Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
and found a place for this little snowman to perch admired some of my ornaments
decided on the desserts I will make
- spiced nuts
- red velvet cupcakes (this is the top most requested treat)
- ginger cookies
- peanut butter cups
- chocolate chip peppermint crackles
- butter cookies (I have to use the cookie press my mom gave me last year for Christmas)
- brownies - with marshmallow and peanut butter perhaps
- pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes with ginger whipped cream (a new concoction I dreamed up last night)
- peppermint patties
- sugar cookies (maybe)
- cranberry/pear/ginger ale punch
Now all I need to do is: decorate for real, make a grocery list and bake, bake, bake! Oh, and find a really cute outfit because it is my turn to meet someone amazing under the mistletoe at my party!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
- I sent out the evite for my dessert party last night and I already have 39 people who have agreed to come with one maybe, I guess it is time to start planning the party details - like what desserts to make!
- the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony is taking place a couple of blocks from my office soon - I think there will be a few hundred thousand people too many there for my tastes so I will do what I can to leave without overlapping with that crowd
- there was also some Nascar race through Manhattan this morning that caused all kinds of road closures and traffic snarls - whose bright idea was it to do that in the middle of the week?
- I caught a portion of an interview on the Today show this morning entitled "Should Teens Abstain from Sex?" Seriously? You are questioning whether it is wise or smart or healthy or whatever to make this decision? This highly personal decision? Meredith was completely baffled by the concept to the point she did not seem to believe it. She interviewed three people - I missed the intro so I don't know who they were other than an adult married woman, a presumably teenage black girl and a teenage boy (although either of them could be as old as 21 or 22, I really couldn't tell). Meredith kept challenging this girl about her choice and the girl kept coming back to not wanting to get pregnant and not wanting to catch any STDs or other diseases and Meredith didn't seem to believe those were good enough answers. I loved when she asked the boy why he chose to do this and he dryly responded by saying something to the effect that he was looking for some way to be ridiculed endlessly by his peers. After Meredith kept spouting off "failure" statistics from abstinence only school programs (a different concept entirely in my opinion - forced abstinence versus making the choice!) this boy maturely and simply stated that it has to be something you believe in for it to work. He is so right - no one else can make that extraordinarily private and personal decision for you, nor should anyone else make that decision for you. Oh, I also enjoyed the look of disbelief on Meredith's face after the married woman told her she dated her husband for 6 years (4 long distance) and he agreed to abstain until marriage. It was like she just didn't understand the entire concept, even after the woman explained that making a decision to wait until marriage helps a couple focus on creating a "best friendship". I liked that. During the portion of the interview I saw (or heard from the bathroom while I was getting ready for work), religion was not mentioned.
- sometimes I don't realize how odd my lifestyle is to others until I watch a program like that
- I haven't had any questions about this issue in a long time but I do have some friends who think I should write a book someday called No Sex In The City which reveals their fascination with my abstinence decision. What a thrilling novel that would be . . . "after our third date with no physical contact whatsoever, he gave me a high five at the door and I swooned." Oh, wait, I think I've written that post right here on this blog - except it was a hug not a high five. I just haven't been on a date in a long time so the only abstinence questions I face relate to chocolate - to indulge or refrain? And as you all know - I am a bit of a chocolate slut!
- on a very different note: none of my family members are in the same state today, we are fanning out across the country: California, Utah, Idaho, Maryland, New York and Massachusetts.
- my sister gets the best weather in California
- my grandma had her hip replaced today - third surgery in about a month - which is why my dad is in Idaho
- and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Brooke!!! She is having her birthday party tonight at a place called Cake Shop that presumably has cake and a couple of live bands! How fun is that? And appropriate if you know Brooke.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
- Cardio Workout: treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, stair climbers - I hate them all! I try pumping myself up with music, or entertaining myself with the television. I have even tried reading magazines or books but ultimately I get BORED and it is so hard to force myself to get to and stay on any type of cardio machine for 30 minutes.
- Daily Prayer: I try, really I do but this is just hard for me for a variety of reasons. I have my good streaks but then I start counting the conversations I have in my head because I rationalize that God can hear my thoughts so he gets it . . . looks like this is a life long challenge.
- Scripture Study: I have had times in my life when I managed to read my scriptures or a church book or magazine every day and I really believe it enriched my life. Specifically, when I was studying for the bar exam I incorporated scripture study into my study routine and I have never felt such comfort and peace going into an extremely stressful test. I knew I would pass because I was praying and studying and it was such a comfort but that lesson is so easily forgotten when I'm not working toward such a precise goal.
- Healthy Eating: yes, this one was also on my "Good" list but I put it here because it is such a broad category. I make a genuine effort most of the time to eat good and healthy foods but I also have such a weakness for rich fatty sweets that keeping everything in balance is a constant struggle.
- Christmas Shopping: I'm terrible. Boo on all of you over-achievers out there flaunting your "I'm all done!" smugness . . . I have not bought a single gift and there is little to no chance that I will finish my shopping before Christmas Eve. It has happened a couple of times but it is rare. I am too much like my dad at keeping secrets. If I bought gifts early I might burst from the excitement and blurt out what I bought for the person. It isn't even December yet so for the sake of surprises I am not allowed to shop until the 20th. No seriously, this really is a sought after habit. I wish I was organized and disciplined enough to do this earlier.
- Yoga: This one used to be in the good cycle but not so these days. It is a definite aspiration.
- Thank You Notes/Thinking of You Notes: I would love to be that person who manages to send sweet thoughtful notes in a timely manner. I think about it but my timing is always off (in the shower, going to bed, walking to work) or fear of the post office and my terrible handwriting usually leave this as a good intentions idea.
So what habits do you aspire to work into your top 7?
Monday, November 26, 2007
My friend and I were sad that we once again went to a game with killer seats and didn't get a photo of us there. Next time, right?
Now, let me tell you about the real losers because my title isn't actually referencing the Jazz. I blame the loss partly on yesterday's tough and physical game against the Pistons. I won't hold a grudge. No, the losers I'm referencing are a group of people who occasionally masquerade as my friends.
As my friend and I were about to walk into Madison Square Garden we ran into a few people I know from my old singles ward. We chatted briefly before the game and went in, forgetting about them. Before half time I sent one of the girls a text message and asked where they were sitting. We trudged high up into the rafters to see all 25 of them chillin' out and chatting. Here is what makes me upset. Among this group are people I consider my friends. People who complain that we never hang out anymore, people who never call me, never email me but feign excitement when we do see each other and complain about how long it has been since we last hung out. And these same people keep asking me when my dessert party is this year and pestered me about having a party on my roof all summer.
My mother always tries to tell me that people aren't trying to leave me out, they just aren't organizers like I am. Well, someone had to organize a group of 25 tickets to a Knicks game and that someone had no way of knowing I would get tickets from work. I make no secret of my sports fanaticism. So what disappoints me is that no one thought to forward the email to me when tickets were being purchased. Several of the people there were among those I invited to the Yankees game this past summer and a couple of the girls I considered among my closer friends.
This is what I dislike about the Mormon singles scene so much - the selfishness. Because what else can it be? I guess I can take it truly personally and conclude they really just don't like me but I don't think that is what it is (but maybe I'm delusional!). I think girls just outnumber the boys at all church related events and activities so they don't want to invite one more girl for fear of knocking the odds out of balance. Girls cling to their roommates and the other girls who they deem as safe and easy to sustain friendships with. I don't go to their ward anymore. I don't live close to them. I don't see them on a regular basis. Therefore, out of sight, out of mind, no need to add another girl to the mix.
It is difficult for me to make deep and meaningful friendships these days because most people can't be bothered to step out of their own self-interest long enough to care about someone else unless it gets them something. As long as I am hosting parties I add value, but this summer I chose not to be the social coordinator for people who I knew had no real interest in hanging out with me, so I fell off their radar and off their email lists.
I would say this makes me sad but the truth is it doesn't. I never felt any deep abiding affection for any of them. I have tried but my friendship antennae always warned me there wasn't depth to be found there.
What does make me sad is how difficult it is to find deep and enduring friendships as an adult. I have moved through several generations of truly amazing men and women and experienced (and continue to experience) friendships that have truly enriched my life and taught me so much about love and forgiveness and laughter and silliness and heart-ache and joy. As each set of friends steps forward and into the marriage stage, then the children stage, it takes more and more work to keep us linked. It is difficult to watch our friendship fade in priority even as I rejoice in the happiness they each find as their lives are enriched by spouses and children.
But it is difficult to replace these friendships and I miss having girlfriends. Not that I don't have girlfriends now. I have friends with husbands, friends with boyfriends, friends with careers, friends with kids, friends with responsibilities, friends who live far away, friends with whom I am not truly in sync. As a result, I miss having girlfriends because now when I see my friends we have brunch or dinner or maybe we go shopping. We rarely just hang out or roadtrip or have movie marathons or stay up late talking or create inside jokes or eat too many cookies. Instead we are left clinging to the distant memories when we had the freedom to sit around giggling about boys or that time we dressed up and went to McDonalds or that crazy party she dragged me to or the concerts we attended or that ridiculous boy I liked or the makeovers we gave each other or the time we went to 5 different 7-elevens to find the perfect slurpee. I don't have a best friend. I have many wonderful friends I will describe as "one of my best friends" but no one I see consistently or even talk to or email on a regular basis.
That is what makes me sad.
I manage to fill free weekends pretty readily with brunch plans with various friends (but only after I make plans, I rarely get unsolicited invitations) but as good as brunch is and as much as I enjoy it, it is very rare to later look back and exclaim "and remember that time we had brunch at Norma's?" and laugh. At best one might look back and say "remember when we had brunch at that place in the Village I liked so well? What was the name of that place?" The end. Lately I feel as if I have stopped making memories. Not lately exactly, for a while. I realize this isn't entirely true, it just feels that way. I feel stuck in a loner cycle and I don't have a lot of incentive to work my way out of it because even though I feel like I am in the same place friendship-wise I was two years ago, I enjoy myself. And tonight having such a pronounced illustration of how I am being left out brought this distant ache to the forefront.
Of course, on the positive side, I was at my second Jazz game with a new-ish friend. We were making real memories (not just brunch memories!) as she flirted with all the guys sitting around us and I rattled off nerdy Jazz stats. She felt similarly slighted by the persistent omission of her name from group email lists as well which ultimately deepens our tie and resulted in a promise to see a movie together later in the week. And in just over a week I have a blogger friend coming to town for a real life visit which will most assuredly result in loads of fun memories. So I guess new friendships are possible over 30 and I need to remember to cherish those precious few who drift into my life and enjoy what they have to offer and give at least as much as I receive and supress the urge to spitefully omit certain names from my dessert party evite.
If nothing else the one thing I have learned from disappointing friendships, friends who have used me and friends who neglected and abandoned me it is this: to rise about it. I live my own life and I live it well, that is the best way to recover. There is a reason I am guarded because this disappointing little blip barely registers in the grand scheme and tomorrow I will forget the sting and instead be reminded of all the beautiful people in this world who I am lucky enough to count as my friends and I will be comforted in the thought that they feel lucky and comforted in counting me among their close friends as well.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Instead, I'm just happy I finished the first Christmas step today. And here are the results for Christmas 2007 - thanks Emily for guiding me with your massive list toward some new tunes. It generally moves from the modern to the funky to the classic to the chill. I will also be listening to The Messiah and some Mormon Tabernacle Choir this season but those don't mix in well and I generally like listening to each of them straight through rather than piece meal in a mix.
So without any further tangents, I present my Christmas 2007 playlist (there was a 2006 but I believe it was deleted in the great harddrive crash of 2006):
- Christmas is Coming Vince Guaraldi Trio (Charlie Brown Christmas)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Bare Naked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
- Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) Death Cab for Cutie
- Maybe this Christmas Ron Sexsmith
- Christmastime I Here Jars of Clay
- Last Christmas Wham!
- Christmas Is Going to the Dogs Eels
- The Christmas Song The Raveonettes
- I am Santa Claus Ozzy Osborne (a la Iron Man!)
- Just Like Christmas Low
- Christmas With You is the Best The Long Winters
- Rock of Ages Ben Kweller
- Merry Xmas Everybody Rooney
- What Christmas Means to Me Stevie Wonder
- Santa Baby Rev Run & The Christmas Allstars
- The Little Drummer Boy! Hot, Hot, Hot Wyclef Jean
- Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto James Brown
- Baby, It's Cold Outside (Mulato Beat Remix) Louis Armstrong
- I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (Stuhr Remix) Kay Starr
- All I Want for Christmas Is You Billy Paul Williams & Lauren Carter
- I'll Be Home for Christmas Oscar Peterson
- Merry Christmas Baby Charles Brown
- River (feat. Corinne Bailey Rae) Herbie Hancock
- Ave Maria Billy Paul Williams
- O Christmas Tree Oscar Peterson
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Harry Connick, Jr.
- Christmas Time Is Here Sarah McLachlan
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Frank Sinatra
- Christmas Dreaming Harry Connick, Jr.
- My Grown-Up Christmas List Kelly Clarkson
- What Child Is This? Oscar Peterson
- Blue Christmas Low
- Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Dave Brubeck
- (It Must Have Been Ol') Santa Claus Harry Connick, Jr.
- Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep Diana Krall
- Let It Snow Chris Isaak
- I'll Be Home for Christmas Bing Crosby
- I Pray On Christmas Harry Connick, Jr.
- Long Way Around the Sea Low
- I Saw Three Ships Sting
- White Christmas Bing Crosby
- Christmas Day Dido
- Christmas Leona Naess
- Silent Night Boyz II Men
- O Holy Night Harry Connick, Jr.
- Peace Norah Jones
- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Diana Krall
- Silent Night Low
- Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental) Vince Guaraldi Trio
- Taking Down the Tree Low
- Christmas Song Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I'm still entertaining company so not much time here . . . had amazing turkey paninis for lunch (mine is pictured below - I added both avocado and cranberry sauce and it was heavenly!). Then went to Sushi Samba for a delicious dinner.
Now I have to hurry off the computer so I can join my brother and his wife in another game of Settlers.
Ugh, this is serious the worst time for nabloblablamo........
Friday, November 23, 2007
The one story I will share right now is the tale of the gravy . . .
Two years ago when I made my first Thanksgiving meal I didn't think much about the gravy until the moment was upon me. The result? I failed and I failed miserably. It was greasy, slimy mess of inedible goo. Luckily I added enough freshly roasted garlic and butter to eliminate the need for gravy.
This year I decided to plan ahead. First, I bought one of these. Surely a gravy separator would magically result in the perfect gravy. Then I studied recipes such as - some of these, this one , even martha's turkey gravy 101 and the recipe on the gravy separator box. I thought I was well prepped for gravy making but Wednesday afternoon after some hesitation I added a jar of mushroom gravy to my cart at the last minute - just in case.
The trouble with making turkey gravy is it is essentially the last bit of work that needs to be done before sitting down to eat. The table was set, the turkey was resting, the twice-baked sweet potatoes and stuffing were warming in the oven as the rolls finished baking. I was directing kitchen traffic to get everything to the table at the same time. I enlisted my brother Nick to help me out. Nick is a terrific cook in his own right and we generally make a great team when we pair up to make a meal. I consulted various directions and instructed him to pour out the juices (and set them aside) and then bring the bits stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan to a boil to loosen up the crispy parts. It sounded gross to me but everyone reassured me this is what gives the flavor. Nick stirred and stirred and we watched the fat separate in my nifty new toy. But the various recipes were telling me conflicting instructions and people were asking questions about serving dishes and utensils and lighting the candles and I was trying to get the green beans cleaned, snipped and steamed.
I mixed up some milk and cornstarch and we started another pot with white gravy (something I know I'm capable of making). Unfortunately we continued consulting the recipes and added the nasty strained bits to the white gravy and although after far more time than anyone wanted to pass, it thickened and began to resemble gravy.
Anxious to eat, we poured it into my beautiful new gravy boat. Right as we were about to all sit down, I decided to taste it. It was DISGUSTING! Grosser than gross. It tasted like I had just licked the bottom of that nasty roasting pan with the carcinogenic bits clinging to the pan. I immediately dumped it into the nearest container in the overflowing sink and pulled out the mushroom gravy and heated it up as Nick finished carving the turkey. So happy I didn't trust my gravy making skills.
The best part of the failed gravy experiment was after dinner when we finally pushed ourselves away from the table and returned to the kitchen. My friend Bryan was the first one to the reach the sink with me - mainly because I forbade anyone from bringing anything in from the kitchen until after we cleaned it up out of a fear that we would drown in all the pots and pans and plates and bowls. As Bryan and I assessed the sink, I regretted my decision to dump the nasty gravy into the dish topping the tower in the sink. Jason claimed it looked like Thai peanut sauce so he was fine with it but Bryan got queasy and said "I can't look at it anymore" as he walked out of the kitchen. For whatever reason this struck me as the funniest thing I had heard all day. I started laughing and I couldn't stop. Tears streamed down my face and my over-stuffed stomach ached as I doubled over as my guests questioned my sanity. Eventually I composed myself and got rid of the chunky, pan-licking flavored gravy.
Luckily I redeemed myself with a juicy turkey, perfect sweet potatoes, buttery rolls and fantastic pies (to name my personal favorites).
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
- Office Candy Jar: right outside the women's restroom on my floor is a shelf with a never-ending jar of candy, a giant bin of pretzels and randomly tins of cookies, boxes of chocolates and bags of animal crackers. I drink a lot of water so I walk past this hodge-podge of sweet and salty temptations several times a day. It was so easy to lose track of how many times I dipped my hand in the jar for a tootsie roll that I decided it had to stop. So this year one of my co-workers and I made a resolution (yes, an actual New Year's resolution) to stop taking food from that area. In order to help us accomplish the task we determined that once a month we could each take one candy. Here it is November and we have stuck with the program.
- Alcohol/Coffee/Smoking: I can't say this is particularly praise worthy since I have never actually tried any of these items but I am proud of myself for getting through my teenage years and college without getting addicted to any of these things. Smoking is just blech so that was never a temptation but I had my moments when alcohol or coffee held some appeal.
- Nail biting: I have never done it - but again, not much of a temptation so no real glory in avoiding this.
- Pizza: There is this pizza shop one block from my apartment that smells SO good. Their doors are almost always wide open - even when the weather cools off - and the tempting aroma of freshly baked pizza wafts out and on occasion the steamy whisp does that cartoon thing where it forms into a hand and slyly beckons me to come in with the undulating bending and flexing of the index finger. But I hurry on past because I just know once I try the pizza it could turn into a frequent dinner habit.
- Leaving Excess Lights On: My parents trained me well and I am a compulsive light-turner-offer. In high school I remember one friend hating this habit because I would turn off my bedroom and hall light before walking around the corner and down the hallway to the stairs. She always thought I was abandoning her in the dark. With the energy conservation push these days, I am happy to report I avoid the habit of using an excessive amount of lights.
- Cleaning the Bathroom: (I never said these were all good avoidances!) I hate cleaning the bathroom and I really avoid it as long as possible. This should be in the bad habit category.
- Excessive Shopping: Living in New York, surrounded by consumerism it is very easy to fall into the retail trap. Sometimes I fall in, sometimes I dive in but mostly I manage to avoid it altogether, even when I vow to take the leap to upgrade or replace worn items. Sure, my shopping habits have increased significantly from where they were about 10 years ago but I still cannot justify upgrading to purchase labels and logos (and mostly I have no desire to do so).
Monday, November 19, 2007
Get a Cash Advance
Thank you Emily for thinking I would be PhD level but apparently my writing isn't as elevated as I would like. So yes, I am disappointed in being only at high school level. Especially since just last week I was briefly addicted to this game and I hit vocab level 40 with ease (I just CANNOT move beyond 41!). And I know and love words like: bloviate, expound, insuperable, wizened, aberrant, querulous, fortissimo, inordinate and astringent to name a few. Maybe listing big words I know will move me beyond high school level.
There is something unifying about gathering around a table to break bread together. Especially given the fact that I live alone, eating a home made meal with loved ones is an indulgent luxury. I love the rich heritage of Thanksgiving traditions and the passing of recipes from one generation to the next. Two years ago when I made my first Thanksgiving I called my mom for my grandmother's stuffing recipe and she informed me that each year she has to call her mother for it. What a blessing for me to be able to call my grandmother and listen to her walk through her a bit of this, a few cups of that description of a perennial favorite signature dish. I love the frenetic pace of Thursday morning as the air grows thick with the smell of turkey and stuffing and the sweetness of yams to the point that windows and doors are cracked open to compensate for the heat of the oven. I love that each family has their own favorites, specialities and variations to make the holiday uniquely their own. I love standing around in my grandmother's kitchen trying to lend a hand at the last minute to help hurry the process along to the table and watching one of my uncle's carve the turkey and dole out samples to kids of all ages milling about looking for scraps. I love when everyone finally comes to the table and after some shifting about, we all settle into our seats, bow our heads and give thanks together as a prayer is given. I love lingering at the table and continuing to piece at favorite dishes as conversations bounce to and fro covering whatever topic falls from the sky. I love the post-meal lull after the table has been cleared and everyone gathers around the tv for football or around the kitchen table for card games. I love the moment when someone suggests they might be ready for some pie (we are never ready directly after the gluttonous meal) and plates are distributed with small slivers and large wedges of pie topped with ice cream or whipped cream. I love the familial bonds that are tightened by this annual coming together around a table of plenty.
I am not alone in my love for Thanksgiving. It must run in my family because this morning my sister sent the below email to our family (right after some trash talk about the BIG GAME this weekend, GO UTES!):
And who else doesn't feel like working with Food Weekend right around the corner. Yes, this is my favorite holiday. A day...no, an entire weekend dedicated to food...how can it possibly go wrong? I would like to take this moment to recognize some of my personal favorite Thanksgivings in no particular order. Feel free to add on your own favorites [my comments are tacked on in brackets].
1. First Thanksgiving in college.  I had a week off from school. I didn't go home to family, they came to me. Of course it was to see me, not grandparents and other family members visiting. I was working late at the Smith's in St G and Alyssa showed up to greet me in her brand new 97  Suburu. [This was the first NEW car I ever purchased and I remember how hard it was to not tell her about my momentous purchase. It was so much fun clicking the unlock button and telling her the sleek black car was MINE!]
2. Thanksgiving in Chico[, California, we lived there briefly].  It started with a giant potluck dinner with the ward and ended in a game of dodge ball in the cultural hall and Erin with a bloody nose. Who would've thought Thanksgiving with no snow or extended family could be so great? [not that we always have snow in Utah at Thanksgiving, especially since we usually head south where it never snows. What I remember most about this Thanksgiving was the novelty of going to the church gym with all the long folding tables set up and filled to the edges with yummy food with a bunch of people who were not related to us! Each family brought their entire meal and just shared. I believe this was the momentous occassion when I first learned how to play spoons]
3. Thanksgiving in NYC.  Thanksgiving in NYC was fabulous. An entire meal created by Alyssa and yours truly, and I must say it was delicious! And enough leftover to repeat the meal for the next three days. The arctic walk through Times Square was also delightful. [umm, I remember the arctic walk through Times Square being FREEZING. We spent well over an hour lingering in Virgin Records (that was somehow open) just so we could de-thaw and delay heading back out into the frozen tundra. I also loved having my first turkey experience with my sis]
4. Any Thanksgiving in St G. [basically every other year for most of my life] Always with a long table to fill the entire living room and entry way. Everyone was invited. I recall Alyssa's friends from Law School joining us one year, another year where the table was set up in the car port outside, and another year where despite my living with G&G, Alyssa and I stayed at the motel where I worked. And the pies....mmmmm. [I get my overly ambitious pie making penchant from my grandma. I remember as a child longingly eyeing the shelves in the pantry filled with pie crusts that would soon be filled with various cream pies, pumpkin pie, apple pie and so much more . . . YUM!]
5. The great rubber band war. [1993, I think maybe 1994] Grandma E started it, and it made history. Luckily there was no living room furniture to break. I bet she still has good aim. [The story is this. One Thanksgiving at my parent's house we were sitting around in the at-the-time sparsely furnished living room enjoying the post-turkey laze when my grandma picked up a stray rubber band and flicked it at someone. The rubber band was shot around for a while until my dad brought a whole box of rubber bands out from his den and an all-out war erupted. Good times, good times.]
my brother added this one:
6. Red Hill Rescuse. [1988ish?] How could you forget Jason's harrowing rescue from the Red Hill? [my youngest brother was about 7] Personally a memobrable St. George Thanksgiving for me as I got sick the next day (Sunday) and missed two days of school. The next week, Mr. Chisolm resigned as my biology teacher ending any hope of racial diversity within the teaching ranks at Union Middle School. [To which my mom added:] I will never forget the terror of having him sitting on a cliff though and praying that he didn't try to get down on his own. [And my sister added:] I remember Uncle Garth [great uncle, mind you] watching Jason through the scope on his rifle. Proof that there is redneck blood running through our veins. To all my East coast homies, remember your roots. [I remember that part as well. And the part where the search and rescue team had to go up and save my brother. I guess there were some cons to us having free reign to roam the Red Hill without limitations]
I am also accepting her challenge and adding a few more of my own - which are more along the lines of "memorable" rather than "favorites":
7. Married Thanksgiving. 1995. Okay, this may surprise some of you but I do have some fond memories of that Thanksgiving - none of which are exactly about my ex-husband. As is my family's preference, we were dining in St. George. I was living about 45 minutes away in Cedar City in a small 1 bedroom apartment and volunteered to have my siblings stay with me, I had been married all of two months. They arrived late Wednesday night but the best part was the next morning when my youngest brother (age 14) decided he needed to go to the bathroom but rather than knocking on my bedroom door to gain access to the one bathroom, he just went outside to pee in the bushes or the parking lot or on the car or wherever it was . . . that still makes me laugh.
8. Canned Cranberries. For most of my life I did not think I liked cranberry sauce. I can trace this distaste to Thanksgivings with my paternal grandparents in Idaho. Thanksgivings there were a toned-down, mostly store-bought version of what we experienced with my mom's extended family. The pies were purchased from Marie Callendar's but I always got lemon meringue which I LOVED as a child so this was good. We usually had smoked turkey because all you have to do is re-heat it. This is actually quite good and my dad usually insists on having two turkeys so we can have a smoked turkey and a regular one. Plus, there was always that can of cranberry sauce sitting on a plate in the shape of the can with rings around the middle. This can shaped concoction was never on the table in St. George so it kind of grossed me out and I don't think I ever tried it. Also, anytime we were in Idaho for Thanksgiving (or any other time of year) my grandma would tell us to go play "at the track" when we got restless. The track was literally just that, a track up the street at the high school. Needless to say, this is not an enticing option with the bitter temperatures of Idaho in November. We would usually walk up there, kick the dirt a bit and wait until we couldn't feel our noses before we turned around and walked back more bored than when we left. Of course the exception was when my dad would go with us and throw a football around. We loved that.
9. Region Dance. I am pretty sure that one Thanksgiving Michele and I tried to go to a church dance. I don't know if it was actually Thanksgiving day or the Wednesday before or possibly it was Christmas but it was just the two of us driving around and arriving at an empty church parking lot. Apparently we were the only college age-ish kids looking to get away from our families. I'm quite certain that whenever it was we ultimately ended up eating somewhere to drown our disappointment. Seriously, Michele, do you remember this or am I making it up?
10. Boston. I believe it was 2002 when I decided to forego the trip home and opted instead to take the train to Boston to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle's family. My grandma was there too. I remember my grandma conspiring with me to add more than the measley tablespoon of butter and sprinkle of brown sugar to the yams my aunt suggested. I also remember nearly missing my train that morning and having to squeeze into the one open seat I managed to find after trudging through car after car. When I returned to NYC Friday night, I received a call from a friend who I thought was in DC but he surprised me with a knock on my door.
11. Oregon. 2003. When my brother was in law school in Eugene, Oregon, I flew to Portland Thursday morning and we drove down the coast and wandered into a fabulous buffet where we had our first Thanksgiving salmon experience. We had a great time - other than the fact that I may have been cold the entire time since he never turned his heat on and then burned my tongue on the hot chocolate he made. We also hit a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant in Portland, had some really, really bad Baskin Robbins ice cream and stayed at a strange motel where I think we felt obligated to insist we were not "together" but in fact siblings and I think despite the cheap price we had our own rooms in the suite.
12. Home Again. 2004. My sister and I were living together in Salt Lake in a roomy 3 bedroom duplex. My brother was home for the week and stayed in our spare room. My other newly wed brother and his wife lived in Provo but Wednesday night they came to stay at our place along with my cousin who lived in Ogden. It was a party. I made 9 or 10 pies and put everyone to work peeling and coring apples until they one by one dropped off and staggered off to the living room to watch who-knows-what because I was left alone in the kitchen. Except we did get my cousin addicted to The OC that weekend so maybe it was that. It was quite a balancing act driving to my parent's house 20 minutes away - everyone holding a pie or two on their lap.
And now I am extremely anxious for Wednesday to arrive so I don't have to put up this facade of feigning work . . . I don't think I will manage to accomplish anything other than cooking this week.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
- Turkey (of course)
- Stuffing - my Grandma's recipe
- Mashed Potatoes and gravy
- Cranberry sauce - I'll share the rec
- rolls - I think I am going to be brave and make them myself again (unless I change my mind and pick some up at Amy's Bread on Wednesday)
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes - I may eat all of these myself!
- Green beans
- glazed carrots
- Dixie Salad - a fruit salad that is a special treat from my mom's family which contains a variety of fruits, including pomegranates (long before they were all hyped for their antioxidants or whatever) walnuts and the best part - WHIPPED CREAM! My mom, sister and I will usually eat this for breakfast the rest of the weekend.
- a jello dish - probably the old standby of lime jello with cottage cheese, cool whip and pineapple chunks but maybe I will ask my aunt for her jello concoction that has apples suspended in the jello! Because it is tradition I would also have to put a layer of whipped cream on top.
- butternut squash - haven't decided if I will make a soup or bake it like I did last time
- a few appetizers of hummus/pitas/carrots or crackers and cheese to stave off hunger pains prior to the meal
- sparkling cider
- Pumpkin Pie
- Apple Pie
- possibly a chocolate pecan pie
- and/or possibly a butterscotch cream pie
- considering rice pudding too . . . not sure why.
So tell me, am I missing anything? What is on your menu for Thursday? Is there some crucial dish that you couldn't have Thanksgiving without it? (my fave would have to be the sweet potatoes and stuffing, oh and the pumpkin pie of course)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
So last Sunday when I was incapacitated by my headache (another one has settled in my eyes today - I blame department stores!), I plugged my ipod into my tv and finished season 1 and downloaded season 2. And now, I must confess I have already watched the 20-something episodes from season 2. Why? Because it is hilarious! Seriously, this show makes me laugh out loud! I can't explain how funny it is but this review does a great job of describing why I love it. Except it leaves out the part where I think Ted (the main guy) is kind of like Lloyd Dobler from "Say Anything". Sometimes I think he is trying to be John Cusack but it works with him. Oh, and if I had to choose one episode to recommend watch The Slap Bet one. Seriously. You will be hooked too.
Friday, November 16, 2007
- receptionist and sometimes egg candler for rush walk-in orders, Salt Lake Egg
- Cinnabon (the first one in Utah!)
- temp (I did odd jobs like folding and sorting sweatshirts at the BUM Equipment warehouse and shrink wrapping stuff)
- graveyard shift data entry job with weird guys who danced to techno music on their breaks
- telemarketing - no memory of what I was selling
- Gates Rubber Company (this wins the longevity award - 3 summers, 2 Christmas breaks and maybe a spring break too)
- stenographer for insurance adjuster
- receptionist/secretary/legal assistant at law firm
- secretary at another law firm
- umm, another secretary/legal assistant job
- and yet another one
- oh and there was the time I was the secretary for the current lame duck mayor of Salt Lake, but before he was mayor
- so what did I do after I quit? yes, secretary/legal assistant for another law firm
- then I worked for free as a legal extern for the LDS church in Sydney, Australia
- then I had to go back to legal secretary temp work to make up for the free work I gave away that summer (swallowed my pride for a paycheck)
- research assistant to a law professor
- lawyer for Wall Street firm
- law clerk to a bankruptcy judge
- currently, lawyer for law firm in mid-town Manhattan
Thursday, November 15, 2007
- fixing my ipod
- my home
- my new vacuum
- living in NYC
- the ability to order all my Thanksgiving groceries online so they are delivered to me Tuesday night!
- the beautiful windows at Bergdorf's (I'll take photos sometime - stunning!)
- the bus arriving so I could get home in time to watch the Office
- The Office
- my job that pays me more than it should
- my house cleaner
- did I mention that my ipod works again - I'm really grateful for that part
- my family
- my faith
- the fact that I don't have to make my own tortillas to enjoy a burrito - just for fun, here's a video of my sad attempt to grind corn in Guatemala
oops, wrong video. This one is of me:
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
- I walked to work without my ipod and felt naked the whole way because
- I stupidly agreed to allow itunes to update my software on my ipod when I plugged it in last night and it WIPED IT CLEAN!!
- I tried everything to reload my music, videos and photos to no avail
- my client was sued and responded with an email that reads "I can't f**ing believe this!"
- another client pushed his procrastination project onto my plate when I vividly remembering him volunteering to meet Friday's deadline on his own.
- I found out there is a very good chance I will have a major filing deadline (in yet another case!) of December 27th with a hearing on January 3rd. Please pray my Christmas is not ruined.
- was the second day I spent several hours locked in a cold room with a chatterbox co-worker leafing through boxes and boxes of papers
- today I didn't mind the chatterbox as much because it was at least more interesting than the papers I was reviewing
- I had to order dinner at my desk
- I saw Celine Dion on the Today Show this morning so I have one of her ridiculous songs stuck in my head but I can't get it out because MY IPOD IS BROKEN!
on a better note, I decided to order gnocchi because it is creamy and delicious. oh, and I got a new fancy blackberry so it wasn't all bad. hopefully I can get home to see Project Runway and the Jazz game................... yes, tv and food are my positives.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
- I eat popcorn 3 to 4 nights a week. With M&Ms.
- I stay up way too late, every night. Usually for no reason whatsoever.
- I snooze . . . a lot. That snoozing leads to skipping the gym nearly every morning, unless I'm actually meeting my trainer.
- TV. I watch far too much. I get home late from work and I plop on my couch and watch tv because I'm too lazy to read. Or organize. Or whatever else I should be doing. I hate this one but feel powerless to change it somehow.
- I think chocolate should be consumed daily. Oh, wait, that isn't the bad habit. Eating chocolate basically every day is.
- Laundry - I'm terrible at this. I wait until there is absolutely no way I can possibly dress myself the next day and usually end up staying up late walking to and from the laundry room down the hall mad at myself for letting it get to this point of desperation once again.
- I avoid social situations. I think this bad habit needs to turn into some sort of resolution for 2008 because it is contributing to my delinquency in at least two of the above-listed areas (I'm looking at you numbers 1 and 4 and probably you too number 5).
Monday, November 12, 2007
I went shopping. I thought I was safe since Thanksgiving hasn't even hit yet. I was wrong. Macy's was an absolute zoo! Luckily I was playing my "Sunshine in my Soul" playlist which makes me happy. Just don't let the title reference to a hymn fool you, you won't be hearing most of these songs in church:
Golden, Jill Scott;
Suddenly I See, KT Tunstall;
Crazy, Gnarls Barkley;
Soak up the Sun, Sheryl Crow;
Lady, Lenny Kravitz;
Rock With You, Michael Jackson;
September, Sisqo and Vitamin C;
Beautiful Day, U2;
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter, Pearl Jam; and
Martyr, Rusted Root,
to name just a few of the 57 non-stop sunshine tunes. Armed with my music, and the confidence that comes from finally, finally figuring out how to tuck my jeans into my tall boots without my jeans getting all bunched up around my knees (this was honestly a weekend highlight!), I beelined through the crowds and maintained my cool on the older than dirt wooden escalator leading to the 6th floor linens. A calm and soothing place full of happy Martha Stewart colors. I'll tell you more about my purchases in another post.
Happy that I was able to find exactly what I came for and for a good price at that, I felt confident and brave; so I wandered down to the shoe department hoping to find new boots for the winter or possibly recommend something to Emily (have you found boots you like yet?). I only needed one glance at this chaotic scene to realize I needed to FLEE! And flee I did (you can tell I am fleeing from the blurriness of this photo which was taken quickly from my cell phone as I ran toward the escalators).
Other than my secret project that caused the whole Macy's extravaganza, Saturday ended simply with Stake Conference (again, too long - over two hours of church on a Saturday night!) and dinner at an Indian restaurant as a small nod to Duwali.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Please tell me I won't regret it.
Friday, November 09, 2007
These are some of my Friday memories. Because who doesn't love Friday?
- I remember playing in the high school pep band at football games on Friday nights, especially sophomore year when we would end the night waiting at the gas station across the street waiting for someone's mom to pick us up (oh the woes of not having a driver's license);
- I remember the Friday I drove to LA from Salt Lake with my crazy friend Phil to go to some ridiculous party. We left close to midnight and I got not one but two speeding tickets! I vowed to never live in LA;
- I looked forward to Fridays when I was dating a guy long distance and many Fridays meant he was flying to see me or I was flying to see him;
- I remember not having any Friday classes in college . . . oh, wait. That wasn't me, that was a whole ton of other people I longed to be. I could never manage that trick and always - even in law school - had the misfortune of Friday classes;
- I remember when I had a standing Friday lunch date with a group of co-workers when I had a crush on one of those co-workers;
- I remember one particularly memorable Friday road trip to Las Vegas in college when we wouldn't allow ourselves to eat all day because we wanted to be hungry for the ALL YOU CAN EAT $5.99 buffet!!
- I remember Friday night yoga classes;
- I remember my early years in NYC when Friday nights meant exploring ethnic restaurants in the East Village and usually ending up at Black Star bar for pool and conversations;
- I remember leaving work early to meet my niece for the first time on a Friday;
- I think law school graduation was on a Friday;
- I love the long, leisurely Friday lunches during the summer;
- I remember Friday night packing up the car/truck/van to head out for weekend camping in the Uintas when I was a kid;
- I remember floundering around for something fun to do in high school on Friday nights and waiting for the chain of phone calls to reach me and then the gathering of the friends as we drove from house to house collecting one another;
- I love being content with Netflix and a bowl of popcorn on Friday nights;
- I remember when Friday night meant staying out super late with friends (I just don't have the stamina anymore but I do love the memory);
- I remember taking my first vacation day as a law clerk on a Friday and going camping in Bryce Canyon with new friends;
- I love the slightly laid-back feel of Friday when the urgency of the week fades into the background and gets put up on the shelf to wait for Monday;
- I remember the Friday when I realized I had turned into my dad while packing my car for a camping trip to Nevada in college (yes, Liz you were there! and so was the scary teeth boy **shudder**);
- I remember several Friday night blind dates . . . all bad;
- I remember fleeing Provo and the law school early on Friday afternoons to hang out with my friends or family during my last year of law school; and
- I will remember TODAY because I just got free tickets to the Knicks game tonight!
What are your Friday memories?
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The rules, according to Emily are: "i am going to list something good about all the bloggers i know, something they may not have realized. you get to leave a comment on something good about me AND each of the bloggers you know."
I am not always the best at giving compliments so in many ways this is more for me than you. It isn't that I don't see or appreciate people's strengths, it is more that I find it difficult to articulate in words what I admire about people. So here it goes, I'm including all of the bloggers I read who I feel I know well enough to point out something good about them. Whether we have been friends for years, are actually just friends here in blogger land or simply just know of each other through some mutual friend (making us friends-in-law?) and whether you even realize I'm reading your blog, here goes (in alphabetical order):
Alison: One of those friends-in-law who I have met many times but haven't ever really known with any depth. I have always referred to her as being one of Emily's "cool friends" (I am a left-over nerdy high school friend) because that is just how she has always come across to me - comfortable in her own skin and always dressed appropriately. My favorite part of her blog are the amazing photos she takes, especially of her daughters.
Andra: I admire her fortitude and strength. She has incredible faith and that is something I truly admire in people. She is walking the delicate balance of motherhood and career and that is an act I find impressive. Plus, she has amazing curly red hair!
Annie: Like all the girls in her family she is funny and witty and has the greatest smile. I love keeping up to date with her life all the way out in Tooele!
Autumn: This girl has style. She is probably one of the girliest girls I have ever been friends with and I love her. I'm pretty sure we became friends over a shared interest in shoes . . . and complaints about boys perhaps. Oh, and a love for baked goods and Cafe Rio. Wow, I think we really bonded over a mutual love of food. She is also an intent listener and great story-teller.
Beck: If you haven't read Beck's blog, go there now. I'm not sure what string of clicking landed me on her blog but I'm glad I did. She is an incredible writer and lives what I often view as an idyllic life quite opposite from mine. I love the way she puts words together.
Brooke: So many people strive to be different and only end up being a parody of someone else. Not Brooke. She is one of a kind with excellent taste in music and a good listener (this seems to be a common trait among my friends, hmmmm). Brooke has a tender heart but freely gives it to others.
Critts: Critts is probably the most organized person I have ever met. Ever. I have not seen her current home way out in Texas but I can promise it is spotless and looks like it came out of a magazine. The vast array of pillows on her bed alone inspire me (or at least they did way back in the day when we lived in the same city).
Emily: She inspired me to blog. She inspires me to do a lot of things. She has style and grace and a quiet beauty. She is the absolute best person to confide a crush in because she will listen to all the silly, ridiculous details and also be a good enough friend to say - he is not good enough for you, aim higher. And I so wish I had her confidence in painting walls. I'm afraid. Maybe I need her to visit to do a consult.
Kari: She draws people to her. There is just something about Kari that makes people want to be counted as her friend. She is also hilarious and freshman year of college would not have been the same without her.
Katie: She never seems to be phased by anything. I've lost count of how many kids she's had (kidding!) but she takes everything in stride and retains a sense of humor through it all. I really enjoy the tidbits of life she comments on in her blog.
Lizzie: I do not have enough words to truly express Liz's best qualities. Empathetic comes close but there is something more. She will sing at the top of her lungs and make you laugh until you cry or your side aches but she will also hold your hand and listen to you cry if that is what you need. She has strength and beauty she carries and shares freely without even realizing her vast influence.
Michele: There is no one better to take on an adventure - whether it is sneaking onto the Olympic bobsled run in the middle of the night (and you too Em!), relaxing on a catamaran in Mexico, camping out at a music festival with her baby, snowboarding or just inventing a game with coasters because there doesn't seem to be anything else to do . . . there is no one else I would rather invite along (at least until I'm married!). I don't think there is a person in this world who could dislike Michele and very few people ever land on her "baddie" list because she simply accepts people for who they are. A remarkable characteristic.
Mickey: Mickey makes me laugh. She tells fantastic stories and has amazing energy. I have to steal Emily's compliment and also add that she is the best listener. She listens intently, with eye contact, understanding head nods and genuiniely cares about what is being relayed. She likes to talk but if you are the one confiding, she just listens and doesn't try to one-up or over-relate (which is probably what I do). She also has a seemingly easy faith I have always admired (yes, even when I mocked the "churchyness" when we were younger).
Nadia: She is an effortless mother. I was amazed as I watched her bathe her brand new baby (my niece!) for the first time and appeared graceful, as if she had done it a million times before. No nerves, no tentativeness, she just did it (as I filmed and my brother asked funny questions). And it goes without saying but I will say it anyway that she is a truly talented singer and I cannot wait until I get to see her star in anther opera.
Pepper: What style and grace in such a nonchalant manner. She is good at selecting and sharing poetry and books and she is such an enthusiastic mother.
Tiffany: All I can say is, why didn't I meet her earlier in life? Like when we lived in the same city for more than a year or two. Tiff inspired me to start writing again (for better or worse), to find my creative voice. She was also my first commenter! She is funny, funny, funny and has the best style. And she is not just like that on her blog - but in real life. I admire her relationship with her children, she is a mother to admire.
Phew, I have a lot of great people to be thankful for. Aren't I lucky to know so many amazing women?
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
What We Have Now
What We Used Instead
Texting and Instant Messaging
Hand-written notes, passed between classes
Letters that took forever to arrive
Very large, clunky film
Google (oh, and the entire Internet!)
Encyclopedias/library/maps/ books/we were ignorant?
Walkman, Discman if you were lucky and had the money (I was not)
Dollar movies (as in $1)
Coldstone Ice Cream
Golden Swirl frozen yogurt, aka Golden Spoon
cell phones/iPhones (not that I have one!)
Payphones (of course cell phones were around but they were those HUGE brick cell phones or car phones – but kids certainly didn’t have them, none I knew at least)
Classifieds in the paper (not that I knew anyone who did this in high school!)
“Virtual” games of any sort
I had waited in line at the bank (NYers have the annoying habit of saying on line which irritates me) but all I
Automatic bill pay
I don't think I had bills
Gift Certificates –
BMG or Columbia music clubs (remember all the unwanted cds that would arrive that had to be rejected and mailed back?)
Answering the phone and asking “who’s calling?” (I think *69 was at the end of high school or possibly early college)
Standing in line at Smith’s – the ticketmaster outlet closest to my house
Laundry card (or any type of money card used for vending)
Fingerprint scan to get
You tell the lady at the
Microwave popcorn bags
We had this cool popper in which you put regular popcorn kernals
Electronic airline tickets (not that I ever flew anywhere in those days)
for that matter - not being able to carry a bottle of water through security at an airport!
An actual ticket from the airline or travel agent
You could carry a whole gallon jug if it fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you!
You could carry a whole gallon jug if it fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you!
The mall or catalogues
Barnes & Noble
Local, non-mega bookstores although mostly I remember the library (free books!)
I remember getting hot
My Space/Face Book and all the other "social networks"
Maybe slam books?
So tell me, what differences can you can think of . . .