Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Wish You Weren't a Liar.

Broadstone Woodbridge, the apartment complex we want to move into, told us that they require sixty days' notice from their tenants when they move out, so we could know for sure what is available two months before we want to move in. It is now two months before we want to move in, so I emailed them asking for availability. They said it's "too early" for them to know, that they should know at the end of May, but for now they only know about June. I guess they're a new complex so some of their policies aren't quite settled yet, but it's still a bummer. We really wanted to get going on that. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko--8/10

I accidentally read this book today and I loved it. The book jacket gives you basically no idea of what the story is about--namely, a twelve year old boy who takes care of his autistic older sister and the incredibly emotional struggle his family goes through trying to do what's best for her--the blurbs make it sound like it's just a fun story about a kid whose family lives on Alcatraz. It is a fantastic book and I almost cried at the end (good crying, not bad). You should check it out, it won't take long to read. Exhibit A: I picked it up at Barnes & Noble last night and read for about twenty minutes, and then finished it today in about two and a half hours. I 100% recommend this book for anyone--you'll love it.

All the Windwracked Stars, by Elizabeth Bear

This book was a very strange experience. It took a long time to get past the point where I thought "okay, any minute now I'm putting this book down and not picking it up again." First of all, the author makes up a lot of words, which I already hate as a general rule; but when they're words I can't even imagine pronouncing in my head--sdadown, waelcyrge, einherjar; it's all very Nordic, but I still don't know how to read it--well, it makes it hard to feel really involved in the story, because so much of it seems like total nonsense.

The story begins at the end of a huge apocalyptic battle, of which the main character, Muire, is the only human survivor because she ran and hid instead of fighting. So she's pretty down on herself for the first part of the book, and while you understand the self-loathing, it makes it difficult to get attached to her. The other survivor is a two-headed horse who claims her as his rider. She, however, in the depths of self-deprecation, refuses to accept him, saying she's unworthy, and instead goes through 2500 years alone, watching people and civilizations be born and die. (This is the boring part.) It gets good around page one hundred, when she starts seeing her old friends reborn and discovering her task to save the world that she thought was doomed.

Now for specifics, and here's the first: There is a lot of kissing in this book. Not romantic type kissing, soul-stealing kissing. The waelcyrge--what Muire is--can apparently do that, and all I will tell you is that it becomes very undramatic as it keeps happening throughout the book.
And on a related note, the sex is a little unnecessary. There aren't any actual sex scenes--just a lot of talking about it, because one of the main characters is a prostitute so he (that's right, male) can pay his mother's hospital bills. Also, they're all bisexual. Well, bisexual isn't really the right word, because in our culture it's not the norm, and that's what it implies. In this culture in the book, it appears that everyone is attracted to everyone equally.

So. The more I describe the book, the more I wonder why I bothered to finish it. The answer is twofold: one, I kept going through that rough beginning because I hate not finishing books; and two, once I got far enough in that it started interesting me, and got to all the weird sex references, I was invested enough in Muire that I really wanted to see where it was all going. It was a pretty interesting story, once it got going, but it also wasn't what I thought it'd be. I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not I would recommend it, so I'll leave that up to you. I think I give it a 5.

Book Reviews, Here We Come!

It seems silly that I put so much emphasis on my book widgets and then don't mention most of the books in my blog at all; so, as I mentioned I might in this post a while ago, I'm gonna try starting that. Sorry if that clutters up my blog with totally uninteresting things for some of you, but I think it'll be fun. :)

So. With that in mind, I'm going to start a new post so I can have the format the way I want it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Apparently Hannah sleeps for like 13 hours straight at night! I put her to bed last night because her dad had to work really late. So I put her down at 7:00, and I just got to work this morning and she is still asleep! I guess this isn't strange for her but I'm never the one to put her to bed so I didn't realize how long she sleeps. I wish I could get that much sleep!

Monday, April 27, 2009


I've been checking the UPS tracking for my camera three or four times a day since it shipped exactly a week ago. I looked at noon today, and it said it had been scanned in Dallas last night. So I looked again now, and it said my package was delivered 25 minutes ago! Yay! However, there is one little glitch. There's no one at home (my parents are still at the hospital)... so now I have to wait for Hannah to wake up from her nap so I can go get it!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fun Times at the Gifford House

...or rather, the Baylor Hospital.
My dad had his appendix taken out today. He didn't go to the zoo with us yesterday because he was really tired, and then in the afternoon he started having stomach pains. They got worse as the day went on, and he and my mom were up most of the night. I think he threw up once too. So they called Miki, who got a hold of Ed (who was at work (and who is a doctor)) and he told them to go to the ER.
So anyway, long story short, they went to the hospital, we went to the hospital, my dad had surgery, we hung out there all day, he's recovering and doing much better, my mom's staying there tonight, and hopefully they'll be sending him home tomorrow afternoon. We're just really grateful that it was only his appendix and not anything more complicated. He's already going to have to miss a whole week of work in the middle of some really big projects (he was asking this morning, before he knew he was having surgery, whether he could go back tomorrow. yeah, um.... no).

So! That is that for now. Does it seem to anyone else like my family spends a lot of time at the hospital lately?


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adventures in Buying Crap Online

The funny one: Mike ordered a new back and a trackball for that Blackberry Pearl his brother gave him. He bought them on the same day and they were shipped on the same day, but we got the back two days ago and still haven't seen the trackball. We got on ebay to send an angry message to the seller asking where the heck his trackball was when we happened to see the words... Hong Kong. Yes. That is where the trackball is coming from, and that is why we haven't gotten it yet. Gay, but also funny. :)

The annoying one: I have a tracking number for the camera I bought online. It's coming through UPS, but the tracking number is basically useless since there has been no update since 2:30 am on Thursday morning. Really? There has been no progress in the delivery of my camera for over 60 hours? Stupid.

The one that's not mine: My mom had to send Dafni her birth certificate through registered mail or whatever the heck it is, and she was supposed to get it Thursday or Friday and hasn't yet, so obviously she's a little worried about that. Why must the mail suck? If we wanted sucky mail, we would live in Mexico. Shape it up, people. Seriously.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Computer over?? Virus = very yes?! That's not a good prize!

I think I need to become a computer nerd.
This is by no means the first time I have had this thought; I have often been annoyed with my limited computer abilities. I've said before that I'm actually more than averagely competent with computers. But that's kind of what makes it annoying, because my ability to figure stuff out and fix problems only goes so far, and then I have to ask people for help--and once they tell me what I should do, it often makes sense and I wonder "how did I not know that?"
Anyway. So the current problem is that I am a little bit annoyed with Firefox. There are websites that used to keep me logged in all the time that are no longer doing so, and I don't know what causes this. When I check my email, I click the little button that says "keep me logged in for two weeks unless I log out"--but then it doesn't. I click the "remember me" button on Blogger and on Gmail--but it doesn't remember me.
So. This post is both a rant and a sadly disguised plea for help. (Aka, Doug or Mark, whoever reads this first... Please tell me what is going on.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Movie List Continued

Most of these are still tentative, but here's the progress so far.

Mom- Meryl Streep, or some kind of combination of Melissa de Sousa and Reba McEntire

Dad- Napoleon Dynamite

Daniel- Paul Michael Glaser

Benjamin- Adam Brody?

Joseph- Ben Savage

Rick- Anthony Edwards

Dan- Jonathan Rhys Meyers?

Nathalie- Juliette Binoche

Candice- Claire Danes

Brandon- Matt LeBlanc! I can't believe I didn't think of it before.

Miki- Barbra Streisand, Selma Blair

Ed- Fred Astaire

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hooray for fabulous jobs!

I love having a day off work in the middle of the week. It's so much easier to be productive on a Tuesday than on a Saturday when you've worked all week and you really just want to relax, don't you think? For example, things I have done today: ate breakfast, read, shopped for wedding bands, tanned by the pool, showered and re-straightened my hair, started and finished a wonderful, wonderful book called The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (which of course I owe to Janssen, for pugning Frankie so much that I finally picked it up!), picked up my niece from daycare and watched her during Talia's softball practice, made sandwiches for myself, Alex, and Benjamin, unpacked Mike's and my bags from last weekend, did laundry, took out the trash, cleaned up our room, and--my current project--put away three laundry baskets' worth of clothes. I love it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

If My Life Were a Movie...

Ok. This post was originally started on 6/7/07, and it was so hard that I never finished it. I started trying again a couple weeks ago, and it's still really hard! But I've been having fun with it, so I'm going to post it this time.

I'm trying to figure out who the cast would be if my life were a movie. Mostly I've just been doing my family, because there are a lot of them as it is. These are the ones I've come up with so far.

Me- Minnie Driver

Mike- Hugh Jackman (or Russell Crowe (think Cinderella Man), Gerard Butler)

Talia- Sarah Silverman, Courtney Cox Arquette, Catherine Bell

Dafni- Cameron Diaz? Hilary Duff? Rachel McAdams

Liz- Anne Hathaway

Anna- Zooey Deschanel

Megan- Maggie Gyllenhal? Alexis Bledel?

Jennie- Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Duff

Help me out if you have any ideas! And if you're not already on here, tell me who you think would play you!

Final Decision... Finally!

I finally picked one, and it's different from all the others I looked at before. Turns out I got sick of that really small design I liked so much in all the other cameras, and I looked for ones with bigger lenses and all that business, so here it is! I should be getting it this week. Thanks for the help, Doug, Liz and Janie. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Triumph of the Day

I connected Orlando Bloom and Will Smith using a BBC movie in the actor game. That's awesome.

(Background information: the actor game is where you take two actors and find how they're connected through other people they've been in movies with. Example: Orlando Bloom was in Pirates of the Caribbean with Kiera Knightley, who was in Pride and Prejudice with Matthew MacFayden; Will Smith was in I Am Legend with Emma Thompson, who was in Harry Potter with Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle), who was in The Way We Live Now with Matthew McFayden. Boom, baby.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ABC Survey... aka, A Huge Waste of Time!


1- Available: nope
2- Age: 23 for another month and a half
3- Annoyance: selfishness
4- Animal: i love dogs

5- Beer: tastes as bad as it smells
6- Believe in God: yes
7- Best Friend(s): mike and megan
8- Body Part on [a guy/girl]: arms and chest
9- Best feeling(s): being in demand :)
10- Blind or Deaf: is this asking which i'd rather be? i really can't decide
11- Best weather: fall, then late spring
12- Been in Love: yes
13- Been on stage: not in a while, but yes
14- Believe in Magic: sure
15- Believe in Santa: not so much

16- Candy: i do not like gummy candies. i like chocolate and jolly ranchers...
17- Color: green, then blue
18- Chocolate/Vanilla: chocolate
19- Chinese/Mexican Food: i love them both. probably mexican more than chinese. also italian and indian.
20- Cake or pie: cake
21- Continent to visit: europe, europe, europe
22- Cheese: cheddar, brie, provolone, parmesan

23- Day or Night: day
24- Dance in the rain?: i have

25- Eyes: brown
26- Everyone's got: good qualities
27- Ever failed a class?: yeah... THAT was fun :)

Full name: miri kayla gifford shorten
28- First thoughts waking up: i swear i'm going RIGHT back to bed when i get home this afternoon

30- Greatest Fears: not being able to do whatever it is i'm supposed to do
31- Goals: travel a lot. have a big family (maybe some adopted). learn multiple languages. finally read the books on my standing to-read list. someday earn enough that paying bills every month isn't stressful. get a master's degree. lose 20 pounds. go to the temple. pay off my student loans. learn to play the guitar. start fulfilling my potential.
32- Gum: i used to chew it constantly, but i haven't in a long time
33- Get along with your parents?: yeah
34- Good luck charm: ummm i don't know, i've never thought of having one

35- Hair Color: brown with a few red tints (which i didn't put there)
36- Height: 5'5" ish
37- Happy: usually
38- Holiday: absolutely christmas
39- How do you want to die: happy

40- Ice Cream: coffee flavored
41- Instrument: piano and clarinet

42- Jewelry: i love earrings. other than that i don't wear much
43- Job: nanny for a one-year-old girl (job i want: editor for an upscale magazine or newspaper)

44- Kids: can't wait
45- Kickboxing or karate?: not sure... maybe kickboxing
46- Keep a journal?: i try to

47- Love: mike, my family, my friends
48- Letter: i don't have one...
49- Laughed so hard you cried: lots of times with my friends

50- Milk flavor: i don't like milk
51- Movies: i collect and alphabetize them
52- Motion sickness? the only time i've had it was on a boat
53- McD’s or BK: neither (but burger king if i have to pick)

54- Number: 3902403

55- One wish: to have all the money i need

56- Perfect Pizza: pepperoni
57- Pepsi/Coke: i don't like soda

58- Quail: ....?

59- Reason to cry: lots
60- Reality T.V: i despise it
61- Radio Station: i don't even know. i don't listen to the radio except whatever morning show i happen to land on while i'm driving to work
62- Roll your tongue in a circle?: yes

64- Song: um, no way can i pick a favorite
65- Shoe size: 6 or 7
66- Salad Dressing: italian
67- Sushi: yuck
68- Slept outside: not in a long time
69- Smoked?: no
70- Sing well?: sometimes. i love singing
73- Sing In the shower?: yep
74- Strawberries/Blueberries: strawberries

75-Tattoos?: no
76- Time for bed: usually 11-12, even though i shoot for 10-11
77- Thunderstorms: i LOVE them

78- Unpredictable: um, life?

79- Vacation spot: i don't know, i don't think i've ever been to a really amazing one

80- Weakness: being insecure. i react to other people in ways that i wouldn't if i could just get over myself.
81- Which one of your friends acts the most like you: i don't know, maybe jennie. or katie.
82- Who makes you laugh the most: mike
83- Worst feeling: hurting someone's feelings
84- Wanted to be a model: believe it or not, there was a (very short) time in high school when i did
85- Where do we go when we die?: hopefully one of the good places :)
86- Worst Weather?: a hurricane, i would imagine... it's like a tornado but with water :/

87- X-Rays: had some in sixth grade when we found out i had scoliosis
88- Ex's: a few. most of them weren't worth it, but of course i didn't see it at the time

89-Year it is now: 2009
90-Yellow: very few items in my closet

91- Zoo animal: not sure, i've only been to the zoo once... maybe elephants though, i like them. also tigers


Remember that thing I just said about my posting patterns? Yeah, here's your proof.

Anyway. Our crap camera broke, so I am looking for a new one. I'm very excited to get one because I
love taking pictures; however, I am having a hard time picking a camera. I don't need or want anything intense--I just want a digital camera that will take good pictures, turn on quickly, and not make me wait for 30 seconds in between clicking the button and the picture actually taking.

So. These are the cameras I am trying to decide between.

These are cameras that have been disqualified. Most I really want based on looks, but they don't seem to be worth the money.

The thing is, I don't know much about what makes a good digital camera. I've been told that I should look for one with an optical zoom that's higher than 3x, and it seems like ones with higher megapixels should take better pictures, so those are the criteria I've been shopping with. So while I really like these bottom four cameras looks-wise, they're all 3x optical zoom and have therefore been ruled out. (By the way, if anyone has any expertise to offer, I would absolutely welcome it; I'm really hoping to buy one in the next couple of days so I'd love to be able to finally decide on something.)

Breaking Dawn: Take Two

Well. I just finished reading the Twilight books again--Twilight and New Moon for the third time each, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn for the second--and I was a little surprised by my reaction to them this time around. It was quite different from last time. When I read Breaking Dawn last summer for the first time, I really hated Bella for the first half of the book. That, surprisingly, was not the case this time. In fact, I hated Bella much, much more in Eclipse. She's just so dumb! Always freaking out about Jacob and Edward getting hurt, worrying and making stupid plans to try and prevent them putting themselves in danger, not realizing that they are VAMPIRES and WEREWOLVES and can TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES much better than she can, and that she will put them in MORE danger through all of her scheming! Drove me freakin' crazy.

But anyway, Breaking Dawn. I actually really like it now, much better than Eclipse. Renesmee is still a stupid name and the vampire sex was still stupid, but those things didn't grate on my nerves every minute like they did the last time around. Still love the chapter titles during Jacob's section, and I thought it was funny how easy and normal it seemed to be seeing things from his perspective, although it was a little disconcerting to not know what was going on in Bella's head at the time.

I also really love the last part where Bella's a vampire, because I am a sucker for this kind of stuff: all their friends coming and helping, everyone training Bella and teaching her how to use her gift and playing with Renesmee, and it's just like a big family. Love it. I was also really satisfied with how things worked out with the Volturi; I'm still glad they didn't fight, because there's no way that could've ended happily, but they did get to use their powers and there still was some conflict, like with Jane and Alec and Chelsea and stuff, so it wasn't totally anticlimactic.

Anyway. The last two books in the series have now changed places in how much I like them, and as I still haven't bought Breaking Dawn yet, I think I will be doing that soon. (Update: Here's a breakdown of the series according to my new book rating system: Twilight--9, New Moon--8, Eclipse--6, Breaking Dawn--7.)

P.S. Read this blog post. It's a little bit funny and mostly dumb. I guess if guys are proud of men being stereotyped as armpit-scratching idiots, well, then maybe that guy's right. But most men I know are not as base as the author of this post clearly is. He must just be jealous. :)


One of my favoritest snacks ever. They are salted snow pea crisps and they are sooooo yummy. You should try them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fun Times

Also, Megan alerted me to some amusing news: this is our former stake president, whose football days are only too well known to past members of the BYU 7th Stake. Fun times all around.

Currently Reading

Well, you are all about to get some insight into how much of a nerd I am.

You know that "Currently Reading" list I have in my sidebar? The one most of you have probably never noticed before now, or paid any attention to? Well, that list is 90% of the reason I get on my blog most weeks. You've seen how I post--nothing for several days and then 15 posts in one day or so. Well, I do get on my blog during the time between posts, but only to update that list.

It is one of my favorite things to be able to take a book off the "Currently Reading" list and add it to the "Read in 2009" list.

So. Right now I only have one book in my CR list, and I am dying to add another one. However, I hate adding a book and then taking it off a few days later when I decide not to read it or get bored with it; and so we come to the purpose of this post.

There are several books that I'm considering reading right now. They're all sitting on my dresser or nightstand, waiting for me to choose between them. And since I am dying to put them in that all-important CR list but also do not want to find myself taking some off a few days from now, I'm going to write a list of them in this post. Here we go.

These are books that are not physically on my nightstand, but are also under consideration (Wishful Drinking is on hold at the library). Also, our book club genre this month is biography--hence the pattern.
Sigh. Well, now you know. (As if you didn't already.) If you're still my friends by now, you are probably even more awesome than I had supposed. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Okay, but speaking of TLC...

This has become a really morbid tv station, and in fact What Not to Wear is just about the only show on it that I'll ever watch now. Every time I watch it I see commercials for new shows and specials about people with grotesque and unbelievable physical deformities and conditions that no one has ever heard of. For example...

The Woman with Giant Legs
Half Man Half Tree
Girl Who Never Grew
Mermaid Girl
Paralyzed and Pregnant (I don't know what this is about, I just saw a commercial for it, but it sounds like it fits)

And of course there are the shows like Little People Big World, Flo and Kay: Autistic Savants, and I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant (yes, it's about women who didn't know they were pregnant until they delivered)... not ones about crazy unheard-of conditions, but just people who are different or have something weird happen to them.

AND, I know I've talked about this before, but really? Jon & Kate Plus 8, 18 Kids and Counting, and now Table for 12? How many shows about families with tons of kids will people watch?

Basically I am a little disappointed with the lineup on this channel. Everything has to be so epic and dramatic! I think they were better off with all the home improvement shows that started me watching to begin with.

So there's my complaint for the day. In other news, I love this quote from a NutriSystem commercial: "Every meal was better than the next." Really? I am very impressed that you could know that.


Cardigan as birth control, good to know...

It's a cross between a loafer and a moccasin. It's a loccasin.
--Stacy London


Friend: This sweater basically says, "I never want to have sex again in the 21st century."
Stacy: Wow, okay. Cardigan as birth control, good to know.

Haha. Yessssss.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Miri just took the "What Disney character are you?" quiz and the result is Mickey Mouse.

Outgoing and confident, you will rise to the top one day. You may also have very large ears.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


If you've never used 1-800-Contacts, I highly recommend it. I just did for the first time and it was fantastic!

The story is, I got an eye exam at the Walmart in Orem right before we moved down here, but because of how short we were on money and time, I couldn't get any contacts then besides the trial ones they gave me. I planned on getting them to fax me my prescription after we moved so I could get the contacts down here when the trial ones died. While wandering around the Walmart website, however, I started looking at 1-800-Contacts and thought I'd try doing it that way.

1) I didn't have to have them fax me my prescription. They just ask you to put in the strength you need (-3.00 and -2.00 for me), which was on the package my last contacts had come in.

2) Then you put in the name of your doctor or where you got your exam and they verify with them, so you don't even have to have your prescription. Shipping is free for anything over $50, which everything is if you're even only buying one box per eye.

3) I did this on Friday morning. They say it should ship within 1-2 business days, and free shipping is 5-7 business days, so I wasn't expecting them for over a week--but I got a shipping confirmation email only a few hours after my order confirmation email, and then the contacts were in my mailbox today!

4) They gave me a free contact case just for fun. I already have 9000, but it was still a pleasant surprise.

So basically, I am really excited about how easy that was, and I thought I would share. If you haven't ever done it this way, you might look into it. I'm pretty sure this is how I'll be getting my contacts from now on. (And I feel like someone should be paying me to write this... :P)

The end. :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh, That Poor Girl...

Apparently this picture was published in the Daily Universe today with this incredibly unfortunate caption beneath it. People, of course, freaked out, and the Daily Universe actually recalled all 18,500 copies of the paper from all over campus so they could reprint it.

You know how when you misspell a word, spell check gives you suggestions as to what you might have meant? Well, the copyeditor misspelled "apostle," and unfortunately the first suggestion was "apostate." Click here to read the story. I feel so sorry for that poor girl.

However, the other thing I feel is amused, and I hope too many people didn't take this as seriously as the Daily Universe (understandably) did. If you're tempted to, just imagine what the apostles did when they heard about it. They probably laughed their heads off! And why wouldn't they? Let's be honest, it's pretty funny. :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Customer is Not Always Right

That is the name of a website I discovered today. Check it out--it's hilarious. Here are a few of my particular favorites:

Nautical Always Right
Right Next to the Yeast Pie
MacGyver Becomes a Dad
How About a Few Reindeer and Elves While You're At It...

It's always funnier when you have your own experiences to back them up... as I'm sure we all do, because let's face it, we've all had jobs, and people are stupid.

Your Pet is Not a Person.

Every time I see a commercial for pet food that involves some kind of gourmet chef cooking sumptuous-looking meals in a fancy kitchen and then dumping them onto a plate on the floor with a sprig of parsley on the top--and I wish I could say I saw them a lot less frequently than I do--I think that people are a little bit ridiculous. I mean, really? Does a gourmet chef cook for you? Do you eat off a silver platter every day (or ever)? And do you really think your pet needs to eat gourmet salmon and shrimp, prime cuts in gravy with liver and beef, white meat chicken and egg souffle, or wild salmon florentine in a delicate sauce with garden greens? Honestly. Next you'll be putting gloves on them, or, better yet, pushing them through the park in a stroller.