Friday, April 29, 2011

How do I ever, ever survive? How do I, How do I, O how do I live?

(title courtesy of Trisha Yearwood)

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Once again, the picture is only tangentially related to the post.  Isn't it cute though?


Conversation held this morning as Eric and Heather were eating breakfast.  
 (As reported to me by Eric.  I was upstairs, primping.)

HEATHER (out of the blue):  I love my mom.

ERIC:  You do?  Well, I love your mom too.

HEATHER:  My mom is your life!

ERIC:  Almost.  Your mom is my wife.

HEATHER (emphatically):  No, My mom is your LIFE!

ERIC:  Well, I guess in a way, yeah, she is. 



I guess all that secret mother-daughter indoctrinating I've been doing is finally paying off.

Nice.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Singers, Sewers, and Saints

We arrived in San Francisco in the early afternoon.  After a delicious lupper (or sunch) at the Cheesecake Factory (I had steak and seafood, and finished with a Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake.  Eric got the Teriyaki Steak, which is exactly what he got three years ago when my Aunt Lou Jean and Uncle Warren met us for dinner there), and the obligatory stop at the Powell Street Station for muni passes, we were free to roam the streets, window shop, people watch, and generally enjoy the atmosphere.  We immediately started for Eric's favorite store in all of SF, the Borders by Union Square, only to find it a casualty of Borders bankruptcy reorganization.  The good news was that everything was 80% off.  The bad news was that the store which formerly had occupied four floors of books and browsing and magazines and beverages and baked goods was now reduced to a floor and a half of books, and no art section at all.  It was a short trip, and a sad one.  Sigh.

With heavy hearts (Eric's heavier than mine or my mom's), we resumed our wanderings.  Luckily for us, something super-cool was waiting just around the corner.

Well, okay, it wasn't exactly around the corner.  It was more like two blocks down, across the street, and three blocks to the left. 

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All Saints Co. Ltd.  Manufacturers of Quality Garments
We found this really interesting little shop.  A clothing store, specializing in duds waaaay more trendy than anything I could comfortably wear.  That was okay though.  There was plenty to look at and enjoy, and the proprietors/employees of the store were more than gracious about all our gawking.  Our fellow patrons reminded me of some of the costume designers we've had at the opera, and I could just imagine them looking for the perfect outfit for this movie or that commercial.  Probably they were just looking for their own wardrobe, but it was fun to imagine.

Aside from the clothes, there were quirky mannequins, lighting fixtures made up of stage lights hanging down from the ceiling at odd angles and from all points, and peppy, perky, fun music that had me subtly grooving down across the floor (making a fool of myself, I'm sure). 

The best part of the whole store though, the part that made us stop on the sidewalk and go inside for a closer look (and a picture or two or ten), was a whole wall decorated from floor to three-story ceiling with old black sewing machines, very like my grandmother's much loved and much desired Singer Featherweight.

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As we explored further, we found that the back wall was covered as well.  There must have been hundreds of them.  I've never seen anything like it.  I mean, what a unique decorating idea! 




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As you might imagine,
(if you know her at all)
My mom was in heaven.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He did it! (What's a UTV?)

If you got around to reading the comments to the post on my somewhat-monthly round-up of links, (and if you didn't, you can do so now) you'll see where I challenged Jacob to post his own round-up.



I have high (perhaps unreasonably high, given the circumstances) hopes that we will make this a somewhat-regular thing, with both of us posting roundups every so often.  If that's not quirky, I don't know what is.

Whattaya say, Jake?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Weekend in Pictures

Friday night we loaded up Heather and went to Donna & Steve's where we had the final fortieth birthday celebration.  (Yes, over a month after the fortieth birthday.  You got a problem with that?)

Camille made this gorgeous and delicious cake, which you can read all about here
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Amazing.  Simply, deliciously amazing.  In between cake and treats, we managed to play a few rounds of hand & foot, while Heather played with the Koberstein kids downstairs.

Saturday morning, Eric and I were able to attend the Logan temple.  It was a good session, and around the middle of it, I realized that attending the temple was probably about as good a way to spend Easter Eve as you could get.  Nice.

On the way in, Eric pointed out this sign just outside the basement doors:
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I cracked up.  Sometimes I get a little frustrated, feeling like we Mormons take ourselves just a little bit too seriously much of the time.  Seeing something like this right on the temple grounds gave me a little more faith in our collective senses of humor.   

Later that afternoon, I poured a gallon of 2% milk into my stock pot and started the process of making homemade yogurt.  I had made some on Thursday using this crock-pot method, and it had gone well.  Well enough in fact that I decided to try again, this time using the oven method (thereby freeing me from the constraints of my crockpot, which can only hold 1/2 gallon of milk).

The verdict?  A+++++! Also, really really super easy.  Essentially all you have to do is dump milk in a pot, bring it to the point of boiling, let it cool to 100 degrees (I used a candy thermometer, cost me $3.89 at Macey's), add some runny yogurt (for the cultures), wrap the pot in an old towel (for insulation), and sit it in the oven (no heat, just the light on) for 16 hours.

(I wrote a little note to myself and stuck it on the oven knob, since if I had forgotten what I was doing and turned the oven on, it could have started the towel on fire and burned our house down.)

I wanted Greek Yogurt, so before we went to church the next morning, I dumped the whole pot into my cheesecloth-lined colander.  

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Heather and I sampled some of the unstrained stuff (sweetened with a spoonful of homemade strawberry jam) and pronounced it mmm-mmm deeeelicious.

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Then we whipped off Heathers painters smock (which was protecting the Easter Dress), took a few Easter Dress pictures, (thanks Aunt Donna & Uncle Steve!) put on our shoes, and zoomed to church. 

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Lest you think that Heather is always this smiley, she was originally quite uncooperative about this shoot.  I told her if she'd give me a few smiles I'd reward her with a (single) jelly bean.  You see the results of this bribe. 

Church was great.  The former conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is in our ward and he and his wife were unfortunate enough to sit in the pew behind us.  Heather spent the hour of sacrament meeting trying to engage them in conversation, and when that failed, she moved on to the "I drop the crayon to the floor by your feet and you pick it up and return it to me one thousand times in a row" game.  They were very gracious about it all, but I won't be surprised if it's awhile before the Jessops venture back to our side of the chapel. 

In Senior Primary I had my work cut out for me as we were discussing some of the trials that Jesus endured while living on earth, one of them being the many miles he had to walk in the dust (which was occasioned by our singing the second verse of this song).  That led one boy to ask why Jesus didn't just teleport everywhere instead of walking around in the dust.  I try to take questions like this seriously, because I still remember some of my own church questions from my primary days, so I gave my opinion on the matter, which is that either He had had His teleporting powers taken away from him while He was on earth, or that He had chosen not to use them so he could do the more important work of fully experiencing what it was like to be mortal and human.  That led another boy to question why He didn't wait until there wasn't anyone around and then teleport himself (thus proving that he hadn't understood a word I had said).  At that point I gave up and admitted that I didn't know.

After church we raced home so I could cut fruit and arrange them on a platter in a manner that (somewhat) resembled this,

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which we took out to Eric's parents house as part of our Easter feast.  It was well received, to say the least. (My favorite moment of the whole dinner was when some of the kids found out that I had hidden mangoes under the orange slices, and the resulting bolt back to the serving table for seconds)

Afterwards there were naps (for some) and backyard chasing of nieces and nephews and daughters (for me), and chatting and dishwashing (for others), and the kind of casual Sunday afternoon activities that are thoroughly restful and enjoyable. 

And now it's on to the week!  








cake image courtesy of camille's cakes
fruit rainbow image courtesy of ohdeedoh.com

Sunday, April 24, 2011

This month's roundup

Here's another random collection of links to things that I might want to try someday:


Cheri Hat from Peachy Knits (it's crocheted though--not knitted)




300 Clothing Labels for $20 from See Kate Sew




The Scarf with No Ends from Nifty Thrifty Things






Chicken Lombardy Recipe from Cozy Home Scenes




PlayDough at Kitchen Counter Chronicles

















Soft Pretzels at While He Was Napping













Yarn Egg Wreath at The Sweet Survival


And a few helpful hints gained from recent reading of Reader's Digest: 

If you're tired of trying to find the end of the duct tape or packing tape roll, stick a paperclip where you left off, and it will be a piece of cake the next time.  


 
    This Vacu Vin Pineapple Slicer ($8.57 at amazon.com) comes highly recommended.  Apparently it completely separates the fruit from the peel/shell and slices it all into rings, just by twisting.



    For salads, the kitchn.com suggests skipping the garlic in your vinaigrette and instead rubbing the bowl with a peeled clove of garlic.  It provides a pleasant background note of garlic throughout the salad.  (I wonder if it matters whether you use a metal, glass, or wood bowl.)



    I'm not currently job hunting, but if I were to update my resume, I would do well to eliminate the words Extensive experience, Innovative, Motivated, Results-oriented, Dynamic, Proven track record, Fast-paced, Problem solver, and Entrepreneurial.  These nine words/phrases are the the most used (and therefore over-used) resume phrases according to LinkedIn.  



    You can find a wealth of college courses and lectures that can be listened to online for free.  Here's a link that gives more information.  Additionally, some good places to go for free classes include: iTunes U, Academic Earth (academicearth.org), YouTubeEDU (youtube.com/education), The Einztein Knowledge Network (einztein.org), Khan Academy (khanacademy.org), and Open Culture (openculture.com) 


    And there you have it.  Talk about a Random Sampler!




















      Friday, April 22, 2011

      I left my heart in . . .

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      On and off for the next while, I'll be posting pictures and some memories from our trip to San Francisco.  If travelogues aren't your thing, don't feel bad about skimming.  I'd do the same thing if I were you. 

      Perhaps I should clarify:  In saying "for the next little while", I probably mean, "for the next month or probably more, but there will be posts that aren't about San Francisco interspersed among the travelogue."  Remember how I spread out my birthday posts over a whole month?  I imagine it will be something along those lines. 

      There's going to be quirky stuff (a whole garden of shoes, a wall that was covered from floor to ceiling with old treadle sewing machines), and some updates (Did I find the arrow sculpture?  Did we do dim sum?  Did I make it out to Oakland?), some exciting stuff, (I was on the set of a major motion picture last April after all!), and some boring stuff ('cuz really, how exciting can it be to read about someone else's vacation?).

      Stick around.

      (If you want.) 

      It's totally up to you!


      Wednesday, April 20, 2011

      You---to the rescue!

      My library queue as of right now:
      (Sorry the formatting's a little wonky in places)

      ===================================================================

      Details
      Compact Disc


      Details
      Compact Disc



      / McCullough, David G. Details
      Compact Disc


      / Collins, Suzanne. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Clare, Cassandra. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Paolini, Christopher. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Mull, Brandon, 1974- Details
      Compact Disc
       





       


      / Levitt, Steven D. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Hale, Shannon. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Ford, Jamie. Details
      Book
       




      / Chiaverini, Jennifer. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Sage, Angie. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Dashner, James, 1972- Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / McCall Smith, Alexander, 1948- Details
      Compact Disc
       


       

      / Barry, Dave. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Skye, Obert. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Funke, Cornelia Caroline. Details
      Compact Disc
       



      / Riordan, Rick. Details
      Compact Disc
       


      / Swinton, Heidi S., 1948- Details
      Compact Disc
      ==============================================================

      I should be good for at least a year, probably more.
      THANK YOU!  


      Saturday, April 16, 2011

      What Should I "Read" Next?

      quirky 4-11


      I always have a backlog of books that I'm going to read.  I keep them in a basket on my nightstand, and right now I have four books just waiting for me to finish what I'm reading now (which happens to be The Heart of Buddha's Teaching and The End of Overeating:  Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite) so that I can start another.  Add that to the fact that Eric is adamant that I need to read Freakenomics, and asks weekly if I'm finished with my current book so I can start that one, and I think it's safe to say that I am not on the lookout for new reading material.

      Listening material though?  That's another story.  Having just finished The Hunger Games for the second time, and being about a month out on the library queue for President Monson's Biography, I'm looking for some other options to make my my errand running and chauffeuring just that much more interesting and enjoyable. 

      I'd love any recommendations you've got.

      In the meantime, I love this site:





      photo courtesy of dustpuppy72

      Thursday, April 14, 2011

      Four

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      Four years ago today I married my Enrique.  

      This morning I got reminiscing about my wedding day.  

      How the weather was absolutely beautiful.  

      How my brother and sister-in-law packed up a two-week-old baby and three other kids and drove for 7 hours so they could attend the festivities.  

      How Eric and I had all our siblings there, most of whom also drove or flew long hours with small children.

      How undeniably right it felt to drive out of town with Eric that afternoon, our honeymoon-ette and our marriage ahead of us.  





      It was an amazingly glorious day.  

      (Not unlike many that followed.)






      Photo taken by me earlier this week in San Francisco.  
      There's more where that came from.
      (A whole lot more.)

      Tuesday, April 12, 2011

      Fabulous Forty - "the loot"

      Question: How long can Charlotte milk her birthday in blog posts?  
      Answer:  One more time.  


      What follows is a parade of my birthday presents.  It's gonna be kind of boring.  Don't feel like you have to read the whole post.



      What?  

      Still here?  

      Well, okay then.  Let the parade of presents begin!


      My family is a little crazy about the Disney musical, Newsies.  Crazy enough that they (notice I didn't say "we") break into Newsies songs and modified (very modified) dances sometimes.  So, not being able to find a Mary Poppins Broadway songbook, Becca gave me this Newsies songbook.  How cool is that? 
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      Having the music actually motivated me to give the movie another chance (the first time I saw it I thought it was boring and cheesy), and I spent much of March driving around Logan with the Logan Library Newsies Cast Recording going full blast while I sang along to the very peppy and not the least bit cheesy songs.

      My favorite?  The song where they're singing half-heartedly, "What if the Delancy's come out swingin, will we hear it?", and then this GIANT, RICH, FULL, BEAUTIFUL children's chorus comes out of nowhere and sings, "When you've got a million voices singing, who can hear a lousy whistle blow?"

      (I get a little choked up at that sometimes, truth be told.)

      I also got a copy of the DVD from the library, and spent a week watching it (twice), as well as the "making of" feature, the "what really happened in history" feature, and a couple of previews for "coming" Disney attractions.  (Really important stuff like Little Mermaid Return to the Sea, and The opening of the Disney vault for the new and improved Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.) 

      Some of you will (silently) mock me for this, but I have to say that when it comes to Newsies, I'm a changed woman.  Maybe it's because I'm a mom now and the thought of a bunch of kids roaming the streets of New York, having to scratch out a living for themselves just tugs at my heartstrings.  Whatever it is, I'm a Newsies-ite these days.

      Next quest, break open the songbook and see if I can transpose those weird guitar chords into chords that I can actually play.  Stay tuned.


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      This is a present that I bought for myself.  It's an oil sprayer, so now I don't have to buy PAM anymore.  I've used it a few times, and highly recommend it.




      Wanna guess what this is?
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      I'll give you a hint:



      See that white dresser on the right?  It's older than I am.  My parents bought it second-hand when they were first married, and it became my dresser when I was around nine or ten years old.  When I moved into my first un-furnished apartment, my parents drove it up to Logan for me, and I've used it ever since.  Suffice it to say, this dresser is nearing the end of its natural life. 




      Enter the Ikea special.  As soon as Eric assembles it for me, I'm going to be the proud owner of a beautiful new dresser, complete with smooth rolling metal drawer glides.  Oh the luxury!  I can hardly wait! 

      (I need to give a shout out to both my parents and Eric's parents for this dreamy dresser.  They both gave me a decent amount of money for my birthday, and I chose to spend it on the dresser.)
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      Speaking of luxury, we have the final gift of the post, compliments of Eric J. Cantwell:
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      This salt cost around $30.  I know, right?  Thirty dollars for a 3.5 oz jar of salt?  What kind of birthday present is that?

      I'll tell you.  It's a very good birthday present.  This salt makes nearly everything taste like a slice of gourmet joy.  We've had sprinkles of it on asparagus, beef, green beans, potato soup, hubbard squash, zucchini, popcorn, grapefruit, and a whole bunch of other stuff.  The grapefruit was basically a bust, but everything else was infinitely more flavorful with the magic of truffle salt on top.

      I shouldn't be surprised.  The fact is, Eric is a masterful gift-giver.  He's terribly inventive, and he often gives me things that I would never think (or want) to get for myself, but he knows me so well, and ponders his options for months in advance, so he always comes up with a winner. Love it.

      And with that, we conclude our tantalizing trip through the felicity that was my fortieth birthday extravaganza.  Thank you, to all who have suffered through all these posts.  I'll try not to inflict anything along these lines on you for at least another year or two.

      Deal?




      Wednesday, April 06, 2011

      "star" struck

      Eariler this year, my brother Jacob admitted that he had a man-crush on Jimmer Fredette.
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       I think it's safe to say that I have a girl-crush on Courtney Crozier. 
      quirky 4-11

      I've been wanting to brag about this (as silly as it is) for several weeks now, but I've felt that I needed to keep quiet about it, so as not to ruin anything for Biggest Loser fans.  I'm safe now though.

      Remember how I've been working out doing a Crossfit Class twice a week?  Well, the gym that hosts the class is none other than the Rulon Gardner Elite Training Center, owned and operated by Rulon Gardner and Justin I-don't-know-his-last-name.  I've never seen Rulon there, but when you show up twice a week for one hour each time, you don't tend to see all that many people there, you know?

      So anyway, sometime in probably February or early March, Candace and I were walking back to the locker room to hang up our jackets.  As we walked, we passed by a group of girls, and I noticed that one of them looked very familiar.  It took me a second, but by the time we were in the locker room, I realized who it was, and I told Candace that we had just passed Courtney from The Biggest Loser.  I tend to be a little shy in situations like this, but Candace was as bold as brass.  We marched right back out there, where Candace proceeded to pick Courtney's brain about calorie counts, meal plans, and life on the ranch.  I sat there, tongue-tied.

      (Courtney looked amazing.)
       
      In the conversation, Courtney mentioned that she had come to Logan at Justin's invitation, to work out with him at the gym for a week.  When asked about the ranch, she basically told the story that we all watched on NBC this week, how her body had gone into starvation mode, holding on to every calorie that she took in.  She told us that this was the reason that she was home now, that her last week on the ranch she consumed 700 calories per day (unbelievable), exercised as hard as she ever had, but only lost one pound.  Candace told her that she looked great, and I nodded enthusiastically.  (I think I might have even been able to squeak out a "Yeah, you sure do.")  We mentioned that we were big Courtney fans, and that we wished her all the best. 

      She thanked us sincerely, looking us in the eye with that sparkly confident expression that I've grown accustomed to watching every week.  Then she said, "I hope you don't feel bad for me that I'm home.  Seriously, I feel like I won."

      That Courtney is a class act. 

      Sunday, April 03, 2011

      on messages and exceptions and responsibilities

      A few days ago, I read a blog post.  At the time, I didn't think much of it, but as I listened to General Conference this weekend, there have been a few times that some of the things stated in the post came back to me. 

      I've found it interesting, helpful, comforting, and even inspired. 

      Here are a few tidbits from the post:


      "I generally struggle with Conference primarily because I "trifle with the words" that are spoken. I'm often listening just with my ears. Part of me is concerned with what someone I know might be thinking of a particular talk. Sometimes I'm thinking of who I think needs to hear this talk. "

      "It has been helpful for me in the past to read through part of a talk given by Elder Oaks at a CES fireside in May, 2005."

      "A message given by a General Authority at a general conference—a message prepared under the influence of the Spirit to further the work of the Lord—is not given to be enjoyed. It is given to inspire, to edify, to challenge, or to correct. It is given to be heard under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, with the intended result that the listener learns from the talk and from the Spirit what he or she should do about it." (Dallin H. Oaks)


      "As a General Authority, it is my responsibility to preach general principles. When I do, I don’t try to define all the exceptions. There are exceptions to some rules. But don’t ask me to give an opinion on your exception. I only teach the general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord." (Dallin H. Oaks)

      "I know that as I go into this weekend, I need to focus on what the Lord is trying to teach me through the Holy Ghost. I need to focus on what I need to do differently as a result of the things that I will learn through the conference. I need to worry less about what someone else might think about a talk or how I might take offense at what is said. I hope to be able to hear what I need to to progress and improve. Perhaps someone else might benefit from some of the things that I have been thinking." (Kevin L.)

      Here's a link to the whole post.  It's worth a read, in my opinion. 



      (It actually kind of reminds me of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk on Sunday afternoon.)







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