Sunday, March 27, 2011

CARS: All's well that ends well...

This week was car mania...the season finale if this was a soap opera.
Last weekend Dad, Curt and I attempted to track down the title for the white Subaru, who knew there was all this title, bill of sale, taxes, etc involved in selling a car... well now I do.
Anyway, thankfully Curt had a duplicate title, so I went over Tuesday night and got it all filled out, then Wednesday I did the deed. I sold my car, just like that, we exchanged the title and Tunex cut me a check for $1000 and that was it. Now for the emotional part, I went and cleaned out my car and said one last good-bye to Georgie. Or Faith as Curt informed me was her original name... I was kind of sad to say good-bye. Lots of good memories in that car and some ownership, rite-of-passage type of attachment...But as Bonnie advised, "you can't get too emotionally attached..." I know, but still, that was my car...
I loved my Georgie car.
So sad to say good-bye.

So the car saga continues... along with selling my car this week , I also...
  • got a speeding ticket (first one in about 2 years, I was on a really good streak. Dang-it!)
  • scratched my boss's car...yikes. I took it out to clean it and on my way back in to the parking garage, I turned a bit too sharply and scraped and dented the side of it. Shoot. I will post a pic tomorrow. He was good about it, but I felt really bad... as you can imagine.
  • looked at alternative transportation options... I got pretty creative thinking of possibilities involving a bus, bike, jog-11miles to work-mmmm probably not, borrowing a car as needed. Could i get by without a car? Or even just wing it? I mean, I could get a bike. Bonnie's question with that one was "what happens when it's raining or snowing out and you have to go to work?" Good point. Shoot. The conclusion I came to after all this brainstorming was that I really just need a car. My lifestyle is way too independent to go without a car. Shoot. I am going to have to bite the bullet and buy a car. Which I really didn't want to do as I am committed to paying off my student loans this year and just really want to put all my extra cash toward that.
I am sure Mom and Dad were laughing every time I called them up with a new solution. Well, I went over on Saturday to talk with them about cars. The agreement was that we were going to talk cars at the end of this week and they were going to tell me what they decided to do.
As I talked through the options and expressed my "at my wit's end" scenario, I told them I finally went to the bank to see about taking out a loan to buy a car and ended with a big sigh.
They smiled and looked at me somewhat excited.
What? I asked.
"We have a way better deal for you..." Mom said.
Dad did the honors of offering me the option of purchasing their other Subaru-the green seafoam one.
Wow. Really?
What a relief!
So I will be able to keep up my car payments with them, pay off my student loans, and pay off this car within the year.
Thank you so much!
So this is the new set of name yet.
After that, I was off to the ballet with Mei Mei. An M&M date if you will. :) We went and saw Utah Regional Ballet's production of Peter Pan at the Covey Center in Provo. Very Well done, a really fun ballet with flying, a crocodile, hilarious pirates, great choreography, and fantastic dancing.
We ran in to Brenda and Becca Winegar-kind of legendary people in the disabilities community in Utah Valley. It was great to connect with her, that is the first time I have personally met or spoken with either of them, even though I have grown up knowing who they are and the tremendous influence for good they are in this community. And all that I have heard about them did not compare to my experience talking with them. They are truly amazing individuals. I was so impressed with how highly Brenda (mom) talked about Becca (daughter with Downs Syndrome), she praised her with the utmost respect and awe, like she was a good friend and inspiration-which she is that to her, but people don't often talk about their kids like that. It was definitely a lesson for me about how I will speak about my kids to other people. It felt like more of an equal partnership/relationship rather than a domestic hierarchy. Sounds weird to say but I see that some parent/kid relationships are about who is right/wrong and others are about the partnership of helping each other learn and grow in positive ways. Hmm... a tidbit to put in my back pocket until further notice... :)
So here is Mei Mei and I at Peter Pan. We had a grand time!
Love my Mei Mei

Other things that happened this week...
We had a "Salsabration" FHE on Monday with a cluster of wards. I saw Blake there, the guy in our ward that I was interested in and he liked Bonnie and it was really awkward for a time... Yeah him. Anyway, it's been a while since we've seen each other and the steam from the awkward get togethers has blown over, so it was so nice to talk with him and feel like all of that stuff just melted away... thank you. Ah, peace at last. I don't like to have icky stuff in my relationships-the kind of unresolved stuff that lingers and festers. So it was really good to clear the air and mend my relationship with him.
Also, Monday after work I ran outside... this monumental. I can run for miles on a tredmill, but I am apprehensive and flat out resistant to running outside. I have a mental block about running outside. Bonnie and I ran about 2 miles, just down PG Blvd and back to our condo. And it felt good! I mean I survived and it wasn't that bad...
Half-marathon here I come. That is one of my 2011 goals-run a half marathon. I am shooting for August.
This week I worked on my solo with Laura up at the UofU a couple of days. Afterwards I stopped by to visit my sister Jules. It was fun to reconnect with her, it has been a while. She is amazing, getting ready for baby #4.
Anyway with the solo rehearsals, Laura and I got a lot done and I showed it at our rehearsal on Saturday. Angie, one of our dance professors came to our rehearsal and gave feedback. We talked about my solo and our chat reminded me why I love dance so much and engaging in the creative process. All the steps are there for my dance, but it is missing the magical performance quality. Discovering the missing element and what I am saying through this piece propelled me in to a bit of self-discovery to find the answers. That is what I love most about dance and the creative process-it's a journey of the self that refines and builds character like nothing else.
Here is what I learned on this particular journey with this specific piece, and it is exactly in line what I have been thinking about recently...
Angie remarked that this piece is about me being a 'good dancer' and showcasing my technical abilities, I don't really say anything significant, the audience is only 4 minutes older after seeing the piece-not really any different, moved or inspired by a unique message.
Shoot. I want it to be so much more. But I am concerned about being a "good dancer", it goes back to me wanting to keep up a "perfect image" of myself and especially as a dancer. I do want people to see and affirm that I am a good dancer.
But I also want to communicate something inspiring through my solo, I want to make my statement... but I don't know exactly what I am saying...
Angie's advice "you have to be vulnerable. Trust that your technique is there and go for it. If you don't quite make the balance, but you went for it-that is human. That is what we relate to as an audience. That is the magic."
So the challenge for me is letting go of that perfection image and dance who I am at this moment, the authentic, real me. Wow, I have been thinking about that lately and finding myself wanting to be something I am not. But it doesn't work to be anything but me.
Sometimes I wonder if I have the "fire" to be a successful dance artist and I get anxious about it, and I feel that anxiety is reflected in my solo.
Angie's response to this was, "then dance who you are right now and what it is. If you are anxious and nervous about it, then dance that. Be honest about where you are. You gotta dance who you are and what it is right now."
I held back the tears, but if I would have let them, I would have been wet all day. This breakthrough and insight is what I have been looking for and I love how dance facilitates these small self-discoveries. I feel closer to my goal of going Home. And interestingly enough, the title of my piece is "coming home". Remembering who I am and being honest about that as I dance. That is the challenge, but I am up for it.
After rehearsal I raced down to UVU for the Ballroom Dance Concert with my friend Mariah who got married in November. I asked her about married life and she confessed that it was one of the hardest experiences of her life. Just a lot to adjust and get used to. Good stuff, but nonetheless challenging.

After the ballroom concert I crashed for a nap before going to the ballet with Mei. On my way to go pick up Mei, Aaron called. I missed it, so when I called him back he put it on speaker phone so both he and Brittany could talk to me.
I casually asked "so, what's up?"
"Have you seen Pa's cows?" Brittany asked.
WHAT!?! Mouth wide open...............................
Really? Aaron engaged?
Wow, congratulations! I am so happy for both of them. And Brittany sounds like a super fantastic girl. Can't wait to meet her when they come out in a couple of weeks.
I waited for the "my younger brother is getting married" blues to settle in, but they never came. No anxiety about it, just happiness.
I do have to tell you though. Mom had a dream on Friday night about me and I was with the cutest, most darling boy with dark curly hair. We were so happy together and it was so easy to be around him. And he was tall. Anyway, I know the timing for me will happen at the perfect time. Not worried.
However, this was at the end of the week. Ask me about men on Wednesday and I would have thrown my hands up in the air with utter disgust. I had lunch with a guy on Wednesday-so not impressed. Just talked about superficial things the whole time and I saw a lot of his insecurities come out. I left the conversation sick to my stomach and wanting to take a shower to wash off all the slime.
It's good, I know more of what I DON'T want.
I just want a male version of Bonnie, that would be perfect!
Friday I went to hear Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, speak at an information technology forum at BYU.
It was interesting and some personal notes I had on it were...
Find what you are passionate about
The more connections we create, the stronger we are, in business and personal life
It was really good, he was very candid and open, it was fun to hear him speak. Orrin Hatch-the one delivering the questions-however, was not. He was kind of a drag.
Anyway, fun event. It was snowing when we got out and I wore some ballet flats, so no traction and I was honestly worried about slipping. I carpooled with 2 guys from work, how convenient. I took one of the guy's arms and he graciously escorted me to the car. Both of them opened my door for me on the whole excursion and I was so impressed. I haven't been treated like that for a long time, it was nice to feel like a lady and be treated like one.
I was seriously so impressed, especially because it was a work event. One of the guys was married and one was single. But the fact that I was a lady, trumped the situation, no romantic nonsense, just good old-fashioned chivalry. Love it.
So it all ended well and I am happily sitting here blogging on a leisurely Sunday evening after teaching Sunday School today about Priesthood Keys. The lesson went way better than I anticipated, I did not feel super prepared. Thank you to the spirit and angels that were routing for me. I learned a lot, as always.
The experience teaching boosted my confidence and it felt really good. I love teaching, I volunteered for today and for permanent "if you need someone to teach, call me" status.
It made me think about grad school, well career in general, I know I will end up teaching in whatever I do.
A high end classical Ballet teacher in New York City? Possibly. That would be a dream.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kind of a Stressful Week

This week was STRESSFUL.
My boss was out of town, so I had plans to work an archiving project for him, but my days were somehow filled to the max with day to day operational stuff.
I also had other big projects on my plate, such as...
-writing Ernst and Young Award Application...due Friday
-Annual March Madness party for One on One...also Friday
-car is in the shop, needs a new engine, got to decide what to Friday
-driving Mom and Dad's 15 passenger van and ran out of gas on the freeway
-got a speeding ticket
-finishing my solo for our concert in April, driving to SLC 3 days this week
I was kind of a basket case-hello emotional eating... yikes!
I have been having my green smoothies in the morning and oatmeal with raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds in it. But I snacked a lot... on chocolate and jelly bellys, shoot.
So, the story with my car.
I blew the head gasket and when they tore it apart, they found some scarring on the engine.
My options:
-fix the head gasket for $1800
-get a new engine for $4000
-fix the head gasket and sell it, probably get $1000
-fix it sell it, buy a cheap-o car
-sell it as is, get....?
-see how much Tunex (the shop fixing my car) would offer me
It was a wild ride with this and I was really frustrated on Monday that I am in this pickle feeling unprepared and like a total victim of circumstance.
Needless to say, I had a good cry and a long chat with my journal after calling my Dad and Rose.
My conclusion: this could be an awful experience, or it could be a great one.
Okay, okay. I can see a positive side to this.
Anyway, I finally negotiated to sell my car to Tunex for $1750. I owe them $750 in labor costs already, so they will cut me a check for $1000.
And i am done. finished. moving on. hooray.
Sad to lose Georgie, he is a great car, but ready to move on, get out of debt, etc.
I will get the title from Curt and Dad and do the deed this week.
Also, it didn't help that the couple of guys that I am interested in were totally withdrawn and dumb this week. I was in my stuff, a little more whiny and needy than usual, so the guy situation just added the cherry on top. I am a little frustrated about that.
Now that I feel ready to date, there are no guys to date.
Anyway, enough about that. I decided to cut the drama, I could feel myself building up a lot of drama over these male interests and it was kind of tying me in knots.
Stop it!
Yes, thank you.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I went up to Salt Lake to work on my solo with Laura (my dance friend who choreographed my solo). It went really well. It is the piece I did for my OSU audition last year, so we remembered a lot of it and shaped some new stuff in it as well.
I am happy how it turned out. Can't wait for our show April 8th and 9th. Actually I can, there is so much to do before then. And I will be grateful when it is over. It's kind of a milestone. First performance since graduating and this show officially makes me a professional dancer...
Well, Friday came and March Madness was going to happen ready or not. And it was going to be a total flop or a smash hit success and I was prepared for it to go either way.
Every year for March Madness, One on One does a March Madness Party at NOAHs where we take the first Friday of March Madness off and just play, all afternoon.
Ping Pong, Raquetball, Wallyball, Pool, Games, and this year we had Rockband and Just Dance on some wii consoles.
I was nervous about how it would turn out
Thank you Thank you Thank you is all I can say. Everyone had fun, the caterers came through, there was something for everyone, and it was relatively easy set up and clean up for me. (I simplified :))
Anyway, I was so relieved when it was over. But typical schedule for Mere, I was done at NOAHs at 5 and went to rehearsal at 5:30 til 9 pm. It was brutal for the last hour.
Then Saturday morning I worked on my solo with Laura up in SLC and THEN I was free for the weekend.
I ran my errands, unloaded from March Madness, visited with Mom and Dad, etc. Then Bonnie and I had a roommate date.
We went to Bajio for dinner, cleaned up our condo, did manis/pedis, talked, laughed, and unwound. This is us on Saturday night soaking our feet.

Finished product. mmmm.... love pedicures. And the budge was happy that it was self served :)
Note my poor wounded feet. I acquired a big blister on the bottom of each of my big toes, a large split under my second to last toe, and some floor burns on the tops of my feet.
...the things we do for the sake of our art.

And my gorgeous manicure. A light pearl polish. Yes, thank you I know I am very professional :)
Oh boy. Nothing beats natural beauty.
Sunday I went Visiting Teaching in the morning. First time in 3 months, since moving and getting in the system. After church I was asked to deliver some of the VT assignments and also drop by to visit a few of the inactive ward members. Bonnie and I went together and had about 2% success. It was super deflating.
I didn't know that gathering sheep was hard. It's not a cake walk.
But as Bonnie and I talked about, the goal is not to 'fix' them and make them come back to church. It is simply to extend the invitation and let them know that I am here for them. Anytime. Just as Christ is. He doesn't make the sheep follow him. He seeks them out, loves them, and they choose to follow Him.
Wow. I am working on living and being as Christ is and today I saw the next level of embodying that.
That experience really made me think.


So here are the pics of baby Sid, Deepthi and Chola's baby. I work with Deepthi at One on One, and she is an only child, so I naturally stepped up as Sid's favorite aunt-someone's got to do it. :)
He is so cute!
So much hair!!
a little screaming Sid
Swathi and baby Sid. I work with Swathi-she's great.
Auntie Mere and baby Sid. Deepthi (the mommy) on the side.
Bonnie and baby Sid.
Did I ever post this picture? I don't think so. This is from a "Red Carpet" event that we did at work for Powerstand one week. Bonnie was announcing the new website, so she got a red carpet, balloons and ours d' ouvres (donuts). As we announced people involved with the project, they walked the red carpet. It was super fun! Bonnie and I both rocked our outfits that day, so we walked the red carpet and took a pic. So glad she convinced me to pull out my white blazer.
Totallly Brill!
Thursday I went to pick up Kim for her birthday date with me and I met Max-the newest addition to our family. Yes, number 20. And he is cute. Very energetic, like a typical 8 yr old, and very sweet. I pulled out my camera and asked him to come take a picture with me and he ran away-teasingly. So I followed him all over the house and he finally agreed, like a typical brother reluctant to snuggle up with his sister in front of the camera, it was pretty funny.
I got season tickets to the Hale this year and Hairspray was playing. It is my sister Kim's all-time favorite show, so I decided to take her for her birthday. We went to Zupas for dinner. Everyone was staring at us, I forgot what that felt like, but I was okay with it. I remember being really embarrassed when I was younger, but I am grateful for a broader perspective that makes it easy to allow people to stare without me getting uncomfortable or impatient to leave.
So here we are enjoying Hairspray-the show was FANTASTIC!!
Okay, note the cute boy behind me. HA. Funny story. I noticed him waiting in his car before the doors were open and we were waiting as well. He was chauffeuring 2 older ladies, he wasn't wearing a wedding ring, and he was cute. Hmm...
We go in and I forget about it because I probably won't see him again.
Oh wait.
His seat is right behind ours.
Hmmm... how am I going to start up a conversation with him to find out if he is available or not?
At the end of intermission based on my keen stalking abilities, I gathered that he was from out of town, here to see his girlfriend perform in the play and that he was here with her mother and fan club.
Okay, but I still got to know. What am I going to say?
Got it.
Mere: "Hey excuse me, what's your name?"
Cute boy: "Cory"
Mere: "Oh. You look like someone I know."
Cute boy: "Who? Brad Pitt?"
Oh, he's funny too.
Mere: "umm... yeah, actually yes. So do you know someone in the play?"
Mother: "yes, my daughter Tami."
Mere: "ohhhhhh. Well tell her she did a great job tonight!"
shoot. he's taken. Oh well. It was fun to put it out there.
So Friday morning I got a text message saying that Jonathan Charles Little has arrived that morning at 7:58 am.
I gasped and almost fell off my ball.
Hooray! My sister Christina's first baby! She's a mother!
My boss was out Friday afternoon, so I took a long lunch and headed up to see baby JC! and the mother of course :)
He is cute.

Friday night I had a time management issue. I planned to tend Ellis and Hugh while Curt and Mand went out. We decided that I would be there at 6 pm. I was running late from finishing up work and then I stopped for a sandwich and didn't get there til 6:20. Bad news. Curt and Mand were good about it, but time management is one of my weaknesses, so when it flares up, it irritates me. Shoot. I am working on it. Thankfully I live with Bonnie, who is an expert on time management and coaches me. Very often. And encourages me to simplify :).
So anyway, I hung out with Ellis and Hugh on Friday night and it was SO fun. Some good quality time with those two CRAZY hoodlums. They actually weren't TOO crazy, mostly just hilarious!
I wanted to get a picture with Elle and her two front teeth missing, here are the attempts to get the pic. :)

My Hugh-be-doo.

Doesn't get much better than this.
We read scriptures and Fantastic Mr. Fox, it was so fun. While we were reading scriptures, Ellis would interject bits of her testimony. Here are a few insights from Elle :)
"And everything is about Christ. Whether you like it or not. Or can see it or not."
(Talking about sharing talents) "It's like if I had an egg, Amanda had a frying pan, and Hugh had some milk. They aren't useful by themselves, but when they get together, they make....
Scrambled Eggs!..."
Yes. That's exactly it Elle! Love her.
Saturday was Christina's baby shower...minus Christina. She was still in the hospital. Obviously Jonathan didn't get the memo to wait 1 more day. Totally fine.
It was good. Good to see friends and family.
Best thing... So my brother David was there and totally waltzed across the room and started up a conversation with 2 random people, like extended family on Sean's side. He is maturing in his social skills and it is so fun to see.
After the shower, I transferred the texture boards from One on One to Margaret and then we went to Chipotle for dinner.
I forgot how good Chipotle is! We had them catering some of our corporate lunches and then they "changed their rates", so we haven't had them back since then and my team members are begging them to come back.
Pretty sure I called them Monday and they are coming next week...
Not only was the food great, but I love hanging out with Marg and Nate, and Maya, and Dave.
Maya was totally in to drinking her milk with this straw, so cute.
And here is me and Dave.
Oh hello tired Mere....
Saturday night, first night without the Halls. Weird.
So I stopped at whole foods for some Agave Nectar and some Kale (I am starting my raw eating adventure with green smoothies in the morning and I just need a little more sweet.)
Then I lit a bunch of candles and had a long luxurious bubble bath. mmm... pretty sure I fell asleep in the tub. So nice.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

kind of a monumental week

I put my room together this week! So nice to have closure. Here is my fabulous bed with my headboard and bedskirt put on-first bedskirt of my life-so happy! And I put my bed on the diagonal in my room. Oh yes, and those are my fabulous curtains in the back. And my hope chest at the foot of my bed since my mattress doesn't quite line up with my box-love my gel-ly bed.
Bonnie hung these fabulous shelves
I rearranged my cubicles shelves to be 'aesthetically pleasing' as well as functional. AND I found white totes! Happiness. I found 1 at Wal-mart a while back and went to 10 other Wal-marts to find additional ones with no luck. I called around, looked online, but all they had were beige, blue and purple. I was about to give up and settle for the beige ones, I went in to exchange my 1 precious white tote when a fabulous customer service guy searched and found 5 white totes at the Sandy Wal-Mart. I was SO happy.
These photos don't do it justice, you will just have to come see it in person.
Oh yeah, and that's my fabulous berry wall in the background.
Tuesday night I went to the temple and afterwards I went over and talked with Heather and Jeremy and told them it was time to be done babysitting. After 6 years of tending on Saturday nights, occasional weekends, and extended trips, it was time to be done. Heather and Jeremy were great about it, so it was easy to talk with them. It was a sweet conversation, very appreciative on both sides and I felt really good about it. We decided Saturday as the last day.
Wednesday for powerstand I did a whole green spread for St. Pat's Day. I was a bit nervous about how it was going to turn out, but it rocked. Here is what I did:
Green bread: Great Harvest
mini tarts, key lime and cream with kiwis: Kneaders
green grapes and green apples
activia yogurt (green packaging) and granola: Costco
limeade and Odwalla green drink
Saturday was regular dance rehearsal, we were at a freezing cold studio in Payson-the things we do to dance. Then I went to Halls for the last time. It was just Taylor and me, so we vegged with a movie, relaxed in the hot tub, cleaned up and had enchiladas for dinner. Great last night with the Halls. I have so appreciated being their babysitter for so long. 6 years.
After finishing at the Halls, I went to get a case for my new phone-an iphone. It's fun, but how do I use the dang thing? Still getting used to it. But I do love it and thanks to my boss who gave it to me. While I was at the counter I get a call from... my date that stood my up on Friday...
Okay so, I was stood up for a date on Friday. We were going to go the Flash game and he ended up going skiing all day with some guys from Google. Got back late, couldn't get my number and thought that it was more of a group hangout rather than a date. I called and left a message, but didn't hear from him at all Friday.
Saturday he calls and apologizes profusely. I decided to stand my ground and accept the apology but let him know that it was not okay that he stood me up. It was weird, I am usually don't do that, but he knew that it was not okay and I agreed.
But I was kind of bugged afterwards and called him back to let him know I appreciated the call and realize he did his best and I didn't communicate or plan the date very well. I just left another message.
Then I put it out of my mind and moved on to planning for Sunday with the fam since my parents are in Baltimore this weekend picking up a new brother. I get home and pack up my stuff and I am just exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that just paralyzes me and I couldn't even think of what I needed to do or get motivated to move.
After the paralyzation subsided, I looked at my phone on my way out the door and saw 2 missed calls from him. What? His message said to call him back. I did and he was on his way to see me. He thought I lived in Cambria, a complex close to mine. Anyway, I directed him to my place as I am rushing to put on some makeup to look somewhat presentable and he shows up with these...
Are you kidding me? I know, totally gorge. This completely makes up for the confusion the night before.
The flowers were accompanied with a note on the back of a picture of Fesenko-it was the only paper he had, Ha! So cute.
He stayed and we chatted for a while. He is pretty great.

After he left, I went over and slept at the folks'. I went with my family to stake conference since my parents were in Baltimore this weekend and it was great. We had a pancake breakfast and got there 20 minutes early-I know! And everyone behaved relatively well. Bobby only hit me once, but Joy did bite me. :)
After stake conference I went to my ward where I was sustained as a VT supervisor. New ward and it was good. Totally exhausted, so I was surviving today.
Bonnie and I had Sunday dinner together after breaking our fasts and it felt really good to just chill out and decompress. I feel really drained, wrung out completely. It's time to recharge.