Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving

Hello all!!! So, I don't have a lot of time. I will be traveling back to Hawaii in two days and I have A LOT to do before then. You'll have to wait until later for my copyright rant. For now, some pictures of the first Thanksgiving meal I've ever made.


This is the cranberry apple sauce. It was super easy to make and tasted AMAZING!!! I made it the night before, which I'm grateful for because it needed time to marry the flavors. The recipe was this: a SPLASH of water. Seriously. No more than a couple of tablespoons. One bag of cranberries (fresh or frozen and thawed), two granny smith apples peeled, cored and cubed, the zest of half a large orange (to taste), and 3/4 a cup of superfine sugar to 1-1/2 cup. (to taste.) Bring to a boil and then simmer until it is the consistency you prefer. Mine took about 7 minutes after boiling.


Next was the the turkey, which of course was the star of the show. I found that turkey is really easy to screw up. You have to pay attention to it to make sure it doesn't dry out. Also, I didn't stuff it with stuffing, which I actually think I prefer because the roasted veggies were DELISH!!! :) I started out with 7 stalks of celery, 6-7 carrots, an orange (used the zest for the cranberry sauce), a whole onion and yet another splash of liquid. Keep it to approx. 1/8 a cup. (Any more and your juices could overflow into your oven.) To season I used: season-all (a no salt seasoning), marjoram, pepper, and a stick of butter (cubed). Stuff the turkey with half of all the veggies and the orange. Splash the water or stock in the bottom of your roasting pan. Put all the rest of the veggies in the pan, and rub the turkey with all the seasoning. Put your fingers between the skin and the breast of the turkey and separate them to make a "pocket." Put the seasoning in there too, and put the butter cubes in there too (spaced out of course). This is what it could look like:


So pretty!!!

Cook the turkey at 325 F for at least 3 to 3-1/2 hours depending on the size of your bird. Remember LOW and SLOW is the ticket!!! You also need to baste every half hour or so to keep the meat moist. Here are some other pics:






This is about an hour and a half in




The finished product. :)

I am no genius when it comes to carving... so do your best. This is what mine looked like:



:S

I used the "drippings" to make a gravy. My great-grandma supervised as I cooked it. Here it is:

This was super easy too! I took all the drippings and (was supposed to) separate the fat. (I say supposed to separate because my g-g forgot that part, and we ended up with really greasy gravy. Still good, but pretty gross.) After separating the fat and the drippings, put them in a sauce pan on medium to low heat. Get out your flour. Make a slurry with the flour and some water. It should be about the consistency of a runny glue. Incorporate the slurry into the dripping slowly with a whisk until you get the consistency you want. (it took  about a cup of flour for mine.) You will need to season this after it is all done with A LOT of pepper and I used a no-salt seasoning, but you can definitely use salt to taste.

We also made potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and candied yams, but I am sworn to secrecy regarding the recipes. ;) This was the spread:



Looks good, huh??? :)

This was my plate. Starting clockwise from the 12 o'clock position we have green beans and kielbasa with onions, a whole wheat roll, roasted veggies, turkey with gravy, cranberry apple sauce, and in the middle, mashed potatoes. It was delicious. I know that I cooked it, but honestly, it was one of the greatest meals I've had in a while. The turkey was moist (thanks to the endless basting) and the cranberry sauce was to DIE for. I think I'll go have a turkey sandwich now! It's SO FANTASTIC!!!


Another angle on the food:


Yum!!!


And I'm spent...


ANYWHO...

The rest of the weekend was awesome too. :) My grandma and I took my great grandma back home. Here is a picture of her. She's so cute. She's 98, can you believe it?!



She is so spunky!

Anyway, it was about a 6 hour drive. Pretty long, but we got there safe and sound. My g-g asked me to decorate her door for Christmas while my grandma did her hair.

It was so cute to watch them together. My grandma is so caring when she "tends" to my g-g. They have a really special relationship. It was really cool to hang out with them, and the door ROCKED with it's socks on! :) Here are some pics of the door:









It was really cool. (if I do say so myself!) -->


Here is a picture of my g-g (proud owner of the door) and my co-decorator, my grandma phyl. :)


Aren't they cute?

Anywho... all in all it was a great trip. I had some epiphanies, but those will have to wait until a later time. Here is one more pic of my grandmas for the road. They are amazing women. :)




I leave you with lyrics for a great song...

Very Loud
by: Shout Out Louds


And I wanna build buildings high for you
But the costs, my god, the costs I can't afford you
But I always choose another way
And this is why this love can't stay

But I wanna change, change the way we "always have"
And to make different plans and try not to make this sad
But I always choose another way
And this is why this love can't stay

Little by little
You're gonna hear me cry
Hear me cry "Why?"

But I wanna smell, smell the way you do
And to wear those clothes, the clothes your friends do
But I always choose another way
This is why this love can't stay

Little by little
You're gonna hear me cry
Hear me cry "Why?"
And I know that it started somewhere
And I really like it now, yes, I really like it now
I like it now.

See I got a plan
A plan to get us out of here
If we only can use your money, then we can definitely get out of here
You see I always screw it up some way
But this is why this love can't stay (it can't stay)

Little by little
You're gonna hear me cry
Hear me cry "Why?"
And I know that it started somewhere
And I really like it now, Yes I really like it now
And I like it now

And we know we started, yeah we started from there
And you were very loud, yes, you were very loud
But I really like that, very loud
like that, yeah, you were very loud

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finally...



------------------------------------

This video was posted by my friend Terrence, who had the courage to email it around to everyone, which I am more than happy to do... I will also post a follow-up post after you all (my faithful readers) comment on the post. If you don't, I'll still post it, but it would make me very sad. ;)

Oh, and just a tip: please watch all nine videos that compromise this film. :) Alohas!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fiftieth Post

So... this is my 50th post!!! :)

WOO HOO!!!

Can you believe it? Wow. I've been thinking for a couple of days as to what I could post to commemorate this auspicious event. :) So, I found something to write about that is so amazing, I may not do it any justice. I'm actually still contemplating whether or not I want to write about it because I really want you all to see it in the same light I do, and I am unsure I have the wherewithal to properly convey my feelings about it to you.

Let me warm up with some nonsense and then we'll get to the heart of the matter.

Life lately has been pretty good. :) I'm leaving for Hawaii in about a week an a half. Can you believe that??? I'm not sure if I'm even ready to leave yet, but I am definitely ready to see my family. :)

So I have this thing. I tend to not like asking for help when I do something. Call it independence or stupidity, but I always have walked my own path. This was the case with my Thanksgiving dinner. I have been seriously stressing out about it because I feel extremely inadequate when it comes to planning a big dinner like that. However, once I put aside my pride and called my mom, I feel about 1,000 times better about it. --deep breath-- I can do it! :)

Wow. I have to get to the bank! So, here is the main topic of my 50th. Enjoy it, and let me know what you think. It's from one of my favorite websites: Today's Big Thing. All you have to do is CLICK HERE and all your lollipop wishes and candyland dreams will come true. ;) Wait... is that the quote? Eh. I like it... ;)

Random Song Lyric time!!! Ooh, and today is a personal favorite:

Wish you Were Here
by: Pink Floyd

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
And cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war,
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish,
How I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sleep is Overrated

Yes. I realize it is 12:30 and I am just finishing working on finals for the night. I also realize that most of you (oh, faithful readers that you are) are asleep at this very moment. However, I'm going to blog whether you like it or not!!! ;)

I really do think sleep is overrated, but I'll get to that in a second.



Food is one of life's greatest pleasures. Well... for me. If some of you have missed this in the two years and change that I have been blogging, I am Mormon. Before you make that sharp intake of air, let me tell you... it's a great way to live. Essentially, Mormons believe that a simple, hardworking life is best, and that the pleasures you indulge in should be those that enrich and stabilize your life. I love it. This is not to say that I have always loved it. I still struggle with religion from time to time, but I can't deny my heart. What does this have to do with food??? Let me tell you.

I am overweight. I have been for the better of half my life... and I know most of you know that as well, but it doesn't bother me as much as you think. Why??? I can EAT!!! Buttery, fatty, meaty deliciousness is mine, and I don't have to apologize for loving it, because you can see clearly that I love to eat delicious non-carb conscious foods. Keep reading. There is a method to my madness...

So, the connection. As a Mormon, we live by a strict moral code. No drugs, no alcohol, no caffeine (though a lot of Mormons disregard this one...), no sex before marriage, etc. So, where, you ask do I get the FUN out of life??? What else is there to do but drink or get high? Well, my friend--There is food. Tasty, succulent, ambrosial food.

Mormons have many different ways to cope with stress that doesn't conflict with their beliefs. Some of us hide behind Diet Coke, some of us become health nuts, some of us go on volunteering binges... I eat. I was looking at a blog called One Hungry Chef, and it stirred up my passionate love for food, cooking, and overall experimentation with food. I am also a hungry chef... well, I'm not a chef... but still. ;)

Ah... almost 1 in the morning, and I still need to drive home.

Sleep has never been something that comes easily to me. When most people lie down and are asleep moments later, I sit awake in the dark for hours, clearing my mind... tying up loose ends of what happened during my day, and zoning into minuscule noises that drive me crazy, and trying to think of ways to realize my dreams. Truthfully, I think sleep is overrated. I would rather watch a movie or read a good book. However, I know that my body needs rest, even if my mind doesn't think it does, so I sleep to stay sharp. If it wasn't required, I wouldn't waste a wink.

With that said, I also love sleep. Complete relaxation, fantastical dreams, and a warm down comforter... how can you not love it???

Although sleep is an elusive snipe, I equally love and hate the chase.

I leave you with a great song... one of my personal favorites, and possibly the name for my future daughter:

Rhiannon
Fleetwood Mac

Rhiannon rings like a bell thru the night,
and wouldn't you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight
and who will be her lover?

All your life you've never seen
a woman, taken by the wind.
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win.?

She is like a cat in the dark,
and then she is the darkness.
She rules her life like a fine skylark,
and when the sky is starless.

All your life you've never seen
a woman, taken by the wind.
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?

Rhiannon.
Rhiannon.
Rhiannon.
Rhiannon.

She rings like a bell thru the night,
and wouldn't you love to love her?
She rules the sky like a bird in flight,
and who will be her lover?

All your life you've never seen
a woman, taken by the wind.
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?
Will you ever win?

Rhiannon.
Rhiannon.
Rhiannon.

Taken by,
Taken by the sky.
Taken by,
Taken by the sky.
Taken by,
Taken by the sky.

Dreams unwind;
Love's a state of mind.
Dreams unwind;
Love's a state of mind.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

finals, finale and fins....

As some of you may know, I am attending school online at the University of Phoenix. After trying and failing at attending or enrolling in "regular" college, I decided that maybe an online thing would be easier for me to keep up with, since I am on the computer probably 12 of 24 hours in a day. (It sounds sadder when I say it out-loud like that...) I am seriously pursuing my degree in Web Design, although now I think I want to be a Web Developer. Oh, higher education and your many choices. If I were a better woman, I would have "picked a horse" sooner, and avoided the eternal stress you seem to give me...



Anywho, So in my desperation to get my degree to "grow up" (in no uncertain terms... literally. I vehemently believe [is that redundant?] that once I get my degree I will in essence be an 'adult' for the first time in my life...) I jumped on the "higher education" horse. Not literally. ;)

I just have to say right now, that I am in favor of education. I think that it is the bee's knees. The cat's pajamas... and all that. Seriously one of the spiffiest things out there for a young person to do. Educate yourselves. It is better to live life in knowledge than to dwindle in ignorance. (lol... that was for all my Mormom readers out there.) Anyway, back to the blog.

Online school is TOUGH!!! I would not recommend it to my worst enemy. Well, maybe I would... I am not in the right frame of mind now to say anything that is intransigent... Let me explain.

This is what I have to do for my classes. I take two classes at a time. These classes last for nine weeks, in which time, I am to complete a semesters amount of work. (This is not for the faint of heart, let me tell you.) There are participation requirements as well as attendance requirements. I also need to be (as I am finding out as I go along) a self-starter. (Which anyone can tell you [who has known me for any prolonged period of time] that I am HORRIBLE at.) Like right now... I am "taking a break" from using my brain... but we'll get back to that.

Anyway... Back to the issue at hand.

So, in each "semester" there are final projects for each class, meaning that I have two final project due every nine weeks. This in addition to the homework load and my "life's" load... My brain is fried... fricasseed, frizzled, sauteed, seared, singed, sizzled... and any other word that means (in no uncertain terms... ;) ) cooked!




I feel like just as I am grasping the gist of what I am supposed to be learning, I am taken out of the pot and thrown into a whole new pot, where I have to identify new and unfamiliar ingredients, and why they make sense together. (How did this become a food analogy???)

I guess I'm just complaining and procrastinating my work, because I have a rough draft of my communication final (which is due tonight by midnight for full credit) that I don't want to do.

I know... I can hear my conscience yelling: "What do you mean you don't want to? You are paying for your education. Don't waste your time. You can't afford to be lazy right now..." Yada, yada, yada. Truth be known,  I want to be in Hawai'i right now.

Next month, I get to take my annual pilgrimage to my motherland, Hawai'i. My little bro is getting married, and all of my free time has been dedicated to designing their invitations, debating with my mother as to the best way of getting all of the brides family around (they are all from Japan) and deciding on the best colors for the wedding cake. That, in addition to finals, car problems (Blanche, my car is in the shop. :( ) and a shortage in money, seem almost too much to think about. I guess it's all a part of life and making sacrifices and growing up.

The end of the year is coming up, and I'm unsettled by how quickly this year has gone by. It feels like it should still be summer, and I have the time to finish everything and be there for everyone. :S I guess I should tell you about what happened this weekend before I get back to my finals. (Conscience: "Procrastinator!" ;) )



So, some of you have yet to meet Blanche, my car... or as I lovingly call her, my g-ride, hoopty, or P.O.S. :) She's a '92 Crown Vic, with a busted interior and faded paint job. I got her for free from my grandma when we moved to Utah. I love her, but it's frustrating for me (someone with little to no knowledge about how to fix, diagnose, or even recognize car problems) to have an older car. I honestly have no knowledge whatsoever about cars.

I think that if I had a car that I could make mistakes on and take apart, I could get the hang of it... but I don't, so let's not dwell on things that aren't a part of reality.

Anywho, I've been realizing slowly that something was wrong with Blanche, but since I don't have any money (mostly from buying plane tickets and paying bills) I thought I had a little bit of leeway with her problems. How wrong I was...

I went out to my car on Friday, and found a puddle under the engine area of Blanche. Being the "smart" person I am (thanks to Slick Willey's... my lube guys) I got a napkin to see what color the fluid was. When I go to Slick Willey's they always have a color indicator they show you, to see how mucked up your car's fluids are. So, I knew that red = power steering fluid. Maybe it was the redness that sent me into a panic (resemblance to blood) or maybe I really just needed to get rid of the stress in my brain about my car, but my only thought was, "Blanche has a leak...  I need to call someone!"

I did. I called Bruce, my car guy. He's a magician, a miracle worker of the automotive world. I called him and explained what happened, and he said I needed to come in right away. So, we (Blanche and I) went to Bruce's place. (Nielson Automotive. They really are the best.) The diagnosis: A faulty power-steering pump. Thank goodness it wasn't anything worse.



Unfortunately my weekend plans were shot. I had planned to go to Page this weekend to see my uncle before he goes to work in Iraq for a year. BUT,  I am grounded in St. George. Which, I think actually worked out better because I never would have been able to focus on my rought draft with all the hustle and bustle of an early Thanksgiving. (My favorite holiday.)

Which reminds me... I am cooking Thanksgiving for my grandma, great-grandma, and my Uncle Kelly and his family. I'm pretty excited, and I hope they are ready for some exotic Thanksgiving flavors. :)

huh. Okay. Lyric time. Seriously, this is such a beautiful song. It makes me warm and fuzzy and nostalgic all at the same time. So, ONWARD!!!


 

Blue Skies
by: Noah And The Whale

This is a song for anyone
With a broken heart
This is a song for anyone
Who can't get out of bed

I'll do anything
To be happy
Oh cause blue skies are calling
But I know that it's hard

This is the last song
That I write
While still in love with you

This is the last song
That I write
While you're even on my mind

Cause it's time to leave
Those feelings behind
Oh cause blue skies are calling
But I know that it's hard

I don't think that it's the end
But I know we can't keep going
I don't think that it's the end
But I know we can't keep going

But blue skies are calling
Oh yeah blue skies are calling
Oh blue skies are calling
But I know that it's hard

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Old School vs New

So, I logged onto my MySpace page. I know, right??? No one uses MySpace anymore!!! But I logged on for kicks and giggles, and I looked at my blog. Now, I admit there was a lot of crap on there, but I found this post, and I wanted to do an "update" on it. 

---

"The other boot
Current mood: worried
Okay... so life as going so awesomely and I was getting to the point where I wasn’t giddy but I wasn’t depressed... I was... I guess the word is or was content... but of course the other boot had to fall...


so I sent in my mission papers and everyone and their dog was SO excited, but none more excited than me... everyone would always ask me if I cared where I was going, and I always said I didn’t care (which I really and truly didn’t) as long as I didn’t get a "please try again" or a "return to sender"... lol... huh, I look back now and realize that I only could have brought this upon myself... but yeah...


I got a "please try again"... seriously. They sent me back my papers and told me 3 things...


1. I need to work on my knee and ankle (both of which I hurt during volleyball)
2. I need to lose weight (the amount of which I don’t want to say ere, but it isn’t 5 lbs... that for sure)
3. Please try again...


so I'm trying to be optimistic... maybe the Lord knows something I don’t (which is usually the case) and I need this... but it doesn’t help my self esteem... which sometimes is completely nonexistent sometimes... and I know that they didn’t mean to hurt me... but now I can’t help but feel depressed and sad... 

But there is a little ray of hope... I can get through this, and be a better person on the other side. Sure, I wanted to be out there doing my thing, but maybe, just maybe the Lord is testing me... I just hope I'm not failing."

---


So yeah. I've been secretly (not so secretly maybe) sad lately. Not really depressed, but just not happy. Not satisfied with what's going on in my life. I think it has a lot to do with where I am spiritually in my life. It's almost as if I AM failing at life... at least what I feel like life should be. Why can't I be happy??? Why can't I get my feet under me?


I often wonder what life I am supposed to be living. Not only that, but I also wonder if I fit into any of the 'typical' molds of lives that normal people have. What is my purpose??? What am I destined to do? How would my life have been different if I was able to pull myself together and get out on a mission? I know that it isn't even in the cards right now. But, what if? Here's a quote that describes my mood right at this second:


“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.”
-Douglas Adams

Maybe I am living my purpose, and I just haven't recognized it yet. Hmmm...


Whenever I feel like I can't get perspective on life, there are a few people I can trust that will help me see things in a different light.


The first, of course are my parents. They are the compass of my life. They always help me to see which end is up. However, in my current situation, I feel like I can't talk to them. I feel like I am always disappointing them... and I can't bear to hear it in their voices.


Next would be my brothers. When I can't talk to my parents, they are usually the next best thing. BUT (and we all knew there would be a but...) they have their own lives to worry about. They all have kids and families... I hate bothering them because they are so busy.


Third is a special group of my friends. I classify them as my "sisters" because, frankly I don't have sisters. These are the few, and the proud. They talk me through any jam I find myself in, and they don't judge me. I can talk to them about anything, and they always have the best insight. I spent this past weekend with two of these wonderful women--Mindy and Leo. Leo is seriously like the awesomest and most wonderful friend/cousin/sister that I have. Mindy is the same brand of crazy as I am, and I have never found anyone that is more amazingly knowledgeable and kind as she is. Basically I just wanted to say THANK YOU to both of them. I'm not completely over it, but I'm in the beginnings. :)


Anyway... another reason I wanted to post today is to talk about the elderly.


We have volunteers at my workplace that run our visitors center. They can be challenging to work with, but I still love them and their dedication to help out around the office.


My boss wrote and email to those of us working today, and commented about the frailty of life. Because, as you can imagine, although working with these senior citizens is rewarding, it is sad to see them slip away. He commented, "I sure love our volunteers, but one of the things I absolutely hate about this job is watching them slip away either in their health or their cognition. I guess I hate it because I fear it. I fear it in them, I fear it in my own parents and I fear it as I start to feel my own physical (and sometimes mental) capabilities slipping away.


I suppose I should be thankful for their good example of keeping going when things start to slip. I don't know what's worse, watching young people just zip around all full of life and realizing how far removed I am from that, or watching old people and realizing that I am not far removed from them."


I am not an older person, but it is sad to see people that are so bright fade away. If course, as an incorrigible youth, I always think there is a better way. This is what I replied:


"I think that there is a way to make yourself healthy and happy, even through old age. Keeping a positive attitude is a big part of it, as well as taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally. My grandpa (my dad's dad) was the perfect example of this. He was always smiling and trying to make everyone around him as happy and comfortable as possible. I think that this mindset of eternal service toward your fellow man is something that holds true value. I am always amazed at how wonderful our volunteers are. They are a persevering sort, and are always willing to help when possible. That generation definitely has gumption. Something I think is lacking in the "younger" generations."


I am finding as I interact with people my age here more and more, that there is an underlying apathy to everything they are involved with. No one CARES. What happened to people caring about their community? What happened to people caring about their neighbors??? All I have to say is that we are privileged to be able to know these "senior citizens." They are the keepers of our knowledge, and they deserve our respect. How foolish we are, as a younger generation, to shut them away and spurn their wisdom. They have so much to give us. Maybe we don't deserve it, but who are we to turn them away? 


Just some thoughts. Sorry it's so random. Today has been a random day. And just to prove it, I am going to leave you with the song that has been stuck in my head all morning long.


"Follow Me" from the Television Series Fraggle Rock
Performed by: Uncle Matt and Gobo

Every day the world begins again
Sunny skies or rain
Come and follow me

Every sunrise shows me more and more
So much to explore
Come and follow me

Every morning, every day
Every evening, calling me away

While the sun goes 'round
I'll still be found
Following the sound
Something's calling me

When the world goes drifting back to bed
Memories in my head
Wonders follow me

Every morning, every day
Every evening, calling me away
Every morning, every day



Now I'm off to vote. :)