Christmas Card 2014

Happy holidays!

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to write to you this year after a near drowning mishap with my friends in Yellowstone. Thankfully I survived and get to send this card to you all.

Photo by Mirielle Sanford
This year I moved into a new house with my sister, Allison. Its a beautiful historic home right in the heart of Provo and we have enjoyed having many small get-togethers with friends inside its walls. We like to brag that we live in a house with its own Wikipedia page which you can read here.

Soon after moving I left my job at Mocavo and joined a small catering company in South Provo called Mountain Vista Catering. Its a small company so while I run their outside sales I also am working in the kitchen and learning a great deal about food preparation, mostly how great it is to have a commercial kitchen.

I am still serving as the executive secretary in my local congregation and it continues to prove satisfying. This is my third Bishop to serve under and I’m hoping to hit four years of service (coming up in June) before they shift my labors elsewhere.

I wish you the very best this Christmas and send this note with my love.


November Condensed


This will be a tiny post but my Christmas card will be coming up soon; hopefully next week. I did however want to share a bit of what happened in the month of November since I neglected my blog the entire time.
I voted in the midterm elections! This isn't very exciting on its own but I wanted to take the weirdest #ivoted photo; thankfully I had a bunch of stickers from my time working for the county Elections department a couple years ago.
I cooked my first turkey! Our Gilmore Girls group has a monthly potluck and we naturally had a Thanksgiving theme this month. (Photo by Mirielle Sanford)
For actual Thanksgiving Allison and I drove over to Colorado and stayed with my brother, Seth. My aunt hosted the dinner which was fantastic except for two things: my dish turned out to be unpalatable, and there were no sweet potatoes; so sad. We hit the thrift stores for black friday and I found the coolest typewriter. Which I now plan on using to type everything from checks, forms, and envelopes.
While we were there we also picked up  my brother's old TV and in-house AC unit (for our living room), and our grandmother's grandfather clock which now sits proudly in our main hall.

OH! AND I BOUGHT MSG! I bought three pounds of MSG which I am so exited to start using in food. I am totally serious about this and am not being ironic, I really bought MSG and I really am excited to figure out how to use it as a seasoning. I'm hoping to start implementing it in recipes at work as soon as possible.


McKinleyville Trip

My brother Justin recently moved himself and his family out to Northern California and so five weeks ago Seth flew out to Provo and we made the 16 hour drive to visit them. The drive was pretty but the only remarkable things were that it rained the entire time and the strong skunk smell of marijunana as we started driving through Humbolt County, CA.
Trinidad Beach
 Over the next week we went on various excursions. The kids were still in school so Seth and I would go on solo trips during the day with a big group outing later in the evening. Seth and I also cycled through all the kids giving them special trips with us each night we were there.
Trinidad Beach (this is not a gravestone)
I unfortunately did not take many pictures but in addition to the below Seth and I explored downtown Eureka and saw some meth-heads sell stolen merchandise, we went to a tiny cheese factory in Loleta, I learned all about Animal Jam and my nieces' obsession over it, and picked up my nieces and nephews from school every day.
Riverbed in the Avenue of the Giants

The second tallest totem poll, someone in Canada took the crown.

Fern Canyon, a really cool hike through a steep riverbed where the walls were literally covered in ferns. There were also caterpillars EVERYWHERE; carpeting the walls and piling up in big piles of corpses in the river)

On the last day we went to Agate Beach and watched the sunset.
One of my neices asked if we could go to Moonstone Beach for her special evening because "everyone gets along at Moonstone Beach." It was in fact a magical place.

We had a fire on the beach fulfilling one of my dreams.
The trip was a nice mix of relaxation and doing things and I'd happily visit again. Apologies should be said to Justin and Jen as I did not take a single picture of them even though they kindly hosted us.

For good measure here is a cute video of my niece Wren playing on the beach after the camp fire.


New Jobs

Guys, so I know I haven't posted on this blog in a long time but once a month is still decent. To be fair my computer was broken and the thought of writing a post on my phone sounded miserable but as of yesterday my laptop is back on its feet which means this blog can join it.
Photo by Jon
I wear a hat now.
First off I should tell you that I started a new job. As of the eighth I am now a "chef" at Mountain Vista Catering which is located in South Provo. The gist of the job is that I work with a team of three other people and craft lunches for around 200 people every day. Since its only lunch the hours are great and it involved a bump in pay so I'm still making roughly the same as I did at Mocavo.

Speaking of Mocavo, it goes without saying that I quit. My last two weeks involved training my replacement (less several days when the office was closed) which meant I just hung out with my coworkers. I worked at Mocavo for over a year and a half and I was sad to go but it will be a good change in my life.


I also got released as the ward executive secretary! To be more accurate, the ward I was serving in was dissolved and everyone was released. Even though I had advanced notice of the change it still hurt my heart to hear the official announcement a few Sundays ago. I served and lived in the Provo YSA 226th ward for many years and had many great memories.
Bishop Kaufusi and President Mackay, the two Bishops I served under.
Almost our entire ward was absorbed by a neighboring Stake and we are now part of the Provo City YSA 2nd ward and I was immediately called as the  ward executive secretary.

Press onward, ever onward.


The one where I moved and almost died.

It happened almost a month ago but it’s a big enough deal that it still deserves a blog post. On July 19 I moved out of my dear cousins’ house (after four years) and into the coolest house in Provo, the Knight-Allen House.
Used without permission, sorry Kersti.
My sister  and I will be sharing the upstairs 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment and couldn’t be happier with it unless it had air conditioning. I keep hoping that we will be haunted by Inez Knight, the most famous resident of the home and sometimes when I am home alone I will start talking to her in hopes that she decides to be my friend. She would then make me ghost-pies which taste just as good as normal pie but have zero calories because my body can't digest ectoplasm.

Really though the apartment is great and I’ve been so caught up in getting the place set up that I have neglected most of the rest of my life. I don’t have any pictures of the interior but if you ever want a tour we can do a Google Hangout. Once we finish the furnishings some more we will host a housewarming party for those in the area.

Fear not though, I haven't sold my summer to this house even if it feels like it sometimes. My good friends J&T invited me along on a couple family vacations to Bear Lake and a road trip through Yellowstone and the Tetons.
Paddleboarding on Bear Lake with Harrison. I am so safe.
Playing in "Shelterland" at Yellowstone which was basically a bunch of log lean-tos. This was our primary activity in Yellowstone.
While in Yellowstone we went swimming in Firehole River, a semi-rapid popular swimming area. Jon convinced me to jump into the rapids and float down the river. I had a feeling it was a bad idea but I also have a bad habit of doing things to appear masculine so I plunged in the river. After scrambling to reach the surface I floated for short time before going through a narrow section and being sucked below. By the time I got out my entire body was exhausted and I almost was unable to swim to shore. These kind of near-death experiences are important.

We stayed in Jackson over night so we had to take our picture at the antler arch. Poor Jon is never in any pictures.
Hanging out at Jenny lake in the Tetons.
Drinking coke in Cokeville, WY.
The saddest part of the trip was easily on the way home. As we were leaving Cokeville an eagle swooped down in front of us and we slammed into it at 50 MPH. As I turned around I watched it tumble from the air into the grass surely dead or soon to be. We didn't stop.

It was a good trip.

Here are some other pictures.
We went to Llamafest and Allison made a llama head that could spit even.
Deer selfie while picking raspberries in Mapleton. I ended up making jam which turned out pretty good.
I turned into a dinosaur for a child's birthday party.
Onward and upward.


Lemonade and Firecrackers

I confess I have fell behind on this blog recently with almost two months of inactivity so before I write about my fourth of July weekend here are some of the things I did:
On to Independence Day Extravaganza.

Provo takes Independence Day seriously but not in the extreme patriotism way--rather they take it as an excuse to come together as a community in a multitude of activities. I've written about this in the past but it really is just so great and tradition dictates that I hit up the the children's parade, the block party, biking the parade route, the parade, neighborhood scones, naps, the downtown fair (specifically sharing a turkey leg), the fireworks, and the balloon festival!
Photo courtesy of JB
Dancing at the block party always involves throwing children.
Waiting for the parade at my parents' home.
Its a long weekend and this year we added an additional activity, Allison and I created a music festival.

The idea came when Allison wanted to set up a house show for her friend Levi Weaver from Nashville who is currently touring with his family in an RV. Realizing it would be difficult to convince people to pay to hear a stranger play music we decided to make a whole event out of it and thus the Lemonade Folk Festival was born.

Levi was steller. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the concert as a whole.
I confess I took a more minor roll in the program as Allison booked all the bands but I did some help planning and setting up and made all the lemonade from scratch. The result was magical and enough people donated that we were able to pay all the bands. If you are so inclined you should check out the other acts as well: Jodie Skidmore and Midas Whale. (Elephant's Child unfortunately does not have a website that I know of)

Oh, I also commissioned my first painting and I'm quite happy with the result.


That Car is Mine

If I'm going to keep up my goal of updating this here blog twice a month I better get on it. I'm going to be going on two vacations in the remainder of the month though so hopefully I'll have something worthwhile to tell you all.


I paid off my car!
Looking suave in Northern California (2010)
I actually finished a year early as I hated having debt. I wasn't planning on finalizing it until the end of the year but I was sitting at home one day and on a whim I decided it would be fun to drop most of my savings and just end my monthly car payment. This made my budget app go CRAZY but it was incredibly freeing to be out of debt; I had to talk myself out of quitting my job and just driving across the nation.
Naturally the week after I paid it off I go to the grocery store and right after I park, a kid in the next stall slams his door open and it hits so hard my car shakes. The father insisted that the large dent with white paint on it wasn't from his son but it wasn't worth pushing. I'm just going to call it my vehicle's christening.

In other news:
I got a haircut!
Just chilling with a pizza oven.


Fake Promotions and Astronomy

Happy Easter; I have health insurance! I've done a bunch of other things as well but you won't get to hear about all of them because suspense in intrigue is more fun than a post that is pages and pages long. I am feeling sick though so don't expect me to be funny.

I'm going to be picking up a lot more responsibilities at work soon. Our HR manager will be taking maternity leave shortly and is passing a large portion of her workload to me including payroll, hiring, and firing. The details aren't really worked out but a part of me wants to go mad with power, give myself a 500% pay raise, and fire everyone. I probably won't do these things but it will be a nice back-end experience. I have recently given myself the job title Prince Regent of Customer Service" and my manager didn't turn it down so I consider it my official job title which I will be putting on my future resumes.

My cousin, Drew is getting married this weekend and was kind enough to ask me to be in his wedding party which is really great. The couple asked me to create a few signs to guide reception attendees up the canyon to the venue. Allison is pictured painting my worst one but they generally turned out really well and it felt incredibly satisfying building something. I don't think I would ever want to be a professional woodworker as I would get sick of the monotony but I would love to have a wood shop one day--and the money to buy nice wood would be good.

I confess I did some other things as well but I can't write about them yet since they are going to be a surprise for certain individuals. A container of touch-up paint melted open in my glove compartment, I acted as a witness in a mock trial (court is mean), and I've been working in my parents' garden which I am going to just call my garden from now on.

Oh and Sarah and I stayed up for the blood moon.


Baptisms and Toothpicks

Towards the end of March I went to Colorado to participate in the baptism and confirmation of my nieces Wren and Accalia. After my last post I found out that Wren had requested that I baptize and confirm her--making it my first experience doing so.
Naturally the baptism went great and it caused me to reflect on my own membership in the church and its importance in my life. Even more moving was the confirmation where I acted as the voice. I was quite nervous about knowing what to say but when my mind was the most empty I always knew the next word to say even if I had no idea what was to come after it. I'm proud of the girls as I know they joined the true Church of Christ.

It was a pretty quick trip to Colorado; after the baptism we helped my two brothers, and grandmother move to new places and then turned around and came home. It was only a couple days later when my sister-in-law had her baby and my mother made the drive back over.

Here are some other things I did:
The Provo Food and Care Coalition hosts a fundraiser every year in which you can buy soup and a ceramic bowl made by a local artisan. The event is great because no only is it one of the first warm outdoor events of the year but the soup and bowls are great. This was my third year attending and if you're in Provo next Spring its worth checking out.

 I also put toothpicks in my beard during a late game night. There was really no reason to do this besides the curiosity of how many would stay in. I am amazed that I fit 180 in there before they started to fall out.

I've been house-sitting with my sister while my parents are out of town and have been cooking more than usual (so more than never). I already hosted a small dinner party where I made Indian food which was a hit and I actually improvised a meal one night based on ingredients my parents had in the pantry. Cooking is much more entertaining when you don't have to do it to live.


Roller Derbies and Bow Ties

Life has been crazy this month and the only reason I have had time to stop and update this blog is because my CEO decided we all needed a break and gave us the day off. I still had to go in for a half day but it means I get to take another half-day next week for my trip to Colorado.
I don't even know when things happen but at some point since my last post I went to a roller derby match and it was the most amazing thing. My sister invited me and two of my friends to join her and we went in completely blind. I remarked as we entered that I had no idea what was going to happen but I knew I was in the right place, grinning ear to ear. We really had no idea what was going on until I looked up the basic rules online and after that we could see the techniques for what they were and it was magical. We may buy season passes.
I suppose I should also mention that I added four more bow ties to my collection bringing my total to 12. My sister told me I am becoming obsessed and my response was how I wanted to eventually have a different bow tie for every week of the year. Oh and yes, the last one on the right is black, silver, and sequins--I will look fabulous.
I will leave you with this drawing by Mirielle; she sketches everyone who speaks in Sacrament and I usually text her for a copy of my picture as soon as I sit down. Yes, I trimmed by beard since then.


The Rest of February

First off, as an update from my last post I did finally receive an apron! Since my original Secret Santa dropped out someone else volunteered to give me an apron to keep it fun. I was very appreciative of the gift but I admin that I gave it away to my cousin a couple hours after opening it; just not my style.
I realized I hadn't posted on this blog in a couple of weeks and had to consult my daily journal to see if I did anything worth mentioning. My journal has been going every day for almost a year now with additions from journal fragments I found among my childhood things and, for your information, on October 25, 1993 "I riedd my Bike arand the bak. And paled vadeo games. I want to Crahe."

I don't have a strong narrative for this post but here are some snapshots:
As single people on Valentine's a few of us crashed a dance party hosted by some family wards.
I got a haircut!
I have a few trips planned in March so hopefully I've have some real stories for you! If not I can just post more of my childhood journal entries and call it good.We'll avoid the high school years though, no one needs daily updates on who my crushes were.


Reddit Apron Exchange

As I mentioned in a previous post I signed up for an internet exchange of aprons, here is my followup.You may recognize the design I sketched out for a previous post. I had to make a few modifications but overall it turned out really nice!
Left: My original design posted to this blog a few weeks ago.
Right: My modified fabric selections. It was the first time I had to go into a store to buy coordinating fabric and the selection was overwhelming.

Left: Front panel assembled with the pocket. I varied the strips from 2-4" for aesthetics upon the suggestions of many and I'm glad I did.
Right: Finished product, after taking this picture I was really tempted to keep the apron and mail a pre-made apron but I figure I can always make another one.

Unfortunately my Secret Santa seems to have forgotten to send me an apron which saddened me until today when I received this picture from Elize, my giftee:
"My secret Santa has send me a apron made by herself! I will cherish the gift and use it on festive days!"
I'm not even mad that she called me a girl; that is the cutest little old lady. Hopefully my apron is still on its way but if not it's neat enough that one of my creations will be loved in a tiny house in Enkhuizen, Netherlands.