Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welcome to Deseret Book

Those of you who used to work with me at Deseret Book will find this post reminiscent of the past. Actually, anyone who has worked in retail or any other job involving the public will likely appreciate this story.

How do I put this nicely....there are a lot of freaks out there, and last night all of those along the Wasatch front came to my store. Geesh, I had had it after the first fifteen minutes. Everyone was in a hurry, or frustrated because we didn't have something that they'd been looking for for a decade and can't find it anywhere, or they couldn't understand why they had to wait a minute while I finished up with another customer, or they didn't know why we didn't immediately know what they were talking about when they asked for a book on some former Olympic wrestler. That's not a joke. Some old man asked for a book on some guy who's name I can't remember, and then was pretty miffed when I looked a little lost. Honestly. Like I know the names of all of the Olympic wrestlers out there.

In the middle of this mess, my friends and coworkers Tom and Elise asked me if I would do a page for them. Someone on the phone wanted to talk a girl named Aloofa (I don't know how to spell it, but it's pronounced a-loof-a). Neither one of them wanted to do the page. The name was too embarrassing to say over a loudspeaker, I guess. Tom is a bit of a joker, so I made him swear on his life several times over that this was for real, and then I did the page, and then went back to ringing people up. A minute later, Tom was standing behind me with the phone and telling me that it was for me. I said, "Hello this is Angie", and an angry accent said, "Are you Aloofa?" Me, "No." Him, "Then why are you talking to me on the phone?!" I didn't know why I was talking to him, so I just put him back on hold. I should have slapped Tom upside the head at this point for dragging me into this.

I went back to my work, and after a couple of minutes realized that the elusive Aloofa had not answered the page by coming to the back desk, so I got back on the phone. "I'm sorry, but Aloofa hasn't answered the page. I don't think she's in the store." Holy smokes was that a mistake. This guy went off. "I WAS TALKING TO HER 5 SECONDS AGO! SHE CALLED ME FROM YOUR &#$% STORE! GIVE ME SOME HELP HERE! OH ##$%#$&$%#$%#^&%^&%$%$", and then I hung up on him. I don't care who you are, I don't have to listen to that.

Some time later, a guy called and asked to talk to the supervisor, held for about ten seconds, and then called back to let us know that the supervisor hadn't picked up. I think it was the same man. There have probably been several complaints filed against me for not magically giving him Aloofa on time. I'm still mad at Tom for all of this.

Later, Elise was working at the back register, where she was cornered by another man for about 45 minutes. I wandered back there a couple of times, and could tell that he was purposely dragging things out only because he wanted to talk. He had a thousand questions on everything, asked for her opinion, asked for her name, told her she needed to smile more, asked the lady standing behind him waiting in line if she didn't think that people needed to smile just went on forever. Elise was getting uncomfortable, understandably. It's not that he said or did anything inappropriate, he just gave off this creepy vibe, and he would not go away. Luckily for her, she was paged to pick up a phone call, and went into the back room to take it. I tried to avoid going over to "help" this guy (by help I mean become his next hostage), but he caught me. I asked him if he was ready to check out (and leave!), but no, he had lots and lots of questions. If I have a talent, it is the ability to give a cold shoulder to people that I really do not want to talk to. All of my answers were short and to the point. Still, he wouldn't let go. There was the strangest feeling all around him, a desperate neediness that made me feel sorry for him, but at the same time made me put up my guard. You just know that if you get sucked in, you're never getting out again.

Long story short, Elise eventually came back from her phone call, I ran away, and after about ten more minutes, the guy paid for his stuff. He didn't leave right away, though. Instead, he found a female customer to talk to for another 30 minutes. Poor girl. Interesting side note - Tom told me that this man had been in the store before. He told Tom that he was in an article in Time magazine, asked if he wanted to see it, and then brought in from his car the framed page. Who does that? I don't know. Well, that guy apparently.

I always struggle with situations like this. Needy people really do make me put up my deflector shields. But later I feel a bit guilty about it. The nice little parts of me think that people just need some patience and compassion, and that I really should be friendlier. But most of me just wishes that they'd get out and never come back. That's usually the part of me that wins.

Working with the public is an interesting ride to say the least. You just never know what someone might want or expect or say or think. There's no guessing what's next. I've worked at the store for years now, and still wonder if I'm cut out for it. Patience is not my virtue.

Monday, July 28, 2008


A few years ago, I discovered a brilliant website, I had just finished a 10 year stint with Franklin Covey, and having been in a place where motivation, inspiration and empowerment is almost a religion, it was good fun to see someone mock it. Those at despair take the popular motivational posters that hang in every office in America, and rewrite the lines into some of the funniest stuff I've ever read. I posted one last week, "Beauty". Here's another. I think I'll do this periodically. Use them as your daily affirmations. A good laugh is probably more effective than any of that motivational hoopla.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Week In Review

Hello All. Welcome to another riveting edition of a Week In Review. Here's what's been up with me this week.

Where did everybody go?
You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I had house guests. My roommate's sister and her three kids stayed with us for about 10 days. They went back to Connecticut last Sunday, and my roommate went with them. I am on my own until August 13. I really love alone time. I love my roommate, too, but there's something therapeutic, almost euphoric, about having the place to myself - maybe it's because I'm really an introvert at heart. I'm sure that after 3 weeks I'll be ready to have some company again. We'll see if I'm still able to carry on a sensible conversation after 21 days of silence. But for now, I'm liking this.

PS - No, I do not walk around naked. Why is that always the first question asked when a person says that they're home alone? I don't know.

Haven't seen it yet, but have heard a lot about it. According to absolutely everybody, it's the best movie ever made. I think I'll take Zac and Josh tomorrow, and then I'll let you know if it really is the best movie ever.

John Adams
I rented the HBO miniseries on John Adams, based on the book by David McCullough, which won a Pulitzer prize a few years ago. My good friend Nicole and I read the book together and really enjoyed it. I'm enjoying the miniseries even more. I don't expect that everyone who read the book will like the show better, book vs movie is always a delicate topic, but I am loving this. Last night I watched the episode featuring the writing of the Declaration of Independence and all that lead up to it. The filmmakers did a great job of carrying the emotion, and the sobering reality, of the time. Our Founding Fathers had no reason to believe that they could take on Great Britain and win. They had every reason to think that they'd be hanged as traitors as soon as the war was lost. It's just astonishing that they went ahead and signed that document and started a war anyway.

The show does a great job, too, of depicting Abigail Adams. Her strength kept him going. She stayed behind, raised children, fought back disease, worked a farm, and faced a war being fought in her back yard all on her own while he was away as a member of congress and as a diplomat in Europe. It's overwhelming to think of what her life must have been like. I'm sure that there were countless women like her who believed in the Revolution deeply enough to stay home alone. There are women today who are home while their husband are fighting overseas, and my heart goes out to them.

Some genealogy
Over the last couple of years, I have had more interest in genealogy. My parents are converts, so we don't have the great-grandmother who did all of our generations back to Adam some 45 years ago. I do, though, have a sister-in-law, Andrea, who rocks the family history. She's found some great stuff, and her enthusiasm has made me want to do some looking myself. Last year I was online looking for information on my maternal grandmother's family, and literally stumbled onto a link that listed out our generations back to Virginia in the 1600s! I couldn't believe it. A man named Billy Brim, who must be a distant relative, had researched that family line, found all of those names, and posted them on What a find. These people are some of the first colonists in America. I think that's fascinating!

I was looking at it again yesterday, and found that Andrea had posted some information of her own, adding a couple more generations to the list. Those that she added were born in England in the early 1600s, and one name in particular caught my eye - Jane Ann Howard. Those of you who know your history of Great Britain will know that the Howards were a powerful family during King Henry VIII's time. In fact, Anne Boleyn's mother was a Howard. So interesting! I honestly have no idea if Jane Ann is part of the same Howard family, but wow, what if she was? I won't have you all start referring to me as Lady Angela, Duchess of ... quite yet. I need to verify a few things first.

Days of '47
I did nothing to celebrate the holiday. In fact, I worked at the office yesterday. Being a Minnesota girl, I've never really caught the spirit of it all. I do, though, feel real gratitude and respect for those early saints and pioneers who built up the Church. It's wonderful to think about the people who lived before us, and of how their work and sacrifices now bless our lives. Everything we have, the Church, our nation, is built on the sweat and tears of countless people who simply followed what they believed in and did their duty to God. I am very grateful. Very grateful.

That's it for now. Thanks again for sticking with me.
You are loved.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Daily Affirmations

If you're going to spend 40 hours a week with someone, it should be entertaining

I work here at the COB with a man named Tim, and he is a character. He's in his seventies, grew up on a ranch in New Mexico, worked for a construction company, and then served as a mission president in Guatemala. He has the personality of an old ranch hand - loud, gruff, politically incorrect, but with a very good heart. I just love him.

He likes to sit at his desk and holler when he needs help with something. For a long time, he'd shout, "Hey gorgeous!" There were a handful of girls within earshot, and we never knew exactly which one of us he wanted. It would be presumptuous to assume, (although Nicole and I were usually confident it had to be one of us) and a bit embarrassing to go to his office just to be told that you weren't who he was calling. A bit awkward for all, but we took it in good humor because it was Tim. It's like your grandpa calling you gorgeous. I do think, though, that someone got after him because it stopped. Honestly I kind of miss it.

Now, he hollers my name specifically, and nice and loud. He often has questions with his email, and seems to think that I am all-knowing. So he yells "Angie!", and I go to help. I tell him what to click on, it works, and then he tells me that I am a genius. That's right, genius. I guess it's not a bad switch from gorgeous.

The man can't spell, and is often standing in his doorway asking whoever will answer how to spell this or that. I should admit that I can't spell either, and usually am not the genius he needs for these questions. It's good that his voice carries to several other people. Someone is usually able to help him. Part of his job is to work with the mission presidents in Central America. He takes calls from them when they have questions or problems with something. Often the problem is an illness, and then Tim has to spell out in his notes different medical terms. One day, I went into his office, he wasn't in there at the time, to fix something on his computer. I glanced over at the wall and saw, written on a yellow sticky where it could be clearly seen, the word "diarrhea". Nice. I guess he got tired of asking how to spell it. I immediately got Nicole to show her. It's still funny.

Tim has asked a General Authority, "Have you been working out?", and another "What's your inseam?", and has announced to the entire floor, "When I die, my tombstone is going to read, 'Where the hell is my hammer?" Now that I think about it, I don't know that the whole floor was meant to hear that - it's just that his voice has one volume setting.

He has memorized countless poems, which really is great, and will stand at my desk (or anyone's who will listen) to share something. One of his loves is Robert Service, who writes cowboy poems. Very fitting.

Honestly, Tim is an all-time favorite. I just love working with him. It's kind of like having my dad around. And he's good at his job. I can count on him for help with anything. He is getting older, so I'm often concerned that he will decide to retire soon. I'd really miss him. Although, he did say once, when asked about taking a day off, "Why be home? It's just another fight.", so maybe he'll be around for awhile.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Week In Review

Here we are again. Time for another edition of the ever popular Week in Review.

I Don't Feel So Hot
I have a cold, and it's kicking my pants. My head hurts, my throat is sore, and I'm all stuffed up. I'm gross. I miss breathing with my mouth closed. I miss my mom.

I should be home, but my coworker here at The COB (aka Church Office Building) is out today, so I had to come in. I'm making sure to breathe, sneeze and blow my nose just as loud as I can so that everyone will know what I'm sacrificing for my work and will give me the appropriate praise. So far nothing. I'm sure that they feel the praise on the inside.

The Honda
My poor little car had some trouble this week. The fuel pump went out. Interestingly enough, when a fuel pump stops pumping fuel, the car won't start. I had it towed to my mechanic on Monday. They got it all fixed up, charged me an outrageous amount of money, and I had it back again Monday night. Tuesday, while driving from The COB to the bookstore, there was a very strong smell of gasoline and fumes coming into the car. By the time I got to the store, I was more than a little loopy. I called the mechanic to ask him if that smell was normal (I don't know, maybe you have to break in a fuel pump). He said, "No. You need to bring it back in as soon as possible. We don't want it to catch fire." No, no we don't. I took it back Wednesday morning. They said that something needed to be tightened and a seal wasn't sealed, so the gas was leaking. It's all sealed up and leak free now, and running like a champ. Car problems are a pain in the neck, but it is kind of fun to feel how well it runs when fixed up.

So You Think You Can Dance
Still awesome!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Man I love 'em! I ate that cookie days ago and am still thinking about it. So good.

A Retraction
Thank you all for your kind support of my rant on married women crying all the time. I appreciate it. I do, though, feel like I should take back my comment on no one getting me good Christmas or birthday presents. My mom has been putting extra effort into my Christmas gifts for years now, and for my last birthday she made me a great quilt. I love it. And other family members and friends do take me to dinner and give me lots of attention on my birthday. Fortunately, none of them read this, except for my mother. So, Mom, I'm sorry. I hope you didn't feel slighted.

I think that's it for now. Thanks, as always, for spending this time with me.
You are loved.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

London Town

I've been missing London the last few days. It seems strange to miss a place that I've been to only once, and spent only four days, but I really do. I just loved it there. Everything about it was exciting, and yet familiar and comfortable too.

The picture above is, of course, Big Ben. It's smaller then you might think when you're there, and just right along the street. It's connected to the Houses of Parliament, so I expected large, sprawling grounds and some distance between the sidewalk and the building. But no, it's all just right there on the corner. The whole city is like that. Very intense, everything packed into small spaces. I guess that's typical of large cities, and especially of old cities.

The red buses really are everywhere. We took a bus tour on a double-decker with an open top, and it was so much fun. Our guide was brilliant. On every street he pointed out a building, told us what it was, what had happened there, and gave us a fun fact or some history. Very impressive. I took pictures of a lot of those building, and then later when going through them thought, "What is this?" I should have asked the guide to help me later with my pictures.

Notice the umbrellas and raincoats. It rained every day. A nice soft rain that was easy to walk around in, so it wasn't bad. I got to where I kind of liked it.

This is a tower on the Tower Bridge, and I took it from within the grounds of the Tower of London.
This is a small section of Kensington Gardens with Kensington Palace in the background. Queen Victoria was born here, and Princess Diana lived here for a little while. The gardens are gorgeous. They're connected to Hyde Park, which is also gorgeous. We did get a break from the rain on this particular day, and spent hours walking through the park, ending with the gardens and palace. It's so green and fresh and peaceful. I've thought about it often since being back, and feel peaceful again just in the memory of it. It really is a beautiful place.

This is on the wall of Westminster Abby. It's a prayer: "May God grant to the living - grace; to the departed - rest; to the Church & the world - peace and concord; and to us sinners - Eternal Life". The Abbey has been there for more than 1000 years. I was started by a group of monks in 900 something A.D., and was added to over the centuries. Many kings and queens are buried inside the Abbey, and there's a corner dedicated to writers. Charles Dickens rests in Westminster Abbey. I think that's fantastic.

It really is a fascinating place. I'd like to back again soon, very soon. Anyone want to join me? You'd love it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Week in Review

It's time for another installment of A Week in Review. Here are a few things I've experienced this week, and my valued opinions on them.

Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
I've started a new and very interesting book. It's a Civil War story about a woman, Carrie McGavock, who with her husband runs a plantation in Tennessee. Her husband is gone to war, and so she is managing the place with her housekeeper/slave Mariah. A major battle is fought within a mile of her property, and the Confederate army turns her home into a hospital. It's based on a true story. The McGavok plantation is now a historical site with a cemetery for the near 1500 who died in her home still being maintained. I'm only a few pages into the book, but expect to like it. The story behind it is fascinating. You can Google Carrie McGavock and/or Carnton plantation for more information.

I'm a big fan of So You Think You Can Dance on Fox. I know, it sounds kind of cheesy, but I promise you it's not. Those competing are very talented, well trained dancers, and they get some of the top choreographers in the country to work with them. It's awesome entertainment.

I'm also a follower of The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert. So funny. These are the smartest funniest men on television. Yes, the shows are all about poking fun, but they're unbiased about it. Everyone gets a chance to be made a fool of. Even if they weren't unbiased, I'd still watch because they really are funny.

As you all know, I'm big on makeup. When I close my eyes and go to my happy place, it's the Nordstroms cosmetics department. Lately though, my fun has turned into an obsession that I'm a bit worried about. I'm on a quest to find the perfect mascara, and in the process have spent too much money and time anxiety on it. I've become so picky about how it goes on, looks, and wears that no one product will ever live up to the ideal. I currently have five (yes, I am embarrassed) mascaras in my makeup bag and am not happy with any of them. I've lost my mind. It's time to go back to Cover Girl Lash Blast, get some therapy, use the 12-step program, and be free of the addiction. Someone help me!

Baked spaghetti with meat balls is delicious.

House Guests
My roommate's sister and her three kids have been staying with us this week. We live in a three-bedroom apartment, so it's kind of crowded, but really has gone amazingly well. I was nervous. Those of you who know about my addictions might also know that I'm not a very open or social person. Usually strangers are very scary, and so I stay away from them. I'm certainly not one to have them sleeping on my couch. Of course, Kim (the sister) and her kids aren't total strangers. I'd met them a few times before and liked them. Still, we don't know each other well, and I like to know someone well before sharing close quarters. In the end, through, it was pretty cool. Kim is really nice, the kids are cute, and it was fun to have them around. And, I feel good about being able to just relax and go with it. I overcame some fears. A good experience all-in-all.

I've been taking classes with BYU in an attempt to get closer to a Bachelors degree. Right now my focus is on English, but that might change. My current class is online, and it's on literary interpretation and criticism. It sounded so interesting, but I'm finding that I might not be very good at it. I'm surprised by this because I read so much, and feel like I get what I'm reading. But, I struggle with picking apart someone else's work. Who am I to decide what an author meant by this or that? He/she was genius enough to write it. I'm not qualified to tear it apart. And, I feel strongly that any written work is going to mean different things to different people based on their experience and perspective. What stands out to me won't to someone else. So how can there be one right answer when analyzing a story or poem? And speaking of poetry, that's what my current lessons are on, and holy smokes am I in over my head. I had no idea that there were so many ways to dissect a poem. It's draining all the joy out of reading.

This is what I'm struggling with. Struggling so much that I've decided to take a history class next to see how I like it. Actually, I know I'll love it. I've always loved history, and being in London reinforced that love. Maybe I can actually fulfill my dream of being interviewed for a documentary...hmmm.

I think that's it for now. Thanks for joining me again this week.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I feel better now

I got my hair cut last night, and the highlights touched up, and now I look like this:

Actually, I don't have a blue jumpsuit, and am not quite that blond; otherwise, it's a match.

Cutting off long hair is a lot of fun, and so therapeutic. I don't know why it's so hard to make the decision. I'm sure every girl alive has agonized over wanting to cut her hair and being too scared to do it. Why is it so scary? I suppose no one wants to look awful, but it is just hair after all. It's not like loosing a limb. Hair will grow back.

I'm joking, obviously with that picture of Gwyneth Paltrow, but that's the cut I wanted. I first got the idea when her new look made the news (is it strange that celebrity haircuts make the news? Yes, it is). That was weeks ago. I went back and forth and stressed and worried. I had to get so sick of my hair that I just couldn't take it anymore. I called my girl (what do you call the girl who cuts your hair? Is she a stylist? That sounds so fancy. In days of yore she was a hair dresser, but not so much now), and she got me in the very next day. We cut and colored and ahhhhh, I am free. A new person. It's great.

I really do want to know what to call my hair cutter. Any suggestions are appreciated. I might go with stylist. Maybe I am just that fancy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It can't really be 40 years...?

Yesterday evening I went to dinner with my niece Cortni and her fiance Brad. That's right, the oldest of the next generation is getting married. I'm not ready for this. I just can't believe that she's already grown up. She's 20. The wedding is just a few days before her 21st birthday. I guess that's not too young to get married (Actually it is. I'm trying to be open-minded), but when it's your niece it suddenly seems much younger than it used to. Maybe because they'll all always be sweet little girls to me.

Dinner was nice. It was fun to be alone with Cort and Brad. When we're at a family get-together, there's noise and commotion, and the kids usually separate themselves from the adults, and so there's not much real conversation with any one person. And Cort was always one of the quieter children. At dinner we could focus. We talked about the wedding and her job and his family. We remembered things from when she was little. It was so good just to talk. I feel like I know her better now, and him too. Funny how you can know a person her whole life, and in one evening learn so much. She is grown up now, and a beautiful young woman. I think they'll do well.

In other news - it's my sister's birthday today. She's 40. That blows my mind even more than Cortni being 20. Most of you know (all three of you who read this) the story of how she came to be a part of my family. I think it's a miracle, and when I thank Heavenly Father for my family, I say a special thanks for her. I remember the first time I saw her. My parents arrived home from the airport with her in the middle of the night, after I was asleep. The next morning I woke up, and there she was, sharing my room. We shared a room our whole childhood. We used to get up at night, go to the kitchen, sneak pickles and take them back to bed with us. Then we'd stay up too late eating pickles and talking. Other nights, if something woke her up and scared her, she'd wake me up and get me scared, and then she'd go back to sleep, leaving me wide awake and very nervous. Nice. We had a grandma who sewed us clothes, usually from the same pattern so we matched. Hers were red, and mine were blue - every time. I was in my 20s before I considered wearing red because that was Marla's color. Now we're older, and no longer wearing matching shirts, but she's still my best friend, and really the best thing that ever happened to me. She's one of the most beautiful women I know - very strong and very good. Happy birthday Marla, I really love you.

Does it seem like every post I've done has included someone's birthday? July is a busy month for us. That's it for a while.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I would not have expected that

Here's an add for this year's Days of 47 events, as printed in the Deseret News. The last item will be of particular interest to some.

I suppose it's nice to include everyone from all walks of life.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Week in Review

Here's a review of things I've seen/read/heard/experienced this week. I learned long ago at the bookstore that you really can't make recommendations to people. Turns out they'll hate it, or look at you like you've got to be kidding, or just quietly and slowly put the book back on the shelf and walk away. So I don't recommend. I simply offer opinions. If your likes and dislikes are exactly like mine, then you might agree.

Wall E
Zac, Jonah and I saw this movie last night and really liked it. Visually it's fantastic, and the music is beautiful. The interesting thing to me is that there's not much dialogue, but those little robots still tell a full story with a lot of heart. The boys are from different age groups, Zac is 13 and Jonah is 6, but both enjoyed it. All the way home Jonah kept saying, "That was a good show!" 4 stars.

Zac and Jonah
1000 stars each. Love them.

These is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner
This is a novel I'm reading. I've known of it and avoided it for some time, mostly because of the title. These is? I can't read that. But enough people told me that they loved it to make me decide to give it a try, and I'm glad I did. It's a great story and well written. Sarah Prine is a likable character. I find that I really care about what happens to her, which is a strong point in a book in my opinion. There are some sad and difficult scenes, but they are told with taste, not with the melo-drama that too many authors use. I haven't finished it yet, but so far it's great.

The Church Office Building has switched from GroupWise to Outlook starting this week. I guess it's an upgrade. I'm doing pretty well, but some of my co-workers are having a hard time. The median age of the staff here is about 68, and it really is hard for some to use the computer, and once comfortable they really don't want anything to change. It makes me wonder about "upgrades" in general. There are some who really like to have the newest of everything and use every feature on their gadgets. I'm not one of them, and I don't think I'm a minority. I think most people, when they get something new like Outlook, simply try to figure out how to do what they did on their old system and stick with that. I haven't switched up my cell phone for years. The one I have will make and receive phone calls, and that's all I need it to do. If I had one that could beam my mother into the room so that I could talk to her face-to-face would I use it? Probably not. That would really freak her out.

Temperatures reaching 100 degrees
It's ironic that Zion is hotter than hell. I'm not ok with it. And why does the weather man always say, "The temperature today was about 10 (or 15 or 20) degrees above normal"? Where does this "normal" temperature come from? I can't remember a 4th of July that wasn't 100 degrees. Maybe it stayed in the 80s thirty years ago, but should we really still consider that the norm? Listen up weatherman, I'm putting you on notice. Stop telling me that it should be 15 degrees cooler than it is. You're not helping.

Viva La Vida from Coldplay
Let's get back to something good. I love this cd - love it! It's been all I've listened to since I bought it a couple of weeks ago. Viva La Vida is now my favorite song, and Violet Hill is a close second. Great, great cd.

It's my dad's birthday today, and he is 70 years old. I can't believe it. Neither can he! Over the last year or two, he has started sending me cards with short letters in them. I just love it. He's very smart and witty in his writing, and always remembers to tell me what the weather is like in Minnesota, and how the garden is doing. My dad can remember the weather from every year of his life. Go ahead, ask him what the summer of 1953 was like. He'll tell you. Happy Birthday Dad! I love you.

I think that's a wrap.

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Some Things New

I finally bought some flowers and fixed up my deck, and am pretty happy with the way it looks. The plant in the right corner is a tomato plant. My visiting teachers brought it over a few weeks ago, and, for lack of any ground, I put it in a large pot. So far it's doing well. It's going to be fun to have my own tomatoes this fall - love tomatoes.

In other news - I have another nephew. He was born March 4, and is named William Maximus Minnick. I fully expect him to one day be a conquering hero. Right now he's just really cute. He likes to kick and wiggle. I've never seen a kid who moves as much as he does. If he's awake, he's wiggling. And he likes to talk. He's got a lot to say when he knows you're listening. Of course, I can't understand what he's saying (which I'm sure is my fault), so I just grin and nod, and then he grins and talks some more.

Here he is in action. He's moving so fast it's a blur!

Cute boy. I really love him.

Speaking of nice boys, it's my oldest brother Aaron's birthday today. I remember an argument we had when we were kids. Actually, I don't remember what we were fighting about, only the way our dad handled it. He broke us up, and then told me to go get some paper, sit down, and write out an essay on why I loved my brother. What? I couldn't believe it. Note to parents - that's a good punishment. I've never felt so punished. When I finally finished it and gave it to Dad, he got a chuckle out of it because with each nice thing that Aaron had done, I made sure to note that he'd only done it once. Things liked "One time he...". I felt it was important to be clear.

Now if I had to write a list of reasons why I love my brother, it would go on and on, and I wouldn't limit it to single instances. Aaron is one of the best men I know. I honestly admire and respect him. So, happy birthday Aaron. You're much better than I gave you credit for in that essay.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

For Sale

My good friend Tiffany has asked a favor of the blogging world, and I am happy to comply. She and her family will soon be moving to Delaware where her husband will teach at a university. They are working on selling their house. It's a beautiful home...

The link to the listing is here. If you know anyone who might be interested, please pass this on.