Friday, November 30, 2007

Baby Friday - Chasing a moving target

Yesterday was, play with the camera day and I think the time for me to get cute, sweet pictures of my little monkey is over. He won't hold still and even my speedy SLR is no match for the crawling monster that is my baby.

I bet I took 50 pictures and once loaded onto the computer, maybe 10 aren't completely blurry.

ball of yarn like a kitty

This one is a bit, but the boy thinks he's a kitty and plays with is own ball of yarn.

standing

Elliott spends a lot of time standing at the coffee table these days. He enjoys his time here, as the table is a means of getting him a lot of places and into a lot of stuff. He also has discovered the joy that is the kitchen this week spending countless minutes pushing his high chair around, banging on bowls, and trying to get the bottle of red wine (a gift, no one panic. I just take sips ocassionally) out of the fridge.

Isn't crawling grand?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

what goes around comes around

I'll keep it brief and vague, to protect those involved:
1. Whining about excessive degree of irresponsibility.

2. Irresponsible proposed an extension.

3. Gave a killer presentation. Very impressive.

4. Extension proposal is withdrawn.

5. Karma? Maybe.

I'll let you fill in the details, feel free to exaggerate them as much as you want as long as I come out without an ulcer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The stories time tells

Watches are my passion. Swatch watches are my favorite. Every watch I own tells a story about me and my life. Let me share a few with you.

High School Graduation
My parents gave me this watch when I graduated from high school. They also gave me a plaid jacket from the GAP. I've been wearing this watch since 1996. It's a little scratched, but still unique and important to me. The day after I graduated from high school, we went to Disneyland. I wore my watch and my plaid jacket on that trip. I think of my parents every time I wear this watch.

switzerland
The first time I went to Europe was in 1998. I went with my sister, my uncle and my very pregnant aunt who got sick on every single train we went on and in Switzerland, there are a lot of trains. You'd think that I would have bought an official Swiss Army watch on that trip but no. As we were traversing the streets of Geneva, I ventured into a swatch store and picked up this trusty time piece. I've worn it almost every day since. The face glows in the dark and it has a blue back light. Swatch used to sell this watch face in stores in the states, but you could only get the cool stretchy band in Europe. How cool is that?

chain mail
I bought this watch for myself when I was a teacher a long time ago. I happened to be dating this dumb boy and he was working in California during the week. When he went to California for the first time, I thought he should have bought me a going away present. I bought him a good luck item (a barenaked ladies cd) and thought he should have given me something in return. He didn't so I went out the next day and bought this watch. My own going away present. It's a swatch, too.

I love you, too
This watch? It's a little worn from all the wear, but it says "I love you". Ross gave it to me the night before we got married. I gave him a gift too, a swatch watch. He ruined it on our honeymoon (we fixed it later). I've worn this watch for 4.5 years and every time I do, I think of the person who gave it to me and *sigh* a little. What a nice boy.

From haley
The beauty that is this watch. I get more compliments when I wear this one than any other watch I've got. Haley gave it to me as a "bridesmaid" gift when she got married this past March. Both my sister and I love watches and the gift was a return favor. I gave her a Swatch when I got married to thank her for standing in my line and being a good sister.

The only "jewelry" I wear are watches...and my wedding ring when I remember to put it on. I love that each watch I own, has a sentimental connection and that each one reminds me of an important person and time in my life. It's wonderful to carry a little piece of family and love with you everyday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A cause I think I found....


In my ever increasing search for a cause, I think that I found one. In of all places, Parents magazine, I read this morning a little blurb about donating backpacks to kids in refugee camps in Darfur, Chad to help them go to school while they are in refugee camps. Ross and I watched a movie last week, Catch a Fire, set in South Africa during apartheid. The movie made me sad, guilty, and gave me a desire to help. The same gut wrenching I felt when I watched Hotel Rwanda, or the movie about Aborigines in Australia called, Rabbit Proof Fence.


How can you help Africa? There doesn't seem to be any small way to save children orphaned by war or AIDS, or those that are starving and on the brink of disaster. I don't think buying everything "project RED" from the Gap and Apple will do it. Well, today gave me a glimpse of hope. The plight of children in a war ravaged nation is enough to make anyone cry and give up everything they own, but that isn't realistic. However, donating a backpack full of supplies is. It is so tangible and feasible. Backpacks! How wonderful is a backpack full of school supplies, a pair of shoes and some clothes to a child that has nothing.


I should be getting some extra money in my paycheck for my pain in the butt project I've been working on. I am going to buy some backpacks with that money.


If you are interested in buying some backpacks to, check out the Jewish World Watch website at: http://www.jewishworldwatch.org/. Click on the Project Backpacks link on the homepage.

Monday, November 26, 2007

this pretty much sums it up...

"When I speak of home, I speak of the place where, in default of a better, those I love are gathered together; and if that place were a gypsy's tent, or a barn, I should call it by the same good name notwithstanding."
Charles Dickens

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Is this really necessary?

We left church early today, as we do most Sunday's and rather than heading out directly to mom and dad's for dinner, we decided to go for a drive. We wanted to see the progress on the new Draper Temple and headed on up the hill. The temple is much smaller than it looks from far away, and in it's unfinished state pales in comparison to the homes that will be surrounding it upon it's completion.

Do you live in a castle?
This home, rather castle (I think it may have a moat, too) in particular sparked a very interesting conversation between the two of us on our way back down the hill. I suppose the them of this conversation (or mutual rant) was, do you really need it? Our answer was no. This castle on a hill got us to thinking about what is necessary and important in life. A home of this size and stature isn't even a booger that got flicked onto our list.

We live in a society that is governed by so much stuff and greed, and all the things that make up Utah, America, the world. Ross and I are no angels, and participate in this quest for stuff, just like everyone else, but I think it's time to take a step back and rethink all we have. It's one thing to meet your needs, another to live in excess.

One aspect of our very diversified conversation was televisions. It's my personal opinion that you can tell a lot about a person from the type of television(s) they own and how many they have. I think that if you have one or more televisions in your home that is/are bigger than you are tall, and you paid more than, oh, $400 dollars for it, you are pathetic. Sorry, but it's my opinion. It makes me think that all you do in your free time (and that you have a lot of free time) is watch the tellevizzle and you can't be without your 24, or CSI Nas Vegami, or whatever stupid show you spend your time watching. Not a fan of appointment television where you can see every single pour on the star's face.

I told Ross today that I'm positive we could live in our house the rest of our lives. Does it have the potential to get a little small? Yes. But guess what that means - it's a chance for us to clean out our stuff and keep what is important...a few good books, some clothes to keep us covered, and a roof over our heads. What else do we really need? I told Ross that I will never have a need for a television in every room, or more than one sofa. It's not necessary. All I need is for my family to be close, happy and healthy.

If we turn on the news, the world is suffering. What are you doing about it? Me, I'm not doing much, but I desperately want to. I just need to sign myself up and get going. I try to always buy (yes I know that buying is the root of the problem) green, or red, or pink whenever possible to show my support. I occasionally donate to the Red Cross and St. Jude's Children's Hospital. I get teary eyed when I watch movies about Africa and the desperation faced by many and have bad dreams about the circumstances for nights at a time. I give the possessions I no longer want to the Deseret Industries or people in need. I pay my tithing and fast offerings to my church and hope that I am making a difference in someones life, somewhere. Is it enough? I don't think so.

I guess when it comes down to it, I feel guilty. My life is good, my problems minimal. I have wonderful parents and siblings, a great husband and a spectacular baby. My world is one of comfort with all my needs being met. We're not hungry, or thirsty, or in need or want. My life is very blessed.

So, what can I do? What can you do? If my church asked me to donate money to support new buildings or ventures "until it hurt", I'd do it. The blessings I would reap would be well worth the sacrifice. If someone needs dinner, I'll cook it, if they need a babysitter, I'll help. If they need a place to crash for the night, my sofa is road tested.

I'm ready and willing to fight for a cause. I just don't know what cause to fight for. Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Austin Collie is still open....

What a great weekend for BYU...

Basketball team beats #6 Louisville on Friday and then the football team wins on Saturday.

Closer than what it should have been (offensive pass interference? and a 4th down pass off of the fingertips).

Oh well.

The drama was great.

Two in a row.

Urban who?

Have fun at the Poinsettia bowl.

The Game Rules: Rivalry Weekend

  1. Watch "the game" in separate locations.
  2. No calling each other to gloat, respectively, during the game.
  3. The game talk stays at the party.

These rules served us pretty well this year. In my opinion, the wrong team won of course, but I don't really care.

Friday, November 23, 2007

10 Months

Holy cow kiddo! You are approaching the one year mark quickly and, like the previous 9 months, you've had some major milestones in the last 4 weeks.
Happy baby

1. You crawl. Well, you sort of do a peg-leg pirate army drag thing, but it gets you to where you want to be and that's all that's important. Maneuvering around has made a world of difference for you.

2. Sitting up from lying down has been a challenge but auntie Haley taught you how to do it a little over a week ago and you're now a machine. They best treat for you from learning this is you can now stand up in your crib without any help. Not only can you stand up, you can also eat your crib.
eating the crib
I hope there isn't too much lead in that paint.

3. Perhaps your greatest achievement this month will do down on record forever. Last Tuesday, November 13, 2007, you stopped drinking a bottle. Not just your night time or morning bottle, but bottles all together. Apparently, you are a big boy now and you don't need formula. It's straight up milk and 3 squares a day. Feeding you food has been a bit tricky, at least trying to figure out what to feed you has been- you eat everything. Your current favorites include: apples, grapes, ham, swiss cheese, toast w/ peanut butter or a little bit of regular butter, any kind of bread, Dora the Explorer yogurt, cheerios, and mashed potatoes. Just wait until you can drink chocolate milk. You'll think that you've died and gone to heaven.

4. You got your third haircut the other day, but your first "big boy" haircut and you just look so handsome.
new hair cut
I made grandma cut it super short and it becomes you. You did a great job while you were getting buzzed and didn't cry until the very end. And, your new "do" makes your eye lashes look so long.

5. You are becoming an exceptional mimic and are getting very good at recognizing people. It's so funny to listen to you copy the sounds we make and the actions you see. You've even figured out that a phone goes to your ear and when you put it up to your ear, you make a sound that sounds a lot like "hello".

I am so happy that you are my little boy. Every day I get to spend with you is the best day. I wish you would sleep better at night, but we're working on that. I love to hear you laugh, and watch the funny faces you pull when I tickle you.

Not drinking a bottle has caused your dad and I some grief in the last week or so but I look at it in a positive light. Now that you don't drink a bottle to help you go to sleep, you need, dare I say want, me to rock you to sleep. Being able to sit in the rocking chair with you on my lap, watching you doze off with your blanket over your face is just about the absolute best thing in the whole world.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's over...I survived.

The "dreaded season" is upon me. Too many people, too many gifts, and too much holiday cheer. I'm not quite sure where my holiday dread and bah-humbug-edness has come from but it's here, ready to go.

One holiday down, one holiday to go...plus countless parties, shopping, carols, and classic holiday reruns in between.

Makes me appreciate my good husband and my sweet little baby all the more. We don't need all that stuff to know that we love each other and we're perfectly content at home sitting on the floor eating cheerios. And, Elliott gets tired at 6:00. That's the best gift I could ever receive - an early exit from all festivities.
new hair cut (B&W)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

poor Mildred

The memories of growing up on Gettysburg Drive are pretty vivid. It was wonderful to live so close to the school, the church, Grandma's house, and most of my aunts and uncles as a kid. We had friends in the neighborhood and so much family around. Haley and I would ride our bikes to my grandma's in the summer and swim all day long. My fear of grasshoppers comes from a childhood bike ride where one flew up into my face and I crashed.

I remember going on walks with my mom as it got dark on summer evenings and her telling me wonderful stories about Napoleon and Josephine (Mom, do you remember this?) and another time walking past crazy Bob "doctor dirt"'s house and smelling a funny smell from some kids outside smoking and my mom telling us it was "mary-juana".

I remember countless hours dancing around the house and the kitchen, playing in the sandbox (but raking it out first), building sandcastles and shooting countless free throws on the basketball hoop.

I remember camp outs in the backyard and private tanning sessions where no one could see me.

I remember how excited I was when the room in the basement was finished for me after Willie was born and I got to have my own bathroom and paint my walls a pretty green.

I remember that lovely, ugly, wonderful brown velvety couch that was the best sleeping couch in the whole world.

I remember playing games on the front lawn, washing the car in the driveway, and watching the yucky stupid neighbors across the street do yucky stupid things (answer the door "naked", run over their little sister with the mini van, etc.)

I remember our goldfish dying on the black rock slab fire place and creepy "sweat band man" doing the electrical in the basement.

The memories go on forever and they are good.

When we moved away from our house, about 9 years ago I was so sad. I cried when my mom and dad told us we were moving. Yes, I knew the neighborhood was yucky and that the girls who lived next door had too many gentleman callers, but I loved my house. Because of our affection, we named her Mildred.

I drove past Mildred today coming home from helping to set up Thanksgiving tables at my Grandma's house. Mildred just doesn't look the same and it makes me sad.


Poor Mildred

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tags and other stuff

I am not going to make other people do this but I will do it because once again, I've got nothing left to blog about. Ann and I have been friends since we were 18. We didn't go go high school together, but discovered each other later, playing basketball. We were a good combo on the court. At the time, we were complete opposites in a lot of ways (minus the fact that I'm 6'3" and blond and she's 5'3" and a brunette), but we've been friends ever since. She blogs now and it's like we're best good friends again, even though we haven't seen each other for years and live far apart. She's got super cute kids, too.

Anyway, Ann, because you keep harassing me in my comments, here you go. If anyone else is lacking blog fodder, please feel free to participate as well.

7 random things about myself:
1. The pinkie finger on my right hand is 1/2 inch longer than the pinkie on my right.
2. If Ross falls asleep before me at night, I can't go to sleep and spend hours tossing, turning, and roaming around the house, drinking chocolate milk in my pajamas.
3. Symmetry in all things is important to me, particularly in my hair. One reason I keep my hair short is because that is the only time it is symmetrical. Otherwise, one side falls straight and the other flips. It drives me crazy.
4. I spent the entire day every day either in front of a computer or on the floor with my baby.
5. White teeth are important to me so I've started whitening mine. 30 minutes, twice a day. We'll see if it works.
6. I only own two pair of pants - jeans anyway. I wear them everyday, at least 5 days in a row before I wash them.
7. I love art - particularly impressionism - particularly Claude Monet. I have a framed Monet poster in my bedroom. Elliott and I stare at the water lilies every morning.

High School Thoughts
um, I'm not doing this one. There were about 360 people in my graduating class and I can't say that I'm a fan. The 3-5 people I liked then, I still have contact (or limited contact) with today. That's good enough for me. My high school reunion was in August - the 10 year reunion 11 years out. I didn't go. I sort of wanted to drive to the park and watch w/ binoculars all the losers that did show up, but that would have been pretty pathetic.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Responsibility

re·spon·si·bil·i·ty /rɪˌspɒnsəˈbɪlɪti/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[ri-spon-suh-bil-i-tee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -ties.
1. the state or fact of being responsible.
2. an instance of being responsible: The responsibility for this mess is yours!
3. a particular burden of obligation upon one who is responsible: the responsibilities of authority. 4. a person or thing for which one is responsible: A child is a responsibility to its parents.
5. reliability or dependability, esp. in meeting debts or payments. —Idiom
6. on one's own responsibility, on one's own initiative or authority: He changed the order on his own responsibility.

"a form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one's conduct; "he holds a position of great responsibility."

Responsibility has been on my mind a lot lately. First of all, I have too much of it. I told my mom the other day that I have no idea how she raised three kids with a full time job. Working from home is tough. Taking care of a baby and a husband is tough. Keeping things neat and tidy and organized is tough. Church responsibilities are tough. But, I do my best to do everything. Why? Because I am responsible. I follow through, no matter what it takes. I meet deadlines and never let anyone down if I have promised to do something or be somewhere. Perhaps it's intrinsic motivation? Maybe it's a desire to not look stupid or disorganized to other people? Or, it's just because that's what I know I'm supposed to do. Whether I want to or not, I do it.

Recent occurrences in my life, particularly my work life have caused me to reconsider this idea of responsibility. It seems that I'm the only one around who knows what the word means. I facilitate online classes in which teachers are supposed to participate in weekly discussion boards. There is a grading rubric for these discussion boards that has been the same forever, though it did become more explicit this fall. Well, I grade by the rubric, because I am a responsible rule follower. Apparently, I'm the only one. I've been bombarded the last 2 weeks or so by teachers complaining about their grades. They are not following instructions or being responsible for their own work and blame me. I'm not the one who didn't read and write posts. I'm not the one who logged on Friday night when the system was down. Teachers, take responsibility for your own actions.

At the end of the summer I took on an extra work project. I did it for the experience of designing an online class for an outside "vendor", and the money, which isn't great, but it's extra and extra is always good. The person that has been hired to work with me has been frustrating to say the least. I've been waiting over 2 months for curriculum, which she is supposed to design. I get the run around constantly. I've only had one thing given to me and it was so incomplete that I had to rewrite and redo the whole thing then she presented my material at a conference to rave reviews. I've just been hired to design the online portion even though at this point, I've written the majority of the curriculum.

I am such a rule follower that this is driving me insane - because I am responsible and this person is not. I set deadlines and they are ignored. I am promised content and after e-mails and phone calls, I still don't get it. Meetings are constantly scheduled and completely unproductive. This massive irresponsibility is perhaps the root cause of my mysterious illness of last week, and my continuing upset stomach, headache, and jaw clenching.. I think I might be getting an ulcer from this.

How someone twice my age with a lifetime of experience can't follow through on something that is so not complicated is nuts to me. We have a phone meeting tomorrow. She is supposed to give me curriculum then.

Cross your fingers.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some cookies

Without any good blog fodder floating through my head, I'll share this. I bought a new cook book, a cookie cook book and made these:
my version

They sure didn't end up looking like the picture in the cook book, but nothing ever does, right?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The nerd in all of us

Willie is a special boy. He is a good son, a good brother, and a good uncle. He has a funny sense of humor, and is much smarter than most boys his age.

Elliott and I hang out with Uncle Willie most Friday's after school. We look forward to it all week. Sometimes, we bring treats on our way out. We did that yesterday and the phone call was typical Willie.

Willie: Meow
Annie: Hi Willie
W: Meow, meow
A: How are you?
W: Meow, meow, meow
A: Would the kitty like a corn dog from Ab's?
W: Meo...YES!
A: Wow! I didn't know the kitty spoke English.
W: I just got it learned to me.

I knew the afternoon was going to be interesting, especially since the kitty, I mean Willie, inhaled his corn dog before I even got my onion rings out of the bag. We played, watched stupid cartoons and then dad called. He locked his keys in the truck at the gas station. I went to rescue him and Uncle Willie accepted his familial duty - he let me leave Elliott with him. The two of them alone. I was only gone 5 minutes, but I was so impressed.

Once dad got home it was time for the boys to get ready for scout camp. Since Willie couldn't find another pair of jean, he found some shorts and put them on. Then, he found his brand new basketball shorts and put them on. Add a pair of glasses and you've got quite the stunner.

Willie will be 13 years old at the end of December. I can't believe my "baby bwoder" will be 13. He's grown three inches since the end of August. He's almost 5'10". He's such a soft, cuddly teddy bear.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's friday, are you ready for some baby tricks?

I've decided that Friday's will be monkey post days. Like I don't write enough about my little baby, now I'm making it a weekly feature. Right.

Okay then. With Ross home yesterday taking care of everything because I'm a baby, we had a chance to tag-team Elliott and get him to do some tricks. They aren't really, "tricks", but he's becoming a good mimic and when we want him to try and walk, he's really fast.

We also had a bad night last night and I need to remind myself that he is a lovable and adorable baby boy.

Trick Numero Uno:
Elliott wants to walk really bad. He's dying to walk and minus the whole, "I've got no balance" thing, he's getting closer. Just watch.

video

Trick Numero Dos:

I've been trying to teach Elliott for the last few weeks or so to blow his nose, or at least figure out the actions and motions of blowing his nose in hopes that one day I no longer have to shove an aspirator into his brain to suck out the boogers lurking about. Not until this week did he finally pick up on the snuffing and it has become his new favorite thing to do.


video

Thursday, November 15, 2007

just some thoughts to brighten your day

I'm sick. I have been since Saturday and it's not getting any better. Not sure what's wrong with me, but I needed some help so last night and after much whining, convinced Ross to stay home today to take care of me and the monkey. Soldiering on...

My neighbor rents his above garage studio apartment to a crazy old man who may have once been a pirate. He is definitely a pack rat with two cars full of junk, but I really think he may have been a professional pirate at some point. He just gives off a vibe of once living every day with a parrot on his shoulder and he has a distinct limp. If he was not a pirate, he is for sure a "sidler" and a "close talker". There have been many ocassions where I've been walking to the mailbox or unloading the car in the garage and he's just appeared out of no where to talk to me about cars, or how far I walk in a day, or to volunteer to dust my car with his giant duster. Yesterday, as I was contemplating going to get the mail I didn't. The pirate was out dusting both of his cars. I waited until later to get the mail.

I was introduced to this girl, Tina, on YouTube through PerezHilton. She is a superstar! I love her. She makes me laugh. She loves the backstreet boys. I'm not ashamed to admit that many years ago, I too was a fan of the BSB's. I loved Kevin. Yes, I was 20 years old. So what! Once a fan of boy bands (NKOTB) always a fan of boy bands, right? Anyway, Tina loves the BSB's too. I'm not sure I can sing as good as her, but she put a smile on my face.


A long time ago, when Eddie Murphy was on Saturday night live, he did a skit where he dressed up in "white face" to show what it was like to be a white person in America. Hilarious! Well, I know a guy who lives in my neighborhood who looks like Eddie Murphy painted white. Every time I see this person, I think of this skit and struggle to keep from laughing. And, lucky for you, the internet has it on file. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

he loves the cutting of hair


at the salon, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

Elliott made his third trip to the salon with me on Monday. The first time he went with me, he was 6 weeks old and slept the whole time. The second time he went with me, we made Willie come as our babysitter with a promise of lunch at Hires to follow. This time, it was just the two of us and it went well.

Elliott started on my lap and then ended up on the floor. He just emptied hi sdiaper bag, at cheerios, and screamed with delight. He was a big of a distraction for Romela, but she loved having him there.

He was covered in a fine dusting of hair by the time we were finished, but all went well. He's a good boy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

drunk dialing

every year, as a teacher, I would select a few students that I really enjoyed teaching and upon their graduation, I'd give them a card and a gift card to Barnes and Noble. I'd try to write something inspiring in the card and tell them to select a book that could change their lives forever. The kids that I selected were always what I would call "fringe kids" - the kids that marched to the beat of their own drummer, were free thinkers and free spirits, not bending to the "rules" of a high school but really doing their own thing. Kids who, like me when I was in high school, couldn't wait to get out and start their real lives.

I did the graduation cards 4 of my 5 years of teaching and never got a thank you, minus one kid. To protect his identity, we'll call him "Chase". This kid was an odd duck, but I took a liking to him immediately. He was an open drug user, but also helped to take care of his disabled younger brother. He grew nasty dreadlocks his senior year and only wore salvation army clothes. He sat on the very back row of AP US history for an entire year and spoke rarely, only to correct something and idiotic and ridiculous said by a fellow student. He wrote great essays and was a kid I just couldn't figure out. He was always reading and reading stuff high school kids didn't usually read: Freudian psychology, Capote, Mailer, Tolstoy - a wide variety of stuff. He was huge into the psychedelic history of America (thus explaining the mind altering drugs) and on days his pupils weren't too dilated and his speech too slurred, he was a joy to have in class. So one day I decided to give him my copy of "A clockwork orange." I thought this would be right up his alley. It was - he wrote me a note thanking me for the book.

As a senior, there were many times he'd find me on my consultation hour and want to talk about the plight of the world, or Tibet, and tell me his plans for the future. I was never sure why he liked me - I was too mainstream - but it was fun to talk to him.

About a year after graduation (I gave him a card) I got a single-spaced, typed, 3 page letter from him telling me thanks for the card and about his adventured post graduation. He and a few friends went all Chris McCandless "into the wild" and hitchhiked to Alaska and lived off the land for the summer. That was over 1 year ago and up until yesterday, I haven't thought about this kid or heard from him.

Checking my voice mail yesterday morning I received a very strange message from over the weekend. The person speaking was obviously inebriated (drugs? alcohol? both?) and was so jumbled and mumbly that I could hardly understand the message. I understood, "...gave me your phone number...", and "wanted to let you know you were a great teacher..." and "this is "chase"."

Anyway, I'm happy to know that a student still remembers me - even if he's stoned out of his mind. I'm also a little nervous that he'll track me down. I'm not nearly as cool and hip as I once was - and I'm not sure it's safe for him to drive.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I love my husband...

I love my husband very much! I think that he is a better husband and dad than a lot of men I know in his same position. He watches too much football, but doesn't play video games and isn't a dungeon master (except in his fantasy leagues). He takes night duty every evening and gets up every night with the monkey and lets me sleep. I really appreciate that. Lisa sent me this e-mail the other day and I thought it was funny. Funny enough to put on my blog today because I can't think of anything better to write about.

And, last night, Ross did drive my brand new beautiful car into the bar-be-que and dug a deep trench into the front bumper. That wasn't good.

******
Subject: Installing Husband 1.0

Installing Husband 1.0

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a
distinct slow down in overall system performance
-- particularly in the flower and jewelry applications, which
operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such
as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed undesirable
programs such as NFL 5.0, NBA 3.0, Nascar 2.0 and Golf Clubs
4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes
the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to
no avail.

What can I do?
Signed, Desperate



Dear Desperate:

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package,
while Husband 1.0 is an Operating System.

Please enter the command: "http: I Thought You Loved Me.html" and try to
download Tears 6.2 and don't forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If
that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then
automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

But remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to
default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1. Beer 6.1 is a
very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT install Mother-in-law 1.0 (it runs a virus in
the background that will eventually seize control of all your system
resources).

Also, do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program.

These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program but it does have
limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You
might consider buying additional software to improve memory and
performance. We recommend Food 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck,

Tech Support

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'll never get it, never!

Remeber the character on Sesame Street, Don Music, that played the piano and could never remember the words to songs, and nursery rhymes and stuff? And when he got frustrated he pounded on the piano?
Like this:



It looks like we've got one of those guys on our hands.

video

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nothing in common

We have issues with the televizzle in our home. As we sat down, on the floor, to eat our dinner from Cafe Rio' tonight, my choices were as follows: Football, more football, basketball, more basketball, CSI Miami-New York-Las Vegas or COPS. I opted for basketball because football is yucky and shows about murder don't really suit me, especially while eating dinner. What do I want to watch? VH1 documentaries, a show about a baby giraffe, people flipping houses, or another rerun of America's next top model. You can never get enough Tyra can you?

I got to thinking that we don't share the same vibe on much of anything. Movies? Minus the last Bourne movie, I couldn't tell you the last time we saw or watched a movie that I like. "Put it in the Que" I'm told time and time again, but by the time "Elizabeth" or some other funky English movie arrives, I'm no longer interested and if I don't watch it in three days, he sends it back to Netflix so his next shoot-em up movie can come along.

Books? Nope. Nothing in common here either. I like good stories, with a little bit of history thrown in. Ross goes through spurts. Always reading something where someone is murdered, books about how to become a millionaire, or about India. He's totally into India.

Politics? That's a swear word in our house. Sports? opposing teams. Weather? I like seasons and Ross just likes hot. Pajamas? I wear them. Covers? I sleep in long sleeves with the sheet and comforter pulled up to my neck. Ross sleeps on top of all of it. Bossiness? Yes I am and he just won't do what I tell him to do.

Look at our bedside tables for example. Ross' is full of books, his nighttime sippy cup, his flashlight book light, and the remote control for the fan.
Ross' bedside table

Mine? A picture of me and Ross from our wedding day, baby butt paste, blistex and tissues, because I have boogers and I cry all the time.
my bedside table


Music? Not much the same here, either. I like soft, sleepy music from Iron and Wine, Sting and Guster. Ross likes bands whose names sound dirty like Wolfmother, or put demon puppets in their videos like Interpol.

This is starting to sound depressing, isn't it? For not having much in common, we seem to, for the most part, get along pretty well. We are both the first born and both blond. We both like Coca-Cola. There's something in common. And, we have a baby. That took some major "something in common" to get the monkey into our lives. We each use a broken alarm clock and this morning we were both scared by the same spider.

Ross had already showered and it was my turn. As I pulled the shower curtain closed, on the inside waterproof thing, was a giant spider. It was hurdling itself towards me and I shut off the water, grabbed my towel and ran out of the bathroom. Luckily, Ross was right there, starting a load of laundry and I told him of my predicament. Though he was mocking me initially, when he saw the spider, flinging itself towards him, he jumped back and yelled a little. It was big. We woke Elliott up with all our commotion. Ross killed it with a towel and then put the towel, with dead spider, into the washing machine.

I can never do laundry again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

If you want to destroy my sweater...

...pull this thread as I walk away! Do you ever have one of those days? Those days where nothing goes right, your achy, grumpy, tired, life is sucking your will to live and you feel like you are barely keeping your head above water and your comfy sweater of life is slowly unraveling? Has that day ever turned into a week?

Mine did! Some voices have been raised (mine) and some tears have been shed (mine, also) but the weekend is so close I can taste it. It tastes good.

For no particular reason, this week has been a 10 on the suck-i-tude scale and I am so happy that it is over, I can hardly stand it. This morning as Ross was getting ready to leave for work I asked him if he would take a sick day - for me. He said no. Bummer. He did let me know though that he's using all his vacation days for the year (like we went on vacation this year! ha!) during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'll take it. He's going to make me work my butt off doing home improvement projects but I'll gladly tile and paint just to have another adult in the house to help with the monkey. Elliott hasn't flung poo at me, like monkey's tend to do, but I think he's been close.

In addition to being frantic in life, work, cub scouts, ceiling repairs, holiday prep, stuffy noses, upset stomachs, baby puke, burning paper, etc. Ross gave me an assignment to tape Elliott doing all his tricks. Yeah, right. Like I don't have anything else to do! Like the kid does his tricks when a camera is on! So, not only have I been trying to do everything else this week, I've been following my poor baby around with a stupid camera to catch him in action. It hasn't gone well. He wants to eat the camera, not do tricks for it.

However, I did get one gem this week. Pay close attention to the "aaahhhh" after the drink. We've been working on that one for a month or more.

video

And, what is good for fixing a bad week? A really good dinner on Friday night. Tonight, we're celebrating dad's birthday with a family dinner at Robintino's. I love that place and haven't been since my parents took me last October when Ross was out of town and I asked them to take me there (how's that for a run-on sentence?). It's a wonderful family haunt that we've been going to since I was a kid. I'm so excited for bread sticks, pepperoni and sausage pizza, brown colored glass, dinky little candles on the table, watching my brother inhale his food. It's all good and I'm happy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad-e-o

happy birthday dad

My dad has had a mustache as long as I've been alive, if not longer. Once, when I was very young he shaved it off. My sister and I were gone, playing at a friends house and as we walked home we saw my mom on her usual perch, the front porch, with some guy. I remember being a little apprehensive approaching the house (didn't do well with strangers) and just talked to and looked at my mom. Whomever the guy sitting next to her was, I didn't know. After who knows how long, it was finally brought to the attention of Haley and myself that this "stranger" was our dad...sans mustache! It was strange. Very strange.

Though the first concert I ever went to in my life was NKOTB (New kids on the block) and I cried as I watched Jordan dance around the stage (12 years old, cut me some slack), it was not the concert that epitomized concert going for me. For my 13th birthday (8th grade), my dad took me to see Sting at what was then known as Park West. It was an outdoors concert extravaganza. The first time I saw people making out en mass, dancing ridiculously, and smoking pot (yes, a little sheltered was I) all to the sounds of the Stigner. I was in heaven. Since that time, my dad and I have seen Sting together many times.



Karl Simpson

My dad is new to the e-mail age. I think it scares him a bit, but he's getting better. He knows how to send attachments! His e-mails are usually very humorous and sarcastic and IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. YES, WE'VE TOLD HIM THAT MEANS HE'S YELLING AT US THROUGH THE INTERNET BUT HE DOESN'T CARE. HE DOES IT ANYWAY. PROBABLY JUST TO ANNOY US. He did learn how to simpsonize himself a few months ago when the movie came out. I was impressed.

My dad is a good dad and a good grandpa. Elliott loves him. Sometimes, Elliott pics him over my mom. That's funny.

hangin' w/ grandpa

We all have different names for my dad. I call him dad-e-o. Willie calls him Father Time (my mom is "mother nature"). I think Haley calls him something too, but I can't remember (Haley, what do you call him?). Regardless, it's his birthday and I hope he has a good one.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Post 402

I've been blogging since the fall of 2005. Today is post 402. I don't know that it means anything, but that's a lot of time spent on the Internet, for sure.

Yesterday, vouchers were defeated in good old Utah. Yeah! Sigh of relief. Being a former public school teacher, I was terrified that it would pas and am happy that Utah sported a 33% voter turnout in an off year election to squash any hopes of the elitist fools who wanted my tax dollars to pay for their kids to go to charter schools with unqualified teachers! Enough of that.

Moving on...Ross and I have been married for a little over 4 years. In the first 3.5 years of our marriage, Ross fixed dinner every single night. No matter where we lived, or what time he came home, he fixed dinner. The summer we lived in P00-vo (also known, for various reasons, as the worst 3 months of my entire life) I think that maybe I prepared dinner a handful of times, but most of the time I waited (starving) for Ross to come home and cook, or order a Pizza and salad from the Brick Oven. We ate pizza every week I think.

Baking has always been my forte and I love to do it. Give me a challenging recipe for a chocolate cake and I'm golden. I love to eat batter, and dough, and make messes that Ross usually cleans up for me later. Baking is good. Cooking on the other hand - not so good. I can do it, and am not too shabby, but it's not really my thing.

Anyway, dinner is now on my plate (pun. aren't puns great?) and it's starting to grow on me. We don't have too varied a menu these days but I look forward to the 30 minutes of alone time each day way more than I should. You see, I start cooking as soon as Ross gets home from work. By 4 pm everyday, Elliott and I are done with each other and are usually in separate corners. Ross sweeps in around 5 takes the monkey upstairs, feeds him some kind of happy pill, and they re-emerge when it's time to eat.

My private, personal alone time in the kitchen is so valuable to me. So valuable in fact that I don't even mind cooking dinner anymore. Initially, back in January, February, March...it was a chore. Something I had to do if I wanted to eat. But now, almost 10 months later, I think I'm getting pretty good at it and we have a "real" dinner every night. In fact, largely because Elliott turns into a pumpkin around 6:30, we don't even eat out that much anymore, preferring to eat at home.

Why all the talk about food? Because last nights dinner was tasty. Here's the menu:
Salad with ranch dressing and craisins
Green beans with crispy bacon crumbles and brown sugar caramelized shallots
Rosemary, balsamic vinegar and garlic marinated flank steak


Ross at a piece of bread and drank milk, while sitting (and eating) on the living room floor. I ate my meal at the bar in the kitchen. I drank water with a shot of chocolate milk afterwards.
Delish!


What's on the menu tonight you're asking yourself? Thin crust frozen CPK pizza and garlic bread. Ross has church meetings and I didn't plan very well. Tomorrow night? Pork roast with red potatoes. Yum!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I love...

...crisp clean sheets on the bed...

...this camera (Christmas gift anyone?)...or this camera

...husbands who vacuum up their messes...

...these red shoes...

...seeing my baby learn new tricks...

...the stickers and postcards I can get from this website...

...walking into my house and being overwhelmed by cinnamon scented pine cones...

Monday, November 05, 2007

shutterbugosity

Photography is something that I love and the habit has become more addictive in recent years. Rarely, it seems, do I take pictures of anything but Elliott and little league football these days, but when I do have the change to shoot other stuff, I take it.

A dream of mine is to make money taking pictures. I'm not a professional, but I've got a good eye. I know all about aperture and shutter speed even though I choose to leave my camera on program mode. I struggle a bit with lighting and the flash, but who doesn't. Though I'm self taught, I definitely think that I could do really well taking pictures on a very part-time basis. Just today as I was walking a teacher through an online problem she said to me, "I took the digital camera class from UEN over the summer and the instructor showed a bunch of your photographs. They were really beautiful." That's nice AND unsolicited. Maybe there is a market for a girl like me taking pictures.

I think that my most favorite picture ever is this one
Guarding the Crown Jewels
I love the composition, the color, and the fierce tightness of the British guards fingers. He could twist your head off with that thumb and forefinger. I took this in England in 2005. I should find a place in my house to hang it on the wall.

And yes, I take a lot of pictures of Elliott around the house like this one:
Happy baby
but there is just something about his excitement that is so addictive.

Now, let me stop rambling and get to the point. I'd love to take pictures for a living but I'm too untrained, un-marketed, and unprepared. And, I'm a big fat chicken unwilling to go out on a limb. Though I've been collecting my pictures in a "portfolio" folder of sorts on my computer for years, it's basically just for me to look at. The mail we got over the weekend though is making me have second thoughts about my fear to be a photographer.

We got a flyer for THIS local photographer and studio over the weekend. It's the second one we've got in as many months. The guy can advertise. I don't want to be mean (and hope he doesn't know how to check to see who links to his webstie), but look at his gallery (especially the one where the girls are sitting in the grass and there are a ton of people milling around in the background). Please tell me that all my pictures on flickr and in photo books are better than this guys. As I looked at his site last night I began to wonder if he's making any money. And, if he is, how much? And, can't I do better taking a picture in someones front yard than he's doing in a studio with rent? How can he have a business and I can't? Um, because I'm a chicken and he's not! Ba-ak!

What to do, what to do, what to do? I'll do what I always do, nothing. Just pine over a silly dream and move on.

If you want me to take pictures of you or your kids "on location", I'll do it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sweedish Disneyland


IKEA Panda, originally uploaded by bookemdano1978.

Me thinks that the best thing to happen to the SLC valley in a long time is the opening of IKEA. Yes, the stuff is cheap and yes, the store is a bit overwhelming with all its "lands (office land, bedroom land, kitchen land, etc.) and yes....oh, whatever! It's like the Old Navy of furniture and household supplies. Whenever I need an article of clothing cheap and fast, I can get it at the ON in a hurry. And whenever I need furniture fast, or some fun bag clips, off to IKEA I go. It doesn't hurt that the place is just a hop, skip, and a jump from my house, either.

We made our second huge IKEA run yesterday and did very well for ourselves. We just got our living room carpet cleaned on Thursday and decided that in order to prevent future wear, we needed a good sized area rug. Where to go? Hmmm? IKEA. Even if there wasn't a rug we would fall in love with, there would be a rug with the right price tag.

We left the store with three rugs, a gift card, holiday wrapping paper, a few other items and a Christmas present for Elliott. On our way to check-out, there were bins full of wonderful (and soft) stuffed animals. A veritable menagerie of zoo animals just staring at us. Never one to pass up a stuffed animal, and a $9.99 stuffed animal at that, I decided that Elliott would appreciate the panda bear most of all. I prefer polar bears myself, but they were on the other side of the aisle and I couldn't reach.

We got home and set Elliott on the floor with his new friend. It was love at first sight. He ooh-ed and ah-ed at the soft and cuddly bear, gave it kisses and pulled it close for hugs. It kept him entertained while we set out the new rug and put all the furniture back.

To make myself feel less guilty about spending money on a dumb stuffed animal, even though the monkey loves his bear, I've put it away into the Christmas gift box and he can have it on the big day. That's a beautiful thing about babies. Elliott loves the panda now, has already forgotten about it, and he'll love it again on Christmas morning.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I've got spirit, yes I do, I've got spirit, how about you?

First, I have to tell you, it's not the last game. Will this season never end? We're in the toilet bowl and lucky us, even though we lost, we get to play again. Next week. The loser of the other loser game. Yipee! I can't wait.

I've hesitated to write about little league football this year because we all know, "sports builds character", but after today, I'll share a few thoughts, along with pictures, when applicable.

First, it always sucks to lose, but it sucks even more when you know you were totally homered by the baby huey, mulleted officials who had toilet paper stuck to their shoes the entire first half.


tape or toilet paper?  You be the judge


I know that our boys can be dumb, and that we have a history of off sides and personal fouls, but, every single play? Um, no! Just because the High School team we represent with our uniforms had their state playoff game ended early because of fighting last night, doesn't mean that a bunch of 12 year old boys will do the same thing. Was it really necessary to have the cops on or near the field the entire game?

Second, coaches are stupid. Getting kicked out of a game for yelling at officials is stupid. Fans that say so much crap that they get the game stopped, the coaches talked to, and the parents on the sideline yelled at are stupid.


the moron yelling on the sidelines
You, yes you dumb-dumb! I don't know who you are but I'm talking to you! Who are you to never come to a game all season and then come to the toilet bowl game where we're getting our butts kicked and you have to yell at the official so much that he stops the game and gives us a penalty. Ug!

Third, the parents. They were well behaved today, but this season has been a poor display of parenting skills. What example are you setting for your sons when you yell, carry on, teach them to taunt (especially when our team loses), interrupt the coaches half-time and end of game talks with your comments, and force the issue of going to a tournament in Las Vegas where your boys will probably get hurt and disappointed! Parent, you should be better behaved.

Fourth, Willie, my dear brother, you are such a good boy. You are a good football player, role model, hard worker, uncle, and are just so cute I could eat you up. You play hard every game and have made so much improvement this season, in spite of all the stupidity.

the star of the game, for us anyway

We all love to watch you play so hard and are so excited for basketball to start so we can see your sweet skills on the court!


the gang at the game
You're cheering section is ready and rearin' to go.

Finally, why does football draw such an strange audience? It's of course, mostly men, full of raging testosterone who are too cool to wear jackets and just yell all the time. Today, in addition to multiple mullets, we saw some interesting stuff.


how do you keep your hands warm?
I mean, wear a jacket. How hard is it to wear a jacket? Isn't it better than trying to keep your hands warm like this?

I guess when it comes to football, the old saying is true. Crack kills!

crack kills!
Finally, if you're interested in more images of football, mullets, and deer hunters, they're on flickr. All you need to do is click on any of the images in this post to view the rest.

Friday, November 02, 2007

self-sufficient

Asking for help is not something that I do. Everything that needs to get done, I generally do myself. I must rely on Ross and my mom occasionally to watch the monkey but otherwise, he goes with me everywhere, and I manage to get most things done every single day.

Regarding work, I also tend to take care of things by myself. Particularly, now that I work from home I have to set my own deadlines and track my progress or I'd never get anything done and would consistently run out of time. I often get a little stuck and end up pulling some late nights (late for me anyway) to get the work done. No asking for help, no sharing the work load. I just do it.

Nearly every day, as part of my job, I help teachers with their "technology issues," ranging from forgotten passwords, forgotten instructions, confusion about websites, lost brains...you know the drill. I spend countless hours on phone calls and e-mails answering mostly simple, mundane questions. It's okay and I don't mind. I enjoy offering help, even though I don't particularly care to ask for it.

Here's the problem. The 2 of you that read my blog, remember last week when I dropped my phone in the toilet and had to get a new one? And I got a blackberry? And I wrote a blog post about it? Well, I've spent the last week playing with my new device, getting used to it's functionality and menus and finally decided that I ought to get my work e-mail set-up. I set-up my yahoo! account lickety split, but the work e-mail has proved to be extremely cumbersome. Here's where the problems arise. 1) the University doesn't support blackberry's and my IT folks don't know how to set e-mail up on a blackberry. 2) I don't have the correct information (mailbox names, etc.) to set-up my blackberry. 3) Blackberry currently does not have any support for Vista users (which I am). 4) I don't know what a blackberry is. Is it a handled, a smartphone, a PDA or a combination of these? No idea. So, I'm screwed! I can't get anything to work right, can't figure out how to do it and am on the verge of doing something very dangerous in my book...asking for help.

Or, if I can't get it to work, I'll take the phone back and get a treo. The University supports treo's.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

It's November already? Time for NaBloPoMo!

I had so much fun doing this last year that I'm up for the challenge again. It's national blog posting month, ya'll. All you have to do is post every single day in November. Can you do it? I can.

If you're ready to go but want some more information, click HERE.

Good luck and happy blogging.

By the way, all of my family and friends who are now bloggers, I expect you to participate!

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