Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving Thanks and all that...

Thanksgiving is the best. I love all the holidays (any excuse to eat and sleep in is fine by me), but Thanksgiving rules. Perhaps that's because I'm not the mom or hostess so it's a low stress time for me. I love all the rituals (really, do we have to have little nut cups with our names on them?), the time with family, and of course, the food.

We rarely get together for Thanksgiving as an entire family. Since both of my parents have passed away, the question of where to go for Thanksgiving is ever present. For many years my sister Linnea and I would rotate among family members. My older siblings are now grandparents (what the heck!), so there are always fun, noisy kids around.

In recent years, I have joined my sister and her family in Logan. The reason for this is simple (no, Loene and Alan, it's not because I love Annette the most): gluten-free stuffing, gravy, rolls and pies! Celiac disease really puts a damper on the holiday feasting, but since 6 out of 9 in my sister's family are fellow Celiac-kers, my sister cooks up a fabulous gluten-free feast. This year my nephew, his wife and their 3 girls also joined us. Casey actually made the pies and did a great job with the gluten-free crusts. It was a fun day-beautiful weather in Logan.

Another thing that made this a special holiday was a special man in my life, Sammy. Now before you get all excited, Sammy is my friend's shitzu. I got to be his foster parent for a week. He is a smart little soul; very loving and snuggly. It was fun to have him around. Sometime I'll get a dog, but for now I'm better off just being a once-in-a-while parent.

That's it. Lots to be grateful for!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stampin Up! Down Under!

I was given the most amazing opportunity last month. I spent a week with the wonderful Australian demonstrators and two of the Australian Stampin' Up! employees.

I flew into Sydney. Unfortunately, my luggage wasn't in the mood to travel, so it remained in Los Angeles. By the time we got things documented, I had missed my flight to Melbourne. I arrived there Friday afternoon (love Melbourne!) and met up with Aaron and Hollie who work for SU Australia. We walked and walked and walked to a yummy Thai place, then I crashed.

Still no luggage, so I presented some stamping techniques using my hotel amenities kit-the shower cap, nail file, q-tips, etc. It was fun and the event attendees were super sweet to me. My luggage showed up around 7 pm.

Sunday I flew to Hobart in Tasmania. I love to say that. Who gets to say they flew to Tasmania for work? I enjoyed several days on my own, then Aaron and Hollie joined me. Our Hobart event went well. It was great to be able to really stamp!

I ended my trip in Perth, where we held an event for 200 attendees. I really enjoy Perth and the demos there. For some reason it feels like home to me. We ate some amazing Indian food that night then Aaron flew to Syndey. Hollie left in the early afternoon the next day and I didn't fly out 'til 11:00 pm, so I was grateful when Ngaire Anderson called to see if I'd like to take a field trip. She brought her two kids and we went to a memorial park (cemetery) where kangaroos just roam around. There were lots of mamas with joeys. It was so cute! After that we went to Hillary's on the Indian Ocean and ate some fish and chips. Ngaire's kids are darling. They created a great memory for me to take on my journey home.

Getting home was horrible. A major delay in leaving Sydney (after an all-nighter to get there from Perth) resulted in further delays in the LA. I was plumb tuckered out by the time I landed in Salt Lake!

My darling friend Cathi brought me over dinner, then I crashed around 8 p.m. and slept until 11 a.m. the next day.

New friends, fun stamping, great food. What's better than that?

Saying Goodbye to a Dear Friend

I never intended to wait this long to post, and I was ready to report on Australia...but last Saturday I got a text from my dear friend Mary telling me her husband, Neil, was in critical condition at the hospital due to the H1N1 virus. After stuggling for days, Neil passed away last Wednesday night.

I am so sad for Mary and her kids. I'm sad for me. Neil has taken fabulous care of my yard for two summers. I will miss his attention to detail and pride in what he did. I will miss his dependability and stability. Neil was always there and now he isn't.

I am sad.