Thursday, August 28, 2008

7 years

Nothing draws out the sympathy like a "woe-is-me" post. Thanks so much for the nice things y'all said in response to my rantings and ravings from yesterday. Thankfully, I've calmed down quite a bit - and NO! I never did cry. I went home from work and had a wonderful one-on-one with my 4-year-old (her date night with mommy - I was very disappointed that she did not request an activity centered around chocolate). The girls went to bed easily, and then I pounded out 4 quick miles on the dreadmill while watching an especially creepy episode of ghost hunter. After my run, I even had time to water some of the new plants I recently added to my garden (a local nursery is going out of business and had all their stock at 1/2 price) and then I planted some seeds that I took from some plants (in a public area) that had gone to seed. (its actually something I do often - take seeds from random plants and then sew them into my garden hoping they'll grow. It embarrasses my husband, but I actually carry a baggie with me at all times for that very reason. It also embarrasses him that I garden in the dark - he's worried the neighbors might think that I'm burying a body). Anyway . . . (now that I'm just rambling) . . . I am feeling 100 times better. So thanks.

And now onto today's intended post: I'm finally getting around to posting about my weekend away with the hubby. We recently celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, and like we do every year, we went away for 2 whole days without the kids. This year, we took advantage of some extra timeshare credits, and headed up to Eden (not kidding).

Here's a terribly grainy picture of the units (borrowed from the website). Eden is located in the valley above Ogden, and is just far enough away to feel like we're actually "away". It's great, except that there aren't a lot of things to do there nor are there very many restaurants. Luckily, we were able to keep ourselves busy, and to even fit in some sleeping in and napping. It was perfect.
Can you see my on my mountain bike? I'm the tiny image coming down the trail. We were able to get out and take a ride on a fairly difficult trail. Actually, it was deceivingly difficult - just steep enough and the rocks just lose enough, to make for lots of back-tire slipping.
But it sure was beautiful. We also made time for tennis, racquetball, and lap swimming - lots of physical activity to burn up all the extra calories I consumed.
I allowed myself to eat without abandon - one of my favorite pass-times. I even ate a decadent apple/walnut cobbler one night. It was to. die. for. My life is now complete. Seriously though, there are a couple of fun places - The Oaks being my favorite. It actually looks like a dive, but it is right along the river and offers outdoor seating. You can sit along the river on these great balconies - the ambiance cannot be beat. And the food is yummy too. They have great pancakes, and being that I am practically an expert on pancakes, you can take my word for it. Yummy!
Of course, there was a lot of amazingly great scenery too - the type of stuff that I tend to grow oblivious to sometimes because its so abundant. But check out these amazing mountain scenes.
**I took home some columbine seeds too, and they're safely on the shady side of my garden waiting for spring. They can be my souvenir from a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The worst part of being a woman

I haven't been blogging.  And I haven't read many blogs lately either.  Sorry - I need to work on that.  I've been busy, and did actually go out of town for a few days.  I've got some pics to post and a story to tell, but it will have to wait.  Right now I just need to rant for 30 seconds.
I'm having a crappy-ass day - the kind that makes me want to curl up in the corner and sob.  That is the worst part of being a woman.  I'd like to think I'm a pretty strong and independent girl - and if I was a man I'd just be pissed off today.  Maybe hit the wall or something.  But instead, I've got too much estrogen surging through my body, and I'm about one second away from becomming a blubbering idiot.
And for no real reason either - I've just had "one of those days".  You know - the type where I thought a co-worker had my back, but then he threw me under the bus instead (figuratively speaking).  And I'm having "issues" with a friend and my husband is annoyed with me.  Oh - and I started my period today, one week early, and I'm so freakin' tired from Bryn being up half the night.  Hmmmm.  I'd better stop there.
Maybe a good cry would do me good. 
Peace out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Future Olympians?

Although I'm not an avid TV watcher, I'll admit that I've been GLUED to the Olympics. This year especially, I just can't seem to get enough of the competition, athleticism, and patriotism. But what gets me the most, is when they show the parents of the athletes. I can't even imagine the pride they must feel for their children competing in the Olympics. It makes me want to encourage my children to "be all they can be."

My girls have been taking gymnastics for a year, and while they'll both likely be too tall to ever have a serious career, they love it. They both seem to be fairly athletic, and have advanced quite well. They are both already in the classes for the age group above them (meaning Bryn's in the 3 year old class, and G's in the 5s). I think they're moving along quite nicely. I actually took my camera to class last week to snap some pics. Although they're not the best ever, at least I can document their progress.

Here's some of G:

And now a few of Bryn (there aren't as many of her, because she got hurt by the springs in the vault):

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Would you eat here?

You're wandering down a crowded street in downtown Taipai, feeling a bit hungry, and looking for a place to eat. Suddenly this place catches your eye:
Hmmmm - the Modern Toilet. Sounds interesting, and you're really hungry so you decide to go inside.
But where to sit? Should you choose the regular old toilet seat, or should you try a urinal? Decisions, decisions.
Let's sit here - it looks fairly sanitary.
Oh good - here's lunch. Looks delicious sitting in a tiny toilet bowl.
This is delicious.
Now for dessert. And what else, but a big pile of poop. You can hardly wait to try it.
But first, you may want to make sure it really is poo.
Oh - that's good.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Choosing happiness

One of my favorite quotes (and I don't even know where it came from) is:
Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination
Its so easy to get mired down in longing for better things and feeling self-pity - especially lately.  I've had a nagging uneasiness that I just can't figure out - which is actually strange for me.  Typically I'm a "flat line of emotion" - there's not a lot of ups or downs to my emotions.  Its not that I'm living my life in constant despair, but I heave recently felt that I'm missing out on something.  Last night I was trying to get caught up on the 100+ blogs that reader tells me I still need to catch up on, and I read Pioneer Woman's recent post where she asked her readers to comment on how they saw their life 20 years ago, and where they are now.  Most of the comments related stories of wide-eyed hopes and then serious disappointments. (I'd add a link, but I'm emailing from work and I don't know how this way - if you want to read for yourself, just click the PW link in my sidebar)  It was actually quite sad to read, but as I read, it hit me (like a ton of proverbial bricks):  my life isn't that bad.
20 years ago, I was 13 years old.  I don't actually remember specifically what my thoughts for the future were, but I do know that I always wanted to be a mother.  As I got older, I know that I wanted to be able to stay at home with my kids.  I saw myself as a cute, skinny mom, living in a nice home, with plenty of money so we never had to worry (yes, I was delusional).  I never envisioned myself as the primary breadwinner with the constant worry of money.  And maybe that is why I have felt unhappy about things recently - things are definitely not the perfection that I dreamed of as a young girl.  But reading some of the comments from PW - stories of illness, divorce, and serious heartache - I realized that I have it pretty good.  I have a good job, a comfortable home, a husband who loves me, and the most amazing children ever.  Yes I'm busy - but it is because I have a great job and family to occupy my time.  And I may be slightly chubbier than I'd like, but I have food to eat.
I want to live more simply - to focus on the abundance that I have.  Because I am blessed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nice weekend

I realized this morning that I've been on somewhat of an unintentional blogging hiatus.  I don't know why - I suppose that I've just been busy with other things in my life and blogging hasn't been as important.  And I guess nothing has really struck me lately as good blogging fodder.  The other day, my husband told me that I get really excited about something for awhile, and then I move on to other endeavors.  Perhaps that is true.  Right now, I've been really focused on working in the yard (or playing with my flowers as Brynlee says).  There is something so healing - almost cathartic - about working in my garden.  It helps me deal with stress and helps me to unwind, and I just love watching things grow.  Right now I've been working on trying to save an azalea bush that was given to us as a housewarming gift.  Although it has no business in a Utah garden, I'm finally getting some new growth after lots of TLC.  And my peaches should be ripe this week.  I'm excited about that too - maybe we'll have peach cobbler this week.
We had a nice weekend.  The weather was cooler, and it actually rained a bit, so I was in heaven (remember that I love gloomy weather).  We did manage to have some sunshine though, and the girls and I were able to go into the mountains on Saturday for a nature hike with my dad.  We went up Butterfield Canyon, and drove over the top to where the public lands are.  We got out of the car and could see our breath.  It was cold.  But as soon as we started walking and the sun came up a bit, it got much warmer.  My dad had brought stuff to gather and press wildflowers, and the girls loved it.  After our hike, we sat down at a picnic area to press the flowers and eat a "trail lunch" (pepperoni, wheat thins, cheese slices, apple wedges, and mini Hershey bars).  As we were sitting there, a large deer wandered out of the trees, and came within 10 feet of us.  She stood there for the longest time.  The girls loved it, and were totally in awe.  Poor Bryn though couldn't understand why she couldn't ride the deer.  What a funny girl.  We saw some other fun wildlife - a doe and her speckled fawn sitting in the road as we went around a curve and a large wild turkey in a meadow.  Of course I forgot my camera too - we would have gotten some great pics.
I also took Bryn to get her ears pierced.  After her sister got hers pierced the week before, she had been asking to get earrings every single day.  So, I relented.  On Friday after gymnastics, I took her in.  It was actually the same lady working who had done G's too.  Bryn picked out some green earrings that she thinks are blue, and sat down on the bench.  She looked so big and grown-up.  I asked if she wanted me to hold her, and she said no.  But after she got the first one pierced, she asked me to hold her.  She did cry quite a bit, but as soon as it was all over, she asked for a lollipop, and then she was just fine.  She's so funny, and thinks that she is an absolute princess with her earrings.  (Carrie, you called that one!)
I've also been trying to fit running into my busy summer schedule, but it has been difficult.  The girls have been staying up later, so running after they go to bed doesn't always work, because its too late.  And I'm in a bit of a running funk lately.  I just feel so tired all of the time - and my legs feel like lead - so maybe I've needed to cut back a bit.  Its difficult too when Ben doesn't support my running.  He doesn't like it, and he makes me feel incredibly guilty for going most days.  Especially my long Saturday runs.  But I realized that the marathon is only 6 weeks away, and I need a couple more long runs so I can be ready.  I just need to HTFU (harden the "eff" up, as they say on my running boards) and get out there!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Rite of passage

There are certain days in her life that a girl will always remember - her first date, her first kiss, and the day she got her ears pierced - at least I hope she'll always remember, because G got her ears pierced the other day, and I didn't have my camera.

She had been wanting to get her ears pierced for a long time. She's bring it up, and then I'd talk her out of it because I thought she was just too young. But then the other day, we were birthday shopping for her cousin. She wanted to get him a watch - and wouldn't you know it - right next to the display of little boy's watches were little girl's earrings. She immediately picked up a box that held several pairs of dangly, sparkly earrings, and she wanted them. Badly. Again I tried to talk her out of getting them pierced. I even tried to explain that it would hurt, and then be a long time before she could wear the danglies. But she wasn't to be deterred. She's very persistent.

So, we went over to the jewelry counter to see if they even pierced ears. There by the counter was a large sign that read:

Free ear piercing with the purchase of piercing studs

It was meant to be that day. So, on impulse (which is something the planner in me rarely acts on), we did it. She picked out some cute CZ studs. (They sparkle, and she can't stop looking at herself in the mirror) She was so very brave, and only cried a little bit. After she got them pierced, she had to go visit everyone she knew to show them her earrings. And she didn't want to tell them what she did - she had to wait until they noticed - which wasn't very long, because she made it very obvious.

Here she is hamming it up for the camera

My little diva

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

How does my garden grow

I love to have a beautiful garden. My dad and grandpa have always been avid gardners, and they have instilled the love of growing things in me. The only problem is that I'm somewhat of a lazy gardner - I like plants that offer the maximum return with minimal effort. I also have some challenges with my yard: lots of sun and heat, poor soil (a horrible clay loam), very little water (less than 1 inch in the past 2 months) and it can get quite windy. Hmmm - sounds like I live in a desert huh? But despite all the obstacles, I've managed to make a few things grow.

My favorite: day lilies. Although my true lilies are well past their prime, my day lilies are still blooming like crazy. I could have 100 of them in my yard, and I'd love every one of them.
Coreopsis is a new addition to my garden. My dad bought me just this one last summer. It has consistently bloomed since spring, and I haven't done one thing to help. I haven't even watered it. And I love the sunny yellow flowers. I think I may put a few more of these in the yard this fall.
This is another new addition - its called a coneflower. I only have one that I bought because I read they are very drought resistent. Its got big, showy flowers and seems to love its sunny home in my front yard. I think I need more of this one too.
I'm in love with this flower. Its actually something that I'd never even heard of. Its called an Arizona Sun Indian Blanket (I think) and I think its gorgeous. The flowers are so striking, and being that its from Arizona, it does well in my yard.
I have lots of hollyhocks on the top of my rock wall - I have a 6-foot white fence on the top of the wall, so it can feel like we're down in a hole sometimes. So, I needed something to brighten it up. I love hollyhocks. They have the most amazing, abundent flower, but the stalks and leaves are so ugly. It the perfect combination. They also grow like weeds, and I've found how to reseed them. I think they're perennials too, so I'm figuring in a few years I should have dozens of these guys.
This is my only attempt at something edible - my peach tree. This is only its second year, and I think I'm going to get about 50 peaches - and that is after I thinned them quite liberally (they were weighing down the poor small branches). Peaches are my very favorite fruit, and I'm checking them every day to see if they're ripe (we're getting close). I would really love to have more fruits and veggies - maybe some day.
I have a few petunias - the only annuals in my garden (remember that I prefer flowers with minimal effort - and that includes planting once and having them grow for years). I have also successfully gotten my petunias to reseed themselves though, so I do have a few random ones popping up here and there. Although they're totally common flowers, I love them.
This is my very favorite tree - a thornless purple-robed honeylocust. We planted it less than 2 years ago. Back then, it was a skinny stick, barely 5 feet tall. Now, it is bigger than my house. And its gorgeous. It has huge purple flower clusters that pop out all spring and early summer.
This is my butterfly bush, and its much prettier in "real life" (the picture just doesn't do it justice). It sits right outside of my kitchen window, so I can watch the butterflies land on it while I'm doing the dishes.

I'm slowly adding new plants. I've been saving up, and in another month or so, I'll get some clearance perennials planted, just in time for the snow to fly.