Friday, January 29, 2010

The State of Me

In light of the season, I think it is in order for me to make an annual report of the state of my being. It goes as follows:

Dear family, friends, constituents, and unattached readers,

The purpose of my address is an annual review regarding my uneducated opinion about a variety of topics and my forecast for the upcoming months. I wish to garner the support of all "Paperless" readers. In my mind's eye I see a crowd around me who stand to applaud at all the appropriate moments. I also picture the few stubborn clappers who are listening (reading) only to pass time.

My report on the economy is optimistic. My feelings are that some people's economic problems may be self-inflicted. I send my regards and best wishes. I believe everyone has at least some control on their situations and we are not afflicted with life. The previous year has been good to me. My own economic situation could be improved with more dedication to organization. Financial goals for the upcoming year is to save and pay cash for an excellent vacation, pay off my student loan, never use my line of credit or visa, and reduce spending by practicing a more provident lifestyle.

Health care was an unfortunate piece of 2009. I had to get glasses only 3 years after having laser eye surgery. Fortunately, I planned in advance and didn't lose any of my flex account at the end of the year. Sometimes I forget about it and the balance disappears. For forecast for 2010 is to use my new insurance and get contacts. I will also send a bill to the house floor for a vote on buying a treadmill. The funds would have to come out of the vacation fund. Hardest decision ever....

I would like to announce a reform to my domestic affairs policy. I have debated whether or not to make this announcement but it surely is apart of "The State of Me." Last November I registered on an online dating site. A few events transpired and I deleted the account a few short weeks later. Last week, I registered again. I don't have strong opinions about anything so far except to
stand for virtue. (see link below) I may or may not say more about interweb dating in the future.

My opinions have not changed regarding global warming and education. Please see for review.

As far as international affairs, they rest on the vote of travel vs. treadmill. It travel wins, I'll be headed to Ireland in late October.

My diplomatic tools skills have probably decreased and change isn't likely. I don't wish to defend any of these policies. I can't explain myself any other time of the year, this isn't any exception.

J. L. Hansen

For written or audio transcripts or to buy the podcast of "The State of Me" please send $6.99 + $15 shipping and handling.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I have something to do now....

Last November I left my singles' ward and headed for the local family ward. The purpose really is quite simple. I would like to get to know my neighbors. Originally, the plan was to stay for only a few months. But last Sunday, while I was in San Antonio, I was put into the Young Women's organization as the secretary/advisor/personal progress leader.

Tonight was my first activity....Stake New Beginnings. I don't claim to be a very young woman or a very old woman but I was out of the loop there tonight. I'm going to try to catch on before they find out how ridiculous I am.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saddle Up...last day of vacation

Yesterday we walked to Market Square and I got one of the best souvenirs possible. Unfortunately, I don't have possession of it at this time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll see it again. Don't worry. The souvenir is not the cigar smoking statue.

Due to circumstances out of our control, our luggage is lost. At our connection in Denver we learned that our flight didn't exist anymore. The flight number and time was changed and we hadn't been informed. Luckily, a flight existed for us. We had a smooth flight to Salt Lake and made good time to the baggage carousel. As much as we like to travel, we do enjoy going home. After 30 minutes of staring at baggage going around and around we determined we were chumps and ours hadn't made it to Utah.

This morning we learned it did get to Denver with United Airlines but our connection put us onto a Delta plane. Delta never got our luggage from United. Fortunately, Delta has taken the responsibility to find and deliver it when the bags are discovered. I'm missing quite a few things but life could be worse. I'm lucky to be home and not really need the stuff in my bag.

Thanks again San Antonio, the Saint of the Lost and Forgotten. Our jokes are now biting us as you have now kept our luggage. You really know how to get even. Please accept our sincere apology and give us our stuff back.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Happy as a gopher in soft dirt."

I think my sisters misunderestimated the amount of time I wanted to lounge while in Texas. The purpose of the trip is to be on a trip, not to "learn" or use my time efficiently

Today we did some exploring. At one of our first stops I realized my right hand was ballooning up. Wendy observed that it was beginning to look like a cartoon hand and that I should be thankful I have five fingers. Anne followed up with something like, "your hands always looked like cartoons." She obviously wasn't worried. The swelling started to go down after a few hours. A helpful man gave me a benadryl but I've only got 20 conscious minutes after taking one of those. This fist picture is me on the mend.

This House of Happy Hands didn't turn out to be that happy after all. There are rules plastered everywhere and in the middle of all the scary ceramic animals there was a live cat curled up, asleep on the floor. He's lucky we didn't step right on him.

Remember the Alamo? I do. Honestly, I don't know anything about it. All I remember is being there because it just a few hours ago. I'm sure the history of the Alamo is amazing and historic.

I guess the man in the middle of this shot is the last defender of the Alamo. He was the only armed man I saw and he was also the oldest man I saw so I'm going to go ahead and say I'm right on this one.

Tonight we put on dresses for dinner. I'm not sure why we do that, it's nice to dress up sometimes I guess. The riveting part of the evening was Wendy's nerves about walking the Riverwalk in the dark. We understand that it's generally unsafe to be out and about after dark, especially near bridges but Wendy hates going by the crowd at the bus stop the most. She especially hated the man who asked us where the beauty contest was. The man looked like he sorts bobcats for a living. But we've all heard the saying, "Avoid doing bidness with people who are as greasy as fried lard."

There you have it, Sunday exploring San Antonio style. There may be more to come. Most certainly, I will be discussing the conversation we had over Blizzards at lunch. Hold your breath, you'll love the Liberty vs. Ellis Island post.

San Antonio River Walk Tour

The disappearing wall

The tour guide
fyi: I like tour guide humor

Wendy's face when the tour was over

"You dance with them that brung ya."

I have 3 things to say about the hotel and they involve all three of us.

A. Dizzy dancing in the elevator
2. Free popcorn, soda, and breakfast
C. The bathroom on the 22nd floor

Dizzy Dancing
The elevators here have the volume turned up on their "elevator music." Wendy and I really enjoyed dancing to it. As soon as the door shut we began. We were always careful to stop before the door opened again. The unfortunate part of this story is how dizzy you feel after you get off the elevator. It's a sick feeling. No dances were danced on the elevator ride following a large meal. Anne never danced, even on an empty stomach.

Free Stuff
All day, every day there is free soda. The downside of this is that I don't drink soda anymore. Every afternoon at 3 p.m. the hotel pops fresh popcorn. There are also free drinks with alcohol but I haven't gone to see how that goes down. And....every morning there is a big hot breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, toast, cereal, soda, juice, bagels, donuts, biscuits, etc. It's the best continental breakfast ever. These items may make up for the fact that there is no room service. We really enjoy room service.

Bathroom Commentary
I would like to dedicate this portion to Jennie Wilder.
On Saturday afternoon we explored the hotel together. We went to the roof to see the pool and observation deck. Anne and I had to go see a man about a horse while we were on the 22nd floor. Luckily, there was an abandoned bathroom up there. I usually roll alone on this kind of errand but this was out of my control. The funny part is that when you go into a bathroom and only your sister is in there you can make a lot of jokes. And we made them. It was hilarious. I've never laughed so hard in a public bathroom stall, ever! Since we were already on the topic, we brainstormed things I could say when my associates follow me into the bathroom at work to talk to me. If you have any suggestions for that, let me know.

Wendy was waiting in the hall. Apparently, she could hear a lot of laughing. She probably pretended she didn't know us when a group walked by to go to the pool. That is totally against the Texas code of "you dance with them that brung ya."

"There's a lot of uncertainty that's not clear in my mind."

The San Antonio Taxi Driver

We're not sure how we made it safely from the airport to the hotel due to the fact he maintained eye contact with Anne in the rearview mirror for the entire drive. Although I pretended to not pay attention I learned a lot from him.

He was raised in El Salvador. He's pretty disturbed by the situation in Haiti right now. Apparently, in 1958 there was an earthquake at 3 a.m. More than 55,000 people were killed. He was buried under his mattress for hours. The dirt opened and swallowed people up.

During our short drive the man got so involved with his story. He is worrying so much for the people in Haiti but I think more than that, he seems to be dealing with a lot of his own experience in El Salvador.

Really, I can't find anything to back up the story he told me but it still reminded me to be thankful for things like building codes that make our communities more stable and all of the local organizations that help prepare individuals and families for disasters or even teach us how to do simple things like avoiding germs and being safe. It would be silly for me to hear these stories and do nothing to prepare myself. What it comes down to is "there's a lot of uncertainty that's not clear in my mind."

"Don't squat with your spurs on."

My sisters and I are in Texas, San Antonio to be exact. We're staying downtown on the River Walk in the Drury Plaza Hotel. I'm fixin' to say a lot about this trip seeing as how I started blogging while I'm still here.

We flew in on Friday afternoon. Luckily, we all made it on the same flight. My boarding was after my sisters and while I was stuck waiting the ticket ladies let a whole bunch of the wrong people on. Fortunately, Wendy took things into her own hands when she found a man sitting in my seat. He was as unhappy as a little cowpoke with out a pony.

We transferred planes in Denver. The bathroom there doubled as a hurricane shelter. And a horrible bidet if you didn't escape fast enough. The traveling was pleasant enough. There were festive ringtones to be heard, gummy bears and ring pops to eat, humming and singing by various strangers, and an addictive DS game to play.

The most memorable fellow flyer sat behind Anne and I on the second flight. He was a well of information on every topic. I'm not sure his seat mate ever said one word.

We're pretty certain he's the culprit of some questionable noises we heard while waiting to get off the plane. He pretty much sealed the deal because he ran straight towards the men's room. The picture means more to me than the man who f*r*e* on the plane. He was more than that. Don't judge him. And don't judge me for taking pictures of strangers. And "don't squat on your spurs" either.

Our individual travel goals are as follows:
Anne: Read a book
Joey: Play Nintendo DS
Wendy: Wrastle up some cowboys
We have only until tomorrow afternoon to accomplish these things.

Upcoming blog topics:
The cab driver's history
The hotel (dizzy dancing, free popcorn, bathroom news, etc.)
Sunday exploring
Liberty Island vs. Ellis Island

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dinner at Home

In an effort to live more providently I have begun making dinner at home and eating it. I know it sounds simple but I can't remember the last time I ate dinner (especially a planned meal) 5 nights in a row. Let me paint you a picture...uhhhhhh... when I eat dinner it's either take out, cereal, or candy. Many nights, I don't eat dinner. Every night, I felt either a little sick and/or a little unhappy. Last Friday, I checked what I had in the cupboards, wrote a week meal plan, wrote a grocery list, bought only what was on the list, and now I'm living the dream.

Don't read into "living the dream." It's a pretty generous statement.

Here's how it has gone down so far:

Saturday: Eat out night
I did eat out with my sisters.

Sunday: Chicken Alfredo, Salad, and Brownie
Not my best cooking, I'm still a rookie.

Monday: Chicken Caesar Salad, French Bread
Chicken was better, even good.

Tuesday: Swedish Pancakes
Mom came and ate with me.

Wednesday: Chicken, Rice, and Salad
What a mess! Also, I don't want Uncle Ben's rice. I want white rice that comes with Chinese food.

Tomorrow: Homemade Pizza

The menu planning really led to big savings at the grocery store. Also, I went with mostly store brand products or not as prepared food. Cooking has taken more effort than I actually have the ability to give. Apparently, cooking is a skill girls are supposed to pick up before they're 26. Now is as good as time as ever, right?

This whole "dinner" thing would be easier if so much food wasn't so gross. I'm working on that too.