26 January 2006

I'm about ready to pull my hair out

So we live in low-income housing. It's not government housing. It's a private company that builds these complexes all over and they get a tax write off. So it benefits us and them. The apartments are brand new--we are the first people to live in ours--and I just got back from our yearly recertification interview. I handed over the necessary documents and she filled out forms. It was fine until Rachel started having a breakdown. Screaming and crying at the top of her lungs! She did not want to sit in my lap. But if I put her down she went straight for the outlet socket or some other thing that she wasn't allowed near. So me and this lady are talking about my stuff while Rachel is screaming and trying to get out of my arms. I get up to go and the lady says "Before you go can you please look at your bank statements and tell me where anything over $150 came from?" Sure. There is one for about $200 that shows that it's a transfer from our savings into our checking. So I tell her that.

"Well where did it come from?"

"UH, my savings account."

"Well where did it originally come from?"

I look at her.

"What? You really think I know where some random $200 came from that's been sitting in my savings accout for years?????"

She is clearly NOT very bright! So we go back and forth, me telling her it just came from my savings and her saying it had to be payroll or a gift or something--all the while Rachel is screaming bloody murder and I'm turning her in circles trying to giver her a different perspective. Finally the lady got it and said I just had to write it was a transfer from my savings (Uh, that's what I said in the first place!!!!). I left with Rachel upside down and me holding her by her legs as we pass a nice older couple waiting in line. I probably looked like quite the responsible mother! Oh I was soooo mad!!!!

I left on the verge of MAD tears and ready to scream myself! As soon as we got in the house Rachel was so happy again, like nothing ever happened. Lovely...And to make things worse I have to go back to the office and give that lady a couple more papers again. I think I'll just put them in the drop box.

To top it all off, Spencer now makes less money (working part-time so he can actually finish his college degree) but because the amount of money he now makes doesn't fit into their little formula we are stuck paying a higher rent than we should. Anyone know where I can get a job?

25 January 2006

Sold!

I am so excited! Why you ask? I will tell you. It's all about organic food. A few weeks ago I was grocery shopping at Vons and we needed peanut butter--among other things. I love natural peanut butter (it's what I was raised on) but it's fairly expensive. Plus I hate stirring it because the oil inevitably spills over the edge of the jar and onto my counter top. Spencer won't eat it either. So I was looking at the shelf at my other options. I won't buy the fake stuff, because it just has too much sugar and I can't bring myself to feed that to myself or my baby. So there I am scanning and scanning when something I hadn't seen before catches my eye. The brand is "O" Organics. Hmmm, I think to myself, this looks interesting. I love anything organic. I take a look at the ingredients: organic dry roasted peanuts, sea salt. That's my kind of ingredient list! I buy some and take it home to try. Let me tell you this is the greatest peanut butter I have ever had! It has the consistency of the fake kind, but the naturality of the real kind. I had to stir it a bit, but there is not near as much oil as in the Laura Scudders (or other brand) so it didn't spill at all. Let me tell you this was the start of a great relationship!

Every trip since that first one, I've been keeping my eye out for this "O" brand. So far I've bought whole wheat bread (no preservatives), orange juice (tastes fresh squeezed--I'm not kidding!), black beans, broth, microwave popcorn (awesome!), cereal, tortilla chips (fantastic with the homemade guacamole I made today), frozen corn, and pasta. Hmmm I think that's it.

All I can say is they have me so hooked! Because this is a new product line everything they put out is on sale. So of course I have to buy them! I don't know if I bought into the biggest organic hoax there is, but I am loving it! Every time I go to the store I see more things that they have put on the shelf. I am looking forward to this "O" Organics brand taking over the store because they sure have me sold on their stuff!

23 January 2006

Good thing I went to church yesterday

The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't he? Wouldn't you know that the talks in church yesterday were about service and selfishness and the lesson in Relief Society was about forgiveness. (It was my turn to watch Rachel during Sunday School so I have no idea what that lesson was about!) Good thing I went to church.

So I don't really remember anything specifically that the speakers in Sacrament said (trying to take notes while a 13 1/2 month old is climbing all over you trying to steal the pen is hard work), but I do remember having the impression that if I was going to be happy I really needed to work on doing more service. And by service, I mean serving my family. Not to say that serving other people is not as important, but right now the relationships that I need to strenghthen are with my family. There is no better way to love someone than to serve them. I'm not out of love with my family, I just need to up the amount of love I am giving. In Relief Society a sister said, "If you want to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, you have to read it. If you want a testimony of tithing, you have to pay it. If you want a testimony of service, you have to give it." Well I need to start giving it. Everying in life feels blah. I even went so far as to think maybe I have mild depression. Should I see a doctor? I'm not sure that is the case. I think at this point it's still a matter of choice on my part. I need to choose to be happy. I need to choose to be interested in the topic of converstaion. I need to choose to be excited about the things that Spencer tells me.

So this is my goal. I know that if I start to serve people, I will be less selfish. I will start to care about others more. I will pay attention to what is going on in their lives instead of everything always being about me. If what the Savior says is true in Ether 12:27 then I know through him, I will become less selfish, more like the Savior and ultimately much happier.

20 January 2006

Smile for the Day

A Lesson in Humility

Last night was ward temple night. For the first time since we've been in this ward we went. Spencer always got off work too late to go, plus I won't leave my 13 month old with anybody and babysitting is a little hard to come by. Well Spencer gets off work at 4 now, and on Sunday a wonderful friend volunteered to watch Rachel so we could go. When we got there at 6:10 the line to rent clothes was really long and there was only one woman behind the counter. It took us about 15 minutes to get our clothes. While we were waiting, Spencer's brother and dad walked in. He was so excited to see them. They were planning on being in the 6:30 session like us, but since it was already 6:25 we knew weren't going to make it. So Spencer just told them we'd wait for them and we could all go to the 7:oo together.

I really wanted to be in the same session as our ward. I was pretty annoyed that Spencer would just change our plans without even consulting me. I am always changed quicker than Spencer so as I was waiting I saw ward member after ward member pass me as they went up the stairs. I had plenty of time to stew. Finally Spencer came out with his family and we headed up. I sat in the assembly room pouting and a little angry. Then I got to thinking I really shouldn't be angry in the temple. There is no place for that here. Then I thought I really don't have any reason to be angry at all. Why would it matter what session we are in? We are not here for ourselves anyway. Plus being with his dad and brother made Spencer happy. So after contemplating and thinking for a while about why I felt this way I came to this conclusion: I am a selfish person. Everything is always about me and how I feel. I felt like a spoiled brat.

Then I started to cry. I don't cry very often so this was unusual. When I am truly humbled and the Spirit is with me I get emotional. I thought about what a lousy wife I've been lately. I haven't been as affectionate or caring as I should be. I haven't really been doing anything but cooking dinner for Spencer--and we have to eat so that's not really serving him. It's really taken a toll on our relationship. I also don't know what it is, but I have a hard time with Spencer's dad. He's a kind and accepting person who would do anything for anyone but I have a hard time being in the same room as him. He just bugs me for some reason. So I was being so petty and selfish about wanting to be with our ward and not with his family. It was stupid. I prayed and prayed--that's an advantage to being pushed up for the next session is you have a LOT of time to wait and think--and decided I needed to change. I need to be less selfish and less prideful. Acknowledgement of something is the fist step to change so I hope I can stay aware of my problem and concentrate on fixing it.

Turns out about 40 people in the 6:30 session (mostly our ward) didn't make it in, they were just waiting in the other room so in the end we both got what we wanted. Spencer got to spend some time with his brother and dad, and we got to be in the same session with our ward. God blesses us when we are humble and repentant.

17 January 2006

A Day at the Zoo

Yay for Martin Luther King Day! Spencer had the day off yesterday (yay, for banker's hours) so we decided we were going to make the best of it and do something together as a family. So we went to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Spencer got me passes to the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park last year for Mother’s Day and it has been such an awesome thing. I think I've been to the Zoo five times and the WAP probably 8 or 10. Plus, each time I go I can bring a guest for free. Our passes have definitely paid for themselves multiple times!

Anyway, so we packed up the stroller and Rachel and headed down to San Diego. It was pretty crowded there-because of the holiday, but not too bad. We went to the children's zoo area where they have otters, naked mole rats (I don't recommend those), homing pigeons, nasty bugs and spiders and other little things. Then we headed down to where the monkeys and apes are. The first exhibit was not exciting at all. The monkeys were way up at the top of the tree and they weren't doing anything. So we moved on to the orangutan exhibit. There were about 5 orangutans in this area and they had tons of energy. First we saw the old man named Clyde. He had huge cheeks that were pitted and sagged around his mouth. His hair was matted and ratted like someone who hasn't washed their hair since the 70's. Here's his picture:
He just moseyed on around the ground taking in everyone that was gawking at him.

After he passed by we saw another one on his way. This guy wasn't walking though. He thought he could get to the other side by rolling. Yes, he was rolling the entire length of the glass. He had us all laughing!

Also in this enclosure were a few other orangutans who showed off later by swinging back and forth from the ropes and trees. There was even a mother swinging from the ropes with her little baby hanging on for dear life! Rachel loved watching these animals move around and even tried to kiss them through the glass :).

Next we moved on to the gorillas. When we got to this enclosure we could see a couple gorillas hanging out right next to the glass. The only thing is they wanted nothing to do with us humans--they had their backs to us. I brought Rachel up close so she could see and she put her hand on the glass. She was just having a good time looking at this creature and babbling away when the gorilla turned toward her. The gorilla reached up with her hand and tried to touch Rachel through the glass. Apparently there was something that told this gorilla that there was a baby nearby and she (I'm assuming it was a she) wanted to be close to her. Rachel kept tapping the glass and every time she did, the gorilla would turn around. She even put her nose up to the glass and it seemed like she tried to snuggle up to and kiss Rachel. It was the sweetest thing. This gorilla wanted nothing to do with us adults, but as soon as a baby was near, she came alive. It was very touching.

I was amazed at the reaction of this particular gorilla. I always try to figure out what these animals are thinking. It was very cute to see one of them interact with Rachel in a very motherly way. Rachel and the gorilla's interaction was a small window into who this gorilla was. All in all, a great day at the zoo. Yay for days off and passes!

10 January 2006

Old people in Vons

I love old people. They make me smile. I was grocery shopping in Vons yesterday (for what it's worth, why do old people flock to Vons? Don't they like Albertsons too?) minding my own business in the sandwich meat section and this old man comes up to me. He's probably in his late 70's early 80's, hunched over carrying a plastic bag. He incomprehensibly mutters, "Have I given you one of my psodruhs holdaads?" "Um, I don't think so," I reply. So he pulls this contraption out of his bag and hands it to me. Turns out he said "purse holder". He proceeds to tell me that when I go out to eat, I put this metal bar on the table and then the hook on the bottom will hold my purse. Kinda neat, but weird. So I say thank you, he bids me a Merry Christmas (yes, this was yesterday) and he walks away. I turned to watch him and he approached a couple more people to give these purse holders to before I walked away. What a nice man.

So I continue on shopping and this other old man comes up to us. He says hello to Rachel and tries to get her to wave at him. He asks what her name is and tells me his name is Peter, but it's Santa Claus to some kids. He had an Irish accent and he was a jolly old man. He was however not very round in the belly or hairy on the chin , so I'm not sure what the St. Nick reference was about. We bid him goodbye and continued on. Another nice man.

Later towards the end of our shopping adventure I saw another old man hobbling in our direction. He was carrying something in his hand and speaking to a friend. "Here's something I haven't had in a long time," he said to his friend, "pistacio nuts! I love them." He was so happy to have a bag full of pistacios. That made his day. It made mine too.

It's just the simple things in life that make us happy; someone wishing you a merry Christmas after Christmas, the thought that Santa was actually in the grocery store with you, and the joy of pistacio nuts.

09 January 2006

I Quit

I quit my job today. Yep, one week as a working woman AND a mom and I just couldn't handle it. I don't know what made me think I could. It wasn't that I didn't like the job or like working, it was just that the job disrupted the flow of our house too much. Granted I probably should have given more time to adapt but I don't want to have to adapt.

I got up at 5:15 a.m. each day, worked until Rachel woke up, then worked again until Spencer went to work. I worked through her nap and then went to bed at 9 o'clock so I could wake up at the butt crack of dawn again tomorrow. The waking up wasn't as bad as I originally thought, it was that I think I kept waking Rachel up too early. I think she heard me on the phone. So because she was getting up too early, she was a crank by dinner time. Now when I went into this working-thing, I said, "Self, anything that gets in the way of you spending time with Rachel or taking care of other responsibilites is not worth it." The bathroom hasn't been cleaned for over a week because I used to do it while she was napping. I haven't been to the grocery store since I started working because I'm too tired in the afternoon to do almost anything. So I quit.

I still need to find something to do to bring in money or we are going to be in the hole majorly in a few weeks but I need something less intrusive into my daily life. All I want is something where I can stare at the computer and type things....hmmm, sounds like blogging.

06 January 2006

A Funny Miscommunication

I haven't been posting much lately. I've been going to bed at 9 pm and getting up at 5:30 to work, so I'm a little tired. Plus all the time that Rachel is asleep I am working instead of doing things on the computer like I used to. Anyway, a funny thing happened today that I wanted to write down. Here it goes...

So I'm in the library this afternoon picking up the new book for my book club and my phone rings. It's my father-in-law. I consider not answering it because I'm the library but something tells me to answer it. The first words out of his mouth are, "Hi! I'm done with court. Are you still hungry?" Uh, what? It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I'm lucky if I can make it till noon before I'm starving! So I answer, "Um...we already ate. I'm in the library with Rachel. Where are you?" He tells me he's in Vista with my mother-in-law and was hoping we could meet them for lunch. "Well that sounds fun," I say, "wish I had known sooner and I would have planned for it." Then he says, "You didn't know we were inviting you to lunch? I guess I should have been more clear." Thinking he meant more clear about the way he addressed me, I said goodbye and hung up the phone.

A bit confused, I checked my books out and headed to the car. I strapped Rachel in but couldn't stop thinking whether I had made plans to go to lunch today. The way my father-in-law was talking made it seem that way. I normally don't forget things like that so I was starting to get more confused about the conversation I had just had. I decided to call him back. There was clearly something more that I didn't know about. Well turns out he called last night and talked to Spencer about going to lunch today. Spencer has to take lunch at 11:00 so the 2:30 lunch they were proposing was not an option. Then my father-in-law asked if I was busy. I wasn't home so Spencer said he'd have me call them in the morning. Well Spencer forgot to tell me the message--no big deal. It would have ended there, had someone not called my mother-in-law this morning. Thinking it was me, she made lunch plans for today.

So today when my father-in-law called, they were under the impression I had just talked to my mother-in-law this morning and were very confused themselves when I said I didn't know anything about lunch plans today. So mother-in-law made plans with someone to go to lunch but it definitely wasn't me! I was so glad I called back and cleared up the miscommunication!

Edited March 31, 2006: I finally found out who it was they made plans with! It was my mother-in-law's sister! Apparently she called in the morning and left a message but didn't identify herself so they thought it was me all along. I find the whole thing quite amusing!