Friday, November 29, 2013

Time Out For Women

I'd never been to the Deseret Book sponsored Time Out For Women before. I'd had lots of friends who'd attended over the years and had heard good things....but I'd never made the time or frankly, really even had the desire to attend myself. Not that I didn't want to go, specifically. Just hadn't ever thought about going. I'm not sure why. But this year's theme was "Higher."

 Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
 "THINK HIGHER about your purpose, BELIEVE HIGHER as you face challenges that will require all your faith and heart, and LIVE HIGHER as you choose between good, better and best in this busy world." 

Being a member of a singing group called Higher Ground and helping co-write a song called "Reach Higher"...clearly a lot of my thought process and activities this past year has revolved around the idea of living and thinking HIGHER.

So I decided to look into going. Time Out For Women is a weekend full of faith promoting and inspiring music and speakers. There is a service project to participate in and a even a little bit of shopping to be had. My friend Julie (from Higher Ground) offered to join me and we opted to spring for the nicest seating section for the full weekend (you can choose to do just one day or both). Julie is a TOFW veteran so she knew all the ins and outs of how the whole event worked. And boy did we have fun! We laughed ourselves silly, took advantage of many of the photo ops and meet and greets, and spent more money than we probably should've on clothes and books. And then the actual speakers and performers....oh, oh, oh! We were most definitely lifted HIGHER.

Friday night we had the awesome opportunity to hear from Sheri Dew (one of my heroes...the woman is amazing), Terryl and Fiona Givens (a husband/wife historian and author team) the new Deseret Book singing group... quartet of men called Hudson Lights. And then if that wasn't enough, the finale of the night was Ann Romney (wife of Mitt Romney). Julie and I went home that night filled to bursting with light and goodness. Call me cheesy if you must but that's how I felt.
(When I told Sheri Dew that she was my hero, she laughed and told me to "aim higher.")

And if that's all we had, it would've been enough. But we had all of Saturday! And Saturday consisted of musical talents Sandra Turley (a Broadway singer) and the ever popular Hilary Weeks, and spoken messages from Mary Ellen Edmunds, S. Michael Wilcox, Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt and Laurel Christensen Day. We laughed till we cried. And then cried some more as our spirits grew from the messages shared. I learned so much. I was inspired.

Apparently Hilary Weeks presents often at TOFW throughout Utah and all over the country. And when she does, tradition states that the final song of the day be "I Will." This is a song that we have performed a few times in our Higher Ground performances. A song that has a message that has touched me so deeply that I even made it the theme of a Sacrament Mtg talk recently. And when Hilary Weeks sings this song at TOFW the words are projected onto a big screen at the back of the stage and we in the audience are invited to sing along. I can't tell you what a perfect way to end the weekend that was for me.

I hope that I can hold onto the feelings I felt and the things I learned during this TOFW Higher weekend. And I sure do hope I will get another chance to attend TOFW again some day in the future....

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scraping frost with MP3s?

I remember well the days when with freezing hands (because if I wasn't prepared with a window scraper, what makes you think I would be prepared enough to have gloves) I would scrape my frost-covered car windows with a cassette tape cover. Something random in the glove box...Alphaville, Depeche Mode, OMD or something similar.

This morning I found myself scraping the frost from my windows with a CD case. Josh Groban in this instance. And this is not the first time a CD case has been my scraper of choice. (It works better than a credit me on this, I've tried it.) Being the more mature age of 40, you'd think I'd be wise enough to carry a scraper in my car. Apparently the age on my birth certificate does not necessarily equate to smarts....

But times are changing. In my car is pretty much the only place I listen to actual CDs anymore. MP3s are what we listen to now. In the not too distant future I will probably own a car with no CD player at all. Just a plug-in to listen to a playlist I've downloaded from my iTunes account. And how can I scrape the frost off my windows with that???

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


In my opinion, Julianne played the part of Scuttle brilliantly in the production of The Little Mermaid that she performed with her local theatre group recently. She continually blows me away every time I see her perform. And though it may be presumptuous of me to say so, I do actually feel that I am experienced enough in theatre and music to pass judgement on her skills. So though I am her mother, I don't think it's solely based on bias when I say that my kid is good!

Unfortunately I made a rookie blogger mistake and left my nice camera at home. So the pictures that follow are taken with my iPhone. Which might have not been too bad seeing as they were performing in their studio which isn't the hugest of spaces anyhow...but I was not able to snag myself a front row seat. Less than stellar camera combined with a seat on the second to back row equals somewhat grainy pictures. Hmph. But I'm using them anyhow....probably more than you care to see. Because I am a proud mama.

 "Whoa, what a swim!"

This show was actually put together in preparation for a trip to the Junior Theatre Festival being held in Atlanta, Georgia in January. They are only allowed to take 15 minutes worth of material to the festival so these 5 performances were not only so the parents could see the show, but also an audition of sorts. The director brought in a couple of judges to each show to watch and rate each scene and help decide which sections would head to Georgia. This was Julianne's biggest get her big scene to the festival. Because though Scuttle is featured in numerous parts of the show, her main scene is when Ariel comes to Scuttle to ask about "Human Stuff"....and Julianne gets to sing a very hilarious song with back up "gulls" and all sorts of choreography.

I personally thought it was the best scene of the show. (Bias or experience?) And so Julianne was thrilled (and I felt gratified) to learn a few days later that her "Human Stuff" scene consistently ranked at the top of each judge's list for all five shows. And hey... it's going to Georgia!

"Oh no. I can't make out a heartbeat..."

Monday, November 25, 2013


We have an ice hockey team in Utah. The Grizzlies. According to my brother-in-law, Scott, who is a hockey player himself...the Grizzlies are more or less the minor leagues of the minor leagues. Considering we are a winter sport kind of state, I'm a little surprised we don't have a big NHL team here. I mean, our minor-minor league team plays in the arena where the ice hockey games were played during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics! But nonetheless, we have the Grizzlies and they seem to have a loyal, albeit somewhat small, fan following. And it seems to be a big deal to sing the National Anthem at one of their games. Rebekah and her high school Madrigal group were invited to sing the anthem at a game recently and Lilian and I decided it might be fun to go hear them sing and stay to watch the game.
We invited my sister Melissa, her husband Scott and their daughter Maddy to come along. Which proved to be a great idea because not only did we enjoy their company, Scott was also able to give us all the ins and outs of hockey. There's a lot more that goes into a hockey game than you would think. (I was especially interested in the real reason behind all that fighting....)

When Rebekah was just a toddler, someone told me that she looked more like my sister Melissa, than me. What do you think? Because this girl is very much a "mini-me" in personality. And keep in mind, once upon a time before I started dying my hair I was also a blondie....

Friday, November 22, 2013


How lucky, yes...that both Josh Groban and Michael Buble had concert tours this year and played in Salt Lake City just a few weeks apart? I've seen both of them in concert before in past years so you would think that I could save a few bucks and say "been there, done that." But see, because I have "been there, done that" I know first hand what their concerts are like which makes me more likely to say..."I want to do that AGAIN!!!" They are both tremendous performers, and of course, very swoon-worthy...ear candy and eye candy all in one package.

I saw Josh Groban with Chellie, Kami and friends from childhood, we all grew up in the same neighborhood and church ward. Lori introduced us to Josh Groban way back when he first arrived on the music scene and we often drooled over his music on our various girls night out activities. But strangely enough as of this past summer when the concert tour was announced and tix went on sale, though the rest of us had been to JG concerts in the past, Lori had not. So we decided that this time, the four of us TOGETHER needed to go. And seriously, one of the highlights for me was watching Lori's reaction.

A few of Josh's funnier (and/or sillier) of his random quotes:
* "I feel like this is the Bieber moment of the show." (Actually both JG and MB mocked the Biebster.)
* "I must have really dirty shoes...I'm making Converse tracks all over my stage! I like's like following a trail of Reeses Pieces. 'ET phone home...'"
* "You treat me like a piece of meat, Salt Lake City.....I like it!"
* "My hair is really fluffy today..."
* You guys actually have great rhythm! It's always a pet peeve when we ask the audience to clap and then...they can't. So yay you!!"

Last time Michael Buble was in town my sister Melissa and I went together and got cheap seats. We repeated, but upped the experience by springing for closer seats this time around. And though I feel slightly traitorous for saying this, though I've been to 3 Josh Groban concerts now and they have all been amazing and fabulously enjoyable, I still think MB ultimately puts on a better show. Michael Buble had me laughing so hard my cheeks hurt. There was confetti and fireworks. His stage was phenomenal, the things it could one of the videos I took you can actually hear me say, "Oh my gosh....WOW!" He just constantly kept us on our toes but was so personable all at the same time. He joked around about us all being Mormons and how he felt "a little left out." He commented that "You guys are living proof that you don't need alcohol to have a good time!" And then after we all cheered, he followed that up with, "And now the biggest surprise of coffee for everyone!" But seriously, my friend Lori's brother works for (or did in the recent past) a radio station and so rubs shoulders with all sorts of music types. And he has told Lori that musicians like playing in Salt Lake City because most of us don't drink and are therefore sober. Which means that instead of playing to a drunk and high audience, we actually "get" their show. We can focus on and really appreciate the music and they can actually interact with us as an audience. Interesting little tidbit there.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I finally did it

Julianne walked in the door from school and the first words out of her mouth were, "We've been invaded!" She could smell the scent of clean...a smell that because I'd been here all day, I hadn't noticed as strongly.

And the reason she could smell that scent of clean?
Because I finally did it.
I hired someone to help clean my house.
This is something I've been conflicted about for a long time. In my neighborhood, I'm in the minority because I don't have a cleaning lady. And yes, my house is slightly on the big-ish side. And yes, I've had a hard time keeping up with it.
But seriously, I can clean my own darn house!
And I told myself that over and over again. When I would see the cars pull up weekly or semi-weekly in front of my neighbors houses ladened with cleaning ladies and their supplies. When my friends told me stories of how incredibly fabulous it was to not have to dust. Even when I would dissolve into fits of anxiety at how often my house looked like a bomb went off.

I can clean my own darn house!

And I can! Except I wasn't doing it. I can blame it on being busy. I can blame it on being lazy.
Whatever it was, despite the fact that I refused to hire someone to help me clean, I secretly really desperately wished for it.

It was pride. And not necessarily the bad kind either. There is definitely something to be said for hard work and a job well done, yes? But pride all the same. And maybe a bit of a martyr complex.

I also still remember well my sister telling me a story of a friend of hers. She had hired a cleaning lady with the explanation that it was needful because her time was more valuable than spending it mopping her floors. Her kids needed her. I remember being really turned off by that. "What? You're saying that your time is more valuable than ours...the rest of us that are on our hands and knees scrubbing our own toilets? Your kids need you more than ours need us?" I would've respected her more if she had simply said something along the lines of, "I don't really like to clean my house. I'd really rather play with my kids. And thankfully I have the money to hire someone."

So though I'm finding myself a little bit embarrassed to have finally acquiesced....let me assure you, I've hired someone to help me clean my house because even though I can clean my own darn house, I really don't want to. I'm having a hard time keeping up with it and it's stressing me out.
I'm rather excited about the prospect of having a sparkling clean house every other week. (Which is a lot more frequent than has been in past months.) And the idea of not ever having to scrub bathrooms for the foreseeable future. (It's my least favorite chore.)

We worked hard today. Both of us. And I'm downright giddy about the results! I think maybe the giddiness might be able to drown out the pride and embarrassment.

(When I told Julianne that I had hired someone she was surprised and then...somewhat bothered. "I feel white and privileged" was her reply. Apparently that was not a good thing. And then a little panicked, "Please tell me she's not hispanic!!" Too stereotypical, I suppose?)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I was having a happy dream this morning. Julianne and I were in New York City. We were just finishing up lunch at a sidewalk cafe where not only were we enjoying some fabulous food but also taking in the sights and doing some major people watching. We were talking about heading to the theatre district next...I was so excited to take my drama queen daughter to see the big marquees over the theatres advertising all the fabulous shows on Broadway.

And then my alarm went off. And I experienced a big old let down...seeing that not only was it 6:30 and time to wake up even though I was still tired, but the realization that my happy day in NYC was only a dream.

I've got a serious case of wanderlust today. After getting the kids out the door I spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest looking up and pinning pictures of beautiful places and amazing adventures to my "travel bucket list" board. And with each pin my wanderlust grew to the point that I could actually feel it physically.

I started to worry that this Pinterest drooling was going to lead to some serious discontent. After all, I'm lucky enough live in an incredibly beautiful place already. A place that I take for granted but that others very well may be pinning pictures of to their own bucket lists.

But the more I thought about the things I've already seen, the places I've already been, the adventures I've already had....I realized that I'm pretty darn lucky.

*I've taken a helicopter to the top of a glacier in Alaska and drank pure glacier water from my cupped hand.
*I've stood at the railing of a ship and watched lava from a volcano in Hawaii spit and bubble and flow down into the water where it then doused itself in a hiss of steam.
*I've bundled myself up in multiple layers so I could sit outside in 16 degrees to watch the opening ceremonies of  the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics.
*I've prayed in the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York.
*I've been to Stingray City in Grand Cayman, standing in the gorgeous blue-green water with huge stingrays swimming around and brushing up against my ankles...and then had the opportunity to hold them (and kiss them for 9 years good luck).
*I've hiked Angels Landing in Zions National Park and sung "Oh That I Were an Angel" at the top.
*I've seen the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in person at the National Archives in Washington D.C.
*I've walked across the ornate Tower Bridge in London and watched the pomp and circumstance of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.
*I've taken a boat through choppy waters right up to the base of Niagara Falls, the mist blowing into my face...and freezing because we did it all in a freak early autumn snow storm.
*I've climbed to the top of El Castillo in Chichen Itza. In 110 degrees.
*I've skied "the best snow on earth" in Park City, something that people come from all over the world to do. (And where I fell on my face 7 times.)
*I've prayed at the Wailing Wall and then had the overwhelmingly spiritual experience of standing inside Jesus Christ's tomb in Jerusalem.
*I saw "Anything Goes" on Broadway just a few weeks before it won Best Revival and Best Actress for the incomparable Sutton Foster at the Tony Awards. Oh, and I also saw that one little musical called "Wicked" know, as long as I was there and all.
*I've vacationed on a house boat at Lake Powell. Multiple times.
*I've walked the Las Vegas Strip.
*I've been to the Alamo.
*I've sailed to Alcatraz.
*I've driven across the Golden Gate Bridge.
*I've explored Metropolitan Museum of Art.
*I've wandered through Central Park.
*I've visited the homes of George Washington (Mount Vernon) and Thomas Jefferson (Monticello).
*I've parasailed over the waters of the Caribbean.

Not to say that I'm satisfied. I'm not anywhere close to saying "I've seen enough in my lifetime...I guess I'm done." Because I'm itching for all sorts of adventure and new places to explore and experience. But it did help to reign in my raging case of least for a little while.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pink Lightning

Lilian begged and pleaded for me to sign her up for soccer this year.
She insisted on a bright pink soccer ball.
Pink is her favorite color.
Mostly due to her love of the "Pinkalicious" books.
(Have I mentioned how tired I am of reading those "Pinkalicious" books?)
Lilian was hoping she would get a pink soccer uniform.
I told her it was unlikely.
So she was delighted when the soccer uniforms were indeed pink!
She suggested Pinkalicious for the team name.
The team settled on Pink Lightning.
She was only disappointed for about 5.2 seconds.
Lilian's enthusiasm level waned after the first couple of practices.
At the first game she only played one quarter.
And told her coach that she "hated soccer."
Luckily her coach laughed.
And I promised a trip to Yogotogo after every game if she would actually play.

Her enthusiasm began to re-grow little by little with each game.
She especially liked to play goalie.
And enjoyed wearing her bright pink fishnet "power gloves" her coach nicknamed them.
(Actually they're mine from the Electric Run.)
(She got kicked in the knee by a member of the opposite team as she tried to save the ball from going into the net. She cried a little. Her coach gave her a big hug and words of encouragement.)

According to her coach, Lilian grunts every time she kicks the ball.
(She says it's very cute, actually.)
She dances out on the field.
And sometimes her coach has to pick her up and physically put her in the spot she wants her to be.
Because Lilian is pretty clueless.
But she's improving.
I can see it.
We went to Yogotogo after every single game.
Even when the game was played in the cold and rain and we were already freezing.
And even though she got treats after every game already.
Holding me to my promise.
The fall season is done games till spring.
Amazingly, Lilian is sad about this.
She's come a long way.