May 29, 2011
This weekend actually has been quite full of activities, unlike our other weekends, where we just lounge around all day.
Friday night we went to a roof top party in Brooklyn where they had a giant piece of paper for people to draw on. Sounds MUCH cooler than it was.
Saturday we went to the temple. When talking about temples with people who are not Mormon, or rather members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, they often have very similar questions:
To answer some of these questions, temples are regarded as very sacred to the Mormon Church. Inside one is able to meditate and learn more about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Nothing that goes on in temples is a secret, just very sacred. We want everyone to enjoy the blessings that come from attending the temple.
However, because the temple is such a sacred place, in order to go inside one must live certain standards, such as being honest, being chaste, being faithful to their spouse, believing in the Mormon faith, and having faith in Jesus Christ. If one does not live up to these certain standards, even if they are a Mormon, they are not able to enter the temple.
However, no one is perfect—if someone is not living in accordance to these temple standards they are able to ask God for forgiveness. Once they are recommitted to living these standards they are able to go inside the temple.
Then after going to the Temple, we came home relaxed and I watched Justin Bieber: Never Say Never by myself, while Pat played video games in the other room. I must say, I knew nothing about Justin Bieber before this movie (I only knew one of his songs, and I didn't even know that very well) but after watching the movie, I totally got why girls are madly in love with him. Such a great movie, all girls should see it. Especially if you are a teenybopper at heart like me. haha
Sunday Pat and I went to church and then later on we went on a bike ride to Roosevelt Island.
Roosevelt Island, is this weird little island in the East River between Queens and Manhattan. It is quite difficult to get to because it doesn't have a direct bridge from Manhattan to the island. There are a few apartment complexes and a park on the island but that's about it.
It was a fun little bike ride, but on the way back I thought I was going to pass out because of the incline on the Queensboro bridge. Hopefully these bike rides will get easier with time, but as of right now, my bum always hurts and I have a hard time walking the next day. I am such a wimp and so out of shape.
May 25, 2011
Knowing this makes days like today bitter-sweet. Bitter because as I am trying to enjoy the nice weather, all I can think about is how it's going to get humid. Sweet because I can walk outside without a jacket and without getting drenched in sweat.
I still walk to work when I can, but a few times a week Pat is kind enough to let me hitch a ride on the back of his motorcycle.
At first riding in the city was a little scary, driving right up close to taxis and constantly having to be on the lookout for stray pedestrians. However, now it is just fun. Pat always compares driving a motorcycle in the city to driving in a parking lot. Yet, every once in a while we get an opening for a block or two and that's when I have to hold on tight as Pat's new pipes let everyone know, within a 5 block radius, THAT WE'RE COMING!
May 22, 2011
I know hairless cats are not for everyone and that a lot of people think they are completely gross, not that the above picture helps my case anymore (hahha). But I just think they are the cutest things ever. Now I know how parents, who have really ugly kids, feel! hahhahaha
We still don't know what we are going to name her. I like Meatball or Puppy, but Pat keeps on calling her Gremlin.
As it turns out we had a very popular bagel shop just a few blocks away that serves some awesome bagels with a TON of cream cheese.
So, to kick off our perfect Saturday we started it with eating bagels in the park watching dogs in the dog park (by far my favorite thing to do). The weather was great and the sun felt so good on our skins. The day could have ended here and it would have been perfect, but it didn't, it just got better.
After having a renewed energy from a great lunch we set out bike shopping again...and believe it or not we bought myself a nice new bike! When I saw it in the bike shop I knew it was mine and that bike and I were destined for one another. Paying half of the bike with a gift card my work gave me for Administrative Professionals Day, the bike ended up being a great deal, making it that much sweeter.
I rode the bike home from the bike shop, about a 4 miles ride and then Pat and I went out again. We had a great time riding all over the city even when we got caught in a TOTAL down poor.
May 20, 2011
This ended up being quite traumatic. For some reason Novocaine really doesn't work on me, it never has, but this time was the worst. I told them this prior to them giving me the shots, just to warn them so they knew I have had this problem previously.
They still gave me the normal dosage and attempted to do whatever they do. I could feel it. So they gave me more. And I still could feel it. Then they gave me some more in the roof of my mouth and in different parts around the tooth. I still could feel it. Then they gave me a different kind of shot in the nerve endings of the tooth. I still could feel it.
At this point they thought I was faking and was just nervous. They came in and asked if I was nervous and gave me some breathing techniques. I told them I wasn't nervous but I could actually feel a sharp piecing pain. They still didn't believe me so they suggested that if this last shot didn't work that I come in another time because I couldn't get anymore today and they could give me some gas to relax. THEY JUST DIDN'T GET IT!! I WASN'T SCARED!
So they tried again and I could still feel it but it was tolerable. It hurt, don't get me wrong, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to come back. I just suffered through the pain. That's right...I AM TOUGH!
I am at home now, since half my face is frozen. I am going to wait until my face thaws out to go to work. I took a picture of myself when I got home because I secretly think the after affects of numbing medicines are fun and funny. When I saw the result above I thought it was pretty funny so I went on gchat to show Pat my face while he was at work. He snapped some pictures of me...and well...the results aren't so flattering...When I saw the pictures he took I was laughing so hard which made me look even worse, hence the last picture!!
May 19, 2011
It's 2004, the ABC show The Bachelor is at its peak, and I am living in Provo, UT getting ready to serve my year and half Mormon mission at the age of 21.
For those that do not know much about these LDS (or Mormon) Missions, it is a time (2 years for men and 1.5 years for women) a young man of 19 or a young woman of 21 volunteers to dedicate their life to teaching others about Jesus Christ and his restored church. These missionaries are not compensated in any way for their service, but rather save up enough money to live for this duration of time or have family pay their way. The missionary does not get to pick the destination of their service location, but rather are assigned to serve anywhere in the world, from South American, to Africa, to Asian, to Europe, to Kentucky, and even to the Mormon capital of the world--Salt Lake City, Utah (and yes, this is where I was assigned).
The missionaries have a very strict schedule, waking up at 6:30am and going to bed at 10:30pm seven days a week. They leave their apartments everyday at 10am (after their morning exercise and scripture study) and do not return to their apartment until 9pm that night. The entire day is filled with serving and teaching people about Jesus Christ. During their service of 1.5 - 2 years, the missionaries have limited contact with family and friends, only being able to have contact by email or letter's once a week and an hour long phone call on Christmas and Mother's Day.
This schedule might seem insane to those outside the faith and is even not easy for the missionaries themselves; however, I know from first hand experience that by truly giving up your life to God and dedicating every minute of the day for a year and a half striving to help others find true happiness that only comes through knowing their Savior, makes you grow in ways you cannot comprehend. I became a different person during my time of service and now have an undeniable knowledge of Jesus Christ and His love.
In addition to the rigorous schedule these missionaries follow on a daily basis, they also choose not to date during this time. That's right that means no cuddling, hugging, or kissy kissy. Even though they are Mormon, contrary to popular belief, they are still human, and not only human, but 19 and 21 year old humans! haha As you could imagine this can be a huge sacrifice.
So, back to my original story of me being 21 and getting ready to serve my year and half mission, living in Provo,Utah and attending Brigham Young University....
Now....for those of you who are not familiar with Brigham Young University, "BYU's social and cultural atmosphere is unique. The high rate of enrollment at the university by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints results in an amplification of LDS cultural norms; BYU was ranked by The Princeton Review in 2008 as 14th in the nation for having the happiest students and highest quality of life. However, the quirkiness and sometimes "too nice" culture is often caricatured, for example, in terms of marrying early and being very conservative.
One of the characteristics of BYU most often pointed out is its reputation for emphasizing a "marriage culture" Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints highly value marriage and family, especially marriage within the faith. Approximately 51% of the graduates in BYU's class of 2005 were married. This is compared to a national marriage average among college graduates of 11%. BYU students on average marry at the age of 22, according to a 2005 study, while the national average age is 25 years for men and 27 years for women" (source).With this "marriage culture" being so prevalent for those living in this college town of Provo, Utah, dating several different people in one weeks time is not unheard of. Even I, once had 4 dates in a single day!
Since I was leaving to go on my LDS mission soon, and I was not going to be dating anyone for a year and half, my friends, specifically my friend Celina, and I decided that it would be a riot to plan a mock TV series of The Bachelorette to really get all this dating out of my system. We would pass out and hang flyers all over campus calling all available men (between the ages of 21 and 30) to audition to date me and try to get me to fall in love with them and not go on my mission. We would plan the dates and video tape all the happenings. Then, just like the original TV series, at the end of each date I would then choose my bachelor of the night by handing him a red rose. Finally, at the conclusion of all the dates I would choose one "lucky" guy who I would either write to while on my mission or if things REALLY went well, throw my Mission totally out of the equation and date him instead!!
My friends and I had a GREAT time talking about this for weeks figuring out all the details...sadly, we never followed through with it. It's really too bad, because it would have been a blast.
So this finally brings us to today when my friend, Meghan, posted her audition tape on Facebook to become the next "Mormon Bachelorette." Her video brought back all those memories of my single days and brought a huge smile to my face.
"The Mormon Bachelorette takes the spirit of ABC’s The Bachelorette—a reality series where a woman is set up on a series of elaborate dates—and gives it a unique Mormon spin. Done the Mormon way, the bachelors each plan and pay for their own date with the selected bachelorette. The bachelorette still gives roses to those guys who impress her enough to merit a second date, but at a “mocktail” party instead of a cocktail party. And a marriage proposal is not expected at the end of the month-long show." Read More Here...
What a great idea huh? I thought so...maybe because I had a similar one back in 2004...haha
Meghan is a riot and I would love to see her in this online reality TV series. Although the Mormon Bachelorette is not chosen by popular vote, they do take the comments and FB "LIKES" on her application video into consideration. Go ahead and see for yourself and view all the applications, Meghan and her video are by far the best. So help her be the next Mormon Bachelorette and help me vicariously live out my failed dream through her!
Follow the link to FB LIKE her video and make a comment
on the official Mormon Bachelorette blog.
May 17, 2011
I know what you are thinking. A cold. What a wimp. I know I am thinking the same thing, but this cold has kicked my toosh and wont go away. Hey, it might even be the flu. Does that make me seem like less of a baby?
I was so miserable Saturday and Sunday with sinus pressure, headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, ache and pains.
I took a sick day Monday, but by the end of the day I was going to go insane from boredom. I couldn't watch another episode of the OCD detective, Monk, on Netflix instant play and needed to get out of our tiny apartment. I was determined to go to work the next day.
Come Tuesday, I got up excited to have something to do. As I walked to the subway I was completely exhausted after one block. I knew this was going to be a tough day. Once at work I was coughing up a lung and felt like my head was going to implode. My co-worker (who's the best) graciously said she would cover my shift. I left at 1pm.
So, tomorrow I am going to try again! Wish me luck!
May 5, 2011
However, a few months ago I bought a coupon to a restaurant in Queens that my co-worker suggested. The restaurant, SHI, sits right on the East River over looking Manhattan. When I told my co-worker that Pat and I weren't doing anything for our anniversary, she reminded me of this coupon I had already purchased--and I am so glad she did. The views were absolutely breath taking and there was a quite park right next to the restaurant where you are able to sit, relax and enjoy the view.
It is always nice to go to one of the outer boroughs and see Manhattan from a distance. It was a beautiful night and at the restaurant we got a table right next to the window, so we were able to see the city light up come night fall.
It was a perfect night as we were able to take our motorcycle into Queens, take a stroll in a quiet park that over looks Manhattan, enjoy a meal with A LOT of food and a view, and venture into a part of NYC that we have never been before.
Life has been so blissful for the last 4 years. I could not ask for a better husband and marriage. It seems that when life can't get any better, it does.
On Saturday night we moved our fish tank to our bedroom because we didn't want our one remaining fishy to boil in the window sill, since it is getting warmer.
In the morning I heard a weird sound. It sounded like the fish may have jumped out of his tank, so I looked over and it looked as though almost ALL the water from tank was gone. Well, that just couldn't be, so I had to get up and look closer since I didn't have my glasses on. When I got closer I saw that is was true, 2/3's of all the water was gone so our fishy was just swimming around at the very bottom of the tank in the remaining inches of water.
I was so shocked I woke Pat up to show him. It was so confusing because there was no water no water to be seen anywhere! It was like a magic trick. Totally confused, I grabbed the top portion of the tank to pick it up to fill it up in the kitchen. As I did this, the top of the tank lifted up, while the bottom of the tank remained suction cupped to the dresser--translation: the tank broke into two pieces. Rocks, plants,water and fish exploded all over our dresser and floor!
Pat, like a ninja, quickly picked up the suffocating fish as I filled up a bowl with water. Luckily, the fish seems to be doing okay.
There ended up being a tiny crack in the bottom portion of the tank. Over night the tank slowly leaked about 5 gallons of water in our dresser, being soaked up by the wood and my clothes! While being totally gross that my clothes had fish water all in them and now our dresser has bit of water damage; it made for one good magic trick!
May 4, 2011
It was a perfect day. One that I hope to repeat quite often.
May 3, 2011
Honestly, I was not looking forward to it. I really do not like cooking and it was silliness to me that you would actually pay someone so you could cook your own meal. However, I knew it would most likely end up being a fun night since I have never done anything like it.
As anticipated it was a great night where we learned how to cook delicious meals and discovered that it really was not that hard to cook fancy meals. We even made our own pasta! Of course I used the excuse that I had to take pictures of everyone, so I really didn't do that much cooking, but I did enough.
May 2, 2011
You know those events that you will forever remember where you were when you heard the news? Among some from my life time that come to mind are:
-The chase and verdict of OJ Simpson
-The accident and death of Princess Diana
-September 11th Terrorist attacks (my experience here)
-The finding of Elizabeth Smart
-The capture of Saddam Hussein
-The death of Mormon Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley
-The inauguration of Barack Obama, the first black president
-The death of pop legend, Michael Jackson
Last night as I was finishing up a family conference call at 10:30pm, I came into the living room when Pat told me that President Obama was going to be making a surprise announcement, and no one knew what it was going to be about. When I heard this I got a pit in my stomach because I feared the worse.
The news reporters were told that he would be making the announcement any minute; however, 2 minutes turned into 5; 10 minutes turned into 20. Finally, after 30 minutes the news broke of a supposed death of Osama bin Laden! The details started trickling in while all the news stations covered the story, trying to find out as much information as possible.
Finally, after an hour, Obama finally appeared on our TV screen as he confirmed the rumors in the first sentence he spoke, that Osama bin Laden was in fact dead.
The speech was joyous, somber, and eloquent.
With this speech came great joy and relief as evil had been put to rest; however, my next immediate feeling was that of fear. I fear retaliation from his followers against the country that killed their leader. My fear is a little more heightened, living in the very city where the attacks of September 11th occurred. This morning I asked Pat to take me to work on his motorcycle because I was scared to go on the subway. I was thinking I would avoid the subway for a few weeks; however, if I do this the terrorists win by instilling so much fear in me that I change my everyday routines.
I really enjoyed President Obama's speech and how he addressed the people and families who lost someone dear to them due to the actions of this man. I especially loved President's Obama's last statements: May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
If you missed his speech-
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory -- hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda -- an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will -- remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.