Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas break (so far)

Friday was the first day of Christmas break for us.  It felt like the rest of the world had an earlier break, but we tried not to complain.  Ha.

Mark went to work with Adam.  His company is moving to a bigger office (hurray for prosperity!) and Adam was helping with the set up.  Adam is the kind of guy that will help with stuff like that.  He took Mark along because Mark is the kind of guy that is also good at stuff like that.

Mark got lunch and a new hat out of the deal.

I let Emma sleep until 11:45 because she had breathed threatening words to me if I woke her up before 10:00.  I don't spook too easily, but Emma can be scary.

Emma and I ran a quick errand and then went to lunch.  We came home and worked on the world's biggest crossword puzzle ( least the biggest one I've seen).

It was in a recent Sunday edition of the New York Times that Adam procured for me, because look at the size of that thing!  There are over 630 each of down and across clues.

Emma and I are like a well oiled crossword puzzle machine and we work well together except for when the clues are about sports or German words.  We just look at each other in despair.  How should we know?

Although I did impress Emma by knowing the Anaheim Ducks.

The four of us went to Nunsense in the evening.  It was a play about Catholic nuns (and one priest) recording a Christmas special on public access television.

It was as random as it sounds and I laughed a lot.

Emma's high school director directed the show and her choir teacher was in it (he was the priest).

I'll never look at Mr. Wilcock the same way, especially when he was filling in for one of the nuns, doing a cooking segment and got tipsy making the fruitcake by sampling too much rum.  It was something, I tell you.

Also, I felt really accomplished because at times they had the audience sing and I thought, "I'm being directed by Mr. Wilcock right now!"  Life goals.

We hadn't had dinner so we hit Applebee's for half price appetizers.  We ordered five and I expressed concern that it was too many but our waiter encouraged us and I forgot about the part where we had Mark.

We ate everything.

Saturday had all of the delightful Christmas Eve happenings.  I made cinnamon rolls while Adam and Emma went shopping (two last minute peas in a pod), then Adam and I did our traditional Christmas Eve shopping.  There is nothing about my early bird personality (I have all the Christmas gifts wrapped by Thanksgiving) that would suggest I enjoy shopping on Christmas Eve, but I love it!  Adam and I go to the outlet mall and it is pretty much empty and there are huge sales.

We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Carol of the Bells that I love.  It made me cry and also I cried a few times because I missed my missionary and then I cried some more when Adam did his traditional Christmas scripture reading.  I'm my own worst enemy because all the crying is really bad for my eyes and I got another infection.

If someone is going to be sick on Christmas, I'm glad it's just my eye.  Could be worse.  Has been worse (I'm looking at you, the several years we had the stomach flu).

For the first time ever, I woke up my children on Christmas morning.  (That never would have happened when Braeden was home!)  I would have let everyone sleep except we had church and snow removal.

We woke up to a white Christmas and Adam and Mark finally got to try out the new snow blower.

Santa Claus found us and we had an enjoyable time opening gifts.  When your love language is gifts, Christmas morning is pretty much paradise.

We went to church and then I had a lot of excess energy to burn while we waited for Braeden to call.  (I could have used the energy to clean up, but I pointed it in a crossword puzzle direction.)

Talking to Braeden was wonderful and sad.  A lot more wonderful than sad, but dang.  I miss him so much.  I loved seeing him laugh.  I loved seeing his face and expressions and hearing his voice inflection and mannerisms.  He is different in subtle ways but still my boy.  It was easier to hang up knowing that next year he will be here.  The highlight of the phone call for me was when we had a prayer together and Adam asked Braeden to say it.  It's been a while since I heard him pray.

I love him!  (You noticed?)  It's hard to love someone so much when they are far away, but as I told him, he is exactly where I want him to be.  Last year, that conviction was a little shaky, but now I'm sure.

That's the list I typed up with questions for him (don't judge me) as well as the box of Kleenex and my glasses which I took off because of crying.  Motherhood should come with a warning label.  Not for sissies.  

Tomorrow we are off to Seattle so I'll be away from blogging for a little while.  I miss you already.  

For some parting shots, here is a snowy Christmas evening for you:

Friday, December 23, 2016

A weary world rejoices

I've never met her but I like Shannan Martin's blog.

After Thanksgiving she wrote this and it keeps rolling around in my head:
When I was a kid growing up in the country, I remember my dad teaching us that the best way to carry something heavy is to carry something equally heavy in the other hand. From personal experience, this applies to buckets of water, oversized suitcases, grocery bags filled with cans of Spaghettios, concrete blocks, and dense emotions.

Decades later, I remain a distracted and forgetful student of balance. Gratitude and sorrow aren't, as I once believed, mutually exclusive. They actually pair quite well together, one in each hand. 
The older I get, the more aware I am of sorrow; my own, people's I love, people's I don't know.  There is sorrow in the world.  I have friends who are newly widowed or newly divorced.  I know people whose children are far away (and not just on missions) both figuratively and literally.  I know people who are lonely or estranged or afraid.

The world feels like a weary place sometimes.  When I was growing up, Christmas just held so much magic.  It was a time of celebrating with abandon.  It would always be happy.  It would always be joyful.  It would always be.

Now I know better.  Christmas hasn't been picture perfect from the start when a baby was born into a world where some people were out to get Him.

I love listening to Christmas music, especially Bing Crosby singing sentimental favorites.  Those songs remind me that they were sung during World War II when the world was uncertain.  When people were sad and grieving and separated.

I couldn't agree more, "gratitude and sorrow...pair quite well together, one in each hand."

Because of Christmas, because a Savior was born to redeem a fallen world, we have a reason for hope.  We have repentance and forgiveness.  Death is not the dismal end.  We have a reason to believe in joy and light.  Our brokenness can be mended.

Without the sorrow, the birth of Jesus Christ wouldn't mean nearly as much.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Yesterday was a day of thwarted plans and traffic jams and long lines.  Then there was the orthodontist appointment and voice lesson taxiing.  The sky was overcast and gloomy.  And my eyes sort of ached all day.

Somewhere along my grumpy way, I remembered an email I'd read earlier in the week sent by one of my kids' friends.  He's a missionary and although he did come to our house a few times, I hardly know him really.  Emma is on his email list but I read his email too.

Because they make me happy.

He's just the most optimistic kid!  Surely his mission isn't such a riotous good time all day every day but that's the impression you get from his email.

He loves his life!

And I like reading about it.

I aspired to be more positive.  I got home from the marathon errand running and turned on all the Christmas lights and just decided:  today I'll be as happy as a bird with a french fry.

As if me deciding were all it took, Adam got home and said scouts was cancelled so he'd be home after all.

Then the UPS man delivered a box.  It was a little bear, sent from Stella.  When I posted about our other Skipper Bear, she emailed me and told me we were thinking along the same lines because she had already sent us a little black bear.  She suggested we look at the Appalachian Bear Rescue site for a name.

We haven't figured out a name for the new little one yet, but I am leaning toward Finnegan.  He is pictured here with big brother Skipper Bear.

It's just the kind of cuteness overload that can turn any sort of day around.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

With a bang

A few days ago I was upstairs and I heard the garage door bang open and closed.  Then I heard the door between the garage and the mudroom bang.  Then the mudroom to the kitchen.  This series of bangs could mean only one thing.

Emma was home.

No one quite makes an entrance like she does.  She needed some things for an afternoon class and I wondered if she wanted some lunch.

Mark says one thing he misses about being home schooled is "lunch with Mom."  My lunch now is just a succession of weird snacks.  For example I offered Emma some sort of stale muffins from last Friday and I had a cheese stick.  I pulled out the leftover onion dip Adam made for a recent work party.  We had it with sweet potato chips.

The recipe is one of Janet's so we reminisced about fond Jorgensen memories.  We chatted about her day and I told her the report of Braeden's emails from the morning.

I let her crush up the remaining chip crumbs and mix it in with the last of the dip and eat it with a spoon.

We talked about her Christmas concert.

She looked at the time and grabbed her stuff and headed back out the door for school.

I love that the school is five minutes away.

Sometimes I look back on my blog and see some small and random memory that I would have forgotten if not for my blog.  Today I want to record so that I'll someday remember that cold December day when Emma unexpectedly came home for lunch and made my day ten times brighter.

I love having a daughter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


If I cannot fly, let me sing.
Stephen Sondheim

Last night Mark had a recital with his voice teacher.  Earlier in the day, he and I had looked through the boxes of Braeden's old clothes for things Mark may fit now.

I'd hold up something and say, "How about this green sweater?"

Mark would say, "It's green?!?"

I would say, "Yes.  You're color blind."

He would say, "Nah."

There was a period of time when Braeden, whose favorite color is green, had almost all green shirts.  Mark rejected them all.  I guess if he can't see the color, he doesn't want it.

A few shirts were "not his style" and a few were exactly what he wanted and his eyes got big and a smile would spread on his face.

He decided to wear a blue shirt to the recital.  (He can see blue.)

He was awfully cute and pretty poised considering it was his first recital.

Somewhere along the evening, I realized Braeden wore that shirt in his senior pictures.  It fit him differently, but still.

By that point he always wore the sleeves rolled up because they were too short but he still liked the shirt.

We ducked out of Mark's recital right after he performed, swung by the Wendy's drive thru for a healthy and well balanced meal and headed for Emma's choir concert.

It was the Christmas concert.  They have three sold out performances instead of one free performance like all the other choir concerts.  I prefer the Christmas one because everyone gets a seat.  Those other concerts are crazy town and the stuff of fire marshal's nightmares.

Also, it's a great concert.

During one song, Adam nearly killed me.  He whispered in my ear, "Look at the boy second from the right in the front row.  It's little Ted Cruz."

After I figured out my left and right and spotted the kid, I started laughing and then I couldn't breathe because I was trying so hard to stifle my laughing and then I couldn't stop laughing because that kid looked EXACTLY LIKE TED CRUZ.

When Emma's choir sang I didn't notice any look alike political figures because my eyes were trained on her.

My girl loves to sing.  And I love hearing the A cappella choir.  They always sound great.

Earlier in the day I had texted Emma:

There's one more choir concert tonight and I'm looking forward to it.  I like kids who can sing.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Oh what fun

It was a good weekend.  One that I need to unpack and tidy up from.  I was too tired last night to do much besides catch up with Miss Emma.

We left her behind because she had to work and Adam and Mark and I went to Nevada Saturday morning.  The weather outside was frightful (just really cold) but the heated seats were so delightful.  We had a nice trip, listening to a few podcasts and with Mark at the music helm, a lot of 80s music.  It's his favorite.  We listened to Van Halen, Bon Jovi, A-ha, Tears for Fears.  Adam drew the line at Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train.

We got to Olivia's just in time for her annual Ladies' Brunch.  I missed my little lady, Emma, but I was happy to be there.

Here's the whole group plus Omar who stood in the picture before his dad took him and his brothers to town. (picture courtesy of Olivia's blog)

How I love this group!  These women are my support.  They hold me up and lift me up and love me.  I hope these girls, the next generation, feel the sustaining power of our sisterhood.  We're there for them in every way and I hope they know it. 

We laughed and cried (OK, not everyone cried but I was one of the ones who did).  We ate delicious food and talked about our past year (that was when the crying happened) and what we are looking forward to in the new year.

We played After the Manner of the Adverb which was at times hilarious and at times scary.  When the adverb was offensively, everyone was a little too skilled at being mean to each other.

Despite the expertise at giving offense, we're usually nice to each other, so that's what matters, right?

We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting and then reconvened at my parents' for the rest of the evening.   Mark was ordained a Teacher by these stellar men.

I'm grateful for the uncles and grandpas (here and not pictured) that provide support and examples to my boys. 

I'm also sort of fond of that Adam.

Sunday we went to church and heard Clarissa speak.  I sat between my uncle Fred, who I love, and Adam.  We were on the front row because my whole life, I've sat on the front row at church.  It's my spot.  And it's also Enoch's spot and I always get into sacrament meeting before him and then there's no room for him and then he has to go back a few rows and curl his long legs up into some sort of configuration while I'm languishing in leg room.

I'm pretty sure he forgave me.  Or he will someday when he's not so tired from getting home late from a basketball tournament the night before.

Maybe I owe that kid a Diet Coke with Lime.  I sort of need to stay on his good side.  Starting back when he was in seventh grade he could put me in the coat closet and hold me there. 

Anyway, Clarissa's talk.  It was wonderful!  She is the perfect mix of earnest goodness and poise and  and then she can't find the exact scripture she's looking for but handles it with panache.  I love her! Halfway through her talk when the tears were streaming down my face, I considered asking Mark to reach up by the pulpit and grab me a Kleenex (advantage of sitting on the front row) but then I remembered I had Kleenex in my purse.

These are facts I should remember earlier.

Clarissa also sang a solo and knocked the socks off the entire congregation.

Every time I'm in the Wells Ward, I remember I'm an aspen tree, standing on my own but part of something much bigger than me.  That place is full of cousins and second cousins.

Then there's the people who aren't related but it feels like they are.  At the lunch at Marianne's house after church, I was sitting next to Rachel Moore (used to be Knudsen) and a young woman who used to be a missionary around there and was back visiting was reconnecting with Rachel.  She said, "Are you related to everyone?  It seems like everyone is related."

I said we were pretty much related and Rachel explained that our grandparents had known each other and our parents had gone to high school together and we had grown up together.  She said we tried to get related by having some of the siblings marry but it never worked.

I love being related and practically related to good people.

We drove home in the late afternoon.  It was 9 degrees when we left Marianne's house and had warmed up to a balmy 18 when we got home.  It was a nice drive with more podcasts and music.  At one point Adam tilted his head toward the back seat where Mark was and said, "I'm glad we will have four more years of this."

Me too.

Friday, December 16, 2016

New arrival

Braeden pulls the strings and I'm his puppet.  That kid asks nicely and I will make it happen; I'll try my best.

He wanted the Christmas bear to be in honor of Stella this year.  I was telling Emma and she got downright feisty.  Because she was tired of Braeden pulling the strings?  (He named last year's bear too.)  No.  It was because the girl doesn't want to know how the sausage is made.

"You are telling me too much information!" she said.  "I don't want to know that you don't already have the bear.   You aren't supposed to tell me anything about the bear."

It's just supposed to show up one day and I had ruined the magic.

I realized my mistake and immediately stopped talking to Emma about bears.

Adam and I found a bear that looks like the black bears Stella helps support as part of the Appalachian Bear Rescue.  They are darling bears.

A few nights ago, Adam called the kids to the living room for scripture reading.  They usually sprawl on the floor in the family room or on our bed, so this was different.

This guy was sitting on the couch in the living room and it was love at first sight.

My vote was to name him Skipper Bear.  Skipper is the miracle ABR bear that in a roundabout way, brought Stella into our lives.  Emma said she wanted a girl bear.  We didn't know if Skipper was a boy or girl.  We told her we'd Google it and find out.  Adam said, "This bear will be whatever gender Skipper is."

(You didn't know we have discussions about stuffed animal gender in our home that are solvable by Google searches, did you?)

I found our Skipper Bear is indeed a male.  I showed the kids a picture of Skipper Bear when he was first rescued:

And then when he was able to be released back into the wild:

Much oohing and ahhing ensued.

I have a feeling Skipper will be one of our favorite bears.

After the kids left the room, Adam said, "We have to get a girl bear next year!"  And I agreed.  When Emma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy....

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The basement

OK.  It's nothing that's going to wow anyone.  I got more caught up in book arranging than decorating for Christmas.

And no, I didn't arrange the books by color.  That was a never to be repeated disaster where we couldn't find anything ever.

I put the novels in alphabetical order by author.  I separated the memoirs from anthologies from short stories.  I put the non fiction on different shelves.  Adam's college books--political science and religious history--together and my writing books and books by people I love like Alexandra Stoddard and Sarah ban Breathnach on another shelf.  It all made me feel more peaceful, just knowing things were in order. (I put them in order initially when I placed things on the shelves but books tend to migrate.)

I sprinkled a little Christmas cheer around.

I dragged Braeden's desk from his room and set up a Santa Claus writing station...with a picture of the jolly old elf as muse.

I was very careful with these friends.  Two of the three have been grievously broken and glued together again.  I love them and need to treat them better.

Here's Emma's creation, the Christmas village:

And I put up these little trees with a picture of my three cherubs on Mark's first Christmas.

I put three Christmas puzzles on the table.  I wonder if we'll ever have the time to sit down and put one together in this busy everyone heading different directions season.

But hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Things I've learned

Staring down the second Christmas with Braeden on his mission, I am thinking about this time.  It's a unique time.  It's a brief time (although it doesn't feel all that brief).  Here's some of what I've learned as the mother of a missionary.

1-People are amazing.

This morning the woman who is hosting Braeden for Christmas kept texting me questions about what he likes so she can treat him well on Christmas.  My response "he likes everything" wasn't enough.  She wanted something more specific.  She really wants to show him he's loved.

All the random people that text me pictures of him and tell me they love him?  They make my day.  They have no idea how much it all means.

2- Braeden is changing in wonderful ways.

I see it in little glimpses and nothing so concrete that I could explain it well.  I see him focused.  I see him more mature.  I see him generously serving.  I see the wise advice he sends his siblings.  (My favorite advice is when he tells them to listen to Mom and Dad.  And I'm not even paying him to say that!)  I am looking forward to getting to know him all over again.

3- It's hard.

The information we get could only be described as coming in dribs and drabs.  For starters, writing isn't Braeden's best form of communication.  If I could just talk to that kid for 5 minutes, I'd get a lot more.  Also, emailing just once a week isn't enough!  I wish I had more contact with him.  It's hard not to know how he is doing, really.  It's hard to see him struggle and be helpless to fix anything.  It's hard missing him.  Awhile ago, I was talking to Marianne and Robert about the hole in our family with Braeden gone.  Robert said, "It's only one less person."

But he's a lot of a person.  We didn't fully appreciate until he was gone what Braeden added to our lives.  I used to tease him that he isn't really the center of the universe.

I could have been wrong though....

4- Even though it's hard, soldier on.

Over and over I have seen Braeden keep going even when the going is rough.  I'll never forget the day last winter when I was particularly worried about him.  A lady called me who wanted a recipe.  She was going to be feeding him later.  She told me how great he was and what a help he'd been.  She said, "Our dog even likes him."  In that moment, I realized that even though it was hard, even though he was struggling, he was powering through it.  It's a lesson I've tried to internalize when the going gets tough for me.  I can still serve.  I can still try.

5- It's worth it.

It is.  When I see the differences, big and small, he's making in people's lives, I just feel grateful that I am able to share my bonnie boy with the world.

His mission has prompted conversations with our other children and taught them in ways we never anticipated.  He is forging a way for them.

I'm grateful for the stretching his mission has required of both him and me.  It is painful stretching but it has ultimately stretched us in directions we needed to go.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tiny notes

Dear Yale Alumni Magazine,

Is it proof that I never would have fit in as a Yale student that the only part of your magazine that interests me is the personal ads?

Dear Yale Alumni Magazine Personal Ads,

You've been disappointing me lately.  I love the pretentious people seeking other pretentious people.  Give me more.


Dear Dickey's Barbecue Pit,

Hats off to you for being an all American melting pot.  On your menu you had Bangers and Mash on the menu featuring jalapeno kielbasa.  A dizzying array of cultures.

Dear Olivia,

As someone who has lived in both England and Poland and who is married to a Mexican, I think you should go to Dickey's for Bangers and Mash jalapeno kielbasa.

Dear Every Sweater I've Ever Bought,

I am flattered that you think I'm the type of person that would catalog away this tiny little bag of yarn in case my sweater gets a hole or snag.  I'm flattered you think I would have the skills to put this little piece of yarn to use.

Dear Marianne and Adam,

I love that when I'm shopping with either of you, I can say, "What's 20% off?"  "What's 30% off?" and you just spit out a number since you both are math whizzes.  You both also try to teach me.  You say things like, "Well, what's 10% and then double that and you get 20%," or "Well, it's 1/5..."

Maybe because you're both the oldest child you want to help me but really, I don't want to do the math.  That's why I asked you.

Keep being smart, you two.  You kids come in handy.

Dear Mark,

I had a run in with a mop handle.  Sorry about that.

(We'll call this my revenge for someday when I'm a grandma.  Grandma got run over by a reindeer but she smashed the reindeer with a mop handle so she probably had it coming.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy frivolidays

Frivolity + holidays.  We've been having a good time.

Last week, Tuesday? We headed out to go see the lights in downtown Provo (which weren't really a thing) and we hit Cracker Barrel for dinner and then bought a snow blower.

We have exciting lives, I tell you.

Life is more fun with these two.

Thursday, I met Marianne's and Tabor's families for lunch and I got to see Clarissa, returned missionary extraordinaire, for the first time since she returned home.  I cried.

That night, Adam and I went to the temple and I cried.

Friday, Mark and I went to A Christmas Carol at the Hale Theater and I cried.

Saturday, I didn't cry.

So that's something.

A Christmas Carol was so good!  I'm always amazed by what magic can be created in such a small theater.  The actors are incredibly talented and the costumes are beautiful and the sets are clever.  Besides, Mark was a good date.  He brought his own money and bought me some Peanut M&Ms.  He slid them over to me, really proud of himself.

I like that guy.

Adam was refereeing while we were gone.  He's been doing a lot of that and is enjoying it.

Saturday was Mark's birthday and I didn't take a solitary picture.  Just take it from me, he was cute all day.

We went to the ward Christmas breakfast at the church, sans Emma.  When I woke her up, she groaned and I considered all her late nights working at the theater and said, "Why don't you sleep instead."  She mumbled something that sounded grateful and we went without her.

Mark opened his gifts from Grandma Geri when we got home, with her Facetiming on the phone.  (Is Facetiming a verb?  Because I'm making it one, if not.)  He loved his gifts, a Seahawks stocking cap, some Seahawks socks and a thick book about code breakers and spies during World War II.  He could not have been happier.

Until we hit the Lego store.

We had a leisurely lunch at Red Robin and then on to the Lego store.  Mark contemplated many sets and wondered if the $120 set would work if he "pitched in some money."  That was a no.  Emma bought him a Lego set.  She thought it was on the sly but while she was sneaking up to the register, Mark slipped his Lego VIP card to her.  So he would get the points from the purchase.

It's hard to get anything past him.

We headed to Park City which was wintry and beautiful.  We checked into our hotel and then sipped hot chocolate in a covered area by outdoor heaters while the snow fell.  It was pretty much perfect.

Adam and I went to his company party and the kids swam and ordered pizza.  The Christmas party was held in a big and beautiful snow lodge in Deer Valley (again, no pictures).  I knew one person there, Adam.  I happily seated myself next to a big window by the falling snow while Adam mingled around.  The waiters were a little worried about me and kept checking on me.  (Quick, somebody talk to the lone woman by the window.) I met all the kids who are on Adam's team.  They are closer to Braeden's age than our age.  All of them.  Several of them gushed to me about how much they all love Adam.  I said, "Well, I do too!"

That's me, building bridges of commonality.

We ate dinner with another couple who were closer to our age but who were astounded by the ages of our children.  (Their oldest is 13.)  I'm a little astounded by the ages of our children too.

The food was all delicious (I got one of the end cuts of the prime rib) and we enjoyed chatting with the other couple and when I was completely full, I learned they had crème brûlée.

So yes, Adam and I split a little dish of it.  (Although I think I ate most of it.)

Crème brûlée.  One of my love languages.

Everyone we talked to was worried about the weather and the drive back through the canyon to either Utah or Salt Lake valley where everyone lived.  When they found out we were staying in a hotel, everyone marveled about how smart that was.

That's what happens when you get older, kids.  You get wiser.  (Seriously, they are all SO young.)

It was quite snowy by then and we were grateful for our 9 minute drive back to our hotel.

The night in the hotel room was another story.  I was feeling a little less smug.  There was some annoying and intermittent tapping noise, the snow plows would barrel through on the street outside every few hours, lights flashing, and we all slept restlessly and not as much as we would have liked. 

At the very least, it was memorable.

We woke up early and headed back to Pleasant Grove in the winter wonderland.  Back in time for church.

December is a happy busy time.  I like celebrating my favorite Mark Christmas present a few weeks early.

He's the best Christmas gift I ever got. (And that's counting the Barbie Dream House, which was a pretty good one.)

We had cake Sunday night and as you can see by Mark's expression, candle lighting is very serious business

Friday, December 9, 2016

Not my email

Some of these have been accumulating in my inbox for awhile, but today I got maybe the best one ever and I decided it was time to have another Not My Email post.

This Thelma?  The one who can't remember her email address?  She took a memory test.

She has a moderate degree of memory challenge.  When you're in the yellow zone, you forget your email address.  I can't help but think she is wondering right now how she did on the memory test.  Maybe she can't remember taking the memory test?  I don't know how a moderate degree of memory challenge works.

There's good news though! (Although she didn't get this good news, I did.)

She/I/anyone can sign up for free health email alerts!  

I got this receipt for one of the other Thelmas out there in the world.

What did she order, you ask?

Well I'll tell you.

Since I get involved in these other Thelma's lives, I wonder two things.  What exactly is a "special tax" and how did the shoes work out--for $89.99 I hope they were nice ones.  And also the daffodil and teal towels.  Sounds bright and cheery, Thelma.

I had three random pictures emailed to me.

I think the food looks good and I also wonder why this picture seems to be taken from a head table while the rest of the tables appear to have people seated on both sides.  I'd like to think Thelma's friend is some sort of dignitary.  Way to know important people, Thelma!

The following one had the subject line "penny and shirt pillow."  I'm guessing Penny is the dog?  Or maybe the dog is sitting on a penny.  Maybe the orange thing (a hat?) is named Penny?  These are questions I will never have answered.

The Twitter world is waiting for @VilogThelma to write pithy tweets.  But alas, she has not confirmed....

This one has been sitting in my inbox for awhile, but it's not too late! The cabinet isn't all appointed yet, are they?  Maybe Harry would still be able to weigh in.  If only he'd received this email....

I don't know if Carole ever got her question answered:

Dear Carole,

I don't know when ballet finishes, but it's fine with me if you use the hall after ballet.  Use it as long as you would like and have fun playing badminton with your grandsons!

Thelma Newham is playing the lottery again.  I don't know if this means she won last time and wants to keep the gravy train going or she didn't win but isn't the kind of Thelma who gives up that easily.

By the way Thelma Newham, I didn't print out your confirmation for you, even though it was recommended.  Sorry about that.

This next one hurts my feelings.  Thelma Vinson got 12 Days of Deals from Amazon and I did not.  And ordering from Amazon is my default setting.  Hmpf!

I will end with some international flair.

This one looks important and I hope this Thelma was able to get it in another way.

This one looks less important:

Is that guy cleaning her teeth or swabbing for strep throat?

And also, why?

Here's the translation:

Since I'm not Swedish, I doubt I'm the intended Thelma for this but I DO crave excitement, cooking and interior design tips!

How did they know? 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A full house

The thing with Christmas parties is that you can't very well spill outside.  Especially when the temperature is in the teens.

Last night we had a Young Women party at our house.  There were 30 of us.  There was lots of food and lots of laughter and noise and...lots of clean up.

We had a white elephant gift exchange with some really funny gifts and some really nice gifts and some really lame gifts (I'm looking at you can of green chiles).  I contributed 5 gifts because I wrapped up random stuff from the YW closet that no one wanted or had wanted for the last decade.  I conveniently didn't take a gift and then pawned all the leftover gifts off on the eager youngest girls (the leaders all brought extra gifts and I didn't want to get left with anything.)  It all worked out and everyone went home happy.

Maybe the only people not happy are the mothers of the youngest girls whose daughters brought home armloads of junk.

Luckily the gift Emma brought--some wrapped pictures of Nicholas Cage she printed off the internet--fell into the right hands.  Larisa laughed and then Emerie stole them from her and I think if one of the young girls had received them, they wouldn't have been very happy.

It was fun.  They're good girls.  I feel increasingly more comfortable around them.

I think they feel comfortable too.  When she was leaving my counselor, Cortney, herded a bunch of girls out too.  They may have stayed all night.

Which would have been OK.  I would have just gone upstairs to bed. 

Emma got Special Agent Oso.  I had no idea who that was.  Someone from Disney Channel.  Emma said Mark used to watch it.  I have no memory of that.  I think I was too busy to pay attention to what Mark was watching.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


It was Adam's idea.

He enlisted Emma's help to find the city names.

Emma didn't have time so even though she's the font guru, Mark selected the font and printed the labels.

I hung them up and changed the times on the clocks.

If Braeden had been here, I wouldn't have had to use a chair.

We didn't put a label on the starburst clock because it is broken.  It is correct twice a day....

If you have a wall of clocks, you might as well use them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some Christmas cheer

1-  Last night was Pikkujoulu.  (Our made up family holiday.  If you're going to make up a holiday, make it hard to pronounce, I say.)

Here's the somewhat festive table:

Busy day + not my best effort.  Also we didn't just eat cheese and fruit.  We had clam chowder in sour dough bread bowls.  And also cranberry Sprite.  Because we were celebrating, I tell you.  It felt like something was missing (duh...Braeden, for one) but Adam said he thought everyone had fun.

I read Amazing Christmas Extravaganza and Mark didn't leave the room.  He usually gets mad when the neighbors destroy Mr. Merriweather's decorations and refuses to listen.  This year he stuck around.

So that's something.

2- Here are Braeden's Christmas decorations:

He had asked me if he could buy a tree and I said go for it.  Also, happy news!  The Christmas package I sent--which took longer than it should have so I was worried--arrived!  He now has a Seahawks stocking to add to the mantle.

3- I bought this guy:

He reminds me of Rizzo the Rat and I can't see him without thinking of my favorite lines from The Muppet Christmas Carol.

"Light the lamp, not the rat!  Light the lamp, not the rat!"

"Thanks for makin' me a part of this."

Adam said he was freaked out by the thing.  Emma said she was surprised I would buy anything "mouse related."  Mark pointed out he is a rat, not a mouse.

Sometimes people don't share my vision.  But I soldier on.

4- The basement has still not been decorated.  It is a jumble of boxes.  Emma did set up the Christmas village and when Desi was over they pointed out all the high points to her and who was who.  Desi asked if she could be the snowman.



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