Saturday, April 28, 2012

Orals, Jobs, Sushi

This blog-writing business hasn't taken off exactly how I might have hoped, but then again - here's to a new start. This week I had 3 different trips to and from Spokane/Cheney. One of these trips was yesterday morning. I convinced Greg to drive me as I chitter-chattered away trying to ease the anxiety of my oral examination that would shortly occur. We arrived on campus, ran into my friend Sean, Diane (my chair), and Cop. Sean had just finished his orals, and he was the very first to go of our entire to do his orals. Diane said, "Meet Mr. MSW." He assured me that I'd do great and not to worry.

Diane and Cop took a break between Sean's and my oral exams, and they came back five minutes before the exam. My third, randomly assigned Eastern Washington University faculty member who ensures fairness and represents the university, was nowhere to be found. After 2 phone calls and 10 minutes after the allotted orals start-time, he showed up, phone ringing, and apologizing for forgetting. The constant reminder of his forgetfulness was repeated each time his cell phone went off during the presentation, three or four times. Despite this minor annoyance, overall the experience was one that brought closure to my educational and internship experiences at both BYU and now EWU. It became a conversation about who I am and the services I have provided and will provide to clients in the future. I heard it described before, "a celebration of knowledge," and ultimately that is what it was for me. And... I passed! (phew), One of the most touching of comments for me was "You really emanate this light as you talk about your clients, and that's really touching."
Putting on my serious face for orals.

After orals, Greg and I drove back to Pullman and shared a cookies and cream milkshake from the WSU creamery. Then we went our separate ways, him to a lecture and me to a job interview (my very first and if the stars align, my last for some time). My interview was with an agency in Moscow (Idaho, not Russia - sorry, guys). I thought it went considerably well; we were laughing, chatting, and genuinely enjoying ourselves. I felt at ease almost the entire interview. It seems like a great fit. The only problems I see are that 1) I don't graduate for a month and a half, and 2) I have to take the Masters level social work exam to get licensed in the state of Idaho and practice tests are showing me this exam may very well be a beast 3) Someone is more qualified and available sooner. I left the interview feeling content and like it would be a great fit for both of us. Only downside was the slip of paper I found on my car. Apparently, in my haste I neglected to see that I'd pulled into a non-parking space, marked with yellow paint along the curb. Well, $25 buckaroos. Boo. I didn't want to let that rain on my parade, so I didn't. Anywho, if I get the job, I have pipe dreams of biking the Pullman/Moscow trail, a 9 mile paved bicycle and walking trail that's mostly flat (until you get to our street) to get to work. It would save on gas and given me an awesome exercise.

After the interview, I picked up Greg, and we went for sushi at Red Bento. Mmmm. The whole time we were gushing about how delicious the food was. The food couldn't have been better. To top it off, we had the Japanese mango ice cream (or mochi). It came out as a teeny golf ball sized scoop, but the  flavor and texture was described by our waiter as similar to a marshmallo. But it was much better. Apparently, rice is flattened and mashed together and then put around the exterior of ice cream. It gives it a starchy, hardened taste for a gummy shell, but the combination of the shell and melting ice cream is to die for. (here's how ours looked like, just a little bit).

Overall, it was a pretty great day. Probably too stimulating of a day because I wrote the majority of this post at 4:3022bv  am because my brain won't stop thinking.
A whale cloud
Hills of the Palouse: what I see on my commute

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I finally did it, made macarons, my favorite French pastry. They are tricky to cook, and it took me double what it ought to have, but I have them in my kitchen and belly now. You better believe this is not the end of my experimentation. More to follow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Velma Burrows

Velma is a dog who know what she wants. To be warm. She will find the warmest place in the house, guaranteed. Often this involves finding the nearest heating vent, at other times it's crawling under all of our covers and squeezing herself in between Greg and me, and still other times it is clawing her way into my sweater. This photo is evidence that she knows the best spot in a 68 degree house. I know we're both looking forward to 2 weeks from now, when the heat-emitting machine of our dreams is installed in our very own cavernous, covered by a piece of ply wood fireplace. A gas burning fireplace will find its new home there, and Velma will find herself a new hobby.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


We have no children. But we do have a dog, and you better believe my mom knows how to treat her grandbabies. In the mail, this little surprise clown costume showed up. I think it looks a little like dog lingerie, personally. You can see how Velma felt about it in the third photo.

So we decided maybe the clown costume wouldn't work for the evening of the 31st. Velma has been freezing, shivering, sneezing in this cold weather. She burrows, crawls in bed with us, and sometimes tries to get into my sweaters. Needless to say the dog is small and needs some extra fur. So we decided it was time for a sweater. When perusing the doggie clothes at Ross, I spotted this red and white sweater. I loved it. We bought it, brought it home, and realized that it looks exactly like the Where's-Waldo stripes from my childhood. Thus, Velma became Waldo's girlfriend, Wilma, for Halloween. Complete with homemade wire nerd glasses.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Soup & Soap

I'm only going to go into detail about the latter, but we did make a very nice Sudanese Piaster Soup as well. This post will be on the soap I just made. Easy peasy.

I've been on a kick where I decided to make my own toiletries - it started with deodorant, went to shampoo, and today it turned to soap. I read an article on the Mother Earth News website that gave a simple recipe for homemade soap, and so I decided to acquire the ingredients and see for myself just what all this business was about.

Simple Soap Recipe
2 cups glycerin soap base
2 tbsp shea butter
essential oils of your choosing
colors of your choosing (food coloring)

You can buy the soap base from most craft stores. I found it at Michael's - 2 lbs for $10, but if I had thought ahead I would've waited and used the 50% off coupon or 40% off coupon that I found in my Saturday newspaper. I bought soap forms there as well for around $3.29. I put my first order in a week ago to Swanson Health, which has great prices on essential oils, shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil (all the pre-requisites for your own beauty products). The products came on Friday, and I decided to use them today.

To start off, you need either a microwave or a double boiler. I opted for the double boiler because you can easily mix your colors and essential oils and see how things are turning out as they combine. I started with 8 blocks (the 2 lb brick is divided into 24, 1"x1" blocks) and a tbsp of shea butter. This made a little extra that what was required to fill 1 of my large soap forms and 1 of the smaller ones. The second set I only used 4 blocks and a tbsp of shea butter. This time I didn't have enough to completely fill the forms. The first set I made were lavender peppermint (and then dyed purple), and the second set was orange, tea tree, peppermint (dyed orange). VoilĂ ! Here they are.

Eventually, I plan on making soap from scratch, but I think I need a mentor before I start combining dangerous chemicals that require all new cooking equipment because the chemicals can poison you. Just a thought. This one was a lot safer and beginner friendly. Don't be surprised if you get a small, special package from Pullman this year around our favorite winter holiday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I'm not sure when it all began, this scattering. I have come to find that very few of the people I love ended up where we expected to be. I had no idea where Pullman, WA was even 10 months ago. Now here I am for the next 4 years. And similar commitments or non-commitments are spread throughout the world.

I find that my communication with all friend and family is done online or on the phone and frequency of contact is also decreasing. It is disappointing to get out of contact with people. I struggle to find the balance between feeling upset and being willing to move on. Maybe moving on isn't quite the idea, but not getting stuck on the changes in locations and in people. So much is so very different.

Life keeps moving. Sometimes it creeps along steadily other times it flashes by you, sweeping you up and away. Other times it grounds you and plants you there, disabling movement for a time. Any way it goes, it is still going, going, going.

In the meantime I enjoy my Friday night greetings, having been away from home for 2.5 days in a town 70+ miles away makes it sweet to come back home. I am learning to appreciate the quiet of my home in the daytime, the yipping of Yoda and Zen above, the deep bellowy bark of Frankie in the yard. I am surrounded by dogs and dog noises. Mine is always nagging me to take her out in the fresh air. She does not walk; she drags. And when you jog she still drags. When she gets tired to pretends she needs to smell something and halts abruptly, yelping if you didn't figure out her next move before she made it.

The process is fulfilling. Sometimes getting stuck on the everything and nothings. But going it is, and I'm trying to keep up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall and Winter Mean School

Greg and I are back in school. Both of us. However, for most of the week we are 85 miles apart, me in Spokane and him in Pullman. He's at WSU, working up a math storm while I am at EWU driving at least 30 miles a day back and forth, house to school, house to internship, house to agency for meeting, and any number of combinations of those locations. It's been quite the adventure, and I don't think I have ever consistently driven this much. I've been very lucky to locate some kind people who will let me stay at their homes a few nights a week free of charge too. I am grateful for very trusting members of the church.

Due to the winters that have a reputation for being awful, I fear I might be spending more time up here than I anticipated. This would cut back on the driving I do (assuming I don't get stuck in a snow storm), but it would also mean I see Greg less, something neither of us likes much. I currently have a system set up where I can drive up to Spokane Valley for LDS Family Services (LDSFS where I am doing my internship) and back on Mondays. Spend Monday night - Wednesday afternoon in the comfort of my own home, and then drive back Wednesday afternoon to get to my evening class. I then spend Wednesday and Thursday nights here so I can get to work and school, and then I am back home Friday evening. I have yet to implement this plan as this is my second week, and I had a class scheduled irregularly on Tuesday afternoon, but I am crossing everything I can on my body hoping this will work. Today this means I have spent an 8 hour day in the library on campus mostly catching up with friends on chat instead of doing research for the papers and projects I have coming up in the next few weeks. Such is life. Especially when your'e me.

Back to the family, Velma has begun whining incessantly. We make fun of her mostly for doing it; isn't it nice that dog's don't have the same sorts of emotions we do (watch, I'll read this in 5 years and there will be a new study out on the adverse affects of bullying on dogs). Making fun of them and their misfortunes, what German's term as 'schadenfreude', or malicious joy. Hehe.

Anywho, Greg and I are really enjoying Pullman. It definitely has a small town feel, but this does not mean that I haven't been able to get some awesome finds at thrift stores. The most recent and happiest find, a wicker headboard. Picture to come. XOXO.