Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Half a Month of Gratitude

It's November and gratitude is being highlighted almost as much as stocking stuffers at Target.  I've decided to get in on the action because frankly I have a lot to be thankful for.  In some ways, I don't even feel like I completely deserve it.  In no particular order, here are 13 reasons I am grateful.
  1. Not only did I get a job, but I got a job that I totally believe in and completely fits the lifestyle I want.
  2. In the same week I started my job, Jerry was offered the internship that was his top choice.  We feel super-blessed.
  3. I'm grateful for the time I spent living in Canada last winter which had very mild weather.  Friends and family have informed us that winter is in full force already up there.  I'm cold just thinking about it.
  4. This seems small, but the libraries here in Utah have audiobook versions of LDS books I"ve been meaning to read.  Today I started the biography of President Monson.
  5. Next month, commuter rail service to Salt Lake will begin.  This will seriously improve my trips to work.
  6. I've had a lot of time in the past year to develop new skills.  I've been seriously writing, doing family history, sewing, and crocheting.  
  7. I love my KitchenAid Mixer.
  8. I'm grateful to be within walking distance of a pool.
  9. I just watched this video about Hurricane Sandy which makes numbers 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 seem pretty insignificant.
  10. I'm grateful for modern technology which helps me stay in touch with friends and family who are far away.
  11. I'm grateful for my little apartment that I have made very homey.
  12. My little apartment is close to a lot of family.
  13. I've had lots of time to read lately.  It's been pretty great.  
I intend to have one for every day of the month of November, but probably not one post a day.

Monday, October 29, 2012


This was the first year that Jerry and I dressed up for Halloween together.  It was also my first couples' costume ever.  I've always thought that Jerry looked a bit like Russel from UP, the Pixar movie.  I'll let you decide.

UP is one of my favorite Pixar movies, and I've always thought that Russel was such a fun character.

As I mentioned, this was a couples' costume.  I attended as the house that the balloons carried away.  The strings are tied to my back belt loop.

My costume became a problem when we played "Hide and Ghoul Seek."  Not to brag or anything, but our costume rocked!

Thanks to Jen for providing most of it!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Last week, Jerry was out of town.  To fill what could have been very long days, I decided to work on sewing projects for Christmas gifts.  I'm still a sewing beginner and have decided that I like small projects that rely on a lot of straight lines.

I did three different things: cloth-covered notebooks, crayon rolls, and a bag.  If after reading this blog you feel inspired, Google instructions which are all over the internet.

I feel a certain amount of satisfaction when I take something wrinkled and frayed ...

and turn it into into something that looks tidy and complete.

I made eight cloth covered notebooks.  In order to avoid boredom I tried pockets on a few.  On the last two I sewed on ribbon.  I liked it better than the pockets.

Here are the final products.  (I made three BYU notebooks which are not all pictured.)

I decided that the younger crowd that I am making gifts for would not appreciate notebooks so much.  Then, I remembered that everyone at church as little cloth rolls to store their crayons.  With the help of some online instructions, I came up with this.

Last, but certainly not least, I made a bag to hold craft supplies.  It's pretty simple, but I think I have decided on a new technique.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I have always loved the sweet sounds of church bells.  When I attended BYU, I anticipated the first few measures of "Come, Come Ye Saints" every hour.  In Boston, the Park Street Church bells would play hymns at noon when I finished my internship at the Congregational Library.  The reassuring melody of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" was the only thing I liked about that internship.

In Edmonton, Jerry and I lived very close to an Anglican Church.  The bells tolled every hour and played hymns at noon.  Most memorable of all was midnight on Christmas Eve.  The bells rang for about half an hour as we listened in our cozy apartment.

Here, there are a lot of churches, but few church bells.  Luckily, we live in reasonable proximity to the sounds of the Catholic Church bells. At noon I am serenaded by "How Great Thou Art."  After an inspiring day of General Conference, the bells inspired me with their call to Saturday evening mass.

I"m hoping that in the future, I have enough control over my destiny to find myself near some church bells.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Almost Accomplished

Within two weeks, I will have accomplished a New Year's resolution of sorts.  I will have completed 100 books this year.  I'm not sure whether to be proud or depressed about this accomplishment.  Seriously, who has that much time?  I've read some incredible books this year - some short, some long.  I've also read some duds, but that is to be expected.

Here are five of the books which I loved.  I loved more than five and if you want a complete list become my friend on Goodreads.

Ida B ... and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and Possibly Save the World, by Katherine Hannigan

Ida B. loves her life on the farm with her parents.  She is friends with the rocks and the trees and the mountains.  Her parents teach her school at home and that is how she likes it, but when her mom gets sick her whole life changes and she decides to have a hard heart.  If you like quirky characters and stories with a strong moral, this is the book for you.

How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, by Georgia Bragg

Was this book gross?  Yes.  Was it awesome?  Yes.  This includes the fascinating and gory deaths of historic figures like Cleopatra and James A. Garfield.  It's factual, a little sarcastic, and a lot of fun.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

This is probably one of the most talked about books in the past couple of years, and it deserves all the praise it receives.  It tells the story of an Olympian who survives a plane wreck and Japanese POW camps.  When he returns home he is able to put his life back together.  Every part of this lengthy book is exciting and inspiring.

Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creek

 Because of my interest in children's literary history, I set a goal to read every Newbery Medal winning book.  I avoided this book because I didn't like the cover.  But seriously, the old cliche is true.  Read it.   It's wonderful.

 Wonder, by R.J Palacio

 This is another book worth the hype.  A kid with severe deformities decides to enter school starting the fifth grade.  Here he endures bullying, the challenges of finding friends, and other associated difficulties, but finds himself.  Okay, so I hate middle school angsty stories with classic bullies, but this one really was excellent.

And now for the books I don't recommend ...

Olive's Ocean, by Kevin Henkes

If you are actually reading my summaries, you will notice that I don't like  angsty, middle-school novels with bullies etc.  Yeah, this was one of those.

Fairies and the Quest for Neverland, by Gail Carson Levine

I love Gail Carson Levine, but I did not love this book.  I wish I had seen that Disney logo before wasting my time.

Small Persons with Wings, by Ellen Booraem

Maybe I should just avoid books involving fairies.  If you like fairies, you might enjoy this one.  

The Night Circus, by Ellen Morgenstern

In my opinion, this is the most overrated book of 2011.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham

Not all Newbery winners are winners.  This piece of historical fiction spent two much time explaining little bits of history and word origins and not enough time telling a story.     

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brigham City Temple Open House

On Labor Day, we went to the Brigham City Temple Open House.  Today I learned during conference that approximately 400.000 people attend this open house is a four week period.  I'm fairly positive that 2/3 of this number visited the temple on Labor Day.

The temple is gorgeous and is built in similar style to the Salt Lake, Manti, Logan, and St. George temples.  It is in the center of Brigham City across from the tabernacle and looks like it really fits.

We learned a few things from our visit.  For future open houses, we are going to select a weekday morning and be the first to arrive.  We tried not to sweat too much while Jen took our photos.  Despite the heat and the long wait the temple was beauriful. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Edible BYU

During my entire graduate school experience, I'm fairly certain that Simmons College gave me one free meal.  It was one of those not-so-freshly made Italian sandwiches with prepackaged condiments.  My hands were covered in mayo film by the time it was my turn to meet with my adviser.

Apparently, I chose the wrong program.  The nice thing about Jerry being in school is that I rarely have to cook.  Either some recruiters are trying to impress him or BYU caters a dinner.

 See what I mean?  They had 1200 people at a dinner last night, and we each got a fondant logo of BYU to gobble down.  Now if I can only get my hands on some chocolate covered macaroons.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Unpacking

A little over a year and a half ago, Jerry and I registered for gifts.  I ran around Bed, Bath, and Beyond giddy at the thought of knife sets, apple corers, and cookie sheets.  That little scanner thing is so fun.  Friends and family generously complied with my requests.  I am very grateful.

We've been in our apartment a little over a week now, but our stuff arrived two days ago.  My back is very grateful to have a real bed again, but it is not so happy with the fact that I have been doing dishes for two straight days.  You see, I have handwashed approximately 4,531 kitchen supplies since Tuesday.  I'm not done.  After I finish washing and drying, I then determine where to put the things.  Every time I open a box I find more and am then forced to rearrange my drawers and cupboards.

This is what I have learned.

  • We own four teapots.  (I refuse to part with any of them.  They are awesome.)
  • A Magic Bullet has about 90 separate parts.
  • No matter how many dish towels you have, you will run out if you are hand drying.  
  • I was actually glad when one of our glasses was broken.  (It was from the dollar store and not a gift so there was nothing sentimental to it.)
  • I guess when I was blissfully scanning barcodes at the store I wasn't thinking, "Am I going to have to handwash this every time I move."
Just a thought for anyone thinking of registering in the near future.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Why I Would Not Have Made A Good Pioneer

Road trips are long and tiring.  Here is a brief summary of our epic drive to Utah.

Friday, July 27

5:30 PM  Jerry's estimated departure time.

6:30 PM My estimated departure time.

8:35 PM  After a full day of work for Jerry and a full day of cleaning for me we finally rolled out of town in our filled to the brim car.

9:36 PM The first time that I looked at my clock and thought to myself "Oh my gosh, it's only (insert time here)"

10:14 PM The time that we decided to give in and get a motel room.  We had planned to drive for four or five hours. We thought crashing in a motel would be better than crashing the car.

10:30 PM  The time the we literally fell into our bed.

Saturday, July 28

6:35 AM I mistook the hotel hand lotion for hair conditioner.

6:47 AM I forced Jerry out of bed.

6:55 AM I put one butterfly sock on wrong side out and didn't notice for about six hours.  I didn't fix it either.

7:15 AM  After a scrumptious (READ: completely unsatisfying and unhealthy) breakfast at the motel, we hit the road feeling pretty good about ourselves.

7:15 AM - 12:00 PM  We enjoyed the last views of Alberta.  (Canola field, cows, hay bails, canola field, cows, hay bails, canola field etc.)

10:30 ish AM  We stopped for snacks in Fort McCloud.  I insisted on buying carrots.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM We scarfed down the carrots because we remembered we may not be able to take them over the border.

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM  Border and customs.  Better than expected actually.

3:15 ish PM  Jerry's roadside nap in Montana while I tried to break into the outhouse to use the restroom.

3:15 - 7:00 PM  We enjoyed Montana's striking mountain views.  Craggy hills and deep ravines with rivers make beautiful scenery.

4:30 PM  We dug a gift card out of the trunk of our car and used it at the Macaroni Grill.  Protein and vegetables were a nice change of pace.

5:30 PM You know you are in a small town when the gas station convenience store is already closed.

7:00 PM  Are we there yet?

7:35 PM  "My back hurts, my feet hurt, my arms hurt."

8:30 PM  We start making up goofy songs about our surroundings.  We were in Idaho so the only thing we had to go on was hay.

10:15 PM  I realized that saying we're almost there in Pocatello, Idaho is a bit misleading.

10:15 PM  I fed my husband Chicken Caesar Salad while he drove.

11:00 PM  "My back hurts, my feet hurt, my arms hurt."  I try to sleep, I am not successful.

Sunday, July 29

12:30 AM  We hit traffic in Utah in the middle of the night.  I curse road construction.

12:45 AM  Still stuck in road construction.  Jerry tries to block people from cutting in line.

12:50 AM  Are we there yet?

1:15 AM  I hadn't realized we had already passed Salt Lake City.  Now it is safe to say that we are almost there.

1:45 AM  We park in front of my sister's house.   We leave everything but our purses and wallets in the car, and find our way to bed.

Please, do not suggest a road trip to me for awhile.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I WIll MIss ...

looking out my window at 11:00 PM and noticing that it is still a little light.

Of course, I will not miss looking out my window at 3:30 PM in the winter to see approximately the same view.

*Please excuse the fuzzy IPod photo

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Calgary Stampede


Jerry and I went to the rodeo - the most famous rodeo in the world.  This year the Calgary Stampede was celebrating their 100th Anniversary.  We took this picture after we arrived at our seats and our noses stopped bleeding.  

First, we saw real live Mounties (Royal Canadian Mountain Police) in their ceremonial red uniforms.

Events included bucking broncos and calf tieing.  Below is the women's barrel racing event.  IT seemed easy at first, but I realized that the tight turns must be hard.

 The most exciting/frightening event was the bull riding.  Bulls are pretty mean.

The winners of each event were paraded aroung the arena.  I guess they earned a little money too.

After the rodea, we hung out around the carnival area with Jerry's brother's family.

Everyone that found a hat their size got one.  That means I got one, but Jerry didn't

Friday, June 29, 2012

So Close to Downtown

One of my favorite things about living in downtown Edmonton is how easy it is to feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  I took a walk for a few minutes today, and found myself on the river trail.  Instead of hearing loud sirens and motorcycles, I heard chirping birds and rustling leaves. 


Because we are leaving in less than a month, I am trying to document some of the things I really enjoy about this place.

So far, I have decided that summer here is bliss, it almost makes winter worth it.  It stays light until eleven which gives me so much energy.  There are tons of events, Farmers' Markets, and fun to be had everywhere.

This final view is a little reminder that I didn't stray too far from downtown.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jerry's Second Visit to Maine

The best part of our recent trip was going to Maine for a couple of days.  We didn't have a lot of time, but it was nice.  The first day was rainy so we went to Freeport for some outlet shopping.  Jerry doesn't understand what is so wonderful about L.L. Bean, but he still allowed me to take photos of him there.

Perhaps, he isn't impressed by L.L. Bean because the prices shock him.

On our second day, we went to the Portland Headlight.  It was a gorgeous day and the perfect temperature to visit the coast.

We also went to Spring Light to walk the breakwater.  I feel like I have done this dozens of times, but it doesn't get old.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Like Keukenhof, But Free

We managed to visit Ottawa at the perfect time of year. The tulips were in full bloom. Every year Ottawa has a tulip festival to commemorate their connection with the Netherlands. Canadian forces saved the Dutch people from the Hunger Winter (1944-1945).  The Canadians also protected Princess Juliana after the German occupation.  As a token of gratitude, the Dutch gave Canada 100,000 tulip bulbs, and every year they give them 10,000 more.  There is even a variety called the Canadian Liberator.

Thus, in early May, the flowers bloom and people flock to see them.  It really was gorgeous.  But then again I am partial to these spring flowers.

I like the specks on this one.

They had many varieties that you don't typically see.
This even had a different shape.

Did I mention that tulips are my favorite flower?

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Jerry and I took our second trip to Montreal since we have been married.  To describe the purpose of this visit would be rather boring, but suffice it to say that it in no way resembled any recent romantic comedies.  Our trip to the east was about a week long.  We spent the first day and last day and a half in the city.  Mostly, we ate and slept.  The food was good.

We both really like french onion soup and had it more than once.

In seventh grade French class, I learned the word croque-monsieur, and I finally ate one.  Yes, it is simply an open faced ham and cheese sandwich.

Jerry chose crepes with goat sausage.  Slightly more exotic and delicious.

On our last day we had some more time to do the touristy stuff.  First we went to Mount Royal, the highest point in Montreal.  It's not that high and was more of a stroll than even a walk, but gave us a nice view of the city.

Before heading to the airport, we went to the Oratorio, a huge church with hundreds of steps leading to the Basilica.

Devout members from any Christian denomination come here to pray, but what is truly impressive is that at each step they kneel and pray as they climb the stairs.  At this time of year, there are not too many, but we witnessed both young and old climbing the steps on their knees to show their devotion to God.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

West Edmonton Mall

Edmonton has a couple claims to fame.  First, the Edmonton Oilers, the hockey team currently at the bottom of the NHL.  Second, Edmonton boasts the largest mall in the world.  More than just a collection of generic stores and multiple food courts, it houses things like a hotel, miniature golf course, shooting range and casino. 

Today, I went to the mall on a quest for spring clothing and was again impressed with this place.  I exited the H&M only to stumble upon a sea lion show.  I enjoyed my ice cream from the Marble Slab while young figure skaters practiced their sit spins. 

Not only can you enjoy the flavors of Chinatown, you can take the escalator down and discover Bourbon Street.  (Really it's just a bunch of chain restaurants and has little to no New Orleans flavor.)  There is also a European wing, but I tend to get lost in this place and couldn't find it.

Really, no mall is complete without an exact replica of the Santa Maria, the boat that Columbus traveled in when he discovered the New World.  It sits in real water.  Beneath the surface are submarines which are no longer in use.  The mall is selling them for 1 Canadian dollar, but the buyer must remove it from the mall themselves.  This is an apparently impossible task, because they are all still there. 

After eating at one of the approximately 70 McDonald's in the mall, you can always go for a ride in Galaxyland, the indoor amusement park.  It seems small, but there are plenty of rides to make your stomach do the tilt-a-whirl.

And finally, this is the closest thing that Edmonton has to a beach.  Put your sunblock on and get ready to ride the waves.

A final note:  Just because this mall has some over-the-top attractions does not make the shopping experience any more pleasant.  Shopping was a frustrating experience.  Like at any mall the clothes seemed to be too shear, too tight, or just too ugly.  I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the mall.