Thursday, December 15, 2011

Giddy Up, Let's Go!

I love Christmas. It's a great time of year. (Maybe not for the flatness of my belly, but it's a good time, nevertheless.) Last week Glen and I didn't have to make/pay for dinner three nights in a row because of it! (and then the fourth night we went out for dinner to celebrate that fact. aaaaand i was being lazy.) One of those nights was my office's holiday dinner, which was pretty interesting considering I don't see these people on a daily basis anymore. Our table was pretty silent because we almost didn't know what to talk about anymore! The next night was our ward Christmas party, for which I made the ever-fantastic strawberry jello/pretzel "salad". We're Mormons; you've got to have some kind of jello at a party, right? Anyway, it was a nice evening with dinner and a couple of musical numbers, and our table that night was MUCH more talkative.

Sunday we had our ward Christmas program in sacrament meeting, in which Glen and I sang in the choir and then played "O Holy Night" together -- me on the piano, Glen on the cello. After discovering this talent of Glen's when he played for the primary program a couple months ago, I think the ward is fast falling in love with the cello. And who could blame them?

And then of course there are cookies: gotta make those. I roped Glen into being my helper a couple of nights, and now those are all done and looking delicious and ready to be delivered to friends and neighbors -- Glen and I alone eating an entire pan of scotch-a-roos would be a BIG mistake. A delicious mistake, but a mistake regardless.

Hard to believe we'll be off in a couple of days to Missouri! The entire Merrell clan under one roof for a week! Gotta keep the holiday spirit alive and kickin', even if we occasionally step on each other's toes.


"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." -Larry Wilde

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Storybook Story

A couple nights ago, I took a stroll through memory lane as I described to Glen things I remembered about Grandma and Grandpa Jensen's house: how furniture was situated, what the garden looked like, chasing basketballs down multiple hills, etc. But one thing especially stuck in my mind after talking to Glen, and that was a book that I would read. Of course, at the time I couldn't remember the title, but searching online helped me out there:

Doctor Squash the Doll Doctor

Written by the same woman who penned the famous Goodnight Moon, I remembered loving this story of the doctor who treated sick toys, pretending to listen to their non-existent hearts because it made them feel better. And when the doctor fell ill, the toys took care of him. Oh, the sweetness.

Okay, maybe it's a little corny, but I don't really care. I also discovered in my search that this book has been updated (the original had a mammy doll, so it wasn't exactly p.c.). I have to be honest; I still prefer the original illustrations. But oh well. It's still a sweet story, and even if I didn't quite remember how persimmons were mentioned, I remembered that they were in it. Amazing the little details that stick with you over twenty years.

Other childhood favorites:
The Monster at the End of this Book
Green Eggs and Ham
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Blueberries for Sal
Anything Berenstain Bears-related

What about your favorite childhood stories?


"Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish." -Mark Twain

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanks - Day Numer Trzydziesci

On this my last day of thankful posting, I'd like to say I thought of something not at all superficial, so that all of you may end this month thinking that I'm a very deep person. But well . . . today I'm mostly thankful for . . .

Nail clippers.

What a pain it would be to have to "clip" your nails with a knife or scissors or something else that just makes me cringe. The first patent for an "improvement" to a fingernail clipper/trimmer in the United States was in 1875, which means something must have existed before then that people could use. But how much longer before 1875 did it exist? Wikipedia may never know.

Either way, I'm glad for a device that keeps my nails trimmed and neat. Because I don't think any of us ever like it when our nails catch on something.


"Every piece of software written today is likely going to infringe on someone else's patent." -Miguel de Icaza

Thanks - Day Nombre Veintinueve

I guess there was a lot of online traffic yesterday. I tried last night to sign in to write what I was thankful for, and I kept getting errors. So here's what I was thankful for yesterday . . .

Amazing women.

Guys are great, too, but I'm just so grateful for the women in my ward right now. We had our Christmas program, "Women at the Well", last night. (yay! now i can stop mentioning it in every single post!) It was pretty crazy, and I was stressed for about three minutes when six people came up to me with the exact same problem. And sure, I was still kind of running around like a chicken with its head cut off for the half-hour preceding the program, but that wasn't stress. That was just me being myself.

In the end, it went really well and very smoothly, and all the women there were uplifted and inspired. Because I was the pianist for everybody and Heather told everyone I had been in charge of it, I got a lot of compliments. Compliments are great, and they made me feel good, but heaven knows I wouldn't have been able to do it without all the awesome sisters who agreed to participate. Our narrators were excellent and helped the women savor the messages, and the singers all worked so hard to bring the Spirit in with their beautiful voices. There were tons of holiday desserts brought by talented ladies, and we had a couple of sisters who spent their entire afternoon making the gym look gorgeous with trees, lights, nativities, and other decorations.

Thank you, ladies. You make me look good.


"People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs." -Unknown

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanks - Day Vingthuit Nombre

Today I am thankful for . . .


No, not the kind that ogres and onions have.

The kind of layers that I can pile on when I have to be outside. Shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, scarves, coats, gloves, hats, etc. It really hasn't snowed all that much yet (knock on wood), but it's still been plenty chilly. And as I prepare to venture outside again in a few minutes, I'm glad that I won't freeze because of all the layers I will have. (like cake. everybody likes cake. cakes have layers.)


"Life is like an onion. You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep." -Carl Sandburg

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Ventisette

Today I am thankful for . . .


There are so many ways we can feel and express love. I'm very lucky that I am surrounded by people who are willing to show love for me. They teach me through love how I can do better and feel better about myself. I know everybody has different ways they show love, but each demonstration, no matter how small, is something special -- even amazing.

The lesson I taught in Sunday School class today was entirely focused on love, and we spent a lot of time talking about God's love and how He has manifested that love to us. He gave us the chance to become like Him, He sent His Son into the world so that we can return to Him, He blessed us with the Spirit so that we may follow the correct path. That's just a few things. There are so many more personal experiences I have had that help me know that God loves me. Now the challenge is to show that love to Him and to others (and even ourselves).


"Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence." -H.L. Mencken

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Kaksikymmentakuusi

Today I am thankful for . . .


Glen had to work allllllll day today, leaving me alllllll alone for nine hours. What's a girl to do? For me . . . it's to clean. "Saturday is a special day" was definitely something we learned in my house. There were other days to clean, too, but that was when you cleaned the bathroom and all that extra stuff that takes a little longer. Since we were gone a couple of days this week, I took that phrase very much to heart as I laid out my day this morning.

Besides a 45-minute practice for "Women at the Well" and another 45 minutes or so to prepare my Sunday School lesson, I spent the morning and afternoon cleaning house (and now i can't find it in myself to dirty the kitchen again by making dinner ... but it must be done). I definitely do like things clean, so I'm thankful for soap, that helps us on our way there and helps me complete my checklist.


"I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean." -G.K. Chesterton

Thanks - Day Stevilka Petindvajset

Yesterday I was thankful for . . .

My parents.

I am so lucky to have two amazing people to be my parents. How I got so blessed, I don't know, but thanks be that I've got them. They have always been so supportive and encouraging, and I'm even grateful that they punished me when necessary, to let me know the the difference between right and wrong. I'm sure I've still given them a good share of worries, but I hope those days are fewer and farther between (and especially hoping that those worries aren't because i'm being dumb).

While at my sister's for Thanksgiving, I got to sing with my parents, sister, and husband (christmas music, but hey . . . we were really close to being past thanksgiving), and that is one of my favorite things to do with my family -- make music. It really was what my sister and I were most looking forward to for the couple of days we would all be together. I'm pretty lucky that both my parents are musical and that they passed that gift to me and my siblings. I'm thankful that they taught me how to clean, how to cook, how to read, how to think, how to be a better person.

My parents are just . . . darn cool.


"My parents only had one argument in forty-five years. It lasted forty-three years." -Cathy Ladman

Thanks - Day Number Twenty-Four

Thursday I was thankful for . . .

Food. Lots and lots of food.

There are a lot of other things not-so-superficial that I was expressing thanks about at the table I was sharing with my husband and parents, but right now, I'm going to say that Thursday I was thankful for all the food.

All the family who joined us for the day just insisted on bringing more food than Kelly probably expected to appear, and once they did, I wondered why I bothered to make a salad (we had LOTS of those). But with twenty of us all in one place, I was grateful that a meal was what brought us together for the day. It was crazy for my sister, who only wishes on one day in the year that she had a double-oven, but it all worked out and was delicious. What a great day.


"Even though we're a week and a half away from Thanksgiving, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." -Richard Roeper

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks - Day Sayi Yirmi Uc

Today I am thankful for . . .

My grandparents.

Talk about amazing people. My Grandma/Grandpa J. have both passed away, but I sure am grateful for the time I got to spend with them, which was a fair amount, since we lived about fifteen minutes away from them. Unfortunately, it was a definite case of "I didn't know how good I had it until I didn't have it anymore", because I don't think I appreciated them enough while they were both around. But they were both strong, smart, and wonderful people, and they raised a pretty amazing son to be my dad.

My Grandma/Grandpa K. are still with us, and they have always been eager to support and serve however they can. Growing up, I didn't get to see them as often because they lived in Colorado, but I loved visiting them each summer (despite the long drive to get there). I have learned a lot from them the last couple of years about love. Both of them have had some pretty major health issues, but whenever I see them, I see how sweet they are to one another and how much they want to help each other.

And if you click here, you can see a glimpse of my grandma k. at around minute 6:03 ... she's the especially cute one.


"The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy." -Sam Levenson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Hogeita Bi

Today I am thankful for . . .

My piano.

As has been stated previously, I grew up in a musical home. There was one point that I remember we had two pianos in the house. I don't think it was for very long, and I was pretty young, but talk about wow! So now I can't imagine living in a place without a piano. I did so while I was in school, because what choice did I have when living in dinky BYU-approved housing? But as soon as I could, I got my piano (handed down by my fabulous grandma j.) here with me. What a great day that was.

I've moved a couple of times since having the piano permanently, and while those fellas who have been "coerced" into helping me move it may not have appreciated it, I think the grunt-work has been worth it. (although that could also be because i've never lifted a finger in moving it . . . father's orders.) I keep on bringing up the Relief Society Christmas program I've been in charge of, but it's kind of what's on my mind these days, and I am so grateful that we don't have to scramble to find a place to rehearse when I work with these women because I have my piano with me.

And I can bang out "Bumble Boogie" whenever I darn well please -- that's a plus. (okay, as long as it's not so early or late that i'll bug the neighbors.)


"Get up from that piano. You hurtin' its feelings." -Jelly Roll Morton

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanks - Day Nummer Isa

Today I am thankful for . . .


I've discovered that when Monday comes around, my default selection for dinner is some kind of noodle. Last week I finally branched out and made something without pasta, but it was the first Monday in at least a month that I had done so. Tonight, it was bowtie. Mmm.

I'm thankful for food in general, but I'm just grateful that when my imagination is lacking, I can pull out the angel hair. Pasta is usually a hit, after all. It's one of those dishes that I would never say no to, unless I've had it seven nights in a row (and maybe not even then, depending on circumstances). So to any culture who has contributed some kind of noodle to the world, kudos. And thanks.


"Most vegetarians look so much like the food they eat that they can be classified as cannibals." -Finley Peter Dunne

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanks - Day Numri Njezet

Today I am thankful for . . .

Happy people.

I admit, I'm not always the most cheerful of souls. Ever since I married Glen, who is always in a good mood, I've tried to be better so he doesn't come home to a depressing person, but I can't unequivocally say that I've always been "chipper". It's definitely something I'm working on.

But I love being around happy people. I've been putting together this program for the Relief Society in my ward, and there are some women who I just love to call because they always sound genuinely pleased to hear from me, even if I am giving them another assignment. After a practice with everyone tonight, I was returning keys to one of these women, and she just smiled and told me how fantastic I was (who doesn't like hearing that, really?). Of course, I think she's a fantastic person, too, and I told her so.

So I came home exhausted tonight after running around a bit and speaking loud enough for everyone to hear me (not too hard) and trying to at least act organized, but pretty happy myself; it's just contagious, isn't it?


"I am kind of a paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy." -J.D. Salinger

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Diciannove

Today I am thankful for . . .

My watch.

Many of you know very well that I highly dislike tardiness. In fact, I've called myself "incapable" of being late. In fact, I'm very likely incapable of being on time, mostly because I show up everywhere early. I had to laugh to myself when our stake choir director reminded me personally today of the time we need to be at the church building tomorrow morning because I am one of probably three people who doesn't need to be reminded of the time or to be there ON time.

My watch is most helpful to me, because I use it very regularly. I know everybody can check the time on their cell phones these days, and I have lived through a time without a wristwatch that I did the same thing. But I had a high contempt for it, because I hated having to pull out my phone and press buttons to light up my phone to see the time. With a watch, it's a quick movement of my arm, and voila! 4:20. Easy. As. Pie.


"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure." -Segal's Law

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanks - Day Nummer Achttien

Today I am thankful for . . .


Most of the time, I think I'm pretty good at getting dinner ready each day (glen could possibly disagree with me on this). It might not be the most exciting or original meal, but I think I pretty regularly get it done. But I have to admit that there are some days that I just don't want to make dinner. Like today. I finished work and then did chores around the house, and by the time I took a little time to sit and read, my body decided that it would rather fall asleep than stay awake in order for me to get dinner made.

But left-overs kept us fed when Glen came home, and a good thing, too, since we had to leave again half an hour later to see "Children of Eden" at the local high school. Left-overs also keep Glen fed for lunch, so I'm sure he's grateful for them, too.


"Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is." -P.J. O'Rourke

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Septendecim

Today I am thankful for . . .



Rotisserie Chicken. Mmmm . . .


"The only ailment chicken soup can't cure is neurotic dependence on one's mother." -Arthur Naiman

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Dezaseis

Today I am thankful for . . .


As the years have gone by, my love for hot chocolate has not necessarily decreased; I still enjoy a good cup of cocoa on these colder days. But my goodness, my love for cider has increased dramatically. I actually crave hot cider more often than I crave hot chocolate! Can you believe it?

But there's something about curling up with a steaming mug of apple-y, cinnamon-y good-ness on a cold night, when you just want to snuggle with your husband's wolf blanket and a good book. I love the smell, I love the warmth, and I love the comfort such a setting gives me.

Mmmm . . .


"He that drinks his cyder [sic] alone, let him catch his horse alone." -Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanks - Day Nommer Vyftien

Today I am thankful for . . .


Exercise is important, right? At least, that's what we're told. And I have to say that these days, the only way I really truly enjoy getting rid of my extra calories is by dancing. Don't get me wrong; sports are great. I've played sports. I've enjoyed sports. But dancing never fails to be fun to me, and it's healthy. Bonus.

I'm also thankful for dancing today because Glen and I are going to see Savion Glover tonight. Okay, some of you say "Who?", and I understand that. I'm sorry for you, but I understand it. I'm excited to see some excellent and amazing tap talent tonight.


"Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane." -H. P. Lovecraft

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanks - Days Nummer Tretten and Nomor Empat Belas

I forgot to say yesterday what I was thankful for! Oops! Gotta make up for it, right? Here goes . . .

Yesterday I was thankful for . . .

Not being a princess.

This may sound strange, because doesn't every girl want to be a princess? And maybe when I was little, I wanted to be Belle (because she's the coolest disney princess, hands down . . . and i loved the dress), but I think my sentiments yesterday were more influenced by Roman Holiday, because I think it's lame that Audrey Hepburn's Princess Ann couldn't end up with Gregory Peck's Joe Bradley because of her "duty". It's a great movie, but when you really think about having your life out there to be scrutinized by everybody, I don't envy that position.

And today I am thankful for . . .


I really don't think that needs further explanation.


"People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold." -John Jay Chapman

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thanks - Day Broj Dvanaest

Today I am thankful for . . .


I had to draaaaag myself out of bed this morning to go to stake choir practice, and before I left, I put a load of laundry in the washing machine. I had turned on the lights to use the bathroom and see my shoes in the bedroom closet. When I got back, I switched the laundry, now using both the washing machine and the dryer, Glen and I made waffles and bacon for breakfast, then we both used the computer for various reasons.

Would we have been able to do any of this without electricity? Well, yes, but . . . Not too long ago, you could still do all these things (except for the computer part, really), but it took a heck of a lot longer. Now laundry can be done in a couple of hours instead of taking all day (and you don't even have to hope the weather's decent so you can hang your clothes out to dry). Irons of all kinds are self-heating, rather than placing (and replacing once they got cold) them on a wooden/coal stove. Light bulbs exist so that we don't have to stumble around with oil lamps, candles, or in the dark.

And that's just what I've used so far today.


"All power corrupts, but we need the electricity." -Unknown

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanks - Day Nimewo Onz

Today I am thankful for . . .

Automated Bowling Scores.

Glen and I went bowling for our date night, and I know once upon a time I learned about how bowling scoring worked. Alas, I cannot remember. (well, glen re-explained it to me tonight. it sounded familiar.) But I've never gone to a bowling alley where I've had to do the scoring myself. It's always been generated for me, usually accompanied by fun little animations to rub in your gutter balls and celebrate your strikes. I'm glad I don't have to figure it out myself.

But maybe I should remember how to do it, because it's always good to have a little knowledge to spare.


"Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain." -Martin Mull

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanks - Day Numer Tiu

Today I am thankful for . . .

My siblings.

This is another case where I'm not in contact enough with the people who mean the most to me. And while I'll be seeing my parents and sister at Thanksgiving, I won't be seeing my brothers at any time in the holiday season, so I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental.

Kelly is an awesome big-little sister. She always comments on pictures of us Jensens, "Why am I so short?" But even though I surpassed her in height when I was 12, she's always been someone I could look up to. When I was little, I just wanted to be her; that's how cool she was to me. And she still is. She's lived her life in a way that I completely admire, and I hope that as I continue my life, I can remember her example.

Craig is the brother I always thought of as the "protective" one. Of course, that also translates into being the brother who would most readily tease me about boys, but as I got older, that teasing seemed to have a more caring element behind it. (hope it wasn't just my imagination.) Craig was pretty good about giving me rides and not acting like I was a nuisance because of them. To this day, I still remember going with him to the elementary school soccer field so he could give me pointers on my game, which naturally made me think I was so awesome.

Tom was my "playmate" growing up. I use the quotation marks, because I'm sure there were times he probably wanted to pummel me and I would use my girly tears to get him in trouble. But there were also times we would "wrestle" our pillows on the trampoline, write stories together, choreograph dance moves to the Beach Boys, and even put on plays with our stuffed animals when the house was empty. (dress-up, too.) I could always count on Tom's creativity and crazy antics to make every childhood activity fifty times better.

Oh, yeah. They're a bunch of hams, too. (see video for proof.)


"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." -George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero Nou

Today I am thankful for . . .


Where would I go without shoes? I'd barely make it past my gravelly driveway to toss out the garbage without them! All it takes is that extra layer, and you're good to go. Anywhere. Well, okay, maybe not "anywhere", depending on the kind of shoe you're wearing. And heaven knows, I have plenty of shoes that I can't wear unless I plan on sitting a lot. (ahem, tango heels)

But a good pair of shoes give you power. They give you the chance to step out your door and go on an adventure, be it a stroll to the nearest park, a romp through the snow, or a trek up Squaw Peak. And once you find that one pair of really great shoes that you can go anywhere in and not get blistered heels, it's sure hard to let them go. Of course, once the sole starts separating from the upper, it's probably time to say goodbye.


"I never put on a pair of shoes until I've worn them at least five years." -Samuel Goldwyn

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thanks - Day Numero ng Walong

I have a feeling, seeing as how it's November, that many of the things I'm thankful for are going to relate to keeping me warm, because today I am thankful for

Fuzzy Blankets.

I still have tried to be strong and not admit defeat. The heater has not gone on in this apartment, even on Sunday when it snowed the previous night (a bare dusting that melted in the sunlight, but still ... any snow is cold). And last night, Glen had to work a midnight release, so I went to sleep all by my lonesome, and was the bed ever chilly!

Fortunately, there are such things in this world as blankets, and it was a fuzzy blanket that kept me warm all through the night, even after Glen came home. I like staying warm. It's a lovely feeling. Thank you, blankets.


"Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life." -Terry Pratchett

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanks - Day Nummer Syv

What am I grateful for today?


It might very possibly be an understatement to say I love to read. I'll let those around me be the judges . . . past roommates, family, friends, husband . . . what say you?

It's not necessarily that I "get lost" in the world of the books I'm reading; I think I can get back to reality pretty quickly. But when I begin to read a book I enjoy, I am voracious. I will put it down if I have to, but there must be a really VERY good reason for it . . . like dinner.

I find it fascinating when an author manages to capture a detail, a spoken sentence, a turn of phrase so perfectly that I completely understand what they mean. I love how books can make you laugh out loud, make you cry, and make you learn. When I was younger, I remember using words and phrases in my journal entries that I'd read in books. They make 10-year-old Me sound kind of stilted, because I'm absolutely certain I didn't use them in my spoken communication. Even now, I hearken back to books to describe something better than I could ever do on my own. What an influence they can have on us. At least, they have had an influence on me, who finds it hard to put down a book when I have a "mere" 100 pages to go.

I need to visit the library.


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanks -- Day Nummer Zes

Today I am thankful for ...

I have this calling that totally freaks me out: I am a Sunday School teacher. Both my husband and father would love this calling; I . . . do . . . not. I'm coming around to it, but you should have seen the look on my face when I was asked to do it four months ago. (hint: pure terror)

I do not profess to be a scriptorian or gospel scholar. I love it and everything, but I've always felt like my testimony is pretty darn basic; I've never really delved into study and thought about those crazy little ideas that really really REALLY smart people do. Now I have to lead discussions and help people feel the Spirit? ACK!!!

Really, it hasn't been too bad, and helps me out a ton when I am in need of an obscure quotation or conference address or scripture reference that the topical guide isn't helping me out with. There are so many resources that are there for any of us, not just the ones who struggle with teaching. It's not the standing up in front of people that is daunting for me; it's the coming up with good things to say in my own words that I find my Kryptonite. Fortunately, I think, "Hey, this Apostle probably said it a ton better ... hey, internet; hey, search bar. Let's be friends."

And today, I finally managed not to use a Pres. Uchtdorf quote. My class will be so proud of me.


"At this point some of you may be thinking, 'That's all very fine and good, but what does it have to do with flying an airplane?'" -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thanks -- Day Rhif Pump

Today I am thankful for ...


The weather has turned suddenly cold once more (simultaneous feelings of "dang" and "excellent" are present), and this morning I went to a choir practice for upcoming stake conference. Our stake center, where we were practicing, isn't really all that far away ... maybe a little over half a mile. But even a half a mile of walking would have made me very unhappy unless I really bundled up (which of course i didn't because i wanted to sleep as long as possible).

Enter Neville the Altima. (yes, i still name cars.) While my destination was too close for the car to significantly warm up, at least it cut my travel time by a goodly amount. So ... cars keep you warm and get you places faster. Both excellent points for which I am very grateful.

Gee, I would have been a terrible pioneer.


"Travel is only glamorous in retrospect." -Paul Theroux

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thanks -- Day Numero Quatre

Today I am thankful for ...


Today is Friday, and I am grateful for it.

Doesn't most everyone look forward to Friday? To that moment where you can log off your computer, sit back, and sigh in relief and delight, "No more work for another two and a half days." Granted, there are other responsibilities that I (and, i'm sure, all of you) have that I need to take care of when I reach the weekend. But there's something so satisfying about finally reaching that day when you can break the chains of monotony and can look forward to possibly sleeping in, even for half an hour. It's like the day is saying, "Congratulations! You made it through another week! Breathe deep. Enjoy." This is Friday's gift to us.

Ahhh . . .


"Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday." -Anonymous

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanks -- Day Nummer Drei

Today I am thankful for...


Tonight I worked with some of the Young Women in my ward, teaching them a song that they will sing at a Relief Society Christmas program in a month or so, and I just thought to myself, "I am so grateful that music exists." Music binds us to each other in so many ways. It can be inspirational, thought-provoking, tear-jerkingly beautiful, and just plain fun (usually not all at once, but hey ... it could happen some day).

I was so blessed to grow up in a musical home, with parents who encouraged and taught me, and siblings who provided examples to me of what music and talents I wanted to pursue and develop. I had so many wonderful opportunities to improve myself, and while practice was never my strong suit (especially when i had to do so in the mornings before school), my love for music never deteriorated.

Music has not just provided me with a way to express myself; it has also brought me connections and associations that I never otherwise would have had. I came into contact with so many close friends throughout the years because of the music we shared. Ties to friends that I met in other circumstances were made stronger because of music.

So many more thoughts about how music has blessed my life are coming into my head, but listing all of them would make for far too long a post, and I'm trying to keep these relatively short. Suffice it to say that I am grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with music and gave me the capabilities to share it and possibly serve others with it.


"If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music . . . and of aviation." -Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanks -- Day 2

And the list continues. Today's Thankful "Item": Becky and Esther.

A little before I graduated from college, these two gals came into my life. We'd already been living in the same ward for some time, but we hadn't gotten to know each other until several months had passed. But once we got to be friends, I sure stuck to them. I'd like to say we've been through a lot together, and it's probably true. But I'm sure grateful they've been in my life and been a couple of the best friends I've ever had. I had a blast living with them (even if that sentiment wasn't always shared), and I've loved sharing big and little moments with them.

We don't see each other all too often anymore, which is ... understandable, but still kind of sad. I find myself missing them at random times (usually when work is being dumb), and I'm always happy when either one chats with me online or drops by my place. I could do more to let them know how much they've influenced me (in a positive light, naturally) and how much I appreciate them, but I'm going to stop right now before I get too gooshy.

I just love my girls.


"A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling." -Arthur Brisbane

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let Us Give Tanks -- Day Numero Uno

Now that Halloween is over for another year, it's time to turn our thoughts to the next holiday. Yikes! It's November! Can't believe it. And in honor of the next day we celebrate here in good ol' America, I'm going to post one thing I'm thankful for each day. Aren't you so excited? And can you guess what holiday I'm referring to? I know it must be difficult to think of it. (hint: it's not veteran's day.)

(the hope is that i will remember to have good thoughts every day while i labor through the work day. good luck.)

Here we go; item one:


Here is a guy who is going to school, participating in choir, working, serving with the Young Men in the ward, and singing with a barbershop chorus. He is one busy fella. But he's my busy fella, and I'm so glad he's in my life and does take the time to be with me (especially when i make him dinner). It's still kind of funny to me sometimes how our "story" worked out, but I'm really glad it did. I'm thankful for my hubby. He's one amazing man.


"American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers." -W. Somerset Maugham

Very Superstitious

All right, I still don't know if I'm extremely pro- or anti-Trunk-or-Treating. All I know is that our ward had one, so Glen and I went. And we ran out of candy very early on because we were not informed (along with a few other families in our ward) that it was a MULTI-ward activity. A lot more children than we expected. Oops! Anyway, here were some of the bang-up jobs of costumes:
 Damien sure had fun at church the next day with his new haircut. teehee
 I think Brandon had wayyyyy too much fun making people scream at him as he feigned deafness.
 The subjects of these two pictures were not in the same family group or anything!

And in case you've forgotten what we look like:

Wait a minute! I may have used a picture from last yea- ... wait, no. I didn't. This year. It was a very last-minute realization/decision that we were going to go to the trunk-or-treat, so hooray for recycling costumes! Most of the children had no idea who Clark Gable was (how sad), so when we would verify that someone didn't know who he was, we were either a) Bonnie and Clyde, or b) ballroom dancers. (if someone knew who clark gable was, we were clark gable and his femme fatale. doesn't that describe me to a T?) But even though there wasn't a consensus on who we actually were, everyone did agree that we were pretty dang classy.

We also re-used the costumes at a party at the Cooks' home, another fun couple in our ward. The name game with the Halloween theme was quite the stand-out event, considering there were about three "Edward Cullen"s and three "Dracula"s in the pot (each participant contributed names, so there were some repeats) and when we reached the Charade round, the action for each was exactly the same, which meant a lot of fang-faking. Very entertaining. Thanks, the Cooks, for a fun Halloween night!


"You don't believe the story of the Great Pumpkin? I thought little girls always believed everything that was told to them. I thought little girls were innocent and trusting." -Linus
"Welcome to the 20th century!" -Sally

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

As Time Goes By

I recently posted on facebook: "Today's debate in regards to 'Cruel Summer': Bananarama or Ace of Base? Go." Overwhelmingly, the response was in favor of the Ace of Base version. I can't say I'm terribly surprised, but I was expecting at least one old-schooler to go with the original (especially since that's the version heard in the original Karate Kid. if that doesn't make it a classic, i don't know what does.).

So it seems that my friends prefer the year 1998 to the year 1983. Now, I can safely say that there is one advantage that 1998 has over 1983 ... I had been born by then. 1983, you juuuuuust missed out on the glory that is me. But let's do a little more research, now that I'm curious, to compare the two.

  • Tokyo Disneyland
  • GPS is made available for civilian use, and where would my cousin Kathryn be without it? (well, okay, maybe she's better at directions since last i checked.)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers formed
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day declared a federal holiday
  • Crispix debuts
  • Flashdance AND Return of the Jedi
  • Introduction of the McNugget
  • First minivans, and where would Mormons be without them?
  • "Billie Jean" on MTV and MJ introduces the Moonwalk
  • Disney Channel premieres (before the advent of hannah montana, so it was quality at the time)
  • Fraggle Rock, A Team
  • A Christmas Story is released, thus providing TNT with a movie to play for 24 HOURS STRAIGHT
  Okay, so 1983 wasn't all wine and roses: remember it was also the year that MASH ended, there were no more DeLoreans being made, and Superman III came out. But look how many good things came out of it!

 No, Richard Pryor was not photo-shopped in; this was seriously the movie poster.

  • Winter Olympics in Nagano
  • 80-90% of pagers (remember those?) are without service for a day when a communications satellite fails
  • Mulan, A Bug's Life, Mask of Zorro
  • Lifetime Channel debuts
  • Dawson's Creek debuts
  • Seinfeld ends
  • No more Ginger Spice
  • Britney Spears, NSync, and 98°
  • "My Heart Will Go On" is on the radio for 24 HOURS STRAIGHT 
All right, comparing ... comparing ... 1983 gives us: Red Hot Chili Peppers, the moonwalk, Disney Channel (pre-deterioration), and Fraggle Rock. 1998 gives us: Britney Spears, "My Heart Will Go On", Lifetime Channel, and Dawson's Creek.

1983 wins.


There Once Was a Yodeler

More retroactive reporting: going back to Labor Day! Before that lovely three-day weekend, my pal Megan had written to me to remind me of how much fun I had going to Swiss Days last year, so I managed to persuade Glen to come along this year, and extremely fortuitously, we arrived at the shuttle parking lot in Midway right behind Meg and Mash! The first thing we did was sit and listen to Kerry Christiansen: master yodeler. All of us enjoyed his performance (meg especially appreciated the neil diamond tribute), but Glen far and away was the most excited about it.

You can't hear Mr. Christiansen too well, but toward the end you can at least hear Glen and me pipe in.

After listening to Herr Yodel Meister, Glen not-too-reluctantly followed me around to the various booths as I tried to find something cute for our home. Swiss Days is a fun festival, and I'm glad two years in a row now that I have attended.


 Meg's reaction to the Neil Diamond Tribute

No sheepdogs this year, though. I decided to forego that in order for Glen and I to have a nice peaceful day off together before he became so busy with school and choir and his calling and work that he no longer had time for me. Woe is me.

 Glen and some of the wares we admired but did not purchase.

And now it is October, and we all know what that means: novelty accessories!!!!! I wore one of my pairs of Halloween earrings the other night when we spent an evening with Grandma Merrell and Glen's sisters, and Eliza (one of glen's nieces) was quite captivated. I LOVE this time of year!

"I always say that shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist." -Tammy Faye Bakker

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She Works Hard for the Money

She's alive! She's aliiiiiive!!!

Yes, it's true. Despite being extremely remiss on my blog the past two months, I do still exist and function in this world. And just in case you were all missing my incisive and witty posts, you can breathe easy: I'm going to be better at this. Life in our little part of the world goes by pretty swimmingly. Of course, Glen is being a responsible student (he had to start some time, right? j/k) and working hard on school stuff, so our time together is restricted, but that's all right. Ish. I'm dealing with it.

I'm also dealing with extended hours at work. As my very loving brother stated in a comment on my facebook status last week, "boo-freaking hoo". This coming from a guy who for several months puts in work days that extend until midnight is understandable, but I'm attempting to work up a little sympathy here. Ten-hour days may seem a mere pittance to some, but it's definitely not something I've been used to doing on a regular basis since I began working like a "real person". And as a result, Glen comes home about every other day to a wife who is just about miserable because she was on the computer when he left at 7:30 a.m. and is still on it when he came home at 5:15 p.m.

Usually I'm able to work myself up to being normal (well, normal for me, which is more eccentric than normal), but some days it just doesn't happen as easily. The occasional day when I work only eight hours seems like a marvelous respite, and I'm suddenly energized for the rest of the day. This works out well because I've only been taking eight-hour days when I've had non-work-business to attend to, and I should probably be awake for such activities.

Still finding time for good things, though. Last week, I went to the BYU Homecoming Spectacular, which my husband was singing in and Brian Stokes Mitchell was guest-appearing. WOW! He was amazing. (and so was brian stokes mitchell. teehee) No, in all seriousness, it was a great show, and I left feeling thoroughly inspired. The weekend before, Glen and I went to a BYU football game, during most of which I was extremely discouraged, but when your alma mater comes from behind in the fourth quarter and wins almost by a miracle, you can't help but feast on the excitement and exhilaration of the crowd.

Okay, you're probably getting tired. As am I. Will post soon with more of our doings (without the complaining bit attached, i promise).

See? Told you I was tired.


"The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television." -Unknown

Friday, August 19, 2011

Accentuate the Positive

If memory serves, I wrote a post about a show that Glen and I would be participating in and singing some good ol' Gilbert and Sullivan. Well, the show, entitled Accentuate the Positive, is past and gone, and life is back to being a little less crazy. The last couple of weeks before the performances were a tad nuts, especially with the trips to Payson through the interminable construction that is I-15 in Utah county. People really need to learn how to merge.

There was a bit of shuffling going on through the rehearsal process, during which I suddenly (and completely unexpectedly) was assigned the part of Mabel for the "Pirates" section. -cue large megan eyes- Glen ended up being our Pirate King, and he's just enough of a ham (maybe barely, teehee) that he pulled it off exceptionally well. There ended up being a running joke amongst some of the cast about the fact that I had to sing to and flirt with a guy other than my husband, but we all know whom I went home with. Just couldn't resist the red velvet jacket with the lacy cuffs.

And the hats were fantastic.

Glen's barbershop group was a hit, as well. They sang between sections of the show, and no one could deny they did a fantastic job. I hope they keep singing together, because Glen loves ... loves ... LOVES ... singing barbershop. I hope this doesn't become a reason for jealousy.

Inevitably, there were hiccups during performances, but everybody did really well, and the biggest miracle of my stage "career" occurred: I made people laugh! On purpose! I remember trying to be "funny" during my little bit parts in high school, and it never translated too well to the audience. (and thus begin the placating comments about how talented i really was ... really, guys, comedy was never my strong suit.) So, yes, I was able to sing "Poor Wandering One" without my voice cracking, but the true satisfactory moment for me was the first time the audience laughed at my antics.

Ah, the theater, the theater. What has happened to the theater?


"Working in the theater has a lot in common with unemployment." -Arthur Gingold

Friday, August 12, 2011

Whistle While You Work

Another month has passed us by, and I have not written anything. I guess that could be a good thing, since you all could assume my lack of posting equals a lack of wasting my summer on a computer. (in fact, go ahead and make that assumption.) I admit, though, it's hard to feel that way when I spend eight hours on the computer each day because of work.

Speaking of work, I've been working from home now for the last three weeks, and it seems to be going all right. There are still aspects of working at an actual office that I miss, but it hasn't been too terrible. The hardest part so far is motivating myself to still get out of bed early enough so I don't work in my pajamas.

Days Begun in Pajamas: 12
Days Showered and Dressed: 3

Our home has become a computer zone (four computers ... yeesh), which I will say now does not thrill me in the least. I may be getting rid of my crazy laptop, but that's the only one that looks like it could get the shaft. We got a little desk for Glen's desktop so that he wouldn't have to write papers on the floor come school-time, so we've got a funny little set-up on the western wall on the office, but it works for us. So far.

My little work space ... it actually is a lot more organized than it looks.

 Lovebird desk set-up

The purchase of Glen's computer desk was part of a "date" night" shopping trip that took us to various locations as we attempted to figure out a way to organize the office closet. Fortunately, we found some shelves that fit the bill, and once they were set up and put in, I was suddenly a much more happy girl. Thank goodness our closet no longer looks like the mass hysteria that is my piles of music.

 Music that still needs a home. Our entire office used to look like this.

Hooray! I can find things in the closet again!

If only my parents had visited after this organizational evening; I wouldn't have been so ashamed to have them spend the night.


"If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?" -Laurence J. Peter

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This Our Hymn of Grateful Praise

Glen took me to "Harry Potter". I'm no longer jealous. I'm a happy girl. Thank you, honey!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Come Fly With Me

I admit it: I suffered from intense jealousy the last couple of days. Wouldn't you if your friends were doing this?

Luna Lovegood, Rita Skeeter, and Dobby the House Elf
(yes, these are MY friends!!!)

I know that I have made no secret of my nerdiness on this blog, much less my love for Harry Potter. With the VERY final film having come out yesterday and several of my close friends attending midnight or even this-weekend showings, I am having trouble suppressing my envy.

Don't get me wrong, though. Glen does a fantastic job of making up for my disappointment. Last night after making curry at home (mmmm...), we headed to Sundance for the full moon lift ride.

All right, this could be taken anywhere, but it was, in fact, on the lift.

We had excellent timing, as well, because about ten minutes into the ride (on the way up), the moon came out from behind the mountains, and it was peaceful and beautiful seeing it rise in the sky for the next half hour. What an enjoyable and satisfying date night. Thank you, sweetheart.

But you and I both know we're still going to Harry Potter before it hits the dollar theater.


"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." -J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Can't See Me Loving Nobody But You

Wow! We've made it an entire month! I guess that means we're in this for life (and beyond). Things are going pretty well so far, so I think I'll keep my fella. We're definitely making adjustments and learning new things about each other as we actually live together and all that, but I feel like the transition has been going pretty dang smoothly. (let's hope glen feels the same.)

In "honor" of our month-iversary (not really; it just happened to fall on the same day), I finally got the piano out of my old place. It was kind of strange walking into the old apartment (especially since no one was home) and remembering that I had also forgotten my aprons when I first moved out, but you move on. Anyway, now we finally can actually play and sing in our own place ... and bug our loud neighbors in the process, hooray!

When I arrived home, I saw that my sweet hubby had vacuumed for me, but what surprisingly escaped my notice on the first walk through the kitchen was the vase of flowers he'd bought for me. What a wonderful guy.

We spent some time figuring out where to hang pictures and the like once the piano was in and settled, and while we're still not done yet, we're further along than we were, and it's actually starting to look like a home.

Glen's panoramic shot of our living room so far
The two pictures at either ends were wedding presents!
Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and loving as we've gotten started! We're excited to share more!


"Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event." -Oscar Wilde

Friday, July 8, 2011

Catch a Wave

Bear with me as I go backwards in time.

For the honeymoon, Glen and I headed to Lincoln City, where we stayed at a condo that was right on the beach. Fabulous. One night when the tide was high, I turned all the lights off; from my perspective, I couldn't even see the beach, just the water as it crashed along. So. Cool.

The weather was a tad chilly, which wasn't a big surprise, but we did take a stroll each morning along the beach, where Glen was introduced the frigid cold Pacific. I'm not sure exactly how he felt about his toes going numb as we walked along, but he was a good sport. He was pretty excited to build sandcastles and find perfect skipping rocks (too bad the ocean is not the place to actually skip rocks).

 Wooden post on beach = crane stance

Seeing as how Oregon is my neck of the woods, Glen got to experience a taste of a couple of Jensen traditions: Mo's and Read's. I will readily admit that Mo's is not the greatest of seafood restaurants, but it's got personality and history, so no trip to the Oregon Coast is quite complete without a visit. And we're still working our way through the salt water taffy we bought at Read's ... mainly because we're trying to make a quality product last. :)

 Glen's creation

Other than that, we really spent the honeymoon relaxing. A little while before, we had begun reading Lord of the Rings together, so we finished Fellowship while at the beach, as well as reading a couple of books on our own. We also took advantage of the hot tub on the deck, which provided us with an opportunity to actually use our swimsuits and see the beautiful beach at the same time. Thank you, hot tub.

 Our view of the beach from the hot tub. Awesome.

And if ever you're in Lincoln City looking for a good place to get a yummy pizza, try Humble Pie. It's dinky. But the pizza is excellent.

Successful honeymoon. And I'd like to thank my body for not getting sick until after it was over.

 Awww, they're playing footsies


"I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." -Rita Rudner

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Coming to America

An unexpected blessing occured at work last week: we got a four-day weekend for the 4th of July! Wow! There's kind of a floater holiday that the company puts in random places, and this year it was last weekend. Made for an interesting time of it, though, as I scrambled to figure out something to do with my extra day while my hubby was still at work. But all in all, a good weekend.

I went up to SLC to visit Esther and Asher on my extra day off, and it was fun to spend some time with my gal pal. I came back to a very warm home, but the a/c problem that started up the day before was resolved, and my sweet hubby took me out for Thai food and a cheap movie for a nice date night (and to take advantage of free a/c in other locations).

 Our tattoos at "Freedom Days"

We hit the Freedom Festival on Saturday, which was crowded and hot, but pretty fun. We had fortunate timing and were able to hear a bagpipe group at the Colonial Days area, which Glen really enjoyed. (okay, i did, too, but his glee was manifest more clearly.) We got out of there before I melted completely, though, and got to relax and eat a bit before walking over to his grandparents' place, which is just behind LaVell Edwards Stadium. So after spending some good time chatting with family members I hadn't met yet, we had prime seats for watching the Stadium of Fire fireworks. Gotta love 'em. (although i hope i don't hear that song any more this year. no offense, katy perry.)

On Monday, after a morning of chores and a gift-card trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, we picked up Glen's sister and mom and headed to Springville for a Layton family afternoon. His grandparents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year (wow!!!) and so this weekend was the "reunion/celebration", which was fun. Naturally, there was good food (including our lil' smokies .... scrumptious), and I had a good time getting to know more of Glen's family and trying to remember who was who. Glen was excited to bring his balloons to make balloon animals for his cousins, who were excited to get them (and pop them).

 The "60" for Glen's g-parents

 Glen's nieces sure enjoy their balloon animals

Happy birthday, America! I'm sure glad you're where I live.


"The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children." -King Edward VIII