Thursday, July 30, 2009

Las Vegas!

A couple months ago, J's sister, Jody, and her husband, Jai, approached us about going to Las Vegas the last weekend in July. Their wedding anniversary was that weekend. Jai's brother and his wife (Tim & Trish) also were celebrating an anniversary that weekend, and were going to be there as well. It sounded like a LOT of fun, so we signed on.

Jai and Jody used their time share condo time, and we paid them a small bit of money for our share of our lovely two bedroom, two bathroom condo with a full kitchen. It was ON Las Vegas Blvd, but a good 4-5 miles south of where all the hottest action is. I considered that to be a good thing though- it was calm and quiet.

We had an absolute blast! Friday night, we saw "Hangover". It is a hysterically funny movie about Vegas. Saturday, we hooked up with Tim & Trish. They flew in that day and were staying at a different hotel. We ended up going to a show called "Ignite". There were pretty dancing girls, awesome goth music that brought back memories of high school, some cool illusions, and best of all, FIRE!!!! I love fire. We had a blast at the show. Antonio met us before the show, and then stopped to talk to us afterwards. He was a very nice guy, and very good looking. I thought he looked better without the contacts, but ya gotta admit that the contacts give stage presence, eh? (this is a singularly unflattering picture of me, but oh well!)

This is Tim & Trish, outside of their hotel.

This is Jai and Jody with Spongebob, at the Excalibur Hotel.Jim and I in front of Treasure Island.
We did a TON of walking. According to the pedometer on my cell phone, we walked 7 miles on Saturday, 11 miles Sunday, 7.7 miles Monday, and 4.3 miles Tuesday.

We did not do much gambling. I won around $5 from $1, but then lost $5 at video blackjack, so I stopped. Jim won around $50 in blackjack, but then quit.

I felt so lucky to go on a vacation with such a fun group of people. Jai and Jody and Tim & Trish are such fun, entertaining people. We shared a lot of laughs. We have quite a few fun inside jokes that I will laugh about for the rest of my life. I hope we can do it again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The post in which embarrassment cascades

Gah! Have you ever had something mildly embarrassing happen, and you have a stupidly emotional reaction? Then THAT emotional reaction is way, way, way more embarrassing than the original awkward moment? Yeah, me neither.

At least, I wish that were true.

Tonight I decided to go to my ward's enrichment night. This is something of an oddity for me, given my inactive status in my church. So, I hadn't been to a social activity like this in a good long time. Because people don't generally stop attending my church, I am a bit of an oddity. So, going in, I was already feeling a bit awkward and self conscious.

I found a place to sit, and was talking to everyone. Everyone was being extra nice, probably hoping to fellowship me back to church. Plus, I am incredibly witty and entertaining to be around (ha!).

We were served dinner, so I set my purse under the table, and got in the food line. When I got back to "my" seat, it had been taken by a latecomer. Of course, this person had no clue the seat had been claimed. I didn't want to make a big deal, so I tried to find another seat. The other seats I asked about were taken, but they were still in the food line. By the 8th or so seat I asked about, I was beginning to feel really self conscious and awkward.

For some idiotic reason, this made me cry. I haven't cried in quite a long time, so I probably had bottled up emotion. I know I wasn't upset about the seat situation. It was an honest mistake.

I didn't want to stand there like an idiot, crying for no reason, so I left the room.

Well, this is not how a relief society activity is supposed to go, particularly when you have an inactive member show up, and I could tell people had noticed, and felt bad. I had a couple of ladies find me and try to talk me into coming back, but I was feeling like a serious idiot at that point.

Of course, this was the ONE TIME I actually brought my purse inside, so I'm good and trapped at the activity. I finally talked one of the ladies into sneaking in and grabbing my purse, and I snuck out and left.


I hate it when that happens.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

High Uintas

J had his heart set on going to Washington Lake, in the High Uintas this last weekend. We left just after noon on Friday, and got up there by 4. Unfortunately, the Washington Lake campground was packed. The hosts told us it's been totally sold out since June 17, when the campground opened.

So, we found just some place to camp the first night. It really was lovely, and nobody close by. There was a neat beaver dam nearby.

Early the next morning, we packed up and sweet talked the hosts to sell us a spot that hadn't been vacated yet. While we waited, we hiked to Shoestring Lake. It was gorgeous with a ton of blooming lilypads, and lots of salamanders and frogs.
Wild columbine:

We got a really gorgeous spot at Washington Lake. The mosquitoes were absolutely ferocious, and would only respond to the most powerful deet based repellent out there. Even so, our kids look a bit lumpy and swollen today.J and the kids did a bit of fishing. J caught the most, with S catching a couple, as well as K. K caught this beautiful albino trout. J felt it wasn't large enough to keep, so all but 3 fish went back. Two of those were sick, so J and the kids had to fight over one fish. It all worked out ok though.

We had a wonderful time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mutant Garden

I can't believe how much everything is growing in my garden. It seemed like it had a really slow start. When I first planted, everything seemed so far apart and tiny. This picture was taken about 2 weeks after we planted.

Now, it's just HUGE. I think I'm about to have zucchini and crookneck squash coming out of my ears. If you are local, and want some, you'll have to let me know.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Got a food handler's permit

A good friend of mine has a side business of snow cones and shaved ice. I had no idea there was a difference, and said so. She schooled me real quick by letting me have one of each. A snowcone is coarsely ground ice with the flavoring dumped on top. A slushy is a slightly watered down version of a snow cone. I got to try a shaved ice a few days ago, and that really is dramatically different. She swore there was a huge difference, and I have to admit I laughed to myself and thought, "Whatever!" She's right. A shave ice is like snow with flavoring. Totally different texture.

Anyway, she's wanting to have K work with her at some events. Because I am a bit uncomfortable with K going off on her own, I end up being around for a bit, and if things get busy, I can't help but jump in. To be up to snuff, every employee has to have a food handler's permit, so she asked that K get one.

I figured if I was taking her to Farmington to get one, I may as well get one too. Davis county has an online pdf with all the information you need to know. I've had K studying it for the past few weeks. I browsed through it today, figuring that things haven't changed that much since I was 16 and getting it the first time around.

Back then, you had to go in and take a class, then take the test. Now, you study the material at home, and they have a small room where you can take the test.

Those poor women had no idea we were about to descend upon them. I did try to make it as untraumatic as possible. I tied... er.... secured safely in a stroller the younger two kids. Everyone was full of energy and enthusiasm after a 30 minute car drive and promises of Krispy Kreme donuts if they behaved. We paid for the test ($10 each), and she looked at my kids bouncing off the walls and suggested that we take the test in their conference room instead of their test room (I'm sure the other people testing wholeheartedly agreed with this plan).

The younger three talked a mile a minute while I took the test. I managed to block them pretty well, and finished in just a couple minutes. The receptionist seemed surprised to see me so quickly, but scanned my test. I got 49/50. Yay me! I got an amazingly UNFLATTERING photograph of me on a card, and I was done. K took about 10 minutes longer, and got 43/50. Her photo is only slightly more flattering.

We then got Krispy Kreme donuts and lived happily ever after. The end.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Before we picked up Rudy (whose name will eventually be changed), I responded to a couple other ads on KSL, looking for a fun bird.

I'd responded to an ad about an African Gray Parrot, thinking it was a legitimate ad. Here is the response I got:

The Congo Africa Grey Parrot advertised has been bought by one Mrs Lisa and the baby is doing quite well with her and her family according to her recent update me about the baby welfare at her home.I want to refer you to one Rev Steven A Ballmer who was a graduate of Denver Seminary and he works as the Bereavement Manager at Hospice of Metro Denver. He bought one female africa grey bird from me as well. He has been transfered to West Africa in continuations to his missionary work. He went there with the congo african grey Parrot he bought from me.. Unfortunately, Africa is not the place for these type of bird . He contacted me 2 days ago to find a caring parent that will adopt the baby back to the USA. He had no time for her, also the african weather is so harsh for the bird according to him and this is really troubling him and his mission in West Africa. Contact Rev Steven A Ballmer and tell him I refered you to him. He will be excited if he knows you are from me.

Write Rev Steven A Ballmer on his email address Below:

(email address removed)

Get me informed as soon as you adopt the baby from him.

Best Regards

Steven A. Ballmer is the CEO of Microsoft. In addition, the AFRICAN parrot couldn't tolerate the AFRICAN climate? Really? LOL Well, I decided to respond:

Oh, that poor parrot. I bet Africa can be too extreme of a climate for an African Gray Congo Parrot.

So how would we get the parrot back to the US? Do you think it would be able fly if it was told how to get here?

I definitely am interested in the bird. I feel just awful that Rev. Ballmer is having his work interrupted because of his concern for the bird. It just shows what a caring and devoted individual he is.

This time, "Steve" responds:

Hello Wendy,

I sent the breeder to find a caring parent for my Congo African Grey Male. I live in USA before I got a divine call to serve God and humanity here in West Africa and this gave me little or no time for my baby parrot. The weather here is also not lenient with my baby. He hardly comes outside with me because of the weather here. I want to get him adopted back to USA where he will be sent back to the weather he acquainted with before. He is 8 Month old, he is a wonderful little boy and has so much personality and presently current on all health record. He is DNA sexed - Male which he will come with is DNA paper along with a Hatch Certificate. He is fully weaned and weaned at his own pace. He enjoys playing with toys pets and children. Am giving my African grey out for $350 plus shipping. You will promise me that you will be sending his pictures to me in every 2months as an update with regards to how he is doing with you. I love him so much but he will be missed. Please treat him as if he were your baby.

I am attaching Buddy picture for you to view.

God Bless.
Steven A Ballmer.

(A photo was attached, but it was a picture they'd snagged off google, and removed the date stamp)

So, I had to respond, and add a little more crazy in there.


I would definitely send pictures of Buddy every two months. I can tell you love the bird and care that he is in a good home.

Buddy is a beautiful bird and I am excited to have him.

How much is it to ship him to the USA?

Do you have pictures of your flock holding Buddy? I want to put together a scrap book for Buddy so that he can remember you, and can remember all of the interesting people he has been able to meet. I will find other people with African Gray parrots so that our birds can have playdates together. I know that Buddy will want to show the other birds all of his travels!

Pretty nutty, huh?

Hello Wendy,

Thanks for the response,

Am so excited to read back from you that you are going to take good care of Buddy. The shipping fee is included the asking price which is $350. Oh no i don't have pictures of my flock holding Buddy. I believe you are God sent to me and Buddy because have been looking for a good home for Buddy. Please take good care of him and don't forget of sending Buddy pictures every 2 months as an update with regards how the Buddy is doing with you. I will like to start the shipping arrangement.

I beleive the shipping agent who help me ship Buddy here will surely deliver the him to your destination , I will need your name address phone# and your nearest airport to your home for the shipping arrangement so i can email you my details where to send the money.

Looking forward to hear from you.

God Bless.
Steven A Ballmer.

I really had no intention of sharing any personal information with him, so I decided to get distracted.

I am so excited to be welcoming Buddy to my home! This is very exciting. I'm even buying new scrapbooking paper and a laminator so that I can get to work on his baby book.

I am really sad that you can't take some pictures of Buddy with some of his favorites amongst your flock. Please try to arrange something, I can tell he would be really sad if he didn't have those memories to cling to. Even worse, I worry that he may suspect me of trying to make him forget his first person, and accuse me of being jealous. If he has these issues, I would have to take him to a bird therapist, and I've heard that can get really expensive.

That's very exciting you have a bird agent. Do you think he does talent angency too? It seems like Buddy is very beautiful and talented. Maybe he can help me break Buddy into the movie business and he could be a movie actor. Then you could see him even more often than the photos I would send every two months.

Will the bird agent fly with Buddy here to make sure all goes well on the flights? I don't want Buddy to eat the peanuts they serve- I'd worry he may choke on nuts since he's still so young.

Getting excited!

I crack myself up.

Hello Wendy,

Thanks for the response,

I can't send you another pictures of Buddy with some of his favorites amongst my flock because i did not came down here with my camera. And am sure he will not think that you wanted him to forget me but the only thing i need from you. Please send Buddy pictures as you promise me. I have made an arrangement to have Buddy ship as soon as your payment is confirmed. And the shipping agency have promise me to make sure all goes well on the flight.

Buddy is very good in identifying letters of English Alphabet and can repeat words. Singing is a part of Buddy daily live. Adopting my Buddy will mean that you need not worry owning a watch dog because he will always keep you alert as soon as a visitor moves in to your house. He is medically up right and has all her DNA vaccines up to date. He is hand tamed and has very good temperaments.

Kindly get back to me with your shipping information. Looking forward to hear from you.

God Bless.
Steven A Ballmer.

How convenient, no camera!


I am very, very sorry that you don't have a camera to take a picture of the flock and Buddy. Could you possibly draw a picture? That way, at least Buddy would know I tried. I don't want to let her down. I take my role as a bird mother very seriously.

I am excited to meet my new baby. I am glad to hear that you are teaching her the English alphabet and songs. I am a little worried though. Have you taught her the letter S? I don't trust that letter all that much because it's the first letter in Satan, and it also looks like a coiling serpent, which we know is what caused the fall of Adam and Eve.

Also, what songs have you taught Buddy? We are a God Fearing family, and I don't want a bird singing some of that evil rock and roll.

My shipping address is: (I put the address to the Salt Lake City Police here)

The gender has been changing on Buddy back and forth, so I decided to make her back into a girl bird.

Hello Wendy,

Thank you for the Info,

Oh my bird is well train and was trained in christianity way. The amount that you are going to send is $350. I contact my church member here how to receive money and I was told that you can send money via Western Union. I will made arrangement to have Buddy ship to your home a on a nextday delivery.

Buddy will be ship immediate your payment is confirm. You will have to visit any Western Union Store around you and send the money through Western Union. Below is my information to send the money.

Receiver's Name: STEVEN BALLMER

City: Ikeja
State: Lagos
Country: Nigeria
Zip Code: 23401

Text Question: COMFORTABLE
Text Answer: HOME

Once you have gotten the Western Union done you will be sending me the Western Union money transfer control number which is 10 digit which is (MTCN) for confirmation. I will be awaiting your response with the mtcn and sender's information Asap.

I will be awaiting your reply as soon as possible.

God Bless.
Steven A Ballmer.

I have to admit this guy isn't willing to play like some of the other stories I've seen, so I am kind of getting bored of the guy. Plus, when I thought this was a legit thing, I'd used my "good" email address. I don't want the guy messing with me too much, so I decided to end it.


I had the most miraculous experience. I know that as a man of God, you will be as thrilled as I was.

I was walking about my yard when I was drawn, no, compelled to a certain corner. I could tell the hand of God was leading me. When I felt I should stop, I dropped to me knees in a thankful prayer that He is aware of me. As I bowed my head, I found the most amazing thing. There at my knees was a bird, still partly in its' shell.

That was when I KNEW God had a call for me.

God wants me to raise this poor, orphaned bird. I know that Buddy is probably a better bird, and will live much longer. I know that Buddy is struggling with the extreme African climate. But he has a man like you to take care of him, and he has your congregation, who I know must love him too. Who does this bird have? He had nobody until God called me to find him.

I shall name the bird Steve in your honor.

I am truly touched to have been able to meet a man such as you. A man with your level of honesty and integrity is not something found every day. I shall cherish your emails forever.

God Bless!

I thought that had been pretty obvious that I was done, but apparently not:
Hello Wendy,

May the light of God shine upon you and shower is blessing upon you, thank you for the reply mail and God will help you in taking care of steve as you named him. Kindly let me read from you once you send the money so that i can proceed his shipment ASAP and email me the MTCN #. I look forward to read from you.

God Bless.
Steven A Ballmer.

I giggled as I wrote my response.
Baby Steve is an absolute miracle. I see God's work every time I look at him. I have attached a picture of your namesake.

Taking care of a newborn bird is a huge undertaking. They have to eat every 20 minutes. I can't leave him for the amount of time it would take for me to walk to a western union office and back. I also can't take him with me because we have a fairly warm climate here too, and if a big, tough bird like Buddy can't tolerate the heat, I'm sure Steve can't either. I look to you as a bird expert, and if you feel letting birds out in warm weather is inadvisable, then I must follow your lead. Plus, as a man of God, you have a better link to his creatures than I.

Maybe I will be able to buy Buddy from you when the weather cools down and I can take Steve outside for a long enough time to walk to the Western Union office.

If you are worried that Buddy can't tolerate the African climate that long, you have my permission to find another buyer for him. I would hate for his health to dwindle.

Best wishes and God bless.