Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Look what I found

Isn't this the most adorable picture? I found it on the internet (duh). It is of the following: "Two-and-a-half-month-old Persian leopard cub Chui, left, and her nine-year-old mother Cezi, seen in their enclosure, in Budapest Zoo, Hungary, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008."

I've never been to Hungary, but now I want to go see these leopards up close. I love large cats as well as small cats. I prefer large cats, though, to be in the wild or zoos, not up close and personal. :)

I've been updating my Facebook. I had forgotten I even joined, when I received an e-mail today from some person I never heard of to join her as a friend. I bought something from her off of e-bay about two years ago. Needless to say, I didn't join her, but I asked some people to be friends. AND I think I found a friend from high school. I haven't kept in touch with anyone since moving to Utah. Not that I was keeping in touch before we moved.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oven cleaning

I have banished everyone to the basement. Yesterday when Jeff cooked the roast beef for his birthday he commented that the oven could do with cleaning. So, I turned on the oven to clean this afternoon. The whole upstairs is pretty much full of smoke. Luckily not enough to set off the smoke detectors. We have windows open (it's 20º outside), fans going, and some unhappy cats. Greymalkin came downstairs crying, but when I followed her back upstairs to bring her back down, she hid. Hope we never have a fire where I have to find her!

Jeff has put in the studs for the new door to what is now the hall bathroom. After we are finished with everything, this bathroom will open into our new room. I decided not to go to school today. So, I am organizing "my" room. This used to be our guest room, but we don't have guests and I need a place to scrapbook, stamp, and do homework. I need to bring down a desk that is upstairs. First I have to convince Jeff to help me bring it down. It's pretty heavy. It was built in the late 40's or 50's when a lot of furniture did double duty. This desk has three small side drawers and knee space, but it also has a pull out table with ugly rattan on it. So it's a desk/table combination. D has a desk/dresser that was my grandmère's. It is a secretary type desk with three drawers below. When the top is up it takes up almost no room, when the top is down it is the desk's writing surface. It is from the same era. I believe these were built to accommodate the many people who were living in small homes and apartments after WWII.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yet another birthday!

Today, Jeff is 46! Happy birthday dear.

When we were pregnant with D, the only request Jeff had besides a healthy baby was for a different delivery day than his birthday. Bad enough that it is so close to Christmas, he just didn't want to share it. You know I don't blame him. Until family members started to die of old age, we had quite the holiday birthdays going. Here's the list:
  • Dec. 15: Carl Gassen (my brother-in-law's father, died March 2006, in his 90's)
  • Dec. 17: Lillian Coryell (my father's mother, died Aug. 2003, 91 1/2)
  • Dec. 18: Deirdre
  • Dec. 24: Grandma Dottie (my mother-in-law's mother, she's been gone for awhile. Awful of me, but I don't remember when she passed away. After D was born, I do know that. Pretty sure she was in her 90's too)
  • Dec. 25: Brian Harris (our nephew on Jeff's side, Phyllis' son)
  • Dec. 28: Jeff
  • Dec. 29: Charlie Carney (my stepmother-in-law, I think that's her birthday, awful again of me, 20 years and I'm still not sure)
  • Dec. 29: Linda Spencer (my cousin Jim's wife, again I'm not positive, but pretty sure)
  • Dec. 31: Fred Spencer (my cousin)
Quite the collection of birthdays there in a two week time. Plus in January are four more: 5th: Nicole Spencer (daughter of Linda), 18th: Jim Spencer (husband of Linda), 28th: Barbara Spencer (mother of Jim and my aunt obviously), and 30th (I'm pretty sure on the date and don't feel like going upstairs to check my planner): John Carney (brother to Jeff).

The home remodel is moving along. Jeff has been stringing speaker wire the last few days. The new sound system will be on the south side of the new room. Wire needs to go to the speakers in the living room and the kitchen, plus the speakers in the new room. We have the most amazing speakers in our kitchen! I love being able to put on music and have it play in there, but not be blaring through-out the house so that I can hear it in the kitchen. Right now they aren't attached to anything, as we are listening to everything off of the TV sound system. Sounds complicated right?! You see Jeff builds speakers too. So, we have amazing speakers in our living room and we had speakers in our old sitting room for the TV. Now that the TV is in the living room :( all are connected to the receiver for the TV. But the kitchen ones are still (or were until today) connected to the receiver for the stereo system. Sorry, I just don't seem to be able to explain it properly.

Back to wiring: almost all of the electrical is finished. Jeff thinks we can hang drywall on Tuesday. Yippee! So, I'll be off to school tomorrow. The semester ends the Friday after we return (idiotic, I know) and I am nowhere near being ready with assignments to grade. I also need to prepare some for next semester.

D spent Friday and part of yesterday at Sarah's. They had a sleep-over and played Nintendo DS a lot. Sarah invited another girl over, Savannah, and the three had a blast. She has been pretty much reading and playing new DS games since Christmas. Last night we played Harry Potter Clue. It's a little different from the traditional game. For instance, you have to make your final accusation in Dumbledore's office. So if several people think they know the answer, it's a race to see who can get to the office faster. We played two games and if I remember correctly, D won both of them. We had a lot of fun; it's been awhile since we played a family game.

Friday, December 19, 2008

And the remodel continues

The latest update. I don't have better pictures right now. I haven't taken any (you know gone over the weekend) lately. The new wall is up (just studs right now). The old hall wall from the back of our bedroom closet is partial gone. We walk through the old closet to get to our bedroom. It's sort of a maze right now. The electrical has been a problem for Jeff as he tries to figure out what wires go where and power what. As stated before, our electrician wasn't the best. It's pretty exciting to see the way the area is shaping up.

And here is Jeff relaxing on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. He worked all weekend on the house, but had to read The Color Purple for class on Monday. After only four and a half years Rocky and Greymalkin have declared a slight truce. We gave Rocky a reprieve right before Thanksgiving. He actually has perked up.

On to me:
I was accepted into The University of Utah. My classes start on Jan. 14. I will be taking two classes Spring semester: one on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. On days that D and I have gymnastic meets than I will travel up to SLC three days in a row. I haven't figured out how I will make it through the next couple of years, but somehow we will manage. When I leave school on Tuesdays, I will have to be prepared for classes on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I need to move Scouts to Tuesdays. I will miss Service Unit meetings unless they are moved, and worse I'll miss Stamp Club for Feb., Mar., and April., maybe even May depending on my finals schedule. I can do this—at least this is what I keep telling myself. Wish our family luck for the next two years.

Deirdre is 12!

Yesterday was Deirdre's 12th birthday. According to her, she had a good day. After school was scouts. She lead the opening with questions from her P.A. training. We planned which activities we would do to earn the Cookies & Dough IPP. The girls decided as one of their service projects to create a matching game for the daisies. We will use the game at the cookie kick-off in January.

She received a Beatles T-shirt from us that she is wearing to school today. The Beatles is her favorite band. She also received Across the Universe dvd from us. We watched it over the summer and bought the soundtrack, but she also wants to be able to watch it over and over. She got a sweater, Harry Potter Scene It, and a hair accessory set from Grandmum and Granddad. From her cousin Fred she received the entire Dark is Rising chronicles. It's a great set of books. After reading the Twilight series four times in about four weeks, the Dark is Rising might seem "easy", but she will love them. She received other gifts from her Auntie Barbie, but I don't have my list in front of me. From us her big gift was a new digital camera with a case and memory cards. She hadn't asked for one, but her old was really beat-up and has limited memory card abilities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What have you done?

To participate, just copy and paste in your own blog, and bold all of the things you have done. It's kind of fun!!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (does DisneyWorld count?)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestor (does this mean the original ancestor who came over on the Mayflower or closer? Either way I've been to England and France, as well as, all the states, except Hawaii)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (does Elvish count—that's what my mother and sister said I spoke as a toddler)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (I think it's at the Louvre?)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser (um, no not really, we had to keep going on to Glacier Nat'l Park and couldn't wait for it to actually erupt)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (I don't remember :( )
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (does a PBS television production count?)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (as a child and an adult!)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (are you kidding me! never in a billion years)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (drove past when in D.C., again no time to stop and actually tour)
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (married to a published author, though)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (drove past)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (eew!)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (called several times while living in Chicago, always sent home)
91. Met someone famous (Rudolf Nureyev for one and a ton of other dancers, and Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, and Governor Thompson of Illinois back in the late 70's)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
101. Learned to play an instrument

I decided to participate too. I tag anyone who has the time to do it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our busy weekend

Last Thursday (12/11) was the Candlelight program. All the orchestras, bands, choirs, guitar, and music appreciation classes all performed. Then the candles were presented to worth local citizens. This little old lady was one of the recipients. She was so funny. She is 97 and lives in Manti. Her 97th birthday was the next day. She stood on the stage at the Eccles Center and said "I'm wearing my gardening shoes, my cowboy shirt, and my hair hasn't been combed in a week." What could the audience do but laugh. This year there were seven eighth graders with 4.0 g.p.a's from sixth through current semester to present. Some years there are only a couple. With luck Deirdre will be one of the presenters next year.

Deirdre and I spent Friday and Saturday at Trefoil Ranch. It snowed like crazy on Saturday. When we got to the bottom of 189 it was closed. Boy were there a lot of angry people. Unlike last year, there were only about 25 people there (mothers and daughters). D and I deliberately tried to pick activities that we didn't do last year. So we learned about Kwanzaa instead of Hanukkah, the Netherlands instead of Russia and did new crafts. It was a lot of fun. The girls were older this year too. There were a few 8 year olds, but most were 11 and 12. The food was pretty good too. We ended early on Saturday, so we could get on the road a little earlier. D and I drove on up to Salt Lake City to spend the night there. Because…

We had our annual tickets to The Nutcracker by Ballet West. This was the last year Deirdre wanted to the Sugar Plum Fairy party after the matinee. We have been going to The Nutcracker since D was four and the party afterward since she was six. We spent the night at Embassy Suites and did some shopping before the ballet. We were scheduled to see Beau Pearson as the Snow Cavalier and the Waltz of the Flowers Cavalier, but he hurt his shoulder in Madam Butterfly rehearsals. So we were treated to Soloist Jason Linsley in Snow and Principal Christopher Rudd in the Waltz. Both of these males are my favorites with the company. Due to Beau's injury, Ballet West has brought in a male guest artist to help with the performances. We decided that next year, we might go to an evening performance, spend the night in SLC, and then do Christmas shopping the next day on the way home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Twilight—the series! and more

Deirdre has now read the series at least three times. It might be four. She insisted that I too read the series. I capitulated and read. I didn't like Twilight, but continued to read to find out if Bella actually became a vampire and low and behold eventually she did. I liked New Moon the most, followed by Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and finally Twilight. I thought if they said "I love you" one more time in that book, I was seriously going to smack someone.

Deirdre went to the movie for the third time today—again with Sarah. Now, I am not a movie person to begin with, but the pictures just do not make me want to see this movie.

Remodeling is going slowly, but steadily. We have garage lights and living room lights back, and two new walls! I will post pics soon. Jeff is recovering from the flu. Both he and D have a cough. Once they get them, I hear coughing for weeks.

D and I will be heading to Trefoil Ranch this weekend for a mother/daughter Christmas bonding with Girl Scouts. We will spend Saturday night in Salt Lake, because we have tickets for the Nutcracker on Sunday. We have been going to see Ballet West's production of The Nutcracker since D was four. We usually have pretty close seats. Last year, they were the front row. Jeff has been a couple of times, but the ballet is usually a mother/daughter activity. We do season tickets and have a good time.