Dream Jobs?

Someone once asked me what my dream job is. My dream job is to be a Park Ranger in the National Parks. I would love to work in; Joshua Tree during the winter so I can rock climb on my days off, Yosemite in the spring when the waterfalls run full and the valley and meadows are in bloom, Yellowstone in the summer to time Old Faithful and hike for days on end, the Great Smokey Mountains in the fall to see the array of golden colors and hike the Appalachian trail. When I told my friend I would love to be a Park Ranger she asked simply, "Why aren't you?" I was dumbfounded. Why wasn't I?
Do I think I don't have the training or experience necessary? Do I think that since I work in the financial industry, that I can't do something completely different? What if I find out I can't become a Park Ranger for one reason or another? Would that ruin my dream and therefore I would rather do nothing than find out my dream can't come true? What if I'm given a chance and fail miserably? Would I rather just keep my dream and not risk losing it?
All of these questions and so many more lead back to one answer, fear. I fear that which I do not know. Sometimes I rage against the things I fear the most.
I am afraid of heights. I know it is completely in my head and that I must get over it, so I rock climb. Hanging from a carabiner on a 10 millimeter rope off the side of a sheer cliff certainly gives you a perspective on what is important and what really matters. My life literally hangs in the balance.
I am afraid of the dark. When I was 8 years old I watched the original Nightmare on Elm Street. It does not seem so scary now, but it was terrifying when it first came out and doubley more for an 8 year old. I was determined not to fall asleep, though being awake in the dark scared me even more. I could not go to the bathroom without opening the shower curtain the entire way first. Today, I force my self not to run towards my bed when I switched off the light, and I don't turn on the light or pull back the curtain when I use the bathroom in the middle of the night. There have been times when I get a chill down my neck, but I stand fast and don't let my mind take me away.
I have overcome these two fears to the best of my ability. Why do I fear success? Or is it failure that scares me now? Do I think they won't accept me because I'm not a college graduate? Is that what I use as my excuse, or do I say reason? I have looked into the requirements to become a Park Ranger and I could meet them. I can do anything, if I only I choose to.
So, why don't I? What is holding me back? My husband? No, he would support me in anything I choose to do. Then it must be me. Why do I hold myself back? Fear to step out of my comfort zone with my comfortable paycheck and home, to unknown terrain? As a hiker and a backpacker, I should be comfortable with unknown terrain. I suppose I am, as long as I know the way home. I would have to leave my comfortable home in Oceanside to be a Park Ranger in any National Park, as Joshua Tree is probably the closest and yet still 2 hours away. But I don't believe it is my address that holds me back.
Why do we dream of things? I have asked many people what their dream jobs are, and the vast majority are not doing them. Some people are. Working for the Red Cross, being a financial advisor, DJ'ing, teaching, nursing, staying at home to raise children, and those who work at their children's school. These are some people that are doing their dream job. Why am I not? What makes these people different from me? Is it easier to become a teacher than a Park Ranger? I doubt it.
I took my first steps today. I e-mailed the Career Center at Mira Costa College for some guidance on the courses necessary to become a Park Ranger. I also checked out the Red Cross classes to get Wilderness and First Response certified for first-aid and CPR (these would be helpful no matter what).
These steps are easy baby steps, but at least it's a start. Writing this blog is also a baby step. Helping me to voice my concerns and questions. My next steps are bigger: taking classes and sending off resume's and inquiries. Giant steps like moving and starting from scratch may come. Each journey begins with the first. It's a dangerous business stepping out on the road. If you don't keep your feet, you never know where you'll be swept off to.
I hope that I will overcome this fear as I have overcome my fear of heights and darkness. With faith in God and the support of my husband, I can do anythng. Including becoming a Park Ranger. Start looking for me leading back country hikes. Maybe I'll see you there

I love Ramen

Why is Ramen so good? I love it. I have always loved it. Despite my love for this sodium soaked pasta delight, I will not pay more than $0.10 cents per pack, or 10 for $1 dollar. I will not buy Ramen at it's not sale price of $0.14 cents. I will wait until it goes on sale.
Perhaps it is the thriftiness that was forced upon me when I was a child. My family never had money and we moved alot, so Ramen was a staple in our home. When I moved out on my own and realized how expensive rent is (my parents did a good job at keeping us from being homeless), I sustained myself on Ramen.
I cook Ramen with the noodles intact, I do not break them. I boil the noodles until they are soft, drain out almost all the water, then add the spice packet. I have recently taken up adding frozen mixed vegetables (no lima beans) and a bit of Italian Dressing. I cook the veggies in with the noodles in the water. If I use Italian Dressing, I will not use the entire spice packet as it is too strong.
When I first lived on my own, I was poorer than I could comprehend. Friends and family gave my their change jars to live on. This turned out quite well for me actually. There's more money than you think in your change jar, and people don't look at it like a loan, because the amount is not set. My gramma gave me two big pickel jars full of change, ended up being about $400 bucks!! I was helping them move and she shoved the jars in my arms and said "Go put these in you car and don't tell grampa!" Gramma's Rock!
I have gotten very creative with my Ramen. I can make some good Ramen spaghetti. One small can of tomota sauce, some of those $0.99 cent spices that come in bags (garlic, oregano & basil) and one Ramen packet (leave out the spice packet for future use).
When people see me eating Ramen, they alwasy say the same things : Oh, I used to eat Ramen when I was... a kid; in college; my first apartment; in high school, etc, etc. Always in the past, never in the present. Like Ramen is some sort of stage you grow out of. Maybe I never grew out of it. But today, 28 years old with a mortgage, a business and an SUV, I still eat Ramen on a regualr basis. What does that say about me? I don't know if I care what is says about me. I like Ramen, Ramen is good, Ramen is my friend. Ramen Forever!!!
How do you like your Ramen?


It's raining here in sunny San Diego. I love it. I don't necessarily like being cold and wet, but I love the sound of the rain, the way it clears the air. The scent of a storm coming and the way the air feels just before the rain comes.
It's amazing to watch the sky ripple and sway as the wind arranges the clouds to her liking. Deep purples, dark grays color across the horizon, I see the sheet of water coming in over the dark blue ocean. The water grows colder, darker and harder.
Waves crashing menacingly as they run from the coming onslaught. Trees shiver and quake in exciting anticipation of the renewal that comes with the rushing wind, roots lusting for the droplets of life. Sand and soil open their mouths to drink in the water, storing it deep in the bowels of the earth.
Some animals hide in their burrows, anxious for the storm to pass. Others revel in the downpour, absorbing life and dancing with the clouds.
As the torrent pours forth it's wrath, the earth welcomes and envelops it with open arms. Wind twists and turns through buildings, trees, and people. Rocks believe they stand firm and the innocent droplets steal tiny pieces of them, carrying their treasure to unknown locals.
One drop gathers it's strength in the dark gray cloud and plunges toward the earth with full intent. Does it carry life or death?
Were it to land among the leaves of an oak tree, slowly making it's way to the roots, it would bring life. Were it to add it's strength to the growing collection behind the weakening levy, it would bring death and destruction.
If this tiny drop were to strike it's force upon the mountainside, it would carry a slice of the mountain itself to far off places, down streams to riverbeds over waterfalls and rapids to the large delta where fresh and salt clash in torrents of brackish mist.
If that simple drop were to fall softly on my warm tongue, I would taste the joy of the rain, feel the love God has for me and know that I am alive.
I love the rain.

Leading Me Carefully Down

2 Ne. 28: 21
"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."

When the liar cannot get to us with the big things, he gets to us with the little ones. He gets to us through small cracks we have chosen to forget, or grains of memory we have calloused over. He lies to us, by telling us that we do not deserve what we have. That we are not worthy of the people in our lives. That we are bad and dirty because of our past choices and mistakes. He lies to us, because he cannot tell us the truth. There is no truth in him.
We not only deserve all the things we have, our Father will pour out more on us each day. So much that we cannot hold it all. Our cups runneth over. We are worthy of the people in our lives. They are not perfect either, and we need each other to get through this life. We can and must help each other to reach our full potential.
There has only been one person who lived on this earth that did not sin, his name is Jesus Christ. We have all done bad things and have felt dirty. Yet, through the Atonement of Christ and the blessing of baptism, we can repent of our past and be made clean. Every day we can recommit ourselves to do the best we can.
Yes, we will stumble and fall. Yes, we will make mistakes and sin. Yes, we will have unclean thoughts and feelings toward others. But we choose whether or not to dwell on those thoughts, feelings and actions. Or to nip them in the bud and choose to see ourselves as our Father in Heaven sees us, his beautiful child.
The liar has to know us in order to lead us carefully down. If he can't us with the big things, he must study us to see where the cracks in our armor are. Where those hidden memories linger. He must then carefully and slowly enter in.
Like slinking through a barely open door. First he just peeks through the crack to see what's inside. One memory we're not sure if we want to let go of. Then he slips one toe in to see if we will slam it shut. We dwell on that memory while driving or before we fall asleep. If we do not shut the door, he sneaks in another toe. We elaborate on that memory and remember how it felt. Then part of his foot, then his whole foot. We think about the people involved in our hidden memory and wonder what they're doing. He waits.
Did we notice him coming in? We think about finding our old friend. No, we did not notice his sneaking, in comes his ankle and part of a leg. Now it's much harder to close the door. He's working on our old friend as well, maybe a chance run-in. His knee and thigh push the door wider open. He is almost inside. We start to look at our life today and it doesn't seem as fun, as adventurous as we used to be. Now his hand has reached around and grabbed the doorknob.
We start to envy our old life and fantasize about what it could be again. He's halfway through the door, he's looking at us. What does he see? He sees us sitting in a dark room, holding the little hidden memory in our cold hands. Does it give us light? Does it give us warmth? No. It gives us nothing but regret and envy. He stands in the doorway. We start to wonder. He takes a step inside. Why are we thinking about stuff like this? He stops and waits, biding his time.
We have had many opportunities to choose along this path. It is much harder to force him out the door when he is already a step inside. Slamming his toe would have been much easier. What to do now? We know that these thoughts and desires do not lead to anywhere we want to go. What do we do? That's easy, fall to your knees. And shove him out the door, slam it in his face and say "Get behind me Satan, I make no room for you."
God will never leave us alone. He will never look down on us, or turn away from us. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much he sacrificed his first born Son so that we would not have to be sacrificed. We choose everyday how we want to live. How we want others to view us, and how we want to deal with lies. I say, slam the door, lock the deadbolt, slide the chain, put a chair under the knob, get a pitbull and shotgun and don't let that sneaking little liar in. Shoot him in the head and let the dog eat the rest.

I'm not going to let him lead me carefully down anymore.

War In Heaven

"You were in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world you will be enthralled with those who you are associated with. You will ask someone in which time period he lived and you might hear, I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea, or I helped build the pyramids, or I fought with Captain Moroni. And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask, 'Which prophets time did you live in?' And when you say Gordon B. Hinckley, a hush will fall over every hall, every corridor in heaven and all in attendance will bow at your presence. You were held back six thousand years because you were the most talented, most obedient, most courageous, and most righteous. Are you still? Remember who you are."
-Boyd K. Packer

Big Hair Days or The AquaNet Era

Middle school was the time in my life when big hair was all the rage. With mile-high bangs and wings floating over my ears, I proudly walked the halls of Washington Middle School in the stunning metropolis of Vista, CA.. I was rad! My Guess jeans with the zippers at the ankle and flourescent socks and shirts, dang I was a hot 6th grader! Although my hair was short (tramatic story in a bit), I spent most of my early morning layering on the AquaNet. Many of these layers ended up on my curling iron as well (the aroma of burning hairspray still lingers in my memory). My 6th grade yearbook picture shows me proudly sporting a stunning display of 4 inch high bangs curving majestically in crispy wave of brunette locks. Good times, good times.
The time of year all big hair girls dreaded was the inevitable swim practice we all had to be tortured with. Water and hairspray do not mix, but do leave a sparkling layer of oily residue on the pool surface! Some silly girls tried to swim without getting their hair wet. Inevitably some mean pre-pubescent boy would splash them and their dried AquaNet would repolymerize, completely crashing and reforming their waves of stiff bangs and wings. This is never pretty picture. Screaming young girl in a pool, savagely trying to brush her quickly reforming quaffe out of her face in a vain attempt to safe the drenched locks. Many an hour has been spent in front of the locker room mirrors trying to make themselves presentable to the world again.
Moral of the story: If you need hairspray, you are having a bad hair day and should wear a hat.

Don't Run With Scissors

A bit long, but very entertaining.
It was a sunny Sunday morning and the birds were sweetly chirping. My brothers sloppy mop head and the new Madonna video would soon lead to one of the most traumatic experiences of my short life. Taking one look at my older brothers cowlicks, my mothers scooped us up and deposited my brother and I at Supercuts, taking my Rapunzel Barbie sister with her to the grocery store. I, being an 11-year-old undeveloped tomboy, had no need to further masculinize myself. Yet the powers that be felt differently.
Madonna had just come out with a new video showing her rolling on the floor in a corset and drinking milk out of a bowl like a cat. She was also sporting a blonde bobbed hairdo (Bobbed: chin length in the front, shorter in the back. For those of you not up on the hairdo lingo) I knew this look was for me. Every 11-year tomboy wants to look sexy, they just dont tell anyone.
I sit in the chair of a young bouncy stylist (a beauty school dropout who experiments in psychology). I describe the 'do I'm looking for and she tells me she has seen said Madonna video. She then asks if I want it layered. I had no idea what this meant, but not wanting to look uneducated (remember I was 11) I gave a resounding Yes! To my downfall. Snip, snip, snip. Her scissors begin to cut my shoulder length hair down, or is it up? She keeps cutting. And cutting. And cutting. And cutting. Do you see a pattern here? With every snip of her mutilating scissors, I sunk deeper and deeper into the chair, in a vain attempt to end the massacre. With one final snip the death toll rang.
I mustered up the last of my fragile courage, and with shorn head hanging down, went to my brother to get money to pay the shearing wench. I was on the verge of tears. My brother did not see me (in retrospect, perhaps he simply did not recognize me as his sister. I certainly didnt look it.) The final straw was placed on my camels back. My brothers haircutter said to him, "Oh look, theres your little brother". Im a girl you fat whore!! The tears that had been sitting on the verge broke through the floodgates and streamed down my reddening cheeks. I ran out the door, full force into my mother. She was in shock seeing her daughter crying, screaming, running out the door looking like her son.
Monday morning came much too soon. My mom was sympathetic, though not to the point of allowing me to be home-schooled until my hair grew back. She put me in a dress, curled what little bits of hair she could, let me put on blush and shiny lip-gloss. As feminine as I had been in a very long time. I felt a tiny bit better. They made fun of me on the bus. Children can be painfully cruel. I dove directly from the bus to the girls bathroom at school, locked myself in the farthest stall and refused to come out until my hair was knee length.
The bell rang. Everyone went to class and sat in their little desks. My desk was empty as I was locked in the bathroom crying my eyes out, cursing the beauty school gods. One of my well-meaning friends informed my teacher that I was crying in the bathroom and would not come out. She ran to my rescue. After many promises of protection and much cajoling later, I finally allowed her to escort me into my classroom. Every head turned to stare at me in my pain. The sniggers and pointing started immediately. Pour more salt in my gaping open wounds please. That'd be great. Thanks. Looking back, they were probably laughing at me because they had never seen me in a dress before, but in my mind I only saw boy hair! I have never again cut my hair that short, and never will. Even when I am an old member of the silver fox club, I will have long silver fox hair and will put it up in a bun.

Moral of the story: It takes a lifetime to get over the scars of our youth. Don't torture kids. They'll blog about you later.

Roller Rinks and Tailbones

At one point in my life, I would have said that I was a pretty good rollerskater. On 8 wheels I would do little tricks like jump off curbs and roll along backwards. Then I grew up and realized that falling down hurts and scabs were no longer cool. Having not been on rollerskates since elementary school, I was excited to go to Ups and Downs Roller Rink (suitable name) with friends from church. The time frame is about 6 1/2 years ago and many years after elementary school and my days of daring tricks.
As I laced up the rented white four wheelers, I got that wonderful sense of reminisce, and remembered my brave tricks of old. I thought, no problem, I'm not an old lady, I'll fly on these! Woe to me. I looked about at coordinated as any other spindley legged walrus on butter coated ballbearings could look. It was not a pretty sight. I was slow. Children were flying past me like and I was an old lady in the slow lane. The guy I was "dating" at the time ( a cute blonde Marine) brought his rollerblades and showed off for everyone to envy. As he lapped me for the umpteenth time, he cruised along backwards just to rub it in. I caught up with some girlfriends and we hatched a wonderful plan to play whiptail.
For those of you unfamiliar with this particular fourwheeler game, you all get in a line and hold on to each others waists (or there abouts). The person in front of the line skates as fast as they can in erratic directions, causing the people at the back of the whip to fly around very quickly. All in the name of good clean fun. I, being the slowest skater of the bunch, ended up in the back as they all raced to get in line. I think we were about 6 people deep. I grabbed onto my friend Brittany's (beautiful blonde in my Top Friends) waistband and off we went whipping along. In my memory time both flies by and slows painfully down in the next few moments.
The roller rink blurred by as I tried desperately to cling to Brittany's jeans. I am whipping this way and that as our fearless leader weaves and dodges through the crowd of innocent bystanders. I have no recollection of how many laps we did, but the following incident is very clear and in slow motion. I'll type slowly so you can get the full effect. Picture me, graceful as a drunken monkey, losing all balance and orientation on one last turn. My spidey survival sense tells me to hold on tight so I don't fall down and kill myself. Here's the problem, I am holding on to someone pants who is traveling almost as fast as I am and also trying desperately not to die.
Brittany's spidey survival sense tells her, something is pulling you down, Get it off you!! The problem is that it's me that's pulling her down and I dont want to let go. She attempts to turn around and unlocked my death grip on her jeans. I see the fear in her eyes as we both start crashing to the ground. She has slowed down quite a bit in her turn, I have not. As we collapse in a heap on the concrete hard floor, I hear a gasp of pain emanate from her lips. I know she is hurt and it's all my fault. Bad Emily, no Donut!
She is on her back on the rink floor, using my still forward inertia I launch on top of her and cry out, "Oh My Gosh Brittany Are You OK!?!?" Here's the mental image: Crowded roller rink, many people circling by, two beautiful women with long hair, laying Missionary style of the rink floor grabbing each other and rolling back and forth. We put on quite a show. People stopped and watched, ordering drinks from the passing waitress. We slowly, carefully and painfully make our way off the rink floor, through the crowd of cheering onlookers and onto the carpeted area. Brittany is holding her backside and nearly in tears. Turns out, she broke her tailbone (coccyx for you Med students). I still owe her a donut pillow (and so many other things).
Moral of the story: When youre in trouble, dont drag others down with you. Just let go!!

By Me

Time spent in wonderment and fantasy
Lives lived and passed on
Experiences play out in my mind
As I ponder on you

Questions seep through my veins
When? Ever? How? Will you? Can I?

Trust and forgiveness are fragile and heavy
Bonds unbroken after so many years
And so much hurt

What does it mean?
Signs and connections scream for my attention
I know who sends them

Standing on the brink I fathom the distance
The shoreline pulls and pushes, closer then farther

Miles and time matter not to the heart
Loves flame is never truly extinguished
It waits
Biding its time
Knowing the moment will come

Will I recognize it?
Has it passed?
Opportunities are never lost
They pass on to another

It is others I hope for
Futures I desire to create
Longing in my heart to know that joy

Stabbing pain when kind words are spoken
Standing, barren and fruitless
Penance for the past
Or, perhaps, He knows the time
I will wait for you
-Emily JoAnn

First Impresssions Last Forever!

While we sat in our car waiting for some realtor guy to show up and show us a house we might spend FAR too much money on, another couple and their "on time" realtor showed up to look at the same house. Realtor, wife, husband and daughter walked into the house in that order. 35 seconds later; Wife, realtor (hot on her heels) husband with daughter in tow came storming out of the house, in that order.

Daymon and I look at each other and think the same thing, what's wrong with this house that would make them run from it? We would soon find out. Our realtor guy showed up later and unlocked the front door. I walked in and was stared at. Stared at in a way that only death can stare at you. Stared at in a way that only 10 glass eyes can stare at you. Stared at by 5 mounted DEER HEADS!!!!! I busted out laughing!!

Now, remember, I am from Idaho. Where young boys get rifles at the age of 12 and hunting season is year-round. I have eaten things my father has shot. Many times his skill with a rifle got us through harsh Idaho winters. Seeing mounted deer heads was not foreign to me, in Idaho. I do not now live in Idaho. I live in California, San Diego nonetheless. Not deer country.

I could see nothing in this home that I was supposed to be purveying but the 5-point Bucks that never made it past another winter. 5 deer heads and I hadn't even made it past the living room! After I controlled my fits of laughter we turned to the dining room. Floor to vaulted ceiling sported uncountable antlers and horns mounted proudly on the wall. Oh dear! I would guess 20 more defenseless animals were taken down in the prime of their lives, only to have their head adornments chopped off and put on display in this tract house. My jaw dropped in awe. Or disgust, I don't know.

Above the kitchen pantry was yet another taxidermist specialty. We are at 6 heads now. Moving down the hall we check out the Pepto-Bismol colored bathroom and slide in the Master Bedroom. Displayed proudly above the queen size bed is by far the largest and most prized possession of this homeowner/Bambi's mom killer. I think this head once belonged to the rest of an Elk, a big one. A massive elk. We're talking "total your car" elk here! This proud hunter awoke every morning to stare up the dried nostrils of a dead animal. Oh, what joy!

I am now numb to the death and machismo in this domicile and move on to the next room. A little boys room with a racecar theme, no dead heads here. The last room has a handwritten sign on the door. "Owner has some lizards. Please keep door closed." Now I am not your typical female. I like snakes and bugs and crawly things. I am not scared of them (unless they move too fast or I cannot see them but know they are there). I open the door to the Lizard Room and am confronted with… a 12-FOOT BURMESE PYTHON!!!!! The "I can kill you in one squeeze" shiny green snake turned its 5-inch diamond shaped head toward me, reared up as much as it could in its 100-gallon glass tank and HISSED AT ME!!!!!!

I stared at it. Stared in a way that only someone who is in fear of their lives can stare at a snake that could kill them. I then cursed out loud and stepped into the room! I know, at this point you are thinking, "What are you doing? Get the heck outta there!" I couldn't, I was so enthralled. I had to know what else I would find in this madhouse! And find I did.

As you may or may not know, baby rattlesnakes are among the most dangerous and deadly creatures on the earth. They bite without provocation and they cannot control their venom. When they bite you, they release all of their very potent venom into you. And they do not let go. As I turned from the hissing python monster, I saw another terrarium with a nest of baby rattlers and one big rattler mama! It is illegal in any state to cage indigenous animals. Which means taking a venomous snake that lives in the area naturally and putting it in a fish tank in the bedroom next to your son is wrong. It's just wrong people!!!

Seeing the baby rattlers put much more fear into me. I did not know how much fear I had left, I soon learned. I turned again and saw a 6-foot Monitor Lizard swishing and hissing from his murky water tub! Monitor lizards are carnivores, like alligators and crocodiles. They have large, sharp teeth and claws to catch fish and small animals and rip them to shreds. This monitor lizard was not in a cage, or tank. It was swishing its 3-foot long tale in a pool of dirty water while sitting in Rubbermaid bin. I wondered how many times the massive carnivore cruised the house, looking for new prey. Now I truly understood fear.

The last tank held bearded dragons and Gila monsters, also indigenous, but not nearly as nasty as their neighbors. As I backed out of this near death experience room, the python monster hissed at me again, and watched me as I moved toward the door. I closed the door and saw the small handwritten sign again. "Owner has some lizards. Please keep door closed." Lizards huh? LIZARDS!! The sign should have more accurately read, "Owner has a death wish and is keeping his impending doom behind this door. Enter at your own risk! I'm warning you!!"

Needless to say, we bought that house. We got a great deal! He said he had no other offers. Hmm. Wonder why? We had the house fumigated in case any baby rattlers got loose.

Moral of the story: First impressions last forever.
This is a true story. I really do live in this house today. There is a whole other story as to the day we tried to move in. Stay tuned…