Sunday, January 30, 2011

Born again?

Hi Ashbygirls this is Jerry. I have requested permission from Vivian to post this video because I think it is something that maybe only an Ashby can truly appreciate.

Every time we shop at BJ's (kinda like Costco, but worse) we walk by this Samsung 3D TV display. One day I walked by and noticed that in the demo video some Michael Bolton style gospel singing trumpeter was being featured. At first I was incredulous thinking "this has to be some other Michael Bolton style gospel singing trumpeter, right?" and then realizing the impossibility of there ever being another one of those I just accepted that this guy has returned from the 80s.

So I would like to reintroduce you to Phil Driscoll. Does watching this video make you want to pull out the old VHS tape and watch "The Young Messiah" from the 80s again?

P.S. - Would you think a guy was crazy if you saw him using his phone to record a 2d video of a 3D TV demo while chuckling silently to himself?

Phil Driscoll from Jerry Thomas on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

YOU are my favorite

eric is a sweet boy. he gets the gospel to a surprising degree for a seven year old, gives up the best thing to break up a fight (sometimes), and is a really good big brother. he puts his arm around jack when he is sad, and bends down and talks in a higher pitch when he is talking to him. he jumps to help me, and is fun to cook and work with.

but today he sealed his spot as my favorite child when
this happened.

all the kids and i were playing in the front room. the kids were tying different things on to helium balloons to see what would "float" and what would "sink". the baby formerly known as colin was sitting happily with the string of a balloon. eric turns to me from what he is doing and says covertly, "ppssst, mom! we are all just playing out here with colin. you could go read your book. now would be a good time!"

just the most beautiful thing any kid has ever said to me.

Speaking of Rachel

A conversation with Jerry:

Jerry: We might consider getting a new car sometime in the future. Perhaps something with just a little more space.
Me: I don't know, I don't think we really need to upgrade so quickly.
Jerry: Well we're soon going to have two carseats in the back.
Me: That should be ok, right?
Jerry: Well the last time we traveled it was pretty tight squeeze with Rachel and Levi and all our stuff. If we put two carseats back there, we won't be able to take Rachel. And really, if we're not taking Rachel, then why would we travel?
Me: A very very good point.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Of Course

Yesterday morning Lucy was preening in the mirror, smoothing her hair to one side and looking at herself sideways. As she tilted her chin and fluttered her eyes, she asked me, "Do I remind you of a young Rachel?"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top 5 Signs

Top five signs at the Christmas party that your company might be not be experiencing the effects of current economic downturn:

1. Menu includes small foods on toothpicks and offered by someone in a bow tie.
2. There is a piano player hired for the evening.
3. The event isn't held in the break room, but in a ballroom.
4. There's an open bar. Unlimited juice???
5. The gift to all employees is a super sweet patagonia backpack, embroidered with the company logo.

Friday, January 14, 2011

a girl and her brains are soon separated...

carrie and i talk pretty regularly, and you just never know how it will go.

sometimes it is silly:
c-"hi sister! how are you?"
b- "really good! guess what happened..."
c- "well i just got to lucy's school, i'll talk to you later!"

sometimes it's harsh:
b- i think i might have to vote for mccain
c- are you an idiot?!

sometimes she needs me:
c-ssssooooo i'm coming to visit you!

sometimes it's sweet:
b- it's because you are awesome and i love you!
c- no you're awesome and i love YOU!
b- your the best sister!
c- no, YOU'RE the best sister!

sometimes it is ugly:
b-"and i am soooo sad and tired of being pregnant. i am really having a hard time. i am 2 DAYS over my due date and it is driving me crazy i want to have this baby NOW!!"
c- (cheerfully) "hey i know! i bet they got your due date wrong! maybe your not due till NEXT MONTH! so you can just stop worrying about it!
b- *click*

but sometimes, it is wonderful. we are both feeling witty with a tinge of silly, we have a great amount of equally funny things to talk about, and it is gold. we both start laughing and do our best to ignore everyone and keep the conversation going as long as possible. these are times that we are both leaning into the phone, with silly grins on our faces, enjoying that sister pull that goes right to my center.

that was happening today and i was giggly, but the phone call had caught me in a nap, so i was still a little groggy. i was having a hard time remembering the actors name who plays the colonel in the bbc version of sense and sensibility, and i said:

b- "haha my humor is on, but my brain is off!"

c- "that is my favorite beth!"

i don't have a punchline for this entry. i just thought it was a funny thing to say.

i think.

Three Weeks Without Internet, or, How the Woodpile Book Saved my Sanity

Me (desperate, on the phone): Vivian, I don't know what to do with myself! I have no internet!
Vivian: Well, you could take a bath.
Me: I don't have a bathtub.
Vivian: could make yourself some toast!
Me (whiny): I don't have a toaster.
Vivian: Well, then, you could use your iron to grill yourself some toast!
Me (downright miserable): I don't have an iron!
Vivian (laughing exasperatedly): OK then, just call up some friends and go play games.
Me: I don't have any friends!

I know that's pathetic. But as a single, childless, friendless, young woman living on my own in a new town in an 18x14 ft room with no TV, bathtub, toaster, or iron (in a mansion full of very strange people, no less), the internet is my connection to friends, family, entertainment, and the world. Keep that in mind as you read this, and try not to think too poorly of me for being addicted to the internet.

The first week was frustrating. My "borrowed" internet connection had on occasion been unavailable before, so I kept expecting it to come back at any time. As a result, I constantly forgot I might not have internet. I would think "I need to email so and so", or, "I'll check the weather to know what to wear", or, "oh yeah, I need to pay my Wells Fargo bill". I'd open my computer, click on my browser...and after a few seconds of staring at my blank computer screen I would remember. As the days passed and I continued to see that blank screen, I got a sinking feeling the days of free internet were over.

Then Saturday arrived. I had no plans. Normally, no plans means a fantastic day of watching hulu, chatting with friends and family, or finding new music online. But suddenly, having no plans meant nothing. to. do. I decided to make the most of it and be as productive as possible- I went running, took a shower, cleaned my miniscule apartment, did laundry, went grocery shopping...all before noon. Then I had to start getting creative. I clipped my toenails, shaved my legs, organized my music and photo collection on my computer, and re-cleaned my apartment. I tried to finish War and Peace, but that was short-lived. To say the least, it was a slow weekend.

Week two with no internet found me spending my evenings huddled in my dark and cold car in the parking spot closest to the Family History Center at the church, mooching their unprotected wireless and hoping my computer battery would last long enough for me to finish writing an email to my RS counselors. One night I was lucky and I was able to sneak away from FHE to hide in a classroom and watch The Office without anyone noticing I was gone.

Then came a three-day weekend. Friday morning I started off strong by going on a 4-hour hike with nothing but my iPod and an audiobook. But when I returned and I realized I still had nothing to do, I gave up trying to come up with (and make myself do) productive things. Instead, I picked up a 785 page book, thinking it would keep me busy for awhile. I finished it 12 hours later. Saturday, I rented 3 movies and bought a fish to keep me company.

In the meantime, I was canvassing my neighbors to see if anyone would split their internet bill with me and allow me access to their internet. It would take me awhile to get up my nerve to ask, then they either wouldn't be home or they wouldn't have wireless, so the process took awhile. Finally, a neighbor said the beautiful words "I think Robert has wireless, and I'm sure he would let you use it!"

How exciting is that! Robert is the most normal neighbor I have, I talk to him fairly frequently, and he's really friendly and helpful. Sure enough, after I work up the nerve to go talk to him and finally catch him at home, Robert agrees to let me pay him $5 a month to share his wireless. But he's busy at the moment, so I tell him I can just come back later to get the password. After all, what's another day? I walk with a lighter step and a smile back to my room. This is going to work out perfectly, I think to myself. I'm sure glad I figured this out and won't have to pay an arm and a leg for internet!

The next day I knock on his door, excited that in moments I would once again be connected to the world. I knocked confidently on his door, and smiled expectantly when he opened it. “Oh, you know what,” he says, “I’ve changed my mind. Sorry!” I was kind of dumbfounded. He was my last hope for cheap internet. He had told me this would work. I had expected to be able to go home that evening and email my Bishop, check Facebook, read our blogs, shop for a new cell phone, and do whatever the heck else I wanted.

Instead, I walked slowly back to my apartment and stood in my kitchen/living room staring blankly around. What now? I had pretty much exhausted my resources. There were no other neighbors to ask for internet. There were no more books left unread in my apartment…well, except for War and Peace. It was Sunday, so I couldn’t rent a movie. I had already tried (and failed) to train my new fish. I was about to just go to bed (it was 7:00pm) when I saw a corner of the Woodpile book sticking out from under a stack of papers.

…and suddenly, everything was ok again. I picked it up happily, thinking “Why didn’t I think of this before?!” and started reading contentedly. I felt connected to you guys. I laughed out loud a lot. I forgot about my lack of internet. I read until it was a reasonable time to go to bed, but I didn’t want to stop. However, I knew that I would have to make this little gem of a book last until I got internet installed, so I put it away and drifted off to a happy sleep.

So by week three, I had finally reached a state of Zen…mostly by reading out of the blog book everyday. I accepted that I was just going to have to pay full price for my own internet, and I set up an appointment to get it installed. "Oh, it won't be for another week? That’s fine." I don’t remember very much about that last week, except that I didn’t really care about internet anymore. I just wanted to get home to read more stories about Korean mattresses and styrofoam peanuts and shark underwear.

And that is the story of how I survived three weeks without internet.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"what are my options?"

So I decided today that giving your kids options is a bad idea. Once they have an opinion on the mater it's all down hill from there. Don't get me wrong I can hold my own but I'm just saying getting 6 kids lunch ( different lunches) wears me out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Heart Chloe

After thinking about yesterday's post, there's more to be said. More to be said about Chloe, my sister Claire's alter-ego, named for the character on '24' who has nearly super-human powers at the computer. Read the following transcript from my conversation with Claire/Chloe during my perilous drive home yesterday:

ring ring
Me, a little panicked: Claire, I'm driving from Birmingham to Atlanta and it's crazy icy and I don't know if I'm going to make it!

Claire: click click (sounds of typing) Where are you exactly? Can you see any street signs?
Me: No. I can't see anything. I left Birmingham about 10 minutes ago going about 20 mph.

click click

Claire, literally 8 seconds later: OK, the fog will improve in 1.5 miles, then you'll have about 8 miles of traffic slowing. We're going to have to divert you- the freeway is closed about 20 miles outside of Atlanta and the traffic is completely stopped. Plus there's a dead raccoon on the side of the road we need to make sure you miss. And there's a sale at the Piggly Wiggly off of exit 24 if you need a snack.

Me: Don't leave me, Chloe, don't leave me!

35 minutes later, after the fog has lifted and exactly as the traffic is picking up, Claire calls me...

Claire: OK, are you through the bad traffic? Yes, I thought so. Now, I want you to drive for another 20 miles, then take exit 37, through Douglasville, turn right past the cemetary...looks like road 7 is still too snowy, so go right on road 6...don't follow the airport signs, the cleveland ave. exit is closed.

Me: are you sure? The roads are bad...maybe they'll open the freeway?...this sounds sketchy

Claire: this is your only hope.

-45 minutes later-

ring ring
Me: Claire, this is working great.

Claire: OK, you're 8.5 miles from the airport. The traffic light is out at the next intersection, but the right hand lane is still moving through OK, so stay right. I checked the Macon county registry and the lady driving the green car in front of you just had a baby, so don't tail her too closely, she might be unpredictable...

And so I made my way home, on the only clear roads for hundreds of miles, guided by the more than minor superhero powers of my sister. Later I checked and the freeway was still closed and black with stopped traffic. I would still be sitting there. I bet I'm not the only one with a story like this...?


Once chatting w/ Claire, I offhandedly said 'I can't see that William Shatner was ever goodlooking'. Literally two seconds later this image popped up on my screen:

It's not that she could find it, it's the speed!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Don't worry, Chris, I'll just be gone for one day..."

Sunday morning I got the first phone call canceling my flight home from Claire and Gordon's Utah reception. Fifty-five hours later I finally stumbled through our front door, after having spent an extra day in Salt Lake, been re-routed through Chicago, diverted to Dallas, begged my way onto a flight to Birmingham, AL, appeared essentially unannounced at my friends' front door to seek shelter for the night, drove a rental car for 5 1/2 hours over 130 miles of ice, had Chloe direct me around freeway closures and traffic jams and chiseled the Prius out of uncovered parking at the Atlanta airport.

Seriously, if it hadn't been for Claire, Hertz, and an ice-scraper I would still be out there somewhere.

Here's a look at Atlanta's main street.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

December 18th, 2010

On December 18th, 2010, Claire Ashby married Gordon Rees in the Fresno, CA temple. It seems like such a momentous occasion warrants a blog mention. Here are some of our favorite moments from the big event:

1. The look on Claire's face when she entered the sealing room and saw everyone gathered. She and Gordon had been getting ready and hadn't seen all of the people who had come yet- she looked delighted, like all was right with the world.

2. Gordon's tie.

3. Gordon himself. You just gotta like that guy.

4. The juice mixing bar at the rehearsal dinner. Strawberry pear with sprite, anyone?

5. The Moms. Our Mom is so cute, and then Gordon's Mom?! I just want to hug her every time I see her.

6. Rachel and Carrie were lost (only a little bit lost, but we'd turned around a few times), trying to find the Salem Community Center. The world was all white with new snow, and we were looking, looking...when suddenly we could see Claire standing in a big picture window of a building, looking out for us. She was in her wedding dress and she looked like a portrait of a gorgeous winter bride, posed in a snowy wonderland. She was beautiful. We both made involuntary happy noises out loud when we saw her.

7. Asking Gordon which of his brothers was his favorite..."Well, I would say Evan, but then everyone would know I was lying."

8. Watching Jackson, Levi and Theo up on the stage at the stake center during the pizza lunch with their arms around each other, performing Jingle Bells.

9. When we were poised for a fight to get all of us into the bride's room at the temple (in theory she's only to have one attendant) and the nice temple lady just ushered us in happily.

10. Seeing Grandpa perform the ceremony, looking so distinguished. Beth said that was the way she will always remember him.

11. Rees brother William not fessing up to his team that he really did know the answer to several of their trivial pursuit questions.

12. Looking around the reception and realizing what a quality bunch of friends Claire has amassed over the years, and how many of them would go to great lengths to come for her big day.

13. Putting the kids out back in the RV and slowly cloooosing the door.

14. And of course, the dance. Thinking about the dance. Wondering if the dance was a good idea. Deciding to go ahead with the dance. Watching Beth's perfect dance video and realizing it just might work. Hearing back from friends and random strangers that they were on board. Worrying about the dance every time Claire and Gordon bemoaned an "awkward, choreographed" musical scene at a wedding they had been to recently. The sheer joy of dancing the dance with an entire roomful of people. And then watching the dance, repeatedly, to see Claire and Gordon's expressions, and all of the awesome people who played along. "I love you, I love you, I love you..."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Goes together like...

Last night I was about to get in the shower when I saw a piece of chocolate. "Perfect!" I thought. It felt so right. It took me a couple of seconds to figure out why I felt that chocolate just seems to go with taking a shower.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year indeed.

Little signs that things are looking up that no one might notice, but I do:

1. I fill up my gas tank, instead of getting $15 or $20 at a time.
2. I bought paper towels.
3. I got rid of 15 pairs of old, broken shoes that didn't fit anyone (yet), that I was keeping, for later.
4. My food storage is going up, instead of down.
5. I made steak for Tim.
6. A family needed lunch, after sandbagging against flood water, and I went and bought them GOOD sandwiches. No peanut butter involved. And chips. A bag for EACH of them. And they loved it.
7. All our new toys from Christmas have working batteries.
8. I bought GOOD toilet paper.
9. I bought Mom 2 presents for Christmas. It felt good.
10. I'd better pay-up to Carrie for the GPS.