30 April 2010

Little April Hail Storm

I think my post about Spring having sprung in Provo may have been premature. That day that I took the beautiful tree blossom pictures may have been the only day in Provo where the weather was cooperating with the concept of Spring. Instead, every other day of this month I have been thinking of the song from Bambi, "Drip Drip Drop Little April Shower." Except instead I insert the words "Little April Hail Storm." The hail is definitely beating a tune as it falls lately. Today we are experiencing snow. As I drove to work this morning my car was throwing mini snowballs from the accumulated snow on the hood of the Matrix at the commuters around me.

What makes this weather even worse is it makes it difficult to complete my BYU Wellness Challenge. There are six wellness challenges per year, and if you complete the challenge you get cash back on your insurance and a prize! So when they allow your spouse to participate also, we usually come out making bank. The current challenge is walking 8,000 steps per day. I didn't realize how little I move in the day until I did this challenge last year and had to walk the perimeter of campus during my lunch hour in order to get 8,000 steps per day. The snow and hail means I'm going to have to do laps around my department in order to be adequately active.

And the problem with laps around the Wilkinson Student Center lately, is that it's Women's Conference today at BYU. This two day event may possibly bring more women and more money on campus than any other conference in the summer. The halls of the Wilk are completely packed with women from 10:30 Am until even after I'm gone from work. The bathroom situation is bad too! So bad, in fact, that the facilities people have to put up signs like the one below to help the flow of traffic and protect privacy.

I'm pretty sure these signs had to go up after consistent attempts from some bold conference attendees. This is how I imagine it going down... There's ridiculously long lines at the lady's room, and surprisingly the smell from the men's restroom is more appealing. As a conference goer, you are crossing your legs and doing a little dance, and you notice that there hasn't been one male enter the men's room in at least 8 minutes, not to mention no males in sight in the hallways. Why not take a chance?!

In any case, I'm going to attempt some more laps today. It helps to have Scott participating as well, because he is sending me texts every couple of hours that say something like "3842" or "5139"... his step count for that moment. Beating Scott is definitely a good motivator to be more active.

26 April 2010

Rexburg Trip - Big Jud Challenge

Our Rexburg trip was quite the success! On my list of things to do, I was able to cross off many. I visited with my Paris roomie from 2006, Jennifer, and my great Alaskan friend Claire. So much fun to see them both and catch up! The Thornocks and the Chandlers walked around campus to see the changes from construction.... AmAzInG! I couldn't believe that the only remnant of the MC that I remember is the bowling alley, virtually untouched. I also checked off my list a visit Big Jud's (can you believe that little place has a website).

Here is a picture of Scott with his Big Jud one-pound burger special... which he shared with Steve-O.

Unfortunately for Scott, since we've been married he has become accustomed to sharing my meals and adapting to my tiny stomach. But he was successful in eating HALF of a Big Jud burger. Really, no one should be eating that much beef in one meal. Did you know that Big Jud's even has a FIVE POUND burger challenge? Gag! My quarter pounder was very tasty though!

My most favorite discovery at Big Jud's though, was Maplenut ice cream. Heaven! If you know my family, you know that we are coffee ice cream connoisseurs. We try to find the ice cream with coffee flavoring over actually coffee used in the ice cream. My favorite coffee flavor in ice cream, is like vanilla with a hint of coffee, but sometimes the coffee ice cream you order tastes more like a strong espresso. Well, Maplenut may be my new favorite. It was such a great flavor, reminding me of my vanilla type coffee ice cream, but with a good taste of maple. Scott and I shared a Maplenut shake as part of the Big Jud Meal Deal!

Next to the door at Big Jud's was this vending machine! I LOVE this idea.

I mean, seriously, why aren't there more gum ball machines with mustaches inside?! A whole table of Big Jud's visitors bought these trinkets to take pictures. I'm contemplating a gum ball machine business now.

22 April 2010

My Boss Deserves a Raise

So today my BzzAgent emails informed me that Advance America is offering a $40,000 salary raise to the best story of a U.S. worker. Immediately I thought of my supervisor, Dottie Jensen, at BYU. She is kind of a big deal! Dottie works so hard for the students of BYU to get connected to employers. All the time I feel like my job is so stressful, and yet Dottie is putting in so much more time, even when she's at home, and getting migranes, and still does her job for the sake of the students. I've asked her before if she thinks she'll retire sooner, because I would if I were here (I have only been at a job for tops two years though, so that shows my attitude when stress is introduced). She replies that she wants to stay and she is motivated by all the help she can provide to students and employers. And I STAY at BYU because Dottie is THE most AmAzInG supervisor I have had. She has taught me some very valuable lessons. She most definitely deserves a raise.

This is a picture of Dottie working while she's supposed to be having fun. You can't see that she has a laptop with her.

So I wrote up her story... much more professionally and convincingly than I just did above, and I submitted it to America Deserves a Raise.

Here are the rules:

Round One; Public Voting
It ends July 27, 2010.
Each voter will be permitted to vote for an essay multiple times, as long as your note using any software or American Idol phone tricks
The top 100 people will be chosen from Round One

Round Two: Judging
The criteria - the essay clearly expresses how someone deserves a raise by demonstrating the nominee’s efforts beyond and above his/her peers which are above expectations; the essay expresses how the nominee contributes in a meaningful way and makes a difference in overall work environment and the lives of others; the essay has the ability to inspire others; the essay’s overall impression.

Announcement made August 13, 2010.

Read Dottie's story and vote often at http://www.americadeservesaraise.com/nomination/dottiej

P.S. OH! I totally forgot to mention that every time you vote Advance America will be $1 to job-related charities. So it's a Win-Win-Win situation!

Ball Canning House Party

I don't know a Utah woman who wouldn't want to throw this House Party for her Relief Society sisters. This is the epitomy of self-reliance - a canning party... a FREE canning party with COUPONS. I'm sorry if you are getting bored with my House Party announcements, I just can't get over how awesome this site is! I have parties all the time, so it is so much better to have someone sponsor it!

House Party.com is now accepting hostesses for the Fresh Taste of Summer House Party sponsored by Ball.

The party date is June 5, which seems a little early for tomatoes but just in time to purchase all the canning supplies you'll need. This "salsa soiree" package would include:

For You:
1 Ball® Collection Elite® Stainless Steel Waterbath Canner with Canning Rack
1 Ball® 4-Piece Utensil Set
1 NEW! Ball® Canning Discovery Kit
2 Ball Blue Book® Guide to Preserving — the go-to book for beginners
Coupons for Jars
Product Samples
Special Salsa and Pepper Jelly Recipes and More!

For your guests:
Exclusive Reusable Green Bags
Money Saving Product Coupons
Ball® Fruit Pectin — for making your own jams and jellies
And each person will take home a jar of salsa and pepper jelly made during the party!

We're still waiting for post-bac program information. So I may not be applying for any parties in the near future, but if we're in town you could invite me :) wink wink ... Apply by clicking here!

21 April 2010

A Rexburg Weekend

We are almost officially going to Rexburg tomorrow. BYU Graduation is tomorrow and the University encourages staff to leave early on Thursday to make way for visitor parking spots. I say almost officially leaving, because I'm still waiting for someone to be my sub chorister in primary this Sunday.

Idahoans in the House! This may very well be the last trip to Rexburg until I bring my dear future offspring to the hallowed halls of BYU-I and Edna R. Ricks. So this means I have to get in every last nostalgic bit. We considered stay the night at the Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast (a.k.a. heaven) like we did on our last trip, because it's closing it's doors in the near future. I know! *tear* But we actually decided to stay with Scott's sister Christie instead, because she promised us an amazing breakfast with bacon. That's her trick to get me to say yes to the four hour drive... bribe me with bacon. Right, Christie?

So list of things to do while in Rexburg:
- Attempt a visit with all friends that are in Rexburg (that may take some serious Facebook stalking)
- Watch Scott eat a burger at Big Judds (not sure if I can eat one on my own)
- Millhollow, maybe?
- Paul Mitchell hair cut? (Still considering whether it's worth the risk)
- Take an evening stroll in the gardens of the Y-I with my schnookims... Oooh Shoot!
- Some Rexburgian activity (dunes, water sports, ice caves, night games with the youngin's)
- Play so many card games that Christie's pantry is robbed of sweet treat snackies
- Watch as Christie leaves all the fun at the house to go to class

K... so my list is kind of short. What am I forgetting?

16 April 2010

BYU Spring Retreat

BYU is starting to look and feel like Spring.

The trees are blossoming. Some of the blossoms on campus are absolutely ginormous, in fact from a distance I thought they were fake! Who could blame me? The buds are the size of a lotus flower growing on tips of branches outside of the Art building, where I can envision students getting together to make these out of paper. But I assure you that they are real.

During the Fall and Winter semesters, each department at BYU has a day of retreat. The Fall retreat resembles something that I'm used to - team building exercises, motivational speeches, food, and games. This Spring retreat was a little bizarre for my retreat tastes.

When we arrived at the Springhaven Lodge down the winding roads of Hobble Creek Canyon, there was an activity for Out of the Box thinking. On track for my retreat image..... and after we were all creatively contemplating, they told us there was nothing else scheduled for the day except lunch, so we should all enjoy the grounds. Some played basketball, volleyball, pool, or board games, but no one was doing any work. It's not very often that you get paid to do absolutely nothing, but since our department is comprised of mostly psychologists, I imagine they needed a day of from thinking, a time to let their Freudian thoughts slip. I of course was all over the board games, as well as the BBQ lunch and ice cream bar.

Then when it was time to go, I drove back down the canyon, slowly enjoying the warm breeze and beautiful day as I listened to the Pride and Prejudice CD in Scott's car. On my cruise back to Springville I saw four deer, three of which were alive. I ALWAYS see deer along the road, and the funny thing is that Scott never seems them. I tell him I have a sixth sense - "I see dead deer."

And after I got home, I took a nap. Best work day ever!

P.S. I've posted several stories today with pictures, but back dated them in order to be chronologically aligned. I fell behind a bit on recording the pictures in my camera, and lucky for me Blogspot lets you choose the date of your post.

So here is a list to the other stories I've posted today:

Watching BYU v Florida on Campus
April Fools at BYU
BYU Senior Appreciation Night
Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning

14 April 2010

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning

This incident may actually be the cause of many if not all of my back dated blog posts.

On the eve of Monday, April 5 I discovered a large spread of ants in my pantry trying to steal my Fruit Loops. It was disturbing to say the least. I'm not a fan of bugs or crawling/slithering things. But Scott is so good to calm down my crazy when it comes to things like this. He quickly sprayed the visible ants with home pest killer spray we had from our previous apartment, and clean up all the pantry walls, shelves, and food therein. Yay for husbands!

We kept monitoring the situation with the bug spray, and by Wednesday it appeared that all the ants were gone. I couldn't see any more coming from the previous corner source. And as I left our apartment that morning to go to work, I grabbed my lunch on the table, only to see that now our front wall above our dining table was now lined with ants (picture doesn't show the ants determined faces and fangs). Ugh! Ewww! I grabbed the spray and managed to stop them all in their tracks. But as I left the house with my lunch unaffected, I kept thinking about this pesty problem.

I got in my car and started my drive from Springville to Provo. I was thinking about how we should probably tell our landlords, and wondering how many ants would be crawling around when I got home.... when I heard a clink on my windshield. Maybe more like a crackle. I had just reached the point where Old State St turns onto 9th East, heading up to campus. I looked around, and saw no rocks or people throwing rocks, or cars around me that might have turned up a rock. Nothing! But then as I looked again, I saw this thin white line snaking across my windshield. I watched as the crack went from one side of my car to the other.

And that is the crack that broke my tear canals. Then all the thoughts came of all the things I had to do at home, in addition to fixing my now broken windshield. I pulled over on the side of the road and called Scott. He told me to calm down and go to work. I went to work, but was too overwhelmed to think. So I took the afternoon off to fix things.

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad morning. Time to move to Australia! You never know, there may even be a good medical school in Australia that would give Scott a scholarship.

12 April 2010

BYU Senior Appreciation Night

Last Friday BYU had a Senior Appreciation Night for all graduating seniors during the 2009 - 2010 academic year. You may remember that Scott is officially signed up to graduate in April 2010. Well... that's changed slightly. Since we were accepted to any medical schools during this round of applications, Scott has applied to a post-bac program at UC Davis. If accepted, we will start that program in June and Scott can receive his diploma from BYU. If we do not go to UC Davis, then Scott will be staying at BYU to retake classes and raise his GPA and also to study to retake MCAT. He will also be taking classes to apply to Physical Therapy programs. So graduation may not actually occur until August or even (do I dare to say?!), December. Blah!

Nevertheless, we did celebrate that Scott would be graduating in the year 2010 by attending this free night for seniors with Kyle (who is also graduating this year) and his wife Bridget. The Cougar Eat had free unlimited burgers, pizza, chips, and ice cream. There were performances and department booths with free things and prizes. There were door prizes, which we lost by being only one number off! There was also free bowling, and Kyle's favorite, karaoke.

Thanks Scott, for being a senior. I appreciate you AND your access to free food!

09 April 2010

Event Planning - Invitations

BYU's Office of IT offers some great classes to students and employees. I'm suprised that more people don't take advantage of them, especially since they are free. I've taken Adobe Creative Suite classes, a Flash class, a class on how to create online trainings through a program called Captivate, and an Access class for my database skills.

Recently though I took an Event Planning class, using skills from Photoshop, Illustrator, and Googledocs. The class had a wedding theme, but could be applied to any event involving photos and invitations or flyers. We learned how to do some basic photo editing and then how to create invitations for printing. We also did some forms in Googledocs.

For the last class of the series we had to practice some of our new skills in creating an invitation for an event coming up in our lives. I suppose I could have done Scott's graduation, but he's not planning on walking, and I'd rather do something cuter. So I decided to create an invitation for a past event. What could be cuter than my best friend's baby shower for Crew!

So here is what I came up with (infomation is fake):

I had a lot of fun making it, especially since there are so many cute Baby Shower invites to get inspired! The class showed us how we could save hundreds of dollars by doing the invitations ourselves and having them printed. I can just imagine all the fun I'm going to have with these new skills... work events, birthday parties, random parties, announcements, christmas cards. The options are endless!

07 April 2010

Long Lost French Mashed Potatoes

My first ever trip to France was when I was a junior in high school. I traveled to Paris and Toulouse with a group of students from Sitka and Juneau, Alaska. In Toulouse we stayed individually with host families. While I wont delve too much into my host family situation, I will say that this trip in 2000 was an adventure. I ended up having emergency surgery in a French hospital and spent a week sleeping (seriously, I don't think I stopped sleeping for a week) in the house of another host family where the father was actually a doctor. I will never forget the Caucanas Family for their charity in taking care of me during that time. They brought me ice and rice, the only things I would eat at the time, and cleaned me up when my system was not so reliable.

Once I was able to move around a little, I wandered downstairs, away from the dark bedroom I had been using. I found that they had a big Saint Bernard type dog, who was female. I knew this because she still had her period in tact, and sometimes I would find her trail on the floor. I thought it was funny, because most dogs in America are spayed. I followed the little red trail down the stairs to the kitchen, where I met Grandma, possibly the cutest woman in France. She was teaching Marie to make homemade chocolate cake. I don't think I tasted any, as my appetite was still a little weak, but I did venture to try Grandma's French Mashed Potatoes. It's amazing how food can have such an impact on your memory, especially when you are starving and everything tastes amazing or in my case, when searching for comforting foods that appealed to my picky digestive system.

These potatoes are like none you've ever tasted before. They are not fluffy, startchy - they are stretchy and cheesy. Oh my! With this memory I have been chasing down the recipe for these potatoes (and one other french pasta recipe, still to be uncovered) for 10 years. Until today! When Annie's Eats posted the recipe on her blog with this picture.

Photo taken from Annie's Eats

Thank you, Annie! I will be making these soon.

01 April 2010

April Fools at BYU

Again, this is a back dated post as I'm trying to catch up on pictures in my camera.

April Fool's Day had pretty much come and gone without any excitement at BYU. I heard of no practical jokes, except for Google of course, and some in our office had become anxious for something, ANYTHING, to happen.

Some of the student specialists in our office were helping me to clear out the employer storage closet. We had asked employers whose boxes had remained in that closet for more than a semester, how they would like us to dispose of their items whether it was shipping it back to them or giving it away to students. Well Raytheon said, give everything away. So we opened up their boxes to find hundreds of recycled items like recycled wood pens and these recycled paper bags.

I asked our front desk manager what she thought we should do with such a huge pile of bags, and she replied that it was April Fools Day and we needed to MAKE something happen with these bags. I really wasn't in this too whole heartedly, but I did assist... a little.

We unfolded the creases on the bags and taped them all together in the front of our office. Then when they least suspected it, we quickly taped the bags up onto the door of a meeting room/adviser office, with two advisers contained within. On the back of the bags we taped a sign that said April Fools.

Yeah... that's it! We still have a truck load of recycled Raytheon paper bags if anyone wants one.

Art Museum Concert Series

I took this picture last night as part of my internship for the Springville Museum of Art. The museum has a Sunday Night Concert Series that they haven't branded yet. When they posted the event on Facebook and asked me if I thought it was a good idea to just put a graphic of a music note as the Facebook profile image for the event, I suggested that a picture of the grand piano in an upper gallery of the museum might be more appropriate.

So I took the museum's own fancy smancy Cannon Rebel (score!) and snapped a few shots of the piano in it's surroundings. This is the one they decided to use as the profile pic for the series.

What do you think?