Monday, June 30, 2008

Quilts galore

Yesterday as I was working on a baby quilt to give to my sister, I was thinking about the number of quilts I've made in the past year. I wish I had pictures to post of all of them. Well, you can at least look at this one here, a newly finished baby quilt top...

And in my previous post, there's the flag quilt. Let's just say that this is probably another one of my unhealthy obsessions--quilting. But in my defense, most of the quilts I make, I give away as gifts. The biggest problem I have is that I either get into too many projects at once or that I just purchase so much fabric because it's so cute. Those marketers and store owners sure know how to get women like me sucked in!

Also, just in the past year, I've learned how to machine quilt on my mom's big set of frames. It's kind of fun! Remember all that doodling you did during your junior high years? It comes in handy when you've got a sewing machine and you're trying to freehand patterns in thread. Sometimes it's a tedious process, but it's really neat to get the quilt off the frames and see the whole thing.

One of the things I love about this hobby is that it's so creative. Really, the possibilities are endless and so much fun. I have a quilt group I go to once a month (yes, I'm a grandma...), and looking at all the fun show-and-tell that the other ladies bring, it inspires me to figure out new things.

Another thing that makes quilting worthwhile is that it gives me a chance to think while I sew. I can ponder the mysteries of life...or at least the mysteries of my life. :) And if I'm making the quilt for someone, I get to think about them.

My crazy obsession...(well, one of them...)

This coming Friday marks the 232nd birthday of our good ol' U.S. of A. That's right, ladies and gents...Independence Day is upon us! Get ready for parades and fireworks because we Americans put on a big celebration.

I'd have to say that the 4th of July really is my favorite holiday. Sure, I love Christmas and Thanksgiving and all those other fun holidays, but for some reason, the 4th just holds some sort of extra magic for me. I can't quite put my finger on it. I mean, it's crowds and heat and busyness--it just doesn't add up for my personality--but I get giddy just thinking about the festivities.

Every year, my family holds a huge shindig for the 4th of July. We wake up early and go fight the masses of Kaysville for a seat to watch the mediocre (at best) parade. After surviving the heat and crowds, we go to my grandma's house and have one of my favorite meals ever: waffles and ice cream. I may have mentioned this before, but if you've never tried it, you're missing out. Afterwards, we find some indoor activity (watching a movie, taking a nap, playing games...) to entertain us until the evening when our family BBQ takes place. After that, we go fight more crowds and find a spot for firework watching.

It's not only the actual day that I enjoy. You should see my house right now. I've got decorations up: wall hangings, fun blocks with phrases like "stars and stripes," candy dishes in the shape of stars. I even looked for 4th of July M&Ms at Wal-Mart...but they didn't have any! I was a tad disappointed. Yes, I'm insane, I know. For weeks before the 4th, I look for a fun red, white and blue outfit I can don. My sisters and I always paint our toenails in patriotic themes (see the picture!). Last year, I even designed and created a quilt patterned after the American flag. Most have you have seen it in person, but I'll post a picture nonetheless.

This year, I get to take Ben to the craziness of the 4th of July with my family. I've been trying to explain to him that it will be like nothing he's ever seen and that I'm a bit neurotic about it all... He will probably be blown away by all the madness that's sure to ensue, but he's such a good sport, I'm guessing he'll have fun no matter what.

By the end of this holiday, I'm usually so exhausted. But it's worth it. That warm fuzziness is either my patriotism or my love of all things red, white and blue, or just having fun with my great.

I'm reluctant to admit it, but when I see the men in uniform carrying that flag at the beginning of the parade, I get a little choked up. It gives me time to really reflect on the freedoms our country's citizens enjoy. In my limited traveling and studies, I've come to realize that while America isn't perfect by any means, it lends so many opportunities to each inhabitant. And that's something to celebrate with pride.

Friday, June 13, 2008

One of the greatest bands that ever lived

I feel like I would be untrue to myself if I did not devote at least one blog entry to one of the greatest bands ever...WEEZER.

A little background, if you will...when I was a teenager, I don't remember listening to their first album the day it came out or anything as fan-ish as that. No, my first recollection of really loving Weezer was driving up to Bear Lake. This was also when I remember my most quiet friend, Mitzi, busting out her love of Weezer. I had heard some of their stuff before, but listening to the Blue and the Green albums straight through was an experience in greatness. I wanted to sing along so badly, but I wasn't well-acquainted with the goodness of this band, so I belted it out on the choruses and hummed along with the rest.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I was struggling with some personal issues in my life. My sister, Natalie, moved in with me, and as part of her awesomeness she brought, Weezer's newest album 'Make Believe' came with her. I listened to that, and instantly I fell in love with about every song. Natalie owned most of the Weezer albums, so it became music staple to our ears. I can't give Weezer all the credit, but hearing their music just made life a little happier for me.

Those who shared in my Weezer fanaticism that fateful summer of 2005: Lacy and Lisa. That Fall, we made a road trip out to Denver to see them in concert. There are few times in my life that compare to the sort of giddy I was when Rivers graced the stage and their melodious chords rang out through that venue. The road trip was completely worth it to hear this genius band in person.

Now, I don't want to proclaim myself a Weezer expert by ANY means, but I certainly appreciate the talent they have. Rivers himself (the diva that he is) is so full of genius...but I guess a broken childhood and a Harvard education could be enough to draw on for all the songs Weezer puts out...not to mention any sort of musical prowess each of the band members has. On their newest album, they even switch it up a little and other people actually get to sing! Rivers has a drumming part on one of the songs, too.

My favorite Weezer song(s): 'Say It Ain't So' followed very closely by 'Perfect Situation.' There are so many to choose from, though! Yesterday, I selected Weezer on my iPod and put it on shuffle (my inspiration for this here blog post)...there were 96 songs on there (including the B-sides our family lovingly calls 'The Stolen Files' since we ripped them from who-knows-where...). There are probably a couple repeats on there, but with so much Weezery goodness, how's a girl to choose her favorites?

Lacy also had a cool exercise that I think any Weezer fan should give a whirl...try to sum up the feelings and description of each Weezer album in 3 adjectives. When she did this and told me about it, her descriptions were extremely apt! You can definitely see how the band matures and morphs through time and how external conditions and other factors influence their music at the time. Just in case you don't know what the albums are, here's a list: Weezer--Blue, Pinkerton Weezer--Green, Maladroit, Make Believe (my personal favorite), and Weezer--Red.

One day when I'm grown up and my kids ask me about some of the music I liked when I was younger, I can proudly note that I was a die-hard fan of Weezer and that I got to see them in concert. "Wow," they'll exclaim, "that's SO cool!" (Because seriously, Weezer will live in the rock/alternative annals of time). They will then realize what kind of a cool mom they have.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Throwing away money

A few years ago, I made an unfortunate mistake, a little like this woman.

I work at an investment firm where checks come in and go out as part of a normal routine. One day, we had received a FedEx. I opened it up, took out the documents, threw away the FedEx envelope. A week or so later, we called up the person who sent us the documents; we couldn't find the check that was supposed to be coming. We asked if they had sent it...when I heard that it came in the same package as the documents, my heart sank and my stomach twisted into 39 different knots. I'm thinking, 'You mean, the envelope I threw away?' If you can imagine losing a huge sum of money...ugh, I shudder just thinking about it. And this was way more than the $188K the woman in the story lost.

I panicked. I didn't know what to do, and I was sure that my bosses were going to be piping hot mad about the situation. If I were in charge, I would be! Frantically, I began sorting through stacks on my desk, hoping that I hadn't thrown away the envelope. There was a nagging thought in the back of my head that said, 'You know you throw away those envelopes whenever you get them...'

Then, brilliance struck. It had been a busy week that week, and I hadn't had time to take out the garbage. I remember even thinking that I should do that the Friday before this realization came to light, but the days had gotten away from me, and that task had been continually moved to the bottom of the to do list.

I made a beeline for the garbage can under my desk. As luck would have it, the check was there, in the discarded FedEx envelope at the bottom. A wave of relief washed over me, and I almost wanted to kiss the dang thing. Everyone breathed a little more easily after that.

I learned a lesson that day...a dumb one, probably: ALWAYS double check the envelope before you throw it away. Who knows what's sticking to the side of it when you chuck it in the garbage can? Maybe someday that tidbit of hard-earned knowledge will come in handy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New clothes!

I've recently become quite the clothes horse. I was issued a challenge by my sister to find some more outgoing clothing, and so now I'm trying to be much more fashion-conscious. Yesterday, I bought these shorts...I've been noticing that bermudas are really in now!

Glad I went when I did!

Just happened upon this article on my news feed...looks like visiting the UAE is going to get a whole lot more difficult! So plan your vacations now. :)

Just thought we'd talk about the fluffy zoo animals...

Saturday was a fantastic day in my book. Ben and I went to the zoo, and then we went and saw STOMP at the Capitol Theater. It was fun to do something besides the usual movies and just hanging out. We had a great time.

Before we went to the zoo, we went to Siegfried's German Deli in Salt Lake. It was pretty good! I got a (safe!) reuben sandwich and tried some of Ben's spaetzle (I'm guessing I spelled that wrong)--an egg noodle dish with gravy on it. I've heard about this deli for awhile, both from one of my former co-workers and from my bro-in-law and sister. Adam, the co-worker, raves about it, and would even try to persuade me to make a special trip up to Salt Lake just to pick food up from there for lunch. He knew that was ridiculous, of course, but I guess it was that good. My bro-in-law and sister were not thusly impressed. I thought it was great, but then again, it doesn't take much to please my palate, as I can usually find something I like at most places. Anyway...give it a try if you're in the area.

After lunch, we went to the zoo and met up with Ben's brother (Rob), sister-in-law (Mindy), and his two nephews (Jonah and Kai). It was fun going around the zoo with little kids who were in awe of things. I mean, I've never been to Hogle Zoo before last Saturday, so I was kind of a little in awe myself. It was a fun time. Enough to blog about, right? Here are some pictures of a few of the animals...these were taken from my phone.

Bears, fighting/playing

Elephants (the one in front kept walking backwards...we started making beeping sounds at it...'she's backin' up!')

Giraffe (in case you couldn't tell by the obvious qualities it has)

After walking around for a bit, we went to the bird show they have there. They have some pretty cool specimens there! We got to hear their parrot talk and sing, see some cool falcons and eagles and owls...and they almost all flew right over our heads. It was surprising how close they got without hitting anyone. I was glad Ben mentioned that we should go to it, because it was really fascinating to learn about birds and watch them. I mean, it was cheesy, but there were little kids there, so it was a fun time.

Ben's parents were going to come down and go to STOMP with Rob and Mindy, but for one reason or another, they couldn't make, that means Ben and I got the tickets! I'd heard of STOMP before, and I knew it was a percussion group that used different everyday items to make songs, but I didn't expect how cool it was going to be! Seriously, everything they did was really great, and I kept thinking, "Wow! These people are amazing!" The performers were great. They didn't really say a word, but it was humorous and fantastic, all at once. I think my favorite part was when they all got different sizes of this bendy pipe stuff and hit it on the floor and used their hands and stuff to make noise. What a cool song! I was quite impressed by it all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Candid Photos from Natalie's Wedding - Temple/Wedding Luncheon