Sunday, August 01, 2010

July, 2010

Well, the month started off really bad.  I think the first was one of my worst days at work ever.  Fortunately, things got better.  While I was on vacation, the team really kicked it in gear and I ended up hitting my goal for the month.  That's the first time this year.  Yoohoo!!!  I spent the 29th and 30th observing another manager in Salt Lake.  I got to ask her lots of questions, took copious notes; and she gave me some really good insights.  She was 'fabulous", one of her favorite words. Hopefully, I can take it all back and get better at my job.  I know my boss hopes so too.  I have such a great team and they deserve a great manager.  It's just going to take some really hard work on my part.

Cheya and Myke had their annual 4th of July barbecue.  It was as fun as always.  Cassie came out and so did Alyson.  The next day, Cassie and I got up early to drive to Cedar City for the Shakespeare Festival.  We left her car at Brett's house and chatted with him for a little too long.  So I really had to book it to make it to the first play.  Which I did with time to spare.  We went to "Great Expectations."  It was a musical which I think everyone else liked more than I did.  Maybe it was because I kept falling asleep.  It was a beautiful production and the music was fantastic.  That night, I went with Stacey, Jordan, and Lincoln over to her aunt's home to watch the Enoch fireworks.  Stacey has a wonderful family who made me feel very welcome.  Lincoln had a ball running all over the beautiful yard and watching a great fireworks display.  It was the best I've ever seen for a smaller city.  The next day, Stacey and I went to "Pride and Prejudice" together.  Cassie and the rest of the group had bought their tickets the year before and sat in the balcony.  But I liked our tickets down below.  I really liked this play.  And the next day, we got to meet the actors who played Darcy and Elizabeth at a seminar.  Very fun.  The same evening, we went to "The Merchant of Venice."  Because I bought my tickets late, I had to pay quite a bit, but I was sitting o the second row in the Adams theater.  I thought the play was excellent even though the subject matter is quite dark.  The next day after the seminar, we just kind of hung out.  That night I got to babysat Lincoln while Stacey and Jordan went to a movie.  Of course, they put him to bed first so I didn't really have to do anything but watch TV and read.  It was pretty relaxing.  We did watch The Lion King earlier which he found enthralling.  Movies are so much more fun to watch with him.    My last play was "39 Steps".  I had bought my tickets on Monday, and Susan bought hers on Thursday and we got to sit together.  It was probably my favorite play, a take on Alfred Hitchcock movies.  There were four actors playing about twelve different parts so the timing was impeccable.  Later, we went to a used bookstore and I bought four books.  The madness must stop.  Anyway I enjoyed the festival and seeing everyone.  Besides, Cassie and Susan, there were Tracey, her friend, Kerri, Pam, Jane, Connie, Connie's daughter, Brittany, and Julie.  Kylie and Jill joined us as well.  The next day, Cassie drove us home.  She fixed my Walkman or at least figured it out and explained it to me to I was able to listen to some of the music I have on it.  There's about 13 hours and I still haven't listened to everything yet.  Here's the places I remember eating at while in Cedar City:  1. Chili's, Jordan, Stacey and Lincoln joined the whole group and Lincoln got a little shy.  That doesn't happen often.  2.  Lefty's, a Mexican restuarant that had really slow service and the food wasn't that great.  I've had better there.  Lincoln loved the gold fish.  3.  A restaurant up the canyon, can't remember the name.  It was really good food though.  4.  The Pizza Factory, don't remember what I ate there but it was pretty good as well. 

I spent the last day of my vacation working in the yard, mowed the lawn and pulled up all the radishes (They were way too hot to eat.  Note to self:  Don't plant radishes again)  I spent most of the day at Lowe's looking at things to remodel my bathroom with.  Stacey and Lincoln said they were coming up to do that in August.  Fantastic, right?

My lesson is Relief Society was from Elder Bednar's talk, "Watching with All Perseverance."  I don't know how I could teach these lessons if it weren't for the sisters and the way they discuss everything.  I learn so much from them.

After I left the branch in Salt Lake, I rode up to Layton with Mark and Susan for the Peterson Family Reunion.  This is the year I can remember that Mom was not able to come.  She is just not doing well, it's very worrisome.  It was great to visit with cousins and Uncle Donald, Aunt Elinore, Aunt Carol (improved from last year) and Aunt Betty Jean.  We made way too much sloppy joes, but they turned out good.  The only bad thing was the heat.  Absolutely sizzling.  Next year the reunion is in Vernal on June 24th.  I hope Cheya is ready to take that on. (giggle)  The next day, Myke, Cheya and I stopped and ate a late lunch at Zupas.  I ate there on Thursday night as well.  It is my new favorite place to eat.  I also bought two more books while I was in Salt Lake.  Jeez. 

I have been eating peas straight from the garden which is fun.  I suspect the chipmunk is eating them as well.  He just better stay away from my tomatoes.  I harvested quite a few zucchinis, grated four quarts to freeze and gave the rest away.  My corn got beat up by a hailstorm but there are a few tassels showing up.  I may get an ear or two.  There are lots of blossoms on the pumpkins and I have a pretty good crop of sunflowers getting ready to bloom.  It's been surprisingly fun to grow a garden this year. 

Books Read   I only read four books this month.  I really enjoyed The Host by stephanie Meier, quite different from her Twilight series.  Right now, I'm reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and really liking it. 

Movies I saw "Eclipse" with Lisa earlier in the month.  Not too bad, better than the first one and I didn't see the second one.  And "The Lion King" with Lincoln.  I hear he's banned from watching until he learns appropriate lion behavior around other little kids. 

TV  Yes, I'm watching the Bacheloette.  I like Ali and I even like both of the guys remaining.  Glad Frank's gone.  I'm really liking Howier Mandel on America's Got Talent but he and Sharon kind of pick on Piers.  It's a fun show to watch.  That's about it, mostly I read a lot. 

Overall Impression  It's been really hot and we've only had one good rain storm which tore up my garden.  I'll come back and read this post in December to try to keep a good perspective on the weather.  I think my life would be really boring if I had time to think about it, so it's a good thing I don't.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

June, 2010

Thanks heavens, that month is over. 

I didn't remember doing anything this month, then I looked in my calendar,  There is a whole week blocked out.  I'm telling you , it's sad to see a good mind decline.  So on the 5th and 6th, Cassie and I stayed in Park City.  We ate at the Windy River Restaurant, great steak.  On Sunday, we drove to Mirror Lake.  It was a pretty drive but the road was closed into the lake because of snow.  We did walk along the Provo River, which was soooo full, and saw the water falls.  Very pretty.  Sunday night was spent in Salt Lake where it was hot and humid.  Cassie and I went to the movie, Killers, with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Hiegel.  Very funny.  I never understood the fascination with Ashton Kutcher until now.  We went back to her house and watched Iron Man I which I had never seen.  On Monday I drove to Cedar City.  Then Jordan, Stacey, Lincoln and I went on to Las Vegas.  Several observations:  it was really, really hot in Vegas, our hotel was okay but our tower was completely opposite from the pool so we had to wind through the casino everytime, Alyson's house is absolutely gorgeous and she had decorated it beautifully, and Lincoln is a fantastic traveler.  I only remember him crying when we made him leave the pool.  Or maybe it was so hot that he had no energy or tears to waste.  We walked up the strip from our hotel to the Bellagio to see the fountains.  They were broken.  Luckily we rode the monorail back.  One night we went to Mandalay Bay and saw the aquarium.  Lincoln loved it and so did the rest of us.  We went back to Cedar City on Wednesday and I watched Cars with Lincoln.  I had never seen that movie and it is so cute.  Next day, I drove to Vernal where I spent the rest of the weekend mowing the lawn, watering the lawn, weeding the garden and even watched a movie, Harry Potter 4.

My garden is doing surprisingly well.  Whatever has decided to leave my tomatoes alone so they are coming along well.  I even harvested some radishes, but they are too hot to eat.  I give up on radishes.  I know I said I hated squash bugs, but there is nothing like squash and pumpkins to make your garden look so lush.  My sunflowers are doing very well and so is the corn.  I hope the raccoons and skunks don't find my garden when that corn gets ripe.  I even have some zinnias and hollyhocks growing.  It's very exciting, even though the daisies and cucumbers died.  My lawn looks pretty green for a change thanks to some good rainy days.  But the last time I mowed it, I was covered with mosquito bites.  What's happened to our local mosquito abatement program? 

Books Read  I read eight books and listened to two.  I really enjoyed Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor by Deanna Rayborn.  There's a good mystery and romance as well.  I loved listening to Jim Reid narrate Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  I would love to listen to all the Harry Potter books. 

Movies  See above

TV  I wonder if future generations who read my journal will een care what I watched on TV.  Let's face it, I watch pretty worthless stuff:  The Bachelorette, True Beauty (talk about mean people), and America's Got Talent.  Some times I can catch one of those cake decoarating contests.  I love watching those.

Overall Impression  I need to write these journals closer to end of the month so I remember my overall impression.  It's the tenth and I barely remember June at all.  Plus I have a new mosquito bite that is driving me crazy.  Must . apply . Cortaid . now.

Monday, May 31, 2010

May, 2010

I think summer is finally here.  This may be a rash statement that I could regret later, but I stand by my words.  Granted, the gas to my heater has not yet been turned off.  I'm ashamed to say I even turned it up for 30 minutes today.  Even so, it is supposedly in the high seventies outside.  I thought my house would be warmer this year since I had my big tree seriously trimmed last fall.  But I am still cold.  Next month I will be crying about the heat.

My Relief Society lesson was from Elder Oaks talk in the priesthood session, "Healing the Sick."  Great explanation of how a priesthood blessing works and the sisters had a good discussion about it.    I love those women.

It seems like all I did this month was work, several six-day weeks and many nights until six or seven.  Hope I get that under control soon.  On the 10th, I traveled to Salt Lake for a meeting the next day.  I got take-out at Zupas (great Spring Aspargus soup) then went to Cassie's to watch DWTS.  It was a good meeting, only half a day so I spent the afternoon shopping.  I did not need the clothes I bought and certainly not the books, but I did kill some time.  That night Cassie and I ate at Cafe Med and went to a movie, Babies.  It was cute but after an hour, you get a little tired of watching babies cry.  Then we went to her house and watched TV.  I spent the night and came home the next day.  An actual day off!!!

I got all three days off for Memorial weekend.  So I finally mowed my lawn, took forever.  And the lilac bushes that I had ruthlessly trimmed back last fall attacked me.  I was a bleeding mess.  And what's with all the little baby lilacs cropping up all over the place.  Ye Gads !!  What do I do about those.  I merrily mowed them down, but I suspect the lilac mommies may have revenge on their minds.  Silly to be scared of a few bushes, isn't it?  Next I fertilized the grass, something I heartily wished I had done months ago.  It looks so pathetic.  And I watered it for the first time.  I really need to live in a condo for all the time and care I take with my place.  There are a few flowers blooming, some bachelor buttons, my lilacs, a snapdragon I just planted, my catnip, and a cute orange-flowering weed.  I also plowed the furrows in my garden spot.  Then, sinner that I am, I planted most of the garden on Sunday after Sacrament Meeting.  Otherwise, I doubt if it would ever have been done.  It will probably die.  The few plants I already had don't look so spry today.  And sometime in the dead of night (who knows when it really happened, I'm just trying to be literary) a fiendish pest ate all the leaves from four of my eight tomato plants.  The one thing I truly want from this garden is fresh tomatoes.  Any suggestions?  I also planted some zuccini, winter squash, peas, radishes, pumpkins, cucumbers and corn.  I planted some marigold seeds around the squash in the hopes that it will repel those disgusting squash bugs.  It's been 15 years since I last planted squash if that's a clue as to how much I hate those bugs.  I also planted some sunflowers, zinnias, daisies, and hollyhocks.  Then I will be out of town for several days next week so it will probably all dry up and blow away.  Rigth now, it just has its furrows with a few green things sticking up and absolutely no weeds.  I feel wonderful.

Julie and Ryan held our annual Memorial Day breakfast at their house.  They have done so much work on the house, it looks beautiful.  I always eat too much at this event, but it was sooo good.  Myke made his has browns that I have never been able to duplicate.  Julie made quiche and we had sausages and lots and lots of fruit.  Then we just sat around and visited for a couple of hours.  I've missed my family.  They've spent some weekends together painting Mom's house, but I've always been at work so it was good to see them.

Books Read  I read six books (is that all??)  and quit one about half way through.  I definitely recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  Wonderful, heartwarming story.  I tallied up my TBR list today and found that I bought or acquired twenty books in the last month.  Yikes.  There is no room left on the shelves for books.  This book-collecting habit needs to be brought under control..  Sigh.

Movies  Cassie and I went to see Babies.  On the 15th, Lisa invited me to go the matinee after work and see Iron Man 2.  It was a fun movie and I love Robert Downey Jr.  Thanks, Lisa, for including me in your family and friend outing.  This last Sunday, I watched The Philadelphia Story on KBYU.  It's one of my favorites and a true classic.  The black and white cinematography is fantastic.  Plus Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant are wonderful.

TV  DWTS and American Idol are over.  Nicole Scherzinger won DWTS and rightfully so.  I did enjoy the other two finalists as well.  Good finish to that show.  Lee won American Idol but I would have been equally happy with Crystal winning.  They were both so good.  Not sure how I will like this show now that Simon is leaving.  I hope they get someone good.  The Bachelorette just started and looks like there will be plenty of drama.  I hope no one has to leave because of work this season.  That's getting overworked.  And Gray's Anatomy had a great season finale.  I am definitely watching more TV lately.  Maybe that's why I only read six books.

Overall Impression  I will be so glad to not see any more snow for a while.  And I have three weeks scheduled to take off in the next two months.  Yippee.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

April, 2010

     Another month, another . . . month?  I was trying to come up with something along the lines of another day, another dollar; unfortunately, creativity has run out the door.  Buh-bye.  It is getting warmer.  I say this despite the five inches of snow left on the ground on the last day of April.  I also had my best month at work in ages.  My boss tells me I've almost turned the corner.  Of course, that was just before we tanked the last two days of the month.  I'm halfway  back down the block now.  So I've turned in my resignation and I'm moving to Salt Lake.  It's got to be better than working until seven every night and six days a week.  I've also missed my last four weeks of working at the temple because I can't leave work early enough.  And I'm not reading the scriptures I keep at work because I don't go to lunch any more.
     General Conference was the first weekend of the month.  Susan and her family had come out for Lorin's funeral and Cassie was here as well.  That was a great treat.  Unfortunately, I didn't watch as much conference as I should have.
     On a bright note,  I bought two grow boxes at Walmart, you know, the kind with little pellets of soil that you soak with water and plant seeds in.  Now I have eighteen pea plants about six inches tall, myriad little carrot tops, some of that cute curly lettuce with red edges (the edges aren't red yet, the plants don't look anything like lettuce.  I think it's a hoax), twenty-four corn plants, eighteen sunflowers (they grow really fast), thirteen or fourteen hollyhocks (some seeds are refusing to germinate) and a bunch of daisies.  I really like watching things grow and there are no weeds in my grow boxes.  Naturally, I will have to plant them outside; and my sweet home teacher has even plowed a garden spot for me.  Too bad I am going to move.  But the plants can go with me.  My peonies are coming up and that always excites me.  Dang, I'm going to miss them.
     On the fifteenth, I drove to Salt Lake with a colleague for a meeting.  We ate lunch at the Olive Garden, great but made me sleepy at the meeting, and had dinner at Zupas.  Have I mentioned how much I love Zupas.  I didn't get home until ten that night, but what's another late night?
    The 23rd was Mom's birthday.  Mark came out and we went to dinner at JB's that night and then to Mom's to play games.  Susan snuck in as a surprise birthday gift.  That Saturday tons of people converged on  the  house to paint.  I went to work and got some much needed work done there.
     As an example of how out of whack I am, I hung my sheets out to dry on the line again.  That was two weeks ago, and I've yet to put them back on the bed.  Who does that?
Books Read  I read eight books this month.  My favorite was Inside the Dream.  It's a book about the work of Walt Disney.  While it includes some bits and pieces of his life, mostly it deals with his cartoons and films and how they evolved.  Pretty darn good.
TV  Still watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol.  I don't have an overwhelming favorite on either show, but I do like watching them.
Movies  If  I watched a movie last month, it made no lasting impression on me and so I've forgot about it.  Jeez, no movies?  I know watched movies, Cassie was here.  What did we watch?
Weight Loss  Please, who has time to lose weight?
Overall Impression   This has been a particularly negative post and my goal next month is to become more positive about things.  I have developed the growing conviction that very few people actually read my blog.  And I'm all right with that.  But just as a check, I did put in a grossly misleading statement. I didn't quit my job and I'm not moving.  At least not in reality.  Gotcha.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

March, 2010

I waited too long to write about last month.  There's very little I can remember.  Thank heavens I wrote a few things down on my calendar.  On the first and 2nd, I finished my trip to visit my kids.  It was so warm in Salt Lake that I drove with my window down.  It was sheer bliss.  I got back to Vernal on Tuesday to overcast skies and cold weather.  Jeez.  Jordan turned thirty this month.  How did that happen?  I'm very proud of him.  He has decided to quit his job and go back to school.   What a hard decision but ultimately, it will be so good for him and his family. 
Annie passed away on the 10th after a fifteen-month struggle with cancer.  It's hard to imagine her gone since she was so full of life.  Even sick as she was, she always had that beautiful smile on her face.  The funeral was on the 13th.  Everything was spoken in English and Spanish as she had so many friends who spoke one or the other.  Her parents don't understand English much at all.  It was a very moving service.  Eric spoke and gave a wonderful tribute to Annie.  We will miss her so much.
Cassie came out for the funeral, and it was so good to have her here.  We mostly spent time at Mom's house visiting with all the other family members who came to say goodbye to Annie. 
Jordan, Stacey and Lincoln spent a few days in Vernal on the following week.  I had to work but spent one lunch hour with them all at the Natural History Museum.  Lincoln loves dinosaurs and it was watch him look at all the dinosaurs and other preserved animals in the exhibits.
The only other thing I have written on my calendar is that on the 20th, I hung sheets and towels on the line.  Yay!!  My house smelled so fresh for days because I didn't fold them for days.  It didn't stay warm but I sure enjoyed the warm days that we did have.
Books Read  I read eleven books this month.  No fives, but three books were rated 4.5 which is pretty darm good:  The Great Bridge by David McCullough (Fascinating history of the Brooklyn Bridge), The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (I love the way he writes) and The Time Travelers by Linda Archer (Great children's book about time travel and medieval England).  One book I did not finish:  Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury.  I just couldn't get into it. 
TV  On the first, I watch the Batchelor final with Cassie and her friends in Salt Lake.  That was a lot of fun even if Jake did choose Vienna.  Dancing with the Stars started and I love watching it that.  Otherwise, nothing much has changed except I may be watching more TV than usual. 
Movies  I went and saw "Nine" with Cassie in Salt Lake.  It's a musical with Daniel Day Lewis, but I didn't love the movie.  I watched "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" on video one Saturday.  I don't watch movies at home very often even though I own twenty or so that I've never seen.  But I do enjoy the Harry Potter movies.
Weight Loss  I lost about a half pound.  I guess that's better than gaining but still . . . I think I include this in my journal just to shame myself to get more proactive.  So far, it's not working.
Overall Impression  It's getting warmer!!!  I can't remember when I've so excited to see the end of winter. 

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

February, 2010

February was another stressful month, but with a great ending.  I turned fifty-four on the 4th.  Yikes.  I still feel thirty.  Fifty is the new thirty, right?  No exercising at all which I really need to change.  I'm sure it would help me cope with the stress much better.  I've been doing a lot of praying just so I can hold on until things start looking better.  I'm a firm believer that eventually things will get better.  I did go out to dinner one night with some colleagues from Salt Lake City who were out for a couple of days.  I laughed so hard.  I need to laugh more often, it felt great.  I am still enjoying my Family History class.  The people taking the class are so fun to visit with and we all share some great things.  I am learning more all the time.  Annie's Spanish-speaking branch held a dinner for her on the 20th.  I went with Mom.  The food was good.  It is easy to see that Annie is failing and it is so sad.  But she is determined to be cheerful and brave.  What an inspiration she is.  And Eric is being so strong for her.  Annie's parents, brothers, sister, sister-in-law and niece all came to see her which I know is a huge comfort to her.  On the 25th, I drove out to Salt Lake and spent the night with Cassie.  She's as stressed as I am.  What a pair.  We went to dinner at Hoppers.  Really good hamburger.  Then back to her place to watch the Olympics.  I forgot to mention how much I love watching the Olympics.  Such drama and inspiration.  And it's always nice to see Apollo Ono.  Cassie had to go to work on Friday.  She looked so cute and professional in her skirt.  I got up early also on my way to Cedar City.  First stop was Jiffy Lube for an overdue oil change.  I was very impressed with their service.  It was a gorgeous day for driving and I made really good time.  It was so fun to see Stacey and Lincoln again in their new home.  It is sooooo beautiful.  Stacey has decorated it wonderfully.  You can see some of her ideas on her Chic It Yourself blog.  Jordan got home from school soon after and we had a good visit.  That night we met Susan, Audrey and Porter at Applebee's for dinner and had a great time.  The next day, we drove to St. George in the rain.  Lincoln and I slept all the way down.  I slept so much on this entire trip which is wonderful because I have not been sleeping well.  We did a little shopping and ate at the Red Robin, then home again.  Lincoln played with his balloon from Red Robin until he worked the ribbon loose.  Jordan didn't know that so when he opened the back door, the balloon flew away.  Poor Lincoln's heart was broken.  It was broken again the next day when his parents decided he was still too sick to go to the nursery at church.  It's refreshing to see a toddler who really loves the nursery.  Of course, Lincoln is pretty amazing.  He turns off his toys when he's done playing with them and is fantastic at cleaning up.  For the most part, he is exceptionally well-behaved.  For the other part, not so much.  All in all, quite a normal little boy.  I love him so much.  I hope Jordan and Stacey weren't too bored with me.  Mostly I slept a lot, ate a lot, and watched TV and Lincoln.  It was just the rest I needed and it was so good to see them all again. 
Books Read  I read or listened to nine books this month, eight were on my Catching Up Challenge and one was an audiobook read on my drive.  It's good to get some books read that have been sitting on my shelves for so long.  My favorite book this month was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.  Great mystery. 
TV  I'm still watchng the Batchelor but only half-heartedly.  I do enjoy American Idol, Castle and Gray's Anatomy but missing them occasionally didn't seem to upset me too much.
Movies   I watched four movies at Jordan's House.  He had rented "Couples Retreat" which was pretty lame.  Then I watched "Pelican Brief" after waking from a nap.  We quit watching right after the chase scene in the parking garage because 1.  We had all seen the movie before and 2.  Lincoln was insisting on watching Toy Stoy with Ba and Wooey.  How can you resist that?  So we watched Toy Story and it is funner to watch with a 2 1/2 year old.  After Lincoln went to bed, we watched Jurassic Park.  I don't love scary movies but, as always, I enjoyed Jeff Goldblum.
Weight Loss I lost another six pounds, because I'm not eating as much.  I didn't exercise at all.  After this past weekend, I'm afraid I will have gained everything back.  I really did eat a lot.
Overall Impression  Professionally, February was worse than January.  Otherwise, I think things are looking up.  It's getting warmer.  The days are longer.  And I am enjoying my callings at church.  The temple was closed for two weeks for maintenance and I really missed my weekly assignment there.  But it's only two weeks.  It was great to have some days off from work as well.  I really needed the break.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Life History Assignment: Likes and Dislikes

A great device for including information about yourself is by making a list.  I heard an author say you can make a list about anything:  what's in your refridgerator (I just threw out some disgusting, unknown substances so maybe I should do that one) a list of what's going on in your life at age thirty, forty, fifty, etc., (I wish I had done this but now I don't have that many decades left in me), what's on your bookshelf (this would be too long).  Anyway you get the idea.  Blogging memes follow this idea very well.  I found this list in a life history book, and the class seemed to like the idea.

1.  List your favorites from any of the categories below, and add any others that appeal to you.  If you would like, add a short explanation beside each item. 
  • Books - Anne of Green Gables, The Book Thief, Trinity, it's no use, I could go on and on.  I just love a well-written, entertaining book that makes me feel something.  Anne made me feel hope, happiness and the love of family and friends; Book Thief made me feel sadness and the love of the written word; and Trinity made me feel romance, danger, and determination.  My favorites change on any given day but these are three that came to my mind today.
  • Songs - "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"  I feel good every time I hear the opening riff to this song.  It's just one of those songs that takes you back to a different place in your life.  I have lots of songs that I really like to listen to and so much depends on who the performer is.  It would be hard to choose just one favorite.  But this Beatles song always lifts my spirits and John Lennon seems to sing it with so much joy.  Isn't that how you want to remember the Beatles?
  • Television shows - Dancing with the Stars, Gray's Anatomy, Castle.  I love watching Curious George with my grandson. 
  • Movies - Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping.  Funny how a little sleep deprivation changes your focus, isn't it?  I also really liked Four Wedding and a Funeral, especially the edited version.  Funny how I don't particularly like to read romances, but I love romantic comedy movies. 
  • Plays - The Tempest
  • Kinds of Music - Christmas, I own more Christmas CD's than any other type of music. 
  • Colors - Soft yellow, periwinkle, lavendar, deep red.
  • Foods - chocolate, Mom's potato salad, Myke's grilled hamburgers, the pina colada salad at Zupas
  • Flowers - peonies, lilacs, yellow or apricot roses, wild flower mixes
  • Operas - ????
  • Holidays - Thanksgiving is my favorite.  Great food and family get togethers. 
  • Sports - I love watching swimming on the Olympics.  I just love the Olympics, summer or winter.
  • Cities - New York City, Monterey, Boston, Salt Lake City.
  • Restaurants - Zupas (see above), Macaroni Grill ( had a great soup there last year), Appleby's
  • Dances - ????
  • Presidents - Abraham Lincoln is my favorite.
  • People's names - I think Lincoln is a wonderful name. 
2.  Look at the categories above.  Do items you particularly dislike come to mind?
  • Books - The Journeyer  This is one of the few books I have not finished, but I'm getting better at setting a book aside when I 'm not enjoying it.  But it is the only book I ever threw away.  Pure trash.
  • Songs - There are a lot of annoying songs out there.  "Master, the Tempest is Raging" is one church song I don't care for.  Too long and tedious.
  • Television shows - The Office
  • Movies - That independent film based on Nephi in the Book of Mormon.  The worst acting, makeup, sets, dialog etc.
  • Kinds of Music - Rap
  • Foods - green peppers
  • Holidays - Valentine's Day  Come on, people, do you really need a day to celebrate your love?  We could eliminate this holiday, save some money and not make those poor lonely hearts out there feel any less worthy.  And, no, I'm not bitter, just cheap.
  • Cities - Aberdeen, Washington -- just not a really pretty place. 
I could probably come up with more dislikes if I let myself really think about it, but why dwell on things I don't like?  I'm glad that those things were harder to bring to mind.  Maybe I'm not in such a dark place after all.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Life History Assignment: Family Vacations

Actually, the assignement was to write about your favorite vacation of your married life.  I can't think of one but I did think of two trips I took with my kids and family after the divorce.

In 1994, Susan planned a trip to the Grand Canyon which included her two boys, Jason and Kevin, along with Cassie, Jordan and me.  I helped pay for it, but she did all the work, shopping, making reservations, even driving.  We even drove from Cedar City to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with those three big boys crammed in the back seat of her Chevy Lumina.  That was probably not our favortie part.  We stayed in a little cabin and prepared our meals in the cabin to save money.  Susan did a fantastic job in planning and packing the food for those meals.  It was such a good time and a great way to take my kids on a trip.  I had a bit of a problem because I get vertigo when looking down huge drop offs.  But I still enjoyed the beautiful scenery, the sunsets, the lecture in the inn, spending time with my sister and watching the kids all get along together.  Here's some pictures:

I think it was the next year on spring break that Myke and Cheya invited us to go with them to Disneyland as their treat.  Can I just say that I had been to Disneyland once and didn't really want to go again, but I knew my kids would love it.  What can I say?  I loved it too.  For three days, we raced around the park, standing in lines, riding the rides and visiting with Mickey Mouse, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, the villain from Aladin, etc.  My feet were killing me.  One night, we took a trip to Newport Beach to eat at the Hardrock Cafe.  Great strawberry shake.  There was another day that we woke to pouring rain.  Still we walked from the motel to the park and bought bright yellow duckhead slickers.  It was a blast.  There weren't as many people and we didn't have to wait in lines.  Everywhere you looked, there were people dressed as yellow ducks walking around the park.  My favorite ride was Splash Mountain, even the great plunge at the end.  I would post that picture but can't get a decent copy scanned.  Here's one that Myke took.  Jordan is missing since he decided to sleep in and joined us much later.  I can't express enough how much I appreciated Myke and Cheya's generosity in taking us on this trip.  It was a great memory.

One of my biggest regrets while raising my kids was that we didn't go on enough trips together.  I was poor but I wish I had used my credit card and gone into debt for their sakes.  Thanks heavens I have two sisters who helped with these two wonderful vacations.  I really cherish the memories of these trips and the few we took to Salt Lake touring the city. 

January, 2010

I looked over my calendar of January and see that I didn't really do much except go to work, go to the temple, go to church.  Wayne and Susan visited from Virginia, and it was great to see them.  I started an exercise program at the beginning of the month, but it soon fizzled out.  Hopefully each month I will get the motivation to start exercising again.  I guess exercising for two weeks and then stopping is better than no exercise at all.  I gave a talk in church on the 17th about family history which I felt good about.  Shared some stories from familiy histories I've read and thoughts about geneology.  The same day, I gave my first family history lesson.  There were seven people in the class.  On the 24th, I gave a family history lesson and then my Relief Society lesson.  It was based on Elder Dallin Oaks talk, "Love and Law."  It's all about how God's laws are evidence of His love for us.  By obeying these laws, we develop the characters and attributes we will need to return to live with Him again.  He shows mercy through the Atonement but is bound by the laws.  If we choose to be disobedient, he cannot overlook that disobedience.  But because of His love, he strives to help us overcome temptations.  I like how Elder Oaks doesn't pull any punches and is matter-of-fact in telling how our choices affect our outcomes.  Here's a rundown of my regular activities:

Books  I read or listened to nine books this month for a total of 2692 pages.  My favorite was Mort by Terry Pratchett.  I started The Atonement but couldn't finish it.  Too bleak.  I also re-read Jane Eyre and really enjoyed.  It's quite different than I remebered it.  Did Bronte come back and do a rewrite in the last forty years?  Seven of the nine books were for a personal challenge to read books that have been on my TBR list for over three years.  Twenty-eight more to go.  Quite often I've wondered why I put off reading a book for so long. 

TV  New seasons of the Bachelor and  American Idol started this month.  Watching The Bachelor is like watching a train wreck only this time it's less interesting.  I still watch, but Jake is just not as much fun (too earnest?) and the girls seemed determined to be witches.  Don't they realize it's all on camera?  American Idol is still fun.  They're all still in the audition stage.  I wish they wouldn't show so many of the really bad or stupid contestants and none of the ones who go off, getting merrily bleeped along the way, when they're not picked.  I'd like to see more of the contestants who do get picked.  I'm loving Castle and am getting a little tired of Gray's Anatomy. 

Exercise  4 1/2 total hours.  How pathetic.  I can only do 1/2 hour at a time and haven't exercised since the 18th.  But now I'm embarrassed so I am determined to start again.

Weight Lost  6.6 pounds.  Obviously I didn't lose much weight from my diligent exercising program.  I'm attributing it to stress.  I never thought I would be too stressed to eat, but there you have it. 

Overall Impression  January is a cold, dismal month.  Even so, we had a number of days where the sun shone and the snow melted quickly off the roads.  There were a number of foggy days as well.  I don't like driving in the fog and it was miserably cold; but I love the way it freezes on the trees and electric wires.  Things are not going well at work but I just have to keep plugging along.  Hopefully, it will start looking up.  I really think January is my least favorite month.  So here's to February.

Monday, January 25, 2010

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I remember reading this book when I was in 9th grade and absolutely loving it.  But I remembered so little about the story.  Of course, I knew Jane Eyre was a penniless governess who falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester, and he with her.  I remember the mysterious happenings on the third floor of the mansion and even the fire.  But that was it.  When I started reading this book again, it opened with the story of Jane as a ten-year-old being mistreated by her aunts and cousins.  Was I even reading the same story?  She went to a boarding school?  She ran away from Mr. Rochester after learning that he had a wife?  I thought she learned that at the time of the fire.  Where did these cousins come in?  Wow, isn't it amazing the things you can forget over forty years' time?  Since I have never seen movies made from the book, it was almost like experiencing it for the first time.  Which was pretty neat.  What can I say?  It's a great story, a great romance, and Jane Eyre is a great character.  I love how strong she is (except for when under the thrall of her cousin, St. John.  He was creepy.) She had such moral conviction and deep passion.  I love that neither she nor Mr. Rochester were good-looking, but were attracted to the better qualities of the other, and maybe even some of the faults.  The story captured me.  True, I found the dialogue to be stilted and silly; but probably true to the time the book was written.  It sure took a long time to say anything, didn't it?  But the book is a classic, and I can certainly understand why?  I should try to not wait another forty years to read it again.  Here's a quote I picked out from many good ones:
"We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most often when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence.  I had risen to my knees to pray for Mr. Rochester.  Looking up, I, with tear-dimmed eyes, saw the mighty Milky-Way.  Remembering what it was -- what countless systems there swept space like a soft trace of light -- I felt the might and strength of God."
The book is filled with some great thoughts on Diety, right and wrong, morality versus immortality, even religious over-zealousness.  Good lessons that don't feel preachy because the story is so enthralling.  If you want to read a classic, I recommend this one.
Rating:  4.5

I realized that I posted this review on the wrong post.  If you want to see my other book reviews, please visit Framed and Booked.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Favorite Time of Day

"What is your favorite time of day? Are you a morning or a night person? Has this changed over the years?"

I love sunrises and sunsets, with a little leaning towards sunsets.  That could be because I am usually either sleeping when the sun comes up or busy getting ready for work.  I have lived in my house for over thirty years and I can't count the times I've sat on the front porch watching the sun go down.  Until three or four years ago, the field across the street from me was empty, giving me an unblocked view to the west and the mountains that circle the Ashley Valley.  Vernal has had some pretty spectacular sunsets during those years. 

Some evenings in the fall and spring, I would watch huge flocks of birds as they dart across the sky.  It's amazing how synchronized they are as they all suddenly change direction.  Sometimes, hundreds would be perched in this locust tree in my front yard and on the electrical wires by the road.  

I would have to say that I am both a morning and night person.  I prefer those times to the middle of the day.  There's a softer quality to the light when the sun is lower in the sky and the shadows are more interesting.  Has this changed through the years?  Definitely.  When I was a teenager, I slept all morning.  Probably never saw a sunrise.  Now that I'm older and my body is running down, I can't sit on the front steps like I used to.  But sometimes I glance out the window and see some pink or orange lights and walk out to see what brilliant note the day is ending on. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Calling

"What???" you say, "Why would you accept a new calling with the chaos that is your life?"  It's so true.  My life is a mess and I'm feeling pretty stressed.  But I have learned that, while I can do very little about the pressures of my job short of having every inhabitant of my town move all their accounts over and thus putting all my competitors out of business (slight exaggeration), I can control my own attitude and what I do with the little time when I actually have some energy to do something.  It's ironic that when I pray for strength to endure my "sore trials and tribulations", the Lord gives me another calling.  Two months ago, I was called to be the ward Family History Consultant.  I was so relieved that I wasn't being called to be a ward missionary, that I almost hugged the bishop.  And yes, the calling was extended two months ago.  Aside from buying some books on writing personal histories and some genealogy help books, I haven't done much except procrastinating the inevitable CLASS.  Two weeks ago, the bishop decided the class should start today and I could give a talk in Sacrament meeting to announce it.  Things just keep getting worse, don't they?  Well, I lived through it.  I used the first lesson in the book for my talk which went pretty well.  I had seven people show up for the class which is about seven more than I expected.  I gave the lesson using the DVD that accompanies it and felt we all had a good discussion which is how I teach.  There were even assignments.  That's right, assignments for Sunday School.  I know so little about Family History but I think I will learn so much from everyone else.  I hope they feel they are getting something out of it.  Anyway, I decided that along with finding our ancestors, we would have a weekly assignment to write a journal entry for our own personal histories.  We picked a topic from the myriads I had available:  "What is your favorite time of day?  Are you a morning or a night person?  Has this changed over the years?"  I will probably post my entries here on my blog so be looking for them.  If you want to join in by writing about the topic of the week, please leave a message with a link to your post so we can visit.  I hope this will be fun.  Some of my class liked the idea.  One brother groaned and said, "I have to write????"  We'll see how it goes.  Did I mention that I am still teaching Relief Society?  Next week, it's Lesson Three for Family History and a conference talk by Elder Oaks for RS.  I'm not feeling the stress letting up a lot yet, but I have a feeling this will all work out for my good. 

Friday, January 01, 2010

December Diary

It's my last journal entry of 2009 and I should really try to be eloquent; but I'm tired and coming off a holiday sugar rush; so we'll just have to see how it goes.

3rd  I drove to Heber with Julie and Todd to attend a manager's meeting.  It was the first time we had met with the managers in our new district and I thought it went well.  I've probably mentioned before that my new boss is very driven and intense, but he's also very funny and has really good ideas to help us meet our goals.  And he's pretty honest about the fact that we are going to have to work our butts off this next year.  (sigh)

5th - 16th  Maddy's son got married on the 11th so she took off all these days to get ready and spend time with visiting family.  Which meant I got to work every day except Sundays.  I was pretty tired to say the least.  Lisa and I drove over to Hidden Springs in Altamont to attend Buck's reception.  What a long drive.  It took over an hour to find the place, but I can understand why people have their receptions there.  It is a beautiful setting.  On the 16th, we had a manager's meeting in Roosevelt to go over strategies for the new year.  Again, very intense.

17th  My high school friend, Ann Stewart, hosted a get-together with a bunch of us from high school.  There were thirteen of us:  Ann, Nikki Sorensen, Gail Sorensen, Rosalie Sorensen (can't remember her married name), Karen Hatch, Benna Bridges (again, married name ???), Cathy Magee, Linnette Rollins, Dahn Caldwell, Julie Brooks, Judy Kurtz, Betsy Magee,  and myself.  We had a blast.  Ann had made the most wonderful food and her home is beautiful.  She is such a good hostess.  We played a game where we all drew a Christmas song and then sang it until we found our partners.  Karen, Rosalie and I had JIngle Bells.  We then perfomed a routine for the song.  We won!!!  You can see why from the picture below. :)

21st - 23rd  I took these days off because Stacey, Jordan and Lincoln came for a pre-Christmas visit.  Lincoln was very excited to see my Christmas tree which was fun.  This was the first time we tried having him sleep in a regular bed.  We put chairs and pillows all around the double bed and he slept just great.  The next morning I had to run into work and to the store.  Just as I was getting ready to leave at 7:30, Lincoln opened the door and walked out of his bedroom.  It was good that I had not left yet as Stacey and Jordan were still asleep.  It's hard to get used to him being so grown up.  Stacey made breakfast when I got home, German oven-puff pancakes, soooo good.  We opened our gifts to each other.  I bought (had Jordan buy for me) Lincoln a keyboard and stand.  It was so fun to watch him play the different beats (actually he seemed to keep to one beat) and sing into the microphone.  What an entertainer.  I have a little caterpillar with 26 legs for the alphabet.  When you push a leg, it plays a different song.  Lincoln would only push the "I" leg and would rock out to "I've Been Working on the Railroad."  And he would not let me play another song and that caterpillar plays some really cute songs.  It was so funny.  Stacey made me a baking dish that had my name engraved on the bottom.  It's so nice to know which pan you brought to the potluck without putting masking tape on it.  In fact, it was such a great gift that I had also made a simlar one for Stacey last summer.  Great minds think alike.  Then they gave me a digital picture frame with a lot of their family photos already on the memory card.  I added some of my own.  Amazing how much time I spend looking at those pictures.  Thanks, Jordan and Stacey.  Earlier, I had bought some alphabet magnets since Lincoln liked lining up the magnetic trains so well at Thanksgiving.  The letters were stuck randomly on the fridge and he proceeded to line them all up.  He would move them from the fridge to the metal trashcan and back but always in a straight line.  I could watch him for hours.  But they had to leave Wednesday afternoon and then Cassie got here that night.

24th  Christmas Eve.  I had to work but we closed at 3:00 so I had time to make pico de gallo and sour cream enchiladas for our family dinner that night.  The enchiladas were really good.  We had so much food at Mom's.  I think it took us four days to eat everything.  Of course, people kept making new stuff like soup and such.  There were lots of people so it was pretty chaotic.  We played the same Christmas song game that I had played with my friends and it turned out fun.  Everyone participated which was surprising but also made it successsful.  Greg read "The Night Before Christmas" and Cheya read the Bible and we sang some carols.  Ahhh, tradition.  Then we opened presents.  This year, Mom made a donation to help Third World familes in our names and that was her gift to all of us.  What a great idea for Christmas.  I got her some software and a book to help her write her life history.  I hope she will spend some time writing down her memories.  I always enjoy when she tells stories from her life.  I also gave her some pictures from our Thanksgiving photo shoot.  Last year, I gave her magnetic board to displays pictures of her family that can be changed when she gets new ones.  So now she has new ones of me and my kids.  Cheya and Myke gave me a WaterPik shower head.  I was a little apprehensive about installing it.  I did have to go to the hardward store to get a small converter pipe but it works just great.  I love it.  I also got an ARC of The Brutal Telling.  Cheya and I are great fans of Louise Penny.  Thanks, Myke and Cheya. 

25th  Christmas Day.  No getting up early for Cassie and I.  I don't think we ate breakfast until noon and then opened presents.  Or was it the other way around?  Whatever, it was nice and slow.  Cassie brought me great things from her travels:  a plaid, cashmere scarf from Scotland, a silver necklace and an Irish Tenors CD from Ireland, and a red coral necklace from Hawaii.  She also gave me some other really neat things.  And then she is going to make me a temple bag.  She had bought the fabric but ran out of time.  The fabric is so pretty.  We took it very easy but eventually made it over to Mom's to eat and play games. 

26th  Cassie and I went to see Sherlock Holmes at the movie theater.  Great movie.  After it was over, we saw that Greg had come also but had sat farther ahead of us.  I can't believe I actually did this, but after the movie, we went to Walmart.  On the day after Christmas!!  It was not too bad and we needed to get the trim for the temple bag.  We settled on a really pretty green color with a gorgeous bling-bling button.  I'm so excited.  More games at Mom's that night.

27th  I gave my lesson in Relief Society and spent my last day in the library.  Now I have to get ready to teach Family History.  I know nothing!  Cassie left to go back to Salt Lake.  Man, it's hard to see her go. 

31st  Mom, Susan, Cheya and I went to lunch at The Red Onion Grill.  It's right next to the Dinosaur Gift Shop so we went in to check out the sale.  I spent too much but bought some fun Christmas items.  Lunch was just okay especially considering that we had to wait so long and the service was pretty bad.  That night we had sloppy joes at Mom's and birthday cake and ice cream.  And played games.  My back was killing me and I developed a bad headache so as soon as I saw that ball drop in Times Square, I headed home to bed. 

Books  I read eleven books this month.  My favorites were The Kite Runner, Forest Born, and Ender's Shadow.  Six of the books were Christmas stories, some very short, which helped get me in the holiday mood.

Movies  On Christmas, Cassie and I watched Julie/Julia which she gave me.  I really liked it.  Meryl Streep is wonderful.  Then we saw Sherlock Holmes which was also a wonderful movie, very fast paced and action-packed.  And funny as well.  It seems like I watched another video but can't remember what it was.

Overall Impression  We got a lot of snow this month which was so pretty at first.  Then it just gets dirty and drab.  It was also very cold.  Most nights dipped below zero.  Brrrrr.  But it was a good month to spend time with the family and enjoy the Christmas spirit.  I love singing carols at church and celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Now if I can just keep that feeling with me throughout the year.  I did make some resolutions.  I have to lose weight or my back is going to become an even bigger problem than it already is.  So I am going to try to eat better and exercise more.  Plus, I am going to read the Old Testament.  And I want to do some writing on my life history to go along with the family history class I will be teaching.  That ought to do it.  Look for updates on my monthly posts.  I may post my life history entries as well, haven't decided yet.  I hope everyone had a great year in 2009 and wish an even better one for 2010.  HAPPY NEW YEAR.