2010 postscript

So, when I said, "See you next year," I meant after a summation post. Obviously.

2010 was a pretty big year for me.

fell in love
mourned my grandmother's passing
graduated from college
interned at the New Era
wrote published and soon-to-be-published articles
went through the temple
went on a cruise
moved states
celebrated my first holiday season away from Colorado
found a full-time job as a quasi-adult.

All in 2010. I had no idea you could do so much in one year!

I'm excited to see what 2011 brings for me (and Josh—because, you know, we're a family now)!

Happy new year!


what I've been up and will be up to

I opened this package from Josh on Christmas morning.

While the wrapping job left more than a little to be desired, Josh made up for it by hiding this under the wads of wrapping paper.

I am unable to adequately convey my deep, deep, unbridled excitement over this gift.

Now I'm in Colorado for the week (we spent Christmas with all the super fun Wilsons), I'm spending all--or nearly all--of my time reading this book recommended by Miranda

Love it. I'm consumed with crafting elation.

This next week will be full of family-ing, eating, cooking, and sewing. Obviously.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful, and I'll tell you all about my wonderful holiday soon. See you next year!


weekend project

Last Friday I was wiling away the hours at work until I could go home, and I came across this:

So, naturally, my goal for the weekend was to recreate it.

Friday night I made the gingerbread dough (from scratch).

And the dough chilled overnight.

Saturday I used the templates I printed to cut out the pieces, and I baked them.

Then I melted sugar into caramel so I could make windows.(This is my favorite aspect of the house.)

Sunday I whipped up some royal icing and decorated the pieces. I should have mixed the icing until it was more firm, because my envisioned crisp, intricate designs turned out looking more like a lumpy cartoon.

Today I glued it all together. And you know, it doesn't look like Martha's. But that's okay. (Also, I don't plan on eating this--it was purely a crafting endeavor.) The pieces warped a bit in the drying, and the caramel glue was messy. The royal icing pooled, and the detailing was a little sloppy.

But I love it. And I'm going to do it again next year.


christmas spirit

"And Jesus came and touched them, and said,
Arise, and be not afraid.
And when they had lifted up their eyes, 
they saw no man, save Jesus only"
{Matthew 17:7-8}


a post-graduation December

This December I'm not living in the library, completing student ratings, writing 10-page papers, researching theory, completing last-minute cleaning checks, frantically packing, subsisting on Kraft mac and cheese and Diet Pepsi, turning off my phone so I can concentrate, mustering remnants of academic motivation, waking up for 7 a.m. finals, or walking up to campus in the freezing cold.

Instead I'm working a full-time job, figuring out downtown Portland, knitting every night, reading books because I really want to, decorating my small apartment for Christmas, waking up next to Josh every day, watching my favorite TV shows, eating Sunday dinners with my in-laws, making real food for dinner, and Christmas shopping.

I loved school for the most part—but being a college graduate is so worth it.

PS--Where are all the commenters??


12 on 12: cozy December

01. Speaking in church (on this talk)
02. Playing Super Mario Galaxy
03. YouTube video--simultaneously hilarious and awful
04. Peanut butter=delicious
05. Tithing settlement at the church
06. Dinner with Josh's parents--chili and cornbread
07. New boardgame--Dominion
08. Ward choir practice
09. Best. vanilla. ever.
10. Argyle tights
11. Late-night cocoa
12. Later-night knitting

I can't believe it's the end of the year already! Themes I noticed in my 12 on 12 grids: food, TV/movies, lack of camera. (Next year I'm hoping to have a camera for every 12th.) I will definitely be participating next year. Will you?


having ourselves a merry little Christmas

Here's what it's been looking like around here.

Sugar cookies. This was Josh's--I think it's positively hilarious. Most of the others were, well, more festive.

Bookshelf Christmas. This is probably my favorite display in the whole apartment.

Christmas tree right next to the fireplace.

Glitter tree-topper.

The first Wilson family stockings. You can't see it, but mine has a fur cuff and silver beaded snowflakes.

Peppermint gelato. I couldn't resist.

Merry Christmas, everyone!



{I am}

a woman
a daughter
a sister (times three)
a wife
a newlywed
a friend
a reader
a writer
an editor
a cook
a baker
a knitter
a decorator
 a house accountant
an office manager
a friend
a daughter-in-law
a sister-in-law
a granddaughter
a blogger
an American
a BYU grad
a consumer
a bibliophile
an omnivore
a niece
an organizer
 an introvert
 a quasi-adult
a wannabe Hogwarts student
a picky eater
a film critic
a TV junkie
a Coloradan
an Oregonian


honeymooning philosophy

{Precluding side note: I'm sick of blogging about the honeymoon. It was wonderful, but I'm loving real married life more than cruising. I'd rather blog about that.}

Yes, the official honeymoon is over and has been for a while now. But as is typical with newlyweds, the honeymoon phase continues into the everyday life of early marriage. And yes, I'm loving it. And yes, I do know that marriage isn't all honeymooning, that life will get hard and both Josh and I will have to work harder at our marriage. I know that.

But I also know that I am going to live up every moment of newlywed honeymooning. When marriage gets a little harder, I want to be able to look back at this time and draw strength from it, find courage in the deepening love I feel for Josh every day. I want to have reminders that things really can  be this good.

And really, a marriage worked and honed and refined over years and decades can produce so much more happiness than a week-long honeymoon, or even the newlywed bliss. My grandma said that you fall in and out of love all the time in marriage—she had been steadily in love with my grandpa for the last several years of her life. Her marriage proves to me that the work is worth it.

So here's my honeymooning philosophy: I will revel in the honeymoon phase, soak it up, and love it completely. I will also remember that the happiness I feel now isn't the most I can feel. A well-worn, worked-at marriage will bring a new happiness to me, one more lasting and substantial. Even in newlywed rapture, the "best is yet to be."

Sure, the honeymoon won't last forever, but my marriage will. And that's what matters.


hot off the presses

Well, folks, it's finished. My grandmother's history that has been in the works for two years now (though most of the work has taken place over the past two months) is finally finished. I wanted to finish in time for the holidays, because I think the copies will make nice Christmas presents, but more importantly, knowing that my grandma isn't around this Christmas has been a little hard for me. Finishing this book I feel is my final Christmas gift to her.

If you'd like you can order it by following the link at the bottom of the preview.You'll want to make sure to order it in time for Christmas (if it's a gift), and because they have to first print it, the time between ordering and shipping the book is a little longer than with typical online ordering.

I loved doing this project and using my editing skills in this way. For those of you who end up reading it, I hope that her life inspires yours, as it has indelibly inspired mine.

some Sunday thoughts

Josh and I were called to work in our ward's Primary (the organization for the little kids), and more specifically, in the nursery (the 18-month-olds to the 3-year-olds). Last week when we were asked if we would accept this calling, my heart sank in disappointment. Yes, I accepted, but I felt so discouraged. All week I've felt that being isolated with the barely toddlers will result in me never making friends now.

I've been thinking about this all week, trying to find an upside. I first decided to be more socially proactive in making friends. I've never been that way, but I think I have to now. We have many young married couples in our ward, so there is so much potential for good friends. I really have no reason to not make friends.

More importantly, however, I realized that I agreed to serve because I have a testimony of the gospel. Not because I like to have friends, and not because I want to pick and choose my callings. I serve because my Savior asks me to. And remembering that changed my whole attitude.


Operation Superhuman Reader: a nonfiction triumph

{Presenting yet a deeper level of my self-professed word/lexicon obsession/passion. I know fully well how my unbridled excitement over this book adds to my nerd factor.}

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English DictionaryThe Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The epitome of nonfiction.

The subject matter of this book (the Oxford English Dictionary) interested me before picking it up, but I had no idea how fascinating nonfiction could be and how quickly I would come to genuinely love this true story and those real men (and few women) involved in the Dictionary's evolution.

Winchester is a masterful storyteller, knowing which bits of information to develop and how to keep the august history of the Dictionary cohesive and relevant. Apart from novel-form nonfiction, I have never read a nonfiction book that was so delightfully engaging as this.

The OED's story is one of national—even global—collaboration all in the name of language. The story and its expert writing affected even my emotions. I found myself increasingly proud of my native English language and bolstered by the enthusiasm of the hundreds upon hundreds of nineteenth-century English-speakers who felt the same. I feel a nerdy thrill of excitement when I think of all the thousands, if not millions, of English words at my disposal.

If you're reluctant to read nonfiction, read this. Even if you're not such a passionate word-lover as I, you can enjoy this book for its engaging, witty writing and its accessible and thoroughly enjoyable telling of a truly remarkable story.

View all my reviews


employment, adjustment, and a black mamba

Yes, I have a job! One of the temp agencies I'm using set me up with a couple of interviews, and about two weeks ago I was officially hired as the office manager for iDL Worldwide, a company that designs in-store fixtures and displays for their clients. It's a very creative and team-based environment, and I think I'll have a lot of room to grow and even use my writing and editing background. So while it's not a premium editing job, it's the right job for me right now.

Here are some of the things I've been up to the past few days of employment:

:: First days always make me a little nervous.

:: But I did okay. I'm the first office manager they've had, so I'll get to define my role in many ways.
:: I spend my days here now.

:: I think it's pretty cool.
:: I've been slowly getting my desk put together.

:: They stock Mexican Coca-Cola here (made with real sugar cane). Plus every other Coke product imaginable. They're free.

:: I've been taking the bus, but yesterday I couldn't find the stop when I was ready to go home. It was cold, windy, and rainy, and I called Josh crying.
:: He came to pick me up.
:: I found refuge in Powell's in the meantime.
:: I'm having to adjust to working full-time.
:: I feel like I'll never be able to plan and make dinner again with my days cut so short.
:: Today we had a black mamba in the office.

:: It was part of a client presentation.
:: Don't worry--it was de-venomed.
:: I was terrified and simultaneously fascinated.
:: Here's another mamba picture for you.

:: Black mambas can slither up to 14 mph.


gratitude list

I think today is a most appropriate time for an ultimate gratitude list.

:: unlimited texting
:: midday phone calls with Mom
:: interstate BG runs with Emily
:: surprised phone calls from Dad
:: funny picture messages from John
:: becoming better friends with Sarah
:: Southwest
:: being friends with extended family--aunts, uncles, cousins
:: Josh Wilson for my husband
:: keeping my initials after getting married--still CJW
:: great in-laws
:: words
:: a college degree
:: my own kitchen
:: hot chocolate
:: so many rainy days in Oregon
:: Powell's City of Books
:: my new bookcase
:: not having to label my food anymore
:: a job that starts Monday (post forthcoming)
:: Josh's job
:: public transportation
:: the library
:: Johannes Gutenburg
:: the moss that grows on the sidewalks in Oregon
:: years of wonderful and strengthening friendship with Rachelle
:: my dear, dear friend on a mission, Katelyn
:: Ghiradelli peppermint bark
:: chocolate, in almost all forms
:: Diet Pepsi
:: Hulu
:: Netflix streaming
:: Netflix streaming dates with Josh
:: lunch with Josh
:: beautiful legacies from both of my grandmothers
:: a relatively successful Thanksgiving pie crust
:: wedding pictures
:: Christmas decorations
:: patent leather
:: monograms
:: ampersands
:: curly brackets
:: commas, et al
:: polka dots
:: television
:: Harry Potter
:: making the bed
:: a clean bathroom
:: YouTube knitting tutorials
:: autumn
:: pot roast
:: blogging
:: my camera (and having found it--haven't taken that for granted again)

In a more serious vein:
:: the gospel
:: my temple covenants
:: my testimony and faith
:: the reality of prayer
:: Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer
:: eternal marriage
:: God's plan is always better than mine--always
:: identity
:: purpose
:: becoming

My life is beautiful. My heart is full.

Happy Thanksgiving.


one month

{FYI: This may be a little sappy.}

We ate dinner on the wedding china.

And Josh bought me flowers.

Then we went to get dessert. Chocolate banana cream pie.

Celebrating a one-monthiversary may be a little sappy, but I think that it's okay to be sappy sometimes.


snow day

Or at least, that's what Oregonians are expecting this week.

I'm from Colorado, typically a pretty snowy state. We had maybe five snow days my entire public school career. Maybe. I am no stranger to snow. In fact, I like it. Driving in it isn't my favorite, but I can do it.

The Portland forecast says we'll maybe get one to two inches of snow.

And yet, while purchasing light bulbs this afternoon (to supply the lamps I bought over the weekend), the cashier not-so-jokingly said, "You should be buying candles in case the power goes out." In case the power goes out. {Note: I've been in only a handful of snowstorms in which the power has actually gone out.}

I nonchalantly replied that I grew up in Denver, and so I'm pretty comfortable in snow. The bagger then asked if I had four-wheel drive, as if that car feature really meant I was from a snowy state.

Yes, I understand that if you or your town is not equipped for snow (I don't think my town has many snowplows), then one to two inches of snow may seem a little more daunting.

But still.

Expecting a power outage? Oh, please.

HP + YouTube

We went to see the first part of the seventh Harry Potter installment on Friday. And I loved it, naturally. I thought it did an excellent job of staying true to the book, which perhaps lent itself to a bit of slowness, but really, I absolutely loved it.

My favorite HP trailer.

My reason for wishing I was back at BYU last Friday:

Happy Harry Potter film, readers. You know I just loved every second.


the honeymoon: Puerto Vallarta

The last city we visited was Puerto Vallarta. Josh and I woke up early to catch a catamaran for the day.

We stopped at an area where we were supposed to be able to snorkel. We tried a little snorkeling (my first time), but Josh told me it was not an ideal snorkeling experience: the water was murky and freezing and choppy. Not a good mix for snorkelers.

We continued on, however, to a small, secluded beach, where we anchored for an hour or so. When we arrived we had to wait for another catamaran to make its way out of the area. This vessel was playing pretty loud music and, upon closer inspection, we observed that most of the cruisers were male and wearing exceedingly tight Speedos. We concluded that the neighboring catamaran was, in fact, a gay cruise.

Our hunch was confirmed when we noticed the rainbow flag flying proudly in the wind. We found this very entertaining--they were very friendly!

Josh and I went with a few other people on a short hike through some of the Puerto Vallartan jungle. Knowing my utter lack of athletic know-how, I actually impressed myself.

Josh was more adventurous than I and climbed up further than I dared to go.

After our jungle hike we returned to the beach and went kayaking. I contemplated kayaking out to sea. {False. But I did quite enjoy going out into the cove.}

The catamaran had an open bar, which most of the people enjoyed just a little too much. On our way back to the cruise ship, our host, Jorge, wanted to help us celebrate our honeymoon by having us take tequila shots. Josh tactfully took him aside and explained that we don't drink alcohol, so could we take a shot of Sprite or something. Jorge looked at us as if we were from another planet. He then proceeded to announce in incredulity to the entire catamaran that we don't drink alcohol and asked the group at large if they should make us drink a shot anyway. At one point he said, "If you don't drink, why are you even in Mexico?!?"

Thankfully, we had some supporters who let us off the hook. So Jorge and his associates shook our hands in honeymoon congratulations instead. While most people still gave us funny looks, we had a few others validate our stance. The whole experience was pretty funny.

On the way back, Josh wanted to avoid getting any more sun. His solution made me laugh.

Puerto Vallarta was fabulous. We loved it.

Now do you want to know about the actual cruising? Done. In the next honeymoon post.


pretty much the best

Tonight I am thankful for a husband who does the dishes--even when it means he has to wear ruffled rubber gloves.


the honeymoon: Mazatlan

Mazatlan was our most laid back day in port. We didn't have any excursions planned, and we decided to just go to the beach.

Once we arrived at the beach we were promptly accosted (harsh word? maybe, but maybe not) by local vendors selling their wares, everything from woven hats to sunglasses to your name inscribed on a grain of rice (I've never understood that trend). No exaggeration we were approached probably once every 60 to 90 seconds, and sometimes there were repeats. Eventually we learned to "play dead," which meant closing our eyes pretending to sleep or reading a book so intently you can't be bothered to pay attention to anything else (that was my strategy).

Josh was content lying out in the sun while I played in the waves a bit (he probably would have joined me had we felt safer about our belongings on the beach).

I'd been to the beach only once before this in my entire life, and I felt like a little kid with how much fun I had jumping in the waves and tasting the salt water. (In that photo I'm the one in the top right.)

We could take only so much of the vendors and left after about an hour or so. We walked down the street a little and looked into a couple of shops. Josh ended up getting a seat hammock.

We headed back to the ship about mid-afternoon, a little tired and hungry. Even though the local vendors were relentless, we still had a fun and relaxing time at the beach--we weren't about to let them ruin Mazatlan for us!


knitting progress

I took up knitting a couple of months ago, and, frankly, I had a hard time getting into it. My hands didn't fit with the needles, and my stitches were either too tight or too loose, not to mention the frequent dropped stitch. However, my recently incited desire to become a craft master necessitated a return to the needles, this time with intent to enjoy and conquer.

And today I think I cleared a big hurdle--the one in which you make only ugly things.

My very first knitting endeavor ever:

Yes, it was a practice piece, so it wasn't supposed to actually be anything. But still. I mean, just look at it.

That was followed closely by this:

Not much of an improvement.

This next one wasn't so much of an eyesore:

I can at least use this one as a drip cloth in the bathroom.

Then I seriously backtracked and produced this knitting monstrosity:

This is the piece that most discouraged me from trying knitting again. I ended up completely abandoning it and starting afresh.

And it's a good thing I did, because I just finished this:

A real washcloth that looks like it was intentional, one that I actually want to use.

So knitting and I are back on track. I'm going to build up my confidence and make a few more washcloths, and then I'm on to something new, perhaps something that involves increasing and decreasing. Something with ruffles sounds nice.

I am far from being a knitting master, much less a craft master, but at least I now enjoy knitting and won't ever have to buy any more washcloths.


12 on 12: as a mrs.

My first grid as a married blogger!
01. Lots of morning fog
02. Balanced breakfast of toast on homemade bread, generic frosted flakes, hot chocolate, and a conference talk
03. Catching up on Bones
04. Eating Keebler cookies with Josh on his lunch break
05. Packages from FedEx containing a large bulk of wedding gifts
06. Lunch
07. Phone calls with my favorite people
08. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer--no comment
09. Meal planning
10. Green cleaning--I went to a friend's house and got a little lesson on how to clean green, complete with a chance to make my own all-purpose cleaner (very Oregonian, in case you were wondering)
11. Gearing up for HP7, part 1
12. Too late to be going to bed


the honeymoon: Cabo San Lucas

Josh and I honeymooned on a cruise to Mexico. We made port in three different cities and did different things in each one. Our first stop: Cabo San Lucas.

We booked a horseback riding excursion for Cabo, and we loved it! I didn't realize that Josh wasn't extremely excited about this activity until afterward when he said he surprisingly really liked it.

It was a trail ride instead of what I like to think of as a "free" ride (or riding wherever and however fast you want), but we got to ride along the beach, and it was beautiful. I think the only thing I was missing was being able to ride in slow motion.

I was riding in about the middle of the line, and Josh ended up nearer the back. He spent a good deal of the ride trying to make it up to where I was. However, when he finally came up behind me, his horse bit mine and mine kicked his in retaliation. We did get some pictures of us together, though, before we had to separate our feuding mounts.

Afterward we met Tsuba the Camel, a recently acquired pet of the horse ranch.

Before we headed back to Cabo proper we were able to enjoy an authentic Mexican quesadilla. You wouldn't think that the quesadillas I make and the quesadillas Mexicans make would be all that different, but they are--Mexican quesadillas are so much better.

Horseback riding on the beach was quintessential honeymoon material. We loved it!

 Next up on the honeymoon: Mazatlan.
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