Friday, December 19, 2008

Why My Resolve To Live Here Dwindles to Nothing in the Winter

Reasons I Hate Utah Right Now:
  1. It's snowing again.
  2. I'm going to miss an author signing because I have to attend a certain party that I tried to get out of orginially.
  3. Driving in the snow.
  4. Everybody smears everything with mayonaise. Or cooks with it. Or layers it over salad. Or puts it in the stupid jello.
  5. The ugly, dirty, wet, disgusting, never melting snow.
  6. Snow bibs. Snow boots. Snow Gloves. Snow Hats. Snow Coats. All wet and muddy and all over my house.
  7. Skiiers. (They like the blinking snow.)
  8. Having to mail things to family and go to the post office in the snow.
  9. Did I mention these Utah people put mayonaise in the jello. In the jello! Like jello isn't bad enough on its own. And Fry Sause - sold prebottled because even the ketchup has to have maynaise in it!

Okay, I might feel better now. Or not. Where's the chocolate?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bearable Snow

If it has to snow...I'm sure it's not hard to imagine what my favorite sight is. Well, my favorite minus any little smiling red-nosed monster faces, that is.

Friday, December 12, 2008


This is the plaque I made for my grandpa the Christmas before he died. I cut all the letters out myself with Scott's scroll saw, then decorated them. I forgot to take a picture, but then had another chance when I went out for his funeral in the Spring. My grandfather was not LDS, and never very good with relationships, so I wanted to give him a message as he neared the end of his life. The top picture is of his 2 daughters, the middle picture is my mother's 5 biological children. (Because this grandpa wasn't good with being a grandpa he didn't ever really know my half siblings.) The bottom picture is of my 4 kids - his only biological grandchildren so far. I really have no idea what he thought of it, but I can hope he at least thought about it a litte.

Friday, December 5, 2008

And This One From Jen

It's that time of day again. The time when we don't know what to do with ourselves until Daddy gets home. So I'm doing another tag post.

My 8 favorite TV shows
1. nope
2. seriously
3. I don't watch TV
4. I do rent Bones when the whole season comes out. But I don't watch it during the season.
5. What a waste of time!
6. On very very rare occasions when I don't have a book or something and Scott isn't home I'll switch on late night TV and the only thing are our 3ish channels is Scrubs reruns and I'll watch that for 30 minutes then wonder why
7. The TV will NOT tell me where and when I will be.
8. And I won't have cable channeling crap into my house.

8 Things I did yesterday
1. got help learning how to use my phone
2. found a babysitter for the work Christmas party
3. went to enrichment for a little while
4. found an important person on facebook
5. forced Jadyn to finish her homework despite all the times she lied to me about it
6. thought about doing Christmas cards - still thinking about that
7. searched for leapster games on Amazon
8. managed to NOT throw up and finally fall asleep after midnight

8 favorite places to eat
1. Lim's Cafe in Redding, CA
2. Round Table Pizza
3. Cafe Rio/Costa Vida
4. Olive Garden
5. Red Lobster
6. Tucanos
7. Los Hermanos
8. Bangkok Grill

8 things I am looking forward to
1. giving everyone their Christmas gifts
2. finishing my degree
3. not being pregnant
4. writing again
5. Saturdays
6. online orders arriving in the mail
7. getting the Christmas tree decorated (the kids broke the lights and I had to get new ones)
8. the dishes being done

8 things on my wish list
1. music actually on my mp3 phone
2. a bigger house
3. I'll go with that losing weight sentiment too
4. a new oven
5. I'll also agree with abolishing computer games (is warcraft the online one that Brent keeps trying to get Scott to play? If so -- DIE COMPUTER DIE!!)
6. a haircut I like
7. lasik
8. a trip anywhere for any amount of time with just my huband

Christmas Tag

I don't know if I'm the Julie that Courtney tagged, but I thought this one was fun so I'm doing it.

1. Do you like Hot Chocolate or Egg Nog? I like both, but I can drink much more hot chocolate. Egg Nog tastes like bubblegum to me.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just put them under the tree? Santa is a whole fat subject for me. Santa never came to my house as a kid. Now don't go feeling sad...I don't feel that my Christmases were any less magical. My dad hated the commercialization of religious holidays (there was no Easter Bunny either) so there was no effort to have us believe in Santa. We got stockings and tons of gifts, but we knew it was from our parents. In fact, I think it was more magical knowing the gifts were from my parents - with all the thought, effort, and expense they went to. I looked on Santa believers with an amused tolerance/contempt. Most Christmas movies were just silly.

This became an issue when Jadyn arrived and I realized Scott grew up the exact opposite. Now no one can say that I've never compromised in this marriage! Here's the agreement we reached. Santa fills the stockings and leaves one unwrapped present. I have dutifully filled my obligation - though I am admittedly not very good at it. I have a tendency to forget and put homemade things in the stockings, or the memorable year when I thought the kids too young to realize that Santa left the stuffed dinosaurs that Mommy sewed. Funny thing: they knew I made them but still had no trouble with the fact that Santa delivered them. Go figure.

I have friends who will die on the Santa hill and argue that he's just the spirit of Christmas and not a lie. Bull Crap!!! (I say that as politely and respectfully as possible (: ) People. We are all lying our butts off. I'll be relieved when I don't have to keep up this charade. And I'm worried about when Jadyn figures it out. I never went through that and don't know what to expect or how to empathize. I can't imagine the disillusionment and betrayal to know your parents have been lying to you your whole life.

Conversely, I enjoy messing with their heads. For example, I tell them Santa has dwarves, not elves. I mean come on - they are short, have beards, and like to make things. Classic dwarves. So it has all been slightly entertaining. We'll just have to see how it all turns out.

3. Colored or white lights on tree/house? White lights all the way. There is something so pure and beautiful to me about white lights. I remember the enchantment I felt when I first saw white icicle lights on a home when I was a kid. I've never wanted anything but white lights on my tree (that twinkle!) and white icicles on my house (one the rare year we actually put any up).

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I have and I will whenever I run across kids selling it. That doesn't happen every year. I do grow weary of it by the end of December because my husband never lets up! (Maybe I should just put it somewhere with less traffic...)

5. When do you put up your decorations? Usually right after Thanksgiving. I love fall and Thanksgiving, and even though I love Christmas too, I don't like to rush through anything. Occasionally things happen later. It depends some on how pregnant I am in any given year. But ideally, right after Thanksgiving.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? I love turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing all covered in gravy. But I usually make ham and scalloped potatoes for Christmas. I also like to mix things up, so we'll see. But it wouldn't be the holidays without rolls, apple yam yummies (a traditional dish from my dad's side), and pie, and crab dip.

7. What is your favorite holiday memory from your childhood? Just being together. We often had "visitors" of the older children and it was often the only time we saw them. I also loved digging in our stockings, slowly to make it last, first thing while the house was still mostly dark and we were all in our pajamas. When I think of Christmas from my childhood I feel peace. (Which is interesting considering that I have 8 brothers and sisters!)

8. Do you open a gift on Christmas eve? Yes. Like everyone else (apparently) we open new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Scott and I started this though neither of us did it as children. Growing up we would open the presents from visiting relatives while they were there, so that often meant Christmas Eve opening. That's not been an issue here with us so far from family.

9. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? One tradition we have is that everyone gets a new ornament each year, hopefully one that represents a major event or a certain stage/age. Scott and I even do this for each other. So our tree is covered with meaningful memory filled ornaments. I label each one with the year and we put them up one at a time and remember the year and what we were doing. I have a special Kim Anderson kissing couple that I found for our first Christmas as a married couple, and that is always put up first. One reason I've done this is so that when my kids leave home they will already have 18 or so ornaments of their own to take, along with all the memories. We often just sit and admire our tree and talk about the ornaments and how long we've had some of them. I love our Christmas tree.

10. Snow! Love it or dread it? I like the first few storms. I like watching it and reveling in the fact that I'm inside and warm. If I have to go out my attitude changes. As the winter progresses my attitude stays fixed in the angry/sulking mode. I hate when the snow sticks around for weeks and gets all dirty and crispy. I hate shoveling it. I hate dressing the kids up (which takes hours) only to have them freeze themselves and cry to come in 15 minutes later. By February or March all I can think when it snows again is that some large bird pooped all over the town and we have to clean it up.

11. Do you remember your favorite gift? Some of my favorites from childhood: a huge stuffed snow tiger carrying a baby in her mouth, a dollhouse my parents put together from a kit and my mom painted every piece with her left hand because she had just shattered her wrist, a box of furniture and people for said dollhouse from my grandma, my cabbage patch when I was 5, strawberry shortcake and angelfood cake baby dolls that breathed out scented air when you squeezed them, my toolbox and eastwing hammer when I was older and made it clear to my father that he shouldn't be getting tools for just his sons.

As an adult: the gravy boat that my husband shopped years for to find the right one that would go with my dishes set, the hand carved gnomes my husband made (and sliced himself up good for), oh I could keep going...I have a very thoughtful husband.

12. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family. Especially things like time off work so we are all together. Christmas music. But I must admit I love giving gifts. Love it. Wish I was a millionaire and could buy gifts for everyone all time.

13. What is your favorite hoilday dessert? Pumpkin pie is essential. After that, chocolate.

14. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Probably the ornament thing. But I also love Christmas morning and watching the kids open one present at a time. (We don't allow the mayhem of greed.) I also love reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve by candlelight.

15. What tops your tree? A star made from shells that I found for our first year together. I still love it and would die inside if it ever broke.

16. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I much prefer giving. I love giving. I think there is only one person I'm really comfortable getting things from and that is Scott. Maybe my Mom too.

17. What is your favorite Christmas song? I like/tolerate the secular Christmas songs. I LOVE religious Christmas songs. My favorites, the ones I sing non-stop are: What Child is This, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Away in the manager (both melodies), Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Oh Come Let Us Adore Him, and so on

18. Candy canes? No thankyou. They are pretty and I put them on the tree sometimes. If I have to eat one it better some flavor other than peppermint.

19. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized? Yes. The focus needs to more on the Savior and less on Santa. More on gratitude and less on getting.

20. Favorite Christmas movie? I remember Frosty and Rudolph and Home Alone fondly from childhood. I appreciate It's a Wonderful Life. Christmas movies aren't so much a part of our celebrating. Probably cuz they weren't for me as a kid. We got a holiday pack from Costco this year so maybe I'll watch some of the classics for the first time.

21. Can you ice skate? Not really. I've enjoyed the few times I went, but it was scary. I also always seem to be pregnant and unable to participate. Oh well.

I would love it if any of my lazy friends would do this tag. I'm interested in different traditions and opinions!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's That Time Again

My husband told me this morning that it was that time of year again. "What time," I innocently inquired. Time to do the dishes.

How well he knows me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Favorite

Fall is my favorite season. Favorite Favorite Favorite. Why?
  • Pumpkins - and Pumpkin Patches and Pumpkin Carving and Pumpkin Cooking
  • cooler weather
  • leaves - falling, jumping, beautifying
  • colors
  • Halloween - costumes, candy, cute scary
  • birthdays
  • school
  • Thanksgiving
  • rain
  • soup
  • apples
I just don't think anything else is as beautiful and fun as FALL.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Post About the Husband

I'm having a slow brain period, so I'm taking post prompts...

My Husband

1.What's his name? Scott
2.How long have you been married? 10 years 4 months
3.How long did you date? 5 months, including engagement
4.How old is he? 39
5.Who eats more? He does, but I try to keep up to my detriment
6.Who said "I love you" first? I did.
7.Who is taller? He is.
8.Who sings better? I do. But he can sing if he's not paying attention or trying to hard.
9.Who is smarter? He is. But I have the monopoly in certain areas.
10.Whose temper is worse? Mine
11.Who does the laundry? Usually me - but he helps whenever he's available.
12.Who does the dishes? Usually me - but he helps whenever he's available.
13.Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does. And we're pretty set in our ways at this point.
14.Who pays the bills? What bills? People pay those things?
18.Who is more stubborn? I am.
19.Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Him.
20. Whose parents do you see the most? Are we talking quality time? That would be mine.
21.Who proposed? He did, by the Provo Temple. After messing with my head and waiting way too long to do it.
22.Who has more friends? I do. Though neither of us are exactly social butterflies.
23.Who has more siblings? I do. By a lot.
24.Who wears the pants in the family? Well, neither of us wears a skirt!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jane Austen in Real LIfe

I recently had to ride in the car with someone I wasn't exactly happy to be in close proximity to. I worried about my ability to make conversation (I never was a good small talker or a good actress) and act like everything was cool. Thankfully there were a few others in the car as well.

Conversation did take place. We discussed the cold snap and forecast for snow on the valley floor. We talked of how sad it was that summer was over and how the heaters had to be turned on. Then we spoke of the construction on 8th North - wondering why the cones where still blocking lanes when the line were painted and everything seemed in order. The grass and the median were all considered in our deep and thrilling conversation which had taken us all the way to the freeway.

This is where a movie quote (I can't be certain it is from the book because that is the ONE I haven't read) popped into my head and made me smile for the rest of the drive. This is a quote that I had previously thought was outdated - could not be applied to our day and time. But I was so wrong. You see, I had instinctively followed the advice of Mrs. Dashwood (and I won't quote it accurately I fear, but I'm lazy) when she said, "If you can say nothing appropriate, please limit your remarks to the weather and the condition of the roads." (The roads part may actually be taken from a different part of the movie, but it mattereth not.)

I was quite pleased with my Jane Austen moment and thus endured the remaining of the ride very amiably.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review: The Blue Castle Review by L. M. Montgomery

The Blue Castle
by L. M. Montgomery
Classic, Fiction
218 pages
published: 1926
4 of 5 stars

I finished reading this book awhile ago...and loved it! I had no idea what it would be about, the back didn't even help much, so I just jumped in.

I was a little worried at first because the tedious and sad beginning seemed to go on and on, but if it had not I doubt I would have enjoyed Valancy's rebellion quite so much. Valancy got some news one day that changed her life - she decided to not do anything to please anyone else anymore. She would only do things she wanted to do. Well, her world fell apart and then got put back together again. And the ride was very enjoyable.

I loved the part near the end when the author started going on about "30 seconds to change everything" and I was imagining horrible, bloody tragedies...but it turned out much more mundane, surprising, plausible, and indeed life changing. Perfect.

My complaint: it got a bit long-winded in the descriptions of the scenery. But I survived. I knew it was important, and in fact a theme of the book, and forgave the author her indulgences.

My bigger complaint: the idiot who did the cover art should be shot. It says specifically in the book that Valancy never wore white except as a very young child. In fact, her clothes were few and deatiled and could easily have been pictured. And her expression! Like some expectant "young" maid who knew she was desirable. Valancy knew she was anything but desirable. But worse...why does Barney look like some prep from the 1980's? He was often dirty, unshaven, and had longish hair! Even if the artist wanted to go for when he did shave, he still wore overalls, not some sweater swung over his shoulder! Okay, I know this is a small thing - but...but...IDIOT!

Things I loved:
  • Valancy's snide remarks
  • that service released her
  • that "love comes softly"
  • that the beauty of nature is more valuable than the artifice of "traditions"
  • how there was good in even the lowest in the community
  • how divine forgiveness is
  • how valuable it is to love - even if that love is not returned
  • how personality is what makes someone beautiful
  • the proposal scene
  • the irony of the letter
  • that she cut her hair short
I even made my poor husband read it so we could talk about it. It truly is "chick lit" but even he enjoyed it.

Yesterday at School

Throughout my school experience yesterday, I was struck again and again with how beautiful our world is. Walking past a bush I saw a complete and perfect spider web that formed a funnel down into the bush, and couldn't help but smile at the ingenuity, hard work, and loveliness of that spider's web. Then I turned toward the mountains and could see all the red dotting the mountain sides and smiled again at the contrast of color and the vibrancy of Fall. Later, while walking back from the bookstore, I saw the whole mountain range reflected in the glass wall of the JFSB. I could see those red bushes and even the Y captured seemingly inside the beautiful building. And just to the right I saw Mt. Timpanogos peaking over the JKHB, covered in snow and providing a resting place for a few fat, puffy and quite innocent looking clouds.

It was a relief to see that this place is beautiful, even if it's not the kind of beautiful I would have chosen. It was relief to notice all these things and remember that things are good, and peaceful, and beautiful...even during times of stress, business, worry, and illness.

I'm grateful for those moments yesterday. The natural world loosens the knots in my chest that I don't even realize are there until I suddenly feel myself able to breath again. And it was a tender mercy to drive home thinking of the mountains and trees instead of dinner, bedtime, and papers due.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The rules: You can only put one word answers. Good luck.

1. Where is your cell phone?
nope 2. Your significant other? wonderful 3. Your hair? short 4. Your mother? spiritual 5. Your father? Practical 6. Your favorite thing? sleep 7. Your dream last night? forgot 8 Your favorite drink? juice 9. Your dream/goal? published 10. The room you’re in? front 11. Your hobby? creating 12. Your fear? evil 13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home 14. What you’re not? motivated 15. Muffins? pumpkin 16. One of your wish list items? cellphone 17. Where you grew up? California 18. The last thing you did? class 19. What are you wearing? casual 20. Favorite gadget? laptop 21. Your pets? kids 22. Your computer? essential 23.Your mood? hungry 24. Missing someone? Melanie 25.Your car? dirty 26. Something you’re not wearing? dress 27. Favorite store? book 28. Like someone? doubtful

Tag: Jen, Michelle, Kerri, Andrea, Amy, Alison, Cynthia...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My Sister's Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
423 pages
published: 2004
2 of 5 stars

For an upcoming book club I needed to read a book by Jodi Picoult, and my friend Michelle very obligingly brought over 3 for me to choose from. I was worried when I read the backs of these books - not one interested me in the slightest. So, I picked the one most highly recommended by Michelle and started.

I was immediately surprised by how interesting it was, and how involved I became. It quickly got to the point where I couldn't put it down. I was loving it! The book was amazing me with its honestly and rawness. The subject was controversial and heart rending. I enjoyed how it cycled through the points-of-view of the main characters. It was fascinating and disconcerting that the character whose actions and decisions I agreed with the least was the character whose chapters made me cry. I didn't agree with her, but I sympathized and understood her motivations.

The book was moving forward, the characters and the plot was developing. Near the end, new and surprising information came out. Everything was going great! (From a story point of view, life actually really sucked for the poor characters.) I was getting ready to add this book to a list of favorites, to admit I was totally wrong about my presumptions and attitudes towards books like this....and then the author dropped the ball.

I've read a few reviews, and most people think the ending was bad, weird, shocking...but it was worse than that. It was lazy. The author took the easy way out. Even in stories, some inevitable things are...inevitable. It would have been harder to write the end where the characters have to go through with their decisions and the consequences. It would have been traumatizing to watch someone you love die because it was what they wanted, and to watch a child learn to define herself when the reason she existed was gone. It would have been difficult to write about how that family would, or would not, put themselves back together when the center they all lived around no longer held everyone together. Instead, Picoult whipped out an unlikely and implausible ending, throwing in a insupportable miracle for good measure.

Whatever. How do these manuscripts get past editors?

Final review: 95% of this book was amazing. The end was impossible to swallow, and I can't get the horrible taste out of my mouth whenever I think about the book.

Note to Remember: If there is going to be horrible part of a book that you write, don't make it the end. The ending is what people take away and remember your book by.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

After Sharleen had finished with Melanie's beauty preparations she asked if anyone else wanted their toes done. Hmmm...shall I analyze why I volunteered? Curiosity, morbid fascination with our culture's beauty standards...nah, probably just getting attention from my big sister.

So she started by filing off the pink nail polish and asking, aghast, "You didn't push down your cuticles before you painted them?!?" Umm, nope, never occurred to me. At this point it starts hurting. No, I mean, HURTING! She takes some sort of metal-scraping-toe-torture-device and murders my cuticles. I have to admit that I had virgin cuticles and my sister ravaged them! It was not unlike giving birth through my nail beds. (Much flinching, face making, and gasping later...)

Then we start the painting of the gooey gel substance and the sticking of the feet into the ultra-bright light box. Now, this is not ordinary light. This is torture light. Sharleen told me it hurts more if you are on your period (which I was) or if you are taking medicine (which I do) and if you are sensitive (which I AM!!!) so....&$%#@@$%#!!! Fire down through the nails and into my bones - fire that never stops....

All right. It was finally over and my nails were pretty. Shiny. Smooth. French tipped. Freaky. It made my hubby happy and helped me hate my feet a little less. Maybe it was worth it...

A Few Weeks Later...

These nails are of the devil and I will never let another monkey-nail person touch me again!!! I hate filing them down and they are growing and hurting and I'm walking with my toes curled.

Holy gerbil skin! What idiot thought of this! I finally gritted my teeth and sawed them down enough to walk normally. Later I started the process of picking them off. Yep, scrape, pop, tear. I've got them all off except for my big toes, and yes, they took several layers of nail with them in spots.

I've learned my lesson. If it looks stupid, stay away. Get attention by playing catch with your head, or something else less painful.

Summer Picture Chapter Two: Wheels and Bridges

I apparently have a thing for wheels. I wasn't truly aware of that. I was aware of my thing for shadows though. I really love shadows. I have a whole family picture somewhere of just our shadows.

This is the bridge over Brandy Creek. But I think it's a new one. Anyone remember? Didn't it used to be red?
Aspen, Colorado and Kyra.

Bye Mommy! Have Fun at School!

I have started my history 201 class at BYU. It is my last GE and my second to last required class. I had to wait 2 years for this one to be offered at night. So far, the parking, walking, arriving on time thing hasn't gone so well. Working on it...

As I was sitting there on the first day, my pencil felt awkward in my hand and my notes looked messy. I didn't like being squashed between 2 non-note-taking guys. But then I found the clock, my breathing slowed, and I started to feel...completely normal. The classroom, the building, my seat, and my position in the room were all familiar. The backpack at my feet and the spiral bound notebook in my hand were comforting. It was perfectly normal for me to watch the clock and think about feeding the kids and getting them to bed. Perfectly normal for me to be angry with the teacher for requiring a special assignment drop off time and place because it required another trip for me. Perfectly normal for me to plan how to accomplish the homework late at night. Perfectly normal, in fact, to be annoyed at my husband for being late giving me the "other" car and still not having bought me a cell phone. (That one started back in '99.)

So this is my 11th year at BYU and graduation is finally in sight. I can hardly believe it. And I tell you, I look around that GE classroom at all those young people and think about how they have no idea how complex life will get.

Tonight I finished my first BS history paper that required a thesis so obvious as to be painful and unsupportable. Sometimes things are too easy. And I chant, "I only need a C," and know I'll be upset with anything short of an A. And I'm planning where to park tomorrow and how early to leave so I don't arrive late to class out of breath and sweaty. That is, of course, after my speical trip into school to turn in the stupid paper. But I know tomorrow my pencil won't feel awkward. anymore.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Dude, I just realized that Sunday is Stake Conference and that, like, totally means there will be no Fabulous Friday table. So the fact that I didn't break into Amy's house will not matter and I can acquire stupid red paper at a later date without adding to my criminal record. Isn't that the best news you've had all day?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Has Anyone Noticed This?

This adorable place is on the road to Mirror Lake, past Kamas. We laugh at it every time we drive by. I don't know if it is joke or not...but I can't stop giggling with images of nude ranchers going through my head. Ranching? Riding horses and herding cattle? Nude? Really? It's got to be a joke. It wasn't until I had this picture, though, that I saw the sign on the left that says, "Closed due to mosquitos." The cowpokes who ranch nude are afraid of mosquitos? And why is that bear wearing chaps? Giggle giggle.

I wonder if putting up a sign like that would discourage or encourage visitors?

Laundry Tales

A friend emailed a link to an article about laundry, and I thought it was hilarious. And I could laugh and even have no guilt, because as horrible a housekeeper as I am, I'm not that bad! I'm close...I've posted before about Xander wearing girl underwear or socks to school, and I've had comments about "matching" pajamas before. So I sympathize. My solution to my inability to keep the laundry clean has been to buy hundreds of the most run-out-of items. When Xander's underwear are all clean they barely fit in his drawer.

And I recently threw away all the white socks. I erroneously thought that buying white socks, or packs where each pair was different, would aid in the pairing. It is not so. All I got for my effort was boxes of white socks - none of which matched any others. So now we are color coordinated. Jadyn has purple-heeled socks, Kyra dark pink, Xander grey, and Aspen light pink. Sock matching is now doable. Unless, of course, I don't get to it right away and the monsters dump out the clean socks and mix them up with the dirty laundry and I have to start all over again. Sigh. But I'd still rather do laundry then clean a bathroom....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Pictures Chapter One: Beach

I was going to put up all my favorite "pretty" pictures at once, but the job is getting too big and I'll have to go at it piecemeal. Here is the first installation, taken at Gold Bluff Beach on the Northern California coast.

Aspen and Uncle Nathan
I adore sandy toes!

And silhouettes!

This one isn't a true silhouette, dang it, but Nathan wouldn't cooperate. He didn't want any "artsy" pictures taken. The Lump!

Monday, August 25, 2008

This is a Test


IMG_6804 This is only a test.

Experimenting with Windows Live Writer.

These are the flowers that sprung from a dead cactus.


And now I'll do a different picture. IMG_6808

This has proved to be very interesting.  Let's see how it looks  online!

Apparently after I deal with a bunch of crap at Picasa Web Albums.  Curse them!  And Scott wouldn't let me use the username of "you'restupid."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Reviw: Breaking Dawn Part II

After reading other reviews I laughed at myself because I can be so easy to please. I will sometimes refuse to think about things that are less then perfect...and of course I would never want to offend anyone! Sheesh.

Not that I'm not way happy with book! Hardly. I was serious about loving a happy ending. But here are a few more thoughts.
  • I had no problem with the imprinting. It made sense. I was set up for it, without realizing it, with Quil and Claire and the other descriptions off the universe stopping and the strings being cut and the guy becoming re-centered around the girl. The age difference didn't upset me either, but I've read lots of fantasies with big age differences, and my own husband is significantly older than me.
  • Pregnancy was the big shock for me, but I was okay because I figured that when male vampires get "frozen" I guess their sperm does as well. I'm thinking, though, that that gives them a limited amount of fertility since they aren't making any more, but also makes them very fertile because they have immortal sperm. Since Edward hadn't been with anyone (according to this logic) Bella didn't stand a chance.
  • I thought her name was silly and liked the nickname - never thought of Lock Ness until Bella brought it up. But I did like Carlie.
  • The fizzle that surprised me the most was Rosalie. (She is the least likable character in the book for me.) She fought so hard for the baby and not because she cared much about Bella. I thought there would be a fight between Rose and Bella over the baby's affections - that Rose had been hoping that Bella would die so the baby would be hers.
  • Bella was bugging me in the beginning about not accepting being married. Get over it.
  • I liked the description from Bella's point of view about being a vampire. Fascinating.
  • If Jacob imprinted on the girl most likely to make stronger is it that gonna work? Werewolf plus 1/4 vampire? Hmmmm.
  • I didn't have a problem with Nessie's appearance in my head. I just pictured a fast growing articulate kid. It said over and over how her proportions were not exactly baby-like. She was charming.
  • I do think Meyer's was working to make everyone happy, and at times I wondered how there could be so much book left when there seemed so little plot left. But I don't envy her position with millions of screaming fans and a series to end perfectly. Talk about stress!
  • I still don't understand why the volturi have milky eyes? Anyone care to explain?
  • The ending could have been more tense and less perfect without killing the ending. A few volturi could have died! But I guess that wouldn't help with the sequel everyone thinks will be coming. And I didn't care that much when Irina died. I'm heartless. Apparently.
Okay, enough for now. I really do need to feed my kids dinner.

I am suffering from that withdrawal I get after a good book or series ends. What do I do now? My life is so boring! Gotta get a new book...gotta get a new book....

Fictional Crushes

I got to thinking about fictional characters and why I have crushed on certain ones. I mean, there are tons out there - heroes of all sorts - but there are only 3 that pop to mind when I think of crushes. Why is that? So I was analyzing myself and my 3 crushes and came to this conclusion....I like guys that are powerful and could protect me from anything. I guess I like to feel safe. I also like the guys who are really good guys. And, yes, all these guys are beautiful (well, Garion is in my head) which is nice, but I think I care less about their faces and more about their physical strength. Here are my crushes:

Garion from the Belgariad, which started with Pawn of Prophesy, by David Eddings. I read this series as I young teenager (it's 10 books long) and have never shaken my crush on Garion. He ends up as the most powerful magician in this fantasy world, though the journey there is long, and he stays this moral, lovable guy. He makes his mistakes, of course, but ahhh.... He also tends to shape shift to this huge wolf. And wolves are so cool.

Although this is old and obvious, I really like Edward. He too is capable and powerful as well as moral. And very devoted and romantic.

And then there is Jason Bourne. He is fictional but in our world where he battles with wits and weapons. While he is actually an assassin, he is trying to do the right thing.

What I found interesting was how different my 3 crushes are - one in a fantasy world, one a mythical creature, one with military training in the "real" world. (The Bourne movies do come from a book series, though I haven't read them, just watched.)

So, my question is, who are your crushes and why? Is there a theme? How long have they lasted? I'd love some sharing....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - A Very Quick Review of IT

Breaking Dawn
by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight #4
754 pages
published: 2008
3 of 5 stars

I finished the book round about 5:30. I started last night, but didn't stay up too late, so I was reading most of today - minus diapers, and lunch, and crowd control, ya know. As penance, I cleaned the kitchen as soon as I finished. But that is not the point...

I'd have to echo Suey's thought, in that it was not what I expected. Several hanging, never-ending questions that I supposed might be resolved by the end of the book where actually answered fairly quickly. There was one huge plot twist that totally blindsided me! Paint me pink and call me Lucy! There was the romantic mush (I do like it), and suspense...and an end that wasn't exactly surprising. I do not mean that many series seem to pull new bad guys out of their butts to carry on the story...and I'm thinking, wow, that was...original and oh so illogical! This story still made sense.

I enjoyed it immensely. I didn't put it down. And I am happy and satisfied at the end. I do think it might disappoint those who favor a more "realistic" outcome. I think this series could fit nicely in the category of Fairy Tale. But again, that is not a negative comment. Me, I'm from the Disney generation, and love a good happily ever after.

Friday, July 18, 2008

KOA Review

This is a long time coming, but I do have some opinions about KOAs after our trip through Colorado. The short story? In the future I will try to plan more research time for finding a real campground to stay at.

KOAs have nice bathrooms with nice showers. Both of the places we stayed at had pools. One even had a restaurant of sorts that served really good breakfasts. There were also playgrounds, which were helpful when setting up camp. But KOAs are not a good match for us. KOAs are for RVers, not campers.

First, we go camping to be in nature, in the forest if at all possible. I want my site surrounded in trees. It is the green that is soothing. Campgrounds are usually set up in secluded areas, with individual sites set along sprawling roads to provide as much isolation as possible. Camping is often a solitary activity. Not that we don't love going with friends and family, but we don't set up our tent in our tree-lined site and then go try to meet all the neighbors. Not so with KOAs. KOAs are a social setting. The people come not to "camp" but to hang out.

Take Colorado Springs. While driving to and through that city we passed beautiful green hills and delicate forests. I was very impressed and getting excited about our KOA. But no. The KOA was built several miles south of the city area because that is where the desert picked up providing the most space for the big RVs. It was not pretty.

Nor did either place provide any seclusion. In fact, in Grand Junction, there were only 4 tent sites on one small grass patch right in the middles of a circle of parked RVs - and most of those RVs were the kind that looked like they lived there. I felt like we were sleeping on a stage - we were the entertainment with our noisy bunch of kids and tent pitching gymnastics. I HATED IT!!

Being social isn't our forte or goal, but we don't usually have an overwhelming aversion to it. But the people who come with their RVs to hang out are not the people we choose to socialize with - quite the reverse. My kids have never been exposed to so much cigarette smoke or casual drinking. Smokers at the site next to ours, smokers at the pool, smokers at the Kamp Kitchen. * And everyone carrying bottles of alcohol. I even had the adorable experience of making dinner in the camp kitchen next to savory lady and having my children ask me to read a sign of posted rules. No pets and no alcoholic beverages, I read out loud, and emphatically, for who would have an issue with either injunction? I caught the attention of the lady and I smiled. I try to be friendly. I didn't realize until later that not only was she toting a beer, but was cooking beer on the stove top. Happy day!

I have not mentioned that these lovely smoking, drinking, social people also have a penchant for swearing, immodest clothing, tattoos, not disciplining their children, and bathing. Apparently the very essence of a KOA attracts the obnoxious of the earth. (I realize my children are a special breed of crazy, but you will also see me trying every second to control them.)

I will say that there were other people there...some nice old couples, a Swedish kid touring America, helpful KOA workers that were friendly enough for me to practice my small talk skills (which are basically non-existent). But overwhelmingly, KOAs are not a place I'm comfortable having my children. And they are ugly. (The KOAs are ugly, of course, my children are actually beautiful.)

*The second I see someone with a cigarette they drop in my estimation to something stupider than a dog. And if I see them smoking around their children I have to fight the all-encompassing desire to turn them in for child abuse. I literally start shaking in fury and almost almost say rude things loud enough for them to hear.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trip to Borders

On our last date, Scott and I went to see Hancock (cool movie) and stopped at Borders. This was my haul. I'm excited because I've been on a reading lag lately. (I like to alternate guilt between too much reading and too much computer.) I'm hesitant to start Well of Ascension because I know I won't come up to breathe until it's done. And of course I couldn't pass up the newest Sandra Boynton board book - my collection is approaching tower heights. The box set is the Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede series that I've started reading out loud to Jadyn. It is thrilling to me to see her so excited about reading.

Beginning to Practice

Jen helped me take this one at her house - imitation is flattery!

Cool weed, eh?

Well, I'll keep trying. Since I'm sick of this sunflower weed in my yard, I think we'll go for a walk this evening and take advantage of other people's gardening labor.

Friday, July 4, 2008

How's About Some Religious Ramblings

I know, I don't tend to write about stuff like that. That is because it is hard for me to do - maybe because I'm white, maybe because I tend to the introverted side, maybe because my growth was stunted by eating too much ketchup as a kid. Oh well.

So here's what I've been thinking about. My mom complains a lot about me as a baby, and I now know it's because I was spirited, or at least spunky. I was sensitive, perceptive, had the first reaction thing, and (the real problem) was irregular. (Which meant I never slept.) My mom was so frazzled she apparently prayed daily for a baby that was calm and slept. She got my brother who was so fat and happy that he never moved or spoke.

So here I sit with weird and frightening children and I'm worried that if I get one more Kyra or Xander that I'll be finished. (I don't mean finished with having children, I mean like actually dead.) My mom has only sparing sympathy because she asks, "Did you pray for a calm one? I prayed for a calm one every day!" And what can I say? Nothing. Because I didn't pray for a calm one. And even now I can't pray for a calm one. I am seriously stuck on healthy and whole, in body and mind.

Here are my internal ruminations...can I not pray for calm as well because I have some finite idea of God's generosity, or some concept that if I put all my prayful energy into healthy and whole that I'll be sure of at least that? Can I not add calm to my list because of the experiences I've had and how that has rearranged my priorities...that I'd by lying to myself if I tried to rank calm as high as alive and not disabled? Or can I not ask for calm because I'm constrained - because God knows he won't be saying yes and he's saving me the trouble?

I'd really not like thinking that I think that God is sparing in his blessings. But I don't want to seem greedy. Because here is the thing...I would have another baby no matter what it was. I would take another Kyra or another Xander, or another new make or model of my current monsters. I have friends who felt they were supposed to have another baby, but really couldn't face it. They would pray that they just couldn't do it until so-and-so was potty trained, or so-and-so could swim, or whatnot. And guess what? Those things they asked for would just fall into place and pave the way for another baby. Oh how I wish I could do that!!! Geez, what could I ask for...Xander to be on an even keel, with meds working day and night and me able to schedule and those I'm supposed to do for him...Kyra potty trained permanently or how about manageable (the horrid stinky monster butt!)...Scott's health issues resolved...reassurance that I won't be floored with depression afterwards...a house big enough for all of degree finally security... BUT I CAN'T!!! I know - and I know He knows - that I don't care enough about any of those things enough to let them stop me. And I can't pray a lie!

What kind of masochistic certifiable maniac am I? Sorry, stupid question. I guess here's the thing - I know we are doing the right thing and I know everything will work out. I just don't know how to get from here to there and I don't know what I'll look like at the end. (I'm picturing a trashed car in the junk yard waiting in line for one of those crushing machines to turn it into a cube.) It stinks to be so stubborn.

Happy happy thoughts. (The sarcasm comes out through the words, right? I'd hate to think I'm wasting my efforts...)

Note: I am not pregnant. Don't ask me if I'm pregnant! If I had a dollar.... (Can't I indulge in some forethought?)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Father's Day Cards

I made the wallet card at club (thanx Amy) and then printed off play dollars for us to write our messages and draw our pictures on. I got a picture holder and put the new snapshots and portraits in it. (The picture holder fit perfectly - good job Amy!)

The other card I designed myself for my Dad. It is supposed to be a sleeping bag with a pocket knife in it. The knife opens with a picture on one side of the blade, and the message on the other. If I do it again I'll put more than one blade in the knife.

Both these cards were fun to do! I like trying to make something more masculine for a change. (I had to put away to butterfly stamps and the pink paper!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Book Review: Trapped in Ice! An Amazing True Whaling Adventure by Martin W. Sandler

Trapped in Ice! An Amazing True Whaling Adventure
by Martin W. Sandler
Non-Fiction, Historical, MG
176 pages
published: 2006
3 of 5 stars

I'm sure no one has heard of this book. It probably had little publicity. I found it in a book order, and since I'm always interested in survival and cool nonfiction (and hope to build a collection of books that my son wants to read) I ordered it sight unseen. I'm glad I did - I really enjoyed it. As for amazing polar survival - it's not anything compared to: Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: the extraordinary true story of Shakleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong (check that one out!)

BUT it was really cool. I liked better all the information about whaling - and the attitude with which it was presented. Most of my exposure to whaling has been negative, as in, "Those unconscionable beasts who killed all the whales just so women could look unnaturally skinny!" Well, it wasn't really like that, at least not until the end. They were doing a job that improved the lives of everyone, particularly with oil for light. They thought the ocean unfathomable and inexhaustible. The book portrays them as courageous, hard working, and highly skilled. How many of us seriously risk our lives everyday we go to work? It also talked of the exploring and charting work the whalers did. It told the story of some of the women and children that accompanies the whale ships.

For nonfiction YA, it was good - educational and entertaining.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alphabet Games

A- attached or single: Absolutely Attached

B-Best Friend: Scott

C-Cake or Pie: Cake. But there's nothing wrong with pie (as long as it's not cherry or sour)

D-Day: Saturday. Scott is home and there is no schedule.

E- Essential Item: Soft water - without it I develop this sort of flaking, eczema, peeling, broke out sort of leprosy. Or maybe sensible shoes. Or perhaps that goes under phobias.

F-Favorite Color: Green. Sage Green. Green. Always.

G-Gummi Bears or Worms: neither please. Can I have a real treat?

H-Home Town: Redding, California. A beautiful, hot place with trees, mountains, and lakes. It's in northern California. No, I mean NORTHERN California.

I-Indulgences: Since I've already done a guilty pleasures post, I'll do a new one...daydreaming. Fantasizing about living in the pacific northwest, by the ocean, in the trees, writing, walking on the beach...heaven.

J-January or July: July. I would lower the temperature too. Holy freak.

K-Kids: 4 Jadyn, Xander, Kyra and Aspen.

L:Life is incomplete without: My family and the outdoors. Specifically trees.

M-Marriage Date: June 20, 1998

N-Number of Siblings: 8. 4 older half siblings - 2 sisters and 2 brothers. 4 younger siblings - 3 brothers and 1 sister.

O-Oranges or Apples: Apples, fujis or galas

P-Phobias or Fears: Worms. Or anything worm like, really, as in centipedes or caterpillars. But not snakes. I like those.

Q-Quote: This it too big a question. I'll to with: Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Oh! and...Come to the dark side, we have cookies.

R-Reason to Smile: I could my family here too, but I'll go a different direction. My sense of humor is all about absurdity, randomness, and wit. So, I love The Hitchhikers Guide, The Princess Bride, Stranger than Fiction kind of stuff. Lots of picture books. One liners.

S-Season: Fall. Pumpkins, leaves, perfect weather, Halloween, school, colors, the breeze, Thanksgiving...

T-Tag 3 Friends: I'll tag people least likely to comply - Michelle, Tammy, and Brandy. And Suey, cuz she might do it, and I'm really curious.

U-Unknown Fact About Me: I like to pull on people's eyelashes (gently. kinda.) to pull out the "loose" ones. I just happen to also like the little pop when the lid snaps back against the eyeball. Come on - don't you hate getting eyelashes in your eyes?

V-Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: I like meat. Especially with BBQ sauce. But apparently the writer of this was a vegetarian and felt obligated to label others.

W-Worst Habit: I crack my knuckles. Dang it.

X-Rays or Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds. What a weird question.

Y-Your Favorite Food: I really like food! Um, ribs, seafood, salad with italian dressing, Lim's Cafe in Redding, Cafe Rio, eclairs, lasagna...

Z-Zodiac Sign: Libra.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Makes Me Happy?

This was taken almost a year ago and has always made me laugh. I rediscovered it while exploring Picasa and importing all the pics from the desktop. Can you guess how I got Jadyn to look so charming?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Finished Product

I am distracting myself, so I though I'd share the final version of Melanie's announcement. I sent her something like 7 possible layouts, and they liked this one best. I'm happy with how it turned out!
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