Saturday, November 5, 2011

"This is Halloween, everybody make a scene."

Hey there, hi there, ho there! Once again Halloween has come and gone and I had a lovely time. I celebrated with Paula and the rest of the wonderful Whitmers (Brian, Becca, Katie, and Christopher, that is) during the weekend prior and then in my own small way commemorated the appointed day by dressing up and of course the traditional hot chocolate and doughnuts Monday night. We had done this together on Saturday night with the recipe for hot cocoa that Grandma used but it was still fun to do a little do-over on the night of Halloween. After all, it's "trad-i-TION!"/"It's tradition!" (Wow, same words but two separate references! Did you catch them both? If so, props and kudos...remember Kudos bars? Whatever happened to those?)

As we were...the weekend was fun-filled and so enjoyable for me. I sure love that family and treasure the time I get to spend in their company. We had chili and cornbread, carved pumpkins; we even watched a British zombie movie. How 'bout them apples? "It was freakin' hilArious."

Picture time!

Sorry it's a little blurry. We all got a kick out of how he looked in this onsie. He's definitely a growing boy! :)

Again sorry for Katie's blurry hands. She had been singing a very cute (and festive) song. In fact, if you want to see it for yourself, Paula posted such a great video of Katie singing it here. SO cute!

I don't think Becca was in a picture mood (I don't blame her, we all have those moments). But she sure got happy fast right after this when Christopher started to get fussy. I love how Becca is so amused by Katie and Christopher's tantrums. :)

I think Katie appreciates our Grandma's doughnut tradition. (Indulge me, it wasn't until recently I discovered that practically everyone and their mom has doughnuts on/around Halloween. I've always associated it with my dear sweet Grandma Hansen and will continue to do so.)

And now the moment you've all been waiting for. Since literally none of you got to see me dressed up in my clever costume, I went to great lengths to make sure I got pictures. But first, a little background. At first glance, you may think, "Well she went as a Braves fan." And that would be a true, albeit incomplete assessment. Just in case any of you didn't know: the Braves suffered one of the WORST collapses in MLB history this year. In other words, they really should have made it to the playoffs but didn't on account of their EIGHTEEN losses in September. Sigh. It still hurts. Anyway, the psychologist in me thought it would be an appropriate time to dress up as the first stage in the grieving process - denial:

Now before any of you critics (I don't suppose I have any of those in my audience, but for the sake of argument we'll pretend you exist) point out that you're supposed to dress up as something you're not for Halloween, let me assure you: I'm way past the shock and denial phase. I clearly also did the pain, anger, and depression stages leading up to and through the World Series (it's largely why I checked out of the Series entirely this year, which is too bad because apparently it was a doozy!) I'd say the very act of using Halloween so therapeutically is a definite sign that I'm all the way to reconstruction and working through, wouldn't you?

Happy belated-Halloween, everyone. Hope you celebrated and enjoyed. I was the only one in my program that dressed up. What an under-appreciated and dare I say misunderstood holiday. I guess Christmas already had its way with Thanksgiving; it was only a matter of time before it knocked off Halloween too. (I totally saw/heard Christmas commercials before Halloween this year. Really?)

Oh and happy end of daylight savings time. Sleep so sweet in your extra hour, if the kiddies will allow it...which I suppose is unlikely. Enjoy the extra hour to get ready for church in a more leisurely fashion? :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A mid-semester vacation in Oregon. :)

Long overdue and soon to be overshadowed by the next big event (Halloween is tomorrow, after all), I would be REMISS if I failed to post about the awesomeness that went down October 12-17th, 2011 in and around Beaverton, Oregon, USA.

And what better way to start this trip down memory lane than with this lovely picture (it's not blurry, the majority of people in it are smiling and as a special bonus, you are now privy to one of the many classic expressions of James).

Unfortunately, the time I have allotted myself to this post is quite limited (in light of some things I really must accomplish today). Don't judge too harshly, I'm consorting to homework on the Sabbath! But it's one of those "once in a blue moon" scenarios--it just so happens that my last "blue moon" was only four weeks ago...hmm, I'm getting distracted! No time for such shenanigans!

20 minutes left. Ready, set, go!

I arrived in Portland late Wednesday night (as did my parents) so we had essentially four uninterrupted days together in which we managed to do quite a lot of things!

Thursday: Spent some time in Jennie and Paul's new home! Was introduced to "green smoothies" for the first time. Ate a delicious homemade pizza for lunch that Jennie whipped together in 20 minutes (literally, start to finish!). Went to Forest Grove, visited Natalie's campus (known to locals and others not in our family as Pacific University) and acted as "patients" for Natalie to practice on. Fun fun and more fun!

Friday: Multnomah Falls. (I've digressed from fragments to grossly under-represented abbreviations)

Saturday: Trip to the coast (Cannon Beach, another beach that was a State park, I think?) and Tillamook Cheese Factory!

Sunday: Oh. Out of time. My bad, but I better be going!

BEAUTIFUL places + DELICIOUS food + time with AMAZING people/relationships called FAMILY = a tremendous blessing for which I am truly grateful. And on top of everything, it turned out to be a blissful break from the stress and demands of the PhD process I apparently volunteered to endure. :)

Whew! Now that that's been taken care of, HAPPY HALLOWEEN everybody!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New goal: Singing in the shower.

But seriously! I'll explain...

As many of you know I've had some significant fears and shall we say 'reservations' about the field I'm preparing to enter and the nature of the work I'll be doing. I think the R-rated movie analogy is probably the most succinct in capturing the dilemma: If therapy is an R-rated movie (as I have heard it described to me and can somewhat understand in my limited experience, at least as far as content goes), how/why do I want to go there? Lover of light and other uplifting things that I am, I was (and still am at times) terrified by the prospect of becoming a therapist and listening to really dark stuff day in and day out. There, context established.

So I was reading this book about pornography addiction and recovery and then decided I'd take a shower tonight rather than in the morning since I see my first client at 8:00 in the am! I was in one of those good moods where you just start singing almost without thinking and ended up going through a few songs starting with "I love to see the temple" and ending with "Come Thou Fount." But it was kind of sad because I didn't know all the words like I wanted to! So I got to thinking (as I am prone to do) and decided I would like to learn the primary songs better, for several reasons but I'll mention two. First, I want to be well-versed in them and have them in my arsenal, so to speak (that sounds so extreme!) for when I'm a mom and can use them to soothe and teach my children. I love the power and comfort of music and love love love the Spirit it invites--which leads to my second reason! I want to protect and nurture that uplifting influence of the Spirit in my life (especially in light of becoming a therapist and the necessity of hearing/seeing/reading some things I'd often rather not spend my time thinking about).

I should clarify. I've been really blessed and it hasn't been like I feared. In fact, it's actually pretty cool. All my fears about the things clients would talk about--well I got a lot of those issues in the first week. And it turns out, it's fine! I'm fine! We're all fine! And singing primary songs? Well, I think it helps and will help, for life in general!

P.S. So I didn't anticipate doing this, but I think I'm going to turn this blog private. I know, I'm sorry. But you're all invited! (or I guess I should say you will all be invited). Now that I'm seeing clients and this is google-able, which makes me just seems like it would be best for the sake of boundaries and safety. Make sense?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Reasons to smile!

Well, I don't have any particular reason to be posting this evening but I've been told I should post more often. That's right, I have a fan! (Natalie, you make me feel like a blogging rock star.) Lest any one of you feel left out, I do appreciate each and every person who views my humble virtual abode as worthy of your time and attention in this vast and varied avenue we call our blogosphere. It's truly an honor. (A little hint though, leaving comments helps me know you were here and makes me feel special and loved. Just sayin'. Not a guilt trip, merely a friendly reminder that pursuing the "Post a comment" path is a great way to show your fellow bloggers you care)...alright I'm done.

Oh but not really! We've only just LIVE! (Wow, it's surprisingly hard to try to quote one song while simultaneously listening to another in headphones. Try it sometime!) In all seriousness though, (well in whatever seriousness that can be mustered in this post about smiling), I give you the handful of things I've had to smile about today. :) :) :) Oh wow, there I go again! I just can't help it! Gotta love smiles bubbling over into laughter...

I think the biggest reason to smile of the day is merely that I'm feeling better! What a wonderful change in mind and body when one recovers from being ill. As a very wise woman commented to me today, "being sick is the pits!" It SO is! And I'm climbing out of those pits, baby! (Can I pull off "baby?" Too late, already did!)

Another reason to smile: great friends. Thanks to the friends in my life who though distance and/or circumstance may separate, love, concern and continued support endure! :D Big smile on that one!

Let's not forget the wonderful smile-inducing power of great music! Have you forgotten? It's okay. You can be reminded. But the trick is to find a song that is personal/moving to you. Those are the songs that will make you smile. The ones that did the trick for me today (interestingly but not inexplicably) included Out of my League by Stephen Speaks, Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood, You are Loved (Don't Give Up) and Remember when it Rained by Josh Groban. If I were feeling particularly ambitious, I'd try to hyperlink those for your convenience to a place that will play them for you. I guess you'll have to be proactive and ambitious on your own this time, folks. Might I suggest copy (Ctrl-C) and paste (Ctrl-V)? I can recommend! Oh, see that? I must love you guys.

Alright, fourth and finally (didn't realize I was counting, did you?): taking pictures of yourself using your webcam. (Awkward, but true). Perhaps it's the very silliness of the act that prompts one to smile at the absurdity. We'll say I was modeling my semi-new, semi-rimless glasses just for you! Not convinced? Okay, I was kind of excited that I had color in my face again, is that vain? Very well. As my friends, the Beatles have proclaimed, "Let it be." (The pictures may not show the color very well, but trust me, I do get paler! I know, the mind shudders to think...)

And apparently, I was practicing lifting one eyebrow.
(I'll keep practicing.)

As Katie endearingly says, "You're silly, Jamie!" Yes, Katie. I am silly. But I am also smiling! That has to be a good sign, no? We have a lot of things in life to smile about.

Oh I thought of something(s) else! I know I already said "fourth and finally" but would you be so kind as to allow me a "fifth and formerly?" I have been smiling a lot this evening about the sounds of Fall spilling through my open window. Leaves rustling in the wind against the pavement. And...wait for it...rain! I love the sound, smell, taste and feel of rain. What sense am I missing? Oh yes, I like the look of it too.

Peace out. It's past my bedtime!

Oh and share your smiles. They're contagious.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"These are a few of my favorite things"

I've decided to do something a little different with this post. Yesterday I finally washed the canisters that Paula gave me for my birthday and filled them with my flour and sugars. I got pretty excited by it which spurred on an idea I had circulating and percolating in my head since I moved in to my new place. By way of introduction and explanation this is going to be a post about some of my current/new "favorite things" (emphasis on the things, lest you think I'm getting a little too materialistic). ;)

So when the dog bites (thankfully never me), when the bee stings (though it was only the one time and it may have been a wasp, it was not a good feeling), when I'm feeling sad (yeah, that happens), I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feeeeeel soo baaaaad. :)

Aren't these great? I've wanted canisters for so long and now I finally have AWESOME ones! (I mean these are used to store ingredients in the pantry on Chopped!) Many thanks, Paula! One of my favorite birthday presents and definitely one of my favorite things right now. :)

This may seem silly to many of you, but I really like it! It's simple, it's sleek, but most importantly, it's my very own toothbrush holder for my very own toothbrush:). I've long wanted to store my toothbrush counter top (when I'm living in Provo), but to this point I have always shared the bathroom with another person/people, and I don't know, putting my toothbrush on the counter in a cup or something felt somehow presumptuous. So I kept it stored in a case in my designated drawer. Not anymore!

My new student ID card. (It's not that I don't trust you, but I blurred out some identifying information like the number; but I figured my name is already shown on this website as Jamie M. Hansen and you probably know I'm a student at BYU so no harm there:)). Anyway, this card is my means to access a meal plan generously purchased by my dad. As much as I said I didn't need one (and meant it), it sure is convenient and on countless occasions (including when I purchased all those cleaning supplies below from the Creamery) is right up there with my favorite things.

My very own cleaning supplies (and toilet paper!) for my very own bathroom. I really don't mind sharing, but there is something to be said for knowing who will be using this stuff (me) and that it will still be there next time I go for it. Enough said. :)

I got a new computer. :) Isn't pretty? I LOVE it. I love the feel of the keyboard, I love the screen, the track pad, the 10-key number pad; even the speakers are impressive! And I must say, Windows 7 has been surprisingly nice. It's been a much enjoyed step-up from my last one and I feel like I finally have a laptop I love as much as I did my Apple. Thank you, Daddy! It's SO great! Dissertation, here I come!

So this was primarily just meant to be another picture of my new Lenovo, but as it turns out it also showcases some of my other favorite things: my comfy bed, that guitar, my phone and iPod (love my means of staying in touch with all of you!) and a very refreshing gum Paula introduced me to, IceBreakers Ice Cubes - "it's good!"

I love having a chocolate stash. Sometimes I just get that craving for chocolate and it is wonderfully satisfying to have something like this on hand. Blankets are super nice to have around too. Fall and Winter will be here before we know it!

I was super psyched about this purchase (just ask anyone I saw on campus that day). It's a letter-opener and it cost 99 cents. Someone asked, "Do you get a lot of mail?" Well no. And truth be told, I haven't had an opportunity to use it yet, but I'm excited for when I do! It makes opening even bills a more enjoyable experience. :)

So there is a lot in this picture that I could talk about (books, movies...) but there is one clear object of focus that has been a tremendously rewarding find for me; it hasn't made it to the wall yet since I'm afraid of hanging it crooked, but what you see on that shelf is my very own framed picture of the Savior. I found a sale (50% off from Seagull Book!) and it was the last one at the store so I jumped on it. $20 for a 14x16 already-framed Greg Olsen "Gentle Healer" (one of my absolute favorite paintings of Christ). I LOVE having that picture in my room. Even now, I love being able to look over from where I'm sitting at my desk and see that beautiful painting (or print of painting, if we want to get technical).

Well there you have it. A few of my favorite things. I'm not feeling any sort of conclusion magic and we all know I'm not the best at goodbyes. So...that's a wrap, folks.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"It's [her] day, [her] day of birth!"


I know you've been disappointed that I haven't posted on my blog lately, but I am here to rectify the situation! And what better reason could there be than this, the 5th day of August, your birthday! Wahoo!
Well there is much I could say to you on this special day. But since this is a public blog and oh I don't know a whole five or so people may at some point read this as well, can I sing your praises? YOU'RE SO COOL!

I truly am grateful to have Natalie in my life. She is a wonderful sister and friend to me. I'm saddened by the thought of future summers without her (they only give those optometry students at Pacific their first summer off and then it's no nonsense the rest of the way!). Seriously though, these summers together are like the highlight of my year! We have so much fun without having to do anything in particular. Talking, laughing, watching movies or TV. I love it. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, she gets me GREAT deals on glasses!! Yesterday, she brought home my new semi-rimless glasses AND my new prescription sunglasses!! (Two firsts for me; pictures to follow...not yet, I haven't taken them, but this is a blog-worthy occasion in my mind, so in time, they will come). But I've digressed!

Back to the wonderful woman of the hour (who is not as yet awake on this her day of birth). I wish you the happiest of birthdays, Natalie. You say you check this everyday. I guess this will be the true test of that claim. :) But I hope you haven't given up on me (or the blog). I was just waiting for a note-worthy occasion like Natalie Jane's 22nd birthday!! Again, I hope it's a happy one. We love you!!

P.S. You're so studious. :)

Though at this particular moment, you were merely taking score for our game of Hearts on a paper plate. But look at that focus! Heehee...

Oh and did I mention? Natalie, happy birthday!

Friday, June 3, 2011

[Root] beer bellies and happy palates!

I love root beer. It's one of my favorite things to drink. A few years ago, the birthday fairies (obviously informed by someone who knew me well) left me a beautiful arrangement of various brands of root beer. It was pretty exciting to walk up the stairs that morning and see all that root beer on the table waiting for me. I specifically asked for it this year (knowing we'd all be together, I thought it would be a fun time for another root beer tasting). Well, I don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but I was right. Thanks to all those who contributed to the wonderfully varied selection! (And for your shared enthusiasm). :)


Weren't the Dixie cups a good idea? My mom is brilliant. And Jennie is very organized. :) Here is a picture of her line-up:

And the winners are...

Mmm. My favorite was Henry Weinhard's, Paula's was the Sioux City (which came in a very close second for me) and I think these were the majority favorites overall; though Teddy's deserves a special shout-out as it was Jennie's personal favorite. She felt it was the closest to Brick Oven root beer. Oh so good...I want to go there now!

And now for the root beer bellies. Well, Paula had little "Julio" as he is affectionately called by Natalie (i.e., unborn baby boy Whitmer) helping her out but you'd be surprised how much root beer can fill you up! I felt pretty full, it's true. But now that I'm posting about it, I wish I had another bottle right now!

I feel like I should break out into a rousing, personalized version of "these are a few of my favorite things!" I don't know where it would fit syllable-wise, but root beer would have to be in there somewhere! Yay for birthday root beer tastings.