Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I read a book: Gone Girl

It's been a while since I graced this blog with my presence but I just finished a really great book that I wanted to share.



"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn was recommended to my by the fabulous Lina Holmes (I like to imagine that we're besties but in reality she recommended it on her podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour - a must listen if you haven't already, it's a highlight of my Friday each week.)

Linda suggest that you read it without reading anything about it first. It was fun having no idea what to expect. I'll just say that it's an adult book with some strong language and some sexual context - neither gratuitous.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a day for pioneers

Today, the 24th of July, marks the anniversary of the day that the first Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It is a day of parades and fireworks, bonnets and dutch oven dinners. But mostly it is a day for epic stories of incredible sacrifice, courage and faith.

On this Pioneer day, I am reminded of a poem by Carol Lyn Pearson. I was fortunate enough to hear her recite it a couple month ago and find myself going back to again and again. This is how I want to think of my ancestors, who gave up so much and did such extraordinary things. I draw courage from their imperfect examples to do difficult things and face my unique challenges and opportunities with faith.

Pioneers   

My people were Mormon pioneers.
Is the blood still good?
They stood by in awe as truth
Flew by like a dove
And dropped a feather in the West.
Where truth flies you follow
If you are a pioneer.

I have searched the skies
And now and then
Another feather has fallen.
I have packed the handcart again
Packed it with the precious things
And thrown away the rest.

I will sing by the fires at night
Out there on uncharted ground
Where I am my own captain of tens
Where I blow the bugle
Bring myself to morning prayer
Map out the miles
And never know when or where
Or if at all
I will finally say,
“This is the place,”

I face the plains
On a good day for walking.
The sun rises
And the mist clears.
I will be alright:
My people were Mormon pioneers.

“Pioneers”
by CAROL LYNN PEARSON




Here is a video of her reciting it. She is really a remarkable woman and a true pioneer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I read a book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Heaven help me, I read a book and forgot to blog about it. And trust me when I tell you, this was a really good read. I say trust me because, though two dear friends recommended it to me, it doesn't sound like any fun at all.



Any attempt to explain this book, put me to sleep. So I'll leave you with a review by Jab Abumrad, of Radio Lab (if you've never listened to it, you're in for a treat.) He says it so much better than I ever could.

Honestly, I can't imagine a better tale.
A detective story that's at once mythically large and painfully intimate.
Just the simple facts are hard to believe: that in 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her--taken without her knowledge or consent--live on, first in one lab, then in hundreds, then thousands, then in giant factories churning out polio vaccines, then aboard rocket ships launched into space. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science--leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things). All of which is to say: the science end of this story is enough to blow one's mind right out of one's face.
But what's truly remarkable about Rebecca Skloot's book is that we also get the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she live? How she did die? Did her family know that she'd become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them? These are crucial questions, because science should never forget the people who gave it life. And so, what unfolds is not only a reporting tour de force but also a very entertaining account of Henrietta, her ancestors, her cells and the scientists who grew them.
The book ultimately channels its journey of discovery though Henrietta's youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother, and who dreamt of one day being a scientist.
As Deborah Lacks and Skloot search for answers, we're bounced effortlessly from the tiny tobacco-farming Virginia hamlet of Henrietta's childhood to modern-day Baltimore, where Henrietta's family remains. Along the way, a series of unforgettable juxtapositions: cell culturing bumps into faith healings, cutting edge medicine collides with the dark truth that Henrietta's family can't afford the health insurance to care for diseases their mother's cells have helped to cure.
Rebecca Skloot tells the story with great sensitivity, urgency and, in the end, damn fine writing. I highly recommend this book. --Jad Abumrad


Just read it. The writing is superb, the facts are fascinating and the storytelling is intriguing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

what I've been watching

Because I know that you want to know, here are a few gems that I've discovered amidst the dearth of summer programing.

SYTYCD - that's right, it's that time again when I get all sorts of crazy about a reality tv show. I think it's the best but I'll leave it to you to decide. So You Think You Can Dance is back again with slightly different format (no results show) which shouldn't really change too much. Last week was the first real episode (I don't count the audition episodes) and I think they've got some great dancers this year. It's on Wednesday nights - set your DVR (the ability to skip over the commercials makes it oh so much more enjoyable).




The Newsroom. It's brilliant, takes place not so long ago in 2010 and draws on news stories that are still relatively fresh and pertinent: the BP oil spill, the tea party and the recession. And the characters are great too (I'm partial to Maggie). This is an HBO show, so if you don't have HBO, you may have to wait for it to come out on DVD or something - it may be available online somewhere. (BTW, who gave this girl HBO? The perks of living with roommates, that's all I can say.) Also, because it's premium cable, I think it's worth mentioning that it's totally clean. And by clean I mean there's no nudity/sex/violence - at least in the first 3 episodes, and it doesn't really seem like it's going to go that way, but I could be wrong. There might be a couple swears - I usually don't notice the language unless it's really bad - so maybe I'm a bad source, but as far as premium cable shows go, it's clean. It doesn't shy away from politics and it's pretty critical of republicans, so I'm not entirely sure if it's republican friendly, it might drive republicans nuts or maybe they love it, I just don't know. Any Republicans out there who care to weigh in? Also, there's a lot of talk about Utah in the third episode which was pretty cool.

Here's a clip from a scene that I particularly liked:



Bunheads. And now for something completely different - or maybe just a weird hybrid of the first two... hmm. This silly little show is surprisingly entertaining. Like Amy Sherman-Palladino's Gilmore Girls, this show is well written, filled with witty banter and pop-culture references. I may have watched the first 3 episodes last night - and despite musings that she show is slipping (I'll admit, I enjoyed the first 2 episodes more than the 3rd) I'm going to see where it goes. The pilot itself, stands alone as a quirky bit of fluffy goodness that hooked me right in.



So that's what I've been up to. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

seeing Mormons at their best

A little something I wrote while on my recent trip to Scandinavia.

This weekend I attended a mid-singles conference near Stockholm - I felt a little silly for planning a vacation around such a conference but the opportunity to experience a real live Swedish midsommar drew me in. Our awkwardness was quickly overcome after we met a few people and in the end, we had a rather smashing time. Today as a sat in our sacrament and testimony I was overcome with the feeling that this group was taking care of each other in a beautiful and profound ways and I felt honored to be in their company, to benefit from their love and kindness, to observe true acts of charity that though at times took non traditional forms, when recognized, were perfect. I was overcome in that moment and forgot all my questions - inconsistencies and unjustices became secondary to what it is that we do best.

We Mormons are at our best when we overlook our differences and reach out to succor one another. It is moments like these, though they are not particularly Mormon, that keep me here in the church. So many of the things that I cherish in life so many of the good things in my life are so closely tied to my church, that to leave it would be too devastating. There are parts that I could do without but the community is to precious to give up.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

84 hours without power

Friday night I left work around 7, stopped by the grocery store and planned to park it on the couch for the rest of the evening with some mindless television. (I may or may not have watched multiple episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" before a SYttD spin-off show came on, it's all a bit of a blur.) I had 3 air conditioning units blaring and I was comfortably zoned out when I started hearing all sorts of commotion outside. I opened the door to see gale force winds* threatening to blow my pots off my step. I rushed out into the storm to move my flower pots to what I estimated to be a safer position and by the time I got back inside I was soaked.

And before I could dry off, everything went dark and all I could hear was rain and the wind outside. I peered out the window and couldn't see much but the sky alight in bursts green and pink. And I decided it best to step away from the window. I rummaged through my drawers to find the lighter I had bought last year in anticipation of the hurricane and felt around the shelves of my linen closet for the brick of tealights that I bought on an impulse at IKEA over a year ago. Before long my bedroom looked like I was prepared for a seance, the only thing missing was the Ouija board.

I looked up the weather on my phone and which surprised and a bit relieved to read that it only said "severe thunder storm warning". I had sort of expected something a bit more dramatic but if that was all it was, I figured I'd probably survive.

Now 84 hours later, I still have no power at my house. I've managed to find places to sleep, stay cool, recharge my phone and even free wifi - skills I picked up on my recent trip and have happily fortunately come in handy stateside.

Currently my biggest concern is laundry - my summer wardrobe was already meager and I've clean run out of clothes. Fingers crossed, the powers back tonight.


* Perhaps not actually gale force as I have no idea what it means, only that it sounds impressive and it was hella windy out.

Friday, June 29, 2012

home again home again

Well, we made it home and I'm fighting jetlag in the middle of heat wave while trying to work as many hours as I can this week. Needless to say, there will be lots of diet coke imbibing and I hope to get my act together and post some more pictures of my trip sooner than later. 

It is good to be home if only for my big comfy bed. But I find myself waking up in the middle of the night confused as to where Kellee is and why it's so dark outside.

Stay posted for lots of good stories and mediocre pictures to come!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

getting our feet wet in Oslo

Figuratively and literally, Oslo was were we got our feet wet, braved the storm and hit the ground running (how's that for mixing metaphors er... idioms er... cliches). I don't believe in easing into a trip or allowing myself some time to get over jet lag - to much to see and precious little time to fit it all in.

During our day and a half days in Oslo, we went to the city hall where they present the Nobel Peace Prize. (We didn't get to go in because they were setting up for a special awards ceremony for Aung San Suu Kyi who was awarded the peace prize 21 years ago but has been in prison and unable to accept the prize until now. We were also in Norway at the same time as Lenny Kravitz, which I'll tell you more about later.)

Murals at City Hall depicting Nordic myths.
We took a ferry to a peninsula where many of Oslo's museums are housed including the Kon Tiki and Fram museums which led me to believe that Norwegians are kind of crazy and oddly ambitious. Odd in that they take on some pretty bizarre projects. I'm just saying, a 3 year trip into the artic would probably discourage me from seeking out the South Pole but not this Norweigan dude Nanson. (btw, it's driving me crazy that this computer won't let me do links, maybe I'll have to come back and edit this post later.)



Later that day we went to the ski jump, Norwegians are pretty serious about their skiing.



The next morning we headed out to the Norsk Folkemuseum where we saw this impressive stave church.


More stave churches and lessons I've learned along this trip to come.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Greetings from Denmark

Well, Norway was breathtaking - though a little damp we saw some incredible sights and are now drying out in Copenhagen. I had been to Copenhagen once before but as my visit was only about 4 hours long, I only knew that I wanted to come back. Top on my list of things to do in Copenhagen: eat danishes and visit Tivoli (a Hans Christian Andersen themed amusement park). I am happy to report that neither have failed to delight. More details and photos to follow.

Hej hej!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

London layover

We opted for a long layover in London so that we could see a few of the sights and so I could eat some mushy peas. A few of the highlights pictured below: lovely English garden at Hyde Park, changing of the guard, the Tower Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral.

Next stop Oslo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

my bags are packed

Maybe you've heard but I'm going on vacation. I leave today and over the next two weeks, I'll be visiting Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. That's right, I'll be on the move, soaking up of that midnight sun and doing my best to avoid getting soaked in the inevitable rain. From experience I know that there may be more rain than sun, but I'll take it.

I'm going to do my best to post pictures along the way - wait a second, whose blog is this?

I know I'm not much of a posting pictures kinda blogger and of late I haven't been a post much of anything kinda blogger, but I bought myself a fancy ipod touch for the trip and plan to make use of it. It's kind of like a pocket ipad, it has a camera and I can blog from it and chat. I'm hoping it was worth the investment because I'm having a hell of a time getting itunes from my old computer to sync with it - ugh computers, it's all smoke and mirrors to me.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow, 10 hour lay over in London and we're going to do our best to make it count!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

marching for marriage equality

As a single girl, marriage is something I'm all to apt to dwell on. So, I figured it was about time that i got over myself and did something for someone else for a change - I donned my new Sunday dress and my cutest walking shoes and made my way to my first Pride Parade.


Yesterday I marched with the Mormons for Marriage Equality group at the DC Pride Parade and it was one of the prouder moments of my life. There were tears, hugs, looks of shock and amazement, cheers, high-fives, kisses and heart felt exchanges. I felt the love that God has for all of his children - when he said that he doesn't look at the outward appearance but on the heart, I believe he meant it. And I experienced a lot of heart along that route.

There are a dozen reasons that I support gay marriage and most of them are deeply tied up in my Mormon faith and heritage. I know that this puts me at odds with some of the leadership but I felt confused when I said nothing and I experienced joy, love and peace when I marched.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Plant ALL the plants!

I had great ambitions for this weekend. I had such great dreams for my little mess of a yard. Okay, really, my goal was simple plant all the plants that were sitting in the weed patch that I like to imagine will someday be a real live vegetable but for now is over run by this vicious weed could surely eat me alive should I be taken in by it's lush foliage and tiny purple flowers. But I will not be fooled by it's quaintness. I've learned my lesson. What starts out cute and lovely gets all kinds of ugly mid summer (I almost spelled that midsommar - guess who's excited for their Midsommar in Scandinavia?). So I dug and pulled and dragged and transplanted and I quickly went from this:





to this:

Btw, if you haven't read Hyperbole and a Half, stop whatever you're doing and go there right now. 
You're welcome.




I had 2 flats of annuals, 3 perennials and 2 tomato plants were in desperate need of being put into the ground and while I only got half of the annuals and both tomatoes planted, I did move a bazillion rocks out of what I imagine was once intended to be a rock garden but had subsequently turned into weed patch with dozens of cobble sized rocks looming at various depths beneath the surface. And because I'm a sadist, I bought another tomato plant at wholefoods in the afternoon, because, summer just isn't worth living without sweet 100's, right?

While I'm feeling a bit defeated about my silly little yard (remind me to never buy a house), I did manage to fold ALL the laundry! A small victory as it had started form a small mountain of rumpled clothes that threatened to block the door to my room. I'm going to go back to planning my vacation now.



Monday, April 30, 2012

stay tuned

I've got all these ideas and thoughts swirling around in my brain and I haven't managed pin any of them down yet. But rest assured, I've got so many things to talk about that when I finally figure out how to say them, they may prove interesting. How's that for non-committal. For now, I leave you with this video which sort of blew my mind and got me all sorts of excited for my favorite summertime event, So You Think You Can Dance - which is NOT like the Bachelor. Not all reality TV is smut. They're called standards, people. 

Iron and Wine, "Boy with a Coin" with Flamenco Dancers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

stuff I watched so you won't have to

Okay, so I watched the second episode of girls and yeah, we're dunzo. It was worse than the first - why do women feel the need to compete with the boys in the grossness category - yikes! Take my word for it, you don't need to waste your time on this hot mess.

Also, I went to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy the other day and it was the most confusing hour and a half of my life. It didn't help that we missed the first few minutes of the movie but honestly, though I recognized a few of the actors, I have no idea what happened.

So I guess this is a post about sparing you from watching stuff that I have deemed lousey - so if you haven't seen Smash yet, you're not missing anything. It is aweful for completely different reasons than the other two - I keep telling myself that I'm going to stop watching it but it's one redeeming feature, it's a train wreck - warning excessive eye rolling might cause permanent damage. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

pull yourself together

So there has been a lot of talk about this new show called "girls" and because I currently have HBO (thanks roomies) I watched it on demand last night. And, well, it's interesting and it had it's funny moments. But seriously, girls, pull yourselves together.  



If I were to have a catch phrase, I think that would be it, "pull yourself together". I probably say it to myself a dozen times a day and I credit this phrase for most every slightly productive thing I manage to see through. When I want to ignore my alarm and sleep the day away, when I get annoyed at the Washington Metro System for making me wait, when I watch cupcake wars and have no cake in the house to satisfy my cravings, I have to stop and pulling myself together. So, I get it life is tough, the economy is lousy and life hasn't turned out like you dreamed, but come on, pull yourself together! And by that I mean, when you've had a bad day don't turn to booty calls and drugs - it's a pretty low bar I'm trying to set here but for some reason I feel the need to spell it out.

Yet, the show has it's moments that feel really honest and funny (I loved it when the friend describes her boyfriend's touch to a creepy uncle - because though I haven't a creepy uncle, I've had such a boyfriend). I sort of dig the flawed characters and rawness of it all. And it should come as no surprise that despite it's raunchiness, I'll probably keep watching it, even if the only joy I get is by muttering, at at times hollering at my tiny screen, "oh, come. on. PULL yourself together!"

Friday, April 13, 2012

lesson learned

My mother, the master gardener*, is adamant about wearing gloves while doing any sort of yard work or planting. I've often dismissed the idea because I don't really like the way they feel and if they're not freshly washed, they can be sort of gross.

Mom's favorite**

Well, I learned my lesson. Last week after pulling weeds and digging around my garden my hands were a mess. I'd broken a couple nails and the next day I had a rediculous hangnail situation which led to the an infection that left my left thumb swollen and throbby for 5 days. I think I am finally on the mend but I hadn't realized how much I use my left thumb until it became so infected that I found myself swearing every time I tapped it against my desk or tried to button my pants.

Time to invest in a few more pairs of gloves and band-aids - I don't want to risk loosing half of what separates me from the apes.



*I know that a master gardener is an actual title, a title which my mother hasn't officially achieved but if you've seen her flower garden, you'd agree that she has earned honorary.

** These cotton gloves dipped in latex are her favorite - they really do the trick - keeping your hands dry while allowing them to breath and grip. Also, machine washable.

Monday, April 9, 2012

candy eggs and easter bonnets

I hope that you all had a lovely Easter.

The Easter Bunny came early this year, so I was well into my candy by the time that Easter rolled around. I'm now in the process of weaning myself off the sugar - which may prove difficult as I've still got a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs in my cupboard (remember, I'm saving them for an emergency).

My Aunt committed me months ago to go to the sunrise service at Arlington National Cemetery so I rolled out of bed at 4:50 am, threw on several layers of clothing, wiped off the smudges of makeup from the day before and made my way to the cemetery - making a couple stops along the way to pick up my sister and a friend. When we got there it was still dark but by the time the service started the sky was getting light. All in all it was nice service with good music, though I couldn't help think that it would have been pleasanter at 10 am.

After a nap and a shower, I went to my usual church meetings and the Easter program was very impressive. I am continually amazed by the musical talent in my ward. The talks were brief and focused on the life and resurrection of the Christ. It was a truly lovely meeting.

Later I was looking for something to watch on the tellie when I came across Easter Parade. For all musicals that I watched as a child, this one had slipped by me. I wasn't able to watch the whole thing, but the ending scene is just precious.


As a grand romantic gesture, Judy Garland's character sends Fred Astaire's character an Easter bonnet (this top hat with a white rabbit inside) to show him that she still loves him. Don't you just LOVE her dress, and those gloves! Not to mention Fred's coat and tails, the dancing the singing - it's all just makes my heart skip a beat!

Friday, April 6, 2012

I'm not Joan Rivers and this isn't the red carpet

Easter is just a couple days away and I'm beginning to worry that I haven't taken full advantage of cadburry mini-egg season. Isn't it sad when we let something like candy take precedence over commemorating the resurrection of the Savior - something to work on for sure.

Also, if I were to have kept lent this year, when do I get to stop?
And when was I supposed to eat fish?

I've never really understood lent. Honestly the only time I ever gave anything up was as a missionary I gave up Christmas music and TV - I know, I'm quite the model of sacrifice. I did mention that I was serving a mission - for the Lord - for 19 months.

Last  year I decided to give up Diet Coke. I lasted a day and a half. I wasn't prepared (read: hadn't stocked up on Excedrin) and when my first headache hit, I fought it for an hour then made haste for the 7-11 for that magic elixir that pours from their enchanted fountain and cures all minor ailments.

This year I did something a little different, I gave up commenting on the way people look. I won't pretend that it was something that I had really planned, but it seemed like an appropriate mental exercise at the time. It was around the time when that BYU student received a note from a fellow student calling her out for dressing provocatively and it was all over Facebook. Someone made a comment, in response to the hullabaloo, that it is never appropriate to comment on the way someone looks. And I thought, really? never? and after thinking it over, I concluded really. hardly ever. Even comments that are intended as compliments can objectify the subject if they are based solely upon physical appearance. And I started to think about all the editorializing I do both in my head and to those around me about other people's appearances. And what about that running monologue about my own appearance.

I decided it was time to stop it. That's right, I was stopping it way before Pres. Uchtdorf made it cool. I'd be commenting on someones hair or shoes or clothes and I'd catch myself and I'd stop it. Whether the comments were good or bad, if they focused on the superficial, I stopped myself in my tracks and found something else to think about or steered the conversation in another direction.

from House and Home.

To be clear, I have allowed myself to recognize beauty, I allow myself to observe the world and express my preferences. But I have tried to cut out the commentary and eliminate the judgment that I so often indulged in. By doing so, I started to see the world and the people around me a little differently. And in time, I found my inner monologue was quieted a bit and filled with other concerns.

So maybe this lent thing isn't such a bad idea - maybe I'll figure out when I'm supposed to eat the fish next year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

creative preparedness

Inspired by the commercials for food storage that immediately follow General Conference, my roommate commented that a motorcycle would be a very useful thing to have in the case of an apocalypse. And I speculated on the barter value of knitted mittens and hats.

I'm going to be honest when I say that I don't  have a strong testimony of food storage. I could list all sorts of excuses but at the end of the day, I don't think any amount of food stockpiled in my basement is going to affect my ultimate mortality in an apocalyptic event, zombies or no.

I do think that it is a good idea to have some extra food around and I can image all sorts of scenarios in which a 72-hour kit might come in handy. But even after reading the Road, I'm still not convinced that I need 2 years of food stored. I pride myself in having a particularly vivid imagination but I don't even know what 2 years of food looks like (and I know this is really more of a question of math than imagination) but seriously, I just don't how to think that far into the future.

I am however willing to entertain ideas of effective bartering. So if I am burdened with the task of planning ahead I think I will stock-pile yarn, cadburry mini eggs and vitamins (again, I've read the Road). Imagine the the amount of  macaroni I could get for a bag of mini eggs and a pair of mittens when everyone's been living off canned soup for months and their fingers are all numb from the cold. (I realize here that I am betting against a global warming related crisis here which is potentially shortsighted but after sea level has risen and we a are all driven to the mountains, mittens may hold some value.) And if all else fails, I'm quite comfortable with the idea of being a casualty of disaster.

Monday, April 2, 2012

generosity of a bearded iris

Saturday morning I drove out to this fancy garden center half an hour from my house. It was beautifully organized, their plants were like little works of art. It was all so lovely and crowded, as such places tend to be on lovely spring days, that I found myself completely overwhelmed. I realized I had no idea what I wanted, so I browsed over the lovely trees, precocious annuals, and sturdy perennials till I found the herbs and vegetables. I loaded my arms, as  there were no carts to be found, with strawberries and tarragon and beets and mellons and butter lettuce and brussel sprouts - yes I went a bit crazy. I carefully ballanced the tiny plants in my arms and made my way up to the cash register, where I was finally given a box for my lovelies.

I've got such great plans for my garden this year.

At some point my mind turned to flowers and I started thinking about irises - not dutch iris but the bearded irises that are so often found in the gardens of blue haired ladies.


They're such fussy flowers and they come in the oddest colors. I'm sure that I must have declared my disdain for them in the past. But along with so many things that I once hated, I've grown to love these flowers that have long fallen out of fashion.



I think it's time we bring them back. I mean look at these award winners, aren't they fabulous!



(They're judged on their emotional appeal, generosity and floppiness)

Here's what the good folk at Better Homes and Garden say about how to grow them in your garden.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

read my lips





I thought I'd take a minute to share my latest favorite thing.




That's right, I'm writing about chap stick. But seriously, Neutrogena has figured this out. A few year ago I got hooked on this stuff which at the time came in a shiny silver lip-stick type tube. Honestly, I loved it so much that I picked up a tube for each of my sisters and my sweet mama for Christmas.

I'm not a lip-stick kind of gal but this stuff is creamy and moisturizing while adding just enough color. The new tube that I just picked up has the most delicious sent - think roses and melon, I feel like I've walked in on a brunch in the rose garden.

And as an added bonus, it's got SPF 30 to keep your lips from getting all sun damaged and wrinkly.



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

cruisin together

A friend, very kindly, offered me a ride home last night. And as we were making our way through twisty turvy roads, dead ends and one way streets, my friend pointed out the bad driving habits of nearly every car that got in our way. I tired to commiserate but honestly I wouldn't have noticed let alone been bothered by any of it. And I couldn't help think that I'm exactly the kind of driver that drives my dear friend mad.

I'm generally not in a terrible hurry when I get behind the wheel. Even when I'm running late, I figure that I'll get there when I get there. I go with the flow. Sometimes I'm inclined to coast when I really ought to keep up with traffic (hypermiling ftw!). I get lost easily and I think we all know when we are following someone who is lost. And because I've a tendency towards absent mindedness, I allow other cars on the road the same courtesy. I'm unfazed when someone honks at me as I'm sure that I deserved it. When somebody gives me that look and throws their hands in the air, I smile sheepishly, wave and mouth "sorry". And while I can certainly recognize when a driver is rude I don't really let it get to me unless they're reckless.

Does all of  this make me a bad driver? Maybe. But I haven't been in an accident or received any sort of ticket in almost a decade, so I must be doing something right. Though I think I ought to be a bit more aggressive, if only to stop being that annoying driver that causes people to throw their hands in the air.  




* title inspired by this little ditty, Cruisin by Smokey Robinson. Performed here by Gweneth Palthrow and Huey Lewis. My driving anthem.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Endings

You know how I watch way too much TV? Well, I do. And I'm here to tell you about a brilliant show that never fails to make me laugh.




I didn't watch the first season and rumor has it, it was total crap but the second season has been fabulously funny. It's sort of like Friends meets Scrubs - it's wacky, it's witty, it's quick and a general joy to watch.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

on being one of THOSE people

On Saturday night I met up with lil' sister and some of her roommates for dinner. While we were talking I mentioned that our Mom had said that our cat Zoe has been sick and they had to take her to the vet. We were talking about poor Zoe's plight with our niece (she only hates two things in life, kids and being ignored - two things she's endured quite a lot of lately) when Abbey's roommate started laughing hysterically. Apparently we were being ridiculous pet people who fuss and fawn all over their animals. But I just can't help it, how can you not fall instantly and madly in love with these little guys.


Not my pic - found it on the evil Pinterest where people post stuff without naming their sources.


They're so fluffy, I'm going to die! Gosh, I want a kitten.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

taking care

On Sunday, I sat down in Sacrament meeting and sighed. It had been a busy weekend following a busy week and my mind was full of all the things that I still needed to do. Silly things really, I worried about the cupcakes in the back of my car, "would they get too hot?" "what if the frosting starts to melt?" "what if no one signs up for the potluck next week?" "what if I'm forgetting something?" And then I just cleared it all out of my head - I surrendered to the moment, and checked in with my body. I was beat. My insomnia and to-do lists had caught up with me and I was exhausted.

I said a little prayer right there. I asked God to help be better about taking care of myself. I asked Him to help me balance my obligations with my needs; to help me to relish the things that bring me joy and avoid the things that bring me down. Sometimes I forget that it's up to me to take care of myself. No one else is going to do it.

So when I finally got home from all my meetings, I fed myself and tucked myself into bed.

I bucked my night-owly ways and was asleep before mid-night.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

sprouts

Good news, my new passport photo is a thousand times better than my last. I know you were all worried.

And while I'm sharing good news, I'm proud to announce that I spotted peas sprouting up on my garden this morning. Yes, it's a proud proud day when you peer into your raised bed and spot not one, but three little leafy bits pushing their way up. I thought they might like this crazy warm weather so I gave them a drink yesterday morning, hoping to get things moving and today they appeared!

Honestly I've developed a bit of a botanical mania. My house is filling up with plant and seedlings and sprouts and flowers. The other day I saw that someone had sprouted lentils (I admit, it may have been on Pinterest) and I just had to try it. Well, I'm here to report that they are adorable and apparently a tradition for Persian New Years, and I was thinking about Easter, guess they could go either way. 

photo from What have we got here?
Okay, this isn't my picture but you get the idea. I have mine in four little bowls that I picked up from Target. Away, they are awful cute and an inexpensive easy way to bring a little spring indoors. I'd imagine it'd be a great activity to do with kids as I got a real kick out of watching their daily progress.

I put some crumpled up paper napkin a bowl  (less is more, just need enough to cover the bottom of the bowl) and soaked it with water. Then I sprinkled enough lentils to finely cover the surface - and that's it. Check on them every day to make sure they're damp and within a few days you'll see them start to sprout.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

say cheese!

It's so nice outside, it's a shame to be cooped up indoors. As I haven't a window, I like to imagine that it's miserable and grey outside. But I know that it's actually a sunny 75 degrees, the birds are singing and the flowers are a blooming. Such is life.

I'm getting excited about my summer travels and my goal for this week is to renew my passport. That means it's time to get a new passport photo - hallelujah! - my last one was horrendous. It's so bad that I can't believe that I didn't just pony up another $15 for another. But then again, $15 was sort of a lot of money to a college student in 2001 and we didn't have luxury of digital cameras - it was a 1 shot kinda deal. (Is it weird that I remember the exact cost of my passport photo 11 years ago? Guess it just shows how conflicted I was over it at the time.)

But if I could go back in time, I'd tell that frugal young thing that it'll be worth the splurge. Maybe a waste of time travel, but we're talking about quality of life.

Monday, March 12, 2012

liberty and priveleges

A few weeks ago I was reading Sister Bonnie D. Parkin's General Conference talk from Spring 2007 and I came across this quote by Eliza R. Snow. Sister Snow posed this question to the sisters of the Church in 1870:

“Do you know of any place on the face of the earth, where [a] woman has more liberty, and where she enjoys such high and glorious privileges as she does here, as a Latter-day Saint?”

While Sister Parkin went on to testify of the great privileges held by women of the church*, I couldn't get past Sister Snow's question. Because, while it may have rung true to the women of 1870, in my experience, it is within the church that I feel most constrained. In every other aspect of my life I see endless opportunities, and while we still may have a ways to go, the world has opened itself up for women while the church has remained stuck in positions that haven't been progressive since Sister Snow's time.

I morn that the Church that I was raised in, the Church that I tithe to and serve, was once so progressive and has in the last 100 years become so fixed, so adverse to change. We have a heritage of boldness, a heritage challenging social norms, reexamining ideas about family, opposing slavery, sharing our wealth and promoting true christian principles. Ours is a heritage of strong industrious independent women, supported by a Church that sent them to medical schools, encouraged their involvement in national women's groups and gave them the vote long before the passing of the 19th amendment. 

What has happened to my church? Although, I feel that in some ways we as a Church and a culture have faltered, our doctrine is one of eternal progression and I find hope and am encouraged by our heritage.



* I mean in no way to belittle message of Sister Parkin's talk. Her message is really insightful and maybe she sees the church differently, I respect her views and hope to one day share them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

tossing and turning

So if it's not solar flares, it's something else. Maybe it's spring? Longer days? Warmer temperatures? Too many Girl Scout cookies? Alas, I think it was my hair that was keeping me up.


http://ilovecharts.tumblr.com/


Last night, before going to bed, I decided that I really should trim my bangs (see chart above) - I was starting to look like one of those dogs whose eyes are completely hidden behind their shaggy mane. So I took scissors to my hair - a hobby or sorts, I really should be better at this by now but I made a huge mess, tiny pieces hair completely covering the bathroom and myself. And upon inspection by the light of day, I pinned them back and hope that round 2 produces better results. 


The Shaggy Dog


Trouble was all those little pieces of hair are mighty itchy and I just could NOT get comfortable. I tossed and turned and changed my shirt but I just couldn't sleep. So I queued up another episode of Psych and was asleep before the first commercial break. It's a miracle, I tell ya.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

in the middle of the night

Last night I couldn't sleep. It's nothing new, I'm find that I just don't need as much sleep as I used to. But last night as I lay awake, I felt gripped with anxiety and I wasn't sure why. Was it the emails that I hadn't gotten around to replying to? Was is the ward potluck I've been charged with organizing? Was it the tv show I'd just watched? Was there something I had forgotten, something that my subconscious was trying to resolve?

I still don't know. So after dismissing my anxiety, I turned to my old stand by. My trusted treatment for insomnia, episodic television. There is a certain kind of tv show that never fails to put me soundly to sleep. It can't be too funny, too sentimental or too thought provoking. Short plot lines and new characters help. The trick is that you don't want to get to involved in the show but it must be interesting enough to take my mind off of whatever is keeping it awake at night. My go to show? Psych. It's silly, trivial (even though it's usually dealing with murder), the characters are likable enough but I don't really relate to them and all that just lulls me to sleep. And most importantly it's available online.

But this morning*, I learned that at that very moment when I couldn't figure out why I couldn't sleep, I could have been checking out the night sky for auroras**.
The sun ejected two huge solar flares Tuesday, and NASA says that we here on Earth may notice the effects of magnetic fields and ionized gases that it estimates will arrive around 1:25 a.m. ET Thursday. So, if you detect some electronic interference — say, your GPS doesn't work right — blame it on the sun. -NPR News Blog
Well, my laptop kept working like a champ but I'd like to think that maybe it was the solar flares keeping me up.


Cuz, I'm so connected to the universe and stuff.





* Hey NPR, how about putting news about predicted cosmic events in my news feed before they actually happen?

** The first time I ever saw the aurora was in Moab, Utah on a field trip while I was in college.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

we'll just have to wait and see

I've been neglecting this space, for which I appologize. But while I was away, I've been keeping busy with birthday celebrations, cleaning my room, filing my taxes and working for a paycheck.

While I was getting ready for work this morning, pandora queued this up.



First Day of My Life, by Bright Eyes


And though I've heard it before, I sort of fell in love with this part here at the end:

So if you wanna be with me
With these things there's no telling
We'll just have to wait and see
But I'd rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery

Because isn't that how life is, we can work for what we want or wait for it to fall into our laps. And like the song implies, nothing is for certain but it's nice to have a hand in it, to know that you put in the work. There are things that are out of my control but when given the opportunity to do something great, to work really hard knowing I may still come up short, those are risks worth taking. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's so fluffy, I'm going to DIE!

I'm really feeling the birthday love. Many, many thanks!

Last night my sister, Abbey, came over and we did some serious baking - we did our best to recreate this beaut from my latest favorite food blog, Always With Butter.


And this frosting  - well, it's so FLUFFY! Who would have thought to put marshmallow creme in frosting? Well, it's genius and I'm guessing next to idiot proof. Frosting always makes me nervous, so I'm going to remember this one. Did I mention it's fluffiness?



Despicable Me, also genius. Don't argue with me, it's my birthday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

small and simple things

It doesn't take much. In fact it's rather amazing how something so small, so inconsequential, can unintentionally turn my day around. No sooner had I written that last post than I started feeling better. Life is good, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the daffodils are blooming.

And I hope hope hope that I can get off work early tonight so that I can go home and get to work on my birthday cake.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

birthday blues

My birthday is a few days away, queue the crazy.

Crap, I thought this year was going to be different. I thought that this would be the year that I allowed myself to enjoy my birthday detached from unrealistic expectations, overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and anxiety about whether anyone could ever love me. I may have eaten half a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Therapy for dinner last night. Yep, I'm fighting the crazy here, let the plans to dissuade the birthday blues commence.

Agenda may include a pedicure and certainly a manicure; baking a birthday cake with my lil sister (who could be grumpy with a birthday cake like this?); and my favorite veggie burger with rosemary fries. I'm feeling better already.

Monday, February 27, 2012

adventures in feminism

This past weekend was our stake conference - which means there was a special meeting at 10am and we were done by noon, pretty near perfect time and length for church meetings, if you ask me. Our current schedule is 3-6 and I do my darndest not to complain about but it was nice to have a change.

Unfortunately the content of the meeting left me feeling rather agitated and quite depressed. And despite Elder Scott's exhortation that I embody respect my womanhood (which, best I can tell, means: dressing modestly; acting like a lady and requiring others treat me as such; and acting as support staff to all my familial relations), I went home, donned some ill-fitting jeans, sweatshirt and sneakers and went outside to work in my garden.

Which reminded me of this, I think she gets it.

 
 Ann-Margret singing "How Lovely to be a Woman" in Bye Bye Birdie.  


It was a beautiful day to dig in the dirt and plant some seeds - arugula and peas, for now. It may be too soon, time will tell, but I can always replant in a couple weeks. It felt good lug around those big bags of mulch, compost and vermiculite, to get some dirt under my nails and to turn on the hose again. I do love the experimentation, the intersection of biology and creation. There is something truly fascinating and invigorating about organizing life within 9 square feet of soil.

Does this qualify as nurturing? What if I put some flowers in the mix?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Puxatawney's got some explaining to do

This has been a strange winter - maybe we should just call it a non-winter. Honestly, after weathering winters in Alaska, New England, Finland and Northern Utah, I was sort of done with winter. And now, wouldn't you know it, I sort of miss it. A few weeks ago, I was looking through old photos from my time in Finland and I became intensely nostalgic for snow. Snow is something that I haven't seen this year (flurries don't count) and I don't miss the logistical nightmares (like commuting through 6" of heavy slush with hundreds of drivers who haven't the slightest idea of how to drive in snow, or the countless times I got my car stuck in a snow bank in my own driveway) I miss the muffling effect, the magical ways in which snow can transform a landscape. And there's this sick part of me that loves those super cold days when everything is frosty and frozen the the ground just sort of crunches under your feet like styrofoam. Alas.

As much as I enjoy the beauties of winter, I think spring is the best season of all. And if spring wants to come early, I'm ready to embrace it. So long as it stays for a nice long while (not ready for an early summer).

Yesterday, I may have spent nearly $40 dollars on seeds - crazy, I know. My head is all filled with plans for my little garden this year. I'm learning from last year and rethinking the tomato situation, giving up on zucchini, and planting peas this weekend (it's early, but I'm gonna give it a go). And I've decided that there is nothing wrong with gardening on Sunday - it's no more "work" than knitting or cooking, though perhaps more strenuous - I think that it's a lovely way to connect with nature, and clear my mind of worries of my week. 

I'm really excited to be able to pick fresh tomatoes and arugula from my garden - honestly, that's really all I care about arugula and tomatoes, everything else is just an experiment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let's talk about Downton

Well it's happened again, my day job has negatively impacted my blog. There is simply too much to read and not enough time to read it all let alone write about it. And there's so much I want to talk about. First of all, Downton Abbey ... SPOILER ALERT!!!! ... if you haven't watched the season finalle yet I advise you to do so and come back so that we can all gab about it.




So we finally got to see the Christmas special - even though it's mid-February, I'm not complaining.


Were you surprised when Matthew proposed to Mary? I'm sure there are speed bumps ahead but I think they sort of deserve each other - if that's really possible. And will Edith end up with the old guy? He is rather handsome and rather charming in his own way - What about Patrick or the farmer? Will either of them make an appearance next season. I think Patrick will make a comeback, I've never cared so much about entails and estates in my life, thank you Downton for making that dreadful property law class feel slightly relevant.

And poor Mr. Bates, I'm glad that they were able to successfully appeal the capital sentence. I've got a feeling that they're going to find a way to prove his innocence next season, it'd just be too sad to end the show with him rotting away in jail and Anna left pinning.

So, we've covered property and estates, criminal law and procedure, contracts and family law thus far. Maybe next season they'll round it out with a some torts. Oh, the nerdery. Well, I guess I've got something to look forward to next January to chase away the winter blues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

a day at the national gallery

I enjoyed a truly lovely 3-day weekend, repleat with tasty food, fantastic weather, great art and a parade too boot.

On Saturday I took my lil sis to Paul for sandwiches and mini pastries, followed by the National Gallery. It was almost like being in Paris only cheaper.

My favorite artist of the day, Alexander Calder.


I could watch his mobile sculptures for hours. At one point, one of the sculptures set off an alarm - I'd like to think that'd make the artist proud. Talk about art taking on a life of it's own. 


And Calder's Red Horse - striking against a clear blue sky, reminded me of a Giant Dala Horse.



Because I like to tie everything back to Nordic folk art.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grammy's buzz

Blast! Work has gotten busy and I just don't have the time to aimlessly search the interwebs like I used to. Consequently my blogging has suffered but since I've made it this far I'll just say a couple of things about the Grammy's.

1) We all know that Chris Brown is a dirt bag for what he did to Rhianna a couple of years ago. But should they have welcomed him back to the Grammy's? Well, I don't really see why not. Artists will continue to disappoint us with their actions and shortcomings, should we allow our personal disdain for their bad acts taint everything they do? That's up to you, but if we started censoring artists because they made poor life decisions, we'd be left with a very small and boring library.

Honestly, before Sunday night, all I knew about Chris Brown was that he beat up Rhianna. But I watched him perform anyway - and guess what, I was impressed. He's quite a dancer.  

2) Adele is fabulous! I loved her hair, her dresses, her nails and it's so good to know that she got her voice back. And I guess I'm not alone in my adoration - 6 Grammy's not too shabby. Can anyone explain to me the difference between an album and a record?

3) Was Lady Gaga wearing a muzzle? or a poor man's face lift? I'm so confused. But I've got to give it to her for bringing back the scepter.

Sorry, no time to link anything. Gotta get back to work.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

all you need is love

I've never really understood Valentine's Day, but I think these sort of sum it up nicely.


This reminds me of the one time I did have a boyfriend and failed to do anything for him on Valentine's Day. I think it was the beginning of the end for us.


This is absolutely tragic, and a little funny - I'm a terrible person. I had to finish watching the second half of this weeks Downton Abbey last night because it was another 2-hour episode that I had not anticipated while watching the Grammy's Sunday night. (Maybe I'll talk about the Grammy's tomorrow if work isn't too crazy, because I've got lots to say.) But wholly shocker! I've said it before and I'll say it again, DA is the best thing to ever happen on television.


And while love may elude me, I'll always have NPR. A few weeks ago, I decided to be a grown up and start contributing to my NPR station. And I'm mighty proud of myself, I mean it's about time and if I waited for Ira Glass to call me up personally and ask for a donation, it may never happen. (Ira, if your reading this, feel free to call me anyway, I may be persuaded upgrade my sponsorship.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

shark jumping and other silliness

Indulge me as I talk about television. Again. Last night on Grey's Anatomy, a van crashed into the hospital. Let me repeat a van crashed into a hospital. And while this is by no means outside of any realm of possibilities, I laughed, because a van crashed into the hospital. Seriously? Who is writing this stuff? Because, while at times Grey's features some truly great drama, vans crashing into hospitals do not in and of themselves make good drama. It was completely unnecessary. It furthered no plot lines, it was the catalyst for no moving interactions, it was superfluous violence. Please, if you're going to indulge into the ridiculous, use it do something interesting.

When that gunman was roaming the hospital shooting people, that was likewise ridiculous, but it was also incredibly good drama. So good that I didn't have time to think about how crazy it was. I had to remind myself to breath, it was so good.

So I hope that you enjoy the weekend. Are you excited as I am for a new episode of Downton Abbey? I'm hoping that now that the war's over we can get some new flavors of man candy and not just the sad wounded types - though they are kinda sweet when they aren't knocking up the help.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

you've got to be prepared

And I'm not talking boyscout prepared.*

I know I said that I was imposing a temporary yarn-fast but that was after I'd already ordered a bunch online. Truth is, what I lack in food storage, I make up for in yarn. I'm just hoping that in the event of a natural disaster, there will be high demand for hats and mittens so I can barter for food. And let's be honest, I'm not the type to survive a zombie apocalypse or any other type of apocalypse for that matter. Though, I have been wondering if the NRA should think about funneling some of their support into the zombie movie industry because I've never been inclined to buy a gun but after a good zombie movie, I feel a little naked.

So I bought enough for a sweater, but I haven't settled on a pattern yet. So many options, I just can't decide. And would you believe that there isn't a pair of size 8 needles to be found at my house? For the love! I guess I'm not as prepared as I thought I was - this is seriously impeding my swatching ability.


*Oh, Captain Ron, I'll take you to Disney World anytime.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

thirty-something

My birthday is coming up and for first time in YEARS I'm not anxious. I'm not mourning my spinsterhood, clinging to the dregs of my youth. I'm not even that bothered by that same biological clock that rang so loudly in my years as I approached the dreaded 30.

While in my twenties I had a couple of friends, a decade older than I, that assured me that life got better after 30. They knew something that I didn't, because I couldn't. You see when you are miserable in your twenties, you think that it's all about you and your failings and flaws, but really it's just an awful decade that we're all forced to live through. A decade filled with unrealistic expectations, anxiety and naivety. They saw my pain and knew that I would overcome it, that I would evolve and learn to embrace my life. I felt my pain and saw only uncertainty and potential for unending misery.

The build up to 30 was the WORST! I dreaded that day for years. Why? Because, I'm a masochist, but really I was scared about what it meant and ashamed by the things that I hadn't accomplished. And though I bribed myself with a lovely trip to Hawaii, I couldn't shake the gloom of that day that came and went.

31 was better. Though it fraught with it's own challenges, I felt better prepared to face them. I had stopped doing what I though I should, and started following my heart. While still finding my footing in a new town and a new phase, I was finding unexpected satisfaction in the process.

And now, as I approach 32, I couldn't be happier. It's funny really. Because I have none of the things that I envisioned for myself. I have plenty of reasons to be miserable, except I'm not. As it turns out, all of those things that I thought that I needed to make me happy, may in fact lead to happiness and I may never know for sure, but I've learned that there are many ways to be happy.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What are men to rocks and mountains?

I think that Elizabeth Bennet would have found this an perfectly indulgent way to get over Whickham, but then she may have never reconnected with Darcy, and the whole story would have been ruined. Still, you should watch this, it literally took my breath away.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.


P.S. Watch it in full screen.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

austerity measures

I've got a pretty serious travel bug. And along it's sister ailments, spring and cabin fever, the travel bug is nothing to scoff at. It afflicts large swaths of the privileged first world population every day.

I've got my heart set on Sweden for Midsommar and now I've just got to raise the capital. And that's why I'm working on a plan - we won't call it a budget because though I can be quite frugal, I haven't the stomach for budgets, but there will be cutbacks including a temporary yarnfast and diy manicures. 

This may or may not have all been inspired by the Kristen Bell video that's been making its way around the interwebs. It's certainly good for a laugh but it also made me wonder when's the last time I was anywhere near that happy. Don't get me wrong I'm pretty happy - certainly happier than I was for most of my twenties. But, I couldn't help but crave that sort of happiness that may only be found in the delivery of sloth to my doorstep by Dax Shepard... Midsommar in Sweden it is.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

what? wait. NOOO!

Um, hi.

I thought this was really amazing. Wonder what a camera could catch me saying while watchin' Downton?


And a big Thank You to the folks at Pop Culture Happy Hour for bring it to my attention.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

pescovegetarian mittens

When I moved to DC, I promptly went out in search of a yarn shop. Because, it's good to be prepared and get your priorities straight from the get go. Well, I thankfully found a quirky little LYS which has subsequently grown a bit larger, in Old Town Alexandria. Fibre Space is inviting and inspiring - with lots of natural light and the owner's little dog making the commercial space feel homey.


The first thing I bought was the yarn for these here mittens. They came together really fast and for year, sat in a box under my bed until I decided to gift them to my mother for Christmas.


I included this pattern in my knitters gift guide - mittens edition, and the pattern can me found here. (Psst, it's Finnish, so you know it's gotta be good, right - but the pattern's in English, so no worries.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

what's the story, morning glory?

How'd it get to be Monday already, I just don't know. But this weekend went by so fast, that before I knew it it was 11:30 Sunday night and I still hadn't watched the new episode of Downton Abbey. So I did the only sensible thing to be done and stayed up much too late to watch it. And my oh my was is ever worth it. Gosh, it's getting good! Anyway, who could sleep knowing that an episode of DA was just sitting there in the DVR, waiting, seriously?

Oh and I made morning glory muffins for a brunch on Saturday morning and decided to double the recipe because it said it only made 12 and I thought that's not really worth the effort. Well, I ended up with 45 and had to use my salad bowl to mix them - why is it so hard to find a decently large mixing bowl? And despite all the goodies that I put in them, I still feel like they're missing something - crushed pineapple, candied ginger, or crasins, maybe. Although, I think they do get better after a few days - good thing as I've still got oodles.

Friday, January 27, 2012

staying in

It's been a busy week and last night, well, last night I didn't have to be anywhere or do anything. When I got home from work, I put on my pajama pants, grabbed my knitting and parked myself in front of the tellie. I had grand plans of finishing the mitten I'm working on but instead only finished a few rows - I forget how long the thumb increases take, but I'm to the fast part now.

And what's really rare, I got a chance to catch up with each of my roommates - I have some great roommates.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yes; the usual palm tree*

It's not that I particularly mind winter, on the contrary, I think that snow is lovely and there is something truly fascinating about the colors of a winter landscape. When the lush green leaves are gone, all sorts of interesting hues pop out against the grey, it's absolutely beautiful. And why is it that the stars are so much brighter in the winter? Is it the longer nights? Is it the cold? - they continually take my frosty breath away.

And yet, though it is still January, I can't help thinking about spring. I've been getting gardening catalogs in the mail and I find myself lingering over the pages upon pages of tomatoes - beefsteaks and slicers and heirlooms and saladettes. Two weekends in a row, I've found myself in house plant section at the Home Depot - if I can't be planting in my yard, house plants it is. I've added 5 to my collection.

Now, all I need is a conservatory. 


* An excerpt from Act IV of An Ideal Husband:

MABEL CHILTERN. [Aside to LORD GORING.] I shall be in the conservatory under the second palm tree on the left.
LORD GORING. Second on the left?
MABEL CHILTERN. [With a look of mock surprise.] Yes; the usual palm tree.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

drama-rama

Over Christmas I went with my mom to visit a family friend who lives in a assisted living center. And while we chatted, this dear friend regaled us with tales of carolers going rouge, venturing out of the common areas, and harassing residents with their unwelcome merriment. And while I stuggled to hold in my laughter, I thought to myself, "I guess we all have drama in our lives."

I count myself lucky to have a life with very little drama and not so much stress - aside from the occasional worry over money or maybe when the neighbor's workmen carelessly drive into my vegetable garden (still a little steamed about that one). And yet today felt oh so dramatic. This morning I got an email requesting my help on a project and I gladly put away my online furniture shopping and offered my assistance. But no sooner had I done so than I learned that I had no idea what I was doing. And after scratching my head, exhorting assistance from my coworkers, imbibing the contents of a chilled can of diet coke, and consulting with IT, I finally realized that I didn't have access to the files that I needed to complete this "15 minute project". Oh dear, I imagine the only thing that could have made it worse were if a bunch of strangers had chosen that moment to park themselves outside my cube and sing the little drummer boy at me. (Go ahead and laugh at my drama, I certainly did as I refuse to cry over this stupid job.)

Alas, we got it all straightened out in the end and 3 hours later (remember this was a "15 minute project"), I had received access to the necessary files and somebody else had completed the project in spite of my attempts to help. And so I chalk this one up to experience, thankful that someone else was able to cover for me and that I'm may be better prepared to help next time.

You see, I posit that drama is good for the soul. Though unpleasant, it's generally only in times of crisis that I ever accomplish anything and as illustrated by this story, even then there's no guarantees. But as an inevitable part of life, I strive to learn from it and learn through these chunks of drama in my life. But now that the moment has passed, I wonder if there is anymore diet coke in the fridge.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

baby steps in the kitchen

This year I've decided that I'm going to start cooking more. And by cooking I mean nutritious meals from real ingredients. Not frozen, boxed or canned stuff that I add stuff too. Not brownies or cookies or pies. I'm talking real food. Call it a resolution if you will but I'm not insane, I realize that the boxed and frozen stuff is sort of a necessary convenience (I've done my darndest to cut out cans - because of the bpa which could either be the downfall of our society or totally harmless). So we're talking baby steps. First step was to try a new recipe. And that's what I did. Over the weekend I made this baked butternut squash and cheese polenta -sans the mushrooms (I served mine with fresh arugula and tomatoes).

photo from Kitchen Daily

The recipe looked  fairly simple and I figured that I could round up all the ingredients easily enough, so I gave it a go. I was quickly reminded of how intensive real cooking could be. So many steps. So many pans. Must I really let it chill for 3 hours? Must I really let it cool? Can't I just eat it straight out of the oven? Is all of this effort going to pay off? 

Yeah, I got a little anxious but I followed through and followed the recipe with as much exactness as I could muster. In the end I was pleasantly surprised. And yes, it really did taste better once I'd let it cool and set up a bit. Baby steps to eating better.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"with pleasure"


Last Friday night I met up with some friends to see the Artist, which sort of stole the show two days later at the Golden Globes. It's a black and white silent film - I know, artsy. And I'll be honest there were a few moments in the middle when I got a bit frigidity and my internal dialog went something like, "this is RIDICULOUS, just gimme some dialog already!" but then I took a deep breath told myself to hold it together and kept watching. I am unaccustomed to watching a movie so closely (i.e. devoting so much visual attention to the screen). Honestly, I don't watch many movies these days and when I do, it's usually at home on the telly while knitting. The Artist is NOT a good knitting movie but it was really interesting and refreshing. One of my favorite perfomances was John Goodman. He's just so lovable and it was fun to see him in something so out of the norm.


And Berenice Bejo was absolutely delightful - loved her costumes!


Finally, I should just mention that the music was beautiful. So if you're feeling ambitious or aspire to some culture, go see it. It's really one of those movies that you have to see in the theater.