Thursday, May 22, 2008

the proper care and feeding of cats

This video brightened an otherwise slightly dreary Thursday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

taking some personal initiative

Some things we have learned today:

  • Not all women find the idea of a competition for a date to be flattering or respectful.
  • There are a lot of stereotypes about people who live in Provo/attend BYU/are single and LDS. Some are more accurate than others.
  • What some call creative, others call tacky. And vice versa.

Some things I still don’t understand:

  • Is it really necessary to offer tickets to a concert as incentive to get girls to ask boys out these days? Because if I remember my time in the bubble correctly, there is a lot of that going on without boys needing to entice a girl with concert tickets. Wouldn’t he rather go out with people who are interested in ANYTHING he has to offer beside Stadium of Fire tickets?
  • Why is it assumed that because I went to BYU that I despise Democrats and only vote Republican, am ethnically prejudiced, cheap, and spoiled? Or that I don’t want a marriage of respect and equality? It think that is an awfully big leap from “I think this guys might not be on the right track,” to “I wish for a marriage where my husband does everything for me. I suck.”

Some things I think we can all agree on:

  • Some boys are shallow. Some girls are shallow. Pretty much all of us have displayed some shallowness in our lives at some point.
  • I know very few girls who are not willing to pay for a date, or who would be unwilling to ask a guy out. I think most of us understand that dating goes both ways and that girls need to show their interest just as much as guys do.

I am going to just believe that the site and contest were mostly posted as a gag, (KC himself calls it a "fun summer dating gimmick." (Although he then goes on to say that, "If you find it so awful that I would suggest that a girl take some personal initiative to get a date, I would ask you if sitting at home in sweats with a tub of ice cream watching a chick-flick is a more dignified alternative. Or I hear getting together with your girlfriends for a man-bashing gossip party is a more respectable option too." So, we know the he has received some flack for the gimmick.) and that the boy is generally a good person, and that he didn’t mean any disrespect with the contest. I’m going to believe he just wanted a chance to meet new people and thought this would be fun and unique. I’m going to believe that his grandmother knows about it and thinks it is fine (oh, because she does.)

Mostly, though, I think that the whole thing is stereotypically BYU. In the bad way that people stereotype BYU. I started out being slightly amused and rolling my eyes, and ended up just being glad that it’s not my brother. And if KC marries the girl he takes to the concert, well, won't we all be amazed.

without words

This exemplifies much about what I knew and hated about being a single woman in P-town.


Monday, May 12, 2008

no one mourns the wicked

Let’s not beat around the bush: I’ve been in a mood lately. A funky mood. A “one minute I’m happy and relaxed and the next minute I’m grouchy and annoyed” mood. A “please come sit by me because I love you and I need you and the next minute please stop touching me because the touch of another human burns me” mood. A “I am strong and can do this for now and the next minute I burst into tears” mood. I’m going to have to address this at some point, but for now I think I just need to sleep.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow

I am not a mother now, but some day I hope to be and these are the ten things I am most looking forward to.
1. Baby smell
2. Seeing Somebody’s features in the little person
3. Joining the mommy club
4. Cute baby clothes
5. Looking forward to my children’s future and the opportunities they will have
6. Hugs and kisses
7. Celebrating the baby milestones (rolling over, laughing, walking, clapping, etc.)
8. Baby laughter
9. Lullaby singing
10. Mostly I have this picture in my mind of standing in a doorway at night, looking into the bedroom of my sleeping child. I’m listening to them breathing and just watching them peacefully sleep. This is the picture that screams “mother” to me—the woman who stays up after the child is sleeping. The woman who watches and worries and loves. The woman who hopes and plans and yearns. The woman who protects and nurtures and defends. The woman who listens and waits. The woman who encourages and celebrates. I had that kind of mother and I want to be that kind of mother. And I can hardly wait.

Friday, May 09, 2008

i wear my sunglasses at night

I do, in general, think that I live a very blessed life. I come from a good family who are all friendly and support one another. I have a good education from a pretty university. I have a loving husband who, conveniently, doesn’t have strong opinions about a lot of things so I get to have my way A LOT of the time. I have a job that usually doesn’t make me want to cry. (I have to revise this a little because I JUST NOW had one of those experience at work that happen every once in a while that make me a very, very angry person who hits people. Sometimes I hate this job.) We have a reliable car, a comfortable place to live, good friends, relatively good health, and a nice standard of living. There is very little, in fact, nothing I can think of right now, that we need and cannot provide for ourselves.

That being said, there are some things that I think would make my life just a little more luxurious. And I have listed them for you now.

Ten things I would buy if I had a million dollars:

Toyota Rav4—Somebody and I had one of these as a rental car once and it only took about 20 minutes to decide that someday I wanted to own one. And someday I shall.

Elliptical trainer—I pretend that the reason I’m not more healthy is because we can’t afford to build me a home gym instead of admitting that I’m lazy. One of these would prove me a liar. Bring it on.

A seamstress to custom-sew all my clothes—because that just sounds nice.

A home in Park City and Taiwan—so that I could see my friends and family any time I wanted to, and at the same time have coconut-curry mussels and lots and lots of fish.

Stocks and bonds and other interest-generating things—to build me a nice, fat retirement account.

Funds for my children and nieces and nephews and siblings—so that we can all be well educated and well traveled. Who wouldn’t want that?

Put a private pool in my backyard to swim laps—again, to further prove to Somebody just how lazy I am. Just kidding. I really believe that if I had this in my yard I would use it and love it much more than I love the skuzzy floors of my local public pool.

Build a greenhouse for Somebody—so that he can use his green thumb to its fullest potential. He is a gardening genius and I wish that he had better equipment to grow all the things he wants to.

Go to culinary school—so that I can cook all the things I see other people making and so that I am not intimidated by anything new in a recipe. I want to develop mad knife-wielding skills.

A private jet (with staff and fuel)—again, so that I can see my family and friends any time I want and not have to take my shoes off before I get on the plane.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

tattoos and tradition

We got home late, and then what with all the dinner eating and The Office watching and muffin making, it's now too late to spend an hour putting together my list for today. I will instead leave you with these two quotes from Ace of Cakes, which we are watching right now.

"Have you never seen Steel Magnolias? It’s kind of a chick flick. Kind of? It’s like the chick flick. It’s the number one most chicky flick that ever did chick."

and completely unrelated...

"If I was in a really bad car accident and an armadillo was waddling to my rescue I think I might be a little worried. But once I saw that he had all his supplies I’d be cool with it."

It is nice to end the day with a laugh.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

a gift you can open again and again

I consider myself a good reader—I read quickly, I enjoy reading, and I read a wide variety of books. This list though, of books I can read again and again, kind of stumped me because I read very few books more than once. Very few. I, uh, actually couldn’t think of a single “adult” book (not a picture book, or a young adult book) that I had read at least twice. None have come to mind. Is that strange? I also own very few books because I can get anything I want from my library, so the chance of just picking something up that I’ve read already is pretty slim because the books aren’t just easily accessible on a shelf. The books I do own are packed up in boxes because we’ve unpacked very few of our possessions since moving to Kansas, so I couldn’t even look over my bookshelves to remind myself of the books I love. I’m sure there are a few, I just can’t think of them. So here is a list of books that I know I’ve read more than once, and then a few that I would happily read again.

Five books I can (and do) read again and again (get ready—they are all children’s books)

1. Fanny’s Dream, by Caralyn Buehner
It’s not just the illustrations in the book that are magic, it’s the entire story of a sturdy girl who seems so unlikely to marry a price that wraps me up in happy memories. I was introduced to this book by Ann The Perfect many years ago and have since gifted it to several other friends. “Even with all that moonlight is still took Fanny an hour to give up her dreams.” I can’t even tell you how many times I have read and loved this little book.

2. Thunderhoof, by Syd Hoff
This was the first book I could ever read. I’m going to use the term “read” pretty loosely here, because it was more a recitation of what I knew the words were than actual reading. It’s the charming little story of a wild horse who doesn’t want to be tamed. I have no idea why this, of all the books in my house, was my young-girl favorite, but my mom says that I would read it over and over and over and she could rarely get me to choose anything else. I now own a copy and will, of course, read it to my children.

3. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This book was also a gift from a college roommate. Somehow this book, that at the time was a symbol of passive-aggressiveness and anger, has become one that I love. I do think of that horrible time in my life every time I read it, but slowly those memories fade away and I am left charmed by a little boy who tames a fox and protects a rose.

4. My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss
I read this book a lot while in college and would definitely consider it my “downer” book—I would read it when I was depressed because I felt like the purple day perfectly expressed my mood. “On purple days I’m sad. I groan. I drag my tail. I walk alone.” Ahhhh, twenty-something angst. Most of the book is actually quite upbeat, and it has wonderful illustrations.

5. Holes, by Louis Sachar
I was given this book as a gift and quickly fell in love. I love how the different stories wrap around each other before finally coming together in a perfect ending. The movie was great, but the book was much, much better. This is the only long book that I have ever read aloud on a road trip: It took eight hours and my throat was dry and sore long before the end, but nobody wanted the story to end.

6. Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech
Simply, I love this book. When it was my turn to choose my book club book, this is the book I chose. It is at the same time heart-warming, humorous, and heart-wrenching. I love the way the story is told, as a narrative on a road trip, and also of the road trip itself. I love that it is written for children but that it has layers of meaning that impact adults. I love the references to the grandparent’s marriage bed. I love the lunatics that the girls see. It is a mystery and a comedy and a moral tale. If you have not read this book yet, you should. Right now.

These are books that I WOULD read again.
7. Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield
8. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
9. Harry Potter (the whole series), by J.K Rowling
10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the whole series), by C.S. Lewis
11. The Lord of the Rings (the whole series), by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

i bake, therefore i am

The lovely Housewife came up with a good way to post every day in May (a goal that we share) and so I offered to help her come up with list ideas if she let me copy her. She graciously obliged. So, just in case I don’t get around to blogging about actual events (you know, fascinating things like our garden, the bird nest in our front door wreath, my brother coming to visit, a great Saturday, and the current status of my chin boil) you’ll know I’m alive and thinking.

Ten foods that I love to cook

I tried to explain why I like to cook each of these (as opposed to just eat them) and I hope I have made the distinction clear. I’ll sum it up for you, though: I like to cook things that are fast and easy. And sweet. Strange, I know.

1. Cookies. All kinds, really, but my personal favorites are pumpkin chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and gingerspice. I'm not sure what it is about cookies that I love so much, but I think it might be the combination of bit-size, condensed flavor, and the fact that they are hard to mess up. I like to cook them because once I have the base down I can really make them to suit my taste with mix-ins. I also like getting my hands in the dough. Oh! And I especially like putting them on the cookie sheet in perfectly even balls so that they make cookies that are all perfectly shaped. Call me anal, but I love it.

2. BBQ ribs. I didn't discover that I loved cooking these until recently. Like, when I moved to Kansas City and tried to make them. Zoo Peters tried my recipe recently and had, well, the same humorous results that I did the first time I tried it. Regardless of the fun of the first-time experience, this recipe always turns out well, and although it takes a long while to cook it involves very minimal work. I like feeling like I am a real chef who can produce mouth-watering food, and, seriously, this recipe is that good.

3. Tapioca pudding. This is definitely turning in to a list of the foods I like to eat, but, hey, isn't the joy eating something the main reason we love to cook anything? Anyway, I have loved tapioca pudding since birth, I think. It's possible since before. No one else in my family particularly enjoys it, which makes it really nice because then when I make it I get to eat the whole batch. I used to only make the stove-top recipe, but then I went to college and got all lazy and learned to love the microwave version, which condenses a 45-minute recipe into, like, 10 minutes. Sweet.

4. Rice. I know this is kind of a weird one, but I really like cooking rice. I'm pretty sure that I didn't learn how to cook rice until, well, I think I had already graduated from college. (That probably says something about how frequently I ate rice during college.) But then I was introduced to a fabulous recipe called "Rice Underneath" and my love of all things rice began. Marriage to a handsome Asian didn't do anything to quell my love of cooking rice. And then. Then! I was introduced to a rice cooker. Heavens, how easy it is to cook rice now. Although it kind of takes a little of the fun/guesswork out of things, and perhaps one of the reasons I like cooking rice is believing that I am an above-average rice cooker.

5. Meatloaf. Again, I believe my recipe is better than most. I love meatloaf. Obviously, you can't eat it every day (wait, can you?) but every once in a while nothing sounds more appealing than a chunk of seasoned, cooked beef on my plate. Also, this is another food that is extremely easy to put together. Has anyone ever tried meatloaf sandwiches? With the right kind of bread (a thick, kind of touch roll is great) this is a phenomenal sandwich. I know that Housewife is throwing up a little in her mouth at the thought of putting her hands in raw ground beef and shaping it into a loaf, but I don’t mind getting a little dirty.

6. Eggs. Soft-boiled. Over-easy. Scrambled. You name it, I enjoy cooking an egg that way. I love eggs, and I love that they are so versatile. Is there another food that can take so many forms and be included in so many recipes? Just last month Somebody made the most excellent chicken salad sandwich, and when I asked what his secret ingredient was, he said that he had mixed in some scrambled egg. Well, there you have it.

7. Scones. Not too long ago, when someone asked me what I thought of when I heard the word “scone,” I responded that I thought of the fried bread ala Utah’s Sconecutters. Not any more. Now I think of the dense biscuit ala England. And Kathleen’s fantastic recipe. You should try them. I always use chopped up dried apricots, dried cherries, and chocolate chips as my fillings. And I put in way more fillings than the recipe calls for. I like to eat these, sure, but I like to bake them because my mom loves them and I love how excited she gets when she sees me making them.

8. Grilled Veggies. I’m not sure these should really count, but just because it’s cooked on the grill shouldn’t disqualify it. I discovered my love for grilled vegetables last summer when we cooked dinner on the grill at least once a week. Veggies (cut up zucchini, asparagus, corn on the cob, sweet potato, tomato) all taste divine with just a little olive oil and salt and pepper, But, if you need more spice, I recommend this spice blend:

1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp onion salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp chili powder
I love to cook veggies on the grill because it reminds me of summer, friends, gardens, and it makes me feel healthier than cookies do.

9. Toast. Cooked bread. This is the epitome of fast, easy cooking. I think I have a piece of toast just about every day. When I’m sick I have multiple pieces of toast. Just tonight I had a piece of toast when I needed an evening snack. I love it because it is basically an empty palette for whatever flavor I want to put on it and it allows me to satisfy a variety of cravings.

10. Breakfast. I do realize that this is a category and not a food, and that I’ve already listed eggs and toast. But I love cooking breakfast because no matter what time of day I’m making it, it feels like a luxurious, lazy Saturday. Cooking breakfast smells good, and there are so many options that I can be creative (like with the pancake mix-ins, or the waffle toppings, or the omelet fillings) and still know I’ll like the end result.
One of my favorites--Gingerbread Pancakes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Mix wet ingredients in blender. Add wet to dry, mix, and cook on hot griddle, turning once. Eat. Die and go to heaven.

Monday, May 05, 2008

today has been a good day

Eight reasons I like blogging

1. It gives me an outlet to express my opinions.
2. I like feedback.
3. I like to think that it is a good record of my life, and somehow so much easier to keep than a journal.
4. It makes me feel like I belong to a community, even though that community is other women that I don’t always know in real life but that I relate to because they are all experiencing life the same way I am.
5. It is one more place to tell stories that make me laugh.
6. It is one more place to tell stories that I want to always remember.
7. Friends and family that live far away can read what is going on in my life. (I assume, of course, that they are fascinated by my every move.)
8. Sometimes I can say online what I can’t say in real life.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

don't hate me because i watch a lot of tv

20 Shows I have been (or am) OBSESSED with
1. House
2. The Amazing Race
3. Jon and Kate Plus 8
4. Grey’s Anatomy
5. Roswell
6. Ugly Betty
7. Friends
8. The Office
9. One Tree Hill
10. Gilmore Girls
11. Flip that House
12. What Not to Wear
13. Seinfeld
14. So You Think You Can Dance
15. Beverly Hills 90210

Shows that I never saw in primetime, but loved in reruns and on dvd:
16. Dawson’s Creek
17. Veronica Mars
18. Charmed (I swore I would never watch this, but then I got married.)
19. Law & Order
20. Matlock (I know, right? What? I was unemployed and it was on tv like, three times a day.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

keeping up with the joneses. literally.

Ten Things I Wish I Could Do

1. Run three miles. Okay, one mile.
2. Kneel down for extended periods of time.
3. Sit on the floor.
4. Sleep through the night.
5. Reupholster a chair or couch.
6. Cultivate a thriving garden.
7. Put together a fantastic outfit.
8. Play the piano.
9. Develop my own delicious recipes.
10. Walk really naturally in high heels.

Friday, May 02, 2008

the answers to all my questions

So, you give up yet? I thought so.

Hotel rooms:
Left to right--Hyatt, Hilton, Holiday Inn
Most comfortable--Holiday Inn, then Hyatt. Not comfortable at all? Hilton

Movie quotes:
You can see all the answers filled in below. The ones in green were guessed correctly. The ones in red were not guessed at all. Either I like lame-o movies or you guys need to get out and see some of these because they are awesome. It could really go either way.

Questions you were too shy to ask:
Yes, I wear sunglasses all day at work to do what I can do prevent the migraines from coming.
No, I'm not pregnant.
Yes, the doctor did tell me that the best solution for my twice-weekly migraines was to get pregnant right away.
No, I didn't hit her and request an easier-to-control option.

Yes, I know how to eat with chopsticks.

Yes, I have worn my hair in either pigtails or a ponytail every day this week.
No, I don't feel bad about it.
Yes, I did consider that if I left my hair down that it might take some of the focus away from my boil.
Shut up.

No, we didn't die in the big thunderstorms that rolled through the Kansas City area last night.
Yes, my car did sustain some hail damage.

Yes, I did get my wedding ring back from being cleaned and spruced up today.
Yes, the employee did call it "interesting" although she clarified that it was in a good way.
Yes, I do agree that it is the best piece of jewelry that I own and that by choosing it I was admitting that Somebody has better taste than I do and that he should pick out all my jewelry.
No, I don't mind that at all.

Yes, I did get another migraine while typing this, which is the second one today.
Yes, you should feel just a little bit bad for me.
No, I don't need anything, but thank you. Oh, wait, if you know of any non-medical/home-remedy/voodoo/herb remedies that I should try, please pass them along.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

when it rains…

When I was in P-town last week (two weeks ago? Crazy. And, by the way, that was a great and much needed vacation) I made a little visit to la Salon Chloe. It’s this great place that gives you the greatest eyebrows ever. Anyway, I had the highly skilled esthetician do a little work cleaning out my pores, especially that one on my chin that had been giving me trouble for about two weeks (maybe longer.) And for a day things were fine. And then the blemish started getting a little red. And then it started growing into more of a, well, boil. And then I woke up one day with the most embarrassing pus hill on my chin. I tried to hide it with makeup and pretend that nothing was wrong, but soon the nodes under my chin started swelling and grew very tender to the touch. (Do you kind of wish you could have been here to see it? Seriously. It was the kind of thing where people found it so gross that they can’t stop looking. Welcome to my world.) The moral of the story? I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a nasty combination of a staph infection and a strep infection. From my blemish. Doesn’t that take a certain skill? I don’t know about you, but that was one winning combo I was hoping to avoid. After three days of antibiotics things are starting to calm down. Oh, no, the blemish hasn’t decreased. Don’t worry. But the swelling under the chin has gone down. And there is this fairly attractive scab forming on my chin.

I am, like, 15 years old. Hear me roar.