Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

My Halloween celebration started last Saturday night when we went to at This is the Place Heritage Park for Kristine's birthday. The first scream of the night, of course, came from M in the parking lot before even entering through the gates. :) Somehow this didn't surprise me.

On Monday evening, M and I went to our ward Halloween Blowout. Having it on Monday, in conjuction with the Ward Family Home Evening activity was a nice start to the Halloween week. It definitely got me more in the mood and reminded me that every holiday (birthdays included) should be celebrated for longer than just the one day, so you can really enjoy it!

M went as Monk as a safety patrol officer. If you aren't familiar with the television series Monk (you should be), Adrian Monk is an obsessive-compulsive detective in San Francisco who believes strongly in things such as hand sanitizer and color coordinated jelly beans. True to his character, M carried his wipes around everywhere. Oh and his orange safety cones. Yes, his cones were definitely germ-free as was just about everything in his path that night. Very funny. He stayed in character practically the entire night; it was great. In this picture, Monk was saving a seat for me. How kind. :) The look on his face just makes me laugh!

As part of the Halloween festivities, there was a pie-throwing event all in the name of the Friends of Scouting Fundraiser and the Ward Mission Fund. I was volunteered, thanks to Brian, to be one of the recipients of these whipped cream face plants. :) As you follow the series of pictures you can see me go from being happy, to slightly anxious because I was the last one to get a pie in my face, to face planted with whipped cream, to completely drenched in whipped cream.

I was the last one without pie in my face... but not for long. Oh no, if you could see the look on Sherry's face. (She's the one in the pirate costume.)

How do you do?

Oh Jason, you didn't. He did.

Then on Wednesday night, in keeping with the Halloween spirit, M and I carved pumpkins.
Every time I have ever carved a pumpkin, I have had these grand ideas of how elaborate my design is going to be, but I have always ended up free-handing the design and it looks like every other typical jack-o-lantern. Boring. So this time, I decided that I really wanted it to be more of a work of art.
M chose a witch on a broom which, I think, turned out splendidly. And my first atempt at ever using a stencil resulted in the bat motif on the right. This also was the first time I have ever shaved the pumpkin without actually cutting all the way through, which I have always wanted to try. Although, I learned that you have to shave the pumpkin very very thin to get the glowing effect I was looking for, I like the way it turned out.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mental Flexibility Test Answers.

So have you all been waiting on the edge of your seats for the answers to this? :) Several of you did mention how much you liked things like this, so I hope you had some fun with it, and were able to figure at least some of them out on your own. :) Well, here you go.

  1. 26 = L of the A 26 Letters of the Alphabet
  2. 7 = D of the W 7 Days of the Week
  3. 1001 = A N 1001 Arabian Nights
  4. 12 = S of the Z 12 Signs of the Zodiac
  5. 54 = C in a D (with J) 54 Cards in a Deck (with Jokers)
  6. 9 = P in the S S 9 Planets in the Solar System (I know this isn't the case anymore... I did say this was old)
  7. 88 = P K 88 Piano Keys
  8. 13 = S on the A F 13 Stripes on the American Flag
  9. 32 = D F at which W F 32 Degrees Fahrenheit at which Water Freezes
  10. 18 = H on a G C 18 Holes on a Golf Course
  11. 90 = D in a R A 90 Degrees in a Right Angle
  12. 200 = D for P G in M 200 Dollars for Passing GO in Monopoly
  13. 8 = S on a S S 8 Sides on a Stop Sign
  14. 3 = B M (S H T R) 3 Blind Mice (See How They Run)
  15. 4 = Q in a G 4 Quarts in a Gallon
  16. 24 = H in a D 24 Hours in a Day
  17. 1 = W in a U 1 Wheel in a Unicycle
  18. 5 = D in a Z C 5 Digits in a Zip Code
  19. 57 = H V 57 Heinz Variety
  20. 11 = P on a F T 11 Players on a Football Team
  21. 1000 = W that a P is W 1000 Words that a Picture is Worth
  22. 29 = D in F in a L Y 29 Days in February in a Leap Year
  23. 64 = S on a C B 64 Spaces on a Chess Board
  24. 40 = D and N of the G F 40 Days and Nights of the Great Fast
  25. 76 = T in the B P 76 Trombones in the Big Parade
  26. 50 = W to L Y L 50 Ways to Lose Your Lover
  27. 99 = B of B on the W 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
  28. 60 = S in a M 60 Seconds in a Minute
  29. 1 = H on a U 1 Horn on a Unicorn
  30. 9 = J on the S C 9 Judges on the Supreme Court
  31. 7 = B for S B 7 Brides for Seven Brothers
  32. 21 = D on a D 21 Dots on a Die
  33. 7 = W of the A W 7 Wonders of the Ancient World
  34. 15 M on a D M C 15 Men on a Dead Man's Chest

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Birthdays, Half Birthdays, Bed Bath and Beyond, Guessing Games, and the Best Boyfriend Ever.

My little sister's birthday was this last Sunday. She's 22, and yes, she's still my "little sister". I remember being SO excited that I was going to have a little sister! When she was born, I was eight and a half (halves were important back then, don't deny it). I loved holding her, feeding her, and taking care of her. As she grew older, I loved playing with her (read: bossing her around. Remember: we used to put together synchronized swimming routines). Now that we are even older, we are even better friends. Funny how age has that effect on siblings. Happy birthday Marina Bella!

So, as I was telling M about Marina's birthday, I also explained to him how she and I celebrate our half-birthdays with each other since they are within a day of the other's birthday. Now, by "celebrate", I mean we usually just mention it and wish each other happy half-birthday. But it's been something we've done for a long time. Like I said, when you're a kid those halves mean a lot! :)

So two weeks ago, M randomly asked me where the closest Bed Bath and Beyond is. I didn't think anything of it, until he brought it up again last Saturday, mentioning that he needed to pick something up there. So I asked him, "What do you need to get?" Innocent question, right? He replied, "Oh, something," and continued flipping through the BB&B advertisment. Something, eh. Now, for those of you who don't know, M is rather open about just about everything, so the fact that he wasn't telling me what he needed to pick up at BB&B was a little strange to me. So I prodded one more time. I know, I know, I should just shut up sometimes... but I said, "So are you getting something for yourself or someone else?" Characteristically, he replied, "Yes." Ugh. Does he know how much that drives me crazy?!? The answer is yes. Yes, he does. Hmph. So at this point, I figure... whatever. If he doesn't want to tell me, that's okay. So why do you keep prodding, eclaires?!

Fast forward to that night. We had just arrived back at my house after the SLCA concert, which by the way, was fabulous! We sat on the couch talking, waiting for Katie to arrive home from her road trip to Seattle.

M: So do you want your half-birthday present now or on your half birthday?
eclaires: My half-birthday present?
M: Yeah. Do you want it now or do you want to wait until your half-birthday?
eclaires: (unable to ever actually answer a question without asking another question first) Well, do I want it? (What kind of question is that, dork?!?!)
M: Yes, I think so.
eclaires: Well, what do you think? Do I want it now or do I want it on Monday?
M: Well if you get it tonight, you'll be able to use it immediately. If you get it on Monday, you'll be able to use it on Monday.
eclaires: Okay, then I want it tonight. But can I guess what it is first?
M: (probably laughing at me) Sure.
eclaires: Can I hold it in my hands?
M: Yes.
eclaires: (realizing that he's likely answered that question literally, so I repose...) Can it fit in my hands like this (cupping my hands) or would it be too unwieldy?
M: You can hold it in your hands, but it would be rather unwieldy.
eclaires: How do you know I want it? Have we talked about it?
M: Well, we haven't talked about it directly. But we've talked about the problem associated with it.
Then there were some questions about what that really meant and whether or not it plugged in.
eclaires: Did you get the idea for this gift from my blog?
M: I got the idea from a conversation we had, but it has to do something you posted about afterward.
eclaires: Did you get it at Bed Bath & Beyond? (knowing at this point that the answer is yes, I'm feeling really stupid for pushing M about the reason for his BB&B excursion)
M: Yes.
eclaires: Is it a mattress foam pad or something like that?
M: Yes.
eclaires: (arm raised high then thrust down, bending at the elbow) YES!!

So, I have now been sleeping much more comfortably with my Isotonic® Ventilated 3" Visco Elastic Mattress Pad for the last week. It's far more comfortable than I imagined. But seriously, how cool is M? I still can't believe he got me such a thoughtful gift. :) Yeah, I kinda like him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mental Flexibility Test.

I received this test a loooong time ago from a friend. It kept me busy for a bit, so I thought I'd pass it along. It's is a test to gauge your mental flexibility and creativity. In the years since it was developed, it has been said that few people could solve more than half in the first day. Many reported getting answers long after the test had been set aside, at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed.

Example: 16 = O in a P
Answer: 16 Ounces in a Pound

  1. 26 = L of the A
  2. 7 = D of the W
  3. 1001 = A N
  4. 12 = S of the Z
  5. 54 = C in a D (with J)
  6. 9 = P in the S S
  7. 88 = PK
  8. 13 = S on the A F
  9. 32 = D F at which W F
  10. 18 = H on a G C
  11. 90 = D in a R A
  12. 200 = D for P G in M
  13. 8 = S on a SS
  14. 3 = B M (S H T R)
  15. 4 = Q in a G
  16. 24 = H in a D
  17. 1 = W in a U
  18. 5 = D in a Z C
  19. 57 = HV
  20. 11 = P on a F T
  21. 1000 = W that a P is W
  22. 29 = D in F in a L Y
  23. 64 = S on a C B
  24. 40 = D and N of the G F
  25. 76 = T in the B P
  26. 50 = W to L Y L
  27. 99 = B of B on the W
  28. 60 = S in a M
  29. 1 = H on a U
  30. 9 = J on the S C
  31. 7 = B for S B
  32. 21 = D on a D
  33. 7 = W of the A W
  34. 15 = M on a D M C

Tell me how you do! I'll put the answers up in a few days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Um, guys... Chad fell down.

My mother has three big fears in life. 1) She fears being too cold or loved ones being too cold. You know, like going out of the house without a jacket. One time my brother went to school wearing only a t-shirt and by the time my mom got to work it was raining. She felt sick all day long knowing that he was cold. 2) Running out of toilet paper. Now this IS a valid fear. Haven't you all found yourself without enough to do the job well? My mom has loads of toilet paper on hand at all times. I have inherited this from her... not the fear, the coping method. 3) She fears falling down or loved ones falling down. Interestingly, I have a similar fear. Nearly every time I run down the stairs, I imagine myself missing one and tumbling down and breaking both legs. I know, weird. I think really my fear isn't falling, but breaking my leg bones in half so they pierce the skin. Gross.

Now, most of you know who know me well, know that I frequently laugh at inappropriate times. It runs in my family... on the female side, at least. Often I can be found laughing during prayers (or at least with my eyes wide open). I laughed so hard that I hurt my mom's feelings that one time when a homeless man walked by us as we were waiting for the bus and stopped in front of my mom and whacked her on the forehead with the palm of his hand before he walked away as if nothing had happened. Now that was funny. So awful, I know. But above all, I especially can't help laughing when people fall down. I know, it's awful that I find it so entertaining. After all it's one of my mom's top three fears in life. Now, if they truly get hurt, my compassionate gene (yes, I have one of them) kicks in. But if they're fine... my sadistic laughing gene takes over.

So if you share this trait, even slightly, take a look at these three videos. I hope they make you laugh out loud!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Do you Wordle?

Last Sunday, during Sacrament Meeting, M and I were passing notes back and forth. I know, I know, ... very sixth grade. But before you go too far with that thought, let me tell you part of what we were "talking" about:

Do you think that someone has invented some sort of device that can track the number of times one speaks certain words and can keep a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly tally of how many times one has said, for example: "good" or "church" or "but" or "fantastic" or "conference" or whatever? If someone hasn't ... I wish they would. :)

No, I don't think anyone has invented such a thing. But I'll see what I can do, for your sake.

Thanks, I'd like that...
Maybe even just an embedded micro-chip sized recorder than can download or transmit to a computer and then some software program that can sort it all.

We should ask Veronica's friend about what she can do for us. (Editor's note: We have been watching Season 2 of Veronica Mars together.)


Well, instead of asking Mac (Veronica's friend), I stumbled upon this website called wordle. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. I linked my blog and this is what I came up with. It not only puts it in "cloud" form, but you can get a list of all the words (minus some extremely common ones) and the number of times they were used in the block of text or on the website. :) Very fun.

I know you can't see it very well, but click on the picture and you'll see a larger version.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ballet and Growing up in Earthquake Country.

As a child, I took ballet from Natalia Borisova (affectionately dubbed Natasha), at Ballet Russe on Clement Street every Tuesday and Thursday from 4pm-5pm. With Natasha, I had performing experience a child could only dream of. Not only did we have our regular recitals, but we performed with world-renowned Russian dancers in very upscale recitals. We also performed on television once. Our costumes were exquisite, as Natasha is the owner of over 2,000 authentic Russian costumes dating from the 14th century, the largest collection in North America. Dancing with her was truly an experience.

Natalia Borisova, my childhood ballet teacher:

So, nineteen years ago today was a Tuesday. Courtney, my childhood friend and ballet buddy, and I had just finished pirouetting across the floor at Ballet Russe, and were walking into the dressing room to change when suddenly at 5:04pm, the floor started shaking, jolting really. An earthquake. "Oh goody," I thought, as I quite liked the rush that little earthquakes provided. Generally, I'd sit and enjoy the thrill of being shaken for two or three seconds, until the earthquake stopped. But I soon realized that this was no small earthquake and it wasn't stopping. In a studio with wall to wall mirrors and the only real shelter, a large piano, finding somewhere to "duck and cover", as is ingrained in every child who grows up in earthquake country, proved to be difficult.

The jolting lasted for nearly a full minute and was stronger than anything I'd ever experienced. Surprisingly, no mirrors shattered; only plaster fell from the ceiling. Courtney's mom arrived to pick us up within a minute or two. My mom, who had left her office at 5:00pm on the dot, on the last elevator in her building that descended before the earthquake struck, and on the last bus that took its normal root out of downtown, picked me up at Courtney's house two and a half hours later.

At the time, our family was without a television, which didn't matter much since we didn't have electricity either. Our friend Marcia spent the night, since she wasn't allowed to return to her home in the Marina District due to the fire and extensive damage. It felt kind of like a slumber party until we really started seeing footage like this:

The collapsed deck on the Bay Bridge:

An apartment building in the Marina:

The collapsed Cypress Freeway in Oakland:

Another collapsed apartment building in the Marina:

So a couple of days off from school and a whole lot of damage later, I still enjoy the rush that shaking of the earth provides, but I also am far more aware of the importance of being prepared. I like being prepared. More on that later.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The St. Clair Affair.

Kim and Jared were sealed in the Bountiful LDS Temple on Thursday afternoon. I was so happy to be able to be a part of their day. My camera was having major issues that day; I was lucky to get a couple of pictures. Kim looked beautiful, and Jared, quite dashing himself. Congratulations, you two!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Calling all blog stalkers!

So this is a post to all of you blog stalkers out there, who don't really know me, but read anyway. Oh come on, we've all done it... navigated to a blog that we found interesting and bookmarked it and then return again and again to keep up with the... Joneses? :) Have you not? Blog stalking is common; it's not a crime. So go ahead and admit it. I know there are at least a couple of you because you've commented, which by the way, I love... so thanks! There's just something thrilling about knowing that someone out there finds you and your life interesting enough to follow on a fairly regular basis.

About four or five months ago, I put up a poll on the right side of my blog which asked you (my faithful readers) to tell me how you know me. I did this because, though much to my despair, many of you read but never comment. As a joke, to the question "How do you know me?", I added an option to answer: "I don't." Interestingly enough, I had a few votes. However, as I've added more and more gadgets to the right side of my blog, the poll has found its way to the very bottom... I don't think people see it much anymore. Either that or I've capped out on my audience. Hmph...

SO, this is what I'm doing. I've put up a new poll (thank you blogger) and we're starting over. Even if you are a frequent reader/commentator and not a blog stalker, please take a second to vote in the poll and view the results. I'm going to conduct this little experiment until the end of October, although I may still keep the poll up after that... but make sure you vote before the end of the month.

And my dear blog stalkers, I'm not scolding you... I'm just asking you to come out of the woodwork, just slightly. :) Just vote. Do it for me. Please? Then you can go back to stalking. Oh, but if you're feeling brave, do something wild and ... comment. :)

Monday, October 06, 2008

Twenty years is a long time.

So lately, I've realized that I generally wake up in slight discomfort. My neck and back feel stiff and sore. I'm a back and side sleeper, so I've tried more pillows, less pillows, even new pillows, which of course help, but don't solve the problem. It's just my bed. I sleep on a twin bed, which isn't the problem, but I'm sleeping on the twin bed that I got for my birthday twenty years ago. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty years ago, my mom bought one of only four or five pieces of furniture she's ever purchased new in her life. (She's amazing at finding great pieces of furniture at garage and estate sales, not to mention has an eye for spotting perfectly good pieces sitting on the sidewalk for the taking.) It's a trundle bed, so it has two mattresses. I've switched around the mattresses so many times, that neither one is better than the other anymore. I'm just sad because I don't want the cause of my stiff back problems to be my bed because unfortunately, I have no plans to remedy the situation by buying a new bed anytime soon. My twin bed fits perfectly in my room and the next time I buy a bed, it will be a King size bed... :) and that won't fit in my room. So I'll survive. But twenty years is a long time!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Random Photo: 1968 Flashback.

I used to love looking at my mom's old yearbooks and imagining myself with all the hairdos of the 60's. Thanks to, I don't have to imagine anymore. :) (Okay, so I still have to imagine somewhat because look at the difference in skin tone between that neck and my face! Funny.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Rubik's Master.

M has taken to fiddling with the Rubik's Cube nearly every time he comes over. And by fiddling, I mean solving it in less than two and a half minutes! Yes, that's what I said: less than two and a half minutes. His record, evidently, is much faster; he says he's out of practice... :)

I'm not sure why I was surprised. Well, truthfully, I wasn't really surprised; it's just that no one has solved a Rubik's Cube in my presence that quickly. Apparently, he's working on solving the 4x4x4 and the 5x5x5 cubes. Yeah, so brainy is attractive. Wouldn't you be going out with him, too?! :)

And yes, to those of you who have asked... M IS the reason I haven't blogged for awhile..., but as AnnMarie told me yesterday, "I'll just keep checking your blog and if you haven't updated, I'll just know you're with M. Plus, it sounds like M is worth it." Yeah, I kinda like him. :)

P.S. The flowers in the last post are STILL alive. :)