Christmas Plans: Movies

Every year I have such grand ideas about how I'm going to spend the entire month of December celebrating Christmas and then before I know it it is December 26th and I've hardly done a thing--except curse the Christmas crowds and the weather. This year will be different, though, as this year I am planning on planning.

The first round of planning: Christmas movies I want to see (at home--may later make a list of movies I want to see in the theater this Christmas Season). My mom, two sisters, and I sat down and composed this list of Christmas movies (Christmas movies being a loosely defined term):

Babes in Toyland (Does this one actually have anything to do with Christmas?)A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas in Connecticut
A Christmas Story
The Cutting Edge
The Family Man

The Family Stone
Frosty the Snowman
The Holiday
Holiday Affair
Holiday Inn
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It's a Wonderful Life
Just Friends (This one was debated--I haven't seen it)Joyuex Noel
Love Actually (anyone happen to have an edited version?)
Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (remember there are 3 year olds in this family)Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th Street
A Muppet Family Christmas
(Don't know yet if it will air on TV this year:( )Once Upon a Christmas (Another debated one that I haven't seen)The Polar Express
Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
The Shop Around the Corner
'Twas the Night Before Christmas (perhaps my all-time favorite Christmas movie) Sleepless in Seattle
While You Were Sleeping (always gets watched Christmas Eve with my family--not sure why that is)White Christmas

Don't know if we will get around to watching all of them (it's a mighty lengthy list)--I've made a good start with my post-Thanksgiving movie marathon--but now that I have a list and something of a plan I should at least be able to get in the most important ones.

What did we forget?


A Wee Game of Numbers


The number of stores I intend on entering today


The number of new swear words my English Aunt taught me yesterday (I evened it up by teaching her a new Irish swear word)


The number of In-N-Out debates that broke out on Thanksgiving Day (In-N-Out just came to my city and I tried it for the very first time Wednesday night: The Shake was amazing, the burger was very nice, the fries verged on inedible)


The slices of pie I ate yesterday


The number of Christmas movies I watched yesterday (2 were Charlie Brown movies and were pretty short)


The approximate serving of yams I had yesterday (sadly there are no more leftovers)


Happy Thanksgiving

So this has been showing up on a few blogs in the past several days, but it is just so good that I didn't want to be left out.

Happy Turkey Day!


Less Is More

So I thought today might be a good day to get around to reporting back on my new clutter-free lifestyle. It is going to be a slow process--last week was nearly a complete bust and I haven't done a thing this week--but I do have a little progress to celebrate.

My basic philosophy going into this project is: Less is More. I am throwing out the idea that I can keep everything as long as it has a place in favor of getting rid of the junk and keeping only the truly important things that represent who I am (or at least trying to).

I began by tackling my bookcase which previously had been filled with books in the idea that a full bookcase made me look smart, cultured, and well read--and that it looked good (which is sometimes true but not for me right now). I gave away about 40 books (to my local library of course) keeping only the books I love or haven't read yet--this is very good as now when people check out my bookcase I don't have to explain away the existence of books I hated. I also cleaned out and organized every box that is on my bookcase so that I don't even have any hidden clutter or junk! It makes me feel very happy and clean and organized and at peace.

It has been a week and it still looks like this! Onward and upward, right?


Real Salt Lake

My favorite month of the year is usually October. However, November has been awfully good to me this year. First my Yankees win the World Series and then Real Salt Lake wins the MLS Cup (in very nerve wracking--but beautiful--play). Below you will find a clip produced by a Spanish-language TV station (or possibly Portuguese???). At about the 1 minute mark (after yelling gooooooaaaaal) The announcers say this:

Real Salt Lake *unknown Spanish words* Beckham.

I'm pretty sure the translation is something along the lines of:

Real Salt Lake just beat that pansy (and possibly other appropriate words that would be inappropriate for me to repeat here) Beckham.

Then I am pretty sure that they said:

Real Salt Lake just beat that pansy Donovan (who has fallen off the pedestal I was once willing to put him on).


Real Salk Lake just beat those pansies L.A. Galaxy.

I wonder if the rest of November is going to be good to me.


Jetta Bunker Hepworth

I've been missing in action (sadly not because I have become the queen of decluttering) because a) I forgot that my book group was meeting this week because of Thanksgiving and so every spare minute has been spent reading and b) yesterday I was privileged to attend the funeral of my Grand Aunt Jetta (She also is my Great Grand Aunt because she is both my Grandfather's Sister-in-Law and my Grandmother's Aunt).

I've got to say that though it may seem a little odd, I really enjoy attending LDS funerals. They so often feel a little bit like attending the temple with all the things I learn/remember and the refocusing for the living on the eternal. My Aunt Jetta's funeral was no exception--even with my Uncles Joe and Johnny doing their very best to get me to laugh--tsk, tsk boys ;) She was such an exceptional woman who had a great life and left for us a great example. I didn't know her really myself but it was clear that she has had such a tremendous impact on so many of the people who have impacted my own life that I love her.

As it was a family funeral, there was also a wonderful opportunity to be able to chat with some family members that I don't see nearly as often as I would like. I also had the opportunity of meeting some family members that I have never met before such as my mom's Cousin-in-Law Matt (who convinced his wife to marry him despite referring to an early conversation as a nice father/daughter talk, comparing the softness of her lips to the nose of a horse (apparently a compliment), and asking/noting out loud after their very first kiss that she hadn't done much of that), and my Grandfather's Cousin Virginia. Much talk was done on the subject of a family reunion and I hope that we can do something to bring that about because it was really quite a bit of fun talking with everyone.

And, yes, because it was an LDS funeral there were funeral potatoes.

Love you Jetta.

Jetta Bunker Hepworth 1913 ~ 2009 On November 13, 2009, Jetta Bunker Hepworth died at the age of 96 of causes incident to age. She was born on June 19, 1913 in Delta, Utah to William Edward and Emma Iverson Bunker. She was the second youngest of eight children, four of whom died in infancy or childhood. She had a happy childhood in Delta with her sisters, Grace and Dorothy, and her brother Owen. In 1929, as a high school senior, Jetta was recommended for a job at a local bank, just months before the difficulties of the Great Depression began. As banks went into receivership, Jetta worked for the Utah state banking department in Payson. After a short time, Jetta moved to Richfield to continue her work in banking and mortgage insurance. Jetta looked back fondly on her time in Payson and Richfield, where she made the dearest friends of her life. Jetta found banking, then still a man's profession, to be a challenging and rewarding career. She moved to Salt Lake City, to work at Walker Bank where she became the first female bank teller in the state of Utah, and where she made many friends. In the summer of 1942, Jetta was introduced, by one of her Walker Bank friends, to James B Hepworth. Their love was instant and enduring. Just weeks after meeting they were separated by Jim's induction into the army. They were married on September 17, 1943, and were later sealed in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. World War II separated them again from 1944 to 1946. After the war, Jim became a professor at the University of Utah, and Jetta devoted her life to him, their two daughters, her church, and her community. She served in the stake Primary presidency, as Relief Society president, as a member of both the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and the Utah Federation of Women's Clubs, as a delegate to the Salt Lake Council of Women, and as President of the University of Utah Women's Club. Together, Jim and Jetta shared their love of world travel but also spent many happy summers closer to home with family and friends at Fish Lake. Jetta was a life-long learner who valued education and the arts. She did beautiful handwork. She got her first computer at age 79 so that she could do genealogical work and was still reading voraciously in the last weeks of her life. In 1993, Jetta was preceded in death by Jim. She missed him more every day and looked forward to being with him again. She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law Kathryn (Matt) Ramirez and Jill (Jeff) Christensen, by four grandchildren, James Ramirez, Brooke Ramirez, Nate Christensen, and Tom Christensen, by a dear cousin Pearl Nelson, by her brother-and sister-in-law Jack and Caryl Hepworth, and by many beloved nieces, nephews, and other extended family members. She will be deeply missed but we know that she has had a joyous reunion with her loved ones, and are comforted by the promise she made to us: "I'll be there for you again." Funeral services for Jetta will be held on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South, SLC, where family and friends may call Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. and on Wednesday morning from 11:45 to 12:45 p.m. prior to services. Interment: Bountiful City Cemetery, 2020 South 200 West, Bountiful, UT. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jetta's memory may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at www.cff.org or to the Pioneer Memorial Theater, 1400 East 300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112. Please send condolences to the family at www.larkinmortuary.co


Clutter Be Gone

I was chatting with a couple of my sisters yesterday when the topic turned to home decor and what we like. The sisters gave their input then asked me what I like. My response: a combination of modern and antique. One of my sister's was incredulous at the existence of such a combination but the other sister backed me up. As further proof I suggested a visit to Stephmodo's vacation home in France: La Masionnette (sadly only via blog and not in person at the present moment). I love the combination of stainless steel light fixtures over an old wooden table. I love the sleek modern fixtures/appliances set against an exposed brick or rock wall. I love the clean, simple, crisp, white linens put on a bed with a chipped wooden headboard. Sadly all these things are currently out of my budget.

On further thought I added that one of the things I truly love and desire in home decor is a clean, uncluttered space. This is within my budget! This does not, however, currently describe my living space. At first I mused that this might be a good New Year's resolution (these have been on my mind lately) but then I thought it is slightly ridiculous to put this off for at least another 2 months when I can begin now.

So now it begins. This week is going to be a week of major decluttering.

I'm really quite excited.



I've noticed a strange phenomenon regarding my reading. It is this: on a very frequent basis I will read 2-3 books that all have at least one theme in common. For example, last year I read three books in a row that all had mental illness as a fairly primary theme. All three books were set in different time periods with very different stories--and with all three books I had no idea going into them that mental illness would play any part in the stories being told. Most recently, I've just finished 2 books wherein the main character was a 15 year old overweight girl (book 1: How to Buy a Love of Reading--a fantastically written book that was way too adult for me but that I still really enjoyed--book 2: Princess Ben--a fun retelling of a well-known fairytale appropriate for all). If we look a the book I read before book 1 (The Elegance of the Hedgehog--which I will finish reading when I can get it back out of the library) I can connect imagery between it and book 2: Hedgehogs. How many books can there be out there that use the image of the hedgehog?

As I select the books I read to give me variety (in story, era, genre, etc.) I really don't know how I manage this. Does this happen to anyone else?


P.S. I Love You

Watched P.S. I Love You last night.

It isn't a perfect movie.

I still adore it.

I wonder how many times I have to watch it before I don't sob all the way through.


New Blog Title

I'm dissatisfied with my current blog title--have been from the beginning when I deleted my old one without having first come up with a new one and wrote in "Under Construction" as a filler. Only I still can't/haven't come up with a new one.


Since this blog is just a random collection of things I like, do, or am (very unfocused) I am thinking something with the word "diary" or "diaries" in it but that is as far as I've gotten.


I'm thinking of something 2 - 3 words long.


I'm also thinking it is probably a bit unfair of me to ask you to name my blog.



My Favorite: Albums

I love lists. I am always making them. They give me a sense of order, of direction, of purpose, and of peace. Even the silly lists do these things for me. When I was off reading unsatisfying books one of the post ideas I had was to share some of these lists. Not only would such posts be fairly easy and quick to write up, but they would also hopefully give me insight into the lives of my lovely friends and readers as you disagree, argue, or suggest things that should have made my lists--so argue away.

I thought I would start out by creating a list of my favorite albums. Now I'm not saying that these albums are the best albums ever produced--I checked and none of them even make the top 10 in Rolling Stone's
500 Greatest Albums of All Time and I think only 1 even makes the list at all--this is a list that right now, in this moment, is made up of my go-to albums. So without further ado, here is my list (in no particular order--also am keeping the list to 5):

The #1 Puccini Album This album includes the brilliant Nessun Dorma performed by Luciano Pavarotti and is a general masterpiece. While some of the albums on this list will probably not be permanent list toppers, I'm pretty sure this will always be one of my favorite and one of my go-to albums--except for not in the car because I tend to speed with it playing cause, yeah, opera has that effect on me.

Something's Gotta Give Soundtracks tend to be pretty high on any favorite music list I might create because they give me variety--1 artist for 1 hour tends to bore me. This one is especially great as is contains quite a bit of Jazz (I love Jazz) and not only that but it is French Jazz--big sigh. (Please ignore the creepy Jack Nicholson version of La Vie En Rose)

P.S. I Love You Another soundtrack--and probably my true number 1 go-to album right now. About 5 years ago my go-to soundtrack was the Sliding Doors soundtrack. I imagine that this one will eventually follow Sliding Doors into the recesses of my iPod but for now I'm really loving all the amazing vocals.

Forever Cool As far as I'm concerned Dean Martin is the king of vocals (sorry Elvis, Bono, MJ, and the rest). This album is a remix and reworking of a few great Dean Martin songs turned duet with some current greats. Some of the duets don't really work (as in I Can't Believe You're In Love with Joss Stone) but others (like King of the Road with Kevin Spacey) are pure joy in music.

War by U2. You might actually say that this position is held fairly equally by several U2 albums but I threw War up because it is the one I've listened to a couple of times over the last few days. This might also be the spot that you might be able to get a replacement into because as much as I love U2, and am convinced of their being the greatest band ever, even U2 bores me occasionally.

So what are your top albums? What should I be listening to that maybe I haven't been?

As a bonus here a the two albums that have also been getting a lot of play time but haven't convinced me to put them in my top 5 just yet:

Crazy Love by Michael Bublé--as a Dean Martin fan I just can't resist Michael.

Splendor in the Grass by Pink Martini--even features NPR's Ari Shapiro as a guest vocalist.


Book Review: Rebecca

Well, not so much a book review as a gut reaction (cause I'm really not that good at reviewing books--am especially not good at giving a synopsis).
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Loved it. Admittedly the first half of the book is rather slow, but it picks up. In fact I read the last 150 pages in 1 sitting (not a good idea really when that sitting lasted until 2:30 AM the night before having to get up for 9 am church where I would be teaching a group of 14 year old girls about the importance of time management--you know stuff like get an appropriate night's sleep so that you can function and be productive the next day). The main character (the 2nd Mrs. de Winter) is incredibly spineless (I continually felt like slapping her) but is still the one you are rooting for throughout. The setting is fantastic--absolutely made me want to start dressing for dinner--the 1920s or so, I believe, and in England. And the twists and turns will absolutely keep you moving on to the next chapter.

The best part: it was creepy. Deliciously and wonderfully creepy. Not in the way I thought--rather subtly in fact--but it gave me chills and made me pause a moment before turning out my light (not really that difficult to do, though, since my 3 great fears are heights, speaking in public, and the dark).

I give it 4 out of 5 stars but also list it as one of my favorites over at GoodReads.

What I'm reading now:
How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson.


More Halloween

Just in case you're interest, here's a video montage of the Halloween party I went to. If you are not interested, have a very happy weekend.

My Life According to U2

Got this gem from the fabulous Susette (I'm still not speaking to you. However since your daughter does just live up the street from Mike's I might be moved on to forgive you if you were to bring me back a chocolate dipped cannoli). Play along on your own blogs if you would like.

The Rules:

Using only song titles from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer the following questions (I wasn't terribly clever so I won't hold you to this rule). Use any artist you like. Try not to repeat a song title.

Artist: U2

Are you a male or female: Lady With the Spinning Head

Describe yourself: The Wanderer

How do you feel?: Stuck in a Moment

Describe where you currently live: Where the Streets Have No Name (This is my most cleverest)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: City of Blinding Lights

Your favorite form of transportation: Walk On

Your best friend is: The Sweetest Thing

Your favorite color is: October

What's the weather like? Beautiful Day (rather dull of me, right?)

Favorite time of day: Shadows and Tall Trees (Twilight was an option but I figured I would try not to be too dull 2 times in a row)

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?: Is That All?

What is life to you?: Running to Stand Still

Your relationships: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Your fear: Elevation

What is the best advice you have to give?: Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own
If you could change your name, you would change it to?: Tomorrow (except not really since Rob Morrow (ala Numbers and Northern Exposure) already named his daughter Tu Morrow so it is taken)

Thought for the day: Some Days are Better Than Others

How I would like to die: Happiness is a Warm Gun*

My soul's present condition: Being Born

My motto: I Will Follow

*Let me just explain this choice so that you don't start calling suicide hot lines to report me. One day maybe 4 years ago my co-workers were having a conversation which evolved into a discussion on how they would like to die (don't ask me why). When I entered the room I was asked this question and quickly responded: bullet to the back of the head. This response was met with blank stares and silence as the appropriate response to the question is: peacefully in my sleep. I, however, was at the time was working on my thesis on violence in Northern Ireland and was enrolled in a class on genocide. So at the time a bullet to the back of the head seemed like a much better option than, say, being hacked to death with a blunt machete.


Yankees Win It All

And I am so very, very happy.

Here is my scorecard from last night's game. (I highly recommend learning to keep score if you find yourself spending lots of time watching little league ball--makes the game much more interesting and even fast paced at times)
Now what shall I do with all of my free time?



Still not going to post one of those posts I was thinking of. Instead I thought I would post a couple of videos that I've spotted on a couple of blogs that I love (just in case you haven't seen them yet and because I love them so very much). The first comes to us courtesy of MBC and is Hilarious--yep hilarious with a capital H.

And this one, from Janssen, just makes me very Happy--another capital H there.


Coolest Halloween Ever!!! Ever!!!!

I've had lots of ideas on possible posts lately. Sadly, none of these ideas has actually become a post (dare I say yet?). Instead of posting I have been:

reading a couple of very unsatisfying books

injuring my back cutting ivy (nothing serious)

unknowingly misusing a heating pad--and then knowingly

mostly enjoying the World Series

taking control over the distributing of Halloween candy at my parent's house = the little trick or treaters got the Hershey's bars and Almond Joys and I got the Mounds and the Peanut Butter Cups

watching NOVA's Darwin's Darkest Hour in bits and pieces (thanks for the heads up Science Teacher Mommy)

and attending the best Halloween party ever.

This last item will make up the rest of this post. Last Friday I was privileged enough to receive a ticket to my Brother-in-Law's office Halloween party (tickets were required and were checked frequently by some secret service types). First let me just say a few words about where my b-in-l works. I'll not give away the name or what they do (since I don't know exactly what it is that they do except that it has something to do with the Internet and that just about every major corporation in the world is a client of theirs) I'll just say that they are perhaps the coolest company out there. I offer that following proofs as to their coolness:

Proof #1 Lounge area that contains wii and playstation consoles with games galore (and free soda!) for their employees to use at will.

Proof #2 Game Room pictured here:

For those times when their employees just need to spend some time playing computer games.

Proof #3 All their conference rooms are named after Adam Sandler movies--maybe not the actor I would have chosen but I can still appreciate the coolness of the naming.

Proof #4 The Halloween Party.

There is absolutely no way to describe to you exactly how very cool this party is but I will try.

First off, the entire company takes part and even competes against each other. Second, the entire place is transformed--as in you can't even tell that it is an office (well 3 3-story office buildings in an office park). They drape to walls and the cubicles with black plastic to create pathways and to serve as the backdrop to the various themes each section takes on. As for the themes, they tend to be movies or TV shows with a few computer games thrown in by the IT guys. And they go all out--I mean all out. My b-in-l's section took on The Simpsons and recreated the living room from the show out of foam--it was life size! (sadly I didn't get a picture but trust me it was so good--I didn't get many pictures because it was rather packed and many of the rooms were rather dark). For treats they handed out donuts of course. Other themes that were done included:

GI Joe with some very real looking weaponry--they were inside set up as a base camp with leaves and dirt and rocks all over the floor (the whole way through I kept wondering how long it would take to clean up; I probably should also have been wondering how much time it took to plan and put it all together--see how cool is this company that they allow their employees to do this on company time and pay for all the props and stuff used) and outside patrolling the parking lot and setting up check points;

Star Wars with, I am pretty sure, the real Darth Vader overseeing the training of young light saber fighters (they had this set up with a camera projecting your training/fighting onto a big screen with the movie playing--so basically it looked as though you were in the movie--I thought of you and your boys Science Teacher Mommy);

Michael Jackson's Thriller choreography set in a graveyard (again indoors with dirt and rocks and leaves);

Peter Pan (I think several sections got together on this one) that began in the nursery then traveled out the window over the city of London and past a 10 foot replica of Big Ben and into NeverNeverland with mermaids, a pond with live gold fish, Indians, pirates, and a rope sling that swung you down a hall and out of NeverNeverland;

Pac Man was represented with a maze with glowing yellow dots hanging over us and ghosts traveling the hallways (and not just ghosts in white sheets these ghosts looked like the real Pac Man ghosts come to life);

The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, The Smurfs, and The Jetsons were also represented;

the basement of one building was set up to look like Vegas with disco dancing, a buffet, casinos, and the Little White Chapel with Elvis himself performing the services.

I could go on and on but I think you pretty much get the point. It was really cool. Here are a few of the pictures that I did manage to take:

The pond with live goldfish:

A pirate in the pirate ship:

The Smurfs and Gargamel:

An Ent from LOTRs:

Two of my nieces in Tweety Bird's cage:

Two of my nieces hitting the road in a Flintstones car.