Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reasons I Never Want An Engagement Ring

Despite the fact that I say I don't want an engagement ring, people seem to think that I really do want one, that I'm trying to be "cool," or that I'll change my mind when I meet Mr. Right. So to set the record straight, I'm listing my reasons for not wanting an engagement ring.
  1. I don't want to accidentally scratch my future children when I'm changing their diapers.
  2. I don't like the look of two rings on one finger.
  3. I would rather have the money go to setting up my future kitchen. Sure, there are wedding registries, but is anyone really going to get me a 300-dollar Kitchen-Aid mixer or a Corian countertop?
  4. I'm just not crazy about gems. Yes, they're pretty, and yes, they're valuable investments. But I am not as intrigued by gems as most women. I mean, when the going gets tough, and my future husband and I are struggling to make ends meet, I think I might be tempted to hawk the ring, and why not just use the cash in the first place?
With all of that said, I think it's important for me to say that I don't harbor any ill feelings towards women who do wear engagement rings. The symbolism and tradition behind engagement rings is really neat, and the rings are pretty. They're just not for me.

Thing I'm thankful for: chilly winter rain.

Top 10 Cities for Shopping listed the Top 10 Cities for Holiday Shopping. Yeah, you can probably guess which cities made it on the list, but I thought it was interesting to see what each city is specifically known for. Here they are:
  1. New York -- World shopping capital
  2. Paris -- Tres chic boutiques
  3. London -- Perfectly posh, or "cheap as chips"
  4. San Francisco -- Shops in "The City"
  5. Los Angeles -- Like, totally killer malls
  6. Chicago -- Michigan Avenue, a. k. a., "The Magnificent Mile"
  7. Minneapolis area -- Mall of America
  8. Las Vegas -- Glitz meets good deals
  9. Montreal -- Europe sans jetlag
  10. San Diego -- Big city, border bargains
Thing I'm thankful for: Not living anywhere near these cities right now; I don't have the money!

The Bronx Coat

Here, Lexi is wearing what she calls her "Bronx Coat." It's a popular style in the Bronx, she says, and actually, when she went up to the Bronx a couple of weeks ago, a girl asked her where she got her coat!

Thing I'm thankful for: Mint Creme Oreos.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Pride and Prejudice"

Tonight Lauren and I watched the newest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at the movie theater.

As a movie, I thought it was good. Cinematically, it is everything a movie ought to be. There are beautiful panoramic scenes of England's countryside and old mansions and really uncommon, but aesthetically pleasing, shots of characters. There are 30-second long scenes of characters just sitting -- sitting and thinking -- and I like those kinds of pauses in movies. I think it really shows the despondency of loneliness and the joy -- not purely physical pleasure -- of being in love. Also, the actors and actresses were not all gorgeous, larger-than-life people, which is nice sometimes. The musical score was excellent.

As an adaptation, I thought the movie was. . . fair. The best I can say for it, is that the screenwriters did a commendable job of condensing the film into a 2 hour, 7 minute time frame. The casting was a little off, though. Some of the novel's really strong, humorous characters (Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins) were some of the movie's weakest. The development of Mr. Darcy's character is incomplete, Elizabeth Bennet's (Keira Knightly) character is not as sassy and robust as she is in the book, and the close sisterly relationship between Elizabeth and Jane's characters were virtually non-existent after the first 15 minutes of the movie. The biggest problem is the disappearance of Austen's comical voice. Most of the witty and sarcastic lines were left out, resulting in a very serious rendition of the story of the Bennet family. All of these problems contribute to the general feeling that the movie is not "light and bright and sparkling." That's how Jane Austen described this story in a letter to her sister, and it's missing those three key things.

I don't think Austen would dislike the movie; she might even find the overcast color of the film to be just "the shade" she said the novel is lacking. But I do think it's missing the airiness and humor that is so refreshing in the novel.

Of course, if you love romantic movies, then watch it. You won't be disappointed. But if you're an avid Austen reader, don't expect this movie to produce that tingly feeling you get when you read the book.

Thing I'm thankful for: Movie theater popcorn with extra butter. YUM.

The Family Snow

Leading up to the day "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was released, I wondered, "After Harry, what other movie do I have to look forward to over the holidays?" ENTER: "The Family Stone". It's about a man taking his fiance to meet his family at Christmastime. The family is a hard one to crack. They are loud, sarcastic, analytical, and they don't take anyone's crap. It kind of reminds me of my family, except my family is much nicer.

Anyway, it looks good, and it comes out on December 16th. Check out the trailer by clicking the link above. The site also has movie clips and images.

Thing I'm thankful for: My family's lawyer-like ability to analyze. They really make me know my stuff.

Is That An Oompa Loompa?

NOOOOO! It's just Macy!

Thing I'm thankful for: little kids' winter coats.

Single on the Web

Okay, ohhhhh-kay. So my mom was bugging me about joining an LDS singles site. One night I finally decided I should at least check some out. Besides, if I'm planning on moving to Salt Lake City in a while, I might as well see what the singles my age look like, right?

Right. So I joined a couple of sites. I will not, however, pay for the full membership. I don't think. But my mom keeps pushing that, too. It's funny, though; it's seems like most free members on the site are thinking the same thing as me -- "Yeah, I guess I should join for the full benefits, but . . . that's just taking it too far . . ."

But what do you do when no one's asking each other on dates? I was just talking to a church friend about that today. She is really beautiful and fun, and she says no one at church asks her out either. So what do single girls do? Ask a guy out, right? Yeah, um, I tried that, and it didn't work out so well. I'm not bitter, but I learned that some guys are really picky about girls asking them out. How do I know which kind of guys are the ones who don't mind being asked out?

Maybe I'm just not an interesting/beautiful/fun enough person for most guys! It is for this reason that I like online dating sites. There is bound to be someone in the world who is attracted to any one particular person, so on a site of say, 5 thousand people, someone is bound to send you a "flirt" message. That's happened to me a few times. Only a few times, yes, but the few times were worth it. It just brightens my day a little bit and puts a smile on my face. "Somebody out there finds me or something I've written attractive! Yes! There's hope for me yet!"

So I say to all single people of the world: get online! Try a singles site for at least a few weeks and get the little bit of encouragement it takes to get a date in real life or hold you over long enough to not feel sorry for yourself. I'm trying it anyway. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thing I'm thankful for: my mom caring about my future happiness. :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

If You Ask, "How Are You?"


If there's one pet peeve I have, it's this: people asking me, "How are you?" or "What's up?" without waiting for my answer. If they don't want an answer, they shouldn't ask the question! Just say "hello" and move on!

Some of my international friends have pointed out to me that this is almost exclusively an American habit. One reason this habit is so irritating, is that I don't know whether a person really wants to find out how I'm doing. So when I actually answer, I feel stupid because by the time I finish the word or sentence for a reply, the person has passed, and I look like I'm talking to myself.

So fellow Americans, please be genuinely concerned about each other! If you're not, just leave your salutations to hellos and goodbyes!

Blogger's Note

I feel like what little credibility I had as a blogger is completely shot. Tonight, my sister pointed out a major typo. It occurred in The Great Molasses Flood post. I'm sorry to say that I left out the word "million" in a very critical part of the summary. That is, it was not 2.3 gallons of molasses that exploded across Boston, it was 2.3 million gallons -- a huge difference.

Yes, yes, it seems funny now, and I'm sorry about that because it was horrible. Sorry, readers.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Crazy About Parchment Paper

It seems like I've been raving about parchment paper non-stop to my sister Lexia. It really is amazing, though. It's basically a thick paper used for baking purposes. The last two times I made cookies, I lined the cookie sheets with the paper, and the cookies didn't stick a bit. Not one bit! I didn't even have to use a spatula to lift the cookies. I just picked them up off the paper!

But the best part? Cleanup is a breeze! No more scrubbing cookie sheets, people!

Get some the next time you make cookies. I promise you'll love me forever! (You can find parchment paper at grocery stores, in the same aisle as aluminum foil and saran wrap.)

Thing I'm thankful for: incredible inventions created for niche markets, like parchment paper, stackable cooling racks, epson glue, or heavy-duty hole punchers.

Holiday Cookies

The day after Thanksgiving, I made more sugar cookies, and everybody decorated them. The popular decorative technique of the evening was to glaze the cookie first, then frost it using a cake decorating bag. Here's Summer hard at work:

These are some of the finished cookies:

For these cookies, I used the recipe found in my previous post, "Best Sugar Cookies". What I forgot to mention in that post is how to make the frosting and glaze. The glaze is just a box of powdered sugar mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water (It's very helpful to use a whisk.). The frosting is a recipe from The Magnolia Bakery of renown New York City and "Busy Nothings" fame. Be thankful I'm posting it, folks, because it's the best frosting I've ever had in my life, and I had to buy the bakery's cookbook in order to get it!

Here it is, straight from page 117 of More From Magnolia:

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners' sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I find that, here in the warm southeastern U. S., the frosting is even better with 10 cups of confectioners' sugar. The key to this (and any baked) recipe is to use butter at room temperature.

Thing I'm thankful for: naps.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I'm sorry I haven't been posting these last few days; I've been busy preparing for this day -- this wonderful, glorious holiday! It's too bad other countries don't celebrate Thanksgiving. I think it's a pretty great idea for a holiday. I think there's no other food better than festive American dishes. When I'm asked what my favorite food is, I always say it's Italian. But after helping my mom with dinner tonight, I decided that American food is pretty good, too. And probably better. Yeah, it's better. It's my favorite.

So I ask you this, readers: What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Mine? It really is a tie -- between turkey and pumpkin pie. YUM.

Thing I'm thankful for: See previous post.


Since this is a day devoted to thanks, I'm going to make this whole post about things I'm thankful for. So.
  1. The gospel of Jesus Christ
  2. My big family
  3. My friends -- especially Kelly, Lauren, and Margret
  4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  5. America
  6. Getting a great job
  7. Our cat, Lucky
  8. The Holiday season

Monday, November 21, 2005

"Earth To America" Or "Crappety-Crap-Crap"?

I'd been anticipating the TBS special "Earth To America" for at least a week. I mean, what comedy program could be better? It was scheduled to have performances by Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Larry David, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, and many others. I was so impressed by the lineup, that I decided to record it.

Sadly, about 10 minutes into the show, I realized the program was an inside joke for the liberal celebrities of the country. It was a politically-charged piece of -- Do I dare say it? Yes, I think I will. It was a politically-charged piece of CRAP. The only really good things it had going for it was the stand-up performances of Cedric the Entertainer and Larry David and a blue grass musical number by Steve Martin, Eric Idle, and Tom Hanks. The funny thing is that the musical number didn't include words! (Incidentally, Steve Martin is extremely entertaining as a banjo-player.)

It's good that celebrities are trying to use their influence for such a positive thing as energy conservation, I guess. But why do some have to make EVERYTHING so incredibly liberal? Yeah, that's a good idea -- blame global warming on President Bush and the rest of America's conservatives! They're the only ones who don't pay attention to environmental crises. Yeah! And the reason everyone can tell that conservatives don't care about the world is because they don't spout out democratic values and liberal standards every time they get a chance. !!!

I know some of the performers just wanted to get the word out to stop global warming, but then jerks like Bill Maher, Wanda Sykes, and Kevin Nealon turn it into a "liberal democrats are good, conservative republicans are the devil" argument. Sometimes I think people like Bill Maher, especially, just say what they say because they have to keep up their acts. What would people say, for example, if Maher decided to tone it down? I mean, how are we to respond to Maher, anyway? Are we to relax, thinking, "It's a good thing he put 300 million people in their places!"

Uh, I guess I'll just stop my rant now before I explode. Actually, I'm not even mad. I don't consider myself as belonging to any particular political party. But I AM bothered. I'm tired of extremist groups on either side getting in my face about "how the world should be run." And that's not really such a bad thing -- it's just that extremists share their opinions in such moronic ways sometimes.

Thing I'm thankful for: Hm. The maybe 200 million Americans who use their minds and mouths intelligently and appropriately excercise their right to free speech?

The Great Molasses Flood

I was up unreasonably late Saturday night watching "Iron Chef" on the Food Network. During one of the commercial breaks, the channel featured a short clip about Boston's Great Molasses Flood in 1919. A 2.3 million-gallon tank of molasses burst in the city's North End, covering Boston in the syrup-y goo. It destroyed homes and warehouses, killed 21 people, and injured 150. The city was cleaning up the mess for up to 6 months after the disaster, and Boston Harbor was stained brown for the same amount of time.

To read CNN's January 2004 article, click here.

Thing I'm thankful for: Higher construction standards as a result of the molasses flood!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm Pro Chocolate

I'm becoming a blogging fool, and to be honest, I'm overwhelming myself with new blog projects. Why? I dunno. Blogging, if you can't tell, is pretty fun for me. I really can't explain why that is, but maybe when I figure it out, I'll make a post about it.

Until then, you can check out one of my new blogs, Pro Chocolate. Lexi came up with the name, so you can give her accolades for being so creative. I'm still working on the design of the blog, so if something doesn't look right or you have suggestions about how to improve it, please let me know.

One of the most popular blogs online is The originator of the blog developed it to showcase the 40-50 postcards he gets everyday. He is a medical researcher who has always been fascinated by postcards -- especially the fact that everyone can read what's on the back of them. So last fall, he placed blank postcards in restaurants, movie theatres, and stores with his address and instructions to create a picture on the card, write a secret wish, confession, regret, or whatever else, and mail it to the address shown.

He has received thousands of postcards. Some of them are a little disturbing and gross, but some are really, really interesting. But what I like best about the project is that it involves community art. I'm really impressed with the images some people have created. Take a look by clicking on that link above.

The site is updated every Sunday.

You can read more about the project here.

Thing I'm thankful for: Snow.

Another Blonde Joke

A blonde woman was speeding down the road in her little red sports car and was pulled over by a woman police officer who was also a blonde. The blonde cop asked to see the blonde driver's license. She dug through her purse and was getting progressively more agitated.
"What does it look like" she finally asked.
The policewoman replied, "It's square and it has your picture on it."
The driver finally found a square mirror in her purse, looked at it and handed it to the policewoman. "Here it is,"she said.
The blonde officer looked at the mirror, then handed it back saying, "Okay, you can go. I didn't realize you were a cop."

For LDS Adam Sandler Fans

I was blog surfing tonight and found a great sound clip of an Adam Sandler impersonation/improvisation. Maybe you've heard of the Hannukah Song??? Well, here's the link to the mormon version.

The link to the mormon version.

Those West Coast Latter-Day Saints are so cool . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: Cold weather and winter coats. FINALLY!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What's Hot Now: The 80's Model Look

Yes, people, I'm catching up with my blog and posting all of these drafts I've had on the backburner. So tonight I've got Lexi's headshots for that 1980's catalog job she's always wanted. . .

Wait for it, wait for it . . .

Was that a Peculiar Purple Pieman from Porcupine Peak move? If you recall, the aforementioned character was on the "Strawberry Shortcake" show made popular in the early 80's. He used to do a little dance thingy.

Thing I'm thankful for: That Lexi makes a complete fool of herself for me because I'm her little sister! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Best Sugar Cookies

Since I don't start my job for another 2 weeks, I decided I'd fill my spare time with baking. (I found that baking, for me, is a great anti-depressant. I discovered this while in the middle of my unemployment blues.)

So I decided to forget about my "no-Christmas-celebrations-until-after-Thanksgiving rule," and just made holiday sugar cookies anyway. The girlies helped me decorate them. Before you look at their handiwork, YOU MUST COPY THE RECIPE and store it in some place safe. Because I have to say that it is the absolute best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used. It's from Betty Crocker's Cookbook: Everything You Need To Know To Cook Today, (2000). The link is found here. What makes this recipe so wonderful is the cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is pretty much my new favorite ingredient! It's an acid salt that adds volume to beaten eggs; it also gives frostings a creamier texture. So basically, it makes these sugar cookies really soft and fluffy. You can find cream of tartar in the baking aisle at the grocery store -- with the spices.

(To learn how to make the frosting for the cookies, click here.)

Okay, here are Macy's cookies.

She wanted me to take a picture of her hands. Yes, they -- as well as her face -- were covered with sprinkles and frosting residue.

What a cutie.

These are Lily's cookies. Her basic decorating strategy was to use all available sprinkles and candy. Forget about clean and simple lines. She wanted color! Right in the center!

She was being goofy when I tried to take her picture. Silly Lily!!

I took some videos of them, too. Maybe if I ever figure out how to upload them onto blogger, you can see the girls in full cookie-decorating action . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: Brooms. Those girls got sprinkles ALL over the kitchen floor!

Pavement Pictures

When Lexi visited, she drew on the sidewalk with Lily and Macy. Naturally, I took this opportunity to take pictures with the digital camera. Lexi drew a picture of the girls. Although it's only a rough sketch, you'd be surprised at it's amazing likeness to the girls. Lexi (and Summer) are really wonderful at drawing caricatures of our family.

I can only remember my Uncle Anthony visiting our family once in Oklahoma. He put long strips of shipping paper on the dining room floor and traced our outlines on it. We then colored our silhouettes however we chose. That activity has always stuck in my mind as something especially great for kids. I know that when in doubt with children, put some paper on the floor, trace the kids, and let them go to town. I think everyone in our family remembers that. And maybe that's what Lexi recalled when she had the girls lie down on the sidewalk to trace them. She filled most of the outline in for them. Here are the results:

This is Lily.

And this really is Lily.

This is Macy.

It's extremely difficult to get a picture of Macy when she's excited. . .

For some reason, the girls decided to pose together for this picture. It's pretty cute.

Lily took a picture of the dinosaur Lexi drew for them.

I took this picture of all three of us. Kids always make a picture look better!

Thing I'm thankful for: Christmas being just around the corner.

What We Need Is a Really Big Match. . .

Mom and Brooks had just bought a new grill. So Brooks got a lighter to go with it. I think he got the best lighter the world has ever known. It was the source of many funny comments for a while. Summer and Brooks -- or maybe it was Lexi and Summer -- acted out the "Does anybody have a lighter?" scenario. And there was the concert-goer-pulling-out-a-lighter-to-show-the-music-moves-him routine. It was super fun, people. Super fun.

Here's Brooks makin' us laugh:

So the point of this post is to tell you that if you're ever bored, get yourself a matchstick lighter. On second thought, maybe that's a bad idea . . .

Anyway, what I want to know is, what funny comment can you think of to go with this lighter? Please leave a comment, and make us all laugh.

Thing I'm thankful for: Being silly with my family.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's Good To Be In Jawjuh

My friend Lauren just sent me this great article about the hotspots for young professionals in America. Check out "7 Cool Cities With Cheap Rents". Hey, they forgot C-town!


Yay! I have a job now! It's with the college I graduated from -- University of West Georgia. My official title is Web Content Manager. Basically, I edit and organize content for the university's web site(s). I start December 1st! Yay!!!

Thing I'm thankful for: Support, encouragement, and help finding a job from my family and friends.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bored With Your Usual Web Sites?

If you're like me, and your extreme TV-watching in the 80's has turned into extreme web-surfing in the 21st century, you probably spend so much time on the internet that you're starting to get bored.

Well, I've discovered that with blogging, online boredom is pretty much out of the question. Now, I know I could just randomly search blogs, but what's the fun in that? I need some order and direction before I just dive into the approximately 20 million blogs. (Wow! That's a lotta blogs!) So today I was talking to my brother, who runs 2 blogs, and he told me about Technorati, one of the up-and-coming blog indexes on the net. There are several similar websites, but I just decided to check that one out. It's pretty cool -- now there's method to blog-surfing madness. I can type in a keyword, and get a list of blogs that relate to that topic. It's quite amazing, really.

I mean, blogs?!? Who EVER thought the internet would be so completely huge? Huge enough to allow absolutely anyone to post pretty much whatever they want -- which, incidentally, is sometimes disgusting. I found an article addressing the increasing popularity of blogs; you can read it here. You should really consider reading the article. Especially if you still don't really know what a blog is.

The craziest thing about blogs, though, is that people are making money just by writing them. Blake told me to look at the most popular blogs Technorati lists. He explained that the top 100 bloggers are surely making thousands. One of them makes about $40-50,000 a year. $40-50,000! I decided I need to get in on this. I've done good by starting a blog. Now I just need to make it super-popular . . . It's a stay-at-home mom's dream! :)

Anyway, I just thought I'd share this fanastic bit of information with you. And I guess some of us really don't need more reasons to spend more time on the internet. But I figure, if I'm going to spend time online anyway, I should at least go about it in a more organized fashion.

Thing I'm thankful for: Green salads. I love some fiber!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nuthin' Like A Golden Oldie

I'd say half of my childhood was spent riding in a car, waiting for my mom to finish errands. Or waiting for dad to finish the long drive to Disneyland. That half of my life was filled with the music my parents listened to when they were in high school -- golden oldies. Yes, I know the words to "Johnny Angel", I know that the Byrds sang about a verse in Ecclesiastes, and I listened to "Leaving on A Jet Plane" before it was made popular on the "Armageddon" soundtrack.

Okay, so maybe that last song isn't technically a "golden oldie," but for contemporary purposes, I'm saying that oldies are about anything between the early 1950's and 1970. I asked my dad what he would consider as the oldie age. He said it started with Bill Haley and the Comets hit, Rock Around the Clock, in 1954 and ended around 1966 or '67, when "hippie" music came onto the music scene.

Anyway, what I'm getting at, I think, is that music from my parents' formative years was great! I mean, tonight my dad set the TV to 60's-style Sirius Radio (satellite radio), and I had a wonderful time talking to my parents about the music they grew up with. We talked about the greatness of oldies -- my dad says that singers then had a LOT of talent, and they always looked nice. My mom says that oldies music has lyrics you can actually hear. And then she and I danced to some Motown, which is my favorite kind of oldies. Besides the Beatles. I think.

It's funny that they associate oldies rock 'n' roll with growing up, and I associate it with being little. But I'm glad that I had early exposure to a cleaner style of music when I was young. Now I'm not saying I don't love some Led Zeppelin or 80's pop or indie music of the 21st century. What I do want to say about that music, though, is that it can be sooooo depressing. Maybe I've just listened to Radiohead's "OK Computer" a bit too much, but I do think it's worth saying that everyone needs a little golden oldie once in a while. It's so refreshing!

Now it's your turn, readers. Tell me which golden oldies you prefer.