Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Look at me, way up high!

My family teases me for having an iPhone, but really they get as much help from it as I do. On Christmas Eve, my dad was playing Name That Tune-Classic Rock Station Style with Brotherface and I, a game we've played numerous times growing up. On the plus side, Dad's love for the music of his teenage and young adult years has fueled the love my brother and I have for it. On the negative side, it's still not an era I can Name That Tune very well.

So, I cheated. I was in the backseat. I have Shazam (a music identification app). It took Dad three songs to realize the source of my knowledge. If I hasn't shown him that app the last time I was home, he may never had guessed!

In church on Sunday, a recently returned missionary was reporting on his service in Mexico. He remarked that he knew the Spirit was helping him teach, because he once taught someone that smoking is bad for your doves instead of lungs, and he was still able to get his message across. Mom turned to me and asked what lungs was in Spanish. I couldn't remember, and using my phone during Sacrament isn't my usual habit, but I told her I had a translator app and fished my phone out and looked it up. She softly chuckled, and we went back to enjoying the talk without that question lingering and distracting us.

Incidentally, that missionary was later confused for my husband, circumstantially. Also, doves=palomas and lungs=pulmones. Totally understandable mistake.

I looked up something on IMDB for Sisterpants during a movie (yes, the Jonas Brothers ARE playing the Cupids in Night at the Museum 2) instead of after. Brotherface downloaded a game to play on the drive back from our aunt's house.

Obviously, I'm happy to spread the iPhone joy, but I've done some pretty cool things for myself on it just today. I ordered my H and I books from the app while waiting for my flight. And! I'm posting this at 30,000 feet!

Free trial Onboard wi-fi + iPhone = Love

Even though I'm a little bummed the flight attendant woke me up from a perfectly good nap and there is no way I'm falling back asleep, at least I have the Internet to entertain me for the next two hours! And books. Always books.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone somewhere a mile above the Midwest

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Walking in a winter wonderland!

By now, you've probably heard of the crazy blizzard that hit the mid-Atlantic this last weekend. Well, it wasn't just any snowstorm, it was the Snowpocalypse! Fortunately, I knew it was coming, so I made a quick midnight grocery run after my babysitting gig and picked up a few things to last me the weekend. (All of the following pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Here's what I woke up to Saturday morning

Much of my weekend revolved around food. And pajamas.

This is Saturday evening (the darker pictures) and Sunday morning, when I spent 3 hours shoveling, instead of 3 hours of church (which was canceled), most of the driveway and all of my car. You can also see what my footprint looked like 5 hours after I made it.

This weekend was also the perfect time to break out the 1000 piece puzzle I've been carrying around for a few years. And, after three days, the upper right picture shows as far as I've gotten to this point. I've packed it up and I'm taking it home so my family can help over Christmas. Other activities that kept me sane were season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, finishing my F book, a nap here and there, and the internet. If I didn't have friends present, at least I had electricity and wi-fi!
As much as I loved wearing jammies for three days, my favorite part was Monday afternoon. Despite a long delay, Captain Deviance finally made it to DC (his mom moved here this summer) and we got to hang out for the first time since 1998! After lunch with his mom (also, the first time I wore something other than pjs and snowpants all weekend), I took him to the monuments, which looked especially pretty in the snow. The reflecting pool was frozen over, so we glided around on it for a few minutes.
It was so good to see him. Since we're both geeks, we've been communicating over the internet all these years, long before it was cool. Still, getting together in person at least once a decade is helpful for hugs, snowball fights, and having someone to help you up when you fall on the ice (which we each did, more than once). I'm grateful for long-time friends, especially this one. I'm also grateful for other friends and family who checked on me throughout the weekend, just to make sure I was okay.

It was a fantastic little vacation. The snow outside isn't going anywhere soon, but at least most of the roads are passable now, even if mine is reduced to one lane in places. The snow is gorgeous, and the air clear. We Virginians definitely got our white Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Just as we go on pretending tonight

If I had a husband waiting for me when I got home from work today, he might have asked me this:

"Hi honey. How was your day?"

"It was good, thanks! Sarah came by. We knew each other at BYU, sort of. She came into that library sometimes too."

"Yeah? That's cool. Anything else interesting happen?"

"Well, I did finish muddling through one that one book truck and half of the other. Oh. And I guess I did roll my ankle and fall and scraped my knee."


"Yeah. Walking, just walking, on the even floor carrying a bunch of empty music boxes. Those spilled everywhere. See?"

"Oh sweetie, I'm sorry. Does your ankle feel better?"

"Yeah, just a little sore. Oddly, my knees stings worse than my ankle hurts."

"Well, we'll just have to fix that."

And then he'd kiss it better.

But I don't have a husband. Nor have I even been home yet. I'll put some Neosporin on it when I am.

I can, however, play Mom for the evening. A couple of my married high schools friends are celebrating their 2nd anniversary on Monday, and he just finished this semester's law finals, so I volunteered to watch their 8 week old son so she could take her husband on a surprise date.

He sure is a cutie!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here we come a-wassailin'

If your iPod is anything like mine, there are songs you don't know that have magically found their way into your collection. So, putting my iPod on Shuffle Songs can lead to some interesting discoveries. Sometimes it's "meh", but sometimes it's "I LOVE this song! And I already own it! Score!"

Like Sunday Morning Yellow Sky by October Project. Sure, they haven't done anything since 2006, so I'm way behind, but better late than never! I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm glad for the find.

In the holiday music world, I'm really digging Pat a Pan by David Archuleta. I love the opening in French and the groove of the rest of the song. I've always liked Pat a Pan, and this arrangement is new and different compared to, say, yet another version of "(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home".

Also, more Muppets.

And, finally, courtesy of Theater Geek - a little Christmas-themed musical quiz. I've been working on it on and off all day, and only have 5 more to go. How many can you name?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And a partridge in a pear tree

Each year for Christmas, my mother has sewn a Christmas dress for my sister and me. I've loved them, and wear the ones that still fit often. So, this year, when I found out she had decided not to make a dress for various and understandable reasons, I actually cried a little. It's tradition, and one I was going to miss.

My family celebrates the 12 Days of Christmas. We have a set of nesting cans we stack on top of each other, so they get bigger each day, and each day we sang whichever verse of the Twelve Days of Christmas we were on and "opened" the corresponding can. They're often little things - jewelry, bookmarks, cute notepads, etc. If we're away from home, Mom sends us the gifts for the days we'll be missing in individual envelopes and we all open them together on the phone. So, this year, when I found out that she was running so far behind in the Christmas planning that she hadn't sent them out in time and would just be holding onto them until my sister and I each get home and my brother would just be telling us what they were each day, I cried a little again.

What I'm sad about is not that I'm not getting all these presents, it's that our traditions, some of my favorites, are changing, and I was unprepared for that. For me, I'm not 100% feeling the Christmas spirit until I spend time with family, and since I don't get home until a day or two before the holiday, I spend quite a bit of December wishing I was already there. Doing the 12 Days of Christmas together alleviates that a little as I know that for a few minutes each day we're spending time together. In our discussion about the Christmas dresses, Mom mentioned that her mom stopped making dresses eventually too, but it was then I remembered that my mom was married by the time she was my age, which didn't really help matters.

It was as I was pondering the change in our 12 Days that I finally realized what the real problem was - I have no idea how to celebrate Christmas when it's just me. This is my fourth Christmas I've had to start celebrating long before I see my family, and I shouldn't have to wait until that time to really get into the Christmas spirit. It's not that I'm a Scrooge about the whole thing before Christmas Eve, just that I don't really believe it's holiday time until it's almost over. I sing Christmas songs from October on (thank you, Mormon Choir). I don't see my family. I don't have enough decorations to completely transform my apartment like my mom does with our house. And I haven't done what most other adults have seemed to - that you take the traditions and meanings of Christmas you learned as a child and incorporate them into your own family's as you see fit. My "family" is just me right now, so I need to decide what it is that I can do, on my own, to make it really seem like Christmas.

But what?

I tried a tradition of getting a new nativity set every year, five Christmases ago, but in those five Christmases, I've only acquired two. I do have a tree and a small handful of other decorations, but even in my tiny home, they don't seem to make much of a dent.

Then I remembered another 12 Days of Christmas tradition. Each day, we'd burn a section of a taper candle and read a scripture prophesying of the birth of Christ, but from the Book of Mormon.

I can do that.

On Saturday, I visited the Dollar Tree, picked up a taper and the only holder they had, plus a few more Christmas decorations, and asked my mom to email me that list of scriptures. My kitchen looks downright festive now, and I started reading the scripture chain last night.
I already feel more Christmas-y, and I'm glad for that. Here's that scripture list, in case you're interested in joining me.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, another personal tradition I realized I've had for three years running now.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

I really missed decorating for Christmas last year. Our poor little house was so drab and lacking in holiday cheer. I was determined not to have the same problem this year. The only problem? A teeny little apartment with no space for a Christmas tree. Fortunately, it didn't take long to realize I don't use my dining room table much, so I wouldn't miss it if I put a Christmas tree there. The next problem was going to be finding a tree that wouldn't be too tall or too small. Rather than schlepping around town to find a tree that size, I decided I'd just have to go with an artificial tree.

Now, I'm not proud of my decision. I LOVE real tree smell and feel (you know, as you're decorating it, not that I go around feeling Christmas trees) and look. But, a 4' tree from a big box store was a rather practical decision, and by golly is it convenient. No watering? Easy setup? No daily vacuuming? Pre-lit?

Still, I maintain that when I have space again, I will go back to real trees and this new permanent addition to my decorations will be relegated to being my "extra tree".

Yes, I just made that up.

So, Sunday night, I turned on the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, made myself a mug of hot chocolate, and set to work. You can't see it in the picture, but I also strung some random strings of lights around kitchen. Sure, it's all a little haphazard (I'm reminded of how they strung their lights in Whoville before the Grinch stole them), but I like it. So there. If you look closely, you'll notice that Andre The Car Bear approves (he was inside for a cleaning because he managed to get a Starburst stuck to his back).

Also, here are a few pictures from my Thanksgiving trip. This is my aunt (and me), taking a quick photo break from the craziness that is 20 some odd members of my uncle's family:

Friday night, we went to Light Up Louisville with my uncle's sister and her husband and made it just in time for the lighting ceremony. Yes, that is a panda Christmas ornament in my hand.

And my cute aunt and uncle. I love them.

You should also notice that I've changed my music player to Christmas songs. I've added a few new ones this year, and will continue to do so throughout the month. Any favorites I'm missing?

My other favorite thing about this weekend was that it snowed! It rarely snows this much in December in these parts, and I always have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit without it. So, to have a snowstorm the same weekend I'm decorating for Christmas makes me very happy indeed. Even better was the fact that I go to stay in my purple with snowflake fleece PJs all day, since our ward Christmas party was "Christmas morning" dress. Don't worry, I still showered.

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just nod if you can hear me

Dear Readers,

I like to think you are, collectively, an intelligent, observant group. Sometimes you prove that to me. For instance, Mom, you noticed that there was a problem the order my posts were in, which, as I suspected, was a result of working on a certain post from three different places. I've fixed it now, so thank you. There have been other instances where you have noticed something about the content or layout of my blog that have spawned good discussions elsewhere. And I always appreciate the comments.

However, you have all missed something about my posts this month. I was sure someone would have noticed and said something by now, but nary a word. 30 little clues and no one caught on.

Now, a few of you already know what I've been adding, so you don't get to play. Sorry about that. The rest of you - here's your chance. You now know there is something to look for, and, as an extra hint, it was Eilonwy's idea, another one of the challenges she and I issue each other. If you read her blog, and mine, you may notice the clues twice as fast.

Let me know when you figure it out, and there may be something in it for you.*

As always, thank you for reading my randomness. Here's to another successful NaBloPoMo!

*Honestly, I have no idea what that might be right now. I have post-vacation-maybe-have-a-cold brain fog, but we'll figure something out.