Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Operation Ward Project

Life goal: Met. 

For years, I have made it a goal to become a "ward/church project." Someone who people at church that people have on their radar (free food, free friends, great life). Before you judge this goal, I will solidly state that I know it is a bad goal.. As a Christian, my goal is to act like Christ would if here were. This means looking for ways to serve others, and not thinking about ways to get myself served. Can you imagine Mother Teresa sitting around, plotting how to get someone to bring her dinner?

Regardless, I have ALWAYS joked about being a project. I was probably 12 or 14 when I first came up with the idea. I was probably sitting in a meeting, discussing activities that _____  would like, when I thought/-I want people to plan activities for me. (I know this is selfish.) As I got older, it got worse. There is a distinct possibility that I started a "Liz for ward project" campaign in college. Somewhere in the joking the desire started to become real. 

In life, I have been really blessed. I have a great family with longevity in my jeans. I was able to go to college, have friends, and mostly succeed in life. My "mountains to climb" are probably little ant hills to many people. While this is great, it does make becoming the ward project difficult. 

Answer: Move somewhere where you are the odd one out.  End result, I decided to move near Sun Valley, Idaho-far away from all family and friends. I knew that I would be "the single girl." This had to equal ward project! I would be guaranteed the best home and visiting teachers. People would invite me over for dinner, plan activities for me. etc. Logical? 

In reality, my main objective in moving to the Wood River Valley was not to become a project. However, I told myself that it would be an exciting plus. In fact, when I talked to my friends at BYU before moving, the "project" benefit was mentioned repeatedly. See the following example:

Liz: Well, I got the job in Ketchum, Idaho. I guess I am moving there.
Friend: Congrats, How do you feel about it?
Liz: I am a little nervous, but I feel good about it. Plus, the nearest singles ward is about one hour away. I guess going to a family ward will help me finally become the project. I will be the only young single adult.

Notice, the lack of talk about the actual job (which turned out to be great)

Truthfully, people took me under their wings and I was a "mini project." For a while, I was at my stake president's house more than he was. I did have a great home teacher. But, I wasn't "the project." Like I said, I have been really blessed in life, and many other people have BIG problems. And, I can actually be pretty independent (shocker!). End result: People were nice, but I wasn't on THE LIST. On a side note, I do have some awesome stories I should blog about in the future-involving demon deacons.

However, after all the years spent on this goal, I was not willing to completely give up. I had some high points that gave me hope for my goal. (Eg. When the Twin Falls singles ward talked about me in ward council, the Bishop of the Sun Valley ward inviting me to dinner every Sunday for a couple of months straight-I was in a Hailey ward- having people tell me that they would pray for me to meet a nice boy). Eventually, I gave up on being at the top of the project list and decided to drive the hour to be part of a singles branch again.

And then it happened. I did not suddenly move to the top of the list, but a real "ward project" moment occurred  Today, the young men and women came caroling to my house and they brought a HUGE gift basket. There were even some of my demon deacons there. It warmed my soul. And then it hit me, this was a project moment. I have been in on enough meetings to know that they go to people's houses who need

What a glorious moment!!!! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Games I Play

Have you ever had something that you really did not want to do? I have. For the past month, I have been "studying" for the GRE. I take the test in 3 weeks, and my practice tests are not looking good. Studying is actually starting to depress me. 

As a result, even though I reserve days for studying, other very important things tend to creep up. For example, I had to plan my own carnival today. Actually, the words  "had to plan" should be replaced with, "got distracted by planning." You will not believe how easy it is to entertain yourself with floss, a safety pin, tiny post-it notes, magnets and a retainer case. Let me explain how fun these items can be.

Step 1: Tie a long string of floss to the safety pin. This will make it easy to retrieve the safety pin for all further steps. 

Game 1: Plinko Board: Did you know that in my 2 story house there is a vent that connects the upstairs and the down stairs? It happens to be just above my garbage can. So the idea is to see if you can get the safety pin to land in the garbage despite hitting the different grates. Truthfully, this is the game that I need the most practice in. Luckily, you can just pull the floss and it comes back up.

Game 2: Go Fish: Place magnets over your floor. Throw the safety pin and try to "reel in" a good one.

Game 3: Very Poor Man's Skee-Ball/Basketball: Retainer cases have different sections (well a top and bottom). Throw the safety pin in the case. To make it more difficult, back up.

Game 4: Darts: Use the little post it notes to create rings on your wall. Throw the safety-pin, aiming for the tiniest section. If you really want to check your accuracy, cover the safety pin in some kind of washable dye. Then you can see where the safety pin hit the first time. 

I guess the conclusion is, that if I don't do well on the GRE, I probably have a future in...entertaining myself with little money? I could write a book on this subject, but truthfully people that's budget only includes my supplies probably can't afford my book. Maybe, I can call the book "Partying for One" and I will include highlights of my Halloween. (Spoiler Alert: It involved a costume party, dance, and movie).  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When relaxation meets assassin in Number 12 Grimmauld place

When I was in college, I participated in some "extra-curriculars" that I thought had no practical application. In real "grown-up" I am surprised at how often I use these...skills..? Today, these two of the strangest talents combined at a unique place.

Skill 1: Relaxation/Mediation

When I was at BYU, I went to the biofeedback lab, once. For those of you who don't know what this is, it is a lab where they have you listen to a relaxing tape while hooked up to all sorts of wires/monitors to see how you relax. Note, this is different from when I got paid to have my brain studied by the psychology dept.

Since I learned so much in my 20 minute session, I wanted to share what I learned with EVERYONE. So, like the rational person I am, I would frequently offer "mediation" sessions to friends in my apartment complex when tests/relationships/life got stressful. My sessions were intense, as my friends closed their eyes, breathed deep, and listened as I talked about sticks floating down rivers and hot air balloons rising high. I didn't even flinch when a women's group at church invited me to teach these relaxation techniques. Of course, 20 minutes in the biofeedback lab equipped me to help stressed out students!

As a "grown-up," I teach weight loss classes that take a mind, body, spirit approach. In each class, we have a 5-15 minute stress management section. I teach about half of these. I have used google to add to tool belt,but balloons and and sticks have floated their way into more than one class.

Skill 2: Assassin

During my last year at BYU, I participated in a massive game of assassin. In assassin, you are given the name of one individual that you are assigned to "kill" by stabbing lightly with a fork. However, there is one person who has been assigned to "kill" you. If you "kill" your target, you are now trying to "kill" the target of the person you assassinated. If you do not kill the person you are assigned to kill within one week, you are out of the game and your target is given to somebody else. The game continues until there is only one person left. Confused?

Turns out, I may have taken this game a little too seriously. I may or may not have sat in the bushes for over an hour hoping that my target would walk by. I also may have drastically altered my schedule of when I went on and left campus. I continually watched my backed and did not trust my friends playing the game until they "died." I even kept my fork strapped to my wrist, just in case I ran across my target randomly.

The end was result was that I was one of the last 3 participants. This really meant that I spent almost 2 months  suspicious of everyone and may have developed some trust issues. Even walking around campus was stressful Eventually, my roommate got my name, and let my soul "rest." We even held a funeral.

Believe it or not, I have actually used many of the skills gained in this game at work and home. For example, when the neighbor kids played "spy school" and had complicated obstacles, well yarn placed all over,  I had no problems moving around. Also, I have caught two "kidnappers" in drills at work, because I have learned to be suspicious of everybody.

The Meeting at Number 12

Today, we had an emergency drill at work. We practiced, what would happen if someone came into the ER with a weapon. This drill was planned months in advance and the police, fire dept, etc. were all involved. Of course, this drill started just before my weight loss class started, on the day we were doing yoga. What are the odds?

Since we were still holding class, our room was declared, "not in play." However, everyone would still need to walk through the hospital to get to my class. As I was putting away chairs/tables, I realized that I felt like Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Part of me wanted to be involved in the drill and I was very curious as to what was happening outside. However, it was necessary that I stay in the "safe house" ie. Number 12 Grimmuld Place and prepare it for my class, just like Sirius spent his days cleaning Number 12. Don't worry, everyone made it in safely, and we all relaxed despite the assassin like experience.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

After the Cruise-the Recap

As some as may know, I went on a cruise about a month ago. If you read my last post, you will know that I made a few, "plans." Of course, life does not always go as planned, but sometimes it is even better.

To recap, my plans were:
1. Avoid crazy strangers and make friends with mimes.
The Reality: 
The cruise ship did not have mimes! However, we did meet many great people (and dancers, who didn't talk during the show-so they might count). Also, there was a great staff that took wonderful care of us. In fact, it was difficult adjusting to real life after because I had to put my dishes away, cook, make my bed, and a number of other chores were normal before our excursion. 

Some of my favorite people that we met are shown below. We were all assigned to table 386, and were  the loudest/craziest table in the dinning room. I am pretty positive that we ordered more food than other table, maybe in the history of cruising. Once we realized that you can order multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts per person, the kitchen did not have a staff. We did try to tone down our ordering by sharing our orders.

Table 386
Below are some of the foods I tried:

Cured Salmon
Non-fried Calamary
Strawberry Bisque
Baked Alaska
Sou flee 
Hot Lava Cake

2. Hang out on deck by cute boys that look like they can swim, but are strong enough to stop me from going over.
The Reality:
No one in our party fell over board. However, we did spend a lot of time on the deck. It was one of my favorite parts of the cruise. In fact, I saw a WHALE!!!!! This was a goal of mine, that I had no control over. So, on the last "day at see," I prayed to see one. 

Truthfully, after I realized how tall the boat was, I had no desire to fall over. This was brought into greater perspective when I went para-sailing. Believe it or not, para-sailing is one of the most peaceful experience I have had, except when you feel the jarring...
This is what it looked like!

3. Plan for a disaster; learn to be the first off the boat.
The Reality:

Before you leave port, everyone is required to participate in a practice evacuation. Obviously, this is really low key to most of us sailors. You don't even have to get in the life boat. I was probably the only person on the boat excited about it, and that is because I had made a goal. Unfortunately, I did not succeed in the "typical" sense. I got there a little early, which somehow meant that I was one of the last to line up for the boat. Basically, if it was real, I would be one of the last on. Probably, squeezing myself in between strangers. 

Since I don't like the word failure, I am judging this in other terms. I was one of the first people off the boat at every stop. The word that describes this is...SUCCESS!

4. Make friends with a rich elderly couple.
The Reality:

I do not hang out where rich people hang out. They all spend extra money to go to the spa, buy art, etc. I spent my time going to awesome/free activities such as:

Towel Folding Class
Disco Dance Class
Scavenger hunts with my table (for which I got a trophy!)
Minute to Win it shows
Miniature Golf

Overall, the cruise was great! I highly recommend it as the BEST VACATION EVER!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Excitement of a Cruise

I near future, I will be going on my first "grown-up" vacation. I am going on a cruise!!!!!! Since I don't have a lot of experience with exciting vacations (growing up, our vacation spot was Idaho), booking the cruise was a little intimidating, and a lot exciting. For months, I have been planning and dreaming of this trip. In fact, I've had so much fun with the anticipation, I don't know if the cruise can top the months of planning. Therefore, I wanted to document my final stages of planning. These are based off of the little bits the media/literature has taught me about cruises, ships and the ocean.

1. The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley, Thea Case of the Mystery Cruise was my first run-in with cruising. I don't remember many of the details, but I do know that they were treated to a surprise cruise, but found "bad guys" on boards. I have a vague recollection of a mime being involved (as a good guy) as well.

THE PLAN: Avoid crazy strangers and make friends with mimes.

2. Titanic. In this classic I learned 2 essentials of survival on the trip.

Number 1: Love can happen in an instance. Especially in near death settings. The girl needs to almost fall off (either by her own choice or accident) and the boy is willing to save her.

THE PLAN: Hang out on deck by cute boys that look like they can swim, but are strong enough to stop me from going over.

Number 2:  When booking this cruise, my friend and I picked the "poor people" cabins. We are the interior, interior. That means that we are two rooms away from the window. From the history of the titanic, I know that in a panic (especially if there aren't enough life boats) the rich people have the best chance of survival, which means that the poorer people (the people in the interior, interior) need to learn to push and shove to survive.

THE PLAN:  I am pondering, having "rush through people" drill at the LAX airport, as practice-just in case. I think that learning the skill of pushing my way, will help me out in multiple avenues of life. Maybe, I'll be brave enough for Black Friday this year....

Lastly, I hear a story about a girl who was so amusing, some rich old couple fell in love with her, and flew her to places, such as NY, NY to visit them.

THE PLAN: 1. Find a rich elderly couple from Hawaii, New York, or Europe, 2. Be adorable, 3. Make friends. 4. Save up vacation days to visit my new BFFs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You might be a little bit redneck if....

A few months ago, I got a roommate (who is engaged and I never see her). The first night she was here, I gave her a few "pointers" about our little house. 

  • "If the bathroom light doesn't work, just bang on the bedroom wall. If you hit the "sweet spot," it should come back on."
  • "Don't mind my flip flop in the bathroom and the hall. I use them to kill bugs. Turns out, it is difficult to kill some spiders with shampoo bottles. If you try, they might fall on you in the shower...."
At that moment, I could see the, "What have I gotten into look?" so I didn't tell her any more. However, here are a few thoughts that almost came out.

  • "Don't mind the scurrying you'll here in the roof. Now that I've seen the mice that get in our house, I don't think that they are massive rats, like I first though. I think they are squirrels. If you get lonely, you can play hide and seek. If you hit the right spot of the ceiling, you can hear them run. Actually, it's more like tag..." 
  • "You see that burnt stick by the stove. That's my s'more stick. You can use it to roast marshmallows over our stove if you want. Don't use a fork. It'll turn it black. Please don't throw it out, it's the best I could find."
  • "I like to keep the blinds down in the big window. Towards the end of summer the flies get slow, but somehow they make a hideout there. You can come home and play "whack-a-fly" with my flip flop. Don't worry, it's not just us. The missionaries (who live next door) said they get flies like this too." 
However, it wasn't until I 
took the following picture that I realized, I might be a little bit redneck....

The saddest part is, I'm not sure if I qualify, even as I write this post. However, I am thinking about opening a bug zoo in my house. How much do you think people would be willing to pay to see see a few big bugs and a zillion species of spider?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Purpose of Signs

Today as I was driving home, I noticed this sign by the post office. 


While it is prettyish, I don't know what to do with the information given. When I see a stop sign, I stop. When I see a deer crossing sign, I look for deer to avoid hitting them. When I see this sign...I can't duck, since I'm typically driving my car. Do I try to wave and hope that the passengers in the aircraft see me? Or is there to calm me down when I see an airplane headed toward the airport? Maybe, some important person said, "We need more yellow on this street!" 

As it is, it is not the only mystery of where I live. I still don't understand why all the stores/restaurants have Christmas lights up all year (although the light on the street come down by March). If I asked, I'm sure the owners of said stores/restaurants would tell me it creates a magical feel that satisfies customers. I think it's because it's easier to leave them up all year long. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Creating ...

President Uchtdorf, one of the apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, stated, "Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate."

He goes on further to state, "You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. 5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter."

I fully agree that creating things brings happiness and brings us closer to God.  However, I find that sometimes I compare my "creations" to others and value certain talents above others. For example, I had achievement days with my 8-11 year old girls tonight. I had planned a little service project, and wanted to give the girls a reward at the end. I didn't have a lot of time, so I ran into Albertsons and bought some cookies. I had a super-seal kind of tupperware in my car and thought, "I should put the cookies in there so that they stay air tight." In reality I was saying, " I really want to impress young girls and make them think that I made the cookies.  Probably because, young kids are very judgmental about where they get there treats." I wanted them to think that I had "created" the cookies-when really I was using my time to "create" memories of service. 

This isn't the only way that I want to look/act like I create other kinds of wonders. Last year, I decided that I was gong to grow a little vegetable garden in pots on my back deck. I was very excited as I planted my seeds and carried all the pots inside every night because of the fear of frost (think of this garden as a first child). I would check on the plants daily, and worry over them if I went out of town for the weekend. I even took pictures of them to watch their progress and show them to my friends/family. Unfortunately, they grew too big for any of the pots that I had and I got very little yield, as I watched my "first born" slowly suffocated or starved to death. That was a little traumatic, but the growing season is short, so I figure it was comparable to dying at age 75 in Wood River growth years. 

This year, I am on my "second child" of gardens. I planted my seeds and have only brought the plants in once.  I was out of town for over a week, with the hope that my plants were fighters-which they kind of are. I don't know if they will have enough room, to live a full life, but they are growing and are green.  Like a second child, this garden has no pictures (yet) and I don't worry over the small things. I'm not growing enough to even feed my Achievement Day girls, but it is good practice for the future. 

In the end, there are many ways to create. Sometimes, the creation brings good results, other times, ridiculous memories. Stay tuned for more crazy memories thoughts that should be published in the near future. Future topics may include: the mice return, online dating, continued work of being the stake project and demon deacons. If you have any requests for which topics should be first, please comment below. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Wrong Kind of Famous-Locked Out

According to TV, popularity is something that we all strive for. It must have some truth, because one of my favorite things about working at a small hospital is the fact that almost everybody knows who I am. I love waving to people as I walk in my office and having people say, "Hi" as I walk down the hall.  If my life was a sitcom, these scenes would be in every episode. 

However, there is good and bad fame. Over the months of May/June I managed to lock myself out of my office on four separate Tuesdays after coming back from the orthodontist, which is a post for another day. Now, when I pass someone from building services I hear, "Do you need in your office? Wait it's not Tuesday." I still feel popular, but in the, "Is there a sign on my back?" kind of way.

If this was my only fame, I think that I could feel pretty good about it. But it's not. Around the time I was locking myself out of my office I had to change multiple passwords at work. I meant to make them the same, but didn't. This has resulted in me locking myself out of my computer multiple times due to typing the right password on the wrong accounts, repeatedly . Luckily, St. Luke's employs a large staff of IT specialists that are just waiting for me to call. The large number of St. Luke's employees also means that even if I get the same IT professional, with a name like Liz, they won't remember me.

That all changed on my first day back from my vacation. As I spelled my name and stated my occupation, my IT professional said, "Didn't you call last week?' Since I was on vacation, I hadn't called... that week. However, over my year at St. Luke's I have called IT more times than I can count, especially in the past few weeks. On the bright side, it has to raise your self-esteem to know that at least you can successfully remember all of your passwords. I'm going to chalk it up to making somebody's day.

 Hopefully, this trend won't need to continue. I really don't want to start locking myself out of my car enough that the locksmith knows everything about me.