Sunday, October 30, 2011

That's a pretty big "Ooops!"

We had a bit of an accident at our house this afternoon....

Our family car is a Ford F-150 truck.  They don't call them "Ford Tough" for nothing.
Pulling into the driveway on the way home from church Bryan suddenly got his foot stuck.  Pressing on the gas..but wedged in tight somehow between the pedal and the wall.
We all watched in horror as the closed garage door came closer and closer....


But then it just got worse.
Because that Ford Tough truck wasn't fazed by the garage door.
Or the humongous metal weight equipment in the back of the garage.  Or the actual wall behind that.  We flattened the weight set and plowed right on through the wall.  Where we finally, blessedly, came to a stop...hanging out over the stairs in the backyard leading down to the back basement door.

 Should I admit to the swear words that involuntarily left my mouth?
With glass everywhere and the truck tilting at a very odd angle (only one tire still touching the ground) we all shakily climbed out one of the back doors.  I immediately grabbed the camera.  Pictures for the insurance company taking only slight precedent in my mind, over pictures for the blog.

 (Look, look!!  We missed my bike!  It didn't get smashed!  Phew!)

My knees hadn't even stopped shaking before we had neighbors in work clothes coming over to survey the devastation and ask what they could do to help.  A bunch of men took down the precariously hanging garage door.  Another neighbor with a truck even more monstrous than ours attached a tow rope and hauled our truck out of the hole in the wall.  Another (in his church clothes, no less) got down on the ground to assess any potential damage to the undercarriage.  Numerous men offered Bryan a ride to and from work this week.  Numerous women offered me the use of their cars when I started lamenting the six carpools I am involved with.  We even got a few offers from neighbors wanting to bring us dinner.  One sweet friend stayed a good 45 minutes to comfort Lilian who couldn't stop crying (though she wasn't hurt, she was plenty traumatized).....and then comfort me when I suddenly and unexpectedly started crying myself.  (Delayed reaction, I guess.)

So we will be having a long talk with our insurance agent tomorrow.  Conveniently, the same company covers both our car AND our house.

 (We had a slew of neighbor kids hanging around and watching the action.  Made for quite a change in what is normally a fairly low key Sunday afternoon.  In this picture they are anxiously waiting for the truck to get pulled out of the hole....)

Blessings?  There are plenty.
*No one was injured.
*The airbags didn't deploy.
*We went up and over the metal weight equipment instead of having it come through the front windshield.
*We went through the 3rd car garage rather than the other side...which would have potentially landed us in the kitchen rather than the backyard.
*The wall we went through wasn't load bearing.
*We have the best neighbors in the world.
*Oh, and did I mention NO ONE WAS INJURED!!!  

Friday, October 28, 2011


I finished this photo challenge yesterday.  Somehow it seems strange to be done...the 30 days went by rather fast.  And I almost feel at a loss.  Because it has SO consumed me this past month...being on my mind each and every day.  Some days were easy.  Some days were hard.  Sometimes it was difficult to figure out WHAT to take a picture of, how to interpret the assignment.  Other days it was getting the actual picture.  Whether that meant I had to make the time to drive somewhere out of my way, or just getting the shot I wanted to turn out the way I envisioned...seeing as my photography experience is limited.  But the spur of the moment decision to take on this challenge has turned into a better experience than I expected.  And I learned a lot.

I learned more about the various settings on my camera, about photo editing, about taking pictures from different and (perhaps) unexpected angles and of looking at the world through the eyes of a photographer...finding beauty in normal and mundane things, appreciating the color, texture and personality of things around me.  

But as if that wasn't enough already, I also hugely enjoyed trying to make each day's post more than just a photo I took...a story or experience behind the reason I chose interpret that day's assignment the way I did or the experience I had getting the actual shot.   

Who that I don't have the pressure of doing a post-per-day I might just take an extended leave of absence from my blog...

(Yeah that's going to happen!  I'm way too prolific and wordy for that!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 30: In Motion

Disclaimer for Ten June readers:
My foray into this photography challenge has been a little different than yours.  I have been using a slightly different list.  Also, instead of taking a picture a day and then writing one post per week....I have been doing a post per daily photo assignment.  Which, though has been fun because I can really flesh out each subject...means it's pretty much all I've been blogging about lately!  
So here is my Day 30: In Motion

And if you are are links to the rest of my week 25-30:
           Day 26:  Something Old 

Brandon.  Our gymnast extraordinaire.  Doing some sort of side flip off the rocks in the front yard.  Easiest photo assignment of the entire month.  I made him flip twice.  Took two photos each time.  Was done in 30 seconds.  Yep....a model perfect poster child for "in motion."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 29: Purchased

After finding myself in Draper with a canceled rehearsal and, therefore, some time to kill, I decided to go to IKEA.  It's a store that I don't visit often because of its distance away from my home, but is always on my list of favorite places to shop.  My trip there last week resulted in me bringing home this beauty.

Here...let me give you a better idea of how truly awesome this purchase is....
It's a canvas wrapped 78"x55" world map.  And I think it's about the coolest thing ever.  Chalk it up to the geekiness that comes from taking enough classes to earn a history degree...but I get a big kick out of geography.  (History and geography...the two go hand in hand.)

And just where did I find enough wall space to hang this mammoth map?
In our downstairs TV room.  The room is huge.  And had next to nothing hanging on the walls.  There's a whole decorating theme getting started down there.  Stay tuned for more updates on that.  But in the can enjoy this sneak peak of the sweetness that is my IKEA canvas map!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 28: Daily Routine

My daily routine?  It changes daily!  There are some constants, though, and this is one of them.  This child is a night owl.  Which means that long after her siblings have gone down to their rooms, I generally find her in front of her netbook finishing homework...or on the couch reading, or sitting in front of the TV.  And I end up repeatedly telling her to go to bed at least 3x before she actually winds her way down the stairs and to her bedroom.

My daily routine yesterday looked something like this:
*Drive Jr. High carpool 7:50 AM.
*Send Rebekah out the door to her high school carpool 8:15 AM.  (Tuesday late start schedule)
*Send Brandon of to the bus stop 8:25 AM.
*Discuss day and other issues with Bryan and kiss him goodbye.
*Check email and FB and write a blog post while drinking my slimfast breakfast.
*Lilian wakes.  Snuggle time and breakfast.
*Sort clean laundry.
*Phone calls about ballet carpool.
*Get Lilian dressed and off to ballet 10:50 AM.
*Take a shower and get ready for the day.
*More laundry.
*Lilian arrives home.  Changes out of her ballet clothes (reluctantly) and eats lunch.
*Look up recipes, make a dinner menu and a grocery list.
*Send Lilian off to preschool 12:50 PM.
*Volunteer at the elementary school stuffing folders for Brandon's teacher.
*Grocery shopping.  Buy lots of autumn type foods and Halloween candy.  Chat with the employees...they know me well.
*Unload groceries and make the frenchbread pizza that I have just purchased, for lunch.
*Pick up Jr. High carpool kids 3:00 PM.
*More laundry.
*Texts back and forth about gymnastics carpool.  Brandon leaves with carpool.  Bryan will bring boys home later.
*Act as fashion consultant in helping Rebekah find an appropriate outfit to wear to her choir concert. (No trip to the mall...whew!)
*Make lasagna for dinner and leave it in the fridge, uncooked.
*Send Julianne off to a Young Women service activity 6:00 PM.
*Gather Lilian and Rebekah and  head to the high school.
*Watch Rebekah's concert.  (She had a solo!  So proud!)  Great concert...lousy company.  NEVER taking Lilian again.
*Come home to find Bryan, Brandon and Julianne home and lasagna cooking in the oven 8:40 PM.
*EAT DINNER TOGETHER.  Ahhhh....  9:20 PM.
*Do dishes, vacuum kitchen floor, fold some laundry.
*Lilian falls asleep on my bed.  Brandon and Rebekah go to their rooms.
*Convince Julianne it's time for bed after repeatedly reminding her.  10:30PM.
*Sit down at the computer to write this post only to find the internet extremely sluggish. 
*Go to bed. 


This past Friday I performed a workshop of a new musical called "Harriet."  It was written by Colette Call, the same playwright who wrote "Power in His Touch"....the Easter themed musical that Julianne and I performed in a year and a half ago.  (See here, and here)  

As you may have already and obviously guessed, this new musical is about Harriet Tubman.  I found it fascinating.  And no, not just because I am a history geek.  Colette did an amazing job researching Harriet Tubman's life and story...and then writing a script and music detailing her life as a slave, her family, her marriage to John Tubman, her escape north, founding the Underground Railroad and her leadership as a spy for the Union during the Civil War.  The music was incredible!  Such beautifully haunting songs, such amazing duets and such rousing, foot-stomping gospels.  

The cast was nothing if not spectacular!  And my good friend and voice teacher, Gary, was our music director.  I played Ms. Susan...a very refined and traditional southern plantation owner who is dismayed, upset and confused when she discovers her daughter has slave sympathies and starts going all abolitionist.  

Some of my lyrics from the quartet I sing:
Don't ask questions you should not ask.  It is not demure.
Sometimes there are things that a lady must choose to ignore.

That's just the way it is, you can't change the way it is.
Trust me, my dear, you're better not to try.
You can't change the way it is, that's just the way it is.
Leave it to God to know the reasons why.

With an audience of representatives from different theatres around the state, we performed "Harriet" workshop/reader's theatre style at the Rose Wagner Theatre....mostly to give the audience an idea of what the show was about and to then receive feedback and to hopefully find a sponsor willing to back a fully staged production of the show.  

There were quite a few members of Lex de Azevedo's Millennium Choir in the cast and it was a lot fun to perform with them.  Todd and I have been singing together for over 10 years now.  After the show was over he handed my camera to his girlfriend to get photographic proof that in my 5 inch heels I was as tall as he was.  He thought it was hugely funny and teased me about it all night long.  :)

 Gary, Collette, Todd, me and David

Colette and Gary with more fabulous cast members...

Melanie, Rick, David, me, Todd, Todd's girlfriend

After our performance a bunch of us made our way across the street to Squatters for some food and celebration.  It was a fun night.
(A funny side note...all three of us girls at this table graduated from U of U but root for BYU!  And here I thought I was the only one with conflicting/"traitorous" leanings....)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 27: After Dark

There are quite a few houses in my neighborhood that really get a kick out of Halloween...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 26: Something Old

These are the letters that Bryan and I exchanged while he was on his LDS mission and I was in college between 1991-1993.  Julianne was flabbergasted this evening, to realize that we "hand wrote" all our letters.  On stationary.  Missionaries didn't use email back then.  Email and internet didn't really become mainstream until the mid-90's. (I got my first email account through Utah State University shortly after Bryan and I got married.)  She couldn't wrap her mind around it.  Email, internet,'s all such a permanent and normal part of her daily life.  Of mine as well, now.  I can't imagine going back.  And yet, what a treasure these old letters are!!  Their hand written addresses, beat up envelopes, colorful stationary and upside down stamps (which meant "I love you" in super, secret stamp code...), let alone the actual letter inside with the news of ups and downs,  mission companions and college roommates, spiritual experiences and funny stories, and of course, the heartfelt I miss you's and I love you's and I'm thinking of you's...   

Playing in the leaves...

We usually try to fit in a trip up the canyon each fall to ooh and ahh over the colors, to play in the leaves and to hike over the rocks and through the river.  I posted a few pictures of the foliage in an earlier post but wanted to still include some photos of the kids playing around...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 25: Sunflare

Okay...yes, it's rather obvious that I didn't take this picture TODAY but rather a few days ago on my little trip up the canyon.  Whatever.  I DID go out of my way to try and get a sunflare shot...seeing as I knew that specific assignment was coming up very soon and I was outside on a beautifully sunny day.  And it is a very lovely photograph, is it not...with the sun shining through the crook of that tree??

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 24: A Smile

Lilian runs hot and cold, emotionally.  And she tends to not honor a request unless it is HER idea.  Case in point...a smile.  Her first inclination, when asked to smile today, was a obstinate and purposeful frown.

Yet less than 30 seconds later, after being repeatedly poked in the back, I turned to find a big grin on my four-year old's face.  Because now it was HER idea to smile, not mine.  I think the smile is made all that much cuter by the fact that she's covered in donut crumbs.

This, I think, is the perfect example of "smeyes"...which, according to my sister who watches "America's Top Model"...means smiling with your eyes.  Yeah...Lilian's definitely got that going on here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 23: Trees

For those who don't know, we live in Utah.  At the base of the Wasatch Mountain range.  Fall is pretty spectacular around here.  Today I took the kids up the canyons to play in the leaves and revel in the colors....with Krispy Kreme donuts and apple juice because somehow glazed donuts and apple juice just go with fall.  Why is that?

The sun was shining and the sky was blue.  I took 118 pictures because it was so beautiful.  And I'm supposed to narrow that down to just a few for this, exactly??  So forgive me for sharing 7 have no idea how hard it was to post ONLY these few.

I liked the (almost) black skeleton or ribbing look of the smaller branches jutting off the larger one that made for such a contrast from the mass of yellow leaves.

I have to give Rebekah photo credit for this one.  She got a good mix of colors from reds to oranges to yellows...all against the bright blue sky.  It's one of my favorites.

The darker evergreen pine trees farther up the mountain side....

 Close up of some branches and yellow leaves at eye level...

Colors and colors....

 ...and more glorious, vibrant, phenomenal colors.  I KNOW, right?!?!

Last but not least...a cute little Charlie Brown tree just getting it's start in the middle of all the fall leaves.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 22: Sunset

Disclaimer for Ten June Readers:

My foray into this photography challenge has been a little different than yours.  I have been using a slightly different list.  Also, instead of taking a picture a day and then writing one post per week....I have been doing a post per daily photo assignment.  Which, though has been fun because I can really flesh out each subject...means it's pretty much all I've been blogging about lately!   

So here is my Day 22: Sunset

And if you are are links to the rest of my week 15-19:

I kind of cheated a little bit.  Today is supposed to be "trees."  But TOMORROW we have plans to head up the canyon to see the colors....trees galore!  So I switched the days.  Besides...tomorrow at sunset I will be in a rehearsal and won't have a chance to snap a pic anyhow.

As it was, I almost didn't get these shots.  Lilian, Julianne and I were having a glorious time shopping our way through Tai Pan and Hobby Lobby....home decor on our minds.  By the time we made it to the parking lot, it was almost 7:00.  I had the camera in the car with me and knew (from my drive home around the same time a few days ago) that my best shot of the sunset would be from the overpass heading into the west side of town.  Despite driving as fast as we could, I was worried we would still miss it.  Much to the bewilderment of my fellow drivers on the road, we pulled over at the very top of the overpass and I jumped out with my camera, snapping pictures crazily.  Here are my favorite two.  The sky is all pretty, yes...but what I really like are the street lamps lining the overpass and the contrast they bring to the picture.  
This picture was to be my Plan B if I couldn't get a picture of the sunset.  It was taken a few years ago, rather than today.  And I'm IN the picture, rather than behind the camera.  But this shot on Antelope Island at the Great Salt Lake  has always been one of my favorites so I thought I would include it in today's post despite the fact that my Plan A came through.

Giddy with excitement

This girl just accepted delivery from UPS of an Amazon package.  A package, she was delighted to find, containing a few books she has been just itching to read.  This picture is not posed....I found her literally hugging her books, absolutely giddy.  My guess is that during this UEA four-day weekend we will find Julianne holed up in her favorite reading chair, unresponsive and incommunicable as she devours her new books.  Anyone want to take bets as to how many she will finish by Sunday night?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 21: Pretty Pattern

 Today's photo assignment on the brain, I found patterns in the most mundane, normal, average sorts of things.  Plants, window blinds, wall art, mirrors, etc.  Pretty patterns?  Well, I guess that's up to your own individual opinion.  But here were the two patterns that stuck out the most to me today. 
 First:  The framed ceiling in our detached building in the backyard, with it's new soon-to-be canned lights.

Second:  The inner-workings of my baby grand piano.  Every piece placed precisely in patterns designed to produce the perfect pitch.
(Oh yeah!!  Totally got a thrill out of that alliteration there.  You can call me a nerd....) 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 20: What I Read

I'm in the middle of this book right now.  And I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Being a history major tends to lend itself well to an interest in political science so I get a kick out of stuff like this.  And though I'm not hoping to get into any sort of political debate, (I've learned that people tend to get passionate, heated and defensive when debating politics or BYU vs. Utah) seeing as this is MY blog, I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare that I really like President George W. Bush.  And I think he was a good president.  Did he make some mistakes?  Oh, undoubtedly.  But I think his rock bottom approval ratings were unwarranted.  I think that he made unpopular decisions that he knew wouldn't be good for his political life but were right for the country.  And I think that years from now, hindsight will prove that.  Just my opinion.      

 I find that ticket stubs make great bookmarks.  And this particular ticket stub from the Josh Groban concert I attended this past August makes me smile every time I open my book....
But "Decision Points" isn't the only thing I am reading now.  It is a rare occasion for me to NOT be in the middle of quite a few things at the same time.

In this case...
*Still working on "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson.  I don't dare read it before bed because, well frankly, I am a first class chicken and I am worried that I will dream about a deranged serial killer all night long if I do.  So I can only read this book during the middle of the day...which means it's slow going.
*I admit it...I'm a royal watcher.  I've been reading books like this one about William and Catherine since I was in high school.
*People magazine is my weekly guilty pleasure.  It's rather ridiculous how much I look forward to it's delivery on Fridays.
*Remember when the Deseret News was delivered in the evenings?  I looked forward to it all day.  But now so much of my news comes online, I don't read the newspaper as much as I used to so Bryan cut down delivery to just the weekends.  Still, I love the idea of reading the paper.  I guess I'm old fashioned that way.
*And of course, The Book of Mormon.  I'm always in the middle of that.  Because once I finish, I immediately start over again.