3.31.2008

The Dreaded Snow Returns, Making Me Scrap Off Ice From My Car & Drive On Icy Roads Through Traffic To Finally Arrive At Work One Hour Late


Snow, snow go away
Come again another day
(But not in May)
Maybe just on Christmas Day?

Book Survey

Book that changed my life (not religious): How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Book that changed my life (religious, non-scripture): You Are Priceless: The Parable of the Bicycle by Stephen E. Robinson.

The funniest book I've ever read: "The Scorecard" by Greg Gutfeld

The saddest book I've ever read: A Promise of Forever by Anita Stansfield. I’m sure there are others, but this is all I can think of for now. This book literally had tears running down my cheeks. (I read it years ago.) It’s a story about a man who loses his wife to cancer and finds love again in his (unmarried) sister-in-law. (It’s weird, but it works.)

The scariest story: “The Tell-Tale Heart” or other Poe stories

Best Textbook I've read: The Non-Designer’s Design Book

Worst book I've read: Eragon

A book I'm embarrassed to love: The Death & Life of Superman

My favorite books (besides ones already listed): The Princess Bride, all of the Harry Potters, Beauty, The Prydain Chronicles series, Pride & Prejudice, How to Write a Damn Good Novel (and its “sequel”), Mount Dragon, and others. I just love reading in general.
My favorite children's book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

My favorite authors: Crichton, Brown, Cook, Dickens, Shakespeare, Dr. Seuss, Bradbury

My favorite poet: Frost or Elizabeth Barrett Browning or Jack Prelutsky
My favorite short story: “The Lottery”

My favorite poem: “The Raven”

My favorite genre: Science fiction, thrillers
Book I'd love to see made into a movie: The Prydain Chronicles and I agree with Austin on Crichton’s Lost World. They totally messed up on that one.
Books I'd recommend to you (besides everything else listed): Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Tell No One by Harlan Coben, The da Vinci Code, others I can’t think of.

Ok. Now, what are some of your favorites?

3.21.2008

Work It Out

Ok, so many of you know that I have long fought the battle of the bulge. It’s something that I’ve always had to work on. I’ve never been able to eat what I want, and I’ve always had to work really hard to get into shape. I really do like to workout, but I’m often tired or feel I don’t have the time. Austin and I have been trying to lose weight since the beginning of November. And while I must admit that we do workout more frequently than we did when we were first married (which was almost nil), we still haven’t lost weight because of our inconsistency. I’ve done really good for a week and lost a pound, and then gained it back the very next week. It’s been like that for months now. The problem is it is really, really hard for me to start working out if I haven’t worked out in a while. And once I am working out, if I miss a day, I’m screwed because my motivation goes out the window for some reason. So it’s been depressing trying to get back in the habit because working out for 30 minutes consistently has been really tough. But now I have found a solution:

My favorite workout company (beachbody.com) just released a new workout with my favorite trainer. I was excited to read the new workout was called 10 Minute Trainer. Yes, that’s right. A TEN MINUTE workout. I ordered it a few weeks ago and I got it on Monday. And I’ve done it every day since. I really have no excuses anymore. I mean, how can I not fit 10 minutes of exercise in my life? The best part? The workouts are awesome! They’re intense and I feel I really get a great workout despite the fact that it’s only 10 minutes. Sometimes I’ve felt that those 10 minutes are a better workout than many other longer programs I’ve done. The cool thing is you feel your entire body getting a workout at the same time since all of the moves are “super stacked” so that you are constantly and efficiently working out your whole body at the same time! There are five different programs I can do: Total Body, Cardio, Lower Body, Abs, or Yoga Flex. I’ve tried all but Yoga Flex, and I love it! I’m slowly going to work myself up to working out an hour a day. And once I do, I know now I won’t slack off a day now because if I have a day where 60, 45, 30, or even 20 minutes seems too much, I know that I can still get some exercise in because I can always do 10 minutes. So, I'll keep you posted and let you know how it goes with

3.20.2008

Working for the Weekend

“And there it goes, my innocence. . .There’s something more than the world out there”
Well, here I am again, posting. I actually have something to post about too. So, as many of you know, I’m not totally in love with my job. Don’t get me wrong—it is a good job. But it’s 40 miles away (80 miles roundtrip). And driving two hours every day is not my cup of tea, er, hot chocolate. Also, I don’t feel like my talent is being used for all it’s worth. There’s never enough to do, and I get tremendously bored. It’s the same thing all the time, and it’s really not the type of editing I’d prefer to do. I also realized that I’m not as happy here as I could be for various reasons. So, last week when my former editing teacher forwarded a job opportunity at an LDS publishing firm in Springville, I eagerly jumped at the chance.
My dream is to edit fiction. It has been for some time. I also think I’d be great at it. Not to be prideful, but I think I’m a darn good editor. If there’s one thing I am good at, it’s editing. And I love it so. So I have both the passion and the skill. Unfortunately, editing jobs at publishing firms and editing jobs in general in Utah are slim to none. It’s just not the publishing Mecca of the world. I know I’d probably make more money and have more opportunities if I left Utah, but, as much as I love editing, having a great career isn’t high on my list of priorities.
So I emailed my resume and secured a job interview. If you can call it that. It was the worst interview I’ve ever been on. Not because I performed badly, but because they asked me absolutely zero questions. Yes, that’s right, they didn’t ask me one question about myself. My interviewer looked at my resume and said “that’s good,” “oh you have that,” “very good.” She then told me a little bit about the company and the benefits. And then introduced me, by name, to everyone in the company. She wrote “call back” on my interview and said she would email me the editing test. I did the editing test, and I think I did a really good job on it despite the fact that I thought it was poorly designed. But anyway I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. Both jobs had their pros and cons. I was looking forward to a 17-minute commute and to working for a publishing company (albeit an LDS publishing company, but beggars can’t be choosers) and to gain book editing and design skills. But those were the only draws. It paid less than here, the insurance and benefits weren’t great, and I would get no holiday/sick/vacation pay for a whole year (which would be pointless as I am planning to only be working full-time for another year or so as Austin and I would like to start our family). So I went back and forth about all of those things. Turns out I didn’t even have a decision to make.
This morning I found out that I did not get the job. To be honest, I’m not that upset. It did help put things in perspective though. I wasn’t dying for the other job and made me think about the things I do like about here. I still don’t totally love it and will still keep my eyes open for other opportunities, but, for now, I’ll be content to work at a place that I feel I at least earned my place. I didn’t feel the other place rejected me as they gave me zero opportunity to sell myself. Really, it’s their loss.

3.11.2008

Blargy blarg

Austin and others have been complaining that I haven’t been updating frequently enough. So, here I am updating on the last week or so. On March 4, I, along with AJ, threw Heidi a baby shower. We had a “spring” theme and it was a “friends” shower. (Shera had thrown Heidi a ward/family shower in December.) AJ graciously did the invites and mailed them out while I was still in Texas for Austin and me’s trip. Since I don’t get home until 6:30 usually and the shower was set to start at 7, I planned to get everything done the night before. I left work an hour early and stopped at Walmart for groceries and Heidi’s gift. I then returned home and started cleaning the house. I cleaned furiously and prepared the spinach artichoke dip that was to be cooked the following night. I also made sugar cookie dough and placed it in the fridge to chill while I finished cleaning the house. Austin and I were still technically housesitting for my parents and so we went over there to bake and frost the sugar cookies. (The house was clean at this point and I didn’t want to dirty it up again. Plus we still had our stuff over at my parent’s house and we needed to tidy up since we were not staying over again that night since Taylor was staying at Trent and Jess’s. (Ironically, Taylor was only there Wednesday and Thursday night. Friday-Monday night Taylor was with Trent. Austin and I stayed at my parent’s house over the weekend out of laziness. And their bed is comfy. We also had a LOST marathon.)
So on to the sugar cookies. I don’t make them often because one, they’re a lot of work; two, it’s not a good idea to bake sweets when you’re trying to lose weight; and three, they’re a lot of work. The dough turned out good. It did take me a while to roll them out, but I eventually got it after adding more flour. While they were baking I attempted to make my mom’s frosting. And I failed miserably. I made several batches but could never get it right. It tasted wrong! Mom, please help me get your frosting right. I think it’s the best, but I can never manage to make it the same. I think the approximate recipe you gave me was wrong. So my frosting was thin, runny, and weird-tasting. I did a crappy job of frosting them. I burned one batch of cookies out of stupidity. (They needed another minute and I forgot to set a new minute.) After finishing my sad cookies, I had to clean the kitchen. (Austin fortunately had packed up our stuff and tidied up while I was baking.) So, finally, at one in the morning we arrived home where I crashed into bed, exhausted. While my sugar cookies didn’t turn out the way I wanted, it seems people liked them. Though not many were eaten at the actual shower, (But in all fairness there was lots of other good food, and AJ brought crepes which naturally beat out sugar cookies.) the cookies were devoured the next day as Austin and I took them to school and work respectively. My spinach artichoke dip, fortunately, did turn out though it was a little on the dry side, but was still delicious and eaten completely.
The actual shower went well. We had a nice turnout and Heidi scored some nice swag. I got her a bouncer, which I hope her baby enjoys.
Okay, so on Wednesday I found out my great grandma died, which was sad. However, Heather decided to come up, which was a happy surprise. Saturday was the funeral. Austin couldn’t attend because he had class. It was sad (the funeral that is), but I felt the spirit and I learned a few things about my grandma, which was nice. Saturday was also my cousin’s baby shower. The baby was there as Ashley went into labor two weeks early. She is very young, but she seemed totally smitten with her baby. It made me want a baby, but that’s for another time.
After the shower I invited Heather over to our new apartment. (New to her anyway, she hadn’t seen it yet.) Though I had texted and called Austin several times to clean the apartment before we got there, he did not get them and so I ushered Heather into our messy apartment and she fortunately overlooked the mess. Austin, Heather, and I talked for about three hours, which was a lot of fun to spend some personal time together. I particularly liked that Austin got a chance to talk to Heather, something he hasn’t really been able to do. I apologize to the family that we did not join the family dinner to Wingers that just about everyone else went to. The three of us were not hungry at the time. (Though Austin did pick us up some Panda several hours later.)
Sunday night we celebrated my dad’s birthday over at Tyler’s house with a typical McNeil dinner: porkchops, fruit, broccoli, corn, jello, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Also featured were Tyler’s cheesy carrots which everybody but me loved. We played Guitar Hero II and tried out Tyler’s new Wii game American Idol, which, sad to say, did not work out as planned as the microphone and sound were not working properly. However, the night was saved by Cheryl’s dessert, which is known by a choice name that I will not reveal her as I have grandparents that read this. ;-)
So, since I knew Heather was coming to visit, I thought this would be a perfect time to take some time off of work. I took Monday, which HayLee also had off. I slept in as Austin and I got to bed at two in the morning, which was partially due to Austin procrastinating his paper. (Also, who gets up early on a day off?) Anyway, so HayLee, Heather, Mom, and I went to lunch at Bajio’s at Riverwoods. We then went to Bath & Bodyworks where I picked up some killer lipgloss. We also stopped in at Vickie’s, (that's what my mom calls Victoria Secret) but I think only Mom got something. We then went to the nail place in the Harmon’s strip mall to get pedicures. (Except for HayLee who thinks pedicures are a waste, so she got acrylic nails instead.) It took a really, really long time mostly because there were more people than there were workers. But they did do a good job and I enjoyed it. I love my new hot pink toenails. Too bad it’s too early for sandal weather. (I know it’s too early as I wore sandals yesterday in anticipation of a pedicure and my feet were freezing the entire day.) After the pedicure we went back to my mom’s house and chilled. Hay and I talked with Jessica for a little bit, who had stopped over, while Mom and Heather broke out their scrapbook stuff. I had convinced Austin to come home early so I went home and cuddled with Austin and looked at some pictures before going to the mall. The trip to the mall had two purposes: one, buy a new bra, and two, buy new shoes. I needed a new bra really, really badly as the one I was wearing was a hand-me-down, wornout thing. (I still have barely worn ones as I was much skinnier when I first got married then I am now. I am working on getting back down to that size.) So I got a new, expensive pink bra, which I realized didn’t fit properly when I got home. I’m not returning it though since I tend to fluctuate in weight, particularly in that area, quite frequently and rapidly. So after purchasing my new pink uplifter, I decided that it was about time for me to get some high heels. So I bought a pair of black, classic-looking, but still fashionably ones that hurt my feet. But, seriously, are there any high heels that don’t hurt? But I do need them since I am almost 24 and I know I will look much more presentable in my church clothes. (Though they also look good with jeans, but I know I won’t wear them often with jeans unless limited walking around is planned.)
Austin and I then returned home. I felt like a spoiled little princess. But the spoilage did not end there as Austin had surprisingly bought me Friends season 3. (He bought it used online and it happened to arrive that day.) So, Austin and I watched almost all of the first disc (after having returned to my parent’s house briefly to retrieve my forgotten leftovers and say goodbye to Heather). I then went to bed, tired, but grateful for my day off. It was much needed. I do wish we had gotten to bed earlier as I woke up in the dark, tired, grumpy, and confused. I love Daylight Saving Time as it means more light in the night. But waking up this morning and it still being dark was not fun. It made me feel much more tired and disoriented. It’s easier waking up with the sun. But I won’t complain too much as it means I will return home and it’ll still be light outside! I just can’t wait until my body adjusts to the time change. It always takes me awhile.
And now I’m done.
EDIT: Oh, and a Happy Birthday to my Fajha, whose official 54th birthday is today.

Me, in pictures

Favorite color:


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Bad habit:

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Town I live in:


My name:


My favorite band:

My job:


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Place I would like to travel:


Favorite dessert:


Okay, Austin, I did it. Now you can be happy. :)

3.04.2008

In Memoriam

Grandma Great died today. She was 91 years old, and she was my dad’s father’s mom. She was a happy person who had a lot of love to give. She always smiled. She used to hand-make gifts for all the grandkids. Growing up I received purses, toys, pillows, and various other items. Grandma Great was really talented at the harmonica. She used to play it at the family parties and get everyone to sing. I was never extremely close to her, but I loved her and I know she loved me. I’ll miss you Grandma.