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!

How Bizarre, How Bazaar...

Yesterday, my mom and Josie and Emily came over to watch a Bollywood movie. I thought it would be nice to have some homemade, authentic Indian cooking to go along with the experience. Not that I've had a lot of authentic Indian cooking, but my best friend growing up was from Mauritius, and her family was full-blooded Indian, so I'd experienced some.

Andrew has also been acting a little sick lately. For lunch I made him tomato-chicken-noodle- pumpkin-curry soup. It was actually pretty good. I loaded it with garlic and other spices to hopefully clean out his sinuses. (Oh, and the chicken noodle part was actually a Turkish brand of instant soup that we bought in Jordan. It's called Bizim and is a lot cheaper than Maggi, although Maggi probably tastes a little better.) So, my second reason for making some currified meal was to help Andrew get better.

I decided that for dinner I would make curry chicken. The only problem was that I had never made curry anything, let alone curry chicken. I turned to the good ol' World Wide Web to find a recipe. This was a far more difficult task than it originally seemed. After looking at 3 or 4 recipes, I turned to Andrew and exasperatedly said, "None of these so-called 'Curry Chicken' recipes call for curry. How can you make curry chicken without curry?"

I decided though, that I would try to follow one, so I looked at a few more to find one that I thought sounded good. Most of the recipes called for the following spices:

  • minced garlic
  • finely chopped ginger
  • cumin
  • tumeric
  • coriander
  • cayenne pepper

I didn't know what I was going to do since I didn't have the foggiest idea what coriander or tumeric were. I searched through the spice rack that we got as a wedding gift because it has a whole bunch of spices on it that I don't know what to do with. I found the coriander, but we didn't have any tumeric. I was stumped. I had no clue that curry chicken was made without curry and now I didn't even know what half the spices the curry chicken recipe called for were!

That got me thinking though. When Andrew and I were in Turkey, we went to the spice bazaar and got a number of different spices that are either hard to find, or extremely expensive in the State. One such spice was saffron--we got a whole lot of it for very little money because Turkey is one of the biggest producers of saffron, which they then sell to America at exorbitant prices. Like 5 grams for 18.21 USD! We got 100 grams for such a trivial amount of money that I didn't even bat my eyes. I think it was around 2 or 3 dollars. Yeah, that's a whole lot cheaper.


Check out Bridget's Syria blog for some great spice pictures!

We also got some curry. Quite a bit of it, simply because curry is just so good. Curry was right in there with the other spices. Just sitting out in a container by the cinnamon and allspice and the other ground up spices.

I sat there trying to figure out why in the world we were able to purchase curry yet people don't actually cook with curry. I turned to Wikipedia for my answer. As it turns out, curry is a mixture of spices that the British concocted to keep the savor of Indian food while in Britain, without having to mix all the spices while cooking. So, "curry" as we know it contains cinnamon, garlic, tumeric, coriander, nutmeg, fennel, and a bunch of other spices, proportioned very nicely to give food that "Indian" taste. Curry isn't a real spice! But it sure is a great mixture of spices. I'm glad that someone else goes through all the trouble to measure out all the spices and mix them up for me. It makes it so easy to make an authentic-tasting Indian dish.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Christmas Already?

At work this morning, my co-worker, Marcie, asked me if I wanted to start planning the Christmas party today. "Already?" I asked, innocently. "Well," she said, "It is November 1st..."

So, we started planning the Christmas party. I really wasn't in a Christmas party planning mood. I mean, after my last fiasco of the Opening Social...and then how only 2 kids came trick-or-treating last night (yes, some children did show up at our door a little before nine--a miracle, indeed), I wasn't feeling all too keen on over-planning for an ill-attended event.

Aside from my feeling sorry for myself, there were other reasons I didn't want to plan this party today.

First of all, Halloween was just yesterday. Do we really have to un-decorate from that holiday so quickly? Can't we just revel in the fact that the holiday is over without having to do anything about it? Apparently no. All the ghosts and jack-o-lanterns that adorned the office just yesterday have been replaced with turkeys and cornucopias.

Second, isn't there an unwritten rule that you should not decorate and/or prepare for and/or listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving? (Personally, I break this last unwritten rule a lot. I like to think that since Canadian Thanksgiving is so early in October that I can listen to Christmas music a lot sooner than a regular American can.) I mean, I'm still trying to solidify our Thanksgiving plans (honestly, we don't have any yet) let alone plan on what we are going to do for Christmas.

Actually, I struggle thinking up what to have for dinner, let alone plan on what we are going to do for Christmas...

Third, I don't see why we make such a big deal about it anyway. Where I used to work, we had a Charlie Brown Christmas. We made snowflakes and paper chains out of old invoices. We decorated with a thrashed plastic Christmas tree and equally worn-out ornaments. We had a pot luck meal and played games and watched a cheesy Christmas film, like the Grinch (the original cartoon, of course). It was so relaxing and so much fun. I helped plan it one year. We had no budget and our meeting went something like this:

Who wants to make the sign up for food? Okay, great.
Who wants to make sure people bring games? Okay.
Who wants to sing Christmas carols? Okay, cool.
Ummm...so I'll see you all there.

And that was all. I was so hoping that this year's party would be something like that. No such luck.

We invite all the faculty, staff, dean's office, janitors, computer supports, stock room, retired faculty, postdocs, research associates...I could go on.

We're supposed to plan a nice, formal, sit-down banquet for like 200 people. Eek! I think it is doable. I made the invitations today so that we can send them out as soon as possible. I was checking the notes from last year's party (which I didn't attend) and the previous secretary sent out the invitations the end of October! I wasn't even thinking about this party until today. Apparently I was slacking off and should have had the invitations out already. I think that this is still enough notice though.

I suppose I need to get on the ball. After all, Christmas is only 53 days, 3 hours and 26 minutes away.