Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas (Eve)

Andrew and I spent Christmas Eve at my parent's house. It was really fun to be with my brothers and sisters, including Kelli and her kids. We only had the three oldest (Rosie, Matthew, and Andrew) for about an hour before they went to their dad's house so we had to be quick!

Andrew and I got there about an hour before Kelli and her children arrived so we all headed downstairs to tryout Patrick's new Dance Dance Revolution pads. Now that there are four pads, four of us can play at a time. The only problem is that our TV is really old so only two sets of arrows show up when there should be four. Oh well. It was really fun anyway.

When Kelli's kids arrived, we decided to take a family picture of them while they were all in their nice new Christmas clothes. The twins were dressed up in these ridiculously flouncy dresses. They are already wearing clothes sized for 18 months so we figured if they were walking they might not be considered ridiculously flouncy but since they are only crawling...they were simply infuriating the twins. By the time we got around to taking the family photo Matthew had already changed out of his Sunday clothes.

After getting a few decent pictures, we decided we should open presents with Rosie, Matthew, and Andrew before their dad came to pick them up.


We also opened presents from them. Patrick was super excited about his new Vancouver, BC shirt, while David busied himself passing out presents.

Josie also opened up her present from Andrew and I. We gave her a CD holder, which she wasn't too excited about except that we had wrapped a CD and taped it to the front of the CD holder as a card. That saved her Christmas. She had a list on Amazon.com of all these CDs and DVDs that she wanted and although she got most of them, they were all wrapped in disguise so that she couldn't tell that they were CDs and DVDs. When she saw our present she was like, "Christmas won't be so bad after all."

Dad woke up from his Christmas Eve nap shortly before the boys and Rose left. I'm surprised he slept through all the noise we made.

While Matthew was holding Sabrina, she peed through her diaper and dress and tights and onto his foot. He was not too happy about it, but the twins were. They got put into some much more sensible outfits!

The rest of the evening was spent trying to get the twins to fall asleep so that we could have some more grown-up fun. Did I say twins? I meant Sabrina. It was really just Sabrina who wouldn't fall asleep. Olivia didn't last past 6:00--she had too much fun by dinner time.

Sabrina was a little more difficult. We put her in the walker to tire her out, but to no avail.

Josie blew bubbles with her--not a yawn.

We gave her a bottle but she refused to lay down. Instead she crawled all around the house, drinking away.

We cuddled and coddled her but she didn't even doze off.

Finally we put her and the playpen in a dark room and let her cry herself to sleep. Just when she settled in for the night, guess who woke up? Olivia.

It was okay though becuase she was happy enough to be held for a few minutes before she fell asleep and could be laid down again. We then told funny stories about each other until late into the evening.

When Josie was getting a little too cooky...

...Andrew and I decided to head home and get ready for Santa to come.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Robby at work



That is what Robby does. You just turn him on, put him in a room, close the door (if there is one) and he does his thing. When he's all finished cleaning he puts himself back on his charger.

The goose is getting fat

Today Andrew and I actually got the time to relax that we were looking for. I took the time to make another stocking. Andrew used Robbie to clean our floors. We ran some errands, delivered some Christmas goodies, and overall had a very relaxing day.

Here is Andrew in his brilliant outfit. The red stocking is mine (the one that I made today) and the green one is Andrew's (the one that I made on Thanksgiving). If you're wondering what he's doing, he's pointing to the date on the advent calendar.


And here they are hanging on our fireplace. Oh, wait...that's right. We don't have a fireplace so we hung them on our wall. I don't know how Santa is going to get into our house this year, not having a fireplace and all!


And our poor, poor lights that Andrew finally fixed today...The poor things. We had put them up with electrical tape when we first did them and everyday when we came home we would take turns putting them back up. They just didn't want to stick to the window. This week has been so crazy! We didn't ever fix them so this morning when I looked at them they were completely fallen down.

Patrick and Mom came over to pick up some presents they were hiding at our house and Patrick said, "Why don't you just use a glue gun?" Brilliant! It didn't melt the wires and sticks to the glass but comes right off if you stick your fingernail under it and jab a little. No sticky residue and it holds up a lot better.



And since our star flashes (we did a lot of work to figure out where to put those bulbs to make part of the string flash and part of it not), we took a video of it, too!

Toilet paper

Christmas is certainly coming, that's for sure. Finals are finally over and we have the whole weekend to relish the holidays.

I actually worked pretty hard and got all my hours in at work on Thursday so that Andrew and I could spend Friday together. He had been working such awful hours that we hardly saw each other this past week. Who works from 7 am to 2 pm, then 5 pm to 2 am, and then 7 am to 2 pm again? That is not a cool schedule.

However, Andrew had Arabic exams to grade, so that kind of took up our morning...well, it kind of took up his morning. I slept in, read a book, and basically just lazed around until he got home. Oh, and did the laundry and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, too. And made lunch.

As I'm sitting down to eat lunch without him--because I'm starving, Emily calls and frantically asks, "Where's Andrew?" "He's on his way home. Why?" "Because mom's at the Emergency Room and he's not answering his phone." "Why is she at the ER?" "I don't know. She just is. Okay? Dad wants him there right now!" "Alright, I'll tell him to phone as soon as he gets home."

So, we spent the afternoon in the hospital with Karen and her injured arm. She fell in a parking lot and landed on her shoulder. (Sound familiar, dad?) We went and did some errands for her, including the shopping. She had made a list of things that they needed before they put her on medicine...but while she was telling us things to do, she kept saying, "And the toilet paper. We need toilet paper." She must have mentioned it 4 or 5 times. So, although it wasn't on the list, I made a mental note of it.

Andrew and I were at the store getting the things that I hope might be turned into Christmas dinner and I said, "Oh, well, toilet paper isn't on the list, but do you think we should get it anyway?" So, we decided that we would get toilet paper.

Karen came home from the hospital and looked at the groceries on the floor and said, "Why'd they get toilet paper?"

It turns out that was part of a medically induced stupor. Oh, well. You can never have enough toilet paper, right?

Circle of Joy Party

Thursday was the BYU/Oregon "bowl" game. We had a party at BYU in one of their cool language labs. I'll admit that I don't really understand football very well, but Andrew taught me about the "yellow line" so it was a whole lot more interesting. In fact, this is the only football game that I watched all the way through. I still didn't get very much out of it, nor can I understand why anyone would "follow" it, but our team won (go team!) so I guess it was good.

What was fun for me, though, was all the people who came! Joy and Joe were here from North Carolina and they brought their baby, Karen. We hadn't met Karen yet, so that was fun! Joe's brother got married this past week so Joy and Joe were here for the wedding. We just caught them they day before they left.

Marquita and Daniel and their baby Maya were there. Marquita was a big help in planning the party--she booked the room and made spaghetti. Yum!

Shaille and Casey and their baby Matthew are here from Oregon where Casey is going to optometry school. We were happy to see them, too. We haven't seen them since last Christmas!

Kristi and Ryan and their baby Rachel, Matt (and a girl whose name I can't remember because she didn't go to high school with us and wasn't in the Circle of Joy), Christina, Amber and Chris, Helen, Cynthia, and Shaun all showed up. I may have missed a few, but I think that's all that came.

It was a lot of fun. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Circle of Joy...it was our "hang out" group in high school. We chose names for each other...I bypassed this somehow, which is okay because Kristi's COJ name was Kristi. David was CD (Carpool Deity or Canadian Dave), Matt was Hobbs, Becky was Suzie, Christina was Scooter, yeah...we had a little ceremony that we did with a carton of chocolate milk in order to be inducted into the Circle of Joy and then ever after that we were fast friends. We'd hang out together, eat lunch together, set up chairs for morningsides at like 5 am, have graduation parties...we did a lot.

Man, high school was kind of strange, wasn't it?

Monday, December 18, 2006

So Happy Together

Andrew and I celebrated our one year anniversary on Saturday. To be honest, we eventually celebrated our anniversary on Saturday. I suppose if it had been a weekday we would have had to have celebrated later in the day as well, but this was Saturday and he is usually home on Saturdays so I was kind of sad about his schedule.

Believe me, he was, too.

At 7:00 am he had to give his Arabic 101 class their final which meant that he had to leave the house before 7:00. I didn't exactly wake up for that, but I did kick him out of bed when the alarm went off (aren't I considerate?). He went and got donuts and juice for his class (isn't he just a nice teacher?).

After he finally finished doing the oral section with everyone it was 10:45 and he had to run off to take his geography final. He breezed through that in an hour and a half and then headed off to work.

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Josie and Mom stopped by to see if I wanted to help them shop for a little girl they are "subbing" for Santa for. So I said yes and off we went to the BYU bookstore to take advantage of their 20% off sale and their free gift wrapping.

While we were there I got a present for Diana Gillespie. Her bridal shower was at 1:00 on Saturday.

After the shower I came home and...Andrew had left a gift for me. There was an instant message on my computer saying that I could open it before he got home, so I did. Inside was a book that he had put together of all the emails and letters we wrote each other during his mission and through the course of our engagement (no, you can't read it, thank you very much)!

It's called "Hypothetically Speaking..."


I opened it and I was like, "Wow! Where did he find a book with that title?" And then I read on and was like, "That's exactly what he said when he proposed to me!" And then I read a little further and was like, "Oh..." He made it...that explains a lot!

So I read that until he came home (just after 7:30 pm). It was fun to remember all the things we wrote to each other.

For dinner we went out to Quizno's...I know it isn't the most romantic place in the world. We were planning on going to either Olive Garden or Bombay House but at 8:00 pm I was starving and didn't feel like waiting for my food. Plus, we went to Quizno's in Cairo and it was really good. (Note to self: Quizno's is a lot better in Cairo than it is in Orem!)

We then went and rented a movie to watch together. We got 50 First Dates. I thought it was a very touching movie. I cried. Andrew laughed at me.

We found out yesterday that it played on TV last night...so we didn't actually have to rent it. Oh, well.

All in all it was a good day. A little bit lonely, but not as lonely as today. Andrew had to be to work at 7:00 am again today. He worked from 7-2, and then had a final, and now he's working from 5:00 pm until 2:00 am. Lonely night for me. And him.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Robbie the Robot

We got a new pet. His name is Robbie and he's a robot and he vacuums our floors. Andrew is definitely a fan (and the catalyst for the naming of the machine). I don't mind having it since I don't like vacuuming anyway.

We got it from the Sister Dusara who has been downsizing...a lot.

It's pretty cool because you just turn it on and it vacuums your house. It gets all the corners (places I don't clean too thoroughly).

Andrew just got through playing with it. He walked into the room and said, "That's amazing! I just vacuumed the whole house and I didn't do anything but watch it for 45 minutes!"

I explained to him that the idea behind such a device, I mean Robbie, is that you can do something else while it, I mean he, vacuums for you.

So, while I write my last paper of the semester and Andrew studies for his finals, Robbie is quietly charging his batteries so that he can clean house tomorrow.

InBio's over!

As some of you know, I got a new job in the Harold B. Lee Library. I'm now the stacks manager for Special Collections. That has been an interesting transition. I gave my 2 weeks notice 2 weeks before I was planning on leaving...InBio asked for 3. When that three weeks came, they had barely decided on who to hire and asked if I wouldn't mind staying just a little bit longer. I was like, "No, I actually would not be willing to do that."

Working there has been kind of nightmarish the past semester. We got a new department chair and let's just say that he and I don't get along royally. He calls himself "hard nosed" and wanted for me to be hard nosed as well. I'm not very good at that and I'm also not very good at handling being treated in a hard nosed manner. So, I kind of haven't been having a lot of fun. Add that change to the fact that all the office staff quit after the former department chair quit (which I might have taken as a hint to also vacate!), I picked up quite a bit of extra duties yet stayed at the same pay level and still was only part time. It was very frustrating.

So, anyway, I started my new job, which is still part time, but I think that it will be a bit funner than working at InBio has been for the last little while. However, the person I am replacing hasn't come in yet. Apparently she comes back on Friday, but by then I'll have been working in the library for three weeks and I'm not sure how much training I'll need at that point since I've learned a lot already. There are some questions that I've had but I've been able to find some pretty good answers by asking the students I manage as well as some of the full time people in Special Collections.

Speaking of asking questions. I went through my email the other day just to see how many questions I've fielded from InBio since I left them. We are averaging four questions a day for the last three weeks. This does not include phone calls, nor the multiple times I have gone into the office to help out. My replacement does not seem to be very self sufficient yet. She wants to know all kinds of things that I swear I told her at least three times previously...

I've stopped answering her directly and instead point her in a direction, give her a smile and tell her to fetch. "Nancy, I have a question about this student's contract. I don't really understand and was hoping you could explain..." The answer to that is easy. Talk to student employment.

"Nancy, I have a question about tuition awards..." Call Connie in the Scholarship Office.

"Nancy, I have a student's record here that is kind of confusing..." Right, talk to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Seriously, I have all these numbers posted on the wall right above her phone anyway so I don't know why she doesn't call them instead of asking me.

"Nancy, I have a question about travel..." Call the travel office.

Yeah, I've found that is a lot less time consuming for me instead of listening to her whole concern and then walking her through step by step. I've done that before. She took copious notes. I wrote a handbook for her. I mean, I started at "Turn on the computer." Her first question was, "How do I do that?" My first answer was, "That big power button there, yeah? You push it."

Emotionally I smacked my forehead in an exasperated fashion.

Thus has been our relationship since, my replacement's and mine.

This evening was the InBio Christmas Party, which I helped to plan. I thought I had every single detail worked out when, after arriving home this afternoon, I realized that I had forgotten to tell my replacement about the camera. So, I quickly emailed her and reminded her to bring the camera. I mean, it says in the handbook that the graduate secretary takes pictures at all social functions, so the fact that I didn't tell her is mute since I know she read the handbook and took copious notes from it.

So, Andrew and I arrive at the party and my replacement rushes up to me. "Oh, Nancy, I'm so glad you're here! I have a question for you." I'm surprised. Not. "Why do we take pictures?"

Okay, I can be honest. I like answering questions. I like researching and finding answers. That is why I like working in a library where I can do that all day long. But, when someone asks the question, "Why do we take pictures?" my brain starts to wonder about the timeless phrase, "There are no stupid questions." I mean, are there really no stupid questions? And how do you answer that?

After staring at her, I'm sure with my mouth open, I said, "Remember those scrap books you have in your office?" She's like, "Oh, the department ones with all the pictures and newspaper clippings in them?" "Yes, that scrap book. We take the pictures and we put them in there to keep a record of the happenings in our department."

Her eyes got big, "Oh!" She said and I could tell she was wishing for a paper and pen so she could write that down.

Have fun, InBio!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Speedy Delivery

Andrew and I went Christmas shopping this evening. We figured that if we didn't go today we wouldn't find time to at all. This is the week before finals...finals start on Saturday and run until the 22nd of December. That would leave us only Saturday to shop since Sunday is Christmas Eve and then *bam!* Christmas is here. This month has gone by too fast, really.

So, we're sitting at a traffic light, waiting for our green light so that we can continue on our way. We watch it go from green to yellow to red...and back to green. We were like, "Hey! What about our turn!" We sat for a while longer and wondered if perhaps the traffic light was broken. Three lanes of traffic weren't moving.

Then we heard the sirens. Then we saw the flashing lights. "Of course," we exclaimed, "A firetruck." The firetruck had used its magical powers to change the light so that it could go through. I think that is a lot safer than having to run a light in order to get to an accident although it does cause some confusion for a lot of drivers. We were all giving each other puzzled looks.

Of course, what may have caused the look on our faces could have been what came through the green light after the firetruck: a postal service truck.

That's right. A fire engine zooms by and you expect it to really be zooming with flashing lights and a siren. Nothing too odd there, but when you see a post man seemingly driving as fast as the firetruck, you begin to wonder.

I can just see the postal worker now, "Hey, wait! I've got a package for them! Wait for me!"

David's Pictures of Thanksgiving

I'll be the first to admit that this picture actually is not of Thanksgiving. However, it is one of the pictures that I am putting up. My amazing brother, David, not only sings, plays the piano, minors in Chemistry and speaks Portuguese, but...he also dances. In three different ways! (Okay, probably more). This is him in the costume that he wore for this year's International Folk Dance Ensemble's Christmas Around the World: The Gathering. He danced the Starovichchyna (Hutsul Dance) from Ukraine. He did a very good job, even with his injured knee (he pulled his quad during one of their rehearsals so danced the performance wearing a leg brace).

David in Christmas Around the World


Now we'll move on to Thanksgiving. Andrew and I didn't spend Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Layton's house so I'm not the best person to write about this. From what I've gathered there was food, gingerbread house decorating, and baby teasing. I'm not sure what else happened but I'm sure that it was a fun occasion.

Sabrina (white shirt) and Olivia (purple) all ready for dinner












So I guess that just about sums up Thanksgiving. Of course, more people were there, they are just the people we usually can't capture on film: Grandma (although you may see her in the background of some of the gingerbread shots...working away in the kitchen, of course), Mom and Kelli and Dad and Patrick, all of whom are really quite good at avoiding the camera.

As fun as Thanksgiving was at Andrew's parent's house, I really did miss that good ol' southern cooking my grandma does for Thanksgiving. I mean, really, what's Thanksgiving without cornbread stuffing, okra, turnip greens, and ham? Thanksgiving dinner at the Heiss' was good, but I really did miss my grandma/dad's cornbread stuffing. I've had that for Thanksgiving every year I can remember, even when we lived in Canada. It's so good. Bread crumb stuffing is good, too...but just not the same as cornbread. Mmmmmmmmmm...

Oh, man! Now I'm hungry!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Layton Family Christmas Party

I don't know what it is about living back in the States, but I'm just not as attached to my camera anymore. I just don't think to take it with me anywhere. Ever.

Well, I do think about it, but only after we've already left the house and/or arrived at our destination and/or see something really cool and/or cute.

Last night was our Layton Family Christmas party. It's an annual party where we all get together and do Christmas-y things. This year, however, it wasn't on an ideal date. See, finals week is approaching so things are kind of stressful and I just am switching jobs so am working like 4 jobs at once here and am slightly losing my mind...but...

I really wanted to go so after deliberating it all day, at 5:30 I said to Andrew, "Let's go!" I had already kind of gotten ready to go, in case I decided to go, but I wasn't sure if I would feel like I had the time. I probably didn't, but it was good to spend some time with my family.

So Andrew and I got up there and I said, "We forgot the camera." So, no pictures. Sorry, folks.

We have our Christmas party at the "Elk Lodge." It's some Lion's club hangout place and is easier to clean up at than if the party is held at someone's house (we used to do it at Uncle Ken and Aunt Bev's place). They already had it all decorated for Christmas, with a Christmas tree and pretty little decorations all around, and when Andrew and I got there all the tables were set up already.

While we were sitting around waiting for people to get there, some random people walked in...Aunt Bev's eyes were bulging as they explained that they wanted to set up for their Christmas party, which was the following evening. We comprimised with them: we'd leave the tables and chairs up so that they wouldn't have to set up as much after we left. Hard deal for us, we didn't have to take down the tables and chairs...

Anyway, as more people got there, it started to liven up a bit. Aunt Bev had set up some chimes in the front of the room so we were all playing around on them, trying to plink out some Christmas carols.

After everyone was well past starving to death we blessed the food and ate. It was pretty funny because Uncle Bob (who welcomed us all there) said, referring to Grandpa, "Dad, will you bless the food?" Uncle Ken said, "You have to say Grandpa. There are too many dads here." Then a few of the grandkids, who have their own kids, said, "There are too many grandpas here."

Anyway, we had a delicious pot luck meal.

I ate with one of the twins on my lap, while Kelli wrestled with the other. Quite frankly, I don't remember who had who. All I know is that whoever I had spit up all over the front of me so I was nice and...wet the rest of the evening. I thought they were past that stage!

After dinner we played "Name that Tune" with the chimes. Two people went up to play the chimes while everyone tried to guess what they were trying to play. The first person to guess the carol got to choose a white elephant gift. Andrew won a DVD of cartoons (PopEye, Superman, etc).

It was getting late too quickly, so we passed out the Bingo cards and played Bingo until everyone had won a white elephant gift. It was pretty fun. Even Patrick had fun, although he didn't even get a Bingo until some people had called "Blackout." He was the very last person to choose a present.

What was more fun though, was to watch the great-grandkids. They were just so funny. Tabitha's little girl, Lexi (1), was just fascinated with the twins. She kept looking back and forth and desperately trying to share her toys with them (multiple time-outs didn't make her a happy girl. Sharing is such a hard thing to learn)! The twins were really tormenting the older great-grandchildren...

Jaden's birthday was yesterday. He just turned 2. He brought with him his brand new remote control car. Sabrina, who has gotten to be quite swift on her four little limbs, thouroughly enjoyed chasing it. Jaden didn't enjoy this so much. In fact, a few times when he saw her coming he would run past her and sit on the car just so that she couldn't get it. It was quite comical.

Kelli kept telling Josie (12) and Rosie (9) to go play with the "other" kids. This, I'm sure was awkward for them 1, because Josie is a grandchild, not a great-grandchild (Rosie is a great one); and 2, because the next oldest child there was Jaden, and he's two. But, I think that Josie and Rosie did a pretty good job of entertaining themselves anyway.

At this point we all started cleaning up, and Andrew and I escaped to do, what else? More homework, work on my poor book, edit some things...we stayed up much too late in order to recover from the time we took to go to the party, but I think it was worth it.

What Andrew does

I've been hearing some complaints that I'm the only one who ever writes on this blog. No one knows what is happening in Andrew's life. He's such a mystery.

Well, since I'm stuck on campus for a few hours with virtually nothing to do (not that I have nothing to do. I have a whole lot to do, but none of it is with me here and now) I figured that I would try to fill the world in on what Andrew does all day.

Andrew has been teaching Arabic all semester--and he loves it. Perhaps the only downside to him teaching Arabic is that he teaches at 8:00 am everyday and sometimes it is hard to motivate him/myself to get out of the bed, especially now that it is dark and cold and snowy. But, the upside of that is that no one else wants to teach the 8:00 am section so he gets to teach next semester as well (yay)!

This semester has been particularly fun for him. Sami, Layla's little brother, is in Andrew's class, as well as someone who served in Italy with Andrew, as well as one of my cousin's roommates.

Andrew is taking both Italian and Arabic classes this semester (about a 50/50 split). It was kind of hard for him at first to switch between the two (three, technically since some of his classes are in English) languages all day, everyday. He seems to be a pro at it now. Let's see...what classes is he taking?

ARAB 531R TBA TBA Adv Study Arab Hijazi, Feryal
ARAB 531R 3:00p - 3:50p TTh Adv Study Arab Parkinson, Dilworth
GEOG 271 12:00p - 12:50p MWF Middle East Emmett, Chad F
HIST 240 5:00p - 6:15p TTh M E Hist to 1800 Davis, D Morgan
ITAL 322 11:00a - 11:50a MWF Adv Composition Arcidiacono, Maria
ITAL 460 9:00a - 9:50a MWF Dante's Divine Comedy Sowell, Madison U

So, that's what Andrew's doing.

From what I hear from him (not that he complains or anything), but he doesn't really like Ital 322 or Arab 531R--the one with Feryal, who also was one of his teachers in Jordan. He likes the class with Dil just fine. He finds his Geography class too easy. He really enjoys Dante and History. He finally found out that his two majors, Italian and MESA (Middle Eastern Studies--Arabic) really do work well together. While reading in Dante's Divine Comedy, he came across Mohammed and a lot of his teachings. In fact, it seems that Dante really studied up on Islam and used a lot of Islamic principles in his works.

Andrew has been working with President Sowell (he was Andrew's MTC branch president) on getting a paper ready to publish about Islamic ideologies in Dante. It should be a fun little project. And Andrew was thrilled to find a correlation between his two majors other than that they are simply languages.

So, between teaching and going to class, Andrew also is working at the Harold B. Lee Library. If you are in our family and go to BYU, it is kind of imperative that you work at the library. I mean, I work there, my mom works there, my cousin Craig works there, Andrew's dad worked there, and I believe his Uncle Matt did, too, so it is altogether fitting and proper that Andrew should work at the library, too.

He works in the "Info Commons" giving tech support and all the fun stuff that goes with it (projects, teaching the occasional class, angry patrons, etc).

When he's not working at the library or doing homework, he's usually doing speaking appointments with his Arabic students. His students are required to speak with Andrew for like 15 minutes a week or something, which doesn't sound too bad until you realize that he has 21 students, so the time really adds up.

In addition to that, he's been helping me keep up with Harman work (since I've been massively stressed out recently), and has been an absolute dear, coming to my every whimper after our computer ate my 150 page book that I had been working on all semester (well, one of the two that I'm currently working on). I'm sure that I've been absolutely dreadful to live with since my book died (we're in the process of resurrecting it. It's a painful process). My mom offers Andrew her sincere apologies for my being unable to handle stress well.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's a Small World Afterall

We met our new neighbours today. They are pretty cool. We brought them cookies so they decided to be our friends.

Technically we took Jeff the cookies. His wife, Brittany, and daughter weren't home yet.

They came over a bit later this evening to meet us. Brittany was like, "So, what high school did you guys go to?"

"Timpanogos." We say.

"What year did you graduate?" I asked.

Turning to her husband, "What year did you graduate?"

"2000." Said Jeff...I'm not positive that he went to our high school, but I'll check on that later.

"Oh," said Brittany, "2001."

"2002." Said Andrew.

"2003." I chimed in.

"Do you know Casey Greenland?" asked Brittany.

"Yes," Andrew and I replied, and right before I was about to tell her that he's on a mission she said,

"Oh, he's my brother."

Okay, well, Andrew and Casey were like best buddies in high school. Jeff and Brittany turned to each other and were like, "That's why you looked so familiar."

Did I mention that Ryan Alder's sister lived in our condo before us and his grandparents live in our ward?

It gets better though. Our downstairs neighbours are also connected to us. I went to school with a girl named Sarah Wald, and she has a sister named Becca, who Sarah is really good friends with. Their sister, Emi, lives downstairs with her husband and boys.

Yeah, it's a small world.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Moon Boots

In Andrew's family there is an inside joke about moon boots. The funniest part is that no one can really remember how the joke starts. It ends, however, when his dad said, "Moon boots?!?" and everyone turned to look at him with puzzled looks on their faces. He then clarified, "I thought you were talking about moon boots and that just didn't make sense." Or something like that. No one can remember what he originally misheard and interpreted as "moon boots" but it still survives as a family joke. Now when anyone mishears they get "moon booted."

Andrew had one such experience today. We were driving home from school and I was starving because I had forgotten to eat lunch. While Andrew was pondering whatever it was he was pondering, I was pondering what I was going to eat. I'm really not good for conversation when I'm starving to death. Finally I figured out the fastest and best meal to have as soon as we got home. I broke into Andrew's thoughts with, "I want to have a taco when we get home."

He looked at me, smiled, and said, "Okay."

A few minutes later he turned to me and said, "Ummm...did you say taco?"

I was like, "Yeah...what did you think I said?"

He went on to explain how he thought I said, "I want to have a talk when we get home."

At first he was fine with it but then he started to get a little nervous. We had never had a talk before and why on earth would I want to wait to talk to him when we got home since I already had his captivated audience in the car. Was something horribly wrong? Did he upset me so badly that I had to have a serious sit-down chat with him? Did I lose my job?

After getting really tense about the situation he kind of removed himself from his thoughts and had an epiphany of sorts. He realized that before saying, "I want to have a taco when we get home." that I had said, "I'm really hungry!" Logically, if I'm really hungry I wouldn't want a talk but at talk...tak...tac...taco!

Moon boots!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Beef

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Or rather, Black Friday. I never had any idea that the "Friday After Thanksgiving" had a name. I always thought it was the "Friday After Thanksgiving." It's the biggest shopping day of the year, parallel to Canada's Boxing Day, which makes much more sense to me than "Black Friday." That just makes me think of Red Tuesday, or something like that. Anyway...

We had a pretty good Thanksgiving weekend this far, what with getting a new couch and everything...just kidding.

On Wednesday we worked and did homework. On Thursday morning we went and played football. I believe we call that a "Turkey Bowl?"

Correction: Andrew played football. Nancy wondered around the field while people tried to tell her how to play football, and I quote "Just catch the ball and run so that the people on the other side of the field don't get you." I see...now I get it. Football has never made any sense to me. I went back to the car and knitted.

After football we went over to my parent's house to spend some time with them. We played a little DDR (Dance, Dance Revolution). It was pretty fun. We definitely worked up a sweat. Especially when the pad I was dancing on accidentally got switched to advanced. Yeah...I'm still on light, or even beginner.

Then Andrew and I headed off to his parent's house (to avoid the turkey) and my family headed off to my grandmother's house (to have ham). No one in my family really likes turkey. I married well. Andrew doesn't like it either.

We had a fun day of eating and game playing. We played "Catch Phrase." The point of the game is to describe a word without using the word...it's not Gestures, but you couldn't have guessed that with the way we were playing:

Jacob (waving arms wildly in the air and making strange high-pitched noises): What am I? What am I? What am I?

Everyone on Jacob's team: Ummmmmmmmmmm...crazy? Annoying? Insane?

Jacob (blowing his cheeks out): I live in the ocean! What am I? Look at my arms!

Sarah: A whale?

Jacob (as the buzzer goes off): A starfish! Hello, look at my arms!

Yeah, we had a few struggles with that game. But it was still really fun.

Andrew and I eventually decided to call it a night. He had homework to do and I also had a million things on my to-do list (still do, really). So, we went home, decorated, and went to work.

I'm not sure why I like decorating our house so much. Perhaps it is because it feels so empty all the time. Andrew and I came from fairly large families: 5 and 6 kids, respectively. So, although our households are often quiet, they are rarely empty. Without decorations it just feels...non-seasonal. I don't know why.

I had wanted to put up something to make it a little more Thanksgiving-ish in our house but by the time we went shopping for Thanksgiving decorations (and this is my beef), all the stores were stocked with Christmas decorations. This was the very beginning of November, people! There is still a holiday before Christmas called Thanksgiving--and it does not involve a man in a red suit. We can't really put him up and pretend he's a turkey, can we? No.

We tried multiple stores, too. Target, no. Wal-Mart, no. Dollarstore, no. Macey's, no. Everything was completely over-laden with Christmas decorations.

I love Christmas, I really do. I just wish that I could have found a nice cornucopia or something to put on my table. Maybe next year...

Venus Fly Love Seat/Trap

Let's face it. Our couch is a Venus fly trap. It's a little blue love seat--very comfortable, but it's called a love seat, er, trap, for a very good reason. Any two (or more, as the case may be) people who sit on it have to be very comfortable getting cozy with each other. It just kind of sucks you in and never wants to let you go.

We had the Bishopric over once. Brother Astorga sat down next to Andrew on the couch and...well, it was rather embarrassing for both of them, involving some leg touching and full body contact before they could get all upright again.

Our poor home teacher's wife is 7 months pregnant. Once she sits down in that thing there is no hope for her to ever get back up unassisted.

Let's just say that our couch has caused us some embarrassment in the past. Not that we don't appreciate the folks who gave it to us. We do! We just now understand why they got rid of it.

So, our living room is beautiful now and provides ample seating for our booming social life. (And, yes, that is a Christmas tree. So sue me!)



We went to Aunt Nicki's place and picked up the couch, a bed (for Richard and Diana), a dresser and a dish washer (technically that was from Grandma Pat, who just remodeled her kitchen). The couch happens to match our venus fly seat/trap rather nicely and she gave us some throw pillows to tie them all together. It's odd how big our living room looks now that we have two couches in there instead of a love trap and a chair.

I arranged all the furniture by myself. Well, almost all by myself. I had a little help from Andrew but he had to work this afternoon, so it was up to me to put our house together before David, Brandon and Josie came over to watch Hoodwinked, a rather interesting little movie.

I decided to move the chair into our spare room since African animals are no longer our theme...it's now a flowery pattern themed room. The chair just doesn't go. So, I first got it this far:



But then I got stuck inside the room and had to slither under the chair to get into the hallway so that I could look at things from this end. Things weren't going well, so I took the chair out of the door way, tried another angle and got this far:



I gave up on my third attempt and decided to wait until Andrew got home. Somehow he got that chair through the doorway. I don't know how. He must be amazing because by all accounts it doesn't add up.



Speaking of accounts adding up, Andrew and I tried to give Josie a lesson in applied mathematics today. She wasn't really interested, but we thought it would be good to prove to her that math is useful.

Yesterday we decorated our house for Christmas. We were putting lights up in our window and playing with the flashers to make them blink and do all sorts of things. Okay, they don't do all sorts of things. They just blink or don't blink. Well, we had put lights up as a border to our window but had about half the string left. I thought it would be kind of cool if we made a star in the middle of our window with the border blinking. So, we set about to make a star. When we were finished, we went outside to admire our work.

It was awful. Lop-sided, uneven, and let's just be honest here: it didn't look like a star. Being the nerds that we are, we went inside, pulled out our tape measure and measured the length of remaining lights. We then divided that by five, marked off on our string of lights (5 times) and made a perfect star in our window.

So, you see, Josie, math is helpful whether you like it or not! Oh, and we have the most symmetrical star in the neighborhood.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A day of rest

Sunday, as we all know, is a day of rest. In our house though, Sunday naps are a thing of the past. Yesterday morning our alarm clock went off at 6:00 am. It was time for Andrew to get up and get ready for priesthood meeting. I (luckily) got to sleep in for a little longer. After forcing Andrew out of bed (on the third snooze or something like that) I let myself fall back asleep.

I got up at 7:30 so that I could be ready to leave for church at 8:00 to print the programs before choir practice. I had remembered to print the original the night before, so luckily I didn't have to do that.

Andrew arrived home shortly after 8:00 am and we had family prayer before running out the door. We got to the church and headed straight for the library. Our copy machine has serious issues so you really need at least half and hour to print the programs and since we had choir practice at 8:30, we really had to get a move on it.

The door was locked. We went around the building trying to find someone with a key. After disturbing the organist and the RS president, we broke up the branch presidency meeting that was going on (we have 2 branches in our stake) to borrow one of their keys.

We got into the library and fought with the machine until we had about 80 decent copies of the program. We cut them in half and gave them to the door greeters. Then it was up to the stands for choir practice. We sang "For the Beauty of the Earth." Luckily I only sing alto and soprano in this piece. Our choir is severely lacking in numbers so we often end up doubling up on parts and since I am one of the few who can read music, I get to help out in multiple parts.

We sat up in the stands. Sometimes Andrew plays the organ and I conduct the music, but this week Sister Moss played the organ while Brother Lundquist (who sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) conducted the music. So we just sat this week. Until I got sustained. And then I stood. But that was all.

Then we went to Sunday School, which was nice and uninvolved, except that we had to cancel our Home Teaching appointments for this week. Andrew and I are home teaching companions since there are over 60 widows in our ward and only 3 High Preists. So, the Elder's Quarum gets to step up, with their wives, to fill in the gaps. We home teach three women.

I also visit teach 3 other women...and still need to get around to doing that. Perhaps next week in between our home teaching appointments...

Then I headed to RS, where I gave the opening prayer and was asked to help with Enrichment night while Andrew went to play the piano in Elder's Quarum.

After church was over, we rushed home to eat lunch before the Stake Primary President came to pick me up so that we could go to the 1st ward's primary presentation. That's why we had to cancel our home teaching appointments--because I was called as the Stake Primary Secretary. So, I went to that sacrament meeting (which was very good, by the way. The children did a wonderful job), and then we met together as a presidency.

Meanwhile, back on the homefront, Andrew was squeezing in a nap when Emily rang the doorbell. And then phoned his cell phone... Let's be honest she probably rang the doorbell like a mad-woman, but in Andrew's stupor of sleep he was able to ignore it. Finally he woke up and let Emily in so that they could practice some music for our ward Christmas program.

I returned home to them practicing and finished up my lunch. Then we all headed to choir practice early so that we could copy off the music that Andrew had transcribed in Finale, a music program. I was the only soprano so that's all I sang this week, except for when I chimed in to help our 3 altos. We have one tenor so usually Emi, our downstairs neighbour, and I help him out. That usually gives us about 3 of each SATB.

Andrew played the clarient and Emily played the flute to accompany "Away in a Manger" (the one arranged by Mack Wilburg--he hit me on the head once...). The piano at Sis. Moss's house is tuned funny though so no matter what Emily and Andrew did with their instruments they were terribly flat (or sharp. I dont' remember which). So, although the piano sounded really nice and Emily and Andrew sounded very nice, they didn't sound quite so nice together.

By now it is 4:00 pm. Where did the day go? Our home teachers were supposed to be coming over right after choir but Valerie, our home teacher...who, yes, is a girl. She's in the same boat I am...suggested that we have dinner on Tuesday night instead. I said that that was a wonderful idea since I wanted to have a nap after choir anyway.

So, we went home and I napped while Andrew was the answering-phone boy. I'm not sure how many times it rang in the hour I was sleeping, but it was quite a few times. I woke up at 5:00 and phoned my family (returning a message that Andrew took) to tell them that we wouldn't be able to attend the Baroque Ensamble concert because we had already told the his parents that we'd have dinner there. We were supposed to meet with someone in their ward about family history but he ended up being sick so didn't show for dinner.

And that was our Sunday...next week looks just as good. Busy is good. I suppose I should just get used to it because it doesn't look like life is going to slow down anytime soon!

Picture this...

I'm at work and I'm taking papers off of the bulletin board with a stapler remover (like the one to the left, only blue instead of black). Things were going great. I was just working on removing a particularly hard piece of paper. For some reason I could not get it to come off the board--I just couldn't get that staple out. I tried multiple times to coax the staple out, to no avail.

So, I put my left hand on the paper and forced the staple remover under the staple with my right hand. Alas, the staple would not budge. When I relaxed my hand, blood started trickling down my right middle finger.

Somehow I had managed to give myself a papercut under my fingernail. I must have been using so much force that I pulled my skin away from my nail just enough to let the paper slip under there and slice me a good one.

Who gets paper cuts under their finger nails?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Social Butterflies

Andrew and I have decided to be more social. It's time to break out of that "newly wed" stage and actually do things with other people. Not that that would make us any less newly wed, just that we figure that normal people do things with other people.

Last Sunday we had the Wilsons over for dinner. We made kosheri--a lot of kosheri. So much that we ate it everyday all last week. Anyway, they're a fun couple. They have twin daughters who are 3 months old. It's fun to hold them because they are so small compared to Kelli's girls who are 19 and 21 pounds, have teeth, and are crawling! Wow! They are the first people we've invited over from our ward. We don't really know many people in our ward yet but we're trying to remedy that.

This week Marquita and Daniel came over and brought their little girl, Maya (which means "water" in both Arabic and Hebrew. Since Andrew speaks Arabic, that gets a little confusing for him/us--do you want ice with that?). We had homemade pizza and Marquita brought a delicious salad. We played Quiddler and got caught up on some things. Marquita is a good friend from high school. A good friend who kicked Andrew's trash in Quiddler (just for the record, he doesn't always win).

As Marquita and Daniel were leaving (it was Maya's bedtime), Kelli and Rosie showed up with Olivia. Rosie has been wanting to play dominoes for some time so we figured we could squeeze her into our outrageous schedules. Olivia was refusing to sleep. I mean, flat out refusing to sleep. So we had her while my mom had Sabrina, who was sleeping.

We got all set up to play Mexican Train and Andrew was explaining the rules to Rosie (oh, by the way she's nine and is "too old" for a lot of things and prefers to go by RoseMarie. I still call her Rosie). All of a sudden Rosie and her chair are upside down on the ground, startling Olivia out of whatever sleep-bound state I had her in and annoying our neighbours, I'm sure. See, she was sitting with one of her legs tucked up underneath her, kind of off-centered on her chair. As she went to pull her other leg onto the chair she...toppled.

After laughing about that for sometime, picking up all the dominoes that had fallen off the table, and getting Olivia settled again we commenced playing.

Not fifteen minutes later Rosie lets out a yelp and almost knocked herself over again. Luckily the only things that fell over were a few dominoes. We continued our game without too much of a fiasco. Rosie and Kelli decided it was a good time to go. (I had put Olivia to sleep, so...pretty much they were using me...just kidding. I wanted to hold her!)

Rosie was wearing a back pack and kind of twirling around, waiting for her mother, as nine year olds are prone to do. She hit that chair with the back pack and it crashed to the floor again. I'm sure our neighbours really love us now! (Perhaps we should invite them over next...)

We're forgiving people though. We invited Rosie to come back over...when she's twenty!

I'm just kidding, she's a great girl and we really weren't annoyed. Genuinely concerned? Yes (--about her well-being, about my floor, my chair, and my neighbours). But annoyed? No.

So as soon as they left, Andrew pulled out an Allen key and tightened up all the screws on our chairs. Perhaps now they'll be a little more sturdy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November the 13th

I seem to be having a little run of bad luck involving 13. Last month, Friday, October 13th, the Opening Social for the department (that I planned) was a mess. No one came. I mean, it wasn't horrible, but no one showed up.

Our Christmas Party (that I am planning) is going to be held on Wednesday, December 13th. I only hope that it goes a little better. Not that I have any big reason to care, but it would be nice. Already nearly 30 people have RSVP'd, so that doubles the number of attendees already.

In preparation for the Christmas Party, I ordered tables and chairs to be delivered to the location early in the day of Wednesday, December 13th. I have checked my work order approximately 7 times now, just to make sure. You see, yesterday was Monday, November 13th. As my luck would have it I got a very irate phone call from the custodial staff at the Bean Museum (where our party will be held). They wanted to know exactly why 25 tables and 176 chairs were dropped off that morning. I explained to them that I did order those chairs, but for a month later--in December, you know, for our Christmas Party.

No more than 5 minutes later, I got a call from the Moving Crew demanding an explaination and "if this was [my] idea of a joke." I again had to explain that I ordered them for December 13th, not November. I quoted the work order number and read word-for-word what I had requested.

I thought that my battle was over. But I was wrong.

I got to work this morning and I had a few phone messages asking me to "clear this up." They were getting some "mixed messages" some "miscommunication on [my] part" and were just confused in general. I've been trying to get a hold of them to clear this up all morning. Alas, no one ever answers the phone. Oh, well.

So, I went to tell Marcie about it. She is the other secretary in our department. After I got done telling her this she said, "No way, I got called about that, too." She had ordered a PA system and projector screen from the Office of IT to be delivered at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, December 13th. She got a call yesterday (on her personal phone, no less. She had already left the office) shortly after 5:30 pm asking her why a PA system and projector screen had been delivered at the Bean Museum.

I think it rather coincidental that 2 departments incidently delivered equipment independently of each other on the same day. They both had made the same mistake. Just too random.

I'm just glad that I'm not 100% in charge of the Christmas Party, otherwise I would really worry about the out come of this party.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Arabic Reunion

I'm not sure how much our family will appreciate this post, but our friends who spent time in Jordan with us will! Hillary and Nate hosted an Arabic Reunion this evening and it was a ton of fun. The theme was "what you missed most while in Jordan" but a lot of people brought what they missed from Jordan. That was nice because that meant we had humus and kosheri and pita and falafel and shweirma! Yippee!



I took pictures of everyone while we were still just mingling and sharing stories about Jordan. We talked about bathrooms a lot, and how glad we are to have toilet paper now. We also talked a lot about different people and places that we missed.

Not very many of us came, it was mostly the couples: Nate and Hillary (of course), Ben and Ashley, Andrew (and me, but I'm not in the picture because I'm taking it), and Alia and Bryan are featured in the picture below:


Here we have Matt and Brittany (who didn't go to Jordan with us, unfortunately. She's hilarious!). And then some of our single friends: Sami (aka Andrew), and Brian.


Shawn was hard to catch on film (er...on my digital disk thingy) because he kept heading back to the kitchen for more food. I'm not sure how many times he filled up his plate. I'm pretty sure he lost count. He was sure packing it in! I caught him in the kitchen though (getting more food, of course).


Alison was also there, but she left after just a few minutes.

It was so much fun to see everyone! When our chatter finally started dying down, we pulled out a rather old version of Trivial Pursuit to see if we could answer any of the questions. I took a video of it because this is so typical of us while we were in Jordan. We once got together at the Steeds while Bridget and Jeremy were living there and played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.



Our conversations just kept getting weirder and weirder. Then Nate broke out the chain mail. This stemmed from one of the questions asked during our game: What chain did Ray Croc establish?

This question seemed to stump us all. After someone finally shouted out "McDonald's" we all started saying what we were thinking: chain link fence, ball and chain...chain mail.

At that, Nate got up and left the room. He came back with some chain mail and threw it on the floor. The guys in the room, of course, scrambled for it. So, Hillary told us this great story about how she found out that Nate was into chain mail. She had mentioned something about wire while in Jordan, and he answered her and expanded on her knowledge of chain mail more than she thought anyone should ever be able to. Come to find out, during his sophomore year, he had made a whole suit of armor. So, we had to make fun of that a little bit. Brian was getting really into it. He's so hilarious and was one of our main sources of entertainment while in Jordan. We'd beg him to tell stories at every get together.

So, this video is us teasing Nate...and then somehow we get into Hillary's first attempt at making falafel. She thought oil had to boil before you put in anything to fry it. She ended up getting a visit from the fire department. Actually, that was one of two times that semester. It's not really my story but I'll give you the just of it. She had wanted to make cinnamon rolls to impress a boy who was coming to study at her apartment early in the morning. So, she was up at 3 AM making dough. She thought that she'd just put it in the oven to rise and have a short nap. So, she put the bowl with the dough in the oven and covered it with a towel and thought that she had turned it to low, but actually put it on high...and then she went to sleep. Anyway, that was the second story, but the camera ran out of room before she got to that point.



Ahhh...nice memories of Amman are flooding back to me, but since I've already written well over 200 pages about that, I think that this will suffice for now.

My Thanksgiving Beef

I know that Thanksgiving is supposed to involve turkey, but neither Andrew or I really like turkey, so we aren't going to have one. Andrew and I aren't planning on cooking Thanksgiving dinner at all. We're planning on going from house to house until we're full. We are refusing to solidify any plans.

I would, however, like something festive in my house. We went to Target the other day to get Andrew some medicine because he was sick. We were using our last gift card from our wedding. Because the medicine was only $5, I thought that we could maybe look for something Thanksgiving-like to have up in our house. We looked and looked and looked but there wasn't even a hint of anything autumn-ish in the whole store. It was decked out, from floor to ceiling, in Christmas decorations, something we don't need any more of.

We got married last December and have 4 boxes of Christmas stuff to decorate our tiny apartment with. Yes, 4 boxes of decorations and a Christmas tree. It's nice becuase Christmas is really festive at our house, but we are really lacking when it comes to the other holidays.

So, I went home kind of sad that they had nothing in their store for Thanksgiving, which is still 2 weeks away!

I was telling Andrew's mom about this and she said, "Try Macey's. They probably won't be ready for Christmas for a little while."

So, yesterday Andrew and I went grocery shopping, and...Macey's was totally decked out for Christmas. They had Christmas trees up everywhere. All of their Halloween candy had been replaced by Christmas candy. They had a grand piano out and had hired someone to sit and play Christmas carols. They even had a scary lady dressed up as Mrs. Claus, handing out candy canes (Andrew tried to get one from her but she chewed him out).

There was nothing Thanksgiving-themed in the whole store. Again, I was a little upset by this.

My mom thinks it is because they don't make much money off of Thanksgiving. And really, this could be true. I mean, for Halloween, you have to buy candy and costumes. Both of which are kind of expensive. For Christmas you have to buy candy and presents. For Easter you have to buy candy. Candy is just--expensive.

It's because they have to manufacture it...it doesn't grow here, so it isn't cheap. Anything that grows here is cheap. That's the whole point of Thanksgiving, isn't it? To celebrate the bounty that we have here. And what can we grow easily here? Pumpkins and potatoes and corn and, apparently turkeys, too. So, because they are plentiful here, they are cheap.

Andrew says that in Italy, pumpkin is so expensive. They splurged as missionaries once and got a pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. He said it was over 20 euro! That's so expensive. Our pumpkin was not even a dollar!

We do have the flipside here, though. We saw some pomegrante juice at the store. It was almost 7 dollars for 64 fluid ounces! If we were in Turkey...ummm...it would be so cheap there! Just because they grow it...

So, back to my beef about Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, and not that I don't like Christmas, but I think that Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. You get together with family and eat and play games and you remember what you're thankful for.

But, it seems to be being pushed out of the way by Christmas, which seems to be all about "What do you want?" instead of "What are you thankful for?" I think that we should put more emphasis on Thanksgiving--our world would probably be a better place for it.

But that's about all the time I have to write for now. I have to go Christmas shopping.

Dallin's Eagle, and Mom's, what do you call it?

Yesterday was my cousin Carlie's little boy's Eagle...ummm...court of honour thingy. I say he's little, but I probably shouldn't. Dallin is only thirteen but he's probably as tall as I am already and considering how tall Mike (his dad) is, I don't think he's anywhere near being finished growing. It's kind of funny because Carlie is just a short little thing! Anyway, Andrew and I went with my mom and Josie to go to the Eagle...court of honor thingy.

We met at my mom's house. She said, "Don't worry! I know just where it is. Auntie Judy drove there earlier today so that she would know where it was and she phoned me to tell me how to get there."

So, after sitting around and telling stories until we were definitely leaving too late to get there on time, we left. It was only in Lehi so we thought that we would be able to get there on time, but then we realized that we really had no clue where Lehi was in relation to anything else. We drove along and saw the "American Fork Center Street" exit. Mom asked if that was the exit and Andrew said, "No..." So we kept driving.

We got to the Highland/Alpine exit and mom said, "Is it here?" Andrew said, "No, I think it is a little farther." So we kept driving. And then we passed the point of the mountain and the jail and then we decided to turn around, so we did.

As we're coming back south, we see the Highland/Alpine sign again and mom says, "So, is it around here?" and Andrew says, "No, it's a little further." I was like, "How can it be a little further this way if when we were going the other way it was a little further."

Andrew said that he knew how to get to Lehi from Salt Lake, so we trusted him and kept on driving. Finally we spotted the "Lehi" exit and got off the freeway. We passed a little sod store, which we joked about, and continued going strait. We drove around and around, but we could not find the address. We thought that it would be easy since Utah is one big grid, if you have the coordinates, which we did, you should be able to get anywhere. We were driving on a diagonal road though and so it was throwing of our sense of direction. We turned around quite a few times and somehow ended up at the little sod store...again! So, we went past the sod store and did eventually find a church, but it was the wrong one, so we turned around again and headed back to the sod store.

This time, though, we took a different road and started seeing numbers that made sense. After finding the right north street, we were just left with finding the right west coordinate. We drove down the street and looked for the last landmark, a baseball field...we decided that perhaps giving land marks wasn't the best way to give directions since we were driving in the dark while Auntie Judy was driving during the day. Since we didn't see any of her landmarks earlier, I kept telling people that we weren't looking for landmarks--just numbers.

Well, just as I said that, we passed a baseball field with a big sign stating that it was just that. We drove on, not realizing that we had to turn right after the baseball field, so we ended up pulling yet another U-turn.

By the time we got to the church we were easily 45 minutes late! What we heard was good though, and they did a little slide show and that was cool. It was nice to see all my family that I hadn't seen since before leaving for Jordan.

As we were leaving, Mike called out, "Do you know your way home?" Ha, ha, very funny Mike.

On our way home, though, we passed all the familiar landmarks and saw things that we'd seen before. I don't really know how we got so lost on our way there considering that it wasn't the first time we'd been to Lehi...

Perhaps, though, this little story will explain why:

My mom had gone shopping yesterday morning and picked up some Jell-o Instant Cheesecake because it was on sale. We decided that we would stop by Albertson's on the way home from Dallin's thing and pick up some milk so that we could make the cheesecake. After all, the last time Andrew and I were over there this month we had pie, so it would only follow that this time we needed a pie, too...It's national pie month!

So, we got our milk and went to my mom's house to make a cheesecake pie. Andrew and Josie were mixing the graham cracker crust and they asked my mom to get a bowl so that they could melt the butter. My mom looks at them and said, "What's a bowl?"

We all had a good laugh at that one especially because later on she opened up a fortune cookie that was on the counter and her fortune read, "Your widsom is inexhaustible, as is your power." inexhaustible wisdom, eh?

Oh, it gets better though. A few years ago, Josie was telling my mom what she wanted for Christmas. She said, "I want some heelies and a squishy and a watch."

My mom said, with good cause, "What's a heelie?"
Josie said, "It's shoes with wheels in the heels."
My mom said, "Oh, okay. What's a squishy?"
Josie said, "It's a pillow that's silky and has little beads inside and it squishes."
My mom said, "Oh, okay. Well, what's a watch?"
Josie just stared at her...

So, if we were wondering why we had gotten lost, that answered our question. It's not that my mom doesn't have inexhaustible wisdom--she has two master's degrees and is applying for a PhD program--it's just that sometimes that wisdom is not very accessible. As one student once wrote on an evaluation for my mom when she was a humanities teacher, "Like most brilliant people, tends to be a little bit scatterbrained."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Deklan's Birthday Phone Call

Yesterday was my nephew Deklan's birthday. He's 7 now. He's a cute kid. I phoned him to wish him a happy birthday and he sounded kind of happy to hear from me, but also a little disappointed.

"Hello...?" he said.
"Hi, Deklan!" I said, "Happy Birthday!"
"Thanks..." he said.
"Do you know who this is?" I asked.
"Yes..." he said.
"Who?" I asked.
"It's Auntie Ci-Ci!" he replied.
"That's right! How was your day?" our conversation went on. All the while, I noticed this slight bit of agitation in his voice, but I didn't know why. He sounded like he had a fun day. He got some pretty good presents. Nothing was wrong at school.

Finally, he got to what he was nervous about saying:

"Auntie, Ci-Ci?" he started, timidly, before he started stuttering, "Does Auntie Jo...Do you...Does Jos...Where do...Is you..."

He took a big breath and then finished his question:

"Does Auntie Josie live with you? 'Cuz I really want to talk to her."

"No, sweetie," I said, "Auntie Josie lives with Nana, because Nana is her mom."

"Oh," he said, forlornly, "Well, if she happens to stop by your place, would you tell her that she can come to my birthday party?"

"I'll tell her that." I said.

I don't think she'll be going to his party though since we live in Utah and he lives in Alberta, but his party is right around Thanksgiving break, so there is a chance...not a very high one, but a chance none the less.

I hope he won't be too disappointed when she doesn't show up for the party. Isn't it nice to be loved? I think it would be kind of fun to be young enough that my neices and nephews wanted to have me as a friend. Then again, it might be kind of strange, too.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who's got YOUR vote?

With elections drawing near (Tuesday, isn't it?), we have been bombarded with campaigning junk mail. Every day we come home from school and there is some flyer on our door or ad in our mail box telling us about some person's campaign. More often than not, they are republican ads--everyone knows Utah is redder than red and righter-winged than right-winged when it comes to political issues. A few days ago we got some flyer from the "Constitution Party." They are probably as republican as you can get. They quoted Isaiah 29:13..."Forasmuch as this [government] draws near [to the constitution] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour [it], but have removed their heart far from [it], and their [following it] is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people..."

Granted, I do think that the constitution is pretty close to hanging on a thread, but seriously, no one is going to get my vote by taking God out of a scripture and replacing it with the word constitution. People do some pretty wacky things when they are campaigning.

Today I went to get the mail and was quite pleased when it was addressed to me instead of to Andrew. Everything seems to be addressed to him these days. Alas, it was another flyer. This time it was for Brad Daw (another republican. Go figure). Other than being grotesquely patriotic/republican, the ad wasn’t too bad. And I was happy that people were finally starting to try and win my vote over, as well as my husband’s.

Upon further analysis, however, I realized that I wasn’t actually the recipient of this flyer. Nancy Pear Heiss was.

That’s okay. I’m a pretty forgiving person and I think I’ll be voting for Bra Daw anyway. Psych!

*******

For those of you wondering, my middle name is Pearl. I'm named after my grandma, Zetta Pearl (she went by Pearl, not Zetta). My neice, Olivia Pearl, is also named after my grandma and, of course, me! At least, I like to think so...

The Bad Haircut

My husband is bald again. I cut his hair on Wednesday. Although I think that he looks much better when his hair is long enough that he actually has to comb it (I think the rest of the world agrees with me, too!), he is a lot happier when it is short. I mean, short! I cut it pretty short but then he said, batting his puppy-dog eyes, "It would be nice if you could do it a little bit shorter..." So, now he's pretty much bald.



While I was cutting his hair, he reminded me of an experience we had while in Jordan. His hair was getting beyond a joke. It was to the point that he should not have been going to school without doing his hair, but still was. He had massive bed head and would not fix his hair! So, I borrowed Ashley's clippers in order to remedy the hair problem. Believe me, he's better off bald than refusing to do his hair.

We picked up the clippers on the way home from church one day. She warned me that they weren't very good clippers but that they still work just fine. We were like, "Yeah, sure...thanks." and were on our way.

I don't remember exactly when I cut Andrew's hair but we had the clippers for a quite a few days, so it must have been sometime later that week. Anyway, we went into the kitchen and I commenced cutting Andrew's hair. He was being such a baby..."Ouch! Ouch! You're pulling it! Stop! That hurts! Ouch!"

Ten minutes later I had cut like 3 square inches of hair off. Andrew was crying.

We decided that the clippers really weren't very good clippers, and contrary to what we were told, they didn't work just fine anymore. But, he already had a nice chunk of hair missing, so I had to finish, right?

So we started cutting again. Poor Andrew was getting burned and nicked. It was horrible. And it was taking forever. About an hour later we heard a *pop* and the clippers stopped working.

Now I was really worried. Had we just broken Ashley's clippers? Had we fried the converter we were borrowing from the Slades? Or did the clippers just over-heat and automatically turn off?

We stewed about this for a while...crossing our fingers and hoping and praying that it was the latter. I mean, breaking Ashley's clippers wouldn't have been too bad. We would have had to have replaced the clippers, but it's not the end of the world. Had the converter broken though, that would have been pretty bad. Half of our appliances would be rendered useless!

While we were considering the worst possible solutions: where to get a new converter/buy a new set of clippers in Amman, I tried the clippers again and they started working. Phew! They started working again and I finished torturing Andrew.

The haircut took a total of about 3 hours to finish. Poor Andrew had a sore head for a few days after we were done the haircut and I swore I would never cut his hair ever again (using Ashley's clippers). Quite frankly, I don't know how Ashley or Ben can stand using those clippers. Ben must have a pretty tough head and Ashley must have a lot of patience. I certainly hope that Ashley gets a new set of clippers for Christmas!