Saturday, December 12, 2015

Moment of Impact

The first time I witnessed a car accident I was seventeen. I was in the car with Nathan. We were waiting at a light to go to Wendy's. The cars turning left were making their way through the intersection. It all happened in a flash. There was an awful crunch. Some crunches are satisfying--like stepping on crisp fall leaves. This wasn't. It was the sound of metal twisting and turning. A kid barely older than me blew through the red light. His car broadsided another sedan waiting to turn left. Drivers of both vehicles were unconscious. Simultaneously, everyone froze and moved. 

Within the coming week, I found out that the lady who got broadsided was someone I knew. She lived a couple of neighborhoods away. Her sons were in school with me. When I asked her about it, she told me that before it happened, she knew it was coming. She didn't say it as if she was aware of some impending doom. Her voice was pleasant and calm. Teenage me thought I understood what she was saying. 

****

It was the summer of 2013 that I first experience "grown-up freedom". It's not really freedom, but after being in school your whole life, it feels like freedom. It's not until you have to pay bills that you realize childhood is freedom. 

Summer 2013 was the year I started working "grown-up jobs". I got my first full time job that summer. I worked as technical support for a SaaS company. The first few days of training on the job were boring. Grown-up jobs come with a lot of paperwork. I signed more documents in those first few days than I had in my whole life I think. I didn't understand most of the words they were saying. I'm not sure they were even speaking English. I signed my name anyway. 

The actual job training was easy. We had to practice setting up a platform, and practice organizing data. Our last task was to listen to call recordings done by others. Our worksheet outlined what to look for. After two calls, I figured out the formula and could skip through the recordings to find the answers. While everyone else listened to five calls after lunch, I had listened to them all two hours before the end of the day. 

I found agents' calls I liked. None of the calls were scripted, but each agent fell into a certain pattern. Spencer had a good rhythm. Ryan's calls were really short; he was intelligent. Coy had good business skills. But it was Richi's calls that I particularly enjoyed; it sounded like every customer was his best friend. 

I finished listening to the recordings and sat in silence for the last two hours. The next day, I got a desk, computer, and phone. 

****

If we could break through traffic, we could get some good speed and make it to the lights on time. There was a sea of tail lights ahead. Off to the right were emergency lights. 

Richi prompted me to slow down earlier than I would have. The Dodge in front of us stopped sooner than it seemed they would have. Our van came to a stop behind them. Simultaneously, the world stopped and jumped to action. 

I heard tires squeal behind me. It was dark in the mirrors, but it I could make out the outline of the Crown Victoria behind us. I watched them swerve to the right, out of my driver's side mirror and into the view of the passenger's. 

The sound of metal twisting and turning around itself filled my ears. My body slammed forward, then whipped back. My eyes filled with grey and red. The kids in the back screamed. Their faces were wet with tears already as they checked each other for injuries and reached for their phones. 

****

At the SaaS company, my desk was near the end. The desk to my left was empty, waiting for fellow new-hire. The desk to my right had a computer, but I was informed that the owner, Richi, wouldn't be here until night. 

Richi and I only saw each other for a few minutes when he came in before I left for the day. His day always started as mine ended. When he graduated on September 11, his scheduled changed to a more regular one. 

I was leaving for the day early. Early in December and early in the day. Richi had switched departments. I partially think it was because we talked too much. We frequently got dirty looks for our conversations. (His voice carries, even when he's quiet.) He offered to walk me to the door. 

We walked down the stairs to the lobby. He paused. I'm not sure what words he used, but he asked to take me to a movie. Simultaneously, the world froze and sped forward. I accepted, happily. 

The movie was something about space. I can't remember. I didn't watch a lot of the movie. On occasion my eyes flicked to the screen, but they spent the majority of the time watching Richi. His eyes filled with the intensity of the film; he clutched his unopened candy in both hands. He is the person filmmakers think of when making a movie. 

****

My neighbor told me she saw it coming before the car hit her. I thought I understood. I didn't. I'm not sure I understand yet, but I think I'm closer. 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

First Time Planting Trees

I've told many people we were going to plant trees in my backyard, and that we ordered them online. Everyone has thought we ordered full grown trees and that somehow I was going to plant those after receiving them in the mail.

I'm not sure they mail full sized trees.

The type of tree I chose to plant also doesn't get very big. They're smaller trees.

Anyway, we received the trees in a box along with instructions on how to plant them. I followed the instructions to a T. Hopefully our little trees make it!


Step One: 

Open the trees carefully. Unwrap the plastic. Very gently untangle the roots of each tree. (The roots had some hydro gel on them that kept them moist.)


 Step Two:

Place the roots of the trees in water for 3-6 hours, but not overnight. The trees are dormant, but I know nothing about trees, so I guess putting dormant trees in water is okay. 



Step Three: 

Dig the holes while the trees soak. The holes need to be deep enough that the roots can hang out without getting cramped, and wide enough that the roots can expand during the winter. 

Step Four: 

The trees are tiny. Can you see them? They are the twigs with the tiny white labels on them. I didn't want them to get smashed or blown over, so I placed some "stakes" next to them. I had to dig around the garage for things to hold them up. So we have a broken shovel handle, some random piece of rebar and a piece of wood that has an unknown purpose. Anyway, I tied them to these in hopes of keeping them up when the snow comes (if it comes) and to make sure everyone knows there is something right there. The shovel is much more noticeable than the tiny trees.  











Here are the trees! 

(These are memorial trees. One for Scott, and one for Chad.)

Also, if you hear me talking to myself in my backyard, I'm just giving some encouraging words to the trees. ;) 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Why I Put Christmas Lights on Our Roof So Early, And Why You Should Too

Because the weather is getting colder and it's dangerous to be up on the roof when it's rainy/snowy.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What I Learned from Building a Fire Pit and Patio

This post is greatly overdue, but my laptop was in the shop (it's old and needed major repairs). It's back now, and so am I!

I realize that the title is a little click bait ish. So if you are here just to see what lessons I learned without all the fluff of paragraphs and explanation, you can scroll to the bottom. I listed them there just for you (because I too hate click bait articles that make me read a thousand words just to get it).

Here is a before photo of the area where I put the patio and fire pit:


The corner has never had grass. When the house was originally built, this is where the dirt was dumped that was going to be spread over the entire lawn so grass could be laid. It was uneven and full of...junk. It was an unsightly corner to say the least.

On a whim, I asked grandma if I could put a fire pit and patio back there. To my surprise, she said yes. I was so excited. I started that day.

The building part wasn't terribly exciting. In fact, it was really slow and painful. I only worked on Saturday mornings before the sun passed the trees. It was in those really early hours that I learned some important lessons.

1. Measure ten times, then measure again.

Funny story. The bricks I chose to lay were L shaped and formed rectangles when placed together Tetris style. I laid twenty rectangles side by side against the west fence. Then, in an attempt to make a square patio, I tried to lay twenty rectangles end to end on the south fence. If you can imagine this, you know that my technique would create an abnormally long rectangle...not a square. Part way down the south fence, we ran into a tree stump. So I took that moment to measure the west side and the south side. Turns out I thought about it completely wrong. I needed half as many bricks end to end. It seems obvious now, but before I measured, I was certain I did it right.

2. People who smash their thumbs aren't dumb.

Up until this summer, I had never smashed my own thumb with a hammer. I frequently wondered how someone could smash their own finger. Then I smashed my thumb with a rubber mallet while placing a brick. My first thought was "Ah, so that's what it's like." My second thought was "WHAT THE HECK!!" Now I know.

3. Marriage is more than playing house.

I bet you thought "well duh, Morg." It's okay if you did. I did. As you know, I didn't grow up in a two parent household. In fact, the few marriages I got to observe up close (I'm looking at you Caziers) seemed like "Happily Ever After" every day. I never saw them fight, or even disagree. It seemed like everything went perfectly smooth for them. I know that's not true, but I never saw proof of that. As I've gotten older and closer to marryin' age, it's been on my mind a lot. What does marriage look like? How does it work? Grandma is fiercely independent. I haven't seem a marriage team in action. As I built the patio, it made more sense. Richi was a huge help. He did a lot of the heavy lifting (by that I mean he did all of the heavy lifting). He helped me measure (and never disagreed when I insisted I was right). He let me use his 4Runner for hauling things, and he paid close attention to small details.

The thing is, I didn't need his help. I greatly wanted it, and appreciated it. The patio wouldn't be close to done if I did it alone. And that's when it clicked. Marriage isn't two people needing each other. It's two people wanting each other. That's when things get done. I am capable of building that fire pit. Richi is capable of building the fire pit. Together, though, we finished it quickly (relatively). I'm not sure if I'm making sense, but I do know that a family can be raised with one person, but it's so much nicer and can be done so much easier with two people.

This is what it would still look like if I had been working alone. Thanks Richi! 
4. Some of the best memories come from sitting around the fire. 

Okay, so this isn't exactly a lesson. It's a duh moment again. It's still too soon to say we had fun building the patio, but it's not too early to say that we have enjoyed sitting around it as a family. We have tried pinterest tips (Note Kenz with the rake), we have told stories (I'm not allowed to after my story took half an hour), we have laughed at dumb jokes, and we have dropped many a hot dog into the fire. This is easily one of the best investments. We don't even have to force the kids to put their phones down. They just do it. And that's when we get to talk and laugh and have fun. This fire pit better last as long as our family does (which is forever).




After all that, here is the completed project! Solid as a rock and more fun than you can imagine! 

































As promised, here is a list of the points made:
1. Measure ten times, then measure again.
2. People who smash their thumbs aren't dumb.
3. Marriage is more than playing house.
4. Some of the best memories come from sitting around the fire.

Friday, July 24, 2015

From Shabby to Shabby Chic - Julie's Kitchen Table

My boss and friend Julie just bought a house (congrats!). The house is wonderful, but the old furniture was...not quite so wonderful. 



It's not that bad I guess, but she definitely wanted something new and fun. 

Derek and Emma worked hard to help. It took all the man power we had. Whatever finish was on the table before was not willing to come off. 





 After a lot of sanding, the white finally came off and I was able to paint.

The paint used was Freshwater by Sherwin Williams. I coated it with Provincial Minwas Stain.



It's hard to see how it really looks from far away. I think it turned out alright. 






This is the full set that is sitting in her kitchen now (minus the two white chairs that I still need to finish). 



 All in all, it was a LONG day, but it was worth it. I'd do it again.
Brax slept through most the work. He claims he was watching TV when he fell asleep, but the TV wasn't ever on. 



Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pictures with Quotes

Nathan asked for some backgrounds for the mission ipad. He wanted something nice that keeps the spirit of his mission. These are what I made. (and by made, I mean that I threw a quote over a photo I took ages ago.)









As I look back at them, I realize I used one quote twice. It's a good quote.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Our Trip to the Payson Temple Open House

E (as we pulled into the parking lot): "I see the gold trophy!"
Me: "Do you know what his name is?"
E: "No."
Me: "Moroni."
E: "Oh, is he your boyfriend?"



B: "How much do you think that chandelier cost?" (About every chandelier we passed.)



K: "E, no, you can't swim. It's not a pool."
E: "What is it then?"
K: "It's like a holy bathtub."



C: "I guess I'll go home and do all my math now..."




D: "I liked it. It was pretty. It made me feel...smooth."







We are so blessed to get to spend eternity together.

NO ONE SHOW THESE TO GRANDMA UNTIL AFTER MOTHERS DAY!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Freedom Wreath

Summer is just around the corner. (or, if you live in Utah, it's come, and gone, and come, and gone. Like a cat in a doorway)

The biggest holiday in the Summer is the Fourth of July. 

So I made a Freedom Wreath! 



Supplies:

  • Hot glue
  • Foam wreath
  • Burlap (red, tan, and blue)
  • Tiny star buttons
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard


I started by marking the foam piece with four lines (dividing it into quarters.

Three quarters were red and tan, and one quarter was blue.


I cut the burlap into squares. I folded each square in half for layers. If it was a single layer, you can see the foam through each piece.

I used hot glue and glued the pieces on, alternating, and overlapping.

It turned out great! But the back was awful, see:

It needed a back to hide all those yucky seams. I cut a donut out of the cardboard, and wrapped it in the tan burlap.

Much better:


I may have cut the cardboard slightly larger than I intended...but it still turned out alright. 

After the back was on, and all those seams were hidden, I glued the stars on!

TA-DA!


FREEDOM WREATH! 

I realize this post was really boring. I apologize. I don't feel great today. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Finally Finished: Princess Stool

I finally finished the princess stool! It took a lot longer than expected because of weather, health, and vacations (those are important).

Here is the finished result!

I'm sorry the photo on the bottom is painfully blurry. I was blinded by the sun before coming inside to take the picture. 

While I am happy with how it turned out, the next ones will be better. The first rarely turns out as the best. 

I'm so relieved it is done, though. Now I can start a new project without feeling guilty...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The City So Nice...

Have you ever fallen in love? The very thought of the one you love excites you. Their quirks are adorable (even if they are annoying at times). You find your mind wandering to them, their face, their eyes, their laugh, that thing they said. It's almost inexplicable, but you feel something. You feel something real, and solid. There is a connection that you can't deny.

It's like every chick flick romance ever.

That happened to me. In New York. With New York.

And like with a lot of chick flicks, it didn't start out that way. I can promise you, it was the exact opposite.

The city is smelly. It's dirty. In the winter, it is effing cold. It's loud. It's scary. It's crowded. Have you seen the subway? It's a train that runs underground. Trains belong above ground. It's the city that has insomnia. It never settles down; it's like a first grader on Halloween who forgot to take his ADHD medicine.

But that's what makes it great!

The air is constantly filled with the scent of food. Not just plain food, like McDonald's, but real food. Good food. The food that makes your mouth water when you say the name.

It's filthy. There are millions of people walking, spitting, dropping things, sneezing. Years upon years of that. It's all built up. That dirt represents a lot of people living there. Mind you, it is still nasty, but realizing that the dirt is connected to the people makes it slightly more bearable.

My grandma always tells me about humidity and how cold humidity goes straight to the bone. She wasn't exaggerating. I promise. It does. It is noticeable. Dry cold is practically summer compared to the cold of New York. But that cold is kind of mesmerizing. You can almost carry the air in the winter, it is so solid and cold, but that doesn't stop the city from functioning. No, it carries on.

There are so many sounds. All the people, the cars, the buses, the dogs, the kids, the extremely large pigeons. Everything makes noise. In fact, funny story, I bought some darling boots out there. I wore them a lot. I got home, and wore them to church...they are really loud. They click and clack, but I didn't notice out there. I couldn't hear myself walk when I was there. It was kind of crazy.

Never have I seen so many people at once. I have walked down the halls at UVU between classes. I have got to Orem Summerfest. I have tried to get gas at Costco around dinnertime. Never before have there been so many people just living. I've been to other big cities, but I felt like there were just so many more people in New York. Each person living their own life, creating their own story, discovering what it means to be them! You could feel the life around you.

Trains really should be above ground. I stand by that, but if they were above ground, the bands that played wouldn't have sounded quite as good. The underground has pretty good acoustics. Aside from that, it had neat tile. It literally had subway tile. Duh! It was gross, cracked, and probably older than me, but it was amazing! Outside trains don't really have that kind of thing going for them.

When they say the city never sleeps, they mean it. Any place with enough people will have a 24 hour schedule, but this place wasn't just awake at night. It was living at night. At midnight it wasn't too weird to be awake (also, I was running on Utah time most of the week, so it was only 10 for me). Places stayed open so much later. (They also delivered late!) Life could happen at night. I have trained myself to not be a night owl anymore, but out there, I probably could have gotten away with it.

New York was the scariest thing I have experienced, but I wouldn't change it. At first it was awful, but it romanced me. It charmed me. It won me over. I was only there a week, but I think part of my heart was left there. I do plan on going back (not until it warms up), and I am going to eat a million deli sandwiches, and ride the subway, and stay up living until my eyes can't be open anymore. New York really is the city so nice...




...that they named it twice. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

TED Talks

At work, I like to have something to listen to. Movies are fun to listen to, but they kind of make the day go by slower (so much happens in a movie that it feels like a lot of time has passed when it really hasn't). Music is also great, but sometimes I want something that makes me think. (Don't get me wrong, the 80s play list on spotify is amazing.)

Here are, in no particular order, my favorite five that I have watched so far:
This one is titled "How to speak so that people want to listen" given by Julian Treasure.




I really enjoyed this talk. I feel like the information given was really useful. These days, it feels, that a lot of people do a lot of talking without actually getting to the point. The short bursts of statuses, I feel, has inhibited our ability to speak in a way that is engaging when we aren't on the internet. Along the same lines, I feel that we have all stopped listening. We skim statuses, and we don't actually take them in, especially if the statuses are opinions that differ from our own. Which brings me to the next video!


This video is called "5 Ways to Listen Better" by Julian Treasure.




Along the same lines as the last video, I really liked the points he made. I love the acronyms he gave. I wrote them down on post-its and stuck them on my monitor at work. I don't know how well I have incorporated them, though. It's a work in progress.

The next video was suggested by my friend. It was really interesting. It gave me a new understanding of people who have dealt with addiction (I realize not all people are the same, but still). I have a friend that I care a great deal for, and he deals with addiction. This talk softened my heart--I didn't realize it needed it, but it did.

This one is called "Lessons from the Mental Hospital" and it was given by Glennon Doyle Melton. It was part of an independent TED talks convention at Traverse City (I haven't a clue where that is).


I really like her honesty, and her openness. She also has a sort of relaxed air about her. It's refreshing. Especially if you watch a lot of videos of "pros".

This next video is called "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor. I got it off of the playlist "10 Talks you won't be able to stop thinking about". I can assure you that that is 100% for this particular talk.

In this talk, Jill describes her stroke. Literally. It sounds kind of dull, but she is a neuroscientist. She studies brains for a living. She recounts her stroke, and describes it in such a way that it becomes the most incredible thing you have ever heard. You'll have a new found appreciation for your brain after this one.


If you watched that, let me know what you thought. It was incredible to me. I have never been more astounded by something in my life.

This next talk will not floor you like that one did. It's just a really, really, good bit of information. It's titled "How to Make Stress Your Friend" and it's given by Kelly McGonigal.

In this talk, she describes what stress--or our negative perception of it--does to our bodies. In the end, I learned that it's not the stress itself, but our reaction to it that harms us. (I think there's a Jack Sparrow quote about that.)




Did you just watch it? I liked the part about the brain. I can't say that I know for a fact that what she showed was true, but I trust her. She's supposed to have studied this for a while, so she better know! Even if it's not true, does it matter? Just the idea that being a Negative Nancy could kill us is enough to get me to mellow out a bit more.

If you have any other TED talks (or talks in general) that you liked, send them my way! I could seriously use more! Any topic! Then we can talk about them!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Trial and Error

I was supposed to posreally t last Monday, but I got really busy suddenly.

With what little time I had, I experimented a little on the stool. I realize now I shouldn't have, but I did. Now I need to take a couple of steps back in order to make it right. But that's okay. Perfection cannot be rushed.

Here's a photo of my four trials...all errors...



The pink was a lot...pinker...than I originally pictured. So I need to get new pink paint. I also wanted to do lace pattern on it, and I still might. I'm on the fence about it. Overall, this did not work out like I had hoped.

That's okay, though. I can sand that off quickly, and repaint it. It's really not a big deal. I mean, Edison had to make like a hundred lightbulb prototypes before finally making one that worked, right? So I have plenty of mistakes left before this is all done!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Princess Step Stool

A few months ago, I acquired this cute little stool/tiny bench. It's been living in my trunk. Every time I turned a corner, I would hear it slide across the back and hit the side. I felt bad. I finally got it out and started making it beautiful.

Here it is, all dusted off:



 Here it is with it's coat of white paint:


Nothing too exciting yet, but the design is in the works. The next color is going to be pastel pink. The sides (the legs) are going to be pastel pink lace. The top is going to have a quote by President Uchtdorf. It'll be the one about how we are all princesses and our once upon a times begin now. (He says it so much better...)

That should be done this weekend. Expect an update with the completed product before Monday!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

If I Woke Up From A Coma...

...I would not believe it was February.

I went on a hike today. Up in the canyon. You know, the place that is usually covered in snow this time of year... It wasn't. In fact, it was warm. REALLY warm.

See?



There was a TON of mud, the kind of mud that steals your shoes. It was really gross. 

My theory, after hiking in this AWESOME weather, is that this summer will suck. It's either going to be crazy warm--like living-on-the-sun warm--or really cold--like typical-february cold. If it snows on the fourth of July, we can totally use aerials to blow up snowmen, anyone on board?