Monday, November 23, 2009


It has been awhile since I last wrote but it’s a good time to write you all! I survived my summer working for NASA in Los Angeles…it was a long summer and although paid well I wouldn’t sign up for it again. So I got back to Houston and resumed my teaching job (still Physics and AP Physics C) with the same school. It has actually been a great year! I really love my kids and I really feel like a veteran teacher. I feel like I fit in with the staff (we have a lot of cool new, young teachers in the science dept) and feel more connected to my leaders, too. I started a Rocket Club with some great students and will also sponsor Robotics in January. It’s a good thing I’ve got going! We just got out for Thanksgiving break- a whole week!

I still work for Space Center but instead of the actual teaching over video conferencing, they pay me more to do personal contract work making new lessons for them! It’s infrequent and on my own time, pretty sweet.

I still live in the same apartment with Mac (my cat). I found a fabulous black leather sofa and loveseat for super cheap (I sold my old couches to teacher friends- it worked out perfectly), so my apartment is even cuter now. I have a pretty new bed set, too! Mac is doing great. Love that cat. He’s just as spastic as ever but keeps life interesting!

I’m dating someone! If you’re on facebook you might have seen the photos. J His name is Matt Francis. He’s the same age as me (26) and is from the Dallas area. He did attend some high school in Germany and Korea. He served his mission in London. He graduated from BYU in exercise science and wants to start Baylor’s Physical Therapy program with the Army next fall. Right now he’s a physical trainer (so he’s got muscles…) and he’s working on some pre-req classes for the Baylor program. (muscles and brains!). We met on Halloween---my friend Julie is dating his brother Sam and we all went to our Halloween party together and just hit it off. He asked me over for dinner the next day and we’ve seen each other everyday since! (well, okay he was out of town for a few days but other than that…). We’ve gone shooting, to the opera, a hockey game, to my see favorite singer Regina Spektor, ran 4 miles yesterday, and more! Who knew I’d actually like shooting and running! Maybe it’s just because I’m with a cute boy. He’s so sweet, smart, and funny and we’re just smitten. Although it’s only been three weeks, we’re pretty dang crazy about each other. We spend every minute we can together. I couldn’t ask for a better guy. Even last night he surprised me with candles and our first slow dance to “You are so beautiful”. How romantic!

Right now I’m on my way to Utah to visit my friend Aubrey for the week! Then I’ll probably go to Dallas to meet Matt’s family Friday (connecting flight is in Dallas so Matt suggested I just skip the next flight to Houston and stay with his family for the weekend). I will be in Spokane from December 20th to 30th …then Dallas for New Year’s. Then Las Vegas for Grandma’s 90th birthday in mid-January with all the extended family! Matt will have to come to Washington soon- he just learned how to play cribbage and almost beat me…

Well, that’s my update. I am very happy and feel very blessed to have such wonderful things going on in my life!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Real Simple- Month's worth of meals. Here's one recipe.

Tilapia With Peppers and Olives

Jose Picayo
Serves 4Hands-On Time: 20mTotal Time: 20m


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 6-ounce tilapia fillets
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fish with 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a second large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the peppers and onion, stirring often, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the olives, parsley, lime juice, and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with the fish.

Monday, September 7, 2009

i do NOT live that far away, people

Just saying, please don't use the excuse that I "live too far away" to exclude me from any goings ons in the singles ward. I drive to Church every week and usually something Friday and/or Saturday and you don't hear me complaining that I live too far away. I will drive if I want to go to something. But don't say we don't hang out or are better friends because I live too far away.

Muchas Gracias!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Victor passed away this morning. I am glad that I could help bring him the Gospel and I hope he will be an angel watching over me throughout my life. Love you, Victor!


VIctor murió hoy a las 04 AM, en su casa, èl se acordó de ti, el domingo pasado, y dijo que te dijiera, que fue al templo, y oró por sus amigas. El estaba muy enfermo.. pero ahora, estará feliz porque sus amigas le enseñaron el evangelio.. y gracias a tu obediencia, él se pudo bautizar..

Te quiero mucho.


veteran teacher

whoa. I feel like a veteran teacher. I have things under control! I know what I'm doing! It's fabulous. There are a few new teachers in the science department- so I'm not the youngest (I haven't been the newest for awhile) anymore! The new teachers are fabulous and fun- I like them a lot! I feel like it's going to be a great year!!!!!! We switched from block to 7-period days which is an adjustment for all. The day just goes by so fast and you don't have much prep time but that's okay. I really have an awesome science department! Our dept head is wonderful, the 'older' teachers are so nice, and I am so grateful for Matt... it's just good. :)

That's all for now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

toning up!

yay! I'm finally seeing results from my 7-8 weeks of personal training! Now that I can eat decent food (which was hard in LA with all the eating out) I am losing weight and toning up! I have biceps I can see! :) So I'm just going to keep this healthy lifestyle up (that's all it is) and go back to my skinny self and be all buff! :)

Here's what I do-
2 days/wk with personal trainer + cardio
2 days/wk without PT weights and/or cardio
8 hrs of sleep (doctor says that helps lose weight)
trying to eat real foods, no preservatives.
actually eating breakfast
little-to-no carbs at dinner
More water (although I still drink diet coke)

see- just plain healthy. LOVE it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

that's not my name

Thank you to the Ting Tings for my theme song as I return to Texas. Apparently when I say "Jenn" here people think I say "Jan", "Jane"
"Janet". That happened TWICE today. Really, Texans? Is my "washington" accent so off that you can't understand that my name is
Jenn? So weird. THAT'S NOT MY NAME. Now don't get me started on DanielS. Even Jack Daniel's is Daniel-apostrophe-S. Jeez.

Poor Ting Ting girl gets called "her", "Stacey", "Jane", "Mary", "Jolisa" Those aren't even close to whatever her name is. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

america's got farts?

okay, so embarrassing moment with my physical trainer at the gym today. He was making me do crunches. I had a sweat band around my waist, which is rubbery, so when I would sit up it would move slightly and make a farting noise. I tried adjusting mid-crunch and hoped that he didn't think I was farting (heaven forbid!). Then he realized I did have a sweat band that was making the farting noises...he thought it was pretty funny. He said it'd be impressive if I could really do that- fart continuously. He said I could go on America's Got Talent. "Jennifer this real? Yup, she can fart continually! Let's see this!" says the announcer. Oh gosh. He went off for a minute or so while I tried to finish my crunches. Goodness.

And then he burped. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ode to victor

I just got word that my favorite convert from Chile, Victor, is dying of lung cancer. He was so amazing and will forever be a key part of my life. Let me tell you about him.
Lindsey Lansing and I were companions in Santiago. I only had a few months in the mission and she only had a few to go. But I was new to the area. Lansing had taught English on Saturdays to a lot of non-members and Victor used to attend. One day we were at a little tienda (shop) and talked to someone who happened to know Victor. He hadn't been to English class in a while and this lady told us he was sick and gave us (so conveniently) his address. So, we went to visit! He was just delighted to have us visit and to know someone cared. Victor was 66 (I think) when we met him and he lived alone. He had a bad habit of smoking- but was one of the most determined to stop. He said he could've bought a house with as much money he's spent on cigarettes over the years! We would teach him about the Book of Mormon and the Gospel and would take him to church. We would eat cookies and drink Ecco (coffee that's not coffee). We would even speak in English (he spoke really well!). It was grand. He got bapti
zed and I just remember being so happy that day. So happy. I love Victor! He gave up a lot to join the Church and his determination got him far, always did. He was in the EQ presidency not long after I left the mission and was always the best with investigators! Oh, Victor.

I'm so sorry he has lung cancer. I have faith Heavenly Father knows what he's doing, but I just can't help but get teary eyed. I can't lose my Victor! Hang in there, my dear friend. I love you!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

gratitude and adventures

Okay, so it's been an adventure here in LA with the clan of ten kids.  Let me focus on the positives.  For one, how many people can say they got to work for NASA for a summer in LA?  Pretty snazzy.  And financially, it pays better than my teaching job. Can't go wrong there.  On top of that, I get to temporarily live in LA and not pay for rent or food or gas or parking. That adds up, my friends. I get to see cool things and tour around (also paid for).  I also get to know some awesome kids who have bright futures and are just plain great. A lot of them are just a blast.  Impressive bunch. Even if I am with them 24/7 minus the few hours they're at work!  :)

Yes, I've been lonely here in LA- not being around anyone my age is tough- but I have learned a lot about myself.  I am working on my biggest flaw- being too hard on myself.  How do I fix that?  Well being alone with your thoughts makes you fix that or you'll go crazy!  That and going to the temple. And going to the gym. I got a personal trainer contract (which will still be good in Texas) and so I'm getting all buff. ;)  It's a confidence booster. I may come off confident, but I sure don't feel it some days. But that's changing. I feel more confident and at peace with myself.  So a little bit of physical confidence along with spiritual confidence (yup, Heavenly Father keeps telling me to be patient!) I think I can conquer the world. Or close. 

I can do hard things (reference from my mission president).  I am scared to start school next month but every day I'm less scared. I know more than I did a couple years ago. I CAN handle high schoolers.  I'm learning to not take things personally. I'm a sweet gal and if they don't like me that's their problem (still trying to convince myself of that...).  I can't make everyone happy (a lesson learned this summer when trying to please ten kids at once).  But I can make me happy.  I control that.  It's not what city I'm in, if I'm dating anyone, what job I have... it's all about my perspective on those things that really makes me happy.  That's what matters. 

I will be grateful to be home in Houston with my friends and start a new school year. It's going to be a good year- in many ways. And I'll keep learning from the experiences put in my path. I know I was here to be in LA with these great kids for a reason. I've learned lots from them and hope they have learned something from Maegan and me, too.  It hasn't been easy but I think it's been worth it.

My adventures aren't over....