Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September Books

I've been able to do some reading the last week or so. I'm not a great reader, but I am trying to do it more, because I think it's better for my brain then hours and hours of HGTV (it's so addicting!!). Plus being able to download books onto my iPad and read them even at night makes it very easy.

Here's what I've been reading:

After watching Anderson's talk show about the FLDS Church, I decided to finally read this book by Carolyn Jessop, who escaped the FLDS community in Arizona in her mid-30s with all of her 8 children, managed to create a life for herself and win custody over her children. 

The book is good if you're curious about the FLDS, but it is quite sad, as it is literally a story of persistent and cruel abuse, on the part of her husband, her sister wives, the church leadership, and even at the hands of her children and stepchildren, who were encouraged by their father to "report" the misdeeds of their mothers. It is also an interesting account of the rise of Warren Jeffs, and how his leadership completely stripped away what was left of the community's connection with the outside world.

Triumph, the follow-up to Escape, is certainly a different book. Half of it is commentary on the raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, when state officials took all the children out of the community and placed them in foster homes, and the successful public relations campaign on the part of the FLDS community to convince the public that the children were wrongfully seized solely on the basis of religion. It is clear that Carolyn Jessop is frustrated that the children were, for the most part, placed back into that community with deficient education, and put at risk for abuse, early marriage, or for the boys, being kicked out of the community without life skills. After reading both books, I agree with her.

The other half of the book talks about her life since the last book, and how she and her children have recovered from their experience in the FLDS community. She also speaks at length about her eldest daughter, who at age 18 returned to the FLDS, having been her father's favorite child and could not reconcile her religious beliefs with life on the outside. Although this book was not nearly as interesting as the first, I think it was good that she did a follow-up to complete the story. She is now engaged to be married to a man she met not long after she left the FLDS, and he sounds like a wonderful man.

On a lighter note! I've been working my way through the ESPN Book - Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. Many of you know that my dream job is to be a sportscaster on ESPN, but this book is probably the closest I'll get. These authors also wrote a book about Saturday Night Live, which I might end up picking up after this. It's an unusual format, in that it's essentially a compilation of oral memories from people in the company, from the beginning of ESPN to now. The authors occasionally interject with background information, but it's essentially a compilation of stories.

I decided to start by reading the last two chapters, which deal with ESPN during the last 5 years. Now I'm at the beginning, which has been more interesting than I expected. It's a slow read, but I should finish it while on the plane to San Francisco this weekend. I've enjoyed reading the accounts from reporters and sportscasters that I regularly watch and listen to, and often it involves incidents that I wasn't aware of or occurred before I because a fanatic.

I still have several books I've been meaning to read, which will now probably go by the wayside as I start work, but I have a few that I've already purchased: A financial planning book by Suze Orman, Decoded by Jay-Z, The Wave, which I've read half of, and a physical book - Jillian Michaels' Unlimited. Plus I'm sure there are a few on my bookshelf that have yet to be read.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Sunday at Church

I finally went to church last Sunday! I went to Spanish Fort United Methodist Church. Growing up in the UMC, I'd love to be able to just transfer membership to a UMC here, but I'm also very open to many different kinds of churches. This church actually has services taking place simultaneously at two locations, a traditional service and a contemporary service. The pastors seem to rotate around the services. I found myself at the contemporary, which was nice, but I'm used to traditional services so I'll try that as well.

It was similar to a modern UMC service in CA - it was a little over an hour, and there was praise music (although not much singing by the congregation, and the songs were good!). And the sermon was on the Good Samaritan, so pretty standard, not controversial. My biggest concern in finding a church is that it not be too conservative. So far so good. This church seems particularly dedicated to service, which is something that I liked. I picked up a newsletter on my way out, and thought it was funny to see a Nick Saban (head football coach at Alabama) reference in the Pastor's article.

One thing that I loved being there for was a baby's Baptism - it's hard for me to go to church here because this is a mostly independent endeavor for me - I know practically everyone at my church in Mission Viejo, and so being by myself in a new place with no one I know was a little tough. But to see that Baptism, to think back on camp in August, when we reflected on our baptism, really helped me to connect with God and to find purpose in what I'm doing in trying to find a church here. It made me realize that while it's important to find a congregation that I will feel comfortable with, I also need to remember that that is inferior to my need to have a relationship with God and to worship God. I think it took some of the pressure off, and I think it will make the process a little easier.

I haven't decided where I will go this weekend, possibly back to Spanish Fort UMC, or possibly Daphne UMC - we'll see! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kenny during the UCLA game

Granted, he was up early today and had a long fun time at the park yesterday.

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Kenny's mid-morning nap location

He has strange ways of getting comfortable.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

My red Stanford shoes - finally!

I've been looking for a cute pair of game day shoes - and I finally found them! I bought my first pair of toms last month in navy (I'm obsessed with navy), and LOVE them - they're so comfortable that I'd rather wear them than flip flops.

Today I had the genius thought that I should just get the red pair and they would be perfect for Stanford games - and then I found these on Amazon:

They get here on Wednesday - I'm so excited.

They do cost more than the solid red pair but I couldn't help myself, and I get free shipping via Amazon Prime (free if you have an student email address!). Plus I think Toms are reasonably priced considering how trendy they are, and they donate a pair of shoes when you buy a pair.

(fit tip: they do stretch, so squeeze yourself into the smaller size when fitting them. Another customer at Nordstrom told me that when I was trying them on and I'm very happy with the fit)

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Exploring town: nails

So if you know me well, you might know that I frequent nail places. On Monday I had to get my fingernails fixed in advance of my interview. On a recommendation of a young woman at Staples, I went to a place nearby and it was fun, I spent the whole time talking to a couple of ladies about Alabama and California.

Then today, I went to another nail place, this time in the mall that's next to our apartment complex. It was nice, and I got the OPI color "Cajun Shrimp", which was recommended by customers at the other place. It turns out that the place was more expensive for a pedicure than the other, so I'll probably not go back, but the massage chair was amazing.

Now Kenny and I are sitting out on the balcony, people watching. I'm actually wearing a sweater! The one nice thing about having a dog in a new place is that it forces you to walk around the neighborhood so we've been able to say hello to lots of people and their dogs.

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Back in the Saddle...

Side note: I actually saw two guys riding horses around my neighborhood - strangest thing!

When I first arrived in Spanish Fort, I immediately went to the gym that weekend and got two good 2-3 mi treadmill workouts in. Then I got this nasty cold, and Curtis got it. So finally today I felt like it was a good day to start working out again.

In the meantime, I ordered Jillian Michaels' new video:
I just finished Level 1 - which was crazy tough - since it's been about 2 months since the time I was really in JM Shape (meaning I could get through her advanced workouts 4-5 days/week). Lets just say I'm not in the shape I was before. But I'm looking forward to getting back to it, and it was definitely a fun workout.

One problem however, is with our neighbors downstairs. I've seen the sign on their door which says they sleep during the day and work at night. Well they called the office and complained that they heard me working out. Curtis got the call and called me - I moved the rest of my workout to another room with the hopes that by moving maybe I wouldn't be right on top of them - and perhaps I will change up the way I workout - before I was thinking I'd do the video in the morning and cardio at night, I think tomorrow I will do cardio in the morning and the video at night, and maybe that will work better with their schedule. As much as I want to do what I want in my apartment - I don't want our neighbors to hate us. 

So, I'm starting back up with the workout log, while I have been extremely active these last two months and have miraculously maintained my weight despite all the post-bar partying, it's time to buckle down again - I have two goals that I'd like to meet by the end of September:

1. Get into a workout routine and make a short term, 2-3 month goal (like a certain number/level of videos, or a race, or a time that I want to run/walk 3 mi in, etc.)

2. Decide how I am going to lose the weight - I'm back and forth on whether I want to go back to WW again, whether to do it online, whether to do another program online, but I'm giving myself by Oct. 1st to decide and then I will start it. In the meantime I'm trying to eat well and control portions, but cutting myself some slack as I get back into the workout routine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm a little worried...

I had my first interview today - which went really well, I don't want to go into the details but it was a good experience. 

I got home and decided to start really taking a look at what I need to take the Bar here in February - and it turns out that the deadline (with no opportunity to file late) is October 1st. Thankfully, I can postmark on October 1st (although, I can't, because I'll be traveling back to CA for the UCLA-Stanford game).

But good thing I looked - that's what happens when you decide to not care about important things like this for the month and a half that I wasn't studying for or taking the Bar.

Anyway, I've already reached out to USC to get the ball rolling on their part. My biggest worry is that I apparently need affidavits from attorneys in Alabama who have practiced for 5 years who know me, and I don't think a 20 minute interview counts. So I sent an email to the office of admission (really to clarify the whole process), I might call them tomorrow too to make sure I can use California folks, which of course means asking attorneys that I haven't seen or spoken to in awhile to write under oath that they know me and that I'm a good person, AND have their affidavit notorized... UGH.

And I apparently need to fill something out that calls for two witnesses and a notory allowing that my criminal records be obtained, as if that is something that they really need my consent for, or that isn't implied by the fact that I am APPLYING FOR BAR MEMBERSHIP IN THEIR STATE!

okay, rant over - time to watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and tackle the rest of this tomorrow.

Oh and they're coming to pick up the empty boxes tomorrow morning, which means we will finally have a second bathroom and a balcony, which has been otherwise been used for storage of said boxes. Yay.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Go Stanford!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

An awwww! Moment :-)

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Tuesday Morning

After changing my work description on Facebook to "housewife," I figured I better act like one, and continue the unpacking process. I just wish there was some way to make the boxes magically disappear - although now that the rain has ended I will be able to use the patio for box storage.

My kitchen - mid move-in:

Aww the packing paper...

Kenny, guarding the house (he's barking a lot, driving me crazy)

Nasty cold update: I still feel sicky and didn't sleep well, but my energy is mostly back so I am able to be productive.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Derailed by cold :-(

So it's not as if the weather is conducive to exploring the Eastern Shore (where we live, east of Mobile Bay), but I'm disappointed to be suffering from a nasty head cold. My nose has been running nonstop for 24 hours, and my body is generally sore. I'm hoping that I'll wake up feeling a little better tomorrow so I can continue unpacking.

Kenny continues to adjust, has seemed much more like himself today.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kenny after going out in Tropical Storm Lee + update

You might have heard that upon my arrival in Spanish Fort, Tropical Storm Lee has come in. No need to worry- we have water and candles and matches and cookies in case we lose power, and we're watching the weather reports closely, but we are affected in that we have a dog that needs to go outside to go to the bathroom. Normally we can go in-between the really hard rain but tonight he needed to go immediately, so I put on his raincoat, grabbed the umbrella and headed out. We were still soaked, but not too bad. We made him stay on a bath mat to dry out a little, and then he went to his bed snuggle and dry up more.

In other news, we're mostly staying in, we did go to the gym, and I got my car (yay!) and I went to the dollar store for some random stuff we needed and got us some frozen yogurt - both stores just down the street. We unpacked the boxes in the bedroom, I'm hoping to do some more work on the kitchen tonight, but overall it's coming along. We're watching lots of football today and am just enjoying being together :-)

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kenny is on his way!

Kenny yesterday afternoon, after a busy week he's super tired.
Kenny is on his way to see his Daddy today! Please keep him in your thoughts. He's very tired from the week so we hope that he sleeps all the way. He will take two flights to New Orleans and then be driven to Spanish Fort and will arrive around 5:30 CA time.