Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Intersection of Holidays and Technology

Sherise got a digital camcorder for Christmas.

Our first experiment follows - given that Katie wasn't into it, the light was bad, and neither of us know anything about digital camcorders and editing, we're feeling rather chuffed.

Oh yeah.

Stay tuned right here for funny stories, pictures, and now videos as well.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Just Spent Twenty Minutes Picking Glass Shards Out Of My Oven: Why Multi-Tasking In The Kitchen Is Usually A Bad Idea

Q: If
  1. You are doing holiday baking.
  2. The bread you're making requires a water bath.
  3. You're a little distracted because you're preparing several different recipes at the same time.
  4. You decide that rather than transport a pan full of water from the sink to the oven, you will put the Pyrex dish into the oven and then pour the water into it.
  5. You allow the glass dish to reach the oven temperature, which is 400 degrees.
  6. You then pour hot tap water (approximately 120 degrees) into the preheated glass dish.

Do you know what happens?

A: Yep.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Conversation on the way to Dairy Queen

Mom: Can you hear that Snickers Blizzard calling to me?

Calvin: Yeah, it's saying, "Sherise, don't have me! Go on a diet!"

Friday, December 7, 2007

No loaves here, but a miracle with a fish!

This is Spotty the goldfish.

Before you start rolling your eyes, I have to explain that this fish is more than just a fish. We’ve had this thing for over two years. It was a birthday party favor received by Thomas from his very very bestest friend in the whole world. Spotty was only an inch or so long when we got him (we refer to him as a “he,” although we have no idea how to tell fishy gender), and now he’s probably five inches long, plus another couple inches of very pretty flowing fanlike tail. He’s quite beautiful, and people often comment on what a cool-looking fish he is. We even moved this thing from Colorado to Utah when our family moved a year and a half ago, propping the half-full aquarium between the front seats of the minivan, keeping an eye on the thermometer and dropping in ice cubes when the temperature rose too high. We’re very attached to this little fish, especially Thomas, because it’s a symbol of his friendship with the aforementioned very very bestest friend in the whole world.

So, two weeks ago, Paul's brother was at our house watching football (yay BYU!!), and he caught a small spider in the family room. He thought it would make a nice snack for the fish, so he dropped it into the aquarium. (BIL is a fish enthusiast who has several tanks of his own, so he’s not just an idiot who tried to kill my kid’s fish on purpose!) I wasn’t aware of this, as I was out grocery shopping at the time. I got home less than an hour after the spider snack, and as I was unloading groceries onto the kitchen counter, I happened to glance over at the fish tank, where I saw to my horror that Spotty was floating belly-up! He’d been fine before I left, so we can only assume that the tasty little spider snack did him in. Paul, BIL and I tried to revive the little guy (no, we did NOT do fishy CPR), but he was gone. Our poor beautiful fish!
I knew Thomas was going to be completely devastated, so when he came in from playing at a friend’s house, I headed him off before he saw the tank, took him into another room, and broke the news that his pet had died. I held him as he sobbed and sobbed, and I felt awful. Thomas is an extremely intense, emotional, tender-hearted kid who takes things very hard. Plus, this fish wasn’t just a fish, it was a reminder of his best friend, who now lives several hundred miles away.
After Thomas had calmed down a bit, we had to figure out how to lay our fishy friend to rest, because simply flushing him would have been traumatic for our boy. Thomas decided he'd like to bury Spotty in the backyard. I went to the tank to get the fish out, and I saw that Spotty was still breathing! Oh great, now we couldn’t even give the thing a proper sendoff because he wasn’t dead yet. He was still floating motionless at the surface, but his mouth and gills were moving, and every few minutes he’d struggle to move, but he’d give up and lie there again. We didn’t want to mercy-kill him, so we figured we’d just wait a few minutes for him to expire. Well, an hour went by, and he was still breathing. Two hours, three, it got to be evening, he was still alive. We started to hope that maybe he’d recover once the spider toxins left his system. That hope died when he sank to the bottom of the tank and lay there on his back, unable to move. Aw, shoot. But lo and behold, at bedtime—still alive. Okay, we thought, we’d bury him before church on Sunday morning. Morning came, and you guessed it, he’s STILL breathing! He’s still just lying on the bottom of the tank, but every once in a while he manages to wiggle his body and get into a different position before flopping over helpless again. Now we’re wondering if it’s cruel to let him suffer like this. Well, surely he’s going to die soon, so let’s just let him pass on his own instead of killing him ourselves. We go to church, come home expecting the worst, but guess what? Still alive!
I forgot to mention that when we first figured out that he hadn’t died yet, Paul, Thomas and I went to a quiet room and had a little prayer that Spotty wouldn’t suffer, that we’d really like him to be healed, but if not, please let him die quickly and painlessly. Since then I had had a constant prayer in my thoughts: “Okay, I know that one little goldfish isn’t that big a deal, but my son’s relationship with his uncle IS a big deal. And my BIL’s mental health and well-being is a VERY big deal. If it isn’t contrary to your will, could you please please please heal this little fish? Please?” As Sunday drew to a close and Spotty was still alive, I started to wonder if my prayers were actually going to be answered! I was still afraid to get my hopes up too much, though.
Well, Monday morning, he was still alive. He wasn't looking great, but I thought he might be slightly better than he had been the night before. He was still crashing to the bottom of the tank, but most of the time he could at least keep himself upright instead of flopping over onto his back or side. As the day wore on, he got more and more active, and by the time the kids got home from school, he looked nearly normal. And by Monday night at bedtime, he was swimming around his tank like nothing had ever happened to him! We couldn't believe it! Now, nearly two weeks later, he's better than ever. The Lord cares about a goldfish! Or, more to the point, He cares about my son and his uncle, and is willing to answer prayers about a silly fish when He knows how much it will impact two of His precious sons.
Long live Spotty!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's [supposedly] the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I'm down on Christmas right now. Since I work for a major online retailer, this is absolutely the worst time of the year. I'm trying not to complain -- I mean I have a good job, and I don't work near the hours of some of my colleagues in the warehouse who are actually trying to make sure the elves get their goodies to their final destination in time for Christmas. But the visions of fresh snow, beautiful lights, and wonderful surprises have all been replaced by words like "year over year sales growth," "contribution margin," "fulfillment scores," and "revenue by channel."

Only now do I really understand why my dear Dad says that his idea of hell is having to listen to the hymns for the rest of eternity. Work has a way of taking the luster off anything. Said differently, stay out of the kitchen if you don't want to see how the sausage is made.

Two friends of mine, "Vern" and AntiCruiser have two other very compelling reasons to think twice about the meaning of Christmas. Vern points out that the whole gift giving/decorating thing is pretty far off the mark and very contrary to what Christmas is all about. I'm not going to stop giving gifts (or receiving them), but she makes a good point.

However AntiCruiser has meticulously documented a Christmas gift that has seriously gone off the rails. I'll be brutally honest. At first I thought he was looking a gift horse in the mouth. However this "gift" passed "sweater that I'll never wear but can't take back" status some time back in April.

Now that the day of reckoning looms, one can finally see the true metamorphosis from un-needed gift, to unwanted gift, to inconvenience, to unhealthy situation, to a true disaster. And some very obsessive behavior on the part of the gift giver. I'm not a screenwriter, but I know funny when I see it, and this has farce written all over it. Although nobody in the cast will be laughing.

So for Christmas this year, my gift to AntiCruiser and his family will be praying for their very souls, and for their sanity.

And I think Vern might be right.