Tuesday, April 22, 2014

23 Reasons Why Being a Mormon is Totally Awesome

I don't know what it is about this past few weeks, but my heart has been swelling with joy and happiness. Especially when it comes to my faith.

I think it's because a couple of weeks ago, my therapist asked how I was doing spiritually and I told him I could do better and said how and then I started doing the things that would make my spiritual self better and guess what. My spiritual self is feeling AMAZING.

Funny how that works.

So I'm happy with my spiritual side and with my faith, and along with that, I feel a tremendous amount of love for my chosen religion, too.

And here are {23} reasons why:

  1. Mormons are very giving, helpful people. Not because they're supposed to be, but because they just are.
  2. Jell-O counts as a salad.
  3. We don't believe in Hell. At least, not in the literal fire-and-brimstone sense.
  4. We're allowed to question authority.
  5. The Book of Mormon is really good. (The actual book, not the musical.)
  6. We are pretty resilient when people make fun of us ALL THE TIME.
  7. We have leaders like J. Golden Kimball: “I don't know about this here eternal marriage business. But it seems to me that if you can't live with the sons-of-bitches on earth the Lord won't force you to remain with them in heaven.”
  8. We have leaders like Brigham Young: "If I had a choice of educating my daughters or my sons because of opportunity constraints, I would choose to educate my daughters."
  9. We never have to worry about finding a designated driver.
  10. We have a pretty cool choir.
  11. The temples are amazing.
  12. Kids as young as 12 get to have leadership roles.
  13. The primary kids and their annual program could NOT be cuter.
  14. We bring food to EVERYTHING.
  15. Twice a year we get to go to church in our living rooms...and in our pajamas...
  16. Made-up curse words like "fetch."
  17. The BYU Creamery.
  18. Salt Lake City.
  19. Mitt Romney, Stephenie Meier, David Archuletta, Steve Young, Ryan Gosling (Okay, fine, Ryan's not active anymore, but still...)
  20. Our version of "rebellious" (drinking Dr. Pepper, swearing) won't land you in trouble with the law.
  21. Road shows.
  22. Funeral potatoes.
  23. We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe he lived for us and died for us and that, because of him, we can be with our families forever.
What are some things about your religion/faith that are totally awesome?
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Introducing Coco

Getting your car totaled when you are a block away in a friend's apartment is a very unpleasant experience. I don't recommend it.

(Although, I can't really recommend getting your car totaled when you're IN it either.)

(Really, it's just best to not get your car totaled.)

I still don't have any answers. I'm waiting for the police report that is taking f o r e v e r to show up in my mailbox.

But my insurance company, State Farm (w00t!) is going to go ahead and pay off my claim and then wait to find out if they get reimbursed or not, depending on whether the other guy had insurance. I guess they figure it's better than paying for a rental car indefinitely.

Once the settlement offer was made, I had seven days to turn in the rental. But I already knew what I wanted. Because I had test-driven it a few days before.

I tried out the Toyota Rav4 one day and liked it a lot. But something told me it wasn't The One. 

(I don't believe in The One when it comes to romantic relationships, but I do when we're talking about cars.)

A couple of days later, I had an appointment to go look at a Hyundai Tuscon. I loved my Hyundai Accent (may she rest in peace) and am a big fan of Hyundai in general, so when I decided to get something bigger and started looking at small SUVs, the Tuscon was on my shortlist. 

It was love at first sight.

I knew she was the one.

A 2011 lease trade-in with only 26,000 miles. 

It's a bad idea to fall in love with a used car unless you are in the market to purchase immediately. And since I hadn't yet heard those final words from my insurance company, I wasn't ready to purchase immediately. So I had to hope she'd still be there a few days later.

That was on a Thursday. The following Monday (last week), the sales manager emailed to let me know that, somehow, the Tuscon had survived the weekend, due in small part to the fact that he had hidden it upstairs so that no one wandering the lot would happen upon it.

The next day, I got the call from my insurance company informing me that Smurfette was, indeed, totaled. 

On Wednesday, I signed the papers and got the keys to my brand-new-to-me Hyundai Tuscon. 

I call her Coco.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Save Money with ScoreBig!

One of the fun things about being a blogger is the occasional opportunity to check out some product or service or the like and then spreading the word to my readers.

Such is the case with ScoreBig, a website dedicated to saving you money on sporting events, concerts, theater tickets, and even attractions and theme parks.

Basically, it works like this:

  1. Choose your event.
  2. Choose the area you want to sit. (You don't pick exact seats, but you get to pick the section.)
  3. Choose the price you're willing to pay.
  4. Get an instant answer if your price is accepted or not.
Is it really that simple?

Well, I got the chance to find out. ScoreBig gave me a promo code to try out their site. There were so many choices. I thought and thought about what event I'd really love to see. So many possibilities.

What did I pick?

I *might* have mentioned once or twice that I'm kind of a baseball fanatic. So instead of damaging my delicate sensibilities by going to see The Book of Mormon Musical or spending a night rocking out to some Billy Joel (a concert I'm dying to go to, by the way...) I finally settled on something I wanted even more.

Field level tickets to the Angels/Dodgers game in August.

Because, you know what? I do go to a lot of games, but I usually sit in the nosebleeds because it's really all I can afford.

But having some extra money to play around with, I decided to splurge.

I entered the price I wanted to pay, making sure it landed somewhere in the convenient green zone that lets you know how likely it is that your offer will be accepted.

My original offer was declined, but that's okay, because I seriously didn't think it would go through. I knew it was too low. So then they suggested a price that WOULD be accepted. It was still within my budget, so I said, Sure!

 It was so simple.

And there were two things in particular that made it even more awesome.

One. There are NO FEES. None. At all. The price they quote you is what you pay. You don't pay for service charges or convenience fees and you don't even pay for shipping.

Two. They FED EXed my tickets to me THE NEXT DAY. For free. I didn't have to pay for the shipping. At all. And I already have them in my anxious little hands.

Was it worth it? Heck yeah.

Will I use ScoreBig again? Definitely!

**Legal disclaimery stuff: I was given a promo code good for $100 off tickets through ScoreBig.com. That was pretty awesome, but this review is my 100% honest opinion.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

And then there was one...

In 2009, some girls in my ward (church congregation) got together and started a book club.

Our first book was The Hunger Games.

And it was a happy book club. Full of laughter and good food and friends I was desperately needing. And good books, too. But the books were always incidental. The main point of book club was the friends.

In fact, we had a rule that "I didn't read the book" was NOT a good enough excuse to miss Book Club. Ever.

Over the years, friendships were formed. Close friendships. I had a group. A real group. The kind they make sitcoms about. And they could have gotten some great sitcoms from our crazy group.

Together we went through fertility issues (okay, not me personally, but the group), job changes, babies, baby showers, depression, health scares, broken limbs, loss of relatives, and even cancer.

And through it all, we've been there for each other.

Just like with any large group, someone would move away and then someone else would take their place. Some people would attend book club and then stop coming as life got in the way. But we kept at it. For almost four years.

Until it got to the point where people were moving away too quickly and replacements could not be found.

I wasn't close with everyone in the Book Club. But I had ties with most of them. I've even talked about them here on The Blog. CeCe and Marly and Stephanie and Rachel and Shawna and Stacey and Rebecca and Jamie and Ann.

I love these women so fiercely.

And every one of them has moved.

CeCe moved to Missouri. We stay in touch on Facebook, but it's just not the same.

Rachel stayed fairly close by, but started spending more time with her husband. (Lame!) We hardly see her these days.

Rebecca stayed pretty close too. But, again, life gets in the way and it's harder to get together with someone when they live 40 minutes away as opposed to right around the corner.

Jamie and Shawna both moved to Utah within weeks of each other. And then Jamie moved to Ohio. And then she moved back to California, but south to San Diego. I haven't seen her since she moved back because things have been too chaotic.

Stephanie moved to Utah as well.

Ann moved to Wisconsin. And now she's in Washington. I think they're trying to hit all the W states.

Last night, we loaded up Marly's U-Haul. She and her family are moving a few hours north to the land of John Steinbeck. I fought against the tears all night as I carried boxes and packed up bags and helped haul things to the dumpster. I can't believe she's leaving me.

I still see everyone from time to time. I visited with Shawna on a trip to Utah. Stephanie has made several trips back to Cali. We get together with Rachel once in awhile and I've seen Rebecca a few times. I'm flying out to Dallas to see Stacey and her family in a few weeks. And Marly promises to come back twice next month.

But it's hard. It's hard not to feel like, yet again, I'm being left behind. Everyone is married. Almost everyone has kids. And then there's me. Just here. "Working on my career."

I miss my girls. I miss the way they never made me feel like I was somehow inferior. I miss the way we'd laugh at the silliest things or get wacky ideas and actually carry them through. I miss the spontaneous crepe parties and visits to the gym and birthday surprises.

I miss my friends.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

R.I.P. Smurfette (December 4, 2010-April 5, 2014)

The day began innocently enough.

A lazy Saturday morning of sleeping in just a *little* too long. Slowly waking up and getting myself dressed.

As I drove to a friend's house for a hair appointment, I had no idea that this would be the last time I would drive my beloved little blue Accent.

But it was.

My friend lives in the very populated city of Long Beach and parking is at a premium around her apartment. There are often spaces right in front of her building, but with a two-hour maximum and our hair sessions usually last much longer than that because of all the visiting and catching up in between coloring and cutting and de-hairifying my face.

So I didn't park in the two-hour parking in front of her building.

Instead, I opted for a side street, taking a space that only my Smurfette was small enough to occupy, on the corner, between another parked car and a red zone.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later, I walked back down the street to discover this:

A yellow post-it note had been stuck to the driver's side window and flapped innocently in the breeze.

I walked around and around the car, eventually discovering a document from the Police Department stuck under a windshield wiper.

I didn't know what to do. I couldn't speak. Couldn't think. Couldn't breathe.

The only thought that kept running through my head (and this is probably the ONLY time this word will ever appear on my blog and I apologize in advance), was:

What the fuck happened to my car?

I know. I'm sorry.

I just stared.

A window opened on the second floor of the apartment building across the street. A woman called out, "The guy had a seizure! Hit three cars and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance!" I asked if she had seen it happen and she said no, she heard it and then came outside when the cops showed up.

I wasn't sure whether to call the police or my insurance company, but I figured the police had probably done all they were planning to do by leaving the police report number on my windshield and called State Farm instead.

As soon as someone answered the phone, the tears started. I completely melted down, trying through sobs to explain that my car had been in an accident and that was all that I knew. The agent on the other end of the line was awesome. Her name was Michelle and she quickly calmed me down and got the process started to get a tow truck en route.

Once towing was dispatched, she started the work of hooking me up with a rental car because, thankfully, I didn't decline that option.


A tow truck driver showed up, but he wasn't the one State Farm had dispatched, so I sent him on his way, but not before he told me he had towed away two other cars including the one that hit me and that the guy had gone to the hospital and had nearly hit a pedestrian.

He left and I continued with Michelle setting up the car rental. We finished up and she gave me my claim number, Claims Agent's name and some other important info and then I asked to speak with her supervisor because I wanted to tell him how wonderful she had been. I spent way too many years in call centers and I know the supervisors don't get to hear the compliments nearly as often as the complaints, and I wanted to make sure Michelle got some accolades for her awesomeness.

Then I sent a quick text to my friend to let her know my car had been hit and that I had spent the past thirty minutes on the phone with my insurance company. She came rushing out and wanted to know why I hadn't come back to her apartment.

And then this drunk guy, who turned out to be Jesse, strolled past and told me that the guy hadn't been taken away in no ambulance. He got arrested and was probably drunk. That he hit one car and then almost hit a pedestrian and then hit me and his girlfriend showed up trying to claim he'd had a seizure.

(Jesse also kept insisting that I call some buddy of his who happens to be an attorney and would make sure I get a fair settlement from the insurance company.)

He finally left and my friend and I stood there, staring at the wreckage. She kept apologizing over and over and I kept reminding her that it wasn't even a little bit her fault, and we marveled that we had been less than a block away and had heard nothing.

The tow truck showed up and the driver informed me that my body shop had closed at noon. It was now past two. He said he'd just take it to their yard and my insurance company could send an adjuster there to take a look at it. "Because, I tell you right now, this car's totaled."

I already knew that. I knew it the moment I happened upon the scene.

So now I'm in a rental car and waiting for the final death pronouncement from the insurance adjuster, which I'm told will probably come sometime tomorrow.

I'm also waiting for the police report so that I can find out what the hell actually happened so that I know whether I'm allowed to be mad at the guy or not.

In the meantime, I wait. Wait and feel sad and start the search for my next car. A depressing prospect that I approach with a certain degree of dread and resignation, rather than with the excitement and promise of something new.

Because I love my car.

I miss my car.

And I just can't let go.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

The Tortoise and the Hare-isson

Bruce Wayne and I had a little bit of a problem. He spent way too much time in his cage for my liking or his. Plus, it got pretty stinky pretty fast, no matter how regularly I changed it. We both agreed, it was time for him to move into his own space.

So after months of failing to deliver on my promises, I finally bought a hutch. With some assembly required.


Which was fine.

Except that I didn't own a power drill, and neither did Laura.

Michele offered me ten bucks if I would call up this cute guy in whom I've been vaguely interested and ask if he had one I could borrow, but I resisted. "I need a power drill of my own!" I declared. 

So I took my bad self down to the Home Depot and bought myself a power drill. For a whopping thirty bucks. 

Best $30 I've spent in ages.

(Not counting my camera, of course.)

And then I got to work putting together that bunny hutch.

Let me tell you, it's a great way to get out aggression. Building stuff. Now I see why men spend so much time in their garages. Plus, it's kind of fun.

But now Bruce and I had a different problem. 

I had this giant bunny hutch and Bruce was lonely. 

So Bruce Wayne got a brother. A baby brother named Hare-isson Ford. You all met him last week.

Together, they enjoyed their palace for, like, a week before anything happened.

And then, one day, I got a text message from Laura informing me that Hare-isson had gotten out and she couldn't find him. She was on her way to work and I had a meeting scheduled for that afternoon and wouldn't be home for hours.

I work WAY too far from home to just run there and back really quick.

Dismayed, worried, and slightly stressed, I chatted with a co-worker who offered to go to the meeting for me. I barely hesitated before accepting his offer, and was on my way home within minutes, thinking the entire way, "I can't believe I'm one of Those People who misses work because of a PET."

But I am now one of Those People. Because I have two scrumptious little pets I adore. And darn it all, I want to be a good Bunny Mom. 

I got home at ten after one and immediately ran out to the back yard, checking the hutch to see if Hare-isson had decided to return. Nope. It was just Bruce, staring at me innocently.

Then I scoured the yard, searching in every shady spot in the main part of the yard, knowing in my heart he was somewhere just out of my reach.

That was when I gave up and walked to the side of the house.

Quick side note: Our yard is completely blockaded with walls on all sides. I knew there was no way he could actually escape the yard. Thankfully!

But along the side of the house, there is a huge bush surrounded by thick ground cover. There's also an old pile of wood that looks like it used to be something's den. 

And...there's the house when the tortoises live.

Two of them. Chester and Baby. Here's one, but I can never remember which is which:

I peered down into the hole, wondering how I would ever get him out if that was, indeed, where he had gone.

And then I heard the faintest little rush of leaves. And I knew.

He was under that giant bush.

If I thought it would be hard to retrieve him from the tortoise hole, getting him out from under the bushes would be downright impossible.

Which is when a little voice whispered to me to go let the dogs outside.

(Laura had locked up Lady and the Tramp so that they couldn't hurt him if they found him.)

Happy to be outside, they ran around, playing and having a good old time. And then I said, "Tramp! Where's the bunny?"

Understanding crossed his little puppy face and he was off. I'm not even kidding. That dog knew exactly what I was talking about. First he ran to the hutch and sniffed around, and then he went to the side of the house, looking down into the tortoise hole. 

Crap, I thought. He IS in there.

And then a tiny rustling captured his attention and Tramp dove into the bushes, getting stuck a couple of times, running around, looking for a better way in. He pounced on top of the wood pile, and I knew he had found my little escapee. 

Lady caught my attention, so I turned away for just a second before looking back and seeing a black ball of fur in Tramp's mouth. "TRAMP!" I shouted, panicking, terrified that in his excitement, Tramp would accidentally hurt Hare-isson. 

He dropped the bunny, who scampered deeper into the bush. Tramp followed, and suddenly, like a shot, Hare-isson darted out from under the bush, past me, and right into Lady before making a quick u-turn, hopping back into the ground cover right at my feet. Before he could move again, I scooped him up, locked him safely in the house, and went out to buy a rabbit-proof fence for around that hutch.

Well, I don't know how rabbit-proof it is, but I know he hasn't gotten past it...yet...

That wascally wabbit.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Tiny Escape

I was super excited for today's post, because I was going to introduce you to the newest member of my family:

His name is Hare-isson Ford and he's about 9 weeks old. And cute as a button.

He's also looking to change his name to Harry Houdini because it turns out this little guy is an escape artist.

I finally built that hutch I've been prattling about for the past three months. And it's fantastic. Beautiful. Tons of room to run and play.

Except that there's also a gap between the bottom and the ground. A gap I *thought* was too small for him to squeeze through.

Apparently not.

So while I started out super excited to tell you about my tiny bundle of joy, I am, at the moment, a large bundle of nerves because there's nothing I can do about this until after work today. Lame, Very Important Meetings are taking place and I can't miss them.

Positive vibes would be appreciated.

Please and thank you.

UPDATE: The tiny fugitive has been found. He's a little annoyed that his stint at freedom was so brief, but he's safe and sound.
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