Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wonder Woman

I joined the rest of Sandy City in watching Wonder Woman at the Megaplex Theater last night. It was $5 Tuesday, so it was packed.

Honestly, based on the trailers, I had minimal desire to see Wonder Woman. I thought it didn’t look very good. But then my Facebook feed was filling up with all kinds of love—females I respect who saw it multiple times within a few days, posting articles about why this movie was important, and how certain parts made them emotional. Wow. OK. I guess I should see it.

So after the temple I drove straight to the theater and was able to get myself a seat to the 7:20 show. One great thing about going to a movie alone is it’s easy to find a decent single seat. Obviously I got my popcorn before I sat down to enjoy the show. And my friends, enjoy it I did!

I need to put out another disclaimer. I’ve never been into comics or heroes. I immensely enjoy Marvel movies and the like, but I’m no enthusiast or educated fan. I also admit I didn’t and still don’t know much about Wonder Woman or her story. So this may have contributed to my overall lack of enthusiasm.

But I walked out of that movie being proud to be a woman. It sounds cheesy and weird, I know. But I was so proud. This woman (who is astonishingly beautiful, by the way, like how is that kind of beauty even possible?) embodied pretty much every quality I aspire to be as a female.

She was strong. Physically and mentally. She knew what she wanted and went after it. She wanted to train, so she did it. She pushed herself. She wasn’t a baby about any of it. Homegirl worked. I teared up watching that six year old girl who was watching the strong women fight, imitating them, wanting to be one of them.

She was motherly. I don’t know if you remember any of my old posts in which I discuss my struggle with the desire to be a mother. But I loved when she saw a baby on the street and freaked out and wanted to hold it. I never have been the “OMG a baby” type. But her genuine excitement over a baby was something I envy.

She was brave. There were so many obstacles, so many people telling her that things were impossible, that they couldn’t be done, that she shouldn’t do certain things. But she had no fear to do what needed to be done. She ran into the fire. She pushed her way through those bullets. The best part? She didn’t make it look easy. Diana had to work through the firestorm. And her conviction and strength led MEN into the skirmish. It was so empowering to me to see men follow and respect a woman; I had tears in my eyes. It’s funny, you don’t realize how much all of this affects you as a woman until you see them positively and strongly represented on the screen. Then you realize you haven’t seen very much of this kind of female representation at all in the media, and you feel hopeful and confident in what you can do.

*Edit: This woman said it perfectly, "I felt like I was discovering something I didn’t even know I had always wanted. A need that I had boxed up and buried deep after three movies of Iron Man punching bad guys in the face, three more movies of Captain America punching bad guys in the face, a movie about Superman and Batman punching each other in the face and then 'Suicide Squad.'" I read this article after writing my blog post, and it appears the same things stood out to her and made her emotional too. The article is worth a read.


She was empathetic. I think this was my favorite thing about her, and the aspect of her character that made me most proud to be a woman. I know it comes as a shock to a lot of people, but I am deeply sensitive. That’s why I have to be careful about watching the news; human pain and suffering is more than I can handle. When Diana hears of innocents suffering and dying, she can hardly bear it. It’s not even a choice about how to respond. She acts. And she cares immensely about her cause. The way she looks at suffering people, the way she hears them and feels for them. I love it so much. It’s such a special aspect of being a woman, and it reminds me of the amazing women in Christ’s day who cared for Him. I think women are blessed and cursed with the gift of empathy, but I love the way she uses hers.

She grew. I loved her realization that it’s not about what others deserve. It’s about what you believe. There is so much evil in the world, but there’s so much good to fight for too. And love is ultimately what it comes down to: spreading love and sharing goodness with others.

And like, let’s be real here. She uses a sword and a bow. So she’s automatically pretty cool.

You all can think whatever you want about me as I join the masses in praising this movie. It made me feel all the feels, and I loved it. I hope all kinds of little girls loved it too and realize that nothing can hold them back either. Maybe one day they can also know that women with muscles are beautiful; we’ll get there.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Recapping

You know... I've been so inconsistent about blogging. I think it's because of other social media. I feel like I put relevant life updates and activities and thoughts and feelings on social media so regularly that it feels redundant or unnecessary to keep a blog. I also write 2-3 sentences in a journal every night to review the day's events. But I guess each avenue has something unique to offer. Like if I had Instagrammed my whole Disney trip, that probably would have been annoying. But here, I could review the whole day in detail with photos and videos.

Still, for some reason I feel like I've missed a lot of important happenings in the past couple years of inconsistent blogging, and have a weird nagging feeling that I need to "catch up" somehow.

But Gretchen Rubin advises that you begin where you are. So that's what I'll do.

I'm now 30 years old. I'm still in my condo in Sandy (Midvale, really)--coming up on two years now.

I have two roommates currently, both quiet. I love it.

I trained for a half marathon and found out 10.5 weeks into a 12 week training plan that the race was canceled. I decided to run 13.1 anyway, and I did an out and back run at Gardner Village. It was glorious. I beat what would have been my time last year by about 7 minutes. I say "what would have been my time" because the race coordinators measured it 0.3 miles short, so I had to estimate what my time would have been--about 2:10. So here's my half history.

Provo Half in 2013: 2:30:06


Alpine Classic Half in 2015: 2:15:04


Gardner Village Half in 2016 (0.3 miles short): 2:06:47 - probably would have been 2:10 if it were a full 13.1.


Gardner Village Half in 2017: 2:02:51


And I've decided to run a full marathon in October. I found a local one that isn't a huge drop. I basically refuse to do any downhill runs because it ruins my knees. But they're pretty much all downhill, so they're hard to find. I'll be doing the SoJo Half on October 21 if anyone wants to come cheer me on. I need a squad who finds me along the route! :)

In other news... I'm working at Alpine Home Medical Equipment. I've been in this position for 11 months as of yesterday. I've had some cool opportunities and have learned a lot so far. I really enjoy a lot of things about it. I also have some stories to share but am too afraid of getting in trouble for what I post online. So if you want any stories, plan a lunch with me.

I've been doing a little dating recently. It seems to be going well. That's all I'll say on that, as the who and what are in my journal.

I am regularly listening to the Happier Podcast and Side Hustle School podcast. Because of Happier, I wanted to design my summer. I feel like I often let the summer get away from me. Being that my summer days are now much shorter as I work 8:30-5:00, I have much less time than I did as a teacher to do the things I always intend to do but never actually do. Thankfully, my friend Danica wrote a blog post to help me design my summer. I printed up blank calendar months of June-August yesterday. I immediately wrote in my runs, writing time, pool time, temple time, and some hikes.

I have some flexibility with empty nights, so I can switch evenings of activities if something else comes up like a dollar movie I want to see, or dinner or dates or whatever. I like having a level of openness but also having a plan to be productive and purposeful with my time. These long days with lots of sunlight make me so happy; I want to take full advantage this year.

Anyone want to come on June 26, July 3, or August 7 to a Bees game? It's only $5 per ticket and includes a hot dog :) Food truck leagues in West Valley on Thursdays or Soho Food Park in Holladay could be fun if anyone's down to eat.

Anyone want to come hike with me on June 15 or July 6 or August 10? Those dates are flexible, but it's a way for me to make sure it gets done.

As far as aspirations go...

I've been reading the 7 Habits book. It's so enlightening in so many ways. I love the part about making emotional deposits with people, and that deposits for some might be withdrawals for others. I think it connects well to Love Languages.

I hope to finish the Order of the Phoenix this weekend. I need to get the sixth book and get on track. I started my second Harry Potter series read-through over a year ago, and still haven't finished. I love to read and love Harry Potter, but for whatever reason have the hardest time sitting and doing it.

To be honest I am having a hard time doing much of anything productive lately. I feel like I'm sort of drifting along. So I am excited to have some plans in place to get to the temple, get to some Bees games, and get some road trips in the works. I also need to finish a life coaching course I'm signed up for. It's taken me a long time to get it done, but I've found that to be really valuable too. And I need to do a continuing education unit through NASM to keep my CPT current. I should explore that and see what options I have. I actually am looking forward to it.

My current calling at church is as Relief Society teacher, which I enjoy immensely. I feel I haven't taught in a while though due to stake conferences and being out of town and such. But I really enjoy it.

I've been working through the Old Testament and can pretty definitively say it is not my favorite. All this multiple wife stuff and "here husband, have my maid since I can't have babies" stuff is just too much for me.

I am still a Yelp Elite and have two reviews I need to write here pretty soon. That's been a cool opportunity and a cool outlet, and obviously a good reason to eat. I love to eat.

I have ideas for a book for NaNoWriMo, but I'm trying to decide if I want to wait until November, or just do my own novel writing month.

I have two days scheduled to do two things on my 2017 goals list: make sushi and make donuts (not the healthy kind).

I need to get my ukulele tuned and get back to practicing regularly. I lose it all when I don't practice. I don't remember anything. Consistency is key!

I'm thinking of signing up with Avatar Nutrition to really dial in my macros and physique goals. I don't aspire to have a six pack, but it would be really nice to drop that 8 pounds I've been battling. I know what I need to do; just have to stick to it. And paying for a service that keeps me on track and makes adjustments will be helpful. I even bought a scale! A SCALE! My first one in like a decade or something. I don't weigh myself often. I prefer not to. But regular weekly weigh-ins should be good and helpful.

So that's my life update. If any of you have any information regarding how I can obtain and raise a real life Baby Groot as my own, please contact me.

Love.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

I have not been home to California since last June. I postponed my official start date at my new job to July 1 so that I could make a trip home beforehand. I desperately needed it.

I earn 2.67 hours of paid time off every pay period. I would probably have a lot more accumulated if I hadn't used everything I earned in 2016 toward my paychecks when I went to England in November. As of now I only have 24 hours accrued.

Originally, I had planned to not take lunches last week so I would use only a few hours of PTO for Friday, the 26th and fly home that day. But then I remembered my race I had been training so hard for. It was scheduled on Saturday morning. So I canceled my Friday flight and booked for Saturday evening instead.

Come to find out, the race I signed up for got canceled because not enough people signed up. Wish they had let me know sooner, so I could have kept my Friday flight. Thanks a lot, Alpine Classic Half.

It's OK though. I made the most of my Friday by doing laundry, starting packing, getting Village Baker for dinner (and they royally messed up my order), going to the new Pirates movie with Joyce (where I obvs got popcorn), and getting dessert afterward at The Chocolate.

On Saturday, I was able to start my run at Gardner Village around 8:30am. I was so blessed with this run. I did the same course last year, but they measured it wrong, so it was 0.3 miles short. I finished in 2:06:47, on track to hit my goal of 2:10. But this year, I ran the entire 13.1 and did it in 2:02:51. My energy was great. The weather was great. My body felt great. I only had a few bugs crash into my face. I couldn't have asked for much better.


 My toes were killing me all weekend, and I got really bad chafing on my back and hip (in spots I haven't chafed all season?! so weird). Major scabs on my back right now from it.

To celebrate my huge PR (I got 2:15 on my last correctly measured 13.1 in 2015), I decided to drive out of the way to a donut shop in West Valley I had heard about: Donut Boy.


I was pretty underwhelmed by the amount of donuts they carried, as I am with most donut shops around here, but they were pretty well stocked and had another rolling shelf unit ready to unload. I got a crumb donut (raised, not cake), toasted coconut donut, maple bacon bar, and buttermilk bar. I'll write a review on Yelp for it if you care that much. In short, the donuts were decent, but nothing special. I did like the toasted coconut one.

I went grocery shopping, ran another errand, and cleaned my condo. I also put a 13.1 sticker on my car, since I've now run four of them. I figured it was time to let everyone who drives behind me know. ;) My grandma and mom came to get me to take me to the airport, where my flight was late to board. Cute grandma brought me a gift to celebrate me running 13.1: a couple of Think Thin bars, some Keebler cookies (the girl scout knockoffs), some vitamin water, a bunch of other goodies, and a cute card. She is the best.

My dad picked me up at Long Beach airport on Saturday evening, around 6:30pm. I almost cried when I got off the plane and saw the palm trees and felt the ocean air. Maybe you all feel this way about your home, but something about the air in California just feels different. The light is different. And it feels special.

We went straight from the airport to dinner at Casa del Rey because I ran 13.1 miles, so I get to eat all the food. The chips and salsa were legit, as always, and so was my burrito. Jake and Amanda met us there, and that was my first time meeting her.


My favorite thing about my family is the informality with which we hang out. One or two of us will be in the kitchen talking. Then another sibling comes and joins. Then another. My dad, Jared, Jake, Amanda, and I all stood in the kitchen quoting Forrest Gump for a pretty lengthy amount of time. The original plan was to watch Moana. But we ended up talking until pretty late, and I was exhausted.

I slept like poo, as I always do at home. Partly because I'm a light sleeper, and the pull out bed is in the dining room, adjacent to the kitchen which is especially noisy with coffee and stuff in the morning. And also because it's incredibly bright in my house. There are no blinds or curtains in the entire stretch of the kitchen, dining room, or family room.

So I got up, got ready, had a protein shake, and chatted with my dad in the kitchen. We casually decided to leave around 8am, and proceeded to have the best day ever at Disneyland.


First, we went and got Fast Passes for Guardians in CA Adventure. That line was so. freaking. long. But it moved fast. It took us probably 30 minutes to get our passes. From there we went straight to Soarin' Over the World, which my dad helped build, but had never gotten to ride. The wait was under 20 minutes, and we both LOVED it. It is so fun.


We were starving at that point, so we headed across to Disneyland where we got Mickey shaped beignets at New Orleans Square (at the Mint Julep bar). We listened to a jazz band play and fed a very friendly duck that came by.




After that, we went on Pirates, which was less than a 15 minute wait. Then we went to Haunted Mansion, which also was less than a 15 minute wait. While we were over in that direction, we decided to jump on Splash Mountain. My dad has never been on that ride in his life. That line was about 20 minutes long. We didn't get very wet, which was kind of a relief. We walked over to Big Thunder, and were on the ride in less than 5 minutes. Honestly, I don't know what happened that got us so lucky on Sunday, but it was so cool to have no waits!


Dad's first time on Splash Mountain



We went over to Cafe Orleans at about 1pm to have lunch, but "they were reservation only at that time," and told us we could come back and check on the wait in 30 minutes. But our fast passes for Guardians were for 1:55-2:55, so that wasn't going to work. We made reservations for 4:50, and then went and had lunch at Stage Door Cafe. Dad got fish & chips, I got chicken nuggets and fries, and we shared a corn dog. Guys. That was the best corn dog I've ever had.

After that, we wandered over to Guardians. The line to USE the fast pass was 30 minutes. We thought it would be way longer, but it actually was spot on. That ride was SO FUN! I couldn't believe how many drops we got. So much better than Tower of Terror! Dad loved it, and I think it was probably our favorite of the whole day.




GROOT!



Since dad hadn't been to CA Adventure before, I wanted him to see what it was all about. So we walked down and got on California Screamin'. That line was about 15 minutes also. He loved that coaster. He said it was the perfect length of time.

We wandered back over to Disney, got fast passes for Space Mountain, and had our dinner at Cafe Orleans: a monte cristo sandwich and garlic fries. Oh man. So good! We should have shared our sandwich though instead of getting our own. We both were so full already.






We wanted to take it down a few notches, so we did the 10 minute wait for Jungle Cruise. That was great and cheesy as always. I needed a soda, so we each got a Coke Zero and walked over to Fantasyland and did the Storybook Ride. Dad doesn't like the tea cups or Small World, so we didn't do those. My app told me that Indiana Jones had a 30 minute wait, but when we walked over there, it was a 45 minute wait. It ended up being 38 minutes. I timed all the waits for fun. Dad said it was as jerky and awful as he remembered. I really like that ride though.


As we headed back to use our Space Mountain fast passes, we got a Dole Whip Float and shared it. Don't judge us. This day was entirely about food.


Star Tours had a small wait, only about 15 minutes, so we went on that before heading to Space Mountain. I love both of those rides.


After that, the electric parade was starting, but I still hadn't seen the Matterhorn Macaroons. So we went and each got one of those. I saved it for a little later. We hung out and saw a little of the parade. We hit up a souvenir store where I proceeded to cry over the voice activated dancing Baby Groot. And then we headed home.

video



I had told my dad when we got there that morning, that a couple of years ago, Patrick and I lucked out and got to watch the fireworks from the parking structure. Well, as soon as we stepped off the tram to the parking lot, the fireworks started. So we got to watch the show from the parking lot. Basically nothing was left undone that day.



We headed home, bodies sore, bellies full, blood sugar crashed, and so, so happy. It was an amazing day. Truly better than I think my dad or I expected.

Monday was pretty low key. I had tried to ask my brother if he and his girlfriend would want to go (or rather would want to drive me) to Huntington Beach, but I guess he didn't get the text I sent from Disneyland. So I slept in a little, put the couch back together, and got dressed to go on a run. I ran five miles total. My route was west on Gladstone, up to Barranca.

I stretched in the back yard, hung out with the dog who kept trying to sniff my crotch, chatted with my baby brother for a little while, showered, and ended up running into my brother Jake as I went to do laundry. We chatted for a while, and he didn't realize I was leaving that evening. He was disappointed and told me I need to stay longer.

Dad and I went to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner. We got chicken thighs and breasts, asparagus, corn on the cob, Cheetos, and stuff to make Texas Tabs (sans the syrup). Dad and Jake LOVED the soda.

My brother Jake came home to spend a little time with me before I headed back to the airport, so that was really cute. He took some very unflattering snaps of us. And Jared came home before going in to work to say bye to me. I love those boys so much.


Mouth was full of dinner

Checking out Jake's eye infection
I fought tears before leaving, all the way to the airport, and at the airport. It is so hard leaving; it's like you're separating from part of your heart. I feel like I'm leaving them behind, and I feel like we are all better people when we're together. I'm really struggling, especially not knowing the next time I'll get to go home. Maybe Pioneer Day weekend I'll head back for another short trip.

I love my people.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Thought I Was a Cat Person

Growing up, my family had a lot of animals. Reptiles, fish, dogs, birds, rabbits, you name it. One thing my family did not love: cats. My parents weren't cat people. And then Shibbs showed up on our doorstep with his momma.

We loved Shibbs, and he loved us. I guess I thought this made me a cat person. But no. It just made me a Shibbs person.

Because back in September 2015, I adopted a cat. His name is Max. He's a bloody nightmare. Sweet. But super naughty and tragically needy.



I'm sure you all can take a stab as to why I picked a cat over a dog: not as needy. Doesn't care about your existence. Doesn't need walks. Doesn't bark. Doesn't need a yard. Could be left alone all day at home. Cleans itself. No picking up poop. Etc. Etc.

Sadly, Max doesn't fit any of your typical cat descriptors. Allow me to give a description of my cat and his behaviors (which you've likely seen on Snapchat or Instagram stories).
- He begs for food and stares at you while you eat
- He destroys and eats plants
- He scratched up the leather portion of my once perfect couch
- He jumps up on the counters and table and eats people food (Chicken I understand. But rice, people. He ate freaking rice.)
- He jumps on the fridge and on the highest cabinets
- He follows you even if you move just a few feet
- He loves to rub up against your legs constantly
- He stands behind you so you'll trip over him
- He walks directly in front of your line of motion so you kick him, and then he gets upset at you
- He chases you down the hallway
- If you're really lucky, he bites your ankles as he chases you down the hallway
- He rubs up on you constantly, especially when you're sweaty or wet so that his black hair gets stuck to you
- If you're not attentive enough, he will bite your knee--he'd rather be smacked than ignored
- He loves to rub up against your legs constantly
- He meows between 5 and 6am almost every day, but his favorite is on Saturdays
- He meows pretty much constantly
- He greets you at the door when you get home
- He loves anyone and everyone; he is not skittish
- He loses his toys under the oven or couch
- He runs outside but then gets afraid and upset and meows like he's dying
- He kicks poop out of his litter box (I clean it every day, so don't advise me)
- He loves to rub up against your legs constantly
- He once ate a roommate's drawstring and pooped it out while darting all over the house as it slowly emerged
- He once ate part of a raw packge of ground beef a roommate left out
- He leaves weird spots all over the couch; I'm not even sure I want to know what they're from
- He digs my blush brush out of my purse to play with and chew on (he's done this three times now)
- He will shove his head under your resting hand to force you to touch him
- He pretty much must be touched always if you are present
- He loves to rub up against your legs constantly
- He will crawl into any open door, cabinet, or cupboard
- He sheds a ton (I buy him expensive grain free food, so don't even start with that)
- He purrs loudly and readily
- He loves to rub up against bags and purses (and also get into them)
- He runs a little obstacle course every night, back and forth between the entryway and living room
- He has scratched up a brand new table I put underneath the window
- He gets paw marks all over the window
- He loves to rub up against your legs constantly
- He jumps into the kitchen windowsill if the blinds are up
- He jumps on your clean clothes as you're folding them
- He will try to jump into the dryer if it's open
- He does not think 3+ hours of snuggling is enough
- He tries to get in the fridge if it's open
- He loves to eat and tear up paper, especially tissue, and has gotten into the roommates' garbage a couple of times
- He has torn up a section of my carpet that apparently had a loose string
- Did I mention he loves to rub up against your legs constantly?

I seriously don't know why I still have this creature. He drives me absolutely insane. He honestly is fine to have around when he isn't being needy or naughty, but I'm not sure that occurs often enough for me to really appreciate his presence.

I know a lot of people really like needy cats and think this kind of excessive affection is cute. But I don't. Call me a heartless witch. I seriously don't know how much longer I can handle this guy. It's been almost two years, and while some things have gotten better, others have not. I feel guilty for keeping him when I know someone else would love to have his love. But I'd feel guilty getting rid of him because it's like a responsibility I accepted, so I feel like I'm facing the consequences. And I also feel like at this point I just have so much stress and damage invested, that it would have all been a waste if I give him away. I don't know if that makes any sense at all. It feels a lot like making excuses to stay in an abusive relationship. Does it sound that way to you?

Anyway, it should come as no surprise that the burden of cleaning a litter box is only icing on the cake when you have a cat like mine. So the best day of my month was the day I got this amazing thing:


A litter genie. I have hidden it in the utility closet next to his litter box. I no longer have to collect plastic bags or go to the trash every single day. I used it for the first time this morning, and it was awesome.

My other great animal investment was that $5 bed you see him sitting in above. It's on the couch and has really cut down on the amount of fur he leaves on my couch (not completely, but a lot).

I honestly do not know if I love this cat. I mean I think I'd be sad if he got lost or died. I'm pretty sure I would. Maybe. Mostly I find him incredibly obnoxious and only good company when I'm sick (which is like... never, so...). I know I need to devote more time to playing with him. But even when I do that regularly (or snuggle with him for HOURS), it's not enough. His behavior is the same. He makes me curse and yell about 5x more often than he makes me laugh. So I have pretty much resigned myself to a life of misery with the neediest creature that ever walked the earth.

Well, no matter what happens with this guy, at least now there is a blog entry devoted to his existence, so he's not like an omitted chapter of my life someday.

If anyone would like a super needy cat, let me know. Just kidding. But seriously...

Friday, March 17, 2017

My Road Rage

I have to write some quick thoughts in order to focus on some things I need to get done at work today. If I don't write about it, I'll have underlying anxiety distracting me from what I need to do.

I'll just come out and say it. I have road rage.


It is something I try to be conscious of. I try to relax and tell myself I'll get there in good time, and it's better to be safe than save a minute or two. I mean really, this is a concerted effort I make to relax.

I've been called out a couple of times on my tailgating. Can I say how much I hate when people ride my tail? I hate it. I think everyone hates it. So this is another thing I try to be conscious of.

There's a long stretch of road alongside the freeway to get to my work where there are no signals or stops. It's 40 here, so naturally I go 45. It stinks getting stuck behind slow folks on that road. But when it happens, I do my best to keep a car length or two between me and that person.

Today I was afraid coming around that initial bend that the person in front of me would be slow down that road. I wasn't at a point where I was upset or conscious of any frustration, but the worry was there.

It appeared that instead of going down that road, she was going to turn into the first parking lot on the right. But she was just letting me pass.

And it's here where my guilty blue personality comes into play. When someone moves out of the way, I immediately go, "Oh no. Was I following too closely? I feel bad."



As I flew down the road, that crossover SUV far behind, the possibility of that person being someone at my company haunted me. I made my left onto my work street, and there she was in my rear view mirror, making the same turn. As I parked, I crossed my fingers that she wouldn't pull into my company's parking lot. Sure enough, there she was. I parked. And just seconds later, she parked right next to me. The guilt I already felt about riding the rear end of a stranger would have been enough today. But it was a very kind older lady I work with and say hello to every morning.

I smiled as she pulled up, guilt forming in a ball in the pit of my stomach. I could've just walked in to work and brushed it off. But again, being an accountable person, I got right out and asked her, "Was I following you too closely?" She explained that she's been rear ended twice, so she's especially paranoid and sensitive about it. I told her I was sorry, and I really try not to do that. She told me her kids tell her she'll get into an accident just because she's paranoid and does things like that. And she didn't know it was me behind her. Because there are so many red Mazda 3s with a Hawaiian sticker on them, I'm sure she wouldn't have figured it out. :) She told me I didn't need to say sorry. But man. I felt like a jerk.

She asked me to please hold the office doors for her as she carried in a crock pot. I closed her trunk door for her and held open all the office doors as well. I would have anyway and any other day, but then I was attaching those tasks to my guilt, trying to redeem myself somehow.

I know she's not upset. But I'm still kicking myself for the impatience I let myself be consumed by. These humbling situations are always good gut checks for me. I need to be better in so many areas of my life. I just need to learn from it immediately instead of feeling like a jerk all day long. Does anyone else struggle with eternal guilt? So frustrating and stressful.

Anyway. Lesson learned. Challenge accepted. I will attempt to move on with my day now.

Monday, March 13, 2017

My Birthday Recap

Well, I'd love to say my 30th birthday was everything I'd hoped for and more. But it just wasn't. I got fewer birthday cards in the mail than I've probably ever gotten. A grandparent even forgot. Another grandparent was late. A couple of friends forgot to wish me happy birthday or to send a card. Probably for the first time in a few years, since having roommates in 2012, my apartment wasn't decorated for me. Honestly, it just wasn't awesome.

On the bright side, I did get a lot of birthday letters--most of them from people I wouldn't have expected at all--and then no letters from people I would've expected one from. It was an awesome experience reading them and seeing the things people remembered about me or thought about me. I will treasure them.

Me before going out
I had a big party planned a month in advance at Keys on Main downtown--I reserved room for 16. And since I had said that significant others or spouses were invited, I decided I needed to cut the dinner group down to just the single ladies.

Unfortunately, downtown is really difficult and stressful on Friday night with parking and crowds, so I sat alone at Settebello for about 45 minutes before anyone showed up. I got some texts from frustrated friends, which wasn't fun. The first who arrived were Brittney and Kristine. Kristen and Julie came next. Rachel came last. Joyce didn't make it.

The pizza was delicious. Since we got done later than I had anticipated, we didn't have time for dessert. Sadly, two of my friends weren't feeling well and left after dinner instead of coming to Keys on Main (and one carpooled with another, so I was down three people).

The dinner group
Britt and Kristine rode with me. I had the great idea to park at City Creek, and thankfully those two were troopers in walking with me to Keys.

For a while at Keys it was just us three. And then cute Kirsty and Jacob got there. They were followed by Alli and her friend; her cute sister came later on. And that was the crowd. Another friend and her man had backed out earlier in the day. Another had told me "maybe not," earlier in the week. And another couple of friends had a family emergency.

So I don't know. I guess it just wasn't in the cards for this birthday. Things didn't line up, people didn't feel well. I am grateful for the people who showed up for me in whatever capacity they could. It meant so much.





Keys was really fun. They played Wannabe by the Spice Girls for my birthday request. They're funny about it; I had to request it.

I fearfully walked to my car around 11:30 pm and had to figure out if I could even get back into the parking lot at dark and dead City Creek, so that was scary. I had a friend on the phone to keep me company and make sure I didn't get robbed and killed, even though he was half asleep.

On February 9, I had dinner at Village Baker with that same friend. He got me some super thoughtful gifts, including the Karate Kid movies, The Secret desk day calendar, popcorn and Haribos, and Ghirardelli chocolate. It was cute.

On my actual day of birth, February 10, I woke up and took a picture of my 30 year old legs before I ran five miles to celebrate my good health and my good life.

I wonder how many miles these legs have walked? 
After my run and after packing and getting ready, I went and picked up Rachel. We had breakfast at Black Bear Diner in Draper on our way down to Las Vegas. I got a few birthday phone calls including my annual serenade from my friend Brianne, and a voicemail from the only of my three brothers who called me: Jason. I got lots of texts--even from all three of my bosses--and lots of Facebook posts.

We checked in at the Hard Rock Hotel and got to our room, admiring memorabilia on display throughout the lobby and hallways. Even the elevator had lyrics from rock stars etched into the railing.

Our room at the Hard Rock



I forgot about the time change, and I had made dinner reservations at Hard Rock Cafe. We were starving and still had a couple hours to wait. They were able to move our reservation up, thankfully. But I didn't realize the Cafe was on the strip, so I had to drive us there. With Rachel navigating, it was easy to find parking. And the parking lot gave us this view.


The Elvis wall at the Hard Rock Cafe
Ashleigh had a hard time finding parking, so she joined us a little later for dinner. I was happy to see her, and she got me the coolest Harry Potter socks.

Unfortunately, dinner wasn't very good. Service was absolutely awful. Our server was trying to be playful but was actually pretty rude. Our food took forever and just wasn't very good. The people at the table next to us didn't even get asked for their orders and left after 45 minutes. I felt bad. Most expensive worst dinner I've ever had.

Rachel, Ashleigh, and I traipsing through the town
We decided to walk the strip after dinner, but my real plan was to see the fountains and to find dessert at the Bellagio.

Bellagio fountains, of course


They had so many amazing looking treats. Here's where we went if you want to go sometime.

Gelato at the Bellagio
Saturday morning we drove out to Henderson to try Hash House a Go Go. Thankfully there was no wait. We got seated right away. Service was great, as our server wanted to help us try different things while saving us money. I appreciated that.

Saturday breakfast at Hash House A Go Go

Banana pecan French toast--a personal highlight
I had booked us a chocolate tasting at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory in Henderson for Saturday around 11:30am. But when I showed up they had no record of this event ever occurring. Thankfully they could just throw something together on the fly.

Chocolate tasting at Ethel M. Chocolate Factory
We watched them make some candy through the windows. I ended up getting a little baggy of four treats--some kind of espresso truffle, an almond cluster, a peanut butter centered treat, and something else delicious.

A free and cool part of the factory is their cactus gardens. We wandered around that for a little while.

Rachel in the Cactus Garden at the chocolate factory

Yours truly


We headed back to the strip and got our touristy pictures per my request. It was super windy.

I've never gotten a picture at the Welcome sign in my whole life. It had to be done. 
We went back to the hotel to rest a little bit, but probably should've taken that non-rainy chance to walk the strip some more like I had planned.

We wandered around the hotel making sure we saw every piece of memorabilia in every hallway so that we didn't miss anything cool. We stopped and had tea at a little cafe in the hotel and chilled for a little bit. It was here that I had a strange encounter with a creepy dude which I'll just let rest in my memory to haunt me forever.

We left again to wander the strip. We parked at New York, New York. We hit up M&Ms world and the Coca Cola store. That part was my favorite.


Unfortunately, it started to rain. I had wanted to maybe see the conservatory at Bellagio, the waterfall/atrium at the Palazzo, or the Atlantis Show at Caesars. Ultimately, I had hoped we'd eat some good food and head to north Las Vegas to Fremont Street. But the rain and cold and distance ahead to do all those things sort of put a damper on my plans.

We ended up back at the hotel, eating at a restaurant there, which was decent (but incredibly slow), watching The Proposal on TV, and going to sleep.

The next morning before heading home, I had one more restaurant I wanted to try. It was called Eat. It did not disappoint.

We headed back to Salt Lake, and I was home before 5pm.

Overall, it was a fun weekend full of good food.

My mom and grandma put together a family birthday party for me, complete with a German chocolate AND homemade carrot cakes.




I really appreciated my mom and grandma's efforts, and the cakes and food were so yummy. My aunts and uncles got me some gift cards, which was super nice and thoughtful.

I am certainly grateful for those who remembered me and sent me good wishes and letters. I feel like the birthday gods generally frowned on the festivities of my 30th year, what with everyone's illnesses and inability to show up, and the rain and wind in Vegas, but I'm trying not to let it determine how my 30th year of existence will go.

I've already signed up for a half marathon in May, am volunteering as a running buddy for Girls on the Run again, and am seriously contemplating a full marathon in October. I'm approaching this year with the mindset that anything is possible. Take that, age 30. Oh, and bring me a husband. K thanks.