Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time to Forgive. Then Again Maybe Not.

A few years ago Jonah and I were in my car together on our way to somewhere, probably Target, probably so that he could talk me into buying him toys. He was in the back seat and being unusually quite for a little boy who can talk a blue streak. It was summer time, and the air conditioning in my car wasn't working very well, and for a second I was scared that Jonah had lost consciousness in the heat.

"Jonah, are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm just sitting here. I'm thinking about my enemies."

What?! Enemies?! And then he started listing them off, including a cousin who, in order to protect the child, I'll call Jack.

I said, in an attempt to be the good aunt, something about Jesus wanting us to be nice to and love everyone.

"Oh, but I hate Jack!"

So much for my teaching moment. It took all I had not to laugh. It's important not to laugh out loud at the kids when they are being so serious. I have, though, told that story a thousand times and laughed at it ever since.

Jonah turned 8 years old this month, and his baptism is this coming Saturday. A couple of days ago I was talking to my dad on the phone, and mentioned Jonah's baptism, and Dad said, "Did you tell him that if he's going to be baptized then he needs to forgive his enemies?" I had not! I did talk to him about giving up his toy addiction, and he assured me that that didn't need to happen until he turned 12, so he's good there.

I probably should ask him about his enemies, just to make sure that his conscious is clean before Saturday. Although, I'm sure that Jonah is the good guy in these scenarios, kind of like Batman and the Joker. No one ever tells Batman that it's time to forgive.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 25

Luke 2:25-32

25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;

32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 24

Luke 2:8-14

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 23

Luke 2:6-7
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 22

Luke 2:1-5

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 21

Luke 1:26-32

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Week in Review

It's 9:22 am. My brain doesn't start to function, not well anyway, until after 10, so this might be a little fuzzy. We will press on, nevertheless, with a Week in Review.

A Big Girl Bed
I got a new bed. Actually, it's a hand-me-down bed from Barry and Melody. They bought a new bedroom set, very nice, and asked me if I wanted their old bed. I said, "Yes I do!" I have slept in a twin size bed all of my life. Since leaving the craddle I've been in a twin. Friends and family have over the years told me that it was time for a big girl bed, but they cost some money, and I've always had a small room in all of my different aparments and homes, so it just didn't seem practical. And, I'm a good sleeper. It' nearly impossible for me to get up in the morning out of my tiny, not so comfy bed. If I had a good one I'd NEVER get out of it, and then I'd loose my job and have to face all kinds of dire consequences.

Then Melody offered me their bed for free, and I was so excited. Maybe a queen size has been my heart's secret desire all of this time? That must be because it was happy. Barry brought it all over last Friday and set it up for me. Big wood frame, box spring, and a giant pillow-top mattress. I mean giant. He warned me that the bed was pretty big, and suggested that we just put the box spring and mattress on the floor, but I wanted the nice frame, so he put it all together. When he finally threw the mattress on top I was stunned! It's huge! Honestly, this thing is so tall - more than waist high, almost chest high. I laughed every time I looked at it. What a ridiculously big bed! I feel like the princess and the pea.

I get into this bed by first stepping up on the wood frame, and then climbing in from there. I'm considering setting up a mini-tramp. There is some room on the floor, and then I could get a running start, hit the tramp, and do a tuck and roll into bed. Nice. Until then, I'll be climbing up from the frame. Once in, though, it is so, so comfortable. And I bought some Egyptian cotton sheets - heavenly. Absolute heaven. Everything you've heard about Egyptian cotton is true. And yes, I've been late for work all week. But loosing my job to stay in this bed just might be worth it.

And then....
That's really all I have to talk about today. It's crunch time at the store, and I'm working a lot of extra hours. I'll admit, it's exhausting. But people have been nice enough, and exhaustion is just part of the whole Christmas thing, isn't it? I hope you're all enjoying the fun of the season.

Countdown
I don't know that anyone is reading the countdown scriptures, and it's ok if you're not. I understand that there are one million things to do in December. I have honestly enjoyed doing it. It's been a good reminder every day of Christ, and I like thinking about all of the prophecies of His birth. Sometimes life can be tough, and sometimes it feels like that light at the end of the tunnel is way too far away. What I love about the prophecies of Christ'st birth is that the people had so much faith in them, and that faith pulled them through. And in the end every sign came, every one of God's promises was kept. And those who were there to see it rejoiced.

Here's today's countdown scripture:
3 Nephi 1:10-15, 20-21

10 Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

11 And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.

12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.

20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.

21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.

Thanks, as always, for your constant care.
You are loved.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 17

3 Nephi 1:4, 8
4 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

8 But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Could I Interest You in a Book?

I like all of the recommendations that go on this time of year. It’s fun to read about products that others have fallen in love with. I’d like to do a list of my own, but being a working girl, I don’t do much cooking or homemaking. I’m not a techno-geek, nor do I have a wide, unique range of musical tastes. But, there are two things I do know - books and make up. On these I can talk at length.

Makeup is such a personal thing. I can’t guarantee that you will love what I love. Every girl has to find her own regime. But I will say this – Estee Lauder's Idealist is the best thing I’ve ever done for my skin; Laura Mercier lipstick is worth every penny, and I would die without Clinique’s gentle eye makeup remover every night.

Books are just as personal as makeup, really. Still, I feel more confident making this list. Here are some that I’ve read over the last few years that have stuck with me.

1. “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – EVERYONE should read A Christmas Carol. I don’t care how many times you’ve seen the movie/musical/play, it has to be read. I couldn’t believe how much was in the book the first time I read it, or how powerful its message is. Dickens creates scenes, thoughts, feelings that can’t be translated into a movie. Read the book.

2. “Atonement” by Ian McEwan. This story isn’t nearly as happy as A Christmas Carol. It's sad, actually, but a great reading experience. It’s about a wealthy family in England in the 1930s, and the son of their housekeeper, Robbie. The family has a son and two daughters, Cecilia and Briony. Cecilia and Robbie are in love, and just beginning their relationship. Briony witnesses a crime, and accuses Robbie. The events of this one night change all three lives irrevocably. What I love about this story is how it sunk into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. I thought about it for weeks. I still think about it sometimes. The writing is great, and the characters, especially Briony, are so deeply developed. A very good read.

3. “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson. This is some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. It’s about an old man who is ill and doesn’t expect to live much longer. He married later in life, and has a young son, and he’s writing out his life’s experiences, and those of his own parents and grandparents, for his son. He wants his son to know who he is. What struck me most about this book is all of the life lessons, written in simple sentences or paragraphs, that show a wisdom that only years and years of life could give. On almost every page I read something that I wanted to share with someone. It’s brilliant.

4. “These is my Words, the Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine”, by Nancy Turner. This book is more light-hearted than the other two. I really like books that are written in diary form. The first person narrative keeps the story moving. And I love pioneer, old west settlers stories. Sarah Prine and her family are settlers near Tucson, AZ. There’s all kinds of old west action going on. And, it’s a love story, one of the best I’ve read in years. Don’t let the title throw you. I saw this on the shelf at the store for years and didn’t pick it up because of the title, “These is”? That’s not right. But enough people told me that they loved it to make me finally give it a try, and I’m very glad I did (don’t worry, the story isn’t written with that kind of grammer).

5. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. There has to be at least one classic on this list, other than “A Christmas Carol”. I bet that you all have an idea of what Jane Eyre is about – a young girl is hired by a rich English gentleman to be a governess to his ward. The girl and the gentleman fall in love, but there are dark secrets in his past that threaten their happiness. It’s so romantic. Really. I love it. When Melody and I were in London we went to the British Library to see their collection of old documents, and the original hand-written manuscript of Jane Eyre was there. It was so exciting. One of the best days of my life. There are a lot of good movie versions; the best was done by the BBC just a few years ago. But read the book first. Always read the book first – words to live by.

That’s enough for now. I hope you see something here that catches your interest, and if you read it, I hope you like it. Some might make good gifts too!

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 16

Helaman 14:5-8
5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.

6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.

7 And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth.

8 And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 15

Helaman 14:1-4
1 And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be written.

2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 14

Isaiah 25:9
9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Week in Review

Merry Christmas! The season is in full swing. Are you frazzled yet? Hopefully not so much so that you’ve gone cross-eyed and can’t read, because I’m doing A Week in Review.

Would you believe it?
I got into a car accident. It was minor. I’m not hurt. My car is a little dented, and my psyche freaked, but I’m ok.

It happened after Christmas devotional. The whole day had been great. Church was good, I had a nice afternoon, nap included, and then the devotional was wonderful. We had good seats down close to the stage. In fact, we were close enough to get on TV! Here’s the link if you’re interested. We’re along the bottom of the screen during the first chorus of “The First Noel”.

After devotional I walked around Temple Square to see the lights and the nativity, and then slowly made my way back to the parking lot. It was all so beautiful. My little heart felt warm and happy.

Driving through town I realized that I was pretty hungry, and then remembered that I hadn’t gotten to the store on Saturday, and had literally nothing at home to eat. Maybe a drive-thru? No, it’s Sunday, and I was just at the First Presidency Devotional. But I really was hungry, so I caved and went to McDonalds. I pulled into the parking lot and saw a car backing out of its space up ahead of me, so I stopped to let it pull out and go. While sitting there, I saw out of the corner of my eye something coming right at me. It was big and dark, and I went for my horn, but it was too late, bam – right into my door. My first thoughts, “It was such a good day. I knew I shouldn’t have come here.”

We did the exchange of information. Luckily the other party has insurance. We didn’t bother with the police (I later learned that they probably wouldn’t have come to a parking lot anyway). The people were nice about giving me their names and number, so I just took that and left. They did ask that I get an estimate on the damage and then call them before calling the insurance company because they might want to pay for it out of pocket. Ok, that was fine with me.

I got an estimate on Monday - $1600. Body work is really expensive. Tuesday I called the people with the numbers. I got their voicemail, so I gave them the cost and asked them to call me back. He called that afternoon all angry that it was going to cost so much. “Your car isn’t even worth that much money! You need to go to two or three places for estimates. Don’t tell them how much the others were. That’s how it works. You go to three places.” What? This guy backs into my car, and now is barking all kinds of instructions at me? I told him that I was going to call the insurance company to see if they had preferred body shops, and then would take it to one of those. He pretty much hung up on me. Nice. When I called the company I just filed a claim and am never talking to that guy again. The insurers can handle it from here.

On Wednesday I took the car to the shop that put a new clutch in a few months ago to get the clutch adjusted. This was just maintenance work, nothing to do with the accident. I asked them to be careful with the driver’s door, because it’s bent, and there’s a dent in the front fender, and the two panels pull on each other when opening and closing the door. When I went back to get the car, the dent was gone, and the door and fender didn’t get caught up any more, and I thought, “Hey they fixed it! Oh no! I have an insurance claim on that.” The damage that I had reported to the company wasn’t there. Visions of being arrested for insurance fraud ran through my head. Of course, the mechanics meant well. They're very nice. But still, insurance fraud!

That same evening a girl from the insurance company called to set up a time when she could come inspect my car, and we met for that yesterday. I told her about the mechanic popping out the dent and she asked, “So did they just think they’d do you a favor?” I guess so. It was kind of funny then. There are still other dents and scratches, and the door is sticking in the frame, so she had plenty to look at. She said that she’ll file her report today, and then I’ll hear from the company about payment. I was so relieved after she left, like my part in this whole thing was over. She didn't accuse me of anything, the damage really isn’t so bad, and I can still drive the car just fine while waiting for the money to fix it. All’s well that ends well.

You know, it’s strange, I felt a lot of guilt those first few days. That guy talking to me like he did about the estimate and how I was supposed to be handling things really upset me. It took a while to shake that off. A person has to know where to draw the line when taking responsibility. Being at McDonalds was probably a mistake, but that accident was not my fault. I don’t owe that guy anything.

I suppose an accident is the perfect end to my car's year. First a pulley and belt fall off, then the starter core burns out. Several hoses have broken, and I had to replace the clutch. And for the grand finale....someone crashes into it. For crying out loud. It's like the drum roll and cymbal crash and the end of the overture.

Cold
I have this fun thing that I do. When people in Utah complain about how cold it is, I say something about growing up in Minnesota and how cold it is there. This usually ends with something like, “You people don’t know cold!” Ha! It’s probably fun only for me. Others are irritated, but I’m going to keep doing it. It’s important to give people a sense of perspective. But, this week I’ll give Utah their complaints about the cold. This morning it was 5 degrees. Single digits is cold. But, I would like to point out that the current temperature is 27 degrees, according to The Weather Channel, and in my hometown it’s 11. I just wanted to make that distinction.

Mormons
We had our department Christmas social today. Elders Perry and Holland were there, and each shared a short message. It’s always so great to be at meetings with them. I love being here. I really do. In fact, on Sunday when I was walking around temple square, I stood looking at the temple itself, all surrounded by Christmas lights and thought, “I love being a Mormon. It’s awesome.” And it really is.

Here’s today’s Christmas Countdown scripture:
Mosiah 3:8
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

Thanks, as always, for all of the blogging fun.
You are loved.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 10

Micah 5:2
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 9

I've often thought about Joseph, Mary's husband. He must have been a remarkable man, very good, very loving, very faithful.

Adoption has played a big part in my family, my sister and two nephews are mine through adoption. From this perspective, it's very sweet to think of Jesus being raised by an adopted father. Not his actual father, but a man who took on this child, and his mother, and gave them a family.

Here is the dream that Joseph had while trying to decide what to do after learning that Mary was having a baby.

Matthew 1:20-25
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 8

I got a message from my brother in Rochester, MN today saying that they watched the broadcast of the Chirstmas Devotional and saw us on TV! It's funny because Mariah and I were discussing what we could do to ensure that we got on TV, like stand up and sing along with the choir, every time, but in the end we chickened out. Looks like we got on anyway. I'm going to see if I can watch the recording on the Church website.

Here is todays Christmas Countdown Scripture:

1 Nephi 11:14-23
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?
22 And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.
23 And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Angie's Christmas Countdown, December 7

Hello All,
Last night my family and I went to the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional. It was gorgeous. We've gone every year for as long as I've worked at the COB, and it's become a Christmas highlight. I love it.

The Choir always performs at devotional along with the Orchestra at Temple Square. Last night they did "For Unto Us a Child is Born", which is in my opinion one of the best songs ever to be performed live, that and "The Hallelujah Chorus". Both give me chills. I was thinking about the words to that song. As you know, they come from the book of Isaiah and his prophecies about Christ. It made me wonder about other Christmas prophecies, and then I thought, "Let's find one every day from now until Christmas Day and put them on the blog." What a good idea! So, here's the first, the one from Isaiah, made so beautiful by Handel:

Isaiah 9:6-7: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

'Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end..."

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello Everybody! I’m told that this is the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to put an exclamation point on that sentiment than with a blog post? Here’s a Week in Review.

Candlelight Christmas
Marla and I discovered a Salt Lake City gem – Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park. It’s beautiful. Everyone I’ve told about this since being there has said that they didn’t know that the park had a Christmas event, so I’m on a mission to get the word out. It’s a great evening. All of the buildings and homes are decorated with an old fashioned, classic theme, lots of evergreen branches, red ribbons and lights. I’m pretty sure that the early settlers did not have electric light displays, but you can see the danger in combining candles with branches and ribbons. They’d hate to burn down the park. Anyway, there are great light displays along the outside of the park and up on the hill. Some of the fences had wagon wheels in lights all along them, very cute.

AND there’s a train ride. We debated riding the train because of the cold, but the workers assured us that there were blankets on the benches, so we braved it. It turned out to be my favorite part of the night. The train was so cute with its holly and bows, and there was Christmas music playing. We rode past the big light displays, and through the village, and then up the hill. At the top of the hill there was a small pond, and a large sailing ship in lights sitting just on the edge so that it reflects in the water. From there we could see across the whole valley. It was gorgeous, and I loved being there with Marla, just the two of us, having our own Christmas evening together.

There’s a lot more to do at the park than I’ve written here, craft projects, Father Christmas, a live nativity. It’s all good. I recommend going.

Book
I’m reading an interesting book, “The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits”. The title pretty much says it all – it’s a biography on Dickens and his writing of A Christmas Carol, and of how that book changed English and American societies’ views on Christmas. I just started it, so I don’t have any fascinating facts to interest you with right now, but I will, and I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to that.

A Paper
I finally finished a term paper for my History class. It’s on a couple of documents from British history, one of those being the Magna Carta, and I’ve been working on it forever! Here’s how this went down: the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, and while there I thought “Hey, that would make a good paper” and then got started. That was almost 800 years ago. Way too long to be working on a paper. But, it’s done, and I think that I’ll be able to submit it today. What a relief.

Christmas
Isn’t it strange that it’s Christmas time again already? Melissa bought a tree for our apartment on Tuesday. It’s really pretty – very full and thick, and perfectly shaped. I wasn’t too interested in the tree one way or the other, but now that it’s up, and the place smells all piney, I like it.

I’ve decided to take a more relaxed approach to Christmas this year. I have in the past gotten too worked up over it. I don’t know where people get all of their expectations, but I’ve had it in my head that Christmas is for families, and it’s suppose to be so full of love and warmth and excitement that you’re in danger of your chest exploding. I kind of blame those tv commercials with the guy who buys his wife diamond jewelry and then gives it to her while she’s sitting in her rocking chair with their new baby. Geesh.

But soon after Thanksgiving I was thinking about that holiday and how much I love it, and a big reason for loving it is because it’s so relaxed. No pressure. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be anything other than what it is. And then I realized that Christmas can be exactly the same. Christmas doesn’t have to BE anything either. It can adapt to all of us, whatever our circumstances. It’s a lovely holiday. The trees and decorations are gorgeous, the music is good, parties are fun, and you know I love getting a gift or two. I can be happy with and love Christmas just as it is, for what it is. And of course there is at the heart of the holiday the birth of our Savior. Some of the most beautiful verses in scripture are the Christmas story. They’re simple and sweet with so much importance in so few words.

That’s how I’m going to do Christmas this year, simply and with importance put on the little things. No pressure to make it spectacular, just enjoying it for what it is.

Thanks as always for your continued friendship.
You are loved.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Glee

Love this so much!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Random Weekend Recap

Not working for two days in a row really is nice.

I’d get bored if it happened all the time, but every now and then is great.

Speaking of great, I sure do like a turkey dinner.

Especially the stuffing.

And the rice & broccoli casserole.

What? You don’t have rice & broccoli casserole? I suggest you call my sister-in-law for the recipe.

It’s nice to be the girl who is invited to someone else’s house. I didn’t have to make a thing.

Sierra beat me at Apples to Apples.

She beat me bad.

I’m crying.

We took a nice walk through the neighborhood and around a little lake.

The lake had a thin sheet of ice over it.

We threw rocks through the ice.

I just got very confused with threw and through.

While walking, I poured my heart out to my big brother, and he solved my problems.

Every girl should have a Barry in her life. He even gave me a hug and an “I love you Ang.”

I’m crying again.

After the walk we played Scattergories, and if we’d kept score I think I would have redeemed myself from the Apples game.

I’m sure I beat Sierra.

Take that Sierra.

Then we watched While You Were Sleeping because Melody wanted to.

I forget how good that movie is. Very charming.

I slept in forever on Friday.

I am not one of those suckers who go to the store at 4am.

If you are one of those, then I’m sorry I called you a sucker.

But only kind of sorry.

I cleaned my apartment. Man did it need that.

And then I worked on photo albums.

The kids sure were cute when they were little.

Sometimes I forget what they looked like then. They’re so grown up now.

And Sierra likes to beat me at games, and that’s not cute.

But I love her still.

I love them all.

Melissa and I went to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Fantastic! It's really fun.

You should see it.

And then we ate Pei Wei.

Also fantastic.

Saturday I had to muster up all of my courage and strength and go to work at the bookstore.

And found that it really wasn’t bad.

Not nearly as bad as I had feared.

Marla and I took Jonah to the mall that evening, and it wasn’t too crowded either. Nice.

Jonah thinks that going to a store with Angie means that Angie will buy him something.

I bought him a cookie.

The girls used to think that same thing.

I blame myself.

On the way home I noticed all of the pretty decorations up on the street lights and smiled.

Christmas lights are gorgeous.

My primary lesson on Sunday went pretty well.

The kids always ask me if I brought snacks, and I always say no.

I’m not as nice a primary teacher as I am an aunt.

But I promised them that I’ll bring something next time.

I better write that down and remember it.

I spent all afternoon sitting on my bed with the bright sunshine coming through my window and reading.

Until I fell asleep.

So nice.

And then I watched TV until bedtime.

Sometimes a lazy Sunday is good for the soul.

That’s my recap.
Hope you all had a lovely holiday!
And are ready for all of the fun and the chaos that is Christmas.

Here’s a trailer for Mr. Fox. It really is funny.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Oh All Right

Sierra and I have a bit of an Apples to Apples rivalry going on. Have you ever played Apples? It's a fun, fun game, a family favorite. Some time ago we started a battle of words, me telling her that she's going down. Her telling me that she's not going anywhere. Neither one of us has ever won the game (against the whole group), not that I remember anyway, but we each feel pretty good about beating each other. And by the way - it's usually me beating her.

Last Friday we played Apples with the family, and she beat me by one card. A crushing defeat. Humiliation. She commented on my last post that I didn't mention her beating me, so I'm going to be mature and give Sierra kudos for her victory. This is easier for me knowing that it will be her last one. Her very last.

There's going to be a Thanksgiving smack down.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Star-Studded Weekend

DAVID ARCHULETA IS HERE! HE’S HERE!!! AAAAAAAAA!

That’s what I heard in constant streams for hours on Saturday. THE David Archuleta did a signing at the store, and boy can those teenage girls scream. Actually, I didn’t mind the girls screaming so much. They were excited and it was kind of fun to watch them. Most were there with their mom’s who laughed at their silly girls, or with their dad’s who seemed to be grinding their teeth. By the time those dad’s got up to the cash register to pay for the autographed cd they looked exhausted. What good men.

The fans who gave me reason for some concern were the women who were at least my age and there by themselves (no daughter to give them an excuse) wearing their own David t-shirts and giddy smiles. I try to give everyone some leniency in judgment, well out loud anyway, in my head the leniency isn’t what it should be, but come on! 40 is way too old to be crazy about David Archuleta.

David himself seemed like a nice kid. Very nice. He made a grand entrance down the stairs into the crowd (I think the screaming can still be heard hovering in the air over that part of Midvale). He smiled and waved and asked everyone how they were doing, and was honestly happy to be there, and was gracious with the fans. I was impressed.

His manager on the other hand was large and in charge. It worked well. Someone had to take command, and him being so rigid made it possible for David to be so nice, and kept him from being mobbed. We also had two officers from the Midvale police department there for security. Crazy huh? DB was a regular rock star venue last Saturday. Within the two hours that he was there we sold 500 cds, and saw three times as many teenagers. I think we were all a little dazed when he left.

I spent all of my time at the cash register, so I didn’t get to meet him or take a picture (like some of my coworkers did, honestly my nieces would KILL for that), but I did add a cd to the pile that he signed for employees, and then gave it to my nieces, and then got good hugs, which is better than meeting a pop star. And I got some pictures of him with my phone, but I honestly don’t know how to get pictures out of my phone, so you can’t see them. You’ll just have to trust me.

On Sunday I had dinner with Barry, Melody and the girls, and then we watched REAL Salt Lake win the Major League Soccer championship! WoHooo! I have to confess to a moment of realization, both of our team and of my own stupidity. We were watching the pregame hoopla and saw David Beckham walking into the stadium all dressed to the nines. How nice, he’s coming to the game. By the way, if you don’t know who David Beckham is, you should probably move out from under the rock where you’ve been living. He’s a world famous soccer player. Anyway, a few minutes later we saw Beckham out on the field warming up. What the…wait… why…. “Melody, is our team in the same league as the David Beckham team?” The look she gave me was probably the most scathing look she's ever given anyone. She’s a big REAL fan. All this time I’ve thought that we were part of a minor league, some small-town-pretending-to-be-cool soccer team. No way, man. We play with the big boys in the major league. I had no idea. Imagine my embarrassment. Of course the family wasn’t going to let that go, and through the whole game there were comments on how well REAL was doing for a pretend team.

And they did very well! They were tied at the end of regular playing time, and so there was 30 minutes of overtime. Still tied, so they did a series of penalty kicks, five for each team, and Salt Lake finished one point ahead, and the national champions, of a major league. Very cool.

Melody is at the stadium store this morning buying championship gear, and I think that she’s getting me a scarf! I have a scarf from the game that we went to in England, and now this. Someone might mistake me for a real sports fan.

My parents were here last week, and we all had a nice time. We didn’t go to many places, but rather each of my siblings took turns having dinner at their homes, and we just hung out. It was relaxing and good. Here are a couple of pictures from our evening at Barry’s. William has learned how to scoot backwards down the stairs. The other is of the kids playing Rock Band. I love their serious faces. Loud rock music, very serious faces.


Hope you all have a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Office Memo

Dear Office Staff,

Today I am wearing a burgundy red, turtle-neck sweater. It’s a favorite. I believe that it is only one year old, so I was shocked and dismayed to find holes in both armpits. Actually, I didn’t find the hole, Ed did, which only caused further embarrassment. I have used safety pins to close the holes. I believe that this will take care of the problem for the rest of the work day, and until I am able to have the sweater mended. My mother will help me with the actual mending.

My apologies for the armpit flashes. Please know that I will make greater efforts in the future to ensure that this does not happen again. A close family member feels that I should take some personal time to recover emotionally, and to go shopping for a new sweater. This may be necessary, especially if my mother is not able to sew up these holes.

I can only apologize again.
Sincerely,
Angie

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good News!

My mom and dad are here! They're visiting for the week, and I like it when they visit. There's an added bonus to this - all of my Utah siblings get together for dinners and quality family time. You'd think that living within close proximity to each other would mean seeing each other, but that's not always the case. I don't think I've seen Cortni and Brad all summer, and that's too long. I've missed them.

More good news! I got my yearly car inspection for the registration renewal on Monday. I wanted to do this while dad is here so that if/when they told me that something was wrong then he could help me fix it. Dad can fix anything. But it passed! No problems at all! I'm still shocked. Given my recent car history this feels like a miracle, a happy, happy miracle.

And, Sierra will be home this weekend for Thanksgiving break. Dear, dear Sierra.

It's a good week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello, it’s late in the afternoon on Friday, and around this time there’s nothing I like to do more than reflect on the week and then bore people with every detail of it. Here’s a Week in Review.

For Whom the Bell Tolls
Some time ago I got an amusing email that asked “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and then listed answers from different famous people. Ernest Hemingway's was, “To die, alone, in the rain.” That’s a good summary for all of the Hemingway I’ve read so far, and yet I decided to jump into another one, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. It’s considered his best.

There’s some unusual writing going on in this book. The main character’s name is Robert Jordan, and every time he’s referred to in the narrative Hemingway uses his full name, Robert Jordan. Every time. No Robert or Bob or “our leading man”, just Robert Jordan. Every time. I’ve never read a book that’s done that before. In fact at some point in the first chapter after the 15th “Robert Jordan” I thought, “Does he do this through the whole book?”, and then I looked ahead to the last half of the book and sure enough there it was, the full name. I’ve gotten used to it now, but at first it seemed like a lot of work to read a full name. I was thinking that maybe I would just read the Robert and skip the Jordan and save myself some time. But the full name feels natural now, almost necessary. Hemingway also has the characters talk to each other in very formal terms. They use a lot of “thee” and “thou”, which seems odd for a bunch of civil war guerrilla fighters who live in a cave. But that, too, has grown on me. And, in spite of all of this crazy wordiness, I’m enjoying the book. I was pulled into it from the beginning without knowing exactly why. I just know that I care very much about what happens to these people. Of course, given that it’s Hemingway, what happens will probably be a lonely death in the rain.

Shoes
I don’t like to have much, if anything, on my feet. I don’t know why. It’s not something that I’ve ever thought through or come to a conclusion on. In fact, I didn’t fully realize that this is the case until last week. I’ve been walking in some flimsy little things that didn’t give any support, and my feet hurt all of the time, so I decided that it was time to go shopping for some quality walking shoes. Melissa and I went to the outlet malls in Park City where I found good shoes on sale for only $20 at the Nike store. Nice.

I’ve had tennis shoes in the past, of course, but it’s been a long time since I’ve worn them. In fact I can’t remember the last time I put on a pair of shoes that had to be laced up. Everything I own is a slip-on with thin soles and very little over the top of my foot. My new shoes were very exciting, and I couldn’t wait to take a walk in them. On Tuesday I got them out of the box, tied them on and set out. I hadn’t gone very far from the COB when I thought, “Man these things are HEAVY!” I felt like I was wearing bricks. And those huge soles! I couldn’t lift my feet up high enough to clear the ground. I kept shuffling my feet, and then tripping up a little. And all of that shoe around the ankles is so constricting. For crying out loud! How do people walk in these things? My legs were getting tired from the heavy lifting. I didn’t walk near as far as usual before I called it good, turned around and went back to the office. It was like having giant canoe feet.

That’s when I started thinking about my feet and my shoe history. I guess there have been hints in the past – when I’d take my shoes off while sitting at my desk in elementary school, going barefoot all day every day during the summer, Melody pointing out “Angie shoes” when we’re in a department store together. But now I know for sure. I don’t like having anything on my feet, and my shoes have as little to them as possible.

I have kept walking in the tennis shoes, and it’s getting better. And, my feet don’t hurt anymore. I do like that.

Cheryl
And now I have a story that I’m almost hesitant to tell because I have very personal feelings about it, but here it goes. Last Wednesday Cheryl came up to me at work and said that she and her husband wanted to do something for me for Christmas, but she didn’t know what to pick out. She asked if I wanted to meet her at Kohl’s and she’d take me shopping. I was surprised, but said sure, that would be fun. Cheryl has brought me little Christmas and birthday presents in the past, so it’s not unusual for her to get me something. But this seemed more serious than “I’d like to take you to lunch.” She wanted to go shopping.

I got to Kohl’s first and looked around. I’m getting a new big-girl bed soon (more on that later!), and thought maybe a blanket or pillow would be nice. She had mentioned clothes, too, so I looked at some sweaters. When she got there she asked if I had found anything, so I showed her a sweater first. She agreed that it was very cute, picked it up off of the rack, and then asked about bedding. So we went to the blankets and again I showed her what I had looked at, and she grabbed the best of the blankets and then said, “Ok, pillows.” I said, “Well this is enough.” And she said, “No, come on now, I’m having fun.” I was beginning to realize at this point what she meant by shopping. I really wanted to protest, but I also felt sure that she really wanted to do this, and that I should let her. So we found a pillow that I could add to my new bed.

We walked around Kohl’s some more, and talked and then realized that there wasn’t anything more there that we wanted to shop for. I was at a loss as to what to look for, really. How do you say, “Ok, well why don’t you buy me this next”? You don’t. We checked out and left the store. While in the parking lot Cheryl pointed out the TJ Max close by and suggested that we go there next. Um, ok. We went in and started looking through the clothes racks, found two sweaters and then moved on to shoes, and found a great pair of brown dress shoes. She bought all of it. It was fun to spend that time with her. We talked and laughed and pointed out horrible shoes and skirts and laughed some more. But I’m sure you can understand why it was a little strange for me to have her buying me so much.

When we left the store I said, “Thank you Cheryl. I really don’t know what to say.” And she said, “Just say thank you.”

I got in my car, and that’s when the tears came. I felt what it was to be on the receiving end of genuine kindness. I was still a little uncomfortable with it all, but at the same time I was sure that Cheryl did this for me out of real friendship and because she wanted to.

Of course, that didn’t stop the other voices in my head later that evening. “I must look awful at work every day or else she wouldn’t have thought that I needed new clothes.” And, “Do I look like a charity case? Is my poverty so obvious?” Stupid, isn’t it, that a person can’t just accept generosity without questioning the intent, or beating herself up? Stupid, but natural I suppose. But then I thought of things that I do with my nieces and nephews, and that I do these things for them because I love them, and because I enjoy it, and because I want to. And then I thought maybe Cheryl’s reasons weren’t so different. It makes me all warm inside. It really does.

I’ve learned a lot over the last few months about the value of my relationships, including the one I have with you (each one of you). There are some wonderful people in this world, and I am lucky to have known a good number of them, and even luckier to have had their friendship. It’s beautiful.

Thanks, as always, for your continued greatness.
You are loved.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Nostalgia

Since attending The Pioneer Woman's signing I've taken some time to really look at her website, and I like it. The best part, in my opinion, is the photography. I love the pictures of the ranch with it's cattle and horses and gorgeous horizons. It reminds me of home.

We didn't work a cattle ranch, but we had some cattle, and two horses, and pigs, and chickens, geese, goats, cats and dogs. Sometimes the animals would escape from the corral, and then we had to chase them down and get them back in again. I remember Dad putting me by the corral gate so that when the cattle came that way I could guide them through it, and it scared me to death! I stood there with my heart pounding, watching a heard of cows coming right at me. I didn't think they would stop before hitting me. Why would they? I was one girl, and they were a heard of cattle. But they did stop. Dad knew they would. That's the funny thing about cows, they don't realize their own strength and so are complacent about being lead here and there. Maybe we're all a little too much like cattle. I suppose I am.

My brothers spent summer days out on the tractor cutting and baling hay, and then the whole family went out to pick the bales up off of the field and stack them. Marla and I worked with Mom in the garden, and shelled peas and cut green beans and the corn off of the cob. Mom canned a froze enough produce to last a full year. Remarkable.

I'm being nostalgic about it now. If I were completely honest I'd say that at the time I grumbled plenty about all of that work. But I've been a city girl for so long that sometimes I forget that I come from the country, and that it really is beautiful. There's serenity in the quiet fields and open sky. The horizon is a perfect line right along the ground, and the sun sets right there in front of you. It lights the whole sky on fire. You can see every star at night. And the air smells fresh. I used to stand outside after dark and breathe my lungs full of that air. It's so good.

If you're interested in the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, I found a good deal on Amazon, right here. It too if full of gorgeous photography. You might like it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello! It feels like it's been a long time since I've written this little feature. It's good to be back. Let's do A Week in Review.

Cosmetics!
I've found two new products that I love. The first is a mascara from CoverGirl, Lashblast Length. I am obsessively compulsively picky about mascara. It has to go on well, look good (no spiky lashes!) and then wear without smudging at all all day. This one does all three. It's a softer look, which is nice, more natural. I like it.

The second is from Sally Hansen - a French manicure pen. I really like the look of French manicures, but haven't wanted to get acrylic nails, so I've tried many times to do it myself. That usually ends in tears. And a lot of white nail polish all over my fingers. I found this pen at Target, and felt immediately that my life had
been changed forever. Course, that's not the first time that's happened at a Target. This pen lets you draw the line on your nails, like you would with a Sharpie. It's so much cleaner than working with a brush, and the color goes on in a nice thin layer. Eureka. Honestly, I'm excited about this.

Owney
I had some time with Jonah last week, and we were talking about school. I asked him what he was learning, and then I asked him if he liked history, stories of things that happened a long time ago. He said, "No. Oh! But we did learn about a dog who traveled all over the world. He rode on trains. They'd put him on the train, and he'd come back again with badges. And then he went on boats around the world. And then when he died they stuffed him."

He seemed very excited about the stamps Owney had (I thought they were stamps), so I told him that I have stamps from France and England in a little book (my passport), and maybe he'd like to see them? He said, "No. These were badges. He had badges on him." So much cooler than my stamps. The whole thing had me very interested, and I thought that I would look this dog up later and read about him. Jonah didn't remember his name at first, but then he shouted, "Owney! His name is Owney, with an O."

Today I did an internet search and sure enough, there was Owney, and he really did ride the US Postal trains back in the late 1800s. He became the official mascot of the postal service. His body in now on display at the National Postal Museum. I didn't know that there was a National Postal Museum, so interesting.

The Pioneer Woman
On Thursday Nicole and I went to a book signing for the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook. Some of you read her site, yes? I knew that a lot of people did, but I had no idea that this signing would be a mob of women the size of which one rarely sees. Wow. There's a picture of the event here, and a better description of it on Nicole's blog. I really was there just to see Nicole and her cute little Bridget, and it was time well spent. She's always great. The fact that there was a celebrity in the house (really who knew?) was just an extra.

TV
I'm going through a bit of a transition in my TV watching; it's a pivotal time in my life. I've really grabbed on to "Glee". Have you seen it? It's funny, and the music is good. There was one episode that was too "adult themed" for the people I know, and I agreed, and told myself that if that was going to be a common theme then I'd probably quit watching. But I'm happy to say that it's gotten better since then, and I'm a solid fan. If you haven't seen it, and can somehow watch the pilot episode (maybe online?), then I'd recommend doing so.

I have not watched "So You Think You Can Dance" this time around. We all know how much I've loved that show, but it's on Tuesday, and I'm at the bookstore on Tuesday, and I just haven't gotten up much enthusiasm for it. I think I'll just skip this round. I'm also on the fence about "Mad Men" this season. Actually, it runs on an off-season schedule, so they're about to wrap it up for the year. There's so much to love about this show, but there are also people making stupid mistakes that mess up their lives and make everyone miserable, and a person can be entertained by another person's misery for only so long. I'll see how this season ends before deciding that I'm done.

This is what I mean by going through a TV transition. Life moves in phases.

You know, if I may be philosophical for a moment, life does move in phases, and if you're lucky you'll have good people around to love the good times with and to help you through the bad. I have always been lucky with the people in my life, and that makes me pretty happy.

In closing, congratulations to the Salt Lake Real soccer team for moving through the first leg of the playoffs!

Thanks, as always, for your constant care.
You are Loved.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Halloween Story

Hi, this is William. Angie is letting me use her blog to tell you about Halloween. She's nice. She always tells me when she puts pictures of me on the computer, so I figured she'd do it again. I asked if I could tell the story this time. She's actually doing the typing because my hands are very small, and the only computer I've ever used is a toy.

Here it is, my first Halloween!

Actually, I was alive for Halloween last year, but I was only 8 months old, and didn't really get it. We found this picture of me trick-or-treating a year ago.
I didn't know what I was missing.

Now I'm 20 months old, that's almost 2 years, and am definitely old enough for Halloween! Mom picked out my costume, and that's ok. I think that if I could have told her what I wanted to be, I would have gone with a pirate, because pirates are awesome, but I can't really say the word pirate, or any other words, so I had to go with what she bought me.
I was suppose to take a good afternoon nap so that I wouldn't be tired and crabby all night, but I'm not very good at sleeping, so that didn't happen. When mom was stuffing me into that lion suit I was a whiny. How was I suppose to know what was going on? It all seemed very strange. But after the suit was on I was ok with it. Mom and Dad took me outside for pictures. Then, this person in a black sheet showed up, and he really made me nervous. He kind of sounded like my brother Zac, and everyone was calling him Zac, but I wasn't sure. They had him hold me for a picture. Not cool.
Why do people do this to me?
But it all got much better after that. Jonah and his friend had already started trick-or-treating, so we ran to catch up. Being 7, Jonah is a good trick-or-treater. Mom, Angie and I followed him. "Zac" (I'm still not sure) came with us too, on the golf cart. He was there to give us rides when we got tired, or if someone had to go home to use the bathroom.
Jonah is in the Ninja Turtle costume. Angie was falling behind. I had to get her.
We went to a house, knocked on the door, and a very nice lady opened it up. She talked and laughed and said that I was a very cute lion. She had a bowl full of brightly wrapped pieces. Mom showed me how to take one and put it in my pumpkin, and then she said that it was candy. Candy?! Really?! I was kind of shy about taking anything, which made everyone laugh even more. I guess they thought it was adorable. Who knows? The nice lady closed the door, and Mom and I walked back to the sidewalk.
Wow, that was fun.
And then we got to do it all over again.
After a few houses I was loving trick-or-treating! I ran from house to house. Sometimes I had to stop to grab Mom or Angie's hands so they could keep up. Jonah was running, too, so really we were all just trying to keep up with him.

After a while that pumpkin got heavy, and it was hard to keep my balance. I kept falling over. Mom asked if she could carry it, and I didn't want her to at first, but let her after the second fall.
At almost every house there was a lady who wanted to talk to me. I'd take a piece of candy and put it in my bucket, and then go to take some more. Putting candy in the bucket was fun. Mom would try to stop me, but the ladies always laughed and said that it was ok.
But sometimes a boy would answer the door, and he'd let me take my candy, but he didn't talk to me. So I'd stand there and smile, and look at him, and wait. Where's the conversation? Then Mom would take my hand and lead me away from the house. Huh. It's more fun when nice ladies open the door.

We were out trick-or-treating for a long time. There were lots of other kids too, and that made it even more fun. By the time it got dark, I was very tired. Mom carried me from house to house until we came to my uncle's home, and that's where we stopped. It's a good thing Zac was there (and that the guy in the sheet was gone) with the golf cart because I couldn't walk home. Angie held me while Zac drove us. Mom stayed with Jonah to go to a few more houses. When we got home I found my dad, and he picked me up, and I laid my head on his shoulder and stayed there for a long time. I almost fell asleep. Trick-or-treating is very tiring. But so much fun!

The End.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Week in Review

Hello All. Due to a complete lack of anything to tell you, and some other projects that are begging for my time, I am delaying A Week in Review until Monday or Tuesday. In the mean time, here's a little Halloween scare from The Nightmare Before Christmas, with music from Panic at the Disco (that's for you Sierra).

Happy Halloween!
You are loved.



ps - My apologies for the AOL add.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something Fun

From the Fun Theory

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkins!

Years ago, when Sierra was maybe four years old, she and I were walking though a parking lot to the grocery store. She was holding my hand and skipping, and then she stopped dead and said, "Punkamins!" with all of the joy a 4-year old can hold. There were rows and rows of pumpkins on hay bales in front of the store, and they looked wonderful.

Last night I went to Marla's for an annual pumpkin carving. I say annual because it is for them, but I actually haven't done it for a few years. I'd forgotten how much fun pumpkin carving is.

The boys were pretty happy when they heard what we were doing that night, and as soon as dinner was done, they grabbed their chosen pumpkins, hunkered down and dove in. Side note - all of these pumpkins came from their garden.

William is a bit young to be let loose with sharp knives, so we just took a cute picture of him, and then took everything away. He seemed to be ok with that, and just went into the living room to play with his toys. Every now and then he'd come back and check on us, ask to be held, get a look at what we were doing, and then run off again.

Jonah took his pumpkin very seriously. I underestimated that kid. I really thought that either Marla or I would be doing most of the work for him, but he did the whole thing all by himself, even the gutting. Mike (Marla's husband) cut the tops off, and then Jonah dug in up to his elbows in goop and started pulling that stuff out with real gusto.

In the mean time I worked on my pumpkin, which went something like this, "Ick this stuff is slimy. I can't get it all out! Gah, there's all this stringy stuffy. My hands are a mess. Will someone get me a paper towel!" Marla took over for me. She dug in there with a spoon and got all of the string along with a thin layer of pumpkin leaving just the smooth inside. Amazing. Jonah, who was sitting right next to me, said very matter-of-factly that he's "really good" at gutting, and showed me his perfectly clean pumpkin. I was honestly impressed.

Jonah then went to work at carving a face. First he took a stick-like tool and made an outline in dots, and then he got a small knife and went to work.
Zac, who is now 14 and way too cool for pumpkins, still joined in, but did so with a good dose of sarcasm and attitude.
Actually, Zac is a very good kid, and fun, even with the sarcasm and attitude.
Meanwhile, William, exhausted by all of the activity, decided to stretch out on the kitchen floor. Pumpkin carving is too hard.
Josh, like Jonah, was a professional carver, and finished off two pumpkins. Good work. He's also good at making a silly face when you want to take his picture, which is fun for all of us. Oh, and before you think that Zac is a master carver, I should tell that what he's holding is a fake. It's a plastic decoration.

Josh, hard at work. I'm noticing all of the pop bottles around the kitchen. We're big drinkers. It's part of our Minnesota heritage. You shouldn't let go of your culture. By the end of the evening we had a good collection of jack-o-lanterns, and I should have taken a picture of them, but I didn't, so you'll have to trust me.
William was on his way to bed about the time that I left for home, and I got a very nice goodnight hug. He's so sweet, and a good cuddler. Cuddling is the best.
I'm going back over on Saturday for trick-or-treating. It was so fun last year, and the kids have good costumes, so I'm pretty excited about it.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Week in Review

Hello!
I don't have much to review today. I've just been settling back into my old routine, wondering who this "balloon boy" is, and then deciding that I just don't care. A person misses stuff while on vacation. Some of it isn't worth getting caught up on. It is nice, though, to settle back into life as usual.

Because of a lack of anything to talk about, I thought that I'd share some pictures of one of my favorite places, so here is...

Where I go Walking
A few times a week I use my lunch hour to take a walk. Most of you locals know Memory Grove and City Creek Canyon, but for those who don't I will try to describe it. There's a street northeast of the COB that leads up into a lovely residential area with quaint, old homes, and then into Memory Grove, which is a park with monuments dedicated to war vetrans. After the park, the path winds up into a small canyon called City Creek, aptly named for the creek that runs down from the mountains into the city. The early settlers used this water to irrigate their crops, and from what I understand the water used to run underneath Temple Square and powered the first pipe organ in the tabernacle. Now most of the lands around the creek are parks, all very pretty, and all lovely to walk through in the fall.

This is the deck on one of those old homes.
A monument in Memory Grove
The creek
And the path that leads up the canyon
Sometimes you meet up with the local riff-raff on the trail.
Actually, I work with those guys, and they're pretty nice.
More of the creek

Look how the vine wraps it's way up that great tree. I stare at it every time I walk by.
The reds are pretty
Here's Memory Grove Park again.
This little park is across the street from the COB, and the water comes from the same creek. When the girls were little we came here often.

The poem on the Writers' Almanac today was about water and trees, so I'll end with it:

Gravity
by Louis Jenkins
It turns out that the drain pipe from the sink is attached to nothing and water just runs right onto the ground in the crawl space underneath the house and then trickles out into the stream that passes through the backyard. It turns out that the house is not really attached to the ground but sits atop a few loose concrete blocks all held in place by gravity, which, as I understand it, means "seriousness." Well, this is serious enough. If you look into it further you will discover that the water is not attached to anything either and that perhaps the rocks and the trees are not all that firmly in place. The world is a stage. But don't try to move anything. You might hurt yourself, besides that's a job for the stagehands and union rules are strict. You are merely a player about to deliver a soliloquy on the septic system to a couple dozen popple trees and a patch of pale blue sky.
"Gravity" by Louis Jenkins from Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970–2005. ©

I do talk, sometimes, to the trees as I walk by. Not out loud, just in my head, while sorting through the events of the day, or the week, or the whole life. The trees listen well; they seldom interrupt me, and I always feel good afterward. Walks are good for the soul.

Thanks, as always, for your kind regard.
You are loved.