Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's that time of year......

It's not quite the new year, but for some reason I seem to be buckling down, setting goals and getting my life back on track. Maybe it's because this is my favorite time of the year. I love the holidays. I love the cooler weather. I love blankets, scarves, jackets, the smell of chimneys burning, seeing my breath in the air, getting together with family and friends.... love it..... Perhaps it's that happy positive energy that makes it easier for me to get the rest of my life on track.

I can't even begin to know what exactly triggered me jumping off of the work-out bandwagon. It was a slow spiralling descent. Here is my long list of excuses. I think it all started out with...

Gas costs too much so I'll work out at home - (Ha, yeah right!)

Then there was the toothache for a couple of weeks while I negotiated the insurance hurdles to get my wisdom teeth out.

Next up was the....dang it... they were right... I'm too dang old to deal with the trauma of getting my wisdom teeth out. Hey, wasn't this only supposed to hurt for a few days? (I'm not in pain anymore, but I'm still dealing with the damaged nerve/numb lip thing. I thought that would go away in a few weeks, but no such luck for me.)

Then there was the mystery illness that wasnt. Was I sick or wasn't I. Am I a hypochondriac or not? I felt like hell, but I really had no discernable symptoms.

Then I just got so lazy from being lazy and pitying myself that I barely made it to my morning walking sessions while Joshua was in seminary.

But this is it. I vow that I have expelled the whiny, lazy, doesn't feel like it personality. I (the happy, loves to go to the gym and get a good workout) personality am taking over.

I think maybe watching the season finale of The Biggest Loser last night was what finally gave the new me the final little push I needed to take over this body. Those people looked absolutely amazing! I've been watching all season long and I had totally forgotten what they looked like at the beginning.

So today I....

dug through my crap and found my Book of Morm0n companion book and dang it I was only in like 2nd Nephi....

With the aid of my dear hubby I dug through all the dvd's and found my dusty Leslie Sansone walking dvd.....

and I even had time to walk for like 10 minutes.

Ok so that's not that much, but if you knew me and my normal morning routine, that was downright productive. Heck, I even made it to work on time! That is a miracle.

Speaking of work. I think lunch time might be over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Home Stretch Cram Session

Pres. Hinckley challenged the entire church membership to re-read the Book of Morm0n before the end of the year. (I believe he said it at the April general conference) I worked at it for a while and then life got busy and I got side-tracked. Well the end of the year is quickly approaching and I know I'm going to regret it when I hear everyone share all the great experiences they had by following the prophet's counsel.... so it's cram session time for me. My biggest problem is I cannot remember where I left off. I've contemplated getting back on track for a week, but I can't find the companion book I was marking my place in. Finally I decided I would start back up in Alma and if I find out I skipped a little, I can go back and read it when I'm done. That was a huge step for my little perfectionist self.

My boss' son is getting ready to return home from his mission in a couple of weeks, so my big "work" project right now is to type all of his missionary letters. It's a grueling job, but I love it. This is the second time I've had this opportunity. It is so fun to read their letters, learn about their experiences and see how much they grow while they are gone.

Joshua will be the first missionary in our family in many generations. (We have pioneer heritage, so I'm sure there were some missionaries back there somewhere, but none that I know of.) Reading their letters has really helped me to understand some of the things I can do to support Joshua in preparing for and serving a mission.

Well break time is over. It's time to get back to work.

Thanksgiving Weekend

My Thanksgiving weekend was great. It was wonderful to get away from the dusty office for a few days.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Dad's again. My, what a long way we have come when we think that 30 people is a small turn-out! Now that Dad has a computer, we were able to take a group photo and print it right away. It was fun to be able to see it and share it with everyone.

Friday I hosted a big "project" day at my rec room. I invited my friends, family and customers over to work on whatever craft projects they wanted. Some worked on their Christmas cards and gifts, I taught my niece (Leah) how to knit and I worked on Joshua's quilt. (Hopefully that child doesn't read my blog!)

Saturday I finished piecing the quilt top together and took it over to Candace's. She helped me to pin it to the backing so that I can start quilting it. Rick and Joshua cleaned out the shed!!! It was a very productive day.

Sunday was church and relaxation day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Please Save Me

I can't take it anymore! The saws, the smell of sawdust, the hammering, the contractors yelling/talking, the rock music. It has to end. I'm about ready to scream!!!

Hark...did the music just turn off? Could it be possible? Ahh....sweet relief......

There was a short period earlier when I saw no contractors, yet heard music blaring. I peeked around. I saw no one and I..... turned the music down. Oh yeah, that lasted all of about five minutes. They came back. They turned it up and I was once again reminded that I do not like hard rock. I do not like it in the car. I do not like it in the house. I do not like it in the office. I do not like it at all......

I'm thinking that my next paycheck should reflect the following hazard pays...

$50 for talking to and coordinating contractors.
$50 for dealing with dust.
$500 for listening to rock music all day long.
$50 for each time that I had to answer the phone with saws and hammers making noise in the background.
$50 for every hour that I was stuck here all alone while everyone else escaped all the noise and chaos. Um...if it isn't that bad, and I should be able to work right through it... ummmm... where is everyone else???????
$50 for having to bring in my own "shop" towels to clean up around here.
$200 for every time I had to pack and unpack my office
$50 for every piece of equipment that I've had to "inherit" since there is no longer anyplace else to store it.

and we haven't even started the painting yet. I'm sure there will have to be some hazard pay when I get to sniff paint fumes all day long.....

Thank goodness tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I can use four long days to rekindle my patience....before I..... explode!!!!!!!!!!!


BytheSea asked if I let Joshua cook with me. I think that just might be one of the things I've actually done well with as a parent. My child can definately cook. He's been helping in the kitchen since he was two. I used to think he actually had an interest in cooking. I quickly learned that his interest lies in EATING...ok... he likes to be helpful and hang out with mom too... but I think he likes to eat more.

I wouldn't say he has a really long attention span when it comes to cooking. Especially things that require multiple batches. I pretty much get help with the first batch of pecan tarts. Once they are done and cool and can be eaten.....he tends to disappear.... but I think he could definately make them start to finish, without my help, if he had the recipe.......

which brings me to a Scrapbook Challenge......

Scrapbook your holiday. What do you have for Thanksgiving dinner? What's your "special" dish that you are required to bring to family gatherings? What are your cooking secrets? Who makes the best pie in the family? Consider collecting the recipes for all those must have holiday dishes and add them to your scrapbook page.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Knitting Class

See.... even though I haven't been posting much lately, I've still been busy. This semester we graduated from Knitting I to Knitting II. We're 2's now and we're finally working on the beautiful heirloom afghan. I believe there are 48 squares total. We make 1-2 squares per week. By the end of this trimester we will have 19 squares I think.

So far my most difficult square has been the signature square...and's not pictured here. That would be because I still haven't finished it. I knit a couple of inches the first time, only to realize I needed to drop a needle size and I was doing some weird kind of yarn-over that closed the lace holes.

Effort #2 - Down to a size four needle and it was still too big!!

I've now purchased size three needles, but I just haven't found the inspiration to try it again.

We seem to be on a cabling kick right now. Cabling is still awkward and slow going for me, but I love the finished product.

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Using up scraps

I've been on a mission to use up some of my leftover yarn. I've been making 7x9 squares for warm-up america afghans. The green and yellow are the leftovers from last semesters knitted toddler sweater. I've been trying to complete at least one square a week. Of course that's easier when I decide to crochet the square instead of knit it. It's been slow going, but I'm really starting to get a nice stack of squares.

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Book Club

Well I'm a little behind on posting. Book Club was last Wednesday (November 16th).

We discussed last month's book, Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull. While it ended up being a great book for discussion, it was definately not one of my favorites. I didnt' care for the author's writing style and I was really put off by all the gruesome descriptions of war. I struggled, trying to finish it in time and ended up being a few pages short. I just couldn't bring myself to finish reading it.

That being said, there were some very interesting topics brought up in the book that made for some great conversations.

War - this could have been a difficult topic. Luckily we all had very similar views. I was embarassed to realize how little I knew about WWI. It was interesting to compare and contrast what happened then, with what is happening now.

Love - Did the main character really love Julia? Why? Was it through his own experiences and observations? Would he have loved her if he had met her on his own?

Old Age - rest homes, visiting the elderly, dealing with issues with our parents. Great discussion.

This month we are reading (well listening....Jane opted for audio books this month) to The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty.

Below is a picture of the cute bags Jane made to hold our books and goodies. She lined black canvas bags with some great fall leafy material and even hand stitched the gorgeous leaves on the front! They are beautiful. And of course Jackie spoiled us yet again with some fun holiday treats. The chinese carton was filled with candy. On top of the box is a glass leaf ornament/hanging.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I know I'm a little early, but I figure I better strike while the iron is hot.....or while the muse is working.

Last Monday I watched the Thanksgiving episode of Related. Faced with a powdered gravy, canned cranberry sauce dinner, the girls took over the reins and decided to make all their mother's traditional recipes. Throughout the episode they flashed back to memories of their mom and thanksgiving.

I don't know why I was so moved by this episode, but it has stuck with me all week long. I have thought about what I consider important about the holiday. What are my traditions? What are my memories? What memories will my son have?

Growing up we had two very different styles of Thanksgiving. The ones at Grandma's house and the one's at home. Grandma's was filled with family, card games, cooking, relish trays and eating until we were going to burst. I guess I wasn't old enough or there wasn't room in the kitchen. I never remember helping or learning. I just remember Grandma and my aunts bustling around the kitchen all day. I remember thinking I was going to starve before that turkey was done.

I loved being there. I loved hanging out with my aunts and my grandparents, playing cards, reading books and watching grandma crochet.

I barely remember Thanksgiving's at home. They weren't quite the production of the one's at Grandma's. While there might have been a time when Mom made everything from scratch. I remember boxed stuffing, canned gravy, instant potatoes and canned cranberry sauce. The only thing I remember that was always made from scratch was the candied yams.

I'd love to say they were always happy memories, but the truth is that even at the best of times there was this underlying tension. At Grandma's there was always someone who was missing or currently cut-off from the family, someone's name we weren't allowed to mention. Everyone was on edge, wondering if Grandpa would pass from the happy go lucky drunk, to the mean, angry drunk. And Me? I never knew when Mom would lash out at me. There was this fine line between having fun and interacting with everyone and trying not to draw too much attention to myself. If I was quiet and in another room I could go unnoticed. If I was in the thick of it, I could draw her attention.... and that was never good.

Home was pretty much the same. If I tried to help in the kitchen I got in trouble. If I hid in the bedroom I was avoiding the family. The dinner was delicious, but we weren't what you'd call the happy family. By the time dinner made it to the table mom had surely complained about all the work she had to do to prepare the dinner, how ungrateful I was, how unobservant my father was and my brother....well he was perfect.

With that background, one would wonder why I am so enchanted with the holiday. I started hosting Thanksgiving when I was 19. The year mom and dad got divorced. I made boxed stuffing, canned gravy, canned cranberry sauce and asked mom to bring the candied yams. I stopped up my plumbing with potato peels and learned that you never put them in the garbage disposal.

Over the years I have learned to make home-made rolls, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pies and pecan tarts.

Most years we have two dinners. One on Thursday at my Dad's. A small meal for 30-40. It isn't what you would call intimate. It is an EVENT, complete with a buffet line where we get to enjoy everyone's specialty. And on Friday or Saturday I cook a traditional meal for my family. A girl's gotta have leftovers you know! When you're one of 40, you don't really go home with a doggy bag.

As I reflected on that episode of Related, I asked my husband. What do you think Joshua will remember about Thanksgiving? He laughed and said "I think he'll remember the pecan tarts."

I hope he's right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Office Remodel

It's lunch time and I'm currently writing from my newly remodeled office. It's not quite finished. We have to paint, put in the windows and we're still waiting for the new glass door, but I have a chair to sit in and I've unpacked most of my office. I have my computer set up.... that's the important part, right? Here's a view from my chair.

Notice I just had to put my little flowers back in the window sill. A girl can only handle so much dirt, dust, grime, unfinished walls. I needed something pretty to look at. The window on the other side of the room belongs to my co-worker. We have strategically set up our monitors and such so that we're not actually staring at each other all day.

As you look out the window to the right you currently see some exposed wood and a lovely wooden door. Soon it will be a nice glass door and my window to the world. Yep, I'm moving up and I will now have an outside view. Hmmm.... I think I see a new blog feature coming soon... I have a feeling I'll have some um... interesting sites......stay tuned!

And here's my desk.... complete with the blogger screen on my monitor. And for fun.... I've put myself on a tax guide workout. I have to file a few tax guides so I'm forcing myself to file an hour a day. Ick...ick....ick.....

Stay tuned for crochet and knitting news.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


The smell of wood.
The pounding of nails.
The sound of an air compressor.

Yep, we're remodeling at work.

I'm exhausted and I'm not even the one doing all the work.

Today is the first day in about a week and a half that I've actually been able to sit down at my desk. First we were packing up boxes, moving furniture, drawing diagrams of where to put our furniture, and scratching our heads... wondering.... where we were going to put the furniture.

Next it was time to call the phone guy, the internet guy, the computer guy and the oops I almost forgot alarm guy. I think I remembered to call the alarm company around the time I realized I couldn't set the alarm if the door to the new area was open.... hmmm... that door is going to be removed soon. You think maybe I should call and get that fixed?

My office is now the end of our space so my window to the reception area was walled up and a new wall extends out from my doorway (I'll try to bring my camera tomorrow.) Soooo... for the time being I'm in a little office...with no windows.... It's actually kind of nice. After 6 years of feeling like I was in a fish bowl, I kind of like being off by myself. That time will end soon. In a few days they will be flipping all my cabinets and counters to the other side of the room and adding a new doorway and window on the left side..... but for now.... I'm hiding from the rest of the chaos.