Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Temple Square 2009

Temple Square was beautiful on Tuesday night as the snow was falling. This is the first time we have gone since we moved here, which is really sad. Last year we tried but after by the time we found a parking space on the same Saturday night as a Jazz game and a performance at the Conference Center we were too late and they had started turning out the lights.

We went for Chinese food, which we haven't had for a really long time, and then up to the temple. The manger scene was really beautiful and touching. It is very fitting that because Christ was born, died, and then rose from the dead, we can be sealed to our families in the temple.

If you didn't hear it here is the story from President Monson's talk at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I love it.

Many years ago I read of an experience at Christmastime which took place when thousands of weary travelers were stranded in the congested Atlanta, Georgia, airport. An ice storm had seriously delayed air travel as these people were trying to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas—most likely home.

It happened in December of 1970. As the midnight hour tolled, unhappy passengers clustered around ticket counters, conferring anxiously with agents whose cheerfulness had long since evaporated. They, too, wanted to be home. A few people managed to doze in uncomfortable seats. Others gathered at the newsstands to thumb silently through paperback books.

If there was a common bond among this diverse throng, it was loneliness—pervasive, inescapable, suffocating loneliness. But airport decorum required that each traveler maintain his invisible barrier against all the others. Better to be lonely than to be involved, which inevitably meant listening to the complaints of gloomy and disheartened fellow travelers.

The fact of the matter was that there were more passengers than there were available seats on any of the planes. When an occasional plane managed to break out, more travelers stayed behind than made it aboard. The words “Standby,” “Reservation confirmed,” and “First-class passenger” settled priorities and bespoke money, power, influence, foresight—or the lack thereof.

Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Scarcely more than a glassed-in cubicle, it was jammed with travelers hoping to fly to New Orleans, Dallas, and points west. Except for the fortunate few traveling in pairs, there was little conversation at Gate 67. A salesman stared absently into space, as if resigned. A young mother cradled an infant in her arms, gently rocking in a vain effort to soothe the soft whimpering.

Then there was a man in a finely tailored grey flannel suit who somehow seemed impervious to the collective suffering. There was a certain indifference about his manner. He was absorbed in paperwork—figuring the year-end corporate profits, perhaps. A nerve-frayed traveler sitting nearby, observing this busy man, might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.

Suddenly, the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home.

The agent wearily told him the prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas his unit was to be sent to Vietnam—where at that time war was raging—and if he didn’t make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. Even the businessman looked up from his cryptic computations to show a guarded interest. The agent clearly was moved, even a bit embarrassed. But he could only offer sympathy—not hope. The boy stood at the departure desk, casting anxious looks around the crowded room as if seeking just one friendly face.

Finally the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. The travelers, who had been waiting long hours, heaved themselves up, gathered their belongings, and shuffled down the small corridor to the waiting aircraft: twenty, thirty, a hundred—until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic young soldier and shrugged.

Inexplicably, the businessman had lingered behind. Now he stepped forward. “I have a confirmed ticket,” he quietly told the agent. “I’d like to give my seat to this young man.” The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, “Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.”

As the plane door closed and the engines began their rising whine, the businessman turned away, clutching his briefcase, and trudged toward the all-night restaurant.

No more than a few among the thousands stranded there at the Atlanta airport witnessed the drama at Gate 67. But for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility—all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts.

The lights of the departing plane blinked, starlike, as the craft moved off into the darkness. The infant slept silently now in the lap of the young mother. Perhaps another flight would be leaving before many more hours. But those who witnessed the interchange were less impatient. The glow lingered, gently and pervasively, in that small glass and plastic stable at Gate 67.2

My brothers and sisters, finding the real joy of the season comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done or in the purchasing of obligatory gifts. Real joy comes as we show the love and compassion inspired by the Savior of the World, who said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ... ye have done it unto me.”3

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Baking

My kitchen yesterday

Took around 25 plates of good stuff to people around the ward. Friends, neighbors, Visiting and Home Teaching people, and Peter's counselors in the Sunday School Presidency. Peter had all the plates strategically ordered in the car for maximum efficiency during our deliveries.

Kids loved it and all helped out tons. John rolled every one of those Mexican Wedding Cakes in powdered sugar and peeled off all the Hershey kiss wrappers and stuck them on the cookies. Rebecca unwrapped endless sticks of butter and diligently stirred the toffee. Sarah rolled cookies, manned the timer, and fetched ingredients from the basement. Nathaniel sampled everything to make sure it was all edible (and brought along friends to sample too) and Peter guarded it all from the dog while I showered.

There is this kid who lives across the street from us, the Bishops son. So cute and so sweet. He is four I think and plays with John a lot. Every single time he comes over he tells me he is hungry. I'm always doing something and just say, "Go look and see what you want." He walks away, "Oh-tay" and then comes back to give me his order. That kid can eat like no other. I never had one of those--my kids never ate at that age. So when he saw the bake-o-rama yesterday he looked at me as I frosted sugar cookies--"What you doin'?"
Code for are you going to give me some or what?!

Christmas Sewing

This is my sewing area in the basement during Christmas. I don't know why but I just love to sew at Christmas. People might think it is stressful, but for me it is just so much fun and I thrive on it! Gets those creative juices flowing. Have I mentioned how I love Christmas?

I made up this pattern for my friend Shawn who has been utterly sweet to me this year (and recently gave me the most decadent brownie recipe ever.) Her father was Dutch and she has all these Dutch traditions during Christmas--thus the tulips, windmills and Dutch wooden shoes. I thought it came out very cute. I can't tell if the wooden shoes actually look like shoes or just large mustaches. I only had to buy the border fabric-- all others were remnants from my stash.
I love red and white quilts. Heck, I love red and white anything!

Made these table runners for Linda and Penny after I saw the state of affairs Peter's mother Penny's table was in. Another project where I was kind of making it up as I went along. Sometimes I just cannot find a pattern I like so I improvise.
Now I want a table runner too.

This is a baby doll blanket I made for my two youngest nieces.
Just remnants leftover from other projects. I love cheap and super-cute Christmas presents.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Every year I watch for the chocolate covered Oreos they come out with at Christmas. This year they didn't seem to have them anywhere. Then I was at Target the other day, having already looked at the holiday treat section with no luck, when I saw them up by one of the checkout stands with a big sign saying "limited time only!" Throw away the calorie counter-- I bought myself 2 boxes. White chocolate are my favorite.

On the way home we are all eating them in the car when this headache starts coming on. By the time we get home I have to lie down. It's a migraine, which I've managed to forgo for quite a while now. The nausea sets in and all I can think about is those chocolate covered cookies and what in the heck they probably put in that white stuff in the middle of Oreos and how the chocolate coating is probably made out of some weird and very long list of ingredients and swearing I will not do this to myself again.

I know I will probably never be able to eat those things again. Just thinking about them makes me feel sick now. Very sad because I loved those things and was so excited to find them. Then yesterday a little boy in my primary class brings me over a treat for Christmas and guess what? White chocolate covered Oreos!
Now tell me, what are the chances?!
Gave them to Sarah.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Never a dull moment with John around!

Tonight as we are watching the First Presidency Christmas Devotional
I go in to see what John is doing.
He's naked.
In the sink.

Yesterday this is what John was doing when I got up in the morning.

And this is what he was wearing when I got up on Friday.
At least I was grateful to see him in clothes.

Sunday morning

Woke up this morning to this

So I measured it and we got at least 7 1/2 inches last night

Decided to take a family picture out in the backyard right after church
and it was really cold so we only got three chances.
We all agreed this was the best--which is not saying much.
I thought I looked cute today too...
I feel like my bosoms look unseemingly large in every picture of me lately. With all the boob jobs going on around here in Utah I've gotta say I don't get it. I think it just makes women look heavier. The last time a friend of mine got one I thought she had just gained weight.
A lot of weight.
I think the most beautiful women in the world are quite flat-chested--like Audrey Hepburn.
Guess I'm not going to look like her anytime soon. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Traditional Monday Nite after Thanksgiving

The tree is up--watch the electric gauge whirl! The kids are already bouncing off the walls. This year we had to do some major rearranging because I simply must have the tree in front of the bay window facing the street. The piano, a table, two couches, and some really crusty fish stick remains later--waala!
A while back I was so surprised to find some bubble lights at a yard sale I was helping with. I bought them with memories of the ones we used to have as kids. They are so cool! Our tree is such a hodgepodge. I couldn't help but think as we were decorating how Martha Stewart would hang her head in shame.
John had ants in his pants wanting to get the train up last night but we were too tired--Peter put it together first thing this morning.

I love Christmas.


The best reason to visit is a new baby.
Meet Daniel, Megan's baby.
(We still can't believe Meggie Baby even has a baby, or is married, or any such thing.)

He makes the most noise of any baby any of us have ever heard! Not crying, just baby noises--constantly! It is like he is in a perceptual adventure in his sleep and according to Megan and Paul has been doing this since almost the moment he waas born. Fluttering eyes, smiling, humming, stretching, grumbling, squeaking--this baby is remembering something I think.
He is almost never silent.
I asked Megan how she sleeps through it all.
She says they get used to it, but she looks pretty tired to me!
I love new baby smell--it's the best.
We missed him before we even left--sniff...

Animals and Quilting

Daniel Joseph Eizenzimmer's quilt

Festival of the Trees Quilt
(to be auctioned for Primary Children's Hospital)

As you can see here Charlie wants to get in on everything, including my pictures. He was very unhappy we left him behind when we left for Thanksgiving and I felt bad.
Charlie is my most constant friend. He is the first one up waiting for me in the morning. He lays down against the shower door waiting for me to get out. Then he watches me blow dry my hair because he likes it when I turn the dryer in his direction.
At night we don't let him sleep in our room because he shakes his head around too much, but we can always hear him scratch at the door, just once, before he plops down against the door to wait out the night.
He can hardly contain himself when he sees me putting on my running shoes.
Maybe this is why I often get along better with animals than people? Good excuse anyway.