Fun, New Blogging Option

So sometimes I read a blog post and I think to myself 'that is so cool, or cute, or interesting, etc. but I'm not really feeling like leaving a comment' (not, mind you, because I don't think you are not worth my time to leave a comment but rather that I don't feel like my comment is good enough to leave on your excellent blogs). Blogger, though, as solved this problem for me in creating the Reactions option where you merely check the reaction you have toward the post without having to come up with the words necessary of a comment. I hope you'll take advantage of the option here (especially those who stalk my blog but never comment) and maybe consider making it available on your blogs so I can tell you how cool I think your posts are.


Christmas Music

So I've been a really lazy blogger this week, but I did get a bit of inspiration from Science Teacher Mommy and created a Christmas playlist. You can check it out on my sidebar. I would also add this song, but playlist.com didn't have it so it was youtube to the rescue.

What songs would you add?


I love Kristin Chenoweth and I love this song that she does.


Happiness is...

...finally getting released from my calling in Nursery--not that I didn't really grow to love my calling there, but I am glad to be moving on.

Happiness is doing a much better job at this whole teaching thing last Sunday--there is hope!

Happiness is also pretty fingernails--just got back from getting manicures with the Mia Maids. Tough calling, huh?

Happiness is a catered dinner for Relief Society tonight.

When I was going to school in Northern Ireland I spent a lot of evenings at various church activities--there were lots of activities to try to keep members active and because active members liked spending time together. I loved the amount of time I was spending there, but on returning home I felt a little bit of relief at not having a church activity to go to nearly every night. Now that I've been home a while I'm starting to miss having that fellowship. It looks like in Young Women's I may just get a good mix of church activities and at home time.


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Saw this fabulous movie a couple of nights ago and highly recommend it. It is the story of a young boy and his family who live near a concentration camp and provides an interesting look at differing reactions to lies and life at that time. It is a good thinking movie and you will find yourself asking how you would have reacted given the dangerously real circumstances of Nazi Germany. Would I have been brave enough? Hard to say. Hindsight makes me want to say yes. And yet, how many genocides have occurred since then and continue to occur now with my knowledge. How brave would I have been with a Nazi soldier screaming in my face?

Before you should go, however, you should know that it is a rather emotionally intense film--being about the Holocaust and all.


I think this is going to be my favorite Christmas song this year. So Beautiful.


James Blunt

Remember how I have a sort of strange love for James Blunt? Well I love this bit he did with Sesame Street.

Temple Square Lights

The Young Women went up to Temple Square for dinner, a movie (the Joseph Smith one), and to see the lights. I thought it might have been a good time to get to know the girls a little bit more, but the girls had different plans like avoiding the leaders. It was perfect weather, though, and the lights were beautiful. Did I tell you that I taught my first Young Women lesson a couple of Sundays ago? I did. It was a train wreck. Really, it was. This is what I've learned: teaching nursery and teaching young women...not so different. I teach again on Sunday. Hopefully it will go better.


Saw this on Science Teacher Mommy (whose review of Australia is very good and should be read before you go see the movie). It's called Wordle and "is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends."

Here is mine (It doesn't search your entire blog just what shows up on your blog's homepage so you can do it over and over again to see what themes you are writing about. I love that Hugh Jackman and the Temple both show up as being prominent--I think that shows that I am very balanced ;) )

Click on it to see it a bit better.


The Librarian

"It's only fair to warn that I am a Librarian."

Don't know how I missed the first two, but I'm looking forward to seeing this one. It airs on TNT on December 7th (as do the first 2).



So one might think that I would make my first post after Thanksgiving all about Thanksgiving. Not so. You see, I went to see the film Australia on Thanksgiving morning and it is a bit on my mind right now.

I went with a bit of trepidation as the local movie critic gave it 2 out of 4 stars complaining that it was too long and that it couldn't decide if it were a film about cattle ranching, the Stolen Generation, or World War II. I wasn't too far into the film, though, before I had decided he or she (probably he cause I can't imagine a woman giving the Hugh Jackman of this film 2 stars) is a complete idiot.

This is how I see it: This is a film about a family. And like just about any family I know, their experiences and trials span a variety of issues at one time. The experiences and trials of this particular family involve cattle ranching, the Stolen Generation and the beginning of World War II (did you know that Japan attacked mainland Australia? cause I didn't) and is set in the stunning Outback of Australia. Baz Luhrmann, the director (also directed Moulin Rouge) did an absolutely beautiful job--I mean stunningly beautiful; see this movie on the big screen or you will be missing out. Nicole Kidman was surprisingly funny. And Hugh Jackman was drop dead gorgeous--really must see what else he has done; maybe I'll even watch those X-men movies. It is 2 hours and 45 minutes long but didn't seem so to me. In fact while I sometimes feel like movies end too soon, I felt this one was just right. Had Luhrmann done the unthinkable and tried to shorten the movie or drop a subplot the movie would have seemed silly and unremarkable. What it turned out to be is a stunning epic of a movie that you really should see. Also, if you like movies that cause audience reaction (good ones not like the audience reaction when Pierce Brosnan started singing in Mamma Mia) this is the film for you. There were collectives gasps (mounting on screams), out-loud laughing, delightful giggles (for Hugh), and even a few claps when Hugh shows up and saves the day. In short, it was surprisingly funny, beautiful, touching, dramatic, and an all around good movie. Nicole Kidman should get an Oscar nomination as should Luhrmann--I would vote for Hugh Jackman as well for his looks if nothing else, but I think his character needed to have been developed just a touch more to get the nod.

Now if you are a like the Neanderthal kicking my seat from behind through the entire movie who made comments like "that was really long" and "it had 7 endings" (I absolutely have no idea where else you might have ended this movie) then you probably shouldn't see this movie.

In light of my above reaction to Hugh Jackman I would like to now officially add him as one of My 5, which actually brings my total to five (the others being Derek Jeter, Viggo Mortensen, Eddie Cahill, and Iaon Gruffud--although I'm seriously thinking of dropping Viggo and probably will once I find a good replacement). Isn't he yummy? There is a "shower" scene in the movie that will make you smile. It is a bit contrived in the pose, but I can't bring myself to mind.


Gratitude Photo #24

24 November 2008

Christmas lights.

I know I'm jumping the gun a bit, but Monday night I took one of my nieces to the lighting ceremony of a house in the neighborhood--they do it to music and it was considered just about the most amazing thing in the world to the 2 year old.

Gratitude Photo #22

22 November 2008

The Provo temple.

My regular temple is closed for maintenance so I went down to the Provo temple (Yes, I realize how blessed I am to have 2 temples within 15 minutes of me and try to take advantage of that fact weekly). This was my first time at the Provo temple and I would just like to say it is just about the loveliest temple I have yet visited (the interior of course). This one now makes the shortlist of places to get married. Plus, they have a stunning view of the valley--especially if you are leaving the temple at sunset. I was an idiot and forgot my camera so I took this shot of the temple info card--which is also stunning.

Gratitude Photo #21

21 November 2008

Hot Showers on cold mornings.

Gratitude Photo # 20

20 November 2008

My crochet group--love them too!!! In fact I can't believe there was once a time that I thought they were sooo much older than me and that I had nothing in common with them. So not true.

Photo # 19

19 November 2008

My book group--who I love!


Food Network Junkie

I admit it, I'm a food network junkie. I love Giada, lover Tyler, have a secret crush on Bobby, and could watch Duff just about anytime of day or night. Well now they've gone and figured one more way to take advantage of my addiction. They have come out with a Food Network magazine. My sis has already subscribed and we are both drooling over the first issue. Apart from the 128 fabulous looking recipes, I love their tables of contents--that's right tables. The first table is your typical table with article names and page numbers. The second table of contents is broken up alphabetically by food network star. So lets say you know that you love Giada's creations. All you have to do to find all of her contributions to this issue is find her name (or her thumbnail pic if you don't know the name of your favorite star). Brilliant. And this is not all. The third table of contents lists all the recipes by categories. So lets say now you need a pasta dish. All you have to do is go to the pasta section and they have listed all the page numbers for pasta recipes in this issue--they've even put in a thumbnail pic of each recipe. I'm smitten.

Go here to subscribe. (10 issues for $15)


Gratitude Photo # 17

17 November 2008

I was going through a small box on my nightstand when I rediscovered my orange cupcake scented oil. Now my room smells delicious.


Gratitude Photo # 16

16 November 2008 (when did half of this month get by me?)

The Doctrine and Covenants. I just finished reading it again. I must have spiritually matured recently because every time I sit down with my scriptures I read something that feels vital to my life.

Gratitude Photo # 15

15 November 2008

The books I own, the books, I want, and the books I borrow (thanks to all of you who keep my to-read list long).

Gratitude Photo #14

14 November 2008

Good food and good friends (post coming later on the good food)


Happy Friday

Hope you have a great weekend


Gratitude Photo #13

13 November 2008

Stephen's Italian Amaretto hot cocoa with gobs of whipped cream.


A Rainy Day Production

I can't believe we have two rainy days in one week! Here is what I'll be listening to while I'm wrapped up in a warm blanket, reading a good book, and sipping hot chocolate.

And this song which I couldn't locate at playlist.com:

And possibly this song (not because of the rain but because it makes me smile--yes I'm a sap for this kind of stuff):

Gratitude Photo #12

12 November 2008

Normally I frown upon graffiti of any type, but this one made me smile. So this photo is dedicated to the unexpected smile.


Gratitude Photo #11

11 November 2008

Thank you to all our veterans.



Yellow is such a happy, pretty color and a great color to discuss on a rainy day like today. Lately I have been in love with the idea of wearing this color (don't know if I should or not) and now have 2 yellow sweaters in my sweater collection. Here is a little something that I would love to add to my coat collection:

It is available here.

Speaking of yellow, have you seen the new
TLC adds for Jon and Kate plus 8? I love Kate's coat. I'm also loving the music which is "Beautiful Life" by Fisher:

Gratitude Photo # 10

10 November 2008

Rainy Days! I love rainy days there is something so wonderfully cozy about them--although I can remember back to my days in Ireland when rainy days drove me nuts. a case of too much of a good thing I think.

Gratitude Photo #9

9 November 2008

A church that keeps me safe and happy and challenges me to be so much more than I could ever be without it.

Gratitude Photo #8

8 November 2008

The last nursery lesson I will have to prepare (I don't dare say ever but at least for awhile--although I still haven't been released!).



So now that I am well on my with the gratitude photo project, I'm wondering if you have any other really good Thanksgiving traditions that you could pass on. One that I am wondering about is this: are there any Thanksgiving movies (apart from the kiddie ones like Peanuts, which I love, but I'm looking for adult movies). At Christmas my family has a few movies that we watch together every year. I thought this might be fun to do around Thanksgiving with some pumpkin pie, but I'm stumped.

Gratitude Photo #7

7 November 2007

Memories captured on film (this one being representative of the fabulous summer vacation to Cape Cod).

Gratitude Photo #6

6 November 2008


It is nearly over here so most of our trees are starting to look something like this:

But I did get a semi-descent shot of some fall leaves here (really miss the East Coast right now).

Gratitude Phot #5

5 November 2008

Thermal socks that keep my feet and me warm all night long.

Gratitude Photo #4

4 November 2008

A Democracy that works.

We have the New York Times edition too but it is being kept safe.

Gratitude Photo #3

3 November 2008

Going for walks as modeled here by two of my lovely nieces.

Gratitude Photo #2

2 November 2008

My mountain (Mt. Timpanogos).

Gratitude Photo 1

1 November 2008

4 gorgeous nieces that I love so much.


Thanksgiving Tradition

I love this tradition as posted at Design Mom.

My friend Laura B is trying something new this year. Every day in November, Laura is taking a photo of something she is grateful for. Then. She'll take her 30 photos and make some kind of gratitude project with them. Maybe publish them in a blurb book. Or frame them in a series. She's not sure yet what she'll make, but I sure look forward to seeing it. Laura invited lots of her friends to do it with her — and now they'll have a great excuse to get together and work on their gratitude projects.

Great plan, right? If you like this idea, don't feel like you have to dismiss it because it's no longer November 1st. Just take 6 photos today and catch up.

I thought I would just post my gratitude pictures here so I'll try to get around to posting my six catch-up photos later today.

The Niece Approves

One of my little two-year-old nieces climbed up on my mother's dining room table where she spotted the front page of yesterday's newspaper with Barack Obama's picture on the front. This particular picture of Obama shows him waving to a crowd and is quite large. After looking at it for a moment she began to high five him while saying the words "high five" out loud. And doesn't just high five everyone so she must approve.


The Day After

He really is a very good speaker.

I was feeling a little bit revolutionary yesterday--you know in a nonviolent revolutionary way--and thought yesterday was just about the most exciting, amazing day. I loved how engaged everyone from all sides of every issue were and I hope that we will all carry on with that involvement through the next four years regardless of who we voted for. Like President-elect Obama said in his speech last night it will take all of us working from the bottom up--and that doesn't mean that we have to agree with each other just that we have to be talking and working. We have for far too long sat back and left it to the politicians to make major decisions for our country and I don't think there are many people who would try to argue that that has left us in a good place. So let's continue the discussion.

And how amazing is it that we have finally voted an African-American into office. It just feels like there are so many more possibilities and good things in store for a country that, after all that we have been through and done, can finally make that leap forward. I so wish that I had been in one of those locations around the country who gathered in the streets to celebrate. True, I could have held my own celebration outside my house but there are a few limits to my political activism and lasts night's limit was very cold sleet.

And finally, how lucky are we to live in a democracy that works. Where we can vote without fear of violence or imprisonment; where riots don't occur in reaction to election results; and where a losing candidate bows out gracefully. I am so proud of us and am a bit giddy that in this we can stand as a beacon of democracy and hope for the world.

Also, wouldn't it be wonderful if all elections captured the nations attention so thoroughly?--only next time lets get our attention captured by a shorter campaign. (I just don't understand the 40% of people who didn't even vote.)


To Do List

1. Vote

2. Go to the Young Women's activity so I can escape the obsession of said vote.

3. Try to get into Love in the Time of Cholera (it must be good because it got a Pulitzer, right?) so as to continue to escape the obsession of said vote.

4. Watch lots and lots of CNN cause I love John King's electoral map and I kinda think Anderson Cooper is cute in a weird sort of way (and yes I know all about him).


One Day Moore

Really, if the entire campaign was a bit more like this I wouldn't be so extremely glad that it will all be over in one more day (It had better be over in one more day).

Please let me know if you have a funny McCain one cause I couldn't find one.

A New Calling

So, I've got a new calling: Mia Maid Advisor. Yes, I'm scared to death by this (teaching teenagers with an attitude may just be worse than trying to teach 2 year olds about the Sacrament). For now my fear is based primarily in ignorance since I have not yet been briefed on my calling. Until then I thought I'd take a moment to think a little about the things I will miss and won't miss about my calling as the nursery leader (which they haven't actually released me from despite having called, sustained, and set me apart to the new one, but I'm figuring will be happening soon since I can't do both).

First, things that I won't miss:

1. Trying to teach 2 year olds (although the new nursery manual made this so much easier than it was when we were using the Sunbeam manual).

2. Being sneezed on.

3. Coming home with crusties on my clothes.

4. Being sick the entire winter (not an exaggeration).

5. Checking a diaper and discovering a blowout that left poop on my thumb.

6. Runny noses.

7. Runs in my nylons and tights--cause those cute Velcro shoes that you and your kids love are nylon killers.

Now things that I will miss (the list is shorter but carries greater weight):

1. The sweet little kids that do listen sometimes and do learn sometimes--love it when you ask a question or teach something and get feedback like the time I was teaching that Heavenly Father knows and loves us and one of the boys after finishing his coloring came up to me and told me that Heavenly Father knows him.

2. The Gospel being taught at its simplest.

3. Good snacks during snack time.



I hope you all know where you are supposed to go to vote (mine changed this year). If not, see the website in this fun little ad.


Goop Newsletter

So I was telling you a little while ago about how Gwyneth Paltrow has this new website and an associated newsletter that as far as I can tell goes out once a week. Well, I was reading one such newsletter recently and found it interesting/really disappointing.

Here is the basic rundown:

Paltrow begins by stating a general interest in various religious traditions and tells us that periodically she will be asking a religious type question to several different religious leaders. Here is the first question:

I have a friend who sees the world in a pessimistic light. This person is highly suspicious of people and situations, and sees, as well as experiences negativity at most turns. Why is this and what does it mean? What can be done to help someone of this nature?

And here is the response by the only Christian in the group:

A: I am not so sure it’s a question of nature, but of nurture – or lack thereof. We live in a world where fear and cynicism are running sky high, where traditional institutions of faith and culture are breaking down, and where our dislocation from nature and the natural rhythms of life leave our souls a little pent up and crazy. Suspicion and pessimism are pretty good defenses against a world gone mad. But the great spiritual teachings of the ages have suggested a radically counter-intuitive response. When this same question came up in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s great novel The Brothers Karamazov, the wise elder Fr. Zossima said in response, “Go help someone. Reach out to a brother or sister in need. Feed the hungry, heal the sick – (or at least, take on your small share of the task) – and then, only then, will you come to know that the world is trustworthy and God is real.” His point is tough, but true: First the eye of the heart must open, and only then will one see confirmation in the external world. As long as suspicion and pessimism are being projected, suspicion and pessimism are what the cosmos will confirm.

So how to break the vicious cycle? Fr. Zossima’s advice is still as true today as it was in his time: look for a chance to serve. Volunteer in a shelter, a food pantry, a nursing home: it will soften your heart. Spend time in nature, in a playground with young children; sing!; read love poetry; hang out with the "good, the true and the beautiful," however they speak to you. The problem is that we are starving – all of us, really – for the energy of beauty and goodness so long absent from our contemporary cultural experience. But we have to start making these energies ourselves – from within ourselves. That is not only an individual task; it is our collective human task and our planet will thank us for it.

I found this answer, as well as all the other answers that can be found here, interesting and even true, BUT I was so disappointed that the one individual of the group professing to be a minister of Jesus Christ fails to point toward Jesus Christ as the answer--and really who better to talk about when discussing the need for service in our lives than the best example of service we have ever known?

Here are a few brief sketches of some of the thoughts I've had on this topic over the weekend:

1. First, let's not beat around the bush here: Pessimism is an attitude and attitude is a choice. You will be miserable as long as you want to be miserable. Breaking the habit of pessimism may be difficult but it is your choice to make.

2. If you are weighed down by things you have done in your past (let's call this sin) that causes you to feel negatively about yourself, your situation, and the people and things around you then the answer is to come unto Christ. By seeking forgiveness through repentance the Atonement of Jesus Christ can wash you clean and remove those things that are weighing you down.

3. If you are weighed down by things done to you that causes you to feel negatively then the answer is to come unto Christ. Jesus Christ endured all that he might know best how to succor you in all things. No one knows better the pain and anguish that you have endured and no one is better equipped to heal you--and he will as you come unto him: seek him through scriptures and prayer and he will lead you in the way that you should go.

4. What you need is faith. Here are some of the things that I know by faith: In the most basic terms, I know that there is a Plan of Happiness and that through this plan it is intended that I would come to Earth to be tried and tested, yes, but also to be happy here. And after I have finished my work here on Earth it is intended that I return to live with my Heavenly Father--how cool and amazing is that? Of course this will not be easy, but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ it is possible. In addition to the Plan of Happiness, I know that there is a specific plan for me and that plan is meant to make me a better person and to bring joy into my life. I know that through, and only through, the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can repent and be healed and that peace and joy will come into my life. I know that despite the evil and wickedness evident all around me that if I endure all will work out for my good. I know this to be true in more immediate ways--I have come through difficult times and am a better and stronger person for it--and in ways that are not currently manifest. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I know that God speaks to a prophet on earth today who guides the Church of Jesus Christ and that because of this it will never fail. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. I know that they know me individually and that they love me. And because I know these things my soul feels to rejoice.

5. The service principle is a good and sound principle. In serving others you forget yourself. In serving others you let the light of Christ into your life and can't help but feel lighter and happier.

6. Give thanks. Despite all the bad in the world today there is an immense amount of good: the trees, the flowers, hot chocolate, a sunset, good family and friends, a child's laugh, a hug, beautiful art, etc., etc., etc.

So there are just a few of my thoughts. They may not be as eloquently stated as the professors of religion that Paltrow approached but I believe they hit the mark much closer.

If Paltrow's religious ideas aren't very interesting to you try her recipes here. They all look very, very yummy.


The Secret Life of Bees

I would recommend two things when seeing this movie:

1. Don't wear mascara.

2. Bring tissue.

I loved it. It has been several years since I read the book but I think it may be time to revisit it.


Best Cider Ever

I would like to recommend the South Ridge Farms apple cider to you. Best I've had. If you are in the Santaquin, Utah area you must stop by--maybe even if you aren't in the area.


How Cool Is This?

Paul's Polaroids from Josh Stanley on Vimeo.

(click on the Paul's Polaroids link to see a slightly larger version)


I've Been Very Bad Today

I've done what everyone says you should absolutely not do: I've purchased a dress that I can't fit into right now but I'm pretty sure that if I lost a bit of weight would be absolutely to die for. Plus it was only $15--for a j. crew dress.

Where did I get such a good deal? At the j. crew warehouse sale going on today and tomorrow at Thanksgiving Point. Read more about it here.

Love This Song

I wish I could find a youtube link with a better video but I am loving the song.


Pastel on Board

I so love this painting (or pastel on board) that was featured with other works of art in this month's Ensign. I wonder if I could get it as a print at the Church's Museum of Art?
I’ll Never Forsake; pastel on board

After a mob killed her husband and 10-year-old son and wounded her 7-year-old son on October 30, 1838, at Haun’s Mill, Missouri, Amanda Smith prayed aloud in a cornfield. She said, “It was the temple of the Lord to me at that moment. I prayed aloud and most fervently.

“When I emerged from the corn a voice spoke to me. It was a voice as plain as I ever heard one. It was no silent, strong impression of the spirit, but a voice, repeating a verse of the Saints’ hymn: ‘… That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!’

“From that moment I had no more fear. I felt that nothing could hurt me” (in Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 204).


So Yesterday I gave you a video that I couldn't decide if laughter or crying was the best response. In this one I laughed so hard that I cried.


Cry or Laugh?

Name That Party

I was recently reading through my state's Voter Information Pamphlet in an attempt to educate myself on the issues and individuals I will be voting for or against in just a few weeks. In the process of this I've come up with a brand new game for us to play: Name that Party. The rules are simple. Simply read through the following paragraph submitted by an individual running for office in my state and then guess his/her political party.

"As a Journalist, (BS Broadcast Journalism) a Teacher (MS International Relations) and a ******** with conservative values, I believe in fiscal discipline and a strong military. I oppose abortion, and believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. We must stop illegal immigration at the border and protect American jobs. Combating global arming and moving America towards greater energy independence is vital. America must win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home. I firmly support the right of Americans to bear arms. Together we can bring responsible government and moral leadership to ****.


Did you guess it? He is a Democrat. More specifically, he is Bennion L. Spencer. Only in Utah and perhaps Idaho would you find such a description for a Democrat. Sadly, this will probably be yet another candidate I vote for who will not win---can't vote for the Republican (even if I wanted to) who believes "global warming is a farce" even if he did kick a game winning field goal for BYU in a Holiday Bowl (still wondering how that kick qualifies him for office but apparently it does).


Pretty, Pretty Eye Candy

I am in love with Gwyneth Paltrow's Kitchen:

And pretty much the rest of her house which can been seen here.

Also, did you know that she has her own website? It isn't quite up and running yet but the preview looks fabulous (and so classy). Visit it here.

Are You Rude?

Here is a little survey given on a recent Oprah show that I found quite interesting and enlightening.

1. Are you chronically late?

2. Have you ever typed an e-mail while talking on the phone?

3. Have you ever interrupted a face-to-face conversation to take a non-urgent cell phone call?

4. Have you gone through a supermarket 10-item express lane with more than 10 items?

5. While among friends or co-workers, have you yawned without covering your mouth?

6. Have you ever texted or talked on a cell phone in a movie theater?

7. Have you let your dog relieve himself on your neighbor's lawn?

8. Have you ever cut in front of someone in line?

9. Have you ever stolen someone's parking spot?

10. Have you ever let your child kick the back of the seat in front of him and not apologized to his victim?

11. Have you ever not RSVP'd to an event by the date requested?

12. Have you ever gossiped?

13. Have you ever taken someone else's food or drink from the office refrigerator?

And I don't want to hear any excuses why you, and you alone, are exempt from having to follow these basic rules of courtesy. If you do it, you are rude. That said I have a few areas to work on and I am working on them.
One area that I am proud to say I have never had a rudeness problem is with cell phones. Those of you that know me know that I HATE cell phones. I didn't even get my first cell phone until 2005. I hate them because so many people use them in a rude manner. They speak loudly on them because they somehow think we really do want to hear their conversation about how horrible someone else is; they leave them on to go off in movie theaters, plays, classrooms; they answer them when with me and carry on long, unimportant conversations (I can't stand this! If you want to spend time with me that is great. If you would rather talk to someone else on your cell phone then just let me know and I will leave. Please don't assume that my life is so pitiful that I have nothing better to do than to sit for ten minutes waiting for you to get off your phone. Instead you could try out these tactics: "I can't talk right now can I call you back late?" or simply don't answer.--yes I feel strongly about this); they talk or text while driving thereby endangering the lives of hundreds of other people on the road with them; and really I could go on and on.

This week is the 20th anniversary of cell phones and though you will probably disagree with me but I don't think we are better off for having them. Sure they are a convenience, but careful planning can usually eliminate their need. Sure they may be good to have in an emergency, but how often do we really have emergencies in which we use them (or how did we ever survive emergencies 20+ years ago?); Sure it is good to be at everyone's beck and call 24 hours 7 a days a week--wait no! no, that is not good.


Love This!

I've spotted this idea from Martha Stewart floating around on a few blogs and thought I'd share/save it here so that someday when I am feeling crafty I can attempt it.

Idea seen most recently here.
Can you believe two posts in one day? I must be on a roll.

New York Times

Celebrate with me. For the first time ever I have completed a New York Times Crossword!!!! Okay so it was a puzzle published as part of the NYT teen puzzlemaker week last month (I get a delayed publishing of the crossword from my local newspaper cause I'm not rich enough yet to subscribe the the NYT) and it has been given an easy rating but I'm still counting it as my first ever completed New York Times Crossword puzzle. See the puzzle I completed and answers here.


James Blunt

I really can't explain it but I really like James Blunt. When I was first introduced to Blunt (a few years ago in the UK) I thought his voice was just ridiculous sounding. Lately, though, I'm really liking it.


A Couple Gift Receiving Tips

I've been mad busy working on some crochet projects lately but as some of them may end up as gifts I can't show them off quite yet. In lieu of showing of those projects I made a couple of things specifically so I could show what I've been up to in this new world of crocheting that I have entered.

Project #1: a Halloween Hot Pad (front and back pictured here)

and Project #2: A Lizard

Project no. 1 came about when I wanted to learn how to tapestry crochet (or jacquard crochet) and no. 2 came about because now that I have been crocheting for 10 months I have quite the collection of yarn scraps (enough of a single yarn color to save but not enough to do a project with).

Now for a couple of gift receiving tips:

1. When someone crochets something for you, you should fall down and worship at their feet. Now some of the more modest crocheters will humbly say things like "oh it was nothing" or "it was a really easy pattern" and these things may be true but regardless of how easy, crocheting takes time--sometimes lots and lots of time. (Also you should not criticize a crocheter for her lack of or improper use of the comma) Furthermore, when I crochet things I tend to decide who I am going to make it for before I begin so not only am I spending lots and lots of time on you, but I am also thinking happy little thoughts about you while I crochet.

2. If you ever receive something that has used tapestry crochet (changing colors in your project to create a picture) you should spend twice as long worshiping at the gift givers feet because tapestry crochet is much harder than regular crochet--it requires skills like counting and being aware of what you are doing.

So there you have it. I expect lots of worshiping at my feet in the coming months.


Trying to Catch Up

I have been a bit of a recluse lately as I have been trying to get my to-read list under some sort of control. It is still about 6 books tall but it is getting better. Sadly because I keep adding books to the top of my to-read stack rather than the bottom much of what is still left to read was in my original stack several months ago. Anyway, in case you are interested here is what I have read in the last couple of weeks:

I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven. I loved this book (it made me cry) and highly recommend it if you are looking for a quick read with a bit heft to it (culture clashes).

A Job to Kill For by Janice Kaplan. Hated It. Got the recommend from Parade magazine only Parade magazine failed to tell me that Kaplan is/was a Parade editor--very unprofessional.

Illegal Action by Stella Rimington. Decent enough spy novel (a light read) where the main character is female (yay!) but I hated the last two chapters and that just ruined it all for me.

An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aiden. As I have already mentioned I quite enjoyed this book.

Moving to Higher Ground by Wynton Marsalis. Loved this book on Jazz music and the things that Jazz music teach and embrace: self expression, respect for others, etc.

Jazz by Toni Morrison. Still trying to decide if I liked this one--not very accessible but well written.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver. Reminded me of Dean Koontz only Koontz is much better. Not a good sign when you are sad that the author didn't kill off the main characters.

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs. With lines like "personality of a blocked nostril" and "hair the color of apricot jam" I started off really liking Reichs' writing style. About halfway through I became annoyed with her constant cliff hangers. Over all I would try her again but I didn't love it.

The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst. I've just started this one but I like it so far.

If I can be this good for the next two weeks I may just gain a victory over the to-read list!



Yes, hmphf sums up my experience last week with my stay at home week. CSI:NY, while good to see again, was not as good as I had hoped--my IRA storyline would have been much better than a storyline about a couple of con artists that had no direct relationship with the team. Sadly, there were just a few too many rolling-of-the-eyes moments such as showing Mac swimming up through water after a car he was in was dumped in a river and then later panning out on said car showing it only partially submerged. Anyway, this week looks interesting: the band Maroon 5 and some of their fans are going to get infected with Small Pox.

Next up was The Office and frankly (don't kill me) I much prefer a 30 minute Office that leaves me wanting more to the 1 hour office that tries to stretch out a storyline to the point that I begin to get annoyed. I did love it, though, when the boss guy (I'm still new to this show) picked up the computer that Jim and Pam were using to video conference so that Pam could show him where the colored paper clips were.

Numbers wasn't on because of some debate thingy but it should premier this week--Jen I like this show because it is smartly written but not as gory as some of the other crime/investigative shows on tv and because Rob Morrow is cute.

This lack of complete satisfaction has driven me into the arms of a delightful little book so for that I can be a little grateful that stay at home week wasn't all that I hoped it would be. The book in question is another one of those Jane Austen knock offs. It is called An Assembly Such as This and is by Pamela Aiden. And while I am not entirely sure that I like it because it is good or because I have read far too many not so good knock offs, I am thoroughly enjoying it--or was until I discovered that it is book 1 in a trilogy. I fear I may never get my to-read list under control at this rate. Anyway, An Assembly is Mr. Darcy's point of view of Pride and Prejudice and so far I highly recommend it if you are looking for a bit of light fun.


I'm staying at home...

cause that is what you do on National Stay at Home Week (it's like National Turn Off the TV week only the opposite). My stay at home week officially starts tonight (I had thought about watching Biggest Loser last night to get some inspiration but I just can't/won't do 2 hours of "reality" tv) with the season premier of CSI:NY--which just for the record I'd like to say I do realize it is maybe not the best written show on tv but that's ok cause I'm watching it for the man candy anyway. Tonight (if you didn't catch the season finale) we get to find out if the CSI:NY team can save Mac (Gary Sinise)--of course the season commercial showing Mac in other episodes this year kind of gives away that the team does actually save him--again not watching it for the carefully crafted writing.

As to who has robbed the bank and kidnapped him I'm going on record saying that it is the IRA (or former IRA). You may be thinking that since living in Northern Ireland I may just be a little predisposed to suspecting the IRA of bad stuff and you would be correct. But beyond that I think it would make sense as part of the storyline. Here is my thinking: in a fairly recent episode Mac and his crew bankrupt the former IRA in New York so they need money. The bank robbery was supiciously like a recent IRA robbery in Belfast.

Okay, so maybe not the strongest reasons for suspecting the IRA and it probaby won't be the IRA since the season finale of Numbers (also a CBS show) involved gun-running former IRA men--it is highly unlikely that CBS is targeting the IRA as the new "it" terrorism group.

Anyway, regardless of how it turns out I'm glad my men are back on tv. The Office (yes, I've finally gotten on board after watching some episodes on TBS although now that I'm typing this I realize that I don't actually know when it airs so I must look that up) and Numbers. I'm also interested by the new show Kath and Kim--looks like it just might be really funny.

So there you have it. If you need me I can be reached at home...only don't call during CSI:NY, The Office, or Numbers or we will just have to stop being friends.


My Three Sons

I was watching an epidsode of the classic tv show My Three Sons a few weeks ago and saw the most remarkable episode. It was all about television watching. There were 3 stories running throughout the episode that break down something like this:

Sons 2 and 3 were grounded from the television for fighting over what to watch and spent the entire episode in a state of misery for not being able to watch tv.

Son 1 (in college) was involved with a project referred to as reality tv but quit toward the end of the episode because the so-called reality tv was anything but.

and the Father on a business trip became addicted to late night television talk shows but eventually saw the errors of his ways (staying up late makes you tired during the day) and stopped watching and instead wished for an Early Show.

So what I want to know is how did they know and why didn't we listen to them when we had the chance?