Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm Such A Sucker

Really. I am.

I can't say no.

A few minutes ago the phone rang and so I did what any good employee does.

I answered it.

"Good Morning, Linden Nursery."

And I heard this:

"Good Morning Sweetheart."

And inside I cringed because I knew that in a few minutes I was going to agree to buy something we don't need.

Suzie Letsky, originally from Long Island, NY, but now a resident of Florida, lives with her husband, step son, his wife, their two kids, and the kids' two dogs and a turtle. The step son et al will be there for another year at least. Suzie's other son is going to Afghanistan next month. It will be his third and hopefully last time there. Suzie and her step son have birthdays two days apart. They celebrated by going to a local crab place. It was delicious!

Suzie's husband is in law enforcement, as is his ex-wife. They're all friends. Recently the ex-wife waited out a hurricane at Suzie's house because the ex-wife wasn't prepared for the hurricane. But since Suzie didn't cause the divorce she's okay with being friends with the ex-wife. After all, she's raised the step son since he was five.

Do you know that much about the people who sell you stuff? Suzie sells pens, magnets, pocket calenders, greeting cards, and key chains. Until today I had purchased all but the key chains. Anyone want a key chain? I ordered 12 dozen of them. Why 12 dozen? Because that's the smallest amount I can order.

Want to hear my argument? "But Dad, it's a company that employs handicapped people, and the majority of the profits go to them. And Dad, the company does a good thing for these people and I can't not support it." Think that will go over well?

The pens disappeared over time...as I knew they would.

I sent the magnets out one year to all of our customers...but I still have two boxes of them.

I've ordered the greeting cards a couple of times. I send them out at Christmas. The art work on the cards is done by the handicapped employees. I've still got some of the cards. Maybe I 'll send YOU one.

Let's see...the pocket calenders. Well when they arrived we were in the middle of doing some reconstruction work on the office and sadly they got stuck somewhere and weren't found again until ... the next year, when they were no longer usable. I had to throw most of them away. (Don't tell my boss!)

And now we'll have gone full circle when the key chains arrive.

Like I said, anyone want a key chain?

N-O, N-O, N-O...I'll keep practicing.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote Of The Day

Said by a girl in a pink leopard print dress:

"So like adversity like totally humbleizes you and it like makes you a better person."

Friday, August 28, 2009

This Is What's On My Mind

Be forewarned: there is no point to anything I'm going to say today.

My friend, who you might know as Mr. Thompson and Me, is taking bagpipe lessons. She thinks she's really bad at it. Won't you all please leave her a word of encouragement in my comment section? You're not retarded J - maybe you're just a late bloomer where bagpipes are concerned.

Last night Becca and I were hanging out in our upstairs hallway. We have the world's best couches, and bedrooms with lots of comfortable furniture, but we chose the hallway to have our nightly chat. (Perhaps it's because we're in love with my new bookshelf and we just like to be near it.) Becca handed me a sock and said, "Smell this." Now, I'm not usually in the habit of smelling socks but I humored her. The scent was a perfect blend of Clorox and laundry detergent, and it was intoxicating. We passed the sock back and forth for a few minutes, taking turns smelling it. Don't you wish you could hang out with us???

My niece Gabi...bless her heart. Every time she sees me she comments on my eyes.

"Noelle, your eyes are really red. Did you not sleep last night?" (Visine eye drops can't fool her.)

"Noelle, your eyes are just white! That means you're not tired!"

When I take the time to actually do something other than a ponytail with my hair (which isn't often because do you know how long it takes just to dry it?) Gabi says, "Noelle, you really need to cut your hair. It's too long."

And just the other night Gabi looked up at me and said in a somewhat exasperated voice, "Noelle, are you married yet?"

I now own a library card. My first since I was about 12. It's a proud moment.

The other day I went in search of my dad. His truck, which was full of logs, was in the parking lot so I knew he was around. I found him in the store. I said hi. He said, "Do you have a minute to talk?" I said yes. He said, "I've been thinking that it's time I give you a portion of your inheritance." Maybe if your dad said that to you, you would have legitimate reason to get excited. But when my dad said it to me I asked, "What, you're going to give away the logs you have in the back of your truck? Make sure it's equitable."

He laughed and said, "Aren't you funny..." Yes, as a matter of fact, on occasion I think I am.

He wasn't talking about logs...just his rock collection. (Okay...maybe not.)

And finally...the other night I was leaving Target when an old lady stopped me and asked how to get to Staples. She was cute...and very Latin. I tried explaining it to her but then said, "Would you like me to just take you there?"

"Oh mi hija, would your really?" So she, with all of her packages, climbed into my car and off we went.

After she gave me a very detailed description of what was in each bag she said, "Are you Mormona?"

I said I was.

"I knew it. I'm catholic, but Dios is the same for everyone ... and I knew you were Mormona because you're so kind."

I dropped her off at Staples and asked if she would like me to wait and then take her home. "Oh no, mi hija, you can leave. But que Dios te bendiga (God bless you) and gracias...so much gracias."

So I drove off with her standing at the curb waving.

My mom doesn't always approve that I pick up random strangers and give them rides...but I meet the nicest people that way!

Okay...enough pointlessness (is that a word?) for today. Happy Friday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ice Cream On Airplanes

It's either really good for you that I don't sleep, or it's really bad. (Don't tell me if it's bad.) I come up with all sorts of blog posts in the wee hours of the morning, and I store them away for when I have nothing else to say.

Yes there really are times when I have nothing to say.

With that said - want to know my most embarrassing moment? I only share it because it's one of my funniest moments too.

Once I was on a plane coming home from NYC. Becca, Kristie, and I had just spent a few days conducting important business - shopping on Canal Street.

I was busily engaged with writing in my journal (I used to be a very faithful journal writer but then I started this blog) and I wasn't paying much attention to the activity on the plane...until I noticed that the 1st class passengers were being served ice cream sundaes - extremely large ice cream sundaes.

As I sat thinking about the disparity between 1st class and coach, the two airline attendants stopped by my seat and carried on a whispered conversation. I try not to eavesdrop and so I didn't hear a word they said - honestly!

When they parted Mr. Airline Steward walked past me. I reached out and tugged on his jacket. He stopped and I said in my most heartfelt Oliver voice, "Please sir, may I have an ice cream sundae too?"

Well - Mr. Airline Steward went off - in an incredibly loud voice - (he was teasing)


"You're so nosey!"

"You're worse than Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched!"

"Your neighbors must hate you!"


And so it went - with me turning bright red, laughing so hard I was crying, and the other passengers trying to see what was going on. (Becca and Kristie wanted to be anywhere but next to me.)

When he finally stopped and I could talk I asked, "What are you talking about?"

He said, "Did you not just hear her tell me there were extra sundaes in the back?"

And then I was laughing again. I managed to sputter, "No. I swear I didn't!"

He said all sheepishly, "Really?" Really.

He left. My face returned to it's normal shade, the nosey passengers settled down...

All of a sudden I looked up to see an ice cream sundae being placed on my tray. The steward glared at me and said, "You will eat the whole damn thing!" (But then he winked.)

(Oh...and he said it, not me.)

I did eat the whole thing - while the little kids around me were asking, "Mommy, why did she get ice cream?" and the mommies were saying, "Don't stare. It's rude."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grandpa Goes On A Fieldtrip

{For those of you who are new to my blog...most Wednesday posts are dedicated to my Grandpa}


Remember when I said Grandpa had great neighbors?

I was telling the truth.

One night Grandpa told me his neighbors wanted to take him to Salt Lake City.

He asked me if that was okay.

I told him as long as he was home by curfew he could go.

They took him to This Is The Place Park and Temple Square.

I have pictures.

I'm biased I'm sure, but he is cute!





























Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Love My Job Because

Shelley, a customer, brings her daughter with her to the nursery...

And gives the bucket of peanuts to her and says, "Enjoy."

And then Shelley goes out and shops...

And the daughter remains perfectly content.





Monday, August 24, 2009

This Is Worthy of Another Post

Did you see who made a comment???

David G. Woolley!!! (And if by a rare chance you don't know who Dave is, go here.)

Dear Mr. Woolley,

My friends were just saying Saturday night that they missed your comments. Really, they said it. All of them.

People left comments saying why they deserved the cookies...but if YOU, not anyone else, just YOU were actually going to eat the cookies, I would send you some.

True story.

And The Winner Is...

I can't decide.

I shouldn't do give aways.

For sure Rachel et al. get the cookies. Ben's right. How can I resist Kate's eyes? And the fact that Allie asked me last night if she won the cookies? So CONGRATS to you!!!

The problem comes because I want to give them away to more than one person.

And I will...to Mrs. Thompson...because she pleads a very compelling case.

But Mrs. Thompson? You've been eating salads for a week, and you've been on the treadmill that long too...are you SURE you want the cookies? I don't want you to hate me in the long run.

Mr. Woolley, I would have given them to you had you made a comment. I know how much you love chocolate chip cookies.

And Glenna, I would have given them to you too...even without a comment...but I worry that by the time they get to you they would be a big crumbly mess...I'll think of something else.

And if cookies could get to Saudi Arabia before 2012, I for sure would have sent them to Aynzan.

See...I shouldn't do give aways.

In other news -

Oh wait -

I don't have other news.

Sorry for getting your hopes up.

Want to play a game?

It's a fun game.

Here's how you play: You just add your profile to my friend's box. See how easy? And everyone's a winner!

Okay, enough of this. Tomorrow I will dazzle you with something...I'm sure of it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Night In Utah

I have a hangover.

I'll bet that got your attention!

I got a migraine last night. I don't get them often. It's a good thing.

I was driving home from SLC when it hit. I had to stop at my mom's. I needed a mop bucket. (If you're new to my blog go here for a very detailed explanation of my relationship with mop buckets.)

Mom called Becca, who gets migraines regularly, and said, "Can you have some medicine ready for Noelle when she gets home?"

The medicine was: half a cup of apple cider vinegar, one small white pill, two large white pills, and a glass of Coke. There was no way I was going to drink the apple cider vinegar and I told Becca that.

"Plug your nose, stop being a baby, and drink it. It will settle your stomach. Trust me." I was too sick to argue. Believe me, if I would have been my normal self, I would have argued...and although Becca is stubborn, she would have lost the argument. I drank the vinegar, took her pills, drank the Coke and then said, "Now let me die in peace." She covered me with a blanket and said, "Sleep well."

Hello? Did she forget all of a sudden what caffeine does to me? Not only did she make me drink Coke...the big white pill? Excedrin migraine. FULL of caffeine. And Becca says I'm nuts but I swear the apple cider vinegar only increased the effects of the caffeine.

At 1:30am my migraine was gone but I was wide awake. I started a book - and finished it. At 4:30am I remembered that I left my phone in my car so I went outside to get it. At 5:15 this morning I'm pretty sure I was sending death threats towards Becca's room. I finally fell asleep after that.

And that was just a tangent - not at all what this post was going to be about.

Looks like it's going to be another long one. I'll do my best to make it entertaining.

Last week I got an email from Carrie. We were arranging to get together. She said, "We can either go for a bike ride Saturday morning or a big singles activity in SLC Saturday night. Which do you want to do?"

My response: "The bike ride of course. But you go to that singles activity and have a great time!"

She said she wouldn't go unless I went with her. Guess she wasn't going.

Later I got an email from Tia. "Noelle, I have to go to a singles activity this Saturday night in SLC. PLEASE won't you go with me? PLEASE?"

How can you say no to please when it's capitalized? I'm going to work on that. N-O. It should be simple.

So I emailed Carrie back. "Fine. We'll go the singles activity...but you owe me!"

I invited Becca. Even if I paid her she wouldn't go. I invited Kristie. She said yes...a fact that will forever be among the top 5 things that have shocked me the most in my life.

We paid our $10, got a stamp on our hand, and were allowed entrance to the singles event of the year. Well, it would have been had we been over the age of 55. Because I'm pretty sure that was the average age. There are a lot of single people over the age of 55. One guy drove all the way from Idaho. I know that because he asked Tia to dance. Sigh... Lucky Tia.

We ate our dinner away from the crowd and debated on how long we were going to stay. My vote was to go to a movie. Instead we got in line to sign up for speed dating. The excitement is almost too much for you isn't it.

We saw a guy in line and I said to Tia, "The odds are definitely in his favor." He was younger than 40 AND he was good looking. It was going to be a good night for him. We waited in line for a while and when it was nearly our turn to register we were turned away. For real. They kicked us out of speed dating. Want to know why? Because there were too many girls in the 31 to 45 age group already signed up...and there weren't enough guys to go around.

I said I wanted a refund.

We went back to our spot away from the crowd and I suggested a movie again. But then Dave started talking to us and we couldn't leave. Dave was entertaining. Dave asked us why we were there. I said, "To meet my soul mate of course. Isn't that why you're here?"

Dave said, "Let's go ride the train." And so we did. We and all 50 million other single people who were there. We had to wait in line for a while...and that's when we started talking to Josh...the good looking guy from the speed dating line.

Josh was probably the most eligible bachelor there. (Josh, don't blush. You were...that's just a fact.) ((I told Josh I would write about him in my blog. He said he would read it.))

When we FINALLY got on the train we were all separated. I got to sit next to Dave. I turned to tell some girls who didn't make the train that I was sorry and guess what they did: they glared at me. Really. I thought, 'It's just a train ride ladies.' I figured that some people must really like to ride the train...and then I forgot about them.

UNTIL...

(I told you it would be long.)

We were sitting on a blanket, looking at the lights in the valley below, just chatting, when all of a sudden Josh stood up and walked away. One of my friends said, "Where is Josh going?" He was talking to a girl and she said something like, "If you would come and talk to my friend it would really make her night." And so he did because he's nice like that. I turned to see the friend who was twitterpated with Josh and guess who it was...the girl from the train, the one who glared at me. It all made perfect sense.

Her name was Melissa. She was in love with Josh's blue eyes. Who knows, maybe Josh was in love with her too. (Were you Josh?)

Eventually we made our way back to the dance. Carrie wanted to dance...and she did, with a good looking bronze beauty. (That's what Kristie's mom calls good looking black men.) Kristie wanted to dance with him too. She is a chicken. I even offered her $100 if she would ask him to dance. Josh offered to go and meet him and bring him over Kristie's way. She still said no.

Tia didn't want to dance...but she did. Sorry Tia. I didn't want to dance either...and I didn't.

When we left we concluded that overall it hadn't been that bad. And maybe, just maybe, we would go again sometime. Right ladies? It wasn't that bad?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On Being A Niece

Sometimes I like to hang out with my uncles.

Does that make me a nerd?

Sometimes we go to movies together...just me and two of my uncles. One has grandchildren, one isn't married.

Today I stopped by to visit one of my uncles at his place of employment. I took him lunch.

We visited for a while.

We did our best to solve the world's problems.

He helped some customers.

When the customers were about to leave he said this: "Isn't my niece charming and beautiful?"

They agreed. (They wouldn't dare do anything but agree; my uncle is big.)

He continued, "Don't you know someone who can date my niece?"

They didn't. Their only single son is too young.

And while they continued to discuss yours truly, I sat in the corner and squirmed.

See if I take him lunch again.

PS... You have one more day to tell me why YOU should get the chocolate chip cookies...

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Double Give Away

I think you should know that chocolate chip cookies are on my Top 5 list of favorite things.

If you gave me a choice of the world's best desserts and a chocolate chip cookie, I would choose the cookie.

And because I'm in a giving mood I am going to give you all my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. (Those who know me best are laughing right now. Noelle? Leave a recipe??? Don't worry, it will be the only time in my blogging career that I leave a recipe.)

Amy...my most faithful commenter...has an amazing mom. She is delightfully funny and I laugh any time I talk to her. She gave me this recipe. (Thank you Amy's mom!)

2/3 c. shortening
2/3 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 c. flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
bag of chocolate chips (only milk chocolate will do)

bake @ 375 for 8-10 minutes

*Hint* The cookies are better if you undercook them just a little bit.

But wait! That's not all! There's another part of the give away!

When I'm not in the mood to make cookies, my favorite place to buy them is Kneaders...a bakery/deli that is only a few minutes away from my work. If you've ever been there you know exactly what I'm talking about when I say their cookies are out of this world delicious.

So here's the deal -

You leave me a comment telling me why I should send you a dozen chocolate chunk cookies from Kneaders (and they aren't tiny cookies people) and my chocolate chip cookie committee and I will decide who is the most deserving of this AMAZING treat, and it will be yours!

You have until Sunday night to leave your comment.

And now I am off to buy my own cookie.

(PS. If you try the recipe, let me know what you think.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Kristie,

Do you remember when this man asked you to marry him?




If Becca says no, can you say yes?

Pretty please?

Love,

Your Best Friend

Dear Becca,

Do you remember when this man asked you to marry him?



Could you say yes now?

Please?

If you say yes you would move to to NYC...

That would give me a free place to stay,

And all the wooden African artifacts I could ever need.

Just consider it...

Love,

Your Sister

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Caution: Long Post Ahead

Making the decision to move Grandpa into a care center was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I felt like a little girl having to make grown up decisions, and I didn't like it.

Before my parents moved to Brazil they made sure everything was taken care of here.

Someone to watch their house - check.
Someone to pay their bills - check.
Someone (or many someones) to run their business - check.
Turn Grandpa's legal power of attorney over to Noelle - check.

I wasn't concerned with the shift of responsibilities...not at first. I had been helping to take care of the daily ins and outs of Grandpa's life for years.

But when Grandpa's health and mental state took a turn for the worse I knew I was in trouble.

Initially I made an emotional plea to Grandpa's Bishop, asking for help. And help came, in abundance. Grandpa's neighbors arranged meals and visits and phone calls, and they were my lifeline. If I had my whole life to thank them, it wouldn't be enough.

Before too long, even that help wasn't enough...and I knew it. A meeting was called, an intervention of sorts. Present at the meeting were: the Relief Society president, the compassionate service leader, a Hospice nurse, a grief counselor from Hospice, my sister and myself. My aunt was sitting with Grandpa in his bedroom. (Yes, there was an aunt. And if you're wondering why she wasn't making the decisions, don't. It would never have happened.)

I remember one thing clearly from that meeting. The Hospice nurse looked at me and said, "Sweetheart, you will be no good to your grandpa if you're in a hospital as well." And with that I agreed to move him. The Hospice nurse called and arranged the details and informed me that Medicare would only pay up to so many days in the care center. After that it was up to me to arrange funding for his stay at the care center.

While a nurse was getting Grandpa comfortable in his new room, I sat in a room filling out stacks and stacks of paperwork. And I was crying. At one point I laid my head down on the table and just sobbed. I was doing the one thing that Grandpa had begged us to never do, and the guilt I felt was unreal.

I have a recurring dream still, where I realize that I've been neglecting my grandpa and I wake up in a panic.

Thankfully Grandpa wasn't in the care center very long. Even more thankfully, he wasn't mentally aware enough to realize where he was. Oh, he knew he wasn't home but he thought he was in a hospital, and I let him believe that.

There is a point to this...really.

Whenever a trial arises I gauge it by what I went through with Grandpa. And usually, whatever it is I'm going through doesn't seem as hard as what I went through with Grandpa. I comfort myself by saying, "You got through the situation with Grandpa, you can surely get through this." And I do...and I'm grateful that I get to that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

I've mentioned recently that life has thrown some curve balls my way. For the first time since Grandpa died, I feel that these particular curve balls are harder than what I went through with Grandpa. People, in an effort to make the situation seem better say this, "It could be worse. You could be dealing with __________ " and then they give me example after example of what exactly it is that is worse.

But here's the conclusion I came to in the wee hours of the morning - and I hope it makes sense. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father custom makes certain trials. He gives to each one of us trials that He knows will stretch us to our limits, but that will allow us to learn what we need to without falling completely on our faces.

He knows what I can handle, and what I am capable of overcoming, just like He knows what each one of us is capable of handling and overcoming. And what may be the hardest thing ever for me, may be a piece of cake for someone else. What may be the 'worst' thing in the world for me to go through, may appear trivial to someone else.

I guess with all of this I come to two conclusions. One is a goal and one is a statement of fact.

Goal: To never say to someone else, "It could be worse." Rather, I will do my best to love them through their own "worst" experience.

And as a statement of fact: God really does live. He really does love us. He really does want us to return to Him, and if trials are what are going to prepare me for that, I'll just dig my heels in a little deeper.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last Night

I realized that it's past time I get rid of my favorite pair of pajama pants.

Sad isn't it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

On Any Given Sunday

A DOCUMENTARY

IN PICTURES

EXCEPT THAT

(I'm not a photographer)

and

(Blogger and I don't get along when it comes to posting pictures)

ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY WE:

take naps


read the funny papers


wash dishes


make funeral potatoes


put Cool Whip on Jell-O



set the table





eat veggies and dip



fill our plates


eat

(this is not the whole family...just so you know)





hang out with our favorite people










eat dessert



take pictures for the documentary

arrange a 'show'

set up the chairs accordingly


ask the family to gather for the show


ride bikes for the show


listen to Gabi tell us what's coming next in the show


listen to Erika and Gabi sing to us


take our weekly walk up the street





stop at the 'ucky old river' where we throw rocks






think that someday we're going to have to buy this neighbor more gravel




secretly discuss the best way to get Daddy





give hugs all around and say

"Thanks for Sunday."



Friday, August 14, 2009

On Being Three

The big guy?


My brother Ben.


The little guy?


His son.




Josh is a worker.


Even when he's playing he's working.





He has a shovel and a wheelbarrow.


He has a tool set.


And when Daddy is busy, so is he.



When Josh isn't playing with a tractor, he likes to be at the nursery riding in the tractor.


Recently Ben put up a new mailbox.


Last night Ben was repairing a sprinkler pipe.


Josh got a shovel and started digging a hole.


He put a 2 x 4 in the hole.


He started filling the hole with dirt.


Ben said, "Josh, what are you doing?"


Josh said, "I'm building a mailbox Daddy."


A few days ago Josh was at home with his mom.


He asked this very important question.


"Mom, where's the silicone glue? I need it for something."


His Mom said, "Silicone glue?"


Josh said, "Yeah, like Daddy used on the kayaks."




Silicone glue...

I'm thinking this little guy is going to make it big in the world of tractors...and glue.