Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas morning



Christmas morning is magical. Even now. I may not stand at the end of the hallway with my finger at my lips, staring in wonder at what Santa brought anymore, but it's still ... well ... magic.

I love the cookies and fudge every which way I turn. I love the lights, and the colors and the music and the smells of deliciousness. I love the happy, joyful feelings I feel everywhere I go. I love the time with family and friends. And, I'm not gonna lie, I love the presents.

But most of all, I love it because I love Jesus. I love that we set apart a time of year to celebrate His birth, because it reminds me that I need to be a little bit better at celebrating His life. I love Him, and I am oh, so very grateful, for everything He did for me.

At Christmas, my thoughts invariably turn to Mary. I know what an impact my mother has had on my life. I can only imagine the things that she taught Him, the ways in which she influenced Him. He was the son of God. He was also the son of Mary, and I am grateful for the life she lived, for the son she raised, for the sacrifices she surely made.

I believe that she did, in fact, know who He was. I believe that she knew before He was born that He was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. She knew. I know she did.



May we all be just a little bit better at remembering Him is my Christmas wish this year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

There's no place like home for the holidays!



I mean it. Really, there's no place like home for the holidays - esp when you come from a home like mine. (Who, besides my sweet mother, would have a Jack-in-the-Box antennae topper as a tree topper? I'm pretty sure no one, that's who.)

Gosh, it's great to be home, where we eat candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks of chips and salsa and tamales in between. I love it here, because we watch movies and we sing and we talk and we eat and we laugh.

Oh, how we laugh.

Christmas is here, and so am I. Life is good.

Happy Ho-Ho-Ho to you...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Homeward bound

I'm headed home this afternoon, and this is one of the first things I'll see:



Aren't those stockings beautiful? My mother sewed (and embroidered) them with her own two hands. They've hung in the same place, on the same wall, my entire life and I love them.

Across from the stockings, right between the window and the door, we have this crazy clock:



It's funny enough that my mom's Mickey clock is the clock in the living room. (You know, the "nice" room that we reserve for company.) But at Christmas, Mickey steps it up a notch and wears a Santa hat. All the ornaments around him are cut-outs of pictures of us cute kiddos at Christmastime throughout the years.

The wall to the right of the wall covered in stockings is what we lovingly refer to as The Wall of Christmas Pix:



Isn't that great? Those are 5x7 frames full of pictures of the eight of us (my parents and all six kids) at varying ages and stages at Christmas-time. There are over 30 pictures in all, and I love them, because every single picture is a memory.

Just to the left of The Wall of Christmas Pix is the freezer. On top of the freezer are the Milk Dud boxes:



I don't even know how old these little guys are. ... They're older than me, this I know. They may be from before my parents were married, even. I don't even know. But how cute are they? I love them!

As you walk into the kitchen, this is the view:



Every cupboard (every space, really) is covered with a decoration. Some of them, my mom made the first year my parents were married. Some of them, Spencer made in high school art. Some of them have babies' scribbles on them. They are all familiar. I love my mom's kitchen, all the time, but at Christmas? I love it even more!

I wish I could show you every room in the house. I'm not kidding when I tell people that our house is a little Griswold-esque. And this would be why:



This is the woman behind the madness that is a Christmas decoration on every cupboard, the mother who lovingly sewed our stockings and photographically documented every moment of our childhoods. She is exactly the kind of gal who'd make herself an electric vest out of paper bags, Christmas lights and masking tape and then plug herself in and go to a party.

She is my mom. She made everything fun when I was little. She continues to make everything fun now that I am big. Christmas is Christmas, wherever I am, but it's a whole heck of a lot more fun when I am with her than it is when I am not. And today, I am homeward bound. Let the good times (and memories) begin!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three of my favorite ornaments

I know I've told you all how much I love my tree. (I do. I love it!) And today, I'm going to show you three of the biggest reasons why.

Most of the ornaments on my tree are mine. As in, I bought them or I made them; but I do have a few, a precious few (and I use the word precious because I love them so much) ornaments that have been gifts. Today, I will introduce you to three of them.

First, The Ruby Slipper:

(Yeah, I totally just capitalized that like it's a proper noun. So what? To me, it is.)



How gorgeous is that ornament? It's from Kathy U., also known as Kathy the Younger. She sent this to me, I think, the year that she got married. She found it back East in a specialty Christmas shop, and I love it! I love it because it is red, because it is super sparkly, because it is a tie to Dorothy (and we all know I love her!) and I also love it because I feel very much like Kathleen Kelly in that I have this on my tree. Behold, the ruby slippers on the tree in The Shop Around the Corner:



But mostly, I love it because I know that when Kathy saw this, she thought of me. I love that she packaged this delicate little glass slipper in an inordinate amount of packing material, and she shipped it across the country because she knew I would love it. And she was right, I do. I love it for all of it's red and sparkly-ness, don't get me wrong, but I love it mostly because when I look at it, I think of her. Every time.

Second, we have this lovely crystal snowflake:



Isn't that beautiful? It's from Jennifer O. (Do you love that I refer to these girls with the first initial of their last name like it's actually part of their first name? Call it a nickname of sorts, I guess.) I have three of these same snowflake ornaments and I just adore them. I love that they are crystal clear. They are beautiful in the light of day with the sun shining on them. They are breathtaking in the evening when the white lights from the tree are shining through and across every bend and cut in them. They are pure white glass, tied with a sheer ribbon, and they beautiful no matter what angle you look at them from, in whatever light there is to see them by. They remind me of Jen because she gave them to me, but also because they are exactly what she is to me, simple and elegant at exactly the same time.

And third, we have this little guy from Christine:



Isn't that just fantastic? The year Chris gave me this for Christmas, she half-apologized, saying that it wasn't much, but she'd thought of me when she'd seen it in the store. Oh. My. Stars. I love knowing that this beautiful ornament reminding someone of me. I love that it has red and green and cream and gold running through it, that it's an unusual shape, that it seems rather like an ornament out of place in time - because it reminds of of the old-timey ornaments I've seen in movies or old pictures. This ornament represents so much of what I think is beautiful at Christmastime: traditional colors, a throw-back to the generations before. It's a reminder of a simpler time and the love of a friend. I think it's funny that, to her, it wasn't much of a gift - when to me, it's the best gift she ever gave me.

I think of these women every year when I put up my tree, and throughout the season as I catch a glimpse of these ornaments sparkling in the half light of the tree. I love having tactile reminders of people whom I love, visual proof that there are people out there who know who I am and what makes me tick. It is both comforting and thrilling that there are people in my life who know what is beautiful and meaningful to me.

I love my friends. I am a composite of them, in the same way that my tree is a composite of decorations that I chose for myself and decorations that others chose for me. The ornaments these girls gave me make things a little bit sparklier and a lot more elegant; they add a touch of class that my tree would not have without them. Speaking both literally and metaphorically, my life is a more beautiful thing because of the things that these women, and so many others, have brought into the mix.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A sister for Christmas

As many of you know, I am the oldest of six. There are four boys after me, and I spent my entire childhood either hoping that baby in my mom's tummy was a girl or wishing she'd hurry up and get pregnant again so I could win the sister lottery the next time around.

I was the lone girl (and a prissy one, at that) for a very long time. One of my favorite games as a kid was to dress my brothers up as girls (the oldest three of them even had girl names that I'd call them when we played the "sisters" game).

I give you Laurie and Una, Christmas 1979:



Like I said, for years and years (and years and years), I prayed that I'd have a sister. In late 1986, I got finally got one. (By then, all the boys were done playing the game - done and then some... and I'll probably get more than one "I hate you" comment and/or email for posting the pic that I did up there... so I was happy as pie to finally have a girl to dress up in holiday garb.)

I give you Laurie and Katie, Christmas 1988.



Sweet poinsettias, eh? (Also, how much are you grooving on my circa 1987 turquoise/leopard print shirt? Pretty hot stuff, right?)

I have so many fun memories with my sibs. From going out into the woods to chop down the tree (a tradition that I completely loathed and abhored at the time, as I'm sure any of you who know how very NON-outdoorsy I am can imagine) - to the building of our own Christmas tree pizzas on Christmas Eve - to the watching of every movie Santa brought on Christmas day - to the wrapped up dolls and cans of food storage under the tree. My word, we've had a lot of fun. We've done a lot of stupid things. We've laughed a lot. We've sung a lot of songs. We've eaten hundreds of pounds of fudge. I could go on and on.

I love my family. As an adult, I love every one of my siblings and wouldn't change a thing about any of them (read: there's no part of me that would ever want my brothers to wear a dress and pretend they were my sister).

I love the memories I have with all five of them (plus in-laws and next-gens), and I look forward to the years of memories yet to come!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bonus!

Because I ran across this picture tonight, looking through some old family photos...

We have here a 30 Days of Christmas bonus post, people.



I love this picture because Santa is my dad. I love the laugh on my face and the twinkle in his eye.

Christmas Magic. That's what this is to me.

Jimmy Stewart's OTHER Christmas movie

Have you seen Mr. Krueger's Christmas? Do you love it?! I do! I always have, since I was little tiny. (Because I think Jimmy Stewart is adorable. And when I was a kid, I thought that putting the mitten on the tree was just funny.)

When I lived in St. George, I had an opportunity to go to a fireside where the director (or producer... I don't remember what he was, but he was something) of this (and many other church produced) films spoke. He talked a lot about how fun it was to work with Jimmy Stewart - that he really was as nice a guy as everyone always said he was. But what he said about the manger scene has stuck with me for almost 20 years. He told us that the manger scene was done in one take, that after the scene had been shot, Jimmy stood up and looked him in the eye and told him that he hoped he'd gotten that, because he couldn't do that again - that he'd felt like he was really there.

Watch this clip. I'm sure you'll feel like you're really there, too.



My word, I love Christmas! I love the music, the food, the sights, the smells ... and 3 minute movie clips that speak volumes about the love Christ had (and has) for all of us.

Monday, December 19, 2011

For you, Daddy...



Silver Bells always reminds me of my dad. Always.

My whole life, whenever the man starts singing Christmas songs just for fun (around the house or whatnot), this is the song he starts with. When we go caroling, this is his suggestion. When we're in the car, and decide to sing carols instead of listen to the radio, this is what he leads with. I don't know that it's his favorite Christmas carol, per se, but it's invariably the first song out of his mouth. And every time I hear it, every year, all season long, it reminds me of him.

Merry Christmas, Daddio! I love you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Reason 12,732 why I love being a grown up at Christmastime



Oranges.

I love them.

And now that I am a grown up, I can buy (and eat) them by the box full. (And I do.)

When I was growing up, there was a family in my ward who'd get a box (or two, or three or four) of oranges every year at Christmas. I remember going over to watch movies or play games - or, erm, just to mooch food - and we'd cut oranges and eat them while we watched, played or chatted. I remember slices of oranges so juicy that I'd have rivulets of sticky sweet goodness running from my pinky to my wrist and halfway to my elbow before I'd even think to grab a towel. I tell you, those oranges were fantastic, made all the more delicious by the fact that there were boxes full of them and the sky was the limit as far as how many we could eat. At our house, we'd peel oranges and eat the sections. At the Solomons', we'd cut them cross wise and then eat them right off the peel. Oh, they were heaven. Pure, juicy heaven.

And now that I am a grown up and am in charge of the grocery buying, I can have heaven in my house. And I do. Seriously, I'm eating about 10 lbs of oranges a week these days. I peel them, I cut them, I juice them, I zest them. I love them. They taste like Christmas to me, and they feel like home. When I eat an orange slice in my kitchen, leaning over the sink so the juice won't drip on to the floor, it takes me back in time. I might as well be standing on Luana's wood floor with Cathy on one side of me and Christine and Patty on the other. I taste the sharp tang, and I can hear Rachel and the other kids laughing and playing in the living room. I have instant recall of the chimes of the Christmas clock, and I am grateful for the years of memories I have tied to a family that I love, in a house that was a second home.

Oranges.

I love them.

I love the way they feel, taste and smell - almost as much as I love the memories they bring back to me.

Go buy an orange today. Heck, buy a bushel. Take them home and cut them up and eat them until you think you'll burst. That's what this time of year's for, anyway. (And, being cold season and all, the vitamin C can only help.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breath of Heaven



Because I've been feeling that I need to make sure and keep Christ in Christmas.

Sure, peppermint is delicious and fun music is always a good time... but it was time to bring Him into my 30 Days of Christmas posts.

I love Him. I'm grateful for His life. I'm overwhelmed at the magnitude of the plan. I marvel at the purity of Mary and her ability to raise the Son of God so He could be who He needed to be - for each and every one of us.

"Help me" - Mary says it so well, so perfectly, in this song that is very like a prayer. I pray that He will - help me, help you, help all of us - every day, but especially as we try to stay focused and remember who and what matters most at this sacred and holy time of the year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Joseph, Mary and Baby Mickey circa 1979



This is an Evans family classic, folks. Baby Mickey gets brought up in conversation at least once every season. You can see why. I mean, is that not pretty much the most adorable little nativity scene ever? ... Also, I'm pretty sure that it was my stuffed monkey that I used to dip (repeatedly) in the toilet when I was a kid, not the Mickey. (Pretty sure, but not positive.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So happy together...

Meet my two best breakfast besties.



Seriously, this is the BEST cup o' hot chocolate outside of ... well, actually going to Starbuck's for hot chocolate.

Heaven in a mug, I tell you. Pure heaven!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This cake tastes like Christmas!

*And by "Christmas", I mean: peppermint. (Clearly, I am on a peppermint-obsessed roll this year. But truly, I love it. And the good news for all of you, my dear readers, is that I have no qualms in admitting that and sharing the wealth with you in tips and tricks for how to make the holiday season even more delicious and calorie-laden than it would be without me!)

I give you The Cake That Tastes Like Christmas:



Yeah, I know. That cake looks like a giant cake donut covered in peppermint candy sprinkles. ... And it sort of tastes like that, too. (In my opinion, this is not a bad thing.)

And it's not just the crushed candy canes on the outside of the cake that give it a minty flair, people. Oh, no. This cake has a secret weapon inside of it.

Behold, peppermint pudding:



That was a sweet view of my claw-like hand and kitchen sink, right? (I'm putting it up anyway because I know it will make my mom happy to see the Noel on my fridge in the background. I'm funny like that.)

Here's a better pic of the box o' pudding, sans claw:



Yes, Jello is now making a peppermint pudding - and my mind is running amok with thoughts of all the things I could do with this pudding: trifle, parfaits, just a bowl o' pudding with broken candy canes on top. (I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to go back to Safeway and buy every box on their shelf, as this is a seasonal item and I have no less than half a dozen things I'm wanting to do with it.)

Anyhoo... make this cake. (Make it even if you don't like peppermint - just use the chocolate pudding, or a white chocolate pudding, or a vanilla pudding, or do a lemon cake mix with a box of lemon pudding. Really, the possibilities with this recipe are endless.)

Darn Good Chocolate Cake

1 pkg devil's food cake mix
1 pkg (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 c sour cream
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I recommend the mini chips, as they weigh less and are less likely to settle at the bottom of the pan)

Mix it all up, pour it into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Turn cake onto a wire rack to cool.

You can ice it, drizzle a glaze, or leave it plain. Serve it with ice cream, fresh fruit (raspberries, anyone?), glaze it (or, uh...make a ganache-like substance, like I did up there) and then press candy (candy canes, Reese's cups, Butterfinger... whatever floats your boat) into the frosting. Don't be afraid to mix it up with the chocolate chips, either. You can do white chocolate or peanut butter chips - mix and match and make this recipe yours. This cake is so ridiculously moist and delicious that you simply can't go wrong!

Happy holiday baking, my friends!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I dedicate this post to Molly Sanchez Mortensen

I love Christmas trees. All of them. I love all of them. But I especially love my own. I love it because I've had it for umpteen years. I love the memories of this tree in my apartment in Provo, in my bedroom in Taylor, in my living room here in Mesa. I love that the star on the top of my tree was made by my brother Kirk when he was in high school wood shop for Benjamin #1. I love the clear balls that I stuffed with potpourri with my own bare hands almost fifteen years ago (they're sorta moldy now, but I still use them because I love them so much). I love the random ornaments that were gifts from some of my best friends, friends who know what colors and textures are my favorites. I love the cranberry colored wooden bead garland. I love the fake presents under my tree, fake presents I've been using since I can't even remember when, because I think a tree without presents looks sad and barren (and I don't have kids to get into them, so I can decorate however the heck I want). I love the berry picks and the crocheted snowflakes and the homemade ornaments and the bells that have real, actual clappers in them, and I love the lights.

I love the lights especially, because they always remind me of Molly. (Those of you who were lucky enough to be in the BYU 3rd Ward should remember Molly. She was delightful. Molly was a joy and a pleasure. She was, truly, one of the sweetest and most genuine people I've ever known.) The year that Julie and I lived in The Pink House (capitalized, because it was a proper noun - a living thing with a personality of its very own), we had a Christmas party complete with homemade egg nog and caroling in the neighborhood. Molly came with her husband (she'd gotten married that year and left the ward) and we were SO HAPPY to see her again. We were talking in the front room, by the tree and Molly was staring, mesmerized, into the tree (we were on Ben #2, maybe Ben #3 by then) and she pointed at a light bulb and said "this one is you". Molly told me that when she looks at a Christmas tree, and all of the many lights that shine on the ornaments and make everything sparkley and beautiful, she thinks of the people in her life that do that for her - and that she liked to give the bulbs a name, to help her remember the people she loved.

Every year since that year - every year - I've thought of Molly as I put the lights on the tree. I love her. To say that in the present sense sounds a little silly, since I haven't seen her since 1997, but I love her. She changed me. She made me a better, kinder and happier person. She was one of those friends who come into your life and leave you better.

And this light is hers.



Merry Christmas, Molly, wherever you are. For me, you'll always be a light on my tree.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Some things never change...

Me, playing dress-up circa 1977:




Me, playing dress-up circa 2010:




Some things never change.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vermont must be beautiful this time of year...

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am a movie loving fool. And any movie that can be quoted is a movie worth watching, over and over again.

Enter White Christmas:



Good gravy, I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I mean, so much. And the people who know me best (my mom, my sister, my cousins) know that the surest way to make me giggle is to throw a line out every once in a while, just to keep me on my toes. See the text conversation below between Julie and me. This started at about 10:00 PM Thursday night and ended 11:00-ish, when we realized how late it was and sent ourselves to bed like responsible grown-ups do.

Julie: You'd have to pay $6.60 or even $8.80...

Julie: Mutual, I'm sure. (She had to send two texts to get my attention, I guess. Like I wasn't going to guess the movie at the first quote. Whatever.)

Me: Girls like that are a dime a dozen. ... Don't quote me the price when I haven't got the time.

Julie: Boy, girl, boy, girl.

Julie: I guess she carried me away with her. I don't weigh very much.

Me: General Waverly... a janitor? It's worse than that, I'm afraid. I own the place!

Julie: A landlord!

Julie: Right in between ouch and boing...

Me: What do you get when you mix liverwurst and buttermilk?

Julie: Pray, tell, what does "Mandy" have to do with the minstrel number?

Me: Who knows... But doesn't she have great legs?!

Julie: Grab the cow.

Me: It's time for mother hen to leave her nest.

Julie: I'm starting to play trombone a little, too.


White Christmas + Cousins (with a capital C) = a good time. Forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas traditions

My mom called this morning to tell me that she was going to be giving the lesson in Young Women's today, and she was SO EXCITED, because the lesson was on traditions. Mom and I get pretty excited about traditions, because we think they're great memory makers. We talked for about half an hour before I had to go out the door to my own church meetings, and I've been thinking ever since about our Christmas traditions - what they are and what they mean to me.





I'll share just a few:

sugar cookies - baking them, frosting them AND eating them
Harry Connick Jr's Christmas album - I cannot get enough of the big brass sound
fudge - at least 3 different kinds
dipping pretzels (for hours) as we talk around the table
cold cereal in snack-sized boxes
microwave popcorn as a meal
watching movies all day Christmas day
the garland around the living room ceiling
Mom's wall of Christmas photos
watching (and quoting) White Christmas all month long
going caroling with Mom
having a friend come over to play the piano while Mom, Kate and I sing
Christmas tree pizzas
the unofficial seating arrangement in the living room Christmas morning
waking up SUPER early because it's Christmas, even though we're all grown up
Queen Anne chocolate covered maraschino cherries
the Milk Dud cartons on top of the freezer

The 25 Days of Christmas book





I tell you, I could go on and on. I know that most of the stuff I typed up there won't sound familiar (or even make sense) to most of you, and that's okay. These are my family's Christmas traditions. You have your own, as you should. There are things that we do that my mom's family did, there are things that we do that my dad's family did, there are things that no other family (including the Griswolds) would have ever done, but we do it and we love it. (Insert a visual of Tyler's bacon-wrapped Christmas tree pizza from last year.)





Traditions. They are memory makers. They make the holiday, the magic, the relationships we have with our loved ones real. I am grateful for them, for the sameness of things from year to year. Going home to my parents house and opening the living room door to see the wall of stockings that have been hung in the same place all of my life? That's when I know that I am home, on so very many levels.





My word, I love Christmas! And so much of why I love it is wrapped up in the way my parents taught me how to celebrate it. I'm grateful for music and candy and laughter. Out of all the things we do, having fun together - I think, anyway - is the most important. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the silly (and meaningful) traditions that we have, Mom and Dad. So much of why I love Christmas is because the two of you did. Thanks for raising me right.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A milkshake a day...

Probably won't keep the doctor away. But you know that I'll be having one anyway!



I'm pretty sure that I've talked about my life-long love affair peppermint here before. It is a love that is deep and true, and it's lasted a lifetime already.

I tell you - I looooove peppermint. And peppermint and chocolate together? EVEN BETTER!

Enter Chick-fil-A's new seasonal milkshake. Pure heaven, served in a styrofoam cup with a thick straw. (Also, they serve fried chicken at this fine establishment. And we all know how I feel about the fried chicken...)

Go get one today. ... And if you live in my neighborhood and don't want to go alone, you just let me know. I'm all about supporting friends and loved ones in their quest to get their peppermint shake on. What can I say? I'm a giver.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The GIANT Candy Cane



Did anyone else have a love affair with the giant candy cane when they were a kid? I did. I would literally drool over them. (And then on them, down inside the wrapper that I'd only partially pulled back so I could suck on the end of them in front of my brothers and refuse to share.)

True story. (Both the drooling down into the soggy wrapper and the not sharing.) I was a gross kid, and kind of a mean one sometimes. (I like to think that both of those were normal.)

Anyway... I looooooved the giant candy canes when I was little. I can picture in my head where they were displayed at Ed's (at the end cap, I want to say at the 2nd register, but it might have been the 3rd). I would stand and look at them and wish I had a quarter so I could buy one for my own self. They weren't as good when you had to share them. (Probably because Mom would break them with a hammer and then we'd share. And, as previously discussed, I hated to share.)

You can imagine my thrill when I saw this bad boy at the dollar store this weekend. I'm pretty sure I shrieked with joy, and then I snatched it right up. Of course, due to inflation, the cost has gone from 25 cents to 67 cents. (Argh.) Also, the candy can is no longer bigger than my forearm. (But I'm consoling myself with the thought that it would take me ALL MONTH to gnaw through a piece of candy that big.)

Ahhhh... the giant candy cane = pure joy. (And probably cavities, but whatever.)

Merry Christmas and happy candy cane eating - TO ME! (37 yrs old and still not sharing.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I heart Santa

Always have.


Always will.

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Days of Christmas

You know how everyone's been Facebooking all month about Thanksgiving, coming up with something they're thankful for every day in preparation of Thanksgiving?

Yeah, well. I didn't do that.

It's not like I don't enjoy Thanksgiving. I do. I love pie. I adore mashed potatoes and gravy. Cranberry and turkey together send me to the moon (and back). And I do make an honest effort every day to be grateful for the big and little things in my life that make me happy and bring me joy. I love my life. I am grateful for it, for all the creature comforts that make me happy (I seriously LOVE my rice bag, because it keeps my feet warm when nothing else will) and for the people who love me even though I'm a crazy person (insert your name here, whoever you are, reading this - I love you and I'm grateful for you).

I love Thanksgiving. I do.

But I've been looking forward to Christmas ... well, for what seems like ALL YEAR LONG. Christmas is everything that is fun and joyous and peaceful and charitable and warm and fuzzy and fantastic to me.

Christmas music makes my heart soar. Christmas movies are nostalgic and make me happy to my core. Christmas treats are fun to make - and fun to eat. (Can I tell you how much I'm in love with these stupid Egg Nog rolled cookies? Oh, that's right. I cannot, because there are not words for the love.)

In case I haven't mentioned it... I love Christmas. And to that end, I've decided to post something "I love Christmass-y" for 30 days in a row. It might be a song, a movie clip, a recipe, a random thought ... or a combination of all of the above.

All I can say is, I love Christmas. And I'll keep saying it all month long. So, if that doesn't sound boring to you - stay tuned. (And if that does sound boring to you, then don't stay tuned. Scrooge.)

Merry Christmas y'all! (I can say that now that Thanksgiving is over and all those "give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves!" people have had their fun.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Never were there such devoted sisters...



It's my sister's birthday today. She's 25. That's CRAZY to me!

My sister is pretty amazing, and super fantastic. I love her for a lot of reasons. Here are a few of them.

She's:

funny
kind
a peace maker
principled
a survivor
a HUGE movie buff
introspective
big-mouthed (literally, not so much figuratively)
a quoter of TV and movie lines
good
witty
strong

She was the baby girl I spent my entire childhood praying for. She's an incredible woman. She's done a lot of amazing and really hard things, and she's done them with grace and with dignity, and for that, she is my hero. She's one of my best friends.

She's my seester.



Happy Birthday, Mooey! I love you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Argh...

Unnecessary apostrophes are the bane of my existence.



Do these snacks belong to SnackWell? No, I don't think they do. So, why is there an apostrophe there? ... Oh, to make them plural?

That's wrong.

Sick and wrong. And totally unnecessary. (Anybody want to guess what brand of snacks I did not buy, based solely on their improper use of an apostrophe? ... Also, I hate raisins, but that's not the point here.)

I wish I could teach the world a lesson on where and how to appropriately use apostrophes.

The End.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hottest. Dad. Ever.



"What I do have are a very particular set of skills."

I shudder. (And not necessarily in a bad way.) I tell you what... Hottest. Dad. EVER!

If you haven't seen Taken, you must! It's an adrenalin rush and a half. I've seen it a good 10-15 times (easily) and even now, I'm exhausted when it's over. This movie is fan-freaking-tastic, in a kick-ass dad, don't-mess-with-my-kid-or-I'll-hunt-you-down-and-make-you-pay sort of way. (Also, it made me decide that I never want to go to Europe alone. Even if I am a paunchy woman in her mid-late 30's and am therefore not the type who's gonna bring a good price on the black market, I think it's just too big a risk to take.)

Call me crazy for likening movies a little bit too much to my own life, but I can tell you right now that I feel a lot safer since I made the decision to stay away from kidnappers in foreign lands. ... Just imagine how safe I'd feel if I had a man in my life who had those same special skills that Liam has. (He's delicious!)

I love this movie!

(But who's kidding who? I love Liam. Almost without fail.)

For real, if you haven't seen it - you must. Call me. I'll bring my dvd and the popcorn. It'll be a good time!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

TV and how it touches my life

I've been watching a lot of Alias today. (Netflix is my one true love.) And Sydney Bristow's chiseled jaw blows my freaking mind.




I tell you what, her jaw (as well as the rest of her, let's be honest) borders on not being human.

I've given a lot of thought to how I could accomplish having such a chiseled jaw at some point in my life and I've come to the conclusion that I'd have to a) give up eating potato chips by the bag for pretty much ... well, forever ... as well as b) take up kick boxing or running or some other such madness.

So, I've decided that I should keep BOTH of my chins and stop wondering how in the world Jennifer Garner got her one chin so darn defined.

That being said, I'm pretty sure that there's a pint of ice cream in the freezer that needs to be polished off. (Whilst I watch Syd kick some serious terrorist trash.)

That's all for now. But stay tuned, because when I OD on TV like this, it usually stirs up all kind of drama in my life. (By which I mean: I start imagining all kinds of things, like what I'd do if I were a spy and had to choose between letting my former lover be shot to death or stabbing him not-quite-to-death myself so I could save his life, or what I'd do if I was sharing a pint of ice cream with one Will Tippen and we ended up kissing over the hot fudge.) I tell you what, good dramatic TV (esp spy shows) make my imagination run wild - and that, my friends, could make for some fun posts in the next few days.

Over and out.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And the celebration continues!

Yeah, I know that it's been, like, two weeks since my actual birthday. But I got a little prize in the mail today from my Cousin (with a capital C).

Behold the post-birthday bounty:



For those of you who may have noticed that the bag of chips is "sharing size", don't get your hopes up. This is the one bag of chips that I was gifted for my birthday, and under the Holiday Clause of The Potato Chip Rule of 2011, these are mine -- all mine.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Looky-loo, I'm a WITCH! :)









You Are a Witch (or Warlock)




You are deviously brilliant and a perfect manipulator.

You somehow always end up getting what you want - without anyone knowing you're working behind the scenes.

Crafty and cunning, you can work your way out of any jam.

And it's easy for you to get people to do what you want, whether you're working for good or evil.



Your greatest power: Mind control



Your greatest weakness: Making people your puppets



You play well with: Ghosts


Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's what's for breakfast.



I'm not kidding.

Welcome to the world of what's for breakfast at my house, people.

Isn't that cake BEAUTIFUL?! (And I can't even tell you how delicious it was. There aren't words. ... And we all know that I know (and use) A LOT of words.)

Last night, I got a group of friends and family (who are also my friends) together and we went to Jesterz for some laughter and good times. (More on that later.) After the show, we went to The Sugar Bowl, where my good friend Charla had dropped off a cake that she'd made with her very own hands for my special day. I about passed out when they brought it back to the banquet room (we had made reservations - at The Sugar Bowl - who even knew that was possible?!).

Please allow me to show you a close-up of the top of the cake:



Yeah, those are Kit-Kats.(Who loves Kit-Kats? Uh ... me!)

I'm pretty sure that I squealed like an 8 yr old girl when I saw this beauty. And then they put it down right in front of me, and I swiped at the ganache.



And then I thought "that ganache is a garnish!" and I cracked up. And swiped at it again. And then I turned the cake to show Christine what I'd done, and said, in a horrified voice, "that ganache is a garnish!", and she asked me if I needed a spoon to scoop the rest of it up. And then the four of us sitting together in the middle of the table cracked up at the reference.

Ahhhh... how I do love quoting movies. (And friends who know movie quotes.)

I also love cake. And friends who make me cake. And friends (and family, who are also my friends) who help me eat cake.

I love my birthday. I love cake. I love to laugh. I love cake. I love my friends. I love cake. I love my life!

But mostly, I love cake.

And today, I get to eat that entire top tier by myself.

Lucky me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm ready for my real life to begin.

Not that ...erm... I think this life is fake, per se. I was just reminded of a passage in a book.

Several months ago, I was reading a scene in which two women were talking. One woman was in her 70's, the other in her 30's. The older woman made reference to having lived in the same house for over 30 years. The younger woman responded with not being able to imagine staying in the same place for that long. At that point, the older woman asked the younger woman her age. The response was 37. This is the dialogue that followed:

"Ah, thirty-seven." She nods. "It's a wonderful age, isn't it?"

"It is?" Meri flicks the last ash off the cigarette.

"Yes, it is. It's a perfectly balanced age, to my way of thinking. With any luck, you've left foolish youth and vain hopes about your life behind you. You're done with all that kind of pain. But on the other hand, you're still young, you're still strong." She pauses, she looks out over the front yard, then back at Meri. "Ready for real life to begin."

Real life. ... I don't know what that means, exactly. But I do know about foolish youth and vain hopes. I know pain. Of course, I also know sucess and joy and laughter and love. I can't help but think that the past few years have changed me. Not just my body (which is creaky and old), but also my spirit. I'm happy to be thirty-seven, even if it is a little freaky to be on the edge of "late thirties".

I don't know what's coming, but that conversation in that book has stuck with me. Real life (whatever and wherever you are), I'm headed your way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five Movies That Remind Me Who I Am

Is anyone else finding themselves a little obsessed with The Pioneer Woman's new entertainment tab? ... Because I sure am.

Probably because I live for movies (and who's kidding who, tv on dvd, too), this section of her site is my new best friend.

And this post especially resonated with me. ... Call me crazy, but I must say that when I see a post titled "When Movies Remind Us Who We Are", it speaks to my very soul. I read this post earlier this week (like, you know, the day it was written, because that's the kind of blog stalker I am), and I've been thinking all week about movies. Specifically, about movies that define periods in my life, and people in my life. Here is my list of five movies that remind me who I am.



Such a surprise that this is the first movie on my list, right? I know, I know. I'm soooo predictable! But listen, this movie is the best! For so very many reasons. It's based on a true story. Real people who stood up for what they believed in and left their homeland in hope of a better life elsewhere. (What's not glorious about that?) Also, Edelweiss is one of the most beautiful songs of all time. Amen.

Ways in which this movie defines my life:

When the Taylor church was condemned (before my boy James bought it and turned it into his studio), the old chapel curtains were left there to rot. When Jamie & Co came in to restore the building, they had no use for drapes that had been left in a semi-open building for YEARS. But I did. I wanted to make play clothes out of them, so my sweet mother went to the church and came back with yards and yards of drapery for just such a dress. (Too bad we had to throw them out because we couldn't figure out how to clean them before we could sew. But still, that I wanted "play clothes" out of drapery leads directly back to a childhood influenced by Fraulein Maria.)

I knew what flibbertigibbet meant at a very young age. (Vocab has always been a big deal to me.)

When Molly Sanchez got married, a bunch of us from BYU 3rd ward rode up to Logan together for the sealing/reception. That night, after the party was over, Julie and I twirled on the hill and then ran skipping down it. One of our friends commented on how I thought life was a musical. Darn tootin, I did! (And I still do.) And this movie is so much of why I think it's important to dance and sing your way through life. Maria was the queen of finding ways to incorporate music into the mundane and make life fun. I heart her (and that goatherd puppet show)!



I love this movie. For oh, so very many reasons.

1) It's one of the most quotable movies of all time. "These mashed potatoes are so creamy." "Do I like jello?" "Caesar Romero wasn't tall!"

2) I soooo relate to Lucy and her unfortunate situation. (No kidding, before I saw this movie myself, I had two different friends tell me that I had to see it, because the train track situation followed by the hospital "I was going to marry him" scene, leading to his family thinking they were engaged and her not being able to tell them the truth because she was afraid she'd kill grandma is EXACTLY the kind of thing that would happen to me.)

3) When this movie came out, one of my best friends was in Chicago on a mission for our church. I hadn't seen him, or even talked to him, in over a year and I missed him like crazy! Watching a movie set in Chicago, seeing the train and Lake Michigan and other touristy spots throughout the movie, things and places that I had seen in the pictures he had sent home, helped me miss him less. I remember walking out of that theater feeling closer to him than I had in months. I still remember that feeling, how I felt more at peace with the distance and knew we were still friends, even if things weren't the same as they had been when we were younger. Cheesy? Maybe. But it was a real sensation. It's been 15 years or so, but I still remember that feeling as I walked out of the theater.



Again, one of the most quotable movies of all time. "That's MY beauty spot!" "Fancy meeting you here, Judith Tremaine." "To think we were against you in the late war..."

I grew up watching this movie. I remember dancing the Tapioca (or trying to, anyway) with my cousins when we were kids. At the time, I had no idea what white slavery was, but I knew that Mrs. Meers and her henchmen were up to no good with that fake soy sauce.

I had a crush on a boy named Jim once and I would sing the "Jimmy, oh Jimmy" song to myself all the livelong day.

Some of my dearest friendships have been made with folk who know (and quote) this movie as well (and often) as I do. ... I'll never forget the day at the bank when I inadvertently quoted TMM (as anyone who knows me - and the movie - know I am wont to do) and two of the tellers surprised me by throwing lines right back at me. I tell you, I learned a long time ago that if someone knows and loves Millie, they're kindred spirits and the sky's the limit as far as friendship goes! (Don't mind me throwing in one more movie reference there. I can't help it, I get it from my mother's side of the family. ... Okay, okay, I'll stop. But just know that I'm cracking myself up over here.)

If I want a guaranteed laugh, all I have to do is throw this movie in the dvd player and I'm good to go!



Oh, how I love this movie! And the beauty is that it takes place over an entire 12 months, and there are songs for every holiday, so I can justify watching it any time of the year. This, my friends, is NOT "just another Christmas movie"!

When I was growing up, I loooooved this movie, but *sigh* we didn't have it. Whenever I was sick, I'd have my mom call Lorraine Solomon to borrow it so I could lie on the couch and veg to Bing and Fred.

I'd make Valentine's Day cookies when I was in high school and sing "Be careful, it's my heart" to myself as I'd frost heart-shaped cookies with pink icing.

For years, I have been looking for a good recording of the 4th of July song that's in this movie. All the time, I sing "On this day of Independence, on this Independence Day" to myself and then giggle at what a fun play on words that is.

This movie was the debut of the song White Christmas, and it's my favorite version/recording of it - ever. When Bing hits the bells on the tree with his pipe, my heart just sings.



Because my mother raised me to love a good con.

It is true. My sweet, angelic mother looooooves a con. The intricacy of the foil. The finding of a mark and the playing of that person (esp if they deserve it, a la Terry Benedict) is a thing of beauty. My mother taught me many things; how to appreciate a con is one of the most fun (and surprising, if you know her) things that I learned from her.

Somewhere in my heart there is a deep dark spot that wishes I could get away with something like a triple casino heist. Or maybe I just wish I knew a guy like Danny Ocean. Tomato/tomahto.

Honorable mentions (because we all know that I could have listed umpteen movies here):

The original Parent Trap (My whole life, I've wanted to cut the back out of some snotty girl's dress).

Random Harvest (What would you do if the person you loved couldn't remember you? Would you walk away, move on? Or would you find a way to be with them, even if you couldn't be "with" them? ... Thank heaven I've never loved an amnesiac, I don't know what I'd do!)

You've Got Mail (Because who loves Joe Fox? I do, even if he does take the caviar that's supposed to be a garnish. I can't help myself.)

Rebecca (Mrs. Danvers is the epitome of all that is deranged and lunatic. When I was a kid, I would get her and Rochester's first wife confused in my head all the time. ... All I knew is that only crazy women burned houses down and I wanted nothing to do with them. Amen.)

GWTW (Rhett Butler. Need I say more?)

Mrs. Miniver (Probably the first WWII movie I saw that really struck a chord with me. I was a teenager the first time I saw it. Every time I even THINK about that movie, I am filled with a sense of loss and an appreciation for everything that generation sacrificed during the war.)

The Fighting Sullivans (I can't even type the name without choking up. What this movie does to me is the equivalent of Mrs. Miniver squared.)

An Ideal Husband (Oscar Wilde was a freaking genius! The language/dialogue in this movie is to die for. Lord Goring makes me laugh OUT LOUD, and I find myself quoting him on a fairly regular basis. "I always pass on good advice. It is the only sensible thing to do with it." HA!)

The Dark Knight (I know, I know. It's super dark, and this is not a movie most people would put on a list of defining movies. But I looooove Batman! I always have, but I esp love how, in this movie, he lets people think he's the bad guy ... because they need to be able to draw a line between good and bad/light and dark, and it would destroy a city if they knew that their white knight had fallen. That he takes the hit for something he didn't do, in order to allow a city full of people to continue to believe in an ideal is beautiful to me.)

Where the Red Fern Grows (I do love a good coming-of-age story, and this is probably the best ever written. I used to ask to rent this movie whenever I'd get free Rent-a-Flik coupons at school. ... And I'm not even a dog person!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just call me Lola

Even if I'm not wearing "a dress cut down to there", I do have a feather in my hair.

I figure, if the shoe (song) fits, wear (sing) it.

But I digress. A thing which is, sadly, typical. It seems that as soon as I have what I like to refer to as "song association" (esp if it's Barry-centric), I start singing to myself and the point of a post goes out the window. So sorry about that.

Anyhoo...

I went to an 80's themed birthday party a few months ago and was mocked (can you believe it?!) for my feathered hair-piece.

Mind you, the feathers were coming out of a pink fish that I'd sewn onto a barrette and clipped into my hair. (It was a cat toy. Before you join the throng and mock me, you just think about how many people you know who can fashion an accessory out of a 99 cent cat toy, some beads and elastic. Yeah, that's what I figured. ... From the thrifty/crafty angle, it's a pretty sweet feathered accessory, no?)



Anyway, I was mocked for the feathers. (The flip folder full of cat pictures I was packing around all night long didn't help, I'm sure.) Seriously. Mocked. People laughed out loud at it, and one sweet girl asked me what had made me think to put feathers on a barrette. Because, like, how was that "period"?

Clearly, most of the people at this party weren't alive in 1981. I was. I knew 80's fashion (specifically, about feathers-in-the-hair), because I lived it, baby!



No kidding. This is a circa 1981 pic of me wearing barrettes that I'd made with my very own hands at a Mother/Daughter Homemaking. (And how much do you love that I still have the same pointy chin and smirky look on my face? Hilarious!)

That my mother let me wear pink feathered barrettes with a blue and white polka-dot dress to have professional pictures taken is a testament to how she has always just kind of stood back and let me do my own thing (fashion sense be damned!), bless her.

And there you have it.

Me, with feathers in my hair. Just call me Lola.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Potato Chip Rule of 2011

Sometimes too much of a good things becomes ... well ... a bad thing.

You know, like when I love jalapeno kettle chips so much that I feel compelled to eat the whole bag. In one sitting. Even though my mouth is on fire and my nose is running. ... That's a bad thing.



I knew it was a bad thing. And yet, it kept happening. Over and over (and over ... and, uh ... over) again. (Look, they were on sale to buy a bag and get a bag free. It's not my fault that I was overloaded on bags of kettle chips. Oh, wait. It is kind of my fault that I was overloaded on bags of kettle chips. ... Whatever.)

Anyway, I made myself sick and my tongue was numb for a couple days.

So I had to ban myself from buying chips until 2012.

It's a true story. There's a ban on me buying any kind of potato chips until 2012*, at which point, if I've proven (to myself) that I can control the chips-to-Laurie ratio over here, I will be allowed to buy chips again.

*Gas Station Exclusion to the Potato Chip Rule of 2011: If I am at a gas station (to buy gas), I am allowed to buy one small-ish, snack size bag of chips.

(I had to add the "to buy gas" part, because a day after I made this rule, I was seriously thinking about driving to the gas station just to buy chips. I had to have a firm talk with myself about the reason we have rules and that eating chips isn't good for me, so I can't just have them any time I want them. Basically, I'm like a 7 yr old boy when it comes to food.)

**Birthday Clause to the Potato Chip Rule of 2011: If anyone else were to buy chips for me and present them as a birthday gift, I'd be allowed to accept them (and eat them).

***Which, naturally, opens the Holiday Clause: If anyone were to buy me chips for Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and/or any other holiday between now and New Year's, I'd be able to eat them (and I'd be deeply beholden to any potato chip benefactor who wanted to contribute to my sad, sad cause).

I'm just saying that I'm not allowed to buy chips until 2012, but if someone (anyone or, really, everyone) else wanted to buy them for me, there are clauses built into the rule that would allow such a thing. (Also, my birthday is a week from today. Hint, hint.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Columbus Day poem

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
And today, I don't have to go to work.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

116 Days

For those of you who don't already know this, I don't brush my hair.

You read that right. I don't brush my hair. Like, ever. It gets all frizzy. There's too much static electricity going on in that mane of mine if I brush it, so I don't. Ever. ... In my defense, I do comb through it when it's wet at least once a week, so it's not a total tangle-fest in there, but brush it? Never.

So, now you know. I don't brush my hair. Judge me if you want. I'm good with that, it's been going on for years.

In fact, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I lived in Provo and there was a boy in my ward that looked an awful lot like Bob Saget. (I mean, an awful lot. I called him Bob, because he looked so much like him. And he called me Rosie, because back in the day when Rosie O'Donnell would do her hair and make-up for her daily talk show, I used to get told that I was a ringer for her.) Anyway, Bob and I were friends. Good friends, as we were both celebrity look-alikes and had a penchant for making fun of the weirdies at ward prayer. In one of our many late-night discussions of things personal, it came out that I don't ever brush my hair. He was fascinated by the non-brushing of the hair. (In all reality, most people are. I have perpetually had long hair, and there's a lot of it. Knowing that I don't ever take a brush to it makes people wonder how it's not a rat's nest.) Well, to Bob it was a thing of mystery. And to me, it was funny that it was so weird to him, so I totally stopped combing it out when it was wet, just to see how long I could go.

Meanwhile, summer turned into fall and Bob's girlfriend came back from wherever it was that she'd gone for the summer. In fact, as I recall, he went to pick her up. He got back into town on a Sunday and brought her to (drum roll, please) ward prayer to introduce her around. He marched her right up to me, all excited for the two of us to meet and become instant best friends and as he said my name, she rolled her eyes and said something along the lines of "So, you're the one who never brushes her hair?" (in a very condescending tone, I might add). I just laughed and said something along the lines of "Yup, that'd be me". She was horrified. She looked right at my head and, sneering a little, asked how long it had been since I'd brushed my hair. (Apparently, Bob had told her not only that I didn't brush my hair, but that I was mid-challenge with him on exactly how long I could go and not even comb it out when it was wet.) I proudly told her it had been just over 30 days. She rolled her eyes and said that was gross.

Challenge. On.

Before, I'd been all over not brushing my hair just to amuse Bob. ... Now that I knew it bothered his girlfriend that I was a non-brusher, I felt strangely compelled to push her over the edge.

I made it over two months, as I recall.

(Meanwhile, Bob and the girl got engaged. He moved out of the ward - and out of my life - just before they got married and I don't know what ever happened to him.)

Every once in a while, I think back to those months of striking on the hair hygiene front and I laugh out loud and how stubborn I could be when I was younger.

... And then I remember how stubborn I can be now.

It's been 116 days since I vacuumed, my friends. 116 days. This time last month, I was tempted to break out the old Dirt Devil, but then I counted the days since my last vacuum and thought, "Why do it now? If I wait another week, I'll hit the 90 day mark." And now I'm looking at the 120 day mark on Thursday of this week.

Is it sick that I enjoy pushing myself against these weird time lines? (Probably. But the good news is that I don't shed as much as I would if I were a hair brusher. From that perspective, I'd like to state for the record that my carpets could be oh, so very much worse.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm a Mormon

I've been asked if I'm going to create one of those "I'm a Mormon" profiles for mormon.org. And, you know, I'm totally cool with that. Because, hi, I am a Mormon. Also, I have no qualms about putting that -- or other personal intel about myself -- online. (Obviously.) My only issue? I can't think of a good line to lead in with. All the commercials are like, "I'm a rocket scientist, an off-road enthusiast, a part-time archaeologist. And I'm a Mormon" or "I'm a race car driver, competed in a bake-off on nationally syndicated television, live to serve others. And I'm a Mormon." ... I have no such claims to fame. (Oh, except the "And I'm a Mormon" thing, as previously discussed.)

I've been trying to think of a little catchphrase. In my head, once I have the beginning, I'll be able to steamroll through this profile writing business. Here are a few ideas that I've come up with.



I am:

a TV addict
a lover of fudgecicles
a stubborn woman
an accomplished maker of sugar cookies
an avid reader
a cancer survivor
a freakishly independent little thing
a girl who does not like to vacuum
an unpublished author (so what if I haven't actually written a book yet?)
a Disneyland annual pass holder
an amateur cake decorator
a big fan of lazy days
a high school graduate
a people watcher extraordinaire
an old school movie buff
a cat person (notice I said "cat person" and not "cat lady")
a professional dater (but does that make me sound like a prostitute?)
a story teller
a super fun aunt
a collector of shoes (specializing in black heels)
a lover of big band music
a grammar nazi
a sap


My friend Jo's suggestion was "My name is Laurie. I grew up in Taylor, I swear like a sailor and I'm a Mormon." ... I'll give that there's a nice Taylor/sailor rhyme there, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not gonna go with that. (Methinks that Judy would not be amused.)

So, what do you think? I'm open to any and all suggestions. What am I? How would you define me? ... How should I spin this Mormon thing, do you think? HELP!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I need some new walking shoes



That's right. I broke my walking shoes. (And yeah, my walking shoes are black flip-flops. Don't judge.)

I was out on my evening walk and I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk (not to worry - it wasn't the kind of trip where you actually fall, just the kind where you catch your foot and sort of stumble). When I recovered, I realized I'd lost my shoe in the process. I back traced a little for the shoe and was incredibly bummed to see that my black flipper had finally bit the dust. I was incredibly bummed for two reasons: the shoes that have seen me through literally hundreds of miles of walking in the last year and a half, the shoes that have molded to the shape of my feet and are the most comfortable flip-flops I've ever owned, are gone - and I was about half a mile from home and I was gonna have to walk back a la "Diddle, diddle dumpling, my son John" (with one shoe off and one shoe on).

Argh. I need to buy some new walking shoes. (And yeah, by "walking shoes", I mean $6 flips-flops from WalMart. Listen, they're super great and verrrrrry affordable.)

In the meanwhile, I guess I could use these.



But they feel so constricting. (Probably because all ten of my toes are accustomed to being out in the air.)

So, in the meanwhile, I think I'll wear these.



They don't pack the supportive punch that the rubber flippers did, but as you can see, they've definitely been broken in.

Don't you all love getting these little glimpses into my life? Please don't judge me for my love of well worn flip-flops, or ... uh ... my lack of supportive athletic footwear. (But then, I don't know that you could call taking 40 minutes to walk around the block an athletic event, so I think a new pair of black flippers will be sufficient for my needs.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why I'm not married

There are a lot of theories out there for why I’m not married. Some that I’ve heard:

I am selfish. (This from Jeff West, my mother and most recently some General Authorities of the church in the April 2011 GC address. I’m pretty sure my mom’s mocking Jeff when she says it, I’m not sure about the GA’s.)

I look for offense rather than love. (This from Bryan with a Y (not to be confused with Brian I, Brian II and/or Brian III) – the crazy man who spiraled quickly and violently when I was unable to respond to a series of texts he sent after 10:30 PM (I was asleep when they came in) and he cited this quality as the reason I’d die alone in two texts and one voicemail … Yeah, the second date was quickly and brutally broken the following morning when I woke up to umpteen texts, 7 missed calls and 5 semi-hysterical voice mails from the man. Bless him.)

I don’t want to get married and/or have children. (This from a couple sweet sisters from my current and past wards. How adorable are they for assuming the only reason in the world I wouldn’t have gotten married at the ripe old age of 21 was because I didn’t want a family? … Not the reason, folks, but thanks for thinking that I’d be married if I just wanted to be.)

I don’t wash my face at night before I go to bed. (I heard this for the first time almost 15 years ago. You’d think by now I’d be all about washing my face, just in case that turned the tides, but no.)

I'm too good for what's out there. (This from both Rhonda Hancock and Liz Roberts. ... Out of the mouths of two or more witnesses, or however that goes, is what I have to say about this theory.)

I always have candy. (This from my nephews, ages 5 and 7. I don’t really get the correlation between being the super cool aunt with the ever-present candy bowl and not having a husband, but for some reason I am “The one with the candy – the one who’s not married” to them.)

I’ve never loved any man as much as I love my independence. (This from Clint Horn. What can I say? Too bad that relationship didn’t go long term (or end well, frankly), because - on a lot of levels - that man really got me.)

All interesting (if not downright creative) reasons for why I’m still not married at 36. And all of them, on some level and at some point, probably have some truth to them. But I don’t think any one of those reasons can cover the blanket reason for why I think I’m still single.

What do I think is the blanket reason, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Okay, I'll show you (that's probably easier):



That’s right, Atticus Finch.

Atticus Finch is the reason I’m still single. He’s tall. He’s dreamy (esp when played by Gregory Peck, and in my mind’s eye, he always is!). He’s super smart. He’s the best shot in the county, but he’ll only pick up a gun when there’s a mad dog threatening his kids. He’s principled. He’s honest. He is kind. He is good. He is fair. He’s a good neighbor (an incredible neighbor, really, to everyone on his street, but esp to Mrs. Dubose and Boo). He’s a lawyer and a single father and pretty darn good at both.

I love him.

And there you have it – the reason I’m not married, according to me. It’s the thought of Atticus Finch. So what if he’s a fictional character? For me, he represents all that is good and honorable – and until I find someone who reminds me of Atticus on at least 6 different character points, I’ll stay single, thanks.

Monday, September 12, 2011

People, my prayers have been answered!

What was the best part of going to the doctor on Friday? ... Okay, besides the whole "cancer-free" thing, which totally rocked. ... I will tell you:

The hot Indian doctor.

I'll be more specific, the hot Indian doctor who was not wearing a wedding ring. Let me just say there are some men who make me want to pick up and move to India.

This man:



And the hot doctor who was standing in for my usual sweet old-man oncologist who was on vacation last week. (Seriously, I debated whether or not it would be inappropriate to take my phone out and fake text someone so I could snap his picture. ... The importance of staring at him and maintaining eye contact during our conversation won out over my need to finagle a reason/way to get my phone out, in case you were wondering.)

He. Was. Delicious.

An oncologist, mid-late 30's, taller than me, not wearing a wedding ring... (Also, he asked if I was in a relationship. When I stated I wasn't married, nor did I have children - he'd asked specific questions about a husband and children - he probed a little further with asking whether I was dating someone. I'm not gonna lie, this was as good as a proposal to me.) Score!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you?

I was getting ready for work on September 11, 2001 when my mom came in and told me that she had turned on the TV just in time to see the second tower hit. My grandad had called from CA and told her to turn the TV on. I'd come out of the hall bathroom when she called my name from the kitchen, and I fell against the wall in shock when I heard the news. After a few stunned moments, I picked myself up and finished going about the business of getting ready for work. I listened to the radio as I drove to Show Low. I was at the Shumway curve when the Pentagon was hit and I thought my heart would break from the combined feelings of loss and fear. I was at work, huddled in a circle around a radio, when the news came in about Flight 93. ... To this day, I can't get through the 4th verse of America the Beautiful without flashing back to how I felt that day. "How beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years. Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears!" has a special meaning to me now.

This morning, 10 years later, I went down to Tempe Town Lake to see the Healing Field. It was, in a word, breathtaking.



There are flags flown for every person who died that day, and attached to each flag is a name and a brief bio.



I weep.

When I got there, first responders and service people were reading the names of those who perished. After the final salute, they opened the reading of names to volunteers. I had the privilege of reading 20 names.



Amazingly, I made it through all 20 without breaking.

The park was full of people. Citizens, airline employees, civil servants, every branch of the service was represented... But he was my favorite.



This man stood at attention through the entire service, not moving a muscle. He stood as a sentinel, mid-point in front of the sea of flags, reminding me - and everyone else - of the heroism and bravery that was shown on that day by the NYFD.

I'm a mess of emotions today. I'm grateful for the bravery and selflessness shown by so many on that day, 10 years ago. I am - we all are - indebted to the crew and passengers of Flight 93. (How much worse could it have been? I shudder at the thought.) I am humbled by the civil servants who willingly walked (ran) into harm's way to save the people in NYC on that horrible, awful day. I am full of grief for those who lost friends, family - loved ones - on that day and in the days that followed. I am filled with love of God and love of country.

May we always remember.