Monday, October 31, 2005

trunk or treat

halloween 05
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

I had to write about the trunk or treat that our grandson went to last Friday night. Way Fun! Lots of "kid" food, and spooky drinks complete with foggy foamy goodness. Many games to test spooky skills, cake walk, and door to door trick or treating in the halls.

The costumes were very good this year. The main theme for the under 8 girls was "Faeries". Green ones, pink ones, blue, white, sparkly winged little faeries everywhere you looked. I kept a close watch on my teeth. Little boys were super heroes for the most part. One family came as a herd of cows...pretty funny actually. Most "unusual" costume went to the gentleman who came dressed in a pair of khaki pants and blue short sleeved t-shirt. Why? His wife explained he was a "nudist on his day off". 'Nuff said, danged clever if you ask me. I found this little bull rider hilarious! Turns out Ellen Degeneres had on a similar costume this afternoon.

Tamale I will post on Buzz Lightyear, who was my personal favorite... wonder why?

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Matinee

First a big shout out to french toast girl who introduced my world to this movie, which is pretty danged funny, mainly, I suppose, because I am freakishly tired, but hey, still funny.

Warning to those extremely sensitive, this pokes fun at the muppets, child safety, and optimism at best (there's a joke in there somewhere). If you go all the way back to the origins of the "film", to the actual website, there is "questionable" content there also (drugs, s*x, and rock and roll or rather: life outside of Utah type of stuff).

Still, a pretty funny movie about surviving to be nine, and exactly how I felt as the mother of grade school kids.

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Originally uploaded by Marvin (PA).
I finally got to see "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" last night. All I have got to say is: "I need to get me one of those guns!"

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Friday, October 28, 2005

as long as Chronicler brought it up...

san diego 10-05 088
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

The Arboretum! Such a great place to be! Wet, quiet like a temple, and full of the earthy aroma you can only get when surrounded by rich soil and hearty vegetation. It's relaxing and exhilarating all at the same time. Step inside and you are sent to a very small Eden. The air is thick and tasty and the floor is a puzzle of small puddles.

Entering the Arboretum is a sensual experience also. The large reflection pond sits between it and the Museum of Modern Photography. The shallow water not only reflects the buildings, sky and trees, but is home to turtles, koi and many varieties of lilies. The birds sing, the bell tower rings out "Westminster Chimes" every fifteen minutes, and the perfume of briny salt air mixed with the flowers in intoxicating. There is a smaller pond just at thebase of the building, also filled with exotic plants and fish, and a turtle or two!

san diego 10-05 083
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
As a child we would be curious and want to touch the creatures in the pond. The same held true on the day Thor and I visited; with many moms and dads cautioning their little ones to not touch and stay away from the edge so they didn't fall in. We got away with seeing the fish and turtles up close and sometimes even were able to touch them without harm of falling in. How? We were taught to lay on our little bellies and scoot up to the edge of the water. This way we couldn't accidentally do anything! We were at water level and could touch anything that swam by. After a few minutes we would hop up, walk a few feet, lay down again and try for a new fish. I wish I could have demonstrated this efficient technique, but some how dignity prevailed and I didn't scoot on the grass.

san diego 10-05 058
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

To the south of the reflection pond is a darling fountain that pretty much everyone just walks by and never really enjoys fully (in my opinion). Just about the happiest fountain I have ever seen. I LOVE this fountain! Look at that face! One on each side (North, South, East, West), the faces joyfully spew forth water all day long in hopes that someone will get a laugh from the show. I certainly did. It makes me giggle thinking about it. From this angle it almost reminds me of the "Seven Dwarfs", but actually the sculpting between the faces are purely ornamental and not any particular object. The pool is large and pretty, even on a cloudy overcast day like the one we spent there.

p.s. to you know who you are: Ms. Sullivan would thank you also!

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Balboa Park

san diego 10-05 103
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Some of my best memories come from wandering around museums. I guess this all started when I was a 4 year old living in San Diego and having access to the wonderful museums in Balboa Park. I guess I have taken this opportunity I had for granted. While at B.P. with Thor, he was impressed and pointed out to me that the buildings that house these museums were built in 1915, "for the express purpose of housing places of learning, museums, and cultural centers" to add to the lives of the people that who visit them. I had never thought about that before.

So now I am; and yes, it is amazing that this entire park was built for that reason alone. This doesn't seem to happen as often in our current place in history. We get a building here and there, but never an entire portion of a city dedicated to museums of all kinds, with botanical gardens, theatres, opera houses, mini United Nations, and a zoo!

I look back on the photos I took of the grounds, the attention to details on the buildings, the flow of the park and the sheer beauty of the trees and flowers; and realize it was, and still is, intended to draw one in and give to them an "experience". The buildings were adorned on the outside- knowing treasures would lay inside. Some of the facades are human figures, primarily women, who hold up buttresses and eaves, faces that smile, grimace, and stand as sentinels at entry ways calling you inward to learn and enjoy.

The top photo shows the ship of Balboa sailing into the bay and dates the building at 1915. For me 2005 is a date that I will remember fondly as the year I sailed back into a time of renaissance; and the wonderful gift these museums continue to give all who enter this great park.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

trick or treat! (or when squash goes bad)

what happens when pumpkins "pee"
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

I took the grandbaby to the pumpkin patch. The GYNORMOUS pumpkin patch that was an hour away. The ones my own children always wanted to go to but we never did. And yes, all five of them, when they hear or have heard of this story will complain of favoritism.

We got there late, by about 9 days they tell us, and the patch was in rapid decay. Very appropriate for the holiday. Gruesome orbs of rotted squash pretty much everywhere in the field, some covered and being devoured by all manor of pestilence. Gnats added to the boggy-ness of the field and the smell in some areas was less than delightful.

But we kept pursuit in hopes of finding a pumpkin worthy of Cinderella, hidden and forgotten by the previous weekend masses. Far out in the last corner the remaining remnants of produce called to my daughter in law, "tiny babies left! save us! take us home!" She walked over to a small group of tiny bright orange vegetables the size of a large softball. Cute, darling, and still on the vine. No imperfections and with a twist and well placed stomp she was able to free two of them. She walked back to the wheel barrow and placed them inside just in time to hear her boy child yelp with a panicked and horrorifying scream. We looked over at him, about fifteen feet away, and he was frozen in utter terror. Mommy ran to her boy and picked him up. Gramma was thinking he had gotten himself tangled in vines and couldn't get loose, mommy thought he had been bitten by a snake. Neither was true. Once lifted to mommy's arms, high off the ground he screamed through his cries, "THAT PUN-KIN PEE'D ON ME!" and would not be calmed down for at least five minutes.

Indeed, the pumpkin literally exploded on impact. Seems baby boy accidentally stepped on the tiny pumpkin and it was very ripe (read ROTTEN!). Pumpkin goo, slimy, disgusting and with a stench beyond belief was all over his pant leg, shoe and even his tiny little foot! Mommy wiped off as much as she could before putting him in the wheel barrow, but he would not stop crying and protesting until Mommy made strong efforts at the wash basin to clean it all off.

Once the pumpkin goo was eliminated we were able to concentrate on picking out fresh pumpkins the patch keepers had placed on tables in front of the field. Still, when we got to the car, there was mention of mean pumpkins who pee on little boys.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

no small feat for small feet!

san diego 10-05 035
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

This is Paul Bunyun's Canyon! If you look closely- you can see two adult hikers, dressed in white, about half way down and two thirds across on the photo. Imagine 10 kids aged 4-12 hiking this canyon, crossing the highway, hiking back up to the busier highway, crossing it and surviving to do it every day for three months!

I took this photo from the car window, just prior to us getting to the intersection where there is now a signal. The intersection is the entrance to the zoo parking lot and carousel. The bright green area at the top left, under the high trees is a grass field at Morley Field. I checked with Chronicler who concurs that back in the day, the trails were not there, but probably close to the route we made. Too much fun, but I can't even think about letting my kids do that these days! Yeowzers!

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Evidently you can go home again...

childhood home
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

So here we go. When S'mee was five years old, one of the houses we lived in was on the corner of Upas and Texas in San Diego. According to the signs, the: "Historic North Park, with Distinctive Craftsman Style Neighborhoods"- which sounds pretty hoity toity, especially when I look back on our circumstances. At the time dear ol' ma was divorced, with four kids- 4,6,8,&10 or there-abouts. Dear ol'dad was no where to be seen and if he did show up it was a bad day. So what's a girl to do? Ask one of your buddies to help you out by moving in together and share expenses. The "Brady Bunch" scenario= said girl friend is also divorced - with 6 kids! 2 moms, 10 kids, and a beautiful house. Add one more "mom", a college gal who helped out with child wrangling (after the kids ganged up and killed the other baby sitters) and there you have it. We lived there the year I went to kindergarten. (a big shout out to Miss Whistler and "Chocolate Chip", my first boy friend)

We lived across the street (directly) from Morley Field. A community park that afforded those who could pay, a pool, tennis courts, and other hoity toity stuff. For us it didn't matter. There was free grass, trees galore, and plenty of people-watching to amuse 10 (probably annoying) kids, none of whom were over age 12. The zoo was down the street and across the highway; and in those days free for anyone under 16 - we all qualified for free "baby-sitting" during the summer. And we took full advantage.

Big brother, along with the oldest brother from the other family would lead the 10 of us across the street and through Morley Field a total of .6 miles one way to the zoo. Occasionally we would stop to watch the swimmers, but mostly we would just walk by and down into the gully we named, "Paul Bunyon's Canyon". He had walked through there with Babe and made the "canyon" with his big ol' feet. There was a small stream in the base caused by Paul as well, but I will let your imagination figure out just exactly how. After hiking down into that gully and we hiked up the hill across the highway. At the top was the highway where the San Diego Zoo sits today. We would run screaming at the top of our lungs across all the lanes in between the cars whizzing by...even way back then.

There was and still is a Naval Hospital, a Golf Course, and Balboa Park full of museums that were also free to any and all under 16. The Natural History Museum was one of my favorites (although you must never EVER look the mummy boy in the eye or you will die. This is true. My brother knew a kid in the sixth grade who did and he died!) We walked all over the park; day after day, every day all summer long.

Attending the zoo so often afforded us many "priveledges". Big brother taught the Myna Bird in the avery to say, "Kill the Keeper", and he also became adapt at getting "freebies".

Carosel at Balboa Park, S.D., CA
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
One of the freebies was the Carosel. Thor and I went to see if it was still true... yup, if you grab the brass ring while on the ride, you get a free ride. I can't remember the price of a ride back then, but it was way too much for us. (current price:$1.75) So we would search out pop bottles, take them in for the refund and save enough every day for Big Brother to get a ride. He was ten, considerably smaller than the fellow in this photo, plus the ride was full of competitors. Only one brass ring in the mix of nickle rings. Luck and skill was necessary to win a ride for your siblings. But ride we did. For free.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

if everybody had an ocean...

Thor is headed out to San Diego and asked if I wanted to go with him. My answer? SHORE!

Tuesday Thor surprised(?) me and we spent probably one of the best days at Disneyland. The rain had let loose like no one's business, but as we arrived, it stopped. Clean, not too many folks, and a walk on every ride. So much so that for the first time EVER I went into the Tiki Room. That's a whole post of it's own!

Tuesday night my head filled up with all kinds of nasty goo and by 1:30 I had a screaming migraine the likes of which I have never experience heretofore. Wednesday was an overdose induced fog of way too many benedril (thank you sweet merciful pink pills). I was going to pass on SD, but as I woke up today, all was right with the world once again. Thor just called and asked if I wanted to still go. After I replied in the positive, he said "Good, for a minute there I thought I was going to have to stuff you into the trunk."

If for no other reason I would have gone just to breath in the salty air! Just thinkin' on it gets me feeling pretty good inside. So until Sunday, have a good one. I will take some photos of the usual haunts, eat some fresh fish, and walk off this desert haze in wet sand! Wahoo!

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Monday, October 17, 2005

poster girl

poster girl
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

I was having an e-mail conversation with a new friend that got me to thinkin’…

Growing up relatively on the move and this side of poverty we had plenty of opportunity for growth, and in many ways, some of the best "teachers". As a result, my siblings and I have all been labeled as “musical, resourceful, clever, creative, artful, good with crafts, articulate, humurous, intuitive, and inventive” and to which I would add “fearless” when it comes to trying something new.

Brother was terrific at turning a phrase, engaging you in conversation, making you cry with laughter, writing poetry and music, and quite the storyteller. He could mimic many voices and do an impromptu sketch while driving through for fast food. A talented actor, singer, public speaker, and a whiz at history; he had plenty of talents and a few gifts that put him in the top bracket.

Chronicler has a gift for seeing visions… and bringing those visions to fruition with success! She has a mind that never stops and hands that race along throughout the day. She has managed to be both critical thinker and a passionista when it comes to whatever new venture she is addressing. She can find the moneymaker in anyone and help you get started. A woman of unlimited resources and boundless energy! Oh, and she can sing, was known as “tiny dancer” at one time, and speaks several languages.

The next in the pecking order came the sister who just had gifts oozing from her fingertips. Music, art, craft and creativity are hers like breath is for most of us. Her eyes see things that are not there…yet. She has a way of knowing what is on the horizon for trends and what will always be a classic. Never satisfied to let things “just happen” around her, she wants to be involved and always adds those tiny little details that make her the “elegant” friend, innovator, inspiration.

As for S’mee, I am the baby of the family and hence, stole everything I could from them all! People have overly complimented me for my creativity, humour, friend loyality, and mom skills. (Those who truly know Thor have sent a nod at patience my way as well.) It’s true that I have good skills and certain attributes that set me above the norm in some areas, but gifts? There is a difference in talent, learned behaviours, adaptability, and (cue: angelic choir) God Given Gifts! I am the poster girl for the old adage: “Jack of all trades, master of none!” (not everyone can say they are a poster girl…) I have a gift up my sleeve somewhere, but let's move on!

In the scriptures we can find many passages that define and describe Spiritual gifts; and the Lord promises us that all have been given Spiritual Gifts. "For all have not every gift goven unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God." D&C 46:11 The remainder of this chapter lists some of God's gifts, explainations on how we are to use our gifts (to bless others and glorify God), and remind us to give thanks continually.

The gifts I related above for my siblings and myself are not the ones listed in the scriptures, but none the less, have indeed blessed the lives of others, and at times, glorified God. I also believe that "all good gifts come from God"; and that those gifts are necessary in life as well. I hesitate to point out the Spiritual Gifts I have seen in them because of the sacred nature, however I can acknowledge they are present.

Our talents are gifts from God. Sometimes I feel that God has placed a greater share on, let's say my un-named sister; who just sat down to a piano one day and played a concerto on it. While she has true talent and works to keep it honed, there is that something extra there. That gift. S'mee, after 6 months of lessons, was still working hard on "Indian War Dance", and losing the battle. But I do play a bit today in a pinch... a gift from God when I need it to be. Some of those talents begin as God placed interests, and through our determination and practice become gifts. The ability to speak in public, to add or take away that one thing that defines a display, or the ability to not think ill thoughts while the car has stalled in the middle of the intersection with 5 kids in 110 heat. (still working on that one.)

What is it that you are gifted in? Do you debate like Clarence Darrow, show benevolence like Mother Teresa, or dance like Fred Astaire? Are you like S’mee, good at many things after years of developing things that interested you? Tell us about the God given gifts you have received and the talents that you have worked hard for. Is it difficult for you to know which is which, and does it really matter?

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

This bud's for you!

Originally uploaded by S'mee.

S'mee the flowers. Look S'mee, look!

Every time I go shopping the last stop is the flower display. I can't help but indulge in a bunch (or three)! I used to feel bad about not having a husband who's natural inclination was to please me by showing up twice a month with a fresh bouquet, "just because". That wasn't fair then, and it isn't fair to him now. If S'mee wants flowers why can't S'mee get them herself? So now that's exactly what I do. It doesn't bother Thor and it thrills me, so were both happier now that I don't blame him for neglect.

The advantage here is that the flowers in the photos can be had for an amazing price. $14.99 for 24 roses with some form of floral fluff wrapped and ready to go. I take care to gently pinch the buds to feel they are firm, thus lasting well into 10 -14 days. I cut the stems under water at an angle and then pop them into a vase with the packet of floral food that comes in each bunch, and half 2-up with half water. I change the water every other day or so and make new cuts as needed. S'mee is a happy girl.

growers bunch
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Along with the roses come even more choices in the "Growers Bunch" bouquets. For $8.99 you get a large (enough for two vases of average size, or one whammajamma vase) bundle of flowers (also with the extra little floral stuff, eucalyuptus, baby's breath, etc.). These come in varieties of daisies, mums, status, hydrangea, tulips, sunflowers, etc. depending on the time of year. GORGEOUS! For the same price one can pick up a dozen +1 (13) individual stems of orchids in there own individual little water vials. These orchids can be arranged, given out as individual stems or even used for making a lei. When is the last time you saw a fresh Hawaiian lei for $8.99? More exotic flowers can be had in large bunches for $14.99.

The point here is that if fresh flowers are your thing, go get some.

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Friday, October 14, 2005


Originally uploaded by S'mee.
I am LOVING these! These are seriously the prettiest bulbs out there for S'mee! Every year S'mee puts up between 17 & 24 trees around the house. Big ones, little one, all with their own special themes! These would just go on the tree named "Pretty!" Pretty amazing! 26 of the brightest, most vivid, absolutely stand out of the ordinary glass ornaments for only $14.99. (too bad I don't have a black tree, look how they contrast with the box! wow!)

classic updates
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Now with the same colour scheme,but with a more classic shape come these wonderments! (cue Angels singing) These are beautiful glass with hue on hue flocking. Terrific. Now all I need to do is win the lotto so I can buy many many packages of them. At $16.99 and 9 per box, S'mee will need at least a dozen boxes for one gorgeous tree!

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less hassle gingerbread house

less hassle gingerbread house
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
O.k. I am related closely to a Foodist and this is somewhat of a blasphemy, but, for those of us who do not make our own crackers from scratch and need help in the kitchen from time to time: Viola! The premade Gingerbread House ready for assemblage! For a mere $12.99 you get the walls and roof and enough royal icing to glue the whole shebang together, plus "over one pound of candies" to decorate it with! It also comes with a gingerbread boy and girl, and a gingerbread tree for the front yard of your new home. Perfect for a last minute Family Night Project or if you have teenage to early 20 young people in your house, a great last minute date night for two under $13.00.

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to heck with safety! FUN is BACK!

tinker toys!
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
Ah, remember the good ol' days when you were a kid and got a big box of Tinkertoys from Santa? Yippi! Those days are back with a vengeance baby! Who cares if little Madison chokes on one of the small parts, she'll learn the hard way not to put toys in her mouth just like we did! The bucket-o-fun comes with like a gazillion tiny pieces of pure unadulterated JOY to assemble the good times! The "Classic Construction Set" comes in at $29.00, a bargain if you ask S'mee. (just remember to pick those little boogers up after you're done playing. Nothing hurts worse then when mommy and daddy step on one of those #@&*%%$#* little things in the middle of the night! On second thought, just buy a bag of legos, no, um jacks, egads forget that, um... ah heck, those kids weren't that good this year anyway.)

lincoln logs!
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Here we go, a nice safe alternative and oldtimey favorite named after our 16th President: Lincoln Logs! Mmmdoggy these were cool! How many hours will little Aidan build the house of his dream with these? I am sure that the GameCube will be totally ignored in favor of this environmentally friendly General Store! Turn off the D.D.R. and grab a log kids! The entire store is just like mom and dad remember; and the trip down memory lane will only set them back $21.99!

Now if they would only bring back Vac-U-Form and the Creepy Crawler Machine!

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Tis the season...

ornamental goards
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

It seems as though one can not properly decorate for the Autumn Holidays without investing in (as Thor would say) a croaker sack full of these little darlings: The Ornamental Gourds. Yup, although the name makes one reminisce about a sixties rock band, they add a quirky touch to any piano top or mantle.

These come in a nice little bag (Thor would approve), at least 16 they promise, for $4.99. I noticed at the grocery store they were being sold for .99 a piece. (doing the math in my head, this would save S'mee about $10.00, right?)

small pumpkins
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
Along side any proper Martha Stewart Autumnal Display would have to be the ever popular tiny pumpkin! Also on sale at the grocery for $1.00 per pumpkin, I found these bagged in red mesh and selling for $5.79 -with a quote of "at least 15 per bag". Again quite a savings if you can use all 15. Hey they're small. And if you can't find a place for one more tiny pumpkin, you're just not trying hard enough!

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"oy" to the world!

Originally uploaded by S'mee.
O.k. on what planet would you ever need this soup tureen? If they were giving one of these away free with any purchase, I think I would still need to pass. It cracks me up to just look at the thing.

White platters
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
(per Chronicler's suggestion: PLEASE, please do not buy this thinking you can take your low cal dish in it to the December Weight Watcher's Christmas Potluck!)

These on the other hand, S'mee thinks are quite lovely! And at $19.79 for the two of them, a good bargain as well. The larger of the two is big enough to handle a larger turkey and the smaller would compliment roasted veggies or perhaps a terrific Christmas Goose. YUM!

White serving dishes
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
For an additional $19.00 you can purchase the THREE matching serving dishes for all sorts of side dishes. White with molded leaf design they will match pretty much any theme and show off the food also. Very nice.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

oh sweet mercy

oh sweet mercy
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
I admit to being 47 years old and feeling somehow like, "dang it, it's time to be a grown-up and have some real sheets." When I saw these 500 thread count Egyptian Cotton Cal King sheets for $69.00 I just about did a back flip. Now visualize it with me (I'll give you a minute to see me in all my gravitorially gifted wonderfullness actually getting high off the concrete floor whilst whooping with delight). OH SWEET MERCY! S'mee is definitely putting these down on her wish list! They come in CalKing, King, Queen and full; white, sage, butter, wheat, and a nice foggy blue. mmm mm mmm mmm mmmmmmm! Come to momma!

Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Now a dream come true for all you crafters and those connoisseurs of fine ribbon... Feast your eyes on these babies. 50 yards of one, one and a half, and even two inch wide wire edged ribbon for $7.99! I can recommend these ribbons as I have purchased them for years! They come out in the fall and spring and trust me when I say they are gorgeous and fabulous to work with. I was at a popular nation wide craft store where I saw identical ribbon in spools of five yards for $7.99 -$12.99 depending on the width. This is crazy good. My niece buys them and easily removes the wire edging so that she can use them for other items that do not require a stiff, stay put edge. Smart cookie, that one! I also like to suggest that you think ahead to future weddings, or other gifts that you may need to wrapduring the coming year. There are plenty of generic ribbons that will do nicely on top of Dad's birthday gift.

$1.00 a pair
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
For those of you who utilize craft scissors with fancy edges, these are the "new" models for the season. 20 "long and wide" scissors in each set (thinking there are two sets to choose from making a total of 40 different edges). The set of 20 comes packaged in a turning carry-all made of wood. All for about $1.00 per scissor at $19.99 for the set with carrier. Not bad. Know any scrapbookers out there? Here's a cheap way to get their expensive scissors for them.

Christmas Dinner
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Last but not least are Christmas Dinner Ware. This service for four comes with dinner plate, luncheon plate, a (very cool) soup/salad flat bowl and cup with saucer. Four different designs as well. A Santa in sleigh, polar bear with cubs, reindeer, and snow man. All the designs are definitely categorized under "cute". $44.99 NO! I GOOFED! The box service for four is $39.99 for the set.

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If Gramma weren't already gone...

This would kill her! Yesterday I followed my sister's advice and took my camera along on a trip to a Big Box store we all know and love for photo documentation of the pre-holiday temptations offered up for this year's celebrations.

I will begin with what would have surely caused my Gramma a heart attack. As I walked in the store, this display was number three on the isle (coincidentally, the third item you see is usually the one most folks purchase). When I first saw it I was immediately attracted to the "spa" items. It's all the rage right? We are all trying to get that "spa" feeling in our bathrooms. Something to help us de-stress and relax after the days routine. You know, those special imported oils and the waffle weave robes with terry slippers. This chrome rack had 3 large bottles filled with different bath oils, the lower rack contains 4 body oils and 3 bottles of sea salts for the bath. All different "flavors". (who came up with that? "flavors" imply the sense of taste, not smell.) Why would gramma object to rest and relaxing oils? Well, because to give those essential oils there "spa" like appearance and appeal to today's market, they have added tiny little twigs, branches, leaves and yes, pebbles into the jars and bottles. She would have freaked. "Aren't they supposed to strain all of those things out of the oils before you buy them?"

Here's another thing that would have driven her off the proverbial cliff: French. The "spa" in a basket in the photo you will notice the very French CruDeProvence packaging, suggesting that it is from the Provence region in France which, of course is anything better than you could purchase here in the states. Each of the labels in this basket is written entirely in French; except the back label. The back label (which was too tiny to photograph and read) gave all the information of ingredients and where it was produced (China, known for it's spas and herbal wraps) and the base company distribution center (Fullerton, CA; known for it's ..., um, well, hmmm. Well I am not sure what Fullerton is known for.) Gramma would be upset. She was nothing if not patriotic and "what, pray tell, is the matter with the English language any way? You want soap from France? Move there!"

isn't it ironic....
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

And now, something for my friends who live in the great state of Utah: Fireplaces in a box! I just think it's kind of humorous that I live in the desert, with temperatures that range in the high 40's to the higher 110's and we get, hmm, maybe an inch of snow one day a year and you absolutely can not find a dwelling in our town, -apartment, condo, house or mansion- without at least one full working wood burning fireplace.

However, for the folks who live in 80% of the dwellings in Utah where it begins to snow 3 weeks before Halloween and continues at whim until Easter, well no such luck. You got a heater and that's all you need. It was explained to me as an environmental issue, which again I am at a loss to find logic in . California is known for it's granola eating tree huggers, solar and wind generation, and flex your power demi-gods; while Utah is pretty o.k. with allowing whoever to decide what is and is not environmentally sound. Go figure.

Just in case you don't have enough fire places in your home you can get -not one, but two!- for $499.00. Just plug them in, no wood actually needed!

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Pink M&Ms!

Pink M&M's!
Originally uploaded by gluoma.
It was time for bed, so she began the routine. Went to the bedroom, got undressed and took her shower. As she stepped out of the shower her husband noticed the look on her face and asked what was wrong. "I think I found a lump on my breast under my arm, but I'm not sure."

She was diligent. Every month on her birth date she would give herself all the required self exams to ensure that she would never be the one who found anything amiss. Somehow in her head she felt like if she never missed an exam she would never really need one. Did that make sense? No, not really, but it was a superstition of hers. "Be prepared and you'll never have an emergency" type of thinking. But this time it wasn't working. She knew it, her husband knew it and the first thing the next morning the doctors knew it.

Luckily she had the kind of insurance that allowed her the luxury of a professional and complete exam the very next day. She went in, sat in the waiting room and convinced herself that she was just silly, over thinking or perhaps even just feeling something that was normal and she had missed previously. It was her turn and she went in.

The doctor did his exam. He consulted another doctor. She did her exam. Both of them looked straight at her and told her the nurse was scheduling a mammogram and that she would go down stairs, get the mammogram, wait for the results and bring them back up stairs for evaluation. "This is it.", she thought. "This isn't just me, they feel it too." Her heart sank a bit. She wanted to call her husband; but this was before cell phones and he was at work anyway. How could they talk? "It will be o.k.", She told herself.

She went in, had the mammogram, and waited. All the way back up stairs she wished she knew what she was looking for as she looked at the film of her breasts. She went in and the doctors looked and searched, mumbled something to each other and then came back over to her. "We're going to go ahead and take a needle biopsy. There are a few spots on both of your breasts, in several different places that we are concerned about. The biopsy will help us determine which direction we need to go." She was stunned, but o.k. "I can handle this. It's going to be o.k.", she kept repeating in her head. She actually felt calm inside.

She laid down and the doctor took a small needle and over and over again drew samples of her to be taken to a lab. After the third poke she began to cry. Not loud and weepy, just the tears came without warning or control. Just a few, and it bothered her that she was this upset. Inside she thought she was o.k. It was like her body couldn't take the idea of it all. There wasn't any pain, there wasn't any evidence to suggest anything really "wrong" yet and still the tiny little stream of tears flowed down her cheeks. "This is really stupid." she told the doctor. "No, no, believe it or not this happens all the time. It's a release. It's o.k." "But I'm not scared or anything. It doesn't hurt. It's just..." "Weird.", the doctor interrupted. "Yeah. I feel really stupid." "It's o.k. It's your body and we're invading it with all kinds of terrible news right now. But it will be o.k. You're doing fine. Just a few more."

The tests came back inconclusive. "You'll need to recheck every three months." It seems there were three good sized lumps, "baby-pea size" under the right arm in the breast tissue, and five others in the left breast that she had missed completely. Smaller than the others, but still there. They would check every three months to see if the lumps would grow. The cells weren't normal, but they didn't look cancerous either. "My luck, even my cells aren't normal." she thought. She went in faithfully every three months for two years, then every six months, and now faithfully once a year.

That's S'mee. I always have told myself that if it did happen I would handle it this way and that. But when I had to get real about it -all the planning flew out the window on wings of fear and dread. I am the girl with the abnormal cells. I am the girl with very good luck. I got myself off (most) caffeine and I stay diligent.

There are many people for whom luck isn't an option. And lest we think this can only happen to the gals, think again. It is called breast cancer, not female breast cancer. I have a dear friend who went through the whole male end of this and there were all kinds of emotions that came along with a disease that is primarily focused on one gender, and it wasn't his. He also took the Big C by the horns and did what needed to be done. My sister in law lost her mother to this disease and then twenty years later both of her breasts. They need your support along with millions of others.

This month M&M Mars is promoting pink M&Ms. Donations from every purchase will go directly to the Susan J. Komen Cancer Research fund. Go grab some pink deliciousness and enjoy helping a good cause.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mac Daddy gettin' all shizzle on the blogizzle

Hey, has anyone but me noticed that the squiggly words they give you in the comments thingy are very similar to real words? Perhaps it is the lean I have towards the dislexic, but this morning, for instance, one of the letter combinations looked almost like "chizzle"; which isn't really a word unless you are a coolio rap guy. The other day I had one that looked like it was trying to spell out "jo-monkey". Or the one that was "pasta".

Granted they never really spell anything, it's just like they are in code for those of us who have nothing better to do then try and figure out if the computer program has a sence of humour.

So for now, as they say in the comments verification: "Meshack" has to go. I need to make some "jello" or my dessert tonight won't be "le-git"!

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Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Here we are in beautiful downtown Vegas! Isn't it pretty? Isn't it wonderful? Isn't just amazing how they can replicate just about anything? Isn't glitzy and glamorous? Talk about a tribute to man's imagination and engineering skills!

Take most of the world's ideas of luxury, success and achievement and doll it all up into one terrific street of decadence and indulgence! Sin city just keeps getting better and better!

Las Vegas Temple, LDS
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

Here we are on the beautiful grounds of the temple. It is beuatiful. It is wonderful. It is amazing how God can teach us how to become more like Him. It is glorious! It is a tribute to God and all He has created in this universe.

Take all of ideas of wealth and success and know that God has promised all He has to us if we will be obedient to His plan of happiness. Our joy will be complete for the eternities.

The Angel Moroni
Originally uploaded by S'mee.
Just by looking at the photographs, one can see the real beauty. The rich pure colours of the temple grounds as opposed to the gray and brown "luxury" hotels of man.

what a view
Originally uploaded by S'mee.

The contrast is clear. The photo of this city view was the one from our "Paris" hotel window on the 25th floor. A very nice room with a spectacular view. In the center of the picture, at the point where the flat land meets the mountains is where the temple sits. From our hotel room we could see it and make it out. The spires of the temple were clear and discernible. To see them in this photo you must focus in and enlarge the photo at the specific place in the distance. It's hard to see, and in fact when you enlarge the photo the spires are still too blurry for a clear understanding of what you are looking at unless you already know.

It's a good analogy I think. This life all the glizt and facades are right here in our face, up close and tempting with gold leafed good times and promises of riches. The truth however is that most who indulge are left with less; and the facades promise nothing that isn't destroyed easily, usually within ten years to build another louder and shinier version of the same old "promise".

If we want things that endure, that guarantee true happiness and value we need to focus -hard- on the things that may seem far off and blurry. Beyond the gold and past the promises of man. The things that only the temple of the Lord can truly promise us. He cannot lie.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It will never happen to S'mee....

Almost twenty some years ago I was driving down a city street to deliver my sis in law back to her home with her kids. My minivan was packed to the gills with all of my kids, her kids and it had been a long day. As I drove, I saw ahead of me in the sky a small plane. It was dipping and tilting and I pointed it out to my sis in law just in time to see it completely lose control and dive into the local fair grounds' largest building, exploding on impact and killing the two passengers. Luckily, the building had just been emptied and no one was inside.

This has left a huge imprint on S'mee's little brain. Planes aren't all that fun if they get into trouble.

S'mee's sis in law (yes, another one) left from Vegas this afternoon with her little girl for CA. Her hubby needs to stay and she needed to get home so a short 45 minute hop seemed logical. She left and was expected to arrive sometime around 3:00. Her hubby called me about 7:30 to tell me that she didn't land on time. In fact she had been delayed due to "wing flap failure". Her plane had to circle the airport until fuel was spent so that it could land without benefit of wing flaps, making the landing "very fast". Sis in law reports that all is well, but after seeing the fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles and personnel waiting for them, it was less than fun for their first flight.

This is my nightmare. I can only imagine what goes through one's head when faced with circling for two plus hours...and what do you say to your little girl?

Holy COW! Tonight's prayers will be a tad longer!

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Carlton's log, Elvis leaves the building...

I got up this morning and went out for a couple of errands. The idea was to grab the sis in law and head out for all kinds of visits. This didn't happen. So a change of plans and I went across the drive way to the Aladdin and got a hot chocolate and sketched a bit while I waited for Hilo Hattie's to open up. I bought a pair of rubber sandals last week, but grabbed the wrong size, so I needed to exchange them. After the exchange I thought, "hmmm, there's a Sur La Table right there!" so of course I had to go in and drool.

While I was in there a really nice future chef (Yo hommie G!) "G" showed me all kinds of tempting goodies (Hey Chronicler, have you seen their new porcelain line?). I have to say this guy was like Satan, just about the time I resisted this way cool baking dish he turned my head with cute little personal butter bells! After that there were amazing "Martha" coloured dinnerware that was displayed along side sea urchin candle tea lights (that S'mee has resisted for just about long enough). The colour combination is just about enough to entice S'mee into a whole house colour redo. (did I mention we finished painting the house a year ago?) YIKES! Thanks G, I am a dead woman.

Luckily for S'mee, purchasing was halted with a text message and I needed to leave the store sooner than I thought. grrr.

I met with Thor for lunch and then headed out to drop off artwork for my niece. A nice visit there and then off to a book store, bridal boutique (FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON, just looking to kill the cat as it were), and a poke into a paper goods store. I need to tell you, between the dishes and the paper, S'mee showed incredible sales resistance today! (I need chocolate)

Thor's business equal from another region invited us over to dinner with "his guys" so we jumped at the opportunity to eat well. We went to P.F. Chang (again, how sad) and had a terrific meal. (because we are in Paris, we had "Fraunch dressing, Fraunch bread, Fraunch fries, and to drink...Peru!")

The walk home was short, but nice. We saw the last two poofs of the water dance at the Bellagio. Interesting side note: Way back in the day, our little family was less than "in the money". So to add to the income we all would sit around at night and assemble small (tiny) pistons with a very tiny rubber ring. We were paid by the piece and so we assembled thousands of them! At the time we knew the pistons would be going into a huge water fountain in Vegas, a Hotel that was going to choreograph the fountain to music. It seems Thor, the kids and I helped, in a small way, to build what is now the huge water dance that stops traffic and is one of the few beautiful things in Las Vegas. If you are ever at the Sultan of Brunei's palace, we did work there also. : >

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Monday, October 03, 2005

the next phase...Carlton's log

Eiffel Tower
Originally uploaded by Adrasteia9.

I love Paris in, well, France would be great, but our next stop and conference is across Las Vegas Boulevard at the Paris Hotel - Las Vegas.

This is the poor man's version of "Passport to Europe with Samantha Brown". Come, cross zee pond - um zee boulevard, vis S'mee as vee vaux Jacques Cousteau and gets al Fraunch!

Yeah, O.k. so I have a lousy French accent, what do you want for your trip to Vegas? It's been a weekend, let me tell you! Saturday we watched conference and after the last session went to a wedding. It was particularly sad because it was two of my seminary students doing the whole "till death do you part" commitments. I can say I am not surprised, not much example on either side of their families, but it was so sad to hear those words. And as long as I am on this wedding, what struck me most deeply was the lack of blessings for the new couple being civilly married as opposed to the ones we receive in the temple.

After conference on Sunday we again went to a wedding. This time for one of Thor's associates at work. The bride had been married before and had two or three little ones and the groom, I think this was his first. It was in a beautiful setting with all the expected t.v. type wedding things. Flower girls and ring bearer, a couple of brides maids and the goofy best man with an even goofier toast. They had a garden reception and dinner with dancing.

This reception had something for everyone. Drinks for the drinkers, food for the eaters, and for the kids? Well, they had their own little bar and food selections, and to keep them occupied colouring books and crayons. I thought that was a great idea and it did what it was intended to do.

Still sad though, even if they aren't members...maybe someday.

Thor and I got on the road late, and by the time we hit state line we had seen enough crazy drivers for any trip. One particular driver had his/her own personal police escort and another had several police escorts, in CA this is known as the slow speed chase and I am wondering if it got the coverage these things normally do. There was plenty of "escorts" following the small sports car with the headlights out.

Half way between Jean and Vegas we crawled along at about 5 mph for about five miles. The big deal was someone receiving a ticket on the right. Can I tell you this is one of S'mee's pet peeves. Hello folks, the cop is too busy with the guy at the side of the road to stop and give you a ticket as well. grrrr.

We checked in and got to the room about 12:30. Nice room, large bathroom, steam shower a plus, and a teen-einsie view of the temple....WHAHOO!

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