Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Great-Grandma Virginia 1918 - 2009

Grandma at Emily's wedding, August 2008.

My wonderful great-grandma died today at the age of 90. I'll miss the many fond memories I have of her and I'll forever remember and be grateful for her love and the sacrifices she made that have shaped the way my family is today. She was a great lady; honest, enduring, and filled with devotion to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Ever since I was really young, I always looked forward to Sunday evening dinners at Grandma Ginny's...
-running around and playing ball or frisbee on the lawn with the cousins while the adults visited with each other on the patio;
-getting older and staying with the adults on the patio while the little kids ran and played and weaved in and around the table and chairs;
-"dammit, Pete!"
-setting the alarm off with the flush of the toilet;
-the kids pushing each other around the sidewalk in the green garden wheelbarrow;
-driving lessons in the church parking lot across the street;
-grandma treats every Sunday;
-the fake french horns on her Christmas tree that we tried to blow into anyway;
-how hot the little house got when it filled up with family... but how it still felt good to be there with everyone you loved inside;
-not realizing that the door I thought was the front door to her house wasn't really the front door until I was 20;
-playing Cat's Cradle, hopscotch, tag, the egg game, hands-up stands-up, cartwheeling, and climbing trees with Emily, Chelsea, Laura, Christian, Katie, and Hannah;
-interviewing Grandma about her life for a school project;
-the little ceramic house figurines;
-hangin' on the clotheslines;
-cucumbers in vinegar;
-the drawers that always stuck;
-losing balls and frisbees and kids in the trees in the yard;
-the candy dish;
-trying to get the kitchen sink to stay on;
-mosquito bites... the zapper;
-throwing those little pokey balls at each other that came off the trees in the yard;
-the squeaky kitchen towl roller! (such an integral part of my childhood)
-that stump on the patio;
-laughing together;
-Grandma asking all the kids about school and their music and sports and travels;
-bringing the table leaves out from behind the door and putting them in the dining table to make it big enough for everyone;
-the pink carpet in the living room;
-watching Touched by an Angel in the TV room and fighting the cousins for Grandma's recliner;
-Avon lotions...

This list could go on and on and I've recently realized the huge impact Grandma made on her posterity by working hard to put a meal together for the whole family every Sunday. The grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, parents, and children of the family had the opportunity to mingle, chat, share stories and advice, laugh, joke, cook, help, play, and catch-up weekly. I'm so grateful for the closeness and love I share with my extended family because of these opportunities that my amazing great-grandma gave us. I'll miss her and the wonderful times of my life that she made possible.
I'm happy to think of her now, in peace, and free from the toils and pains of old age. To think that she finally gets to be reunited with her husband who died over forty years ago is a joy. She deserves all the best for living a selfless, kind, and generous life.

Grandma and me, Christmas Eve 2006.
Grandma and Hallee, Christmas Eve 2006
'Til we meet again...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

random thoughts


1. I just spilled Christmas Frosty Nerds (candy) all over myself, my laptop and my bed. Should I leave them there for a midnight snack or look for all of them now?

2. Ecuador has a very cautious government when it comes to having visitors. To obtain a 6 month Visa, Jonathan and I each have to have an HIV test, get a letter from a doctor saying we don't have any contagious diseases, get a notarized letter from the bank saying that we have sufficient funds and can support ourselves, get a police background check and a letter saying we don't have a criminal record, fill out some other paperwork, send them our passports and new passport photos, send copies of our round trip airline tickets to Ecuador, and last but not least, pay them $230. Each.
At least we don't have to fly to L.A. to give them all this crap in person like I had to do to get my Spain Visa.

3. I watched TLC's "Clean House" on TV today and it seemed kind of ridiculous. They made this lady get rid of half her clothes and I swear she didn't even have that much in her closet to begin with. "Congratulations, Lady! You're house is clean! Now good luck finding anything to wear."

4. Now that I am out of school, I find get to choose what I want to learn! Yesterday I went to the public library with my brother, Josh, and left with 12 books. 2 are travel books about Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, 1 is a travel book about South America in General, 2 are beginner self-teaching Spanish books for Jonathan, 2 are advanced Spanish books for me, 1 is a book of amazing photos from BBC's Planet Earth series of amazingness!!!!, 1 is one of those "dummies" books about building websites (something I've always wanted to learn and might possibly find time to do now), 2 are about building and running nonprofit organizations, and 1 was an audio CD/book of beginner Japanese for Jonathan's sister Kristine.

Doesn't it sound like fun? I have a lot to do now.

As a side note, Josh left the library with a huge hardcover about President Reagan and a book by Martha Stewart on hors d'oeuvres-making. What an awesome kid.
amazing. everyone must watch.

4. I've been wondering about all this inversion in the air... Today I treadmilled it up inside instead of going outside because of the nasty air. But really, isn't the outside air inside our houses too? Anyone know if it really makes that big of a difference where we breathe?

Salt Lake Valley before and after pollution. or maybe after and before. or after and later after.

5. I realized after watching Lost last night (actually on TV with the rest of the world for the first time ever) that watching television is only good when it's on DVD and you can watch the episodes as consecutively as you please.

6. Jonathan is helping Josh understand his Jr. High art class perspective drawing assignment right now and it's so cute.

7. The Spanish television channels on basic cable are really strange. And apparently they still listen to the blue da-ba-dee song.

8. Does it seem like I'm watching a lot of television? It's because I'm living with my parents until the weddin'. They have TV.

9. Registering for wedding gifts together teaches patience. And it's not fun like I always expected it to be. Choosing between 15 types of cutting boards is just annoying. And I just got an email from Target saying that a bunch of stuff I registered for won't be in the store much longer. Crap.

10. My relationship with Jonathan has reached a new level. I just burped loudly in front of him... but only because he just farted big-time in front of me.

This picture was probably taken after the ugly burping level in the relationship but before the stinky farting level.

11. I went to a Lenka concert tonight. She has a nice voice, nice lyrics, and a nice accent. I enjoyed it very much ("I'm just a little bit caught in the middle..." her other songs are better).

12. Spanish has messed with my English. I can't spell words with double letters anymore and I second-guess my English grammar frequently. It's a little sad that I've had much more Spanish grammar than English grammar training in my life.

13. One of the most fulfilling and self-satisfying things I've done is learning a second language. I highly recommend it. Communicating with people in a language other than your native language is exhilarating. I'm trying to decide the next language I want to learn. Some of Jonathan's siblings are learning Japanese. Maybe I'll try it.

14. The steamed milk at 7-eleven is too sweet, but it's good if you add some hot water to it.

15. The trick to ending dry feet is to put really thick lotion or Vaseline on them, then put plastic bags over them, then put socks over the plastic bags. Usually you should do this before bed so you don't squish around when you walk. And if you use Vaseline, you'll probably want to wash your feet in the morning.

Okay, I'm thinkin' that's enough random information streaming from my head and onto my blog for one day.
random cool image of the sun and moon at the north pole.

Monday, January 19, 2009

doomed to be a crazy old duck lady

Some of the most fun times I can remember have been feeding ducks at local ponds. Once a friend and I spent an hour naming all the ducks in the Fairmont Park pond. Did you know ducks will catch bread in the air if you toss it to them, just like a labrador? Did you know that ducks take revenge on eachother by tearing out feathers with their bills? Maybe those are just the retarded inbred pond ducks. I admit they're a little gross... but mostly just funny.

One time in Summer of 2007, at Sugarhouse Park, I noticed a tiny baby duck had been separated from its mother and was just sitting at the edge of the pond. We tried to lure the mother and other ducklings in with bread, but they came and ate and left. The little lost duckling tried to follow but didn't get very far. That's when we realized it couldn't swim well. So, figuring that it wouldn't live long in the pond, we took it home in a Burger King bag. We let it swim in the bathtub to wash off and held it and played with it and researched about what to feed it.

I named him Crispy. You can't tell me he isn't one of the cutest things you've ever seen in your life. I fed him little pieces of cereal and made plans of all the fun things we would do together. A pet duck... What could possibly be better? That night I put him in an old shoebox with some towels and put a lamp over the box to keep him warm. I went to bed and dreamed I was that girl on the movie Fly Away Home. All those geese thinking I was their mother and following me everywhere...

The next morning I woke up and immediately went to check on Crispy in the shoebox. He was dead. I guess the duck mother knew what she was doing. There was something wrong with him and she knew he'd die so she left him. I was sad for awhile; my dreams of having a pet duck crushed (so dramatic)! After a couple days I moved on and the Sugarhouse Pond dead duckling incident was pushed to the back of my head.

This past summer, while living with Sar in an apartment downtown, I found myself very bored with my senior thesis paper. Thus most of the time that should have been spent researching and writing was spent watching Friends episodes. She had almost all the seasons so I watched almost all the episodes. Joey and Chandler got a pet duck! They were living my dream!

All the sudden I HAD to have a duck again. I researched about having a pet duck. Turns out they actually don't need a pond or any sort of water to sit in on a daily basis, just a bath every few days. And the best part is that they are great indoor pets. You just have to have them wear these special duck diapers. Here's a quote from a website called the Goose's Mother and Father. It's all about raising ducks and geese as pets. I think the lady is pretty ridiculous but she does know a lot about it. And she sells duck diapers

If you had a duck as kid, have found a duck, rescued a duck, plan to get a duck or just like to visit the ducks in the park, you should know that you can diaper a duck/goose (even a chicken, turkey or peacock)! Then you can go walking with it, sleep with it, travel with it, watch TV with it, play with it, and feel it give you a warm, soft hug! They are the cleanest, most loving, loyal, amusing, and beautiful companions you could ever have."

My favorite part is that you can "feel it give you a warm, soft hug!" haha... but seriously, watching TV with it?!?! awesome!

duck with a diaper

duck with a diaper lookin' in the mirror.

So I've decided that when Jonathan and I get back from Ecuador, I'm getting a duck. Who cares if I'm a crazy old duck lady. The only problem is that Jonathan thinks he's going to eat it once it's fully grown. ugh. We'll work something out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I am not a model... (neither is Jonathan)

Last Wednesday was a very trying day for me. I spent the morning in very curly hair, very dramatic makeup (for me), a very ruffly dress, with Jonathan in a tux, and a photographer leading us around. Why?



I. hate. getting. pictures. taken. of. me.

In the beginning I refused to get bridals and I thought we'd just find a cute snapshot of Jonathan and I for our announcement photo (see sidebar). Wrong. My mom wasn't about to let me get away without getting bridals taken. I say, why would I want 300 pictures of me posing and looking cheesy? I don't want them. Why go through the pain of a photo shoot? Nagging and begging ensued. For some reason my parents think they want a cute picture of me in my wedding dress to hang up in their living room (alongside sister Emily...much more photogenic and patient of photographers). So we came to a compromise. Groomals. I would get all dressed up in my awesome dress, Jonathan would get all dressed up in an expensive rental (pit-stained) tux, and we would together go through the ridiculousness of a photo shoot a month and a half before the big day. woo.

We ended up going downtown around some cool old buildings and posing and posing and posing. Passersby would congratulate us and I would think to myself what frauds we were, pretending to be married nearly two months too soon.

The worst part of it was that my photographer didn't seem want me to be happy to be marrying Jonathan...

Photographer: Okay guys, lets do a serious one. No smiles.

Me: (rolling eyes)

Photographer: Amanda.... um......

Mom: you're a jungle cat, Amanda. think jungle cat!

Me and Jonathan: laughing

Photographer: okay guys, no smiles on this one. lets make it a serious one.

Jonathan: (gets straight face and bored eyes)

Amanda: (tries to picture a jungle cat model pose and imitate it)

Photographer: um... okay... good... amanda, try looking off in the distance, relaxing your lower lip, and slowly blowing air out of your mouth. jonathan, lean over and pretend to whisper something in her ear.

Me: what the... (exhale... wondering how retarded I look)

Seriously though... Why? I am happy. Jonathan is funny. The drunk homeless guy watching us get our pictures taken was funny. Why can't we just smile and laugh? WHY?!?!?!

Our pictures got uploaded onto my photographer's website today and I have to say, all of the pictures where jonathan and I are trying to look serious, hot, and model-y look completely and totally ridiculous, just as I thought they would. The pictures that I like are the ones where we're smiling and laughing.

Also, Jonathan probably should have gotten a haircut. Oops. Oh well.

In defense of my photographer, he takes really awesome pictures. And most girls could probably pull off the model-y, pissy face, I'm-going-to-my-grave bride look. Just not me. I still recommend my photographer to everyone but if you're like me, just smile. Who cares about model pictures?

i'm pretty positive this girl (above) has a gun in her right hand. watch out.

this girl definitely thinks she's freakin' hot. (so what if she really is)

snow queen cleavage girl is going to take your first born. and eat it.

I wish I could post some of my ridiculous pictures here for you guys to laugh at, but I don't have the rights to the pictures yet. If you want to see some (you will have no problem finding the ridiculous ones), go to and then click on "proofing." Find Jonathan and Amanda and the password is my last name. The best one to look at is the link that says "groomals faves." Have fun. And you owe me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Big Day

Yesterday, January 6th, 2009, is a day I will remember and celebrate for a long time to come. Why? Was it my wedding day? My graduation day? Someone's birthday? An anniversary of some sort? No. Last night Jonathan and I both worked our last shifts as employees of Jasmine China Bistro and Sushi Bar.**

Goodbye to the finicky tables of senile bridge ladies who forget what they ordered by the time you bring it out, then blame you and leave a dollar. Goodbye to the moody sushi chef who tells the girls to stop eating so much and lose weight. Goodbye to explaining in great detail why I need work off to go to the doctor. Goodbye freakin' the way they run things there! Goodbye to that couple that comes in every week, orders 35 dollars of sushi, and leaves a three dollar tip. Goodbye to getting yelled at when there's nothing to do. Goodbye to losing a part of my soul when I pull into the parking lot for my lunch shift and see the nursing home van unloading in the parking lot (old people are just hard to serve. don't hate me for hating them). Goodbye to breaking wine corks and spilling on customers. Goodbye to the Chardonnay, French-flash card, solo-diner, snooty lady. Goodbye to people comparing me to a male Mormon missionary..."no, no, hahaha...I've never heard that one before, good one." Goodbye to pulling off the fridge door sometimes. Goodbye to "egg drop, hot and sour, or miso." Goodbye to "Jasmine, Oolong, or Green." Goodbye to adding credit cards, polishing silverware, folding napkins, wiping down books and trays, counting out the till. Goodbye soy sauce refilling. I will miss you.... yeah....

What I will really miss:
-the good tippers

-a constant flow of free diet coke

-the little 2-year-old girl that orders ten pieces of nigiri sushi (slab of raw fish over a rice ball) and eats every bit of it.

-smacking jonathan's butt when no one's looking. i mean......

-free lunch, free dinner, free soup, free rice, free fortune cookies, free chow mein noodles

-practicing my spanish

-learning chinese words

-hanging with the awesome people that work there

-the times when I work for 3 hours and walk away with a hundred bucks
-the funny stories that come from the worst experiences

So I guess it really is bittersweet saying goodbye to El Jasmino. I got to know and fall in love with Jonathan there. I have to give them that. I've made a ton of awesome friends that I hope to keep through my whole life. I've paid for rent and trips and gas and bills and a motorcycle and everything I've needed in the past 2 years with my income there.

I guess I'll always have a special place in my heart for Jasmine. But the bridge ladies! And the @#$%ing sushi chef!

January 6, 2009. WOOOOO!

Jasmine peeps at the summer employee barbecue... hey where did alan come from?

Jasmine employees at Emily's wedding

Jonathan's last time walking out the door after a shift.

**Please no one make me eat my words. Please, please please!