Monday, May 25, 2009


I’ve had so much fun! This weekend has brought such wonderful memories such as:
  • “Mamma Cindy” (by Liang. Sigh. It feels good to be called that again!
  • “Thank goodness for puke” (by Alvaro when we paid for night parking in San Francisco after cleaning up Tai… again.)
  • “Wow! Wow! Wow!” (by Tai while playing with an advertisement… with a naked baby.)
  • “I’m on vacation and try just about anything once” (by Cindy right before she ate sushi… oh yea, it was EEL.)

Here I am at the Sacramento airport on my way home. Do I look excited? I feel excited!
On the way home to Burley, I stopped and met my sister, Lisa, for ice-cream (yum!) and dinner. And in that order :)

On the drive home, I was singing along to the radio thinking that I was making good time when I noticed, uh oh! How long has my fuel light been on? And, oh boy! I shouldn't have had all that water with dinner! How far away is Snowville?

I've never been so happy to see Snowville to fill up and empty out! :)
I’m glad I was able to visit Liang and her family in sunny California. It was a “Dream” vacation. They were so funny and generous and patient with me. Thanks Morans!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Sunday Liang and I went to Sacrament meeting. It was nice to sit through Sacrament meeting Other than playing a little elbow war just once, we listened to the speakers most attentively. One of the missionaries spoke and talked about how one of his friends would come and pick him up for church when he was a teenager. It made me a little teary eyed because it reminded me of picking Liang up for church and FHE and Gilmore Girl night and Institute and Institute activities. He said that it was a real blessing to him and I leaned over to Liang and told her that it was a blessing for the missionary’s friend too. It was a sweet experience.

After church, we got ready for Liang’s baby shower. Alvaro was in charge of food (shocker!) so we packed up the duck sugar cookies, fresh fruit (cherries, strawberries watermelon and peaches) with fruit dip, key lime cheesecake, chicken enchiladas, 12 2-liter bottles of soda, and frozen egg rolls and crab cakes. Whew! Ari, Liang’s sister was in charge of decorations and games so we packed up the feeding the baby game, the chocolate candy diaper game, the secret word pin game, and the dirty diaper (hot potato) game as well as streamers, balloons, plates, cups, flatware, and napkins. Double whew! The baby shower was at Alvaro’s house, so we headed over to cook and set up and mingle with friends and play games with family and then clean up and pack up. Liang got some really great clothes for the baby and tons of diapers. She was one very tired, but pleased pregnant woman. Once we got back to their place I took a much needed rest and read for a while.

Did I mention they think cooking is fun? Check out this delish! dinner that Alvaro cooked. Rosemary potatoes and asparagus with garlic butter and prime steak with mushrooms and onions. We’ve been joking all weekend how much Alvaro and I love steak sauce. Today he pulled out the GIANT bottle of steak sauce that he found in Costco :). So tasty!
Stay tuned for more on my California Dreamin’ weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Saturday Alvaro didn't have to work so they had everything imaginable stuffed into one day. Since we still had an 8-month pregnant woman, a toddler and a cripple, that also meant breaks :). First stop that morning was the Farmer's market in Modesto. There were venders with fruit like tomatoes and cherries and strawberries and peaches; and venders with snacks like fresh mini donuts (yum!); and venders with local goods like almonds (surprise, surprise.) and olive oil (pictured here).

After filling up on donuts and fresh fruit (I got an orange!), we stopped for lunch at the taco trucks. It’s not a very good part of town, so Alvaro ordered and the 8-month pregnant woman, the toddler and the cripple waited in the car. I got a chicken burrito filled with chicken and rice and all the goodies and fresh lemon on the side. The only problem is that it was pretty big and pretty filling, so I had to save half for lunch tomorrow. I was crushed :).

After lunch, we packed up the car for a drive to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield.

On their last road trip, Tai got sick so we were careful and packed several changes of clothes and plenty of supplies. We were waiting to see how he was feeling after the drive before deciding to stay in close by for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory or drive on to San Francisco to the Cheesecake Factory. Hmmm. Am I detecting a Factory theme today?! The Jelly Belly Factory is one of Liang’s all time favorite places so she was pretty darn excited (They served them as favors at their wedding!). So was Tai. Our little jelly belly in training…

I love useless trivia and one thing I learned on the tour was that when Ronald Regan was the Governor of California he used to eat Jelly Bellys to help him break his tobacco pipe habit. Then when he was running for president, the media latched onto it and Jelly Bellys became a national phenomenon. In honor of his election, an artist made a portrait of President Regan… out of Jelly Bellys!
The Jelly Belly Factory was interesting. But, I’m afraid my favorite parts were still the free samples at the end and the gift shop :).
Everybody was feeling pretty energized (of course, it could have been the sugar…), so we decided to go on to San Francisco. Later Tai didn’t feel so well, but he was a real trooper with his Graduate snacks after a rather "upsetting" drive. We stopped for a photo op at an overlook of the Golden Gate Bridge. The temperature dropped significantly from the Jelly Belly factory this afternoon to San Francisco that evening. brrr! Cold, but beautiful.

I always discover new fascination on every trip. This trip was the bridges and in the bay area there are PLENTY. I don’t know what it is about them, but I just love the lines of the bridge in these pictures. Traffic was not bad into the city, just congested so we had plenty of time to look around and enjoy the architecture of the city.

Tai was funny this trip. When I was helping Liang change his clothes before dinner. She handed him some advertisement flyer to chew on and rip and look at and generally keep him busy. He was feeling pretty chatty and kept saying, “Wow! Wow! Wow!” Well, it tickled me funny because it was a diaper ad, so the baby was… well… naked. :) Later at dinner, he'd open his jacket and close it and open it. We laughed because he was flashing his t-shirt, which read, “Lock up your daughters”. It just looked so funny.

The Cheesecake Factory is on the top floor of Macy’s overlooking Union Square in downtown. We asked to be seated at the first available table and because it was a little chilly the first available was outside overlooking Union Square. It was such a beautiful view, but after such a long day it was all a little surreal. Stay tuned for more on my California Dreamin’ weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Now that I’m in California, I get to meet Liang’s family. I met her husband, Alvaro, at the wedding. But, you know how weddings go, and by the end I knew he looked very nice in his suit, but I didn’t really get much time to chat. Turns out he’s funny and patient and hardworking and adores Liang, which gives him some serious points in my book. They had a kid shortly after they were married and now they have another one on the way. The best part of hanging out with a VERY pregnant woman is that we go at the same speed, we complain about our swollen feet, and we’re always tired :). So Friday consisted of a very laid back day. Even with a toddler, I still got to sleep in. This is my good buddy, Tai. He's 18 months and talks and growls and mutters but hasn't quite learned words yet.
After Alvaro got home from work, we went for a drive through their home town, Modesto. Alvaro works at Blue Diamond, so our first stop was the gift shop to get a few souvenirs for the folks back home with his employee discount. It was awesome! They had a tasting table and just to give you an idea I had to pick souvenirs from loads of different flavors. Almonds like: Smokehouse, Whole Natural, Roasted, Salted, Honey Roasted, Jordan, No Salt, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Vanilla Bean, JalepeƱo Smokehouse, Wasabi & Soy Sauce, Maui Onion & Garlic, Lime 'n Chili, Salt & Black Pepper, and my personal favorite, Salt 'n Vinegar. Yes, well, a few of those went into my "Snacks" baggie for the trip home :).

They showed me all their favorite places and their schools and shopping centers and Liang was sure to point out Target :). The running joke was how big Modesto is and how tiny Burley is. And to prove it, here we are at their ginormous mall. It’s not the largest mall I’ve ever been to, but when you compare it to the Snake River Plaza… well, they’ve got a point :).
One of the things that they like to do together is to cook, so every day we did something fun with food. Friday night was dinner at at Tabinyaki, Tebanyacki, grrrr... Wait a minute and I’ll look it up... Teppanyaki. woah. I was WAY off. So, teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cooking where the chef cooks on a grill right in front of you like at Benihana.
Usually the chef will joke with you and they typically have a few tricks during dinner like the flaming onion volcano. We debated if the guy we got was new or had a bad day or having a bad day because he was new, but he didn't joke or do many traditional tricks. It was a bit of a disappointment when you go for a dinner and a show and you just get the dinner, but the dinner… wow!... it was delicious! When Alvaro suggested sushi, I figured I was on vacation so I told him I'd try it. Doesn’t it look beautiful?
He picked out one of his favorites and we mixed some wasabi in with teriyaki to give it some zing for a dipping sauce. It was a little fishy, but not bad. I thought the dipping sauce added a lot of flavor. Afterward, he asked me if I wanted to know what it was. Ok. Eel. Oh... huh. I guess now I can say I’ve had eel. I love vacation!
Stay tuned for more on my California Dreamin’ weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

California Dreamin'

This last winter, I decided I couldn't take the snow anymore. In fact, it was a lot like that song, California Dreamin’…

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day

Except that it doesn’t mention the snow (all two and a half feet of it!) or how I kept getting my car stuck (seriously six times in one week!).

So, I booked a flight to visit my good friend, Liang, for Memorial Day in sunny California. She lived in Burley for less than six months, but in the short amount of time we became close friends.

She got baptized…
We became Gilmore Girl buddies
(this is my birthday so we had Martinellis)…
And we sandwiched in a 24-hour road trip to Salt Lake City…
Of course, after she moved back to Cali and she announced she was getting married, I squeezed in another road trip…
Now, two years later and I’m in need of some serious sunshine. Here I am after work and ready to drive to the airport. Do I look excited? I feel excited!
Because Delta charges $15 to check luggage, I tested my packing skills to see if I could it all into a carry on. And boy!, did I! My level of nerdiness reaches an all time high when I pull out baggies in my purse for my airplane snacks, my liquids, and my toiletries for the carry on. And yes, they’re labeled :).
Stay tuned for more on my California Dreamin’ weekend!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday

I decided to take 12 pictures for my birthday: a picture every hour I'm awake :). Usually I volunteer at the family history library, so I can't sleep in on Saturdays. And Sundays I have 9:00am church and really miss sleeping in. Sleeping is one of my all time favorite things to do, so to celebrate my birthday I slept in. It was GREAT! Then I got to get ready for the day in a leisurely way. I even had time for breakfast AND make-up!



One of the things I did with my birthday money is to buy a fun game from MSN called Ranch Rush. It's slightly addictive, and I had to work to make sure you didn't JUST see pictures of Ranch Rush for my birthday :).

I also went to see the new Star Trek movie as a matinee on Saturday with my best friend/ sister, Chris, since she was the only one of twelve people I invited that went with me. I know it's Sci-Fi movie and not everyone is into that kind of thing, but as I was telling my cousin the other day: how could you not be interested as cute guys jump off sky-high buildings and fight hand to hand combat :)?! Well, at least that's what it looked like in the previews. In reality it was much, much better! I'd do two thumbs up, but I have to use one hand for the camera :).



Hey, look at that! More Ranch Rush :). Man!, I'm getting good!

Mom did a birthday dinner and she let me pick the menu, so we had tacos with strawberry shortcake. They don't really go together, but I've been really craving them so it was perfect. Tricia decorated the kitchen with Hawaiian napkins and paper lanterns. Technically, paper lanterns are Chinese, but these had a Hawaiian design so it really went well with my spastic dinner :). Plus, I got a CUTE purse from Lisa, a FANCY MP3 player from Chris and Tricia, and Mom and Dad gave me money. Thanks everyone for the great gifts and making me feel so special!



Everyone else worked on projects today, so after dinner they did some finishing up. Today Dad tilled Chris's backyard to prep for sprinklers while Mom and Chris shopped and planted three bushes and two trees. Tricia said the backyard looked like it was ready for planting and loved to sing that song from Oklahoma!... something about "corn as high as an elephants eye." :) I got a picture of Mom and Chris and Tricia after dinner planting the last tree. Can you see them WAY back there in the North 40? :)

Because the next day was Mother's Day, we were hosting a special dinner at our house for Mom and we needed to do a little shopping. You wouldn't believe the crowds at Smith's the night before Mother's Day! Chris saw 5! people she knew and the lines were looonnng, but worth it since we've got an AWESOME dinner planned: ravioli with French bread, asparagus and a spinach salad (salad, Parmesan cheese, honey roasted almonds, mandarin oranges, crumbled bacon and poppy seed dressing... yum!!).
The only answer to a long day of play and a little bit of work is some more Ranch Rush :) to wind down before bed. What a lazy, entertaining, and special day!