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Showing posts from 2011

Christmas Street and the Christmas Story

If you've ever spent much time in Salt Lake, you know all about the Christmas Lights at Temple Square.  It's probably the most popular place here during the Holiday Season.  But if you actually live in Salt Lake, you'll eventually come to know of some neighborhood displays, that while on a much smaller scale, are every bit as impressive. For example, there's Christmas Street.  For 11 months of the year, it's known as by another name.  But every December, it changes it's name to Christmas Street.  It's a small culdesac, but literally every home on the street participates, and there's always a steady stream of cars.  I try to stop by there every year. This year, I discovered another one, just a block or two from Christmas Street. Again, it's an entire street, that has all banded together to do a Christmas Display.  Only this time, they use placards and posters to tell the Christmas story from the Bible.  And a steady stream of cars drives through,

Early Christmas Surprise

So I went to the mailbox the other day, and what did I see? A puffy envelope from none other than the Pinkster!  Inside were two lovely LA Dodgers magnets (what, am I that transparent?) that make a great addition to the new fridge, and a picture of Pink's pooch, Sammy Rhodes, with the Santa man himself.  Nice!  Thanks Pink!

Christmas with the Girls

Got together with the girl friends on Friday night for our annual dinner and gift exchange.  This year it was held in Bountiful at The Mandarin Restaurant.  The Mandarin is one of the busiest restaurants in Utah, and they don't do reservations.  So we had to wait a little bit before we could be seated.  But once seated, we had a fun meal, and gift exchange. My present from Deb was a new hat, which I immediately put on and wore home.  A very stylish addition to my wardrobe. After leaving the restaurant and saying our goodbyes for the year, I decided to take a drive up to see the Bountiful Temple.  It was all lit up, and had a lovely manger scene in the front (which you can't really tell in the picture). I left Bountiful, then drove home.  Upon hitting Holladay, I was struck by the town Christmas Tree, all lit up.  I don't know what it is, but something about living in Holladay makes me think of a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie.

Christmas Concert

After taking a break (more like boycotting the teenybopper headliner) from last year's MoTab Christmas Concert, it was a thrill to go back this year.  It is always a madhouse downtown during the Holidays, but even more so on Christmas Concert weekend.  So we made sure to get there plenty early to try and grab a bite before the show.   We first attempted to meet up with Steph and Becky at the Lion House, but it was packed, so we walked over to the City Creek Food Court.  Alas, everyone there was out of food.  So we decided to take a chance on the Nauvoo Cafe - at least we'd be inside, and out of the smog.  And what a fortuitous idea that was - because there was a separate line there for anyone who wanted the pot pie, and it was almost immediate service.  So - after a warm and comfy meal of salad and pot pie, we decided to brave the outdoors. We met up with Steph and Becky, and did the tour of the Temple Square lights, before heading over to the concert.   From there, it was

More from Charleston

My pal and colleague Lisa snapped a few shots of the three of us the night we went into downtown. Here they are...  Jill and I freezing on the Union Pier Ok, so I went a little crazy for the chips and salsa.  But you should have seen me once the guacamole got there...  Group photo - a fun evening.

Good for Another Year

So a couple of weeks ago, I went for the annual boob-smashing.  Not something I enjoy, but good for peace of mind.  Although I confess to being pretty nervous this time around.  For some reason this year, something kept telling me to call and schedule the appointment.  Then for days leading up the big event, it seemed that everywhere I looked, whether on the internet, or on the TV or on a billboard, breast cancer was always the topic.  Case in point: Several days before, I dreamed I had cancer.  The next morning, some noted person had passed away from breast cancer.  A few days later, it was the top story on "Sunday Morning".  And when I tried to change the channel, it was an old Law and Order episode about, what else? Breast cancer.  It was as if the Universe was conspiring against me. By Monday morning, when it was time for the appointment , I was a total wreck.  I was sweating (this without any deodorant, since they don't let you wear that when you go), and hyperventi

New Nook

Whenever I travel, I always like to take a couple of books with me. It helps to pass the time on the plane or in the airport.  But with all the new rules about how much you can carry on, and since I absolutely refuse to check my luggage bag, it's getting harder to fit a book or two in - especially if I'm going somewhere for work and needing to carry a laptop. I got to thinking about this predicament, and I decided to deal with it by making a Christmas present to myself of a Nook Simple Touch e-reader.  I went with the Nook because I had a Barnes and Noble gift card, and with the Simple Touch because it was only $99 and had been getting great reviews.  So off I went last weekend to the local Barnes and Noble, where I plunked down a small chunk of change on the Nook, a case to cover it, and a protective film cover (which only took me about 26 tries to get it on straight). So far, I absolutely love it!  It was so convenient.  I downloaded a version of the Scriptures, and a book


This past week was spent in Charleston, South Carolina.  I have been working on a project at work that I got sent to Charleston for a few days.  We have a reservation office there, and so I worked out of that office for a few days.  I totally loved my time there - everyone was so friendly and eager to be good hosts.  And the weather was so much better than the 25 degrees and inversion here in SLC.  Sadly, we didn't really get out much - and with it getting dark earlier, it was hard to see things when we did get out.   The first night we there, we were pretty tired from traveling all day, so we stayed in and ate at the hotel's evening reception.  But the second night, one of the trainers took us to a restaurant called Cork.  The girls I was with all shared a bottle of wine, while I sipped on a lovely glass of milk.  And for my entree - an absolutely awesome dish of Shrimp and Grits.  I never liked Grits much before, but I am definitely a big fan now (I'm sure the fact it wa

A Home Improvement Thanksgiving

The parentals were in town this week to see my new house and to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Even though the house is in mostly good shape, and I'd done what I could to make it all presentable, there were definitely some cosmetic things it needed to spruce it up a bit.  And seeing as the folks were coming all this way, I figured I'd take advantage of the free labor and have them help me with a "few" home improvement projects.  They arrived on Tuesday, and I showed them the list of things that needed doing.  We had a quick lunch, and shortly after that, it was off to the races.  And by the time we were done, a "few" projects had somehow morphed into "many" projects, and all three of us were ready to collapse. There were three trips to Home Depot, three light fixtures replaced, three GFI outlets installed, one bathroom faucet replaced, holes spackled and painted in almost every room, one deadbolt installed, one sink sprayer fixed, one curtain rod insta

Salute to The Gateway Parking Guy

One thing I always try to appreciate when I see it, is hard work.  Someone who goes out, does their job, and works hard at it consistently, with no fanfare.  And someone who can manage to do this in a job that I would consider to be menial, and stay happy and enthusiastic about it.  One of my favorite examples of this is someone I don't even know.  Several years ago, Salt Lake opened The Gateway outdoor mall.  I don't shop there much, but I'm there pretty frequently for dinner or to see a movie.  Since there's usually a lack of available free parking in the neighborhood, and because even if there is, I don't like walking back to my car alone in the dark, I typically park in the underground parking structure.  It's a bit of a hassle to get in and out, but I feel relatively safe there.   As long as I've been parking at The Gateway, I've also noticed a man who directs the flow of traffic in and out.  I would say he's probably a middle-aged gentleman,

Chili Cook-Off

The other night my ward had a chili cook-off.  Considering myself a chili connoisseur, that was one activity I wanted to attend.  For years, my Dad won the annual Hermiston Ward chili cook-off.  That's a big legacy to try and live up to.  I don't think he really ever had a particular recipe though, and knowing that he and mom were off in Wyoming waiting for a new grandbaby, and not having a chili recipe of my own, I decided to do my own thing and looked some up online. I finally found a recipe for "Wasatch Mountain Chili".  Even though it was a white chili, I thought it sounded interesting - and heck, I live in the Wasatch Mountains, so it seemed somehow appropriate. The day arrived, and I made my chili - white beans, hominy, chicken, chicken broth, lime juice, and spices.  How this ever came to be called chili, I'll never know.  Because it turned out to be more the consistency of a tangy chicken soup.  Something to be eaten when you have a cold, but nothing to g

Salt Lake Temple

For years now, I've been looking for a cool picture of the Salt Lake Temple to hang up on one of my walls.  I've lived in Salt Lake long enough that it's kind of my temple now.  And really, every Mormon should have a picture of their temple in their home.  But I never found anything I really liked, until now.  The Conference issue of the Ensign arrived yesterday - and as soon as I saw this, I knew it was "The One".  I'm going to see if I can get it blown up and framed, but until then, here it is.

Halloween 2011

For Halloween I tried a couple of different outfits.  The first one is Cowgirl Tracie, a few days before, with some of the gal pals at the Magna Senior Center's annual Halloween Bash (Marianne works there, so we went to help).  Had a great time, and frankly, probably more fun than the Tri-Ward Singles Dance would have been.  We even did a cake walk - I honestly can't remember the last time I did one of those.  Of course, out of our group, only two of us did not win cakes.  Guess which ones didn't?  If you guessed me - yep, you'd be right. One of the things my work does really well is Halloween - there's a costume contest, and everyone's kids come and go trick-or-treating through the office.  A fun day all around.  Here I am dressed as a Biker Chick (which I'm convinced I was in a past life).  I thought I looked pretty good, but one of the Directors said I couldn't really pull it off. I was just too wholesome (which when you think about it is not necess

A Certain Age

You know you've reached a certain age when you start waking up in the middle of the night sweating.  Last night I woke up about 11:30 PM, hot enough to turn the a/c on.  Here it is October, and I was turning on the a/c.  Confident that with the a/c on, the temp would go down enough to be comfortable, I went back to bed.  Howevuh - I woke up again about 2:00 AM, thinking I was sweating to death.  I went into the hallway to turn the a/c down, and the thermostat showed that it was only about 65 degrees in the house.  I'm sweating to death and it's only 65 degrees?  Obviously, turning down the a/c is not going to help.  If I didn't know it before, I certainly knew it now.  It would seem that I'm officially into perimenopause.  Here's your sign. I'm not sure how I feel about all this.  Getting the occasional gray hair was one thing.  While I thrill at the anticipation of no period ever again, it also means I'm getting older, and soon I'll have to start p

Sad Goodbye to my Garden

Time to mention a passing - that is, the final passing of my garden.  Now that we are into fall and colder temps at night, it was time to say goodbye to my vegetable plants.  So - yesterday, I took most of the plants out of their respective pots, and emptied all the soil.  They are now all piled up on the outside curb waiting to be taken away by the garbage man.  Other than some remaining perennials (e.g. my chives and my strawberry plants), all my other garden plants are now no longer with us.  My balcony feels terribly bare, and I confess to being just a little bit verklemfpt.  It was a great run, though. I went into this goal thinking it would be great if just one plant worked out ok.  Who knew it would be so successful and that I would turn out to have a green thumb?  And who knew it would turn out to be such a blessing and help me learn so much (and not just about gardens)? I still have my begonia, which I re-potted and dead-headed, as well as my geranium, which all of a sudden h


This weekend is BYU homecoming, an event in which I don't usually participate.  But knowing that Brian Stokes Mitchell was going to be performing at last night's "Homecoming Spectacular" show, I decided it was worth the effort to brave the journey to Provo, accompanied by Angel and some of her family, to go see it.  If you've traveled from SLC to Provo and back lately, you know that it really is a brave journey.  But anywho... That all got me to thinking about my time at the "Y".  My career there was pretty unremarkable.  I had no money, no car, no looks, not many friends, and nothing really to recommend me.  Other than 1 year I spent playing in the marching band, pretty much all I did was study, and hang out at the International Cinema.   All these memories and feelings came flooding back to me as I was sitting there listening to Stokes, and the BYU Philharmonic, the Young Ambassadors, the Living Legends, and the Men's Chorus.  It had been a drea

Last Garden Update

Shame on me - I've been so consumed with the house lately that I've failed to make any mention of my garden.  Which is not good, as that was this year's personal goal, not buying a town home and moving.  So - here's the latest... Good news! My garden is still growing and producing - although after the expected and none too thrilling change in temperatures this week, I'm not sure how long I can say that.  Alas, although most of the plants came with me, I found it necessary to leave the majority of the tomato plants behind.  I couldn't figure out a way to move them, let alone fit them on the balcony.  But other than the yellow pear plant, the big tomatoes really didn't do so well, so it was not a particularly devastating loss.  The other plants, howevuh, made it in one piece and have adjusted well to their new environment.  In fact, they've thrived.   The currant tomato plant has been giving me little tomatoes to snack on just about every day, and the pe

Home Sweet Home

So it's been a VERY busy couple of weeks, and I haven't been able to update everyone.  But - as of last weekend, I am now a homeowner, and am all moved in to my new abode.  I ended up having plenty of help from co-workers, friends, and ward members, and despite a few minor inconveniences, was able to get in and start getting situated. I've spent a lot of time unpacking, purchasing, building out, and arranging things this week, and I'm pretty pooped.  But it's been fun, and so far I'm loving it.  Not finished quite yet, but am getting there.  The only picture I have to show is one with the new appliances in the kitchen.  But I'll share more as soon as I'm a little more put together.

Home Appraisal

Received the Appraisal Report this morning.  Happily, it is worth a little more than I am paying, so no need to renegotiate.  Now if the rest of the planets will please align, I will have a close date.   I confess that I am having difficulty being patient with this whole process, which is silly, considering that it's only been a couple of weeks since I first saw the place, and even less since the offer went in.   I'm just so excited to get in there! In the meantime, I thought you'd enjoy at least a picture of the outside of the place. 

Home Inspection

Went for my home inspection yesterday.  I confess, I was half-way hoping there would be issues, so that I could sound the alarm and my hero Mike Holmes would come to save the day and "Make It Right". Cooler heads prevailed however, and other half of me is thankful to report that there are no major issues with the house that Inspector Barry could see.  So, we are one step closer to completing the sale.  Later this week, the appraisal. Of the issues found, the existing dishwasher didn't work, the over-range microwave had a crack in the door, and the other kitchen appliances were just plain ugly.  So I went to RC Willey yesterday and had a terrific time purchasing all new ones.  I'm heading back there in the morning to see about purchasing a gas dryer, and see if I can turn in the electric one I bought last year, as the current set-up in the laundry room won't work with it.  But I hear a gas dryer is more efficient anyway.  Thank goodness for my savings!

Momentous News

I have momentous news that I finally feel able to share with everyone.  This week, after an insanely short amount of time actually looking for one, I am purchasing a town home.  This decision wasn't even a gleam in my eye until a couple of weeks ago.  But now, here I am, about to sign my life away. I'm sure you all remember my move about 18 months ago.  And I wasn't thinking of moving again any time soon.  My apartment has been fine for the most part, and a pleasant upgrade from my old place.  However, some things were getting on my nerves - such as a landlord who won't take care of the landscaping, or even really keep the place up.  Another thing has been the freeway noise that I can hear through the vents at night, as well as the terribly thin walls between my and my neighbor's bedroom.  Really, I don't care what he does in his bedroom, I just don't want to hear it. So a couple of weeks ago while I was pondering my dilemma, it hit on me that this might b

Old Pewtah

So you all know about my new pewtah.  Well, even though I have the new one, there was still a question of what to do with the old one.  I mean, they're generally not something you just throw out, and they probably shouldn't be taken to the DI.  But this evening I'd like to report that the old pewtah has finally left the building. One of the main issues was that I didn't have a clue how to "wipe" it clean and erase all my files and programs.  Thankfully, I work in the Tech world, and have smart computer guys available to me.  One of the guys told me how to download a program that would solve that problem.  So this afternoon, over the course of a couple of hours, the machine was wiped clean.   Hooray! Once the machine was wiped, there was still the issue of what to do with it.  I went online and did a little searching, and come to find out, Staples will take your old Dell electronics and recycle it - for FREE.  So, I hauled everything out to the car, and then

Cowboy Night

With one-third of the Triple D Divas off getting their culture on at the Shakespeare Fest, and another third off doing the family thing, that left it to this third to try a local joint on our own this weekend.  Thinking that it would be fun to make it a theme night, we first went to a Diner called The Cowboy Grub.  I've been wanting to try it for awhile now, and for me at least, it did not disappoint.  First off - It was a really fun place, in that it kept with the cowboy theme. There was a covered wagon salad bar, longhorn steer heads on the walls, and plenty of Cowboy grub on the menu. I had the open-faced meatloaf sandwich. It came with their spuds (scalloped potatoes with cheese), and was covered in brown gravy.  It was de-lish!  One of their other specialties is their baked goods - so of course you know that I had to get a Buckaroo Brownie to go (double de-lish!). Since this was theme night, we decided to go to a showing of the new movie "Cowboys and Aliens"

Bring On the Junk Food!

I read an article yesterday about a family who gave up junk food for an entire year.  It was all about how much healthier they felt and how much better for the environment healthy eating was.  So today - I had a donut for breakfast, doritos for an afternoon snack, and may just have some dessert this evening.  And I have to say that it all never tasted quite so good.  I'm all about trying to stay healthy and everything, but I'm just saying - you have to live a little, y'know?

Are You Kidding Me?

So last week, I get a bill in the mail from my Dermatologist Office.  Hmm, I gave them a co-pay at my last appointment, so why would they be sending me a bill?  I open said bill, and gasp in horror - it's a statement from my appointment, that shows a charge for "Destruction Benign Lesion" for $120, plus another charge for $90, making a grand total of $210, of which I am responsible for $56.64 (after insurance ponied up for $113.36 and I chipped in an additional $40 co-pay).  Are you freaking kidding me - $210 for a squirt of liquid nitro? Heck, I can buy it over the counter for $20.  So that would mean it was an extra $190 for the Doctor to squirt the nitro instead of me.  I mean, my Doctor is handsome and all, but not that handsome. Sheesh!!!

Tracie's Sunday Dinner

Pretty proud of my dinner tonight, some of which came from my own garden.  I neglected to take pictures of the final results, but here was the menu: Caprese Salad - Made with a homegrown cherokee purple tomato (sliced), homegrown basil, fresh mozzarella cheese slices, and balsamic vinegar. Baked potato with butter, sour cream, and homegrown chives. Alas, I had no fresh rolls to serve with it, but I did wash it all down with diet pepsi. De-lish!

Fresh Veggies

Some of my veggies are now beginning to bear fruit.  I've had quite a few yellow pear tomatoes, as well as currant tomatoes, and last night, I picked the first of my Cherokee Purples (and boy, did they turn out to be sweet, juicy, and just plain yummy!).  I also picked the orange pepper (which was a little past ripe, so it's been chopped and is now waiting in the freezer) and the purple pepper.  And so far it looks like I'm going to get quite a few jalapenos. Tonight I used one of the Cherokee Purple and made an "Ultimate Broiled Cheese" sandwich.  A couple of kinds of cheese, with purple tomato in the middle, and dipped in a little sweet hot mustard.  The rest of the tomato chopped and served on the side.  De-lish!


Spent most of the last week at a work meeting in Vegas.  I'm sure you all know that I'm not a fan, but when work calls, one has to do what one has to do.  We met as a team, with folks coming from Salt Lake, Atlanta, and even as far as the Philippines.  It's been at least a couple of years since we all got together in person, so it was nice to be able to see everyone and catch up. We stayed at the Venetian and Palazzo Resort, which is now affiliated with IHG.  And I have to admit, the whole trip was better than I expected.  My room was quiet, dinners were very nice, and the casino was not as loud nor as smoky as I remembered.  And despite gaining a few pounds (damn Emeril!) I got plenty of exercise just walking back and forth from room to meeting room and back again.  I even took my jump rope along to get in a little extra work. While we did manage to have plenty of fun, there was also plenty of work.  Long days talking about goals, planning for next year, and sharing idea

More Outdoor Concerts!

I've talked before about how much I love summer for all the awesome outdoor concerts here in Zion.  Well, this weekend was no exception.  On Friday, Diana, Marianne and I went to a free concert at the Brigham Young Park. They had a fun quartet that sang a lot of classic songs.  I, of course had a terrific time singing along.  I mean, how can you not croon along to "Foggy Day in London Town", or "Almost Like Bein in Love"?  (Sigh...)  After that, we all went back to Diana's for lemonade pie, and Great Performances on PBS, featuring Diana's TLF Harry Connick, Jr. (Double sigh...) Then yesterday, Angel and I and her Sister's family trekked up to Park City for a concert at Deer Valley (one of my very favorite outdoor venues).  We stopped at Squatter's Pub to grab some dinner to take with us (note to self: MUST order the pulled pork sandwich again), then off to Deer Valley, where we unloaded all our plunder, then made the hike up the mountain to fin

Another Garden Update

Inge happened to mention the other day that she hadn't seen any updates about my garden lately.  So, I thought I'd share another round of photos. The garden is still hanging in there, although maybe not looking quite so robust as it did earlier in the summer.  And the zucchini is really dragging.  But I've been able to harvest a few of the small tomatoes, which I promptly ate with dinner this evening.

MoTab, Stokes, and Linda Eder

Last evening, Mac's Angels (the groupie name Steph and I have given ourselves) were there again to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in concert.   As you know, we love all things MoTab, and this was going to be there Pioneer Day Commemoration concert.  So, we registered for tickets.  It's what MoTab loving Utah girls do.  A couple of weeks ago, the Choir announced that there would be two Special Guest Artists, and that they would be none other than Brian Stokes Mitchell and Linda Eder, and that it would be a patriotic concert honoring American servicemen.  Now, being one of Mac's Angels, I would have been "in" at the mention of the Choir.  But Brian Stokes Mitchell?  Having seen him a couple of times before, well, I'm double "in".  And then to throw in Linda Eder, too, who I've wanted to see for years now?  Quadruple "in"! All tickets for Choir concerts are distributed in a lottery format.  We figured that we hadn't been selected, s

Skin Check

Last week before heading out of town, I went in for my annual skin check at the Dermatologist.  Various forms of skin cancer run in the family, so all of us adults are working to make sure we get regular checkups.  Which is not always an enjoyable experience.  Because, you see, it's a FULL body check-up, meaning that they check you ALL OVER.  This is awkward to say the least, especially when the doc happens to be a rather handsome man, as mine is.  But I figure once you've had bum surgery, you really have no dignity left, so you may as well make the best of it and go for your check-up.  I'd still rather have this than a mammogram. Anyhoo - it's a good thing I went in.  I had what I call a "sun spot" that had started to get a little bigger, so I mentioned it to them.  The doc took a good look, and turns out it was a pre-cancerous spot, which needed to be removed. A little squirt of liquid nitro later, and I was good to go.  The only somewhat embarrassing thing

New Pewtah, continued

Well, I finally figured out how to get the old photo software installed and updated.  I thought I was going to have to buy a new camera, but a co-worker suggested I look for an updater program.  I was able to find one, and get it installed, so we're back in business.  So here's the picture I attempted to post the other night. Angel came over last night and helped me get the wireless router installed and secured.  Now it's a matter of checking to see if I can start streaming my NetFlix movies over the Wii.  I also bought a new printer, so will work on that tomorrow. Then, there's figuring out how to wipe the old computer and get it recycled.  Man, whoulda thunk that getting a new pewtah would be such an involved process.