Monday, December 31, 2007

Year In Review - 2007

In the final hours of 2007, it seems fitting to look back on the year and mention some of the events that shaped my year.

Places Visited: (new places in italics)
Denver, CO
Kanab, UT
Mesa, AZ
Salt Lake City, UT (several times)
Puerto Rico
St. Thomas, VI
St. Lucia

Guys Dated: 3 - one was even a blind date! This is certainly a record for me. There have been years when I haven't gone on a single date, so to have gone on dates with 3 separate guys in one year is pretty amazing.

Guys Kissed: 2!!!!!!!

Number of Jobs Turned Down: Zero - sometimes I still can't believe I decided to stay at this job. I love it and have had no regrets so far, but it's still kind of surprising.

Favorite Book Read: Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg
Runners Up: The Confessor by Daniel Silva, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling, Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, Othello by William Shakespear

Fun Activities with Friends: making cinnamon- and sugar cookie-scented candles, reading Shakespear plays out loud, going on a cruise, making cookies, Laughing Stock.
(I'm sure there are so many other things I've done with my friends this year, but I can't think of more at this moment. However, if you, my dear friends, remember the things that I don't, let me know!)

Happiest Moment: When Adam told me he loved me.

Saddest Moment: When Adam and I broke up. "Moment" is an understatement. However, life went on, and I know we're both in good places.

Biggest Reliefs: A Tie. 1) When Adam and I broke up. We were both miserable at the end. 2) When I decided to stay. Now I don't have to worry about making that decision again for 2 years.

Regrets: I can't think of any. I know I haven't always made the best decisions this year, but each time I made "mistake", it turned out okay and/or I learned from it.

Hopes for the new year: Stay next post will be about my new years resolutions and plans.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wrapping Up Christmas

So, did everyone have a nice Christmas?

I did. Thankfully!

Honestly, I usually don’t enjoy Christmas. In fact, I tend to dislike Christmas because of the stress of trying to balance the time I spend with my mom and the time I spend with my dad. Ideally, I would be able to spend all day with both of them (because they’d be married), but that’s not reality, so I end up making myself miserable trying to make everyone happy. Throw in my brothers’ in-laws and arranging schedules so that my brothers and I are at my parents’ houses at the same time, and I usually feel like a general making battle plans. And, I’m just as grumpy.

This year, I realized that I can only do the best I can to make things fair and equal and to show my parents that I love them, and then it’s up to them to be adults and be happy with what time I’m able to spend with them. No, it won’t always be perfect for everyone, but that’s life, right? Every night since Thanksgiving, I’ve prayed to feel the Christmas spirit and to find joy in celebrating Christmas again, and it worked! Yes, there were still some tense moments, but not nearly as many as in past years! And yes, last night I thanked my Maker that Christmas was over for another year, but not nearly as fervently as I did last year! Hooray for improvement!

Some highlights of the five-day (Friday through Tuesday) celebration that is Christmas chez moi:
(in no particular order)

1. A date with Anthony on Friday night.

2. Anthony giving me a Christmas present Sunday evening.

3. Getting a guitar for Christmas.

4. Watching my nephews and niece open their presents.

5. Getting the complete works of Shakespeare from Santa Claus.

6. Playing lots of games with my family.

7. Staying home from work on Monday and getting paid for it. I’m now officially salaried!

8. Speaking about Christmas traditions in church on Sunday.

9. Going to Milford to hear Rachel sing “O Holy Night” at her church. She sang it amazingly!

10. Good food. Lots of candy, ham, cheesy potatoes, veggies and dip, poppy seed cake, and other delicious items.

11. Spending Christmas Eve night at my mom’s and not getting much sleep because I was excited for Christmas and because I was thinking of someone too much.

12. Playing air hockey at my brother’s house and having my imminent victory snatched from me when my sister-in-law started playing really good.

13. My apartment being a mess. It still is, in fact. I have all the presents I received stacked on my table, my couch, and my easy chair. And, I have pots and dishes that need to be washed. Unfortunately, I have no immediate availability to clean my apartment like it so desperately needs to be cleaned.

14. Going to “I Am Legend” with my youngest brother and my mom. It was pretty good. Not great, but good. A little scarier than I prefer, but quite interesting.

There are other things I could mention, and I could certainly go into greater detail, but I’m not going to. Well, I’m pretty sure I’ll be writing a post about numbers 1 and 2 fairly soon, but you’ll have to wait a bit for that; I’m still figuring out a few things.

I hope you all had a merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Every year, for the past few years, my sisters-in-law and I have gathered together before Christmas to make candy. It's one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Saturday morning, at the crack of dawn (9 am), Rachel, Audree, and I gathered at Audree's to continue the tradition. Acutally, I was late because I decided to shower before heading out, so I didn't get there 'til 9:15, but that's irrelevant. I was pleasantly surprised that my mother had decided to go, too, since we invite her every year, but she has never joined us. She says she doesn't like making candy. It was nice to chat with her while we made candy, and she helped us A LOT by helping form the centers of one of the candies and especially by periodically washing our pots and pans for us. After she left, we had to interrupt our candy making to wash dishes, and it was such a pain. So...THANKS, MOM! I hope you come again next year!

This year, we decided that each of us should just make two items and make lots of those two items. It worked out so much better than previous years. For example: last year we started at noon and ended after 9 pm, and Rachel and I didn't stay to help Audree clean up (she sent us home and cleaned up by herself the next day). In comparison, this time, we started around 9:30 am (once we got everything ready to go) and finished around 5:30 pm, AND we helped Audree clean up. Much, much better. We made:

Almond joys (Mom helped form these centers)
Peanut butter "cups"
Peanut brittle
Chocolate covered pretzels

I made the divinity. Years and years ago, when I first began to get into cooking (while living in SLC), I decided to try making divinity. Aly, were you living with me when I made my first ever batch? It was horrible. I used a hand mixer and thought it couldn't possibly need to be mixed this long! It did, and even longer. The divinity ended up settling into little mud puddles instead of being yummy cloud puffs. To make things worse, my roommate's cat, Mickey, got on the counter over night and stepped in the divinity, and we awoke to divinity paw prints throughout the apartment. The next time I attempted divinity, I over-beat the mixture and it was dry and crumbly. Thankfully, the third time was the charm, and the divinity was...well... divine. I've been great (humbly) at making it ever since. Don't get me wrong, I still over- or under- beat the mixture on occassion, but when I get it right, I get it really right.

Please forgive the blatant boasting. I have so few things to boast about that I feel a compulsion to boast whenever I can actually get away with it.

Anyhoo, last night I took around plates of candy to my friends. This is my favorite part of candy making. I started a little before 7 pm and made it home a little before 1 am. I chatted with friends I haven't chatted with for awhile and found out that one friend recently broke up with her boyfriend, another friend's husband thinks his wife is beautiful (heart melting), and that no matter how often I see one friend, I still enjoy talking to her 'til the wee hours of the morning.

I have amazing people in my life; it is the blessing for which I am the most grateful. No matter what else happens in life, if you have good people surrounding you, everything will be okay eventually. Yes, I recently watched "It's A Wonderful Life", and I love it every time I see it. I just pray that I can bless the people around me as much as they bless me.

Okay, this is turning a little sappy, so I'm nipping it in the bud. (What an expression!)

May your days and nights be filled to the brim with yummy, miraculously calorie-free candy!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ce Que Je Mange

By request, here is what one can normally find in my grocery cart:
  • A loaf of bread - I prefer Granny Whosit's with sunflowers. No, I can't remember the name, but I know exactly where it is on the shelf and what the package looks like.
  • Milk - skim, usually 1/2 gallon unless I'm planning on cooking lots of recipes that require lots of milk.
  • Eggs - lately, I try to eat one egg a day; usually at breakfast, and usually hard-boiled.
  • Cereal - during the warmer months, I tend to eat a lot of cold cereal; Frosted Cheerios and Vanilla Mini Shredded Wheat are the two most common purchases. During colder months, I may buy the fruit variety pack of instant oatmeal. In fact, it's in my cupboard right now.
  • Hot chocolate - this is a colder months purchase, too. Last year, Cardine got me hooked on Stephen's Dark Chocolate, so that's what I have now. Yummy!
  • Spaghetti - I like to make the whole bag of spaghetti at once so I can easily heat up the leftovers on subsequent nights. (I love leftovers!) I also make my own sauce, since I've never found a brand that I really love. Every time I make the sauce, I put in different spices, sometimes with meat, sometimes without. Mmmm. It's what I'm having for dinner tonight. Can't wait!
  • Baguette and chevre - my french teacher once offered this treat as an hors d'oeuvre at a party she threw for my class, and I've been hooked ever since. (chevre = goat cheese, baguette = long, thin loaf of bread - just in case you didn't know) What you do is slice the baguette any way you like, then spread a bit of chevre on each slice. Place under the broiler for a few minutes - watch carefully so you don't burn the cheese/bread. I've also tried topping the cheese with slices of avocado or green olives, and both turned out quite yummy.
  • Hummus and pita chips - got hooked on this treat on my mission and must buy it at least once a month. Tomorrow, some friends and I are having a dip party. We'll be enjoying homemade pumpkin hummus (Cardine), tzatziki (Warnser), and baba ghanoush (me) with homemade pita chips. Mmmmm. Can't wait!
  • Chicken - I know a lot of chicken recipes, so I tend to buy/eat a lot of chicken. I love Booklogged's Ritz cracker recipe, and I make it often. I also enjoy my sister-in-law's chicken and pasta salad.
  • Fruit - I buy lots of fruits; apples, bananas, kiwis, pears, plums, grapes, and clementines (not oranges), and will sometimes experiment with new fruits, like star fruit. When I'm feeling in a particularly splurgy mood, and when they're in season, I buy fresh strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries.
  • Vegetables - I lack variety in my veggies; I buy baby carrots every week, no matter what. I'll also buy one of the following, depending on the mood I'm in: basket of grape tomatoes, English cucumbers, or green/red bell peppers. Every so often, I'll get asparagus or corn on the cob or something else, but rarely. I like a lot of veggies, but I'm often too lazy to prepare them, so baby carrots are really handy.
  • Hot dogs - yes, I admit it. The family I lived with in New York introduced me to all-beef hot dogs that actually taste pretty good. I don't buy hot dog buns; I just slather mustard (not ketchup!) on a slice of the aforementioned bread. I freeze the hot dogs, because I can only handle one every so often.
  • Popsicles - not just for warmer months, these tasty frozen treats satisfy my sweet tooth all year round! I like the bag of popsicles (can't remember the brand) that has apricot, lime, cherry, and purple grape. In a pinch, I like the box (brand???) with root beer, lime, and banana.
  • Chocolate - my latest chocolate fix comes in the form of dark chocolate plain M&M's. A small handful will cure even the most severe chocolate craving.

Wow, this list is getting long, so I'm going to stop it. There are other things I buy on occasion, and I don't always buy the items on the above list, but they tend to be in my cart on a fairly regular basis. I probably missed fairly significant items, but I'm getting hungry (go figure!) and need to go home and make spaghetti!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Random Facts About ME!

My superhero name is Static. Can you guess what my superhero power is??? Several of you already knew that about me, but did you know about my “superhero” boyfriend? Obe Wan Kenobi. Yep, that’s right; my nephew (a Jedi who works with Obe Wan) set us up a couple years ago. And, before you ask, I’m talking about the Obe Wan from Episodes I – III, since that is the Obe Wan my nephew thinks of when he thinks of Obe Wan.

I’m getting laugh lines around my eyes. I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing. I really don’t mind getting older, nor do I really mind looking older, but I can certainly sense in me the social influences that say smooth = pretty, and lines = not so pretty. I do like that the laugh lines seem to indicate that I smile and laugh a lot. :)

I don’t like eating oranges. I like the flavor of oranges, but I hate the white stuff that surrounds the yummy orange stuff. I end up spending 4 hours (or more) trying to pick off as much white stuff as I can get off the orange stuff before eating it. So, I definitely prefer clementines to oranges. They have the same-ish flavor, but very little to no white stuff. It usually takes me only a few minutes to eat a Clementine! I’m writing this while eating clementines, by the way.

Miracle of all Christmas miracles - I have my Christmas shopping done! D-O-N-E. It was even done before November even ended! (*Pause* while you recover from your faint.) Yes, I usually espouse waiting ‘til December 20th to start my shopping, but I decided to buck tradition and tried shopping a little earlier. Mom and I braved the crowds the Saturday after Thanksgiving (I was going to tell you all about this in the post about Thanksgiving that I ended up not writing), and discovered that there weren’t really that many crowds to brave. I found some good deals and bought almost everything I needed to buy. Then, last Wednesday night, I bought the remaining presents I needed to purchase and can now put away my debit card ‘til January. Aaahhh, if only it worked that way.

Last Thursday night, I went to the Oakridge Boys concert with my dad, his wife, and my little sister. I’ve loved this group since I was a young girl exulting in the fact that I, too, was “American-made, born and bred in the USA”. They performed their classic hits and some new songs for about 45 minutes, and then took a 20-minute intermission before singing Christmas songs for over an hour. These songs included traditional carols mixed in with songs they had written. The group was entertaining, energetic, and engaging, and I really enjoyed myself!

In an attempt to ward off Alzheimer’s, I’m learning something new – the numbers at the top of the keyboard. For over a decade, I’ve used the keypad whenever I want to type numbers. Now I’m trying to use the numbers above the letters more often, especially when I’m printing insurance envelopes. Honestly, I’m an old dog learning a new trick, so it’s taking awhile, but lately I’ve noticed a pretty decent improvement in my precision and speed.

Okay, one last thing – my coworker, boss, and I were destined to work together. We all celebrate our birthdays in May; mine is the 15th, my boss’s is the 19th, and my coworker’s is the 29th. Our birthdays go in order of youngest in the office (me) to oldest (my coworker). My boss, the only guy and the middle in age and birthdays, shares the 1 in his date with me and the 9 with my coworker. Also, we live in a line. We live in the same neighborhood, a few streets from each other, and yes, we’re in a line. My coworker’s house number is 236 W, my house number is 236 W, and my boss’s house number is 235 W (he lives on the south side of the street). Pretty cool, huh. Or…pathetic that we’ve figured all this out? I vote cool.