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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.