Sunday, November 30, 2008

So Thankful...

I love this season. My sister Carolynn sent us an early Christmas present. It was a plain wreath with a bunch of harvest-y picks. Throughout the month, Cristian and I were supposed to take turns saying things we are thankful for and put a pick in the wreath, so by Thanksgiving it is full. It was a little rough just because C is not home much these days, but we did it and it was a great reminder to be thankful throughout the season, not just on the Day. Thanks, Carolynn, for helping us start a family tradition that I already love.

A few other things...

1. I am so thankful for my husband. He is kind, funny, hard-working, compassionate, patient (mostly with me), grounded, and above all, GOOD. He has such a good heart. I am so glad to be married to Cristian, and I am so thankful he chose me. I can't imagine my life without him.

2. My job. I work at an alternative medicine office with 3 doctors and 2 massage therapists. Cristian and I get free care, which has come in very handy since my back went out a year ago. I am now undergoing treatments for free that would cost someone else hundreds of dollars. My main concern is having a healthy enough back to be pregnant, and avoid surgery if possible, and the care I have access to here is helping me toward that goal. I also get good pay, vacation time, paid holidays, and work 4 days a week, who can complain?

3. My family. Both sides of it. I have a great family, and wonderful parents who taught me all the good things I know in life. My siblings are awesome, and I never tire of spending time with them. We are surprisingly close for such a big, spread out bunch, but we love each other and would do anything for each other. I am also grateful for the family I married into. They made Cristian into the great man he is, and welcomed me with open arms. They are wonderful people who we don't see enough.

4. My Aunt and Uncle, Tom and Ruth Pooler, and cousins Emily and Ben Montague, and Brooke Duke and her boys Connor and Wyatt. They live here and have adopted us into their circle, for which I will be forever grateful. Before living here, I saw them once a year, now, all the time, and it is wonderful. We celebrate everything together, birthdays and holidays, and other times too. We love to be together, and they have especially embraced Cristian, and that makes me love them even more.

5. The Gospel. I don't know where I would be without it. It has shaped me way beyond what my parents taught. I have long since developed my own testimony, with my own trials and triumphs to go along with that. I am grateful for Jesus Christ, who died for me. He knows me, and that brings me so much comfort I can't even begin to say.

6. Cristian's schooling. It has been hard, and a long road for us. But we are almost done, he graduates in May with an MFA. This will open so many doors for him, and for our family.

7. My talents.

8. Job Openings. Thanks goodness there are some out there. Now we just have to get hired in one of them. Just one. Please.

Happy Late Thanksgiving everyone, and remember as we step into the Christmas season, to still be thankful!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We gotta get outta here

Ok, I know this is my third post today, but I guess I have a lot to say. Make sure you scroll down to my other posts of the day. So before we lived in our home here in North Las Vegas, we lived in an apartment on the east side of town. Some would say that area is a little bit of the ghetto, but we felt just fine there. We just had a few crazy experiences with people coming to our place in the middle of the night, knocking on the windows, etc. One time some kind of transgender/transvestite/not really sure what arrived in the middle of the night. Sweet. In our new home, we have been fine for the most part, just one attempted break-in (we weren't home) for which we got a house alarm.
Last night, we were in bed and about 3am woke up to some pounding on our front door. Of course we jumped out of bed and Cristian went to see what it was, muttering, "I thought we left these experiences at our old apartment." Let me say that when people have come in the middle of the night, it is always Cristian who checks it out, and leaves me in the protection of our home, but this time he told me to get dressed and come in case we had to desparately push our door shut against intruders. Great. I was terrified and went and got our butcher knife from the kitchen. Anyway, it was a kid, probably in his early twenties, with blood all over his head, saying he had been jumped by 8 guys and woke up in our neighborhood, could we please call 911? He was wearing a bathrobe, said he had been at a lingerie party, and he was in the Air Force. He was definitely still drunk, but also clearly in need of help. Cristian called 911. We stayed with him (whate else would we do, he was bleeding all over our front porch) until the police came. At one point on of the paramedics was talking to him and he slumped over and fell out of the chair we had brought out onto the ground. Just blacked out, whether from alcohol or shock, I don't know. I think he really was in the Air Force, because he went into military mode and answered with "Sir" puntuating every sentence as if he was being drilled. The paramedic was nice enough to clean the blood off of our porch, and we got it off the wall next to the door. It must have been from his hand. He was bleeding a lot.
I felt really bad for him once I knew there was no danger to us, but I certainly don't need that experience ever again. I am not saying that all of Vegas is like this, there are many great things about it. We just happen to attract the crazies. We gotta get out of this town.

The Hunt For My October

I love Fall. It is one of my favorite seasons. But living in Las Vegas I have realized that Fall is the most frustrating season for me. It is so hot in the summer that is takes so dang long to cool off. It was still in the 80's this past week, and that drives me crazy because, while that temperature range is not bad, it just doesn't feel like Fall. No leaves happening, no cozy weather. It goes on thru November, slowly cooling down, just not fast enough for me.

So, after 3 years of futile frustration, this year I have made an effort to have a better attitude about it. After all, I can't do anything about the weather, and at least it is not still over 100 degrees, like it is most of the summer. Plus, since Cristian graduates this year and we are looking for a job, next year I may be somewhere that by this time I am already freezing my butt off, and 80 degrees might sound pretty good to me. I doubt it though, because if we are somewhere cold, at least it will be pretty with leaves and hot chocolate and soup. Here in the desert, not so pretty. All the same, I have made my peace with the Fall in Las Vegas. For now.

Note to self...

Dear Nicole: anytime something in a recipe looks weird, call someone who knows better BEFORE going ahead. Ok, so we had Super Saturday this last month. For those of you who don't know what it is, Super Saturday is a big, glorified craft-making day for Mormon women. I am not crafty, at all, but I was actually pretty excited and came away with a clock that I made and some decorative tiles. There were some really cool projects this year. Anyway, so I volunteered to make cookies for the lunch. Mormon women always need to have food involved with every gathering, and I feel great about that. I decided to make some pumpkin cookies from a family recipe book. I had never made these before. So I am doubling the batch when I come to what says, "12 tsp nutmeg." Cristian and I were like, what? That sounds like a lot of nutmeg. Oh well, here we go! I am going to go ahead and state the obvious: It was a typo. Too much nutmeg. So I called my sister in law Melissa, who the recipe came from. She looked it up and said, "oh yeah, it is 1/2 tsp nutmeg. " I was like WHAT?! I was thinking it would be 1 or 2 tsp, but no, 1/2. When I told her I alreay made the dough, she laughed so hard at me. We laughed together because, what else am I going to do? I didn't want to waste everything, so I ended up making 3 more batches to try and even it out a litte. It was a long night, and the cookies still had too much nutmeg, but they actually went over just fine the next day. Cristian and I were amazed. Don't worry, I still have about 2 1/2 batches of this in my freezer. Anyone want some? The above picture is my mess of a kitchen during the whole ordeal.

I had to show a picture of Cristian carving our pumpkin the other day. He does not mess around. He busted the power tools out and everything. It did go a lot faster, which I am all about. We have a tradition on Halloween that I make some yummy soup from scratch (this year was chicken tortilla, from the afore-mentioned recipe book, no typos) then watch some kind of tv/movie while passing out candy and eating candy until we are sick. So fun. We ended up with way too much candy left over. I went a little over board. So, we are still eating candy until we are sick. Love Halloween.