Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

It's 2:30 in the morning. Why do I do this every year? Why do I stay up to bake? I could a) do it earlier on Thanksgiving Eve, or b) do it early on Thanksgiving Day.

At any rate, it's late. I can't quite go to bed yet because a pie is in the oven, and so I'm blogging. I'll blog about things I'm thankful for:
  • YOU, if you're reading this. I write for you, people. I write for you.
  • Family and friends, of course. I thought about listing everyone individually to make this list personal, but inevitably I'd leave someone out like winners do at the Oscars every year.
  • A job that lets me leave work early on Thanksgiving Eve and take Black Friday off -- without using up leave time! Goodbye, CDC . . . Hellooooo, Habitat!!!
  • A good place to live, and a roommate I like
  • Big kitchens and lots of baking utensils
  • Sweater sales at GAP
  • Clean clothes
  • Fresh flowers
  • Run/walks
  • Quiet time
  • Modern-day prophets and apostles

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope it's a good day for you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What I Want In a Husband

When I was about 13- or 14-years-old, I made a list of the things I wanted in my future husband. I found the list tonight, while I was desperately searching for something else. Although I never found what I was looking for, I feel a little better knowing that I came across that list of what my 13-year-old self wanted in a husband. Here it is:
  1. Have my standards/church member
  2. Intelligent
  3. Kind
  4. Funny
  5. Listens to/respects the music I listen to
  6. Good listener
  7. Attractive
  8. Sensitive/understanding
  9. Would be a good dad
  10. Shares my interests of things
  11. Respects my family/friends
  12. Can cook!
  13. Wants to be with me
I suppose that was a good list back then, but what I find extremely striking -- besides the exclamation point in #12 -- is how general it was. I mean, who doesn't want someone who is understanding, kind, funny, and attractive? But it's an immature wish list. I didn't know that it's the little details that make a person incredible -- that makes him complement me in a way that probably only a handful of people could. Sure, I want all of those general things now, but here are the specific things that make up my 28-year-old husband-to-be list. I want him to
  1. Be curious. I want someone who loves to learn, who asks questions, who wonders. "Why" is the most used question word in my vocabulary, and I want it to be his, too.
  2. Be a conversationalist. Conversations with the person I marry should be consistently good and progressively better. Sure, sometimes we'd goof off, but if there's not much to talk about after a while, then I think it's a sure sign that something is wrong. "Good" conversation is talking about everything under the sun. It's inevitable that my husband and I will age, so I'd like to at least have something to talk about when we're old and gray and sitting in wheelchairs. Also, he should be able to talk with anyone -- strangers, even.
  3. Be friendly. I want a man who says hi to strangers, who meets new people at church or work. He should be able to carry on a decent conversation with them for at least a few minutes.
  4. Read. He doesn't have to read the same books as me, but he should at least read a lengthy article or two per week and a few books per year.
  5. Have a little bit of bite! Of course I want someone who is righteous and obedient to Heavenly Father, but I don't think those two characteristics exclude a little bit of sass! A little bit of opinion! A little bit of appropriate irreverence! I want to get into harmless (and maybe flirtatious) debates sometimes!
  6. Constantly try to improve. On something. I don't know if it's inherent or societal for men to be averse to self-reflection and personal improvement, but I do think they generally are those two things. Guys are almost always confident, and that's fine. That's great! But I'd like my guy to recognize that he has faults that he actually needs to work on. None of this "Well, nobody's perfect. There's always room for improvement." That's a good start perhaps, but what is he actively working on to improve his character, talents, or understanding?
  7. Eat sugar.
    Because I like to bake desserts and other foods rich in carbohydrates.
  8. Be musical. He should sing or play some musical instrument. I know that's hypocritical, since I don't play an instrument anymore, but I am slowly learning to play the piano. And I sing in choirs sometimes. I enjoy listening to people play music they've written, and I want my children to be musical, too.
  9. Appreciate art. He should have a favorite style of art or at least know the name of a few paintings and artists he likes. He should appreciate the difference art makes in a home.
  10. Play sports.
    I'm totally uncoordinated, and my parents didn't teach me how to play team sports when I was young. As a result, I know that it's crucial for kids to be involved in sports. I certainly can't teach them, so my husband needs to.
  11. Be clean! I think my indicator for "clean enough" is in the way he cleans dirty dishes. Does he quickly wipe a plate, for example, and leave tiny bits of food on it? Or does he make sure he gets it nice and soapy and spotless and know that the dishwasher is only a sterilizer? Does he clean the outside of a bowl as well as the inside? All I want is to know my family is eating off clean dishes.
  12. Respect Mother Nature. No littering! Period.
  13. Consider adoption. Even if I can have kids of my own, I might want to adopt. I feel very strongly about it. (See Milk and Adoption.)
  14. Believe in unstructured play time for children. What? See 21st-Century Education and Parental Expectations. (Okay, okay. Maybe he hasn't thought about that yet, but he should at least put some thought into parenting and have some ideas of how he wants it to play out.)
  15. Be a goof-off. At least sometimes. I take myself waaay to seriously (See #11.), and I need someone to remind me to be silly.
  16. Realize winter clothes are more expensive than summer clothes. Because I like sweaters!
  17. Be okay with my impersonations. I like to quote movies. I like to speak in accents. My future husband needs to be okay with the fact that I will break into character with no warning.
  18. Have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This should be near the top, but it's not an exactly prioritized list. You may ask, "How do you measure something like a testimony?" Here's how (for me, at least):
    • He attends the temple.
    • He participates in service projects.
    • He bears his testimony, in church or to friends.
Okay. I think that's it.
I don't think my expectations are too high, do you?
And now that I'm re-reading it, it still isn't very specific. I don't know if that's good or bad . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: my sister's future husband.

When I Grow Up . . .

I want to be like the Munns of Australia.

I don't know what they did to be able to retire in such style, but not only are they financially set, they're helping hundreds of others build successful lives as well.

They bought a plot of land in Cambodia so that 21 families could build houses on it. They partner with Habitat for Humanity and a nonprofit microfinance organization to build homes and hope.

Read about them: From the seeds they planted, a village grows.

This is the kind of story I get to read on a regular basis at my job. It makes me want to be a better person -- the kind of person that can help people less fortunate than me. And I live a charmed life; I really do.

Thing I'm thankful for: the beauty that is Habitat for Humanity. It really is an outstanding organization.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

Most people give me a quizzical look when I say that. They wonder how this could possibly be. I think an ex-boyfriend thought me slightly sacrilegious because of it.

For the record, though, I'd like to say that I'm not a hellion. I don't worship the devil, nor do I ignore the apparently more acceptable holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving. Let me tell you why. I'll begin with a list:
  • Candy!
  • Plastic, orange pumpkin baskets. They're small, but so cheerful!
  • Carving pumpkins! My favorite part is scooping out the insides!
  • Lightly salted and baked pumpkin seeds!
  • Being creative with costumes!
  • Seeing the creative side of other people!
  • Late-night parties!

Besides all this, Halloween ushers in the rest of the holiday season! It's the first in a long line of holidays, so when you get to Halloween, you know that there are a lot of other great holidays soon coming!

But let's get a little more serious . . . Here's are some psychoanalytical reasons behind my love of Halloween:

Halloween was always a happy time in my family's house. My mom sews, so she almost always helped my brothers and sisters and me make our costumes. Just imagine being nearly anything you want! A seamstress for a mother is a child's Halloween dream. My dad was happy, too, that his wife could make the costumes -- with six children in the house, spending money on costumes in the store was much worse than spending money on material to sew. Not only were my parents saving money on the costumes, though, they were not spending money in large quantities, period. With Thanksgiving, you spend a lot of money on food, and with Christmas, you spend an exorbitant amount on clothes and toys and gadgets.

While I know my parents love each other, I also cannot remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas when they did not get into a loud financial argument. According to my dad, mom spent too much. According to my mom, dad didn't spend enough.

The middle ground? Halloween. Although my mom probably buys too much candy, she still never spends very much on it. How could one do that, anyway? There's only so much candy you can get . . . I think my dad is pleased with that.

My dad also enjoys the Fall; he likes walking outside on crisp, cool October evenings. So he enjoyed taking my sister and me out to trick-or-treat. He was probably just as excited to walk around the neighborhood as we were, so it made the whole night that much more fun.

So there you have it.
Halloween is my favorite holiday.

Thing I'm thankful for: chocolate!