Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I really had NO idea how vast the world of blogging was when I started doing this. I got a comment on my first post within about an hour by someone I didn't even know and I thought, "How did they even find this blog?" Well, now I know ... and there are lots of ways to "find" blogs. But perhaps more accurately said, more ways to happen upon blogs.
Sometimes I will be reading the comments on someone's post and think that person's profile picture is cute, or their blog name is cute, or their comment is interesting, and click on their name which takes you over to their blog. Then they might have a link to someone else's, or a "button" on their sidebar (I have two), or a"be sure and check out ...."
So you click on one of those and off you go into La La Land - or Blogga' Land as the case may be.
A few days ago I was visiting one of my favorite blogs, "Rockstar Diaries." Naomi, whose blog it is, said she was going to be a guest blogger over at "21st and Ivy". So I clicked over to 21st and Ivy, scrolled through their incredibly unique blog, and found a post about an artist named Michelle Christensen.
First of all, how adorable is she? That is Michelle, up above, next to one of her captivating drawings. So I clicked on over to Michelle's blog (artismc.blogspot.com) and saw that she recently graduated with a BFA in Illustration from BYU.
I read that and thought, Well that is cool. My brother graduated with a BFA in Illustration from BYU about 25 years ago. Whoa, that's a long time ago and he is my younger brother ... how did I get to be this old?
But I was so impressed with her work. You really must go check it out. I just love her style and creativity.
Have I also mentioned that I love McDonald's? (Okay, I thought so.) But did you know I love Michael Jackson too?
I can't even tell you how big my smile was when I saw this picture!
So thanks Michelle. You totally made my day.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This is my brother-in-law, Nate (and a whole bunch of little girls). This is Nate in his "element." Outdoors, camping, ready to get back to nature in any way, shape or form. He likes to hike, canoe, hunt with his brothers and/or son and pointer dog, Darcy, and he loves to fly fish.
Last week I was driving along I-15 with a friend when my car starting making an awful noise. I mean, awful. I knew that I had better get off the freeway as quickly as possible.
I'm sure any mechanic in the vacinity heard my car heading towards them. I had to pick the first one I saw, so I pulled my sad little Sebring into a TUNEX. The guy came out, took a quick listen and said it sounded like there wasn't any oil in it. Wait, what?
I knew that I had an oil leak (a leak, mind you) and just a few days earlier was thinking to myself, Where is that sticker that tells me when I need an oil change? I bet it's time.
(I need to write myself a mental note, except that I suffer from "mental-pause" so I don't know that that would really help me out much, that says: When you have a thought about something you should do - do it right away, before you forget.)
The mechanic checked it out and said it was pretty much bone dry. He put five quarts in it but suggested that I not drive it home.
(Okay. What I wanted to know in that moment was, where the heck was the warning light? My oil light never went on, nor did anything overheat, and it never made a noise until it just about dropped the engine on me!)
Well, we were a good hour from home, I knew the tow would be pricey (I do have AAA roadside assistance but they only tow within 5 miles), so I just had to sit and cry. Now what?
My friend suggested that we just drive home on side streets. She said, "What could it hurt? Your motor is ruined anyway. Let's just try it."
We made it two blocks and then called the tow truck.
Long story short, my estimate to fix it was $4,400. Again, say WHAT?
I really didn't have much of an option but to look for a different car. (I would say a new car, but I can't afford a new car. I can't really afford a "different" car payment either, but sometimes you just have to choose the lesser of two evils in life, you know?)
One "We Buy Junk Cars" offer was $350. Now granted my car needed a new engine and from that moment on would have to be towed wherever it went, but still ... at that price I would have rather parked it in my backyard and let the neighborhood kids play in it!
The first dealership I went to said they could go as high as $800 if I used it as a trade in. Hmmm, that was much better but still less than half of what I stilled owed on the darn thing.
I went to a second dealership to drive a little used Honda CR-V they had advertised. I had decided that was going to be my car of choice this time around. I drove it, I liked it, but it had just been traded in, hadn't been detailed and really hadn't been very well maintained. It gave me a bad vibe so I said, no.
The guy said he had a Subaru Forester that was really clean with low miles that I should test drive too. I wasn't sure. I have a friend who has been in the car industry in one way or another for the last 25 years. He had said, "You know who drives Subaru's? People who eat granola, hug trees and want to save the planet."
I would REALLY have to wrap my brain around driving a Subaru after that.
I told the car salesman that, he chuckled, and then he handed me the keys. He said, "Go ahead and take it. Drive it around. We're here until 8 tonight. And what if I was able to pay off your car loan." Man he's good!
I drove it, I loved it, I bought it.
So .... ? What does this have to do with Nate? Nate drove a Subaru - perfect.
I called Nate, he assured me it was a great reliable car and that I would really like it. Then he said, "Just make sure you get a peace sign or a 'Save our Canyons' sticker for the back window."
Monday, January 25, 2010
Late last fall I asked my kids to rake the leaves in the backyard. Elliott went out and raked for awhile but then came in and said, "Sophie can do the rest."
A few days later it rained. The pile of leaves got soaked. A little while after that, it snowed. The wet leaves were so saturated that I think they took on a form of mush.
Now that it is late January and the mush has inhabited the same spot on my lawn for nearly 4 months I decided it was high time it gets picked up ... the new Spring growth doesn't look too pretty after spending the winter under mush. (I know from experience.)
So today I came home from work and in much more of a statement than a request, said, "You guys, hurry and grab the snow shovels and pick up those piles of leaves out back. Haley will be home soon and we need to get to the chiropractor. Use the trash can closest to the front of the garage. The leaves will be heavy so you both need to do it together."
They got their coats, got some shoes on, and went out back.
That was easy. Not sure why. Gotta love it when kids don't complain! :)
Sidenote: I know they don't look terribly happy in this picture, but they are smiling deep down inside. I think Sophie was serious because she was mimicking the picture of the couple on the farm. Elliott, just because he doesn't like his picture taken.
Friday, January 22, 2010
One of the things I do at my job is choose images for a publication we put out each quarter called The Journal of Civil Defense. I work at a non-profit organization whose main objective is to share information with the public about preparing yourselves in the event of disasters.
Some of the information can be a little dry, like talking about EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and how that could completely devastate the infrastructure of our country. Or sheltering your family in the event of radiation fallout and the best ways to do that. One Journal was dedicated to communications and gave solutions to the problems which will occur in the event of a power outage of our national powergrid system.
It can sometimes be a little challenging for me to come up with ideas for photos that will correlate with the subjects (how many nuclear blast pictures can there be?) and make it visually appealing as well.
But one day, as I was scrolling through iStock.com, I came across the photo above of this precious little newborn. I could hardly stand how cute it was! I had to use it. So I found one sentence in an article about KIO3, a potassium pill you take in the event of radioactive fallout, (did you already know that?), that would work with this picture.
So here is the caption that was under it: Small babies should not take a thyroid blocker for longer than three days unless absolutely necessary. This means a baby in the womb too.
Good thinking, huh? 'Cause I really do love this photo. Everytime I look at it I can't help but get a big smile on my face ... every single time.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Several years ago, my kids and I were on a trip down to Southern California. One night we stopped to visit with my friend Diane and her family. They were watching a brand new show called American Idol. We hadn't ever seen it. I think they were close to the final four at that time and Diane said, "I can not believe you guys don't watch this show, especially since your girls are singers!" She went on to explain the premise, how it works, how you call in and vote. She was guessing that Kelly Clarkson would win - that was a good guess.
I do have daughters who like to sing, and even though we knew our chances were slim to none, McCall and I, (the only one who was of try-out age at the time) decided to take a little road trip to audition that next season at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
That was a trip and a half. We had no idea what to expect but we were all about the adventure of the whole thing. We drove down with my friend Wendi and met up with another friend, Tracy, who lives in South Pasadena and wanted to share the experience.
We pulled into town and met up with Tracy at around 12:00 midnight. When we got to the Rose Bowl parking lot, there were MASS quantities of people. Some had tents, sleeping bags, blow up mattresses, chairs, folding tables ... some people were playing games and eating out of their coolers. TONS of people were singing and plenty more were "shushing" people up, hoping that they could get their rest before the big audition.
We tried to get a little sleep ... it wasn't happening. After several hours we ventured out of line to find the restrooms. NOPE, that wasn't happening either. Way too many people, way too few restrooms. You could tell from a few feet away that you didn't really want to go in there.
The front of the line had been there for a couple of days. Mid-line for at least all of that day, and for those of us who had traipsed in late - it was still several hours before dawn. We had no idea if we were "too late" and if the end of the line would even be seen. We didn't know if just the auditioner would be allowed into the stadium or what - and no one else around us knew either.
It was a restless night for sure and then at about 5:30 the next morning, crew members were walking past the line telling everyone to get up, clean up and that we would be filing into the Rose Bowl soon. (It was still dark at that point except for the bright lights of the camera crew who were eagerly filming.)
We were handed disclosure papers that needed to be signed stating that FOX and American Idol would be able to use any footage shot during the audition process, basically stating that no charges could be pressed against them ... I guess for defamation of character (who knew back then how ugly that could get, yeah?)
There was a definite buzz floating around that Ryan Seacrest would be there - maybe to film an opening shot or something. (Remember this was Season 2 - who knew?) McCall said, "Mom, if Ryan Seacrest is here and I get to see him, it will be worth the trip and then we can leave."
We took turns saving the place in line so we could head back to the car to freshen up ... well, as best as you can given the circumstances.
I think it was around 8:00 a.m. before we actually filed into the stadium - and then we all sloooooowly filed - into - the - stadium. I would guess around 6 thousand people were there, which by today's American Idol turn-outs was a modest number, and as we sat there in the sun I thought how in the world is this going to happen?
But it did. Everyone who had come there to sing in front of the judges, (the first round of the judges anyway), got to sing in front of the judges, and by 3:30 that afternoon, the last of the auditioners walked out of the empty stadium ... and we were among them.
We had been in line by a really darling, sweet guy named Jeff. He sang for us before we were seated and we thought he was amazing! We told him we thought he would for sure make it ... and then we saw him again ... on TV, during Hollywood week! Yay, Jeff!
Once we did realize that everyone, including the last lone ranger who wandered in just as the end of the line passed through the gates, got their chance, I said, "Next time - we get a hotel, a good night's sleep and a shower before we get in line."
I do believe that was the last year they allowed people to spend the night in line.
But - when all was said and done - a good time was had by all. (At least in our party - definitely not by the crazies, you know the ones, who really do cuss and cry and throw their temper tantrums as they yell, "They don't know what they're talking about!!! I can SING!!!!)
Sidenote: I think after all these years of Idol the totally non-talented singers, who are chosen only for entertainment value, don't really need to be there. They don't like it, Simon doesn't like it, and I think it takes away the slot where other real, potentially good singers might have gotten a great opportuntity.
Aside from that, I love that January brings us a new season of American Idol. (Serious couch time ahead.)
Monday, January 18, 2010
MSN recently had a top 10 cupcake list ... clearly, they don't know about The Sweet Tooth Fairy yet or it would have made the list.
I am not even the "hugest" cake fan as far as my own top 10 desserts, but these cupcakes ... I've never tasted anything like them. And I'm not just saying that. They really, are SOOOOO good!
And it isn't just because the bakery has the cutest name around, and carries the cutest little accessories (like aprons and sprinkles and creative cupcake papers). Or because the store itself is just so darling you don't want to leave. Or because the flavors are so creative, like: raspberry lemonade, cheesecake, cotton candy, key lime and s'mores. Or because they can decorate them any and every which way you could think of ....
Even though it is all of those things too, it is the richest, moistest, yummiest cupcake you would ever want to eat.
I get happy just driving down to Provo anticipating having one! And sometimes I do drive down to Provo, just to get one (but don't believe that it's ever really just one.)
Recently, the really cute Sweet Tooth Fairy sign was put up in a new location ... here in Draper ... right across the parking lot from the new IN-N-OUT ... a few blocks from my work ... oh no ...
I'm in so much trouble! ;)
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I just had to post this photo on my blog. This morning in Draper it has been a gloomy, damp day. I clicked on my recently added link to "Hooked on Houses" and this cottage is what I saw. How darling is this? It is in Australia. I want to be there right this minute.
It immediately reminded me of the house Cameron Diaz rents in the movie "Holiday" which I just rewatched with my girls a couple of weeks ago.
I love that movie. I love the way Cameron Diaz dresses in it - really soft colors, classic style. I love her house in LA too ... when I can't sleep at night - sadly, that would be just about every night these days - I take my mind to her bedroom in that movie, when Kate Winslet is trying to go back to sleep and pushes the remote to have all of the room darkening shades come down over the windows ... then as I visualize the shades coming down in my mind, shutting out the light, I try to shut out all of the thoughts that are in my head as well. In theory, that's a really good idea. I actually heard it on a cd once by a guy named Eckhart Tolle. He has a series of cds all about controlling your thoughts and clearing your mind. If only that were as easy as pusing a button on the remote, right?
I remember walking by a darling little cottage years ago in a town along the coast in Northern California. I can see it vividly in my mind. It's funny how certain images make a lasting impression on you. I wanted to live there. Maybe that's because these houses give the illusion that life on the inside surely must be just as calm and serene as it looks on the outside ... that would be nice too.
Nantucket's streets are lined with these darling settings as well. That's part of the reason I love to take walks there ... you know, I wouldn't mind being there right this minute either.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I've known lots of parents who won't give their children sugar. I don't happen to be one of them, but I do understand the reasoning behind it. Why would they then want to continue with bland cereal and vegetables after tasting the sweetness? But isn't it so fun to aquire a taste for something new?
I was eating a candy cane the other night when McCall and Libby stopped by. I figured a few licks wouldn't matter, right? (Actually I just wanted to see how Libby would react to the candy cane.)
That became our entertainment for the next several minutes. :)
Now Libby is only 4 months old. Her mother has only tried to feed her rice cereal once and she wanted nothing to do with it. Strictly breast milk and formula, (oh and some medicinal drops) until now - now she can add peppermint to her taste repertoire. (I know that doesn't really fit there, but it's a really great word and I thought of it right that second so I think I will leave it.)
Libby has just barely started reaching for things too, but she sure tried to grab that candy cane with enthousiasm! And her little tongue just kept lapping at it ... like a puppy, 'cause she just didn't know quite how that was supposed to work. It was adorable.
Now I am such a creature of habit that I normally don't like to try new things. Not because I'm not "adventurous" but because I like certain things so much, that if I try something new and it isn't as good, I am disappointed. So I tend to stick with what I like and then I'm not usually disappointed.
When my family was living back in Connecticut, my brother and I had been invited over to our friend, Ann Marie's house. We didn't know her family very well because they had recently moved into the area from Atlanta. They were very southern and VERY proper.
Mrs. Googe invited us to stay for lunch and had graciously made sandwiches. We all sat down at the table. Mine had mayonaise and tomatoes on it. I didn't like mayonaise and tomatoes. What was I going to do?
My sandwich repertoire (there's that word again) consisted of plain peanut butter, cheese and mustard, peanut butter with cheese and mustard, or ham and cheese with mustard.
I remember sitting for a long time. Probably talking to avoid taking a bite. But I didn't want to be rude and not eat it, or pick it off and say I didn't like it, so eventually I had no choice but to pick the sandwich up and take a bite ...
And then I felt just like the character in Green Eggs and Ham when he says, "Say! I do like these green eggs and ham! I do like them, Sam I am!" I LIKED it! I really did. And I was totally and completely surprised by that.
It had probably been years since I had tried it, or perhaps I had never tried it (it being mayonaise and tomatoes on a sandwich) but my sister was right when she said I had been missing out! That really adds some nice "flava" to a sandwich!
(I do still eat my McDonald's burgers plain, but everywhere else, I add tomatoes and mayo!)
Monday, January 11, 2010
I clicked from one blog to another and saw a post about Random Thoughts.
(Okay, it was my daughter's friend, Megan.) She said she had "blog stalked" her way into finding these and wanted to share ... although she had over 50 random thoughts on her post, I thought I would just share my top ten favorites, the ones that gave me a smile:
- How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod
- MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I
- Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using as in examples,
- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing
- Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go
- I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
- Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature
- Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in
- You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work
(For me, that would be now.)
I used to drive a Suburban and I loved it ... that is, until it started to cost me well over $100 to fill the tank. That was about 5 years ago and gas prices continued to rise after that.
I decided back then, since I didn't always have five little children with me at all times, I needed to opt for a smaller car, with a smaller gas tank, and less of a hit each time I went to fill it.
I do miss that four wheel drive Suburban though. I liked being the one that moms would call to be the "rescue" driver on snowy mornings. "Polly, can you come and pick Tavia up for pre-school this morning? They haven't plowed our cul-de-sac yet." Or, "I can't get up the hill this morning, are you going to be going out soon?" Since I love to drive, (have you read about that here?) I was more than happy to be accommodating.
The nice thing about the smaller vehicle is filling it up for around $30. And the thing that I like the best about having a full tank of gas is that it means it will be several days before I need to pump gas again ... I don't love pumping gas.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Growing up, I was always that child who had a really clean, organized room. In fact, sometimes, I used to intentionally make it messy so that I could clean it up. I liked having everything in it's place. I could say that I got that from my dad, who has been called "Felix" a time or two, but my mom is every bit as organized and particular as my dad is.
Several years ago, someone got wind that I was a fairly organized person, and so she asked me if I would teach a class to a group of women at church. I gathered up all of my organizational tips and had a really good time sharing my thoughts and ideas of what had worked for me. I have taught that same class a number of times since, but the last time I taught (within the last year), a comment was made by a gal who said, "You know, you can get all of this information online."
(Well ... okay, way to burst my bubble little missy! I guess technology will now shut out the verbal sharing of ideas that once existed amongst us women when I began my sharing some 20 plus years ago.)
Just before my divorce, I was chatting with some friends and was asked if I would consider helping one of them get her house organized. I needed the extra money and said, Sure. Hence, that is when I became a professional organizer. (I can claim that title since I was paid for the job, right ... isn't that the rule?)
I had quite a few people hire me after that and the very first thing I did with them, after we accessed the situation, was to go buy plastic totes. I have my favorite brand and style (70 gallon, Sterilite, latch handles, stacking) but not every store carries them. ShopKo does (are they still in business?) and Target does. They do come in lots of different sizes, but boy, those 70 gallons sure hold a lot of stuff! And they aren't so big that you can't lift them when full. (The picture above is my Christmas stuff ... most of it anyway ... less the wreaths and trees ... and the tote full of lights ... and the boxes that hold my Nativites ... and the little random things that don't always get set out ... Okay, I can admit, I have a LOT of Christmas stuff!)
I buy the clear totes for obvious reasons ... I can see what's in them. That works so well at holiday time. If it's Halloween, I know which ones have costumes in them and which ones have the decorations so I don't need to open each one. I have adult costumes in one, and children's costumes in another. It works really well at Christmastime too - if I know that I won't be using that particular themed tree that year, the tote and those decorations stays downstairs.
I can also admit that the expression, "Do as I say, not as I do" sometimes applies to me here. I am not always the most organized person and I do have my piles that need serious attention. I have had to let some of that go since I am single and work full time - but I keep on trying. In fact, it has been a goal of mine for a long time to have every room completely organized at the same time. It's a pretty lofty goal, but I would one day like to lay in my bed at night, knowing that every drawer, every closet, every corner of my house (including the garage) was completely organized. Even if just for a little while.
It could happen.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
First off, is it really January 5th already? How does that happen? Seriously? One morning I'm watching the Rose Parade thinking I will post about it on my blog, and wish everyone a happy new year, and the next thing I know ... 4 days have passed.
(Big sigh as I shake my head).
I do LOVE the Tournament of Roses Parade. I don't know how many times I have been to it, but I was lucky enough to grow up practically down the street, so it has been lots of times. And it just never ceases to amaze me. Truly, the floats are absolutely spectacular in person - and sometimes, even breathtaking. (It has kind of spoiled all other parades for me though. Nothing compares.)
A particularly memorable year was when the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) had an entry. I couldn't tell you what the float looked like today but I do remember who was riding on it ... that would be Donny and Marie. Good choice, don't you think?
After the Parade was over, the floats were taken to Victory Park, in Pasadena, so visitors could get a closer look. My friend, Diane and I were pretty excited about that, so we took a little trip to the park. Now there may or may not have been ropes around the floats to keep people off of them, but we decided that we absolutely had to take advantage of that "photo op" and climbed aboard. We stood in the little "stands" (much like you put around dolls to hold them up) that Donny and Marie had stood in and quickly took a few pictures. (We also may or may not have taken a few flowers from the float as well ... did you know that each flower is in its own little vial of water to maintain optimum freshness?)
Delanie's family had a motor home and it was their tradition to park the motor home along the parade route a few days ahead and then get on top to watch the parade. We took advantage of that a time or two as well. The picture above from 1985 just might have been the last time McCall went to the parade ... how did I let that happen?
So this year, I talked to some of the kids about it, and we decided that we are going to do everything possible to get down to Pasadena next year to watch the parade up close and personal. Everyone is old enough now so we can camp out along the parade route and stay up all night.
(At least that will be the goal ... we can talk about it, right ... I don't stay up all night too much anymore ... in fact, almost never ... but it'll be a memory ... oh ... we have a baby now ... she'll be okay.)