Saturday, May 25, 2013

Missionary Moments in the Middle Seat

I rode to work with some co-workers today.  The evidence coordinator at work is Mormon, and he was driving, and with two Mormons and three non-Mormons in a car, of course there's going to be some Mormon talk.

Because I'm the tiniest person, I always take the middle seat.  This was the conversation I had with the guy on my left (I'll call him "J"):
J:  There's a Mormon palace in San Diego!
Me (skeptically):  Was it the temple?
J:  No!  It's a palace!
Me:  Was it big and white and marble with a golden guy with a trumpet on top?
J:  Yeah!
Me:  Yeah, that's the temple.
J:  But it was so ornate.
Me:  They're all like that.
The San Diego Temple.  It is pretty fancy.
This was the conversation I had with the lady on my left (I'll call her "H"):
H:  Are Mormons the same as Jehovah's Witnesses?
Me:  No.  We both like going door-to-door and passing out literature, though.
I'm not thinking that either of these two will be joining up any time soon, but hey, any bit of dialogue helps!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A House a Home

In the next three months I will be moving three times.  It's crazy, but kind of necessary.  I realized today that my current apartment in Honolulu is pretty pathetic.  I have no furniture so I sleep on an air mattress and use an ironing board as a computer desk.  Other than two refrigerator magnets, there's nothing personalized about my place.  I chalk this up to the fact that I knew this would be temporary the second I moved in.  My next move will be to another apartment in Honolulu which has a current tenant and therefore might look a little more homey.  Then I will be subletting a place in Medford, MA, until August first when I can move into...wait for permanent* place!

I haven't published the story of my Boston housing drama, but the short of it is that I was going to live in Jamaica Plain with my friend Judy and another lady named Sarah, but then we couldn't (this guy got murdered; it was a whole big thing).  Thankfully, Judy is a superhero and was able to find an amazing place for us to move into in the fall.  Incidentally, it will be the most I've ever paid for rent in Boston.  While the place is at the tip-top of my housing budget, here's why I don't mind:
  1. The place is big and beautiful.  Hardwood floors, wainscoting, a balcony!  Also, my bedroom in this place is so much bigger than my last bedroom in Boston, which probably originally started out as the apartment Chokey
  2. Heat and hot water are included in the rent.  Anyone who's lived in Boston will know that heat is the most expensive utility.  And it gets COLD in Boston.  Being able to maintain a 68-degree apartment and not having to pay out the ears for it is a definite plus.
  3. It's in an awesome location.  Coolidge Corner is probably the hippest, most happening part of Brookline.  It's close to lots of things, including multiple forms of Public Transportation.  Also, there's a Trader Joe's RIGHT THERE.  I freaking love Trader Joe's.
  4. It's in a safe location.  There were places that were cheaper, to be sure, but those places were either disgusting or right down the road from where three people got shot.  In the three years that I've lived in Boston, nobody has ever told me "don't be alone in Coolidge Corner at night."  In addition to that, despite its hip-ness, it's not going to be overrun with drunken noisy BU undergrads all the time.
  5. It's in LP1 (the Longfellow Park 1st Ward Boundaries).  For the three years I was in Boston, I was in LP2, which was really a great ward, but for multiple reasons that can go on a different blog post, I'm definitely ready for a change.  Don't worry, I'm not going to forget about my LP2 friends, but I'm really excited about the idea of meeting new people and redefining myself by a different side of the Charles River.
At any rate, I am so excited to move in there.  Even though I'm not planning to live there eternally, I'm going to go out of my way to make it a home, to make it a sanctuary and a place that when someone enters, they will think, "wow, Alex must live here."  

*And by "permanent" I mean until I get married or the rent increases to the point where I'm forced out because I'm kind of cheap.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My D.C. Trip

What a bad blogger I am!  Here I've been back from my D.C. trip for four days now, and I haven't blogged about it yet.  For those who don't subscribe to my Facebook status updates, the short of it is that I was in the Greater D.C. Area for the past two weeks.

The long of it was that I was on assignment assisting the historians at work collect records at the National Archives.  Not at the famous National Archives from whence Nicholas Cage stole the Declaration of Independence,* but at NARA II, in College Park, MD, where records from WWII and later are housed.  Essentially my duties were to request records from a particular battle and photograph them until my shutter-release thumb doubled in size.**

That was the work part, which was pretty cool (for one thing, the research room has a spectacular view of deciduous trees).  The not-work part, however, was freaking awesome.  Traveling on the government's dime is a nice way to travel, and I'm definitely a fan of advance per diem.  It's great; it's like the government is like, "here's enough money to feed a family of three for a month; spend it on food for two weeks."  Thanks to Marriott Rewards and government rate perks, the money stayed safely nestled in my savings account while I dined on free hotel cheesecake.***  The hotel room was also fantastic; I had a king-sized bed all to myself (biggest bed-to-person ratio ever, I'll bet) and it was so comfortable.  I almost wanted to steal one of the pillows, but I settled for stealing tiny lotion bottles instead.

On the weekend I took the Metro into actual D.C. to do the touristy stuff.  My favorite thing that I saw was the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  I geeked out at so many things; it made me want to go into museum curation a little bit (it's a valid career choice for someone in my field!).  After that I went to all of the monuments and memorials.  When I was in first grade we learned about the geography of D.C., but it was never put to scale, so I had no idea how far apart everything was.  Thankfully, I had my walking shoes on.  Despite everything being crowded with schoolchildren (on a Saturday? really?) and European tourists, I had fun sightseeing.  I have this idea that if I don't meet the love of my life in Boston, I will meet him on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (I might have to start making more trips to D.C.).  It didn't happen on this trip, but I was kind of sweaty, so just as well.

Me and Abe.  See how sweaty I am?  No way am I meeting any menfolk like this.
I will also add that it's hard to take pictures of oneself in front of national monuments.
Also on the trip I was able to meet up with Laura, who traveled down from Baltimore.  We went to a bakery called PAUL and I ate the most delicious lemon meringue tart that has ever existed, probably.  Then we saw the American History Museum (the place that has Archie Bunker's chair) and the National Gallery of Art.  I think I felt the most fulfilled at the National Gallery.  I wouldn't describe myself as an "art-gallery person," but being able to stand two feet away from van Gogh's "Self-Portrait" or from Monet's "Waterloo Bridge, London, at Sunset" was surreal.  I can't describe why exactly, but I think that was an important life experience for me.

Stopping to take a picture before detaching my jaw to devour this tart was the
greatest display of willpower I've ever shown.
I spent Saturday night at Laura's place where I met President Nixon.  He drools a ton, but other than that, he liked me.  I would have taken a picture of him but he's afraid of the camera.  He's a quirky dog.  But the faux-slumber party was fun.  We ate Nepalese food and watched a movie about arranged marriages (it's much better than it sounds), and then I slept in the Tauntaun sleeping bag (it smelled as good as it sounds).  Then I went to church in Baltimore and I felt a little better about not getting into Johns Hopkins because there are absolutely no cute men in that ward.

Overall it was a fantastic trip, and I was sad to leave.  The only perk of being back is that I'm still on Eastern time which means I get up super early so I can go into work super early and, in turn, go home super early.  As I close, I will leave you with a picture of me with a giant Albert Einstein.

Big Al and Little Al, I like to call it.

*Now that I've been to the Archives, I can tell you, that whole thing would never have happened.  Mr. Cage would have been attacked by at least a dozen angry staff members if he even looked at the Declaration funny.  Boy, was that staff angry all the time.
**There's no good way to take a picture of both of my thumbs to prove it.
***I also ate real, nutritious food, because I'm a responsible, fiber-loving adult that way.  The cheesecake wasn't actually that good, come to think of it, but it was free and it was there, which gives it a lot of up-front credit.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TV Couples

Well, the 2012-13 season of TV is essentially over, and it's time to rate the most important aspect of television following:  couples that I ship.  I don't bother shipping couples that are already married or seriously-committed or Castle and Beckett, because that's boring.  But here they are, the top five couples that I shipped on the TV shows that I watched this season.

5.  Nick and Jess (New Girl, Fox):  When Nick and Jess first happened, I was like "Yes!  Nick and Jess are happening!"  Now, I could go either way.  I'm pretty sure that the only reason that it's not going to be a total disaster is because it's fictional TV.  Regardless, they have amazing chemistry.

4.  Tony and Ziva (NCIS, CBS):  Tony and Ziva (or "Tiva") go beyond "will-they-won't-they?"  With Tony and Ziva, it's "are-they-aren't-they?" or "have-they-haven't-they?"  A few years ago, they'd be higher than fourth place, but they're frustrating me to no end right now.  Just freaking step it up already!  The show's in its tenth season; if there were sharks to be jumped, they'd be jumped by now.

3.  Monroe and Rosalie (Grimm, NBC):  Monroe and Rosalie are freaking adorable.  They make quirky Portland interspecies dating work.  And I love that Monrosalie moments on Grimm are so few and far between because it makes each little moment so much more endearing.

2.  Reggie Jackson and Amber Weaver (The Neighbors, ABC):  Can I tell you how happy I am that The Neighbors got renewed for a second season?  This show is fantastic, and Reggie and Amber kissed!  And now we'll get to see them kiss more!  Although they're probably going to break up for a bit because they're teenagers and things will be super awkward but then they'll go to some big school dance together and realize that they'll love each other forever (or until the whole Reggie-isn't-human reality sets in).

1.  Danny and Mindy (The Mindy Project, Fox):  Oh my gosh, Danny and Mindy.  They win first place and they're not even a real couple.  But come on, he so loves her.  If there were a "Danny unnecessarily touches some part of Mindy's body" drinking game, and if I drank, I would have some severe pre-cirrhosis right now.  And holy crap the season finale.  That season finale made me want to chop off all my hair and walk around with smudged glasses all the time just so I can reenact that scene at the end with my--oh wait--I have no men in my life.


And while I'm on the subject, let's talk about couples that I'm so over:  Jeff and Annie (Community, NBC); Jeff and Britta (Community, NBC); any of the billion coupling permutations on Glee (Fox); and Ted and The Mother (HIMYM, CBS).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Something That I Never Thought Would Happen

I'm not going to be homeless anymore!  Yesterday at church I found a posting for a sublet in my neighborhood.  I didn't even know this lady lived in my neighborhood, but she's going to let me rent her space for June.  It's smaller than my current apartment but way nicer and also cheaper.  She has a roommate who seems pretty cool and that roommate has a cat, and I like cats!  After I agreed to take the place and as I was walking back to my apartment, I thought the following thought:

"It's too bad I'm not staying here longer."

Whoa!!!!!!!!  I thought that!  I, who hates Hawaii more than a person can hate anything, expressed remorse about leaving sooner than later.

Maybe it's just because I'm frugal.  If I'm paying to rent a place for a month, I might want to stay for a full month, rather than just the first two-thirds.  It could also be because, for the first time, the other-people aspect of church yesterday wasn't totally sucky.  Regardless, it's progress, right?

Monday, May 20, 2013

30 Days

Today is May 19th.  I fly back to Boston on June 19th.

I have only one month left in Hawaii.

I can totally do this.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Things My Mother Taught Me

It's Mother's Day, so in honor of my mom, who is awesome, I'm going to list a few things that my mom has taught me that make me significantly cooler than a lot of people.

  1. Straighten your skirt when you sit down.  I'm baffled at the number of adult women who apparently never learned this rule and then end up sitting on their underwear and have wrinkled skirts for the rest of the day.
  2. If you want something done right, do it yourself.  This is probably why I hate group projects:  I'm very possessive of my work.  I guess this is both a blessing and a curse in some respects.
  3. Sometimes a woman just has to have a new dress.  Every time I am on the fence about buying something pretty, I call my mom, because I know she will talk me into it.  I try to be the sensible one, however, so I will usually walk away more often than she would.
This photo was about six years and countless hairstyles ago.
But my mom is cool.  Even though she doesn't know how to use computers or voicemail.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

But Seriously Though...

All shoe- and mass engagement-related joking aside, a ton of stuff happened in April.  I got into BU; I decided to go to BU; I got to reject offers from three(!) other schools; Boston went crazy; General Conference happened; I had a huge wave of self-actualization (vague, I know); I committed to a place to live in Boston (more on that later); and I began the process of moving out of Hawaii.

Hard to believe that all of that happened in 30 days.  But now...

Things That Happened in April

1.  Eight of my Facebook friends got engaged.  Eight.  In one month.  Can you calculate a p-value for that?  If you can, I bet it's wicked low.

2.  I bought these shoes: