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Yesterday: all my troubles seemed so far away.

Since John's car doesn't have a CD player, he mostly listens to Radio Disney. They have "Disney-ed" up some of the songs to make them more appropriate for their younger audience, but I couldn't believe one I heard on my way to pick John up in LA. It was Mambo No. 5. I knew they had changed the lyrics when I heard "ice cream." Ice cream? Women and liqour maybe, but no ice cream. So I listened and heard something like this:

A little bit of Minnie in my life/A little bit of Mickey by her side/A litte bit of Donald is what I need/A little bit of Daisy is what I see/A little bit of Pluto in the sun, etc.
No. Really.

[Comments] (3) Starving Kids in China Don't Have "X": Where did that phrase come from? And does it actually guilt kids into eating their vegetables? We are beginning to use it when anyone whines. Last night Rachel, John and I were all cuddled on the couch hanging out and Rachel said that her leg hurt from not stretching at the gym.

John: Starving kids in China don't have legs.

As not funny as that ought to be, we laughed for 5 minutes.

Bliss: There is nothing like having a vibrating kitty wrapped in your arms while sleeping in under a puffy quilt with the rain pouring outside.

Traffic Trouble: Yesterday I tried taking a different way home from work, or to the store, actually. The freeway entrance I normally use is closed ("Major road work on the two blocks you need to get to the freeway, November 2005 thru November 2007") (oddly enough, I don't have any trouble getting to work...). Anyway, I found two other ok ways to go home, but tried another. Unfortunately, I got a little lost. Who would have known the street I was on and the street I wanted to be on both turned and met up twice?!? I ended up going the wrong way. Mer.

[Comments] (3) Paper Trouble: Why is paper in other countries a different size? Or, more likely, why is paper in America a different size? I get to trim stacks of papers to make employee files for our employees in South Africa.

[Comments] (1) Cute Things Kids Say: On Sunday, John and I were playing with Tyler, a little thing with a pump you jump on and it shoots a plastic rocket. John went to get one that had landed over the fence and was gone a while.

Susie: Honey?

Tyler: Honey! I mean, Uncle John!

Later, Tammy (Jamie's business partner and in their ward) and her husband came over with their little boy. I was sitting at the table facing away from the door.

Andy: Hi Jamie.

I look at him.

Andy: Oh, hi Sister Crawford. What are you doing here, Sister Crawford?

I keep looking at him, and finally say, "I'm Tyler's Aunt Susie", because I haven't realized it's Tammy's son yet. He just walked off to play with Tyler.

The really funny thing is that they don't know any Crawfords. But I probably just heard him wrong.

[Comments] (4) "You seem like a sensitive person.": Yesterday I met with the new HR Manager (my boss). Can she tell I'm sensitive because she is an HR person? Or is it that obvious? I know I'm sensitive, I just hate to admit it.

: This morning I have had two more calls for a TV station. Is this Channel 7? No, it's not. If it was Channel 7, I would have said "Channel 7", or perhaps, "KATV".

It all evens out: Yesterday I went to the post office to do Jamie's shipping. I was supposed to go on Wednesday, but I got new brakes on my car instead. The post office was practically empty yesterday. I usually wait for about 20 numbers to be called, but last night it was only 5. Plus, Jamie just paid me for November and it was more than enough to pay for my new brakes.

John brought me home a very yummy treat from Starbucks. It had a cookie bottom and caramel and chocolate and nuts. It tasted a bit like Almond Roca, only chewy. He is such a thoughtful husband!

[Comments] (2) Lucky 13: Saturday was a great day. John and I cleaned the house and did some Christmas shopping and then went to Disneyland. This was our thirteenth trip. When we arrived Disneyland was "full", which didn't bode well, but it was one of our best trips ever. Special things kept happening.

Obviously, we went to California Adventure first. We went on all the good rides: Tower of Terror (front row), the river rafts (hardly got wet), the swings in the orange (John hates those and has never gone with me before) and then California Screamin' opened just as we got there. We got very front row seats and it was awesome! So fast!

Then we walked over to Disneyland. As we walked around, everything had such long lines we didn't feel like waiting in, so we ended up going on the Mark Twain riverboat. Such luck! Not only did we walk right on, but the "captain" asked us if we wanted to go up to the wheelhouse with her. It was really awesome. We got to ring the bell, blow the whistle, and "steer" (John was right - the boat runs on a track). Also, we happened to have brought our camera, so we got lots of pictures taken with the awesome view. Athena told us lots of stuff about Disneyland and working there. And we got Pilot Certificates.

The fun didn't end there. We walked around the whole park, then ended back at Main Street and got on the train. We rode the whole way around. We were sitting at the very front, so we got to watch them fill the engine (it's steam, you know). Also, got a nice view of the "it's a small world" lights, and drove right through the middle of the parade lined up "backstage." Mrs. Claus waved to us.

After the train ride, we went back to California Adventure and had a delicious sundae. It was finally time for our FastPasses for Soarin' (we'd had them for 4 hours!) We got the very last top row seats. Oh, and did I mention we saw about a million characters? I mean, everyone was out today. Chicken Little, the Incredibles, Mushu (gave me "5"), Baloo, Pluto, Santa, Penguin, etc etc etc.

*sigh* what a wonderful day. I'm so spoiled!

: Susie: Good Morning, this is Susie.

Lady: Can you tell me the bid on the pop-up Santa?


[Comments] (1) My Slogan: Happiness is Susie-Shaped. No, really. Try it.

[Comments] (1) Take Flight: At Thanksgiving, Mom and Robert were talking about when young adults land and are grounded. Poor Rachel got told she was still "in orbit." I asked Mom when I landed and she said, "When you got back from Romania. My baby grew up in an orphanage in Romania!"

Traditions: John and I made some sugar cookies this week and decorated them. I used my Pampered Chef bowls to set out five different colors of frosting. We didn't roll and cut out the dough though; just made little balls. It is too much work for too many cookies that we won't eat, I'm afraid.

Somewhere along the line the Richardson's started drinking orange juice with ginger ale. I don't know where this came from (I suspect Leonard, an alcoholic drink, or both), but it's yummy! Of course, when John drinks his eggnog/ milk concoction, it means four bottles on the table for dinner.

Product Reviews: I have finally used the Silpat mat Leonard bought me for John's birthday. (I know, bad Susie: I really haven't made cookies in five months!!) It worked great! I'm more excited about how it keeps my pans clean than how it keeps my cookies from sticking.

At work we have giant tape dispensers for packaging tape. I haven't found them very useful in taping a box - I can barely lift them - but anyway. Efrain (maintenance man and "all-around good guy") was taping down an extension cord for us with one of these things, forgot he was taping down an extension cord and dug into it when we was trying to cut the tape. Do Not Do This! Huge sparks went flying. The tape dispenser teeth are all bent and the cord has a big burned spot, but luckily Efrain is fine.

Fun Times: My new favorite game-playing memory is of playing Taboo on and off during our Thanksgiving stay at Leonard and Jeff’s. Rachel and I kept playing until we had done both sides of practically all the cards. The funniest anecdote was when John and Sumana were playing. Sumana was trying to get John to guess the word “dawn”.

John: Sunrise?

Leonard helps: We have an uncle named this.

John: Larry?

Following close behind in the memory list is the time all the Chadwicks played MadGab at the Vans. I love playing games, esp. with my family.

Also, I consistently mispronounce the word “gestures” like the game “Guesstures”, which I have never played.

Old People Like Me: We got a card from Brook and Erin yesterday. Erin wrote “Susie, my mom thinks you’re the sweetest.” Then there was the time David came back from a visit to Utah and said, “Grandma June loves you.” What is it with me and other generations? It’s like when John and I went to Mexico and we went on shore excursions with old people and didn’t enjoy the couple our age we had to sit with at dinner.

Not that Lynn is old. I am a terrible judge of age and if I didn’t know she was Erin’s mom I’d say she was, like, 50-55.

In other news, yesterday the CEO complimented my outfit and the ribbon in my hair. From what I’ve heard, he is a very fashion-conscious individual, so I was pleased. I am wearing the “Christmas Tree Skirt” skirt that Mom made in the ‘70s.

: I really enjoyed this column in Newsweek. She writes about how Christianity will survive not being “recognized” by Target.

[Comments] (1) Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer: I can't hear this song without thinking of Mr. Autry, the band teacher at Haven Drive Jr. High. Leonard and I were both in band the whole time we were at school there. I played the flute; Leonard played the oboe. I think we both got suckered into the xylophone at different times because of our piano playing skills. I was in winterguard drumline. I'm not sure what Leonard did. Mr. Autry loved us Richardsons, either because we were brilliant or because he worked with Dad.

I heard this song on RadioDisney on my way to work. I mentioned this before; they edited this song too. I went like this: Grandpa's taking this so well [cut to next verse].

[Comments] (2) Christmas in SoCal: John and I went to Disneyland last night. We drove by a bank sign that said 78°. yay! Disneyland wasn't that crowded, considering it was December 23rd, and a Friday. It was very nice. We bought each other ornaments in hopes of starting a tradition where we give each other one in our stocking each year.

This morning we awoke to a bit of fog, which really made it feel like Christmas to me. Leonard also mentioned today that the weather in Bakersfield is usually foggy on Christmas. There was no traffic, it only took us 2 hours to get to Bakersfield, and Leonard and Sumana pulled up right behind us. We took Rachel out to lunch since she has to work (John's idea!) and Leonard and I have started a Christmas Eve feast. We made a turkey! Gretel was excited: she got the gibblets.

[Comments] (3) Holiday Highlights: So much stuff happened this weekend, I don't know where to start. Coolest first I guess:

On Monday morning, Leonard, Rachel and I cleaned out Mom's garage and the shed. It was great! Leonard boxed up all the junk for the Salvation Army and Rachel and I dejunked, cleaned and organized in the shed. Then we all cleaned in the garage. We were out there for several hours and filled both the trashcan and the recycling bin. The place looks awesome now, and we can get rid of so much junk. Except now Mom is worried we'll want to keep all our old junk in there.

Leonard and I made a huge dinner on Christmas Eve. We cooked the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, gravy, mashed potatoes and spinach dip. Then we had fun sorting the stocking stuff we'd all got for each other. I love doing stockings!

Christmas evening we went to Pat and Alan's and had fun playing with the little cousins and eating. This year was more fun than some because the little kids are getting older and Santa has started coming again.

We had a good time going to church together and opening stockings/gifts. We are all quite spoiled, I think. John and I got some fun games, books, clothes, DVDs, etc. Also some Target gift cards, so we can buy a digital camera. And peanut brittle.

Monday night Leonard, Rachel, John and I went to Black Angus and split the $46 Filet Mignon meal for two, with a few add-ons. It was delicious. We also played lots of games: Apples to Apples, Guillotine and Settlers of Catan. I love playing games! My new Guillotine game is fun.

Yesterday John and I stopped in Valencia to hang out with Tyler and Tasha. We played another game of Apples to Apples with them and two of Tasha's siblings. It was a lot of fun. When we got home we "took down Christmas" and put up some of our new decorations. Then we watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", which is my favorite of the Rankin/Bass films John loves.

Now I have two days of work to live through and then another four day weekend!

Happy 2006: We went to Disneyland first thing this morning and stayed until we'd gone on everything good, by which time the rain was starting to come down pretty hard. We went on Space Mountain for the first time in a while, and Splash Mountain (got more wet from the rain). Also went on some rides at California Adventure, including the new Monsters, Inc. ride.

It is 9:10; I don't know if I will make it another three hours! Tomorrow, and next week, I have to be the Primary Chorister, which I think is the hardest calling, especially since it's not my calling! I guess we will sing fun songs for two weeks.

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