Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Deseret News and My Commentary:

Q: What should I do about this situation?

My parents surprised us with the news that they’re leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church they raised us in. They love the gospel, but feel like the people in their ward mistreat them, and have always mistreated them, and I guess this is the only solution they can think of.
Now my older siblings are angry with them (my parents) and have decided that if they don’t go back to church, then they (my siblings) won’t go home for the holidays. My parents are very hurt, and this is just hardening their hearts even more. I want to go home and I want everyone else to be there too, my siblings, their kids, it’s not home without all of us — even if things are tense.

I’ve voiced this opinion to my siblings who have said that if I go home it’s like I’m condoning their actions, which makes me “just as bad as they are.” I’m not happy about my parents' decision, but regardless, I love them and really look forward to my school breaks so that I can see them. 
A: (From Angela, at Deseret News)

Man, your siblings are being really harsh. I could write a bunch of flowery stuff about how I’m sure they’re hurting and this must be a difficult adjustment period for your family but “Just as bad as they are?” Really? Ouch.
Don’t listen to them.
Go home and love and enjoy your parents. Support them, make breakfast with them, watch TV with them, teach them about Twitter and complain about the government shutdown with them. Take moments to try to uplift them where they are weak but show them that your love for them “never faileth.”
I just read your question again and “condoning” is really an interesting word choice on the part of your siblings. In a way, you are condoning your parents’ behavior. You’re allowing them to live and struggle (as is often the case in life) without condemning them for it.
The best thing you can do is remain a positive, influential and wonderful part of their lives.
Don't be angry with your siblings, either. Pray for the power not to take offense. Hopefully your siblings will follow your example.

To me, the WHOLE POINT of earthly existence is to learn to love (not just the feeling, but the action).  I realize that we needed a body and there are tests.  But God could have created billions of tiny little worlds and said, “Right now it’s Aundrea’s turn.  After her, it will be Briana’s turn,” and we would all have had bodies and ready-made tests.  But no.  He put us into families first and into a world FILLED with people.  Why?  So we could figure out how to get along with people, and ultimately, get along with Love.  That is the Savior’s great example.

I recently had a conversation with Landon about this very thing.  He is concerned about his choices because of what I will think of him or how I will treat him.  I’m glad of that.  If “My mom would be disappointed” keeps him from making poor choices, I’m glad.  But I reassured him that NOTHING he ever does will make me stop loving him.  Ever.  I might be hurt, angry, or disappointed; but I will NEVER stop loving him. 

Therefore (and I didn’t voice this part), if going to church (or not going) becomes a fight, it is a battle he will win.  I never want the Church or anything else to come between the love Landon and I have for each other.  So far he pouts a bit, but he doesn’t fight us about going to church.  If he starts fighting, I will cave.  It’s just not worth it.  The fight would make it a war I am unwilling to engage in.

The two most important things in my life (which aren’t things, of course) are my family and the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes my membership in the Church.  I want those two things to be interrelated; but if they are not, it will not stop either of them from being important to ME.

I love you!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Latest Pinterest Project

What was pinned

What I did

These cute little guys went to our missionary in Calgary.  They're filled with goodies.  :)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013 -- The Year of AwesoME. Part 2

I had three large goals for this year:  run a half marathon, hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim, and graduate with my MBA.

You should know that I am not an athlete.  I never have been an athlete.  I never will be an athlete.  If it involves, throwing, catching, hitting, jumping, running, kicking or anything else that involves any kind of coordination, I cannot do it.  Really.  I can't.  I'm one big clumsy oaf.

Nor is my body a thing of beauty.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my body.  But there is nothing remarkable about me physically.  I am not beautiful.  I don't have long sinewy legs.  I've never been particularly lean (though I've also never been particularly fat).  I'm just basically a very nice average person.

Does anyone wonder, then, why two of my goals were so physical?  Besides me, I mean.

Well, y'all, guess what?  I finished #2 this week!

Here's a little timeline:

June 2012 -- Janece tells me about Phantom Ranch and how it is a bucket list item of hers to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim.  So I say, "I would do that with you!"

July 2012 -- Janece says she is going to try to get reservations for Phantom, but they are taken 13 months in advance.  I tell her to count us in (see how I did that to Spencer?).

August 2012 -- After 1 1/2 hours of dialing and re-dialing, Janece finally gets hold of Phantom Ranch to try to get reservations for September 2013.  They are already sold out.

September 2012 -- Janece and two other friends spend the morning dialing and re-dialing, and Laurie gets reservations for nine of us for October 2013.

January to September 2013 -- I run nearly every day.

June to October 2013 -- Janece and I climb 32 flights of stairs twice a week.

July 2013 -- Janece, Spencer, Landon, Devin (Landon's friend), and I climb Mt. Olympus.  I wonder what I was thinking to agree to do this.

September 2013 -- I successfully run a half marathon.

October 1, 2013 -- The U.S. Government "shuts down."  All national parks are closed until the government leaders can somehow reach agreement about the national budget.  Arizona and Utah top the states who offer to pay to keep their national parks open.  Eventually the federal government gives permission for this to happen, but it will only be in effect till October 18.  Finally the government shutdown ends, and we are a "Go" for the Grand Canyon!

Friday, October 18, 2013 -- Aundrea gets an infection, sees the doctor, and starts taking antibiotics, which are marked "Avoid direct sunlight while taking this medication."  We purchase two backpacks (I know, nothing like preparedness, right?) and trail food.  We pack till nearly midnight.

Saturday, October 19, 2013 -- Spencer and I left home at 7:15 a.m. so we could be at Janece's by 8:00.  We put our packs and our bodies into her Toyota Corolla and headed for Arizona.  We stopped for a little bit at the Best Friends animal shelter, which I think our kids would enjoy seeing.  We didn't go see all the animals, but we watched their video and just had a nice rest stop.  From there we drove to Jacob Lake.  Janece and her brother, Scott, drove to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for the sunset, while Spencer and I hung out and then had dinner with our "son," Logan Gifford.  We went to bed once we'd looked at the stars, taken some pictures, bought me a new pink coat, and played a couple of rounds of Hollywood Rummy.  I think it was 8:30 when we called it a night.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 -- We reloaded Janece's car, then Spencer, Scott, and I went into Jacob Lake lodge for a nice breakfast.  As soon as breakfast was over, we drove to the North Rim Kaibab Trail entrance.  Janece's car said it was 29 degrees outside.  We bundled up in coat and gear, and got onto the trail around 8:45 a.m.  Then we walked.  We took pictures.  Repeat a lot.

Seven miles from the trail head we stopped at Cottonwood Campground for lunch.  It was about 1:00 p.m.  We knew we had a very slow pace, so Janece and I decided that in the interest of safety it would be better if she and I just stayed on the main trail to Phantom Ranch.  Scott and Spencer, however, really wanted to go to Ribbon Falls.  So they took off together, while we girls stuck together.  The boys caught back up to us, and I have say that I was really starting to be fatigued.

Finally I realized that if I let it go much longer I was not going to be in good shape.  So I said to Spencer, "I am very fatigued.  My legs don't want to move.  I just want to curl up here and go to sleep, but I know it would not be good to be stuck here in the dark.  I am mildly nauseated.  Help me know what to do."  We stopped and he had me eat some dried apricots.  He looked at my legs, and they were EXTREMELY red and sore, like sunburn, only I'd been in long pants all day.  We figured that the medication for my infection had probably caused some of that, exacerbated by my knee braces.  Spencer wanted to massage my legs, but it was like rubbing sandpaper on a sunburn.  Then we plodded on.  Spencer took some of the articles from my pack and put them into his.  We walked for a very long time.  And then we walked some more.  Spencer would call ahead to me, "Take a drink, Babe," or "Have another apricot."  I got feeling quite a bit better, but I was seriously so tired!  At 6:15 we hiked into Phantom Ranch.

Our dinner was at 6:30.  They fed us stew, cornbread, and salad.  And chocolate cake.  Everyone talked about how delicious it was.  I know the stew was pretty spiced with pepper and bay leaf, but it was all I could do to lift a spoon to my mouth.  :)  Once dinner was over, I went to our dorm, took a quick shower, and went. to. bed.

Monday, October 21, 2013 -- At 4:30 a.m. a Phantom Ranch employee knocked on our door with a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.  A few people got up then for 5:00 a.m. breakfast.  I went back to sleep.  At 6:30 Phantom Ranch rang the 6:30 breakfast bell.  I went back to sleep.  :)

When I finally got up, I took my time getting ready for the day, then went to the men's dorm for Spencer, who also had just gotten up.  We ate some breakfast together, then did some wandering.  Except for my sore, faux-sunburned legs, I was tender but doing much better.  We visited with the other members of our group, who did their hike south-to-north.  John and Shauna used to be in the ward Janece lived in.  Laurie is Shauna's sister and Rich is Laurie's husband.  Laurie and Rich live in Montana.  It was nice to make new friends, but the four of them stayed grouped for things while Janece, Scott, Spencer, and I made up another group.

That afternoon all eight of us decided to take the River Trail hike, which was only a couple of miles and not strenuous.  We passed some Hopi Indian ruins as well as the only sanctioned burial in the Grand Canyon (a man who was killed during a blast while making the trail).  We hiked along the Bright Angel Creek to the Colorado River, over the Black Bridge, downriver a ways (we watched a river run trip for a few minutes), across the Silver Bridge, and back to camp.

We sent postcards to our kids (they haven't arrived yet), had some "Lemmy" (Phantom Ranch's lemonade) and some M&M's.  Then, blessing of all blessings! Spencer made arrangements for the mules to take my pack out of the Grand Canyon the next day.  We put as much of our gear into my pack as we could, leaving his for water and last items we needed to carry.  We filled all our water packs (Camelbacks and hand-held water bottles) so we were completely ready for the next day.  We went to a fun ranger talk which was formatted like a game of Jeopardy, where we learned a lot.  We went to Bright Angel Creek and soaked our feet in the numbingly cold water (it was HEAVENLY).  We had a lovely and much more lively steak dinner at the Ranch.

Tuesday, October 22 -- We had gone to bed early again.  Scott and Spencer had the 5:00 a.m. breakfast, but Janece and I opted to eat our trail food and get on the road, knowing the men would catch us before we were very far.  She and I dropped my pack off for the mules, then turned on our headlamps and took off.  It was still full night when we left at 5:15ish, and it was seriously beautiful to watch the stars and the moon as we walked.  The men caught us just as we had decided it was light enough for us to turn off our headlamps.  Spencer and I stopped for a picture of the river, and both Scott and Janece were long gone.  Scott was a VERY fast hiker.  He made it out of the canyon in about 4.5 hours.  We thought we would catch up with Janece, but she never appeared, so we figured she had made it up ahead of us.  It turned out that we had passed her while she was in a restroom or something.  We beat her to the top by about 2 hours (it took us about 6 hours even).

You guys, this hike was in.cred.i.ble.  The bottom half (4.5 miles) was uphill with a few strenuous stretches and switchbacks, but nothing too hard.  But the view!  And we had the blessing of doing this as the sun came up into the canyon, illuminating it piece by piece.  We kept thinking we'd have to turn a corner and we'd lose our view, but no.  Each time we turned a switchback, we'd look and have our breath taken away again.  It was seriously so beautiful that we kept trying to find words to describe it, and nothing seemed like enough.  Majestic.  Awesome.  Breath-taking. Expansive.  Vast.  Glorious.  Huge.  Beautiful.  Gorgeous.  Amazing.  There's just nothing that adequately described it.

Wednesday, October 24 --  We caught a shuttle back to the North Rim (where our car was).  That took 4.5 hours.  We drove an hour back to Jacob Lake for lunch, then started the 5 hour journey home.  Arrived back to our safe family, lovely home, and my blessed pillow!  :)

I'm so grateful we went on this trip!  Actually, more than anything, this feels like a gratitude trip for me.  What a lovely world we live in!  I'm so glad we had the means to do this (both economically and physically), and I'm so glad the park was re-opened just in time.  Our weather could not have been more perfect, and the autumn colors with the colors of the rock were all splendid.  The stars were out in full force, and we saw the Milky Way for the first time in MONTHS.  We had beds, bedding, toilets and showers.  Everyone was well, including me.  Part of me is a little disappointed in myself for not being able to pack everything all the time.  Most of all, though, I'm so grateful for my sweetheart, who never abandoned me, who never made me feel like I was a burden, who quietly and graciously took care of me.  We laughed together.  We worked together.  We took pictures and laughed some more.  We played games.  We oo'd and ahh'd over the amazing gift that we had to be on this trip.  We talked about our kids.  We prayed together.  It was a glorious, glorious trip in every single way.  I'm so glad we did both rims.  I'm so glad we spent a full day in the bottom of the canyon.  I was so grateful to not have that infection (because of antibiotics), and I was so grateful for the freezing cold water on my burning legs (because of antibiotics).

They felt as nasty as they look!
We saw a fox in camp.  During our hike in, Janece and I saw one of the large Kaibab squirrels.  We saw a ringtail in camp (not even scared of us at all, of course).  We saw deer and elk and even a blue bird.  We saw agave and yucca and other cacti.  We saw wild flowers and millions of trees and shrubs and grasses.  We saw ancient American pictographs.  We met people from all over the world (Japan, Germany, Australia, Britain, France, Canada, Mexico, and MANY places in the US).  And seriously, you just can't believe the expanse, the vastness, or the majesty of the Grand Canyon till you see it.  Seriously, people.  Pictures can't do it justice.

Also, I'm not a photographer.  Just hand me a PHD (push here, dummy) camera, and you get what you get. Here's some of what I got.

Scott, Janece, me, Spencer

At our cabin at Jacob Lake.  I love this man!

Spencer, me, Logan

This is maybe my favorite of all the pix I got.  This is Janece.

North rim 

I was enthralled by the water, and wanted a picture of this...

...but my husband photo-bombed the picture!

Daddy, can you see the face?

Another favorite picture.  Look at the colors!

Gravesite near Phantom Ranch

Indian ruins along River Trail

The Colorado River
More pictures in another post.  Blogger's fighting me right now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Anyone Can Run A (Stupid) Mile!

Yesterday I returned home to find a card addressed to me.  I did not recognize the address.  When I opened it, I found:

Studies have shown that a very small percentage of the world's population can run 13.1 miles.
(We're so proud to know one of them!)

This wonderful card came from my friend's mother.  She is a fabulous person, and her assertion that anyone can run a mile has become a mantra for me while I'm running.  I think she's a nut, because NOT anyone can run a mile.  But if she says so, I probably can.  :)

Monday, September 23, 2013


I am the Primary chorister in our ward.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this calling.  It's seriously the dream calling, which I didn't appreciate when I had it 25 years ago, so I thought I'd never again get to do it.  And then I got called and I just wanted to turn cartwheels all the way home.

We only have about 30 children in our Primary.  It's small, and if any family is gone, we feel the hurt in our numbers.  The good news is that I know all 30 of those wonderful young people, and no kidding, I just adore them.  I don't think their parents could possible love them any more than I do (maybe as much, but not more).

After our opening exercises, Brother C and I go to nursery for singing time in there.  They are just babies, mostly, but after just two months they are already beginning to open up to me.  They already ADORE Brother C, who loves them back and who takes the lead during nursery.  After nursery we go back to Primary for the last couple of minutes of Sharing Time.

Yesterday Sister A finished Sharing Time and said, "Okay, let's get ready for singing time!"  About three little voices all said, "Yay!"  Annie said, "It's just so fun!"

First of all, the children can't have any more fun than I am having.  Going to Primary is not a job--it's play time!  I love the children.  I love the music.  We play games.  We talk about the gospel.  We feel the spirit of the Lord.

Secondly, every person ought to have the kind of support in their callings that I get in mine.  Not only does the Primary presidency love me, but the kids call out, "Yay!" when I get there.

What if we all gave a shout when someone performed their calling?

It should happen to everyone at least once, I think.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Channeling. Or Something.

On my dad's side of the family, I am the oldest grandchild.  Until I was nearly 4 1/2, I was the only granddaughter.  To say I was loved and spoiled by my grandma would be a huge understatement.  She adored me her whole life, and I loved her, too.

Grandma was a fabulous person.  She could make a feast out of leftovers.  She was an amazing musician, playing piano by ear beginning when she was just 3 years old.  She loved Lawrence Welk.  She loved Rose Milk (which was a hand lotion advertised during the Lawrence Welk show).  She always kept Jergen's and Rose Milk at the sink in the kitchen and in the bathroom.  Anyone could use the Jergen's, but the Rose Milk was hers alone.  She smelled like roses.

Grandpa had built a little playhouse for my aunt (who is just 6 years my senior), and only the girls were allowed to play in there.  My cousin and I spent HOURS at a time in that little playhouse.  Grandma would come to the door multiple times while we were playing.  One time she's have fresh lipstick on and her purse over her arm.  She was the Avon lady, and she'd come sit on the "couch" (a bench seat from a car) and rub lotion into our hands or apply lipstick or eye shadow to our faces.  One time she'd put on her apron (truthfully, she probably already had it on) and bring us lunch to eat at the little table.  One time she'd just be Grandma, coming over to visit her "ladies."

My grandma got cancer when I was just a young girl.  It seemed like she was sick and old for a very long time.  She was only 73 when she died in 1996.  I was sad to lose my sweet grandma, but I was glad she wasn't sick and weak any more.

My grandma had her temple recommend renewed just a week or two before she died.  She was unable to attend the temple, but it was important to have her recommend.  I think of her each time I renew my recommend.

My grandma was the world's greatest penpal.  She literally had hundreds of pen friends, back in the days before email.  She was my penpal, too.  Starting when I was a little girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old), we exchanged letters.  Hers were always filled with the happenings of the day:  she hung the laundry, she had her hair done, she went visiting teaching, she played the piano at a funeral, etc., etc.  It was fun to get her letters because you felt like you had been standing right there in her kitchen for the day.  Grandma kept writing clear till she died.  The last letters and cards I received were illegible, but they meant the world to me because I knew she was thinking of me.

Grandma took a walk every day.  When I was little she'd walk around the block.  When her health started to decline, she'd walk to the corner and back.  After a while, it was to the end of the driveway and back.  At the end, she walked to the back door and back.  I admire the fact that she never stopped living until she died, even though it would have been easy to curl up in bed.  She took a walk every day.

Grandma was the tidiest woman you'll ever meet, almost to a fault.  She was also very thrifty.  Grandma's whole body shook when she laughed.  She loved her children and grandchildren.  I inherited my hairy arms through my dad from my grandma (I hated that as a kid.  Now I don't really care.).  She'd invite me to come sit on her lap till I was about 12 years old.  Grandma loved to read, and she passed that to my dad, and he (and Mom) passed it on to me.  Grandma could sing alto and tenor.

I was pregnant with Landon when Grandma died.  Our children don't really remember her, and the memories Briana has are of a scary old lady.  That makes me sad, but it's understandable.

When Grandma had been gone for 6 or 8 months, I sat down at the piano one day to play.  That day I could feel my grandma all around me, and honestly, I could miss a note if I tried.  I hadn't played that well in AGES, and I've never played that well since.  It was a beautiful and sacred moment in time to sit privately with my grandma and the music.  While there have been times when I wouldn't be surprised to learn she was there, I've never felt her presence that strongly since then.

Until the past few days.  Nothing really extraordinary is happening, but I just feel her here with me every once in a while throughout the day.  It's a lovely, loving feeling.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Feeling Gratitude Among the Burdens

Life right now is good for me and my family.  I stress out fairly easily these days, and I have to talk my way through the stress because usually it's just stress, not crisis.  Gratitude helps me to put my life into perspective and to remember just how good I have it.

This has been an extraordinary week for me in that many of the people I love have faced TERRIBLY difficult challenges that I cannot even begin to imagine surviving.  In every circumstance I have felt completely at a loss.  What can I do?  What can I even say?

My dear friend Dave buried a grandchild last week.  That 4-year-old was born when I worked with Dave.  I've never met that little guy, but his baby picture stole my heart.  I knew that his mother (Dave's daughter) has had some struggles.  My heart aches for her, and my heart aches for Dave and his wife.  They not only had to bury a cherished grandson but they have to SOMEHOW help their daughter survive.  How do you even do that?

I learned last week that another of my sweet 2LL friends has a granddaughter--whose mother has also had many struggles--who has been fighting for her life for nearly 5 months.  I finally got to speak with him today, and he was tender and emotional about the baby and about their sweet daughter.

Another friend is going through a heart-breaking divorce.  Another has an incredibly ill child.  Another learned that her cancer is back.

I've tried to do what I could for these people I love.  Words of love on FB, phone calls, emails.  Movie nights and more phone calls.  Hugs and cards and tears. Prayers and more prayers and more and more prayers. And other than that, I can't do anything.  It is heart-breaking and gut-wrenching and sad and worrisome.

And through it all, I can't get over how incredibly blessed I am.  Right. This. Minute.

The rain is glorious, as is the sky (whether blue or gray).  Our home is safe.  My body is healthy.   Our dog loves us.  Our kids are happy.  We have good employment.  The gospel is beautiful and true.  Children laugh.  I have a lipstick I love; also a necklace and a skirt.  The list could go on and on and on.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013: The Year of AwesoME. Part 1

A long time ago, Briana and I went to Wasatch Running to get some good shoes.  There was a van there that had a bumper sticker on it that said Determined Enough to Run a Half; Not Stupid Enough to Run a Full.  At that time, I decided that "someday" I was going to run a half marathon.

Running has taken a serious back burner since I started in school, but I decided there was no more putting it off.  That half marathon was to happen THIS YEAR.  So in January I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Half and I had Spencer make me a training schedule.  I have not been 100% faithful in my running, but I've been fairly consistent.  Three weeks ago I did a 10-mile run around our neighborhood, and no kidding, it was awful.  I was miserable, I had to walk the last 1.5 miles home, and my knees and feet were killing me.  That was such a downer, and I haven't been running since.  But there was no way I was going to have worked for 8 months and not do that half.  My goal in the beginning was to be able to run the entire distance.  My goal this month turned into "Do the distance."

Today was the big day!  I was feeling trepidation and nervousness.  I was sure the thing was going to take me around 3.5 hours, because we use the term "run" very loosely to describe what I do, plus my training had taken this serious dip.

Spencer and I went to the expo last night to pick up our shirt and race bib.  We went to Fazoli's for some carb loading.  We came home and got all of our stuff together:  my pink jacket, a rain coat, my running clothes, ShotBlocks and Clif Bars, knee braces, phone, headphones, headband, armband--check, check, and check.

We went to bed, and I slept HARD.  The alarm went off (Bruno Mars, "When I Was Your Man"), and at first I thought, "I don't wanna go to work!"  Then I realized this was race day, so even though it was still the middle of the night (3:30 a.m.), I got up.  We got all ready for the day (at least physically, because I was really nervous) and left.  We parked at Cottonwood High School, then got onto a bus, which took us up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the large parking area near Donut Falls.  When we drove around the S-curve, I knew where we were in the canyon.  It felt like it took FOREVER to get to our drop-off, and I thought, "Holy crap!  What have I gotten myself into?  I have to get to the bottom of this!"

We hung out there for about an hour and a half till gun time.  The forecast was for rain.  Luckily, there was no rain, but it was cold.  Still, not as cold as I expected.  I didn't want to take off my coats and long-sleeved shirts and gloves and solar blanket, but I also didn't want to have something around my waist for the entire waist; so I stripped (don't worry, I wouldn't do THAT to anyone), and off we went.

Spencer stayed with me for the first mile.  At that point we caught up to the 3-hour pace group, and he asked if I wanted to stay with them.  I told him I thought I would and to have a good race, so he took off.  I talked to the pacers for a minute, but they were going so slowly that it would have hurt my legs to stay with them, so I went out ahead.  I took 3 potty stops, I think, during the race.  I alternated Gatorade and water at each stop.  I took a Gu when they gave them out.  And I just coasted.  I wasn't trying to run fast, but I was amazed that I was actually passing people (that didn't happen at Ragnar!).  I caught up with the 2:45 pace group, but again, it would have hurt to slow to that pace, so I passed them, too.

My friend from work, Steve, had run his first half earlier this year.  He had encouraged me to make it as fun as I could by talking to people, so I tried.  I mean, partially you get into a zone, and I didn't want to visit, you know?  But sometimes things just came up, and it was fun.

Can you believe it?  I just said it was fun!

Well, I stopped at bathrooms, but then I'd get right back into the run.  I ran till about 10 miles.  After that my legs were pretty dang tired.  But there was this woman who I passed, then she passed me, then I passed her, etc. several times during the race.  We were right together at Mile 12, and I said to her, "My friend's mother says that anyone can run a mile."  She said, "Yes, especially since you've already done twelve miles."  So I ran.  Then I started walking.  She ran past me, looked at me, moved her head to the side, and said, "Let's go."  So we went together.  Then she started walking.  So I walked ahead of her a bit, till she decided to run again.  I kept looking back at her.  When she ran up to me, I said, "Let's do this."  So we ran the last probably about .5 mile.  She gave me a high five when we got onto 1300 E., and we stayed together as we ran into the school parking lot and crossed the finish line together.  She stopped me while we were in the runners' area and thanked me for keeping her going.  Ha!  What a laugh!  She's the one who kept me going.  Her name was Lori, and she said, "See you next year."  I said, "I don't know."  She said, "Yes, you will!  I'll see you next year!"

Y'all, my chip time was 2:35:10, which gave me an average pace of about 11:30 per mile.  For someone who is going FAST if she's going at a 12:00 per mile pace (I TOLD you we use the term "running" loosely), I was so thrilled with my performance.  Best of all, though I'm sore, I'm not dead or injured.

My other two goals for this Year of AwesoME are to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, which we are scheduled to do next month; and to graduate.  I'm totally going to get this done, and completing today's race as well as I did really helped my confidence.  Yay!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


The phone doesn't ring till I'm headed to the bathroom.

My boss doesn't look for me till I'm at the copier.

You can color VERY lightly with a red crayon, and it's still red, not pink.

I can skip breakfast and not think a thing about it.  Except on fast Sunday.

Large-bubble bubble wrap is not as fun to pop as small-bubble bubble wrap.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Love Affair

Have I told you the "slut" story?

Pam was a friend who had lots of nice jewelry.  One day her daughter-in-law told her she was a jewelry slut.  It was funny because I could not in a million years picture myself even USING the word "slut" around my mother-in-law.

The conversation then turned to the fact that everyone is a slut of one kind or another.  Jen is a bag slut. Mom is an office supply slut.  I am a book slut.  Ash is a shoe slut.  Bri is a movie slut.

OK, now that you know one kind of slut I am, I would like to tell you that I am a binder clip slut.  I LOVE binder clips.  No kidding, I think they are fabulous.  They hold everything tightly together, but they're so tight that nothing extra can slip into the pile.  There are binder clips of all sizes and colors.  If you go to Target or Walmart or other office supply places you can find the CUTEST little binder clips in all colors, styles, and sizes.  I think they are adorable.

Entheos was a brand-new school the year our children started there.  The school was still gathering desks, boards, chairs, office machinery, etc.  ATK (formerly Hercules) had several abandoned office buildings, and they offered Entheos all of the "stuff" they wanted from one of those buildings.  So a group of parents, teachers, and administrators went to this abandoned building to salvage whiteboards, tables, chairs, and so forth.  I was in that group.  Well, the building was abandoned years ago, but it was not empty.  There were papers lying around in piles or on desks or in boxes.  And everywhere--EVERYWHERE--there were binder clips of all sizes on the floors.  I am not even exaggerating when I tell you that I wished I had a garbage bag so I could gather and keep all those paper clips.  I know!  Nasty, right!?  Because those binder clips had been living with mice and other critters--not to mention the dirt and dust--for YEARS.  Still, it took every ounce of self-control I had not to gather up binder clips and bring them home.

At work our office supply carries three sizes of binder clips:  small, medium, and large.  I go through a lot of the small clips.

Or I DID, until Shari bought some MINI binder clips.  First of all they are ADORABLE.  There is red, blue, green, yellow, black, and white.  They are so cute!  I like to keep the red clips around because my boss is a Utes fan.  Secondly, they are the PERFECT size.  They're larger than a large paper clip (I like paper clips, too, but not as much as binder clips) and smaller than a small binder clip, so they fit those stacks of paper that are just in-between.  Which is a lot of different piles of paper!  I'm telling you, the mini binder clips are the PERFECT binder clip size.

A few months ago I was made the managing administrator over the p-card system.  That sounds important, but all it means is that I have to make sure there are receipts for each expenditure and click on a  box in the online accounting system.  All those receipts?  You guessed it:  they come clipped together with mini binder clips.  I usually put the receipts for a given expense report into an envelope because it's easier to file that way.  That means I remove the binder clips.  I have a small container in my desk organizer that holds mini binder clips.  Only I get them from others faster than I use them or give them away.

The good news is that Shari keeps containers in the shared cupboard on our floor.  If you have surplus, you can put it in the cupboard; if you need more of something, you can get it from the cupboard (you should have seen the TUBS of paper clips and binder slips that were in the cupboard when everyone moved onto the floor!  I could have played for HOURS.).  So I can take my extraneous mini binder clips to the cupboard.

Only, guys?  I have the hardest time doing it!  I don't want to give them up.  They're completely superfluous and they make my drawer not want to shut.  But I can't let them go.  It's ridiculous, really.  Then, when it's time to take them to the cupboard, I have to make the decision which of my children  binder clips I should keep and which I should place in the adoption cupboard.

It's a dilemma, I'm tellin' ya!

It's also completely irrational and probably certifiable.  I figure I might as well just own it.  That's why you know now:  My name is Aundrea, and I am a binder clip slut.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ramblings on IM Today, So I'm Sharing Some Memories

Aundrea Hill 9:36 AM
If I were doing it (getting married) again, this is what I'd do:  Have pictures (this could happen before or after the sealing, but I'm a sucker for pictures--you just ought to have them for an occasion like getting married); order announcements (because it's nice to let people know that you are getting or have gotten married); invite CLOSE family and friends ONLY to the temple, preferably the week after you got engaged; buy an extra nice church outfit and a new suit for the groom; be sealed; have lunch (or dinner, if applicable) somewhere simple with everyone who came to the temple and snap lots of photos there.  The end.
You'd need to get a marriage license somewhere in that week.
One week of stress that isn't THAT stressful.  A lovely time in the temple (which, in the end, is all I cared about anyway).  Spending time with the people you love.  Best. Day. Ever.
Less expensive.
AS9:37 AM
You would get married a week after you got engaged?
Aundrea Hill 9:37 AM
Yes, I would.  
If you know you want to be together forever, why put it off?
AS 9:38 AM
Yes.  I agree.
Aundrea Hill 9:38 AM
No kidding, this is how I wish I would have done it.
Being engaged is HARD.
Physically you know you're going to be together--it's just a matter of time.
My mom and I have fought only twice in my life.  Once was a couple of years ago when she got breast cancer.  The other time lasted three months, and it was during my engagement.
Not worth it.
Aundrea Hill 9:41 AM
Not worth the cookies and the cake (especially the cake!) and the mints and the ice cream and the soda and the decorating and the visitors and the flowers and the dresses  and the shoes and the tuxes and the jewelry.  Not worth the hair and the driving and the planning and the crying.  Not worth the color choices and the tablecloths and the music.  Not worth the photographer (which is an ugly story).  Seriously, it wasn't worth any of it.
And the best part of the whole day was kneeling across the altar from one another and hearing the words "for time and for all eternity."
I could have avoided conflicts with my future in-laws, the wrath of my grandmother, my mother's stress and tears, the stupid embarrassing parties.
I have strong feelings about this.  
It's just not worth it.
Go to the temple.  Start a life together.  Shop for the dishes you want once you've saved up for them--they'll be more meaningful to you!
The special gifts usually come from close family, and they will give them to you anyway.
Go to the dollar store and get your kitchen stuff--it's all going to wear out anyway!
The whole wedding thing is completely stupid and so overrated, especially for those of us who choose to begin our relationship by making covenants with God in His holy house.  What more do you need?
AS 9:47 AM
It's true.
I still think I will have a reception but it will most likely be low key.  I've had enough roommates that have offered to do everything.  One offered to do my flowers, one my pictures, one my hair.
I like how my friend Becky did it.
They had not quite 2 months of being engaged.  All the individual pictures were finished before they got sealed.
Love that.
I like that they had the reception at a reception center so she really didn't have to do any of the decorating.
The place was nice enough without having to decorate.
No decorating!!!
Just show up.  Had the catering and the AC worked it would have been perfect.
Aundrea Hill 9:51 AM
Not worth the risk.
Not worth the money.
Not worth the time.
Not worth the effort (for you or anyone else).
Just my opinion.
My mom jokes about their wedding now.
She was 18, he was 19.
A VERY full day and lots of exhausting hours later, they were together in a hotel room, and she was wondering what in the world she had done.
AS9:52 AM
Oh my!
Aundrea Hill 9:52 AM
Within a month she was pregnant, and Viet Nam was underway, and Dad enlisted so as not to be drafted.
I was born 10 months (almost to the day) after the wedding.
Dad was in basic training the day I was born.
He came back from basic with his orders:  Minot, North Dakota.
He left.  The Air Force got Mom and baby (me) a flight.  Grandpa and Grandma took us to the airport, and Mom just wanted them to beg her not to go.
She loaded herself and the baby and a diaper bag onto the plane.  I screamed through the flight.  She was too modest to nurse me in public.  Her dress was SOAKED with milk by the time we landed (she says the dress was literally dripping on her legs).
She says, "All I wanted was a pretty dress and a party!"
They were in love, and at 19 and 20 years of age and hundreds of miles from ANYONE, they just had to figure out how to make it work together.
It's hilarious to hear her tell the story.
The spent the night in a hotel, and they were supposed to get their apartment the next day.  Only they got there and the couple who was in the apartment was still asleep and hadn't even packed anything.  Mom was terrified and wondered what in the world she'd done.
AS 9:58 AM
Oh my goodness!
Aundrea Hill 9:58 AM
But Daddy pushed his way into the apartment and said, "You have to get out!"  He started just picking stuff up and throwing it into boxes and taking the boxes out to the front yard.  This couple was flustered and angry, but Dad was like, "This is our home!  We have nowhere else to go.  You have to get out."
AS9:59 AM
good for him!
Aundrea Hill 9:59 AM
They stayed and helped the other couple get all their stuff out (Mom says Dad did most of it because they were still trying to figure out how to get all their stuff to their new place.)
Then he stayed up late and cleaned the entire apartment, made beds for them, and collapsed.
The next day he had to work on base, but that's when Mom knew that it was going to be OK.  He was going to take care of her, and she was going to take care of him, and they were going to make it.
He got up early and went to work.  She got up early and unpacked their few belongings so that when he got home, he was "home."
And they were very happy there.
Isn't that a cute story?
AS 10:00 AM
I love it.
Aundrea Hill 10:01 AM
I die inside a little bit when I think about how young they were and how little they had.
My grandparents would put a $10 or $20 in the mail, and that was almost half of his pay!
AS10:02 AM
Aundrea Hill 10:02 AM
For Christmas the first year, my mom started saving lids from the shave cream and hairspray and anything else.  She saved toilet paper rolls.
She went to the commissary and bought hairpins and sequins and some felt.
And she made all these darling little ornaments out of everything--drums and stars and things.  YOu should see the ones with the hairpins--they are so cute!
Little mittens and boots out of felt and cotton balls.
Daddy siad there's never been a cuter tree in the whole world.
Aundrea Hill 10:06 AM
They still have MANY of those ornaments.  Mom used scrap rick rack and lace to decorate some things.  So dang cute!  My childhood was so poor financially, but we were so rich because my parents loved each other and they loved us.
My mom sewed a lot of my clothes back in the day when it was cheap to sew.
I was always thrilled with them.  She was really good.
Store bought bread was an absolute treat; now I LONG for my mom's bread.  She made it every Monday, and she'd do 32 loaves a day.
AS 10:08 AM
wow.  That is impressive.
Aundrea Hill 10:08 AM
When Dad worked at Hercules in Clearfield, he only got paid once a month.
She'd go get groceries, and we ALWAYS had tacos that first night, because that was Dad's favorite.  We ate a lot of cheesy noodles and casseroles.  And bread.  We had bread with everything.  It was our snack.
The boys got a job milking with one of the farmers in town.  They probably earned a dollar an hour or less.  But we could have all the milk we wanted.  That was the time when we always had milk.  We NEVER drank milk straight.  We always drank water.  Milk was for cereal and cooking.
We didn't know we were poor.
We'd have fun birthdays and Christmases.  We always got new school clothes.  It took my parents YEARS to pay off credit cards.  
But we were so happy.
WE'd sleep on the deck or in the living room together.
We'd pop popcorn and play games.
Mom would pack PBJ's and carrot sticks and we'd have a picnic in the park then play till it was bedtime.
My dad could throw a tennis ball or a baseball straight up in the air, and it was so high you couldn't even see it any more.  All the kids would gather in the street and see who could catch it when it came down.  Usually we were chasing it down the street.     The neighbor kids would come over to see if our dad could come out and play.
We never took vacations TO anywhere, but every summer we went camping at the family reunion (my grandparents probably provided all the food).
We spent TONS of time with my grandparents, especially on my mom's side.  We lived with them several times.
When they lived in Salt Lake, they had this big, unfinished basement.  There was a sink and a stove, so that became the kitchen.  At first our walls were sheets and blankets, but it wasn't long before Grandpa put up walls so we had bedrooms.  
He made a really pretty bathroom down there.  It had light blue carpet and white paneling.     It really was a pretty room.  
There was no shower, just a tub.
Less than a week after he finished that room, my brothers and I were in the tub with these toys, and no kidding, there was water dripping everywhere.  The carpet was soaked, the paneling was warped, the ceiling was dripping.  My mom was sick, and she cried and cried.  WE didn't know what we'd done wrong!  She got Grandpa and showed him the bathroom tearfully.  Then she made us apologize to Grandpa.  Knowing my grandpa, he was probably really mad. But he just gruffly accepted our apology, and by the next day he was working in that bathroom again.  
He and I talked about that last year before he died.  He said, "Well, I'll get you a bathroom ready and waiting when I get to the other side."  That touched my heart.
AS 10:18 AM
Aundrea Hill 10:18 AM
When we moved to California, they bought a little trailer that just stayed at the side of our house.  They'd come and spend a month or two at a time, but they had their own home to stay in.
Grandma was in our house all the time with my mom.
Grandpa would stay out in their house and watch movies.  Then we'd all have dinner together.
Mom and Grandma did lots of crafting together.
Grandma loved to go shopping, so off they'd go.  They invited me, but ugh, I hated it.
But my grandma was FEARLESS at the theme parks.  I LOVED hanging out with Mom and Grandma at Lagoon or Six Flags or Disneyland, because they'd do it all, over and over again!  
My talented grandma did all my wedding flowers.  (Not worth it, but they were GORGEOUS.)
My grandpa was a master mechanic.  We'd never have survived without him.  I think my parents fell in love with Spencer when he got my car running.     Now we didn't have to wait for Grandpa to come from Utah!  Ha!
AS 10:22 AM
It sounds glorious!
Aundrea Hill 10:22 AM
It was SUCH a happy childhood.
We were not allowed to own a car till after missions.  I was all ready to go to school, but we were trying to figure out how I was going to do that.  Grandpa told my parents he wanted to give me a car for graduation. They said no.  So instead he gave THEM a car so I would have one to use.

They financed that car when I got married so they could pay for the wedding.  But it was our car.  I took it with me.