Dreams: The Wrong Husbands

Monday, January 16, 2012

In the past week, I've had two dreams in which I was married to someone other than Craig, even though I knew I was supposed to be married to Craig. In the first one, I was married to a sexually-aggressive Indian man (Indian as in "from India"), and in the second one, I was married to a gay man, although he didn't tell me he was gay until after we were married. I literally said, "You know, I really wish you'd told me that before we got married."

But in both dreams, I was a little confused, because I remembered being married to Craig and I had no recollection of ever divorcing him/of him dying/etc. So I kept asking people to recap what had happened with that.

Analyze away.

Sights: Pictures of the Day-to-Day

Friday, January 13, 2012

If I had an iPhone, I'd use Instagram to save and share the pictures I took with it, but since I opted for Android, I use an analogous program that I actually like quite a bit. It's called Lightbox; this link will take you to my profile there, should you care to see it. And here are some recent pictures from my Lightbox, and therefore, some recent sights from my life.

October 26, 2011 (okay, these first few aren't exactly recent)
This was taken going over the 520 bridge between Bellevue and Seattle, which is a bridge floating right on the water of Lake Washington. It's pretty cool; it actually took my breath away the first several times I drove on it. The bridge tends to create a divide between the water, with the lake on one side being choppy and kind of fierce while the lake on the other side is very calm. Which side is which is ever-changing, and I have no idea what's causing that situation, but it's pretty cool to observe. Anyway, the state just turned the bridge into a toll road, so gone are the days of driving on it and having my breath taken away.

October 27, 2011
Taken from my seat on the 105 bus, the first of three buses that I take to get to work.

November 5, 2011
A sticker on the side of a newspaper box in Seattle. I agree with the sentiment, a lot. And I also think the woman in the drawing looks a lot like a co-worker of mine named Jolene, which is funny and fitting, since I can totally imagine her going to a rally with a sign like this.

December 16, 2011
This was the day that I cut my own bangs. They're a little shorter than this now, but I've learned how to make them look "right" and I truly love having them. I feel like I should have had bangs this whole time (meaning "my whole life").

December 25, 2011
Part of a series I call "Walter Sitting In Things or On Things." In this piece, he's sitting in a red bag that previously held my mom's Christmas present to me (which was a purple KitchenAid mixer, by the way -- score!). He really likes sitting in or on things that contain him in some way. Whatever that's about.

January 4, 2012
My rainiest day in Seattle thus far.

January 5, 2012
I strung up the lights from our Christmas tree above the bed. They make me really, really happy.

January 11, 2012
Walter getting belly-rubbed, big time.

January 11, 2012
Fun with toenail polish (those are my feet, yes), and an addition to the aforementioned series where Walter sits on things (maybe while he considers having some toenail polish fun of his own?).

January 12, 2012
And again. This time, Walter is sitting on a precarious piece of cardboard.

January 13, 2012
All of these socks are missing their partners.

January 12, 2012
I made this pizza and it would have been REALLY good if I'd chosen to use different dough or if I'd made the dough better somehow. Anyway, you should try it: any bread dough you want (homemade, store-bought, etc.), topped with havarti cheese, cheddar cheese, chunks of chicken, red and yellow peppers, spinach leaves, and garlic salt. No sauce. Add any other toppings you want and just do all of it according to your personal tastes.

January 13, 2012
I bought this beautiful vintage necklace today (part of my last purchase for two and a half months!). I conferred with my friend Amy, and we think it's made from moonstones and mother-of-pearl.

January 13, 2012
The Seattle Washington Temple (this was my first visit) and a really great sculpture that I enjoyed on the temple grounds.

Possessions: My iPod

My iPod is actually "Craig's iPod," or at least that's what it's called when I plug it into the computer to charge or sync it. In the spring or summer of 2008, just a little after we got married, I accidentally ran Craig's iPod and cell phone through the washing machine. Was this my fault because I didn't check the pockets of Craig's jeans before washing them, or was it Craig's fault because he threw those jeans on the pile of dirty clothes that I was about to wash without first emptying the pockets? You decide.

Unexpectedly, both of these items continued to work after having been through the battlefield of the laundry. The only scar was some water left behind the screen of the iPod that sort of warps the images a wee bit. Craig kept using his iPod for a while but eventually decided he'd like one with more storage capacity and less water damage. He bought himself a replacement, and in the meantime, my own iPod had gotten fried (from being left too long in a hot car -- that one was definitely my fault), so I commandeered Craig's. And now it's mine.

I use it mainly to listen to podcasts on the bus ride to work. Favorite podcasts include "This American Life," "Radiolab," "Stuff You Should Know," "Too Beautiful to Live," and "On Belief."

Confessions: I "Lost" $300/I Have Personal Issues with Money Management

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Through a series of events at the Department of Licensing, I paid $300 in car licensing fees that I shouldn't have paid. This was due mostly to ignorance and due a little bit to embarrassment over being wrong. There is a way to go about getting the money back, and I'm on that path and taking those steps.

$300, big-picture-wise, is not killer. There are bigger sums of money and bigger mistakes. And we do have the money to spare. While we are doing okay financially, it will certainly be a bummer if I'm not able to get the money back, and more importantly, this situation is highlighting to me how disengaged I am with my/our personal finances and with managing money. Money has been intimidating to me for as long as I can remember, all the way back to memories of my parents fretting about the bills and of hypothetical story problems about budgeting in my math textbooks. And because it's been so intimidating to me for so long, I've sort of adopted a hands-off approach, just spending money here and there, trying to be economical and thoughtful, but ultimately figuring that if I really want something and the price is reasonable, I should get it, and there's no need to check bank account figures or limit my spending or set up a budget or keep track of receipts. I've figured that if I'm a good person and I don't go crazy, the money I have will be enough, as if money correlates and expands with my personal righteousness.

So, to sum up: Yeesh, money is hard! And my track record with it has been less-than-stellar, though not horrible, considering that I've always had enough to live on and am not nor have ever been in any debt.

One step I'm taking to resolve this or to do a little better is to go on a frivolous spending fast for a bit. Excluding a purchase that I'm making tomorrow (with store credit), I'm not going to make unnecessary purchases for two and a half months (through the end of March, to be specific). This means no new bottles of nail polish, no fast food, no fashion magazines, no books (I already have so many on the shelf that I need to read, not to mention access to the local library!), and most especially no clothes/shoes/jewelry, etc., from the store where I work. That's the toughie. I have a pretty rad discount, and we have some pretty rad things I could spend it on. But I'm trying to remember that I don't need to own all the beautiful things, that other people can have them and love them too, and that I already have beautiful things in abundance.

Kind of a strange topic to bring up, and I don't know if you care to know how I feel about and deal with money, but now you have that insight. I'm sure I come off sounding kind of weak and silly and materialistic, but I am those things to a certain extent. That's my confession.

And PS, here's the first thing I'm not buying even though I'd really like to: a beautiful vintage leather backpack on eBay (currently with a high bid of $15.50!).

Links: January 1st-8th, 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Here are links to some of the online sights that have mattered most to me this week:

A woman dancing in the laundromat. She's so committed!

TED talk from Sarah Kay about spoken word poetry, including a poem called "If I Should Have A Daughter."

Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn"

"Mommy, they are just like me" -- Reflections from a mom about her young son's absolute love for Blaine and Kurt from Glee.

Speaking of Glee: I don't watch the show much anymore, but I came across a recent clip that blew me away. It's a mashup of the songs "Someone Like You" and "Rumor Has It," both by Adele.

Grist article about natural self-bias and the seven deadly sins.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt interview -- how adorable and killer-cool is he?

"What movie made you cry?"-- answered by several amazing actors.

Information on a mass New Year's Resolution to temporarily give up Facebook.

Why having teenagers who talk back can have its plus sides. (This stood out to me because I never talked back to my parents, and incidentally, I am pretty terrible at handling tense conversations with anyone in the world. Not totally sure how the two are related, but they probably are, even if it's just because they both say something about my personality.)

A post at Feminist Mormon Housewives on unions, women, and the Occupy movement.

Some (very respectful, totally faithful) reflections on the Mormon endowment ceremony, from someone who has struggled to appreciate and enjoy it. I can relate to her position, and I really benefited from her words.

Nothing too groundbreaking, but the description of these fake and funny resolutions did make me laugh aloud.

A reflection on 2011 from "Where Did U Get That?" style blogger Karen. Very sincere and interesting to watch.

"Something Else I Don't Know" from BYU professor and philosopher James Faulconer, about women's exclusion from priesthood-holding in the Mormon church.

Some thoughts from a Christian dad on how to communicate to his daughter that her value doesn't come from looks or smarts or accomplishments or morality, but from the divine.

Really touching video on the adoption and "baby wedding day" of a girl named Coco.

A Young Men's leader talks about how modesty is applied to young men, with thoughts about what that says for how it should be applied to young women. (Some really valuable comments on this post, as well.)

Captain Awkward writes a really awesome advice column, with heavy emphasis on self-respect, honest communication, and clear boundaries. I really dug this post of hers about how to handle a mom who (no joke) disowned her daughter on Christmas Day (for what it sounds like were really dumb reasons).

This post at Segullah about a spirited night an American family spent with a Maasai community.

And finally, this video has gotten a lot of viral love lately (yuck, that doesn't sound good), so you may have seen it already. But I don't care -- watch it again. This is "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye and Kimber. Pretty stellar.

Quotes: This Makes Me Feel Mormon, Part 1

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Before I get to the quote, a little background: I attended a conference this past summer called the Sunstone Symposium, which is an event focused on presenting scholarly and creative work related to Mormonism. In one of the sessions I sat in on, a presenter said something along the lines of, "I consider myself a Mormon, but I have to say, I feel a lot more Mormon when I'm reading a Janice Allred essay than I do when I'm reading The Book of Mormon." That sentiment has stuck with me. I can't say I'm on exactly the same page as that presenter was; I've read The Book of Mormon as well as essays by Janice Allred, and I've had moments of feeling very Mormon while reading both of these. That said, I definitely know what this young woman was driving at. Every so often, I'll read or hear something related to Mormonism -- something online, something in an old textbook, something in the scriptures, something said by a friend -- and I'll think to myself, "Yes. Yes! That makes me feel Mormon!" My heart swells with religious pride and my spirit responds favorably.

I want to do a better job of documenting these things. Ergo, I'm working on an irregular series for the blog, called "This Makes Me Feel Mormon." Here's installment #1.


This quote comes from the comment section of a recent blog post at Mormon Mommy Blogs, asking for questions to be directed to President Julie B. Beck of the General Relief Society Presidency. The comments this post received are very interesting to me, and this one was particularly touching and poignant. I'll add in some bracketed amendments for clarity's sake.

"Sister Beck,

When you visited our stake this fall you stated that every [Relief Society] meeting should be a place where sisters should be able to ask the hard and uncomfortable questions. As is evidenced in this thread, many of us have hard and uncomfortable questions. Most of us do not ask these questions in our wards [and] stakes because we have learned that they are met with fear and/or chastisement before being dismissed as bitter and unfaithful. There have been some in this thread who have expressed shock and disappointment that LDS women would have the concerns expressed here. That reaction is the very reason many of us do not feel safe trying to seek answers to our concerns. My question is, how do [we] promote an environment wherein members can feel safe sharing their struggles and concerns without the fear of being labeled heretical? How can we shift from seeing those engaged in working out their concerns as looking for a way out and instead understand that most often those who ask these questions are looking for a way in? What is it in our culture that begets fear of questions in a church that was established by a boy who asked a hard and uncomfortable question? I don’t think God fears our questions. Why should we fear them from one another?"

--from commenter Sunny

Memories: The Beginning of January

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thanks to Facebook's newly-implemented timeline format, I can go back and observe almost anything I've done on Facebook according to date. So journey with me, if you will, and let's learn what Facebook says I was thinking and doing at this time of year in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

January 6th, status update: "Sara Katherine Staheli is going to Festival City for the School Too Soon Festival."
("Festival City" is the nickname for Cedar City, Utah, where I attended college. I was particularly un-excited to start the new semester because it meant moving an hour away from my boyfriend and I was SO SAD that I wouldn't see him every day.)

January 7th, status update: "Sara Katherine Staheli is settled into a room with a crystal doorknob."
(I had just moved into a basement apartment in Cedar City, Utah.)

January 5th, comments between Geoffrey Insch and me:
Geoff -- "Now that you have been Hanksed you officially have the longest name of any of my facebook friends!!"
Me -- "oh, i'm so pleased! it's fun having four whole names."
(As of January 5th, I'd been married to Craig for almost two weeks.)

January 6th, status updates:
"Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks is invisible when she is running away from the scene of the crime."
"Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks is employed."
(The first update references a Fiona Apple song, which I'm sure I was listening to that day. The second update came about because I accepted a job at a phone sales/customer service company in Orem, Utah. Getting to the interview was pretty tough, due to a car stuck in the snow, a confusing bus route, and inadequate shoes for walking long distances in that weather. Maybe I should have taken all those obstacles as messages from God, because it turned out to be the worst job I've ever had! Actually, I ended up quitting about two months later.)

January 7th, status update:
"Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks is back from wedding festivities that managed to be heartwarming, raucous, and friendly all at once. Kudos to the Campbell-Stensruds for kicking things off right."
(My best friend, Chelsea, got married on this date. Her wedding was fantastic!)

January 5th, status update:
"When given a mixed bag of M&Ms, Craig will eat the peanut and I will eat the plain. So nice being married to your opposite."

January 5th, new profile picture:
taken outside of our house in Provo

January 7th, comment left in response to a friend's status about the film "Inception":

"every time i watch, something new pops up that makes me suspect that he isn't awake at the end. i think it's telling that he was using Mal's totem the whole time. the continuous spinning of the top (or lack thereof) is an indication of whether you're asleep, but the presence of the totem itself is (as Arthur explains to Ariadne) just an indication that you're not in someone else's dream. i think the presence of Mal's totem at all suggests that this was a part of her dream (or at least leaves the possibility open).

another thing that makes me suspicious is the fact that Saito and Ariadne saw the totem Dom was carrying (Saito in the basement bathroom in Africa; Ariadne in the workshop) and could have replicated it in their own dreams.

ultimately though, i think we can at least say that Dom wasn't in his OWN dream at the end, if he was dreaming at all, because the kids had aged when he saw them at the end, and they hadn't aged at all in any of his memories. i think it's most likely that he was awake at the end, but it's also possible that he was in someone else's dream."

Things I Love: Christmas Tree 2011

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The first Christmas that Craig and I were married, I insisted on some modest decorations. I bought a set of three small artificial trees and some ornaments in a blue and silver theme. That comprised our Christmas setup for 2009 and 2010, and both of those years, we were actually away from home on Christmas morning.

For 2011, our first Christmas when we'd actually be in our own place, Craig opted for a living tree, and since I was unable to find those blue and silver ornaments (seriously, where did they go?! Our apartment is not that big!), I decorated it with candy canes, a paper chain garland, and an eight-point star made from cardboard and tin foil. Craig surprised me on Christmas morning by adding lights to the tree, the one thing I really needed for Christmas to feel real.

All in all, it's a scrappy but beautiful little tree.

The night before Christmas -- plenty of presents, but no lights just yet!

The star I made. Do you like how lopsided and doofy it is? Because I do.

I took this one whilst sitting on the couch on Christmas morning. Sneaky Craig put the lights on the tree in the night. And for the sake of explanation, the TV is tuned in to "I Love the 90s" on VH1 (the whole "I Love the" series is a serious favorite of mine). Craig had me turn up the volume while he set up a surprise Skype call with my family in the other room. SNEAKY CRAIG!

And here the tree sits today. I'm planning to take it down and use the lights and star somewhere else in the house, but we'll see how the day goes.

Sights: Home Things from Pinterest

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I use Pinterest a lot, for all kinds of things. I use it to save pictures of haircuts I might want someday. I use it to save pictures of animals I wish could be my pets. I use it to save pictures of dinner parties in the ocean (okay, there's just the one picture that fits that description, but still).

I also use Pinterest to catalog ideas for my current and future living spaces, whether those ideas involve great pieces of furniture, interesting wall decor, or color schemes. Here are some sights from my recent Pinterest travels, with a focus on the home. One of my goals this year is to make my home a happy, beautiful, restful place to be, and these images relate largely to that goal.

Things I Love: Dreyer's Cookies'nCream

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cookies'nCream. Is that how you spell it? Is that a correct use of 'n? Not sure.

This is my favorite ice cream available at the grocery store. I spent my New Year's Eve eating it, but I made sure to use a bowl rather than just eating it from the carton. That's only acceptable when the ice cream is almost gone, when you're down to the dregs.

Lists: Church Callings I've Held

Monday, January 2, 2012

Beehive 1st Counselor (ie part of the class leadership for our ward's group of 12-13 year old young women)
Beehive President
Mia Maid President (ie same as above, but for 14-15 year olds)
Laurel President (ie same as above, but for 16-18 year olds)
Assistant Girls' Camp Director
Visiting Teaching Supervisor
Ward Activities Chair
Visiting Teaching Supervisor (again)
Gospel Doctrine Teacher (tag-teamed with Craig)
Relief Society Teacher (for exactly two lessons)
CTR-4 Teacher (ie teacher for the ward's group of four-year-olds)

Goals: Contemplating 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

(I based my New Year's Resolution structure on this post from Thirty Handmade Days.)

One word:
(translated, this means that my general resolution for the new year is to try new things)

What I really want in 2012 is:
-to begin quilting (which means I want a sewing machine)
-to create a home environment that's peaceful, attractive, and consistent
-to become a mom

What I really need in 2012 is:
-to improve my muscular and cardiovascular strength
-to be more mindful of expressing my gratitude
-to document my own life and personal history

What I will share in 2012 is:
-me! my thoughts and experiences and progress, via this blog
-my money, through consistent charitable giving

In 2012 I will succeed at:
-freelance writing
-frequent reading (of books, not just blogs and online articles!)
-completing my doula certification
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