Friday, March 30, 2007

veronica mars is smarter than...

The West Virginia Mountaineers won the NIT title this year. And all they got were these lousy t-shirts.

Did you catch it? The misspelling of Virginia? Yeah. Someone is not smarter than a 5th grader.

separate but equal

Last night we wanted soup in bread bowls (because it was still snowing) so Somebody and I chose two different soups that we prepared separately and then ate. Yum.

To pass the time in the evening we read two different books (magazines are books, right?)

For our evening "together" time we both brought our laptops into bed, plugged in our headphones, and watched two different movies.

I just love how marriage has brought us so much closer together.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

who killed lilly kane?

I finally know! I finally know! I know that I am, um, about two years late with the news, but it was Aaron Echolls! Eewwww. Could the resolution be any skeevier?

Curse you, Scrumptious Cupcakes, for sending Seasons 1 and 2 home with me last week! Curse you! My life has been a mess, and I've been wandering around my apartment mumbling, "But who killed Lilly Kane? Do you think I will ever know?" Somebody has been very patient with me, and thank goodness we can finally resume normal life now.

RIP Lilly Kane. I thought you were cool, but you creeped me out in the end.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

first to see the sun

We spent Saturday morning getting the yard ready for summer. The cherry tree needed pruning and the flower beds needed some flowers. Knowing how much I love cherries, and also how disappointed I was that we didn't get to see the cherry trees in bloom in Asia, Somebody brought in branches he had cut from the tree and put them in a vase for me. Two vases, actually. Saturday they were just branches with tiny green buds. We were optimistic, but not certain, that they would bloom inside.

Yesterday a few of the buds started showing signs of white blossoms pushing out.

And this morning?
So pretty! To offset this hopeful sign of spring, this is what Mother Nature did to the neighborhood.

I love Utah in the spring.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

bike ride

Saturday morning we joined in a family bike ride. It's been years since I've ridden a bike, but, thankfully, the old adage about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true. I think it might have helped that I had the coolest bike around. As I rode past one man on the sidewalk he said, "Wow, that bike is sure orange." "Oh, yes it is." I replied. Jealousy is not a flattering color on anyone.
This cute girl did her own hair.

Sometimes we walked our bikes.

But, always, we had fun.

This one said, "Take a picture of me running!" Um, okay.

Friday, March 16, 2007

c is for cookies

It's one of my favorite things: buy a disgusting amount of candy and then feed it to my sister's children. Maybe I like to enjoy it vicariously through them. Maybe I'm trying to recreate happy memories from my childhood. Maybe I'm not being vicarious at all, but using them as an excuse to consume an embarrassing amount of sugar. Whatever. I love making and decorating sugar cookies with my nieces and nephews.

Clearly, the goal here is get as much candy as possible on each cookie.

Good goal.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

in our effort to be more healthy

My cousin introduced me to Cooking Light magazine and we received our first issue this past month. The first time flipping through the magazine this recipe stood out to me as something to try, and we were not at all disappointed.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.

Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 chicken thighs)

Changes we made: I misread the recipe (looking at the yield instead of the ingredients) and only used 4 chicken thighs, but Somebody liked having the extra seasoning on the chicken, and 4 pieces was all we needed for dinner, so I would probably do the full seasoning with half the chicken again. Also, we used thighs with bones and skins, because Somebody likes them like that and because they are cheaper to buy. We found we had to broil them almost twice the suggested time to cook all the way through. Also, we used garlic salt because that was what we had on hand, and omitted the salt. Oh, and I coated the chicken with the spices by putting them all in a Ziploc bag and tossing it around. I would also suggest that if your broiler pan is like mine and is two pieces, you put a piece of foil down on the lower half so that all the drippings land on the foil and you don’t have to scrape them off the pan later. It just makes a good dinner better when clean-up only takes three minutes.

We loved this. Seriously, we loved this. It had great flavor but wasn’t “spicy” for me. If you want extra heat I suggest you use some red pepper flakes. It was a super fast dinner (less than half an hour from start to finish) and used ingredients we have on hand all the time. Definitely a keeper.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

jennifer thumb

Last night, for the first time since our return from the East, I slept for a full eight hours. During the night. I'm finally, FINALLY, over the jet lag. It only took eight nights to readjust myself to Utah time. Welcome home.

Also, I was foolish while opening a cardboard box on Monday and a piece of cardboard jammed up in my right thumbnail, between the nail and the thumb, and my whole thumb has been bruised and throbbing ever since. Yesterday I couldn't use it at all, and while today is much better, I still can't use it to type. Have you ever tried to not use your thumb? The right index finger gets very busy and confused when he has to do his own job plus work the space bar. I mis-type frequently, writing things like "thumbnail,bbetween" and "onlyntook eightnnights" and "thum b." I never knew how much the thumb did for me. Like, hold my brush, and hook up my bra, and crack open eggs. And Left Hand? He's totally useless. He can't even work the toilet paper dispenser. Life is rough. But at least I'm finally well rested.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

i'll walk

Because poetry hasn't made me laugh out loud in a long time. Both from the genius of Finslippy.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it got sort of dark and weird with this undergrowth

Then checked out the other, which seemed just as fair
And now that I thought about it, had perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
But as for that, why was no one walking down there?
Is there something I should know about?

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh I kept them both for another day
You would think these roads would be marked somehow!
Or there would be a map or whatever


Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me—
I screamed and ran away, because have you ever seen Death?
With the skull-head and giant scythe?
No thanks, Death, I'll walk

Sunday, March 11, 2007

this stuff is all from pottery barn

It was officially called a "Dip and Dance" party, because, well, things are fun when they have themes. Like, this last week has had a very "I Throw Things Because I Can't Sleep" theme, which has been fun. Anyway, we all brought dip and things to be dipped, and then spent hours amusing ourselves with Karaoke and Dance Dance Revolution.

The girls mostly rocked out to Fame and Bohemian Rhapsody.

And Richard? He sang Christmas carols.

Downstairs, for the "dance" part of the bash, we had a four-person DDR showdown, complete with a ginormous projection image.

The low point of the evening for me was the beginning part when we showed our pictures from Taiwan and China. I'm not sure where my negative attitude about this came from, because most people are nothing but interested in seeing them. Or at least fake interested. And maybe that is why I dislike it so much: What if the interest is all fake? And it makes me self-conscious when it takes over half an hour (at least) to cover our trip, but then a two week trip is bound to take some time to rehash, right? Maybe it’s that I can’t capture what being there really felt like in the photos and I sometimes take the stance that if you can’t experience it like I did then you might as well not even see the pictures. Harsh, I know. Also, I have developed a frighteningly passionate embrace of “my people”, and while I certainly don’t understand all their traditions and beliefs, I can at least defend their right to them. Deep down, or somewhere very near the surface, it angers me when other people mock. But they shall mourn. Mwahh haa haa. (awkward silence) So, basically I’m afraid that people will make fun of my trip, and my pictures, and my stories, and my people.

The highlight? Playing Boys Vs. Girls in Catchphrase. And having the boys get their trash kicked.

We were surprised when we realized that it was 1:30 a.m. by the time we left. What with the time change and all, it was 2:30 a.m. We haven't stayed out that late since, um, never. 'Tis true that time flies when you are having fun.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

jet lag

According to Wikipedia (which you can reference online, but NOT in high school research papers) the symptoms of jet lag may include:

Dehydration and loss of appetite
Disorientation and/or grogginess
Nausea and/or upset stomach
Insomnia and/or highly irregular sleep patterns
Irritability, Irrationality

This is a case of me, me, and me again. I have had all those things the last three days. I never knew coming home could be so painful.

In a related note, I'm going to be posting pictures and recaps of the last three weeks here on the blog. I'll be post-dating them, a move which Janssen loves, so that they will be shown on the day they occurred. It's taken three days to go through all the pictures (because I could only look at them during the moments when I wasn't disoriented, irritable, fatigued, and nauseated) and I've finally sorted them by date. So, start back on February 17 for trip highlights.

Monday, March 05, 2007

one day = 36 hours

We woke up to a snow-storm in Beijing. After a harrowing ride to the airport we boarded our plane...and then waited...and waited...and waited some more. Almost three hours later, after being de-iced, we departed for Hong Kong.

Because of our delay we missed our connecting flight to Taipei which meant my parents were going to miss their flight back to Los Angeles. The helpful staff at Cathay Pacific met us at the gate in Hong Kong and changed all our flights to skip the Taipei leg and leave for the U.S. directly from Hong Kong. For my parents this worked out great. For me and Somebody, though, this meant that instead of having a 12 hour layover in Taipei, and going into the city for the lantern festival, and taking awesome pictures, instead we had the pleasure of spending 12 hours in the San Francisco airport consistently NOT getting on any stand-by flights. And then, because the day couldn't get worse, the flight we actually had tickets on was delayed an hour.

In the end, although we had left Beijing at 5 am on Sunday morning, and we landing in SLC just after midnight on Sunday evening, 36 hours had passed for us. It would have been the worst Sunday ever, but I arrived home to this:

Oh. My. Gosh. Welcome home.
Things I always want to remember:
* How I thought I had a special channel on my airplane tv that allowed me to hear the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Little did I know that everyone else could not only hear the movie, they could also see it.
* In the SF airport, when Somebody told me that he was going to go for a walk around the airport, because I was “a little grumpy”, and “clearly needed some alone time.”

Saturday, March 03, 2007

not so forbidden city

Our last full day in Beijing was a cold one. My mom stayed at the hotel (we wore her out the day before, but her staying in was probably a good thing because the day was so long and wet and cold) so it was just me, Somebody, and my dad. We went right to the Forbidden City and spent a good six hours wandering around. The most amazing thing about the Forbidden City is how massive it is. We walked, and walked, and walked, and the pioneer children gave up before we did. After six hours we still had only covered about a forth of the complex. It was just building after building, after courtyard, after building. Amazing architecture. Amazing color. Amazing history. All the rain and cold and tiredness couldn’t stop us.

Things I want to always remember:
* How all the umbrellas were so pastel and colorful.
* How Somebody “accidentally” kicking up a piece of the pavement and then putting it into my bag for a souvenir.
* The five star bathrooms, where the smokers had a lounge inside and the non-smokers had to stand outside in the rain.
* My favorite exhibit—A Day in the Life of a Concubine
* That Haagen-Dazs was the only sit-down restaurant we could find.
* Taking a half hour taxi ride just to not see the lantern festival, which was cancelled because of the rain.