Dear Sir or Madam:

I protest the use of the adjective "guilt-free" to describe your "green" merchandise.  I reserve the right to make consumer choices based on my own rationale, not yours.  Non-"green" merchandise does NOT make me feel guilty, nor should it.  Please do not project your own eco-neuroses onto me.

As ever,

The gift of glamour

The holiday season is upon us, and Sam and I want to give a little something back to our kind friends and neighbors.

And what better gift than a glamourous photo for you or a loved one?

When: Sunday, Dec 13th, 5-8 p.m.
Where: Our house (email me for directions)
What: Our trained photographer(s) will be at the ready throughout the evening to capture your lovely selves on film.  We will have a few props on hand, but please bring your own if you desire---and dress appropriately!  Finished pictures will be emailed to you later.
Oh, and: dinner.  I will make soup and bread.  Bring a dessert to share, if you are so inclined.

Come; eat; simply slip in and out for your photo, or stay all evening and chat.  You decide.

But one thing: you need to email me [marilyn dot nielson at byu dot net] if you want to come.  Or leave a comment.  Even if you haven't previously revealed your presence here as a reader, don't be shy!  We would love to have you---all of you---come!  After all . . . glamour knows no boundaries; no rich or poor; no east side or west side.  Glamour can embrace us all! 

P.S. Yes, your kids can come too, but we will NOT be attempting to photograph the little hooligans.

But you're tired of words, I thought you said

Oh please. I'm so over that already. Ready to offer my opinions on anything and everything again!

Random thoughts, then:

Daisy already does this poke-your-fingers through the afghan (holes of the crocheted afghan, I mean, not trying to be racist or anything.  Oh dear, now I sound obscene.  I'll stop, but why is it called an afghan anyway?  Did they come from Afghanistan or something?) thing.  Do everyone's children do this or is it just mine?  I did it myself as a child.  I love the look of five toes poking out through individual holes.  So tidily charming.

are some people who are discussing the word "blog."  I am the type of person who thinks about these things.  I find it funny, alarming, and obscurely comforting that there are other people who debate such matters seriously.

Talking of which, I have written before about words I just have a hard time using.  There are also many words I simply do not like.  Let's add these things to the list:
  • "round and round we go"
  • "out on your ear"
  • When. people. write. with. periods. for. emphasis.
  • When people say "the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble."  (Just to be clear: people actually putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable is fine.  It's the phrase I don't like.)
  • "drool-worthy"
  • "well-edited," referring to something besides writing.
  • "There are so few ingredients, it's important they be of the highest quality!"
  • And for the holiday season, can I reiterate how much I dislike the formulation "to gift"?
Sometimes I get words in my head, like "Wernike's Area" or "Myanmar" and I don't know what they mean or how they got there. Probably from a former life but as you can see I retained no actual knowledge from that life.

Western Family plastic bags (sandwich bags---we call them "baggies;" is this correct, or something only terrible people do, like use "kleenex" for facial tissue and "xerox" for photocopy?) have undergone several changes!  I used to like them fine, and then a couple years ago they got terrible.  They split apart at the seams anytime you put anything in them, and they felt really brittle, like paper instead of plastic.  (I observed this scientifically, after buying several different boxes.)  So I stopped buying them, but then recently I accidentally bought them again, and they're fine again.  Good job, WF chemists!
There are few people that I dislike more than Elijah Wood as Frodo in the Lord of the Rings movies. I mean, just conjure up his white, wistful face in your mind's eye. Doesn't it make you want to hit him?

When I've been reading something for a while I start to write in that style. I don't mean to, but I do. So if you think I sound like Dickens or someone when I'm writing, I'm not plagarizing. I'm just that talented. It just happens. Deal with it.

It is bad that "deal with it" is a phrase I use so often, I even overhear Abe using it? I don't think it's something I heard from my mom EVER. Yet it sums up so nicely what I so often want my children to do!

Whenever something I'm baking needs "a few more minutes," I think I'll just remember to check it again in a few minutes. I don't ever think I need to set a timer for it. Sometimes I set one anyway. Coincidentally, these are the only times my food doesn't get burned.


I saw my sister-in-law Jane on Sunday and she was wearing this fabulous (not usually a word I use, but we're venturing into the realm of fashion here; deal with it) watch she made, and it reminded me I've been meaning to link to her jewelry site.  Here.  I love handmade jewelry, don't you?  Well, if it's cute, of course.  I wouldn't just like it non-discriminatorily; that would be like supporting "mom-n-pop" stores just because they're not THE MAN rather than because they sell something we actually want . . . right?  (And Katy---that hat/poncho set you made was super---I'd post a picture if I had one)

And speaking of my delightful family . . . Pam's post reminded me of something great I read (not by a family member. sorry).  I can't remember where I saw it linked recently, but I heard the guy who wrote it talking on KBYU a month or so ago.  Hilarious, I tell you.  I wish I'd written it myself.  (Well, I did write this! Same idea, less hiliariously executed.)  Behold:

Oh and for goodness sake I might as well link this too.  Christy's book's "book trailer" (evidently that's a "thing" now).  What talented people I'm related to (and you don't know the half of it).

Just some words

Are we boring you, Malachi?

Sometimes I start off the day reading through various things; news, stories, commentary, blogs, etc., and at the beginning I'm all excited with all these things running through my head, things I want to talk about and comment on and ask about.  And then I continue through my google reader, reading other people's comments and more, and by the time I'm done I'm totally tired of it all and I have nothing more to say because a. anything worthwhile has been said already and b. everything stupid has also been said and c. I'm totally annoyed by it all anyway, who are all these people who think anyone cares about reading their two cents on everything?

What is wrong with me?  Just information overload or what?

Goodbye forever. 
(Joke.  Ha.  As if you could get rid of me.)

P.S. Is that what my kids are feeling at the end of the day, having been a captive audience, stuck with me, scolded and talked at and preached to for 14 hours?

And that reminds me of a story.  We were driving around returning dishes after people brought us meals when Daisy was born (thanks everyone!) and Sebby went up to the door with one of them.  The lady opened her door and took the dish and then stood outside and talked to Sebby for several minutes.  They both appeared to be conversing quite animatedly, and when he got back to the car, I said curiously, "What was she saying to you, Seb?" 

He answered without much interest, "Oh . . . just some words . . ."

The Great Beyond

Picture doesn't do it justice, of course.  But I'm surprised we were able to get the camera to take a picture at all.  Isn't it interesting how colorful the stars look captured here?

A few nights ago we took a picnic dinner and drove up into the Uintas so we could see the stars.  It was cold but so beautiful.  So many stars!!  I wonder if you would ever get used to seeing so many stars, if you lived far away from the city, where you could see them like that all the time?  I can go for long periods of time without even thinking about the stars, let alone looking at them and pondering the significance of it all.  But it seems like it would be impossible to avoid thoughts of eternity if you saw a sky like that every night.

While we drove, Sam told the boys stories about space and the stars, (Sam loves astronomy. Just like he loves geology.) and the next day the four of them spent two hours on the computer looking up astronomy pictures and videos and talking about black holes and meteors and the Milky Way and Saturn and dust storms and the Great Red Spot and so forth.  They were all fascinated, of course (even Malachi).  The last few days they've been playing rockets and moon landings and black holes nonstop.

This is a picture Abe drew yesterday.  Labelled items are: the Milky Way, the moon, galaxies (spiral), space, Jupiter (note the red spot near the bottom), Mars, Saturn (with eight moons), Earth, a rocket, and a black hole.

It was cool to think about space. I used to think about it when I was little (I wanted to be an astronaut, who didn't?) but it's been a while and I've gotten all jaded and used to the idea of it, I guess. But it's just as amazing as it ever was. All those stars! The vast, incomprehensible sizes of things! Are there other planets like ours? Which of the stars has already burned out but the light is still reaching us? I got all excited, thinking about it, and started wanting to be an astronaut again.  Do you suppose I'll ever get my chance at that? :)


I make it a point never to do anything on Mondays, until dinnertime anyway, because I figure I should be applauded for having the fortitude to let Sam out the door to work (it's so hard to have him leave after we've been together all weekend) and the dishes, floors, etc. can wait.

Today it was sad because Malachi ran into the wall (or was pushed . . . I suspect it, but don't have "ocular proof," [Othello, thanks Mrs. Brown]) and got this huge bump on his head.  It looked so bad at first that I was really worried about it, but he seemed okay after a while; perhaps the 2-second intervals during which I was able to apply the bag of frozen peas before having him push them away and say "cold!" in a betrayed tone made the swelling go down. 

Anyway, it just reconfirmed my belief that Mondays should be spent in bed reading or cuddling.  So that's what we've been doing.

The decision had to be made

Friday miscellany:

1. I like passive voice.  It used to bother me, but now I find it charming, especially when used in an attempt to evade responsibility for something, as here:
I've already used it on my kids a few times.  "I'm sorry Sebby, but the decision had to be made."

2. This speaks for itself, I believe:
Words to live by!

3. From now on I plan to end all correspondence with the words "Goodbye Forever."

4. You've seen the grocery store musical?  And the food court musical?  Here's a new one (my favorite!).  I love the work of these guys.  It just doesn't get old to me.  I think because it's never mean-spirited like some of those hidden camera, try-to-embarrass-people things you see.

Goodbye forever.


This is the time of year that I feel grateful for nice weather rather than entitled to it.
Which is really much better for the soul, don't you think?

I like this guy

The other day Seb was talking to me and I suddenly out of nowhere thought, "My goodness, that boy is handsome!"  That happens sometimes, but I guess I get caught up in being annoyed with the boys and wishing they would quit fighting with each other and breaking things, so those little flashes of amazement (whoa, THIS is MY SON?) still take me by surprise.

So I told him to keep talking (he was explaining to me how "the windmills turn, which genawates electricity"---his words---he is like those little boys who know the names of every dinosaur, but with machines) and took a million pictures.  Which led to quite a lot of pictures that look really like like him, if you know what I mean.  So don't be alarmed, but here they are.

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