Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting A Tradition

I thought I'd end the year by posting about the 2nd year that Laura has helped the boys make sugar cookies.  And that, by my definition is the kick-off of a tradition!  Oh, these sugar cookies aren't just any sugar cookies.  They were passed down from my grandma to my mother and who knows where my grandmother got the recipe!   Now Laura has the antique recipe box, cookie cutters, rolling pin and the flour sifter that belonged to grandma.  I think they should rightfully go to her.  She spent time making these sugar cookies and passing them out to people when she was the remaining one home, after the rest of us had left into the big world.  She really loved to make these and loved the tradition.  They brought her a bit of comfort and stability when everyone and everything around her was leaving.  And so she passes the tradition on to her two oh-so-willing little boys.  I think maybe the tradition will continue on! 
This is, after all, serious business!
With a little bit of jocundity mixed in!
And now Mom can relax b/c now someone else is helping to pass on the tradition! 

                                   Now if only it wasn't so dang messy.  Flour everywhere, I tell ya!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Speaking of Songs....

Here is the funniest song I've heard and seen in a long time!  I wanted to get this before embedding becomes restricted!  It came out earlier this week and already has close to 100,000 hits on YouTube!  If you haven't seen it, here it is!  Do you think it's true?  Know that some are upset about the way BYU Co-eds are portrayed here.  Would you be mad about this if you were a BYU Co-Ed? 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Songwriter Showcase

After a long work week it's fun to go out and do something.  We're lucky because in Provo, UT we've got two Universities and one of them is BYU.  There is always something going on and especially this time of year.  The students are seeing the end of the Fall Semester and the projects, papers and songs are due.  Songs?  Well, yes.  In the Media Music Division of the College of Fine Arts And Communications, songs are definitely due!
The bi-annual Songwriter Showcase features all original songs written by students in any current style which is monitored and charted by the music industry.  I was able to attend this event and styles there were aplenty.
I heard, "Open Heart Surgery", with lyrics that went, "She took my heart right out of my chest, took my heart out while it was still beating.  I told myself it would be alright.  She placed it back within my chest just for a'll all be fine."  I actually loved it and I definitely heard a John Mayer influence! 

I kind of enjoyed "California Caught Us Kissing", especially the chorus!

I also heard one song that had an Alanis Morriset influence and another with a definite Cold Play feel to it!  These music students are really brilliant with their diverse styles and ability to put their outlooks of life into not only words, but music!  

These students naturally write about what matters to them and I heard a lot about unrequited love and broken hearts. "Dreams Ain't For The Brokenhearted" and "Fizzle" are no exceptions. But, there were also songs about Jesus Christ as in "Once Upon A Time" and songs about human frailties in a humorous way demonstrated so well in "Somebody Out There Might Want My Life"!  Most of the songs were done on guitar or piano, but there were a few songs done with alternative accompaniments like stringed instruments and one with a pre-recorded remix for accompaniment! We heard 20 songs all in all and I thoroughly loved hearing them.  I may even purchase the CD of the show!  It's only $10 and maybe someday it will be really valuable because one of these writers/performers will be famous!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's In The Blood!

I always wanted to be a competitor and participator in women's sports.  So, knowing the basic rules of volleyball, one year I decided to try out for Volleyball at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Stockton, CA!  I don't even remember if it was JV or Varsity or maybe even both.  I just know that I didn't make it and I talked to the coach about it.  He told me that I was "too feminine" to make the team.  In other words, I sucked.  At Lodi Academy, where I was a Sophomore, another coach observed me one day and told me that I'd be a good runner, if I'd just try a little harder.  In other words, I was lazy.  I tried swimming and dance, both of which I'm glad I did, but never did anything huge with them either.  But the one advantage these attempts gave me was that I kept fairly active and was always in fairly good shape!  I'm glad that I just didn't give up.  All the while I was playing piano and violin, reading everything in sight and ebbing and flowing with my love and social life!  I also was very active in my church youth group.  So all in all, not a bad life!  
Now I have two boys, who, ever since they could walk, have been eager to be competitors and participate in the sports boys like to do.  My oldest son didn't stay in one high school long enough to be able to stay on the football team and see any kind of continuity.  I remember with fondness how he tried so hard during his first year in football .  He'd never been exposed to the sport much before that.  So in 8th grade he really tried hard and at the end of the season, he won the Most Improved Player award!  He played one more year after that for JV and then moved around a lot after that.  But I know he still wanted to be a participant.  One thing he found he was especially good at was fighting.  Sigh....
From what I understand, it was a major epiphany when the school tough guy (bully) kept taunting him and challenged him to fight.  This kid was really tall and towered over Eddie, who is built like a small truck.  So on a weekend, in a deserted field, somewhere in Missouri, Eddie and the bully met.  Word had spread, in the meantime.  The field was lined with about 50 spectators waiting to see the event.  Eddie calmly got out of the car his friend drove him in, walked up to the challenger and put him out, complete with a broken nose before anyone could even yell out.  It was over that quick and Eddie walked away with a new sense of what he could do.  Good or bad, Eddie started to look for ways to develop his "talent". 
He found that opportunity with a new sport called MMA.  His first fight was against one of the best fighters in the area and it was very humbling.  The other guy had him out in about two minutes.  I remember asking about his black eye and initially, he told me he and a guy had been horsing around and he got nailed.  No big deal.  The loss only made him more determined.  He hooked up with a team called 'Unbreakable' and began training in Spanish Fork, UT in a little gym.  This was done all behind my back because I let it be known that I don't like violent sports.  They are too dangerous.  The thought of him getting hurt is really scary for me.  And I don't understand what makes it such an exciting sport for many men.  
One day late in October, I noticed his face was a little beat up, like he'd been in a fight.  I now suspected that he was doing MMA and probably training and getting roughed up.  He told me then that he had just won $650 in Wyoming over the weekend fighting one of the best fighters in the state.  He was the "Fight of the Night"  and was the underdog.  He came out on top.  He said that he had never done anything more draining and tiring but that he loved it.  He said that if he didn't get anything for it, he'd still do it.  I don't know what to make of that.  I can relate in one sense because I like to blog and do it without any compensation whatsoever, although it's great to get paid every once in awhile!  
He invited me to one of his fights and I attended the Blood Black and Blue Event at The Man Expo this past Saturday night.  It was quite the eye-opener!  He won and walked away without too much damage. (I'm just glad he didn't end up like the loser in one of the other fights--his nose was so busted up that blood was spurting from it like a geyser and covered the floor.)  He was limping a little bit and the next day he thought he might have hurt his hand.  I hope that he enjoys it and then moves on to something else.  In the meantime, I think I'll give it my support when I can.  His next fight is in January at the McKay Events Center!  If he wins, he gets $1000!  Go Eddie!  I guess it's in the blood! 
Eddie With His Agent and Trainer

One of Eddie's team buddies

Getting checked before the fight

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Sunday Hike or Finding A Truth

It was beautiful weather this past Sunday and I decided to get out in it!  I started out on Sunday not knowing where I would end up.  My usual hiking partner, E., wasn't with me.  So I embarked "not knowing beforehand where I should go..." It was a cool, crisp day and the sky was a bright blue.  I knew that I wanted this day to be a part of my memory.  As I drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon, I saw some cars parked in front of a sign.  I decided to check it out!

It was a really cute picnic area, with lots of mossy rocks in ledges and the creek rapidly flowing in the background.  It was a great find for a barbeque with the family someday, but not much of a hike.  I kept moving.

Next, I came to a much bigger parking lot.  I parked my car and entered the Trailhead area. 

This is a beautifully paved road by the creek which I assume is Mill Creek.  It has several paths that branch off from the main trail.

I decided to take the trail that goes to Lake Blanche.  It was only 2.8 miles.  That was perfect.  I didn't have any water or hiking shoes, but that seemed like a do-able distance.  And the backdrop of Twin Peaks looked so pretty. I set off.

I walked and walked.  I met a few people coming down.  I kept asking,  "Did you get to the lake?"  They all said "No, we thought it was around 2 miles, but we never saw one.  We gave up and came back."  I kept walking.  I saw some beautiful stuff! Like this:

But no lake.  Did I take a wrong turn?  I was really getting thirsty too!  I ran into more people coming down who had talked to some other people who said the lake was still waaaaay up there.  I kept walking.  I was fixated on seeing this lake.  The scenery only got better.  It spurred me on!

And on....

 And on!

I really wish I had the internet on my phone b/c I could have punched in Google Earth and maybe have gotten some coordinates to where I was and how much further this darn lake was.  But I'm so old school!  Heck, I still have an MP3 player instead of an ipod. 

I started going up some extremely steep terrain and I started to feel my system kind of shutting down.  I just knew that it couldn't be far, though.  It was just before 5 pm.  I had been going since 3:30. I needed to see the lake!  More people came down and some said I was near.  I kept stopping more and more to get my breath.  I felt winded and weak.  Two ladies came by and I asked them how much further to the lake.  They said it was fairly close but it would take them about an hour to get back to the lake from where we were.  Well, they obviously weren't avid hikers, it's true, but an hour?  Plus they said they were the last ones to leave the area. No one else was up there.  OK, that was kind of scaring me.  I've heard the stories of the gung ho hikers going too far and ending up getting lost, stranded, hurt, or even worse.  I didn't want that to be me. Not today. I struggled on a little more and then I decided to give up. I turned back and made it down the hill in really quick time, leaving the ladies I talked to far behind.  It made me wonder how really close I actually must have been. So, while I didn't see the lake, I did see this:

And this:

So I'm not disappointed in my hike at all.  Maybe next time I'll be a little more prepared and know a little bit more about the trail I'm taking.

Isn't that the way it is with life?  We all basically start out on a course called our life's journey!  As we progress along the journey we run into hardships, obstacles and things that aren't really clear.  We'll all complete the journey somehow, but some will reach their desired destination and others won't.  Maybe it depends on just a few things like preparation, good direction, resources or strength.  I've decided that whatever has been my lot on my journey, the one thing I can be is grateful!  I can be grateful for the beautiful things I experience on my own journey in life!  Maybe it isn't exactly what I had expected, hoped for or planned.  But I can't deny that there have been and are many beautiful things that are in my life every single day!  Why should I regret or be sorry for what I might not have done or achieved?  There is too much abundance in my life for self-reproach!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A New Taste Experience

I am almost always up for a new experience for my taste palette!  I consider myself rather adventurous and unencumbered from culinary prejudices and assumptions.  So when I heard about this great new restaurant called El Jaripeo in Salt Lake City on Redwood Road, I was rather interested!  I hear that people drive for miles from all over the state to get this authentic Mexican food.  Now, I hear this term "authentic" Mexican food tossed around a lot.  I hear my fellow gringos talking about how they can really appreciate the authentic food and that they don't succumb to the poor imitation, the generic and the counterfeit stuff thrown out to the public at Taco Bell-esque type lunch counters.  They brandish about their superior knowledge of what a good Mexican restaurant should look like, and what the food should taste like!  I've heard that you want to go to the small, little establishments to get a really authentic chalupa or burrito. And generally, I listen!  I really feel like they know what they are talking about...up to a point! 

I'm just not sure what they might think about El Jaripeo!  This is, in my opinion, a truly authentic Mexican Restauraunt.  Granted, it's food from a specific province of Mexico, Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. The people In Oaxaca are country folk, even indigenous.   They live in one of the most rugged and isolating terrains in the country, but also boast a major resort on its coastline called Huatulco.   With that in mind, what kind of foods would be found in that region?  Well...grasshopper, for one thing.  The children run around the fields and collect them for their families.  To cook.  To eat.  They are toasted and put into food as protein and tasty treats!  Hey, I'm not knocking it....After all, John the Baptist had them!  Hopefully HE was able to toast them too!  Well, that is one of the esteemed dishes served at El Jaripeo and people are raving about it.  Another interesting dish served here is Mole.  What?  You heard me....Mole in a sauce..Also the cactus dishes are another specialty that people rave about.  I'm very curious about this place and I MAY just venture out.  I'll let you know if I do.
                  In the meantime, happy eating!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daniel's Summit

Greg and I took the bike to Daniel's Summit this past weekend.  Daniel's Summit Lodge is a wonderful place, complete with a great restaurant and general store.  Located directly off US 40, close to Heber, it is a great place to enjoy nature both in the warm months and in the winter.  It is famous for its snowmobiling trails!  I would love to do that sometime.  I'm permanently afraid of ATV's because of a freak accident a few years back, when I shattered my nose and de-gloved it from my face, requiring extensive surgery to make it look OK.  But I think I could muster the courage to get on a snowmobile and ride it.  And what about those Rhino's?  They look like miniature jeeps, but have all the get up and go of an ATV, except you can carry passengers and cargo!  Then I wouldn't have to drive!  I got a picture of one as a couple came in from off the trails.  They left their friend outside with water and food.  He was as good as gold!

We ate at Daniel's Summit Restaurant. Greg had the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich and I had Southern Chicken Salad with sugared pecans, red onions and avocado!  Delish! 
The leaves were just beginning to turn and should be in full force by this weekend!

This Little Boy Has Some Potential!

I went to my nephew's first soccer game of the season recently. He's a precocious 4-year-old and has lots of energy and he left it all out there in the field. for sure.  He got at least 3 goals and led his team to victory!  Right, Mom, isn't that how it went?  Pretty sure he was the star player! Ha Ha!
Setting up the next kick!
In Thoughtful Contemplation
Going off the field for a drink of water

Can't Take my eyes off the ball!

Hey Guys!  I've got something here!

I THINK it was this ball that's in play!

Team Support!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Miss United Nations Pageant!

This past weekend I attended the first ever Miss United Nations Pageant at UVU (Utah Valley University) in Orem, UT!  I went at the invitation of my friend, Patti, who knows one of the contestants personally!  I had actually met Nilli once as well.  Her full name is Nilufur Sherzod and she is from Tajikistan.  She lived with Patti as a renter for about 2 years! She is very talented and absolutely gorgeous!  As one of the main drivers of the UVU International Modeling Club, she was a very prominent part in also getting this pageant started. 

The two MC's of the pageant were KSL radio personality and Mormon Tabernacle Choir member, Nikoyo Iyamba and popular performer/singer and also Tabernacle Choir Member, Alex Boye'.  They were great together and their rhetoric was sometimes very funny, as Alex can get very animated!!  He did some hilarious comedic interpretations of pageant contestants, black audience members, as well as poking fun of himself a lot!  Ms. Iyamba has her own line of couture clothing, Nkoyo Bridal, which was modeled during the program. Mr. Boye' performed and handed out copies of his new CD!
It was really fun to see the 9 contestants walk out in native costumes!  I wondered what Miss US would wear!  Unfortunately, she wasn't represented b/c of a personal tragedy.  It must have been a truly tragic event for her to miss out on a chance to win the first Miss United Nations at UVU!  I hope everything goes well for her.

Here are some of the fun native costumes!

 We were then entertained by each of the contestants in the talent competition and they were very talented!  I loved some of the native dances!  We saw Flamenco, and various dances from Brazil, Africa, Japan and others.  There was one pianist and one singer.  They were very brave!  Many of these young women had only just learned English within the last few months.  They were truly international, coming right from their countries of origin.
Voice of Africa performed some riotous dancing and drum solos!
And the winners are:
Miss Congo Republic wins 2nd Runner-up!

Miss Japan is 1st Runner-up!

         Yes, it was Nilli, Patti's friend from Tajikistan!  What a fun thing for her! 
Her mother came all the way from Tajikistan just to see her participate in the pageant! I think she got her money's worth!  I know I did!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our Hike To Dog Lake

My son Eddie and I took a hike (roundtrip 6 miles) to Dog Lake, actually a watershed area located in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  First of all, I don't know why they call it 'Dog' Lake, because no dogs or horses are allowed because of the watershed status.

I almost quit towards the first part because this was meant to be a leisurely hike, nothing major.  It was on a Sunday after all and I really try not to do hard physical labor on that day. However, on other days, all my efforts to do hard physical labor are mostly in vain as well!  But what do you know, after the first 100 feet, we ran into a very steep incline and it seemed to go on forever.  I panted and gasped and stopped for air and of course, Eddie was ready to bound up the hill like a gazelle.  But he was a nice son and waited for me.  He asked some hikers on their way down if it was uphill all the way and they basically said yeah.  I told Eddie I would go for 15 more minutes like this and then if it didn't improve, our hike was over.  Fortunately, it did improve and it actually was very mild from then on out! 

During the incline part of the hike, we had to stop often, due to Mom's lack of physical stamina and energy.  But we had a diversion and that was my camera.  We took quite a few silly shots.  I had the idea that we could pose in some beautiful ferns.  I hope that the difference between my pose, and  Eddie the Yettie's pose is vastly different....

The scenery, as we wound our way now more gradually up the incline, was truly beautiful!

The leaves were just barely starting to turn!  I couldn't believe it, one older man when we asked about how far the lake was, actually thought that Eddie and I were brother/sister, girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife.  Poor Eddie.  I don't think he took that too well!  I told Eddie that he looks a lot older than he really is, and that the poor man must be losing his visual clarity in his declining years.  Plus, I am really immature looking.  What else could I tell him?  (I was secretly loving it!)

We ran into some Moose (or is that Meese?) grazing along the trail.  I was kind of nervous because I've heard that Moose are dangerous animals known to charge annoying people hiking by in their territory. But Eddie the Yettie welcomed the opportunity to get as close as possible to take a few shots.  Believe me, I had some trees sighted in to run behind just in case things got dicey!  We even saw a Mother and Baby moose quietly grazing in the forest!

We finally arrived at Dog Lake and it is certainly not anything to brag about.  I might even be tempted to say it's a real dog!  It's just a tiny little body of water with a sandy shore on all sides. But we were excited to have reached our destination and be on our way back.  Of course we took a few more pictures because that's what you do when you have a blog to put them on!