20 December 2006

Dapper December

A few weeks ago, I bought a laptop for approximately 600 bucks. After the madhouse on Thanksgiving, I was grateful to make a phone call, walk into Circuit City, and wait in line for twenty minutes. It worked for a few days and then the internet went weird when I tried to use the plug-in at the FHL. After two useless, slow, and frustrating chat sessions with HP online techs, my brother-in-law arrived on the scene and fixed it by pinging google or something. Yay! Then my cousin Cameron told me how to get my DVDs onto the hard drive--by downloading DVD Shrink onto my computer. Anyway, I'm still concerned about that because the region of my DVD player can only be changed four times and right now it's set to Region 2, meaning my German movies can be played and shrunk, but not the others. Darn money-making tricksters! Anyway, Dad and I took Grandpa to dialysis. They couldn't find a straight way in. They said the fistula was bad and didn't do dialysis. Unfortunately, Dad and I had left, so he sat there for a few hours. I guess he was waiting for some blood test results, but he could have done that at home. He took us to lunch at Marie Calendar's. I don't know if I've ever eaten there. It was great. Dad and I ordered breaded, fried appetizers for ourselves, and I got a soup and sandwich. There was a whole feast left over. Then we went to Grandpa's and helped Laurie's family decorate. Sica and I went to Kalai later that night. That was frustrating for several reasons: Tanya said she'd be at our house at the latest at 6:15, even though I said we'd be leaving at 6:10, but she didn't arrive til closer to 6:30, so Sica had left to go pick up a bunch of other people. Then Tanya arrived and was upset that she had left a movie early and didn't know how it ended. She kept saying that she could have stayed because Sica wasn't back yet, but that was why Sica had left, because she was late. Oh well. It happens. I can't complain because I definitely have been late too many times to count. Not that I like being late. Anyway, then Mom said she wanted me to drive, not Sica. So, I drove. I got A.J. to come, and I was trying to be personable, but I was frustrated and in a hurry. I missed the exit. We got off elsewhere, didn't know where we were, turned around, etc. All of this might have been semi-okay, except Sica was openly being mean to me from the back seat and I was really getting pissed off. In front of all those people. I finally said, "Sica, I think I've put up with $10 worth of persecution from you. If you don't stop it, I'm not paying for this concert." We got there, they ran inside, and it was freezing! Inside, they hadn't even started. When they did, they said to turn off your cell phones, which I promptly did. When I moved in my chair, my phone went flying and I couldn't find it anywhere. I couldn't have someone call it, because it was off. There's only so much looking under chairs you can do while a concert is going on, and the guys in front of us looked under their chairs and couldn't find it. Of course, it was constantly on my mind. Where's my phone? Where's my phone? As soon as this is over, I'll crawl down there and look under all the seats. But then I'll look stupid to A.J. with my bum sticking in the air. Whatever. WHERE did it go?! Stupid! The concert went on for THREE hours! THREE! I decided that Kalai is a good musician and totally a wannabe pothead and that his music would be fine for me coming from a speaker. It was good, but not exciting enough for a concert. No one even stood up, they never turned the lights off, people just sat there and dozed off while Kalai told weird stories. Where did my phone go? A.J. totally slept for a bit on my shoulder. He is so tall. He made fun of the three people in front of us: two guys and a girl. One of the guys kept leaning his head on the other guy's shoulder and just getting really snuggly with him. But then he'd turn and talk to the girl really close. We joked that he had two dates. What if I can't find my phone? Finally, the concert ended, the phone was right under the chair of the guy who checked and who sat there while his friend schmoozed on him.

I also lost my phone on TRAX. I must have called a billion times, especially after I got back from Sunday dinner and discovered that someone had called my blackberry, our house, and mom's cell phone from my phone. No one answered. I even had Sica text it, meaning I'd have to pay for the text. I hate text messages. People just think they can text you, but it's terribly rude to make someone pay ten cents for you to say happy birthday to them or to tell them about some huge party that they would never go to anyway. I walked to the UTA lost and found and got it. Yay!

The missionaries put together the Christmas work party. They kind of forgot to tell any employees about it, so I asked Elder Draper to make sure that employees were specifically invited. He encouraged the missionaries to ask individual employees, and had Sherri make invitations. Some people wouldn't go. They had stupid excuses, like it would take too long to get there on time when they got off work at 2:30. (The party was at 6:30.) Unfortunately, although I think they are unhappy with their jobs, it would have been good for them. I wonder at least three times a day: if they don't like their jobs, why in the world are they still working here? WHY? Seriously, they're just making it harder for the people who do enjoy their jobs to keep enjoying. Well, the party was kind of funny. Getting keys was crazy. No one could believe I had gotten the church on a Monday night. I kept saying, "It's because it's for the Family History Library missionaries." Mom and I went to check out the setting up. They had really old lady-ish decorations. These old guys started coming in with green blazers. Apparently it was Elder Pope's singing group, the Utah Valley Singers. Not only did they sing, they recited poetry (typical of Elder Pope, he is an amazing poet), told jokes and a funny story, as well as had a soloist whistler! Dad came to the party with me and we joked about a guy whistling a Christmas song for entertainment. I filmed it on Mom's camera. I got pictures of everyone (I hope). Wil's family sat at my table. I can finally tell who is who. I talked to Alyssa as much as possible, but she's having a crazy time right now in her life and she was a bit shy. Dad talked to Ben the whole time about scouting and the jamboree. Even the food was old lady-ish, but I really enjoyed the party nevertheless. The cleanup was super fast. People kept thanking me the next day for the party. I didn't really do anything, so I told them so. I never paid six dollars for Dad and I, but I don't think I need to, because I saw Sister Draper trying to push some money on Sister Williams who said, "You already gave me enough. I spent less than that on the food." Sister Draper didn't know what to do with it.

I stayed at the Parkins' while their parents went out of town. I say "stayed" because they didn't require any babysitting. I picked them up from school and they were really good. I only reminded them to clear their plates a couple of times. When I asked them to do jobs, they never complained but could be relied on to do them! No way! We watched movies and played basketball and even went to see the award-winning Christmas lights at the house that is synchronized with the radio. I loved to play their grand piano and to use their cocoamotion (I've got to get one of those some day). I did not like their cats. In fact, it was a constant cat battle. Susan told me that the cats liked to snuggle with her while she was sleeping, so not to be scared. I wasn't scared, I was disgusted because cats get fur everywhere and make me sneeze and my eyes water and turn red, etc. . . So, I was glad to hear that the sheets were clean, but I was paranoid about the door being left open. Unfortunately, the cats only drink from the tub in the master bathroom, so I had to let them in a few times, but I'd try to lead them out without them getting on the bed and without me having to touch them. One time I pushed the cat out and promptly washed my hands. Blech. Another time I used a pole to get the cat out from under the bed. I'm evil, I know. I felt enough allergy effects just from sleeping there, so I think I had somewhat of a right. Poor cats. They would scratch at my door, and if I opened it and they saw me, they got to the point where they would run away. I let them out as often as possible. I didn't mind having them out of the house. The rest of it was lovely. I borrowed a book from the bedroom. Grandpa had told me it was great (Yearning For the Living God), so I read the whole thing while the Parkin parents were gone, and it was wonderful. I was especially interested because it was a German guy's life story. I wanted to be closer to the Spirit afterwards. Why don't I get those same kind of promptings? I just need to work on recognizing, I think. Ben Parkin went into work with me so that Wil and I could finish the FHLash. I had been peer pressuring Wil to finish it, because it was the 8th of December and the December newsletter had not been published. That bugs me like no other, and he knows it. We got it out and worked on the shelving task profile. I figured out a way to make it more understandable, but apparently the missionaries still didn't get it when I split their book times into one paragraph, so Sister Williams made some chart to tell them. Whatever.

I was asked to play the piano at the Christmas devotional at the COB. The first day, I played and left to go to lunch with Tanya before she left to China. I was sad that I wasn't going, and I wondered if I would be going with her if I hadn't been dating Scott a few months ago when he suggested I go after Christmas and then the prices went up too high. Tanya's so great. She is there now and I hope all goes well. I've helped her a few times by calling her mom and by sending her articles and transferring them into Word files so she can open them there to finish her papers! Procrastinating on writing papers until you get to China where you're supposed to be touring is crazy, but I did what I could to help. Her professors finally just said they'd give her an incomplete grade and she could turn in the papers when she got back. Lucky. Back to the lunch after playing at the Christmas devotional: we went to some Mexican restaurant. I always disliked Mexican restaurants, because you'll get some tiny little quesadilla and it'll cost you a few bucks. I didn't have much time, but Tanya gave me her $15 off at Express card. Jenny and Joanna came. Joanna is engaged, so she told the story. They went to dinner and the waiter brought the ring out in some strawberries. That seems weird to me, like the waiter proposed, not the fiancee. Oh well. It always is weird for me to be with Tanya's other friends. I don't know why. It's not embarrassing, it's just more like I realize that Tanya and I are a different kind of friends. We can not talk for several weeks and still be amazing friends. We accept each other's weird qualities. We both can be antisocial and we both love feminist things. Anyway, the second day I played at the Christmas devotional, I stayed to eat the food. There were two guys ahead of me in line. I wondered if they were married, which is funny, because I didn't really check out either of them. One started talking about his wife, so he was immediately exed. The other saw my hand go up to push my cowlick down and my hair behind my ear (I do that a lot. My cowlick does not like to stay down.) and I totally caught him checking out my ring finger. Then he started talking to me, ended up eating lunch with me, and asked for my number. He works at the vault. I have never been very interested in redheads, but our conversation was interesting, so I agreed to go out. The message he left on my phone about taking me to lunch was so hilarious. He said, "I'm the one who ate eclairs with you on the 26th floor of the Church Office Building. I was praying, and I felt like we should start a band. Okay, maybe not really." He took me to lunch yesterday at the COB. I'd never eaten there. It was great. He said that he could never eat when he was nervous, like at prom, so he was nice enough to try to pick at his burrito and look away enough that I didn't feel too self conscious while I was eating. He walked me back to the Library and said, "Well, how about a second go?" I said okay, although I wondered later why, because I hadn't really felt any sparks of interest, just positive conversation. Oh well.

All these different opportunities have been coming up. Eric called me about teaching English in Thailand. I found the perfect master's program in Germany (at the University of Leipzig, which I heard had a good lit program--it combines a lot of my interests-Literature, Latin, linguistics, literary theory, writing, AND they've already moved over to match the American degrees). I'd have to really work on my German literature terminology. I was thinking I should just move there, get a job at a bakery, and then start my masters after taking a few bachelors English classes. Then I could get my love for German satisfied! Lastly, Mike told me about a publishing editor job in Beijing which would pay a ton. The minimum is $4,000/month, while the max is ten thou. Wowee. It's an eighteen-month commitment, so I'd be done in September of 2008. I'd be loaded for grad school. But dating opportunities in Beijing? That would just be so cool, and I wouldn't have to know Chinese. Also, it's for the Beijing Olympics Committee. Man! What to do? Scott asked me why I feel like I have to leave the country. I just do. I think that since he got to travel when he was young, he doesn't have that yearning that I do. I don't just want to see places. I want to have lived there! Wil wrote me all this advice that was just brilliant and inspired. I sent it to Tanya and she loved it.

I had Dad drop me off at the church one night for a young single adult activity. I felt stupid because I don't like going places without someone, especially things like that. Erin, one of the stake sports refs, was there. We went sledding up at Mt. Dell golf resort-the best sledding place ever, I now know. It goes on for so long, and there are hills after hills. I borrowed a sled that I found sitting under a tree and discovered that it was awesome. It could fit four people and it hauled down the hill farther than any other! When I finally had hiked all the way back, I discovered from the Brinton boys that it was Craig Romrell's. He had sprayed the bottom and asked how it did. He was really nice. After that, it was Craig, the Brintons and I going down and coming up, over and over. We didn't notice how cold it was, even with ice on our faces each time the sled finally slowed down. We were warm from the hiking back up and the fun time we were having. Being that tight in a sled with three other people makes you close friends pretty fast. At each bump, we would groan together and complain about our tailbones and backs and then try to see which bump had been so hard on the way up. I ended up telling Erin and the guy who gave us a ride that I was going to stay longer and get a ride. I decided on one trek up the hill that a Gatorade sounded good. I mentioned it. When we finally left, Craig took me home and got me a Gatorade at Dan's. Mmm. When they say it quenches your thirst, they're not kidding, although I didn't like strawberry as much as Craig said I would. He took my number but has not yet called. I can't wait to go sledding again.

I have talked to no less than exactly five people about snowshoeing in the last week. Weird, huh. I want to go, we'll see who gets around to it first. I can't do much because I don't have the snow shoes. Sica and I talked about going skiing. It's free after 3 at Alta. Amy said she could go. I made some calls around the ward to see if I could borrow some skis, but had no luck. So, I rented. We got up there late, then renting took forever. Then Amy discovered she had the wrong skis, so she had to rent too. Then we went down the hill with the tow rope three times. When we went to get on the real ski lift hill, I got onto the chair fine but my pole flipped out and fell. It was too late for me to get it, so Amy reassured me that one of the lift guys would grab it. Indeed, the lift stopped a minute later. It took me forever to get all the way down the mountain, because I hesitated to go fast. I knew that I had to reinforce what I had learned, so I want to go tomorrow. The pole was not at the bottom. It had not been turned in at the shop. At first I thought the nice guys in the shop were going to let me get away with it, but I had to pay $8 which will be refunded if it's found. Where could it have gone? We looked under the lift. I would have liked to ski longer, but it closed at 4:30. We didn't get out until 3:45. Also, my muscles were sore from being so tense. I had to keep reminding myself to relax, especially not to try to stand up straight, but to let my knees lean into my boots. I hope I will be able to go again. It was so awesome. Mom was right. If I get into winter sports, I won't hate winter so much. I just can't stand the thought of how expensive it is! I asked the guy in the shop about cheap skis. He showed me the cheapest: 350. He held up a pair and said, "These are women skis." I said, "is that why they have pink ribbons on them?" He was so laidback I thought it was funny. He asked me about my job because I asked him if he got to ski a lot and he asked if I wanted a job. Then he asked if my job paid me enough to get some skis. I said no and that I guess it would take me 80 rentals to catch up with the price of the good skis. He said the D.I. wouldn't be good because I needed shaped skis. (Grandpa later said I could use Grandma's skis, but they are straight.)

Grandpa, Mom, and I went to Sica's concert choir Christmas concert. It was awesome. The orchestra and the jazz band also played, they were awesome. My favorite was this crazy version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, where the violinists/violists (not sure which) would screech their bows and hit them on the end of their violins, etc. The audience got to sing the Alleluiah chorus of Handel's Messiah. That was another highlight. Grandpa sang loud and I cheered for him when he started the clapping for Vicki Belnap, a long-time music teacher. He said, "I just thought she deserved it when she was coming out onto the stage."

Several of our young trainees are sitting around at night instead of working. They watch movies on the internet, check their email, and play games. I'm not sure how to motivate them. They've been told, but only generally so far. I guess I will have to talk to them individually. I was frustrated because I had kept pushing one of them to finish training and she kept putting off tests I would schedule for her, saying she wasn't ready. When I would personally quiz her, she was ready, so I would just pass her off. We set a finishing goal for before she left on a Christmas vacation. She emailed me and said, "Is it okay if I finish when I get back? I've just been so busy." Yeah, busy talking on the phone when she's supposed to be working!!!!!!! I'm not sure what kind of talk will be effective with her. A strict, this-is-your-job-on-the-line talk, or a remember-that-it-is-the-Lord's-work talk, or what? What motivates young workers? Maybe I should talk about her being the example on if we will hire young people in the future. Hmm.

Our new zone leader is wonderful. He is kind, humble, and willing. I am okay with taking feedback from him, because he always has so much patience and love in his eyes. From the drama with the old zone leader, I'm sure he has heard things about me that may or may not be completely true, but he does all he can. He gave me a book called Anatomy of Peace, which is by the same institute that wrote Leadership and Self-Deception, which I loved. It's about conflict resolution, which tells you that he knows Sister Randall and I clash sometimes. Sometimes I feel so attacked because I really have not done anything and she'll get mad. We're doing a lot better and we're on the same page. As long as I always let her know what's up and she lets me know how training is going, we're both happy to work together. Elder Draper wants it to go well and asked Wil if Sister Randall could give the tests. Although that is not a possibility because it doesn't follow the model of employees providing the knowledge backup to the missionaries, he was fine and asked that Wil talk to me about being kinder during testing. Wil told me to talk to Elder Draper. He said that I was so much smarter than everyone else that I just needed to slow down and look people in their eyes and smile and compliment right answers. It was hard for me to take, but coming from Elder Draper, anything is possible. He told Wil yesterday that he couldn't believe that it had been bad before because everyone was working together and happy now. He really sets a good example for me. He talked about putting down our arms and letting people heal, because they will stop fighting if we do, just like in the Book of Mormon. The meeting he said that in gave me a lot to think about. It was three hours long, and Tom and Sherri also said some things that I knew were directed at me, like not speaking too fast. Sometimes I feel like everyone thinks I'm the only one with problems. I'm constantly thinking about them and working on them. That's all I can do, right? They weren't happy that I suggested that a real leader should be willing to provide supervision during all open hours, even if it meant working a late night every week or more. I told Wil later that they were willing to have the title and responsibilities that come with being a leader but they weren't willing to be leaders. I think they also both hesitate to make decisions or assign things to people. Sherri especially. I love her insight about people matters, but she turns to me to do the tiniest things, like tell a patron no, or to get the people out of the classroom before us. Hmmm. I do wish I could care more about people the way she does, though. Scott said, "After everything, what matters besides personal relationships?" I had no response for that, and I realized it's very true. How sad is that? Something that matters so much is something I don't care much to work on, at least not in the way that most people do. It just seems so fake to me, coming from most people. I can work with someone every day and respect them and rarely look at them and give them assignments and love them, but I don't feel like I have to stop and talk about non-work subjects or to tell them that I love them. Just working together and accomplishing things is love to me. I like to get things done. I like to be working. I guess there are other things that matter besides personal relationship, but they depend on people skills. How are you supposed to perfect yourself using the Atonement if you don't care for people? I look at Grandpa and think, "He used to be so grumpy with people. He is a hard, hard worker. But now he loves people and he still works." I think we are a lot alike and that I can learn those lessons a bit earlier because he already did. I sure love Grandpa, and I show that by working for him. Whenever I can, I go up there to see what I can do for him. I love doing whatever he needs, even if he doesn't say that he needs it, like unloading the dishwasher. I also love to help him out by drinking his Kern's drinks. Those things are amazing! Some day when I'm loaded, I'll have a new pair of socks once a week and an endless supply of Kern's. Lovely.

I made the fun activity for the employee meeting today. I called it "Access to Access," like "Apples to Apples." There were adjectives and then there were items that have to do with our unit, like Salt Lake City Birth Records, and the Machine Error Log, and our names. I think everyone liked it. After work, I took a three-hour nap filled with psycho dreams about attending dinners for Wil to withstand people who were thought to be allies but who were really leading him astray and breaking mini bear's necks because they were delicacies and running into the old zone leader in an elevator filled with unique flowers and him pretending that he didn't know I was going when I had sent the appointment and had seen that he had clicked "Accept." So weird! I woke up and went to the gym. I had a pass this whole year, but it was sitting at the gym because I never picked it up after they took the picture in March. So, I went, and while the guy was making a new one, I worked out. That was nice, especially after having sore skiing muscles. When I picked up the pass on the way out, I saw that it expired on the 26th. Three more days that I can use the thing (not Sunday, and not Christmas). So much for that. I feel quite bad. What a great present that I wasted. Today at work was "Bring a Holiday Treat" day, and I think I ate twenty pounds of chocolate. All these people brought me chocolates in my office, including Elder Wilson and Lina, whom I just love. Marva got transferred to my team. She is going to be wonderful. She says, "Oh my heck!" all the time, and she calls people things like "Sister" and "Lovey." She can work with Tom on how to do projects and then do the training docs on them. She already started and asks the missionaries for their input. Perfect! I really want this new training packet to be the comprehensive, amazingly-informational packet of all time!

Well, Christmas is almost here. What am I doing with my life? I sure have enjoyed it recently, but it seems like so much of it is the same. I want something to change, but what? I have been constantly cleaning out my room and throwing out more and more stuff. I gave Wil some of my stuff to give to his kids. I threw away tons of papers. I'm considering an iPod merely to get rid of my stereo and CDs, not because I like iPods. I'm going to type up my journals. I just look around some days and think, "Why do I have all this stuff? When was the last time I even used whatever's in that box up there?" I gave away some books and wonder if I should even have any books when there are perfectly good, free library books. Hmm. Which, by the way, brings up several more subjects: I had a 16-dollar fine last week because Sica checked out movies and a CD on my card and didn't turn them in on time. Wil and I have thought of several brilliant ideas for a bookstore we want to have some day. I got a new BOM, Pearl of Great Price, and D&C book from my friend, President Hinckley. We're tight. He even signed the card that came with it electronically. :) It really is a nice book with lovely red leather. And, lastly, I love, love, love to read! Public transportation is great because I am accomplishing two things: I'm going somewhere, and I'm reading! Yay! Driving is kind of a waste reading-wise and money-wise, although faster. I'm reading some Kafka right now. Fascinating. I want to read some in German.

James, Amy, and Paul are in town. I am so glad. They are all just fabulous fun. James is more aware of the world. He crawls and smiles a lot. I hope Jeff has a nice Christmas in the MTC. His letters are so entertaining with his slang and everything. I can tell he is really growing spiritually.

I went to the Salt Lake Theological Seminary with my institute class. That was really interesting. They stood up and stomped their feet to sing Christmas songs. We had a nice time discussing what Christmas is to us. We also discussed funny Mormon habits and theological education options, as well as the student's motivations for studying there. I looked at their class schedules. They have a class called "Helping Mormons Accept the Grace of God." I laughed a bit at that, but not because I don't think Mormons don't accept the grace of God at all times. It was funny to me because we all have that problem and are continuously working on it. I was reading my Gideon New Testament on TRAX in November, and this guy got really excited. He tapped me on the shoulder and we tried to converse for a while. He was deaf. So, we started writing back and forth. He asked me if I was Christian. I said yes. He asked me when I was saved. I told him it was an ongoing process. He finally realized I was Mormon and kept saying that he saw the Bible and thought . . . but he'd leave off there. And thought what? Do people really think that Mormon's don't read the Bible? I have been working on the New Testament, hand-in-hand with Jesus the Christ this year and I really enjoy it. Anyway, he kept saying that as long as I trusted Jesus, I was saved. I told him we had to keep working. He pointed me to a scripture about how fools should not speak, it is by grace alone that we are saved. I think it was in Ephesians 2. I felt stupid and flustered because I couldn't think of a scripture. I found one as soon as I got off the train, and my dad and Scott pointed out that I could have said, "Faith without works is dead." However, I think we had a good conversation anyway and I learned that I need to work on my knowledge too, not just my faith.

We are dressing down at work this month. Since there are so few patrons, we do a lot of projects. I had been working on taping shelves with Tom (he took the part I didn't like, and I took the part he didn't like), but he got upset about something last week, saying that I wasn't accommodating when I helped him as soon as it was possible, which is accommodating in my book. So then I didn't know what to do because he said it would take some time for him to be able to work with me. I have done more of his assigned section, but that is pointless. I could end up doing both of ours. Today I started doing my own sections and only got three done. I love shifting and stuff with Tom because he is fast. Shelf taping is slow, dirty, and very physical work. I have to push the shelves down with my foot while I pull the tape off and put all of my weight into it. As soon as the tape lets go, I go flying off the stool. It makes my arms hurt, but I love the taping and scraping parts. I have figured out the exact angle I need to scrape the old, sandy tape remains off the shelf without scratching it. And, I like getting the new tape exactly straight. Funny, huh? I feel bad on days when I dress down but I don't do much physical work, but if I don't get the tests done for the trainees, people get upset. Also, the schedule can't wait. We just made a new way for people to send in schedule change requests! Yay! It will be so much better! I had a generic email created, and Kristin, Wil, Teri, and I are connected to it by proxy. Employees send a reminder note with just the information and they and we can see when Wil has approved the change. Then it puts it right on the calendar! That way when Kristin makes the schedule, she can see the changes, and when Teri does the payroll, she can too. Yippy hooray! People are weird about their schedules. They're dying to get next year's holiday schedule. Really. Who cares? Why not just see it when it comes and work it? I guess I don't plan far enough ahead. They really didn't want the day after Thanksgiving. I took it. I probably won't be here, and I'll probably work every holiday until then anyway because you can pick your own day off in the next thirty days!

Well, sleep for me.

0 comments. I love comments!:

Post a Comment