Sunday, March 23, 2008

Video Conference.

My co-worker sent this to me via email on Friday and I couldn't help but laugh out loud. :)
video

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I am not bald. Phew!

So yesterday morning, I was hurrying to get ready for work; I had a conference call at 8:30 am, that I had to take and I was running late. As I was blow-drying my hair, I smelled a burning smell. Yuck. But it was fleeting and my hair-dryer acts up sometimes, so I thought it was nothing. Post blow-dry, I ran some Manipulator through my hair, which is kind of sticky and helps to piece out your hair and control fly-aways. So suddenly, I notice that my right hand, aided by the Manipulator as adhesive, was covered in hair ... hair that was no longer attached to my head! Now, I'm not talking one or two strands, which is to be expected. I'm talking a chunk of hair. Nasty! So I ran my fingers through my hair again, and AGAIN more chunks of hair were stuck to my hand. By this point I seriously have chills running through my body. If you know me well, you know that I cannot stand hair which is not attached to a body. With each repeated motion I pulled more and more hair out. It just kept coming. Very easily. I mean there was no feeling like I was yanking anything out. I began thinking that I must have some disease or something that makes your hair fall out. It just kept getting creepier and creepier. Then I suddenly remembered the burning smell and realized that maybe it had something to do with sudden lost of hair. I ran my fingers through the left side of my head... nothing. Phew! So I totally burned off chunks of my hair! Gross! :) The strange part was that the burning smell had only lasted for no more than two or three seconds. And the hair didn't smell at all. Yuck. I hate even writing about this. Are you thoroughly grossed out by now? I am. So, despite pulling out what appeared to be chunks of hair, I am not bald on the right side. Thank goodness! :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fiercely Fast Fingers.

In my line of work, we test and screen candidates for various jobs. One of the first tests we administer is a typing test. Generally we see scores anywhere from 20-40 wpm with the occasional 12 wpm. We're really excited when we see scores in the 50s and 60s. However, about two years ago we had a candidate come in and blow us away with 123 wpm and his alphanumeric and 10-key numeric scores were nearing 18000 ksph. I mean, seriously... who types that fast?!?!?

I'm satisfied with my score on this test. I generally advertise (on my resume only) that I type 70 wpm, so this made me feel pretty good today. :)

Hope you have fun with the test.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Turn Off The Lights!

Earth Hour 2007 occurred in Sydney, Australia.
Earth Hour 2008 is a global event.



If every American Household turned off the lights for one hour at 8 p.m. local time on March 29th during the World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour 2008, they would prevent more than 16,610 tons of carbon dioxide from being released - enough to fill every hot-air balloon at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta seven times.

Please use my link to sign up now and join the world in the dark for Earth Hour - 8 p.m. on 29 March 2008 (your local time). It's just one hour!

Sign up here

Monday, March 17, 2008

Going Green for St. Patrick's Day!

For some, the thought of "going green" may bring to mind thoughts of skipping daily showers to conserve water, composting your waste, or wearing itchy, yet natural and organically grown hemp clothing. All of these things seem to just turn many off of being a responsible, eco-friendly member of society. However, Kermit was wrong: it is, in fact, easy to be green.

A California girl at heart, recycling and conservation seem to run in my blood. Okay, okay. Well, at least they run through my mind! I remember water conservation and recycling were things I never thought twice about. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? We always had a bucket in the shower to catch all the cold water before it turned hot enough to shower. We then used that water to flush our toilet. (Yes, you can actually just pour water into your toilet bowl and it will automatically flush when the water level rises.) Sound funny? T'was totally normal for me. I didn't know any different. I may have complained about how I got cold in the shower when I turned the water off while I was lathering my body and washing my hair, but did I think twice about keeping the water on the whole time? No way. That was the way it was. We had a shower head with a little switch to turn the water off for short spurts mid-shower.

So this year, even though SLC makes it a little hard to recycle, I've decided to make a more concentrated effort to go green. Go more green. Just in time for St. Patrick's Day! My current green goals include:
  1. Reusing plastic grocery bags as garbage bags. (I already do this.) REUSE
  2. Using cloth bags at the grocery store. REDUCE
  3. Skipping the produce plastic bags. REDUCE
  4. Separating and actually recycling my paper, plastic, metal and glass waste. (We already started doing this.) RECYCLE
  5. Reusing plastic ziploc bags when possible. (Already started this, too.) REUSE
  6. Buying a bucket and putting it in my shower, then using that water to water plants and flush my toilet. CONSERVE WATER
  7. Turning off water while brushing my teeth and lathering my hands in soap. CONSERVE WATER
  8. Turning off lights when I leave a room for more than a few minutes. CONSERVE ENERGY
  9. Planning my errand-running so that using less gasoline and emitting lower emissions. CONSERVE

Two things I'm hesitant to commit to working on right now are my paper towel usage and the length of my showers. I love paper towels. I hate using dish towels, probably because I'm paranoid of the germs they undoubtedly hold. And I love my showers. I don't take extremely long showers, but they're usually ten minutes. :) Those two opportunities to reduce are for another time. Baby steps, right?

So, I'll keep you updated on my new green goals and share with you websites, tips, and thoughts as I have them! Please feel free to share with me your green tips and anything you find out, too.

So don't forget, Kermit... it's so easy being green. :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

He Has Opportunities Prepared for Me.

At times when I just wish I could know how my life will pan out or what will happen next, I remember something Elder Eyring put well:

"Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. He is kind and He is all-knowing. So you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning, and you will be motivated to work harder. You will recognize later that your power to serve was increased, and you will be grateful."
(Henry B. Eyring, "Education for Real Life," Ensign, Oct. 2002, 18-19)

I am encouraged by the knowledge that Heavenly Father loves me and wants what is best for me. The people He has placed in my life and the experiences I have had always seem to have prepared me for something else in my life, not to mention, have truly enriched my life. Trusting in Him that He will guide my life in such a way that is most beneficial for me keeps me optimistic and positive. Life is good! :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I just can't get enough butternut squash!

My friend Amiee recently posted a recipe on her blog for Butternut Squash Fries, which I decided I just had to try! Delicious! Even though the butternut squash peak season is on its way out, here is the recipe along with one of my favorites for butternut squash and apple soup. Yum!

Bake-tastic Butternut Squash Fries! aka Squash Snacks
1 butternut squash
kosher salt
Pam or olive oil (optional)

Yields enough fries for 2 people to snack on.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and de-seed your butternut squash. If you're unfamiliar with handling these large items, you may have a little trouble at first. They're fairly easy to peel, but you'll need a sharp knife to cut them. Once your orange friend is peeled and sans seeds, slice it in half. Then cut it up into french fry shapes. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover lightly with kosher salt (regular salt works, too) and spray with a bit of Pam or lightly brush with a tasty olive oil. Place tray in your pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes or so, flipping halfway through baking process. Fries are done when they are starting to brown on the edges and get crispy. Serve with ketchup, or however else you enjoy fries or sweet potato fries!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water (I usually prefer to use vegetable broth)
2 cups good apple cider or juice

Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.

Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks.

Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. If you don't have either, just use a potato masher and do your best to mash the apples and squash to a smooth, but still chunky consistency.

Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water (or vegetable broth) to bring the soup to the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Free Rice!

Want to sharpen your vocbaulary skills and feed the hungry at the same time? Awhile back, my friend Andrea introduced me to www.freerice.com, and now I'm hooked. I listed it on my side bar of "Likable Links", but decided that it needed its very own post. Here's how it works: For every word you can correctly define, FreeRice will donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger. Nice! In early October 2007, FreeRice went live and they've already donated more than 21 billion grains of rice! Check it out!