Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sarah's Visit

My sister Sarah and I were supposed to go to the U2 concert in Oakland on June 16th and she had already booked her flight out when we heard the terrible news that Bono had major back surgery, postponing ALL of the North American tour. (I am SO glad that I took the opportunity to go see them in Las Vegas back in Oct when I had the chance). So, we made the most of her 2 day visit. I rearranged my schedule to have the day off and we experienced some of the treasures of the Bay area.

I picked her up from the airport and we then drove to Sprinkles where I had my first key lime cupcake of the season (they are having them DAILY all summer!!) and she had a red velvet. She thought they were ok, but she wasn't raving about them like I was. We then drove up to the De Young Museum where we saw their special exhibit "Birth of Impressionism" with 100 masterworks from the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. It was a good exhibit- and really crowded for a Tuesday afternoon, showing the high quality of the art. I loved that the exhibit showcased a few of the pieces that occurred before Impressionists such as Millet, one outside of his typical genre of painting farm laborers called "Spring, 1868-1873". I loved that they had a portrait of many of the great artists of the time who met together- Manet, Monet, Degas, and several others. They had numerous Monets, but my new favorite was one entitled "Rue Montorgueil, Paris, Festival of June 30" where you see the celebration of the people through numerous French flags. They also had Whistler's Mother, which I still do not really understand why it is such a famous and iconic painting. And Gustave Caillebotte's "Floor Scrapers" which captures the beauty of hard labor. The exhibit also taught me some new things like the term "Impressionist" actually came from one of Monet's paintings that was entitled "Impression". I had always thought that the name impressionists came from the fact that they captured moments in time, reflecting their impressions. This is definitely true but it was neat to learn that Monet's works provided the title to this monumental art movement. After the exhibit, we watched this special documentary about the lives of the major impressionist artists- Monet, Manet, Degas (who was apparently so sketchy that most of the writings about him were destroyed), and Renoir. It was a well done production but long- we spent about 40 minutes watching it and weren't able to finish before the museum closed. They went up to Giverney and walked around the gardens and it made me really want to go. My friend Lauren and I tried to go while we were in Paris but it didn't work out but we were able to go instead to Disneyland Paris which redeemed our visit. One funny moment from the documentary was that they had close captioning. One of the curators of the D'Orsay was talking about how one of Renoir's paintings caused such an uproar because it looked like the girl had grease stains on her dress. Well, the close captioning wrote it as "Greece stains" and my sister Sarah and I burst out laughing. Luckily, no one else was in there at the time but it is now one of our favorite jokes.

We then went and saw Peter Pan at the 360 degree theater. It was a beautiful day down by the ferry building- clear blue skies, a rarity for SF in the summer.

We had gotten to the theater early and so we toured the special exhibit that they had celebrating 100 years of Peter Pan. It was slightly morbid as they discussed the untimely deaths of several of the people associated with the Peter Pan story (one of the kids who formed the basis for the Darling children and then the 1st Disney cartoon voice of Peter Pan). The production itself was good- we were slightly sad thought that it wasn't the musical version, just the stage play. The whole time I had the musical songs in my head like "I Won't Grow Up" and "Ugawugawigwam". The staging was incredible with the computer graphics all along the top of the tent- the best was when they were flying over London and past all of the great monuments. It made me want to go back. We were REALLY disappointed by Tink- she was super annoying and looked like some grunge punk fairy. The other characters were quite good. And I managed to sit through this entire performance. When we told my dad that we had gone, he reminded me of the time when I was about 2 years old and they had re-released Disney's Peter Pan into theaters. It is one of his all time favorites and so he took me to a showing over at the Murray Theater. He got me popcorn and a drink and I finished them and then proceeded to put up all of the seats in the 2 rows next to us. It was only 20 minutes into the movie and I announced to my dad that I was done and it was time to go. He tried to protest and reason with me to stay but I just marched on out the door. He really wanted to see it so he took me again and he brought my mom because he thought that I might stay longer if she was there. Nope- I did the exact same thing of eating my popcorn and drink finalized by putting up the seats and then forcing my parents to go. hehe- and to think that I now love plays and movies.

Sarah and I then went to one of the restaurants of Top Chef Master Hubert Keller. Its called the Burger Bar and it is located on the 6th floor of Macy's overlooking Union Square. We got a table right next to the window over this view of the square (not very crowded for a Tuesday night).

And the food did not disappoint. I got a combination of 3 different types of sliders: one was buffalo meat, another was Angus, and the third was country natural beef. They were all AMAZING. Sarah got just a buffalo burger and she loved it. We shared some sweet potato fries which were great as well. But the real outstanding part was the Chocolate Burger.

Here it is in all of its glory- and the mouse seemed kind of a random touch. The chocolate mousse filling was layered with strawberries inside of a donut (much better than Krispy Kreme). It was so amazing. They also had a Cheesecake Burger that we wanted to try but were too full but I will definitely be trying that because it was so so good.

On Wed, I made Sarah some pumpkin waffles and we then headed up to the Presidio to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum. This was a must since we are both HUGE Disney fans and it was a great museum. It is a very large and detailed museum- we were there for over 3 hours and were rushing through the last few rooms. They had a special exhibit about Peter Pan in the basement where they had some of the original drawings and script, so appropriate after our seeing the play the night before. We were able to see his special Academy award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that had 7 mini statuettes alongside of the main one. It was truly fascinating to learn more about this man's life. His Aunt encouraged him to pursue his artistic talents and I am sure glad that he did. His early career was wrought with several failures. His first animation business failed and then he lost the rights to his main character, Oswald the rabbit (I had not heard of this character before the museum). But, he continued to follow his passion of creating animated art and ultimately went on to become one of the most successful movie makers of all time. The museum also showed pictures of life with his family as well as audio excerpts from colleagues and friends who remarked about Walt's experiences throughout his life. Sarah and I both remarked that it made us want to go back to Disneyland and watch all of the movies. We very highly recommend the museum to true Disney fans.

We then went to Google for dinner and wrapped up the evening by watching "So You Think You Can Dance" and playing Mario Kart on our new 46' tv :-)

I'm sorry that we weren't able to see Bono but I hope that you still had fun- I sure did!! We love having you and you are welcome back anytime ;-)

Memories of Grandma C

I truly have so many fond memories of my "Grandma C" as we referred to her. And most of them involve food so get ready for an extensive list :-)

- every holiday/event had a specific menu attached with it-
- when my cousins the Greenwoods came, we always had lasagne
- Thanksgiving was always turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, yams with pecans, pumpkin pie
- Christmas was always ham and funeral potatoes, along with the special 3 layer red, white, and green jello salad served on a piece of iceberg lettuce
- Easter was also ham and funeral potatoes
- general conference Sundays and other occasions were a roast with mashed potatoes and gravy
- Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day were all barbecue steak with baked beans and fresh homemade peach ice cream (it is still one of my all time favorites)
- hot rolls: these are truly some of the best I have ever had. She would also do cheese onion rolls and cinnamon raisin with glaze
- chocolate raisin pudding with fresh whipped cream
- banana pineapple slush
- date bars
- homemade chocolate chip walnut cookies- she would always give us a few to take home
- clam chip dip- my dad LOVED this dip and so my grandmother was always super protective of it to make sure that we didn't eat all of it when my dad was working late at the hospital
- we each received our own homemade gingerbread man with green frosting and sprinkles after every Thanksgiving dinner. We usually only waited a few hours before devouring it

My grandmother expressed her love for us through food. I know that she felt there was no better way to bond as a family than over a good, usually home cooked, meal. She loved a good deal and would buy the dented cans at Hubert's grocery store and then at Food World. My grandmother was so kind and always allowed me to bring several of my friends to Thanksgiving or other holidays.

Here are some partially non-food related memories.
- playing "Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar"
- playing "the Hershey bar game" where we wrapped up hershey bars and then had to unwrap them with a knife and fork while being pressured to have it taken away by dice rolling cousins and aunts (7,11 or doubles made you lucky). Several people were knocked off their chairs during this game
- croquet- she loved to have us set up the wickets
- the summer sled, this sled that had wheels attached to it so we could ride around on it in good weather.
- 3001- the address of the house and farm where my grandparents spent most of their life. They had a barn, old cars, a ditch, and a huge field where we would have my Uncle Dana pull us with his truck on a winter sled.
- their dogs Oggie and Blondie. Blondie had puppies and I especially loved one that I called "Bean"
- watching films (the old school ones) of my mom and aunts/uncles playing in the haystack as kids
- my grandma and grandpa coming with us to Disneyland. We went to the freezing cold ice pool, I was so thirsty that I wanted a drink and my grandmother was drinking V8 and I had my first and last taste of it (it really is not a thirst quencher), my grandfather telling my sister Cynthia to stand tall so that we could all ride on Big Thunder together
- several times a year in the summers going to Standard Oil pool where they had 2 pools- a kiddie pool and a big pool with a slide. Afterwards, we ALWAYS went to Crown Burger and got Orange Bangs (until they got rid of them)
- my cousin Clint's blessing where my grandfather accidentally got his name wrong- "Clinton GEORGE" and my grandmother lets out an "Oh Geeze"
- watching a Miss America pageant where my grandmother commented that they were all "plain Jane's" and that she was much better looking than they were
- her helping me plan my wedding by suggesting that we have the dinner at Grand America and then get the flowers from Mildred's (which we did and they were lovely)
- her "saving her strength" in the later years to go to Grand America for her birthday lunch and then the Marriott for Thanksgiving
- going sometimes with my mom to visit Grandma on Sundays at 4:30
- our last in person visit after her birthday and Christmas this year, it was obvious she was starting to slip mentally. I had given her pictures of me in my regalia from my dissertation graduation and she had to ask 3 times who the girl in the picture was. I replied that it was me and on the third time she asked "Whose this dumb girl" and then I replied it was me and then she told me that I was "old". So our family joke is now I am the "that old, dumb girl". I know that my grandmother loved me so much and that this was not her fault, just one of the sad (but funny parts) about aging. My sister Sarah proclaims that my grandmother was still there mentally as on this same visit, she said that Sarah was "the beautiful one" (which is true :-)

I am smiling as I write this because I truly feel so incredibly blessed that I was lucky enough to have a grandmother this amazing. She literally devoted her entire life to making her family happy and serving them in every way. I hope to live my life so that I can honor this legacy she has begun. I love you Grandma.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Carol Margaret Latimer Child 1924-2010

On the evening of Thursday, June 10th, I received a phone call from my mom, who was crying, and told me that my grandmother was in the hospital and that things were not looking good for her. She had an infection and was going downhill fairly rapidly and they didn't think she would live much longer. My grandmother was lucid enough that night to be able to have a conversation with me over the phone. I am so grateful for that opportunity that I had to tell her that I loved her and how grateful I was for all of the service she has given to our family over the years. I expressed how much it meant to me to have her at my wedding and all of the great times we spent at Grand America. I truly feel so blessed to have been able to have this opportunity to have closure. She hung on until Sunday afternoon, June 13, when Cousin Dave, her nephew, was able to come and spend a few hours with her before she died. I was also fortunate enough that the funeral was on Saturday, June 19th, so I was able to fly back to Utah to spend that time with my family and honor my grandmother.

I really tried to make the day one of a celebration of the life of my beloved grandmother rather than one of sadness because she had lived a full and amazing life. She made her goal of getting to her 85th birthday last December and she was ready to move on. I realized that she had been without my grandfather for 12 years- that is a long time- and he was in a bad mental state for years before that. I truly feel so blessed that I was able to have my grandmother as an integral part of my life for nearly 30 years.

I only shed a few tears at the funeral because I really did want it to be more of a celebration about her life. And I think it ultimately was as all of her children, grandchildren, and some great grandchildren were there.

I LOVE this picture of my grandmother when she was a young adult- isn't it fabulous! She totally looks like a model.

We had a table of photos and some of the needle work my grandmother did throughout her life

Close ups of the table

The linen on the right with the circle of flowers was the one my grandmother gave to me for my 16th birthday.
I loved this flower arrangement that had a ribbon attached saying "Beloved Grandmother" and one of our whole family portraits that was taken over 15 years ago.

We were so touched by all of the beautiful flower arrangements given in honor of my grandmother.

I also loved how the programs turned out.

We had several speakers- David Sollis, my eldest cousin Mark Robert Greenwood, my uncle Craig Child, and my aunt Cheryl Wilson. We also have some amazing musical talent and had several stellar numbers. My cousin Natalie and my aunt Carla did a violin and piano duet, my sister Cynthia sang while my mom accompanied her, and my cousins Amy and Laura did a piano duet. My grandmother sacrificed so much so that her children could take music lessons so it was so appropriate for us to have multiple music numbers.

As one of my cousins remarked after the funeral, they had never been to one where FOOD was the predominate topic mentioned by EVERYONE. My grandmother was the most amazing cook- she made EVERYTHING from scratch and so many of our family get togethers and memories centered upon food. I will do another post about all of the memories about my grandmother.

We then headed up to the Mount Olivet Cemetery where my grandmother now rests besides my grandfather. It was a beautiful day- so much so that even the deer came out to honor her.

All of 6 of her children-Cheryl, Connie, Carla, Bruce, Carl Dana, and Craig.

And the Stults family- Cheryl, Sarah, Barry, Connie, and Cynthia

And of course, a great meal followed. We went to Diamond Lils where I had one of the BEST steaks I have ever had. I'm not usually a steak person, but this was so unbelievably good. It was well seasoned, with a crisp crust and juicy on the inside. My dad even raved about the steak (he has lately been picky about restaurants so this is saying a lot). All of the 16 grandchildren- (back row right to left)-Natalie, Cynthia, Collin, Laura, Jason, Clint, Candace, Mark, Nick, Brandon, (front row right to left)- Amy, Sarah, Cheryl, and Kathryn.

I think that my grandmother was very happy with how the day turned out as we ended up at the dinner laughing and reminiscing as usual, a legacy born by my grandmother and continued in her honor.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

3 Years Later . . .

On May 19th, William and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. We still celebrated that day even though it was on a Wednesday. I got William Final Fantasy 13 and he surprised me and got me the professional belgian waffle maker!! I have been wanting this for awhile (I'm kind of a snob when it comes to waffles and the industrial size ones really do have the best taste and texture) and so he bought it for me :-)

I highly recommend it- we have already made waffles 3 times. Truly a great surprise :-) That night we went out to Half Moon Bay and had dinner at Navio, the restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Half-Moon Bay. I highly recommend this restaurant- the view is unbeatable and the food is divine. It was raining the night that we went but it had pretty much cleared by the time we were seated. We were able to watch the sun slip away over the water, for which this photo does not capture its beauty

For an appetizer, we each had one of the most succulent sea scallops that I have ever had- it had a perfectly seared top along with the most perfect texture. I then had the most tender beef short rib that has been cooked for 48 hours and had the most flavorful jus covering it while William had the pork chop, which was also good. For dessert, we got the molten chocolate cake which was SUPER rich on its own but was perfect with a bite of fresh strawberry and whipped cream. We also got the blackberry crumble with sour cream ice cream. I was somewhat skeptical of the sour cream ice cream but it actually made for the perfect complement with the sweetness of the blackberries and was not too tart, but just had a slight tang to it.

These past 3 years have truly been the best years of my life and I am more in love with William than I was 3 years ago. I can't wait to see what other adventures we will have in the upcoming year.

Richard MacDonald

I have one more post left to tackle from our trip to Las Vegas (and then MANY more still to go on the trip to Japan) but I could not let the opportunity pass to introduce you to an amazing sculptor, one that I now consider to have best captured the human body since Rodin. I was so happy that Matt and Brekke saw his exhibit first and then mandating that I go to it- it was so worth it. Richard MacDonald worked with Cirque du Soleil to produce a series of sculptures of the artists- and these are truly breathtaking. One gallery was displayed outside the O theater and then he also has another gallery at the shops outside of the Aria. These photos are from the exhibit outside the O Theater of some of his large scale works, he also has smaller cast versions.

He does a magnificent job of showcasing the beauty and power of the human body. They had a video playing of his artistic process and he has the actual Cirque performers come to his studio where they literally demonstrate their feats of strength and ability right before his eyes and sculpting hands. They repeat the positions multiple times as MacDonald captures the essence of their movements from every angle. Like most Rodin sculptures, photographs do not do justice to these incredible works of art- they must be experienced in person. I ended up buying a small catalog of the exhibit because there were so many incredible pieces. You can view a few of the highlights on his website as well as some of his other works. He is definitely one of my new favorites.


My life tends to go through phases of "feast"- where everything happens- or "famine," where nothing happens. The past month has been one of the "feast" periods as evidenced by my lack of posting. What a shift this has been since last summer and fall when I had NOTHING going on. For the past 4 weeks, I have been juggling 3 jobs: the research job I started back in November for which the final report was submitted this week, my teaching intro to sociology at Santa Clara University for which I turned in my final grades on Friday, and then starting my new research position at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF). How my schedule worked was I would teach M,W,F and then hold office hours and then head straight to PAMF where I would work for 5 hours, come home and plan my lessons/grade and finish up my writing the report. Tuesday and Thursday I would work all day at PAMF and then come home and do lessons or writing. This left me with little time to do other things and so I apologize for neglecting the blog as well as commenting on other blogs. But, this week should be better since I am down to just 1, 30 hour per week job at PAMF. My sister Sarah is coming on Tuesday and leaving early on Thurs. morning and we will be doing some fun adventures around the city. We were *supposed* to go and see Bono and the rest of U2 on Wednesday night, but the poor man had major back surgery and had to cancel most of the North American tour. While I am sad about the postponement, I am so happy that I made the effort to go and see them in Las Vegas because it truly was such an unforgettable show. I will also elaborate on what else happened over the past month. Good to be back!