Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Deep Thoughts ... by Starbuck

You know that week between Christmas and New Year's? I submit to you that most businesses that are not retail and food should just close their doors... but then that really is not fair to the retail and food industries. I am just saying I would like a legitimate week off but still like to be able to go out to eat and shop if I want to! I have it... the retail and food industries should close the week between Arbor Day and what ever comes a week after Arbor Day... The rest of us just know we cannot buy food or anything really that week. It would take some planning, but then I think it would be fair. Oh wait, now we need to plan a week when all emergency personnel can take off and no one gets sick, injured, and there is no crime.

Come to think of it, I guess it is alright I have to work this week.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Understanding the Stock Market

Sadly I do not have a firm understanding of the stock market. In fact, I less than fully understand the stock market. Which is why I have asked our Relief Society to have a week day meeting class on this topic. The class is January 12, 2010 at 7:00 at my ward house if you are female (sorry men), local and interested in coming. My ward address is 7825 S Olympus Street in Midvale (Olympus Street is about 200 West) Or click the address for a link to a Mapquest map. This class is going to be an hour long, and should prove as a good introduction to the stock market. It will be taught by my good friend Ben Watson (Papa Who from Seussical this summer) who teaches about the stock market as part of his job. I am rather excited for it and would gladly invite anyone women who are interested in learning more about this subject. Please let me know if you have an interest in coming and I can give you more details!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and your family from mine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Julie

Hey Jules, you are such a good friend for recommending The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to me. I loved it.

I found the book lovely and interesting. However, that being said... how dare you introduce me to such a book? I loved it loved it loved it and it is all your fault. Why is this bad, you might ask? I loved it so much that I was sad to see it end. I loved it so much that now I wonder what I am going to do; I do not have a book to read. I was thinking, I could read some other book that I have in my library... well guess what? I do not think I have a book that can top this one. This book made me want to join a book club just to talk about this book about a book club! I never thought I would find the German Occupation a treat.

Here is what I loved about this book: I found the characters charming and the story engaging. Juliet was funny, Sidney was charming, Dawsey was my little knight in shining armor, Isola and Kit I wanted as part of my family, and dear dear Elizabeth… where do I start on Elizabeth? I was in the dentist chair reading this book when I found out about Elizabeth and actually dropped the book. I was so in love with this book I actually mourn it being done… and now I blame you because it is done and I do not feel you fully prepared me for just how great it actually was... just kidding Jules. Thank you so much for the recommendation of this book. I want to read it again, right now. It was a great way to spend a Christmas Eve afternoon!

So to be fair to those I might have given this book to for Christmas, I warn you just how wonderful this book is. You might laugh, you might cry, you might not want it to be done. You might hate it, I doubt you will, but you might. I might be overselling how much I loved this book, but I doubt it. Out of 5 stars, I give this one a 10! I loved this book!!

Heart Y-TOM Jules, Heart Y-TOM!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Favorite Things...

I have to admit I love to work the week leading up to and the week after Christmas. It is pretty slow in my office and I get completely caught up on work. These two weeks are one of the few times I am not totally stressed and somewhat overwhelmed at work. Take today for example, I am sitting at work with all of my boxes empty of work... reading a book and getting paid to do so. Sometimes I color, other times I watch episodes of my favorite TV shows online... you get the picture. Do I feel guilty doing so? Actually a little, but not really. My boss just walked in saw me reading a book and asked "You caught up?" I said yes, and he then asked "Good book?" Yup. He walked out laughing. Next week he does not even show up to work because there is nothing for him to do. This is one of my favorite things.

When I get home nightly lately my house smells of yummy scents because my brother is over trying out new recipes, etc. Barry has a dream of opening a bakery/deli and is trying to see if it is a reality. This is one of my new favorite things. He is pretty amazing!

Do you ever have one gift that you are so excited to give someone at Christmas that you are afraid you are too excited about and they are going to hate? I have 2 of those gifts this year. Mom and Besty... just heads up... love it or you might crush me! This is one of my favorite feelings!

Santa leaves fruit in our stockings every year along with a tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, and from time to time chocolate. This is one of my favorite things!

I dislike shopping so much as a rule that during the holiday season I dislike it even more. But free shipping from Amazon? It is worth paying $70 or so to be a member of Amazon Prime so I can do all of my Christmas shopping online... this is one of my favorite things.

Each year our family tradition is to have breakfast foods for Christmas Eve dinner. Years ago Mom and Dad made waffles on their first Christmas Eve for dinner because they bought a nice new waffle iron for their gift that year. Each year since we have done this tradition adding to it a little here and there. We now do the big thick waffles, eggs, bacon, facon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, juice, and milk. Little known fact by You, the Reader, might be that I am allergic to pork (which is why we add facon... turkey bacon or fake bacon as some of my family calls it) so I cannot help cook or clean up as I break out in rashes around pork products. This is one of my favorite things... getting out of helping legitimately... I would help make and clean up a pork free dinner if we ever were to have it. (hint)

The first snow of the season I step out of my house with no shoes on and leave my foot print in the snow. I do not know why I do this, I just do. It is one of my favorite things.

Those are just a few of my favorite things around the holidays. What are yours?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hanukkah Day 8

So as a Mormon why do I celebrate Hanukkah? I love this holiday because of the time I spent in Chicago. I was a nanny for a family where the father was raised Christian and the mother Jewish, not uncommon there. They celebrated both the Jewish and Christian holidays. As a Christian I had not a lot of knowledge of the Jewish Holy Days, and was very happy when the Richter's would invite me to celebrate with them. I lived with them for 4 years and learned something new each holiday. Hanukkah was my favorite because I love celebrating light and all it symbolizes. The kids did not get a present every night of Hanukkah, in fact most of the presents were given at Christmas. But the lessons that are taught during Hanukkah were amazing.
When I moved home to Salt Lake I decided that I was going to keep up the tradition of celebrating Hanukkah with my family and friends. I bought a pretty cheap menorah the first year, and two years later I invested in a nice one. Then my brother married a woman whose heritage is Jewish as well. It was nice to be able to incorporate some of her culture into our lives as well. Every year when I call the local synagogue to get candles the Rabbi asks me if I am Jewish and every year I tell him no but we celenrate it anyway. He usually pauses and then asks "May I ask why you celebrate Hanukkah when you are not Jewish?" It is like my own little Hanukkah tradition
In the last 8 days I have only scratched the surface of what Hanukkah is. And it means something different to everyone I know that celebrates it.
Happy Hanukkah everyone. May we all find light in our lives to celebrate.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hanukkah Day 7

Let's talk the difference in Hanukkah and Chanukah. Have you seen it spelled both ways? Me too. Which is right? Does it matter? All good questions. Traditionally Chanukah is right. However, both are widely accepted and not one is more appropriate than the other in modern society. Chanukah is more used in England and other parts of Europe. In North America Hanukkah is used more often.

A New Hanukkah Recipe?!

I was looking for new Hanukkah recipes, and some old favorites too, and I came across this one for Cheese Latke and Homemade Applesauce. Once upon a time I want to go to there.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hanukkah Day 6

What would Hanukkah be today without Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hanukkah Day 5

Games, oh bring on the games!! Jewish children will traditionally play Dreidel and recieve Hanukkah gelt. The link above it kind of fun, because it takes you through how to play dreidel if you keep clikcing Next.
I used to call chocolate gelt "pirate chocolate coins" because I did not know what they were. Children will often receive real gelt (or coin money) in addition to the chocolate kind.
Come on now, sing with me!!
I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.

It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin.
When it gets all tired, it drops and then I win!
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, with leg so short and thin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it drops and then I win!

My dreidel's always playful. It loves to dance and spin.
A happy game of dreidel, come play now let's begin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, it loves to dance and spin.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel. Come play now let's begin.

I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it's dry and ready, dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made you out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play

Monday, December 14, 2009


We had some fun at the boutique that was at my house this past weekend. My super talented sister in law Kate took some photos of my niece Sissy and I in fairy princess outfits that my other super talented friend Stephanie Maag had put together for us. Frankly I am converted insomuch that I have put an order for my girly purse from my super crafty talented sister Colleen Molen... you heard me... purse.

And if I do say so myself, I am rocking this pink!
Sissy loves kisses... usually... she did just turn 2 so that might all change. She gives the best cheek kisses!
Hello my name is Stephanie, and I am a fairy princess!

Hanukkah Day 4

During Hanukkah it is tradition to eat fried foods, usually in olive oil, in honor on the miracle of the oil. Potato latke and jelly donuts seem to be really big!! I also am a huge fan of beef brisket, which was introduced to me in Chicago by the Richters. Laurie's mom, Grandma Sylvia made the best brisket and potato dish.
I always find it fun to Google the phrase Hanukkah Foods and see if there are new recipes. My favorite, though, are latkes. There is something about dipping them in applesauce or sour cream.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hanukkah Day 3

During Hanukkah Jews will say a blessing when they light the menorah. The candles of the menorah are not for the purpose of illumination, which is another reason for the shamash, it will give light where the other candles are to show devotion and celebration only.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hanukkah Day 2

The menorah (as picutred above) is lit every night starting on day 1. Every night a new candle is added to symbolize another night where the Maccabees experienced the oil miracle. The middle candle is always lit first, this is called the shamash. The shamash is then used to light the other candles. The candles are lit left to right and are lit at sundown. The menorah has 8 branches, and a shamash branch. The shamash is also known as the helper candle.

Happy Birthday Sissy!

I can hardly believe that my sweet niece Sissy is 2 already. What a joy this little one has been in our lives. Happy birthday my little diva!!
One thing I love about this little one is that she already knows all of the words to Mamma Mia and Seussical! I already have visions of me being thanked in her Tony Award speach!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hanukkah Day 1

I love Hanukkah, so here is a lesson of this beautiful holiday... that will last the next 8 days.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights. It when the Maccabees regained control of the temple from the Syranians and were able to rededicate it. This happened in 165 BCE when Judah Maccabee and his brothers took back control of the temple. In order to rededicate it, they needed to clean it and holy oil needed to burn nightly. They had enough oil for one night but the miracle is that the candle burned for 8.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to Many!

Today is my mom's birthday, so a very Happy Birthday Mom! It is an honor to be your daughter, you make me laugh often and even sometimes let me cry in your shoulder. (I say sometimes because I do not cry often...) You are an amazing example of strength and courage, love and charity, joy and determination. One day when I grow up I hope to be just like you... well maybe almost just like you but without the cancer! I do not think I am as strong as you are; don't know if I could handle it with the same grace as you have. You amaze me daily. Some of my favorite photos from the past few years are below. You deserve a wonderful day!

Happy Birthday!
Above photo by Ruth Densley
Above photo by Kate Johnson
Above photo by Kate Johnson

This is a photo from the cruise we took a few years ago to Hawaii, good times. Remember how all the boys got a sunburn? I think this was the last photo taken of all of us before my siblings went off and got married.

I also have two dear friends that share a birthday with Mom, so I need to wish them a Happy Birthday too!
Happy Birthday Christy! I can't believe I acutally found a photo of us together. Christy and I met in Chicago when I lived there years ago. She is also a great example to me. She once called me the crazy glue that held our Relief Society Presidency together. I think it was a compliment! Favorite memory: getting Olive Garden Ghirardeli Cheesecake!
Happy Birthday Carrie. I do not know who took this photo, but it is one of my favs of you and Jen... you know just hanging out with the band! Carrie and I are visiting teaching companions and she just happens to be my neighbor too. She is my favorite walking buddy, I miss our walks lately, my fault! Carrie knows more about popular music than anyone I know. She has introduced me to some of my new favorite bands or artists: Mika, My Chemical Romance, Adele. Carrie is a dear friend and I am honored that we get to serve others together.
It also is my Grandpa Parker's birthday and I shouted a Happy Birthday as I passed the cemetary this morning.
Did I miss anyone?! If so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Christmas

Let's get it right out in the open: I LOVE CHRISTMAS! My family does not always think I do because I do not like to decorate a tree and Santa decorations are not my thing. But I love the lights, the feel, the smells, the cheer, the music, the smells, the joy, the snow (sometimes), and did I mention the smells?

Mom and Brother have been cooking and baking all week to get ready for the boutique at our house this weekend, you should come! I walk in the door every night and get a big hug from Sissy and get to smell something new. Last night was chocolate chip cookies, the night before was caramels and almond/macadamia nut roca. I understand soon there will be what my family calls Nuts & Bolts (chex mix basically.) I love it! It smells like Christmas at my house all the time now. We put up the Christmas tree last night for Mom. She loves the tree and could not have one last year because of her bone marrow transplant (less is more right after transplant!) Also coming this week are caramel apples and fudge. Bring it on, I say!

To add to the smells last Saturday I spent the day with Besty and Mama B making mint patty chocolates for her to sell at the boutique too! I know how to make mints! And they taste so good!

Then can we talk about Hanukkah? My family celebrates Hanukkah every year, so bring on the menorah and fried foods! I love to sit and watch the candles of the menorah burn down every night. Eight nights of celebrating light. What a wonderful Holy Day. I admit though, usually the menorah is not far from one of my many nativity sets (I get a new nativity set each year) but I think celebrating Jewish and Christian heritage at the same time is pretty cool! (My other favorite Jewish holiday is Passover; I sometimes miss living with my Jewish Chicago family.)

So yes, Christmas season is here. People seems nicer, Christmas music is everywhere, lights are shining brightly, and the smells are homey! What makes this Christmas even better is that it is our year for all of my siblings and their children to be with us! I love spending Christmas Eve with our family and the Aunts eating waffles, taking my yearly small bite of bacon, reading the Christmas story from the Bible, and opening one present. I am also excited to have nieces and a nephew who are getting older so they can be excited for it all. Sissy and LoMo will be very much into it, maybe not so much LB or Mac, but next year they will be... oh wait, next year is an off year... never mind.

An early Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all. Get your shopping done early and enjoy the spirit of the season! (inhales!!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Boutique

Each year I host a Boutique at my house for Christmas and it is a blast. We started it about 5 years ago as a tribute to Grams who for years had one in her home. This year we have changed it up a bit adding The Busy Bean, Kate Johnson Photography, Story Book Beginnings and The Christmas Bakery.

I no longer sell Pampered Chef myself, but a dear friend of mine is helping me host a catalog show, so Pampered Chef gifts will still be available to order. If you are unable to make it but need some Pampered Chef items you can visit her website and order direct: and type in host name Stephanie Johnson. I will deliver all items as soon as they arrive or, of course, you can have it shipped direct to you.

Colleen will still have some Mary Kay options, but her new business The Busy Bean has fun handmade purses and accessories to go with it. I am not a girly girl but I really really like her purses. I cannot wait for mine to be finished. Yes I will start to carry a purse!

Kate will have her mobile photo studio set up if you might still need your Christmas card photo taken. Appointments are encouraged but not required. She also can take a new headshot for any of my actor friends out there, FYI. All photos taken have a guarantee delivery date for Christmas.

My Mom and brother will be selling homemade baked goods (perfect for those teacher gifts or, if you are like me, something to get your visiting teaching done!) They have talked up the caramel apples, fudge, chocolates, etc. They are both really fine cooks, so you are in for a real treat (pun intended.)

Stephanie Maag will have her cute Story Book Beginning merchandise as well. Her little girl fairy wings and wands melt my heart. She also will have homemade headbands, flowers, and hats.

My cousin who normally joins us has a scheduling conflict, however My Tulip Garden will have a book of vinyl letting gift ideas as well and I will have her card there for you to take and order direct from her.

The whole boutique is really fun, and I hope to see you there. We do it rain, snow, or shine (although the snow years tend to be not as well attended) and this year our house has just been remodeled and there is a ton more room.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A confession ... straight from my heart

This may come as a shock to some, but I am not a Twilight fan. Yes I did read all 4 books, yes I did see the first movie so I have a total grasp of the story and characters. No I will not see the second, third or fourth movies, no I am not on team Jacob, no I am not on team Edward, I do not drive like a Cullen, I think the name Renesmee was a really weak mash up of names, I do not go gaga over Bella’s brooding behavior, I preferred Cedric Diggory over Edward, yes I think Robert Pattinson needs a hair cut… oh I could go on and on. (Sister can I get a shout out for the nice alliteration there though?)

In short I am not a twihard… let’s face it, I am not even a twisoft. I saw a bit on the news this morning where a woman was so excited for this show she slept out in line for a week to be the first in the theater to see the show then she was so excited about it all she nearly fainted and almost missed the whole thing. Really? Like when the Beatles came to America? Have you not heard of assigned seating in the movie theaters now?

So you might be wondering why I read all 4 books if I am not a fan. I just kept hoping it would get better. I was actually angry during the entire read of book 4, and sorely disappointed with the anti-climactic ending. If I had a daughter in her teens I would not let her read this series. Sure there were good underlying messages: stay in school and do not have sex before you are married. However to not have sex before you are married because your vampire boyfriend is old fashioned is a little off the mark!

Yes I know it is fiction and there is no such thing as vampires who sparkle in the sun (as we all learned from Buffy real vampires turn to dust), but oh my Hannah Montana! I tell you what if people could be as excited about the inner workings of US Legislation as they get for fun things like Twilight and the aforementioned Hannah Montana craze… wait let me get a visual… people camping out for weeks before the passing of a new health care reform bill; getting so excited to vote in November that they almost faint. (ok that made me chuckle…)

I am just admitting for the entire world (or at least the tens of people who read this blog): I am not a fan of Twilight. Have I offended anyone with my take on it all and my admission? If there is a twihard out there who reads this blog, set me straight on what is so great about Twilight. But as for me, not so much.

Now when is the new Harry Potter movie coming out?! mmm... child... now that is a series.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Family is...

Family (n): a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head; a group of persons of common ancestry.

Anyone else find these definitions lacking? Family is much much more than this.

Family is knowing you can count on the people you need the most when you need them the most.

Family is sacrificing a week with your spouse to help remodel your parent’s home.

Family is knowing when your sister is joking when her comeback to everything is “So’s your face.”

Family is cooking dinner every night for your sister’s family who is remodeling their house.

Family is doing something wrong, saying you’re sorry, and moving on.

Family is the sister who admits her daughter is super cute… because she looks just like her aunt.

Family is picking up a conversation with someone you have not seen in a long time as if you saw them yesterday.

Family is a smile.

Family is knowing you sometimes just need to cry.

Family is listening, and not judging.

Family is trying to fix the pain of someone else.

Family is your best friend’s mom who gives you an open invitation for Sunday dinner.

Family is unconditional love.

Family is being the one to step up and call your brother’s boss a bad word for laying him off.

Family is staying up all night with the sister who is going in for a sleep test the next day.

Family is being patient when you are asked to do something you do not want to do.

Family is knowing when to just sit and be quiet.

Family is noise.

Family is Saturday morning pancakes.

Family is understanding you are going to miss a 2nd birthday and Mother’s Day because you are going on a cruise.

Family is the helping hand when times get tough.

Family is putting a bow in your nephew’s hair just to see how your brother will react.

Family is a Democrat living in the home of a Republican.

Family is game night… all night.

Family is reading a book to the niece who likes to turn the pages before you are done.

Family is kisses, even the elephant ones.

Family is being honest enough to say “Yes that outfit does make you look fat.”

Family is acceptance.

Family is letting your wife’s best friend move in for a week because she is allergic to her house.

Family is never keeping track of whose turn it is to pay for dinner.

Family is singing at the top of your lungs with your sister in law to Mamma Mia.

Family is …

Sometimes your family includes biological and adopted people in equal balance. Family is much much more than a group of individuals who live under one roof or those who share a common ancestry.

And I have the best family ever!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Note to Self...

Self, when you take a pot out of the oven the handle is going to be hot. Do not touch it. You will burn your hand in some fashion. Just because they did something like that in the Indiana Jones movie, it is not cool to do it in real life. Remember that.

Now since you have already done this twice since buying your cookware remember: Burn me once, shame on you; burn me twice, I'm an idiot. (isn't that how the saying goes?) Burn me thrice... ?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Silver Lining?

The sucky news is that 2 of my brothers were laid off on Monday afternoon. The reasoning was stupid (because they were the highest paid employees in that department and the company needed to make cut backs. Don't get me started on how dumb it is to let your experienced workers go just to cut costs... don't get me started) and both of them were understandably upset. However what amazed me about these two good men I get to call Brother, is that they were able to put aside being upset and find silver lining in it all. How? I do not know because frankly I might be more upset than they are!

A few days ago LoMo was at my house and she had spilled some milk on the floor, slipped on it and started to cry. What could I do but make a joke telling her there is no use crying over spilled milk (yes I know she is only 18 months and did not get it) but then I realized that the old adage is true. There really is no use crying over spilled milk; when bad things happen we really can look for and find the silver lining in situations. Getting upset or depressed does no one any good. Again, it is all in how we choose to react.

Everything happens… don’t say for a reason… no I am just saying that everything happens (shout out to Dr. Horrible.)

However that being said: if you know of any employment opportunities Barry was a manager/trainer/business analyst or Everett is one of those IT geeks we all know and love. If you know of anything let me know!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Busy Weekend...

It was a crazy busy weekend, which is good I guess. Saturday was spent in the never ending process of cleaning the house. Never ending because the house is being renovated so there is a never ending supply of dust and dirt. It seems like before the job of dusting is done it needs to be done again! However, my season tickets for Broadway Across America came on Saturday! I love that new ticket smell!

Then Saturday night most of the family headed down to Egypt for a party as Sister's house. I was totally going to take a pic of my costume, but before I could Mac spewed all over it. Anyway, I was Captain Hammer; Captain Hammer... Corporate Tool. Still do not know who that is? Visit Here.

Sunday we went down to Egypt again for Mac's baby blessing. Sister won contest soup with a lovely clam chowder killing my cheddar brocolli. I used to be the queen of soup... Mac of course was adorable and I had a blast playing with Sissy and LoMo and the Princesses. LB is also just learning to sit up, and loves to play with toys that make noise, so Christmas is going to be a lot of fun!!

This morning Sissy was at the house and her hair needed some help. So I helped... She is rocking that Who-Hair look!!

Actually it looks lovely now. When her hair is wet is just does the most amazing things until it dries... then it relaxes!! But Sissy and I had some fun this morning getting ready for work. I did my hair, she helped do her hair. I brushed my teeth, she brushed her teeth. I got dressed, she put on "pretty jammies" which was infact her real clothing. Kids are fun!
How was your weekend?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Photo Deal!!

My sister in law Kate is an amazing photographer and she is running a special right now if you are interested. For $20 the whole family can have a a 30 minute photo shoot and receive a free 8x10 digital print. Just in time for Christmas cards!! She has taken some amazing photos of our family over the past 3 years and I love her stuff!
She also can be found on this Facebook Event page or can be reached at 801-722-9825.
This is a great deal because this price is so much less than a sitting fee and digital print usually are. Plus if you want other prints she has some great pricing on that too.
If you call tell her you know me! I am all about dropping names when I can!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Clean Bill

Mom had her 1 year follow up transplant visit this week. I am so excited to announce that she was given a clean bill of health. Basically what this means is that the transplant was a success in sending her into remission!! We knew she had been in remission for a while, but this is great news in that she might stay in remission a long time (anywhere from 1-5 years before she might have to be in treatment again.) The tests showed that her blood work was at normal levels and there was no measurable amount of cancer detectable. She has to follow up with her cancer doctor every 3 months now to have her blood looked at because the blood tests will show cancer before she would feel the effects of it. One concern still is her back. The cancer did some damage to her spine and she has a really weak back. For this, however, she has to have a bone strengthener (think of those new commercials with Sally Field, but she goes in for an IV treatment instead of a monthly pill) because her back looks like it is riddled with osteoporosis. But hey, we'll take it!

So for her 1 year birthday (October 24 is her transplant birthday) all of the girls went to see Curtains at Hale Centre Theatre. I love this musical and of course they changed the lyrics for the safety of sensitive ears (with permission, I understand) so each time the left out a funny line or a swear I leaned over to Sister to tell her the real one. Sister figured out who the killer was pretty early on... she is so smrt. Books/looks?! Puh-lease! Kidding aside, we had a great time and it was good to just get away with the girls!

Mom and I watch Watcher in the Woods this weekend too. I totally remember it being so much more scary than it was. I had totally forgotten the ending. However, the DVD release... has 2 alternate endings! High-lar-eous! It was a kind of fun Mom-centric weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Defy Gravity

The musical Wicked ... pause for a moment of inhale and smiles ... has a song that I really like called Defy Gravity. In this song, Elphaba (the "Wicked Witch") is telling Glinda (the ga is silent, toss toss) that she is tired of sitting back and pretending everything is fine in the Land of Oz. She says:

"Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game..."

"I'm through accepting limits
'Cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But 'till I try, I'll never know..."

Then she talks about defying gravity and how it is time to stop letting others pull you down. There are times when going with the status quo costs too much within us. We should never let others pull us down.

When I saw this musical ... for the 3rd time ... in Chicago I was with a group of women whom I love, adore, and look up to. We had really good seats and had a great night. At the end of the night we bought these fun friendship bracelets ... well because we could. One says "Popular" another "Wicked" and the third "Defy Gravity"

I was thinking about these women and my bracelet the other day and I realized how profound this message is: DEFY GRAVITY. Some of the lessons I learned from these women I went to Wicked in Chicago with were so profound that they will stick with me for the rest of my life. That and they make the best panini's in the world. Shout out to my Panini Night girls! These women had a chance to do something different and make their lives better. Not only that but they worked really hard to enrich the lives of their loved ones. To coin a phrase from another song in Wicked "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

Living life as everyone else expects is not always what is in the best interest for ... well really anyone. I think there are times when it is appropriate for an individual to give advice on how another should live ones life, but for the most part I know it is important for everyone to decide what is best for them. To look outside the norm and buck the status quo. To defy gravity and stretch our wings and fly! Now of course there are limits to this, our defying should never put another in harm or do damage to that which is not ours, we should not break the laws of the land. But thinking outside the box and making joy happen in our lives is all part of the plan. So go ahead: color outside the line, step on the crack, walk backwards, wear white after Labor Day and live life to the fullest. The only real limits in your life might be the ones you place there yourself.

"I hope you are happy in the end.
I hope you are happy my friend.
So if you care to find me,
Look to the western sky.

"As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves a chance to fly.
If I am flying solo at least I am flying free
To those who ground me,
Take a message back from me.
Tell them how I am defying gravity

"I am flying high
Defying gravity...
And no one is ever going to bring me down!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009


So last night I witnessed an over-reaction to a situation. The sad thing about this overreaction is that it was in front of youth in a church setting. While the reaction was just over the top, what made it more outrageous was the setting and the audience. I won't go into details of the situation, but let me just say, it really made me think. What it made me think about mostly was how I choose, yes choose, to react in certain situations as well. While I certainly hope I would never overreact in a similar manner, I can see how it takes practice to ensure one always has proper and effective reactions to situations. I admit there are times when other's actions do affect us, both for good and bad, but we are always in control of our actions and reactions. I think there are times when a drastic or dramatic reaction is certainly appropriate. I can think of a few situations in my life where I have seen this: When my mom found out her brother had been murdered, when I saw a tree fall on my house, the horror of watching the news on 9/11. Situations like these are shocking and I feel deserve comparable reactions. When damage is done to us or around us that is out of our control, I feel our reactions will be stronger than other times. But I have seen people overreact when the situation does not warrant it. I have been in a sales meeting when the boss tells the staff that the factory is going to discontinue a certain product and a sales person yells "WHAT?! What are we going to do?" or seen someone kick the copy machine because it jams (oy vey! it is a machine...) or the one that gets me so mad is seeing someone yell at a child for being a child and doing childish things.

I am sure there are times where I have, and still do or will, overreact to situations. However, I truly truly believe that I am in control of me the same as you are in control of you. I have the choice to make on how I will react to all situations. I can choose to make a scene, or I can ingest the situation and react accordingly. It brings to mind Newton's law of motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is a big point of the critical thinking process that is taught so often now in college learning. It takes practice to sit back and let all of the information come out and then to make an informed decision or reactions. Is it always easy? No. But common sense tells me that there is no reason to use abusive or offensive language in front of ... well really anyone; hitting someone in the face is not appropriate reactions; getting mad because you lock your keys in the car (holla Besty!) does no good to help the situation; grounding a child for an accident is counter productive, while grounding a child as a punishment for a deliberate action is appropriate. (but what do I know? I don't have kids!)

Bad things are going to happen in our lives, this is a given. However, how we react to these situations is a real test to our character. Sometimes things don't happen that we want (getting married, having children, getting the promotion or raise we think we deserve, etc) and these times too we have a choice to make on how we will react. Since I am using me as an example so well in this rant, here I go again. I could be very upset that I am 33 and still single. I could. I could be depressed and cry about it because no one loves me in that way. OR. OR I can make my life the best I possibly can recognizing that if I am not happy single why in the world would I assume being married is going to make me happy? But then I digress.

Reactions are always expected in every situations. Overreaction and under reaction, however, is not helpful in (I would say) 99% of cases... maybe 95%. And of course, practice makes perfect... so act and react away!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Condo for Sale

My brother and sister in law have listed their condo for sale that is just getting to small for their family, if you or anyone you know is looking for a condo to buy. It is in Murray, 2 stories, new carpet (maybe a year old) newly remodeled bathroom with a jetted tub. 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, covered parking. It is an end unit so only has one shared wall. It is a nice place. They have it listed on KSL right now and the link is here!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anne Frank on YouTube

I read a story today on CNN about a YouTube channel being started for Anne Frank. I have long been inspired by the Diary of Anne Frank, I love the movie, I remember being affected by reading the book when I was in middle school. Every time I read the book or watch the movie I come away with a heavy heart for the pain but I am also inspired by the hope of the message. The YouTube videos were wonderful. The link is below if you are interested in watching them too. There are many video links on the side of the Anne Frank Page. The one with Emma Thompson is quite humorous. I wish I understood the language spoken in the Miep Gies clip because I would think that would be an amazing story to understand.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weight Management 101

Lesson 1 - Eat Less but Eat Enough
Our bodies need calories (energy) to survive. This is a fact that we all know. We must eat. The major no-no that most people who are trying to lose weight do is they cut back too much, too fast. The fact of the matter is our bodies need calories to survive. Without a proper intake of calories our bodies will hold on to the existing fat we already have stored. While it is important to eat less when one is trying to lose fat (weight) one must eat a healthy number of calories. Want to know what yours is? My best advice is to talk to your doctor. My doctor is going to give me a different number of intake than yours would give you. Have you ever had a conversation with a coworker who claims she is constantly riding her bike and you have to wonder to yourself “How is she still overweight then?” Then you hear what she eats during a typical day: a few cups of coffee for breakfast, a bag of 100 calories of popcorn for lunch, and she usually will eat a decent dinner. Well that is why she is still overweight; she is not eating enough.

Lesson 2 – Exercise More
It is math, plain and simple. However I suck at math… so it took me a long time to get it. Calories in/calories out. Exercising burns calories and when this happens, as long as you eat enough, your body should use excess fat stores to burn thus eventually helping weight loss and fat loss. Being active for 30 minutes a day will increase ones heart health and decrease ones pounds. This also makes a person stronger and more energetic.

Lesson 3 - It Takes Time
Looking back I know I did not get fat in a day, so why should I expect to get skinny in one?! It just does not work that way. It takes time to pack on the pounds, so conversely it takes time to take the weight off. While it might be easier for some people to lose weight faster than others, just remember the immortal words of wisdom from Galaxy Quest: “Never give up, never surrender.”

Lesson 4 - Celebrate the Milestones
There are going to be milestones in the weight loss process: When you lose your first pound, when you lose your first 10 pounds, when you can do 100 pushups, when you learn to love the elliptical, when you have a bad day and want to run instead of eating chocolate etc. These are moments to be celebrated. Share them with loved ones so they can give you validation and maybe gain some motivation. Now this celebration probably is not going to be the same way as one might have celebrated in the past with a chocolate chip cookie sundae or cheesecake!

Lesson 5 - Not All Weight Gain is a Setback
Have you ever heard that muscle weighs more than fat? Bull crap. A pound = a pound. A pound of bricks weighs the same as a pound of feathers: they both weigh a pound. However the mass will be different. I have to be honest I lose inches before I lose pounds. It can be discouraging when you step on the scale and do not see a loss, you might even see a gain. However, look at how your pants or shirts fit. Is the butt saggy? Are you in a new hole on your belt? Do you need to start wearing a belt? Here is my example: I am down 20 pounds but I have lost 3 pant sizes. I am down to the last hole in my belt; I am losing inches faster than I am losing weight. Sometimes, also, it is alright to hide your scale for a few days… or weeks! If you are obsessing about the scale it might be time to put it in the freezer (not literally like one might put a book in the freezer for you Friends fans.) Don’t give up if you gain a pound or 4, there is probably a reason like you are not drinking enough water or it might be (women) your time of the month or your body just gained.

Lesson 6 - Not All Fat is Bad
There are good fats and bad fats. While I am not an expert, some oils (fish, olive, canola) are better than others (vegetable, butter, etc). A healthy increase of good oils will increase your good cholesterol and hopefully decrease your bad cholesterol. Plus oils will add taste to dishes.

Lesson 7 - It is Okay to Splurge
It is alright to eat a piece of cheesecake at Elisha’s wedding. It is alright to share a bowl of ice cream with Sissy. It is alright to have a chocolate chip bar (or 3) on Barry’s birthday. It is alright to have dessert when you are out to dinner with your friends just because you want one. Depriving yourself of all luxuries is not a good idea. As long as you make a plan for these goodies and maybe eat a more healthy lunch on that day. As long as you do not tell yourself daily that a splurge is alright. It is called a splurge for a reason, do not overindulge. Plus cutting out all sweets will make you cranky just like cutting out all carbs will.

Lesson 8 - Not All Diets are Good
Let’s hear a shout out my overweight friends (and some skinny one too) is there a diet you have not tried? They usually sound so good! The concepts typically are the same “Pay us and we will teach you a fool proof way to lose weight.” Um, right. That is why I am fat, because I have paid someone else to teach me how to lose weight. Gotta tell ya, diets did not work for me and I tried plenty of them. If they work for you, great! Congrats. What worked for me was finally learning what in my life I needed to do without, and make a lifestyle change. The way I found this out might not be what would motivate you. Each person must find what works for him or her.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fortune Cookie

Today I got a fortune cookie that I actually think sums it all up...

"You are always entertaining and delightful"

That just sums it all up for me, I have known it for years and now to cosmos has confirmed it. I am not sometimes entertaining and occasionally delightful... ALWAYS!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lion King Tickets

I have 5 tickets for Lion King the Broadway Musical when it is here in Salt Lake next year that I am not going to use. So here is what happened: I am a season ticket holder so I can buy extra tickets before they go on sale to the public. I was buying some for my sister in law's sister and I bought the wrong section on accident. So I have 5 extra tickets. I will sell them at face value which is (gulp) $91.25 each. They are really good seats, frankly. I can sell you one or all 5 if interested. The seats info is below. Either post a comment here that you are interested or send me an email at my gmail account. Of course this will be a first come first serve situation since I only have 5.

The Lion King is playing at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, these seats are Mezz 2C seats 1-5. This is the first row of the mezzanine (not counting the Grand Tier) in the center. See pic below, I have circled where the tickets are... and there is an arrow, I know I am a giver!! This is my personal favorite section to sit in because being in the mezzanine I can see the entire stage and being in the center they should be really really good seats for this show. I think the mezz begins about the equivalent of row 10 in the orchestra, but because it is higher I find the seats better than sitting in the floor section.

The tickets are for Saturday August 14, 2010 at 8:00 p.m and will be $91.25 each.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I had a pretty rough week this week and I realized that I had given control of my life to someone else. Not totally but enough that I let my emotions be clouded by another person's actions. Another's actions toward me made me mad, I gave up control of my life a little. I stayed mad, am still a little mad at the actions of this individual that I am forced to be around because of work situations. However, I now realize that it is my control I gave up this week.

I claim my control back. My attitude is mine to change, and I change it now! So in the great words of Tina Fey: suck it 'co-worker' you are nothing to me anymore than a annoying fly on my wall.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some Days

Some days it is 92, then the next day... it is 45. If I could drop weight like temp drops...

So yesterday I had an odd thing happen to me. I had already had words with a juvenile coworker by 8:30 in the morning (it ended with me asking her to stop interrupting and listen to me and she put her fingers in her ears to block out my sound... no really.) I was understandably upset by her actions and lack of respect. Usually when I am that upset I crave something chocolate, but yesterday I really was craving a good run on the treadmill. Never in my life did I think I would crave exercise instead of chocolate. FG is growing as a person!

Tomorrow is the last day to submit fish recipes, btw. If you have not already done so. I have had some really really good fish the last 2 weeks! Thanks! Once I have graded all of the recipes I will announce the winner and get you something something... and you too Courtney! Thanks for the reminder of the Cancer Sucks contest. You are right, I had forgotten!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ta-dah... today

This is my new niece, Kelsey McKinley who came out to play today (finally!!) She was born this morning at 12:16 and weighed in at 7 lb, 13 oz; she is 21 inches long. Sister and baby are fine. Last night I got to have a sleep over with LoMo. When I would ask her "Who is getting a new sister today?" She would say "Yottie!" Yottie is what Sissy and she call each other but I thought it was pretty funny!

For those who come here often, I will be referring to this new little one as Mac. Why? Well I do believe that it is safer to refer to children by nicknames on a public site like this... so I have Sissy, LoMo, LB, and now Mac!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Recipe Contest

So here is the deal, I need to start eating more fish. And I really like fish, but am kind of limited to grilling salmon... which can get old. I was driving home yesterday when I thought it would be fun to have a fish recipe contest with a prize here on my very own blog!!

If you want to participate please either send me a link, leave a comment, or send an email to sassyjose at gmail dot com with your favorite fish recipes. I am not always a fan of the really really fishy flavors, but I like shrimp, salmon and cod a lot. Really there is not a fish I will not try. These recipes can be as easy as just your favorite mixture of herbs to rub on fish, or as elaborate as something you saw Paula Deen do on the Food Network. However, that being said I would like to avoid the amount of butter that Paula likes to cook with!! LOL

One thing to remember, however, is I am allergic to pork... so please leave pork out of the recipe!

What will you win? Well here is what I was thinking I would do. Once I try the recipes I will pick the one I think had the best flavor, was the most creative, or easy to prepare... alright the one I liked the best; the person who sent in that recipe will get a $20 gift card to a restaurant of his or her choice. Odds of winning with of course be based on the number of people and recipes that are submitted. There is no limit to the number of recipes one can submit. I will take recipes as long as you want to send them my way, but will close this contest in 10 days (October 1). I will send the gift card any where you might live (for those who are not in Utah) however, your choice restaurant needs to be a place I can buy a gift card from here in Utah!

Ready, set, go!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Next to Normal

I have been listening to the soundtrack for the Broadway musical Next to Normal… pretty much all day every day for the last few days. It is very beautiful, although very much Rent-esque. What does that mean? Well if you are offended by the language in the soundtrack to Rent, you might want to not listen to this one. It also is very much a rock opera like Rent is. The music ranges from rock to beautiful ballads, almost a lullaby.

The story of Next to Normal is about mental health issues that a family deals with because of some mental health issues of the mom, Diana. While to story is a deep one, and the characters are rich, the lyrics to this musical are some of the most beautiful I have heard in a long time. My favorite line is “Valium is my favorite color, how did you know?”

The kids in the show, Natalie and Gabe, kind of fight for the attention of Diana. Natalie feels neglected by her mom because she focuses so much on Gabriel. At the same time the husband, Dan, tries to help Diana through her treatment and suggests radical treatment to “get them back to better than before.” The only other characters in the show are Diana’s therapist and Natalie’s boyfriend.

After electroshock treatment Diana loses 19 years of memory which includes the wedding and births of her children. Dan tries to rebuild her memory without letting her hear about the bad bits of their history. Slowly she starts to get her memory back, even the bad things. However, the biggest memory dealing with her mental issues is just out of reach and she cannot remember all of the pieces.

There are aspects of this story that are very touching. For example when Natalie sings the song about Superboy (Gabe) and the Invisible Girl (herself) Diana tells Natalie that she loves her; she tell Natalie that she loves her as much as she can.

This line hit me today as I was listening to it “I love you as much as I can.” We all show love in different levels and different degrees. There will be some people in our lives who are able to openly and freely give us all of their heart and show immense love to us. Others can only show a little, or are not able to express love in ways we may consider socially acceptable. It is interesting to me to see the different levels of love that we show through our lives. For example a little child learns early to love everyone. They have to learn stranger danger.

As teenagers I think we become scared of showing love, or of showing public love to our family. We are exploring new kinds of love with the opposite sex… or not. Then as young adults we once again start expressing love more openly to our families and friends. I hear there is no love to compare to the love of a new parent (although as an aunt I think I can come close to imagining it.) Once again we show unconditional love to another, it becomes all about another person.

Another aspect of this show is how our lives do not need to be perfect and try as we might we often fall short of that perfect dream. But as long as we try and do the best we can we can be normal, or sometimes we get close… we get next to normal. We get close to good. I think when we stop trying to be perfect and just try our best life becomes a little easier and a lot less stressful! When we can find our own version of normal, we have succeeded in this life and then it becomes our task to help others find their normal.

“Let go of what’s past, and maybe I’ll see you at last. We tried to give you a normal life. I realize now I have no clue what that means. I don’t need a life that is normal. That’s way too far away. But something next to normal would be okay. Yes, something next to normal, that is the thing I would like to try. Close enough to normal, to get by. We’ll get by.” Next to Normal

At the end of this musical, after all of the crazy and darkness of their trials, they sing a song about finding light.

“We need some light; first of all we need some light. You can’t sit here in the dark all alone, it is a sorry sight. It is just you and me. We’ll live you’ll see!”

Find some way to survive this life and be happy to live next to normal!