Friday, February 29, 2008

Done with this Day

This is what you get when I'm done with this day but have to stick it out for 10 more minutes.

Jen's ABCs. (I ripped this off of another blog.)

A - Attached or Single: Happily single

B - Best Friend: That’s a hard one…I’ll go with the nephew. He tells me I’m his favorite friend, so I guess I’ll return the favor.

C - Cake or Pie: Oh, definitely cake with greasy lard frosting.

D - Day of Choice: Friday

E - Essential Item: High heels

F - Favorite Color: I haven’t had a favorite color since the 4th grade when I insisted on everything being pink.

G - Gummi Bears or Worms: Bears

H - Hometown: Payson

I - Indulgence(s): Don’t judge – America’s Next Top Model.

J - January or July: Well, today, July. But that’s because it’s been a really cold winter. Ask me again in July and I’ll probably say January because by then it will be 100 degrees here.

K - Kids: Do my plants count?

L - Life is Incomplete: without Jane Austen.

M - Marriage Date: I’m holding out for Captain Moroni.

N - Number of Siblings: 3 brothers

O - Oranges or Apples: Definitely apples. I can’t handle texture with fruit.

P- Phobias or Fears: Being a failure, eggs drying up (if you don’t know what this means, then don’t ask), and spiders. Hate spiders.

Q - Quote(s): Vincent Van Gogh: "Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better. And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, 'What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.' Yes, evil often seems to surpass good. But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts. One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw. And so I must still have hope."

R - Reason to Smile: 60 degrees this weekend!

S - Season: Fall

T - Tag Seven: If you want to do this, then please do.

U - Unknown Fact about Me: I don't know how unknown this is, but when I was in the 5th grade, I wanted head gear.

V - Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: I eat meat. But I cannot stand to touch raw chicken.

W - Worst Habit: Letting my laundry pile up.

X - X-Rays or Ultrasounds: I’ve had both and neither are pleasant.

Y - Your Favorite Food: cheese. Anything with cheese.

Z - Zodiac: Libra

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Little Secret

My immediate family knows this, but I don’t think I’ve shared my little secret with many others.

Did you know that I want to build a cabin in Fairview? A cabin you might ask…well, every writer needs a little hideaway to go and write without the distractions of the modern world. (No worries, I will use high-speed internet, a laptop, and modern bathroom facilities.)

And why Fairview? Well, Fairview is close enough to my home that I wouldn’t have to travel far to “get away” and far enough away that I could feel like I actually “got away.” It’s gorgeous in that area (have you ever seen the fall foliage), quiet, and serene. I could go on long walks on unknown trails, gather pinecones, and run through meadows singing “The Hills are Alive.” As a side note, I actually ran through a mountain trail in Switzerland singing “The Hills are Alive”—I got some rather strange looks. Back on track...I can’t think of a better way to be inspired to write. Plus, land in Fairview is still relatively cheap.

I know I don’t come across as a cabin-type-of-girl, but I’m very serious about this venture. I’ve even got a realtor lined up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ode to My Mom

In honor of my mother’s first comment I thought I would do an “Ode to All Things Mom.” (She commented as anonymous in the last post. She hasn’t quite figured out how to get her name there.)

Ode to My Mom

1. Sometimes, she really does find herself in a box. And while this could be a sign of something serious, we mock her fully. And she laughs back so that makes it OK.

2. A lot of people think my mom looks like Elizabeth Taylor. My mom doesn’t know if this is a compliment or not. She always says if they mean a young Liz Taylor, then it’s a compliment; if they mean the current Liz Taylor then she’s offended. People think I look like my mom, but I don’t think I look like Liz Taylor. What do you think?

Elizabeth Taylor

3. One day, my mom was in the basement working. The rest of us were upstairs when all of a sudden we heard her singing, “I’m not crazy I’m just a little unwell…”

4. My mom can make friends with everyone. And I do mean everyone. It’s not uncommon for me to be talking to her and she’ll tell me about the neighbor’s granddaughter that came to visit her and in the next breath she tells me how she went to curl the 87-year-old neighbor’s hair. Really, she makes friends with everyone.

5. She is the most-loyal fan of “All My Children.”

6. My mom likes to tell me that I get my stubbornness from my dad. And while I agree that my dad is stubborn, I think some of my stubbornness came from my mom. For example, my mom started her gift basket company as a dare from my dad. He came home from work one day and dared her to start the business…and she did just to show him that she would. And it’s been going for 11 years.

7. She has problems throwing away 30-year-old Ensigns, but doesn’t have a problem throwing away pictures of her ancestors.

8. My mom is super classy! She always dresses very nice. Dressing “down” for her is to put on a denim jacket. But on Sunday afternoons you will find her in her robe and a pair of my dad’s socks.

9. She knows shorthand. Every Christmas she writes her list in shorthand so we don’t know what she bought.

10. And my favorite thing about my mom…she totally lied to my dad when she first met him. She told him she was about 3 years older than she really was (as in, she told him she was a sophomore in college and she was a junior in high school). It’s my favorite story! One day I told my mom I lied to a guy about my age and she said, “You shouldn’t do that!” I said, “Why not, you did?” And she said, “Exactly. Look what happened.” My parents have been married for 38 years now.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Here's a Riddle for You...

Riddle #1: What do you get when you have three siblings (all adults), a box, and a little time to kill?

Answer: Coach in a box.

Riddle #2: What do you get with Coach in a box, a brother who still loves to wrestle, and a sister with a camera?

Answer: Coach getting tipped over while in the box.

Ya, we think we’re funny.

A few other things to note. See those book shelves in these pictures? And see how they are full of old Ensigns? Seriously, some of those issues date back to before I was born. I keep telling my mom that she doesn’t need to keep them anymore and she can find everything she needs online. Still, the magazines remain.

Also, this is a picture of C and my guitar.

Yes, I have a guitar. (Not very many people know that I own this insturment.) Long story about how I actually got a guitar, but yesterday my mom told me if I didn’t take my guitar home she was going to give it to the DI. So I took it home. I left the guitar in the upstairs bedroom for a few minutes while I went to get my camera (to document the box incident) and returned to find C playing the guitar and singing “I am a child of God.” And yes, the guitar only has three strings.

New Header

A shout out to Ang for my awesome new header! Isn't it so cute? Thanks, Ang! You're the best!

Friday, February 22, 2008

I am Elinor Dashwood

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Elinor Dashwood. You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

That's Some Good Deutsch

Ich denke, daß ich meine deutschen Bücher heraus erhalten sollte. Möglicherweise, wenn ich anfange, alles auf Deutsch zu schreiben, der mich motiviert, um ein besserer Kursteilnehmer zu sein.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Letters, We’ve Got Letters

Dear Man who took the bike next to me in spinning class,

Please don’t wear spandex to class again. Your workout attire made me nervous.

Your concerned classmate,


Dear Pres. Bush,

Thank you for signing the Economic Stimulus Plan. I can’t wait to get a Nintendo Wii.

A grateful citizen,


Dear Nephew C,

Thank you for my beautiful Valentine. You did such a good job signing your name. You are my favorite friend!


Jen Jen

Dear Co-workers,

I’m sorry if you sometimes don’t get my sarcasm. But I really do think I’m funny.

The most loyal employee,


Dear Sunshine,

I miss you. Wish you were here. It’s just not the same without you.

In desperate need of a pedicure and flip flops,


Dear Body,

I apologize for the sugar overload today. I think the third cookie was what actually did you in.

Hope you feel better soon,


Dear Other Co-worker,

Thank you for my awesome pirate (fake) tattoo. I’m finally part of the cool kids club.

Arrghh matie,


Dear Future Valentine,

Forget the roses. All I want is a hand-written note that says, “You’re hot!” And maybe a lily or two.

Patiently waiting to meet you,


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Touch of the Master's Hand

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the poem “Touch of the Master’s Hand.” While this poem has meaning to many different people, for many different reasons, this poem hits home to me on a very personal level.

Let the story begin.

I was 10 years old when the music people came to my school. I was immediately drawn to the violin and couldn’t wait to get home and ask my mom if I could play. Unbeknownst to me, my great-grandfather and great-uncle were violinists. My mother didn’t hesitate to let me try my hand at the instrument.

When you signed up for music class, you were allowed to leave your regular class for an hour a day and learn the instrument. I remember loving my music lessons and looking forward to the time of day when we could go to the basement of the school and practice. Even at that young age, the music got a hold of my soul and I knew it was something that would be a part of me forever.

As I got older, I played with the school orchestras and quickly moved up the ranks (if you can call it that in middle school and junior high). I seemed to have a natural talent and the fact that I enjoyed playing the violin helped me. Unfortunately, I was never good at practicing. I just never felt like I “needed” to practice, since the music came easily to me. Like most of my school career, learning was easy. Music didn’t seem much different. Yes, my mother would always tell me how much more advanced I would be if I would just put in some practice, but I didn’t see the need. I was fine where I was. (Now, looking back, I see that she was right.)

When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents decided I needed a better violin. Violins are very expensive, but we began looking at different options. One day, my mom remembered the violin her grandfather had played. My mom’s grandfather passed the violin on to his son. The son played the violin, but had passed away several years earlier. After asking around, we found out that my mom’s uncle’s widow had the violin. My mom’s uncle passed away at a young age and his widow took the death very hard. My mom finally decided to just write a note to her aunt and ask about the violin.

And that was the last I knew about it. Until a few months later. My mom’s other aunt, the sister to the uncle who passed away, called my mom and told her she had the violin and it was mine if we wanted it. Of course I wanted it! I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. The excitement built and built until the day I finally received the violin.

I came home from school one day and there it was. The violin I had been waiting for. The case was old, tattered, and smelled like moth balls. I opened the case and remember breaking down into tears. The violin was ruined! The wood was warped, the strings were broken, and the bow had very little hair left. I was devastated. The violin I had been anxiously waiting for looked useless to me.

We took the violin to my teacher and she played it, warped and all. She told us that the violin had a beautiful tone and was worth having a professional look at. She recommended we go to Peter Prier, a famous violin maker in Salt Lake City. And we did.

Peter Prier was such a sweet man. I remember him being so kind and treating me so well. He looked at the violin and told us he could help. He told me the violin was made in the 1800s in Southern Germany and the bow was made of wood. (If you know anything about violins, you know that wood bows are very uncommon as most are made of fiberglass now days.) He took the violin and started the repairs.

A few weeks went by and we made a stop in to see how the violin was coming along. I, in my young mind, was hoping the violin was ready to take home. I think my parents knew it wouldn’t be ready yet, but they didn’t discourage me and took me to check on the violin. It wasn’t ready yet. The violin was seriously damaged and I’m sure a lot of tender, precious care was put into getting my violin “better.” But I had such high hopes that I remember being just crushed when I couldn’t take my violin home.

Dear, sweet Peter Prier saw how visibly upset I was. He took me in a back room and showed me a Stradivarius violin. A Stradivarius is the best violin around. They are very rare and have the most incredible tone. You cannot make a violin like this anymore. Peter Prier offered to let me play the violin. I was so awestruck, and also very shy, that I didn’t take the opportunity to play but the experience is one I have never forgotten.

Finally, the day arrived that I could take my violin home. And this is where the poem comes in. I truly felt that day that the “touch of the master’s hand” had worked in my life. Peter Prier had taken something that I initially thought was worthless and turned it into a beautiful violin. I’ve taken such care of my violin. I’ve loved that instrument. Every time I played, my eye caught a little something inscribed on the bridge… “Peter Prier.” I’ve never forgotten the love and care he gave my violin.

I’ve felt the presence of those who played this violin before me and I’ve felt the need to pass the violin on to my own children (hopefully) one day.

I’ve had some wonderful experiences with this instrument. I’m positive that my experience with my violin has drawn me closer to my Savior. I recognize what it means to take something that is a “piece of junk” and turn it into something beautiful. I’ve looked at my violin and compared it to my own life on several occasions.

There are days when I really just feel “broken.” Nothing seems to go right, everybody hates you, you’re just not good enough. Everyone has days like that. And yet, somehow, the Master comes and makes it all better. He molds me, fixes the warps, puts on new strings, reminds me of my worth and that the time He is taking to prepare me will be worth it, and somehow, I come out better than I started. Truly, my Savior takes something that some don’t value and turns it into something amazing. He certainly has done this with my life (although, I still have a long ways to go before I’m a fine-tuned instrument.)

Now, Peter Prier has Alzheimer’s. I’m not even entirely sure if he’s still alive. This past Saturday, I picked up my violin. I was tuning it when suddenly there was a very loud “pop.” At first, I thought the strings had broken. And then I saw it. My bridge, in three pieces, lying on the floor. I was crushed! There, on the floor of my music room, was my “Peter Prier” bridge. I felt like the end of an era had come.

The bridge is fixable and the violin will be back to normal before long. But still, knowing that the bridge that Peter Prier gave me was gone has been a bit of a loss. I feel like I’ve lost a friend…a friend that can’t come back. I know if sounds silly, but I feel like I’ve gone through a grieving process. And yet, just like the Master of our lives, someone who knows more than we do comes along and “fixes” what’s broken.

Thank you, Peter Prier, for such a valuable lesson in my life.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Weekend

I had a rather strange, although not terrible, weekend. Here are a few of the happenings:

- Happy Birthday, A! I have the best sister-in-law ever. We celebrated on Friday and had a great time.

- I learned that my house is my nephew’s favorite place to visit. Yes! I’ve been on a quest to be “favorite aunt” ever since that kid was born. Looks like my plan is working.

- Keele got a lot of lingerie. A lot.

- Migraines, on a Saturday, not fun.

- But know what helped? Finding “Sixteen Candles” on TV. If I can’t go out because my head is exploding, a little Long Duck Dong always helps. “That you?” “Ya, that me.”

- What does being a homemaker really mean? And how am I supposed to be a homemaker? I’m a little concerned.

- I am not looking for my soul mate. Although, can’t say that I ever was searching for a soul mate.

- The saddest thing happened. My bridge on my violin broke. I’m very upset by this. It’s fixable, but I’m sad. There will be a blog entry all about the violin so you can understand more why this upsets me.

- Sunshine, a car wash, and no snow!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Random is my Middle Name

It's been awhile since we've had a round of random randomness.

  • There is a window I walk by at work. Every time I walk by it, I think, "Dang, my waist looks small." But it's not.
  • What are we going to do if the choice is McCain and Clinton? Moving to Canada is not the answer.
  • Yesterday, I really wanted an omelet. Not today.
  • I think I met my future husband today. He was driving the side of me on the freeway this morning in a black, 2-seater Mercedes. Maybe it was just the car I fell in love with.
  • I think it's poor taste to invite your co-workers to an MLM meeting.
  • The weather man said 5 days of no snow! Yippee!
  • "Footloose...Everybody cut footloose!"
  • I put my "Phantom of the Opera" CD in this morning. Ahhhhh...
  • Mo Mo, thinking about you today. Hope everything went well yesterday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

4 Things You May or May Not Know About Me

I got this as an email but thought it would be fun to post.

Four things about me that you may or may not have known in no particular order.

Four jobs I have had in my life
1. Pizza maker
2. Farm manager (don’t laugh, it’s true)
3. Violin teacher
4. Telemarketer

Favorite Movies
1. Dead Poets Society
2. Pretty in Pink
3. Footloose
4. Pride & Prejudice

Four places I have lived
1 Payson
2. Pleasant Grove
3. Provo
4. I think I need to get out more

Four TV Shows that I watch
1. Friends
2. Biggest Loser
3. The Office (when there’s not a writers' strike!)
4. What Not to Wear

Four places I have been
Too many to limit it to 4, so I’ll just put my favorites.
1. Lucerne, Switzerland
2. St. Petersburg, Russia
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
4. New York City

Four of my favorite foods
1. Mom’s chicken casserole
2. Lasagna, with no cottage cheese
3. Pesto pasta with pinenuts
4. Grilled cheese sandwiches

Four places I would rather be right now
1. In Hawaii with sunshine
2. San Diego with sunshine
3. At my house with sunshine
4. Did I mention sunshine?

Four Things I am looking forward to in 2008
1. Surviving the winter
2 My tax refund
3. Getting my emergency preparedness under control
4. Going on vacations

Monday, February 4, 2008

I Got Schooled by a 3-Year Old

You can't really tell from this picture, but that is the screen with bowling scores. I bowled 74; my 3-year old nephew bowled 75. That's right, I lost to a 3-year old. But it sure was fun!

In other random bits of news, Saturday we were at Lowe's getting my dad a birthday present. C was carrying a shopping basket when he decided he wanted to get in the shopping cart. This is C sitting in his shopping basket, in the shopping cart. One of the funniest things I have ever seen. And yes, we needed two carts. One for the kids and one for our purchases.

And this is M. In our family, it is very uncommon for babies to have hair. All of my mom's kids had very fine, blonde hair when the hair finally decided to come in. C was bald for a long time, just like his dad. But not M. He has the longest, darkest hair. On Sunday, I decided to put some gel in his hair and this was the result.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wear Red

Today is National Wear Red day. (And I’m wearing black, but I do have a red purse so that should count for something). February is National Heart Month. So this is a plea for all to take care of their hearts!

Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women in America? Very few people know this fact and even fewer women know the signs of heart disease. Women experience different symptoms of a heart attack than men. Most of these symptoms are very subtle and many women ignore the signs. Women just don’t take heart health seriously, mostly because heart disease has been considered a “man’s” disease. The truth is one in four women will die of heart disease.

Here are some signs for women to look for:

- Chest pain, but may also be back pain and/or a deep throbbing in one or both arms.
- Breathlessness, especially when waking up.
- Dizziness.
- Fluid retention, especially in the lower legs and ankles.
- Anxiety, a general feeling of doom.
- Feeling of heaviness, such as pressure-like chest pain between the breasts that may radiate to the left arm or shoulder.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat.
- Some women report just being tired.

For more information, go here:

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a little bit sassy...