Paella aside, the second half of our evening was just as enjoyable...and even more thought-provoking. We just finished watching The Great Debaters. Denzel Washington, once again fabulous in the role of a coach and mentor. Just as in Remember the Titans he is able to lead and inspire people to rise above their limitations and focus on their strengths. This movie has a strong message from history that needs to be remembered, not forgotten. In light of the fact that the first black man in the history of America is about to become the President of the United States, we must always remember how important it is to go forward...relying on the strengths and people from history who make us who and what we are today. Remember, "We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do."
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
We are making paella. When Whitney was in London, she tried it for the very first time and LOVED it. She has been dreaming about it ever since. As a special treat, we decided to make it for our New Year's Eve Feast. Cook a little shrimp, saute' some sausage, peppers, onion, and garlic. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and rice. A pinch, or two, or three, of the special (and pricey!) Saffron...(Yes, we're just mad about it!) and BAM! You're making paella. Thirty minutes from start to finish, with frozen peas added in at the end! Garnish with lemon and serve in a festive holiday dish! Emeril would be proud!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Even though the holidays are now over, I have a recommendation for a great read. Check out A Red Bird Christmas by Fannie Flagg. I read it every year. I love it! It makes me happy. It makes me laugh and it makes me cry. It has inspired me to change my blog background for the long winter ahead. I actually just ordered me a brand new copy from Barnes and Noble and I am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. The minute it is here I will be dropping everything to re-read and re-visit one of my holiday traditions. I'm thinking hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream and some mint milanos to keep me company while I read!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
...my true love reminded me..."Joy, you didn't do much blogging during the holidays." I'm not quite sure why that is, actually, since I had every intention of sharing favorite movies, music, and memories. I guess I just got caught up in the hustle and bustle of the 'busy sidewalks, city sidewalks, dressed in holiday style.' In the air is no longer the feeling of Christmas. So, for those of you who are wondering...here is my version of the Twelve Days of Christmas...after the fact!
Luckily for Eli, Santa also left a note that his real presents were in the living room. It may have seemed a bit harsh for the 2 minutes that it lasted, but it was a memorable moment in our holiday that we will talk about for years to come. Santa was good to everyone...Whitney got a watch and movies and clothes and cd's...Cassidy got scriptures and a camera and clothes...Eli got Legos and DS games...I got a new camera, (which is way cool and way complicated, thus the lack of more photos in this blog :) Phillip got a new camping cot and cold weather gear for winter camping with the scouts. We had our festive buffet...shrimp, hot wings, meatballs, cherry jello, killer potato salad, my dad's famous clam dip, divine punch, and Kimberly's hot wassail and Black Forest Cake. We played Buzz Word and Catch Phrase--the Music Version. We relished in watching Max enjoy Christmas. It's never more magical than when you are two.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A few days ago while we were waiting for Cassidy, Eli told me that he had to take a math test on the computer to determine his accelerated math level. I asked him what was on the test. Our conversation follows:
Eli: "Well, first it asked us to identify math symbols...like plus signs, minus sign, multiplication and division signs, and those dots called 'decimal points.' Then we had to do some easy adding and subtracting stuff.
Joy: "So, how do you think you did?"
Eli: "Okay, I guess, except one of the problems was kind of different. It said to write a hard math problem."
Joy: "Really? What hard math problem did you write?" ( I'm thinking some imaginary 2,0000 + 17 -45 = ir something like that)
Eli: "I wrote e=mc2." Joy: (gasping) "You wrote e=mc2? What did the computer say?"
Eli: "It told me that one was too hard and to try again, so I did. I wrote 10 divided by 10 equals one. Then it let me finish the test."
What AM I going to do with this boy?
(Photo courtesy of Phillip and my cousin Weston...they climbed on Einstein's head while we were in D.C. I wonder if Eli's head will ever be a statue for tourists to climb on?)
Monday, December 8, 2008
Once again, the family tree has been trimmed. The lights are all on, courtesty of Cody, a six-foot-plus adopted son. I think we will keep him around for just this purpose. I was thinking a lot about the 'tree' last week, actually dreading the acquiring of, and then the decorating that comes after and seems to take forever. I was feeling a little out of sorts, observing all the beautiful and perfect trees that I was seeing in my midst. Cassidy works for a design firm and I am reminded everytime I pick her up just how beautiful professionally decorated trees are. However, last night, after the First Presidency Devotional, Eli's enthusiasm overtook me, and we decided to do the tree deed. As I pulled out all of the ornaments from over 25 years of life together, I was reminded that beautiful trees LOOK good, but trees like ours FEEL good. It is full of wonderful memories, each one invoking a smile or a laugh, or even a tear or two. The tree in all of it's glory. Yes, it's real, and yes it does smell wonderful. Phillip got rid of our fake trees years ago, citing the case, "We are denying our children one of the best scents of the season." I have to say I have a tendency to agree. An evergreen candle just doesn't cut it!
My dear friend and fellow radio station employee, Wayne Richards, passed away unexpectedly this fall. These bumper stickers were circulating around town after his death. "Drive safely" was his way of saying to listeners and friends, "Be careful. I love you." I felt it very appropriate to find a place on our tree this year for a remembrance of a friend. May you and yours also, "Drive Safely" this holiday season.
No tree of mine would be complete without a touch of Mary Englebreit. Thanks to Miss Peg, each year a new "Mary" treasure is added to be enjoyed and loved. This one is my favorite!
When I was growing up my brother and I had a dog. J.J. the poodle. J for Joy and J for John. She was THE BEST DOG EVER for almost 14 years of my life. The day we had to put her to sleep was the first time I ever felt a loss of a pet. I've felt it several times since, but never as strongly. Now that John is gone, this ornament is just a little reminder of those fun days we had together, sister, brother, and dog.
Speaking of pets, we have a cat and her name is Gracie. She's really Princess Grace, but we shortened it down for convenience in calling her name when she is lost, which is quite frequently. We got her on a farm in Lehi when Cassidy was about 3, so we've almost had her 15 years. Most people don't see Gracie; she has a phobia for strangers. If you are at our house and you do catch aglimpse of her, count yourself lucky. It means she thinks you are safe, or you are in the way of her food. So, to celebrate her existence (or non-existence) we have some gray cat ornaments on the tree just for her. Sidenote: Our Gracie the cat doesn't wear clothes. We aren't THAT eccentric!