Friday, December 28, 2007

Lizzy or Elinor?

I'm a sucker for online tests. My mom and sister-in-law told me about this one that tells you which Jane Austen character you are. Being a sucker for Jane Austen, I was on Google before they finished explaining it to me.

Both my mom and Kelly turned out to be Elinor Dashwood. I figured I would be the same, but it turned out I was Elizabeth Bennett. I took it again a few days later for good measure and turned out to be Elinor Dashwood. I realize I can be a walking contradiction, so that only makes sense.

Take the test girls, and let me know who you are. But make sure you take the right test. There was this really lame one with a question that asked: If you were portrayed in a film or TV movie, it would be by...

a) Emma Thompson
b) Keira Knightley or Jennifer Ehle
c) Gwyneth Paltrow
d) Kate Winslet

Please. So don't use the link on the Elinor Dashwood picture. Instead click on Lizzy Bennett and that will take you to a better quiz.

This got me to thinking about how much I love those Jane Austen movies and those scenes I would rewind to watch over and over again. You know which scenes I'm talking about. There's that one when Jennifer Ehle is playing the piano and Colin Firth glances over at her and they lock eyes for what seems like several minutes.

Then there's the one where Mr. Darcy and Lizzy Bennett are out in the rainstorm (2005 version) and they're yelling at each other and you think that they might, just might kiss. Oh and then later on in that movie when Lizzy comes to Pemberly and meets his sister. His sister gets up from the piano and walks over to meet Lizzy. There's this part where Mr. Darcy looks at Lizzy with adoring eyes. The first scene in the movie where he actually smiles I think.

While we're talking about Mr. Darcy, there's a scene in Bridget Jones's Diary (based on Pride and Prejudice) where Colin Firth and Rene Zelwegger are making dinner for her friends on her birthday. Colin glances over at her and watches her and you only pray that someday your own Mr. Darcy will look at you like that.

Am I swooning? OK. I am totally done with this post. Girls, take the test. Boys, you can go vomit now.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Home Alone

I've had the house to myself for the past few days. Now, my two roommates and I are fairly clean people. We are conscious of shared spaces and are generally very good at picking up after ourselves. But I learned something about myself these past few days: If there is no one else around, I WILL spread out.

Exhibit A:I have been known to leave shoes downstairs, or on the stairs occasionally, but these shoes have sat outside my own bedroom door for the past three days. Would it be hard to move them around the corner and into my room? No, not at all.

Exhibit B:

I always try to push my keyboard in and my chair in after I use my computer so Carri doesn't tumble over it when she walks out of her bedroom at 5:30 in the morning. Is it hard to push in my keyboard and chair? No. Why haven't I? Because I haven't had to. Oh, and my desk is never this messy either. I actually tidied up a bit before I snapped this photo.

Exhibit C:
I got a little artistic with this one. This is my gum wrapper I left on the counter in the kitchen. Is this one even a big deal? Not at all. But it's not like me. In fact, I almost threw this away instinctively a few times but stopped myself because I knew I needed to take a picture of it at some point for this post.

Wow. My blog controls me a little bit.

Exhibit D:

My leaving a pillow on the floor accidentally happens, but a blanket AND a pillow? Not to mention the book. Only when there is no one around to see it.

Exhibit E:

This is the best one. Not only did I leave one purse flung over the chair, in the background you can see a second green purse I left on the loveseat. What? Laura uses two different purses in a matter of two days? Yes. It's true. Oh, and the knitting I have sitting on the chair migrates from the couch to the chair to the coffee table on any given day. That's not an anomaly.

I'm happy to report I have since cleared my clutter and cleaned the house. It is ready for roommates again. Well, the downstairs at least. Maria comes home tonight but Carri isn't back until Tuesday so I don't need to clean off my desk or move my shoes quite yet.

Monday, December 17, 2007


This is my phone. I am generally satisfied with it. When I buy a phone, I don’t want a lot of features. In fact, I purposefully bought a phone without a camera, which is getting harder to find these days. I already have a camera, I don’t need one on my phone, and I don’t need internet on my phone either. I don’t even think I want an mp3 player on my phone because then I’d have to mess with headphones. I have an iPod. It’s smaller than my phone. And I like that.

I think it’s a little presumptuous of Samsung or whomever to create a phone with all these features that are useless to me. I don’t play the games on my phone, I barely use the “organizer” and I’ve never used the voice memo.

I think it would be quite clever of someone to start a business where you buy a phone that comes with the standard features: You can make and receive calls, text message and maintain a phone book. And then, just like when you go to build-a-car online, you can add your trim and accessories according to your needs and budget.

I thought of this last night when I was caroling at a nursing home in Bountiful. We started “O Come All Ye Faithful” a little too low so our bass couldn’t really sing his part. Someone said, “Who has a pitch pipe?” Of course no one did, but how awesome would it be if I had a pitch pipe on my phone? It would be so easy. There are 12 notes in an octave – there are 12 number keys on my phone. All I would have to do is switch from phone mode to pitch mode and each key would be a different note. See? Brilliant.

While I’m inventing fantasy features for my phone, here are others I would find useful. And it’s not like the technology isn’t there. I think it could happen.

For speaking to large crowds. Or getting the attention of noisy children.

My phone gives off a little light, but hardly anything that can help me make my way down Kristi and Stephanie’s stairs after a late movie night.

Digital Audio Recorder
Yeah, I know there's voice memo, but I need more memory. This would be extremely helpful when conducting interviews for my 15 Bytes articles. I wouldn’t have to mess with an audio tape. I could just plug it directly into my iTunes and import the file.

Universal Remote Control
All the numbers you need are there, the on and off button, volume. Just switch to “remote control” mode.

Yeah. This is a great idea. Move over iPhone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmases Past

Most of my friends are familiar with my family’s tradition of celebrating a different country every year for Christmas Eve. My mom’s side of the family gets together every year and eats the food, sings the songs, and participates in the traditions of that country. The extent of this practice depends on the person hosting the evening. We’ve covered England, Greece, Germany, Mexico, and Poland.

This year we’ve chosen Italy. So we’ll have a lot of pasta, cannoli, and Babo Natale.

But we didn’t always do this. Back in the day we just had a regular American Christmas – well, there was always a pinata. But we ate ham and turkey, sang regular Christmas songs and put on a musical program. When we were really little we did a nativity scene and my uncle Tony read the Christmas story. We’d all change into our pajamas and then my uncle Steve read a children’s book about a dog and some shoes or something? Lis, help me out there. And then Grandpa’s traditional organ concert from 11:30 till midnight at the LDS chapel down the hill continues on.

I was talking to Lisa and we realized we haven’t been documenting our foreign Christmases very well, but Lisa has gathered a lot of photos from Christmases past. So I can thank her for this little slide show.

Oh, I'm glad she didn't scan the one with me in the beret. I'm afraid that was neither a costume nor a French Christmas that year. My only explanation was that it was a gift from Grandma Durham.

It’s funny looking at these pictures, because I never thought about it before, but the living room in my grandparents house looks very similar to that of my parents house with the placement of the baby grand piano against the vertical windows.

I want a piano.
I miss Grandma C.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Small Annoyances

Everyone has those irritable days when even a small annoyance sets them off. I don’t have many of those days. And today actually isn’t one of those days for me. In fact, today, although I’m not feeling very well, I am full of love and gratitude and peace and forgiveness.

But I remember a few weeks ago I was at Roberts Arts and Crafts. It started out as a good day, but just being in that crowded store began a downward spiral.

Do you ever have a hard time committing to a check out line? You walk up there with maybe three or four items and all the lines already have three or four people waiting with full shopping carts. You survey your options. It’s a difficult decision sometimes because despite how many people are in front of you, there are other factors to consider: how full is their cart? Are they making an exchange? Is he buying fragile items that need to be individually wrapped? Is she going to wait until everything is rung up before searching in her purse for a checkbook? Does she look difficult? Is the cashier new?

So that day, as I committed to a line, I soon realized I committed to the wrong line. I stood there in silence, as customers who joined the other lines much later than I joined mine grabbed their bagged purchases and headed out the door. I passively listened to unnecessary conversations and pointless questions at the register. I observed with reserved patience. But after twenty minutes of not moving in that line, my purchases getting weightier in my arms, people bumping up behind me and kids flying past me on their sneaker wheels, I went ahead and decided I hated everyone in that store.

I bring this up because I just found a document on my computer with a list I must have made on one of those irritable days. I think I was saving this for posting on my blog when I didn’t have much of anything to say. So here it is:

Sayings/phrases I could do without:

“That’s hot”
I don’t know why anyone would want to join the Paris Hilton bandwagon…or, join her off the wagon.

“No worries”
Most people who say this to me say it instead of “you’re welcome” when I thank them for something. Or maybe it replaces “don’t worry about it. Which is fine, only I’m not worried about it, I just want to express gratitude.

“Git’r done”
I actually don’t know where this originated, but it’s usually said with a scruffy voice. Maybe if I knew where it came from I would understand the accompanying voice. Whatever, it’s annoying.

It’s not a real word. It means the same as estimate, am I wrong?

“Senior moment”
I actually have no idea why that rubs me the wrong way. Just…just don’t.

Most phrases beginning with “literally” because most of the time, they’re using the word figuratively.

These last three speak for themselves:

“Brain fart”

“Potty mouth”

“Artsy fartsy”

This is funny, because I have a lot of friends and people I really love who use some of these sayings. Don’t take it personally, but if you have any phrases you want to add to my list, please leave a comment.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I had another dream about the mouse. Oh, I’m sorry; I never shared my first dream. I thought about it, but ended up not posting it. But now that I’ve had two dreams about the house mouse, I think a post is well-warranted.

I never followed up on the poll either. For those of you who follow my blog, you’ll remember the majority believed the mouse just left on its own. I can report that despite the plethora of trapping devices and other deterrents that decorate our house, there is no mouse to be found. At one point, Maria and I thought he might be in the mouse house and we stared at it for several seconds on the table before Maria opened it. No mouse.

So the past couple weeks I’ve dreamed about our mouse. The first dream was really odd: as I was getting ready to leave the house, there was a huge dead mouse in the middle of the kitchen floor – more like a rat. And there were bits and pieces of other mice all around. I noticed this just as some EMTs came up to our door. They weren’t there for the mice (as my sister so deftly pointed out to me, EMTs are not exterminators). I believe they had the wrong house, but I was kind of hoping they’d take care of the mouse mess for me.

My second dream was just last night. Maria and I were getting ready to leave the house to go somewhere. The door was open as we were talking. I was in the living room and she was standing by the door. All of a sudden, this huge black mouse came running in and stopped in the middle of the carpet. He looked bigger than I remember him, but he was really skinny – and super stressed out. He looked more like a frazzled, cartoon mouse on crack. We just kind of looked at him for a minute as he stood on his hind legs, and then he frantically left the house.

So I’m thinking until I get some closure on this mouse thing, I’m going to keep having these dreams. Last week I was at our main office. This girl had a weird rubber mouse and trap on her desk. Like an idiot, I pushed the button that said “push me” and the whole thing lit up and shook as the mouse squealed. I’ll tell you what, I squealed a lot louder than that stupid rubber mouse. On Friday I was at the London Market on 700 East. I saw this cute little gray stuffed animal. I walked over to pick it up and it was a mouse. I disgustedly said, “Ew!” at a more than audible level. People were looking.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Temple Lights Tour

This year has gone by so fast. I can't believe it was time again for the ward's annual Christmas Lights tour on temple square. I remember it being colder last year, although last night was pretty cold too. But last night was definitely the most entertaining.

Our bishop led the tour. Is he an official tour guide? No. And the temple square workers don't like that one bit. But he was wearing a suit and yelling at the top of his lungs so he drew a crowd. And he is very knowledgeable when it comes to church history and symbolism and everything, but I felt bad for the people who latched onto us, because they didn't understand that only half of the things that come out of JP's mouth are true.

The Bishop mentioned he got kicked out of Temple Square before. I thought he was just joking, but after last night I believe it. He kept asking us to keep our eyes out for anyone that “looks serious.” He did manage to get us kicked out of the Visitors Center for giving an unauthorized tour. A nice missionary couple politely watched him for awhile until they interrupted him, shook his hand and asked that we speak to a sister missionary so we can learn a few things. The Bishop said he knows where they are outside and he'll take us to them. But instead he took us to the Museum of Church History and Art. Fortunately a girl in our ward is an official employee of the Museum so she ran ahead and warned them that we were coming.

As we left Temple Square the Bishop turned around and said, “Wasn't that great?! Can you believe we made it out of there? Seriously the fact that we made it out of there is a miracle – considering all the cameras they have on us. And the misinformation.”

Not to mention the laser pointer. He had the laser pointer on the temple showing us the “pilasters” and the sunstones and moonstones and which rooms were which. I mean, it could have easily been mistaken as a sniper.

My two favorite things I learned that aren't true:

1.The columns in the temple are hollow because they wanted to fill them with methane gas so there could be torches at the top that burned 24/7

2.When the Bishop was climbing up the temple for a documentary film, a man opened up one of the windows and started throwing out cyanide for the pigeons. And they had to time it just right so the pigeons wouldn't immediately fall down dead in the bushes, but have enough time to fly away and die somewhere else.

As we walked to Paul's for hot chocolate afterwards, we passed the Bishop's house on West Temple. Bishop glanced over at his house and said, “The guy who lives there is crazy.”