Monday, December 29, 2008

Were you maybe wondering what things I don't miss about my job? No? Well, then this isn't the blog entry for you.

So it is official. I am on Maternity leave. And it's weird. I have odd feelings of guilt, like I have a test I should be studying for and decided to play video games instead. It was definitely high time that I took leave, yet it has been one of the harder decisions I have ever had to make. I don't know who I think I am letting down here, probably just myself. And I have to fight the annoying thoughts of "Well, so and so flew this long", or "she worked right up to her delivery..." blah blah blah. I have to keep convincing myself of a few things to keep me sane.
I know that work was getting physically too hard for me. I know that I got "big" very fast while other women are "normal-sized" longer. (I know that I am fine, just the right size, and not a planet, yet.) It's just a fact that I cannot do a lot of the things that my job requires anymore. Let me list a few to make myself feel better. Thanks for indulging me.

1-Repetitive bending below the waist. My job includes picking up a million little things off the floor of the airplane throughout the day. I also have to cross seat belts and clean out seat pockets after each flight. This is a lot of twisting and stooping that is pretty difficult while pregnant.
2-Lifting luggage above my head. Even though flight attendants aren't really supposed to stow people's bags for them, it's always easier if we just do it. You would be amazed at how some people think a tiny back-pack wont fit ("Just let me do it!") and then others swear that their 800 pound yak (Thanks Brian Regan) will fit just fine. It wont. Even though I tried to refrain from helping people with their stuff, there is always a little old lady or disabled passenger that needs help. I also still had to stow my own overnight bag a few times each trip. Or carry my bags up a few flights of stairs a few times a week. Dr says 25 pounds is about the limit and that was getting harder to enforce.
3-Long periods of standing. I could usually take my jump-seat for a spell, but it is ram-rod straight and uncomfortable. I could also sit on an atlas container (the metal cupboards that hold the sodas, we aren't supposed to sit on them) but it is pretty low to the ground. So we stand. A lot. and it's not the best.
4-Long, long, long days. This is the one that got me the most. An average day is anywhere from 9 to 12 hours. That doesn't include the time it takes to get to the airport (1 & 1/2 to 2 hours), airport shuttle & go through security (1/2 hour or less at a good airport), ride to or from the hotels (5 to 40 minutes each way) etc..etc... When flying locals an average day for me was 15 hours from the time I left my house to the time I got home. Ugh. Three day trips had shorter days, but it meant I had to pack a bigger bag, which means more weight, which means more lifting... See the problem?
5- Long days with no real breaks and no real opportunities for a healthy meal. Breaks are random and poorly spaced throughout the day. Packing food for three days is a pain in the neck. Keeping it cold without fridges for three days is also hard. Not having microwaves available at half of your hotels is also a drag. Packing a sandwich and a banana, but then wanting the freaking airport Burger King instead, is also sometimes a problem (for me at least.) And as it goes in the airline business, a two hour break can turn into one hour behind schedule due to weather or mechanical delays. So that lunch break you were looking forward to is now gone and any other breaks you might have had are now eaten up in trying to get back on schedule. We eat a lot of peanuts.

And there are other things too. Like being clumsier and dropping things a lot. The bad winter weather makes it easy to slip on the hard tarmac (as I found out repeatedly). Super awesome hormones make me a little less inclined to patiently listen to the lady in 8C explain why she needs to hold her cat throughout the flight, even though he isn't a service animal and the person next to her is allergic. And the same hormones make me a little less sweet when the umpteenth person says: "WOW. Should you be flying?!" Because my honest answer is "Probably not." But they get a fake smile and a: "You betcha! Now what would you like to drink?"

So last Monday I was dressed and packed for a two day trip. I was battling the blizzard from heck inch by inch, to make my way to work when I finally wondered "Why am I trying so hard to do this?" Clayton isn't making me, SkyWest isn't making me... so who...?" Ya- just me. So I called in, talked to my chief and started my leave. I couldn't enjoy it at first, but today has felt like the first real day of my break. And I plan to use it. I have mounds of sewing projects I want to finish, rooms that have been begging to be cleaned out, and a baby to try and keep healthy and safe. That should be enough for now.

I know I will still face the "demons" of The SuperWomen from time to time. We all know at least one. One annoying brag-hag who makes you feel vastly inferior and lame. You know, the ones who seem to work full time everyday till they deliver, all while going to school full time, raising three other children under three, serving as the Relief Society president, and still finding time to out-quilt Martha Stewart. Well good for them, but I will close this entry with my mother's favorite poem of all time, which is in line with my current train of thought.

"Song for a Fifth Child" by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton 1938

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,

empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due

(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,

and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo

but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for Children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep......

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas CD 2008

About 5 years ago I came up with the idea for our family to exchange personalized mixed cd's instead of presents. Each year each person or couple makes a mix tape of whatever they want, and burns a copy for each person. In years past I have done favorite slow songs, all classical, all dedications, and a few general mixes. Clayton usually does his favorite from the past year. It's a lot of fun. Sadly it has petered out to where only Clayton, my brother Adam and I do them anymore, but I still hope it will keep up.

So here is my mix for this year with a few details. A few old ones, a few new ones and a few baby ones. If anyone wants a copy, let me know and I will burn you one. Otherwise this list is for my family who already have theirs. Merry Christmas.

1-4th of July. Azure Ray.
Definitely a great passing of the torch, if Mazzy Star were passing her torch. So pretty, almost haunting.

2-Grapevine Fires. Death Cab for Cutie. This is my favorite track off the new album. They always tell such interesting stories in their songs. Little bits of snatches of stories from some one's life. And who doesn't love a chorus that sings: "Everything will be alright"?

3-Blue Headlights. Shout Out Louds. I just love this song. One day I was listening to my I-Pod on shuffle and it stopped me dead in my tracks. (We have a lot of songs on our i-pods I have never really listened to.) I love the lyrics.

4-Heartbeats. Jose Gonzales. This is a cover of the original by The Knife. It reminds me of Iron & Wine's version of Such Great Heights by The Postal Service. Both amazingly well done, just two great versions.

5-Space Oddity. Natalie Merchant. Lovely cover of David Bowie's classic. My sister in law Rachel sings this one at her shows. Don't have her version, or the Cat Power version (which is mind blowing but sadly not for sale, durr) which are superior to this one. But this one is lovely too. Such a great song.

6-America. Josh Groban. This is probably my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song. (Well, and The Only Living Boy in New York, and...) I love Josh Groban, I know he is a bit much for some of the guys, but this is a great pared down live version I hope everyone will like. As a kid I was always shocked at the cigarette references. Man I was such a goody two shoes.

7-Rocky Took A Lover. Bell X1. This is Damien Rice's old band. Great song. Sorry- there are two swear words in it. One is a**h*** which is unfortunate and the other is arse. Which is just funny. Technically the same word, why is one ok and one not. Oh, they both aren't ok? Oh well.

8-Buildings & Mountains. Tiger Republic. Great song by a relatively unknown band. Good stuff. Of course this is my list, so naturally I think it's all great.

9-The Ballad of Love and Hate. The Avett Brothers. This is just cute and adorable. I like the imagery of the two "characters". Also- "whatever" is one of my favorite words.

10-Joyful Girl. Ani Difranco.
She could sing the phone book and I would listen.

11-Wintersong. Sarah Mclachlan.
This is a Christmas-y song, which I normally try to leave off my cd's. But it is just a touching song about a lost love. Julie's cousin lost her husband last year and I always think of this song when I think of her. And it usually makes me cry. Then again so did X-Men this year. (Darn hormones.) Don't we love to get way too emotional sometimes? No? Just me? Oh well. It is still a good reminder to remember the good times of the season with our families.

12-Watercolours in the Rain. Roxette.
Forgive the spelling. They are European. I've loved this song since I was 13 or something. Another song lately is blatantly stealing this melody, and every time I hear that one, I get annoyed and want to hear this one. So I have revisited this a bit lately. PS. I can't think of the stealing song, but it will come to me.


13-Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel). Billie Joel. Here starts the baby songs. This is just sweet and pretty. Who doesn't love Billie Joel? Besides his neighbors whose houses he keeps crashing into.

14-What a Good Boy. Barenaked Ladies
. This isn't exactly a song for a baby, but I love the beginning two lines about the expectations placed on children. One swear word. D***. Sorry. I like the live version of this song better than the album versions for the piano at the end.

15-When You Dream. Barenaked Ladies.
This is a song for babies. Great lyrics.

16-Daughter. Loudon Wainwright III. This is Rufus's father for those of you that remember Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk from my cd two years ago. Interesting names huh. Anyhow, this is just the cutest song from a father about a daughter. The lyrics are so so cute.

17-Three Little Birds. Elizabeth Mitchell. (Not the actress) This is a cover of Bob Marley's feel good anthem. The child singing is her daughter Story. And I think her husband is the other voice. Pretty adorable.

18- Everyday. Carly Comando. Familiar boys? This is from the NBA commercials. I love piano pieces like this one, dynamic and powerful without other instruments. I put it at the end with the baby songs although I don't know if it qualifies as a lullaby.

Snow day, Temple and Ants in my pants can apparently be ignored.

No kids of our own just yet, despite the fact that people repeatedly ask if I am delivering this week. Nope, ha ha. Sure do like hearing that though. No- about three more months still. I am just super-awesome-big. Deal with it.
Anyhow- the first real snow last Saturday was still something to enjoy as we were at little Allie's house (technically Tom & Jenni's). A team effort got her into her snow gear and outside. Her gloves did keep her hands warm, but she had no individual finger movement at all. Just two shovels which she used to scoop snow and then drop. Tom got all dressed up too and she really enjoyed it. She spent the better part of an hour out there while he shoveled the walks.

A proper BYU fan all in blue.

The night before Clayton and I went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with his parents. What a lovely evening. The grounds looked so pretty. You can't take a bad picture of the Temple. A crooked one, sure. But it is one photogenic building.

The moon was full and huge (kinda like me) at the beginning of the night. When we came out it was normal sized and just peeking between the spires of the Temple. Very pretty. (I however stayed the same size, and the only thing I can "peek" between is maybe two barns)

Here we are. Coats don't fit me anymore, and I can't justify buying a maternity one. At work I wear my regular coat and just hike it up to fasten the top button somewhere near my chin. As if I already didn't look cool enough in my uniform. (See older posts.) Luckily I have a few wraps like this one for nights out. They are fantastic, but not exactly slimming. Ah well.
So, can we just pretend this is our Christmas card? Ya- until we have kids I just don't feel like making the effort with stamps. Next year baby!

Merry Christmas 2008!
Love Marianne & Clayton Firth

And today it is coming down in droves! Holy Moly! I had such plans to get things done! Sadly most are home chores, so the snow really isn't impeding my progress, and yet...
Here I sit at 2 something in the afternoon in my sweats listening to Christmas music. In between games of Zuma I am obsessively checking every one's blogs to see if anyone has written anything new. Durrr. Come on friends! Write something! My dishwasher needs to be unloaded, laundry to be started, presents to be wrapped, and sewing projects are glaring at me from the other room (who knew they could give such dirty looks?) So could you all help a girl out? How am I supposed to procrastinate when you haven't given me anything to read since this morning? I also should go buy milk and eggs. I shudder to think of what Clayton has been eating the last three days while I was at work. Without milk he is deprived of his one major food source: boxed cereal.
Alright- just writing it out is spurring me into action. The Christmas season is upon us and I am so excited!!!! So much to do, but all (ok some) with such fun results! Namely: parties!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The bozo in seat 1C and stealing from other people's other blogs

I had to work a three day trip this week. Ugh. Tired, sick of airport food, sick of airports and seriously pondering how some people can be so mean and or stupid. Most of my passengers are super awesome, but it only takes one doofus to ruin a flight. Well done 1C. You are my winner of the most annoying passenger of the week. I wont go into details, and most of it is smell related, but a quick list would include:
1-Taking off his shoes to make the whole forward cabin and galley smell like hot, foot-death.
2-Eating corn-nuts. I am sorry if you like these, but on a plane they smell like #1. Wee. Ya got me here? Shudder.
3-Wearing Patchouli. A lot of people do not know what this is. It is a hideous oil that hippies wear to cover the fact that they haven't showered. So it is usually the overwhelming stench of patchouli combined with BO. Super awesome. (PS:He was in a business suit.) If you are unfamiliar with it, go to a head shop or health store and ask if they have it, smell it, and then remember the times you have hated it before, but didn't know what it was. Dave Matthews concert, college dorms etc... PS. If you don't know what a head shop is, then good for you. It's where they sell bongs and other "tobacco" related items.
4- He kept "shushing" me and the other flight attendant if we started talking in the galley. Bugger off hoser! I am allowed to talk to someone for the freaking three hours I am stuck in the galley with no where to sit and nothing to do. People talk on planes. Deal with it. If you are so special as to afford first class, then buy those freaking headphones that cancel out the noise.
5-He had all the room in the world, yet every time I had to walk past him in the aisle he would hold his paper fully stretched out into the aisle so I had to beg him to let me pass, or just push right past it with all of my giantess-glory. Which is what I chose to do after the first two times of asking only to have him deeply sigh and make a production of angrily folding it all up. By the way- he was on the aisle seat with no one next to him. He could have just shifted to his right, but I imagine he was making a point.
6- He ordered a white wine, took a sip and then ask for a red instead. Later he ordered a coffee with three creams and two sugars, took a sip and said he had ordered it with no sugar. Whatev. When he ordered a scotch on the rocks, took a sip and then "decided" he wanted a whiskey instead I thought the other flight attendant was going to show him the door. Some people.

So that was more detailed than I meant it to be. Wow, this is why I don't usually talk about work at home. Too much irritation.

Now don't get me wrong, normally my job is awesome and I enjoy being there. It has it's hard days, and now that I am massive and uncomfortable all the time it gets harder each trip. I might have one or two more weeks in me, but we shall see.
The only upside of being gone for three days is that I come home with a new appreciation for my cozy house, want to snuggle with my husband and get to catch up on blogs and e-mail. Like cute Allison's. She wrote an awesome bit about her "grown-up Christmas list" like the one in the Amy Grant song. Here is the link.
It was inspiring. She made the point that her list isn't as "world peace" as Mz. Grant's. Maybe a bit more materialistic. However, when compared to mine it looks like hers was written by mother Theresa. Anyhow, here is my blatantly stolen Grown-Up Christmas List. Thanks Allison. Let's start with the far fetched and work our way down. I'll go with twelve for the twelve days of Christmas.

1-For my pregnancy to be a breezy total of three months of baby kicking and nothing else, followed by a brief and easy labor.
2-To have Martha Stewart come and arrange my kitchen pantry and cabinets. And while she's at it she can invite Mr. William Sonoma over to update my pots and pans.
3-Since we are playing make believe here, how about Sufjan Stevens hanging out in my living room playing Christmas songs during the day. At night I would like Johnny Mathis. On special occasions like Christmas Eve we can invite Josh Groban.
4-To enjoy holiday eating without feeling like I am awful, cruel mother who is giving my baby the shakes by over consumption of Cadbury chocolate balls.
5-To have the gumption and time to paint the whole dang place. This one I could conceivably handle I guess. I dream of clean, matching walls that don't show the signs of five years of bachelor living. It would just be a major pain to take down all of the frames and pictures and move furniture and stuff.
6-To know how to organize my spare rooms better. I have craft and sewing stuff in every room of this house. And I'd like to have a crystal ball to see if I will ever really need that tube of paint or yard of lace, instead of hanging onto every leftover from every project.
7-For our fish to die. That sounds awful, but let me explain. He is old. Like six years old. For a fish that is like 147. All his friends died this last year, and now I feel bad for him. The fish friend I miss the most is the wall sucker guy who kept the tank nice and clean. The filter isn't enough, and I dread cleaning the giant tank he now has all to himself. I can't flush him or even give him to my niece. (As that is the same as flushing him. Sorry Abby.) Do vets put down fish?
8-For the winter to stay nice and dry, except for the week of Christmas, but then back to dry. And for the temperature to hover around 40 degrees or higher. And for none of this to affect the water levels or drought conditions.
9-To be finished with my shopping. I am almost there, and I have had a blast this year. But I have one standout, frustrating, blank that is still bothering me. What do I get *****? (Bleeped out name, not dirty word. This person is not a dirty word.)
10-To be able to paint, sew, photograph, bake or write what I really imagine in my mind. Lately a lot of my results have been more than a bit disappointing. To have the time and patience to really try.
11-To not have missed the last three Oh Sweet Sadie shows. Durr. I haven't stopped dreaming about a pair of green shoes I saw there (four shows ago) and can't find them online.
12-To have everyone happy this Holiday. And I don't mean that in the pageant way. It just seems like a lot of people are having a harder than usual time lately and it's frustrating that I can't do a thing to fix any of it. No specifics, as they aren't my stories to share, but there is a definite trend of really sad things happening. I hope everyone can get through them to a shinier and better, greener grass, sun is shining side of things soon.

Ok, like Allison asked: What would be on your Grown-up Christmas List?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'll take things that glitter for $1000 Alex.

Oh I love my Christmas stuff! I tend to gravitate towards mixed shades of blue for any new project, (old bedding, bathroom redo, my wedding colors etc...) so when I decided to choose a theme for our tree two years ago, it was an easy choice. And like my friend Heather T. (Hi Heather!) I love all things sparkly. I try to keep it toned down in clothes and decor, but holidays are begging for it. Last year we had no sparkle as we were barely home for the month of December and almost didn't put up a tree. Clayton had just bought a collection of He-Man figurines off E-Bay and so we just put those up as ornaments. Of course most people liked that tree a million times better. Oh well. Someday it can be a second tree for us. Here is a shot for old times sake.

Sadly this was back in the days when I-Photo wouldn't send photos rotated. No matter what I tried. (They do now.) And I took this from my blog so it is still sideways. Ugh. Anyhow. On to the pretty stuff!And without the flash!
Our Stockings!
I know you want a close up of my ornament wreath I made last year and the vase of sparkly ball things I got at Robert's Craft just today. If you look close you will see jars and vases of them everywhere. 40% off coupons baby!If you have been part of my life lately, you have heard me complain about the little Nativity things I was working on. It started as an Enrichment project but took up my living room for about three weeks. They didn't really take that long, I was just slow to finish them. Ten minutes today, ten minutes in two days etc... Well they are all finally finished and ready to go. Here is my set on our mantle. Which would be the giant black entertainment center. Remnants of Clayton's bachelorhood.
P.S. One of our favorite comedians Demetri Martin has a bit about glitter. About how once you use it, it will be all over you and your belongings forever. He calls it "the herpes of craft supplies". Right now our house is riddled with it. So. If Clayton looks sparkly next time you see him you can blame me, and then make fun of him too.

Thanksgiving in Arizona!

Clayton and I flew down to Phoenix to visit his sister Valerie, her husband Sam and their three boys: Caleb, Lucas and Tate. Clayton's brother Tyler and his wife Rachel drove up from San Diego so we had a great time with family. Dinner was great, thanks to Jim and Sharon (Sam's folks) for hosting the big day. It was fun to get to know Val's sisters in law on that side too. We got to spend 6 whole days down there so there is a lot I could blog about, but I'll keep it brief and mainly to the boys. Clayton brought down his Wii and so this is what we saw a good portion of the time. This is Tate, Tyler (a cousin on Sam's side) Lucas and Caleb engrossed in Mario Party.
Here are Lucas and Clayton in a brief reprieve from the wrestling action.
Tate is just about the cutest thing ever. He may be looking a little a bit tired in this shot, but trust me- no one has more energy than him.
On Monday night the boys and Val set up the tree while the rest of us watched. (Too many cooks, you know, alright so we were just lazy.) When you ask anyone in this family to pose, this is what you get.
And here is Clayton with the most lovable dog on the planet. He and his brothers and sisters have gone on for ages about their old dog Scotty. Smartest, nicest, cleanest dog etc...etc... Bear is the same breed and has been well trained. Now, I have never been a huge dog person. I like them, but can do without. Not anymore. I want this dog. He is heaven. He is the only dog I can pet without feeling like I have to wash my hands soon after. He cuddles, he comes when called, he goes outside, he lets Tate give him long and hilariously meaningful hugs. This dog is a joy to be around. They can leave him at home without worrying that he will eat up all the shoes or leave surprises on the carpet. I could go on but I am sure I am boring you all. Bear rules, and someday we will have a dog of this breed. Just hope I can train him as well. By the way, Tate added the cowboy hat. They aren't really the dress up your dog type.
And here is Tate again. He is just so cute. I barely saw Caleb and Lucas the whole week due to the Wii and their other cousins being in town. I love that it took them four days before they stopped in front of me and Lucas said "So, do you have a baby in you or what?" After that Tate was my new best friend, touching and talking to my tummy. Normally I slap away hands that touch me. I'm just not big on the whole touching thing that pregnancy brings. But Tate could do whatever he wanted. I love that I left the room and a few hours later Tate asked if the baby was out yet. I wish little man.
We also got to go see Betsy, Jay and little baby Spencer. He is adorable and freaking rock-star Betsy looks exactly the same as she did pre-pregnancy. I can only dream of looking that good six months post delivery, not two weeks. Wow! Sadly we missed the return of Matt & Melissa from Roatan by a few days, but we hopefully will be seeing them in Provo soon enough. Hope everyone else had such a great holiday!

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