Sunday, November 29, 2009

Novice Photographer + Cute Subjects = Reasonably Good Pics

Bethany got it in her tenacious mind this week that we needed to take her family pictures while I was visiting. Oh, and by "we" she meant me. And then I found out she doesn't have a digital camera. Just a 35 mm one. She was putting a lot of faith into a higher power because I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to taking pictures. Especially when I can't see the immediate results on the back of the camera to know if we need some do-overs.

Out of two rolls of film, a few scary moments on the train tracks and a couple of bawling kids, I think we got lucky.

Thanksgiving in New England

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make the trip east to my sister Bethany's house for Thanksgiving. I got here Tuesday night and I'll be on my way home early tomorrow morning. It's been a fun six-day stay!

Even before I decided to come, Bethany and Danny invited a crowd for dinner. Our cousin Clark's family drove up from Boston. Another cousin, Bree brought a friend from school in New York City. Bethany and Danny's good friend Chandra and the missionaries rounded out the group.

It's a good thing there was a crowd because I don't know how to cook Thanksgiving for three adults and a few little kids!

Bethany and I spend most of Wednesday getting the food ready. It's been a long time since she and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner together. It was so much fun getting out some of our family favorite recipes. With all the meat, stuffing, salads and mac & cheese ready to go, we figured dinner still wasn't complete without making our mom's famous orange rolls. They definitely weren't as pretty as Carol's, but they tasted delicious.

I had to take a break from dinner half way through. Baby Lizzie kept me company.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can I have my co-pay back?

I called a couple of weeks ago to make an appointment to see a doctor. When I scheduled the appointment, the very courteous lady reminded me to be sure to bring my co-pay. I didn't think much of this, except, "duh ... don't you always have to pay your co-pay?"

Last week, the same courteous lady called me back to remind me of my appointment. And to bring my co-pay.

This morning, I couldn't remember which office (Orem or Provo) I was supposed to go to, so I called to confirm. And she reminded me to bring my co-pay.

I arrived for my appointment promptly at 8 a.m. where I signed in and offered to pay my co-pay without being asked.

It's now 8:36 a.m. and I'm still in the waiting room. Thirty six minutes and I haven't seen the inside of an exam room.

Can I have my co-pay back?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dress For Success

My sister Mindy has been sending a "Thought of the Day" by email each morning. It has been such a great way to connect with her. I'm also discovering that Mindy is a great writer and is thinking about a lot of the same things that are on my mind, but from a different angle. Today's thought from Mindy was especially interesting:

So we have all heard the phrase "DRESS FOR SUCCESS". If there is one thing that I learned from working for the GAP is you dress for the job you want,not the one you have.

I remember being told that by my then manager, Andrea, and I listened. I knew she was right, especially in that environment, so i did, always wearing the new line from head to toe. And whenever there was a "store visit" from corporate, I was sure to look and project the image I knew they wanted to see, and by doing that along with dedication and a good work ethic I got promotion after promotion, eventually running 3 stores on my own.

So I did it. I dressed for success and got it. For the last week this has been on my mind, but in a different way. I have thought: Am I dressing my spirit, soul, and my energy that I put out onto the world every day for success in my life, in my relationships with people that I love and admire, and in what I have to offer everyone around me in general? Am I doing what it takes to "DRESS FOR SUCCESS" in my heart, mind, and spirit, and are you? Just a thought.
Have a great day everyone, Love Mindy

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Bethany & Lizzie

My little sister turned 30 yesterday. And on her birthday, she gave birth to my newest niece, Lizzie Cox.

Bethany has some beautiful babies and manages to look beautiful doing it. This picture was taken just hours after little Lizzie was born. Amazing.

Lizzie is named after one of the most colorful figures in our family history, my mother's paternal grandmother Elizabeth. We called her Grammy Lizzie.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Paula Dean, Where did I go wrong?

Was it the decision to triple the recipe? Or maybe loosing track of how many cups of flour I measured somewhere between cups 6 and 8. Could it have been my slightly unlevel oven?

Whatever it was (or wasn't) I had a baking disaster last night. It started a couple of days ago. A coworker brought some zucchini to work from his over abundant garden. There were two of them. One was about 2 lbs and the other about 4 lbs. They sat on the break room counter for a few days. I think the size was a little daunting for most. On Thursday, I couldn't take it anymore. They needed to be used!

I took both zucchini home and made one of my favorite newly discovered summer pasta recipes for dinner Thursday night using the 2 lbs zucchini. It was delicious!

The 4-pounder sat on the counter all Thursday night looking lonely and un-used. I thought about it off and on all day Friday trying to decided what to do with it. Sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., I landed on zucchini bread.

When I decide to make something for the first time and I don't have a trusted recipe at hand, I generally start with Food Network. I figure they get enough exposure, someone else will have already weeded out the good recipes from the bad. And Paula Deen is usually a good bet. I can't find a lot of fault with her methodology (add enough butter and sugar and almost anything will taste good). So, when the first zucchini bread recipe search result on was Paula Deen's Zucchini Bread (5 stars with 461 reviews), I felt like I was in good hands.

The recipe called for 2 cups grated zucchini. The longer I mull this over, I'm sure this was where things started going downhill. Instead of being happy to use 2 c. of my 4-pound zucchini, I couldn't be wasteful. I started grating and decided to adjust the recipe to the amount of zucchini. Two-thirds the way through grating, I had 8 cups of zucchini. I couldn't bring myself to 4-times the recipe, so I settled on tripling it.

I started with the dry ingredients and quickly realized the amount of flour would never fit with the wet ingredients into my mixer. While this was going through my mind, I kind of lost count of the measured flour and made a guess. I think I might have guessed one too many. Not to be deterred, I continued on with the recipe, deciding I would just use my hand mixer to combine wet and dry in a giant mixing bowl.

By and by I got the batter into loaf pans and into the oven. About 15 min into the baking, there was a strong burning smell. I looked in the oven and one of the pans was dripping a bit, so I put a sheet pan on the bottom rack and left them along for 45 more min.

When I opened the oven door, imagine my surprise when there wasn't just a little drip on the sheet pan, but batter everywhere. On the oven door, along the oven walls, on almost every part of the oven racks. Zucchini explosion.

There was one pan that actually looked like it was ok. But it didn't really taste that great.

Moral of the story: I should have just been happy with the pasta.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ever gone 24 hours without talking to anyone that you didn't want to?

Neither have I. But I almost made it!

I feel like I've been going 100 mph in the fast lane for the last six months. It had to come to a stop, or at least a rest area! By the time I got back from the last big event (a work trade show in NYC -- video available on YouTube), I felt like an over-stimulated 3 year old.

So, when my sister Wendy offered me the last half of a time share week in Park City, thoughts of sitting by myself with the blinds drawn in a cushy hotel bed were too tempting to pass up.

I left Provo yesterday about 11 a.m. and headed for the mountains. It has been almost 24 hours of pure relaxation.

When I got here, I set my cell phone to silent, put on a movie and promptly took a three hour nap. I woke up, glanced at my phone and picked two people to call back (sorry if you were ignored, I'll get back to you tomorrow). I pulled out the fabric for two quilts that I've been wanting to work on and leisurely started to lay one of them out. I took a second nap. I worked on the quilt some more. I went to the grocery store. I made a cheese sandwich. I went to bed.

This morning when I woke up I felt like a new person. I actually pulled open the drapes. I might even go outside in a few minutes. Unfortunately, my 24 hours of not talking to anyone that I didn't want to was spoiled with a couple of work calls that couldn't be ignored. Surprisingly, I didn't mind. Maybe I'm almost better.

There is another 24 hours to spend here. By tonight I'll probably be ready for some company, which means that I'll be ready to go home tomorrow and get back to living life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Today's Give Away is featuring my crazy fabric business!


I mentioned my newest adventure, Two Birds Fabric, in a blog post last week. Today it's making it's blog contest debut at Today's Give Away. If you click on the button at the top of this post, you will be redirected to the Today's Give Away site ( where you can enter to win one of three fabulous prizes!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Piper & PJ

Aren't nicknames a childhood thing? I never had one, unless you count my family calling me CL, which wasn't even that often. But one day in November, I came to work and my co-worker Jeremy started calling me Piper. Apparently I'm a trendy dresser and he thinks girls who dress trendy should be named Piper. And it stuck. Piper? Whatever ...

In May, I hired an intern to help out with the marketing and PR efforts at the company. I liked Kyna right off. She seemed confident, capable and talented. I didn't know she would also have a knack for wearing twinner outfits. Between May and August, we've shown up for work wearing almost identical outfits at least once per week. This led to Jeremy calling her Piper Junion, or PJ. And it stuck.

If you want to see one of the best examples, head over to PJ's blog for a quick look.

The best thing about PJ is that she turned out to be the super-star intern of all time and yesterday she accepted a full-time position with the company. Piper and PJ will live on.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Blog to add to your follow list

Let's get this out of the way upfront.I'm about to engage in shameless self promotion.

If you want to see my latest hairbrained adventure, check out Two Birds Fabric.

Let me know what you think. In the meantime, I'll be sewing something (*gasp*).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Making a Statement

**NOTE: I just noticed that I don't know how to get the video to embed without cutting part of it off and no time to tackle it right now. If you double click on the video, though, it will take you directly to YouTube for a better viewing experience. Enjoy ;)

The older I get the more I wonder why it is so hard to take personal responsibility for damage done and hold yourself (or your organization) accountable. After five days straight of being disappointed by broken promises (this is all work-related for those of you wondering if you're one of the offenders) I was really amused – and somehow vindicated – after I watched this video on YouTube today.

Can't wait for the next two videos from Sons of Maxwell.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Carni-themed 4th

I'm usually good to go to a carnival/fair for about three hours. The first hour I'm wowed by eclectic array of people and the volume of tacky nic nacs available for purchase. The second hour I talk my stomach into accepting a funnel cake/kabob/corndog/kettle corn or other greasy carni food. By the third hour, it's time to get the heck out of there. I've had enough of the crowds, I feel claustrophobic from the stuffed animals and glo sticks and the food is churning in my unagreeable stomach.

With that said, I spent 2 1/2 days straight at the Provo Freedom Festival fair and carnival this weekend. No. Not 2 1/2 hours ... DAYS. My friend Amanda and I got the kookie idea to start a fabric store a couple of months ago. We planned our big debut for the Festival. We carted more than 50 bolts of fabric, palstic bins full of samples and sewing projects, a fan and our trusty cooling to a 10 x 10 booth on Center Street. We were nestled in between a guy selling stuffed animal marionettes and two girls with fabulously tacky religious jewelry.

With yards and yards of fabric to be sold, I embraced the carni crowds and got down to the business of making new friends. I met hundreds of people and my Provo perception has been changed for ever. I know Provo is a long way from being diverse, but the mix of people I met was so varied, exciting and different that I expected. Besides the tired feet and horse throat I had so much fun. I'm proud to say I'm a member of the Carni Community. Maybe we'll get to be across the way from the Texas Twister juice guy next year, too.

And, if you want to hear about the dark underbelly of the fair, ask me about being in the middle of a Provo PD take-down which included me getting knocked into our iron dress form by two brawling men. Never a dull moment at the carni.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back to my blogging roots

The origins of this blog were humble, but worth revisiting. My very first blog post was prompted when I needed a way to show a few people a video I took at a minor league baseball game in California. My cousin Brianne and I had so much fun at the game, we've been talking about going again for the past year.

Last weekend, Brianne and I talked Jeff into going with us to our second Lake Elsinore Storm game. While the game was less than stellar (the Storm did everything they could to make sure their unworthy opponents won), the people watching and entertainment were first rate. Unfortunately, it was about 48 degrees and humid. Hot chocolate sounded a lot better than cotton candy. There was no Asian unicycle-riding-rice-bowl tosser. But, there was a man in a giant bunny suit who made an appearance in right field. Not to mention the concessions guy with a Wonka hat and a goatee Colnel Sanders would have been proud of. And, the best part of all -- the completely indescribably mascot. I'm still not sure what that thing is.

Can't wait for the next time!

Is she hiding under a rock or something?

This is the question I've been asked by more than a few people who were addicted to (ok, just mildly amused by) my blog over the past few months. I haven't been hiding under a rock. Just taking a looong break.

If you want to know the truth ... I have no computer at home. Gasp! Yes, it's true. For the past several years my employers have provided laptops, so when my last personal one gave up the ghost, I didn't replace it. Unfortunately, the current employer is ignoring my pleas for a laptop (but I do have a shiney, happy Mac on my desk). I've been avoiding buying my own in hopes that one day soon, said employer will have a change of heart.

I know. Some will say this is no excuse at all. But that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I'm not even going to attempt to fill in the past few months. I'm just going to jump back in -- posting my random thoughts on the universe.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Whole New World for Larry

I stepped off the plane Friday morning to 75-degree weather and Larry waiting at the curb in a boat of a Caddy. Yes, that's right. Larry has embraced life as a snow bird. I have to say, he's almost got it perfected.

It was obvious that in Larry's three weeks away from home living the good life in Florida, no one has been around to give him a proper teasing. It only took about thirty seconds for Michelle and I to get him back in line. I started by saying, "Oh, Larry ... you've come south for the winter, you're driving a huge Caddy ... you're OLD!!"

I'm so glad to see my mom and Papa Larry having a good time in the Golden Years. He's sitting here right now watching me type, moaning and groaning that I'm being too mean and saying that I love being mean to him.

Since my mom went to bed at 8 p.m., Larry and I had to find some way to entertain ourselves. He has been bragging that he learned to use the internet last week and actually sent out a few emails under Carol's watchful eye. But tonight we made a big step. Some might even call it a giant leap. Larry and I created a gmail account of his very own. And then we started a blog for him. Not only has Larry entered the 21st Century ... now he's in the blogoshere. We may never be the same.

If you're ready for a good yarn (with a little truth worked in for flavor), check out Larry's blog:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why ski when you can toboggan?

For three hours last night I felt like I was 10 years old again.

Growing up, the first big snow of the winter brought on a sense of wonder, adventure and kamikaze tendencies for my younger sister Bethany and me. When I was about 10 and Bethany 8, we created a path from the retaining wall in the back yard that went through the trees and down a steep slope to the empty lot below the house. When I say steep, I mean really steep. The kind of steep that when viewing through 30-year-old eyes looks like a death wish, or at least certain carnage. By the time any adult witnessed our launch we had already completed countless successful runs and for some reason no one stopped us. I don't know how many years we used the sledding track, but I can't remember ever getting hurt. What I do remember was the feeling of hitting powder at the bottom of the run, the tube coming to a halt and ending up with snow covered eyelashes.

The snow covered eyelashes were what brought it all back to me yesterday. About 7 p.m., Tiffany, Michelle and I loaded up and drove to Fairview to meet up with a few other friends. With tobbogan, saucers and three Stiga snow racers (in case you're interested) in hand, we played on a hill in Fairview Canyon with the abondon of children.

The hill is nestled in an S-curve of the road that goes up Fairview canyon, making it the perfect spot for grown-up sledding. This means instead of riding down and walking back up the hill, we pile the sleds in the back of the truck (along with Mike and Lane) and drive to the top of the hill after each run. The trail seems to have been made by back-country snowboarders who come there during the day. The day-time run sounds a lot smarter, but there was somthing enchanting about hitting the hill in the light of the full moon.

After a lack-luster run on the saucers, I decided to give the heavy-duty toboggan a go. It was so much fun, I stayed on it the rest of the night. Michelle and I ended up making at least four long runs down slopes, among trees and through mounds of powder. We kept getting better at steering the long board each run. On the last run we took together, there was one point where we were going so fast the powder was flying up into my face until it was so covered I couldn't see anything. Because I'm old and chicken, I bailed off the front of the sled. Michelle ended up half on the toboggan, half in the fluff. The toboggan somehow, was half on me. We laid there laughing so hard we almost couldn't get up. I had so much snow covering my eyelashes that it made the sky sparkle. And for three hours, I felt like I was 10 again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Snow ... snow ... snow

I really do like a fresh blanket of snow. Especially the day after the storm if the sky is blue and our mountains sparkle.

But after shoveling a foot of snow (I really do mean at least 12 inches) from my driveway, which is disproportionately large in comparison to the size of my house, I promptly booked a ticket to visit my parents in Florida.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Michelle, Tiffany and I rang in the New Year in fine fashion. Thanks Mike & Wendy for the fab fondue. Thanks Terry & Angela (aka Tang) for games, laughs, carmel corn and the requisite Diet Coke. Thanks Leslee & LeGrand for waffles and fireworks. Could it get any better??

Ode to Pie Fest

Actually, the limits of my creativity are reached long before I write poetry, so there will be no odes to Pie Fest ... But I will put up a few pics ...