Friday, September 23, 2011

Before and After

So, it's finally tomato season at our house. This has been a LONG time coming!! But they are finally big and red and delicious. This is the "before":

And this is the "after":

Years ago I swore I'd never make salsa again. It's so much work and the stuff in the store tastes pretty darn good. But, when you're sitting there staring at all those lovely tomatoes, it's really hard NOT to, especially when you have a bunch of large onions and some fresh peppers from the garden as well. So we made some salsa. It's quite zesty! A little thin for my tastes, but still quite good.

Some of the tomatoes were baked into a pie. A Pizza Pie, that is. Have you ever made the sauce by just cooking plain ol' tomatoes and then mushing them, and then putting them on the crust, etc., etc.? Well, I'd looked at the recipe in my old cookbook for YEARS, but this time decided to just try it. Talk about yummy! Of course, there's seasoning, cheese, meat, veggies, etc. It was so good, there's no "before" picture. Just the "after." We ate the whole thing!!
And, if you must know, the ugliest pizza pans really do make the best pizzas! That's why I keep that ugly old thing. The picture makes it look pretty huge. It's not. Just average. I guess we chowed down the equivalent of a medium pizza. Oink.

Oink, Oink

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What A Party!

This weekend is Homecoming at SUU. It was a big deal this year because there has been a quiet money-raising campaign going on for a few years, but during homecoming was when they were making it all public and announcing stuff, amounts, etc. So they threw a party and invited the town. And they invited all the alumni. And they invited potential donors. In other words, pretty much everyone. Oh, yeah. Students, too.

First off, on Friday afternoon, they dedicated the new Science Building. It has a fancier name and you can check the University web site to see what it really is called. Molecular and something science. Nursing? I dunno. But it's a beautiful facility. Mike and I walked through it one day on my lunch hour. The nursing department has really cool labs like hospital rooms now. And the chemistry labs are state of the art. The rooftop greenhouse is all computer controlled and very fancy-schmancy. The whole thing is very nice.

I went to the dedication on Friday afternoon. It had the obligatory speeches by the big-wig folks, BUT my favorite speaker was my library student worker (and former MIA-Maid class member that I taught for 2 years), Kezia Brown. She did an excellent job. Then, of all things, after the dedicatory prayer, was a fun and modern dance choreographed by the SUU Dance dept folks that simulated molecules and such. It was absolutely, um. . .adorable? entertaining? enthralling? Impressive? All of the above. Who knew science students could dance? They had coordinating T-shirts on and I didn't study the program thoroughly enough to understand what all the colors were, but it was very scientific AND artistic all at the same time. Science and Art DO go together. The percussion ensemble accompanied them, and they are always cool.

BUT the ribbon cutting ceremony was pretty entertaining, too. They brought out a paper ribbon about 1 foot x 5 feet. The letters for the Center for Health and Molecular Science (CHMC) were in the middle, but raised and created with some inter-active chemical substance. And glitter. And it was all in red and black, school colors. Dean Eves held up, not over-sized sissors, but an over-sized SYRINGE (like horse - sized), then he squirted something from it onto the letters on the "ribbon" and they burst into flames and dissolved the ribbon's center, essentially 'cutting' the ribbon--chemically. Cool. It was most entertaining and very impressive.

The dedicatory prayer was blessed with a little light sprinkling of rain before it was over. And then mobs of people went inside to check out the new facilities. I tagged along with Brent and Loralyn Felix. Brent had installed much (if not all) of the technology in the building and showed us some AMAZING features. Nursing stations with cameras and microphones so the students' work can be recorded and then evaluated in a classroom setting. A manequin that can simulate childbirth, among other things! It's just a really great asset to the department, the college and the university. Fun stuff. Free food, too, though I wasn't willing to stand in line for it. Oh, the drinks were served in chemistry lab glass flasks with a commemorative sticker on in. They added dry ice to make it smoke and look extra cool (or weird, or eerie or just plain "scientific") as folks wandered about, sipping it through their straws. ha. They also had free little baby plants that you could take home and plant as a commemorative emblem of the day.

Oh, but that wasn't the end of the party! I went home and got Mike and at 7:30 there was a concert on the Quad on upper campus. There was a band, plus Kurt Bestor and the SUU orchestra and some of our favorite local talent for the hosts. The lawn area and buildings were decorated to the nines, the food was all free and served elegantly and abundantly. Those lines were long, too. Hundreds of people came of all ages. Hundreds of students came. The music was fun. It did rain a little. There was a big screen set up so we could see what was going on on the stages. There was a stage on each end of the Quad. It was just really big, really fun, really noisy,really crowded. Everyone got red glow sticks. EVERYone. As the music was ending, then the University president spoke for a bit, make his big announcement about their fund-raising campaign, and then they turned off the lights and 200 students in red t-shirts trooped in, surrounding us, each with a single lit candle

and THEN

there were fireworks. A very impressive display of fireworks.

Wow! WHAT a party!!

[And then I must revert to Dr. Seuss-type comments]
'A dog party! A big Dog Party! Big dogs, little dogs, black dogs and white dogs. All going to a big dog party!'
P.D. Eastman, Go, Dog, Go

And interesting field trip

Go Toward the Light!

This is the ladder that leads to the roof

of the library where Tammy works. Up she goes!

We recently have been having a new roof installed on our library building. I asked the general contractor if I could see what they were doing up there, and he invited us to come up for a tour. It was nice to see what all the thumping and bumping, messes and noise was all about. And it was nice to see the roof of our building. And the VIEW.

Looking West

Looking South

Looking down at our parking lot. There was a crane.

Some of the old roofing is exposed. This is looking kind of north-east. It went from being a black roof (and a leaky one), to a very white roof with more insulation and hopefully tighter seams.
Unfortunately, it rained pretty hard one night on this old part (above) and if it was covered with a tarp, it must have blown off. We had a lot of water in the building the night after these pictures were taken!!

Looking East

The Gang's all here:
Tammy, Susan, Sheri, Ellen, Jill, Randy, Rod, me (I've really got to work on posing).

The end.


The roses were a "mental health" treat for me. And because it was our anniversary month. And because they were a good deal at the grocery store. So good, I just couldn't pass them up. Not once, but TWICE. I thoroughly enjoyed the first batch at home on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Then I took them to work and enjoyed them Tuesday and Wednesday. Then I went shopping on Thursday morning and they were half price, so I picked up another bouquet and took them with us to Park City and enjoyed them there on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Brought them home on Sunday (they were some very well-traveled flowers!) and enjoyed them for a few more days. Mental health. Flowers make me happy.
I traveled to Park City, UT, to be the NON-scrap book-er among all the scrappers. We went the weekend of September 9 and 10th. Gail and I got there on the night of the 8th and joined with the others in this nice condo that Janet arranged for us in Park City, UT. It was very nice. Gail and I shared a room with rustic log bunk beds, and there were two other bedrooms besides.

Thursday night we just relaxed and settled in. Friday, all the scrapbookers went to SLC for the Expo thing-ey. I stayed on my own at the condo and just relaxed.
I went for a long walk around the "Bear Hollow Village" condo area. I got us officially registered into the unit and visited with the front desk help about Tex's malasadas in Honoka'a, Hawaii. Small world, huh? I watched "The Waltons" on TV while waxing my legs. I soaked in a jetted tub. I snacked on nourishing food. I had lunch. I drove around Park City and picked up maps and brochures. Got a little lost for a minute [remember, I have directional disfunction]. I DID make it back to the Condo. I watched a movie on Donna's Ipad ("Beastly." Cute). I sort of sorted some photos, but not really. I just moved them from a bag into a couple of storage boxes. But they are in order by year!

When everyone came home, Robert and Sarah came, too.

Saturday after breakfast, Robert, Donna, Sarah and I headed into town to see sights, but mostly to ride rides. Sarah and I did all three--the Zip Line, Coaster, and Slide.
Sarah at the top of the Zip Line. In Line at the Line.

I think the anticipation was way bigger than the actual ride.
It WAS fun, and I did like it. I was too worried about texting Donna that we were on our way.
The fellow before us is just leaving. I was concerned about getting a good picture. As you can see below, I had reason to be concerned. I wanted to try to snap a shot of Sarah, but I couldn't turn around enough to see where she was, so I blindly snapped away. Got mostly pictures of my fat fingers.

Going Down, down, down. It's very fast. I should have been worried about getting a bug down my throat since I forgot to shut my mouth for the duration of the ride!! Lucky for me, there was no extra protein in my diet THAT time. My mouth did get pretty dry.
Down, down, down some more. The brown-roofed building (below) is where you get onto the Coaster ride.
And here we are (below), loaded onto the coaster ride and heading up the mountain. THIS was my favorite. Again, mouth open, and I screamed [with glee] all the way down.

I'm going up, the tracks are going down--in LOOPS! I missed a good shot of Sarah as she went whooshing by me on the way down.

But here's some strangers, whooshing past me (below). The ride up is slow. The ride up to the top of the Zip line is even SLOWER. Lots of pretty views, though. And the weather was PERFECT on this day. Mild, no wind. Robert and Donna and Sarah got a little sunburned, standing in lines, etc.
Riding the lift up to the Alpine Slide beginning.

Out of order. This is the GOING UP part of the Coaster. That's Robert in front of me. [Like you can see anything besides a dark spot!] And Donna is before him. Sarah was first.
Walking our Alpine Slide sleds over to the tracks. They came up the lift with us, hooked onto the side of the chair lift.

Donna stopped to take a picture of the wild flowers. I didn't see it on her blog. I'm guessing it didn't turn out well because it was a close up. I'm sure there's a setting for that!
Some of us had a good time on the Slide, but mine and Sarah's ride was kind of a bummer because we were stuck behind some very slow people and had to STOP!! The first half was nice and thrilling and fast. But not the second half. It was a fun little outing, though. I'm glad we did it.

I had a great time visiting with everyone and Gail and I headed home on Sunday morning. We got home just in time to get to church.

Monday, September 5, 2011

September Thoughts

Last week I attended a Mother-Daughter Relief Society meeting with Gail and Caroline. It was done on the theme from Johnny Lingo and being an Eight Cow Woman. You need to be familiar with the story of Johnny Lingo, so if you are not, please view the classic film at your local LDS Temple visitor's center. We attended several little presentations that dealt with varying aspects of life--pampering ourselves, recognizing our spiritual worth, music, goals, money, and some fun stuff. It was Misty's presentation on our worth as women that got me thinking. She asked the question: "What brings you joy? What to you just LOVE?" We were not allowed to answer anything that included newborn babies, ourselves, or our family. Those might have been the pat answers that any and all of us would have and could have answered. There were little girls who answered and they gave answers that were nature-related, like "flowers" "The ocean." Stuff like that. It was nice. Misty's ending though for us was that WE are the crowning creation of God. And I know that. I have a great deal of self-worth and appreciate the crowning creations of our Heavenly Father. But can I just tell you what makes me smile? They are very simple things. I almost hesitate to share them lest you think I am too simple-minded.

Crickets. Not the actual insect (ugh!), but the sweet sounds that they make at night. I just smile every night as I fling open our bedroom window that faces our back yard and the room is filled with the sounds of those chirping crickets. They make me smile. I just love them! I miss them when they go away for the winter. They are seasonal, but when they are here (outside, where they belong and NOT in my house!!), they make me happy. They make my day complete as my head hits the pillow and I can smile as I drift off to sleep. I appreciate the fact that they are almost so loud as to drown out the freeway noises that are sometimes just a little to close and loud for me. Summertime in the hammock under the apple tree in my backyard at dusk with crickets chirping (and before the mosquitos find me) is a blissful time for me.

Moss. Not the slimy stuff on the edge of the creek, but the deep green, smooth-as-velvet kind that clings to rocks and trees in the wet. I just have a thing for moss. It IS nature's velvet! It's as though the fabric manufacturers tried to replicate nature when they invented velvet. Moss is just so luxuriant. It's smooth and carpet-like, it's rich with moisture. It makes me want to be a small creature and just curl up on top of it to snuggle down into it. It looks really cool when it's flowering/propigating, too. I love green. We don't see much moss in this desert state that I live in, so when I do have the chance to be out hiking in an area that does have moss, it makes me pause. I have to stop and look and feel and enjoy. It's very difficult to just walk by and NOT do that! I remember being little and using it for carpet in Troll houses in outdoor play. I remember being older and studying it in biology class. I still just like it. Moss. Deep green, luxuriant moss. Nick can vouch for me. I hiked with him once when there was moss along the trail. I couldn't help but stop, could I? It's pretty. It makes me happy. It reminds me of water, which is SO vital to us as humans, and it gives me hope.

And on a side note, I think Spanish moss hanging from trees in the deep South is pretty cool, too! It's just a different kind of moss. :-)

All these things, and many more that I see, remind me that we live in a beautiful world that was created for OUR enjoyment. That's what I try to do--enjoy it. I like to share the joy. I enjoying seeing the colors of the clouds change at sunrise and sunset, or just as they are there and UNchanging. I yearn to paint the clouds (which is practically impossible!) and capture their beauty with watercolors. I find great satisfaction in watching little finches as they feed among the sunflowers. There are so many different kinds! I marvel at grand waterfalls, and the vistas we can see every day by just looking out our windows or walking down the street. My list can go on and on and on.

The grand and the small--I love them all.

(The blog entry would be complete with lovely nature photos. I have none from this computer, so imagine your own!)


My OTHER September thoughts concern our missionary who will be home at the end of the month! YAY!