Friday, December 31, 2010

Breaking Tradition - Mountain Gear Tip #4

For years we have skiied on New Year's Day.  This year, however, Mr. Chill Factor dictates a change of plans.  When one lives in Skiing Heaven, one can be fussy.  My favorite weather web site says the following for Alta:

"Tonight: Snow. Low around -10. Wind chill values as low as -21. West northwest wind 6 to 8 mph becoming south southwest. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

New Year's Day: A 20 percent chance of snow showers before 11am. Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 10. Wind chill values as low as -24. South southwest wind between 5 and 7 mph."

A tad frigid for even the toughest of folk.  1 to 3 inches of new snow is not a draw with those chill factors....on the other hand....if there were 21 new inches....

Mountain Gear Tip #4:  Always pack chemical hand warmers.  Open them at home before the drive, let them warm over the heat vent, then shove them in the toes of your boots.  When you reach the mountain, take them from the boots (now toasty) and insert them into your mittens.  If the day is too warm for them, stash them in a pocket and give them to a chilled child that you encounter on the hill.

Chemical toe warmers are worthless because they need air to work and you WILL feel the wad in your boot.

If you get cold on the mountain, GO IN AND GET WARM!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I made my mother miserable for Christmas.  That's her on Christmas in the top right corner and to the left, enlarged so you can better see the facial expression.

After waiting forever at the hospital with the delivery of my older sister, my wisened father refused to take my mother to the hospital until the very last moment when I entered the scene. 

Is there a more "down day" than the day after Christmas???  Exhaustion, clutter, nausea from sweets, etc. 

Credit must be given to my mother, however, because she invented my half birthday in June.  In December I was told "Happy Birthday" and got a candle in my pancake.  In June, I got the whole works.  This worked well during childhood when I had big birthday bashes scheduled by my mother.  Then there were the "in limbo years" where December brought, "I'll catch you in June" and June brought, "Didn't we do this in December?"

Now, I demand my due, by declaring ,"Did you know it's my birthday?" to everyone I encounter.  Random people sing to me, the loudspeaker at Macy's declares, "Happy Birthday to Marci," and all clerks are alerted by my enthusiastic sister.  This year, I had to teach at my church on the big day and I announced, "Just sing to me and we can all go home."  They didn't buy it.

Gift wrapping must be done in birthday paper, cards and presents are separate for Christmas and the birthday.  I'm lucky because all the relations are in town for the big day. 

This year a group of girlfriends took me out to lunch and we stayed for 4 hours.  The waiter stopped bringing us water so we had to leave.

My dear friend from up the street surprised me with a birthday box containing a shopping card that was used before the ink dried.

Each of my children and my sweet husband fussed properly over me.  Thanks to all.  I loved my day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Highlights of the Laird Talent Show:  Rachel read about Yule Logs, Josh threw Megan through the air, Greg read a tribute "The Greatest Generation," Marci did 7 men's push-ups (after two months training, may I add), Charlotte and Maggie sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," Little Greg and Nathan did gymnastics, Denise handed out poppers, Dan shared doctorly x-rays of a broken wrist, Catherine sang, Lexi played guitar and sang, Grandma Jane read a book, Garth passed a pot, Grandpa Mel read a self-composed poem, Tyler performed magic, Katie and Garrett did a song with elbow tooters.

The white elephant exchange had an oriental flair this year.  Most embarassing gifts:  a black teddy and slippers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Apology - Mountain Gear Tip #3

Dear Alta:
I apologize. I know that I committed to visit you today and that you were counting on me to grace your slopes. Holding that new 27 inches of fresh powder was very thoughtful of you, keeping it untracked and pristine. I was willing, but a certain family member was not. This person is now officially on my naughty list. Santa will not be happy.


Mountain Gear Tip #3 - Pockets and their placement are crucial: a minimum of four, easily accessible in a jacket (one on the inside left with zipper), three in the pants (one preferably on the knee. All pockets must be zippered with big pulls, maneuverable with mittened hands. Extra flaps and snaps are unnecessary and cause frustration when trying to snag hand heaters, gum, camera or chapstick. Pocket width must actually accommodate a human hand and be at an angle that does not require shoulder dislocation.

When purchasing anything with zippers, bring all items to the store that will go to the mountain and see if they can be stowed in pockets. If it doesn't work in the store, it will not work on the mountain. It will never get better and your mountain experience will be compromised. Don't forget to test sandwiches, granola bars and cookies in the pockets before you leave the store.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Powdered Sugar - Mountain Gear #2

Today at Solitude: 27 inches of fresh new powdered sugar.

Mountain Gear Tip #2

- The correct goggles make or break a mountain day.

- Never switch to a new pair on a powder day.

- Stick with your favorites for decades.

- One of the MOST IMPORTANT pieces of equipment.

- Cost does not equal great performance.

- Check for peripheral view.

- Never place in "on head" position if there's snow on your hat.

- If they fog, go faster or sweat less.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Birthday Boy

Three Zero
One of Nine
Number Five
Twelve Eighteen Eighty
B.S. Two Thousand Ten
M.B.A. Two Thousand Eleven
One Fine Guy
Heart U Josh

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Kosher Salt/Flour & Mountain Gear #1

Today's snow at the Bird resembled a mix of Kosher salt and flour. Information shall be posted to inform readers about choices regarding mountain gear.

#1 - Hats are one of the least important and simple pieces of mountain gear. Look for a double layer over the ears and a tight weave to resist the 70 mph. winds on Little Cloud. Dangling tassels that flap in the breeze are always a nice touch. Avoid fuzzer hats as the little fuzzer nasties tend to stick to goggles in the "on head" position and then leap into eyeballs when positioned "on face." Collect hats, share hats, wash only when absolutely necessary. Correct choice can make one giggle and sing giddily on the mountain.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Been There Done That

Some people don't like to boast of their past employment opportunities, so I shall for this young man. He's been a:
*paperboy for three days
*mower of lawns
*mortgage loan reviewer
*court clerk
*BYU Morris Center cook
*researcher of onion data
*fireworks guard for Stadium of Fire (yes, odd for a pyromaniac)
*loan shark
*commercial loan underwriter
*temp worker at a Brazilian bank
*teacher of English in Brazil (the bank wasn't paying and a guy's gotta eat)
*tax preparer for non-English speakers (scarey)
*Mervyn's intern
*sandwich maker
*paintball gun salesman
*computer game code dealer
*greeter at fitness center
*tree and bush mover
*email screener
*explosives engineer
*maker of sheep skin lampshades

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Love/Hate Shopko

Shopko is great because nobody shops there. The aisles are clear, music appropriate (subdued elevator music), lines short, variety of goods okay. Was it mentioned that nobody shops there??? Love that!!

However, most sale items are inflated 150% so that the item can be reduced %40. Where did they come up with the number 40?? I saw a small kitchen towel today marked down to $5.99, from $19.99. Har - har - har - har!!

Where's the little elf making this stuff up? Those towels will be .99 after Christmas and everybody knows it. Thus the explanation, nobody shops there, except me, all alone with the elevator music :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cereal Ah-Hah Moment

Frustration for the avid hot cereal eater comes when the cold milk is poured on hot cereal, making the hot cereal no longer hot. The best cereal on the planet comes from Honeyville Grain Company. Its yummy goodness consists of Spring Wheat, Winter Wheat, Soft White Wheat, Corn Grits, Barley Grits, Steel-Cut Oats, Cracked Rye, Millet, and Flaxseed. This cereal is consumed on a daily basis since the acquisition of our new Fagor pressure cooker. It is chewy and warms the cockles of one's heart.

Trivia Question: Where exactly are the cockles of your heart?

The ah-hah moment occurred a short time ago when it came to me (perhaps by revelation) to heat the milk and then add the cooked cereal to it. Snarklies, it is good and the dilemma is solved.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have the attention span of a gnat. Nothing delights me more than being able to watch a great episode of sibling rivalry unfold in church.

Setting: church
Characters: older red-haired brother, spikey-haired baby brother, blonde curly-haired sister, bruinette trouble-maker brother, very calm mother, very ready to exit daddy
Props: crayons, paper program, cardboard pop-up Bible book (Do two-year-olds really pick up on appropriate reading material for church?), personal clothing items

All looks orderly, but any wisened parent knows that this set of parents will not win the battle today. With three kids, a set of parents has a chance of maintaining order because the children can be seated - child - parent - child - parent - child, thus separating the kids and preventing murder in church (either kid-to-kid or parent-to-kid). With four or more kids, no such hope can exist.

It all begins to unravel when bruinette trouble-maker brother smashes spikey-haired baby brother's hand when the attempt is made to touch the page (a beautiful depiction of Noah with the fold-up flap revealing the many animals on the arc) that bruinette trouble-maker brother is quietly pondering. The crayons clenched in the hands of spikey-hair baby are immediately used as weapons to deliver stabs to bruinette trouble-maker brother's head. Exit dad and baby, never to be seen again.

Mommy is cuddling blonde curly-haired sister in a hypnotic state, eyes fixed on the speaker and not blinking. As a teacher I know that she is in the twilight zone, far, far away from the "whoa-be-unto-you's" "hither-to-fore's" and "so-be-it's". She does an excellent job of looking very reverent and ponderous.

Meanwhile, at the end of the row, bruinette trouble-maker brother and older red-haired brother engage in the hand-to-hand combat of Ninja warriors, complete with eye gouging, throat chops, and dusting each other with an invisible powder housed in their front shirt pockets. Mommy and blonde curly-haired sister are calmly oblivious to the warfare that is unfolding in complete and utter silence. Not a giggle, not a grunt, not a snort. These two brothers are masters.

I am transfixed at their silent ability (only honed because of skilled training from birth to this very moment) to thrust their fists into each other's pockets, grab the magic dust, throw it on their opponent, shield their eyes from the dreaded eye gouge, while their opponent is able to deliver a double handed choke hold to the throat. The expertly folded program has turned into a Ninja star which is thrust up the nostril of red-haired older brother. As bruinette trouble-maker brother climbs up the chest of red-haired older brother and about to spring in for one last blow, mommy's eyes unglaze and she calmly (and silently, may I add) moves to sit between the two, never losing focus on the speaker. No one dies today, unless perhaps later it will be daddy who's been asleep on the couch in the lobby while spikey-haired baby wanders the halls.

Ours is a church of miracles and the accumulation of many fine skills.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Perfection Beneath a Pom Pom


Friday, December 10, 2010

Please Help

Somewhere there must be help for this poor armless woman. I was looking for pictures of aprons so that I could sew some for holiday gifts, when I happened upon this photo. I cannot feature how she will pour the tea, switch on the nightlight, or put down the toast in her condition. To make matters worse, someone has sewn the armholes of her tshirt closed and adorned the apron with breast shields.

Until I find her identify and can actually volunteer my assistance, a united prayer in her behalf may be in order.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Don't be sayin' that the Smith Fam never wins nothin'!

WE ARE THE PROUD WINNERS of a one-night stay at the Hampton Inn in OREM, UTAH!!!

No bags to pack - we can come home to both floss and brush!

A bicycle commute will get us to our destination in 7.4 minutes!

If the pillows are flat, or the bed infested with a magnanimously proliferated bed bug family, we can hop on the bikes, sleep at home, and return for the continental breakfast of Little Debbies and Natural Fruit Drink ( continental breakfast with the winning certificate).

ANYWAY - SHA-ZAM - It's great to be a WINNER! Sorry to all you losers out there! HA!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Do I throw out the Thanksgiving cranberries?

Leftovers are a little frig miracle. After a long tiring day, one can peer into the frig and, ka-ching, there lies dinner possibilities. The fact that I hate to waste anything has honed my skill of re-working meal variances over and over again.

Sometimes, however, the frig, microwave, and me just cannot pull off one more mealtime marvel. Food safety and sanitation are kind of my specialties, but fudging on the throw-out date has become more common as our household occupancy rate has declined.

My Thanksgiving cranberries are the only leftover remaining in my frig and tonight it may be bean burritos topped with cranberries. What does one do with the cranberries once the turkey is gone? Perhaps muffins (but then I'd have to do a whole recipe or at least six, which leaves leftover muffins). This could go on forever and frankly sometimes it does....

Anyway, I must begin on my Christmas menus for when family arrives. I'm thinking something with cranberries.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I finished work early today and dashed off to complete two stops: Costco and Honk’s. A grin-from-ear-to-ear student had surprised her labmates with new aprons for Christmas. Upon questioning the giver about the whereabouts of the awesomeness-beyond-belief purchase, I was told, “Honk’s, for a dollar.”

Against all good judgement, with the observation of piled-high shopping carts spewing forth from the exit doors, I succeeded in my quest into Costco for a single-item purchase, a Misto.

Honk’s, on the other hand, did not deliver on the apron crusade – sold out. Honk’s is a dollar store and being so close to Christmas, I encountered those shopping and obviously weighing the implications of their purchases for gift giving.

Smack! Reality hit me hard as the glaring contrast between the "haves" and the "have-nots" stood clearly in my mind. I left Honk’s empty-handed, but with a clearer vision of the need to spread the dollars around to those who genuinely need it at this time of year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday Lights

If I could only choose one decoration, it would be outside lighting. The power grid seems to dim significantly when I throw the switch to illuminate my outside landscape. Perhaps it is because darkness descends upon us at 4 p.m. or that outside lights seem to warm our overcast, gray surroundings during the cold winter months.

Going to the window to see if LauraLee has turned on her lights is a nightly routine. Hers are clear white lights, draped from fence post to fence post with a green wreath between each. There is no order or planning to my technique of putting up the lights. They are thrown on bushes strong enough to hold their weight. My biggest dilemma is not overloading a circuit and blowing a fuse. I questioned my dear hubby this year as to whether one outlet could handle 2,000 lights. It could not. Some days I am tempted to turn the lights on at 2 p.m. just to make sure that they are on at the earliest possible dark moment.

Removing them from the ice-encrusted bushes is my husband's duty and he hates it. Thanks, dear, for humoring me for 30 years. ILY

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Childhood Confessions of a Church-Going Gal

People in my church were tolerant of the Laird kids, maybe I just didn't pick up on any signs of disapproval, or perhaps I have just forgotten ever being caught doing any misdeed. My church-going hours were enriched by my ability to:

- Roll stuff down the chapel floor of the green church. It was slanted and marbles could go a good distance during Sacrament meeting.
- Hunt for the baptisry. It was in the basement somewhere under the stage and was often unlocked. - Hide the sacrament under my belt for a snack later.
- Listen to Sister Richins, Sister Huish, and Sister Christensen singing in barbershop harmony at the pulpit. I thought it would be neat if they'd just add bubbles. They sounded just like the gals on the Lawrence Welk Show.
- Count the chins on Sister Liston's neck, yes every fold, as she led singing in primary.
- Report to my family about the upper thighs of Sister Adair looking like plucked turkeys. She bent over way too many times for the eyes and minds of seven-year-olds.
- Have contests with the kids next to me to see who could peel off the biggest hunk of varnish from the back of the benches.
- Pull a split-end hair out of the head of the person in front of me and see how much farther it could be split. Yea, sometimes they jumped when you pulled it out.
- Plan a way to get to the top of the steeple. Rumors were that a few had done it and there was some pretty awesome stuff up there.
- Sail paper airplanes out of our second-story Sunday School classroom window.
- Pretend to like the birdseed snacks (yes, they were made of bird seed) that Sister Chittock handed out from her health food store. At Christmas she did give us a pure maple sugar Santa which was more palatable.
- Silent-giggle my guts out during meetings by adding "in the bathtub" after the names of hymns. I could make my sister snort outloud, which drew some glances. I Stand All Amazed In The Bathtub, Abide With Me In The Bathtub, Choose The Right In The Bathtub. Makes me giggle even now.
- Dare the kid next to me to bend their fingers back to touch their wrist like I did.
- Give the added nudge to any kid tipping on their chair that would sent them to the floor.
- Play tag in the gym.
- Roll my socks into doughnuts.
- Find ants on the floor of the chapel to play with. They would crawl over my hands and up my arms until I turned them loose on the bench in front of me, sometimes making their way up a person's neck.

All said, God's love and the saintly love of those who didn't throw me out, kept me coming back for more.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snowbird 6:27-34

27. Yea verily, it became necessary for us to ascend unto the mountain and partake of the whiteness thereof.
28. And I spake unto the son of Dean. Gird up thy loins and be not weary for the way is hard and thou must come or surely be damned.
29. Wherefore, when we beheld the beauty of the mountain we were reminded of the teachings of our fathers whereby we shall surely witness that how beautiful upon the mountain are the feet of those that slide thereon.
30. And the mountain was vast, without brambles, nor sticks, nor briars, nor rocks of any kind that might impede our journey or bruise our heel or vex our soals.
31. And the son of Dean did exclaim. Woa is me because of the lack of faith that preceded our climb unto the heavens and now our descent from which. For I was an doubtful and held not within my heart that the sureness of our way would prove fruitful.
32. Thereby came few travelers and none to stand in multitudes to make the journey.
33. And the silence and peace within our hearts grew and we were exceedlingly glad and joyous forthwith.
34. Whereas our time was long upon the whiteness of the mountain and we carried away with us a new faith that when the clouds come and gather again within the heavens, we shall tarry forth and partake once again with renewal of faith and gladness and strength.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Do you know a farmer? I don't think they exist anymore. My Grandpa Jensen was a farmer and I always thought it was great to tell my childhood friends that I had a grandpa that was a farmer. My cousin, Ron, and my Uncle Paul were farmers too.

I remember:
* Looking for kittens in the haystack. There was always a new litter.
* Dipping my hand in a bucket of milk and letting a new calf or lamb suck my fingers.
* Drinking raw milk.
* Exploring the sheds that were full of old farm equipment.
* Fearing being eaten by pigs. They were supposedly little girl munchers.
* Pondering the slop bucket.
* Seeing my Aunt Rae's egg cleaning set-up on "the back porch."
* Being fascinated by a working butter churn, its clear shiny glass with the paddle and handle.
* Walking out back to feed the cows. It seemed like miles to "out back."
* Loving the farm, but hating the smell of Mapleton.
* Not daring to swing from the rope in the barn.
* Imagining climbing into the grainery and climbing around. You die if you do.
* Jumping from bale to bale on the haystack.


Not Making This Up

Them: "Something's wrong with this sugar. It won't melt."
Me: "It will melt and coat the nuts."
Them: "The nuts are burning up." (billowing smoke)
Me: "Taste it."
Them: "Oh, we used salt."

Them: "These caramels look gross."
Me: "You've scorched the cream to the bottom of the pan."
Them: "The recipe said to boil it."
Me: "Did you stir constantly with the flat-bottomed candy paddle and watch the temperature."
Them: "Oh, you have to stir?? When were we supposed to put in the thermometer??"

(billowing smoke) Me: "You're burning the toffee."
Them: "It said to cook it for about 13 minutes."
Me: "It's black and smoking."
Them: "Do you think it's ruined??" (more billowing smoke)

Them: "This doesn't look like lolipop syrup."
Me: "You're right. What's in it?"
Them: "We followed the recipe exactly."
Me: "Okay. Who measured the corn syrup?"
Them: "He did."
Me: "Who measured the sugar."
Them: "She did."
Me: "Where did you get the sugar."
Them: "Sugar??? We used flour."
Me: "You just made play-dough."

Them: "We can't get this molten candy off the marble slab."
Me: "You mean the buttered marble slab?"
Them: "Buttered???"
Me: "Start chipping."

Them: "This taffy's too hard to pull."
Me: "Yes, I see. What temperature did you cook it to."
Them: "Temperature???? I don't know, around 400."
Me: "It will be sucky candy."

Them: "Our peanut brittle has black nuts." (billowing smoke)
Me: "You burned the nuts."
Them: "We didn't see them burn."
Me: "They sink to the bottom of the candy in the hot pan." (billowing smoke)
Them: "Do you think we should stop cooking them." (billowing smoke)

It's been a rough week thus far....