Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

It seems like I can't get online or even go anywhere without people griping about what a bad year it's been. I could join them, I mean my dad died, tons of car problems, and then the election happened. But...

I'm joining the ranks of those that found something positive to say about the year. Looking back, a lot of good things also happened to me. Here are a few of them:

My nephew Alexander
Technically, he happened in 2015. He was born December 21. But I got to spend this year watching him grow into a darling cutie boy. I love all my nieces and nephews and I've got a fine crew of them.

I went to Paris!
Ha ha yeah, I went to Paris. France. And Mont St. Michel, so that's 2 more spots to mark off my bucket list. It really was a great trip and I got to go with a good friend. One day I'll go back with my sister and see more of France.

Family vacation to Oregon
This was my dad's dream and we had a fantastic time. He rented a house on the beach and the whole family was there. We made a photo album from Shutterfly and I love to look at it. So, so many good memories. 

Family time when dad died
I mean, it sucked. It really did. But on the other hand I am so blessed with my family and seeing all the friends and family at the viewing and funeral was more of a happy time than sad. 

Planning the next trip!
My mom, sister, and I are all going to on a trip together next year. To Scotland. We got a fantastic deal on the airfare and we spent Christmas day deciding where to go and where to stay. We are all super excited.

So yeah, some good things happened this year.  It seems like 2017 is filled with so many uncertainties and fear but I have hope. I have to have hope that good things will also happen. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Books of 2016

2016 was a great book year for me, which is nice since it sucked in other areas. But this post is about books. I read 132 books of varying lengths (plus I re-read a few all the way though which is not in my count). I gave 13 of them 5 stars. I know it's a low percentage but I'm stingy with my five star ratings and kind of feel that I loosened up this year. I got 3 classics in with The Outsiders, The Haunting of Hill House, and The Hidden Staircase (I totally count the original Nancy Drew as classic.) I read 5 non-fiction books, including a book of Mary Oliver's poems that I enjoyed. Ebooks made up 55 of the 132. Nothing can really beat the feel of a book in my hands, but I also love the advantages of ebooks. I've especially loved that now I can borrow them from the library.


So here are my favorite books of 2016 in no particular order:




The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I decided to read this one before Halloween to get in the mood. I've had mixed results with NG in the past but this hooked me and I just loved it. There might have been a few tears shed at the end when Bod leaves the graveyard.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Definitely tears shed for this one. This book was everything I wanted it to be. One of my most anticipated and I was bereft when it was over.


A Darker Shade of Magic & A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Both of these got 5 stars from me. It amazes me how authors come up with some of this stuff. I loved the four different Londons but I really loved Lila Bard and her determination to live life under her terms. I question some of her decisions in AGOS but I'm dying for the final book next year.


My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart
It's hard to say but this might be my favorite MS book yet. There is a very, very subtle romance and fantastic nail biting scene at the end. I wish so badly that I could visit Mary Stewart's Greece.


Dark Horse, Dark Deeds, & Dark Minds (The Class 5 series) by Michelle Diener
I'm cheating and putting the whole series on here because it was my biggest book hangover of the year. I really just couldn't get them out of my head. Music played a big part of these books and it had me thinking about what songs I would have chosen.


These Shallow Graves, Revolution, & A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
I discovered Jennifer Donnelly this year and all 3 books have to be on the list. They are all so different and every one of them captured me from the beginning and wouldn't let go.
Read These Shallow Graves for a lighter historical mystery with a bit of romance, Revolution for some time travel with a moody teen and a fictional composer that I wish were real, or A Northern Light for an intense historical novel about a girl who has to make some hard choices. If I had to choose, Revolution would be my favorite but all of them are excellent.


Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart
Did I say My Brother Michael was my favorite? Dang! It's so hard to choose. I loved this from the start. It's a great old fashioned caper complete with mistaken identities and a car chase.


Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver
Relationship drama! Plus a society murder. I loved it and can't wait to read the next book in the series.


Marked In Flesh by Anne Bishop
This series is so different from a lot of things I read. it's slow moving with lots of details and I'm on the side of the Others all the way.


Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
I loved the final book of this series. Grim is just the nicest guy and so patient and I loved the way the friendship between Blackthorn and Grim progressed in the series. It was rock solid.


One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
I read this serial online and then bought the final published version and devoured it again in one night. Right now this series is my favorite of everything they write.


Whew! What a list. Like I said, it was a great reading year. Plus I have some notable mentions that just have to be here.


The Shadowy Horses by Susannah Kearsley
This is a "me" book all the way around. Girl on an archeological dig with a ghost, boy who can see ghost, handsome professor... it hit all the right buttons.


The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Two words: Peaceable Sherwood. I love book boys that know exactly what they want right from the start and book girls who are clever enough to fall in with their scheme.


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
This one was just plain fun. I think the authors must have had a blast writing it.


Garden Spells & The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Another new to me author. I read 4 of her books this year and they are all keepers but I think these 2 might be my favorites.


As for 2017....


I'm looking forward to Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop, A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner, and Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs. I'm sure there are more that I can't think of.


As for what I'm reading next year, I found an old reading bingo card online that looks like it might be fun so I was thinking about challenging myself to a game of blackout. I changed it up a bit and got my niece and nephew to say they'd play along with me. I just have to think of an appropriate reward.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Nearing the End

I just finished my 125th book of the year. That's a record. My last record was last year when I hit 100. I know some people read a lot more than that but I'm not comparing myself to anyone else. The year isn't even over yet. I'm almost done with 2 other books so I've decided to see if I can hit 130. Christmas is going to be quiet this year. We're doing most of the celebrations with the family on the 24th so I think it will be me and mom for most of the day. She's a reader too so maybe we'll have some good reading time. Plus, you know, all the other reading I do in the normal course of living like eating dinner, right before bed, waiting for trains, etc.


I've been thinking about how I could have gotten so many more books in this year. I haven't scrimped on pages; I've read a few pretty big books. Both of the books I'm almost done with are 450-550 pages long. I went on a couple vacations with air travel time (which is more reading time) so that could be some of it. I think most of it might be that I'm staying at work for lunch. Since my parents moved and I don't have anywhere else to go I've either been eating in the break room and reading a book, or going to the park to walk. Being able to read an extra 40 minutes or so a few days a week can really add up, I think.


In other news I'm exhausted and really looking forward to having a break from relief society stuff, from work, Christmas preparations, etc.  How did it get to be the end of the year already? It's one of the mysteries of the universe, I guess.

Friday, December 9, 2016

True Confessions


I know I can get pretty grumpy (sorry family), but I think that I am generally a happy person and I try to smile and be positive and cheerful. 

I’m coming to the end of my time as relief society president in my ward (according to my bishop) and I am so tired of it. In general, this calling has not been fun. In fact, at times I’ve really hated it. Fun is probably the wrong word. I realize life isn’t always “fun”. I’m hanging in there but I seriously can’t wait to be released. I hate being the one in charge and having to pick up the slack when other people don’t follow through. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen many of the things the sisters in my ward do to serve. Some of them are so good and never say no. But then there’s the group that never say yes. I’m trying to not judge, but it’s incredibly frustrating when you need help.  The introvert in me struggles with calling people on the phone (texting all the way!) or showing up on their doorsteps uninvited. I’ve had a lot of awkward conversations because I’m not the best at making small talk or getting things out of my mouth in general.  I struggle to empathize with people. I’m more of a “suck it up and deal” type of person. I absolutely refuse to do bulletin boards and cute table decorations. It’s all ok. I know I could have put more effort into it at times, and I also know there are times when I really did try and did my best. 

I’ve learned a lot, truly, I have.  I’ve had great help along the way with my counselors and secretary and we’ve had some good times, I think. I’ve seen a lot of good and some struggles and have had help from my Heavenly Father even when I forgot to ask for it. And when I did ask for it, great things happened. And sometimes small things that were absolutely inspiration and answers to prayers.  For the rest of my life I am going to be diligent about saying yes when asked to help with things that I can help with. Seriously, how hard is it to show up to clean the building once in a while?  LOL – but don’t get me started on canning assignments in the middle of the day. Right now though, I’m tired of it and want to be done. Is that a bad thing?  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Count Your Blessings


Hard to believe Christmas will be here before I know it. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and long weekend. I spent time with the family and read some books and did some shopping (not on Black Friday) and made candy. We’ve officially decided to call it Brown Friday since that’s the day the candy making commences and chocolate gets everywhere. Oddly enough, with my dad gone, my mom got up early and started the chocolate melting. We started rolling and dipping right after I got there around 10:00 and were completely finished and had the mess cleaned up by 4:00. Seriously the fastest candy making year ever. I missed my dad being there. It was always his job to make sure the chocolate was melting and the nuts were chopped. Ha ha…the chocolate probably doesn’t dare not melt quickly with my mom in charge.


We also got a snow storm yesterday so there is white stuff all around. I hope it lasts so we can have a white Christmas. I’m almost finished with the Christmas shopping, even. 



But before I get too deep into Christmas, I want to take a few moments more to be thankful.

My car is still running

The internet – even though it distracts me way too much
Grocery stores so I can just go buy food

People that share recipes on Pinterest or the aforementioned internet

My piano

Electricity

My little home that may not be grand or fancy and needs new carpet but fits me perfectly

Hot water right out of the tap

Family game nights

All of my kiddos who are growing up so fast

And much, much more. Everything I have is because I have been blessed by my Heavenly Father.
Now the Christmas season can begin and I’ll still be counting my blessings. Did you see, I even put up a tree this year!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Time to De-Clutter

I recently read the book Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod. She wanted to quit her job and travel and took a year to downsize her life and save up the money she needed. I’m not looking to quit my job to travel but I was pretty interested in all the things she did to save money, and how she downsized.

Anyhow, it has inspired me to clean out my closets. I started on Saturday and got another big chunk of it done last night. I already have a huge pile of stuff to donate to the DI and my garbage can and recycle bin are almost full.

Clothes: I cleaned out my clothes closet about a year ago, I think, but I still kept a lot of stuff I don’t or can’t wear. It’s gone, along with some shoes, jewelry, and purses.

Craft supplies: All that scrapbooking paper I’ve never used. Yep, it’s pretty but I don’t scrapbook and I don’t want to start. Holiday decorations. I’m only keeping the ones I actually use. All kinds of other miscellaneous or half used crafting stuff got thrown out too.

Weird stuff: Nunchucks from karate. A wind chime I bought in San Diego years ago when my sister lived there. It’s a wood one and it reminds me of birds of paradise, sea air, and good times. The problem is I’ve never lived in a place I could hang it. Empty picture frames. A crumpled world map. Candlestick holder. ???

Books: I found a bunch of old text books in a box in the bottom of a closet. Gone. A box of old children’s books. I kept a few but I’m going to see if my brother or sister wants any of the rest of them. If not, they are going. Sheet music and violin music. This I still have to go through. If I don’t play the piano music, I might as well not keep it. The violin stuff I’m probably keeping since I still have my violin. LOL – I should try playing it once in a while.
I still have 2 closets to finish and my bathroom drawers to go through but it feels so good to be doing this. This past week I’ve been feeling heavy, emotionally and physically. De-cluttering my life and my house is just one thing I am doing to stop those feelings. I am so blessed with my job and the ability to provide for myself. I found my old journals and diaries from my entire life. It’s fun to look back at them. One of the things I see is a wonderful family: parents who supported me and gave me opportunities, and siblings who are my best friends. Life can still be good, even in troubled times.  



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 9


Today I am sad. And truth be told, a little bit shocked. I seriously didn’t think he would win the election. I didn’t, and couldn’t in good conscience, vote for him. But I know a lot of people, of good people, who did. Why? I’m trying to wrap my head around that. It’s hard to do. Maybe I just have to say we have a difference of opinion when it comes to some things and leave it at that.

It truly is too soon to tell what will happen, so for now I’m turning off the news reports and social media. I’m going to think about how I can be a little kinder or make my place (i.e. neighborhood, community) a little better. I know my prayers this morning were a little more heartfelt and sincere. I sat in the sunshine at lunch and just tried to be grateful for the nice weather. Maybe I’ll pull out an old favorite book before I go to bed tonight. Whatever it takes to get some sleep…

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Picture Says A Lot of Words

It's Monday.
The Monday after the time change and before the election.
I feel a little like this:




Or maybe like this:




Luckily, Mondays and time changes don't last forever.


Pretty soon I'll be feeling like this:




Actually, I'm pretty sure I never feel like a dancing nymph so maybe I'll say I'll feel like this:




A lovely carousel always make one feel better, right?


And I've found a use for some random trip pictures so it's a double win.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October


We’re finally getting a little fall weather. It’s actually been a bit warm for a lot of the month. Not hot, though, so I’ll take it. I did switch my heater on since one colder day it did get down to 65 in my house, but it rarely comes on.

I’ve spent a few of the nice days with walks outside. The leaves are gorgeous.

And this past weekend my sister and I took my niece to the pumpkin walk in North Logan. I rarely get to Logan these days and I’m always amazed at how much it’s grown since my college days. The pumpkin walk is free so I guess it’s worth it. There were a lot of people there. I think my niece liked the ice cream afterward better than the pumpkins but what can you do?
I just finished reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It was my Halloween pick (one of them anyway) and I must say I was a little bit disappointed. I picked it because I didn’t want to actually be scared but wanted to read something a little creepy.  This is the second of Shirley Jackson’s books I have read and I do like her writing. I guess I just expected something a little bit more from this one. I thought Eleanor was sad and pathetic so I didn’t actually care what happened to her. And Mrs. Montague was crazy. I think she needed to have a good scare, not the others. There was one scene that was creepy and absolutely brilliant where Eleanor was being haunted and was holding on to Theodora’s hand only to find she wasn’t. I loved that part but the rest was just ok.
I’ll think I’ll stick with old Vincent Price movies instead. Even though they are a little laughable now, they still have a few scenes that are creepy or just the right amount of scary for me and I really just love the old time campiness about them. The Bat (1959), House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), and House of Wax (1953) are my favorites.



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Choices

I can’t believe we are already at the end of September. Time is just flying by and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to enjoy the days of my favorite season. I don’t want them to pass by in a blur.
Sunday, our lesson in Relief Society was the talk from President Monson on choices. From the things the teacher talked about, I really liked the idea of making conscious choices and defining our lives rather than just letting them pass by so I’ve been trying to pay attention to my choices this week. I’ve been in a bit of a funk. I’ve told myself its ok as I deal with grief and stress and anxiety but I don’t want to feel that way all the time.
I made the choice not to get up to exercise this morning. J  I did use my lunch break to walk 2 miles at the park (another conscious choice). I’m happy I still did it and being outside in the sunshine felt great, but I realize that I didn’t actually get any more sleep by pushing snooze so I should have just gotten up. I’m tired either way.  Tomorrow I will choose to get it done in the morning.
I also chose to eat a few squares of a Lindt Intense Mint dark chocolate bar after lunch.  And it was delicious.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

My Favorite Season


It’s September.  That means I’m eating lots of peaches! They are in season here in Northern Utah. Mom lost her peach trees when she moved but my sister also moved last year and gained 5 trees so I’ve still been eating them fresh picked as they ripen. Yum!

It also means we are entering my favorite time of year. September thru November is really kind of heaven for me.  It’s still a little warm right now, but the nights are getting cooler and the days will be too.  Up in the very tops of the mountains I am seeing some color as the leaves start changing. Pretty soon we’ll be seeing it in our yards also. I LOVE autumn!

Here's a small list why:
Warm socks
Hot Chocolate
Storms
My down comforter
Pumpkins
Leaves changing colors
Baking
Soup
Watching the rain from my front window
Curling up with a good book – ha ha ok I do that no matter the season
Scarves
Boots
Sweaters
Cooler days and nights

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

An Un-Anniversary of Sorts

A friend and I went to see the Dixie Chicks in concert last Friday night. It was fun. They did a lot of my favorite songs. I love their music. The concert was at the Usana Amphitheater. I had never been there before. I liked the outdoor setting. We had seats, but the lawn seating was pretty far back. The tickets would have had to be really cheap for me to want to sit back there.  And it’s a pain in the butt to get in and out of. On the way back home we stopped at a gas station for a drink and then turned up the music and sang at the top of our lungs, partly to keep us awake and partly because it was fun.

As I was driving to work this morning the announcer on the radio said the date and it seemed really familiar to me for some reason. Then I realized that I got married 20 years ago today. I was divorced 5 years later, but this was the big day. Looking back I can’t believe how different my life has been from what I had planned. Not different in a bad way, because I am generally happy.  It’s just I was young and back then I thought that I had to get married and have kids and a house and all that stuff. 
There are only a few things in my life that I truly regret, so I don’t think getting married was one of them, but I can’t say it was a good thing. It’s hard to remember anything happy about those five years of my life even though there must have been some good times. Maybe I should say I rarely have reasons to remember those times (good or bad) because they have nothing to do with my life today, except for maybe being a kind of crossroads to the path I did go down.  Regardless, I am happy with where I did end up and have been blessed in so many ways.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August


August is actually the cruelest month, at least for this year.

My dad died on August 5th.  Long story short: he made the decision to stop dialysis. We sat with him for the 2 days it took.  

What an absolute roller coaster of emotions.

To compound everything I’ve had some car problems and sometimes it’s the last straw. I feel bad for a couple people who have caught me at my breaking point and have had to deal with a few tears at inopportune moments. OOPS

And yet life goes on. People are out mowing lawns, walking dogs, going to work, a whole myriad of things and I feel a little outside of it all.

I’m doing ok and things will settle down into a new normal. I guess. There’s just a big hole in our family now.

I’ve learned a few things. One thing is I’ve been a really bad friend to a few people who have experienced the death of a loved one.  I want to change that going forward.

Lots of people have expressed condolences or whatever you want to call it. And then there are people who don’t know what to say and that’s ok too. That’s usually where I am on the spectrum.  All the little gestures of kindness truly help, whether it is a card, text, plants, chocolate, coming to the viewing and funeral, or even just popping into my office to tell me they are sorry.

I am humbled by how kind people can be.

I am not really a blogger. I have this blog, which is mostly an online journal but I don’t actively share it with people. I doubt anyone reads it except me which is totally fine but I’m putting this out there for the universe. I believe with everything that I am that I will see my dad again. Death isn’t the end and families are eternal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review: Class 5 Series

I’ve been on a huge space opera/SFR kick lately. That’s all I’ve wanted to read. I prefer them to be light on the technical details as long as the world is interesting. After all, I’m reading about spaceships and aliens so I’m willing to accept the fantastical. Most of the recent sci-fi romance seems to be self-published. I’m ok with that and I try to do a little digging for content. Goodreads has some good lists I’ve been browsing through for new books to try.
I recently discovered Michelle Diener’s Class 5 series: Dark Horse, Dark Deeds, and Dark Minds. I read Dark Horse in June and liked it quite a bit except for a few things.  This last week I read Dark Deeds and then realized that Dark Minds was just published and I bought it and read the entire book last night.
Each book has a different heroine who has been abducted from Earth and held hostage or prisoner and each of them comes in contact with an AI or “thinking system” and becomes a kind of conscience for them as they are set free. There’s an ongoing story about the different alien races trying to destroy or capture the Class 5 ships and keep the galaxy from war.  And of course, there are the heroes who find and rescue the ladies (initially – there’s a lot of ladies rescuing their men also).
The series as a whole is fantastic. I had 2 problems with it in general. The first is that all 3 women learned multiple languages fluently in 2 months or less. It’s a minor issue and it’s offset by the whole notion that there were other races and cultures and of course they would speak differently. The second is that each book has a central romance and they all took place in less than a week. I generally don’t like insta-love and wasn’t prepared for it to be that fast in the first book. I was ready for the others and they didn’t bother me so much and I just went with it.
Again, those are minor issues. There are a lot of little details that I just loved. One was the fact that the food didn’t taste great to Rose, Fiona, or Imogen and they had to find things they could eat and did like. Another was how music was used culturally by the Grih and how different it is from Earth culture. The songs sung by Fiona and Imogen cracked me up a few times. I have to admit the songs that weren’t actually named had me wondering what they were exactly, and the ones that were had me listening/watching videos on YouTube.
Anyway, I’ve had a great time with this series and can already tell I will be re-reading at least my favorite parts.
I think readers who enjoyed the Scarabaeus series by Sara Creasy or the Paradox series by Rachel Bach would enjoy this.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Charlie

I don't really like animals. I don't wish them harm or anything and bad pet owners make me mad, but I don't want to have pets myself.


But sometimes they are fun to play with. My sister's dog is crazy but I like him anyway. Sometimes.



He's sitting in my front seat ready to go for a ride. How could you not love this face? LOL


In other news... we decided to not go to Japan next year for a variety of reasons. We are looking at a couple other places though. And we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I will keep saving money and vacation for travel and home repairs.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Decisions, Decisions

Grrr.... my sister sent me an email that Cathay Pacific is having a sale of 55% off flights to Japan. It would be $1000.00 from Salt Lake. Tickets have to be purchased by July 31 and flights have to be before May 31, 2017. Foreign flights for $1000 or less is a great price and Cathay Pacific is an airline that I really like. Very comfortable for long flights.


I have the money, that's not a problem...but I was kind of planning on staying home next year. I've been thinking about a new car, and I've been thinking about painting walls and replacing the carpet in my home and a myriad of other things that cost money or would need a little time off from work. LOL - what's a girl to do?


What if this is my chance to see Japan? We have friends living in Tokyo right now and they won't be there forever. I told her we better seriously consider this. People tell me a lot that they wish they could travel like I do. Someday is a word I hear all the time. It's a terrible word. Sometimes you have to say TODAY. Or at least before the end of the month. :)


A trip to the library for some Japan travel guides is going to happen really soon.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

It's been a great holiday weekend.

It started on Friday when my sister and I took my two nieces on a little overnight backpack trip. I let her talk me into it (she didn't have to talk very hard) because I thought it would be fun to get out and I have all that backpacking gear now that I should use once in a while.


We were going to go to the Uintah's and do a small trail there but the forecast was calling for rain so the day before we left, Amy decided that we'd go up Logan Canyon and hike the Temple Fork Sawmill trail. She said it was 2.5 miles although the sign says 3.2. I think she clocked 3 on her phone.




The trail starts out with a lot of sagebrush and small trees. It was hot and dusty but then you get into the canyon and there are pine trees and wildflowers and all kinds of grass and vegetation. Beautiful.

 
It was the perfect trail for the kids. Ha ha... and myself. Not too steep and 3 miles was just right. The girls had to carry their sleeping bag, clothes, and water while Amy and I carried the rest. It was their first backpack trip and Amy wanted it to be fun for them so they would want to do it again. They had a great time and already want to go again next year and maybe take more people.


The dog had a great time. Funny story... we were sitting around the fire and it was getting dark but you could still see and Charlie barked and then some animal made a noise. We all looked at each other and started wondering what it could be. We knew bears wouldn't be an issue, even though Amy did take her bear spray. The noise came again and it was hard to make out and we were trying not to freak out. Then it got closer and we could hear it again and this time it was a definite moo. Yeah, we had seen cows on the way up. They graze up there. They were on the side of mountain on the other side of the stream, slowing making their way up and over the side. Ha ha, what a relief to have that mystery noise solved.



The sawmill was built when the LDS settlers were cutting down trees to build the Logan Temple. A few rusted out tools of some kind and the stone monument with a plaque are all that remains.


In a clearing not far from the sawmill remains, we found a spot that has been used for camping, complete with a fire ring. There were 2 other groups of hikers that evening and then we passed 3 or 4 groups coming up as we headed out.


Sitting in the mountains by a campfire is truly one of my favorite things to do. There isn't a lot that is more relaxing than that. Even if I am sitting on a hard log.


We need to go back up that trail sometime. We had left the spare clothes and flip flops in the car and there were so many places we could have gotten in the water if only we knew and had some spare clothes and shoes with us.

After we got back to the car on Saturday morning, we continued up the canyon to Bear Lake and had lunch, complete with famous raspberry shakes. :) Naturally, I didn't sleep very well Friday night so by the time I got home and showered I didn't do much and was in bed by 8:30 and slept like I was dead.

On Sunday, the family had a picnic at the botanical garden on the Ogden river parkway. And since there is a river there, we were in it. The kids were soaked but it was hot and it felt so good to be in the cold water.

And today I've been doing little things around the house like getting the hiking stuff picked up and put away and then reading and enjoying the sunshine.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Nights


Saturday night I took my sister up to Brigham to pick up her car then I took the highway home. I don’t drive it as much anymore since my parents don’t live up that way. It was dusk. There was the ending of a beautiful sunset and I rolled my windows down and turned up the radio. It was a great drive home. It smelled like summer: grass, trees, sprinklers, even the herd of elk on the highway.  I usually list summer as my least favorite season because I don’t like the really hot days and everything dries up, but summer nights like that one are actually pretty glorious.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Family Vacation


I spent last week with my family in Oregon. After my parents got back from their trip there last fall, my dad started thinking about a family vacation there. My parents told us they would rent the house and pay for the food if all of us could pay our way up there. 

I have to say I was ridiculously excited for a family vacation in Oregon, even while I wondered at being with them for 7 days straight.  I decided to fly up and rent a car so I paid the most money, except for my parents. It’s ok though. It works for me. My 2 sisters and brother drove with their families. Even if I had driven, I would have been by myself because with all the kids there were no extra seats.
 
 
I arrived Sunday morning and since I had a few hours to spare before heading to the coast, I went to Powell’s Books. J I escaped with only 4 books so I’m very happy with myself.




We stayed just south of Waldport, and just down the road from the house my parents rented last year. This house was pretty big with 6 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms and right on the beach.


And for the bad news, sickness travels fast in a house with 6 children. A few of us got sick, including me. So I was actually a little bit miserable part of the time, even though I was out and doing things. When I got home Saturday afternoon, I just crashed and then didn’t go to church on Sunday. I needed some rest. I still have a nasty cough and my sinuses aren’t quite back to normal.



In spite of that, I loved being with my family. There wasn’t much fighting and I think all of us had a pretty good time. We played in the water and sand, flew a kite on the beach, went to the Tillamook cheese factory, and saw sea lions on the wharf in Newport. I didn’t get out to walk on the beach every morning like I had planned because I didn’t feel good but I guess I can’t have everything. My room had a balcony and I slept with the door slightly open every night to hear the ocean. It was wonderful.
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Versailles

What trip to Paris is complete without a trip to Versailles?

We had great weather and got there right after opening so we didn’t have any problems with lines getting in or buying tickets. It’s truly a wonder to see. The only issue we had was that it was 2 days before we came home and we were tired. Really just exhausted from all the walking we had already done.






So by the time we got to Marie Antoinette’s gardens and her little hamlet, we kind of skipped them.  We didn’t go into any of the little side gardens either. Still I got a picture of the Apollo fountain and that’s one I really wanted. The fountains only run certain days, but when they aren’t running the garden is free for visitors. We saw some locals running. How awesome would that be to be able to get your exercise in the gardens at Versailles?
 
 







Sunday, May 1, 2016

Oh What a Night!

We've been having a wind storm. I don't think I slept much at all last night. I swear I could feel my house moving during the bigs gusts. I went out around 10:30 pm and pulled my garbage cans into my garage so they didn't blow away. I don't know how high the gusts were in Ogden, but they seem to be as high as 90 mph in some areas. Crazy! We have a lot of trees down in my neighborhood but I still have power.

I called my mom and sisters this morning. Amy is in Oregon so I drove up to her house to check on it and it seems to be ok. Her church and my church meetings were canceled. So were my brother's but he lives in Kaysville and it sounds like they got hit pretty hard. They lost power (and their trampoline blew away) and decided to go to my moms for awhile.

My bishop called a ward council this morning and we all showed up and he made assignments. We got a bunch of the sisters called to check on them and make sure they had heat and to let them know there was no church. I've seen a few people out driving around checking up on people. As my bishop said this morning, this is really what church should be about: helping people. It's not just about going to meetings.

Anyway, they say the winds will die down later this afternoon and tonight. I hope so. I'd like a nap but don't know if it's possible to sleep with these gusts. Hopefully, I'll sleep well tonight.

Friday, April 29, 2016

La Cuisine Cooking Class


For sure, one of my favorite things was the cooking class we did. I let Heather pick it since it was her idea but I had a great time. We did the market class which means we met up at a local market and purchased vegetables, meat, cheese, and bread and took it back to the kitchen to cook. 

I will probably never cook anything like it again but it was so fun and delicious.  We had artichokes, leeks, potatoes, duck, cheese and bread. Then for dessert we had crème caramel.




For all that though, I did learn a few things that I can use with my own cooking.

Truly, I only rarely enjoy cooking. Every once in a while I get quite pleased with myself for making something tasty and good for me, but I don’t feel that way a lot.
I had to laugh at the difference between my plate and the one the chef did. The art of making the plate look good is totally lost on me. Bet you can’t guess which is which.



After the cooking class we went shopping! Even though I wasn’t in the market for designer anything, the Galleries Lafayette was a fun place to go. I did buy some souvenirs there.
 

 I also bought a ton of French beauty products from Citypharma.
And soap from another little store in the Marais area. My suitcase was so full going home. I’m amazed what I pulled out of there when I unpacked. Three bottles of perfume! This is definitely the trip that I spent the most money on.