Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Road Trip For Christmas

Josh and I will be spending Christmas in Wisconsin with Josh's family this year. I am nervous about all the driving and the weather, but excited to see Josh's family again!

Here's a map of our trip:

Rifle, CO (current locations) to Erie, CO (drop off Josh's car at a cousins house) to Fort Morgan, CO (drop of things at our storage unit and stop by the Post Office to pick up the rest of our Christmas gifts) to Bennington, NE (spend the night at Missy and Ryan's place) to Green Bay, WI (PACKERS GAME!) to Superior, WI (where Josh's family lives) back to Bennington, NE (spend the night at Missy and Ryan's place) to Greeley, CO (where Josh's next job should be).

Over 2700 miles and 42 hours round trip drive! It's going to be legendary!

And don't worry CA friends and family. I will be coming home at the end of February for Elder Luke Neilson's homecoming so I will see you all then!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mass Shootings

I remember Columbine. I was in Middle School.

I remember the VT shooting. I was about to graduate from college.

I remember the Gabby Giffords shooting. I was working for a company in Arizona.

I remember the Aurora Movie Theatre shooting. Josh and I were talking about moving to Colorado for work.

I remember the Sikh Temple shooting. It was 4 days before my 27th birthday.

I remember the Sandy Hook shooting. It happened on Friday and it's happening right now.

I woke up at 9:30 on Friday, December 14th, and turned on ESPN (like I always did). At 10:00 I turned on CBS to watch Wheel of Fortune. About half way through the show, a CBS Special New Report popped up. They reported that "4 or 5" people had been shot at an elementary school in Connecticut and that they would send us back to Wheel of Fortune until more "had been developed." While the contestants were spinning the Wheel, the news popped back on. This time it stayed on. I watched it all day. I bawled my eyes out when they reported that their original number was wrong and that at least 18 kids had been killed. I was so mad. I was so scared. I texted Josh and told him what was going on and then I jumped on the internet to do some more research.

Of course, I tuned into Facebook and the NY Times website. The Times was reporting pretty much the same thing that CBS News was. It was sad. The news reporters were in shock and fighting back tears. From Facebook I got a whole other side. Friends, well, acquaintances, were posting about their right to "bare arms". Some even went as far as to post about their love of guns before even saying anything about the poor souls that had died that day.

I get it. I do. I really do. I understand that people love their guns, that they are "gun enthusiast", and that they are worried about the Second Amendment, but come on, show a little heart. The Second Amendment isn't going anywhere.

Honestly, I'm not a gun person. I've never owned a gun. I've never shot a hand gun. Hell! I've never even touched a hand gun. However, I know that guns do not cause these terrible things to happen.

I think that people want to make sure that something like this never happens again. How do we do that? We identify what caused this to happen and then we get rid of it. Easy, right? Hardly.

If guns caused this to happen then we should just get rid of guns and then the mass killings would stop. Done! I solved all the problems!

These situations are so complex, sad, and scary. You are trying to penetrate the mind of someone who would kill children in order to understand why. 

I remember after Columbine happened there was a lot of debate about what had caused these boys to do something like that. There was a list of things to explore: psychological issues, bullying, access to guns, violent movies and video games, predisposition, music, etc. 

I think what makes these things so hard to predict and control is the fact that there is not just one cause. People who carry out these terrible acts have severe psychological problems, they don't have safe ways to express their anger, they have been bullied, they have been taught by violent movies and video games that there are no consequences for killing, they have access to guns, etc. 

So, all you "gun enthusiast" out there. I wouldn't worry. The Second Amendment isn't going anywhere. Sure, they may try to make it harder to get guns (why would that be so bad?) and they may try to outlaw assault rifles (why would you need those anyways?), but most people know that guns did not cause this to happen so you don't need to worry about your precious guns being taken away. 

I think the biggest issue here, in my humble opinion, is mental health. Getting help for mental health issues is nothing to be ashamed of. I think that our culture has made it so that if you go to counseling for a psychological problem it is because you are too weak to deal with it yourself. Or that you are crazy and should be in a mental hospital. That is just not true. Most people battle some kind of depression and anxiety and it is okay to seek help. I went to a psychologist (and later, psychiatrist) in High School. I was battling depression and anxiety and I went and got help. And yes, kids (and adults) are mean. People found out and I got made fun of. I couldn't find a date to my Senior prom so one of my friends suggested that I take my psychologist.

Bottom line is that people need a proper outlet. Making it easier to get help and educating people about mental health is a huge step forward. This will allow people to get help if they need it AND it will help others recognize the signs that are associated with people who need help.

Here is a quote from President Obama's Newtown Speech that I really liked:

"...I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine."

Outlawing guns is not the answer, outlawing violent video games and movies is not the answer, forcing people to go talk to a psychologist is not the answer. Educating each other, loving each other, and working together is a step in the right direction. 

I will always remember the horrific events that happened at Sandy Hook, but that is not what I want to remember or focus on. I want to remember the heros. The teachers that protected their kids. The first responders. The kids themselves who tried to be brave. I want to remember these things and move forward. I want to love and not judge. I want to help those who need help so that we can prevent things like things from happening again. 

There have been a lot of great articles/blogs that have come out since Friday (here's one). Please go and read them and educate yourselves. I know I will.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cute Babies!

I took this picture of my nephew, Brady, while Josh and I were in Omaha for Thanksgiving. It looks like he is going to follow in the shoes of his dad and Grandpa and become a golfer.

Josh and I haven't seen Brodee since we moved away from Utah. It's hard and we really miss him, but his mom sends us photos so we can continue to watch him grow.

Both of these kids are so cute! I just can't get enough of them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

My California Teams

This year has been frustrating for us Southern California sports fans. It makes me mad when I dedicate so much time to my teams and NONE of them deliver.

The Angels signed Pujols and Wilson in the off-season. Everyone thought that this would give the team a chance, a good chance, to make it to the World Series. They didn't even make it to the playoffs.

Late in the season the Dodgers acquired three big name players from the Red Sox which they would use in the final push to the playoffs. As with the Angels, the big names didn't deliver and they missed the playoffs, again.

The Chargers have been frustrating for a long time. Philip Rivers is a good quarterback so why can't they win? Oh, it's because they have no one for him to throw the ball to (well, besides Antonio Gates)! The Broncos already clinched the division so the Chargers will be watching the post-season from the comfort of their homes.

The Lakers have had a lot of drama (what else is new?). In the off-season they acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. The team, the fans, and the analysts all thought that the Lakers would be unstoppable. After going 0-8 in the preseason and 0-3 at the beginning of the regular season, the Lakers fired their head coach Mike Brown* and hired Mike D'Antoni OVER Phil Jackson (don't get me started). They are still struggling. Howard can't make a Free Throw to save his life, Kobe is getting frustrated, Nash is hurt, and D'Antoni benched Gasol. They better get their act together if they want to make it to the playoffs.

*I was happy to see him go. I didn't think he should have been hired in the first place. I was on Team Brian Shaw.

I am starting to understand "fair-weather-fans" now. It hurst, emotionally, to watch my teams lose. It may sound crazy but I have an emotional connection to my guys. When they lose it makes me sad and when they win it cheers me up. I just don't know how long I can just sit back and watch them suffer. I dedicate so much time to my teams (watching their games, watching Sports Center, reading about them on and Grantland, etc.) and I spend a lot of money on them (those jersey's aren't cheap) so I want them to win so I can justify all that time and money. Come on guys! Get it together! I won't give up on you so stop breaking my heart!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To Rifle

Josh and I were just finishing with dinner when there was a knock on the door. It was Jesus, one of Josh's coworkers. He told us that there was work in Rifle and that Josh would need to be there the next day if he wanted the job. Josh and I agreed to go. Why not? How can you turn down a job?!

Turns out that Josh was one of just a few guys that they picked for this project because his bosses really like him. That's always good!

So Josh left the next morning and I started packing up our little hotel room. I put most of our things in storage and only brought what we would need for the next two weeks. 

I wasn't too excited about driving over the Mountain and through the Tunnel again (it's steep and it's always snowing up there), but this time I was doing it with just my X-Terra so I knew it wasn't going to be a scary as the move out here.

I arrived in Rifle and found us a cute, long-term-stay hotel to stay in. It's expensive, but Josh got a perdiem raise so I was able to justify spending the extra money. Plus, the place has a full kitchen with a DISH WASHER, a washer and dryer IN THE UNIT, a queen sized bed in a separate room (so Josh can go to bed early), a big closet, AND cable and high speed internet! Sold! 




[Nice closet] 

[Washer and Dryer] 


[Living room with another bed/couch] 

I told Josh that I wanted a romantic weekend in the Mountains before we left Colorado, so I guess this will have to do for now!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pack Attack!

This is where Josh and I will be on December 23rd:

That's right! We are going to the Packers vs Titans game at Lambeau Field! It is our Christmas present to each other and we are both really excited... Josh more then me due to the fact that I don't want to freeze to death! Eek!

I'm secretly hoping that next Christmas we can get Lakers tickets! Do you think Josh will go for that?! : )

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Living in a Hotel

Josh and I have been living in a hotel since I moved to Colorado. The town we live in is SMALL and the only apartments are for low income families and the elderly, so that forces us to either find a house to rent or to live in a hotel. I've been looking for a house to rent but they are either too expensive or they want a long-term contract (that is just something we can't do with the unpredictability of Josh's job). As a result we have been living in a little motel for the last couple of months. It's been... okay. The room is small, but it has a kitchen which has been nice because I love to (and want to) cook. We can't fit all of our things in this little room so we are also renting a small storage unit. We are hoping to  move to a larger city in January, but we will see. Until then, this is our home:

[Main Room/Bedroom/Living Room/Family Room]

 [We couldn't live without our TV!]

[The Kitchen]

[The Second Bedroom (which we use as my closet and for storage)]

The owner has been taking advantage of us being there (rent is EXPENSIVE) by doing some renovations. He has recently painted the outside of the hotel and got the roof repaired. While the men were on the roof fixing it they dropped a large case of shingles which caused the ceiling in our room to break off and come crashing down. It was a HUGE mess and I was really upset about it. Luckily, nothing of mine was broken.

So that is our home for now! I try really hard to keep things clean and organized but it just ends up looking cluttered. Ugh. Hopefully, we can get out of here and into a nice apartment within the next few months. I really miss having a full sized kitchen and my Direct TV. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving in Omaha

Josh and I went to Omaha to spend Thanksgiving with my brother, Ryan, and his cute family. I was excited to hang out with my family and to see my adorable nephew, Brady. 

We had a great time eating, playing video games, decorating the house for Christmas, Skypeing with my parents, going out to dinner, and attempting to take family pictures in the cold (it was FREEZING!)

[Ryan and Josh putting up lights, Missy is supervising]

[Christmas Tree]

[Missy and Ryan were really excited about their first Christmas Tree]

[Brady and Me]

[Taking family pictures was a little hard when the baby was freezing and the wind was blowing]

[We had cute matching outfits on but there was no way I was going to take my jacket off]

[Happy Brady in the warm car]

Thanks to Ryan, Missy, and Brady for having us over for Thanksgiving! We had a great time!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Eating Healthy

Josh and I (well, more me, Josh is just along for the ride) are really trying to eat more healthy. I have a bunch of Weight Watchers cookbooks that I have been going through to find some great recipes for us. Some of our favorites have been Breakfast (consisting of whole wheat pancakes, soy sausage, and turkey bacon), Turkey Burgers, Spicy Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry, Sicilian Sausage-Stuffed Pizza, Almond-Crusted Tilapia, Spicy Green Curry-Cilantro Shrimp, Szechuan Chicken with Peanuts, "Skinny Chimys" (Skinny Chimichangas), Spaghetti and Meatballs, Creamy Garlic Shrimp and Pasta, Tacos, and Flatbread Pizza. I've also found some fun dessert and appetizers recipes that I've been trying out. 

Breakfast (whole wheat pancakes, soy sausage, and turkey bacon)

 Crispy Italian Wontons

My cousin, Cheryl, has been talking about Green Smoothie (they are all the rage!) forever and recently Missy, my sister-in-law, introduced me to an EASY (frozen banana, peanut butter, milk, and spinach) Green Smoothie and I usually have one every other day.

Eating healthy can be hard and requires a lot of planning but I like how I feel after eating a healthy meal!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yep, my dad was right!

Like most students, I had a hard time deciding on a major in college. I went back and forth, up and down, and all around to find something that was perfect for me. After hitting a dead end I called my dad for advice. He told me, "Find something you are good at and then get someone to pay you to do it." Good advice, right? So if I would have taken his advice I would have chosen a major with a strong science or math background. Instead I interpreted his advice to mean "Find something you love and then get someone to pay you to do it." So, I made a list. I listed out everything that I loved and I came to the conclusion that I should major in Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology.

In one of my first Archaeology classes my Professor listed out the cost of being an Archaeologist. That day I learned that if I wanted to get a Bachelors, a Masters, and a PhD in Archaeology then I would most likely be in school for 14 years and I would never pay off my student loans. Bottom line: the money just wasn't there. Did I care?! Hell no! I still wanted it. I still wanted to be an Archaeologist. I think at that point I had the typical "BYU mentality": I would get married and my husband would take care of me. So, why would I need to make money? I could just go out on digs and do the fun archaeology thing and then my husband would take care of everything else. I saw the romantic-Indiana Jones-side of archaeology and I wanted it!

So, I graduated and got a job on an excavation in St George. It was an amazing dig and a lot of fun. I was making $10/hour with no perdiem (they did pay for our food and housing though). Sure it wasn't a lot of money but the experience was amazing!

After that excavation ended I got a typical job in the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) side of archaeology. The work was hard. We worked 10-day-sessions (10 days on and 4 off) in Nevada, my supervisor was a horrible person, we hiked ~13 miles a day, we were stuck in crapy hotels in the middle of nowhere, I was making $13/hour, and I was paying rent at a place in SLC and I was only there 8 days a month. It was then that I realized that archaeology may not have been a great choice. But I kept convincing myself that I just didn't like it because my supervisor was so horrible. Maybe the next job would be better.

The next job I got was similar to the last. I was gone a lot, I was worked into the ground, and the money wasn't great ($16/hour). As a single woman living in Utah it was fine. I could provide for myself and work kept me busy but this wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to be married. I wanted to have a family. I wanted to work and be at home every night. I wanted to go on excavations and adventures. I was sick of hiking. I was so tired. My body was hurting. My knee was busted and my back hurt.

CRM isn't the archaeology that I was wanting/expecting. It's not like my experiences where unique. This is how all CRM firms are. I just didn't know that going into it. I didn't know that I would most likely not be able to get married and have a family if I stayed in this line of work. How am I supposed to have kids when I am gone all the time and hiking all day?! And it's not like I could provide for a family on my salary anyways.

In the end I've realized that the best people for CRM work are single men, who want to stay single, who have another source of income (trust fund baby), and who want to do this because they love it.

I figured that my time as an Archaeologist was coming to an end when I fell in love with Josh. I cried when I had to leave him for a long period of time and I cried when I called home to say hi and I could hear Josh playing with Brodee in the background. It broke my heart. I missed my family. What was the point in having a family if you are never around to see them?

So, if I can give any advice it would be my dad's advice: Find something you are good at and then get someone to pay you to do it. I made what I loved (history and people) my career and then I ended up hated it. AND I was poor. It wasn't worth it. I wish I had known that in college. So, if you know anyone who is considering a career in Anthropology or Archaeology send them my way and I will set them straight.

**The reason I wrote this post was because my friend posted this article from Forbes on Facebook. Check it out. My major is number 1. Eek!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Denver Botanical Gardens

Sundays around here are usually consists of Josh and I laying around the house watching American Football. Since we are in Bronco Country we very rarely get to see our teams (Packers and Chargers) play unless they are playing the Broncos or are playing on Sunday night. Yesterday, the Packers game wasn't playing on our local TV and the Chargers were playing the night game, so Josh and I decided to go to Denver for the day.

Thanks to Groupon, I got 2 for 1 tickets at the Denver Botanical Gardens.

The gardens we beautiful (nothing compared to Butchart Gardens, of course) and the weather was perfect. It was fun to just stroll around and take pictures!

After exploring the Gardens, we headed to CPK for lunch since Josh was craving a Habanero Carnitas Pizza... go figure ; )