Wednesday, May 27, 2009

As much as I hate poetry...

Almost exactly a year ago, I may have mentioned that I don't usually care for poetry.

One of the few e-mail newsletters I actually read (since SRSLY, those are so old-school, why not just blog and have people subscribe to your feed?) is THE ANTICRASTINATION TIP SHEET by Rita Emmett.*

In the May Tip Sheet, which I finally got around to reading, there's a poem that I kind of liked.

(She says it was quoted in a little booklet called "More of...The Best of BITS & PIECES" but no author was listed.)

There was a very cautious man
Who never laughed or played.

He never risked, he never tried,
He never sang or prayed.

And when he one day passed away,
His insurance was denied.

For since he never really lived,
They claimed he never died.

* I bought her book The Procrastinator's Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now years ago (it was published in 2000 and I probably found it in 2000 or 2001), and my mom had it signed for me while I was on my mission. And look! It's cheap on Amazon. You can get a used copy for one cent. It's good though.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicken Coop!

Yesterday J and I got a chicken coop!

We're really excited about it. Our chicks are starting to fly now, and J does not want to come home to chickens (and their poop) all over his house, so it was time to think more seriously about our chicken coop, or makeshift chicken coop.

We were originally going to buy one at IFA when we bought hens (which they didn't have), but they were dang expensive, and SRSLY, they're just chickens. So we've been watching Craigslist and KSL for used chicken coops or doghouses, or anything we could turn into a chicken coop, and checking out sweet sites like BackyardChickens which have coop ideas and lots of fun advice about keeping chickens in the backyard.

But the tricky thing is, J and I both have lots of other projects we're doing. And as much as we like fun things like being creative and constructing stuff, we know that our talents lie elsewhere. We want our chicken project to be pretty simple, and we don't know how to cut plywood, and we don't know how to make egg-collecting doors on the back of doghouses, and we needed something that we could we completely abandoned all ideas of building our own coop. And we called on a couple things from online, and in the end we decided to buy a custom chicken coop that some guy was selling online.

It was almost half the cost of a similar one that IFA was selling. We called the guy, because it looked like there were no nesting boxes (I told J maybe we could use those plastic shoeboxes? To keep things simple?) and the guy said he would include them. Get this: we called early yesterday afternoon, and when we went over yesterday evening he had installed nesting boxes for us. Like, perfect ones which he built! with wood! just for us! We were pretty pleased.

I asked if he had a chicken coop like the one he had built, and he said that he did, but ours was better. I asked if we could see his chicken coop, and he obliged. He took us back into his backyard and showed us how he had it set up, and what was the same and what was different, etc. This part was especially cool because I recognized that a couple of his hens were Buff Orpingtons like ours! I asked him about the others and he also had Araucanas, like us! They were gorgeous. And huge.

The guy said he used to build houses. For people. But now fewer homes are being built because of the housing market and economy, etc. He had built his family a chicken coop and people from his ward all wanted the plans for it, and I guess it's been really popular, so he decided to start selling chicken coops. J and I thought it looked like exactly what we wanted, so we bought it. He told us to keep his number so that if we ever needed anything for the chicken coop we could call him, because he has the right tools and parts, etc. The guy helped us load it into the back of the truck, and we strapped it down and took it to J's house. [His name was Aaron. His ad on KSL is here, and we would totally recommend him to anyone in the Salt Lake area who needs/wants a chicken coop. Also, if someone wants something in particular--something bigger, or modified somehow, he's your guy.]

On the way I thought of something:
"Uh, J. This isn't going to fit through your gate."

J's backyard has a big wooden fence with a gate that opens at the top of his driveway. But the chicken coop is 4'x4' * which was not going to fit. The chicken coop is pretty lightweight, though, so we decided we would just lift it over the big fence.

Exceepppt, then we tried to carry it back there, and I could barely lift it to carry it, and I was definitely not going to be able to hold it (even just to keep it balanced) on a wobbly fence, above my head.

We decided to carry it to the fence, and it almost fit. The bottom part did fit, but the roof hangs over, so it didn't fit through. I suggested we remove the gate, because if we took the like, door of the fence off, it would fit though just barely. And so we removed the gate, and we took the chicken coop into the back corner of J's little yard.

And then we put the screws back in and hoped that we were quick enough that J's neighbors wouldn't notice.

So instead of building a chicken coop, our plans are to:
- paint it. (Red and white! Of course! ... But I have left-over red and white interior will that work? We don't know.)
- put a roof on it, maybe. Depending on how much it would cost us, and how much weight it would add, and whether a wood sealant would be just fine.
- figure out how to do the thing at the bottom of the coop where it's like sawdust and it composts and still keeps things dry.
- add a perch, which we realized we thought it would have, but now we think we may have been confusing it with one of the other ones we thought of buying.
- build a little fenced-in chicken run.
- buy four hens that are laying or about to start.

*Funny story: We were on our way to J's parents' house for the Memorial Day BBQ, and to borrow his dad's truck (because J has a cute new little red car that would no-way fit a big chicken coop) and we were driving and I saw a 4x4 truck and I was like "Ohhh, good thing the truck will be 4x4! That's the perfect size for the chicken coop!" Because, you know, the coop is 4 feet by 4 feet. And J didn't really say anything. And then he was like "is that supposed to be a bad joke?" and I was like, "Um, no. What do you mean?" And he said "You're really serious?" And he explained that 4x4s are not 4'x4's; they're vehicles that have four-wheel-drive. And then he pointed out that some trucks still say 4x4 on them but the back doesn't look like it is 4'x4'. But, in my defense, the chicken coop did fit perfectly, so the truck was a 4x4 that was 4'x4'. And also, people say "two-by-four" to talk about size for wood, so it was totally reasonable to assume that 4'x4' was the standard size for a truck bed. We laughed a lot about that, though.

Grand Canyon

Well, we went.

We left early Friday morning and drove down to the Grand Canyon North Rim. It was a pretty long drive. We met up with most of my family, some of my cousins, my uncle (who was leading the hike), and a bunch of people from his ward. There were 38? total hikers.

We stayed in the cabin-things at the North Rim...and got up to meet everyone at 4:30 am* for breakfast and then to start the hike. We were divided into groups for the hike, and my uncle gave someone from each group a walkie-talkie radio thing so that we would all be able to communicate. The groups became really fluid, though, because everyone hiked at different speeds.
J and I hiked together for the whole thing. At various times we hiked with a bunch of other people--my youngest brother (10), a group of teenagers (including my 16 and 14? year-old bros, a cousin, and the cousin's friend), my youngest sister and one of my bro-in-laws, Jess and my dad, my cousin who is older than me, his mom, my uncle leading the hike, my mom. J had some problems with one of his legs, so we had to take it slow. My youngest brother had short legs, so he had to take it even slower.

(Dad, me, Jess, J, and my cousin's friend; at the rest stop before Cottonwood Something, which was like 6? miles into the hike.)

The hike was 24 miles long, which is Very Long. J and I finally finished at 1:40 am on Sunday. I did really well until about mile 21 or 22. By then it was 11:30 or so, and past my bedtime, plus I was exhausted. We started taking a lot of breaks. But they were short breaks, anyway. We eventually made it out. We were the penultimate group out. My mom, her sister, and her brother (leading the hike), plus my little bro were the last group. They got out at like 2:30 am.

(Me with J; at Phantom Ranch! Which is this camping place at the bottom of the Canyon, on the South Rim side. It's neat though, because it has a store. And good bathrooms. We met up with a bunch of our people here.)

I want to forget Arizona exists. I don't even want to read anything about the Grand Canyon again. For the past couple days Jess and J and I have been So Sore. We hobbled in to a gas station for the bathroom, hobbled in for fast food, and J and I hobbled yesterday at his parents' Memorial Day BBQ, and hobbled when we went to get the chicken coop. We look handicapped. Seriously. We look super awkward. Stairs are way too intense for us. Thankfully, I'm feeling a little better today. Hopefully my billions of tiny tears in my calves will repair and become super-amazing muscles.
(In front of a sign saying don't try going all the way back down and back up because you'll probably die. Me dying.)

Aside from making me hate life, the GC hike was interesting. I think we all sort of thought the Grand Canyon was like, desert. Not so! There are several different like, eco-systems in the Grand Canyon. At the North Rim, the GC seemed like a forest. At the South Rim it was desert. For the flat part at the bottom, a river ran down the middle. It was pretty. There were a lot of pretty rocks. And pretty land formations.

Hiking from rim-to-rim in less than a day seemed super-intense to us, but there are actually people who do really fancy things-- J and I were by ourselves when we got to the first fork in out trail (towards the bottom of the North Rim) and we didn't know which way to go. Sooo, we stood there for a minute and waited for a guy who was coming from one of the opposite directions. We told him where we were trying to go, and he pulled out his map and helped us out. So he headed up the North Rim, and we headed down... AND THEN! many hours later, when we were starting up the South Rim, he passed us in our direction! I told my mom and my uncle that he had helped us earlier in the day, and he was going the other direction. He explained that he was doing a rim-to-rim-to-rim: he had started at 2 am from the South Rim, he went to the North Rim, and then all the way back to the South Rim again. Holy smokes! That would be a 48 mile hike! In one day! He finished way before us, too. He said he was looking forward to getting home to bed.

I guess other people run from rim-to-rim, too. They do it in like 4-5 hours. (!!!)

We met other amazing people, too. Like this one guy was doing a rim-to-rim and he was 85 years old.

Anyway. We're glad to be done.
(At the trail head on the South Rim. The end of our hike. I gave this hike two thumbs down. Don't I look like a great hiker, though? Notice: headlamp, hiking pole, hiking shoes, CamelBak, light jacket.)

My cousin took a ton of pictures** so he probably has some better ones than I do and I haven't gotten them yet, but I wanted to post a few anyway.

[Also: Paley missed me. Maybe she has abandonment issues because she was left at the shelter before. When I got home, she purred very loudly and meowed a whole lot, while purring. She wants to be with me constantly, and is very very cuddly. I think she stopped eating while I was gone, because she had food left over. Poor cat. Our California trip is going to be even longer.]

*4:30 is one of those hours that you should know exists only in theory, and never because you actually have to be awake for it.

** like, thousands, I'm pretty sure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Little Farm Update

Garden Update

Attempt #1: I think I may have mentioned--my garden died. All of it. (Well. All of it except the basil and chives, which were in a separate thing.) Even after it was totally thriving in my post about how I'd started a garden. I don't know what happened to it, but I think it may have to do with the greenhouse lid for my inside starter thing. I think that my plants get a lot of sun as it is, and with the greenhouse lid on, my plants were being steamed and that's why they died.

Attempt #2: But I hadn't really figured that out, so I just replanted the whole thing and the same thing happened: a bunch of stuff grew, and then almost everything died. At this point, I guessed that it may be the greenhouse lid and I removed that. A few plants survived. From my second planting, I have: one bean plant, one cantaloupe plant, five onions, two peppers, and either a broccoli or cauliflower plant (I forget). Also, for extra fun: I thought a whole bunch of stuff was growing, because a ton of these teeny tiny sprouts came up. But it was kind of weird because all of the sprouts looked the same, and
they never got any bigger. Soooo...I think something in the soil sprouted, which wasn't something I planted.

Attempt #3: I got some of those little planter things that you just add water to, like I did last year. In a couple plastic containers I planted just a few of each of the things I was excited about/still had seeds for. I planted: arugula, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, a few carrots, and lettuce. I put no special greenhouse lid on them, and just set them in the window with everything else. And! They're growing!!! Third time's the charm! These plants are also kind of a surprise, though, because Paley
knocked the bigger container over and all of the little plants fell out, so now I don't know which ones are which anymore. It's kind of like those grab bags at Claire's. Who knows what I'll get?! They're doing well though, whatever they are.

Attempt #4: About the same time that my second garden died this season, J suggested that we plant a garden at his house. He has a bunch of containers because he's done container gardens before. He's actually even grown stuff indoors with grow lights. He's actually kind of a much better gardener than I am, I think. Probably, since all I got from my square foot garden last year was like 2 strawberries and one tomato in October. (This was actually mostly because our balcony got like, no light. And because I didn't use a starter tomato plant.)

SO! We bought little plants. We got 6 strawberry plants, 2 tomato plants (J is learning , an artichoke plant (!!), and two blueberry plants, plus seeds to grow spinach (two varieties), and carrots. And we've planted them. They're doing great! The strawberries don't really like that we separated them, but they'll get over it.

Also, yesterday I bought a fancy green pot to transplant my kitchen herbs into, because get this--they've grown so well that they don't have much soil left! I will also re-re-plant the kitchen herbs that didn't re-grow when I re-planted them. Plus, fun discovery: the girl before me planted stuff in our front yard and a bunch of strawberries(!!) have come back along with some lemon herb and...sage? or something. Her tomatoes did not come back. Too bad.

So that's what's growing at our houses.

Chicks Update

For a while, every morning when J and I would text, I would ask him if the chicks were still alive. I remember us getting chicks when I was little, a couple times. And I think all of them always died. None of them ever really grew up. I think this was because we were little kids and we loved them too much. I'm sure we dropped some, and held them too tight, and were so excited to hold them that we didn't always remember to wash our already-clean hands. Also, they were in the garage, I think, which was probably cold. J and I don't drop them, or squish them, and we wash our already-clean hands before we pick them up. So they haven't died. Also, baby-chick food is medicated, so that probably helps with all of the baby-chick diseases.

The chicks are about a week old now. They're really strong and healthy, so we think they'll probably all make it, because the first week is probably the roughest for them. (Wahoo! Only five more months until they're big enough to start laying!)

They're still mostly fluff, but their wings have feathers now. Sometimes they try to get a little air, but they don't really fly much.

They eat a ton! We at first had a mason jar lid in there for their food, but they were eating [spilling] so much that J put a shallow tupperware thing in there instead. That seems to last them a bit longer.

They're starting to develop tiny personalities. Evelyn CHIRPS and CHIRPS and CHIRPS VERY LOUDLY! when we pick her up. Gertrude is the sweetest of our little ladies. She likes to be held. She is also really cute these days because she has a poofy, fluffy head. Maude and Gladys tolerate being held, but act like they have more important things to be doing. Silly birds.

I took them outside for the first time yesterday. They loved it. At first they weren't really too sure what to think of the grass and they stayed close to me, in the shade. Then they started to explore a bit and pecked at the grass and the ground. The flock stays together. It's pretty cute.

We think that we want to make a [very!] simple coop from a doghouse, which, if we found the right one, could work really well. And then after J moves to a house with more space, it would be nice to build/adapt something much bigger so that we can have 10-12 hens instead (and plenty of eggs to share with neighbors and friends).

Cat update:
Paley is doing fine. She likes to sit on the top of my ladder to get a great view of everything going on in the house and out the window. She likes attention! Whenever I'm home, Pay thinks I'm here to entertain her. When J comes over, she likes to cuddle with us. She's a sweet cat. (ALSO: She is almost a cat. In July, supposedly, she will be a year old, which is when kittens magically become cats.)

We play fetch. Paley brings me one of her toy mice, and drops it by my feet. I throw the mouse across my apartment. She runs for it, snatches it up, brings it back to me and drops it by my feet. We repeat this several times, until I decide I want to do something else.

Other, unrelated updates:
This weekend we are hiking across the Grand Canyon, rim-to-rim, in one day. It will be fun for me to see my family, and it will be fun for J to meet my family. (We see his family pretty regularly since they mostly live up here, but he's only met Jess from my family.) Our hike will be 24 miles, and I kind of want to die already, just thinking about it. I remember hiking Timp last year and hating my life. There should be fun parts, too, though. We have some geocaches we'll be finding in the Grand Canyon. And after we're finished, we will have Done it. I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures and interesting stories to blog about when I can't move on Monday.

Also, my grades posted and I got an A- in Children's Lit, an A- in Modernism, an A in my Darwin literature class, and a B- in my Diversity in American Lit class (which, I totally deserved a B at the lowest, but whatever). That means I made the Dean's list for this past semester. Cool. I'm looking forward to my Fall schedule, except now I'll probably drop the class by my Diversity teacher.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Lately, we've been talking about chickens a lot. J gets fresh goat milk from a little goat dairy in Salt Lake* and he gets fresh eggs there, too. So we always eat good eggs at his house. We've been talking about how it would be nice to have chickens, though. Because then you always have fresh eggs, and you know what the chickens are eating, etc, and the yolks are darker orange and the whites are firmer, and eggs are just better.

And chickens are supposed to be pretty easy to keep. And fairly inexpensive.

So recently, we decided we would get a chicken coop and three hens and one chick (since they're so cute) to put in J's backyard. Fun!

Yesterday we went to IFA to check out coops and get some hens and chicken stuff, buuuut, turns out you can only get like Chicken Deluxe SuperFancy Suites there, which are like $350, which is way more than what we had been looking at online. And then, they didn't have hens at all, just chicks.

But the chicks were ADORABLE. So we got a heated water dish that we were going to need anyway, and I said, "J, what if we just get a few chicks, since they don't need a whole coop anyway...? And they're so cute..." and J decided that would be just fine with him, so we decided to get four chicks.

And we went to get the special chick food (which is like, medicated and has extra nutrition since chicks die way easy), and a lady stopped us and told us we should ask IFA if they have an IFA brand feed, because that would be cheaper. We thanked her, and I started asking her about what we could keep them in (we had talked about using a box, which the lady said was perfect), and what all we would need (our big heated waterer was too deep for them, we would need a little one too), and where we should look for grown hens and coops (online--her friend got a nice coop for $50!), and what she has (50 pullets! And like 50? 100? I forget how many grown laying hens), and what breeds she recommends, and so on.

We ended up getting two Araucanas (because the lady said they are her favorite because of their sweet personalities and because they're great layers and because their eggs are colored!) and two Buff Orpingtons (because we were planning on only getting those--the placard said they're friendly and that they lay during the winter, which we want them to; but the lady said she really likes those, too).

I held the box for the ride home, because I already loved our chicks. J told me he couldn't think of any reason why I couldn't keep them at my house, if I wanted. He meant that it wouldn't require a lot of space, and they wouldn't be loud enough to bother my neighbors, and that I would have fun being the one to take care of them. So I reminded him: "Paley." He had forgotten all about her and agreed that we had better keep them at his house. Paley would love the chicks as much as I do. Maybe more. That would be a problem.**

I had seen an online project (Three Chicks a Day) where this guy takes pictures of chicks every day to document their growth (but like, artsy photos, not scientific ones). His chicks are named Noodle Soup, Salad Sandwich, and Pot Pie. I thought those names were really clever, and wanted to come up with something similar. I wasn't really able to think of anything, though, so I decided that another good idea would be to give them old lady names. SO WE DID!

Some of the names I'd thought of were: Ethel, Gerty/Trudy, Maude, and Berta.

J thought Ethel sounded like the beginning of a chemical compound, and he liked "Gertrude" better than the shortened versions, so we named our favorite chick Maude, and we named her sister Gertrude. For the blonde girls, we originally decided we would call them Berta and were not sure what to call the last one. His grandma's name was Evelyn, so we thought that would be good. I texted Jess for suggestions, but then my mom replied, confused, so I took her suggestions, too. And texted Jess.

Mom replied: "Edith or mildred. Jason suggests Eleanore, Tyler says Judith. Brandon suggests Grandma Shumskins."

Jess replied: "Do you have a Gertie?" (We did.) She also suggested Ethel. Barbara. Gladys! LaVerne. Alice.

We liked Gladys. So I texted Jess back, "Oooh. J says Gladys is a winner."

And Jess texted back "Yay!"

I told Mom "Thanks for playing!" And she wondered if they had won, and I told them they won Honorable Mention.

The boys also suggested a boy name, which I said we wouldn't need, because if any of them turn out to be boys (they're supposed to be all girls), we will change its name to Dinner.

We liked Evelyn, though, so we changed Berta's name, even though Berta is maybe a good name for a Bird-a.

Here are the pictures of our cute chicks:

Getting chicks! He's reaching for the Araucanas.

Still at the store, in the shopping cart. From left to right you can tell them apart because the first one has like, a dark brown stripe (Maude), the next one is much lighter (Gertrude), the first blonde one has some dark on her head (Gladys), and the last chick is all yellow with no brown on her head (Evelyn).

After we got home (and washed our hands with lots of soap and warm water), we moved the chicks from their little cardboard box into a medium! cardboard box with water! and food! and a light! so that they would be more comfortable. Maude was awake when I picked her up, but she cuddled down into my hand and started to sleep while I was holding her, which I thought was just adorable. When I put her down into the new box, she wanted to stay in my hand, which was even more adorable. She is J's favorite too, because he thinks she's the prettiest. We like her.

Chicks! In their new home!

Annnnd, right before I went home: the chicks all sleeping together! Cute! ...On their food? We think it may be softer to sit on than the floor. Hopefully they don't poop in it. (Do you see how we can tell them apart? The one at the top of the picture has brown on her head--Gladys. So the other blonde one is Evelyn. And then the the brown ones are Maude and Gertrude, from left to right, because Maude is much darker.)

Cuuuute! So. Now we just need to find a chicken coop for sale. And hens (which will hopefully be good layers, and not ones that someone is culling.) Or we can build a chicken coop, but J thinks that may be more fun than we want. Heh.

*Which is the only dairy in Salt Lake. Super random, though--turns out my coworker's aunt and uncle own it! What a small world, eh?
** She would eat them, FOR SURE.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

AMERICAN HOME - part 4 Air Warden Shin Dig

I wish I would have thrown this party. SRSLY, what a great idea. My favorite part of it is "delivering DAMAGE REPORT" because it sounds like a fantastic game. This game would be especially fun if you actually did throw this party for wardens. Unfortunately, my invitations would have to fall among guests who would have no more acquaintance with defense work than seeing it mentioned in the newspapers. Or, you know, the Internet.
OOOhhhh. My birthday is this summer. Maybe I should have an Air Warden Shin Dig!


YOU couldn't stand on your doorstep and toss a doughnut into the air without having it ring someone who is doing Civilian Defense work. But these patriotic-minded people enjoy a rip-snorting good time for a change from their duties, too. You could have this party for the wardens of your post, or let the invitations fall among the workers and non-workers in your circle of friends. It's still a good shindig even if none of your guests has any more acquaintance with defense work than seeing it mentioned in the newspapers.

The telephone is the easiest method of issuing invitations, but if you want to be different, send bids on red, white, and blue bordered stationery. Or, to go whole hog, cut out five-inch circles of dark blue paper and paste on white triangles with parallel crayon stripes of red. On the intervening white stripes you can write the facts about the party. (In case you're not of the initiated, the message will have been written on the symbol of the Air Raid Warden.)

After amusing yourself with the games described opposite, hold up a menu like the one shown above (Yellow Warning--Blackout Delight--First Aid Stimulant) and offer a prize to the person who writes down the best interpretations of the items listed. Our fare for hearty appetites was creamed eggs on toast, devil's-food cake, and coffee. The whites of the hard-cooked eggs are in the cream sauce, and the yolks are chopped up and sprinkled over the top, thereby giving "yellow warning" effect. Or, you might try some kind of American cheese dish. You can't improve on the chocolate cake and coffee.

Canteen Race
All of the girls, supposed to be canteen volunteers, choose partners. Each worker is given a tumbler half full of ginger ale, milk, or some other liquid, and a teaspoon. When the starting signal is given, they start racing to see who can "spoon feed" every drop of liquid to her partner first. Chief delight of this game seems to be in the guests' irresistible urge to giggle just before swallowing a crucial spoonful. This adds to the merriment, of course, but doesn't help make a winner! Try it on your thirsty pals.

An old but amusing stunt that points a worth-while moral. Write out, in advance, a fairly complicated rumor involving your country. Now whisper this message to one of the guests, then have it whispered along from one to another until it has made the rounds. The last person recites aloud what is heard, and then the original story is read. The moral will be obvious! Example for rumor: "The Germans have established a secret base near the tip of Cape Cod. They have 2,371 soldiers there, a fleet of supply ships, and hundreds of tanks. Thirteen submarines are based there, and a large airplane field has been built and is being used by 293 planes just in from South America."

BOMB disposal (An American Home game)
THIS, too, calls for action. Line up two to four players, each armed with a table knife, and in front of each put a "bomb" which, curiously enough, will look exactly like an Idaho baking potato. Give the starting signal, and the race is on to see who can roll his potato to the other end of the room, finishing with it on an inverted plate, which has been placed on the floor for the purpose. A final winner can be established by having as many "heats" as necessary. This harks back to the old potato races you had in the third grade.

delivering DAMAGE REPORT (An American Home Game)
DAMAGE report messages are being delivered in spite of fact that water mains have burst and the area is so flooded that the only transportation is by boat. The boats which you produce at this point are large dishpans. Select two or three wardens, help them into their "boats," and have them race with their reports to the other end of the room. The winner of each heat competes with other winners for the prize offered to the fastest warden. This is good healthy exercise, and fun because it's both silly and competitive. Your main problem is to get dishpans big enough to fit your guests!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

It's that time again... (Netflix)

Anyone want a free month of Netflix? I've blogged about this before, but these offers always expire so...

Just in case anyone is interested, they sent me an email which I am supposed to forward to friends and family, offering a free month of Netflix. Know how I used to get a free movie for every person who signed up? I don't anymore. Now the email makes it look like it's kind of a gift I can give to other people. I'm not watching very many movies these days, so it doesn't really matter.

So if you're interested, here is the link for ONE FREE MONTH OF NETFLIX.

The offer is valid through 15 June 2009.

If you want me to forward the email, or if you want one of the really special cards that I got in the mail yesterday (which have the same offer, but an individual! special! code on each one), let me know, and I have those too. (If it's something you were already wanting to try, great, have at it. If not, don't feel obligated at all.)

I <3 Smith's

I love Smith’s.

I buy most of my groceries and stuff from the Smith’s Marketplace down the hill from my house. They are just really great.

Today I got a big envelope full of coupons that are personalized for me—they’re coupons for things that I actually buy, including a couple coupons for free things that I normally buy, and then a bunch of coupons for discounts on products that I buy.

This time I got a coupon for a FREE box of Cheerios, a coupon for a FREE package of blueberries or strawberries, just like, fresh, from the produce department. And then I got coupons for: cereal, Weight Watchers cheese or cream cheese (I buy the cream cheese), butter, frozen vegetables, the kind of cat food that I buy for Paley, Stouffer’s entrees (I buy the lasagne), chocolate chips, fruit cups (I like mandarin oranges), graham crackers, Kraft mac&cheese, a Lowry’s marinade, and the kind of toothpaste that I buy (Colgate Total). All of the coupons are for precise things that I already buy (like, store brand coupons for things that I buy store brand, and brand coupons for things that I buy brands for), and they’re for useful amounts. They add up to $10.50 worth of coupons, plus the two free ones that are worth about…$3 for Cheerios and $3 for berries? They’re good through the middle of July.

This is the second time this has happened. The last batch of coupons was personalized for me too. These are way more useful than coupons for random things that I don’t normally buy, or coupons for things that cost more than what I normally buy so that unless I use them when the item is on sale, I don’t save.

Smith’s also sends me “special customer” little magazine things that always have a theme and a bunch of coupons. There was one for spring cleaning, and another one for frozen foods, and one other one… (I think I get them about every six weeks, maybe?) In those little booklets, there are usually several things I don’t buy and are spendier than I am, a few things that I do buy, and a couple things that are like, very general coupons, or things that almost anyone would buy. It’s nice.

Smith’s also has a student discount. If you sign up for their “Fresh Values” card with a student ID, they give you a special student Fresh Values card that automatically gives you 5% off of everything that you buy, every time.

Plus, I get gas rewards when I shop. So if I were driving, and if my Smith’s had one of the Smith’s gas stations (or if I just went to one), I would be getting various amounts off of my gas (sometimes it’s 5 cents/gallon, sometimes 15 cents, etc.).

And all of this stuff is kind of like, unadvertised, secret savings. They also have very competitive prices, excellent sales, and I often get good coupons from the little machine at the register. Sometimes those coupons are even for free things. Plus, like a month ago, they did a big thing where they lowered the prices on their produce, and now a bunch of their produce is CHEAP! Like, not just one or two things—a whole bunch of stuff! Plus, their workers are friendly and helpful, and super attentive. And their stores are clean. I just always have a great shopping experience when I go.

Anyway. It makes me feel like they value my business. I think they actually do.

Meeting President Monson

This weekend I had a neat experience. I met President and Sister Monson! I volunteered at the Symphony again, and they were in attendance (for the Bravo Broadway show). Our volunteer coordinator told us that he was there, and that he may come for our intermission reception (which was what I was volunteering at). We expected a lot of people. I made sure to be at the soda table (which I usually am anyway) instead of the wine one. (Because like, who wants to have the one time they see the Prophet to be when they’re serving alcohol?)

Anyway, not very many people came to the reception at all. But President Monson did!

As soon as he came in the door, he came over to the soda table and shook our hands. The other person at the table was an older lady, and she said something cordial (“It’s nice to meet you, President Monson?” “Thank you for coming, President Monson?” Or something like that.) and so did I. I asked if he was enjoying the show and he said “I’ve not heard finer.” I offered him something to drink but he said he didn’t want anything because “a wise man doesn’t drink anything during intermission.” He said he didn’t want to miss any of the songs later.

His wife was in a wheelchair and she came over to get a drink. She seemed like she wasn’t really sure what she wanted, but decided on Coke. A few other people came over to the soda table to chat with President Monson. He told the little group of us that he had especially enjoyed the trolley song. He explained:

“I met my wife on a trolley.

We were seventeen.

Best trolley ride I’ve ever taken.”

It was really cute. He was very sweet with his wife. He wheeled her over to get some hor d’ourves. Another lady seemed really excited to chat with him and kept talking to him about different things. She got her picture with him.

The person from the Board started making his little announcements, thanking the Prophet for bringing his wife on a date (cute!) and mentioning President Monson sitting in the front row tapping his foot.

And I started thinking that maybe I would like a picture with him, too. Because stories about meeting the Prophet are cooler if you have a picture to show. I was wearing a skirt, though, so I had no pockets and my phone was in my bag, which was in the back of the kitchen, in another room. I decided to go for it.

After the little speech, I asked President Monson if I could have a picture with him. He said, “That’s alright.” And it sounded like it meant no, but he’s from a generation where people say what they mean, so he actually meant that it was all right for me to get a picture with him. “Don’t ask security, though, because they’ll tell you no,” he added.

I got the lady who had been so eager to talk with him to take my picture. I started to explain how the camera on my phone works (it’s an iPhone and a lot of people press the button to take you back to the main screen instead of pressing the camera button that shows up on the screen). “I have one. I know how to do it,” she told me, and she took the picture. She said it came out really good.

It didn’t. She took it all blurry. Oh well. At least you can tell that it is me, and that I’m with them, and that President Monson knows he’s in the picture too

My mom and my boss (separately!) mentioned printing the picture and framing it. I hadn’t even thought about it. Because it’s like…blurry. So I don’t know about that. But for sure I’ll be able to tell my kids someday about meeting him. Just like my dad told us the story of meeting Ezra Taft Benson in the rain.

I liked him. I felt like he was a really good man, just from the way that he talked to us and to other people (he randomly went up to one man and showed him his Navy cuff links? Or something. And I don’t know what made him think the guy would be interested, but he was…), and from the way that he was towards his wife. He patted her and touched her, and wheeled her around, and was just really nice. Very pleasant. And I did feel like he actually, really is a prophet. I felt like he could see our hearts, or knew us, or something. I don’t know. Maybe that’s what it feels like to be with people who have spent years representing Christ and showing love to strangers. It was a neat experience, though. And it was cool that he came up to us right away, even though he had no plans to get anything to drink.

I was happy that I wasn’t serving wine. He didn’t go over to them.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


My coworker Devin came back from pulling books with a stack of yellow papers. He was pretty excited about them. Apparently someone went throughout the library and put yellow papers on the shelves. He said there was like, a trail of them. He went from one to the next, collecting them. He thought I would appreciate them, which I did.

I think you will too.

This is fantastic!

Here are some of my favorite parts:
- Your landlord cannot charge you rent because they don't own your property--God does.
- We are slaves to banks, paying interest on their money that they printed.
- Everything we do is based on fear.
- Create your own reality! It's now or never, wake up!

Also, I love-loved the ALLCAPS, so that everyone knows that this is REALLY IMPORTANT, and TRUE (because obviously, anything printed is true.) (Just like everything on the Internet is true.)


Friday, May 01, 2009

AMERICAN HOME part 3 - Don't Be a Public Enemy!

There were a few advertisements like this in American Home.DON'T BE A PUBLIC ENEMY Be patriotic and smother your sneezes with KLEENEX to help keep colds from spreading to war workers. America needs every man--full time! (from a letter by D. L. R., Chicago, Ill.)


Save on Kleenex so Kleenex can save for you!

When half-size will do, tear Kleenex in two. Tear across fold! Saving Kleenex saves material necessary to win the war!

Kleenex "Pop-up-Box" saves tissues--saves money! Because it serves up just one double tissue at a time!

WIN $25 (MATURITY VALUE) DEFENSE BOND For each statement we publish.
Write how the use of Kleenex saves you money and helps win the war.

2 for 1...
My Kleenex does double-duty! After using it to remove face cream, it's perfect to shine up furniture or leather shoes and purse! (from a letter by G.C.T., Pomona, Calif.)


I like it. What company now would tell you to use half of their product, even for a cause? Now what a company would do is sell a special brand of tissues that were half size and charge more for them. Also, I love that the last comment is from someone in Pomona. (WHAT UP!?!)* Can you imagine any girl using her dirty tissue to shine furniture or leather shoes and purses? Do girls even shine leather now? I think we just buy new things. I bet it worked, though.

*Do you love that I just holla'd at someone who, if she was 20 when this was published, would be 87 years old now?! Think about it. She had no idea what Pomona would be like now...