Saturday, January 30, 2010

:::What Aunts Do:::

What Aunts do is spoil. Unreasonably, uncontrollably, and unabashedly.

Do you remember this post wherein I sang the praises of the Crane animal humidifiers? I went on and on about how fantastic they were, and how badly I wanted to win one in this giveaway. Well, I didn't win the giveaway, but...

My Auntie bought me one. She got me the frog, which she knew I liked best because she had called me soon after she saw my post to ask me all about the benefits of humidifiers.

Tricksy, Lori, very tricksy.

Are you wondering why it's taken me so long to post about this? Remember November, children. The royal we have yet to fully recover from our autumnal twists and turns.

Friday, January 29, 2010

:::Snapshots -- It Be Friday, January 29, 2010:::

Things I Like

1. Reading next to an open window on the bus. Fresh air!

2. This bilingual stamp label with the motto of Canada Post -- "From anyone"

3. Craisins in oatmeal. It be crazy delicious. When folded into hot oatmeal and left to sit for a minute or two, they plump up into succulent bits of stewed fruit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Everyone hates going to the CVS near my office because it's ghetto and the customer service stinks (shocker). But guess what? They just remodeled it! Wowee!

Check out those windows! They stretch across the entire storefront!

And the new, snazzy self-checkout area!

It's so clean and bright now!

Ok, and now for the really exciting part, we got new baskets as well! Let's look at the new handle. Instead of two in the middle, there's just one. And the basket itself is so much bigger.

But what's the deal with that long handle? Am I actually supposed to drag my cart on the floor? Yeah, like that's a good id...Holy hell!

There are wheels on the bottom! WHEELS!

It's like a little mini shopping cart for city people! Oh my goodness, oh my GOODness!

Best day! Best day ever!

Monday, January 25, 2010


My blogging has taken a dive since the end of November. I know the reason why. I will tell you the reason why later. But, for now, I'd like to make a heartfelt gesture and give you this delicious cake as a token of apology...

As my friend Martha would say, 'Momma!'

Here's hoping that this blogger posts a tutorial soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

:::Best of 2009 -- December 7th - December 14th:::

Yeah, this is way late, but I still want to finish this challenge for my own documentation purposes, so here you go.

December 7
Blog find of the year.

Elise Blaha, again. So very inspiring.

December 8 Moment of peace.

Holding Molly in the my sister's backyard and looking at the big, big sky and listening to the quiet, quiet night.

December 9 Challenge.

A head-to-head HR-led confrontation at work. It's fun telling a superior that you don't think they're doing their job. Really, it's super-duper fun!

December 10 Album of the year.


December 11 The best place.

Robert Taft Memorial and Carillon.

December 12 New food.

I didn't eat anything this year that I have never, in the whole existence of my life, eaten before.

December 13 What's the best change you made to the place you live?

Moving to a bigger room.

December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?

Opening the car door and seeing Molly and Scott when I went to Texas in May.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

:::Who Wants to Cry This Morning?:::

Oh my goodness, these adorable little children.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

:::Righteously Hang On:::

{Not my photo}

Today during sacrament meeting, our bishop shared a quote by Ezra Taft Benson that immediately spoke to my heart. In his talk 'Do Not Despair,' President Benson said --

"There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you."

Wow. I wish I had heard this quote years ago. I suppose this is why we're told to study the prophets.

I feel like so much of my life has been spent just trying to hold on, and I've always felt guilty about that. I know so many people think that I don't try nearly as hard as I should in various aspects of my life, but from my perspective I count it as a great victory that I have always held on. No matter how weak my grip was, or how close to the edge I've been, I am still here. Some people may never understand what an accomplishment that is for me. However, I know that sometimes even your most monumental effort can only result in you righteously hanging on.

A while back I made a promise to myself and, I guess, to the Lord as well, that no matter what happened to me or how lost, scared, and hopeless I may ever become, I would always stay turned in the right direction. In the past when I would have long periods of struggle, one of my initial reactions was to start questioning the Gospel from square one. It was always an exhausting and self-defeating endeavor, and I was always worse for the wear afterward. I lost so much ground with the testimony I used to have, and it gave more room for doubt in my life.

With the promise that I made to myself, when a dark time comes my new reaction is to lock up my testimony and say to myself, 'No, you won't touch this. You know these things are true, the Gospel is meant for good times and bad times. These things don't get thrown out anymore.'

This has made such a difference for me. I don't know everything, and I certainly don't understand everything, but I have said to myself that as a Latter-day Saint I have accepted the Gospel of this church and the basic doctrine that it is founded on. Come what may, I will stay turned in that direction. Regardless of the noise, confusion, distractions, and assaults around me, I will stay turned in the direction of the Lord.

As President Benson said, I will always at least, 'righteously hang on.' And how's that part about 'outlasting the devil until his depressive spirits leave you?' That is a mighty strong motivating factor -- to outlast someone who only wants your misery and has never done anything for your benefit, nor anyone else's, for that matter. And, to outlast someone who's sole ambition it is to try and destroy the work of the Lord. A large part of me wants to hang on just to ensure one more victory for our Savior, who we all love so much.

This is a further excerpt from President Benson's talk --

"Pressing on in noble endeavors, even while surrounded by a cloud of depression, will eventually bring you out on top into the sunshine. Even our master Jesus the Christ, while facing that supreme test of being temporarily left alone by our Father during the crucifixion, continued performing his labors for the children of men, and then shortly thereafter he was glorified and received a fullness of joy. While you are going through your trial, you can recall your past victories and count the blessings that you do have with a sure hope of greater ones to follow if you are faithful. And you can have that certain knowledge that in due time God will wipe away all tears and that 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.'"


Saturday, January 16, 2010

:::Slumming It:::

Today I went up to Columbia Heights because Lean Cuisines were on sale at Target. I'm trying not to eat out for lunch since it costs at least $7-$8 a day. Plus, I needed a few other items, and Target in general is just fun to walk around.

Nevertheless, I hate going to Columbia Heights. It's a journey that requires two trains, a transfer at Gallery Place/Chinatown (ghetto-sketch), a ride on the Yellow or Green Line (su-spect), and passage through some less than desirable parts of Northeast DC. Plus, whenever I go there the train cars are filled with loud, obnoxious youths. I hate youths on public transportation.

Columbia Heights is still being 'gentrified'. Ha! Whatever. People are still being shot there. Even though all of the 'right' stores have moved in and a few expensive condo buildings are up, it's still just ugly, u-gly. When I walked out of the station today I thought I was in the slums of Guadalajara (Can I say that? I'm brown, so I think it's Kosher). Picture the scene -Trashy street vendors, grown men hanging out on all the corners, children running all over the place, homeless people (bless them) surrounding the Metro escalators and shaking dirty cups at you...admittedly, it's never been this bad before, but it makes me wonder if the older undercurrent of the neighborhood is winning the battle against the Starbucks and the Bed, Bath and Beyond vibe. motivate myself to do something that I needed to do, I promised myself some kind of treat from the Target cafe.

Aaah! I hate this town!

They were out of...

  • Pretzels, all flavors
  • Icees, all flavors
  • Smoothies, all flavors
  • Large drink cups
  • Cup lids, all sizes
  • Napkins

What happened, was there a riot last night that led to the looting of the Target cafe?

The eating area was a mess. There was trash on all of the tables, the catching tray underneath the soda fountains was almost overflowing, and there was a general layer of filth on all of the surfaces. This would never happen at Super Target in suburbia. Or, maybe it would, but the manager and all of the cafe employees probably wouldn't have the 'Kiss my behind' attitude that is par for the course when it comes to customer service in this town.

I am convinced now, more than ever, that anyone who says that they love living here either: a) is an intern b) has a car c) really lives in Virginia d) thinks there's nothing wrong with paying at least $4 for a cheap loaf of bread e) has parents who are still funding part or all of their lifestyle.

Calgon, get me out of here.

On the way back I took the train to Gallery Place, and caught a cab for the rest of the journey home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

:::Becky Higgins -- Project Life:::

Last year I pre-ordered Becky Higgins' Project Life kit. It finally arrived in the mail last week, and I finally got around to putting it together on Tuesday night -- all of the 'Week of...' cards plus the hundreds of daily journaling cards are now tucked safely into their pockets. I've been taking pictures since the 1st, and I can't wait to get my first two weeks into the album. I'm loving this project. Wouldn't you love to look back on a daily account of any given year in your life? I wish I could, not to necessarily to see what emotional state I was in, or even to know what my thoughts were, but to see the cohesive picture of what my life was.

I've written in a daily journal for years, but rarely did I write about the tiny details of what seemed completely mundane at the time. In my journal I wrote mostly about my trials, worries, concerns, and also my successes and accomplishments. I wish I could sneak a peek way back then (wink) and see even the silliest of things, like what common household items looked like, the packaging on food items, what the fashions were, what my daily schedule amounted to, what was routine for me, how much I was paying for things, etc. But, most importantly, I wish I could see how the little pieces of the everyday came together into the bigger steps that I took in life. That's something that I don't always get with journaling. This project is so casual, so simple, yet so encompassing of the pieces that life is made of.

Yes, I absolutely know that there is a value to recording the emotional/spiritual/intellectual part of our lives, but I also know that the daily things have value as well. I would l-o-v-e to look through an album like this of a year in my mom's life. It would put a wonderful frame of reference around all of the bigger stories of her life.

And I love the idea of keeping a visual and written track record of where I've been in my life. For one thing, I'm a visual person. Often times pictures mean much more to me than words do.

Another benefit of this daily endeavor is that I know it will reveal some kind of method to the madness in all the seemingly random things that I do with my life. So many times I feel like I'm just floating around life without any specific path. Even if I looked back at everything that I've done or reread all of my journals, I don't think I'd be able to see all of the micro patterns amidst all of the macro happenings. Again, I think this is a shortcoming of traditional journaling. Even when done on an everyday basis, there is the tendency to only record the bigger things that stick out most in your mind at the end of the day. With Project Life the focus is more on taking little snippets of a day, not summarizing everything that happened in the full 24 hours. Of course, Project Life is also flexible enough to encompass the big moments as well. Really, it works any which way.

As you can see, I'm very excited. Even if you don't buy Becky's kit, I think we should all do something like this. The stuff that we do everyday matters to Heavenly Father, and it matters to our children, nieces, nephews, parents, siblings, spouses, grandparents, friends, etc. None of my siblings live in the same state as my parents, and I know that my mom would get such a kick out of reading and seeing the day-to-day happenings of our lives, not just the things that we tell her on the phone at night, but the reference points that anchor our lives throughout the day.

Like I said, I started taking pictures on the 1st, but I think I might start my album sometime around the 5th or 6th instead. I don't want to feel that the story I'm telling has to be neatly wrapped up and begun afresh at the end and beginning of each year. Becky's no-stress attitude towards Project Life has made me feel like however I approach this project, I've done it the right way. I've been very impressed by her attitude, and her motivation has really hit home with me.

For blogging purposes, I'll probably share some pages as I go along. I should mention that you don't have to do any traditional scrapbooking with this project, so it's perfect for someone like me who has never made a scrapbook page in her life. All of the cards and papers come pre-designed and pre-cut, and the kit also comes with a day of the week stamp, stickers, page protectors, and monthly divider tabs for what I think is a very reasonable price. Becky is about to role out a digital version of the kit that will function somewhat like a Blurb book, so that's something that might be of interest as well.

Yikes, this was a long post! I'm just so excited about doing this for myself, and I know I'm going to love the process. I know it's important for us to record our lives on many different levels, and I really feel that this album of a year approach is one of many great ways to do so.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

:::Lost, Drifiting Without Anchor:::

I am currently without internet in my home situation. Last night I had to read a book, a book of all things! If I don't have internet tonight and I have to read another book, well, I just don't know.

I just don't know.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Sometimes I love the internets.

I have a new blog header thanks to a fantastic tutorial from Molly of A Foothill Home Companion! No Photoshop necessary. After reading her 'Should I...' post where the she used all of her banners from 2009 as a way to recap the year gone by, I hoped and prayed that she would post a tutorial for making your own photo banners. Prayer answered. Expect new banners as the mood moves me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

:::Christmas Season Mega-Post:::

1. Mt. Vernon by Candlelight with Elizaben

- The decorations
- Watching my Hobbit sister doing festive little jigs in the visitor center
- Drinking cider and laughing around the bonfires with complete strangers, booing when other groups were called to go on the tour

- Cracking inappropriate jokes during the tour
- Watching the real, live blacksmith

- Volunteering to learn a period dance in a group demonstration.
- A Christmas tree that decorated with books, scrolls, quill pens, and ink jars. I will be stealing this idea one day.

2. 2009 Office Angel Tree

- Spending two hours in Target searching through their meager toy offerings for little boys
- Playing with my favorite toy in the whole world

- Having a panic attack
- Calling my mom who tried to talk me down
- Cell phone dying in the middle of the intervention
- Having an epiphany and getting a scooter from the bike aisle
- Finding the space shuttle
- Throwing in the remote control car, and spending every penny of my $150 allotment

- Our conference room filled with toys on collection day

3. White House Christmas Tree With Elizaben

- Walking three blocks to find a place to cross the snowbanks when they came to pick me up
- The ugliest White House Tree we've ever seen

{ What's up with the red stars, Comrade?}

- Inside paths around the tree closed due to a light dusting of snow

- Outside paths covered in ice and slush open to the public...

- Yelling (sotto voce) at the White House for Malia to come out and shovel the walks
- Face planting on 14th Street -- no struggling or flailing involved, just one, big, beautiful and fluid transition from walking upright to laying spread eagle, face down on the sidewalk

{Elizaben points out the scene of the incident}

- Random trip to Chinatown afterward so Squints could get a salad...

4. Secret Santa Exchanges

- Giving both people Snuggies.

5. Christmas Eve at National Cathedral with Elizaben (See the program here.)

- Driving through parts of town that I never get to
- Seeing familiar landmarks from different angles...

- This Christmas tree somewhere on the way to the Cathedral...

- Driving through Georgetown and seeing all the rich people walk to Christmas parties in their furs and pearls
- Christmas trees in rowhouse windows

- More inappropriate jokes (is nothing sacred?)
- Working through the recitations and watching the rites
- Hearing Latin again (the language of heaven)
- Being in a massive church with little nooks and crannies...

- Watching the high-flying ribbon thing during The Entrance Rite...

- All the sitting and standing
- This part of the program...

"Presider: The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People: And also with you.
The people greet one another with a sign of God’s peace and then are seated."

- Everyone hugging those they came with and shaking hands and wishing Merry Christmas to strangers

- Messing with my camera on the way home to take funky pictures of lights

5. Christmas Eve

- Packing clothes and gifts and enough stuff to keep me busy at Elizaben's...

- Our Cratchet Family Christmas Eve Dinner...Heaven help us...
- Christmas Crackers!

- Playing with the toys inside

- Wearing crowns

- The Christmas goose that I couldn't eat because I thought it looked the way that cooked cat meat would

- Asking if we could go to Taco Bell
- All of us deciding that a Cratchet Family Christmas Dinner wouldn't be happening again

- Finding out that roasted chestnuts are nasty and taste like turkey
- Mastering my poor man's bokeh technique to get the Christmas tree pictures that I've always wanted

{With shutter button pushed halfway down, hold a finger in front of the lens to make your camera think you're shooting macro. Once camera has refocused and the Christmas tree lights are blurred, move finger away and press down shutter the rest of the way.}

- Watching A Muppet Christmas Carol and actually enjoying it

6. My Third and Final Elizaben Family Christmas

- Gentle Ben's famous stockings in a sock

- The Huntington Beach ornament from mom

- The matching aprons mom made for each sister, and for Molly and Sophie!

- Faerie Tale Theatre from Elizaben
- Another Christmas Bible dinner

- Setting up camp in 'my chair'