Friday, December 31, 2010

Pictures









Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Week in Review

Hello All! It’s a pre-Christmas, Wednesday edition of A Week in Review. So if you’ll please take your seats we’ll get started.

Shopping
Now I know that there are lots of reasons why people are still not done with their Christmas shopping, most of which are invalid. Some are ok. One year my sister-in-law had pneumonia the first few weeks of December, so she got a pass on the procrastination. But I digress; the real reason for this paragraph is to give you a word of warning – if you do go out shopping these next few days don’t expect retail workers to have any Christmas cheer left. Honestly, at this point, we couldn’t care less if you get what you want for Christmas. We’re worn out. Having said that….

Merry Christmas!
After today I am done with work and my parents will be here! They arrive Thursday afternoon. I’ve got the apartment clean and decorations are up. I washed some sheets. I kind of gave up on guessing what they might like to eat, and asked Mom if we could go to the grocery store when they get here. Is that lame? She didn’t seem to mind. We’re having a family Christmas Eve with all of the siblings and their families and lots and lots of food!

Mom told me that she and dad have been practicing the fine and beautiful art of Tai-chi (I can’t help smiling when I say that). They’re going to bring their dvd and start the day with some meditation and very slow movement, with their hands in a kung-fu grip. No wait, I think it’s that board chopping position. Anyway, it’s all going to be very Zen. She seemed to suggest that I get up and do some Tai-chi with them, but I can imagine that happening, because it involves getting up, and Tai-chi. Actually, I think it’s great that they do this, and if it keeps them feeling good then I’m all for it. Isn’t it strange, though, the things parents pick up as they get older? I never would have guessed it. I suppose they think the same thing about me.

In other Christmas fun – I went to a high school Christmas concert on Monday, haven’t done that since I was in them more than 20 years ago. Mariah is in the bell choir, and she did a beautiful job. Actually, the whole concert was quite good. We ended with a rousing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus with full orchestra and choir. And, before the concert, Sierra showed me her picture in the trophy case! Her academic decathlon team won the regional championship a couple of years ago. Nice.

IWALY
I have a good friend named Joel who has done some beautiful work with designing and hand making jewelry. The pieces are all centered on the theme of staying close to loved ones where ever they are, especially with children as they grow up and move away. Each piece comes with a story based on that theme. I couldn’t do it justice trying to describe it, so here is the link and you can take a look.

I think that’s it. Merry Christmas to you all! I do hope that you have fun, that you love your gifts, and that you find some quiet, peaceful moments, too. Thanks as always, for your constant care.

You are loved.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Presents and Plans

I know that they way I usually talk about the COB makes it sound like I work in an infirmary for the very old and senile. Sometimes it feels that way, but honestly my coworkers are some of the kindest hearts I’ve ever known. Christmas time is proof of it.

My immediate group of coworkers includes 10 people. Every December, every one of them brings gifts and not just a bowl of candy for the group to share, but real gifts for each one of us. So far I’ve gotten a very pretty candle, a giant bag of Ghirardelli chocolates, lotions, a DVD, a necklace, a full sized roll of wrapping paper and jingle bells, and a lace table runner. Oh, and some apples with the best toffee dip I’ve ever had. I’ve found a present on my desk every morning for more than a week. A few days ago I took some of it home and showed Melissa the new loot. She said, “It really is every day.” And I said, “Yes, every day.” Merry Christmas to me.

I have something for them, too, of course – little books that I got at the store with a Christmas message. That’s not as nice as a lace table runner, but I hope they’ll like it.

In other news, did I tell you that my parents are coming here this year, and that they’re staying with me? I’m excited about it. I’ve never had them stay with me before. I suppose I should go to the grocery store…? What do parents eat? Will it still be ok to sleep till 11:00 every day? I’ll work that all out later. For now, I’m just really looking forward to it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas

Last night some family and I went to the Christmas Devotional at the Conference Center. This has been a tradition for us for some years, and I always look forward to it. My friend Nicole said once that Devotional was her start to the Christmas season, and I have to agree. I wasn’t really feeling it before last night, but the scenery, songs and messages put my heart in the right place for the holidays.

President Uchtdorf’s message was especially meaningful to me this year. He actually quoted from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”! “Every Who Down in Whoville Liked Christmas a lot…But the Grinch, Who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!” He said that with all of the business and frenzy of Christmas, it’s easy to become exhausted and burnt out on the whole thing, and to think, like the Grinch, that “I MUST find some way to stop Christmas from coming!"

I admit, and most of you already know, that I have struggled to feel any magic in Christmas at all these past few years. I’ve fought feelings of loneliness and the disappointment of not having a family of little ones to wake up with on Christmas morning. I’ve looked back at the completed year and thought that it wasn’t much to feel positive about. And, of course, I work retail! If those other things don’t kill Christmas, then retail certainly will. I have often gotten to about December 20th and wished that the whole thing were just over. Sad and shameful, I know.

But, this year I feel differently. Maybe it’s because I’ve opened my eyes to all of the blessing life has given me. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken notice of my friends at the store who are there working with me and know how much I love being there with them. Maybe it’s that my heart has finally matured enough to accept and even appreciate the simple pleasures of being single, or because I know better that my family loves me for who I am. I think it’s a little bit of everything. And, last night, President Uchtdorf reminded me of something else, something more – Christmas is the celebration of the birth and life of the Savior of the world. I believe in Christ with all of my heart. I believe in his love for all of us, and that brings real joy.

This year I’m going to keep things simple, keep from spending too much money, enjoy time with friends and family, and work to being the best Angie I can be, the kind of person the Lord would have me be.

I hope that you all find your own moments of peace, joy and gratitude over the next few weeks. And if the urge to be Grinchy becomes overwhelming, just remember that God loves you, and Angie does too ;).

PS - If you didn't get to see the devotional, or are wondering what I'm talking about, there's a link here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Week in Review

Remember when I used to write A Week in Review? Do you remember it fondly? I do. I remember it as a time when I had something to say, before the long age of “eh”. But I have some stories today! So let’s do A Week in Review.

Jonah is turning 9…
And he might not live to see 10 if he doesn’t stop texting me. I’m kidding of course. I love that little boy, but honestly the anticipation for his birthday this weekend has him crazed. It’s all about Harry Potter this year. His teacher at school is reading the books to the class while the kids follow along in their own copies. Jonah loves it – LOVES it. He also loves Legos, and when he found out that Lego makes Harry Potter sets he came a little unhinged.

We were at Walmart a couple of weeks ago and looking at toys. They didn’t have much in the Harry Potter Lego department, and he was a little disappointed. When we got home we looked at some websites, and picked out the sets that he liked. I made a mental note, and then the next week got on Amazon and ordered the Quidditch set. That seemed safer than hoping to find it at a store. I told Marla, and she told Jonah. He pretty much knew what he was getting for his birthday because he had outlined very specific orders, so there was no harm in telling him. No harm until he started writing me every day, several times a day, to ask if I had it yet.

Here are some actual messages:
Monday, Nov 30, 8:57 pm, “Did you get my quidditch set yet?”
8:59 pm, “Did you?”
9:01 pm, “My birthday is this Friday!”

Then he sent a very cute picture of himself.

Tuesday, Dec 1, 3:58 pm, “Did you get the quidditch set?”
7:18 pm, “Did you get the quidditch set?”
9:17 pm, “Did you get the quidditch set?”
9:22 pm, “Party is in 2 days.”
9:23 pm, “When will it be here?”

Really, I’m not making this up. Now granted, I’m not good at checking my phone for text messages, so he probably sent one, waited for an answer (sometimes for a full 2 minutes) before sending another, but still it was getting out of hand. I tried to appease him by saying that I was sure it would be here in time for the party. I should add that he was very sweet, and called me himself to invite me to his party, and then he said he wanted to introduce me to his friends. So polite.

Yesterday I got my first message just before 4, probably about the time he got home from school. I decided to call the apartment office at home to see if they had a box for me (the mailman drops boxes off at the office). They had a delivery from Amazon, so I called Marla and told her that the quidditch set was here, and that I’d bring it to the party. The party is today. Jonah got on the phone, too, so I told him, and he said that he couldn’t wait, and that he can’t sleep because he’s so excited. I guess that explains the 9:22 pm texts. I assured him that he would be ok. He wasn’t so sure.

Later, another text message:
“Could bring the package?”
I told him I’d bring it to the party the next day.
“Today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” with enough exclamation points to fill up the phone's screen.
I didn’t give in.
Another message, “Can you come over?”
No, I couldn’t.
I was on the freeway driving home when my phone went off again. I looked and saw simply this, “Give me the set.”

He was one step away from threats of violence.

But I didn’t cave. This morning my phone rang at 6:00, waking me out of a dead sleep. It took too long to gain conscientiousness to get to the phone, but I saw that the missed call was from Jonah. Maybe that was his revenge, if he can’t sleep then neither will I.

Tonight I will go see Jonah at his birthday party and hand over the Harry Potter Lego’s Quidditch set. It will be a huge relief for both of us.

Books
Dear Sierra wrote a good blog post about the little library they have at her house, and it made me think about all of the books from my childhood. She talked about writing her name in her books when she was little, and I did the same thing. Here’s a picture of one example.

I like to date things and give specific information, even to this day. The book is “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and as you know it’s the first book in the Little House series. My great aunt Evelyn sent me one each year for Christmas. She died before she could send the whole set, so when I was older, in fact when I was working at the bookstore, I decided to order the books I didn’t have to complete the set. When I got the first ordered book I held it in my hands, and it seemed so small. I remembered my books from Evelyn being much bigger, and was a little upset that the set wasn’t going to match. Mom still had my original books at home, so it was some time before I had those in hand again, and when I did I was shocked to see that my old books were the same size as my new books! They weren’t smaller, I was bigger. I was honestly shocked to see the difference between my memory and the reality. I suppose everything seems big when you’re little.

There is, in that book, a story about Laura, Mary and Ma boiling molasses and sugar and then pouring it into clean snow where it hardened and made candy. My mom thought that was a fun idea, so she did the same thing. We got a big pan of clean snow from the yard, and poured in the syrup, in squiggley shapes, and let it harden. It tasted like molasses taffy.

We had a set of children’s picture books on American history. I think I’ve mentioned these before. Dad read them to me, and when my little brother Courtney got older I read them to him. I have them now at home, and still pull them out from time to time. There’s a lot to learn in a children’s history book. These really are a much loved treasure.

Well, I think that’s enough for today. Thanks, as always, for checking in.
You are loved.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things to be Thankful For

A short list of things to be thankful for, in no particular order:

A good grilled chicken sandwich with mayo
French fries in all their varieties
The home furnace
A warm bed
New shoes
Cheese and crackers
Books and reading and learning
Good conversation
Good tv shows. There are so few, maybe that’s what makes them special
Pens and notebooks
Hand crème
Sweaters
The first snow. I know, I know, but it is pretty
The office closing at 1:00 because of the snow
Finding a really good gift idea
Having friends at work
Having friends at home
Stuffing
Quiet time
A day to yourself – again because there are so few
Hugs and kisses
Thanksgiving Day
And, of course, I’m thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!
You are Loved

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some Useful Spanish

Here in the Missionary Department we work with mission presidents in Central and South America who speak Spanish and only Spanish. Some try to piece together English phrases to ask for the person they want to talk to, and I have a few phrases written down (given to me by my friend Nicole when I was new here) to help me tell people that so-and-so is on the phone or to ask if I can have so-and-so call back. It's not conversational Spanish, but I get by.

Today, though, the language barrier brought a president and me to a dead stop, so I asked Tim to please help me out. Tim, along with a few others, are fluent. In fact, he was a mission president in Guatemala for three years. Anyway, I asked him to talk to the president for me, he did, and then he came to my desk and told me that I needed to learn some Spanish.

"The first thing you need to know is, 'quieres combate?'"

Me, "What does that mean?"

Tim, "Do you want to fight?"

I'm going to be challenging callers to put up their dukes from now on.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Not Dead Yet

I was looking through the blog and realized that I haven't really written anything for almost two months. What the heck? I suppose the fact that there have been other kinds of posts here tells you that I'm still alive, but I thought I'd send confirmation out to the blogosphere just for good measure.

The truth is, there's nothing going on with me. Oh sure, there's the usual getting up and going to work and going home, having dinner, watching tv, reading and going to bed routine interspersed with shifts at the bookstore and an occasional movie. I still drink too much Diet Coke and start a new eating plan every Monday (Melissa came up with a "game" to help us stay off the sugar. We put out a jar and had to put a dollar in it every time we had a treat. I put my dollar in the first two times I cheated, and then just started cheating on the treats and the dollar. She was telling me one day about all of the times she's thought about eating something but then remembered that it would cost her a dollar, and I finally came clean, "I've totally been cheating on that." Badly done, Angie. Badly done). But nothing in my day-to-day has seemed blog-worthy. I don't want to bore you anymore than is naturally unavoidable.

Of course, it's not that there's anything wrong. I'm happy enough. No big problems clouding my mind or making me retreat into a dark abyss. I am starting to feel some anxiety over the looming Christmas season at the bookstore (is it really time for that already?) and am practicing some relaxation techniques to get me through it. Actually, over the last few months I've come to appreciate my DB friends more, and have taken strength in the fact that we're all in this together. Sure the days can be long and frenzied, but my job is no worse than theirs, and if they can get throught the holidays without killing someone than so can I.

So anyway, this post has no point, other than to check in, acknowledge my own presence, and to say that I haven't forgotten any of you. I hope you haven't forgotten me.

You are loved.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween

Some pictures from Halloween, without much commentary, mostly for my mom.








Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Fun Facts

Here are some fun, and interesting, Halloween facts.

  1. Angie loves this holiday.
  2. It started with ancient Celtic tribes in Britain who believed that there was one day between the seasons of life (summer and harvest) and the season of death (winter) when spirits would rise and walk the earth. The day was called Sauwin.
  3. Druid priests, their spiritual leaders, tried to foretell whether or not their villages would survive the winter.
  4. People built bonfires and wore demonic masks hoping to repel the spirits and save their villages.
  5. 2002 was the last year that Angie really put together a Halloween costume. She was a bottle of Diet Coke.
  6. In the 8th century, when the Catholic church was converting the pagans to Christianity, Pope Gregory the III established a day to honor the saints - All Hallow's Day. It was held on November 1st.
  7. People were fine with a new holiday, but didn't see any reason to give up Sauwin, so they had their bonfires and masks on October 31, All Hallow's Eve.
  8. See, it's not so much the dressing up herself that Angie loves about Halloween, but seeing all the kids dressed up, and watching them run through the neighborhood trick-or-treating. It's so fun.
  9. When the Puritans came to America, they left all of the outlandish traditions of the Old World behind them. They had no time for Halloween, or Christmas, but that's another story.
  10. In the 1800s immigrants from Europe came swarming into America, including the Irish, who still liked Halloween and started the tradition up in the USA. Thank you Irish.
  11. This year, Marla is telling Angie that she has to have a costume to go trick-or-treating with them. What?! Since when? Oh for heaven's sake.
  12. The bonfires were shrunk down to lanterns made out of gourds - the first jack-o-lanterns.
  13. The masks turned into full Halloween costumes.
  14. Angie has decided that her roommates witch hat and some heavy make-up will have to do.
  15. By the 20th century Halloween had become a major holiday in the States, and is very lucrative for the retailers.
  16. Angie is very excited about taking Jonah and William out on Saturday night! And she and Marla are putting together a meal of finger foods. Not actual fingers...but that would be creepy, wouldn't it?
  17. And finally - a few places here in Salt Lake that are totally haunted: This is the Place Park, The Capital Theater, and The Devereaux House, more information here.

Happy Halloween!!

You are loved.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scamming the Choir

As some of you may have heard, David Archuleta is singing with the Moromon Tab Choir at their Christmas concert this year. When I heard that, I immediately knew that I did not want to go. Sometimes you just know, you know. I also knew that my nieces would love to go, and later when I talked to Melody she told me that yes, indeed, their family wanted tickets. Some years ago the folks in charge of this program decided on using a registration then random selection system to give out tickets. They're free, and in very high demand. So a person goes online and registers for tickets, and then hopes to be picked. Here at the COB the feeling is that out-of-staters get preference in the picking. Knowing this, I asked my mom and Shane and Courtney's families if I could register their names. Here's the email I got back from Court:

Courtney
Absolutely, I'm always looking for a way to scam the Mormon Tab. Choir! I hate them so much.

Angie
Ha! What did the tab choir do to you?!

Courtney
About 12 years ago I tried out for Mo. tab.. For my audition I did a breathtaking rendition of the Twisted Sister classic "We're not going to take it". They said they would get back to me, but so far nothing.

Angie
They're still reeling. And looking at each other saying, "What the..." I understand your contempt.

So, we have several households, all over the country, registered for tickets. Wish us luck.

"I hate them so much." That's gonna be funny for a long time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oh Yes It's Ladies Night

Those of you who used to work with me at the store are well aware of the horror that is Ladies' Night. I bet you still wake up in a cold sweat, don't you? I don't anymore because the store took my soul some time ago, like a Dementor. I haven't felt much since.

Anyway, last Saturday was Ladies' Night again. I was trying to find a means of defence before going in, and realized that the real reason for my stress in huge crowds is that I feel like I have to take care of all 3,500 of these women just as fast as I can, and then I get overwhelmed, and then flustered, and then irritable, and then angry. So, this time I decided that I wouldn't rush, just take care of each one, one at a time, without frenzy. It worked pretty well, and I finished the night without yelling, punching or kicking.

But there was one incident that is still making me shiver. I was ringing a woman up at the register. She held her hand out and said, "Will you throw this away?" I hate taking other peoples' garbage, but I held out my hand, and she dropped what she had into it. I turned toward the garbage can, and just before dropping it in saw that I was holding a wad of this woman's hair. Hair! From her own head! Ew! I felt my face screw up disgust, but I don't think she saw it. Hair. Honestly. Not ok.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Good Poem

I read this on the Writer's Almanac today, and while I don't work like this woman does, I get what she's saying - sometimes you just have to take care of it yourself. Hope you enjoy.


Clara: In the Post Office
by Linda Hasselstrom

I keep telling you, I'm not a feminist.
I grew up an only child on a ranch,
so I drove tractors, learned to ride.
When the truck wouldn't start, I went to town
for parts. The man behind the counter
told me I couldn't rebuild a carburetor.
I could: every carburetor on the place. That's
necessity, not feminism.
I learned to do the books
after my husband left me and the debts
and the children. I shoveled snow and pitched hay
when the hired man didn't come to work.
I learned how to pull a calf
when the vet was too busy. As I thought,
the cow did most of it herself; they've been
birthing alone for ten thousand years. Does
that make them feminists?
It's not
that I don't like men; I love them - when I can.
But I've stopped counting on them
to change my flats or open my doors.
That's not feminism; that's just good sense.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Take it Down a Notch for America"



Friends, family and I are fully behind Jon and his cause, and if I had any money at all I'd totally be in Washington DC for the rally. Instead, I'll be there in spirit, and hoping that this rally blows the socks off of all others. Take a look.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Week in Review

Up until about 20 minutes ago I had just one thing to tell you about for this week, and then my coworkers decided to go all Ringling Brothers Circus. Here is A Week in Review.

The Office, COB Style
Ah, my beloved coworkers.

We recently got an email on new internet/security policies, and it said that if you write a blog, don’t use anyone’s names unless you’ve asked them if it’s ok. Since I don’t really want to ask everyone how they feel about my blog, we will from now on be using character names.

Jack was on the phone with a stake president, and he needed to get the MTC president in Peru on the line for a conference call. He asked the main operator to help him do this by getting the MTC on the line and then ringing them through to him. The operator tried to call Jack back, but because he was already on a call with the SP, he didn’t answer the operator’s call. Our phones have call waiting, and it’s pretty easy to use, if you’re not over 75. The phone screen has caller id, and when a second call is ringing you hear the beep and can see on the screen whose calling. So I tried, many times, to tell Jack that when the operator called him he needed to answer it – just hit the “answer” button. It will put the other guy on hold. Well he couldn’t get it, and every time the operator called she eventually rang over to me because he wasn’t answering, and I couldn’t transfer her back again because you can’t transfer the operator. I don’t know why, you just can’t. So over and over again I stood in his door saying, “Just answer it! When she calls answer it!” On the third or fourth try the operator told me that she couldn’t get Peru anyway and that she was done. Goodbye.

I told Jack what she said. He still needed Peru, so he tried calling there himself but with no luck. So he came out of his office hollering if anyone had another phone number for them. He’s loud, and I’m pretty sure that he still had the SP on the line where he could hear the whole thing. I found a phone number and called it but got a recording in Spanish, so we put it on speakerphone and Jack listened to it (he speaks Spanish). The recording gave us their new number, but he’d tried that number and it wasn’t working. What to do now?

In the mean time, Earl, overhearing the ruckus, decided to come to the rescue. He made a few calls, and before we knew it the president in Peru was calling me! Hallelujah!

Act 1, Scene 2: “Hello, this is President W in Peru. Earl was calling me, and I’m just calling him back.”

Angie, “Jack needs to talk with you. I’ll let him know you’re on the line.”

Angie, knowing that getting this transfer through to Jack when he’s already on a call is going to be difficult (having learned from the operator debacle), goes to Jack’s door and says, “I have President W on my line. When I call you, answer it. You need to answer it.”

President W, “Ok, I will.”

Angie, “Oh president no, I’m sorry, I was talking to Jack.”

President W, “Oh, ok.”

Jack looks confused, and Angie knows that there is little hope of pulling this off. Change of battle stations.

Angie, “Sherry, will you go to my desk and transfer this call to Jack. I’ll stay in his office to answer it.”

Sherry does this. When the call comes through to Jack, the caller id lights up, and Jack, still not sure of what’s going on, asks the SP to hold. Angie hits the “answer” button. She then, with speed and agility, hits a few more buttons that connect everyone on one call. Success! High fives and wiping of sweaty brows all around. Done, and with only two outside people having to overhear how hard it is for COB workers to answer the phone.
End scene.

Second Story
Today is Sally's birthday, and I didn’t notice it on my calendar and didn’t put anything together for her. When I realized it, I got that rush of heat to the face that you get when you know that you’ve done something terrible, how stupid to forget her birthday. I went to her desk and apologized over and over, and she was very nice about it. She said that at her age you’d rather people forget your birthday. People say that, but do they really mean it? I don’t think so. Anyway, we made a plan to eat chocolate cake next week.

I wrote an email to Melody (we write to each other throughout the work day) and told her about my mistake, and then mentioned that there is a lot of pressure to celebrate things in the office. She agreed, too much pressure. A few minutes later someone from the second floor was here to talk to someone, and he mentioned that there was cake downstairs to celebrate the 10th anniversary of someone’s liver transplant (I’m not making that up). Really?! I can’t remember Sally's birthday, but they think to throw a party for the anniversary of a liver transplant? All I could do was laugh, and honestly it’s going to be funny for a long time, shake my head in disbelief funny.

One Thing Right
Remember last spring when I said that I was going to be more of a homemaker and cook and decorate? I didn’t do it. Not any of it. All summer long I came home from work to my quiet apartment, sat on the couch with some KFC and watched television. Apparently, when I said that I wanted to do some stuff around the house, what I meant was that I really didn’t. But, when Melissa got back from Connecticut, we made a plan to each pick a day to make dinner. It’s so much easier to cook when you’re doing it for someone else, and how nice when someone else is cooking for you! We started this week. On Wednesday she made some good chicken tacos, and yesterday I make lasagna, something I’ve made many times before. I thought I’d better start with something I knew, and it turned out well, if I do say so myself. So now I’m starting to plan out what to make next week and the next. This is going to be a good little tradition for us, and I’m happy about it.

That’s it. Thanks, as always, for being a bright and shiny light in my life.
You are loved.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Random Friday

Hello all. I’ve been thinking all week that I need to post something because it’s been some time, but what to write? I don’t know. There simply isn’t much going on right now. So maybe just some random thoughts? Ok.

55 degrees is the perfect temperature for a good walk.
Try as I do to make good salsa, it’s never like Marla’s.
Marla should make sure that I have salsa available to me at all times.
There’s no fry sauce in the states of Minnesota or North Dakota.
I’ve wondered if I could bottle fry sauce and start a trend there, and make a load of cash.
Its pay day today, and for one glorious minute I felt like I had some money.
I kind of wish that everyone was British. They seem so smart.
VH1 has been running a program called “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time” that Melissa and I have been greatly enjoying.
I really love that Van Halen and Def Leppard were listed. I was so in to them in high school.
We were rockers at my high school.
Aaron and Barry once did a recording of Ozzy Osborne’s song “Crazy Train” with some friends, and it was shockingly similar to the real thing.
I’d pay money to have a copy of that now.
I’m troubled by all of the anti-Muslim sentiment going around the country.
The mosque in New York should be built and everyone should be nice about it.
The Koran burner in Florida should be slapped.
Sierra did a good blog post on the matter.
I’m troubled by all of the hostility surrounding a lot of issues.
At the same time, I think most controversies wouldn’t be controversies if the news didn’t spotlight them.
I watched Wipeout yesterday – still awesome.
I think I’ve finally found a happy balance between still hoping for some of the things I’m missing (like a handsome man) but not obsessing over them. I’m just living my life. It’s a huge relief.
It sounds cliché, but there is beauty in letting go.
That’s harder to do than one might expect.
I cannot believe that the holidays are looming around the corner.
At the same time, I sure love fall.
Fried shrimp is good.
Fax machines blow my mind.
Really, how is it possible that you can put a piece of paper through a machine and an exact copy of that paper shows up on a machine in Japan? That just shouldn’t work.
I highly recommend seeing “Inception”.
I only kind of recommend “The Switch”.
I also highly recommend doing yoga, if you feel so inclined.
But really, go see my sister and ask her for some salsa.
You are loved.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Week in Review August 27

Hello! I'm adding the date in this week's header so that you'll know that this is a new entry, and not the same week in review that's been here for two weeks now. Where have I been? I don't know, but let's do A Week in Review

Osmond Mania
I’ve had a story to tell for more than a week and am just now getting to it! The Osmonds were at my store Saturday the 14th for a signing. No, not Donny and Marie, Jay and Wayne, who have both written books. And David Osmond came with them; he’s someone’s son (we still don’t know whose), and he’s recorded a new cd. My friend MH (initials) thinks that David is “dishy”, and I suppose she’s right.

The celebrities were scheduled to arrive at noon. Women started lining up at 10, right when we opened. I’ve seen these women before – in fact it was the last time we had Osmonds at the store. They stake their claims first in line, and then give instructions on how an Osmond event should be handled. You might think, at first, that they’re the group’s managers or at least family or friends, but who they really are are over-aged, crazed fans that’ve followed the Osmonds around since 1972, and that’s way too long. One woman actually brought photos of herself at other signings to share with Jay and Wayne. Another talked to our manager about a “gt” she’d just been to with Donny in Las Vegas. He didn’t know what a “gt” was. It’s a get together, of course. Oh yes, of course. He didn’t mention the fact that you have to buy tickets to those. She didn’t get a personal invitation.

By about 12:30 we had a group of 15-20 women swarming the table, and they stayed put for the full two hours. Really. It was nice to have people there (it’s always awkward when an artist comes in for a signing and then sits there with no one to talk to), but the same group for two hours? How crazy is that? Even after the Osmonds left they stayed – basking in the glow, I guess.

MH told me that morning that the cooperate office wanted us to take good care of David Osmond, and since she is in charge of these signings, she felt responsible for making his stay a pleasant one. She even made him a gift basket. I was working the back register while the celebrities and fans mingled, and she came back to tell me a story that started with, “So, I was feeding David Osmond a roll…”

“What?!” Followed by loud laughter for several minutes.

“No, I mean I was bringing him a roll.”

Still laughing, ten days later.

But it was a weird day. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had started feeding him a roll. She would have fit right in with the crowd. By 2:00 we were all feeling a little weird and pretty creeped out. We just walked around in a daze wondering what kind of parallel universe, where the Osmonds are still super cool, we’d fallen in to. It was weird, and creepy. It’s a strange thing, celebrity. It makes people act in all kinds of strange ways, and I don’t really know why.

An Event of Another Kind
We had our annual summer social with the COB on Wednesday. It was very nice. MH (of roll-feeding fame) went with me. I tempted her with the opportunity to meet Elder Holland. There is a member of the Twelve responsible for every division of the COB, and Elder Holland is ours, and I’m very glad. We had dinner, and some entertainment from a group called Blue Harmony that was quite good, and then Elder Holland spoke to us for about 30 minutes. He didn’t have anything written down; he just talked about missionary work and a little bit about his calling as an Apostle, and about all the work that there is still to be done. It’s hard now to retell it all, but he said some things about the natural tendency to feel like you’re not enough, and realizing the full potential our lives and this work, and about so often being surprised by it all. His words really touched my heart. I felt a much needed boost of confidence, and some motivation to do more. It’s good when those two things can come with a healthy balance. I do love Elder Holland.

Wipeout
Here’s something else I love, and it’s not connected to my previous story at all. There’s a tv show on ABC on Thursdays called Wipeout, and it’s my new guilty pleasure, only I don’t feel guilty about it, and instead of a pleasure it’s a gut-ripping laugh fest. You know how people falling down are always funny? Well this is falling down times 1000, and it’s ok to laugh because they volunteered! And they know that a wipeout is coming their way. The commentators are good, too. It’s a full hour of no-brain laughter, and I’m using it as my weekly therapy treatment. Here’s a clip if you’re interested.

I think that’s it for this week. Thanks, as always, for being my other form of therapy.

You are loved.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Week in Review

Hello! I just got back from a lovely walk and then ate fried shrimp. Tasty. I wonder, though, what the balance is between the goodness of walking and the badness of fried shrimp? Let’s just put an important life lesson into play – take the good from any situation and be happy. Let’s do a Week in Review.

She’s Back
Melissa returned from Connecticut on Wednesday, and it’s been nice to have a roommate again. I will admit, it might be hard at times to remember that there is another person in the house. For example, when I’m getting dressed in the morning and need clothes that are still in the dryer, I’ll now have to get dressed before going to the laundry room, and then get dressed again for real. That’s an inconvenience, but worth the trouble to have a friend back.

I’ve had a heart-to-heart with my imaginary friends who have kept me company this summer. They feel displaced, and I understand that. I want them to know how much their support has meant to me while I’ve sat alone, watching tv, playing minesweeper and cursing the smokers who live upstairs. I couldn’t have gotten through it without them. But, now that Melissa is back, we have to be careful about how we interact because me wandering around the apartment talking to what appears to be no one might freak her out. So, the imaginary friends are relearning their appropriate boundaries, and I’m trying not to say, “Oh Chandler, could you BE any funnier?” and “Joey get out of my peanut butter!” out loud anymore. You know, now that I think about it, my imaginary friends look a lot like the cast of Friends. Huh.

Stupid Evil Fairy
I owe Kent an apology. He was my top pick on So You Think You Can Dance this season, a cute, cute farm boy from small town Ohio who melted my heart every time he got on stage. I was so sure he’d win. He had the tween vote! Don’t the tweens rule the world? But, Kent took second place to Lauren.

Before watching the show I was thinking about the fact that none of my favorites have ever won. They’ve come close, like Kent did, but haven’t taken the grand prize. Strange. And then I remembered the curse that the evil fairy gave me when I was born. I used to think, like I once told Tiffany, that the curse was limited to making sure that I never win a drawing, but now I have to wonder if it doesn’t also mess with my favorites winning, too. You know how the story goes – the fairies in the land gather together to bless the new baby. I got beauty, wit, a gorgeous singing voice, and then that crazy old bat stepped up and said, “none of your favorites will ever win a competition”. Nice. I don’t see why she had to drag others down with me. So, I should send an apology to Kent. I am sorry.

To be fair, I’ll also say that Lauren is a great, great dancer, and deserved the win as much as anyone.

Civility
I heard a clip of Dr. Laura ranting on the radio this morning and was horrified. You’ve probably seen the story in the news, if not then here’s a report. I don’t want to dwell too much on Dr. Laura’s story, per say, but instead on the death of general civility. Just this week we’ve had the flight attendant who used the escape slide to get away from a cursing passenger (the escape slide, that’s awesome), and now this Dr. Laura thing. It’s ridiculous. What makes people think that they are right to treat others with such disrespect? It takes a self-importance that I really don’t understand. Heck, I see it all day at the bookstore. People will cut in line or interrupt a conversation because they have “just a quick question”. Whatever. Wait your turn.

I tend to believe that those who are rude continue to do it because they can get away with it, and at times are even rewarded for it. Most people will back down to a monster just to avoid the confrontation. And I know that from a retail perspective that store associates are told to make the customer happy, or, in other words, give them what they want. Parents used to teach their children that they won’t get their way by throwing a fit, but our adult society quickly convinces one of just the opposite. It’s very sad, and I refuse to join the crowd. I’m not a perfect model of politeness, but recent events are making me recommit to doing my best. It’s a loud, obnoxious world. Let mine be one of the quieter voices.

Thanks, as always, for giving me some attention.
You are loved.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Week in Review

So how’s summer time treating you? Alright? Is the tan all you were hoping it would be? I have a significant farmer’s tan going – round neck line and definite sleeves. Nice. If I’d thought about it earlier I would have taken a picture for you. Remind me to show it off when we see each other again. For now, let’s do A Week in Review.

Summer's End
You know how some people would love to live in a place where it’s 75 degrees year round? I’m not one of those people. I really like the change in seasons. And now that it’s August and we’re heading toward fall, I find myself really looking forward to it. This morning I wanted to eat a pumpkin cookie, and while walking through the park I thought about the leaves changing and the air cooling off. Mmmm, I love that.

Fall makes me want to buy new clothes, too. I think it’s all those years of back-to-school shopping. I still think that I need everything new in September, including notebooks, and of course makeup. The cosmetics companies are sending me emails with their new fall colors, tempting. A new season is right around the corner.

Lessons Learned
Speaking of going back to school, the school of life has taught me a lesson in self improvement this week. Back in January a coworker of mine came down with a strep infection that spread to major organs in his body, and embedded into the bones in his lower back. He was very, very sick, in the hospital for weeks, and then home on medical leave for months.

After the first couple of months passed, some of us started to doubt that he’d ever come back to work. He’s in his 60s, and has talked about retiring for years. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. I was just waiting for the day when we got the official word that he was done. Then I started to get frustrated with the fact that we were all having to cover his work while he was gone. And then I started to wonder out loud to friends just what his secret and devious plan might be? Why is he holding on to this job when we all know that he’s not coming back? I got caught up in speculation and ran wild with it, adding some pessimistic, almost accusatory, feeling.

And then, last week, we were told that he had gotten clearance from his doctors to come back to work. He was in the office on Monday and has been here all week. When I saw him on Monday, all those bad feeling went away, and I knew how wrong I had been. It was good to see him. We talked a bit about his illness. It was awful for him. He thanked me many times for covering different jobs while was gone. He told me how much he had missed this place, and that he had wanted to come back months ago. Being an invalid was making him crazy. I told him jokingly that we were all placing bets on whether or not we’d ever see him again, but I was secretly embarrassed about the attitude I harbored all of that time. Why didn’t I trust his good intentions? Why not give people the benefit of the doubt?

I thought, too, about the negative feelings I had while speculating, and about other times when I’ve felt the same way – all tense and bugged – and I finally learned that those feelings tell me that I’m on the wrong track. Either what I’m thinking or doing is wrong, or I’m losing patience when I need to hold on to it. It’s a lesson learned, and I hope that I’m mature enough to change my ways. Give people the benefit of the doubt, and trust your gut. Things work better that way.

I think that’s it for now. I hope you’re all happy and healthy. Thanks, as always, for your constant care.
You are loved.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Week in Review

Hello All. What if we try to resurrect the weekly feature “A Week in Review”? I’m feeling up to the challenge. Let’s give it a try.

The Rest of the Trip
It’s been a strange week because half was spent in MN, and the other half here at home. Actually, they’re both home. I used to feel so torn between the two, like I had to pick one and give it my whole heart. I’ve decided not to pick one. I love them both for what they are, and will enjoy both for the rest of my life.

The reunion was Saturday. On Sunday the siblings who were in town, my parents and I all went to church at the old building where we went every week growing up. It’s much smaller than I remember, but otherwise the same. Isn’t it strange, isn't it, that you can be away from a place for years, and then go back and it’s all so familiar. Sitting in that chapel with my parents felt as comfortable as it would have if I’d been there every Sunday all along.

After church we had dinner at Mom and Dad’s - roast and potatoes, the perfect Sunday meal. Barry, Shane, Courtney and their families were there, which added up to about twenty people. Mom wondered for days just how she was going to feed such a crowd! She did well. Then we took an afternoon walk, as is our custom, ate ice cream and were sublimely lazy for the rest of the afternoon.

Monday we took Court’s family (Barry’s and Shane’s had left for home) to the zoo. They had a great wolf exhibit. Do you call zoo animals exhibits? Habitats? I guess I don’t know. Maybe someone could get back to me on that. We stood in a small cabin-like building with large windows that looked out over a grassy hill where the wolves were roaming. They’re gorgeous, but a little frightening at the same time. Something about them feels dangerous even when you’re just looking at them through glass. I bet Little Red Riding Hood needed some serious therapy after finding that one at grandma’s house.

Courtney and family left Monday evening, so it was just my parents and I my last night. We watched “Roman Holiday” with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, who, by the way, was a very handsome man. I went to bed about midnight.

At 1:30 mom was shaking me awake and saying something about tornado sirens, and that I should come downstairs. We sat in the living room watching weather reports. There were huge black clouds swirling over the city. A town some distance away reported that one funnel had touched ground. In the end we didn’t get a tornado, thank heaven, but we did get a fierce thunderstorm. I had hoped for a real rain storm while there, and I certainly got my wish. The thunder and lightening were fantastic.

I flew back to Salt Lake on Tuesday. Again – I felt torn. After a week on vacation I’m usually ready to get back to my bedroom and bathroom, and to work and a normal schedule, but I never like saying goodbye to my parents. And as the plane flew over the beautiful green patchwork of farms and fields I felt homesick. But then when we landed I took a good look at the mountains and realized that I had missed them. And thus my decision to love both of my homes equally and without prejudice. Two homes are better than one.

Dragon Tattoo
No, I didn’t get one, I’m reading the book. In the airport and on the plane I saw “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” everywhere! And then my aunt Janet highly recommended it, so I decided to give it a try. I’m only 20 pages in, but it’s starting out well. I very rarely read crime/mystery novels. It’ll be a good change of pace. I'll let you know what

Lets end with a few more pictures.

Noah and Matthew

Jake and Jonny

Michael, king of the tower

Mariah, Sierra, Josie and Jake in the parents living room

Spencer rolling out a mean game of Yatzee.

Thanks, as always, for keeping me in mind.
You are loved.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reunion

Hello! I'm back from the land of 10,000 lakes. We had a family reunion on Saturday the 24th at my cousin Lori's house just outside of a little town in MN, right on one of those lakes. We had so, so much fun. Here are the highlights.

Some of the cousins hired a band that specialized in older music, the kind my dad and his siblings would remember. They were also great for letting the more talented family members get up and join them. Here are my dad and brother, Aaron, singing a duet.
I almost teared up watching them. It's been years since I've heard them sing together. That alone would have made the whole day. But that wasn't all - there was also dancing! Dad and I did a Tennessee Waltz. Yes, we know how to do that.

Here's Sierra and family out on the dock. Yes, she's making the loser sign at me. She did apologize, and I said it was ok. What she doesn't know is that I WAS going to will her some pretty good stuff when I die, including an extensive collection of lip gloss. Too bad for Sierra.
There is, at every reunion, this poster of all the cousins' high school graduation pictures, along with our full names and birth date. The camera flash took out my picture, and that's ok. I don't really need my own picture. Loving the cousins' pictures, though.

Family out on the lake. Give a child somewhere to swim, and you've entertained him for a full day.
Of course each family had to pose for a picture. Here's mine. Back row - Barry, Courtney, Shane, Aaron, and then Mom, me, and Dad. Unfortunately Marla couldn't be there. Her family had other stuff going on at the same time. Maybe I'll find a way to cut her out of another picture and paste her into this one...? Then it will be complete.
Later in the afternoon we took a bus tour! Lori's place is close to the farm where dad and his siblings grew up, so we took a tour of their old stomping grounds, including my grandparents dairy farm. The family doesn't own the farm anymore, but the people who live there now are pretty good about letting us invade their property and take pictures every few years. Here are dad and I on the bus.

We stopped at a few places along the way, and either Dad or one of his siblings told stories from their childhood. They grew up in a different world, and it's fascinating to hear them talk about it. I loved that.

Here's something else I love - my great-grandparents house. They came to Minnesota from Norway in the late 1800s and settle on a farm near Underwood, not far from Dad's home town. They raised 12 children, the youngest being our Grandpa Olaf. A few years ago, the house was moved from it's foundation onto a small historic park in Dalton. It's all set up like an actual historic site! Isn't that great? The house wasn't open on the day we were there, but we did take lots of pictures on porch. Here are Dad and his siblings.
Those are the highlights of a wonderful day. It was the kind of day that made me smile for days after. I keep thinking back on it and saying, "Wow, that was so much fun." It's a great family, and a great place, to be a part of.

One last picture, look how pretty my niece Amalia Grace is. So pretty.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On Vacation

I'd like to open with quote from dear Sierra, "What up suckas?" I'll tell you what's up. I'm leaving for Minnesota TOMORROW! It's very exciting. I'll share a report and some pictures when I'm back. Here's one picture to hold your interest until then.


Angie out.


Monday, July 12, 2010

A Trip to the Burg

Last Friday Mariah, Savannah and I took a road trip to Rexburg to visit Sierra. The back story to this is long and complicated, and I think that I'll go ahead and bore you with it. About a month ago Savannah, Melody and I were talking about our upcoming trip to Minnesota. At the time I was seriously considering driving, and asked Savannah if she wanted to go with me. We both really like road trips. She said that she would go with me, but after a few more days of consideration I decided to get a plane ticket instead. The drive is fun, but I would have spent more time on the road than in Minnesota with my parents, and it would have been expensive.

A few weeks later I was having dinner with the family, and Savannah said to me, "When are we leaving for Minnesota?"

"What?"

"You know, when are we going on our trip?"

"Were you really planning on that? I'm sorry, I bought a plane ticket."

Melody dropped her head into her hands, and Barry told me that they bought tickets for their trip, but didn't get one for Savannah because she was going with me. Collective panic.

I apologized to Savannah over and over again, and said that I honestly didn't know that anyone thought that that was a definite plan. I felt so stupid. Barry got online and fortunately was able to get Savannah a ticket to travel with them without any trouble.

The next day I was still feeling bad about the whole debacle. I sent Savannah a little message, "I owe you a road trip. What if we go see Sierra next week?" She said yes; Mariah jumped on board, and plans were made. The girls wanted to stay for the whole weekend, so Melody agreed to go get them again today, Monday. So much fun! Sierra was very excited, and I was glad to have a happy ending to our story.

We drove up on Friday. Side note - Do you know what makes Angie cuss? Road construction. HONESTLY! Why does a summer road trip have to include an hour of going 20 miles an hour in a long string of cars that's been brought down to one lane for no apparent reason? If I end up in hell, it will be an eternity of road construction.

Back to the story. We got to Rexburg about 2:00, met up with Sierra, got big hugs, saw her apartment, went to lunch at Wingers, and then walked around campus. I went to school there back when it was Ricks, and really liked seeing the campus again. It's grown! But the old buildings and sidewalks brought back memories. And it was fun to see Sierra in her college element. She's always fun.

Here are some pictures

A storm was blowing in about the time I was leaving, and the dark clouds behind the Rexburg temple made a beautiful picture.

It was a really good day. I made the drive back on my own, having left the girls in Rexburg. There's something so calming and therapeutic about being out on the road, enjoying the quiet and solitude, taking in the views of the mountains and green fields; I loved it. The time went too fast.
Second story, shorter than the first. Marla's birthday was Friday. I had last Monday off, so we went up to Park City with little William and did some shopping, then had dinner. It's always fun to have a sister's day out. I don't have to say again how much I love my sister, and cute William (look how cute).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Family Pictures

We're having a big family reunion in Minnesota on July 24, and in preparation my cousins have set up a "Descendants of Olaf and Corinne" page on Facebook. They've started posting pictures, and that's were I found these great, great photos. I'm so excited to have them. Here is Dad's family.

Olaf and Corinne with my dad, Owen (standing), and Blaine

Dad and his siblings, Blaine, Lois, Janet, Will and Alan. Three more would come later - Diane, Donna and Joan.

What a treasure.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Week in Review

Hello All. I’m going to do a short post today, mostly because I don’t have much to talk about. Why write then? I don’t know; I just feel like it. Here’s a Week in Review.

All Alone
Melissa went to Connecticut for the summer (her sister lives there) so I have the apartment to myself. My feelings about this waver between sweet bliss and super boredom. Sometimes you want someone to talk to! My summer home improvement projects have gotten off to a slow start, or no start at all. I still need to get some plants for the deck, make fresh salsa, and buy some pretty pillows for the couch. I’m still determined to do it. Just needed some down time first, I guess.

The 4th of July
I hate to admit that I don’t have any plans for the 4th. I’m an unpatriotic looser. I did vote for President Obama, so in the opinion of all those angry men who like to yell into the radio and carry on on television, I am as unpatriotic as they come. Maybe that’s why no plans…or maybe I just haven’t thought about it yet. I’m going to Minnesota the end of the month, so most of my focus has been on that.

When I think about it, though, I don’t know how I feel about patriotism. I love this country, and feel like living here is a great blessing. We have a fascinating history and a great standard of living, opportunities and privileges that many don’t. But, I’m not one of those “This is the greatest country in the whole world!” kind of people. It seems to me that there are a lot of other nations that do very well. I’ve been to a few. The people are happy and healthy. The streets are clean, and the sites are beautiful. So can you be patriotic and still think that others have it just as good? I’d like to think so. That seems healthier to me, like a healthy self-esteem – feel good about yourself, but draw the line at having to be better than everyone else. That’s my kind of patriotism.

It’s Gone
I sold the Honda for a few dollars to my niece Cortni and her husband. He’s very mechanical, and will be able to fix up the things that are wrong with it, and then drive it through the summer. I hope it works out well for them. They took it away last Monday. It’s the end of an era. Ironic – I bought that car from Cort’s parents, Aaron and Kristi. I hope Aaron doesn’t cuss too much when he sees it back again.

Something from Garrison
I was reading A Prairie Home Companion this morning and found this great paragraph:

My time is short and so is yours, so why not tell the truth: A person can get along very well in life without one bit of the mathematics and physics they rammed into our brains in high school. Fifty years later, and there hasn't been a single moment when I've thought, "Oh if only I could remember higher algebra!"

Ha! That’s awesome, and so true. Although, I will say that Barry remembers higher algebra, and has gotten his girls through high school with his knowledge. I, on the other hand, have no use for it. Garrison’s whole article is great. You can read it here.

I think that’s it for now. I need to get over to Marla’s for some quality time with William.
Happy 4th!
You are loved.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Thoughts on Thoughts

I have literally at least 1500 letters to send out this week, but you know what I’m going to do instead? A blog post. I haven’t written anything for some time, and there’s no big hurry on those letters anyway.

I’ve been thinking. A few weeks ago we had a retirement social at the COB for a lady who has worked here for 20+ years. Her boss did the obligatory eulogy – people here like to call these socials “viewings” and refer to the talk as a “eulogy” because they are just that funny, and that old. While talking about the dearly departing, he said that he had never known her to have a bad day, to be grumpy or out of sorts, to say an angry word, blah, blah, blah. I thought to myself, “I don’t believe it.” And I still don’t. It’s not that I’ve had an encounter with this woman, I haven’t, it’s just that I know better than to think that anyone can get through 20 years at a job without a bad day. I haven’t gotten through the last 20 days without losing my cool. If a girl were to believe that her coworkers are models of perfection while she’s at her desk cursing under her breathe, she’d have the stuff of a huge guilt complex, and I don’t like huge guilt complexes. They get uncomfortable after a while.

But still, there is some honesty when a person gives that kind of praise. I think that at times of parting, or when a phase of our life is over and we look back on it, our minds automatically remember people with kindness. The bad stuff is cut out. That's a real blessing, isn't it? It's a wonderful ability we have.

Sometimes I think that the things I’ve put on this blog about my childhood on the farm are so idyllic, when the truth is that I whined about weeding the garden and hauling water and shelling peas and all of that work every day I had to do it. Farm life is difficult. Mom and Dad struggled against bad weather, sick calves, and poor crop and livestock prices just to make ends meet. It was hard. But now…now, while I’m still aware of the bad days, I think more about riding with Dad on the tractor, and following him while he used the tiller so that I could feel the cool, new dirt between my toes, and loving the smell of the air at night. It was so good, so that’s what I talk about. And besides, you don’t want to hear me still crying about having to pull weeds all day, 30 years later.

So the next time you’re in church, or Relief Society, or somewhere where a person is being praised for being a great mother, wife, coworker, friend, don’t compare that person to yourself and feel guilty. We’re all human. We all have our flaws. We’ve all said things we shouldn’t, and we’ve all had bad days. It’s just that the bad days don’t matter as much as the good, so they get erased from the brain over time. And really, no one is going to talk in sacrament meeting about all of the times her mother screamed her head off at her. That wouldn’t be appropriate.

A good part of life is choosing what to keep and what to throw away, including memories. Fortunately most of us choose the good.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Crisis

This is about my 100th blog look in as many hours. I think I need some therapy for this identity crisis, and I don't think that the crisis is over yet.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dad! Thank you for reading to me, for the long talks out in the garden, for playing the guitar and singing, for letting me ride on your back like a horse, for thinking that I'm funny, for giving me good brothers and a sister, for marrying mom, and for quietly supporting me all of these years since I grew up. I love you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cousins


This is me with my cousin Kari (on the right) circa 1975. She and I were born within three weeks of each other, and grew up playing together on our Grandpa Olaf's farm. Her family lived close to Grandpa, so when we weren't at his house then we were at hers. We loved to reenact Little House on the Prairie, or to ride her family's horses, slowly for my sake. They had many acres of wooded land in Ashby, MN, with a small lake to go ice skating on in the winter. Her older brothers and mine are close to the same age, too, so our two families meshed perfectly. The boys like to go out into the woods and play war games (more literally than our parents would have approved of had they known). I can't think of one childhood memory with that side of the family that doesn't include Kari and her family.

Last week Kari and her sisters, Lori and Brit, and their kids came to Salt Lake for a visit! It was wonderful and so surreal to have them here. My Minnesota and Utah worlds came crashing together - you may have heard the kaboom. Since growing up and leaving home we haven't had much time together, so I was almost surprised at how easy it was to hang out again. We told stories from our collective childhood together, and then got caught up on what we're all doing now. Sunday evening we were at Aaron's house, and then Monday they came downtown to have lunch and see Temple Square. I loved showing them where I work. That evening we went to their hotel so that the kids could use the pool, and the grown ups sat and talked some more. It's strange that we're the grown ups now. It doesn't seem that long ago that we were the ones told to go and play, code for "leave us alone for a while".

I really loved having them here, and I loved having a reminder of where I came from. I'm going back in July for a family reunion, and will see them all again. I'll take lots of pictures so that you can see the places I've been talking about. Just thinking about it make me smile.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Week in Review

Hi. It’s Friday. This was a short work week with the holiday Monday, so Friday came quickly. And I was very ill (I’ll spare you the details) Tuesday through Thursday, which leaves me now realizing that I don’t remember much of the week…? I know that people say that getting sick is a blessing because it gives you a greater appreciation for good health. I think that I’d be ok with never getting this again, and just having a general liking of good health.

Let’s do a week in review.

Trains, No Planes, and One Automobile
Melissa and I drove the beloved Ford Taurus to the Golden Spike National Site on Monday. It’s about 30 or 40 miles west of Brigham City, a pleasant and easy drive. The site is the place where, in 1869, the construction of the Central Pacific railroad coming from California and the Union Pacific railroad coming from Iowa met. The last spike was driven here, finishing the first transcontinental railroad line. They had a ceremony highlighted by the placing of The Golden Spike. I kind of thought that, at the original ceremony, they drove a real golden spike into the rail tile and left it there, but they didn’t. The golden spike was ornamental, symbolic, and not to be driven with a huge sledge hammer into a wood tile. Only real spikes are in the tiles. I suppose that makes more sense.

Anyway, there was a reenactment of the ceremony, and then a demonstration on how the locomotives worked (they always said “locomotive” in the demonstration, not train). There were two things that I found very interesting. When the last spike was driven (again, not an actual golden spike), a telegraph message saying “DONE” went out to cities all over the country, and those cities held huge celebrations – fireworks, cannons, all kinds of tom foolery. When you think about it, having a transcontinental railway was a huge achievement for the country and well worth the attention.

The second interesting thing we learned was that the locomotives were powered by steam (I kind of knew that before). Water was held in a 2,000 gallon tank that went along the back part of the engine, and then they burned either wood or coal to create the steam. I don’t really know how to accurately describe how much wood they stocked up. They said that it was 5 cords, but really what does that mean to the average person? I’d say the pile was about 4 feet high 20 feet wide and 40 feet long - pretty big. That much would and water created enough steam to power the engine – for 30 miles. 2,000 gallons of water got them 30 miles. I couldn’t believe it! Burning coal instead of wood got them about 100 miles because coal burns more efficiently. I think that trains then went about 30 miles an hour, which meant that once an hour they had to stop for more water and wood. Geesh ,that sounds like a lot of work. But still, traveling by train would have been easier for people than walking along side a wagon or pulling a handcart across the plains. And the break gave them a chance to use the bathroom and get a big gulp at the local 7-Eleven.

Here are some photos.



Guernsey
I’m reading a novel called the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", and I love it! What a good book. It’s set on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands between England and France in 1946. The whole story is written in letters to and from the different characters. It’s lighthearted and fun, and yet there are sad pieces when the people are remembering their lives during the War. The sadness is real, but it’s not so heavy that it weighs down the whole book. There's a good balance of depth and humor. I highly recommend it.
I think that's it for today. Thanks, as always, for keeping in touch.
You are loved.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Week in Review

Hello All! How are you? Ready for the coming Memorial Day weekend? I know I am. I work at the store tomorrow, but then I have the holiday off. Let’s commemorate with A Week in Review.

Mr. Jones
Jonah has always been required to give me a good hug when we see each other. All of the kids are under the same obligation. Honestly, it’s the least they can do. But Jonah seems to have it in his head that he has to give hugs because he’s the youngest. A few years ago, when Marla was pregnant with William, I was at their house, and getting my hug, and then he said, “When they baby comes then you’ll hug it instead of me and then I’ll be happy!” like he could not wait for that great day of deliverance. Free at last!

I tried to tell him then that it wouldn’t change anything. The baby would be tiny, and would need tiny hugs. Jonah’s job was to give the big, squeezing hugs.

Last Sunday I was at their house again, and again asked Jonah for a quality hug. He protested at first, but after a few minutes he came running over, “OK, here’s your quality hug” (he really said ‘quality’) and then William ran up and grabbed me around the knees, too.

Jonah said, “When does this move from me to William?”

“Well, Zac still hugs me, so probably never.” Zac is 15 now, and really does give nice hugs.

See, he must think that hugging is the responsibility of the youngest child, and now that he’s not the youngest, he’s ready to pass that job on to the baby. I hate to crush his hopes, but he’s not getting off the hook that easily. That kid is going to have to hug me at his college graduation.

Maybe I’m too demanding and should just leave them all alone? I sometimes wonder…? But then again, I kind of think he’d miss the attention. I know I would.

Road Trip
I am planning to drive to Minnesota this summer! There’s a huge family reunion the end of July – lots of pale Minnesotans with funny accents, knee shorts and sandals with socks – to keep the mosquitoes off of the ankles, of course. On the last several back I’ve flown, so this time I really think it will be fun to road trip. I’ll probably go by myself. My siblings are coming to the reunion, but can’t take as much time off as I am planning to. But a long drive alone with some good music and Diet Coke and great scenery sounds so relaxing, almost therapeutic. And I have a nice car now. I’m getting all tingly just thinking about it. There are a lot of beautiful spots along the way. If I really do this, then I’ll take lots of pictures and create a blog journal of the trip. Would you like that? North Dakota has the world’s largest Holstein cow…? Of course you’d like that.

Season Wrap Up
It’s the end of May, which means that all of my TV shows have wrapped it up for the summer. Only Glee is still running. I’m kind of glad that they’re gone for a while. I tend to think of watching TV as a colossal waste of time. I still do it, of course, but it is a waste of time. Now that I don’t have the temptation I’m hoping to do more productive things – evening walks, reading, writing, learning how to cook again. It’ll be nice. And Marla’s pool will be open. I’ve told her that I’ll be over most evenings. She doesn’t have to talk to me, or even acknowledge my presence. I’ll just walk through the house into the backyard and jump in the pool. Nice. Maybe I’ll leave her some tip money on the counter? Or I’ll take the kids with me and give her some alone time. There’s a way to make this a win-win.

Novels
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction, John Adams by McCullough for one. I’ve liked all of it, but over the last couple of days I’ve really wanted a good novel. I miss them! Almost with a physical pain. So as soon as John and I wrap it up, I’m going to read a bunch of fiction. Yay, it’s so exciting! I’ll let you know what I’m reading and what I think of it, if you’re interested. There’s no reason why this can’t be fun for us all.

Cards and Letters
I’ve been writing letters lately, and sending cards to loved ones. In this age of electronic everything, I honestly worry that the art of letter writing will be lost, and that will be sad. It’s nice putting a pen to paper and talking to someone. It feels more personal. I’ve been trying to write to my parents once a week, and every now and then I send a card to Sierra at school. My dad writes to me, and I love it. Getting something in the mail is so much fun. I hope they think so, too.

I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks, as always, for taking the time.
You are loved.