First, Katy and I went to the ballet Madame Butterfly back in February. The ballet was gorgeous, detailed and spectacular--everything I expect from the fine company to the north which is why we made the trek in the first place. I like to dip my toes in the cultural waters and see if I can get anything to stick. We even took this photo--illegally. The nice lady usher came up and told us this several times as we kept trying to snap a photo of ourselves with my camera and then with my cell phone. Both times we were encouraged to put away such devices as what we were doing was rather naughty. Apparently the management is rather frightened that we might end up taking a photo of something more important than the little, squished chairs we were crammed into up on the balcony.
So, this was the best photo of the lot and one that made me laugh as I remembered the dinner that Katy and I had gorged on just shortly before and the smoking oven that resulted. We had roast chicken and my new favorite broccoli recipe and somewhere in there my little oven did its ritual bout of smoking profusely because of a pool of oil that had collected on the bottom of the oven. I'm learning that yes, I have to clean it more often. Katy just said that it didn't seem she and I could have a really spectacular meal unless a fire was involved somewhere along the way.
Which is exactly why the two of us are friends. She gets me.
Second in my stock of photos was this one from Dad's birthday earlier this month. Mom made another delicious cake and even went so far as to collect all 63 candles needed to celebrate Dad's age appropriately.
Resulting in this rather exciting fireworks display that left some of the wee ones entirely entranced. And most of us big ones as well.
And if we are being honest, I'm sure it left Dad himself a bit stunned. I never seem to be able to wrap my head around how old I'm getting so I imagine it only gets worse with age when you feel young and totally yourself on the inside but you start to realize that age and evidence are collecting on the outside after seeing a lighting display like the one shown.
I hope it was a happy birthday, Dad, despite the rather bright reminder of your years. I'm lucky to have you and lucky you have allowed me the space and honesty to be myself--even braving the ride with me. I'm not sure you will ever know quite how much it means to me that you've stayed in my corner despite the ups and downs. Love you and all your years of collected wisdom and humanity.
Here's another lucky little girl with her daddy. She has him completely wrapped up in her happiness and joy. I think there is nothing quite as tender as seeing your big, tough brothers turn into the fathers of little girls. They endure pink and princesses and even pouting because these little girls reach in and twist their hearts in a way just no other person can. And the heart-melting goodness of it never gets old.
Nor does my desire to keep taking photos of those wee ones and their cohorts--the little boys. This one, who calls me "E'ee" and kisses me with gallons of love each time I see him, has me entirely wrapped around his finger. A position that I am unwilling to surrender any time soon. Because those kisses and that particular lilt to his voice when he calls my name makes life entirely too delicious. I just don't know how all you parents do it in the world of everyday life. I would gnaw on him full-time if I had access to him 24/7. And then his brother and sister enter the room and I'm a goner again. And don't even get me started on being surrounded by all 17 (soon to be 20!) of the n&ns. I think that's why "auntie" really is a pretty spectacular job--all the love, none of the actual hard work.
Then, of course, this evening brought a big smile to my face. Christine (otherwise known as Chef Christine) and I went out for a girls' night and tried out Pizzeria 712 which is making a name for itself with its fabulous, fresh, amazing food. It is the kind of great food and great atmosphere that we've needed so much more of around here and I immediately became a fan, especially after eating their sweet potato bacon spinach salad with maple vinaigrette. Super yummy. Christine had one of their tasty pizzas and she assured me (and my gluten-free status) that despite not being able to partake, she could report that it was goooood. Hmmmmmm.
If you are ever in town, stop by. You will thank me.
And finally, I went with my brother and his family and my sister and her family to the open house of the Draper Temple. Thanks to Rus, we were able to take a private tour along with a group from India that our uncle invited.
The temple was gorgeous and it was fun to show the kids the rooms and talk about why the temple is so important. It was also fun to sit talk with our tour leader afterwards and hear the questions the group from India asked. We had a great discussion.
Also, it was coooooooold. The temple is situated up on the side of the mountain and it was a bit bitter that evening. I got each family to pose for 1.7 seconds flat while I took the photo and then we all scooted to the warmth of the car.
Warm is good. Which is another reason I love this month of March. It may begin a little cold, but by the end of this month, spring is upon us without a doubt. And spring really brings a smile to my face.
UPDATE: Take my little poll on the right. I'm just very, very interested. When you eat a treat which is it? Ice cream or chocolate? I'd love to know!