Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 46: The Relief Society

Tonight, I visited a Relief Society sister who just lost her daughter.  The Relief Society president, Sheryl, and I were able to provide support and friendship to a woman in need.  The visit really made me thankful for the Relief Society.  Founded in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois, the organization with the motto "Charity Never Faileth," includes more than 5.2 million women in over 170 countries. All Latter Day Saint women age 18 and older, as well as women younger than 18 who are married or are single mothers, are welcomed into the sisterhood of Relief Society.  Relief Society assists priesthood leaders in carrying out the mission of the Church by helping sisters and families come unto Christ. The Relief Society helps sisters and their families receive all essential priesthood ordinances, keep the associated covenants, and qualify for exaltation and eternal life.

The Relief Society Declaration states: We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
  • Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
  • Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
  • Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
  • Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
  • Delight in service and good works.
  • Love life and learning.
  • Stand for truth and righteousness.
  • Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
  • Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.
The following objectives of Relief Society show the vastness of its purpose and the breadth of its mission, setting it apart from all other associations:
  • Build faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and teach the doctrines of the kingdom.
  • Emphasize the divine worth of each sister.
  • Exercise charity and nurture those in need.
  • Strengthen and protect families.
  • Serve and support each sister.
  • Help sisters become full participants in the blessings of the priesthood.
I am proud to be a member of such a great sisterhood of women and am thankful for the influence and guidance it gives to my life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 45: Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day.  Valentine's day reminds people to appreciate the people they love (which really shouldn't be necessary, but since it is, I'll enjoy it).  I love the candy, the colors (who doesn't love pink, white, and red), and the sentiment.  Over the years, I've had great Valentine's days: first dates, great dinners, and fun times; and bad Valentine's days: fights, bickering, or no appreciation.  As a single female, Valentine's Day can be rough.  People always ask "Are you spending time with your boyfriend or significant other?  Do you have a date?  What are your plans?" and it's tiring saying "No, I don't have any plans for Valentine's Day."  

This year, some girl friends and I decided to have a different type of Valentine's Day...let's call it "Galentine's Day." The night started at Smashburger with Barbie, Emerald, Ashleigh, and Jenny for some comfort food (hamburger and fries) before a movie.  Dinner was full of fun conversation and I look forward to getting to know these girls better.  Next, we headed to Mission Valley Mall for a viewing of "The Vow."  What could be better on Galentine's Day than watching a chick flick with a group of girls?  We brought treats, talked, got teary eyed, and laughed our way through the cute little movie.  "The Vow" follows a husband (Channing Tatum) as he endeavors to win back his new bride's (Rachel McAdams) heart after she loses her memory in a car accident.  I liked the movie, but the ending left me wanting more (I like movies when all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed in the end).  After the movie, those of us who weren't tired, headed to Amy and Tasha's house for dessert (yummy food): The Black Beast (a flourless chocolate cake) and an Almond Cake...both equally delicious.

Thanks girls for making Valentine's Day a blast!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 44: Caesar Salad

Tonight, for the first time, I hosted Book Club at my apartment.  As the host, I provided dinner and dessert for the group.  Initially, I planned on making "breakfast for dinner," but I realized I had some frozen tortellini in the freezer, so decided to use that instead.  The meal turned out great...tortellini in garden vegetable marinara sauce (thanks Target), rolls, and a huge Caesar salad. 

My favorite part of the meal was the caesar salad (completely gone by the end of the dinner).  I love caesar salad because you always know how it's going to taste.  The salad is really difficult to make wrong since it only consists of a few things: lettuce, Parmesan cheese, dressing, and croutons (no anchovies for me).  In restaurants, I don't order it often (since I usually only eat at places I know I like), but when I do, I am rarely disappointed. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 43: Homemade Dessert

Tonight, I attend Temple Shift Coordinator Training at the San Diego Temple.  As coordinators, we help make the temple run smoothly each day.  The temple presidency and matrons ran the training and we learned a great deal about how to deal with challenges while coordinating our shifts.  
After the training, we adjourned to the cafeteria for refreshments (desserts) made by the matrons (Sisters Finnegan, Gill, and Jaegar).  The desserts were absolutely fantastic: chocolate covered strawberries, brownies, cookies with candy hearts, and my favorite...bite size strawberry cheesecakes (I had three of them). It was really sweet of the matrons to make the food because we know how busy they are with temple duties.  Homemade desserts take love, time, and energy, which is why they taste so delicious!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 42: My Bathroom

I love spacious, cutely decorated bathrooms.  For over 6 years in the Alexandra house, I didn't have a cutely decorated bathroom because my bathroom was already decorated (when I lived downstairs) and when I moved upstairs the bathroom was TOO big and didn't need a shower curtain, since the shower was enclosed in glass (a shower curtain really pulls the room together, don't you think?).  I always just used bright rugs and whatever else I found for cheap at Kohl's.  

Before the Alexandra house, I had a lovely tan and lavender bathroom set (tan background, lavender orchids) for years.  In 2005, when I moved home, I packed the towels, shower curtain, pictures, etc away.  I thought I would move out a few years later and use the bathroom stuff forward to August 2011.  Victoria and I were getting ready to move to our apartment and I was sorting through boxes.  I found my bathroom set and donated it to charity.  I still liked it, but I wanted to go another direction with my bathroom.

Tonight I cleaned my bathroom from top to bottom (what an exciting Saturday night, but I am really tired and just wanted to get some chores done).  My bathroom looks amazing all spic and span and I love all the colors I decided to use: black, red, gray, and white. 

Bathroom from the Hallway

Black, White, Red, and Gray Floral Shower Curtain

For me, it's the perfect bathroom:

1. Large tub for soaking after long hard days at work
2. Lots of shelves in the tub for all my bath products (face wash, shampoos, conditioners, etc)
3. Shower head is really high, so I don't have to bend down to wash my hair
4. Drawers in the vanity allow me to separate stuff according to function
5. Floor space for lots of rugs and an extra storage unit

 Extra Storage Unit (I put it together myself)

6. Lots of counter space

I'm also very thankful for indoor plumbing.  I wouldn't deal well going to an outhouse and only bathing once a week :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 41: Las Quatro Milpas

As a San Diego native, I grew up on hole-in-the-wall Mexican food.  Usually, we ate at places near our house (Spring Valley and National City), but we also ate outside our comfort zone.  One day, my dad came home from work (while he was in the Navy) raving about a place in the Barrio called Las Quatro Milpas, or as we call it Milpas.  Milpas is off Cesar Chavez Blvd between downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge.  It's only open 11am-2pm because the neighborhood is so bad.  It's always packed with military, police, fireman, and persons of Mexican descent (which sounds bad, but that's how you know it's good!).  My family has been eating there for over 20 years.

Today, I took my coworker, Eddie, to Milpas for his first time.  Eddie offered to help me buy our Walt Disney World tickets on 32nd St ($135 for a 4 day park hopper...a great deal, we saved over $840), so I decided to take him to lunch (Milpas is on the way). My dad could have bought them in Texas, but it's a two hour drive, so I volunteered to buy them through one of my many retired Navy friends.  

If you want to try Milpas, head down there around 11am, otherwise the line can get a little long.  I always order five rolled tacos with no lettuce (sour cream, salsa, and cheese included) and a Diet Pepsi, while Eddie chose two chicken tacos, a Chorizo,  Beans, and Rice bowl, tortillas, and a Coke...all for $12.75 (a bargain for two people).  Today, Milpas did not disappoint.  As soon as we left, Eddie wanted to go back for more food :)  I love authentic Mexican food.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 40: Company Computer Support

This morning, when I booted my company laptop (which I use every day at work), an I/O error appeared on the computer screen.  Not exactly what I wanted to see on a Thursday morning.  Being slightly technically savvy, I did what every IT person would do, I rebooted my computer.  Unfortunately, a reboot didn't solve the problem, so I called (and e-mailed because I couldn't wait for a return call...I am not very patient) our company computer support, Joey.  Joey asked me to bring my computer to the Nimitz office for diagnosis.  I explained the situation to my client, who was very understanding, and left work. 

Joey tried a couple different things: putting the hard drive in a different computer (didn't work), putting a new hard drive into mine (worked), and then viewing the hard drive on his computer (didn't work), so we determined the hard drive was bad.  Having a corrupt hard drive is very bad news because without access to the drive, the data could be lost (recreating some of the data could prove difficult).  I back up my files every month, so I wouldn't be starting from scratch, but having to recreate anything is not fun.  Joey asked for a couple hours to run some diagnostic tests, so I left for Soupplantation for lunch with my coworkers. During lunch, Joey called with more bad news: he was completing the last diagnostic test, but so far the hard drive had failed them was not looking good for data retrieval. 

About an hour later, Joey called again, but this time with good news...he could see my file structure, but he needed my password and a thumb drive to get any data off the computer.  I gave him my password and drove over to Fry's to pick up a large (32GB) hard drive.  Joey was able to get all my data (including e-mails) off the drive :) and set me up with a temporary laptop.  My new computer hard drive should be in Monday or Tuesday, so I should be fully running again by the middle of next week.  I am so thankful all the data was retrievable.  Number ONE lesson: Back up your files weekly, so if your computer crashes, you'll only have to recreate a couple days.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 39: Jamba Juice

I absolutely adore Jamba Juice smoothies.  I've loved smoothies since I was small when we only made smoothies at home or had Orange Julius (yummy yummy) at Plaza Bonita.  When I was in high school, Jamba Juice was installed at Grossmont Center next to Rubio's (I've already professed my love for Rubio's).  I love strawberry, banana, and orange in my smoothies, as does the rest of my family, so the Citrus Squeeze and Orange-A-Peel became favorites quickly.  I still order those smoothies now even though they aren't even on the menu anymore.  My current favorite isn't even a's like a parfait, but with smoothie ingredients...the Chunky Strawberry Topper.  It's made with strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, and granola. I eat it at least once a week.

I buy Jamba Juice gift cards at Costco every couple months...$50 worth of gift cards for $40, so a 20% discount.  I also love the smoothie kits available at local grocery stores and Costco (my favorite store...a blog coming soon).  I actually don't even make smoothies with them, I just eat the frozen fruit straight out of the bag.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 38: Young Parents

A series of deaths has been steaming through work.  Late last year, my friend Rita lost her Mom after a year and a half of bad health (Rita was dealing with a lot of stress).  In the past 4 weeks, I've had two employees lose parents and another lose a grandparent.  I am really thankful I have young(ish) parents still.  I don't know what I would do without my parents.  I talk to my mom often (every day or every other day...sometimes more) and my dad a couple times a week.  I enjoy hanging out with them when I visit (or they visit me) and I know I can talk to them about anything (good and bad).  The worst thing about living in California is knowing if something happened to either of them, I may not be able to fly to Texas in time to say good-bye (this is a huge fear of mine). 

My parents were born in 1956, so they just turned 55 last year.  To put it in perspective, I work with a number of people my parent's age or older.  My parents had Ashley and I when they were relatively young (they had me at 24 years old), so we haven't really dealt with any major health issues.  My mom has suffered through migraines for years (way too many to count), but Ashley and I have finally convinced her to try a new treatment.  Based on initial feedback from her, she does seem to be feeling better.  My dad has high blood pressure, but takes a prescription to help control it.  I'm really thankful my parentals are young, in good health and see doctors regularly, so I don't need to worry about death quite yet.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 37: Online Banking

When I was younger, we went to our Mission Valley bank branch before every vacation to pick up Traveler's checks (does anyone even use those anymore?).  Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were non-existent until high school, so when my mom went grocery shopping, she wrote checks over the amount, so she could get cash without going to the bank. 

Online and mobile banking makes money management SOOOO much easier.  Not going to a bank branch saves me time throughout the month, which I can then use to do things I enjoy more (reading, shopping, cleaning, etc).  The only time I ever go to the bank is to deposit change into my account.  I accomplish all my other banking online or through ATMs.  I balance my checkbook 3-4 times a month online, but I also look up my balances on my iPhone.  I deposit checks and pull out money at ATMs (there are quite a few ATMs near my house and work, but I can also go to 7-11 ATMs without any fee).  I barely even need checks anymore since I can manage payments online.  My family can transfer money amongst each other online.  Online banking just rocks!