Thursday, February 25, 2010

Only ten months until Christmas, and

it's also Julie's birthday!

Julie just turned 32, so she obviously is my much older sister!

Ok. It's a lie. She's actually my next-to-the-youngest sibling.

I was in second grade when she was born. She was originally due on February 24th. We lived a little ways away from my school (we lived in Arkansas and my parents were afraid the public school would stunt our educational growth, so we went to a private school), and we carpooled. When I got home from school that day and saw that my mom was still pregnant, I was so confused. She was supposed to have a baby. It was her due date, after all.

Unfortunately for Julie, my parents had their hands full with three older kids, so there weren't many photo ops they took advantage of. I think the few baby photos we took were non-slide photos. The reason this is important information is that a couple of years ago, Julie digitized my parents' slides and gave each of us our own copies. So, we'll have to make do with the older Julie photos.

After moving from Julie's homeland of Arkansas, we moved to El Paso, Texas. About a month after we moved there, it snowed. We weren't really equipped with snow gear, but it looks like Julie still had fun in the cold.

She and my brother Todd shared a room for awhile when they were young. They had some pretty fancy wallpaper. I think Julie and Todd learned "G," "L," and "T" the best, based on that wallpaper. If you look closely, her pants had the alphabet on them, too.

My Dad took photos of us each year on the first day of school. I think this is the first day she went to preschool. She was the only of the Ingermanson kids to attend a real preschool. I thought she was so lucky! Her teacher was married to my Texas History teacher. And, yes, I took Texas History.

Julie was always such a happy little girl. (And she still is a happy girl). She could be counted on to cheese for the camera. I love this photo so much!

She has a fab sense of style. I think she's been to the fanciest of parties--even several galas. She always sews her own evening gowns. Although she didn't sew the following dress, you can see she had style from an early age. The German dirndl, the black tights, and the white peep-toed shoes.

She always achieves the unachievable. Once she puts her mind to it, she will do it. Or if she decides she isn't doing something, she won't. Last summer she hiked Havasupai. She moved to New York City, at the last minute, with no job, just to say she did it. She even got into a spaceship and flew to the moon!

She is a chef extraordinaire! She has an award-winning chili recipe that knocks the socks off anyone who eats it. Her chocolate-peanut butter cake is to die for. She could single handedly make a meal for 250 as easily as she can make a meal for 1.

Just about 20 years ago (REALLY!?!), our family got a dog, named Molly. That dog was CRAZY! And she LOVED Julie! If I ever wanted to excite the dog, I would ask her where Julie was. Julie almost even had her trained well. Julie would make Molly sit in the other room while she poured food in her bowl. She would make her sit there until she told Molly it was time to eat. Molly would sit there, but almost had a stroke waiting. Molly wouldn't obey anyone else.

Julie took years of German in high school and maybe even college (I'm a bad sister). There is a Primary birthday song that says Happy Birthday in several languages. One of those is German. When I was little I learned the song. I always sing it for her: "Glee klicker goo burts tog!" She crings and yells at me that I am singing it wrong. Finally, I told her to look in the orange Primary songbook and see that I am singing it correctly. Since she know German, she knew that I was wrong and she was right, so she marched to the book and showed me that I was, indeed, singing it....correctly? I told her since the Church pronounces it that way, the Germans must pronounce it incorrectly, since the Church is true! She tells me every year that it truly is pronounced "Frer licher guh burts tag." I still think the Church knows best!

When she was in 5th grade, all the fifth graders went to San Diego for a weekend. She used my parents' 110-film camera. You know, those skinny rectangular ones. She took a whole roll of pictures. When she got them developed, they all looked weird. We couldn't figure out any of the pictures. And then we realized they were of her ear, nose, face, etc. She had the camera facing the wrong direction. Here is a photo she meant to take:

Julie has always traveled to see her family and friends, even if it is a short little trip. About three months after she moved to NYC, I was in Florida for a week for work. She took a quick trip to see me and we had a great time. Julie is a fun sister and I'm glad she's around. I don't see her as often as I should, since she lives in Tucson, but I always have a great time when I'm with her.

Happy Birthday Julie!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It was a sad, sad day

Did you feel a little sad last Tuesday? You know, the 16th of February?

I did.

But I wasn't sure why.

At first, I thought it was because I had just had three days in a row away from work. But, I wasn't particularly annoyed at work.

Then, I thought it was because I had forgotten to pick something up the night before at Costco. Nothing is as sad as knowing you were JUST at Costco, but didn't get everything on your list. But then I remembered how much Darrell and I love going to Costco, so it would be the perfect excuse to go back soon.

So, after much thought, I couldn't explain why I was in a funk.

Until I read this:

Ronald Howes, a lifelong inventor responsible for creating the Easy-Bake Oven (as well as defense weaponry), died last Tuesday.

It's true folks. One of the true heroes of our day has passed away. And it was last Tuesday, on why-am-I-feeling-a-little-out-of-sorts day.

Let me tell you a little about why this man will always be a hero to me:

As a little girl, I always wanted an Easy-Bake Oven. Every Christmas, when the big, seven-inch thick Sears catalog showed up, you were guaranteed to find the page with the Easy-Bake Oven was going to be dog-eared. I HAD to get myself an Easy-Bake Oven! It was similar to Ralphie's obsession with the "Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time" in The Christmas Story. Only, no one ever told me that I would shoot my eye out.

I was fascinated that you could bake a whole cake with nothing more than a light bulb! Clearly there was magic involved!

But I didn't get an Easy-Bake Oven when I was eight, or nine, or even twelve. No! I had to wait until I was--are you ready for this?--thirty! Yes, I was a full-on adult. I was even older than my mom had been when I first asked for one. (OK, as a side-bar, that makes me feel really old!).

Now let me tell you how I came to get my Easy-Bake Oven. At Thirty.

My mom had spent the better part of her life hearing about my desire for an Easy-bake Oven or how that was the only toy I ever wanted, but it eluded me. So, the day after Thanksgiving--yes, BLACK Friday--before the economy melted down and people spent money they didn't even have, my mom (who only spent a part of the money she had, and never spent money she didn't have), braved the crazies at WalMart. Yes, the devil store itself. On the devil's shopping day. To buy nothing more than an Easy-Bake Oven for her 30 (THIRTY) year old daughter. Who, by the way, was earning enough money to buy one herself.

A couple of days later, I called my mom to tell her of my good fortune! My co-workers had felt so bad that I had never had an Easy-Bake Oven, so they bought me one as an early Christmas present.

Okay, so there are a couple of issues here:

First, a thirty year-old woman is telling her co-workers how horrible her life has been since she never had an Easy-Bake Oven.

Second, they feel bad enough for her that they purchase her the said toy.

Third, her mother had endured WalMart, the day after Thanksgiving, at-did I mention it?-FIVE in the MORNING, so that she could give her daughter the funnest Christmas present. EV.ER.

Fourth, it was spoiled by the daughter's ridiculous pre-occupation with this TOY!

So yeah. I could have TOTALLY had TWO Easy-Bake Ovens and been the luckiest girl in the world!

A couple of days after I got my Easy-Bake Oven, I made an adult-sized cake mix (and, as a thirty year-old, I was allowed to use the electric hand-mixer) and took it, along with my Easy-Bake Oven to work.

We made cakes all day long.

It was the birthday of one of my co-workers. She got a four layer cake.

Come to think of it, I think it may be time to dust off the ol' Easy-Bake Oven and make me a treat!

RIP Ronald Howes, RIP!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I heart love

Here is my latest creation.

I won't take credit for the idea, but I did do it all by myself and I finished before the holiday.

Extra points for hanging it up.

I wish the photos were better, but I was having severe technical difficulties with all three of our digital cameras!