Thursday, September 1, 2016

One of Those Days

  I'm in a co-op type thing with three other families. I'm the only one who goes to the pick-up that's a girl. And I had this idea about myself, you know--that I was the funny, helpful girl there (this sounds really stupid to say). Then one of the guys made a joke about me being bossy, and the others laughed knowingly.

  Have you ever had that? Where someone says something about you, and it's not the picture you had of yourself, and it makes you question everything about who you are? And thinking back, I can see how they thought of me as bossy. I thought I was being efficient. I was proud of how helpful I was, actually. I'm usually more of a "hang around in the background unless directly asked to do something" person. So his joke was honestly a bit shattering. And my social anxiety is showing, I'll admit. Every negative experience with another human being is 5000% worse in my head than in real life.

  Anyway, I have to get up early for the co-op. Like, 5 AM early. This makes me tired. So when I dropped off Lincoln at preschool, I didn't look as carefully as I should have when backing up, and I hit something. For one heart-stopping moment, I thought it might be a child; I couldn't see anything in my rear-view mirror. It turned out a car on the other side, right in my blind spot, was also backing up at the same time. And the woman was so nice, and so sad about her scuffed up car, and I wanted to curl up into a ball and die right there for ruining that woman's day. The woman who said, "Have a blessed day," so sadly as she climbed back in her car.

  Then, the least of these things, but still not helpful on a bad day, Fay had a doctor's appointment. The doctor said, "Oh, what beautiful eyes she has!" This is common. Fay does have big, beautiful blue eyes.

Exhibit A

  Then the doctor said, "Does her dad have blue eyes?"

  ME: No, he has green eyes.

 DOCTOR: Where'd she get her eyes from, then?

 ME: I have blue eyes.

 DOCTOR: Oh! Yes, you do. Hers are so much bluer, though.

 ME: Mmm.

  So, you know. Just one of those days where your self-image is shattered, you ruin a nice woman's day, and your eyes are apparently very blah blue.

  You know that Green Day song, "Wake Me Up When September Ends"? I'm feeling that.

Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Your (My) Funeral

  So, I kind of phased out during Relief Society on Sunday and started planning my funeral in my head. Here's what I have so far, it's a little rough, I just banged it out after church:


1.) DO NOT BURY ME IN SOME FANCY EXPENSIVE BOX. Cremate me. Do whatever you want with the ashes, just don't come visit my rotting corpse in an expensive plot. That's weird. Also, if there are billions of people on this earth, they can't all be buried! There's not enough room! You should do that thing where you turn me into a tree. That's cool. I saw this thing online where they talked about how if a bunch of people did that, then cemeteries would be forests. Seriously, isn't that a good idea? If you do that, though, don't freak out if the tree dies. It's not symbolic of anything, trees just die sometimes. Plant another one if you want and pretend it's the same one.

2.) NO VIEWING. I'm super serious on this, guys. I'm still traumatized from the one viewing I went to as a kid, and I don't want that to be the last way everyone remembers me, with my eyes all sunken in and crap. Why would you want to see that, anyway? I don't care if you find it comforting in some weird way, I am not cool with you all staring at my corpse. Remember me as I was ALIVE.

3. ) No hymns at the funeral. I don't feel as strongly about this as the first two, but really, I'm just not into hymns. If you play "Til We Meet Again" I'm going to be a mad ghost. You don't want a mad ghost, trust me. Don't torture yourselves with that hymn, please. Have James or Andrew make a compilation of instrumental songs from some of my favorite video games (I know you're rolling your eyes, Mom, but I don't care. There's some good music in video games!). Y'know, some Final Fantasy X or VII, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Age. Not like the Chocobo Song or anything, the classy-sounding ones, guys. If James and Andrew are dead, then . . . Well, hopefully I'll update this before then.

4.) As for who gets what, Fay gets all my jewelry. She doesn't have to keep it if she doesn't want, no guilt, she can just choose her favorite pieces. Mom's going to give me the pink tourmaline ring Dad made when she dies, and that's actually a nice piece with some meaning, so Fay can have that. Lincoln . . . I dunno, I don't have any special trains stashed away. He can choose whatever he wants of mine. Kellie gets my beanie babies (or just one representational one if she wants. Or none. I don't care, I'm just trying to honor my promise to her from when I was 8). Everyone else can take what they want, give the rest to Goodwill. You don't need to hang on to my stuff or anything. What I hung on to due to sentimentality won't be sentimental to you, feel free to give it to Goodwill. OH, but keep the baby blessing dresses for the kids' kids someday. Don't throw those out, please.

5.) Burn my journals. Really, they're very boring, just a day-to-day account, they're not creative or funny or even that interesting, I promise. And a lot of people would be hurt because of stupid stuff I wrote when upset. I loved you all, I promise, I just vented a lot and you don't want to read it. If you can't bring yourself to burn them (though, really, you should), lock them away for my great-grandkids or something, people who didn't know me personally or would be offended by them. But, seriously, they're boring, I don't think even my descendents would want to read them.

6.) Something you COULD do at my funeral that I think would be fun would be to read excerpts from my blog, or facebook posts, or bits from my books or something. That's more personal to me than some talk we've all heard at every funeral ever about resurrection and stuff. You can throw it in at some point, like, "Hey, Julia believes in resurrection and so do 99% of people at this funeral, so that's cool, we'll see each other again someday, blah blah, now let's talk about something more interesting." OOH, also, if I'm not published, maybe print up some copies of the books I've worked really hard on so whoever wants to can read it. Not "Super", it sucks, but the Shadow book and How We Came to Quest are decent-ish. It would be nice if someone got to enjoy them. But, you know, remind people they are fantasy, so if they're not into that, don't read it just because they feel obligated.

7.) Sorry to keep harping about the funeral (wait, why am I apologizing? I should not have to keep apologizing beyond the grave!), but I want it small. Like, people who actually really knew me and loved me. Family and close friends. I don't want the big, impersonal kind with a bunch of people who barely knew me. Keep it intimate, the kind of thing I would like to go to in real life, with people I'm comfortable with. If there's someone that it would be awkward not to invite, I guess you can. But seriously, try to keep it small.



  That's what I got so far. Am I forgetting anything?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Georgia

   McKay applied for a job offhandedly months ago. Mostly for a lark. Sure, the work looked interesting, but we weren't really looking to move. And when they offered it to him back in November, he said the timing wasn't good. Right before the holidays and all that, not to mention a baby due in January. Plus we couldn't get out of our lease. No, not good timing at all. And, anyway, it was in GEORGIA. As in, the SOUTH. That wasn't happening.

  They called back about a week ago: How's the timing now? We still didn't take it seriously. No, we were definitely not moving to Georgia. But it was flattering to be asked. McKay didn't turn them down, but didn't give that much encouragement, either.

  Before the company even gave McKay a formal interview, they called his lab for references. Man, they were taking this way more seriously than we were. We were so NOT moving to Georgia.

  And then they asked him how much he wanted, salary-wise. McKay gave a ludicrous-sounding number. We weren't moving to Georgia. That would be silly.

  They accepted the offer December 29th. They had to know by the end of the 30th if we would take it or not so they could do paperwork for the new year. We've been struggling financially for months, sometimes barely scraping by in the black (very new for us).

  Maybe . . . Georgia wasn't SO bad? The cost of living is low. SO much lower than Virginia. We could actually save money! (a novel idea after this last year). We could probably afford to go to Disney World!

  I have to admit, Disney World factored into my decision more than it probably should.

  So that's how we accidentally got a job in Georgia. McKay starts March 1st.

  Since we accepted, I can't NOT pack; it's basically a compulsion. But a month and a half ahead of time, there's little I can pack that we don't use in our day-to-day lives. So I've limited myself to books for the time being. Luckily, that's plenty for me to focus on. So far I've packed six boxes of books, and have only finished up the first of our three bookcases. To be fair, they're small-ish boxes so we don't break our backs lifting them. McKay makes fun of me.

  My other favorite past time: Zillow. I check it multiple times a day for new listings, even though I know that 90% of the ones I have saved will be gone by the time we move. My heart breaks a little each time one goes. I don't know why I torture myself.

  Oh, and I'm due in a week. We've finally (mostly) decided on a name, but I'm afraid to say it out loud. If people tell me they hate it, I'll probably feel compelled to go back to the drawing board. I'm too tired for that. So many baby name lists.

  2016 looks like it should be interesting, to say the least.


  I felt like this post could use a picture. I had a nude-colored body suit on underneath the tulle, it wasn't as scandalous as it may appear. Thanks again for the photo shoot, Jen! And for reminding me to keep my chin jutted out!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Merry Christmas, From the Allreds!



  And to all a good night.


 Thanks be to my friend, Leah, for the photo! If you want to book her, let me know and I'll get you her contact info. She's awesome.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

All Hail Me, Winner of Failing at Life!

  So, first The Bloggess wrote THIS amazing post about failing at being human, which made me laugh-cry (I had to read it in doses because it hurt my throat and stomach too much to laugh so much in one sitting). Then my BFF Kellie did THIS, and it was fantastic. And basically it's just bringing back too many painful, horrible, hilarious memories that I have to share. I think many of them have probably been posted on here years ago, but meh.

 These kinds of things seem to happen to me daily, which is probably why I don't talk to people much anymore. I really shouldn't be allowed to, anyway.

1. At EFY, Cute British Boy sat next to me at a John Bytheway talk. He introduced himself to me and I blanked, thinking, "My brother James would know JUST what to say to make this guy his best friend!" Held out my hand, said, "Hi, I'm James! . . . I MEAN JULIA." He later tried to whisper something to me three times, but it turns out I can't understand whispered British accents, so I gave up trying to understand and fake-laughed, assuming he was telling me a joke. "It wasn't funny," he said.

2. Used to exchange babysitting for use of washer/dryer in Oregon, so I lugged two heavy bags of laundry into my friend's house and chatted with her for about ten minutes before she finally said, "Um, it's Thursday." It took her several more hints before I realized I'd come on the wrong day.

3. Had a crush on 18 year old boy at church when I was fourteen. After sacrament meeting I was walking to class with BFF and swooning (loudly) over how much I loved him. "Haha, what if he was behind me?" I said. BFF turned around, "Um, he is." "Yeah, right, not gonna fall for that." He was.

4. Asked a man at Foot Locker if he could get me my size. He said something, but I couldn't hear well, so I laughed, assuming he told me a joke (I do this a lot, apparently) while handing him the shoe. He repeated, louder, "I don't work here."

5. At drama club, loudly complained about my assigned dance partner for musical number. Friends pointed out his father, standing feet away from us. "Dorian [name changed] isn't SO bad," I tried to course correct. "Julia, just stop," they begged. I did. Finally.

6. Went out with a group of friends to eat at Chipotle. One friend got a phone call and turned his head slightly for "privacy". I thought this was hilarious and mimicked him, slamming my head into the booth.

7. My very first trip to an OB was when I was pregnant with Lincoln. The nurse told me to take everything off and left a sheet on the table. Did not tell me robe was beneath sheet, nor that I could put it on. I hate being naked, but tried to seem nonchalant as OB walked in on me, casually standing there naked. She told me I could put on the robe. After giving me once-over.

8. Got a phone call from an insurance company with a very automated-sounding female on the other line. Halfway through something she was saying I blurted out, "Are you a robot?" I fully expected her to say, "I'm sorry, I don't understand," like most automated services do when you say something weird. Instead the woman said, "No, I'm a human being. Do I sound that bad?" I apologized, but her voice still sounded super robotic, so I laughed every time she spoke. Couldn't find a way to hang up for another five minutes.

9.  Called my male, ex-military fourth grade teacher "mom". I don't know which of us was more embarrassed.

10.  On a date at the movies. Used the cover of darkness to pick a scab off my arm. Accidentally flicked it onto date's leg (who was wearing shorts). Kept eyes glued to the screen as he brushed it off while glaring at me.

11. While we were dating, McKay took me to a fancy dinner at his professor's house, where I promptly dropped a plate of red sauced pasta on their pristine white carpet. Also, on one of our first dates he took me to a friend's house. After them joking about trusting me to not spill soup on their couch, I did just that.


  This is seriously just the tip of the iceburg. More like a speck on the iceburg. I've done so many humiliating things that I've managed to even forget some of them. What are your best worst memories?

[Also, hi. I know it's been forever. And I'm pregnant and living across the country since my last post. Maybe we'll cover that stuff later. Maybe not.]

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How to Survive Moving

  I had a request to write about moving, but you know what? Moving is boring. It's boring to write about, boring to read about, and boring to do.  If you aren't in the know, we're moving to Virginia. McKay got a job there. Something to do with chemistry, researching something or another. Unless he's analyzing something or another. I don't know. I try to listen when he talks about it, but it's, you know, chemistry-related.

  Anyway, the only way I can think of to spice up a moving post (and give me the will to finish it) is to make it into a list. I love lists.

  "After all this time?"

  "Always."

  My patronus would probably be a list. Also, it bugs me when people go on about how amazing Snape is because he was in love with Lilly. That doesn't change the fact that he was a huge jerkwad through the whole series, and blah blah blah rant rant. Anyway. How to survive moving: Geared for me and people like me.

1. Make a thousand lists. I know, I know. But seriously, there are a thousand things you're going to need to do and remember. Also, if you're like me, making a list has a soothing effect. I find I don't have to worry so much about something as long as it's written down for me to do.

2. Start as soon as you can, because packing takes FOREVER. At least, it takes ME forever because I spend a lot of time wandering around the house trying to find things that will fit into the current box I'm using that I won't need in the next two weeks. It's like the most painful game of Tetris ever. It can take me over an hour for one box.

3. In my opinion, if you have a box that's JUST towels, blankets, etc, you're doing it wrong. Especially if you're wasting time collecting newspapers or buying bubble wrap. I wrap up all the breakables (frames, glass dishes, etc) in all the linen I'm planning to take. The downside of this is that I'm sure I'll hate myself when I'm in the midst of unpacking and need to figure out where my towels are so I can shower.

4.  If you're going to have to change insurances (like us), do yourself a favor and make a thousand doctor appointments right away. Like, as soon as you know you're moving. For us, McKay's work isn't going to provide any kind of insurance, so we wanted to make sure we got all our check-ups and such out of the way in case the plan we buy sucks. I made appointments mid-January, thinking that would give us plenty of time. Instead I got to talk to snippy receptionists whining about fitting me in "last second" (we're moving in March).

5. Do lots of research on different ways to move. This took me DAYS. McKay's work is comping us a grand in moving costs, but you'll quickly realize that a grand to move across the country is peanuts. Renting a U-haul truck (even one of the smaller ones) can easily cost $2500 or more (plus they'll charge by the mile after the first 500 or something like that), and shipping options like PODS cost twice that much for even the smallest options. Most moving companies refuse to give you a quote online unless you give them your number and email. DON'T DO IT. I gave in to ONE website and got at least a dozen phone calls and emails from different moving companies.

  Also, because we're moving so far away, we had to think about our cars as well. We wanted to drive together for trade-off purposes, so we had to make a fairly easy Sophie's Choice when it came to our cars. Anyway, we finally realized that the only way to stay on budget was to get a hitch attached to my car, rent a small Uhaul trailer, and sell everything that didn't fit. Cost of hitch: $288. Cost of trailer for 10 days: about $150. Much, much cheaper than any other option I've found, even including gas. This works well for people like us, whose furniture largely consists of garage sale finds, anyway. It's more cost effective to buy more garage sale furniture/make a whirlwind trip to IKEA when we get to Virginia than it would be to move it. Our stuff just isn't worth it.

6.  Try to appreciate the things that are important to your spouse, and don't give them too much grief for the stupid things they just can't part with. For McKay, this is his sword collection. For me, it's my books. It took four large (very heavy) boxes to pack them all up. The good thing about books, though, is that you can mail them through USPS by "media post", which is much, much cheaper than normal post. Just make sure the boxes weigh less than 70 pounds. One of my boxes was 62 pounds and cost about $25 to ship. The man at the counter told me that ordinarily that would cost $80. And considering our towing limit is 600 pounds after you subtract the weight of the trailer, 200 pounds of books is not so good. Seriously, media mail. Do it.

7.  That said, sell everything you CAN part with. A good rule of thumb I've heard is to sell everything you'd likely be replacing in the next five years, anyway. Some things will be harder than others to let go of, even if you're not sure why. Like my rice maker. I love my rice maker, and even though I plan on buying a new one of the exact same kind when I get to Virginia (it's only $20), it feels like a betrayal to it to get rid of it. It's served me so loyally all these years! (I think I may have a little bit of a hoarder mentality). That being said, getting rid of things is also a bit cathartic. It also can line your pockets for the things you'll need to replace. We made over $300 at our first garage sale, and we're having another one this Saturday. You WILL feel a little self conscious paying for things with a huge stack of singles, though. Anyway, possessions to bring with you should include those that will be too expensive to replace or that have too much sentimental value to part with.

8. Trade in things you're not crazy about for things you are. Albany has LOTS of second hand stores that give you store credit for things you bring in, so I've been able to lighten my load of books, video games, and clothes that I don't care much for for a few things I love. You'll come out with less than you started with, which means less packing, and you'll get to satisfy minor shopping cravings for free-ish.

8.  Make it as fun as possible. Listen to your favorite music and sing along loudly while you pack. Do a box or two a day so you're not overwhelmed. Re-watch your favorite TV show while you sort through your drawers. If you're like me, obsessively look at houses on Zillow and ooh and aah over the places you pray don't get snatched up before you move. Treat yo'self.


 I'm forgetting a million things. I should start another list, Things to Write About in Regards to Moving.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloweenies 2014

   Skipping birthdays and all that junk, heeeeere's Halloween!

  So, I chose a "Firefly" (Joss Whedon's amazing space-cowboy-outlaw masterpiece) theme for this Halloween back in . . . June? I figured Lincoln's costume would take a bit of work, and mine and McKay's would be easy-peasy. I was going as Kaylee, McKay as Wash, and Lincoln as Mal. Here are some reference pictures if you don't know:



Wash upper left, Kaylee upper right, Mal on the bottom. Anyway, I figured for mine and McKay's the main thing we'd need is coveralls. McKay already had a Hawaiian shirt from a different Halloween costume that didn't pan out, and I figured there'd be a billion shirts like Kaylee's at the thrift store, it's got a very nineties vibe. 

  I . . . was wrong. My shirt was easily the hardest thing to find, I went to the thrift stores every few weeks since June and could find nothing. Also, coveralls are INSANELY expensive (at least to college students), and I looked for weeks to find some under $80. I finally found a website where they were listed at $40, and I leaped at it. Unfortunately, they didn't have any olive-khaki color in my size, so I bought the white with long sleeves. McKay's were spot on. 

  Here's a picture of my coveralls (and Lincoln, who couldn't understand the concept of a picture without him in it), after I'd already de-hemmed the sleeves into oblivion.

   Next was the dye. We don't have a washer and dryer, and I didn't want to potentially ruin a friend's next load with leftover dye, so I decided to use our sink. It was a long, long hour of turning the coveralls in the sink. And then I looked at the package for the thousandth time and realized I only had to do it for half that long. GAH.

  Here was the awful result! I was pretty disappointed at how uneven the dye job was (but, really, what had I expected with that huge thing bunched up in the tiny bathroom sink?), but then I remembered--Kaylee's coveralls aren't exactly squeaky clean. In fact, they're filthy. So I shrugged it off. And dyed them one more time in an attempt to make them slightly less mint green.

  McKay tried his coveralls on . . . to discover that the sizing was off. Way, way off. McKay's usually a 34-34, so I got a 36 to be on the safe side. When McKay pulled them on, he had a good five inches of ankle showing. I couldn't remember what site I'd bought them off of, plus I hadn't even bothered to have him try them on for MONTHS because I was so sure they were going to be large on him, so we were pretty much stuck. But since the Hawaiian shirt covered up the middle, McKay added a panel of cloth in the torso, and they fit pretty well after that. I got zero pictures of this process.

  Lincoln's costume turned out to be the easiest. Mostly thrift store finds, just needed some extra buttons on the pants for the suspenders, plus I added the brown line down the sides. The coat was from a cheap Hobbit costume we bought, so we've already got next year's Halloween pretty much covered for him.

  I had also bought some cheap temporary hair spray dye for McKay and I so we could be the brunettes/red heads we were supposed to be. I even thought I could share mine with Lincoln. But did you know that cosmetics people don't believe anyone would want to spray their hair a normal brown color? I looked at half a dozen stores, and none sold brown hair spray dye stuff. Finally found one that was labelled "burnt brown". Good enough.

  We decided to use the ward Halloween party as a test run for the hair dye. And thank goodness we did. It was a DISASTER. Dye everywhere, the fumes nearly made McKay throw up, my spray was way too dark, and because I have so much hair, it ran out before we'd finished. Leaving me with skunk hair. And McKay wasn't thrilled with his neon orange hair, either.



    Thank goodness we did it on me before Lincoln. He would've freaked the freak out.
   Lincoln kicking butt at the games. He did very well, mostly because people tend to let cute two year olds cheat. A LOT. After a few tries he gave up on throwing and gently placed the spiders inside the buckets.

   The sister missionaries were doing face painting. They nearly fainted when Lincoln said he wanted a train. I had to look up a picture of a train on my phone for reference. Lincoln liked the result at least.

  Wash, failing at bobbing for apples. He kept saying he was going to have to dunk his whole head to get the apple, but if he had that water would've been straight-up poison. Lincoln grabbed the apple for him in the end.

  And now on to real Halloween! We learned from our mistakes and decided not to try dying our hair again.


   We told Lincoln to blow off his gun, which naturally turned into raspberries.




     I'm sure there's some fanfic out there with Kaylee and Mal getting makey-outy.

   Mal probably doesn't have a runny nose in it, though.
   Lincoln was very, very ready to stop taking pictures and go trick-or-treating at this point.

Aaaand we lost him. He was off to ring doorbells.



It seemed like there were fewer houses with their porch light on this year, but Lincoln got SO EXCITED for each new house, it was really fun to watch. Every time we told him to say 'thank you', though, he would turn back to the street while signing it. After every house we'd say, "Be sure to say 'thank you' out loud, Lincoln," and make him practice. And then in the excitement of doorbells and candy he would turn his back while signing it. Again and again and again. Except for the few times he said, "Thank you out loud." The payoff was when we knocked on the door of a deaf man, who looked so excited to have someone say 'thank you' to him.

Zero recognition on our costumes, but that's okay. Nerdiness for nerdiness' sake is our game. Happy Halloween, everyone! Hope you had a fantastic, sugar-fueled night!