Friday, November 30, 2007
I went in for my audition and BUTCHERED the sight reading part. That is standard procedure for me, keeping me out of "All State Choir" my senior year and I could see on the director's face that she was sorely disappointed with me. After the audition, she said, "I am going to to bring you back for call backs but just so you know, your sight reading is one of the worst I have heard. It is not likely you will make Woman's Chorus." I was very disappointed and while I held it together in the audition room, I cried on the walk home. And, I cried on and off the rest of the night. I don't really know why it was such a blow (I hadn't made other things before) but I felt it hard and even my roommate, who had only known me for a few days, seemed shocked at how disappointed I was.
By the time of call backs, I had accepted my lot of not making the choir but decided to go to call backs anyway. Again, I was amazed at the competition. Everyone was VERY good and it was very intense and intimidating. I didn't even go and look at the "Who made it list" because I was sure I didn't make it. And, I was right, I didn't make it. Then, about a week after rehearsals started, I got a call from the director. She told me, "I haven't been able to get your voice out of my mind. I had girl drop out and I want you in Woman's Chorus. Will you promise to work on the music outside of class, so your sight reading won't hinder us?" I said yes and much to my shock, I was in Woman's Chorus!
Almost immediately, we were informed that BYU had been selected to be filmed for a PBS Christmas special. It was a huge honor and it was taken very seriously. Our Christmas concert would be on every PBS station across the United States. And, while we had other concerts as well as BYU devotional performances, everything seemed geared toward our December concert. That December of my freshman year was a blur of practices, extra practices, wardrobe fittings, hair and make-up instruction, posture correction, oh and my first semester of college finals and it was one of the most magical Christmas' of my life. The stage was decorated exquisitely. The music was uplifting, inspiring and awe-inducing. I would walk into practices and be struck by the beauty and divinity of music. I couldn't believe that God had given man this amazing gift of music and we were being allowed to be a part of His genius. And, little me, all 5'3" was standing on the stage performing these amazing wonders of music. While I have always considered music as a divine gift, it was during those months of Christmas music with the BYU choirs that cemented my love and appreciation for the divinity of it.
I continued to sing with the BYU choirs until I left on my mission two years later (making Woman's Chorus the next year without any special concessions, thank you very much) and I consider it a privilege to have been part of the BYU music magic. You can still purchase the Christmas CD "A Celebration of Christmas" here and occasionally they still run that Christmas concert on PBS. And, very briefly, you can see me (very skinny with a short blond bob hair cut on the farthest left, front row) when Woman's Chorus is singing. I listen and watch it with reverence. My soul changed my freshman year singing at BYU and I have never been the same--thankfully.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Usually starting around the middle of October, my mother declared my parent's closet off-limits. Not like we went in there very often but we knew after her declaration, that we could not for any reason, open that closet door. My mom stock piled all of our Christmas presents in there and unless we wanted Christmas ruined, we knew it was best to stay away.
In early December, my mom would walk up from the basement with a pile of boxes (saved every year from Christmas to Christmas) and go into her closet. We knew that our special job of Christmas wrappers was about to start. My mom would put each gift in boxes and write on the box who it was to and who it was from. Usually it said "To Janice, From Mom and Dad" but sometimes she would get creative and write, "From Santa's Helper" or "Christmas Elves". She always sealed the boxes with tape on all four sides and I can honestly say that I never peaked--even when I really wanted to. My sister, Goddess number 4 and I would set up the wrapping center in the laundry room (we had a huge laundry room with lots of counter space and a great ironing board we would use) and my mom would bring us boxes to wrap. Sometimes my older siblings would participate but it was mainly my one sister and me.My sister and I would pretend we worked for a fancy store where shoppers would bring us their packages for us to wrap. Sometimes they would be nice shoppers and sometimes they would be mean and very persnickety. Sometimes it was a husband with a gift for his wife, or a harried mother with lots of kids under toe. They often had very specific ideas in mind on how they wanted their packages to look and sometimes they would tell us to do whatever we wanted. I remember bringing out various wrapping paper selections (my mom would usually shop the wrapping paper sales after Christmas and we seemed to have an endless supply of fun wrapping paper and bows to use) and saying out loud "Which one would you like me to wrap your present in, my lady?" during the whole pretending process. I have many fond memories, listening to Christmas music blaring from the kitchen while my sister and I wrapped presents. After the present was wrapped, we would go and take them to the tree and find just the perfect spot to put it. Sometimes this would take many minutes, as we would look for the right spot. Oh the countless hours we spent selecting paper and bows, pretending, placing presents under the tree!
I have found out later from my mom that she often felt guilty passing on the wrapping duty to us but we LOVED it. It was one of the highlights of Christmas for me and still is. I love to sit down, pull out all of the wrapping supplies, play Christmas music and yes, even sometimes pretend I working for a fancy store and wrapping other's presents. It is part of the magic of Christmas for me.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Here is what we came up with this year:
1. See the lights at Thanksgiving Point and eat dinner there.
2. Watch all of our Christmas shows.
3. Go see the lights at La Caille
4. Polar Express in 3D
5. Ward Christmas party
6. Watch toothsome #2 in the Nutcracker
7. Read all of our Christmas books
8. Breakfast at Mimi's Christmas eve morning
9. Watch Luke II
10. Drive around the neighborhood and look at everyone's Christmas lights
11. Ice skating
12. Go caroling (with toothsome #1's pack meeting)
13. Deliver neighbor gifts
14. Make fondue
15. Do fireworks (?) We have to find out what one's we can do without getting into trouble.
16. Go downtown and see all of the lights.
17. Deliver friend gifts
18. Make some yummy goodies.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Some past years:
--The first year we purchased a tree, dentist husband and I got into a huge fight because I actually wanted a tree. Toothsome #1 was only baby and in Dentist husband's logic, and since toothsome #1 wouldn't remember his first Christmas, why should we bother? We did end up with a $16 tree from the local grocery store and a very cheap $3 stand.
--Another year we decided to go out to dinner first. We couldn't decide on a restaurant and finally with kids crying for food, we stopped at an Arby's in a really bad section of SLC. We ate cold Arby's Roast Beef sandwiches surrounded by really scary looking people.
--Last year, after purchasing the tree, we could not get it to fit on our stand. Poor dentist husband was outside in the snow for over 2 hours reworking and reworking the tree and stand. I finally had to put the kids to bed with promises that they could see the tree set up in the morning.
So, this year, they put in a Home Depot very close to our house and we thought, this might be the year that things would go smoothly. Not so. Being a bad mom, I left the kids coats at home and we took turns running from the warm store to the very cold lot and coming in and reporting which trees we liked. Once we all agreed on a tree, for some reason, we picked out a very heavy tree and it took two workers, plus my husband to load it on top of our mini van. Once home, we discovered it was too heavy for the stand. So, my husband left the tree home and went back to Home Depot. $42 later, we have a very nice tree stand that holds 4 gallons of water. An hour later, it was in place after multiple reposition efforts all the while trying to keep toothsome #4 from interfering and I had actually filled the whole thing with water. Yes, it took me an hour to drizzle water into the very small opening. Again, it was too late to decorate, so we will do that today after school. That said, the wonderful fresh tree smell I woke up to this morning, made purchasing a fresh tree worth it.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
My sophomore year at BYU, I lived in the King Henry apartments. They were super far away from campus and I had no car. King Henry had various levels of not so nice to nicer apartments and we lived in the crappiest of them all. Six girls, one bathroom. Concrete walls, small rooms. In spite of that, we managed to have a great time living there and the friendships made there have continued 15 years later.
Anyway, it was a cold December and I had walked a long way home after a long difficult day at school. I wanted nothing more than to come home and take a long hot bath. At some point earlier, I had purchased a new Christmas CD--A Very Special Christmas II. I hadn't opened it yet because of school stress and business. I was waiting for the right circumstances to open it when I felt more on top of things so I could really enjoy it and hopefully soak up some Christmas spirit.
I walked into my apartment feeling very sorry for myself to find L dancing and laughing. She looked up at me and said full of enthusiasm, "I love this CD. (My brand new, I thought unopened, Christmas CD) M and I have decided that we like songs 9 and 15 the best." I was furious. She had opened my new CD without asking? Where had I left it? I was pretty sure it was in my room--not out in the open. I could feel my frustration about everything boiling to a breaking point. Then, for some reason, I relaxed and laughed. L was actually enjoying things--school, the Christmas season, our crappy apartment, and especially at the moment, my new CD. L, who in her personal life had a lot more on her plate than me was laughing and happy and I realized I needed to not be a Scrooge and not only let her enjoy it but enjoy it with her. I remember putting down my bag and saying, "Ok, play for me songs 9 and 15. I want to hear them." It was a turning a point for me. I so enjoyed the rest of the semester and the Christmas season with her and my other roommates. We all had a great December (three of us having birthdays that month)and managed to focus on school and having some fun as well. I credit L for that. She opened my eyes that difficult day and I often reflect on it. Regardless of what is going on around me, I can enjoy the ride and take time out to dance, sing and laugh. Thanks L!
This morning, the first things my kids asked me was "When do we get out the Christmas decorations?" So, after Saturday chores, it looks like we are onto Christmas fun.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Salmon with skin
salt and pepper
Rinse salmon in cold water. Make an aluminum foil tray (making sure all of the sides are folded up, so it keeps things in) and spray inside with Pam. Set the salmon on it. Drizzle a little liquid smoke on each salmon and rub into the meat. Sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Place on top rack of barbecue and let cook for about 20 minutes. Salmon will be opaque when done.)
That is it!
FYI: The skin will stick to the aluminum and salmon meat comes off easily.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I am not a big fan of indoor soccer. The ball is out of play more than it is in play and it doesn't appear their soccer skills are really helped much by chasing a really fast ball around the court and it seems like we are always just one fall way from a concussion, but anyway, my son played well, I had some great conversation with the parents on his team and it was a fun night (maybe helped by the many Diet Cokes at Barbacoa beforehand).
Saturday morning, we saw "Mister Magoriums Magic Emporium" with a bunch of friends and then had a fun lunch out. Sunday, after the Primary Program, the weather was perfect outside, we spent the afternoon playing catch with the kids. Later, we went to dinner at Dentist husband's dad's house. It was a great weekend.
Today, I am going to try and be super woman and get more done that I usually do. I hope my kids are on board.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Anyway, while visiting my parents, a new list appeared. I loved this list so much, I had to photocopy it and bring it home with me. My mom made this as part of her "keeping the house disinfected to make sure my dad doesn't get another infection" plan. It really is good information, so I thought I would post it.
To Clean the Shower
1. Just outside the shower door on the floor set: 1. Can of "Scrubbing Bubbles" (just so you know, Scrubbing Bubbles has almost mystical qualities in my house. We use it to clean EVERYTHING and all five us kids kids have a can of the stuff in every bathroom and several in the kitchen in our own houses 2. Sponge 3. Roll of paper towel
2. Take your shower.
3. Turn water off but stay inside the shower.
4. Open shower door just a little bit--(to keep the warmth in) and 5. Bring the can of "Scrubbing bubbles and spong into the shower with you.
6. Shut the door. Stay in the shower.
7. Shake the can of "Scrubbing bubbles" well and spray all the walls and the door from top to bottom.
8. Wet the sponge (turn on shower just enough) to wet the sponge.
9. With the sponge, scrub all the walls and the door and floor. Be careful not to slip!
10. Turn on shower (nice and warm) and rinse out your sponge and with your wet sponge, slosh off all the walls and door and floor.
11. Turn off water. Wring out sponge
12. Use the squeegee to slick the water oof the walls, door and floor into the drain.
13. Get out of the shower and dry yourself.
14. Take all of your tools (Scrubbing bubbles, sponge and squeegee) out of the shower.
15. Tear off some paper towel and wipe off the still wet places in the shower. Especially--corners of the floor, faucet, around the drain, the whole floor, the metal trim and strip along the bottom of the door.
16. Throw away wet paper towel and put the rest away.
I can say that having done it at my parent's house and now in all three of my showers at my house, it is one great way to clean a shower!