Showing posts from October, 2011

Occupy Halloween!

I come from a time when a kid had to work hard to come up with a good Halloween costume! We didn't buy them from corporations- we made them!
Sexy witches and nurses didn't exist. Princesses, clowns, and Jedi paraded through neighborhoods for hours. There were no easy, equal distribution, church trunk-or-treats. We went door-to-door and EARNED our candy!
I AM THE 99%!! And I will not share my candy!! #OCCUPY HALLOWEEN

Happy Dance Returns!

Yes, folks, it is the return of the happy dance! Another vague, slightly informative, and yet full of questions, because I can't tell the interwebs what is really going on, but it makes me happy whatever it is happy dance!
But just a little happy dance, because I think things might get even happier!

Fun fact for you-
Nearly every morning at 7 am Eastern time "Boy Meets World" trends on Twitter (at the same time "Goodnight Twitter" trends too). Apparently somewhere in the world "Boy Meets World" is on TV at that time, and enough children on the 90s see it and liked that they tweet about it.
Me? I was a child of the 80s. "Boy Meets World" was a little after my time. But I did have a roommate (yeah, you know who you are) who loved it and had every episode on VHS. So maybe I've seen a few dozen or so episodes with her...

Pinterest pleases me

Are you on Pinterest yet? I love it. I'm not even the crafty, recipe making type, and I love it. I have a lot of free time these days and I've found several small projects for the home to keep me busy on there. I made an amazing pumpkin cake mix this week that was super easy. And I've made a t-shirt tote bag. I have dozens of old t-shirts I'm unlikely to wear again, so I may make a dozen more of these bags. And I had fun making the t-shirt circle scarf. Today I'm going to attempt to make this paper wreath as well, if I can find just the right Christmas book to destroy. And I might sacrifice a few old shirts to the DIY bleach pen shirts as well.
But like I said, I'm not a crafty, recipe person! I actually prefer Pinterest for the fashion and hair ideas. Which reminds me, how did I not know about Polyvore before? I love it! I can't believe how many pins there are from that one site!
I do wish more of my friends posted about books. It seems like a great way t…

Peace Corps Update (I almost know where I might be going)

I haven't updated y'all on the Peace Corps situation in a while. And I'm too lazy to look up what I said last about what's going on. Meh. You don't remember either, so I'll just jump in. And since I know I'm going to get new people over here from PC journals, I'll recap my situation.
I've been in the application process for about 16 months now.
First online app was filled out in July/August.
First recruiter interview was in September.
Nominated at interview for NGO Development/Business Development. At that time I was told it would be for North Africa, March 2011.
A legal issue (family member in the military) was cleared up by Thanksgiving.
Got medical paperwork just after Thanksgiving.
In January I found out March 2011 was impossible (and probably always was). Told to expect Sept 2011 instead, still North Africa (Morocco).
Finished medical in February. Was told to expect clearance in 3-6 weeks.
Medical clearance finally came through in late May/ear…

a new TV season is upon us

A new TV season is upon us! So let's get talking! What shows are you watching and what won't you be watching?

Here's my 2 cents thus far-

Once Upon a Time - So far there has only been a pilot episode, but I'm hooked. I read somewhere that the writers for this show came from "LOST" and I'm not surprised. It definitely has that LOST feeling to it. It also kind of reminds me of "Eureka" in that "small town no one notices where really strange things happen" sort of way. It stars Jennifer Morrison (Cameron from "House") and Ginnifer Goodwin ("Big Love" and "He's Just Not That Into You") who I've always enjoyed before. Also, Josh Dallas looks just the way you want your Prince Charming to look. I'm looking forward to seeing if this show will keep me hooked. So far it looks like a good family friendly and yet intriguing show.

Pan Am- I can't decide if I love or hate this show yet. But I've watch…

A connection to the outside world

Something interesting happened this week. My mobile phone died. Just gave up the ghost and died. And you know what? I didn't care. I survived 4 whole days without a mobile phone. Apparently 4 weeks in Cambodia without a mobile phone has left its mark on me. I don't need to be tethered to a mobile phone in order to live! Who knew?!
Sadly, today I took the phone in to Sprint and they fixed it. It will inevitable die again in a few weeks, but that's fine by me. With everything in my life completely up in the air again, I don't need the hassle of being tied down to a mobile phone plan. (I'm incredibly jealous of the entire rest of the world with their non-plan phones. Why do Americans allow ourselves to get ripped off this way?! Do you know how much more we spend on cell phone plans (that don't even have SIM cards) than the rest of the world pays? Seriously, we get ripped off!! Its ridiculous!)
It has been both nice and lonely not having that connection to the out…

Poverty, Not Getting What You Want, Real Problems, and Whiners

In Cambodia it was fairly common to see women wearing gloves, long sleeves, large hats, and jackets in spite of the heat. I would personally be trying everything I could to wear lighter clothing and cool off, while they were pulling on long gloves to drive through traffic. In Cambodia, like most of the non-Western world, lighter skin is desirable. If you have sun-darkened skin it implies that you are of the lower, working class, forced to do manual labor out in the sun. Lighter skin implies riches and the ability to stay indoors. In the Western world it is the opposite, a dichotomy that is never lost on me. We prefer tanned skin to show that we have been out in the sun. Being out in the sun sends the message that we've had time to relax by a pool or beach, and haven't been inside working. In Cambodian stores it was common to see skin lightning creams, a complete opposite of the dark tanning oils you see in American drug stores.
Our opposite views on skin colors and what they …

Stuff Somebody (YOU) Might Want for Christmas

Apparently there are some people who really do their Christmas shopping before December. Personally, I've never understood that concept! Going out in December in the cold, moving in the crowds, and seeing the decorations is all a part of the Christmas experience for me! But I have to admit now that most of my family lives in far flung places I do most of my shopping online and have it shipped directly to them.
As you probably have noticed by now, I have a few advertisers on this here website. If it wasn't for these lovely little ads I wouldn't get to travel to crazy places or keep my dog entertained with squeaky toys. Oh, who are we kidding? I make just enough off of ads to treat myself out to a burger and fries once a month. Except I've sworn off eating out for the rest of the year. Instead my cheeseburger fund has been rerouted and will be donated to the Riverkids Foundation. And now you can add to that fund by buying these awesome items that Barnes and Noble tells …

A Day Well Spent

The greatest compliment I can give these great youth that I've had the privilege of serving this past year is that after spending a day with them (a very long day where we left at 7 am and got home close to 11 pm, and drove 500 miles), is that being with them makes me want to have my own kids someday.

Sock Season is Upon Us

After spending a month in tropical weather I have to admit it isn't summer anymore and put away the flip flops (thongs to you Australians). I love summer and long sunny days. I would love autumn just a little bit more if I didn't know a long, dull winter was right behind it. I love the falling leaves, beautiful colors, the changing of the seasons, the lighter temperatures, football games, fuzzy boots, and warm hoodies.

This year the changing seasons seems much more symbolic and poetic to me. There are so many changes going on in my life that they can be hard to grasp and accept. Just like every time I look out the window the trees have changed, it feels like the options in my life change just as fast. I hope the colors stay for a while this year, giving us plenty of time to enjoy this season before we move on.

Back in the hunt

About a year ago when entering the Peace Corps was becoming a reality I made the decision to stop job hunting. At the time I had reason to believe I'd be living abroad within 6-9 months. It only seemed right and fair at that time to not seek full-time employment, knowing I'd just have to resign within a year. I chose instead to do a lot of commission-based contract work. That is a decision I haven't regretted.
Well, here we are one year later, and the PC is pushing me off (most likely) for another year. Which means I need a Plan B. Or is it a Plan E at this point? I have no idea. I am continuing to do the contract work, but it isn't really a full-time, long-term option. Neither is living on top of a mountain alone in Roanoke. I need steady income and a social life. The lack of these two things is a little too depressing. But I can and do count my blessings easily- a paid off car, a free place to live, few expenses, and options. For that I am truly grateful.
So here we…

Guilt Trip

My sister and I have an ongoing conversation about why "it is so hard for some countries to have hot water." The technology and water are available, so why are so many people suffering in cold showers? If you've traveled enough you know the answer is energy and limited access to it. Also, that in the poorer countries, they just have other problems to deal with before tackling levels of comfort.
After experiencing true poverty I have a hard time coming home and accepting all the blessings and conveniences around me. I've been through this guilt trip before (in great depth after going to Haiti). I find myself determined to not take advantage of all the simplicities and comforts around me, and to really be a minimalist, living a truly earthy existence. But I have a confession, having just spent 4 weeks in a country with no hot water, I'm really, really enjoying hot showers again. Of course, every time I take a hot shower I feel a little bit guilty about it for abou…
I'm looking for a Plan B. I

I am a Christian

Prepare for a shocking announcement!

I am a Christian.

I am a Mormon.

The political news this week has had way too many stories about a Southern Baptist minister saying that Mitt Romney and other Mormons are not Christians.

To that all I have to say is if we are going to get nitpicky about what constitutes a Christian, and go all the way back to the Nicene Creed, then no, according to that document written in the year 325 AD, I am not a Christian. But who are we kidding? Most Protestant religions barely qualify as Christians under this creed they hold so dear when attacking other Christians.

But if we define a Christian as a follower of Christ, as someone who believes and has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as someone who each and every Sunday takes upon them the name of Christ as they partake of the Sacrament, then yes, I AM A CHRISTIAN.

A mighty wind of change

It is nearly 1am and I suffering from some serious jet lag. I've been awake since about 5am, I think. My body and my head are at war over the sleeping arrangements. And in the meantime, my brain is on overload contemplating everything and anything at a completely inappropriate hour for such thoughts. 
Mostly I'm contemplating a hair cut, or maybe a color change, which may seem superficial and vain at best. But really, once you understand me better, you realize its the inside looking for a symbolic outside change. Maybe it is time to go back to my original dark blond hair color? Or maybe I'll actually wear make up this year? Lose some weight? Maybe try jewelry? I don't know. I just want to look different on the outside to match how different I am on the inside. After all, everything on the inside of me has changed in the past month. 
I've gone through these motions before. I want my appearance to reflect the changes in my heart. It has happened with every major job ch…


I'd like to post one more time about Riverkids, the wonderful organization I have had the blessing to work with while in Cambodia.

The Riverkids Foundation began informally in 2002 as an outreach to children in the Bassac slums of Phnom Penh with a small school room to serve children. Since then Riverkids has expanded services and offerings to support over 400 Cambodian and Vietnamese children living in Phnom Penh who have been identified as highly at-risk for child and sex trafficking.
Riverkids was developed upon discovering the Toul Sang Ke community located along the Mekong River in Phnom Penh. There are approximately 230 families, including approximately 700 children, ages 4-23, at risk for human trafficking, forced labour, sexual exploitation, drug abuse and domestic violence living in this community. Having become aware of the suffering and vulnerability of these children, the Riverkids Foundation was formed in order to help prevent child trafficking and exploitation by pro…

East, West, Home's Best

After more hours than I care to count of traveling, I am home!! It has been a long couple of days, but I am very happy to be back in Roanoke, reunited with one very excited dog.
My travels were completely uneventful for the most part, right up until I got to my own car. Through an odd series of events I can't even imagine or fathom, my car somehow had an inch of standing water in the bottom of it. There is mold EVERYWHERE inside my car. The seats, seat belts, doors, trunk, steering wheel, CDs, you name it, there's mold on it. My sister and I attempted to clean it up so I could make the 3 hr drive home (from her place). But within an hour of driving it I was getting sick from the nasty mold. I ended up calling the insurance company, just to see what my options are. For better or worse, insurance covers it, regardless of how it happened. Unfortunately, the "cure" for such problems is completely replacing everything in my car. By replacing everything, we're talking…

Goodbye Cambodia!

It is my last day in Cambodia, and I'm having one of those distinctly unique Cambodian experiences. I'm sitting in an internet cafe named, "Facebook Net," using my own laptop to download some iTunes TV shows to watch on my interminably long flight tonight. There is a 20-ish years old man in the stall next to me. He has surprisingly good English and has spoken to me a few times. If I had to venture a guess, I'd guess this man is possibly autistic judging by his social behaviors, which is why his excellent English is really throwing me off. He's sitting there freestyle rapping on the computer over top what sounds like Britney Spears. But I'm not up on my Southeast Asian pop stars, so I could be wrong about that. This is truly a peculiar moment.
What would have taken 5 minutes to download at home has taken over an hour to download here. Facebook Net is overrun with World of Warcraft players, and the bandwidth is not stellar in here. But a girl must have som…

Scenes from the daily Cambodian commute

Yumm... dinner.

 The pipe store. You need a metal pipe? They've got them in all shapes and sizes. 

 A fairly common scene- something between a road and an alley, hiding a market, with someone making dinner on the ground.

The shirts around here sport some of the best English phrases and faked logos ever. You frequently see the Facebook and Apple logos mixed together. 
 We can't go anywhere (and by we, I mean white people) without little kids screaming "HELLO" forcefully and loudly at us. This little girl thinks she's giving us a thumbs up while yelling, "HELLO!!" We got a good laugh out of it.

Another of my favorite random roadside booths/stores. Behind the mother/daughter bike duo you will see the "whosiwhatsit" store. Yes, I named it obviously. They sell all manner of black, random, hose parts. You need black, rubber tubing? They got it. 
 I got a loverly bunch of coconuts, deedle-dee-dee. (True story, I nearly got bonked on the head yester…

Can you spot the LDS missionaries in this picture?

Can you spot the 2 elders in this picture?

Clue- look closer!!
There they go! (Can you see me in this picture??)

The Lord Knows Where You Are- Even When You are in Cambodia

It is my next to last night in Cambodia, and as I expected I would be, I'm consumed by a million thoughts. One minute I'm contemplating a fresh turkey sandwich, a Jacuzzi tub, and my beloved dog, the next I am wondering if I have done enough work? Have I done enough good? Was a friend to all I met here? Did I serve the people enough? Is there really any such thing as enough? As we drove home from “work” today, I thought about how my surroundings now feel so normal to me. (see forthcoming post with lots of pictures of our normal drive to and from work) I hate to leave. And yet I can't wait to get home! So many conflicting emotions in one person! The truth is, if I hadn't gotten so sick last week (where the scale now tells me I lost 6 kilos in one week) I'd probably be more than happy to stay forever. But our little “Christmas break” and the gastronomic fireworks from hell, gave me a bad case of “get me out of here NOW.” And I depress myself with that same thoug…

Peace Corps, Cambodia, and Moving on With My Life

I've just spent the better part of the past hour doing my laundry Cambodian-style. This involves buckets of soapy water, rinsing things out, moving them back and forth, squatting on the ground, killing your back, and then finally hanging them up on the line. The entire time I did this the sun was beating down on me, and the only happy thought I could come up with was that all that direct sun would help dry my clothes faster. Naturally, now that I've pulled out my laptop, settled in on the rooftop terrace (also where the clothesline is) and started to relax, it is pouring rain. The kind of inexplicable rain where there are only 2 or 3 puffy clouds in the sky, the sun is still trying to burn me even though I'm sitting in the shade, and yet my clothes 10 feet away are getting drenched. And yet, in spite of all this, right at this moment I'm living the dream. I'm sitting on a beautiful terrace in an exotic country, just me and my laptop. This is what we all dream ab…

Extreme Makeover Home Edition - UTAH!!

Things I Love (in no particular order)-
1. Real Salt Lake soccer (I love them so much I have a whole blog called Footballer Fan Girl! (which needs serious updating))
2. Utah
3. People who do good things and ask for nothing in return
4. Little boys and girls with huge smiles and good manners
5. People who save lives by donating blood and/or bone marrow

Which is why when I got asked out of the blue this week via email from a total stranger if I would like to see a sneak peak of ABC-tv "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (EMHE) and I wrote back an email practically begging to see it.

It is also why I have spent the past hour in an non- air-conditioned internet cafe crying like a baby.

This Sunday, while I'll still be sick in Cambodia, you will have the awesome opportunity to turn on the one tv show my father ever allowed us to watch on Sunday nights. (TV was absolutely off-limits in our family as kids. But we eventually convinced him that EMHE was a good, wholesome, family ac…