Sunday, June 3, 2012

Days 20 & 21: Sister’s Nights & Daze

A couple of months ago my visiting teacher was talking about her older sister who had died the year before.  I thought what she said was almost unbearably poignant, and so very true.  She said, “She was my first frenemy.”

I thought about that when she said it—about the truth that your sisters can be your first and best friends, and at other moments your worst and fiercest enemy.  No one else knows you at that most fundamental level—knows your fears, your weaknesses, your secrets, and can use them against you.  But at the same time, no one else understands the things that made you the way you are in the same way, knows and shares those traits with you.  No one else speaks quite the same language.  No one else shares the jokes of a lifetime and the same sense of humor.  No one is quite like a sister.  I know that when I watch my little girls with each other—I can see those bonds forming every day.  And I know that when I am with my sisters.  We’ve had our moments over the years, but I wouldn’t have gotten through the last couple of months without my sisters.  Between the three of them they helped to bear my emotional burdens—taking turns calling me to check in, listening with words of advice and love and sympathy, and when necessary just letting me cry. 

I didn’t go to girl’s night last year.  Because Laila was getting ready to have twins they had a spontaneous girl’s night early in the year and neither Margaret nor I were there.  So this year as I started planning my cross country voyage I was excited to think that it could include time in Utah for girl’s night.  As always it was a food/fun/laughter packed 48 hours and I was sorry (and completely exhausted) when it was over.

We met in Provo Thursday evening for our obligatory opening dinner at PF Changs.  This year we opened dinner up to daughters, but Cindy Lynn was too worn out from our Sea World travels to come.  We started with our traditional lettuce wraps (yum!) and ended with our traditional Great Wall of Chocolate (yum!!) and ate some other good stuff (significantly less important) in between.  We talked and laughed and caught up and had a great time. 


(Our fun dinner—me, Jenny, Sage, Andra, Laila, Brooklyn, & Margaret.)

A little while after I arrived I noticed that Andra was wearing something…well…to put it delicately, styled differently than anything I’d seen on her in a long long time.  I asked her what she was wearing and she showed me that it was a shirt with an attached jacket.  I was sort of surprised to see her wearing something like that, but was too well bred to say anything more.  A little while later she and Jenny couldn’t hold it in any longer and burst out laughing.  They had gotten together before dinner, gone to DI, and bought the ugliest shirts they could find.  They couldn’t believe that no one had said anything else, but like I already said, we’re well bred.  (At least in that particular instance.)

We thought we were going to play a half hour of lazer tag after dinner, but when we got to the lazer tag place the teenaged employee had taken advantage of an empty place and closed down a half hour early.  We were bummed, but probably still too full to be really devastated.

Later at the hotel Andra & Jenny revealed that they had also bought us all really cool nightgowns at DI.  We were seriously the best dressed mommies at the really nice hotel.


Sorry, I know you wish you could have seen my super stylish nightgown with the embroidery around the neck and the cats all over it, but someone had to take the picture, right??  We also had fun sitting in the worlds hottest hot tub, but no pictures of that.

I slept in late the next morning while other people got up and exercised and ate breakfast.  (Remember, I was still recovering from all of my traveling.  At least that’s my excuse for that time.)  We sat around and talked until they were going to kick us out of the hotel and then we asked for a late checkout and sat around some more.  Finally we decided what we were going to do—Amber & Jenny, our super-fit sisters in law went to a yoga class in Provo.  Andra had gone home for a while for her 7th child’s kindergarten graduation.  I persuaded Margaret & Laila to come with me to Village Inn where I had (again) their scrumptious Southwest Potato Pancake Benedict Scramble.  Oh my, I want to swallow my tongue just thinking about it, it’s that good.  And after they shared it with me, Margaret and Laila agreed.  Seriously—hash browns, pork carnitas, scrambled eggs, avocadoes, and green chili hollandaise sauce—what’s not to like? 

From there we went to DI for a while to find a bunch of random things.  Then we met back up with everyone at Zupas for a late lunch.  Fortunately for me it was late enough that my super late breakfast didn’t hold me back from being able to enjoy the delicious chicken enchilada soup or the chocolate covered strawberry.

After Zupas it was time for another girl’s night tradition: pedicures.  I practically never ever am willing to spend the money for a pedicure, but with my sisters and sisters in law it’s fun to go and hang out and pamper ourselves a little.  This time Laila & I decided to get a basic manicure as well—her nails were a mess from all of the baby related chores she does every day, and mine from all of my house projects.  Unfortunately because of the language barrier we ended up with a little $more$ manicure than we’d planned on, and we’re still not sure which part of it cost more!


After the pedicures we needed a treat (because we hadn’t eaten enough in the past 24 hours!) so I persuaded everyone to go to the Sub Zero ice cream place nearby.  I never blogged about this place last summer, but the kids and I went several times and loved it.  Essentially they make individual servings of ice cream, one at a time, by adding liquid nitrogen to a bowl containing cream, flavorings, & mix ins, then stir like crazy.  It’s fun to watch and delicious to eat.   (Please notice Andra & Jenny now wearing normal people clothes.)


Eventually we sisters (for various reasons our sils couldn’t come to Park City overnight) headed north to Park City in several different cars.  IMG_3787

It was fun to hang out one-on-one with different sisters at different times during our weekend.  I rode up to Park City with Andra and she surprised me (as always) with her ability to dig in as we chatted and figure out emotional issues.  This time she diagnosed all of my problems as having been caused by being the firstborn.  (Great.  Hard to do something about that one!)

We arrived at our normal hotel in Park City and realized that the management had made us a fatal error and not assigned us a pool room.  (We always get a room that goes out onto the pool.  Always.  For over a decade now!)  By the time we had that taken care of we had dragged our stuff up one hall and down another and were starting to think about dinner.  Then one of our cousins (who lives nearby) stopped by the hotel to say hello for a while, and before we knew it it was 10pm and we were starving.  Fortunately the hotel was right by Taco Bell so we were able to get something pretty quickly.  We were exhausted when we got back to the hotel room and that was pretty much the end of that day’s partying. 

The next morning we spent eating breakfast, laying around talking, and sitting in the hot tub FOR HOURS.  Normally we do our hot tubbing at night, but we’d totally missed it the night before and we completely made up for it Saturday morning.  In fact we had to ask for a late checkout again.  (Good thing we’ve learned about late checkouts!)  Our normal Park City destination is the big outlet mall complex, but we’ve learned over the years that we really love the Park City Walmart (I know, we’re easy to please) so we headed there first.  And then we decided to to into Pier 1 before that.  Which provided our first good laugh of the day.  We walked in and one of the employees walked toward us and said,

“Why are you here?”

I’m sure she was just momentarily at a loss for words and the wrong thing came out, but it was really hilarious.  Who says that?  And Andra, who does mystery shopping on the side, said, “I think what you mean to say is ‘How can I help you?’”  The whole rest of the day we would look at each other and say “Why are you here?”

Pier 1 was a fun place to start our shopping day.  There were so many interesting things.  Pillows with flounces and ruffles.  One pillow that had long silky fur.  It felt like the softest pet and I almost decided to buy it and bring it home and tell the kids that instead of having a pet we were just going to have a pillow to pet.  Somehow I didn’t think they’d be as entertained by the idea as I was. 

Some things we saw we were just really perplexed by.  For instance.


People sized utensils??

After we had had all the fun we could at Pier 1 we headed over to Walmart where we bought fun things to take back to our kids.  (Nail art kits for the girls, water balloons for the boys.)  When we were wrapping things up at Walmart Amber called to say that she had arrived and we decided that we had better get some food.  She suggested a little deli and the rest of us were willing, so we headed over there.  Little did we know that the deli would be one of the highlights of our time together.

As we were walking in this guy started chatting with us, and then he followed us back into the deli.  It turned out that he worked there and he must be one of the most gregarious people I’ve ever been around.  He chatted, listed out all of the available sandwich ingredients over and over, made HUGE and beautiful (and delicious) sandwiches, and joked with us the whole time.  It was hilarious—we were there so late in the day that they were already out of several types of bread and some types of meat as well.  So every time he listed the ingredients his list of what wasn’t available got longer and longer.  That went on the whole time we were in the deli eating—by the end there was only rye bread left and he was advising newcomers that they probably didn’t want to stay to eat.  By the end we were ready to adopt him as an honorary brother (except that we already have a brother Jeff) and we had laughed and laughed and laughed.  So of course we had to have a picture with our new friend Jeff.  (And Andra the sometimes mystery shopper gave him high marks.)


When we were done laughing with Jeff we piled back into the car and drove up to the outlet mall, where I hung out and looked at stuff for a while and then it was time for me to head back down to Cindy Lynn’s to pick up my kids for another super busy 48 hours!


PS—My sister Andra wrote a really beautiful post about girls night here if you want a different (and much shorter) perspective.


  1. Andra's jacket-shirt-thing made me laugh so hard I cried. Then once I composed myself, I saw the people sized utensils. My stomach hurts from laughing! And now that I'm over it, I'm thinking I need a set of those for the wall in my kitchen!

  2. Emily, you have to be a VERY good actress to pull that jacket-shirt thingy off with a straight face! Turns out all Marlowe and my practicing paid off!!!! The sad thing is that Jenny's shirt was hideous and went vastly unnoticed! When I described it to my girls they said... "oh, like xxxxx would wear? Gross!" They TOTALLY got the ugliness of quarter neck zipper, polyester, and teeny tiny rows of bright flowers!

    I believe the Pier One lady with the stunned "Customers, what the heck" expression said ..... "What are you here for?". Seriously. So weird!!! Maybe she was an escaped convict.....

    As for Girls night out - awesome. Always Awesome!!!!!!

  3. I'm so interesting in the mystery shopping thing!! You always hear about it, but it sounds like one of those things that's way too good to be true, like mail-order sea monkeys. Is it as cool as it sounds?

    Having sisters certainly sounds wonderful- so glad I could oblige my girls:).

  4. I'm so glad those were fake clothes. When I first saw the pics I had thought, "my haven't they changed their style a bit".