Tuesday, December 30, 2008

People are stupid

I got a call at 5:45 a.m. this morning. DH hit an ice patch on the way to work and was stuck in a ditch. He thought he could dig his way out so I took him a shovel.

Now. Picture this. It's dark. The road is covered with snow and ice—clearly has not been plowed. My Jeep is sitting in the right hand lane, inside lights ON and my headlights turned on bright—clearly illuminating my husband's car sticking out of the ditch and partially blocking the left hand lane several yards ahead. A few more yards down, there is another car in the ditch with hazard lights blinking—clearly indicating that this is a sticky situation. Got it?

So what would YOU do if you turned onto this street? Slow down, assess the situation, then turn around and go another way? That is what one smart driver did.

Or maybe slow down, assess the situation, and if you had 4-wheel drive proceed very cautiously? That is what another smart driver did.

But three very not-smart drivers came barreling down the road, close to 40 mph, weaving around me, then around DH's rear end (the car's, not his), slipping and sliding past the other ditch-bound car and continuing on their very oblivious way.

P.S. DH got out okay. A friend from work had a truck and a tow strap.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For Erika—but you can read it too

Erika—I forgot to call your mom to get your address and there's no way our Christmas letter will get to you in time. I was in complete despair until I remembered that you read my blog. So here's our annual Christmas letter for you (and anyone else who wants to read it).

Merry Christmas 2008!

(Auntie Meg with Baby Burrito)

During the first half of 2008, Megan finished high school. She played lacrosse at PGHS—a new team that she helped start and captained. After graduation, she took a road trip with Mom. They flew back to KY, picked up a Jeep Cherokee and drove it back to UT. Along the way, they stopped everywhere that looked interesting.

Megan started college at UVU. You may also have heard that she was preparing to go to China in 2009. Unfortunately, both college and China had to be postponed due to illness, but she’s on the mend and should be back to 100% soon.

While she’s healing, Megan is working part-time with Karlene at a book and toy store. In February, she’ll be helping coach lacrosse back at PGHS.

Melanie, Kris & Baby Burrito

Melanie, Kris and Baby Burrito moved out of their one bedroom basement apartment to a beautiful two bedroom vaulted ceiling apartment. They are excited about the change and are grateful for the extra space and sunlight every day.

Melanie got a promotion in the fall and is now working as an IT Business Analyst for XanGo. She is also a blog-a-holic and is attending meetings regularly. However until she is fully recovered feel free to visit her at melaniedavis.blogspot.com.

Kris has gotten most of his pre-requisites done for the Culinary Arts program at Utah Valley University. He plays rugby for UVU and works at a Japanese restaurant during the winter.

Baby Burrito turned one this November and is walking (almost running). He’s learning how to give kisses and loves to roar like a Dinosaur!

This fall Kris and Melanie got engaged!!! They plan to marry in spring 2010. Melanie thinks this is a perfect year because it matches the ten diamonds that are on her ring.

Christopher, Ashley & Little Princess

The big news for Christopher is that he and Ashley got married this past August! It was a beautiful wedding in her parents’ backyard. They took a short honeymoon down to Las Vegas. Chris, Ashley and Little Princess make a lovely family and rent a house in American Fork.

Christopher is working concrete for Ashley’s father. He still enjoys it. They do commercial concrete and are staying pretty busy, despite the economy. Right now Christopher is working a job that requires him to drive to Idaho and back every day. He carpools with his brother-in-law and they pay him for some of the travel time but he still misses having those extra hours at home with his family. When he is home, he likes to watch movies and hang out with his family.

Ashley has turned their house into a home. She’s a great decorator. She also enjoys scrapbooking and spending time with Little Princess, who turned three in November. Little Princess likes Dora the Explorer, princesses and fairies, and playing dress-up and pretend.

McKenna, Stephen & Baby Shrek

McKenna, Stephen and Baby Shrek live in Lehi, just a few miles away from us. (Too far for Grandma & Grandpa’s preferences, who wish they lived next door.)

McKenna runs her company, Urban Botanic. It’s getting some notice on a national level. UB was mentioned in an issue of Family Circle magazine as one of the hot new home party companies. McKenna was also recently on Good Things Utah, a local news and info show for women. When she’s not working, she’s playing with Baby Shrek and designing websites.

Stephen still works for Advanced MD, a medical software company. During his downtime, he enjoys going to BYU football games and playing with Baby Shrek. He’s teaching Baby Shrek to cheer for BYU. Baby Shrek's first sentence was, “Go, Cougs!”

Baby Shrek will be two this spring. He’s adding new words to his vocabulary at such a rapid pace, we can’t keep up with him anymore! He loves cars, trucks and trains. He also likes to color, to build things with blocks, and to hide things in little nooks and corners.

Karlene & Jim

Karlene & Jim have had a very full year. It seems we get busier as the time goes by—or maybe we just get slower and have a harder time keeping up.

We added to our family this year when Chris married Ashley. That gives us three grandchildren who are the most adorable children on the planet!

We just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. We’ve had to face some life challenges over those years, but they’ve been “outside” challenges. Twelve years and we still really like each other—as you can see by the photo above, taken at Christopher’s wedding.

Jim is now working three jobs—which is why he is currently bald. He says he doesn’t have enough time to style his hair! He’ll grow it back out when he’s down to one job—a promise Karlene will make him keep!

Jim still works his regular day job at NIS, doing customer support for dental offices. When he finishes there, he moves downstairs to the QA department where he tests new versions of the software. He only works at Home Depot on Saturdays and Sundays now. We’re hoping this will be the year that he can drop that job.

In his spare time , Jim loves to play with the grandkids. They get a real kick out of him. Jim wishes he had more time to take them camping and fishing. He’s determined to do that in the near future.

Karlene took several trips this year. She and Megan did the now infamous Summer Road Trip. Karlene also went back to KY in August for an early celebration of her parents’ 50th anniversary. It was the first time in years that she, her brother and both sisters were together.

Karlene has several jobs that keep her busy, too. She sells Twilight-inspired perfumes on the Internet, she is the assistant manager of a book and toy store in Pleasant Grove (which she loves!), and Rosehaven is coming out of extinction on a limited basis, representing a few authors .

But her favorite job is being a grandmother. She has Grandma Day every Tuesday when she tends Baby Shrek and Baby Burrito, and she hopes that Little Princess will soon feel comfortable enough with her to come play too.

Erika (and all others reading), we very much hope that you have had a wonderful and fulfilling year, and that the year to come will bring you peace, hope and blessings unnumbered.

All our love,
from the Browning-Gordon-Davis-Ricks families.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let it snow. . .

See this?

This is what's happening in front of my house right now!

I left early this morning to do the very last of my Christmas shopping. The only thing I still needed was a gift for my husband who, after giving me a Wii and new clothes and a Kindle (all of which were supposed to count as birthday/anniversary/Christmas gifts), expected me to give him a windbreaker he'd picked up for himself at Deseret Industries (thrift store)!

Uh-uh. Ain't happening.

I thought I'd run out this morning to the bank, the grocery, the post office and to get his gift. I went to Wal-Mart first. And no, they didn't have what I've decided to get Mr. I-Don't-Really-Need-Anything — and I came out to a blizzard! I was going to go on to the next store—what's a little snow to Cordelia anyway? But she barely made it out of the parking lot!

I headed home, slipping and sliding the whole way. I carried in one batch of groceries. Then shoveled my way back out to my car. In the less than one minute it took me to grab the second (and fortunately, last) batch of groceries, the snow had completely covered where I'd shoveled.

I'm supposed to go to work at 1:00 p.m. but I'm sort of hoping they shut the store down and tell me to stay home. It's really gross out there. Then I could stay in bed all day and read. And let's pretend I don't already have 40 books waiting their turn, because I can instantly download and read any book that my heart desires because I have a Kindle! (DH's anniversary gift to me.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are you Subbing for Santa?

(Blogging twice in one week? Oh my gosh! What's the world coming to?)

For many years, our family has always done a Sub for Santa. We don't go through the official SFS program, but rather find a family local to us or someone we know who is in need, and then we provide a fun Christmas for them. We have such a good time picking out the gifts and wrapping them, but the best part is when we leave them on the porch, knock and then run. Then we go back home and giggle over goodies, imagining how excited the children must be to find all sorts of gifts on their porch.

This year, we're doing it a little differently. We're helping to provide Christmas for a family that's being sponsored by Provident Book/Humdinger Toys. And instead of knock and run, we actually get to be the elves who accompany Santa on Christmas Eve to deliver the packages.

I know lots of people like to participate in this type of Christmas giving. If you do, but you haven't found a family to help yet, you're welcome to join with us in providing Christmas for this one.

Provident Book/Humdinger Toys decided to do a Sub for Santa but hadn't chosen a family yet. A woman and her daughter came into the store and noticed our SFS signs and asked how to get on the list for consideration. The daughter has three children. She's a single mom. Her youngest, the boy, has some physical handicaps. She had no way to provide Christmas for her children. She also had not signed up for Christmas assistance from any of the other programs. It just felt right, so we adopted them as our store's family to help this year.

We had her bring her children in to the store. They had such fun creating a wish list for Santa. They were the most well-behaved children—they were respectful to the toys, putting things back where they belonged, polite to us and to each other. I'm sure they were on their best behavior, but still. (Unlike the obviously well-off woman who brought her three children in later that day and let them trash the store.)

Anyway, if you'd like to help us sponsor this family for Christmas, there are several ways you can do so. If you're local, you can come into the store (map) and purchase one or more items from the childrens' wish lists—you'll get 15% off items purchased for donation to this family—or simply donate cash. Or you can bring in new, unwrapped items, non-perishable food stuffs, or grocery gift cards. Or you can donate online.

For more details about the family, a list of suggested items, and the link to donate online, visit the Provident Book blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Perfect Snow

We had the most perfect snow this morning, all soft and thick and fluffy—the kind that makes the most wonderful snowmen and snow forts and snowballs. And since it was Grandma Day, I decided it was the perfect time to introduce the grandkids to snow.

The boys—ages 1 1/2 and 1—have never really been in the snow and didn't have snow gear. Wal-Mart solved that problem really quick. I called my daughter-in-law to invite my 3-year-old granddaughter over to play, but they weren't home.

Around 1:00 p.m., I bundled the boys up in their new snow suits and mittens and boots and took them out for a lovely time in the snow. Here are some photos showing how much they loved it!

Baby Shrek

Baby Burrito

We lasted all of two minutes outside.

But that's okay. Winter has just started and I'm determined.

Later on I received this via text message.
Little Princess

What a difference time makes!

Monday, December 08, 2008

514 and counting

Oh my stinking heck! (Yes, I'm a Utah Mormon now and proud of my fake swear words.) Okay, I've told you the internet was down for awhile. And then I've had to play catch up with the important work related stuff. So I sat down just now to get caught up on my blog reading and there are 514 posts in my Google Reader. 514! Really.

I'm going to be late for work. . .

"Leverage" had me at Timothy

One of the new shows I've been impatiently awaiting premiered last night. And?

Worth. The. Wait.

The basic premise of Leverage is that Nathan Ford (Timothy Hutton) is a former insurance investigator who reclaimed millions of dollars in stolen property for his company. Then, when his son was ill, the company refused to pay for experimental treatment and his son died. Ford is now unemployed and bitter. In this first episode, he's conned into stealing designs for a new airplane, along with a team of thieves he knows from his previous line of work—he caught them all. They do a double-cross, retrieve the information, get the bad guy and then decide to stay together to help people who need "leverage" in their fight against the rich, powerful and corrupt.

This first episode was fast paced, kept me interested the entire time, and was reminiscent of what I loved so much as a child when I first watched Mission: Impossible. Although I've not seen Ocean's 11 (or it's sequels), I understand that it's got a similar feel to it. This show may very quickly rise to the top of my list of favorite shows.

Okay, bad stuff first. Some of the acting was a little shaky. The weakest link was Beth Riesgraf, who plays sociopathic thief, Parker. Yes, she's supposed to be crazy and not quite fit in, laughing at the wrong times. But her acting was choppy and unstable, and not quite at the believable level yet.

Another disappointment was Christian Kane (gasp!). I know, I know! He was wonderful as Lindsey in Angel and I can't believe he wasn't perfect here too. Kane plays muscle guy Eliot Spencer, and he's a little off his stride here. However, I have faith that he'll improve.

Gina Bellman was believable as the con artist, Sophie Devereaux. Alec Hardison, as Aldis Hodge the computer geek, was dead on. Loved him. But the shining star of the show? Is there any doubt? Timothy Hutton, as Nathan Ford the good guy turned a little shady, was spectacular. Maybe I'm a little biased because I've always had a tiny bit of a crush on him (I even liked him in Nero Wolfe), but I did a quick google on the reviews of the show and everyone seems to agree with me that Hutton is the show.

If you missed the first episode, TNT will probably re-run it some time this week. Episode two will be on at its regular time, Tuesday, 10/9c. I've got my DVR set already!

Friday, December 05, 2008

8 Things About Me

Sandra tagged me weeks ago. Between starting my new job and my once dead but now resurrected Internet connection, I'm just now getting around to it. And don't expect any deep and thoughtful answers here. I'm very shallow.


Eight Things I'm Looking Forward To:
  1. Christmas presents. I want Grandma toys!

  2. Summer. I really dislike cold weather.

  3. Christmas parties. My parents will be here in less than a week and it will be seven straight days of Party City here at my house.

  4. Jessica Day George's new book, Princess of the Midnight Ball. It comes out in January, so if someone wants to give me a gift card to Barnes & Noble or Amazon for Christmas this year...

  5. The LDS Storymakers Writers Conference in April.

  6. Megan coming home safe and sound from China in June-ish. (I know, I know. She hasn't even left yet. I'm just saying.)

  7. Grandma Day—every Tuesday

  8. Christmas with the grandbabies and watching them open their presents on Christmas morning. (Ooops. I guess I should wait to be invited before I put this on my list—hint, hint.)

Eight Things on My Wish List:
  1. World Peace. What? Isn't that on everyone's list?

  2. The ultra-amazing Kindle. Megan has one. I'm trying not to break the 10th commandment.

  3. An iPhone. Do I need to say why? Everyone secretly wants one of these. Don't deny it. I know you do.

  4. A month long trip to Europe with my hubby.

  5. A new blazing fast PC laptop with all the bells and whistles, plus all the software upgrades I'd need to run on Vista.

  6. A fully loaded iPod. Yes, I have an iPod and I love it. I want someone to load it with all my favorite songs. Because I don't know how.

  7. Some new boots. When I unpacked my winter clothing box, I distinctly remember taking out a pair of black boots and a pair of brown boots. I have no idea where I put them. And these are boots that I wore nearly every day last year.

  8. Time to read the 45 books that have been sitting on my dresser for nearly a year.

Eight TV Shows I Like to Watch:
(I recently did a post about TV show here so I won't elaborate.)
  1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's not on TV anymore but I have the DVDs. Yea!

  2. Bones

  3. Fringe

  4. Terminator: Sara Connor Chronicles

  5. Grey's Anatomy

  6. House

  7. CSI Miami

  8. The Mentalist

Eight Things that Happened Yesterday:
Are you kidding me? I'm supposed to remember that far back? Ain't going to happen. Here are eight things that happened today.
  1. The wind smelled like railroad ties. A sure sign that winter is almost here.

  2. My mother called me about a Christmas party. Everyone who we know that used to live in KY but who now lives here in UT is invited.

  3. I broke my fingernail down to the quick. Another reason why I hate winter—my hair, skin and nails dry out something fierce.

  4. My brain got a cramp trying to think of all these things.

  5. I realized I was falling asleep as I typed.

  6. I decided to cheat and quit at six things.

Eight People Who Now Have to Do This Silly Tag:
  1. McKenna

  2. Melanie

  3. Megan

  4. Suan

  5. Cindy Beck (cool Christmas background)

  6. Gaynell Parker (love your new design)

  7. Erika

  8. and YOU!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not my fault...

I'm not dead.

I'm not sick.

And although I went on vacation over Thanksgiving, that is not why I haven't been posting here.

It's not my fault I've been AWOL. Honest.

And it's not from lack of trying.

Something is wrong with our internet connection. Our guy has been over here several times lately, checking wires from rooftop to basement. We've replaced routers, antennae and a bunch of other stuff that I don't even know what its called.

And still we have intermittent (more mittent than inter) and slow-as-molasses service.

I will be back. Promise. And I will have lots to say. As soon as we get this problem remedied.