Saturday, December 31, 2011

Eric beats Santa in popularity, and the Kitchen Caper

I've been playing.  Christmas was great, the after-Christmas trip to Cedar was great, coming home has been great.  Starting back to work on Monday is sure to be great.

(Okay--now I'm just getting delusional.  One can hope though, right?)

I have a few future blog posts bopping around in my head, but today is not the day that they will make it here.  Hopefully soon.  In the meantime, here are two funnies from the past few days.

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On December 23rd, I found this on my facebook wall, posted by my brother Jacob (father to Spencer, of Robo Hero Guardian fame):

(You will of course remember from a previous post that Nader is Spencer's little brother, won't you now?)


  • My conversation this morning at breakfast
    Me: Nader, guess who's coming in two more days?
    Spencer: Uncle Eric?!?

Sadly, Jacob had to inform Spencer that it was just Santa Claus that would be coming in two more days.  Uncle Eric wouldn't be arriving for three and a half.

* * *

Towards the first part of November, after watching Heather beeline it to the toy kitchens at Eden's house, Becca's house, and the Sperry's house (where Eric home teaches), Eric and I determined that we'd all be well served to purchase a play kitchen for Heather this year.  I eventually determined that it should be a nice one, one with a little substance, one that wouldn't look too tacky in our living room, one that wouldn't break within the first year.  One that wasn't plastic.  So, Eric did a lot of research on-line, looking for one that would satisfy me, and my (semi-unrealistic) price range.  We found one we liked.  This one, in fact:


Unfortunately, we couldn't find one that wasn't on post-Christmas delivery backorder.  We looked everywhere on-line and in bricks and mortar stores, all with no luck.  Then, I happened upon a lovely little on-line store called Jacob's Room.  They had the kitchen listed as being in stock, for a killer price, and I liked the idea of the store (it's basically a family memorial to a child who died much too soon.)  We purchased the kitchen, and hoped for the best.  Two hours later I got a phone call, and a real live person speaking perfect American English left a message that our kitchen was on back-order (shocker!) and wouldn't be delivered before Christmas.  However, she stated, the manufacturing company was offering a different kitchen, same color, bigger, with a bar and stools, listed at $50 more than the one that we wanted, and they would charge us our original price, and ship it the first week in December.  It was our choice, we could either get a refund, stay with our original purchase and receive it in January, or get this new bigger kitchen.

We chose the bigger one.


About a week into December, we got an e-mail from the same woman at Jacobs Room.  She told us that the manufacturer had found that they would in fact, be able to ship our original kitchen if we still wanted it, and asked us which kitchen we would like.  We chose the original (for space reasons).  It shipped out, and we received it, in a long box, a few days later.


Whew!

Christmas Eve came.  We spent the morning in the canyon (more on that another day), the afternoon and evening with aunts and uncles, and put Heather to bed at 8:00.  I puttered around, filling stockings and setting out Santa gifts, while Eric prepared to start the kitchen construction.  (Which really means that Eric took a nap.  In retrospect, I'm soooo glad he did!).  Almost as an afterthought, I threw a pink plastic ring in Heather's stocking.

Around 9:00, Eric started work on the kitchen assembly.  At 11:30, I asked him if he wanted some help.  He had me screw in some handles here and there, and hold a door or two.  At midnight, as I was propping my eyes open, not wanting to withdraw my moral support, he told me I could go to bed.  At 2:00 a.m., Eric stumbled into bed, the gleaming awesome kitchen downstairs and ready for Christmas joy.

Christmas morning was the best we've ever had.  There were screams of delight and joy and happiness as fabulous gifts were opened and opened and opened.  And then we all gussied into our Sunday clothes and went to church.  At church, Heather was asked multiple times by multiple people what Santa brought her.  In every case, her answer was resounding, proud, and thrilled, as she told person after person what her favorite (and only remembered) Santa gift had been.


"A ring!"



Poor Eric.  




Don't feel too bad for us though.  The ring might be what Heather reports, but the kitchen is getting plenty of use.  In fact, mere minutes ago, as I was putting Heather down for her nap, she informed me that I can look forward to a dinner of steak and pancakes as soon as she wakes up and gets back in that kitchen.  

quirky 12-11

I can hardly wait.  










   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Random Christmas Goodness

Here are a few random fabulous shots (fabulous as as in, what they document is fun.  Let's be clear, the photography isn't the least bit fabulous) of our life lately:


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If this had been an ornament, I would have put it on the ornament post.  I picked this up on a cruise to Mexico.  I love it.  



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Heidi and I splurged for Disney on Ice this year.  Good times.  





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Hanging out, waiting to meet Eden and Heidi for a little mom-daughter date.
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The anticipation mounts . . .
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Oh joy!  Oh rapture!  Eden's here!







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I cut my hair.  I kind of miss the long locks now, but primping went from a 15-minute job to a 5-minute job.  Besides, I have the fastest growing hair of anyone I know.  So, no worries.  



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We made another batch of gingerbread cookies.  These are lower fat, and nearly as delicious.  Google "Low-fat gingerbread cookies, skinnytaste blog" for the recipe.



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Obviously Heather dressed herself again on this day.



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Only my own family members will get this, but it amuses me to no end to watch Eric turn into my own father more and more each day.  Grandpa Glasses?  Really?  The guy is 39 years old!  Next thing you know, he'll head to the city dump and bring home a pair of gently used work boots for his first-born daughter.  (Don't ask.)








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"twirling"



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I skipped the tamales and did plum jam for neighbor/work gifts.

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And spiced nuts for home-teachees.

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All in all, a very good holiday.









Friday, December 23, 2011

Random Photo--Retirement PSYCHE! edition

On our way home from cutting down our Christmas Tree, we stopped in Parowan, where my dad showed us his new office.

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The sign was waffling in the wind a bit.



"But wait!"  I hear you saying, "Didn't your father retire about six or seven months ago?"

Well, kind of.

As it turned out, around the time that my dad was retiring, there was a clinic in Parowan (a small community about 25 minutes north of Cedar City which happens to be the town in which my dad's mother was raised) that found itself doctor-less.  If they didn't get a doctor, the clinic would have to close, leaving the rest of the staff unemployed, and the city under-served doctor-wise.

So, after a bit of cajoling, my dad spent two weeks after his retirement lazing around, doing whatever he wanted, and then he started back to work.  It's not as bad as it sounds.  It's basically a part-time job.  He works three days a week, something like four or five hours a day.  So, not a bad gig, overall.

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My favorite part of this story took place last July.  I was at the Corry Reunion, and I overheard my mom explaining the whole situation to one of my dad's cousins.  As she told him the string of occurrences, and got to the point where she explained the two week retirement followed by the job, the cousin (whose name happens to be Corry) stated oh so succinctly, and oh so accurately,

"You know, most people consider that a vacation, rather than a retirement." 

Indeed.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Uno mas Robot Hero Guardian

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Eric's Laptop, Black Friday, 2011

It looks like it might only be a matter of time before Nader (Given name "Kristian", elongated to "Kristian-ater", then shortened to "Nader") joins Spencer and Eric, entering the ranks as a Robot Hero Guardian in training.


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Speaking of Nader, he is single-handedly responsible for me playing about one-thousand games of Uno over the Thanksgiving break.  We played seven-card Uno, five-card Uno, one-card Uno, Stack Attack Uno, and one or two other variations that I didn't really catch.  I enjoyed it most of the time, and I always enjoyed watching him sneak over to grandma's cards, hide them behind his back, and casually saunter over to me anytime I was not actively engaged in something else to ask if I'd be interested in a game.  Word on the street is that his own set of Uno cards will be on the way to him soon, via the North Pole.  


(Admit it--that title is brilliant wordsmithing, no?  I'm amazing!)




 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ornament Show and Tell

This one is more for my own personal historical record than anything else.  Please don't feel obligated to read through to the end.

My Christmas tree is not a home decor item.  It's more of a big ole structure of memories and sentiments.  You might remember that during my single years, I did a lot of traveling.  I would often purchase Christmas ornaments on these travels, so my Christmas tree is a hodge-podge of travel treasures, as well as gifts from people that have been important to me.

So, for example:


I got this lovely mini disco ball at the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas.  It cracks me up every time I hang it, remembering how we (a previous boyfriend and I) nearly died laughing two or three distinct times while going through that museum.
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This trio of sweaters was handmade and given to us a few years ago by Eric's sister.  They are one of my very favorite ornaments.  This year they've been particularly helpful, as they've filled in a previously-un-noticed gap in the front of our tree.
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(Heather apparently determined that this angel and this Matryoshka doll needed to share the same space).  I have six of these little Russian Matroyshka Dolls.  The paintings on the front of them show some of the tourist attractions in St. Petersburg, Russia.  I got them on a trip to St. Petersburg (obviously).
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This ornament was purchased when I went to Disneyland with my sister and her family (and my parents) about a month and a half before Eric and I got engaged.  Sometimes when I unpack it, I remember stealing away from the rest of the family to talk with him on my cell phone between the two parks there.  Ah, young love.  What a fun memory.
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Here's a better shot of the ornament.
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This gingerbread house was given to me by my then-roommate, Lyn.  Lyn would often give us ornaments that had symbolic value for the year.  During the year that I bought a Dodge--oh man, I am so funny I am killing myself here!* truck (me?  A truck owner?  It was a bit of a mismatch.) she got me a red truck ornament.  This ornament was in homage to my gingerbread house fiasco that year.  (I haven't attempted a gingerbread house since.)
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This was an etsy trade last year.  I have two more just like it.  I like them because they are made of clay, and to me, they look like they have come out of a Dr. Seuss book, maybe even The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.  Heather says that this is her favorite ornament for some reason, but think she secretly likes the Donald Duck ornament better.
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Eric and I picked this up in Chinatown on our Honeymoon.  Every year I quiz him to see if he remembers where it came from.  So far, he's gotten it right 100% of the time.  I think that's a good sign.
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These next two I picked up on a trip to Rome that my mom and I took.  I bought the first one, not realizing that I would find, and fall in love with the second.  I love them both.
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This angel was given to me by one of our summer conductors at the opera festival.  She came back to Logan the summer after I got married (as she had for the previous 10+ years), and as she was leaving town at the end of the summer, she presented this to me, saying that I seemed so much happier that year than ever before that this angel had reminded her of me.  It's a happy memory.  (I warned you that this would be sentimental)  Ironically, Eric can't stand Willow Tree figurines.  He things they're cheesy and tacky and everything that is wrong with the world.  However, Eric doesn't get a say in our Christmas tree, so there she is, year after year.
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I collect angels (can you tell?)  I got this one at Epcot Center on a trip I took with some (awesome) girls several years back.
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Heidi (who knows and indulges my angel-collecting) gave me this ornament the first Christmas after she got married.  I still remember her presenting them to me, Tayneshia, and Brandy, as we sat in Tayneshia's living room, eating take-out food and watching (critiquing) American Idol.  Good memories.
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I have about 20 of these.  Only four or five made them on the tree this year, but I like them.  My mom gave them too me years ago.  I think they add a homey-ness and color to the tree.
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This is one of my favorites.  This was also given me by a co-worker from the opera.  For many years now, Chris has been coming twice a week to help keep our building clean and trash-free.  He's a sweetheart, and I adore him.  The back of this tag gives a reminder to think of the sands of Galilee.  The other side of the tag though, with the loving message is by far my favorite part of the ornament.
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For some reason this one posted sideways.  Oh well.  I picked this up in the Bahamas, when I was on a cruise with my friend Tayneshia.
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My dear friend Kami gave me this Santa sculpture ornament one year.
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I picked this up on a trip to New York that Heidi let me take with her.  She had a conference there for work, and had a nice hotel in a safe area of town all to herself.  I would have been an idiot not to jump on that opportunity.  This was the same trip where I was pick-pocketed of my drivers license, my ATM card, and one of my credit cards and then got them all back, making me (in the words of the N.Y.P.D. officer who helped me) the luckiest tourist in all of New York.  (There was about $100 in Subway passes charged to the credit card, but still--pretty darn lucky.)
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Picked this one up in Flagstaff, Arizona on a trip to Grand Canyon with my parents, two of my brothers, one sister-in-law, and one niece.  Since that trip was made, that niece has been joined by three sisters, and the single brother has gained a wife and two kids.
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I picked this up at Hobby Lobby at the after Christmas sale two years ago.  I also have one that says "Love" and another that says "Noel".
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This one is also a favorite.  It was given to me years and years ago by an opera volunteer/patron.  She didn't really have any family to speak of, and one year she went to the Holy Land and brought back these olive wood ornaments for all of us in the staff.  (At the time, the staff consisted of five full-time people, about half of what it is now.)
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And here we have the finished product, our 2011 Christmas tree in all of its glory.  
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I like how Heather seems in awe of it.  Really, this photo was totally posed.  On the day we decorated, after we were all done, I asked her to go over and look at the tree for me, and she did.  It took me a few tries to get her in just the right place, where she didn't block the tree, but was still clearly visible.  






 

*To truly appreciate what a comedic genius I am, you'll have to read the first three comments on this post.  BTW, it was a Ranger.  A Ford Ranger, thank you very much.  
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