Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kids are so cute....

My nephew, Jonathan, was at my house on Saturday and we had this conversation.

Jonathan: Aunt Carla, where are your kids?
Carla: I don’t have any kids.
Jonathan: Then why do you have toys?
Carla: Those toys are for you when you come to visit me.
Jonathan: Well, where is your husband?
Carla: I’m not married, Jonathan.
Jonathan: But where is he?
Carla: I don’t know…but maybe if we both start looking really hard for him, we can find him?
Jonathan: (looking really confused) But why aren’t you married?
Carla: Sometimes some people just aren’t married. (added under my breath) You aren’t married either….stop being so judgmental!

Isn’t he a charmer? He really is. Most of the older nieces and nephews have had this conversation with me. I guess I should just be glad they wonder why I’m not married….it would be worse if they just came up, pointed at my face or thighs and said “You should get that fixed.”

Why I don't go to dances...

I know, I know….I don’t blog enough…and this time I’m not even going to pretend I intend to do better. But, the reason I haven’t blogged recently is that I have been too busy attempting to be more social (this isn’t really true…I haven’t blogged because I’m lazy). A good friend convinced me a few weeks ago that I need to start dating more and that the key to making that happen is “Exposure, exposure, exposure”.

Now, her words could be taken in a couple different ways….I’ve decided to interpret them as instructions to get out into society more and not to wear more revealing clothes. Rest assured…if the first doesn’t work….I may resort to the later.

So, a couple weekends ago there was a singles (31-45) conference in Lehi. I had to work during the day, but I committed myself to going to the dance on Saturday night. I will never forget the experience.

First off, we were carded. Had to prove we were in the right age range.

Then, they played a whole bunch of that new fangled hip-hop music J. I don’t really mind hip-hop (it does remind me of how terrible I was in my community education hip-hop class….but whatever). My complaint was that here we are….older singles and they didn’t play many of the “stake dance” songs I have such fond memories of...just seems like it would have been a good idea.

The really great part of the evening was when they turned all the lights on and made all the men stand in a big circle with all the women inside that circle in a circle of their own. What followed was basically speed dating for a 10-15 minutes. It wasn’t so bad…whatever…but then they made us do the hokey pokey.

Yes, you read right….standing there, facing each other, we (a group of desperate 31-45 year olds who want nothing more than to maintain their self-respect in a difficult situation) were asked to put our “rear ends in, out, and shake them all about”.

So, each of us was faced with a decision….you are either a bad sport and refuse to do it….or you are an idiot for actually doing it.

I have promised myself not to let this experience keep me from continued efforts to get out there and meet people….so no worries…but really!

My pleas goes out:
· Please don’t TRY to humiliate the poor singles in the world!
· And please recognize the RULE that no one should have to do the hokey pokey without a child under the age of 12 or roller skates present….it’s just not cool!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cruising Alaska!!

Here is the story of my Alaskan cruise. This was my first cruising experience and I’m going to admit I was a little nervous at the outset. I wasn’t really sure what to expect and I was worried about gaining 15 pounds during the week since I do have a serious problem saying no to food that is placed in front of me. Also, since it was just Stacey and I, I was a bit anxious about my ability to entertain her and make sure she had a good time as well.

Luckily most of my worries were unnecessary. I did eat a lot, but exercised almost every day and I’d like to think that kept the weight gain to a minimum. And Stacey was great about not needing to be entertained, plus we met some really great people throughout the cruise, which helped break up the monotony my constant presence can create.

So, here we go:

Day 1 – Disembarkation

I am a horrible packer and I can never seem to motivate myself to pack the night before a trip. (I blame this on my sister Cynthia because I remember her first trip to Girls Camp…..She packed 4 months early and when she got back she had miraculously found her journal, her scriptures and some other things she had been unable to locate for 4 months.) We left at 9:00, which meant I got up at 5:00(ish) to pack everything (and by everything I mean practically everything I own…because you never know what you will need on a trip!)

We loaded everything into the car and lovely Mary Ann took us to the airport. At check-in I found that my suitcase was overweight (shocking…I know) but we shuffled some books and stuff around and only annoyed a handful of people with our delays. Stacey tried to sneak a bottle of water onto the airplane and got detained by airport security. But we eventually boarded our plane and were off to Seattle.

My amazing friend Michelle came to pick us up (thanks Dixon for watching the kids). We went for a quick lunch and then headed for Pier 91 and Holland America’s ship The Zaandam. During our loading process there was a brief moment of passport trauma (Stacey had renewed hers but the security person didn’t like how it was done….and I had forgotten to sign mine). Then we were invited to board the good ship and find our stateroom.

We had picked a room with a window…which I was very grateful for. We went on a quick tour of the place. Found the dining areas, gym, lounges, and casino…all very important (except maybe the casino). We decided to not go to the formal dinner that first night and in stead went to the Lido buffet. The food was good and plentiful.

When we returned to our room, we started watching “Lost in Austen”. Stacey made it about 20 minutes and was out cold. (It was 7:00 at night….so you can understand her exhaustion.) I was reading the new Sookie Stackhouse novel (it was only okay…but it had some great Erik parts).

This is about the time that I discovered that despite my careful packing, there was one thing I did forget….a watch. So pretty much the most common sentence heard the entire week was “what time is it?” and most of the time we had to ask someone else.

Anyway, Stacey never really regained consciousness. She would wake up every once in a while and say something slightly rude. Once I had gotten up to look out the window and she rolled over and told me to stop looking at her. Oh…and then I ordered some room service since we had talked about doing that…ordering some cheese and crackers and chocolate chip cookies. So, I’m ordering that and decide to get a sandwich as well, Stacey makes no movement until I hang up and she says “What if I had wanted something?” and rolled over. Later when she woke up to get ready for bed, she didn’t remember any of it. Evidently she talks in her sleep ☺.

Day 2 – At Sea

Saturday I got up early and went to the gym. This was the first morning Stacey and I realized we should never share a room. I can’t sleep in after 7:00 (at the latest) and she can’t sleep through me getting up regardless of how quiet I tried to be. I spent some time on the treadmill and had flashes back a few years to falling off one….the rocking of the boat makes running a little treacherous, so I had to hold on to the rails the whole time….but I didn’t fall!

We had a nice breakfast, which we had ordered from room service and then headed to a lounge to relax and read. While we were in the lounge we notice a gentleman and his son sitting and talking to our right. After a while, Stacey said she thought she heard them talking about Utah and said the word “ward”, so we thought they were probably members of the Church and we had been thinking about finding someone to go to church with us in Juneau.

Stacey was super brave and went to ask them and sure enough they were from Salt Lake City. It was a little family cruising together, the mom and the dad, a married son and his wife, and another son who was attending school at the University of Washington. We talked for a while and they were super nice.

We attended the formal dinner that night. We had requested to sit at a table of 8 and when we arrived we met a couple of our tablemates. They were two Indian sisters, one was a doctor who lived in LA and the other was a math professor who lived in India. They were so cute and even though it was a little hard to understand them with their accents, it was really fun to talk to them. We also had a crewmember join us that night. She was the acupuncturist aboard and that led to some interesting conversations as well. She bought a bottle of wine for the whole table (all 5 of us), and I felt a little bad telling her we didn’t drink but appreciated the gesture.

After dinner we met up with our SL friends. The parents had gone to bed, but the rest of us played some Dice and Canasta. I lost big time both games…which of course made it all a little less enjoyable.

Day 3 – Juneau (& my birthday)

I got up Sunday and quietly, though not quietly enough…still woke Stacey up…darn it all…headed to one of the lounges and did Sunday appropriate studying while watching for whales. I saw the tail of a whale from pretty far off, but it was neat….and almost as much fun as saying “I saw the tail of a whale” which is REALLy fun...try it!!

When I returned to the room, Stacey had some presents for me. She and Melissa and Jenni and Tracy had all sent birthday gifts for me and Stacey gave me one or two each day. They are so sweet. They gave me a bunch of jewelry to help me in my attempts to accessorize a little more.
Up to this point we had had some pretty rough water. Stacey and I both loved the rocking and drunken walking…the way you trudge up the stairs and then float up them as the boat sinks and rises with the swells. However, a good portion of the passengers weren’t enjoying the trip quite as much…patches behind ears could be seen everywhere. Anyway, the captain rerouted the boat during the night and we found we would be arriving in Juneau an hour or more late.

This change in itinerary made it impossible to attend the ward in Juneau at 1:00 we had hoped to catch. So, we had a little Relief Society and Sunday School in our cabin. Stacey was in charge of Relief Society, so it was a lot better than Sunday School. We had a little good news minute and we were both excited to announce that we were on vacation cruising Alaska…it was my birthday…and we were surrounded by good food. Then Stacey gave a lesson she had presented in her ward a few weeks ago on light, how to recognize it and feel it’s influence in our lives. I gave a for Sunday School on a little quote I had heard from President Monson. Good times…until I got a small migraine which I was mostly able to ignore most of the day.

We finally docked at 2:00 and got off the boat a little before 3:00. Because it was my birthday, Stacey was a saint and let us take a special tour bus instead of public transportation which was a lot cheaper. But we jumped on the bus and headed to the Mendenhall Glacier. Our bus driver had the most unique cadence to the tour information he gave while we made the 20 minute drive.

At the Glacier we took a 3.5 mile hike up above the hillside. It was so pretty. Here are some pictures. There was so much greenery and lots of little waterfalls. It was just fantastic!

Toward the end of the hike there were just a whole bunch of stairs and we were very glad we were hiking down them, instead of up them. There was also the cutest couple hiking behind us. We would smile and say hi each time we’d pass while going to an outlook. At one point I told them we were so glad they were behind us in case some bears snuck up behind us. They responded that they were glad we were in front of them for the same reason. So we are going along, up the switchbacks and I hear this total bear growl…..ya, it was our hiking friend trying to scare us and for a second he really did. I think he felt bad afterward.

After a nap we went to dinner. No one else at our table showed up, but Stacey, being a great friend and ignoring my sincere desire to not have the waiters sing to me….totally told our waiter (Sunny…best guy in the dining room!) it was my birthday. So, sure enough, after our meal all the waiters came and sang to me with a chocolate mousse cake and a little candle. They not only gave us a cake, but a dessert sampler also, which began a little tradition where Sonny would bring us an extra dessert pretty much every night. Unfortunately, it was usually coffee flavored…so we would just pick around it and make it look like we ate it.

Day 4 – Glacier Bay

So, I slept in my exercise clothes and tiptoed to the bathroom and then out to the gym…all for no reason because I STILL woke poor Stacey up. When I got to the gym no one was there! I was all alone with the wide ocean, a treadmill, and a good book on CD (Countess Below Stairs…very good!!).

For breakfast we decided to try the dining room and we were seated next to a lovely couple from Oregon. We ran into them several times over the next few days. I think that was the best part of the cruise, the time we spent getting to know other people. It was really fun!

Glacier bay was fun but super cold. Actually, I’m not really sure how cold it was because we never actually went out on the deck like we were advised to do. It just looked to cold and the people who returned from the decks looked frozen solid. So, we stayed in the forward deck and saw the glaciers and their calving. It was pretty neat to watch. My favorite part though were the waiters roaming the lounge offering “Pea Soup!?” and all I could think of was that little cockroach in “The Rescuers” calling out “Pea soup!” Anyway, it made me laugh.
We took a quick lunch between glaciers and had dinner at the buffet. We ate by the cutest old couple. This was their 18th cruise! They had almost been married 60 years and met on a blind date. They told us to totally give blind dates a chance, because you never know…. They told us how to get much better deals on cruises…though the guy said that whatever they saved on their booking fees he made up for in losses in the casino…and every time we passed the poker tables…there he was ☺.

After we left Glacier Bay we found our friends from Salt Lake City. Pete and Robin, the parents, said they had played pinochle years ago, so Stacey and I convinced them to play a game with us. Again I lost, but it was still fun.
At dinner we were joined by a new lady, she had been really seasick over the past few days, but was finally feeling well enough to join us. She was crazy! Honest, very nice…but very chatty and a bit of an exaggerator. It was her birthday that night, so we got more chocolate mousse cake.

That night we went to the crew show. The crew consists of people from Indonesia. We loved the crew! They were so nice and would greet us with a “Hello, Miss Stacey! Hello, Miss Carla!” and they were just fantastic and friendly all the time! Even though they work 11 hours a day for weeks on end and months away from their families. Anyway, they did a show that night with some songs and dances from Indonesia. Our dinner waiter, Sunny, was the MC and he was so funny! He has been working on Holland America ships for 15 years!

Day 5 – Sitka

So I guess I should admit that after most of our breakfasts in the dining room….we might have headed to the buffet for a second breakfast (yes, we temporarily became hobbits…but sometimes we needed a little more of something in the morning).

This was our day in Sitka. Here we walked to a beautiful hike up into the hills behind the town. The ground was so wet that almost the whole trail was a wooden boardwalk and stairs. 
I hadn’t really anticipated a serious hike….so I was sweating like a…well…like a Zollinger the whole time but it was just so great. They warned us, again, of bears, so we felt a little bit of pressure to keep talking the whole time. We ran out of actual things to say to each other about 10 minutes in…but we kept chatting and it must have worked because we didn’t see any bears at all. Though we did run into a purple haired hiker and several locals….which was when I realized why I cannot live in Alaska…everyone ownes a DOG!! Honest!!

We took a nap that afternoon and I did some laundry since by this time I had sweat soaked both pairs of jeans I had brought….needed some clean clothes in a desperate way. I also discovered that I HATE Laundromats…so not fun!

Day 6 – Ketchikan

We docked in Ketchikan early Wednesday morning. Since we couldn’t go on a hike we just walked around town. We almost went on a tour of a Salmon farm and Eagle refuge….but there weren’t any Salmon running yet, so we decided it wasn’t really worth it. 
Instead we went to a little museum that was connected to the local public library. It was interesting to learn a little more of the Salmon industry. We also saw a few totem poles, check out this one…I’m sure it’s really serious, but it just really cracked me up. 

The other thing that cracked me up was that we sat for a while outside the library while they were opening and I swear this is what they said “We need more signs. No cell phones. No sleeping. No eating. Why is it so hard? I feel like I run around all day saying ‘Wake up and read the sign!’” It’s just really nice to know that my library frustrations are universal!

Ketchikan was really pretty though.  Here are a couple of pictures.  The greens were so vibrant and we did see a few salmon in river.

Then we did the only shopping we did the whole trip and headed back to the boat. At lunch we met two great couples. The older couple were serious travelers and said the most amazing place to visit was India. The other couple were so fun to talk to. The guy, during college, had decided to travel Europe despite his entire fortune amassing to about $50. So he sold subscriptions to his travel memoirs. He would send articles home every month. Because of that, he felt a need to do crazy things...he made me feel like a real coward.

But better than all those stories was the one about how he and his wife had met. She was from Spain and they wrote letters for 3 years…she wrote them in Spanish and he replied in English…each one needing them interpreted by a third party. He went to visit her once and they couldn’t even talk because of the language barrier. Then she came to the US and stayed with his family and finally learned English…she pointed out that she learned English but he never did learn Spanish. Anyway, they were a riot.

Dinner on Wednesday was a “Dinner Show” where the wait staff had to do little musical numbers between courses. Stacey and I just kept feeling so bad for them because they looked so ridiculous and adorable at the same time. That night they also had a Dessert Extravaganza and surprisingly…it was a disappointment…which was probably a blessing because I didn’t eat much that night.

Day 7 – Victoria, B.C.

We weren’t going to dock in Victoria until 6:30 PM, so we had the day to hang around. We exercised during our mandatory debarkation meeting (which they were telecasting all day long, so we couldn’t figure out why it was mandatory). Then we met our Salt Lake friends for one last lunch in the dining room and then played some Yatzee and Hearts. My luck finally started to turn and I won the Yatzee game!
We had decided to go to dinner in the dining room and then walk around some parks near the pier in Victoria. Just as we were sitting down to dinner….the captain got on the PA system and informed us that the winds were too high and the ship would be unable to dock in Victoria. Below is a picture of the closest I got to leaving the country …that is Victoria in the distance.

When he made the announcement we just laughed because at the end of the cruise…I still would not have used my passport or left the country!! I am honestly never meant to leave US soil!

The crazy lady at our table showed up for dessert and asked us to stay until she finished…which she did really slowly. Tom, one of our SL friends, stopped by to invite us to play games and she kept trying to get us to invite her to play also….we are really mean because we never did invite her. I think we did her a favor because I don’t really think she would have enjoyed the games of Bang! we played.

Well, that’s about it. We had to pack up everything before we went to bed.

Day 8 – Trip Home

We had our final meal and headed off the boat. It was so strange to be in Seattle and not see any of my friends or stay for even a couple of days. We took a bus to the airport and luckily the scale at the check-in counter was broken…so my luggage wasn’t overweight!

The flight home was pretty uneventful and I was super happy to see cute Jenni come to pick us up. I had a really hard time snapping out of vacation mode. I may have taken a nap for most of the afternoon/evening. Then I got hungry and didn’t know quite what to do since no one showed up with a menu….I had to settle for granola and yogurt. That is when I realized I was home and forced myself to unpack and put things away.

Thus ends my vacation. This turned into a serious narrative! Congrats to those who persevered through it!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Those Little Things I Never Buy

Ever notice that there are a bunch of things you always mean to buy, but never quite get around to it? I have a bunch of things like that….I don’t know why I don’t buy them…I just don’t…things like:

A paper shredder
A pizza stone
A cutting board for sewing (you know…like the big green ones)
A hand mixer
A George Foreman Grill (or anything similar)
And a bunch of sewing tools I don't have but will need to get eventually because I plan to do more sewing in the next few years.

Well….that’s all I can think of just now. 

(This might sound like a shopping list....but it isn't.  I promise not to buy any of these things until at least July 15th.) 

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sarah's Key

Sarah’s Key
By Tatiana de Rosnay
St. Martin’s Press, 2007. 294 pgs. Fiction.

Ten year old Sarah lives in Paris as the German occupation during World War II begins. One night she is awaken by the Parisian Police and forced to leave with her parents. Before they are sent out into the night and fates unknown, she locks her little brother into a hidden cupboard telling him to wait for her to return, thinking she is keeping him safe from dangers she doesn’t understand. She is sent, along with thousands of other French Jews, to a large sports arena where they are held for days during a period of French history often ignored.

Sarah’s story is told through the discoveries of a journalist in present day Paris. She is struggling with her own trials and develops a deep connection to Sarah’s plight to save her brother and her later efforts to move past the pain and loss the Holocaust forced upon her family.

This book was suggested to me as a read-a-like for “These is My Words”, and while I did enjoy it, I definitely would not class it with Nancy Turner’s work. Rosnay tells a fascinating story with characters I especially enjoyed, particularly Sarah. I was disappointed when, towards the end of the book, the narration leaves Sarah’s point of view. I would have enjoyed learning more of her personal development after the war. A good book and an excellent choice for any book discussion group.

Ladies of Missalonghi

The Ladies of Missalonghi
By Colleen McCullough
Harper & Row, 1987. 189 pgs. Fiction.

Missy is a thirty-two year old spinster living a sheltered, drab life of genteel poverty with her mother and aunt. They reside in a small town filled with their relations in Australia’s beautiful Blue Mountains. Along with breathtaking scenery, the town enjoys the small minded nosiness that accompanies such communities. A recent acquaintance, along with some troubling pains in her heart, begin to bring Missy out of her shell, much to the amazement of her relations. Her adventures bring her independence, confidence, and, of course, romance.

If you have ever read “The Blue Castle”, this plot may sound extremely familiar. It does seem to be a bit of a repeat though I found it much less enjoyable than L.M. Montgomery’s version, which stands out as one of my all time favorite books. “Missalonghi”’s characters are a little less endearing, the story a little more awkward, and the romance a little more explicit. A light, enjoyable read (but, read “The Blue Castle” instead if given the choice).


Friday, May 29, 2009

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Quirk Books, 2009. 319 pgs. Fiction.

The dead are no longer resting peacefully underground throughout the English countryside and I am pretty sure neither would Jane Austen if she were aware of this plagiaristic and irreverent adaptation of her classic romance. This book is exactly what the title claims it to be. “Pride and Prejudice” with some zombie action thrown in. The Bennet sisters have all been trained in the deadly arts and are required to use their skills when social events are interrupted by the undead.

For some reason I had expected a story somehow based on the plot of “Pride and Prejudice” which included zombies and gory violence. What I found was “Pride and Prejudice” almost word for word…but with a few violent swordfights and a whole host of zombies popping up randomly throughout the text. I forced myself to finish just to say I had and actually liked the ending quite a bit.

I think reading this book is a lot like watching “Napoleon Dynamite”. While you are watching it for the first time, you are not sure what is so funny or why you continue sitting there. But after you finish watching it, you find it’s a lot of fun to discuss with friends and you randomly find yourself giggling when you remember different portions. If you are in the right mood, this book might be for you….I’m just not sure what would be considered the ‘right mood.’

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Queen of Excuses

I am extremely gifted in the art of justifying pretty much anything. Usually, I try to only use my powers for good, but sometimes….I just can’t stop myself from allowing my talent to get me out of things I really don’t want to do (maybe because I’m lazy and like to avoid doing things that make me the least bit uncomfortable).

I have decided not to compete in the spring triathlon in May that I registered for (and stupidly told the world I was going to participate in). But, I have 10 really good reasons why I shouldn’t do it….they are:

  1. Family is the most important thing. (You see, I can spend an extra day at home the weekend after Stephanie gets back from Australia, if I work the day of the triathlon…who can put a value on an extra day with the family?)
  2. Being a good leader requires setting a good example. (I have a staff meeting that day. Staff meetings are very important and in my attempt to be a good leader, I need to be a good example….like showing up for staff meetings.)
  3. I only have 2 hips and one lower back and I need them all. (My hip has been hurting and my back also, seriously!! I can barely walk after a good hard run and I need to walk!).
  4. Proper training is vital. (May is really early for a triathlon…especially considering that the weather just barely got good enough to allow a person to train outside..on an actual bike (mine currently has 2 flat tires…which poses another problem.).)
  5. Proper equipment is needed. (I have a mountain bike instead of a road bike…it’s so heavy and everyone else will have slick fast road bikes and I’ll just feel bad about myself and get all depressed and then slip into a permanent funk and never really recover.)
  6. Proper training is vital…again. (I haven’t been doing my swimming training….the pool is super gross and going swimming regularly is exhausting….it’s just a lot of work to get to the pool and get cleaned up later and then you and your hair smell like chlorine for days.) 
  7. Sweat is unattractive. (As related in a previous post, I sweat a lot and my face gets super red when I exert myself to the extent that a triathlon would require. What if my future husband sees me there and is immediately turned off (and any normal person would have to be….when I say I sweat a lot…I mean I sweat like a pig in the Sahara!!) and then I never get married.)
  8. Manners are important…and you should never ask a lady her age. (They always write your age on the back of your calf and I’m not sure I can handle that…especially if spectators have created an age guessing game (Jenni!)…what if they think I’m in my 40’s or something).
  9. There is another opportunity this summer. (I have the opportunity to be in a less formal triathlon in August….I can still make my goal….just a little later.)
  10. Mother Nature is unpredictable and should be respected. (What if it rains?? That could be dangerous and I’m really not prepared to deal with that if it happens ☺.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

You're in Luck, I'm the Best

A friend of mine came to me a couple weeks ago asking me to take part in a study for her master’s thesis. I don’t really understand what it was really about…but it has something to do with sweat. She said she had “heard” (from an anonymous source) that I sweat quite a bit and that she needed sweaters for her study.

I replied that really, anyone I’ve ever hiked with could have told her I sweat quite a bit….so it could be many people…but that I would be happy to help her out. I also told her that if she felt like being grateful she could say a little prayer and thank my Grandmother Zollinger for the sweaty pig gene…because, heaven knows, I haven’t thanked her a whole lot.

Anyway, I went in Saturday for the study. She ran a bunch of little tests, had me fill out some paperwork and then asked me to enter a room where the temperature was kept at over 90 degrees. I was then asked to sit on a stationary bicycle and peddle away. She needed me to bike for 30 minutes after I came to a full sweat.

So, I got busy and about 5 minutes later she came in very impressed that I had almost reach a full sweat…one minute later, she said I was the fastest sweater, girl or guy, that had done the study so far. I smiled proudly and began the actual 30 minute ride.

At about 20 minutes she came in and complimented me on my “bubble sweat” which beaded up along my arms…she said only one other subject had had bubble sweat, she was very impressed again and I was just glad to be appreciated for my inborn skills.

When I was finally done, she started taking tests and gathering data. She had taped little pads to my arms and mentioned that not many people had been able to fill the pads with sweat….me?? Well, when she lifted the pad…a little river of sweat escaped….because the pad couldn’t hold all of it. She then confirmed I was officially the sweatiest person she had ever met….how great is that?

I’m very proud of my verified exceptionalism. I’ve decided to embrace my healthy sweat glands. After years of just thinking I sweat more than everyone else….I now know and knowing feels good…. It’s always good to be the best…but right now…aren’t you happy…in this case…to hand the title right over to me?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fancy Tea Party 2009

So, I decided to throw a little tea party for my 12 nephews and nieces.  My mother and sisters all helped a lot.  We decided to have it during the Priesthood Session of conference this weekend.

We played games, had a craft, and then a little picnic with fancy food (I made flower shaped jam cute!)  Anyway, it was a lot of fun and here are some pictures to prove it.  The little matching dresses for the girls were made by Mother with some leftover material she had from my cousin's wedding. 

Rachel, Brooke & Katie enjoying their goldfish snacks.
We attempted to take a picture of everyone...I don't know why we are always trying, it never works and we didn't ever manage to get the youngest in the picture at all.

This was Mathew acting completely too cool for whole experience.  He's such a guy!!

Katie looked adorable in her little crown...she really is a perfect little princess!

After snapping multiple shots I finally captured this perfect Emmy moment....she is such a little doll.  It's no wonder she has her daddy's heart wrapped around her little finger.  You should see her run...melts your heart.

At Halloween I posted a picture of Sarah scowling at me...over the past four months she has decided she loves me and this picture just begins to capture her adorable little personality.  It's always worth the 2 hour drive to Tremonton just to hear her yell "Carla!!" and then skip across the room.  It KILLS me every time!!

And here are all the girls in their adorable matching dresses.  They really loved being able to dress up and play.

Well there you have it, Fancy Tea Party 2009.  Thanks to everyone that helped out!! (And Garrett that includes you!!  Those wands and swords were super cute!!  (and by cute I mean awesome...because swords are NEVER cute!!))

Monday, April 6, 2009

Omnivore's Dilemma

OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA: A NATURAL HISTORY OF FOUR MEALS: Penguin Press, 2006: Nonfiction: 450 pgs.

As omnivores, we humans can eat a wide range of food. As members of our modern society, our choices seem more extensive than ever. One trip to the grocery store and you are faced with isles of options. In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan attempts to follow four meals from the farms where they are planted or raised to the table where they are consumed. Each meal is the product of a different type of agricultural process from highly manufactured fast food, to organic foods, to a meal he hunted and gathered on his own.

I enjoyed the premise of this book along with the parts which were essentially science writing describing farming theory and practice. However, the rest of the book seemed to me rambling justifications from a city boy that likes meat too much to be a vegetarian, but can not seem to handle the thought that his food once had a face. Maybe I should blame my childhood spent on a cattle feed lot, but I thought he came off as a bit of a sissy.

Dead until Dark

DEAD UNTIL DARK: Charlaine Harris: Ace Books, 2001: Mystery: 260 pgs.

This is the first of the Sookie Stackhouse vampire mysteries which inspired the HBO series “True Blood”. Sookie is a telepathic waitress doing her best survive despite her supernatural “handicap”. Then enters Sookie’s new neighbor, vampire Bill, followed promptly by a number of local murders. Each victim has several troubling similarities to Sookie and she quickly begins to fear that her life is in grave danger.

If you are looking for a quick, fun mystery, with or without supernatural aspects, you may really enjoy Harris’s series. She provides a good mystery, an entertaining story, and leaves you looking forward to the next volume. Definitely not a clean read, the offensive language was minimal, but the sex and violence could be objectionable to some.

Test of Wills

TEST OF WILLS: Charles Todd: St. Martin’s Press, 1996: Mystery: 282 pgs.

Inspector Ian Rutludge returned from the Great War a shell of the man he once was. Haunted by the voice of a dead man, Ian is determined to return to the real world and his position with Scotland Yard. His first case takes him into the English countryside to solve the brutal murder of a local land owner and war hero.

This is a very thoughtful and intriguing mystery taking place during an era of rapid change when the world was healing from wounds caused by a new kind of warfare. But beyond the larger historical context, this is a terrific murder mystery filled with intriguing suspects whose deceptions and motives provide plot twists and surprises up to the very last page.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

That was totally cheating

I feel a little bad that I haven't blogged in a while. I am going to make a new goal and be better...and I just thought I'd say that because I know that posting those book reviews was cheating since I write them for our staff review blog at work.

But something is better than nothing...right??

Plum Spooky

PLUM SPOOKY: Janet Evanovich: St. Martin’s Press: Mystery: 309 pgs.

This is a “Between the Numbers” Stephanie Plum mystery for those of us Evanovich fans that do not like to wait a whole year before installments. Bounty hunter Stephanie is after a little twerp of a guy and find herself partnering with Diesel, a mysterious man who pops in and out of her life and who is always accompanied by strange occurances and an unexplainable abundance of green traffic lights. This adventure also includes the usual mix of endearing characters plus a bunch of monkeys.

Usually these unofficial Stephanie Plum installments are really short and a little disappointing, but not this one! I felt it held up really well against her regular, numbered books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you didn’t pick it up because Plum Lucky was such a dud…rethink that decision.

Mr. Darcy's Dream

MR. DARCY’S DREAM: Elizabeth Aston: Simon & Schuster: Fiction: 284 pgs.

Two nieces of Mr.& Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy are sent to Pemberley to escape the London season. Phoebe (daughter of the former Georgiana Darcy) has recently experienced a heartbreaking romantic disappointment and Louisa (daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bingley) is tired of the constant pressure to find a husband among men who do little to arouse her interest. However, proving a point I have long held (that you can find love anywhere, even in the British countryside), both girls find themselves faced with the exact thing they were looking to escape.

I think Aston does a good job in mimicking Jane Austen’s style, even when it may not serve her well. I love Austen as much as the next girl, but sometimes I would like a little more intrigue and a little less boring sitting room chat concerning hats and ribbons. I was disappointed that the romance in the story takes place before the first chapter. Part of the appeal of a romantic story is the development of the relationship and I felt this book seriously lacked any of that. I would still recommend most of Elizabeth Aston’s Pride and Prejudice spin-offs, but I think this was my least favorite of the six published to date.

The Gods of Newport

THE GODS OF NEWPORT: John Jakes: Dutton: Fiction: 383 pgs.

Sam Driver is a railroad mogul who has earned his enormous wealth through years of shady dealings and morally questionable financial scheming. Now in his later years, he is determined to place his daughter Jenny in the highest strata of social elitism. He chooses Newport as his avenue to the respectable society he aspires to join. His years of living an ethically deficient lifestyle makes this journey a hard one in a place where an abundance of money is only the first obstacle to acceptance.

I consider myself a fan of the historical novel, but I admit to not loving this book. I decided I like my historical facts and description to be seamlessly sewn into the story, but found that Jakes’ writing style seemed to add these descriptive details for their own sakes, without a clear link to the story line or characters. A decent read, but not one I would highly recommend.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE: A WAR STORY: Diane Ackerman: W.W. Norton: Nonfiction: 368 pgs.

Jan and Antonina Zabinski are the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo in Poland before, during and after the German occupation. This history tells of their efforts to shelter escaping Jews in their villa and the zoo’s buildings, as well as their involvement in the Polish Resistance. Ackerman brings the Zoo and its occupants, both human and non, to life as they survive this harrowing period in history.

I love reading stories of World War II and those brave people who sacrificed so much to save friends, neighbors, and strangers from danger and death. This book clearly describes the extremes in human nature the Holocaust illuminated, the atrocious acts of the Nazis and the heroic acts of those who fought against them. I can highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an accurate, sincere, and inspiring story of courage, sacrifice, and love.

(I would like to add...that I did really like this book...but I did have a few little issues with how many animals they just let run around the house...on the dinner their beds. I know I am not an animal person...but seriuosly!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hip Hop Update

Just because I thought I should update the world….I have no coordination or rhythm and I sincerely doubt 8 lessons will change that.  Here are the highlights from last night’s first class….

1.    I didn’t hit anyone or fall down…super big achievement!

2.    I could do the head turning…though when she wanted me to do some of the head scoopy things…..they proved more challenging and don’t even get me started on the body roll….how the heck do you do that?

There weren’t too many highlights….mostly I just tried to keep a straight face and not trip over my own feet….it was harder than it sounds.  I didn’t think anything would be harder than not giggling through a yoga class while someone says “center your energy on  a point behind your left incisor” while balancing on your right big toe and reaching toward the ceiling….but hip hop class seriously was!


Joe says I’ll be better next week and that he will help me “uncover my inner black person”…but we’ll see J

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I love this video....I found it a few months ago and it just makes me smile!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

For When You Get Bored

50 Most Beautiful Icon Sets Created in 2008

To help you personalize your desktop...or website or whatever…here’s some icons…and some are pretty cool. 

19 Cool Gadgets For Your Office

I love the #2 The Stealth Switch, #3 The Nappak, #5 Carpet Skates, and #14 Bright Blinds.  The rest are fun….but those are my favs.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Get a Spine in '09"

Here is how I am going to “Get a Spine in ‘09”.  I am going to do a few things I have never done before….things that I might have been nervous to do in the past.  But I think it is a good year to break through some of those barriers.  So, here are my planned adventures:

Learn New Skills: I’m going to take at least two Community Education classes this year.  The plan now is to take ‘Beginning Hip Hop’ and ‘Archery’.  Thanks to Jenni for agreeing to go with me…I’d hate to try to learn hip hop without someone there to laugh at me…it would just be a waste of entertainment.

Go Skydiving:  I have ALWAYS wanted to go skydiving…and I’m going to do it this year.  I might have to do this one on my own….but I’m going to do it…probably this summer….I’m very excited!

Leave the Country:  That is right…I’m going to Canada!!  Despite the fact that been very near to the borders of the U.S. of A.  I’ve never ventured across.  But, I have my passport and I’m ready to really live on the edge…Victoria…here I come!

Complete a Sprint Triathlon:  I’ve been convinced to register for the Iron Woman Sprint Triathlon in May.  It’s my first, so I’m very excited for the whole thing...well, mostly.  Anyone who wants to join in on the fun….just let me know J!

Well, those are my big ones.  I did come really close to changing the theme to Michaelynn’s suggestion “Make him mine in ‘09” but…I have no ‘him’ and the whole thing seemed a little too predatory for my personality….but maybe I should become more predatory….hmmm….Maybe I should add something to my list… 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!! Part 2

So….have I ever mentioned how much I hate New Years?  I really hate it.  I don’t think I can remember a New Years were I didn’t get insanely depressed.  And here are my reasons for thinking this is the worst holiday/day of the year.

First of all…New Years Eve is always a big let down…maybe it’s the missing kiss…or maybe it’s the fact that we never get drunk….the drunk people in movies always seem to be having such a great time with their hats and noisemakers bottles of champagne….or maybe it’s just the missing kiss….

And then it’s just that the whole holiday requires a certain amount of retrospection and that always leaves me feeling incredibly overwhelmed.  My life just never looks so far from what I anticipated as it does on New Years.  Not that it isn’t great….I’m just not where I thought I’d be and then I start thinking about what I could have done differently….and I just get tired trying to find a single decision I would have changed…and I can never identify one….except maybe waiting so long to grow out my bangs….and maybe some of the things I wore in the ‘80’s…and maybe the ‘90’s, too….

And finally, I also feel a need, though I fight it desperately, to make some goals and resolutions…but even as I make them….I know I will keep on doing what I have been doing….I am such a creature of habit that I seldom make some of the good changes in my life that I should….I should be a better friend and sister, co-worker and ward member…there is so much I should do that I get tired, some more, just thinking about all the goals I should make….

Anyway, now that I’ve totally depressed anyone who reads this…Happy New Year!!  Tomorrow I will go to work and the new year will have started and this annual dip in my spirits will be in the past.  It’s going to be a great year….it always is.