Wednesday 30 April 2008

Book Review: Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

So, because I'm stuck at home and sick today, I had a chance to catch up with my reading. I just finished this book of memoirs that a woman wrote about her experiences in Afghanistan in developing a school for women to learn beauty skills that they can use to produce income for their families. It reminds me of the old adage... "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life". What I liked more than anything in the book is her culturally-aware approach to her work. She, being an American, didn't push western ideas of what beauty is on the women she taught at her school, but rather helped them to develop what skills were almost entirely lost due to the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan. Obviously - Afghanistan - being a country rich in multi-culturalism and tradition, there has been many centuries of beauty regime practiced there. Unfortunately, like most things cultural, those traditions were squashed by the Taliban. So, women in Afghanistan had some small amount of beauty skills when Debbie arrived, but they needed fine tuning in a major way. Like I said, she encouraged the students to practice their own idea of what beauty is, enhancing their knowledge of color theory and proper hygeine among other things. I personally have no interest in beauty skills whatsoever. As many of you know, I'm granola all the way most of the time; but the book really was about empowering women who need empowering more than ever in the new Afghanistan. Let us hope that this country which has seen more violence and oppression over the last century (from various sources) rediscovers it's sense of self (in other words, not in a western way but in it's own - Afghan way) I love reading books about Afghanistan. Many of you may have read "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini; or my personal favorite by him... "A Thousand Splendid Suns" He's a great writer, and amazingly, he too captures the spirit of Afghani women in their plight. Which is an amazing feat for an Afghani man to do. (even one westernized like him) The truth is, the women of Afghanistan are amazing. They are heroes, and survivors, and each one has their own story to tell. I would love to hear all of them. They are heart-breaking, but they are stories that somehow encourage one to do better, because if they have survived all that, what do I have to complain about really? I have a cold? I can't sell my car? What the &$%& is wrong with me? Anyway, totally worth reading, you should pick it up.

This Sucker Is Going Down!!!! (The Cold I Mean)

I have a sore throat.....

I don't like the suspiciosity (is that a word?) of this sore throat. It threatens to lead to other, more unpleasant effects. So, in order to ward off those unpleasant effects, I have purchased this...

Hopefully Don Cherry is right, and hopefully it will "Stop my cold in it's tracks". I'm hoping so, because I really really really don't want to get sick. I suppose it is tradition to have a "spring cold", but if I can at all avoid it, I'm going to do everything in my power to do so. Cold-fx is flipping expensive ($12.99 for 12 capsules), but some people swear by it. I'm going to put my faith in it, and give it a go. Will let you know if it works. By the way, Cold-fx is another lovely Canadian-made product. We are amazing - aren't we?

Sunday 27 April 2008

SUCCESS!!!!! (That positive tone is for you - Jodi)

Tonight, I made cheese. Yes, that is right, I made my own cheese. It is an officially recognized cheese - even though it is one of the simplest of all the cheeses to make. It really was simple really. Though, even a simple cheese can be complicated if even the smallest details are missed. After numerous attempts at Mozzarella (which I may have gotten to the bottom of why that wasn't working), I decided to try an easy cheese - Queso Blanco, and there was much success. I will write out the recipe, just in case any of you want to try it yourself at home, and put in my 2 cents as to what I did, with pics....

First off, you need to start with Sterilizing all of your equipment. It's really important, when dealing with dairy in particular to keep your work area clean and to reduce the risk of pathogens getting into your cheese. Dairy is so delicate you know - in the making. I pulled back my hair too because hair in cheese is just wrong. Earlier in the week, I found "The Big Pot" at Winners for cheap, and decided to buy that to make my gallon of cheese this week-end. In the process of sterilizing it, and sterilizing my cheesecloth as well as my thermometer, I discovered that my thermometer is between 5 and 10 degrees off because it started boiling somewhere between 90-95 degrees Celsius. That may be where I went wrong with the Mozzarella, and before I try again, I'm going to get a proper Dairy Thermometer (for which I will hunt) Anyway, "The Big Pot" turned out to be too big...

I could have fit 2 Gallons in there, and probably will do 2 next time...

Ah well, anyway, here is the info in the book re: Queso Blanco with recipe...

Queso Blanco is a simple Latin American cheese popular in many Latin dishes, especially Mexican. It's name translates to "white cheese." It is a crumbly, moist cheese that acts quite like Cheddar for cooking. It's flavor is mild, almost bland and slightly sweet. Queso Blanco is the original Monterey Jack cheese. The massed produced Monterey Jack cheeses that most people are used to are more bland and rubbery than this original cheese. The name Jack cheese came from David Jacks, a Scotsman (always a scot - this is me, Becky speaking, I'll do this from time to time while typing out the recipe and you'll know it's me because of the italics ;-) who was given credit for the cheese. However, the original Jack cheese, Queso Blanco can trace its roots farther back to Spanish Franciscan monks originally from Mexico.

Ingredients: 1 Gallon of whole Goat's or Cow's Milk, and 1/4 Cup of Cider Vinegar

Heating: No Double Boiler is needed for this cheese. Heat the milk slowly on direct heat, stirring it frequently to prevent burning. Using a medium-low heat, stir and heat until the milk reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Farenheit. (this takes flipping forever and especially so when you are using an entire Gallon) Maintain the 180 degrees temperature for several minutes.

Acid Coagulation: After the 180 degrees Farenheit temperature has been held for 10 minutes, slowly stir in the cider vinegar until the milk solidifies and small curds start to form. (I admit, I was a little impatient due to disappointment in the past, and added a touch more cider vinegar than the recipe calls for)

Draining: Remove the pot from the heat. Drain the curds by pouring the whole mixture through a colander lined with cheesecloth to keep the curds from escaping.

Tie a knot with the corners of the cheesecloth to form a bag of curds. Hang the bag over a pot for draining. The bag can be hung from a hook, or you may use chopsticks or spoons pushed through the knot to hold the bag on the sides of a pot to drain. (I chose to use a rolling pin) Let the bag drain for 3-4 hours, until the bag stops dripping.

Storing: Open the bag and remove the solid mass of curds. They can be wrapped in a plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This cheese can be eaten immediately, or stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. (I chose to use a ceramic bowl - you know my feelings about plastic)

So, the cheese itself, I like it - it is bland and slightly sweet (which is how it's supposed to be apparently), but I feel it could have used a touch of salt. Overall, I'm really impressed with the texture, the taste, and the easiness of Queso Blanco. You can see for yourself, I am very satisfied with the results of this cheese-making experiment...

Co-workers, be prepared to taste my cheese this week!!!!!!!!

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Happy Earth Day!!!

Happy Earth Day to you all!!!

I admit, I've not always been aware of my own personal impact on the earth and the environment. I grew up a little oblivious to all of that because my parents weren't ever that worried about it. It's cultural I think. Perhaps it's because I live in Alberta, who knows? But, over the last few years, I have become more concerned about the earth, and the way it's going, because IN MY MIND, I really believe that I have seen a difference in the weather patterns. Now, some people believe that this is a natural cycle that the earth goes through and that it is perfectly natural for the earth to change weather patterns from time to time, millenia to millenia. Others - such as Dr. Suzuki, Al Gore, and various other environmentalists believe that there is a different reason for climate change. They believe it is because of our own foolish - wasteful ways. Here is a statement from Environment Canada that explains how Climate Change officially works according to them. They can put it way more eloquently than I can...

"Climate change is a shift in long-term average weather patterns, which can include changes in temperature and in precipitation amounts. The international scientific community agrees that there has been a significant change in global climate in recent years, particularly in the polar areas, due largely to the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and industrial processes. These activities emit greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.

Canada's climate is changing too: temperatures are rising, particularly in the Arctic, where permafrost is thawing and the ocean's ice cover is shrinking. Even greater changes are expected in the future, including a continued rise in temperatures, shifts in rainfall patterns, and increases in certain types of hazardous weather, such as heavy spring rains and heat waves. As a cold northern country, Canada will be one of the most greatly affected countries in the world."

The past week or so, in my city, we have had IN MY MIND, some pretty bizarre weather for April. In past years, there has been almost always a lot of snow fall in April. But, it has never been like this. Usually what happens is that there is a huge dump of snow which causes everyone to stay home and enjoy themselves while it melts away and clears for the next day which is usually sunny and bright. Though we have had a few cold spells from time to time in April in Calgary, it has NEVER been like this, and I have lived here my whole life, and really do know what Calgary weather is like. This week, ALL WEEK, it has been cold, dreary, snowy, blowy, and apparently, it will be like this on the week-end again this coming week-end. Now, on facebook I posted my opinion about the recent weather, and the bizarre weather patterns - stating how I believe IN MY MIND that this is due to what environmental scientists call "Global Warming". Well, you would not believe what kind of reaction I got from a such a simple statement such as this... "Rebecca believes that our BIZARRRRRRRE weather is definitely a sign that we ought to be listening to environmental scientists. So sick of this flipping snow" That is all I said. Apparently it was too much for most of my "friends", and they decided to start attacking me from all sides. One actually went so far as to call me a MORON. Like that - in capital letters. I'm all for everybody having their own opinions, and I respect other people's opinions, but I do not respect people who do not respect my opinions. I don't think there ever has been call for that kind of behaviour, and I think people ought to just calm down a little and understand that it is entirely ok that I don't agree with them. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong; the fact is, that there is a problem - we have seen that, and WHATEVER is causing it, ought to be dealt with one way or the other. Plus, we really ought to respect the beautiful world we are living in. It is a gift - from God. He gave it to us, and we ought to appreciate it, and respect it in all aspects. I'm sure even those who made such hateful and spiteful comments towards me can agree with me on that. I did have a few people who made positive comments about my status (which I had no idea would have such impact), and to those friends, I am truly grateful and appreciate very much even if they too disagree with me. Happy Earth Day friends. Here is a video clip that many of you have probably seen, but I think it deserves revisiting because it is a very fair presentation which deals with both sides of the coin, and honestly presents a view-point that no one can disagree with...

Tuesday 22 April 2008

The Way Things Should Be - A Canadiens / Flames Final For The Entertainment of Lord Stanley

So glad that the Habs won their game tonight and that they're on to round 2 in the playoffs. Go Habs! Tomorrow night, it's Go Flames! My team better win tomorrow. I would LOVE if the Habs and the Flames made it all the way to the final. One way or the other, man, if that stupid cup goes to a team south of the border one more time, I will scream. It's bad enough that they steal all our players, then they steal our glory as well (because they have our players). I honestly haven't been watching the playoff hockey much yet because - well, I'm a little scared of being set up for disappointment. Plus, I get really sick of the fans here in Calgary around playoff time. It becomes somehow, not about the game anymore, but an excuse to get stinking drunk and to start flashing in the streets. "The Red Mile" - what a joke. Hockey used to be something more than a money-making opportunity for bars along 17th Avenue in this city. You can feel it still - a little when you watch them out there on the ice. I think that's half the problem of why they haven't done so well the last few years. They forgot that it's about the game. They get caught up in the fun and the glory, and forget simple - Hockey. Hockey really is simple and pure in it's most beautiful form. It's not our national sport, but it really is a huge part of who we are as Canadians. The last few games, I admit, I've kind of listened in a little, and I hope, (but not too much for fear of disappointment) that what I hear in the games on the radio is a sign of what's going on in their heads. They've been working hard. Especially in the most recent game. They have a great coach, and I really think he could take them all the way if they just listen to him, and shut out the world for playoff time. Wish them luck tomorrow. One way or the other though, as I said - the cup IS staying in Canada this year. It originated here, and was a gift to our people from Lord Stanley. He didn't give it to the Americans, he gave it to the Canadians. It belongs here. Go Canadian teams!!!!!!!!!

Sunday 20 April 2008

Just To Share...

This video makes me cry. It's a cover of a Trent Reznor song, and was one of the last songs that Johnny recorded before he died. (as you can tell in the video he was quite old when they shot it) He is a soul who can truly sing the song and make you feel it because he's been to the depths of hell and back. The man had great faith on top of being an amazing artist and singer/songwriter. I love Johnny Cash. I really don't think there will ever be another like him, ever.

Saturday 19 April 2008

Bisphenol A Rant!!!!! (do not read if you don't want to see the angry Becky)

Today's news release from Health Canada can be found here...
Other articles about it have me more than a little concerned. Though it is the concern that comes from knowing something when it's too late.

Globe and Mail
Yahoo Canada News
CTV News
Washington Post

So, some of you may remember my post on the day I replaced my nalgene with a lovely Stainless Steel number which I bought at MEC. Apparently, I should have done that a lot sooner, like perhaps 8 years sooner. It seems ludicrous to think that every person living on the planet ought to sue the idiots that decided that it would be a good idea to put a toxic chemical into everything we eat from, drink from, and live off of; but the idea tempts me a little when I think about how my life could have been a lot different if I had not been hormonally disrupted by bisphenol A. I obviously won't, as seriously - it would be every person on the planet; but I'm really angry after hearing how serious the situation is in today's news. It's been in baby bottles - we're poisoning them at birth. My stupid dental sealants (which my best friend ignorantly convinced me I needed in order to protect my teeth) has it in them. I honestly feel a little violated knowing that it is permanently planted in my mouth. (I wonder if my dentist can remove them? - doubtful) Also, it makes me think about all those young, healthy patients we had on the Urology unit that came in because they needed their testicle removed due to cancer. Healthy young men in the prime of life - they eat healthy, they exercise, they do everything they should - probably drinking lots of water out of their stupid Nalgene Water Bottles which took over for the Lexan milk bottles which their mothers ignorantly fed them from. There were some who didn't make it. There's more cancer than ever out there. I don't know one person who hasn't been affected by it. I myself lost 2 loved ones in the last 3 years to it (I miss you Gram and Speedy). Where is all this cancer coming from? Well, we know that smoking causes cancer, and unhealthy living (bad diet and lack of exercise), even alcohol intake leads to cancer, and of course, NOW we know that Bisphenol A causes cancer. What else are we being poisoned with unknowingly? Who flipping knows? This is why I've started eating organic. You know, besides the cancer, this toxin has done more damage than people are aware. Did you know... (I've blogged about it before, so if you've read them, then you know) that 10% of women in the world suffer from a disease called Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome? More women than ever in the history of the world. I myself am a victim, and do you know why now? Because of hormone disrupters like Bisphenol A, and who knows what else out there in the environment?! Life could have been so much easier had I not had to suffer through it, but I did, and you know the truth is, I'm stronger for it, and now am trying to reverse the symptoms; but it leaves me with a little bit of anger inside thinking that someone somewhere knew what this would do, and probably didn't care enough because they knew they could make a lot of money from a plastic that was hard and "unbreakable" in nature. Grrrr, I curse you and people like you - the conspiring men who make our lives difficult because of the love of filthy lucre. I know - this is the angry side of me that most people don't get to see, but it's there, and it's fierce, and if those conspiring men were standing in front of me right now, there's no telling what I might do to them. Enough of angry Becky. Avoid plastic period (if possible), but more than any other - avoid the dreaded (7) and (3) type plastic. (Look on the bottom of your containers)

This video deserves a revisit. It's very liberating to watch.

By the way, here is the American Chemistry Council's response to Health Canada's announcement today. Note that this is the industry association that represents Bisphenol A manufacturers, and that no Bisphenol A is made in Canada.

Thursday 17 April 2008

My Trip To The Market

There was a time once, where I spent every spare minute I had perusing books at book stores, and though I still do go into one at least a couple of times a week, my latest consumer fetish has become consumable goods, namely health food store goods. Just look at the little beauties I picked up today at Community Natural Foods...

Hemp Bliss Organic Hemp Beverage; yes it's brown, but it tastes good, and is rich in omegas and protein. There's no end to the goodness that comes from hemp oil. I have this wicked hand cream called "Hempz" that soothes even my dry Alberta-girl hands. Check this out, in one cup of this baby, there's 120 calories, 6.4 g of Omega-6, 1.2 g of Omega-3, 5 g of Protein, and even a gram of Fibre. It's like a super-food. No there is no THC in it, it's completely safe.

I also got these - seaweed rice crackers to go with my lovely in-store made hummus. Hummus is sooooo good. And the small ammounts of seaweed in the crackers have great health benefits.

Then I found this toothpaste made by the "Green Beaver" company. I bought the cilantro mint flavored variety. It actually does taste like cilantro, and you know how refreshing cilantro is. It did a fabulous job of cleaning my teeth as well. I was really impressed as it's all natural toothpaste.

I've become really big on organic apples these days. I was so sad when they took my apples at the border on the way down to Utah, (wasn't thinking ahead) The apples I bought today are the Cameo variety. They're pretty tasty.

Last but not least, I found this fabulous lip balm...

If you can't read it, it says "Kiss Me I'm Canadian" on it, and it's made by the Shea Butter Market in B.C. They believe in fair trade and all natural ingredients in their cosmetics, and best of all - it's Canadian. This one contains only Organic African Shea Butter, Maple Syrup (of course), jojoba, Cinnamon, and Beeswax. The cinnamon in it means - you guessed it, plumping effects, just look what it did to this anonymous person's lips...

Before KMIC

After KMIC

Noticeable difference, eh? I'm pretty impressed overall. What I'm most impressed of all about is that besides the Apples which are grown in Washington, all of the products listed above are made by Canadian companies. That's right - look how much good we have to offer from our great country! I feel truly blessed to live here and to have such great resources for health available at my fingertips. Oh Canada.

Wednesday 16 April 2008

What I'm doing (hopefully this answers all questions)

This has often been an inspiration to me. I buy this issue every time it comes out - which is twice a year.

Now that people have seen me in public a few times now and also seen pics, I keep getting the same question... What are you doing? So, I figured I'd share what I'm doing.

First off, well, I've been exercising for quite some time, but not consistently really until about a little over a year ago. I had a friend that taught me something about words and the meaning of them. (no longer a friend, however he served an important purpose at the time) The word determination - people always use this one in the wrong context. They always say - "She has determination" when really they should be saying "She determined" because to have determination means that you have decided to do something, and that you don't just have will-power, but have physically decided to do it. So, after that lesson in word definition which I took to heart, I decided that all I needed really was to determine to do it. That was it really, the whole thing was done right there. Weight loss was just a matter of doing it after that. Honestly, it really is that simple. If you can wrap your head around the psychology of weight-loss then your battle is over. So, then, I just exercised regularly, ate 3 meals a day (not 1 huge one, but actual meals), supplemented with herbs, etc. If anyone wants advice on this, then they can find it all over the internet, OR I have a great Dietitian friend that would happily help you out to form a plan for a small donation to her run for Diabetes in Iceland. The best way really (once you have decided it) is to just eat lots of small meals throughout the day, drink lots of water, and then after like say - 6:30 not to eat anything. I replace a couple of meals with meal-replacements because it's just more convenient for me, this may not be the case for everybody. It's all about what works for you. Exercise wise, I get 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, and do Yoga 3 times a week, and just keep active getting walks on my lunch break, etc. I once read about this girl in people who's mantra was "Eat less, move more" - that seemed to stick with me. Truthfully though, it's all in the psychology. You decide to do it, then you do it, and if you slip up, you don't beat yourself up, just enjoy it, and go back to what you were doing. 80/20 my friends, it's all about the 80/20. I plan to go all the way, and to stay that way the rest of my life. Join me in my lifestyle change revolution. Pick up your forks and join the battle!!!! Enough cheese, seriously it's all in our heads.

These are definitely one of my favorite meal replacements.

Monday 14 April 2008

Grrrrr, what am I doing wrong?

Stupid mozzarella. You know, maybe I need to find a new formula. I tried it again today, and got worse results than the first time. Then I tried it a second time, again disappointing. Don't worry, I'm not giving up. I was looking in my book I bought - "And That's How You Make Cheese"; and Mr. Sokol uses all the same things that the lady on the website does, except he tests ph and acidity and stuff and uses a double-boiler and heats the milk over an hour to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So, perhaps, I ought to be listening to him, and starting with something simpler like cottage cheese, or Queso Blanco. He says that Mozzarella is a "moderate difficulty" cheese to make. It's sort of frustrating though because everyone seems to be able to pull this one off but me. My co-worker Jodi, and also Julie from "dinner with Julie". Ok, not everyone, but those two. Now my friends after having read this will also try it, and I'm sure be successful. There's something wrong with my cheese-making formula. On a positive note, I did make some more excellent Yoghurt tonight. I'm looking forward to eating it this week after being without fresh yoghurt for a week (as last week-end was quite a busy one and couldn't make it) I've been eating Activia all week, and it's not bad, but not fresh you know? I must have my yoghurt. So, I don't know when I will attempt the cheese again, but I'm going to do something simpler next time. Queso Blanco probably. Will let you know (of course).

Sunday 13 April 2008

Mozzarella trial - # 1

First attempt at making Mozzarella, hmmm, not so successful. I think where I went wrong, is that I bought organic milk which probably came from far away. The formula did say to use local fresh milk. I didn't read it close enough before buying all my stuff, so I just bought a gallon of organic whole milk. (thinking - organic = better) It does in general, but it is better to find milk that comes from a local source that's fresh (apparently it forms a better curd)

This is how the curd was supposed to look...

This is how my curd looked...

So, yeah - not so great, and I think that was the problem to begin with. I wasn't really able to drain the whey off as well as I would have liked either. Next time I will use rubber gloves so that I can knead it better. It was too hot after heating it up as in the formula.

As you can see, it had a bit of a grainy texture, but it was supposed to be the consistency of taffy...

And, when I dropped it into the ice water, it did kind of flake away. So, definitely there was something wrong with my curd to begin with...

In the end, it resembled something like cheese, though considerably softer, and not the right consistency...

Oh well, tomorrow if I have time, maybe I'll give it a second try. But whenever I do try a second time, I'll let you know how it turns out.

*UPDATE* - The thing I made that resembled cheese did NOT taste like cheese and was pretty gross actually. I forgot to add the salt!!!! I think I'm going to write out very specific instructions step by step for myself next time - the formula was sort of confusing and jumpy.

Thursday 10 April 2008

Your Next Car!!!!!!!

Here it is...

Your next car!!!!!!! Just kidding. Just so everyone is aware, I am selling my car at present. It's in excellent shape and is great on gas. Not to mention - an excellently dependable road trip vehicle. It has 92500 odd km's on it, and is a 2003 Honda Civic DXG 4-door sedan with Standard Transmission. I know, it's beautiful, and you're wondering - why? Well, if you've read previous posts, you'll know that I am selling the car in favor of a bicycle. (mostly due to financial concerns, costs of gas, payments, insurance, etc) So, if you are looking for a car, OR you know someone who is looking for a car, let me know, and we'll get in touch. I'm asking $14,000 or the best offer I get. So, I'm pretty open to suggestion. Think about it - you know you want it. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday 9 April 2008

Utahn Adventures - Conference Style

Last night, at 3am after 14 hours of driving straight (with brief stops) with no cruise, and feeling like the world's first Mormon zombie, I got back from my trip to Utah. I went to SLC for General Conference - which is something that my church does every 6 months. It's a general conference for the entire church world wide - all 13 million of us. They have a Conference Center in SLC where they have about 23000 people seated, but it is broadcast world-wide via sattelite to various meeting-houses across the globe. At the conference, we hear from various General Authorities of the church uplifting and encouraging messages to help us on our journey in life. There are 5 two-hour sessions. 3 on Saturday, and 2 on Sunday. I had never been to a conference in person before, and thought it might be time for me to do so. So, my friend Carrie and I went on our merry way with tickets to the Saturday am session, (which was a solemn assembly because it was the one where we all voted to sustain the new Prophet of the church - Thomas S. Monson) and also the Sunday pm session. It was really really amazing. I really felt uplifted and edified by all of the meetings. Temple square really is amazing as well. The history, and the beauty of the buildings there is amazing. If you ever get a chance, you should visit temple square. They have sisters to guide tours in almost every language. So, Carrie and I stayed with my former mission companion Friday night (again after 14 and a half hours of driving straight - zombie like), then Sunday morning - bright and early, we went to the Conference Center for the first session. What was really really difficult was to find a place to park. It seems to be impossible to find parking in downtown SLC at Conference time. But, we managed in the end. Then, we went into the conference center and found our seats. This is the view from my seat...

Me in front of the organ and looking down to where the General Authorities sit
...people were still filing in for the conference. Conference itself was amazing. To see the transcripts for it, go here. After the 2 sessions, the girls and I took a tour around Temple Square. Yildiz used to be a missionary on Temple Square, so she showed me us a few things that she knew about.

Yildiz and Carrie - my 2 conference week-end buddies

The Temple at Temple Square - it was closed during conference, so, couldn't go in.

Me standing in front of the temple and the historic tabernacle - where Brigham Young himself spoke to the saints and every prophet and apostle that came after him as well.

The inside of the tabernacle and the famous organ of the tabernacle. Where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir still practices and performs.

The new and pretty spectacular Conference Center in SLC.
That evening, the girls and I took a trip to Target. Pronounced Tarjez (after all, I was touring around with a couple of Quebecois). We were pretty excited about it as you can see...

Then, later that night, as the men had all gone to Priesthood session, the girls and I hit "Ladies Night" at Deseret book where we got wicked discounts on fabulous books and other lovely items. After this, I went to visit my buddy Mark whom I haven't seen in about 8 months. He lives down there now. I miss him. *sniff*

Mark took me to a Utah Mormon party. All inclusive - with chips, and sponge cake and a rousing game of Mafia. Good times - Utah style. (actually it really was fun, but Logan - they need you - bad)
The next day, of course, we did more conference. Both sessions, after which we toured around in oreo formation, looking at more sights around temple square. That evening, Carrie and I ate at this crazy place called "Mayan Adventure". It was really insane! It's a theme restaurant. The interior in indescribable. Best I can come up with is that it feels like you're in a jungle, and then there's this show, where the workers of the restaurant dive into a pool wearing loin cloths. Only in Utah. That night, we went back to Lehi to stay with my former mission companion - Caley and her family again, had an awesome visit, and then went to sleep. In the morning, we did IHOP for which I am still suffering - severely. I remember now why I don't eat like that anymore. I certainly don't need another reminder like it, so will be fasting somewhat for a few days whilst I purge the toxins. On the way home, it was snowing, then raining, then hailing, then snowing again. As soon as we crossed the border, the weird weather stopped. Interesting. I also got a speeding ticket in Malad, Utah from an officer Nalder (yes, it is ironic - only mission friends will get that reference). $75 for going 11 miles over the speed limit. Ah well. I will remember to avoid state troopers in the future. Now, the next project is to sell the vehicle that got me there and back. It really did amazingly well on the trip. I'm due for an oil change next week, but after that's done, whoever wants it can have it for $14000 obo. I'll do a more thorough description tomorrow or the next day. Spread the word my friends.

Thursday 3 April 2008

Treasure hunting on You-Tube

Just been surfing You Tube (not that I don't have a thousand things to do, but just felt like winding down you know), and I found the most awesome videos... just thought I'd share. You know when you get a really cool idea of what to search for, and then you just have to look it up right now? Well, it started with Joni Mitchell. I saw this video before, but needed to see it again. It's her on a show based out of the University of Manitoba called "Lets Sing Out" back in the '60s when she was still Joni Anderson...

Joni is sooo awesome. I love that she's ours - a national treasure. Yea for talented Canadians. There's really so many, too many to list, but we really are a diverse and talented people. Here's another Joni treasure filmed about a year later...

So, looking for great Joni Mitchell videos led me to one of her on the Johnny Cash show, and of course, then I had to search for great Johnny Cash videos. Oh, I found them. Johnny may not be Canadian, but he's the original man in black, and definitely one of my personal favorites. Here's the first one I found (and it's one of my favorites) You can see the love in this one...

Then there was this classic treasure from the San Quentin prison concert and my personal favorite Johnny Cash of all time...

Anyway, there's some treasures for you. Just thought I'd share. Won't be posting for a few days, as I'm off to Utah for the week-end. My first time ever as a tourist. So excited.