Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Photo found here.

Bonjour mes amis!     Sveiki mano draugai!     Hola mi amigos!     Hello my friends!

If you know me well, you know I’m a lover of language. Of grammar. Of spelling. Of being correct. (And yes, I am fully aware of the fact that I don’t always write in complete sentences. And yes, I’m aware that if I were following all the rules of my native language, I wouldn't be starting a sentence with the word and.)

Along with loving the English language and all its rules and exceptions, I’m a lover of foreign languages. I love learning a bit of a new language each time I've traveled to a new country. This definitely comes in handy when trying to ask where the closest internet cafe is or when buying a bus ticket.

Lithuanian is the only language, aside from English, which I speak fluently. Oh, how I love Lithuanian grammar. Everything makes sense and there are very few exceptions. Nevermind that each noun in the language can be declined (meaning the suffix changes and therefore the meaning of the word changes) in six or seven different ways (cases) depending on its function in the sentence. Then there are five different declensions or sets of endings appropriate depending on the spelling of the original word in the nominative form. This means that a masculine word ending in -as declines differently than a masculine word ending in -is or -us. Or a feminine word ending in -a will decline differently than a feminine word ending in -e. Too confusing? It's really not, once you get the hang of it.

Take for example the Lithuanian word for world - pasaulis.You may see it in the following cases within a sentence depending on its function or meaning:
Nominative: pasaulis -the world (subject)
Genetive: pasaulio - of the world or the world's
Dative: pasauliui - to/for the world
Accusative: pasaulį - the world (object)
Instrumental: pasauliu - by the means of the world
Locative: pasaulyje - in the world
Vocative: pasauli - used when addressing the world, as in: "Hey world! Are you listening?"
So if you wanted to say, "He has the whole world in his hands," it would look like this:
Jis turi visą pasaulį savo rankose.
Or if you would rather say, "There are many hands in the world," it would look like this:
Yra daug rankų pasaulyje.
You can see that both the word hands (rankos) and world (pasaulis) changed suffixes based on their function in the sentence. What I didn't note is that one could also easily change the order of the words in the sentence and it would carry the same meaning because the word endings are indicative of the meaning.

I suppose it is rather complex and can be incredibly confusing to an English speaker, but once you learn all the grammar principles, it actually makes complete sense and helped me to understand English better. As Wikipedia states, "Lithuanian declension is quite sophisticated in a way similar to declensions in ancient Indo-European languages such as Sanskrit, Latin or Ancient Greek. It also is one of the most complicated declension systems among modern Indo-European and modern European languages."

Aside from Lithuanian, which surprisingly to many is an Indo-European language, though in ways more like a Slavic language, I used to be able to have a meaningful conversation in Russian. Now it’s mostly just numbers, “I don’t really speak Russian”, and the LDS sacrament prayers that roll around in my brain. And then there are the random French phrases that I memorized in middle school and high school. I even translated for a French girl who came to church one Sunday. Yeah, that was interesting. What else? Need someone to count to ten for you? I can do it in nearly 10 languages!

And of course there is my Spanish. I am skilled. In fact, I’ve had successful Spanglish conversations numerous times. One particular phrase came in handy at a very desperate time:
Solamente quiero ser amigos.
That, my friends, is a good phrase to memorize. (Go ahead copy and paste into Google Translate.) Maybe even more handy than: Donde esta el bano?

On a more serious note, for the past couple of years, I’ve been thinking about how I really should learn Spanish. It just makes sense. So many opportunities to connect with people have been missed because I don’t speak Spanish. And it’s a beautiful language. I mean, who doesn’t like rolling their R’s just for fun? Why not put that skill to good use?

Then about a month ago, my goal to learn Spanish became all the more relevant to me. I mean the importance of the need to learn it became evermore clear, when I received my voter registration card in the mail, detailing my polling information and redistricting of our political boundaries in the area. Right off the bat, it read:

Due to the new census data, Salt Lake County is now required to provide election information in both English and Spanish in accordance with the 1975 federal law, Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act.

Debido a los datos del Nuevo censo, el Condado de Salt Lake está obligado a proporcionar información sobre las elecciones en Inglés y Español, de acuerdo con la ley federal de 1975, Sección 203 de la Ley de Derechos Electorales.

And there you have it. It was as simple and quick as that. Spanish is officially on my to-do list.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Park City Summer Adventure with Mom.

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever."
~Author Unknown

Long overdue, but nonetheless fun for me to see again, here are some pictures from my graduation trip with my mom to Park City. Taking a trip and spending time alone with your mom is always fun. (At least I think so.) We stayed at this great hotel and just played for a few days.

We ate at some great restaurants. (I can't remember which ones.) Of course, we went swimming at our hotel. (No pictures.)

We walked and shopped up and down Main Street, buying a few books, a couple silver charms for our charm bracelets, and an ice cream cone.

The Deer Valley Music Festival has become a favorite summer activity for us. We went one evening to hear the Utah Symphony in the summer home at Deer Valley, with spectacular views of the mountains and sunset. Among other pieces, we were especially looking forward to Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" with actual cannons!

They were trying to protect the piano from the blazing sun, so it wouldn't go out of tune again before the concert started.

The following day, we rode the Park City ski lift up just to see the views. Seriously, that is one of my favorite things. I've taken a few ski lifts in the summer and I love it. I love the views. I love the peaceful feeling of just being up there and alone in a serene setting.

We made it to the top and walked around for a bit before we got back on and rode down the mountain.

At the top we found the weight that holds the ski lift in place. I guess I don't really know how it works, but it was fun to see.

On the way back down, we saw the old towers from the old lift...

we crossed paths with another lift and saw live pine cones...

Being on a lift like that is one of my favorite things in the world during the summer months. With a slight breeze, it's just peaceful and quiet, and perfectly relaxing ride.

Spending a weekend with Mom is just what I need every once in awhile.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction.

Hated Brussels sprouts.
Then got old and figured out
Brussels sprouts are yum.

~Brussels Sprouts Haiku
by eclaires

Is your mouth watering just from the title? No? You hate Brussels sprouts, you say? Well, really, I still urge you to try this recipe.

Roasting is my favorite way to cook vegetables. Toss any vegetable with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and then roast and you've hooked me. Roasting brings out such a rich earthy flavor.

I found this particular recipe on Pinterest and modified it for a smaller portion on Saturday night. I only wish I had more Brussels sprouts now so I could make more. So delicious!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Topped with Dried Cranberries
(adapted from Pioneer Woman's blog)

1 pound Brussels sprouts
1/8 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/8 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

Trim/clean Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half if desired (or you can leave them whole). Put Brussels sprouts in a mixing bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet covered in tin foil, for easy clean up, and roast at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown.

Combine balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and reduce until very thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the roasted sprouts, then sprinkle on dried cranberries. Toss and serve immediately.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Dream About A Boy.

"Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?"
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

A San Francisco Sunset. January 2012

I dreamed about a boy last night.
That doesn't happen often.
Certainly not often enough.
As you know from my last post, the main characters of my recent dreams have been large animals,
and the dreams are usually funny... although,
maybe someday soon I'll tell you about some of the intensely dramatic ones I've experienced lately.
But nevertheless, this dream joined the ranks of all my dreams of late, in its vivid detail.
And in the fact that I remembered it in the morning.

So this boy (cute cute boy)... in real life, I barely know him.
But we've had slightly more interaction in the last two weeks than we've ever had since we first met nearly four years ago.

In my dreamworld, this boy liked me.
First off, this makes any dream better.
I mean, come on now. The man in your dreams is in love with you?
Score one for the dream card!
He was cute. He was skinny. And he was in love with me.

the odd part about the dream was that he had a half prosthetic right upper thigh.
{insert laughter here}
Yeah, I know, I know. Weird.
I'm strange. Even in my dreams apparently.
But seriously, this prosthetic piece of thigh was amazingly functional.
So. cool. So detailed, so perfect.
He detached it so so I could see how it worked.
And his leg was still intact, just had a gaping hole the size of small watermelon, which the prosthetic filled in.
Okay, so maybe not a watermelon... but a SMALL oblong watermelon.
(This boy is skinny, so I'm sure his thighs aren't all that thick.)
I was so intrigued by how it worked so fluidly with his leg and didn't cause any sort of limp or anything.
An amazing medical device.

Random dream, I know.
But I can't help these random vivid dreams from coming.
And I don't want to.
It's fun.
And I know you all expected this "dream about a boy" to be a little more romantic in nature or maybe even foretelling.
And instead you got a medical oddity.
I know.
Work with me people.
And don't worry, it had its fair share of romance. :)
Let's just say my heart melted a little.
But, I'm going to go ahead and keep that to myself.

Oh, and happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dream a little dream.

"Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare."
~Frederick Henry Hedge

Photo of white tiger found here

Lately, I've been having extremely vivid dreams, which, lucky for my sense of humor (and yours), I typically remember in the morning.

Last night's dream was a battle with a hungry white Siberian tiger. Silly me thought I could just lock him out...however, the door did not have such sturdy locks. He barreled through despite throwing all my body weight against the door. Luckily, I was able to whip up a tiger dinner in seconds -- it was a dream, afterall. He was much nicer after that.

Also last night, I dreamed that I was running down some path with a friend and the wind kept kicking up my skirt so my underwear was exposed. I kept attempting to hold it down, but the wind just kept blowing harder and couldn't make it stop, so I finally gave up trying and danced around exposing myself to all who could see. (Somehow, that one doesn't seem so outrageous.)

Earlier this week, I was so impressed with my dream when I awoke that I posted it on FB:
Still marveling at my intensely vivid Cirque du Soleil dream from last night. There were tons of people flying through the air all throughout, but the finale was the most spectacular... about 50 people in the air in the shape of a hot air balloon, with sheets forming a "balloon" and mid-air acrobatics and costume changes. But the best part? Those 50 people were not even standing on any shoulders...they all could actually fly. It was a sight to see. :)
And just to shake up your sense of humor, here a few other random dreams I've had fairly recently, that I wrote about just so I'd have something to laugh at later.
So I've completely forgotten the full dream, but I had a dream a few weeks ago about a wild donkey bucking around in our house downstairs, though "our house" didn't look anything like our house, of course. Agnė, who was staying with us at the time, was screaming (something very unlike her) because the donkey was going crazy bucking around the downstairs. Suddenly the donkey, turned into a kangaroo, which was totally weird. Then the next thing I remember is that these two guys came out from hiding. They apparently had planned the whole thing as a practical joke. Apparently, one of the guys ended up being my boyfriend, but I didn't recognize him. Darn.
And another about animals attacking me. Hmmm, I'm beginning to see a pattern here.
Sunday afternoon, I took a nap and had a dream about a deer wandering into our house, which, of course, didn't look like our house. Then a big deer with antlers (an elk, maybe?) wandered in and was upset. He sort of held me at "antler point" in the back. Every time I breathed I could feel the pointy tips of his antlers. It was scary.

Seriously, where does my brain come up with things like this? Still, the Cirque du Soleil dream was so mesmerizing. Hope it happens again.

Friday, March 09, 2012


"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
~Harriet Van Horne

Several weeks ago, at one of my MANY doctor visits during the month of January (remember how I was sick with the heart attack flu?), my doctor recommended that I introduce more fish into my diet. Let it be said that I love fish and all things de la mer. That said, I just don't cook it all that often myself. I order it when I got out to eat. It's like my favorite delicacy...when someone else makes it for me.

Well, now that the doctor's orders have been laid down to eat it at least two to three times a week, I am trying to do just that. Only, because I'm always trying to save some money, this means cooking it myself and not spending an arm and a leg for someone else to do it for me.

Teriyaki Tilapia over greens - last Saturday's lunch

I must say I'm pretty proud of myself. Well, I've been successful at making some delicious tilapia and salmon. Tilapia is pretty mild, a little too mild, but still tasty especially when prepared well. But salmon? I love salmon. I always have. Tonight, when I went to Costco (only to buy paper towels, toilet paper, and shrimp, mind you), I came home with a 3.5 pound cut of whole salmon.

Whole salmon, you wonder? Yeah, I was a little over-ambitious, thinking that deboning it myself so I could save $4/lb wouldn't be too bad. Ha. Well, it wasn't really that bad, but I just didn't expect it to have so many bones. I know the bones are soft and pliable, which makes it that much more difficult. I'm not so sure I'd go that route again... except that my lemon rosemary salmon fillets (with most, but not all, bones removed) that I made last night were de-licious!

Lemon Rosemary Salmon

I was so busy de-boning that I didn't have time or energy to make the asparagus and Israeli couscous that I had planned on adding to the meal. Maybe I'll do that tonight, since I still have leftovers.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Gilgal Sculpture Garden.

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Awhile back, I decided that I wanted to be a tourist in my own city. I don't expect to live here my whole life, so I want to take advantage of the beauty and sights around me. You know, actively love the place I live (because I do). In case you may have missed some of my adventures, I'll refresh your memory.

Hiking Ensign Peak
Hiking to Cecret Lake in the Albion Basin
Exploring Bingham Canyon Mine

Little by little, I'm going to make it through my list of places to see. And maybe sometime I'll share my list, in case you want to add to it. :)

This weekend, I went with my friend BRB to Gilgal Sculpture Garden in downtown Salt Lake. It's been on my list for a little while, simply because I heard about it on a couple of websites talking about interesting places to go in SLC.

To be honest, the sculpture garden sounded a little odd to me (with a sphynx of Joseph Smith? weird), but nevertheless, I wanted to check it out. BRB had a project for his art class which required him to go somewhere he'd never been before and take pictures (or draw them), so I suggested Gilgal Sculpture Garden. We had just enough time to make it there, walk around, and take a few shots before the sun went down.

The sculpture garden is located in the middle of a downtown block, rather tucked away from view, so many people don't even know it exists. As the pamphlet, which I picked up at the entrance, states, "Gilgal Garden is the legacy of Thomas Child's desire to give physical form to his deep-felt beliefs."

Job 19:23-27

With twelve original sculptures and over seventy stones engraved with scriptures, poems, and other literary texts, the park has a decidedly religious feel to it. The sculptures all symbolize some story in the scriptures or a religious theme. Mr. Child expressed these themes in completely different way than I would. Interesting, I thought, because most of the time I feel like I can connect with an artist through their work. In this case, the person I imagined, through viewing his art, is not someone I think I'd have much in common with. Nevertheless, I can respect his desire to express and share his beliefs through his talents.

One that was interesting to me was his depiction of the shattered giant from the Biblical story of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream found in the Old Testament in Daniel chapter 2.

All in all it was an interesting field trip. Not interesting enough to return, but interesting enough to see one man's beliefs expressed through his art.

I promise that my next "tourist in my own backyard" post will be more interesting... in a good way.