Wednesday, January 31, 2007

So, can you?

"No" is one of the easiest words to say. Ask almost any two-year-old a question and it will be their response 9 out of 10 times, even if it your question is not the "yes or no" type. So why is it so hard for me to say it?

Can you teach my kid piano lessons?
uh, I really don't have time since I have an 8-5 job, a husband, a church calling, and current piano students, but I guess I can. (Doh! I'm up to 6 --or is it 8-- students now who I've committed to teaching. I have another who wants me to teach, though I really, really don't want to teach because of weird family dynamics and a really young student. I'm avoiding calling her back. Is it bad to screen phone calls?)
Can we reschedule this week's lesson?
sure. even though we've rescheduled every lesson this month for you. but what they heck?
Can you babysit this Saturday? Oh, it will be for my daughter and her friend, is that ok?
what time did you say? all afternoon? though i haven't seen my husband all week since he was traveling, and though this was going to be my first Saturday this month I wouldn't have to work at my job, that should be fine.
Can you work this Saturday [stay late/come early]?
yep. even if i have to copy for 5 hours straight, i'll do it just for you.
Can you play the piano for Primary/ New Beginnings/ my son's elementary Tuba competition/ It's Great to be 8?
I haven't said no to anyone yet. Why should I start now?
Don't get me wrong. I usually don't mind doing these things once I get past the dread or anticipation and actually do them; sometimes I really enjoy myself. And I do prefer being busy to sitting around by myself trying to come up with projects to make myself feel productive, but sometimes I wonder if I should put my foot down and say, "no" when it starts feeling a bit much. Is that bad?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Game Night Jewels

Earlier I started to write a svithe, but the words just wouldn't flow and I wasn't able to convey the message I wanted to. Luckily I was interrupted by some friends calling us to play games with them. We actually weren't in the game mood before we left, but we hadn't seen them in awhile and felt a little obligated to go. We ended up having a lot of fun, so it was worth it.

Here are a few little jewels from the night's gaming:

(While playing catch phrase the word was "breast enhancement")
  • The clue given by one of the guys: "A lot of women in TX have this done."
  • Immediate answer given: "Boob job!"

(After being kind of knocked by his wife he said, completely unaware of the possible underlying connotations)
  • "I'll get you in bed tonight!"
Now you have to know that the couple who happened to say both of these things are some of the most conservative people I know. I was laughing so hard I was almost crying.

Sorry if I offended anyone by posting this over a svithe. I'll try to do better next week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Dear Quilter's Asylum,

I am at a point in life where I have about 5-10 friends pregnant at any given time, so I took up quilting two years ago to create unique baby gifts. I was very sad to leave my beloved Cotton Shop behind in UT when we moved. Soon after arriving in Texas I was happy to learn there was a fabric store in town. Not only was it a fabric store, but a quilting specialty shop! I was very excited to browse the store and find new things for my quilts.

I am sad to say my excitement was short lived. For a shop specializing in quilts you really do not have much "special." I have been in 3 times looking for what I thought were staples to a quilt shop. You have failed three times to produce what I need. Not only that, your employees were anything but helpful.

When I ask a simple question I expect a direct answer to that question, even if the answer is, "I don't know." I do not expect annoyed answers to questions I did not ask. Moreover, the answer "If you want to know that you'll have to take one of our classes" is totally lame.

You are now blacklisted in my book. I take ebay over you. I'm sorry it has come to this.

--A disappointed quilter

P.S. Your prices are outrageous!

Dear Cotton Shop,

I miss you dearly. You always had helpful employees and great sales tables. You had what I needed, and on the off chance you didn't, you told me where I could find it. I wish I could have brought you with me when I moved. Thanks a million. I'll remember the good times.

--A customer estranged by way of proximity

Monday, January 15, 2007

The long and the short of it

Beginning in the fourth grade I had an intense desire for short hair. At the time my hair was mid back and a pain in the neck. I begged and begged my mom to cut my hair to my shoulders that year but to no avail. Finally in the 5th grade I wore her down, and we cut and permed my hair. (I didn't have naturally curly hair until I hit puberty.)

Short hair was everything I desired. It was quick, it was cute, and it was easy. What more could a girl want? The older I got, the shorter I wanted to go. While I lived at home my mom kept talking me out of cutting it any shorter than my shoulders. In an act of independence, while I was on a 3 week trip to Boston at age 14, I had my sister-in-law cut and dye my hair without telling my mom. My mom was not prepared for the short haired, red-head that stepped off the plane.

Home again, I let my hair grow back out to my shoulders, though I continued to ask my stylist (my mom) to go shorter. "But it's SO CUTE this length! You don't REALLY want to cut it."

I felt quite the adult when I walked into a salon at college, looked at a cute Meg Ryan cut and said, "That's what I want!" I went from shoulder length to super short bob in about an hour. At the end the stylist asked, "Are you so sad to see your hair on the floor? Most people are." "No way!" I replied. "I've been waiting my whole life for this!"

I haven't cut my hair since my birthday last April. It's getting quite long for me and I've wanted to chop it more than once. I kind of want to let it grow until I can't stand it so it will be a dramatic change. I love shocking people.

To celebrate my new scanner (thanks Brasfields!) I thought I'd show the hair progression throughout the years. I want your feedback. What was your favorite length in my 25 years of life? I'm interested.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Church was cancelled today. Cancelled. I think this is the first time I've ever had church cancelled due to inclement weather. Did a huge blizzard blow in? Did a tornado hit? No my friends. It is raining. RAINING! It's been raining for about 3 days now and people are going nuts. On the news we saw people at the grocery stores stocking up on food and candles. Costco was the busiest I've ever seen yesterday.

You see, people here are super afraid of what is called freezing rain. This was not a form of precipitation I was aware of until moving here. According to wikipedia, it "begins as snow, falling from a cloud toward earth, and melts completely on its way down through a layer of warm (above freezing) air before supercooling in a small layer of cold air just before it impacts the surface...the water [then] freezes upon impact [forming ice] which can accumulate to the thickness of several centimeters." Three of the biggest problems caused by freezing rain are: slippery roads (and drivers who have no CLUE how to drive on slippery roads), downed powerlines and power outages because of the heaviness of the ice, and tree limbs fallings from the weight.

So far it has just been a lot of (much needed) regular rain. I don't know if they cancelled other wards or if ours was cancelled because it's dark when we get out of church and the likelihood of the roads being icy is greater.

It just is so odd to me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A kindergartner's worst nightmare

This came from one of the property payments we processed today. These are the owners. Can you imagine trying to spell those names as a 4-5 year old?!

I'm concidering sending this into Jay Leno's headlines. It gave me a good laugh.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The skinny on the skinnies (and not so)

According to, "statistics indicate that a full 90% of us have such good intentions [dieting or eating healthier] for the new year."

Now, since they don't reference any study, its hard to say if that statistic has any validity. But it sounds good, so I'm going to run with it.

I tried and failed to find a statistic on how many people actually follow through with those resolutions. I would imagine that it's probably around 5%. You can reference me on that statistic. Since it's so empirical.

You know, every body is different, so I'll try and include something for everyone:

First, I will start with the "starve yourself diet"
  • pros: nice on your wallet--can't find anything cheaper
  • cons: it has deathly side effects

Second, we have the " spam, spam, spam and spam baked beans and spam diet"
  • pros: you always know what's on the menu. long shelf life. you'll be prepped and ready for Hawaiian cuisine.
  • cons: what is spam, really?
Third, there is the "pickles and ice cream diet"
  • pros: it'll give you some common ground with all your pregnant friends. 6 and counting right now.
  • cons: are there any disadvantages? i think not.
Fourth, the "see food diet"
  • pros: you can eat whatever you see. you can satisfy any craving while still sticking to your "diet"
  • cons: unfortunately, you do not get your omega 3's with this kind of see food
And finally for this list, the "no carb, no sugar, no fat, no calories diet"
  • pros: you can eat all the celery you want
  • cons: you can eat all the celery you want
So, I hope you found something that fits your lifestyle.

In all reality, I'm one of the 90% who are vowing to be overall-healthy- this year. However, I am pretty anti-diet for myself. I say live a healthy balanced life (dairy, fruits, veggies, some sweets here and there, protein, grains) and nobody gets hurt.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Christmas Card and Year End Review

I know I'm late and that's why I'm doing it like this. I really did have good intentions of getting out Christmas cards, and a few of you were lucky enough to actually get one, but the majority missed out since I was quite stressed about traveling and working. So I decided to scan the card I made with the intention of sending it to you, and I also attached the letter I sent out with the few I sent out. Happy belated Christmas! Thanks to everyone who sent us a card! This year I'll try to be better. Maybe that will be one of my New Year Resolutions...but that's going to have to be another post.

Dear Family and Friends,

It is time for my annual semi-impersonal-but-not-so-impersonal -as-email-or-my-blog mass mail year end Christmas review. Because I am such a riveting writer, it is what you’ve all been waiting for, I’m sure. It’s hard to believe it has only been 1 year since last Christmas, but I checked, and it has. I’ve been known to be a little windy so I’ll try to keep it to a page.

From January to April we were still living in UT. Matt was finishing up his last semester of school and I was still cooking for New Haven. Our favorite pastimes included playing World of Warcraft and TA-ing for a BYU yoga class. Oh how I miss yoga. *sob*

After receiving my brother and sister-in-law’s LDotFMotNY (Last Day of the First Month of the New Year) booklet, I noticed a web address on the back directing me to their blog. Whatever the heck a blog was. I decided to investigate. It was an absolutely wonderful invention. They would write stuff. I would read it and respond. I’d never had so much interaction with them, and I was very much enjoying myself with this newfound form of communication. After a couple of weeks of reading, I found myself really wanting to write. So I’ve been a member of the blogging community for most of the year. I really enjoy writing, though I’ve found it more difficult to get myself to do it since working an 8-5 job.

April was a very exciting month. Matt graduated from BYU with a degree in Computer Science. His and my parents came to see us for that, and two weeks later we found ourselves in McKinney, TX. He got a great job with Raytheon; I quit my job in UT. We packed up our meager belongings, and we moved.

In March we did a whirlwind house-hunting trip. We saw probably 30-40 houses in a 2 day period and had to decide on one the 3rd day which so happened to be the day we flew back to UT. We were lucky and found a nice little house that was reasonably priced, and we took it. We signed the papers to become a “homeowner”, and we moved into our house a day after arriving. The next couple of months we dropped money like we’d never done before. A fridge, washer and dryer, lawn mower, sprinklers and hoses, blinds, and all of the little miscellaneous items we didn’t realize were necessary to maintaining your very own house. It was fun to feel like we were on a never-ending shopping spree, but for misers like us, it was also a little unnerving. We’ve held out on a couple of high-end ticket items, making do with our D.I. furniture that even the furniture mover commented on as having “been around the block a time or two”.

The summer here proved to be SUPER HOT and very dry. I’m pretty sure that this was a record-breaking year for heat and lack of precipitation.We found our large yard a little hard to care for when we were limited to watering only 1 day a week within certain hours. We ended up surviving, though a couple patches of our backyard grass weren’t so fortunate. Heat aside, we like it here well enough. It’s a good little place.

My grandma Grider passed away just two weeks after moving, and I found myself in AZ with my family.What a great little family I have! I love when we all gather from the 4 corners of the earth (sometimes I feel like we’re the lost 10 tribes we’re so spread out!), and we get to revel in the company of people with whom we share history and genes. Though it was a sad time, it was also a very happy weekend spent with people I love.

At the end of June Matt was misdiagnosed as having kidney stones. After a 10-hour marathon of vomiting, an entire day of being drugged up in the urgent care, and an ambulance ride, he finally got into the hospital to find out that he really had appendicitis. He had a laproscopic surgery and got it taken care of before it ruptured.

I had a really hard time finding work here once I started looking. After a futile attempt at locating a job, some friends from church offered me a part time job with their small Carpet Cleaning business. It was nice for the time, but after a couple of months I decided I really needed to find something else with more hours and stability. I’m currently working for the county as temporary help for the tax season. I’m waiting to hear about a full time position with them as an HR assistant, and if that does’t work out I’m going to apply for a couple other positions within the tax office. I like the people who work there and it’s really nice to feel like I’m contributing to our savings while I can.

That brings me now to the subject of little ones scurrying underfoot. We have none of those yet. We've been trying for awhile and since we've obviously been unsuccessful, we went to the Dr. We found out after various tests that we have a 10% chance per year of getting pregnant on our own. There is one medical procedure we can try before In vitro that has a good chance of helping us. Luckily it’s covered by insurance so hopefully that’s all we’ll need to get us on our way to our dreamed for 10-kid family. (Just kidding, more like 3-5 kid family).

I hope you’re all well and that this year has been kind to you. If you ever feel so inclined to hear more frequent updates on us, feel free to stop by my blog.

Love, Celia and Matt

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Blessings in disguise: a Christmas related svithe

Imagine how you'd feel when you discover your house filling up with black smoke at 11:30 pm on Christmas Eve Eve (that's right, two days before Christmas), not knowing the origin of the smoke. Panic might ensue with thoughts of a ruined Christmas, losing your home, and/or of your small children being endangered. You'd call 9-1-1 and stand by helplessly while you wait for professionals to do their thing, hoping your nightmares might not be realized.

Imagine your relief once you found out it was, in fact, just a minor wiring melt down in your dishwasher and not a full blown, all-consuming fire. Relief would wash over you, leaving you with a grateful heart that you avoided a near disaster.

This actually happened to the Bishop in my parent's ward. After relating this he said added a few more lines that that made me stop and think. He said, "Had we immediately known our dishwasher was the culprit, we may have been annoyed and frustrated at our unfortunate loss two days before Christmas. But because we thought we were going to lose so much more, we were very grateful it was just that. We could deal with a broken dishwasher."

It was a good look at perspective and how we perceive the situations and problems that arise in life. We choose how we respond and what we make of life.

Having said that, I'd like to relate another story that my family's already heard.

After 56 total travel hours (one way), we FINALLY arrived home.

Our trip should have been a relatively easy drive with only 4 roads spanning AZ, NM, and TX. It's normally about 14 hours one way-long, but do-able.

A little after 4 hours into our drive home, the snow began to get heavier and road conditions worsened. Just outside of Albuquerque we saw a suburban flipped over (not the actual flip, but it was soon enough thereafter to see them crawling out the back), and two multiple-car wrecks on our way into town. We were going to just forge ahead, at least until Amarillo, until we saw a sign saying I-40 was closed from ABQ to the Texas border.

We found a motel, ate a delicious dinner at Applebee's (I highly recommend their Cajun Lime Tilapia on the Weight Watchers portion of the menu) and hung out until the roads opened again. It snowed all night and ended up being the most snowfall ever recorded there in one day (see above). Needless to say, the roads didn't open right up. They actually didn't open them until 5 pm Saturday (24 hours after we arrived in ABQ). I was surprised they opened it so late because I figured ice would be beginning to form, but we really wanted to get at least a couple more hours of travel out of the way.

We crawled along at 10-30 miles an hour for 2 hours. 56 miles out of ABQ we came to a dead stop. Wrecks somewhere ahead of us. That was at 7 pm Saturday. We didn't move from that spot until 1:15 am Sunday. We were VERY VERY glad my mom suggested we bring a big blanket with us just in case something like this were to happen. We both huddled under the blanket and tried to sleep. The car was so cold that our breath began to crystallize and freeze on the inside of our windows (see right). It was cold.

A little before 1:15 am we saw cop car lights flashing and heard them yell "WAKE UP! Get a move on! Someone wake up that trucker in front!" Sweet heaven and earth we were on the move! We quickly tried to scrape the inside of our windshield so we could see, and we set off again. Around 2 am we neared a semi in front of us with its hazards on. Traffic was once again at a dead stop. Later we learned that there were 17 wrecks in the second round alone. Nothing like taking 18 hours to travel 60 miles.

We weren't allowed to move again until Sunday morning at 11. There was a rough patch of snow for another 5-10 miles, but we had pretty smooth sailing after that. We'd hoped to get here Friday night, but we didn't get here until Sunday night at 10:20!

Even though it was really cold in our car that night, we weren't able to brush our teeth, we spent a total of 29 consecutive hours in our car, we ate beef jerky and Pringles for 2 meals, and we had to pee out in the cold snow while we were stranded, I'm glad we got through in that first batch on Saturday night. I'm pretty sure they didn't open that road until Monday to travelers not already stranded on I-40. Who wants to drive 10 hours on New Year day?