Do I have to?

"Great works are performed, not by strength but perseverance . . . . He that shall walk with vigour three hours a day will pass in seven years a space equal to the circumference of the globe."
--Samuel Johnson

I hate this quote, too. It seems to me that he's saying that persistent amounts of small work will lead to great results. But walking "with vigor" for three hours a day? That's not a little work.

Right now, I'm commuting for 2.5 hours, four days a week, and that is enough to almost deplete me of my will to live. And you want to know how long it will be till I've traveled the circumference of the globe? It'll be 4.6 years. And I won't have gotten anywhere, either. Just back and forth to and from Salt Lake and Springville 242 times.

You depress me, Samuel J.


I had a friend who, when she was seven, told her parents that her five-year-old sister had eaten some wild mushrooms. It wasn't true, but she was hoping that her sister would get in trouble.

Instead her parents rushed the five-year-old off to the hospital where she had her stomach pumped.

My friend told me this when she was 20, and she still refused to tell her parents the truth for fear of getting severely punished.

Home Organization

Today, for the first time in as long as Murray and I have been married, I have a whole day to dedicate to cleaning and home organization. And believe me, the house needs it. I have bathrooms left to do, but before doing them, I think I'm going to run out to buy some laundry room organization essentials and take out our dry cleaning. Then I can come back and do laundry.

For my break during the day, I made up a chores chart and a project chart. Here they are.

Now you can see what we'll be doing on any given day of the week.

Remember my wedding?

Here's a video of the Dear Abby song sung at my wedding breakfast. Murray just loaded it up today.

Dear Abby

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
My life ain't so great.
I've come out of college with barely a date.
I had a great future worked out in my head.
But now I live with my brother instead.
Old Spinster

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I live all alone.
I bought me a car, and I bought me a home.
I've spent many years to build me this nest,
But now all I need is a bird to come rest.
Bird Watcher

(girls and boys together)
Old Spinster, Bird Watcher,
You have no complaint.
You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't.
So listen up Spinster, and Bird Watcher too:
Be patient. One day all your dreams will come true.
Dear Abby.

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I give up on love.
My family's been praying for help from above.
I edit and bike and I work on my blog.
I'm busy, successful, and have a great job.
Still Patient

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I have to work fast.
I often am told that my best years are past.
I go to church with the singles but don't have a doubt
That when I turn thirty they're kicking me out.

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
Oh, what's apropos
When you've fallen in love with a girl you don't know?
I read all her stories and she sounds so sweet.
This is surely a girl that I'd like to meet.
Web Lurker

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I never could see
That Internet dating was in store for me.
I googled his records and he came up clean.
So with friends in tow we ate Indian cuisine.

(boys and girls together)
Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
The time has been short.
It's just been six months since we started to court.
Today we will marry--to the temple we'll go.
Our future together will be great, we know.
Just Married

Goodbye, President Hinckley

Just wanted to acknowledge the passing of one of the greatest men, Gordon B. Hinckley. I am grateful for the knowledge that although he leaves us behind, he'll be enjoying many great reunions now on the other side. I'm grateful for the perspective and reassurance that the Gospel brings me in my life.

I'd like to share part of my favorite of his talks. I used it a lot on my mission. I appreciate his boldness and straight forwardness.

Do we as Latter-day Saints really understand and appreciate the strength of our position? Among the religions of the world, it is unique and wonderful.

Is this Church an educational institution? Yes. We are constantly and endlessly teaching, teaching, teaching in a great variety of circumstances. Is it a social organization? Indeed. It is a great family of friends who mingle together and enjoy one another. Is it a mutual aid society? Yes. It has a remarkable program for building self-reliance and granting aid to those in distress. It is all of these and more. But beyond these it is the Church and kingdom of God established and directed by our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord Jesus Christ, to bless all who come within its fold.

We declare without equivocation that God the Father and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared in person to the boy Joseph Smith.

When I was interviewed by Mike Wallace on the 60 Minutes program, he asked me if I actually believed that. I replied, "Yes, sir. That's the miracle of it."

That is the way I feel about it. Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did, then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.

Reflect upon it, my brethren and sisters. For centuries the heavens remained sealed. Good men and women, not a few—really great and wonderful people—tried to correct, strengthen, and improve their systems of worship and their body of doctrine. To them I pay honor and respect. How much better the world is because of their bold action. While I believe their work was inspired, it was not favored with the opening of the heavens, with the appearance of Deity.

Then in 1820 came that glorious manifestation in answer to the prayer of a boy who had read in his family Bible the words of James: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).

Upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this Church.

In all of recorded religious history there is nothing to compare with it. The New Testament recounts the baptism of Jesus when the voice of God was heard and the Holy Ghost descended in the form of a dove. At the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw the Lord transfigured before them. They heard the voice of the Father, but they did not see Him.

Why did both the Father and the Son come to a boy, a mere lad? For one thing, they came to usher in the greatest gospel dispensation of all time, when all of previous dispensations should be gathered and brought together in one.

Can anyone doubt that the age in which we live is the most wonderful in the history of the world? There has been a marvelous flowering of science, of medicine, of communication, of transportation, unequaled in all the chronicles of mankind. Is it reasonable to submit that there should also be a flowering of spiritual knowledge as a part of this incomparable renaissance of light and understanding?

The instrument in this work of God was a boy whose mind was not cluttered by the philosophies of men. That mind was fresh and without schooling in the traditions of the day.

It is easy to see why people do not accept this account. It is almost beyond comprehension. And yet it is so reasonable. Those familiar with the Old Testament recognize the appearance of Jehovah to the prophets who lived in that comparatively simple time. Can they legitimately deny the need for an appearance of the God of heaven and His resurrected Son in this very complex period of the world's history?

That They came, both of Them, that Joseph saw Them in Their resplendent glory, that They spoke to him and that he heard and recorded Their words—of these remarkable things we testify.

I knew a so-called intellectual who said the Church was trapped by its history. My response was that without that history we have nothing. The truth of that unique, singular, and remarkable event is the pivotal substance of our faith.

But this glorious vision was but the beginning of a series of manifestations that constitute the early history of this work.

As if that vision were not enough to certify to the personality and the reality of the Redeemer of mankind, there followed the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Here is something that a man could hold in his hands, could "heft," as it were. He could read it. He could pray about it, for it contained a promise that the Holy Ghost would declare its truth if that witness were sought in prayer.

This remarkable book stands as a testimonial to the living reality of the Son of God. The Bible declares that "in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matthew 18:16). The Bible, the testament of the Old World, is one witness. The Book of Mormon, the testament of the New World, is another witness.

I cannot understand why the Christian world does not accept this book. I would think they would be looking for anything and everything that would establish without question the reality and the divinity of the Savior of the world.

There followed the restoration of the priesthood—first, of the Aaronic under the hands of John the Baptist, who had baptized Jesus in Jordan.

Then came Peter, James, and John, Apostles of the Lord, who conferred in this age that which they had received under the hands of the Master with whom they walked, even "the keys of the kingdom of heaven," with authority to bind in the heavens that which they bound on earth (see Matthew 16:19).

Subsequently came the bestowal of further priesthood keys under the hands of Moses, Elias, and Elijah.

Think of it, my brothers and sisters. Think of the wonder of it.

This is the restored Church of Jesus Christ. We as a people are Latter-day Saints. We testify that the heavens have been opened, that the curtains have been parted, that God has spoken, and that Jesus Christ has manifested Himself, followed by a bestowal of divine authority.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this work, and it is built upon a "foundation of . . . apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:20).

This wondrous Restoration should make of us a people of tolerance, of neighborliness, of appreciation and kindness toward others. We cannot be boastful. We cannot be proud. We can be thankful, as we must be. We can be humble, as we should be.

We love those of other churches. We work with them in good causes. We respect them. But we must never forget our roots. Those roots lie deep in the soil of the opening of this, the final dispensation, the dispensation of the fulness of times.

What an inspiration it has been to look into the faces of men and women across the world who carry in their hearts a solemn conviction of the truth of this foundation.

When it comes to divine authority, this is the sum and substance of the whole matter.

God be thanked for His marvelous bestowal of testimony, authority, and doctrine associated with this, the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

This must be our great and singular message to the world. We do not offer it with boasting. We testify in humility but with gravity and absolute sincerity. We invite all, the whole earth, to listen to this account and take measure of its truth. God bless us as those who believe in His divine manifestations and help us to extend knowledge of these great and marvelous occurrences to all who will listen. To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it. This invitation I extend to men and women everywhere with my solemn testimony that this work is true, for I know the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

But I'm Not Bitter

Generally I was well liked by my teachers from kindergarten to BYU with a few exceptions.

One exception was my jr. high home economics teacher. We met under unfortunate circumstances before I ever had her as a teacher and I can only conclude that this situation made her hate me for my entire jr. high school career.

One day during lunch hour, I was standing outside with my friends. Everyone just hung out on the school grounds. There were fields (not a place you're likely to just stand around in when they're full of snow), limited sidewalks, and road/parking lots. Most kids stood in the road since people generally didn't drive on it anyway. If the odd car came around, we'd move out of the way.

So there I was, standing with my friends. (Refer to satellite image, point A.) A car came around the corner (see my black car on the satellite image?). It went into the first row of parking. (Refer to black dotted line and X.) Several minutes later, another car came around the corner. I expected it to also park in the first row of parking and I thought nothing of it. A couple moments later, I noticed that it was right in front of me because it was headed to the second row of parking. My friends had already moved out of the way, and as the teacher glared at me, I calmly moved out of the way as well. And then I thought nothing of it. Until the teacher marched right up to me, pointed her bony finger, and said, "Next time you want to play chicken, you may not be so lucky."

Whoa. Whoa. I was not playing chicken. I just didn't see her till she was in front of me. And then I moved. I really didn't think it was such a big deal. Of course, she stormed away before I was able to say anything to her.

And then in both 7th and 8th grade home economics, she treated me like crap and I received Cs (and this was in Canada where C = 60-69 %, so basically the equivalent of the American D).

What the...? Me? Cs? In home ec? That's umpossible!

In fact, at the awards ceremony at the end of each year, badges were awarded to everyone in the school for almost every imaginable reason. When the home ec badges were announced, pretty much the whole school was called up individually by name to receive the badge for getting an A in home ec. And I was left sitting in the audience with the greasers and tekkers (a derogatory Northern Ontario term).

Moral of the story? "Next time you may not be so lucky" turns out to be "Even though you almost failed me in my home ec classes, I'm a domestic goddess and professional designer, so take that."

Some Days

Meet one of my favorite shirts.

Meet the consequences of my habit of putting my elbows on my desk all the time.

Now I have to figure out if I'm going to make this shirt into a short-sleeved shirt or a pillow. I'm thinking a pillow because I'm much more likely to botch the sleeve job since I've never actually sewn sleeves before. Plus, the cuffs with their cute frills aren't big enough to fit around my upper arms. So I'm thinking a pillow.

Anyway, when stuff like this happens (incidentally, this happened two days ago, but I needed to share the Polly story), you need something to cheer you up. My cheer came today when I received two great blog links, one from TOWR, the other from Jon Boy. TOWR and I are now discussing the idea of making an unnecessary capitalization blog. The World Needs to KNOW.

Quotation Marks
Lowercase Ls

Guest Blogging

In case you're interested, I posted the pattern for my owl bean bag on Petit Elefant. I'll be guest blogging over there for the next few days.

I'll still try to post over here, too. There are stories that must be shared.

Commence Indignation

I have a friend. We'll call her Polly.

Polly is one of my favorite people. She is kind, smart, pretty, friendly, fun, and dresses well. Really, it's a winning combination. If I were a guy, I'd date her.

Apparently not all guys think the way I think guys should think.

When I asked Polly about the guy she's been dating over the past month or so, she told me that they broke things off this weekend. I asked why. She said that he came over to visit her one evening and asked her where she thought things were going. She thought this was going to be a "good talk." Then he said that he had some concerns about her.

1) She's vain.

First of all, Polly is not what I would call a vain person. She is certainly pretty, and she does a great job of staying in shape and wearing fantastic clothes. But she's very down-to-earth. When she shared his first point with me, she said, "I only shop sales!!" She also pointed out that this conversation took place while she was wearing shorts and a sweatshirt. She also said that on their first date, when he was talking about what he valued in women, he mentioned that his wife had to be beautiful. I don't think that you can be more beautiful and down-to-earth than Polly. This guy is crazy. (And I'm glad that the craziness came out this early so that they could break things off!)

2) She has a low standard for the company she keeps.

Polly is the only active LDS member of her family. A lot of her friends aren't members of the church. One thing that has always impressed me about Polly is her ability to accept people as they are. I think that it's admirable that she doesn't pass judgment on others just because they make different choices than she does. She doesn't let their actions influence her, either. She honors her beliefs. She also wants to date good members of the church and marry someone who has the same beliefs and lifestyle that she does. That sounds pretty grounded to me. This guy indicated that she should not allow anyone to practice anything that is not in line with her beliefs in front of her, and gave the example that if he is in a bar, he expects everyone to refrain from swearing and expects the bartender to not offer him any alcoholic beverage because the bartender needs to respect his beliefs.

I may add here that this guy is a beer delivery man. So while he's judging Polly for associating with people who drink, he's stocking the city with alcohol.

3) She works too much.

Polly works a full time job. She also does some freelance reporting on the side. In addition to that, she teaches a dance class and does volunteer work. To me, that all looks impressive. It shows an ability to manage time well (and since she's so happy all the time, you know that she's got some good balance in her life). To him, this kind of work ethic, initiative, and income is too much. And I guess in this point I must concede. I totally understand how a beer deliverer would be threatened by her accomplishments and success.

After bringing up all these issues, Polly said that she'd be willing to go 50-50 with him and try to reach a compromise (that may be Polly's only mistake in this whole thing because in my opinion, she should have kicked him out on the curb after he brought up his three concerns). He told her, "Your faults are my mountains and I will die on those mountains before I will ever compromise."

We can only hope that he finds some mountains to die on.

To Catch a Thief

On Saturday Murray and I headed to Park City to see if we could see any celebrities. Well, also to go through the different galleries. Anyway, we saw Nicki Hilton, which I could really care less about. Two years ago, Murray met Steven Colbert. That's more of what I'd be interested in.

Parking was impossible. It took us about two hours to finally find a spot. Then we had to wait for a shuttle to take us to Main Street. Getting onto the crowded shuttle bus reminded me a lot of Italy, so I instinctively zipped my purse shut and explained to Murray that Italy forced me to develop some pretty good anti-theft skills. He asked if someone would grab your purse/wallet/belonging and then go into a crowd of people. I said no, that generally it happens while you're already in a crowd of people. And the thief doesn't go anywhere---s/he just stays right there. And then when you realize something's happened, and you say something, then everyone in the crowd, including the thief, just stares at you.

At this point, Murray said that he believes that because of human nature, someone in the crowd would say, "The thief must be among us! Let's work together to figure it out!" And then I laughed in his face. I really hope to live to see the day when Murray pipes up in a crowd of people, "The thief must be among us! Let's work together to figure it out!!"

Speaking of thieves. And ghosts. I'm afraid of thieves. Murray's afraid of ghosts. And when we got back from Park City, we saw a pound of bacon sitting on our kitchen counter. This was the good stuff, too. I'd had it in the freezer. Yet there it sat on the kitchen counter. Thawed. I asked Murray about it. He said that he'd found it there that morning and it was frozen solid. He wondered why I'd taken it out of the freezer, but just left it there because I must have had something in mind.

The thing is, I never went into the kitchen that morning. The night before, Murray's brother Steve and his fiancée Moleste were over. I thought maybe one of them had pulled it out when they were looking for ice cubes, but Murray and I talked it through and remembered that we all drank bottled water straight from the bottles. Besides, if it was frozen solid in the morning, it couldn't have been taken out the night before.

It really was awful trying to figure it out. In fact, it had been a long day, and so I finally said to Murray that I didn't want to talk about it anymore. And yet, I couldn't let it go. So I opened the freezer, hoping that something inside would trigger our memory of what had happened, and so we didn't have to concede that it was either thieves or ghosts. (The thieves didn't take anything valuable and the house is too new to be haunted, so both were unlikely options.)

Then Murray spotted the medium format film in the freezer and suddenly the memory started coming back to him. He was checking out our stock of film in the morning, and had to remove the bacon to see it better. Then he shut the freezer door, saw the bacon on the counter, poked it to find it frozen solid, and wondered why I had taken the bacon out of the freezer.

Who needs ghosts or thieves when you can rob and haunt yourself?

It's time for a talk.

I apologize to any who might be offended by this post. But please, read it with an open mind, and look deeply into your soul to determine whether or not you need to change your life. If you feel that you are the exception to the things I am about to say, you are wrong. No one is the exception.

Now I will confess a horrible truth. I have six beard hairs. They come out of the same places. See map.

I wouldn't ever disclose such personal information if I didn't have the hopes that my confession and words today will inspire other women to take proper care of their beard hairs.

Lately I've noticed a few women who have hairs sprouting from their faces---most commonly from a mole---and who choose to do nothing about it. I don't understand. How can you possibly leave the house knowing that you have facial hair? I have a recurring nightmare in which I notice that I have a long, sticky-outy nose hair, or a chin hair, or a cheek hair, but then I forget about it before I leave the house and go out in public. And then at that point I usually wake up in a cold sweat. And yet, I realize that some women know they have wiry, beardy, sticky-outy facial hairs and choose not to eliminate them.

I'm not talking about actual mustaches or beards. Those I'm sure are a bigger, more complicated issue and a woman must decide whether she will bleach, wax, or Nair them away. I'm talking about individual, wiry hairs that are easily plucked out with a pair of tweezers.

There is no excuse for leaving these hairs on your face. It's disgusting and wholly unnecessary. Get in the habit of checking your face every single day, and pluck the hairs out as they appear.

I've said my piece.

First Mass Printing

Well, it's official. Something I have created has now been approved for mass production. Cool. I went for the press check today and was able to approve the cover sheets. Later today, I'll go back and approve the rest of it. It's a pretty exciting day for me.

(I kept a proof so that I can bring it home and put it on my fridge.)

The Peacock

"Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses." --Dale Carnegie

I've read this quote at work upwards of 50 times over the last year. It appears in many of the edits I do. And it bothers me every time I read it. Could he have chosen a worse example than birds? I mean, is there another animal out there that is so obviously out there to impress others of its kind?

(Please watch the above video because it's one of my favorite things in the whole world.)

With that introduction, I'll tell you that I saw a peacock in the cafeteria today. Not a real peacock. But you'll get the picture.

I was waiting for my sandwich to cook. A young man went from the salad bar to the deli and kindof smirked at me when he did. I'm quite happy with my husband, who is the handsomest bird I've ever seen, so I could really care less about this smirking fool. And I think that it will help you to know that he was dressed fairly nicely, had slightly longish hair, and walked about with a smugness that was bigger than his short stature.

As he waited in the deli line, he did something most unexpected. He stood up on one foot and did a full 360 degree spin. In line. At the deli. Wow. Even then, he wasn't done displaying. He reached up to the sky. Then he bent over completely in half to grab his ankles (!). Then up again, and he jumped a little. Then he pranced in place for a few moments.

I actually left the cafeteria before the show was over, but men like him really make me wonder. According to Dale Carnegie, he must not be happy. Only, maybe he is happy because he's acting like a bird, and no one's ever seen an unhappy bird. It confuses me. I'm happy that I got a humble guy. Even though he's got lots that he should boast about.

What displays have you seen?

Did You Know?

That Petit Elefant often does giveaways? Like all the time? And that there's another one going on right now? Not that I want to increase my competition, but you're a fool if you're not checking out this blog every day.

(Also, that's the cutest banner I have ever seen in my life, people.)

Holga Camera

I have a correction to my last post. Apparently I grossly misunderstood the cost of developing medium format film. It was $13 for the whole roll. Not $13 per print. So I am on speaking terms again with medium format film. I am not, however, on speaking terms with the guy who did a very poor job of explaining that to me in the store. I would not be on speaking terms with Murray, who in deference to my right to hold my own opinions failed to correct my misunderstanding, but it's really hard to mime "Does this recipe have too much cinnamon? Or do I just need to add some more currents?"

Yesterday, we got our Holga camera photo shoot back and I am very pleased. We even found a couple shots that I wouldn't mind framing. These are from Art City Trolley, where we went for our second date. So this restaurant is cool because 1) it is a trolley, 2) it is in Springville, aka Art City, and 3) it is where we went at the wee beginnings of our relationship.

Recent Purchases

Forgive me for the lapse in blogging. We made some major and minor unexpected purchases over the past week, and I must admit that they've been keeping me fairly busy. Let me share.

The first of these purchases is by far the largest of all. Last week, our 17-inch iMac went into a coma, and although it is fixable and still under warranty, we decided the time came to cross off one of our goals for the year. We bought a 24-inch iMac. And it's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Since purchasing this computer, I've been able to work on wedding invitations for two people, and do a lot of design work from home. And I've never been happier with a computer in my life. I wonder what's next. What is more incredible than a sleek self-contained computer with a 24-inch screen? Check back in two months. I'm sure that technology will have made our purchase obsolete by then. But I assure you that we are going to bask in our feeling of superiority these next two months.

Saturday was a fun day for Murray and me and we just went where the day took us. We finished up our first roll of film on the Holga camera I bought him for Christmas. We dropped it off for developing and I almost passed out when I found out that it costs $13 per print to develop medium format film. So instead of getting prints, we'll have it developed and scanned directly to CD so that we can choose which shots to have printed. That makes me feel good, especially because I know that I forgot the lens cap on at least one shot.

After nachos at El Azteca, a delicacy that Ambrosia introduced me to and that I hadn't had for a couple years, Murray and I headed to DI just because. We immediately went to the chair section, which is where I always immediately go. I should just stop going to DI because I find a new chair every time I go. This time was no different. In fact, I found about four chairs that I would have been happy buying, but we limited ourselves to two office chairs. Those who used to work with me may know these as B------ chairs---a style of chair that a coworker was once so attached to, she lost her job over it. Now we have two. And they're so comfortable. If only I still had B------'s phone number, I would have let her know that there were several available. If it's worth losing a job over, it certainly must be worth the $10 DI was charging.

On our way out the door, we stopped in the "collectibles" section at the front of the store. There I saw the most adorable cradle ever. And we didn't buy it.

But we did go to BYU to buy some Sunbeams supplies (a copy of Gospel Doctrines and a small Children's Hymn Book). Then we went to the hip part of Provo, namely Coal Umbrella, Mode Boutique, and Maestro Gelato. At Coal Umbrella, we bought a fish eye camera that takes 35mm film. That means that we can take cool pictures and develop them for slightly less than $13 per print. That is if you know where you can still buy film (we went to Albertson's and found a 3 pack that had dust on it---real dust on it!). At Mode, I bought some earrings and a cute headband. At Maestro's, we bought gelato and enjoyed the art. (We enjoyed the art at both Coal Umbrella and Mode, too, but telling Murray that there was art at Maestro's was enticement to get him in since he doesn't love gelato as much as I do.)

We spent the rest of our daylight going around and taking a full roll of film with our new fish eye camera.

On Sunday, in church, I started to regret not buying the cradle. Which I think was The Spirit.

Also, Murray was exhausted from Saturday's shopping. That accounts for him passing out half way into our closet while tidying. Look at this picture and decide if this looks like a man asleep or a man who is dead.

Today I have been working from home, so I went to lunch with Murray. On my way, I picked up our fish eye prints ($8.60 for 24 prints and a CD). We enjoyed looking at them over lunch.

After lunch, The Spirit directed me to DI where the cradle was still available. Let me be clear: I am not pregnant, nor am I planning to become so any time in the next eleven months. But when there's a solid wood, hand-crafted, high-quality, antique cradle for sale at DI for $65, I think the right thing to do is buy it. As I looked at it, about three other people came by to look at it, rock it, and ooo and ahhh. I think that it takes someone giving it attention to get other people's attention. Luckily I beat them all out by getting to the cashier first.

I don't really know what we'll do with it for the next eighteen months. Maybe we'll use it to store extra blankets or something. But before our baby comes (in eighteen months), I will have given it a rich, dark stain and outfitted the interior with Amy Butler fabric, thus creating the cutest little cradle you've ever seen. Ever.

And if I'm barren, then my brother-in-law's soon-to-be bride will be getting the best bridal shower gift in the world (in thirty months) accompanied by my bitter, bitter tears.

(Which won't be too bitter if I keep spending a lot of time with the Sunbeams.)

Undeck the Halls

The end of the Christmas season marks the time that you put all your Christmas decorations away, which is never as fun as putting them up. On Saturday, Murray and I spent the morning driving around Springville with a tree on top of our car, trying to find the compost facility where we could drop it off, only to end up at the solid waste transfer station that is right across the freeway from where we live (suddenly we're glad that we don't live on that side of the freeway).

Before taking down the decorations, I needed to take pictures of them for posterity's sake: our first Christmas together!

Perhaps of all the Christmas decorations to go, it's saddest of all to put away Twiggy the deer.

Earlier in December, we got together with my siblings to celebrate mine and El Senor's birthdays. Murray and I had already bought a new set of silverware for El Senor (to replace the silverware that I wanted to take back from him), which I figured was a pretty good gift. But a few days before the celebration, El Senor commented that Murray and I are now in the enviable position of giving joint gifts, but receiving separate gifts. So I decided that Murray and I needed to buy El Senor something else---gaudy and ridiculous---so that we could claim to have given him separate gifts.

We made a trip to Walmart and looked through their Christmas decorations. Of course, there were some atrocious dancing Santas, but that's not the kind of thing that you would ever want to give someone, even in jest. When we saw Twiggy the deer, we knew immediately that that's what we would give El Senor. It was a little awful deer made from twigs. Something that you'd buy from an old lady at a craft fair, but that Walmart was mass producing.

We wrapped up Twiggy nicely, and Murray gave El Senor the nice silverware. I gave him Twiggy. When he opened it, he asked, "What's this??" But we all appreciated the humor of it.

But then something most unexpected happened. El Senor, Murray and I all grew this strange affection for Twiggy. Although it was an ugly little twig deer, there was something absolutely charming about it... in a Tim Burton sort of way. So El Senor happily brought Twiggy home and put him on display, and I sent Murray out to buy us our very own Twiggy. (Thank goodness Walmart is more accessible than an old lady at a craft fair!)

When I was packing up Christmas decorations, I hesitated putting Twiggy away. I thought that maybe Twiggy should remain a part of our house throughout the year. But then I realized that if I put Twiggy away and only brought him out during the Christmas season, then Twiggy would retain his uniqueness and appeal. Now every year, Murray and I will open our box of Christmas decorations, and laugh with glee as we take Twiggy out and find the perfect place to display him.

I give a hoot about children.

So. I taught the sunbeams yesterday. Both of them. Well, both of them in my class anyway. We live in a new development so we have a very young ward. So there are actually three sunbeams classes with five kids per class. Only two of mine were at church, and they're thinking of just combining my class with another anyway, and pairing me up with the other teacher as team teachers. Which is great that I won't be alone, but not great that Murray will have to go to Sunday School all by himself. Poor thing.

Anyway, on Friday night, I bought myself a long sensible brown skirt. It's just plain but it certainly does the job. I wanted a long skirt so that I am free to sit on the ground with the kids if I want. Or so that I don't have to squeeze my legs together for fear that the kids can see straight up my skirt.

I prepared my lesson on Saturday (the manual says that you must prepare your lesson at least a week in advance, but I only got the manual on Saturday, so I'm sure that I'm absolved of that sin). It said that I could make crowns, which was pretty exciting. Even more exciting was where it said I needed a bean bag. I didn't have a bean bag of course, but needing a bean bag meant that I could haul out my sewing machine and get crafty. I made the bean bag and a bunch of crowns while Murray painted. How productive! All of a sudden, I think that I'm going to really love teaching Sunbeams, if only for all the fun preparation I get to do. I can't wait to see what next week's lesson requires! (I should have also prepared that yesterday or Saturday because now, it is no longer at least a week in advance, so I'm clearly not absolved this time.)

This is the bean bag I made. (Why sew two squares of fabric together when you can make an owl instead?)

Our Primary starts with Opening Exercises and Singing Time and Sharing Time, so I got to do that first. Of my two boys, one didn't speak at all, and the other only managed to mutter that he wanted his mommy and daddy. So I pulled out Walter the owl and let him play with it, and it was extremely gratifying to see his face light up as he exclaimed: "A owl!" And then for the rest of Sharing Time, I got to try to get him to play with the owl quietly and not chuck it at the other children. (I may include here that I saw the other little Sunbeams of the other classes eying that owl enviously.)

When it was time for class, Murray was waiting for us outside. He had permission to join us to help me. My owl-bribed kid had no problem coming into the class, but the other little boy needed a lot of coaxing. So I finally laid out a crown on the ground for him and promised him that he could choose the first crayon for coloring. And so it was that I just ended up teaching our lesson as we all colored crowns on the floor. I think I could get used to this. (I promise that they were paying attention as much as they could and I even got them to answer questions.)

By the end of class, my silent kid finally said a word (about Walter the owl) and he was happily playing as he waited for his parents to come get him.

So all in all, it wasn't anything to worry about. I didn't have to wipe any butts this week (and I've been promised that I'll never have to) and both children left my classroom undamaged, but filled with the Spirit from the excellent, wonderful, perfect lesson that I taught them. And they wore their crowns with pride.

Now, I might add one more word about church. See, we only live about three blocks away from church, so I think that it's absolutely lazy and wasteful and environment-killing to drive. We made a goal to walk. But it has happened for the past few weeks that the walk to church is fine, but by the time church is over, the weather is raging, and we have to run through frigid winds to get home. Since church moved to 9:00 instead of 11:00, I figured we were safe---clearly the weather only got bad at 2:00.

On our way to church this time, the weather was very mild, but the sidewalks were so slippery that any time there was a slope in the sidewalk, Murray and I would start to slide downwards. It was a treacherous trip to be sure. But by the time church let out, it was snowing horizontally in gigantic snow pellets. And we had to walk directly into the direction of the snow if we wanted to get home. Having no other options (no home teachers have been assigned to us) we grabbed each others' arms and headed out. Outside was even worse than we could have imagined and we screamed and laughed as we tried to get home. We couldn't even lift our heads up to look where we were going, and of course, we knew that under all that snow, the sidewalks were still icy and treacherous. We walked for what seemed like an eternity, and only actually managed to walk from one side of the church building to the other, when a ward member offered us a ride home. And we accepted. When it is snowing like that, the environment deserves to be killed.

In every way try to please Him...

One big problem with being called to the Sunbeams is that I have one long skirt. And if I'm going to be with 3-year-olds for 2 hours each Sunday, I'm going to have to stop wearing my cute, adorable, wonderful, precious knee-length skirts to church. (And I'll start wearing them to work more often.) I'm going to have to buy more long skirts. And wearing long skirts and still looking fashionable is going to be tough. Old Navy currently has nothing. And I don't want to spend more than Old Navy prices on long skirts. So I checked out J. C. Penney. Not promising.
When I mentioned my dilemma to my carpool group, a woman in her 60s said that she had some of her mother's old skirts that she could give me. She assured me that they were youthful and pretty.

She brought them today, which was so kind and sweet of her, and I really do appreciate the thought. But they're not exactly my style. However, I'm sure that on a 90 year old or even a 60 year old, they'd be very youthful.

I think I'm going to need to schedule a shopping trip with my mother-in-law. Only she can help me find age-appropriate, long, and kid-friendly.


Since I'm too lazy/busy/boring to blog today, I thought I might direct your attention to a cool giveaway on a cool new blog.

petit elefant

On My Crap List

Probably my first post of 2008 shouldn't be a complaint post, but it is. I've been wanting to post this for a little while, and since I had a new crap list experience yesterday, I really felt it was time to share my crap list with the world.


Offender: Albertson's on Center Street in Provo

Offense: I was getting some items on Christmas Eve. I was already in line to check out. My mom called me to tell me that they'd been all over Salt Lake and were unable to find suet (beef fat) for our traditional Christmas carrot pudding. When it was my turn, I asked the cashier if the meat department sold suet. She said, "Uh... No. I'm pretty sure they don't." After she said that, I was pretty sure that she had no idea what suet was. I paid for my items and went back to the meat department myself, found the butcher who ground some suet for me, and went back to the same cashier to buy the suet. She said, "Oh! You forgot the hamburger." I said, "It's not hamburger. It's suet." At least then, she had the good sense to apologize, and explained, "I'm a vegetarian, so I don't really know what they sell in the meat department."

What she should have done: Instead of assuming that the store didn't sell suet, she should have gotten on the phone with the meat department and asked a butcher herself. That's customer service.


Offender: Target in American Fork

Offense: I went all the way to that particular Target because it seems that only the non-Super Targets sold the chair I was looking for. I already had one, but I wanted one more, especially in time for my family to come over to our house. When I found the display model, I saw that there were no boxes underneath. I got the attention of the first employee I could see. I may mention here that he was a teenager. I asked if they had a chair in stock that I could buy. He said, "I don't know." Then he got the attention of a coworker and asked, "Can she buy the display model?" I looked up at the display model. It had a huge tag sewn onto it that said "DISPLAY ONLY." I didn't want to buy the display model. The teenager apologized and said that I couldn't buy the display model. I asked if they had any in stock in the back. At this point, he brought out his scan gun and scanned it. He let me know that it was not in stock. I asked if it was a product that would be restocked. He said, "I don't know. They don't tell me these things."

What he should have done: Scanned the product immediately to see if any were in stock. Offered to find me other stores where I could buy the same product. Find out from someone else if the item would be restocked.


Offender: Allen's grocery store in Springville

Background: I loathe Springville's lack of decent grocery stores. There's Walmart, Allen's, and Ream's. Although Walmart is closest, I feel that I should limit my patronage of them because I care about humankind. Also, I don't want to have to deal with their massive lines when I'm just buying groceries. I've avoided Allen's because I used to live close to the Provo Allen's and it was a horrible grocery store. The produce especially was terrible. I haven't tried Ream's yet because 1) I'm not sure where it is and 2) it is like unto Allen's in my mind.

Offense: I decided to try Allen's just once. I went in with my list, and they lacked so many of my needed items that I had to modify one recipe and scrap another one altogether. What did I need? Prosciutto, blue cheese, arugula, and cilantro. They carry cilantro, but were out of stock. They had plenty of parsley, but those aren't the same things. Anyway, I know that those items are a little above average in the food snobbery pyramid, but they are still items that I reasonably expect to find in stores like Smith's or Albertson's. Probably even Walmart. Anyway. I vowed never to return. Except last night, I went back. This time I needed parsley, which I knew they had in abundance. But no. They were well-stocked on cilantro and had no fresh parsley.

What they should do: Close down and have a Smith's or Albertson's open in their place. Or at least start stocking items that appeal to above average food shoppers.


Offenders: Wells Fargo bank and Toronto Dominion bank, while I'm at it.

Offense: We received a money order as a wedding gift from a family friend in Canada recently. When we went to deposit it yesterday, our bank told us that it was not signed and therefore not valid. TD bank, the issuing bank, had failed to actually endorse the money order. Wells Fargo was the other bank listed on the money order, so we headed over there. At Wells Fargo, we explained the situation and asked what they could do about it. A manager came over with the money order, handed it back to us, and said matter-of-factly, "There's nothing we can do about this. It's not signed and so we can't cash it." I explained that we didn't expect them to cash it, and that we understood that it was not negotiable because it was unsigned. But, because their name was also on the money order, I did expect them to help us to resolve the issue. Again, we were told that they couldn't cash it and that we could call TD bank and work it out with them. I suggested that perhaps she could call TD bank and fax over the money order and work out with them what could be done about the money order. And so she did. And she did a great job of figuring everything out, and we'll be getting the money in the mail from TD bank next week. And then on our way out, she told us AGAIN that there was nothing they could do about it because it was non-negotiable. And then I told her that she DID what I'd wanted her to do in the first place and that I didn't expect them to cash the money order.

What she should have done: Apologized that they couldn't cash the money order, and volunteered immediately (without prodding) to resolve the issue for us and get us our money---if not today, then soon.


Unless you've made a New Year's resolution to not complain, what's on your crap list lately?