Saturday, November 10, 2012

Favorite Albums

I'm not going to claim these are the best albums of all time, but they are my favorites.  In no particular order:

1 - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill

2 - Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

3 - Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

4 - An Innocent Man - Billy Joel

5 - Glass Houses - Billy Joel

6 - The Stranger - Billy Joel

7 - II - Led Zeppelin

8 - Tidal - Fiona Apple

9 - The Wall - Pink Floyd

10 - When the Pawn - Fiona Apple

This really does not reflect my love of Jazz or Country music, but these are the albums that I have listened to over and over and not just for a year or two but consistently, sometimes for decades.

I thought this list was going to be a lot easier to make than it was.  It even spawned two more lists found below.  If you decide to do this post on your blog, which you should, be forewarned that it will waste several hours of your time.

You really can't go wrong with any Billy Joel, Fiona Apple, Pink Floyd, Kelly Clarkson, Beatles, or Led Zeppelin album.


1 - Legend - Bob Marley & The Wailers

2 - Greatest Hits - Red Hot Chili Peppers

3 - Greatest Hits - The Mamas & The Papas

4 - Greatest Hits: HIStory Vol. 1 - Michael Jackson

5 - Echoes - Pink Floyd

6 - Greatest Hits - Queen

7 - 1 - The Beatles

8 - The Immaculate Collection - Madonna

9 - Keeps Getting Better - Christina Aguilera

10 - Definitive Collection - Stevie Wonder

Other favorite artists are Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Sara Barielles, Feist, Diamond Rio, No Doubt, Erasure, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Bing Crosby, Dido, Alicia Keys, Rob Thomas, Maroon 5, U2, Elton John, Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, The Doors, and Nora Jones.


1 - Little Shop of Horrors

2 - Forrest Gump

3 - Glee: The Music, Volume 4

4 - Charlie's Angels

5 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

6 - Dead Presidents (though I've never seen the movie)

7 - Little Mermaid

8 - O Brother Where Art Thou

9 - The Nightmare Before Christmas

10 - Romeo & Juliet

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Taste of Fall

Last week we made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice cookies, squash & apple soup, and apple & five-spice pork roast.  Yesterday we made melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies with a brown sugar frosting.  All gluten-free by-the-way.  As soon as my six weeks of gluten-free are over, I'm making those first pumpkin cookies again cause they were fantastic (and I actually preferred them without the glaze).  Oh, and tonight I'm making dinner in a pumpkin.

The epitome of fall flavors was in this:

Apple-Butternut Squash Soup (from Cooking Up Vermont via Linda)

3 T vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, diced small
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cute into 1-inch pieces
2 quarts water or chicken stock (I would reduce next time and do 4 c. veg or chick stock and 2 c. water)
2 cups apple cider
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups half and half
Heat oil in stockpot over medium low heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, apple sale, pepper and spices.  Cover and cook until vegetables are slightly tender...8-10 minutes stirring occasionally.  
Remove cover and add squash, water or stock, cider and lemon juice, stirring to combine well.  Simmer over medium-high heat for about 40 minutes or until squash is fork tender, stirring occasionally.  
Working in batches, if necessary, transfer squash mixture to a blender and puree until silk smooth.  Transfer back to pot and slowly whisk in half and half and heat through.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gold Rush Days

We live in an area shaped in history by the California gold rush.  There are reminders of it all around.  On Labor Day, there was a festival celebrating that time in Old Town Sac.  The kids and I went and had a lot of fun.
Recognize this old miner?

Downtown Sacramento.  Right between their heads is the state capitol building.

Phrenologist about to measure Jonah's head

Coyote Man

panning for gold

The firing of the cannon

Thursday, September 06, 2012


Jonah had his first day of Kindergarten on Aug. 22nd.  Neither of us cried.  We were both ready.  He is loving it.
Walking to school.  
Elora and I walk him there everyday and he always wants to be in front of us, speed-walking the whole way.

He'd been looking forward to wearing this new Buzz & Woody shirt on his first day.
Jonah likes to wear polo-style shirts buttoned all the way up to the top.

Daddy didn't have an 8am patient so the whole family got to walk Joe to school that first day.

The classroom.
Jonah was surprised that his teacher didn't "stand in front of a board" and that he didn't have "a table with a chair hooked on."

Coloring with orange (his favorite color) and saving a red (2nd fave) under his chin for later.

Fridays are wear red days.

Jonah with his teacher Mrs. Silva

Monday, September 03, 2012

AZ in August

I hadn't been to Arizona in August in 10 years, but you know what, the heat didn't even bother me.  It's been over two weeks since I got back, so forgive me if this recap isn't as sharp as my one on Utah.
Stopped at Montezuma's Castle (a complete misnomer) on our way from Flagstaff to Mesa.

Spent a lot of the day just hanging out at Nana's house with Uncle Adam, Moqui, Kaleb, Ethan, Chandler, Nana, Gabe, Papa, and Claire.
Did I ever mention that my parents have a tendency to pick up strays?  Had someone staying in their guest bedroom right up until the day we got to town.

Dust storm moving in

Took Kaleb, Ethan, and Chandler to Bookmans where we met up with Ted and shopped.

Sunday the 12th we spent the afternoon at Robin's house.  I finally got to meet my niece Chloe, who is already 5 months old!
Had dinner back at my parents house with the fam there plus Mark and Amber.  It was nice to see Amber's cute pregnant belly.

Hung out with Karen for a bit on Monday morning.
And then after signing a minor out of police custody, we went to lunch with Robin, Nana, Paisley, and Chloe.
If you ever think your life sucks, think again.  Catherine just turned 15.  She got picked up by police that day because her stepmom turned her in for disturbing the peace.  She was punching things and screaming at her dad who makes her sleep on a futon in an apartment with no air conditioning (it was 118 degrees outside that week) where she is often hungry.  While her dad pays for her step-sister to sleep on Cat's bed in the  air conditioned apartment next door.
Where's her mother?  She's on drugs and Catherine has a restraining order against her after past violence.
Catherine enjoyed a week of sleeping in and eating bacon and eggs everyday before my dad got guardianship of her and got her registered for school.  So now my parents have living at home my two teenage siblings, my 18 y.o. nephew, and Catherine.

After lunch Mom, the kids and I spent an hour at Barnes and Noble.  A bit later we headed over to Robin's house for swimming, playing, and pizza.
Tuesday we ate at Ned's.  Hung out with the Courts.  Had gelatto with Ted & Lauren.  Went swimming with Spencer.
That night I did a girls' night out with Melissa, Chrisy, Tina, Michelle, and Theresa, all Sarah's friends.  We ate at the delicious Cornish Pasty and had a good time hanging out and talking.
Awesome lighting storm on the way home.

Wednesday spent hours hanging out with Gena while the kids enjoyed her pool.

That evening we went to Chandler's football practice, where I got caught up on the latest with Sarah's boys from Michael while Jack, Jonah, and Elora played and played at the playground.
Then we took Jackson out for icecream and played some more at the park before stopping to say goodnight and goodbye to Tucker, Robin, and Trent.

Thursday morning-ish my mom joined us for the roadtrip home.  We drove halfway and then stayed at a great motel somewhere north of L.A.
The kids enjoyed having Nana around for the next five days before she flew back home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

6 Months

Yesterday was Sarah's birthday.  She would have been 37.  I remember last summer we didn't think she was going to make it to 36, but she did.

It's been almost exactly six months since she passed away.  We're all coping in our own ways.  Mom and I had some good cries while we read the posts about Sarah on Facebook, but really we had a nice day and weren't emotional wrecks.  We looked at lots of pictures and talked about her a lot.  Dad invited the family over for cake and ice cream at his house to celebrate the day in Arizona.  Poor Karen was alone in Vegas, where they'd celebrated birthdays together before.  Mom was happy not to be at home yesterday.

Brandon's cousin lost her dad a couple years ago and she says time really does heal, but the first year is a wreck.  Mom has good days and bad and I've seen both and I hope those bad days continue getting further and further apart.

Here's a great shot of Sarah a few birthdays ago.  Pretty typical.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Two Weeks Away

Got home yesterday from two weeks away from home.  That is the longest I have ever been away from any one of my homes (11 weeks in Nepal didn't count cause our stuff was in storage so we left an apartment and came "home" to my FIL's house).  I will try to make my recap quick.  I can always do details on interesting stuff later.

Thurs., Aug. 2nd - drove from our new hometown to Sandy, UT in 10 hours flat.  Kids were great.  I spent most of the car ride reading The Glass Castle, which is fantastic.

Fri., Aug. 3rd - Jonah, Elora, and I had a lunch playdate at Heber's Main Street park.  My friends Alexa, Melissa, Liz, and Rena and their kids met up with us there.

Went boating with Alan, Linda, Jamon, Alisha & their kids on Deer Creek.

We all went up to the cabin from there and stayed the next two nights.




BBQed at Jen & Steve's house for lunch.  Played with their 11 mos. old Tori.
Hanging out with Nana Lisa, Andy, Coach & Trey.  Dinner at their house with sunset views over the great Salt Lake.

The kids and I went swimming and out to lunch at La Puente.  Brandon shopped and headed out on a loner backpacking trip.  The kids and I shopped for baby gifts at Target and dropped off an early gift to Tori.  Katie & Jason get to town and we celebrate Jason's birthday.

Tuesday, Aug. 7th
Spend a couple hours at The Smile Ranch with Papa Stan while Claire has Alan & Anika put her braces on.
 Liberty Park with Andy, Trey, and Nana Lisa (and a massage break for Mommy)
Elora and her best friend Sophie reunite for 24 hours of fun and Elora's first non-family sleepover.
Jonah and I visit the Fergusons.  Jonah plays with Ethan while I chat with Raquel and hold 10-day-old Tori.  I sneak off for two hours of girl-talk with Leah.
We visit the Morrills.  Jonah plays with Vivian & Lucas while I chat with Angela.  So sad we didn't have more time with them!
Brandon comes home safely.
Andy gives birth to healthy twins: Cooper & Grant at 5 lb. 6 oz and 5 lbs. 11 oz.
Katie's baby shower.

Pick up Elora from Heber.  Jonah, Nana Lisa, Trey, and Brandon play and do slip n' slide together.  The kids and Lisa and I visit the twins again.

After 7 evenings of watching the Olympics, I do something different and rent the new Sherlock movie and watch it with Brandon.

Friday, Aug. 10th
The kids and I drive 8ish hours to Flagstaff, AZ where we stay the night in a seedy motel.  Drive is pretty and goes smoothly but the kids aren't as good as the last long drive.

AZ will have to be my next post, as I'm sick of blogging now.