9.30.2007

We're Back!

Okay, so you probably didn't know we were gone, but we were. For the last 4 days we have been babysitting, or more precisely, teen-sitting. A couple from our church went out of town for a few days so we spent the nights and their house and kept an eye on their kids, age 13 and 15. They are pretty good kids and overall we had a good time. Craig enjoyed the X-box access and I always enjoy an excuse to watch Disney movies. Although they didn't play High School Musical at all, I know, I kept an eye on the Disney Channel. I have heard good things about that movie from quite a few "adults" and wouldn't have minded watching it. Maybe next time.

We did have to lay down the law a few times but I think Craig and I did well. He made sure the 15 year old was alive and in the car by 7:15am. Not a small feat. And I insisted that the 13 year old eat her veggies with this statement, "No, I am not going to make you eat your tater tots, but you do have to eat at least half of the corn on your plate before you can watch Zach and Cody, even if it is a brand new episode that they will never show again and you will forever wonder who got the best part in the school play." And she did. Wow, are we going to be great parents or what?! But I have to say, while I had a good time, I am still pretty sure that if people gave birth to teenagers, the world would be seriously underpopulated.

We also had fun with their pets. Especially their new kitten which was quite a smuggler snuggler. In fact, I came downstairs the first night to see Craig on the couch reading a book with a kitten purring on he chest, it was a very sweet moment that gives me proof he is lying when he says he doesn't like cats because they are girly. I really wish I had my camera so I could show you all but I felt like it would be dangerous to take it over there with the two teenagers, three cats, and two dogs. But today I am going to be a picture taking fool. I will try to limit my posting to relevant pictures. No guarantees though.

No Newt

So Newt Gingrich will not be running for president. I think this is the proper move. While he is one of the best ideas men in the Republican Party, and he did great work at the beginning of the mid-90's GOP Revolution, I think some of the things he's done in his personal life disqualify him from being the GOP nominee, in the eyes of me and many others. Plus, the fact that we have a pretty good crop of candidates right now makes his entry unnecessary.

Hopefully, a Republican wins the White House in '08 (like, say, Fred) and turns to Newt for policy ideas and the promotion of conservative ideas. That's the proper role for Newt as this point.




UPDATE: Is Newt waiting for 2012?

9.28.2007

Sci-Fi Politics

I generally think of myself as a Star Trek guy, but I may have to change my tune, because apparently Star Trek is liberal, and Star Wars is conservative.

An excerpt from the above link:
In Star Trek, the Federation appears to exercise significant power and control over interplanetary issues and commerce. Its governmental agencies are usually seen as benign. In Star Wars, everyone in the earlier time period (comprising “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones”) complains that the Galactic Republic is sinking into a morass of bureaucracy and corruption. The risk that these problems will give rise to a tyrannical dictator is explicit discussed, and reminds one of a number of cogent explanations for the rise of centralized, oppressive government in various real-world countries over the past two centuries.
I found this at NRO.

The Nose Saga Continues...

This morning I woke up, and as has happened three or four times this past week, started the day off with a nice nosebleed. The first time was a couple days ago when Craig was giving me a goodbye hug. He isn't a mad man or anything so his arm barely touched my nose, it didn't even hurt, but the blood came gushing out. So that set it off originally, now it is just sneezing. Yes, I sneeze and I bleed. Sometimes I sneeze then 30 seconds later I feel the blood trickling down. Other times, I actually sneeze blood. It's so gross, as you readers are probably well aware by now, with all the gushing and trickling descriptions. But it's not just the grossness, it makes it even harder to breathe and that is just very unpleasant.

I actually have gotten a recommendation for an ear, nose and throat doctor so I am on my way to making an appointment. But I don't like doctors, any doctors. To my friends in medical school, (and being a former Biomedical Science major, I have quite a few) I'm sorry, but once you graduate, I probably won't like you anymore. Did I mention I don't like doctors? That goes for P.A's and nurses and hospitals too. And don't think you are fooling me by calling it a "clinic." There are still needles in there. I don't like needles.

So yes, when it comes to pain, I am a big baby. But this whole thing started with a simple trip to the dentist so don't think it can't happen to you too. Don't worry about me though, Craig will bug me and I will eventually make an appointment to see a dreaded doctor. But eventually I will get my revenge...at what age are you supposed to start getting colonscopies?

A Waste of Energy

The Governor of Utah promoted a ridiculous program last week, in which people were supposed to turn their lights off from 9-10 pm one night as some kind of energy-saving demonstration. Of course, it failed. The power company noticed no decline in power use. I can think of several reasons why this didn't work:
  • One would only save a small amount of money (less than $0.10) by participating in this.
  • Who wants to sit in the dark for an hour?
  • People knew this was a stunt that wouldn't accomplish anything.
Now Texas A&M wants to do something even more lame, according to an e-mail they sent me. It's the "Residence Hall Energy Challenge!" Halls compete against each other to see who can reduce their energy use the most over last year's numbers.

How much impact can students really make? They can control lights and washing machines. Correct me if I'm wrong, those who have lived in A&M dorms, but I assume students don't have much control over the temperature in the building, and that's where most energy would be used. So students have to sit in the dark in stinky clothes if they want to win this.

But why would they want to win? The grand prize(s) is/are $400 for the winning dorm(s) to spend as they wish. So the residents will get a pizza party or something. The average student will see little of that $400, and thus has little incentive to compete. Will A&M reduce anyone's tuition as a result of this program? No chance in hell.

Texas A&M students have dorm and school pride, so some may take part in this. I hope they realize, however, that this is a waste of time. In fact, if I was there, I'd probably use more energy just to spite the university. Of course, it wouldn't make any difference in total energy use, and neither will this program.




UPDATE: Apparently, A&M did this in March, and claimed that it reduced energy use by 4.35%. Assuming energy costs $0.14/kwh (by taking an average from here), A&M would have saved $3,062. This is probably less than A&M spent promoting this program. If I'm a student in a dorm that got $400 for winning the contest (apparently there were three in March, so let's say $1,200 was doled out), I'd say, "Who gets the other $1,862?".

9.26.2007

Goldy Needs You, and Time to Smite BYU

As I mentioned previously, Goldy Gopher is in the running for Capital One Mascot of the Year. He's beaten Georgia's Hairy Dawg and Montana's Monte the last two weeks, and this week he takes on Cosmo from BYU. However, Goldy is currently trailing. Why not go help him out?

Sin City

There was a story in the Salt Lake paper today about Sin City. Las Vegas? Nope, Evanston, Wyoming (gasp!).

Evanston may not sound that exciting, but its lure is geographical. It's only an hour or so from Salt Lake City, and more importantly, it's across the border.

What does this mean? Liquor, fireworks, and gambling (oh my!).
"Evanston is the root of all Utah evil," says John Porter, owner of Porter's Fireworks and Liquor, and head of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. "That's the way Utahans think of it anyway."
While you can get liquor and (some) fireworks in Utah, the liquor is more expensive and harder to find, and the fireworks are less spectacular. Plus, it feels dangerous.
Two older couples in their 60s come out of Porter's Liquor Store, each with
their arms loaded with all the cases of beer and brown bags full of booze bottles they can carry. Smiling like teenagers getting away with something they're not supposed to do, they pile into a large SUV with Utah plates, drive onto the Interstate and head back toward Utah.
Here's something I didn't know:
Kegs are illegal in Utah. For years the Utah Highway Patrol used to sit at the Utah state line waiting to nab people with Utah plates returning from Wyoming to
confiscate their kegs and fireworks.
One other draw:
According to racetrack officials, 80 percent of Wyoming Downs patrons are from Utah. The parking lot is filled with cars with Utah plates. Utah has horse racing, but you can't bet on the ponies there. Gambling is illegal in Utah.
Living in northern Utah, as I do, Franklin, Idaho is a more convenient destination. They have a gas station there known as "Home of the Utah Lottery." They have a big banner and everything. Still, I might have to check out this Evanston sometime.

My camera came!

My camera came! My camera came! I am so excited that I am mentally singing a happy song because my camera came!

So why am I here, at work (hence the mental singing instead of literal singing), writing this, after 5:15, instead of at home playing with my new camera, you ask. Because I missed my bus like a little kid and have to wait for Craig to pick me up. Oh, well. I am still happy because my camera came!

Don't worry. I'm okay.

As you all know, last night was Tuesday night. Ever since I was in high school, Tuesday nights have been a special night, full of relaxation and calm and peace and love. Tuesday night was "me" night. Because Tuesday nights were Gilmore Girls nights, and somehow they always ended up being special, in an ordinary routine happiness way. In high school I watched it with my mom, we watched the show together every week, with my little brother popping in to say things like "eww, that girly show" or my older brother commenting on how he couldn't understand what they were saying as they were talking way to fast to be realistic. But brothers didn't matter then, it was a happy time (Tuesday nights, not high school in general).

Then I went to college and spent Tuesday nights breathing because I was a freshman and a tad overwhelmed. G.G. meant there was a at least one hour during the week that I didn't spend studying or in class. I'm not even really being sarcastic, I was so afraid I was going to fail all my classes my first year. And those who know me well will probably say that I wasn't much different as a senior but that is only half true.

Then Craig came along and luckily, he tolerated watching Gilmore Girls with me long enough to learn to like it. And I tolerated Law and Order: SVU long enough to like it. (And although I like SVU now, I will say watching a show about sex crimes with your new boyfriend can led to some awfully awkward moments.) He even proposed using a lovely Gilmore Girls reference...that I didn't quite get but still, that shows how he knows how much I loved that show. So last spring when I watched the last episode, I was a little upset. But I am used to having summers without it so I dealt.

Last night though was the first "new tv tuesday" without Gilmore girls. Luckily, House was good. I missed the side characters and wasn't too fond of the whoever decided to get all artsy with the camera at times but it was a good episode, I didn't predict the outcome by the 30 minute mark and I actually liked Wilson. Overall, House = good. A trend I hope continues cause I was losing that loving feeling last season. And SVU was pretty good too, lots of twists and turns in the plot as to be expected. No babies died which is also good because those episodes make me all emotional and I didn't need any help with that.

I'm sure my Tuesday nights will soon feel complete without Gilmore Girls, but part of me will always hold on to it. I think I loved it so much because Rory and I were the same age and especially at the beginning, very similar in character and nerdiness. I was just secretly wishing that I was a "cool smart" like her. But we did age together. Her first year at a new school, where she felt like a foreigner, I was getting ready to move to a new country. Her first year of college was my first year of college. Until the last episode. I had just gotten married and was watching it with my husband while Rory was deciding that she was too young to be married and settled down, she needed to get a job and live life and not be tied down. So we made different decisions and went our separate ways. I just hope she is as happy as I am now.




PS - I do realize that she isn't a real person but that isn't really the point. If you think it is, just go watch CSPAN or read a book.

You Tell 'Em, Granny



This story is great. The idiot health police in New York told senior citizens they couldn't have free doughnuts, which were being donated to senior centers, because the officials didn't want to "set a bad nutritional precedent." So the old people held a protest.

I think everyone that's not a kid should be able to eat whatever they want, whether it be trans fat or horse meat. This is especially true for old people. Having survived for as long as they have, I think they can eat all the doughnuts they want. I'm pretty much going to stop eating vegetables once I hit 80.

Look at some of these asinine quotes:
  • "It was disgusting the way people went after them," said 80-year-old Rita Jorgensen. "I think the senior center did them a favor by taking it away."
  • "We don't tell them what to do, we don't force them to eat what's good for them. But we certainly don't give them anything that's bad for them," said center director Silvia Ponce."
  • "They have choices, and we show them how to make good choices," she said.
It seems like seniors and kids are the canaries in the mine when it comes to government taking control of people's lives. Smoking bans are supported by appeals to "protect the children." The march towards government health care is starting with these two groups (via Medicare and SCHIP). And governmental diet control is also focused on these groups.

Today's senior citizens won World War II. They've been called the Greatest Generation. Can't we at least let them eat some doughnuts?

9.24.2007

Ugly, Indeed

Those were some ugly uniforms the Eagles wore today:


Standing Up to the Racial Racket

The latest documentary by noted filmmaker Ken Burns, on WWII, came out tonight. In an article on the film, I saw this tidbit:
As Burns was finishing the elaborate sound-effects mixing on "The War," Latino groups began a campaign criticizing the movie, saying the stories of Latino World War II veterans were being ignored.
This is not a big surprise. The modern racial movement ("Latino" technically isn't a race, but I feel comfortable lumping their advocacy groups in with similar ones for other minorities) loves quotas. We have to have women, minorities, and minority women on the Supreme Court and in the President's cabinet, or they're not legitimate. Skin color trumps all else. It seems to be exactly the opposite of what Martin Luther King, Jr. would have wanted. You know, "content of their character" and all that. Never mind that Burns documentary was focused on four specific US cities, and no Latinos came forward in these cities.

Ken Burns' response to his critics was great:
If you were painting a still life and you leave out an orange," he said, "does the orange lobby then lobby to have C├ęzanne put back, in addition to the banana and the apple and the pear, the oranges?
Of course, "Burns did go back and add supplemental stories of Latino and American Indian veterans, which appear at the end of some episodes." So he capitulated a little bit. But most people would have given in completely, so I commend him.

9.23.2007

Weekend adventures

I rained yesterday. Yesterday night when I was all cuddled up with a blanket on the couch watching "Everybody loves Raymond" I was completely okay with the rain. Yesterday afternoon when I was running through the zoo soaking wet, I wasn't quite as okay with it.

We actually went down to SLC to go to an art gallery. One of our friends was having a gallery showing and we wanted to see all his stuff. But at that time, you know, when we were inside, it was only a little cloudy. The closer we got to the zoo, the yuckier it it got. Craig and I are really good at rolling with the punches so we still had a good time. We still got to see the crazy white but not albino alligator. And we watched giraffes eat. The rain actually made that cooler because they didn't want to be outside either so they came inside into their pens and we could climb up to a second floor loft and watch them up close. And we spent a lot of time in the reptile and small animal houses. Because really, do you need to see more of a camel than what you can see as you dash by on the way to the next covered building? I think not.

On the way back we stopped off at Target and spent the last of our wedding gift cards. It made me reminisce about when I used to live by a Target and could go there whenever I wanted. Those were happy days. Seriously, Target is such a great store, even if you don't call it Tar-jay, which I, of course, do.

I got a really cute sweater for $18. The clothes they have there this season are great. But I do have one complaint. They had gloves and hats out. No! It is not time for winter which means I have no reason to buy gloves or hats, even if they are really cute with polka dots that match my brand new sweater. No. The leaves have just started turning colors this week and I have just started to need a jacket so don't rush me into winter. I am not ready. I haven't even gotten Craig to take the air conditioner out of the window let alone get it into the basement for storage. I haven't dragged out my suitcases full of fall clothes and packed away my shorts and t-shirts. I haven't bought a single pumpkin and in a quest to become Martha Stewart, carved it out and turned it into a candle holder. I do not have a basket full of pine cones sitting on my table. I have not even prepared for fall, let alone winter. Gosh, I have a lot to do. I better go.

9.21.2007

Contracting Blues

So a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) came over the wire at work for a project in Minnesota. I was quite excited about this, because getting the project would mean a trip to my old college stomping grounds. I ended up doing the lion's share of work on the proposal, including finding a Minnesota-based firm to team up with, and I thought we had a pretty solid bid. However, we learned today that we were denied. I was crushed.

The winning firm somehow came up with a cost proposal that was half of the amount of ours. Now, we're a small company in a low-wage, low cost-of-living area, so one of our advantages is that we can do jobs for (relatively) cheap. So we don't know how this other company will do the job for the price they offered. Also, the company that won proudly proclaims that they are a "Native-American owned, woman-owned small business." Now, I'm not sure exactly what preferences the government provides to such businesses, but the fact that firms that meet these qualifications trumpet them so boldly suggests that there's something there. I don't like it.

The Fight Against Hooters

I didn't have Bryan, Texas (twin city to College Station, home of Texas A&M) pegged as an anti-Hooters kind of town. But apparently there's a big fight going on over whether one should open up there. Some administrative judge will decide whether the restaurant can get a liquor license. If not, it won't even be built.

Maybe I should back up a bit. Judging by a couple articles I found, Bryan isn't an anti-Hooters town. It just has a small, vocal, anti-Hooters element:
Several Bryan residents are expected to show up at Tuesday's City Council meeting to protest an incoming restaurant that they say will exploit women and encourage excessive drinking.
And this:
TABC Sgt. Mitch Dill said Wednesday that the commission received 16 letters of protest and a petition that was signed by about 15 people.
I guess every town has a few people like this. Although these few could easily solve their problems by simply not going to the restaurant, they instead have to tell the rest of the town what's good for them. Now, if we were talking about a new strip club, I could maybe sympathize with them, although I'd still probably oppose them. But to get worked up over this is just plain ridiculous.

Crafty-ness

I always have so many crafty projects and things I want to work on, but never get around to finishing. It used to frustrate me a lot but I am trying let the perfectionist in me let go of it. So right now I am concentrating on just two things.

1) The stained glass project that I just started. This one is easy because I am taking the class and that gives me two hours a week to work on it, but I won't finish it in class if I don't work on it at home too and I know if I don't finish it before the class ends, I will probably never.

2) Craig's T-shirt quilt. I love t-shirt quilts and this will be the third one I have made so in theory it shouldn't be hard. I just have to get past the cutting out stuff stage. I don't like that stage so it is always hard for me to initially get started with a quilt but once I do, it goes quick.

So those are my projects and I was planning on working on them tonight because Craig has his monthly men's book club. But the leader is sick so it is postponed. And I just can't work on it when he is there because I am left with the choice of:

a) snuggle up on the couch with Craig and a blanket and read a book in the nice and toasty living room.
or
b) leave Craig and go down into the cold basement where it is dark and yucky.

So of course I always choose "a" and never get anything done. I just need to keep thinking to myself that the blanket I am cuddled up in is a t-shirt quilt and poor Craig will never have the joy of being wrapped in the memories of his quilt unless I finish it!

I realize this post was not so interesting but I need to have some accountability. So tomorrow I will let you know if I succeeding in accomplishing anything.




PS: You may have noticed that I have stopped posting words but that is not because I have forgotten. No, it is because the rest of that list is stupid and full of words like mitosis and metamorphosis and hypotenuse. Boring!

Hit the Ice

As summer turns to fall, it's time to resume a time-honored sport. No, not football. Curling! Yes, it's time to put on the slider, grab your broom, and throw some stones. We began the season on Monday night with a public clinic. I didn't seem to be rusty after taking the summer off, and the ice was actually quite smooth. I'm sure that will change as the high school hockey season starts up. There were a ridiculous amount of people there Monday, many of whom are taking the USU curling PE class. One may say that a high turnout is good, but not if there are more people than the rinks can hold (5 rinks x 8 people per rink = 40 person capacity). But I think things will work out.

9.19.2007

WFMW - cheating edition

I'm being lazy today and not giving you a real post. Mostly because I have big band-aids on the tips of two of my fingers and it makes typing tough. So instead of doing a WFMW, I am just linking to my favorite three:

1. Oh my gosh, this is so cool. Too bad I have no t-shirts around right now to try it out but tonight, I will be practicing.

2. I love coming home to an already prepared meal with the smell wafting out of the kitchen, but I don't have many Crockpot recipes. Maybe this will help.

3. I already read this blog, it can be really funny. But this is mostly for Craig. Anytime anything happens to me, he just says "use hydrogen peroxide." It's not Windex but maybe I could benefit more that I wanted to admit.

That sounds about right

I am Elizabeth Bennet!


Take the Quiz here!



9.18.2007

When all else fails...make cheesecake.

I never would have imagined that my trip to the dentist was thrilling enough to be the topic of two different posts, and honestly, it probably isn't but this is what you are getting. In addition to the other discovery I made yesterday, I also learned I had two cavities. TWO...and "a watch". And "a watch" is just a nicer way of saying a "little tiny cavity that will probably have to be filled next time you come visit" so I really have three cavities!

I have always had problems with cavities and when I was little, it was pretty understandable. But my oral hygiene habits have improved drastically since I was seven, so why am I still getting the same number of cavities!

I was frustrated but decided to work on lowering my sugar intake since that is the only thing I can think of. I brush at least 2x a day, and I floss, and I don't drink cokes or southern sweet tea. Water, sometimes Crystal light Lemonade or Milk. I don't eat a lot of candy and I don't even chew gum anymore because of my previous experiences with TMJ problems. I will admit that I like my desserts though, cookies, ice cream, brownies, I love them all... but I would still say I eat less sugar than most Americans. It's genetics and there isn't anything I can do about it.

So while I first left the dentist feeling empowered and ready to fight for my teeth, I quickly changed my mind, my willpower quickly faded. Why should I give up the treats that I love so much when I am still going to get cavities. At this point, my teeth worries combined with my nose worries had worn my out, so I made cheesecake to make me feel better...but at least the cherry pie filling on top was made with splenda. :-)

9.17.2007

Fighting the Scourge of Girly Drinks

I wrote earlier about the law that prevents me from importing a six-pack into Utah. Well, the state of Utah now has its sights set on your Smirnoff Ice. The Alcoholic Beverage Commission is convinced that the makers of drinks like this are targeting kids, and so they want to remove them from the grocery store (beer and Mike's Hard Lemonade-type drinks are all we can buy in grocery stores - for everything else we must go to state-owned liquor stores). This would make them more expensive and more inconvenient for those of us who (gasp!) choose to drink.

Ridiculous quote alert:
The fruity, sweet beverages are "alcoholic training bras" because they appeal to young girls who don't like beer, said Abbie Vianes, coordinator of the Salt Lake City Mayor's Coalition on Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs.
We also have bars here that only serve beer. The rules are more stringent if a bar wants to sell liquor. The Attorney General here wants to take the girly drinks out of beer taverns, too.

Proponents of this idiocy don't seem to be arguing that its easier for minors to buy alcohol at grocery stores than at liquor stores. Their main motivation seems to be a belief that kids will stroll through the beer aisle at the grocery store, see Bacardi Razz on the shelf, and become instant alcoholics. But you don't see them urging better enforcement of laws against providing alcohol to minors, or increasing punishments for stores that don't check IDs. Instead, they inconvenience adults with a "solution" that won't decrease drinking by minors one bit.

Of course, they could have other motivations here, such as 1) expanding the state's liquor monopoly or 2) trying to prevent everyone, including adults, from drinking.

I didn't even notice

Whew, I'm exhausted. We had a really busy weekend and I was planning on writing about it during my lunch break but I had a dentist appointment. Which is good for you cause now I can relate to you the interesting conversation my new dentist and I had:

Dentist: Oh, panoramic X-rays, I love these. See, here are your joints and your eye sockets and your nose. When did you break your nose?

Confused Me: What?

Dentist: Your nose. Do you remember breaking it?

Confused Me: I don't think I have ever broken my nose.

Dentist: Well, see here this light spot. That is a bone. It should be in one piece. Yours is in a couple.

Confused Me: Oh...good to know?

Dentist: Can you breathe?

Confused Me: Yes?

Dentist: Hmmm. You don't remember ever getting hit really hard in the face?

Confused Me: Not particularly

Dentist: Well, if you have problems with breathing or anything, you should go see a ears, nose, and throat specialist. But if it isn't bothering you, they will probably just leave it be. People don't like to have nose surgery unless it is completely necessary.

At this point, he leans me back to check for cavities while my mind wanders...He has obviously never seen the before and after pictures of Jennifer Grey....but back to me. How did I get a broken nose? I'm not a rugby player. And how did I not notice I had broken my nose? Is this the source of all my "allergy problems" of the last 2 months? But surely if I had broken my nose in the last two months, I would have noticed. But surely if I had broken my nose EVER I would have noticed. And yet, there my bones are....not together. WEIRD.

Once I calmed down I told myself that I have probably been like this for a while and I haven't died of not breathing yet so let it go, at least until I get my next physical and I can ask about it then. But it got me thinking, If I could have a perfect legitimate non-vanity driven nose job...would I do it?

Now I don't particularly like my nose. In fact, if I could change one thing about myself, it would definitely be my nose.But as I would never spend the money to do anything about it, I didn't actually think much about it. Yet, as much as I don't love my nose, I am used to how I look and I'm not sure I would like waking up and seeing something different in the mirror. I don't even like buying a different shade of lipstick because what if I don't like it? So hopefully the day that I have to make that decision doesn't ever come because I would be sooo torn. Would I give up a free nose job or would I change the way my face looks forever? What would you do?

9.14.2007

Chicken Packets

By popular demand, I bring you the chicken packet recipe. These chicken packets are amazingly delicious. I wish I had my digital camera (still waiting for it in the mail) so I could show you the steps. That wouldn't really be necessary because it's really easy, but it so much fun to do picture recipes.Sorry, got sidetracked but without further ado:

You'll need:
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts (if you are like me, you cook a bunch and save the rest for quesadillas and such later on in the week)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese (the little square package)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives (or you can get the chive flavored cream cheese which is what I normally do)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 breadcrumbs (i buy the Italian kind in the fancy round tube, they add a little flavoring to the packet, last time I made these packets I didn't realize I ran out so we had them without the breadcrumbs. It works but they aren't as tasty. And they look sad. You can also use crushed up flavored croutons, but I didn't have those around either.
  • 2 packages of the regular normal crescent rolls. Not these weirdos.
  • 1/4 cup butter
In a bowl, mix the chicken, the cream cheese (softened), the chives (if they aren't in the cream cheese) and the milk.

This recipe makes 8 packets but it is easy to freeze for later if there aren't enough of you. Just put half of the mixture in a little freezer bag. Next time you want chicken packets, take it out the night before and pick up here the next day. Cause if you just half the recipe, what will you do with 1.5 ounces of cream cheese chives?

Now unroll the crescent rolls. They will be 8 triangles per package. Make the 8 triangles into 4 rectangles by pinching the diagonals closed and separating the verticals. That sounds really complicated but if you are looking at the roll of dough, it should make perfect sense.

Put a dollop of the chicken/cheese mixture on one side of each of the rectangles. Try to evenly spread it out or some of you packets might be too full and unable to close. Now fold the other sides over so you have a bunch of fat little bundle of goodness. Pinch all the seams so it doesn't fall apart.

Now melt the butter in a small bowl and put the bread crumbs in another small bowl. Take each packet and dip it in the butter then in the breadcrumbs then place it on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.




Jess - I have never made mine in to a braid although that might be good for us. I typically want about 1.5 packets while Craig eats 2.5. That works out great for one package of rolls and half a bag of mixture but I think a braid sounds more sophisticated then Craig taking my last half a packet off my plate. Please share.

Men on a Mission

I thought some of our female readers might be interested in this:

“[A] steamy 2008 calendar featuring twelve handsome returned Mormon missionaries who have dared to pose bare-chested in the first-ever Men on a Mission calendar. Usually seen riding their bicycles and preaching door-to-door, the sexy new calendar celebrates the great looks, beautiful bodies and amazing stories of service of these deeply spiritual men.”

9.13.2007

Contributing to Science

As I have written about before, I am participating in a project to survey US weather stations (see here, here, and here). The idea is to try to determine how site biases (e.g., asphalt, air conditioner vents, cars, etc.) may be affecting temperature readings over time. As locations become more urban, stations that were once rural are now surrounded by development, and this might cause abnormally high readings.

Well, 33% of the stations have been surveyed and assessed, and using official criteria for site ratings (1 = ideal location,..., 5 = horrible location), here's what's been found so far:



As you can see, many of the stations are sited quite poorly. In fact, only 13% are considered acceptable (rating of 1 or 2).

Anyway, the man who's running this project, Anthony Watts, gave a presentation of his work at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research conference, and one of my sites made it into his presentation. See here. I had thought this station was well-sited, since it is in an open area, but I neglected to consider the concrete pad on which the station sits. Because of that, the Logan station received a rating of 5.

I haven't done a station in awhile, but I hope to get a few more as my travels take me to various places. Not a single North Dakota station has been done, so I hope to remedy that on my next trip home.

Drum roll please

My posts lately have kinda been few and far between compared to the previous months and I do apologize. But work has been busy and stressful; good, but stressful. And life has been busy, although not to stressful. I just have had things going on almost every night this week. And I'm sick. Except I'm not.

I am ready to announce that I am not sick, I have allergies. GASP! I have NEVER had allergies before (I'm talking the sinus kind, I have ton of skin allergies, but that is a different story). Lots of people in my family have them, my mom, my little bro, cousins, etc and they have them BAD, but I have always been able to breath in any flower, roll in any freshly mowed yard, and play with any dust mite and not have to worry about sniffles or watery eyes. Not that I do these things, but I could. I will even admit to secretly and thinking to myself how awful it would be to have allergies. A never ending cold-like illness that you can't do much about? Boy would that suck. And it does. But I can no longer convince myself that I have had a 7 week long cold.

Last night I made Craig get me some Claritin from the grocery store and it seemed to help last night, but I still feel crappy today. Maybe they lie when they say it lasts for 24 hours but I don't really feel like the fog is gone as the commercials would lead you to believe. But I won't give up yet, I have received the "go with Claritin" advice from a well educated medical expert with lots of experience (aka - the mom) and I have faith. At least for one or two more days.

The thing I hate most about allergies is that I can't blame anything for feeling so crappy. When I feel sick, I like to have something to blame. It could be anything really, "Oh, stupid virus, this is all your fault" or "Oh, stupid bacteria, this is all your fault" or even "Oh, stupid uterus, this is all your fault." But I haven't figured who I should blame yet. I suppose I could say "Oh, stupid basophils, this is all your fault" but I just don't think it is smart to go around insulting your immune system. It could backfire.

I might place the blame with sagebrush. I don't like it, it smells funky, it's ugly, and it's everywhere in Utah. I have lived in tons of places (ok, more like 10) and have never had problems with allergies. But what is different between those places and this place: the sage brush. This is very unscientific because there are a lot of other things that are probably different too but I am going to stick with the sage brush.




PS - Mormons are also something I've never lived around before, at least in such large numbers. But I don't think they cause allergies.

9.12.2007

Raise a Pint

I didn't realize that they use miles per hour, pints, and other such measurements (well, I knew they used pints for beer, but I thought that was an exception). I suppose I should have known, since they're called English measurements.

I bring this up because the EU just gave up on its fight to force Great Britain to go all metric, all the time.
The threat to Britain's imperial measures is to be lifted today after a climbdown by the European commission.
The plans to switch over to metric and abandon imperial measures became a cause celebre for Eurosceptics, unhappy about Brussels's intrusion into British life.
Since 1995, goods sold in Europe have had to display metric weights and measurements, but to appease the public outcry in the UK, imperial indications have also been allowed.
Yeah, if I was European, I would rail against the EU at every opportunity. You people would get sick of hearing about it. Luckily, I'm American. I would not be interested in turning my country's sovereignty over to a largely unaccountable body of bureaucrats. Especially since the priorities of European bureaucrats include gutting militaries, implementing ridiculous labor laws, suppressing free speech, and battling global warming.

What will they think of next!

I love a lot of things and two of things are
1. Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury (or store brand fake Pillsbury) - beneath that metal and cardboard exterior is a wealth of opportunities. They can become one of Craig's favorite meals, Chicken Packets (filled with cream cheese, chicken, and chives, yummm) a fancy cherry cheese danish like the one I served for dessert when we had our friends over last week (easy and tasty), or just a delicious buttery roll.

2. Kitchen Shortcuts. I love easy things. Most nights, I would much rather spend my time reading or quilting or talking to my husband than on dishes or cooking. Sometimes I like to cook fancy things or bake delicious treats with or for Craig, but overall, time savers are welcome. But...

THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!



So ridiculous that I hate to even put the ad here but I can't find a non-ad picture. How lazy are you if you can't even roll up the crescent roll from a pre-scored sheet. Seriously people! Plus, by having them this way, it seems like you are losing so much of the wonderful versatility that crescent rolls offer. I can't make these into danishes, these are useless to me! I don't know why this irks me so much but it does. So they aren't getting an auspicious start towards pleasing me but please tell me you think that their ridiculous too!





Auspicious -
1.promising success; propitious; opportune; favorable
2.favored by fortune; prosperous; fortunate

Six Years Ago

I should have put this up sooner, but here you go. I thought it was poignant. Click to enlarge.


9.11.2007

Vote Now!

It's time once again for the Capitol One Mascot of the Year competition. Goldy Gopher, my FAVORITE mascot, is back in the running, after competing in 2004. You can play a role in helping Goldy's quest for the glory. Go here and vote every single day from now until pretty much the end of the year. There are weekly matchups leading up to the "playoffs." This week, Goldy takes on Hairy Dawg from Georgia, and he is currently leading.

As an added bonus for you Utahns, Cosmo from BYU is also competing, so you can vote for/against him, depending on your preference.

Goldy appreciates your support. More info here.

9.10.2007

Jam and Jane

I love being domestic and I especially like to talk about how I am domestic so I really surprised myself when I realized that Craig and I made jam last Wednesday/Thursday (it's a two day process) and I hadn't mentioned it yet. But I am making up for it now. Yum, homemade peach jam. It was really good, but not so good for you because I couldn't find the "less sugar" type of Sure Jell and the original kind calls for a lot of sugar. I think the sugar to peach ratio was over 1. And peaches are naturally pretty sweet, especially the fresh, local grown ones that we used. But it was a lot of fun. Neither one of us had ever made jam before but I think we did pretty well. It makes me want to can things. But I don't have a canning system, the knowledge of how to can, or anything to can, so I probably won't be doing much canning this fall. Next summer though, canning is making my list. I don't really think I have had much non-grocery store canned food but Craig grew up eating homemade canned things and it seems like it would taste good. I have had his mom and grandma's pickles and they are gooood. It's almost sad for me to eat them because I love pickles but after trying theirs, Vlassic just don't taste as good. I think pickling things is still a couple years down the line, I need to start small. And I have images of exploding cans in my kitchen to keep my aspirations under control.

But I felt very good this morning eating my toast with peach jam. Mostly because I forgot to buy milk yesterday but I was redeemed by the jam. Having to eat toast with jam instead of my usual cereal would have been really depressing without the fancy jam. But I got distracted last night. My friend K. and I went to see Becoming Jane. I was going to drag Craig along but we went to a church bbq beforehand and when we found out that we both wanted to see it, we ditched our husbands in two seconds. I am pretty sure Craig screamed "Woo-Hoo" or something similar when he found out he was off the hook so I didn't feel too bad. It was...okay. They didn't develop the characters very well, and in a period piece, the characters are very important! And the costumes weren't great either, and they are another important piece of the period piece puzzle. Plus, it was kinda sad. I mean, everyone knows she ends up all alone, like almost all of the amazing old-school authors did, but it is still sad to watch. But if she had ended up with the guy, I would have hated it more. Not because it wouldn't have been true to her story, because the movie isn't really that accurate anyway, but because I though the guy she liked was kind of - bleh. To be more descriptive, I might call him feckless*. And the rich guy who wanted to marry her, and could afford to, seemed really nice. She called him a boobie but I didn't see it. But after the movie, we were so busy talking about the story and Jane Austen that the milk completely slipped my mind. But that really is to be expected.




feck·less
1.ineffective; incompetent; futile: feckless attempts to repair the plumbing.
2.having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy.

9.09.2007

Local Politics

Tuesday we have a primary election here for two city council seats. The field for each seat will be winnowed from three down to two. An outsider may think that, since this is Utah, the city council must be conservative-dominated (at least philosophically; the seats are non-partisan).

That is not the case. There are five seats on the council, three of which are up this year (one only has two people running, thus no primary). These three are currently held by big-government types that have been on an environmentalist kick lately. These three are all running for re-election. They voted to back out of a deal to purchase more coal power (we have a city-owned utility) in favor of unspecified alternative sources, they voted to spend $200,000 to build a new city building to some lame environmental standards, they voted to increase property tax collections by, coincidentally, $200,000, and they're currently looking at hiking electric rates (already 10-12% higher than those of the private utility consumers across the city line) to pay for a new "conservation coordinator" whose job will be to preach conservation. I, for one, am hoping all three are evicted from office.

However, the challengers in these races aren't appreciably different from the incumbents. Also, the race seems to be entirely run on resume and relationships, rather than issues. I guess this is what happens in smaller towns; those who know more people have the advantage, and many voters look at those who have previous local government experience.

Now, I concede that these are considerations in any election, from dogcatcher to president. But in this case, they seem to be the only considerations. Little discussion of the issues is made. This can be seen by perusing the letters to the editor of the local newspaper. The paper even mocked these letters in an editorial. The local radio show (the blog of which I contribute to) has done a good job of bringing issues to the forefront, but I don't know what kind of ratings the show gets, and how much difference this will make to the average voter.

We'll see what happens tomorrow, although the results aren't in much doubt, other than the exact vote totals. Maybe things will pick up prior to the general election. I do hope so.

9.07.2007

Pajama Love

Pajamas, or pj's. What do you call them? I use both terms when I talk but I don't like the way pj's looks when it is spelled because I feel like it needs the ' but that makes me mad because it isn't like anything belongs to the pajamas, except my love. Because I LOVE pajamas

So soft and comfy and relaxed. They are my favorite type of clothing, which is problematic. It may be completely acceptable to wear a different pair of pants everyday of the week, but having to wash 7 pairs of pajamas because I like variety is a little ridiculous. And I get at least one new set every Christmas from my mom, but I normally buy a couple more for each season. So I have a ton of pajamas, most of which I don't wear much, and there is no reason for me to be lusting after these, even though they are soooo cute and on sale. But they don't have my size so I have to let it go.

But I have loved this company's pajamas for a long time, without even knowing it. I actually saw these really cute sushi pajamas on Buffy the Vampire Slayer* and totally loved them. I spent the next 4 years looking for sushi pajamas with no luck. All I found were really ugly ones and I was distraught. Which is funny because I don't like sushi and you wouldn't think I would want these pajamas that much - but they are sooo adorable. I also remember the Gilmore Girls ones but I don't like them that much.

*Buffy the Vampire slayer was one of those shows I really wasn't allowed to watch but secretly did, sometimes anyway, at least until Angel was gone because his cuteness was totally the point to my watching it. Sorry mom and dad! But really, if the worst thing your teenage daughter is doing when she is sneaking out of her room at night, is to go downstairs and eat ice cream and watch WB shows, you should consider yourself lucky.




Okay, I am really failing miserable at remembering to do these but this time, I did. So here:

Ziggurat: (among the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians) a temple of Sumerian origin in the form of a pyramidal tower, consisting of a number of stories and having about the outside a broad ascent winding round the structure, presenting the appearance of a series of terraces.

Okay, is it really imperative for a high school graduate to know what ziggurat means? I don't think so.

9.06.2007

Do the happy dance!

I think it has finally happened...I may be in a good mood again. This weekend was three days long and I think that means it was supposed to be great but alas, it was not. Let's just say it started with a spontaneous decision to highlight my hair, which was going great until I forgot to add one of the three packets until after Craig had applied the goo to half of my head. And it ended with my sweetly saying "How much farther?" during the drive home from our backpacking/camping trip while inside my head I was screaming "Can you PLEASE drive faster, I haven't gone to the bathroom in almost 24 hours and if we don't get there pretty soon, someone will die!!!" (And in the middle, there was a nap when there was supposed to be a potluck at the bosses house...at least he is nice and understood that I really didn't feel good)

And even Tuesday with it's new episode of Big Brother (yes, I am addicted; yes, I know it's pathetic) and pot roast dinner couldn't cheer me up. You know what they say; "Plum puffs Pot Roast won't minister to a mind diseased in a world that's crumbled into pieces." But do you know what can minister to a mind, even one diseased in a world that's crumbled into pieces? A new digital SLR. Yes, we won the auction last night on eBay and I am soon going to be in the possession of a not-quite-new Nikon. WHOOP! I am sooo excited.

But that isn't it. We are having a couple over for dinner tonight and I am excited about that too. We love to entertain and are finally living someplace where we really can which is great. We are either being brave or reckless by using recipes we have never tried before. But can you really go wrong with this and corn, bought yesterday at the gardeners market, grilled on the patio? I don't think so. My mouth is watering already. The fun begins in 5 hours. Double Whoop.

Leno Video

If you happened to miss the Tonight Show last night, despite my reminder, you can catch Fred's appearance here.

9.05.2007

Programming Note

Don't forget to tune into the Tonight Show tonight to see Fred Thompson in advance of his big announcement!

Oops

Oops. I forgot to add a word to that one. And that's incontrovertible.
incontrovertible - not controvertible (duh); not open to question or dispute; indisputable




PS ~ I really did know what incontrovertible meant, I just couldn't find one that fit better in my sentence.

WFMW: Brand Loyalty

Today's WFMW is a little different, it's about brand name loyalty. Which is good because it's been a long week (hence the lack of posts lately) and without a little direction I probably couldn't have come up with another WFMW post.

Anyway, about brand name loyalty. Craig and I have basically none. Whatever is the cheapest is the best but there are a couple of exceptions and they seem to revolve around the bathroom and the laundry room, so if you aren't into knowing that much about us, stop reading here.

Detergent: I have to use all Free and Clear. Any other detergent makes me break out into a awful rash that looks and feels like I sat in a pile of Poison Ivy. It's awful. I don't mean just generic detergent, even name brands will cause this tragedy. I especially can't use Tide, it is the very worst. This is sad for Craig because his tough skin could handle anything and even sadder for him because he bought two large jugs of generic stuff before we got married and began to merge our lives laundry together which he still has because he hasn't been able to use them. But now that we have a washer at our disposal and don't have to spend any quarters to get clean clothes, he's been using it up slowly by doing his laundry separately from mine. And I have to tell ya, I don't mind not having to touch his sweaty workout clothes or dirty undies at all. Marriage has brought us closer, but not that close.

But back to the point, all Free and Clear is good stuff, I only wish it was out when I was little. Even with double rinsing my life was sad. But while I spend money on detergent, I also save because I don't buy laundry softener, that causes rashes too. I am so pitiful.

Tampons: Okay, the first "married life" shopping trip where these were purchased resulted in a disagreement about this. Which is silly because I am completely flexible - to a point. There are two different brands that I will use (Playtex and Tampax, if you must know) and there are often sales and coupons so it is easy to stock up when they are well priced. But there are some things you just don't go generic on and this is one of them. Period.

T.P: This is the opposite of the last one. Craig always makes fun of me for buying cheap stuff. But I totally don't care if he is gonna be all picky, I really do understand. But he always brings up this one time in the past where he went over to my apartment and all I had was this really awful stuff. But if he would only listen to reason. Until my senior year of college I didn't have a car and sometimes it was hard to get to the grocery store. And one time I was at my friend amanda g's dorm and I told her how hard it was to get to the store (she also didn't have a car so she was good at sympathizing) and how I was almost out of toilet paper. So she offered to give me a roll or two of the stuff they stocked the dorms with to tide me over in case of an emergency. And yes, dorm toilet paper is about as bad as you can get but it was all I had! And it is a good thing she was so nice, because if she didn't, where would Craig have been then, huh? And I think the main point of this story is how it was all Craig's fault anyway. If my loving boyfriend had offered to take me to the grocery store more frequently, would I have had to deal with these toilet paper problems.

Anyway, that's about all for Brand Loyalty on my part. Craig will probably disagree and say that I always whine about not having the name brands but don't believe him. Or if you do, come check my cabinets and see who really knows what's going on.

9.04.2007

Bad Hair Career

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat from my home state of North Dakota, is known for bad hair. Rush Limbaugh affectionately refers to him as "Helmethead." Here's a pic:



It really doesn't look too bad there. But his hair has gained attention recently. Here's a clip from Jay Leno, via Say Anything:



And here's a list of the eight worst hair trends on Capitol Hill. Dorgan is listed under the "Dead Animal Hair" trend, but Say Anything disputes the idea that he sports a toupee. I don't know either way. What do you think?

9.01.2007

Fall, Glorious Fall

I love fall. I think it is my favorite season. The leaves changing colors, the stores being stocked with school supplies, the weather cooling off, the cute sweaters I can wear...fall is great.

I just don't like people forcing fall on me before it's time. The beginning of August isn't fall people! I refuse to allow you to convince me that it is just because all schools have all started up again. The candy aisle at Macey's was all ready for Halloween and I know it won't be long before the garden section Wal-mart is converted to the costume section. And I have been hearing commercials on the radio for store's "fall specials" for at least 3 weeks now. It makes me mad and until today, I have rejected these fall pressures. But...
As the first day of September, I am now ready to accept that fall is arriving*. And I am pretty optimistic about autumn in Utah. Winter was a shock to my poor little used-to-Texas system, even though the locals said it was "such a mild winter". And their was practically no spring. One day it was snowing, the next day I was out in short sleeves and summer had arrived, unwelcome to be sure. I'm not saying it was as bad as Texas. It was at least dry (and therefore, much nicer for my hair) and it wasn't as hot as College Station summers but at least people are prepared for summer in Texas. There are pools everywhere and it's hard to find a place without central air so it's bearable. In Utah, you just can't get away from the heat, except by shopping. We definitely spent a couple evenings walking around Wal-Mart just because we didn't want to go home.

But still, I hold out hope for Fall. The picture above is of Logan Canyon and I get excited just thinking about the views that will surround me when the leaves turns colors. I haven't experiences a real fall in quite some time and I have missed it.

In honor of fall and the smell of sharpened pencils that has been filling the air, this month I will be sharing some educational information with you. I recently found a list of "100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know" I have to admit, I didn't know them all :-( So at the bottom of every post this month, I will post one of the words I didn't know and it's definition. By the end of the month, fall will be here in all it's glory and we will all be a little smarter (or, at least I will be). The inaugural word:

Moiety - a half, each of two part into which a thing is or can be divided.
(definition by Oxford English because I refuse to use Merriam-Webster.)

* I know that technically it doesn't begin until the fall equinox, which this year is on September 23, but who goes by the technical date? According to that, the first day of Summer was June 21st and the first day of winter will be December 22. Try convincing me of that when December 1st I am knee deep in snow. I hiss at technical season dates.