Friday, September 28, 2007

Beautiful day at the office

It has been a beautiful beginning of fall here in Utah. All the leaves in the mountains have begun to change. The other day I brought my camera to my office, because I knew it would be another splendid day.

I am very lucky to have such a glorious view. I hope you agree.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sneezing, coughing, and a lot of nose blowing!

Yes, it is true, I have a full blown cold. It is really not fair because I had a cold only a month ago when I was in England.

Fortunately, I got the cold on the weekend, which means I didn't need to take time off work. And, it was a 'perfect' weekend for a cold, if you could say that. E and I were at the farmhouse with his Mom and sister. It was cold and rainy outside, so we were all inside anyhow. On Saturday we got Old Betsy (the coal stove) fired up and made the kitchen nice and warm. I colored in my Harry Potter coloring book, read a few more chapters of Wild Swans, and chatted with the family. Then, on top of the coal stove we made homemade chicken soup with dumplings, perfect for a sicky like me.

That night I barley slept a wink because of my stuffy nose, my runny eyes, and being too hot, then too cold. Sunday rolled around, and I spent most of the day sleeping in the quiet bedroom upstairs at the farmhouse.

After my long nap I felt much better. E and I even decided to go on a little scenic drive on the way home, so we drove the Nebo loop. Here are a few autumn photos from our drive. And if you are wondering, I am feeling better today.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Two videos from our trip- finally!

I have been struggling and struggling to get some of the videos we made on our trip to upload to my blog. Well yesterday I decided to just give up, and upload them to youtube. For some reason the quality is not very good on youtube. In actuality, these videos look quite crisp.

My dad got E and I this awesome little video recorder for Christmas last year, and until our trip we didn't have much need for it. Well we are sure glad we had it along with us, because it is really fun to look back, and watch the videos we took. I'm sure these videos will even be more prized to us in years to come, when our memories start to fade, and the Atlantic Ocean's mist or the English rose garden's fragrance seem like a far away dream.

So, without further ado, I present to you a couple of our favorites. If you like these (I'll know if you comment) I'll upload a few more. I know watching other people's vacation videos is not all that exciting, so I didn't want to bore you to tears, just yet! ;)

This is a video of my on the Queen Mary showing off the Promenade deck (and yes, I'm a dork).

And this video is in the Cotswolds in a Manor Garden.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dutch oven cook off!

E and I joined my family up at our cabin this weekend for a Dutch oven cook off. What did we cook you ask? We cooked bread sticks, corny bread (which is like corn bread, but way yummier!), chili, cake with fresh peaches, biscuits, and a breakfast hash.

Needless to say, I should go to the gym this week.

My Grandma and E are the Dutch oven masters!

My cabin is in a beautiful alpine aspen forest. We have no running water and no electricity, and that is the way we like it!

Every night we have cocktails before dinner (a family tradition). My Grandma laughs with Taylor and his girlfriend Caty.

In addition to all the yummy food we made, I did another mystery album with my dolls. E and my cousin Taylor play different roles, and I need to say 'bravo' for being such good sports!

Here is the link: Mystery at the Cabin

And, if you didn't see the first one I made earlier this summer, here is the link to that: Mystery at the Farmhouse

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A couple of sweet photos

Over the last few days I've taken a few cute photos. They don't really fall into specific categories, but I thought I'd share them nonetheless.

This is my sweet hubby trying to sleep in. Rumpus thinks that Saturday mornings are perfect snuggling time, so he cuddles up. I love that they are cheek to cheek.

Emily is a Gingerbrook Hollow doll. She joined me at the farmhouse last weekend where I not only took this photo, but also made her the bonnet.

In addition to Emily, Chuckanuka joined us at the farmhouse! ;)

Remember to click the photo if you want to see the full sized version!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Never a dull moment

There is never a dull moment with my family, sometimes I even joke that there should be a TV show about my family. Anyway, what is new you ask?

My Mom decided to get married to Chuck. They have been dating since March. Well they planned on a wedding up in Park City in October, and sent "save the date" cards, but recently decided that they rather elope, so today they are headed to Italy. They only have a vague idea of what they are going to do, so we'll see how it turns out. I only found out about this a few days ago, when I called to tell my Mom I found a good bridesmaid dress for my sister and me, and was told the Park City wedding was off. I asked if they had the paperwork to have an international wedding, and my Mom confessed she hadn't even thought that far in advance, so I guess they will pretend to get married in Italy, and then make it official back in Utah when they return.

And Chandler? I guess he really wanted a skateboard and finally convinced my parents to let him have one. My Mom told him he had to practice with a helmet, my Dad told him he had to practice with a helmet, and I told him. What did he do? Not wear a helmet, fall off his new skateboard, and he ended up getting hospitalized for a crack in his skull, a broken collar bone, and a concussion.

All of this only a week after my Dad texted me to tell me he had been arrested in Nevada for speeding. Luckily they didn't hold him, and he was released after paying a hefty speeding ticket.

Nope, never a dull moment....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Santa Barbara love

E and I got back last night from a four day trip to Santa Barbara. Why so much travel so soon, you ask? Because my cousin Gordon was getting married in Santa Barbara, and I love to have an excuse to visit with my Dad's side of the family (my Jewish half!).

So we arrived in Burbank Saturday morning, and after renting our Prius, we headed north, towards the ocean. We stopped at a funny strip mall and had some of the best fish tacos of my life, and continued on up the coast. Before reaching our final destination, we stopped at the Channel Islands National Park visitor center in Ventura. As you know, E and I are crazy for National Parks, and this National Park is special, there are no services at all on the islands, so the visitor center is on the mainland.

After checking into our room, E and I went to the beach! We both love the ocean so much, and this beach was beautiful, sandy and warm. The water, however, was quite chilly.

After a shower back in our room we headed towards Santa Barbara and met my dad, Kimmie, and my aunt for dinner on the beach.

The next day was the wedding day, and finally everyone was in town. E and I headed up to where the wedding party was staying and visited with family for awhile. I don't see this protion of my family often, so it is really fun when they are all in one place. I found out something really cool, also. I've always thought I was about a quarter German, and a quarter Polish. Well come to find out, I'm not German at all. My Grandpa's family was Polish, and moved to the US before the Holocaust started (my Grandpa actually remembered Ellis Island, he arrived there when he was 6). My Grandma on the other hand, was Hungarian and Czech, now in my mind, that is really cool. All this time I thought I was German, and come to find out, I'm Hungarian!

After a great visit with family E and I headed to another beach up the coast. This beach is famous for dolphin sightings. Once there, sure enough, be began to see dolphins! They would swim up and down the coast, quite close. A couple swimmers actually tried to get out near where they were, which was fun to see too.

After a quick shower back at my dad's hotel, we dressed for the wedding. The wedding was going to be on the beach, and the reception was in downtown Santa Barbara. Well the wedding was splendid. My little cousin Sophia (the flower girl) ran down the aisle and full speed, it was so cute! The location was fantastic, the weather couldn't be better, and it was fun to be in our formal clothes, barefoot in the sand.

The reception was just as special, they had rented the roof-top patio at a downtown Spanish hotel, and it was awesome! A full three course dinner was served, there was an open bar, dancing, and lots of tasty desserts. My favorite were the crab cakes (not the dessert, the dinner!).

The next day (Monday) we headed back down the coast to Ventura to catch a boat that would take us out to the National Park. We were going to go to Santa Cruz, the largest of the islands. On the way there the boat stopped and we saw California Sea Lions (photo above), and we stopped again and we watched two blue whales come to the surface to breath again and again. Blue whales are rare, due to whaling, so it was really magestic to see the largest animals on earth so close to land.

The backs of two gigantic blue whales.
Once we got to the island we realized how desolate it was. I was imagining a tropical island, but Santa Cruz is really dry. And because it has been separate from mainland for so long, there are subspecies on the islands that can only be found here. E and I hiked up to the top of the mesa, and looked down to the ocean. We saw sea caves, birds, boats, and an incredible view. Afterwards we hung out on the beach, took another short hike, and caught the boat back to Ventura.

A view of the ocean from Santa Cruz Island
On the way back the boat stopped again and the sea looked like it was boiling, dolphins! Hundreds of them! The ocean literally looked like it was churning. We watched hundreds of dolphins jump and leap only feet from the boat. The guide said he would guess it was a pod of 500. Wow!

Back on mainland we headed towards Santa Barbara for dinner in downtown, E and I chose Indian, and it was fantastic.

The next day (yesterday) we checked out of our hotel and headed towards Long Beach. Something is very special in Long Beach: the Queen Mary, the original, built in the early 1930s! E and I both agreed it would be really special to see after just sailing on the Queen Mary 2, plus we both love vintage travel, and Ocean Liners are something we both love.

The Queen Mary was spectacular. We had lunch on board and looked all around the ship. I couldn't believe I was on the famous ship, I mean, this ship has so much history around it. And here we were, walking its decks, exploring its hallways, and touching its famous red funnels.

Afterwards we caught our plane, and arrived home safe and sound, only ready to plan our next big trip!

(Just a reminder, to see any of the photos a little larger, just click on them!)
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