Friday, January 29, 2010


I've read bits and pieces of this whole controversy with Late Night and Coco vs. Leno throughout the last few weeks, but since I don't watch late night TV (or I do, just not these shows) often, I didn't really know everything. I've never been a Leno fan - especially after attempting to watch his horrible earlier show. The only thing I've ever liked from him were those clips from the newspapers...and really, isn't it the newspaper that was funny, not Leno?

Anyway, I've always like Conan O'Brien more. I think he is funnier. I like his sense of humor. And now I like him even more as we see how much of a humble - just over all good guy he is. (I've embedded a video below here... you'll probably have to go to my ACTUAL blog to see it. Click here to do that.)

In other news, I work across the street from a bakery and just watched a really fat man help his really fat wife get into their car after sharing a few doughnuts - or a dozen. Who says chivalry isn't dead?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moving Day

I've been telling the guys at work that I am moving since...November. I am fairly certain that is when I signed my contract in order to move in Single Tree. I paid the deposit. The next month I paid my first month's rent (for January) and I even dropped by once or twice on occasion. The guys would all ask if I liked my new place, my new ward, my new roommates, etc. Only, I never moved out. So I couldn't tell them anything.

One day, Wes offered to help me move. It was out of genuine good-will. Now, I hate moving. And I hate moving other people I really hate asking people to help me move. BUT - moving is also hard work, and not something that can be accomplished alone. When I move, I always wish I were part of the wealthy gentry back in the 19th century and had house servants to pack, clean and move all of my things. Because boxes of books are heavy. Furniture is heavy. And organizing is a pain. I have a lot of friends who have offered to help, but I hate asking because none of them drive trucks and they are busy with school and work of their own.

But the guys at work drive trucks. Big trucks. And they are guys. They offer to help me carry the 70lb box of paper and all the pop I buy them. And I never take them up on it, because even though I'm not a feminist, I am not completely worthless, either. I can handle paper and pop - But I totally let them take care of the armoire and the bookshelf and the other boxes that I am so sick of looking at.

I bribed them with pizza. They had already offered to do it, but I still wanted to make it worth their while, after all, they were giving up their lunch hour to help me. They didn't expect it, so that was more incentive to get them lunch. And then Kevin ended up offering to pick up the bill, anyway. So....that was really nice. We went over to the house and they had everything loaded in 15 minutes. We drove the three blocks to my new, more ghetto apartment, and they had everything unloaded in another 20. They even rearranged my room for me.

"We want to know what's in the big giant Victoria Secret box," Rob says as spokesmen for the group.
"Yeah, Rob really wants to open that," says Todd.
"I don't know guys. I think that would really make our make our work relationship a little uncomfortable," I replied, laughing - knowing that there was a nun costume and pirate costume in the box and not lingerie. But still imagining the comments that would come up because of the nun habit.

There was something very...gratifying having five guys helping me move. Did I mention that I love working here? They are so funny and so nice. (Well, nice probably isn't the best word for them...) Obliging? I wonder what the couple of girls that walked home from classes and saw these two trucks with five guys carrying box after box - they must think that I'm insane to have that much stuff. Even though, it really doesn't seem like much.

They were carrying in my armoire and had to tip it to go up the stairs, and Rob is like, "CAREFUL, Rob has junk down there!"
Todd quipped, "But not much, so it's ok."
"At least a handful," Rob insists, "And YOUR hand was way too close," (he was talking to Wes).
"For heaven's sakes, I wasn't anywhere close to that," Wes insisted.
"Close enough," Rob said.

And then we came back and had pie - because William helped me make three pies last night and the crust actually turned out! This is thrilling for me, because I have never really made a good crust. And finally, I've learned most of William's secrets. And I'm just so pleased with the crust that I can't even stand it. If the guys hadn't told me that it was good - I would have been sad. But they liked it. I made Derby Pie, which, is basically like a giant chocolate chip cookie. I didn't bake it long enough, so it is a little more liquidy than I would have preferred - however, I did add walnuts to it. Can I just say that nuts are really delicious? They totally made the pie 68% better. (Sorry, Mackenzie... you can't have Derby Pie with walnuts, but I recommend it for EVERYONE else.)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 pdg. chocolate chips (small)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. nuts
  1. Melt butter, add chocolate chips, mix flour and sugar.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, and nuts.
  3. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 25 minutes in 350 degree oven.
*I baked my pies for 45 minutes, and it still didn't seem like enough. I also mixed everything differently, but that's because I didn't know how... so I guess this works.

I'm now 93% of the way moved in. And I might even sleep in my new apartment....tomorrow.

William's Pie Crust

William taught me the secrets to making a delicious pie crust, and I thought that it should be shared. I don't know what it is about him teaching me things, but...he's a brilliant instructor. (William - I hope you don't mind that I am sharing this...)

William’s Crust for a 9” Double Crust Pie 
    2 cups flour
    1 cup shortening
    ½ cup very cold water
    1 teaspoon salt
  • Mix the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl to achieve a uniform dispersion.  Cut shortening into flour to make a heterogeneous mixture of shortening globules coated with flour (shoot for a mean volume of approximately 25 microliters – approximately the volume of a pea). 
  • Distribute the water evenly over the mixture and stir until just incorporated.  Do not overwork the dough or it will be tough.  The objective is to achieve a visually homogeneous pastry dough that actually consists of many pockets of shortening held together by a flour-water structure, while forming as little gluten as possible by not overworking the dough.  This results in a delicate, flaky crust. 
  • If possible, refrigerate the crust until chilled (at least 1 hour, optimally 3 – 4 hours).  This will solidify the fat, yielding a stiffer, easier to work with dough.
  • To roll out the dough, begin by forming an even disk (press into a ball, and then form the disk) with an approximate 3 inch radius.  The more uniform the shape and smooth the boundary the better will be the result.  Roll evenly from the center outward to obtain an even disk with radius 1 – 2 inches larger than the radius of the pie dish.  Place in pan and fill.  Trim the bottom crust even to the edge of the pie pan with a sharp knife. 
  • After rolling out the top crust in a similar fashion, moisten the rim of the bottom crust with a small amount of water so that the two crusts will seal together.  Trim the top crust to have approximately ¾ inch extra crust beyond the bottom crust.  Fold this excess crust under the lip of the bottom crust.  Gently mold the edge to achieve uniformity and flute extravagantly.
William also has several secrets to making crusts.

There are several:

Secret #1: The recipe
Use the recipe attached.  It has more shortening than some recipes and yields a very delicious crust.

Secret #2: Use the right ingredients
Crisco is worth buying.  Store brands do not taste as good.

Secret #3: Do not overwork the dough
This is the most important.  When you cut in the shortening don't mix it--you only want small pieces coated in flour.  When adding the water stir until just barely mixed.  Overworking it makes it tough and not flaky.  I use a rubber spatula to stir in the water.  Don't roll it out more than once.  Rolling it out develops gluten, which also makes it tough.

Secret #4: Refrigerate the dough
This makes it easier to work with when you are rolling it out.  An hour at least, but 3-4 is better.

Secret #5: Roll it out well.
Shape the crust into a sphere by pressing it (don't overwork it).  Flatten into a disk that is an inch thick.  Use your hand to smooth the edges so that the disk has even edges.  Then as you roll gently from the center outward in all directions it will roll out into a nice even circle.  After the circle has not quite doubled in diameter, pick it up and re-flour the surface or it will stick.  If it stops expanding in size when you are rolling, then you need more flour on the counter.  Don't roll it any bigger than you need to, as you want it to be as thick as possible.

Secret #6: Leave it kinda thick
If you are making a double crust 9" pie the attached recipe is the right amount.  If you are making a single crust, I'd 3/4 it rather than 1/2 it.  If you are making anything larger than 9" you might want to make more.  You want it to be nice and thick.

Secret #7: Make the edge thicker
If you are making a double crust, cut the bottom crust trim to the edge of the pan.  Moisten the edges to seal.  Cut the top crust an inch wider than the pan.  Then fold the top crust under the bottom crust.  Then flute.  This makes the seam better and the crust thicker.  If you are making a single crust, cut it an inch wider than the pan and fold it under to make the edge twice as thick.  Then flute.

Friday, January 22, 2010

You Know They're a True Friend When

they pick you up from the airport.

My Aunt Elouise and I were discussing last night a situation where she and my Uncle Craig were stranded at the airport after Christmas because someone they had counted on to pick them up wouldn't answer their phone call and never did arrive.

My Uncle is an airline pilot and so he has done A LOT of flying in his life for work, for travel and for recreation. And it has always been a saying of his that you know who your true friends are by if they are willing to pick you up or drop you off at the airport.

As I sat and thought of all the times I have gone to the airport and all the friends and family that have dropped me off - I realized that he is exactly right. I always have my closest friends - if not my awesome grandparents - take me to the airport. Because they are reliable. And they are happy to see me when I fly back in (images of Becca and me screaming as we run for an overly-dramatic hug that cause body parts to rip off and eardrums to burst come to mind). Going to the airport is never really convenient. Sometimes it requires taking off work. Most the time it requires waking up way earlier than you ever intend to, or staying up way later than your eyelids can even handle.

So to those of you that have ever driven me to the airport - defying death (Carla) or sleep (everyone else), I thank you. You guys are awesome. And true, true friends.

Post scriptum: I extend this post to some of my friends who were absolutely angry with me when this happened because I had my car in the airport parking lot. When I was telling the story, the first thing they asked was "WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME? I could have come to get you." I have so many friends that I can ask to retrieve me from the airport. And that level of comfort, I do not take for granted. My friends/family are absolutely the best.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fan Art - Hunger Games

Too bad I'm a crappy artist. Still...

This is how much I love the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. So much that I drew a picture - even though I can't draw.

That should tell you something (MELISSA!) - YOU should read it. Now. NOW.



Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters?

BBC had this article on their news site today, and it got me thinking about our Sunday school lesson this week. It really shows me that the world does not understand God's plan. I didn't paste the comments at the end of this article, because they didn't really shed much light on the topic.

Why does God allow natural disasters?
At the heart of Haiti's humanitarian crisis is an age old question for many religious people - how can God allow such terrible things to happen? Philosopher David Bain examines the arguments.

Evil has always been a thorn in the side of those - of whatever faith - who believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God.

As the philosopher David Hume (echoing Epicurus) put it in 1776: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"

Faced with this question, Archbishop of York John Sentamu said he had "nothing to say to make sense of this horror", while another clergyman, Canon Giles Fraser, preferred to respond "not with clever argument but with prayer".
I have nothing to say that makes sense of this horror - all I know is that the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus is that he is with us
Archbishop of York, John Sentamu

Perhaps their stance is understandable. The Old Testament is also not clear to the layman on such matters. When Job complains about the injuries God has allowed him to suffer, and claims "they are tricked that trusted", God says nothing to rebut the charges.

Less reticent is the American evangelist Pat Robertson. He has suggested Haiti has been cursed ever since the population swore a pact with the Devil to gain their freedom from the French at the beginning of the 19th Century. Robertson's claim will strike many as ludicrous, if not offensive.

And even were it true, it wouldn't obviously meet the challenge.

Why would a loving deity allow such a pact to seem necessary? Why wouldn't he have freed the Haitians from slavery himself, or prevented them from being enslaved in the first place? And why, in particular, would he punish today's Haitians for something their forbears putatively did more than two centuries before?
So what should believers say? To make progress, we might distinguish two kinds of evil:

  • the awful things people do, such as murder, and
  • the awful things that just happen, such as earthquakes

St Augustine, author CS Lewis and others have argued God allows our bad actions since preventing them would undermine our free will, the value of which outweighs its ill effects.

But there's a counter-argument. Thoroughly good people aren't robots, so why couldn't God have created only people like them, people who quite freely live good lives?

However that debate turns out, it's quite unclear how free will is supposed to explain the other kind of evil - the death and suffering of the victims of natural disasters.

Perhaps it would if all the victims - even the newborn - were so bad that they deserved their agonising deaths, but it's impossible to believe that is the case.

Or perhaps free will would be relevant if human negligence always played a role. There will be some who say the scale of the tragedy in natural disasters is partly attributable to humans. The world has the choice to help its poorer parts build earthquake-resistant structures and tsunami warning systems.

But the technology has not always existed. Was prehistoric man, with his sticks and stones, somehow negligent in failing to build early warning systems for the tsunamis that were as deadly back then as they are today?

The second century saint, Irenaeus, and the 20th Century philosopher, John Hick, appeal instead to what is sometimes called soul-making. God created a universe in which disasters occur, they think, because goodness only develops in response to people's suffering.

To appreciate this idea, try to imagine a world containing people, but literally no suffering. Call it the Magical World. In that world, there are no earthquakes or tsunamis, or none that cause suffering. If people are hit by falling masonry, it somehow bounces off harmlessly. If I steal your money, God replaces it. If I try to hurt you, I fail.

So why didn't God create the Magical World instead of ours? Because, the soul-making view says, its denizens wouldn't be - couldn't be - truly good people.

It's not that they would all be bad. It's that they couldn't be properly good. For goodness develops only where it's needed, the idea goes, and it's not needed in the Magical World.

In that world, after all, there is no danger that requires people to be brave, so there would be no bravery. That world contains no one who needs comfort or kindness or sympathy, so none would be given. It's a world without moral goodness, which is why God created ours instead.

But there is wiggle room.

Even in a world where nothing bad happens, couldn't there be brave people - albeit without the opportunity to show it? So moral goodness could exist even if it were never actually needed.

And, anyway, suppose we agree moral goodness could indeed develop only in a world of suffering.
Doesn't our world contain a surplus of suffering? People do truly awful things to each other. Isn't the suffering they create enough for soul-making? Did God really need to throw in earthquakes and tsunamis as well?
Suffering's distribution, not just its amount, can also cause problems. A central point of philosopher Immanuel Kant's was that we mustn't exploit people - we mustn't use them as mere means to our ends. But it can seem that on the soul-making view God does precisely this. He inflicts horrible deaths on innocent earthquake victims so that the rest of us can be morally benefited.

That hardly seems fair.

It's OK, some will insist, because God works in mysterious ways. But mightn't someone defend a belief in fairies by telling us they do too? Others say their talk of God is supposed to acknowledge not the existence of some all-powerful and all-good agent, who created and intervenes in the universe, but rather something more difficult to articulate - a thread of meaning or value running through the world, or perhaps something ineffable.
But, as for those who believe in an all-good, all-powerful agent-God, we've seen that they face a question that remains pressing after all these centuries, and which is now horribly underscored by the horrors in Haiti. If a deity exists, why didn't he prevent this?

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I would like to sit and type a whole post, but I can't seem to get my thoughts together into anything congruent. So I have just a few thoughts:

  • Natural disasters have been used throughout the world's history in order to punish the wicked. Natural disasters also occurred following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the earth mourned His loss. But I think that they are also a result of the Fall. After Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, the world itself became unclean. I don't know if unclean is the world I want to use really, but the point is, it lost its paradisaical glory. It had to be baptized by water (the flood) and by fire (Second Coming) before it is restored. Until then, the earth will act imperfectly - the same as we act imperfectly. I don't know that the earth is using it's free agency, but it is using the natural processes with which it was created which means volcanoes and tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.
  • As the philosopher David Hume (echoing Epicurus) put it in 1776: "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?" I really almost hate this quote, because it shows that Hume really did not understand the nature of God at all. If he were to prevent evil, he would be taking away free will, or the agency to choose - which has been ours from the beginning. He would not be God if he took away our agency. He is neither impotent of malevolent, and by putting only those two options is fallacy. 
  • Furthermore, it has been suggested, "Why didn't God just create only good human beings?" Which also shows ignorance. To say that God created us to be exactly as we are is again taking away our individuality as His children. He did not create our personalities, our temperaments the same as He does not create our choices. We were individuals before we came to this earth. We will be individuals when we leave. We will forever be His children and as such, precious in His sight. And while he may not ease the evil that we experience in life, He can help bear our burdens and make them light.
  • I don't understand the concept of the Magical World this article creates. If something is stolen from you, and God just replaces it - that doesn't follow the laws of justice. There is a level of growth that is experienced through trial and tribulation. And because of the negative in our lives, we are able to more fully understand the positive. Part of the plan was to come to this earth and experience the negative so we can learn the good. If God were there to pad our every fall... it'd be like never allowing a baby to learn how to eat or walk on its own. As parents, do we shelter our children from all growing opportunities? No. We let them fall down, dump their Cheerios on the floor and mess their pants until they are properly potty trained. It is part of life, this learning process. And God would never want to impede our growth by completely sheltering us from life.
This isn't the most eloquent of thoughts, but I felt the need to write them down - even if I don't post them to the BBC site. Any thoughts to add?

Picture Drop

This picture is from this summer when Amy and Mom came to visit. I just really like it - and I couldn't remember if I had posted it anywhere else. Amy had just gotten her hair done by my good friend Jessica Walker - who is amazing.

This is proof of my slight obsession mentioned in these posts. Of course, this isn't including the several e-books I also have saved on my computer. It is a sickness. I know.

If this isn't the cutest baby you have every seen - you are pretty much heartless. Or you have a relative that you think is cuter. Whatever. This kid is pretty much boss. And I love her so. I am also excited that she is growing out a mullet. Just like her aunt Shelli.

From Pictures from the Past


I always meant to post this picture when I talked about my amazing sandwich that I made over the summer. You can find that recipe here.

This is what is passing for art at BYU these days. Yes, it is a dead turkey spray painted white. The platform on which it lies - it was probably 200 ft long. Neat, huh? Wish I had been an art major. Oh, and the title, "A Reflection on Killing" or something along those lines. The artist killed the turkey himself.

Lastly, a picture I took while shopping. I know that I am immodest, but I really liked my hair that day. Because I am pretty sure I got my bangs trimmed, and I thought they looked good. And maybe they did - on that day. Afterward, they looked awful. Luckily, I have since remedied the situation, and my bangs are no longer too terrible to manage. Even if I do want to chop off my hair everyday, thus resulting to me wearing it in a pony tail almost everyday - certainly the past four days in a row.

I didn't buy the black tank - though, I am regretting that decision. I DID buy the purple shirt hanging in the background. I am pretty sure I owe Jessica a thank you for that because she sent me a gift card for my birthday which allowed me to purchase said item.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday Challenges, Lessons and...

I love Sundays when I've left church and really felt uplifted, spiritually fed and motivated to make changes in my life. Today was one of those Sundays. Plus, I felt like I really learned more about the gospel AND I got to laugh a bit at a few of the insane comments made in Gospel Doctrine. So overall it was a brilliant day at church - even though Sacrament meeting went over about twenty-five minutes AND the high councilman brought in props. (For the record: props are not appropriate during Sacrament meeting. As my dad said today, "This isn't Saturday Night Live.")

Becca taught Gospel Doctrine and the topic was The Fall. Not as in autumn, but the fall of Adam and Eve. The "Original Sin" as some churches teach. I really love the knowledge that we have through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • One example that was used in class today talked about how the Garden of Eden could be compared to a house where Heavenly Father placed Adam and Eve and told them not to open the door to the outside. If the door were to be opened, there would be consequences and Adam and Eve could not return inside the house. Eve opened the door, and with that she was exposed to the outside which holds limitless opportunities and new experiences that she could in no way have had inside the house. But it also holds the bad consequences as well. Eve took a risk opening the door, but when she did she got to experience the world.
  • If Heavenly Father had not set up a situation in which Adam and Eve would transgress, there wouldn't have been a need for the Savior. And we wouldn't be here. Adam and Eve did not have the knowledge of good and evil, they were in a state of innocence. Which meant that they couldn't fulfill God's first commandment: to multiply and replenish the earth. They didn't have the knowledge of how to go about doing this. With the partaking of the fruit, Eve established the beginning of the Plan. She gained the knowledge she needed in order to replenish the earth - and also the desperate need for our Savior. With the plan in action, we are now here on earth and able to continue to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and keep the commandments.
    • A very funny side note: One of the guys in class mentioned that because Adam and Eve were in a state of innocence, they would not have known how to procreate. When Becca repeated this, as an instructor will often do with comments, she said, "That's right. Adam and Eve didn't have the skills to procreate..." after which she got very flustered. And it was pretty hilarious. She continued, "I mean, they didn't have the knowledge - knowledge would have been a better word - I can't believe I just said skills."
  • The difference between a sin and a transgression are that a sin is always wrong, and always evil. Whereas a transgression is breaking a commandment because it was prohibited by law. Partaking the fruit was not evil. In fact, one might argue that eventually God might have given Adam and Eve permission to take the fruit if they had not been beguiled by the devil to do so at that time. But partaking of the fruit was prohibited by law, and therefore they transgressed against the laws of God. This of course is important when we recite the second article of faith, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."
    • Side note: I really think that Adam and Eve were probably pretty close to perfect as any two people on earth could get. Yes, they partook of the fruit, which was prohibited by God. And because of that they were kicked out of God's presence. Yet, even after they began to make the sacrifices commanded them without understanding the significance. The article of faith doesn't say anything about Adam's sins - only his (singular) transgression. They continued to talk to God, even if they did no longer walk with Him.
    • In class, one of the guys asked if sex was a sin or a transgression. Of course, Becca told him to ask the Bishop. (And of course, we're talking premarital sex.) Although, I think in Alma we learn that sexual sins are only slightly better than murder and denying the Holy Ghost. So I think that answers his question. 
    • Side, side note: The above guy noted to the class (after I might have pointed it out to him) that in one of the scriptures the word "seed" is used and then the footnote underneath reads, "TG birth control" - which I thought was interesting and somehow, in no way related. If someone were to look up birth control in the Topical Guide and was led to that scripture, I don't think it would have been very helpful.
We were also issued a challenge to read the Book of Mormon before our Stake Conference in April. That is a pretty lofty goal, but I definitely see that as a great idea. They especially challenged us to read the Book of Mormon and go through and mark every reference made to Jesus Christ. Then they passed out Books of Mormon to every member in our ward - and I took one. Which means that I am accepting the challenge. Even though it requires reading at least 10 pages a day.

The teacher in Relief Society told a story about studying for a major test for grad school and having no motivation to study. I, of course, could relate to a story like that - having lost all drive to do any sort of stats in months, and she talked about how she bowed her head and prayed that she would have an efficient study session after she read her scriptures. It put me in the mindset that I need to pray more, definitely study my scriptures for aggressively and devotedly. And so I have decided that I would read the Book of Mormon, again.

After church, we really needed to get a crazy start on getting things packed and organized for when we move in the next three weeks. Of course, I could have had all of my stuff moved out a while ago - but I've done nothing. We did spend the majority of the day in the basement trying to get Roberta to part with many of her things. This week will be hectic and backbreaking. I'm just grateful for so many friends willing to come and help.

A guy from our ward invited us to dinner of which his new roommate cooked all of it. It was delicious. And while sitting at the bar eating, I was talking to the chef and his girlfriend (?) and we were talking about pets. I am not a pet person, and when the girl mentioned her cat, I said, "I was raised to throw rocks at cats. I hate cats." She was not very pleased with this, and said something like, "You know that there will be cats in heaven, right?" "But there will also be rocks," her friend replied without missing a beat. It was very funny.

Lastly, Colin and William both dropped by tonight to help pack and offer candy and be a general pain in the butt about stats. I swear I can't leave a meeting with either of them bringing up that dreaded, wretched subject. I am pretty aware that I need to get a move on. And after much pleading, begging, bribing and overall pushiness, I know that it needs to be done. It doesn't stop the cloud of darkness from overshadowing me and any resemblance of happiness in my life. Which is really quite a shame - we were having such a pleasant visit. (They are really, the truest of true friends.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nigeria Invades...a slamming party

Becca and I heard about this huge party going on in Lindon earlier this week and we couldn't decide whether or not to go. The fact that it cost money and wasn't really something that many of our friends would want to do were kind of a hindrance. That and we have both been a little stressed and tired as of late.

Regardless, on Wednesday we decided that we were going. We tried to invite people, but it turns out that our friends are the masters of excuses. The guys were all mad that they had to pay more. We did get a good little group together, though, so the party was on!

We arrived at Noah's just in the nick of time so that we paid a cheaper price and actually found room on the dance floor. After a couple of hours, the place was crawling with about 1500 people. The DJ was...OK. Some of the songs were really good, and some of the mixes were really awful. We met up with some great girls and danced in our little circle for most of the night. At one point, as I was dancing, I made eye contact with a very little African guy (we kept saying he was from Nigeria, but I don't think any of us there is no way of knowing) and he started dancing with me. Only, it was the type of dancing that I had previously been barfing over, so I tried to escape. Luckily I saw a guy I knew and I used that as an exit. The little Nigerian friend found me another two times before I finally got away and that wasn't before he also danced with Becca and Kelly. Of which, our friend Wyatt had to actually cut in, in order to save Kelly from his clutches!

A few other guys cut in and danced with us from time to time. One of the guys I had been checking out...pretty much all night. So even though we danced for only a song, I felt like I had totally accomplished something by him backing that thang up.... yeah, it was pretty awesome.

It turns out that the whole Sluts of Utah County chapter was in attendance, and our little group definitely got an eye sore of watching dirty sex-dancing. And making out. Now, I am all for a little PDA, but full blown make out sessions on the dance floor, where you were previously bumping and grinding is cause for hurling. I think we were all lucky that we didn't lose our dinner.

Speaking of which, I made a delicious dinner prior to the dance. Thanks to Sabrina, who made it for me over Christmas, I have the recipe:

4lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 can (16oz) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 bottle (8oz) kraft Catalina dressing
1 env. Onion soup mix. We used mrs. Grass onion soup mix

Heat oven to 350F
Place chicken (13x9in) baking dish
Mix remaining ingrdients; pour oven chicken
Bake for 50 mins. Or until chicken is done (165F) 


The major things that were strange about the evening were the lack of fire safety. I think if there had been a fire, there probably would have been about 1450 deaths. The place was packed, and there weren't very many exits or maneuverability.

I was more in the mood for dancing than Becca was - that is probably the weirdest thing of the whole night. I could have danced for another hour, and Becca was ready to leave at 11 p.m. and then insistent that we leave at midnight.

So we did leave, and then we hit up Sammy's and then we stayed up really late. It was awesome and fun. And I haven't had that much energy in a long time. I could have danced all night, and almost did.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Left vs Right cont.

I continued the research (by clicking one more link) on this and was intrigued further. As I look through the list - there are some things that I do like to do. But I guess that goes to show you that my left-side is functioning. It just isn't dominant.

Activities That Stimulate the Left Side of the Brain
The left side of your brain controls the right side of your body. The left side of your brain also does math, talks, spells, reads, likes to play alone, does one thing at a time, asks why, and asks how. Individuals who use the left side of the brain more always arrive on time and are usually early, like to read books about how things work, never get car sick, don't day dream, (Do a single one of these things sound like me? HAHAHA, no. They don't.) and are usually laid back. A common comment about a person who relies heavily on their left brain is that they are not bothered by much.

Individuals who primarily use the left side of their brain like to solve puzzles (no) and they really enjoy log puzzles.

There are three switches downstairs. Each switch corresponds to one of the three light bulbs in the attic. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in position. How would you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb if you are allowed only one trip upstairs? The practical nature of this logic puzzle also appeals to the left side of the brain. (I wish you could see my face right now. I am reminded of a problem from 7th grade math with Mr. Egan - a ruthless, tyrannical basketball coach that should never have been allowed to teach children - that STILL gives me nightmares about how the janitor went and closed every certain locker and when he was done, what lockers were still open? It made me cry...really.)

What are some other activities that I can do to stimulate the left side of my brain?

Predict what will happen next week. (Er....not.)
Find out how a watch works. (No.)
Play a computer game. (Only if it is a word game...)
Participate in a spelling bee. (Not really an option for me. I don't think. I'm a good enough speller.)
Complete a paint-by-number picture following the instructions and staying within the lines. (Paint-by-numbers take out all the fun because they tell you WHERE and WHAT color to put...I don't like that.)
Do a word search puzzle. (I never liked these.)
Do a SudoKu puzzle.(I really, really never liked these.)
Work a math problem. (Ewww...)
Play dominoes. (Hmmmm....)
Play bridge.(I don't know how, but I do like card games...)
Write a book review. (Done! and done!)
Assemble a model kit, a bicycle, or piece of furniture following the instructions. (Do we have to follow the instructions?)
Make a list. (As long as I don't have to check anything off of it!)
Go for a jog. (Exercising WOULD be part of the left-brained activities....)
Adopt a dog. (No. Just...No.)
Arrange your linen closet by color. (#1 Get a linen closet. #2 Ok... but it wouldn't stay like that.)
Balance your checkbook. (-------)
Check and correct math problems. (And then stab my eyes out and hang me from the ceiling with my fingernails.)
Edit an essay for grammar and punctuation. (I really like doing this.)
Alphabetize your to do list. (To DO list....AHAHAHA!)
Be on time all day. (Riiiiight.)
Count money. (Can do!)
Save money. (Can't do!)
Read National Geographic magazine. (LIKE!)
Copy a picture using lego blocks. (Er....)
Organize your files. (Maybe another day...)
Go square dancing. (No.)
Learn to play the piano. (I would really love to, but I stunk the last time I tried. I am trying to relearn the flute, though.)
Visit a Historic site. (Yes, please!)
Attend a financial planning lecture. (Been there. Done that. Hated it. - Except the whole getting out of work and being paid to be there bit.)
Read the daily stock report.(No......)
Listen to classical music with distinct patterns. (I don't know what constitutes as distinct patters, but I'll listen to classical sometimes.)
Conduct research to collect facts for a non-fiction article. (I never liked these.)
Interview an expert to collect details for a non-fiction article. (Or not.)
Study to become an accountant. (Oh, puhlease!)

In summary, any activity that allows you to think or work sequentially will stimulate the left brain. Any activity that collects and analyzes facts will stimulate the left brain. Details and facts are the domain of the left brain. Be careful about starting any of these activities before going to bed because you may find yourself wide awake for some time as the left brain continues to process and stays stimulated. (Maybe this is the reason I NEVER have a problem going directly to sleep. My left-brain is never stimulated, I'm just daydreaming.)

The Creative Brain by Ned Hermann, Brain Books, 1988.

Left vs Right

I am left-handed, so it would make since if I favored the left side of my brain because immediately I get defensive if someone says something bad about LEFTs. I don't know why. I am also always looking for discrimination against left-handed people. Like the pen that is sitting at my desk - I can't write with it. Why? Because I'm left-handed and when you write with your left hand it automatically starts twisting the pen and then the actual part that it writes with disappears. It's discrimination.

But that's not the point of this post.

Today at lunch we had an interesting discussion on my brain. See... I've always liked to think of myself as a left-brained person, but that's before I understood what each side of the brain actually does. Turns out, it's the RIGHT side of my brain that I favor (which makes me very sad to say). Apparently - and I know I've learned this in a psychology class, so the information isn't really new to me, I just never thought about it before - the LEFT side of the brain is for things like reason and logic and math.

In fact, Meghan was painting the distinct picture of my right-brain attacking my left-brain with its long, sucker-lined tentacles every time my left-brain tried to suggest something. 


Do you see the problem? I don't do things reasonably or logically or mathematically. I never really have that I know of. I have always preferred things that were abstract and creative. I can't figure out for the life of me why my sister HATES doing creative projects at school. A PowerPoint with a required CREATIVE slide - yes, please! A dictation exactly how to do things formulaicly? NO THANK YOU. Why do people put things in linear patterns? Why do people analyze situations to gosh dang much? How did you know it took me exactly 23 minutes to get here, instead of the 15 I said it would take? I don't get it.

Of course, this has created a lot of problems in my life. Especially recently. I blame the fact that the left side of my brain hates me to my money problems, graduation problems and inability to tell time and therefore be one time. My ability to be conned. My lack of general direction. My friends seem to think that if I would strive to develop the left side of my brain that I would be able to be more successful in my life. I wonder if it is permanently damaged?

The problem with developing the left side of your brain does not sound like a good time, at all.
To stimulate and strengthen the thinking processes of your "left brain," talk about things as logically as you can. Picking apart an argument or something you read, and analyzing it can exercise this part of the brain too.
This article did find some more enjoyable activities...but not many.

To stimulate the left side of the brain, you could solve a crossword puzzle or figure out a difficult mathematical equation. Learning a new language also stimulates the left side of the brain, as does figuring out complicated questions dealing with time or algebra. You might also want to study ethics, and analyse various situations and decide whether an action is good or bad. Other activities include learning new vocabulary words, mapping out a schedule to follow when working on a project, organizing day trips or vacations, and attending lectures on a variety of subjects.
I am guessing that the reason I did so poorly in learning Latin, or picking up ANY Spanish - despite the fact that I worked with Mexicans and lived with four fluent-Spanish speakers - is attributed to the fact that I am not a left-brained individual. I do like word games though... I love learning new vocabulary. But I don't think that really helps with my problems. Writing and speaking are definitely not a weak area in my life.

Anyway, I took a quick little quiz:

We do know that the left side of the brain is the seat of language and processes in a logical and sequential order. The right side is more visual and processes intuitively, holistically, and randomly.

You responded as a right brained person to 16 questions, and you responded as a left brained person to 3 questions. According to the Hemispheric Dominance test, you use your right brain the most. The summary briefly describes your dominance type.

Some of the traits associated with the right side of the brain are listed in the table. Not all of the traits will apply to you. Remember, we use both side of our brain, but your right sides gets the most exercise.

Type of Cognitive Processing
Brief Description
Holistic   Processing information from whole to part; sees the big picture first, not the details.
Random   Processing information without priority, jumps form one task to another.
Concrete   Processes things that can be seen , or touched - real objects.
Intuitive   Processes information based on whether or not it feels right know answer but not sure how it was derived.
Nonverbal   Processes thought as illustrations.
Fantasy-Oriented   Processes information with creativity; less focuses on rules and regulations
It is all beginning to make sense. Unfortuanately, everything that I have going on in my life right now only strengthens my right brain: practicing my flute, reading fluffy books, writing my own books....I don't know where moving falls into play but it's safe to say that I haven't done anything in regards to that, yet. And well, fine - I'll admit it - stats has pretty much fallen off the radar. I suppose I should get on that. That would be a definite left brained activity.

"Kill me!" My poor little right-brain is screaming as I even begin to process this.


2009 Mash-Up

Probably one of the cooler things I've seen this week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

True Friends

me: [Stats] makes me want to like, slit my wrists
  the LONG way
  I hate it so much
10:37 AM but I have to get it done
  And I thought I had until June
  but I only have until May
  which might as well be March
  which means...
  I need to get on it
  and I hate it
  and I haven't moved yet
  I'm not in classes - I'm not supposed to be stressed!
10:38 AM Meghan: hehehehe
  I'm sorry, but you're SO funny
 me: I don't see how this is funny
  at all
10:39 AM Meghan: well, look at it objectively
  you've had a year to do it
  and like you always do, you've left it until the very last second
  it's just funny
  and now you're piling things on top of stats that really aren't a big deal
  Jared and I said we would come help you move
  so that will take you like three seconds
  and then you can focus on stats
  which William will help you with
10:40 AM you're just being dramatic ;)
  which is very S-like
  so it's funny
 me: how dare you
 Meghan: hehehe
 me: way to put it into perspective
  how can I have my freak-outs
  if you are there to calm me down?
 Meghan: oh sorry
10:41 AM one second
  (this is what Jared does to me)
  (hem hem ... throat clearing)
 me: Also, you have successfully made me laugh to the point of tears
10:43 AM Meghan: excellent

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Remember When?

It's cold outside. But remember how it didn't use to be cold outside? And I could go and lay in the backyard, scantily clad, and bask in the warm sun reading book after book after book. And sometimes I got burnt. Because it was warm. Remember?

I do.

And I really wish that I could go put on my bathing suit right now and lay out and think warm thoughts and read a really good book. Instead, it's freezing. And the grass is frozen. And my knees are frozen. And my arms are frozen. And it's amazing that my fingers aren't breaking as I type this.


I really miss the summer. And even if winter were to magically speed up and it would be summer tomorrow, I still wouldn't be able to lay out and get a tan because I now have a job. A job that I quite like, but still... it keeps me indoors.

But, it certainly helps to remember.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Death of an Era

Some three years ago I started reading an author that I quickly became obsessed with. I had been introduced by my aunt who asked, "Do you like sappy - I mean, really sappy - as in, I'm almost embarrassed to give this to you, sappy?"


That was always my answer. Because I love sap. I love cheesy. I love romance! As long as it was a happily ever after, I was happy. I signed up for this author's updates and promptly ordered the books I had read. Every time I visited my aunt, I devoured as many of the books as I could - and then bought those as well. Soon, I had read everything this author had put out. I was still craving more.

I introduced everyone I thought could stomach the sappiness to these books. And then tried to discuss them - as if we were reading some poignant plot points or fabulous symbolism.

The truth was - I knew the writing wasn't the most fabulous I've ever encountered. And I figured this author self-published. There were too many typos for there to be a real editor on board. But I didn't care. I liked the stories. And I didn't care that the heroes were always the same. Everyone always seemed so self-conscious (lack of confidence is a very real problem in relationships, after all).

As different friends read these books, I was introduced to new perspectives. I started reading other romances. I stopped reading other romances. I was still devoted to this author. And then there started a decline. I don't know if it was because I was outgrowing sappy, or if I finally recognized that I shouldn't be reading such mediocre writing. Still, I clung on. I continued reading the books. And then I read one that I was impressed with. Surely this meant that they were going to continue to get better. But it was just a small hill on a slippery slope down.

I've given up. I've ordered my final book - and I won't be reading any more of this author. I am removing myself from the update list. I am ending my relationship with this author. I just can't take it anymore. I don't know what has happened. But I suspect that the writing has gotten worse. I will read those few that I truly loved and see whether or not it is me or the author. But regardless of the findings - we're through.

It's been a good run. I truly did like those first few that set off a fever. But I can't let this continue. I think this quote probably shows exactly why...

Ridge smiled—his strength suddenly rejuvenated for the sake of his loving want.
Gently—yet boldly—he aggressed—taking Ember in his arms—shifting his weight so
that he hovered over her dominantly.
Embers smiled—weaving her fingers through Ridge’s soft, dark hair.
“I love you, my pretty mermaid,” he breathed a moment before his mouth
demanded hers respond to him.
“I love you,” Ember breathed between impassioned kisses, “my beloved treasure
of the sea.”
And the tide’s soft caress kissed the moonlit shore…

Thursday, January 07, 2010

We'll Kimbo Slice Him

When I began working at KMA I knew that I was going to be working with all guys. It was exciting to think about and so far I have not regretted my decision. Mainly because working with these guys is like working with a gang of comedians. [Do comedians run in gangs? packs? flocks?]

For instance: I went upstairs and they were talking about a guy that is currently sporting a mountain man beard and came to talk to Steven. Thad, the mountain man, has a distinct voice and also a crazy family (brother named Star that has Thong Tuesdays and then shows everyone, lesbian sister that has a...ah, interesting object hanging from her pocket the family photo that is now showcased on the family business van, etc.) so the topic turned to Thong Tuesday and the guy they knew that went commando. Steven was telling us that guys need always have a four-layer barrier between them. Pants, unders and if they can, they should tuck in their shirts as well.

I was not in the best of moods, due to the fact that I have been seriously neglecting my need for sleep for at least two weeks now, and Wes told me that I needed to go to bed at 9 p.m. and not get back out. And if I didn't, my only other option was to pack up my house. He's obviously picked up on the fact that I need a little bit of pushing when it comes to my personal life.

The topic turned to dating - mostly because of posts that were previously written that caused some controversy which I told the guys. They were asking whether or not it was directed to a single person or just men in general. I told them it was in general and Steven was like, "Well, you let us know. If you need us to pay a visit to some guy..." I loved it! They were totally offering to be my champions. I imagine what this would be like if I had older brothers. "If you ever need us, we'll kimbo slice him!" Steven added. I didn't know what Kimbo Slicing was, but it sounds pretty painful, so I am glad that I have that option. [I later learned that Kimbo is a MMA guy?]

We were talking about how guys don't seem to be asking girls out on dates. They all think they were immune to this because they are all married - so they limit my bashing on Mormon guys to just BYU guys. Then they asked about a certain guy and if I'd heard from him or anything to which I said no. And then they offered to go to his house and "50's gangster" him into asking me out. Or to give them his phone number so they could harass him.

I think I'll try things my way first, and then maybe I will take them up on their offer. :)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Disgruntled, Mom?


It seems that my previous post was found offensive. So I guess I should explain, a little bit.

The question, though, is how do you explain things like this? The fact of the matter is that Mormon boys are pansies. Like in everything, there are exceptions to the rules but for all intensive purposes, it's pretty much the norm around here. Don't get me wrong. Mormon guys have a lot going for them. They're taught to be hard workers, ambitious, they hold the Priesthood, they serve others, they love the Lord, they love their family. They are still men... (Again, exceptions to the rules are found.)

BUT - if you look through the last couple of General Conferences or Pristhood Sessions, CES firesides, Stake Conferences, etc. you will find a rising trend in the topic of: dating. Not marriage like found in the past, but actual DATING. Dating because Mormon guys don't date (this is the last time, I am going to point out that I am talking in generals here). They are either too chicken or too cheap or too lazy to ask girls out. They hang out. They flirt, sometimes. But they don't date.

The reason I posted the letter earlier is because various friends and I have seen something of a pattern as of late. We watch movies, or hear the stories of our non-member friends or just watch people and see that non-member guys (aka Gentile Boys) are a lot more smooth. They are more forward. They are willing to put themselves out there and take a chance. And yes, normally it is because they want to "score" with a girl. But still, they get great practice in the arts of romancing a woman. They practice with foreplay - not sexual foreplay! - but the flirting and the teasing and the kissing...and they get really good at it.

Mormon boys don't do any of this. Because they already know that they aren't going to "score" because either they don't want to (for their own moral grounds) or they know they can't (for our moral grounds). We all want temple marriages - I WANT a temple I'm not saying that we should go out and do things to jeopardize that. But then they  fall into the "friend zone" and try to go from there, and what's left is a combination of really awkward couples that lack the passion and romance. And I think it is because of a general lack of practice. And laziness. And not wanting to cross any boundaries - which is respectable, but still annoying sometimes. Because you can have fun without crossing boundaries.

Women (ok, SOME women) like to be pushed against the wall and kissed. Like, really like it. What? I'm just saying...Some girls like to be teased and flirted with and taken care of and as I said, "wined and dined" and we know that it's because guys want something. And we want things too. That's just how it is. If you want a guy who knows how to approach a complete stranger and talk about religion or move you to a new house or you want fashion advice on jean shorts with socks and sandals, then you look to a Mormon Boy. But if you are looking for romance and passion advice, go to the Gentile Boy...and then just tone it down a bit to fit within your moral standards.

That's all I'm saying.

Dear Mormon Boy,

Dear Mormon Boy,

We have been friends for a really long time. I've met you in all shapes, sizes, races. You have different tastes in books, movies and music. Sometimes you are funny other times serious. You fluctuate in your commitment to the gospel but you are typically a returned missionary and have gone and done things that I would never want to do. I appreciate that you are trying to do as you have been counseled by striving to revere and cherish women for the good that we represent as daughters of our Heavenly Father. Really, it's very sweet.

Can you stop?

The thing is, with all this reverence, you've allowed yourself to get - well - pansyish. You're afraid to ask me out! Or, you're trying to be thrifty and, um, cheap. Whatever the reason, you need to look to your brother, Gentile Boy. He knows what's going on. He understands that in order to get in a woman's pants, he has to wine and dine and flatter and schmooze. Now, I don't want you anywhere near my pants and I definitely won't take the wine - but it's the thought that counts. It's the charmingness that is attractive - the attitude of, "I know what I want and I'll go and get it." He's got skills. And you aren't even trying! You've let yourself lose sight of the end goal... it's still the same. The only difference is the wedding certificate (Ok, not the ONLY difference... but are you getting my point?)

Quit thinking that I am like the small percentage of BYU Co-Eds who are predators. These are the exception. And, quite frankly, don't you find them just a titch annoying (I certainly do...) Quit waiting for ME to make all the moves. I don't want to do all the work. You've seen me flirting and now I want to see you work for it. Don't worry, it will be well worth your while.

Mormon Girl

Friday, January 01, 2010

I'm engaged! (scenario #1)

His name is Warren.

We met at a 35+ New Year's Eve dance and he simply took my breath away. Sure, he was a little slow. And he definitely did not have much to say. But I think I liked the possessive look he got in his eye when I danced with Mike and Robert later. He didn't have to tell me that he loved me, he said it with his dead fish-like hands and inability to hold me close while we danced. This, of course, was due to his large belly that stuck so far out, I thought he would be a good double for Santa. I'm not really sure what we will do for a wedding - when, where and more importantly why.

Never mind. I guess it is a good thing that the ring is on loan.

I spent Christmas in Ohio. You've already read about the Christmas miracle-bonus that allowed me to play for a ticket. I will also say that I was very blessed to be leaving on 24 Dec without so much as a delay for weather for any of my flights whether they were out/in to Salt Lake, Columbus and Detroit or Dayton. I really, really enjoyed being home - I always do, but this year was particularly great.

First, I completely underestimated exactly how CUTE my niece is. Kelsie is totally her own person and is so funny - she just cracks me up. I love her to pieces and it was so hard to leave her. Even though, she doesn't like me very much. She cuddled with me once. She cried most other times I didn't have food in my hands that I was trying to bribe her with. She eats nonstop, and she eats everything. It didn't matter that we tried avocado, olives and random other things. She ate it all. And she wanted more, always more. I loved watching her dance with her toys, and walking like a drunk and spitting all over Mom in church. And reaching out for Amy while she sat on the stand trying to give a talk. And her laugh. And even her cry. She's just SO CUTE!

I got two hugs and two "I love yous" from Mark. Miracle.

I spent time with some peeps from high school. One is in Washington DC at the White House. The other works on the show Brothers and Sisters (with Sally Field) in LA. Just a reminder: I'm an office manager at a small architecture firm one class shy of my degree. *shrugs shoulders*

Brad cracked me up when the following conversation took place:

"I just can't understand why he hasn't kissed her yet. Guys know whether or not they want to kiss a girl in like, five seconds. Back me up, Brad," I said trying to figure out the curling ribbon on my present.

"Brad doesn't know," My mom said in denial. "You're too young to know."

"No I'm not and Yeah I do."

I look to my mom triumphantly and say, "Aren' I right, Brad?"

"Pretty much."

"Just remember Brad, don't give your kisses out like pretzels," I say, quoting a line from somewhere I'd heard sometime. (It may be written somewhere in the margins or my scriptures.)

"Can't help it - I've got a whole pretzel stand!"

I die laughing. My mom looks at him shocked and then cracks a smile before he heads to bed. "Alright, Pretzel Man," my mom says, "How about a kiss for your mother."

And he leaned over and kisser her, then me, on the cheek.

I freakin' love that kid.

A shout out to my buds Esther and Mindy. I can't believe we are all so one-track minded. It's sad really. But I'm so glad that I'm not the only one.

And then the trip was over. It was way, way too short. But my office was glad to get me back and even though I meant to work only a half day today, I ended up staying until 5:00 p.m. And busy too.

I think in general, 2010 is shaping up to be an interesting year for me already. I had the best ribeye of my life at Christopher's, thank you Roberta! It was seriously expensive and well-worth getting all gussied up for. Then Roberta and I hit the 35+ New Year's Eve Dance. You thought I was kidding about that? I wasn't. I was the youngest, hottest thing there. Turns out, old people are total floozies. And only seem to have one thing on their minds! Nevertheless, I was asked to dance by quite a few bachelors. And while none struck my fancy, the Knight with the beat up truck asked if he could take me out sometime. Thank goodness for Roberta, defending my young, innocence. He had to be twice my age AT LEAST. I must admit that I looked around the room at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2010 and prayed - PRAYED - that I was not looking into the crystal ball of my future in 10 years. I think I would rather die. Regardless, it was "fun".

And then I went and hung out with a friend and I am just now typing all of this up. It is late. I will be moving tomorrow... if I ever get out of bed. And there is much yet to be done!

Happy 2010! May the whole year be as interesting and low-key as this evening has been for me. And thanks again, Roberta for dinner and the dance.

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