A few random thoughts

Thought A (on house hunting): No real progress today. Looked online at some condos, and I'm willing to go look at them, but my thought is, if I'm going to invest in a house, I want to invest in a house. I honestly don't know how long I'll stay in this place, and if it's long enough for a baby or three, I want to have a yard and some privacy and some space. Just sayin'. Also, thinking about making a bid on the first house (see post below), but definitely want to go look at more houses in the meantime.

Thought B (on writing): I wrote a fair bit today in my "companion novel" to Traitor Defiant. I'm just getting started with this one, but I'm actually pretty excited about it. Read Ender's Game? Read Ender's Shadow. That's a companion novel--instead of a sequel, which comes after, it covers the same span of time as the first book, just from a different POV. And so far it's fun--it's been so easy to jump back into this work and just GO. Also, my friend Michael complimented my writing today, and it made me smile.

Thought C (on life): Following the advice of my dear friend Gregory (although really, it was simply an offer I couldn't refuse) I went shopping with my mother this evening. It's been almost a year since I've bought clothes--so it was well past time. Macy's was having a big clearance sale. About half the store was Buy 1 Get 1 Free. My mom got some cute sweaters. I got three shirts, and I've noticed that women's clothing is tending toward hippieness, and that banded hems are popular on shirts right now. Fortunately, with the right blouse, I can make this look work. I also got a cute pair of petite jeans that are still long on me (that's life, though). I tried on some LBDs in hopes of finding one that will work for Dixy's wedding, without any luck tonight. However, my pride and joy of the evening were these:

I absolutely love shoes. I hate clothes, but I love shoes. These aren't as red as they look in this picture, and actually should go quite well with brown articles. I enjoy them immensely.


House ownership part II: House hunting

Tonight was my first experience in house hunting. And I will tell you now that this is likely to be a long and drawn out process.

We looked at two houses, and in just those two houses I came to the realization that houses are quirky and that house owners are quirkier. I actually really liked the first house. There are a lot of things that would need to change, but most of them are small. A fresh coat of neutral-colored paint would do wonders for--I kid you not--every room in the house. Maybe not the kitchen. The kitchen and other main rooms were by far my favorite part. LOVED them. Big, open and spacious rooms. The bedrooms were also large, though two of them were kind of awkward, and we weren't really sure whether they were originally meant to be bedrooms. But they were big!

The biggest problem in the house were the bathrooms. There were two, and they were very dated. Who decorates in pink? I mean really. And there were some "special" things that, in perhaps ten years and with lots of money, I would be able to fix.

But overall, I really liked that house. LOVED the main rooms. I really like the location, I like the yard, I like the three-car garage, I like the patio and the covered deck and porch, and I'm enchanted by the mailbox.

The second house was not so exciting. First of all, it was about three steps away from my parents house. I love them, but I don't want to spend the next x-# of years in their backyard. Need a little breathing space, if you know what I mean. (Just a couple of blocks, really, I'm not too picky.) It was a big house, but there were a lot of weird things. Weird decor, weird carpet, weird cabinet handles, really weird yard fixtures, and the bathrooms were all really small. AND...the basement was unfinished. PUH-LEAZE I don't need that kind of headache right now. So, drove away from that house with a No, thank you!

On a related note, I filled out loan paperwork tonight, and THAT was an adventure. I feel so inadequate! My dad reassures me that the bank LIKES boring, they want to see that I pay my bills (which I do), but I looked at my pitiful list of assets and my meager income and I thought, "they're going to think this is a joke". But off it goes to the bank tomorrow, to see what I can get pre-approved for. And then we go from there.

In the meantime, I want to look at more houses. I'm in no hurry, certainly, and looking at more places will give me a better idea of what I'm looking for. But I'll tell you--I'm sitting in a mixture of utterly freaked out and terrified, and hopelessly excited. I had a dream last night about having my whole singles ward in my house for a house warming party, so I take that as a good sign. =)


Home ownership


So, I was talking to my dad on Sunday about how life is great and stuff, and I mentioned to him that despite my deep and abiding love for him and my mom, it's my goal--sometime in the next six months or so--to move out of their house. I mean, don't get me wrong, living at home has its perks, but after four years out on my own, its a little claustrophobic. So the goal is: get the car paid off as much as possible, save up some cash in the meantime, then get my butt in gear and find an apartment.


My father made an offhand suggestion at the time. He said something to the effect of, instead of investing in somebody else, how about you wait a little longer, save your money, and then invest in yourself and buy a house.

Wait, what?

Me, buy a house? Me, a twenty-something, to whom it was HUGE to get a car loan and be making that monthly payment. Home ownership is SO out of my league, it's not even funny. I don't know the first thing about buying a house! This is HUGE. Like, a life-long investment. I mean, home loans are like 30 year investments. I thought a four-year car loan was bad (trying to pay that one off in two, but we'll see how it goes!) Home ownership, I thought, was so totally out of my league as to be laughable.

Except, like so many things in my life, I can't stop thinking about it.

This morning, I kind of started asking my mom about logistics. The very basics. This whole affair is absolutely foreign to me, I can't even tell you. But as the day went on, I started looking up mortgage calculators (which I still can't make heads or tails of) and calculating exactly how much I could pay every month on my limited salary (with a car payment to boot) and what I would have to rent out the rooms for in order to make ends meet...

You can probably see where this is going. But the biggest surprise was when I got home--to hear that my parents had found a house. It's in our stake (one of my primary stipulations at the moment) and it's pre-foreclosure, so it's ridiculously low-listed, even in the current market. I insisted on going over to see it. Haven't been inside yet, but the outside is c-ute. At this point, I should have slapped myself to wake up from this nonsense, but it hasn't happened yet.

How do these things happen? It's one thing to discuss investments with Melissa (thinking at the time--that's cool, but I couldn't do anything like that) to semi-seriously discussing this with the parental unit. I mean, how many 22-year-olds do YOU know who own their own home? Seriously! This is craziness.

But...it's kind of exciting all the same.
I'll keep you posted.



I walked out of my house this morning, and it smelled like rain. You know that smell. I don't have the greatest sense of smell in the world, but I can smell rain on grass and concrete. And to me this morning, it smelled like spring. And I just love a warm rain--it always puts me in this sort of nostalgic mood, and I remember playing with my toy circus as a child, or throwing my window open to the rain in the Bell Apartments, curling up on my bed with my laptop, and writing for a full rainy afternoon. I love the smell of rain.


Proof Ecstasy

This was a free proof copy courtesy of Create Space, which was the prize for completing the National Novel Writing Month back in November. After polishing it (mostly for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, but who's complaining) I submitted for my free proof copy. You have no idea how ecstatic I was to receive my package this morning, and I had to have Cindy with me before I could open it. It doesn't really mean anything, except that I have a copy of my book. But it makes me immensely happy for some obscure writerish reason.


*I apologize for the poor quality of my photos, I couldn't wait to get home to take them with my camera, so these are on-the-spot cell phone cam pics. Can you really blame me, though?



Take a moment, scroll down and check out the ADOPTION BUTTON on the sidebar over there ==>

Jen created this beautiful button, and I encourage you to check out her blog to get to know her a little better. Seriously one of my favorite people in the world.

As you ought to know as a reader of my blog, I am an avid proponent of adoption, and it could not be more the case than with the family of my Ian. Adoption has become more and more about being in the right place at the right time. That was certainly the case with Ian's adoption--some mutual friends happened to speak up at the right moment, and then friendship and Heavenly Father took over. So if you know someone who's considering adoption, please don't hesitate to send them our way. It's all about love. =)



I'm a trifle disappointed this evening, only because there were some members of my FHE group who did not enjoy Mao, which is my new favorite game, introduced to me by the Haycocks. I'm surprised by how many people I meet who have played it before. And I tried to lead my FHE group in this game, and it only lasted one round because some of the young men simply wouldn't cooperate. I suppose they thought they were being funny. Not that I don't like these boys, but I was disappointed all the same. I try to at least show a modicum of enthusiasm for things my friends like to do. I mean...isn't that common courtesy?

Profound thoughts of a profoundly profound nature

Or something like that...

The other day, I was talking to my friend Jameson about workplace satisfaction. He's in a business class, and they were talking about the factors that influence job satisfaction. Of course I don't know all of the details. But some of the things were pay scale and benefits, coworkers, and fulfillment from the work itself (among many other things).

Jameson found my situation interesting. I find my job itself to be tedious, indicating one factor of dissatisfaction. I like my workplace itself, I enjoy my coworkers, and my pay/benefits are acceptable. However, I am allowed to write in my spare time once my work is done, which influences my overall satisfaction with my job. While it's not the work itself, I do find satisfaction while at work.

I've been reconsidering some pretty major decisions lately--particularly my decision to go back to school. My major drive to go back to college is in that search for fulfillment. Because I'm not pursuing my original passion/major (theatre) for personal reasons, I thought that I thereby could not find satisfaction in a job that I could obtain without a degree in something else. Thus, I would go back to school to obtain that degree.

However, I'm finding that I can be fulfilled in other ways besides my job. I don't mind my job--I like the people, it's steady and consistent, and while there I can write, which is an enormous passion that I will always pursue. I've discovered that I can find a lot of fulfillment in my ward and callings there, and I'm getting involved in volunteer work that is like nothing else I've ever done before--and which brings me immense satisfaction.

So I don't know that I really want to uproot yet again. I really want to stay in my ward, I want to have some consistency there. And if I'm not unhappy, if I can find that fulfillment that I was looking for in the first place, I'm not sure I'd go back to school except for my obsessive love of school itself. At this point, I don't feel like I'm missing anything that could be gained by going back. So, while I haven't made a firm decision, I'm leaning toward staying right where I'm at.


Valentine's Dance



Last night I went over to my wardhouse to help decorate for the Valentine's dance this evening. We started about 9:30, and there were a few of us that didn't leave til about 2:30am. But I can't tell you how I enjoyed myself. It looks like a Mormon cultural hall that was attacked by Cupid's raging cherubs. It was fun just to hang out, to talk, to listen, to work at a relaxed pace without any need to hurry and get done. And of course I'm exhausted today, but I had a great time. I wish I had taken pictures...but hopefully we'll get some good ones at the dance tonight.


Evening's entertainment

Last night I watched my very first episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series with my father. I can't tell you how amusing it was. We didn't watch the episodes in any particular order, so I couldn't even begin to tell you where they fell in the series. And that may have been an injust cause of my amusement. In every episode, the costumes changed rather drastically (though they were universally cheap and so sixties--I can see where Mrs. O got her lemongrass color!) and so did Spock's eyebrows! There was one episode in particular where he was wearing that lemon-lime shade that almost perfectly matched the sallow color of his face, and his eyebrows were pointing almost straight up into his hair. Precious!

For the most part I enjoyed the episodes we watched, though most of them reminded me strongly of The Twilight Zone. I watched in all seriousness except for a few moments that I simply couldn't contain my giggling--usually involving some particularly atrocious special effects, though frequently over the melodramatic acting.

All in all, a worthwhile evening's entertainment.


Weird thoughts

I don't think guys realize how much girls think about their weddings. I mean, even without a male prospect in mind, girls think about their weddings all the time, out of context. There are a lot of things like that, but I find weddings to be fairly universal for females of my age and relative social stratum.


I was thinking about bridesmaids this evening. My younger sister (the oldest daughter of my birthdad and other-mom) is engaged, and I have been appointed her maid of honor. Also, one of my good friends is almost-engaged (they have an appointment at the temple, but still no ring--it seems backwards to me), and it occurred to me this evening that I probably won't be asked to be a bridesmaid for that one. So that got me started thinking about who I would ask to be my bridesmaids--pending the unknown future spouse's close female relatives, of course. But then THAT led me to another strange thought.

Did you know that I have four siblings that I have never met? Half-siblings, actually. I don't even know their names. I'm pretty sure that my birthmother told me at one time, but somehow I let that information slip my mind. I have three brothers and a sister that do not know that I exist (as far as I know). This is a fact of my life that has perturbed me for some time now, and though I go long periods without dwelling on it, it always strikes me strangely when it reoccurs.

So as I was thinking about my bridesmaids, I was thinking about my best friend and my three sisters, when it suddenly occurred to me that somewhere in the world I have another sister who doesn't know I exist. And I'll admit that it made me more than a little sad to think that she couldn't come to my wedding because she wouldn't know it's happening because she doesn't know who I am or anything about me, and that it's likewise for me. And it just struck me as incredibly, impossibly strange that I could share blood--close, real blood--with someone and yet be so impossibly separated. Tonight, it makes me sad. That's all.


I hope you have a great day!

I read a lot of blogs. Most of them belong to friends and family, but sometimes I go exploring. I also have received recommendations from friends of blogs THEY read that I may enjoy (hint hint, nudge nudge). There is something about this format that fascinates me. Perhaps it is the very personal nature of it. I mean, a blog is almost like a journal for some people, where its a soap box for others, and anything inbetween. I enjoy discovering more about people, and more about how other people see and experience the world. Besides, I simply enjoy to read.

Today I was deeply affected by something I read. I don't know the blogger personally, its a friend of a friend. And I don't want to get into too much detail. But what I read made me step back and really examine something that I believed. I questioned, I probed, I pondered. For a solid hour this morning, I was profoundly disturbed by this thing that I read written by someone I don't even know.

I got over it. I read something else that made me feel better. I realized that I did in fact believe what I thought I believed. My belief was not shaken, but I could not believe in that moment how profoundly affected I was by this stranger's blog.

I guess my thought is that we never know how we're going to affect other people by our daily actions. This is what the R.S. teaches all the time with visiting teaching. It is our belief that God puts people in our path to better our lives--and that he uses US in that way to benefit others. And I sometimes worry that I am letting those opportunities pass by.

Today I read a talk by President Monson . I have this one last thought to share. I apologize for the overt religiousness, please bear with me. But this statement struck me particularly today:

"Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existant future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey--now. We will never regret the kind words spoke or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us."

Dear reader, I hope that you have a wonderful day. Let it be a good one. It IS Friday, after all. :)


Success after much frustration

Yesterday I finished my revisions while at work and at home I sat down to submit mein buch to the ABNA. However, upon opening the file I had emailed home, I was horrified to discover that it didn't contain any of the revisions I had worked on. I had a coworker search my work computer, but nothing--50 pages of work, gone.

It turns out that I had saved my work to a temp file instead of my documents, and the version I emailed was not the one I had been working on all day. When I shut down my computer and went home, the temp file was erased and my work vanished.

This only re-emphasized my absolute hatred for PCs.

At any rate, I spent today re-doing the revisions and adding finishing touches. And as of 12:40am, I submitted my novel "Traitor Defiant" to the contest. Now there's nothing doing but to wait until the middle of march when the quarterfinalists are announced.

Woot! for submitting my novel, but grr! to stupid computers. Argh! to the revision process (which never really ends) but yay! to being done for now. And now dear friends, good night.


The Good and the Bad

Life is so weird. It seems impossible to me that there can be so much good co-existing simultaneously with the bad.

I mean, for me personally today was a great day. I got to magnify my calling AND get to know some great girls in my ward. It felt great. And it was SUCH a nice day today, sunny and somewhat warm and very beautiful. I went on a walk with my family, and it was SO nice to feel the sun on my face. You don't know how much you enjoy sunshine until you spend all day every day in an interior office. It was glorious.

However, in that same beautiful afternoon, the bishop's house caught fire. They'd just finished a brand new renovation after struggling for so long just to get it. And their whole house is damaged, from fire and smoke. It was a true tragedy, one that affects me only by witnessing, and by my sense of helplessness.

Equally disturbing are the Pennsylvania governor's proposed budget cuts--which would completely cut my beloved summer job, the Governor's School for the Arts, as well as all the other Schools of Excellence. It's devastating to everyone who has seen the effect the Schools have had on students. Literally thousands of students have gone through the program since it's inception in the early 70's, affecting the arts in PA and across the country. My friends there have been scrambling in their letter-writing and protest efforts. This morning I wrote the PA governor, and again that sense of helplessness, where I wonder what more I can do.

This is what I came home to after a wonderful date this evening. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. It was Japanese-themed evening, culminating in a BYU showing of "Tokyo Drifter". Seriously funny. It was an absolutely wonderful evening, echoed with other friends' similar triumphs.

How can such darkness so mirror the light? I guess it's late, and I'm feeling a little melodramatic. But I see such turmoil in the world, and it saddens me. I want there to be light for everyone, but failing that, I just wish I could do more to fight the darkness.