Thursday, September 14, 2006

Autumn Day

In a recent meme, I explained that fall to me was when the colors changed, the air was crisp, and I had to turn the gas heater on. Happy times, I think autumn has arrived. The heater is on, albeit turned to low because I was almost fried to a crisp earlier today. That heater wasn't turned on because of a dateline either. In fact, I have been quite chilled lately by the crispness of the air. It's extremely invigorating. And the colors. I drove to Salt Lake Monday afternoon for meetings. As I climbed the hill leaving Heber, I could see touches of red among the scrub oak. I knew that our UEA trip was going to be too late to see the really great fall colors. That premonition was fulfilled when I drove through the same area Wednesday evening. The whole hillside was ablaze. What a gorgeous sight! I decided to drive the speed limit so I didn't endanger anyone as I gawked at the beauty around me. Thankfully, the Ashley Valley hasn't changed colors yet so I will be able to savor it over the next few weeks. I have three trees in my front yard that usually put on a great show, but the maples in the back have been very disappointing, going directly to brown at the first frost. I believe I need a few oaks back there to spice things up. Definitely, no more trees will be planted until the fall potential is thoroughly investigated. All this seasonality reminded me of a favorite Primary song:
"Autumn Day, Autumn Day, God gives richest gifts today.
Look on every side and see Pleasant things for you and me.
Apples red and apples yellow, Round and juicy, sweet and mellow,
Load the trees till they bend over And their branches touch the clover.
Child, be glad with all that lives, But forget not God who gives."
Pretty song, great sentiment. There's a good reason why Thanksgiving is in the fall.
I've even accomplished some of the things I wanted to do before the end of September.
1. I have new bedding in all the bedrooms. There is now a Red Room, Green Room and the Lilac Room. (Someday, the Lilas Room will have more that one lilac pillow, hence the name.)
2. The bad grass is dead. No new grass, but hey, why change that beautiful square of brush?
3. I bought some mats to help with the "Framed Project."
4. I've visited two sisters. That's 50%.
5. The CD drive still doesn't work, but I've received lots of great advice. Also, about half my pictures has been saved to a disc and I recently ordered 53 pictures to be printed at Unfortunately, I entered the order twice so I will be getting doubles. One in matte and the other glossy. Jeez. I never received a confirmation on the first order and the expiration date on the card was wrong, so how did they process it? I tried to cancel it two seconds later, but was informed that their system was too automated to change any online orders. It's a website, what other kind of orders could they possibley get?
6. I hurried to the hotel from Barnes and Noble (not an easy feat, but probably money-saving), stopped at Arctic Circle (I've missed it so much since the one in Vernal closed. What a disappointment. I remember it as being better), and settled in to watch Dancing with the Stars. I did miss the first set, but saw the rest. Tucker Carlson was horrible, Jerry Springer was better than anticipated but still bad, and Mario Lopez, well, let's just say, handsome Latino with great dimples who can really cha-cha-cha. It was a pleasure. I'm afraid Relief Society is going on a hike the same night as Gray's Anatomy's premier. Rats, who planned that?? Oh well, now I have to figure out how to get all those women back before nine. The next Thursday, we're reviewing Pride and Prejudice at my house!! Curse the network Gods for moving Gray to Thursday.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Five Foods You Really Must Try

Ouch, I've been tagged and I felt so unworthy to discuss this topic. "Wait a minute." I says to myself, says I, "I may not cook a lot, but I can eat with the best of them. " So while I'll share a couple of the things I like to prepare myself, the rest is the kind someone else cooks, my favorite kind.

1. Peach-Cream Cheese Dessert This is made in a 9 x 13 pan with graham cracker crust, a layer of cream cheese, margarine, sugar and vanilla (feel those arteries clogging??), topped with a layer of sliced fresh peaches, covered with real whipping cream. I don't make it often because I hate peeling peaches and there is only a certain time of year when they are ripe enough. (Sorry, folks, it's not the 4th of July. I've finally learned)

2. Sex in a Pan I just like telling people this is the dessert I'm bringing. No, I don't make it for church. People would pass up the main course and head right to dessert. You probably know it as something else. It's another layered dessert with a nut and flour crust, cream cheese layer, chocolate pudding layer and Cool Whip layer. Easy to make and everyone likes it, (except for those weirdos who pretend to not like chocolate)

3. Tuscan Chicken Salad @ Johnny Carrino's I could be wrong about the name of this salad, but if you get the chance to eat at Johnny Carrino's, this is the dish I recommend. Fantastic dressing.

4. Lettuce Wraps @ P F Changs There are a lot of wonderful entrees at P F Changs, but always, always start with the lettuce wraps. It is a mystery to me how they get that lettuce so crisp and uniform.

5. Carmelized Pear Pizza @ California Pizza Factory I can't describe this except to say it is truly wonderful. Don't let the name put you off. (This is not a dessert)

Now, I'm making an addition to this meme by requesting recipes for five things I would like to make. If you can help, please comment.

1. Sour Cream Lemon Pie
2. The world's best pasta salad. I've had several good ones, but this one had ranch dressing, olives, ham, cheese, olive oil (I think) and other good stuff. The restaurant wouldn't give me the recipe. What's up with that?
3. Boysenberry Cobbler. I could probably figure this out, but where do you get boysenberries?
4. A delicious but easy casserole to take to sick friends
5. A good zucchini bread or cake

I see that I am inordinately interested in desserts. I know that makes me the odd man out, a loner on a deserted island, the Queen of Spades in a game of Hearts, the Ugly American . . . can I stop now? I honestly tried to focus on other food groups, but things are what they are.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Five

I borrowed this idea from "Write from Karen" as it seemed a good journal entry. Hopefully, next year I'll read this and remember what I was all about this year.

1. This is the 1st of September, what do you want to accomplish by the 31st.
a. Get new bedding for my three bedrooms.
b. Visit at least four sisters in my ward who could use a visit.
c. Get back on a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
d. Kill the bad grass and get new planted.
e. Finish the framed picture project for my hallway.
f. Figure out what is wrong with my computer's D drive and either replace it or do something else to get my pictures printed.
g. Watch Dancing with the Stars and Gray's Anatomy season openers.
2. What does September make you think about or feel?
I love September. There is a touch of fall in the air in the mornings but it is still warm. The leaves start turning at the end of the month. People start slowing down for a while after hectic summers and before the craziness of the holidays begin. I start looking forward to the annual UEA trip with Mom, sisters and brothers. Also the Indian Summer Storytelling Festival is on the 14th and 15th, the third annual event. If you can be in Vernal on those days, it's so much fun. And proceeds go to the local schools' libraries.
3. September is the ninth month; can you name nine memories so far from this year?
1. I turned 50 in February. One of the funnest birthdays I've ever had. We celebrated at work and then my son and his wife visited and we celebrated all weekend. High school friends showed up that morning with a cane (complete with horn and review mirror), epsom salts, reading glasses and Ben Gay.
2. Enjoyed my first experience with blogging and keeping in closer touch with family members, and talking to new friends.
3. Called to be the Relief Society President in my ward.
4. My old boss, Dave, transferred to Orem and the new boss, Preston, moved to Vernal with lots of new ideas. I'm remembering a lot of stress, even though Preston is really a nice guy, just so incredibly smart.
5. Spoke in church in March about feeling the love of the Lord in your life each day. Something I need to remember more often. (Not the speaking, just the love . . . life would be much calmer and more peaceful.
6. A trip to St. George in June with my high school friends to celebrate our 50th milestone.
7. Jason and Rachel's February wedding in St. George and reception in Cedar City, and seeing as many beautiful homes in the Parade of Homes as possible.
8. The Big C
9. The Year of Books, another positive side effect of blogging.
4. What does September have in common with three other months and can you name them?
It ends with "ber" just like October, November and December. Other than that, I compare it to October, April and May because Fall and Spring are my favorite times of the year; mild, gorgeous weather just when you've had it with winter and summer.
5. The first weekend in September signals the end of summer for many even though it doesn’t really end for weeks. When does summer end for you?
The end of summer for me is when the leaves are suddenly orange, yellow, red and brown. There is that crisp nip in the air and I have to close the window at night. Summer is really over when I turn the gas heater on. Hopefully, this year, I'll get the dead flowers pulled out or cut down.