Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas tree tour

We've got a tradition in my family to get a new Christmas ornament each year. Which is the only reason we've got any ornaments on our tree this year. 27 to be precise. Here are some of my favorite ornaments, up close and personal:


*I got this at the big and faaaancy Harrod's while in London--pretty sure that's the only thing I could afford there. I didn't see the irony in hanging a Harrod ornament on our Christmas tree until Ryan pointed it out, but isn't it pretty?

*awww. My first Christmas--I was one month and one day old.

*This littlun is from the Houston Temple dedication. Also, the last Sunday in November, I convinced Ryan to string up some popcorn garland while we watched Christmas movies on TV. If we decide to make this one a tradition, we're going to have to buy some Christmas movies because, trust me, they save the quality ones for later in the season. (We did, however, catch the beginning of Jingle All the Way, which is dumb but fabulous.)

*We have no star, and since we vowed to wait until after the holidays to buy decorations, this little glitter crown I got at work is standing in. Classy, no?

*And our latest addition, the 2009 ornament installment. We were out to dinner at Chipotle (such a favorite that it's worth the drive) when a Presbyterian missionary from Russia stopped by our table. He was selling pretty ornaments to sponsor classes on teen chastity, morality, and integrity. Knowing how hard it was to find success on our missions (and we weren't even selling anything!), seeing how freezing cold it was outside, and acknowledging the good cause, we decided to take this little bird off his hands. We quite like him. (Sorry it's so blurry. At least you've got a great view of our mugs.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sneak peek present

For several years in a row now, my sisters and I have made a Christmas cd for my parents. Some of my favorite memories with those girls are from the crazy late hours we spent inventing new harmonies, selecting songs, and finalizing these cds. We've recorded everywhere from the Cannon Center conference room at BYU to an HFAC practice room, my apartment at Timp Gateway to Christie's bedroom in Cypress, TX.

Then those girls moved away, one to Houston and the other to LA, and I've missed them. Fortunately, Ryan's now joined in the fun, bringing some serious creativity and talent to the table, and together we composed last year's album.

Here's a sneak preview of this year's album, starring a special guest on lead vocals (ok fine, all vocals). Mom and Dad, we'll love you forever. This is for you!

Ave Maria,
with me at the piano (the only mistakes you'll hear),
Ryan on guitar and symphony (also composed by him),
and the very talented Christie Salazar on vocals


I interrupt all the Christmas posts with this outdated one on some of our anniversary celebrations. If you remember, we were driving home from a concert when we saw the crazy light-up-the-sky meteor. Here's a little about that concert.

Ryan and I went to see Wolfmother at the Depot on Tuesday as a part of our own personal pre-anniversary party.

They put on a fun show, accompanied by London's TheNewNo2 (lead by George Harrison's son!) and The Heartless Bastys (did I hear that nickname from you, Aly?) I gotta say, Erika from the HBs can really belt it. See what I mean?

Here's Wolfmother. The lead singer looks kinda like CarrotTop, which made me a little annoyed at first, but then I got over it when I remembered he wasn't there to tell jokes.

We were right in front, and he kept walking right up to me and posing.

I think it's because he noticed we were wearing the same pants.

Here's his organist, who is rocking the caveman cut. Not bad.

All in all, a fun night. I'd do it again.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas caroling

No, we haven't done this one yet, and probably won't unless I can talk a bunch of other people into it, who, in turn, can talk Ryan into it.

I was listening to a Christmas CD a sweet family in Hungary gave me several years ago, and it reminded me of how Christmas caroling was so novel to Hungarians. And by novel, I really mean a waste of time.

We decided to get together with the elders to go caroling to people we were teaching and perhaps to meet a few new people who might be interested in our message. It did not turn out the way we intended. Mind you, there were some incredibly talented singers in our group (who effectively covered my weak vocals), so, to my ears, we sounded so peaceful and sweet in perfect harmony. This, however, did not stop people from promptly shutting their doors as soon as we started singing (and this from someone we actually knew), yelling to us from two floors down to be quiet, and, for those precious few who did stop to listen, looking extremely confused about why we would sing out in the open like that.

Caroling in Hungary = FAIL

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas countdown

In line with creating new holiday traditions, we've been adding a little Christmas spirit to each of our days.

Dec 1: Put up Christmas tree.

Dec 2: Deck those walls. (That cute little twine christmas tree was so easy to make--no glue involved!)


Dec 3: Watch a neighborhood light show. (Though angry neighbors made him change locations to an empty lot for this year's show.) Make Hot Wassail.

Dec 4: Have a sleepover in our new mummy sleeping bags (thanks to ryan's dad for fighting the black friday crowds) underneath the Christmas tree. Before falling asleep, start reading The Christmas Carol. Use only British accents.

Dec 5: Roll out of sleeping bag just in time to leave some cans of food on the doorstep for the boy scouts to collect (I love it when they make it easy for you to give). Go Christmas shopping. Eat at In 'N Out (not christmasy but still tasty). Drink hot chocolate. Make some music.

Dec 6: Watch this Christmas Devotional. Be dazzled by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and be humbled and inspired by men of God.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Birthday bang

I have thick, coarse hair. When I was in first grade, for about the first week, everyone thought I wore a wig to school. I didn't, but this didn't stop girls from asking if they could touch it and boys from giving it a little tug to see for themselves.

Pretty soon, it will be a wig.

The night before my birthday, I did something drastic. I was bored, and Ryan was working on an assignment, and I found a pair of scissors and reverted back to my five-year-old self. And cut my bangs.

It wasn't until after I got started that I realized how hard it is to see what you're cutting when you've got bangs in the way. But I persevered, cut myself some blunt bangs, and ran downstairs to show Ryan. He approved. But then we got to thinking. Which lead to something even more drastic.

I was going to post a picture the night I did it, but then I realized that we would be going to see Ryan's fam for Thanksgiving, and I wanted it to be a surprise. They approved. Then when I got back I was going to post a picture, but then I realized that I would be going to see MY family the day after Christmas, and I wanted it to be a surprise.

But, like with most surprises, I just can't wait any longer.


Some of you may wonder why I did it. Well...
  • The week prior, I found a piece of rice in my hair. It was 3:00 in the afternoon. How long had it been there? Had I even eaten rice for lunch that day?
  • In this same week, I found a split end that split off into 7 new split ends, some of which split off into additional split ends. Some people spend quiet moments trying to find a split end to cut off. I spent mine trying to find an end that wasn't split.
  • Who wants to spend 20 minutes in the shower devoted solely to lathering, rinsing, and repeating? I just don't have that kind of time right now, people.
  • I shed. The longer the hair, the bigger the mess.
  • And, yes, of course: Think of the children. I only hope that once it's in wig form, my real hair will look a little more real than it did in first grade.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas

A little gift from me to you.

What Matters Now

And I promise I'll post some actual happenings around here soon. There have been oh so many...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

About driving

On the way to work this morning, a car pulled up next to me. I turned to look, and the man driving turned fully toward me and mouthed "I love you." Then he sped away, waving in the rear-view mirror.

At least, I think that's what he said. More likely it was "wash your car, dirty" or "stop putting your mascara on while you're driving." (For the record, I only do that at red lights.) Still strange.

Monday, November 23, 2009


With very few exceptions, firsts are exciting. The first bite of a new dish, the first read of a great book, the first stamp in an empty passport, first kisses, opening nights, and new jobs and locations. Even the bad things--first car accident, first time getting lost, first surgery--have an element of excitement to them.

Yesterday was our first anniversary.

Thinking back one year, I have to say it was a perfect day, full of firsts and plenty of excitement. Sure, it was cold out, and we got stuck in traffic on the way to the reception, and someone broke into our car on our wedding night (a first), and BYU lost to Utah the next day, but still.

It was perfect because I shared it with someone perfect for me.

Here's to another year full of firsts!

p.s. If you happened to miss the main event last November, take a look at our wedding album here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Promoting peace

Greg Mortenson, author of the New York Times Bestseller Three Cups of Tea, spoke at a BYU forum a few weeks ago and shared an interesting story.

The subtitle for his book is One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time. It's about how education--and especially educating women--is the best way to bring peace to a country riddled in war. When he brought the book to the publishers, they changed the subtitle to One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism... One School at a Time.

He objected. They said, Trust us--they'll eat it up. He objected still. But in the end, they're the publishers, and the book went to press with the edited subtitle on the hardcover edition. But Mortenson had worked out a deal: If the book doesn't do well in its first run, then we change the subtitle back to its original name.

And you know the rest of the story: hardcover edition did poorly, paperback was published with the original title, and, lo and behold, millions are sold.

Turns out we Americans really do believe in peace.

Night to day update

I have such smart friends. For your viewing pleasure, may I present to you the bizarre midnight meteor madness:

The night that turned to day

Something very eerie happened tonight, and I still don't know what to think of it. At around midnight tonight (or last night depending on when you read this) Ryan and I were driving home from a concert in Salt Lake. All of a sudden, the entire sky lit up, and, for about 2-3 full seconds, it looked like it was daytime outside. There was no accompanying lightening streak or thunder, no huge spotlight, no sound at all in fact, and the entire sky--plus the freeway and signs and cars--were fully lit as if it were the middle of the day on a cloudy day. It was so odd that my first thought was that someone must have turned on the light. And by the time I realized that we were outside, and that it was night time, and, oh, and that that was impossible... well, someone turned the light switch off again.

We immediately turned on the radio to find out what was going on, but all we heard were infomercials on solving lower back pain. Can any of you help us? Please tell me ONE of you was outside the same time we were. Anybody?

Conspiracy theorists--have at it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hard work

I recently won an award at work, and let me tell you, this one's a resume builder.

Everybody dresses up for Halloween, and this year I won Most Creative (though I hear it was a close race). I happen to resemble (or so I've been told) one of the animated characters in our product. Her name is Alex.

So, after having been asked several times by new hires in the company if I was the model for Alex, I decided I ought to see how close I could get to looking like her. What do you think?

Turns out the real Alex has a bit of an attitude problem.

I cut the collar out of a Savers blazer, colored it a darker green, then pinned it into my shirt. Then, because the fake leather planners were cheaper at DI than the belts, I cut apart a planner and pieced it together with brads to make my extremely fashionable leather cuff. I cut the cuffs off of one of Ryan's white shirts and attached them to look like I had rolled up my sleeves. And finally, since Alex wears gold hoops, and I only have silver, I ate a bunch of rollos and used the gold foil to wrap around my earrings.

The rollos cheered her up a little.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bijou Market

Have you been before? Three times a year, local artists, photographers, crafters, and designers gather in Provo for a big, handmade blowout. I've been browsing the vendor list, and, let me tell you, this is definitely worth coming out for. Anybody interested in tagging along with me? Let me know!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day late decorations

Because the 31st seemed to creep up on us so fast, per usual, we figured decorating for Halloween was already shot, and we waited for the clearance sales later. We scored some purple paper lanterns, a black creature embroidered tablecloth, a ghost candy dish, an insane asylum sign*, a black tabletop halloween scene, and a dark hooded head with blood red eyes.

We also got this.

I'm telling ya--those beady eyes'll follow you around the room.

Ryan was convinced it was the creepiest item of all, and now that I'm getting a closer look, he may well be on to something. Plus it was only $0.75.

We call it the little wiccan squirrel.

Someday when we're too old to remember, we'll tell our grandkids I made it from sticks--back in my day we only had sticks to play with, you know. Then they'll respect me. Or more likely hope they didn't inherit my creepy genes.

*Wanna hear some great real-life scary stories from the Provo mental hospital? (and no--the time ryan proposed there doesn't count.) Click here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The day of the deer

Monday morning, as Ryan's driving up to campus, a couple of deer run into the road right in front of him. He swerves, barely avoiding an accident, and wonders what deer are doing running around University Avenue.

Minutes later, he turns onto University Parkway (another major road), and, out of nowhere, a few more deer cut him off. He swerves. Accident averted (again).

By this time, he's thinking that's pretty weird. We may live in a small mountain town, but, after a good six years of living here, I can still count the number of deer I've seen on two hands (give or take a couple toes). And only one of those times was anywhere near a major road in town.

So back to Ryan. He's sitting there driving and thinking how dumb deer can be and how happy he is to be alive. A few blocks down the road, almost as if the previous deer had joined forces and taken a shortcut to head him off, they reappear--right in front of Ryan's car.

It's like they were out to get him. Or on the fast track to meeting up with Bambi's mom. Or just really out of sorts from Daylight Saving Time. Whatever it was, it didn't work, and Ryan avoided his third accident of the day.* And it was only 8:30 in the morning.

Now, if it were me, that's about the time I would have ditched the car and crawled to a safe, secluded space where I couldn't fall off anything, nothing could fall on me, and certainly no deer could come near. It just doesn't sound like the beginning of a great day. But he seemed to manage it fine and came home to me in one piece.

Anyone else have any odd run-ins with the wild on Monday?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Best Halloween costume ever

Or maybe worst. You decide.

Ryan was walking on campus yesterday and suddenly hears Tetris music in the air. A girl passes him dressed as the upside-down L-shape in Tetris. As he watches, she drops into place next to a trash can (perfect fit) and then moves on, stopping momentarily to connect herself to other various objects along her way.

I say, Awesome.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It's October 28, and today I saw decorations for three different holidays for sale at the store. Halloween on clearance, a little section of Thanksgiving in the cornercopia, and Christmas front and center. The season of holidays is upon us, and along with it plenty of traditions for each one.

I love traditions. They make every event more meaningful. Getting a calendar or a pair of pajamas is not very exciting, but when you're receiving it on Christmas Eve, just like you did every year since you were 7, well... suddenly it's a different story.

My problem with traditions is that now I find myself less often on the receiving end of them and more often on the planning end of them. Which really means more often I go without them. You see, I'm not much of a planner. (Just ask my mom how wedding planning went.) Birthdays, holidays, big days... they always creep up on me, and by the time I realize they've arrived and start to think of how to celebrate the arrival, the day is long gone.

So my love for traditions is very much conflicting with my inability to prepare for said traditions. I think this can probably be handled by purchasing a very large, very complete calendar, and marking in advance how to handle each event. But then there's the problem of how to handle each event.

I say problem, but, really, isn't that the fun part? Picking and choosing things you'll repeat year to year? Growing up, we caroled at Christmas. We ate crackers and easy cheez at Thanksgiving (just a prelude yall). We ate out Christmas Eve and prepared a devotional that night. And for some reason, we opened presents and ate cinnamon rolls to the sounds of Randy Travis and the Transiberian Orchestra. Strange? Sure. Did I love it? Definitely.

A friend of mine makes fancy caramel apples each Halloween. Another volunteers at the soup kitchen each Thanksgiving. One eats middle eastern food on floor mats on Christmas Eve.

And now it's time for you to share. I read your blogs. I see your cute Halloween donut tails and leprechaun treasure trails. What are some of your most cherished traditions for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas? Anything you'd like to try but haven't yet? Anyone else enjoy a good dose of easy cheez come Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Forgive me

But I just had to share. If you think you are into Halloween, just take a look at the possibilities here.

And if you don't like it, blame Talida. She introduced me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ryan's first baby shower*

It was a couple's shower. For someone Ryan's only met once. Scheduled smack dab in the middle of a BYU football game (against san diego), which was scheduled smack dab in the middle of Ryan's midterms.

I think he must love me.

I didn't even know she was pregnant. Turns out she's 8 months pregnant. That's pretty pregnant.

  • Putting together a gift with Eve. We got a complete cloth diapering kit (thank you, craigslist) and recorded a waltz/lullaby Eve composed especially for baby bayles. Since we knew she planned on pureeing her own baby food, we also got a cheap set of baby jars, and, since we knew she would like it, we filled those jars with money.
  • Winning a Goonies DVD--gotta love those baby shower games. I attribute our win entirely to Ryan for knowing the answer to this question: Who was Elora Dannon's parent/guardian? (Any takers?)
  • Getting frequent texts with game updates--especially those involving a BYU touchdown.
You might say this baby is a bit of a surprise. K's been pregnant only a few days less than she's been married, but she's enjoying the adventure. Her two favorite parts about being pregnant: being especially buoyant at the swimming pool and getting to use less water in the bathtub cause she fills so much more of it. Tempting.

So, for all you mothers out there, what do you think the best part about being pregnant is? Or, what "ultimate sacrifice" has your husband/boyfriend made to make you happy? Anybody out there have a great baby shower gift idea?

*Technically this is his second baby shower, but it's the first he went to knowingly. In Houston, his boss invited us to a party and forgot to mention it was actually a shower for his cousin. Come to think of it, we won two of the prizes at that party too. We should go pro.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lessons I learned in the weeds

*You can plant bulbs in even the toughest of soils all the way through October, and sometimes even later than that. You can even plant them in the snow, as long as the dirt a few inches below hasn't frozen over yet.

*Weeding is 250% more productive when you're using gloves, a hand shovel, and (if you have 6 foot tall weeds, like me) a big man shovel. These items also work well as protection from the next item on my list.

*Many, many bugs live in our backyard. There are the cute ones: ladybugs, rolly pollies, I'll even throw earthworms in this category. Then there are the ones I've never seen before: weird beetles and other winged things. Add to that at least a dozen varieties of spider, the largest of which made several appearances on different parts of my body, the worst being on my neck crawling toward my chest, later seen hanging off the edge of my ponytail. Yes, I screamed each time. And threw anything that was in my hands at the moment (shovel, gloves, weeds) across the yard (cause that's helpful).

*I don't have the heart to kill any of the bugs. I think it's because I'm on their turf. I'm outside in nature. Their home. I felt so bad every time I dug a hole and found two little earthworms, only to discover that it was really one earthworm, cut neatly in two parts. Poor guy. He sure did a good job on that soil though.

*When you bring a cd player outside to listen to some tunes, and you turn the music way down when your husband calls, and you accidentally forget about it when you go inside to make dinner, and you don't remember it until you start writing this blog post a day later, it's ok. Even though it rained. Because you can just go outside, and it'll still be playing that old mix cd you recently found from sophmore year. ("sad, but pretty," remember, lex?) Just bring it inside, smash all the little bugs off, and wipe it down. (It's ok this time because the bugs are on YOUR turf now.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peter Pan

How smart do you feel when you're sitting around with friends, talking about a movie, and you say, "Man. That movie was so good. It would have made a great book." And then everyone stops talking and stares at you. And once you realize the movie was, in fact, already based on a book, you try to save face: "I mean, it would have made a great book series. So there could be another movie. Based on the book. Like this one was."

Confession: I didn't know that all those Peter Pan movies were based on a book, rather, the book, by J.M. Barrie. Since the Disney movie was my first introduction to the boy who never grew up, I just assumed it was the creator as well. Like Pirates of the Caribbean and the theme park ride. (No book there, right? Right?)

Recently, Brenda at work introduced me to the classic, saying she's read it at least twenty times, written extensive analytical papers on it, and memorized full sections. And I'm sitting there thinking, huh. It was a book first?

But what a book. I just finished reading her copy (she was scandalized to think I'd never read it--I didn't dare tell her the whole truth), and now I'm looking forward to buying my own. It's a wonderful book.* Funny. Exciting. Quirky as can be. That J.M. was quite a character. As I was reading, I kept thinking how fun it would be to read to my own children someday. The older ones, mind you. That Captain Hook is a real scoundrel, you know.

If you haven't read it, you really ought to. Do you have any books-turned-movies to recommend (or that you were surprised to discover)? Or have you ever heard of a really good book that was based on a movie? Is a TV series always the last stop on the totem pole?

*Its one downfall: There's no lost boy named Rufio. ("Rufio. Rufio.") TriStar Pictures totally made him up. So disappointing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To all you writers out there

This is the third part in a four-part series from This American Life's Ira Glass, and it can be applied to any hobby/talent you're working toward. You should probably go ahead and watch the rest of the series too.

Free theatre tickets

Check it out here. They're all sold out in Utah, but you may find more luck in your area of the country.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Early riser

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
-George Eliot

I once heard a man speak in church about the miracle of living, and living well. He spoke of simple, but magnificent moments that so many miss: The beauty of a rising sun. The delicateness of an early birds' song. The peace of a quiet morning shared only by you and a waking world. I distinctly remember thinking that I wanted to be a part of that moment every day.

My downfall came in the form of a down comforter. As sweet as that bird's morning song was, it was no match for the warmth of a bird's feather (albeit synthetic), and I quickly abandoned my good intentions for an extra hour's sleep.

But last week, I made an exception. Hours before going to work or school, Ryan and I got up and drove through Provo Canyon, aka the most beautiful place in the world.

It’s my favorite place to be during my favorite season.

Made better with my favorite person.

Definitely worth the missed sleep. But since I can't very well go trekking up the mountain every day... what gets you up early in the morning?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Halloween done pretty

I'm not so into the big pumpkin trash bags or the life-sized paper skeleton cutouts, but I could get into this pretty print. For a subtle salute to the eve of All Hallow's, hang this Japanese brush painting or browse through hundreds of other vintage prints, free at Big thanks to Rebecca for posting about the site!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My stalkers

Yes, that's right. Last night, two women were tailing me through Home Depot and even followed me home. They videotaped (is this a dated term?) my every move and asked me invasive questions about my personal life. I called them stalkers, but they preferred to be called "researchers."

Making me the subject of a research study.

A friend of mine is taking an advertising class. They are doing research for a client--one Justin Hackworth, who once upon a time was my wedding photographer. Their first assignment was to find the perfect "Justin Hackworth bride," someone who adored his photography style and would hire him for her wedding. Someone like me.

The second assignment is what led to the stalking. It's actually called an ethnography, and it was actually kinda fun. It was like being on a reality show without the tribal votes, final roses, and sad C-listers.

The final assignment is forthcoming, but I hear it involves food. Which reminds me of the very first research study I was ever part of. When I was a kid, I got to taste test macaroni and cheese for some study. They brought us bowl after bowl and asked us to rate the smoothness of the sauce and the intensity of the cheese. At the end of the day, I got ten bucks out of it, and I remember thinking, "This is something I could really get into."

I didn't think they offered that emphasis at BYU, but maybe I should have explored the advertising department a little more.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Theory: The taller the weeds are, the less you have to bend over to pull them out.

I wish I could say this is a picture I got from googling "disturbing backyard overgrowth," but this actually is OUR backyard. It's okay though because I'm headed to the Utah Water Conservancy Gardens to get some tips on resurrecting our soil, planting something pretty, and helping it survive the winter.

Wish me luck.

I went ahead and googled "disturbing backyard overgrowth." They got nothing on us.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just kidding

And suddenly I'm back to making retractions. Except I won't pretend I had anything to do with these (as much as I'd like the credit.) These are courtesy of Amy's photog and Kristen--the big sis of the bride. You can see more on her blog here.

And of course...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I failed

While we don't have a lot of immediate family nearby, we are lucky to live near my brother Cos and his family. Every time we visit, we are bombarded with questions from his girls, Ruby and Eva. It always goes a little something like this:

Are you guys married? (Henceforth all pronunciation of married shall be "maaaaaaarried")
Hey, why did you guys get married?
Is it because you love each other? Why?
Do you guys kiss cause your married?

The interviewers. Bona fide girl. And curious ones at that.

So I wasn't entirely surprised when, before I left for California a few weeks ago, these little girls begged me for just one thing:

Will you take a picture of her in her dress? And one of them kissing?

Sure thing, I said. No problem. Sounds easy enough.

But you already read the post title. As I sorted through pictures (which took me a total of 7 seconds), I realized I had kinda missed the point of the weekend. Behold, my photos from the trip:

Results of the LA fires--kinda makes you want to hold you breath, huh?

From the rehearsal dinner, held on the pier at a beautiful restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows

Mom and me

And this is the closest I got to getting a photo of the bride and groom. If you look real close in the shadows on the left, I think that's Tyler's sister-in-law. Close enough.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Does this happen to anybody else? When I'm at work and the phones go down (doesn't usually happen, except it did three times last week), I:
  • Silently gasp, and think, someone just cut the phone line.
  • Immediately relive every horrible Christopher Pike novel I ever read (and regretted reading) about babysitting with a killer lurking nearby, waiting to make his move until after he cuts the phone line.
  • Realize we all have cell phones, so it's not really a big deal that the phone lines are down.
  • Imagine how freaky it would be if everyone's cell phone simultaneously went down.
Don't worry--all these thoughts pass through my head within a second or two--but it happened every single time. Is this unusual? Anybody else worried about the psychological effects those books have on impressionable young minds? Cell phone scenario still making you shudder a little?

Friday, September 25, 2009


I have some serious love for craigslist. I've acquired some pretty sweet stuff from there and check the "free" postings regularly. But I'm beginning to notice a trend toward some dodgy dealings.

I've seen people giving away working computers, TVs, and treadmills "for free." When you email them, you don't hear back for a couple days, at which point you receive an email:

Oh, man, I'm sorry. Someone else came to pick it up this morning. But listen, I gave mine away because I just got a new computer/TV/diet pill for free through this website. Here's the link if you're interested. Great deal.

Lame. I'd like to post something for these guys:

Free kick in the pants to all shady marketers.

Except I'll actually deliver on mine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Seeing as how the last two things I've posted about have found miraculous (or, more recently, hellish) ways to backfire, I've decided to only write about topics that are more predictable than BYU football, such as the weather since El Nino, the current economic climate, and Kanye West. Oh, and bikes.

Ryan and I recently acquired a couple mountain bikes.* Because fall is my new favorite season--and we know winter is lurking just around the corner--we've been enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. The last three days I've ridden my bike either to work, from work, or both. (Ask me later, if you really care to figure out the logistics there...)

Choosing to bike instead of travel by car definitely has its pros and cons:

Pro: It's free!
Con: So are the smashed bugs that end up on my shirt, and inevitably, in my mouth.

Pro: It's great exercise!
Con: Home seems to be at the top of a hill no matter where I'm coming from.

Pro: It's environmentally friendly!
Con: The sweat and outdoors odor is not office friendly.

Pro: There's nothing to obstruct your view of nature!
Con: Or the rain, mud, and ice.

All things considered, I'm loving the bikes and hoping for a late winter.

*If you're wondering, mine is the infamous bike that spent over a year at an apartment I didn't live in because I couldn't find the key to unlock it. It's amazing, and a little disheartening, how easily those shears cut through that lock.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I stand corrected

Go Cougars!! I'm officially not regretting those season tickets now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meet our new pet

I'm allergic to just about any pet you can imagine, though I didn't always used to be. I loved animals as a kid. I was the little girl scout who, after having a series of hamsters, finally convinced Mom and Dad to pick up a free puppy.

[However, I wasn't the little girl who sampled the dog food to make sure it was good enough for said puppy... cough cough... christie...]

Years later, I realized how messy animals can be. And dirty. Cute, yes, but time consuming. I like to think that I willed myself into my allergy, so that I would have a better excuse than my parents did when my kids begged for a pet someday.

So when Ryan's mom brought a special friend home with our groceries, it took me awhile to warm up to him. Of course, by dinnertime, we were getting pretty cozy.

Luckily, I'm not allergic to fish.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grandma's peach pie

I've never been a huge pie fan. I like it okay and can usually go for a piece around Thanksgiving, but I'm no Doug (who wanted wedding pie instead of cake when he married my sis).


This is no ordinary pie. When I tell you it's incredible, you can believe me because
  1. It's brought to you by Grandma, and everyone knows grandmas make the best baked goods in the world, and

  2. It's not even from my grandma (but rather Cielle's grandma), so you can rest assured that I am not biased by memories of how good this was when I was a child or the knowledge that MY grandma really does make the best homemade rolls/jam. [Note to self in 30 years: Learn how to make the best homemade rolls and jam. I've got the pie down.]

Now here's the catch. You have to use the freshest peaches, so you can only make it in season. Which is now. So don't wait! Do yourself a favor and make one. Do your friends a favor and make two. If you don't have any friends, make several and pass them out on the corner. Couldn't hurt.

Grandma's peach pie

1 pie crust, baked and cooled
6 cups sliced fresh peaches (we peeled ours too)
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. fruit juice (I think I blended peach nectar and pineapple juice for this, but you can use anything)
2 T. lemon juice

Mash enough sliced peaches to make one cup. Arrange the remaining peaches in the pie crust and set it aside. (You may have to pack those babies in.) Put the peach mash into a saucepan and add the sugar, cornstarch, and fruit juice over medium heat. Stir until thick and bubbly, and then remove from heat. Pour the mixture over the peaches and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


We may have just driven 24+ hours to get here, but we're leaving Utah once again for some wakeboarding and fun with the in-laws in Idaho.

Be back soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Operation renovation

Does it count as a renovation if you're not knocking down any walls?

As many of you already know, we're renting our sweet little townhouse from my parents. We'll stay as long as we're here in Utah, and, in the meantime, we're prepping it to sell or rent in the future.

So far, we've got a new storm door and blinds and quite the list of things to do.

Since windows are limited--not to mention the light fixtures--we decided to lighten up the room a little and repaint.

Which is why, at about 11 o'clock last night, you could find us busily painting our living room walls.

We're also getting new carpet put in next week.

Which is probably another reason we didn't mind painting so late, and why you might find splatters of Kilim Beige throughout our carpets (and probably still in my hair).

Oh, and in response to my renovation question earlier, I'd like to submit this photo:

We may not be knocking down a wall, but sometimes it feels like it...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wicked luck

I’m addicted to live theatre. Ever since my parents took me to see my first musical, Singing in the Rain, I was hooked by the magic. And it changed my life. When I was in high school, I auditioned for every play to cross that hallowed stage. I received my letterman’s jacket, not by making varsity volleyball or the cheer squad, but by becoming an Honor Thespian. I sealed the geekiness when I qualified and competed at the International Thespian Festival. In duet pantomime. If you didn’t catch the “re” spelling, let me spell it out for you this way: I was a total theatre nerd. Though somewhat suppressed in recent years, the love still lives.

When I first met Ryan, I was a bit skeptical that I could share this love with him. To every degree that I was a theatre nerd, he was a football jock. (Never would have worked had we met in high school...) But as we started dating, I discovered his artsy side. He loved painting, writing, Mozart, and, be still my soul, Shakespeare. We were going to make it.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that Wicked was coming to Austin. I went to their website, knowing full well that just two weeks prior to the show, the tickets were sure to be sold out.

2 tickets. Best available. Click.

Seconds later, it said there were two 3rd row tickets available in “PIT.” Hmm. Pit. As in “orchestra pit” or “deep, dark, pit of despair”?

When I called to clarify, I was told they had just barely released one row of seats to this previously sold-out show, and if I was lucky enough to come upon them, I should take them in a hurry.

And take them I did.

We had a great time. Turns out 3rd row really meant front row, center (they took the floor out from the first couple rows to accommodate the orchestra). Of course, at that proximity, we were privy to wig lines and head mics and saliva. (And did that spit fly!) But we could also see every facial expression, no matter how subtle. We could watch the drummer as he rocked out to a musical like an 80s rock star. We could appreciate the intricate costumes and makeup. This was Ryan’s third musical ever, and now officially his favorite.

p.s. In another grand stroke of luck, I won my first blog giveaway! Thanks to this lovely lady, I get to pick something from this lovely shop. I must be living right... :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Scary stories to tell in the dark

Remember those books from elementary school? The lady who always wore the yellow ribbon around her neck? The vindow viper? I loved those stories. Apparently they almost got banned from libraries in the 90s. But they sure made good camp-fire story fodder well into junior high.

Ready for something really scary?

Last month I went a few weeks without Internet access (Ahh!! Ok, no, that's not the scary part) when I went back up to Utah for a work conference. As I was getting ready to go, I wasn't super excited about being all alone in our townhouse. When I'm alone, before I can sleep, I always end up going through every room in the house with a large blunt object to frighten away any lurking intruders. I know, right? Really intimidating. A lady who's afraid of the shadows and carrying the Modern American Usage guide. (Don't laugh--they're heavy! Certified weapons in some states.)

Surprisingly, I only had one little scare on my trip. The big news is what happened back at the ranch.

Ryan's mom and sister came to visit (Ahh!! I kid. Scary part still on it's way) and spend some time in Houston. They saw Phantom of the Opera, lounged by the pool, explored the eats, and generally had a good time. Until the old wailing man came.


Ryan calls one night after a game of pool. They had heard a noise. A loud noise. Something that sounded like a loud groan. Or an old wailing man. They make sure to lock the front door and start checking around the house (if only they had my usage guide!). The wailing continues. Someone screams--the front door is suddenly unlocked.

I suggest they turn on the alarm. Unfortunately, I only know one way of turning on the alarm, which, unbeknownest to us all, triggers the motion detectors. So right when everyone begins to feel safe and snug, the alarm goes off, causing a sort of frenzy. Oops.

In the end, after an unnamed individual had been carrying a pool stick around the house for protection, they discovered the culprit. A tree branch. It was windy outside and when the branch brushed the window in just the right way... well, it sounded like an old wailing man had come to visit.

Sorry. I don't think you'll be able to use this one on your next camp out. I just thought it was funny. Stick to the books, and you should be fine.