Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Christmas letter that almost was

Due to some technical difficulties, my first Christmas letter didn't make its way into circulation this year. Perhaps I'll be more successful next year. For your enjoyment, here's what I would have sent you if my computer hadn't quit on me for a week and a half. Merry Christmas!

December 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas! I appreciate the tradition of reconnecting with loved ones through cards and letters this time of year as we celebrate the birth of the Savior. Here’s a status update along with a wish for a very merry Christmas to all my friends and family. This has been quite the year for me as I’ve started a new chapter in my life: divorced Mormon triathlete. I’m still trying to figure it all out.

The highlight of my summer was my Sister Vacation. In June, I told my friends I was tired of the Riverside heat, so I was going to visit my sisters… in Phoenix and Las Vegas. I spent some time in Phoenix with Tamara reconnecting and reminiscing as we worked on getting things ready for her wedding. Then I headed to Las Vegas where I discovered my sister Andrea had grown into a beautiful, talented and accomplished young woman. After twenty-something years, I could finally get past the fact that she stole my mother’s lap. We had a great time running errands completing projects, and eating frozen custard.

With the support of my friend Taylor and her family, I started the addictive life style of a triathlete. They introduced me to power gel, Wright socks, and the art of squeezing into a wet suit. My first race was at Camp Pendleton in August where I swam 500 m in the ocean, biked 30 K and ran 5 K in 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds, barely meeting my goal time by 20 seconds. I had an amazing cheering section!

I finally made the step into the blogosphere this year and began a few blogs, but only after reading a book about blogging. You can follow my triathlon training, my cooking adventures, and me all from the comfort of your computer. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with friends and cousins through their blogs.

My bishop found out that I play the piano, and now I’m accompanying the children at church. I’m trying to whip my fingers into shape after a seven year hiatus from piano playing. Each week gets easier, but my fingers are quite stubborn and just don’t want to play the right notes. When I was sustained in front of the congregation, my friend whispered to me I didn’t know you could play the piano. I whispered back Shh, don’t tell anyone: it’s a secret. I think the cat’s out of the bag.

This year has brought me closer to my girl friends. Stephanie has served as a great sounding board. I cherish our weekly conversations at our favorite coffee shop. She has an art for giving perspective and encouraging me. Adriana is my social coordinator and can be counted on for a classy, entertaining evening filled with informed dialogue. Asia has helped smooth my transition back to church. I’m comforted to know that I have a seat on her pew and can count on her for a smile and hug at any time. Taylor is my inspiration for joining the triathlon scene. She has taught me how to run, swim, and bike with joy and enthusiasm.

The Carty family has been amazing as they’ve welcomed me into their home. I truly appreciate living in a home with a family. They’ve made sure I feel like a family member rather than just a renter. They even tolerate my piano practicing.

I hope that this letter finds you well as you celebrate this Christmas season.

Take care,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bike ride views

I have found my passion: I love cycling. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I can hardly wait for the sun to rise on Saturdays so I can go for my ride. One of my favorite rides takes me through the orange groves in Riverside and along the Gage canal. Here are some pictures from a recent ride.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The quest for a new soundtrack

Since I purged my iTunes library of the more angsty music that has been filling my ears for the last few years, I need to invest some time (and money) in developing a new score for my life. Last night I took the time to explore Pandora. (Yes, I'm WAY behind the times). I've been so dependent on others for music recommendations over the years. Discovering my own style is a new adventure for me.

Here's a few highlights from my first foray with Pandora.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Some holiday festivities

Santa JocelynThis is what happens when I stay home from work with a cold in December: click here for some silliness. 


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 1, 2008

Raindrops keep falling on my head (or why I should stick to minding my own business)

Usually, I’m quite successful at minding my own business. I go to the gym. I work out. I shower and go about my day. Spending the week of Thanksgiving with my family tempted me to mind other people’s business. As you can imagine, it didn’t turn out as expected.

There Tamara was minding her own business, working hard at the gym, when along comes her younger sister (yep, that’s me). Seeing that Tamara was working hard on a weight machine all by herself and knowing that free weights are far superior, I generously offered to spot as she bench pressed. Why use a machine when you have a willing spotter? You must keep in mind that I had already finished my workout and was a bit sweaty. So as I stood over her and the bar, what do you think happens? A large drop of sweat rolls off my face, right into her mouth. After a look of dread and astonishment, we giggle, wipe my face, and start the next set only to have this repeated again with the sweat dripping right into her eye. Having your own sweat sting your eyes is bad enough, but your younger sister’s sweat?!?!

Fortunately Tamara was a good sport, but that was the end of my spotting career. I ought to stick to minding my own business.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things I want to remember

Today marks the final end of a chapter in my life. My marriage is officially over today. As I close this era, I want to document some memories.

I want to remember the thrill of riding a motorcycle through canyons: leaning deep into the turns and accelerating around the corners.

I want to remember my animal friends from Sweets, my first pet rat, to Alex and Chester, the kittens that reminded me of how much I love cats.

I want to remember birthday celebrations like my surprise party at Chuck E. Cheese's, Emily's green St. Patty's day birthday party, and dual Halloween/birthday spectaculars: decorating the apartment to create an entirely different atmosphere and planning the details from the color of beverages to the flow of the soundtrack.

I want to remember the Halloween traditions of dreaming up and creating costumes: spending hours constructing the perfect hat or browsing through stores for just the right stockings.

I want to remember Hallie's amazing meals. She would prepare the most delicious feasts.

I want to write my own history and look back on those years with appreciation. My heart is full of gratitude for my dear friends who have helped me wade through this process. Thank you for being patient with me.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I wish...

I wish that I could write like this: The Know-It-All and sing like this: My Pirate Heart.

Then I could tell my story with heart and emotion.

Thanks to Adrianna and The Exponent for the links.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The art of being feminine

While I'm not the most consistent about wearing make-up throughout the week, Sunday is the one day that I'm religious about its application. This morning after I had carefully applied my eyeliner and double checked that my hair wasn't sticking up in crazy directions, I decided that I would take it one more step today with a nice scent. Digging through my ever so organized bathroom drawer (yeah, right!), I found a small sample of Calvin Klein eu de toilette to try. Spraying it on, I thought that sure smells masculine. Reaximing the bottle, I noticed three small letters below the ckIN2U: him. I somehow had a sample of men's cologne in my drawer and would be forced to spend the day smelling like a man. So much for my feminine ways.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October is one of my favorite months

Ten reasons I love October in Riverside
- October Conference
- Carving pumpkins
- Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
- Costumes
- Pumpkin pie
- Hot apple cider
- Cool breezes
- Long sleeves
- Clear skies (a rarity in Riverside)
- Good friends

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The perfect shirt

Anyone who knows me knows that I love birthdays. Not only are they a great way to celebrate life, vibrancy, and hope for the future year; they're also an opportunity to commemorate the past year of friendships, learning opportunities, and growth.

So there I was Saturday night, minding my own business, taking my brother out to purchase his birthday present and to get some ice cream, when we happened upon the perfect shirt. Brent has stiff requirements when it comes to his clothing: short sleeve, no stripes, long, and relatively masculine. So, his eyebrows raised when my eyes grew large in amazement at the perfect men's shirt: a crisp long sleeve masterpiece with three inch lavender and blue daisies on a cream background. I'm not sure if it was the gleam in my eye or if he was in an especially adventurous mood, but Brent offered to try it on without prompting. I think he knew that it was the perfect shirt.

As he walked out of the dressing room, a laugh erupted from my soul that couldn't be squelched. It was the perfect shirt for 1968, for a great laugh, and for a lasting birthday memory. Yes Stefani, I thought to take a picture; however, my camera battery was dead. I obviously wasn't prepared to find the perfect shirt that evening.

Brent and I had a good laugh over some hot chocolate as it was too cold and rainy for birthday ice cream. I guess that's what happens when you have a fall birthday.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


The boys post signs regularly. This is my favorite:

No Whining 
"No Whining Allowed"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Time to stop and clean up

Here's a social story that I wrote today for a student. As I was reading it with him, I realized that I could very easily rewrite it for myself with before bed projects.

My name is Jaime.

I am in Ms. Johnson's first grade class.

In class we do a lot of work.

Sometimes we cut.

Sometimes we write.

Sometimes we glue.

Sometimes we read.

Sometimes we have to stop before we are finished

with our work. It’s okay.

When it is time to stop, Ms. Johnson will say “It’s time to stop.”

She might give me a “Time to Stop” card.

I will try to listen to Ms. Johnson. When it is time to stop, I will try to put my scissors, pencils and glue away.

Ms. Johnson is happy when I listen and clean up when it’s time to stop.

*Please note that all names have been changed for confidentiality. Good ol' confidentiality. :)