Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

Post-Christmas Fun

One of my goals for this two weeks off was to make sure I got to the temple, and I'm happy to say I was able to make that happen. Friday morning I attended a session at the Jordan River Temple, and was grateful for the opportunity. Sometimes the day after Christmas can be quite a let down after all the festivities leading up to the Big Day. But being able to attend the temple the day after certainly helped to keep the good feelings going. Later I came home and binged on one of my favorite detective series on Netflix. Later I met up with Inge for another new movie, this time it was "Into The Woods", a sort of a fractured fairytale musical featuring The Baker and his Wife, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood, all in the same story. Since I'm a sucker for musicals, I totally enjoyed it. 

Christmas 2014

Christmas morning dawned and Northern Utahans awoke to whiteness. It was our first snow in the valley this year, and it continued to snow off and on throughout the day. I put on some Christmas music and opened my presents (Hooray for my new Ninja blender!), and had a bit of a lazy morning. After a quick phone call to wish my Gram and other Iowa relatives a Merry Christmas, I drove over to my brother's to see all the gifts and hang out for a few hours. We munched on fresh veggies and chips and dip, while my brother and I watched a movie, Awesome Sister-in-law #1 worked a new puzzle, the kids played with all their new toys and games, and the cat slept off the canned food and catnip Santa left for her. More phone calls to visit with one of my sisters and her girls, and a quick visit with the Madre, then I headed off to meet Inge at the Broadway Theater to catch a new movie. After the show, we went for a non-traditional Christmas dinner at The House of Dim Sum (to quote the

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas Eve is normally reserved for my Spiritual celebration, and as has become my annual, not-to-be-missed tradition, I went to the Christmas Eve Carol Service at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Inge joined me, and we enjoyed the company of some nice people that we met and visited with while we waited for the service to start. The service was beautiful as always, with carols sung by the Cathedral Choir, and readings from the scriptures, and plenty of congregational singing. We left the Cathedral filled with the Spirit and glad tidings of great joy. From there, I drove over to spend the rest of the evening with my brother's family. Awesome Sister-in-law #1 made a fantastic Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and my niece and nephew wrote notes to Santa and put out some goodies for him and the reindeer. They were both pretty excited, and even their Calico Kittie got in on the excitement. To close out the evening, my brother and the kids told the Christmas Stor

Happy Hanukkah!

The Hanukkah celebration began this week. Since I'm fairly certain I have Jewish ancestry on my Great Grandmother Muzzy's side, I thought it might add a fun and spiritual dimension to my celebrations this year. So I went to the craft store, and in lieu of finding an actual Menorah, I bought some candles, and arranged them in a menorah-like arrangement. If you're not familiar with the story, it's starts with a revolt by the Jews, led by the Maccabees, against their Greek rulers. The Greeks had enacted laws that outlawed the practice of the Hebrew religion, and had also desecrated the temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees eventually drove the Greeks out of Jerusalem, and cleansed the temple, rededicating it. Most of the holy anointed oil was gone, but they found one vial with enough oil left in it to light the temple lamps for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted for the entire 8 days of dedication. And in celebration of the miracle of the oil, the Festival of Hanukkah

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I've been trying to find a way to use the last of the canned pumpkin, and I found this recipe this morning for Pumpkin Coffee Cake, courtesy of Nestle. It takes a long time to bake, but it turned out really good (e.g. DELISH) and went down really well with some cuties and some homemade hot cocoa, especially on this cold and rainy morning. STREUSEL TOPPING: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts COFFEECAKE: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 cup Pumpkin Puree 1 teaspoon vanilla extract PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 9-inch round cake pan.  FOR STREUSEL TOPPING: COMBINE flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until

New 'Do

You may have noticed from the pictures in the previous posts, that Tracie has a new hairdo. My previous stylist decided to change salons, and since I wanted to stay with this salon, I went to a new stylist the other day. And now - I have BANGS! I haven't had a chance to do it myself yet, so we'll see what it looks like after I do that this morning. But so far I really like it. And I think I'm going to stick with this stylist for awhile. She was super nice, and I felt like we were on the same page.

MoTab, Muppets, and Santino Fontana

Last evening I was fortunate to attend this years Christmas Concert presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is a beloved annual tradition for me. Every year, I sign up for the ticket lottery, and every year I'm denied. But something always works out where a friend has an extra ticket and I'm able to go.  This year's special guests were the Sesame Street Muppets (featuring Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby, and Rosita), and Santino Fontana (singing voice of evil Prince Hans in the movie "Frozen"). It was a little kids dream performance, and even us grown-ups thought it was fabulous! Choir and organ pipes - before the show Tracie and Saucie (pay no attention to the lady photobombing us in the background) The big yellow dude in the middle is the one and only Big Bird!

True Womanhood

True confession time - I watch TV on Sundays. My Sunday morning begins every week with "CBS Sunday Morning", a normally classy show that reports on arts and culture. Those words should give you an idea of the demographic for the show - it's not generally for the tacky and classless. But lately, there's been a commercial being aired during the show, that frankly, is completely tacky, and classless at it's best, and mysoginistic and exploitative at it's worst. And it's all done in the name of selling hamburgers. It represents womanhood in the most foul and insulting way possible. And I've made a solemn vow that I will not patronize that business ever. I contrast this with some really terrific examples of young womanhood that I have recently been fortunate to witness. First, I was blessed to attend last evening's Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with two fine young returned sister missionaries. They were beautiful, modest, full of joy, and full of


Latter-day Saints are asked to fast once a month. The idea being that we go without food or drink for 24 hours, and the money we would have spent on that is to go to the poor via what's called a "fast offering". I'm a true believer and all, but in the spirit of true confessions, fasting is something I struggle with. The prophet Isaiah talked about the law of the fast, and how it would fill us with joy and with the Spirit, and this was later reiterated by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Even though I believe this, and have seen blessings as a result of it, still I struggle. I take medications that make it necessary for me to stay well-hydrated, so for several years, I kind of gave up on the Law of the Fast. But I slowly realized that I needed more of the Spirit in my life, and so over the last few years, I've tried to show a little more faith. And by doing so, I've found a way of keeping to the spirit of the law in a way that works for me when I

The Nutcracker 2014 - Girls Day Out

Several weeks ago, Awesome Sister-in-Law #1 got tickets for us girls to go see a matinee of The Nutcracker. So early yesterday afternoon, I got all dressed up in my Holiday finest and she and the niece picked me up and we headed downtown to the Capitol Theater for a girls day out. We arrived at the theater, and the house was packed with lots of Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Aunties and kids. My niece was a little on the shy side at first, but that soon wore off. We looked around at all the fancy furnishings, took a few photos, and got to our seats, and it was cute to see her taking it all in. And as soon as the show began, she was totally engaged in everything that was going on onstage. I was giddy just seeing how much fun she was having, and enjoyed the ballet more than I ever have before. It was great! After the show, we headed over to Gourmandise, my favorite bakery, for an after-the-show treat. It was tough to choose between so many awesome-looking goodies, but my niece f

Share The Gift

I received my December issue of the Ensign Magazine the other day, and in it, Elders Nelson and Bednar, members of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reminded us that this Season is about the gift of God's son. They also encouraged us to share that message with others online, using the hashtag #ShareTheGift. In light of that reminder, I'd like to share the following photo I took several years ago at the San Diego Temple. "God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son." (from The Living Christ). #ShareTheGift

Decking the Holladay Inn

Spent some time this weekend decking the halls of Tracie's Holladay Inn. Since decking the halls is quite a process (it usually involves moving furniture around, and hauling tubs out from the cupboard under the stairs), it always seems to take more energy than I usually have. So this year, I did a little bit at a time. I started on Friday, doing all of the aforementioned, and put away the Thanksgiving decorations, then got out the Christmas ones, all while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" (only the original one with Maureen O'Hara will do). Then yesterday morning, I got up early to put up and decorate the tree. My living room is pretty small, and unless I want to get rid of a sofa, I don't have room for a full-size tree. But a few years ago I found a little 4 foot tree at Michael's, and it's been just perfect for me. So there I was yesterday morning, putting my little tree together, and hanging ornaments, all while listening to the Comcast Holiday Music

Thanksgiving 2014

Lots to be grateful for in the year 2014, but what with finances being the way they are, I decided not to travel anywhere for Thanksgiving. I stayed home and kept to my usual traditions - I watched the Macy's parade, made a bad-for-me breakfast, and visited on the phone with my family. But instead of a homemade meal, I got together with my girls Inge and Julie, and Julie's Mom, and went out to dinner. We had a lovely meal at a restaurant called Buca di Beppo. Although it's an Italian chain, they served a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, with all the trimmings. This is the second year in a row I've Thanksgivinged at Buca. I guess it's the beginning of a tradition.  After dinner, Inge and I drove over to The Gateway, which isn't near as busy as it used to be since City Creek Mall opened a few blocks further into downtown. We enjoyed a lovely stroll to work off our delightful meal, and then saw the movie "Interstellar", which I highly recommend.

How We Got to Now

Years ago, I had an acquaintance tell me that of the people she thought of, I was the one most likely to have been a pioneer. This is probably due to my penchant for planning and preparedness and for having lots of gear. But little did she know. Because if you know me well at all, you know I'm all about the comforts of 20th and 21st century life. I've said many times that if there were one person or group of people I could meet when I get to heaven, it would be whoever invented central heat, central air, and indoor plumbing. Which leads me to my new TV obsession, a PBS series called "How We Got to Now". If you haven't been watching it, you are seriously missing out, because it is the definition of "must-see TV". It's hosted by a guy who writes about ideas and innovation, and takes the viewer through some of the great innovations that changed human life and history. Things like how we got to central heat, central air, and indoor plumbing, and wha


I got up early yesterday morning thinking of all the things that needed doing yesterday. With the time change happening last week, I'd been trying to get home before dark, so I hadn't run some of the errands I normally would. Anyhoo - I woke up early, had my devotional time, worked out, made breakfast, and then sat down to watch this week's episode of "Finding Your Roots" while I ate. That kind of got me thinking on one of my great-great grandmothers, so I thought I'd jump on the Ancestry app real quick. I use the term real-quick real loosely. Because two hours later, I had added a bunch to my family tree in Ancestry, and learned quite a bit about her and her husband's ancestors. My great-great grandmother was named Rose Strein. She was the only child of Augustus C. Strein, who was from Hesse, Germany, and Kate (or Christena) Ellenberger, whose parents were also from Germany. According to the 1870 census, old Augustus was a Saloon Proprietor in Kansas Ci

The Monty is Back!

After 3 weeks, two auto shops, roughly $1,500, and lots of prayers from family and friends, I'm happy to report that the Monty is finally recovered and back to it's normal aging self. Hallelujah! I took it in to Les Schwab one last time on Monday to see if replacing the fuses would help. Alas, they didn't. The cabin lights were now working, which was a definite plus, but the Technicians were still completely flummoxed by the Anti-Lock Brake light. After talking it over with the lead guy, I happened to mention in passing that I'd had it come on before when in 4-wheel drive, and the front brakes were bad. Funny I should mention that he said, as they were getting a code on the 2-wheel drive to 4-wheel drive switch. He went back to out to the shop, drove it around the lot, switched into 4-wheel and back again, and voila! The light went off. WooHoo! Of course, when the ABS light went off, the check engine light came on. But a quick reset of the computer showed there was

Tracie Meets Mike Holmes

I'm sure you're all aware of my love for a certain Canadian HGTV Host named Mike Holmes. I love his shows, I follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and I've even been known to dream about him coming to my house to "Make it Right". I'm just perhaps a wee bit obsessed. So imagine my delight when I saw his tweet early Friday morning that he would be at a free event in Salt Lake on Saturday. Of course I signed up right then and there. Monty or no, I was going to get a chance to meet and get a photo with Mike Holmes. After all my discouragement of the previous few weeks, this was another boost to my low spirits. My friend Heather is also a huge fan of his, and she met me early yesterday morning at the Sheraton Downtown for the big event. And Mike did not disappoint. He took a photo with everyone, said hi, asked our names, and was just as friendly as can be. He also spoke about "Making it Right". Of course, there's always a catch when you get

Halloween 2014

You all know what a huge fan I am of Halloween, but with the all the drama going on with the Monty, I didn't focus much on Halloween this year. I just didn't have the desire or the creativity. I took the day off to try one more time with the car, but since that didn't pan out, I ran a few errands, and then spent the rest of the afternoon watching a funny movie.  But that night I headed over to the Brother's house to spend the evening with the family, and it was a huge boost to my spirits. Awesome Sister-in-law #1 made homemade pizza, the kids got all dressed up (the niece was Merida from "Brave", and the nephew was Darth Vader), and she and I took them trick-or-treating while the Brother stayed home to hand out the goodies. The weather was glorious, and we had a great time. I'm so grateful to have them here!

Car Drama

And - we're back. So I've been gone a few weeks, traveling some, trying to keep up with work, and dealing with car drama. The day before I left for a trip to Atlanta, I got a be in my bonnet to go get the Monty's oil changed. It had been maybe six months, and it was time. I took it down to the local Burt Brothers that I've been going to for several years, walked in and requested said oil change. To which the friendly staffer asked if I wanted them to rotate the tires while they were at it. It would all only take an hour and the tire rotation would be free. So of course I said sure. And in the words of Julia Roberts, let's just that it  was a "...big mistake. Huge!" Because right after that, it all went to H-E-double in the proverbial handbasket. After an hour, one of the guys comes back to me and says that in trying to take the wheels off, some of the studs broke off on two of the wheels. This was going to cost me $75 per wheel for the labor, which th

Big Trip 2014 - Ontario and Niagara Falls

Our time in Ontario was spent along the shores of Lake Ontario, at Sandbanks Provincial Park. It's pretty much a series of sand dunes and beaches, right on the lake. The day we were there was very cold and windy. I had to hang on to a post, just to make sure I didn't get blown away. We ate lunch at a Canadian chain called Tim Horton's. Tim Horton's is pretty much everywhere, even the little towns. It's kind of like a cross between a Dunkin Donuts and a sandwich shop. From the Sandbanks, we eventually made our way to the Niagara area. We stopped first in a village called Niagara on the Lake. It's a pretty little town, although a little on the pretentious side, with overpriced fancy shops and such, and a fancy historic Prince of Wales hotel. I didn't get a photo of the hotel, because the current Prince of Wales kind of gives me the creeps. However, we did stop at a shack that sold organic fruits and vegetables and other