Thursday, December 11, 2008
I've spoken with several people that asserted that they have a harsh anti-dunking policy for themselves. Some people are very much against the crumbs, floaties and/or sinkies that are considered inevitable and acceptable occupational hazards for those of us who are habitual dunkers. Some people make a few exceptions. Like for Oreos, but only the name-brand kind, and the like. I like to consider myself a fairly open-minded person, and started to declare myself an equal-opportunity dunker, but realized that I don't like all dunking equally. Indeed, my preferences vary greatly depending on the dunked item and dunking medium in question. I think this means I'm dunkist. Sad.
Anyhoo... I started to ponder all of the things that I have dunked, and decided to make a dunking enjoyment chart. The columns are things that I have been known to dunk, and the rows represent the things I dunk the other things into. The number of hearts represent how much I enjoy that particular dunking combination. I wanted to use little smiley faces, but I don't have photoshop on my 6 yr old laptop so I can't get a higher resolution chart right now. Besides, the little white smiley faces ended up looking like blobs, and the little black faces looked like pumpkins. So little hearts it is!
You might notice some interesting things. Like for instance, that I really enjoy dunking saltine crackers into chamomile tea. Strange? Probably. This stems from the 15 months I spent in Argentina as a missionary for the LDS church. Chamomile tea is common there (té de manzanilla). When I first arrived in Argentina, my first missionary companion was an Argentine that didn't eat breakfast. I have always been a big breakfast eater, so I had to fend for myself. I didn't really know Spanish very well back then so it was a struggle for a bit. I found sweetened té de manzanilla and saltine crackers (with or without dulce de leche) to be a satisfactory breakfast. It grew on me, and I enjoy it to this day.
Milk and Hot chocolate (preferably with a little Pero mixed in to cut the sweetness just a bit) are fairly interchangeable with a few exceptions. Milk is superior for bread dunking (especially chocolate milk... Mission influence again. Chocolate milk and fresh bread was my regular dinner for 6 months or so), but hot chocolate is better for ladyfingers and shortbread. Bits of buttered toast should only be dunked in soup, just like french fries should only ever be dunked in a milkshake/frosty. Preferably chocolate. I don't dunk donuts. Even Dunkin' Donuts donuts. Call me crazy, if you must. Just doesn't do it for me.
And despite the original use of water as a dunking medium, it ranks pretty poorly now that my dunking world has expanded to include so many other things. It'll still do in a pinch, but it is not preferred. I have dunked my phone in water, but that was entirely unintentional. And not very tasty. So it didn't make the chart...
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I absolutely love this picture. It is just so representative of my dad. He sure loved his sheep! I took this picture a few summers ago back in Clint, TX. The grandkids were there and he went and got a baby lamb for them to play with. It was super cute. Yesterday was Dad's birthday, and I've been remembering him and his big heart and gentle spirit.
Friday, October 3, 2008
2) Make sure whoever installed the sprinklers for said park does shoddy work.
3) Move into house that has incorrectly installed sprinkler main for the park right next to basement window well.
4) Lie in bed listening to peaceful sound of rain early one morning. Preferably a Tuesday morning at about 7 AM.
5) Wait... it's not raining! Run down the stairs to discover 6 inches of standing water in your basement.
6) Put shoes on. The window well filling up with water will put enough pressure to break even a double-paned window.
7) Quickly move everything irreplaceable up to your 2nd story bedroom.
8) Keep removing the leaf bits/other debris that keeps clogging the drain. The drain that is stationed at a high spot on the basement floor.
9) Carefully pick up all visible shards of glass and place in unused plastic trash can.
10) Not-so-quickly begin the process of moving everything else upstairs.
11) Take a breakfast break.
12) Feel overwhelmed. Carry one thing around while you pace the basement trying to figure out what to do next.
13) Greet the landlord and his general-contracting/carpet cleaning buddy, Von, as they come survey the damage.
14) Direct the extra hands the landlord brings in to help move stuff around.
15) Move love-sack into upstairs hallway (where you will have to jump over it every time you want to go in or out of your room) to make more room in the living room for boxes.
16) Once basement is empty and the cement has sucked up all the water it can, sweep to get as much debris off of the floor as possible.
17) Watch an episode of Scrubs and eat lunch while Von 'power cleans' the basement with his carpet-cleaning equipment.
18) Begin long process of washing all fabric items that got flooded.
19) Leave carpet-drying fans in basement for 4 days straight.
20) Step back and enjoy how clean your basement is!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So we all read the book (and some of us finished it) before book club last night. I have never been a part of a book club before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. There were eight or nine people there total, including Brandon and his wife, Emily. I don't think they are a regular part of the book club, but one of the girls is the VTer of Emily and so decided to pick his book to read, and then somehow he got roped into coming along. It ended up being a lot of fun.
Brandon is a very nice, very down-to-earth kind of a guy that obviously loves what he is doing. He has put a lot of thought into these stories and patiently endured over an hour of questions and comments from our little group. He was very gracious at accepting our criticisms too. Maybe having his wife there kept him on his best behavior, but I get the feeling that it's just because he a decent sort of chap. A big nerd, admittedly, but a good guy all the same.
He explained some of the thoughts and feelings he's had on writing book #12 of Robert Jordan's extensive Wheel of time series. He was chosen by Robert Jordan's widow after his passing to finish off the series. A daunting task, especially knowing the kinds of fans that have followed this series for the last 18 or so years. According to Brandon, people are mostly supportive. There have been a few threats of what people will do to him if he screws it up, but having read the 4 books he has published as well as the copy of "Dragonsteel" that resides in the HBLL, I have confidence that he will do a fantastic job. Maybe not what Robert Jordan himself would have done, but good nonetheless.
The book club should be fun. People were great, and I was the youngest one there! Not that that's a huge thing, but it's kind of nice to be 28 years old and the youngest one in a group setting in Provo. We're reading Robinson Crusoe for next month. Odds of the author being at that one are pretty slim. I'll let you know how it goes in any case.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Unfortunately, things seldom go as planned. Due to peoples' lives being crazy, we left an hour or so late from Provo and we headed up the canyon. We were meeting up with someone a little past Heber, and he was running a little bit late so we decided to go back into Heber to pick up a quick bite to eat. We parked along the main strip next to a variety of fast-food places and split up. Some went to Wendys, some went to Sonic, some went other places. Because this was going to be quick, right? The whole concept of fast food. But no. It took 45 minutes for people to get their food at Wendys, and somewhat less than that for those of us who chose the Sonic option, but regardless, what was supposed to be a quick detour ended up taking an hour.
Well, with spirits still high we collected our extra person, dropped his car off in Kamas, and headed towards our destination. A half-hour later we go under I-80 and realize that we had missed a turn off way back when. The only one in the group that had actually gone up to Mirror lake had gone 6 years earlier and wasn't 100% clear on the directions. So a different car took the map and the lead and headed back.
We found the turn off we had missed and headed up into the mountains. We finally reach the parking lot at the trail head about 11:00 and we load up, take a quick picture and head off.
Ten minutes later: But wait... this doesn't really look like a clear trail. Are we sure we went the right way? Nope. We totally had gone hiking off randomly without a trail. We all backtrack and then re-start the hike. On the right trail this time.
So some people in the group were pretty experienced backpackers, and some of us are decidedly not. But everyone was really good about keeping the group together for the first few hours of hiking. About 2-ish, when we figured we were getting pretty close to where we would be settling down for the night we decided to split up. The 'fast' hikers were going to go ahead and set up the tents and get a fire going, and the 'slow' hikers (and those nice enough to stay with us so we didn't inadvertently wander off a cliff or something) were going to haul our worthless carcasses the rest of the way somehow. Fast forward about 40 minutes. We were sitting down, taking a rest and eating a few well-deserved granola bars and fruit snacks, when all of a sudden a few guys from the 'fast' group come upon us from behind. Without their packs. Somehow they had gotten off of the trail without realizing it, but had run into a nice little lake so had decided to set up camp. After quite awhile they realized that the rest of us hadn't made it there yet, so they sent a few people to investigate. Who found where the trail had turned but they hadn't. So they continue up the real trail and find us. We had hiked about 20 or 30 minutes more than we had to. *sigh*
We hike back, and help finish setting up camp. It's around 2:30 by the time we all settle down around the fire. Some of us busted out the S'mores making goods, and others bust out the tinfoil dinners they had carted in. We all had a good time and don't make it to bed until around 4 in the AM. Wherein we discover that we had miscalculated the tent/people ratio. Four girls ended up sleeping in a 3 person tent. Yikes!
My sleeping bag says it was rated to 30 degrees, but my feet were cold pretty much the entire night, and the ground was really hard. Which explains why I decided to give up on trying to pretend to be asleep around 7 o'clock. I was the first one up and decided to go and wander a bit with my camera. I had a lot of fun with my macro setting and got some really great pictures just as the sun was coming up. After an hour or two I headed back to camp, and joined the others in their breakfast efforts. After which we packed up camp and hiked out. Because we were meeting our ward group to go inner tubing down the Provo River at 3. Where I almost got myself killed... but that's another story for another day!
It was a quick trip, but ended up being a lot of fun! Good times!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
And say it doesn't matter,
If you can laugh off cares and woe
And trouble makes you fatter,
If you can keep a cheerful face
When all around are blue,
Then have your head examined, bud,
There's something wrong with you.
For one thing I've arrived at:
There are no ands and buts,
A guy that's grinning all the time
Must be completely nuts.
(Quoted by Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Devotional, 1989)
Along the Road
I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser,
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!
Robert Browning Hamilton
"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.
[The fact is] most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. ...
Life is like an old-time railway journey -- delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride"
Jenkins Lloyd Jones (as often quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley)
So yeah. This has been one of those weeks. They happen every now and then and help me to appreciate the good ones. I'm glad they only happen every now and then...
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
When I first happened upon this website, I started at the top of the page, with the ranked tournaments, and when I got totally rocked 5 or 6 times in a row, I decided that I needed to bone up on my playing strategy, so I went to the non-ranking pages and have been working my way through all of the different maps one by one, playing against bots. Don't be lulled into complacency by thinking you're at an advantage with your real brain and all. Those computers can be pretty crafty. I'm winning against them about half of the time (and I may be being generous here) these days, but they still give me a run for my money.
So if any of you are fellow fans of Settlers, I strongly discourage you from checking out this website if you ever want to be productive in the presence of a computer again.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
So when the American Idol Live tour was coming through Salt Lake, we just had to go. It was a blast! Even the performers I had very low expectations for (Chikezie, Ramiele, and Jason Castro) sung well, and were pretty entertaining. Quite a few of the performers commented on how loud the crowd was. Which means we were louder than they were used to? We were the 10th show they did, so you wouldn't think they would be super surprised at people yelling and screaming.
They had the top ten perform in reverse order, and each performer did three songs. Well, they had some big screens up, and would show some promo footage of the contestants, and some commercials that they had made. Since David Archuleta is from the area, the noise level pretty much doubled whenever he had a bit in one of them. He came in second overall, and so after Sayesha (who ended 3rd) got done with her last song, the crowd went wild. She kept talking and talking. Couldn't she tell that all we wanted was a little David!?!?! But NO! "Is she still talking!?" Finally she got the hint (with the crowd chanting a name that was not hers) and left the stage, and then cute little David Archuleta came up out of the stage behind a grand piano. The crowd went W-I-L-D. It was seriously one of the loudest environments I've been in. Including drum line practice in the band room. YIKES! You could barely hear the poor kid sing at times. But they let him sing four songs. And he got all choked up and bashful just like on TV! It was fun!
There had been some speculation by the media as to the reception David Cook would receive, having beat out the Utah boy, but he got a really loud reaction from the crowd, too. Just a smidge quieter than Archuleta's.
So by the end of the night I was hoarse from screaming, had ringing in my ears from the noise, and felt oddly relaxed as a result of the vibrations from the bass that shook my whole body. I'd say the night was a success!
This month the FHE gurus decided to have a bake-off, with a homemade Thai dinner for the winning group. Sister Sorenson is Thai and cooks some amazing food! I have been privileged enough to have recently partaken of her cooking, so I wasn't necessarily dead-set on winning. To give other people a chance to experience the goodness and all. And I just really like feeding people, so I went a little overboard as usual. I made a chocolate cake that I put green shag frosting on, as well as some frosting daisies that I had left over from a different cake project. I titled it "There is a Green Hill". I made some tarts with some excess jam from last week, and an almond crust. There was the old standby of cinnamon rolls that I've made often enough that I don't even need the recipe anymore, and I threw in some cream puffs I had made for a dinner I went to on Sunday. Amy Norton and I were the only ones for our group that made anything, and there was lots of stuff there, some of which was really prettily presented, but we're both good cooks so we felt pretty confident in our offerings. Amy brought a chocolate-raspberry mousse cheesecake thingy and home-made thin mints. Awesome!
So we had Bishop Sorenson, President Baker, and Bro. and Sister Andersen judging the competition. They had official judging hats to make sure that everyone knew they were serious about the whole thing. And they were. Very serious while judging. After they judged presentation, difficulty, and originality they got to taste everything. And so did we. I especially enjoyed the lemon meringue pie, and the assortment of chocolate goodies brought. Oh, and this raspberry cheesecake thing with a fresh raspberry sauce to drizzle over it. Yum!!!
We were all biting our nails, but they finally tallied up the results and the overall single winner was Anamae Anderson who made one of the fantastic lemon meringue pies. But there were two entries that won the contest for their entire group. And they were.... (drumroll please)... The Green Hill cake (also referred to as the Grassy Knoll) and the jam tarts! That's right. I totally won for my group! It was awesome. Anamae gets to come with our group when we get dinner since she won for herself. I consider my self-awarded "Domestic Goddess" title officially defended!
And it's now Tuesday and I still don't have the book. Go figure...
Thursday, July 31, 2008
I helped out by making some of the hors d’oeuvres and the twelve angry cupcakes (complete with little cardboard jury box and racial diversity). I made two kinds of savory cream puffs, and mushrooms stuffed with zucchini (from my garden!), shallots, garlic, and little shrimp with a mixture of mozzarella and gruyere cheese on top. I was a very picky eater when I was a child (what child besides myself didn’t like French fries!? Weird) and never thought much of either mushrooms or shrimp. I volunteer for Chef Jim Light up in
Many people came to the party and we had some great times talking. Rob graciously offered to grill the meat for us, but was wearing a new shirt, so he took it off to avoid getting it messy. Watching other people watch him was one of the highlights of my evening, I must say! Good times! Rob never fails to liven up whatever situation he finds himself in.Well, it was fun. Congratulations one more time to Brian, Kari, and anyone else who survived the taking of the Bar Exam this week!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Problem is, I don't have an apricot tree from which to partake of their deliciousness. Luckily, I'm fairly shameless when it comes to asking for things that I want, so when I drove past a house last Friday that had a huge apricot tree in their backyard that was just loaded down with little orange morsels of goodness, I decided that I would swing by the next morning and ask them if they would mind me picking some, with the idea that I would either pay them for what I took, or just do some extra picking for them so they wouldn't have to do quite so much themselves. So I packed my handy-dandy ladder into my little car and headed on over. The people were super nice, especially considering that they had every right to have considered it a bit rude for me to have invited myself to their house. I picked one grocery sack full, and grandma took it inside to start making some jam, and I picked steadily from about 10 to noon, being joined at different times by the lady of the house, her husband, and her sister. I did leave more that I had picked for them, but I ended up taking about 4 plastic grocery bags full of apricots home.
So many apricots! I've already dehydrated some, have munched on a lot, will be canning some of them whole, but I'm going to jam a most of them I think. I got through two batches of jam last night! I have some extra jam I didn't have room to process in the canner, so I may have to make some little tartlet shells to put it in!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So I spent the 4th of July weekend at my Mom's new house in St. George, helping her move in, re-paint the rooms that were wild colors (like pearly salmon, and bright royal blue), and making several Wal-Mart runs for things like groceries and new trash cans. It was fun, and the house is super cute. Jared (my 2 yr old nephew) spent the day with us because his mom and sisters and Audrey all drove up to Provo to see Hannah Montana at Stadium of Fire, and Jared just would have gotten cranky. So he spent the day with us, riding his trike and playing with the hose in the back yard.
We all took a break the evening of the 4th to go to a "Neighborhood BBQ" around the corner. It was fun, the people there are really nice. My mom has pretty much moved to Mayberry. Seems like a fun neighborhood. We ate burgers and patriotic jello and talked to people while Ron and some other men launched water balloons at the Bishop's house and Jared went down a blow-up water slide, getting soaked for the 3rd or 4th time that day.
When people started busting out their little stashes of fireworks, we stayed and watched for a bit, but then headed home to light a few fireworks of our own. Ron and Verenda went and finished up some painting while I went out with Jared and started in on the 'poppies' (the little paper twists that pop when you throw them hard at the ground) and the sparklers. Once I showed him how to face downwind so the sparks weren't flying at his face, he had a lot of fun with them. He got to waving them pretty vigorously. So much so that at one point a small bit of red-hot sparkler flew down the front of my shirt and burned itself out between the girls. Ouch! I wasn't wearing a low-cut shirt or anything, I think the trajectory was just right for it to make it in the gap at my neck and land further down that I would have thought probable. I know it wasn't a paper spark like go up from fountains and such because it took a good number of seconds to burn itself out between my skin and clothes. Both of which have little holes burned in them now. Luckily, it seems to be in a fairly non-sensitive area, so other than the initial burning, it is a pretty pain-free injury. But makes for a decent story!
Beware of 2 year olds bearing sparklers!
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Growing up I had a best friend named Von Richardson. He was one of the younger kids in the Richardson family and I remember many fun times spent at their house. They had pet snakes, and raised mice in the barn to feed them. They had goats that we used to sit and watch the older boys milk. They were so skilled that they could aim a teat and fire a deadly-accurate stream of milk right at the mouth of a waiting cat. I was pretty amazed. I even got to try my hand at milking, even though I was probably only 5 or 6 at the time. I remember that it was a lot harder than it looked. They had a greenhouseish type of room built off one side of their house, and we used to sneak little sprigs of parsley and snack on them when his mom wasn't looking.
Amidst all of the other wonders at their house was a big mulberry tree that was super easy to climb and produced tasty little berries. Von and I spent many happy hours up in that tree munching our little hearts out! Well, as we got a little bit older (6 or 7) his mom started being concerned with us spending the night at each other's houses (being of the opposite sex and all) so I didn't get to spend quite as much time over there. I got to see Von at school and church, so I didn't really miss him all that much, but I sure missed those mulberries.
I finally badgered Von enough about it that he brought me a bread sack with some mulberries in it for me one day. We lived pretty rural so the bus ride took and hour and my siblings and I were the second ones on the bus in the morning, but we picked up Von and his siblings about halfway through the ride. So he handed me this sack on the bus one morning, and I was super excited. I munched contentedly for most of the rest of the bus ride. That is, until Von smirkingly informed me that he had put a little goat nugget (goats poop little spheres like rabbits) in with my berries and asked if I had found it yet. I was totally grossed out and didn't eat any more of the mulberries. I was probably pretty mad at him, but I probably deserved what I got. What with the nagging and all. Lesson learned.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
It made me giggle, then it put me in the mood to watch alien movies. But not the scary hack-em-up and suck their brains out kind, but rather the kind with little cute alien flying robots.