Monday, October 27, 2008
#1: I need a halloween costume. Something cheap and easy and relatively comfortable (no face paint, please) that I can wear to work on Friday and to our ward's Trunk or Treat on Wednesday. I have no idea what to do and there is no DI here to go looking through. Any suggestions?
#2: You former members of the Young Women's organizations--what did your leaders to to inspire you to get involved in personal progress? I just got called to be personal progress leader for our ward, and I'd like to get the girls excited about it because sometimes its hard to get excited about it;-). Any memories or things you really liked?
Well, that's about it. It's Monday and my weekend went by too fast. Chris and I made it to the Nashville temple on Saturday (Nashville is about 3 hours away). It's been a while, so it was so wonderful to be there. The temple was a small temple--my first time seeing a small temple up close and it was so TINY! Everything was a mini version of all the temples I have been to in the past. But the spirit was the same, of course, and I'm grateful we have one so close (yes, I said close--ha ha). For your viewing pleasure:
(There was no one around, so I took this picture using the timer and put the camera on a bench--pretty fancy, huh?)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Is it ok to complain about things that are free? Case in point: Since we live no where near Pittsburgh, we never get Penguins games on TV. There is a website, however, that streams the games live over the Internet for free. Its not exactly HD quality, but it is more than watchable. But all too often, the games will cut out and be replaced by Colombian soccer games from 1992 or 1980s cartoons. Its really strange. But it makes me so MAD because its labeled as showing the Penguins game and it will show it for a period or so and then just cuts away! Why not just show the whole game, people who do the streaming?! Anyway, lately I just don't even try because its so sad to have your hopes dashed. But its free--so do I really have a right to complain?
We got a washer and dryer. My joy overfloweth.
In a somewhat round-about way, I got new running shoes from my parents for my birthday (see below). I love them! First, they are really cute and Penguins colors. But more importantly, they are incredibly comfortable. Last summer I saw these purple Puma shoes and HAD to have them. So I got them with the excuse that they would be my workout shoes. So . . . . ok, I was going to tell this really long story about hurting my knee in high school and not being able to run long distance since then, but we'll get straight to the point . . . . I have been able to run without any pain in these shoes. Do the shoes you wear really make that much of a difference? It is wonderful -- weird, but wonderful.
Speaking of leg pains:
This week Fall finally arrived in Knoxville. It's actually early this year, but the temperature has cooled down (60s) and the leaves are turning colors and falling off the trees. A couple weeks ago when my hometown in Idaho got 6 inches of snow, Knoxville was sitting pretty at a balmy 83 degrees. I couldn't believe it. A week ago at our softball game (we played for a church team) we had a game at 9:00 at night and I was wearing shorts and a tshirt-at night-at the end of October-and I was hot. But this week I wore a coat. I'm so happy fall is here. Not only do I love the cooler weather and beautiful colors, we also cannot afford to run the air conditioning any longer (Knoxville's electricity rates are outrageous).
And finally, I thought I'd post this picture. Of our friend group back in Provo, Matt is the lone survivor of the marriage plague. He's the one in the front. We were taking a group picture and as Matt set the camera, our friend Caroline suggested we all kiss our respective spouses when Matt got in front of us. HILARIOUS.Ok, that's enough.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I actually get funny emails referring to the awesomeness of Billy Graham quiet frequently.
This email forward was a goodie. I'm not exactly a fan of Billy Graham, but the folks love him down here. I still thought it was funny.
Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his plane arrived there was a limousine there to transport him to his home. As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.
"You know" he said, "I am 87 years old and I have never driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove it for a while?"
The driver said,
"No problem. Have at it."
Billy gets into the driver's seat and they head off down the highway. A short distance away sat a rookie State Trooper operating his first speed trap.
The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.
The trooper pulled out and easily caught the limo and he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked up to the driver's door and when the glass was rolled down, he was surprised to see who was driving.
He immediately excused himself and went back to his car and called his supervisor.
He told the supervisor, "I know we are supposed to enforce the law.... But I also know that important people are given certain courtesies. I need to know what I should do because I have stopped a very important person."
The supervisor asked, "Is it the governor?"
The young trooper said, "No, he's more important than that."
The supervisor finally asked,
"Well then, who is it?"
The young trooper said,
"I think it's Jesus, because he's got
Monday, October 20, 2008
2. What kind of car did you drive? I started with a 1989 Nissan Maxima--crashed that one in the Highland parking lot. Then I had a teal Saturn for a few years. At the end of my senior year I got a beautiful white 2000 honda civic that I adored--and crashed on my way to college.
3. Most embarrassing moment of high school? I have a lot of embarrassing stories but I they are only funny/embarrassing when told in person. They wouldn't make any sense if I tried to explain them now (for those of you who know: jabbing Brett McBride in the back and saying goodbye to Jed Sion, who I didn't actually know).
4. Were you a party animal? No. Hung out with friends all the time, but not really "parties". One time Barbs and I did throw an amazing Halloween party.
Our amazing Halloween party-we went as cheerleaders. Notice the doll hanging in the background? It was creepy, ha ha.
6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? None of the above.
7. Were you a nerd? Maybe. I was in AP classes and got good grades and stuff. I also took French instead of Spanish (Spanish is what the cool people took). But I don't think I was labeled a "nerd". In fact, I have no idea what I was labeled as.
8. Were you on any varsity teams? Technically basketball, soccer, and tennis. I really only got playing time on the tennis team (because I really wasn't all that good at the other two). Actually, at our Senior breakfast they give out lifetime sports passes to Highland games to people who excelled in sports. When they called out my name, everyone was shocked, myself included. Turns out, if you get a varsity letter in 3 sports, you get one too! It was hilarious, but now I have a lifetime sports pass for riding the bench!
Homecoming week, Senior year.
10. Can you still sing the fight song? Yes. I was actually just teaching it to Chris, along with "Ram Power".
11. Who were your favorite teachers? Mrs. Peck [AP Government], even though I often wanted to wring her neck. And Mrs. Bowie [English and Student Government]. And Mr. Simmons [History and AP World History].
12. Where did you sit during lunch? We had open campus--so usually in the back of someone's car as we raced to Wendy's, Central Park, or Jack-in-the-Box.
13. What was your school's full name? Highland High School (Idaho)
14. School Mascot? Rams
15. Did you go to Homecoming and who with? Yes. Junior year with Mitch Quick and Senior year with Blake Hymas.
16. If you could go back and do it again, would you? No. It was fun while it lasted, but it served its purpose and I'm good with where I am now;-).
17. What do you remember most about graduation? Graduation was a daze because I had to introduce my friend who was Senior class president and I get a little dizzy when I have to speak in front of large groups of people.
Last day of high school
18. Where did you go on Senior Skip Day? The few days before graduation was Bear Lake with the Renee crew; after graduation was Bear Lake with the Katie crew.
19. Were you in any clubs? National Honors Society, Student Government
20. Have you gained weight since then? I haven't gained weight, but the composition of my weight has gotten a little softer--ha ha.
21. Who was your prom date? Junior year with Tyler White and Senior year with Trent Sparrow.
Junior year Prom with Tyler
22. Going to 10 year Reunion? If I'm around maybe I will.
23. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself? Don't stress out so much--high school is a breeze compared to college, enjoy it while it lasts!
I tag anyone who is in the mood to reminisce.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
And the Pens won, too.
Friday, October 17, 2008
This adoption blog is one of my favorite blogs that I blog stalk (creepy, I know).
The author brought up a whole new perspective on Prop 8 that I had never heard of nor thought of before.
If Prop 8 doesn't pass, it messes up adoption through religious adoption agencies (like LDSFS) because those agencies do not offer services to homosexual couples.
Here is what she has to say (but you should check out her post too; I love it):
"If it [Prop 8] does not pass, it will be very near impossible for LDSFS to continue in the adoption world. already in Massachusetts, LDSFS is getting pressure to close its doors as they do not offer services to homosexual couples. you may be thinking, "well, LDSFS doesn't offer services to heterosexual couples who are not endowed, sealed and active members of the Church." that is true and that is under attack as well.
Here is what you need to know about prop 8 from an adoption standpoint:Religious adoption agencies will be challenged by government agencies to give up their long-held right to place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. Catholic Charities in Boston already closed its doors in Massachusetts (after 100 years of practice) because courts legalized same-sex marriage there."
VOTE YES ON PROP 8 (if you get to vote, that is)
And have a good weekend :- )
Thursday, October 16, 2008
And to make matters worse . . . its an amazing year for BYU football.
If you have any tender feelings toward BYU football at all, read this article. It will only cause those tender feelings to swell within you.
It's about this year's team and includes an interview with Mr. Bronco Mendenhall.
Some of my favorite parts:
[When he first got to BYU, Bronco took his players to the top of Y mountain and had them look at the valley and campus below them.] Mendenhall pointed out how relatively small the Cougars stadium appeared among the community that surrounds it. "It was to gain perspective, not only in looking from the top down, but to see possibly where football really fits into this whole thing," Mendenhall says. "It's not very big."
"It's not all about football here," junior tight end Dennis Pitta says. "Obviously, if we're able to play well on the field, that helps represent our faith and our institution in a positive way."
The team at Mormon-church-sponsored BYU, whose coach encourages the players to keep football fifth on their priority list — behind, in order, faith, family, knowledge and friends — is playing so well it is the midseason favorite to represent non-BCS schools in a big-money bowl. [If we stay undefeated and don't make it to the BCS: me=ANGRY].
[This is why I love BYU as an institution. Here's Bronco:] "I was having the final interview for this job with a member of what we call the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles," a church leadership group that serves as the university's board of trustees, says Mendenhall, a Mormon who grew up on a ranch about 15 miles northwest of Provo. "He didn't ask any questions about football. He was only asking about things of a spiritual nature and the development of young people."
Mendenhall, 42, spent his first two hours on the job, he says, praying on his knees by the couch in his office. Within days, he identified three guiding principles: tradition, spirit and honor. He said people affiliated with the school warned him that including spirit would "make you a target."
"I said, 'This institution is founded on that. That's what we represent.' "
In choreographing the Cougars' resurgence, Mendenhall is trying things unheard of at college football's top level. The entire team, coaches included, takes Sundays off. No practice lasts longer than 90 minutes. Coaches leave their offices by 6:30 p.m. every day, including Mendenhall, who has three sons, ages 8, 6 and 5. [Family first;-)]
I am sick already over the Holy War. If both teams are still undefeated, and BYU's BCS chances are depending on a win, that game will be so intense. I'll be so sick, and I won't even be able to watch it. My BYU pride has really swelled as of late, and there is nothing quite like rubbing BYU's success in the faces of rabid Tennessee football fans.
I love our boys.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The local news had an article about a father who secretly named his new baby Sarah McCain Palin, obviously after the Republican presidential ticket. Ok that is weird, but what makes it bad is that he did it behind his wife's back. He put that name on the birth certificate when he was supposed to put "Ava Grace", the name he and his wife originally decided on.
His wife's reaction: "I don't think she believes me yet. It's going to take some more convincing."
Why he did it? "I took one for the cause. I can't give a lot of financial support for the campaign. I do have a sign up in my yard, but I can do very little."
So you name your daughter after a campaign?!? I'm all for naming children to honor special people, but naming your child to contribute to a campaign?? That name is going to be around way past the 2008 election, and its going to get old real fast. At least she can just go by Sarah. Oh yeah . . . if I was his wife I would be SO MAD.
Then this afternoon I saw this article on CNN.com. A 19-year-old girl in North Carolina (the south is full of crazy people, it seems) changed her name from Jennifer Thornburg to Cutout Dissection.com, which is PETA's anti-dissection website. She, of course, did it to support animal rights. Her driver's license now reads "Dissection.com, Cutout". She said she usually has to say her name repeatedly to people she meets, but at least it gives her the opportunity to share what the website is all about.
I don't even know what to say about that one.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Isn't that amazing? How do you even build something like that in the middle of the ocean? I've been trying to figure it out. It blows my mind, the things people come up with.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Last week this random man called in to the Admissions office and asked if he could have *Susie's* address. We have all student's personal information, but of course we're not allowed to give any of it out--not even to parents if the student is over the age of 18. So I asked "Can I ask why you need her address?"He huffed and sounded so annoyed, "Because I want to send her something." Duh! So I told him I was sorry, but I couldn't give out her private information. He got all annoyed and asked if an address was really private information. What?! Where an 18 year old girl lives? You really think I'm going to give that to you? Creepy! If it's so important and she knows you enough for you to be sending her something, can't you ask her for her address? Why are you calling the UT Admissions Office? Anyway, he hung up in a huff. Creep. I was so MAD that he would act like I was the crazy one, refusing to hand out a teenage girl's address to some random guy on the telephone.
Then today I got a another call to remember. The reception was horrible and I could hardly hear him. We were talking and he said he wanted to come to UT in 2010. He was currently serving in Iraq--yes, currently, like he was calling me from Iraq-- and wanted to plan for when he was released. My heart swelled for him. It was crazy to think that he was actually there, in the middle of a war, talking to me, planning for a distant future, and I was sitting at work pouting that I had to go to the Employee Fall Festival instead of getting a lunch break. I was almost in tears as we talked about what he needed to do to apply for Summer 2010. And when I hung up I said a little prayer that he, whoever he was, could come home and be a Volunteer.
I don't know why I get so emotionally invested! This is a warning sign that Social Work would be a rough career choice for me! ha ha.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Guy 1: "But men and women are not poles."
Guy 2: "Unless they're from Poland."
I sing that single random line in my head from time to time when I think about Chris and I. We're not really opposites, per se, just a little different--and that's what makes this marriage so much fun.
Chris grew up with 3 sisters.
I grew up with 3 brothers.
Its crazy how family dynamics can shape someone. Chris is all about communication-- we must talk everything out. Nothing can just slide on through. I am impeccable at letting things go, sometimes to a fault. And I'm not against silence either. One time when I was in high school I was "dating" a guy and he called to talk on the phone after school. We had seen each other literally 30 minutes before, so when he called I was pretty quiet. "Why won't you talk to me? Are you mad?" he kept asking. No, I said, I just don't have anything to say. We just talked 30 minutes ago. He got mad about that one and our relationship didn't last much longer. The same thing happens today. We'll be in the car and I'll be silent and Chris will ask if I'm mad and I'll say I just don't have anything to say. My view is: Do you have to be talking all the time even when there is nothing to talk about? While Chris points out there is always something to talk about (and he's right about that one). One time Chris asked what happens when there is a fight in our family (the one I grew up in). If there is so little communication, how do we make up? "We don't really get in fights", I said. And if something bothers us, give it a second and we'll get over it. This came up a lot at the beginning of our marriage because Chris and I would have disagreements from time to time. In a matter of minutes I'd get over it and totally forget it and 2 hours later Chris would come and say "do you want to talk about it?" Talk about what? (Way to be perceptive, Erin). Over the years, I've been learning to talk a little more and Chris to talk a little less, and our strengths compliment each other and help cover for our weaknesses (I picked an exceptional partner when it comes to helping me with my weaknesses).
The other day I was feeling a little down. I decided to communicate. So I told him how I was just missing school and all the flexibility that comes with it and the people and professors and lectures and learning and all that jazz. Its hard to move into the 9-5, 40 hours a week working world. Chris is wonderful and wants me to be happy, so he storms into a plethora of solutions to my "problem". I could quit work and go to UT and we'd make the money work (what money?), I could get a graduate degree at UT, I could attend night classes here (the thought of fitting that into my schedule sent my head reeling). Anyway, we got into a little conversation about me missing school. At the end, Chris said "What do you want to do to make it better?" I replied, "Nothing! I was just telling you I missed school!" OK. It was hilarious. I don't think he was expecting me to just communicate for no particular reason. He has taught me well, obviously.
Anyway, its a pretty fun joke now, two years in to this whole marriage thing, that I'm cold-hearted and he's hyper-sensitive. But I think the point of marriage is to come together and meet in the middle right? Its been fun (and funny) along the way, and maybe our kids will turn out perfectly balanced;-). Regardless of how different we are (we really aren't that different) its fun to work life out--and enjoy it-- with the one you love.
On a totally unrelated but hilarious note; the only thing I really do to 'bother' Chris is that I can be indecisive. But its not because I don't have an opinion, its because I honestly don't care. Where should we go out to eat? I really don't care. I just want to eat. Anyway, the other day I said to Chris: "Ok, new goal! I'm going to be decisive in everything, so you can't be mad or think I'm selfish when I just make a decision." He said "Like what? How are you going to be decisive?"
My response? "I don't know".
Then we both laughed really hard.
Monday, October 6, 2008
1582 - Due to the implementation of the Gregorian calendar, this day is skipped in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. What?! How tragic. No October 6?! I can't imagine.
1683 - William Penn brings 13 German immigrant families to the colony of Pennsylvania, marking the first German people to immigrate to America. Ok! Pennsylvania was settled on my birthday! I think that is the valid reason I've been looking for as to why I am a Pens fan!
1889 - Thomas Edison shows his first motion picture. Who doesn't appreciate the motion picture?
1945 - Baseball: Billy Sianis and his pet billy goat are ejected from Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series (see Curse of the Billy Goat). Oh, my gosh, Chris. I'm so sorry.
1966 - LSD is declared illegal in the United States October 6th: keeping the streets clean since 1966
1987 - Fiji becomes a republic. Fiji and I are meant to come together.
2007 - Jason Lewis completes the first human-powered circumnavigation of the globe. Add that to my list of things I would never care to do.
The one somewhat meaningful person I share a birthday with? Tony Dungy, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
So as you can see, the world could hardly do without October 6, even before I showed up. Without October 6, we wouldn't have movies, Pennsylvania, or Fiji, the Colts wouldn't have a SuperBowl ring (in my opinion)--and everyone would be hopped up LSD.
My grandma emailed me the other day and said (I hope she doesn't mind):
"Happy birthday. It is a happy memory to me that I was there on the day you were born. I walked past the nursery window and saw your Dad kneeling by your crib looking so intently at his little daughter is still a sweet memory."
Sunday, October 5, 2008
We're doing really well. I'd say we've adjusted to Knoxville quite well. We've been here for a month and a half now, so we're practically experts (ha ha). Our apartment is coming together. Still a little empty, but I hope to keep it that way because that means less to move when the time comes. As for the smell (if you recall, it smelled like cigarettes when we moved in), some days I can't smell it at all, and some days its really really bad. Chris wrote a letter to management, so we'll see if we feel the need to send it in soon. Some pictures:
Also, our car got a power T on the back window.
Chris is doing great. His program is good. Hard, but good. His first big test was last week and rumor has it its the hardest test you take during the entire Masters program. He was worried but got above the class average and did really well. I'm so proud of how he is doing and how hard he is working in school. He also got called to be Ward Mission Leader. Its not really this way in Utah (I don't think so anyway) but here the WML works really closely with the missionary, so its been fun to get to know our missionaries and have them over and go on splits with them. They are good missionaries, and that has been a blessing. (And I know Chris has been a blessing for them). Other than that, he's just trying to get over the deep depression that has set in since the Cubs were swept out of the play-offs last night.
I got a real, permanent job 2 weeks ago in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at UT. I help those who are applying to come here, answer questions, etc. The people are great and it has been really fun. I remember how scary applying to go to college can be and how you want to get everything just right, so I hope I can help calm some fears. I don't have a calling yet, but that's ok, I'm patient;-). Chris and I go work out every day after I get off work (well, most days) and that has become such a wonderful thing for me after being at work for 8 hours. Finally, my Penguins started their season this weekend, so I'm excited to start following that.
Here is a little taste of my day. At lunch I eat in the cafe in the basketball arena across the street. I sit beneath the watchful eye of famous women's basketball coach, Pat Summit:
There is a skywalk connecting my building to another. The view from it is beautiful, though this picture doesn't do it justice. Its the stadium, the Tennessee River, and a few of the many bridges across the river.
For our first adventure in Knoxville we went to the Greek Fest. Its quite the big deal here and it was a fun mini-adventure. Here's me in front of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Our Greek food.
It was also game day in Knoxville, so there was a lot of orange to go along with the Greek. (Its too bad Tennessee's football is terrible this year. And BYU is doing AMAZING! We're so sad we're missing it.)
Greek dancers behind us.
We'd talk to one Greek person and they'd say "Every thing on My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a lie" and the next person would say "Everything on My Big Fat Greek Wedding is true". ha ha
Well, that's how we are doing. Things are great. Its nice to be settled in for the stay.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2005
First of all, I want you to be proud you are a woman. I want you to feel the reality of what that means, to know who you truly are. You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny. That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make as you grow into mature womanhood. There could never be a greater authentication of your dignity, your worth, your privileges, and your promise. Your Father in Heaven knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations. And He knows what you can become through faith in Him.
David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2005
The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
Neil L Anderson, Quorum of the Seventy, April 2007
Then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of meeting a young naval officer from Asia. The officer had not been a Christian, but during training in the United States, he had learned about the Church and was baptized. He was now preparing to return to his native land.
President Hinckley asked the officer: "Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?"
The officer's face clouded, and he replied: "My family will be disappointed. . . . As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me."
President Hinckley asked, "Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?"
With his dark eyes moistened by tears, he answered with a question: "It's true, isn't it?"
President Hinckley responded, "Yes, it is true."
To which the officer replied, "Then what else matters?"
James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, October 2005
I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago. It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that nonproselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, "Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?"
And we'll finish up with President Gordon B. Hinckley (Oct. 2004), who I dearly miss.
Now, my brothers and sisters, I express to you again my love. May heaven smile upon you. This work is true. Never doubt it. God our Eternal Father lives. Jesus is our Redeemer, our Lord, the Son of the living God. Joseph was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is of divine origin, and this is God's holy work in the earth. I leave you my witness, my love, my blessing as we separate to go to our homes. May God be with you till we meet again is my humble prayer, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
But people . . .
Its been 100 years exactly.
This year is our year.
I wish we were here . . .
So Chris could be doing this . . .
Instead of this . . .
And I could be doing this . . .
On a somewhat related note:
As if I needed another reason to dislike Mr. Obama. Nice hat.