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Showing posts from 2017

Christmas Time is Here at the Holladay Inn

I spent far too much time yesterday being bummed about not having tickets to the MoTab Christmas concert, so I tried various ways to keep myself occupied and in the Christmas spirit anyway. I sent some Christmas cards, and made some visiting teaching and neighbor deliveries. I also put up the tree, which I'd been avoiding doing because of how his royal highness is bigger than the tree.  Unfortunately, as soon as it was up, he started eating it and licking the lights, so although it is up, it's in my bedroom instead of the living room as normal.   (The tree in the bedroom) (Toby moping because I moved the tree) I also spent a few hours making our traditional family recipe molasses cookies and homemade vanilla frosting.  And I had a mini Christmas movie marathon - introducing Toby to "Christmas in Connecticut", "The Santa Clause", and "Home Alone". I'm still bummed I didn't get to see the MoTab, but it ended up being a p

A Broadway Christmas

Had a fabulous evening Friday night with my friends Angel and Laura at the Utah Symhony! The guest performer was Brian Stokes Mitchell, who we love, and who put on an incredible performance. Such a fun Christmas activity!
Took my last final for the semester this week, and despite my best efforts to study and prepare, I received my worst score ever. I knew I had struggled in the class, and that I wouldn't do great, but the score was unexpected, and very deflating. Toby must have sensed it, because shortly after I got my results, he climbed up on my lap for a cuddle. What a sweet, albeit hefty, and spoiled, kitty.

Light the World

The LDS Church has been doing it's annual "Light the World" campaign, encouraging us to share our light in various ways over the Holidays. Although my efforts haven't necessarily coincided with the daily tips, I've been fortunate to have some opportunities to serve and to share, and to express gratitude for the miracles in my life. These opportunities have drawn my mind to the Savior, and to stories about how he served, healing the lame and the blind, and mourning with those who mourn, among others. It has been a blessing for me to think about and participate in. I love the story of "A Christmas Carol", and I think this sentiment from Tiny Tim and his father Bob Cratchit expresses best how I've been feeling: " He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to  them to remember upon Christmas-day who made lame beggars walk and blind men see."   I hope we can all

Another Funeral

Attended a funeral the other night for a friend of mine, Stephanie Burton, who was killed last week in a tragic accident. She was apparently on her way to see the Festival of Trees, and was killed while crossing the street in the crosswalk. A young man was driving along and failed to stop for the pedestrians. My friend was unfortunately one of the victims. We weren't super close - she had a large group of girlfriends known as "The Posse", and it was often hard to get past all of them. But we were friends, and she was a great gal. She was my Relief Society President for a time in one of the singles wards, and later on, my visiting teacher in another ward. Not only did she faithfully serve me and many others, she was also vivacious and fun and the life of every party. She lived life to the fullest. We are all completely stunned that she is not in our world anymore. It seems sometimes that those that are the best of the best are the ones who are taken from us, and it alw


This past Monday found several of us at Pioneer Theater for "Newsies: The Musical". If you remember the old movie, it's basically now in musical form. Some of the plot and characters have been changed - although what didn't work in the movie still doesn't work, despite the changes. But the songs and dances you loved in the movie are still there, and were incredible. All in all, a very fun evening at the theater.

Brigham City

The Saturday following Thanksgiving, Angel and I made our way to Brigham City, to attend the temple. It was a delightful day. Not only did we get to do a session there, but they were slow enough that we got to do some initiatory beforehand, which was a first for me, doing both in the same day. The temple is gorgeous, and such a great addition to that town. (Brigham City Historic Tabernacle, directly across the street) (Temple Spire - Holiness to the Lord) Afterwards, we stopped off at Maddox steakhouse for lunch (a tradition for anyone going to Brigham City). The salmon was amazing. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Giving Thanks, Giving Hope for Shriner's

One of my nephew's spent some time at Shriner's this year. All Shriner's services are free for the patients and their families, so ever since his experience, I've wanted to do something to give back to them. A week or so before Thanksgiving, I happened to be looking around on, and found the Giving Thanks, Giving Hope event, which is a 2k/5k/10k run/walk that's held annually on Thanksgiving, and all proceeds go to benefit Shriner's. It seemed like just the thing. Thanksgiving morning dawned bright and early, and beautiful. I met up with the good brother and awesome sister-in-law # 1 and their kids, and spent an hour or so walking along the Jordan River Trail, giving back to Shriner's. It was a ton of fun for a good cause, and I hope to make it an annual tradition.

The King's Singers

Had a marvelous time last night at BYU, attending a performance by one of our favorite groups, The King's Singers. I've seen them a number of times over the years, and they never ever disappoint, no matter the rotating lineup. The group was formed in 1968 at King's College, Cambridge University, so the lineup changes regularly. Most members remain with the group 10 or 15 years at a time. Some longer, and some less. But the quality of the music and the interaction with the audience is always amazing. And the current lineup is young and charming enough that it will last awhile. After the show, they did a meet and greet with audience members, and Angel and I got a chance to get an autograph and get a photo with each member. They were so friendly, and fun to visit with. It was a wonderful treat.

Coming to Christ at the Temple

Got myself to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple yesterday. It has become my temple of choice lately. I got there about 30 minutes before the session began, and with some time to spare, read from the Bible. I was reading in Luke, of how the Savior healed so many people of so many difficulties, despite constant interruption and discomfort. Some came to him with mental illnesses, and some with physical, and he healed them all. There were two stories in particular that really leaped out at me. One was the story in Luke 5:18-19, where the man sick with the palsy is brought to the Savior by his friends. And because they can't get into the house where the Savior is, they climb up onto the roof, and lower him through the ceiling. This required the faith of both the man, and his friends, as well as the charity and love of his friends who willingly and lovingly brought him to the Savior. The other one that got to me was Luke 8:27-39. In this story, a man with very severe mental illness, who thrash

Here Comes the Sun

My cousin Zach passed away this week. He was only 30, and it was very unexpected. Although our families lived far apart from each other, I had enough interaction with Zach over the years to feel close to him. He was a great kid. Zach loved music, and was a gofted musician and sound engineer. As I attended his memorial service yesterday in St. George (really Santa Clara, but close enough), it was mentioned several times that his favorite band was The Beatles. In fact, his brother-in-law and one of the nephews played an acoustic Beatles medley on their guitars. Zach would have loved that so much, and if he'd been there, would have either gotten up and jammed with them, or recorded it, or both. That got me to thinking about my favorite Beatles song, which is "Here Comes the Sun", off the "Abbey Road" album. It's a simple but brilliant song, talking about how the light of the sun makes the world warm up, winter go away, and eventually makes everything all ri

Iowa vs. Penn State

When people ask where I grew up, I always say "it's complicated". We lived in several places over the years, one of which was Iowa. When people really press me, I usually say that I'm from Iowa and Oregon. Even though we only lived in Iowa a few years, we have a lot of family there, and I've been back a number of times. Anyhoo - being as we were from Iowa, our family was always Iowa Hawkeyes fans. There were two college teams we always rooted for, BYU (it's a Mormon thing), and Iowa. To this day, I still root for Iowa. Despite this pedigree, I decided to go to Penn State to pursue my Grad program. And even though I've never set foot in Happy Valley, I've developed a certain fondness for it. So yesterday, when my Nittany Lions traveled to Iowa City to take on my beloved Hawkeyes, I was faced with a dilemma. Who to root for? This is how I solved it: I put on my gear, and rooted for both. It may seem that I was hedging my bets, and you

General Women's Meeting - October 2017

Last night was our semi-annual General Women's meeting, and I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend in the Conference Center with my friend Rebekah, and her friend Colleen. The talks from our Sister leaders and from President Uchtdorf were magnificent. It was such a wonderful evening. I can't wait for the rest of General Conference next weekend.

More with Toby

It's been a few weeks maybe since I last posted some Toby pictures. So here, for your viewing pleasure, I present some recent pictures. Apparently these are the only pictures I take anymore. This seems like it would be an uncomfortable position Taking a one-eyed nap Waving goodbye in the morning Giving the dreamy bedroom eyes look Don't bother me, I'm napping Hey, what you doing down there?

Huevos Rancheros

Temps this morning were in the 40's, and it felt like a perfect morning to cook up some Huevos Rancheros. I made mine similar to how I make shakshouka, only in this case, I used a can of black beans, some diced greed chilies, corn, and a few tomatoes, in a mole sauce. I sort of fudged on the mole sauce - I used mild enchilada sauce, and added a little bit of cocoa, cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin. Cooked that all up, then cracked in a couple of eggs. I served it all on a flour tortilla (I am all out of corn tortillas) that I had heated up in a frying pan. It was delicious! Hearty, and definitely took the chill away. Gonna have to make this more often.


Pulled out of my garage the other morning, after a stormy night, to see the most amazing rainbow. It was such a great way to start the day that I had to get a picture. Apparently it was on display for miles around, as I had multiple friends, some as far as Davis County, who all got pictures of it. 

Personal Progress

Recently, two sisters in my ward, grown women like myself, were awarded their Young Womanhood Recognition medallions in Sacrament Meeting. This medallion is (normally) given to young women who pursue a program of setting and achieving goals, known as Personal Progress. For those of use who are LDS, it's generally considered a coming of age accomplishment, sort of like getting your Eagle Scout Award. Now, in the spirit of true confessions, I never got my Young Womanhood award. I had an awful lot going on during my Junior High and High School years, and just never got around to it. When I first went to Ricks College, and then BYU, I did feel a little out of place for not having it, but after awhile, it didn't really matter anymore, or so I thought. But as I saw these ladies get their medallions, it sort of started to matter again. Well this week I found out there is good news. Any woman can indeed get it, as long as they pursue the program as outlined for the Young Women. So

New Entryway

The old lady across the hall fell and broke her hip a couple of months ago, and word came the other day that her children are moving out her things and will try to put her place on the market very soon. With that little tidbit of information, I decided it was high time for a total redo of our shared entry. I've been aching to do it for quite a long time now. I immediately tore out the old white table that was glued and nailed to the wall (with a little help from Cyndee), then went out and bought some decorations. I also ordered a new table from Amazon. I spent Labor Day putting the table together, and repairing the wall. I still need to install the new light fixture, and although the table's a bit large for the space, and the walls could use a coat of paint, I love how it's all come together so far. Hopefully this will warm up the entry, and make it more inviting for potential buyers.

Starving Kitty

A few weeks ago, Toby went to see the vet, to get all his shots updated. I wanted to make sure he was weighed, and I was really excited to see what progress we'd made with getting his weight under control the last few months. However, to our shock and dismay, he had gained two pounds, and was heavier than when I got him. The vet gave us a little proverbial slap on the hand, told us to get his weight under control, and off we went. We got home, and trying my best to be a responsible pet owner, I immediately went to work on cutting back his food. We tried 1/4 cup three times a day, but boy, he did not like that, and he let me know it. After a consult with awesome sister-in-law #1, I've settled in at 1/3 cup in the morning and before bedtime, and 1/4 for a later afternoon snack. He's done a little better on that regimen, but boy, has he been one unhappy kitty ever since. He stands at his empty bowl whining, and has even been known to whine at my door loud enough to wake me d


I've been reflecting this morning on this past summer, and what I have to show for it. Maybe it's that September is upon us, and that means summer is waning. Typically, there are a lot of fun outdoor activities to report on, but they have felt few and far between. In fact, for the most part, it's been a downright difficult few months, and I haven't paid much attention to anything else. One of my sisters and her family live in the Houston area, and we all know what Houston has been put through this past week. Devastating floods and other difficulties resulting from Hurricane Harvey have severely impacted her LDS ward, with many families losing homes and possessions. But at the same time, she has felt immensely blessed, and there's been a huge outpouring of support for their area. This has been so true for me as well during this last few months. Throughout all the difficulties, I've had the support of ward members, and friends, and family, and even stranger

Provo River Falls

On our way back down to Kamas, we stopped for a few minutes at River Falls. There are multiple rivers that have their source in the Uintas, and in this spot, it's the Provo River. The pictures don't really do it justice, but the water comes down almost like an escalator, and is very scenic. There's a boardwalk trail that goes long it and it was definitely worth the photo op.

Mirror Lake Diner

After having some issues with Cyndee's trusty stove on Friday night and an uncooperative fire, we decided to go with a cold camp yesterday morning. After breaking camp, we made our way down to Kamas, and the Mirror Lake Diner, where I loaded up on some tasty pancakes and hot chocolate. It was a fun little joint, with great service.

Tracie Goes Camping

When Cyndee and I were planning the Lofty Lake excursion, she said camping overnight might be fun. Now, I'm not normally much of a camper, but in what must have been a moment of not necessarily clear thinking, somehow I agreed to the idea. Now, I have (or thought I had) all the necessary camping gear, but I choose to store it for my apocalypse preparations, rather than ever get it out. Nevertheless, I dutifully packed up my gear and prepared for an overnight out. We found a spot in a beautiful small campground called Butterfly Lake. For me at least, we could not have been in a better or more scenic spot. It was so peaceful and serene, and just so pretty. And other than a tent that was too small for a 5 foot four inch grown woman, and being stuck all night in a mummy bag contraption that left me barely able to move, and being so cold I had on two pairs of socks, sweats, a long-sleeved shirt, a fleece jacket, and my trusty black beanie, and not sleeping the entire night, I enjoyed

Lofty Lake Trail

A couple of weeks ago, the Salt Lake Tribune posted their "Hike of the Week", which was a trail in the Uintas to Lofty Lake. The article made it sound amazing, and not too difficult. Plus, I had never spent any time in the Uintas.  It sounded like just the place for me to go to get away briefly from the stress of my work situation, and before the Fall Semester classes begin tomorrow. My pal Cyndee agreed to join me for the journey. Now, everything I had read online before rated the trail as "easy to moderate", and only a 4-mile round trip. However, when we arrived at the trailhead, there was a sign that said something along the lines of "The trail to Lofty Lake is steep and rocky at times", and rated it as moderate to difficult. Oy! Nevertheless, we started on our way.  The scenery was breathtaking, and the air was cool and fresh. But I have a bone to pick with the phrase "at times". I take that phrase to mean "occasionally". Howeve

Larry Crowne

About this same time last year, I was going through a rough spell, and after an extended period of thought and prayer, I decided to take a leap of faith. Thus began my Grad School journey. It was something I felt in my heart was the right thing to do, but at the same time, incredibly frightening. Here I was, a woman of a certain age, about to spend a boatload of money to train myself and embrace a new career path, with no guarantee I would be successful. Right around this same time, I discovered a movie that really spoke to me, as the main character was undertaking a similar journey. The movie is "Larry Crowne", directed by and starring Tom Hanks. And I've watched it countless times since. It takes place during the recent recession and is about a guy of a certain age who gets laid off from his job. He's had a pretty secure, but over-extended lifestyle. A gas guzzling car he can no longer afford, and a home that's worth less than he owes. In the process, he decid


This morning for a savory breakfast, I made something called "shakshuka". It's basically a middle eastern breakfast dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce. Typically, it's seasoned with garlic, paprika and cumin, but since I was out of cumin, I made mine a little more Moroccan-style, and added cinnamon and lemon juice, and some spinach, in addition to the diced tomatoes. Basically, you make the sauce, and then you crack some eggs into it., and let it cook for several minutes until the eggs are done. I served mine on a bed of grits ( in the middle east it would probably be couscous, but I'm out of that too), with a bunch of feta cheese sprinkled over the top. Delicious!

Auntie Time

The bright spot to the entire family reunion weekend was getting to see my nieces and nephews, who I adore so much. They are all amazing children, and I am one fortunate Aunt. Out of the 19, 17 were able to be there, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. And the tip of the iceberg was meeting nephew #8 for the first time. He's totally precious.

Goodbye Monty, Hello Jetta

Last week was our Edwards family reunion, in celebration of the parentals return from their most recent LDS mission, and their 50th Anniversary, which had occurred while they were away. We spent several months preparing for the event, and in an effort to save some money, I reserved a rental car. The cost for a flight was just outrageous, and I wasn't sure my beloved Monty could make the trip.  The week of the reunion finally arrived, and the afternoon before I was to leave, I arranged for one of the neighbor ladies to take me to pick up the rental. However...we couldn't find it. Come to find out, the rental agency was no longer there. We stopped at a neighboring business to ask, and they provided us with a phone number. I called that number, and was informed of the new address. After driving around for an hour, we finally arrived at the new location for the rental agency, only to discover they didn't have the car I had reserved. The situation just did not feel right, so I