Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why I've developed a very strong dislike for iPads. And realized how convenient they are.

In my job at the library, I am the sole person in charge of the iPad checkout program. This means I keep track of the signed loan agreements, I keep the iPads clean and in good condition, and I wipe and refresh the iPads in preparation for the next checkout. And some days, iPads make me want to scream.
I have never really worked with technology, other than my own iPhone and laptop, which I honestly don't really know anything about. Yet, when I started this job they just threw is at me and and said, "Good luck figuring out Apple products. MWAHAHAHA." No one else knew how to work the program, so they just gave it to me and ran.
I've decided that my main problem with Apple is that they are so simplified and "user friendly" that when there is a problem with a device, then it is impossible to expose the main issue.

I have student employees come ask me questions about how to fix the iPads , and my answer is always a chuckle and "I don't know..." They think I know all the stuff, but in reality I just play around with it until it works and I have no idea what I actually did. And some days I have a line up of multiple iPads that all have different problems that I need to fix and the students just laugh at me because I get so flustered.

Having said all of this, I think iPads, or any tablets really, are a genius bit of useful technology. I always felt that tablets were just useless because between a smart phone and a laptop, why would I need another piece of technology that does the exact same thing. But iPads are so much more convenient than laptops. I've even considered just getting a tablet with a keyboard when my laptop finally dies. Maybe not an iPad... but some sort of tablet.

I've become reminiscent about my adventures with the library iPads because Friday is my last day at the library. I am training one of the students how to troubleshoot the iPads and he's realizing that I really have no idea what I'm doing with them. He asks questions and I give him multiple options that I've tried in my attempt to fix the problem. It's always nice when someone finally appreciates the fact that I'm just make it up when asked for help.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What's in a name?

Maybe it's just in my own naive mind that this is the case, but I feel like people always sound more exciting and adventurous if their name sounds foreign. In my job at the library, I recently came across a book entitled "Travels of Reverend Olafur Egilsson." I don't know about you, but I want to read it because I feel like Olafur Eglisson probably has some excellent stories and has had many travels. But if there was a book called "Travels of Anne Smith" or "Exploits of Bob Johnson" or "Adventures of Jennie Lever," I don't know how many people would pick it up and think that it sounded all too riveting.

I suppose it also helps that Olafur Eglisson has a title. I would probably sound cooler if I had a title like Reverend or Duke or Governor.

But in all reality, I really do think that having a foreign name makes one sound more exciting. It makes me wonder if Adventure of Jennie actually sounds like the title of a fascinating piece of literature to people that don't speak English. In a place where Jennifer is not an outrageously common name, maybe Jennie sounds exotic and exciting. I like the thought of that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why I love benches.

I went on a lovely walk down the Provo River Trail the other day and in typical fashion, I saw a bench that I fell in love with. I have so much love for sitting on benches and for the first time ever I have appropriately verbalized my reasons for that love.

Anywhere I go, I search out well placed benches to sit upon. I don't consciously look for them, but my focus is always drawn to benches when they are present. A well-placed bench brings me back to everything good about the world and about nature.
There are two types of well placed benches: those that best observe nature and those that best observe people. And my favorite benches always combine these two elements. A bench lets you sit and take a break from the world. You sit down and the rest of the world continues to move on around you. A bench gives you the opportunity to become a momentary observer of life, instead of a participant.
I love humans. I know I've said this a lot, but I am just so fascinated by people and the way that they are. I'm fascinated by different socioeconomic levels and how that effects people in every facet of their lives. I'm fascinated by the way that people interact with each other. I'm fascinated by the mere fact that every single human that I encounter has a whole lifetime worth of back story that creates the unique individual that I am now facing. I just plain love humans.
When watching people in a park, it is not out of the ordinary to sit on a bench, so people continue on their way without paying you much notice. This is exactly how I like it, because people act normal when their surroundings feel normal and people are most fascinating when they're not acting at all, they are just being. I could sit on a bench, watching people for hours and just trying to guess their stories and figure out how they got to this moment in their lives.
When there is a bench in the woods or along a trail or in any other variety of natural surroundings, then sitting on this bench always helps me feel at peace. Even just smack in the middle of a quiet forest, I can still take a moment to watch life happen all around me. Nature is amazing and the world is beautiful. Sitting on a bench in nature allows me to quietly ponder life and to appreciate how wonderful it is.
You know what else benches are good for? Having deep meaningful conversations. As I've already said, the environment around benches creates a peaceful feeling, and it is this feeling that creates the perfect situation for talking about the hard things in life. I have had many lovely, insightful conversations while sitting on benches in my lifetime.

Next time you see a bench at the park, just take a seat for a moment.  Soak in the world. Enjoy the nature, enjoy the people. Reach outside yourself and find something beautiful in the world around you. This is the reason I will forever be finding new benches to fall in love with.

Friday, May 2, 2014

HE'S HOME.

So... this happened last Thursday:



 Yes, Ryan has returned from the motherland. He spent an honorable 2 years there serving the Lord and serving the people of Scotland and of Ireland. Check out what we believe and why he was willing to spend 2 whole years of his life teaching it. He grew so much and when you talk to him, you can see that growth and maturity, yet he's still just as ridiculous and silly as he has always been. Our family feels nearly complete with him being back, we just need Adam now. Ryan left this weird gaping hole in our family that could never quite be filled and I am so happy he has returned. He is a best friend that will always be stuck with me for eternity and I feel so blessed.
Also, he put his kilt on the minute he entered the house from the airport. Typical.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Recap of past travels.

I went to the UK last summer.
This is one of those things where time got away from me and it was never blogged about. But that trip was most assuredly the highlight of the last year of my life. And my parents are currently in Scotland picking up my brother from his mission *insert high pitched squeals of jubilation* and all of their pictures have made me reminisce about my own trip. So I will take you through some of the most highlighted parts of my lovely holiday with my lovely friends.
Two of my roommates were going to be in England last summer for academic trips and there was a bit of overlap between when one arrived and the other left, so I decided to join them for some frivolity across the pond. Jenna and I flew over together and had a day just the two of us exploring Kensington Gardens and seeing the sights.


Then we met up with Andee and Jonathan and all of their friends from their program in Oxford. We spent that day exploring the main attractions and then saw Phantom of the Opera that night.


And then it was off to Scotland! We dropped Jenna off at the University of Glasgow for her study abroad, took a quick stop at Loch Lomond, and then headed to Edinburgh. Oh how I wish we could have stayed in this beautiful country for more than just the two days we were there. It is by far my favorite place I've ever visited in my life. So much beauty and so many hilarious, sarcastic, and genuine people. 





One train ride back to London and we arrived at Kings Cross Station. Maybe this was one of those moments of my trip that I was most looking forward to: finding the entrance to platform nine and three quarters. It's fine, I found the Hogwarts Express.

Then we went to freaking Wimbledon! It honest to goodness just so happened that we were in London during the Wimbledon Championships, so obviously we had to take the opportunity to try to go. We had to wake up at 4:45 in the morning to take a train out to Wimbledon and then sit in the standby line (the English call it a queue) to get a ticket. The first 6000 people in line were allowed in first thing int he morning, and we were afraid we wouldn't make it - that's how many people were in this ridiculous queue! But we made it and we got into Wimbledon, never again will I have such an incredible opportunity. And I thought Andee was going to die of excitement/anticipation/happiness.


And we also went to The Harry Potter Studio Tour. Let me run that by you one more time: THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR!!!!! This is where the filmed most parts of the Harry Potter movies and it is where all of the sets and costumes and other props are currently housed. I almost died of happiness during this tour. Jonathan and I were like little kids at this place and Andee graciously allowed us to geek out as much as possible. I think I will do a blog post about this tour one day, so just one pic will suffice.


And then here are some more pics from other random moments of the trip. Like Camden Lock, one of the coolest markets I've ever been too and where I bought the most delicious orange juice in the entire world. That one time when we went to Abbey Road and were the Beatles for a day. And the Tower of London. And watching MacBeth in The Globe Theatre. And St. Paul's Cathedral. And Tower Bridge.








This trip was the real deal. We had a complete blast and we pushed ourselves to the point of exhaustion to see everything we wanted to in the 9 days I was there. You may notice that our group of people we were with was constantly changing, and that was so fun. I was able to meet some fun new people and meet up with some good old friends. Overall, best trip ever. I know it's been nearly 9 months since I was there, but I just had to share the love and the pictures. I am so blessed that I was able to go. And don't you worry, I will be going again sometime in my life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Toot Sweets.

I've given up on sweets.

Not permanently, don't fret. This is a temporary 6-week jaunt. I simply decided that I had eaten WAY too many Cadbury eggs and Lindor truffles in recent months. Also ice cream, lots of ice cream. And so I gave up sweets. I guess technically it's for Lent, because I am indeed following the Lent schedule but since I'm not Catholic and don't actually observe Lent, it's more for health purposes than for religious ones. And it has been an interesting experience. Guys, I get to eat sweets again on April 19th and I AM SO EXCITED.

For the first week or two, I was really struggling. I'm pretty convinced that chocolate is addictive and that I was having withdrawals. I wanted chocolate all of the time. Luckily I had started this endeavor of no sweets with my roommate and she bailed on the second day, so I had some solid motivation to keep on with it so that I could rub my success in her face. Yes, I realize that this is not the best way to motivate myself, but that's what happened and I'm not going to sugar coat it (obviously, because I'm not eating sugar-coated things).
Then the strawberry cake happened. There's a couple of back stories that need to be told to have this all make sense:
1) I just don't like cake. Never real have. I just that in general think it's too dry.
2) I woke my roommate up from a nap and she deliriously rejected all my Friday night fun ideas and wouldn't stop talking about strawberry cake. It was hilarious. So the next day she bought some.
3) Smiths makes a surprisingly delicious looking strawberry shortcake.
So... we had this cake in our kitchen and I was drooling. I justified to myself that with real Lent, the Sabbath is a day without fasting from whatever you've given up, and it was so late on Saturday night that it was practically Sunday. So I did it. I took a bite and it totally wasn't worth it. Honestly, it wasn't even that great of a cake, even as far as cakes go. And I decided to not take any more Sabbaths off from my sweet fast.
It's been an interesting road, and especially difficult the week my pre-ordered girl scout cookies showed up at work the second week of lent. That was real rough, and still is since they are still sitting in my drawer waiting for the week after Easter.

I've learned a lot about my own self control these last weeks and I've learned that some days are way better than others. In general, I haven't eaten sweets, but I've learned that I do way better saying no to other people than I am at saying no to myself. So that's a thing that I should work on.

I can't wait to eat all my Easter candy. It's going to be so much more satisfying now that I've been deprived of sweets for so long.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Good job...s

I've received an array of complaints about the fact that I've never actually said what I'm doing for my job. In THIS post I said that I got a job and then intentionally ended the post without giving details because I thought it was hilarious. But let me just lay it our for you because I actually have 2 jobs, surprise!

I work in the Library on campus. I keep track of budgets and statistics and other various assignments/projects that are deemed necessary for my department. It's a great job and I've learned so much in the 6.5 months I've been there.

And additionally, two months after beginning at the library, I began working at a residential treatment center for teenage girls with emotional and behavioral struggles. This is the best job I could possibly have gotten at this point in my life. I don't even know what to say about how much I love this job and this program and the girls that I work with. I have been inspired to know for sure that eventually becoming a social worker is what I want to be doing with my life.
Basically my job is to help keep the girls in my house safe, make them feel loved, and implement the interventions from their therapists. There's about 15 girls in the house I work in and I have the amazing opportunity to build relationships with each of them and help them process through problems that come up in that moment. There are many different reasons these girls are in residential treatment including: anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, drug abuse, social anxiety, suicidal thoughts, personality disorders, and a lot more. It's been wonderful and eye opening to learn that each person has slightly different issues and needs to be treated differently. I've also had the realization that everyone has problems that they need to work through, whether or not they're in treatment, and these girls are often so much stronger than I am in dealing with their demons. I seriously didn't know I could grow to love people as much as I love my coworkers and the girls I work with. I am so excited to have this affirmation that this really is what I want to do with my life. Maybe I won't always be working in this treatment center, but being a social worker and helping people who just need some extra support in their lives.

For those interested, here's a link to the New Haven blog: http://www.newhavenrtc.com/blog/talking-through-a-crisis/

I know I had far more to say about my treatment job, but let's be serious, that's way more exciting than sitting at a computer in a library for 6 hours a day. But in all reality I love both of my jobs. They have each been a blessing to me in different ways and I have need each of them at this point in my life.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

So much love.

So I'm a bit late with these pictures, but they need to be posted regardless, because I love these people and I love love. A large number of my best friends got married within 4 months of each other (Kaylee back in September, if you remember), and it has been so much fun!
Apparently I'm all about the celebrity couple names, because we did it with Shenna as well. Shawn and Jenna, those cheesy beyond belief lovebirds. They got married back at the end of December and it was beautiful. look at them:





And then if that much love and marriage wasn't enough, two weeks later, we had the marriage of these two crazy kids:


Joel and Andee (no, I never called them Jandee). These two are my best friends. I love them so much. Apparently I was having so much fun on their wedding day that I literally only took one picture, So the last two I stole from Andee's FB (Stephanie Sunderland Photography).
This is my adorable date that I got to look after outside the temple.
This was the most triumphant moment ever. I wanted that bouquet so badly.

Friday, January 3, 2014

And then suddenly 2013 was gone.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
Why yes, I did just quote Ferris Bueller.

Despite the palm licking, borrowing Ferrari's, jumping atop a float and convincing people to let him lip-sync Twist and Shout, and making the whole community think he is dying, Ferris Bueller is actually a pretty smart guy and has a handle on this whole "life" thing. These last 2 months, I have been so caught up in the minute details of my busy schedule and the little things I have to get done each day, and I have forgotten to stop and look around. I've missed the importance of LIFE and the small details that make it exciting and joyous. Let's take a moment to look at another important, and probably more reliable, quote:

"Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life."
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf - find the brilliant talk HERE.

I do this, folks. I unintentionally let my busyness define me and I let it become the focus of my life and my conversation. I rattle off lists of everything I have to do and I sometimes even try to one-up others when they say they are busy. This is not okay! Who is to say that my busy life is any more or less busy than yours? And what makes my busyness something to boast about? Instead of letting it weigh down on me and be the focus of my life, I need to look at the bigger picture and understand WHY I am doing everything I am doing. Being busy is fine, as long as that busyness is for the purpose of helping others or bettering myself or other various positive goals - not just to be busy and impress others or make them feel bad for me.

Okay, Hi. I'm being incredibly reflective and that's boring, you don't need to hear the intricate quirks of my thoughts. But in sum: 2013 was a beautiful year. I learned an unfathomable amount about myself and about the world and about the truth of the Gospel. Some points have been struggles and I've felt kind of lost, but this year I realized that I am 100% capable of just moving on. I've grasped my own independence and gained confidence in moving forward in life.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Calm down. Breathe. Appreciate the beauty around you, even if it's just the wall of your bedroom - there is beauty in that too. Don't miss life.

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