29 June 2007


I need help with two things. First, I am really bored at work. So if anyone has any projects for me that don’t include crafts or cooking (I can’t easily do these things at work and still look like I’m actually working) send them my way. I’m serious. Anything. Projects for me or projects for you. You need a fancy spreadsheet created?! Allow me! You want me to create an electronic copy of your recipes, just send me the copies and I’ll do it. Honest. I’m not kidding, just that bored.

Second, I am turning 30 in a few short weeks (!) and can’t decide how to celebrate. I have no idea why I am having such a hard time with this. We were initially going to go to NYC, but I waited too long and couldn’t get reservations at the cheap place. Then, I found an affordable inn in West Virginia to which I’ve never been, near some four-season resorts and state parks. But for some reason, I’m dragging my feet in getting a reservation. So here’s the deal: we have $500 and a three-day weekend. What to do?! I thought about flying to Charleston or Savannah, but then slapped my forehead and said “Duh” quite loudly. Me, below the 38th parallel in August?? Suuure, that’s gonna happen. Then Boston came to mind, but I can’t imagine that it’s affordable. Plus, it’s probably very busy this time of year and I generally try to eschew crowds. Another thought was Niagara Falls, but after the initial “Ooooh,” while viewing said falls, what do you do next? Finally, I thought maybe I’ll just stay home, invite friends, have a BBQ, and go shopping with the leftover monies. But I just can’t decide! Any other suggestions of fun places to visit? Or fun things to do over that first weekend in August? Help!

27 June 2007

Four Grammar Pet Peeves

I have a very little right brain. Yes, I like to make cute things, but I just called it "re-creative" since I'm only copying what others tell me to do. And yes, I like to cook, but again, I'm simply following a set of directions. Due to this lack-of-a-right-brain handicap, I always hated English class. The first time I took it, I had to drop my required college writing course. I really do like to read, but I do not like to "analyze how Trumbo uses such techniques as point of view, selection of detail, and syntax to characterize the relationship between the young man and his father." Puke! (Note: The quoted text was taken from the 2007 Free-Response section of the AP English Literature and Composition exam, question 2.)

The only redeeming thing about English classes was the time spent on grammar. Ooooh, I loved the grammar. Rules, wrongs and rights...it was all so beautiful to my mathematical mind. And given the fact that my mother studied English in college, she helped enforce and put into practice those rules. (Ignoring the fact that her incessant reminders on correct usage were quite annoying. I look forward to doing the same thing to my children.)

Back in March, my friend Gretchen blogged about her grammar pet peeves. Today I'll do the same.
  • First, please learn the the difference between "its" and "it's." One is possessive; the other is a contraction. How do you know which to use? If you can substitute "it is" in place of the word, then use "it's." If not, use "its." For example...do not say, "Membership has it's rewards," as a poster at my gym does. "Membership has it is rewards" just sounds silly, as well as just plain wrong.
  • Second, "their," "there," and "they're" are separate words with separate meanings, as are "your" and "you're." Please don't tell me, "Your special," because I'll ask, "Your special what? Your special dog's tongue is touching my leg? Your special sister has a sweet spirit?"
  • Third, if you use the "Emily and I" statement in the subject of a sentence, then good for you! If, however, you are using it as the object of a prepositional phrase, then shame on you. You're just trying to look smart. For example, "Give the Hot Tamales to Emily and I" is soooo wrong, but you think you're so smart for using I. I bet you wouldn't dream of saying "Give the Hot Tamales to I," now would you? I thought not. The correct sentence is, "Give the Hot Tamales to Emily and me." Now really...give me the Hot Tamales.
  • Finally, although I'm not sure if this counts as grammatical or not, I have to mention it. There is a big difference between $0.75 and 0.75 cents. The former is equal to three quarters, or three-fourths of a dollar. The latter is only three-fourths of a penny. So if you are a store and you want to advertise something for 0.75 cents, don't be surprised when I plunk down the item, give you a penny, and tell you to "keep the change." I won't be surprised when you then tell me the true price is actually 75 cents. But then don't you be surprised when I then sue you for false advertising.

Hopefully I haven't made any egregious grammatical mistakes here. But feel free to flog me if I have.

25 June 2007

Poll Results

On June 8, I posed a question to my readers: how do you rank the following stores (K-mart, Target, and Wal-mart) in order of your preference? Of the 11 votes that I received (who knew I was so popular?!), 10 of them gave first place to Target. This does not surprise me. However, seven of you rated Wal-mart as second place while K-mart received four second-place votes. This completely surprised me. For the worst of the three, K-mart received six votes, Wal-mart three votes, and Target one. Again, surprised.

This poll was born from a conversation between C and me: I say T-K-W and he says W-T-K (from his younger days, but T-W-K as of now). We decided that we ranked them according to our familiarity. Growing up, I never had a Wal-mart close to me and therefore never went there. Target, however, was so exciting that during my undergraduate years, my roommates and I would make Friday night plans to go there. C, on the other hand, grew up going to Wal-mart (therefore the first-place ranking). Don't worry: I have since converted him to the ways of the bulls-eye. Adding to Target's success in this poll, I believe, is the fact that Target has done a much better job of marketing than the other two. But those are just my theories. Feel free to disagree.

22 June 2007

Flashback Friday

The alternate title for this post is, of course, "You Know My Self-Esteem has Recovered Because I am Actually Posting This Picture."

I think that sixth grade, for nearly everyone, is the ultimate for the ugly years. To my credit, this is the year that I moved to Utah. I was new to the idea of "bangs," but was willing to try (as evidenced by the photo). Sadly, I think this was actually a good hair day. Although you can't see them very well, the earrings are quite attractive as well.

21 June 2007

The Blog Chain

My whole blog-life I've been trying to work my way through different blogs, hoping to find someone I know at the end of the chain. On Tuesday it finally happened. Here's how:

And from CorinneEdwards to friends of mine that I knew from my D.C. singles ward, Holly and Matt Baun! I don't know why this excited me like it did (it was the first thing I told C when he picked me up at the metro), but it did. It still does!

19 June 2007

Making Decisions

I hate making decisions. What to eat for dinner? What to do this weekend? What movie to rent from Blockbuster (does anyone actually use Blockbuster anymore or are you all NetFlickers?)? Most of the time, I'd simply rather have other people make them for me. And for those really big decisions? Well, I guess I'd rather Heavenly Father put what He sees as best for me right in front of me. I trust Him--honest I do!

Currently, C and I are faced with a whole bunch of huge decisions, and all at once. I can't figure out why, exactly, I seem to do this to myself. Let's remember late 2004. Within a period of two months, I quit my dream job, began my nightmare job, sold my cute condo, rented my crappy apartment, moved across the country, and said goodbye to my single life by marrying C. Not all changes were bad, but why did I have to do them all at the same time?

I feel like that now. We found a HUD (town-)home that is really quite lovely. The process of buying a HUD home is fast. You have to make a bid within 10 days of the listing. 10 days?! To make a decision on buying a home?! On top of that, yesterday C was offered a really great opportunity for this upcoming school year. Although this might end up being a no-brainer, it's still a big decision that could influence the entire path of his teaching career. So we've got both of these really big decisions on our plates with no clear answer as to what is the right thing. It's making my head hurt.

15 June 2007

Recent Scrabble Games

c: 345 e: 297

c: 303 e: 318

c: 303 e: 304

11 June 2007

What, Exactly, is That Supposed to Mean?

On a recent metro ride, I was reading an article in the Ensign about a woman in Japan, who, with many of her eight sons, was converted to the Gospel. I am always amazed to hear conversion stories of people who come from non-Christian backgrounds, and so I quite enjoyed reading her story. But there was one line in this article to which I took offense (don't worry; I'll not leave the Church over it). Speaking about the eight sons, the author wrote, "Among those converted, one is now serving as a stake president, some are high councilors, and some are bishops." And the author's point is....? The fact that the author said "among those" implies, to me, that there are other sons whose callings were not mentioned. Why? Why not just say that all the converted sons are serving faithfully in their wards?

Aren't we always told that all callings are equal? If that's true, then why do we have to mention only these callings? Why not say, "One is now serving as a stake president, two are high councilors, two are bishops, and one is the assistant scout leader." Or, "...the ward librarian." Or, "...the teacher's quorum advisor." If all converted sons were serving as primary teachers, would their callings even be mentioned?

So does this hierarchy of callings exist in the Church? If you learn that someone you know was called as Elders' Quorum President, would you be more impressed than if that same person was called as a ward missionary? To what extent do you believe righteousness has to do with someone given a particular calling?

08 June 2007

Reader Poll

Following my sister's lead, I too am going to take a poll. Please put the following in order (from your favorite to your least favorite):
  • Kmart
  • Target
  • Wal-Mart

You can submit your preferences by adding a comment to the blog. Thank you for your participation. The results will be discussed at a later time.

05 June 2007

More on Moving

As we are going to have to make this decision around the end of this year, we're starting to do our homework. After learning about how high health insurance costs can be, that has now become the second factor in picking possible places to which we might relocate. Housing, of course, being the number one factor. So take a look at the map and let us know if we're missing anything. And yes, that does include the Midwest. We're looking for places that have good pay for teachers (but if you don't know, don't worry--I'll research it), better traffic than D.C. (that only rules out L.A.), and low amounts of humidity. And of course, affordable housing.

emily, don't you dare suggest Montrose. You know I could never live in a town too small to support a Target.

01 June 2007

A Stay-at-Home Me

Someday, C and I will have kids. Someday. Right now, however, seeing as though we’re about as rich as we’ll ever be, we are living, working, and saving money like crazy. Why? Because we know that our biggest expense will be a house. And the larger the down payment we have, the smaller the mortgage payment we’ll have. And the smaller the mortgage payment, the better off we’ll be because, well let's face facts: C is a teacher. And as everyone knows, teachers simply don’t make that much money. You can’t earn $30,821 a year and provide adequately for a family, even in a place where housing is still relatively affordable. You just can’t.

However, if it happens that we are able to provide for our family on C’s salary alone, then I am going to opt for staying at home. Why? Because I think it will be fun to sew all day and decorate my house and watch “Ambush Makeover?” Well, yes, but those are not the only reasons. It’s because I believe that my staying home will make a positive difference in my children’s lives.

In a recent article in the Washington Post, a columnist who is having a baby boy in June wrote the following, “I think I'll be a better mother because I have a job, showing my son that women can be mothers and workers, good cooks and great policymakers, football tossers and reporters.” I guess I just don’t understand why she thinks she actually has to work in order to demonstrate this. Why does that son have to grow up in daycare to know that she is a good worker? I am currently working as a statistician and adjunct faculty. When I actually have work to do, I am good at it. Dang good at it. But do my kids actually need to see this to know it’s true? And even if I never had a real job, wouldn’t they learn at home that I am efficient, organized, smart, responsible, reliable, self-motivated—all qualities of a good employee?

The columnist finished her article with the following, “I think what I've learned during these past nine months or so is that no matter what I decide, I'll have to tell myself it's the right choice for me.” This is one of my biggest pet peeves of women who choose to work outside the home. To me, it’s the weakest argument you can make for returning to work after the birth of a child. That’s great that you think this choice is right for you; however, you have a child. Your life is no longer about you. It is about you, your spouse, and that child. So tell me you’re doing this because it’s what’s right for your family. After all, if it is for you, why did you have a child anyway?

If it turns out that we aren’t able to make ends meet based on C’s salary alone, then sure, I’ll work. I am proud that I have the education, qualifications, and experience to do so. I am certainly not against mothers working outside the home. But I just wish that they would make that decision based on what is best for their family and not just for them.