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Showing posts from 2015

Shout Out to My New Ward

I would be very remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my new ward, for their remembrances of me this week. My visiting teachers left me some goodies and a card, my Home Teacher and his wife came by with some yummy banana bread from Great Harvest, and the Relief Society President dropped off some lotion and a nice note. It was all very thoughtful. Let's face it - as many, many people can attest, "Single" in a "Family" church can often be pretty awkward. Who do you sit with in Sacrament meeting? How do you relate to young Moms and Dads when you feel like you don't have anything in common? Who do you socialize with, etc.? Which is why I stayed in Singles wards for a very long time - I didn't want to face those awkward questions. But the last birthday kind of forced the issue for me, and so here I am. And God bless them, this ward has made an effort, and I'm very grateful.  I perhaps don't show it like I should - I tend to be pretty closed o

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning dawned cold and greeted the Wasatch Front with a major snowstorm. To the accompaniment of some old Christmas movies on TCM, I opened my gifts. My family was very kind and overly generous with me this year. My youngest brother and awesome Sister-in-law #2 gave me a fitbit, which I love, and have been dutifully wearing ever since (I even got in my 10,000 steps yesterday). One of my sisters and her girls gave me a new pair of snow boots, which came in pretty handy the last couple of days. Hooray for cute boots and perfect timing! My youngest sister sent me a Racko game and a pretty puzzle. I had a pleasant day yesterday working on the puzzle. And the game was a very welcome addition to my small collection. Now I just need to have family and friends over so we can play it.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, as has become my tradition, I attended the Christmas Eve Carol Service at the Cathedral of the Madeline. It is a highlight of the Christmas Season for me, and it allows me an opportunity to meditate and feel the Spirit, and participate in the music. And I always seem to meet the nicest people. This year my friend Cindy, who is from Taiwan, joined me. And we ended up sitting next to a very nice man, who visited with us, and even invited us back for Christmas Mass, and for Easter Services next year. After the service, I thanked him for letting us join him and wished him a Merry Christmas, to which he gave me a big hug. After the service, I hurried home to pick up my contributions to our Christmas Eve feast, and headed over to my Brother's family's house - Awesome Sister-in-law #1 had prepared a fabulous meal. After dinner, the niece and nephew treated us to a wonderful program. My nephew played some Christmas hymns on the keyboard, and my niece told

First Day at the Temple

Yesterday, I began my service as an ordinance worker at the Salt Lake Temple. I was terribly nervous beforehand, and part of me wanted to call and say I wouldn't be coming after all. But I knew I needed to be there, and dutifully got myself down to the temple.  And I needn't have worried. I got there in time to get my name tag, change my clothes, and get to the chapel in time for a Preparation Meeting/Christmas Devotional from the Temple President and Matron. Then it was on my way. I was whisked downstairs to the training room, given a few instructions, and posted to several different spots to stand and direct people, and encourage reverence. Since it was my first day, they only had me work for a few hours. But come January 2nd, I'll be working my regular Saturday shift. As a bonus, several other friends and acquaintances also serve there at the same time, so I was able to catch up and have some mini-reunions. It was a nice day, and despite an aching lower back, and sor

MoTab Christmas 2015

Friday night, Mac's Angels got together for our annual trek to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert at the Conference Center. The guest artists were Broadway Star Laura Osnes, British Actor Martin Jarvis, and soloists from the Metropolitan Opera Company. The performances were beautiful and inspiring, and the special tribute to Handel's Messiah was a special highlight for me. It was a beautiful evening, with wonderful music, perfect weather, and good friends to share it with.

Sharing Goodness

It isn't often, but today I feel like I did a little good in the world. This is in no way meant to blow my own horn, but I use it as an example of how small things can make you feel really good. The other day, there was a report in the news that a local pastry shop, owned by Middle Easterners, had been vandalized in a manner suggesting a "hate" crime. I find things like this to be quite disturbing. I have friends and acquaintances who are Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and non-believers. They are all good people. I try to honor and respect their beliefs, and would hope they would do the same for me. So when I heard about this, I was very saddened, and it weighed heavy on my mind. Overnight I came to the conclusion that I needed to go into that shop today, and make a purchase, to show my support, and to sort of fight back against the hate. So this morning, after I finished my other errands, I made my way down to the said pastry shop, went inside, and place

Happy Baby Nephew

Awesome Sister-in-law #2 sent me a picture of little H2 playing with the stuffed doggie I got him when he was born. Isn't he adorable? He's such a happy baby, and that smile just makes me want to drop everything and jump on a plane and go cuddle with him.

Shepherd Boy

Little J was asked to portray a shepherd boy in his ward's "Night in Bethlehem" party. Is he not just the cutest thing ever? If this doesn't get you in the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will.  

Holiday Music

I'm not much for listening to the radio anymore. I can't stand the commercials, and how my favorite stations constantly change formats. And I haven't even broken out my old and tired Christmas CD's this year. But after waking up in a funk the last couple of Saturdays, I felt it was important to try and get in the Christmas spirit.  Which leads me to give a shout out to my new Roku streaming stick, where I was able to stream the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (#MoTab) Channel  on YouTube, and re-watch the last several Christmas concerts (which, on a side note, makes me super excited for this year's concert which I'll be attending on Friday).   I also listened to the 24/7 Christmas music stream on #MormonChannel. Now normally, I avoid this, because I'm just not much of a fan of the sappy LDS pop music that's out there. So it was with some trepidation that I even turned it on. But come to find out, it was more than just LDS artists - they even had a little Nat

One Last Job

After the ward party, we came back to my house, and while the kids watched a movie, Awesome Sister-in-law #1 helped me with one last job, that of putting up the new bathroom mirror. I think it looks great!

Christmas Festivities

What a crazy and busy week it has been. A lot of fun stuff, but a bit stressful, and definitely exhausting. Tuesday was the Relief Society Christmas Social, and since I was singing with the choir, there was several hours of rehearsal over several weeks, and by the time the performance arrived, our voices we were pretty spent. But it was a successful evening, and fun to visit with the ladies in my ward. Wednesday was the Easton Community Open House, which I hosted. I've done this for a couple of years now, to continue the tradition set by one of the residents who passed away, who had done this for many years. Several of the neighbors attended, and it was a pleasant time, and a good way to build friendships and good feelings. Thursday was the SelectHealth company party at the Utah Olympic Oval. I don't normally attend company parties - as a single person, it's just awkward. But after a lot of razzing from my team, I managed to get to this one. It ended up being nice - a

More Renovations

Last week saw the last of the home renovations for this year. The window company came and replaced the last of the windows, as well as the downstairs shower door, and removed the old bathroom mirror. Unfortunately, removing the old windows did a number on the window casings, which was not unexpected. So there will need to be some work done there. But at least all the windows are done, and the downstairs bathroom is halfway there.

Wyoming Thanksgiving

I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving with my Sister's family in Wyoming this year. They live in a tiny town, and although it was bitterly cold outside, it was nice to spend the holiday in the wide open spaces, with the big beautiful sky, and have some quality bonding time with my nephew. I loved it! Playing pool at my brother-in-law's brother's house. And yes, I made the shot. More pool action Little J riding a horsey Little J with his Aunt and his cousin. His cousin is 19 or 20 now, but has cerebral palsy, and is unable to communicate. But they love each other and Little J adores him. Putting up the live Christmas tree One of the ladies in Little J's ward gave him an old electric Christmas train set, that we put up around the tree. He absolutely loved it. We also went to visit the Heart Mountain Relocation Center museum, did a little Christmas shopping, went to a family movie, and played a lot of games.  We sure had a lo


For the last couple of years, I've gone way down on my cable subscription. Comcast is just getting so expensive and the prices keep going up. But let's face it, I miss my sports and my old movies.  Last week I joined a streaming service called SlingTV. For $20 a month you can get ESPN, and several other channels. And for an additional $5 a month, you can get TCM and some other movie channels. If I add up my cable bill, with my Netflix subscription, and throw in SlingTV, it still ends up being a cheaper monthly alternative than a premium Comcast package.  You get fewer channels, but ones that I'm more likely to watch. So I purchased a 3 month subscription, which also got me a free Roku streaming stick.  I plugged the streaming stick in to the TV downstairs, and the idea is that you launch the SlingTV app using the Roku remote, and then you can browse and watch your purchased channels. Unfortunately, my streaming DVD player upstairs doesn't have the SlingTV app. But I

Tracie Meets Al Fox Carraway

After getting home from the temple, I decided I had better head down to the Distribution Center and see about getting some temple shoes. They tell me that standing and walking all day in my temple slippers just won't do. The Distribution Center gives a 50% discount on shoes for new ordinance workers, so that seemed to be the thing to do. While I was there I also bought a pretty new temple bag, so I'm all set for my first day. The Distribution Center I go to is combined with Deseret Book, and turns out that Al Fox Carraway was there yesterday doing a book signing. I follow her on Twitter, and love her comments. She's a pretty popular youth speaker, and now author. I bought a signed copy of her book, and was able to get a picture with her. How cool was that?!

Temple Worker Update

Yesterday I went to the temple and met with one of the counselors in the Temple Presidency and his wife to review my ordinance application and select a schedule. It was a brief conversation, and they were most adamant that the schedule be every week, and the same shift. There are three shifts to choose from. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to handle getting up at 3:30 every Saturday morning, and that I still wanted to enjoy some social life, I chose the mid-day Saturday shift, which goes from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I start on Saturday January 2nd. He immediately set me apart, we completed some paperwork, and then I was whisked out of his office for a photo, and a brief tour of some of the ordinance worker facilities (locker rooms, prayer meeting rooms, study room, etc.). The sisters on the mid-day shift were delighted to know I'm coming - It's the busiest shift of the entire week and I guess is a bit difficult to fill. It was quite a whirlwind, but thankfully my friend Re

New Carpet!

The long-awaited new carpet finally arrived on Friday. Hooray!  The installers did a terrific job, and I couldn't be more pleased. Especially since it looks so good with the new laminate in the dining room. The only problem is that now every time I go downstairs, I can't stand the old carpet that's still down there. 

The Senoritas Love Him!

Awesome Sister-in-law #2 sent me this cute photo of my newest nephew wearing the onesie I gave him when he was born. I think it's safe to say that the statement on the outfit is most definitely true!

More Temple Time

Last Sunday, I worked with the Bishop, and submitted my application to serve as an Ordinance Worker in the Salt Lake Temple. I have several friends that are ordinance workers, and they've been really working on me to get me to do it. And now that I have an extra day off every other week, I have a little more free time, and no more excuses. This will be something useful to fill that extra time with, and bring some extra peace to my often anxiety-riddled life. I'm very excited, although a little nervous. The temple called me a few days later, and I have an appointment this next weekend to meet with one of the temple presidency members and his wife for a final review, and scheduling. I'm hoping to start there after the first of the year.

New Flooring

Had new laminate flooring installed in my dining room on Friday. Luckily I was able to work from home that day so I could oversee the work effort. The installers did a great job, and finished the job in around 2 1/2 hours. It looks awesome, and I love it (although it's not quite a match with my existing cabinets, but that will be rectified one day when I finally tear them down and remodel the kitchen).

ITIL Certification

Spent three days this week in ITIL training. ITIL is an international standard for managing technology services, and all Intermountain Information Systems employees (SelectHealth is part of Intermountain) are required to complete the training. And not just get the training, but to take and pass the accompanying certification exam, And it all has to be done within their first year of employment. I've been at SelectHealth for almost 9 months now, so there was additional pressure involved to make sure I could get the training in time. Thankfully, an opportunity finally opened up, and I was able to get in one. The training was mind-numbing. By the end of each day, I was just about ready to gouge my eyes out. Despite the difficulty of the exam, I passed (barely), and I live to work another day for SelectHealth. Plus, I get a little extra padding on my resume and LinkedIn profile. Go me!

Pizza Bender

On a lighter note, my friend Stephanie and I met up for lunch on Friday, and went to a little Italian joint called Italian Village. They have a lunch special there that they call a "Pizza Bender", which is basically a large calzone, stuffed with your choice of toppings. If you get the special, for about $10 the Bender comes with a salad, garlic bread, and a drink. It's fun, and tasty, and has plenty of cheesy goodness. Yum!

Choosing to Believe

There's been a lot of controversy going on this weekend about some recent church policy announcements. There's been plenty of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on both sides, some from LDS and some from not. Times like this are uncomfortable, and often hurtful. Like many, I've been praying and pondering, reading scriptures and conference talks, and spending time in the temple to make sense of it all. This morning I woke up with a song from "The Prince of Egypt" going through my head. It seems to go along very well with the scripture our family has been ponderizing this week, as well as what I've been trying to do in particular this weekend. For any of my LDS friends who are disturbed by any of this, I invite you to ponderize this verse, and the song lyrics, and choose to believe. "For if there be no  faith  among the children of men God can do no  miracle  among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith." (Ether 12:12

Temple Devotional

Last Sunday, I was fortunate to be a guest at a devotional held for Salt Lake Temple workers. I don't work at the temple (yet), but got to tag along with Angel. The devotional was held in the Assembly room, which I had never been in before. It's a lovely large room, with a balcony, and several rostrums in front and back, representing the priesthood offices. The idea being that those presiding or participating, sit at their level of priesthood office, and conduct the meeting from there. It was fascinating. We were fortunate to have Elder Quentin L. Cook presiding at the devotional, so he sat at different rostrum level than some of the other officers. It was a wonderful meeting (although stifling - there's no a/c in that room). It was conducted by Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, who is the current President of the temple. Several former General Authorities, and Temple Presidents were also in attendance. There was also a choir comprised of some of the temple workers. We heard from

House Prep

Finally got around to taking care of a small home project yesterday. It may not seem like much, but I got out the epoxy, and repaired the broken tile on one of the kitchen cabinets. I think the work looks pretty good, despite me getting a little of the epoxy on the cabinet.  One day, all of the kitchen cabinets will come down anyway, but for now, it's nice to have it all back in one piece. Also, in preparation for the new flooring that's coming, I moved all the dining room furniture downstairs, along with some of the living room and bedroom furniture. The laminate gets installed this Friday the 13th, and the new carpet on Friday the 20th. So the upstairs will look a little less than inviting for a couple of weeks. But after that it'll all be back in one piece. Can't wait!

Temple Friday

Friday was my flex day, and knowing that the next day would be pretty busy, I headed down to the Salt Lake Temple that morning to do some initiatory. It was a cold and a gray day, but as always, the temple was lovely, and a great way to take away the gloomy day.

Outside Mullingar

Monday evening, I got together with my pals Cyndee, Rebekah, and Robin for Family Home Evening at the Pioneer Theater. We saw a play called "Outside Mullingar", and Irish play about a couple of middle-aged singles trying to come together over the period of several years. It was very funny, very Irish, and very enjoyable. We had a great time!

New Calling

Last week I was asked to meet with one of the Bishopric Counselors, who called me to be a Sunday School Teacher, specifically to the 13-year-olds. To say I was a little shocked and nervous is an understatement. I don't know a lot of teens anymore, and I don't know any of the kids in the neighborhood. Thankfully I'll have a co-teacher, and hopefully she and I will get along. Lessons apparently are done differently now, with the "Come Follow Me" guide, so that may take some getting used to. The first thing I did afterwards was send a text to my teenage nieces, asking for their advice. The almost 16-year-old replied back and suggested that I take the first 10 minutes of class to talk about what's going on in their lives and how their week went, to get the energy and chattiness out. The 17-year-old suggested to get to know the kids, allow for discussions, and ask the kids to do presentations, or summarize, or apply it to their lives. Such great advice from both

Halloween 2015

Halloween fell on a Saturday this year, but for those of us that work during the week, the celebration came a little earlier than normal and arrived on Friday. My previous employer really went all out for the occasion, but I wasn't sure what to expect for my first SelectHealth Halloween. I needn't have worried though. Folks dressed up, a party was held, kids and parents came trick-or-treating, and fun was had by all. And similar to my last job, not a lot of work got done. (Yours truly, dressed as Rosie the Riveter) (With members of our Reporting team, Rachel, Leila,  and Leila's daughter) After work, the family came over for dinner. I made taco soup, and then the niece and nephew helped me make a bowl of Grandma Edwards's monster mash, which we chowed on while watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Halloween hijinks indeed!

An Autumn Haiku

I leave work a little later in the evening these days, and one of the highlights of my drive home is to see the autumn colors on the Wasatch mountains. At that time of day, the light is just beginning to dim, and it creates a beautiful warm glow on the mountains. Today in particular, they were quite breathtaking, and I had to do something creative to remember the experience. I don't usually consider myself very creative, but I felt a little inspired this evening, and so I present you with a haiku (it's easier than trying to paint or draw or get out a glue gun).  The mountains ablaze Glowing embers of autumn Setting me afire What do you think?

Temple Saturday

It was a special treat to be at the Jordan River temple yesterday, as I was invited to attend the sealing of my dear friends Joe and Carma to their baby daughter. They have two kids they've adopted, and they were already sealed to their son last year. And yesterday their eternal family became complete. Family sealings are always so touching, and such a testimony to how the Lord brings families together. The ceremony was beautiful, and the entire family looked great. I'm so glad I could witness it.

Company 5K

Friday evening was the company 5K, and most of my team and their families made the effort to participate. The weather was perfect, and the route took us through the neighborhoods around the main building. We ended up finishing in about 45 minutes. Here we all are at the Finish line (l to r: Dave, his daughter and son, Robin, me, Tiffany, her boyfriend Scott, Sudhir, Bindu, and their daughter Naomi) After the 5K, I decided I needed a post-race recovery meal, and got myself down to the local DQ for a pumpkin pie blizzard.


I've been thinking about some of the work that still needs to be done on the Holladay Inn, and some changes to make before the end of the year. So Friday, I had the glass company in to measure for replacing the remaining old windows. I should get the quote back this week, and hopefully in a couple of weeks, new windows in the downstairs bedrooms. At the same time, I've been thinking a lot about what rough shape the carpet is in. So Friday afternoon, I went down to RC Willey, and ordered carpet and laminate flooring. The laminate will replace the carpet in the dining room, and then the old carpet in the rest of the upstairs and on the stairs will be replaced. I probably could have got a better deal from another company, but RC Willey will also do the install, and move the furniture, and guarantee the job. So I went with the convenience and the guarantee. They'll be here next Saturday to measure, and schedule the install. Here are photos of the laminate I decided on, as w

A Thought from the Book of Mormon

I had a thought while I was reading my Book of Mormon yesterday. I was reading in Alma 54, where Captain Moroni, and the Lamanite King Ammoron, a dissenter from the Nephites, are trying to negotiate an exchange of prisoners. For some reason I was struck by verse 4, where it refers to the "servant of Ammoron", who had delivered Ammoron's epistle to Moroni. I got to wondering about this servant, who he was, and why he might have been selected to deliver the message. And the thought occurred to me, almost as if I could see the scene playing out in my head, that this was a young man who was known to Moroni previously, and that he had at one time been a faithful follower of Christ, but that he'd been influenced by the flattering words of Ammoron and his brother Amalackiah, had dissented and eventually joined the Lamanites. He'd been selected to deliver the message because of his previous association with Moroni. Ammoron hoped to gain some intelligence, and get Moroni t

Relief Society Activity

I wanted to give a shout out this morning to Relief Society. This last Tuesday, I went to my first Relief Society activity in my new ward. It was at the home of one of the Presidency members, and we sat and had a lively discussion about all of the General Conference messages. It ended up being a great evening, and gave me an opportunity to meet many of the sisters. The nice sister who hosted also sent everyone home with a bag of orchard apples, which was an awesome fall treat.  I think it was a good first step to getting involved in the ward. 

Fall Drive

Yesterday afternoon, Inge and I took a drive to see the fall leaves. It had been such a beautiful morning, but by the time we left, the weather had turned, and it ended up being a pretty blustery afternoon. But we we made the attempt anyway. Our first stop was Midway. We drove all around town, and quite a ways up in to Wasatch Mountain State Park.  Then it was on in to Heber City, making a quick stop at our favorite hole in the wall, Granny's Drive-In for a thick shake.  After leaving Granny's, we made our way back down the mountain by way of Provo Canyon, stopping off at a couple of pretty spots to get some photos, one of them being Bridal Veil Falls, which I hadn't seen since college.  We ended our day by stopping in at Ikea for some Swedish Meatballs (in my case it was the veggie "meat"balls with a sweet potato puree "gravy") and veggies from the cafeteria. Tasty!