Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review

I think it is time to catch up on a few of the books that have crossed my path and have been read.
I will start with the two bookgroup books....
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  This woman is better know in the world as HeLa.  A woman who grew up on a tobacco plantation in the south.  She lived a hard life but seemed to be happy.  She came down with cancer - and eventually died from it.  What the story picks up is how a sample of her cells were taken and became one of the most important tools in medicine.  Her cells were the ones that helped create a polio vaccine, as well as helped uncovered viruses, helped with cancer research, and many other amazing scientific advances.  It also addresses how her family found out about it 20 year after the fact.  The family had a hard time dealing with it - based on their beleifs and were very private about themselves and media and scientists continued to bugh them.  I really enjoyed the story - got sucked in right away.  I enjoyed the read and learning about a science that was new to me.  Definitely not a book I would have chosen to read on my own volition, but one I would recommend

The next book was Highest Tide by Jim Lynch
This book is about a boy coming of age in a not so easy time.   He has passion for sea life and marine biology.  He spends a good part of his summer searching the beaches for what ever the sea happens to give up to the beaches.  He also spends his summer worrying about whether his parents will split up, or if his geriatric neighbor is truly a psychic, or if his feelings for his former babysitter, or hanging out with his friend who is only interested in girls and music.  The question posed that I found interesting was how it dealt with mysticism vs truth.  I read this book from a "summer read" perspective instead of digging in and finding the symbols and hidden meanings behind the writing.  Not my first pick - but interesting. 

The next book was my choice.  Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt - Beth Hoffman.  I don't remember how I heard about this one or why I chose it, but I really enjoyed it - A young girl raised by a mother who has severe bi-polar disorder and a father who left on business a lot to avoid dealing with the issues at home.  It isn't until her mother dies and she is taken by her great aunts to be raised that life starts to turn around and she has to face and deal with her past.  Despite the hard things at the beginning of the book - I loved the direction the story took and the characters in it were funny and enjoyable.

The next one to review is The Scent of Rain and Lightning -Nancy Pickard.  I was looking for a good mystery and this was a well reviewed book so I gave it a try.  Definitely kept me guessing until the end.  This novel starts with a 26 year old woman in a small Kansas farm town learning that the man who was convicted of murdering her father(the same night that her mother went missing, presumably also dead) was being released from prison, largely about concerns about the fairness of the original trial. The book then flashes back to 23 years earlier and details the events and the people involved in the death and disappearance.  It isn't until the very end and some major plot twists that you find out who done it.  I loved it.

The last book to review is The Blue Sword - Robin Mckinley
The story is about a young girl who doesn't really fit in finds her strength after being kidnapped by a mysterious, magical Hill-King.  She learns about her heritage as well as an ancient power that she holds.   Full of insecurities she perseveres and does what she needs to do to fulfill her destiny. It is a lot like another book I have read which happens to be one of my favorites called Crown Duel - by Sherwood Smith.  The book was complete escapism and an enjoyable read.

Happy reading to all

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Look what I have been doing

Happy Sunday Everyone!!!

Horrible picture - I know!  I just had to show you that I actually had it out and was using it.  No - I am not playing for anyone, just personal enjoyment and listening to Ralph play the piano.  What I really need to do is get my flute playing friend to come over tomorrow night and play a few duets with me.  Are ya game???

The work Christmas party went great - I think everyone went home full and satisfied.  Ralph was the hero in all of this.  I had no energy and was blowin boogers so he stepped in and saved the day.  I sure love that guy!!!!!Smiley from millan.net

We have family coming over to help us eat leftovers and I have a baptism to attend this evening.  Another full day of activities.  I love a full calendar and keeping busy...but there are times when I need some Cheryl time - maybe next week??

Ta Ta for now

Friday, December 10, 2010

Do you Believe

As I sit home on a rainy day eatting my canned chicken gumbo soup, trying to get some rest and deal with a nasty head cold (stress and no sleep do it to me every time) - I learned that today is National Believe Day - tied in with Macy's and Make a wish foundation.  Macy's is collecting letters to Santa and for every letter they are donating a $1 to the Make a Wish Foundation.  I love the concept of Believeing in Christmas and all that is involved with the holiday.  Whether it is a letter to Santa, or the conservative gift buying, the music, the decorations, the gathering of friends and family, the compelling need to reach out and help those that have less.  The darkest time of the year when we put up all the lights and celebrate the very Being who brings His light to us.

Here is a card we made in my stamping group last month. I got the idea from a fellow stamper who was making these cards for her local Ronald McDonald House.  Isn't he cute.  We had a lot of fun with this one.

We did this one - which was my favorite of the three that we did.  Once again - not my original idea, but really easy and this is what it looks like when you open it.  You could adapt this to any holiday or celebration theme.  You could attach a picture or a gift card or a little note.  In fact my BFF took this concept and made her Christmas card that she is sending out to 80 plus people. 
Last, but not least here is a picture of the Turkey bags we had as favors on the table.  I filled them with a mixture of corn nuts, pretzels, chocolate dried fruits etc.  I think they were well received. 
Ralph has started working on my work dinner project and has instructed me to take it easy today and he will take care some of the prep today.  He is so good to me and so patient and willing to help me out when I pile on the projects.  We will be doing empanadas, tamales, enchiladas, and fixings for tacos/tostadas.  Hopefully my fellow workers will feel like it was worth their money.  I am going to try and make the favors today for the dinner as well as get the paper cut for my Christmas cards that should have already been sent out.  Well...we do what we can. 

Ta Ta for now

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Buzz

Have you caught it yet?  Smiley from millan.net
I HAVE!  As long as I stay away from the stores and the commercial hub bub I will be fine.

As Ralph and I talked through some of our plans for the holiday season I started to get a little excited.  We have decided to stay in town for Christmas.  Which means we will put a tree up this year.  I especially got excited when I found out the GRP Christmas album II that I couldn't find is now available as an MP3 download.  I think it is my most favorite of the three.

I volunteered Ralph and I to cater my work party event next Saturday.  It drives him crazy when I do that, but I think he enjoys the cooking and prep as much as I do.  He should thank me as this way it enables him to be in the kitchen and not have to socialize with my fellow employees.  We have planned a mexican buffet.  It makes me hungry just thinking about it.  I love doing these kinds of things.  I have often thought about changing careers to a catering style job, but then I don't think it would be fun for me.  I will stick with the for "personal enjoyment" thing and my regular day job.
The activities for the weekend will keep us busy.  I have a baptism to attend in the morning, help Ralph's Mom put up her Christmas decorations, the land lord and an electrician coming to our house to "ground" the electrical outlets, our house to clean and prepare for Christmas.  Sunday - I hope to get some VT done.  Somewhere in that time frame I plan on posting pictures of some of the projects I have been working on and starting a couple of new ones, including our Christmas cards.

We have our family and neighbor gifts planned.  I really think that planning is half the battle.  We have really tried to simplify things but still make them meaningful.  Kind of hard for me as I like to go BIG.  But I think I will be satisfied with what we have planned this year.

I will end with a recipe that I found on Megans cooking Blog it is easy, yummy, and festively colored.

BLT Pasta
6 strips of thick sliced bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
1 C cherry/grape tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 lb thin spaghetti
4oz butter
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C parmesan - plus additional for garnish
2 C spinach leaves (makes it a healthy dish)

  • Cook pasta
  • meanwhile saute bacon until crisp - drain and save 1 T of the drippings - crumble bacon
  • Add tomatoes and sugar carmelize until tomatoes begin to brown (about 5 minutes)
  • Turn heat to low and stir in cream, butter, and cheese.
  • Drain spaghetti and set aside
  • Stir in bacon, and spinach - then add spaghetti. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with cheese and enjoy.
You could add chicken to this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

We need a little Christmas

Right this very minute!  Smiley from millan.net

So...to help the process of getting into the Christmas spirit I thought I would start listening to some of my favorite Christmas music.  Still not really in the mood for it but I am going to share some of my favorites.

Favorite Albums to sit in the ambience of the tree lights (no other lights on)  John Schmidt Chrismas and James Galway Christmas Carol.  (I couldn't go to sleep last night - listened to the John Schmidt album 4 times before I just gave up)

Pop Albums/Sing Along - David Archuletta, Amy Grant, Celine Dion, Linda Eder, Voice Male

Classical - The Messiah, and anything Rutter/Cambridge Choir

Tab Choir - Spirit of the Season album is my favorite.  I got to go to the concert and Sissel was just amazing. 

Jazz/Chillin - GRP Christmas - we have two of the albums and can't seem to get a hold of the third - anywhere for a descent price.

Christmas song I want but don't have a recording yet..."Mary Did You Know" There are lots of recordings out there - haven't picked my favorite - but do like Clay Aiken, Kathy Mattea, and Donny Osmond versions.

Please share some of your very favorites.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And We Now Resume our Regularly Scheduled Program...

A few days off of work, a lot of cooking, some company, and a good time was had by all.  And now we resume our regular programming. . . .

Okay, there was a lot more to it than that!  It just seems like so much has happened in the last week. . .where do I begin????

My mother, sister in law and I attended Deseret Book's Time Out For Women.  It was so fun to be with my favorite ladies and be rejuvenated and filled with the many great messages that were shared over the conference.  Lunch on Saturday was at Olive Garden.  My sweet friend took us out - I keep reminding myself just how lucky I am to have such great friends.  The conference ended so quickly.  I have reserved a copy of the DVD just so that I can review the many great things that were spoken of. 

We spent a day in Huntington with my family.  Although it was a short visit - we got to see all the family and renew our friendships.  We got to have dinner with the Mayor and her family (my aunt)  She spoiled us rotton.  She always does.  The drive back was in the snow and we ran out of washer fluid for the windshield.  Made for a fun drive - NOT!  We got home safe and sound thanks to Ralph's superb snow driving skills.  We also picked up a pointsettia from the greenhouses run by my cousin.  She does such a great job with  them and they are so pretty.

My two brothers arrived on Monday - a day ahead of the icky storm that closed the freeways down.  We took some time to see Harry Potter, get some family pictures taken, eat lots of yummy food, get Christmas cards started, a craft project finished, football games watched, and visit together.  It went so fast and I was so grateful to my family of consenting to spend the holidays at our house.  I had fun hosting and hoped everyone had a good time. 

Speaking of hosting...I love a finely dressed table for special occasions.  I made the cutest table favors.  I had hoped my brother got a closeup shot of them, but this is the best I could find.  The bags were made from a sizzix die.  I used the Thanksgiving wheel for the background.  I created a turkey using the scalloped punch, and other various punches to finish him.  I filled them with yummy goodies to be munched on after the meal as we went about our activities.  As you can see, we were spoiled by all the yummy food. 

I am now hitting the Bah Humbug stage of the holidays.  I haven't been too motivated to pull out the Christmas decorations.  I did get all the Thanksgiving and Fall decorations taken down tonight.  This weekend hopefully some of the Christmas spirit will enter my heart.  I want to be excited, but there are just parts of Christmas that are hard to get excited about without having children/our won family to share it with. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let Us Be Thankful

I laid in bed this morning as the alarm was going off thinking of a really good excuse to call in with to say I wasn't coming to work.  I just didn't want to face "it" today.  I did get up in just barely enough time to get ready and be out the door fast.  Thank goodness for Sunday leftovers - they make lunch prep really easy as do breakfast shakes.

Within a half hour of arriving - I knew I should have stayed home.  I started to have more computer problems which made my work next to impossible to do.  Between the times of having to reboot my computer, I was able to accomplish some things.  The ICS person that I was working with decided to re-image my computer.  I now have Windows 7 which definitely has a learning curve.  We just need to move a few more things over from the old hard drive in the morning and then it will be finished.  So by the end of the day things started to pick up until I went to authorize the days work and found that our new-new guy still doesn't get it.  A lot of his work will have to be redone.  So now I get to spend a day with him which means another day of my work put on hold.   How does that song go..."Got Me Under Pressure"  Yeah thats the one.  I think I need a hot tub - anybody got one?  I also found out the managers are authorizing overtime until the end of the year.  So much coming in - not enough staff to handle it.

I came home later than planned today because of my late discovery at work - ate a quick dinner and jumped right in to working on getting the house company ready as well as ready for the owner and insurance inspector to arrive at 10 tomorrow morning to have a look around.  I honestly wonder if things will ever slow down.  I have a few things left to do before bedtime - so I will wrap up my comments today with a quote I found on someone's blog.  I think it sums today up perfectly.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha

Ta Ta for now  Photobucket

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Silent Sunday

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I am tired and bummed out

I am not sure what happened to my Utes again- Wynn has lost all self confidence and we can't seem to move the ball.  I am not sure I agree with some of the choices the coaches are making, but I won't give up!  Go Utes!  10-2 won't be so bad...
Smiley from millan.net
I don't think I can do another week of overtime - I am so tired.  You show up to work by 8 and leave the office by 10.  It is so hard to turn down the extra hours when it is offerred, it is good money and helps contribute to the "will we survive the holidays" fund.  We will see how things go this week.  I have to prep for family visitors arriving on Thursday, Time Out for Women on Friday and Saturday, we need to juice the grapes sometime in between and make the house company ready.  Gotta pull out my Wonder Woman suit - that should help give me the boost I need. (maybe just some good sleep and regular hours)

Thanks to Ralph and his super sleuthing skills he found my box of missing decorations and I was able to get the Halloween decorations down and my Thanksgiving stuff up.  I love Fall.  The vibrant warm colors, the cooler weather, all the holidays that start happening.  Just makes me happy.  I know that is two weeks it will all come down and be replace with Christmas stuff, but remembering what Thanksgiving is all about - even for only a few weeks makes it worth it.

I gotta go finish sharing time for tomorrow - We are playing spin the bottle - topic Service.  Should be fun.  I also need to hit the hay - can't stop yawning
Smiley from millan.net

Saturday, November 6, 2010

There are no words....

that can describe what happened at RES.  OH wait - there are...BUTT KICKIN!  I am not sure what team showed up to play against the horned frogs, but it wasn't the team I normally watch.  We couldn't complete a pass, hand off, or hang on to the ball to save our lives.  There was so much hype over the game and then to have it end the way it did was heart breaking and almost comical at the end as we continued to play like we have never seen or played the game before.  Oh well...we learn from it and move on to South Bend IN to play Notre Dame.  Go UTES!

So I rented a couple of movies to watch last night - Iron Man 2 and Letters to Juliet.  Ralph didn't finish his presidency meeting until much later than he anticipated. We only got through Iron Man 2 - thoroughly enjoyed it. Iron Man rocks and so does Pepper Potts!  But don't forget Scarlett Johansens character.  She double rocked!  I think it will be one we eventually add to our collection.

**SPOILERS**I watched Letters to Juliet when I got home from the football game as it had to be returned tonight before 9:00.  It was good - Vanessa Redgrave is just beautiful  A class act.  My soft romantic brain got sucked in and I loved the scene when the character Claire comes to check on Sophie after a rough day of searching for Lorenzo.  She offers to brush Sophie's hair and says “One of the great joys in life is having one's hair brushed"- tears were sitting on the edge of my eyelids by the end of the scene.  I even made Ralph sit down watch as I replayed the scene.   The ending was a bit cheesy - but loved the happy ending.  I think the real love affair took place between Claire and Sophie.  What a sweet relationship that was.  I needed that after todays fiasco.

For breakfast this morning I really wanted some French Toast - Ralph suggested that pumpin french toast would be a good idea.  So I tried it.  It turned out exactly as I had imagined it would taste.  It will be one we add to our recipe pile of keepers.  I don't have a picture of the finished product, but it looks a lot like regular french toast.  Here is the recipe:
3 eggs
1/4 C milk
1/4 C cream
1/4 C pureed pumpkin
2 T brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamon
8 to 10 sliced of bread.

Mix the custard ingredients together.  Soak bread in custard mixture and cook.  These would be good stuffed with cream cheese.  This could also be adjusted to make a good bread pudding.    Use your imagination and enjoy it.

Ta Ta for now

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cause I got a golden ticket!

It is finally Smiley from millan.net

Ok my ticket is not really gold, but none the less I am excited.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir does a Chrismtas Concert every year - 4 days during December.  There are 21200 seats in the conference center and would you believe it, it "sells" out every year.  You put your name in a lottery for the tickets and I got some.  YAY!
Smiley from millan.netThis concert is one of my favorite things to do.  You are in the middle of an incredibly busy season and it provides an opportunity for me to stop and enjoy the Christmas lights, and the spirit of the season.  David Archuletta is the guest performer this year.  He wouldn't be my first pick, by I enjoy listening to his Christmas music.  I am looking forward to it!

Football game tomorrow - Wahoo I can hardly wait.  ESPN Gameday will be broadcasting from the stadium.  The crazy fans are sleeping out over night so they can be there in the morning.  The school is hoping to have 10,000 fans there to join in the ESPN gameday celebration.  It is also the U's blackout game.  Normally this particular game is in the evening so my black sweatshirt works just fine.   Well the game is at 1:30 and it is supposed to be 68 F  I can't sit in the NEZ with the sun beating down on me in a sweatshrit.  I need a Utah black t-shirt.  Guess I will have to forgo my walk up the canyon for a walk to the sports store.  Go Utes!!!
Smiley from millan.net
Well - as my Mum would say - I need to "hunker" down and get to work - lots to do!Photobucket

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I am a Pooper Scooper

Aside from Riley's - most of that action seems to be happening at work.  Yesterday, in a conversation I was having with my boss -we figured out that our GSC team is really just cleaning up other people messes, picking up the pieces left from the software rollout.  Therefore the title of my post.  Phew - today is my last day of really long hours.

As I was working last night I happened to stop by a coworkers desk and saw this quote from Gordon B. Hinkley - "By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are only thinking of ourselves."  Is it a bad thing to think about ourselves?  Is it bad to complain?  I don't think so...but if you let it consume you then yes. 

Book Review
Pirate Latitudes - Michael Crichton

The book was found in his files and was published after Crichton's death.  If you want a quick read book about pirates this is it.  The story takes place in the late 1600's in Jamaica.  The story has battles, witches, a moor, a jew, a kracken, gore, cheating, & revenge.  Sounds a little bit like a Johnny Depp movie.  I can see why Crichton didn't publish it - it doesn't even come close to most of his other stories - but a fun read still the same.

I am looking forward to the weekend and spending time with my boys - even if it involves picking up poop.Smiley from millan.net

Ta Ta for now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

10 Things

on my mind...
1.  Work - still working long shifts
2.  Stamp club on the 13th - fun ideas - just gotta sit down and design
3.  Ralph and Riley - I miss them when I work long hours
4.  TCU vs Utah
5.  I miss my stamps - no time to play.
6.  Plans for Thanksgiving week - don't over plan - there is just too much I want to do.
7.  Harry Potter Movie - gotta get tickets
8.  Primary stuff - activity to put together
9.  Oh so looking forward to spending time with family
10. I need sleep

   Ta Ta for now

Friday, October 29, 2010

It is still raining on my parade

This week shall we say has been a killer.  Without saying too much...the new finance program has caused a few more headahces than anticipated.    The last couple of days have been 13 to 14 hour work days.  In fact, the stress and pressure have been so great that one of my team members had a huge anxiety attack and ended up going home.  Today, being the last day of the month and still trying to sort things out - I hope to get to some of the other assignments that caused the emotional duress so that when this person comes back on Monday - it won't be so bad.

It's all good - things will eventually work out.  Ralph and Riley are missing me and I am looking foward to spending the weekend with them.

So to the person who asked where my Christmas Countdown went - I say....Out the window.  Maybe tonight and/or tomorrow I will work on some- no promises.

Ta Ta for now

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crappy Days Smiley from millan.net

I woke up kind of on the grumpy side today and it just of set the tone for the rest of the day.  My computer had issues and it took until about 3:00 p.m to get somebody to help me get it working. Smiley from millan.net Unfortunately, I left work without it being fixed.   The ICS guy hopefully was sticking around to complete the clean up process.  Actually I am hoping it is a hardware issue and I get a new computer.  Not likely, but I can hope.

Our new program in less than impressive.  I knew there would be some things I didn't like about, but I will be honest.  I don't like it.  Maybe after a year or so of working out the kinks it might become somewhat useable, but not yet.  The other issue is having the local leaders follow simple instructions - why is so hard???  I know they are just volunteers trying to do their best, but I wish some would apply themselves just a little bit (that was a bit judgemental wasn't it?)

In my time of following blogs - I have followed two seperate families on opposite sides of the country.  having different religious beliefs, go through having a spouse lose the battle to cancer.  Both of them young, (under 50 years of age) leaving behind such cute families.  My heart aches again for the one I read about this morning.  I can't imagine losing my spouse at this stage of life - well really at any stage.  This woman's faith and courage has been absolutely amazing.  My prayers go to her and her family - there is still a hard road ahead and they will need all the support and prayers they can get.  Death of a loved one is so hard to endure - I can't imagine doing it all, let alone without the faith I have in God's plan.

So with that - hug your loved ones - tell them how much you care for them and appreciate them.  Our time here is so short.  And here is to a better tomorrow.
Smiley from millan.net
Ta Ta for now