Read This Not That

I'm currently reading this lovely little book:

You've no doubt seen some of their other "eat this not that" books and this one if pretty darn good and interesting as well. I especially appreciated the authors' acknowledgment that I want to eat food that tastes good--there are enough "diets" out there that try to convince us not indulge in real food that tastes good; it is so refreshing for health experts to say your food should taste good and be good for you.
One of the interesting things I have learned is that research has shown that sodium benzoate preservatives and some artificial food colorings (such as Yellow #5, Yellow #6, and Red #40) are directly linked to increased hyperactivity in children--go check your child's breakfast cereal, and soda, or jellies. In Europe this research has lead to companies removing these additives from foods sold there (as in American companies removing these additives for their European customers but not for their American customers). Why not here? (insert your own comment about what this says about Americans and why we don't demand better here)
Probably the most valuable thing I've taken from this book is how to read and compare labels. Really that may sound pretty simple, but other than checking out the fat and calories of a product I didn't really know what I was looking at or for. Now I do. There are also a few pictures that help to illustrate what you should be looking for and what it really means. For example, there is a picture showing a 20 oz. bottle of Minute Maid Lemonade next to 5 Good Humor Vanilla Ice Cream bars with captions showing that they contain the same amount of calories and grams of sugar--and then they go on to say to work off that 1 drink you would need to do 60 minutes of vigorous housecleaning. That is the kind of information I need--and need to be able to understand.
On the what not to read front, please don't read Julia Child's My Life in France. I found it long, pretentious, unorganized, and unfocused.


Happy Monday!

I actually have a friend who loves Monday. I don't understand that at all, but I am trying to. I read a book once that described Monday as the springboard to the week and instructed climbing up on the board, looking out a what lay ahead, making plans for what you are going to do (for the day and the week), and then diving right in. The book went on to imply that attempting to ignore or skip Monday would, in fact, just ruin the rest of the week for you. So today I am climbing up my board, looking out into the vast expanse of my week, making plans, and diving right in.

Here are a few things I am looking forward to:

Finishing this book:

Attending my Book Group where we will have a fabulous discussion on The Chosen by Chaim Potok.

Birthday cake with one of the nieces--if you are counting that will make 3 pieces of cake in one week, but please don't count.

General Conference weekend with candy corn.



I attempted making omeletts last night for the first time. It didn't go great. I blame Julia Child and her cookbook that fooled me into thinking that l'omelette brouillee would be easier than l'omelette roulee. The entire time I kept thinking "this is just a cross between scrambled eggs and fried eggs," and "I must be doing this wrong," and "why did I think I could make omelettes?".

Had my french been better I would have realized sooner that l'omelette brouilee translates as scrambled omelette--therefore it truly was supposed to be a cross between scrambled eggs and fried eggs. Had I realized that sooner I probably wouldn't have overcooked them and they might have looked a little more appetizing. Nevertheless, they were really quite amazingly good and I'm dying to try again. Next time, though, I'll try l'omeltte roulee as demonstrated by Julia herself here: (it doesn't really look all that hard--hahahahah)

My question to you is what fillings do you like in your omlettes?


Fall Time

Fall is my Favorite.

Here are a few things that I must make time to do:

1. See the leaves. The mountains are just now showing off a bit of red!

2. Pick some apples.

3. Have some apple cider

4. Eat this:

Or if unable to travel to Illinois (the location of the apple pie), find a suitable apple pie recipe and indulge.

Happy Fall

photo stolen from Janssen here.


The Return of "V"

It is that blessed time of year (if you are a TV watcher) when we finally get to know how all those cliff hangers from the end of last season work out. It is also that time of year when we get bombarded with a bunch of new shows that the networks are hoping will be the next big thing--but that probably will not be.

There are 3 shows from last year that have held my interest: 30 Rock, The Office, and CSI:NY. I am especially interested in seeing what happens (who lives and who dies) on CSI:NY on Wednesday.

As for new shows, here is what has caught my eye so far:

FlashForward--From what I can tell everyone in the world has a black out during which they see a glimpse of their future (whether it is absolutely what will happen or a warning is yet to be determined). Once everyone wakes up, recovers, and figures this out the quest to solve the what, how, and why begins. I'm concerned that this may turn into a Lost which lost me after the first season, but I have a mini crush on Joseph Fiennes--who wears a bullet proof vest which if you have been paying attention is something I quite like on a man--so this could turn out nicely.

V--I've very fond memories of watching the original mini-series (and then acting it out with the other neighborhood kids) and so I'm looking forward to seeing if this show can match up with my memories of how much I enjoyed the original. Do you remember Mike Donovan?

I had a total crush on him (my younger self had crushes on him, Luke Skywalker, and Macgiver--I've grown!). I don't know if there will be another Mike but I'll tune in initially to find out.

Here are the shows that I will not be watching: Reality Shows. You will not be sucking me in!

So What will you be watching?

image here


The Hunger Games

I was on such a roll. I blogged on Monday and then on Tuesday. I thought maybe this week I'd do a full 5 days of blogging. And then it happened. After about 6 months on the requests list at my local library my name finally came up for The Hunger Games and all thoughts of blogging quickly went out the window.

This book has been popular for quite some time so I won't say too much about (as it wouldn't surprise me if most of you smarties have already read it). If you do want to read a fine review read Janssen's review
here. What I will say is that it is wonderfully written and very fast paced (I read it in a little over 1 day) and that the characters are beautifully developed. Easily a 5 (out of 5) star book for me.

I can hardly wait to read the second one--fortunately I suspected that I would enjoy The Hunger Games and have been on the request list for the sequel for a few months now and expect to get it in the next 2 weeks.


Go Read Something!!!

Last night was wonderful!!! There was fabulous music, a mini dramatic performance that I was quite impressed with, and an exceptional speech given by Mr. Fred Adams of the Utah Shakespearean Festival. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I was unsure of Mr. Adams connection to Tom Sawyer (our Big Read book) and it turns out he hasn't much of a connection and focused his remarks instead on the value of books and the need for reading.

Here is what I learned from him last night:

1/3 of high school graduates will never read another book after graduation.

42% of college graduates will never read another book after graduation.

80% of families in the U.S. have not purchased or read a book in the last year.

Those numbers make me literally sick to my stomach (especially the one that shows that an increase of education from high school to college results in less reading!!!).

I implore you to go read something! And don't come back until you do--that's right I'll give up my rather small readership if it means a book gets read.


The Big Read

Tonight The Big Read will be properly kicked off in my town with a special lecture by Fred Adams who is the founder of the Utah Shakespearean Festival.

What, some of you may be asking, is The Big Read. Well, The Big Read is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, and the Institute for Museums and Libraries that attempts to get Americans reading again by allowing cities to pick a book each year and then providing the funds for that city to place a copy of that book in every home in the city. To further promote the reading and discussion of the book local libraries then put together exhibits, programs, lectures, book group meetings, film screenings, and more.

This year my city chose Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain--haven't read it since high school. And while I am unsure of Fred Adams' connection to Tom Sawyer I thoroughly adore the man and have always found him to be entirely fascinating and informative so tonight is sure to be fabulous.

here for more information on the fun.



I am very bad with remembering numbers (I'm bad with names as well but I'll leave that for another post). There are very few numbers that I can remember by heart.

These numbers include:

My home phone number.

My Mother's work phone number.

One of my sister's cell numbers (I have 4 sisters and can only remember 1 and it is not even that I call her the most it is just that her phone number follows a pattern that my fingers can make out and that somehow I have remembered)

My Social Security number.

And now this list also includes my library card number (a fourteen digit number!).

Some of the numbers that you may have noticed that I don't know:

My driver's license number.

Any of my pin numbers for my credit cards or check cards (I know the pattern not the number--when I go to Europe I manage to briefly memorize the numbers because their key pads are different than ours but then I step foot back in the states and promptly forget them)

Pretty much all phone numbers--I'm in trouble in an emergency.

I really don't know whether to be embarrassed or proud--I think I'll go with proud.



The festival has been over since Saturday night but today is the first day I truly feel recovered. It was exhausting but so much fun!!!

I did indeed spend 12 hours on a mule--like I told you I was going to. I forgot to take a picture of the mules that I rode but here is one from the Internet:

Maybe not as exciting as riding a live mule for 12 hours but probably safer and resulted in less soreness--although the mules I drove were indeed rather stubborn when you wanted them to change direction.

Here are a few of my mule highlights:

Driving Syd Lieberman (storyteller extraordinaire who I firmly believe is related to Billy Crystal as they have the same voice and humor) to his car.

Driving 4-time Grammy winner David Holt (also host of NPR's Riverwalk) around--I covet his steel guitar (and his talent).

Having Donald Davis (THE storyteller of storytellers) smile and wave at me twice and having his wife tell me that she loved my shoes.

Driving Carmen Deedy (famed storyteller and children's book author) around--she was delightful and even gave me a hug.

Most of you are yawning right now and wondering who these people are and why I should think driving them around to be a highlight. If I were to translate this into every-day vernacular it would be as if I had driven around 4 of today's top musicians or actors. It was a big deal people! And it was fun.

Foodwise, the weekend proved to be very good to me as well. First I was given a free orange roll from the Rhodes people and then a free smoothie from the Jamba Juice people. I ate at the
Hickory Kist booth so often that I should have gotten something free there as well but am satisfied to have simply discovered them (I'll probably never be happy with another sandwich place in Utah again).

I also leaned a valuable lesson as I was sitting in one of the audiences mentally berating a man wearing white tennis shoes, white tube socks pulled up above his calves, tan shorts, a brown belt, a grey tank top, and a comb over who flexed his arm muscles so often I think he felt he was the next 40 year old Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Graciousness (especially in thought) depends highly on getting an appropriate amount of sleep.


Tall Tales

I'm off to listen to a bunch of liars, pretenders, and fact benders. No nothing political for me. This weekend is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival (where I will be spending up to 12 hours riding a mule--and that's the honest to goodness truth). For those of you who can't/aren't attending, here is a small glimpse of what you will be missing (John is a storyteller coming to our festival but this was filmed at another one): (Beware Jenny it is about a son moving out).

Now aren't you sad you aren't coming?


The Lovely Jenny

Is it Wednesday already? It can't possibly be! Right, so I had a fantastic Friday afternoon that normally I would have written up on Friday evening or Monday. However, somehow my week has gotten away from me so you are getting it now.

On Friday I met in person for the first time the lovely Jenny--who is just as lovely and wonderful as her blog. She was dropping her freshman son off at BYU and so we met up for a little ice cream and a lot of chatting. We talked family, sons going off to college, religion, and even delved into the political world of the Kennedy's.

The Kennedy's were a very good topic for both of us as we both admire so many of the things that family has done. One of the things we talked about was how very gracious they are. I could also say so very much about their commitment to public and private service or the many organizations created or acts passed, but what so often strikes me is their graciousness. For example, RFK jr. spent over 3 hours outside the JFK Library and Museum greeting members of the general public who had come to pay their respects to his uncle. And there are more acts of graciousness that I could mention and that Jenny and I discussed. But what strikes me and saddens me is that this graciousness (do I say from a bygone era?) stands out so much because it is currently so lacking in today's world.

It is so lovely when we do encounter gracious people why don't we try harder to emulate that? I should say why don't I try harder to emulate that? I want to be a more gracious person. I want to send letters and thank you cards and little notes just because. I want to arrive at friend's homes with hostess gifts. I want to know just what to say and how and when and for those words to be kind and uplifting regardless of the situation. And I want to wear dresses and pearls when I'm cooking (a la Julia Child). These are the things that I am going to begin to work on. Please feel free to call me on it when I fall short--really I mean that.

Just as we were finishing up our ice cream and preparing to leave Jenny told me that she had a gift for me and handed me the loveliest packet of cards (2 of which I have already framed) of Cape Cod--a place that I love as well as anyplace on the Earth--proving to me that the loveliest people really do reside in Massachusetts and they aren't all named Kennedy.