Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birth Month 2011

Today is the last day of the month, so it's the last day of my month-long celebration of my birthday. Sort of. I'm not opposed to celebrating myself the rest of the year, but I just can't invoke anymore birthday rights (not that that has worked this month, at all when I really wanted it to).

The month started out really promising with a few dates with the same guy. And while the whole thing was a flourish into nothing, it was not without having some fun in the process. (Read: It basically ended before it began, but it was fun while it lasted.)

I bought books and clothes.

I went to Idaho to visit some of my most favorite people. And even though it was a flash trip, it was really fun. I made plans to go see them again for Thanksgiving, but was instead surprised with a ticket home for Thanksgiving! For my "birthday", we went and saw Breaking Dawn and went to El Sombrero. They didn't make me wear the sombrero though. My mom got me a new GPS, because my old one broke. It was a smart move, because it saves her a lot of time and hassle when I have an actual computer to find where I am when I'm lost. Being home was by far the best part of my birthday month.

Another unexpected surprise was the fact that we got a new bishopric! I'm pretty excited about the new regime. It was no secret that our old bishop didn't really like me... and I really think that the old YSA 142nd Ward could use a pulse check and shock into some new ideas and activities. I have high hopes for our new bishop and his counselors.

At work, the guys bought a cheesecake, the one without the bug. (Thanks, guys!) And then I went to dinner with a group of friends to my favorite restaurant in Provo: Thai Village. The majority of us got pumpkin curry, which is heaven-made squash in a bowl served with rice. I love it. I want some more.

Megan bought me a MUSIC BULLET, which is as awesome as it sounds. It's a battery operated speaker that plugs in to iPods and computers and such. It will be a great addition to our summer swimming, and until then, I will be happy to use it whenever the opportunity comes along. Thanks, Megan!

Tonight I'm headed north for pedicures and Cheesecake Factory with the FTC. Vietnamese tacos are just what the last day of my birthday celebration called for!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. It probably has something to do with the fact that it always falls near my birthday (though, that has made my birthday somewhat less desirable sometimes) and the fact that it is about food and family. Not necessarily in that order. Our Thanksgivings are also like mini-reunions, since we used to all get together for Thanksgiving.

Of course, when I moved out to Utah in 2004, going home for Thanksgiving was out of the question, if I wanted to be home for Christmas. So I've spent the past seven years in Utah or California celebrating with different families and friends. It was always great, but never quite the same as what I remembered.

This year has been pretty tough on our family. We've had a lot of disappointments and heartaches and we are no where near the end of dealing with them. I don't think I've wanted to go home more for Thanksgiving. Although, I think that every year, it seemed important that I be there, and yet impossible on how to figure out how to get there. I toyed with the idea of charging a plane ticket... and then, I got an unexpected phone call from my cousin, KC, and he made it possible for me to fly home for the week.

It was so great to be there! Everything was perfect and it seemed like everyone who could be there, was there. My cousin who just got back from serving in Afghanistan was there with his wife and baby. My brother and his girlfriend were there. All of the cousins that I grew up with running around on Thanksgiving were there. They shot guns. We ate. We played cards. The rolls tasted better than I remember.

I was just so grateful to be there for a few days, to spend time with my family who I love so much. I miss their company terribly, and I really, really hate having to leave them behind.

Five days in Ohio is hardly enough time to do everything I wanted to do. But I started out the trip playing with Kelsie while Amy and Mom were at work. We galloped around like horses, fed cows on CastleVille and put on make-up. Then Amy and I took Kelsie to get her first haircut. She was so good by sitting really still, but I think she was more nervous than anything else. We didn't take off a lot of length, but we evened it up and got rid of the mullet.

Mackenzie had a basketball scrimmage, so I took the opportunity to watch her play. I am fairly certain that it is the first time I've EVER seen her play basketball. It was really fun. I don't know how to convince her that she needs to be more aggressive, though. When we weren't watching Kiki on the court, we were watching Kelsie make friends with the little boy that was near to her in age. They were having staring contests, and at one point Kels grabbed his little face and shook it back and forth. Dad yelled at her to stop and we explained that he didn't seem to mind, his mother didn't seem to mind so what was the big deal? "That's harassment!" he said. And we laughed.
I went to Friendly's with my friend from elementary school, Kate, and I got my usual candy shoppe sundae. Of course, I had to argue with the waiter about what the sundae was called, since they've changed the menu so many times since I've been away. Kate and I sat and talked for hours and it was great to catch up with her. The waiter happens to be the same guy Amy and our friend Esther often has when they go to Friendly's, and he commented on how Amy and I look alike and also how we drink water like it's going out of style. I probably had seven full glasses of water just because he continued to fill it up. At some point, it became a science experiment: see how long my bladder could hold out. I did want the waiter to think that he bested me, so I finished my glass and insisted that Kate and I get home quickly. It was a close call.

To celebrate my birthday, we (Mom, Amy, Chloe, Julia and me) went to go see Breaking Dawn. It was terrible as expected, but somewhat entertaining. Then we met up with my cousin KC and his parents and brothers at El Sombrero, a favorite Mexican restaurant in Troy, and had a birthday meal. The only picture I got was of Kelsie enjoying her sopapilla.

After dinner, we went home and had tons of desserts to make for Thanksgiving dinner. While we were making apple cheesecake, pumpkin and pecan pie, as well as apple pie, oreo dessert and heaven knows what else, Mackenzie and I decided we needed to give ourselves a little facial.
Brad walked in from work, so we told him to sit down and he did. He let us slather the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg concoction onto his face and then let it stay on there for the allotted time. He's a really good sport. Considering the ingredients, it doesn't smell as good as you would think. But I do love the way it made my skin feel after.

Thanksgiving day consisted of finishing up preparations. Rolling out rolls, and helping Mom in the kitchen as best we can. Then we drove over to my Uncle Craig's and the boys were already out shooting.
As I mentioned, dinner and family time was fantastic. The weather was great, so we were able to take some family pictures. Brad ate his entire dinner like a barbarian. He didn't touch his silverware.

It was so, SO great to see everyone and be home! I just can't believe I was there and I don't think I can ever pay KC back for his kindness. I miss everyone already.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bradisms

I had been in Ohio a full 24 hours before catching sight of my little brother Brad, though I was most looking forward to it since I was told that he was participating in No-Shave November. I've never really seen him scruffy, much less with a month's worth of "beard". He looks a lot different with his Wolverine-styled hair that hasn't been cut, and the No-Shave November participation is evident. It is a little more than scruff, but it's not.... quite a beard. He is a lot more patchy and hairless and blond than his older brother, Mark -- who is by all accounts, a beast. But I kind of like it.

We only have one bathroom here in our house, and so nighttime routines often collide. I was asking Brad in between flossing and face washing, what was No-Shave November actually for? Did he know?

"Just a chance for men to show what they're capable of," he said.

Then a few minutes later, modestly draped in his towel "air drying", he stood in the mirror, puffing out his biceps (which are formidable) and flexing his pecs.

"Is that part of your nighttime routine?" I asked. "Do you really do that often?"
"Not enough," was his reply.

Personally, I think he's hilarious.

Monday, November 21, 2011

With Bated Breath I Fly Home

Thanks to my very generous, very kind cousin, I had a flight scheduled to take me home so that I could attend family festivities for the greatest holiday of the year (Thanksgiving, folks). I have not been home for Thanksgiving since 2003, and so I am thrilled to be here. I hope it lives up to all my memories.

On the non-stop flight from Salt Lake to Cincinnati, I was assigned the seat 6B, which any frequent flier knows is a middle seat. Ugh! My luck with middle seats is not great. I usually end up between two very large, very smelly sorts of folks, and....

Honestly, I was just grateful that I had a seat.

I was the first to arrive in my row, so I sat down and waited, anticipating having to get up for the person who had the window seat. After a few minutes, a very cute bearded man with incredible brown/green eyes sat down with a friendly, "How's it goin'?" We watched as other people boarded the plane looking for their seat assignments, always targeting their glance further down the aisle. We were seated second row in economy, and so it was easy to see that each person was looking for a larger number than row six.

After a while, Beard mentioned that he thought that the passengers were likely to be all loaded, and we were not going to have someone sitting at the window.

I'm just not that lucky, and I told him so. I was going to wait a few more minutes, because they hadn't shut the door yet, and so it was very likely that the passenger was late, but most certainly on his way. The passengers were coming fewer and further between. And then they started coming in sucking wind, evidence that they had just run the length of the airport in order to catch their flight.

Every time someone appeared at the end of the first class cabin, my neighbor and I held our breath, hoping that we did indeed get to claim the extra seat.

"You've gotten my hopes up now," I commented.
"I think we're safe," he said.

I waited just a minute more and then moved over and buckled my seat belt. But the door wasn't shut, and there were still a few more passengers that had to find their seats. A Colts fan walked purposefully to our row and then looked around. We were certain we had his spot.

We held out breath again, waiting for him to ask me to move.

He moved on, and we both sighed in relief.

"I wish they would just close the door," I said.
"Any minute now," he confirmed, looking at his phone.

We talked about how he was a golf caddy, but currently it is off-season, so he just travels. He told me he was from Cincinnati, and asked why I did not fly in to Dayton instead of Cincinnati. We talked about the podunk airport he has to fly out of to leave the area of Oregon where he lives.

And then finally, they announced that the door was shut, and we were pushing off the gate.

Success! I broke out my Kindle, and enjoyed my window seat all the way home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Movies

Last night a friend and I went to a late showing. He went off to the restrooms and left me to find us a seat. The theater wasn't crowded (which means, we did not see Breaking Dawn), and so I chose the best seats in the house -- the first row, right behind the guard railing, center.

There were several reasons for this decision. First, if the people behind us weren't there, I probably would have sat a few chairs down from the other people. The theater was seriously close to empty. But, the people were behind us, and they had their feet comfortably propped on the seats I would have sat in. They didn't look like the kind of people that would be pleased about moving their feet -- if they actually did. I like being in the center of the theater, dead center, and so I didn't really want to go further back when there were plenty of seats in the perfect location. The only problem was Jersey Porn, the unfriendly girl who was sitting just one seat off-center. She had jet black hair, and way too much make-up. Her lips looked collagen filled and her cheekbones too high. I entered the row and I asked if she was saving any seats and she said "No". I got the impression that she was annoyed that I was even talking to her, but I sat down anyway.

Now, guys have that unwritten rule that when they go to the theater together and there are extra seats, they sit one seat apart because they don't want to sit directly next to one another. That's fine, but, I didn't think girls have that rule, too. Apparently only people haters have that rule. I could feel Jersey staring daggers at me as I sat down and pulled out my phone, but I didn't acknowledge her.

"Are you expecting a lot of people?" She asked me after a moment, in her Jersey sounding voice.
"No," I said, "Just one more."

She didn't say anything, but I could feel the tangible hatred for the girl that just unnecessarily sat too close.

"I didn't want to ruin their foot rests," I felt the need to explain, pointing to the two behind us.

I didn't so much see her roll her eyes, as much as I felt it. At that point, I resolved to stay where I was. After all, it's a free country! And, besides, I hate when people come in late and have to climb over everyone to get to chairs. Not that there were going to be a lot of late people, but just in case!

I spent the rest of the film trying not to invade her personal space. I didn't share the arm rest with her, and I sat as close to Dustin as possible, without actually sitting in his lap. I probably could have moved, but at that point, I was just annoyed with how unfriendly the Porn star was, that I didn't want to let her win.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Power Flicker

Once upon a time, like, weeks and weeks ago, I tried to print out William's amazing pie recipe for the pumpkin pies I was making. For some reason, my printer wouldn't print. It wouldn't turn on. I unplugged it, plugged it back in.... did everything I could think to do and then gave up to worry about later.

Fast forward to five seconds ago and my lights flickered, my laptop chirped with annoyance as it lost and then regained power and....

My printer magically turned on and printed "William's Crust for 9" Double Crust Pie".

Ok?

At least I know my printer is working now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Thanksgiving Flowers and Toilet Paper

The other day my roommate walked in with these beauties just for me. It had been a hard week, and she was very thoughtful to think of me.

Not only are they beautiful, but they are very festive. Which is particularly important during this time of year. So many people are forgetting which holiday they are supposed to be celebrating. I LOVE that these are harvest colors!



Melissa and I have been having a lot of fun lately. It sort of started with a slumber party that kept us up until 5:30 a.m. a few weeks ago, and the giggling hasn't really stopped since. (We've decided that after last Sunday, we aren't allowed to sit next to each other in church anymore.)

A couple of months ago, we came up with the clever idea of starting a toilet paper roll collection. Of course, we had a very decided purpose. Our neighbor has issues with his roommate never, ever throwing away the empty toilet paper roll. He'll move it to the tank of the toilet. He'll move it out of the way. But he doesn't throw it away. It drives our neighbor insane. Knowing how he feels about empty tubes, we decided to collect them and when we had enough, we would do something like such as above.

He went out of town for the weekend, and felt that we had a pretty good stock pile. We tried to make a wreath, but it didn't work out well. We were lucky to have accomplished what we did, considering that Melissa sliced her finger after working on only three tubes.

We were going to make a "bead" curtain out of the TP tubes, but... neither Melissa nor I are very crafty people. We managed three rows, loved the way it looked hanging from Dustin's fan, and decided that was good enough. We sneaked over to our neighbor's place, had his roommate let us in, and we hung the sucker as well as left a trail of toilet paper tubes up the stairwell, and left.

I woke up to find a strand of it on my car, and was able to transfer it back on to his for a double whammy! the next morning.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Miss Representation

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a documentary that I think touches on a really important subject and I hope will inspire people to seek change.

The film is called Miss Representation and documents the sexualization of women in the media and how it affects our society and how it has changed the way girls view themselves. It showed staggering statistics and highlighted things that most of us probably think about in passing, but have generally accepted it as "just the way things are."

One of the things that hit me was the section it did on the past election with both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in the mix, and how the media focused more on what they were wearing and less on their actual politics. I wasn't a huge supporter of either woman, but listening to the way they were referred to in the media made me angry.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "MISS REPRESENTATION")

BILL O'REILLY: Both you and Sarah Palin are good-looking women. I mean, you're attractive, young - relatively young - women.

MICHAEL SAVAGE: Kagan he's going to put on the U.S. Supreme Court? Isn't there such a thing about the aesthetics of the appointee? Let's put it to you this way, she's not the type of face you'd want to see on a five-dollar bill.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: I think I'm going to send Sotomayor and her club a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia, was another angry black woman.

LEE RODGERS: Look at these ugly skanks who make up the female leadership of the Democratic Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: You know that ugly hag Madeleine Albright? Remember her?

Hags? Skanks? Really? How is this acceptable? One of the other points from the film talked about how in the media, when a women politician speaks out about a policy they are said to "complain" about it, but if their male counterpart said the same thing, they would have "stated" it.

The film talked about how in the 20s, 30s and 40s, women in films were often well-rounded, complex characters that played multiple roles within the movie. Now, we have the bimbo, the ho and the accomplished proud women that is seen more as a b*tch that needs to be taken down a peg (think The Proposal).

The more I watched the documentary, the more I realized that people need to be educated on this very topic. The documentary was shown on the OWN network on television, and there are scheduled screenings throughout the country. To my friends in Utah, December 1, in Ogden is our showing. I encourage anybody and everybody to watch it.

Start: December 1, 2011 7:00 pm
End: December 1, 2011 9:00 pm
Venue: Ogden Weber Chamber Auditorium
Address:
2484 Washington Blvd, Ogden, 84401, United States
Cost: Free

NPR interviewed the writer and director of Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. You can find the transcript here. Also, take a minute to check out the website, www.missrepresentation.org and their facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MissRepresentationCampaign.



Remember, "You can't be what you can't see."

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Pancakes

When I was growing up, my mom always made us breakfast.

Really, I think she was making breakfast for Dad, and we benefited. She would make scrambled eggs and bacon or French toast or pancakes. Sometimes she made oatmeal with raisins in it. There were waffles. There was rarely cereal.

Around the time of junior high, my sister and I started to get self conscious. We didn't want to go to school smelling like pancakes. We had a good reason, too. Most the time, a friend or person would say that "something smells like pancakes", and we would know that it was us! After all, the hot griddle and the cooking spray made for a  really bad perfume. So we asked our mom not to cook so much. Or to warn us when she did, so that we could walk around the house in her robes, trying to keep the smell off of us.

We were lucky that when we started seminary, our house was close enough to the school that we could swing back by after seminary to eat a quick breakfast and finish putting on make-up or clothes. Friends of ours started swinging by too, and suddenly my mom was feeding our cousins and our church friends breakfast.

Whenever I go home, I like when my mom cooks breakfast. She doesn't do it as often, I don't think, because she has since started working and helping out with a grandbaby, and she is a lot busier than when she used to be. But she knows that I like the pancakes with the crispy edges and my waffles to be a little crispier and that I don't put butter on anything. I miss walking down the stairs and seeing my mom standing by a griddle asking us if we want pancakes or waffles.

This morning my roommate decided to make pancakes for breakfast, and she called up asking if I wanted a couple. Of course, I said yes.

Even though, now, I smell like pancakes.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Don't Call Me Crazy

I went to Kneaders for lunch today at noon. I hate going anywhere at noon for lunch, but especially Kneaders. It's always packed and the one in Orem has parking for about 10 cars. So I parked a mile away, walked to the building and walked in and my ears were immediately assaulted with Christmas music and there were Christmas trees and ornaments and all manner of "Holiday" trimmings.

The Thanksgiving "shelf" was on a small, separate counter. It had.... two Indians and one turkey. One miniscule corner of brown and then all sorts of red and green.

Sigh.

I know it's a losing battle, but every year I get so worked up. I had the thought that it was probably a good thing that I wasn't just a titch crazier than I am...and good that I don't carry a concealed weapon. I seriously wanted to pop a cap in the speaker blaring I'll be Home for Christmas.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Uno with the Bollschweiler's

Uno has always been a beloved game in my family. It comes from the Bollschweiler (my mom's) side. They tell of a time when my mom was passing cards between her toes in order to cheat. They are all a bunch of cheaters. And no one, not one person, is worse than my grandma. She looks sweet and innocent and has the, "Oh, did I do that wrong?" expression down to a T. But we all know better.

We are playing in the dining room. Across the hall and down the hall there are two babies sleeping trying to sleep. No one in this house knows how to whisper and when the game is getting heated, as it always does, we only get louder. I won three hands in a row and then they were determined to unseat me.

The worst part is that Uncle Allen and myself are the only ones quick enough to play our hands and keep an eye on Mistress Cheater - Grandma - and when we are arguing among ourselves over a disputed move, Grandma manages to slip two or five cards in to the pile.

She looks so innocent, but she's a horrible cheater!
Poor Kevin, a friend of my cousin's, claims to be from a family of cheaters, but was hardly able to keep track of Grandma and his own hand. He's just as loud as the rest of us, though, so he fit in perfectly.

We play Uno with the "matching" rules; things get insane when we try to add the "Armstrong" rules into the mix (trade hands on 0 and slap the deck on 9). The game goes by a lot faster with our rules than it does in an ordinary game, and honestly, I don't think I can sit through a boring old Uno game anymore.

I love this family.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wait until December, Fat Boy

Nothing more needs to be said.

Oh no. She's cooking.

"You're going to love this...our roommate is cooking something in [a borrowed] crock pot..."
"I'm doing that. Turd. Does it smell OK?"
"It smells disgusting. Why did you use [that] crock pot?"
"It was the one sitting out. Really?? What's wrong with it? It was an experiment."
"Now that I look at it, it does look like hobo food. Is it for [a boy]?"
"No! It's for us! Lol."
"Uhh...I don't know if I can eat that. It smells good, but looks disgusting."
"Heheheheheheheheh... I'm sure it will be fine. It's just....Mexican Chicken!"
"I don't know about that..."

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