Monday, March 31, 2008


Here are a couple more books I've read-

1. Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. This is the second time I've read this book and I loved it again. This book is about hard work, really hard work, and how hard it was to grown up on a farm at the turn of the century. This book makes me so thankful for running water, heaters, and modern medicine. I love this story. Five stars.

2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I've heard so much about this book and I've wanted to read it forever. Well E and I got a Netflix account this winter, and before I saw the movie I wanted to read the book. I read the book and loved it, and now E and I are watching the movie, and it is pretty good so far too. The book is a must-read. Four and a half stars.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Honey bug update

My honey bug (E) got a job offer yesterday after quite a few months of looking! I am so thrilled for him. He starts on April 14th in his new job as a Marketing Engineer (oxymoron, I know). They offered him a nice salary, so that is wonderful! Also, this company has a generous time-off policy, so we will be traveling more than ever. Last night to celebrate E and I went out of our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant to celebrate. Go E!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lots of photos and silly explanations

E and I had a wonderful Easter this year. Here is our day in photos (and a few photos of the next day too!)

Yummy, Easter biscuits! E woke up early and made these before we headed over to his house on Easter Sunday. What makes these so yummy? Only half a stick of butter and half a cup of shortening. Nice and healthy.
Once done with breakfast it was time for the annual egg hunt! E's dad Steve has been doing these for years, and the clues get funnier and funnier as time goes on. This year we had a clue that read something like "In San Francisco in 1976 and Bruce Lee where Cayman _____ (National Song)". What the heck?? Well we figured it was "Dragon" was the Bruce Lee reference, and Cayman Isle is the National song of Grand Cayman. This lead us up to Dragon Isle, the Chinese restaurant near E's house. After 10 more exciting and difficult clues, we found the treasure hidden in Chelsea's car. We each got Italian Sodas, candy, and underwater cameras for our trip in a month! YES!! SWEET!!!
I decided I wanted to look CUTE for Easter, so I curled my hair in sponge rollers and wore nice fresh Easter colors. Don't I look cute? I think so. ;)
We went over to my Aunt's house for Easter dinner. Here I am with my Grandma and Aunt Laura. (And I'm still looking cute).
The day after Easter is another huge holiday: Dyngus Day! What the hell is Dyngus Day? I didn't know either until I started working, and a co-worker told me about this fantastic post-Lent holiday. The Polish celebrate the end of lent with lots of food, lots of beer, and lots of sex. We celebrated at the office without the beer or sex, but we did have a fantastic Polish-inspired lunch. Here I am with my two bosses, Steve and Joe.
And with the entire company. Aren't we a fun bunch? It is sad to say that I spend more time with these people than my own husband. Oh well, at least they are awesome.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

I've said in previous posts how much I love Easter. I have my entire life. It might be due to the fact that it is FINALLY getting to feel like spring in Utah, or the fact that little girls wear wonderfly girly clothes, or that my birthday is so close to the lovely holiday.

I knew that I had some wonderful Easter photos from when I was a child, so today before we head out for the Easter festivities, I dug out some of my favorites. These are from 1986, when I was 5. We are celebrating at my Great Grandma Hilda's house. In one photo you can see my Aunt Penny and Uncle Dave in the background. In another you see a really hot guy, yea, that's my dad. I love the dress I'm wearing this Easter, my grandma made it for me, she made most of the fancy clothes I wore when I was little.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Harry Harry Harry

Recently I've fallen in love with the idea of embroidery. Why you ask? Heck if I know. Two sites have really caught my interest, (here and here) and the designs have inspired me to start my own project.

I ordered patterns from both these sites, but they have yet to come. Instead of wait around for the mail to arrive, I decided to draw my own (based on the children seen here). I thought it might be fun to do a Harry Potter inspired project, and last night while watching TV I finished Harry himself. Next to come is Hermione, Ron and Crookshanks.

Right now I'm embroidering on a scrap piece of white cotton. I'm not sure what I will turn it into yet, ideas will be welcomed.

And, last but not least, a picture of the man of the hour:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter is right around the corner!

Here are a few of my favorite vintage Easter postcards I found to help you pass the time...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekend craftiness

E and I spent a weekend at home this week catching up on grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and having friends over for fish tacos. Also, some crafts. On Saturday I caught the sewing bug and decided to make a little something for Addy and Hazel to share. I wanted a simple pioneer style dress with a work smock to layer over it, and of course, I wanted to make it as springy as possible.

Yellow cotton and green linen seemed to do the trick, and after fussing with the yoke for what seemed like forever, I finally got something I like. Addy was more than happy to model (sorry, I didn't get around to ironing)-

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update on a few things

There isn't much going on these days other than the fact that spring has arrived in Utah, the time changed (whooo, it is light when I get home from work!), and my birthday is right around the corner. So, here is an update on what has been going on:

1. My ankle is almost healed. It still hurts off and on, but last night at yoga it was feeling 90% better.

2. Yoga is awesome, I'm enjoying it more and more each time I go. It might even be fun to take a yoga inspired vacation sometime.

3. I'm at a loss of what to ask for for my birthday. There are a couple of American Girl items I want (they can be seen here, here and here) but other than that, I'm not sure what to ask for.

4. My dad broke up with his fiance last week, and then they got back together. I wish them the best of luck, and I hope they each can be truly happy.

5. Grand Cayman is right around the corner! E and I are so thrilled, we can't wait to spend a week on the beach relaxing and snorkeling.

6. E and I are wanting to buy a house this spring, and sell our condo. There is a lot of work to do, and it seems like I never have time. Working full time doesn't leave much time for anything else.

7. Spring has sprung, yesterday when I got home from work E was cleaning the BBQ in the backyard. We ended up hanging out back there (without coats) for almost an hour.

8. Work is extremely busy! After getting a new client last week, and gearing up for them this week, I am ready for the weekend.

9. Easter is only a little more than a week away, which is awesome, I love Easter.

10. Hazel and Lei Mei joined me at the farmhouse last weekend. Both are such beautiful dolls!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Top ten reasons I love about camping

My friend Naina and I decided to both do a blog on what we loved about camping. It is getting to be camping season here in Utah, and I can hardly wait. I love camping almost as much as I love my kitties. So, here they are the top ten reasons I love it so-

10. Cooking outdoors. It is odd to admit, but I really don't mind cooking in the great outdoors. Plus, food tastes better somehow when camping, ya know?
9. Peeing in the woods, sorry, I like it. I guess I'm weird.
8. Seeing and hearing wild animals! Once when I was a kid a skunk would visit our campsite every night, it was really neat.
7. Walks at dusk
6. Going without a shower and makeup (and having a good excuse!)
5. Exploring around the campsite. When I was a kid I LOVED this, while my parents would set up camp the kids would explore. Now that I'm an adult I have to explore once camp is set up, but it is just as fun!
4. Being outside all day long.
3. Sleeping outside, especially when you can look up and see the stars and hear the crickets.
2. Building a fire and making banana boats. (Banana boats are bananas, marshmallows and chocolate wrapped in tinfoil until the entire thing bakes, and it is so yummy!)
1. Waking up to the sound of birds and the fresh air. This is not only the best thing about camping, it is one of the best things in life!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Urban Exploring

Have you ever heard of UE, or the fascinating hobby of Urban Exploring? Probably not, most people don't know such a hobby exists. UE is the hobby of exploring and documenting abandoned urban places, which means taking photos and sneaking into places that are long since forgotten.

However, I am a wimp. I don't sneak into 90% of the abandoned buildings I find, only ones that are fairly open, and don't have too much risk. And the word "sneak" is a little misleading too, because in most places I've explored, I've just walked right into an abandoned structure (usually a house or small store located in a ghost town).

Utah is good and bad for such a hobby. We don't have huge abandoned structures that the east coast has, but we do have lots of ghost towns and depressed mining towns with ample homes to explore.

In my last post I said that E and I have done our fair share of exploring Utah ghost towns, and that for some reason those photos and stories didn't make it to my blog. Well I want to rectify that situation!

Last night I spent some time looking through old photos, at the hundreds of photos I've taken of abandoned places. To me, there is a mystery, a sadness, a loneliness, and a beauty to all these places. What when on here? Why did the people leave? Why did they leave such personal objects? etc.

Also there is the thrill of seeing something that has long been forgotten. Most places E explores the outside of, but I explore the inside alone. E doesn't like to break No Trespassing rules (he's good, and I'm bad, heehee!), so often times exploring is also really spooky! I have a handful of great stories I'll share below, now onto the photos! (And one of the unwritten rules of UE is that you don't disturb anything, so none of these photos have been set up, this is how I found things).

I loved the look of this room. Everything in it was pink and white from the light streaming through the window to the old mattresses to the peeling wall.
This is a photo I took of the long forgotten coat hooks in an abandoned school I explored with the owner's permission.
This huge old mill is on a tiny Utah highway, totally abandoned...
...and completely empty.
One of the scariest things I ever found while exploring is a trap door in a kitchen. Once opening it I realized it went down to the cellar. Of course I went down the dark damp steps. The room below what pitch black. I quickly turned on my flash, snapped this photo, and hurried out of there. Later I noticed that it looks like there are still canned peaches on one of the shelves.
In the same house as the cellar I snapped this photo of the bathroom. I always find the bathrooms the most interesting, they are the coldest, and loneliest.
This is a photo I snapped of the social hall in a long abandoned ghost town.
And a home in the same town. Homes always strike me in a different way, walking through the rooms I always imagine of the families that once lived there.
Another home in another Utah ghost town. This one is about to tip over, but is also one that has a lot of personal items left behind. I found a brush and mirror set, a board game, books, and even some letters in this home.
An abandoned boot in the same home as above.
This is one of the most adventurous places I've explored. It is a mill in central Utah that one day was left unlocked. I wanted to explore it top to bottom, but E didn't want anything to do with it (what if we were caught??). After a small disagreement I went alone, I have never felt so brave.
Inside I climbed up and up, exploring every nook and cranny I could find. Finally at the top of these stairs I found a ladder that took me to the top most part of the mill, and of course I climbed it too.
Another abandoned home, this room was a bedroom.
And last but not least, a home that has a very very special meaning to me. Here I found the most wonderful gift of all...
As I mentioned above, I love to take photos of the bathrooms, the loneliness is overwhelming. This is the photo of the bathroom in the home above, but this is not what I found that was so special...
Inside this home I found a cold, scared, hungry kitty. She actually greeted us when we entered the home, she was living under the floor boards! In other homes I've seen stray cats before, so it was not unusual. But what was unusual was that this kitty was not wild, she was hungry for attention and loved being picked up. My mom (who was with me on this UE trip) mentioned that we should see where she lived, and maybe take her home, if she was abandoned. After trying at several surrounding homes and being told they had never seen her before I realized she was abandoned, just like the houses we were exploring. It broke my heart, and we decided to bring her home and see if we could find her a home. Well as you probably know by now, we kept her, and she is our sweet kitty Mabel, one of the best cats we have ever owned. As as you probably also know, she has gained a lot of weight since this photo was taken!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Red rocks

I am back in Salt Lake trying to recover from such a fantastic weekend. I hate coming back to work after a mini vacation, I wish I could stay in Arches for another week.

E and I left on Friday morning and met my family on the way. We caravaned to our condo in Moab and got there around 1:00 pm. After we unpacked the cars and enjoyed the sun (clear and mid sixties!!!) we decided to go on a little hike, everyone was itching to stretch their legs and enjoy the weather.
Me, E, Laura, my Mom, Chuck, Grandma, Mike, Catie, Kendra, Taylor, Theo and Chandler

All twelve of us decided on Corona Arch, a short enjoyable hike near the Colorado River. We packed up, and headed out. E had never been on this hike, and it is a hike I haven't been on for years. We all loved it! The weather couldn't have been better, there was a railroad we had to cross, which was neat, and we found a geocache on the way! Once there we realized there were two arches, Corona and Little Rainbow (or something like that). We sat under the arches and chatted about the days to come.
That night Laura and her family was in charge of dinner. We sat down to a VERY deluxe cocktail hour (like I said, cocktail hour is not to be taken lightly in my family) and a wonderful dinner of chicken tacos, veggie enchiladas, margaritas, and more. By the end of the night when it was time for homemade strawberry shortcake we were stuffed.

That evening was wonderful. It truly was. After my parent's divorce and my grandpa's death family affairs felt extremely sad, but this felt normal again. I was surrounded by family and we were all laughing. Kendra got her guitar out and amazed us with her voice, and we played a silly game called Apples to Apples for more than an hour, laughing the entire time.
The next day we woke up bright and early because we wanted to do a long hike. Grandma was in charge of breakfast and made gourmet french toast, ham, grapefruit, juice, and berries. After breakfast we all packed our lunches and headed out. We wanted to head into the park and do a hike that was one of my Grandpa's favorites - Devil's Garden and the primitive loop trail. My Grandma at first was a little concerned about the difficulty of the hike (6 miles plus many areas where the trail is thin or challenging) but in the end decided to join us.

We were so glad she did join us! The trail was FANTASTIC! E and I had hiked part of that trail many times, but we had never done the entire six mile loop. We were so glad we did, Double O Arch was stunning, and Fin Canyon was so cool to hike through.
E and I on one of the fins in Fin Canyon.

Once back to the condo we all took a little nap and started cocktail hour again. Tonight my Mom made dinner, we had really yummy chicken marinated in garlic, yogurt and lemon juice, baked sweet potatoes, and spinach, along with a lot of pre-dinner snacks of course! For dessert my Mom and Chuck made a yummy banana cream pie.

After dinner we chatted and got more and more tired. It seemed that everyone wanted to go to bed early after the long hike we had taken. E and I headed back to our room around 10:00, which is pretty early on a Saturday night.

On Sunday morning E and I were in charge of breakfast, so we woke up a little earlier and started making hash browns, sausage and sweet rolls. We also had OJ and grapefruits. The breakfast was a huge hit, and before long 20 hash brown patties, 35 sausage links, and 40 sweet rolls were devoured.

After cleaning the dishes everyone made their lunches and packed up their cars. We wanted to take a quick hike before heading home, so we chose Negro Bill Canyon. Once we got to the trail head we realized how COLD it was! We put as many layers on as we had and headed out. Everyone was shivering, but once we got moving we warmed up a little. Because Negro Bill Canyon isn't exactly a short hike (two miles each way) we were trying to keep a quick pace so we could reach the arch before it was time to turn around. Once at the arch we all sat down for lunch and we stopped moving and got cold again. As we sat there it started to snow! I guess it was cold! We hurried and packed up the rest of our lunch into our packs and started to hike back. Luckily it only snowed for about 15 minutes and the hike back wasn't too cold.
On returning to our cars everyone said goodbye. My Grandma was headed strait home, my aunt and mom were going to continue up the river, and E and I wanted to check out a ghost town on the way home.

Thompson is a ghost town that my Mom found awhile ago, and E and I have been meaning to stop there forever. Finally it was our day! E and I love ghost towns, checking them out is our of our favorite hobbies, and we've visited a lot of them in Utah (however looking back I realize I haven't blogged about many of them...). Anyway, Thompson is a weird town. It is a depressed area with a very low population (maybe 20 people live there?) and there are a lot of abandoned buildings, including an entire motel, train station, restaurants, and all of main street.

I hopped out of the car and shot some photos and explored some buildings while E waited for me (he doesn't like to go into abandoned buildings, he usually waits for me). The motel was beautiful in its own way, and the main building on main street was creepy and dark. After a handful of photos and freezing my fingers I climbed back into the car and we headed home.

It was a great weekend. (And this post has reminded me how horrible I've been with logging my ghost town/ abandoned building explorations, I've got some catching up to do).
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