Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I have to admit I'm feeling a ridiculously high level of anxiety for the coming year. I have plenty of reasons both good and bad. It has the potential to have some major events. Or not. We'll just have to wait and see. Either way, I'm determined to make the most of whatever comes along. "Life is either a great adventure or nothing." --Helen Keller

I do have some goals/plans for 2010.

It's the on year for an international trip for me and Misti. Italy is on the short list. If tickets from SLC are still $600 when we get our tax returns back it's on. We've been toying with Prague or a tropical island as well.

Opened a bottle of bubbly and toasted with my parents New Year's Eve-afternoon

I am also going to run my second marathon. It will be the Ogden again. I love that race. Also, I plan to beat my PR for the marathon. It is currently 5:09. Sheesh. That is such a long time to run. I'm hoping to finish closer to 4:30. Based on my 1/2 marathon time from the Ogden, that is reasonable.

I've decided I'm going to skateboard to work. At least once. Hopefully I don't hurt myself. I just want to do it because I can.

I'm going to go on 13 dates. Last year I made my goal 12 and I exceeded it. I just like that number. It's a baker's dozen. Which reminds me of baked goods. Mmmmmm.

I'm also going to hike a location that will not be named because if everyone finds out how awesome it is, there will be people there. It's like the Narrows in Zions but more awesome.

I also want to sing with a jazz band. I've wanted to since college. I have some contacts. Even if it's just in my living room with nobody around. 2010 is the year.

I want to make it a year of service too. I am a lucky, lucky girl. I am educated, I have a job I like that pays the bills, I am healthy, I have the best family, I have the best friends, I am well-traveled, and I'm happy. I haven't figured out what I'll be doing, but when I find the opportunities I want to do things that help other people who may not be gifted with the opportunities I have. I want to make someones life a little happier, healthier, comfortable, or better in some way. Then maybe I will stop feeling so guilty for having such a great life. :P

My last meal for the year, roasted duck with sundried cherries. Devine.

2009 has been an awesome year. I can't even think of any compliants. It wasn't all smooth, but I look back on it fondly. No year can compare since 2001/2002 (ahhhh, San Diego days).

All my love to everyone who helped make 2009 awesome and may you all have the best 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best Christmas Ever

Christmas Eve

We ate a lot. Food is always plentiful at a Pett family dinner. Dinner actually seemed fairly unchaotic for having 19 people there. We had one stray this year. There's always at least one stray. Misti's co-worker just moved here so she invited her. She handled the family antics quite well. Well, we had Dave too. He's a permanent stray.

The kids (including Tony & David) played Lego's. I built the small castle for Livi. Spencer then destroyed all the the structures.

Another thing we do on the holidays, is play games. In true Pett style we added a little flare to Pit. The winner of each round had to wear Spencer's pirate hat, eye patch, and hook. It was awesome. The only thing that could have made it better is if we had made them talk pirate, but we didn't think of that until later.

We also had a rousing game of Apples to Apples. Mom won. How did that happen?

Favorite quote: Livi walks into the room, "Grandma, I don't know what I'm talking about."

Another highlight was when Grandpa let the kids play with the forbidden finger paints. Oh yes. Paint everywhere. Is it washable? We'll see. Is it non-toxic? We're keeping an eye on baby Savvy.

Not that gifts are important but some of the highlights this year were Spencer's pirate kit, Jason's "How to host a romantic Evening," David's can of corn, . The secret to a really good cheap cheesy gift--love. We still talk about the year we all got pictures from Tony--mostly Tony, but also Dave and the cat.

All and all, the family just had a great time being together and being ourselves.

Christmas Day:
Sweats--"When real clothes are just too much work" -Apples to Apples card

Now that I'm working again, sleeping in is special. We had a nice, quiet slow morning. Ate lots of leftovers. Opened the few presents we had left.

We all got food storage from mom this year. Handy. We also all got scarves mom crocheted while she was dialysis. Mom liked her addition to the Christmas village, a tent and some lumberjacks. Nothing wrong with a few more moustached men under the tree. Who doesn't want that? One of these years Santa is gonna come through for me.......

We finally pulled out a puzzle. We have one of the largest collections of Charles Wysoki puzzles. He passed away last year so there won't be any new ones. We'll have to make due with the other 200 we already have. Usually he comes out with 2 or 3 new ones and we put them all together after Christmas.

I don't want to see sugar again for a long time. Well maybe a little at New Year's but then no more sugar. Blah. And yet I keep eating it.

We also took naps this afternoon. Ah, sweet, sweet naptime. Another thing that is meaningful now that I'm working. Cause I needed the nap so much more than a good long run.

The kids all came back over. More Lego time with uncle Tony.

We had gongbao chicken and fried rice for dinner. That's my influence on the family. It's Christmas; we eat want we want. We were going to have jiaozi or eggrolls too but we couldn't find the ground meat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I am overwhelmed with the Christmas spirit. So overwhelmed that I am overflowing. Overflowing through my tear ducts during these stupid Christmas movies. Seriously, even the funny ones, they say one nice thing and I'm choking up. I can't help. I just feel so full of feelings right now.

I know a lot of people who are going through hard times right now and I feel way too blessed. I am so lucky to have a job I like. I'm lucky to have a job at all, but I happen to like my job and compensated much better then I had expected. I almost feel bad how well I have it.

Misti a few years ago

It's the time of year you think back over the year about stuff. Thinking about stuff always gets me in trouble. I have the best friends and the best family. I've been trying to find a way to make all those people feel what I feel for them, but I'm drawing a blank. I'm just going to try and pay attention for opportunities.

I sincerely wish everyone a Merry Christmas! All I want for Christmas is joy and comfort to everyone I know, and 6 sets of different marbles.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Sound of Music

A couple of weekends ago I went to the Sound of Music singalong. It was one of the most delightful experiences of the year. Delightful experiences are very rare. Fun is easy to find, but things that are delightful or rapturous, or blissful are not as easy to find.

Here I am in my homemade dirndl. You can't tell, but I have two braided buns on top.

I smiled the whole time. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. They gave us goodie bags too with stuff to use during the show. During Edelweiss, you had little white flowers to wave. There were bells to ring and feathers to throw in part of My Favorite Things. My personal favorite was the confetti poppers for after Maria & Von Trapp kiss for the first time. Mmmm, mmm, mmm.

Other fun little parts were whenever the Baroness showed up or even her name was seen everyone would hiss. Nazis or nazi flags got boos. Everyone cheered for Maria of course. And whenever little Gretel said stuff everyone would ahhhh.

And of course we could sing a long. The words to the song showed up on the screen with the movie. It was like when you're in your car alone and sing to your hearts content only you're in a theater full of people also singing. Very enjoyable.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving part two: Candyland

Every year the day after Thanksgiving we make candy. Technically, the candy making begins a couple of months before when we start cracking and shelling the walnuts (from our tree). The big production is Friday though. Our signature candies are the nutballs (similar to Idle Isles' but we make them with walnuts cause those are free instead of almonds) and turtles. We make other candy too, but those are our signatures. I think I heard toffee mentioned. Other optional candy includes rocky road, fudge, chocolate dipped nuts, chocolate crispies, and chocolate dipped pretzels.

Here's a bit of a step by step for the nut balls.

First you make the fondant the night before and freeze it. This year we made vanilla, maple, almond, and (my favorite) rum spice. I'll post the recipe at the end of this entry.

It's important that the fondant is very frozen when you start rolling. You take about a tsp and roll it in your hands. You have to move fast cause the fondant warms up fast and is unrollable. Then you put the trays of fondant balls back in the freezer. You want them as cold as possible before they go into the chocolate.

We melt the chocolate in this awesome pot my mom has had forever and a heating pad. The pan maintains it's heat well and the heating pad melts the chocolate slowly. It does take longer than in a double broiler, but it's safer.

So you throw the fondant balls in the chocolate. Coat them completely. Then you toss them in the bowls of chopped walnuts.

You don't so much roll the candies into balls, as toss them back and forth in a rolling motion. Then you put them back on the trays and put them somewhere cold--fridge, freezer, outside if it's cold enough.

Look at all those yummy little balls of chocolatey, creamy goodness. Drool......mmmmm.

Here are my favorite rum balls posing for us.

The girls helped us out by cleaning the bowls. And spoons.

Mom got an awesome caramel recipe from someones mom at the dialysis clinic. She's from England. They know what they're doing with caramel in England apparently. We used it primarily for the turtles (3 pecans, a glob of caramel, covered in chocolate to look like a turtle). We decided to cover some hazelnuts with the leftovers an dip them in chocolate. Brilliant.

Chocolate Candy Bliss/Coma

Note: We didn't play in the chocolate or lick our fingers until all the candy was made. Just in case you were wondering. After the candy is done, there's no rules.

1/2 pound butter (room temp)
1 can sweet condensed milk
1/2 pound powdered sugar
1 tsp flavoring

Mix the butter and condensed milk. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add the flavoring.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Part one

I started my Thanksgiving day out with a little run. I went down to my secret thinking spot. I can't tell you were it is. Well it looks like there may be some houses going up soon over part of it. There used to be llamas there, but now it's just horses.
On the dirt road stretch that takes me back to a main road, I came across two cows outside of the fence. Apparently they are not partial to runners. They freaked out a bit even though I was keeping my distance. So I ended up jogging with them for a bit. So I decided to try and walk past them. No, they still didn't want me anywhere near them.

Next strategy is to run really fast and pass them. Really bad idea. The one cow freaks out and tries to climb through the barbed wire fence and gets stuck. Now I feel horrible and figure I'm going to get trampled trying to help it out of the barbed wire. It manages to pull out though and starts running again.
Well that apparently scared the crap out of them, literally. Now I'm walking/jogging along side a trail of stinky, steamy, runny cow matter. The one cow makes another break for the fencing and gets through, but the other cow made it almost to the main road. I was very concerned about this happening and causing an accident, but there was a dirt road turn off just before the main road.

That was probably the most exciting part of the day. The rest just included eating, playing games, and wrangling the children. I actually did well for dinner. We eat at noonish. I walked away just satiated. I was going to wait 30 mins and have pie part one.
The traditonal brain jello, shows up at any holiday I remember to bring it to.

I volunteered to clean the turkey up and get all the meat off it. Bad idea. This turned into Turkey part 2, which then made me slightly uncomfortable. Shortly after they started cutting up the pies. So Turkey part 2 was followed to closely by Pie part one. Then I definitely ate too much. I'm pretty sure I didn't get any where near the national average of 4,500 calories though. I grazed on rolls, turkey, and crackers & cheese ball the rest of the day. I would estimate my caloric intake for the day to be under 2,500, but still way too much. I was never in any extreme discomfort, just the "oh, I didn't need that last bite" level of overeating.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Don't try this at home

I was determined to get over to the old ruined building up Little Cottonwood. This time I parked at the trail head further up the canyon. It was probably a good idea since I did a lot of backtracking off trail. I don't want to promote stupid behavior, so I'm going to encourage you to only try this with a group or wait until warmer weather. If you do try this on your own, I recommend trekking poles, toe/hand warmers, good hiking shoes, and decent gloves.

This is the spot I crossed at. I mentioned before that I was serious about crossing over the creek. One of the only smart things I did was tell someone where I was before I started. I did not cross over the log. I just used it to grab if I lost my footing. I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my pants, and crossed the old fashion way. I'm not going to lie. It was cold. However, that is not the most uncomfortable my feet have ever been. I knew from a previous experience that I could go at least 2 hours without any circulation in my feet and not have permanent damage. Once I put my socks (technical, moisture wicking) back on, I was fine. I didn't really feel any heat off the toe warmers, but my feet were numb for a while.

It might have been helpful to have a topo map too. Then I would have realized that downstream where I crossed turns into a hill or some rocky sort of cliffs over the river. I had to back track at the rock/cliffs and hike up the steep hill. Then I had to get down the big steep hill to the ruins.

As seen in this picture, I slid down the last 20 or so feet. This was not voluntary. Fortunately with the snow, I just slid somewhat ungracefully and got my bum all wet. I recommend pants that are not levis, like ski pants or good hiking pants.

I didn't go into the building because I had noticed there was a tunnel that goes from the creek to under the building. With the snow and rocks and everything I didn't want to accidentally fall into anything. I didn't find the GC. I'm blaming it on the snow.

That's a hole in the building. I was wondering where it went to. Not going to explore that on my own though.

Wandering around off trail (not smart, not encouraging it), I saw a lot of tracks. It was actually interesting to see the little tracks with bigger tracks following them. I saw a lot of different tracks. I'm not a huge tracker, but if I were it would have been really exciting. I know at least some were deer. I'm guess squirrels or rabbits might be the little ones. I think the ones following the little tracks were some kind of cat.

When I left, I went the rock/cliff way. I sort of rappelled down the 10 rocky cliff using some branches of a tree. I never could have climbed up it, but going down was ok. I found some other people tracks that went further down creek than were I crossed. I eventually found a log that they had crossed on. It was kind of icy and snow packed, but there was a second log I could grab. It wasn't so bad.

While I got a great sense of satisfaction getting over to the building, hiking around and finding my way there was just as fun. If anyone knows anyone hiring exporers or adventurers, I will work for cheap. Seriously, I can't think of anything better to be doing. The GC may feel safe for now, but I will be back. Oh, I will return.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The best day in November

Ever have one of those days just seems perfect for no particular reason? I had one last Friday. I went for a hike up the Quarry Trail in Little Cottonwood. I was just hiking along and enjoying the scenery and I felt really, really happy. It occurred to me that maybe I shouldn't be so happy. I've been unemployed for a year, I have two broken cars, I'm very, very single, etc. But I didn't care. Still not to phased by any of that. It was a happy day.

I don't know what plant this leaf came from but they were amazing. They were like little opaque or white stained glass leaves. Way cooler in person than in the picture. Everything was dusted with a bit of snow or frost.

I thought the snow on the trees looked like lace.

It was kind of magical. I didn't see a lot of other people a couple of guys on bikes. But if a winter tree sprite or an ice fairy started ice skating down the river, I wouldn't have been surprised.

I like it when I am still warm in my coat or layers, but the cold air kisses my cheeks and nose. It doesn't sting, but still feels sharp. I always feel so alive when I breath in the crisp air. It's a fine line between comfortable cold and too cold though.

I came away with a quest though. I've always wanted to get over to the ruins on the other side of the creek. It's always been to high in the spring and summer. It's quite a bit lower, but I had a hard time finding a log or rocks to cross over on. I scrambled up the shore for a ways but didn't really find a good spot. I would best describe my mindset as hell-bent to cross. I thought about taking my shoes off and rolling up my pants even. I tried at one place, but I got halfway across and realized the rocks in the middle were covered with a thin film of ice. I put my hiking pole down and the water was deeper than it looked. It occurred to me that since I was past where the trail ended and there weren't really any people around this was a stupid idea.

I actually sort of slipped and got wet up to my ankle on one foot. I made the prudent decision to let it go for that day, but I already had a plan for getting over another time. Soon. Very soon. My plan involves survival hand warmers and rolling up my pants. Yes, oh yes. Did I mention there's a GC over there? Lovepirate2 will find you, GC1RK1F.

There was an old truck I found up in the rocks away from the trail. It was mostly all rusted away. Kind of cool though.