Friday, December 26, 2008

Bah Humbug!

This has been a busy Christmas week for us. On Friday I stopped at school on the way to work to turn in a paper. When I went into the Judaic Studies office to drop off the fourteen page masterpiece (which I wrote in two days), the secretary heard me come in and came out of her office. "You're early!" she said. I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently the department was having a reception for graduating seniors. I was the only one. There was a whole table full of refreshments, and they were planning to give me an award. Somehow the email never reached me. Of course I felt guilty for planning to work through the reception and had to leave work in the middle of the day for it. Anyway, the point is, I graduated last week! Hurrah!
On Saturday we went to see the Mesa temple lights. They were pretty spectacular. Before that it hadn't really felt like the Christmas season because we were so busy with school.
On Monday we drove to Las Vegas for my dad's wedding. Despite the ominous looking clouds that accompanied us most of the way, we didn't run into any bad weather. It was fun to see all of the Humiston cousins that we never see. They are all getting older, and it's sort of funny to see how much all of us Humiston kids look alike.
My dad got married on Tuesday in a little wedding chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. The large sign in front of the chapel informed us that it was the place where Jon Bon Jovi tied the knot. Elvis gave the bride away and sort of stole the wedding. It was all very flashy and different from any wedding I've ever attended. All in all it was an interesting couple of days. Some positives: catching up with the cousins, who are all growing up really really fast. Meeting Anni's fiance, Ryan, who somehow fits in with this crazy family without any effort. A nice, long, relaxing car drive with good weather all the way. Having a slumber party with my sisters the night before the wedding. Very little sleeping occurred. Congratulations, Dad and Anne!

We left on Tuesday after the reception to drive to Logan. I slept through a lot of the eight hour drive. I was tired from the slumber party and weary from the semester. I needed a good rest. We spent the night at my grandparents' (the Gs') house in Murray. We got there at midnight.
My family has a Christmas day tradition of opening gifts and then driving to the Gs' house for more gift exchanging and then Christmas dinner with our cousins. There was a light snow falling when we got up. It got a little heavier as we opened gifts, and heavier still as we got dressed and ready to go. We weren't about to drive through Sardine canyon in the snow, so we decided to take roundabout path through Tremonton. It was snowing in the city, nothing we couldn't handle. After about half an hour of driving, though, we were in a white out. We turned around to head back and found my mom's car not far behind us stuck off the road. I took this picture of Cheyenne, Anni, Seth, and our three boys (Andrew, Todd, and Chris) who have no experience with snow trying to figure out how to get the car back on the road without it hitting the barrier on the side. We were saved by a nice stranger in a four wheel drive with a tow rope. There was a horrible wind blowing, and we were all glad to get home, dry off, warm up, and make brunch.



This morning we shoveled Anni's driveway. It had about a foot of heavy new snow on it. Our annual tubing trip, scheduled for this Saturday, has been canceled due to avalanche danger. There have been three fatalities already this week from avalanches and more from driving in snowy canyons. Instead we will play games and drink hot chocolate while we watch twenty more inches of snow fall outside the window.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Do's and Don'ts of 2008

So I was feeling bad for being the one that suggested that Savannah start blogging on Blogger and then leaving it to her to write all of the posts, so this is my attempt to be a good husband (+5 good husband points for me!).

December is almost up, and you know what that means....  CHEESE BALLS!!! (and reflection on the last year).  We have done lots of stuff this last year, some smart things, a lot of dumb things but the important thing is they happened in 2008!

So, here it is... The Do's and Don'ts of 2008:

Don't-
  1. Spend a whole month Away from Savannah - She went to Israel. I ate a lot of cold cereal and microwave pizza.  (I even had to dress myself, which would be the next item on my Don't list but it is covered here).  The trip itself was fun for her but any other trip we take longer than a few days needs to be done together.  I can't handle not having Savannah near me.
     
  2. Take an algorithms class from Professor Koborov - Seriously...
     
  3. Write a large report and then close it without saving - Poor Savannah. It was late on a Saturday night, and we spent like 30 min just sitting there in shock when it happened.  Then I spent a few more hours trying to recover it (without success).  Luckily she is a super genius and re-wrote the whole thing Monday and still got an A on the assignment.
     
  4. Trust your Car dealer - I'm looking at your Precision Toyota of Tucson!  I assume everyone already knew this but us.
     
  5. Eat the Fry's brand Jalapeno Poppers - The name brand ones are great, the Fry's brand ones are dangerous.  In retrospective, I don't think I should have been surprised.
Do-
  1. Keep track of how we get our money and where it goes - After spending several hours last Tax period we decided that we needed to have a better way of finding out how much money was spent on education, donations, or anything else that might earn us a tax break.  The best way to do this, we decided, was by keeping our accounts up to date on GnuCash.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend this software to anyone (unless you have a thing for double entry bookkeeping) but I would recommend keeping close tabs on every purchase you make.  It made us spend less when we saw how much money we spent each month.
     
  2. Get out of Debt -  Savannah and I decided this year was the year that we would pay off our student loans, our Car Loan, and our Credit Card.  It was brutal seeing the amount in our savings drop faster than...   ...  something that drops REALLY FAST.  But the good thing about it is now we are as freer than.... .... ... something that is REALLY free.  That and we get to show off our nifty little liabilities graph (courtesy of gnucash):
     
  3. Eat Savannah's Cheese Ball's - I made the mistake at our last year's  New Years party to not attack anyone who came within 5 feet of the cheese ball Savannah made.  As a result I only got 1 or 2 cracker scoops before the mob took it all.  I wont be making the same mistake this year.   On a slightly related topic, I am thinking of getting a gun.
     
  4. Use Google Reader - At the start of the year I would spend hours a day browsing to all my different news sites (slashdot.org, gizmodo.com, freakanomics, etc...) and blogs like a fool.  Now Instead of wasting 1 or 2 hours surfing from site to site, I can look at all the updates to these sites on Google Reader and be done with it within 10 minutes.
     
  5. Have a marathon viewing of News Radio - Ok, I admit it.  We never actually have done this... But it would have been cool.  Instead we have slowly worked on the archive that Hulu.com has of the show. It took us a good 2 or 3 months to get through all of them...
     
  6. Visit San Francisco Bay Area - It is a super cool place to visit, although living there isn't so fun.  The roads are to crowded and wherever you go there is a huge gaggle of people (or murder or pod) and everything is so expensive.  To visit for a week or 2 though, there are so many sweet sites, I would suggest a visit there to anyone who hasn't been before.
     
  7. Travel to Israel - Savannah went this summer and loved it.  She also got some nice pictures and the creche that she showed off 2 posts ago.  We are planning on going together sometime in the future.  We are also planning on making some other "significant" trips in 2009 together which should be a party and a half.
     
  8. Party as often as possible - The previous semesters I have been pretty uptight about school and obsessive over getting good grades.  Maybe I am getting lazy or maybe its the fact that I took a class with Prof. Koborov, but whatever it is,  I have started to put a lot less emphasis on school work and more emphases on just having a good time with Savannah.  Speaking of which, Savannah is graduating next week.  I think its time for a party!  Who wants to come? There might be a cheese ball (or 2 if I haven't learned my martial arts by then).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The world's worst kept secret

About a month ago the Logan branch of the Humiston clan called Todd to leave a happy birthday message. After they sang, they forgot to hang up the phone. By an unlikely chance, the conversation that followed the singing of "Happy Birthday" was Annika and Ryan planning to fool all of their friends into believing that they were engaged. They picked a fake date, made up a cute story for how he asked, and even bought a fake ring. The message was about four minutes long. Of course, as soon as we heard the message Todd called back. Annika answered the phone with a, "Todd! Guess what!" Todd said, "I bet you're trying to fool all of your friends into believing that you and Ryan are engaged." By another unlikely chance, the friends Annika had been planning to fool were in the room at that moment. The most unlikely thing of all, though, was that the call was on our mom's cellphone and Annika didn't know how to take it off speaker, which means that Todd's call, in the middle of their prank, destroyed the joke. I, personally, think that the coincidence of it all makes it much funnier than the joke they had planned.

This morning, after my econ class, Annika IMed me to tell me that she and Ryan were engaged. I don't know how this is possible, but she seemed breathless with excitement even in her text. I believed her right away, but because of the history. . . Okay, it was kind of obnoxious, but I had to pretend that she was pranking me. She told me not to tell anyone, but Cheyenne's facebook status right now is "Cheyenne Warnock is super excited that she's getting a new brother." So I'm pretty sure the secret's out. Or else it is just the worst kept secret ever. Especially now. I couldn't wait to post about it because I, too, am super excited for them.

Congratulations Anni and Ryan!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful!

This is the first house that we have a fireplace in. We thought that it would be easy this year to make our house look like Christmas, but it is turning out to be a bit harder than we thought. Maybe it's because our house is twice as large as our old one, so all of our decorations are spread out, and we don't have the concentration of Christmas spirit that we had last year. It could also be that we haven't put up any Christmas lights yet and we are passing on buying a tree since we will be gone for the week of Christmas. This all works out since we are minimalists anyway.


Here are most of the decorations that we have up so far. We might throw up some lights, but besides that, I think this is going to be it.


Here is my olivewood creche that I got in Israel. I think it's beautiful, but I should have been more on the ball in my bargaining for it. I figured out later that Mike on Via Dolorosa in the old city of Jerusalem added about 90 shekels to the price in his conversion from shekels to dollars. In the future I know to haggle in the currency that I will be paying in.


Here are the decorations that we have so far around our fireplace. All we need now is a fire. Todd is trying to convince me to get a giant inflatable snow globe or a singing neon "Merry Christmas" sign for the living room, but those things are super tacky.

Note from Todd: Imagine how sweet these would look right above and right next to our fireplace!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Savannah and Todd's reading list


We are currently reading Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer. This is the fourth book in the Artemis Fowl series. This series is about a boy genius whose life of crime brings him into contact with the technologically advanced civilization of fairies and magical creatures living beneath the surface of the earth. His association with fairies teaches him how to relate to other people, even if there isn't anyone else as smart as him.

Todd's take on this book: It's pretty childish, fairies and stuff, but it's a pretty good book if you just want to jump into a story and you don't care about a sophisticated story line.

Savannah's take: This is a fun read, excellent for reading out loud because the story moves fast. I've enjoyed the whole series so far. I hope they aren't really going to ruin it by turning it into a movie.

There are only two books left in this series for us to read, so we're open to suggestions for our next book.

The Obligatory Introduction Post

Hello, folks. Welcome to our new blog. Yes, we are starting a new blog, even though we were horrible failures at updating our old ones. Because I am married to Todd, google cannot invent, purchase, or collaborate on an internet project that we do not participate in. This is just the latest. As I write this, we are listening to songs on our youtube playlist, reading google news feed, waiting for our grandcentral (powered by google) phone to ring, and updating our Christmas list in google docs. Todd has been trying to get us to convert to blogger for ages, but I have resisted since I am so bad at keeping up on my existing blog. Incidentally, I am supposed to encourage all of you to add our new blog to your google reader so that you can have up-to-the-second updates on our lives.

This post is taking forever to write because, in the spirit of having the day off from school, today we are experimenting with something we saw on the discovery channel and putting our keyboard through the dishwasher. This means that I'm typing on our ergonomic keyboard, which I'm not used to, maybe forever.

Anyway, welcome to the blog. and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!