Monday, October 31, 2011

Mystery Guest

Halloween is pretty routine in our neighborhood, so we were all surprised to see the headless horseman ride through! One of my neighbors got this shot of him sneaking up behind her daughter. Watch out, Gracie!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

On the Bandwagon?

I checked out Pinterest for the first time today because so many of my friends love it. I pinned my first item to my board (a picture of a beautiful beach with palm trees), but I'm not sure about the whole thing. Do I want or need another diversion? We'll see.

Ooh, I already have one follower!

And so it begins . . .

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Chair with a View

Greetings from the chair by the window at the new Springville City library, which is now open!

I'm enjoying a lovely view of the creekside and the mountains while I hang out working on my laptop using the library's wifi.

Hundreds and hundreds of people have already come to the grand opening today to check out the new building (and to check out armfuls and armfuls of books).

This is a good day for Springville!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Green Around the Gills

Jack got Dad's permission to carve some of our pumpkins on his own while we were out. This was a first, but Mom decided she could be okay with it after he promised to use the special non-lethal pumpkin carving knife.

This is what we came home to. Poor thing!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Hit

Heading to the Junior High Halloween dance in his new fedora. My little mobster is growing up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Bribe

I keep trying to figure out ways to make grading papers more palatable. You know, so I will just sit down and focus and get it done.

Today I went the Art City Trolley, got a table for one in the corner of the trolley car, and ordered their fabulous Chef's Choice salad (a salad I have never had before). My goal was to hang out nursing that salad while I graded at least a dozen papers.

It didn't work out as well as I hoped. The salad was so big and complicated and distracting that it took me an hour just to comment on three papers.

But it sure was delicious!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Human Mics

Once again I relied on Jack to provide a new experience for me. Tonight was the first time he conducted a scout court of honor, and he did an excellent job. He handles a crowd pretty well, that boy!

My favorite part of the program (besides Jack being awarded his merit badges and First Class rank) was when one of the leaders led us in a rousing rendition of "I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor" in which he said a line and we repeated it. We were just like the Occupy Wall Street human mics, complete with hand motions!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Right to Know

A friend posted the link to this database of public salaries in Utah on facebook today. Not totally up to date, but very interesting.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nom Nom Nom

I picked up some key lime pie flavored yogurt at the grocery store yesterday to break my typical rut of peach or cherry yogurt.

Had some for a snack today. I'd buy it again.

It would be even tastier in a nice flaky pie crust. But I suppose that would defeat the "light" part.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Delayed and Gratifying

Actually I saved this post from last Saturday, when Roger and I enjoyed our first visit to Red Butte Garden, the botanical garden at the University of Utah. We've been meaning to go for years and years. What a lovely treasure!

Friday, October 21, 2011

On a Lighter "Note"

I realize that my posts took a bit of a negative turn this week, but we've had lots of happy times as well. For example, we took the plunge today and ordered Roger a new iPhone 4S, taking us into smart phone territory for the first time, and adding a third line to our account for our almost teenager.

Jack took this picture with his new phone. He's been working on creating a Lego symphony orchestra. So far he's figured out how to make clarinets, flutes, French horns, baritones, saxophones, bassoons, and cellos.

I think his decision to sign up for band this year in school was brilliant. Hopefully our decision to sign him up for the phone is too.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Too Young

One of my high school classmates passed away this week. She was diagnosed with advanced cancer only a few weeks ago. It was so swift and harsh. We're only in our 40s.

Some dear friends lost a family member without any warning earlier this month. She was only in her 20s.

Today I worked for the first time with a couple of inmates who are housed in a less secure facility at the jail known as the annex. They are among the select few who are able to work under supervision at local companies or at jobs on the grounds of the county complex.

While I was waiting to meet with them, I noticed a bulletin board near the entrance covered with photocopied obituaries of young men. I assume they had all passed through the jail at one time. It was overwhelming to see tragedy concentrated like that.

Life doesn't make a lot of sense some days. Time to go give Roger and Jack some hugs and kisses.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I crossed a line today I promised myself I wouldn't. I didn't finish grading the last batch of student papers before collecting a new batch. Sigh.

Technically the papers they turned in are just drafts that I'm reviewing before they turn in their final papers. So I'm not actually grading them. But still. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Long Odds

So, wow. Had my first conversation with a guy who talked openly about how easy it was for him to make a boatload of money dealing drugs.

I think he was really talking about how hard it's going to be for him to not deal drugs, especially when it's likely going to take him weeks and weeks and weeks to land a legitimate job that will earn him the tiniest fraction of a boatload.

He says he wants to do it right this time. I sure hope he makes it. But, boy, it's not going to be easy.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Most of my new adventures today were work related. Yawn. So today I'm going to post about someone else's new adventures for a change.

Uncle John got to meet my cousin Tracey's new puppies for the first time today. Lucky guy! And it looks like the pups are lucky, too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Roger could not resist using his phone to snap this shot of Jack giving his first talk in front of the entire congregation at church this morning.

Jack did a fabulous job. He may have talked really fast, but several people said they could understand him anyway because he articulated so well. They did laugh at the one part they were meant to. A very good experience for our boy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupying SLC

So, okay, Roger and I were actually a couple of blocks away from Pioneer Park and Occupy Salt Lake City in very cushy accommodations at the Sheraton.

But we did spend some time at the park this morning, taking in the farmer's market (my favorite line I overheard: "We've got to get moving! You're spending too much time with the goat cheese!") and chatting it up with the occupiers, who had been asked to consolidate their tents on the tennis court the night before to make room for the booths.

The occupiers were quite happy, by the way, to support this kind of free market, where people sell real things they've worked hard to produce and customers can be clear about what they are buying.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Exit Interviews

This week I started meeting one-on-one with inmates at the jail who are about to be released. We talk about their immediate plans--who's picking them up (if anyone), whether they have a place to live, how to get their birth certificate, where they can go to get help finding employment, or bus tokens, or food, or a haircut.

Their stories are all different and all the same.

I'm going to have to figure out how to do this job without crying (or carb loading) when I come home for lunch.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


So I was planning to write about how we used for the very first time today and got a good deal on a four-star hotel for an upcoming getaway. I know! What took us so long?!

But then I went to our first library board meeting AT OUR NEW LIBRARY! (Yes, I'm shouting, but I'm just so darn excited!)

Saturday, October 29, from 9:30 to 4:00--THE BIG GRAND OPENING! Ribbon cutting! Puppet shows! Magic Shows! Orchestras! Face painting! Balloon animals! Storybook characters! Halloween candy! And Brandon Mull!

Sorry, You come in second.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Flying Dutchman

Yesterday, I ran into Akwasi Frimpong, an old student of mine, and he told me he was speaking today on campus as part of UVU's "Outcasts Speak" Week.

Jack and I headed up this afternoon to go to his presentation, which included a showing of an hour-long documentary (in Dutch with English subtitles) about his struggle to develop as an elite runner while living as an undocumented immigrant in the Netherlands for 13 years.

Akwasi was finally granted Dutch citizenship a few years ago, and hopes to represent the Netherlands at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. We'll be watching for him!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Could Only Manage One Bite of Chocolate Cake Afterward

Mom took us out to dinner for her last night here. Roger has been wanting to try the gnocchi at Gloria's Little Italy in downtown Provo so that's where we went.

Oh, my.

I had tortellini with rosata sauce (their classic pomarola sauce--vine-ripened fresh tomatoes and other fresh ingredients cooked together for 5-6 hours--blended with a touch of, mmmm, cream).

What we didn't know is that if you print out this page from their website and show it to them, you can get 20% off a meal for party of 4 or more.

Next time. Maybe tomorrow?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lifetime Pass

I finally remembered to get my new Utah Valley University parking tag to replace the one that expired at the end of September. I went to the brand spankin' new campus parking office to get it.

I am pleased to report that I now have UVU parking privileges through the end of the world (if those Mayans were actually on to something that is).

Sunday, October 09, 2011


My mother is a pusher. She introduced me today to Killer Sudoku.

Must. Resist. Addiction.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Guess Who Came to Dinner

This afternoon I drove up to Salt Lake City to meet my mom, who flew in yesterday for her annual meeting of the Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists. (Just to brag about my mom for a minute: the Fellows are an elite group of 50 who are selected based on their published genealogical scholarship. They are appointed for life, and the group only has an opening when one of them passes away.)

Mom invited me to join them for dinner, and we sat next to Alvy Ray Smith, one of the founders of . . . drumroll . . . Pixar. Yes, the Pixar. I think his eyes lit up a little when I told him that we are the kind of fans who stay through the closing credits to make sure we don't miss a thing.

He was very kind when I shook his hand and then immediately asked if I could shake his hand again.

He told me stories about the early days, about George Lucas coming along and then Steve Jobs. I asked him where the name came from, and he told me that he grew up in New Mexico speaking a bit of Spanish and he wanted to come up with a name that was reminiscent of making pictures and sounded like a Spanish verb. He wanted an action word.


Friday, October 07, 2011

Homecoming and Going

My alma mater's homecoming is this weekend. I'm not attending any of the official events, but I got to enjoy an unofficial one. One of my favorite friends from college decided on a whim to drive down from Idaho with her two daughters for the weekend, and we all had a long, lovely lunch together today.

Rebecca is the kind of friend that I can pick up with right where we left off no matter how many years pass between visits. It is a blessing to have friends like that.

Her oldest daughter Megan is a senior in high school, and she's thinking very seriously about going to college in Boston. As you can imagine, I think that is a fine idea. After spending some time talking with her today, I'm ready to write her a letter of recommendation. She's a sharp one!

I got to hold Megan the very day she was born. If she does go to Boston, I'd like to think it's a result of my early influence on her.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

October 6th?

Yes, October 6th. Our backyard. The Celestial Cauldron in the foreground looks sadly diminished. My longing for winter solstice begins.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple to Apple, Dust to Dust

Like so many others, I learned about the death of Steve Jobs on my Apple device. A MacBook Pro in my case. The news was all over my facebook feed. Apple to Apple.

Thank you for turning your vision into reality, Mr. Jobs! Thank you for your revolutionary ideas about form and function. The world is a better place because you were here.

Roger decided yesterday that he might take the plunge and get the new iPhone (the camera sold him on it). Now we'll do it in your memory.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


I was poking around doing some online research today for a project I'm working on and came across the upcoming fiscal year budget for the city we live in.

I'm a big fan of citizen awareness and government transparency, but I often fail to pay as much attention as I think I should. Even when I can find information like this so easily on the interwebs.

By the way, I'm generally happy with the way Springville City is managing our collective affairs. I've only just skimmed the budget report at this point, but I appreciate the straightforward, pragmatic tone.

I'm a big fan of pragmatism. And cinnamon toast.

Monday, October 03, 2011


For a day jam packed from beginning to end, I'm amazed I didn't really do anything out of the ordinary. I suppose there were little things, like getting my laptop set up so I can access the internet at work or experimenting with a new way to have my students peer review one another's papers. But I've been accessing the internet and having students do peer reviews for a long, long time.

What was out of the ordinary was hearing a new (to me) song on the car radio, from an artist I haven't really paid any attention to, and being totally caught up in it. It's unusual to have my spot hit like that. So I thought I'd share.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Last night I arrived too late to meet the nun who was visiting my friend Ronda and giving a presentation about a school she works with in India. All of the guests were gone, but I did get to have a very nice visit with my friend.

And she sent me home with a delicious homemade loaf of chocolate banana bread, which we sure enjoyed today. I don't think I've ever had chocolate banana bread before. It was extra moist, just like my mom's fabulous zucchini chocolate cake. We're going to have to add it to our repertoire.

Mind, soul, and body fed. Thanks, Ronda!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

While the Boys Were Away

Roger took Jack to his very first priesthood session of the semi-annual LDS general conference tonight, and I headed out to spend the evening with the girls. Four generations of women (and one adorable grand nephew) gathered at my mother-in-law's house for a pleasant visit over a tasty dessert.

It was a very comforting way to ease into this new phase of our lives. Frankly, ever since Jack turned twelve it feels like he's been on a fast track to becoming a man. I think I'm going to need a lot of easing over the next few years.