I love October. I love fall. I love it, I love it, I love it! This October has been particularly awesome:
RennFest - Smash, Reimsy, Amy, and I attended the Maryland Rennaissance Festival near Annapolis and had an absolute blast. We enjoyed watching jousting, sword swallowing, window shopping, and parading around in our finest RennFest gear. (Reimsy is wearing a Halloween costume of mine. Thanks Miss Giggles) In the picture, I'm the little sprite peaking around on the right.
My Brother! - My brother FINALLY returned home from his mission. He first left right for Atlanta, Georgia, after I graduated from BYU. After completely shattering his elbow, he was eventually sent home for more surgeries and recovery. He was able to drive me out to DC and returned to the area four days later to complete his mission in Baltimore. I was able to see him twice during his mission, and on his last day here. I went with him and the other "Go Homes" to the temple, then to the mission home for dinner and a testimony meeting. It was a really special experience. While it's a little sad that he's no longer within a couple hours driving distance from me, it's great to be able to talk to him more often. It was a lifetime ago that he first left! This picture is one of my favorites of us, from our cross-country drive. (Proof that I did drive at least some of the time.)
And, of course, HALLOWEEN!!
If you can't tell, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love putting together fantastic costumes and dressing up.
Two years ago was one of my favorite costumes (the same dress Reimsy wore):
I was recreating this painting:
I also love the other activities associated with Halloween. We did pumpkin carving for FHE last Monday (I'm leaning on my BYU pumpkin. Photo courtesy of Shelley.)
This week, we took a ghost tour of Lafayette Square, supposedly the most haunted site in all of DC. We learned about ghosts including Dolly Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Phillip Barton Key, and others. It was really interesting. While we saw no ghosts, a rat did run by at a rather crucial moment in a story, and it was really funny to watch the whole front row jump back.
Last night, several of us attended the High Heel Drag Race in Dupont Circle. We had a perfect vantage point for the race, right on the edge of the sidewalk. The race itself is quite entertaining, but is only two blocks long and over quite quickly. So, the most fun is had during the promenade before the event, as all the participants can walk around the race route and show off. I almost wasn't able to go, but I'm glad I did. It's a very DC thing to do, and we all enjoyed it.
Going out of order a little, Friday was the 6th Annual Halloween Barn Dance, sponsored by one of the wards out here. It's a bit of a drive, but we made a smaller party just out of getting ready and that was almost as much fun. My friends rock.
Here's the gang:
And here's Aphrodite, AKA me:
I'm actually dressed like that today, and while my evening plans mostly involve studying, it's still Halloween. I did just win "cutest" among those in my building, so that's excellent news. I've also watched several ghost specials on TV, and I'm listening to EVPs on 101.9 The End this morning. Good times!
Hooray for one of my favorite months!
Have a Happy (and safe!!) Halloween!!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I love October. I love fall. I love it, I love it, I love it! This October has been particularly awesome:
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
As I've briefly mentioned, I'm going to London for Christmas. I booked my flight weeks ago. When I got to my office this morning, I found the following subject in my email URGENT: PLEASE CALL Flight change for AMANDA [STRETCH]. The body included:
Air Canada has:
* Changed the departure time for 1 of your flights.
* Changed the arrival time for 1 of your flights.
I logged into Expedia.com to check my itinerary to see what was different. My outgoing flights were the same. I'm still going to be stuck in the Halifax airport for 7 hours. Oh well. It was my flight home where I noticed a problem.
Depart London 3:oo PM
Arrive Ottawa 5:40 PM
Depart Ottawa 3:3o PM
Arrive DC 5:10 PM
While I'm all for leaving one country, stopping in another, and arriving in my final country a mere two hours later, I can't time travel and make that connection.
So, I called Expedia, and the woman checked on the flight. I reassured her that I wouldn't have made that itinerary on my own, so she called Air Canada for me to see what she could do. I was put on hold. Pachelbel Canon in D, which I quite enjoy, was the hold music. The song ended, and started again. And again. The travel agent came back to tell me of the new plan:
Depart London 1:30 PM
Arrive Montreal 4:05 PM
Depart Montreal 6:55 PM
Arrive DC 8:49 PM
That makes a lot of sense. She still had to do something, so I was put back on hold. And listened to Canon in D another 3 or 4 times. Once more, she returned to tell me something, and then I was back on hold. All in all, I listened to that song 9 times and was on the phone for 41 minutes.
The good news is that the problem was taken care of. Expedia immediately took the blame and rearranged my flight for me, without charging me any additional fees. Plus, I now have a $50 coupon to use in the next year. Despite this possible catastrophe of being stuck in Canada forever, I still heartily recommend Expedia.
Unfortunately, it might be a while before I can listen to Canon in D and not think of being on hold.
With thanks to Captain Deviance, with whom I was chronicling my phone adventures, I now share this:
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I think the world could use a little more honesty. I'm not saying that we should walk up, unprovoked, to someone and say something that could seem mean. For example, walking up to the ill-dressed woman in the Target and say "You know, those sweatpants don't go with your silk top." You could tell a random stranger you love her hair or something, and that would probably make her day.
We should be honest when it's asked for, especially with our friends and family. I personally would like to know when I've done something annoying or ticked somebody off. Chances are that I've done it unitentionally and would like to make amends. In turn, I could do a better job of telling who has done the same to me.
But we don't. We usually bite our tongues and silently steam until we blow it out of proportion and make it a bigger deal than it ever was. Then, when the offending party asks "What's wrong?", we either say "Nothing" when we're clearly upset or, the classic, "You should know. And if you don't, I'm not telling you."
Communication really is key to making any relationship work, whether it be friends, significant others, colleagues, or family members. A simple "That was mean; I'd rather you didn't tease about that" can go a long way.
Additionally, we should mean what we say or do. Don't act like you like me if you don't. Don't say you liked my chicken if it was actually gross. Do mean it when you say I look nice.
We don't need to nag about the things someone says or does that we don't like, and there can be a delicate balance between occasional reminders and nagging. Also, we don't have to bring up every single thing. It may truly not be worth getting upset or worried about. However, the more we openly discuss our feelings and reactions to things, the fewer shouting matches that will occur.
Talk. Talk a lot. Listen even harder. I hate being told "We need to talk", and I hate having to come to a point where I need to say it. The more two people work together about their relationship, the better their relationship will be.
Now, if there's something you don't like about me or my character, I reserve the right to respectfully disagree. I may not change that behavior completely, but I might avoid doing or talking about it around you. You have the same right.
Finally, don't forget to bring up the positive too. We're all insecure enough as it is, so the more we hear about the good things, the more we'll believe it.
Of course, don't forget to say "thank you." Remember, we're all in this together.
"The race is against [the negative influences in this world], not against each other."
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I should have known that the day was out to get me within the first five minutes. My contact solution is the kind has to neutralize over six hours, and has all sorts of warnings of not getting it in direct contacts with your eyes. The spout itself is red. I've been very good about rinsing with saline solution and going about my merry way.
Until this morning. I was so tired and not paying attention, that I rinsed with the special solution and put my right contact in. My eye burned worse than it did with the peppers. After doubling over in surprise, I tried peeling my eye open to remove the offending contact and rinsing with water and eye drops. When I opened it enough to actually look at it, it was swollen and very, very red. I went back to bed for twenty more minutes. If I don't go blind by the end of the year, simply because my eye care failings, it will be a miracle.
Work today was actually pretty good. Except that I was there until 9 PM. I'm never stayed at this job that late, nor do I think I've ever stayed four hours past my scheduled time at any job unless I was covering for someone. However, I had one of my very rare deadlines, and I was going to get the project done in time. I did! Hooray!
Unfortunately, I did take a 30 minute break to take a midterm I could have done better on. I didn't fail or anything, but it wasn't my best work. I also had to take a flashlight into the depths of the warehouse as I wasn't sure where the light switch was. That was a little creepy.
I also cut my finger so badly on a brad on an envelope (seriously? a brad? come on!) that it bled down my hand. That was fun.
All things considered, it wasn't a bad day. Just very long. And klutzy. That's the second day in a row I've gotten blood on a white article of clothing. I am actually rather pleased at myself about finishing that project. I also really enjoyed listening to lecture on ethics that my professor recommended, and I love my friends and sister.
So my life is still good. And I haven't bled to death yet.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I just added a new link (and a few new people) to my sidebar. They are all worth checking out. If you have a blog and want to be added to my blogroll, let me know! On to the real point of this entry:
A few stats:
- Worldwide, breast cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death
- In 2005, breast cancer caused 502,000 deaths (7% of cancer deaths; almost 1% of all deaths) worldwide.
- Among women worldwide, breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death.
- In the United States, breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer and colon cancer)
- In 2007, breast cancer is expected to cause 40,910 deaths (7% of cancer deaths; almost 2% of all deaths) in the U.S.
- Among women in the U.S., breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second- most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer).
- Women in the U.S. have a 1 in 8 lifetime chance of developing invasive breast cancer and a 1 in 33 chance of breast cancer causing their death.
- Because the breast is composed of identical tissues in males and females, breast cancer also occurs in males, though it is less common.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
And, finally, click on the following link everyday! The number of times that this site is clicked on is added up and donations are made accordingly to pay for a mammogram for an underprivileged woman. This is real, so do it!
Click to Give Free Mammograms!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I have sometimes wondered, as a single person living away from home and working so detached from people as I do, how long it would take for someone to notice if I disappeared. I've concluded it would take at least two or three days. While there are some people I do talk to everyday (namely my mother, and usually Fran), it would take them at least 48 hours to realize they haven't heard from me. For example, I usually call my mom on my way home from work, at least to say hi. Sometimes we talk for five minutes, sometimes it's an hour. I recently didn't call her at all on Sunday or Monday, so Tuesday morning she called just to make sure I was okay. It's nice to know someone cares.
My roommates would probably be the ones to find my body. But since there are days on end we don't see each other, it would likely be three or four days before they realize they haven't seen my lights on/off or music coming from my room. Or more dishes in the sink.
Since I don't work with any one person every day, it would probably take a week for anyone here to miss me. The people in my building would probably assume that I was working somewhere offsite, and teachers who don't get their order when they want usually wait at least a week before they ask again. My administrative assistant (in my boss' building) would probably notice when I hadn't reported my hours.
When you have a lot of time to yourself, you think of these things. I also discussed it with some friends one night, so it's not like I'm the only one who wonders.
This morning, part of this fear was realized. I was sitting at my desk, working and chatting with Reimsy when I noticed there were a few random people gathered in the parking lot. I could see about 5 or 6 people from various departments milling about.
I finally grabbed my jacket to go ask what was going on. As I passed my larger window, I saw that it was actually EVERYONE from my building, not just a few. When I got to the hall, I finally smelled smoke. This was no drill.
Once I got outside and across the parking, everyone was so apologetic for forgetting me. "I passed your door, but I assumed you'd know." "I'll post a sticky note to remind myself to check on you next time." And so on. We laughed about it, and since there was no obviously raging fire, it wasn't too serious. We waited for the fire department to come and find out that there was an electrical problem with one of the light fixtures. (PS - Some of those firemen were cute! Way cuter than anyone in my building.)
Twenty minutes later, I was finally back and able to tell Reimsy about what happened. We were both relieved that it wasn't more serious, or that I wasn't shelving or something and hadn't looked out the window. I'm sure I would have noticed once the fire trucks arrived, but what if had been too late!?
Maybe I shouldn't be alone so much . . .
Monday, October 8, 2007
Ah Conference Weekend, how I love thee. It's a chance to go to church meetings in pajamas, do craft projects, and hear and learn from some wonderful talks. For the LDS singles scene, it's also a good party weekend. I had a delicious breakfast mid-session with my roommates and their friends on Saturday, and a great Girl's Night that evening. Sunday, I enjoyed waffles before the morning session, fondue in between, and babysitting the cutest little boy afterwards. (Okay, so the cute little boy had nothing to do with it, but he's still cute!)
Told ya so. (My apologies for the pixelation.)
Unfortunately, I got a little carried away. At Girl's Night, one of my friends decided she wanted another of our friends to cut her hair. The ends were pretty raggedy, so she handed the very standard issue scissors to the other girl and said "Cut it as short as you want."
Even the "hairstylist" admitted that it ended up shorter than she planned, but between her efforts and those of another girl in our group, it ended up look really cute. Plus, the guinea pig has very curly hair and it's quite forgiving of unevennesss.
I'd been thinking that I needed to trim at least my bangs. They were last cut to be long and side-swept and were super cute. Granted, I paid a lot more for them and a color from a real stylist. I sort of described them to our impromptu stylist and trusted her.
No offense to my "stylist", but that was not the smartest move ever. Thank goodness I wasn't offering the rest of my hair to her - I'm very careful about that, and proud of it's current length and excellent condition. Unfortunately, according to my current hair style, it's 1990.
They just dried that way this morning, all on their own. Nice and poofy. They're too short to flatiron. I'll have to steer clear of Laura Ashley prints and green eyeshadow, so at least most of me looks like I belong in 2007.
I also hope they grow out really, really fast.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
I've mentioned before that I run a library that serves over 500 patrons. Of course, I am the only one assigned to work in this particular library. I am the acquisitions, cataloguing, management, circulation, and reference departments. It can make for some very interesting and different days, and a few boring ones. Overall, I love it. It's a challenge, but I have a great support system.
Unfortunately, I'm not perfect. Surprise! I'm still learning this whole library business, and there is a great deal for me to do and learn. Yesterday, I had a meeting with some of the other librarians in my building (they're in a different department) who have been monitoring my cataloguing work and have found some mistakes. I expected that there were a few things I would be doing wrong. I'm not fluent in MARC or AACR2 yet, though in the past, I've known enough to get by.
So when these two well meaning women came in to tell me what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it, they were very blunt and it freaked me out a little. I suddenly was totally overwhelmed with the magnitude of everything I'm doing and was totally humbled by the fact that I was picked to do this job. Do I really know what I'm doing? Do I really have the training and resources necessary? What were they thinking when they picked me? AAAAGGGGHHHH!!
Overall, the women were very nice. I quickly calmed down and they reassured me that I could do this and they could help. Even if I don't know what to ask sometimes (okay, all the time), they said that just by continuing to talk to them when I see them, they might pick up on something I could do differently and more easily. See what I mean by having a great support system? We went over my mistakes and I very quickly picked up what I needed to change, and it made sense. I guess I do know something after all.
Still, the rest of the day I was fighting my feelings of inadequacy. I was still unsure about whether or not I'm the right person for this project.
Then I talked to Theater Geek. I hadn't yet told him of my morning. We were discussing that tomorrow (now today, in just a few short hours), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
will have a new General Authority. It's not exactly a small responsibility. There will be some changes in leadership, and not only will we have a new General Authority, but also a different First Presidency.
As Theater Geek said, "We can rest assured that someone is feeling very nervous and very inadequate right about now though. :) " I thought of myself and this new GA before he went on, "Imagine . . . going to bed tonight knowing that tomorrow, your name would be presented for sustaining vote as an apostle, Prophet, seer, and revelator."
That gave a little more perspective on things. My problems aren't so bad.
Still, if I were a drinking woman, yesterday would have been a good day for it. Instead, my roommate took me out for a thank you dinner (I organized her part of the kitchen after three months) at Bilbo Baggins , and I got this for dessert.
Coconut creme boulee in a coconut half shell. Divine.
I think I can handle my library after all.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
What is age? Merriam-Webster Online defines age as the length of an existence extending from the beginning to any given time.
Basically, age is a number defining the existence of something over a period of time. Time, as we all know, is relative. Therefore, age must be relative as well.
Age really is just a number. It hardly defines someone's true character. For instance, my best friend, Fran, is 32 years old. (And proud of it, so she's not going to care I that I just told you.) I'm 23. Some might think that would too much of a gap, too big a generational separation. While I was still learning how to read, she was starting high school. That's never stopped us. Occasionally, she'll say something that I can't relate to, but we quickly get over it.
Why is that? What is it really that makes us so similar and easy to befriend one another?
Experience. That's what truly defines who we are. It's what gives us maturity, wisdom, lines around our eyes, and the ability to relate to anyone we come in contact with. Fran and I have had such similar experiences and interests that we clicked almost immediately and our friendship just keeps growing stronger every day.
A few examples:
I turned 20 whilst living in the London. In that year alone, I traveled to 3 other countries (besides the UK and the US), seriously dated two different guys, and graduated from college.
When Fran was 20, she was probably in school and working retail. She and her best friend at the time were still inseparable. (Feel free to correct me, by they way.)
My cousin just turned 20. She's recently married and pregnant, and in her second year at BYU.
Does that make any one of us better from the other? Not at all! Just different. My cousin has talked about becoming a librarian. Should that still end up being her choice in a couple of years, I'll be able to dispense all sorts of wisdom on the subject. But, will I be the one to ask about whether to use Huggies versus Luvs or thumb sucking versus not? Heavens no!
Age means almost nothing. There are 15 year olds who are more world wise than I'll probably ever be, and there are 4o year olds who still live in their mother's basement. My dad never left the country until his mid-forties. Fran's never lived outside of Utah. I've never been married. The 32-year-old guy I went out with last week didn't know how to take care of the check.
I'm 23. I run a library that serves one of the largest school districts in the nation and will have a Masters degree before I'm 25. I think that's pretty cool. I have friends of all ages. I try not to date anyone who is closer to my dad's age than mine, nor will I become really close friends with anyone who is still technically jail bait.
So, what's my point? That we should not discount anyone simply because of how old they are. Once, after apologizing for a small bout of immaturity/stupidity, I was told, by someone barely five years older than I, "We'd worry about it more if you were our age." That seriously stung.
The gap narrows the older we get, and the playing field of experience evens out. I will not immediately dismiss an invitation for a date from someone who's 33, nor should anyone refuse to trust my input or judgment on something simply because I'm a few years younger.
We all have something valid to share with others, no matter our age. I will likely trust a butcher to tell me how to cook a steak more than I will my vegetarian friend Amber, but I would definitely ask Amber about DC night life. It's all relative - we just have to be willing to give people a chance.
And I will rarely be fond of being called "kiddo".