Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Daily Affirmations - with Commentary

I'm looking at the steep climb in this picture and realizing that this is exactly how I feel about the changes I'm wanting to make this next year. Yes, it's New Year's resolution time, and I like most people am deciding to give up a lot of bad habits and to start better ones. I'm a little frustrated by the fact that I decided to do most of this stuff last year, and the year before, and the year before that... I've fallen over and rolled down the hill a few times.

Because I'm kind of scared to take this challenge on, or more to the point I'm afraid that I'll just fail again, I'm tempted to take the following approach:

Looks better doesn't it?

But maybe it's this attitude that's left me with some bad habits.

Shoot. I don't know.

Who's idea was this New Year's resolution thing anyway?!

I hope the view from the top of that hill is worth the climb.

Happy New Year everyone, and good luck!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Whole Mess of Pictures

The siblings who live here all got together for a family party on Christmas Eve, and I took some pictures. Here they are in no particular order.

When Sierra was a little girl, she and Mike (brother-in-law) made a bet that she would not grow taller than him. She was tall for her age at the time, and Mike is not tall for his age, so it seemed possible that she would outgrow him. Every time they see each other, they do the back-to-back measuring. Mike has managed to keep about an inch over her. Of course Sierra, who is now 18, hasn't grown at all in years, so I don't know why we need to keep doing this. Maybe Mike just likes to be proven right over and over and over again. Here's this months proof in a photo.

This is Noah. He's 5. This is his standard picture-taking face. Sometime I'll have to try to sneak a picture of him, so you can see what he really looks like.
Marla with her cute little William.

This is Jonah. He's looking older, isn't he? He just turned 7. Having a birthday (Dec. 6) and Christmas in the same month means that Jonah gets very little sleep during December. The anticipation of presents and toys is an emotional overload. It's fun to see how excited he gets.
This is my oldest brother, Aaron, and his wife Kristi. The party was at their house. Kristi is artistic and an impeccable decorator, so their home looks great. It's simple, but with color and style. Very nice.
Zachary and Josh managed to stand close to each other for a picture without it breaking out in a fight. When these two were little, they wrestled constantly. All day long. Wrapped up in a ball and rolling back and forth on the floor. I don't know how amused Marla was, but I thought it was hilarious. They don't wrestle now as much as they verbally pick at each other, with the occasional cuffing to the back of the head.
Sierra and Mariah. Such pretty girls. They hug a lot, and it's very sweet. They'll even hug in the middle of the mall. I had them in Macy's not too long ago, and Sierra said to Mariah, "Can I have a hug?", and they did. They still give me good hugs, too. I'm glad they haven't outgrown it. I certainly haven't.
Here's Savannah with William. He got passed around a lot that evening. Savannah spent the better part of her childhood wishing that she had a little brother. Having a little cousin has in part fulfilled her wish. She's very good with kids.
And last but certainly not least, Cortni and Brad. You might remember that they were married last September, and are doing very well. Married life suits them just fine. It's too bad her eyes aren't open here. I need to pay more attention when taking pictures.

I have a picture of Barry and Melody, but it's not very good, which is my fault. They're gorgeous people, I just didn't take a good picture. And, because Melody feeds me delicious mashed potatoes every Sunday, I don't think it would be wise to post an unflattering picture. I can't have her mad at me.

It was a good party. Food and games and the watching of "A Christmas Carol"... couldn't have asked for more. I spent most of Christmas day with Barry and Melody, after seriously sleeping in, of course. My roommate is out of town, and so I've had the apartment to myself. I had the unique experience of waking up Christmas morning at home alone. I don't say that to earn sympathy, I promise. I honestly didn't feel bad about it, and still don't. I mention it only because it was indeed unique. I layed in bed for awhile, then opened the presents that my mom and dad had sent, and then made waffles (delicious!), and talked to Marla on the phone, and then took my time getting ready to go over to Barry's. It was very quiet and relaxed.

Once I got to Barry's, relaxing was over. The girls have a Wii, and the Rock Band game, and a new guitar to add to the band, and some serious rocking to do. I took the microphone and played lead singer. What an awesome game. So much fun. The girls are really good at their virtual instruments. It's all harder than you might think. I tried the drums for a couple of songs and failed miserably. They did very well. If you haven't played Rock Band, find your chance and do it. You'll find that there's a little rock star in all of us.

Christmas was great. I got some good presents, ate good food, spent quality time with the family, and had some quality time all to myself, which was always renewing. Hope you all had a good time, too!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Christmas is a nostalgic time, and today I’m finding myself remembering things from my childhood years. As most of you know, I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, where the December wind chills go well below zero and the snow drifts up so high that it covers the barn. We used to go sledding off of that barn. My brothers would try to build up the snow into a turn, kind of like a luge tunnel, so that as we came down off of the barn we would hit it and fly up along the side. It never worked the way they had hoped. Still, the sledding was good fun.

We would bundle up into many layers of clothes to go outside and play. Only our eyes and hair were exposed to the cold, and that would frost over. Marla’s jet black hair went white, and Shane's eyelashes, which were very long and thick, would frost over to the point where I wondered if he could see. Makes me laugh to think of it now.

We had our own traditional dinner on Christmas Eve – spare ribs and lutefisk. It was something that my dad grew up with, a Norwegian thing I guess. Lutefisk is an old Norwegian food that is brutally awful. It’s cod fish soaked in lye for preservation. Well, that’s how they made it 100 years ago. I don’t know that it’s still soaked in lye now that society should know better, but whatever they do to treat the cod does not improve it. But my dad covers it in melted butter and eats like the happiest man alive, so Mom bakes it up every year. The rest of us stuck to the ribs and potatoes and everything else.

Of course, dinner had to wait until Dad and my brothers were done with the outside chores, which included feeding and watering the animals, getting them some clean straw, and then whatever else Dad could come up with. I swear he made the chores last so much longer than usual on that particular night. Then they’d come in, looking like Eskimos frozen over, strip out of their giant parkas and scarves and sweaters and hats and the top two layers of pants, just as Mom, my sister and I were finishing with the dinner table. Mom would get out her china and pretty crystal glasses. I always loved that.

We opened presents from my grandparents and aunts and uncles on Christmas Eve. My mom’s side of the family is small. She has one sister, who has one daughter, who is about 20 years older than me. So when my siblings and I were kids, we were the only kids that that family had, and they treated us right! We had a pile of packages that spread out for a foot away from the tree. All of them were ours on Christmas Eve. But, not until dinner was cleaned up – absolutely cleaned up, which took forever.

My mom had decorative candles all over the living room. Some were for Christmas; others were left out all year. While Mom and Dad were lingering over the dishes, I would get the matches and light every one, then sit in front of the lit tree and feel the glow of all of those soft lights. Thinking about it now makes me go all soft inside, and I can almost feel the warmth of being at home on Christmas Eve.

Opening the presents was pandemonium – a frenzy of flying paper. We sat nicely enough while the presents were sorted and passed around, but as soon as we were given the go ahead, all self restraint was gone. It was awesome.

Christmas morning was the same scene all over again with our presents from Santa Claus. I remember one gift in particular. Weeks earlier, Mom and I were in a store that sold a lot of nick-knacks, and I saw two little figures, a boy and a girl kneeling in prayer. He had on blue pajamas, and hers were red. They were small, maybe an inch tall, and had sweet, chubby little faces, and I really wanted them. That Christmas morning, there was a small little box for me under the tree, and in it were my praying children. They sat on my dresser all of my growing up years. Sometimes they acted as babies for my Barbie dolls. And now, 30 years later, I have them on my bookshelf alongside some family pictures.

There’s one more thing that I always think of when remembering Christmas at home – the angel on the tree. She’s beautiful. She’s about six inches tall with a gold dress that flares out wide at the bottom and golden hair, and she’s holding a tiny book of carols that she’s singing out of. I used to play with her as Mom strung the lights on the tree. We’d fly around the living room. And when all the other decorations were on, we’d set her in her place of honor at the top of the tree. I sometimes would try to twist one of the lights around so that it would shine on her just right. I’ve got dibs on that angel. It’s in bad taste to talk about when Mom and Dad are gone, especially at Christmas time. But still, I’m putting this in writing right now. The angel is mine.

Over the years we all grew up and spread out all over the country. Of course we did, it’s only natural. Mom and Dad have sold the farm and live in a little town called Moorhead, MN. I was there last year for Christmas along with my youngest brother and his family. We ate spare ribs, and watched Dad eat lutefisk, and opened presents on Christmas Eve. My angel was there to watch over us, like she’s always been. It was wonderful. This year, after much trial and tribulation, I decided that I couldn’t spend the money on an airline ticket, and so am staying here. All of my Utah siblings and their families are doing the same, so I’ve got people to be with, and I love those people, so it’s good. It’s good, too, to remember home – the place I come from, the place that formed who I am today. I miss it. I think that next year, if I’m still on my own, I’ll be sure to go back to Minnesota. And maybe I’ll sneak that angel into my suitcase. Even with my claim now in writing, I can’t be too sure.

Merry, Merry Christmas! May your homes be filled with love and warmth and everything that's good this year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Week in Review

Hello everybody. It’s time for another edition of the highly anticipated "A Week in Review". If you have not yet donned your gay apparel, now is the time. Fa la la la la la, la la la la.

Finishing up
It’s been a week for finishing things. Monday I went over to the BYU Salt Lake testing center to take the final exam for the online English class I’ve been taking. It went well enough, and I am so, so glad to be done. After the test, I went to the Gateway and bought Marla the last piece of her Christmas present, and that finished my shopping! I have two pre-Christmas shifts left at the bookstore, and then will be finished with retail during the holidays, and that is the best feeling in the world. I’ve even finished a biography that I’ve been reading for the last two months, which is way too long to spend on a book.

I don’t want to imply that December is something that I just endure and can’t wait to be done with, but it is nice to be done, isn’t it? The Christmas season feels kind of upside-down and backwards to me. There’s so much to do before hand, shopping and parties and concerts and socials and work, work, work. It’s exhausting. By December 25th, heck by December 10th, I’m burnt out. I look forward to Christmas Day because it means that I made through, like breaking the ribbon at the finish line. I don’t really think that Christmas should feel like this, but I really don’t know what to do about it. Quit the bookstore – that’s what I should do about it, but that’s really not an option right now.

Of course, it hasn’t been all bad. Melissa and I went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concert last Friday and really like it. Their guest singer was a Broadway man named Brian Stokes Mitchell, and they also had Edward Herrmann. If you, like me, do not know who that is, his latest claim to fame is in the role of Grandpa Gilmore on the “Gilmore Girls”. On Sunday, Mariah, Savannah and I drove around the neighborhoods close to their home to see Christmas lights. It was really nice. We listened to carols on cd, and saw some pretty great decorations. I love doing simple little things like that to take in the holidays.

There are treats EVERYWHERE
I'm pretty sure that I've eaten about 15 pounds of sugar just this week.

Melissa and I exchanged gifts last night. She’s leaving on Saturday for Connecticut, so we opened presents early. She bought me the first season of 30 Rock! Yeah! Being a newly converted fan of the show, this is very exciting. Now I can see all that I missed. Seriously, if you’re not watching 30 Rock, you need to start right now. So funny.

A Christmas Carol
I read on “The Writer’s Almanac” that it was on this day in 1843 that “A Christmas Carol” was published. I wonder how many plays, musicals, movies and one-man shows have been produced since then? The Almanac said:

At the time of the book's publication, the celebration of Christmas was somewhat controversial. Puritans in England and America argued that Christmas was a holiday left over from the days when pagans celebrated the winter solstice. Many Christians felt that the extravagance of Christmas was an insult to Christ. But A Christmas Carol was a huge best-seller in both England and the United States, and it set the tone for Christmas as we know it today: a season of generosity, feasting, and merriment.

The very best version of the story is still the original writing. If you haven’t read “A Christmas Carol”, you really have to. It’s genius. There’s so much in the book that simply can’t be translated into a play or a movie. Some of the very best scenes are those that I didn’t know were in the story until I read it. I think I’ll end with one of my favorites. This is Scrooge with the Ghost of Christmas Present:

"The Spirit did not tarry here, but bade Scrooge hold his robe, and passing on above the moor, sped whither? Not to sea? To sea. To Scrooge's horror, looking back, he saw the last of the land, a frightful range of rocks, behind them; and his ears were deafened by the thundering of water, as it rolled, and roared, and raged among the dreadful caverns it had worn, and fiercely tried to undermine the earth.

"Built upon a dismal reef of sunken rocks, some league or so from shore, on which the waters chafed and dashed, the wild year through, there stood a solitary lighthouse...But even here, two men who watched the light had made a fire, that through the loophole in the thick stone wall shed out a ray of brightness on the awful sea. Joining their horny hands over the rough table at which they sat, they wished each other Merry Christmas in their can of grog; and one of them: the elder, too, with his face all damaged and scarred with hard weather, as the figure-head of an old ship might be: struck up a sturdy song that was like a Gale in itself.

"Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea -- on, on -- until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him."

Merry Christmas!
You are loved.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Have I mentioned that I'm not much of a morning person? There's nothing I hate more than getting up early, and since I have to get up early for work every day, my days don't usually start well. This morning I slept soundly through my alarm for 45 minutes. I'm not kidding. It's set to go off a little before 6am, so that I'm up a little after 6am. I never hear it the first time it goes off with that terrible, incessant beeping, but I'll usually start to stir after 20 minutes or so. This morning when I opened my eyes and looked at the clock it was 6:40. Dammit.

I did my very best to get ready for work in 30 minutes. I have learned over the years that lots of things can be skipped - like doing my hair - when running late. Still, I didn't get to work until about 7:50 when I'm supposed to be here at 7:30. How did a non-morning person get a 7:30 shift? Someone hates my guts. Anyway, when I got here I was told that one of the General Authority secretaries had been looking for me because she needed an electronic signature for her General Authority. I don't have one, and so couldn't have helped her if I'd been on time, but still the fact that she was looking for me brought real attention to how late I was. It's a little embarrassing.

The COB is packed full of morning people. Those who naturally wake up before 5am, immediately start whistling a happy tune, and smile all the way to work. When I get here, they greet me with a heart felt "Good morning!", which only makes me angry and want to kick them good and hard in the shin. A dose of reality would bring them back down to earth. I've never said the words "good morning" in my life. It would feel like such a lie.

Folks here can't understand why it would be difficult for anyone to be in before 8am. In fact, one of my coworkers starts running around the floor looking for people at about 7:45, wondering where everyone is. Like it's normal to be at work so early. Like there's no excuse for being any later. His incomprehension of a work schedule that starts after 7am is incomprehensible to me. If I had my way (and someday I will, mark my words) I would never leave the house before 10.

Until then I'll have to set my alarm for 5:30 with the hope that I'll open my eyes by 6:15, and then mentally prepare myself for the blindingly bright cheeriness at the office. I'll do my best to hide a sneering look, and to sit quietly at my desk. It's better not to talk to anyone when you feel so much like crying.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Week in Review

There's not much to review this week. I did finish my Christmas shopping! Buying gifts is a lot of fun, especially when I feel like I've found something the person will really like. I actually was having a hard time getting any good gift inspiration this year, but in the end think what I have will be ok. I hope so.

But like I said, I don't have much talk about, so I thought I'd share the COB at Christmas time with you. It really is beautiful here. Of course there are all of the lights and decorations outside that the crowds come to see every night, but inside the office building is decked out, too. Here are some of my favorites:

This tree is in our cafeteria, and I just love it. Red and gold are my favorite Christmas decoration colors, and the ornaments are all wooden toys. It's so much fun. The rocking horse is great, too.

The flower and plant shop in the building sets out gorgeous poinsettias at all of our desks. Here's mine, with a little manger scene that I got at DB.

Here we have an outside scene (obviously). It raises a few questions - I don't know that it's a good idea to sit in a reflecting pond when it's 35 degrees outside. The look is pretty, but hypothermia isn't. Actually, the figures in this nativity scene always look cold. Last year they were on a lawn, which is a little more logical, but after the first snow poor Mary was covered, and I worried about her. Someone should get them all a blanket.

I love these little guys - they wear chocolate kisses as hats!

This is another one of the many Christmas trees set up in the building. Every day in December there are mini concerts in the lobby of the building between 12 and 2 - mostly local high school choirs. There are plenty of chairs and benches set up, and a good-sized group comes every day to hear the performance. I really like the Christmas brass. They do a great rendition of "Sleigh Ride". This tree is set up near the performance area and is decorated with instruments and music scores. It's really pretty.

This is yesterday's choir.

Another of my favorite trees is in the cafeteria again. It's covered with cookie and candy decorations. So cute.

So there's your mini tour of my office building. It's a nice place to be this time of year. I usually like to end A Week in Review with a quote or something that I've read. Since I'm on a Christmas theme, I will share my favorite scriptures from Luke chapter 2:
"And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord...Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Such a simple telling of an event that men had waited for for centuries, and that forever changed the world.
Merry Christmas.
You are loved.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just Random Stuff

I keep getting emails about tickets to Michael McLean's Forgotten Carols concert. How in the world did I get on Michael’s email list? No clue. I should write to him and tell him that we used to have a picture of his head on a stick at DB, and would put up daily affirmations, which were just some of the lyrics to his songs. Do you guys remember that? So funny.

I wasn't much of a Beyonce fan until her new song, "All You Single Ladies", came out and I loved it.

If I could figure out how to post YouTube and other videos on this blog I would totally do it, but I'm just not getting it. Maybe one of you could come here and help me...?

My deadly illness has abated, and it looks like I'm going to pull through. It's just a cough now.

I'm sure that the biggest reason for feeling better is that my brother gave me a really nice blessing on Sunday. I really love that boy.

There's a man here in my department who has found and fallen in love with some stupid nutcracker dolls that he found on sale at Zims, and he's telling absolutely everybody that they have to go buy some. I'm not kidding. I've overheard the conversation about 1,000 times. Sometimes he carries the doll around with him. The same man has a nutcracker tie that my good friend Nicole used to curse every time she saw it. I don't know - maybe when he was a small child he fell down an empty well and a nutcracker saved him from the darkness with magic? Maybe that's why he is living a life dedicated to them.

Working at the store kind of kills the Christmas spirit. If you are tempted to loose your patience while shopping, please be nice to the sales people. We're doing the best we can. And it's not our fault that what you want is sold out.

I am loving that every day this week at work there's been chocolate candy of some kind put out to share. Today it's mint M&Ms. Delicious. Happy Holidays!

Speaking of Happy Holidays - I don't really believe in this war on Christmas that I hear so much about. Sure there are those who celebrate Christmas because they want presents and parties but don't want to acknowledge the fact that it is a Christian holiday, but who cares? Let them. It doesn't change my Christmas at all. And besides, we all know that in the end those people will burn in hell. That's good enough for me.

I honestly envy people who live in London. The other night I was looking at some pictures and thought to myself, "I spent a two days walking around Paris this year, and four full days in London." It feels like a dream.

The best lipstick in the world (and I have tried them all) is from Laura Mercier. You can buy it at Nordstrom.

I read a good quote yesterday, "All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power."

I'm questioning my own judgement in writing that "burn in hell" comment. Might be a little harsh. Of course you know that I don't really mean it.

I just put those "Silent Night" Christmas cards in the mail. I don't have all of your addresses, so if you don't get one, that's why. I do wish you a very merry Christmas, and hope that you and yours are enjoying every day of the season!

I have all sorts of work to do, and should get to it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Daily Affirmations - A Christmas Card

Here's hoping that all of your Christmas wishes are made on real stars.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Week in Review

The slow destruction of my brain hasn't killed me yet, so I figure I'll do A Week in Review. You're welcome.

Dang it!
I can't stand the Christmas carol "Silent Night". Well, it's not that I hate the song per se, it’s kind of slow and dull and has never been a favorite, but my problem with it is the extreme overplay. Every party, every devotional, every Christmas program, someone demands that we all sing “Silent Night”. Enough already.

A couple of weeks ago I bought my Christmas cards. They’re very cute with a manger scene and the words from “For Unto Us a Child is Born” on the front, which is a song that I like very much. Last Friday evening I sat down to fill some of them out, and when I opened the card I saw that some of the words from “Silent Night” are on the inside. No no no no no! I seriously considered returning them. I didn’t, and will send them out, but honestly I do it with a little bit of irritation. That song is everywhere, and now I’ve become a part of it. I almost feel like I should apologize to those who get the cards, but then again, I’m probably the only one who is anti-that song. Everyone else seems to love it.

Last night on “30 Rock” Liz Lemon attended her 20-year class reunion. It got me thinking about mine. It was last summer back in Minnesota, and yes, I am that old. I didn’t go. In fact, I didn’t get any information on it. I’ve been away from home for such a long time, and my parents have moved since my high school days, so I’m guessing that no one knew where to send the invitation. It’s just as well because I wouldn’t have gone. Partly because I had already scheduled all of the trips I could take in one year for different events, but mostly because I really didn’t want to. I can’t exactly put my finger on a specific reason why. It’s more like a bunch of little reasons that added all together make me want very much to stay away.

A strange thing has happened since then. I got signed up on Facebook because many of my family members are on it, and have found that so are many of my high school classmates, and a whole bunch of them have found me there and have sent me messages, and it really freaks me out. Things like, “I’m sorry you weren’t at the reunion” and “What have you been up to the last 20 years”. It’s all very friendly, but still I feel threatened. I haven’t seen these people for 20 years, nor have I spoken to any of them. I went away to college, and then moved here, and haven’t looked back. I don’t know what to say to them. I’m sure that we have nothing in common. But more than anything else, I’m very surprised that they are contacting me. I went unnoticed in high school. It’s not that people didn’t like me, but I certainly wasn’t popular. I didn’t date, didn’t go to parties (because everyone at those parties were drunk). Most of the time I was just there, standing on the edge of the crowd. I’m shocked that they even remember me.

After a few weeks of cowering, I finally wrote a few of them back. Just short notes letting them know where I live and what I do and such. I decided that it was rude to ignore them, and writing was painless enough. It is nice to be remembered…? Maybe I’ll consider going to my 50-year reunion. We’ll see.

Cute Jonah turns 7 years old on Saturday. He’s so excited he can’t sleep at night. There’s going to be a party at Chucky Cheese (his pick) with friends and lots of present, and I think it’s knowing that presents are in his future that’s got him so hyper. I’ve never known a little boy who loves toys as much as he does – he loves, loves, loves his toys. I’m going to go over there later today with my gift for him. I can’t believe that he’s seven. He’s not a little kid anymore, and I kind of miss little Jonah. Still, he’s so much fun now, and a great movie pal, and will still give hugs, so it’s all ok.
I think that's it for now. There was a quote from Mark Twain on the Writer's Almanac this week, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." So true.
Thanks, as always, for keeping me in mind.
You are loved.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where are my @#%! Kleenex?

I'm a very sick girl. I've been fighting a cold/sinus infection for close to three weeks now, and it's worn down my will to live. I've done well not posting about being sick, don't you think? Talking about illness is mostly boring and really not good posting material, but now I'm feeling sure that death is imminent, and that does make for a good post. The problem seems to be that my brain is being squeezed by a very strong clamp, which is turning it to mush, which then comes out through my nose. It kind of hurts. Knowing that a person can't live very long without a brain, I'm trying to tie up some loose ends.

So now that it's time to say goodbye, I hope you know that I've always liked you, and have had a great time all of the time that we've spent together. It's been a pretty good life. See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prepare yourself for some gushing

Today we had our department Christmas social here at the COB. One of the very best things about working here is that the General Authorities come to our socials, and they often speak to us. It's wonderful to be with and hear them in small, intimate settings (at the summer social, the Apostles show up in Dockers and no tie, which is fun to see). Today Elders Perry and Holland spoke to us. Always, when I'm sitting in these meetings, I think that I'm going to remember everything they say and then share it with my family, or write it out here, and then I realize that it wouldn't be the same as being there. So much would be lost, that there isn't much point in trying. So I'm writing now not to try to repeat what they said, but to share my own gratitude for being in this unique place. I really don't feel like I've earned it. I'm so flawed. I never get up and get to work on time. I'm usually grumpy, and I admit to sometimes cussing under my breathe when the phone rings, but there I was listening to an Apostle telling me and my coworkers that they are grateful for us and the work that we do, and reminding us that we are part of the great missionary effort of the Church. It's humbling, but more than that, it's uplifting. I want to be a better person.

I sometimes wonder about the blessings in my life and why I was chosen for certain things - like being in the missionary department, or having the friends I have, or loving so much my nieces and nephews, or sleeping in a comfortable bed at night. I think about people in India or Iraq or Africa who suffer every day and have to put all of their energy into just surviving. And of those here close by who have faced heartbreak that seems to me should be heavy enough to crush a person. I've had some sad, lonely days it's true. I'm sure each one of you have had the "opportunity" to listen to me carry on about all of my troubles. But, compared to others, I've gotten off pretty easy. And always, at the end of every bad stretch, there's something to remind me that there is a God in heaven who loves me, and a Savior who died for me, and promises for the future that will be kept, and I'm ok again. I don't know why when lives were handed out I got this one, but I'm pretty happy with it, and hope that I take the time often enough to let the Lord know that I'm grateful.

I love all of the people in my life, including you. I love that I went to a department social with Apostles of the Lord today. I love that it's Christmas time. I almost wrote, "God bless us, everyone!" Ha ha. Let's stop just short of that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hello Everyone. I'm sorry for the long absence. I had last Thursday and Friday off at the COB for the holiday, and didn't touch a computer the entire weekend. It was a nice break.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It started Wednesday night - Melissa and I went to see the new movie "Australia". It’s very good, a huge, larger-than-life epic starring a very handsome man named Hugh Jackman. I have a new love for Hugh. He's dreamy.

Thursday morning I slept in forever. Always being the dinner guest at someone else's house, I don't have to do much cooking (if any), and so am able to sleep and be lazy all morning. It's the best. I recommend this course of action to anyone.

Dinner was at Barry and Melody's house. I got there about 1:00. Sierra, Mariah and Savannah were playing Wii games, so I joined in. I am the world's worst video game player - extreme lack of practice I suppose. Still I sometimes like to play, and the girls like to laugh at how very, very bad I am. It's fun for everyone. We did some Wii bowling, and then baseball, and then it was about time to eat.

Sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner is one of the best moments of the entire year and should be treasured. I told Melody that I was going to eat very slowly and make it all last as long as possible. We had all the traditional food: turkey, potatoes, stuffing (LOVE STUFFING) plus a delicious rice and broccoli dish that they make every year. It was heaven. Melody got out her fancy plates and crystal glasses for the occasion, and the girls just loved it. They get so excited about a fancy table. I remember my mom having glasses that she saved for special occasions, and I felt the same way when she got them out. Funny all of the emotions that are tied to little things. Dinner was all it was meant to be - good food, good company, and a good, full tummy when it was over. I love Thanksgiving!

Melody and I went for a long walk that afternoon. When we got back Barry and the girls were in the middle of an intense game of Scattergories. I joined in, and then, after a few rounds of that, we got out Apples to Apples. What an awesome game. We have so much fun with it. Sierra and I like to take each other on. Neither one of us ever wins the whole game, but if we can best the other, then we feel pretty good. Sierra beat me this time, which I think is the first time she’s ever beaten me. (Sierra, if you’re reading this I’m sure that you just made a “whatever” face, but you know it’s true). We played until it was late and time for me to go home. It was a great day, very relaxing and fun.

I did my best to avoid all shopping on Friday, but that afternoon found myself at Target buying toilet paper, which is something that you simply can not delay buying. All of the crazies must have come and gone by the time I got there because I got through the store with very little trouble. No half hour in line, no shopping cart rage or screaming children, all in all not too bad.

Saturday I went to work at Deseret Book mentally and emotionally prepared for a challenging day, but my preparation was all for nothing. We weren't that busy. In fact, I had a good deal of down time at the registers. People were shopping, of course, and spending good amounts of money, but the Christmas time intensity wasn't there. My friends and I have noticed for a few weeks now that it hasn't been as busy as it should have been, being so close to Christmas, but I really thought that once we got through Thanksgiving the shoppers would come out in mobs. I was wrong. It's strange, and a little disconcerting. We've all heard so much about the state of the economy, but until now it felt to me like something that was happening far far away on Wall Street or in Washington DC. Saturday at the store brought it closer to home, and it felt a little bit sad. It'll be interesting to see what the next three weeks bring.

It is good to be back at work at the COB today. This place is beautiful in December. I'll take some pictures and post them soon. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!