Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baby Animal Days 2013

Every year the company that I work for sponsors Baby Animal Days at the local historical farm.  They bring down the baby bears from Bear World near Yellowstone.  Our company gets to hand out bear masks to the little kids that are waiting in line to see the bear cubs.  We are asked to volunteer for shifts to help give out the masks and I've worked this event for the last three years.  Here are a couple photos from the event this year.

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's all yoga's fault

So I went to yoga tonight.  "Listen to your body, trust your body" the instructor said "do whatever your body tells you to" she told me.  My body told me to drive to Charlie's and get a shake.  I blame yoga for this.

On the subject of motivation

Some people hate the "I'm going to the gym" or "I just got back from the gym" facebook posts, but I say do whatever gives you the motivation to get through the hell we call "working out".  I just wish I could get vicarious weight loss and toning from all the work out posts I see from my friends, now THAT would be a diet/exercise plan I could follow. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wherein I meet a beloved radio personality

May Swenson was an American Poet who was born and raised here in Logan, then after graduating from USU promptly headed East to seek the bohemian life in New York, teach at Bryn Mawr and various other institutions of higher learning, and generally live life to its fullest.  She never forgot Logan, and Logan never forgot her.  She is buried in the Logan cemetery and there is a beautiful stone bench memorial on her grave. 

When I was in high school my English teacher gave extra credit during the poetry section of the class.  To get the credit anyone who wanted it, had to go to the cemetery, find the bench, and bring a photograph of it back to class.  I was the only person in the class that did it, but I'm glad I did.  Reading the poetry on the memorial inspired to me read more of May's work and then I was hooked for life.

May 28th marks what would have been May's 100th birthday.  USU has been celebrating her centennial with various commemorations, culminating in a program called "Centennial Celebration of May Swenson".  The program featured poet and UofU professor Katherine Coles, as well as humorist and radio personality Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame.

So time to interjection a Good News/Bad News moment.

Good News, I was able to score two tickets to the show, I went and had a great time.   

Bad News, all the people that did want to go to the show couldn't be there that night.  And I couldn't talk anyone else who could be there into actually going with me.  Seriously, what's the matter with all y'all?  You lost out.

(On a side note I met Elizabeth from the blog Imma Walking Fashion Crime for the first time.  She was helping usher at the show, and she is just as adorable in person as she is in her photos.  It was nice to finally meet her in person.  I read a lot of Logan based blogs but I rarely run into the authors in real life.)

Katherine and Garrison discussed May's life, read many of her poems, and also recited some of their own works.  Katherine's poem entitled "Dog Years" actually made me misty eyed, which isn't hard considering the trauma Molly went through on Tuesday and the aftermath I've been dealing with (yeah I'm a boob, deal with it).

Garrison's poem about the scientific facts of fatherhood brought the house down, you can find it here, but don't read it if you are easily offended by "the birds and the bees".

I was very happy that they read three of my favorite poems: "By Morning" (also called "Snow By Morning" thanks to The New Yorker), "Analysis of Baseball", and "Staying At Ed's Place".  Two of May's surviving siblings were in the audience and after they read Staying At Ed's Place the siblings were asked which Ed it was that May was referring to in the poem (Ed Fields if you were wondering). 

May was the oldest of 10 kids, so it isn't surprising that some of her family was in attendance.  In fact my father was in the same grade at Logan High School as her little sister Grace and he took an engineering class from her father at USU. 

The show was sweet, funny, thoughtful, interesting, and engaging.  It was a fitting way to honor May's work.

After the program there was a reception and book signing in the Tippets Exhibit Gallery.  I bought Katherine's book of poems about her trip to Antarctica titled "The Earth Is Not Flat".  The cover art for the book is a photo of an art installation by Lita Albuquerque and the story behind it is really interesting, you should look it up if you have time.  Here is a photo of the book cover:

And I also purchased "Lake Wobegon Days" by Garrison Keillor. 

He was kind enough to sign my copy and to pose for a photo with me, but what REALLY made my day month year was that he mistook me for a college student.  Yep, I've got a bit of a crush going on now.  Anyone who thinks this aging carcass is that of someone at least a decade younger than it really is, has my undying devotion.

Me and Mr. Prairie Home Companion himself, it was pure awesomeness AND there were cookies and fruit tarts.  Why doesn't anyone believe me when I try to talk them into going to these things with me?!?
When I got home I found Molly moping at the top of the steps.  Either she's not a poetry fan, or she knew I was having fun without her.  Regardless of the reason for the sulk, all was forgiven when I invoked the two magic words held sacred by all dogs: Treat and Outside.

I think the night can be summed up by saying: all the women were strong, all the men were good looking, fortunately for us there were no children in attendance, but if there were I'm sure they would have been above average.  All in all it was a pretty darn good night.

Molly's Traumatic Experience

Earlier this week Molly the wonder dog had a traumatic experience.  OK, scratch that, she was the one that got hurt but I was the one that was emotionally traumatized, because I'm a huge wimp when it comes to people and animals I love being in pain.  OK, fine, I'm just a huge wimp in general.  Is that better?

We were out on a walk, she was on her halti and her leash when a small-ish stray ran up to her and tried to bite her legs.  She couldn't fight back because of the halti so I had to kick the other dog to get it to let go of her.  The stray had torn off a piece of MWD's front left paw pad off and it was bleeding pretty badly.

I managed to get her home and taken care of, then I made a couple of phone calls.  I felt like an idiot when I started to cry as I called my boss to tell him what happened and that I'd be late coming back from lunch.  It was just for a minute and I couldn't help it, but I still felt silly.

MWD is healing really quickly.  In fact she's feeling well enough to be naughty, which I take as a very good sign.  I've been washing her paw out with anti-bacterial soap and warm water a couple times a day to help it stay clean.  Twice now she has tipped the basin of soapy water in my lap.  Also the other night I got up to get something from the kitchen and she snatched half my dinner off of the coffee table in the 10 seconds that I had my back turned to her.

The first day after it happened she couldn't make it up the stairs and had a very hard time sitting down or standing up.  Today she's limping a little but almost back to normal.  It looks like the preventative measures are working.  The one thing I have been doing that she absolutely hates is to cover her injured paw before I take her out to go to the bathroom.  She spends about a minute walking around the living room shaking her paw, trying to dislodge the mitten.  This may make me a horrible person but I'll admit that it is really funny to watch and I don't feel bad about laughing...'cause she totally owes me for dumping soapy water in my lap.

"Get this stupid thing off me...please?"
One bright spot in all of this is that it helped me learn to love the leather seats in Peri The Cranberry Comet.  I've never appreciated leather seats in cars.  But that's probably because I didn't have a bleeding, 90lb black lab on leather seats before.  The back of the car looked like I'd tried to kill someone.  Luckily it wiped right off.  Although the seat belt strap is another story.

In related news: liquid bandage from Walgreens is now our best friend.

USU Art Sales

The Printmaking Guild at USU is having its annual spring sale today.  It will be held in the Chase Fine Arts building in room FAV 106 from 10am to 7pm.  Go get some affordable original artwork and while you're there take a look at the art in the display cases in the hallway, even if you don't buy anything the browsing is highly entertaining.

If that weren't enough incentive to head up to campus, then this might help.  The USU Ceramics Guild is having its annual Mother's Day Sale today and tomorrow.  It is being held in the ceramics studio, FAV 123, from 9am to 8pm both days. 

If you know me, then you probably know that I've been supporting the USU Ceramics Guild Chili Bowl sale for years.  This is the first time I've made it to the spring sale and I was impressed at the variety.  They have bowls, plates, mugs, cups, platters, tea pots, spoon rests, butter trays, vases, urns, serving bowls, soup tureens, and more.

I stopped by the ceramics sale last night after the May Swenson Centennial Celebration (which was awesome, thanks for asking), and bought a few great pieces...probably more than I should but ALL YOUR PRETTY ARE BELONG TO ME!  Oops, sorry, don't know where that came from...MY PRECIOUS!  I'll stop now, but you should go up and start shopping.  Here are my new treasures.

I'm going to use this cup as a vase for my desk at work.

And I also got this piece by the same artist but with a cityscape instead of trees.  I like the juxtaposition of them next to each other...City and Country, side by side.

When I saw this teapot lined up next to several others by the same artist, it reminded me of the Mad Hatter's tea party in Alice In Wonderland.  I had to bring this little guy home with me.

I bought a soup tureen and two bowls to go with it.  I love making soup and some day I hope to have someone in my home to share my soups with, when that day comes this is what it will be served in.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Free Frozen Yogurt Tonight!

There is a new frozen yogurt shop in town.  Orange Leaf frozen yogurt is a national chain with a few locations in Utah, they just opened shop inside the Aggie Blue Square apartments food court.  To celebrate they are giving away free frozen yogurt tonight, Thursday April 25th, from 6pm to 9pm.  Blue Square is located on 800 E across from Romney Stadium.  Park in the parking lot and the entrance is on the patio, just behind the fire pit area.

Tanaka Balance Deli

There is a relatively new yoga studio in downtown Logan. It is called Balance and is run by Larry Tanaka. Balance is located on Federal avenue and utilizes the two buildings that formerly housed On The Avenue craft boutique (and it was Leah's Crafts before that for you old time Loganites). They are situated between The Italian Place (great sandwiches!) to the East and and Why Sound (great live music!) to the West.

I haven't tried the yoga classes yet, but I know several people who have and they all love them.  If you want to experience yoga at Balance they do offer a free class every Thursday evening.  Get there early because the space fills up quickly.

Not only do they offer yoga, Balance also has a lunch counter located in the back of the West half of their building.  They offer healthy lunch choices such as soups, salads, and smoothies.  On Tuesday their facebook page said they would be offering fresh spring rolls for Wednesday's lunch special.

I met my friend A. downtown yesterday and we walked over to Balance for lunch.  The lunch counter is back behind the reception desk and the seating is pretty sparse, if you try them out you may want to get your order to go.

The menu board listed vegetarian, pork, and shrimp spring rolls, tomato basil soup, and a couple different smoothies. Both A. and I opted for a whole shrimp spring roll. These rolls were the largest spring rolls I've ever seen. They were being hand rolled right there in the open kitchen behind the counter and looked good. We were given a choice of plum sauce or fish sauce for dipping and we both chose the plum sauce. The rolls were fresh, cold, crunchy, and very delicious. They ended up being $6.75 for a whole roll (cut into two halves).

Now that being said, I'm going to admit that it wasn't exactly the best value for money.  For a similar price you can get 2 steak tacos with chips, salsa, rice, and beans at The Grill in Aggie Station.  For a fast food comparison you can get a spicey chicken combo at Wendys for a few cents less and that includes a chicken sandwich, a side, and a drink. Yes it was fresh, yes it was delicious, yes it was fast...but it did not satisfy me or my lunch companion.  And as good as these rolls are they were really more of an appetizer.  We ended up splitting a sandwich from from the Italian Place after we left Balance to fill us up and keep us going through the rest of our work day.

To sum up:

+  The food was tasty and served quickly.
-  The seating was limited, and the portion size wasn't great for the price point.

Go in and try them out and let me know what you think.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Watch Out Uruguay, Here She Comes!

My oldest niece, N.,  is going to be serving a mission in Uruguay for the LDS church (aka Mormons).  Last week she spoke in her church service and afterwards we had a big luncheon for everyone who came out to support her.  I'm going to miss her a lot during these next 18 months, but I'm so proud of her for having the courage to do it.  Here are the photos from her mission farewell lunch.

Mom and Y. hiding out in the kitchen, as per usual.

My crazy-talented sister Hez made this amazing cake for our niece.  The suitcase layer was chocolate with a cream filling and the skirt and flag were vanilla with a caramel filling.  It tasted as good as it looked.

Deathy McDaredevil, aka N.'s mom, was scooping the homemade ice cream that my brother R. made.  His ice cream is almost as famous as Hez's cakes.

My brother J. rockin' the diaper bag.
N. with her paternal grandparents
N. and some of her cousins from Idaho
N., her parents, and her brothers and sisters.