Category: Random

Strangers

stranger2All right kids let’s gather round and talk about strangers.  Oh what a spooky sounding word.  2 blogs, facebook, twitter and a youtube channel should tell you something about my comfort level with strangers.  To me a stranger is just someone you haven’t met yet.

There are several things that got me thinking about the topic of strangers.  The main thing is nearly every woman I have told about the cookie swap in person has asked ‘you ate them? Aren’t you afraid of pot brownies and razor blades?’  They all say pot brownies and razor blades which I find funny because if you saw the cute men and women on the cookie swap facebook page it’s the last thing you would guess.

Let me just say this to assuage anyone’s fears.  Pot is expensive and I don’t think the average weed enthusiast is going to be mailing off their prize to total strangers especially when they are bloggers who have a reputation to keep up.  The likelihood of that happening is about a million to one.

I would have a better chance of someone mailing me a $100 bill than pot brownies and razor blades.  The razor blades come from old urban legends about razor blades in apples at Halloween.  Well as far as I’ve read there is no proof that such a thing happened even once let alone a regular occurrence amongst the cookie makers of America.

So why do we have this irrational fear of strangers? If you ask most people ‘are men and women really good at heart?’.  Most people would say yes (except the cynics and they aren’t likely to be baking cookies for a swap…).  So why is it that we immediately jump to the worst of worst case scenarios? I’ve seen this so many times in my life.

For example, when I built my basement apartment I heard every horror story about creeps, weirdos and nuisances destroying apartments.  Aside from my Dad, who was all for the idea (he claims it was his idea which is not true! I wanted an income property way back), most people thought I was nuts.  In reality it has been one of the best experiences of my life.  I have met truly wonderful people and been able to have help with my mortgage and provide a home for 3 great couples.

It puzzles me…

The other experience that made me think of this was actually a negative one.  You guys know I love The Messiah and go to a Messiah Sing-in every Christmas.  Well, this year I decided to go to the one at Abravanal Hall because I was in town for Thanksgiving.

My friend got sick and cancelled on me at the last minute and I wasn’t able to find anyone to replace her but off I went by myself.  When I got downtown I decided to park at the Marriott because City Center was closed.

When I entered the elevator I saw an old man with a veterans hat on.  We started talking and I assumed he was a guest at the hotel.  I told him I was going to the concert and he sounded interested.  So without really thinking it through I said ‘do you want my extra ticket?  It is just going to go to waste.’.

To my surprise he jumped at the chance and as I rushed out of the hotel to make the beginning of the concert I heard him say ‘great you can be my date…’.  Oh no, I thought to myself.  This could get weird.  Unfortunately he caught up to me rather quickly because I have my knee injury (not at 100% yet but improving).  Well, it turned out he was just parking at the hotel like me and it became clear very quickly he saw this as a date and unfortunately the tickets were sitting next to each other.

When we got to the symphony we had to wait to get in and a man made a huge stink over having to wait (it was so uncomfortable).  I would have just left but I knew he would follow me out so why not hear the beautiful music? So we go in and the concert was so awkward.  He tried to put his hand on my back on several occasions and I am not a touchy feely person at all.  Do not touch my back on a first date or whatever this was (take notes boys!).

He talked the talk of a Mormon man but then he mentioned his divorced wife and a few things he said made me squirm.  I told him very little about myself but just enough for him to know of my standards (no personal information).  So the concert finally ended and I left and thankfully he had to get his coat from the coat check.  I told him ‘It was nice to meet you but I’ve got to go’.  And then he said ‘but wait we can go get drinks’.

Can you believe he asked me to get drinks?  He also claimed he was good at guessing ages and then guessed I was 41…So obviously not so good.  I said no thank you and bolted out of there as fast as my poor knee would let me.  (I was sore for about 2 days afterwards but a girls got to do what a girls got to do).  Honestly he was probably harmless but I’ve learned in my life when you get that feeling follow it and get out of the situation as fast as you can.

So, that was a very upsetting situation but what do I as a woman and person to process it?  Do I let that stifle my nature and make me nervous about eating cookies from strangers?  Heck no. After all, I knew what to do and I did it.

The Lord or your conscience or whatever you want to call it helps us know what risks are worth taking in life.  In my experience, 99% of the time people astound me with their kindness, goodness and insight.   Perhaps next time I’m in an elevator I’ll take a moment to say a silent prayer and be cognizant of what God is trying to tell me before blurting out offers but I’m not going to let it frighten me.

stranger

Now we of course teach children to be afraid of strangers but maybe we teach the lesson too well? Parenting is another whole ball of wax I won’t try to dive into but I just know for me whether it is cookies or a comment on a blog I’ve written strangers have benefited my life.  With a little bit of common sense and calculable risk taking it is a huge blessing in my life and I’m not going to let anyone take that away from me.

I guess what I am trying to say is look at the actual risks of a situation and not let an extremely rare circumstance stop you from interacting with the world.  Maybe stranger danger has been taken too far?  It’s just cookies after all.  No razor blades or pot (at least to my knowledge…I wouldn’t know what it tasted like anyway. Ha).

Sorry for rambling a bit but just something on my mind.  I love people and really do think a stranger is a just a friend I haven’t made yet in 99.9% of the time.

Trees, Turkey, Meals and Lights

Hi guys!  I just wanted to give you a little update on my life.

Well to begin with Christmas has arrived. Got the lights and the tree up!

lightswindowThis year I rented my Christmas tree which is a completely brilliant notion.  Instead of having to store a giant tree all year and lug it out, decorate it by myself, I signed up and for the price of a house cleaning it is set up, stored, decorated and taken down at end of season.

treeAs some of you will remember from years past I have a memory tree with ornaments from travels and all other parts of my life.  I also have little picture frames that have black and white photography of my friends and family, which is especially nice this year as I will not be seeing family and my best friend Emily is away.

I have a few new ornaments to add to the tree.  Some I got in Tampa and these fun Disney ornaments to pay tribute to my Disney project and blog this year.

disney ornamentIn other news Thanksgiving has been a lot of fun.  I went to my aunt and uncle’s for dinner and it was a full house of cousins and relatives.  I was in charge of making the salad and it turned out pretty tasty.

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And now a little recipe.

saladArugula Salad with Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Dressing

Arugula

pomegranate pips  (put pomegranate under water and it makes it easy to de-seed)

butternut squash peeled, seeded and diced into 1 inch cubes

parmesean cheese

walnuts

cranberries

apple cider

apple cider vinegar

olive oil

shallots finely diced

digon mustard

maple syrup

Start with butternut squash on baking sheets with olive oil and maple syrup. Put in 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until the cubes are tender but crusted on outside.  While cooking mix 2 tbsp vinegar, 3/4 cup cider, 2 tbsp syrup, 2 tbsp shallots in saucepan.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until mixture has thickened.  Then add1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp mustard, 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Put in jar and shake until mustard is emulsified.  I added a little water because my vinegar was strong.  If you like it sweeter add more syrup . If you want more mustard go for it!

I used a cranberry walnut mixture I bought at the store but if you don’t have that then I would roast the walnuts before.

When serving add arugula, butternut squash, walnuts, cranberries, pomegranate pips, parmesean shavings.  Add all ingredients and top with dressing and serve!

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Since I wasn’t cooking Thanksgiving dinner I decided to order one from my local market, Harmons, so I could have some leftovers!  It was pretty cool I got everything from a full turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls and 2 pies for $100.  Pretty cool right?

So I portioned it all into meals and have them ready in my chest freezer for many holiday meals to come! Pretty clever right?

dinner dinners

So that’s my little holiday update. I hope you are all doing great and having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Make sure to check out Scrooge month on my other blog.  I’m having a blast watching and writing about these films of the story I love so much. I just posted yesterday about the Alistair Sims classic and today on the Disney stop motion effort.

Something to Talk About

calvin_and_hobbes_phone_fun21

So yesterday my friend called me with some exciting news.  I listened and couldn’t have been more thrilled for her success and I told her that.

“that’s so great! Congratulations” I said in a few different variations as she told me the news.  That took a few minutes or two and then we both kind of sat on the phone for a few seconds neither really knowing what to say.  Then I came up with a few follow up questions and we chatted and she went on to tell the news to everyone else.

Contrast that to a call I had with the same person where I was telling her all about Big Hero 6 and then we talked about movies, her kids, Halloween and everything else. We talked for over an hour about silly stuff without any trouble.

Isn’t that weird?  I’ve been thinking about it for the last few days and I find it a very odd phenomenon. Why when someone has something genuinely exciting in their life do we have nothing to say and yet we can talk for hours about stuff that is fun but doesn’t really matter?

I think part of it is with big news there really isn’t room for discussion.  It is just kind of happening and it is either wonderful or sad.  You genuinely express the appropriate emotion and then what do you discuss?  I feel this is particularly true with a baby announcement.  Someone says ‘I’m pregnant’ and you say ‘Congratulations.  That’s so wonderful’. What to say next after you learn the due date?

The only thing I can think of is to ask about her health “How have you been feeling?” or “when do you find out the sex of the baby?”.  But there isn’t really a discussion.  Maybe if you got into broader topics like parenting there would be discussion.

A wedding is different because there are so many follow up questions.  “How did he propose?” “When are you getting married?” “Where?” “Colors, dress etc”.

I guess not every phone call needs to be a discussion I was simply surprised to see I had so little to say about big news and so much about a movie I’d seen.

It makes me wonder how much of my life is spent talking about silly things? But I guess as long as people I’m talking to are happy that’s what matters.  It’s a funny thing we do though. Don’t you think?

Just an Update

tmnt
Sporting my ninja turtle look. Hi from Recoveryville! Turtle power!

Hey guys!  I’ve been having so much fun with my Disney reviews I don’t want you to think I am ignoring this blog.  While still in recovery honestly not a lot has been happening in my life.

As far as my recovery I have made huge strides with my knee.  I don’t need my cane anymore which is great and I can get down and up the stairs with relative ease.  I went to a movie yesterday and that was a lot of pressure on the knee, so maybe a bit early on that but I made it through.

I also went to the grocery store for the first time last week which was very exciting!  You sure appreciate the small things when you are injured.

But thankfully I feel confident I will be close to fully recovered in the next 2 weeks.  Hurray!

I just finished review #20 on my Disney blog and it has been so much fun.  If you haven’t take a look check it out http://54disneyreviews.wordpress.com/

Today’s review is The Aristocats which was not my favorite because I felt it borrowed too much from Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmations.  I don’t care for Disney when I feel it is being lazy.

http://54disneyreviews.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/movie-20-the-aristocats/

I also did a post on my youtube channel about romantic comedies that turned out pretty well.

I have book club coming up this Saturday and I am very excited about that.  We are reading To Kill a Mockingbird and am about half way done on this reading.  One thing that strikes me on this read-through is how little time is actually spent in the courtroom.  It’s all about the relationship building done in subtle interactions of the family.

A friend of mine told me she had never reread a book before and that still amazes me.  A book like To Kill a Mockingbird changes with each reading, so you really miss out on reading it once.   I hope someone comes to book club because I’m looking forward to discussing it.

Other news…I saw Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday and I liked it.  Comic book movies will never be my favorite but this was a lot of fun.  I thought the characters were the best part.  The story was more standard and predictable.  The villain was ok. But the characters were charming and Chris Pratt as Starlord reminded me of a young Harrison Ford.

Have any of you seen it?  What did you think?  Definitely one of the best comic book movies I’ve seen in a long time.  It didn’t take itself too seriously which is what I like about the Marvel films.  DC films like Man of Steel are so morose and brooding.

Anyway, I liked it.

But that’s about it.  I’ve been watching Big Brother and it was fun while Zach was there but have kind of lost interest.  Any of you watching that show?  Looks like Derrick is going to win and he’s played a good, if rather tedious game

Life is pretty boring at the moment but I’m happy with that.  Just want to be 100% and be able to cook a meal again.  Going to be a great day when it happens.  Thank you so much for all the support and prayers.  I have felt them everyday.  Love you all!

Just thinking…

It’s late 2:20 to be more precise and I can’t sleep.  My medicine has basically stopped working so I have to stop taking it for a while until it starts working again.  I know it’s a cycle but I haven’t figured out any better way to at least enjoy some sleep.

Anyway, still got this darn virus.  Sore throat, congestion, everything but I am moving on with it.  Tomorrow I have voice lessons which should be interesting.  Maybe I will sing the belt songs better with a stuffed up nose!  It’s happened to me before.  I guess there is just a limit to how long you can keep you life on hold and ‘rest up’.

It is tax season so that is always a bit nuts.  I got my Dad’s taxes for his rental ready for the CPA today and spent about 12 hours going over books, and making 3 huge reservations/payments.  I made him some good money so no complaints from him about his oldest daughter! 🙂

My Dad had a neat thing happen today.  He had almost finished law school as a grad student but became disenchanted with it and distracted with other projects (mainly my sister, brother and I) as well as his own small business.  He knew he wasn’t going to be an attorney so he abandoned the attempt just a few papers before graduating.

Well, I believe my Dad was thinking of taking some business and german classes requested his transcript and turns out he actually did graduate but had never received his diploma.  It came in the mail today!  Pretty exciting right!  25 years in development! Congrats Dad!  A college diploma of any kind is a badge of honor that we fought the fight and achieved our goals, even if you don’t use them for your career.

I have to tell myself that because I don’t really use either of my degrees for my career.  Maybe a few things from my MBA but not really.  It does kind of boggle the mind that in nearly 20 years of education I never had one class on using excel, photoshop or word.  Add in quickbooks and the basic internet those programs take up 80% of my work life.

The truth is that almost everything I learned about my career was from a woman named Sandy who was my ‘office Mom’ for my first job.  She was the mother of the whole office and that’s not because she was old, she just has a nurturing personality that draws people to her.  It was a hard time in my life but she listened to every gripe and groan in the most understanding way.

She also patiently explained how to do different tasks, sometimes multiple times and helped me fix the mistakes, typos and incorrect 10k.  I am sure she would disagree but she is really responsible for most of my success if you can call it that in my work life.  I owe her a lot. Plus, she kept me from losing it so many times.

I’m really grateful my Dad and Sandy and so many others.

It’s easy to remember the impact of family but perhaps it is harder to recall the impact of more passing acquaintances like coworkers, wardmembers, neighbors but their effect can be eternal.  I believe that strongly.  Some of the strongest influences in my life are people I don’t see often like my mentor in college Dr. Holland or my young women’s leader Sister Potter.  They made an eternal difference.  Makes me wonder what kind of difference I am making?

It’s interesting because I was talking to my sister today about how grateful I am for swimming because it gives me a way to make new friends which is something I need in my life.  I have plenty of friends but yet I still need an avenue in my life to meet new people.  Some people don’t really need this newness like my sister Megan likes things to stay more stable and continuous.

Maybe part of the reason I need an outlet to new people is the desire to make a difference in as many people’s lives as I can and it is an urging I believe comes from God.  He needs me to keep channels open where he can use me to help all kinds of people, not just my closed circle of friends and family.  Not everyone is needed in that way but a comfort level among strangers has always been a gift of mine.

Yesterday I went to an open house for my old bishop of the YSA ward and I cried.  It is kind of the final string in my relationship to the old ward.  There are a few people but not many.  It makes me sad.  Plus, that bishop helped me through some of the hardest times of my life.  I will be forever grateful to him.  Makes me cry just thinking about it.

Anyway, this is more ramblings at 2 am.  In the end I just want to serve God even if it takes me 25 years to get the reward in the mail! (Go Dad!)

just thinking

Quarter Life Thoughts

anigif_enhanced-buzz-21295-1373493979-19So 2013 has come and gone and I’ve still stuffed up and coughing but hopefully in 2014 I’ll eventually feel better. Sigh…

Now my 33rd birthday is coming up in just a few days and I’m not sure why but recently I’ve heard on the radio, tv, podcasts etc people talking about the transition from your 20’s to your 30’s.  Some have referred to it as a ‘quarter life crisis’, other’s just a quest for stability, you get the idea.

I think it happens for different people at different ages and I don’t know if it is always a crisis but for 99% of people they transition from a dreamer at 20 to a realist at 30.

I’ve talked about my own such struggle many times on this blog, the search for a ‘dream job’ and how I settled for an accounting job that gave me a living.

Yes, I totally settled but that hasn’t been a completely bad thing.  I get to work from home, can afford a house, and face the daily challenge of trying to master something that I maybe am not the most naturally suited for.

All in all, I’m content with my work life and I try my best to work hard and be worthy of the trust my employer has set in me.  Does that mean there aren’t any wishful daydreams or longing sighs through scrapbooks?  Of course not but I think that is part of being 33…

I’m sure at 43 I will have a similar feeling looking back at my 30s- mostly nostalgia with a little bit of a regret.  I like what Thoreau said “to regret deeply is to live afresh”

I’ll never forget talking with someone a few years ago when I was struggling with a personal loss.  I had never met this woman and she told me about an incident involving her son that had devastated her years before.  She said every once in a while she will be overwhelmed with the feeling of that moment long ago and that she believes it is Heavenly Father’s way of reminding her ‘wow that was hard and I got through it”

I didn’t intend this to be a sad post but I’ve thought about her statement many times.  That the hard moments in life and aren’t softened by the years merely given a happy ending of triumph.  It’s like in my open water swims- the memory of the waves and salt are still biting but the knowledge that I finished reassures and exhilarates.

Anyway, I guess if I have a quarter life crisis it is perhaps the worry that with the purchase of my home the most exciting event of my life is behind me.  I say that not to engender pity but as a real genuine emotion I had to work through.  What if I don’t marry and spend the rest of my life as a single accounting clerk in Draper, writing her blog and swimming?  What if?

I suppose that question is the true transition from your 20’s to your 30’s.  The window for drastic life changes is closing for most of us at least professionally and we all have to say “what if this is as good as it gets?”

Well, than that’s ok and there certainly could be drastic change.  My patriarchal blessing sure promises some but it could all be the same too.  We will see!

The other thing is that my desires are changing.  I was thinking about that this December and even  before I got sick I was soooo grateful I was not traveling for the holidays.  Even visiting my family I am not as happy as when I am in my own home- even sick.

I used to think that traveling was the greatest and now it doesn’t appeal much for me. The trip to Disney in 2013 made me realize that unless I can go to a beach, pool or lake travel really doesn’t have much draw anymore. It’s so exhausting, my feet and muscles hurt so badly and unless there is a beach it just doesn’t sound fun.

I’ll do my best and be open to whatever is in store for 2014. We’ll see!

Like this quote:

“I see it all perfectly; there are 2 possible situations – one can either do this or that.  My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both”

30Can anyone relate to these thoughts about the transition between 20’s and 30s?

2 AM

So its 2 am and I’m wide awake (isn’t that a song…) and I figured I might as well write a blog entry and maybe that will help me get to sleep. Let me share with you some things that have been on  my mind:

1. I’m a very fast writer and typist and I’m very glad that I learned how to touch type at an early age.  When transferring over dictation or notes I can easily write 90wpm. If you have teens teach them to touch type.  It will be better than any other ‘career class’ they might take.

2. I’m doing the Postcard Projects Cookie swap and got my matches today.  I think I am going to make my Mom’s egg nog logs, lemon butter cookies and outrageous brownies. (Good mix, right?).  Every cookie you make gets a $1 sent to http://www.cookiesforkidscancer.org.If you want to learn more about the swap for next year go to Veronica’s Cornucopia.There is also a separate swap for just food bloggers at http://www.fbcookieswap.com/.

3. My young women’s volleyball team has made it to regionals and gotten through the first 2 days of playoffs.  They are such nice girls and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them.  It’s very impressive how they have managed to become friends even though they come from 3 different wards.

DSCF10234. Wednesday my guest food blog will post at http://littleferrarokitchen.com/. Keep an eye on it because I think you all will be really impressed!

5. Lately I’ve felt a little off my game, not my normal self.  I can’t explain it but its true.

6. I am almost finished with my book for nanowrimo.  Current word count is 43370.  Originally I was thinking of switching my writing group to reading my new book but I’m not going to do that.  My book last year was leaps and bounds better than this one.  Still, it’s been a good experience to write pure fiction and I think it will be fun to take the same concept write it as many mediums as I can- play, poem, short story and novel.  Maybe even a song since its a Christmas story!

7.  I heard Bing Crosby this afternoon on the radio and it about made me tear up.  I love Christmas.  Last year I had so much pressure on myself with the house and all that I struggled to enjoy the holidays.  This year I’m determined to finish nanowrimo and go Christmas crazy.

8. Today I’ve felt very nostalgic.  Nostalgic for my grad school days churning out papers and learning new things.  Nostalgic for past roommates and friends that have waned in recent years. I found a video from 2007 made me very nostalgic for 2007.

9. I would go back to school if I could think of something that would be worth the time and money to invest in.  I know it is hard but very rewarding too.

10. This will see random, but its a random post. If you want to teach young women about morality, chastity and modesty teach them about their innate value and how special they are to their Heavenly Father.  If they feel loved by God than His commandments will seem less like a punishment and more like a blessing.  This is how it should be done.

11. I love getting stuff in the mail.  I think that is why I love trying out subscription boxes.  Recently I had one that arrived with damage to the box and the company, Box of Happies, sent me a new one with all the products again which was amazing customer service.

12.  I am reading North and South for the fourth year in a row.  If you haven’t read it yet, do.  It’s so good.

13. The Book Thief is at 59% on rotten tomatoes.  Some people love it, some hate it.  I’m not sure which side it will be.  Have any of you seen Enders Game? What did you think?

14. Lately I’ve really been enjoying the podcasts over at Rob has a website.  It is reality talk that is funny and entertaining from former two-time Survivor player Rob Cesternino. If you like reality tv check it out.

15. Anyone want to celebrate with me when I finish my book.  Partay!!!

16.  Lately I’ve been super lazy cooking-wise, no desire to cook and especially clean.

17.  I hate doing laundry.  If I was rich, I would defintely hire someone to do my laundry.  I’d do any chore before laundry

18. I’d like to say thank you to my grandpa on this Veterans Day for being my hero.  Him and my Dad are the men who have loved me most in my life and I am grateful for that.

19. That last sentence made me tear up.  Word to the wise, I always tear up when I think of my Grandpa.

20. Today I wrote a tragic romance in my book and it made me feel oddly hopeful.  Yes, I’m strange.

21.  Finished watching Downton Abbey season 4 last night.  Holy cliffhangers and sadness.  Come on Downton.  Try to smile every now and then!  Still very entertaining.  Excited to see what you all think of it when you watch in January.

Ok.  I’m finally tired.  Good work!

So, that’s my 2 am list.