Friday, August 28, 2009

The Name of the Game

When you have a name like mine, you get used to people misunderstanding it. "You know. Like Christmas" tends to be the most successful way to get the message across. Most of the time, people ask for clarification and, after hearing it, still look at me with a thoughtful gaze. This look, of course, betrays any attempt they make at appering to understand the words coming out of my mouth. So then they just call me Nicole. Yeah. My name IS NOT NICOLE! Phew. That felt good. That being said. Here are some other names that I have been called:


What do people call you?

Update:  Brundle.  Yeah, another name.  WTF?

New for this week: Millow, Llewelyn, Holly and Melanie

And for this week: Melar and Norell

11/23: Kim

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Things that made me happy this weekend:

Once a year or so, I try to go to San Diego to visit my sis. Here are some pics from this year's trip.

Cami at the wonderful Persian restaurant we ate at

This puppy is quite easily the most adorable creature of all time. She is perfect. Perfect size, perfect personality, perfect hunting skills....kind of. Well she tries at least. The above picture is her pouncing on a lizard in the bushes. And below, she is attacking a stuffed hedgehog type thing from the comfort of her bed. Spoiled pup.

Friday morning, I rented a bike and wandered around by the ocean. It took a bit of time to get used to riding a cruiser but I got there eventually. It's been a long time since I had to use my feet to brake. I kept grabbing the handlebars and panicking when there was nothing there to help me stop. Luckily the first place I rode to wasn't very crowded.

After riding around the bay, I wandered down to Mission Beach, up through Pacific Beach and near La Jolla. The ride was lovely. Due to a slightly overcast sky, the area was not overly crowded so I could take in the views while I was riding. The houses along the seafront are beautiful. The owners take great pride in their ocean-front views and have decked out (ha!) their patios appropriately.

After lunch, I returned my bike and made my way to the water. I love wandering along the beach. There aren't many things more soothing than the roar of the ocean. The weather was perfect for me (overcast and a few drops of rain) but these sun-bathing Californians did not agree. A few sprinkles of rain came down and the whole beach emptied in about ten minutes. Bliss. I had the whole beach practically to myself. And because they had left so quickly, I was able to take advantage of the vacated dry spots. So I sat and finished my book, Going Solo, by Roald Dahl.

I hate seaweed. Fiercely. But I thought this was pretty. The beach is loaded with piles of the horrible stuff. But I've never seen it glitter before. Looking up close, there are hundreds of teensy shells parked on this leaf (frond? pod? not sure what its called really). It really did shimmer in the sun.

This link is in no way related to the following pictures, except that it mentions brain surgery. I kept thinking about it the whole time we were at the prehistoric brain surgery exhibition. That's right. Prehistoric. That means rocks. Brain surgery and rocks. It is as bad as you are imagining.

Please note that the area labeled "1" shows a hole being scraped out with the mostly blunt edge of a rock. Through a skull. Awesome.

And now for better uses for the brain...the art market in Balboa Park. The art varied significantly between booths. Everything from clay, to jewelry, to woodwork, to dresses made of board game pieces. We liked this guy a lot though. His materials are free (color cards from the paint section at Home Depot cut into tiny tiny pieces) and he makes beautiful mosaics. He said he had been working on this piece for about a month so far.

Being the fan of dessert that I am, I had to share this with you. I present: The Poached Pear in Caramel Sauce with Pistachios. aMAZing!!! We ate this at the Persian restaurant referred to at the top of this post. Pears are delectable anyway, but put an incredibly light, fragrant caramel sauce on top and you just might die. Now if only i could find a recipe....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Rocky Mountain Midwest

When did Utah slide to the eastern side of the Rocky's in Americans' collective geographic memory? Twice in the last couple of weeks, Utah has been referred to as a midwest locale. Am I missing something?

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Graduate

Warning: Try as I might, I was unable to produce a continuous loop of "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" for your background music enjoying pleasure. So you will have to just imagine...

Last Saturday was a rite of passage for me (though if I am supposed to feel like a new person, it hasn't happened yet). My family and I, along with some of my wonderful friends, celebrated my graduation from the University of Utah. That's right, folks. I am now officially a graduate. No attractive older gentlemen tried to seduce me that evening, unfortunately. But we had a grand ole time nonetheless.

Before I show you all the bawdy and incriminating photos, there are stories to be told. More like A story, I suppose but if I say A Story then it sounds like it should be something really good. Something worth hearing. It really isn't but I had some pics to show you so I will tell you about them.
On Thursday evening, as we were making our second round to the airport for family arrivals, we had an unplanned adventure. I noticed a torrent pouring out from my parents shrubberies (must be said with a shrill British accent). My mom and I tried, to no avail, to shut it off using every method we could think of. After exhausting our options, we decided it must be a water main issue. So the city came out and fixed it up. That sounds like it happened quickly, and it really wasn't too long once we got the right people. The biggest delay was due to us trying to figure out whom to call. I'll save you the step in the future. The Department of Public Utilities. In the meantime, a house full of 14 people had no running water.

And now on to the matter at hand. The Party...

My mom and I highlighting her culinary masterpiece

Chris and Charity

The kids

Rueben Loaf. Actually from earlier in the week but it was sooo yummy!!!

Catch Phrase: A guaranteed laugh fest

Holly, Cody, Alex, Me, Chris, Charity

I have no idea

My cute parents

How dare you give me a flower?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Canadian Getaway

After finishing my final final last Thursday, I was more than ready for a getaway. My criterion were specific but not too demanding, in my opinion. The rules were:
A city
Somewhere not in Utah
Where I don't know anyone
Preferably haven't been before
I presented this list to several people and was less than satisfied with their suggestions. When I finally had the chance to ask E (one of my favorite-est people of all time) what she thought, her answer was almost instantaneous. Vancouver! And this is why I love her. She knew exactly what I was going for and a more perfect location could not have been suggested. A city...on the water...right by mountains...where I don't know anyone...and have never been before. Needless to say, the weekend was amazing. Here are the highlights (not in chronological order) :

The Cambie Gastown hostel. The prices were cheap, the accommodations clean, and the shower strong. All you could ask for in a shelter.

Vancouver's Public Library was designed by the same architect as the Salt Lake City Library. Here is some history if you are interested. For those of you familiar with the library in Salt Lake, the next picture should look familiar.

I spent about three hours at the library finishing up my last paper. I cried and then almost high-fived a stranger (in the end I refrained so as not to look like a looney) after I finally submitted it. I was pretty excited.

As per Kat's suggestion, I headed to Stanley Park to visit the Aquarium. First, I rented a bike and trekked around the outer edge, which is all seafront. The views are unbelievable from pretty much every point along the path.

After my bike ride, I wandered back into the aquarium. I arrived just as the dolphin show was starting which is always entertaining. :)

This sculpture is in the fountain just outside the front doors.

And this is a picture I took for E. He was just so sad looking. I wanted to take him home and protect him. These marketers are good.

At one point I was really pooped from all the walking and I happened to see a little green spot out the corner of my eye. I wandered up a little staircase and found this:

So I sat down and read for a while. It was lovely.

On Sunday I went to Granville Island and wandered around the markets. There was a lot of really interesting things to see and soooo much delicious food to drool over. I was a big fan of the bread stand. I was able to resist the temptation but just barely. Everything looked delectable.

After the markets, I wandered around along the seawall. I came across these dragon boats hiding under the Burrard St. Bridge. Every year, Vancouver holds a HUGE dragon boat race. Read more about it here. It looks like a lot of fun. Perhaps I will be back in town next June :)

After crossing the bridge, I headed into the West End area. The Davie Community Garden caught my eye. The gardens are incredibly well kept. Wandering around them was very peaceful (especially as the rain had just stopped and the sun came out).

Here are some funny things I saw over the course of the weekend:

My last night in town, I ate at the Steamworks restaurant. The spicy pizza I had was amazing and perfectly complemented my Blueberry Mojitos. A lovely end to a lovely trip.

If you want to see the rest of the pics....check them out!

And So It Begins

Over the last few years, I have started four or five blogs. I set them up, make them pretty and never write anything. Don't get me wrong, I love writing. It is one of my favorite escapes. It just seems that I haven't known where to start. Do I start with current events, some background, future plans? In the end, I remembered that when I write for myself I have idea where my thoughts will take me. I let my writing follow whatever path it chooses. And so this blog will be the same. I make no promises for coherent thoughts. Consider it an Eddie Izzard form of communication. It may take side trips here and there but eventually some type of overarching theme will develop (maybe). Or maybe it will just be a big pile of random thoughts with no common links. Who knows? All I know is I am happy to get started. Finally.