Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Picture

I haven't posted a picture for a long time so I thought I'd post one of Alina and me in our Halloween costumes. We both chose characters from children's books. Alina chose Wilma (Waldo's girlfriend) and I chose Pippi Longstocking.

Wilma and Pippi (or Alina and me).

Val, Alicia, Alina, and Me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obscure Restaurant, Part III

Last night, Alina and I went to another obscure restaurant for dinner. We decided to try Mr. Cebollin. This restaurant is located in a strip mall at 9105 S. Redwood Rd. It's a fairly new restaurant that we had passed several times in the past few weeks. The drawing point for us was that it advertised on the sign, "Mr Cebollin - Fine Mexican food and Pupusas." Pupusas!! Sweet!! To get pupusas in the past, we'd had to drive to Provo our beg Jackie (my El Salvadorian semi-sister-in-law) to have her mom make us some. But now, we'd have a restaurant within 5 miles of our house - YES!! Alina and I both ordered cheese pupusas and a side of rice and beans. We also ordered fried yucca. The fried yucca did not live up to expectations, but everything else did. The pupusas were fantastic!!

The best part of the dining experience happened as we were getting ready to leave. I was gathering up my coat and bag when Alina said, "Hey, isn't that Jackie and Adam?" I turned around, looked out the window, and saw Jackie waving like a mad woman. Apparently they were both in the mood for pupusas as well. They came in and we talked for a few minutes. I didn't know Jackie and Adam had heard of Mr. Cebollin's and was excited to tell them about it, but apparently they already knew about it. When I told Jackie this, she said, "Yeah, we know about it. This is where my mom got her new job." I knew Jackie's mom had just started a new job, but didn't know where. Sure enough, we went to the back and there was Anna, cooking pupusas. No wonder they were so great.

Overall, this was a great dining experience. The restaurant is in a good location, clean and colorfully decorated, with a friendly staff. If you're looking for great, authentic El Salvadorian food (and I'm sure their Mexican is good, as well), check it out. We wouldn't want to see this fine obscure restaurant go out of business to be replaced by another McDonald's.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Adolescent Literature Authors

Today I went to the Utah Council of Teachers of English (UCTE) Fall Conference. I was super excited for this conference because two of my favorite adolescent literature authors, Richard Peck and Paul Fleischman, were scheduled to speak. Not just one great adolescent lit author, but two!! UCTE really went above and beyond this year, and I was not disappointed.

Richard Peck spoke as the morning keynote speaker. He was very dynamic. He read us his short story, "Three-Century Woman." Loved it!! Following his keynote address, he signed books. Not only that, Pearson Publishers gave every conference participate a copy of his novel, On the Wings of Heroes. Sweet!! I felt bad that I forgot my copy of A Long Way from Chicago (my favorite Richard Peck novel), but since had a free book for him to sign, I wasn't too upset. The following Richard Peck quote is one of my favorites:
I read because one life isn't enough, and in the page of a book I can be anybody;
I read because the words that build the story become mine, to build my life;
I read not for happy endings but for new beginnings; I'm just beginning myself, and I wouldn't mind a map;
I read because I have friends who don't, and young though they are, they're beginning to run out of material;
I read because every journey begins at the library, and it's time for me to start packing;
I read because one of these days I'm going to get out of this town, and I'm going to go everywhere and meet everybody, and I want to be ready.
The afternoon keynote speaker was Paul Fleischman. He wrote one of my top 10 favorite books, Whirligig. He talked about how important it is to make connections with others people. He mentioned that literature allows people to make these connections through shared experiences. After his keynote address, he also signed books. I had him sign my copy of Whirligig and a copy of Seedfolks.

Overall, it was a fabulous conference. If UCTE brings in great authors next year, I will definitely go again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheese, Cheese

Yesterday Zack was crying and carrying on. My dad started to mock him by saying, "Oh, Zack, do you want a little cheese with that whine." Zack immediately stopped crying, perked up, and said, "Cheese? Yes, yes, I want some cheese."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wisdom from a Four Year Old

Tonight Zack reminded me of an important lesson. We were sitting at dinner and I was talking to my family about a night class I'm taking. I was complaining about it and at one point I said, "I hate my class. It's so stupid." Zack looked at me and said, "You just said a bad word." (In our house, we have told Zack stupid is a bad word). I replied, "Oh, I know. I'm sorry." He looked at me and in all seriousness stated, "It's okay, Mandy. We all make mistakes."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Random Thoughts:

  • I'm still super busy - it sucks!!
  • I have to stop being a smart ass if I want to pass my class. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and conform, even if you despise doing it.
  • I need a day off to watch TV. My DVR is full of hours of TV that have yet to be watched.
  • My foot hurts. I have no idea what I did, but it has been hurting badly for over a week. It's the foot that I broke years ago so it might be weather related, but what if it's not? What if something is seriously wrong? I don't have time (or money, for that matter) for it to be something serious.
  • This Sunday I get to teach the first new member lesson to a new convert. I am excited.
  • This Saturday I get to go to another baptism. The full-time missionaries and ward missionaries (including me) in my ward are awesome. This is our third baptism in the past 2 months.
  • The weather is crazy. Last week we had temps into the 80s and this Saturday it's suppose to snow. What happened to the fall temps in the high 60s? That's my favorite and we haven't even experienced it this year.
  • On Monday one of my absolutely favorite people in the universe, Ruth, is coming to stay with me. I am so excited for all our fun times!!
  • My students introduced me to this week. I love it!! I am now addicted.
  • I started taking tia che classes. I always thought I had pretty good balanced, but I totally do not. I am, however, flexible which helps.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My Porch

This summer I planned on staining my back porch, but I never got around to it. I also wanted to do some minor repairs on it (although the porch is securely attached to my house and my patio, the posts had sunk and pulled off the porch). I've never done any such repairs or staining before, but I thought I could handle it. I still think I could have handled it, but with my busy schedule, I decided I'd just hire someone to do it.

Luckily, I new just the right person for the job - my friend Kathleen's son, Joshua. I've seen some of Joshua's work before (he made Kathleen a beautiful wooden porch swing for Mother's Day) so I knew he'd do a good job. He said he was interested so he came over to take a look at it. After looking at it, he said it would be no problem and he'd even start on it that night. After deciding on his wage, we took off for Lowes to get supplies. When we got there, he walked in there like he owned the place. He knew exactly what we needed and where to find it. That night he sanded and put the first stain on it. He said he'd come back the next day to fix the posts and put another coat of stain on it. When I came home from work the next day it was finished!! I was so excited and I'm really pleased with his work. Here are a few before and after pictures (okay, the before pictures are actually of my neighbor's porch, but my porch looked the same). What do you think?

The pulled away post.

The unfinished porch.

My repaired post.

My finished porch.

Another angle of my finished porch.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


The title says it all - I have been too busy for my liking as of late. So I want to publicly say I'm sorry for being a crappy daughter, sister, general family member, friend, roommate, teacher, student, comedian, writer, inspirational leader, etc. etc. etc. I'd like to say things will get better . . . but it's unlikely.