Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Kevin arrived yesterday on a standby flight. He came a day late, and had to wait for one extra plane in Salt Lake City, but it worked! I'm grateful to his friend who provided the ticket.

Today he popped out of his bedroom wearing this hilarious shirt:

One of his friends saw one online and decided to make up her own for him. Just in case you're not sure, there are TWO mistakes.

We went to the zoo today and made it home before the wind and rain started. Not a lot of rain, not a lot of wind, but still not something I wanted to be out in with the kiddos.

We might get snow tonight, the first since 2006.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A delicious day

I got up early for work as I always do and while I was working fielded a couple of calls from Kevin who is flying here on standby with Delta. We ironed out a couple of problems, but he wasn't sure if he was going to make it here today. I told him to call me later and tell me how things were looking.

Then I went back to bed.

He woke me up with his next call . . . at 10:00 am!! It was good sleep too, no crazy dreams like I have sometimes when I go back to sleep like that. Anyway, Kevin'll try a couple of flights tomorrow.

The girls wanted to have Camp Laffalotta this week while they're out of school. That made me feel good because we did that off and on this past summer and they must have enjoyed it. They decided they wanted to learn about chickens. Might have something to do with the four little friends in the coop in the backyard, huh? First stop was the library, of course, although I was disappointed with what I was able to find. I "sorted" the card catalog results to show me chickens->children's materials->at our library branch->on the shelf and still was able to find only about 1:3 items. I picked up a couple of nonfiction children's chicken books and a couple of picture books anyway.

Grandma treated us to lunch at the nearby McDonald's and since they have a play area, she brought her crossword puzzle and I brought my iTouch and caught up on email while the girls played.

Came home to find the mail lady had brought me a package all the way from Australia.
Soft and squashy . . . what can it be?

Tearing the paper off . . . .

. . . and found two very lovely hand-knitted face cloths!

Don't worry about the light area--that was my mom shining a flashlight on the design, trying to get it to show up better for the picture. Thank you, my dear friend L. They are lovely and I appreciate them and you.

Tonight for Family Home Evening we are writing thank you notes for the gifts we received for Christmas. I know lots of people don't write thank yous anymore, but I want my children to know that's the proper thing to do.

As I said, a delicious day.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Low key is how I'd describe it. The kids got up at around 7 am, so dh and I got to sleep in. They weren't tearing into anything and actually asked if they could look in their stockings. I guess we'd better make that clearer to them next year. :-)

We don't go overboard with piles of gifts, so they had a nice selection of games, toys, and clothes, but nothing crazy. My main gift was an iPod Touch from dh. I made sure he knew what I wanted. I spent the next hour trying to make an iTunes account. I have to assume their servers were overwhelmed with hundreds of thousands of other people doing the same thing I was, but boy--for a website whose main focus is separating me from my money $0.99 at a time, you'd think it'd be easier to register. In desperation I finally had to make an username and use that to register at iTunes. Thank goodness there was that option. I didn't want to actually buy anything, but the free apps I wanted can only be downloaded from iTunes. Poor system if you are anybody but Apple. I finally got set up and got the first apps I wanted and am having fun figuring out how to do things on the iTouch. And no, I didn't want an iPhone. This does most of the same things (except I have to have a WiFi connection for Internet things and I can't talk on it) but I can keep my current cell phone service at 40% of the cost of iPhone service. Plus I have a very cool phone number that I wouldn't want to give up.

We had a pretty traditional dinner of ham, potatoes, corn, cranberries, bread/butter, along with a coconut cream pie and a caramel pumpkin cake. It was just the six of us. We'd have loved to have a few family/friends, but everyone was pretty scattered this year and we were happy to be togther as we were.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

McDonalds downsizing

Yes, I'm talking about products that keep getting smaller. Do manufacturers think we won't notice? Or maybe they have done some "studies" that show consumers prefer the smaller size at the same price. Yeah, that's probably it.

Since my girls are out of school, I let them choose a place to go today. They wanted to go to the local mall, so we did. After window shopping a bit C wanted to buy a pretzel at one of the counters. She had $2 and you'd think that would be enough to buy a twisted piece of bread, but with tax they were about $3. She was pretty disappointed and asked if there was anything at the mall to buy for $2. I remembered McDonald's in the food court and thought they'd probably have their dollar menu sundaes. She was willing to pay for hers, but I bought one for each of the girls and a fruit and yogurt parfait for myself (trying to be good). When I opened the bag I almost laughed at the tiny size of the yogurt. The cup has gotten such a narrow bottom on it it practically fell over. There is at most 2/3 the yogurt there used to be in the old ones and although there was a good amount of frozen-munchy strawberries, there was exactly one blueberry in the fruit mix.

The girls' hot fudge sundae cups were about 20-25% smaller than before because the bottom half of the cup below the vertical ripples is about half the height it was before. The serving was actually a better size for my girls, but I just hate the feeling that McDonald's thinks it's getting away with something without my noticing. Am I the only one who notices these kinds of things?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Since there was a spectacular lunar eclipse visible in my part of the world last night, I asked dh to set the alarm on his cell phone to wake me up a little after midnight. He and I went out first to see if it was worth waking the children and it WAS! We got all three up and had them look at it. The younger two wanted to go back to bed so we kissed them and sent them on their way. The oldest wanted to stay up as we knew she would, so the three of us sat outside on the lawn chairs and watched the moon get darker and darker until all that was left was a little glowing hair on its head. Then even that was gone. The copper glow was something I never imagined seeing.

from this site

Being semi-old folks we didn't stay up the additional 72 minutes to see the moon start to uncover itself, but it was an event well worth an hour of sleep.

Oh, the younger two didn't even remember getting up!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The doc lowered the boom

Today I went in for my annual exam and got a (pleasant) lecture about losing some weight. It sounds like low carb is the way to go, although it wasn't suggested to get freaky about it.

I'm also supposed to consume more calcium and add a vitamin D3 supplement.

I'll give it a try and see how it goes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twinkling lights and shooting stars

Does this look exactly like I would decorate my tree? No? Here's why: my daughters put up and decorated this tree ALL BY THEMSELVES. I'm really happy about that!!Don't ask me why, but I have never enjoyed putting up a Christmas tree or decorating it. Starting a couple of years ago I was able to get my girls to help me with the task and that made it more fun for me. This year it was getting to be about the time to put it up, but we had one evening activity after another and it kept getting put off. Yesterday while I was working they asked if they could put it up themselves. When I had a break between students I went out to the storage shed and got the boxes and they took it from there. No help from me at all. (yippee) They were very pleased and so was I.

All that twinkling going on this morning reminded me of the Geminid Shower going on in the early morning hours. I happened to be talking to my one student who lives in the United States, so I told him I'd call him back in 15 seconds, ran to get my cell phone, and talked to him while I lay on the diving board in the back yard. In the five minutes I was out there I saw THREE shooting stars. Best ever!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

His fantastic day

Dh is the administrator of a large nursing home, one of the nicest here in town. They were having some problems with one of the nursing issues, so he invited a company expert here to help them figure out how to fix it. That request for help escalated to the company president's scheduling a visit to come along with the nursing expert!

Before dh took over the running of this particular home, it was losing money and morale was low. The company even thought of selling it just to be rid of it. The big boss had seen the numbers on paper and so he knew there had been a dramatic turn-around since dh arrived nearly two years ago, and he wanted to see the place for himself.

You can imagine the straightening and shining that has happened over the past month! The place always looks nice, but now it looks great. They even did things like buy a "new" antique set of china to put in the large china cabinet in the family dining room. The hard floors were newly stripped and waxed. They applied fresh paint to the curbs outside to denote the no-parking areas. Everything was subtle, but all together, the place looks great.

Yesterday was the big day. Dh's immediate boss who has been supporting the touch ups and making suggestions was there in both a support role as well as a "he's being examined too" way.

Dh said his presentation to the group of about 10 was spot on, lunch (a Southwest salad) was beautiful, the building shone, and the nursing staff got the direction they needed to solve the problem.

The president was very happy about what he saw, offered quite a handful of money to make other updates and cosmetic improvements to the building, told dh he was very, very happy to have him in his position and delicately asked if he was planning to stay for awhile (dh loves working for this company), and was overall very complimentary about dh's leadership skill.

Dh came home one happy man!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

On to a new phase of life

When we disposed of the old minivan, we also disposed of something we'd had for over eight years--carseats. I waited to get a new car until we could get away with only booster seats because I knew carseats would never fit in the back of a Honda Accord. Three boosters fit only with creative use. Two of them look like this:
and one is an odd European one I got in Germany about eighteen years ago. BUT they fit!!

We posted a notice at Church that we had carseats to give away and within a couple of weeks, both had been claimed. It was sad and nice at the same time. Our girls are growing up.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A new hobby?

I've been wanting to learn (relearn, I guess, since I did learn how when I was a Merrie Miss in 5th grade) how to knit for several years. One friend knitted me a wool muffler as well as a washcloth that I use daily and I wanted to learn now to make some for myself, and another friend posted pictures on line of some socks she made. Plus it's the hip thing now, don'tcha know?

A friend from Church and I kept trying to get together and failing, so I finally did it the modern way: I looked up a video on YouTube.
So now I can knit. I think purl comes next, but not on this washcloth! Actually, this washcloth is turning out pretty big, so it may become a kitchen cloth. It is straight knit left and right, nothing else. I know you can make a border by doing . . . something, but I don't know how to do any of that yet.

It's about twice as long now as when I took the picture. I have a lot of time on the phone talking to students each day, so I got quite a bit of knitting in today. I'll keep you updated on thes scintillating details.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Annual report--Hallelujiah!

Don't I have an entry like this every year? Tonight my mom, a friend, and I went to a local church for the 34th annual Messiah Sing-In. There was a small orchestra (about 25 I'd say), four wonderful soloists and . . . no choir. The audience was the choir, of course! We sat in large sections and the spirited conductor led us in the choir numbers. We sang eight of them and I sang two of them well. LOL Those would be the two I'm working on for two different choirs I'm singing with right now.

I can't wait for next year!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday from one end to the other

Dh dropped me off at the corner by the dentist's office this morning. I walked a short block so I could cross there, but it wasn't at the main crossing place, so no signal to help me on my way. Traffic was backed up for more than that block and I had to stand in between the waiting cars as I worked my way across the lanes of traffic. There are 8 lanes at that point. When I got into the dental office the secretary and hygienist told me they had been watching me and crossing their fingers for me. LOL

It turned out there might be something to account for my tooth tenderness and I was referred to an endodontist for further evaluation. I went ahead and had the two fillings replaced that needed it and I'll see what happens next week with the other doctor.

I walked the mile home and passed my optometrist. How convenient. When I got my very expensive glasses home a few weeks ago, I found two tiny places where the purple paint had chipped off the frame in the front. Honestly, no one would ever notice it unless s/he was really looking for it, but for what I paid, I want a perfect finish. So I stopped in and the new frame should be in late next week.

The rest of the warm, pleasant day (79F or 26C) I spend doing laundry, watching TV, cleaning out the chicken coop, and doing geneology.

Dinner is pizza tonight of course, because it's Friday. I wasn't happy with the way my last crust turned out so I looked up a new recipe. I followed the directions and the dough was still pretty soft despite adding a little extra flour, but I have to say it looked and tasted divine before going into the oven. This recipe might be my new favorite.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1 car = a pain in the neck

Dh's Suburban needed a manifold gasket replacement (like I have ANY idea what that means . . . ) so Wednesday we took it to a guy we know who does that kind of thing out of his own family garage. I naively thought we'd pick up the car that night.
(Someone else's Suburban, but dh's looks like this.)

Nope. Looks like Saturday at the earliest. Today that meant driving the girls to the bus stop, then running dh to work so I could have the car to drive Mom to the doctor and pick up some origami paper at the craft store for Activity Day in the early evening. Dh got a ride home with someone.

I called the bus company here in town this morning to see if dh could take a bus home. Possible, but not easy. We live on the eastern outskirts of town and his office is on the northern outskirts. It takes three buses and over an hour, plus some walking.

Tomorrow I'll have dh drop the girls at the bus stop, then drop me at the dentist for an 8:00 appointment. Luckily it's only about a mile from home so I'll walk home afterward.

Saturday one of the girls is having . . . what did the woman call it? . . . not "IQ testing," but something like "cognitive ability testing." Whatever. I also have Stake choir practice for our Stake Christmas program, so I'll get dd settled for the test, run to choir practice, then back to pick her up when it's done, then home.

I'm hoping by then the Suburban will be done and we can get back to two cars again. If not, we're going to have a problem on Sunday because my car holds only five people and our family is six. Two trips to Church?

It's making me realize how lucky we are to have two cars on a regular basis!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A couple of pictures to share

My twins' teacher is super-patriotic and we are enjoying all the ways the girls have benefitted from that. She has taught them the national anthem (The Star-Spangled Banner), they get an extra point on their charts for wearing red/white/blue to school, they memorized the preamble to the US Constitution, and for Veterans Day, they did a profile on a friend or family member who is in the armed forces. One of my twins profiled her oldest brother who is in the US Marine Corp and the other profiled her uncle who is in the US Navy. This picture is from the weekly newsletter:

A couple of Saturdays ago we went to a wonderful "Day in the Park" near the zoo here in town. It's an annual event with lots of games and activities for the children and music and such on stage for the families to enjoy. There are also displays and a few commercial booths. One of the booths offered a free family portrait and since we hadn't had a picture taken of the five of us in quite awhile, we decided to do that. It was just a quick photo by the park lake, but we were happy with it. Here we are on a busy Saturday in November:

Tonight's dinner is Baked Potato Soup. I just couldn't bring myself to use the full amount of fat, so I cut that down by a little more than half. Here's the picture from the recipe website: