Sunday, November 29, 2009

All Aglow

Friday night I headed downtown to catch the lights being turned on on Temple Square. It ended up being relatively warm, making the crowds and people with strollers and slow-walking people worth it. Here's a few pics from the night:

There's nothing I love more than seeing the city get ready for the holidays, with lights not just on Temple Square but down Main Street and 300 South. It makes the city and streets feel magical, and I can't help but marvel at their beauty.

BYU Wins!

All is right with the world, and the rest of the year can now be enjoyed.

Holy War 2009 was exciting and a little nerve-wracking: penalties, players throwing punches, bad calls, OT. When Hall made that pass to George and he crossed the goal line, Jared, Emily, my mom and me just started jumping up and down and cheering. Ahh, the sweet feeling of victory.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jazz Game: A New Thanksgiving Tradition

My usual Thanksgiving tradition, besides turkey, cheese rolls, and pie, is going to see a movie. This isn't a long-standing tradition; I've probably only been doing it the past four years or so. This year, though, the Jazz had a home game on Thanksgiving, and my mom and sister (along with my cousin Phaedra) have season tickets. So I put my movie tradition on hold for a day to attend the Jazz game with my my mom, sister, brother, nieces, nephew, and cousins.

All the kids have their own jersey and looked so cute all dressed up for the game. It was all little Mo could talk about from the moment he woke up on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, he refused to take a nap before the late-starting game and ended up like this during the fourth quarter:

And to mark the momentous gathering of cousins, we took this picture to send to Grandma. Jared bought his jersey that night so he wouldn't be out of place, Marilyn was forced into buying the Jazz jacket she's sporting, and Phaedra bought the Men's Medium shirt for Karen all so when Grandma shows it to visitors we look good.

A Cadre of Cousins
That's my brother Jared, cousin Phaedra, me, cousin Marilyn, sister Emily, and cousin Karen. we are pretty awesome. It was a super fun night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Another Turkey Day Down

Let me just start by putting it out there: the rolls were not a success, and even though the sweet potatoes turned out perfect, it appears no one in my family besides my mom enjoys nuts in their sweet potatoes. So while everyone was enjoying gobs of mashed potatoes on their plates, the sweet potatoes didn't get the same love.

I got up early this morning to start on the rolls. I doubled the recipe so that we would have enough; if there's one thing my family likes, its bread. Well, being the under-estimator and general non-planner that I am, I didn't have enough flour or a big enough bowl. I tried my hardest to make it work, but after two hours the dough was still the same sad size. In the trash it went and off to Smith's we went for some store-bought rolls.

The Bourbon Sweet Potatoes went much more smoothly, even if I did have way too much and no one but my mom and me ate them. I'm still counting it as a success. And next time I'll just make regular candied yams to please my traditional eating family.

Dessert was also a success, even if my two cheesecakes and my mom's two pies are way too much for just four adults and three little kids. There will definitely be enough to tide me over all week. So even though I feel like my duties for Thanksgiving didn't turn out just as I would have liked them to, it wasn't ruined. All that really matters is that I spent the time with my mom, brother, sister, nieces and nephew.

And being the dork that I am, I asked everyone to go around and say what they were thankful. I got many eye rolls, and no one seemed that into the idea, but the kids sure were cute about what they were thankful for. And since none of you were around my table, let me give you the blog version of what I'm thankful for: a place to live, a job, my functioning body, friends who take care of me, family who loves me, my bus pass, sleeping, food, reusable shopping bags, clementines, music.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting Ready

Tomorrow is Turkey Day. This is my first Thanksgiving home in two years, and I've decided to sort of become co-host of the day. To take the burden off my mom I am in charge of dessert, the sweet potatoes, and rolls. This might sound simple, but I'm making all of them from scratch. Well, I'm not growing the yams or making the cream cheese, obviously, but nothing is coming from a can or store bought.

I found a recipe online for Bourbon Pecan Smashed Sweet Potatoes. I'm going to give it a try tomorrow. I really hope it goes well, because I really love sweet potatoes and would really feel like something was missing if there weren't any. The past two years I had Thanksgiving with Maria and Marky Mark and both times this is the type of sweet potatoes they made. Seeing as how anything straying from the accepted norm doesn't always go over so well with my family, this could end up being disastrous. (Going to the liquor store for the bourbon was quite fun; I definitely felt out of place and that everyone around me could tell I had no idea what I was doing.)

As for the rolls, I'm making them from a recipe from a friend's Aunt who made them while I was in Salmon. They were the best rolls I've ever had. I've never made them before, and I love rolls more than I love sweet potatoes and would feel like a complete failure if they didn't turn out being somewhat edible. I would have to declare Thanksgiving officially ruined.

Thankfully, though, my desserts are to die for and tried and true. My signature dessert is White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, which is cooling as I type, and always gets great reviews. I've also made a Decadent Peanut Butter Pie that is setting in the fridge. So if nothing else goes right, at least we'll have something sweet to drown our empty stomachs in.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Love SLC

Just in case I'm giving off the vibe that I'm not happy in Salt Lake, or that I regret my move back, let me tell you about my wonderful Saturday and the simple events that made me realize that I really do love this city.

First, my friend Cat and I caught an early temple session at the Salt Lake Temple. I haven't been back to this temple specifically since taking out my endowment in August and it was great to be back inside the beautiful building that has so much history. It took the Saints forty years to build it, having to stop and cover it up with dirt a couple times, and is such a marvelous edifice to the determination and hard work of the early Saints that I can't help but admire it.

Later in the day I was then able to have lunch and run some errands with my mom and nieces and nephew. I cherish the moments I get to spend with them and I love seeing how they each grow and become their own little people with distinct personalities and quirks. As we shopped for some Thanksgiving needs, I realized that this will be my first Thanksgiving home in two years.

In the evening I headed downtown, one of my favorite places to be in Salt Lake. It was such a lovely, warm night that I walked from a building a co-worker helped paint a mural on to the Gateway shopping center. Even though the streets of downtown are nothing like the crowded sidewalks of New York, there's a certain peacefulness in it that I love. I walked by Temple Square and realized that pretty soon it will be lit up with lights on every tree.

While at The Gateway wasting time before the Jazz Game, I happened upon a free concert. Jon Schmidt, a local Utah musician, was going at it on the piano, playing beautiful Christmas arrangements and getting the crowd ready for the lighting of the tree. And when the tree was finally turned on and lit up in its dazzling colors, I admit that I got a little emotional and excited for the coming Christmas season. There's something about the lighting of a tree and its simple beauty that gets me all nostalgic for Christmases past.

And after all that, I was able to spend the evening cheering on the Jazz to an overtime win with my sister and cousin. A great day in this second city that I love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Este Pizza

Este Pizza, a cute little NYC pizza hamlet in the heart of Sugarhouse. Saturday night my sister and I got pizza from there. It's definitely a place to return to and dine-in--there's a mural of the 1 and A trains on the wall, a collage of metrocards (I still have all my metrocards from my time in New York), and it just has a great NYC vibe. The pizza's also pretty good. For those who like their pizza New York-style, there's also Big Apple Pizza, where we would've gone if there hadn't been an hour and fifteen minute wait. I'm always looking for things here in Salt Lake that will remind me of New York. Maybe that's bad and a bit masochistic, but some days I just miss it so much. This is what a few of my friends in New York had to say about leaving the city that never sleeps, so you don't think I'm the only crazy person who still talks about New York after leaving it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Winter is Really Here

Remember a couple weeks ago when I said that winter was here in Salt Lake? Well, that turned out to be a crazy fluke, because not long after that we had some unseasonably warm weather. So warm that there was no need for a coat most days. And it was nice.

Today, winter is here with a vengeance. It started out as some really wet snow this morning, then turned into a full blown storm. It was windy, snowy, cold--all the makings of winter. So I think I can now officially say that winter is here.

(Pictures taken from my mom's house a couple hours ago.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Day Is It?

As I was lying in bed Monday night, getting ready for the next day, I had convinced myself that tomorrow was Wednesday. I went over it in my mind, and I had definitely already worked two days. I spent most of my Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday, so it was quite crushing when I realized my mistake later in the day. So not only did I have to experience Wednesday twice, but now it's looking as though I'll have to do the same with Friday, as today definitely felt like a Friday. I feel tomorrow I should be able to sleep in, but alas, I must get up and trudge my way to work. Wish me and my fading mind luck.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Koat Drive

No, that is not a misspelling. There was a coat drive tonight at the Jazz game hosted by one Kyle Korver. I don't know if you've heard, but apparently he's pretty cute. All the girls in Utah have gone crazy over him, including my sister and cousin. They enjoy basketball anyway, but having Korver on the team makes them enjoy it that much more. My cousin Phaedra spends most of the game looking through her binoculars checking out KK's every move. They are avid fans and cannot understand why I'm not in the same boat with them. They were sure that when I saw him up close tonight, the reward for donating a coat for Korver's annual Coat Drive, I would immediately see that I had been crazy and join their obsession.

Last year, Phaedra said she nearly hyperventilated when she got up to the table. This year she was much better, but was visibly nervous as we stood in line. When her moment finally came, she handed him her matted picture to sign (which cost more for her to ship to get here in time than the photo itself cost), he said, "Sure, no problem," when she asked to take his picture, and then it was over. She handed her camera to me afterward to take a picture and her hands were shaking!

Emily and Phaedra with their signing pictures, and me with nothing (he had 4x6 photos there for those who aren't obsessed).

Well, I'm still not on the Korver train. Sorry ladies. It's not that I think he's ugly, he's handsome and nice and has a slight midwest accent, but he's just not my cup of tea. Perhaps if he could grow some facial hair, but until then, my only interest in him is when he's playing on the court and helping the Jazz win. And really, I'm just glad that some little girl will get to wear a super cute coat this winter because of the Korver Coat Drive.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Concerto and a Symphony

For a couple weeks I had been hearing commercials on the radio for the Brahms Piano Concerto at Abravanal Hall. My cousin Phaedra, who has season tickets to the Utah Symphony, came through as she always does with a ticket for me. The show was amazing! I don't know a lot about classical music, I don't know the difference between a concerto and a symphony, I don't know what a Maestoso or Adagio or Rondo is; I have no idea what's going on most of the time. But I do know the way the music makes me feel and the grand power of it all; I know that I can be deeply moved by the sound of a violin, a triangle, a piano, a cello, and the entire orchestra working together to create something beautiful. I have a secret dream of being a great musician and playing violin with an orchestra in a grand hall. Unfortunately, my musical talents were thrown by the wayside when I stopped taking piano in junior high school. So for now I'll just have to be content with experiencing the talents of others.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Courtside Photo Shoot

My mom, sister, and cousin are Jazz season ticket holders. Along with getting to attend all home games (and becoming quite a good way) there's a multitude of other perks only available to the season ticket holder. Tonight it was getting to take pictures in the empty arena (the Jazz were away in Dallas losing their second straight) with life-size player cardboard cutouts.

We brought along the grandkids, and they had tons of fun just running around the court and playing with the empty chairs. How often will they get to do that?! Very cool. Heck, I was even slightly in awe of being in the middle of the Jazz court. Granted, it was empty, but still a cool experience.

So here's a few pics from the night. I didn't have my camera that night (of all the time to forget it) so thanks to Phaedra for letting me use hers; my mom and sister are unfortunately slightly camera-picture-transferring-to-computer-to-email-to-people deficient.

Aren't they adorable in their Jazz jerseys, posin' with the ball. They're such cheeseballs, especially Moses. He would pose and say cheese with every photo taken.

And I just couldn't resist posing myself...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Returning to New York

Not me (for now) but the Phillies! They came back after losing last night to win 8-7 and keep their hopes alive for back-to-back World Series Championships. I am not a baseball fan by any stretch, but when it gets to be the World Series it can be kind of fun to watch. Plus no other team than the Yankees elicit such strong love-hate reactions; I for one hate them. And even though I root for anyone going against them, this year I at least have a soft spot for the Phillies because they've been my dad's team forever. So as the Phillies travel the short distance to New York, I'll remember how much I love New York and how much I hate the Yankees, and hope that the Phillies can pull off something miraculous.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Cat!

Today is my wonderful friend Cat's birthday. Since moving back from New York we have spent a lot of time together and have become even better friends. Cat is amazingly kind and generous, a wonder with a sewing machine, a nurse at Primary Children's, and just one of the best people I know. Whenever I'm in a tough spot she's there to offer any sort of assistance she can, and always reminds me to have perspective and to not worry about the past. Without her I wouldn't have made one of the most important decisions in my life that has brought peace, learning, and understanding.

Tonight we had dinner, cake, ice cream and presents at her parents' home. The Drake's are kind enough to have me over for dinner fairly often, and even remember that I don't like my vegetables cooked and always leave a little out raw for me.

Happy Birthday Cat! You're amazing and I can't imagine my life without you!

Sweatin' it Out

Happy Halloween!! It was a beautiful day. I did some grocery shopping and walking around Sugarhouse, and I loved seeing people dressed up for the holiday. I love that there is a day when it is perfectly acceptable for everyone to dress up as something, anything, and not be looked at strangely. You can show up to work dressed as Edward Scissorhands and no one bats an eye. You can wear a cat tail and paint your face and people smile at you. It's just so great that we have this day out of the year where it's okay to not be in your normal clothes.

I unfortunately didn't get to see Ivy, Elliett and Moses in their costumes due to a lack of proper communication. Mo was Indiana Jones and I'm super sad I didn't get to see him with a fedora and whip. I also didn't get to bestow candy on any trick-or-treaters, since I was planning on being out with the kids and didn't buy anything. I had to turn off the lights and ignore the door knocks because I didn't have any candy to give out!

To cap off the night and end the holiday in style (and to start early on the celebratin' for Cat's birthday tomorrow) we went to a Stomp at the Institute. I can sum it up in three words: hot sweaty fun. There were tons of people and they were all sweaty. You could actually see the sweat glistening off of people. Guys would run into my arm in the craziness and leave a wet mark! Gross! But no one seemed to care, because we were all sweaty. And having tons of fun dancing the night away.

We retired our Ghostbuster costumes and went as a witch and fairy who is a BYU supporter.

The stomp was right after the Utah Blackout game, and when I donned the shirt prior to going it looked like Utah was going to lose and I would wear my shirt with pride. Well, they won. A few people asked if my shirt was a costume, and one guy even came up to me and said he liked my shirt and was glad to know there was at least one other fan amont those crazy Utah people. I've decided wearing a Y shirt in U territory is a great way to meet guys and weed out the ones who are non-dateable based on school affiliation. (This is said a bit facetiously, as I wouldn't discount a guy entirely by him being a U fan; many mixed marriages work.)

I've become quite inhibition-less on the dance floor in the recent years. I love to just get out there and move, even if I have no moves and no rhythm. I've come a long way from my high school dance days, and am even wondering when next it'll be that I can get on a dance floor.

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