Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reading spurt

I love to read but don't always have the time or energy to pick up a new book. In college I read like a mad woman, finishing at least one big book a week because I would read on the bus, at home, instead of doing homework and sometimes even in class. Since I graduated my reading has slowed way down, for one thing I don't take the bus anymore, and I am usually so tired when I get off of work I usually don't pick up a book (I'm lucky if I can drag myself to the gym).

However, I have been reading a little bit, and want to record what I read, otherwise I forget, and it is hard to look back. I want to have a nice and easy book log to refer to. Plus, my friend Colette does this on her blog, and what can I say, she inspired me.

Books I've read so far this year:

1. Golden Compass by Philip Pullman - I loved this book. I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie, and I absolutely devoured this read. I loved learning about the North, the aura, deamons, and Lyra. Five stars.

2. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman - This was the next book in the Dark Materials trilogy (Golden Compass being the first), and I didn't like it as much as I was hoping to. I loved certain aspects of the first book (Jordan College, learning about deamons, traveling with polar bears) that didn't seem to come across in book two. Three and a half stars.

3. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman - the last book in the Dark Materials trilogy. This book like the previous one was not as good as the first. It was okay, and it was fun to see how the story ended, but it was a little confusing and not as magical as the first book. Two stars.

4. The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Betty Bao - This book was recommended to me by a friend on one of my doll message boards because I was studying Chinese children immigrating to the United States. This is a kids book, and it was okay. Baseball doesn't really interest me, but it was fun developing Lei Mei's personality a little more with this book. Two and a half stars.

5. Cayman Islands, an Insight Guide- quick little travel guide for our next trip. I don't like Insight's guides as much as DK, but it did have some useful info. I wish it had more on snorkeling. Three stars.

And, in December I finally finished Wild Swans by Jung Chang. This book took me almost three months to finish, not because it wasn't good, but because it was dense. It was the true story of three generations of Chinese women growing up in 20th century China. I learned a TON and really enjoyed the book. Four stars.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Japanese day spa

Do you remember this post way way back in July where E got my a gift certificate to a local spa for our first anniversary? Well I've been holding on to the gift certificate, saving it for a cold weekend when I could really enjoy myself. Well that weekend finally arrived, and E and I ventured to Kura Door today. It was rainy and stormy outside, so it was a prefect day to be at the spa.

I had a certificate for the Ofuro bath and the Kura massage. E decided to join me, and get an Ofuro bath, himself. Well luckily, the spa had one room with two tubs in it, and so E and I got to each have a bath of our own in the same room. And this isn't just a regular old bath, oh no... here is what the Kura Door says about this special bath:

In Japan, the bath serves as the path to well-being for both body and soul. It is a place in which to gather one's thoughts and seek refuge from the tensions and stress of everyday life. So it has been for a thousand years in Japan, and so it is still today at the Kura Door.

Experience the tradition of the Japanese Ofuro Bath. Our bath attendant will guide you through this ritual journey as you experience the healing pleasures of Japanese tea and infused bathing waters. Choose from a selection of soothing and detoxifying essential oil, herb, and natural sea salt blends to create your own inspired retreat. Relax into the sound of soft music, the subtle fragrance of cedar, and the water's embrace.

Well the bath was all that, and more! We loved it! It was so deep and peaceful. Sipping tea and drinking ice water all while in a nice, hot, deep bath was divine. We each choose sea salt to be mixed in with our water, and placed cucumber slices over our eyes.

After the bath time was up, I headed downstairs for an hour-long massage. E enjoyed himself in the steam room, sauna and meditation room. The massage was wonderful. It felt so good to have my back rubbed by someone with serious skills.

After the wonderful hour and a full body massage, I headed back upstairs to meet E. We enjoyed a little time in the sauna (180 degrees!) and then headed out. Once back in the car we got a text from my dad inviting us to a fantastic Salt Lake City restaurant for dinner, of course we accepted.

I am very happy to say that today was perfect. Thanks honey-bug for a perfect anniversary gift!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lucky times two

Once upon a time I said I was the luckiest woman in the world. I need to assure you, that still holds true. This year we are planning yet another wonderful, fantastic, awe inspiring trip. Where you ask? Grand Cayman!

Grand Cayman is a little island south of Cuba that is famous for its fantastic snorkeling and beautiful white beaches. E's Mom and Dad visited years ago, and ever since wished that they could go back with all of us. Well this year we decided to make it happen!

In early May E and I will depart with Steve (E's dad), Connie (E's mom), David (E's brother), and Chelsea (E's sister) to the south of Grand Cayman for a week of exploring, snorkeling, hanging out on the beach, drinking yummy island drinks, and much more.

Plus, we are staying in this AWESOME house right on the beach. We decided to rent a house instead of a hotel room because we'll have more room to spread out and we'll have a kitchen so we don't always have to go out to eat. It is also big, beautiful, right on the beach, and has four bedrooms, so everyone will have their own space.

Because I am so thrilled at the thought of spending a week on white sandy beaches and snorkeling to my heart's content, we bought a snorkel set, I've started researching underwater cameras, and I'm searching the web for the best Cayman photos out there.

Here are a few I found (none of these are my photos, all are from my new favorite website Flickr, as well as the one above):

And here are a few of the house we are staying in, can you tell I'm excited?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Katie tagged me

My friend Katie emailed this to me, and instead of just replying, I thought it might be fun to post the answers on my blog.

Here it goes:
Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Gymnastics teacher for little kids
2. Summer camp adviser
3. Marking researcher at a high tech firm
4. Account Executive for advertising agency (current job)

Four favorite movies:
1. The Little Princess- 1995 version
2. Thomas Crown Affair- new version
3. The Secret Garden
4. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Four places I have lived:
I've lived in Salt Lake all my life, I'm a looser. Here are the places within Salt Lake I've lived:
1. Holladay area
2. Princeton/Yale area
3. University of Utah dorms
4. Cottonwood Heights

Four TV Shows that I watch:
1. Law and Order SVU (best show ever!)
2. True Life- really interesting MTV show
3. The Girls Next Door (my guilty pleasure)
4. America's Next Top Model (another guilty pleasure)

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Tanzania, Africa
2. London, England
3. Northern Italy
4. Across the ocean on the QM2

People who email me regularly:
1. work clients
2. work clients
3. work clients
4. work clients ;)

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chicken Kurma
2. Homemade pasta
3. Fish tacos
4. Sushi

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Home in the reading nook
2. Cottswold England
3. Balzano Italy
4. Library on the QM2

Four things I am looking forward to this year:
1. Going to the farmhouse and the cabin in the summer!
2. My second anniversary with my hubby
3. Hiking in southern Utah in a few weeks
4. And... going to Grand Cayman with the Trumps!!! (post talking all about this to come!)

Thanks Katie for the fun quiz!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Winter fun at the farmhouse

To celebrate my only three day weekend between January and May, E and I decided to go down to the farmhouse for Presidents Day, along with Connie and Chelsea (E's mom and sis). We left quite late on Saturday and once we arrived a long nap sounded perfect. After I finally woke up, we went to the store, went to get burgers, and played Pictonary back at the Farmhouse. E and I won, but it was a close call. I had to draw "ambush"and "men in black" , neither of which E guessed. Connie drew "sea world" wonderfully, and Chelsea didn't guess it, she did guess "fish land" however, and we all erupted in laughter.

Sunday morning was wonderfully slow and quite. We all woke up late to a sunny beautiful blue sky, and then decided to make breakfast. Steve (E's dad) showed up around noon, and E and I decided to go on a drive with him to check out his new binoculars and look for eagles. We spotted a few eagles and looked across the unbroken snow covering the landscape in miles in every direction. The sky was so blue, and the mountains off the the east and west almost looked purple. The beauty was astounding.Back at the farmhouse I decided to head outside to play in the snow. After a nice time outside, and building a mini snow fort with icicles, I wandered back indoors. We started a roast on Old Betsy (the old coal stove) and headed to Ephraim to look at old houses. Once back at the farmhouse we finished making dinner, sat down to a large feast, and watched the latest Harry Potter movie.

On Monday (yea, no work!!) we woke up late again and made a yummy breakfast of waffles, fruit, yogurt, and bacon. After the yummy meal E and I decided to lie back down on the bed again while Connie and Chelsea were getting ready. We fell fast asleep and later laughed that we were able to take a nap right after breakfast! Oh we are hopeless. After our little nap we all decided to go on another drive, we wanted to head out west to look at more old homes and see if we could spot more bald eagles. We had a nice time looking around Wales and Freedom.After a snack, clean up, and another game of Pictonary back at the farmhouse we packed up the car and headed home.

What a great long weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2008

How Romantical!

Romantical is a new word that E made it, it means that if you are having a romantic time, it is romantical.

Anyway, last night was very romantical indeed. I arrived home from work to find soft music playing, a cheese board, chocolate dipped strawberries, candles lit, and a smiling husband with a dozen roses. WOW!

We sat down to a really nice cocktail hour (E even picked up my favorite drink while he was running errands) and opened presents. E gave me my present a little early, which was an awesome deluxe yoga mat. Both E and I have really been enjoying going to yoga, and I've needed a new mat for quite awhile.
Mabel enjoys the cheese board as much as we do! (Side note, when E was getting the cheese ready before I got home from work, Mabel decided to take a sniff. She was standing next to a lit candle and before she knew it had a singed mark on her side! Luckily E noticed and made sure she was okay, and kicked her off the table before anymore harm could be done)

I gave E a cute little tin toy ship that looks like the Queen Mary 2. Why a toy you ask? Because I love tin toys and he loves ships. Anyway, he was thrilled.

After a very long relaxing cocktail hour we visited with E's family, then went to see my family, then finally went out to a late dinner at Market Street. We had a wonderful night.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines my love

To all the people I love: Happy Valentines

I had a dream last night that my sister died and that we had to put my sweet kitty Mabel down. I woke up sobbing. It felt so real. I've had more and more vivid dreams in the last year or so, does anyone know how to make them quit? I would like to have nice, normal, sweet dreams, not the kind that wrench my soul each and every night.

On a much lighter note, E and I have some Valentines plans tonight. I'm not really sure what we will be doing (dinner? movie?) but it should be a fun night nonetheless, and I have a gift for my hubby, so I think he'll enjoy that.

PS - don't you love that photo? I found it on Flickr and just love it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13th, cursed day

Remember this post and this one? And it wasn't even that long ago that sweet Booberry died. Well it is the day before Valentines again and of course it can't go easily. My sister broke up with her boyfriend (whom she really liked), I was stuck at work until 7:00 in a SUPER long meeting and then a death snowstorm, and my mom's sweet kitty Tasha got hit by a car today.

Also it is the two year anniversary of my mom telling me that she and my dad were getting a divorce.

Will February 13th ever be a non-cursed day?

I hope little Tasha is in kitty heaven now. Here is a photo of her and Ivan (her brother whom my mom also adopted) that I took last fall. Tasha is the little girl in the front with the sweet black face. Rest now little girl .

Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter fun - part two

Every year in the middle of the winter my family goes up to my cousin's cabin near Brighton ski resort to enjoy the outdoors and each other's company. It is usually great fun (some years have actually been very stressful) and great exercise.

On Friday night E and I left for Big Cottonwood Canyon with our car packed to the brim with warm clothes, good food, and all our snowshoe gear. We arrived at parking lot soon after dark, unloaded the car, strapped on our snowshoes, and walked the two or so blocks to the cabin with all our stuff.

Finally inside (we had some problems with parking in a snowy lot and my mom throwing the keys into the snow) we warmed up and started dinner. My mom and Chuck brought all the ingredients for fish tacos, and we enjoyed the hot meal and a very intense game of Taboo.
When we arrived there was no ice in the freezer, so my mom is having a Gin and Tonic with a snowball!

The next morning my Grandma, Chandler, and the Laytons arrived. E and I were in charge of breakfast and we whipped up a yummy breakfast of hash with eggs, onion, peppers, hash browns and cheese! After breakfast, a little rest, and another game of Taboo (where my Grandma was so funny!) we packed up lunch and headed out to the mountain. Unfortunately, it was a cold yucky day. It wasn't snowing, but the cloud cover was thick and the sky was dark. The snowshoeing was fun despite the bad weather, and E and I both felt in-shape, on one incline we both didn't loose our breath, which is a good thing!
Ethan, Kendra and Laura lead the way.

Back at the cabin I played with my dolls, colored, read, napped and pretty much relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. Then at 5:00 the Meyer family tradition started, cocktail hour! This tradition is not something to be taken lightly, oh no. Not only do you get a drink of your choice, but there are lots of pre-dinner snacks. And these are not just any snacks, they are deluxe. We had a cheese board, nachos (because the theme for the night was Mexican), margaritas, fruit, veggies, and so much more!
Cocktail hour begins!

By the time dinner rolled around nobody was hungry, but of course we had a fantastic dinner prepared. Grandma made fajitas that were so tasty! After dinner we set up a game of Cranium and had birthday brownies (happy birthday Kendra!). Of course E and I kicked butt, and won the game ;).

Later in the night E, Chuck, Mike, my mom and myself got into a debate about religion. Debates are always great fun, but are a little hard when you are talking about something so personal. E, Mike and I all said if there is no proof than don't believe, Chuck and my mom were saying there had to be something out there. The debate got heated at times, but all in all it was a good talk.

The next morning E and I woke up to the smell of baking biscuits. We wandered upstairs to find a yummy breakfast of eggs, hash, biscuits, and grapefruit being prepared. Soon all ten of us sat down to a fantastic breakfast.

Later we played a few games of Blokus and cleaned up the cabin. Before we left I decided to take a little walk with Hazel because the sun was finally out. I snapped a few cute shots of her, and enjoyed being in the woods alone.

Soon it was time to leave, and again the car got stuck in the snow, but before we knew it, we were on our way home, happy from our winter weekend.

Oh, I almost forgot! This is the view from the cabin of Big Cottonwood Canyon. E and I would live up there if we could.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Brandon got it back!

Remember my Christmas post where I said that Brandon got robbed, and one thing that was stolen was the bracelet from my Grandpa? Well I guess Brandon figured out who robbed him (a friend of a friend) and he was able to intimidate him enough to get the bracelet back. No, I have no idea why Brandon didn't call the cops, but he didn't. The good news is, the bracelet is back with my bro, and he is going to keep it much safer from now on.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hazel Ogden Wood

Some of my friends have asked for more info on Hazel, my new doll. I didn't give much info in my last post, so please, if you don't care about dolls, don't read this, you've been warned.

Below is an example of my fiction writing, please don't make fun. I am not a writer, but putting this story together was fun, nonetheless.Hazel’s eyes blinked open and she knew that the snowstorm had finally lifted because light danced across the walls and her little room that she shared with her twin sisters.

Hazel skipped out of bed and dashed across the cold floor to the bed her sisters shared in the corner. Lifting the covers she climbed in and snuggled near the little girls. Hilda woke up quickly, laughing with delight at the return of the sun, but Mary snuggled down deeper into the thick blankets.

“Wake up Mary!” Hazel said bouncing on the thick mattress. “It is Sunday, and Papa promised us a walk in the woods when he had a day off, and when the snowstorm cleared! And look at it out there, it is beautiful,” she said gesturing to the window.

Mary rolled over and closed her eyes tightly. Hazel couldn’t blame her, the bed was warm and soft, and Sunday was the only day they could sleep in. However, Hazel was awake, and there was no hope in the world of returning to sleep on such a beautiful bright day.

She and Hilda slipped out of bed, leaving Mary breathing gently under the heavy covers. The sun made the little room the three girls shared bright and cheerful, and Hazel noticed how red and bright Hilda’s hair looked in the dancing light. Hazel and Mary also shared the same hair color; Mama always said the color reminded her of strawberries.

Hazel hoped from one foot to the other, trying to pull on her slippers before her bare toes froze to the cold floor. Hilda, too, was hopping like a baby bunny while putting her slippers on; and once both girls had their slippers and heart warmers neatly in place, they quietly left the bedroom.

Two hours later they were finally on their way up a hill covered with bare aspen trees behind their home. Flump, flump, flump. Hazel loved the way the fresh snow sounded when she walked across it. She also loved spending time with Papa and her sisters, and she loved days like today. After a six-day snowstorm the sky had finally cleared and the sun shone brightly. Hazel looked across the snow at the thousands of sparkles caught by the sun.

Today they were looking for an owl they called Pete, so everyone had to be quiet. Ever since Hazel and her family had moved from England to Park City Utah six years earlier they had loved hearing Pete hoot in the middle of the night. Pete was a large great horned owl that lived right up the mountain from their residence, and he often hooted on the clearest and coldest of nights. Papa had said he had heard Pete the night before and would like to look for him on their walk.

Hazel didn’t mind being quiet on the walk through the woods, she liked to look for animal tracks, watch the stream where the ice had formed, and gaze at the almost purple shadows on the snow. All of these images she would store away in her memory so she could paint them later.

Mary and Hilda however were having a hard time keeping quiet. Papa worked long hours in the silver mines, so it was a treat to spend time with him, and they wanted to tell him all about the stories they made-up. Papa tried to quite the little girls, but they were too excited to be out of the stuffy house, with Papa, breathing the fresh air, and Hazel couldn’t blame them.

Hazel scanned the bare tree branches ahead of her and behind her, and then she saw Pete. He was sitting on a snowy branch about fifteen steps away gazing at them with his huge amber eyes.

“I see him,” she whispered and pointed as Papa and the girls came to a halt. Pete always amazed them, his beauty, strength, mysterious eyes, and way he could turn his head almost all the way around. Hazel looked up at him, and tried to draw him in her head. She was always doing this, breaking things she saw into simple shapes, so she could draw them later.

Hazel had a talent for art, and on cold days when she was cooped up in the house she could usually be found helping Mama, playing dolls with her sisters, or working on her newest painting. Pete was the subject of her latest piece of art, and Hazel was glad to see him today, and refresh her memory on the way his feathers looked.

“Let’s get closer” Mary peeped, “I want a better look.”

Papa motioned to be quiet as he and the girls took a couple of steps closer to the tree Pete was on, and with that, Pete silently lifted his wings, and was gone. Hazel stared after him, always amazed at how quickly and soundlessly Pete could move from place to place.

“Well girls, we had a success, I think Pete was happy to see us,” Papa said. “Let’s head home, I’m getting hungry for lunch.” And with that, Hazel had what she needed to finish the painting of her friend, the Great Horned Owl called Pete.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I've been a major slacker about updating my blog this week, sorry! I wanted to write up a post about dinner at my aunt's house last weekend, but never got around to it. I wanted to write a little something about my new doll named Hazel, but again, never got around to it. I am a slacker. I hope in time, forgiveness will come.

So, I'll do a mini update now, and check back for photos, because they are on E's other computer. Last weekend after we got back from The Homestead we went over to Laura's house for a very fantastic dinner. Once dinner was over we were in the living room, chatting, enjoying each other's company, and waiting for the homemade apple pie to cook. It was one that we made back in October on our Harvest Cook-off (remember this post?). The entire time we were joking that the pie was not apple, but chicken-pot pie, because we made lots of those that same day, and didn't label any of them. Well the hot pie came out of the oven, and sure enough, it was chicken pot pie! We laughed and laughed and ended up just having coffee and cookies instead.

Everyone chats before dinner.
Grandma, Laura and Melissa finish the grapefruits.
Dessert anyone? We have chicken pot pie!
And, I have a new doll. For those of you who really don't care about dolls, please skip ahead :). I have been waiting and waiting for a red head with hazel eyes for years, and American Girl finally made one, so I used my Christmas money on her, and brought the sweet girl home.

Her name is Hazel Ogden Wood and has a story that combines my life, my great grandmother's lives, and the history of Park City. All I can say, is I'm thrilled with her.

Oh, and one last doll update, Violet got back from Hawaii, so I've got a full house of dolls, and I'm loving it.

And the last update is Naina is back in the US after her fantastic wedding in India. She is slowly updating her blog with some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen. E and I are feeling a little sad we didn't join them in India.

Here is a link to one of the wedding posts on Naina's blog, but to see them all, click on "The Madness" on the right, they are well worth seeing, you just need to scroll down a little.

Here is a photo of the beautiful bride.
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