23 December 2007
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heaven.
So many gifts to appreciate this Christmas, most especially the gift that is at the root of all this holiday hooplah. It means more to me every year.
Shay and I are heading to the airport early tomorrow morning and will be spending Christmas with family and friends in the Homeland. I'm looking forward to it.
18 December 2007
in the other hand? Perhaps.
I usually give makeup my best shot when I first move to a new place or start a new school year or begin a new job. First impressions, you know. Then, inevitably, my makeup routine will be pared down to something more realistic until at last it consists of whatever miracles can be worked with an eyelash curler in approximately 20 seconds. I love this piece of equipment. Only today, after being given the eyebrow, I realized it is probably a strange thing to hang on to when I generally do nothing else to make myself look put-together in the morning. My hair is probably in a ponytail and my shirt isn't ironed, but you'd better believe those eyelashes are going to be curled.
So let's hear it - when you don't have time for the whole get-pretty routine, what is it that you can't live without?
13 December 2007
We also made pepparkakor, thin and crispy gingerbread cookies with a hint of orange flavor... mmmm! After the Lucia buns I wasn't up for converting another recipe from metric units, so I looked for already-Americanized pepparkakor recipes online. One recipe said (this is a direct quote) "roll out the dough to 1/8 inch. Cut into any traditional holiday shape - stars, pigs, hearts, etc." That "pigs" bit was slipped in there so nonchalantly that it took a minute to regiser. Whaaaaa? I laughed, but only until I read the next three recipes and was repeatedly encouraged to bake cookies in "traditional" shapes such as pigs. Swedes, are you reading this? What is that about?!
As you may have guessed, I did not find an abundance of pig-shaped cookie cuters at my local grocery store. So, Shay and I had to improvise. What do you think?
12 December 2007
The ice storm came but it did not hit Lawrence nearly as hard as it hit other parts of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The weather is being blamed for 23 deaths yesterday in those states - mostly car accidents, I think. Here in our neighborhood we had some cool-looking trees, but the roads were not bad and we never lost power. Like Melis suggested, we went shopping once things calmed down, and we fought no crowds and waited in no lines. We also enjoyed some exploring in the neighborhood (sidewalks were far more treacherous than roads, by the way) and some cozy time at home, watching movies, reading books, and playing games with neighbors.
The storm hit the city where I work mercilessly, though, and school is cancelled for the second day in a row because of power outages and road conditions. I'm glad I don't have to commute in winter weather and I'm not going to complain about another day off in the middle of the week, but I am concerned for the kids in my schools and their families. Their lives are complicated enough without these added complications.
Oh yeah, and about those Dove chocolates... they are gone.
10 December 2007
AN ICE STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TUESDAY NIGHT.
FREEZING RAIN...HEAVY AT TIMES...WILL CONTINUE ACROSS EAST CENTRAL KANSAS THIS EVENING AND CONTINUE THROUGH LATE TUESDAY EVENING. SOME SLEET IS EXPECTED TO MIX IN WITH THE FREEZING RAIN TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. AROUND AN INCH OF ICE WILL ACCUMULATE.
THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION. ICE AMOUNTS OF THIS MAGNITUDE CAN BE EXPECTED TO PRODUCE WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES AS WELL AS TREE DAMAGE. TRAVEL WILL BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE. ANY TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. IF YOU LEAVE THE SAFETY OF BEING INDOORS...YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR LIFE AT RISK.
So, there's a warming thought. Crazy weather is coming, and schools and workplaces around here are basically planning to shut down for awhile. It seems Shay and I may be experiencing our first "Ice Day" tomorrow. It somehow sounds much less romantic than a Snow Day. Snow Day conjures up images of kids waking up to see three feet of magnificent snow outside the window, rejoicing that school is cancelled, bundling up, running out to frolic in outrageous amounts of fluffy snow, and coming back inside for hot chocolate and a nap. Ice Day seems to suggest mostly hazards and power outages, without the benefit of a beautiful blanket of snow to play in. But I suppose it could still be a cozy shut-in day. If tomorrow is indeed declared an Ice Day, the following things will surely get me through:
* bag of Dove chocololates - when I broke down and bought them, I swore I would only eat 2 per day. A state of emergency would be grounds for changing the rules, right?
* warm p.j.s and delicious red slippers
* back-supply of crossword puzzles - we always save them, but don't always have time to do them anymore - perfect time to catch up
* the 75 tv channels that we get in addition to the 10 we pay for ("great reception," the friendly serviceman says)
* the comfiest (word, or no?) couch known to man, and a closet full of blankets
* an entirely lovable husband who makes me laugh and laugh - i will be entertained
* well-stocked bookshelves - flashlights and candles if needed
* ambiance of Christmas decorations
04 December 2007
-tuesday is the day i see kids at community preschools. sometimes it's a hectic day, but today all kids on my schedule are perfectly behaved and so lovable and they melt my heart.
-a great cd that I've had on hold at the library comes in for me.
-dillons (local grocery store) moves the masses of poinsettias to the side this morning and in their place puts the most spectacular display of calla lily plants. they pretty much attack me at the door - there's one particular one that i cannot stop from jumping into my cart. they're so elegant.
-the sunset today? holy. cow. one of the coolest i've seen since we have lived in this town.
i suspect the world is trying to apologize for yesterday. it seems to be working.
03 December 2007
29 November 2007
25 November 2007
Every holiday season Shay and I talk about switching out our usual Christmas tree ornaments and doing something new. We've wanted to incorporate some of the little trinkets and knick-knacks we've collected as we've traveled to different places, and do sort of a Christmas-around-the-world tree. This year we actually took the time to put it together. It was all kinds of fun.
If you're having trouble sorting out the randomness that is our tree (can't imagine...), here's a breakdown.
The poinsettias are just there because we like them. They add color and flair, I think.
and everything else on the tree basically falls into two categories - (1) little things with sentimental value that we brought home from places we love
and (2) things that looked cool and were cheap at World Market.
Still a work in progress - it lacks a tree-topper and a proper tree skirt. (Any ideas for the top?) It is definitely looking like piecemeal, homemade decor on a cheap fake tree. But, I adore it. And, it was seriously fun to work on it with my husband, with Christmas tunes in the background. Ah, Christmas. It's good.
23 November 2007
I do love seeing the first snow of the season, though. It builds anticipation for Christmas lights, scarves, hot chocolate, and other cozy things. Also I run around for the rest of the day with the lyrics to "the first snowfall of the winter" running through my head. Usually it's Karen Carpenter I hear singing them, but sometimes it's the Bing Crosby version, and sometimes the two mix and it sounds all wrong. Also I get hung up on the part about folks and their surreys and fogetting about their worries, because what on earth is a surrey?
15 November 2007
I can't help it - Brian Regan makes me laugh. And, I like to laugh. So, I like Brian Regan. We are off to nearby Lincoln, NE this weekend, to visit a friend and to enjoy some live Brian Regan stand-up action. This clip about the Pop-Tarts is old but it is still a favorite.
13 November 2007
We've been busy. We are happy. My favorite things at the moment are singing at the top of my lungs on the drive home from work, playing Boggle with Shay and kicking his trash consistently, and walking up the street where we live and stepping on crunchy leaves every step of the way.
Thanksgiving is looming, and I am feeling the thankful vibe these days. Life is full of so many good things.
04 November 2007
These are mostly for Holly, because she wanted to see some KU sights, but here are some pictures of campus that we have taken this week. Enjoy!
01 November 2007
If I ever started a poking-fun blog (I seriously almost put "poking-fun" in quotation marks, but stopped myself), the topic would be... misplaced modifiers! Yay, my favorite linguistic phenomenon! I would include such delights as the gas station sign that said "We cannot sell gasoline to anyone in a glass container." (This seems like plain old prejudice to me; people in glass containers are people too.) But the one example that really needs to be documented, and will probably go down in history as my all time favorite, came from the mouth of a friend's mom. She began her talk at her son's missionary farewell with this dramatic line: "Taped to the wall, I daily read this quote...." Now, try to keep a straight face during a somber moment with that mental image running through your head.
26 October 2007
23 October 2007
I pulled the quote book out of the good old nostalgia box this week and I have loved leafing through it. I am shamelessly sentimental these days. Roommates! When are you coming to visit me?!
19 October 2007
15 October 2007
The first thing I have to say is that our camera functions on a hit-and-miss basis. This is how I end up with three pictures of Shay pretending to undress in a 70s-decor Community of Christ meeting-hall-that-doubles-as-a-camp-lodge... ...but zero pictures of some of my favorite sights in Missouri and Illinois. You'll have to take what you get, I guess.
First off, here is some prime real estate in Adam-Ondi-Ahman , where we stopped Thursday to eat lunch and walk aroud a bit before making the trek across Missouri. I think I expected the place to sparkle or something. It did not. It is a pretty valley, at least.... These are our deluxe accommodations at Camp Nauvoo. For $10 a night, you too can stay here and discover just how deluxe they were. The cabins were picturesque in the morning, but a bit scary at night.
Thus, we set up camp on the floor of the the main lodge instead of in the spooky cabins. As I mentioned, the lodge once was a religious meeting place, so it was an interesting place to sleep. Great place to play indoor soccer. Many games of Apples to Apples were also played here. And there were some magnificent early-morning walks.
A major highlight of the trip: the spectacular Nauvoo temple!
We did baptisms on Friday morning. Was this an act of selfless service and religious devotion? or a way to upgrade from a primitive shower house to luxury shower facilities? No one else may ever know. But we also did endowments and sealings on Saturday afternoon, so we saw quite a bit of the temple. It is a gorgeous place. Inside and out, the attention to detail is amazing (and I'm digging the lime green/bright yellow color scheme going on in some of the ordinance rooms). Being caught up in the work of the temple and enjoying the peace that comes from being there was a perfect way to spend a chunk of the vacation.
On to "Old Nauvoo". I am probably going to be struck by lightning for saying this, but Old Nauvoo has a bit of a "Mormon Disneyland" feel. It weirded me out at first, but I got over it and ultimately enjoyed getting my free gingerbread cookie at Scovil Bakery just as much as the next person. In fact, I learned how to make bread in a "bustle oven"...
in addition to other useful domestic skills, and rode in a covered wagon pulled by a couple of oxen named Gabe and Gary.
Jane and I enjoyed a lively sermon (by Shay) in the room where the Relief Society was first organized, above the Red Brick Store.
We also made a side trip to Carthage Jail on Saturday, which was one of my favorite visits of the trip.
It is great (overused word of the day?) to visit these sites and have some kind of real-world context for the stories and experiences I have heard about all my life. Somehow it gives me an increased appreciation for the sacrifices people made in the early days of the church, and maybe even a better understanding of why they did so.
10 October 2007
03 October 2007
I love the idea of book clubs. I was hoping to join one when we moved to Lawrence, and a couple of weeks after we settled in, the wife of one of Shay's professors invited me to join her group. Score. I joined. I read. I said about ten words the first time we met. Maybe eleven if you count the "thanks" I uttered to the host when she handed me my dessert. I am so funny sometimes, in new situations and around unfamiliar people. But I think I'll get a little more comfortable and participative as time goes on. I had better pipe up soon, I suppose, or they are going to catch on about my being there for the food.
So far we've read and discussed "Their Eyes" and "Life Studies," and this month we're reading "Nightfall." None of these are books I would have picked myself, and I guess that's the beauty of a book club, isn't it?
A bunch of my good friends from the homeland are also starting a long-distance book club, which I am excited about. We're starting out with "The Great Divorce" and we'll see where it goes from there. I think it'll be a fun way to keep in touch.
So, I've got a bunch of reading to do. If you have must-read recommendations for future book club selections, post them here!
02 October 2007
It has been a full two months since I last saw a Cafe Rio, a Costa Vida, a Bajio, or any decent tex-mex establishment, and apparently the withdrawl symptoms are setting in. Is there a cure for this? Does anyone know?
25 September 2007
I wear blue a lot. I don't mean to buy things in blue all the time but I seem drawn to it like a mosquito to a bug zapper. I usually am happy with what I bought, though, so perhaps the bug zapper analogy is not the best.
I am always leaving cupboards, drawers, and doors open. I have no idea I am doing this until I nearly (or actually) hit my head on an open overhead cupboard. On a related note, I am a little bit clutzy in the kitchen.
I ran a marathon once and I loved it. It was one of the best times I've ever had. I rarely run anymore. In fact most days when the thought of going for a run crosses my mind, I am left trying to imagine how I could ever have found it so enjoyable.
I'm a little bit of a grammar stickler. I at least think people with a Ph.D. should know the difference between their, they're and there, and should know when to use an apostrophe in "its." Sadly, many do not. My proofreading days at USU provided many sad tales of this kind.
My feet are almost always cold.
I am bothered by people and businesses who take advantage of vulnerable populations (Quik Cash places and door-to-door salesmen in impoverished neighborhoods, this means you).
I cannot eat a sandwich if it has condiments on it. Mustard? Icky. Mayo? Blech. I prefer the bread toasted, and if there are potato chips around, I'll stick a few between the meat and the cheese for extra crunchiness.
One of my silly aspirations is to write an essay for NPR's "This I Believe" series. I've actually started writing one several times, but I've never deemed any of my efforts good enough to make it past the first draft stage.
There it is - more about me than you ever wanted to know. I tag Melis, Tara, Amber, Brit, and Lisa. And Shay, who gets short break from intense studying now and (I'm sure) will want to spend his extra time blogging about himself. And anyone else who wants to play. Have fun!
21 September 2007
You will just have to check out the article to discover the truth of the Kansas flatness matter.
18 September 2007
Well, sorry young sir, didn't soak up that bit of historical trivia well enough to use it to navigate the streets of Lawrence. But maybe someday I'll get it down.
For now I'm just longing for the days when things seemed orderly and logical, and finding almost any given address was essentially as easy as finding point (3 , 4) in a third grade math book.