Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas

To say I was ready for a vacation would be an extreme understatement. By the 23rd I was counting down the hours until I could be done with work and come home to pack. After 4 hours of sleep I got up at 3:30am on Christmas Eve and Jessica dropped me off at the airport (what a great roommate!) My uncles were flying in at the same time I was so I met up with them and my dad at the airport and was welcomed to Portland by the freezing air that rushes over the walkway to the parking garage. Ahhhh the fresh, brisk air of winter in the northwest. Somehow I always forget how cold it is up there in the winter. We hurried home by way of several stores, picking up last minute Santa goodies. When we got home we were greeted by a rush of not so small anymore children welcoming us home. Everyone was home this year except for Thomas who is on a mission in Colorado Springs.

One of my favorite family traditions is making gingerbread houses. My mom hand makes every gingerbread house and then we all get to decorate one. This year there were a total of 12 houses to be decorated, one for each of us. We spent Christmas Eve day decorating and eating way more candy than is good for anyone. Then that night we went Christmas caroling and delivered houses to friends in the area. It was absolutely freezing for this soft California girl, but it was a lot of fun. I got to see some people I haven't seen in a long time and just spend good time with my family. Here are some pictures of the houses we made. Everyone but David agreed to give theirs away. Maybe next year he'll be old enough to want to give his away!

***For some reason I can't upload my pictures right now, so look for gingerbread house pictures in the next post!

Christmas day was fun as usual. The kids got up at who knows what time, but I stayed in bed until 7:30 when David was just dying to be able to open his presents. Somehow I neglected to take any pictures on Christmas, so the gingerbread houses will have to do for now. It was nice to just be able to hang around the house and have fun with the family. We also go to talk to Thomas. We only got a few minutes each but it was great to say hi to him and see how he is doing. He's hanging in there right now. Thomas never says much, but it was fun to talk to him anyway. Mom delighted us the whole weekend with a gastronomical feast. She seriously is the best cook ever. Between the waffle cones, blueberry coffee cake, delicious ham dinner, berry and cherry pies, mouth watering soups and much much more it was a weekend of constant indulgence.

The rest of the weekend was spent around the house mostly. It was too cold for me to really want to do anything else. I could not have had a better time. It was so relaxing and fun just to hang out with the family. Monday came much too soon and I found myself packing again. This time I wanted nothing more than to not get on that airplane. But I finished packing and we headed up to Portland to see a few sights before my uncles and I headed back to reality. Somehow this year I wasn't excited to come back to LA like I usually am. Maybe I didn't spend enough time away from it or maybe I'm just not that excited about LA anymore. Only time will tell I guess. Even if it was only a few short days break it was great to get that time to see family and also remember the wonderful miracle that Christ's birth brought to each of us. It truly is a season to rejoice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas RSVP

Most of the time I think of an RSVP as a courtesy to let someone know I'm coming to their event. Lately I have been RSVPing to events just to make myself go. I'm not one who will just blow off something I've said I'll do, so when I want to go to an event I'll RSVP as a way to make sure I go no matter how little I want to go at the time it happens. Take Friday...

Long day at work. I was going non-stop and then at 5:00 when I was finally finished with everything I needed to get done for the day I still had to plan for Saturday. Yep that's right, I worked on Saturday this week. By the time I got home on Friday night the last thing I wanted to do was go to a Christmas party. But since I had RSVPd that I was going, I forced myself to at least look somewhat presentable, found a white elephant gift, and Jessica and I trudged off to the Ohio House Christmas party. Both of us had agreed not to stay too long, but you all know how well that works once you get somewhere.

We walked into the Ohio House and were handed a playing card and told to keep it for later. We spotted two open chairs on the far side of the room and promptly sat down. The room was probably 3/4 full and people were talking and just hanging out. We started talking to this guy sitting next to us, Ted. Somehow the conversation turned to where our ancestors were from and Ted said he was part Mexican. Jessica surmised that he must have been from the American colonies down in Mexico because he didn't look 1% Mexican; she was right. So then of course we asked if he was related to any Calls (my family members that were in the Mexican colonies). And would you believe it, he is. I really think that in any large gathering of Mormons I will find someone related to me. We figured out that we are 3rd cousins (we have the same great-great grandparents--not sure if that really is 3rd cousins, but that's what someone said).

About this time everyone was getting settled and the white elephant gift exchange was about to begin. I had been kind of lame and looked in my bathroom and found some bubble bath and an exfoliating glove that had never been opened and figured that would be good enough. Little did I know, these people went all out on white elephant gifts. The way it worked was that each card we were given had a double and it was placed in a container and they were drawn at random to figure out which order we went in. We then proceeded to find ourselves a gift and sit on Santa's lap to tell him what we really wanted for Christmas since only a few lucky souls probably got anything they wanted that night. Then we were informed of the second function of the playing card. The red cards went to the girls and the black cards went to the boys. At random times during the gift exchange Santa would pull two cards and these lucky people would get to stand under the mistletoe and steal a Christmas kiss. Needless to say, this added a whole other aspect to the night. As the game unfolded there were quite the gifts...a guitar (sadly I didn't get this one), several snuggies, Obama chia-pet, pasta maker, massage gift certificates, and my personal favorite...a hamster. Yes a real live hamster complete with hamster ball and something that may have been food. I think I would have died had I picked that one. Jessica brought some butt enhancer shorts that someone had sent to her work and no one wanted. And the rule was that if you got an article of clothing as your gift you had to wear it for the rest of the night. Poor Darby, she picked that one.

Now you may be wondering, what happened with the mistletoe. Every time Santa would pick two people Jessica and I would look at each other just hoping it wouldn't be one of us. But as fate had it, near the beginning the Jack of Hearts, my lucky card, was called. I struck out on the first guy because he had a girlfriend, but the second one was none other than my long lost distant cousin Ted. We were all laughing over in my corner because they all knew that we were related. But being good sports we took our quick kiss under the mistletoe and that was that. I must say that I enjoyed the party just a smidge more after that was over because I knew my card would not be pulled again. Let's just say there were quite the kisses in the course of that evening. But I think it added to the festiveness of the night.

I came away with water globes (little glass globes that are tapered at the end and you put water in them and stick them in your plants and they gradually release water into the soil). Don't worry, I didn't know what they were either when I opened them up. But considering that I keep forgetting to water my lettuce and peas, maybe it was a present I could actually use. Jessica and I left about 11:30 having been thoroughly entertained. White elephant gifts, mistletoe, Santa, Christmas music, treats--how could you go wrong? So I guess I will continue RSVPing to make sure I don't miss out on all the fun there is to be had not sitting at home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Housing

My roommate and I are looking for 2 roommates. We have a shared room and a private room available. If you know of anyone looking for an apartment in the West LA area please send them my way. We would really like to fine someone ASAP.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Twilight Years

Best video ever courtesy of Sara.

http://vimeo.com/8009598

Locked Out

It's been over a year since I locked myself out of my apartment. But sadly that record was broken last night. I was sitting at home minding my own business, cooking up some food, when Shana called.

Shana: Hey have you eaten dinner?
Me: Nope, but I'm cooking something right now.
Shana: You're making dinner? (like it was something that never happens)
Me: Well I'm cooking up some potatoes, they're almost ready
Shana: Just potatoes?
Me: Well I hadn't thought that far ahead, I haven't been to the grocery store in several weeks (also something that's not unusual)
Shana: Well what if I stop and get something to go along with potatoes and come over?
Me: Sounds good, see you in a few.

A few minutes pass and the potatoes finish. I turned off the oven, but left them in there to keep warm. I warmed up some green beans as they were about the only thing I had that remotely went with potatoes and waited for Shana. The phone rang.

Shana: So I couldn't get to Boston Market to get some chicken you wanna just get some In-N-Out or something and then come back and eat it with your potatoes?
Me: Sure.
Shana: I'll be there in a minute I'm just around the corner.

I turn the stove off, thankfully, and grab my purse. It's freezing outside (45 is freezing for me now) so I waited inside for her. I saw her come around the corner and walked out the door, slowly shutting the door. Almost as soon as I shut the door I reached for my purse and felt the pocket where my keys live. It was empty. I got in Shana's car and laughingly said "So I just locked myself out of my apartment". No one else was home and judging from the hours my roommates keep, who knew when someone would be home. I texted Sara and Jessica to see when they would be home and then we hit In-N-Out. As we were in line there we realized that we would have no where to eat our food. So we called Daniel and headed to his house. Luckily Daniel and Jonathan were home. We shared our somewhat pathetic story and then proceeded to eat out dinner minus the food that was on the stove/in the oven at my apartment still. Shana had to leave right after we were done eating to meet up with her brother so she left me at their house. By this time I had talked to Sara and knew she wouldn't be home for a little while. So we all decided the best thing to do was to meet up with Heather at Starbucks for her birthday celebration and make the best of my vagabond situation. We had a great night of work stories from all (elementary school, radio station, occupational therapy clinic, Iraq, and the infertility clinic) And at 11:30 when I finally made it home after what I thought would be a 15 minute jaunt no one was worse for the wear...well except the potatoes. They weren't exactly edible after an extended stint in the oven/on the counter.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Greenfield Christmas Party 2009


Before the madness began

It has become an annual tradition now for the Greenfield apartment to host a Christmas party. This year's decorating theme was little Christmas cakes (snowmen, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, snowflakes)I have been sick most of the week so I didn't do much of the cooking, but Sara and Jessica cooked away all day Saturday before the party while I watched football and took three naps to rest up for the evening. I wish I'd got a 4th nap in, but it just didn't happen. I did help out by taking care of the Christmas decorating which didn't require touching the food and getting everyone else sick. We put up our borrowed Christmas tree and all the decorations and lights we could. It's rather homey in here with the fireplace on and everything. Due to being sick it wasn't the best party I've ever been to, but it was still a good one. We had quite a few people and many fun cakes were decorated. There were lots of leftovers since we couldn't coerce many people into taking extra cakes home for themselves, but we took them to break-the-fast after church today and came home with an empty plate.

Disneyland


Yeah I know I'm catching up, but I haven't really written much about my goings on for a while. I'll use the excuse that I've been working. Well this week it's been that I was sick. But hopefully that's on it's way out. In September Shana got us the hook-up with Disneyland. Gotta love advertising jobs! Shana, Heidi, McKenzie, Allana and I all went. I hadn't been to Disneyland in at least 5 years. The last time I went California Adventure had only one or two rides. So it's been a while. But I had a blast. We decided to hit California Adventure first since it closed earlier. After some coercion I was tricked into going on the Tower of Terror. Let me say my face is lying in the picture; I was terrified. But it was a good way to start off the day, I thought I could handle pretty much anything after that. I was also convinced to go on only the second upside down rollercoaster of my life. It was pretty fun. After hitting up California Adventure we went to Disneyland and got some overpriced lunch. Then we planned out attack for the rest of the day. Pirates of the Carribean, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn (we were in line for this ride when we got the updates that BYU had beaten Oklahoma who was ranked #3 at the time. There was much celebration in line.), Indiana Jones, Star Tours, Small World, and more. We ended our night on Space Mountain which ended up being the longest line we waited in that day at just over 50 minutes. Not too bad considering it was Labor Day weekend. We were all pretty tired by the end of the day. After treating ourselves to ice cream for dinner we headed home for a much needed good night's sleep.

Fall Football


One of my favorite things about Fall is football. I was sad this year that since I'm no longer a student I don't have a student pass to USC football. But thanks to TV I have been able to keep up with lots of football. Not like USC was amazing this year or anything, but it was still fun to watch (most of the time). Heidi and I decided that we had to go to at least one game. Too bad we decided to go to the Stanford game. What a homecoming. We should have known from last year's Stanford game experience (see post from last year) that it was going to be an adventure. Since neither of us go to institute there anymore we couldn't park at the Institute building and since that's where we always parked we didn't know what a crazy thing it is to find parking within 20 blocks of USC on game day. We must have driven around for 45 minutes looking for some place to park. All the USC lots were full and they told us just to find street parking. We drove by this parking lot and were appaled that people paid $80 for parking.

Seriously, my tickets were half that. So we ended up driving to this neighborhood about 6 blocks away from the stadium and seeing a teenager on the street waving a flag for parking. Yep we ended up parking in someone's back yard. We were just praying that the car would still be there when we got back. Then we headed off to the game. It was a terrible game :( USC proceeded to lose miserably to Stanford. So we did get to a game, but it didn't have the greatest turn-out. At about 5 minutes left of the game when the 4th turnover happened we gave up (and I'm usually the one that sticks it out to the end). Thankfully our car was still there when we got back. And we actually had quite a good conversation with the people who's house we parked at. They were such a cute family. It almost made it worth it to pay them to park in their backyard.

Earlier in the Fall Heidi, Shana and I decided to drive down to San Diego for the BYU vs. SDSU game. We made a day of it and picked Heidi up in Orange County and drove down to San Diego. Traffic wasn't horrible so we got there in plenty of time. But when we got to the stadium they couldn't find our tickets at the ticket office. After going back and forth several times from the SDSU and BYU ticket people we finally figured out that they spelled Heidi's last name wrong and that's why we couldn't find them. Either that or we got Miss Maylor's tickets, whoever she is. It was a great game. We didn't really know where our seats were so we just decided to sit down on the second row right by the end zone because there was plenty of room. Besides the anoying SDSU fans right behind us, it was great. The most exciting part was right before half-time when BYU scored right next to our seats. Too bad we were in line for food and were watching it on the TV pointing to our seats and wishing we were sitting there. But after the game we got to high-five all the players as they came around and even made it into the Deseret News!
I'm kind of in the middle right above Heidi (the blonde girl that looks like she's touching the guy's helmet in the middle). Pretty cool. When we got in the car we decided it would be cool to blast the radio really loud and play our favorite Backstreet Boys songs as we were waiting to get out of the parking lot. Judging from the looks we got people liked it. Either that or the kids were too young to even know who the Backstreet Boys were. I mean, kids starting college now were born in the 90's. Can't believe that. Heidi was true to herself on the way home. Pumped with excitement after the game, she was ready to have fun. But not 5 minutes later we looked in the backseat and there was Heidi...fast asleep. Gotta love her!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taco Soup Recipe

After receiving so many compliments on the recipe at Break the Fast this month (I didn't even make the soup, it was just my recipe) I decided to share this yummy goodness with everyone.

Taco Soup

2 lbs. hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 16 oz. cans kidney beans
2 16 oz. cans corn
2 16 oz. can tomatoes
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 packages of taco seasoning
1 bag of tortilla chips

Brown the hamburger and onion together. Add all the other ingredients except for the chips. Heat until boiling. You can let it cook for as long as you want, but it is ready to eat as soon as it is warm. Sometimes I put it in the crock pot and just let it go all day (you might need to add just a little bit of water if you do this). Also sometimes I leave out the hamburger or add black beans with or instead of kidney beans. Most of the time I only use on package of taco seasoning. But just adjust it to taste. There's really no way to go wrong with it. Serve the soup over tortilla chips. You can top it with cheese, sour cream, salsa, whatever you want.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Winter Garden

So I'm trying my hand at gardening again. I figured that since it doesn't ever really get cold here I could try and grow some cool weather crops, peas and lettuce. I'm tired to buying lettuce at the grocery store. So hopefully I will soon be growing it on my porch. I planted flowers a couple of weeks ago and had them out on the balcony and as soon as they started coming up something ate every single one of the shoots. I'm blaming it on the pesky squirrel that likes to hang out near my house. May my lettuce and peas have a better life than the flowers I planted.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First Week of the Rest of My Life

It was with both excitement and some resignation that I began my first real full-time job this week. I was excited becasue I can finally put those 20 years of schooling to work and start making some money but on the other hand I get to do this for the rest of my life. During my not too horrendous but still long commute home I took some thinking time and I'm still not sure that I ever thought I would get here or really wanted to get here. Yeah I don't miss the homework or the tests or anything like that, but I will miss the long vacations and being able to just not go to class if you just don't have time or don't feel like it (not that I really did that much). But I guess it's time for me to be responsible and "grown up" now. I think it'll just take me a while to get used to not having the end of something in sight...end of semester, year, program, etc.

My first week on the job was pretty good. I was basically observing for the whole week. I have lots of experience with kids but not a lot of experience with sensory integration, the primary frame of reference used at this clinic. So I felt like a fieldwork student again as I was following the OTs around and trying to get used to everything. But the difference came on Friday afternoon when one of the OTs had to leave early and asked me if I would be comfortable taking her afternoon kids for her!! My first thought was "oh my goodness, it's my first week" but then I realized that I would have to jump in some time and it might as well be now. It helped that I was co-treating with another therapist from a different specialty though. So at least they knew the kids already. It went fine though. I'm not sure, actually I am sure that I didn't know completely what I was doing but the kids didn't have any major meltdowns and I think overall things went quite well. And after being informed earlier that day that my California license had gone through I could write my own daily notes on the kids and sign them with OTR/L and not need anyone to co-sign. I guess that really is the mark of being a working professional.

So the first week was a whirlwind of learning names, where things are, how to do everything and all that. But I'm beginning to remember some things and it should only get easier from here, I hope.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Real Job

This morning I accepted my first real OT job (actually my first real job of any kind, working for the attorney for 6 months after I graduated from BYU just wasn't real). Anyway I decided to work for the Child Development Institute in Woodland Hills. I will be primarily working with children ages 0-3 who need occupational therapy. I will also have some older kids as well. I guess I'll know better in a couple of weeks what it's all going to be like. But I'm glad to have a job. Since the commute won't be too bad I can stay in my apartment here which is great. I love living here and have great roommates (even if Danielle is getting married in December ;) Well that's my exciting news for the day, maybe for the week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mike and Zahra's Wedding

This past weekend I got to experience my first Indian wedding. Mike and Zahra got married in the San Diego temple Friday morning, had the Indian portion of the festivities Friday night and then had a ring ceremony/reception on Saturday night too. It was quite a party. Friday morning was amazingly beautiful in San Diego.
Such a great day for a wedding. I would definitely recommend an Indian wedding reception for lots of fun. We had the Mendhi Friday afternoon which is where all the girls get together and talk and get henna done. The bride typically has her arms and legs done, but Zahra opted just to have her hands done. It can take up to 6 hours for the full bridal henna! Then all the boys joined us later for the Sangeet which was full of food and dancing. Mike was a good sport and did this awesome dance for Zahra. I wish I could have captured the whole thing on video. All the Indian clothing was so beautiful too. It was so colorful and really a celebration.

video
Saturday we went back for the ring ceremony and more partying.
Congrats Mike and Zahra!

Vacation

After finishing up my fieldwork, work on the research study at USC, and taking my OT board exam I took off for Oregon for a much needed vacation. It was great to be home. I took in 4 soccer games which my siblings participated in. Susan, Steven and David each won a game and Susan tied another game.
It was nice to see them play. As I'm never home during the Fall I haven't seen them play in a while. As is typical I spent the whole time cold, but what can you expect after several years in Southern California? I've become a softy to the cold. I visited my old high school for a football game and was again thankful that I'm not there anymore. As is true to tradition they lost the game. After a week at home I flew off to North Carolina to visit Carolyn and Nate with my mom and Laura. It was a very fun trip. Our activities included:

Latta Plantation (old plantation house)

Downtown Asheville, NC (we spent out evening checking out the downtown and finally found somewhere to eat that wasn't a bar; quite a feat at 9:00 at night I guess)

The Biltmore House (largest privately owned home in America)

Mt. Mitchell (tallest mountain east of the Mississippi)
Blue Ridge Parkway (too bad the Fall colors weren't out too much yet)

Bennett Home (where the last peace talks of the Civil War took place)
Duke Homestead (where the whole tobacco thing was started)

Life and Science Museum (highlight being the butterfly room)
Raleigh capitol building (oldest capitol building in U.S.)

Raleigh History Museum

Raleigh Science Museum
Duke University (gardens and and the church were amazing)


It was a fun filled trip definitely packed with activities. But we had time to lounge around for a bit too. I even got a thunderstorm one night, much to the chagrin of those wanting to BBQ. But it stopped and we got to BBQ anyway. Seeing Carolyn and Nate was fun and it was great to explore a new part of the country. Tons of trees and so green. It was beautiful. But the humidity might get to you. It wasn't too bad while we were there but word on the street is it's pretty bad in July and August (yes there was a reason I didn't go in the summer)


Yes this is what our clothes are made out of. I got to see cotton growing on the bush for the first time! Pretty cool.

OTR

I did it! While I was on vacation at home I got word that I passed the national exam I had to pass to become an official Occupational Therapist. Now I can actually have those letters after my name. I guess it was all worth it. The best part is knowing that I never have to take that test again!!! And now I just have to pay California some more money and I can be OTR/L (registered and licensed). Then I can actually get a job. All the formalities. And here I am 2 months after being finished with school and I can finally legally work. Hurray for paperwork!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Self Realization

After several recent experiences I have realized something about myself...I don't do well when I feel like someone is pushing themselves on me. If someone tries too hard to make me like them or want to work for them or anything like that I pretty much always run the other way. I'm not sure if it's the challenge of proving myself to them or just thinking something is wrong if it's too easy or what. But something in me just wants to push back when the pressure is on.

Memories

I had a flood of memories as I got in my car after church on Sunday. I was on my way to Orange County to celebrate September birthdays with the Evans side of the family. I had brought an apple with me to church and left it in the car so I would have something eat on the way. I bit into the apple and was carried back to the backyard in Challenge, CA where I grew up. We had dozens of apple trees and on any given late summer/early fall day I probably ate several apples picked right off the tree. This apple tasted exactly like one picked fresh off the tree. It amazes me the power that taste or smell can have in bringing back memories. Those were the good old days of romping around the forest as a child without any cares in the world. I wouldn't trade those days for anything.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Job Search

I've decided that as hard as school is it's nothing compared to looking for a job. I hate looking for a job. Those dreaded words >1 year experience are not my friend. How in the world are you supposed to get experience in the type of setting you want to get experience in when no one will hire you because you don't have experience? Maybe I'm just going crazy and getting stressed out from way too much studying for the NBCOT exam (which I take tomorrow). I can't wait until that's over, but then it just leaves me all the time in the world to try and figure out what to do next. I can't wait until the job search is over.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Hair

I've had several pictures taken of my new haircut that look way better than the last one I put up. So courtesy of Shana here are a few more pictures of the new hairdo.


No I did not go blonde, that's just Heidi's hair posing as mine.
Ruth-Ann and I eating our homemade dessert sushi

Playing with sparklers at Dave's wedding reception

Shana and I took some jumping pictures at the beach.
Dave's wedding reception (John tried to sneak into our picture)

Dance party in Heidi's car on the way to eating Pho at midnight
Beach hair

More beach fun