Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Favorite Things

Losing my hose at the close of the day.
End of the month with no bills left unpaid.
Fresh-shaven legs in my silky jammies.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Fresh-smelling laundry. Get it put away!
Smiles when I'm having a really good hair day.
Sleep through the night--a great day does it bring.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Sun through the windows, first thing in the morning.
Warmth in my heart, it's the Spirit I'm feeling.
Feelings I have when of Jesus I sing.
These are a few of my favorite things.

Children with hugs.
My hair not gray.
Dinner made for me.
Briana and Taylor and Landon and Ash,
And Spencer--my family!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

No Matter How Far Away It Is

Amy discussed one of the reasons she loves the internet is that we get to know people who we don't even know.

This morning we learned that last night (or early this morning), there was a HUGE earthquake in Chile. Where Taylor's friend's brother is serving his mission. We are concerned for Elder Crockett. We are also concerned for his parents, brothers, and sisters, who are living in West Jordan, almost as far away from Chile as you can be.

Later this morning we learned that because of this earthquake, there is a tsunami watch in Hawaii, where Jodi's parents live and work. Her dad is the PCC director. I've never met Jodi, but I blog-stalk her, and I love her and her family. My dad knows her dad's brother or something like that.

One of my managers, Leland, is leaving in just a few short weeks to be the facility manager at the PCC. What will a tsunami mean for the PCC? For Brother Orgill? For Leland and Julie?

There are multiple countries under tsunami watch, not just the U.S.'s state of Hawaii (and beautiful Alaska, BTW!). How many families of missionaries do we know? How many children of people living and working in those places do we know?

A terrible earthquake hundreds and hundreds of miles away, and it effects me in myriad ways! We are citizens of the world.

Pray. We all need it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Reason to Admire Them AND A Reason to Roll My Eyes

Editorial Note: I've rolled my eyes so much in the past 24 hours that my eye muscles literally hurt. So take the next with a HUGE grain of salt...

We live in the Jordan School District. Jordan School District was split last year to an east-side district (Canyons) and a west-side district (Jordan). As the economy has plummeted, so has tax revenue, particularly on the west side. And now the Jordan School Board must cut their budget. Drastically.

So their decision is to make cuts in extracurricular activities AND lay off 500 people, 250 of whom will be teachers. The remaining teachers will lose one of their prep periods. All in all, it really STINKS.

On Wednesday night, via text messaging, the high school students in the district organized a walk-out. Basically, the kids went on strike. They left their schools, and many of them went to the district offices to stage a protest.

High school is a wonderful time of learning, and I admire that the kids organized something so quickly, so well, and so peacefully, in support of the teachers they love.

Here's where I roll my eyes: You've organized in solidarity for your teachers by leaving their classes? This seems counter-productive to me. Maybe it's just me.

Now for further eye-rolling: Landon (in middle school) left his school as part of the walk-out. Only he can't walk TO anywhere important. Additionally, his friends told him that they couldn't go back, and he bought it. He did call me, and I told him to go home. Yet more eye rolling: his friends "wouldn't let him go."

Please, please tell me that someday our 13-year-old is going to grow a brain. How about a spine? I know, I know. I'm asking way too much.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Is How I Know

Spring is coming. I know this for a variety of reasons:
1. There were actual birds singing behind the Lion House when I walked past.
2. While it is still VERY cold, we have had actual glimpses of blue sky this week. Blue! Not gray or brown.
3. At the planter by my bus stop there are green shoots of some kind peeking out of the ground. Real life green!
4. The third quarter of school for our three younger children is halfway over.
5. The first half of school for Bri and Tay will be over next week.

And finally (and most importantly)--
6. My eyes itch so bad I'm ready to pull them out of their sockets. Do you know what this means? It means there is something in the air, irritating them. Which means SPRING!!!

The way I see it, spring is a sign that God's promises are sure. Because if there really is life after winter, what can't/won't He do?

I rest my case.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It Took HOW Many Phone Calls?

Landon has a raging ear infection. I was already scheduled to take the afternoon off, so I opted to take the entire day so I can get him to the doctor BEFORE Parent-Teacher Conferences this afternoon.

I called JW. Then LM. Then JB. Then DC. Then MS. Then KS. Then DM. Yup, that's how many people I'm checking in with until they can get the job on 2LL filled.

(Which, with any luck, will happen by the end of the week.)

(And yes, I know that last was not a full, complete sentence. But who talks in complete sentences, anyway?)

(Getting random. Going away now.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The New Job

It's been quite a week. To re-cap:

They have not hired my replacement on 2LL, so I am doing double-duty between the two jobs and accomplishing exactly nothing.

We had an early meeting on Thursday, and I needed to print approximately one rain forest worth of "stuff." I saved it for the end of the day so I wouldn't hold up everyone else's print jobs. And then the printer kept jamming. I was there till 6:15 getting everything printed.

Wednesday I had a meeting with 4 men: 2 are managers I am now supporting, one is a neighbor from our stake and a nice man, and the other is a PIG (other than that, I have no opinion). I bit my tongue practically in two, and after our meeting he told one of my managers that he thinks Aundrea doesn't like him. When I was told I thought, "You have no freaking idea!" And when I came home on Wednesday I told Spencer that in 6 months' time I would either have no job or no tongue.

At the Thursday meeting, the director announced that one of my managers has been asked to be the director at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii for 2 to 3 years. He will leave in April. His obvious replacement is a man who is currently serving as a mission president, but who worked with us before he left. Let's just say that his bedside manner leaves something to be desired. He will be home in June. After a day of stress and an evening of tears (but no tears at work!!!!), I realized that I felt calm about accepting this position, and this is no reason to question that feeling of calm.

Friday I had a the best-ever conversation/devotional with one of the other managers.

Tomorrow is the beginning of another week. It's all going to be OK.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Awesome Gift

My friends Tayler and Jessica just had a much-needed runaway together. They went to Vegas (who knows why?). And Tay called me Monday and said, "Hey, you can't go to Vegas without going to the M&M store. And you can't go to the M&M store without thinking of Aundrea. So we got you a gift." This is what I got. It's a magnet, so I can put it up on my steelcase for everyone to see. And be warned, if necessary.

Today I feel confident. In case you were wondering.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guardian Angels on Overtime

About 6 weeks ago we had a fire scare. It involved a kiln, some mistakes made, an angry son, and a near-miss. Thankfully, all was well after that scare, but it shook Spencer up quite a bit. It was just a silly mistake, but it could have cost our home or some lives. We were immediately sure that we had been blessed because we paid our tithing (it's interesting what the Holy Ghost can tell you); and my dad said that the kiln-turn-off angels' names are probably Bessie and Layne.

This week I had put some beans on the stove to simmer so we could have taco soup for dinner. I didn't think anything of it, since Bri was home. Briana ended up running out the door for a work shift without thinking about the beans. But it was OK because Ashtyn was home (sick again). Ashie, however, fell asleep (it's what sick people do). The next thing she knew, Bella was licking her face (a BIG no-no) and would not stop, even when she tried to push her away. Bella was coughing like crazy. When Ash finally woke up enough to really get after Bella, she realized that the house was FULL of smoke. Not a single one of the 8 smoke detectors in our house went off. But when she ran upstairs, from the top of the stairs she could not see our kitchen table, about 5 feet away, the smoke was so thick. When she got to the stove, the pan was flaming. She was able to turn off the stove, get the lid on the stove, and get the house opened up; but it scared her more than anything else in her life. It scared me terribly, too, when I think what might have happened to Ashtyn if Bella had not been there.

And now our house smells like one huge ashtray.

If we had lost the house and/or the other stuff in the house it would have been sad and tragic. But if we had lost Ashtyn we would never get over it.

So we are in the midst of disaster recovery. We're cleaning all surfaces in sight. The laundry is literally a mountain.

I came to work the next day and hung up my coat on 2LL, then went up to 8. When I came back downstairs, the office smelled like a campfire--so sorry! I was telling Mike (one of my wonderful managers, and the group manager over plumbing and mechanical services) what had happened, and he said, "They make charcoal filters to help get the smell out. Let me see if I can locate a residential filter." He came back out and said he'd been talking to Kim (the mechanical shop lead), who said, "Why don't we find her an ozone machine?" So Kim called the vendor, who said, "Come pick it up. She can take it home for the weekend." Kim asked how much it would cost, and the vendor said, "I trust you. If you trust her, then there is no charge." So Mike sent one of the men to the vendor to pick up an ozone machine for us to use.

We locked Bells out of the house and took off ourselves for several hours while we ran the ozone machine. It helped immensely. That, along with more cleaning and some baking of goodies made it so Ashie felt like she could have her friends over for their Sweethearts pity party. Some can smell smoke instantly (one of Ash's friends came in and said, "Ashtyn, no offense, but your house smells like a casino") and others think we're just cooking something.

A couple of thoughts:
1. Who is going to take care of me when I leave 2LL? (Yes, there were tears of gratitude.)
2. How many strikes do you get with fire scares? Three, and you're out?

Good news is that Landon has left the "fire drawer" (where we keep matches, lighters, and candles) COMPLETELY alone since our first scare. Better news is that everyone is safe.

And--in spite of still needing to replace flooring in the bathroom--Bella has redeemed herself!

Happy Valentine's Day

We gave our children (and ourselves!) gratitude journals this year. For reference, read President Eyring's awesome talk.

I thought our kids would be very disappointed in this gift--it's not traditional candy fare for Valentine's Day. After we opened little valentines from one another, everyone opened and read the talk first. And then they opened their journal gifts, which we had embossed with "_________ is Thankful." And they all gasped and acted like this was the coolest thing ever.

Which is one of the many reasons why I love our family.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's Laugh at Me

Hello, my name is Aundrea Hill, and I am addicted to "The Biggest Loser."

Some of you will recall that I never watch television. (I admit to watching "American Idol" for a short time last year. It got old.) In December I went downstairs to see what Landon was doing and maybe hang out with him for a few minutes. He was channel surfing, and we stopped at "Loser." By the end of the show, I was completely, utterly, totally, incurably, and disgustingly hooked!

Here's the thing. There are all these really large, unhealthy people. They all have different issues, emotionally and psychologically, that have eventually all brought them to think that they are unworthy of anything good. And they turn to food. Bad food. And it's bad for their bodies--it makes them diabetic and makes their joints hurt and makes them fat. And then--because they don't feel good--they feel more poorly about themselves. And they turn to food. Again. And again and again and again. Until they are, like, 300 or 400 or 500 pounds. 500 pounds!!?!! So finally something kicks them in the backside and they end up a fat contestant, hoping to be called "The Biggest Loser." Most of these people would probably love the quarter-million-dollar prize, but I think they mostly just want to feel good for once in their lives.

Enter Aundrea (and a lot of America). Yup, I'm just a voyeur. A fat-people-who-are-hurting-in-many-ways voyeur.

Last night they took the contestants to the Olympic training facility in Colorado. They got to meet several athletes and nutritionists, etc. And one of the athletes stands in front of the camera just before commercial break begins and says, "OK, America. Spend this commercial break doing lunges like this."

So I say to Ashie and Lando (my Loser buddies), "Let's not be couch potatoes. That defeats the purpose. Here we go! Let's lunge!" So we spend the next 5 minutes doing lunges. And at the next commercial break we did leg lifts. Then platforms. And stretches. ANYWAY--I was a bit achy by the end, but feeling fairly cool.

Then Briana gets home from school and says, "Hey, Mom, since you'll be working the later shift now (because of my new job), let's get up in the morning and go to the gym." How can you say no to a daughter whose health you've been worrying over?

This morning Bri, Landon, and I left the house at 5:15, got to the gym by 5:30, and worked out for 30 minutes. I jogged a mile in the basketball gym, then did a mile and a half on the treadmill (interval training). After I showered and got ready, Bri took me to the bus, where I thought, "Ya know, I should walk up and down those steps to the 8th floor at least once each day."


I made it to the 5th floor. My lunge-aching quads were shaking, my heart was racing, my lungs were burning, and I was sucking air big time.

And I'm thinking, "If Mike can do a last-chance workout weighing 500 pounds, I should be able to walk these dang stairs!" and "Darrell made it through that quarter-mile lap on the challenge, and he's over 300 pounds. I should be able to walk up one more step."

But I can't. So I got off the stairs and caught the elevator to go up the last three floors.

I. Am. Pathetic. What a loser...

A New Job

My beautiful friend, Tahnee, got a dream chance to join the designers in the Temple Department, so that left a senior secretary opening on the 8th floor. The last time this came open I did not apply--I'm already a senior secretary, working with people I love, doing things I've really enjoyed. This time, however, it happened to come at a time when I'm ready for a bit of a challenge and a change. So I applied, and I got the job.

The men and women on 2LL have been very kind--sad that I'm leaving (I've even been lectured a few times) but very, very supportive of my opportunity. I'm sad to leave all my brothers (because that's how I think of them), but excited about the people I'll be working with on the 8th floor (more brothers!).

My 2LL manager is out of town this week, so it's kinda quiet down here. So I started some training yesterday on 8, and I will split my time between the two places for a while until they fill the vacancy I'm leaving. The job got posted yesterday. (Side note: The Church is in a hiring freeze, so most openings everywhere in the Church are being filled internally. They got approval to post this position externally. So if you know any secretaries who are interested, check out the jobs on And hurry--it will move relatively quickly.)

This is not a promotion for me. It did not come with a pay increase. It's just a change. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest.

Sorry, no pictures! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hey! Look at Me!

Do I look like a new secretary? That's because I am!

Hooray for new jobs, new beginnings, and challenges! (Wish me luck.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Metaphor, I Think

The endowment session in the Salt Lake temple is done live, rather than with a film. I love going to the Salt Lake temple because I love the moving around, the personalities of the temple workers, the fact that the lights stay on, etc.

Yesterday our session was as full as it could be. There were literally a hundred or more people there, most of whom had been to the temple before, probably many times. And one of the ordinance workers did something wrong.

I thought, "Isn't it supposed to be opposite of that?" But I followed the leader, like a pretty little white sheep. And no one else said anything, either.

Until another ordinance worker, a woman, walked quietly over to her husband (a third ordinance worker). She whispered quietly in his ear. And he walked over to the first ordinance worker and whispered in his ear, who flushed. Then humbly he walked back to the front of the room and acknowledged that he had made a mistake which needed to be corrected. And he led us all through that section of the endowment again.

And it was beautiful. And calm. And OK.

I love the temple!

Filling in the Holes

I assume that you are like me, and you have to be reminded again and again; and sometimes you do well and other times, not so well. At whatever.

About a week ago I picked up my scriptures. I opened them. I read them. By choice. Another choice I made was NOT to read 1 Nephi again. It's not that I don't love Nephi, but every time I get bogged down in 2 Nephi I get discouraged and then I miss out on all the rest of the Book of Mormon.

This week I finished Moroni, and I am halfway through Ether.

I'm trying not to JUST read, even though that's really what I'm doing. But I'm getting something out of my reading, too.

And it feels like someone or something just filled in a little hole in me. Maybe it's a big hole. But it feels good to have something filling it.

Yesterday Spencer and I went to the Salt Lake Temple, where our neighbor and ward member, Mary Kay, was receiving her endowment. We counted about 31 people there from our ward. And it felt like this must be what heaven feels like--to see so many people we love.

And that filled in a hole, too. Holes I didn't even realize I had; but holes, nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Is It May Yet?

I am freezing. To death. My Cozy Legs (also known as an "under-the-desk-space-heater-thingie") is on high. My legs and feet are wrapped in a (very cute) fleece blanket. My sweater is on. My hair is long and hanging around my neck.

And as for Mr. Groundhog's prognostications today? Here is what Donna Henes (whoever she is) at the Huffington Post (wherever that is) had to say:

OK. Now pay attention. This is how it works: if the groundhog sees his shadow, it means that there are still six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, it means that spring is only six weeks away.


There are always six more weeks of winter. Spring is always six weeks away. That is why we mark the day in the first place. To remind us that winter is half over. Despite whatever prognostication the groundhog might make, spring is never early, never late. Spring always starts exactly on time -- on the Vernal Equinox six weeks hence. But first we have to finish winter.

I hate Donna Henes. Call me when it's spring.