Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

15 favorite melanie.

I got tagged by my wonderful mother. I'm sure that all of you are happy to hear from me. So here's my 15 favorite things that I like that are favorites. Yep. . . .

NUMERO UNO: I'm sure you're all familiar with a guy by the name of Weird Al. I know, I know...most of you are all jealous, but yes, i have a White and Nerdy sweater. I LOVE IT!!!!! When I first got it, i was freaking out, and i put it on, and it felt soo right. (:

#2: About 2, or 3, or 4 for that matter, years ago...i went to a horse ranch with my girl scout troop, it was right before new years, and while i was gone, surprisingly, my family did a room-makeover to my room, and i FINALLY got carpet, after like 4 years of cruddy looking cement on the ground of my room...ANYWAYS...they got me new sheets for my bed, they painted my dresser really colorful, and so on...soo, to my point...i absolutely adore my dresser. (:

C: okay...i know that its kind of lame, but i have the coolest thing hanging from the ceiling of my room...a disco ball!!!!! HOO-RAH! actually, a while ago, my friend Rachel was at my house, and she and i had music blasting, with a blue light on the disco ball...and..yeah...(BLUE, BY: EIFFEL 65)and we were dancing all we do, and that is a great memory with my disco ball. (:
4: My fancy pants! they are the BOMB! I LOVE THEM probably even more than the t.v.(i know, that's deep...)

5:BAHAHA!!! i just realized that instead of 3, i put C... i am soo weird. ANYWAYS... my friend Ninabah gave me a backpack about a month after school started, and the backpack that i owned before the one she gave me was okay...but the one Ninabah gave me was a Jansport backpack, which I've always wanted, and she heard that i wanted one, so she turned around to me, and said she had an extra one that she didn't like, so now i have the ultimate backpack!!!

6: MUSIC...where the heck would we be without music? no dancing alone in your car or anything! life would be a disaster! I like listening to music, and getting a good workout from dancing with the beat from the music of the song. By the way...i don't know why, but if I'm ever at my friend Rachel's house, and we start dancing to music, i actually learn all of my moves from her.

7: I know it sounds like a bomb, but i don't know if i could live without my alarm clock. (: its kind of a habit sort of thing, cause every single time i turn over when I'm sleeping, i look at my alarm clock...i don't know why, but i do..... OKAY! I'm guessing you're all wondering why i say it sounds like a bomb...when my alarm clock goes off, it is sort of quiet at first, and its repeating beeps, and than after a certain number of beeps, the sound gets louder, and louder, and faster!!!! and the worst thing is, is that its battery powered!!!! UGH! and so one day, when i was REALLY tired, and my alarm clock went off, i couldn't open my eyes, because i was soo tired, and i couldn't find the off button, so with all the strength in my body(at 6 in the morning i might add)i pulled that sucker right out of the wall...BUT IT KEPT GOING!!!! i finally had to force my angry eyes open, and i turned it off...(:

8:Along with my room-makeover, my mom made me a collage of myself, all of the crazy pictures of my face, and some weird, and cute pictures./..but their all pretty much atrocious. (:

9: so, I'm dog-sitting my neighbors dogs while they're in Mexico, and the lady pre-paid me... WITH ONE-HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!! OKAY, NOT JUST ONE-HUNDRED DOLLARS, BUT A ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!!!!!!!! it was the happiest days of my life when i was gifted to receive such a great gift. (:

10: a LONG while back, our family did not own a dishwasher. DUM DUM DUMMMMM! i know, its heart dropping, but it happened, and don't you worry, cause we survived and had to hand wash EVERYTHING! i was tough. its all good now...its all good. (:

11: it might not look like much, but its just a little something i threw together...................................................................................................KIDDING!!!! i got it from my my neighbors yard sale for 1 dollar...but when i got it, i tried to get everyone in my family to believe that i painted it... ummm, yeah, that didn't work out too sister Rachel believed me for about a week, and then i finally broke down, and told her the the good girl i am... (:

12: a few months after my room-makeover, there was a book shelf thing in our loft (the part upstairs next to the main part of upstairs) and since my room is all colorful, we put it in my room, and i keep all of my books in(on?) it, and if you look closely, you can see my action figure of buzz lightyear on the middle shelf, in about the middle of the shelf.

13: i love a fresh piece of gum, after a nasty after taste of something i recently ate. Gum is one of my friends in life. (: its always nice to get gum as a gift...{*hint . hint*}(:

14: i like my family. i know they should be one of my first on this here list, but there's no life without a family.
15: THE MOVIE HITCH!!!!!!!! need less to say, its a great movie. i HIGHLY recommend it! if you haven't seen it, rent it, and watch it!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

a new look

We decided to remodel our holiday decor this year. The box in our attic held a collection of a whole lot of odds and ends --- ornaments from primary, ornaments from kindergarten, ornaments from friends. They're all beautiful, but it was time for a fresh start. We went shopping together, knowing it would be a tricky group decision. There were dozens of display trees and aisles and aisles of ornaments and lights. We all had different ideas and it was a chore to find something we could agree on. We finally found this bolt of funky pink ribbon and added boxes of bright ornaments. How do you know how many ornaments you need to purchase to properly fill a tree? I felt like our baskets were full and certainly the price we paid at the register was adequate. We explained our dilemma to the couple at the cash register - could we return items or exchange things if we had purchased too much? Apparently, they were the store owners. They looked at our baskets with a smirk and assured us we would need much, much more. (They were right.)

We ended up with a Dr. Seuss looking tree and we are loving it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

what a performance

Our good friend, Kirk, had his paintings featured at an art gallery the other night. He's had a couple of gallery openings before and they are cool to attend. One of his paintings in the show was of Roxanne. Although we've seen the painting at his house, it's more impressive when it's hanging in an art gallery.(go to click on December 6th show, look at the painting titled "Askew". . . that's Roxanne! Also go to "about me" and click on the link "my art collection" and see the piano I painted shown there -- that was a fun project. While you're on his site, look at all his amazing paintings!) Anyway, we were having a complicated evening. Besides the gallery opening, Dave was scheduled to have a leaderhip meeting at our house, I had an Enrichment night to attend, and Rachel was performing three piano pieces at her college recital. I had to choose Rachel. Her professor told her she would be early in the program so we had to cancel out on everything else and we all got got to her school and got settled in our seats at the Performing Arts Center. I have got to say, I have sat through many school performances. This was a far cry from the middle school band and choir performances we have endured. (Melanie, if you read this . . . sorry. I promise we cheered for you at your middle school concert this week, too.) It makes all the years of music training worth it to watch beautiful, accomplished college-aged performers. At 7:00, as enrichment was going on, we listened to the very long orchestra selections. At 9:00, as the art gallery gala was winding down, we were listening to the percussion experimental performance pieces, then finally at 9:35 pm, our lovely daughter came on stage. I was feeling bad for not being creative enough with our schedule to do everything we each wanted and needed to do (which by the way, sometimes I am impressed with our creative scheduling!) and still be there to cheer Rachel on.
Anyway, after sitting through a very long, yet quite enjoyable, program, this is what we saw:

And . . . notice she's not carrying any sheet music!

Isn't she amazing?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

favorite things

I've been tagged -- "Fifteen favorite things". I feel a little like Oprah except I'm not giving anything away. So I guess not very Oprah-like after all.

#15 Our copier. We bought it for our office, but I don't think I will ever be able to live without one again. Yeah, I use it for office work, but I love it for art work. I spent an hour with it tonight enlarging pictures from a coloring book so I could reproduce them on a big poster. There's a lot of work involved to do that, but once it is finally drawn on the poster board, it seems like it is my own artwork. I'm working on an activity for my seminary class tomorrow. There's quite a bit of deception to be a seminary teacher. Ok, if anyone asks, I will tell them it's from a coloring book. But, really . . . it's early morning, and the kids are not even awake. Does it really harm anyone if they all just assume I'm a marvelous artist?

#14 Sharpie markers. Who doesn't love a brand new sharpie - any size, any color. They've got to be sharp though. No old, rounded-tip, half used sharpies around this house!

#13 Sudoku. I don't know why. I'm not even very good at it. Roxanne, on the other hand, is brilliant.

#12 Waffle iron. Well, I don't love the waffle iron itself, it's just that every Sunday morning Dave makes a marvelous breakfast for all of us and the waffle iron is an integral part of that lovely experience.

#11 Magnifying mirror. I can't pluck my eyebrows without it.

#10 Magnifier. Sadly, there are many things that I can't read very well. I like to blame it on a surgical procedure I had on my eye last year. But it might be that I'm over a certain magical age when a woman's eyes go to pot. (Isn't that right, Lauri . . . ? )

#9 My cell phone. There is nothing extraordinary about the phone or about the service we buy. However, I can't go anywhere without it. This year I have even learned to text. Brady and I have a regular text messaging relationship since he's moved out of town. (Can you imagine trying to describe text messaging to someone 10 years ago? "Are you kidding me? you want me to write a letter using a 2 inch keyboard? with my thumbs? and the keys are all multiple choice letters?")

#8 Credit card. I haven't had a running balance on my card for years, I pay it in full each month. But I make 99% of my purchases with it. I love the convenience.

#7 Bottle-O-Money. It's just an old five gallon glass water bottle. Brady and I found them at a funky second hand store and we each bought one. ( I don't think glass ones are made anymore.) One day, I'll cash in the coins and do something special. I think favorite thing #8 has been keeping me from having excess coinage. I've been saving for 2 years and this is all I have:

Maybe by the time it's full, I'll be able to do something fun with my grandkids.

#6 Hardcover books. Although paperbacks fit in my purse better or when I'm on the go, I still prefer the feel of a hardcover book in my hand.

#5 Tools, tools, tools. (Well, Dave's tools). We own every tool known to man. It's kind of nice when I want to make something and the tools are all readily available. We could invite the whole cub scout troop over to make their pinewood derby cars at a moment's notice. They could design, cut, carve, sand, paint and grease the axles all right here, right now. We can miter, drill, grind, weld, solder, clamp, and many other verbs. Dave was putting together his Christmas wish list and he had to describe to me what tools he wanted and what they were for. We apparently have all the standard tools and we have moved on to the more obscure ones.

#4 My own closet. My closet was custom made by Super-Dave a few years ago. There is a place for everything. And it has a lock and key (much needed during the holiday shopping season). I love it so much, if it was a bit wider, I'd put a lounge chair in there.

#3 Photo albums. Yes, the old fashioned kind, not digital. I can't even dust my living room without being sucked over to them like a magnet. Maybe I need to put them away into storage. They are truly a distraction.

#2 Our piano. It's old, a few keys are in need of repair, but I love, love, love it. I've played it my entire life.

#1 TIVO. . . . .Need I say more about this one?

I'll tag Cindi, Heidi, Suzanne and both Pat and Andy.
And . . . special guest writers: I tag Roxanne and Melanie. (You can post your lists right here.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

on the job chaos

One year my sister, Paula, was buying her husband an incredibly expensive Christmas gift. I knew they didn't have much more money than we did at the time and so I asked her what the heck she was doing spending that kind of money. She told me how much she was making painting windows. Paula has an absolute natural artistic talent. Even as a small child she could draw amazing portraits using a #2 pencil and a drug store sketch book. Shannon asked me why I wasn't out doing the same thing. I told her first of all, I enjoy art, but talent doesn't flow through my veins - and second, I couldn't knock on doors and actually talk to people I don't know. She convinced me she could sell and I could paint so off we went.We've been painting together since we had babies. We actually were both doing daycare. I would take her whole daycare group while she went out to sell windows and she took my whole daycare group while I went to paint. It was hard then because we had babies. Surely, when the kids got older, this would be so much easier. Somehow, subconsciously, I always thought life would get easier when our kids were older. (Does parenting ever get easier? I'm losing hope . . . ) Painting is actually quite fun and relaxing. Shannon and I have been friends for years, but we live in different neighborhoods, go to different wards, kids of different ages and in different schools and activities, so it is fun to catch up on a year's worth of news and gossip. It's fun to be out of the house, to be doing something creative, and to be making some cash right before it's time to go Christmas shopping. The calm and fun aspect of this job is true if, and only if, things stay calm on the homefront. That never happens. Roxanne broke her toe, Shannon's son impaled his shin -- and I mean deep, gruesome 2" under the skin kind of wound -- on an oleander branch. Most people don't consider oleander bushes to be the climbing variety, but her son is 11 and well, we've all known an 11 year old boy haven't we? He came to visit us on the job. I had been hearing about this wound and he walked up with a 2 inch bandaid on his leg. I told him I was disappointed, I was expecting a gash from ankle to knee. He peeled back the bandaid to expose the most manly wound a boy could hope for. It was impressive and I do believe he will have a visual reminder of his romp in the oleanders for years to come. Her other son (the older one who is old enough to drive and take some of the burden off Shannon while she is working) caught a bug and was vomiting day and night. Then his car had radiator problems so help with carpooling younger sibling was out of the question. There were continuing problems with our businesses (we both are self employed, working from home). We lost the one and only set of keys to our office. An extraordinary amount of urgent work piled up on our desks at home etc etc. So the calm, creative, enjoy-the-outdoors experience didn't quite happen. I don't know why I thought it would . . . Anyway, we're done and our pockets are full of cash. Let the shopping begin!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

electric light parade

Saturday night was the 21st annual Electric Light Parade! Nearly rained out, nearly stressed out, nearly pooped out, but there was Dave on his antique tractor beaming from ear to ear waving to the crowds with his mighty fine pageant wave.

It's a fun event to attend, estimated average attendance is 200,000. We've been many times. It is held just a few blocks from our house so that makes it convenient.

Friday night, Dave had to have his float down at the event to be safety inspected and judged. Any of you outside on Friday afternoon or evening? It was pouring in a way that is rarely seen in this city. There was no end in sight. Poor Dave was outside putting together last minute touches on the float and making sure all the electrical connections were working (electrical connections + rain = danger??!!) But all over this city there were 70 other float builders and marching bands and dance teams doing the same thing. The show must go on!

He decided to throw a plastic tarp over the whole thing for the evening during the downpour. First of all, how do you get a sheet of plastic over a structure that is 12 feet high and 15 feet long and has four sharp metal corners? One person can't do it alone - Dave found that out real quick. I'll tell you how it is done: you have to drag your wife and children out in the rain with broom handles to lift the plastic up and over. Yes, I know, a slippery sheet of plastic doesn't grip to the end of a broom handle. Nor do happy family feelings of love and support last very long in the rain doing a seemingly impossible task.
Do you know how long it takes for mammoth and unwieldy collections of rain water to form on a sheet of plastic 12 feet in the air during a heavy downpour? It takes approximately 6 minutes. I know this because 4 minutes after Dave put the plastic up, he went in the house to change his clothes and get ready to leave and 2 minutes later, I notice GALLONS of water collecting, straining the lights, support wires and electrical cords beyond their intended capacity. It appeared the whole top of the float was about to implode on itself.

Once that disaster was diverted, Dave headed down the city streets at the top speed of 8 miles an hour. I don't know what modern tractors will do, but I suppose in 1948 there was no need for tractors to travel any faster than that. The parade event is literally 7 blocks away, but Dave had to take an unfortunate detour to the gas station in the opposite direction. Not realizing that the rain would slow the project down, he was leaving later than expected and heading for the gas station in 5:00 end-of-the-week traffic. There are certain people in the general public that are evidently parade people, and some people who are less tolerable to find themselves behind an unexpected parade float traveling 8 miles an hour in front of them in their daily commute.

Nevertheless, all survived and the float was now parked at the parade entrance. WHEW!

During the parade, Melanie and a group of her friends rode in the back waving and screaming and dancing and loving having an audience for an hour. The parade was well attended despite the rain the previous 24 hours (it was perfect weather during the parade itself - yay!)

Dave had been told that he would have to have a truck/trailer to transport the float home, but he noticed that many people were ending the parade and driving home through the regular traffic so he did too. The girls got another 30-minute impromtu parade waving at cars who were waving and honking.
Hot Chocolate for all, then we watched the televised version of the whole parade. Here is what the TV anchors said about Dave as he passed the cameras: What great memories of Christmas in the Country brings for those who grew up in rural settings. And designer and builder David Hale and his family have pulled from old and current family memories in a continuous scene of holiday fun on each side of the float. Check this out (the girls in the back) They're very enthusiastic, by the way. They're saying "Hi mom, Happy Holidays" I think mom heard, for sure. A great float, they've worked hard to complete that mural on there as well. And pulled by a 1948 tractor, I might add. Isn't that neat?