Saturday, April 28, 2007

A bocci challenge

WEP - think you can handle a bocci challenge that doesn't take place on your home turf? I now have my own bocci set. So next week, when you're in Logan, I challenge you to a game.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Inspiration is lacking

I have wanted to blog recently, but haven't had anything inspire me, so I apologize. Work has been crazy and will be for the next six weeks until school gets out. School will be stressful this week until I finish my last two assignments and two tests, which will be completed by next Tuesday. Other than that, not much of note is happening. I'll keep you posted, though, should anything exciting happen.

P.S. Deidra did bring me a cinnamon-sugar pretzel at work today. That was definitely exciting!

Friday, April 20, 2007

All-Electronic Program, you say?

Dear S. Larsen at Citibank,

I signed up for electronic billing with my Citibank card a while ago. Ever since I did, I get this letter in the mail every month:

It might be hard to see because of the page crease, but the first paragraph reads:
Your Citibank statement is now available at This notification is part of the All-Electronic Program you enrolled in to receive your statements online instead of in the mail.
My question: If it really is an "All-Electronic Program" (I like the capitalization, by the way - it just makes it seem so very official), then why do you keep sending me this letter every month in the mail? I am certainly capable of checking my statement and making electronic payments without this paper notification, especially since I get a notification via email as well. If I wanted something every month in the mail to remind me that I have a Citibank account, I would not have signed up for the "All-Electronic Program" in the first place.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Seeking movie recommendations

Deidra and I have watched a few movies on DVD recently, and have not had much luck finding one that we really enjoy. Maybe we're just hard to please, but it seems like movies justa aren't as good as they used to be. Recently, we have watched Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and King Kong (actually, I watched King Kong by myself) and we were pretty disappointed in all three of them. In fact, I'm trying to think of a movie that we have watched recently that we did enjoy. We saw The Pursuit of Happyness in the theater (watching a movie in the theater is a rarity for us) and I really liked it, though Deidra thought it was pretty depressing for most of the movie. Other than that, I am hard-pressed to remember a movie we enjoyed recently.

So if anybody has seen a good movie lately and wants to make recommendations, I'd be interested to hear them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Answering Machine Message

On Saturday, my parents came into town to spend some time with us and to make sure I was doing okay after ol' wisdom teeth had been extracted. We spent part of the day shopping and then went to lunch. They were amazed that I was eating chips and salsa a mere two days after the surgery and that I wasn't swollen. I snuck out of one of the stores where we were shopping and ran next door to Best Buy (where I had a $10 gift card) to buy Peter Pan on DVD for Deidra for Easter. I'm so sneaky - she didn't think she was going to get much of anything for Easter.

After spending time running around with my parents, took a nice nap to recover. Then Deidra and I went back to shopping for a bit in order to find her a cute Easter dress. I had previously purchased a new 3-piece suit, which my mother-in-law had recently hemmed (Thanks Patrice!) - so then we were both ready for church on Easter Sunday.

At some point during our exploits that day, there was a message left on our answering machine. Since our answering machine is located in our spare bedroom, sometimes we don't notice messages for a while. While we were getting ready for bed at 9:30ish (yeah, I know, we're like old people going to bed so early), I notice the message and pressed play, only to hear the following:

"Hello, Brother Hartwell, this is the Stake Executive Secretary. President Seamons [the 2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency] would like to meet with you tomorrow if you are in town. Please call me back when you get this message and we can get that set up."

That message definitely caught me off guard. One of those that gets your head spinning, wondering what it could be about. I returned the call and set up an appointment for the following morning before church. I certainly did not sleep much that night, and Deidra didn't help much when she said: "Don't worry - they probably just want to call you as the Stake Choir Pianist of something." I hadn't even thought of that possibility! I recently was released as our ward choir pianist, which had been one of the most challenging callings I had ever held. So that made me even more nervous.

As I pulled into the stake center parking lot and walked down the hall to the stake offices, my heart was beating and mind was racing. I was welcomed by President Seamons and took a seat in his office. After a few questions about how school, work, and fmaily life were going, he got down to business:

"Brother Hartwell, as you are probably aware, our Stake Conference is coming up in two weeks, and I would like you to speak as part of the Sunday morning general session in the Tabernacle. How do you feel about that?"

I was speechless for a moment as I let it all sink in. First - relief that it wasn't a long-term stake calling. Then - a return of the nervousness as I thought about speaking in front of such a large congregation. Finally, I gathered all my strength, opened my mouth, and replied that I would certainly do my best and would happy to speak.

So now here I am, mulling over my topic of "faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ" and hoping that I will be able to prepare and present something that will be inspiring to those present. It's definitely a humbling feeling, but I know that it will all turn out well if I rely on my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and rely upon His Spirit as I ponder and prepare my message.

Back to the ol' grind

It's been five days since my wisdom teeth were taken out, and I finally had to start back at work this morning. The surgery went well and I woke up this morning feeling better than I have in a while - no more throbbing pain, no need for the ice pack, no need for the ibuprofen or vicaprofen. So now it's back to work as usual. Eight more weeks until the schools are out for the summer and I am counting down right along with the teachers and students (38 days after today!). I'm not sure what I will be doing during the summer months at work (last year, I worked 2 days/week with Kelly Educational and 3 days/week with the commercial Kelly Services branch). What I do know is that I have been accepted into the Management and Human Resources graduate program at USU - starting in the fall - so I will be busy taking my final three prerequisite classes during the summer. I also know of at least three weddings of friends and families that are on our calendar so far. Add to that a a number of musical performances and a possible CD release (though that may not be until later), and it should be a pretty busy little summer! But I am looking forward to the twelve somewhat stress-free weeks at work during that time.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Going under

Tomorrow morning I get all four of my wisdom teeth out. The oral surgeon has assured me that it will be a routine procedure, and that the recovery should be fairly quick (especially since none of them are impacted). Over a month ago, I made the appointment for tomorrow and have not thought much about. But now that it's less than 24 hours away, I'm starting to get a little nervous. I know I really have nothing to worry about, but sometimes that still doesn't keep one from worrying. I have never been "put under" before, so I am a little nervous about what that is going to feel like and then there's always the fear of something going majorly wrong and not waking up (as unfounded as that fear may be). And what about when I do wake up? Am I going to be out of it for a while? Is it going to hurt? Am I going to be able to enjoy any of this 5-day span of not working - including Easter? I know some people who were mostly normal within a day of the opration and other that were down for a long time and had to deal with a number of problems associated with the removal of wisdom teeth (dry sockets, infections, etc). Let's just hope that the procedure and recovery are as painless and quick as I have been told it should be.