2007: A Year in Review

Every year starts (or should start) with the creation of goals. By New Year's Eve 2006, I had all of mine written out. It was going to be an ambitious year. I'd like to review with you my successes and failures of the year, and share with you some exciting goals for 2008.

2007 goal: Get girlfriends.

Result: Went out with girls from the ward on New Year's Eve. Really hit it off. Was confident that I could now hang out with girls on a regular basis instead of spending all my social time with El Senor. Went out with one for lunch on New Year's Day. Shared with her my "get a boyfriend" goal (see below). She decided to adopt that one, too. She had a boyfriend one week later (so much for my girlfriend goal) and was engaged a couple months later.

Revised 2008 goal: Get couple friends.


2007 goal: Get a boyfriend.

Result: Got a boyfriend, then a fiancé, then a husband.

Related 2008 goal: Get pregnant?


2007 goal: Lose 20 pounds.

Result: Gained 10.

Revised 2008 goal: Lose 30. (Then get pregnant in time to gain again.)


2007 goal: Read 10 books.

Result: Read the last Harry Potter. And 1.5 books about marriage.

Revised 2008 goal: Read 5 books.


2007 goal: Get published.

Result: Well... technically yes... I wrote snippets about sports that have been published and are part of an item that is being sold in stores. Not quite what I was expecting... But I also wasn't expecting to become a designer either, so I think that it counts for something that I also have a bag with a lining I designed that's being sold in stores now. (And when I went to check it out in the store and opened the bag, the lady who worked there said, "Oh! The inside is so cute!")

Revised 2008 goal: Start designing wedding invitations as side-work.


2007 goal: Topical scripture study: Create 26 Doctrinal Resource Sheets that explore different gospel subjects.

Result: Created 1.

Revised 2008 goal: Read the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons each week, even though I will be teaching the sunbeams. (I do not yet know what kind of scripture study preparing my lessons entails... do 3-year-olds know how to speak yet? Do they still pee their pants?)

Other tidbits:

Attended Monster Truck Rally.
Got new design responsibilities at work.
Bought a bike.
Got married.
Moved to Springville.

Places traveled:
Washington D.C. with Switchback.
San Diego and Mexico with Murray (to see Switchback).
Maryland and New Jersey with family (and Murray who wasn't "family" at that point).
Costa Rica with Murray.


In addition to any goals listed above, Murray and I have some great adventures planned for 2008. We have decided that since we both live in Utah, we need to take advantage of everything this state has to give us. So we'll be developing a list of things to do in Utah and we'll work through them over the next several years. This year, I think we'll definitely see the spiral jetty and maybe we'll bike around at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Other things will include Moab and Arches, neither of which I've been to. We'll make a list of other Utah must-dos and make sure that we've done everything by the time we 1) move away from Utah or 2) if we don't move away from Utah, die.

Other 2008 plans of note:
Buy a 24-inch iMac.
Go to Canada (maybe twice).
Go to Texas.
Go to Europe?
Go to San Francisco?
Go to Las Vegas to see Love.
Go birdwatching together.
Make lots of paintings and artwork.
Have fun day trips.

I think that 2008 is going to be a good year.

New Christmas Tradition

I was always jealous of my friend Sophie's family Christmas tradition. They would draw names and make homemade gifts for each other. I know that doesn't work real well in your average family, but Sophie's family is above average artistically. Everyone has a talent that can lend itself to making a wonderful, unique Christmas present.

Now that I'm married to an artist, however, I have the opportunity to start that family tradition and cultivate creativity and artistic talent in our future children. Murray and I started this year by deciding that our main gifts to each other would be handmade. Then we'd fill each other's stockings (and for those who love materialism out there, let me just be clear about the stockings: we went all out and even though the stockings were enormous, some of our "stocking stuffers" still didn't fit).

I took pictures of our homemade gifts for you to enjoy. (And I took pictures where you can actually see the size of the stockings.)

{A calendar I made of Murray's heroes... and yes, that's a picture of him. I think he should be his own hero. After all, he's mine!}

{A scherenschnitte of Murray's family crest. Yes, now you know our last name...}

{My portrait, done by Murray. Isn't he awesome? The work represents two things I love: 1) Murray's original artwork, and 2) me.}

Another Grandpa Story

If I start telling Grandpa stories, I run the risk of never actually running out of Grandpa stories. That's not such a bad thing. Anyway, I am really regretting not sharing this gem last week when I posted about Grandpa.

Back when we all lived in Canada, we had a cottage on a lake near our city. We built the cottage ourselves (as in, we hired someone ourselves to build it) and right next to our cottage we built a small one-room cottage for my grandparents. We called it Amich Lodge, which is the name of the place where they honeymooned. During the summers, my grandparents basically lived at the cottage. For a long time, we didn't have plumbing, so if you wanted to bathe, you needed to do so in the lake.

When my parents moved to the States, they had to sell the cottage. Luckily, family friends bought it from us, so when we've returned to Canada for visits, we've been able to visit our cottage, too.

Last time that Dad went up to visit, he took Grandpa on a drive out to the cottage. He hadn't told Grandpa that he was planning on swimming out there. So when they got there, Dad got on his suit and told Grandpa that he was going for a swim. Dad swam out a ways into the lake and when he looked back, Grandpa was buck naked, walking into the lake with his cane.

The next day when they went to visit the cottage again, Grandpa packed his suit and a bar of soap.

Here's a picture of the cottage in winter.

Here's a google satellite view of the cottage.

Here's a picture of my grandpa going naked into the lake.

All I want for Christmas is to be a size 8 again.

But that's clearly not going to happen. Corporate America is keeping me down. Please look at all the pictures of the food that's around our office right now. (Please note: It's less than there was this morning... people [including me] have squirreled away MANY items to keep in their office or bring home and share with their families. The food's gotta go somewhere [my ass].)

Merry Jane Goodall Christmas

Every year, Murray makes a Christmas card that's more random than the last year's. This year, when looking for inspiration, he came across a picture of Jane Goodall and decided that she would be the Christmas card this year.

Then we got the idea to see if we could send her one. Yesterday Murray called the Jane Goodall Institute and got her personal assistant's address. So last night, Murray wrote Jane Goodall a personal note, we both signed the card, and we mailed it off.

Yep, that's right. We're the type of people who send Jane Goodall Christmas cards.

Stockings were hung by the tv with care...

Last night I finished Murray's and my stockings for this year. I had to make them big because I've found lots of stocking stuffers for Murray, not because I'm greedy.

I also almost finished two floor cushions that look so great I kindof want to make another one... Because three stacked on top of each other make a great ottoman!! I'll post pictures of our home once we finally find a place for all our belongings.

My Christmas Gift to You

Dear Readers,

This Christmas, it would be impossible for me to send you each a personal gift. First of all, I don't know many of you. Second of all, I don't have that much money or time. But one thing I can give to you this Christmas is some of the best advice I have to offer.

1) When you open a yogurt container with a foil lid, do not just open it. Chances are one in three that it will spurt out yogurt all over your outfit. Before opening it, puncture a small hole in the lid (use the handle of your spoon to do this) to allow it to breathe. Then open normally. No ruined outfit.

2) When you have the hiccups, the fool proof method of getting rid of them is to swallow nine times between hiccups. Why nine? I don't know, only that I saw it on Oprah when I was about twelve years old and I've followed that advice ever since. People who claim that water doesn't cure the hiccups simply aren't swallowing enough water. They're taking a couple sips and then expecting the hiccups to be gone. Either swallow nine times between hiccups without water (sometimes very challenging) or swallow nine times with the aid of a food or beverage. Your hiccups will be gone. Only one person I've shared this advice with has ever contested it. Kelly Roxanne, who hates the hiccups more than your average citizen, swallowed nine times between hiccups and they didn't go away. But then she swallowed nine times between hiccups again and they did go away. Since this is the only anomaly, I must conclude that she had two consecutive bouts of the hiccups.

3) This sweatshirt from Old Navy.
It looks like a sweater. So you can wear it to work. Seriously, go out and buy one right now. Your boss will think that you're adhering to the business casual policy, but you'll know that you've come to work in your sweats.

4) These yoga pants from Old Navy.
Wear them to work with a nice shirt or sweater (see above) and nice shoes. Again, your boss will think that you're dressing nicely for work, but deep down, you know you're wearing lounge wear.

That, my friends, is currently the absolute best advice I have to offer. May it bless your lives.

You Go Girl

Yesterday morning, when I woke up at 5:30 (which I have to do every workday morning), I decided I was going to call in sick. I wasn't really feeling my best, and I already had a doctor's appointment scheduled, so I thought that it would be wisest to stay home and take care of myself. (Please note: Because I am married, you may start to wonder if this has anything to do with pregnancy, but I assure you, none of this is pregnancy related. Please check back next year.)

To call in sick, I had to first call my carpool. Placing phone calls at 5:30 isn't really a habit of mine, but I knew that my carpool buddy would be awake already. So I called her and told her that I wasn't coming, chatted briefly, and then ended with, "You have a good day, girl." I ended the phone call and Murray started laughing. (He's not in the habit of being conscious at 5:30.)

"That sounded lesbian," he said. I admit, I never actually call other women "girl," but my carpool buddy does, and I thought that maybe she'd appreciate something like that at 5:30 in the morning. But it meant that my husband was teasing me about sounding like a lesbian the rest of the day. In fact, he called in to work so that he could use up a vacation day before the end of the year and so that he could come to the doctor's office with me (again: not pregnancy related), which meant that he could, actually, keep teasing me about it for the entire day.

Around noon, a coworker sent me a text message asking where I was and if I was sick. I texted her back, explaining my non-pregnancy-related issue in too much detail. She wrote back, "Oh girl, that sucks!"

I read it to Murray and now I'm sure I'll never hear the end of this.

Better than a Baby

After my wedding, my grandpa went home with my parents to stay with them and my aunt and uncle for a few months and escape the Canadian winter. Ever since, I've been receiving pictures of him from my parents and from my aunt and uncle. I swear, he's the subject of more photo taking than a baby.

I'll share the pictures with you, too, and hopefully you can get a good sense of his personality. He once sent me an Easter card with a Polaroid of him sitting on the Easter Bunny's lap in the mall. Classic. Also, please note the leather cap. He's been wearing caps like this for as long as I remember. In fact, I still have one that he gave me. I'm never letting go of that thing.

Weekend Projects

This weekend has been a fun and productive one. It's been artsy and may yet prove to be a little crafty if I can find the time tonight to make our own Christmas tree decorations.

Friday evening for our date night, Murray and I went to the Beehive Bazaar. It was a little smaller than we were hoping, but there was a lot of cool stuff jam packed into the small space. I bought a glass pendant. Murray bought a cool envelope. Unfortunately, we were limited to only buy what we had cash to pay for because they accepted only cash or check (and who carries around checks anymore?).

To continue with our artsy theme, we went home and I had Murray show me how to paint images in PhotoShop. I chose three of my favorite portraits from his sketchbook (I helped with two of the three by drawing the hair styles, jewelry, and clothing) and then he taught me how to paint them. Unfortunately, I realized that it still requires painting skill (of which I have none) and an understanding of color layering and shading and light source (of which I have none). But on the positive side, I have a husband/slave who can do it all for me anyway.

(Whenever Murray apologizes for one or two manly stereotypes that he's missing---like ability to do plumbing or whatnot---I remind him that I'd rather have a man from whom I can commission any painting than a man who can fix a toilet. It's much more affordable to pay someone to fix a toilet than to pay someone to make me a painting according to my specifications.)

Without further ado, I would love to show the digital paintings that we worked on (or that he worked on while I watched---I got to pick colors though and do most of the makeup).

After completing the women on Saturday afternoon (we affectionately refer to this series as b*tches), we sent them to be developed at Costco. We picked them up an hour later, after having bought three complementary frames from Target.

We're interested in doing more stuff like this in the future but obviously you don't normally print something like this at Costco. We're looking for a printer who would be able to give us matte copies of our work. Does anyone know of affordable printers who would be able to do that?

Also, we're interested in knowing if there's a demand for this sort of thing. To gauge this, we'll sell you Costco prints of all three of these ladies for $10 if you're interested. I think that's a steal, personally. They're 4x6. Just email me at singing [dot] cicada [at] gmail.com.