Monday, December 29, 2008

In touch

I have a compulsion about Christmas cards. I have been doing them since I was about 16 or 17. My family moved around a lot as I was growing up. At Christmas I felt like I could do this one thing to hold onto not just the people who actually cared enough to write back and forth with me all year - and there were several; I was a dedicated letter writer - but others I remembered and thought about.

I took this photo of our door a couple of days ago. This is how my mom displays Christmas greetings at her house. I have never tried to think of another way, although one year we had a door with a nine-pane glass window and I had to tape the cards up around the doorjamb instead.

A few more cards have arrived since then. And there are the newsletters, which I don't display, but I do love them. News of the kids we taught in nursery or the children of my high school friends, no matter how braggy or sensational (and usually it's not) thrills me. Family pictures in red sweaters are universally smiled at here in this house, especially when they come from message board or blog friends I've not had the chance to be with a lot in real life. And the cards - pretty or clever or intricate or even just ordinary, I love them all.

So if you get a card and letter from me and you think it's annoying or prideful or weird, I apologize. I sincerely just want everybody to have as much fun with Christmas cards as I do.

Here are some of my favorites this year:

The yin-yang penguin

The pop-up

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Just a little photo story today ... Z eats a Christmas cinnamon roll.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another tortellini salad

So we had carnitas for Christmas Eve, which were awesome. My flan failed (I unmolded it too soon, I think), and then we had a huge breakfast on Christmas day with cinnamon rolls and eggs and bacon and fruit, and then I didn't cook. We just ate candy and fruit and nuts and leftover cinnamon rolls. Everybody was fine. I might never make a Christmas dinner again. Nobody seems to care.

However, by the end of the day yesterday we were all actually hungry again. I was craving broccoli salad. Didn't want to make two dishes. Here's the result.

Broccoli and Tortellini Salad
1 package cheese tortellini, cooked and drained
2 heads broccoli florets, chopped
1 small to medium bell pepper, diced (we used green)
1/2 c. raisins (we used golden)
1/2 c. nuts (we used almonds)
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled
About half a bottle of your favorite prepared vinaigrette (we used Brianna's Real French)

Mix it together. Eat it. Feel relieved that it is not a candy cane flavored Hershey's kiss, yet is still festive and yummy.

Makes about 6 servings.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


From us to you on Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Four posts in the month of December! That is just pathetic! I am brainstorming ideas for how to get my blogging groove back. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I wanted to share the fact that you can groove yourself to free holiday tunes from There is a wide variety and you are bound to find at least a few tunes you will enjoy! If you're like me you've overdosed on all the Christmas music you own and are definitely ready for something new at this point!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I've got the brains, you've got the looks

I just updated the master spreadsheet I'm keeping for the professor/postdoc job search for Dr. G-to-be. All told we have found 31 assistant professorships and postdoctoral positions that he absolutely should apply for. Doesn't that seem kind of miraculous for a guy with a doctorate in a highly specialized scientific field? Like somehow he chose just the right discipline at just the right time?

Out of those 31, so far he has had one lecture/interview/not interview and one rejection letter. The two were not from the same place. Sorry, Florida, you will not be seeing us next year, after all.

Our son is fasting and praying that we will move to a place with snow, anyway. Maybe this would be a good time for me to start looking at parkas on sale.

Tonight, again and as always, I believe in miracles. I am so optimistic and excited about our future. Even if it's not going to be by Disney World.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


One of the things that bugged me when I was working full time was that I never had time for leisure shopping. Bear in mind, to me leisure shopping does not mean strolling department stores smelling perfume and picking up luxury handbags. It means combing through piles of junk at secondhand stores in search of treasures.

Now that I am unemployed, I have time. Sure, I could be scrubbing a bathroom. Who needs it? They are just going to pee on the floor again when they get home from school.

So when I finished my errand at Staples today I just stopped into the Goodwill in the same shopping center. (Would that there were a Deseret Industries close by! Mormons give away the best junk!) Here's what I found today:

A king-size sheet with a cute aqua/yellow/peach daisy print. I'm guessing it's vintage '70s. I'm planning a dress for Z and an a-line skirt for me. Hey, I only have one daughter, and she's growing up fast. I need to do the cheesy stuff while I can. Plus it is so cute and retro it won't be that bad.

A cute little brown stoneware vase. Not sure whether it is really old or not, but I do love it. I think it will work with the Zona aesthetic I am dreaming up for when I own a home again. Plus, perfect for the dandelion gifts I will doubtless be receiving periodically from my boys beginning in a few months.

A very cute and clean baby doll for Z. Give her one of these and she'll sit in the cart through the whole store. For $1.50, it's a bargain. I've posed baby Z-style (thumbsucker!) so you can see her cute wrinkly hands. Maybe we can make a retro daisy dress for the dolly, too. Won't we be cute?

There was another babydoll, too - a Cabbage Patch Kid for $2. Imagine that our parents spent $50 and up for these in their heyday! Add a few stocking stuffers which shall not be mentioned here - it's a morning of shopping fun for $10 even. Viva thrift.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I've been in kind of a blogging funk the last couple of weeks.

I got this Facebook tag today and thought I'd put it up here ... maybe it will break me out.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 18 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 18 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1. Still in my PJs at 1 PM. Not every day, though.
2. Am the one in charge of the power drill, but not taking out the trash.
3. Fan of kids' books. Try "The Twenty-One Balloons" by William Pene DuBois.
4. Like to tell people what they should do. Hate to ask people to do things. It's a subtle but important difference.
5. Spent junior and senior years of high school working at a radio station, reading the weather forecast and eventually announcing songs on a pre-recorded show.
6. Child bride - age 19 in 1993. Not necessarily recommended for anyone else (young women, this means you!) but it worked out great for me!
7. Got to take American Lit and Mormon Lit classes from Eugene England at BYU. If you haven't read his essays, you should! (See, I like to tell people what they should do!)
8. Only time off the continent: BYU Geology field trip to Hawaii in 1996. Hiked on active flows and flew over the Kilauea crater. AMAZING! Until this trip I thought Hawaii was all about the beach and the tacky shirts. I was SO wrong!
9. Dream trip: Food tour of southern France and Italy. Maybe next year (and next year, I will probably be saying, "maybe next year")
10. Getting used to being unemployed/full-time motherhood after 4.5 years working for UC Merced. I was supposed to become a contract worker but because of budget cuts I am cut loose. It is both sad and fun (see #1).
11. Still deciding what to put on the treat plates for Christmas this year. Oreo truffles? Jam stripe butter cookies? Gingerbread men? Probably all of them.
12. In a lot of suspense about my husband finishing his Ph.D., getting a job and maybe moving next year. Trying not to let it make me too crazy.
13. Louisa tagged me. I think this is my first Facebook tag of this kind.
14. Have been a movie usher, hotel maid, fish factory worker, sandwich artist, Morris Center cafeteria server, phone surveyor, College of Religion receptionist, magazine editor, trade show display planner and university spokesperson.
15. Have touched the Arctic Circle ... not the one where you get cheap hamburgers and courtesy cones. The one where you run into a guy with a canoe full of fish.
16. Loud music: the Breeders (try it! You'll like it! some of you)
17. Quiet music: Ari Hest
18. Christmas music: any. It's the best part! Merry Christmas, friends! I hope this is fun for you!

(Tagging ... whoever wants to do this, as is my habit on the blog.)