Out and About ~ Downtown Salt Lake City

In an effort to try and get over the turkey coma from the past weekend, the hubster and I headed into the city to usher in the Christmas season with the rest of humanity. First up was the requisite pilgrimage to the amazing Temple Square to see the lights there, and then, pushed along by the crowd we wandered to see the lights and windows at the City Creek shopping center followed by two different productions at the relatively new Eccles Center. (What a fabulous venue! It’s gorgeous and there’s not a bad seat in the house.)

Friday night’s show was a musical version of Elf, based on the movie starring Will Farrell. While it didn’t quite measure up to the original (I don’t think anyone could compete with Farrell’s exuberance) it did have added song and dance numbers and was just great fun overall.  Monday, we journeyed back to see Jewel’s holiday extravaganza. She shared the stage with her two brothers and father, who sing and write songs as well. They told stories of their childhood growing up on a homestead in Alaska, and she was candid about her struggles with anxiety, shoplifting and her health before being discovered, interspersed with songs of course! Nearly half the show was Christmas songs, backed by her band while the other half she sang some greatest hits accompanying herself on the guitar. She’s got one of those voices that you either love or hate (her background in yodeling definitely influences her all-around vocal style) and I loved hearing it fill the hall, particularly on the nearly ethereal high notes. The whole weekend was a great way to kick start the holiday festivities.

Have you got any traditions of your own that help you welcome the holidays? I’d love your suggestions in the comments below!

Giving Thanks

The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.            -Joseph F Smith

I love that we begin the holiday season with counting our blessings and giving thanks. I think it helps to put things into perspective and (ideally) sets us on a path toward charity and giving as we head towards Christmas.

I had the opportunity to spend time with the hubster’s family this year. We ventured north to Logan, a rural college town (go Aggies!) where the pace is slower and the air a bit fresher. Our holiday was perfectly chill with lots of food, great discussions and book recommendations, good movies and several walks around the neighborhood enjoying the splendors of nature. I’m so grateful for all of those things, pretty much all the favorites of my life. I hope your holiday was blessed and your plates full!

Pie Day

When I was living on the East Coast I had a friend who introduced me to the best holiday ever. Pie Day! Anyone who knows me knows that I love pie. I requested pies instead of cakes for my birthday for years and even served it at my wedding. It’s kind of my favorite.

Her version of pie day was a family affair. Tired of being too full to enjoy the pie after Thanksgiving dinner they decided to give it its rightful place as the center of attention a few days before, when there was still plenty of room in their bellies. So, the Sunday before Thanksgiving was dedicated to pies. The neighbors were invited and everyone shared their favorite flavors and when she moved to DC she shared the tradition with all of us.  Since then, there have been several of us who have moved on but carried the tradition with us and this year the hubster and I celebrated our first Pie Day together.

We ended up with a dozen or so variations ranging from the traditional pumpkin and chocolate to cranberry pear, peanut butter, and snickerdoodle apple cream cheese (yes, that’s all one pie!) I think that’s the best part, getting introduced to so many fun new favorites. What’s your favorite kind of pie? Feel free to share a link to the recipe in the comments below!

         

Words of Wisdom ~ Don Blanding

For as long as I can remember I’ve been at war with myself.  I long for adventure yet I crave the comforts of home.  My soul seeks new people and places to discover while simultaneously wanting longevity and stability and sameness in my surroundings and relationships.

I stumbled on this poem by Don Blanding recently and it sums up my struggles perfectly.

This blog is partly a celebration of that split personality complex.  The simpler and finer things in life, the ways I seek to branch out and explore this amazing world around us and the ways I seek to enrich but simplify my daily sphere of influence which is sometimes so small it’s nearly microscopic.

As an introvert my natural tendencies are to do things like curl up in a fluffy blanket with a mug of peppermint tea and a good book and stay there forever. If I’m feeling really brave (and the weather is cooperative) I’ll venture outside and do a little reading under the shade of a friendly tree. Not a bad existence, really. But there’s also this insatiable itch inside me that has become more and more persistent with the passing years. I think I did a pretty good job of ignoring it all through high school and college until finally, one day it would no longer be ignored.

I never set out to travel the world, or move thousands of miles from home to live in a place where I didn’t know a soul, or even to learn to play the harmonica but I’ve done all of those things and more. And while at first they happened sort of accidentally, I’ve begun to learn how to listen to that itchy inner voice and plan adventures on purpose, as well (it’s a lot more fun that way!)

Some days the introvert wins the battle and some days the adventurer claims the victory but only time will tell which side will ultimately win the war. Accidents still happen, and adventure still isn’t my default setting. I still love to escape into a world where the only conversation that occurs is between fictional characters on a printed page.  But I’m looking forward to a lifetime of continued adventures, big or small, accidental or otherwise, and sharing a few of them here with you.

P.S. I’d love to hear about your adventures as well!  Comments are always appreciated!

**Photo taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Music Monday ~ Frank Turner

I was introduced to Frank Turner a few years ago when a group of friends and I embarked on a postal music swap.  We’d been living in the same area just outside of DC and we were all getting ready to move on to new places and new stages of life. One of our last get-togethers included some amazing food followed by a music sharing session. We’d each compiled a mix CD of some of our favorite tunes and bands that had been meaningful at different parts of our life in hopes that the others would find similar solace as they listened in their new places miles and miles away.

It was such a hit that we decided to keep it up. Over the next couple of years we occasionally added and subtracted a few other participants but the three of us remained constant and it was always a great day when you got a CD in the mail. There were old favorites that circulated and new favorites that came along and Frank Turner was one of those new favorites.

He’s got a fabulously rough (sometimes angry) British sound occasionally channeling the likes of the Dropkick Murphys/Flogging Molly but with a poignancy to his lyrics that speaks directly to my soul. He puts on a fabulous live show, though he does have a bit of a potty mouth (so be warned if that kind of stuff bothers you!)  I highly recommend you take a listen! And if you have any suggestions for a new listen, post them in the comments below.  I’m always up for a new favorite!

Words of Wisdom ~ Ortega y Gasset

Beyond living and dreaming
There is something more important:
Waking up.
~Ortega y Gasset

This is a truth I’ve been trying to learn recently. For me, it’s sort of akin to acceptance and letting go. Dreams are great and necessary as is the monotony of every day living but when those two things meld together there’s a beautiful catharsis that occurs. We awaken to the possibilities of our dreams without holding them up as unrealistic expectations that are bound to disappoint and we begin to see the blessings in every day amidst the struggles and drudgery that often weigh us down. We accept the truth and reality of our current situation but recognize that we are not limited by those situations while concurrently recognizing that failure to live a particular dream or reach an expected milestone does not equal failure. When we wake up to each moment and fully live it we can experience something deeper than the moment itself.

**As part of surrendering to imperfections I acknowledge the ‘failure’ of a past blog and absorb a few of those former posts here in the new format. So please enjoy the next few posts, or if you for some reason followed me before please re-enjoy them a second time! 🙂