Friday, October 31, 2008

I did not shimmy at all.

First off, let's have a cheer for my sister Camille coming home from her mission. HOORAY! We picked her up from the airport yesterday and had a tearful reunion. Katie, Lindsay and I vowed at breakfast that we would not cry. Why would we cry? It's a happy joyous moment. We could totally be strong. But then we saw Camille coming down the escalator and she was crying and my mom was crying and then they hugged, all weepy like, which made a lady in the security line start to cry and well, when complete strangers lose it it's all over, right? We had a great day of laughing and joking and commenting on the size of her head. It was just like old times. (A brief note to Gina: Dad told me a story involving your head at a dance recital and I'm pretty sure that if ever there was a story worthy of blogging about, that one is it. I'm commissioning you to write the story. I'll pay you in chocolate covered cinnamon bears when I see you in a few weeks. The people deserve to hear it.)

Anyway, I want to tell you about how I got free meat from the butcher at Stater Bros. But I should first say that it was entirely unintentional and I did not use any womanly wiles to get it. I think. I wanted carne asada tacos for dinner so I went to Stater Bros. on my way home from work on Wednesday specifically because I love getting meat at the butcher counter and I know that Stater Bros. has one, unlike a lot of stores now a days. It makes me feel like Alice on the Brady Bunch. And you can get bacon by the slice. By the slice, my friends! If that isn't magic, then I don't know what is. Anyway, I went up to the counter and asked the butcher if I could have half a pound of carne asada. I don't need a whole lot because it's just me and Katie and it's just tacos. A half a pound is more than enough. So I asked for the carne asada and the butcher said, "Carne asada is my favorite," and I smiled and said, "I like it too," and then he said something like "we should carpool sometime," which I didn't quite understand but took to mean that we have so much in common wink-wink, nudge-nudge, so I just kind of smiled. And then he said, "but you only want a half a pound?" and I said yes and then he winked - winked! - at me and took out one piece and weighed it and printed out the sticker with the half a pound price and then he proceeded to pile more meat into the bag. I told him that he really didn't need to do that, I only needed half a pound, I couldn't possibly use all of that, it just didn't see right, but he just kept smiling and piling and not saying anything until I had like 3 lbs of meat in there. And I swear I didn't shimmy or anything. He just wrapped it up and handed it over and said, "Don't worry, it's on the house." and did a little ah-shucks when I said thank you, which is ridiculous because I'm certainly not the kind of girl you ah-shucks over.

So part of me feels a little guilty that I got all this free meat, even though I tried to stop him. And I'm not sure exactly how to feel about being a girl who gets free meat from the butcher. What does that say about me? But then part of me is like, awesome - free meat! And I want to high five people over it. But the real issue is that I have all of this meat in my freezer. Does anyone want to come over for tacos?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now with twice the sugar!

Katie, Liz and I (This picture makes up look like a girl band. What would our name be? And we took this picture for a reason, not because we spend our evenings trying out the camera's timer function.) went to our ward's Halloween Party (and yes, let's be honest here, it's a Halloween party. You cannot pass something off as a "harvest festival" if it involves candy and costumes. Harvest festivals involve cornucopias and hay rides, neither of which were present on Saturday, much to my dismay). I don't normally dress up for Halloween because if I don't have a funny or clever costume then it's not worth the effort. And maybe in the past I haven't been so creative in October to think of anything. But somehow we got it into our heads that we should dress up (I blame Andrea. She was in town and strange things happen when she's here.) so we brainstormed and decided on breakfast, mostly because breakfast is awesome. I haven't met too many breakfasts that I didn't like.

So I was cereal (Honey Bunches o' Rachel: Now with twice the sugar and fortified with moxy) and Katie was milk (Mad Cow Milk: You'll foam at the mouth for more) and Liz was a spoon. We got together on Friday night to make the costumes and I have to say that if it weren't for pizza, spray paint fumes and that frantic energy that sometimes comes with exhaustion we would not have made it through the night. Friday nights are bad anyway but Katie had parent/teacher conferences all day, Liz had to cover like 10 other people's jobs and I had 12 solid hours of the Doc asking me to pull people's ears.
But it was totally worth it because you're looking at winners over there. That's right folks, we were the winners of the Upland First Ward costume contest. Woo-woo! Confession: we didn't even know that there was a costume contest, nor did we know that they were announcing the winners until we heard our names being called out while we were looking for a table to eat dinner on. I was a pretty exciting moment. Or, I may have still had some residual paint fumes in my brain and it just seemed really exciting.
We were all too tired to actually remember our cameras so thanks to Heather for sending me the picture of us. You can use your imagination for the back of the costumes. They involved nutritional values and a lovely story about cows.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Secrets of the Orient

A conversation with the Doc:

Doc: You look terrible.

Me: Um...thanks.

Doc: I mean, you really look very bad. What's wrong?

Me: Well, my allergies are cranky today.

Doc: I knew it [This is her favorite thing to say. She's like a phone psychic who says, "I'm seeing a man. A short tallish sort of man. Maybe your husband or brother or son." and you say it was your uncle and she says, "I knew it."] How many D-Hist [my allergy pills]are you taking?

Me: 3 pills, 3 times a day.

Doc: That's probably not enough. Let me test you.

[I grab a bottle and put it to my chest and hold out my arm which she presses down on and mentally asks my body how many pills its suppose to take. This is one of her Secrets of the Orient. Basically anything that seems kooky and I don't really understand I call a Secret of the Orient. I think it gives the office an air of mystery. She first asks if my body will accept it and then she starts to count and when my arm cannot resist her pushing on it and goes down that's how many I'm suppose to take. The point being that the body won't lie and will tell you what it needs. Like, if I were to hold a bag of peanut M&Ms up to my chest and you were to push down on my arm and mentally ask it how many I should eat, you would be counting for a very long time.

Doc: You're suppose to take 7 pills 3 times a day.

Me: As in 21 pills?

Doc: That's what your body told me.

Me: Are you sure that's not what your supplement budget told you?

Doc: Don't be sassy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Squatting. I mean it!

My grandpa does not like tipping and you have to be prepared to hear all about it when he takes you out for lunch to any place other than Taco Bell or Wendy's. Strike that. You have to hear about it there too. You also have to be prepared to slip a few extra dollars on the table when he's not looking because he leaves approximately 2%. After we twist his arm.

But, even though he is kind of cranky about it, he's got a point. I don't like tipping either. And here's why. I don't think people should necessarily get rewarded for doing their job. A server's job is to take my order and bring me my food and fill my water glass, all in a timely manner. Just like my job is to pull on people's ears and ultrasound planters warts. I don't get tipped for doing that. And I think that I could make a better argument for deserving a tip than someone who refills the chip basket, but I'm not. Because it's my job.

Now, I do realize that server's rely on those tips. They're paid practically nothing. I get that. And so I tip. And I tip well. Unless the service was bad and then I don't. I'm not afraid to leave a bad tip if someone who works for their tip does not do their job. Especially here in California where servers are paid higher than most states. But then I was watching Oprah the other day and it was on rudeness and they had this whole piece on rudeness in restaurants. They interviewed servers on what they considered rude behavior, and I agreed with most of it (like that it's rude to let your child run free like a lunatic.) But then one of them said, "I expect 20% or more for a tip. If I don't get it then I consider you to be rude." And that just made me mad. And I got all indignant and started talking in italics at the TV. You expect!? Like I'm working for you? Like I owe you something for doing your job! I don't think so!

And then the very next day I was reading this article and it got me thinking. Wouldn't it be better if restaurants either paid the servers a fair wage or added on a service fee of say, 18% of the bill and just got rid of tipping all together. I especially like the idea because there is nothing more creepy to me when a server is schmoozy with you, and you know it's just to increase their tip. Like when they squat next to you. Ew! Is there anything more disgusting then when a server squats? Here's a tip: don't squat! So, we get rid of tipping and they get paid whatever is fair and we're all happy. Right?

So, what do you think. Tipping? Yes or No. In this festive election season why don't we take it to a vote!


Instead of watching the debate last night I switched between watching the Dodger's lose and the season finale of Project Runway. My one consolation of the night was that Kennley lost. Her clothes were alright but her constant whining and eye-rolling made me want to put her in a corner -- for eternity. She spent all season being snippy with Tim Gunn! And Heidi! Who does she think she is? I only wish she had been rude to Nina Garcia. You know that Nina would have shot laser beams out of her eyes and then called the remaining ashes and wee little feather hat left on the runway "trashy."

Anyway, while watching Project Runway they had a promo for "Australia", the new movie with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and directed by Baz Luhrman. It looks like I may want to see it because 1.) hubba-hubba, Hugh Jackman, and 2.) I love Baz Luhrman movies. He has flare. If I believed in having favorite movies Strictly Ballroom would be in the running. And I like Nicole Kidman, when she's not whispering her lines. But here's my issue. Last night when she was introducing the clip I was horrified by the color(s) of her hair. Her roots were the color of frozen corn and the rest of it was like corn after you've left it in the microwave too long. I don't know if it was for a movie or for Halloween or if she's too busy with her new baby and snuggling with Keith Urban to schedule an appointment with her colorist or if she has actually requested having two shades of corn in her hair. My point being that I am once again flummoxed by the Rich and Famous' inability to pull it together.

On a slightly more serious note: I wouldn't have watched the debate anyway for a very good reason. Whenever I watch debates this is all I hear:

Guy 1: Here's a very vague and over-simplified synopsis of my
plan. Blahbitty-blah-blah Chocolate For Everyone!
Guy 2: Now, why don't you be honest with these good people and tell
them that in order for everyone to have chocolate we will have to
kill bunnies under your plan.
Guy 1: We're not going to kill ALL the bunnies. Although
some of them will sort of have to die. But dead
bunnies are what the people want if it means chocolate. And besides it's
better than your plan that involves kicking small children.
Guy 2: I never said I would kick small children. I only said
that there was a possibility that small children would get in the way of my
swinging foot. The people demand it.
Guy 1: You're dumb.
Guy 2: You're ugly.
Guy 1: But I respect you.
Guy 2: I don't hate you some of the time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am putting on my lab coat

I never thanked you all for your music recommendations. I've been checking them out and have to say that my friends have awesome taste in music. I knew there was a reason why I liked you all so much. I would especially like to thank all those lurkers (I really hate the word lurker. I sounds sketchy. Someone give me a better word please.) who spoke up. See, it wasn't so bad. And now we're all best friends.

And here's something interesting to no one but me but it's my blog so deal with it: When I first met Courtney she reminded of me of someone but I could never put my finger on whom. And that feeling has always lingered and bothered me. And then both she and Colleen recommended In the Aeroplane over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel and then it struck me. It's Colleen. She reminds me of Colleen. And none of you actually know both Courtney and Colleen but let me tell you...two sides of the same coin, those girls. If they were ever to meet, who knows what would happen. I like to think world peace and chocolate fountains in every kitchen.

But here's what this post is actually about. Books. Because I mentioned that I want to spend all my gift cards on music and not books. Do not be alarmed. I'm fine. I'm just doing a little experiment. Back in the Dark Days of Unemployment I often wondered in amazement that I was able to get by on so little. Because when I was working and making the big bucks I was always wondering where all of my money went. But when you're not making any money you realize exactly where it went. On things you didn't really need. Lovely things like going to the movies and new pairs of shoes and another shade of lip gloss and fancy cheeses and Trader Joe's and books. Lots and lots of books. But you can't get those things with your grocery money when you're not even sure when you'll have grocery money again. So I stopped buying those things and I missed them. A lot. Especially the books.

Then (rejoice!) I got a job and the money started trickling back in and I got excited about buying books again. Which ones would I get first? I had a huge list to choose from. It was a wonderful dilemma. And then a strange thing happened. As I was thinking about how long it had been it I went from "It's been seven months (hand on forehead while swooning a little)!" to "It's been seven months (fist thrust into the air over my awesome willpower)!" Because it was seven whole months of not buying any books and I still had plenty to read, thanks to the library and friends and that enormous stack in my bedroom of books I've always meant to read.

So I decided to go for a year of no new books. Just to see if I could do it. Because I figured it out -- it's been about 20 years of book buying for me. Twenty years! That's a long time habit there folks. And I'm happy to report that I'm doing fine. I still miss it and I fully intend to go back to buying books in February. But maybe not so many. I'm totally 80 right now, all wise and restrained. I'm going to go home and knit something with old yarn.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yes on Prop 8

This blog may seem like a haphazard mess most of the time but trust me, there is an order to things. And the first order is to keep it light and funny. I prefer to stay away from hot topics and instead focus on the state of my felt collection and my love of bacon. I do this because I love you and I don't want to beat you over the head with my overbearing opinions, which, if you have spent more than 5 minutes in person with me, you know I have in abundance. And my natural reaction to things is to go for the joke. That's how I deal with life. I'm emotionally crippled.

So I've refrained from discussing politics and the upcoming election because 1.) it's exhausting for me to fight my natural inclination to be a cynic, 2.) there are certain topics that are hard to make a joke out of and 3.) there are people I'm close to and love very much who would be hurt by it. But last night an apostle of the Lord sent out a call to action and asked that all people with the means of communicating via the Internet (is there anything cuter than the Brethren talking about blogs? No, there is not.) use those means to discuss Prop 8, which is an initiative to amend the state constitution to read that only marriage between a man and a woman would be recognized. He specifically requested this of young adults with blogs. I initially thought, "Um, I'm not a young adult anymore." And then he went and raised the age to 35. Thanks, Elder Ballard. That was sweet. I'm taking that as permission to skip the single adult (the 30 to the grave crowd) Christmas brunch this year.

Now, I have been involved in the Yes on Prop 8 campaign for a while and have gone out and knocked on neighborhood doors and have spent hours on the phone (the phone people! This is how important it is.) canvassing the area for it. And it's been enlightening and kind of entertaining to get out and talk to people (Note to people opening doors: Please put on some pants). But I have refrained from writing about it here because I don't want to come off sounding like a bigot and I've been afraid of hurting people who read this who feel differently. To those people I want to say that I love you. I don't do well writing about serious things and I don't want my inability to find the right words to come off as me not loving you. I do love you. But if you think I ramble when I'm being funny it's unbearable when I'm being serious. It's like a really bad girls camp testimony meeting - only there are no leaders jumping up to make the announcement that they "saw bears by the kitchen" to cut it short.

And there's the whole issue of writing about sacred things. Because I don't take much seriously here I don't want those things that are sacred and important to me to lose any value by lumping them with the crazy antics of my boss or women with facial hair. But there comes a time when you need to publicly stand up for sacred things. And marriage and the family are very sacred and this is the time.

So, I'm voting Yes on Prop 8. I'm voting yes because I believe that marriage is a sacred commitment, not just a temporal institution, that is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman. I'm voting yes because children have a right to be reared by a father and a mother. I'm voting yes because I have an obligation to stand up for moral issues based on eternal principles.

I'm not going to write about the ramifications of this law and how if will affect the nature of families, the education of children, or our religious and personal freedoms. I'll leave that to other people better versed in those types of arguments. But, if you believe in this too, I will ask you to register to vote and remember to vote on November 4th. Voting is fun and you get to feel all civic minded and neighborly. And you get a sticker. And, it's kind of important. And I will ask you to talk to your friends and neighbors about it. If you live out of state and have friends or family in California, you can help by talking to them about it. The rift between those who are willing to stand up for what is right and those who sit by and watch is going to get bigger and bigger as time goes on. I want all of us to be on the side of those who are standing.

Have I mentioned that I love you. Seriously, I do.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Saturday was AWESOME

1.) General Conference (check out the fam's blog for thoughts on it)
2.) Bacon
3.) I have taken on a Zen attitude towards sewing zippers and it has paid off. Eventually I'll get a good picture of these bags I'm making so I can show you, and then put them up on Etsy for you to buy which will then support my Life of Elegant Leisure and I can quit my job and spend all day making more silly things for you to buy and writing funny posts for you to read, both of which will bring immense joy and enlightenment to your life. See, this was a momentous day for all of us.
4.) Thanks to the America's Test Kitchen cookbook (or, as I like to call it, The Sweet Miracles from Above Cookbook. I'm not kidding when I say that everything I have cooked out of it has turned out perfect.) I finally made a loaf of bread that was a.) delicious and b.) light and fluffy but sturdy enough to cut and use for sandwiches and c.) nice to look at. I've had problems with making yeasty breads in the past (problems meaning they hate me and are constantly belittling me and calling me names.) but I put my faith in the cookbook and after several not so patient hours of rising and kneading and rising and kneading my apartment was filled with the sweet smell of warm bready goodness, just in time to enjoy a slice while I watched...
5.) The Dodgers win! Wasn't that awesome?! You are going DOWN Philadelphia. Down to Chinatown!
6.) I went to sleep with the pitter-patter of rain on my window. Rain! When was the last time we had a good rain here? Um...maybe 1987.
7.) All those fantastic music suggestions. I knew you would come through for me. Maybe I'll make you a mixer.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I've got music

A while ago I asked for book recommendations and I was THRILLED with the response. You all really came through for me - it has been a great year of reading - and I owe you a stick of gum and a firm handshake. But now I need your help again. This time with music because I find that I'm stuck in a rut. I haven't purchased any new music in ages and I miss it. I have a bunch of gift cards (Borders, Amazon, iTunes) that I'm eager to spend and I've decided to use them all on music. Why not books? That's a story for a later date.

So your assignment (And this is for everyone. And I really do mean everyone. Including lurkers. I'm counting on you. Yes, you! Do not be afraid. We're friends. Or friends of friends.) leave a comment with the name of an album you think I would like. Or even an album that you like and you think I should give a listen to. My tastes are broad and there's a good chance I'll like it - as long as it's not Garth Brooks. I have standards. And if you're feeling like an AP blog commenter, tell me why you like it. I'm genuinely curious.