Posted on Feb 5th, 2010 by Allison (Family/Friends, Music / Entertainment)

Ashley RaeMy daughter can sing.

No, I mean she can REALLY sing.

She performed in musicals in Jr. & High School – but since getting married hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to do so.

Her husband, Justin, is very passionate about music – plays bass and has been in several bands. He and Austin (along with other players who seem to come and go) are talented musicians who formed a band named Vicious Starfish a couple of years ago.  **They have recently renamed themselves The Black Arrows

Last summer they were listening to their recordings and realized they needed a new vocalist if they were going to take their music to the next level – leaving Austin to focus on songwriting rather than singing.

Ashley had done a little back up singing on some of their recordings in the past, so they asked her to audition… and were blown away, of course. (I’m her mother, I can brag)

So Ashley Rae is the new frontwoman for The Black Arrows.

Justin, Ashley & Austin - Viscious StarfishThey’ve been rehearsing and in the studio for months – and finally have a couple of tracks for their new album ready to be heard.

I think Austin is a very talented songwriter and I’m really enjoying their music.

Their first gig with Ashley as vocalist will be April 23rd at Liquid Joe’s in Salt Lake City. I wish I could be there!


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You can also listen and follow Vicious Starfish (now The Black Arrows) on FaceBook and MySpace

So what do you think?

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Posted on Dec 31st, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Photography, Travel)

Christmas morning with Marie and EmilySanta delivered me to Salt Lake on his sleigh this year.

At least I think that’s what happened – I went to bed in Seattle and woke up Christmas morning in Salt Lake.

A bow on the door led Emily and Marie to open it and see what Santa had brought. It made for a fun surprise.

The camera is not my friend first thing in the morning.

Jennifer prepared a fabulous meal (I have no idea how she keeps the kitchen totally clean the entire time she prepares the meal… I’m thinking it must be magic.)

Brandon expressed his anticipation for his move to Costa Rica by donning a tropical shirt. They are becoming ‘Location Independent‘ and moving there in less than a week – you can read about why and how they are doing it on his blog.

jen-meal Brandon is ready to go to Costa Rica

Ashley and family joined us for dinner and visiting for the rest of the day (and I didn’t take any pics!). But the girls had a blast together. And I got nauseous when I attempted to play Mario Cart with them.

Kennedy on Christmas DayI joined Ashley and family for the next couple of days. Kennedy opened her gifts from me on Christmas night. Justin had to work a graveyard shift at the hospital, so after Kennedy went to bed, Ashley and I stayed up for hours and played on their new Wii. I suck at Super Mario Brothers, but at least I didn’t get nauseous. And I bowled pretty good…. Wii is fun.

Oh – did I mention that it’s been FREEZING here? Not as cold as forecast (3 degrees at night) but still pretty damn cold. These are the frost crystals that form on Ashley’s kitchen window. Cool, huh?

A frosty window

Cool Frost CrystalsIt snowed a bit and I slid all over the road – even in a 4 wheel drive Tahoe. OK, not all over the road – just down the hill, but even so I did NOT enjoy it. But I had to venture out to have a meal at Cafe Rio

And the Salt Lake Valley inversion has been horrible. I am finally seeing a little sunshine today! I hope it lasts…

But the frost crystals – very cool.

And to finish up, a few more pics of the granddaughters….
Marie the snow angelEmily hugs her snowman


Tonight, I’ll be helping out with Ashley and Justin’s New Years Eve party.

How was your Christmas? What are you doing for New years?

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Posted on Nov 29th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Reminiscing)

Hey dad –

Don’t know if you have internet access wherever you are, or if you ever check my blog if you do have internet access. But on the chance you stop by for a visit I want to say hi, wish you a happy holiday and that I hope you’re safe, healthy and happy.

I put up my tree this week and keep wishing it were flocked a little bit. If you were here I’d ask you to help me figure out how to flock an artificial tree – you always did such a great job with Kristin and dad decorate the treeour live noble firs every year on Rodeo Lane.

Ah… memories of the cold garage and the smell of wet flocking just came rushing back.

If you see this, drop me a line, send me an email, give me a call sometime, or even just leave a comment here. Let me know how you’re doing and where you’re spending your days.

Your eldest

(5) Comments   
Posted on Nov 16th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Cute spider cakeI know I’m a little late – but here is how I spent my Halloween.

Traveled to Salt Lake on Thursday, where I indulged in 1/2 of a Judge Brownie, a Chicken Tostada Salad at Cafe Rio, and made a Halloween cake with Ashley.

Turned out cute, didn’t it?

Friday afternoon we headed to my mom’s “cabin” near Fairview, UT to spend the next 24 hours with my mom & Bart, and my kids/their families. The cabin is actually a very beautiful and spacious log home built almost entirely by Bart. He’s a manly man.

I think my entire condo would probably fit in the upstairs loft. It’s really lovely. And my mom had decorated the loft so cute for the party.

White tailed deer in the grassWe saw several of these deer. They’re beautiful animals, but we’re not happy that they devour every plant my mother tries to grow (except the lavender).

After the mandatory family photo shoot (those pics will be in another post) we got into costume and started the party.

Witches Grandma Alli and Marie

Granda Rene Witch
Three of us were witches, but my mother costume was, by far, the best. The teeth made her talk funny 🙂
Kennedy vants to suck your blood

Kennedy was a vampiress.

Emily was the Little Mermaid… here, wrapped as a mummy by her Japanese dad.

Mummy wrapping

The “mummy wrapping” contest was the big hit of the night. Each team had to wrap each other fully and quickly.

Emily and Brandon won – but Marie & Jennifer, Kennedy & Bart made valiant effort.

Mummy wrappingKennedy & Bart

After a game of pumpkin bowling, costume parade, dancing to the Monster Mash, and distribution of prizes, we were ready for cake. But first, a group picture.

One batty family

Room on the BroomAfter cake, it was story time. I read the girls a really cute book called Room on the Broom. Then we tucked the girls in their sleeping bags for the night…

Next morning we were greeted with a wonderful hot breakfast. The guys did guy stuff (I don’t know what it was) but the girls decorated pumpkins with felt eyes, noses and mouths that Ashley and I had created, and the women crafted decorations out of wood, glitter glue, paint and glass beads.

Crazy pumpkins

Then it was back to Salt Lake for trick or treating!

How did you spend your Halloween?

(13) Comments   
Posted on Aug 30th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Michelle as artMichelle arrived on Thursday. Yeah!

There’s just nothing like spending time with a friend of 30 years. It’s been pretty much non-stop giggling, intermingled with some tears and a lot of oohing and aaahing over the beauty of the northwest.   Here are some highlights from Friday.

We toured Chateau Ste. Michelle winery and explored the lovely grounds.   Michelle found herself moved by some of the local art and attempted to become one with the art. How do you think she did?

Michelle loves hydrangeasShe also fondled any hydrangea shrub in her path.   She mentioned she wished she’d named Erica Hydrangea, and I suggested she begin calling her that right away. Maybe it will stick as her new name.

As we wandered the grounds, we were serenaded by John Legend’s band – they were warming up for the concert being held at the winery that night.   We also observed an interesting fashion trend, which I’m hoping Michelle will blog about soon.

My 5 dollar bouquet
We spent a little time at the Farmers Market at Country Village, where I picked up another fabulous $5 bouquet of fresh flowers.

We enjoyed some good Chinese food at the Zen Garden restaurant in Mill Creek.

Then returned home, hung up my cool orange lights, lit a few candles and spent a couple of hours on the patio listening to 70’s music, reminiscing, laughing, crying and sharing a bottle of 2007 Muscat Canelli we picked up from the winery.   

Of course, the spent the first 30 minutes  setting up the tripod and posing in attempt to capture the mood of the evening….  LOL…

Enjoying a lovely evening on the patio

All in all, a fabulous day. So glad you’re here Michelle!

(9) Comments   
Posted on Jul 5th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Photography)

Shaun, Darren & Jordan What started out as a rather ordinary day turned into a very enjoyable holiday celebration.

My neighbor, Darren (in the center), who happens to be a chef, invited me up for a delicious barbeque late afternoon. I enjoyed meeting his his nephew (just moved from NY to attend college) & his friend Jordan.

David I also got to meet and become friends with David, a friend of Darren’s visiting from Chicago.

David is a landscape designer and we started talking plants and gardens right away… and didn’t stop for most of the night. We plant nerds tend to bond quickly.

We made the drive into Seattle for fireworks over Lake Union…. and, after driving up and down nearly every street, were amazingly lucky to find a parking spot just a couple of blocks from our vantage point above the freeway.

It was a beautiful night and we were gifted with an incredible sunset prior to the fireworks show.

Sunset at lake union

I found what I hoped would be a prime spot for photographing the fireworks and set up my tripod. Darren & David found a less crowded viewing area, so I socialized and discussed classical music with Steve, a local resident. We were surrounded by a very international crowd – I heard several languages being spoken, including Russian, Japanese, French, and what I believe was Farsi.

And then the fun began! This was probably the most artistic fireworks display I’ve ever seen…. simply breathtaking. Here are a few of the 300 pictures I took…

Fireworks and Lake union

So what did you do for the holiday? See any great fireworks?

(12) Comments   
Posted on Jun 19th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Jen on her wedding dayHappy birthday to my favorite daughter-in-law…

Jennifer is such a sweet and caring person.  She’s so easy to be around and is such a wonderful hostess. I always feel so welcome when I stay at her home.

She’s a fabulous cook – adventurous in the kitchen. I’ve had something new and delicious every time I visit (I always look forward to it). And she always has dessert 🙂

I have no idea how she manages to keep her house spotless with two little girls and a husband home all day!

Jen as a WhoAnd very talented!  She has a beautiful voice and is an actress.  Here she is in the musical Seussical.    I admire that she’s always taking a new class, trying a new thing, learning and doing more.

In addition to being a great wife and mom, she is a good friend, a loving daughter and a dear person.  I wish I had known her as a little girl and teenager. I so enjoy our late night conversations whenever I’m in town (she can stay up as late as I do, believe it or not), and hope that we get to spend lots more time together this coming year.

Have a very happy birthday Jennifer!  Love you!

Brandon, Jennifer, Emily & Marie

(6) Comments   
Posted on Jun 13th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Dear Paul,

I realized today that I didn’t get a birthday card in the mail to you – which I had fully intended to do.  So, instead, this year you get an online birthday greeting. I have no baby pictures of you to share – but did come up with a couple of gems 🙂

Paul in 1981?So…  Happy birthday to one of my favorite people in the world – certainly my favorite former in-law.    I have so many fond memories of times spent with you – most of them filled with laughter and or witty/ironic observations about the insanity that surrounded us.

Thank you for giving me crazy perms and purple, red or blonde hair and making me feel beautiful even when I wasn’t.  Time spent in your salon chair was better than therapy.

Thanks for helping me survive the “Pearce years.”   For the listening ear, the commiserating, the humorous observation, support and the shoulder to cry on.

Thanks for taking me dancing when your brother wouldn’t.  Memories of our trips to the Sun still make me smile.

Thanks for being irreverent and snickering at the back of the room with me at those gawd-awful Christmas parties, where the entertainment was watching videos of the previous year’s entertainment.  I’m so glad I found myself among the troublemakers of the family… there weren’t many of us, but we banded together and had a good time 🙂

Paul in the early 90s?Thanks for being one of the few people to whom I could send a birthday card I got at Cahoots back in the 80s 🙂

Thanks for opening my eyes and completely shifting my perspective and view on being gay…. you were the first person I knew to come out – and, in that very moment, I realized that nearly everything I’d been taught about homosexuality was wrong. And I just keep thinking that if everyone could really know you, they’d all “get it…” and their eyes would be opened too!

And though we are no longer officially related, you feel like family to me… we’re now family by choice. I’m so glad that you finally got online so we could be in regular touch!

Craig & PaulYou are a bright light and always a joy to be around, Paul. I’m so delighted that you have found a place you love to live, and someone you adore to share your life with. May this year be the best yet.

And yes – I am still planning on coming for a visit before the year is over!

Happy birthday and love you!

P.S. Anyone else want to wish Paul a happy birthday or share a memory of him with us? 🙂

(17) Comments   
Posted on May 24th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends)

Kennedy loved riding TraxOn Monday, Kennedy and I stopped by JVDGE Cafe and bought one of those sinful brownies that Ashley is always raving about. Delicious.

Then we took Trax (Kennedy loved it) and met Brandon & family at Clark Planetarium at the Gateway center.

The girls visit marsKennedy, Emily and Marie brought their swimsuits to run through the dancing fountain in 90 degree weather but, unfortuantely, it was closed for maintenance. I spotted another (small) water feature, and we were happily surprised the girls seemed to have just as much fun in it as they would have in the big one.

Back at the planetarium, the girls had an exciting adventure on Mars and well as the moon. Fortunately I was there to capture photos.

On the moon

Under The Sea 3D Movie at the Clark Planetarium We wrapped up our day at the planetarium with the 3D movie, Under The Sea. Very cool – highly recommended, even though Kennedy was startled by a cuttlefish quickly snapping up another fish for dinner, and wouldn’t wear her 3D glasses through much of the movie.

I especially enjoyed the jellyfish, sea dragons and the sea turtles. The girls loved the seals at the very end.

On Wednesday, Kathy brought her grandsons, Ben and Jonas, over and we all walked to the park. They played really cute with Kennedy.

On the swings

Ashley & JonasBen Pearce

Thursday night I hosted a sleepover with all three of my granddaughters….. Kennedy nearly 5, Marie age 3 1/2, Emily 5 1/2. The girls decorated foam crowns with jewels, and we watched Beauty and the Beast.

Three little princesses

The next day we went to the park, made foam sticker princess story pictures (Emily is quite the little artist), played dress up and Barbies, made cookies, watched several movies/tv shows… It was a very fun 24 hours but exhausting. Fortunately, Brandon and Jennifer picked up all the girls for a sleepover at their house the next night. I really enjoyed sleeping in on Saturday 🙂

Ashley returns home tomorrow….      but I’ve had a great time playing grandma the last 10 days!

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Posted on May 17th, 2009 by Allison (Family/Friends, Whatever)

Raining pinkI arrived in Salt Lake Thursday night.

I am staying with Kennedy at Ashley’s new home while her parents celebrate Justin’s graduation from nursing school, their 7th Anniversary, and enjoy a 2nd honeymoon in Hawaii for 10 days. 

Here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days…

Playing in the backyard, making the Kwanzan cherry tree “rain pink.” 

KennedyMaking exciting discoveries of new flora – such as a wisteria just starting to bloom.

And, of course, taking pictures.

Meals at Cafe Rio

Daily walks to the park (only a block away from the house) where Kennedy pretends the play equipment is a big ship, surrounded by shark infested waters. 

And watching a little bit of Scooby Doo and lot of Phineas and Ferb – and their pet, Perry the Platypus (who is actually a secret agent). Who knew such delights could be repeated over and over again with “On Demand” cable.   

A LOT of Phineas and Ferb.

Kennedy says she’s going to marry Phineas (the triangle head one).

And she’s been singing this song all day.


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