Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book #12 - The Lace Makers of Glenmara

Title: The Lace Makers of Glenmara
Author: Heather Barbieri
Pages: 288

I don't know why book reviews always seem to make me confess something, but here goes another one: I confess that I never--never!--read any book unless it's a classic/on a book list/a bestseller/or highly recommended by someone close to me. Which is why I was so surprised to find myself buying this book at the Scholastic book fair in April. I bought this book just like any normal person would buy a book: I liked the cover, read the back, and decided it sounded worth a try. Of course, what makes me not-quite-normal is that my stomachs churned as I paid for it (knowing that there were other, worthier books I probably should have bought instead) and that I bought it strictly for the purpose of it being a "fluff" book---something to clean out my brain between weightier reads.

That being said, I should judge it by "fluff" standards. Unfortunately, I don't judge anything by "fluff" standards, even though I probably should get in the habit, so I'll be generally less disappointed in life. But on to the review itself.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara tells the story of Kate, a 20-something aspiring fashion designer who recently lost both her mother to cancer and her boyfriend of five years to a model at one of her runway shows. In her mother's will, Kate had been left an inheritance specifically meant to finance a trip to Ireland, where Kate's family traced their bloodline. Feeling she has nothing left to lose, Kate begins to travel through Ireland, with only a bare itinerary and the hope that she'll find whatever it is she's looking for. After getting lost one day, she finds herself wandering along a nearly-abandoned road, where she is picked up by a traveling tradesman named William. He drops her off in a sleepy village named Glenmara before he continues on his journey elsewhere.

Glenmara is a small village where everyone knows everyone, where families can trace back their histories for generations. But Glenmara is struggling--there are few tourists to bring in money, few opportunities for new business ventures, and the inhabitants face the prospect of having to move to more modern locales that offer more employment prospects. Kate, a trained seamstress, finds herself fascinated by the women of Glenmara's Lace Society--a band of women, each facing her own set of struggles and joys--who have been making and selling the traditional lace styles that have been passed down from one generation to the next as far back as anyone can remember. Although not planning on staying, Kate finds herself transfixed by the intricacy of the lacework and begins to sit in on the women's sewing nights, learning the craft herself. After a couple weeks in the town, Kate envisions a new business venture for the Lace Society--a line of handcrafted lace lingerie specially-made for each woman's needs. The idea takes off like wildfire, but the women soon find out that when you try to change traditions in a traditional town, you're always going to meet with opposition.

I know, I know---it even sounds pretty fluffy. But it showed potential, so I gave it a try. And when it comes right down to it, I still can't quite decide how I feel about this book. I know I didn't love it--the characters were often weakly developed, the plotline was kind of all over the place, and there was nothing about the writing style that was particularly unique or loveable. On the other hand, I didn't hate it--there was enough of a plotline to mildly entertain me, and I occasionally found a paragraph or two that was well-crafted. Moreover, the book did indeed clean out my brain in preparation for whatever I read next, so I guess in that way, mission accomplished. But there were certain elements that bugged me enough throughout the book that prevented me from every really taking pleasure in it: like, for instance, the fact that I didn't feel drawn to the main character at all. I felt like the author used the most basic fiction-writing techniques to sketch out her characters; I could almost hear her fiction-writing teacher's head in her voice, telling her how to round out her characters, to add bits of background to give the reader insight into each character's motivation. And like I've said before, if I'm ever thinking about the author, she hasn't done her job too well.

The thing that bothered me the very most, though, was the little romance action between Kate and this guy she meets from the village, Now, I'm not one to necessary blame a character for his/her morality (or lack thereof) if I can see why those bits are relevant to the plot or if they give me greater insight into the character or a greater depth to the story. In this case, the romance did none of the above: it was shallow, not believable, and pretty forced. For instance, after only hours of being in each other's presence, Sullivan (Kate's love interest) says something like the following after Kate is worried that the population in general just witnessed some weakness that she wanted to keep hidden: "No, no one would know except those who know you well."

REALLY?! You've known her for a grand total of like, two hours and ten minutes!! And half of that time, you were busy sleeping together! But apparently that two hours and ten minutes must have been pretty revelatory, since after so brief a period he claims to know Kate better than the general population. I just felt absolutely no connection to either her nor him throughout the whole story and was much more interested in some of the side stories that were going on. Once again, never a good sign. And on the morality note, this book just slams religion in general (especially the Catholic church), which is never appealing in a book to me.

But, in the end, I guess I got what I wanted from the novel, so I shouldn't whine too much. But it will be a long, LONG time before I read another book that doesn't meet my above-mentioned background requirements.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bummer

I'm so bummed out.

We had big plans to go home to Bountiful this Friday night after work and spend a leisurely long weekend full of food, fireworks, and family.

Matt told me yesterday that he has to work up here on Saturday night, meaning that we'll probably have to miss (or just be very very late to) the annual picnic my mom has up at Eaglewood to watch the fireworks.

I wish we could just catch a break with this horrible schedule of ours...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weekly Writing - The Man Behind the Photograph

Writing Prompt: Choose a favorite photo. Describe the scene/person/story behind it.

We hopped off the pick-up truck, releasing our fingers from the iron bars that had been caging us in and letting our mary janes thump as they hit the dusty ground. The jungle around us throbbed with the ceaseless pulse of lurking wildlife--insects that only stung in the heat, birds that warbled, hidden and hungry, in the tops of the trees. There was only the highway, stretching its way into opposite directions like a just-woken napping child, and the jungle.

My companion and I knew no one, and no one seemed to present themselves as far as the eye could see. We started walking, determined, books swinging in our hands and backpacks heavy on our shoulders. A row of makeshift dwellings started piping out on the right hand side of the highway, only visible by the rows of clothesline and garments fluttering out in front of each. After knocking at two doors and only finding rejections or excuses, my eyes caught sight of a man up ahead, his thin back leaning against a stack of logs, his bottom resting on an old tire. His house was smaller than the tree providing him shade, smaller even than the logs providing his chairback. Marching our way through the grasses overgrowing the area in front of his home, we stopped when we were within comfortable speaking distance.

His stiff, wood-like fingers were clenching a cheap ballpoint pen, which scratched meticulous notes in the juvenile notebook resting on his lap. After introducing ourselves, he didn't even glance up, but simply said, "I've never been baptized by a Mormon before." He invited us to grab a bucket and a stool with plastic cords for a seat and sit down and chat with him. I asked him what he was writing.

"My life story," he replied, still intent on his letters. "I've lived 100 years, and I've never forgotten anything from the time I was 4 years old." Sure enough, his notebook (and the ones like it stuffed in his mattress) contained lists hundreds of pages long of dates and events, names and deaths, some recent, some 96 years back: tales of abuse and betrayal, of triumph and toil, of family and faith.

His name was Francisco. He survived off of the bean plants in front of his wood pile, the mangos he found on the ground, and the occasional glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade and bowl of tortillas that his ex-partner, who lived next door, brought him. Thirty years they'd been together, had a son together. Until one day when his son kicked him out, and he went to live in a room hollowed out from the small hill that the house rested on.
Francisco claimed that Noah sailed around the world in his ark sometime in the 1400s--he showed me lists of equations meant to prove that fact. He was the only man above 70 within miles who could read and write, and he took great pleasure in reading aloud passages of scripture and quoting his own ideas of the devil and hell. He sang us hymns he'd made up himself--snippets of songs he'd heard in his dreams and had written down first thing in the mornings. The day of his baptism, we made him eggs, cheese, cream and beans--his first real meal in perhaps years. His eyes glowed as he came out of the water, as he steadily walked the three miles to the churchhouse every Sunday.

We visited him almost every day, especially when his body grew even more spindly and his eyes seemed to see other dimensions that ours couldn't. It seemed like every hour should have been his last.

But there he was still on my last day in the jungle, turning down the corners of the manual we'd given him and muttering the words to himself. I almost cried as we said goodbye, his hand patting mine. I left him an orange soda and the photo below, knowing we would never meet again in this life.

This is my tribute to you Francisco---your diligence in recording your own life inspires me still.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Photo Walk - Colors

Because our last photo walk theme of trying to find all the colors of the rainbow didn't work out so hot (our fault for trying before the spring had fully come), we decided to give it another whirl today.

Happy Sabbath!


                                                                                             









Saturday, June 25, 2011

Here's What's Cooking...Berry-Cream Cookie Snaps

Since we had all the strawberries from our Bountiful Basket to use up and plenty of cream cheese on hand, we decided to make these cute little cookie snaps one night around ten (why we always start cooking so late is beyond me). Not only did these snaps turn out creamily-delicious, they also look a lot harder to make than they actually are, which make them the perfect thing to make for a small party or anywhere where you're looking to impress :) However, although not too complicated to actually make, they do take quite a bit of time, so make sure you carve out a couple hours. Enjoy!

Berry-Cream Cookie Snaps (from Taste of Home Prize-Winning Recipes 2007)

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs seedless strawberry jam
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional (we didn't use any for ours)
Batter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries (we actually added a lot more so we could just mix it throughout the whole cream-cheese filling instead of just dipping the sides like it says)
For filling, in a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and jam until blended. Fold in whipped cream and food coloring if desired. Chill.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, egg whites, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Whisk in butter until blended. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preparing four cookies at a time, drop batter by 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls 4 in. apart onto prepared pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Immediately remove one cookie at a time from parchment and form into a tube around a greased clean round wooden clothespin (we tried the handle of a pizza cutter but then Matt just started forming the tubes with his fingers by just pinching the sides of the cookies together and holding it for a second). Press lightly to seal, hold until set, about 20 seconds. Remove cookie from clothespin, place on waxed paper to cool. Continue with remaining cookies. If cookies become too cool to shape, return to oven for 1 minute to soften. Repeat with remaining batter.

Just before serving, pipe or spoon filling into cookie shells (much easier to pipe it--just spoon all the filling into a plastic bag and cut a tiny piece off the corner). Dip end of cookie into strawberries and additional sugar. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: About 2 dozen (our batch made slightly less, because some of our cookies were bigger than it said)
Side Note: don't get too frustrated if your first attempts don't look that great--here in this photo, you'll see our first miserable attempt (check out the gaping hole in the side that we filled up with cream) and the one to the right, which was after we finally mastered the technique that worked best for us. Provecho!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Change It Up - Angel's Landing

This is the story of how I almost got rabies on our honeymoon and how my pride was wounded by a mountain and then built up again by some Germans.

This, my friends, is the story of how I took on Angel's Landing in Zion National Park.


If you look closely at the above photo, you'll see that our trip to Zion's started out with the GPS getting lost. Yes, you read that correctly. Even the woman trapped inside the little GPS machine didn't know where we were. Turns out that we should have taken the time and actually punched in an address instead of just using the machine's built-in "knowledge" of where things are. I think the woman-in-the-machine told us we'd reached Zion's Park about 5 times, even though each time we were confusedly in the middle of mountains and sagebrush and red road.

During the hour or so detour adventure that Ms. GPS took us on, I kept telling Matt, "You know, you'll think this is funny someday."

He still doesn't laugh about it.

But now the real story begins--the story of Angel's Landing itself. I really should start tuning into the warning signs that seem to be all around me when I take on some of these challenges, but my brain seems to suddenly not process information when it conflicts directly with something I want to do. Like in this case, some friendly fellow travelers on the bus ride up to the trails asked us which path we were wanting to hike. When we said Angel's Landing, they looked at each other and then said, "Really? You guys gonna go all the way to the top?" That alone might not have been enough to set anything off in my head, but you'd think that when SEVERAL people asked us similar questions that I might have started to get worried. But me, in all my vanity with my hiking skills, took no notice.

You see, I've always been a good hiker. Or so I've always thought. During girls' camp (although that might not be the best measure of one's hiking ability, but I digress), I was always hauling it up the mountain way ahead of everyone else and, as a result, getting in trouble by the leaders. Or, when we'd do friendly hikes as friends or family, I seemed to keep up just great, if I wasn't leading. There was the one case of the Havasupai trip backpacking out, but I blame an injured knee (although, if we're being honest, I just wasn't probably tough enough).

You wanna know my reasoning for my confidence about Angel's Landing? Two things--1) Anything Matt can do, I can do too, and 2) I spent a year and a half hauling my weight around volcanoes and gangs in El Salvador in Mary Janes, so I should be all over this.

Matt warned me from the beginning that there were two sets of switchbacks. (For any non-hiker out there who's not familiar with the term switchbacks, it's just a cute, non-threatening way of saying those short trails of death that zig-zag back and forth up a mountain face when that mountain face is too steep to just go right up it).That fact should have been my second red flag. You see, the Havasupai backpacking trip mentioned above had some switchbacks, and those almost killed me.  But my memory is a wonderfully stupid thing--it tends to block out the bad and retain the good, so instead of equating "switchbacks" with "misery," I just thought, "Oh cool. Like Havasupai" and pictured blue oasis waterfalls and feathery green trees spread out against red rock.

But up the Angel's Landing trail we went, marveling at the ratio of foreigners to Americans and enjoying the breathtaking views of the cliffs and valleys and floral arrangements. I think I forgot what a switchback was, because I thought we'd hit them far before we actually did. In fact, when Matt said that we were just starting the switchbacks, I probably did the equivalent of a fainting attack in my mind. You've got to be kidding me.

But it was our honeymoon and the sun was shining and we were holding hands, so I put on my brave warrior face and kept trekking. Except my face doesn't look so much like a brave warrior when I start asking if we could please just stop every ten feet. And when I'm slumped against the only bit of shade I can find, gulping down water and inhaling air like someone who just almost drowned. And when I say one of each of the following about every 30 seconds: "I'm thirsty." "I have to go to the bathroom." "Is is lunchtime yet?"

Luckily, the angel of Angel's Landing decided to be a merciful angel for about two seconds and provide us with a lush respite of cool greens and trickling streams right before the second set of switchbacks. I purposely took it slow during that part, taking in all of God's grand designs and trying to gather some breath before the next set started. But then there they were again...my mouth gaped open as I craned my neck upward, seeing no end to the back-and-forth zig-zagging trails. And, just like the menace that they were, they were sizzling hot in the dry sun, looking like the switchbacks of hell itself. I licked my lips and started marching up. I stopped about twenty feet later. And so it went...march, stop, march, stop. Stop for longer. March for shorter.

That is, until we saw the Germans.

There they were, broad-shouldered and glistening in their yellow and orange spandex hiking shirts and their glove-tight shoes that fit around each individual toe, looking like Olympic champions, or at least like very tough, adventurous Germans. They nodded their heads in greeting as they passed us on the trail, taking advantage of the fact that I'd stopped yet again to increase their speed on their way to the top. I can only imagine what they were thinking: "Das arme mädchen" (Poor girl that can't even walk two steps without getting winded. Poor, fat Americans). "Erbärmlich fett Amerikaner."

Oh no. They might beat us in the Luge at the Olympics, but they were not going to beat this poor American girl to the top of this angelic cliff. So I started huffing and puffing my way up, refusing to take breaks as often as I did before and refusing to take as many pictures. They led us for much of the way, until we got past the switchbacks and got to the real angelic part of the trail--angelic because you need angels holding you up so you won't fall to your death over the sides. You see, the last half mile of Angel's Landing is all hefty let's-climb-up-the-cliff-face-with-chains action, where there are sheer drops on either side of you and almost no room for passing. My greed for conquering the Germans somehow overcame my fear of falling thousands of feet to my death, and Matt and I pressed forward toward the top.

Yet, somehow, impossibly, the last half mile seemed longer than the other 4.5 combined--the hidden angel at the top of her landing, fanning out her wings, was always elusively above me, never right in front of me. Until, that is, we passed the Germans. With only feet to spare until we reached the top, we passed the muscled "Lars" and "Fronk" (my names for them, their real names shall remain undisclosed), and the first thing Matt said to me as we stepped onto the landing that gave us staggering views of the valley below was, 'We beat the Germans! We beat the Germans!'

I knew we were meant to be together.

Anyway, I'll try not to drag out my story too much longer, but I do have one more little tidbit of Challenge fun--while Matt and I ate our melting pastrami-and-cheese sandwiches at the top and enjoyed the sun burning our faces, there were ten or so pesky squirrels that just seemed a little too familiar with humankind for comfort; they would scamper right up to my knees with their paws up and their teeth muttering, "Feed me! Feed me!" I tried to see if I could shove them off the cliff to see if they were flying squirrels, but they were too quick for me. (They were apparently pretty stupid too, since they kept coming back). Anyway, we'd shoo-ed them towards more squirrel-friendly hikers and were trying to enjoy our picnic when all of a sudden, my thumb, which had been resting along with the rest of my hand on the sun-warmed sandstone, felt a sharp pain that seemed to shoot quickly from my toes to my head in a split second.

I whipped my head around to find the culprit--a sniggering, sneaky squirrel was just scampering over the cliff, his bushy tail a mark of defiance.

Matt didn't believe me at first until he saw the red mark. Then he threatened to kill all the squirrels within a 20-foot radius. Ah, that's my man--always willing to beat up a two-pound furry creature for me. Isn't he charming? While my thumb did an awkward little throb-numb-throb dance for me, I took about two seconds to worry about whether or not I could have gotten rabies. But, after careful inspection of the wound site, I shrugged my shoulders and took another sip of Gatorade.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I threw down a mountain, narrowly escaped rabies, and quite positively beat some Germans.

Hope you ynjoy the pictures below. And next time you're out hiking, watch out for those squirrels---they can be deadly.


This is what the last half-mile looked like. Yes, I did in fact hike all the way up that :)


Lars and Fronk (aka, the Germans)


The view from the top!


The "Why-Yes-I-DID-Just-Throw-That-Mountain-Down-Thank-You" pose


Where the squirrel bit me. You can't see it in this picture, but he did.


Change It Up Succesful: Yes. Although not a hike for the fainthearted, the view at the top of Angel's Landing is definitely worth the grueling hike. However, make sure to bring along plenty of water, plenty of squirrel poison, and plenty of good-natured competitive feelings towards foreigners to make the ride the most thrilling it can be.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Look

As you can all see, I've started to create a new look for my blog, using the original URL name for my new title. When I originally created this blog a few years ago, I did so after delving into a book that my Dad recommended to me called The Day I Became an Autodidact. Now, I'll be upfront with you all: I actually have not read the whole book cover to cover *head hangs in shame*. But, on the bright side, I was inspired by the parts I did read to become something that I really already was: an autodidact, or, in regular-people language--a self-taught person. I have always been the kind of person to seek out new challenges for myself and to be in a constant state of learning, so the blog link title was a natural choice.

Luckily, after 5 years (or however long it's been), it still fits.

As I've been thinking about what it means to me to be self-taught, I reflected on this quote from Philip B. Crosby in Quality is Free:

"There is a theory of human behavior that says people subconsciously retard their own intellectual growth. They come to rely on cliches and habits. Once they reach the age of their own personal comfort with the world, they stop learning and their mind runs on idle for the rest of their days. They may progress organizationally, they may be ambitious and eager, and they may even work night and day. But they learn no more. The bigoted, the narrowminded, the stubborn, and the perpetually optimistic have all stopped learning."

I wondered at first why he included the perpetually optimistic, but after thinking about a minute, it makes sense--if you always look forward, expecting everything to work out exactly as you hoped it would, then you will neither learn from your mistakes nor seek ways of thinking that are higher than your own. Think of it as like our relationship to God: if we always ask Him only for what we think is best, expecting him to answer all of our pleas, we will never see that there is a grander design than the one we have just mapped out for ourselves.

So, hope you all enjoy the new look and the new focus!


P.S. On a separate and completely unrelated note, how on earth do you put those tab things at the top of your pages that take you to different pages (Home, About Me, etc.)? And how do you add those pages in the first place? Ah, technology, how you mess with my head...

Weekly Writing - 3 Changes


Remember this post from earlier this year where I said that I wanted to try out a different writing prompt every week? Or this post where I said I was trying to be more creative in my journal writing? Well, I can confidently say that I've been failing miserably at both. It's good to be confident in life, isn't it? Anyway, I figure that with all the extra time on my hands at work, I have no excuse not to be writing more. So, because I seem to have taken a semi-permanent detour from writing things down in my pen-and-paper journal (I still haven't finished my attempts at capturing all the moments of our wedding day mentioned here), I have decided to just combine all of my meager attempts at writing anything into just one weekly (or semi-weekly) post here on the blog.

Today I started easy: I went to the site www.journalingprompts.com and ran my mouse over the little writing prompt stars to find one that didn't seem too daunting or too boring or too awkward. I finally decided on this one:

"What 3 Things Would You Change About Your Life Right Now and Why?"

Well, here goes nothing.

#1: Even though this is technically not a thing in my life, it affects me plenty, which is why #1 was so easy to come up with: I would change Matt's work schedule to match mine so we could actually see each other during the week. Last night, he got home much earlier than normal (7:30), so I ditched out on yoga and spent the evening with him, eating BBQ chicken pizza and fresh watermelon and watching re-runs of The Big Bang Theory. I can't believe how much I took for granted little moments like that that happened all the time before, when we had (it seemed) all the time in the world to spend together. So maybe that's the real thing I'd change, since I have control over it--not taking the time we do have together for granted.

#2: I feel like the 1/3 of my life that isn't taken up by work and sleep is often ill-spent--even though I love my ANTM and So You Think You Can Dance, a deeper (and wiser) part of me wants to do more than just sleep, work, go to the gym, veg, then sleep again. There are hundreds of books in the house to read! There is violin technique to be perfected! There are new recipes to try! There are nature walks waiting to be had! So, in a nutshell, I'd basically change my summer tendency toward laziness and use those quiet moments home alone for more productive purposes.

#3: I would find a way for us to not wait until we're retired to travel. And I don't just mean the little trips (like camping) that I know we'll take regardless of how poor we are (although those trips are great, too!). But I want to really see the world--or at least see as much of it as I can. The photo at the top was taken by yours truly on my trip to Venice in 2005 (well, the trip was to Europe in general, and this pic just happens to be of Venice). From the moment I took my first independent trip to Florida when I was 15 (by independent, I mean that I paid for it and had some say in the planning), I was overcome by this passionate desire to see every nook and cranny I could of every country on the globe--and now I want Matt to see it all with me. I know we can make this dream a reality if I can learn to overcome my impulses to buy things I want now (like clothes) and instead favor those impulses that tell me to save. A tough feat, but not impossible. Although, before any traveling, I want to take a photography class and buy a nice camera, so I guess that that is what I'd have to change first. Hmmm...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mid-Week Sigh


Matt just sent me this phone pic that was taken of us a few months ago, and I sighed because it's only Wednesday.

It stinks only seeing each other for about half an hour at night. I really miss him.

That's all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Work Tour


I figured it was about time I posted at least some small paragraph or two about the place where I now spend 50 hours a week. So, welcome to the 3-picture virtual tour of my workspace!

Above, you'll find a practically-professional picture of my desk, which I am pretty much chained to from 7 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. Although my official title of "Accounts Receivable Bookkeeper" sounds all professional and fancy, I pretty much just sit around waiting for the phone to ring all day. And when it doesn't ring, I try to look as busy as possible while having my SuDoKu and crossword puzzles in full view on my desk (and my guilty-pleasure style blogs up). Although on some days (like today), I actually get to do some real work, which just about makes me want to hug and kiss whoever it is that finally found something for me to do. Basically I'm just the-new-girl-what's-her-name until everything's a little less chaotic (or so I've been told).

The stylish hard hats you see above are a wardrobe staple around here. Even I, as the humble secretary, get to don one every once in a blue moon when I venture out to the greasy concrete shop in my heels to go track down someone who refuses to come down any other way. For the record, I secretly like wearing the hats.

And finally, this is what everyone else in the shop busts their backs doing every day from 4 in the morning until the sun goes down. Or, in other words, this is what all the real work looks like.

Not that I'm complaining at all. Overall, it's been a good learning experience and I've already felt a little character-building happening as I conquer my dislike of phones. One thing's for sure: I'm much happier working here than I am moping around the house looking for a job. And I've brushed up on my bookkeeping skills enough so that I can feel confident maneuvering around the newer and fancier versions of the older and not-as-fancy programs I worked with in the past.

Plus I get free chocolate.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Photo Walk - Rule of 3


Sometimes when Matt and I go on our photo walks, we like to choose out a theme to make it a little bit more challenging. Sometimes our themes tank (like trying to shoot a "rainbow theme"--finding something from every color of the rainbow--in the dead of winter), but sometimes, like today, the theme just makes it fun.

Today we decided to walk around and find things with the theme of "3" as our challenge. Tell me what you think!

(Once again, most of the good ones are Matt's, but I've got a couple that I'm proud of.)

Happy Sunday!













Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summerfest - Logan Style

It finally came! A day when we saw each other for more than 10 minutes!
(stupid conflicting job schedules...)

After picking up my Bountiful Basket this morning (the blackberries were especially delicious!), Matt and I decided to go over and check out Logan's Summerfest, where his mom had set up a booth as one of the artists.

Here's Sherry Meidell's booth (don't pay any attention to me---who knows what I'm doing or thinking when this picture was taken; Matt has a good habit of catching me at really weird moments with the camera. Or maybe I just get weird whenever a camera comes out). Sherry's a children's book illustrator who specializes in watercolor, and her stuff is amazing. Check out her blog here
Sherry came up Thursday for the show and to stay with us and Matt's dad Dave came Friday to spend time up here as well. I decided I love having people stay over---maybe it's because I like having lots of people to cook for, or maybe it's because it means we have more people to play card games with us, or maybe it's just because it forces me to clean the house...

Overall, this Summerfest (more like just an art festival) was nothing like the Summerfests I was used to growing up. Each year, Bountiful City hosts a Summerfest International, which features dancers and artists from countries all around the world. When I was in junior high, I used to volunteer to work at the Coke stand so I could meet cute boys. But going to Logan's Summerfest was much better--not only was it free to get in, but I could leave anytime I wanted and I also had the most attractive boy in the park holding my hand the whole time...unlike in my young teenage years, when the attractive boys were always holding other girls' hands...
After browsing the booths, Matt and I decided to take a ten-minute tour of Logan's old-school Main Street, where we found our way into a used bookstore (are you surprised? I know you're not).
(random pic of an artist's cool windmill things)
Finally, we came back to home base (Sherry's booth) for the pastrami-and-cheese sandwiches Matt had made for us and a whole lot of ripe plums, fresh blackberries, and even a handful or two of sugared almonds from a neighboring artists.

It was the perfect way to spend the afternoon...except that Matt had to go to work right after.

Sigh.
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