Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh hi there

If you are looking for me, tonight (and most nights) I am blogging at Swing State Voter about the election returns.
And tomorrow I'll be cleaning house, writing a book, writing my daily articles, running a website, cleaning up after a barfing dog, and hosting New Beginnings (at my house).
Thursday I'll be writing a book, writing my daily articles, running a website, cleaning up after a barfing dog, and at a Mitt Romney grassroots meeting.
Friday I'll be writing a book, writing my daily articles, running a website, cleaning up after a barfing dog, and I have a girl date with one of my favorite girlies.
Saturday- no plans yet. I might be back by then. Or I may be asleep. Or volunteering for Romney. We'll see.
And somewhere in there I have signed up for three yoga classes a week. I've got 7ish weeks till my sister's wedding. My back is in terrible condition right now (I always have a bad back) and it needs serious physical therapy. So yoga it is for PT and getting in shape before I have to wear a (wretched) hot pink dress in front of everyone I know and have my picture taken and memorialized forever (while wearing a very unflattering hot pink dress). (Pretty sure the bride hates her bridesmaids. It's the only explanation.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Breaking Up With the Peace Corps or Choosing Between 2 Dreams

As you may have noticed, I haven't blogged a whole lot lately. Or maybe you haven't noticed because you actually saw a few of the posts I deleted shortly after posting them. For the last 10 days I've had something huge hanging over my head, and now that it is for the most part resolved, I'm ready to come clean about it.
If you've been reading this blog for long you know I have a tendency to share a lot of my bigger life issues on here, often because I have no one at home to talk to about it. Writing them out, even if just to share them with the ethernet, somehow makes me feel better. And there is a lot to be said for the catharsis that comes (for me) with just writing out your thoughts.
So where was that inherent trait these past few days? Why was I not writing out and sharing my feelings the way I usually do when faced with a huge decision? I don't have an answer for that, other than this time I just couldn't bring myself to do it. No, I'm not apologizing to you my awesome readers for not sharing. I'm explaining this to help convey just how huge this decision was for me, that it transcended usual activities and behaviors.
Last week, completely unexpected, the Peace Corps finally placed me. I have decided to not publicly share where. (If you want to know, I can tell you personally.) It was very, very unexpected. When things went south back in October with the PC (which at the time I blogged about but have since hidden for reasons I can also explain privately but not publicly) I had to decide if I was going to keep holding on and holding out for them, or start making new plans. Oddly enough, the PC themselves strongly encouraged me to move on and make new plans.
After a bit of soul searching- did I have any other big dreams or goals in life I wanted to pursue other than the PC?- I finally moved on. I have always wanted to be a "real writer," and decided to start looking for ways to pursue those goals. No one was more surprised than I still am that that path has worked out so well for me. I'm editing a daily website and loving that. I'm writing articles every day for a major publication that allows me to learn interesting new concepts every day. I never would have expected that writing about the stock market would be a dream opportunity for me, but I'm loving it. And, somewhere in the middle of all that, I found my creative side again (she had been missing for a very long time), and I've written 1.5 books in under a month. Not to mention, my political blog gets enough traffic that I made a few dollars a month off of it, and is a lot of fun for me to write (even if I never do get comments).
Suddenly my other lifelong passion and dream [to be a writer] is panning out. I've even mentioned it here several times on my blog about how I am happy again. After over 2 years of heartbreak, depression, and really struggling to find joy or regain my self-confidence after losing my job(s), I feel like I am on the right path and things are going well. In short, I'm happy again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Famous for Being Mormon? Or a Famous Mormon?

I'm starting to get a little tired of how the media and non-Mormons out there assume and pronounce that Mitt and Ann Romney are important to Mormons.

This is the line that got me going, "Ann Romney is now the most famous Mormon on Pinterest—but far from the first." It came from Gawker.com "Why Do Mormons, Including Mitt Romney's Wife, Love Pinterest?"**
Um, first, let's start with the obvious. A lot more people than just Mormons like Pinterest. Second, is it our fault if we were there first? Trust me, knowing social media like I do, if I wanted to launch a social networking site, I'd try and get the incredibly social and networked Mormons into it too!

Last week a Nobel-laureate Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel got in an uproar over baptisms for the dead. I'm not going to discuss the actual issue over what happened. I'm just going to jump to the stupid thing that he said. He demanded that Mitt Romney do something about it. He said that since Mitt Romney is an influential Mormon, he should make the church stop. The parts where that is so not how a religion operates, and how God is at the head of the Church, and we take orders from him, and not angry rabbis or Mitt Romney aside, this irritated me to no end. Mitt Romney is a famous politician who happens to be Mormon. And yes, right now, he is famous to Mormons. And he is also a famous Mormon. But guess what he's not? Important as a Mormon. (I wonder how Elie Wiesel would feel if I demanded that Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler tell Jerusalem that Jews should start eating bacon now because there are pig farmers not making enough money? Because quite frankly, it IS an equal comparison.)

Also, he's not a famous Mormon to Mormons. This is getting harder and harder to explain. Yes, many, not all, but many Mormons really like him right now. But we don't look to him AT ALL as a religious leader. In fact, if he were to go on a nutter and suddenly make announcements to or on behalf of Mormons, I can promise you here and now, Mormons would turn their backs on him in a heartbeat.

I've heard the media more than once point out that Romney was once a member of the church "hierarchy," because he was a stake president and bishop. How insignificant is that to us? There are 28,660 bishops worldwide right now, and roughly 4,095 stake presidents. So no, we the real Mormons, don't think of him as hierarchy, not at all.

Is Ann Romney important to us? I bet most Mormons couldn't identify a picture of her standing alone. No, she is not that important to us. Is she important to Romney for President fans? Absolutely. But she's no one to Mormons.

Who is important to Mormons? I can tell you that if Frances Monson started a Pinterest account, every Mormon housewife with a computer would follow her. And if Sherri Dew kept a blog, a lot of us would read it. But I seriously doubt Gawker.com know who either of those women are.

It may be one of the best things about Mormons really- we don't celebrity worship. Sure, we have a soft spot for Jimmer and Donny Osmond. But we don't take our spiritual cues from them. We put God at the head of our church, and only God. And we don't apologize for that. Ever.

**One thing that REALLY bugs me about that article is actually in the header image for it. In theory, they are all pictures of things interesting or related to Mormons. The SLC Temple, Ann Romney, Christ, Shawn Bradley (what? Jimmer was too cool?), a french braid drawing (what? they couldn't get on pinterest for 2 seconds and at least pull a picture of the 50 ways to braid your hair using socks and chopsticks?), and in the top corner a picture of girls in Wholesome Swimwear. Yes, wholesome swimwear, something I never, not once, seen a Mormon wear. Wholesome Swimwear was made notorious a few years back when the Duggar Family was seen wearing it. And I think both the Duggars and most Mormons would like to make it clear, the Duggars are not Mormon. 
But back to the picture- seriously? A boring french braid and wholesome swimwear? Way to try and make us look like the FLDS. And way to go, writer, for not knowing the difference.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The little problem with my job

As you may know, I now write for a stock market analysis website. Not being a fantastic stock market analyst, I often rely on outside sources to help me along. My method is to get a press release straight from the company, do my own cursory analysis, look up 2-3 other sources, and see where my ideas line up against theirs. From there I can write something without too much fear of being horribly wrong. (Because, trust me, I really fear being horribly wrong!)

Unfortunately, sometimes not being a stock market genius, or MBA, comes back to bite me. For instance, here's a little problem I ran into today-
What the AP said (and is syndicated all over the place)- (loss of $60.6M)

What Reuters said (and is also syndicated all over the place)- (profit of $60.6M)

What the company actually said in their press release-
See the problem?

Now, I've read enough of these ledgers to have a pretty good idea of whether or not AP or Reuters is right. However, the fact that one of these major news outlets is obviously wrong makes me have to question whether or not I am right. Really, I'm pretty sure it all comes down to the way the company worded their press release, which wasn't smart on their part.
And is going to give me a headache for the rest of the day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

the clock is ticking

About 8-10 inches of snow up there on the mountain yesterday! (depending on where you measured!)

Less than 24 hours left till I have to decide and commit, and no, I am no closer today than I was on Saturday to making my decision.
However, I have perfected the art of distraction and procrastination.
Still no sign of the decision fairies.
I'm acting so out of character living in denial, and not trying to gather as much information about both of my situations as possible, that I barely know who I am.
I even baked a chocolate cake and didn't eat it. It's still just sitting there. I'm not even turning to comfort foods.
This is just weird.
Meanwhile, there's a whole lotta this going on around here-

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stupor of Thought

Ocean waves after Hurricane Earl - taken at Virginia Beach

When I am confused or faced with a difficulty, I often find I express myself in terms of water. Raging water, calm water, rippling water, torrents of water, trickling brooks. When I need to reflect or retreat, I often navigate to a body of water and just stare out. Today my heart is navigating to this picture I took of the waves at Virginia Beach a few hours after Hurricane Earl. It depicts my feelings perfectly today. Raging waves, dark sky, and yet there's an elegance about it, and the worst is over. The storm will pass soon and peace will return.
Multiple times over the last few days I've attempted to sit down and write about what has been going on in my life, but each time I do I just sort of give up. I've often heard  or been taught that the answer to prayer can come in the form of a "stupor of thought." And I do believe this week I am experiencing it for the first time.
I have a very, very big decision I have to make. Without going into detail, it basically goes like this-
Option A- Exciting opportunity, lots of potential, possibly (most likely) be very happy, some risk involved.
Option B- Lose the chance to pursue Option A for a very long time, pursue current path of happiness, hope it stays a happy path knowing very well that it might not, accept my choices and not regret not taking A.
Really it is a decision of giving up Happy Plan A for Happy Plan B. Neither one is a bad option. In fact, both would make me wildly happy to pursue!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Singles Meme

The Story of a Nice Mormon Girl wouldn't be complete without a singles meme of her own!

Created by John Gilbert and ErinAnnie

Human Rights- will you sit back and let this happen?

I still think about this little girl in Haiti all the time, and how her life could have been so different with real health care. While Americans are whining we don't have free birth control pills, or free health care at all, this little girl died from a curable disease because of poverty and NO access to the real health care.

I'm a self-confessed news junkie. While I work from home writing on all matter of subjects my TV is on in the background, usually on CNN, and a little bit of CNBC (what? I write about the stock market!). This week I've had to turn off the TV altogether out of complete frustration. While I am sad that Whitney Houston died (albeit as a result of her own bad choices in life, a victim of her own free agency), I cannot stomach another "news" story about her funeral, autopsy, or legacy. Her legacy is this- she had free agency. She had talent. She chose to squander both on drugs and alcohol, and eventually died from her poor choices. What we should be doing is holding her up as an example of what not to do, and how to ruin a life, and traumatically hurt your own family by making selfish choices. But that isn't what is happening, is it? I refuse to say, "we're" making a memorial to her and buying her albums. I can't say "we're," because I refuse to be one of the people doing that. Sure, I listened to her music on Pandora on Saturday night, but I won't make her a legacy because she died from bad choices.
Meanwhile, around the world there are real people suffering from real problems that they did not bring upon themselves. They are suffering from a lack of human rights. Many of them do not have the ability to rise to middle-class wages, let alone skyrocket to stardom. Families starve, men, women, and children are trafficked, and innocent people are used as human shields against evil armies every single day.
I encourage you to stop and pay attention to those uncomfortable news stories that rarely make the headlines, but can often be found buried under "world news." Read the stories about the atrocities happening in less developed countries. You may think there is nothing you can do about it- but you are wrong. Just clicking on the story of the children living in dumps in Vietnam (many of which are Cambodian children that have been trafficked into Vietnam), instead of clicking on the story about Whitney Houston's pastor's memories, sends a message to the media about what WE care to read about. And the more we click, the more the media will cover the stories that matter, which will bring attention and spread light on the people who deserve the attention the most.

Flooding in Cambodia

A few stories for you to consider today-
Babies trafficked in Cambodia (personal letter written by the woman I worked for in Phnom Penh)
Help my friend Joel, a human rights lawyer and advocate in Cambodia, get justice for families that were kicked out of their homes by the government. Join the "event," and follow the instructions on how to send an email to people that matter.
Do you know about "fair trade chocolate" and the child slaves harvesting cocoa? Take a look at which companies you shouldn't be buying chocolate from!
And something very incredible and yet terrifying is happening in Syria. I know many Americans aren't big fans of following stories on the conflicts within Middle Eastern countries. They can be confusing and misleading. But a government has turned on its own people, shooting and fighting their own unarmed citizens. This is a HUGE deal. Other countries (Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia for starters) have already gotten involved. Should and will the US?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Singles Awareness Day

You don't know it but today is fairly significant for me.
1. I have not one, but two articles in Meridian Magazine today. Why? Some people like love stories, the rest of us are single.
2. I just spent more money on a (bright hot pink) bridesmaid's dress that I will wear one time than I have ever spent on any item of clothing ever before (prom dresses included). As a result, I can't afford new tires on my car. That's a big deal for me. Yes, fashion before safety I always say.
3. I got a job offer I wasn't looking for. And now I have to decide between pursuing my writing career (with little to no safety net, but I'm absolutely LOVING), and other options. I've never been more confused in my life. How do you choose between Life Plan A and Life Plan B? Two very different paths, two very different dreams. If you need me, I'll be curled up in the fetal position drinking Diet Dr Pepper, until the decision fairies come down and tell me what to do.
4. I found out that the best Chinese food in our town now delivers to my house. And they deliver sushi. (Less than a 5 minute drive- otherwise, I would never get delivered sushi.) And it is really good sushi.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We do not suffer from ADD, we enjoy every minute of it

Just another reason why I love working with the teen girls at church.
(In this story I was not the teacher. Also, the teacher was Becky.)

The lesson was about choosing to be happy regardless of circumstance.

Teacher: Does eating too much dessert make you happy?
Girls (Varied answers about yes, but not later.)
Teacher: Not me! if you eat too much dessert you have to buy more fat pants, and fat pants are bad.
Oldest Girl: It's all about the sweat pants.
Teacher: I work at Roanoke College! I can't wear sweat pants!
Oldest Girl: So get some sweat pants that say Roanoke College across the butt!
Teacher: What about my butt?!
Oldest Girl: You have a great butt, Becky.
Me in my head: Oh my gosh, Becky, look at her butt.
Teacher: Thank you, but I don't like my butt.
Me in my head: It's so OUT THERE!

Class continues with more ADD tangents. We thrive on ADD tangents.

Teacher: What makes you happy?
Varied answers.
Youngest girl (mostly joking): Rainbows, unicorns, and sparkly things.
Me in my head: She must be one of those rap guys girlfriends!

We pause to look at a picture of a double rainbow on someone's phone.

Teacher: So in the words of the song, "don't worry, be happy!"
Youngest girl: Wha??
Middle girl: What does that mean?
Me in my head still: I like big butts and I cannot lie!
Teacher: It was a reggae song when we were your age.
Youngest girl: A what song?
Me singing out loud now: Don't worry, be happy now!
Middle girl: It's like an island song.
Youngest girl: I like Hawaiian flowers. They're pretty.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Single Mormon Woman Shares All

Earlier this week I wrote a piece for Meridian Magazine entitled "Where are the Role Models for Single Women?" Today I read a great piece in the Washington Post, "Some people never find the love of their lives. And live to tell about it." It is accompanied by the results of a fascinating survey about single life.
As a Single Mormon Woman I found that I could relate to much of the article, but less so to the survey results. Very rarely were my answers the same as the majority of answers. I believe this is partially due to my Mormon background, as well as my discomfort with my current financial and professional situations (which, yes, are improving, but are far from perfect). It is possible that if those two areas of my life were more stable and secure that I may have different answers.

Yesterday something very interesting happened to me. I have lived in Roanoke for nearly two years, and for the first time since moving here I was invited to a social event [that wasn't with my family members]. Yes, for the first time in nearly two years, I got invited out to play. At first I was just happy to be invited and to attend. It wasn't until a few hours before the party that it hit me- I'm the only single in this town. I'm going to a party that will undoubtedly be all married couples- and me. I've been in these situations before and they can be downright miserable when you are the third wheel. However, I thought about it, and knew that it was very likely that the other guests would all be couples I am friends with. I went to the party, and I had a good time. I was very grateful that someone would think to invite me, rather than exclude me just because it might be strange to have that one single girl there in a room full of couples. Because heaven knows, we singles do get left out often enough because we don't have a spouse.

With all of that in mind, I'd like to expand a little bit on what I read in Meridian, and reference the Washington Post article, as I make a few more points. I have inserted more thoughts throughout the piece below than just what originally ran on Meridian. I have not indicated when I have not done that.

What the Young Woman Lesson Manual Said
“Invite an exemplary sister (preferably one who has married in the temple and has a family), who has been approved by priesthood advisers, to speak to the young women about the joy of being a woman. Ask her to relate some joys and challenges she has experienced, including some when she was the age of the young women in the class. She might tell about specific experiences and choices that helped her stay close to Heavenly Father and the blessings and joy that resulted. She should emphasize the joy of being a woman at every age. Suggest that she take about twenty minutes. Ask her to allow time for the young women to ask her questions and express their feelings.
“You may invite a grandmother, mother, and young married woman, who have been approved by priesthood advisers, to briefly express the joys of womanhood they are presently experiencing. You might suggest that they also mention joys they experienced when they were the age of the young women. Stress to each that she is allowed only five or six minutes. You might offer to time them and signal when their time is up.”

What I (the single, never married, young woman adviser) Heard-
Single women are not impressive. And we don’t want girls to think single women are role models. Oh and apparently a man is needed to determine what a good woman is, women can't figure that out for themselves.

This is copied, verbatim, from the Young Women Manual, Lesson 5: Finding Joy in Our Divine Potential. And it was the lesson taught this past Sunday to young women around the world. It even included a sub-heading “We Can Experience Joy at Every Stage of Life.” I’m just curious, did anyone remember to include the “stage” of being single? Did anyone explain to the young women how this stage is not the same as your college years? Didn’t anyone mention that while we hope and pray they get married, and have a family, that statistically speaking that for 50% of them “single” wouldn’t be a “stage” of life, it would be how she will spend her entire life?

No? No one. I’m not surprised.

Who Will Be My Role Model?
For the past few years I have used the following description in my professional writing biography, "Erin Ann is equal parts Mother Teresa, Anne Shirley and Carrie Bradshaw.” This description has been met by a few to great criticism. What was an LDS woman doing describing herself with a Catholic nun and as the fictional character from “Sex and the City?” Let me explain- they were single women I could relate to. Carrie Bradshaw was a single woman in her thirties, a writer, and looking for love. In that respect I had a lot in common with her. Of course if someone were to make a sitcom about my life it would probably have the less than tantalizing title "No Sex in the Suburbs.” I may not be Carrie Bradshaw in many respects, but I can definitely relate to her.

Friday, February 10, 2012

If the pen is mightier than the sword, how dangerous is my laptop?

My current lifestyle doesn't lend itself well to many interesting photo ops during the day. So here's a random favorite from Cambodia for your viewing pleasure.

"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

As mentioned a few times before, my day to day life has yet again changed drastically. I've picked up a few freelance, part-time jobs, and they are keeping me very busy. The first one requires that I edit a website for 2-4 hours every day, plus if a writer fails to meet a deadline I get to quickly jump into action and write a filler piece. The second job is still blogging for the Motley Fool, where my goal is to write at least 2 pieces a day (preferably three), since I get paid per syndicated piece. These two gigs alone can take 8-10 hours of my day.
From there I still have this blog, my political blog, and my sorely neglected Cutting Back and Going Green blog.
Oh and I'm over 100 pages into writing a book.
All in all, we're talking about 14-18 hours of writing every day.
That's a lot of quality time spent with my laptop.
Or roughly 20,000 words typed daily.
Who knew I knew that many words?
It has been a lot of work, and a lot of lifestyle adjustments, but I have to admit, I'm loving every second of it. I'm getting paid to do something I love. I'm getting to study and learn several new things every day. And I get to write for fun on subjects I'm passionate about,and get paid for it! And I rarely have to get up and get dressed- bonus!
It really isn't the worst lifestyle in the world, I'll give it that.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

When Girl Goes on Date with Boy to Meet his Friend and Instead Meets her Future Husband

Over Christmas I had the fun opportunity to have my Great Aunt Nadine tell me the story of how she met her husband, my Great Uncle Paul. It is a very cute and fun story, and for my LDS friends, you will recognize a few interesting names in it!  And if you aren't LDS, it is still a very cute story.

(I know a few of my cousins will be reading this. This is the story to the best of my recollection. If anyone wants to correct me (like the name of the friend), please do! Jeannie- I'm looking at you here!)

First, you all have to promise that you are reading this with a thick Southern Belle accent, because that is how my Aunt Nadine told it to me.
Aunt Nadine is my grandmother's baby sister. They had 16 siblings, 13 of whom grew to maturity, but 3 brothers who died before Nadine was even born (she even has a few nieces older than she is). The 6 youngest were all sisters (including my grandmother), and were all quite pretty. And they all grew up on this dang here mountain together.
The stories of how men would come to Roanoke just to meet the family with the 6 pretty sisters (and their cousins) are legendary in these parts. (Or at least in our family.)
Aunt Nadine is around 79 years old now, I believe.
Again, remember, Southern Belle accent, think Scarlett O'Hara is telling you the story. Because those 6 sisters wouldn't have it any other way.
"Well, I was twenty years old and ripe to be married. There was a nice boy named Rich Scott that I would go with from time to time. He had asked me to go with him to Washington, DC to go to a dance at the Old Washington Chapel. Now I didn't care much for Rich, he was nice enough, but he wasn't nobody. But I liked his friend Marv, so I said yes, just so I could have the chance to talk to Marv on the drive up there. Marv was older than us, and I always thought he was right smart.
"We went to the dance, and my dance card was full. I was having a nice time when this girl came up to me and asked if I would be going to Mutual the next day. I said I supposed so. And she said she was real glad because her brother thought I was the prettiest girl in the room and he wanted to get to know me tomorrow.
"Well, I wasn't that impressed with him or the sister. I wasn't going to pay him no mind if he was going to send his sister over to talk to me instead of talking to me himself. So I just kept myself entertained dancing with Rich and Marv.
"The next night I walked into Mutual where I saw that same girl dancing with a similar looking boy. I figured that must be her brother. I didn't pay him no mind at first. But as soon as that song was over he came over and asked to dance with me. I told him he would have to dance with my friend first. He said he would so he danced with Jeanene. I was promised on my dance card to Rich. But as soon as the brother could, he came right back over to ask me to dance again. I took a good look at him in his Marine uniform and saw he had the prettiest blue eyes I had ever seen. Well, I forgot all about old Marv then. The only man for me was Paul. He asked me out on a date for the very next day. We doubled with Rich and my roommate Jeanene. It was a little awkward at first, since Rich had been my date to start with. But he liked Jeanene well enough.
"Rich was a nice fellow but he wasn't anybody special to me. Now he thinks he's somebody and goes by Richard G. Scott. But back then he was just good old Rich."
At this point my jaw drops open, "Wait a minute, are you talking about Elder Scott?"
"Yes, honey, he's a General Authority now. But back then he was just a college boy with a car. Hadn't even served in the military. I wanted a man in uniform."
Me: dumbfounded. "Are you telling me... you went on a trip and a date with Richard G. Scott just so you could see his friend Marv and that's how you met Uncle Paul??"
"Well, yes, but I haven't told you the good part yet."
(Me: dumbfounded)
"So we went on a date and I knew right away that I liked Paul. He was just out of the Marines and had nice blue eyes. Rich and I drove back to Roanoke. Paul came down right away and we went out again and he met the family. Mother approved, so I told him we could get married. But I had to ditch Rich first. So I  Rich know, and we all went out on another double date with Rich and Jeanene. Paul and I got married the next weekend. Jeanene wouldn't marry Rich until he went on a mission. So they both went on missions, and then got married after they got back."

And that, my friends, is the story of how Aunt Nadine met Uncle Paul. And also the story of how Elder Richard G. Scott met his own wife.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

An Old Dog Teaches Her Human a New Trick

Kaya's 15 Seconds of Fame, thanks to Purina

Have I mentioned lately how awesome my dog is?

Kaya and I have been a team for 3 years now, and we still like each other. 
This week I learned that an old dog (she's 7) can still teach me new tricks.
For as long as I can recall our routine (and that of most dog owners I think) is to take her out to do her business, or even just let her run out on her own, and when she comes back in the door I give her a little scratching and ear rub, and tell her she's a good girl and "so good looking." (A joke I picked up from Seinfeld years ago.)
Lately she's been driving me crazy. She got to go play with two other dogs for a whole week while I was out of town. And since I've been back, she's been very demanding about wanting more attention and playtime. Unfortunately for her, since I've been back, I've started working again, and have had no play time to give. She gets frustrated with me and will come up to where I am sitting and working with my laptop and placing her face on top of the keyboard to get attention. This usually gets her sent to time out.

So she stepped up her game demanding walks and standing by the door making insistent noises that I let her out. All dog owners know to not ignore this behavior, so I give in and let her out. Normally she runs out, prances about the yard, does her business, and runs back in. But lately she's been doing something new. She runs out a few steps like she intends to dart across the yard, stops, turns and looks at me, wags her tail and runs back in the door and right up to me, waiting for her praise and rub down.
At first I thought I was imagining things. But she's done it so many times now that I know she's doing it on purpose.
All she really wants is attention and to be loved on, so she's resorting to the one behavior that always gets her that reaction- running out the door and running back in.
After I caught on I felt guilty and took her for a real walk. And I even played fetch with her for a few extra minutes. Apparently an old dog can teach her human a new trick.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


I woke up in a good mood today. I found myself smiling excessively. I was downright jolly at times.
And I couldn't figure out why I was so dang happy. Had I gotten paid? Flirted with a boy? Been given a compliment? Anything? I really couldn't remember what was making me so dang glad to be alive.
And then I realized what it was.
I am working. I have purpose. I have income. I'm needed every day to contribute to something. I have importance. I matter. I am someone. 
I am happy!
This is why the point of welfare needs to be to get people OFF of welfare! This is why we need less handouts, and more work opportunities. People need more than just food on their plates (but yes, they need assistance in the meantime to put food on their plates), they need self worth and independence. They need to earn and provide for themselves- so they can walk around and feel like they matter and so they can be happy!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Reason 5 million and 99 why I love working with the Young Women

Two of my YW. Who else will come over and have a dance off in your kitchen and sit on your mantle and take pictures?

I have said it before and I will say it again, I love working with the young women at church. Tonight made me love the girls all that much more.
The girls were each asked to bring a story from their family history about an ancestor and read it to the group. Britton was reading a story about her great-great-grandmother from Denmark, Else. She struggled with some of the words and pronunciations and finally settled on pronouncing 'Else' as the normal English word 'else.'

Britton: They lived in Copenhagen, and had a young daughter named Else. 
Under her breath, Ariana adds: Comma first name Or.

I didn't even bother keep a straight face.

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