Thursday, December 22, 2011

For 1 Bad There is 10 Good!

Jerry and I wrapping away!!!
I'm wrapping Christmas presents again this year.  It's bittersweet being my last year wrapping.  Sweet because next year I hope to be somewhere different and actually having a career - not a job!  Bitter because, although I hope to be flying the skies as a flight attendant I will truly miss my sweetie pie, Jerry.  I just love Jerry - she is 82 years old and full of spunk!  If it weren't for her I wouldn't be able to handle my job as gift wrapper.  It's also bitter because of all the nice people who come shopping, who I have gotten to know, and who I get to visit with as I wrap up there Christmas presents.  I (always) try to think of the little kiddies, or old fogies opening their presents on Christmas day, but before tearing into their presents they stop and admire the beautiful wrapped package.  Some people might even say, "Gosh, this package is so beautiful I don't want to open it.  And, as it was being wrapped the girl was so fun to talk with!"  I really do hope some people have nice things to say about my wrapping, and my talkative, hopefully likable personality.

You know, I am trying to be more positive - hard to do these days, but I'M TRYING.  As I'm experimenting with this whole "positive attitude" I have found that negativity still slips in at times.  Working in the retail life it slips in all the time!  I had some mean and nasty people at the beginning of the holiday, but frankly, you are going to get MEAN and NASTY people no matter what.  With that said, I have found myself thinking after a not so nice person has just left my wrapping table that now it's time for me to help ten nice people.  I've discovered that this motto (of mine - if it can be mine?) is true.  Totally and one hundred percent true!  Whenever I help/deal with an awful person I just know that now I get to have ten over the top, super sweet, genuine, happy people.  I then completely forget about the one person who could've ruined my day, but am turned around by the sweetness of everyone else.

Two very quick stories to illustrate that nice people are still roaming the earth, and still roaming around the madness of last minute Christmas shoppers.

Story one:  Gentleman approaches my wrapping station on Tuesday.  He was in buying a beautiful shirt for his wife.  The old man smelt of smoke, had holes in his jeans, was missing most of his teeth, and was "mister chatty charlie."  I wrapped his shirt beautifully for his wife, and as I am wrapping I visited with him.  It was rather slow that Tuesday morning, so even after the package was wrapped we continued to visit some more.  He shared advice with me on life, and I accepted it whole heartily.  When he left I thought to myself that he was a kind old soul, and was full of humility.  Well, as I working this morning I saw the man again.  He had come into the store just to give me $3.00 for wrapping his gift on Tuesday.  He said to me, "I am so sorry, I left here and realized I did not tip you for wrapping my gift."  I said, "Sir, you don't need to - this is a free service, and I was happy to wrap it for you."  He insisted, and wanted me to take his $3.00.  I did finally take his money because the situation was sort of causing a scene with other customers, and he just left the money on the counter, thanked me and left the store.  I was sincerely touched that he would come all the way back into the store just to give me $3.00 for wrapping a shirt.

Story two:  A woman (who is a teacher) came in last week purchasing a few small items to finish up her "Secret Santa" Christmas presents.  As I got visiting with her she shared with me a story about how she bought a jacket last year for one of her students.  She teaches at one of the schools here in Cedar for low income, or foster type children.  The story was that one of her female students had been coming to school without a jacket.  She had approached the young girl numerous times asking where her jacket was.  The girl would just say something to the effect that she had forgotten it.  Well, the teacher knew she hadn't forgotten it, that she just didn't have one, or her parents (if she had any) couldn't afford one for her.  This teacher then decided to buy the young girl a jacket.  She secretly gave the girl a bright pink warm jacket, and the very next day the young girl came to school sporting her new jacket.  The teacher said she never took it off the whole day and was so pleased with it.  As the teacher is telling me this story I just teared up.  It made me realize that even though there is a lot of negativity in the world today there is still so many people in the world who are generous and kind.  I seriously felt like a terrible person, because what have I done for anyone?  Granted I am poor right now, but there is so much that still can be done without money.

This Christmas season has truly been a great one for me.  Even though the month of December has just whizzed by, and I was busy finishing my finals, and working two jobs.  I have tried to take some time to enjoy this holiday season. I did get my Christmas cards out at the first of the month, and I have absolutely enjoyed all the Christmas cards I have received this year.  I look forward to December just because I receive so many nice letters, and pictures.  One particularly Christmas card I received this year left me tear filled as I read that one of the sweet ladies from my mission, Joyce, who I was able to teach all the discussions to and watch be baptized just before returning home finally was able to go through the temple.  She expressed her joy and testimony to me, and I just shed tears as I read her letter.
My clever way of hanging my Christmas cards this year - in the kitchen.
Used green, red, and gold ribbon, then paper clipped my cards.
My Christmas feels complete this year, and the special day hasn't even arrived yet.  I have been blessed with a fun holiday job, filled with neat people.  I have taken in and enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights that people have displayed.  I got to walk around the St. Geroge Temple grounds and see the Nativity, and beautiful lights there.  I have also spent time visiting with family and enjoying their company (which is rather shocking).  And lastly, I have truly felt the spirit of Christmas through many peoples actions and thoughts. 
The Beautiful Nativity.
The Sister and I.
The Parental's {a.k.a mommy & daddio}
Temple St. George.
May the Christmas spirit continue upon you these next few days.

Merry Christmas to One and All!  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bittersweet, Almost Accomplished, and Beyond Belief

I just took my last final (minus the stupid Praxis test I still have to take to student teach).  My last stint in the classroom as a student is, after a very long time, coming to a bittersweet end.  Next semester the tables will be turned and I will the teacher, I will be in charge, and I will be forever done with school.  

I am feeling almost accomplished with this never ending endeavor with school, and receiving my measly little bachelors degree.  It has been a VERY hard road for me, and I sometimes wonder (quite often really) why I keep going?  However, with all the obstacles I have had to go through I have met and made some wonderful friends in this long school journey.
The Block - Our close nit family for the semester.  I have had
numerous education classes with these people.
(Bottom:  Gary, Scott, Sam, Steve, Me, Kaitlin, Melissa.  Top:  Gus,
Ryan, Amanda, Dani, Megan, Aliese, Matt, Dani, Carolyn, Jennise, Peggy - The Professor, and Stillman.)
My girls!  Sam, Aliese, Me, and Dani.  I could not have
made it through this last semester without them!
The OLD institute class.  Bless the Cedar City Institute for
having an "older" institute class.  We have all gotten to know
each other through the years.  Our teacher(s) have been
awesome.  Brother Staples was my favorite - that's him in the middle.
Food Science.  My final science class ever!  Our lab was twice a week,
and we had the funnest and bestest time meeting
every Tuesday and Thursday for 3 long hours!
I learned so much in my food science
class - I may never look at food the same.
(Bottom: Erica, Adrianna, Me, Emily.  Middle: Danielle, Chelsea, Ashley
Kali, Kiley.  Top: Jackie, Liz, Brittany.  Two boys:  Riley, and Ryan)
My glorious Testing Center co-workers.  I may gripe and complain
about my job at the testing center, but the people I work with
make the job bearable, and enjoyable!
(Bottom:  Andrew, Me, Charlotte.  Top:  Marianna, Katie,
Eric, Megan, and Emily.)
I am beyond belief that this time of graduation is close at hand. There are times I still don't believe this will happen, but from here it's all down hill to that day I participate in such scholarly tradition.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Last Christmas," and other Favorite Christmas Songs

First I want to say, go check out my lil Sis's blog because she did a fun, yet kind of hard Christmas quiz.

Second of all, last year I did a blog on all my favorite Christmas movies and music.  My Christmas movie list is still about the same.  However, I have been watching some really lame, cheese-y, and totally free Christmas movies on ABC Family...maybe I shouldn't have canceled my Netflix instant, and maybe I should stop renting really lame movies on Netflix like "My Idiot Brother."  Why do I feel the need to finish a movie even when it is freaking terrible???

I'm digressing here - I wanted to discuss my love for Christmas music since I only listen to it once a year, for one month only.  I start my listening on December first, and no sooner, no sooner, no sooner.  I never did understand these people who start listening months before.  Christmas music is terrific, and if you are like me and don't really get into the holiday season, music can really help ring it all in.

I have to rant first, and ask the question as to WHY some songs have been written, and have a huge following.  Some people should be locked up for a few months for writing terrible songs such as, "Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer" - a song about ones possibly drunk or dementia Grandmother getting hit by Santa and his reindeer, then being killed, is just terrible.  Great Christmas song people?  What song is next, let's talk about "Santa Baby" - every version known to man is sung annoyingly and nasally about some spoiled woman/girl who wants the most expensive gifts for Christmas.  Many versions specifically the one sang by Miss Piggy (I know right, I have actually heard this version) and another by Madonna are the worst!  I can only imagine that all the other versions especially by Brit (Britney Spears), and Kellie Picker, an American Idol contestant are just as bad!  Lastly, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - what is this song really about?  Is this Mommy having an affair with a jolly, white haired man, or is the Daddy dressing up as Santa and the Mommy is getting all kinky down by the Christmas tree?  Seriously, why do they have to play these songs - they momentarily put me in a bad mood.  One last song that is equally terrible, but kind of bearable, only because it's my Christmas ring tone for my cell phone is "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't be Late)."  No question - dumb song.

Let's talk about what Christmas songs I adore!  One song in particular that is not your typical "hymn book," traditional song is "Last Christmas" by Wham!  I still am trying to figure out what this song is all about?  I'm assuming it's about a couple who dated one Christmas then the next year they are broken up, yet they see each other again the following Christmas and want to rekindle that once holiday romance?  Whatever it a may be, this song tops my charts!  I seriously put this song on repeat and just listen to it over and over for the whole month of December.  I never tire of it - weird, I know.  Thus far I have listened to the song 94 times according to my iTunes.  I even love every version of this song except for Taylor Swifts version - who does she think she is?  I know she is all pretty, writes her own music, and is just sweet as pie, but one thing she CAN'T do is sing "Last Christmas!"

Besides "Last Christmas" here is a list of some of my favorite songs this year.
Sinead O'Connor:: Silent Night
The Killers::  Boots (Yes this is a Christmas song)
Sufjan Stevens::  Joy to the World (and a bunch of their other songs - so folk!)
Justin Bieber::  The Christmas Song
Glee (this years album)::  Do You Hear What I Hear
Pink Martini:: White Christmas
Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds:: Christmas Song
The Bird and the Bee::  Carol of the Bells

And of course "Last Christmas." Sung by Wham!, Jimmy Eat World, and that Disney teen freak Ashley Tisdale - all who produce a great rendition of my most favorite Christmas song ever!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Throw Another Wrench in My Plans - I DARE YOU!

Why has my college career been nothing but disappointment?  I am supposed to student teach January 9th.  Nope, didn't pass my Praxis exam by two points.  TWO POINTS!  What on earth is this whole school journey supposed to be teaching me?????  I have about had it with all this.  Just once I want my plans to work out for me.  Just one itty, bitty, time.  I'm not asking for much here....All I want out of this life (right now) is a piece of paper saying I graduated college.  I don't even plan on teaching, but then, what IF I decided to later on down the road....

So, I trudge along.  I have to wait until January 14th to take the next Praxis exam - hope and pray I can pass it this second time around.  IF I do pass then I start student teaching February 1st.

I DARE YOU to throw another wrench in my plans.  Seriously, it's not like I haven't been through Hell already the last four years of school!!!!

Whatever!  I'll just keep going.  That's what I seem to do?  I mean really, what else do I have to work towards?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving & Black Friday BLISS.....

How was your Thanksgiving?  I told everyone, "it was just another day with a big meal."  I do have to say the high of my thanksgiving festivities was eating, OF COURSE, and having a white elephant gift exchange that has become a family tradition - with me receiving the BESTEST GIFT EVER!  A picture of my cousins husband in a swimsuit - totally scandalise!
Stud Muffin!
Basically what the day of giving thanks boils down to is that I am really grateful for food!  Between my Mommy and I, we made some dang good desserts.  She made her favorite southern cook - Paula Deen's gooey butter pumpkin cake (for me basically - caused I asked), and another favorite of Deen's an apple carmel cake.  I brought two made from scratch, from my Grandma Eastman's recipe, PeeeeeeCAN pie, and a new favorite - peaches and cream pie, also made from scratch.  The pie crusts were also made from scratch, and the whip topping was REAL.  Just saying - no fake stuff here!
Is this not the most beautiful pecan pie you have ever seen?
I feel I have finally perfected this divine dessert, and had people wanting more...those two pecan pies didn't last very long, and apparently two pies aren't enough for my glutenous family........The cousin, Summer, thinks that I have perfected my pie long ago, but I feel that this Thanksgiving I produced the best pecan pie ever.  From here on out my pecan pies are just going to get better!!!!  My Mother dearest has already put in an order for Christmas dinner.  It's a good thing we only eat these pies twice a year.
Doesn't she look scrumptious?  
Black Friday, Black Friday, Black Friday......
Let this be a lesson!  Black Friday is NOT bliss, Black Friday is HELL!  HELL, I tell you!  HELL!  Not only has this Satanist, greed filled, money hungry day taken over the world, but now it's seeping into one of our most wonderful holidays this country has to offer - Thanksgiving.  After hours of eating and visiting 9:00pm came along, and people started to leave.  I didn't want the party to end, so the Bro, the Sis and I decided to follow the rest of the family to see what all the hype was for this Black Friday madness.  We arrived at the local Wal-Mart about a quarter after 9:00pm.  The parking lot was packed to the rim, people were parking at the nearby Home Depot and walking to Wal-Mart (not that the Home Depot is very far away, but Wal-Mart's parking lot was stuffed as plump as a turkey - and on Thanksgiving day!) We walked into the store and found it was already chaos.  What on earth could be so appealing that people were literally sitting in lawn chairs down the isles?  I was in complete shock.  Luckily I had my iPod and started snapping pictures of this madness.  The Sis had actually came with some items in mind - DVDs.  We found our way to the "meat" department, yes meat department, where dozens of cardboard DVD cases were set up and being guarded by depressed Wal-Mart workers.  I walked up and down the isles of cases scanning the DVDs.  I figured that if the Sis was going to try to buy some DVDs then why not have her grab me some as she was going into the trenches???  DVDs really are a waste of money....ESPECIALLY when you have a Netflix account, but who can pass up $2.00 DVDs.  Yup, people sure are desperate for $2.00 DVDs - myself included, apparently?  So, for 45 minutes we stood guard of the precious cardboard cases, waiting patiently for the announcement over the intercom that we could start buying DVDs.  At exactly 10:00pm, Thanksgiving night, the first flood gates were opened, and people went ballistic.  I just sat back and watched, and of course video tapped the madness.  I got 3 out of the 4 DVDs that I JUST HAD TO HAVE...and as we were checking out the lady behind me with her arms full of junk, went through her stuff, and decided at the checkout what she wanted and didn't want. She had a DVD that I apparently HAD TO HAVE - "Crazy Stupid Love," remind me never to purchase a video without watching first.  Another first and last moment.  She said I could have it, and I ended up with four DVDs.  I will never, ever, ever support the Black Friday Madness ever again.  I felt so bad for the workers, and when I came upon one I would apologize saying, "I'm sorry I'm here, I'm sorry you have to work, I will never do this again."  They would only look at me weird.  I guess when you sign up to work for Wal-Mart it's a given that you will most likely be working on Black Friday.

Worn out and traumatized I still had to work on Black Friday.  I went to work at the local department store Christensen's.  (Same holiday job I had last year wrapping gifts.)  I'm grateful to have a second job this holiday season, and I truly love my 82 year old co-worker Jerry.  She makes this job very bearable.  However, she was out of the state over Thanksgiving and it ended up being just me wrapping gifts for eight hours.  Not miserable, but it's funny how people turn into amazingly RUDE people on this particular day.  I guess it's just a joy of working retail/customer service.

As my eight hour day was coming to an end my last customer of the day came to my wrapping station wanting her gifts wrapped.  I was helping some other folk.  She seemed impatient and just said she would leave her goods and she would be back later.  Before she took off I wanted to make sure I knew how and what to wrap her stuff in.  She had two piles and placed her hand on the one pile and said this pile in the red paper, the other pile in the blue.  That was it.  I finished with the current customers, then started and finished her packages before she got back.  She arrived back a few minutes before I was to leave, and asks where her packages were.  They were clearly in front of her, but she was confused.  She say's to me, "I didn't have two packages?"  I said, "Yes you did."  Then she has some sort of light bulb go off when she realizes I packaged the one pile in ONE BOX and the other pile in another box.  She then proceeds to swear at me and yell at me.  I immediately apologize, because apparently the customer is always right, and my job can be replaced in the drop of a hat.  As I am sincerely apologizing I ask her if I can re wrap and package the stuff for her.  "NO!"  She say's.  "Just give me some boxes and paper and I'll go home and do this myself!"  At this point I so badly wanted to remind her that the service I am doing is a FREE SERVICE from the store, and seriously you look like an idiot right now, but again I am truly sorry for this inconvenience.  As I continue the apologies I turn around to my wall of wrapping paper, take the boxes she will be using, and act like I am measuring out paper.  Little does she know I am shorting her on wrapping paper, and she will get home to wrap her precious gifts and not have enough paper!  Hee, hee, hee.

Then next day was a little bit better.  Although, I did start off the day with a woman who apparently didn't think I knew how to wrap.  So, she took it upon herself to come around the counter and wrap the present herself.  I just threw my hands up and saying "whatever" - stood back and let her do her thing.  She has never worked at Christensen's, she just was older and wiser apparently????  Great example she was to her granddaughter in toe!  Seriously people, really you act like this?  I'm amazed at the kind of people this world is producing.  I'm not trying to say that I am perfect by any means.  But, I feel like I have some sort of decency that I would not act as stupid/rude as most of the people I encountered during this Black Friday Bliss....

Lesson learned - NEVER AGAIN WILL I SHOP ON THANKSGIVING NIGHT, or Black Friday.  As one lady said, "Are we really this poor that we need to be out amongst all of this madness?"  No, I am not that poor that I need to spend my time fighting for DVDs or anything else for that matter.