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Showing posts from 2012

Christmas Day

I love Christmas Day, but for me, it's more about the secular side of Christmas, and the fun and the good cheer.  After getting up early and getting a good workout in, I opened my gifts that my family had sent.  Everyone took good care of me.  I had gifts and goodies for my stocking, a new vegetarian cookbook, a new fleece vest, and candle sconces to enhance the look of my home.  I also had some very cute cards and pictures from nieces and nephews. After opening the presents, I made what is kind of my traditional Holiday breakfast - Breakfast Cake (basically the same thing as coffee cake), eggs, and my own version of hot chocolate made from Pero, Nestle Quik, and Almond Milk.  It was all mighty tasty.  After breakfast I called and talked with my Grandma, my Mom and Dad and some of my siblings. Shortly before noon, I left to go to a show.  Everyone in Salt Lake goes to the movies on Christmas Day, and the theaters are packed.  I met up with Inge, Angel, and Chunhee to see the ne

Christmas Eve

My family has always enjoyed getting together for Christmas, and there are definitely some traditions that we follow when it comes to both Christmas Eve and Christmas.  But since I was going to be on my own for Christmas this year, I decided it would be fun to start my own Christmas traditions.  And I decided to approach it by having the attitude of just because I wasn't going to be with my family, didn't mean it needed to be a drag or that I needed to be lonely. Tracie's Christmas Eve To me, Christmas Eve kind of fulfills two purposes.  I use it to finish up whatever gifts and food I've been planning, but it's also the day where I want to focus on the Spiritual side of Christmas - the nativity story, and peace on earth and goodwill to men.   Christmas Carol Service - Each year, the Cathedral of the Madeleine presents what they call a "Christmas Carol Service", and this year, I attended that with a couple of friends.  It was a very sacred experience.

"Touched By an Angel" Marathon

I'm sure you remember the series "Touched By an Angel".  For years, my family and I watched it faithfully every Sunday Night, and I loved it.  After I moved here, it meant even more to me, because it was filmed in and around Salt Lake, and I recognized a lot of the homes and neighborhoods.  For some reason, what with Salt Lake being the headquarters of the LDS church, and the setting for a series about Angels, it was as if we were truly surrounded by God and his Angels. The series ended years ago, and although it's widely available in re-runs on the Hallmark and GMC Channels, I very rarely watch it. Kind of like it's old news, and I've moved on.  But this last couple of days, there wasn't much on TV, and I was in a Christmas-y mood, and GMC was doing a "Touched By an Angel" marathon.  And I was sucked back in. This all coincided with much of what was going on in the news.  Last week, our country suffered another tragedy, and although life is

Holiday Happenings

It's been a good but busy week - lots of Holiday fun stuff to celebrate the season. Tuesday - GNO with Roosevelt friends: Got together here at the Holladay Inn with some of my good friends from my old Young Adult ward. GNO stands for Girls Night Out, a chance for the girls to spend time together eating, visiting and catching up. Thursday Afternoon - Annual Holiday Lunch and activity with my work team.  Lunch at Olive Bistro, followed by Shopping and delivery of needed items for a worthy cause.  A special experience, and it felt good to provide some service. Thursday Night - Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and my dear friend Stephanie. Mack's Angels kept to our Holiday tradition of enjoying the lights at Temple Square and attending the Christmas Concert with the choir, and this year's special guests Alfie Bowe, Tom Brokaw, and surprise special guest, Gale Halvorsen (Uncle Wiggly Wings, the original Berlin Airlift Candy Bomber). Totally awesome!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I've been enjoying listening to Christmas music this week, and I've heard several renditions of the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It's one of my favorites.  But I bet you didn't know that the original song has different words than are typically sung today. The song made it's debut in the 1944 movie "Meet Me in St. Louis", with Judy Garland. In the movie, the father of the family has made the decision to move them all from St. Louis to New York, and he intends they should leave right after Christmas.  Of course, St. Louis is the only home they've ever known, and they all think their world is coming to an end.  Judy sings the song to little sister Margaret O'Brien to help cheer her up, but it's obvious that Judy is not feeling very cheery herself. Have yourself a merry little Christmas Let your heart be light Next year all our troubles will be Out of sight Have yourself a merry little Christmas Make the y

It's That Time of Year Again

Yes, it's that time of year again - the day I dread and don't look forward to, but is a necessary evil. The annual MAMMOGRAM.  So this morning I went in for my yearly smashing.  For the most part, it was a fairly normal appointment.  After being handled, squished, pressed, contorted and clamped, they let me go with one last parting shot.   Screener Lady: "Have you lost weight since last year?"   Tracie: "Why yes, 20 pounds". (Said with more than a hint of pride)  Screener Lady: "I thought so. There's not as much tissue as last year." Ouch - there's nothing makes a girl feel good like being told her boobs have gotten smaller.

Money Smart

Funds have been pretty tight lately, and I've been doing a lot of contemplating about how to cut spending and save more, etc.  It hasn't helped that everyone's talking about the "Fiscal Cliff" we're all supposed to fall off of.  Over the years I've managed to learn a few things, but I've never been one to budget and really keep track of where my money is going.  When it comes to financial matters, you could say I'm not the smartest tool in the shed, although I'm not necessarily the dullest. While I was out and about the other day, I happened upon a hand out for a financial education program put on by the FDIC - of all people, the Feds.  It's called "Money Smart", and is a free program available online. You log on and it runs you through several different lessons, designed to teach you the basics of handling your money and finances.  I listened to the first lesson today, and I learned some good things.  I plan to work my way t

Community Christmas Tree

Tonight the whole town got together for the 2nd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.  Hosted by his honor the mayor, we all gathered for cookies, hot chocolate, and carols sung by kids from one of the Elementary Schools. After a few rounds of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", the guest of honor himself arrived, with the assistance of the local Fire Department.  At that point, we all counted down, the switch was flipped, and Holladay's Holiday Tree was all aglow.  The Christmas season is officially underway!

Indonesian Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and since I wasn't able to join any of the family this year, I was thankful to be invited to join Inge and some of her other Indonesian friends for their Thanksgiving get-together. This of course meant that the dinner wouldn't be quite so traditional, at least American traditional, as I would normally be used to. But I was excited at the prospect of trying something untraditional this year, and I was not disappointed.  The buffet was a mix of traditional Thanksgiving foods, as well as Indonesian. Here we have Indonesian-style sweet potatoes, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, meatballs, and Indonesian noodles.  None of them like mashed potatoes much, so in place of that, there was plenty of rice. Here we have whole roasted Tilapia. I'd never seen it in it's actual form. It was very tasty. My plate's the one on the top - I tried a little bit of everything and really enjoyed it. Mung B

Official Thank You

Rain and Rainbows

Spent this weekend in Utah's Dixie, aka St. George and vicinity.  The reason being that my youngest cousin got married yesterday. It was a joyous occasion, and a great opportunity to get together and visit with my cousins, who I don't get to see very often.  They are all great people.  She was married in the St. George Temple, and it was a very sacred experience to be there in the temple with their family and extended family. In the midst of this happy time, I'm aware of friends who are dealing with sorrow and difficulty right now - trials such as death, disease, and discouragement.  I'm reminded that God's plan is for there to be opposition in all things, and how we can't understand joy unless we have to pass through sorrow. This was brought home to me driving home from church today.  We were having a bit of a rain shower, and as I turned the corner, I looked up ad there in front of me was the most beautiful brilliant rainbow, right on the side of the m

Election Day 2012

An alternate election worker is like an understudy. You have to know everything the star of the show does, and be prepared to go onstage at a moments notice.  You need to attend all the training sessions (rehearsals), and you need to be ready to drop everything at a moment's notice, as you could be deployed to anywhere in the county on Election Day.  As the Election was Tuesday, I spent most of Monday preparing.  We were told we needed to be available from 5:30 AM Tuesday, and be prepared to work until 9:00 PM.  So I charged all my devices, I prepped for snacks and drinks, and I made sure I reviewed my Poll Worker manual.  I even showered on Monday night and tried to get a good night's sleep. Alas, nervousness did me in on that last bit, so I didn't sleep quite so well. But by 5:30 Tuesday morning, I was ready to go, bright-eyed and bushytailed.  In not-so-eager anticipation, I waited for the phone to ring. did not ring.  So I sat there, taking a few minutes

Tracie Endorses...

Drum roll please...Tracie heartily endorses...the new Dairy Queen Pumpkin Pie Blizzard!  (You were thinking this would be a political post, right?  WRONG! ) I know I've gone on quite a bit about my efforts at good health this year.  My appreciation for vegetables and my avoidance of a lot of dairy products.  But there's something about this time of year, where I develop a sudden craving for all things pumpkin.  Cookies, bread, pancakes, soups, you name it.  So when I heard about Dairy Queen's new blizzard, it was pretty much a given that I would be standing in line for it at some point. Some days, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and today was one of those days. Besides, tomorrow is Fast Sunday, so I can afford to indulge myself.  There is a dearth of DQ's here in the Salt Lake Valley, but thankfully I decided to buy a house just up the street from one.  So off I went to the local DQ and stepped up and ordered myself the new blizza

Happy Halloween

Had a great Halloween! Halloween is my favorite day of the year at work.  We get to dress up, and most people participate and get into the spirit of things.  Here is a picture of me in all my gangsta rap finery.  I even wore a pair of boxer shots and hung my baggy pants down.  I find it's best to be as authentic as possible. Work also invites everyone to bring their kids in for trick-or-treating, so I got to see a bunch of cute kids. I didn't get any trick-or-treater's here, but later in the evening, I got to visit with several of my nieces and nephews by phone and by video chat.  It was great to hear about their activities and costumes, and see some of them dressed up.  Video chat is a terrific invention.

Tri-Ward Halloween Dance

I don't usually participate much in the big ward activities anymore.  I just kind of feel like I've been doing these things for so long now, and they don't excite me much anymore. But for some reason last night, I decided I'd go to the Tri-Ward dance. It had been awhile since I'd been to anything, and I kind of wanted to go.  So I came up with a costume and got dressed and off I went. Now everyone knows the thing to do is to not get there right when the dance starts.  The dance started at 9:00, so I figured I'd get there around 10:00. Along the way I prayed out loud that I would be able to find a friend there, and I also told myself that I would give it a chance and stay at least an hour. When I got there, things weren't looking too good at first.  But a few minutes into it, I found some of my old pals from my former Singles Ward, so I hung out with them.  We had a pretty good time as these things go - we danced in groups for the fast songs, and lef

Poll Worker Training

Last week the County put a notice in the local paper that they were in need of more Poll Worker volunteers to assist at the general election. I've had a couple of friends who have done this and enjoyed it, and I figured what the heck? It's about time I tried to get involved in some civic activity.  So I volunteered. This week I received a notice that I have been selected as an Alternate.  This means that I have to remain available from crack of dawn on Election Day until the bitter end, and if they need me, I will get called to any one of hundreds of polling locations in the County.  For which if they don't call me I will receive a small stipend. However, if they do call me, and I work the whole day, I'll receive a larger stipend. That and the privilege of serving my community and visiting with lots of interesting people throughout the day. Today I went to the County office complex and went through a 2-hour training session. In a couple of weeks I'll attend

Cutting Back

Something else I've been doing some research on is Dairy.  I struggle so much with allergies, and even though I'm not allergic to any foods, I wondered if making some small change to the diet could help with the effects of the allergies.  It's well-known that I'm a dairy fanatic, at least when it comes to cheese and ice cream, and even though I love it, I wondered if I'd feel better if I cut back on that a bit.  I've also read about various varieties of milk products - Goat milk (supposed to not generate as much mucous), Coconut Milk, Almond Milk and Soy milk.  Since goat milk is hard to find, and is majorly expensive when you can find it, I ix-nayed that. The Soy Milk never grew on me when I tried it, so I ix-nayed that, too.  But I decided I'd try the coconut and the almond milk.  My brother's family drank Almond Milk this summer, and the kids didn't notice a difference.   So this week, I made a few changes.  I decided to at least cut back on

Tracie Tries Pero

Part of my healthy journey this year has been to understand more of the "do's" of the Word of Wisdom, and incorporate more of those things into my diet.  Eating all the veggies and cutting back on the meat has certainly helped with that.  While I was in Tucson this last weekend, I was having a conversation with my Brother and his in-laws about this. They mentioned the passage about Barley being for mild drinks. "All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground— " Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain." (Doctrine and Covenants 89:16-17) After I got home this week, I did a little research on Barley and drinks made from it.  Turns out it is supposed to be very soothing, esp

Chili and Chips

Ok, so those fajitas I was going to make tonight? Well, it was so cold all day long that the fajitas turned into a huge pot of vegetarian chili.  I used several of the peppers though, in addition to some of the frozen jalapenos. And I have to say - it made some pretty awesome chili.  I also cut up the remaining corn tortillas, sprayed them with Pam, seasoned them, and turned them into baked tortilla chips, which I served with said chili.  All things considered, it was a pretty healthy dinner.  (Word to the wise though - probably best not to come see Aunt Tracie right now. At least not until said chili has been digested. Just sayin'.) There's plenty of peppers left, so those fajitas may indeed happen sometime this week. And I just have to say - I really love fall foods. Tracie's Vegetarian Chili Chopped peppers - I used a combination of red, green, yellow, and jalapenos Chopped onion 2 cans of diced tomatoes 1 can of hominy 2 cans of pork and beans 2

Sweet Pepper Mania

Speaking of the last of the summer plants - remember those peppers of mine that never turned color?  Well guess what? The week before I finally pulled them out, they decided to start changing color.  I ended up with one chocolate pepper, several red peppers, and some yellow peppers.  I picked the rest of them, and they are now ripening and completing the color change on the kitchen counter. I think tonight sounds like a good night to use some of the peppers and make some colorful fajitas.  The rest of them I will cut up and keep in the freezer, where they can get to know all of last year's jalapenos that are still in there.

Fall Preparations

So in the midst of Saturday Conference, yesterday was a pretty busy day for me.  Because there's all these things you're supposed to do every 6 months or so to get ready for the upcoming season, etc.  So I made myself a checklist, and boy, did I get plenty done. 1. I changed the furnace filter.  This is something I try to do every month anyway, but since it's been 60 degrees the last few days, it's a good thing to do for getting ready to turn on the heater. 2. Pulled up the last of the summer plants (which really the only ones left were the pepper plants), and brought the flowers and world's most humongous aloe vera inside to winter over. 3. Mostly cleaned the house - 2 toilets, 2 bathroom sinks and mirrors, and all the glass table tops. I even cleaned the upstairs windows and casings. 4. Refreshed the water storage, and brought it all inside. This meant lugging umpteen 2-liter bottles of water up to the kitchen, then emptying it all and refilling i

Fall Gardening

Well, it's that time of year again - the weather is getting cooler, and the summer veggies are starting to slow down. So yesterday I pulled up my fading tomato and cucumber plants, as well as the last remnants of my basil. In their place, are a couple of varieties of onion - your basic yellow and green.  Supposedly they will keep growing all throughout fall and winter, and by spring, I should have a nice bunch of onions. Next week, the remaining peppers that never changed color will get the same treatment. Out they will come, and in their place will go a bunch of garlic.  I've never planted in fall before, so this is a bit of an experiment. But I use onion and garlic in pretty much everything I cook, so I'm crossing my fingers that everything will survive the winter. Hopefully, come spring, I'll have a good variety of both onion and garlic for stir frying, as well as to add a savory aroma to my balcony.

"Unelectable 2012"

A friend of mine had a birthday this week, and as is our custom, we planned an evening for her. She is a huge Glenn Beck fan, and the thing she most wanted to do to celebrate was to go see a movie he did called "Unelectable 2012".  I'm pretty unpolitical anymore, so this isn't something that would really be my cup of tea. But that's what she wanted to do, so there you have it. We arrived at the theater, and went to purchase our tickets, expecting it to be the price of a normal movie. WRONG.  Since it was a special event and all, we got to be ranted at for the not-so-small price of $19 - PER PERSON! Ouch! Strike 1. We entered the theater to see that we had added to the crowd of maybe 6 other people, which made for a grand total of 9 of us. Now I know why it cost so much. You have to charge extra when no one wants to see your movie. Strike 2. The movie itself is basically a recording of his traveling roadshow.  He has a few partners in crime who join hi

Bountiful Baskets

I've been hearing a lot the last year or two about a concept called Bountiful Baskets.  It's a food co-op, where you go to their website to put in your order, make your purchase, and then they go with everyone's contributions to purchase produce. At a given time each week, you go to pick up your order, which is mostly produce.  The idea is that you'll pay less for your produce, get to try things you normally wouldn't (because you never know what you're going to get beforehand), and eat healthier.  My sister-in-law has been doing it for awhile and highly recommended it. I tried it for the first time this week and early this morning I went and picked up my order. This is the result: For the record, what you see before you is 1 seedless watermelon, 1 honeydew melon, 5 apples, 2 avocados, 3 tomatoes, 3 heads of broccoli, 1 pound of strawberries, more pounds of bananas than I know what to do with, 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 bunch of collard greens, a

Oktoberfest 2012

Yesterday Angel and I made our annual trek up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird for Oktoberfest.  Not only was it a chance to go a little crazy with Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and polka music, but it was a chance to see the fall colors, and I have to say, the day did not disappoint.  The color was magnificent, and the bratwurst was awesome. (The food menu - we settled on bratwurst, sauerkraut, and warm potato salad, washed down with a can of diet pepsi.) (Some of the entertainment, a group called Alpenfolk - they led us in several different polkas, an Edelweiss sing-along, and a rousing rendition of The Funky Chicken - which I of course had to get up and participate in). After lunch, we purchased tickets for the Tram, that goes to the top of the mountain. What with my issues with heights and vertigo, it's not what I call an enjoyable ride. But I do ok as long as I keep my eyes closed, or focused straight ahead. But it's pretty awe-inspiring once you

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

So I started out 2012 with just a couple of goals, both of which were around improving my physical health.  After that, I kind of forgot about adding to my list, and it's only been in the last few weeks that I have taken the time to kind of add to them. Inspired by the Relief Society Pursuit of Excellence program, one of the goals I have added was to develop some skill in another language.  And I've been trying to figure out which language I should focus on.  Years ago in college, I studied German, and even though I enjoyed it, I never stuck with it.  And now that so much of business is conducted in Spanish and Chinese, I was thinking that maybe it's time I did something different. So with this goal in mind and trying to decide on a language, I had an "aha" moment while I was watching "The Sound of Music" last night. Back in college, one of the things we did was learn some songs in German, as it was supposed to be a way to get you comfortable u

Blue Moon Festival

Friday evening, in celebration of the Blue Moon, Holladay hosted a "Blue Moon Festival" at the Holladay town plaza.  My friend Stephanie works for the City, so she and I, along with her two girls, walked down to check it out.  It was my first time getting out to a Holladay City function, and it was a great evening.  It sounds like this was a first of it's kind event, and Holladay pulled it off nicely, despite a little controversy over having a beer garden.  There were more people there than expected, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  There were booths of artwork, jewelry, music, and fun things for the kids to do - art projects, and a build-your-own jump rope booth.  Of course the girls needed to get one of those!   We walked around for awhile, and then walked across the street to what is likely to be my new addiction - Top It Frozen Yogurt.  It's one of those places where you pour yourself your own soft-serve yogurt, pick your favorite toppings,

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

In my continuing pursuit of good health from eating my vegetables, I have come to the decision that it's time to freshen my menu just a bit.  I mean, a person can only eat so much veggy fried rice, delicious though it may be.  So I got myself to the Holladay Library (which isn't so hard since it's right next door) and found a new cookbook to provide me with some inspiration.  It's called "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", and it's absolutely GI-normous.  As I was perusing it this evening, I got pretty excited about some new options.  So much so that I think I may need to buy this one and keep it on hand all the time.  Recipes for all sorts of vegetables, veggie burgers, homemade dipping sauces, and more.  It also provides some vegan recipes (not that I'm quite willing to give up my dairy yet).  I honestly can't wait to try some of them out this weekend.

Blast from the Past for $2

Not that I'm a fan of LDS fiction, but anyone remember this book?  It was all the rage when I was a kid growing up in Southern Utah, and I must have read it a half-dozen times.  If memory serves, it was definitely a 4-hankie kind of book.   I found this copy yesterday at the DI, and I figured what the hey, for $2, it was worth bringing home a blast from the past.  Even if it is signed "To Mom with love, Christmas 1978, from John and Lynda".  I might even read it again. Now, having Mormon fiction in the house isn't something I would normally 'fess up to, but for the record I also brought home a $2 copy of "Faith Precedes the Miracle", so hopefully they cancel each other out.

Pink Martini 2012

Last evening we went off on our annual excursion to the Deer Valley Music Festival. Music outdoors, under the stars, in the tops of the mountains.  It really does not get any better than that.  And this year it was for one of our favorite groups, Pink Martini.  The venue and the band did not disappoint.  We had some dinner, sat on the blankets, bundled up a it, and listened to the smooth sounds. Pink Martini never disappoints, but this year was doubly delightful because their lead singer China Forbes was back after a hiatus for resting her vocal chords, and the Utah Symphony was also in attendance.  All in all, it was absolutely delightful. (From l to r: Darcy, Anna, Tracie, Inge, Angel) Sadly, all concerts have to end at some point.  But on our way out, we got a bonus.  China was visiting backstage with concertgoers and doing pictures with folks.  SO before we knew it, there we were in line, and then there we were with China, who I must say was incredibly nice. (F

Dinner w/ the Girls

Got together Friday for dinner with some of the girls in celebration of Steph's birthday. We're standing in front of Cafe Trio, where we just had a lovely dinner on a nice shady patio. (From l to r: Debbie, Ann, Rosann, Me, Steph) We met when we were all attending the Monument Park 19th Singles Ward.  Sadly, birthdays are about the only time we can all manage to get together anymore, as some of us have moved off to different wards.  But a great time was had eating and catching up. Can't wait til the next birthday!
It's well-known to those that are acquainted with us, that the Edwards family loves to sing together.  You could say that we come by this naturally - Mom and Dad met in college choir, and the rest is history.  All growing up, we did musical numbers in church, sang in school choirs, and on every family trip, you could bet on there being a version of "White Coral Bells" sung in a round.  We can't help it, we just love to sing. I for one have always felt that it went a lot deeper than just singing as a family. More like a love of singing was deep in my DNA.  The Edwards surname originated along the border of England and Wales, and it's also well-known that the people of Wales love to sing.  So although I have no historical proof, my own feeling has always been that it's the Welsh in me.  And that singing is something that stays with a  person of Welsh ancestry, no matter the years or the miles removed from Wales. This was kind of confirmed for me last nig

Garden Update

I've been remiss in not mentioning how my garden is doing lately, so I thought I should give a quick shout out and share a couple of photos.  First, my garden is doing, as they say, "absolutely mahvelous".  My two cherry tomato plants have grown so tall that they are now scraping the top of the balcony and bending over.  My cucumber plant has taken over and crept and clung to over half of the railing.  My pepper plants must be close to 4 feet high (no pepper nubs yet, but I keep hoping), my strawberry plant is lush and gorgeous, and my basil has already supplied me with a batch of basil-walnut pesto. This weekend, I even harvested some cucumbers and some tomatoes, and I'm expecting many more of each.  Bring it on!