Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Last night my son and I were dropping something off at his friends house. We had never been to her house so I told him to be sure and get directions. He got the address. Her house number was 668. He said, you go past the pool, then the church, then up the hill.
The nice thing about Utah is its grid system the Mormons decided to form all those many years ago. The Salt Lake City Temple is in the center of downtown. The streets around its perimeter are named: North, South, East and West Temple. That is where the grid starts ... 100 North, 200 North, 300 North, etc. In theory it is a fabulous idea. If you have both of the coordinates (i.e.: 458 South, 1300 East) you should be able to find the way to any designated destination without directions or a map. In theory.
My Haley was a big time soccer player when we first moved to Utah. That little girl had games all over the Salt Lake Valley and I got lost almost every single time we headed out to a game - and it drove me SO nuts, that I was ready to move back to California because it made NO sense to me what-so-ever!!! And when people told me it's so easy, you just follow the numbers of east/west/north and south, I wanted to smack them ... I really did.
Sometimes I would be on the right street, watching the numbers get larger, (as I would need them to) and then the street would end. Now what?
Well, now you had to back track. Head out of that neighborhood, maybe go down a block or two, turn back toward where that street would have been had it not stopped so abruptly and then continue, hoping you reached your designated house or business number before the street stopped again. (Don't even get me started on streets that curved and suddenly the numbers on the houses went from 13802 South to 1124 East!!!) It made no sense to me at all.
But now that I have lived here for 14 years, I get it, and it is such a good reliable system. :)
As we were headed back from Elliott's friends house he asked me if there were any house numbers that were just One.
I thought about my neighborhood, about all the other neighborhoods I was familiar with around the area and said, "You know, I don't think there are any houses with that number anywhere around here. With the grid system they would all start with 100. But did you know that Grammie and Grampie used to live in a house with the number One?"
Talk about a perfect address ... and a perfect place to be.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Having geese overhead for me is like texting and driving - I need to pull over. A sure sign that fall is here in Draper is when the geese start their migrating.
Often times on my way to work in the morning, heading down 300 East, I hear their honking and it makes me smile. I'm not quite sure when my affinity for these beautiful birds started but I can't get enough of watching their flight. It fascinates me.
I got lucky the other night when I happened to be driving down 3rd East in the evening. It was just before dusk, there was a light rain (thus the spots on the pictures) and the geese were taking off from the nearby pond in full force. One group after another. I was so excited. Mostly because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, but also because I had the camera in the car.
I pulled over into a church parking lot, got out, and watched and listened. It was awesome.
The Utah National Guard is off of 300 East too ... it sits quite a ways back from the road. I figured the pond must be on the property of the base so I couldn't get to it. (I would love to watch them take off from the water.) But I looked closer and could see water behind a few of the houses along the street ... hmmm.
A friend of mine lives down a road not too far from that area. As luck would have it, I ran into her at Sam's Club just a few days after I took these pictures. We talked about the geese. She told me that you could get to the pond from her neighbor's back yard. I said, Don't you just love having them here and being so close?
I think she sensed my enthousiasm and was trying to be sensitive to my emotions so she responded with, "Sure. Yes. I do love the geese. I don't love the mess that they and the ducks leave behind, however."
Hadn't really thought about that. I guess that's like showing your adoration for a new little baby and then having the mom say, but his diaper is horrible to change. You don't really want to know. You don't really want to have to think about that part of it, am I right?
Driving from my parents house in Pittsford, NY to Palmyra there is a rather large grassy area along the highway where geese are always gathered. I have no idea why, in that particular spot, but my sister Courtney said, They are always here, and have been for years.
One day as we were passing I pulled the car over to try and get a closer look at my beloved geese. They didn't really appreciate an intruder. They ran away from me. I ran faster, so did they. Darn it.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Okay, first I need to say that I know I should probably be embarrassed by this picture ... I mean, really. Is it necessary to have my mouth hanging open quite so big? But it does illustrate my story so I decided to go ahead and use it. (I have a reputation of being obsessed with juniormints. But in reality, that sort of happened to me in a round about kind of way.)
When I was growing up and our family went to the movies, my sister Leslie would always get juniormints. I preferred either peanut M&Ms or a snickers bar which, in my opinion, are much "meatier" in the chocolate department. I also went through a Mr. Goodbar phase a few years back. I couldn't get enough of them. I had to have one just about every day. And it couldn't be a regular sized Mr. Goodbar, it had to be a king sized Mr. Goodbar. The king sized tastes SO much better - much meatier, and if you're going to be eating a treat it may as well be worth those calories, right?! I learned, at that time, that not all grocery stores and convenience stores carry the king sized though ... but it didn't take me too long to become familiar with which ones did.
It was shortly after my divorce when my friend Wendi and I decided to become serious dieters. We started to have juniormints as our treat - since they were so much lower in fat grams. (A regular box of juniormints only has about 4 grams of fat as opposed to other candy bars which have around 11 or 12 grams.) If we went to the movies (and we went to a lot of movies back then), instead of getting the usual - popcorn, peanut M&Ms, and a large diet coke, we would get a box of juniormints and a large bottled water. For us, that was a serious cut back.
I used to buy a case of them at Costco and keep them around at home too, for those times when that chocolate urge hit. Some were in the freezer (yum) and some were in the cupboard. My kids got used to having them available at all times.
Wendi and I had a guy friend, we'll call him Brad, who was pretty into health and nutrition. It seemed like everytime we were around him we were eating juniormints, or would stop and get some. In fact, he asked me what my email address was one time and I told him I didn't have one yet. He said, "Okay, then I am going to set one up for you. Your new email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org." For real.
He tried SOOOO hard to convince us that it really wasn't any better to be eating juniormints because they were loaded with sugar!!!! We just kept saying that they were lower in fat and thus they were much more of a "diet candy" instead of a candy bar. It made Brad a little bit crazy. In fact, at one get together he actually took our juniormints and put several boxes in the trash because he was just so frustrated with us.
That was seriously not cool. So Wendi and I decided that we would have a little fun with Brad. We went to Kinko's and had the box of juniormints blown up to poster size. We made about 4 copies and before he got into his office one morning, we put one on the front door and the others over the pictures on the wall. We had some 8 by 10's made and put those all over the parking signs outside his office. We put a box in every drawer in the desks he would be getting into. We also had a pillowcase made that looked like a juniormint box and had his sister put it on his bed when he wasn't home.
We had a t-shirt made too and put that around the back of his chair along with tons of green and white balloons tied around each chair in the room. We put a trail of juniormints from his parking space to the front door and then tons of them sprinkled on his porch at home too ... you get the idea. We thought it was hilarious and had a really fun time thinking of different things to do.
Brad's response to our antics ... Why couldn't I have given you a hard time about Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Snickers?????
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I first learned about doggie day at the Draper pool right about this time last year.
Officially, it is called Walk, Wag, and Swim. The Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation sponsors the event as a fundraiser for "No More Homeless Pets." It is held on the last day of the season - right before they drain the pool. (Good idea, don't you think?)
I had a ball last year just watching those puppies run and jump and play. I told McCall about it and said that we FOR SURE needed to bring her dog, Cooper, next year.
Well last Saturday was the Walk, Wag, and Swim. And we were so excited to take Cooper. We thought he would love it! He didn't. At least not the swimming part. Oh he did love the freedom, and sniffing around with all the other dogs, but the water - not so much. And we were just a little disappointed about that.
McCall tossed him in the pool and that little puppy turned right around and quickly paddled back to the steps to get out ASAP. We followed him around the pool for a little bit, encouraging him to approach the water, but he was just not interested in getting wet. But McCall tossed him in the water again anyway. (You know, thinking maybe once he got used to the idea ...) But he paddled his way back to the edge looking like a little drown rat and heaved himself up. (We did get quite a good laugh out of how funny he looks wet!)
We walked all the way around the perimeter of the pool, over to the shallow, shallow, shallowest part and I waded in calling his name. But Coop had wised up by then and wasn't going to get anywhere near it. Sigh. We tried.
But those big puppies sure love the water.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
When we first moved to Utah, we chose the South Mountain development because of all the amenities that were offered on the "master plan." One of them was an amphitheater. But sadly, the developers never finished the master plan and for 14 years, all that existed in the amphitheater arena was the seating ... a beautifully arranged, grassy tier of seats just waiting for its stage. Sigh.
Lots of fundraisers were held, lots of anticipation, but it has mostly served a few neighborhood runners who like to include stairs as part of their workout and for moms who wanted to exhaust their little ones before naptime by letting them run wild up and down those bleacher seats.
But this summer, all of those fundraising efforts for the Magic on the Mountain project paid off and the Draper City Amphitheater had its grand opening night with balloon banners waving to a packed house. It was a free concert performed by the Utah Symphony ... I feel a little more cultured just having it a few blocks away. And I do LoVe an outdoor venue!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
My friend Vicki decided to have a surprise 30th birthday party for her daughter, Jessica. Vicki is the type of person who goes ALL out for a party. It has to have a theme, there has to be lots of decorations, food and frills. Above all, it must be "cute."
Vicki LOVES to have parties and she is quite the hostess. Vicki will have a full out Mexican themed party for Cinco de Mayo. On St. Patrick's day, you will find leprechaun footprints around her house and corn beef and cabbage on the table for dinner. When it is Oscar time, there is something representing each of the movies nominated for best picture as part of the centerpiece. She throws Olympic themed parties every other year and Princess parties for little girls in her neighborhood. Vicki (aka: Vicki Mouse) is one of the biggest Disney fans you could ever know and she takes after Disney's attention to detail.
Vicki wanted to make sure Jessica liked what she had in mind for the party so to throw her off just a little bit, but to also have her input, she told Jessica that she had been asked to help plan a Hawaiian themed party for a woman in her neighborhood who was turning 60 and her daughter who was turning 35 and wanted Jessica's help with it.
So Jessica, with her mom, planned her own party including the invitations (which were so cute), the menu, the decorations, the variety of leis and then she told her mom, "But do NOT put my name on this party if you aren't going to have entertainment, because a luau needs entertainment." So of course - there was entertainment.
And once Jessica arrived at the party, thinking she was there to help her mom "serve," she was greeted by her father with a kiss and a fresh flower lei ... and then it seriously took her a good 15 minutes or so to wrap her brain around the fact that all of those people, all of that fuss, all of the massive amount of yummy food on the buffet tables was all for her.
After the party, when we were cleaning up, I said to Jessica, "Wow, it just occurred to me that 30 years ago, when your mom was giving birth to you, I was actually living in Hawaii attending BYU in Laie."
And then it occurred to me that just that very morning, the same day as Jessica's party, my friend Delanie had left with her son to fly to Laie to get him settled into his dorm at BYU Hawaii.
That's kind of a co-inky-dink ... and I do love a good co-inky-dink.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sometimes my mom can be a funny lady. Like when she takes her daughters out to lunch and says, "I am treating you girls to lunch today but I will not pay for any diet coke drinks."
My sister Spring and I really like our diet coke. So sometimes we don't order one, but sometimes we still do. And sometimes our mom will just go ahead and pay for it (well, if my dad also happens to be there), and sometimes she really won't and we have to come up with the $1.50 ourselves.
This last time my sisters and I were visiting our parents in New York, we decided that we just wouldn't ever drink diet coke in front of our mom since she really, REALLY isn't happy about that. And we do get that it is the harmful affects of the aspartame in the diet coke that just makes our mom CrAzY when she thinks about how much of that we put into our bodies.
It was probably about 4 days into the trip. Spring and I were a little antsy about wanting a diet coke. Mom and Dad had another obligation that morning so we girls were out and about on our own ... the first stop we made was to the drive-thru at McDonald's. (Sorry mom.)
I opened my straw and it was bright pink.
You might have thought that I had a winning scratch off ticket or something by the way I reacted. I got a little excited about how cute that was! I'm like, "You guys! Have you ever seen a pink straw like this in Utah? This is so cool! I am totally going to blog about it!"
Then we got back to Utah and they had gotten pink straws too. Shoot. I guess it wasn't just a unique cool thing in New York then.
I wondered (to myself) Why would McDonald's change the color of their straws? These pink straws don't really go with their color scheme.
It wasn't until weeks later, after the pink straws had stopped coming with your order, that I decided it had probably been a promotion for their new smoothies.
Apparently I hadn't read what it said on the side of that straw wrapper ... silly, silly me.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I know they look like a mafia family, but they are really the stars of the reality show "CAKE BOSS." That guy up front, with the weapon, is Vinny - I mean, Buddy. And the show wouldn't be half as entertaining without him.
You talk about the epitome of the stereo typical New Yorker - Buddy's your guy. He is the real deal. Although, technically it isn't New York ... but Carlo's Bakery is just a hop, skip and a jump away in Hobokan, New Jersey. These are the Jersey boys who bake and create the most amazing cakes and pastries.
I had a crazy, busy weekend. But late Saturday night, after helping clean up from a surprise luau party (oh and it was so cute, I'll have to post pictures) I plopped my tired, sore self down on my couch and watched hours of the CAKE BOSS. They were having a marathon on TLC.
On one of the episodes, Buddy announced to the staff that he was going to start an annual cupcake day at Carlos Bakery. (Lots of man moans ensued.) But Buddy thought it would be a great way to "give back to the community." His idea was to bake 3,000 cupcakes and sell them out in front of the store so that each customer could pick which flower design and flavor they wanted their cupcake to be, which meant that all those rough and tough looking guys up above had to stand outside and do their decorating in the heat and humity on the sidewalk. (Many, many more man moans ensued.)
Buddy's the BOSS so that's what they did. He knew it would be a huge success because he said, "Cupcakes are really trendy right now." And as I have said before, I think the blogging world has a whole lot to do with it too. Everyone is grabbing hold of the cupcake LoVe.
The guys at Carlo's make so many amazing cakes that it would be hard to pick a favorite one, but one of the cute ideas Buddy came up with on a show last Saturday night, was to scoop frosting into little cones so it looked like ice cream on a cake they made for a Hagen-Das event. And when the real strawberries in the frosting started dripping down the cake cartons ... Buddy said, "Let's cover up those drips with frosting so it looks like the ice cream is melting."
He's pretty darn creative, and just watching Buddy's animated personality and hearing him pronounce the word fondant makes the show that much more fun. :)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
When I made cupcakes the other day I decided that I like eating the batter even more than I do the cupcakes. Its a flavor you just don't get any other way.
Elliott said, "Mom that frosting on the counter that you made is sooooo good."
I guess he agrees with me. :)
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I just love Sara Bareilles. She has one of my favorite voices of all time. And she writes quite a few songs just for me. I'm pretty sure of it. She knows my heart.
I think it was just last week that I heard she was coming to Salt Lake City and I meant to mention that to my daughter, McCall who loves her too. I totally forgot to mention that to her.
Then last night, when I was with McCall, she said, "Oh Mom, I got Sara Bareilles' new CD so while you're here I will burn you a copy." And I still forgot to mention it.
But as I was listening to Sara's new CD on my way home, I remembered that I forgot to tell her so I called her up - she didn't answer - so I left a message.
This morning, McCall called me up - I couldn't answer - so she left me a message.
(Tag. My turn.)
I emailed her at work and asked if she had heard that Sara Bareilles was coming to town. Her email back to me was the link to buy the tickets to the concert and all of the information about it. (McCall is like that, besides being thoughtful, she can also be more thorough than her mama. She is such a good daughter.)
I didn't really care what the tickets cost. The DJ on the radio had said that hearing her live was absolutely incredible, and I was SO going to go to this concert!
I clicked over and looked at Smithtix ... tickets were $20 now, $25 at the door - General Admission. Wow, that's a deal. Very cool. She's playing with two other artists at a small theater called the Avalon.
I bought two tickets. One for me and one for McCall. I'm a little excited. Maybe we'll get our picture with her ... pretty groovy if we do.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
If there are options on a dessert menu, ice cream is not my first choice. That being said, sometimes I am really in the mood for ice cream, but it needs to be really, really good ice cream. Like Baskin Robbins. And sometimes when I am in the mood for Baskin Robbins, I leave work and drive down the street and get a double mint chocolate chip on a sugar cone. Because at BR, that is all I ever get.
One day, when I was in that kind of a mood, I drove down to Baskin Robbins and there was a sign on the building that said CLOSED. My heart sank.
It didn't say WE'VE MOVED, it said CLOSED. I was extremely disappointed. Baskin Robbins really is the only place I make a special trip to to get some ice cream when I am in the mood. Sigh.
My second choice of an ice cream treat (well, technically if we're talking ice cream treats, my first choice is a drum stick - I LOVE drumsticks - but now the gas station by my house no longer carries drumsticks because they are made by Nestle's and for some reason that gas station no longer carries Nestle's ice cream products. So my second choice, in this sort of an instance, that being a late night treat fix, is now a Snicker's ice cream bar - it's sooooo yummy), but since we were talking about ice cream cones (we were, right?) that second choice is a brown topper from Arctic Circle. (A brown topper is what they call them - it is really just a chocolate dipped vanilla cone. And I would pick Dairy Queen first but we don't have one in Draper and the closest one is really inconvenient to get to - kind of like the Baskin Robbins is now.)
So, anyway, yesterday I really was in the mood for a brown topper for some reason. I thought about having one all day. And after work I was for sure going to get one. But then I remembered I needed to get to the health food store and I thought that I'd better do that first before they closed. I headed off to Dave's Health and Nutrition store. (And luckily they weren't out of hormonal changease this time ... since I am seriously in need of hormonal help.)
In the same shopping complex, right around the corner from Dave's, is an RC Willey Outlet store and I thought, as long as I was there, I should check out their refrigerators since I needed to get one for the basement rental anyway. I was just going to look, but the sales guy was so sweet and reminded me it was the last day of their Labor Day Sale and I could get 12 months same as cash financing, so I thought maybe I should just go ahead and make the purchase.
Then while I was waiting for the credit check the sales guy suggested that I wander around the store (good thinking sales guy). I did, and I found my way into their super duper clearance section.
I bought a coffee table, an end table and a big framed mirror for the basement - 'cause that way there would only be ONE delivery charge AND it was all an additional 20% off that day!!!!! (Good, good sales guy!)
As I waited, while he wrote up my other items, I was sitting on a really fabulous brown leather sectional watching the most amazing BIG screen T.V. which was sitting in this beautiful black entertainment center that, as I looked at it, I thought You know, that would be so perfect in my family room where my armoir is right now. And then I actually stood up and looked at the price tag.
Seriously Polly? Are you crazy? Isn't the reason you are renting your basement in the first place so you can have some extra income and get out of debt?
Yes it is, and yes I am going a little bit crazy. I have learned that if you just stay home, you don't know what you're missing and you can save a lot of money that way - I need to just stay home.
... Speaking of brown leather and brown toppers, since this post is about brown toppers - after RC Willey's I stopped back by my office to do a blog post (which always takes longer than you think it will, don't they?) and then I headed home and stopped at Arctic Circle for my brown topper.
It was way yummy and really did hit the spot and was worth the extra wait.
(Note to self: Don't eat a brown topper in the dark. Part of the chocolate topper will undoubtedly fall around you, you won't realize it, and then the next day when you get in the car you won't notice that you sat on a piece and smeared chocolate on your pants until you're out at Office Max running an errand for work and then notice it, like you were today.)
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I am getting way too old to remember dates anymore or how long ago certain events were, like when it was that I saw the Backstreet Boys in concert. Maybe, oh, let's say 5 or 6 years ago ... maybe?
Chloe entered a karaoke contest on a whim. (Today is Chloe's 21st birthday. Happy birthday sweetie.) Radio Disney was part of a big Expo here at that time and were sponsoring the contest. But you had to sing a Backstreet Boys song. The winner got two tickets to the upcoming Backstreet Boys concert.
Well that little fearless girl actually won and she decided she would take her mom to the concert with her - kind of because I asked her to and also because I drove and she didn't.
I vividly remember the night of the concert though. We were pretty psyched because we knew we would have great seats since we got the tickets from Radio Disney and the radio stations are always "hooked up."
We pulled into the parking lot across the street from the Delta Center and giggled like school girls (well - one of us was a school girl, I suppose I was just acting like one) ... but we were SO excited!!!
At the entrance, we were pointed in the direction of section 122. We walked through our portal doors and handed the usher our tickets. She pointed us in the direction of our seats. The problem was - she pointed up. Wait ... what? Yup. Up.
WAY up. In fact, I think we were only a couple of rows from the very top.
REALLY Radio Disney?
The wind went out of our sails. (And that was unfortunate because I could have used the extra help of the wind as I climbed up and up and up toward our seats.) The arena holds 21,000 people for a concert in the round - to give you an idea of how high. And this concert was for a sold out crowd.
But then, the concert started. And it was SO great. We danced, we laughed, we couldn't believe we were there. And then the best part of the night, was when a stage magically arose at our end of the arena ... that was pretty sweet.
It was definitely a fun memory and Chloe had a blast.
Fast forward 6 years. The Backstreet Boys reunited and went out on tour again. Last month they came to Salt Lake City.
See those two cute redheads in that picture up above? Those are my nieces, Taryn and Taylor. Those guys behind them ... the Backstreet Boys. Taryn and Taylor won tickets on the radio.
REALLY Radio Disney?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I have always maintained that one year olds are my favorite. Yesterday Libby turned one. She's my favorite! One of the things I adore the most about a one year old is that this is the time they start to walk and it is just too much fun.
Libby started to walk only about a week ago, and it is kind of CraZy how quickly she has become her own little independant self .... now that she knows how to walk, she doesn't like to crawl anymore. She squats, stands up, and takes off all by herself. Lots of times she falls ... but she doesn't seem to mind. It is just so cool to be walking, she just tries again.
This is Libby's, I know you told me not to eat the dirt but I'm going to anyway, okay? face.