Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Giving.

A young volunteer favors one of our senior food box clients with a ninja on their box. Luckyyyy...

I've drafted several versions of this post.
One was fairly philosophical about the different motivations for people to volunteer (love, fear, duty) and comparing and contrasting the effectiveness of each motivation as calculated by the work that is done and the influence on the individual. (Yep, I miss school.)
One was full of complaints about the ignorance of the masses and how stressful they make my job this time of year. (This may be a news flash, but volunteering during the holidays is NOT an original idea. Plan ahead, people. Plan ahead.)
Another was my typical list of what I'm grateful for. But, it doesn't change much from year to year, so you can just look up past postings and get about the same thing out of it.

This year, I'm going to tell you about a quick story that is an illustration of my message today: Service and giving does not require an appointment.

I was driving home this summer and found myself in a long line of cars waiting to turn right at an intersection. Up in the distance I saw one of those sign-shaker people from Little Caesars out on the curb doing his thing. It was murderously hot outside and the young man was looking exhausted and generally discontented with his task. I kinda chuckled to myself as I looked at him; he was wearing saggy jeans belted below his butt and a long NBA jersey on, and I thought about how he probably took the summer job on to fund his video-gaming addiction.

I didn't think much of it as I continued to inch forward in my line of cars. A minute or so later I looked over again at my sign-shaker friend, just in time to see a middle-aged woman approaching him with something in her hand. As I looked closer I realized that she had purchased a snow cone from a nearby snow shack in the parking lot and was offering it to him. There was no look of recognition in his eye which confirmed the fact that the woman was a complete stranger. He hesitated for a moment while she reassured him there was no catch, but then accepted it gratefully as he put his sign down to taste his new treat.

I smiled the rest of the day thinking about that lady, and how I wanted to be more like her.

Jesus Christ, while on the earth, was the supreme example of this. Though he did have certain things specifically on his agenda during the day, the majority of his service was done on the way to do other things. It reconfirms to me that I don't need to try and squeeze service opportunities into my busy schedule, because if I'm aware enough I can find them all around me.

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was great. Thanks to each of you for thinking enough of my ramblings to peek in on them now and then.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

You know what makes me happy?


And heel-clicking pictures.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hunting Season

One Thursday morning a couple of months ago, a short, heavyset woman with gray hair and glasses walked (well, waddled) in through the volunteer entrance where I work.

I looked up from the email I was composing, took a quick glance at the clock (the volunteer department doesn't open until 10am and it was only 9:30) and said, "May I help you?"

"Can I use your bathroom?"

I smiled and pointed her down the hall in the right direction of the facilities. After about five minutes I heard her coming back down the hall and then pausing in the break room. Soon followed the sounds of a soda clunking out of the vending machine, and she emerged with a Coke in her hand and a smile on her face.

"Thank you," she said as she walked right back outside.

"Have a good day," I said, barely glancing up to give her a smile in return.

My coworker Kelly (who has a work-related blog here) entered the room just as the woman was leaving and waited to make sure she was gone before saying, "what was that about?"

I shrugged. "Guess she just needed to use the restroom." And that was that.


The following Thursday morning at around 9:30am the same woman came in and repeated her request to use the restroom. I kind of quirked an eyebrow as I said yes, and she went on her way. This time after she left (again with soda in hand) Kelly and I chatted briefly about the coincidence, and then got busy working and forgot about it.

Sure enough, the following Thursday she showed up around the same time. And the next week. And the next week. In fact, she has been coming every week for the last two months.

After about three weeks we began discussions about what exactly her story was. And about the fourth week, we decided to find out by sending Kelly to follow her and see where she goes.

I manned the volunteer desk while Kelly kept me posted by sending me text messages about what was going on. He eventually returned to report that she went across the street, cut across the parking lot of the building next door, stood and stared at a tree for a few moments, and then entered the next building over (an electrical supply company). After a few minutes in that building she left and dodged between two buildings where Kelly lost sight of her.

And so began our weekly game that we've come to call the Grandma Hunt.

The week after Kelly's initial venture he decided to try and follow her in his car, but he lost her as he got caught in some traffic. The next week I decided to try and follow her on foot, and lost her as I tried to go around a building to cut her off. Then the next week I followed her in MY car and parked outside the building she enters, but I never saw her leave. Since then we've recruited more employees to help us in our venture: one person stays outside to see which direction she comes from, another will alert us when she sees Grandma coming, and another person will hang out at the Maverick across the street to see if they have a better angle at watching her.

After each week more questions arise. Is she going on a long walk that requires a bathroom stop? Is she walking to work? From work? Does she work in the second building she enters? Why does she stare at the same tree each time she walks by? Is she vending-machine hopping? If so, does she prefer the chocolate bunnies from our machine (which is her regular purchase as of late) to whatever else she buys?

Of course, we could just ASK her these questions. But then, what would we do with our Thursday mornings?

By the way, rest assured that these Grandma Hunts are done off the clock. Also, we're aware of the illegal and shady nature of what we're doing, but we mean absolutely no harm to Grandma. We just want answers.

Well, that's a lie. We want adventure. And so the hunt continues...

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Tonight I was at my bishop's house for dinner as a farewell gesture to me and my roommates (we're all leaving the ward shortly). He also had his family over, and I quickly became acquainted with his four year old granddaughter Savannah.

You see, I don't get a whole lot of exposure to kids. I didn't babysit a whole lot growing up, I don't have extended family around who have small children, and my friends who are married and have kids are mostly all dead to me at this point (meaning I don't have regular interactions with them anymore). So kids are a novelty to me, and when I'm around them I do my best to interact as much as possible and flex my figurative potential-future-child-rearing muscles.

As it turns out, four year olds aren't hard to get talking.

Savannah: Guess what I did?
Haley: What did you do Savannah?
S: I saw one buffalo. No wait, two buffalos! A momma and a baby.
H: Oh really? Where did you see two buffalos?
S: At Yest Wellowstone, I mean West Yellowstone. And I saw a bear!
H: I'll bet that was exciting. Was it a scary bear?
S: No, I didn't see him. My mom did. Do you have a sister?
H: Nope, just two brothers.
S: How tall are they?
H: Uhm... you know, that's a good question. I think they're both over...
S: Are they this tall? (holds out hands as tall as she can)
H: Yes, they're that tall.
S: Do you like Baby Zooey?
H: Uh... I don't know who that is.
S: She's a giraffe. Do you want to sleep over?

...And this was the basic gist of our conversation over dinner. Savannah's mom kept a careful eye on us while we were talking to make sure I didn't have any signs of irritation on my face, but I was enjoying myself thoroughly. (I did have to dare Savannah to eat a piece of her dinner faster than I did on a couple occasions, because her mom WAS concerned that Savannah wasn't eating her food. Because apparently SOME children don't look for every opportunity to eat something, which is completely contrary to my memory of childhood.)

As we were eating our dessert, the one topic that I DO try and avoid with children came up.

S: Where are your kids?
H: I don't have any kids yet.
S: Why?
H: Because I'm not married yet and I want to get married before I have kids.
S: Well, maybe when you turn 16 you can get married.
H: (smiling) Guess what? I'm already older than sixteen.
S: (eyes really wide) Woah. Then how come you're not married?

My smile faded a bit as I tried to think of an answer that would appease a four year old. At the same time I thought about how I should probably have an answer for this question all ready to go by now, seeing as how I've been single for a good long while now and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. So I opted for, "Just haven't found the right guy to marry."

Savannah smiled, shrugged, and as she lifted a spoon full of trifle into her mouth she said, "Well, maybe you'll meet him tomorrow."

"Maybe," I said just to respond. Then I took a second to realize that, even as I spoke, in no way shape or form did I have any actual glimmer of hope that I'd meet my husband tomorrow. Then I tried to think of the last time I lived my life day to day with the hope that it was going to be the day I'd meet my future spouse... And I realized it had been quite a long time. I don't remember consciously giving up, but in some ways my daily life would suggest that I have. And in the same moment, I resolved to do something about it.

That whole thought process took only about two and a half seconds, so it didn't sound too unnatural when I said, "Maybe!" one more time with a little more optimism to my voice.

But Savannah was already on it. "You can marry Ewen."
H: Who's Ewen?
S: My friend. He lives across the street from Allie.
H: How old is Ewen?
S: Five. Have YOU ever seen a buffalo?

...Thank you, Savannah, for a fun evening. And for the attitude adjustment.

(Note: If you choose to leave a comment, please don't write anything along the lines of "Oh Haley, you're so wonderful, cheer up, don't give up, he'll come along eventually, blah blah blah..." I am not fishing for a pep talk. I'm just acknowledging that reminders of faith can come in the places and times you least expect them.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What I am and what I'm not.

I am enjoying my summer.
I am surrounded by fun people who enrich my days.
I am getting a good mix of adventure, outdoors, and exercise.
Therefore, I'm not ashamed to buy a daily shaved ice from the shack up the street.

Despite my best efforts, I'm not a food drive coordinator.
After a month of frustration after the interviews, I am over it now.
I am realizing that I wouldn't have been happy in that position.
Through the experience, I am reminded of this truth.

I'm not in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this summer.
I'm not sad about that fact one bit.
Because instead of rehearsing, I am free to play Sorry at twilight while eating snow cones and waiting for fireworks to begin.

I am shifty by nature.
So, I am moving back to Midvale.
But, I'm not starting completely from scratch this time.
I am excited to have a new experience in a familiar setting.
And, I am excited to have a Rumbi within close proximity once again.
But I'm not seeing a 24 Hour Fitness in close proximity, which could mean trouble.

I am happy. I hope you are too. If not, let me know and I'll treat you to a Rumbi rice bowl.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't make me bust a cap.

Today we had a fairly large volunteer group from a well-known hotel chain that will remain nameless helping us out. Some stayed in the warehouse to work, and some went and did senior food box deliveries.

Three of the food box deliverers were girls in their late twenties with fairly high-maintenance appearances. They came in late on the tail end of the instructions, so we tried to re-explain the instructions to them but they weren't listening because they were too busy visiting with their coworkers.

They returned from their deliveries half an hour before anyone else did, and the following conversation ensued:

Me: Hey, you're back already! How'd it go?

Oblivious Girl: It was gree-eeat! But some of the seniors said they usually give them more food than that. Some of them were pretty grumpy about it.

Me: Oh. Well, you grabbed the bags from the fridge and freezer too, right?

O.G.: Yep!

Me: Well, they usually just get their box and then a fridge and...

O.G.: Oh, we were supposed to take a box?

Me: (hoping she's joking) ...Uhm, you didn't take any food boxes?

O.G.: Well no one told us to.

Me: (looking outside at the pallet full of food boxes right next to the bags they took) Well...

O.G.: And by the way, the seniors weren't that excited to visit with us or anything. You should probably not tell people to visit with the seniors because they were pretty ungrateful about what we were giving them.

Me: Well, that's because they were expecting... Nevermind. How many clients did you deliver to?

O.G.: Fifteen.

Me: (inwardly groaning that thankfully only came out as a sigh) Okay. Well, these seniors are also going to need their box, so if you want to load those up and head back out there...

O.G.: Today?

Me: Yeah, you guys still have an hour with us and they're all in the same complex. It won't take you that long.

O.G.: (glancing at her boss out of the corner of her eye and seeing that he had heard the whole thing) Well, yeah I guess.

Me: Good. (pointing) The boxes are waiting out there, you can just load them up at that dock.

The girls turn around and head toward the door. Just as they leave I hear one girl say to the other, "I thought we were DONE with the west side."

In one quick motion I impulsively grabbed the staple gun that was in front of me on my desk, pointed it at the door that was just about to close behind them, and fired three staples across the room in their direction. Nothing hit them, and it wasn't meant to. (Mostly). But I turned around to see two of my coworkers staring at me.

I sat the staple gun down. "They insulted the west side," I explained.

"Oh." Then they went back to work.

That's all the explanation they needed, because they know me pretty well by now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A long one... go grab a snack.

I'm sure motherhood and wifedom has joys that I won't comprehend until they happen to me.

I'm positive that those roles at moments will fill my eternal soul with absolute joy in its purest form.

I'm confident that it is through the building of families that one can fulfill their purpose on earth unlike any other accomplishment can.

...And I'm not being facetious.

But it is definitely hard for my mortal mind to understand how there is even MORE room in my heart for those future joys, when it feels like every single corner of it flows over with happiness when I get to do things like this:

I am in absolute love with the desert; particularly the red rocks of Southern Utah. So imagine how happy I was to go with some people to hike around Zion National Park over the weekend.


Seven of the eight girls I went with were unknown to me prior to the trip. Hanging out with a whole lot of girls hasn't usually been my idea of a good time, especially if I don't know their personalities and how much crazy they might have in them. Believe me, there's lots of crazy to be had.

But, the longer I am in the land of the singles and the more I find the gender odds not in my favor, I've been forced to spend more time with more of my kind.

And more often than not, I'm not sorry.

There are some remarkable young(ish) women out there, and spending time learning from them definitely enriches my sojourn in singleness. At least in my wanderings I'm in excellent company.

Speaking of wanderings, guess what time of year it is?

That's right! June 1st happened this week!

Long-time followers will remember that every June 1st for the last several years I have set out to do something I've never done before. These activities cover quite the spectrum, and you can read about past ones in this post.

This year it fell on a Tuesday, and so I convinced my good friend Jenny to take the extra day off with me and head down to Manti.

We first attended a temple session, since I've been to Manti several times without attending the temple. Then, we attempted to go geocaching.

Since I had never before geocached (is that a verb?), I started out simple with a well-established geocaching adventure at Palisade State Park just south of Manti. I did underestimate how long it would take us to figure out the GPS gadget, so when we finally did we didn't have too long to explore. We did find two of the caches though before we called it quits.

And lastly, a couple of plot-altering events are on the horizon, including a possible job change at work and a possible summer theater opportunity. Stay tuned!

Okay, very lastly I have a quick story. We have a group of special needs kids that come in to volunteer once a week or so. One of them came in wearing a pair of women's sunglasses that were huge and bejeweled with diamonds. He pointed to them, said "Hey, I'm like Elvis!", and proceeded to do Elvis legs and sing something along the lines of "Hunka hunka burning love."

It's among the reasons that part of me hopes I don't get the new position at work.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Waiting to Exhale

What have I been up to, you wonder?

I've been responsible for the coordination and planning of two of the major annual events for work, and they just happened to fall on the previous two weekends, one right after the other. Being prone to anxiety about insignificant things let alone significant ones and it becoming increasingly difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time let alone several, you can imagine it's been a trying month for me.

I'll spare you the details, mostly because I'm tired of hearing myself whine about them. But it's over now, and today at work as I erased all the notes from the last several months off my whiteboard, I smiled and heaved a big sigh of relief.

Because when I'm growing I don't often feel it, but today I felt it, and it made it worth the trouble.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the last couple of weeks:

- Listening to a group of ten Tongan men talk amongst themselves and then suddenly erupt in laughter to the point of tears... making me wish I could understand Tongan.

- Watching strong grown men take a physical task I was struggling with away from me, only to watch them struggle to do it themselves. It was gratifying.

- Hearing one of my favorite volunteers apologize over and over for not recruiting more people, even when his people were the only ones who showed to begin with. If we weren't both sweaty and exhausted, I would have hugged him.

- Reaching a point of exhaustion where my shoulder muscles just completely stopped working and I had to improvise using other muscles to lift donations into the truck. I've never been that exhausted. It felt good.

- Finding out that my failings with the first event were being discussed behind my back, and finding out that several of my coworkers defended my efforts without hesitation during the course of the conversation.

- Watching my coworker as he stood at one of the inflatable slides at the kids carnival. I gave him the task of making sure the kids took turns and went down the slide only a couple at a time, and instead he just stood there grinning in amusement as fifteen of them would barrel down the slide together. His wife must be the disciplinarian in their home.

- Even as the cold rain had been pouring for about fifteen minutes, looking across the way to see my volunteers in their red shirts still out running the carnival games without any kind of shelter. As long as kids were still brave enough to face the rain, they were determined to keep their end of the carnival going.

- Overhearing a kid whose mouth was lined in blue sugar from the cotton candy he had just inhaled as he exclaimed to his friend, "This is the greatest day of my life!"

...I tragically didn't get any pictures of either event. But if I can steal some from a coworker, I'll try and post visual aids later.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wait for it...

Have I lost you all?

Please, please wait for me.

After Friday is over I'll have the presence of mind to organize my thoughts once again and manipulate them in an entertaining manner for your enjoyment.

"Friday? Whatever could be so significant about Friday?"

"What HAS Haley been doing that's so much more important than blogging?"

"Every moment of her life is filled with such drama and mystery. How have I lived this long without reading about it?"

If these are some of the questions burning your brain right now, never fear... I'll return shortly.

With pictures.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Been very content with life as of late and feeling incredibly fortunate to have what I have and know what I do.

As always, working to keep my stupid pride in check.

This oughta help:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Messenger bike.

I spent the weekend in Pagosa Springs, Colorado with some friends just for a relaxing getaway. It was lovely.

We stayed in a bed and breakfast, which I had never done before, but very much enjoyed. I had the thought that it would be fun to own one myself someday... that is, if it weren't so impractical.

We stopped at several gift shops. At one in particular, the woman who sold her hand-made crafts was having a huge sale to celebrate staying in business for 8 years. I admired her commitment to her passion, especially because the things she sold were just trinkets that didn't serve any real purpose.

We spent a couple hours soaking in the hot springs. In one such pool, we talked to a man who was telling us all about his trip to New Zealand and how he and his family had taken a self-guided tour of a bunch of the places that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed. As he described in detail how much fun it was, I thought about how expensive it must have been, and right then and there resigned myself to the fact that I'd most likely never get to see it for myself.

And then...

As we stopped off the side of the road to take some scenic pictures the next day, another car had parked 50 feet or so away from us. Two men got out of the car and began unloading their road biking gear. As we looked around at the scenery, I turned around in time to see the two men on their bikes begin climbing the fairly steep road up the canyon. I smiled and called out, "you're braver souls than I!"

One biker man smiled and called back out, still pedaling, "You could do it too!"

I snorted and countered, "Yeah right! In my dreams."

Then the biker, almost out of earshot, called out without looking back, "So dream!"

... He couldn't have said anything more appropriate if it had been scripted.

I spent the rest of the trip thinking about how any virtue taken to an extreme can become a vice... including practicality.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


This week a woman may or may not have lost her job due (at least in part) to my complaints about her lack of attention to detail in her responsibilities... which has a direct relation to how successful I am in MY job.

And last night I had a dream that this woman was stalking me and leaving threatening messages on my car hidden inside canned foods, which is evidence of how uneasily this rests on my mind (not too mention evidence that I spend too much time around canned foods).

I have many flaws, but one that has been consistent across my 28 years of life is that I am, at core, a tattle tale. I do my darndest to follow rules and work hard and be good, and sometimes it's not convenient, and sometimes I don't want to, but I do it anyway operating under the assumption that everyone else will behave the same way. (Like traffic laws. Except the speed limit part.)

So when someone blatantly DOESN'T behave the same way, and it has a negative effect on myself or a loved one, and I get a glimpse of a little gleam in their eye that comes from knowing that they're getting away with something, well...

...I, for some reason, feel it my responsibility to be the one to dish them a negative consequence. Because if there are never obvious negative consequences for deviant behaviors, why would an individual be inclined to cease the behavior? Am I right?

No, I'm not right. Jesus says so. But this is the part where I admit it's a fault.

I have vivid memories from elementary school where I would be standing in line for lunch, and someone would butt in front of me in line to stand with a friend, and I would without thinking twice point at them very obviously and say rather loudly, "Hey, he just butt in line! This kid here! He wasn't in line, and then he just butt in!" until the person, embarrassed by the attention, would retreat to the end.

Yeah. I was that girl.

I've gotten better at resisting this oh-so-popular impulse of mine. And in the case of this woman at work, I wasn't the only one who had complaints against her, and her lack of follow-through was negatively affecting much more than just me... but I still feel bad about her situation.

And I keep an eye out for mysterious canned goods near my car.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When I grow up...

A woman I work with came to me a couple weeks ago and presented to me an exciting opportunity to present our volunteer opportunities to a junior high group. I agreed to do it.

And then, I found out (after she was out of town) that I was in fact taking her place at her daughter's school for HER daughter's Career Day. Sneaky devil.

I got to the school late this morning (turns out that there's an important difference between Salt Lake and Bountiful), and as I enter the gymnasium where I'm presenting, I witness the following:

There was a man in an expensive looking suit who had a microphone in his hand that was working juuust fine, but he had it nowhere near his mouth, and he was yelling out to the crowd of kids on the bleachers instead.

Man: ...finances. Mr. Taylor is an associate of mine, and he's poured cement landings bigger than this gymnasium. (Pointing to a student with his hand raised) Yes, you have a question?

Kid: How much money do you make?

Man: ...Well, that's not really what's important. I own my own company because I know how to tell people what to do, and I have money because I know how to not spend it on iPods and cell phones and stuff. I hope you just listened there, I just taught you an important principle. Think about it. (Point) You had a question?

Kid 2: Do you live in a mansion?

Man: (Nervous laugh)... Well, everything is relative. And every dime I've made I've spent wisely, which is why I was able to pay off my mortgage when I was 39. But that's not important, the important thing is what I just told you there. I hope you were paying attention...

Kid 3: (Yells out) What kind of car do you drive?

Man: ...Look. If I happen to have my house paid off and drive a two hundred thousand dollar car and have a whole lot of money to play with, it's only because I'm really good at what I do. If you're good at things, you can have the things I do in my life. I hope you listened there. Be proactive, and you can be like me. Anyone else?

(No hands.)

As I stood there and listened I was relieved to see the teachers around me had amused smiles on their faces as well.

Of course, then it was my turn to present:

Me: (After making sure Mr. Business was no longer in the room) Well, let's get some things out of the way. I don't live in a mansion, I don't make very much money, and I am still making payments on my car. But, I've always wanted to lead a crowd of people in doing the wave. Will you guys help me out here?

(Unanimous cheering.)

Of course the kids were putty in my hands after that, and I had several teachers thank me as I was leaving for keeping things fun. And, I drove home in my Honda Civic feeling like a million bucks... or at least like two hundred thousand dollars.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Silver Lining

It's rough being single.

...really, really rough.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Snarking

Do you ever run into people who you'd consider kindred spirits?

They don't have to be anyone you spend a great deal of time with; just someone you encounter in some way or another that you feel an unspoken connection to based on compatibility of personality. (No, this has nothing to do with dating or romance, though if your love interest happens to be a kindred spirit, well... double bonus for you.)

For example...

A couple months ago I was at a friend's wedding reception sitting at a table with a couple of friends. It was near enough to Christmas time that one of the decorations in the center of the table was a small sleigh bell. While I was talking I absent-mindedly picked up the bell, and my friend nearby said, "Hey, shake it and give an angel its wings."

So I shook the bell, and all that came out of the bell was a muted "thunk". This happened just as one of the helpers with the refreshments leaned over to take our empty plates, and without missing a beat he said, "And every time a bell makes that noise an angel's wings fall off."

I burst into laughter, made eye contact with the kid (who looked about 17 years old), he smiled back, and took our plates away. But just in that brief moment of eye contact, I knew he was one of those. A person who I would instantly fall well with had our circumstances permitted us to be actual friends.

It kind of makes me think of that kid in the movie The Shining when he's talking to the old black guy who works at the hotel. The guy can sense that the kid has telepathic powers too, and talks to him using his mind. They have a brief conversation about the power that they both have (which he refers to as "shining"), Old Guy validates Kid's powers as something real, and then the characters go on their ways in the story. I think. I've only seen the edited TV version of it and I don't even know if it was in it's entirety so who knows what plot chunks are missing.

That description was so awesome that you don't even have to see the movie now.

Anyway. I dedicate this post to my smart-alecy kindred spirits out there. Old, young, male, female... mock on.