Friday, April 24, 2009

Unemployment Top 5 Lists

As some of you already know, I was laid off from my job yesterday. I had a fear that this might be coming, but I have been dutifully going to work every day hoping that it wouldn't. I don't really know how to describe how I feel right now. Strangely enough, it feels a little bit like being broken up with. (Not that I have ANY idea what that would feel like.) On the flip side, it is a wonderful blessing to be able to be at home where I have desperately wanted to be for so long. It's a strange feeling, that's for sure. Apparently, a big part of my identity was tied up in my work. I was really good at it, too. Altogether I feel a little hollow. And a little relieved. And a little sad. And a little stressed. Yep, that about covers it.

At any rate, it happened, and I have faith that everything will work out somehow. I am not silly enough not to realize the great blessings I still have in my life.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to post my top 5 things I will miss about my job and the top 5 reasons I will enjoy my unemployment.


5. DRESSING UP. I mean, really, what a phenomenal waste of all my cute work clothes.

4. TWO WORDS: BISCUITS & GRAVY. So there's this catering truck that comes to Smead every morning at 9:15. Best biscuits and gravy ever. That's all I'm going to say.

3. FILE FOLDER EMERGENCIES. Bet you didn't know there was any such thing, did you? You'd be surprised. It always amuses me and helps me gain a little perspective when customers totally flip out about folders. You would think these things were made of oxygen.

2. VOICEMAILS FROM AUDRINA. Although I will get to spend more time with the midget herself, I will miss her tiny little sweet voice on my voicemail. "Mommy, can I have something to eat?" "Mommy, what are you doing?" "Will you tell daddy to let me use the computer?" Every. Day. Sometimes as often as 8 times a day. No kidding.

1. FAST INTERNET CONNECTION. Seriously. It took me three times as long to pay my dumb bills this morning. Sad.

(Yes, I purposely left things out like: co-workers, paychecks, making the mortgage payment, etc. It's not that kind of list. I mean, are you trying to bring me down? Geez!)


5. MY NEW WORK UNIFORM: SWEATS & FLIP FLOPS. Forget casual Friday. I'm talking about casual EVERY day. Yes, I enjoy dressing up, but I ALSO enjoy being comfortable. I will have a good few weeks of enjoying slumming around a little. All day. Every day.

4. TWO WORDS: SLEEPING IN. Need I say more?

3. MO BETTA BLOGGING. Well, I don't know about better. But definitely more. I mean, come on. I'll be made out of free time.

2. LESS LAUNDRY. (see reason#5)

1. FORTUNE & FAME. Let's face it people. Now that I don't have bosses and co-workers and needy customers (in addition to a husband and church responsibilities and needy kids) to take up all my energy, I can dedicate myself to becoming a rock star. Or an author. Or a famous philosopher. Or a guest anchor on Good Things Utah. Anything is possible.

Well, there it is. My Top 5 Lists. It will be a bit of a struggle for us, but I'm always up for a challenge, or at least the Lord seems to think so. Consider the lilies, right? I don't know if that means I'm going to end up living in a field, but I will not be spinning or toiling. And I hear that I'll be arrayed fabulously. What else could a girl ask for?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quilt Shirt, A Note to Follow Sew.

Well, I am quite sure that you are all on the edges of your various proverbial seats to find out what has happened since the day I sewed something that was actually nothing. I'll tell you what happened. I sewed something that was something. Kind of.

My friend Karyn was so thrilled to read about my adventures in sewing (and duly impressed with the nothing I made, I might add.) She has so far been unable to get me interested in scrapbooking or stamping or crocheting or making my own baby wipes, much to her chagrin. She knows that my attention is prone to wane quite easily, especially when I am not good at something. Which is far too often for my liking. So after the sewing incident (also known as The Three-Sided Stitched Nothing) she decided to show me how simple sewing can be. We grabbed a bunch of fabric strips and she started piecing them together. I think we were making some sort of quilting square ... or maybe an entire quilt, I'm not entirely sure. So she patiently sat next to me and handed me pieced together strips and said, "Sew here." "Now, sew here." And offered up mostly false words of encouragement as I was going. "Good job." "That looks great!" "You're doing good." That kind of stuff. 'Cause Karyn's known me a long time, and she knows that compliments, even contrived ones, totally work on me.

Well, I sewed together a bunch of strips into a sort of rectanglish, squarish type thing. She said that it would make a great pillow. But I didn't have any stuffing. And have I mentioned that in addition to not being very skilled, I am also not very patient? It looked like it would make a really cute skirt to me, but it was too small to go around even Audrina's tiny waist. Well, I was on a roll, people. I had sewed something, and I was not just about to let it sit and be nothing but a pretty placemat. So I tried to wrap it around Audrina's body instead. No luck. But really close!! So I got the idea to tie it in the back and put straps on it and make it a sort of shirt. Of course I had to consult Karyn to see if I could actually pull that off. She agreed that it might work, but I think she secretly thought it would still look better as a pillow.

Finally, after lots of Karyn's help and Audrina yelling, "WHEN CAN I WEAR MY SHIRT??" it was completed. The end result of my labor of love. I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Here it is ...
AND, the back ...

Yes, I am not so dim that I do not get the irony of making a very immodest (if worn alone) shirt when my original dream was to design a modest fashion line. I also do not think it will make it into the House of Chanel of haute couture. Nor would it pass a close inspection by anyone who knows anything whatsoever about sewing. WHATEVER. Drina loves it. Really. I might make a matching one for her baby doll next. (Just kidding, Karyn. Don't get any ideas.)

My husband was slightly less than impressed. I was so excited that I had actually made something that someone could wear, and I thought maybe he would share in that excitement. Not so much. The next day Audrina was excited to wear her new shirt, and I was expecting a call from him when he got her dressed that morning. Nothing. I finally talked to him later on the phone and gushed, "Did you SEE the shirt I MADE??" His response, "Yeah. Um, it looks kind of like an apron." Whatever. He obviously doesn't know what a real apron looks like.

BTW, if you want to see what a real apron looks like and even enter to win it, check out my friend Lara's post here. She actually knows how to sew. I hope you're not too disappointed, but don't be looking for any quilt-shirt giveaways anytime soon. I'm pretty sure that this was a one time thing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Words

Ok, so I am sure that most of you have noticed that you sometimes have to enter a "word verification" to post a comment on another person's blog. and a few other websites use this supposed "word verification," too. The problem with this practice is that just because a bunch of letters are stuck together, it does not make something a word. Like "rederec." Um, not a word. My question is, did they run out of real words to use due to the sheer volume of comments being posted on the blogosphere, or did they start making stuff up from the very beginning just for kicks?

I am sure that the answer to that question is probably very dull and involves something to do with random, computer generated sequences of letters. But I prefer to think that it is someone's full time job to come up with these "word verification" words. Maybe more than one person. Maybe somewhere in South Dakota or Nebraska there is an entire satellite office filled with employees who sit in front of computers all day just making stuff up. The walls are decorated with the alphabet in varying fonts and colors. They probably give awards for the "Best Word Thinker-Upper" of the month. Maybe the prize is a dictionary. Just to be funny. Maybe it's a really competitive field and only the best and brightest employees are chosen for this think-tank. And their true identities are protected to keep NASA from recruiting them. I'm not sure, but that's what I like to think.

At any rate, I am not sure that these WVS (Word Verification Specialists) rely on any outside information when they are choosing who wins the BWTU awards. But just in case they are, I thought I would post my top 5 favorite words and what they might possibly mean if they were, in fact, real words.

5. UNTRATUD: the opposite of tratud; or not to be tratud. Upon speaking to her, I noticed that she was completely untratud. No wonder she teases her hair up so high.

4. MOUNDO: an exceedingly large quantity or amount. I cannot believe the moundo piles of laundry that I have to do every week. Or My children have been moundo uncooperative this morning.

3. GONFUZ: the wonderful feeling of smoothness that follows a long awaited shaving. I was pleased to find my husband gonfuz after weeks of him having a beard.

2. SESTSYLL: the lesser-known sister of Dr. Jeckyll who functioned as his assistant. It was really Sestsyll who made the accidental discovery of the magic potion that transformed Dr. Jeckyll into Mr. Hyde. What she was actually trying to do was to make a potion that would cause Dr. Jeckyll to help more around the house. Despite the tragic results, it should be noted that she had some success. Although Mr. Hyde commited various atrocities, he was known to always leave behind an impeccably clean house. Although there are few that know the truth, Sestsyll is really to blame for the potion that created the infamous Mr. Hyde.

1. IDGEFLUP: a momentary lapse in memory or in good judgement, also commonly known by the crasser expression "brain fart." I could not remember her name for the life of me, even though we had been introduced several times. It was a total and complete idgeflup.

There it is, ladies and gentlemen, my five faves. Words that received an honorable mention in my list are sisiti, zosine, and jecavann (a caravan led by a Jedi?)

P.S. If by any chance you know the truth about how these word verification words are created, don't tell me. It'll ruin the magic.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


So, I really needed General Conference this past weekend. Like REALLY needed it. Like laying on my bed in the dark with my shoes on last Friday night thinking, " I cannot possibly go on for one more day." I needed inspiration, I needed hope, I needed strength, and I needed the will to continue in spite of the fact that life is, well, life ... you all know how that is.

So I watched conference this weekend and waited for my miracle. I watched, I prayed, I paid special attention so that I could hear that message that was meant just for me. I was uplifted and I was inspired, but I ended the weekend thinking that I had not really found that one certain message that I needed in my life. I felt that I was a parched stone on a dry river bed caught in a Spring shower. I was blessed to feel the much needed moisture that came from each and every word that was spoken. But once it ended, the sun came back out and each drop evaporated as quickly as it had fallen. There were many messages that were meant to give hope. Follow the prophet. Fear not. Adveristy comes to all. We are not alone. Each one was greatly needed and appreciated, but I still felt somehow empty and very much alone.

However, as the week has progressed, and I have had time to ponder and to seek and to pray, I have started to feel very differently. I feel that the same sun which came and seemingly dried up the much needed moisture that I received has also melted the snow on some far away mountain top. I am still that stone, only now instead of feeling withered and alone, I have felt first the trickle and then the absolute torrent of water washing over me as it floods the once dry river bed that I am laying in. I don't know when it hit me exactly, but different parts of the messages that were shared have been brought to my mind throughout the week until I feel absolutely saturated with peace and solace.

I know that everyone receives their own inspiration and takes away their own perspective of the different talks and messages that are shared, but for me, the defining moment came in Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk about unselfish service. I admit, I was only paying cursory attention as he spoke of how we should be willing to sacrifice and offer service to those around us. It's the same message we have been hearing forever. When we lose ourselves in the service of others, we find ourselves ... blah, blah blah (no sacrilege intended.) We know we are supposed to serve, we know that we are supposed to be filling the needs of others, and feeding the sheep as it were. However, when he read the exerpt from his friend's letter, something must have subliminally sunk in for me. He talked about how people sometimes don't want to attend church because they don't always feel they are being fellowshipped or uplifted or they feel they have been offended by others. His friend said that he no longer attends church expecting to be uplifted, but to uplift others instead.

Now, for me church attendance is not a problem. I know exactly why I attend church. I do not always feel fellowshipped or uplifted. On the contrary, I am often relieved just to make it out alive with all 3 kids still intact. Over the years, I've been offended, I've been thrown up on, I've spilled countless containers of crayons and Cheerios alike. Whatever. I don't have a problem going to church. BUT, the past few days, I have really been thinking about applying the concept to my life, not just to my church attendance. The overwhelming thoughts I have had this week have centered on one integral theme. It's not about me. None of it.

I don't think of myself as an innately selfish person; I try to look continually for opportunities to help and to give. Lately, though, many of my thoughts have been focused on myself. I am too tired. I can't depend on anyone. I don't have enough support. I need a bigger house. I am tired of working. I am tired of my calling. I am tired of laundry. I need peace. I need comfort. I need chocolate (I just threw that one in to see if you were paying attention.) :) Anyway, you get the point. Over the last week, though, different thoughts and messages from conference have been brought to my remembrance and I think I've figured it out. The Secret to Life. It's not just to serve or just to help those around is. It is to be so focused on others that we do it to the complete exclusion of ourselves. Complete. Exclusion.

We are to follow the example of the Savior, not just because He was good and perfect and kind, but because He took no thought for Himself. None. This life was not meant as a test just to see if we would be faithful and obedient and grow through our trials. It is a test to see if we will help others be faithful and true through their trials. I feel like I have been working on the wrong homework assignment all along. Apparently, in my haste to get through, I did not read through the instructions thoroughly and completely. That sounds about like me.

For the last two days, my new mantra has been, "It's not about me." It's not. About me. At all. I want to change my focus completely so that everything I do is for someone else. A clean house so that the Spirit can dwell there for my family. A good job in Young Women because that's what these girls need and deserve. A strong testimony so I can share it with others. You get the picture. I hope it will change my life.

Just don't look for me to be transfigured or translated anytime soon. I am absolutely positive that it will take an entire long lifetime for me to get it figured out.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Talented Mrs. Tracy

Hey, hey guess what?? You're never going to guess, so I'll tell you. I sewed something. I'm totally serious. And, NO, smarty pants, it wasn't a button. I sew buttons all the time. Ok, I sew buttons once every year or so, but that's not the point. I can see that I am getting ahead of myself already.

Last night at the gym, I was watching some free cable. It was some Supermodel reality show, on some ... I don't know, some obscure channel. Anyway, it was way lame, but goofy-treadmill-guy in front of me had the remote, so I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter. The radio station that was supposed to pick up the sound wasn't working, and I was using Fan's MP3 player. Which meant, I was reading the captions on the lame Supermodel reality show while listening to a mix of David Archewhateverhisnamehis, Taylor Swift, and HSM1,2,and/or 3. Anyway, not the point (again.) The point is ... it got me thinking about fashion. High fashion, couture fashion, designer fashion. I came home and was absently cleaning out a drawer in the kitchen while eating ice cream (What? Didn't you hear me say I went to the GYM??) and stumbled across some old pictures of Fan. She's so cute and model-like and she always has been, even 5 or 6 years ago when the pictures were taken. At any rate, I went to bed with visions of designing some line of fabulous, modest high-fashion clothing and having Fan be my #1 model and spokesperson. (I blame the late night cable and ice cream - bad combo.)

Well, today I had the whole thing kind of in the back of my mind and I was remembering that Fan and I still haven't played with her new cool purple sewing machine that she got for Christmas. So I texted her (cause I'm cool like that) and said, "Let's play with your sewing machine after work/school today." She ended up going to a friend's house after school, but I still had the hankering to goof around. I busted out the sewing machine and the instructions and started threading it. For a really long time. Zariah got tired of watching me and gave up on the whole "sewing with mom" thing when she realized that her retarded mom didn't even know how to thread a sewing machine. Even with written instructions. I blame the bobbin.

At any rate, I did it. It took, I'm embarassed to admit how long, but I did it. Then, to try it out, I sewed something. That's right. I. Sewed. Something. I knew you wouldn't believe me, so I took some pictures.

See, that? That's the cool purplish/pinkish Bratz real functioning sewing machine. And perched right on it is the thing I sewed. See, here's a closeup ...

Admittedly, it is not high fashion. It is not even low fashion. It probably would not qualify as fashion of any type, not by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, it is absolutely nothing at all. Just a random scrap of fabric. BUT, if you look closely you will see that it is sewn on 3 whole sides. That means I turned corners and everything. AND as far as I know, I didn't even break the sewing machine. It's a long way off from designing a fashion line, I know. But I still sewed something.

Be impressed. Be very impressed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What a Drag it is Getting Old ...

I have arrived at a most shocking self-discovery. I say shocking, because it was a very humbling and surprising thing for me to discover about myself. But for those of you who know me, and especially my family, this revelation will probably be less of a breakthrough and more a source of amusement.

I was talking to a wonderful friend of mine about a year or so ago. She is a bit older than I am, and she mentioned in our conversation that I reminded her of herself when she was a mom with kids living at home. She actually used the word "high-strung." I was taken aback a little bit, and secretly amused that someone could think that I, of all people could be thought of as high-strung. I remember thinking, "Wow. She really doesn't know me very well at all. I am a totally laid back, spontaneous, roll-with-the-punches kind of gal." Well, it has taken some serious introspection, a few near-meltdowns, one border-line nervous breakdown collapsed on the floor in front of the pantry, and a lot of observing other moms who really are mellow and low-strung. (I don't think that's really a word, but you get the point) for me to finally realize that I am a high-strung person.

Yikes, it actually hurts me to put it in writing. It's true, though. I am not very patient, I am a total control freak, I am a perfectionist, I am basically everything neurotic and insane. The most amusing thing of it is that everyone else has probably known all along! And no one bothered to tell me! Well, come to think of it, I am remembering a conversation in the car with my kids a few months ago that went a little something like this:

Zariah: "Mommy is always grumpy."

Audrina: "Yeah, Mommy!"

Me: "What?! I am not! That's ridiculous." 

Fan: "She's not always grumpy, Zariah."

Me: "See! Fan knows! Listen to her."

Fan: "She's only grumpy when she comes home from work. And on Sundays. And if we're getting ready to go somewhere."

Um, thanks Fan, way to get my back. Maybe I have always been so obviously high-strung that everyone just assumed that of course I knew. How could I not know? All along I have been thinking how lucky my kids and husband are to have an ultra-cool, chillaxed, hip mom and wife like me. In reality, it has been I who is lucky to have people around me that understand and love me anyway when I flip out over messy rooms and make threatening phone calls when someone eats the last 5 bites of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and have a cosmic melt down on the Hoover Dam overlook en route to Arizona. Apparently, in my desperation to appear laid-back and serene, I convinced myself that I was indeed a calm, mellow person. I am not. I never have been. I possibly never will be. I am the crazy kind of person that the Rolling Stones were channeling when they wrote Mother's Little Helper. Minus the little yellow pill.

Ouch. It is painful, this self-realization.