Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gary's Obituary

Brandon's uncle Gary passed away on Tuesday evening. He was Alan's closest sibling and he lived next door to Alan, Andy, and Brandon for many years. Please keep his family in your prayers that they might have comfort at this time of grief. Gary suffered from Crones disease for twenty years and was recently diagnosed with leukemia and I think his body was just too worn to handle chemo. He was the cutest Grandpa, always taking those boys fishing. We will miss you, Gary.

Our patient, humble dad, Gary Lee Jensen, 59, passed away April 28th, 2009 after a brave battle following a bone marrow transplant. He was born September 22, 1949 to Charles Auer and Doris Irene Jensen. He grew up in Delta and Provo and attended BYU and the University of Utah. He served an LDS mission in the Cumorah, New York Mission and loved to share his missionary experiences. He married his sweetheart, Jacquelyn Morris in the Salt Lake LDS Temple, August 11, 1971. They were best friends and shared 37 wonderful years together. They have three daughters that he taught to bait their own hooks, change a tire and pitch a tent with the best of them! He also made sure they knew the make and model of every car on the road. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for his girls.

Gary understood the value of hard work from starting his own egg business and raising chickens as a young boy to being a respected dental lab technician/owner for over 38 years. Some of his best friends were the doctors and associates at Highland Dental Center. He worked tirelessly to give his family the best of everything. His favorite memories were spent on the beaches of Kauai, (sitting in the shade), camping in his trailer at Washington Lake and fishing with his grandkids on the pontoon boat at Fish Lake. Gary found true joy with his family. He served in many church callings, but none he valued more than being a faithful home teacher.

He is survived by his wife, Jacque; daughters Marne’, Aimee (Jerry) Shuldberg, and Whitney (Russ) Boyer. He adored his grandchildren Canyon, Coleman, Easton, Noah and his little sunshine, Hope. They were his greatest accomplishment. Also survived by siblings: Verl (Margene) Jensen, R’Lene Hoggan, and Alan (Linda) Jensen. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 2, 2009, 12:00 noon at the Brighton 2nd Ward, 2525 E. Bengal Blvd. (7600 S.) where friends may call prior to service from 10:00 to 11:45 a.m. Interment Mountain View Memorial Estates. Online condolences may be left at

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the amazing doctors and nurses at LDS Hospital East 8 and ICU. You are our heroes. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the LDS Missionary Fund, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

Talofa Malia!

After over seven years of trying, our best friends Ryan and Elaine, are finally parents! Their little girl was born this morning around 7:00.
Welcome Malia Ardella P.!
7 lbs. 3oz.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Not Just Good Food

Awesome weekend so far. Friday I left the house at 5:45pm. I drove down to Salt Lake and went to dinner with Jen and Sara Jane. It was Sara's first experience with Indian food and she was pleasantly surprised. India House in Midvale/Sandy on State Street was delicious and their chicken tikka masala is better than Bombay House's. We were back to Jen's house at around 9:30 but stayed up talking until 2am! Slept in til 9am. That's right folks, I left the kids at home and not only had a girl's night out but also a sleepover. Oh, and the fun doesn't end there. Jen and I had 10:30 massage appointments this morning and then met back up with Sara Jane (she had work and a baby shower) for lunch at Normandie Cafe & Bakery, a Salt Lake gem I was previously unaware of but will definitely be returning to soon. Home and family were pleasant all afternoon and evening and I'm heading to bed extremely content.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Super Star

So, Monday, on our way to the zoo, we stopped at our friend Cole's new store, Super Star. Cole is a very good friend of mine from high school and he and Brandon have always gotten along very well too. Cole took the gutsy move of opening his own store this month. I have great confidence in him as a small business owner. Cole has decided to fill Salt Lake City's niche for designer underwear. Yes, you heard me right, underwear. His store carries men and women's lingerie, swimwear, and jewelry. I bought some really cute frilly panties and if I had my six-pack back and didn't own too many swimsuits already, I would have bought a KanDi swimsuit, because let's face it, who doesn't want to look as tasty as a cupcake.

This line of dessert swimwear is absolutely delectible and exclusive to Super Star in Utah.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle pt. 2

Steven L. Hopp, Barbara Kingsolver's husband, argues that saving a little money purchasing industrially grown foods rather than locally grown is costing us the following:
-$22 BILLION in tax dollars annually used subsidize agricultural fuel used in growing, processing and shipping the products
-$3 billion in direct subsidies to large-scale, chemical-dependent farming (Farm Bill for corn & wheat)
-$10 billion for treatment of food-related illnesses annually
-$17 billion in agricultural chemical cleanup costs
-$8 billion in collateral costs of pesticide use
-$20 billion in costs of nutrients lost to erosion

I admit he may be stretching things here, not defining some of these things more clearly, but he still makes some very valid points.
Organic farming practices build soil, not deplete it. They eliminate pesticides and herbicides. These farmers apply a knowledge of many different crops, rotating crops and using cover crops, etc. Their methods require extra time and labor and small farms bear higher costs for packing, marketing, and distributing which forces the buyers to pay a little bit higher sticker price. But isn't good health and a healthy environment worth a few pennies more?!

Hopp also claims that "each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles." He continues, "If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels. Small changes in buying habits can make big differences. Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast."

Her Niche

Bravo to my friend Nichole who started her own eco-friendly handbag line and was featured this morning on San Diego's NBC station! The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is giving out her bags to celebrity guests this month for Earth Day.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I just went through my April photos trying to decide which ones to post in an attempt to update you all on what's been going on with us since I've hardly posted anything about our to-dos lately. I haven't even told you about Easter or anything. Pretty much every picture I've taken this month has been of Jonah doing somthing hysterical like the above. Found Brandon's earplugs on the bedside table...

Speaking of Easter though, we did an egghunt at the city park on the Saturday before. Jonah mostly just stared at the hundreds of people surrounding him, but did manage to pick up a couple plastic eggs with the help of his dad. He had me, Elora, Alan, Linda, Andy, Kathy, Alex, and the three dogs there cheering he and Bryson on in their "hunt." We all went to lunch at a local cafe afterwards. We never did manage to dye any eggs of our own. We spent that night and the next up at the cabin.
Sunday after I went to church alone while the kids napped we gave the kids their baskets. I got them each two books. Grammy and Gampa got them some candy, toys, stuffed animals, and books. They both really liked the fake grass in Jonah's basket and Jonah liked the candy A LOT. He doesn't get many sweets regularly.

2008 Books

So far, I've been failing miserably in my personal reading this year. Several conversations with friends recently have me looking back on what I read last year. To the best of my recollection, this is an exhaustive list of what I read in 2008 (11 books) and a very short description and review of each.

Persuasion - Jane Austen (5 stars) (movie: 5 stars). Fiction. If you like Austen or good writing or British classics, or romance, you'll probably like this.
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (4 stars). Fiction. Unique. Fast read. Almost believable. Incredible.
Funny in Farsi - Firoozeh Dumas (4.5 stars). Memoir. Definitely funny. Each chapter stands alone. Easy read.
Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan (5 stars). Nonfiction. Second section (out of three) was my favorite. Everyone should read this book. Ever wonder where your food comes from? Find out.
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan (4 stars) (haven't seen the movie yet). Nonfiction. A woman's biography of her mother. If you like words, the fifties, or your mother, you might like this.
A Red State of Mind - Nancy French (3.5 stars). Nonfiction. A fun look at bi-partisan politics and American everyday life. Good writing but confusing timelining.
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer (3.5 stars) (movie: 2.5 stars). Fiction. Good page-turner. Meyer tells a good tale, but is definitely an amateur writer. If you are romantic, a teenager, or like romances or vampires, you'll probably like this one.
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton (4.5 stars) (movie: 3.5 stars). Fiction. Classic coming-of-age story. Great writing, great characters, great storytelling. Timeless.
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd (4 stars) (movie: 3.5 stars). Fiction. Beautiful writing and story, great characters. Complex story of love, guilt, self-worth, parents, civil rights, the 60s, sisterhood, etc. Strongly appealed to my feminist side.
The Year of Living Bibically - A.J. Jacobs (4.5 stars) Nonfiction. Okay, so I technically haven't actually finished this one. It was a fast read but about 2/3 into it I started my next bookclub book and got into too much holiday stuff and eventually just returned the book to its owner and vowed to buy my own. But I haven't yet. I'd recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in religions. Highly entertaining and informative.
Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin (4 stars). Nonfiction. Fascinating story of a white man who dyes his skin black in 1959 and spends a couple months living as a black man in the south. Incredibly eye-opening. Well written look at a piece of U.S. history. He tells a tale no one else ever could, a tale everyone should read.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle pt. 1

Like The Omnivore's Dilemma that I read with my bookclub last year, this book, by Barbara Kingsolver and family, proved to be both extremely informative and fascinating. For me it was quite a page-turner. I discussed the book this week with two different bookclubs. I have decided to post a couple blogs with highlights from the book that need to be shared with a wider audience. If this blog resonates with you, please post a link to it on your own blog or email a link to it to your friends.

Kingsolver makes a great argument for eating food that is in-season (as does the LDS Word of Wisdom) and produced locally.
"Pushing a refrigerated green vegetable from one end of the earth to another is, let's face it, a bizarre use of fuel. But there's a simpler reason to pass up off-season asparagus: it's inferior.
It's hard to reduce our modern complex of food choices to unifying principals, but this is one that generally works: eating home-cooked meals from whole, in-season ingredients obtained from the most local source available is eating well, in every sense. Good for the habitat, good for the body.
I am not sure how so many Americans came to believe only our wealthy are capable of honoring a food aesthetic. Anyone who thinks so should have a gander at the kitchens of working-class immigrants from India, Mexico, anywhere really. Cooking at home is cheaper than buying packaged foods or restaurant meals of comparable quality.
Buying goods from local businesses rather than national chains generates about three times as much money for your local economy. Studies from all over the country agree on that, even while consumers keep buying at chain stores, and fretting that the downtown blocks of cute mom-and-pop venues are turning into a ghost town. Today's bargain always seems to matter more."

I have started shopping differently since reading this book. I have recommitted to buying only cage-free eggs (not "free range") and trying to get more of my meat from local, grass-fed sources. I have also made a point of asking if my grocery store is carrying any local produce every time I go. I want to support local farmers and make green houses a more normal, affordable thing in an area with such a short growing season. I did not join a CSA this year (the one that I joined last year only delivers in Park City and the one that delivers in Heber is significantly more expensive) but I have committed myself to shopping at the local farmer's market all summer.

Tod Murphy, owner of The Farmer's Diner in Vermont, which buys everything it sells from businesses within an hour's drive (except for their fair-trade, organic coffee) says, "We have the illusion of consumer freedom, but we've sacrificed our community life for the pleasure of purchasing lots of cheap stuff. Making and moving all that stuff can be destructive: child labor in foreign lands, acid rain in the Northeast, depleted farmland, communities where the big economic engine is crystal meth. We often have the form of liberty, but not the substance. If every restaurant got just ten percent of its food from local farmers the infrastructure of corporate food would collapse."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Inspiration

Two Saturdays ago Jonah started his day out looking like this:

By that afternoon he was looking like this:

Normally I mark spring by shaving my legs for the first time in a long while or getting a pedicure or getting my hair highlighted. This year I declared spring several weeks ago but with nothing in particular. I have been enjoying Spring's weird back and forth weather and everything about it this year. It snowed last night, it's going to be 70 degrees on Monday, I love it all. I think any bouts of cold weather from here on out will be short-lived and Jonah and I changed up our hair to celebrate the warmth.

If You're Feeling Blue...

...just go with it. A new 'do will cheer you right up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

These Are a Few of Their Favorite Things

Jonah's Current Favorites
meal: anything involving "noodle-oodle-oodle"s
snack: prunes & raisins
least favorite foods: frozen waffles (even with blueberries), raw mushrooms (He also still can't manage to swallow bacon or raw carrots)
word: no no no, share
letter: "double K"
toy: balls, chairs
book: Go Dog Go
song: anything he knows the words or actions to & So What by P!nk that he loves to dance to
stuffie: usually asks for Moose and Krog (aka: frog)
favorite color: green (well that's the one he says the most)
show: Curious George, Sid the Science Kid, Thomas the Train...
workout video: Tae Bo eight minute workout (he much prefers this over yoga and the other videos I've watched, though he liked the walking one quite a bit)
animal: Rusty the cat, who seems to be asking to be tormented

He can now sight read nine words from flashcards. He can count outloud to five. He knows his colors, shapes, and a few letters. He refers to himself as "Joanie" instead of Jo Jo now. Our favorite words to hear him say are "shake-a cheese" (shakey cheese) and recipe. Share is always good too.

Elora's Current Favorites
food: finger foods, but she's not picky
book: fairly disinterested
song: anything she can dance to or anything Jonah & I sing
toy: balls, mini kitchen, things that make noise...
show: mostly disinterested
stuffie: totally disinterested
animal: Cody the yellow lab who lets her kiss him

Elora now officially says "nigh night" and "da-da". She appears to be allergic to peaches, just like Jonah was when he was younger. Just like Jonah, she is irresistably drawn to Daddy. She speed crawls to wherever he is when she hears his voice then gets up on her knees to beg to be held. Sometimes she gives really nice kisses. She likes to pull my hair and bite my clothes lately.

Friday, April 03, 2009


This is Elora's SuperCheese face. I can never catch it on camera from the front:(

Most of the time I think Elora looks like me and my mom, though she has Brandon and his mom's coloring. Here we can plainly see that she has her aunts Robin and Karen's forehead, which if you can believe it, is even bigger than mine.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Great Shots

You Will Melt

Elora turned 10 months old about a week ago. She got her first top tooth (third overall) right about then as well. Sometimes I think she is saying words (dada, mama, jo jo, cat, and night night) but mostly I think I'm just imagining it. She can take up to five steps now but she much prefers speed crawling. She attempts to get into the bathroom and get her hands into the toilet any chance she gets. She says "woo" a lot. She is beautiful. She is tiny, much tinier than the other three girls I met her age last week. She will give you a high five if you ask her to and she also does the popping hand action to the Popcorn Popping song. She likes finger foods.

Jonah is a riot. He talks a lot. He throws a lot of tantrums. He likes to run "fpast" and he likes me to sing him his favorite songs "pfast". He loves Once There Was a Snowman, You Are My Sunshine, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree, ABCs, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Five Little Speckled Frogs, and Five Little Ducks. He amuses me in so many ways. His very favorite thing in the world to do is "bounce" on the trampoline in the next-door neighbor's yard. He likes to watch cartoons and play with Daddy's iphone. He also loves playing with friends "Bibee" (Vivian) and "Eatin" (Ethan).