Friday, May 31, 2013

Grandpa turns 94!

"Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs."

Happy birthday to my Grandpa! I've spent many a Christmas morning with this man, traveled across the country just the two of us, visited his childhood homes, and eaten countless bowls of ice cream with this man I call Grandpa.

Grandpa is an artist and designer, a baseball lover, a tile-rummy and scrabble player, a singer, an ice cream connoisseur, and a traveler. While reading his autobiographical life history, I noticed that the two things that kept creeping up every couple of pages or so were girls and ice cream. :) What can I say? He has always had an eye for the finer things in life.

Photo borrowed from Nat, my cousin

I love him and am proud to be one of "his" peeps, not only a grand-daughter, but a friend. Happy birthday, Grandpa! I'm looking forward to the 95th bash.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Girl Rising: Showcasing the Strength of the Human Spirit and the Power of Education to Change the World.

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."
~George Washington Carver

Photo found here

Nelson Mandela once said that, "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." So I heard about what looks like it will be a really cool documentary, GIRL RISING, and really wanted to go. It's a film about educating girls, and by doing so, changing the world.

If you're into documentaries, like I am, then you should check it out. The screening is June 10th, at the Water Gardens Spanish Fork 8 and tickets are just $10. Now that I bought tickets, as of this moment, there are only 41 tickets left to this special screening. Awhile back, there was a screening in Salt Lake, but I missed it and decided that the drive (or the Frontrunner train-ride, as it will be) would be worth it.

Click here to read more about it and buy tickets to this screening.

Also, here is a preview written up in the Salt Lake Deseret News. And another one by Public Radio International. Looks good, right? So come.

Here's the trailer.


Need to grab a tissue? Feel inspired? Well, go buy a ticket. See you there!

Thanks to cjanekendrick for letting me know about this screening.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Spring City. My Heritage.

"You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you,
but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach,
because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you."
~Frederick Buechner

Today, Mom, Stephen, my cousin Cebre, and I ventured down to Spring City, Utah. Never heard of it? The geographical center of the State of Utah, Spring City is the town that my grandmother's ancestors founded and settled.

On the trip down, Mom read to us, from her family history archives, stories of our ancestors. Hearing about these people, *my* people, and seeing where they lived always excites me to do more family history and genealogy work.

A duplex, which looks like a triplex since there is a door on in the middle of the second floor.

Every year the town, which is on the National Historic Register (the whole town), puts on Heritage Days, when homeowners can open up their home to a tour. The entire town of Spring City is on the National Historic Register for two reasons: 1) the town documents the techniques of typical Mormon town planning in Utah and 2) the sheer number of intact original pioneer day homes, religious buildings, and commercial establishments of the time which are all remarkably well preserved. The architecture of these buildings were influenced by the familiar homes of those who settled the area, so there is a contingent of eastern and southern United States influence, as well as a very large of Danish influence (my peeps). Also as time went on, late 1800s, early 1900s styles of architecture from Salt Lake City and Provo were emulated as they continued to build the town up after initial settlement.

Cebre and Mom in front of the old Allred School House

The town was first settled and built in 1852. The name Spring City, though originally "Allred Settlement," was chosen due to the natural fresh water springs found in the town, one of which can be seen on Main Street. The water is delicious and refreshing on a hot day.

This was not the first time I've been to Spring City. I've been several times in the last ten years with my Mom to Heritage Days. In fact, though I've visited numerous times in the past, the very first time was when I was maybe six or seven years old. Grandma and Grandpa Tubbs took Tracy, Lindsay, and me on a road trip to Utah from Las Vegas, where my brother and I were staying with our cousins for the summer. I'm not sure how we got so lucky, except we were fairly well behaved girls who could, all three, fit in the backseat comfortably of Grandpa and Grandma's blue Toyota Cressida. I remember feeling sad that Shepherd couldn't go with us and had to stay and work in the warehouse with "the boys." Still do. I'm not sure if he's ever been. I'll have to take him next time he comes.

I remember all the new sights and sounds I discovered on that trip. Spotting license plates from different states along the way, I recall, was one of my favorite parts of the road trip. Always a list girl and always please to check things off those lists. Also, Grandma got pulled over for speeding in the left lane. Somehow, she talked her way out of the ticket, explaining that she had a new car, which made her feel like she was hardly driving (not noticing that she was going 85mph in what was probably a 65mph zone at that time), and was from California, so she didn't know that continuous driving in the left lane was against the law. Apparently in Utah, unless you're passing, you should stay out of the left lane. (I don't think anyone obeys this law now, though I wish they did so they'd get out of my way and I could speed on by.) Grandma sure had spunk and, in a sense, flirted her way out of that ticket. I completely remember her smile and tone of voice when she was talking to the officer. I'd like to think that I'll pick up some of that from her in my life.

In 2010, Forbes magazine apparently identified Spring City as "one of the prettiest towns in America." That is, according to Wikipedia. I'd say that I second that vote.

Judge Jacob Johnson Home, which has been fully restored and is beautiful both inside and out.

I love that you can see the face of this bee among the forget-me-nots.

These poppies were huge and truly stunning.
The Old Public School which is in the process of renovation.

We ate lunch just outside the Old Public School building, which is in the midst of being renovated. It's a huge project and I think they are continually trying to raise enough money to fully complete renovation. I'm looking forward to the day when I can walk through the completed building. This year, we were able to go through the main level. They have a long way to go, but it will be spectacular.

Mom and Stephen enjoying the gardens of the Jacob Johnson Home.

Cebre and I in the garden of the Jacob Johnson Home. Can you see the size of those poppies?!?

Beautiful bleeding hearts.
Walking around and seeing the houses, the farms, the yards, the flowers was wonderful, but the best part was being with Cebre, Mom, and Stephen and thinking about my ancestors. This was their town. They settled it.

The three girls take a rest together on a bench just outside one of the homes.
When I was here with Grandma and Grandpa, we came for a family reunion for all the descendants of Grandma's great-grandparents. I know I met a lot of "cousins" that day and I spent the day this time wishing I knew those cousins better, wishing that Grandma were still around to talk to and tell us her stories and to come with us to Spring City and point out all the houses. We drove past a couple, including the family portrait house and Aunt Iva's, where I came on that first trip to Spring City. Aunt Iva is Grandma's aunt (her mother's sister) and all I remember is that we sat in her living room and talked and she offered me a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle. But I remember how much love she had to share. It just emanated from her.

On our way home, we drove to the Provo Cemetery to leave flowers on the graves of (great-)Uncle Bert, Great-Grandpa Frederick, and Great-Grandma Maud Eliza. The cemetery was sprinkled with flowers.

All in all, it was a great way to spend Heritage Day and Memorial Day, remembering my heritage. If you're curious about your heritage, check it out at on FamilySearch!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Race Card Project: Oh my gosh. I'm white too.

"You may not control all the events that happen to you,
but you can decide not to be reduced by them."
~Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

You may or may not have heard about The Race Card Project, an idea that began with Michele Norris, of All Things Considered fame, and her desire to take the nation's pulse on race and start a conversation. The idea was to think about experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments or observations about race and identity and then turn those thoughts into a six word sentence. Since she started, this has blossomed into a project that has piqued the interest of many, not only across The United States, but all over the world. It's a fascinating venture that is published on this website.

Some of the stories are funny, while others are heartbreaking. Some you'll be able to relate to, while others will make you uncomfortable. Fascinating to me, really. All in the name of understanding and having a conversations. I'm all for it. I mean, are not we all cousins anyway? Hey, that's six words... :)

You can even make your own "race card," which of course I jumped at the chance of doing.

So here's my submission, which has not yet been published on the site, maybe it never will be. I'm not sure. They must be reviewing thousands of submissions. Who knows. If Michele decides to publish it on the site, I'll update this post with a link. Cross your fingers!

Oh my gosh. I'm white too.
by Emery Smith, Salt Lake City, UT

I grew up in San Francisco where being a white kid in public school placed you in the minority. Most of my friends were Chinese, Japanese, Korean, black, or some mixed combination. We were like a mini U.N. With my very pale skin and light blue eyes, I was different. People would comment on how fair my skin was or how blue my eyes were. I felt noticed.

When I moved to Provo, Utah to go to college, I felt somewhat out-of-place in this "vanilla-city," full of so many "foreign" looking faces...that were white. One day, well into my freshman year, while walking down a very long hallway at school, I spotted a tall, very good looking black man at the other end. Immediately, I felt a connection and hoped that he would notice me too. As we walked towards each other, my thoughts turned to why I might notice him among the many faces in the crowded hallway. "Well, he's tall. {I'm 5'10", myself.} He's stunning. And, he's black. He's different." With my eyes glued to him, willing him to look up and notice me (the other "different" one in the crowd), I suddenly realized why he wasn't giving me a second look... "I blend in. I'm not different. I am lost in this sea of white faces. Oh. My. Gosh. *I'm* white, too."

(Oh and random piece of trivia for you today... Michele pronounces her first name MEE-shell.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


"Your life is what your thoughts make it."
~Marcus Aurelius

Double Rainbow in Salt Lake City on 15 May 2013
Photo Credit: Lennie Mahler, found here

... We had a beautiful rainstorm the other day, which was a welcome relief after the uncharacteristcally hot week. It's supposed to be spring, so I invite any and all rainstorms our way! Especially when they result in stunning double rainbows like the one we had (shown above). The colors were so brilliant.

... Do you think women who name their children Braxton never consider the name until they are going into fake labor? Maybe, except then there might be an equal number of babies named Hicks. Either way, I can't figure out the appeal of the name. (It was the 125th most popular baby boy name in the U.S. in 2012. Whaaa? Want to see others click here.) (Also for a good laugh, read about Idaho's baby names here.)

... Speaking of babies and pregnancy... apparently someone is trying to pose as me and got a 14-week ultrasound in my name in March. Hahaha. I got a bill a week and a half ago, from a familiar company (since I had so many tests and xrays, etc. done last year). Since it looked familiar I didn't open it right away, even though I wondered to myself what it might be for. When I opened it, I still couldn't figure out what it would be for, but when I spoke with them on the phone today, they said, "Oh that's for the ultrasound you received on March 27th." Ultrasound? Haha. Sorry, see that's the problem. I didn't receive an ultrasound. And for the record, I'm not pregnant. :)

... Showtune Saturday night on 106.5 FM in Salt Lake is no more. SO sad. I was really sick during the middle to end of December and not at work, so I wasn't listening to the radio much. At the beginning of January, I took a marvelous cruise to Hawaii with my family (more on that in a post to come), and so I didn't start listening to 106.5 until mid-January. A month hiatus, if you're pay attention. For two weeks, on my way to work, I couldn't figure out why 106.5 had such weird, songs. I finally heard that they were bought out and completely changed the genre of music and did away with Showtune Saturday night. Five months later, I'm still in mourning.

... Still obsessed with Kate. Which Kate? HRH The Duchess Kate. I am my grandmother's daughter.

... In my absence from this blog, I became addicted to Grey's Anatomy. They are now an extension of my family. At least that's how it feels sometimes. In three months, I shared eight years with them, thanks to Hulu. I got caught up in time to step into the last half of Season Nine and watch with Kate. You know, The Other Kate. KDJ The Other Kate. (She pines after Harry, as much as I pine after Pine.)

... I have lost the majority of motivation to cook for myself. You'd think this would help me lose some of the weight I gained last year being sick. No such luck.

... Because I can.

... After buying my house, I soon learned that I live parallel to a helicopter route. While this might annoy some people, I absolutely love it. Whenever I see a helicopter I always wonder where it's going and imagine its occupants. Unfortunately, all too often, it's Life Flight, so I say a little prayer.

... I've decided to add "extensive experience dealing with stupid people" to my resume. That has GOT to be a marketable skill.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Random: Emery, The Original.

"Always end the name of your child with a vowel,
so that when you yell the name will carry."
~Bill Cosby

I suppose it's possible that one of my three readers doesn't really know me and therefore, does not know that my name is Emery, not eclaires. Well, my name IS eclaires, but maybe that's a post for another time. Anyhow...

I know I should find this flattering, but somehow, as someone who never had to "share" her name or be relegated to using the first initial of her last name in order to be identified in her 3rd grade class, I find this reality encroaches on my sense of individuality. Seriously identity crisis. I'm going to focus on feeling flattered, since I was born 27 years before my name first appears in the top 1000 names. By then, I was the coolest person ever and everyone wanted their children to take after me... right?

Check out baby name popularity in the U.S. here.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Granite Flats. BYUtv Original Series.

"The vision must be followed by the venture.
It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs."
~Vance Havner

Photo found on

Several weeks ago, I started watching this family-oriented TV show on BYUtv. The series is BYUtv's first attempt at a scripted drama. They cater to the whole family, trying to produce a show that every member of the family could sit down and enjoy as they watch together. I think they've done a pretty good job. It's not my favorite, maybe because I'm used to the dramatic story-lines that appeal only to a more mature audience, but still it's not bad, especially for the younger crowd. And tonight is the season finale, but you can watch all the previous episodes right on I'll be curious to hear your review.

With a desire to encourage them to continue venturing out into the scripted drama series world, I "liked" the Granite Flats page on FB and left this comment. And guess who "liked" my comment? Oh, just the lead actor, Nathan Gunn. :)

Thanks for an entertaining show. I watched the first two episodes on and will continue to watch.
The plot lines were slightly on the slow side for me; I wish that it would be slightly meatier and move a little faster. Or maybe it was the development of the characters that seemed slightly loose and not yet fully convincing of their "reality." I'm not sure. It could just be that I'm used to in your face TV drama. :) But I suppose your target audience age range is wider than most popular mainstream shows, so you must be able to appeal to all both in interest and comprehension.

But overall, I quite enjoyed it. I felt the acting was good. Acting is only ever as good as the writing. The details in scenery and props were very convincing and added to the authenticity of Granite Flats. The hair, clothing, cars, etc. were really great! Immediately, I knew the time period simply because of the details.

I hope that it will be enough of a success, that you and byutv will continue to delve into more scripted series such as this one, providing a genre that is simply hard to come by these days. Thank you for your efforts. You should be proud of your work. I look forward to more! (Wow, that turned out to be a very long comment.) :)

Oh, and if you watch, pay close attention in the pilot episode for my future father-in-law, Robert Pine. (Yes, that's Chris's dad who used to be on CHiPs. And for crazy trivia purposes, for you Mormons out there who may have ever seen the short video "On The Way Home," a kind of goofy (because it's old-school) Mormon movie produced in the 1990s about how families are eternal units: Robert Pine plays the Dad. And let's be honest, while the video has an overall good message about families (a few ways they present doctrine are odd to me), everything produced in the 90s seems a little goofy to me. Just take a look at their clothes. ;) Fun times.

And just for the heck of it:



Friday, May 17, 2013

Not giving up... on blogging nor Chris Pine.

"Never, never, never give up."
~Winston Churchill

I haven't given up on blogging. Really, I haven't. At least I don't think I have. All the time, I think about things I could write about, but then, for some reason, I just don't sit down and write. But I'm turning a corner (in many aspects of my life) and I have a few posts brewing right now, so be excited. Very very excited.

Or at least try.

For now, I just have to publicly admit, once again, that I am in love with Chris Pine. (Remember when I first fell for him, four years ago? Hyeah. Me too.) The man is beautiful. Talented. And the first thing he looks for in a woman is intelligence. We're meant to be, right? ;) I'm not giving up; he's single. Said so on Ellen. By the way, I love the beard he sports on Ellen. Love it. Love him. Go ahead, click on the link and watch the video.

Okay, just one more. Just look at those eyebrows.

Emery Pine. It works.