Sunday, December 16, 2007
The party went through about twelve cartons of eggnog and other than my fire hazards strategically placed all over the house in the form of candles on plates filled with dry pine needles (I went around Provo yesterday afternoon chopping branches off trees in public parks. The police will get me later) we were all safe.
There were no fires, other than the one in the fireplace which kept the place nice and toasty. We also had some technology set up that's about twenty years ahead of me (I'm still fascinated with the five function calculator) that allowed us to take pictures with different backgrounds. Still have no idea how it works. The pictures you see of Alyssa, Nancy and I with Santa Clause are the result of that technology; so no, sadly, while it may look rather realistic, Santa was actually not in the picture with us.
It is so time for next years Turtlenog party.
Monday, December 10, 2007
The excitement began on the first flight which we were unable to sit together on. The man next to me was about six thousand pounds and smelled like vodka, and Hillary Clinton sat directly in front of me the whole time complaining about the president and that you can't find good alcohol in Utah. Well they put on the movie "Mr. Bean's Holiday" and I hesitated but decided to watch it. Unfortunately I found it surprisingly funny and spent the entire movie with my hand over my face, mortified that anyone might think I actually found the fourth grade humor pretty dang hilarious. Uncle Will and Krishelle didn't watch the movie so I spent the rest of the trip explaining ever scene and line in perfect detail.
We had a layover in Atlanta and caught dinner where nothing too exciting happened other than the waitress dropping my plate in front of me saying, "Here ya go baby" and then yelling like she was a rock star "HOT!" which we of course quoted no less than five thousand times for the rest of the trip.
The film from Atlanta to San Jose was "Hairspray" (gag) and of course none of us have stopped talking like John Travolta dressed in drag ever since ("Has fam gone and got to your head!?"). The film was interrupted by an apparent emergency in the back of the plane which we found out from the flight attendants who mentioned there was a woman back there who didn't speak English, was completely unconscious and had thrown up all over herself. We tried to get Krishelle to go back there and say she was a doctor to find out what was going on but she wouldn't do it.
We made it to Costa Rica on Friday night and insisted on touring the cities. We had some prostitutes just outside our hotel (we lovingly referred to them as "prosties" for the rest of the trip). We went to the worlds most horrible McDonalds where the icecream we ordered alarmingly came from outside. When they gave it to us uncle Will asked "where did this just come from" but I don't think we got an answer so we just ate it next to the brownish orangish puddle of something that had apparently spilled all over the floor at some point during the day. We each got shot and mugged five or six times so after about an hour we turned in.
The sun came up at about 4:00AM and we were out of bed shortly after that on Saturday morning. We tried to go to this jungle zip-line-adventure that sounded really dangerous but it wasn't working that day so we ended up going on a calm jungle tour after it was recommended to us by a guy in the tourist office who told us not to go past first street because beyond that point the city is . . . "different. It's not as fun there," which of course is code for "go one step past first street and you will be shot.
We did some great souvenir shopping and bought stuff that none of us needed and will probably fall apart in a few weeks anyway and then we were off to the seven hour jungle tour. We sat on the back of the bus and were introduced to our tour guide John Pierre ("but you can yust call me Yay P").
The tour was amazing. We were with about fifteen other Americans (we gave names to every one of them). One old woman who was about sixteen feet tall and had her pants pulled up almost to her shoulders told me early on in the tour that she hates snakes. We immediately decided her name was Mabel and that we were best friends so for the rest of the day we tried to sit with her and stand next to her to develop the relationship but she just wasn't interested. We also met a nice man who we called Reed who told us he's a Mormon from New Jersey (after which Uncle Will gave him an intensive bishop interview by asking about his activity).
We tried desperately to get a picture of Mabel and her friend who we named Clarence. I posed in front of them while Krishelle was about to take the picture but then Reed insisted on taking it so Krishelle could be in it too. I told him to get a lot of the background in hopes that Mabel would make it in. The result is the picture at the top of this blog.
We took a tour in these basket things through the forest and back over the tops of the trees for about an hour and twenty minutes. Half way through, one lady who we name Juanita insisted on getting out at the turn around point because she was afraid of heights. I wish I could have seen the look on her face when they told her she had to walk forty minutes back through the jungle to get to the bus.
We also got to walk through much of the forest and see some great wild-life including three toed sloths which Mabel tried to call out of the tree by saying "here Kitty Kitty!" Yay P told us that the sloths bury their feces and one woman we name Vira said, "Well that is just so sanitary" as if the sloths were afraid of germs and equally as concerned with making her trip to the jungle clean and fun. God bless Americans. We need it.
The rest of the day we shopped and saw more of the city. On Saturday night we ran into a couple of Russians, one who spoke Ukrainian, and it was fun to talk with them.
Sunday morning we got up and found a church nearby and attended Sacrament meeting. It was nice except for the closing hymn which was "Away in a Manger" but sounded a lot more like "Green Acres" to me.
The flight home was sad and we all secretly hoped that we would miss it and have to stay in Costa Rica for a week. But alas, we flew home with few problems other than the intense turbulence over Colorado. I dug my nails deep into Krishelle's and Will's arms for about two hours and I wished I was with the lady in Atlanta who delayed the flight twenty minutes because she just had to get off right before the plane was about to take off. We all assumed she had the runs and had lost control in her pants. Of course every head was leaned out into the aisle and whispers echoed through the entire plane as she got off.
We got back to Salt Lake late and realized that the flip flops and shorts we were wearing were not going to cut it in the snow that had fallen and hasn't stopped falling since.
soale. Como se dice? Como se dice? Vamos a comer! Mira que cosa tiene la mujer esta! I left the iron on. HOT!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
will always be a discussion about whether or not we actually stole the chairs in my parents garage from the church which we are now hauling to wherever it is we're having Thanksgiving this year. There will always be the "Thanksgiving beans" sitting on each plate before dinner starts so everyone can go around the table and name something they're thankful for. Mom will always cry and say she's thankful for dad when it gets to her turn, which is always very sweet. There will always be screaming children terrorizing everyone else the entire day (in the eighties these were my cousins. Now they are nieces and nephews). And there will always be an incredibly long prayer to bless the food, which is always disrupted by an incredibly awkward moment; two years ago it was Uncle Rick praying that a couple members in the family would just find spouses already, and as if that wasn't awkward enough, he got one of the people mixed up and prayed for my already married sister. This year it was my two year old niece, like a broken record, saying over and over again "I need go potty. I need go potty. I need go potty," confirming once again that I am simply too immature to maintain composure when bodily humor is placed in front of me, even in the most serious situations.
A couple of days after Thanksgiving, Krishelle and I decided to help our parents put up some Christmas decorations which made my mother overly excited. After fanning out the branches of the various wreaths and trees strategically placed around the house, I felt something come over my head and then realized that it was a Santa hat, disturbingly decorated with reindeer antlers. I walked into the next room and found that Krishelle had been assaulted with antlers of her own. Mom was running around the house singing every Christmas tune she's ever heard of (including a few that I'm positive she made up) while dad fiddled with the lights stating no less than fifty times that he hated those "stupid things."
As always, the decorations miraculously turned, from what always looks like a severe case of hoarding while still in the storage room, into an immaculate display of festive cheer. It's a talent that mom has always had.
I'm looking forward to Christmas now, so much so that I secretly longed for snow the other day for about twelve seconds. But don't tell anyone.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I am applying to law schools right now and it's been a stressful ordeal amid all the school, work, church and family obligations (all in addition to the pressure of social interaction spurred from, as my bishop so lovingly put it for me today, "the window of opportunity closing fast") but I have had some great support. All three of my letter of recommendation writers were very prompt and kind to sacrifice some time to make up lies about me and serve as great counselors to me as I start to make some big decisions. I'm thankful for that.
Last Saturday Blaine and Diana's family were sealed in the temple and I got to go see it. I spent part of the afternoon with the family after the sealing and got to interact with Joseph and Matthew after not seeing much of them over the last month or so. That family has made some amazing progress and the parents are absolute saints for what they have done for those two little boys who have experienced so much tragedy at such a young age. I've been able to witness an incredible healing as I've watched that family work through trials that I could never imagine with such positive attitudes and incredible amounts of hope. I'm thankful for that.
If you're feeling ambitious, feel free to post something you're thankful for in the comments!!! (Very cheezy; I know)
Friday, October 26, 2007
I realized that (shocker) I had no plans on Friday night when I came home but quickly planned to carve pumpkins with Kalli in our garage (the new cool pad). I went to Smiths to buy pumpkins and a Hispanic lady was in the checkout line in front of me. For some reason there was no bagger in this line so the lady had to take her two or three things she bought and place them in her cart herself because it would have been a really awkward reach for the cashier. As she walked away she said in a disturbingly beastly voice, "It would have been nice of you to place these bags in my cart for me!" To which the cashier wittingly replied "I'm sorry I'm not eight feet tall!"
Well the woman demanded to see his manager and as I walked out I heard her saying in a very dramatic voice, "I am not a walking joke!" It seemed like a genuine life crisis to me; someone obviously trying to get through a rather tragic experience from the third grade when she went the whole day with her dress tucked into her underwear in the back without realizing and never had friends again as long as she lived. I hope she survives.
So Kalli and I spent way too much time carving, which was a lot of fun. I actually started scooping the slop from the insides out with my hands and dropping big glops of it into my mouth, which is actually making me feel a bit queasy right now- something I'll surely pay for in the morning and all day at work tomorrow.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Four Jobs I've Had:
1. Busser at Grandpa Maddox Restaraunt
2. Telephone surveyer for car dealerships
3. Research Assistant for a history professor
4. Operations Supervisor for Washington Mutual
Four Places I've lived:
1. South Jordan Utah
2. Lewiston Idaho
4. Provo Utah
Movies I love:
1. Waiting for Guffman
2. I am Sam
3. Napoleon Dynamite
4. You've Got Mail (secretly of course).
5. Family First. I just have to include it.
Four Favorite Foods:
2. Rassberry Cheesecake
3. Most other Cheesecakes
4. Guacamoli. and cheesecake.
Four Weird Things About Me:
1. I talk to myself more than I talk to anyone else.
2. I explain to innanimate objects before I throw them away why I'm disposing of them so they won't feel bad.
3. I can stand on my toes in freaky freaky ways.
4. I dance like you wouldn't believe. But I hate dancing.
Four Favorite TV Shows:
1. The Office
3. Pee Wee's Playhouse (I mostly watch it for the Penny sketches).
Four Places I'd Rather Be:
1. Wherever I am is the party so there are NO places that I would rather be. But I'm sure all of you would rather be wherever it is I am.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
So one week later Kalli called me and asked if I wanted to celebrate Fakesgiving a week late; and it all began.
We assigned cooking assignments for all the foods you normally eat on Thanksgiving (Thanksgiving is a holiday in November, not to be confused with Fakesgiving which is not to be confused with Fakesaween which is in September or Fakesmas which falls at the beginning of November). Unfortunately turkeys are a bit rare right now so we had to go with chickens which are now the new traditional Fakesgiving bird. The good thing about creating your own holiday is that you make the traditions and you can totally base them on convenience, which makes me wonder who the heck created having to risk your life every December to put up strings of lights on a slippery roof, because there is nothing convenient about that tradition.
Once the table was set and decorated with green leaves (instead of colored "fall" leaves you often find on Thanksgiving) we each took turns saying what we were fakesful for. Being fakesful for something means that that thing either doesn't exist or it is something that you are not at all thankful for, thus making Fakesgiving a primarily sarcastic holiday (which is why, I'm sure, I enjoy it so much).
Dinner was nice for all of us, except for Jason who ate right before and then wondered, even though we told him no less than three times that day about it, why there was so much prepared food in the kitchen when he got home from church.
We look forward to celebrating next year and invite all of you to join us.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Three years ago at this time I was just getting ready to move from Rivne to Lutsk, two cities that are very similar to each other in many ways. I was apprehensive about the move as I had so quickly become attached to Rivne and all the wonderful people that lived there.
It was October 26th, 2004 when I first met Andrei. He was just a lost eighteen year old kid who stumbled into our English classes because of the encouragement from his friend, Roman, who had been attending. After class that night Sister Garrett asked if I would come with her to help teach these boys about the church. We talked and taught and answered their interesting questions until Sister Garrett asked them if we could end with a prayer. After we prayed, Andrei commented that we pray so weird and left after weakly committing to do some reading in the Book of Mormon. We continued to meet with these two boys often and so rarely felt that we were making any progress with them. Each time I would ask Andrei if he had prayed and each time he would uncomfortably say that he had but that he had received no answer. On November 4th, I wrote in my journal, "I met with Andrei. We talked about prayer and I asked him if he would pray tonight. He said, 'I'll try.' I told him that I hate that answer. It's either 'yes' or 'no.' So he said 'yes.' I hope he does."
In between meetings with Andrei, we had a lot of experiences with Luda, who was only 16 at the time. She would bring friends to church and English classes and tell them that the gospel was the most important thing in her life and she would ask them if they would please investigate it to see what kind of happiness it could bring them. We taught many people because of her and witnessed some remarkable conversions in the process. In each lesson she would sit in, she would testify over and over again how much potential the gospel has to bless families which was probably bitter-sweet for her coming from a part member family.
As time went on I became so frustrated with Andrei. He told me that he felt that he wasn't getting answers because he didn't really want to find out. On November 19th, I wrote "I don't know what to do with Roman and Andrei anymore. they hardly talk on discussions now so I can't tell what they are feeling." That night I went home very discouraged and I told my companion that I thought we shouldn't meet with Andrei anymore. But I couldn't sleep. I just felt so uneasy and after several hours I began to pray and I asked Heavenly Father if we needed to continue to meet with Andrei. An overwhelming feeling came over me that the work with Andrei was far from finished and I made a new commit that I would not give up on him although logically it seemed right.
I left Lutsk shortly after that night, wondering what would ever happen to Andrei. The night I boarded the train to Kyiv, Luda stopped by and handed me a note, part of which read, "I really know this church is true. A few years ago I really strongly felt this and I still feel it today. Regardless of all the obstacles, I know that Heavenly Father prepared the plan of salvation for us. In the end, we can be with him." Reading this letter as the train slowly pulled away from that city, I thought, "Everything is going to be all right in that town," sure that the Lord had just placed some of the most remarkable people I had ever met in it.
So there I was tonight sitting accross the table next to a teary-eyed Luda and across from a now praying Andrei, almost three years since the first day I met and prayed with him. I thought about how great it felt that day just a few months after that night to get a call informing me that he was going to be baptized. Once again I wondered as I watched him tonight what was ever going to happen to him after he returns to Ukraine in a couple of days but as I heard him utter the words of the prayer, the prayer he denounced just three years previously, I thought once again, "Everything really is going to be all right."
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
I started my church meetings just before 11:00 on Sunday morning. We had sacrament meeting last and church didn't get out until 4:00 at which point I had to run home and get in a couple of hours of home teaching before the fireside at 7:00. So, keeping all of that in mind, I was a bit restless by the time sacrament meeting rolled around just before 3:00. I sat on the front row with Kalli and mentioned a few times that I wished I could just get down on the floor like I used to back in the eighties and stare at all the feet extending the length of the chapel. You would usually witness some pretty interesting stuff that way as you would create a network with all the other seven year olds scattered on the floor throughout the room. It was almost like having your own church. Well I told Kalli that I really needed one of those little plastic baggies full of Cheerios ("you know, the little sandwich baggies. Plastic and clear" courtesy of Family First) to make it complete.
When we got to the fireside at 7:00 (sitting on the very back row this time), my ADHD was at an all time high and Heather Twistysocks asked me no less than five times if I was "on something." Just as the opening hymn began I mentioned once again how much I wanted to get down on the floor, to which Kalli responded by pulling a small baggy of Cheerios out of her purse which she had packed for me and said, "I didn't think it would come to this until later but here you go."
It worked just like it did when I was seven. I munched away quietly for at least five minutes. And don't worry, I left a few stale ones on the floor for old time's sake.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I went to see Great Grandma Whittle the other day and I'm always amazed with how active she is at such a ripe old age. Next may she will be 101 years old but to her the number seems irrelevant. She just keeps going every day, participating in the hobbies she enjoys.
Last Saturday I stopped by and told her I wanted to come and have a good visit with her the following week. We tentatively planned on Wednesday and I told her I would call and let her know exactly what time I would be there. On Tuesday morning she called me and asked what time I would be stopping by the following day. I thought, "Oh, poor grandma is worried I'm going to forget about her. I'm sure my visit will be the highlight of her uneventful week." So I told her I would be by around two and she thought for a moment and then said, "I suppose I can make that work. Don't try for the morning, I've got a million things to do in the morning." How wrong I was to think that just because she's older, she's given up on having a life.
When I went by, grandma said her back was hurting her pretty badly all morning which she attributed to some condition "that old people get." We went out back and did some gardening for a while and I must say it was pretty embarrassing to not know the names of the different vegetables growing back there. At one point she asked me to cut some chaff (?) and just about had a heart attack when I, with scissors, started to hack away at something that apparently was not chaff and did not need to be hacked away at.
As always it was a great visit.