Friday, January 22, 2016

Start Keeping a Compliment Container

Let's be honest. Everyone can you a pick-me-up now and then. One of the best ways I've found to get a mental boost when I'm feeling low is to re-read the cards in my compliment container.

What is a compliment container? Simply a place where you write down the nice things people say about you to read again when you need them most. I've chosen to keep mine in a button-covered old mint container, but almost any receptacle will do.

Remember, compliments are elusive. Be sure to jot yours down before they slip from your memory bank. The Notes app on most smart phones is a great place to quickly catch a compliment in print. In fact, if you're uber techie, you may want to just create a Notes category called "compliments" and keep them on your phone.

Me, I'm a tactile person. Making the custom-cut papers was part of the fun of keeping a compliment container for me!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I am a Polar Bear

I am a Polar Bear. This epiphany came to me shortly after a Relief Society workshop I attended in Layton, Utah almost 20 years ago. A woman who was a registered dietitian and worked with professional sports players was talking to our stake about nutrition and body image.
She began her presentation in a novel way. On the projector she displayed beautiful photos of animals – they were National Geographic quality pictures. She encouraged us to think about them as creations of our Heavenly Father and to note the variety and individuality of each different species. As a lover of the outdoors and a watcher of PBS nature specials, she had me hooked.
Perhaps you’ve already guessed where she was going with her presentation. I, however, was simply caught up in the beauty of all those amazing animals. She concluded her slide show with a giraffe and asked the women in attendance to switch gears. She said something along the lines of, “This is a giraffe. We’ve been enjoying looking at various animals created by our Heavenly Father. We would never expect any one of those creatures to try to look like a giraffe, but that’s exactly what we do as people. Instead of enjoying the variety and individuality of the human race, we’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that somehow we should all look alike. That somehow, as women, we can all fit the physique of the giraffe.”
In that moment I saw the absurdness of the ruse I’d fallen under. There was no way I was ever going to be a giraffe! After only a moment of thought, I knew exactly what animal was a fit for me metaphorically – the polar bear.
First of all, I’m pale. Really pale. Back when I was engaged to be married I was adjusting my pant leg and my soon-to-be sister-in-law noticed how white my leg was. “Is that your leg?” she asked. “Or are you wearing white nylons?” A little embarrassed, I assured her that it was definitely my leg. The polar bears and I have paleness in common.
Next on my list of similarities to the polar bear is my size. Of course I’m not really the size of an adult polar bear (300 to 500 lbs. for a female), but polar bears are the largest species of bear. And I am a rather large person.
I also learned that polar bears have very large paws. Which fits my M.O. as well. They use theirs for swimming. I use mine for anything but swimming. (Alas, designers have not come up with a swimming suit that is flattering for this polar bear.)
Finally, I definitely have an over-developed mother bear instinct. You do not want to see me react if I feel that one of my bears (children, students, friends, family members) is being threatened. It is ferocious!
So there you have it. I am a polar bear, metaphorically speaking. And to tell you the truth, I’m just fine with being a polar bear.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Accident Girl and Safety Man do the Ice Bucket Challenge


Jeanine David issued the challenge, and I responded. . . as Accident Girl, my alter-ego. Fortunately, my husband's boss had also challenged him so that we were able to do it together. I do think that wearing his helmet as Safety Man protected him from a lot of the water. I was not so lucky, and boy was it cold!

The ice bucket challenge was a great excuse to blacken my eye and create a cut on my forehead. Sorry to say, but we are fully stocked on crutches, ace bandages, wrist braces and steri-strips.

It's no mystery why Eric is called Safety Man. It's his job at the USU Research Foundation and his personality as well. He wears his seat belt, drives the speed limit, and always wears his bike helmet.

What you may not know is why I'm called Accident Girl. It probably started in 9th grade when I tore my ACL in a skiing wreck. It doesn't help that I've also rolled our 4-wheeler over myself at the sand dunes a few years ago. I've tripped on a lifted sidewalk and managed to complete a perfect barrel roll on newly installed mulch. And last November I crashed my bike while on a ride with my dog. Let's not even talk about fender benders in reverse!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Patience and Perspective on I-15

Today on my drive to a 3-day conference, I had just passed Willard when traffic came to a halt. Both lanes of vehicles that were just going 75-mile-per-hour stopped.

I looked at the clock, and looked ahead. I couldn't see anything. I hoped that we'd get moving soon, or I'd be late for my conference. I put the car in park, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel impatiently.

Five minutes passed. No one moved an inch.

Ten minutes passed. I've turned my car off now. No change.

And then a Life Flight helicopter landed. And my impatience vanished.

Oh, I thought, someone is really hurt. I sure hope they'll be okay.

And as I continued to sit at a standstill in traffic, I began thinking about these cocoons of steel that we hurtle down the road in at mind-boggling speeds. At any moment any of us are just moments away from disaster. Obviously someone ahead had experienced just such a moment.

It sobered me.

Was it going to be so bad to be a little late for my conference? No.

Would being impatient effect any change? No.

Would sending up silent prayers hurt? No. And, if nothing else, it would help me realize my own blessings and remain calm.

After 25 minutes, traffic began to move. As I inched by the accident scene, there was Life Flight, an ambulance, an extra-large incident vehicle, and numerous police cars. And off to the far right, through the barrow pit and through the chain-link fence and into a parked tanker truck was a mooshed red sports car. No one was near the decimated car. Instead, they were gathered some 20 feet away attending to someone unseen lying in the grass.

As I passed I said one more prayer for the driver and resolved to slow down and be more aware.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2 Loads of laundry -- no soap!

Yup. I had a mental moment.

I'm blaming it on the blog post that consumed most of my morning. That, and having a fairly new washer that has a fancy-pantsy steam clean function that I tried for only the second time this morning.

So there I was, trying to get the socks and underwear load really, really clean and sanitized, and I run the batch without soap. Which I didn't realize until over 2 hours later. That's right -- the steam/sanitize function takes TONS of TIME -- over 2 hours! And for some reason as it was running, the machine experienced a blip that caused it to stop and display an error message. So I go into the laundry room, irritated to be drawn away from the day's important blog post, and figure that it's just easier to start the batch over on the regular cycle that only takes 40 minutes.

Not until that cycle finished and I was transfering the wet socks to the dryer did I realize that neither batch had detergent in it.

Yup. I ran two batches of laundry (2 cycles) without a lick of detergent.

Must be Monday.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Paperclip and String Earrings

This is an update on how the paperclip earrings turned out.

They didn't.

I followed the directions -- even super-glued the ends of the unbent paperclips together. But those ends of the paperclip were what ended up being the problem. They didn't stay glued.

Oh, and as I was wrapping the paperclip in the navy blue crochet thread that I'd chosen, I kept thinking to myself. Wow, this is taking forever. This may be a really cheap craft, but my TIME is worth something.

Then, as I was about 2/3 done with wrapping the first paper clip in string, the ends that I'd super-glued together broke, making the string uneven and frustrating me. I admit it, I'm a perfectionist. I thought about finishing the earrings, but that broken superglue bond bugged me. And I didn't see a sure-fire way around it, so I trashed the paperclip earrings.

Based on my progress on the first one, it wasn't going to be something that I wanted to wear, let alone a gift I could give to someone else.

Fortunately, the Asian Chicken Broccoli Slaw turned out much better.

I can't eat broccoli uncooked, so I sauteed the broccoli slaw and sliced green onions prior to adding the sauce. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure that cooking the broccoli slaw made it a little less appealing to my family initially. My husband asked, "What's this?"

That's not really what I like to hear when presenting a new dish to the family.

Fortunately he tried it, liked it, and happily ate it for dinner.

And the recipe isn't lying when it says the sauce is yummy. I loved it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Pinterest Projects . . .

I'm just thinking out loud here. Don't hold me to this, but . . .

To make this summer fun and interesting I'm planning to make one recipe from Pinterest every week and also try one project idea from Pinterest. Whadayathink? Crazy? Over-reaching? Do-able?

The Paperclip and String earrings  are my first project, and I've already unbent my paperclips and the ends are super-gluing together as I write. (No fingers glued together this time. Yeah!) I'm going to make them using navy blue cotton crochet thread and Elmer's glue that I already have on hand. Ditto the earring findings -- I'm a closet jewelry maker. The net cost to me? Nada.

When I get them finished, I'll post photos, tips, etc. Until then you can check out this site for how to make them yourself.

And now for the first recipe I'm going to try. . .
 -- Asian Chicken Brocoli Slaw --
Saw it on Pinterest today, made up the grocery list, and plan just one itty, bitty change before serving it to my family. . . . I'm going to quickly stir-fry the broccoli slaw in a little sauce before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. (My stomach doesn't like raw broccoli.)

Again, I'll let you know how it turns out.

And, just in case you haven't seen me face to face in a while, I have a new motivational phrase for getting through life's ups and down . . . "Muddle Through."

Sound familiar? It's from a famous Christmas carol, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." It perfectly sums up what life is like most of the time. And, hey, who says muddling can't be fun? That's going to be my own unique spin to muddling . . . FUN! (Someone has to put the fun in dysFUNctional.)