Copyright © 2008 Happy Clean Living

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Can't Function Without My Zune/Music!!! World Wide Zune Breakdown

I have a Zune.... that is my source of music.... Last night I listened to my music all evening as I finished taking down my Christmas decorations. The battery was low of course and as usual, I plug it in to recharge through the night. This morning I woke up to a totally frozen Zune - it wouldn't do anything, it wouldn't even shut down to restart, or hook up to the software on the computer. I couldn't worry about it this morning because I had to get to work. When I came home it looked like it needed to be charged. I hooked it up to the computer and it charged until the Zune screen came up and it totally froze again. Luckily I purchased a 2 year extended warranty that takes me through 4/2009 - at least I am covered.

I purchased my Zune through Dell Computer and was working with them because I purchased the extended warranty through them. The poor technical guy on the phone had no idea what to do with it and kept putting me on hold to find out. It ended up that I needed to go directly to Zune and work with them. I ran out of time because Brady was coming back home and I needed to get to the airport. (side note -- Happy dance my baby is coming home - LOL -- I missed him so much. My home is just not the same without him.)

I decided my Zune issue would have to wait until after the New Year.

Jason called me this evening and let me know there was a TOTAL melt down world wide on every first generation Zune. Oh Joy!! At least I am still under warranty. If you are interested and are experiencing the Zune melt down - here are the articles.

I guess it is back to the good old CD player until my Zune is working... Yuck!!!

'Zune 30 Midnight Meltdown' Angers Music Lovers

- While the rumor mill is focused on Apple developing a larger-screen iPod touch, the blogosphere is churning with angry reports about frozen 30GB Microsoft Zunes.
Discussions board like, and offer first-hand accounts of the problems with Microsoft's music player. It seems the Zunes reboot, then freeze once the status bar reaches 100 percent.

Some are calling it the "Z2K" problem, playing off the infamous Y2K bug that many thought would throw the computing industry in chaos at the beginning of the century when dates changed from 1999 to 2000. That's because the problem seems to have started at exactly midnight PST Wednesday -- the first moments of the last day of 2008.

A Fix That Fails
Microsoft wasn't immediately available for comment on what observers are calling the Zune 30 Midnight Meltdown. But the forums are ablaze with complaints and demands for updates from Microsoft.

"I had my Zune docked on its iHome ZN9, charging, and all the sudden I hear it start whirring as I'm sitting here at the laptop. I looked up just in time to see it restarting itself at exactly 12:00 midnight, watched the loading bar, and then the freeze. Great. WHAT is going on!?" VS Venom Shot wrote on the forum.

Meanwhile, a user named Dmodegirl claims to have solved the problem. She said the Zune needs a "hard reset" and suggested using a small screwdriver to pop off the plastic shielding where the Zune cable plugs in and remove the two screws on either side of the plug.
"Pop the cover off and locate the battery plug at the top left corner of the Zune. Using your screwdriver, pop the cable connection halfway off, and do this to the other plug on the right side," she wrote. "Wait three seconds, then push down the right connector and then the left battery connector. Your Zune should start up immediately. Press the backing of the Zune down (make sure headphone jack is aligned) and put the screws and cover back in place."

Some users reported success with this method, but when they plugged their Zune back in to charge, it froze again. Others were concerned with trying the hard reset for fear of turning the Zune into a fancy paperweight. Still others are hinting that Microsoft should compensate Zune users with a free Zune Pass.

A Black Eye for Zune
"This problem is something that never should have made it out of testing. I've been with the Zune Pass since day one and I'm seriously looking into other devices and services due to this. We at least need some kind of acknowledgment or statement from MS that clarifies the issue and puts in place a plan of action," a user named Furious Mittens wrote on the forum.
Those comments aren't something Microsoft wants to hear. Indeed, frozen Zunes after the holiday shopping season is not welcome news, according to Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media.

"Microsoft has got to close the ground on the iPod, and the only way to do that is with a superior product," Leigh said. "It takes time to recover from something like this. First impressions are important for new buyers, and this is a bad first impression."

Microsoft blames leap year glitch for midnight lockup of Zune players

Owners of Microsoft's older 30-gigabyte Zune music players experienced failures today after a leap year glitz caused them to lock up at midnight Pacific time. Users said the units spontaneously rebooted and then froze during the start-up process.

Microsoft says the problem is related to a leap year bug and has issued instructions on how to fix the lockup.

Reports are worldwide and filled popular Zune discussion boards. Some were using their players when it occurred, like a user named Chuck who posted on a Zune fan site called onlydarksets (

My wife and I both have zune 30mg … and were both listening to music at about midnight when both, almost like a script, stopped playing the music, returned to the zune logo screen with solid white bar, and froze. Both batteries died in about 2 hours … recharged one over the rest of the night, but all I got was the same frozen screen."

Same thing with a user named Tina, who posted: "I just got a zune yesterday and I was playing some music and all of a sudden I went to a different song and it just froze and I’ve tried reseting it and I’m currently waiting for the battery to die, but I don’t think its even on because the music menu is faded."

Others woke up this morning to find their Zunes useless. The issue appears to especially affect the 30 GB Zune models.

Microsoft issued the following statement:"Early this morning we were alerted by our customers that there was a widespread issue affecting our 2006 model Zune 30GB devices (a large number of which are still actively being used). The technical team jumped on the problem immediately and isolated the issue: a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year.

"That being the case, the issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009. We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow (noon, GMT). By tomorrow you should allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure that your device is recharged, then turn it back on.

If you're a Zune Pass subscriber, you may need to sync your device with your PC to refresh the rights to the subscription content you have downloaded to your device.

"Customers can continue to stay informed via the support page on ("
In a seemingly coordinated crash, 30GB Zunes across the world seem to be failing, frozen on startup, in what some have snarkily called Z2K or Z2K9. The device can't be reset, and the best efforts at troubleshooting seem to point to an issue with the latest firmware.

Reports of resets, and then the Zune being frozen on startup, started surfacing overnight. You can find threads in several forums. Note that all the forums are busy, and slooooow to load, at best.

I have to emphasize, this appears to only be occurring on the first-gen, 30GB Zune. It seems the issue started to happen as devices passed midnight locally across the world, though times don't seem to be exactly synchronized. One can imagine a "wave" frozen Zunes moving across the planet.

Z2K makes sense as a moniker for this: the theory that immediately came to my mind because of the seeming synchronization with midnight was that this was the first leap year since the 30GB Zune was introduced. Others have come up with that idea as well. It has also been reported, though unconfirmed, that older firmware does not have the issue.

There are troubleshooting links on Microsoft's Zune set, here, but I have to repeat: you can't reset the device, and it seems to be a firmware issue. It's probably best to wait for a Microsoft response.

However, due to the timezone differences, there's no official word from Microsoft yet on why Zunes with the newest firmware have frozen. Let's be honest though: the Zune has had enough problems trying to gain market share against the iPod. This can only hurt.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Are We Prepared?

Several news stories have caught my eye today. One is the swarm of earth quakes hitting Yellowstone National Park -- which is not to far away from where I live. The story is listed below. To me it is quite alarming. Yes, I panic quite easily. I want to be prepared in case something does happen - any type of disaster. The other story I saw was Russia has a volcano erupting today.

We need to heed the Prophet's warning through time to be prepared. I think it is a great Resolution for the year 2009 - to be prepared.

Do we have our 72 hour kits prepared? Don't go into debt doing it! Today, go around your house and put emergency items in a back pack or suit case that you can grab and go. You can add other items later - just get something together and work on getting a 72 hour kit complete.

How is your stored water and food storage coming along? I've really been working hard on mine for several months. There are a few things I need to purchase to get it back to where I was before all of the holiday cooking I have done - like flour. I'd like to get more water. If you have empty canning jars in your house, that is a great thing to fill with water and store.

I still haven't purchased my plastic to seal off a room in my house. I think about a volcano erupting and using a mask on our face and having a room sealed off for safety. I know I am panicking - but I want to be safe and prepared.

I think I get a little worried when my savings account is low. I used a lot of it on Christmas gifts and now I need to start working on getting my safety net of cash and savings built up again.

Here are the stories - what do you think? Do you panic like me?

Today - December 30 - Russian volcano erupts. The Koryakski volcano to the far east of Russia has started to erupt emitting ash which could threaten local populations.

Scientists eye unusual swarm of Yellowstone quakes

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come. Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone, but it's very unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days, said Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah.
"They're certainly not normal," Smith said. "We haven't had earthquakes in this energy or extent in many years."

Smith directs the Yellowstone Seismic Network, which operates seismic stations around the park. He said the quakes have ranged in strength from barely detectable to one of magnitude 3.8 that happened Saturday. A magnitude 4 quake is capable of producing moderate damage.
"This is an active volcanic and tectonic area, and these are the kinds of things we have to pay attention to," Smith said. "We might be seeing something precursory.

"Could it develop into a bigger fault or something related to hydrothermal activity? We don't know. That's what we're there to do, to monitor it for public safety."

The strongest of dozens of tremors Monday was a magnitude 3.3 quake shortly after noon. All the quakes were centered beneath the northwest end of Yellowstone Lake.
A park ranger based at the north end of the lake reported feeling nine quakes over a 24-hour period over the weekend, according to park spokeswoman Stacy Vallie. No damage was reported.

"There doesn't seem to be anything to be alarmed about," Vallie said.
Smith said it's difficult to say what might be causing the tremors. He pointed out that Yellowstone is the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago.

He said Yellowstone remains very geologically active — and its famous geysers and hot springs are a reminder that a pool of magma still exists five to 10 miles underground.
"That's just the surface manifestation of the enormous amount of heat that's being released through the system," he said.

Yellowstone has had significant earthquakes as well as minor ones in recent decades. In 1959, a magnitude 7.5 quake near Hebgen Lake just west of the park triggered a landslide that killed 28 people.

By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer Mead Gruver, Associated Press Writer – Mon Dec 29, 9:17 pm ET

Lose Weight for FREE

If you haven't heard, there is a terrific place on the Internet that provides and excellent resource to help you lose weight. Best of all it is FREE!!!

Last year I found this great site and lost 50 pounds. There are so many tools to help you track your food, how much water you drink, the nutrition you get when you eat that food, track your fitness, track your weight loss by weekly weigh ins, a place for great recipes, support groups, motivational information ...... I could go on and on of the wonderful tools this site has but it would take me days.

I am starting again today because this really works if you follow the program. I want to lose my weight, as I am tired of being FAT!!!! I refuse to pay anyone to help me lose weight... I refuse to starve myself....... I refuse to think you can lose weight by gimmicks..... I know it is a long process and there are NO quick fixes.
On SparkPeople you have a SparkPage like you have in facebook or myspace. You belong to a team and work with other people who know what your going through and who are on the journey of losing weight too. It is totally FABULOUS!!!
My user name is: think2bfit
If you decide to join SparkPeople, put my user name in as recommendation. You get SparkPoints when you refer someone. The SparkPoints don't mean anything other then motivation. You earn them as you track food, drink water, post on the message boards and lots of other ways. It is all motivational. As your SparkPoints grow, you receive different virtual trophies. You can also purchase virtual prizes for friends or yourself. It's all in fun.
You can follow their diet, or input your own. You can load up your own recipes and the system tells you what the calorie count is. The whole point is eating correctly and healthy - but most importantly trying to stay within a calorie goal per your weight loss goal. The thing I REALLY love from the food tracker is that it breaks down the nutrition you receive from what you are eating. It is a real eye opener because even though we are FAT we can be malnutritioned - by not eating the nutrients our body needs. This helped me understand how to get my body healthy as I got thinner.

You have to work on fitness too. I was walking everyday and doing strength training in my home daily. They provide you with a fitness plan and even give demonstrations on how to do the exercises.
Over all if your goal this year is to lose weight, get healthy or be on a fitness plan... there is no better FREE tracking tool then SparkPeople. I hope you will all take advantage of this wonderful service. It's is fun if you join in the message boards and track what you do daily. Good luck in having today be the first day of a new healthier you!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Motivational Monday - Resolutions

The Message: Resolve
by Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy- New Era, Jan 1998,

Want to improve yourself? These lessons from the life of young Jesus can help turn anyone into a pillar of strength.

I recently conducted an informal survey where I asked 150 young adults to list three resolutions they felt would help them to become more successful and happy during the new year. Almost everyone in the survey (98 percent) included a resolution to increase the level of his or her spirituality. Two out of three indicated they would like to improve their social skills. Half indicated a desire to increase their level of physical fitness, and half wanted to grow intellectually. Everyone indicated a desire to improve. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). You remember that following his resurrection the Savior rhetorically asked his disciples, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” He then answered his own question, “Even as I am” (3 Ne. 27:27). There is only one verse of scripture in the entire New Testament that tells us what the Savior did to develop himself during the span of years from age 12 and his experience in the temple, until he began his formal ministry at age 30. The verse consists of just 14 words. Count them:
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). In other words, the Savior increased or developed in the same areas indicated by those included in my poll:
• Intellectually (in wisdom and knowledge)
• Physically (in stature)
• Socially (in favor with man)
• Spiritually (in favor with God)
I am convinced that if we make and keep resolutions in these four areas, we will have a happier and more successful new year and every year for the rest of our lives. Consider the four areas already outlined. I Resolve to expand my intellectual horizons. I will increase in wisdom.
This year, commit yourself to read good books—not just when you are attending school, but throughout your life. Some people learn to read but don’t read. At some point in our lives, we learned to read. But are we reading? Are we growing in wisdom?

In addition to making a resolution that we will read only the best in print, it would be very beneficial if now we resolved not to watch even one R-rated or NC-17 movie, or television shows with questionable content. That may sound extreme, but I assure you that much of our future happiness and success depends on it.

We cannot justify mentally shifting into neutral and failing to exert our efforts to progress intellectually. Whether or not you are in school, the challenge is the same. We should continue learning throughout our lives.

My father-in-law was a real inspiration to me. He was the 12th of 13 children of a very poor immigrant family from Switzerland. After he had finished elementary school, he, like many others in his time, was encouraged to drop out of school and learn a trade. Then one day he met Mr. Hicks, the new school teacher. Mr. Hicks asked, “Albert, are you coming to school this year?” Albert explained that he was not planning to. Mr. Hicks said, “Well, why don’t you come for three or four days and see how you like it?”

Albert came, and his future life was dramatically changed for the better. He said this new teacher didn’t just answer the questions. Instead he would write on the chalkboard the titles of the books where they could find the answers. A thirst for learning developed in Albert that was never quenched. He was a hard-working farmer, providing for a large family. But when I came to know him, I hardly remember his being in the house without a book in his work-worn hands. He would circle words he didn’t know and write their definitions in the margins. He was a real student of history and the doctrine of the Church. Although he never had the opportunity to attend school beyond the eighth grade, he read much more than most college graduates. He not only learned to read; he read.

We should not waste time reading anything but that which would be uplifting and instructive. There is a lot of frivolous, useless, and morally destructive literature in print that falls far short of that with which we should spend even a minute of our time. Remember the scripture “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom” (D&C 88:118).
I Resolve to preserve and strengthen my physical health.
It is impressive that more than 160 years ago the Lord revealed a health code, the Word of Wisdom, that can make all the difference in how we feel and perform. With good health, we can be happier and more successful. Without it, we are curtailed in almost every other way.
Follow the do’s in the Word of Wisdom. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Discover that a meal does not have to feature a meat dish in order to be enjoyable.

Then resolve to completely avoid the don’ts—tobacco, alcohol, and addictive stimulants, coffee, tea, and drugs—and you will be blessed in a multitude of ways. What an improved society we would live in if the whole world were to make a similar resolution.

Adequate rest and physical exercise are also important. Get the blood circulating and give your major muscles a workout. An appropriate amount of time and effort spent in exercising will help you to be more effective in all other areas of your life.

There is also a great value that can come to the early riser. Years ago my wife and I were driving with President and Sister Marion G. Romney. Along the way, President Romney shared some of his personal experiences when he was first called to serve as a General Authority in 1941. He felt he needed some advice, so he went to Elder Harold B. Lee, a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He asked him how to be a successful General Authority. Elder Lee answered, “Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested, and then, in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day.”

President Romney said to me, “From that day on, I put that counsel into practice, and I know it works. Whenever I have a serious problem, or some assignment of a creative nature with which I hope to receive the influence of the Spirit, I always receive more assistance in the early morning hours than at any other time of the day.”

You can have a similar experience in your own life. You can change, even if you consider yourself a “night person.” Set the habit in 21 days. When it comes right down to it, it is a matter of strong resolve and “mind over mattress.”
I Resolve to be a true friend and to become more socially acceptable to people of high standards.
Learn to be the kind of person with whom others of high standards enjoy associating. More than 50 years ago, Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People (New York: Simon and Schuster). Among his suggestions that are equally valuable today are these time-honored principles for making friends:
• Become genuinely interested in other people.
• Smile.
• Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
• Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
• Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
• Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
The Lord expects us to do the best we can with what he has given us. After we have done what we can to improve our own traits and appearances, we need to forget about ourselves and think of others and their needs.

Rather than working so hard to find Mister or Miss Right, work harder to become Mister or Miss Right and you will more likely have the social life and marriage you desire. Your challenge is to resolve to love everyone in the appropriate way. The full expression of romantic, physical affection is designed for you and one other person only, inside the bonds of marriage.
I Resolve to grow spiritually. I will increase in favor with God.
We must resolve to overcome as much as possible the sin of human pride. Pride causes us to become overly concerned as we compare ourselves with others about how intelligent we think we are, the brands of our clothing, to what organizations we belong, on which side of town we live, how much money we have, what our race or nationality is, what kind of car we drive, what church we attend, and on, and on, and on.

Someone calculated that no less than 30 times throughout the Book of Mormon, the cycles of prosperity and peace were destroyed, principally by human pride. Your opportunities, your relative prosperity, and our stratified society make overcoming inappropriate pride a genuine challenge.

One way to combat that problem is to resolve to read the scriptures daily. Within the pages of the Book of Mormon, there are 3,925 references to the Savior. It really is another testament that Jesus is the Christ. If we started on the first day of January and read just two pages of the Book of Mormon each day, by September we would have finished the entire book.
Another way to increase your spirituality is to really pray and not just say prayers. There is a big difference. Learn to pour out the real in-depth feelings of your heart to your Heavenly Father, rather than merely going through the form of saying about exactly the same trite words and phrases you have become accustomed to using.

It will take energy and effort to keep these resolutions. I pray that we will do this so that we can increase in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. In so doing, we will become happier and more like the Savior every day for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

CTR 8 Teacher

Today I finally found out what class I will be teaching in Primary this year!! It will be CTR 8!! I am very excited to be teaching the 7 year old children who will be turning 8 and getting baptised this year!!

Here is the message to teachers from the manual. I love to review this and remember what a sacred calling this is:

Our Father in Heaven has given you the sacred calling to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them learn to live it. As you serve the children and invite each one to "come unto Christ," you will bless their lives. You can help them begin to understand Heavenly Father's blessings and receive testimonies of his gospel. You will also grow personally and learn from them. Your service in Primary can bring you great joy. By serving Primary children, you are also serving Heavenly Father.

As you live the principles of the gospel, study the scriptures, follow the counsel of priesthood leaders, and draw near to Heavenly Father through prayer, you will receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost regarding the children you teach. Bear your testimony often to the children, and let the Holy Ghost work through you in this important calling. As you do so, the Spirit will direct you so that all you do in Primary will be what Heavenly Father desires for his children.

I team teach with Stacie T. and we have 10 boys and girls who will be in our class. I can't wait to actually be a Primary teacher again. It's been such a long time since I have had the opportunity to teach a class. I have spent many years in the Primary Presidency and being in charge of all the children. Oh how I crave some one on one time where I have the chance to focus on these 10 children. Oh, the fun we are going to have!!

Of course the biggest theme for this age is CTR or Choose the Right! The main focus is to teach the children that by following Jesus Christ's example, they can choose the right, be baptized, and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The yearly theme for 2009 is: "My Eternal Family"
The Scripture for the year is: "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," paragraph 7).

The theme this year will help teach the children that they have an important role in building an eternal family. They can strengthen the families they have now, and they can prepare to be faithful fathers or mothers in their future families. Primary leaders will help the children learn that the role of the family is an important part of Heavenly Father's plan for us. We learn and live the gospel in our families. The scriptures, prayer, prophets, covenants, temples, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ are blessings that strengthen families.

Today I had the opportunity to teach the 11 year old girls and be in Primary. It just feels my spirit with joy to be there with the children and to sing Primary songs. I LOVE IT!! It is where I belong .... teaching children. Yeah!!

The other thing I am very excited about is changing the time we attend church. Currently in 2008 we attended church from 3pm - 6pm and now we get to attend at 9am -12 noon.. Hooray!! I love having it early and having the rest of Sunday to be lazy and have a nap or two - LOL.. This year has really cramped my style in having a nap on Sunday afternoon and being ready for a week of work. What a joyful year of Sundays 2009 will bring!

Day after Christmas and Saturday Snow

Aaaaahhhh!!! Christmas Day is over - that wonderful, festive, spiritual, gift giving, family centered, loving day has come and gone. I truly love this time of year. I enjoy the feelings of love, the excitement of parties and gift giving, the sacred thoughts of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and the anticipation of Santa Claus coming. If we could really live in the season of Christmas each day throughout our lives - how wondrous that could be. To have daily devotionals, daily thinking about our Savior, daily being kind to others, daily reaching out to family members in love - can we do it? Can we spend the year of 2009 giving love? I'd really like to try to keep these feelings all year long. I Love Christmas Time!

Friday morning, bright and early - I'm not kidding - I was up at 3:55 am getting ready to drive to the airport. I checked the flights and weather to see if there would be any delays for Brady's flight to Salt Lake City. Everything looked fine and Brady started to stir at 4am. We dressed and got ready, heated up waffles and syrup for breakfast, loaded my cleaning supplies in the car and Brady's suit cases and left our home by 4:30 am. The goal was to be at the airport before 5AM - with his flight leaving at 6:10 and avoid being late for the flight.

There were crowds but not too bad. It took us about 20 minutes to get through the Southwest line and check in the luggage and get an escort pass for me. The lines were not bad through security and we made it to the boarding gate with 15 minutes to wait before they started to load the plane. Everything worked out great - because we got up at 4am and left early.

When I came back through the terminal the line through security was huge. Oh, I am very glad that we missed that mess.
I had planned on going directly to the business customer I clean - Compton Transfer. The sign on the door last week indicated that they would be closed Dec 25 and 26, so I thought I would clean them right after dropping Brady off. I got there and started emptying the garbage cans and glanced at their sign. They must have changed it because it said they would be opened the 26th - darn.. they were working!! I told them I would clean it on the weekend during the holidays - normally I clean on Monday nights (used to be Tuesday). So I left and decided to come back later that night because there was a storm headed in on Saturday. I was kind of sad that I couldn't do it that morning because my first house of the day was just up the street from Compton. I headed home for a couple of hours.
Friday was a very long day. I cleaned my first customer Bonnie and then headed up to Becky's. It's harder when the kids are out of school - because I have to clean around the families. Since I missed Becky's house on Tuesday due to huge amounts of snow, I did a full clean on her house. I started at Bonnie's at 8 am and left Becky's at 4:30 going full speed all day. I decided to go to the bank and then straight to Compton. It took a while to get out of the area by Becky's because I hit the roads the same time all of the skiers where coming down the mountain and traffic was really backed up - along with work traffic starting at 5pm. I didn't get to Compton until 5:30 and worked until around 8:30pm. It was a very LONG day and I was tired and achy. But at least I am done for the weekend - a time to rest.

I was TOTALLY lazy all day Saturday. It was a VERY snowy day.

Here is the story from KTVB:

A powerful winter storm smacks the Treasure Valley with another four inches of snow. The snow will continue into the evening before eventually changing to rain around midnight. There could also be sleet mixed in this evening. Up to five inches of snow is expect in the valley today and up to eight inches in the foothills. Wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour are expected out of the southeast. That will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility.

There is also a winter storm warning in effect until 5 p.m. Sunday for the west-central and Boise mountains. Snowfall is expected to accumulate eight to 15 inches in these areas. There will also be areas of blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility. Snow may mix with or change to rain the the lowest valleys on Sunday. The snow is expected to taper off Sunday. Travel should only be in an emergency. If you must travel, have a flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of emergency. Driving conditions treacherous.

So far, this has been the third snowiest December on record in Boise. The National Weather Service says Boise has received 19.5 inches to date and the snow continues to fall. Six inches of snowfall is a normal December in Boise. We have surpassed the third snowiest December which was 19.4 inches in 1924. However, there is a long way to go to reach the record. In 1983, Boise got 26.2 inches in December and the record was set in 1884 with 36.6 inches of snow.

Driving conditions on area roads remain hazardous. Most of them are covered in snow and that has proven to be very misleading to drivers! Idaho State Police dispatchers say troopers in the field were reporting that many people were driving too fast for the conditions because they didn't realize beneath the snow was a sheet of ice, and that's the case in most areas!

A look out the front door of my house.
A look out the back door. Too bad you really can't see the snow falling and falling all day. At least 4 inches - snowing - snowing - snowing all day.. It's amazing! After hearing my mail being dropped into my mail box, I looked out and felt so bad that I didn't have my side walks shoveled. I decided to get after it and visited while I helped my elderly neighbor Howard shovel his sidewalk as well.
A picture of my snow covered house -after shoveling the side walks. It's a winter wonderland.

A couple more pictures of the snow. I know it is not as much as when I lived in Salt Lake City or Pocatello or even when I lived in Logan Utah. I think I am becoming a light weight - due to all the mild winters here in Boise Idaho. This is very unusual and the drivers are pretty scary and the roads have been down right bad and icy. Rain is forecasted - I wonder what will happen when everything turns to water - will there be flooding? It's officially crazy weather.
I'm very happy I killed myself on Friday so I can stay home and off the roads during the storm on Saturday. Hopefully but Monday the roads will be dry and easy to travel on. I hope as this storm travels east that everyone in it way will be safe!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dec 22, Monday Night Party at my Sister - Chris' House.

My big sister, Christine has a dinner each Christmas season and invites our family over to enjoy the evening together. I am always glad that she takes the effort to prepare a nice dinner for us and host a party where we can get together and visit. This year her dinner theme was Mexican fiesta. She prepared Tacos, chicken enchiladas, bean/avocado dip, and lime-aid to drink. Justin, her oldest son also prepared a tray of bean enchiladas. I brought chips and salsa and a relish tray. There was a ton of food.

Chis and Kurt (her husband), Justin and Shaun (her sons) were there along with Shaun's girlfriend Whitney. Brady and I came to enjoy the festivities with their family. Their home was beautifully decorated, she does a great job too--it must be a family thing :-)...

Kevin, their other son is currently on a mission in Serbia (kind of a scary place to be). The Lord has really watched over and is protecting the missionaries there from the unrest in that area. At one point they had to leave and go to Croatia because of the civil wars going on. They are back in Serbia right now. Recently they have been very sick because of a bacteria they ingested (like drinking bad water in a mountain creek).. I don't know the name of the sickness but they have been pretty sick. We pray for them and know our leaders will keep them safe, along with Heavenly Father watching over them as they serve their missions faithfully.

I forgot to take my camera to take pictures. Kurt took pictures and will email them to me - soon I hope and then I can add them to this post.

At the end of the dinner we opened presents. They gave me this REALLY cute nativity and you know how I LOVE nativity sets. It is now set up in my bedroom as I continue to work on having a nativity in every room of my house during the Christmas season.

The box for this set looks like a nativity. How cute is that??

When you open the box it has all of the figurines - oh, the faces are so cute!! You put the top on the back of the box and the box actually becomes the stable. I LOVE IT!! Thanks Chris!! Definitely something I will cherish forever!!

It was a great evening spent with our family. After opening presents we played Apples to Apples -- it is always so much more fun when there are so many people playing. We laughed and laughed. It was fun!

Christmas 2008

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day turned out really nice and relaxing. On Christmas Eve, Jason and Sharon came over and enjoyed the evening with Brady and me. One of our traditions is having a night of snacking for dinner. We have a meat and cheese tray with rolls to make sandwiches, we have a cheese ball - actually the one I love is a crab cheese ball from Albertsons and squeeze cheese with a tray of crackers, we had a relish tray, chips and salsa, and an array of all of the goodies we have made or have been given. We had eggnog, hot cider and punch with ice cream in it. There was a ton of food to snack on throughout the evening. We had a nice fire roaring in the back ground to set the atmosphere.

Earlier in the evening when I came home from work and set up the food, Brady and I watched a couple of movies while we waited for Jason and Sharon. Brady and I started the evening off with Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, then Frequency and when they came we watch The Island. We opened a couple of presents, Jason and Sharon opened new PJ's to relax in through the evening and Brady opened a magic 8 ball. Then we opened Apples to Apples and played that game until it was time for bed. We had a really great time. We ended up going to bed about 11PM. Jason and Sharon slept in Brady's room and Brady had to sleep on a blow up mattress and sleeping bag in the TV room, in hopes of catching Santa as he came down the chimney. The cookies, and carrots (for the reindeer) were set by the fireplace hearth as we waited for Santa to arrive.

The morning arrived early at 6AM so that we could open presents before Jason and Sharon left for work. Brady was NOT ready to get up and was kinda grouchy - that darn teenage hormone!! Oh well.... we proceeded with opening presents.
Most of the time he wouldn't lift up his head to let me take pictures. He never did get out of his sleeping bag and opened each present lying on the floor.
Ha, Ha... I got a picture.... Just to irritate the teenager in him... Boy the hormones were raging this week. We kinda got on each others nerves... I feel the teenage coming out - quicker then I want it. I shouldn't joke with him because he will just get mad. He likes to do his own thing and doesn't like to be bugged by his Mom... But with only us two living in the home... I have to talk to someone which bugs the crap out of him. He prefer I keep quiet and leave him alone most of the time. I does NOT like being told to do chores. Oh the joys of having a teenager. Normally he is not like that at all, but I think he's going through some major hormone swings.

Anyway... He received new Scriptures since he set is at the seminary building. I purchased them at Seagull book and had them print his name on them. The first set they tried to get me to take was horrible, blurry and was iffy on the gold leafing. I refused them and they had to do it again. This set was better but not as good as I excepted it to be. I felt bad that they had ruined a set by doing such a bad job. I hate to be mean, but I want this set to last through his mission.
He received a docking station for his iPod. Also, 3 long sleeve shirts (2 he didn't like and have to be taken back), 2 sets PJ bottoms, 2 pairs Levis, a 2 GB flash drive he needs for school, a pair of Vans shoes.
Our family also received a new computer that we had before Christmas - but is considered a Christmas gift.
We also received a 42" flat screen TV. I ordered it from Walmart on Black Friday (on-line) and had it deliver. It was a great deal at $599. I was extremely happy. It was hard to go back to our tiny 27 inch TV after Jason moved out and took his 37" flat screen. I just love this TV and the great deal I was able to get - not to mention I didn't have to actually go into a store to get it - on black Friday was even better.
The other games our family opened for Christmas was Scrabble and Monopoly.

Jason and Sharon had a great Christmas too. I spoiled everyone! I didn't' take to many pictures and enjoyed the morning.
Jason received a hair cutting system, a quilt, Vans shoes, and a folding table. I didn't let him take mine when he moved. He had mine in his room, where he would sit and draw all the time. Jason loves to draw and to the chagrin of his mother, he would like to become a tattoo artist.
Jason wanted a griddle. He gave me one for my birthday this year and totally loved it. Now he has one of his very own. Jason is a great cook. I always loved it when he would cook for us.
Sharon got a cute shirt with a small black vest, a light blue coat vest (light weight) with a white long sleeve shirt underneath, and another shirt. She also wanted her own set of Twilight books. It took a while for me to decide to spend the money - but I did and she was thrilled. I wanted a dutch oven to go with my emergency preparedness stuff. My mom gave me this beautiful one. I am excited to cook with it this summer. It will be nice to have an oven to cook in during a disaster. I need to get charco briquettes in my storage now.
My mom also gave me a Ped-Egg which I just LOVE! Thanks Mom!!
This year the present for my brothers and sisters (Chris, Cindy, Lyle and Richard and Mom - Zoey) was geared to emergency preparedness. I gave each of my brothers and sisters a hand crank/solar radio and a hand crank flashlight. The really cool thing about the flash light is that it came with an adapter like a car lighter socket that you can plug in your cell phone charger and charge your phone by hand cranking it. Communication is a huge thing when you are in a disaster and now you can have this tool part of a 72 hour kit. I am also going to have an adapter in my kit for my Zune so that we can listen to music and books on CD during a disaster - because we will be able to keep charging it by hand. I hope they liked what they received from me. It's good to be prepared with things that will make any emergency a little easier.

That is a small glance of our wonderful Christmas 2008! We have been VERY blessed this year! I hope everyone recieved all the blessings they wanted. Most importantly being surrounded by family and friends.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Motivational - Virgin Mary

The girl wiped a tear from her eye and wondered for perhaps the hundredth time that day what his reaction would be. She had known and kept her secret for two weeks now and she could no longer keep it from him. He told her he would be coming to see her today, anytime now, she must compose herself. This weather was certainly no help. It had been hot, very hot, even for April. The spring rains were few and far between; then, when it did rain or sprinkle it became humid, clothes stuck to your body and homes were stifling to be couped up in. Today was really no different except that she had to tell him. She told her mother and father three days before. her remembrance of those first few anxious moments of the revelation caused her to tremble. They had been very understanding, but, then her parents were those that she could always rely upon and trust for support and backing. It had been hot that day,too, but last night it rained and now the atmosphere was a thick, heavy mantle. It certainly didn't help ease the apprehension that was gripping her. The sun was blasting in the cloudless sky with its flames seeming to scorch the plants and dry, brown earth as she watched out the door for her beloved. The girls mind raced over what she had to say and how she should say it. She was in a quandary over whether to blurt it out or lead up to it gradually. Should she be hesitant and shy about it or bold and straight forward?

"I'll wait and see him, then depending on his mood I'll tell him," she thought. "Or perhaps....." There he is, at the corner, she hurried back into the sparsely furnished room and sat down so she wouldn't appear to be too anxious to meet him today.

The young man that rounded the corner on his way to see his girl was lighthearted. The morning had been successful. He received two work orders for his particular skill of carpentry and had fillers out for three more. Now he was to see his girl. They would be married soon and now that he was starting to do well financially, he was looking forward with an eager heart to marriage this young woman who had captured his heart. She is lovely, he thought, what more could a man want than a beautiful, considerate, understanding wife and financial security? His heart quickened as he neared her door, and he thought briefly of the greeting kiss he would receive. There she was .... seated, looking like a beautiful statue carved in pure white marble. She rose to greet him with arms open wide to embrace him. Their greeting tumbled forth words of affection and endearment between two young people whose love and forthcoming marriage seemed made in heaven. Suddenly, without realizing what she was doing, the girl found herself saying, "I have something to tell you, something vitally important to both of us." "What is it, my love?" he asked. "Sit down, here, beside me." They sat, the young woman and the young man, side by side quietly for a long minute in silence. Without raising her eyes from the floor, the girl, her heart pounding an irregular rhythm, slowly said, "I'm going to become a mother." "Of course you are, many times. We are gong to have a large family." "No, no. You don't understand," she said. He won't understand what I must say, she thought - he will be angry.

After a pause to rephrase her statement she continued. "No, I'm going to have a child very soon. I'm pregnant now." The silence that settled over the room was alive with tension and, as yet, unanswered questions. The young man suddenly felt the oppressive heat that poured through surrounding him. Funny, how he hadn't noticed it before, The sweat was running down his forehead in a tickle that caused him to wrinkle the folds of flesh over his eyes and rub the irritating perspiration out of his eyes. His mind raced ahead to future actions to be taken. Fleetingly he asked himself if he should walk through the door and never to return or perhaps he should tenderly put his arms around her and reassure her that everything was all right. The law said that he could publicly ridicule and shame her.

"What happened? How could you let this happen to you?"

She heard and felt the hurt in his voice. What could she say that would sooth this young, dynamic man she loved so much? Trying to put herself in his place, she could easily imagine the shock and indignation of learning of the pregnancy of his fiance. Especially knowing that the child was not his own. Blinking back the tears that threatened to burst forth, the girl answered, "It was special, a dear and holy experience. It didn't just happen. It was a planned wonderful happening. Can you believe that?" The young man's trust in this special young woman had never before been challenged; he had never had cause to distrust her or have angry words with her. Now this - probably the most shameful thing that could happen - had occurred. He experienced a sudden feeling to shame and ire. He involuntarily shuddered and rose to his feet. Her eyes didn't leave his figure as he strode about the room - first to the window- then the door. Her heart seemed to stop, then race ahead as she saw his tall, lean figure pause in the open doorway and look upwards into the cloudless, still sky. His mind was a jumble of ideas and thoughts, crowding each other, each calling to be examined in depth. He was aware that his body was tense. He realized how tired he had become - what a change from the happiness and lightheartedness he had experienced just a few moments before. A rueful smile crept across his face and he bowed his head, gazing at an insect making his painful way through the dust outside the door. What a simple life animals lead he thought. They mate only to create and don't know the agony caused by love! This girl had seemingly betrayed him, she had lead him to believe one thing... with a deep sigh he relaxed. The tension ebbed out of his body and he turned to gaze into the shadows of the room. He blinked his eyes to see in the relative darkness. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out, it was difficult ... he somehow couldn't bring himself to say what had been on his lips. He felt he must chastise her. But, for some strange reason, he could not stir himself to anger against her. She must have some explanation, a plausible, explainable reason. His heart went out to her as a feeling of calm descended over him.

She was still sitting quietly composed, in the center of the room. As he looked at her figure, so diminutive, he knew for a certainty the course he must follow. Slowly he crossed the few feet separating them and took her hands in his. When she rose at his bidding, he gently put his arm around this strange, exciting young woman and said, "I think I can understand your feelings. It's strange to me and a little frightening, but, I can understand." The girls eyes misted and smiled as she nodded to herself and said, "Yes, He said you would understand. I love you" Suddenly, his heart soaring, he took her in his arms and, smiling down at her upturned face, asked, "What shall we call him?"

"Jesus...... Jesus .... a name fit for the Gods."
A story from "Especially for Mormons", Volume Three... By Stan and Sharon Miller. I have always loved this story. It has been dear to my heart for about 20 years. As you know, I was a single mother with Jason. I had to have the courage to tell my parents and Jason's father that I was pregnant. It wasn't a joyful experience, as it would have been if I was married. It was a sad, heartbreaking experience for me. I cried a lot (probably an understatement).

When I read this story, I know it is a lot different then mine.. But it really hit my heart in another way -- for Joseph and Mary.

One thing I took from this story was that even though I had made this mistake in my life, my son, Jason would always have a father he could speak to and love. That is Heavenly Father, because although I am Jason mother of his physical body, Heavenly Father is his father of his spiritual body and Jason is just on "loan" to me. I love Heavenly Father and know that he has helped me a lot in my life as I raised Jason as a single mom. I wish I could have been a better mother, I wish Jason didn't have to go through the hard circumstance of having a single mom - which has been more difficult then a mother and father family. It still is a heartbreaking thing in my life and one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through, although he has been a huge blessing to my life. If only you could turn back time and do it the right way.

I have always loved this story and wanted to have it a part of my journal/blog book forever - as it has had a very profound impact in my life. To think about Mary and Joseph as real people... people in love who had their life turned upside down. I know it was a hard life, but a very blessed one - to raise the Son of God.

I am thankful for the Christmas season as my thoughts turn to my Savior, Jesus Christ's birth. I love to ponder on the birth in a stable. Have you ever tried to imagine his birth in a hospital or even a home? It just doesn't seem like that would have been the way it was meant to play out here in our time. Although it was humble circumstances, it's hard to imagine a nativity any other way.

Snow, Snow, Snow!!!

Don't you love the ice cycles on top of the photo? I love ice cycles, it reminds me of when I was young. I haven't seen those baby's for quit a long time, living here in Boise, Idaho.

Yes, I wished for it and boy did we get it!!!! Lots and lots of snow. Beautiful white Christmas snow. The first couple of days I really enjoyed it. The nice thing about Boise, Idaho is that when we get snow, it doesn't last too long on the roads because we have such mild weather that it usually melts rather quickly.

HOWEVER....... Not this time. The temperature has been cold which equals to really icy roads. I have been driving around pretty good until today. I've been able to get to each house that needed cleaning with slow and steady driving. Last night when I was leaving my sister's house (she had a family dinner/party for Christmas) it was snowing pretty good. I took it slow going my usually 25 miles an hour and arrived home safely. This morning they said we received 4 inches that were not forecasted for and that meant the snow plows did a terrible job cleaning the roads.

I had to clean Mab's, my customer for a party she is having on Christmas eve. She lives in Eagle and I decided that instead of driving the back roads, I would take Eagle - which is a main road that you drive 55 MPH on. It was totally packed snow covered, so I drove up to 35 MPH and made it OK. She lives on a hill and it was slow going but I made it there. The problem was getting back down the hill. It was totally ICE! I basically had NO traction and slide down - but I was safe, I didn't run into anything.

I was off to my next house that was up on the foothills and they live on quite a steep incline. As I drove from Eagle to Boise, the roads were HORRIBLE. I slide right through the intersection at one point... again I was safe. As I continued to drive, I just decide I would give them a call to see how the mountain was. We decided that I wouldn't clean it... which I hate because that equals no money when you are self employed. I headed back home on the terrible roads.

My life is much more important then money... I feel guilty in not being able to clean them before Christmas day... I hope to be able to make it Friday - if the roads are better. Who knows??

Here is a snap shot of my back yard. Lots of snow - sticking on the trees... It's beautiful as long as I can drive safely... I'm ready to call uncle and wish it away..

We do have a white Christmas and it is forecasted to snow everyday this week. I always get a little worried when Brady has to fly to SLC during bad weather. Mostly that he'll be able to make there and home again with no problem. We've been praying all week that it will work out with no problem... Along with my safe traveling while I work.

As you may have guessed... I have been busy, busy, busy.. cooking up a storm.. Trying to get goody plates delivered to all those I love. Christmas certainly is a BUSY time of the year. I'll rest next week - LOL!

Recipe for M&M, Kissed Pretzels

Recipe for M&M, Kissed Pretzels
Last year for Christmas I received some of these from a neighbor and I thought I would give it a try. I kinda made it up - from what I think she did. It worked out and was sooooo very easy and they are really good.
You will need:
M&M's (it probably would have looked better with Christmas M&M's but the store I was shopping out didn't have anymore)

I lined my cookie sheet with alminum foil and filled the sheet with Pretzels. Then I added a Kiss on top of each pretzel.
My oven was preheated to 300 degrees and I put in my sheet of Pretzels and kisses for only about 4 minutes. I touched a kiss and it was ready to melt. I took out the sheet and added an M&M on top of each kiss, pushing it down into the Pretzel. I let them cool and they are done.
Very easy, yummy and it will be a great treat to add to my plate of goodies for my neighbors, customers and friends. If you have done this before - let me know if I am doing something wrong or can do it better. I have always loved chocolate covered pretzels - this seemed easier and not so messy...

Recipe for Brownies and Chocolate Frosting.

Recipe for Brownies
1 cup butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
4 eggs, beaten well
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. vanilla
Mix butter until smooth. Add 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup cocoa and mix well.
Add 4 eggs that are beaten well to mixture. Add 1 1/2 cup flour and 2 tsp vanilla and mix well.
Put mixture in a 9" x 13" in pan. I grease my pan with Crisco and then powder with flour so it will not stick to the pan, then I add the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
Take from oven and top with 1 lb. miniature marshmallows. Bake in oven for 3 minutes. Let cool 1 hour.
Then top with chocolate frosting.
Here is the recipe I use for chocolate frosting.
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder (recipe calls for 2/3 cup but that is too chocolaty for me)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter is at room temperature and mix until smooth. Stir in cocoa and mix really well. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk. Stir in vanilla.

Add frosting on top of the marshmallows. Smooth frosting and you are done!
This is my sister Cindy's recipe... I love it when she has these made anytime I come to visit. They are very rich and so yummy! Enjoy!


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