Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Parade of Homes

(I made the 14' drapes in this music room)
Does anybody out there like the Parade of Homes anymore? Once upon a time many years ago when Paul and I first went they were normal sized houses with normal décor. In the last few years they have gone over the top. All homes must be at least 5,000 square feet, feature some kind of architectural detail reminiscent of a log cabin, and be dripping in velvet and puffy furniture. Oh, and if one room in the house has some homage to Tuscany then that is a bonus too.

So we stopped going. The main reason I would go to the Parade of homes was to get ideas on decorating, not on homebuilding. And since the trend in Utah has gone towards puffy, velvety furniture I haven’t gone in a couple of years. I hate velvet, faux finishes, and theme rooms. What is wrong with contemporary or modern furnishings? Does anyone in this state know the word ‘minimalist’ when it comes to decorating? Apparently not—judging by thesize of the modern (yea right) furniture room at RC Willey. It’s about a tenth of the size of the rest of the puffy furniture section in that store.

Well my friends, I am now dancing with the devil. I was hired by a designer two months ago to do all the sewing for one of the Parade of Homes. Because I am naïve I thought, oh sure, I can do this! A little sewing here, a little sewing there. Obviously I had forgotten that a home featured in the Parade of Homes home is huge and every project would be over the top. Judging by my paychecks I put in about 90 hours of sewing. That’s a lot of sewing when I have three kids to take care of, am trying to buy a new home, and simultaneously trying to sell my home. The month of April and half of May is a blur. So if you are out and about, check it out and think of my sore hands and all the Costco frozen meals I ate while sewing the many velvet drapes hanging throughout this giant house.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Food Talk

Could I possibly talk about food more than I already do in this blog? Oh yes, and now there is a blog just for that very subject. It's a place to talk about recipes and good food in general.

UPDATE: Sadly, the food blog I started died an ignominious death so I have removed the link.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Weekend of Cynthia

Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George proclaimed the upcoming summer to be the summer of George? In other words, he was going to live it up that summer. He was free from his engagement with Susan, due to her poisoned death while licking their wedding invites. I love that episode. Of course, nothing ever goes George’s way. He slips on some party invites and winds up in the hospital. As the nurses wheel George away he cries out, “But this was supposed to be the summer of George!”

Last weekend I was supposed to have my own Summer of George. Only I appropriately called it the Weekend of Cynthia. I bought myself a plane ticket for my birthday to go see my friend Liz in Olympia, Washington. I was going all alone—away from my demanding children and away from the dishes, laundry, etc. The weekend did turn out to be perfect—once I got there. I did have my doubts though in the Salt Lake Airport.

For those of you who don’t know—I don’t fly well. I get queasy and lightheaded. My motion sickness seems to be getting worse as I get older. I get queasy getting on the onramp of the freeway if it’s a cloverleaf. And I don’t ride Star Tours anymore at Disneyland. I know better. But I digress. I am sure that the persons sitting next to me on airplanes get nervous when I fish out the air sickness bag from the jumbled mess of magazines in the seat pocket. I’ve never had to use one yet, but just in case, it’s nice to have quick access to it.

As the plane takes off I try not to focus on my queasiness but rather on my freedom. Three days sans children. I look over at the lady next to me with her two squirmy children and in the words of Mr. T. I think, “I pity da foo.” (I also remember that Mr. T. didn’t fly well so Face always had to drug him. I’ll remember that for next time.) I turned up my iPod just a little bit louder to drown out her children. Just as I get used to my new found freedom of an entire 30 minutes the captain tells us over the loudspeaker that the plane is broken and we’ll be returning to Salt Lake. Nobody seems to be alarmed, but I am! I am feeling like George Costanza. Nothing is meant to go my way. I won’t be flying to Seattle after all. Oh the inhumanity of it all! “This was to be the weekend of Cynthia!”, I scream in my head. Once we return to Salt Lake we are told to get off of the plane and they’ll let us know soon how the problem is to be solved. They give us vouchers for free food at one of the airport restaurants. Now, in my head I’m thinking airport food is never good. But worse than that—free airport food must be worse. But I do like to medicate with food so I depressingly eat the hoagie sandwich. That sandwich will come back to haunt me. I just know it.

Finally we are routed onto a new plane. After three more delays of broken computers and who knows what else we finally take off for Seattle. I arrive in Seattle three hours late but with spirits high because the Weekend of Cynthia is back on track. I don’t think blogging about digestion is in good taste, but this time I going to make an exception. That sandwich made by Russian immigrants almost ruined the Weekend of Cynthia. I was in denial. I thought my stomach pains could be attributed to the fact that I had a total of 4 take offs and landings the previous night. Twice as many as I was mentally prepared for. For those of you who don’t know, another one of my talents is that I have an iron stomach. What goes down never comes up—ever. After eating a lovely lunch of halibut and crab while overlooking the Puget Sound, though, that rule of mine came to an end. I had such a good streak of stomach health. Now I have to start all over and build up to the next twenty years of my moratorium on vomiting. Once that moment passed my good health returned and I enjoyed the rest of my Weekend of Cynthia. Ah, now my canteen has been refilled and I can go on! Which is a good thing because as I type this I am looking out my window at the snow falling on my brown and ugly treeless lawn. Winter is a devil, but somehow it doesn’t seem so bad now.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

California Dreamin'

We just returned from a trip to southern California to visit my parents and other family members. We had a great time. Of course we did all the usual stuff like picking our lemon tree bare and also stealing grapefruits, tangerines, and oranges from my brother's tree. Getting there, however, proved to be a challenge. In my 13 years of trekking the I-15 between Provo and the Southland I have never encountered the traffic I did while on this trip. Oh sure, anytime one travels between these two destinations one must think about the Las Vegas traffic. What? You don’t know about the Lost Wages traffic? I thought I did—until this last week. Apparently living in Southern California isn’t enough of a gamble—one must travel to and from Vegas each weekend to pay their stupid tax. And sometimes it really does feel as if every Californian is on the two-lane I-15 traveling to and from Vegas.

We were making great time on this trip on December 26th, reaching Vegas in only 5 hours or so. I quickly called my mom and told her where we were. I said that we had reached a bit of traffic but that would clear up as soon as we passed the Vegas strip and to expect us in about 3 ½ hours. Wrong! From Vegas to Baker (a.k.a the Arm Pit of America) took us 4 hours! I could write an entire blog about the Black Hole called Baker, starting with that ridiculous giant thermometer, but I won’t. It got to the point where we were completely stopped on the freeway. People were getting out of the cars and walking around! My own kids hopped out of their seatbelts and reveled in their rebelliousness of being in a car unbuckled. Oooohh, we’re living dangerously now!

Of course it wasn’t long before Mother Nature was calling and I knew this couldn’t be good. The bankrupt state of California has only 2 rest stops along the I-15. And usually one is closed—no doubt due to budget constraints. How much does toilet paper cost? We get ours at Costco and it ain’t so much. For the decency of humanity why doesn’t California have more rest stops? Hmmm….one rest stop for the 10,000 people on the road in the middle of the desert. Does this sound like a good idea to you? At the rest stop we encountered lines that make Disneyland look good. More on Disneyland in the next paragraph. I counted 67 women in line for the restroom. Exaggeration would make this story a good one, but alas, I am not exaggerating. I had a revelation while standing in that line. No, the revelation wasn’t that women really do have the short end of the stick when it comes to public restrooms. The revelation came when I realized I was the only person in this line speaking English. Everyone in this line was Asian. Now, having grown up in California I can usually figure out what language is being spoken. I can pick out Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, etc. But I couldn’t figure out half of these languages. Where were these people originally from? You got me! Here's the revelation. Up until that point I naively thought that only white trash gambled in Vegas. Wrong! The wonderful immigrants who make this country rich with culture and commerce have fallen prey to the lure of Vegas. They too travel to the City of Sin to pay their stupid tax. I was so disappointed. After 20 minutes or so my children were done using the restroom with their dad in the considerably shorter men’s line so I abandoned my line and left. I guess you could say I was gambling myself. No explanation necessary, right? To make a long story short I’ll pass over the rest of my trip leaving out the other fun stories about my quest for a public restroom.

Two days later we found ourselves in long lines again—this time at Disneyland. Now, I didn’t want to go in the first place. By then the 10,000 people had returned from Vegas and went straight to Disneyland. In the end I decided to go because we got the tickets for free. Any Southern Californian with brains and a few contacts can always get free tickets to Disneyland. That person was my sister who got them from her co-workers partner. So my family of 12 fell into the touristy trap and went to Disneyland. I’ll give you three examples that illustrate just how crowded it was. First—the sign in the parking structure said, “Disneyland is very crowded today. Plan accordingly.” What the heck is that supposed to mean? If there was fine print on that sign it would’ve read “Disneyland is very crowded today. Don’t waste your money here—go to Medieval Times today.”

Second example—at lunch time we headed to the Bayou Restaurant where we asked how long the wait would be for a table. The waiter said he could get us in for dinner Saturday night. It was Wednesday. Why don’t they just put up a sign saying “Restaurant Full” instead of making you wait in line to ask? Do they like rubbing it in to the masses of hungry people that there is no room in the inn?

Third example: We tried to get a Fast Pass at 10am to ride the completely redone Space Mountain roller coaster. The Fast Pass return time was 9pm. Who is going to wait 11 hours to ride a roller coaster? What-ever! All in all, we rode maybe 5 rides that day. Thank goodness for free tickets. My sister returned a few days later (to use the remainder of her free tickets) with my kids so that they could catch what they missed. This time the sign at Disneyland read, "Disneyland is now full." But they already had their tickets, so Disneyland let them in anyway. But I didn’t go. No way. I had waited in enough lines on this vacation to last me until my next trip to the Southland.


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