Friday, September 25, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello. It’s Friday afternoon, and my eyes are droopy. I wonder if I can write A Week in Review in my sleep? Let’s give it a try.

Lessons I’ve Learned from my Car
Remember that old piece of junk that I drive? I don’t know if it’s junk, or just needy and begging for attention, but this week it’s had plenty of people looking at it. The clutch went out. But before that happened, last Thursday, another hose broke. I called Barry when I got home, and he came over to help me. This hose was harder to get at than the last one, so he had to put off actually replacing it until Saturday morning when he had more time and better tools. Friday Melissa drove me to the train so that I could get to and from work, and she helped me run some errands, too, and then took me to the store on Saturday. Barry showed up at the store Saturday afternoon with my keys and told me that the new hoses were in place. He took care of two of them, and said that as far as he could tell all hoses in that car are now new. What a relief. It should be some time before I see smoke coming out from under the hood again.

Everyone was so nice to help me, and I was thinking about and appreciating that over the weekend. I’m a pretty independent person, and like to take care of things myself. In the past when I’ve had car trouble I’ve managed to handle it without inconveniencing too many people. But, I learned last weekend that it is ok to ask for some help, and that people are actually willing to do what they can. That sounds kind of cliché, but it was a revelation to me. I go through too many of my days feeling like I am on my own, but that’s not true is it? Family and friends are there not just for having fun (and feeding me good Sunday dinners) but to help when needed. I hope that these people know that I will help them, too, if they ever need me.

But that’s not the end of my car drama. The clutch had been acting funny for a few a weeks, and on Monday it got worse. I really had to work to get it into gear. Replacing the clutch is beyond Barry’s time, talent and toolbox, so I called for some professional help. I remembered that Tiffany’s father owns a repair shop, and having had some unhappy experiences with my usual mechanic and their usual crap, I wrote to her for some information on her dad. She wrote right back again with his phone number, and had even contacted him to tell him that I’d be in touch. Nice. I set up an appointment to bring it in Thursday morning.

Wednesday evening I had some trouble getting home from work. That clutch was gone. So I was worried about driving it to the shop the next day, and wondering if I’d get it started or would I need a tow truck, and then how would I get to work because Melissa would already be gone for the day and I can’t take a day off with my vacation coming up, and then how do I get to the shop to pick it up again…blah, blah, blah. My brain carried on while my stomach tied up in knots. I prayed for help, and asked that I would be able to drive it to the shop the next day. That was all I needed, just one more trip, just get it to the shop.

Later I was watching tv, and fretting, and telling myself not to stress so much, and then I had a thought, “In the grand scheme of things, what happens tomorrow morning doesn’t really matter that much.” I don’t know what sparked it, but as soon as that thought ran through my mind I felt relief. Really, it’s just car problems. A pain in the neck yes, but not such a big deal, and nothing like the much harder things that so many deal with every day. Finally I had a practical perspective, and got through the rest of the night without developing an ulcer. The next day I drove my car to the shop, with some trouble, but I got it there. Tiff’s very nice father gave me a ride to the train; I went to work, and the repairs were done by the end of the day. Done and done. Now it’s running like a dream.

Lessons learned from my car – I don’t have to do everything by myself. In fact there are very good people all around who will help. And, get some perspective. Most problems are not life altering, and most of them work out just fine. My credit card might not ever recover, but still, I’m fine.

I think that’s it for now. Thanks, as always, for your constant excellence.
You are loved.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where I'm From

I’m copying something that Tiffany did earlier this week. She said we could try our own, so I hope she doesn’t mind, or feel too plagiarized.

Where I’m From
I am from an old two-story house
In Alexandria, Minnesota,
from cruising our block on a yellow tricycle,
And then learning to ride a purple bike
With a banana seat and training wheels,
And flying high on a rope swing in our back yard.
I am from sitting in Dad’s guitar case
While he played and sang.
I am from having stitches in my head twice
Before I started kindergarten,
One of those leaving a scar on my forehead,
Which is one of the reasons why I’ve always had bangs.
I am from moving out to the country when I was 6 years old,
To a four bedroom house with one bathroom.
Mom papered our bedroom wall with big daisies,
And put Holly Hobby decals on our white dresser.
I am from playing football in the yard with my brothers.
I am from long drives to church every Sunday, and
A prayer each night and the dinner table.
I am from riding my bike down the gravel road
To my best friend’s house.
I am from riding on the tractor,
Learning to drive a truck and a big green van.
I am from family reunions at Eagle Lake.
I am from road trips in the green van to see my grandparents
In Wichita, Kansas, and an aunt and uncle in Chicago.
I am from my dad reading to me,
And me reading to my little brother.
I am from spoiling that little brother,
And him making me laugh til it hurt.
I am from admiring my other brothers,
And wanting them to like me.
I am from finally learning that they do.
I am from high school years filled with band, choir,
The speech team and the yearbook staff,
And wanting to be popular.
I am from a grand adventure
To Idaho, to Rick’s college,
and then on to Salt Lake City,
and a mission in California.
I am from faith in my Heavenly Father,
Belief in Christ,
The guidance of the Holy Ghost.
I am from a whole load of friends,
Coworkers, acquaintances,
And people whose examples I've admired from a distance.
I am from painful disappointments
And unexpected joys.
I am from good places,
and look forward to all the places still ahead.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Breaking News

William said, "Hi A-gie" on the phone today.

I just wanted to put that in writing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello All. How are things? Is summer winding down nicely? Ready to fall into the cool, crip, clean days of autumn? I am. Some of the leaves are changing in the mountains, and it gives me that warm, cozy feeling that always comes with fall. And I watched some football with my family on Sunday. Nice. Let's do A Week in Review.

I wish that my Monday was as exciting as retreating from an advancing enemy, or from a cow being flung over a castle wall like in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Oh wait, that was "Run away!" Awesome. No, my retreat was the work kind. The Missionary Department joined with the MTC (Missionary Training Center) for a retreat at Spring Haven up Hobble Creek Canyon. Spring Haven is a very pretty place, lots of dark woodwork and rough stone walls. My understanding is that some years ago a wealthy family built this lavish home in mountains, and then for some reason donated it to BYU, which gives the MTC use of it. We've gone there for our retreats a few times now. It's a good drive to get there, so the department provided busses. Those who live in the Salt Lake area got on their bus at the COB at 7:15 am to get to Spring Haven a little after 9:00. That’s way too long to be on a bus. I live toward the south end of the valley, so I drove to the MTC in Provo. That bus left later in the morning, which is how I like it. Once at the MTC, I started to think that I could just follow the bus in my car, and have a more pleasant ride, and skip afternoon activities and go home early.

We drove about 40 minutes south of Provo and up Hobble Creek to Spring Haven. They had breakfast for us, bagels, muffins, donuts, milk and juices. Then we all went into a gym-like room and sat on metal chairs for some training. We played a Pictionary-ish game in small groups, ice-breaker I suppose, and then listened to some speakers and saw a few presentations, mostly focused on what they do at the MTC. It was interesting. Not really anything that I can use, but still pretty good. We were done with training about 12:30, and then were served a very nice lunch of chicken, pork, potatoes, salads and cheesecake. Everything’s better with cheesecake. Whoever catered that meal did a great job.

Then it was time for a project for the Humanitarian Services department - we built hygiene kits. After that free time and games, I ditched those turkeys. This is where my brilliant plan came to brilliant fruition. I asked my coworker Kelli if she wanted a ride home, and we took off. The drive back was actually fun. We don’t work in the same department, so we don’t interact much at work. It was good to have some time to really talk to her, and now I feel like I have a new work friend. A girl can always use another work friend.

I have watched a few of the new programs debuting this fall on the tv, and some are pretty good. Glee has become a favorite. It’s funny, Jane Lynch especially, and the music is good. I loved the pilot episode. It left me feeling happy, and wanting to buy a Journey cd (they did a great rendition of Don’t Stop Believing). Since then the regular season hasn’t measured up to the pilot, which is disappointing, but I’m willing to give it some time. The whole concept is original (really, do we need 36 different crime shows, or 36 hours of Jay Leno?), and the cast is talented. Maybe you want to give it a try? Last night I watched the first episode of Community and laughed out loud. If it stays this good, then Thursday night on NBC will once again be the night for sitcoms. There’s 30 Rock, The Office, and now Community. I’m looking forward to this.

A Trip!
I’m leaving for Minnesota three weeks from today. So far stupid Delta hasn’t pulled anymore tricks, so I think that my flights will be ok. Once there, my parents and I are going to see Courtney and family in Rochester, then go to Chicago to my aunt and her family, and then to Eau Claire, WI to see Shane and his family. So much family! And I have a cousin who is getting married the Saturday before I leave, so that will be a big gathering of the Sivertson side. If I had a dollar for each family member I see in those 10 days…hey, that’s not a bad idea. Maybe they should each give me a dollar? Hmmmm.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to it. Summer has been kind of long and dull. I didn’t do anything or go anywhere. My two best days were the 24th of July with Marla, and Labor Day with the Dotys. All work and no play makes Angie crabby as h**l, so it’s time for a trip. I’ve talked to Mom a few times this past week, and they’re getting excited too. Hehe! It’s going to be good.

A Story
Do you have time for a story? Flu shots are available this week at the COB. Cheryl and I were talking about them, and I told her about getting a tetanus shot when I was five years old. I must have gotten it in the morning because that afternoon I was at Kindergarten, and was sitting next to some other kids on a bench. My arm got very sore and swollen from the shot; it felt hot, and the kids on this bench kept bumping into it. It really hurt. I think I cried. My mom came and got me, took me home, and had me lay down on the couch. She got a pillow and put it under my arm, and I laid there like royalty and watched Sesame Street. Funny, how cute that my mom put my arm up on a pillow, so cute.

I think that’s if for this week. Thanks, as always for your continued devotion.
You are loved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Check it Out

In the last two days I've learned of two new blogs to share with you. The first is from my sister-in-law Andrea. She's been doing some great work making and selling cute, cute things for the little ones, and has set up a blog called The Hobby Room.

Dearest Tiffany, who writes the Mrs Fields catalog (what's cooler - being a working writer or working in cookies? I say cookies), has been working on Mrs. Field's Secrets. It looks great and there are recipes.

Wait, there's a third! My friend Nicole has an etsy shop called the Butterfly Net. It's also handmade crafts, and they have some very pretty note cards. I'm kind of a freak about pens and paper, so these note cards caught my eye.

Check them out. You might find something to love.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello! How was your week? Mine was alright. Would like to hear about it? I’ll tell you (queue music). A Week in Review really should have a theme song.

I took last Saturday off at the store! It was wonderful. All day Friday I would think about work the next day, and then remember that I didn’t have to go to work, and it made me so happy. The store is great, but everyone needs a day off every once in a while. I slept in, of course, and then I went to the Wal-Mart for new tires on my car. Not tremendously exciting, but it had to be done. It’s amazing how much better a car feels with new tires.

Saturday was the day before Sierra left for school, so I went to lunch with them and then told her goodbye, but before that I wanted to get her something for her apartment. She had told me about table lamp that she saw at Target with “these black dangly things on it”, so I went in search at my local Target store. I found the lamp, and it was pretty much awesome, so much so that I giggled, and then called Marla to tell her about it. I wish I had a picture. Marla wanted to see it, and she wanted Skittles, so I went over there, she admired the black, dangly lamp, and I kissed William several hundred times. He’s so cute.

I met Sierra and family at Fuddruckers for some bacon cheeseburgers and fun. They really have good food. Everyone was in fine form, just acting normal really. Barry and Melody aren’t the sloppy emotional type. They love their kids, but they don’t gush or get dramatic about things. I for some weeks was in danger of getting too dramatic about Sierra going, and probably did a few times, but in the end we did well enough. After lunch we went to my car, I gave her a giant bright pink gift bag, she looked inside and said, “It’s the sequin lamp!” and then we hugged. I hugged the other girls too, gave Sierra one last squeeze, told her to have fun, and we left. Not even a tear. Pretty good huh? I’ve been following her on Facebook since (hooray for Facebook), and she seems to be having a good time. All is well with the Sivertsons.

Labor Day
Monday I went to Bear Lake! The last time I saw Bear Lake was before my mission, years and years ago. Gosh it’s pretty up there. Cheryl and her husband, Dr. Don Doty, have a home in the mountains about 15 minutes away from the lake, and they invited me to come spend the day. Another coworker, Ed, also has a home up there, so I saw both, and they are beautiful places. Cheryl took me driving around on the Rhino, which is something like a cross between a four-wheeler and a golf cart with some extra guts to get it over mountain roads. We drove all over their property, and she pointed out different points of interest, and we saw lots of cattle, and she told me about the cattle getting out of their fences and into people’s yards, and they’ve had to chase the cattle. The Dotys are not country folk, they’ve been townies all their lives, but they really have taken to this ranch. Don cuts down dead trees and cuts up firewood. He and Cheryl have built and repaired fences. They’ve chased cattle! It’s really impressive. And they love it. I can see why. It’s so quiet there; the air is fresh, and the scenery is gorgeous. It was a really fun day.

On the way home I stopped at a little shack for a raspberry shake. EVERYONE who knew that I was going to Bear Lake told me that I had to have a shake, so I made sure to get one. It was very delicious. But I do not recommend eating one and driving a car. You know how thick shakes go up above the rim of the cup. The ice cream above this cup was about the same size as the cup, and I couldn’t eat it fast enough, and it melted, and soon I was wearing a lot of it. So sticky. I stopped in a little town called Randolph to wash my hands and clothes. Was the shake good enough to be worth the mess? Yeah, I think so.

Harry Potter
Remember that I was reading The Alchemist by that Brazilian writer? It didn’t do much for me. It’s a good book, one of those inspiring follow your dreams kind, but I don’t think that I was in the right mood. So I skimmed through to the end, and then decided to start 1984 by George Orwell. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it. That is not an inspiring story. In fact it’s very disturbing and really quite terrifying. I read before going to sleep, and was turning off the lights every night feeling very unsettled. I decided that I really wasn’t in the mood for that either. It’s a classic, so I should read it, but maybe some other time.

What am I in the mood for? A little Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. After seeing the latest movie I’ve wanted to read number seven again because there’s so much that I’ve forgotten. I’ve read each book only once, and it seems like a long time ago now. But, the sixth movie left out quite a bit of the book, which they usually do, so decided to read number six again before number seven. I’m really enjoying it! JK Rowling is great. What a fantastic story. This series is worth all of the hype it’s gotten. I look forward to reading every night, and I love that. I love having a book that I’m excited to get back to. I’ll read number seven next.

Well, I think that’s it for today. Thanks, as always, for your continued excellence.
You are loved.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

39 and 1/2

My birthday is six months from today, and I will be 40 years old. 40 years old.

I’m a little freaked out.

Oh youth where have you gone, and where are the dreams we made?

There’s a lot I haven’t done with my 40 years, and I’ve talked before about the different things that have been difficult or disappointing. But overall things have been pretty good. I was sitting at church a couple of weeks ago and thought that after posting my stories of trial and sorrow, it might be nice to post something about all that’s right with my world, so here are a few.

I love the Church. I really do. It’s been the center of my life all of my life, and it’s made me the person I am today. It’s also made the people I love who they are, and they are pretty great. I believe in God, and I know that He loves me, and that he hears my prayers. Prayer has been the most powerful lifeline I’ve had. I don’t know how many times I’ve been at work and have felt frustrated or upset about something and have gone into a bathroom stall, said a prayer and have immediately felt better. The Spirit has lifted me, given me strength and encouraged me under every circumstance not just to go on, but to do it with hope and a happy heart because there is a God in heaven who is paying attention to me. I’m as sure of that as I am of anything.

I love the word redemption, and am sure that Jesus Christ gives us just that. Redemption – pulling me up when I’m weak. Making up the difference for my flaws. Forgiving. It’s beautiful. It’s freedom. It allows me to learn as I go, to say I’m sorry when I’m wrong, and to try again. I love my Savior, and I know that He lives.

Of course, I owe my membership in the Church to my parents who converted when I was very young. The missionaries came knocking on our door, and from what I understand, my mom was impressed by their clean-cut looks. She asked them to come back later when my dad would be home, and they did, and they taught us the gospel. A little more than a year later they were baptized. I didn’t realize until I was a missionary myself just how unusual it is to find a whole family to teach, and for them to be baptized and then to stay active is rarer still. But Mom and Dad did stay active. We didn’t do a lot of the typical Mormon things, like family home evening or raising us to go on missions, but we stayed active. I’m so grateful for that. It’s made all the difference.

I have great siblings. They’re my friends, and they are some of the best people on the planet. My sister is a miracle. When I think about the fact that she was born in South Korea, became an orphan there, spent years in an orphanage, and then came to live with us, it kind of blows my mind. And she adjusted through all of it so beautifully. And we get along so well. I have to believe that Heavenly Father played a part in bringing her to our family. I’m sure of it.

My childhood was great. Living on a farm was great; although, I didn’t really appreciate it when I was a kid. Who wants to spend all day hoeing the garden, or shelling peas, or clearing a field of hay bales? No ten-year-old girl that I know of and certainly not me. But I am sure that growing up that way made my siblings the top-notch people that they are. I don’t mean to say that a person has to come from the country to be a good person, not at all. I’m just saying that I love what it gave us. Knowing how to work gives people a foundation to build their character on. Second to the gospel, that’s the best thing my parents did for us.

It’s still remarkable to me that when I went away to college I really got to go away, all the way to Ricks in Rexburg, ID. What a great time. Luckily Marla wanted to go to the cosmetology school there, so we went together. After school I moved to Salt Lake and worked for two years, and then had the great experience of serving a mission in California. Sometimes I still wonder how all of that happened. It’s not like either me or my parents had money, and I’m really not the outgoing, adventurous type. I am very independent, but not outgoing. But when it was time to make those decisions I just knew what the right choice was, and I went, and my parents supported my choices. Everything fell into place. Sometimes I look back on those years and am shocked at the fearlessness of youth, and overwhelmed with gratitude. It makes me teary even now.

Since my mission I’ve had the blessing of supporting myself through great jobs. I’ve often kicked myself for not picking and pursuing a career when I was young. Still, I really have been lucky in the jobs I’ve had, and even more so in the great people I’ve worked with. Most of my best friendships (including every reader of this blog, all four of you) are people that I met at work. It’s been fun! Working for the Church is a unique opportunity to know some extraordinary people. And I have to say that I love the store. After 13 years, and in spite of all of the craziness, I still like going there. It gets me out of the house, away from sitting on the couch in front of the TV all night, and it’s a great social outlet. We talk and laugh and grumble and complain and get angry at customers and then laugh again. Who wouldn’t want to spend her evening doing that? It’s really been good for me.

I believe that it’s the people in your life that make all of the difference, and I’ve been blessed with being surrounded by wonderful people. You’re all great, and you’ve made my life great. I haven’t let go of the dreams of my youth, and it’s ok that they’re going to be realized later rather than sooner because I’ve had a good time in the mean time. And I think that there are a few more things that I can do before turning 40 – I should lose about 200 pounds, or close to, and I’d like to write the first three of a children’s book series that I’ve been thinking about for years. Wouldn’t that be cool? Probably too cool for uncool me, but I’m going to give it a try. And right now I’m watching the guys here at work measure their arm span and comparing to their height. I gotta get in on that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Something Else Today

It’s my mother’s birthday today, and so instead of the usual Week in Review, I’m going to share some memories of my mom. There are so many, but today three are standing out in my mind.

This might be one of my first memories. I was very young, maybe a toddler, and we were in church. I was sitting on Mom’s lap, leaning back into the crook of her arm so that I was cradled there. I was looking up at her face, and then she looked at me and smiled. That’s it, the whole thing, but that one moment is frozen in my mind; the comfort of being held tight, and looking up at her smile. A million pounds of love passed between us in that one second. I also remember being a little girl and sitting on her lap, in church again, and playing with her thumbs. Isn’t that funny? I’d hold her thumbs and put their tips together so that the nails overlapped, and then switch them so that one was on top and then the other, back and forth, back and forth. I liked to spin her wedding rings around her finger, too. Strange kid, but it made the look and feel of her hands stick in my mind, and they always will.

When I was four years old my family drove from Minnesota to Idaho Falls to go to the temple. I don’t know if that was the closest temple at the time. It might have been, but I do know that my parents knew a couple who lived in Idaho, and we stayed with them. The Lots, I think. At the temple I spent some time in the nursery, and there were Barbie dolls with great furniture including couch with dark green upholstery, very 70s. Later a very nice, very old woman showed me the white dress I was going to wear. She stood in front of me holding it with one hand by the hanger, and had her other hand behind the skirt, to show it off a bit. I was so excited. And then I remember being in the sealing room, and seeing my mom in the mirrors, and again she was smiling at me. I’ll never forget that.

This next one isn’t a memory really, but a constant happening that was a central part of my childhood. Every day when I got home from school I came in the house through the back door into the kitchen and Mom would be standing there at the sink. Now that I think about it, she couldn’t possible have been in that same place every day, but that’s how I remember it. On days when she wasn’t home the whole house felt dark and so empty, and I hated it. It’s the small constants in a child’s world that give her a sense of safety and stability, and for me having Mom there when I got home was one of those constants. It made everything right with the world.

So happy birthday Mom! The older I get the more I realize all that she did for us for all of those years, and it’s pretty amazing. The only other woman I can think of who has her same quiet, consistent kindness and strength is my sister, and I think that she got some of that from Mom. She really is wonderful.