Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cuddly wuddly

I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty hard to go back to work after getting a glimpse of what's to come.  Sigh.  My trainee is out for two weeks for knee surgery too, so there isn't even any training happening.  I will probably be here through mid May at least.  We'll see I guess.  Blehhhhhhhhh.  I want to smash taxes in the face.  I just can't wait to be done.  It can't come fast enough.

We are trying to enjoy Gwennie as much as possible before we have to find a new home for her.  Normally when we tell her it's "time to go night-night in the kennel" she obediently goes straight to her kennel and that's where she sleeps.  We wanted to try letting her sleep with us last night.  She was extremely tired from the day, so she fell asleep immediately (as opposed to playing, which is what happened last time we tried it).  She insisted on snuggling up right next to me, which I normally love to pieces.  However, it just wasn't working out....  she snores.  And because she kept coming back when I tried to move her, I could feel her little breaths corresponding with each snore.  Also, she sleeps with all four legs stiffly sticking straight out, which takes up a lot of room in our queen-size bed.  Geoff got up to tell her it was time to go night night in the kennel, and instead of being her obedient self, she kept crawling back under the bedcovers, poor thing.  Eventually we settled for letting her sleep on the couch.  I love love love cuddling with my sweet puppy, it was just too hard to fall asleep at the same time.   Maybe we can keep trying it though.

Bleh, work.  I have Riverdance tickets for this Friday though, so I can definitely look forward to that!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Proof that Michael Jackson is still alive

Sorry about the little camera flip I did there.  And the dumb guy that kept getting in the way.  This impersonator was so funny though.  After this, he danced across the street, bought a hot dog, and danced his way back across the street, drawing laughs from the nearby construction workers.  It was fun to watch.

This my man

Central Park

Here's the video I tried to upload earlier

Rockefeller Center, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown

A few other things we did were go to the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center.  I loved the R-Center!  I loved the ice skating rink and the flags and the Christmas lights.  I bet it is a sight to see at Christmas time.

That little stretch of land between the park and the river - that's where we'll be (hopefully if we get housing)

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty
We got a lot closer than that but everyone has seen pictures of the Statue of Liberty.  We thought this was cool with the statue and the city skyline.

Went to Chinatown directly after walking the bridge.  It is funny- you walk past these people standing by their tables of dumb knick-knacks and they covertly whisper "coach bags" to you as you walk by.  And everything is up for barter.  I am a terrible barterer.  We ate at this tiny - blink you miss it - chinese place.  It was delicious!

Though I will add that they were a "cash-only" restaurant and were very expensive.  Afterwards, I saw a pair of sunglasses that I wanted at a booth, and asked how much.  The guy looked at me and said, "twelve dollars." I went for my cash and realized I didn't have any.  So I asked Geoff for some and he said we spent our last cash dollar on dinner.  The booth guy saw me hesitating and said, "I'll make it ten dollars."  I turned to question Geoff if we really didn't have any cash, and I mean any cash?  Geoff said no.  The booth guy lowered the price again.  The longer I stood there questioning Geoff, the lower he went, and finally asked, "how much do you want them for?"      Yeah.    It was sad to walk away from that one.  I'll probably never be able to do that again, lol.

Central Park

We spent a few hours walking through Central Park.  What a huge place it is.  How fun it will be to go jogging there regularly!

 Bethesda Fountain

The Reservoir

There was a guy at some castle/tower thing there, in Shakespearian dress, singing Irish folk tunes.  And we stopped at the gift shop to pee and sit for a minute to rest our legs.  Because as my friend Angie says, "sit when you can sit and pee when you can pee."

We exited the park on 65th and lo and behold there was the Manhattan Temple.  We went inside as asked for Elder and Sister Buchanon, who are serving a temple mission and are my boss's father in law and mother.  They were in the temple working at that moment, oh well.  They  have a distribution center there too.  It is also in the Upper West Side, but quite a bit further south than where we'll probably be.  We might go to church in the chapel below it!

St. John's Cathedral

I said I would post more pictures of St. John's - also in the Morningside Heights/Upper West Side area.

I've never been one to spend a lot of time staring at buildings, no matter how old or "interesting."  But maybe that's because I never saw anything quite like this.  Seriously, this place was so immense and beautiful.  It really just invoked a feeling of awe and reverence.  I felt a little sacrelige snapping pictures even. (But did it anyway, oh well.)

This place reminded me of a scene from Lord of the Rings, just because of the awesome size:

Such beautiful architecture in every aspect:

In one of the side rooms (they had several, used as crypts or service rooms), there was an organ clear up on the wall by the ceiling, which was so intriguing, I thought.

The outside looks a little bit like the Salt Lake Temple, but imagine it being about twice as tall, because it was.
And that's not even including the steeple "thingy!"

Apparently they have a lot of events here - choir concerts and such.  We definitely plan to go.

This little place was right next door - it was burned about ten years ago, and they are still trying to get funds to restore it.  It made me think of the Provo Tabernacle, and how it must've been horribly sad, as this place was probably much older.

Another place we visited in a different part of the city was St. Paul's chapel.  It was right next to Ground Zero, and they actually ask that you not take pictures, so I kept my camera hidden away.  Amazingly, the place was not touched when the twin towers fell.  It was used as a refuge for volunteers and cleanup workers in the years following the tragedy.  There was a beautiful 911 memorial.  It nearly had me in tears.  It is really something to actually be in the place where everything happened, it becomes so much more real.


Oh boy where to start.  We looooovvveeedd the Morningside Heights area, where the campus and student housing are.  It was so clean, bright, and safe-feeling.  I hope we get student housing, because it would be the perfect living place. 

I will say this - 40 degrees in Utah is not, I repeat not the same thing as 40 degrees in New York.  We froze our little (or big) tooshies off.  The first and second day we broke down and bought hats, scarfs, gloves, and two big warm sweatshirts to wear under our jackets and over our other sweatshirts.  Hence the Hat Hair:

I'm told that this cold phenomenon is because of the humidity.  But the humidity did help me to sleep without even a thought of not being able to breathe through my nose so there is a plus side to it.  But moving onward...

There is a lot of good food in New York.  This was the best pizza I've ever had, literally.  Even Brick Oven doesn't come close:
Che Bella's in Morningside Heights

Scoping out the street vendors: Hot dogs in Times Square.  Yum!

Can you tell Geoff is excited??

We got hot dogs at Gray's Papaya too, which I know is really popular there.  Nothing I tried really came close to J-Dawgs though.  Hmmm maybe I should ask them to start a franchise in NYC.  It would blow all of the competition out of the water!  We plan to go at least a few more times before we move!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Today we took a train to Brooklyn and walked the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. We walked through the maze of government buildings and then through Chinatown. We ate at a hole in the wall chinese place that was really good and surprisingly expensive. Went to St Paul's chapel and viewed their 911 memorial which was really sobering and emotional. Next we went to this Financial Center and got treats at Godiva and a gelato store. We ate them at Battery Park (we think that's what it was - it was ont the edge of the Hudson River.) Now we've come back to our hotel to go to bed early. Geoff wants to get up early and go stand in the window at the Today Show and see if we can be on TV. Our flight leaves at 5 tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Again this is so I don't forget, sorry it's so dry. I hope to tell it better once pics are uploaded.

Today we slept until ten. We headed back to the upper west side to this store that sells university stuff and got sweatshirts because we were freezing! We ate at the Shake Shack. Went downtown and rode the Staten Island ferry and saw the statue of Liberty. Went back to 5th Ave and walked past Bryant Park. Saw a Michael Jackson impersonator dancing on the street for tips. Then he bought a hot dog from a vendor and was dancing the whole time. Went to the Rockefeller Center to the ice rink. Went to the Top of the Rock observatory. Came back down and got yummy food from a vendor then went to Magnolia bakery again. Came back to our hotel.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 25, 2011

Deep thoughts by the Stanleys

Cali: Whoever said the lion was at the top of the food chain was wrong. I really think it's the crocodile.

Geoff: Why would the lion be the top of the food chain?

Cali: Because he's the king of the jungle.

Geoff: Who says he's king of the jungle?

Cali: Everyone.

Geoff: Well you're all wrong! I'M the king of the jungle! I got the skills. I gots bowstaff skills, nunchuck skills...

New York

We are loving this place so far! We've taken tons of pictures but most of them are on the digital camera and will have to be uploaded later. I'll just post a few that I took with the iPod.

Look familiar? This is just right down the street from campus. We'll probably go there a lot if we get student housing!

I love this outdoor market!

Columbia campus.

Other side of the campus.

We went inside this amazing cathedral- St. John's Cathedral. It was so immense and beautiful and really awe-inspiring. I love all this gothic architecture. Many more pictures of this to come.

Central Park

Video: I can't believe we're here!
(blogpress is not letting me connect to YouTube to upload the video, will upload later)

I took a picture of this bridge because I thought it was the one from the snowball fight in the movie Elf.

And of this bridge because it reminded me of the movie Enchanted.

And, a quick rundown of events thus far so I don't forget them:

Thursday: arrive in New York at 9:30 a.m. Took ghetto bus through Harlem, saw lots of beautiful historical buildings. Got off at 120 and broadway, found the Columbia school of Social Work and walked down to 103 and got on the subway. Took the #1, changed to the #7 back to our hotel in Queens. Took naps and showered, took the subway back to Times Square. Went to a comedy club in a brick-lined basement and hosted by men in drag. Shopped at the Hershey store. Headed back to hotel at 1:30 a.m. Thanked the heavens for the policeman's presence at the bus stop at 82nd and Astoria, Queens.

Friday: met with someone at Columbia School of Social Work at ten a.m. Took a tour of the building then walked down the street and checked out the main campus. Ate the most delicious pizza ever at Che Bella's. Bought. Gloves and hats to fight the bitter cold. Walked to 110 and west central. Walked most of the length of Central Park. Walked to the Manhattan Temple. Walked back up Columbus and got cheesecake at Magnolia. Further up and got dogs at Gray's Papaya. Rode subways to Ground Zero. Came back to hotel.

We're back early tonight because we're so tired from jetlag and exhausted from all the walking. But we are so happy to be here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Miss my Gwennie

This evening we took Gwennie down to Payson.  She's spending the week at the Gale's.  They have offered to take care of her while we are in New York for grad school.  They have said they would take her on a permanent basis OR have offered to let us have her back after grad school is done.  Which I'll be honest I would love to do!  We will have to see what comes.  But they are watching her this week to see how it works out.  Jessica is pretty sure that everything will work fine, but I do feel better that they are taking her on a week-long trial, just to see.  Anyway, she ran around outside and made friends with their mini-pin, Optimus.  They played so cute!  I do miss my cute baby, so much.  It's weird to come home and not see her face in the window and be greeted at the door.  But she's in good hands.  (Thank you Jessica and Jared!!)

Our accomodations cancelled our reservation today, saying they are full.  So we made another reservation at a Comfort Inn by La Guardia Airport.  We considered some hostels but the idea kind of made Geoff uncomfortable, and this place had good reviews.

We just need to pack our stuff and do a little cleaning now!  My next post might be from NYC! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hot pink

This morning I meant to get up at 5:30 and go to the gym.... fail.  Well there's always tomorrow.

Guess what - there is another "Stanley" couple in our ward.  They have a little boy whose name is... Ronan!  Ahh!  One wonders if I heard his name first and that's how I came to like it.  I swear I got it from that baby name book we checked out a few months ago though.  Well, we won't be here for much longer anyway.  If there's another Ronan Stanley in the world it's okay.

Tonight I'm getting my hair dyed super light blonde, with hot pink removable extentions so I can have pink streaks.  Removable so I can still do job interviews later in the summer.  Can't wait!

Friday, March 18, 2011

5K Training for a Couch Potato

Hullo.  I started 5K training this week (again).  I'm using this awesome "couch potato" training program that takes you from seriously out of shape, to being able to run a whole 5K.  Which is perfect because I am just that - seriously out of shape.  And I've decided to write each day's activity on here, for the halibut. 

My reasons for doing this are: 1) to slim down, and 2) to accomplish something cool that will hopefully improve my health and help me feel better

There are two days each week that you're either supposed to take a break, or do something other than running.  The days of the week go like this:  rest / run / run / rest / run / run / run... then start over.  I miscounted my start day, which was a totally dumb airhead moment, so I'm already off schedule.  But the important thing is, I've exercised three times already this week. 

Monday: Walked Gwennie at the park for 30 mins
Tuesday: No exercise
Weds: Walked for 5 mins, then ran for 1 min, repeated for 30 mins
Thurs: Walkd for 5 mins, then ran for 1 min, repeated for 30 mins

Geoff and I went to the gym together last night.  He is like superman compared to me.  He can run 3 miles in 30 minutes at a constant speed 6.  (He says that's the minimum for some kind of army training.  Not that he's applying for the army but I guess it seemed like a good benchmark.)  And there I was, next to him, walking at 3.5 for five minutes, then running at a 6 for one minute, then repeating.  And by the end of that one minute, I was huffing and puffing and needing the switch back to a walking pace.  Sigh.  Someday I will be able to do that, hopefully.  If I keep it up.

Tonight I would like to just go do some weight training.  But today is our 6th Anniversary, and in honor of our accomplishment, we are going out to eat at Rodizio Grill.  And I'm really excited.  (We can do the gym late late after we get home).

Okay, so I know my whole plan is flawed if I don't eat right.  I'm not perfect, but I'm mostly trying.  Kicking the constant sugar habit is going to hurt, I'm sure.  But hey I figure even a little improvement is better than no improvement at all.  One elephant at a time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


We thought of two new names to add to that there list:  McKay (boy) and Calista (girl).  Actually, I've said before that I wouldn't mind taking Calista for myself.  I think my parents might be hurt though if I changed my name.  I guess I wouldn't blame them if they were, but I would still go by Cali and spell it the same too.  Anyway.

Alison came over last night.  She's going to stay here while we are in New York, and I was showing her what to do to the house for any showings.  Don't know though, that drop in price doesn't seem to have made a difference yet, and that was Monday.  I'm not as stressed about it now though, since we've seen what the offer for Geoff's student loan could be if we decide to accept the whole thing, since it covers tuition AND plenty of living expenses.  It would really help in taking the money stress away!  I would just have to remember I said that when it comes time to pay them back, ha ha!  No, I think we'll only take what we really think we'll need, which will mostly depend on whether or not they give us student housing.  *crossing fingers*

Anyway, I'm thinking I will miss my sis a whole whole lot when we move.  There's nothing like just being able to go hang out at the mall or our place just cuz we feel like it.  She better come see us a lot!

It is our 6th anniversary tomorrow.  The NY trip is sort of our anniversary celebration, but we'll probably try to get out tomorrow and do something fun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tribute for Grandpa

My cousin wrote a beautiful post about Grandpa Bingham: OK Corral: White Elephants and Other Funeral Traditions.

I hate you, Colorado

Okay, I'm going to have a little fit here, just warning you.  This is exactly what I will NOT miss about this job:

Today I recieved two notices from the state of Colorado, saying that we did not file Withholding tax returns for the periods of November 2010, or January 2011, and if we don't respond to the notice within 30 days, there will be penalties and interest.

The major problem with this: Not only have the taxes all been paid, we are not even a monthly filer.  We make tax deposits twice each week (by ACH credit, approved by their department), and file an annual return in February along with the W2's.  It has been done this way since before I started this job in 2008.  So how in freaking heck do they think we are missing monthly returns for November and January????

I get on the phone to call them about it.  I spend 15 minutes going through all of their dumb automated choices.  I finally get to the right one, and there's a message that says they cannot accept my call right now due to high call volume and they hang up on me.  So I go to the website and find an "email us" option.  I click it, find the subject that I need to email them about, and there is no link that I can choose to email them.  Why have an "email us" option if you do not provide a way to email you!! 

Why threaten to penalize us if we don't contact you within 30 days, and then not provide a way for us to contact you!!!

I am very consciencious about paying all of the taxes in full and on time.  OCD, even.  So it's just this whole idea of constantly having to be on the defense for offenses we didn't even commit.  And dealing with the asinine taxing authorities.  Constantly feeling like I have to fight with them over their stupid mistakes.  This is the reward for being an honest taxpayer.  I do take it personally.  It really, really, really bothers me.  I will be so happy to not have to deal with this crap anymore.

K I'm done!  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


We went bowling tonight. The goal was to break 100. I got 99. But it was fun.

We lowered our listing price. Geoff applied for student housing beginning July 1st. If we get in then more motivation to sell quickly.

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Monday, March 14, 2011


We haven't any immediate plans to have children, but I love thinking of baby names. I've been keeping this list for a little while. It'll continue to grow, but here it is so far.

Girls names:
Katelyn (Kate)

Boys names:
Griffin (griff)

I know a few people whose kids already have those names, but I'm not trying to copy! (some people feel a little threatened when others take their names, though I know that no one who reads this blog thinks that way.) :) likewise I wouldn't care if anyone were to use these names. Or make fun of them, either way.

And gaston was geoff's idea, but what the hey it's a cutie. Maybe he'll be born in France.

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Yay! I just downloaded blogpress so I can blog and post pictures from NYC!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

New adventure

Our house actually showed last week.  The word we got was that the couple absolutely loved our place.  The only negative thing they had to say was that the people that live above us were noisy, and they have to think about whether or not they want to live below someone.  Dang.  The people that live above us now (and it seems to change about once a year or so) are super nice and keep to themselves, but they do have two small children.  Dang.  I hope they don't scare away all the potential buyers.  All of the other tenants that have lived up there have been super quiet.  We'll have to see I guess.

Today Geoff bought plane tickets to NYC for next week!  They were pretty cheap, only $288 each for round-trip.  We both took three days off work.  We're going to tour the campus, figure out the subways, and do some sightseeing.  I'm so excited!  BTW, that means Geoff accepted Columbia's acceptance, lol.  He tried to call USC to see when they were sending out decisions, and all they would say was that they didn't know.  Dumb.  They lost a great student because they either couldn't get it together in time or be straight with us... even though Geoff might not have picked them anyway, if they ended up accepting him.  Well, I'm glad we're not going to a dumb school.  New York, I think will be the experience of a lifetime.  :)

I've finally started training someone at work! Yay!  Although they aren't a full-time trainee like what I did when I started.  She's an inside employee, and is training someone else to do her job so she can take my job.  In addition, I'm giving a bunch of my job duties away to a third person, who is in turn giving some of her duties to my trainee.  So there's lots of ebb and flow going on with the training, lol.  I might need to stay into May, which would be totally fine.  Also they decided to purchase that new software for tax processing, the implementation of which will be happening in April, during quarterlies.  It's gonna be some crazy times.

I really feel relieved to finally be moving on to the next chapter of life though.  I'm a little scared about looking for and starting a new job.  And there are some things like I'll miss my family, and we won't be able to take Gwennie with us.  (I know that makes me so sad!)  But family will be able to come visit, and hopefully someone we know will be able to take good care of our sweetie.  And overall, I cannot wait for a new adventure!  One of the first couple of posts I ever made on this blog was about my dream of living in New York City.  Whooda thunk!

A Thousand Suns

I've been listening to this Linkin Park album (A Thousand Suns) fairly constantly for the past couple of months.  It's one of my all-time favorites now.  There is some scattered rhetoric in it that I don't particularly get or care for, but for the most part it is really good.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Natural Man

The lesson in church today was about protecting the home & family.  I learned something so applicable to me at this time, and it really hit home to me.

Mosiah 3:19: For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.

This is key for me to work on.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Goodbye Grandpa Bingham

My Grandpa Bingham passed away at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.  He was 97 years old.  I haven't seen him in so long anyway that it didn't really hit me until we stood at the graveside for the service.  I'll miss him. 

We had a family viewing and prayer in Midvale at noon on Wednesday, then went straight to the cemetary for graveside services.  (He had planned his funeral some time ago and didn't want a traditional funeral service.)  They had the gun salute, and Boyd Kanenwisher sang a beautiful version of God Be With You Till We Meet Again, then remarks from Grandpa's daughters and a prayer.  Uncle Winston and Uncle Norm presented folded flags to Grandma Bingham and one of Grandpa's daughters from his first marriage.

Afterwards everyone went to the church across the street for a luncheon, provided by the Relief Society.  There was a video slideshow of pictures of Grandpa with the family throughout his life and when he was younger.  Those pictures were the way I remember Grandpa.

He was 97 years old, had Alzheimer's, and it has been probably a decade since he could see or hear.  So it was his time to go and I'm glad for his sake.

Dad invited the whole family down for some food that evening.  Around 50 or 60 people were there- it was really crowded.  But I saw some family that I had either never met before, or didn't remember since I was so young when I last saw them.  It was neat.

Rest in peace Grandpa Bingham, love ya.

Japan quake

Wow.  This earthquake in Japan brings back the memories from when Alison was in Chile when that earthquake struck.  I remember how scared I was.  My heart goes out to the people in Japan and everywhere else affected.  Geoff's family lives about a block from the beach in Oregon, so they are under tsunami warning right now, but I'm thinking they'll probably be okay.  Still it's so tragic.

Friday, March 4, 2011

We've heard from one, now

This morning, I got an email from Geoff, that said simply, "I got into Columbia." 

What? AAAHHHH!!!!

Then later he called me; he had left his phone in the car.  But we are so excited!  Hours later and I'm still shaking with excitement.  He has until the middle of April sometime to give them his acceptance and fee, so he's just going to wait and see what the other two schools' decisions were.  But, it is an honor and a privilege just to be accepted to this school, and I couldn't be more proud of Geoff.  He earned it and totally deserves it! 

And how exciting is it that we might be living in NYC!  Wow!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And again

I posted that last post right after work yesterday.  Within a couple of hours, I had full blown chills and body aches.  Today, the ache seems to have settled into my back, shoulders and neck - mostly back.  I left work early today.  I don't know how tomorrow is looking.  That's so weird, I almost never get the flu, and now I've had it twice in the last three weeks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Well again with the telltale sore throat and headache.  Not again!  Gah!  Just when I said I was going to start training.  I could probably still go to the gym today, because I'm still in the walking only phase.  But is there even a point if I just have to start over again once the worst of the new cold is gone?  Bleh.

This is our listing:

The picture company did a really good job of making it look big and spacious.  And I don't know what that random photo of a cabinet is doing in there, but oh well.  Also it's a little embarrassing that there's a closeup of our tub, but I guess they are just trying to show that it's jetted probably.  I think we might be priced a little high, but we'll see.  That's what our spat with the realtor was about - he recommended this price after "supposedly" doing a comparables search, only his search wasn't thorough.  I found a ton of stuff in our neighborhood listed for much cheaper the very next day, emailed the info to him, and then he said we should drop the price by about $7,000... this was after we had signed the listing agreement, which we might not have done if we had had a good solid estimate of what we could sell for.  Still not sure what it's going to seel for, if at all.  $7,000 is not a lot if you have a big house worth a lot more, but when we're trying to just recover the down payment that we put into it, it takes a sizeable chunk out.  I guess we are motivated to sell, but not desperate.  So if we don't get any traffic in the next couple of weeks maybe we'll revisit that.

But anyway, off to make dinner and contemplate going to the gym.

'Nother great blog

Okay, I LOVE my cousin's blog!  She is an excellent writer, and her kids are adorable, and she captures them so perfectly in photos.  So I'm a little bit of a blog stalker, oh well.  I didn't know much about these guys until I found their blog, and I think I've only met them once, but for family who know these guys, you should check it out:

The OK Corral