Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Meme

Stacey at Magnum Momma posted this festive meme along with some wonderful photos of the cutest kid in the world. So I copied the meme and you'll have to visit her blog to see the pictures. And, yes, there are a hundred other things I should be doing, but who's counting?

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I wrap until I'm sick of it. Then I pull out the bags.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. I have a closet full of decorations, enough to do five trees with different themes.

3. When do you put up the tree? This year, it was the 12th. And I've only turned the lights on once. We have a family progressive party each year to see the different trees. Mine was off limits because I didn't even have time to get the boxes off the floor.

4. When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day

5. Do you like Egg Nog? Of course, it's fattening, isn't it?

6. Favorite gift received as a child? A stuffed kitten. I always loved soft, furry things.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Jordan and Stacey. They always have to tell me exactly what to get because I never have a clue.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Myself. Now there's a gift that is always appreciated and loved.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, I think I have twelve. This year, I've put up a set made from corn husksthat Cassie gave me last year (it's amazing), a Jim Shore set (also from Cassie and also amazing), and a Willa Rae set (I just love those homely faces).

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Neither. My computer is too slow for email and I'm too slow for snail mail.

11. Worst/Funniest Christmas gift you ever received? Funniest - The year I bought myself the Willow Tree nativity set and one for my mother also. Then I found out that she had bought herself the set. I complained about that all month. So I was pretty embarrassed when my daughter gave me a set for Christmas. No wonder, she wasn't very sympathetic about my complaints. I can't think of a worst which is a good thing.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? "White Christmas" I never fail to get tears in my eyes when the general walks in the dining room and all the men snap to attention.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I try to start early, I really do, but it's usually the first of December every year. I know if I bought something on sale in January, that person would have bought himself/herself the same thing long before Christmas rolled around again. And I have this unreasonable need to spend money in December so why fight it?

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Is that legal?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I love wassail and eggnog. We don't have a traditional Christmas meal but it's always good. And I love chocolate oranges and peanut brittle. And divinity, but no one makes it anymore.

16. Lights on the tree? I love lots of white lights on my tree but this year, I skimped. Yes, it was sheer laziness. When I do my Santa Claus tree, I use multi-colored lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Oh Holy Night by Andy Williams and Ave Maria by Josh Groban. I have tons of Christmas CDs. My favorites are Michael Crawford - A Christmas Album, and Amy Grant - A Christmas to Remember. Although Josh Groban and Alan Jackson are great as well. I could go on and on. I have some great CD's. There are a couple of Christmas songs that I loathe: I Heard the Bells, why, oh why do we have to sing it in church two or three times; and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. (shudder)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen...Rudolph! Lucky for me, I copied Stacey's meme and just didn't delete this section.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I put an angel on the top when I do my angel tree but this year, I have a snowman.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Grumpy shoppers. I know it's crowded and your feet hurt and everything's expensive or gone, but still. On the other hand, there are always those people who smile and help and are polite and exude Christmas cheer. I'm trying to be more like that.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? No favorite colors or themes. I change it every year.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? I think I've already answered this. We've done everything from Mexican to Italian to fondues (that was fun but it was before we all had little kids) This year I have a ham that a customer gave me so I requested funeral potatoes to go with. Love potatoes.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? A new body, a different hairstyle, a bigger house. But I'll be satisfied to spend time with my family. Cassie, Stacey and Jordan are all coming, so I'm excited. And Lincoln. Really, what more could I want?

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I've been doing so well with my monthly journals but nearly blew it with November. December is such a crazy month that I've almost forgotten what I did last month. I'll just have to do the best I can:

14th -16th I traveled to Salt Lake and spent time with my kids and grandson. Lincoln is endlessly entertaining with his Incredible Hulk imitation and just being himself.

18th The ward had a Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey and stuffing. I went, I ate, I left. I usually stay and help wash dishes but my feet hurt and DWTS was on. Sad, huh?

22nd I went to the matinee showing of "Twilight" with Lisa Labrum. She loved it; and I thought it was okay. Some of the characters were spot on like Charlie, Alice, Carlisle and James, but Edward was too pale with too-red lips. I know he's a vampire but none of the rest of the vampires looked quite as odd. But overall, I enjoyed and will probably watch it again now that I've seen Edward and can live with the disappointment.

26th- 30th I took time off to get ready for Thanksgiving. Cassie came home and I got to spend lots of time with her. She's great company. Julie also stayed at my house which was fun too. Of course, I went to bed while they were still playing games at Mom's and they got out of bed hours after me. Thanksgiving dinner was a Mom's as usual; and it was delicious as usual. Mark, Greg and Jenny Lou were here from Salt Lake; and Julie and Susan from Cedar City. Plus Annie's nephew from the Dominican. We played games: Dice, Hearts and Hand-and-Foot. Plus Kevin's Wii. What a crack-up watching everyone golf and bowl.

28th Julie, Cassie and I went and saw "Australia." I enjoyed it as well. What's not to enjoy. Nicole Kidman is a great actress and Hugh Jackman is excellent eye candy. I swear when he walks into the ballroom there was a collective female gasp in that theater.

Work I barely made my goals this month. It's the worst month I've had all year. Things are slowing down a little in Vernal what with oil prices so low and uncertainty over the new administration. It doesn't bode well for next year because my goals are going to be jacked up. We'll just have to do the best we can.

Books read or listened to
The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle - Fiction
Let Me Finish by Roger Angell - Memoir
Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat (audio) by Vicky Myron - Memoir
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston - Historical Fiction
Conquering Gotham by Jill Jones - Non-Fiction (Great book)
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (Another great book)
The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle by Raeanne Thayne - Romance
Whatchagot Stew by Patrick McManus - Memoir

TV I finally got hooked up to Dish TV so I can watch TV in my living room again. I still am addicted to DWTS and Gray's Anatomy, but it's fun to see what's on all those other stations. Not that I get a lot of other stations because I got the cheapest package, but I'm loving KUED and KBYU. There sure are a lot of shopping stations on and I've watched a couple. I was almost convinced to buy the floor cleaner but remained strong. I'm going to avoid those stations from now on. My problem is that I go to the channel guide and see a great show I would like to see and realize I've missed the first hour. Oh well, it's just TV.

Overall impression It's been almost two weeks since November ended. I can't remember except it was beautifully warm and sunny. Now I'm sitting looking at my undecorated house waiting for the snow storm that's coming today. Yikes!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What Twilight Book Character Are You?

Twilight Test

Alice Cullen
You are Alice Cullen. Your ability to foresee danger and misfortune doesn't diminish your bubbly optimism. You are a force to be reckoned with -- anybody with enough sense knows, you never bet against Alice.

Twilight Test from Dumb Spot!

It's true. I am a Twilightee. Loved the first book, enjoyed the rest. Edward Cullen is too good to be true which is why I didn't love him in the movie. How do you portray "too good to be true"? Still the movie was a lot of fun. I loved the casting of Charlie, Alice and James. I like Robert Pattinson but surely there was a better looking guy to play Edward. Climbing the tree looked a little hokey, but the scene in the dance studio was fantastic. All in all, a great escape.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

October Outlook

Wow, October is over already. This month has really flown by, and the year is almost gone. How does that happen? It has been a beautiful month, warm with a nice brisk chill some mornings. I've been wearing my sweaters to work but mostly because I like to wear them. I did a lot of traveling this month so maybe that's why it flew by so fast.

Oct 4 & 5 - It was General Conference this weekend. I listened to some great talks and felt very uplifted as usual. My favorites were Joseph Wirthlin and Jeffrey Holland. They just made me feel good.

Oct 4 - Brett and Angela came out to visit and watch GC with Mom. Everyone went to Mom's to visit and play games, mostly Dice, I think.

Oct 15 - Attended a training in Provo with other managers. It was called Coaching the Coach and was all about how to help the Service Manager coach the tellers better. As always, there was a sales focus but mostly we worked on ways to improve customer service and customer perceptions. Pretty good stuff.

Oct 16 - Attended the annual Central Utah Managers meeting. It was held at a beautiful cabin-type mansion up Hobble Creek Canyon near Springville. While most of the fall colors were faded, it was still a beautiful setting. Our morning breakout session lasted too long so we had to grab lunch and eat during another session. I felt bad I didn't have a chance to walk around the outside of the home (now owned by BYU) and see the views. We got to meet the new Regional Banking President for our area. I think he's going to make a lot of changes. Have mercy. After the meeting, I drove to Salt Lake and met up with Mark and Susan and had dinner. I finally got to see Jason and Rachel's new baby, Robert Brent. He is so cute.

Oct 17 - Susan, Mark and I drove up Mill Creek Canyon to do some hiking. We planned to go to the top of the canyon but the road was iced over and very treacherous. We ended going on a hike farther down the canyon. It was pretty steep and I didn't make it to the top even though I went farther than I thought I could. My feet have still not recovered. I think I have a bone spur on my heel and the hike did not help. We also visited the State Capitol which I hadn't been to in years. Susan and I argued about where the lion statute had been sitting when we visited with our little kids. I'm sure I'm right and I have a picture to prove it. The doors were locked to the House of Representative room but we found an open door to the visitors' gallery and snuck in. And watched the planes taking off and landing at the airport from the windows. Not to mention the train that stopped in the middle of town for a half hour. Oh the fun!! We also drove out to Salt Air and around the Ochre Mountain range. That evening we met up with Cheya, Myke and Mom who were headed to Oregon, Cassie, Alyson, Greg, Jenny Lou and Katie at the Olive Garden for dinner.

Oct 18 - Before Susan left for Cedar City, she and I went to the Cannery in Sandy and bought several cases of food storage. My boxes are now sitting in the middle of the spare bedroom. I don't know where to put them!! Then I drove out to West Jordan to see Jordan, Stacey and Lincoln. Stacey had the house all decorated for Halloween. She is very talented. We met Cassie at Ruby River for dinner. I spent the night there and got to play with Lincoln in the morning and after church. He is so much fun and is such a happy little boy. Then it was time to go home. I made sure I filled up in SL since gas prices there are plummeting and Vernal is still gouging. What's the deal??

Oct 24 & 25 - A Weekend to Remember. Wells Fargo rewarded all the managers in the state who reached 103% of their goals in August and September with a weekend at the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake. The hotel was built in order to provide Salt Lake with a 4-star hotel for the Olympics. It was verrrry nice. Cassie and I stayed in a suite on the 23rd floor with an excellent view of the Wells Fargo building. Planned???? There were two TV's, balconies, a huge and gorgeous bathroom, beds turned down each night with candy on the pillow and robes laid out, etc. Verrrry nice. (It bears repeating) The restaurant was a disappointment. The food wasn't that great and is without a doubt the most expensive meal I've ever paid for. I'll chalk that up to experience. Saturday, Cassie and I went to one author's seminar at the Salt Lake Book Festival. Raeanne Thayne has published over 30 romance novels; and her talk was mostly about the popularity of the genre even though many turn their noses up at it. She scorns the term "bodice rippers" even though those are still romances. It was an interesting discussion but I remain unconvinced. I enjoy books that have romance but I don't think they fall into the same category that Thayne discussed--romances always have a happy ending, the heroine is a strong woman who brings out the best in her man, the man learns to be more sensitive, etc. Still she was giving books away to anyone who asked questions or commented, so I did. I now own The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle. I love any type of Christmas book so I was glad to get this one. As you can see, this cowboy is missing his hat, but he looks properly sensitive. Cassie and I then went to Best Buy to look over printers. Mine is defunct. I didn't buy a printer but I did get a new hard drive. It's still in the package but someday I will hook it up and figure it out. We went back and lounged in the luxury of our room for a while. We were a little surprised when room service opened our door to turn down the beds. What are those fancy door bells for?? I asked him to come back in an hour. I definitely wanted our beds turned down and candy left since I had given my box to Stacey and Jordan the night before. Then it was time for the Recognition Banquet. We had some very nice hors d'ouevres and a good dinner. I had bought a new jacket from a catalog and wore it that night. Imagine my surprise to see the manager from Provo with a jacket made of the same material. The style was a little different but it looked the same. She has very good taste. Each manager was recognized and Cassie won the fresh-flower centerpiece at our table. Nice and short, everything a banquet should be. We then went to a movie and back to the room to sleep in (dare I say it again?) luxury.

Books read or listened to:
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly - A creepy fantasy in which a young boy finds himself in an alternative world where fairy tales are real and very sinister.
Winter Study by Nevada Barr (audio) - An Anna Pigeon National Park mystery which takes place in Michigan's Isle Royale National Park.
Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson - The first book in a humorous series of two Canadians who turn their home into a literary inn.
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - Another first in series book, this time a mystery, about a man who sees and talks to the dead. Very highly recommended by Cheya.
Dawn by Elie Wiesel - Historical fiction dealing with the freedom fighters in British-controlled Palestine.
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (audio) - A Jane Marple mystery where the least popular man in the village is murdered and the list of suspects is huge.
The Devil's Bones by Jefferson Bass (audio) - This is the second book in a mystery series involving a forensics scientist who teaches and solves crimes.
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney - This book takes place in cold, cold Canada in 1867. It tells the tale of a murdered trapper and a mother's trek to clear her son of the murder.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury - Two 13-year-old boys sneak out one night to see a carnival arrive in town in the wee hours of the morning. There is something very sinister about the carnival; and the two boys are quickly targets of the autumn people.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton - This book has been around for years and tells the story of a family of small people who live under the kitchen floor and borrow the things they need to live.
The Woods by Harlen Coben - Paul Copeland is a county prosecutor involved in a rape case. He soon become involved in solving a recent murder which reopens the case of four murdered or missing teenagers from twenty years ago.
I also finished another challenge which is always a good thing. I mooched some more books but didn't buy any. And it looks like I read a lot of mysteries this month.
Cassie and I went and saw The Duchess when I was in Salt Lake. It stars Kiera Knightley and Ralphe Fiennes. The acting and cinematography were excellent. I enjoyed it a lot.
I'm still watching Dancing with the Stars. Cloris Leachman was finally voted off, but not before some better dancers left the show. I'm still enjoying this show. It's very entertaining. I'm not sure why I comment on what I watch on TV because it is just DWTS and Gray's Anatomy. Boring.
Overall Impression
I'm tired. I like traveling and always enjoy going out to Salt Lake to see my kids and grandson, but now I need to get things done around the house. But I'm just too tired. Guess I'll go to bed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

4th File 4th Picture Tag

Alyson tagged me for this post. You take the 4th picture in your 4th file and post it. How easy is that? I had to count out files that were copies of pictures taken by others; but this is what I ended up with.
I took this picture early on a Sunday morning in April 2006. It was a surprise snow storm. I liked the way the rising sun lit up that hill to the west. Later that afternoon I took another picture from about the same angle because everything looked so different.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Sentinal

September is such a great month. Summer is almost over and there is a nip in the air. At least, there should be, but it's been pretty hot these days. But the nights are cooler. The leaves are starting to turn. I love fall. Here's what I did this month:

Sept 1 thru 8 - I was traveling!!!! YAY This is the week I went on a cruise to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Maine with Cassie and Julie. I did a post on the trip earlier so I won't say any more.

Sept 11 - Lincoln turned one today. I think it should be a national holiday. Because of Lincoln and the World Trade Center attacks. It will always be a memorable day for me. I remember exactly where I was when I first about the towers (sitting in my car before going to work, listening to the radio) and exactly where I was when I heard about Lincoln being born. (shopping in Walmart when Jordan called me on my cell phone.)

Sept 13 - I have not traveled enough this month so I drive back to Salt Lake for Lincoln's birthday party. Stacey had the best pizza for dinner and, of course, we had cake and ice cream. It was fun watching Lincoln with his cousins, Carter and Collin; and another friend, Seneca. Cassie and I represented Jordan's family and Stacey's parents, brother and sister-in-law; sister and friend; and Seneca's friends were all there. It was fun. I think Lincoln's favorite present was a big gift bag that he carried all over the house.

Well, that's about it. The rest of the month I spent reading and watching TV. It took me four weeks to finally get everything unpacked and the luggage put away.

Books Read

The Ride of Our Lives by Mike Leonard. A humorous memoir of a man taking his eighty-year old parents on a trip in an RV.

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley. A classic novel that involves a bookshop, young love and Nazi saboteurs. It was a fun read.

At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie. This was an audio book. I love to listen to those English narrators reading her great mysteries.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman has a odd imagination. This book is geared toward younger readers. The illustrations and prose are creepy and great for the R.I.P Challenge.

Silas Marner by George Eliot. Another classic, I didn't care for this book about a recluse who becomes transformed after a little girl walks into his life.

Saffy's Angel by Hilary Mackay. A cute young adult book, it is the first in a series about a fun but dysfunctional family.

The Monster of Templeton by Lauren Groff. This is another audio book about a fictional version of Cooperstown, New York. It was pretty good, but not great.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. A lot of other blogers really loved this book but I was less impressed. Again good, but not great. I'm anxious to see how Cassie likes it.

The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson. Tristi Pinkston asked me to participate in a blog tour for this book and I jumped right in. I mean, I got a free Christmas book. The cover is beautiful. Stacy is LDS and the book is easily recognizable as Mormon to other Mormons, but the message is pretty non-denominational. It's a little sappy, but I like that in a Christmas book. I like the message and it made me laugh and cry.
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. Published in 1765, this book is considered the first of the gothic genre. I thought it was hilarious, it was so over the top and there were somany stereotypes.
Wow, that's ten books. I also finished five challenges although I have posted on all of them. I joined one that ends on Halloween, reading creepy, gothic and mysterious novels. I've read four but I want to read a couple more. I'm currently reading The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly.
I bought Penelope but haven't watched it yet. I did watch The Great Debaters on DVD. It is a fantastic movie.  I also watched a jackie Chan movie on the flight from DC to Phoenix but I can't remember what it is called.
Dancing with the Stars started on the 22nd. My early favorite is Brooke Burke. Gray's Anatomy also started a new season on the 25th. I swear if Meredith starts second-guessing herself again, I'm going to scream.
Overall Impression
I've always liked September. It's the start of school, high school football games, (just memories, I don't go any more), leaves starting to change and beautiful days. Mmmmm, fall.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The First Birthday

Father & Son at Lincoln's birthday party

I can't believe that Lincoln is a year old. Where did the time go? And his father, Jordan, was born twenty-eight years ago. Yes, time really does fly. I love these two pictures with their bony baby butts. It is amazing how much my grandson looks like his dad did when he was brand new.

Here they are a year later. Obviously, they both like cake. Lincoln looked so much like Jordan when he was first born, but now he doesn't so much. His head is shaped differently. I wish I had some one-year-old pictures of Stacey to add to the comparison. Watching Lincoln at his birthday party, I saw some of his expressions that really reminded me of his dad, but he is definitely starting to look a lot like his mom also. It's pretty fascinating to see the wonder of a baby growing up and taking after each of his parents. I can't even imagine life without him and it's only been a year. A few high points this year is watching Lincoln learning to roll, crawl and now HE WALKS! He's a genius. I don't know if he still does it, but a few months ago, Lincoln trilled and rolled his tongue. He has the cutest expressions which just crack me up. Lincoln doesn't cry a lot but when he does, it's kind of scary. He has this deep growling cry. It's really more funny than scary. And he loves books, what more could I ask for?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Norwegian Dream

What could be a better than a cruise in the Northeast, someone else making your beds and turning them down each night, towel animals on the bed, all the food you could possible eat (and more) lots of rain and fog, and the tail end of a hurricane? Actually, it was a great trip (thanks, Dramamine). We saw some beautiful things and missed others. Laughed a lot, ate a lot, spent a lot of money, spent a lot of time in airports. Yeah, it was great.

Here is a picture of our lovely ship taken from Bar Harbor (Baa Haa Baa). Bar Harbor was our last stop. This is where the cruise balled up. We had to go through immigration before taking a tender to shore. Everyone on board lined up to go through and it took forever. So half our excursion was cancelled, but we still took a bus to the top of Cadillac Mountain where you can see the entire island. At least you could if it wasn't engulfed in fog. Even so this was a fun stop. Bar Harbor is picturesque and the harbor was beautiful when the fog burned off. Julie even got sunburned a couple hours after this picture was taken. There were lots of shops and a village green, just too many people. But that was the case wherever we went . With the exception of Hailfax, these are smaller towns that just got inundated with 1700 people.

Since I've done this completely out of order, maybe I'll go back and do a day-by-day run down.

August 30 - Left Salt Lake at 3:00 after spending the morning with Lincoln. We flew to Phoenix and spent the next five hours in that airport. Next stop - Charlotte, NC. We reached Boston Sunday morning and boarded the ship. (Cassie looks like a movie star, doesn't she?) We were late for a barbecue on the top deck that evening and almost had to beg for food. They were pulling dishes right out from under our grasp. Not a good omen, but the food and service improved vastly as the cruise continued.

September 1 - Landed in St. John, New Brunswick. The best greeting ever. There must have been twenty people handing women from the ship roses and the men got pins. We took a bus ride around the town, stopped at an old market where we bought souvenirs, saw the reverse waterfall (where the Bay of Fundy at high tide meets the river). We rode the bus to St Martin while the guide talked and pointed things out. At St. Martin, Julie and I had really good sea food chowder. Cassie had chicken strips. We walked along the shore and headed back to the ship. I slept a lot during the thirty minute bus ride to St. Martin and back. A lone bag piper in a kilt serenaded the ship as it pulled away from the pier. That was pretty surreal.

September 2 - Our first sea day. I really noticed the motion of the waves here and eventually took medication. Julie did as well but she was also coming down with a nasty cold. Cassie did fine and but bemoaned the fact that the ice cream shack on the top deck was closed because of the rain. We played dice and read. Learned about buying jewelry. Very relaxing.

September 3 - Halifax. This was my favorite stop. We took a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of the city which worked perfectly for me as we could stay longer at some stops but still have a guide pointing out sites as we rode the bus. We spent time in the Halifax Gardens (beautiful) and ate at a great Italian restaurant. Julie walked back to the ship as she was really unwell while Cassie and I continued on to the Citadel. This fort was built to guard the city from the French but wasn't finished until that threat was gone. Our guide, Corporal Steve, was a cute college kid, again in a kilt. I really enjoyed our time at the Citadel. The views were fantastic and we learned some great history about the city. Our next stop was at the Halifax Maritime Museum where we learned more about the Halifax Explosion. I was really interested in this piece of history after reading Barometer Rising, a novel which includes the tragedy.

September 4 - Coming into Sydney was beautiful, but it was a pretty ordinary town. We took a taxi ride to see the sites and saw a lot of churches and subdivisions. Odd. We did eat lunch at a great restaurant overlooking the bay and met a local walking his Westies. Cute dogs and he was fun to visit with.

September 5 - Another sea day with rain and fog. Julie was really sick this day and spent most of the day in our miniscule state room. I can't remember what Cassie and I did.

September 6 - I've already told you about Bar Harbor. I would love to see this place on a really sunny day.

September 7 - Debarked in Boston and found our way to the airport. This time we flew to DC, Phoenix, and finally Salt Lake. We were exhausted.

Dislikes: Constant motion on the ship. About two days back on land, I started feeling that motion again. Tiny room that was totally dark at night and hot. Not having enough time in the ports to really get a feel for the places, except for Halifax. The comedy show where guests told their supposedly g-rated jokes.

Likes: The food was fantastic. The Chocolate Buffet: tables loaded with different chocolate delicacies and chocolate sculptures. I loved the towel animals and the friendly crew (except those barbecue guys). Friendly townspeople. Great entertainment: The Jean Ryan Troupe of dancers and singers, a fantastic juggler, very funny comedian and so-so jazz singer. Denny, the cruise director, was an odd man but the act he and his team (The Fountains) performed at the crew talent show made us laugh so hard. Spending time with Cassie and Julie was the best.

Would I go on a cruise again? Sure, it is an inexpensive way to travel and the good outweighs the bad. I still prefer road trips because you have more options, but would love an Alaskan cruise, maybe the Mediterranean or even Scandinavia.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

August Archives

This is the month that I spent a lot of money. I ordered a bunch of clothes online to wear on my trip. Most of those got returned. I bought cameras, TV, shoes, and just general stuff. You know, spending money is really fun. But here's a general report of noteworthy happenings.

1st - I attended the bank's Recognition Event in Provo. It was held at the Elk's Lodge and I stayed at the Marriott. I love sleeping in hotels; nice firm bed, lots of channels on the TV, alone time. The event itself was fun. I was late and didn't get to scope out the prizes which really didn't matter in the end. My name was called about halfway through and all the prizes I had been hoping for were gone. But I did select a very nice set of luggage: brown flowery brocade design. Just the thing for cruise. (Stay tuned to learn how it fared on the trip. Details in a future post)

2nd - I got up early which is hard when you're sleeping in a comfy hotel bed and it's Saturday morning, but I needed to get back to Vernal for the Petersen Family Reunion. I made it just in time to say goodby to Uncle Donald and Aunt Eleanor and Cousin Eldon. The rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent mostly playing dice and visiting. It was a nice day with a light breeze cooling things off occasionally. I have a great family and it was fun to spend time with them.

12th - Went visiting teaching. I know this shouldn't be that noteworthy, but it is the first time in eight months that my partner went with me. She is the same age as my daughter but really fun; and we had a good time. She's a busy girl so I'm glad we were able to finally go out together.

13th - Saw the movie "Mama Mia" with my high school friends. If you went to high school in the 70's, I recommend going to this movie with similar age friends. Some of the references were hilarious and the music was great. Except when Pierce Brosnan sang and then it was just hilarious. I was telling someone about it today (a month later) and starting cracking up again. Very entertaining.

30th-31st - Drove to Salt Lake Friday night and stayed at Jordan's. That meant I got to play with Lincoln Saturday morning. We went to a store and Jordan parked in the back seat with the baby. I made mooing noises for him which he loved. He's so cute. I left the car with Jordan and Stacey so they had two cars while I was gone. That afternoon at 3 pm MST, Julie, Cassie and I boarded our plane en route to Boston via Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC. We arrived in Boston at 9 am EST. What a long day and night. Our layover in Phoenix was five hours long!! We took a very expensive taxi ride to the boat and boarded. You'll have to wait for my post about the trip to learn more.

Books - I read or listened to eight books this month:

Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett (audio) - Very funny

The Changeling by Zilpha Keating Snyder - A great young adult book

Niagra: A History of the Falls by Pierre Berton - Non-fiction, read for Canadian challenge. Very informative and interesting.

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer - The last of the Twilight series. The kind of book you can't put down but not my favorite in the series.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - Dare I criticize the great one? I'll just say this was one of my least favorite Austen books.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E L Konigburg - Another great young adult book.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - probably my least favorite read this month.

Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan - Read for the Canadian Challenge and in preparation for my trip to Halifax. It was slow going at first, but the description of the Halifax Explosion was spellbinding.

I joined one challenge, R.I.P Challenge 2008, which is always a good one for the fall. I also finished the Decades, TBR, Heard It Through the Grapevine and the Chunkster Challenges. So I have six challenges to finish before December 31 and one to finish by October 31. That's about sixteen books because I do a lot of cross-challenging, so I think I'm good. Especially since I'm almost finished with one that works for two challenges. I feel like I'm pulling a fast one.

Movies - Mama Mia (see above)

TV - It was all about the Olympics. Why is it that you couldn't pay me to watch rowing but put it on the Olympics and I'm standing and cheering on the Americans? If they're not in the race, I'll find someone else to cheer for. Swimming is still my favorite to watch and what nail biters a couple of those races were. Michael Phelps was so impressive. Less impressive was the joint interview they did with Phelps and Mark Spitz. Wasn't there some obsure sport like badminton that we could have been watching? I like watching gymnastics but got a little frustrated with some of the scoring. I did have a hard time with table tennis because the ball moved so fast I couldn't keep up with it. I admit I didn't watch any wrestling, but was glued to the volleyball matches. Whatever, it was fun.

Overall Impression - It seems like the entire month was a count down to The Trip. And the Olympics, of course.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Acquisitions

As many of you know, I'm getting ready to go on a cruise in New England in September. I didn't want to take my old Minolta camera since its picture quality has really declined. A small pocket camera would be nice to not weigh me down, but which one?? The bank had a recognition event in which they gave away 100 prizes which included two small Kodaks and two small Samsungs and a Nikon D40 (not a pocket camera at all). Well, I didn't win any of those; I got a great set of luggage which was perfect. One of my tellers won the Nikon and brought it to work to show off. I could see it was way too big and complicated for me, but what should I get. I spent every evening the next week researching cameras. I looked at Sonys, Olympuses. Nikons, Casios, and Canons. I read the reviews and the product specifications and the sizes. I wanted to use the same batteries I already owned (rechargeable AA) and the SD memory cards. Then I read that I should actually hold the cameras in my hand to see how each one felt. Well, I live in a small town, but I drove up to Inkleys and tried out their small selection; and almost bought a Canon A580. A nice small camera which also had a view finder. Sony and Canon were the only ones who have that. I also found I didn't want a really big camera. More research showed the Canon has a really slow shutter speed. That nixed it for me because it is one of the problems I have with my Minolta. Actually, I was pretty tired of doing research so this is what I ended up with.

Panasonic Lumix LZ10
A 10.1 megapixel with a 5x optical zoom. It's small but has a nice little grip on the right side so it won't slide out of my hands like the other pocket cameras felt like they would do. It takes an SD card and AA batteries and has a fast shutter speed. But I didn't stop there, oh no . . .I bought a
Panasonic Lumix FZ18
What can I say? I'm a sucker for zoom and this one has an 18x zoom, plus 8.1 megapixels. And it is the same size as my Minolta which is manageable for me. It does take different batteries, so I bought two plus a recharger only to discover that the camera came with a battery and recharger. I now have three batteries and two rechargers. Rats, it never did tell me what came in the package. I'm a little intimidated by both these cameras because they are more complicated than my trusty Minolta so I will be studying the next couple of weeks. But they both have really good reviews and seemed to fit my needs.

Last month I bought an indoor antenna to see if I could get better reception than my old outdated one. Unfortunately, it did nothing for my TV, great reception for KJAZZ and nothing else. So I hooked the old antenna back up and it no longer works. In a fit of rage, I went to Walmart and picked up a 15-inch flat screen and hooked it to the new antenna. The reception of NBC, ABC and CBS is not great but I can at least watch it. And now I get FOX. So it is sitting on the dining room table and I watch TV while I work on the internet. I'm tired of researching so I'm putting off a decision on whether to get satellite or something else. I hear I can get a digital antenna that will be able to pick up the new signals next February and maybe I won't have to pay for TV. I need expert advice.

Well, I have certainly spent a lot of money this month and it's been fun. Stressful but fun. I hope I can figure out how to use these cameras and what to do about TV.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

July Jingles

What can I say about July. It was hot, hot, hot. We got seven drops of rain and it is crazy dry. Cassie, Jordan, Stacey and Lincoln all came to visit for the Fourth. We had a lot of fun watching Lincoln crawling. He made the craziest face when the pink signal showed up on the TV after a DVD finished. Yes, he is certainly the most amusing human being on the face of the plant. I found that he does not like to be in the grass. But he could only hold one leg up and he never put in down. So cute. On the night of the Fourth, we went to Cheya and Myke's annual picnic. Good food as always and lots of people. Cheya had people posing with her crocheted hats that she is selling online. Finally we took Lincoln up to the park to see the fireworks. It's fun to watch there because you are so close to them. Lincoln was fascinated with the lights and noise. Until he got sleepy, of course. It was fun watching him. It was also fun watching his parents ooh and aah to him. It's hard to believe my son is a father, but he and Stacey are great parents.
The only other highlight this month was going to Salt Lake to babysit Lincoln on the 18th. He is crawling even faster, standing up and making all kinds of funny faces and noises. I was totally worn out but it was so worth it. I've noticed a trend in my monthly reportings. They seem to revolve around the baby. It is his first year, maybe he won't so cute next year. Yeah, right.
The rest of the month seemed to revolve around work, church and going to the temple. Of course, I read, blog, and watch TV.
I read or listened to eight books and joined one more challenge. I mooched five more books and bought ten from Amazon. My favorite was The Valley of Light by Terry Kay. One of my mooched books was written by him. I am currently reading Niagra by Pierre Berton. It's a chunkster that I am reading for the Canadian Challenge, plus it is non-fiction. Very interesting, but long.
I bought five DVDs of which I watched one: "Definitely, Maybe." It was cute.
The Batchelorette is over, She chose Jesse with the long hair. I liked him except for his hair. I'm still watching Nashville Stars and America's Got Talent, but that's about it. I did buy a new fifteen-inch flat screen TV and an indoor antenna. Unfortunately, when I attached the new atenna to my big TV, it would only picky up KJAZZ. So I reattached my old antenna but now I can only get ABC. I'm afraid it's time to get Direct TV or satellite or cable. Any suggestion? Rats, I hate to pay for TV.
Overall Impression
It's hot. The grass is burning up, my tree still needs to be trimmed, my home teacher came and cut down the weeds (that man deserves every blessing he gets) and we're still hitting our goals at work.

Friday, July 11, 2008

June Jazz

Absolutely nothing happened in June. Well, that's not quite true. Cassie came and visited me on the 21st & 22nd. Or was it the week before?? Whatever. It's always wonderful to have her home even for a short time. She turned 26 on the 23rd. How did my baby girl get to be 26?? I'm only 24. I gave my first lesson in Relief Society on the 22nd since being recalled as a teacher. It felt good to be doing that again. And my branch met its goals for the quarter!!! In fact, I get to go to the recognition event in Provo on August 1 along with four of my staff. They are giving away lots of prizes (flat-screen TV, cameras, IPods, laptop, etc). Some prizes are lame so I hope I win something cool.

Finished three challenges and joined one. I might be catching up. I love the way challenges stretch me by making me read books I might never even look at. Sometimes that is good and sometimes not so good.
Books Read
Murder on a Girl's Night Out, rated 3.75 mystery
Too Soon to Say Goodbye, rated 3 memoir
The Fireman's Fair, rated 4.25 fiction
Law of Attraction, rated 2.5 non-fiction
Consequences, rated 3 fiction on CD
The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio, rated 4.5 non-fiction
The Fatal Shore, rated 3.5 non-fiction
Far World - I haven't written my review or rated this one but it was really good. I'm writing a review for a blog tour for the author. fantasy
It was a pretty lackluster month for reading, especially since The Fatal Shore took me two weeks to read. It's huge and has small print and is about the penal colonies that first settled Australia. I mooched ten books but gave away thirteen so I should be getting ahead except I bought four used books from Amazon. YIKES!! But The Fatal Shore was one I mooched away and that should count as three books. :)
Prince Caspian - This is the movie Cassie and I went to at the theater. I liked it better than the first Narnia movie. The prince is very nice looking.
27 Dresses - DVD
The Importance of Being Earnest - DVD
I joined the Disney Club and got some great DVDs. Most are classics (Summer Magic, etc) I love to watch but there were a couple of new ones.
What can I say? I am a reality TV junky. This month I have really gotten into watching The Bachelorette. I like her, she's pretty straight forward and honest. I also like Nashville Nights (I think that's the name) except it's on about the same time as The Bachelorette. On Tuesdays I watch America's Got Talent. And then I catch the reruns of Home Improvement on Sunday.
Overall Impression
I seem to be watching a lot of TV this month, but managed to keep the lawn mowed. That's about all I do outside. The weeds are growing rampant and my cottonwood tree is getting scary. The branches are so long I'm afraid they will break. It looks really bad. It's been hot in the day; but, with one or two exceptions, sleepingly cool at night. I'm enjoying working at the temple one night a week and have had a few choice experiences there.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

May Memo

What on earth happened to May?? And where was I all month? These are the kind of questions that are slowly driving me insane, but crazy is cute, right? Here's what my feeble brain can recall:

May 3rd: I posted my first review that an author has asked me to do. That was kind of fun and kind of scary. I really like Tristi Pinkston (she's a blogging buddy) and I was worried about not liking her book. But it was very good, so no problem. The book, Season of Sacrifice, was based on her great-grandmother's journal and details a grueling trek across southern Utah and her family's foray into polygamy. Here's a link to my review.

May 4th: I was released as Relief Society President. Wow, what a rush. People ask me if I feel sad. Ummm, NO. I love the sisters in Relief Society and I can still feel that without being in charge. In fact, it's easier to feel that. Jean Beynon is the new president, she'll be wonderful. It's funny, she seems just as insecure as I was. . . even after two plus years. Maralee Richens is the first counselor. She was my compassionate service leader and, boy, did I appreciate her. Julie Justice is the second counselor. (It's a month later and she still hasn't been released as the Stake Young Women's President. Poor girl) Barbara Smuin is the secretary. She was my secretary also, the second counselor in the previous presidency and the secretary in the one before that and before that, she was the stake Relief Society secretary. I'd feel bad for her but she loves it and I know how indispensable she was for me.

May 11th: Mothers Day. This is usually a crappy day for me, but now I'm a grandma so life is wonderful. Besides, I've learned not to beat myself up for not being a perfect mother. My kids are wonderful in spite of me.

May 13th: Went to see National Treasure 2 with some friends from work, Lisa, Grace, Jenn and Julie. We got a party for hitting our goals in March and everyone voted to go to the movie. Unfortunately, only five of us went so the bank bought our tickets and treats and then I bought pizza for the whole branch the next day. But the movie was a lot of fun.

May 22 & 23: I went to Salt Lake to watch Lincoln while Stacey got things packed for the big move. He was so much fun on Thursday, but that night he developed a 104^ fever. It was pretty scary but with Tylenol and a warm bath, he cooled off. And he was so good even being sick. The next day, Stacey took him to the doctor and that made her feel a lot better. It was lucky that I was there so she had a car to drive. Funny how things like that work out. Of course, Lincoln still didn't feel very well and he wanted his mom. So I went shopping and spent a bunch of money.

May 24, 25 & 26: Memorial Day weekend. I drove back to Vernal on Friday and Cassie flew past me just after Strawberry Reservoir. She drives like a maniac. I don't think that car was made to go that fast. I hit a huge rainstorm just west of Roosevelt which was scary. Lots of water on the road and I don't see well with dark, wet roads. Saturday, Cassie drove to Grand Junction and back to visit a friend. I hope she drove slower. We played games at Mom's with the family and on Sunday. Susan and Julie were up from Cedar City and Mark from SLC. Monday morning was the annual breakfast. When the kids were small, we had this breakfast at the lake at 6 in the morning. Now, we're doing good to get to Mom's and eat at nine. Still, it was really good. Julie made a fantastic breakfast casserole, and there were pancakes with syrup, strawberries and whip cream. Yummmmy. Bacon, sausage, eggs, fresh fruit. (Should I mention that I am not doing well on my resolution to lose weight. What is the problem here?) Steve came over and helped me start the lawn mower so for now the lawn looks really nice. The rest of the yard and the house look frightful, but the actual lawn is green and trim.

May 28 & 29: Drove to Provo for a manager's meeting. Of course, I spent Wednesday evening shopping. The meeting was really good for a change, especailly if I can implement one or two of the many ideas thrown out. I found out yesterday that one of the managers that was at the meeting died suddenly this weekend. Red was such a great guy and I will really miss his humor at our meetings. He was a year or so younger than me. I should learn to not take life for granted.

May 30: We made our goals at the bank again. That's five months in a row. Guess I won't get fired this year.

Reading: I read or listened to thirteen books this month. One of these was another sent to me by an author, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys. It was well-written and funny and also has polygamy in its story line. I think my favorites were Persuasion by Jane Austen and Making Money by Terry Pratchett. I finished three challenges and only joined one more. I'm catching up!!

Movies watched: National Treasure No 1 & 2, Dan in Real Life (again), and Becoming Jane. I really liked Becoming Jane. Anne Hathaway was great. I don't usually care for her but this movie was very good. I think I need to read Pride and Prejudice again, but I will try to stifle that urge.
TV: Well Kristy and Mark won Dancing with the Stars and rightfully so. And Derek and Meredith are back together. Cassie recorded Gray's Anatomy on VHS and warned me that her tapes don't work well in my player. I couldn't watch it but I did listen to it so I have a pretty good idea. But TV for the summer looks like a dry desert. Maybe I will do yard work and go for nice long healthy walks. Or I'll read and blog and crochet. Cheya gave me a cute pattern for hats.
Overall impression: Jordan and Stacey are planning to take my grandson all the way to Logan, like Salt Lake is not far enough away. Dang, this grandma stuff is hard. It rained a lot this month which would account for my lawn looking green. And we seem to actually have a spring this year. My lilacs are blooming and smell so good. I went on two shopping sprees so my credit card just earned me a bunch of reward points. And if I do much walking, those new clothes won't fit. Plus I bought a new drill to make my shed sturdier. Wonder when I'm getting around to that. It sounds dangerously like work. I also bought a grain grinder. When the drought hits, I'll be prepared. No wait, I need to buy some wheat and oats and other things to grind. I mooched quite a few books this month, both to and from, but I managed to only buy one. That must be a record. I may go hungry in hard times, but at least I'll be entertained. Lord, please bless my eyesight.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

April Agenda

April, the month of sunshine, showers and silly jokes. Well, that didn't pan out, so what did happen last month?
5th & 6th General Conference. This was President Monsen's first conference as prophet. It amazed me to see how he seem to assume the mantle more each session. The solemn assembly on Saturday mornig was absolutely inspiring to watch and take part in. And the smile on President Uchtdorf's face as he conducted was so warming. Great talks and a wonderful spirit.
9th Our ward held his annual auction to raise money for Scouts and Young Women's Camp. It had a phenomenal turnout. I spent most of the night in the kitchen cooking and serving hot dogs so that probably saved me some money. I did get to watch a 22-year-old bid $200 for a quilt. I wonder if having his girlfriend watching adoringly had anything to do with that. The auctioneer even gave me credit for making one of the quilts. Quit laughing.
11th thru 13th Mom and I went to Salt Lake and Brigham City. Read the next post down for more on this trip.
23rd I started working in the temple as an ordinance worker. This calling stressed me out, but once I got there and went on a session, I knew I was truly being blessed. At least once a week, I will be feeling some peace and a calm spirit.
28th thru 1st Wayne and Susan came from Virginia for a visit. Bret is graduating at the U on Friday.
30th It snowed for crying out loud.

Reading I read thirteen books last month. Peter Pan was my favorite. Finished one challenge and joined two more. I may need therapy. The review for one book, Season of Sacrifice, won't be posted until May 3rd as part of Tristi Pinkston's virtual book tour. I also agreed to review a YA fantasy book for another author, J Scott Savage, next summer. As part of that review, I get to do an interview. So take a look at the Farworld Blog Tour and tell me what you would like to know about this author and his books. Thinking of good questions is the hard part. I just started reading Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Movies watched Dan in Real Life

What's on the tube? I'm still immersed in Dancing with the Stars. Shannon Elizabeth got voted off last night. Too bad, I like watching her and Derek dance but not watching them moon over each other. I can't decide how much of these romances are real or not. I just want to focus on the dance, please. It's been months since Gray's Anatomy was on and I've been fine. But one show last week and I'm hooked again. Dang.

Overall impression It was too windy on Saturday to burn so I've missed my chance until the fall. It was so windy that a panel of my new rickety shed that replaced the shed the wind blew over last summer blew out. I need a new drill so I can screw those panels down instead of the staples that are now holding things together. If this shed blows down, I'm forking over some dough to get something sturdy. We met our goals at work for the month, but it's never enough. Oh dear, I'm whining. I hate that in others but it seems called for in my own circumstances. Actually, I'm glad we met the goals and hopefully I can master the rest. Does that make up for the whine? (fourteen years, two months and three days to retirement) Sorry, it's been a hard week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cousin's Party

Friday morning, Mom and I drove out to Salt Lake because we were going to Cousin's Parties in Brigham City the next day. We were hoping to take Cheya with us, but it seems she has caught the bug that has afflicted the rest of her family this last month. (Bug seems like such a petty word for this nasty illness.) It was too bad, because both Mom and I got really sleepy on the way out even though we were listening to a book on CD, The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman. (See review on Framed and Booked blog) I know Cheya would have kept the conversation going enough to keep us both awake. We stopped at the outlet mall in Park City and Mom was able to find herself a really cute dress and jacket. I bought a jacket as well. Then we headed into the city and stopped at Fashion Place Mall since we were planning on eating at The Cheese Cake Factory that evening. More shopping, more fun. Susan soon joined us, then Jordan, Stacey, and Lincoln. I bought him a cute outfit that looked just something his dad would wear. Except for the hat, I don't believe I've ever seen Jordan in a hat like that. Greg stopped at the restaurant and learned it would be a two hour wait for our party, so we bagged that idea, found Mark, Scott and Cassie outside the mall and headed over to Macaroni Grill. I must put a plug in for that place. Their service is impeccable. Our waiter was so good, except for maybe drink refills, but it was very busy. One of Stacey's ravioli's was empty, they replaced it and the manager came out to apologize and took care of the drink refills. I had the Chicken Tuscano soup and it was to die for. (Cream based with parmesan gnocci, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, mmmm) Lincoln was incredibly entertaining. I mean look at this face. He is such a good, happy baby besides being
hilarious. I think I only heard him cry once this weekend and that was at bedtime. I love him. If you want to read more about Lincoln and his family, click here. After dinner, we visited Greg and Jenny Lou's place. They have a fun dog named Apache, and Jenny Lou always has great stories to tell. The next morning, we drove up to see how construction was coming on the Draper Temple. It is going to be an impressive building and what a view. But what is up with those houses being built just above the temple? Some kind of gothic castle thing is going on. And big enough to be hotels. Then we picked up Greg and headed to Brigham. Mom met her cousins at the Maddox Lodge in Perry and had a great time with the 32 people who came. The younger generation (yes, that's me) met at the Idle Isle in downtown Brigham. There were fifteen of us: Cindy, Jane, Gordon, Greg, Mark, Craig, Gwen, Tracie, Susan, Eldon, Matt, Kaylynn, Pam, Roger and me. We had a great visit, but it sure is a long way to go for lunch. Then back to Salt Lake, drop Greg off to help get Katie ready for prom (she's a queen candidate), send Susan off to Cedar City and meet up with Cassie, Jordan, Stacey and Lincoln for more food. If you think these trips are all about eating, you're probably right. I got to visit with Stacey and Cassie for an hour or so later that night and help put Lincoln to bed. Next day, we headed back to Vernal. The weather was beautiful, so perhaps spring will make it after all.

Friday, April 04, 2008

March Monitor

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Whatever. Still I can actually believe spring may be coming. I hope I don't miss it in the mad dash to summer that we usually experience here in Vernal. Here's what happened:

March 5: Went to dinner with three high school friends, Nikki, Judy and Julie. Julie had just had another surgery on her foot and had the photos to show all her new hardware. I guess I am very fortunate.

March 15: Mom and I traveled to Salt Lake, picked up Greg and went on to Kaysville for my Aunt Mary's funeral. Mary was my dad's older sister and I hadn't seen her for a number of years. The funeral was very nice and it was great to renew acquaintances with any number of cousins: Brent, Arlene, Scott, Clair, and Inez are Mary's children. I also saw Roxanne, Becky, Alwyn, Mike and Joe who are Aunt Edna's kids. Mother was amazing as always with her memory of who married who and what their kids names are, etc. Scott pointed out a cowboy etching on the joint headstone for Mary and Vene. This etching was used to head Uncle Vene's article that he wrote each week for the Vernal Express back in the late 40's. I never knew he did that. It was a good family gathering and I'm so glad Mom pressured me into going.

March 18: Relief Society Birthday Party. I did nothing for this event except take salad. The committee did a wonderful job. The food: soup, salad, rolls and cake & ice cream, was great. The cake was yellow cake with a raspberry jam center and white icing. I found out later that the jam was used to hold the cake together when it cracked. It tasted so good. We made fleece blankets for the Children's Justice Center and put in an act of service we would do for whichever sister drew it out. I put in a car wash and Jill Espinoza drew it. I really need to go get her car and get it washed. I really need to wash my own car!! Then we watched a video of photos which Amber Meager had put together. There were a lot of tears shed as we saw photos of Shelly Slaugh who passed away last December (her mom in my counselor) and Uela Hansen before she lost sixty pounds or so in her cancer battle. She sure didn't look like she felt good that night and it was sad to see her picture of better days.

March 20: Eight of us went to the Care Center to visit with the patients there and help them open their Easter egg for the day. The Stake had put together Easter baskets on their Humanitarian day last month and this was the culmination of the event.

March 21-23: Easter weekend. Jordan, Stacey and Lincoln came out Thursday night; and Cassie showed up on Friday to spend the weekend with me. It was so fun having them all there even if my house is small. Lincoln got to sleep in my room which was so fun. He is such a cutie.

Anyway, we had a good time at Grandma Rae's, dyeing eggs and eating and playing games.

The Reading Front I joined three new challenges; sick, isn't it? and read eight books. I'm currently reading A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay for the Canadian Challenge and still working on the Book of Mormon.

Movies Watched August Rush.

What's on TV About all I watch is Dancing with the Stars. So far, Penn Gillette, Monica Seles, and Steve Guttenberg have been voted off. Adam Corolla, who dances with Julianne Hoff, made a great joke about the Mormons.

Overall Impression March is too windy, but it's great seeing buds on some of the trees and early greenery poking up through the dirt. And the snow is gone!!! I am so ready for spring.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

February Features

Doing a monthly recap is one resolution I intend to keep. So far, I haven't missed a month. Yay!!
Feb 1 - Decided to start my resolutions for the year: Eat healthy, read the Book of Mormon, and exercise regularly.
Feb 4 - My 52nd birthday. We had german chocolate cake at work and I went to a movie with a friend. Thomas Monsen was announced as the next President of the church with Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf as counselors.
Feb 6 - The local McDonalds reopened after being torn down and rebuilt over a space of five months. I have mixed feelings because it's easier for me to avoid the other fast food places. But the owner is a friend so I went to the open house and it's really a nice bulding: wall of water, fireplace, Playstation, a huge play tree. Now if I can just stay away.
Feb 7 to 10 - Took a trip to Salt Lake to see my kids and grandson. Lincoln is so much bigger but even cuter. He is so fun to play with. He doesn't just drool, he screws his little eyes shut and blows. What fun?? Anyway I had to buy him new toys, didn't I? We ate out at California Pizza Kitchen for my birthday and I got to babysit while Stacey and Jordan went to a movie. The next day, Cassie and I went shopping: JoAnns, Famous Footwear, Tai Pan, and Target. Then we ate out again and Cassie, Stacey and I went to a play at the Hale Theater, "Lend Me a Tenor." We just barely made it but the seats were great and the play was fun. Cassie bought my ticket for my birthday. Isn't she sweet? The next day was time to head home. I got to visit with Alyson and Katie for a minute as we loaded Katie's stuf into my car for the trip home. Katie has been living in Layton but decided to move home. It was a fun trip. I never even got sleepy since the conversation just flowed.
Feb 17 - I had to talk in Sacrament Meeting with one of the Stake Presidency. The topic was on service. Yikes.
Feb 19 - Relief Society Book Review. There were just two of us there so we only discussed the book, "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven" for a minute. Besides, my copy fell apart. Next month, we are going to review "Twilight," and no, it was not my suggestion. We're hoping to get some of the Young Women to attend.
Feb 23 - Stake Humanitarian Day. About 100 sisters got together to make Easter baskets for the folks at the care center. Each ward also tied a quilt for its Relief Society closet. I was there until three doing ours. We were the last ones there and my back was killing me. Thanks to my mom who stayed and helped even though her ward finished hours earlier. We had really good soup for lunch. All in all, a good day.
Feb 29 - The month is over; and my branch met our goals one more time. I'm not sure what the bonus is; but there were only two branches in my area that met their goals. High Five!
Feb 29 - A look back on my resolutions: I took the Book of Mormon to work and refused to take anything else to read, so that resolution is being kept. The one I'm reading has comments and notes right alongside the script so I'm gaining lots of great insights. So far, I have exercised exactly zero times (Hang my head in shame) and really blew the eating right this past week. Well, I had to buy doughnuts for work when we hit our goals on Tuesday, didn't I; and I had promised pizza since January and McDonalds was just too enticing. I'm disgusted.
Books Read
**I Married the Klondike by Laura Beatrice Berton, Rated 4.5
**Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson, Rated 4.25. The author left me a comment so that's always fun.
**The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley, Rated 4.75. Recommended by Katie, thanks very much.
**New Moon by Stephanie Meyer, Rated 4.25. I am now a Twilight junkie.
**Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, Rated 4.5. And I'm in love with Edward and I like Jacob lots.
**Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather, Rated 4. Recommended by Cheya, another good one.
**Playing for Pizza by John Grisham, Rated 3.75.
**The Chase by Clive Cussler, Rated 4
**The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, Rated 4.25
Currently reading
**The Book of Mormon
**Mark Twain by Ron Powers. It's 600+ pages and I'm on page 67. Partly interesting, partly contradictory and mostly a little boring. I sure hope it picks up.
Movies watched
**Twenty-Seven Dresses. This is the movie I attended with a friend from work. I really enjoyed it. Katharine Heigl has a flair for comedy. I liked her much better in this than on Gray's Anatomy. The ending was hilarious.
**Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. Not nearly as good as the Colin Firth version but much shorter. I love Donald Sutherland but I prefer the Mr. Bennett in the other version. And Darcy grew on me. He was really cute. And what was up with Mr. Bingley's hair? It was a good thing he has 5000 a year.
What's on TV
Dance Wars is over. Bruno's team won. They will get a recording contract; but, based on the single they performed, I doubt if I will buy it. There were some great performers on both teams and the show was fun to watch. But it's two more weeks until Dancing with the Stars. And when does Gray's Anatomy start again?? I did watch the Oscars. Isn't it funny that they kept cutting the speeches short and then the show ended ten minutes early? And the red carpet show at the first was weird. I didn't see very many of the dresses and those were mostly presenters that you saw anyway. Guess I'll have to wait for People magazine.
New Acquisitions
Three new pairs of shoes. The cutest pair have one size 7 and one size 8.
Lots of great stuff from Tai Pan, Easter decor, a ceramic hen, wire basket and ceramic balls.
New clothes from the Dress Barn. I love that place.
Six new CD's from BMG: Bon Jovi, KT Tunstall, Hayley Westenra, Josh Rouse, Nora Jones and James Blunt.
I bought six books at Barnes and Noble, won a giveaway book, and mooched nine more. I mooched nine away so I really only gained seven books.
Overall impression
The month started out freezingly but we had a great thaw mid month. Of course, the farmers are worried because too quick of a thaw will hurt the water situation. It's still pretty warm but foggy the last week. I leave my house each morning in dense fog, drive into the sunshine after about three miles, then the fog has reached town by the time I get off, just not nearly as thick as it is at my house when I get home. I do love the fog except to drive in it. Today, I watched out my front window as it ebbed and flowed. First I can't see the house in the field across the street and ten minutes later, there it is. Great stuff. Things are going pretty well at work, except for teller gave notice. We're getting a transfer but haven't replaced the other yet. Hate that. Even so, it's been a pretty good environment for a while, and everyone gets along quite well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Friday, February 01, 2008

January Journal

Following Alyson and Cheya's examples, I am going to try to recap each month this year. Hopefully, it will help me be better at my journaling efforts. Unfortunately, January was a pretty boring month for me. But I'll try:
Jan 3: The bank set goals for each branch to meet on this day and earn a lunch for the employees. We made our goal!!! January is off ot a great start.
Jan 6: Visiting Teaching Workshop. How amazing to get visiting teaching all set for the year on the very first Sunday. The lesson went well, lots of comments were shared; and a spiritual testimony meeting ended the workshop.
Jan 22: Received eight packages in the mail containing 15 books, 2 DVD's and 2 CD's. What fun.
Jan 27: A dear sister in the ward, Donna Stewart, passed away just six hours before President Hinckley. This was a great day to celebrate the lives of two wonderful people.
Jan 30: Annual birthday lunch with Mom, Cheya, Myke and Verona at JB's.
Jan 31: For the first time ever, my branch met the special January goals set by upper management. Good thing we reached the goals early because the last four days of the year were deadly slow and boring. Next year's goals will be murder, but I'm basking in the glory now. Plus we receive an extra bonus. Yippee.
Books read:
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
Marley and Me by John Grogan
Seven Lies by James Lasdun
The Hundredth Man by Jack Kerley
Mercy Among the Children by David Adam Richards
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
Below the Salt by Thomas Costain
Nothing to Regret by Tristi Pinkston
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Five Children and It by E. Nesbitt
Salamander by Thomas Wharton
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Movies Watched
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (DVD, saw it first in the theater)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (DVD, first time I've seen it)
What's on TV
Dance Wars - a new series that's okay but not as fun as Dancing with the Stars.
A bunch of reruns on Gray's Anatomy. I missed the only one that wasn't a rerun.
With the writer's strike, there's not much to watch; so I just read and blog.
Overall impression of the month:
It was so cold. Below zero temperatures for days and days. When it finally warmed up the last part of the month, we got slammed with snow and more snow. Then it was back to below zero. My gas bill is unbelievable because I hate to be cold. I start my car every morning to warm up and it makes a horrible high-pitched squealing noise. I know it's time to leave when the pitch lowers. I'm tired of shoveling snow and walking on ice. We've only had a few days of fog. I do love the fog, especially the frost left on the trees and bushes that glimmer when the sun finally does shine through. I just keep repeating, "It's almost spring, it's almost spring."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Laugh with Me

A friend e-mailed this site to me today. I don't usually download these things because my computer is so slow, but this one didnt' take too long. I thought it was hilarious. Check it out.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Reflections on 2007

I have so enjoyed reading other blogs reliving this past year that I decided, in a mood of introspection, to do the same. (Wow, that sounded deep!!)

1. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It does seem like things are changing all around me. The town is growing by leaps and bounds, the family is growing, my ward got a new bishop, big staff changes at work, but I am still the manager at the bank and Relief Society President at the ward. I live in the same house (30 years), still read lots and spend way too much time on the computer. I can't even think of any major purchases. So is my life boring or merely comfortable? I'll have to think more on that.

2. Books, books and more books.

Let's just say reading is my favorite past time. Last year I read 109 books. My favorite book was definitely "The Book Thief," but there were many other great books finished last year. I truly got into the spirit of the Challenge which let me focus my reading more on books I already owned. I was pretty disciplined about finishing those challenges.

3. Bookmooch

I joined the Bookmoooch website in August and have since given away 76 books and received 68. That would mean I had made a small dent in the piles of books I own except that I bought a few books as well. I try to be good, but it's hard.

4. Trips

I did very little traveling this year; that could be why I'm in a funk. Yes, there were a few trips to Salt Lake, including a trip with my 50's friends to see "Little Women, The Musical" at the Hale Theater. I also drove to Moab for an annual bank meeting and, once again, saw very little of the surrounding countryside. This time I did make it down Moab's main street. The funnest trip was with my mom, sister and brother to visit relatives in Fielding, Utah. We spent one evening with my Uncle Donald, his wife, Eleanor, and my Aunt Betty Jean, going over old journals and listening to Mom and Donald reminisce. The next day, we drove over the hill to Clarkston and then into Logan. What a blast of memories when we ate pizza at Frederico's. That was a favorite haunt of mine when I was in college.

5. Most imporant of all!!!

All of this is just fodder building up to the real highlight of my year. Everything else pales before this momentous occasion. That's right, I'm speaking of the birth of Lincoln on Sept 11. He was born by C-section at 5:00 that evening and I'm the very proud grandma. I even spent five days babysitting while Stacey had to work. I was exhausted but elated. Do you think he will remember me? I haven't seen him for over a month.