Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hooked on Traffic Cams

I have been closely following Steve and Alex's progress home from Rexburg today..through traffic camera pictures.  I looked at the roads in Idaho and Oregon...and now Washington.  If he has been able to keep up his speed somewhat...he should be nearing Ellensburg right about now.  The above picture was taken about 40 miles this side of Ellensburg.

Drive carefully.  I mean it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adeiu...

I took more pictures, I just didn't realize I had the camera on video. 

Steve, Alex, Nathan and Rebekah left here nearly an hour ago...heading east.  East to Rexburg.  The weather is okay here - cold and overcast... but they're bound to find some snow sooner or later.  I vote later.

Steve picked up some chains earlier today...I'm hoping he won't have to use them.  I think we've only ever had to use them once or twice in the past 30 years.  Les Schwab Tires said he can return them in April if they haven't been used.  We'll see.  We'll see if we remember that we have them in April.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Through

Each year, around New Year's, I like to get my house in order.  I didn't really give it much thought this year...until today.  I have been running on "get through it" mode for the past few weeks...get through the wedding...get through Christmas...get through company...get through getting Nathan and Rebekah moved...

I've "gotten through" most of the above (Nathan and Rebekah leave tomorrow) I'm running out of excuses.

Saturday morning the Verizon guy came out to install our new Fios system (all I know is that it involves internet and phones).  I was just going to ignore the mess in my office for a few days while I worked on other chores...but I sort of got on a roll...and low and behold, here it is Monday night and my office is pretty much done.  So is the big hall closet. Wow.

Tomorrow I plan to focus on helping the happy couple gather up their belongings from the four quarters of the house...and in the process I should be able to knock a couple more rooms off my list of places to clean and organize.  Ring out wild bells!

Speaking of Ring Out Wild Bells...we sang that as the closing song in Sacrament Meeting yesterday.  I usually hate it - it is sooo not a congregational hymn, but yesterday I must admit was much better than usual.  Sure, the congregation didn't have a clue about the words or the rhythm, as usual,but the organist did.  Brother Toy played it fast and loud - the song was fairly rolicking.  Rebekah turned around after the meeting was over and pronounced it "hardcore".  Thank you, Brother Toy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Farewell to Christmas....

The tree is down...and while it was a pretty tree, I am happy to reclaim floor/window space.  While I'm at it, I think I will go ahead and take down most of the rest of our Christmas decorations.

Steve has already given me another major project...he tore apart my office this morning so that the new internet router could be installed behind my desk (it happens to be the most central place in the house, darn it).

I plan on focusing my efforts on cleaning up Christmas...and shall place a virtual invisibility cloak over the whole mess.  Since we don't really have an invisibility cloak, I shall borrow heavily from Douglas Adams and wrap it all in a "SEP Field" (Someone Else's Problem).  That way, even though it is still there, it will be undectable.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cruise Control

Steve surprised me with a new sewing machine for Christmas.  As I opened the wrapping paper I was a little dismayed to see the amount of buttons this puppy came with.  It looked complicated.  Within about 10 or 15 minutes I had the bobbin loaded, the machine threaded and started sewing some test patterns.  Turns out it is pretty easy.  You can even push a button and it will sew on its own.  Cruise control.  It is pretty darn awesome.  This machine does not come close to Stephanie's fancy one - but for a point and shoot gal like me, it's just fine.

I don't plan on getting rid of my vintage Kenmore...when my sisters visit we will be able to do twice the sewing.

Christmas Toy

It may not be anywhere near the fanciest camera in the family - but it sure beats the sucky Nikon I had. 

I do like a good point and shoot camera, because that's the kind of girl I am.  I used to have a Kodak EasyShare - several years ago - that's the camera we took to Europe...but then the rechargeable battery started to get less dependable.  Then came the Nikon.  On the one hand, it's great that the Nikon is prominently featured in a song ("I got a Nikon camera...") but that doesn't make up for the dark, fuzzy pictures.

Bring it on Kodak.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Baking 2009

I was feeling a little bad about not doing any Christmas baking this year.  So I did a little today.  I made a family favorite - it's a variation on coconut macaroons.  We call them "coconut flatties".  It uses the same recipe as the macaroons, you just neglect to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (oops). 

After that fiasco wonderful batch of cookies I decided to try another one.  These actually turned out quite cute.  Maybe even cute enough to take to the neighbors.  I made chocolate cake mix cookies, dipped them in white chocolate and then sprinkled pulverized candy canes on the top.  Those cookies along with some leftover candy canes....I think we may be on to something.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aprons, aprons, aprons.

Last week it was purses. This week it's aprons. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure that my recent sewing fetish will evaporate like dew in the Sahara just as soon as Christmas is over.

I made three aprons this morning - before the boys woke up. This evening I managed to finish one and NEARLY finish 3 more. I still have the waistband to blind stitch on those 3. I didn't add any fancy pockets (I've never found pockets either necessary or desirable in an apron). I did add piping to 3. Because I could. All the aprons I made today, except one, are reversible - because that's how I roll.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Remains of the Day

"Pikagroom", and "Pikabride" cake toppers...decorated by Rebekah and Nathan.

The wedding is over. The reception is over. The cultural hall was cleaned up. The church kitchen was cleaned up. Cars and vans were loaded up and stuff hauled home. Somehow we ended up with the leftover wedding cake. There was a LOT of leftover wedding cake. We froze the top layers for Nathan and Rebekah to have at a future time...we froze some more to be served as dessert on Wednesday (when they get home from their honeymoon and open presents)....but that still left an awful lot of cake.
Coincidentally I still happened to have a lot of company today. Being the gracious hostess that I am, I offered a healthy breakfast of :
  • Orange Juice
  • Bacon
  • Wedding Cake

My guests didn't manage to make too much of a dent in it. Whatever is left tomorrow is going...going....

Rebekah's dad called me this evening to offer us some of the leftover goodies from the wedding. I told him no - unless he wanted to take some cake off of our hands. He gracefully declined...his co-workers will be reaping the rewards of my "no" tomorrow at work.

Maybe I should post it on Craig's List.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Whispering of the Spirit

One of my responsibilities as a seminary teacher is to help my students to recognize promptings of the Spirit. It helps if the teacher also recognizes promptings....which in my case doesn't always happen. Definitely something I'm working on. I'm amazed at myself when I do - and know that I did.

This morning we had an all classes seminary breakfast. It's the last day of classes before Christmas break, so we got all the students together - I'm not sure what the final head count was - something like 60 or 70 kids...a goodish amount.

My assignment was to bring orange juice and an electric griddle. I hauled them down to the van this morning, then backed out of the garage. As I was just about ready to shut the garage, I had a thought come to me "Pam". I put on the parking brake, jumped out of the van and grabbed some out of the bunker.

As I was bringing my stuff into the kitchen at church 10 minutes later, one of the first things that was said to me was "you didn't by any chance think to bring some butter or Pam??" I was happy to say yes.

The Spirit whispered "Pam".

Thursday, December 17, 2009


These are the projects I worked on this week - when I probably should have been doing something else.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Do

I haven't been posting much for the past few weeks...and the rest of this week isn't looking too hot for computer time, so here's a roundup of some of the stuff going on around here this week.

  • I've been sewing, daily sewing...but since I'm making gifts, the pictures will have to wait.
  • snow...not much, just enough to cancel seminary yesterday. Warmer weather is on its way.
  • did I mention that I've been sewing?
  • cleaning house...with Alex, my helper elf. Trying to make the "fuzzy housekeeping" not look too fuzzy.
  • cooking - a little Christmas cookie cooking is in order. A very little. Maybe just a batch or two.
  • Before I do my baking, I'd better go grocery shopping.
  • David flies in tomorrow night!
  • Keira, Nathan, Jonah, Laura, Spencer, Zach, Tia and Suzanne arrive Friday!!
  • Wedding on Saturday morning
  • Reception Saturday afternoon.
  • Reception is over around 5pm - then we can relax and have fun.

If I get the chance, I'm going to try and get my hair cut sometime...I need to cut the boys hair before Saturday....I have two more seminary lessons to country's 500th anniversary wedding to plan, a wedding to plan, my wife to murder, Guilder to frame for it....I'm swamped.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

While fiddling around trying to copy pictures from my camera to another SD card I accidentally lost the email I was writing.

This past week on Thursday Evening I caught a cold. I had a slight fever all the way till Saturday evening when it went away. My throat is a little worse for wear but we were able to go to church on Sunday.

It`s cool to hear that the 787 is about to fly. I hope things go well with that. Will Boeing be able to make lots more relatively quickly if this one is good to go? It would be cool to fly home from Japan on a 787 :P

Good luck on the wedding this weekend. That`s really soon now. Are you done planning everything for it? Don`t stress out too much.

Have a wonderful Christmas!


Elder Andrew West

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Load Off...

Buying your Christmas cards in September is no guarantee of getting them out in a timely manner. Trust me, I know.

I usually try and send my cards out the week right after Thanksgiving . Not this year. This year I'm just happy that I remembered that I had already bought cards.

Family letter insert: lame, lame, lame.

Lame, but done.

I have the first batch in the mail. Now Steve gets to address his cards....yeah, I don't do his. Brilliant strategy on my part. Brilliant.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

75%...maybe 80%

Have you ever noticed that the word sewer can mean different things? I find it ironic that "sewer" - a person who sews, and "sewer"-a system of pipes used to transport waste...are spelled the same. I guess that's why we call people who sew "seamstress" and "tailor" - those words just sound better.

It amazes me that I can never get my office/craft/sewing room completely organized. I guess I could if I took all the craft stuff and fabric out...but barring that, I'm not sure it could ever be completely done - and still be usable.

I managed to get most of my office tidied up this morning - emphasis on "most". I have a few smallish sewing projects that I would like to do before Christmas - and frankly, they weren't going to get done with the clutter in the way. Of course, as soon as I start working on my projects...there goes the neatness. I am such a messy sewer.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thrifty Shopper

It's amazing how much money I saved forgetting to take my wallet with me when I went shopping. I should try it more often. Not.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our Man in Japan

I wonder if Andrew's oven is anything like this one?

Dear Family and Friends,
I hope you`re all doing well. This past week went pretty well for us. The weather is getting colder and I`m probably going to start dressing warmer one of these days, I just never remember to dress warmly in the morning before study.

The ward here has it`s Christmas activity on December 23. Unfortunately that may be the same day as Zone Conference. Hopefully not. Preparation day on that week will be moved to Christmas. That should also be the time when we do our phone call.

As far as anything that would be nice in a package from America all I can think of is... an oven. Unfortunately that wouldn`t really work out. Our current oven isn`t really great at baking stuff evenly at all. Last time I tried to bake brownies the top got burned partly and the rest was too gooey to be delicious. In fact it was not delicious and ended up in the garbage, that made me sad. The pan that I cooked them in has also ended up in the garbage. But that`s more because it`s an old cheap rusty pan that has a weird smell.

My companion Elder Johnson is doing really good. We`ve been getting some good chances to teach the lessons so he`s been getting some practice.

Don`t stress out too much over the wedding reception. I`d help but... I don`t think month old brownies or lemon bars shipped from Japan would help at all. Just take some pictures.

I`m running out of things to write. Please ask questions. But I think you`re running out of questions.

Elder Andrew West

PS. I need Stephanie`s new address
PS.. If you just sent a copy of your camera`s SD card, or something it would be nice.
PS... Also a English and Japanese CD of the last 2 conferences would be awesome. I`ve listened to the one from last year quite a few times now, it would be cool to hear this year`s again.
PS.... I probably won`t send a package but I`ll copy my SD card again and mail it. There`s 817 pictures now, I`ll probably go through and delete duplicates and stuff first and send it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2 Weeks Notice

2 weeks from today: Nathan and Rebekah's wedding!

Less than 3 weeks until Christmas.

Let's panic now and avoid the rush.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


David Tennant - my favorite "Dr. Who" far.

Steve, my favorite 51 year old far.

For Steve's birthday cake, I made a copy of the Tardis. For those of you not familiar with the tv series Dr. Who, the TARDIS is the Doctor's time machine. The acronym TARDIS stands for: time and relative dimension in space. I know, you're saying to yourself "who cares?" I just want to make sure that you understand the name...and also the fact that since mine turned out pretty crappy, I christened it the "Re-Tardis" - as in retarded. Which also, strangely enough, applies to me.

Yesterday I posted about Steve's birthday and all but stated that "51" is a prime number. It is not. David knew it - his little poem in the comments was quite clever, and nicely didn't exactly say "Mom, you're sooo dumb".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Area 51

I'm getting a head start on this one. Tomorrow is Steve's birthday. Since he's almost a year older than me, that makes him...51.

Prime Number.
Prime Rib.
Prime Time.
Prime Rate.
Amazon Prime.

He's just plain prime.

Happy Birthday to one prime piece of real estate.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cartography 101

Either I'm an awesome mapmaker, or I'm really good when it doesn't matter too much where things go on a map. It only took me an hour from start to finish. Yea!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family,

Sorry about not emailing last week, it was a holiday and there was a place to email. The week before I worked on my BYU application and the week before that no email.

So last week, Thanksgiving Day was transfer day. Unfortunately you can`t really plan much on a transfer day. I think we ate gyoza and rice for dinner.

Random things from the past month:

November 11- I was on an exchange with a Japanese elder, one of the contacts went pretty long because he was trying to convince the person to listen without using The Book of Mormon. I finally pulled the Book of Mormon out of the Japanese Elder`s little pouch (I had already given mine away) and testified about it and the restoration of the gospel and prophets. The guy then proceeded to tell Elder Kudo that he had never heard of the Book of Mormon and we should share that message right away. It was a good learning experience.

November 15-17- Our sink drain wasn`t draining much and we ended up washing dishes in the bathroom sink for a while. We poured drain cleaner, soap, bleach and stuff down to no effect. In the end we filled the sink up with water and I think the pressure fixed it.

November 23- Transfer calls. Elder Kimura is transferring to Himeji, the opposite side of the mission. I`m training again. I was pretty surprised by that call, I was expecting to train last time but wasn`t expecting it this time. We ate dinner at a member`s house in the evening. During the meal at one point the husband said `Honey, why`s there a crab in the microwave`. He opened the microwave and there was a whole crab sitting on a plate in the microwave. Apparently one of there kids brought it home. We ended up eating it. It`s the first time I`ve eaten crab brain.

November 26- Thanksgiving. Ate a few day old donuts for breakfast. Some rice and Tonkatsu for lunch. And some potstickers and rice for dinner. I also went to the Mission Home to pick up a new elder.

On the train ride to the Mission home a couple little girls were standing a little bit behind me on a really packed train. When the train finally stopped at a station I heard one of them saying `Nana... Nana...` and the other one was lying unconscious on the floor. She must have fainted. It`s very fortunate she wasn`t trampled on that train. A station worker ran onto the train grabbed her and ran off.

When President McIntyre was telling us who we`re training Elder Imai (The elder I trained a few months ago) and I were the last ones left along with two new missionaries. President McIntyre read off the assignments in a strange way that left us confused. But Elder Imai just was waving them over and so we assumed he had figured it out. Anyways we went over and hugged our new companions and welcomed them and then Elder Price looked at his letter and was reading it and saying `I`m Elder Price right?`. We realized the mistakes and switched companions and hugged again, but it was pretty funny. The missionary I`m training is Elder Johnson. His mom is Japanese and he`s lived on one of the airbases in Japan for about 10 years so his Japanese is pretty good. We`ve had a good few days so far.

Alright that`s it for this week.

Love you take care. I`ll probably be emailing weekly again.

Elder Andrew West.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dancing with the Turkey Brine

When Danny started making the turkey brine yesterday, Rebekah loaned him her apron. She put it on him and tied the sash. Danny was okay with it until the camera came out.
Alex showed support by donning my apron - but Danny was still awfully shy of having his picture taken.

I did manage to snap a couple of pictures with quite a bit of swish. Looks like he's dancing...instead of running away from the camera.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Husband's Double Life

A certified letter came for my husband today. It was from the State of Utah Department of Commerce. ??? Yeah, I was curious. Yeah, I opened it.

Here's an excerpt:

"You may continue to use the title of Doctor in front of [your] name. However, initials of DL (Doctor of Lymphology) and PMD (Doctor of Preventative Medicine) need to be changed. It is in DOPL's opinion that these terms would lead a reasonable person to believe that you are indeed a medical doctor, disclaimer not withstanding. The proposed changes are LS (Lymphology Specialist) and PMS or SPM (Preventative Medicine Specialist)."

The letter then went on to say that the State is seeking a "cease and desist order", and that if this person didn't cease and desist the State would move for civil penalties in the amount of $2,000 per day.

Ouch. $2,000 a day??

The good news is that I'm pretty sure this is a case of mistaken identity...but who knows? Steve did just spend a week in Utah...hmmm. I think I may just have to have a little heart to heart with him when he gets home.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seminnamonary Rolls?

Carefully balanced on top of my thawing turkey...pan #2 of cinnamon rolls. Pan #1 is on a lower shelf - balanced on the eggs.

Tomorrow is going to be a game day for seminary - not only that, but ALL of the freshmen are meeting together. (Cue the roaring crowd). Potentially twenty six 14 year old boys and girls. Always a good idea to have some kind of treat, and homemade is way cheaper than store bought. Two dozen doughnuts would be well over $10. They don't pay me enough to fork out for that kind of treat very often.

I have an awesome, if somewhat undeserved, reputation for my coffee cake (or, as this year's class now calls it, "seminary cake"). It's a simple straightforward recipe - but what makes it wonderful is that I bring it to church hot out of the oven - so it's still slightly warm at the end of class. The aroma of freshly baked coffee cake wafts through the building. Not only does my class love it, but so do my students from last year...Kids from other classes will come in and try and mooch - if there looks like there are any leftovers. I'm a soft touch (plus I don't want to take it home) - so I make sure that all of the cake is gone before I leave.

The same goes for the cinnamon rolls. I don't make them nearly as often (because I have to think about making them much sooner). I wonder if the name "Seminnamonary Rolls" will catch on?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Full Plate

Steve gets home this morning! Yea!!

Thanksgiving on Thursday, as usual.

Black Friday Seminary Bash...what was I thinking?

November 28th through December 2nd: Birthday (Cindy), Birthday(Sherri), Birthday(Sara), Birthday(Keira), oh, and Steve's Birthday (not necessarily in that order)

Christmas season....

Wedding season...

Serenity now, insanity later.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Retail Therapy

It's always a little dangerous when Steve goes out of town. He is never sure what he'll be coming home to. I have been known to totally make-over rooms...from the floor to the ceiling. It's partly a way of coping - and partly just for fun - especially when I can get a sister or two to come and help.

It's just not happening this time. I just don't have the time and/or energy...not to mention money (remember, we have a wedding coming up!) to do a home make-over.

I did have the time and less money to spend on Amazon buying books. It all started because I needed to buy a book for Danny's literature class. And then there was the "buy 3 get a 4th book free" thing...and then there were some used books that I wanted...let's just say I ended up with more than 4 books. Yeah. I think I ended up with 12 books and 1 DVD. Oops. I think I won't open some of the packages when they come - I'll let Steve wrap them up for me for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lonely, but not alone...

I have no idea what it feels like to be home alone...Alex is home most of the time, Danny is home most of the time...Nathan is here when he's not at work...usually with Rebekah... I don't have a lot of time when I'm the only one in the house.

Steve is midway through his stay in Salt Lake-and even though I'm not alone, I am feeling a bit lonely.

Hey Stephen...I miss you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Tale of Two Dresses

There really should be a law, or at very least a custom, that the mother of the groom can wear whatever they want to a wedding. Really. It could be that "something old".

I've been putting off the dreaded "Shopping for a Dress to Wear". It can be so soul-sucking to go shopping for something as specific as a wedding appropriate navy blue dress. Thanks to Suzanne, I girded up my loins and went shopping yesterday. It wasn't too bad - I only had to try on 4 dresses in two stores at one outlet mall. It definitely could have been worse.

Do I love the dress? No. But again, it could be worse. I do actually like it. And it fulfills all requirements - and that part I love.

Speaking of dress love...I found a dress for Miriam's birthday that I do love. I saw it first at Fred Meyer's a couple of days ago - I didn't get it then because I didn't know what size to get. After I talked to Stephanie I went to get it....and they were out of her size. Dang. That's okay though - after I found my dress at the outlet mall, I remembered that the mall had an Osh Kosh store. I wandered in - and lo and behold - there was the dress, in the right size, and marked 60% off. Wahoo. Or as Sue would say...woot!