Monday, December 29, 2008

Short and sweet

The sun is shining. It's a beautiful 45 degrees outside.

My family is coming to see me tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And he also doesn't know he'll miss the Science Fair

This is a story about a boy.

A boy whose friends all turned eight before he did, so when his mother was Wolf den leader, he came to the Pinewood Derby and watched and dreamed and learned and made plans, but just barely missed being old enough to participate.

A boy who was disappointed when the cub scout committee couldn't get it together the following year and postponed the Pinewood Derby for a few months.

A boy whose family moved him to Utah at a very inopportune time as far as the Pinewood Derbies were concerned, leaving just before one, and arriving just after the other, thus missing both.

A sad boy.

This is also a story about a family who planned a trip to get out of River City in the dregs of January to go to a sunny, tropical place. And a Cub Scout troop who scheduled a much-dreamed-about Pinewood Derby for the very same week.

And the same boy who, upon learning of the Derby for next month and not yet knowing about the trip, came home and pored over the contents of his little derby kit and set straight to designing his amazing car on paper first. "Diamondback Rattler" is the theme, because snake cars are not only visually cool but also aerodynamic. With a penny on the bottom, because that's how you win and get to go on to the district.

And this is a story about two parents who looked at each other while the boy excitedly talked about his first Pinewood Derby and they shared worried expressions, because they weren't planning on tears on Christmas morning, but now there are bound to be some.

This is a story to be continued... .

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fighting extortion one rip-off company at a time

I know I'm the only person in America whose cell phone isn't always charged and on-hand, but if I am nothing else I am a champion of consumer rights, so I need to make this known:

Do not, under any circumstances, ever use a payphone operated by a company called Faircall which allows you to pay with a credit card. For a three minute call you will be charged $11.27. Such an egregious rip-off makes me want to fight them, even though it's a negligible amount of money. Who do they think they are? I'll probably spend too much time righting this wrong on Monday, but I know my rights.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't say I didn't give you a Christmas present

I give you Number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in October 2006.

It's catchy, and the special effects: killer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You know the nearer your destination the more you slip sliding away

{Video of Portland, OR via CNN, but this is not unlike what I am seeing and living this week. Feel sorry for me.}

I went skiing for the first time ever last year. I kind of stunk at it, but did make substantial improvements by the second time down the mountain. It was a little bit terrifying to go downhill which, duh, of course that's what you do when you ski, but conceptualizing it and doing it are two different things. I think I will continue to improve, and eventually get over the feeling that I am not in control and yet I'm gaining acceleration in a downward direction. Steve wants us to be a "ski family" so we'll see how that goes.

This week for the first time we've experienced some snowstorms while living in our new house which sits ever-so-nicely at the top of a hill. The whole road up to our house slopes a bit to the left, which is one thing, but the road is semi-steep when covered with treacherous ice, and the last little chug up to our house is the steepest, most treacherous part. On Tuesday and again today (big ol' snowstorms), I watched out the living room windows as cars came up the hill: they thought they could, they thought they could. They couldn't. Stalled at the top. Sliding backwards back down the street. Fishtailing around the corner. Abandoned by the side of the road. Of course it wasn't very nice of me to stand there and watch while these poor drivers sweated it out on the ice, but really, what was I going to do? There's no saving the day when Tires and Ice don't seem to want to work together with their old friend Traction. No, it's a lonely time for that driver who has lost all control.

I know. On Tuesday I tried to be tough and not so Arizona-wimpy so I got in the car to drive Isaac down the hill to preschool. It was crazy snowing. I knew I was in bad shape when I backed out of driveway, and then proceeded to roll forward while still in reverse. I slipped, I slid. I anticipated every scenario of what I would hit when I finally hit something. I maneuvered the van to the neighbor's curb just downhill from us. I hit his curb and his snowbank (very painless, whew) and parked that baby right there in front of his driveway until later that afternoon when my friend the sun came out and dried up the road. I walked Isaac to and from preschool that day. (In the snow. Uphill both ways. Barefoot, natch.)

ANYWAY, the point of all this is that tonight I made an important realization. Skiing fast downhill (before I've adequately learned how to stop and steer) evokes the same out-of-control going downhill nervousness in me as does skidding on icy roads. It all just makes me nervous. It's all Utah's fault.

UPDATE: Friends, please correct me when I misuse/misspell a word. I'm counting on you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

I did not plead guity

If you speed in Orem in a school zone on your way to the aviary with your sister and your kids, and you

a) do not have proof of insurance in your vehicle
b) are not properly restraining your five year old because all the carseats and booster seats are otherwise occupied
c) do not have a license plate in the front AND
d) do not have a Utah driver's license even though you've lived there for more than a year,

it's not so bad to get a ticket and show up for court and five minutes later walk out, pay $95 for fees and traffic school, and be on your merry way. It's not so good, but not so bad, either.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The measure of our love is the measure of the greatness of our souls

This talk -- the delivery and the content -- encapsulates everything that is right in the world.

speaking truth
with humility
testifying of Christ
love in theory
love in practice

The video loaded very slowly for me, so here is the text if you're in a hurry. Although if you skip the video, you will miss a very touching part, my favorite: a visual representation of love and the reason I linked to this particular talk of Elder Wirthlin's. Help from Elder Nelson.

He died last night, and I'm really happy for him.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Oh come let us adorn thee

Behold! My sister-in-law Angela, who makes the best jewelry (love her earrings!), is hosting a series of twelve giveaways. Your chances to win are very good.

Get thee to her blog.