Saturday, November 27, 2010
I am slowly (or rather quickly actually) turning into List Girl. List girl makes me think of Word Girl (and those of you who can suddenly sing -- to the right melody -- "Word up, it's Word Girl" are probably so happy right now). Word Girl is a PBS cartoon superhero (with an excellent vocabulary and a sidekick monkey). List girl doesn't maybe sound quite so heroine-ish as Word Girl, but certainly not villainous, and, even if List Girl did smack of villainy, it would be alright because this is the last list I am going to do until . . . FOR-EVER! (Disclaimer: strictly speaking, that is probably not true . . . or, even, . . . loosely speaking).
Anyway, upward and onward . . . or forward and . . . backward?? No. No. That can't be right. Forget I said anything. On to this Christmas List that I came across. (Where? I don't recall. I'm sure I stole it from someone . . . maybe one of you. In any case, I'd be most flattered if any of you would likewise steal it from me . . . or, back from me -- as the case may be.)
1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
While I do purchase eggnog occasionally for my dear husband's enjoyment and can see why it might be a holiday treat that brings many of you a little cheer, I actually shudder and maybe even convulse a little at the thought of touching it to my own lips. I'm not sure why. It's probably delicious (bleck!). Actually, I think I do know why, and it might have something to do with my brother Aaron (maybe with sister Shannon's help) making homemade eggnog in the blender at home one summer when we were young. I don't recall much other than raw eggs swirling about, and something about walking down the street later still feeling very unhappy about the taste in my mouth. No no. No eggnog for me, thanks. I am, however, quite fond of hot chocolate. Sometimes I like minty kinds with a little whip cream.
2. Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree?
When I first read this, I thought, "What kind of lunacy? Presents OPEN under the tree?" But I was just picturing a bunch of toys lying about all helter skelter with nary a bit of wrapping in site. When I thought about it further, I realized that, actually, we usually do leave a few presents unwrapped to add to the excitement of the Christmas morning scene. I still remember very clearly coming into my own living room when I was small to a glorious hand made (by my mother) barbie house -- decked out with fake snow and Christmas lights. It couldn't possibly have been as magical had it been all wrapped up. So, we usually have something sitting out for the kids to see right when they walk in, but most everything else is wrapped (which makes for some late night Christmas Eve's for Mike and I now that we have five little people to wrap for).
3. Colored lights or white?
You can't really go wrong with either. White lights are so classy and pretty and are actually what Mike and I have used throughout our Christmases together, but we always had colored lights growing up, and they do make me so happy and bring back such good memories that I think I will have to revolt against all my pretty white lights and do colored lights soon. I don't necessarily want to go spend the money to get enough new strands for all our decorating this year, but sometime we will need to invest in them and then maybe I'll do alternate years of white lights and colored lights. Abe and Goldie do have little trees in their rooms with colored lights, and it makes me happy to see. Maybe I'll just go buy one little strand to drape around our bedroom as well for this year.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Why no, but perhaps I should -- though, naturally, I will dispose of any and all mistletoe when my kids become teenagers with little teenage friends hanging about the house (in order to help curtail any funny business).
5. When do you put your decorations up?
Nearly always the day after Thanksgiving. It's a day off from school and feels like a fun holiday weekend activity. I used to be pretty strict about that being the day to start playing Christmas music as well, but this year I came home from a run one Saturday in early November to find Mike had turned it on for the girls and we haven't been able to stop listening to it since.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Hmm. I don't know. I certainly enjoy good holiday eatin', but I can't particularly think of a favorite dish.
7. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
I think we have always given our kids a little gift on Christmas Eve. I can't remember for certain though. Growing up we always got new nightgowns made by my mom on Christmas Eve. In later years, we opened the family gift exchange gift (we'd draw names earlier in the season). I think I've given our kids pj's a few times. Last year Mike gave them all CD player alarm clocks to wake them on Christmas morning (or more to let them know how long they had to stay in bed). I wouldn't mind coming up with a theme for Christmas Eve gifts. I think it was my sister-in-law Kimberly who mentioned doing books as a Christmas Eve gift. I like that idea, or maybe an ornament (something Mike's sister Rebecca's family does on Christmas Eve).
8. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Mike and I strung popcorn and cranberries our first Christmas together and those strands are still loosely holding up. We also hang red beads and gingerbread cookies. Our main ornaments are ones we borrowed from Mike's parents our first Christmas together and consist of red ball ornaments; red checked bows; and these darling little knitted santas, snowmen and carolers. We intended to borrow them just that year but have used them ever since so they have acquired quite a bit of sentimentality to them. I will add (for the benefit of any of Mike's family members who might also view these as happy and sentimental childhood ornaments) that I do realize they aren't actually ours and will return them should the day arise that just such a sacrifice be required. We also have a few odds-and-ends ornaments of the kind your kids make for you that must go on the tree each year.
9. Snow. Love it or hate it?
Oh, I know it is such a hassle to have around and dangerous for driving, and I don't love trying to load all my kids in a snow covered car on our way to school in the morning, but I can't get it out of my head that to dislike snow is somehow slightly evil. I always get excited by a snowfall (I've told you this might relate back to my childhood and my mother making us feel that any and all storms were cause for celebration).
10. Can you ice skate?
Oh, I think I went a few times when I was younger, and, I imagine, that after an hour or so I could manage to lumber about the rink with out falling . . . but that is the problem -- it would be lumbering, which is a word that one should never see in the same sentence as "ice skate." I would love if I'd been blessed with a little more gracefulness and coordination.
11. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Too hard. I do tend to make fudge a lot around this time of year, and I love my mom's hot fudge sauce with ice-cream. And, even though they are loads of work, the kids and I always make sugar cookies sometime in December.
12. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Another one that is too hard. There are tons of traditions that I recall happily from my own childhood. Mike and I have pulled some of our happiest childhood traditions over to our family and are still in the process of creating more of our own. I miss going to choose our tree at one of the local tree farms in WA, that was a fun tradition, but I love the little set of tiny Christmas drawers my kids get to open for each day of December to find what Christmas type activity we will do that day (watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, make gingerbread, let the girls do a Christmas dance for us, etc.). All the traditions will have to be a post in and of themselves, but it does make me happy to think of the things we are doing now becoming the things that my own kids remember fondly as "our" traditions when they are older.
13. Candy canes. Yum or yuck?
Like snow, it seems bordering sacrilege to say "yuck" to candy canes, but, truthfully, I am not a huge fan. I may end up having a small piece off one of my kids' candy canes here or there through out the year, but I would never just eat one as a treat of choice.
14. Favorite Christmas show?
I don't know that there is one Christmas show that I absolutely love. At my house, we always watched A Christmas Story and Holiday Inn (I need to watch that one again with Mike), but, if I had to choose only two that we could ever watch again at Christmas I'd probably have to go for A Charlie Brown Christmas and the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
14. Something you are good at:
Thursday, November 18, 2010
BUT, I must press on! Spelling bee experiences are not on the list! Stick to the list, Nancy! Stick to it!
OK. Fine. See if I care. I think lists are fun anyway.
Anywho, I wasn't doing anything fancy today -- not even using my good camera. I had just grabbed our tiny point and shoot camera to get pictures for this post, but that same thing was happening with the above photo by the window. So, I simply focused my camera on a darker corner away from the window, then, keeping the button held halfway down moved back to the picture by the window. Wa-lah! My furniture didn't turn to silhouettes since I'd fooled my camera into thinking I was taking a picture not into direct light. There. You can all do that now even if you know nothing and have a cheep camera. Isn't that fun?
Friday, November 12, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
#3 -- Your short term goals for the month
I don't actually have any goals for the month, if you must know. Well, I did have one, I guess. It was to pull out all of my dying flowers and weeds from the front flower beds and put Halloween decorations away, and I did do those things. So . . . that's something. I suppose I could hurry and create some worthy goals for myself, but I don't really want to. So, farewell numero tres.
#4 --Something you've been proud of in the past few days
I must have been feeling very accomplished and motivated when I kept numbers 3 and 4 in the list to begin with. I don't know that I've done anything that I'm especially pleased with lately. Not that I am displeased, mind. I've just been doing normal run of the mill things. Although . . . I guess you can be proud of something that isn't about you, can't you! Well, I was proud of Goldie yesterday when she spent all day working on a story (perhaps more of a parody) called "The Three Big Wolves" and read it to my entire family at Sunday dinner. Yes, there was a "little bad pig" that came to try and eat the wolves.
Alright, #5, I will give you an honest effort -- The first ten songs that happen to play when your iPod is put on shuffle.
It's a miracle actually that I own an iPod. I am terrified of technology and scarcely ever to be found wanting the latest gadget. Yes, I loved when Mike got me my GPS running watch, and cell phones are lovely, but I get intimidated about figuring anything new out and I would have likely never thought to get an iPod because I would have thought, "Well, that would be silly, I don't generally walk around with headphones on anyway."
Luckily, Mike keeps me somewhat in the technology loop. When my foot first started having troubles last year, I decided to try some cycling/spinning classes. I quite liked them, but I occasionally complained to Mike that I could do a pretty darn good class my own self with much better music. Soo, naturally (and it is naturally if you know that my husband pays attention to any small thing that might ever make my life happier) Mike came home a few nights later with an iPod for me. Of course he had to show me how to download songs and use it, and initially I just created a little spinning playlist of upbeat songs to use for my own little personal cycling sessions. But before long I discovered how great having an iPod is (especially with our van -- bless it's heart -- having a nice plug in so we can listen to it there). It is so fun to just put all my music on there and create little playlists. I have a Sunday one and one for the little girls that has songs that are innocent and fun for them like Colbie Caillet's "Bubbly," etc. Then more of a kids' one with the things like Old MacDonald had a Farm. I love hearing a song I like on the radio and just being able to quickly put just that song on my iPod. It's been so fun. I feel like an old woman saying, "Why that crazy what's-it called iPod is just a dandy -- the things it can do!" Anywho, shuffle clicked and here were the first ten songs that happened to come up (the original person I saw who did this list actually put the little youtube videos of each song on here. Naturally I haven't the faintest idea how to do that, so if you actually care, you can, I'm sure, find them your own tiny self on youtube).
1. Ope, that can't count. I don't even know that song or what its doing on here. I'll put what it should have been instead (cheater). It should have been "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. I listen to that sweet little song all the time lately. I tend to treat songs like I do food cravings -- I listen to one over and over til anyone near might lose their minds, then I discard it for something new. The last one was Dierks Bentley's "Draw Me a Map" that my sister Megan introduced me to (along with his version of U2's "Pride" that Shannon introduced me to).
2. "I'd be Lying" by Greg Laswell. I really love this song. As far as mainstream music goes, I usually prefer kind of mellow stuff like old Greg Laswell. Plus, this is the first song I downloaded and put on my little cycling mix, so I always listen to it as my warm up song (and now I can't really ever hear it without feeling like I'm riding a bike).
3. "Whenever/Wherever" -- Shakira. Well, one can hardly have an exercise playlist with no Shakira, can they? And, to my credit, I didn't realize she mentioned certain parts of her body being "small and humble" for a long time as I first only had a copy of the Spanish version.
4. "Boa Sorte" -- Vanessa da Mata and Ben Harper. My niece introduced me to this song. It took a few listens, but then I was hooked. It's mostly in Portuguese I think? Mike has quite a few songs we often listen to that are in Spanish and sometimes I like them just great despite having no idea what they are singing about. He always makes us listen to Esta Vida which he thinks is the happiest song ever to exist.
5. "Sweet Dreams" -- Jewel. Oh, that's a fun one to have come up. Jewel has such a pretty voice, but some of her old songs I used to listen to have lyrics that are . . . kind of lame-o, but this Sweet Dreams song is actually off of my little kids' playlist. It's from her lullaby album that I just bought by the diapers in Wal-Mart once. I quite love it for me and my little ones to listen to.
6. "Take Me for Longing" -- Alison Kraus. Not my favorite of her songs, but a fun one all the same. In general you can't not like Alison Kraus -- and have you noticed how nearly every famous country singer always has a song featuring Alison Kraus?
7. "Tonight" Lykki Li. Kind of odd little sound to some of Lykki's songs, but I like this one all the same.
8. "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" -- Chris Rice. From my Sunday playlist. I also have the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version of this song, AND, a version by another gospel singer (whose name escapes me at present). It was written in the 18th century by a Methodist pastor at only age 22. It is really one of my favorite religious songs.
9. "Breakdown" by Jack Johnson. Another example of the more mellow mainstream that I like. I don't really know that you can go too wrong with Jack Johnson. And, my kids even enjoy his Curious George soundtrack songs.
10. "The Climb" -- yes, that would be by Miley Cyrus. Leave me alone. It's a sweet little song and my girls like it on their playlist (even though Abe doesn't like it because he said it makes him feel sad). I also like a little Taylor Swift. What of it? (Although, it does seem a little wrong when I hear Penny singing "I'm not a princess, I'm not a fairytale." I realize she has the words a little wrong there, but a three year old should be singing about BEING a princess. What have I done?
11. Oh, did I just type "11" -- I was supposed to stop at 10. Too bad. I've already clicked on the next song and The Wailin' Jennys' "Long Time Traveller" came up and I love the Wailin' Jennys.
There. Done. Three birds with one little stone.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Here is the Nabatean Treasury carved right into the mountain side. This wasn't actually in Israel at all, rather in Petra, Jordan. Petra has been described as "A rose red city half as old as time." And, you may recognize the treasury from Indiana Jones! It was definitely one of the coolest places we got to go to. Also here I am at the Dome of the Rock. It is in the "Old City" which is the walled in area of Jerusalem -- and while you can see it from nearly anywhere at all in Jerusalem, my friends and I wandered around the old city forever trying to figure how to actually get to it. At last these cool little Palestinian kids showed us the way.
The few weeks we spent in Galilee were, I think, about everyones favorite part of the semester. Here is a little picture I took as we hung out along the shore one evening. Tiberias was across the sea and I still have such a perfect image in my mind of the long triangle of lights from the city of Tiberias we would begin to see as night set in along the shore of Galilee. Also, here I am with my roommates at the top of Mt. Sinai in Sinai, Egypt where we all hiked at about 2:00 am so we could be up there to see the sunrise. We watched so many sunrises and sunsets during our time there that I think those peaceful moments were the cause of my eyeglass prescription doubling before I returned home.
And now, for my own pleasure, a few random sentences from my Israel journal:
"He asked if he should put it in the backpack so no one would steal it. I just laughed, 'no one will steal our water.' . . . we reached Damascus gate . . . next thing I know, this little old lady on the street has the water."
Thursday, November 4, 2010
That worked alright until April when it got terrible again. So . . . I pretty much stopped running til about August. But it hasn't felt good starting in again. Now we are getting close to a year! Is this going to stay with me forever? I really really wanted to sign up for another marathon that will be full probably in another month. Plus, I have a running partner!! Ever since not living close to my older sister Amy, I have mostly run alone. I've gone with groups here and there, but it has just never really worked with times I could go, etc. Now I run with a friend in my ward who is perfect for me! She runs my pace (maybe even faster -- which I like), she is super likable, and, I think could be coerced into training for something like a marathon with me (which would make those long runs so much more enjoyable!), alas, I am a minimalist runner at present.
A few weeks ago I gave in and paid for custom made insoles (basically orthotics -- with a cooler name), but they haven't helped at all. I just went and saw Mr. Orthotic (actually his name is Ben) again today. He messed around with the insert a little more and told me to wear them constantly for the next few weeks. He told me it has been months and months since he's had a case he couldn't help and that he wasn't big on letting me break his track record. We'll see.
And, I shouldn't be all complaints. I love to run and feel discouraged when I can't (especially when everyone I know seems to be doing big races, etc.), but some good has come of this. I've learned to try other things -- like spinning classes, weights, etc. that I've really enjoyed; and I think I will implement cross training into my routines even when I can run with ease. BUT! What does that have to do with anything?
I was just at that orthotic appointment today, which I mentioned only because I am feeling so un-bummed and happy despite orthotic-messed-up-foot day! It was nice visiting with my sister Amy after my appointment (she let Jesse and Penny come over while I went), and that made me happy. The weather is nice. I just got tickets in the mail to go to the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert and I LOVE Christmas music about as much as I love anything. It just feels like a happy day. And, that makes me want to let laundry sit while I do things I enjoy (which, at the moment includes typing this and that). So here I am! The above was all simply an introduction. Only . . . such a long introduction that maybe I'll just type whatever else I am going to type in an entire new post. Alright. New post.
Here's the list:
1. A recent picture and 15 interesting things about yourself
2. A picture of somewhere you've been
3. Your short term goals for the month
4. Something you've been proud of in the past few days
5. Put your i-pod on shuffle and list the first ten songs that play
6. The things you find in your purse
7. Nicknames you have
8. A picture of something that makes you happy
9. A nick knack
10. The last thing you purchased
11. Your favorite room in the house
12. Something you own that has a lot of sentimental value
13. The oldest thing you own
14. Something you are good at
15. Something you are currently reading
16. A picture of your handwriting
18. Something someone made for you
19. Something interesting outside your house
20. Picture of you with loved one(s)
Well. Let's go ahead and try number one. You know I have tried time and time again (and failed) with this "making lists of fun or clever or strange or interesting things about yourself" business. But, I think I can do it today! I'm ready! Bring it on. Let's go. OK.
Oh yes, first, a recent picture of myself. How 'bout these:
Now that will lead us to number one:
1. Those pictures -- they reminded me of something about me. I look much better in pictures than in real life. That's all good and well. I like pictures, but it's a little sad to know the real me doesn't quite measure up to the photos. Odd.
2. I am quite claustrophobic. I really feel uncomfortable to be in any small space. Even the back seat of a car that doesn't have back doors makes me feel a little panicky. When I was little I didn't know there was a word for the panicked sensation I would get if someone was squishing me someplace tight so I would just begin crying out, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" Which wasn't really true, but was the best I knew to explain what was happening.
3. I am a thousand times more likely to fold a batch of laundry happily if it is a load of darks. They always seem to have more easily foldable things in them.
4. I get asked if I am a volleyball or basketball player on a regular basis.
5. I was a phone call away from pursuing a PhD in Neurobiology. I'd applied, sent all my letters of recommendation, taken the GRE, been interviewed by two professors who had both agreed to take me on (you have to have a professor agree to be your "mentor" to oversee your work if you go on to graduate school in Biology). I merely had to let them know my decision. Mike and I had been discussing it but hadn't decided anything for certain. The graduate school I'd attend was an hour away from where Mike was currently enrolled. I was working full time and wouldn't be able to keep my job, etc. The day I found out I was pregnant with Abe, Mike came home from school and, before I could tell him the news, he told me to go ahead and call one of the professors -- that we'd move up there and maybe he'd transfer schools. Then I told him our baby news and, with the excitement of our first baby and knowing I'd want to be home with him, my PhD plans dissolved pretty quickly. I wasn't at all disappointed, but I occasionally look back and wonder about life had I gone down that path. I can't imagine having accomplished it having kids, but it would have been something that I would have really enjoyed.
6. I really prefer 2% milk -- which I know disturbs some.
7. I'm always a little happier when I am driving a standard. It's all we ever had growing up and it makes me feel extra in control.
8. I had a pet frog for a few weeks when I was little. When it's cage got too smelly, I graciously freed the frog in a small rain puddle. I'm sure he survived to live a long and happy life of freedom . . .
9. My fingernails are rarely (if ever) painted, but my toenails always are.
10. I can't bare the thought of mixing egg whites "until stiff peaks form." I have tried several times and I am certain no stiff peaks ever planned on forming! Which means, sadly, that I will likely never make truly great waffles. Ooh, but that leads me to number 11 --
11. I love waffles but have a difficult time eating a pancake even though they are about the same thing. Is it the texture?
12. I was pretty much the queen of 5th grade. I don't know why, but it's true. Kids flocked to me. Friends adored me. Everyone wept when I was chosen only to portray Lady Capulet in the 5th grade play of Romeo and Juliet when surely its success depended on my being Juliet. Alright, there was no weeping about that, but I have to say I was pretty darn big time in 5th grade. I have never re-attained that glory.
13. I knew I wanted to go spend a semester in Jerusalem when I was only 12. I don't recall if that was when the church built the Jerusalem center or how I even knew about it, but I wrote in my journal how I wanted to go there someday and planned on it from that time 'til age 20 when I finally did go.
14. I don't enjoy seeing any scary movie or even slightly scary image ever. They stay with me for a very long time and make me feel like bad spirits are hanging around me. When we were first married, Mike would occasionally have me watch a slightly scary show with him. Now, he knows it disturbs me so much that he actually covers my eyes if a scary face pops up in a commercial!
15. When Mike and I broke up, we had been sitting on my front porch talking in the cold for so long that when I came in I suddenly realized my feet were nearing frost bitten stage. I sat in my room rubbing my frozen feet and crying and crying (over Mike, not my feet!) 'til I finally fell asleep -- only to wake up in the morning and cry and cry again. I'm really glad I married him.
Well, that was actually quite fun. But my "doing what ever I please" has come to an end. That laundry really does need folded . . . and it's a big batch of whites. Booo.