Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Bloggity Blog Christmas Playlist

BLARG! I spent like an hour getting this playlist to work, just to find out that it only works for people with Spotify accounts (which makes sense, I guess, but nowhere on their list of instructions for how to create the playlist for blogs did Spotify mention that tidbit). I unpublished the post once I realized, but I'm republishing it because even if you don't have (and don't want) a Spotify account, at least it's a list of suggestions that you can then look into on your music player of choice if you're so inclined.


I'm one of those ABSOLUTELY NO CHRISTMAS BEFORE THANKSGIVING types, and not just because Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The fact of that matter is that while I do really love Christmas, I only love it for about three weeks. If I start celebrating too early, I'm out of steam well before the actual holiday. After some serious self-reflection, I've attributed this mostly to the fact that I find most Christmas music nauseating (and I'm not a music snob by any stretch of the imagination). So that being said, maybe I ought to title this playlist "Christmas Music I Don't Find Utterly Repulsive." I do even love some of these songs! See! I'm not a grinch! (Full disclosure: I almost did a playlist of Christmas songs I actually look forward to throughout the year, but then I realized the list would have exactly 5 songs.)

The vast majority of my favorite Christmas songs come from four artists/groups: MoTab (MoTab IS Christmas to me), The Lower Lights, Sufjan Stevens, and Cat Jahnke.

Also, I can't figure out how to randomize the Spotify playlist, so in alphabetical order by artist will just have to do.

Also, none of the MoTab songs will embed. They must have dumb restrictions for playing their music?

Also, I really really hope this doesn't play automatically. If it does, I am so sorry to be that person and if I can't figure out how to fix it I will likely delete this post entirely.

PS - Songs that would have been on the "Christmas music I actually look forward to" list:

Betelehemu (one of those MoTab ones that won't embed)
Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow by Cat Jahnke
The Christmas Song by Catherine Feeny
Stars of Glory by The Lower Lights
Song for a Winter's Night by Sarah McLachlan (another one that won't embed)

(The Lower Lights' new Christmas album only came out a couple of weeks ago, though, and nearly every song on it will qualify for the prestigious "Christmas music I actually look forward to" list for next year. Maybe my favorite Christmas album, ever.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birthday and Thanksgiving!

I’m taking a week off for Christmas, which we’re spending with Jon’s family in Mountain View, Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies. (A week ago it was MINUS THIRTY degrees there. I do not have the clothes, or disposition, for that temperature.) About two months ago, Jon suggested we do the same for Thanksgiving and spend that time in Utah with my parents and sister Annie. I checked my PTO balance and had the hours for it, so it was a plan. Shortly thereafter, Corinne started thinking about a well-timed trip out West, and her husband offered to watch Ada and Joseph those few days to give her a kidless vacation with her mom and sisters. THANKS, KYLE!!!! Not that I don’t love them, but let’s face it, kids sorta ruin everything. So we went to 1-2 movies every day, ate out for every meal, stayed up late, and slept in. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Jon and I divided the drive up by staying Friday night in Vegas with our friends Jer and Addie. We always love our time with them, but this visit was particularly fantastic. We stayed up way past my bedtime.

Nothing better than a sleepy dog on your lap.
Saturday we made our way to American Fork. All you people who say "Utah streets make sooooo much more sense than other city streets!" are wrong. Check out these dumb directions:

We spent that night at Christa and Garrett's house. It goes without saying that it was one of the high points of the entire trip.

The next day was my 28th birthday!!! Christa woke up bright and early to make me cinnamon pull-apart bread and this delicious kielbasa and egg scramble her mom used to make for the seminary students (the days Judy had the teens over for breakfast eventually became the only days I ever attended seminary!)

We had to stash Penny at my grandma Sweetie’s house in Salt Lake before attending Music and the Spoken Word at Temple Square (I wasn't kidding about that bright and early breakfast), which was on The List of must-do’s for the trip. If I lived in Salt Lake I’d have a hard time not replacing regular church attendance with MandTSW. It was spectacular, with added surprise bonus of finding out at the end that the prophet had attended. We didn’t get to see him though; he has some sort of special viewing area and a secret exit? Or maybe I made that second part up. Anyway, I’m pretty sure, and the people in front of us were also pretty sure, that the announcer guy said, “We are honored by the presence of our beloved prophet and his wife,” which, yikes. (His wife died.)

Something to do with this tweet.

I spy slap bracelets.
Sweetie took Jon, my mom, my aunt, cousin, and me out for dinner at Asian Star on my birthday, then the next night Annie and Steve took me, Jon, and my mom to Happy Sumo for birthday sushi. I have never been one of those awful “It’s my birthday week, shower me with love and affection and gifts for the next seven days!!!” types, but I admit it was awesome being able to celebrate with all the people I love most over the course of a few days. I didn’t EXPECT any of it though, so stop looking at me like that. As far as the actual birthDAY went, it was absolutely perfect. I quit Facebook several months ago (for lots of reasons; all the same ones that have made YOU consider quitting, plus probably a few extras) and I can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to enjoy the day without wondering about notifications. I got texts and phone calls and hugs from all the people I care about most. Best birthday since I was a kid. Then the day after, Jon wished me a “happy Afterbirthday” which was a gift in and of itself.


Jon and Charlie reunited. Charlie!! I haven't mentioned Charlie yet! This is what I get for semi-retiring from blogging. My mom got him from a breeder in Phoenix and Jon and I kept him for her for a week before she flew down to retrieve him. He's a Cavalier King Charles (Charlie!) mixed with a Bichon Frise and he's the sweetest, cutest, sweetest little puppy/pest you've ever known.

Two minute break from jumping/gnawing on Penny

It was observed that Charlie's fur "looks like a guinea pig."

An old picture I found of my dad looking ridiculously like Annie. I texted it to Corinne and she wrote back "WHOA," so. That's final.

Purple couch, purple shirt, two purple blankets, purple collar (unpictured).

Weird picture of me midsentence but it had to be included because of Penny's slothface.

Annie was sneakily snapping pictures during my bra fiasco. I don't know what happened, but I got hopelessly entangled when I tried to remove it.


Annie, Penny, Me

When do puppies stop laying like this? It's a tragedy when they do.

My aunt Mariann's birthday gift to me. She pulled these siblings' names out of the local paper. I like to rhyme the first syllable of Byrcklee with "pure."



Other things we did:

- Ate at Tony Tacos in Heber. Dollar tacos. So delicious. So cheap. Always on The List.

- Breakfast at Kneaders (twice). Breakfast at the Hub (once.) Their scones are ridiculous and I want one right now.

- Outlets in Park City. I spent exactly zero dollars.

- Visited the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU. Denmark is gonna be SO pissed when they get their paintings back.

- Saw the Hunger Games (twice)

- Saw Philomena (just once, but I’ve seen it again since I got back. SO GOOD.)

- Saw Thor

- Had fondue

Other things that happened:

- Corinne scaring Gunner out of the room when she screamed bloody murder upon discovering that my mom reads Game of Thrones.

- Me talking a little TOO enthusiastically about Pacific Rim at a restaurant in Park City, and getting weird looks from the table of guys next to us. “And that one part! Where the kaiju is pushing the jaeger off a bridge….!!”

- Watching Pacific Rim with Annie and my mom; the latter being underwhelmed and confused as to how I liked it enough to see it FOUR TIMES. (In my defense, I told her beforehand to NOT have high expectations, despite my rave reviews).

- Me loudly quoting the absolute worst line in Pacific Rim (“No pulse.”) Annie: “You were planning that the WHOLE MOVIE, weren’t you??” Me: “Honestly, only for about the past ten minutes.”

- Jon emerging from his shower into a crowded room and declaring, “I really enjoyed that ball scrubber you have in there.” (it was Corinne’s electric face exfoliator.)

- An awful old lady in the front row of the movie theater loudly declaring “I don’t want to see that” at the end of a trailer for a British period movie starring a black character.

- My grandma situating my cousin with a sore throat at the far end of the Thanksgiving table and encouraging us all to scoot away from him.

- A thirty something guy in a Porsche pulling up next to us at a red light in Provo and signaling to my mom that he wanted to race her. In her Pathfinder full of her adult children and their spouses.

- Our vague plans to make French toast, and my mom waking up next to me on the futon one morning and exclaiming, “I smell French toast! Someone made me French toast!! It must be Annie! Awww! No one ever makes me anything!” She was dreaming or something; no one made her French toast. (Then she made it herself.)

- This:

- Endless jokes about Fardelle. BACK STORY: My Gospel Doctrine teacher told me that the worst name she ever heard of, growing up in Southeast Idaho, was a girl named Fardelle. FARDELLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Boys fart; girls ‘fardelle.’”

- My mom’s confusion over my text telling her that I got a ham card. (My office has made a tradition of giving Honeybaked ham gift cards out to all the employees the week before Thanksgiving. This was my third year in a row receiving one and donating it to the family general holiday food fund.) She goes, “It sounded like some Depression-Era thing. Like you waited in line for five hours to get a ham card.”

It's over!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Crochet Color Tipped Scarf (Free Pattern)

This pattern was inspired by this beautiful knit scarf on the Purl Bee.

My version:

Above photos by my wicked talented sister, Corinne.

Materials needed:

- Worsted weight yarn, 3 colors. My pictured scarves all used Loops and Threads Impeccable for the color tipped ends (Arbor Rose, Navy, Grass, Aqua). I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Linen as my middle color for both, and I’m obsessed with it. It’s the perfect neutral. I went back and bought four more when they went on sale.)
- I hook


It's not necessary that your gauge matches mine for this project to be successful, but I know lots of people like to have something as a frame of reference. Mine ended up being 9 stitches and 6 rows = 3 inches.

For child-sized scarf,

In first color:

R1: Ch 5, dc in 3rd ch from hook, dc in remaining 2 ch, ch 2, turn (3)
R2: 2 dc in 1st st, dc in each st, ch 2, turn (4)
R3: dc in each st, 2 dc in last st, ch 2, turn (5)
R4: dc in each st, ch 2, turn (5)
R5: dc in each st, 2 dc in last st, ch 2, turn (6)
R6: 2 dc in 1st st, dc in each st, ch 2, turn (7)
R7: dc in each st, ch 2, turn (7)

Use a stitch marker to mark the "increase" side and repeat this pattern of increasing, always on the same side, 2 rows to every 1 row of non-increase until piece measures about 5 inches wide and 10 inches long. End on a non-increase row.

In main color, (dc in each st, ch 2, turn) for however many rows it takes to get your total piece 46 inches long.

With your third color, do the mirror opposite that you did with the first. Use a stitch marker to mark the “decrease” side and repeat the pattern of decreasing 2 rows to every 1 row of non-decrease until you are down to three dcs (on a non-decrease row, so that it matches the first row of the other end of the scarf). Depending on your yarn, you may need to change hook size so your gauge matches the other end; you want both end pieces to be the exact same size and shape.

Finish off, weave in ends.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you decrease on the same side that you increased, making both ends of the scarf mirror images of each other.

When laid out flat, piece will look like this (not to scale, obviously):

Completed child’s scarf should measure about 56 inches long and 5 inches wide.

Thorough enough? Too thorough? Here's that one picture of Ada again, because ZOMG.

Edited to add: And another of my niece Norah.