Monday, September 28, 2009

Things get lost, things get broken...

Gosh, I'm starting to think of this blog like a journal... and so I feel guilty for talking about certain topics and not others, as if topics have feelings. Soon I'll have to talk about my ethnographic field study that I'm doing for my anthropology class, and my sacrament meeting talk from yesterday. I'll get to them.

First off, this morning when we got in the car to go to school, it wouldn't start. When I turned the key, it made a series of clicking noises and nothing happened. I tried again and again... and nothing happened but the clicking. And this on the morning when Paul had to get to school early to finish up a project before class and then he had a huge test later in the day. I also had a big class presentation to get to and I was meeting with a fellow student to help him prepare. (His name is Bill and he's in his seventies. He has a hard time on computers and I was going to help him out.)

There was nothing to do but start calling everyone we know to see if we could get a ride. The list of people we know is short, so I ended up calling Bill to ask him to come pick us up. He agreed, but we had to wait quite a while. Poor Paul ended up missing his entire class, and I don't know how the test went... I ended up not having to do my presentation because one girl in my group was sick and another decided to drop the class. There was no way we could present, so we didn't have to.

Paul has hopes of getting a ride back to the house after his test from a classmate. Then he can call a mechanic to come pick up the car since we can't drive it into a shop. I don't know anything about cars, but I think the starter is broken. Are those expensive? It's the weirdest thing because the car was driving just fine last night.

But I'm stuck at the school all day, and the (other) bad news is that I've lost my jump drive. I haven't seen it since Saturday, so there's a high probability that I left it in the computer lab on accident and someone picked it up. I consider it to be worse than losing the car because the jump drive has my whole novel on it. Yeah, I was stupid enough not to save it in more than one place.... At least it's printed. Now when I do the full edit, I'll also have to retype every word of the first nine chapters!!! That's SIXTY PAGES!

What do you do, though? Things get lost, things get broken, you have endless expenses, and you find some way to be happy anyway. That's life, right?

Friday, September 25, 2009

For your viewing pleasures...

Now it's time for the low-quality photography I promised. These are the pictures of our house from the outside and one picture in the bedroom. Don't worry- I'll get more now that I know how to get the pictures off the camera.

This is it, the little blue house. notice that it's raised up off the ground. That's a really good thing or we would absolutely infested with bugs and repeatedly flooded with each rain storm. I think it's cute.

Our wide open backyard with the field behind. The backyard is the proud home of several thousand cock roaches and at least a dozen happy squirrels.

The flowering tree in our yard that flowers all year long. I can't remember what it's called.

This is the amazing collapsible furniture that was giving to me by my friend Amy.
Now I have to get back to work. I'll write more later.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ridiculously huge ants and graduate work loads.

Just a quick word. I've put links on the sidebar here to all of my blogs. Honestly I mostly did it for selfish (and lazy) reasons. I have to do my work on school computers that are always different, so I don't have the luxury of favorites and bookmarks. I get tired of typing in the URLs every single time, repeatedly, and so I decided to put the links on Chronicles of Jessio so that I can just open up one window and use it to navigate to all the others. I don't really expect anyone to go read them all regularly. They're all basically the same, anyway, so if you've seen one, you've seen them all. I would spice them up, but I don't have any administrative power to change layout or background or even put any interesting links on the side.

As for my life right now... well, there were thousands of ridiculously huge ants swarming our garbage dumpster last night. Apparently the really big ones that are out during the day are just the little sisters to the ones that come out at night...! Seriously, these are the biggest ants I have ever seen. We killed another cock roach in our bathroom two days ago, and ever since I've been on a cleaning rampage, although I haven't seen any more in the house. There's a mysterious phenomenon that involves the cock roaches, and I just can't figure it out. Twice we've found one dying in exactly the same spot right out in the open on the living room floor. Both times, they have been lying on their backs, twitching feebly... How they end up there, we can't say.

Paul has started bringing some of his research articles home so he can get his research in with relative comfort. The amount of stuff he's supposed to be able to do is ridiculous, and I sometimes have to become a taskmaster to see that he keeps on studying when he needs to. Graduate school is no picnic.

Well, I'd love to go on and on about all the fascinating happenings of my existence, but I have work to do. I swear, there's never a time when there's not work to do.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A post in which I capitalize several words for emphasis.

So I'm not that great with technology. We got a camera and have taken pictures, but I haven't yet figured out how to get the pictures from the memory card, onto my jump drive, and from my jump drive onto my blog. It was so much easier with our old camera....!


Somebody has asked me how you all can get to my other blogs to see what I'm writing. Well, you can start by going to because I'm relatively happy about the post I wrote for today. With a regular writing job, it's a little hit and miss. Sometimes the writing is great and you feel so good about yourself, but most of the time you just do it because you have to, fully aware that you CAN write better than this. It's like anything else that involves a nose and a grindstone. After perusing the best day cream blog, if you're JUST DYING for more, I can put links to them all on the side so that you can pop in and read whenever you want. I'm not sure if the general public can leave comments (it might just be a function for other people that work online), but you can try if you want. I would feel so warm and fuzzy if you did!

I'm happy to report that I am FINALLY figuring out how my novel is going to end. I had most of the middle vaguely planned out from the beginning, but I just couldn't figure out how to bring everything together at the end. Last year I went on a rampage and read about ten books on novel writing. Every one of them said you have to have it all figured out from the beginning, along with an outline. But try as hard as I might, the outline thing escapes me. I was writing a chapter three days ago,and suddenly I understood what was going to happen. It all came together so nicely! I am SO finishing this book by the end of the semester!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do I write for humans?

I've got about five minutes right now to post something for you. I've just been writing a bunch of posts on my blogs, and it's pretty fun.

When we were in South Carolina, Paul's friend Jay told me that my blogs aren't actually for humans to read. (He's a computer programmer who knows these sorts of things.) He said the entire point of my job was to work in links that would make certain sites come up more often on a Google search.

At first I was pretty depressed about that. I wanted to quit. "If nobody's reading it, what's the point?" I asked myself. But it's actually kind of cool, and I'll explain why.

You see, if I'm writing for people to read, then the sites I'm representing will probably want me to push through certain agendas. They'll want me to, you know, peddle their products and try to make them sound good. But if it's all about numbers and no one from the sites reads them anyway, I feel absolutely no obligation to promote things that I don't believe in. It has kind of been an ethical issue for me from the beginning. I was supposed to build in links for "diet pills" and "weight loss supplements," but I don't believe in them! Most of them are scams that will actually hurt you more than help you, and I felt like I couldn't encourage people to buy them with a clear conscious. Now I'm not worrying about that at all, and I'm just writing it how I really believe it is. I'm no longer afraid to say, "It's pointless to take diet pills if you don't watch your lifestyle." I also talk about how people care too much about what others think-- why else would they invest in wrinkle creams? "What's so wrong with getting old? Why are we so ashamed of wrinkles? Shouldn't we honor the aged?"

I'm not a main stream kind of person, and I think our society has a lot of problems. Now I'm free to write about those problems all I want. This is turning out to be a great job for me after all! And despite what Jay said, I do get the occasional real comment. People like my no-bull-crap way of talking about the issues. They find it refreshing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I don't like cold feet.

So we're at the school again for one of our long stretches. We end up here in this computer lab for five or six hours at a time every couple of days. Paul has endless amounts of homework, and I'm writing like crazy. The thing about this lab is that it's really cold, especially on the floor. I swear the floor tiles are like ice. (My friend told me that they heat their floors in Norway- and here, they must chill them.) I like to wear my flip flops because it is one of my only pairs of shoes, but when I do, I always regret it because the floor is so freakin' cold in this room. Today I brought socks with me in my backpack to put on once I got here. It does make it much more pleasant. :)

So I recently had this battle with my employers. I had never been paid for my July blogs, and it was the beginning to September. See, I've never actually met these people in person, and I was starting to wonder if I was actually going to get paid. So I started sending my contact person emails and calling (spaced reasonably a few days apart), and she never responded. So I just quit writing for about a week until I was finally contacted. My contact told me her daughter had had her cell phone and she had been too busy to respond to emails, so... she was sorry. And she forwarded my latest email to the person who is responsible for paying the bloggers. It appears (cross your fingers) than I am going to start getting paid, but I guess we'll see. I started writing again, and now I have to write a TON because they want us to write twice as many posts as before. That makes me feel a little stressed, but hey, it's twice the money too. I can now make enough money to cover our rent and utilities every month and I'll only be spending maybe ten hours a week on my posts. I've decided to see it as an unexpected blessing.

It has turned out to be a really good thing that I'm only in two classes right now. As you can see, I've got plenty of time to do my posts and work on my novel. It's also good because I have come down with some stupid sickness. (Infections are endless with me...!) I wake up in the morning feeling terrible and end up going back to sleep until eleven or twelve. It's been like that every day this week, and for the rest of the day I seem to have endless acid in my stomach. Like always, I just figure this latest one will pass eventually, and I'm trying to get lots of vitamin C and take good care of myself. The only strange thing is that I haven't seen a blood sugar spike, which usually accompanies the beginning of an illness. Even when I feel really yucky, my blood sugar is just sitting there in its normal range. I should count my blessings.

Oh, we finally got a new power cord for our computer, and so we can use it again! It's not functioning at top capacity, and we can't use the Internet at all, but it works! So I wrote sixteen posts today at home that I'm going to now post. Yay for working technology!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've just been to the Student Activities Center to get my free blood pressure screening. I figured since I will probably only see a doctor once a year, (to refill my metformin prescription.) I should take advantage of whatever free medical care the school has to offer. Unfortunately, they don't have a health center here like they did at UVU, but they do have a nursing program. The nursing students were the ones taking everyone's blood pressure today.

Mine was 121/76, which is apparently healthy. I'm really glad it's so good. There's an African American woman in my anthropology class that has Type 2 diabetes as well. Her name is Janice, and she's probably in her fifties or sixties, and she is having quite a hard time. I noticed that she missed several days of class, and I asked her what was happening when she reappeared yesterday. She said she had gotten the flu and had started medication for her high blood pressure. One of those things (or both) caused her blood sugar to spike up into the 400s! That's really scary, and it makes you feel terrible. I felt so bad for her because I remember what blood sugar that high feels like. She had been getting up at 4:00 am to get a good long walk in every day, and still her blood pressure got so high and now her blood sugar is out of control. I swear this diabetes thing can ruin your life!

It's weird for me sometimes to be so young and having the health problems of the elderly. The fortunate thing about my age is that I have a lot more power to keep it under control. My young body reacts dramatically to exercise and functions very well on a good diet. I thank the Lord for giving me the strength to go to school and keep up my writing. My life may not be how I would like it to be in many ways, but at least I'm not as sick as Janice. She's so sweet. How could she deserve to be so sick?

Monday, September 14, 2009


Wow. My sister was married on Saturday. Happily, I got to talk to her the night before even though I wasn't able to be there for the wedding. I swear, she was just born! Can she really be old enough to get married!?

I know, I know. I was only two years older than she is when I got married... I guess when the time comes, it just comes. I talked to my dad yesterday, and he said the wedding was beautiful and Sara looked amazing. Hopefully I will get to see the pictures soon!

On a different note... On this lovely Monday morning, I spilled my egg burrito all over my shirt on the way to school. I remember dropping my pizza down the front of my shirt on my first day of seventh grade. I thought then that I would absolutely die of embarrassment, but I have since come to learn that no matter how hard I try, it's going to happen. Barely a day goes by that I don't spill something all over myself, and it seems to happen more frequently with things that will leave a dark red or brown stain. I don't know why I own anything light-colored. When I get new clothes, it's already predetermined that they will become stained, and there's nothing I can do about it...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thank goodness that people can change!

Well, we had fun with the Wards. I got to see Jay's three daughters that I haven't seen in years. It's really weird because when I last saw them, they were three, two, and newborn. Now they're six, four (almost five) and two. The girls seemed so tall, so talkative, and grown up. Weird!

It was a strange situation because (without divulging too much information) Jay really screwed up his life in the past, and we had basically given up hope on him. But he has really turned himself around, and I was completely taken off guard that he and his girlfriend, who he lives with, are taking the missionary discussions. We were there when the missionaries came for one of them. He is coming back to full activity in the Church and she is learning about it and slowly gaining a testimony. Her name is Kelly, and I was very impressed with the kind of person that she is. I'll explain more about that in a minute.

I've never actually been there for a missionary discussion before, but it was cool. Kelly was raised to be religious, but in a non-denominational sort of way. She has always read the Bible and she told me that she was so happy to find Christ in the Book of Mormon. I could tell that she was really sincerely searching for truth by the questions she asked the missionaries. It was cool!

But Kelly is cool in other ways too. When we were visiting, we all went to a lake and Jay's girls were there. Kelly acted like they were her own kids, watching them, warning them away from the deep water, calling them back when one of them wandered off. And she gave special attention to the youngest, holding her and whispering to her and encouraging her to be silly and play. (This little girl seems to be scared of everyone and afraid to relax and be a child, so it was nice to see Kelly coax her along.)

These little girls have had a tough life with their parents making all sorts of mistakes, moving them around all the time, and it broke my heart to hear the latest news of their little lives. Apparently their mother has been leaving them with random family members for weeks at a time, disappearing and not explaining or calling. She moved and refused to give anyone the address and changed her phone number so that no one could reach her. Then she stops by unexpectedly, leaves the girls, and may not come back for weeks. These poor kids have almost no security and it's obvious that their mother doesn't take very good care of them. (They don't have beds or toothbrushes, and when their mom drops them off, it's obvious that they haven't been bathed in several days.)

But Jay is sincerely trying to be a father to them and he and Kelly are about to start a legal battle for custody. It's crazy, because in the past it was Jay who didn't care about his kids, and now he is the one with his head on straight. I'm so impressed with Kelly for loving and caring about these children who are not her own. She does everything she can to reach out to the girls, to offer them the love and security they need, and she is determined with an iron resolve to be their advocate. She's completely willing to raise them and take on all of their issues, which is something not many people would be willing to do. I couldn't help but love her and think that she really understands the pure love of Christ. I don't think she'll have too many problems embracing the gospel.

I'm so grateful for the atonement of Christ, which makes it possible for people to change. Paul is so happy to see his friend repenting, growing, and facing the light once more. It was a really good experience for us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Weekend with Wards.

Hello. I'm currently in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Last night Paul and I drove up here to visit one of Paul's best friends Jay Ward and the entire Ward family. Jay still has three teenage sisters that live at home with his parents, and it was at his parent's house that we stayed last night. Did all that make sense? (I tend to get a bit carried away sometimes...) Jay's mom, Blanche, is a bold slightly scary person who is also warm and kind-hearted. The three girls were so cute, and one of them is a great writer. Apparently the Wards were a crazy bunch back in the day when all nine kids lived under the same roof! It was fun to visit them.

Currently, Paul and I are at Jay's work, and I'm supposed to be working on my blogs for my job... but Paul and Jay being so silly together, and we're all talking and laughing so much that I have no desire to do actual work.

This area is so beautiful! There are so many trees that you always feel like you're in the mountains, even though there are no mountains around here. The huge conifers look soft and fluffy, and they're much taller than most of the conifers in Utah. It's a different world here! It's nice to be outside of Augusta for a couple of days.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Dad.

Today I called my dad at work. The phone number of the power plant is easy to remember, and it hasn't been changed in years. I called him at 11:30 my time, which happened to be right on his break at 9:30 in Utah. It was so wonderful to hear his voice and feel his love for me. He was surprised, but obviously pleased to hear from me, and it made me feel so good. My dad is not usually talkative, and he has a hard time saying things like, "I love you," out loud. I suppose it just doesn't come naturally to him. But I can tell he loves me by how happy he is to see me, how much he wants to hear about my life, and how much time he has always spent with me out in the wilderness. He's a rugged, adventurous soul, and he makes me laugh with stories about his adventures in the wild. Talking to him really lifted my spirits. I just wish we were closer together so that we could go for a hike!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stumbling blindly in the rain, asking, knocking, and searching...

It's so beautiful here! Hopefully soon I can get some pictures to post. There are a lot of huge trees around here, and in many places they grow all the way up over the road so that driving down the road is kind of like driving through a tunnel. It's like something from a fantasy book. We have had some rainy days lately, and the rain is insane! I walk out of a building and am drenched before I can get to my car. I've been experimenting with taking off my glasses and stashing them in my backpack before I go anywhere. But then I have to stumble about mostly blind and hope that I don't get lost! I can't see the expression on anyone's faces, so I just try to avoid looking at people. It's the kind of thing I would have done as a kid just for fun. "Hope I don't hit into anything... or fall down... or accidentally step on a cat..." The good thing is that our house is raised up off the ground, so we don't have to worry about flooding. I got so tired of that in our last house! The chiropractor helped Paul's back quite a bit, so thankfully we were both able to sleep last night.

Two nights ago, we were reading Doctrine and Covenants 88. I felt impressed by certain verses. 88: 63 and 67 say, "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you... And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things."

I felt a desire then to draw near unto the Lord, to put aside the things that distract me from the things of God. I wondered what it takes to have an eye single to his glory. How can I have an eye single to his glory if I'm looking off in another direction? I felt that I needed to find tangible ways to keep my eye focused on the truths of the gospel. And part of that is in the asking, knocking, and diligently seeking. I can never find God if I don't search for him.