Sunday, September 21, 2014

20 Things We Wish We'd Known

Too often in our young naive dating life we thought that "getting to know someone" meant knowing their favorite food, color,  sport, past-time... All the silly surface-level stuff that comes out in the first few dates.

As many young RM's embark on the world of post-mission dating

which a little too often looks like this...

we humbly offer up to them, and every other 20-something year old considering marriage, our list of things we wish we would have known before getting married.

*This list began as things we thought of that we personally regretted not addressing in our courtship, but quickly expanded to things our married sisters, friends and even coworkers (I work in family therapy) came up with.*

So, in no particular order, and in no way necessarily relating specifically to our marriage, here is our comprehensive list of things you might not think to consider when you are young and immature (that DOES apply to us directly) and in puppy-love with someone.

1. What is their family's "culture"?
I'm not talking necessarily about their racial or ethnic background here, I'm talking about the culture that their individual family unit has developed through traditions and hobbies.
What does their family do for fun? What are their inside jokes? Favorite movies?
What do they all do when they get together?

Chances are, what they grew up doing with their family is something they are still going to be into and want to incorporate into their own family some day.

My family culture involved a lot of Muppet movies.
2. What do they spend their spare time doing?
Beyond their obvious hobbies, what is it that they like to do when they are wasting time? Does that bother you? ...How often do they waste time? 

Kind of goes with the above one, but it can be interesting to consider. 

3. Financial Maturity.
Maybe this seems obvious, but it's a biggie.
How are they with finances? Are they self-sufficient? If they are self-sufficient, how long have they been that way? If their parents are still paying their bills for them there is a pretty good chance they aren't ready to manage basic house-hold expenses.

***My snarky side wants to add here, "If their parents are still paying bills for them, tell them to man up and get out of their mom's basement. Seriously. WTF."  But I won't.***

Okay, so they pay their own bills. How do they manage a budget? What is their monthly budget? Do they have a savings plan? Are they building credit? Do they have debts? How do they feel about debts? What do they feel is worth going into debt for, and what is not?
Do they have a healthy relationship with money or does it stress them out?

If/When they have "fun/extra" money, what do they spend it on? Is that what you would spend it on??

There are just so many layers to this one.

4. Job history
I cannot stress how ridiculously important this one is, and how intrinsically connected to the previous one.
How many jobs have they had? How long did they hold each job? What kind of field were those jobs in? (Chances are they will continue to get jobs in the same field...) Why did they leave that job? Were they fired? How long have they ever gone without having a job...why?

This can tell you volumes about not only their level of financial responsibility, but whether or not they are committed, loyal, and a hard worker, or if perhaps they are lazy, picky and a huge mooch.

Important stuff to know, people.

5. Loaning money
How do they feel about loaning money to people? What would their reaction be if you suggested you loan someone a significant amount? Do they have conditions about it? 

How do they feel about borrowing money? 

6. Dating history
Now, this is not about the nitty gritty details or anything, just the basics.
How many serious relationships have they had?
-If they haven't had other serious relationships yet, they are likely NOT ready to marry. Give them a chance to date.

As Elsa so wisely said:

and I would add, "You can't just marry the first person you meet".

Dating is like a buffet. You have to sample all your options before you go back for seconds.

...maybe that's a terrible metaphor. Oh well.

Moving along...

With their dating history, how many people have they dated? How did those relationships end? Who broke up with who?
If they've broken off every relationship they might be a player...or have commitment issues...
If they've bounced around from person to person with little to no in-between, you too might be a rebound.

This might not be the last time I use this girls picture in this blog. She's like the theme of this blog. XD
7. SEX
So much to talk about here, but I'll try to stick to the basics.

Along with relationship, you may want to know their sexual history.
Have they had previous partners? How many? Does it bother you?
Are they so virgin that they don't even know basic anatomy? Probably something you should talk about.

If they are getting married just to have sex because they are a horny, that's not going to be a good basis for a relationship.

How often do they want to do it? Do they have any preferences that weird you out?
This is also the category that I am going to throw sexual addictions under.
Porn. You have to talk about it. You have to know. Don't go into marriage blind about sexual addictions.

Birth control. What do you want to use? What are their thoughts on family planning and contraception?

Marriage is not just about sex, but it is about intimacy, and sex is important.

8. Church history/Spirituality level
Have they ever been inactive, and if so, for how long, and why?
How did they observe the Sabbath day in their family? Do they uphold that tradition now?

If they aren't traditionally religious, how do they maintain a spiritual balance in their life? How important is spirituality and religious practice and does that work with what you do in your life?

9. Priority of service
What priority do they place on service in their life? How often do they do community service?
What type of community service are they interested in offering in the future?
What priority to they place on improving their community?

10. How do they treat waiters? Homeless people? Other races? Other cultures?
How do they treat people that they have nothing to gain from?
Are they respectful of cultures and religions different from their own? Are they even educated about cultures and religions that exist besides their own?

11. Politics
How active are they politically and what issues do they passionately care about, if any?

12. What is their level of cleanliness?
There are different levels of messy, from being disorganized to being downright filthy.
Ask their roommates; can they clean? Do they clean up after themselves for one, but also, do they chip in on the household chores?
Try to get a peek at their room/bathroom when they are not expecting you to be over.

13. School priority
What are their aspirations in education? What are their studying habits like? How much of a priority is school for them, and how dedicated are they to getting a degree?

14. Kids
How much experience have they had with kids?
Do you think they will they be a good parent and provider? How do you know?
Who will raise the kids, and what parenting techniques are they used to or do they want?
How do they want to discipline their children?

What do they want to do if you can't have kids?

Saddest picture on the internet
15. Life goals
If their only goal is to get married, it's going to be pretty boring life. What do they want to do with the rest of it?

16. Social life
Are they an extrovert or an introvert? How do they act in crowds? How do they act alone? How do they introduce themselves or carry themselves in social settings? Are they classy or are they immature? Are they polite or obnoxious? Do they need to be the center of attention, or do they prefer to melt into the background?

How do these traits work with the way you prefer to act socially?

Friends say a lot about a person. Literally, they can tell you things about your significant other that you wouldn't know otherwise. Ask questions. Get to know their friends. They will be your friends too.
Do they have friends? Do you like their friends? How long have they had those friends?
Do they want to spend time with their friends and spend healthy time apart from you? *That's a really important one!!*

18. Compromising
How do they argue? (If you haven't had an argument or disagreement in your relationship, it's not a mature enough relationship to consider marrying them. Seriously people. Seriously.)
Do they insist on being right or are they willing to compromise? Are they humble and open to change? (Not that you should try to change someone, but that we should all be trying to better ourselves all the time.)

Do they think they are perfect the way they are? Do they think YOU are perfect the way you are?

This kind of thinking adequately demonstrates an immature relationship. 
Knowing that you can compromise together makes you stronger in marriage, which is essentially one big compromise after another.

19. Do you know who you are?
Are YOU confident in yourself and who you are as a person? Are they???

Do they want to spend 100% of the time with you and neglect their family and friends? If so, they are probably low on self esteem and confidence and need constant reassurance from you that they are special.

Figure out who you are so much that you don't feel like you have to conform to anything when you're with them.

Figure yourself out. Love and care about yourself first.

20. (Last but not least...) What are their weaknesses/flaws?

If you don't know any/can't think of any, you DON'T KNOW THEM WELL ENOUGH.

"You are not going to find someone who is perfect. You are not looking for a perfect person, you are looking for someone whose strengths you love so much that you can work with their flaws." ~The best quote ever directly from my sister who wisely dated her husband for well over a year before getting engaged.

I don't think more need be said.

So that's it! Those are our tips, narrowed down to a 20-point bullet list.

We have one central goal in putting this together and taking so long to think it out. It's not meant to be a deal-breaker list, or discourage anyone in particular from getting together. Our one hope is that anyone considering a more serious, permanent and ideally eternal relationship will take a moment to consider all that it will entail. Take a step back. Consider all the elements. Be smart.

Marriage is amazing, but it's hard. You can make the journey a lot easier if you are intelligent, patient and informed going into it. Save yourself some hardship by asking hard questions now.

So there you have it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Trolls, Trust and the Worst Online Dictionary

If you have been using the internet at least sparingly for the past few years, then you probably know what a troll is.

Well--yeah, there's always those other trolls too.  You know, good old bridge trolls...
Or cave trolls...
Or heaven forbid, those other trolls we try to forget....
Why are they naked.

But anyway, I'm talking about more like this kind:
That's right, the internet troll.
As is usual with new words in English, this word can also be a verb, so that you can say someone is trolling, or that you got trolled (yep, it can be transitive too!).
So how common is this new sense?
Well, if you search for "troll" in Google, it has a chart that shows its usage over time, which looks like this:
So it's obviously being used more frequently nowadays.  Of course, this doesn't tell us which type of "troll".  So if we head over to GloWbE, a 1.9 billion word corpus of internet texts, we can look for the most common words that appear next to "troll" on the internet.  The top 10 are:
1. internet
2. troll
3. concern
4. patent
5. feed
6. obvious
7. anonymous
8. posts
9. calling
10. feeding

So basically, when people are talking about "trolls" on the internet, they're talking about "a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting" (from Google).

So what's my point?  Well, any respectable online dictionary SHOULD be able to give a definition for a sense of a word that is so widespread, right?  As new words come into use, online dictionaries, not burdened by publishing and distribution, can add entries whenever they feel like it.
In fact, according to Wikipedia, this slang use of "troll" has been around since at least 1992.  That's more than TWENTY years ago.  And even if it were more recent, it's certainly widespread now.

So you can understand my confusion, for lack of a better word, when I stroll onto Merriam-Webster's online dictionary looking up the word (for work-related purposes, mind you), and I can't find the definition of an internet troll anywhere on the page.
WUT.  Seriously?  It's first definition is "to fish with a hook and line that you pull through the water".  Ok.  Is that what you thought of when you read the word "troll"?  (If you did, then...go away)

I feel like Merriam-Webster tries to be all hip and progressive, even advocating the use of the spelling "alright" in light of modern trends, but it invariably comes across as unhelpful and outdated with no sense of good priority.  Plus, it has a horrible habit of defining a word by using another form of that word.  And I hate its search engine.

I won't even give you a link to the site because I don't want you to go there.  Please use something else.  And remember kids, while dictionaries can be useful, they're ultimately written by people, not the language gods.  So sometimes you have to trust your own judgment.  Trust me.


Truuust in m--okay, I'm done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Farewell Fairfield

This post is about three months overdue, but here goes. 

After 4 years and 7 months of working an 8 hour overnight graveyard shift, I finally left my job at the Fairfield Inn in Provo Utah. 

My journey began at the Fairfield in August of 2009. I had recently moved to Provo Utah from New York City. I had previously been a nanny, a stage manager and a musical theater student/Broadway hopeful. I moved back to Utah from New York because I was in love with a boy named Steven who I knew would be coming back from his church mission in Germany and attending BYU that fall. 

When I first moved to Provo I was still attempting to be a Mary Kay consultant, (That's another post for another day...or never. I don't really want to talk about it) and failing miserably. I needed a real job. Anything. 

I was taking summer classes at BYU and a friend in my dance class (Yeah, I used to be a bit of a dancer too...) worked the night shift at the Residence Inn in Provo and told me about a job opening down at the Fairfield. 

I didn't have a car, but I had my old bicycle that I rode everywhere, so down I went to South Provo to drop off a resume. I still remember what I was wearing. Holey jeans and a hand-me-down T-shirt. Hahah. This is only a significant memory because as I was filling out the application to turn in with my resume, out walked the then-manager who said that if I had time he would just interview me right then! 
Longer story short, I got the job. On the spot right then. Because I said I could work nights. 

I worked nights for over 4 years after that. 

Some significant memories: 
-Getting robbed at "gunpoint" (Turns out the guy didn't really have a gun, but he said he did, so same emotional reaction)
-Having a coworker tell us that one of the vacant rooms had an evil spirit, but it was okay because he "banished it with his Priesthood".
-Throwing a coworker a going away party where we all put on fake tattoos
-My first work Christmas party where we tried to have a pinata and it ended with a lot of people getting hit in the face with a broom
-Showing my old boss Mike my engagement ring the weekend after Steven proposed
-All my coworkers making me a cute birthday/wedding congrats sign with highlighter markers
-Volunteering at Habitat for Humanity with my coworkers every Fall, and that one time where we went to a corn maze afterwards
-"Minute to Win it" games during the first ever "Fairfield Summer Olympics".
-Heading up work meetings and inventing fun games to help everyone memorize stuff
-The time Jenna said her favorite color was "Glitter"
-The time Wade said his favorite color was "Tickle Me Elmo"
-All the times Wade drew shirtless pictures of Ben. (I still have those by the way...)
-That one time a naked drunk guy flashed me 
-All of the horrible memories surrounding a creeper homeless guy named "Stan"
-Finding a My Little Pony toy in the lost and found and hiding it in Ben's office...where he kept it always after that. It watches over him. 
-Finding "Fifty Shades of Grey" in the lost and found and reading it out loud with Katie. 
-That time Jenna told Ben she could fit in a dryer. 
-Everything else about Jenna. 
-That time that Ben grew a horrendous beard and we nicknamed him "The Beard" and stroked our chins behind his back while whispering his personal catchphrase, "You will be fired!" 
-All the times I heart-attacked or otherwise surprise decorated people's offices or work spaces for holidays
-Working Christmas every Christmas for 4 years and wearing my Santa hat to stay motivated
-Getting a huge raise after I manned up and asked for it
Of course over 4 years there are a lot of accumulated memories of things, so the list could go on and on. 

The story of getting my new job is for another post. For now, it's time to finally say goodbye to Fairfield. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly, is behind me. I've opened a new chapter, but I will always be grateful for the journey of the hotel night shift, and the over 80 people I got to work with along the way. 

...Yeah, the turnover rate there is insane. 
Fairwell old friend 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

80 Reasons why my new job is better than my old job.

My new job at the Family Support and Treatment Center is the best job in the world. Not only do I think it is superior to every job ever, but especially having come from a graveyard shift at the Fairfield Inn...Ugh. Wow. Really didn't realize how miserable I was at that place until I left it.

Every single day I think of new reasons why I love this job and I decided to make a list.

Here are all the reasons I love my new job:

1. I work with kids
2. Kids draw me pictures
3. Baby birds live in a hole in the wall outside and nobody wants to kill them.
4. I am allowed to listen to music on my shift whenever I want. Pandora all day!
5. Impromptu staff sing-alongs
6. Impromptu duets of "Lean on Me" with my boss
7. We actually have staff meetings. Every week. And everyone gets to contribute.
8. Free food ALL the time.
9. Free J-dawgs and Menchies on my second day.
10. I get to sit down in a big comfy rolling chair.
11. No security cameras causing constant paranoia
12. I have my own desk
13. My desk is huge
14. I work during the day
15. No one is ever naked.
16. No more creepy truckers hitting on me.
17. Nobody is drunk.
18. Everyone I work with is happy all the time!
19. I have a whole shelf just for me to put my school stuff on.
20. I work at my own pace
21. I am accountable to myself
22. I set goals and make projects for myself and everyone likes and praises me for it.
23. My ideas and thoughts matter.
24. I don't feel disrespected by my boss all the time.
25. I don't have to do stupid and tedious hour by hour work emails.
26. My shifts are 5 hours long instead of 8.
27. Early out Fridays!!
28. I never have to work another National Holiday.
29. I have my own key to the building.
30. I get my very own snack drawer to keep all my snacks.
31. I can eat food whenever I want right there at my desk and not feel like I have to hide.
32. We have an actual break room.
33. The break room has a full sized fridge and a microwave and a toaster
34. The break room is always stocked with disposable plates, cups and utensils for us to use.
35. The phone has caller ID
36. I can order office supplies at Staples whenever I want
37. My coworker is open to my suggestions
38. My other coworker tells me jokes randomly during the shift
39. We have inspirational quotes each week that we all take turns picking
40. Our Facebook page has suggestions for how to strengthen families
41. I never have to work another weekend.
42. I am no longer in charge of taking out the trash for everyone.
43. My boss rides a motorcycle
44. My boss is a woman :)
45. My boss never feels like a boss because we are all just such a great team
46. Modest casual dress code, meaning jeans and T-shirts are AOK
47. Stopping what you are doing so that your coworker can show you a funny youtube video is acceptable
48. I have a coworker who is like my own personal redbox and brings me DVD's to borrow
49. I work with therapists, not college students.
50. I get off work at 6pm every day so I can go home and spend the evening with Steven.
51. I work for a non-profit organization
52. I love all the people I work with.
53. Coworkers who are always willing to help out and cover for me if I can't come to work.
54. The sweetest coworker ever who apologizes for having to correct me on anything. haha. :)
55. Fresh flowers at my desk sometimes.
56. Coworkers who bring candy and snacks and food to share
57. "Party Friday"
58. I don't have a mandatory cleaning list, but instead feel helpful doing extra cleaning because I want to.
59. People notice and thank me for doing extra projects/cleaning.
60. Endless office supplies!! Meaning I don't have to ration my sticky-notes.
61. Organizational projects. I love organizing!
62. Upcoming work retreat where we all hang out and play games
63. Everyone was so sympathetic when I got a bad sunburn. Someone even brought me Aloe for it.
64. I work with licensed therapists, so there is always someone wise to talk to if I need advice.
65. I don't have to memorize anything for work inspections
66. Nobody drinks beer at work and then keeps it in the employee fridge.
67. I no longer have to plunge strangers toilets
68. I no longer have to call the cops because there are drug addicts wandering the halls in a creepy stupor.
69. I no longer have to deal with people watching porn in the lobby
70. I can put people on hold.
71. The phone greeting isn't ridiculously long.
72. I don't have to type in a password whenever I want to do anything on the computer.
73. There is a private playground at my work.
74. I get to hold babies sometimes
75. Little kids give me hugs and make me laugh almost every day
76. None of the rooms are haunted or have "evil spirits".
77. The vacuum works!
78. We exist to help families and children, not to make company/bosses richer.
79. People can bring their kids to work
80. I never have to take towels to someone's room and find them shirtless...or worse.

So there you have it. Or at least as many things as I could think of off-hand. I'm sure there will be more. I love this job more each day and am filled with gratitude for this completely new life!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Quotes from tonight's game night

"Walk around it, like a man"

"K...I guess I'll just be a bubble..."
"Why are you in a bubble?"
"I can't control my bubble!"

"Get that cacti! Get it Eric!"

"Smash the bee!"

"Mommy? MOMMEEE???"

"I got 69... ...hundred!"

"I'm feeling insecure. Why did she not want to go out with me? ...did she see me naked?"

"Mike from Gold's gym. The only things he talks about are sex and drugs."

"Hey! I can push things! Did you know that?"

"If I was playing this game I would just bubble-button the whole time."

"Steven! Touch the thing!"
"...that's what she said."

"Lick it...lick it..." *chanting all together* "LICK IT"

"Blow Steve, blow!"

"Good job, Steeeve."

"Steven, do the thingy! TOUCH IT!!"

"Look who has a crown! Not livin' in YOUR shadow anymore, MARIO."

"Let's go to the black thing......that's racist."

"Swap em!" "I swaped them so good!"

"Nobody owes Austin anything!"
"Everyone owes Austin a punch in the face!"

"You're going to kill me? I don't think I want to marry you then!"
"Kill is an acronym for cuddle you with kindness."
"...that would be CYWK."

"Have you guys seen the new Muppet movie? The Swedish chef has some phenomenal lines."

"I don't understand this 3D stuff!"

"Get the bunny! Get the bunny! Get that big fat bunny!!"

"Onee and a twoee and a ready and a play!"

 "Do I have a tick in my ear?"
"'s eating your brains."

"We're done with this world. Lets blow this Popsicle stand."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Celebrity Crushes. A Valentines Post about imaginary loves.

In honor of upcoming single-awareness day, here is a post dedicated to everyone who has wished that one of the following people were taking them out to dinner on February 14th.

Disclaimer: I am happily married and will be going out on a date with Steven this Valentines, I just thought this would be an amusing post to write. Don't get worried! ;)

Celebrity crushes come in many forms. Some are attractive simply for their looks, but lack any actual talent, and others lack the looks but have the talent. Here are some of mine.


Cha Ching!
Hugh Jackman.
Can we just talk about Hugh Jackman? He is my ultimate celebrity crush. I mean, COME ON. Yum. He can sing, he can act and he can dance!

As Curly in Oklahoma

Ain't nothin' hotter than this!
Also hot, he's been married to his lovely wife for like 9 years and they have two kids. A good husband and a good dad. Now that's hot!

And who can resist THIS?? Answer: Not me! 
Hugh Jackman is a great guy, a triple threat and my number one celeb. crush. 


Gladiator, Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, Robin Hood...what do these incredible movies have in common? That would be my acting crush, Russell Crowe!

Look at that smoulder! 
Besides his rustic good looks and husky deep voice, Russell Crowe is pretty much unbelievable in everything he's in. There is something so peircing about those blue eyes that just get me. MmmMM! I can't even handle some of the scenes in Robin Hood with Cate Blanchett. So hot!! He's just hot. Also one time I saw him shoot a bow and arrow in real life on Ellen and my heart was shot as well. Something about men and archery. I love it. 

Musical shortcomings aside, Russell Crowe brought something to the character of
Javert in Les Miserables that I've never seen before.
No one else has done him justice in my opinion. 

I can't wait to see what he brings to the upcoming movie "Noah".


Along the same lines as having a crush on someone for their acting ability, does anyone ever fall for a character? My top character crush would hands down have to be....

Captain Jack Sparrow.

Ladies, amiright? Srsly. 

Lets just look at him some more. 

Nuff said. 
Add oddly enough, I don't find Johnny Depp nearly as attractive as I find Jack Sparrow. 

If I were into Channing Tatum I would put him here... But I'm not. So no pictures of him. If you're into that, you can google him yourself. 

I basically just needed a place to put Maxsim Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars. He's a hottie. 

He could also probably fall under the category of hot dumb guys...lets be honest. But still so hot!

#6 and #7: The bad boy and the good boy. 
Robert Downey Jr. and Ewan Mcgregor respectively. 

Can I get a double yum?

Again, just needed a place to put this hottie. But let's all admit that he's soooo much hotter because of the scottish accent. 

Am I right ladies? You know it! Let's get another BOWM CHICKA WOW for Gerard Butler. 

One picture is not enough. Let's just see a few more. 

You can shush me anytime, Gerard. 
Another good smouldering look. 
#9: (Against my better judgement sharing this with you...) THE GUILTY PLEASURE. 

Ok...ready? ...I told Steven about this secret celebrity crush just now and told him I didn't want to actually put it on the blog because people would judge me. I told him who it was, and I was right, he gave me a judgey look. But then I googled pics of this person and I couldn't help it. It's going on the blog. 


My secret guilty pleasure celebrity crush is...


Mel Gibson. 

I'll allow you a moment to let that simmer. 


I know he's like a crazy old cranky man now, but look at him when he was younger! 

See? Hot! 
Also, look at this hair! Who can say this isn't attractive? 

And did you  guys see Braveheart? Nothing sexier than a man avenging the death of his secret wife by slaughtering literally everyone. 

And even recently .... I mean.... I think he's aged pretty well. ...yep. ....... ...

Stop laughing guys, I know you're laughing. But look at that nice smile. And think of Braveheart! And also The Patriot. That was pretty awesome. 

Ok, I'm done trying to justify my crush on Mel Gibson. 

#10: THE LADY CRUSH(ES). Let's be honest, how could there be just one? 

Number one lady that comes to mind as my top lady crush would have to be Keira Knightly. I pretty much think everything about her is attractive. 

Steven vehemently disagrees. In fact, we have very differing tastes when it come to women. Go figure. However, this is MY blog post, and if he wants to write about his celeb lady crushes, he can write his own. 

Her are some other ladies that I think are super hot. 
Sarah Shahi
Jessica Alba
Naya Rivera (I also love the name Naya!)
Emma Watson (I mean, COME ON,
And Pink. Love her! 
So there you have it. My celebrity crushes categories 1-10. 

On this upcoming Valentines Day if you start to feel lonely, just pull up some google images of your favorite celeb crushes and imagine an evening with them. You can even buy yourself treats and pretend your crush gave them to you. Or set up a romantic dinner for two with a screenshot of your crush opposite you at the table. Some places even sell those life sized cardboard cutouts! Perfection.  

Now, if everyone would please comment with your celebrity crushes and help me feel slightly less weird about writing this post, that would be great. Also, if anyone else also secretly has a thing for Mel Gibson, now would be the time to chime in. 

Mm! Love me some Mel!