Monday, June 30, 2014

Choices

I saw this while I was out and about this morning.  I took a quick photo of it with my phone and moved on, but I kept thinking about it.


No one planted that flower there, the seed was dropped or blown by the wind until it found that crack.  No one tends it or shelters it or cares for it, and yet it thrives.  We don't always have a lot of control over where we end up and a lot of times we find ourselves out in the big bad world, fending for ourselves.  We can choose to wither on the vine when we are in challenging situations, or we can choose to thrive and bring beauty into a hard place.

What's your choice?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Best.Birthday.Ever

Today I got an unexpected and really awesome gift.  I just found out that Gaelic Storm is going to be playing a show at the Cache Valley Center For The Arts.  The gig is the second Friday in November, 11/14/14.  I expect to see you all there!


Don't know Gaelic Storm?  If you've seen the movie Titanic you've seen them in action.  They were the Irish band playing in the steerage/third class scene where Jack and Rose ditch the dinner party and end up dancing below decks.  Check out their website: http://www.gaelicstorm.com/


I haven't seen them live in years because they haven't been back to Utah on tour for a while.  Now they are playing a show at Kingsbury Hall in SLC on November 13th, the Cache Valley show on the 14th, and then a show in Idaho Falls on the 15th.  I was so excited when I found out that I was jumping up and down and squee-ing like a little girl just now...at work.


Here's the official announcement: https://apps.facebook.com/concertsbybit/facebook/events/8356957/rsvp?artist=Gaelic+Storm&came_from=127


You can buy tickets here: http://www.cachearts.org/gaelic-storm/


Need more convincing?  Patrick punched Russell Crowe, then they wrote a song about it:





Now if only we could get someone to talk the good Dr. Wehmeyer into flying out to join them on stage for one night.  Hmmmm...

Meet Lucy

I am not an artist...but I know many talented artists.  They constantly amaze and inspire me.  I've always wanted to be able to create at their level, but sadly, I was not built like them.  I was built to appreciate and occasionally instigate, but not to be the creative genius behind great art.

There is a very long and very boring story behind this and I won't numb your brains with all the vapid details, but when I was 25 I promised someone that I would do something just for myself by the time I was 35.  That thing was to get a guitar and learn how to play it.  I had 8 years of piano lessons as a kid, so you'd think it wouldn't be that big of a deal, you'd be wrong.  I've thought about it from time to time over the last 10 years, but many things held me back, the biggest thing being my own fear.  I am my own worst enemy.

A couple months ago I received a not so gentle push towards my goal and a huge helping of inspiration from yet another talented person in my life.  Long story short, today is my 35th birthday and I am the proud owner of this beautiful guitar, her name is Lucy:


With just shy of 2 months of lessons under my belt, it is safe to say that I still suck and will suck for a good long time.  But that's O.K.  The important thing is that I am improving and I love it!  It is a wonderful thing to have an instrument in my home again, and to be able to make music of my own choosing, any time, day or night.  I practice every day, although my teacher, Nick Manning at KSM Guitars, probably won't believe that.  Speaking of which he deserves a medal for not strangling me by now.

When I brought Lucy home I started thinking about a way to show my appreciation to everyone who helped make it happen.  There were so many people who helped, whether they knew about it or not, that I felt like I would never be able to reach them all.  But I had an idea and with the help of even more crazy talented friends (both new and old), I took a picture in my head and made it a reality.  I story-boarded a photo shoot that I wanted to do and then enlisted a great team of people who helped make it happen.

So for everyone that has ever encouraged me to learn, supported, listened to, inspired, talked to, helped, lifted up, put me in my place, gave constructive criticism, offered unconditional love, didn't laugh at my goals, gave lessons, loved me for who I was and didn't want to change me, helped me find myself again in the last two years, and basically gave me the courage to do this seemly small thing...THANK YOU!  You might not know who you are or how you helped me, but I know and I will always be grateful.  These photos are for all of you, you helped create this.















































CREDITS:

Photography: Christie Heywood Photography
Haircut & Color: Jolene Merrill
Makeup: Perfection by Ashley Professional Makeup Artistry
Hair up-do: Whitney @ Kutting Edge Salon
Custom denim jacket: Gena at G.E. Deszignz
Car: My dad...the batmobile is definitely the star of the show.

PS - One last thank you.  To all of the kind strangers who stopped to check on us while we were shooting because it looked like we were stranded, thank you for restoring my faith in humanity.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Parents With Computers

My mother is 73 years old, my father is almost 92 years old.  Mom hates computers and avoids using them if at all possible, dad LOVES technology but isn't great with it.  I'm used to getting phone calls that go something like this...

"We've done something to the tv, it's only in Spanish now, can you come fix it?"

~or~

"What is the difference between a facebook and at twitter?  I think I need one but I'm not sure which one.  Or should I get one of each?"

~or~

*phone rings*
Me: "Hello?"
Them: "I'm calling her right now honey, I'm just waiting for her to pick up."
Me: "Hi, I'm here, what's up?"
Them: "I don't know if this thing is on, it was ringing and now it's not ringing, should I call her back?"
Me: *shouting into the phone* "Guys I can hear you, can you hear me?"
Then: "Maybe we should hang up and try again."

~or~

Mom: "I was watching this tv show and they had a recipe can you go to the internet and find it for me?"
Me: "Mom you have a computer, wifi, and a printer, I can teach you how to look it up and print it yourself"
Mom: "It would just be easier if you do it."
Me: "For you..."

Don't get me wrong, I love my parents and they are adorable.  99% of the time I laugh at their techno-foibles, but there is that 1% that makes me want to tear my hair out.  The irony of it is that I am the least techno savvy of their 7 children (I have a tablet that I don't use because it hates me), but I'm the one the consistently call for help.  Maybe it's less intimidating because I'm not an expert, but I usually end up calling one of my brothers or brothers in law to help them.

So when I saw this video it made me want to laugh AND cry.  It also made me paranoid that the TSA has been farming out recordings of my cell phone conversations to comedians looking for material.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Yes folks, the summer silly season has arrived here in our fair valley.  Fireworks go on sale this week for Independence Day celebrations next week.  And then of course there is the Pioneer Day celebrations on the 24th of July here in Utah.  For those of you not from around these parts, the 24th of July is a state holiday where we take the day off work to watch parades, eat watermelon, possibly float down a canal on an overinflated inner tube, and then light off fireworks...don't ask me how this honors pioneers, it just does.

First I want to remind you all to please keep a close eye on your pets and animals during firework season.  If your pets are anything like Molly the Wonder Dog, they might need a little extra care in the next few weeks.  I can't say enough good things about thundershirts for dogs and cats, they really do help. 

Second, The people over at the Cache Fire And Emergency Updates blog http://cachefire.blogspot.com/ have posted the following information about firework safety.  Please take a minute to read through it:

The fireworks season has arrived

Please remember that fireworks are in fact explosives. They can be dangerous when used improperly.
Fireworks may be sold in the State of Utah from June 23 to July 27.

Fireworks may be discharged in the State of Utah from July 1 – July 7 between the hours of 11am to 11pm, extended to midnight on July 4.

Fireworks may also be discharged in the State of Utah from July 21 – July 27 between the hours of 11am to 11pm, extended to midnight on July 24.

At this time there are no restrictions throughout Cache County. However do to the changing of environmental conditions the restrictions for the 24th holiday have yet to be determined.

Fireworks safety tips:

·         Buy and use only legal fireworks.
·         Read and follow label directions.
·         Fireworks should only be used under adult supervision, even sparklers can injure. Sparklers burn at up to 1,800 degrees and are the third leading cause of eye injuries.
·         Keep a bucket of water or a hose at discharge site.
·         Light one firework at a time. If they don’t ignite, don’t try to relight them.
·         Always place fireworks on a hard flat surface.
·         Dispose of fireworks safely. Soak in water before throwing them in the trash.
·         Never point fireworks at others.
·         Wear eye protection.
·         Don’t drink alcohol while setting off fireworks.

Aerial fireworks safety tips:

·         Aerial fireworks are designed to travel up to 150 feet into the air and then explode.
·         Aerial fireworks shall be placed on a hard level surface outdoors, in a clear and open area prior to ignition.
·         Anyone under the age of 16 shall not handle or operate aerial fireworks.
·         Ignition of aerial fireworks shall be a minimum of 30 feet from any structure or vertical obstruction.
·         Aerial fireworks shall not be ignited within 150 feet of the point of sale.
·         Please read and obey all safe handling instructions before using aerial fireworks.

Craig Humphreys            
Fire Marshal                                  
Logan, Fire Department                                   
(435) 716-9515

Jason Winn
Fire Marshal
Cache County Fire District
(435) 755-1670

Jason Killinen
Fire Marshal
North Logan, Fire Department
(435) 755-5739

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thoughts On Dating

As a divorced person I've been wading through the shallow waters of the 30+ adult dating pool again for the last 2 years.  There have been good dates, bad dates (oh the bad dates *sigh*, the stories I could tell), mediocre dates, and a lot of "hang outs". 

Speaking as one who is still a little gun-shy about marriage but interested in meeting people and being open to possibilities; I don't want a "boyfriend" I don't even necessarily want a "husband", I simply want a real MAN in my life.  I don't care about labels or what society expects, I care about being with someone who wants to be with me, who treats me well, and who allows me to be myself, and who feels free to be himself around me.  I want to be his woman and I want him to be my man, it isn't difficult to understand.

But before you can get to that point with someone you have to brave the ridiculous gauntlet that is the grown up dating scene.  To date, no one has described it better or been more concise about what women (not girls, not chicks, not galpals) want in a date and a potential relationship, than this guy:

http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/06/19/dear-single-men-time-man-figure/

That isn't to say that we don't want to have fun and be silly from time to time.  It means that we want people who aren't careless with our feelings.  It means that we want people who know how to be responsible adults (ie: you have a job, you pay your bills, you have healthy relationships with the people in your life, you are kind, you are thoughtful, you take care of your home/apt/trailer/abode of choice, you have communication skills and actually use them, you understand and own your responsibilities).  It means we appreciate honest and frank communication from you about what your expectations are, in return we will try to give you the same courtesies that you show us.

Up until about a month ago I had given up on actually ever being on a date where the man planned something, picked me up, drove, opened doors, treated me with respect and genuine interest, and had meaningful conversations.  Luckily I've met a few interesting men who took a chance on me and I've gone on several good dates lately. 

Does that mean I'm in a relationship with any of these gentlemen?  No, I'm not delusional.  Does it mean that I immediately want to marry any of them after the first date?  No, I'm not that desperate.  Does it mean that I'd be interested in spending more time with these guys and getting to know them better and giving it a chance to develop into something more if we are both into each other?  Heck Yes!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Noodles & Co - And I am a HUGE dork

I know that I lecture a lot about supporting unique local businesses and building a community identity through patronizing awesome local restaurants and shops, but I'm going to talk about a chain restaurant today.

Yes, I have friends who might stone me for saying anything complimentary about a big box national chain business, but I'm going to come out and just say it: I kind of love Noodles & Co.

I love that it is a quick service restaurant that provides an alternative to ubiquitous burger and fries, or chicken and fries, or basically anything you get through a drive-thru...and fries, I love fried stuff but fried food does not love me.  I love that they regularly offer a changing seasonal menu in addition to their regular favorites.  I love all the great deals that you get when you sign up for their e-newsletter.  I really think I'd eaten more discounted or free meals at the Logan Noodles & Co than I have eaten full price meals, all because of the newsletter.  I love their awesome online ordering.

This is starting to sound like a sponsored post, trust me, it isn't.  I'm fairly certain that most companies would cringe if they knew I was talking about their products.  I just really enjoy this restaurant, and as a bonus they have never threatened to sue me, so that's a win.  I also love that they treat their customers and employees really well, and they have a sense of humor.  Exhibit A, my recent email conversation with a Noodles & Co customer service rep, which started after I placed an order online and noticed a box that said something like "Ask us a question, if it's about your order - call the store, if it's why the sky is blue - we can't help you, but if it's about Noodles - ask away."  So I asked if they were bringing back an awesome seasonal salad that they had last year.  This was the response:

Hi Suzanne!

Thanks so much for taking the time to send us you message!  I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed because your timing couldn’t be better.  Today we released three menu items to celebrate spring and guess what just happens to be one of them?  The Backyard BBQ Chicken Salad! It’s like you are physic or something.  Click on this link to find out more http://www.noodles.com/spring/.

If you’re game, reply with your best mailing address and we’ll be glad to send you some Noodles love to celebrate the return of one of your favorite dishes!  We’re pumped it’s back too!  Look forward to hearing from you soon Suzanne.

Have a great day,
-Isaac

The Cavalry
noodles & company

I totally forgive Isaac for his misspellings and grammar issues, because hey, free noodles.  And then I responded back like so:

Heck yes I'm game, game like Monopoly...or even game like Robot Unicorn Attack.  Sign me up good sir.

Suzanne
xxx x xxx x
Logan, UT 


Carry on Cavalry, and Tally Ho!

~The Suzzzz
And then...

This could be my all-time favorite reply ever.  Be on the lookout, it went out in today’s mail!

Forks up,
-Isaac

The Cavalry
noodles & company
Which was followed up via snail mail with this...



Which was followed up by an awesome salad (and because the salad was free, I splurged and bought one of their ridiculously good rice krispie treats and an Izze soda), like so...



Then earlier this month I got this in my email inbox.  Make sure to read the highlighted section.

"Sorry, you can't swap this offer for cash, Crave Cards, or a unicorn."
So I decided to make my own unicorn, on the back of the coupon.


Hey, at least I made one person laugh that day.