Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wedding Bells are Ringing

I'm getting a new sister-in-law this summer. And she has red hair. Which is entirely unfair. As I have always wanted red hair and have never had it even for one day.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Of note

I found my card reader! (Melissa, I guess the universe has decided to return all of our nice of it.) Unfortunately, it doesn't read the new HCSD cards I got for Christmas, so I had to go ahead and open the new card reader I purchased anyway. But you know what this means. Three months of pictures headed your way.

Also, I just purchased "99 Perfectly Relaxing Songs" from Amazon for 99 cents. Total. Not each. Go here if you want to do it. The nice thing about Amazon downloads is that they are restriction-free so go ahead and burn them on cd or put them on your ipod or whatever the heck you feel like doing with YOUR music. None of that i tunes stuff. I've only listened to a few so far and some of them are a little too gregorian-chant-like for my tastes, but hey, you've got 99 choices to enjoy while relaxing in your infinity tub...if only I had one of those.

Also, of note...apparently this was my 100th post. How boring. And how sad that it has taken since July 2006.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Life in the time of Napster

I function according to the laws of photosynthesis. No sun = I don't function. When it is sunny and the windows are open I am suddenly overcome by the desire to upholster my kitchen chairs or give my entire house a once-over with a Magic Eraser. When it is gloomy and the sky never makes it past gray I have to force myself to fold a load of laundry. In my attempt to make the gloomy-day laundry folding a little less depressing I turned on the radio. I don't listen to the radio much anymore because I just plain forget to turn it on. About halfway through the laundry load a song came on that almost made me think I was back in Carroll Hall or the Glenwood, laughing with roommates, half-heartedly studying French or reading some assigned novel, counting down the days until the end of the semester, worrying about nothing bigger than whether I had plans for the weekend*, and listening to mix cds created with the want-it-now-got-it-now magic of Napster.

Ahhh....Napster. Back when it was new enough that they hadn't yet created laws making it illegal. Back when it was new enough that BYU didn't have it blocked on their on-campus network (yes, there was such a time). Back before you had to even feel guilty about it, because no one thought it was any different from recording a song off the radio or a show off t.v. Hear a song on the radio...type it in...minute later it is mine. Napster, I miss you.

My 19 month-old has not stopped crying for longer than 2 minutes in the last 3 days. My 3.5 year-old has renewed his talent for coughing until he throws up on his sheets in the middle of the night.

I could use some roommates...or some Napster...or some sun.

*or maybe whether I was ruining a certain roommate's life and making her fail out of school...but let's face it, I never worried much about that...the upcoming weekend was much more important!

Monday, March 16, 2009


I think I once referred to this recipe and said I would post it. Well, I just typed it out for a friend so that day has come.

This is my most favorite dinner...I would eat in instead of going out to a restaurant (well, for sure if someone else made it...sometimes if I have to make it myself)! Maybe not the most simple meal in the world, but not complicated either and sooooo good. It is a compilation of recipes from various sources. The dressing recipe I got from Joanna at her Macey's class and the lime cilantro rice recipe I googled.

"Cafe Rio" Salads with Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

For cilantro lime rice:
1-2 Tb. butter
white rice
lime juice

Melt the butter in a pot and add your desired amount of white rice. Squeeze in the juice from 2 (or more depending on how much rice you are making) limes. Brown the rice in the butter and lime juice for a few minutes, then add twice as much water as your rice (i.e. 2 cups rice, add 4 cups water), bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Afterward, throw in a bunch of chopped up cilantro.

Summary: Cook white rice as usual, but begin by browning the dry rice in some butter and lime juice. Add cilantro after rice is fully cooked.

Cook some chicken breasts on the grill. Use your favorite citrus/garlic seasonings. Cut into strips.

Salad fixins:
Canned corn
Canned black beans (sometimes I heat them and throw in some salt, garlic and cumin)
Green leaf or Romaine lettuce
(whatever you want)

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing:
Dump all the following in a blender and blend:
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 (4 oz.) can green chiles
1/3 to 1/2 c. cilantro leaves (lightly packed)
1 small tomatillo
1/2 tsp. lime juice
dash cayenne pepper
1 c. mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, stemmed and seeds removed
1 tsp. salt
dash Tabasco sauce
1 package dry Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix

I like to butter a tortilla and heat it in a skillet and then while it is still warm press it into a pasta bowl or some other shallow bowl. Then put warm rice on the bottom, beans, corn, lettuce, chicken strips, and top with the dressing.

I have reheated the leftover chicken in a red sauce and then combined it with the other leftovers to make burritos which are also tasty. I had a good recipe for the red sauce bookmarked on our other computer that died. I think it was basically just chicken broth and tomato sauce with spices. Actually after searching online for a second, I think it was this:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green chili peppers (don't usually add these)
  • as I recall you probably want to adjust the seasoning to your own taste (maybe salt, pepper, cumin)

In a skillet, beat butter and saute onion. Blend in flour. Gradually add in broth while stirring. Add tomato sauce, garlic salt, and chili. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

I can't wait for grilling season so I can eat this again!
I also can't figure out why the directions above are in a different color and size. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another parenting milestone (parental discretion advised - contains descriptions which may be disturbing to some readers)

In my 3.5 years as a parent, I have made 3 calls to poison control and 0 trips to the Emergency Room. Well, I took Bryce to the E.R. last summer, but he's not a kid so that was not a parenting activity. Not too bad I guess. I could have done without the poison control calls, but considering how sneaky my boys can be I guess we are doing okay.

I had another parenting milestone today -- stitches. I was sitting on the family room floor basking in the sun that comes in through our backdoor every morning and taking some pictures of Sawyer. Sawyer has recently decided that he needs to wear a blanket tied around his neck like a cape at all times. He expressed this desire entirely through pantomime since he doesn't talk much -- those are some pretty impressive charade skills in my opinion. And it actually isn't a blanket. It is a piece of green fleece that I bought with the intention of making a blanket before Will was born. That didn't happen. And it kind of smells (a lot) because he wears it around the house all day and sleeps with it at night and it just hasn't hit the top of the laundry priority list this week.

Where were we? Oh yes, so I was sitting on the floor taking pictures of Sawyer the Super Snot-nosed Man and he came over and sat in my lap. After a minute he decided to get up and kind of rolled off my legs to the side, bonking his head on his little rocking chair in the process. I picked him up to kiss him and send him on his way and when I turned him over he had blood flowing down his face. In about 2 seconds it had flowed over his eyes and down his cheeks and filled up his ears. I carried him into the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel. I tried to hold it on his forehead, but he didn't like that so he kept shaking his head and trying to push my arm away. Meanwhile Will was following us around and getting a little freaked out: "Mom! What is that stuff on Sawyer's face? I don't like it!" I put on shoes and told Will to watch out the window and carried Sawyer across the street to my neighbor's house. Just so happens she is a nurse at the local hospital--this is the second time I've shown up on her doorstep. (Thanks Mary!) Fortunately she was home and she put a steri-strip on it and said she thought it was deep enough to require a couple stitches. Right as I walked out the door my friend Christa drove by. She agreed to take Will to her house to play so I wouldn't have to try to deal with him at the pediatrician's office. Fortuitous. Will was still acting kind of nervous until I asked if he wanted to go play and then he perked right up: "Yes! I would love to play! It's my lucky day!" (Have I mentioned that we don't get out much?)

Maybe now would be a good time to mention that I hadn't showered yet for the day and was still wearing my fleece pajama top which now had blood all down one arm. Sawyer was also still in the sweats he had slept in and still wearing his smelly cape. So we looked pretty lovely. Sawyer had stopped crying now that I was no longer trying to hold a paper towel against his head. I put him in the car and drove to the pediatrician's office. On the way I called Bryce and had him call the doctor to say that we were on our way in.

We walked in the office and Sawyer isn't crying but he has dried blood all over his face and ears, my shirt sleeve is covered in blood, and I'm carrying a blood-soaked paper towel. The girl at the desk says "Hi! What is the patient's name?" to which I replied "Well, we don't have an appointment. My husband just called in about needing stitches." I guess they knew who we were because her next question was for me to verify my address and phone number and to make sure that I paid the co-pay right then and there. As I'm trying to sign the receipt with one hand and holding my bloody baby in the other the girl says "Oh, did he cut his head?" Hmmm....blood-crusted baby, taped up head-wound, here for "stitches"...I'm thinking all signs point to yes. I know it wasn't life-threatening, but I still thought it was a bit odd.

By the time they took us back to the procedure room Sawyer just wanted to get down and run around. Unfortunately, he didn't have shoes or socks on so that wasn't really an option. He watched a cartoon for about 20 minutes while the numbing gel went to work and then the real fun began. The nurse held his head while I held down his arms and legs and the doctor injected some more pain meds and then gave him 3 stitches. The gel had numbed his forehead so that he wouldn't feel the pain med shots (or so I was told...we could ask Sawyer but I'm not sure he could pantomime an accurate response). Of course, he kicked and flailed and screamed bloody murder through the whole thing, but I think it was mostly just a freak-out response at being held down and having strangers try to do anything to him. Probably about the same way he'd react to a haircut. He was all smiles as soon as he got to sit up and the nurse gave him a sticker. He was so proud of that sticker. He made me put it on his hand (I'm telling you he can mime any desire) and he kept holding up his hand and looking at it the whole way home. A well-earned sticker my boy.

I have to take him back on Monday to get the stitches out and they say he'll have a little scar. I think it will make him look manly. And all super-heroes need an identifying scar right? Just call him Sawyer the Super Stitched Snot-nose Man.

(pictures to follow once I convince myself that my old card reader is not going to show up and to just go ahead and open the new one I bought which is sitting right here next to my computer)

Friday, March 06, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished.

I'm feeling rather stupid today for a variety of reasons. I was already feeling rather stupid when I checked the mail. The mail didn't improve things.

You see about a month ago I decided to write a thank you letter to one of my law school professors. I had recently learned that he has Lou Gehrig's disease. As you may recall, my OB-GYN recently died from Lou Gehrig's disease. When I heard my OB-GYN was sick I thought to myself "Oh, I should write a note and tell him thanks for taking care of me and my babies." But I didn't. And then he died. So upon hearing that one of my professors happens to have the same disease I thought to myself. "Oh, I should write a note and tell him thanks for being a good teacher and for letting me watch class from the library when I had to take my baby to school with me." So I did. At the end of the note I asked him to please let me know if there was any way I could return the favor and joked that I still vaguely recalled how to write and do research if nothing else. Now I didn't refer to his illness in the note, because I didn't want to be like "Hey, heard you've got a really crappy disease so just wanted to say thanks before it is too late." Because that would be kind of intrusive and depressing. I know he is advocating for research into Lou Gehrig's disease so I thought maybe I could help out with mailing stuff or writing letters to different groups or whatever. Although I figured I wouldn't hear anything back. Which was fine.

Fast forward to today's mail: envelope from the law school with very brief typed note inside which basically said, "Dear Erin, thank you for the note. You mentioned contacting you if I needed some kind of research assistance. I appreciate the offer, however, I am dealing with a serious health issue and have reduced my consulting practice."

So I'm pretty sure he thinks I was asking for a job. Maybe I'm just paranoid. But asking for a job would be the most stereotypical, arrogant, self-centered, young law student kind of thing I could have possibly done. And I don't want a job. But I'm pretty sure he thinks that is what I was trying to ask for.


I'm feeling rather stupid today.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Google a day keeps plagiarists away?

Had no idea the thing I had published in BYU's creative writing magazine a couple years ago was online until I got bored enough to google myself. You know you do it too. Now if only someone would plagiarize it in a major way so I could sue. And no, I'm not linking...cuz that would be weird...cuz I wrote it for a class assignment and then entered it in BYU's writing contest where it did not even place for any money, no linky.

Google yourself right now...go it!

Oooo...I just discovered that I also have an author's listing in BYU's "Mormon Literature Database." Pretty much famous for sure.

Now really why are you still reading this and not googling yourself?! I tag you all to share whatever you find.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows you're lame...

At our house we celebrate Valentine's Day the weekend after Valentine's Day. This started when we were first married and working and in school and poor. Trying to squeeze in some Valentine's Day fun between jobs and homework and crowds and not having money was more stress than it was worth so we started postponing our celebration until the weekend when we had more time and things were less crowded and our money went a bit further. Of course, this year Valentine's Day fell on a weekend, but we postponed it until the following weekend so that we could avoid the crowds, get a babysitter, and stretch our money a bit further.

Bryce consulted with his "night life adviser" and came up with a secret plan. My mom (who happens to be in town as a witness for a murder trial...yup, you read that right) and Mollie agreed to babysit. We started off the night at Braza Grill where Bryce may or may not have lit his straw wrapper on fire while trying to "freak me out" by "pretending to light his straw wrapper on fire." Then we headed to Salt Lake where we (surprise!) had reservations at The Tavernacle which bills itself as a dueling piano bar. I'm not sure what image that conjures up in your mind, but for some reason I envisioned multiple pianists busting out jazz and jazzed up versions of popular songs in the dim light of a swanky lounge trimmed out in slate and leather while people still in their business-wear sip martinis and stop their witty banter only long enough to politely applaud at the end of each musical number.


More on that later.

We were a bit early for our 8:30 reservation so we parked around the corner across from Gourmandise bakery...which I was a little excited about since I had just read about Gourmandise on a blog written by someone leading a much more interesting and well-connected life than my own. I got a chocolate dipped sugar cookie and we headed outside to wander around for a bit. There wasn't much open, but we found a small cd shop that smelled funky and spent a while browsing through their collection of used cds. When we had looked at everything we could possibly look at we went back out and walked around a little more until I protested that my red heels were threatening to permanently cripple me and then we went and stood in line at The Tavernacle. A glance at our fellow line-standers revealed a dearth of business-dressed witty banterers. At the front of the line we got carded (gasp) and paid our cover and then were shown to our reserved table for two in the corner by the windows. We had just eaten so we really weren't hungry, but I figured they would not appreciate us taking up a table and not spending any money so I had already pre-determined to order a soda or an appetizer or something. Food was out of the question, however, because they don't serve any. At all. It appeared that if you were hungry they would provide you a menu for a nearby pizza place who would then deliver your pizza directly to you. A waitress appeared and I'm sure she had already sized us up, but in case she missed something, we cleared up any ambiguity when she asked if she could get us any drinks and I asked for a Sprite. She looked at me for a second and walked off. No Sprite was ever seen or spoken of again. She stopped by twice more and asked if we needed anything before ignoring us for the rest of our stay. Being ignored was preferable so we had no problem with that. I'm still not entirely sure if she just forgot about the Sprite or if I was supposed to pay when I ordered so she never brought it or they didn't have any soft drinks or what happened there. I told Bryce that we should have told her we were both designated drivers and then maybe we would have gotten free soft drinks. I hear some places do that. So I'm told anyway. If you believe the commercials. The "show" didn't start until 9, but we had to arrive by 8:30 to claim our reservation so we had a solid half hour to scope out the other patrons before anything started happening. Clearly, they were not concerned about the lack of soft drinks.

The show started at 9 when a young woman and a young guy took their places at 2 grand pianos in the center of the room and explained the process of a dueling piano bar. You can request a song if you accompany that request by some amount of money. One of the pianists will begin playing and singing your song (with back-ups by the other pianist as necessary) and should someone in the crowd not enjoy your song they can shut the whole operation down by upping the ante and paying the pianist any amount over what you paid to request the song. If this gets you really riled up and you can't live without hearing the end of your song you can pay even more money to get the pianist to finish your tune. Each of these bidding actions have less than polite names. So the music starts and I have to give the pianists credit for being able to sit down and play and sing whatever anyone felt like hearing with nothing in front of them besides laptops which I think may have had lyrics or chord progressions on them. Then someone requested "It's Raining Men" and dedicated it to Senator Buttars (I'll let you google that relationship on your own) and next thing you know there is some guy dancing on top of the piano complete with feather boa. There were a couple birthdays being celebrated so they also made some poor girl dance who clearly DID NOT want to be up there. On the flip side, a (drunk) mother and father were about to fall out of their chairs at the sight of their (drunk) dear daughter making a fool of herself on the top of a piano while her (most likely drunk) husband watched on. Ahhh...the family that drinks together...umm...stinks together?

The music was fine and entertaining enough, but the crowd was getting A. larger (once the reserved tables are full they let people in to stand along the walls until maximum capacity is reached) and B. louder and C. drunker so we were feeling more and more out of place. To keep up with the crowds, the dueling pianists were getting raunchier and raunchier with their commentary. We lasted an hour before, being the good little sheltered happy-valley-livin' Mormon kids that we are, we decided to take off. I'm sure no one was too sad to see us go since the people standing wanted our table, the people standing in line outside wanted in, and the waitress surely wanted someone who wouldn't try to order Sprite. As Bryce said, "It doesn't matter what else you put in them...apparently people go to bars to get drunk." Profound and very true my dear.

We went back to Gourmandise and Bryce ordered cheesecake and I got hazelnut cookies. Then we drove home, exchanged romantic gifties like the "most accurate technological thriller ever written" (Bryce) and the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Digital Photography (me), checked on our kids and went to bed.

Moral? Our style = bakeries, not bars.

Erin? You? at the Tavernacle? Really? -- Don't believe me? i have video on my phone...but no connecter cable thingy. And my card reader is still lost so no pictures either. Sigh.