All in all I spent a good hour today listening to the crying and carrying on upstairs while I put headphones in my ears and watched a webcast of some show on NBC.

I am pretty sure this was the tip of the teenage iceberg, but dang that tip is frigid.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Boys Allowed

I hope nobody minds that I am always posting about campus life. I guess I just find so many things unusual or funny that I can't help myself.

Yesterday as I was drying my hands in the bathroom for the umpteenth time (having been in the bathroom about 4 times that day, which by the way, what is that about anyway? Why do I have to go so much? My theory is that I hate to have any discomfort whatsoever in class and I want an empty bladder so I feel the need to go about 4 times while on campus between 9 and 3:30, is that too much? I don't really care to know the answer, but I just thought I would share. Okay that was a major detour. Oh, also, I have to find a place to put my monstrosity of a backpack and my laptop case while I am in there. Yes, I have whacked my head on the convenient shelves they put above the toilets while I was bending over to flush, OUCH!).......So, just a recap, I am drying my hands on my way out of the bathroom when a boy walks in. He looks right at me and keeps on moving. I figure he will take a better look around and be outta there, but no. He looks at all the girls (and the bathroom was pretty full) and still keeps on heading in. He moves towards one of the first stalls and then realizes he is in the wrong place. He says, "Whoooaaa!" and starts backing out. He looks right at me again and I am still watching him and he says "Oops, wrong one." To which I replied, "Dude, you just kept on coming." He bolted out before I did and kept trying to explain, at this point everyone in the hall knows what has happened. Dang, harsh day dude. I figure it took until he saw that there were no urinals to finally realize he was in the wrong facility. (I hate that word to describe the bathroom, but I am using in honor of my dear husband who says, "I need to use the facilities" on a regular basis. Love you honey, but I hate that phrase and you know it.)

So, just a little lesson boys: When it says Women, you can think WHOOOAAA-men, don't go there. Otherwise, an overaged, nontraditional student will write about you on her blog and I am sure you don't want that.

So I guess I can announce what Harold's calling is, now that he is official. He is the Ward Mission Leader. I am sure he will do a terrific job. I got called into the bishop's office myself on Sunday and since I am not official yet, here is your hint: Harold needed a companion. I figure that I already agreed to that calling about 13 years ago this month when I agreed to marry him. So, a companion I shall be.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nontraditional

It happened again yesterday. I went into my advisement center and the nice lady who was helping me referred to me as a nontraditional student. Why I think that I somehow fit in and it isn't THAT noticable that I am 20 years older than the entering freshment is beyond me. I know I look a little older, but come on....nontraditional?? Ouch.

I am suffering from a severe lack of weight watcher motivation. I have been so hung up with school that I haven't really hunkered down to get back into the swing of it. Of course, school is a little bit of an excuse because this summer I was struggling too. I have managed to maintain, which is good, but I am not getting any closer to goal. I had a dream a few nights back that I saw my cousin Holley for the first time in a long time and she was skinny. Holley, if that is what you mean by a "transformation" that doesn't involve plastic surgery. My hats off to you, GO GIRL GO!

By the way, the reason I went into the advisement center yesterday was to apply for graduation. Yep. You heard it here first, I am set to graduate in April 2008. Yes, that is exactly the 20 year anniversary of the end of my freshman year at BYU. Crazy. I went and looked at my transcript today and I think when it is about time for me to graduate I will post about my checkered past with BYU. I would love to give a speech at graduation, encouraging all nontraditional students to take heart in their abilities and never give up. Of course, once administration took one look at my low GPA from 1988, they would never consider me. It was bad, trust me.

I am fighting chronic fatigue at the moment and I think it may have something to do with not eating very well, in addition to the less than desirable amount of sleep I have been getting lately. I know when I stay on WW that I feel better and have more energy. I need to channel my frustration into motivation and get the heck on the ball.

Welcome to the mental meanderings of a nontraditional student.

peace out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Three and one-half hours ahead of schedule

You read it right, I am done, done, done!!! I took my Biology test around 12:30 today and got an 88%, which is 2% above the average for my class, so far at least. The great news about this is, I may have mentioned this before, that with my extra credit I can pretty much add 10 points to my score, giving me an A for this test. The extra credit isn't official until I actually do it, but if you think I am NOT going to do it at this point you are loca en la cabesa.

I also took my History 202 midterm. I was so very worried about this one. Stressed out to the max. (don't you love that expression, "to the max") Anyway, we got three questions to answer in essay format, I got to pick the two I wanted to answer, and I THINK I NAILED IT! We were supposed to write 3-5 pages, and were told that if we didn't have that much we could never expect an A. I wrote 6 pages on each essay. I didn't count until I was done and I was blown away by my own intelligence.

Okay, I am going to stop now and take a moment to thank Heavenly Father. I was praying pretty hard before I went into these tests. Please let me remember what I have studied. The best example of this was when I was done with my history test. There was one guys name I couldn't remember and I sat there for a minute and all of a sudden it came to me, John Locke. Don't ever think that Heavenly Father isn't interested in all aspects of your life, because he is.

Thanks for all the great support I got, but especially to Harold, Amy, Justin, Savannah and Mackson. I couldn't have done it without you. I love you!!! (yes, I love you too Justin) Big hugs and kisses to you all (yes, even Justin)

I have the hugest grin on my face.

p.s. I also have 2 out of my 3 page paper written to turn in tomorrow, biology. Could life get any better than this?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Studying stinks because.....

1. My poor little brain has had 9 years since I took a class on campus to shrink to the size of a pea.

2. After hours of organizing my notes my little pea brain feels like it is going to explode. It is like when you put a raisin into boiling water, eventually the raisin expands and doesn't look at all like its former self. Think bloated raisin.

3. I have run my fingers through my hair so much that it has started to look like a limp dishrag.

4. My back hurts from bending over this darn laptop.

5. I have about 34 pages of typewritten notes going over such topics as the French Revolution, American Revolution, Europe's position of hegemony in the 16th century, classicism, the scientific revolution, slave trade, etc. etc. And I cannot possibly remember everything in those notes. Why can't it be an open note test? Sometimes teachers do that, and I would rock on this test because I have been an excellent note taker. Maybe begging would help? Doubt it.

6. It is now 9:58 p.m. and I need some down time from studying, but it is too late because I have to wake up at 5:30. I have a whopping two days to get all this history crap into my head, oh and I failed to mention that my biology midterm is also in two days. My poor, poor pea brain.

Other than the above six reasons that studying stinks, life is pretty good. The only way I get myself through tough times like this is to say "In exactly 48 hours I will be feeling SOOOOOOO good!"

Catcha then!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Conference Weekend

I sat down in English class today and a girl walked in behind me saying, "Our weekend is stolen," and then proceeded to tell us she lived outside of Utah growing up and went to conference on Sunday but wasn't aware that we were supposed to go on Saturday too. Okay, that's interesting. As you know, I am not a Utah native either but I was aware that conference is a two-day event for everyone. However, I sometimes begrudgingly participate in the Saturday sessions, okay a lot of times I do that. For some reason it has always been difficult for me to sit through 8 hours of church in one weekend. I know the men do 10 hours, but I did my time last week during Women's Conference so in a way the women have it easier because we can get a little extra credit before conference weekend even starts. I always end up really glad that I listened to the whole thing, but it has always been difficult for me.

Today in the Twilight Zone (BYU's version of a 7-11) I was buying my breakfast and watched a checkout girl give her phone number to a guy in line. Both checkout girls were giggling quite a while after he left so I asked my checker, "Did that other checkout girl just give that guy her phone number?" She replied, "Yes, but he had to ask for it again because the last time he asked she only gave him her name on the paper." This explains why I heard her say earlier to the boy in question "Sorry (giggle, giggle) I must have been so excited that I forgot."

The boy and girl actually look alike so I definitely see a future for them, because as we all know we marry people that look like us. I am not sure the exact reasoning behind this but as I thought about it today I decided it must be because we all really like the way we look so if we marry someone who looks like us it is the ultimate vanity, because now we can look at ourselves for eternity.

One of my English professors spent most of today's class cracking himself up. He just kept on chuckling to himself for practically the whole 50 minutes. He is pretty opinionated about the stories we read, but he is pretty funny to listen to. He also plotted out a whole short story he is going to write, right there in class. The funny thing is, I have that short story in my head already. It is about an LDS boy who does naughty things (and by that I mean word of wisdom things) during the week and then proceeds to bless the sacrament on Sunday. The reason I have this in my head already is because I had this happen to me once. I went to a youth activity and while walking on the beach with a guy friend of mine he offered me pot. Might I mention that is the one and only time I was EVER offered drugs? Anyway, I politely said no, but then he proceeded to let my inactive friend who I was trying to activate have some and I had to take her home stoned. That Sunday he blessed the sacrament and I wondered for a long time whether or not the sacrament was okay for me to take or whether it was tainted by his indiscretions. (I have since realized that it is my worthiness to take the sacrament that I need to worry about, not the priest who blesses it.)

I have been considering trying to write a short story or two. Sometimes I think my blog entries can count toward the effort because it takes me so little time to yammer on about nothing. Unfortunately you can't really print out my blog entries and really study them, highlight great sentences with a really deep meaning and make notes in the margin. Maybe I would be better at writing newspaper articles since I am a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda girl. Who knows. I am almost 38 years old and I still don't know what I want to do with my life (by that I mean career, since I have to have a career, financially speaking). Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Slice of Life

I am shocked to think that there are people out there who have so little faith in me. I did not, I repeat, did not skip class today. I thought about it, I weighed my options, I remembered the last experience with skipping and I went to class. All of them. I did not give in and go to lunch with Harold and Dale (and Cory). So, Harold, Dale and Britty you can all just take your low opinion of me and (fill in the blank). Okay, in an effort at fairness it was Harold and Britty who were sure that I would skip today. Dale was only the evil temptor. Before I get too high and mighty, let me just tell you that I didn't read his blog comment until after I got home from class, otherwise the temptation might have been overwhelming.

Just for reference sake I should probably define who the above offenders are:
Harold-My sweet husband.
Britty-Harold's sister.
Dale-Harold's cousin (I know he is a first cousin once removed but I hate writing all that when no one really understands it anyway.)

I wonder if my own flesh and blood family would expect the same bad behavior out of me. Hmmm. Any blood relatives out there who would like to comment?

Turns out my English prof wasn't feeling good and ended class 15 minutes after it started. He was also going to give a quiz which he showed us but didn't make us take. I would have aced that dang thing. Darn it. So far in that class we have only taken two quizzes, one of which I missed and the other I practically failed. I am a little worried about my grade in there.

Since I had some extra time before my carpool left campus I ended up spending most of my free time with Dale, sitting on a bench in front of a sign that advertised the Pre-Med Club. Apparently both Dale and I look like Pre-Med majors because we started getting questions.

Here is a little note to Dane (another first cousin once removed): I saw you on campus today. I even got a look at the elusive Bridget. Alas, you were so busy addressing every single friend who walked by that I could never get my foot into the proverbial door enough for you to acknowledge me. Yes, I was sitting on that Pre-Med bench I mentioned but not even a glance my way. "Sorry we weren't able to take your call, please leave a message!" So I am.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Puzzled

Help me out here. Most people who read this blog have either graduated from college/university or have at least attended one class there. When an English professor assigns a paper, how many drafts do you go through? Let me be completely honest with you...I do MAYBE 3 drafts. More than likely two drafts. I turned in my first page of a paper to an English professor on Friday and today in class he basically acted completely distraught that our papers were so "first draft." Okay, I'll admit it, mine was a first draft. Even as I was handing in the first page of my first draft I saw some things I wanted to change, but he was just going to go over the papers and offer advice. I had no idea that he would be so gravely disappointed in me. If the paper is an end of term paper, or going to be graded more heavily for whatever reason, i.e. research paper, I will put forth more effort and go through more drafts. He was so worried about us that he gave us an extra week to complete our papers. He is also going to meet with each of this week (on a volunteer only basis....yea right!) so that he can go over our paper with us.

Here is my goal: For every Tues and Thurs that I have (which are my homework days) between now and when the paper is due I will re-work my paper. This essentially means that by the time I turn in my paper I will turn in draft #5. I'll let you know my grade and if I get above an 88% I will be a convert to the five-draft paper. If not, forget it! Because I generally get an 88% on all papers. For some reason I have barrier that I have reached in my paper writing and I can't get past it, but I rarely go below it either.

On a side note: Why do girls wear high heels on campus? Are they building their own Rameumpton with their shoes? I cannot figure this phenomenon out. In addition, they wear tight leggings and oversized shirts (mind you they are nice shirts) with the heels. I know this is a fashion trend at the moment, but OUCH! I wore semi-heeled shoes one day, about 1.5 inches, but they were espadrille type shoes and by the time lunch came around I was buying Band-Aids at the Twilight Zone. By the time I got home I was nursing a fairly serious blister. I am looking at the scar on my left foot as I write this. Not all girls on campus are this silly, but advice to my college-age-first-cousins-once-removed-in-law who are on the same campus as I: DO NOT DATE THE SILLY GIRLS! They will not be allowed in my house for Sunday dinners. Consider yourself warned.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

There's a hole in my pocket, dear liza, dear liza...

Do you remember the hole in the bucket song from Sesame Street? There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, there's a hole in my pocket, dear Liza, a hole! Then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry, then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it! (I loved that skit on SS, but now that I am older I realize the song probably existed long before SS and I just don't know its origin. Oh well, it is still a great song!)

Today there is a hole in my/our pocket because yesterday we slapped down a bunch of money on practically a whole new wardrobe for Harold. He got 7 shirts (two white and 5 colored), 4 pair of pants, 3 ties and a belt. We didn't pay full price for any of it, but it is still hard to pay that much money. The kid ringing up the sale said, "Wow, that [the amount of money we were spending] is more than my whole paycheck." This comment in turn made Harold feel really guilty. He has never, in all his years, spent that much money on clothes in one trip. I really wish the kid would have kept his yap shut. As I said before, we usually don't spend that kind of money on clothes, but let me just say that Harold was looking kinda sloppy. This is a problem because I believe that the better you dress, the better you feel and the better your chances are of getting ahead in Corporate America. We just happened to have a few extra bucks and I feel that Harold is a wise investment.

My comment on Friday about being married to a very cute guy is true and I want him to be able to feel cute too, you know? Okay, maybe he shouldn't walk around feeling cute per se, but handsome, confident, capable. I, for one, am looking forward to watching him dress in the coming weeks. I hope he puts his cologne on every day too, as a nice smell never hurts.

I know I need to start posting more pictures but here is my problem. I use my work-issued computer for posting and I use my personal computer to download my pics. I cannot download pics onto the work computer. But getting online with my personal computer is a real pain in the rear. Thus, the picture dilemma. But, if I ever get it figured out I will post soccer pics and pics of Harold looking super, duper handsome in his new threads.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Fight against White Matter Disease

Yes, it happened today, just like I thought it might. I got the dreaded pop quiz. Some of you may remember that my first pop quiz in history turned out pretty badly because I had decided to go lunching with my husband instead of attend class? But guess what? Today's quiz wasn't so bad. I was so, so, so ready for it. The prof told as at the beginning of the semester that he likes to give quizzes on the documents that we are assigned to read. We read three documents for today's class and I read them over three times and also took notes on the highlights from each. So when the teacher told us to look at two of the documents and choose one and write about the significance of that document to the French Revolution, I had it in the bag. Here's hoping the TA that grades the quiz thinks so too. I actually was quite nervous and my mind went blank for about 10 seconds, but then I pulled through. I can feel my mushy brain beginning to come back together to make coherent thought again, it's kinda nice.

This weekend promises to be enjoyable. We have a baptism to attend, women's conference, and our new ward meets for the first time as a unit. Too bad the meeting will be in an old brown building instead of our 2-year-old pretty chapel that I have grown used to. I have become a bit of a building snob and cannot believe I am being asked to attend a building that is so.....brown. Pride goeth before the fall they say, so I better strip that pride off and embrace the brown.

For the record: I am sitting here at my computer and Harold sits nearby reading a magazine. I looked over just now and you know what? He is pretty cute. I caught myself quite a great guy, and handsome too. Lucky me.