Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The One Where I Reveal My Retroactive Tendencies

I'm doing some clean up on the blog for the new year. Really, I've just been scouring my archives looking at old posts and trying to decide what this year was all about. In the process, I came across several drafts of things that I've written over the past few months that I just had not finished and posted. So, I finished them. Let's just say I was in the mood. I was bitten by the writing bug for a little while. I was in the zone. I was rocking the written word.

I'm so full of it.

I just don't know how else to tell you that I finished up a bunch of unfinished posts and posted them. And I didn't make it easy for anyone. I just posted them to the day they were originally written. Is that cheating? Oh, don't tell me if it is. I like it that way. I have a very big hang-up for all things chronological and I just couldn't handle taking them out of chronological order.

So I'm listing those entries here. For all three of my readers to read. Thank you for attendance at this blog today. You know and I know that it is all about my audience.

Most of these entries are very short. But The Buggy Ride--very, very long. And rather detailed. And the one I'm really looking for some feedback on. Really, I'd love to hear what you think on any of them, but the buggy story--well, let's just say it stewed and stewed in my brain for a long time and I rewrote it and I'm still not sure I got it just right.

Here's to cleaning closets, setting goals for the year, and restarting on our ideal path in life. Housekeeping--even of the blog kind--is exhilarating when it's all done. I hope you find something useful in my purging.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catch Up: Fall 2008

Just a little catch up on things this fall. I'm still working on the Denmark posts too. (Don't you remember I told you that I wouldn't finish those until Christmas. See, past Christmas and I'm still working on it.)

Here are some photos that remind me of fun moments in the last few months. 

This is the Sunday of our Primary program. Since several of the n&ns are in the ward, Nana asked them to sing on of her favorite songs from the program for her. And all the Primary-age kids had to join in, even two of our nursery-age babies. 

Side note: I'd name all the kids for you but I keep vacillating between naming them and using their initials because this is a public blog right now. And they are not my children. There's so many of them though that I've had to start numbering their initials like D1 and D2. Maybe I should just give them fake names? Or go with their real names? I'd love some insight here. 

Then this was sleepover night with the girls. G, C, and JB. They were so excited to spend the night and I'm taking advantage of that as long as it lasts. JB had been pestering me for weeks to nail down the day of the sleepover, so we finally settled on a night and had ourselves a total girls' night. 

First, there was the tea party. On my very best tea set. We chatted and ate and pretended we were the finest ladies in the land. I think next time we will add hats and scarves to the mix to really up our style quotient. 

Then we got the beds set up and put on Annie. This is one of my favorite movies from childhood so I love that the girls love it too. Of course, we played with Polly Pockets as well. Then everyone fell asleep snuggled down deep in their sleeping bags. 

The next morning we went to breakfast. Last year, I took JB and G to breakfast when they slept over and that was the part they remembered the most. So, JB told me that this year we had to go out to breakfast and dinner because last year was so much fun. Well, we kept the breakfast tradition but I convinced her to let us start the tea party tradition as well. All in all, I think we had a successful little party. 

And finally, this is Miss E. Or Miss Belle. She and I spent an evening together recently watching Finding Nemo, driving her dashing pink car, playing music, building blocks and reading books. She's a keeper. Full of energy and opinions and fun. She's at a great stage right now where she can communicate through signs and words and this night she started calling me by name. E'ee. That's the version of my name to the toddler crowd. When I saw her the next day she remembered and called me E'ee again. I love this stage when you become recognizable to them.

So, just a few highlights from my photo cache. This helps to remind me that I'm lucky to have all these little people around me.   

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Santa So Generously Deposited under the Christmas Tree

Santa made an appearance early this year at my house. Around the first of December he showed up with a very big present. He said that he was making deliveries early this year and while I could enjoy my new present for the whole month of December, I had to keep my mouth shut about the gift until after Christmas. 

I know how to keep my lips zipped when necessary. 

You would too, if you liked your present as much as I like mine. And I really, really, really like what he gave me. 

This is a couch that I was generously given after my grandmother passed away. I feel lucky to have a piece and part of her life in my home. It is a gorgeous camelback sofa that sat in her living room for nearly twenty years and was the center of every conversation, visit, and excitement that transpired there. 

It has detailed wooden trim and ornately scrolled arms and curved legs. 

And at six feet long you can pack several people on it for a visit or stretch out and take a nap rather comfortably on a quiet afternoon. I slept on this couch for several days after I moved into my tiny apartment as I unpacked all the boxes stored in my bedroom and finished painting the place. 

Well, after twenty years of service the fabric on the couch was fraying on the cushions from years of love and use. In several places the fabric was getting worn to a nub. So, if I wanted this couch to have twenty more years serving as the centerpiece for every visit from friends and family, I would need to inject it with a TLC. And Santa knew that is just what I wanted. 

Here it is refurbished and updated and ready for service. 

The fabric is soft and textured and a muted green. 

The woodwork was stained a bit darker to a rich mahogany. 

And it sits beautifully in my living room ready for afternoon visits, sleepovers with the nieces and nephews and even a Sunday afternoon nap. 

Santa made one little girl very, very happy this year. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Christmas Tradition

I read someone's post yesterday about not feeling ready for Christmas--and it had already come and gone. That's exactly how I was feeling on Christmas Eve--not ready. Wondering if I would feel ready. Wishing I had more time. The wishing I had more time seems to be a consistent theme in my life, if you haven't guessed by now. I think it is the latent perfectionist in me. I'm always wanting things to work out just so and feeling all the pressure of making that happen. The funny thing is though NOTHING ever works out perfectly. But it always works out. It may turn out better or worse than I expected but it always works out. So, I'm trying to give up the notion that somehow it has to work out in a magically perfect way. 
I come by this perception honestly though. Christmas Eve after the troops had left from our annual Christmas Eve night (you know, reading the Christmas story, performances of song or dance, etc.), I was sitting at the kitchen island talking to my mom as she prepared breakfast for the next day. Hmmm, breakfast Christmas morning: sticky buns, scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns and juice. Good stuff. Anyway, I was chatting with her about what I had left to do for Christmas morning and she was telling me what she had left to do as well. She said in nearly 40 years of being married, she had yet to have everything done on Christmas Eve. She always had a stack of presents to wrap that night and it seemed no matter what she did or who's help she conscripted, she always had that stack of presents and lots of food to cook for the next day. Which kept her up late on Christmas Eve and made her very tired for our annual wake up time of 5:00AM. 
All I could say was thank you, Mom. I really am your daughter after all. And then I proceeded to stay up for the rest of the night just to get everything done on my list. 
And Christmas worked out just fine. It really was a beautiful day. 

We gathered around the Christmas tree early. 

Cassie was very excited about her new camera. 

Mom and Dad watching us open presents. 

This is the stack of presents left over that was for the nieces and nephews and siblings to come over and open. 

We had a beautiful white Christmas and quite a storm that morning so Dad got out with his super-duper new snowblower (he bought it the day before because his old one just wasn't powerful enough for the huge snow dumps we've been getting this year.)

If you can see there's Dad with his snowblower and two of our neighbors out with their snowblowers too. I think the whole neighborhood was operating them about the same time. 

Some of the girls opening their presents from Nana and Papa. 

Adam opening his present. Pssst! See the TV screen behind him? That was the present keeping me up so late. We had scanned all the slides of our family photos from the 70s and 80s and I made a DVD of them. Rus did all the heavy lifting of actually scanning over 1000 images though. That was a fun Christmas surprise. And don't you worry. I can't resist so I'll be showing more of those slides later. 

This is what we look like Christmas morning. Everyone shows up whenever they can and they get to open their presents from Nana and Papa when they arrive. We spend most of the morning watching people reactions. And then we eat that yummy breakfast. 

This year we had six of my seven siblings around so it was a big group. Everyone took the kiddies home in the afternoon and rested and relaxed and then they showed back up for dinner and a movie. This is what it looks like when we are all crowded together. 

And you can see that some of them continued their naps far into the evening. 

We just snuggled and chatted and some parent inevitably seemed to be getting up or down every few minutes to help a child get a drink, change a diaper, or get some food. There is kind of a general chaos that simmers continuously  when we are together. 

 And the kiddie winks played with all the Christmas toys that Santa had so generously deposited under the tree that morning. 

And no matter my preparation or lack there of, it always works out. Yes, I got the wrong custard cups for Mom and no, I didn't get much sleep as I wanted, but somehow, some way Christmas turned out. And I was reminded once again that I don't get to manufacture Christmas magic. It was manufactured long ago and far away by a little babe in a manger in Bethlehem. If I just remember to keep my focus there then everything works out. Just the way it should. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmases of Yesteryear

I found a few photos of Christmases past and they cracked me up enough and made me nostalgic enough that I thought I would share a few of them.

I believe this is Christmas 1977. I don't remember that couch but I certainly remember that shopping cart. It carried many a baby doll when I went "shopping" and it trucked lots of treasures around the house for me. 

This is my pink quilt that my Grandmother made for me when I was a little girl. I believe this is around Christmas 1978. I don't remember much of my life before this pink quilt. It has been on every childhood bed that I've slept in and it now sits in the top of my closet and is the first blanket that I pull down on a cold night, or when I'm watching a movie or if someone is sleeping over. And believe it or not, it still is in excellent condition. 

Christmas Eve 1978 and I think we are re-enacting the nativity. Rus is the donkey, Adam is Joseph, I got the part of Mary and I'm really not sure what Ric is doing in the background. Maybe he is the narrator? 

Christmas 1981, I believe. Mom is putting Megan into the high chair at Grandmother's house. That high chair is still in very active use at Mom and Dad's house every Sunday for family dinner. Look at Grandmother's beautiful table. This table and this house hold some of my very first and favorite memories of Christmas. Grandmother always knew how to throw a great party. 

We skip a few years to our last Christmas in Burley in 1985. Every Christmas Eve we gathered at Grandmother and Granddad's house for a Christmas Eve program. Every family had to perform or sing or play an instrument. Rus is on trumpet, Ric on tenor sax and Adam on alto sax. 

Megan and I singing something. Mom used to have all of us sing and perform a lot when we were younger. She's at the piano. I love Meg's open mouth. She was really getting into this song. 

I believe this is Christmas 1986. If I think about the "Burley years" of my life this is about the age I imagine everyone. Megan and Amy Ellen are just little pipsqueaks while Rus and Ric were early teenagers. Grandmother once again outdid herself this year with a beautiful table. I love her red apron too. She always sat on the little loveseat at that end of the table and Granddad sat at that the head of the table. She set the table with her china, crystal goblets and pretty silverware. It was always such a production but so appreciated. I learned early how to enjoy beauty. 

So just a couple of memories this Christmas season. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas this year full of fond memories and sweet joys. 

Monday, December 22, 2008


I'm sitting here listening to Christmas music, watching the snow fall outside, and connecting to the world on my home computer. I feel grateful and nostalgic and exactly as I want to feel as Christmas approaches. Never mind that I still have 947 things to complete and won't likely get them all done even if I do forget about sleeping for the next 72 hours. It's Christmas! Time to enjoy friends and family and good health and time together.

I can't wait for Christmas to come. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why I'll Be Eating Roast Chicken Soon

My life has taken on a new hue of unbridled excitement. The Internet has returned to my home to grace me with its presence. Bless you Internet. I love you. I've missed you. I now know what I do without you. That list includes whining, moaning, groaning and complaining every nanosecond that you are away from me. And I've become very, very accomplished at this list. 

I've done things in the past 24 hours at home that I have not done in a month like look up phone numbers, print recipes (finally I can try out that new roast chicken recipe), write on my blog, read my favorite blogs and even listen to music. You know, normal stuff. Stuff that I've taken for granted in the past. Stuff that revolves around a little ethernet cable, a wireless G router, and a certain kind of magic that I truly appreciate. And I can do all of it again in the comfort of my favorite yellow chair or sitting at my writing desk while I watch the snow fall in big, fat flakes outside my window. 

Santa just dropped off his first gift of the season this year and it came with that cherry on top that I asked for a few days ago. Yes!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Chocolate Doesn't Do the Trick During a Week Like This

Still no Internet. I know you are as upset by this news as I am. My most fervent Christmas wish of late is that the Internet will return to grace my life with its presence. I can only hope. I'd like to believe I'm not addicted to it, but I would be lying and we all know where lying takes you. (Pssst! H-E-double hockey sticks for the untaught among us.)

It is Friday night, late, and I FINALLY took my final. The anxiety level in my life has decreased from ULTRA HIGH AND COMPLETELY UNBEARABLE to INTENSE BUT BEARABLE. I must thrive on anxiety for as much as I milk it and coax it and welcome it into my home and heart. It is like a lover who courts and woos me with the constant plying of attention and devotion and proclamations of undying commitment. I can't let go of it. And it certainly seems enamored with me. It is not a mutually agreeable relationship but it is the most long-term relationship I've been in to date. And sometimes misery as your only company must satisfy as company indeed.

Despite the conclusions I will come to later in this paragraph, I am not lacking in the intelligence department. I'm not stupid. But I certainly enter a wild and weird vortex of high anxiety when it comes to taking tests or writing papers. I enter the paralyzing grip of perfectionism thinking that every word must be perfect and every paragraph pristine and every thought vetted at the highest levels of national, regional and personal, emotional security before it can be graded. I can map out a thousand ways in my brain that I could have or should have or would have done it differently if I only had more time. Those thousands of detailed maps overtake my brain so that actually learning material or writing material takes a back seat to how I actually could work the material into a better form if I could only get rid of the anxiety and focus on the material for longer than intervals of a half a second every three hours between naps, email, errands, work, phone calls, bills, or absolutely any other task that can distract me from thinking about said material long enough that I don't hyperventilate. (That was probably a run-on sentence of abhorrent length, but I will not correct it. I will not, I will not, I will not.)

Eventually I'm so worn out from trying to avoid the anxiety, that I succumb to mediocrity and turn in half-thought papers and take tests poorly. And once again I sail quietly through life with a full brain, a grieving heart, and hiding my light under a bushel. Or should I say, I'm a magician at turning a simple test into a life-or-death drama for the ages. It takes all kinds of people to make this world go 'round. And then some of us are just round people. Round people with high anxiety levels that even a double chocolate super brownie sundae can't ease.

And you ask, why then are you going back to school?

I have no idea.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Life and Times without the Internet

I've been without the Internet for THREE weeks at home. I'd gotten in a bad way before that with not posting as often, and now I'm in a really bad way. My life consists of work, school, church and no Internet. I didn't realize how addicted I was until the Internet was unceremoniously cut off at my house. I'm still waiting for it to get fixed. And waiting. And waiting.

I knew I depended on the Internet, but seriously this is ridiculous. Here are some of the ways my life has been affected by not having the Internet:

1. Could not cook the roast chicken recipe I wanted to try because my only source for the recipe was online.
2. Don't check my bank balance at all. (Yikes!)
3. Have to wait to make phone calls at work because I use the Internet as my phone book too.
4. Had to write a term paper at my office or at my parents' house because I needed the Internet to do research, get email, and compile all the pieces and parts from my group.
5. Can't watch old episodes of my current obsession
6. Can't check my calendar and to-do list at home because they are attached to my gmail account
7. Can't read everyone else's excellent blogs
8. Can't get my lessons ready for Primary without hitting

Yes, that is the state of my life. When it initially went out, I got a bad feeling and knew that it would likely be at least two weeks before I saw it again. I've pushed myself to be patient. Unfortunately, I'm waiting on other's timelines and not my own. All I can say is:

I want my Internet baaaaaaaaaaaaacccccccckkkkkkkkkk!

Pretty please, with a cherry on top?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's Up, Pussycat?

I'm feeling the need for tickling my funnybone lately. I don't have much to say on health, interior decor, relationships or school. Or maybe I have so much to say that it is all a jumble inside and thus, the quiet solitude the blog has been experiencing.

Well, solitude, no more. And on to the REALLY important things in life.

Air guitar competition. Who's the best? Who's the worst? What do you think?

Me? I just wish I had the panache to look that good doing something this funny. I've really gotta up the style quotient around my place.

Check out this clip from my favorite current obsession. It's what is making me laugh lately. And while this sort of humor may spike towards the juvenile . . . well, let's just say it does and leave it at that. I plead "no contest."

Start your votes. Can you guess who won mine?


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