Thursday, December 20, 2012


Budapest is a Monet--beautiful from far away, but a hot mess close up. We arrived at a train station in the kind of neighborhood where train stations often are, then walked to our hotel. The neighborhood reminded me strongly of other Eastern European cities I have visited. There were 18th- and 19th-century buildings interspersed with Soviet-era buildings. Everything was in various states of disrepair.

We visited the castle hill in Buda, Memento Park with its Communist-Era statues, and the Terror Museum in the building which once housed the secret police's cells and torture chambers. The overcast, freezing weather just added to the oppressive feeling of the last two sites.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Auf Wiedersehen, Wien!

We are headed to Budapest today. I have enjoyed Vienna and wish we could spend a little more time here.Yesterday was Schonbrunn Castle, Sacher torte, the Ferris wheel (think London Eye but more decrepit), church at the "English" ward and standing-room tickets at the opera.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wunderbar Wien

It is chilly and rainy in Vienna. We walked all over and saw the Christmas market at Belevdere, where we had hot white chocolate that was made by stirring chocolate bars into hot milk. I am normally pretty good at getting around cities, but Vienna confuses me.We became so turned around that we needed to take a taxi back to our hotel. The highlight of our trip has been the amazing Vienna Philharmonic concert this evening, with Ray Chen as guest violin soloist. Rowdy and I were moved to tears by the beauty of the experience. Tomorrow is Schonbrunn Palace and, with any luck, church and standing room tickets to the Opera. I am not going to wear pants to church tomorrow, but I support those women who choose to, whether as a statement or for other reasons. That is a subject of another post.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Euro Christmas Cheer

Rowdstar and I are in Strausbourg, France. It bills itself as the "Capital of Christmas ", and good reason. We have enjoyed the wonderful Christmas markets, decorationsand snowy weather. Pain au chocolate, hot orange juice with honey and Croque Monsieur. Have been enjoyed. The Hobbit opened this morning, and we were surprised to find that here was no crazy line at the box office, and we paid less for tickets than we would have in the US. I only fell asleep twice in the movie. LOTR movies have that effect on me. One of the effects of traveling in Norway earlier this year is that evertywhere else is inexpensive in comparison.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Catching Up Gratefuls

December is upon us, but I missed a couple of gratitude days.  Just a few things:

I'm grateful for music.  Rowdy and I went over to his friend, Paul's, house last night.  Paul and I jammed some.  I haven't been playing for the last couple of months, so now I'm reenergized.

We went to my department Christmas party tonight.  I was named, "Radiologist of the Year", which is pretty sweet.  I was given this nice award that says all kinds of nice things on it, finishing with, "Loved and appreciated by all".  What I'm grateful for is all of the support that I get from my staff that helps me do my job well.  I'm also grateful for the Atonement, so I can repent when I'm not being so nice or good.  I'm grateful that my prayers for my patients get answered so much.  I'm grateful that I have a supportive husband, who decided to come to the dinner with me tonight instead of going to a shooting competition that he'd really been looking forward to (and would have be more fun).

Here's my "major award".  Be careful, it's frageeelay.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Tonight was the long-awaited "Young Women in Excellence" dinner.  My board and our YW did an amazing job of making this meeting a success.  I feel like my board took a vague idea I had and made it an incredible evening.

1)  I am grateful to be able to work with the women I do, both the youth and the adults.  They are really amazing people.
2)  I'm also grateful for the men that support us.  We had plenty of help getting things put away afterwards, but more than that, dads supported their daughters, husbands supported their wives and priesthood leaders supported the auxillary.
3)  I wish I could show that video that our secretary made.  It was a combination of slide show of activities the girls have done in YW and outside over the year and video of them talking about what excellence means to them, how they strive to be excellent, and what they think is excellent about the other YW.  They ended with, "I'm (their name), and I can change the world".  I wasn't the only leader crying through it.  It was just beautiful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not As Cranky On the 27th

I am grateful today for:

1)  Very kind friends who gave me the support, encouragement and aid I needed to get things back on track.
2)  You know how sometimes, when you are making a new recipe and you don't know how it's supposed to turn out, you get worried that it's going to be terrible?  And then you have to make it for some event and serve it to a bunch of people?  I'm grateful that the feijoada that I made for YWIE tomorrow night turned out great.
3)  The synopsis for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was, "A curmudgeon tries to end merrymaking".  Thanks, Cox Cable, for a good laugh.
4)  I actually am grateful for my calling.  I take back what I said yesterday.  Aunt Flo must've typed that.
5)  I so love "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  Thanks Dr. Suess, Chuck Jones and Boris Karloff.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Grateful This Craptastic Day is Almost Over

Yeah, that's #1.
2)  uh...I'm grateful for answered prayers and resilient little old ladies.
3)  I'm grateful to know deep down inside what's really important.
4)  Some days I'm grateful this YW calling is only for two years.
5)  I'm really grateful that after I publish this, I can go take a bath and go to bed.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Seven Year Grateful

November 25, 2005, Rowdy Matt Bricco and I were married by our bishop in the living room of the home I was renting in LaJolla.  My parents and sisters; Rowdy's parents, his youngest sister and her husband; Jordan, Keiler and Max were all in attendance.  We had no way of knowing everything we would experience together up to this point, but we knew that, whatever was ahead of us, "it's always better when we're together".

Seven things about Rowdy I am grateful for:

1)  He can pull himself out of a bad mood really quickly.
2)  He has a lot of common sense.
3)  He has a way of connecting with people and is very thoughtful.
4)  In the event of an emergency, he's the man you want in your corner.  He is levelheaded in a crisis, knows how to survive most any disaster, and can handle a gun.
5)  He is a great travel companion, always up for adventures.
6)  He knows how to express his opinions and lets others express theirs.
7)  He thinks that I'm beautiful, and he says it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Interesting Things About My Ancestors

Well, interesting to me, anyway.

My great-grandpa, John Basil Dahlstrom, was an Idaho Fish and Game commissioner for a long, long time.  He helped my dad get a job as a surveyor the summer Dad was 18.  Dad and another person surveyed land up by Driggs, Idaho, when a dam was going to be built.  Dad says that Grandpa was really nice and really quiet, very laid-back.  He was well-liked.  I already knew that he had been the mayor of Alameda, Idaho, which is basically part of Pocatello.  Grandpa was a mechanic and had a shop that Dad says was "the filthiest place I've ever been in.  There was grease all over the tools....It was not tidy."

Here's a link to a little newspaper article about Grandpa Dahlstrom in the January 8, 1949, issue of the Spokane Daily Chronicle.  And here's another one.  Dad says that he used to go fish on the Fort Hall reservation, and there was good fishing there.

My dad did work a little at his family's Coca-Cola bottling plant, but he says he was kinda flaky, and his uncle George, who I think was the manager, didn't put up with that.  Here's also something interesting (maybe just to me and my sisters) about the Chaffee family and the Coke plant.

Double-Up 23/24

1)  Things were super-busy on Friday and the people I was around were exceptionally whiny.  I'm grateful that I can see reasons why they were whiny and could help them.
2)  My goal is to finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.  It's my Value Project for the Virtue part of Personal Progress, but it also enriches my life.  I'm so grateful for those people who lived those experiences and recorded them.
3)  My mom and I had a great time today, going shopping and to lunch in Coronado and shopping at a nearly-empty Target.  I'm grateful to have had that time with her.  She's a good lady.
4)  I'm grateful for my mad-skillz at making pizza.
5)  This morning, I ran five miles and found out that I am only 0.4 lbs away from my goal weight.  I'm grateful for a healthy body.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day!

It has been a satisfying day.

1)  Rowdy and I went to the boot camp that he usually attends.  It was a good way to get moving around and have fun before getting into the business of making dinner.  I am very grateful to have a strong, healthy body.
2)  After all Rowdy went through in 2010 and 2011, there was a real risk that he would be a "nutritional cripple", unable to absorb enough nutrients from food to sustain himself.  But here is is, eating two big helpings of Thanksgiving dinner, running circles around everyone at boot camp, and weighing more than me.  I'm grateful for all of the blessings he received to get him to this point.
3)  All of our dinner turned out delicious (except my gravy was lumpy, oh well).  I'm grateful to have tastebuds and olfactory nerves that work so I could enjoy the results of my labors.
4)  I'm grateful that my dad likes to reminisce.  He was telling me today about how he went on a month-long tour of the US when he was 13, because he was going to the national Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, NY, in 1950.  And then the next year, he went to someplace in Oklahoma with his softball team for the national championships, which they won.  I knew that he was on a national championship team, but I didn't know the timeline.
5)  I'm grateful that my big sister is starting to feel a little better.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21--Legally Grateful

1)  I'm grateful that the Salted Caramel Apple hand pies are done.  The pumpkin pie is in the oven.
I go for taste, not looks.

2)  I'm grateful for Rowdy's cousin, Honoree, for pinning that recipe in the first place.
3)  I'm grateful that my mom and dad made it here safely and that we can spend a few days together.  My dad was telling us stories at dinner about how Grandpa Chaffee was a high-wheel bike racer in his youth.  There was a photo of him somewhere (oh, how I wish we had it!) from when he was a racer.  Dad says that Great-Grandpa's body looked like The Great Sandow's (a strongman from the 19th century).  Great-Grandpa started out as a beer distributor, before becoming a Coca-Cola bottler and Buick dealership owner.  He used to pick the full beer kegs up easily and fling them around.
This is not the photo, but you get the idea of what it might look like.

It's fun to be descended from a fearless bicycle racer and all-around strong guy.

4)  I'm grateful for my mom's enjoyment of cooking and kitchen gadgets, which she passed along to me.
5)  I'm grateful for family in general--immediate, ancestors and family-by-marriage.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

19/20 People Are Grateful

1)  I'm very grateful that my mom and dad are coming tomorrow for Thanksgiving, but very sad that my sisters can't make it.  Karen is in NYC, and didn't really have the funds to come this year.  Dayna was going to come, but she's had a terrible stomach flu for the past four days.
2)  I'm grateful for a freezer.  I overestimated how big our turkey needed to be.  It's double the size we need.
3)  I continue to be grateful for my sweet husband.  One of my colleagues is having a hard time in his family.  He asked me if Rowdy was a good husband, and I told him that Rowdy would win the gold medal if there was a husband Olympics.  He said, "Well, let me know if he ever wants to do a Power Point presentation on how to be a good husband.  I'm terrible at it."  Rowdy is very thoughtful and is very intuitive when it comes to interacting with people.
4)  I'm grateful that I've found a new hairdresser that I like.  She did a good job on my haircolor.
5)  Sleeping in this morning was nice.  I'm as grateful that I didn't have to go to boot camp this morning as I was
6)  grateful that I could go to boot camp on Monday morning.  I like the people in my group, and I like being healthy and strong (though yesterday I had to quit early because I was still suffering from the effects of my cold).
7)  I'm grateful that I am still in touch with my friends from high school and
8)  Grateful (again) that I am not a grandma yet.
9)  I am grateful for my teeth.  It's been a whole five months since they've given me trouble.
10)  I am grateful for the new furry pillows that we bought for the family room couch.  They are luxurious.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eighteen! I Can Do What I Want, 'Cuz It's 18!

I heard that Alice Cooper song the other day.  Funny.

1)  I'm grateful that I was able to get to at least some church today.  I love my YW calling, really and truly.
2)  We had the missionaries over for dinner tonight.  They are good guys.  I'm grateful that we could share ideas, testimonies and meatloaf.
3)  I am just so, so, so grateful for the Gospel, and I want to do better at sharing it.
4)  I'm grateful that my mom, dad and big sister are coming on Wednesday, but we will miss my other sister.
5)  I'm always grateful for my Rowdstar.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


1)  I'm grateful that Rowdy and I got sprung early from our obligation as chaperones at the Regional Youth Dance.  We were relegated to a back hall, and the only entertainment was doing calisthenics.  It was a mini-boot camp.
2)  So, lesson learned--double, triple, quadruple check with the temple that you have a reservation for baptisms.  We showed up at 2:50 for a 3 pm session only to discover that we were not on the schedule.  I'm grateful that we were worked in anyway.
3)  I'm grateful for covenants and the opportunity to make that happen for our kindred dead.
4)  I ran/walked for five miles this morning.  I'm grateful to be done with my cold, pretty much.
5)  Rowdy has been praying that I would have a light call week, since I was sick.  I'm grateful for answered prayers.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sweet 16th

1)  The team of people I work with are terrific.  They make me look good, and I am very grateful for them.
2)  My nose is only running a little bit.  Yay!  I'm grateful that colds only last 7 days if things go well, a week if they don't.
3)  I'm grateful for professional recognition and
4)  a reliable income
5)  that I can use to do things for other people.  So I'm grateful for service opportunities.

Nov. 15th, one day late

But no gratefuls short!

Yesterday, I was grateful for:

1)  the opportunity to go home teaching with my dearest husband. I met a sweet little dog named Carl.  He made me sick, though.
2)  Wendy's chili/baked potato/garden salad combo
3)  easy mammo morning
4)  easing of my cold symptoms
5)  Real Simple magazine day and lots of catalogs

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grateful on the 14th

1)  Cold medicine is very nice sometimes, and I'm grateful for the good people who invented. it.
2)  Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes.  Today I quickly solved a problem that had been unsolved by others during the previous 24 hours, saving a patient an unnecessary procedure.  I'm grateful for my education.
3)  Pinterest!  How I love thee.  I'm grateful for the people who came up with that nifty site.  I have cute ideas in my head for decorations at our Young Women in Excellence dinner.  The theme is (in case you haven't heard) "Change the  World".  I'm thinking globes and travel books and language books and scriptures, maybe some souvenirs from far-away places.
4)  The human body is so beautifully designed.  I'm grateful that there's more than one orifice through which one can get oxygen.
5)  Indoor plumbing is fantastic.  I'm grateful for clean water and toilets.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lucky 13th

I'm feeling so gross today from that crappy cold.  I'm grateful for:

1)  chicken soup
2)  Minute Maid fruit punch
3)  Young Frankenstein
4)  Half day at work
5)  The opportunity to make someone's day today

Monday, November 12, 2012

On the Twelfth Day of Grateful

1)  The rhinovirus that's been stalking me for two weeks breached my defenses at 3 am.  I'm grateful that it's still a pretty mild case.
2)  Whenever I have a nightmare, I have to wake myself up and remind myself how grateful I am that whatever happened in my dream didn't happen in real life--I didn't do the dumb thing or have to be around the objectionable person, etc.  Sometimes I even catch myself without completely waking up and make changes in the dream.  That's a little trick I learned from my dad.
3)  I'm grateful for my dad.
4)  We completed our December travel plans yesterday.  I'm grateful for time off and for our savings account.
5)  I'm grateful to have been able to visit a sick ward family member in the hospital today.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grateful For Our Veterans, Amongst Other Things

1)  A grandfather, my dad, an uncle, several cousins, loads of friends and our soon-to-be Marine. From wartime to peacetime, I'm grateful for all you have done and will yet do to protect and defend our country.
2)  Listening to the report from a recently-returned missionary and friend of our Keiler made me teary in Sacrament Meeting today.  I'm grateful for those who serve the Lord, but particularly for our sweet Elder Bricco.
3)  YW experiences are also making me appreciatively teary today.  I feel like the girls are feeling the spirit, starting to really feel deeply the importance of our efforts to develop unity and reach out to our inactive girls, and build bonds with their leaders.  I'm grateful to be a part of it, and...
4)  Grateful for the amazing women with whom I serve in Young Women's.
5)  Vegetarian pizza.  So good and good for you.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday is a Special Day

when I am grateful for:

1)  the temple.  Great ward temple night tonight, with some of my most-favorite ward people.
2)  a nice run around Lake Murray this morning.  Why some days it's easier to run than others is a mystery to me, but today was easy and fun.
3)  great emails from my YW secretary.  She has great things to say.  Every day I see new reasons why my YW board was called for this particular time.
4)  I haven't lost that many pounds, but my recently-purchased pants are getting roomy.
5)  Parks and Recreation on Netflix.

I Got 99 Gratefuls

Well, just five really.  And no, the b$#@* ain't one.

1)  Rainy weather is a nice break from the Santa Anas of a few weeks ago.  I am grateful for the sound of rain outside when I am snuggly warm and dry inside.
2)  Rainy weather also means that I can wear my new favorite pants, seen in this photo:

Thanks, Prana, for making cute cords!
3)  Movie night with my sweetheart.  We went to see the new Bond movie.  I am grateful for my eyes, if ya get my drift.
4)  More gratitude for my team at work.  We got a lot of work done with minimal muss and fuss.
5)  It seemed in the middle of the week that I was going to develop a rip-roaring head cold.  But I did not, for which I am grateful.

Friday, November 9, 2012

8 is Grateful

1)  Anesthesiologists are lifesavers.  I'm grateful for the guys who helped us out last night.
2)  In addition to the above, I'm grateful for the calm and peaceful attitude I've been blessed to have lately.
3)  Salad for dinner!  Yay!  I'm grateful that Rowdy is supportive of my fitness goals and has some for himself.
4)  Repentance.  Can you imagine how sad the world would be without it?  We wouldn't even have a world without it, frankly.
5)  Everybody else's Gratitude posts on blogs and Facebook.  It's very uplifting and fun to see what is going on in people's lives.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Grateful 7

I'm a day late on posting, but oh well.

1)  For YW last night, we went out to dinner together.  I'm grateful for my darling YW and my wonderful YW leaders.
2)  I'm also grateful that the sister missionaries were able to come and eat with us.  They would like to come to Mutual again sometime and tell the girls good mission stories.  We will definitely take them up on that.
3)  I'm grateful every day for my wonderful husband, for too many reasons to count.  But a couple are how resilient and how intelligent he is.
4)  I'm grateful for a strong body.  I did 45 minutes of boot camp and then swam 1000 meters.  I am tired and so very hungry today, but happy that I can do those things.
5)  I'm grateful for Pinterest.  :D

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Remember, Remember the 6th of November

1)  Today is the 50th birthday of my friend, Cristy.  We have known each other since junior high.  I'm so grateful to have had her as a friend and college roommate.  She has always been a great example to me.

2)I'm also grateful that she was the first of tight group of college friends to become a grandma.  Most of us have married children already, but hers were the oldest of the group.  It will be fun when the Jo-Jos start having kids, but I'm more than fine with them waiting awhile.

3)  Everyone at the polling place today was so pleasant and cheerful.  There were even people dressed in red, white and blue.  Parents took their children with them, teaching them the importance of voting.  It's an enormous blessing to live in a place where elections are free, and where we are civil about our differences.  After the trash talking I've seen on FB, I was a little worried that people would be riled up.  But no, everyone went about their business politely, and even joyfully.  Let's keep that up, people!

4)  Only about 50% of our YW group is active.  I've known most of the girls since I taught them in Primary, so it is really hard to see one of my favorite YW losing her way in the last year or so.  I'm grateful for her loving and caring mother, who gave me some insight into this lovely young woman's life right now and good guidance on how I and the rest of the YW leaders can reach out to her.  I gave a lesson on "the rescue plan" last Sunday, and
5)  I'm grateful to know that I can get divine help in reaching out to all of my YW.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Let's Sing a Song of 5! How many is 5?!

1)  I'm grateful for my weird walnut allergy.  It kept me from diving into a pile of baked goods in the "free for all" part of the techs' break room.
2)  Rowdy and I had lunch with our neighbors, Mimi and Herb, today.  I'm grateful for wonderful people like them living in my neighborhood.
3)  I'm grateful for the capacity to be graceful under pressure.
4)  Last night, I felt horrible--too warm, achy all over, getting antsy like I do when I'm getting sick.  But this morning, I was able to do 45 minutes of bootcamp and then swim for 25 minutes.  I'm grateful for a good night of restorative sleep.
5)  I'm grateful to know that Keiler is being watched over on his mission.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Go 4th and Be Grateful

1)  Divine help with my YW lesson today.  It was a tricky subject--I mean, how do you present the concept of the ward rescue plan to YW?  But...Hurricane Sandy and the rescue efforts there provided a good comparison.
2)  Safe return from Phoenix of my Rowdstar.
3)  Cool evenings.
4)  A great YW board.  The upcoming YWIE is now sorted out and will be lovely, I think.
5)  Sabbath days to gather strength.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

On the Third Day of Grateful...

Thank you, Stephanie, for the cute hat--which I think I lost somewhere in Chile.

1)  A nice, long massage to work out the kinks from a lot of activity and inactivity over the last week.
2)  Honey Crisp apples--more expensive, but so delicious.
3)  Friends who are great examples of kindness and charity.
4)  One more hour of sleep tonight.
5)  Podcasts.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nov. 2 Gratitude

Today, I am grateful:

1)  that one of my patients shared with me how he had been blessed recently.
2)  that my Jayne made sure my schedule was light today.  Coming back to work for one day after vacation had the potential to be rough.
3)  for cell phones so that Rowdy can be in Phoenix and I can be here, and we can still talk.
4)  for Tylenol and Motrin.  That's the best combo for cramps.
5)  for inspiration to get my YW lesson going.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is Gratitude Month!

We just returned from a terrific trip to Torres del Paine in Patagonia.  Photos to come, I promise!

Five things I am grateful for today:

1)  The opportunity to travel to wonderful places.
2)  Good health and safety during the trip.
3)  A comfortable home to return to.
4)  A husband that is a great travel companion.
5)  The relative safety of all of my friends and family on the East Coast.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Delicious Breakfast

No photos, so just take my word for it--baked sweet potato with bacon and goat cheese.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. You're black."

Lately, I just want people to get to the point when they're talking to me.  Too bad I am the worst for taking the long way around when telling a story.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October is Full of Excitement

Lots of things coming up this month, including:

  • New hairstylist audition.  My hairstylist of five years decided to move up to Encinitas.  That's great for her, but I am not going to add another two hours onto what ends up being a 2.5-3 hour appointment.
  • Spa Night activity with the Young Women with a very talented aesthetician.
  • Black Keys in concert!
  • Dinner and Jekyll and Hyde with the Butterfield Girls.
  • General Conference!  Cheese toast and apple juice as I listen to the words of the Prophet, Apostles and other General Officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
  • Molly and Craig are coming to town for an insurance conference.  They will have a lot of activities going on, but we will definitely make an effort to get together with them.
  • Max and two of his friends are visiting for a few days.  
  • Jamie is coming out from Denver to go to a MNF game--Chargers vs. Broncos.
  • Laser Tag with the YW.
  • She-Roxx super-sprint triathlon.
  • Off to Chile!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

48--Pretty Great!

Yup, that is my number.  I have a hard time believing it, until I remember things from the mid-60's, the 70's, 80's, 90's....  Ay yi yi.

The actual day was fun.  Even work was fun--I was asked to help out in the OR, which was a special treat.

Rowdy took me to a new-ish restaurant in Hillcrest, D Bar.  Here are the photos:
Rowdy's dessert insists on posting before everything else.  It's churros with chocolate dipping sauce and rum and coke ice cream.

Vanilla lemonade.  It tastes like a lemon cupcake.  I thought it was a little too sweet and desserty.
This was my dessert.  It also insists on being posted before the salad and entree.  It's a molten chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream.  Yummy!!

Dressed avocado.  I love avocados!  This was tasty, with a nice little salad on the side.

I had roasted halibut with a corn-bacon thing and asparagus.  The halibut was a little dry, but it was really good when I mixed it in with the corn.

Rowdy had macaroni and cheese with lobster.  He has waited to have that for two years.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Change of Plan

Instead of going to Peru and Argentina, we are going to the tippy-tip of South America.  We will be staying five days and four nights in Torres del Paine, Chile.

There are penguins near Punta Arenas, where we will be spending a day before flying out.

Natural beauty!
This may surprise my friend, Cindy, but I am going to ride horses there.  At least, I'll give it a good shot.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What is This "Let" Business?

"Rowdy's wife lets him have his guns out and practice dry firing in the TV room.  My wife won't let me do that!"
"She makes him think that he doesn't have to ask her permission."
"My husband will be so mad if he knew I bought that."

Ugggghhhh!  Rowdy and I both hate hearing comments like that!  This whole "my (spouse) won't let me" is so completely ridiculous.  Aren't you both grownups?  Isn't it supposed to be an equal partnership?

Saying that your partner will or will not give permission for you to do something makes them sound like a "mean mommy" or "stern father", not a wife or a husband, and it makes you sound like a five-year-old.  To me, there is something wrong with a relationship like that.

My husband and I are independent people who talk things over and support each other's decisions.  I think that's the way that marriage relationships were intended to be and the way our Heavenly Parents conduct their relationship.

And that's my opinion.  So there.

Monday, September 3, 2012

That's Why They Call It a Challenge

Challenges are something that I've been thinking a lot about lately.  Three weeks ago, I joined my sister-in-law, as well as Rowdy's cousin, the cousin's husband and two of the SIL's friends in a wellness competition.  We have eight weeks to make changes in our health habits.  Not every week or even every day is easy.  But if it was easy, it wouldn't be a challenge, would it?

Here is my guest post for the blog Lifetime Wellness Challenge:

Years ago, I was part of a university committee that monitored student progress.  Two of the deans were sitting near me at one meeting, talking about two upperclassmen that violated the law in some way and were being held in the county jail.
Dean Victor:  I felt so sorry for them!  The conditions there were terrible—no privacy, tough people, overcrowding….
Dean Joe (looking incredulous):  That’s why they call it JAIL, Vic!  It’s not supposed to be easy.

I think about that whenever I or someone else expresses surprise and/or dismay when a challenging situation arises.  That's why they call it a challenge, Vic!! 

One of my teammates was apologizing last week for not being able to complete the bonus.  She and her husband own their own business, which is vacation-related and extremely busy over the summer.  They have been great at eating well, avoiding sweets, staying hydrated, working exercise into their busy, active lives, but they couldn’t get that one last thing in.  My response to her was, “You are doing your best.  Keep at it.  That’s why they call it a challenge.”  If it were easy, we’d all be doing everything perfectly.  We started this endeavor four weeks ago because we wanted to make permanent changes to improve our own and our families’ fitness level. 
Challenges sometimes hurt.  They make us stretch.  We go outside of our comfort zones.  Sometimes challenges will make us mad, or make us cry, or make us doubt ourselves.
Never fear, what seemed like a challenge four weeks ago will be second nature by October 8th.  Don’t beat yourself up, just keep going.  You will find that the nature of the challenge doesn’t change—the mile run doesn’t get shorter—but you get stronger and faster.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spanning the Globe

Perhaps it's just pent-up demand, since we were not able to go on any big trips for a couple of years, but we are planning two very exciting trips between now and the end of the year. Our dream has always been to visit all seven continents.  We have been missing South America, Australia and Antarctica. 

It seems that, in order to properly visit Antarctica, it takes three weeks and lots and lots of money.  That one will be on hold, then.

In October, we are planning a trip to Peru to see the Nazca Lines, then off to Iguassu Falls on the border of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. 

December will be New Zealand and Australia.  Maybe we'll see some Hobbits!  Or maybe my favorite Kiwi singer, Neil Finn.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Why the name and layout change?  Frankly, I was kind of bored with my blog.  I started it five years ago to keep Rowdy up to date on the old homestead while he was in Iraq.  Then it was to share with family and friends.  Then it was...just boring. 

I have no illusions about the marketability of a personal blog my life's goings on.  Still, it would be nice to have a more interesting blog.  Sigh. 

Last week, I started a second blog, The Feeling is Mutual, that will be a forum for my experiences with and ideas about being an LDS Young Women's leader.  I hope that it will stimulate my creative juices as far as blogwriting is concerned.  I also hope that people will comment with their insights and experiences.  My greatest fear is that I will not be able to articulate my thoughts well and come off as some kind of a nitwit.  Well, I am a nitwit in some ways, but I don't want to end up being that kind  of a nitwit.

So, we'll see how things go!  I appreciate the people who have already read my new blog and left comments.  Feel free to suggest discussion topics.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunset at Black's Beach

While I'm figuring out what I want to do with my blog, here are some pictures of tonight's sunset from the paragliding port at Torrey Pines.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Love Dance!

Going to a barre class taught by a real ballet teacher at a real dance school has made me nostalgic for the old days when my body was much better at arranging itself into the appropriate positions.  And I've been thinking about favorite dance performances I have witnessed. 

The New York City Ballet's Nutcracker--c'mon...the best Nutcraker anywhere.  The sets, the choreography, the costumes.  Love, love, love it.  No other company's Nutcracker comes close.

David Parsons in Caught--I saw this in Charleston at the Gailliard Auditorium when I was in med school.  MIND BLOWING!  Really, just amazing.  Here it is:

Jose Greco and Friends Flamenco company--Seen with my parents at the Capitol Theater in Austin, TX.  Oh.My.Goodness.  So, so, so incredible.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Perfect Summer Dinner

Carne asada burritos with grilled corn.  I made the tortillas myself.  Thanks, Dinner:  A Love Story!  I may never use store-bought tortillas again.  Dessert was homemade (home-constructed, really) ice cream sandwiches with molasses cookies and peach ice cream.

Faith > Fear


Five or six weeks ago, I was sitting in for our YW president in Bishop's Youth Council, when the bishop asked me to stay after for a couple of minutes so he could discuss something with me.  My heart sank, because I knew right then he was going to call me to be the YW president.  All of the reasons why I thought I couldn't do it raced through my mind--I have a busy job!  Sometimes I'm on call and I miss things!  That was never a problem when I was Primary president, but YW is a very time-intenstive job.  It wasn't so bad being a counselor in the YW presidency, but I can't say that I was particularly tearing it up in my calling.  And what about camp?!?  Camp is a critical part of the Young Women's experience, and there was no way that I would be able to get a week off in the summer to go.  Besides, I never went when I was a Young Woman.  Camping and I are...not friends.

So the bishop and I sat down, and he said, "I would like to call you to be Young Women's president in the next few weeks", and all I could say was, "But I can't go to camp!"  He said that I wouldn't have to go, and even as he said it, I knew that all of my excuses were just excuses, and that I needed to go forward with faith.  

Our YW president was away of vacation for three weeks, so I kept things under my hat as best I could.  Of course, I did blab to some people, including my husband, that the call was coming.  I prayed and thought and prayed and went to the temple and read my scriptures and prayed some more about who to call for my board and what the girls needed. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 - 5 x 7 Print 

There were plenty of nightmares in which I was a total failure at my calling, or at least felt like one.  As the weeks progressed, it was hard to keep positive.  I think that Satan wants so much for us to fail with our youth that he tries to get leaders to doubt themselves and forget that, who Heavenly Father calls, he qualifies.


Today, I and all of my board were sustained, and all but one (who is out of town) were set apart.  Now I feel so much more power.  I have an amazing board--like, really amazing.  If I told you who all is on my board, you'd think that it was a rock star convention.  Okay, maybe you'd have to be in our ward to know most of these people, but really, I am so excited to work with these women, and so excited to keep serving our Young Women.   We have small, but great, group of girls.

She believed she could so she did.

My New Favorite Blog


My friend, Melissa Zimmerman, mentioned her cousin's blog and new book on Facebook.  I love memoirs and food and memoirs about food, so I decided to check it out.  Jenny Rosenstrach's Dinner:  A Love Story blog and new book are now my new favorites.

Book blurb from the blog:

Dinner: A Love Story is a cookbook/memoir that covers all the things that can happen at the family dinner table during all stages of a family’s life. That means it covers the Just-Moved-in-Together Stage, the Just-Married Stage, the New Parent Stage, the Bonafide All-Parties-Present-and-Eating Stage.  It contains nearly 120 recipes (favorites from this blog as well as brand new soon-to-be favorites) and over 50 color photographs. It is a book for anyone reaching a milestone — moving in together, getting married, having a baby — as well as anyone who thinks that ending the day with a shared meal is, well…just about the best way to end a day.

The blog is the daily (or semi-daily) chronicle of what's going on in her kitchen and life.  Tonight, I am making homemade tortillas for the first time from her recipe.  My Kindle copy of her book is liberally bookmarked with recipes I'm going to try.

Check it out!

Okay, So...

I didn't make it for the Whole30.  I made it for 15 days, which I guess is not a small accomplishment.  My body really does better with more carbs than just fruit and vegetables, apparently.  I did lose six pounds, which was good.  Four came back for a week or so, but now they're gone again. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Halfway Through the Whole30

It's day 15.  Things are going fine.  Meals go well if I've planned ahead.  The thing that I just haven't gotten over is feeling kinda crummy and tired overall.  Supposedly, a person supposed to get a big burst of energy after all of the "toxins" from their prior diet are out of her body.  I think that the thing is, I usually eat pretty healthily.  My body didn't really go into shock when I switched over.

A friend said today, "I don't think I could do it.  I really like food."  I really like food, too, and I really like the things that I have been eating, which is helpful.

What do I eat?  Well, a typical day starts with a baked sweet potato.  I have been cooking up several at a time in the crockpot and keeping them in the fridge, reaheating them in the microwave in the morning.  Sometimes I put meat in it, or sauteed spinach, or bacon/onion/mushrooms.  They're quite good, and they stick with me during the morning.  Sometimes I make an omelet.

For lunch and snacks, I take a couple of handfuls of almonds to work, as well as some carrots or other vegetables.  Sometimes I have a salad with tuna on it.

Dinner is some kind of meat and some vegetables.  I've had ground bacon/beef hamburgers, buffalo, turkey, a porkchop, and salmon.  I've done a lot of grilling.  My favorite thing now is grilled asparagus, and I've also eaten a lot of avocados. 

My clothes do fit better, but the place I've lost the most weight appears to be my wrists.  My watches keep sliding down onto my hand.  Now if only I had the energy to really work out!

Random iPhone Pictures From the Trip

Lillehammer in the summer.  Can you handle it?  No, your eyes are bleeding from the extreme beauteousness of it.
I don't read Hebrew, but I suspect this says, "Rowdy likes it!"

Which of My Pins Has Gotten the Most Repins?

It would be this image of Miranda Kerr.  I picked it because of the dress, so floaty and lovely, but she is very pretty, too.  So are her man and her baby, which probably goes without saying.  It is pinned by other women into their "I wish I had this dress"-type boards.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Seven Days In

I am doing fine on this diet different food choices plan. Difficult situations like lunch meetings at work, a work conference, Mutual and being offered a brownie at church today were easily handled. It's not like I don't want Diet Coke, but I'm doing fine without it. I do allow myself to take the Sacrament, because that's more important to me than staying completely true to the program, plus I really doubt that it would make a difference. But man, after not eating any grains at all for a week, that bread tasted weird. It wasn't super-sweet--it was just very strange in texture and flavor.

When I fantasize about food, I think about what I have at home to eat, or what I'm going to go to the store to buy the ingredients for, not cookies or rolls or even Diet Coke. So I'm pretty happy about that. At the store, I'm able to walk past things that I'm not eating right now just like I walk past the alcohol section. It just isn't what I'm putting in my body. I thought that it would be harder to do that, but so far, I'm good.

The bummer is that I haven't quite gotten to the point of feeling all of the energy that they say people feel when they drop grains and simple sugars from their diet. I haven't felt like going for a run or a swim or ride or anything. I did, however, paddleboard for an hour the other day. That was tons of fun.

Two positive things are that I have lost about 5 pounds and I don't have itchy ear canals like I have for years and years. There must be something that I used to eat that I was allergic to and made my ears itch inside.

Rowdy is now back from his mountain biking trip, so we have to merge out dietary needs. There's not much overlap in that Venn diagram. He has done some research, and he has found that the best diet for someone with an intact colon but little small intestine is predominantly complex carbohydrates. He can have vegetables and fruit and a little meat. He can't have simple sugars, and soda in particular is a big "no". I roasted a turkey breast and some vegetables with some squash for dinner today. I ate just that, and he added rice and gravy to his plate.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce on Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Dinner tonight was homemade spaghetti sauce with ground turkey over spaghetti squash. As soon as my computer power cord arrives, I will add a picture. I thought it was quite tasty. I think that I'm over the Diet Coke withdrawal symptoms. Things should just get better from here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


My hairdresser and I were talking last week about books. She told me that she had just read It Starts With Food, and she felt like it had changed her life. The book is basically a guide to changing your diet to a "paleolithic" one--vegetables,fruit, meat, nuts. No grains, dairy, refined sugars or even artificial sweeteners. Apparently, cavemen ate bacon, because that is an approved food.
The plan is called Whole30. You eat according to the food plan for 30 days, then you can add foods in after that. This is supposed to give the body the opportunity to heal if there are any underlying allergies or inflammation. As food groups are added back in, you can see if there is something that just doesn't work for you. Lately, I have felt a little crummy, bloated, and randomly itchy. It seemed like a worthwhile experiment to refine my diet for 30 days. If I discover that I feel better, then great. If not, it's really no big deal and still gives me information.

I'm not doing it primarily to lose weight (though I'm sure that I will), because 1) I don't want to be disappointed if I don't lose all the weight I'd like to and 2) it is easier to be consistent if I treat this as a medical experiment, rather than a "diet".

Rowdy is on a hiking trip, so it seems like a good week to start and get through the most uncomfortable phase of the 30 days. I've eaten well today--sweet potatoes, salad, chicken, peas, fruit and hamburger that contains ground bacon. Yup! That was delicious.

It will be interesting to see how 30 days without Diet Coke goes! The Whole30 blog has a timeline of what to expect during the 30 days here.

UPDATE: I am on day 2. I feel just a little headachy and tired, but that's pretty much how I've been feeling and one of the reasons why I wanted to try this experiment. I've been happy with what I've been eating so far, which is in part thanks to good planning. This morning, I had a sweet potato and some leftover chicken. It was very satisfying and delicious. Lunch was a big salad from the cafeteria salad bar. Almonds and a nectarine were my snack. Tonight will be buffalo taco lettuce wraps. You're not supposed to weigh yourself during the 30 days, but I did this morning. I have lost 2 lbs of water weight. This is not a surprise, as I have been drinking lots of water and peeing every hour.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Santa Rides

And I have proof!  Here's Santa (really--a guy with a long, white beard wearing red cycling kit) out for a ride on a rainy Norwegian weekday:

Take my word for it, folks!

Here's what he was about to ride up:

The Trollstigen

My Rad Life!