Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Magic 2008

A dream I've had for awhile was partially realized on Saturday night: I sang karaoke. And I didn't laugh through the whole thing! A co-worker and I sang "Baby It's Cold Outside" at the company party...and it was a smash hit. I think we'll be recording soon. Turns out that song is all about seduction, which makes for fun times in the office.

In other news, I wrote this a week ago or so, and never posted it:
I may be getting a little restless here in the Promised Land of SLC...but sometimes I remember why I love it here. Man, I have the coolest friends. Every single one of my lady friends is beautiful and amazing and even more fun when drunk off a little too much fondue. I try to surround myself with attractive, enjoyable people so that some of those characteristics will rub off on me. I think it will work at some point--all dem boys are bound to see me walking with a bunch of hotties (not knowing most of them are married) and just automatically assume that I must be hot and enjoyable too.. Even if that doesn't work, I get some wicked entertainment out of the company. I woke up very happy today because of that.

And, for the kids, a nice picture of Will Ferrell.



Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today my blogging reaches a new realm--Just trying to keep things interesting for all two of you readers....so today we talk about things that actually matter.

Typically, I'm not one to run around, shouting about what I believe. I think that sort of needs to change. Well, I probably won't shout, but I would like people to know what I believe because it matters. Not much that I do in a normal day matters that much, in the long run, except for how I choose to treat people and who I choose to be, on a spiritual level. I'm sad to say that often I come up short on both accounts, but...here's to hoping there's lots of time for me to practice, eh?

So, in short, this is a testimony post. My voice is small, but I know certain things and think they should be heard, even if just by the two of you who read this.

I know there is a God, and He is listening. I've never known it so completely as I do now. I know that He loves me. He finds ways to show me that He loves me, and while I don't always appreciate how it's happening...when I come away with a sure knowledge that I am loved by someone like that, it nearly knocks me over. This knowledge is absolutely central to my life, and I'm just now starting to figure out why.

Being loved is key to human existence. Babies die in orphanages because they don't receive the love they need. Relationships are destroyed when there is even a doubt about the presence of love; We run around our entire lives striving for love, no matter how much we might think we're after different things. Anyone who has been in love knows what a powerful force it is--It is motivating, all-forgiving, and all-sacrificing, when it's pure. And that's just human love. Do we really understand what it means to be divinely loved? It too is motivating. It helps us forgive. It makes us willing to sacrifice many of the worldly, eternally unimportant things. Feeling that love puts everything in perspective, because nothing petty or potentially hurtful can matter when God is holding you in His arms.

I have felt it. I have felt it without knowing why or how He chooses to love what I am. I have felt it when I find it impossible to love myself and impossible to love others. This feeling is helping my life mean something.

There are so many people in this world who don't know this. I am aching with the desire to make it known, because so much hurt and hate could be healed by this knowledge. What a strange state we live in--most of the time we aren't willing to even listen to the answer to all our problems. I know that there are still problems, even with this knowledge--There is hurt and hate and bad days and willful disobedience--but to be able to go through a normal day with a sense of what is important and what isn't makes life pretty amazing.

So that's pretty much it. Simple, right? I believe in a loving Heavenly Father, I believe in the LDS church, and I want other people to believe it too. I don't think that's bad to say that I want others to believe it. I'm selling something pretty amazing, here. Without any of this knowledge, one can still be happy and live a good life. But now I know how much happier and better life can be, and I would love for everybody to know that too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Red rum

Last night I listened to a mouse we caught in the trap we set for it, and I heard it struggling to set itself free...I even heard it squealing and crying. And then it died. I feel like a murderer.

I actually think mice are kind of cute. I don't think I would feel like a murderer if I listened to a spider die.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Much-delayed pictures

Two dress-up occsasions that I've been meaning to post about: Halloween and the Sub 4 Santa 5k. I love costumes.



Monday, November 10, 2008

Geneology

I am doing it--My geneology. And the reason why I am doing it is very plain to see!

Those are the only words I remember.
Anyway, I've been getting really into family history lately. I just love reading all the stories and getting to know the people that make up my family tree. Here's an example of a woman I found--there's only a little bit recorded about her, but for some reason I just feel really close to her. I feel like...she and I are really similar, somehow. I don't know why. Anyway, here she is:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ROCK THE VOTE!
JAM THE VOTE!
BE THE VOTE!

Gooooooooooooo AMERICA!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10 Awesome Things About Being a Graphic Designer

  1. Everyone says "cool" when I tell them what I do. Like I'm an astronaut. This makes me feel good, but also slightly deceptive, considering that I spend a LOT of my time on boring, non-creative layout and at most have maybe 2 creative pieces to my credit. Cool.
  2. I can wear baggy clothes and lots of eyeliner and...people chalk it up to being artsy.
  3. I draw pictures all day.
  4. I understand some of the jokes Pam and her art school friends make on The Office...and I laugh heartily just to prove it.
  5. At work I am continually referred to as a Creative. 'Creative' is a noun here.
  6. People request random things all the time--like an invitation to a daughter's baptism. And when asked if they have any ideas about how it should look, they may toss in some helpful hints like "You know, white...some sort of frilly stuff...maybe a 3-D dove or something..." So then I laugh and say "sweet"...and then I realize they aren't joking. WHAT? A 3-D dove? Seriously?
  7. I pretty much get to exhibit the full range of emotions and temperamental behavior...people chalk it up to being artsy.
  8. I don't get in trouble at work for searching Google images or watching YouTube--it's creative research.
  9. I hear this phrase at least 5 times a day: "I'm no artist, but..." (Usually said before delivering an opinion on something I've created.)
  10. I work with some awesomely quirky people. I am becoming quirky-er every day because of it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eddy Utah


Eddy is going to be a famous model.
Libby and I are entering these photos, and I swear if he doesn't win I'll...quit life.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September

Today I said goodbye to September.

True, some days I said I wanted to sleep through this month. It hasn't treated me the way I would expect a favorite to—sometimes it almost felt like February. But one doesn't alway love a thing because of how nice it is, or because it earns it. Sometimes you love something simply because it exists, because it's a part of you. When I looked at the calendar and saw tomorrow, I realized that today holds so much of finality, of things needing to be put to rest.

So I took a drive. I chose a route I don't travel every day but that is still dimly familiar. It began as something of a stress reliever, with wind in my hair and the music turned up loud. Soon, however, I started to see things that pulled the full weight of farewell firmly into my thoughts.

I saw hints of deep colors, muted by the lateness of the season, and receded waters that spoke of more abundant times. I saw pockets of intense, unexpected storms, with painful jabs of lightening and blood-tinged clouds—like those days when the cold came suddenly and reached all the way to my heart, when the emptiness filled my bones without words and without touch, and I knew the coming winter would be the coldest I've weathered. Those storms fought for my attention, but they were surrounded by mild, comforting, everyday sky to draw my eyes away.
I followed winding roads, sometimes expecting the curves ahead and at times being surprise by how sharply they cut through the scenery. I recognized that shoreline, that peak, that wandering path. I glanced at that arbitrary roadside stall, and the significance of it took my breath away.

As the sun set on my scene, I wished for more. More light, more warmth, more of the colors I can now only illuminate with my imagination. Eventually I yielded, and said goodbye to something so beautiful—how achingly beautiful I can never convey, no matter how well you think you know these parts.

I am infinitely sad to see it go, but I hope there will be other Septembers...or, at the least, a few great Octobers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Old Beyond Years

...Tears For Fears.
I told someone the other day that something I said was an inside joke with myself and they thought it was weird. Is that weird? I have LOTS of those.

Anyway, it feels like forever since I had the writing bug, and here it is! Probably very boring for most people but here are the thoughts of late:

I'm finding that life is a simple process of turning into one big cliche. When you're a kid, you don't sit back and wish for the good ol' days. When you're still a kid but old enough to know what people mean when they wish for the good ol' days, you swear you'll never be like that. At some point, major life milestones start happening, and no amount of proclaiming them weird or surreal changes the fact that you are indeed growing older, and you are in fact living all those scenarios you most surrealy imagined.

Point is, I feel old. Some great shift has taken place in the last year or so, and suddenly I'm remarking that summers feel shorter than they used to; good friends don't keep in touch like they used to; my body doesn't happily take a beating like it used to.

I'm 26.
26 isn't old, by logical standards. By 14-year-old mentality standards, however, it's ancient. And while I claim a certain amount that immaturity, I never anticipated that at age 26 I would pull a muscle doing routine things like, say...shopping. Or that I would gaze at a toddler and be overcome with amazement--and jealousy--at the amount of energy they possess.
I never dreamed I'd so unmistakably notice things changing.

I've watched my father, over the years, become more emotional, more appreciative, more drink-in-the-moments minded. Maybe it was his heart attack--Maybe it's the increase in grandchildren. Maybe it's just plain aging. Whatever it is, it seems that we soften as we go. Things mean more. I feel it more profoundly when I am hurt, or when someone I love is hurt. I have less tolerance for the violence and cruelty I see in the world around me. I wonder more often if I'm doing what I should and being someone who matters. I am so keenly aware of the moments that result in happy memories...and of those that will teach me something difficult.

If I feel like this at 26, I can't imagine 46, 66, and beyond. I'll probably spend all my time remarking about how strange it is that I'm 46, 66, and beyond. Or about those days when gas was $4.25 a gallon. Or about how weird it is that I used to never think I'd find it exhausting to sleep in a tent and hike and eat granola bars and get sunburned but now I do.
I want the wisdom of age and the vitality of youth. I guess that's what everybody wants, but that's not the plan. Maye I'll settle for the ability to do the splits. And stay up all night for fun. And work a minimum wage job with summers off.

Maybe you grow old and look back on your life and wonder if it all really happened. And a small part of you wonders if it was all really that short, that amazing, and that meaningful. In truth, it probably wasn't. But age lends meaning to everything.

So I guess I welcome the rose-colored lenses.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Starstruck

I only hope I look this excited if I ever happen to meet the famous Joel Welch.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Holga


Whoa, look out--2 posts in one day. It's a seriously lame-o day at work. On Saturday.

Anyway, I mentioned once that I received a Holga for my birthday. Many of you don't know what that is. Hullo! I'm here to tell you.
It's a fantastic little camera, and it looks like it was made in the 60s...or for little kids. Or both.
The great part is that I have virtually no control over how my pictures come out with this little gem, so every image is a surprise. Good surprise! I skimmed the instructions when I got it because I was too impatient to really read them, and I started jamming film in it and went to town. After some strange symbols started appearing in the film viewer and the back just popped off at one point, totally exposing a section of the film, I realized I may need to actually try to do it right and pretty much wrote off that whole first roll of film. Well, happy surprises abound! I got my film developed and scanned it myself and was delighted to find 16 images! And I even liked some! Here are my faves:








And don't think I don't know what you're thinking: "Those pictures aren't that awesome. They just look...old and crappy." Well, you're wrong. Dead wrong. These are awesome and I'm very excited to get more and more awesome with this crappy little camera.
PS All these pictures are from Greece Lightning.

Saturday's Warriors

Well, it's Saturday. And I'm working. Correction: I'm at work, but doing very little actual work.
This business might kill me. I love my job and the people with whom I work, but I don't know how long I can stand working in this volatile advertising world. There's absolutely no security, no predictability, and the clients control your lives.
Maybe I'm just not cut out for work. The problem, though, is that everybody my age says that. We all think we're somehow above the 9-5. How does one gain the work ethic that seems to come naturally in older generations? My Peter Pan complex has seriously inhibited my productivity.

On that note, I'm craving a slip n' slide. On my lunch break. Today. Which is Saturday. Anybody up for it?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Pittance

Write whatever I'm thinking: 3..2..1....contact:
1) The clouds are bleeding today. I know that sounds like some sort of poetic attempt at describing rain, but it's not. They looked like jellyfish--all poofy on top and droopy-streaky on the bottom. That I've never seen before, or maybe noticed. I wonder if it's normal to think everything strange I see is a sign of some sort. Bleeding clouds=freaky Utah storm, the likes of which we've never known=End of The World.
2) I did laundry a week ago. It's still sitting on my floor. I'm pretty sure after that long you just give up and declare the clean laundry dirty laundry and start over. Except I don't think I can let my jeans get any tighter. I mean, they're tight enough after one wash. Imagine a double wash. Just imagine!
3) My superior sense of smell has kicked into high gear lately, and I can't get enough of the smells of summer. Sprinklers on grass in the sun? Man. I'm nearly drunk from it.
4) I won (aka lost) credit card roulette the other day. I can no longer say I never win anything.
5) I'm currently amazed at how quickly peoples' lives can change. It helps us stay sane to think that there's any measure of security in the lives we lead, that each day will be relatively similar to the last. But occasionally a wake up call cuts through all of that and drives home the idea that existence is fragile. Routine is fragile. And foresight can only take you so far.
6) Pretending to be sad makes you actually sad. Take my word for it.
7) I'm kind of done with blogging sometimes. Not today times, but sometimes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Best Days

Warning: Long post. Long, worth-it post.
For the last several years I've been able to name the best day of my life. The day changes periodically, but I always have one in mind. In 2006 it was June 1st--Just an overall good day. I ran 7 miles, water skied, floated the Provo River, went to a winning Real Soccer game, and wrapped it all up by breaking up a highschool gang fight at Molca Salsa.

2007 trumped 2006 in many ways, but mostly in the beginning of July (exact day undetermined), on a day known as Truck Pool Day. I don't think I've simultaneously laughed and drowned so enjoyably in my life. We emptied 3 pools with our very scary neighborhood driving and went through the Del Taco drive-in.

These days have several things in common, most importantly a) A vague idea of some activities for the day; b) Nowhere important to be; c) No limits on time; d) Beautiful weather; and e) Good friends. And my most current Best Day of My Life? No different.

May 24, 2008
We awoke early in our skimpy hotel rooms; we feasted early on our skimpy hotel breakfast. We had a plan and Freedom was its name. Across the street waited 3 beautiful machines for that purpose, and we had only to sign our lives over to the man who never changed clothes or positions in his little shop. 3 quick lessons and 6 helmets later, we were off.

My partner was Katherine,
and she gave me the glory of driving first. Our little chain wound its way to the south-western peninsula of Santorini. We had a destination in mind, but soon realized that we didn't care where we went, so long as we were in control... The wind whipped through our hair and Katherine and I found ourselves singing anything and everything we could think of at the tops of our lungs. After several days and several cities worth of relying on public transportation, we were just now realizing what we'd been missing. We made a few scenic stops and then arrived triumphant at the Lighthouse, destination #1. Small hike, small cave, small doll found in bushes, the end.

Then we cruised to Red Beach. The cliffs in this particular part of the volcanic island are slightly red, from whatever crazy gases were emitted in the eruption. The red mixes with black and makes for a pretty cool background to blue-green water. We swam, we tried clinging to a rock (Mermaid-style), and I spent long moments listening to the water tossing rocks onto the shore--I think I have a favorite sound, and I can't believe I haven't heard it before.

Next stop: Peruvilos Beach (spelling uncertain). You know how you see a Corona commercial and think "what beach really looks like that?" Well...I have an idea. We ate lunch at a beach front restaurant and a few girls fell in love with our scrawny 12-year-old server. Then we each found a beach chair with accompanying thatch umbrella and took naps, read, whatever. I took a walk and spent some delicious alone time, applying what I'm certain should be a new spa treatment: Black Sand Scrub. Despite the occasional naked person who slightly ruined the view, this beach was super paradise. We attempted to crash a volleyball game full of Greek male models with laughable sports skills but ended up spectating instead.

Then we explored a few random villages, which satisfied my craving for the Santorini of my imagination. We walked around Pyrgos, and after being invited into a creepy old lady's house and repeatedly offered a donkey ride by a cute old man, we happened across a hilltop church with an all-too-accessible bell. I, thus challenged, decided that the bell tolls for me and gave it a healthy clang. Actually, it was a surprisingly loud CLANG that sounded out over the whole valley. Figuring the bell police were surely after us, we took off running and laughing our way down the hill. This whole event was captured on video, only to be suspiciously destroyed later...thus entering it in the realm of myth. You can tell your grandchildren that you know the girls who unwittingly mobilized the Greek troops to defend the castle against the encroaching pirates by sounding the Pirate Bell...if you want.





We raced back victorious to our skimpy hotel and transformed into beautiful goddesses so we could head to Fira for the sunset. All the restaurants overlooking the caldera (read: huge watery basin in the middle of the ring of islands) are super expensive so we grabbed cheap gyros and jumped on a roof with an amazing view. I will forever love the guy from the restaurant right next to us who saw us, contemplated, and then decided to let us enjoy our illegal selves. After some shopping and some amazing desserts, we retired for the evening.
This, my friends, was the pinnacle of the trip for me. I may or may not document the rest of it, but this gives an adequate picture of how it felt to be free in Greece for 10 days. Until something tops it, May 24th was the best day of my life.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

I'm very bendy.
Observe.



And I am the winner. Which means I scrunch my face up like a little rat or something.

I pretty much have the coolest job ever. Cinco de Mayo was a banner day for me--My group won the dance-off, and I won the limbo contest. I was very sore later, but I would rather break every bone in my back before I would have let that weak little pole get me down. Yeah! What, pole, WHAT?! Yeah, take that, gumby-chick co-worker! You may be my closest competitor for hottest in the office, but I'm not scared. I'm not blond, and I'm not scared. I can take you anytime. BAM!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

26 years young

Well well well. Another year has passed and I find myself in my Late Twenties. *Gasp!*
The Early Twenties have been nothing if not formative, so I can't wait to see what happens in this, the sunset of my life.
I call it the sunset of my life because my golden birthday is next year. (Some people don't know what that means, and I pity you. I also pity you if your golden was at age 2 or something. You weren't even aware, and that hurts my heart.) For as long as I can remember I've looked forward to the age of 27, since that will be my golden birthday. My Golden Age. All the stars will be aligned and my life will reach its pinnacle of awesomeness, to forever surpass my previous peak in fourth grade.

Beyond that, what is there?
I must assume that the downward slope will begin on the dawn of age 28. *audible sigh*

But enough of that Melancholy Molly. Let's talk about birthdays! This year's was one for the books, fo sho. Since I had a Sunday birthday, I got to have a whole birthday weekend. Thanks to all those who endured multiple birthday activities....all I can say is that at least I've scaled it down from a whole week, right?
Here are some highlights:
Flowers at work
Chinese food with good friends -- and the many good things that happened there (i.e. Caboodle, me trying to feed grease to a baby, that old Chinese guy, and everyone trying to eat our potstickers, [including the baby.].) .].).].)
Sleeping in
Shopping with Mom (Market Street wasn't half bad either)
The Barker Birthday Duet
Feats of Strength
-- I see it as a sign of our growing age that lately we are continually pitting ourselves against each other in various physical contests...of which I win none. I can just see us all at age 75, pulling a break-dancing stall and saying "look what I can still do!"...and then paying for it for a week. Oh wait, that's what happens now. *even more audible sigh*
A guitar in tip-top shape
HOLGA!
The Stomp-esque birthday rendition that had a 5 minute intro and culminated in a bread pudding candle blowing
The Friendship basket
Cookie sundaes and Sundays with friends
Reading in the warm sun on a beanbag on the deck

Anyway, the list goes on and on. There were only 2 lowlights: 1) No birthday dance by me and Snee, and 2) Colby fell and Frankensteined himself forever (click on The Richins blog for pictures..but only if you can handle it. The cute little guy is a friggin champ, though--look how he poses all gruesomely!)

Okay I'll be done now. But I love everyone and loved this birthday. I loved age 25 and so far I love 26 even more. Wow! That's a lot of love. But that's how I feel so there it is. Rock the 26.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Peeves

Pet peeves, as requested by Cara:
1) People who think they have me figured out...and don't
2) Rhythmic noises, like tapping or clicking or gum chewing or anything like that.
3) Flakiness. Not like buttery roll flakiness, but more like people not doing what they say they'll do.
4) "Without a shadow of a doubt", "with every fiber of my being", "I would be ungrateful if I didn't stand up here today", "nourish and strengthen our bodies", "the 3 Nephites were standing behind her when the killer opened her door" and other church cliches. Yes, I'm very critical at church sometimes. Isn't that awesome?
5) Habitual negativity
6) Papyrus typeface

This post put me in a bad mood. Particularly because I, at any given time, am guilty of any or all of the above trespasses (except #6. Never #6). So now I will write some things I really like, just to make myself feel better:
1) Nice lettering on signs and posters...good design anywhere, really.
2) Beautiful, thought-provoking movies like Big Fish and and O Brother, Where Art Thou and Stranger Than Fiction (watch that for a good design example, too!)
3) Giving the perfect gift
4) Good friends
5) Big tips
6) Sunny birthdays
7) Tater tots
8) Freesia
9) Rainy days for reading and Jolly Time kettle corn
10) My artist alter-ego name: Stella Sanchez

I'm not tagging anyone specific, but feel free to pet peeve post (or good things post) if you desire.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Musical Musings

I really wanted this post to be awesome and click-able, so you could hear the music I'm talking about. But that proves far too complicated and time-consuming than the lazy blogger can handle. So, if you're really interested, just ask me for details and I will reply. Then you can find anything you want using any methods you want. And if you know a good way to do this on Blogspot (without illegally downloading music), please let me know. Mwah.

1) There must have been a rash of incidents involving men dressing up as women and seducing unsuspecting m
en—a veritable Transvestite Epidemic. Just listen to such songs as “Lola” (I know what I am and what I am is a man, and so is Lola—La la la la Lola”) and “Dude Dressed Like a Lady”. Was this problem really so prevalent? As an isolated incident, maybe it warrants one song, but wow. Confusing times.

2) There’s this song about me by Sting, called “All Four Seasons.” More accurately, it’s about some guy who’s helplessly in love with me, despite my mood shifts.

3) I dare you to find better jogging music than The Sounds. Bring it!

4) One time a boy put my favorite Eva Cassidy song on a random, impulsive mix for me, because he knew I liked it. I’m sure there was no other deep meaning attached—he simply knew I liked it. Little did h
e know what that song does to me! He declared passionate love to me without even meaning to. Such a reckless use of sacred music. Idiot.

5) I’m willing to
bet that the guys from Depeche Mode were the kind of kids who would raise their hands in Sunday school or in sex ed and say that thing that makes everyone cringe. “Vows are spoken to be broken…” or “God’s got a sick sense of humor and when I die I expect to find Him laughing…” etc. These things are designed to set your teeth on edge.

6) Have you ever seen someone rocking out so thoroughly, even violently, in their car that you expect a crash? Have you ever been that person? When I see that, I always wonder if it’s happy music or scary, pulsing, screamo music that they’re rocking out to.

7) Few things move me like music does. Last time I was agonizing over something in my perceived state of solitude, itunes providentially switched to the Killers, and I sang/prayed along as what’s his face repeated “You know you gotta help me out /
yeah, you know you gotta help me out / No don’t you put me on the backburner, you know you gotta help me out. It’s awfully self-absorbed to think songs are written for/about me as much as I do.

8) My college roommate Sarah had this quote on her wall from Pearl Jam: “I
know some day you’ll have a beautiful life. I know someday you’ll be the sun in somebody else’s sky.” I’ll never forget that, for some reason.

9) Here’s an idea: Keep a playlist in your itunes called “Right Now”. Next time you’r
e doing something mindless (folding laundry, cleaning, getting ready for prom), take a minute to select 10-15 songs for this list. Just go quickly through all your songs and throw in the ones that immediately catch your eye. I’ll typically keep a list for a few days (listen to it several times) and then clear it out without looking at it and start over. You’ll know when to clear it, when it’s time for a new Right Now. I think it’s really interesting to see what I choose at different times.

10) If I could name one artist who most expressed the music that would come out of me, it would be Damien Rice. I promise I’m not always so anguished as that—I just think music would come out of me mostly when I was anguished, so it would sound like that….Anyway, the happy music that would come out of me would be like The Origin or sometimes OMD or other 80s stuff.

11) John Mayer may have a raspy voice and not the cutest face in the world, but some of him is pretty amazing. “You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes—it brought me back to life.”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Lost Brownies

I've had many requests lately for this recipe (though not really in BlogTowne...but oh well), so I thought I'd share it with the thousands of people who check my blog daily.
The story: I had a random roommate one summer who made these weekly...and I blame her for the 12 lbs I gained in a few short months. The brownies were the only thing we had in common, but she wasn't so keen to share the recipe. I weaseled it out of her eventually, but lost it years later. My dreams were haunted by vague chocolate yearning for years, until I ran into an acquaintance of the former roommate. I weaseled the recipe out of her, and proudly present the results of my weaselly efforts. I think "secret" recipes are so stupid--If you love something, share it with people! If you've had these, share the recipe with your friends. If you haven't, call me and I'll make you some. Enjoy.

The Lost Brownies
1 c. butter
8 T. cocoa
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 c. flour

Melt butter and cocoa over low heat; Cream eggs and sugar. Add cocoa mixture to egg mixture SLOWLY ( to avoid cooking eggs) and stir. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour into a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350ยบ for 12-15 minutes (you may need practice to see how you like them cooked--I like them kind of fudgy). Frost right out of the oven.

Frosting:
1/4 c. butter
2 T. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
dash of salt
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Whole milk

Melt butter and cocoa on low heat; add remaining ingredients, with enough milk to make it pour-able. Stir until really smooth, but don't let it cool too much...and pour on super hot brownies. BAM!

**OCD notes: Use only real butter and whole milk, or you'll anger the brownie gods. And be generous with the salt, my friends!

Friday, March 21, 2008

If nothing else, painful experiences are conducive to thoughtful expression. So….All-aboard the Thought Train! Woot-woot!


I want to discuss how it is that our vision becomes blurred without our knowledge…or at least without our conscious permission. I find that even though I’m getting older and seemingly wiser, I’m not getting better at controlling the blinders that come for the duration of my experiences. Even while I’m practicing practicality, I’m only thinking clearly enough to make my own reality—a reality that becomes truly clear only when I’m looking back. They say hindsight is 20/20 and I’m redefining what that means…I’ve always thought it was like looking back on that stock purchase you should have made, that “near miss” that seems so logical now that everything has played out. I now think it means that once the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, I can see with unforgiving clarity all the facets of an experience that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see before. This is not always an enjoyable process. Having your actions thrown into sharp focus is somewhat painful, if you’re honest. No room for delusions, excuses, or benefit of the doubt. Suddenly I can see how much I fight and push for the things I want, and how much I convince myself that it’s going my way, when the signs throughout are telling the truth more succinctly than my mind will allow.


I have to declare myself as an internal optimist, then. Because I apparently hope for and expect things that aren’t happening, right up until the bitter end. My heart is only convinced of the reality of my failures when there’s no possible room for doubt left—I suppose that’s a good thing in some ways, but I can’t help but wonder….if I didn’t try so hard sometimes to make things so, could I relax and just let them happen? Would they happen? And if they didn’t happen, is that any worse than convincing myself that they are happening, only to experience that crash, that wind-knocked-out-of-me feeling that comes when reality sets in? They say the higher you climb, the farther you fall. Well, I better start investing in a safety net, because I’m not going to stop climbing anytime soon. I would, however, like to be able to better recognize when I have steps to cling to, rather than inventing them. Amazing how high one can climb on imagined ladders—Thank goodness the ground below isn’t imagined as well, since I seem to need that plummeting to wake me up. Wicked says it best: “Don’t dream too far—don’t lose sight of who you are.”


There’s really no point in analyzing it, since I’ve already pointed out that it’s beyond my control. I so fervently wish that it weren't. But I wouldn’t know what to do with that ability if I had it. I don’t know that I’ll ever find that balance between hoping for good, preparing for bad, expecting reality, protecting myself, and remaining open to all possibilities. I’ve never learned how to juggle.


*Note: I realize this may seem like a depressing post. And it is. I apologize. Happiness must be tempered by opposition in order to exist, right? Happiness MUST be tempered by opposition in order to exist…And I’m still having the time of my life ☺

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'M RUNNING A MARATHON.

Please come to the after-funeral. June 14th.
http://www.mammothmarathons.org/bl/bl.html

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday!


Check this out for a preview of coming attractions. Pictures of us for sale!
http://www.sharpshooterimaging.com/Templates/is-search2c.php?imageset=/0&vn=&destLocation=&resetselected=true


You can buy a copy if you want. That would be a little weird, but...whatever.

In other news, I'm posting the story below because it makes me happy. This was an add-on story between me, Shelley and Laura--I think it was a long time ago. If any of you want to finish it, I'm dying to know how it ends.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Shellinskaya who liked to sit and read by her pool. She read all sorts of books; Books about love, books about vengeance, and books about how to win friends and influence people. One day, as Shellinskaya was sitting in her favorite spot by the pool, the sun beating down on her intent figure…

A handsome young brute happened by and said "My...what a nice figure."He said this to himself because, well, thinking aloud is generally frowned upon. The strange thing about the brute is that he was lost. He had been busy fighting dragons and slaying filthy rich rastards from the Netherlands when suddenly, *POOF!* he happened upon the fair Shellinskaya at the pool. It seems he'd entered some kind of time continuuuum vacuuuum wormhole and nobody has ever understood those so just go with it. He greeted Shellinskaya with a "Holla back now!"
Shellinskaya battered her eyes. Actually, she battered her fries and batted her eyes. Yes, that's it. Her eyes. "What up, G?"
The Brute, thus addressed, firmly replied, "Wiggidy wack. Love."
His name was Peter. Oddly, the main character in our heroine's book was named....Petro.
"Do I know you?" Shellinskaya asked, wondering where the brute came from and why he was talking to her. Peter explained that he was a secret agent for the Russian government and was fighting dragons from the Netherlands. The last word Shellinskaya heard Peter say was Russian. You see, Shellinskaya loved Russian novels and dreamt of visiting the motherland one day.
The odd thing about Shellinskaya is that although she had a Russian name and loved Russian literature, she was actually a very small and shrewd African-American who has been denied all the luxuries of life--thus we enter into a B-movie with little to no plot line but some very good dancing...
Peter and Shellinskaya continued their strange conversation, which only continued to get stranger as Shellinskaya confused Peter with Petro, the character in her book (Petro, as we all know, means Peter in Icelandic). Peter explained, as people often do in these sorts of stories, that his greeting to Shellinskaya was actually a secret code...that she failed with flying colors.
The even odder thing about this odd pair is that they had managed to enter the time vacuum device together and now found themselves on a beach in Madagascar. You know, spider monkies and such. Well, thankfully S-Dawg was a small shrew--er, shrewd--Africanish woman, so she knew all about spider monkies. But did she know about mad, rabid, evil-terrorist-plot spider monkies? A good question. That's where our story gets interesting. Spider monkies are known for their anti-Russian-African-Scandinavian-American tendencies, and this one was no different. As soon as he spotted the twitterpated couple he began plotting against them. The goal? To kill their love, their puppy, and their very souls. In that order. Or maybe love and souls are synomous. Semantics. (Narrator interjection: If you'll recall, semantic is different than semitic. So if you hear a band called Anti-Semantic, don't alert the ACLU. Can't we all just get along?)
So anyway, the evil arachna-monkey anxiously awaited his opportunity to destroy our main characters. And he waited with a swichblade...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

On happiness


I am happy.

Completely incomplete, convincingly content, and incredibly, wonderfully happy.

When thinking of what to update on this little bloggity-blog, no great big awesome changes come to mind. Indeed, dear readers, I swear this happened without the help of a) a boy, b) money, or c) dramatic weight loss/promotions/accomplishments, etc.

Here's what happened: I realized I have nothing to be unhappy about.

I would consider myself a typically upbeat person, even though I'm pretty cynical sometimes. But typical Stef became Happy Stef early on in 2008. One day I woke up and felt a mysterious anticipation. That feeling lasted all day, though nothing big happened. All I could think to say to everyone is that big things were about to happen. I felt so excited, for whatever reason. I had the best day in the world and nothing really happened.

I haven't been able to shake that feeling. Yeah, there have been a few things here and there that bum me out for a minute, but for over a month I've been annoyingly happy. And oddly enough, good things have happened. Big, good things are still happening, which leads me to wonder: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I think good things happen to happy, positive people. And I think we can decide to be those people. I know there will come things to be unhappy about, but we always have a choice in how we react and how we view the world.

Thus, my 2008 theme: Positive thinking.

And the best example of it that I can think of is President Hinckley. If a prophet in this day and age--in any age, really--can maintain a positive outlook, then I definitely should. My perspective doesn't even stretch very far beyond my four walls, which are in pretty good shape, so I have no reason not to be optimistic.

So, I've learned I can just decide to be happy. I'm not delusional, I'm not refusing to face reality, and I'm not being fake if I do. I'm realizing all the things there are to be happy about, and choosing to create opportunities for more by being open to them. Cheesy? Yeah. But I'm having the best time. Weird that I wanted to flee the country not too long ago, eh?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Del Doce


Today I ate 12 tacos.
If you ever want me to do something ridiculous, just tell me that I can't. Then sit back and watch while I cause myself physical pain just to prove I can.

I love my job and I love the people I work with. Some of the boys started a club called Del Doce. Thank goodness I speak Spanish so I can translate that for you: It means "of the twelve". More accurately and less literally, it means that you can eat a dozen of Del Taco's finest cat meat tacos. I, my friends, am the first and only female member to join.
I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that one has to be real hungry to really enjoy anything from Del Taco in the first place, but even intense, ferocious hunger wears off by Taco 8. From there it's just sheer willpower. And the stifling of gag reflexes.

I'd like to thank the following:
Brett, Chris, and Craig--The originals
Matt J. for telling me I couldn't eat more than 6.5
Crystal for staying with me through the dark hours of Taco 10
Del Scorcho...without which I would not make it past the first bite.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

LoveQuest 2008

I think it's high time I did a Dating Review #2 since it's been awhile since I had anything to report.
Winter was never my season. I tend to have success in the summer months, if at all, so I wrap things up before October and settle in for a long, cold winter alone. This season started no differently. I've held numerous electric blanket tryouts, only to find myself shivering in the aftermath. However, things have taken an interesting turn of late...as follows:

Date #1 - The Set-up: My co-worker decides I would get along great with her friend because we're both (and I quote) "young at heart". Oh good--I've long been looking for someone as immature as me. I was warned that we don't share similar religious beliefs, but I agreed to give it a go. She plans the double date and proceeds to begin calling him my boyfriend.
We enjoyed Thai food and various chunky desserts, punctuated with discussions of dental hygiene, his desire to succeed as a Bellman (pronounced BELL-mun), and everyone's love for my co-worker's dog.
Highlights: Did I mention he's very good looking?
He grabbed my head when we hugged goodbye.
A certain talent for blowing yogurt balls with bone-chilling accuracy
Lowlights: I kind of hate the dog
Um...church
Temple square has never been more full of kissy-face couples
Wrap up: I sort of want him to call and I sort of don't. Pretty sure he won't.

Date #2 - The Mistletoe Avenger: This is one of those guys I've only ever seen at parties, usually dancing and speaking soley in short, flirty phrases. The last time I saw him he kissed a stranger under some mistletoe. At that point he had my number but apparantly didn't find the motivation to call until weeks later. Very nice and gentlemanly, but seemed surprised to find that I have opinions. I usually wait to deliver that little bomb, but I couldn't help it--the definitive statements just kept coming out. That, coupled with extensive talk of Italy (which I don't think either of us found very interesting), made for an awesomely boring me. I think I'm losing any charm I may have thought I had.
Highlights: Getting that huge bed out of the basement
I didn't run into my ex-crush
Overwhelming drowsiness is a blessing sometimes
Lowlights: The awkward moment after he attempted to catch me under his mistletoe and I just said "Heh hehh...yep." and walked away
Fearing I would run into my ex-crush the whole time
Disappointing Spaghetti Vongole
Wrap up: Nice guy. Haven't called him back...for lack of something to say.

Date #3 - That Guy: It took a few instances of me (and a friend) approaching this guy before he took the bait. And by bait I mean phone number. It took a few months before anything materialized. Finally, we go out. He did tell me I have something in my teeth, which sucks but totally scores honesty points. He has mentioned several things that he's not. For example, he's not 'that guy' who does improv and can't shut it off. He's also not 'that guy' who flakes out. Oddly enough, when I describe to other people the event at which we met, they inevitably say "Oooh, that guy."
Highlights: Multiple dates
Electric blanket material
I like how he dresses
Lowlights: ADD
Seems to think I'm his girlfriend and should do girlfriendy things. Doesn't he know I hibernate until, uh, July?
I still really hate New Year's Eve
Wrap up: Enjoyable, yes. Head over heels? Not so fast. I fear he just isn't That Guy, you know what I mean?

Well, there 'tis. I think I shall request that you stop praying for me to get dates and start praying that the end will come soon. Preferably swift and painless, ok?
Bring on Valentine's Day, suckaz!