Monday, April 29, 2013

Is Anyone Still Watching The Office?

I am. Even though I will be the first to admit it went downhill after Michael Scott left, I just haven't been able to quite let go. And I LOVE Jim and Pam. I feel like the character/relationship development on that show has been amazing. I cried--nay, wept--at the closing scene from Thursday's episode.

Not sure if it's because I'm so dang sentimental, or a therapist, or married, or what--but it just got me right in my little corazoncito. Is it sick that I love watching people make up? I mean, nobody likes fighting (or at least, nobody should), but I think I can stomach any amount of bickering & distancing if it ends with a beautiful make up like this one. Sigh. (Watch the whole episode if you can--this clip is pretty crummy)

I dunno, this just seems real to me. Anyone who says there's nothing real about TV is so, so wrong. So there.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First Dairy Kastle of the Season

I absolutely love Dairy Kastle. If you ever come visit me in Louisville, I will take you down the block and around the corner to Dairy Kastle. (well, if you visit me in the next 50 days--we just got 60 days' notice from our landlady that she is moving back into her house! but that's another story.)

The Health Challenge ended on Sunday (also, another story. winners to be announced!), and we've been excited to go back to our neighborhood ice cream stop.

Dairy Kastle is this magical place that is only open from March to October. There are always hoards of college students milling around, lined up for their ice cream or sitting around eating. This time, Chad got the Fat Elvis (his favorite!), which is a peanut butter/banana/ice cream shake. I usually get a dipped cone or an oreo flurry, but I got a hot fudge cake sundae--devil's food cake with hot fudge and vanilla soft serve. Yum! It was a very, very happy night.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Schooled by the Workplace, v.1

Hello, and welcome to my new blog series, "Schooled by the Workplace: Lessons your formal education COULD NOT teach you." A few weeks ago, I asked for suggestions for the blog, and this one came from my bff Maggie.

image stolen from facebook.
Her idea: talk about things you learned from a job that you could not have learned in a formal educational setting. If you are like me, you may have stories from countless dead-end jobs. Or, maybe you have a career-type job and you've been shocked to piece together things you're pretty sure no professor ever mentioned in class. OR, maybe you're proving to the world that you can make it professionally in a field other than the one you studied in school or without a college education altogether. Whatever the case, I am looking for your contributions! Maggie's already promised to share some educational stories from her days at the illustrious sandwich shop, Gandolfo's.

I will be the first to share.

Rewind: It's summer of 2004, and I've just finished my freshman year of college. I'm looking a little chunky (hello, freshman 15 20!), and so my summer revolves around working two jobs and going to the gym. Without further ado, here some of the poignant lessons I learned during my summer as a Pizza Hut Delivery person.

1. Sometimes it takes a village to deliver a pizza. This is true. The worst day of work I can remember (and this is 8 years later) happened while working at Pizza Hut. Bear in mind, I had this job before I had a cell phone and before I knew what a GPS was. I had a phone book in the passenger seat and I would flip open to the maps when I didn't know where something was. So one day, somebody mis-entered an address for a delivery. Nowadays, you would hop in your car, punch the address into your GPS, and realize that you had been given an incorrect address. But back then, I just hopped in my car and headed off to find this nonexistent place. I ended up in a parking lot between Two Rivers' Convention Center and a pawn shop. Ummmm...

So I meandered into the giant convention center first. There happened to be a couple of people in there (I think there was a boat show going on later that day). "Oh, hi," I say, noting their helpful but blank faces. "Did you order a pizza?"

"No. . ." they say. "Did someone from the Convention Center order it?"

"No," I say. "I just have this address. . ." and I show them the address. They aren't sure what to tell me. So I head back out to the parking lot. Suddenly, a sinking feeling hits me as I realize I have locked my keys in the car. In addition to the keys, I have locked two other orders of pizza in the car as well. I'm really not sure what to do at this point, with no phone, no car, a phony address, and a couple of pizzas slung over my shoulder. So I head towards the pawn shop, feeling like a dork because at this point I'm doubtful the pawn shop ordered a pizza.

"Hey. . .did you order a pizza?" I say.

"No, what address do you have?" The guy offers to let me use his phone, and I call my parents to tell them I'm locked out of the car. Just as I'm asking them to come rescue me with the spare key, the pawn shop owner overhears me and says, "I've got some locksmith equipment--let me see if I can get your car unlocked for you." (A little shady, but okay! I feel relieved! I tell my parents not to come.)

Alas, twenty minutes later, pawn shop guy is still tinkering around with my car (NOT the time to be trying out your new locksmith tricks, pal!). My anxiety has risen to an all-time high. My dad stops by on his way back to work from lunch, on a whim, just to make sure I'm okay. "Oh hey, Dad. Yeah, looks like he can't get the car open after all. Do you have the key?"

The spare key is lost. No one at the house can find it. Cruuuuuuud. But there is a stroke of luck, and a few minutes later my mom calls to say she found the key. She leaves the house to bring the key (15 minutes away). Meanwhile, I call my boss. At this point, two of the three orders have called in. One has canceled, and the other has asked for a refund or discount. My boss gives me the correct address (a few blocks away from the convention center) and kindly tells me she's just relieved I'm not in an accident or something.

So my Dad and I decide he will drive me to deliver the pizzas in my hand to the correct address, since we are waiting for my mom to arrive with the spare key to my car. I am an emotional basket-case. All this waiting, calling, walking around feeling dumb and helpless--it's really gotten to me. And now, to add to my pathetic-ness, I am a passenger in my dad's car, with the pile of pizzas in my lap, sweaty from too much time out in the sun by the pawn shop. We drive to the first house, and some sort of meeting is being disbanded just as pathetic little, tear-stained me walks towards the house with the pizza. One woman waves me off, saying, "Oh, we just called to cancel the order. Our meeting's over." I hang my head in shame and walk back to the car.

We drive the few blocks back to the convention center and meet my mom there. I've got the key to the car, and one more order to deliver, but I am completely beaten down and I look terrible. I drive over to the other address, a good 10 or 15 minutes away, and walk into a little shop whose owner has ordered a pizza. Without looking at me, she snaps, "Do you realize how late you are? I cannot believe you guys aren't giving me a discount!" (Which, looking back--why weren't we? Wow.) Then, she looked up and we made eye contact. I knew I looked pathetic. She softened. Then she said, sympathetically, "It must be hard." I nodded, and sniffled, humiliated and avoiding all speech as I knew it would induce more crying. As soon as she handed me the check I ducked out of there as fast as I could.

As I was pulling out, a small boy (presumably the woman's son) came running out to the car, yelling for me to wait. When I rolled down the window he said, "We've got more monies for you!" I realized they were trying to give me a tip, probably because they felt bad for me. Drowning in self-pity and martyrdom, I shook my head and waved him away. "I can't take it," I said. Which sums up Lesson #2, Crying is a Good Way to Get What You Want. (Too bad I didn't just take the money. Come on.)

Stay tuned for Lesson 3 (Communication: Just Do It) and Lesson 4 (Watch Out for Policemen on Bikes).

Send your submissions here! I am just dying to hear what pearls of wisdom you've got.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thunder Over Louisville

What a fun weekend. My brother Taylor, his awesome wife Jenny, and my adorable nephew Carson came up for a visit and we went to Thunder Over Louisville. If you're from here, it's just called "Thunder." So fun! There were air shows all day, and tons of street vendors, and an amazing fireworks show from the bridges over the Ohio River.

Thunder kicks of Derby season, and I've been hearing about it from clients for weeks. After a national championship in basketball and a day at Thunder, I am feeling very connected to my community. It is a good time to be a Louisvillian! :)

just snackin.

set up for a day full of. . .sitting. 

a buckeye ice cream parfait...yum. 

fried green tomatoes! Jenny's first time.

hanging out in the sun. 


oooh, it got a little chilly. but we were brave! Carson is such a trooper, too!

Chad had to study most of the day (ick), but joined us for fireworks. Yay!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Emmanator

How have I never thought of that nickname until just now?! The Emmanator. She emanates fun and awesomeness. Here's a scripture thought she sent a while back, but I'm a slacker. I'm going to miss posting these now that her semester is coming to an end!

"The book of Ether is awesome to read. It is interesting though because Ether (the prophet at the time) seemed to think that he was not good at writing. In Ether 12: 23 and 25 it says, “And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing…and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.” This shows how distressed Ether is about his writing being weak and how afraid he is about people making fun of his writing. From my viewpoint, this is strange to read because the book of Ether has a lot of gems in it (like Ether 12:27, which is so good that it is a scripture that seminary students are encouraged to memorize). I think this relates to me and all of us because we all have those little things that we feel insecure about. Fortunately, the book of Ether is evidence that the Lord can make up for any weakness that we have when we trust and follow in Him. This is incredibly comforting as a missionary. I’m probably going to make a ton of grammatical and other errors when I am trying to preach the gospel in Spanish. However, I know that the Lord will allow his Spirit to be with me to help convey the gospel message, making up for any of my inadequacy in communicating in Spanish. I believe this is true for all of us as we try to do God’s work. The saying “whom the Lord calls, He qualifies” is really true."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Final Week of "Gettin' Healthy"

One more week of our dear Gettin' Healthy health challenge. It is with mixed feelings that I write today (not to be melodramatic or anything. . .)

Happiness: because after this week is over, I will probably return to making chocolate chip cookies on rainy days.

Pride: because I was dedicated for 8 whole weeks! I feel so good about nourishing my body with lots and lots of vegetables, plenty of water, and regular exercise, and not gulping down as much sugar/junk food as I normally do. Also proud of Chad, who is totally in first place.

Regret: because I wish I would have done a better job/had more time to keep all of our participants in the loop. Also, if I could do it again, it would have been fun to get some guest posts on here and/or fun tips or recipes for being healthy. Maybe next time...

Anxiety: because now I feel like I need something new to keep me in line. There really isn't anything quite like good, old fashioned competition (with money involved!).

I'm accepting ideas for ANYTHING you think would make a good challenge for the next go-round. Chad and I tossed a few ideas around yesterday, including a challenge for daily devotional/scripture study (no matter what faith you are), or maybe a virtual Book Club (we all read the same book, or we all read different books but report/link-up on the same day). Got a good idea? Let me know!

And now, I leave you with a picture. This is Chad at 8:00 AM, ready to eat his birthday cake on the morning of a "free day" the other week. Cute. Clearly, this has not been a diet, but a lifestyle change. :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Stink at Updating My Blog. . .

. . .but not so much because there's nothing to say. I've just sort of lost the drive for some reason. Oh well, it'll come back sometime, I'm sure.

It's been nice weather and just look what happened to the tree in our backyard! I am in love.

just ignore the dilapidated swingset. it was here when we moved in.

Despite the recent lack of posting on my end, Emma has continued to send me her weekly write-ins she does for her Book of Mormon class. I like them. I am sad you are all missing out on them due to my laziness.

Without further ado, words from my brilliant little sis. (You may be totally lost reading her post without first reading Ether 2 here.)

"I loved something we talked about in class this past week. In Ether Chapter 2, there are three major problems that the brother of Jared has regarding their journey across the ocean (this is a cool chapter to read and the chapter before gives some context, but for now I will just summarize). His three issues were: they had no light, they had no way to steer, and they had no air. The interesting thing is that the Lord helped the brother of Jared solve these problems in three different ways, and one of these (or a combination of them) is usually how our prayers are answered. For the first problem-having no light in the barges- the Lord basically asks the brother of Jared how he would have the problem be solved. The second problem was that of not being able to steer the barges. The answer to this prayer was much different. Instead of having the brother of Jared think of a solution, the Lord in essence said that He would just take care of it. The Lord would provide a way for them to reach their destination. The third problem was how they would have air in their barges. This time, the Lord gave the brother of Jared specific instructions to follow. Each answer to the questions he received were very different, but a combination of these types of answers allow us to grow in different ways. When the Lord let the brother of Jared figure out his own solution to the first problem, He let the brother of Jared exercise his agency. The thought he put into a solution also helped him develop intellectually. The second solution required the brother of Jared to have complete trust that the Lord would really take care of the problem completely, helping him to exercise and grow in faith. The third solution gave the brother of Jared specific instructions to follow. This gave the brother of Jared the opportunity to be obedient, which we know always eventually brings blessings. I am glad I got to learn about this this week in class because it has helped me look at situations in my own life where I may or may  not have appreciated the answer I received to a prayer but I now recognize that different types of answers to prayers help us develop spiritually in different ways. As it turns out, diversity in how prayers are answered is just another thing to be thankful for!"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Go Cards.

Our team won last night over Michigan. I LOVE living in a place with a national champion team. The whole town erupts into fireworks and horns honking and drunk, yelling people everywhere and then for months, everyone is happier. It is so magical.

It's a good thing I'm so good at jumping on the bandwagon lately when it comes to sports teams. I mean, I've only lived here since last summer, and Chad is in dental school at UofL, which is only kind of like being in undergrad at a school in terms of your sports teams loyalties and all. But don't worry, we've been made into some true Cardinal basketball fans.

(This is very similar to my starting grad school at Auburn in 2010, just in time for their football team to win the national championship. I'm just good luck, I guess!)

And the game last night was AWESOME! If you want to see my favorite play, go here for the highlights reel, and skip to 1:15. Or just watch the whole thing. Go Cards!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Samoas Girl Scout Cookies and (Healthy) Ice Cream

Today I will be sharing two recipes which I tried recently and which worked well. The first:

Samoas cookie bars. These really are quite similar to the Girl Scout cookies, which I love. The only two ingredients you might not have on hand are coconut and caramels. Otherwise, these are quick and easy and quite delicious.

I adapted the recipe slightly from the original, which I found here. In the original recipe, the bars are lifted out of the pan and dipped in chocolate, so that you have chocolate on the bottom and the top (more similar to the actual Girl Scout cookies). This seemed like a little too much work for me, and they turned out yummy without dipping in chocolate. My only other recommendation would be to reduce the shortbread ingredients (maybe to 2/3 of what she lists?) I felt like the cookie to coconut/chocolate ratio was a bit high.

Okay, and since Chad and I are Gettin' Healthy, we don't do dessert during the week. But Tuesday was Chad's birthday, and it felt totally wrong not to make something, you know? Chocolate Covered Katie has a recipe for easy peanut butter ice cream. I followed this recipe, but omitted the sweetener and the vanilla, instead using vanilla soy milk (not the unsweetened kind). The flavor was yummy. I could definitely eat this while Gettin' Healthy.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream (adapted from

1/3 cup peanut butter (I used natural)
1 cup vanilla soy milk (I'm sure almond would work great too--whatever kind you drink)
1/16 tsp salt
2 bananas

Puree and freeze (this may take a few hours). Then, enjoy! Simple and yummy.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Great Lovers' Day

Did you know that's a real holiday? I did, because last week I was looking for ecards for little Mary's birthday and apparently April 2nd, 2013 is Great Lovers' Day. Maybe it's Canadian?

Anyway, more importantly, today is Chad's birthday! 28 years old never looked so good! :) Oh, how glad I am that little Chaddy came into the world. (He would say, "LITTLE?!" right now.) Things I am loving about Chad currently:

1-He makes dreams come true--he's like Disney Land. Like, if you want a therapy business to run from your home, he will make sure you have a nice-looking office and he'll even wire a speaker system so you have a noise maker outside your office door to protect confidentiality. Oh, and if you really want to go to Aruba he will go there with you. At least he did with me one time.

2-He is smart and loves what he does. I am glad he is passionate about teeth, even if I don't necessarily share his enthusiasm. Mostly I just think it's cool that he loves to learn and he does such a good job.

3-He is a gentleman. I've always loved that he opens doors for me. I love that even within the let-your-guard-down, be-yourself, you-knew-what-I-was-when-you-picked-me-up realm that is marriage, he still makes a concerted effort to be kind & considerate. It is nice.

Love you, Chad! It's gonna be another great year. :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Email Etiquette for the Workplace

Okay, I confess: that title might be a little misleading, because this post is most definitely a rant disguised as a self-help article. Just so we're clear.

The topic of today's rant is, in my opinion, one of the most handy communication tools which, ironically, often becomes a tool of non-communication. The beloved yet hated CC line. Yes, today we will be talking about when it is okay (even helpful!) to copy others on an email message, and when the CC line should be left blank.

Yes, I know this is groundbreaking.

But honestly, am I the only one who feels like some people don't get this? Part of being a professional is appropriately interacting with others. In my opinion, communication tools, such as email, should not facilitate avoiding difficult conversation. Nope. And the CC line, in my opinion, should not be used to indirectly relegate the responsibility to communicate to someone else.

Let's get down to some examples. Maybe, as you read these, you could think in your head whether or not you feel the CC line was utilized appropriately in each example. (Like a quiz! Yay!)

1. You discuss an issue with a supervisor, and he/she suggests you contact so-and-so to discuss ____. To keep your supervisor in the loop, and as a way of following up with him/her to let him/her know that you indeed made the agreed-upon contact, and also to allow him/her to add feedback or insert ideas as needed (wow! so many birds with one stone!), you copy him/her on the message.

2. You are not happy with someone's performance on a given task, but you hate confrontation. You know you could just walk down the hall, poke your head in your coworker's office, and politely ask to talk about what went down, but the thought of it just makes you queasy. Enter: the CC line! To avoid having to talk to your co-worker, and to appropriately intimidate him/her, you duck back into your office, compose your accusation thoughts into an email, and copy Mr. Boss. Perfect! Example, "Hey Cammie, you left your asparagus in the microwave. I find that to be very inconsiderate and disgusting. Please resolve this situation as soon as possible." Now your boss knows, and Cammie can clean up her mess, and you haven't even had to say a word.

3. Same as above, but instead of composing your accusations thoughts into a readable concern or idea, you pretend you are really confused and pose some kind of benign question. Example, "Hey Cammie, I noticed you left your asparagus in the microwave. I wasn't sure if you were gonna get to that later. Would you like me to put it back in the fridge for you?" Again, you cc: your boss. Again, you kill lots of birds with this one--not only do you alert your boss to the fact that Cammie is a nincompoop, but you also alert your boss to the fact that you are a HERO.

Full disclosure: it's a little embarrassing to write about this, because it is probably pretty obvious that I have been the one to feel slighted or embarrassed when a supervisor is copied on an email conversation. Otherwise, why would I have such strong feelings about this? And yes, in examples 2 and 3, Cammie should have put her asparagus in the fridge. But a small incident can feel pretty embarrassing when you realize someone felt the need to alert an authority.

I did a tiny bit of research just to make sure I wasn't totally off about this. This leadership blogger agrees that the cc line should be used sparingly (and also gives a helpful list of email etiquette pointers), and this communication skills blog has termed a new disease: CCitis. Thank you, google search, for validating my feelings.

And, since I made it sound like I was going to answer some questions about when to use vs. when not to use the CC line, here is my best shot at a simple rule of thumb. (This is my opinion only). You should use the CC line when you are sharing something you would share if you and your recipients were all in a room together, and if you feel the added insight from having a third party will somehow enhance the discussion. Generally, this kind of email is a discussion or problem-solving email, not a confrontation. This can be very effective and should improve relations and morale. You should not use the CC line when your primary motivation to do so is to avoid a stressful conversation, or to avoid confronting someone about something. A very considerate thing to do, in this situation, would be to speak first with your co-worker, letting him/her know you will take the issue to a supervisor if necessary, but that you wanted to try working it out together first.

What do you think? I'm sure one of you has had a great experience with the CC line, and I want to hear about it. Prove me wrong! Help me see the light! And of course, I'm always happy to hear from those of you who share my pain. Let's commiserate.



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