Thursday, December 31, 2009

Neglect

I know I have seriously neglected you, my poor little blog. I now repent and promise to not procrastinate posting because I am waiting for the "perfect picture" that someone else has and will not send me. I will find more things to share with you. After all, it's a new year...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Furnace Fun

One of the intimidating things about being a home owner are appliances... those large, complicated machines that could potentially break at very inopportune times and leave you feeling helpless. In the last year, I've only had one issue and had to call in the GE man to fix my dishwasher. I was thinking the other day about my furnace-or maybe it was the faint burnt smell I got a whiff of while passing the laundry room. I seemed to remember somewhere that you have to change the filter on furnaces...hmm.
I discussed this with Ben. Although I am sure he knew perfectly well how to do it, he was not the typical guy who was anxious to show off his manly fix-it-all skills and offer to do it. (I've never been able to pull off the helpless girl act well, and come to think of it... some guys I've asked for help on stuff have ended up being, well, less-than-helpful). But knowing my independent spirit, he kindly said, "that will be an interesting project for you to learn about tonight, won't it".
Ok. I'm up for the challenge! what first? pull out the manual? oh wait...find the manual...do I even have a manual? stratch that...that's why there is Google! Read some pointers from howstuffworks.com and it turns out furnaces can all be quite different. I just decided to inspect it myself and figure it out. 30 seconds later, I was done. Really. That was it?
Is it sad that I feel so empowered by the fact that I can change my own furnace filter?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sub 4 Santa 5k

My ward does a fundraising 5k race each year for our Sub4Santa fund. It's a low-key,
fun event for anyone that wants to run or even walk. Dressing in holiday festive outerwear is encouraged for the run around sugarhouse park. I wasn't first nor was I last. Not my best time, nor my worst. Good run. The weather even cooperated for the couple hours we were there-and dumped snow the minute I got home!

So, why do you think that event t-shirts never come in smaller sizes. Has vanity sizing gotten so bad that they think small people don't exist anymore...I mean, especially among people that run races...? Diabetes events are even worse...they pretty much just order large or extra large shirts.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wicked on Halloween

I took a fun weekend trip to Denver with Ben, to meet up with my parents, Rachel/Jeff/TJ, and Kimi... all for to see Wicked the Musical on Halloween night. We spent the rest of the weekend seeing some of the city. We got to see the botanical gardens as well... which were supposed to have Halloween festivities... but we later learned that those were at the "other botanical gardens". So we had fun roaming about in the beautiful and unseasonably warm weather that day, throwing snowballs and enjoying the company. The workers there recommended the rose garden...I thought of it more as an abstract art combining snow/mud/dead plants, then it really was quite interesting.
"Wicked" was awesome... even the third time you
see it. Each cast gives it a little different flavor but it always is a fantastic experience. This cast had the best Wizard I've seen. Ben thought they all sang a little too much. Lol. Walking the city street on Halloween night was gives one a different exposure to the people of Denver...
Overall, had some good food, wonderful company, great times, and fond memories.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Tortilla Soup


This was a big hit with the Dinner Group. The leftovers even received great praise from my roommates and coworkers. It's a perfect warm-your-heart meal for colder autumn days. It was colorful, filling and delicious. I served it with apple cider, pesto bread salad and a "healthy"apple tart.

Autumn Tortilla Soup (I modified the recipe from one in Cuisine at Home magazine.)
1 butternut squash (2 lbs)
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 C chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeded (this doesn't make it spicy...if you want that, leave in the seeds)
2 TBSP canola oil
3 corn tortillas, cut into strips
2 C chopped Roma tomatoes
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
6 C chicken broth
1 lb. kielbasa sausage (can also use turkey sausage)
6 oz spinach
1 can (15 oz) white hominy, drained
salt and pepper

Lime Cream
1/2 C sour cream
1 TBSP lime juice
zest from 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin

Half the butternut squash, remove seeds, brush with 1 TBSP canola oil and place on baking pan in oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 min. Cool until easy to handle. Peel and dice.

While squash bakes, finely chop onion, garlic, jalapeno and corn together. Heat tortilla strips in stock pot until crisp. Remove a handful of them to use as garnish at the end. Add 1 TBSP oil and corn mixture and cook a few minutes until fragrant. Add in cumin, chili powder, tomatoes and tomato paste and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in broth and 1/2 of the squash, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 min. Use hand blender in pot to blend until smooth. Brown sausage in skillet until well-cooked through.

Stir in remaining squash cubes, sausage, and hominy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. Mix ingredients for lime cream in small bowl and set aside.

Stir in spinach into soup 1-2 minutes before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lime cream and crunchy tortilla strips. Makes about 12 cups.

Butterfly in cedar city





I got to take a weekend to go to Cedar City and visit Missy, Sammy, and Lucy. We had such fun! Missy and I pulled out our thrifty and crafty skills and made Lucy a beautiful butterfly costume. (that only cost about $3).
Isn't she a cutie!

i wanna play the trumpet!



Picture caption contest
It's always fun to try and guess what babies are thinking.
Sorry if some of you were disappointed to have to wait so long to hear the winner of the last picture contest...Kimi definitely won. The scoliosis comment was hilarious. Kimi is my sweet sister and has always been naturally funny, with either a quick wit, or random comments about the interesting world she lives in. She has a way of getting me to laugh so hard that I cannot even breathe. My family really misses her when she's not around. I love the fact that she lives so close to me now!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hot Air Ballooning



I have a fascination with heights...as my friends will well attest. I love climbing up rocks, hiking up mountains, flying in planes, etc. and find any opportunity to do so. For some reason, I have no problem being up high in the air...I would, in fact, rather be a mile up in the sky than a few feet under water. (I'm one of the few people that even struggles with snorkeling-I will do it, but I don't enjoy it).
My friend Kasey and I have been talking about doing a hot air balloon ride for a long time. It just so happens to be on both of our bucket lists. This fall, I made sure it happened. What an experience. I LOVED every minute of it.

It was the most beautiful weather. The leaves were bright and colorful. The air was crisp. The balloon just floated peacefully along. There were friends, pictures, laughter and lots and lots of open blue sky. Heaven!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Babies!!!

I LOVE babies. I always have. Even as a child, I would be immediately drawn to the baby in the room. I love holding them (especially the ones that will cuddle right up to you) and feeling their sweet spirit and pureness. You can't help but melt when they look right into your eyes or when they peacefully drift into sleep.
Meet my 3 favorite babies at the moment: Lucy, Vetinia, and Kalea. These nieces of mine were all born within a couple weeks of each other. I love you girls!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

added recipe

Ok, folks. I added the recipes down below. Tell me how they turn out for you!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tikka Masala

Ben's birthday dinner request was Tikka Masala (an indian dish). I'd probably tasted it or something like it before but I definitely had to look up recipes. Note the plurality of that last noun. A tip to the wise. Never just look up just ONE recipe for something new you are trying. Get the feel for the different versions and make the one that sounds the best. Read reviews from other cooks or get recommendations for recipes from other "foodies" you may know. This will give you a much better chance at success your first attempt! It turned out delicious. Just enough kick to make your nose run but not too much that your mouth burned for hours after. I also tried a couple recipes at naan bread. (Emeril can cook almost anything but his naan recipe was not even close). I was so glad i tried another version after I read more reviews and got nervous. Anyone interested in the recipes I used?

Tikka Masala (adapted from Yakutas recipe on allrecipes.com)

marinate:
1 C plain yogurt
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

sauce:
1 TBSP butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped and seeded (unless you want real fire)
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp paprika
1 TBSP salt
12 oz tomato sauce (i actually used leftover tomato/roaster red pepper soup)
1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk
1/4 C chopped cilantro (garnish)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the marinate and then stir in chicken. Refrigerate for at least 1 hr (even better if you let it sit overnight). Take out chicken pieces and cook in skillet or grill pan (or if you want to use a real grill, you'd need to skewer the pieces so they don't fall through the holes). Cook about 5 min. each side until cooked through).

Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 min. Season with spices, stir in tomato sauce and coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 20 min. Add chicken and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. (makes 4 servings)
**I thought it had a good kick but was not unbearably spicy. If you don't handle spicy food well, cut out half the cayenne and jalapeno.

Naan (adapted from Mic's recipe on allrecipes.com)
1/2 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 TBSP white sugar
2 TBSP milk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 C flour
1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 TBSP butter

In small cup, dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand about 5 min, until frothy. Sift 2-1/2 Cups flour, salt and sugar in large bowl. Add yeast, milk and egg to make soft dough. Knead on well floured surface for about 6-8 min. Place dough in well oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise (preferrably in a warm place) until dough has doubled in volume (about 1 1/2 hrs). Pinch off smal handfuls of dough about size of golf balls and place on tray. Cover with towel and allow to rise 30 more min.

Preheat grill or grill pan over high heat. Lightly oil grill. Roll out ball of dough into thin circle. Place dough on grill and cook for 2-3 in. Brush uncooked side with butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. Turn over and cook other side for 2-3 min. Brush cooked side with butter and garlic powder. Remove from grill and serve immediately. (makes 8 servings)


The end was a "wee" dessert. Neither of us can eat a lot of dessert-type foods. Here is a simple way to keep the yumminess of the "real thing" (no modified ingredients to make lower sugar/fat, etc) by cutting down portion. I used mini muffin/cupcake pans and a melon baller for the ice cream mini scoops. Individual pudding cups give enough to use as frosting for a few cakes (especially if heated first). I added a few cherries for garnish. (I froze a pound of sweet cherries this summer so I would have them on hand for occasions like this). ok say it...aw...it's so cute. Or as rachel 'n jeff would say...it's so wee.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

pic of the week

Pic of the Week

It's another Tuesday Caption Contest!

Last week's winner was Rachel!!! She is a very loyal blog follower and participant (and winner of blog contests...she actually has a blog that talks about all the cool stuff out there you can win. check it out at www.applesaucemagic.blogspot.com) She is a very thrifty mom and wonderful sister! I have a hard time going very many days without talking to her. Her caption definitely made me laugh. I'm sure Ben would appreciate the Simpsons reference as well.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup


My two favorite things about autumn are: seeing the beautiful leaves and soup season. The cold weather now makes it legal again to make soup! I admit it is my favorite things to cook. Not the I-pulled-out-a-can-of-campbells soup, but homemade, smell-the-simmering-goodness-all-the-way-upstairs soups.
On my quest to find the perfect butternut squash soup, I came across this recipe (well a version of this recipe-i made it better). Why would I be searching for something like that, you ask? Well, it just so happens that my counter is taken over by butternut squash every autumn and I get the fun task of finding ways to use it. I really don't mind, I like a challenge...and it's yummy :)

My mind was stuck in a rut that butternut squash soup should incorporate apples. It just made sense. The autumn flavors should go perfect together, blending sweet with wonderfulness that is butternut squash. Unfortunately, I've tried several versions but had yet to find the recipe that balanced it well-they often turned out too apple-y or blah. This recipe, however, used orange. I resisted the idea for a while, immediately thinking of ways to change it to apple, but then I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Oh Happy Day. I was actually impressed with the flavor combinations there. The red pepper stuff gave it an extra little flair that I enjoyed. I will use this recipe now, until I find another one that seems close to the perfect one conjured up in my imagination.

Try it out...it's pretty easy, too! (and doesn't require any special equipment)

Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium size butternut squash
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped onions (I used combo of red, white and green)
4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice (juice the orange you used for the zest)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup roasted red pepper sauce or soup (i just used pre-made soup)
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Cut butternut squash in half and lay in baking dish, facing up. Brush with olive oil and bake in oven at 475 degrees for 45 min. When done, scoop out flesh with spoon. Saute garlic and onions w/olive oil in a large saute pan until soft. Add chicken broth, orange juice and butternut squash flesh. Bring to a boil. Puree soup with food processor or blender (I used a handheld blender right in the pot). Add thyme and most of orange zest. Add a dollop of sour cream and red pepper sauce and swirl in. Garnish with a few red pepper flakes, fresh thyme sprigs and reserved zest. Makes 5-6, 1 cup servings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brad Paisley

I saw Brad Paisley in concert recently. Went with a group of friends from my ward, including my roommate, sister, and her roommate. I love the outdoor concert atmosphere, where you can dance and sing along to the music all you want and the people around you don't care...they join in!! And you get to enjoy enjoy the summer night air. Oh, and it is totally acceptable to dress the part when it's a country concert :) My favorite song of his has to be "She's Everything", with "Little Moments" as a close second. Even though he's more known for the funny songs, I'm a sucker for the romantic ones... Thanks for a great night with you girls! I feel really close to you after the 2 hr traffic jam bonding afterwards.

Ok then


Thanks for the supportive comments, followers. An especial shout out to MOM, who has figured out for the first time how to comment on my blog. Thanks! I love commentaries. All you bloggers out there know how encouraging it is that people are actually reading these... So, you are going to continue to get a variety of posts on here: cooking, travel, poems, stories, events, thoughts...and now introducing "Phone photo of the week"!!! This being in response to the suggestions of my followers to take more phone pictures since that is usually with me. I actually stole this idea from my friend Larrie's blog-thanks girl! (well, she has kind of stopped doing it so I thought I would take over)

Here's how it works: I will take a random picture with my phone each week and then we have a caption contest until the next week when I announce the winner. I know I have some creative family and friends...so really any weird picture could be turned into something very entertaining with the right caption.

Here's the first installment; I'm ready for the captions...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Help for the pictureless fool

It's not that I have been any less busy with exciting things in life, lately. I just feel like blog posts really aren't all that fun without pictures. I can barely get people to read my blog, even when I do have pictures. I also love having pictures. I love looking at all my wonderful photographer friends' blogs, albeit with some envy. I even use pictures for more than just blogging.

Sometimes, it is not my fault...I have other people take pictures for me and then I never get them, because their computer literally dies or their connecting cord gets lost or memory card gets mutilated, etc. But, I'll admit, most of the time, it IS my fault. I just don't remember my camera or feel like stopping the fun (and a stranger) to document the event. I try to go for the candid, unposed thing but that only turns out awkward and uninteresting.

HELP! How do I get over this???

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chocolate Crème Brûlée


Here I shall divulge the secret to winning over the hearts of dinner guests: creme brulee. A fancy, rich, but surprisingly simple dessert that is sure to impress and please the taste buds of almost anyone. Despite it's high caloric ingredients, portion size is limited by individual servings so it's alright to have on special occasions (you can tell them that a dietitian told you that). Many people have never had it, let alone made it at home so they don't know how easy it can be. The trick is in having the right tools. Ramekins and a small cooking butane torch are a must. (You must believe me on this point...I've tried to make it work every other way possible, since my first torch was very tempermental and left me in the lurch at inopportune moments. So don't go listening to people that say it works with lighters or under the broiler or else you will end up disappointed but good friends with the firemen down the street).

I recently tried a new spin on this favorite dessert of mine--chocolate creme brulee. It got rave reviews from all who partook, including declarations of being "totally worth every calorie" and "If I had to choose between being fat and eating something like this, I would have a really hard time not choosing this".


Here's my secret recipe:

Chocolate Creme Brulee
3 cups whipping cream
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
4 oz semisweet chocolate
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
8 TBSP white granulated sugar

Scrape seeds from inside vanilla bean. Heat cream, vanilla, and cinnamon in saucepan to a simmer. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in bowl until thick. Melt chocolate and whisk into egg mixture slowly. Then drizzle cream into egg mixture while whisking. Strain and divide into custard cups or ramekins.

Arrange ramekins or cups in a glass baking dish filled with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake at 325 degrees for about 55 min. or until center is set. Remove from water bath and chill for at least 2 hrs but up to 48 hrs (hooray, something you can make ahead of time). Sprinkle 1 TBSP or so sugar on top of each dessert and use small torch to melt and carmelize the sugar (don't do this ahead of time because it will lose it's crunch). Garnish and serve! Makes 8 servings.

*my apologies that the garnished version is not pictured here (imagine a couple berries and chocolate curls atop that wonderful crunch layer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Flying!!






My daddy builds airplanes... the real kind that
you can fly inside. Sometimes he is so kind to take me on a flight. Saturday was one of those days. I LOVE flying! I like high places in general, but this is awesome. Little planes can feel air currents fairly easy but I quickly got used to the minor turbulence (I don't get motion sick very easy-thank goodness, too or I might never have survived the backseat during all the long road trips we took in the family van when I was young). We flew all around the beautiful cache valley and I enjoyed every minute of it. I would love to learn to fly a plane myself someday...

Monday, August 31, 2009

What is the...

Wow. So it turns out my blog audience likes cooking posts! Well, you are in luck... Autumn just happens to be my favorite time of year to cook! You will be getting more of those-I promise.

Today, however, is "random question from Emily's life" day.

What is the funniest award you've ever been given?
Well, that would also be the most ironic award I've also been given: "The Best Reason to Break the Word of Wisdom" award. (for my performance of the song "Taylor, the Latte Boy" at a stake talent show) I certainly didn't get any stake callings that year...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ratatouille

I made a night of it. I wanted to try it. I wanted to see if I could make a bunch of garden vegetables (taunting me on my counter) into a colorful, delicious culinary creation that even a cartoon rat could make. I wanted to see if I could make one that tasted like the one my imagination conjured up. I did my research beforehand. Ratatouille is apparently any dish that contains some sort of combination of eggplant, squash and tomato sauce, usually in the form of a stew, many of which did not look appetizing at all. Did you know, I cook mostly by picture rather than recipe? Anyway, I found a couple recipes much closer to the cartoon version (which was actually created by a real chef for the movie-but his recipe was way too involved of a process and still not exactly what I was looking for). I used a few of the suggestions from other blogging cooks and then did pretty much whatever I wanted. I made my own ratatouille recipe-because, hey, "anyone can cook" and because "in order to be great, you must be fearless!" I'll put my best estimation of what I did in a recipe format at the bottom if you want to try it.

I served it over couscous and topped it off with another new discovery (homemade ricotta cheese-which is super easy). It turned out to be delicious, if I do say so myself. My invited guest agreed and was impressed. He may have been just a little biased though--or maybe he knows the secret (if you flatter the cook, they cook for you more).

We then settled into the couch to watch a good Disney flick, "Ratatouille". Here's to you Remy for inspiring me to create!

Ratatouille
1 clove garlic
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
olive oil
1 red pepper
4 oz can tomato paste
1/4 C water 
3 tomatoes (chopped)
1 thin eggplant
1 smallish zucchini (I had to use a monster one, but recommend smaller for a uniform size)
1 yellow crookneck squash
fresh thyme and oregano (if you can keep your herbs alive-I am pitiful at this)
salt and pepper

Roast red pepper halves under broiler or on grill and then let sit in a closed ziploc bag for 10 minutes (or buy them pre-roasted).  Then, remove skin and chop. Saute garlic and onion in a little olive oil in a small pan until soft and fragrant. Add roasted red pepper pieces, tomato paste and water. Cook until heated through. Spread on bottom of oval baking dish. Cut squashes, eggplant, and tomatoes in thin slices (using a mandolin slicer if you are lucky enough to own one). Arrange them, alternating colors, overlapping but laying down so faces of the slices are partially visible. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 min. Voila!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Omi




Meet the most adorable 2 yr old niece a girl could have...Naomi

She could charm the hardest of hearts with a glance, smile or her cute little voice saying words way too big for someone her size.

She spent the evening at my house tonight. How delightful! We made dinner (with a fun mexican flair), went up and down the stairs, hugged bears, smelled all the candles, played ring-around-the-rosie, danced, wrapped ourselves up in all of the scarves we could find (aunt emily needs to get some real toys apparently), and gave lots of hugs (my favorite part).

Every lull in the conversation and she would brighten up her face and say "Hi guys!".
video
Once during the night, she asked me to open my mouth so I did and made a snarl noise. She giggled and then began looking very closely inside. I asked her what she was looking for. She replied "the tiger...that's inside your mouth!"

I can never get over how enchanting that girl is. Her mom is so much better at capturing it in photographs than I, plus I always forget to take very many, so I had to steal a couple of her pics. I will miss her when she goes back to Hawaii.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Opera


So the next step from musical is....opera! I'm going to be in an opera next week. It happened quite randomly, actually. A woman (the leading lady in the opera) from the ward that meets right before mine came to our ward choir practice and tried to recruit a few of us to participate in the chorus of Utah and Idaho Performing Arts Company's production of "Dido and Aeneas". I had never been in an opera before...but it sounded like fun and hey, if my dad could do it, so could I. Plus, I like trying new things! It has been an interesting experience so far. I love that I get to dress up as a witch and cackle (opertically, of course). I also get to be a sailor's wench and a woman of the court. Hopefully it will all be ready by next Friday when we perform. I'd be thrilled to have anyone come and see it.
We are performing in a small community theater in Midvale (695 West Center St.). General Admission tickets are $10 Adults and $8 for Seniors/chilren/military/students. Just email unipac150@gmail.com to reserve your tickets with your name, how many tickets and what day (Aug 14 or 15th). It is in English, but as with any opera, I would recommend reading the story beforehand. It is pretty short, although we still fit in a love story, plotting witches, monster's head, sailor's dance, and a tragic death.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My life is a musical

It is time for a little insight into the mind of Emily:

Some people tell me that it is not normal for one to randomly burst into song and dance throughout the course of one's day. Good thing I don't really care to be "normal" because my life is just that...a musical. Good thing I also have some friends and sisters that share a similar enthusiasm. What better euphoric feeling than when you look over at someone else and immediately start singing the same song that fits the moment just perfectly? Who made it unacceptable to express thoughts and emotions through song in daily life, anyway? Sometimes that's the only way to get through to me. Sometimes I feel it gives a better explanation than words.

Don't you find yourself ever brought back to a memory by a song? Do you ever assign theme songs to experiences in your life? "Is that what you do? so do I" (I even added this playlist thing to my blog so these songs could help get the point across)

Does this take the reality out of life? Absolutely not. In fact, it makes it more real to me. Notice how in movies, the feeling of the scene is amplified by the kind of music playing in the background. Would the triumphant win in a sports movie be as climactic without exciting music building up? Would the romantic moment be as touching without beautiful melodies tugging at your heart? Would the scary events be as frightening without the eerie sounds behind them? Well, this is kind of how my brain works. I have a song running in the background of my mind at all times-granted it sometimes has nothing to do with the situation at hand and sometimes gets stuck on repeat but it is always there. The musical score to my life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ER


I had an inconvenient visit to the ER today. Sad that I still spent most of the day in the hospital, just not getting paid for it, like I usually do. I had some real intense abdominal pain all night, even passed out in my bathroom. I ended up succumbing and going to the ER this morning, after all the nurses surrounding me in my life (coworker, roommate, boyfriend) and my doctor came to that conclusion. It was a different pain than anything I'd experienced or that fit any certain category. I was constantly reminded of Brian Regan's skit of the ER "say 8, say 8!" and "well, it feels like my insides want to be on the outside"... So it was just lots of testing and waiting and waiting some more. In the meantime, I learned about how I react to different kinds of narcotics, painkillers, contrast dye, IV contrast, etc. All I can say is that Dilaudid is my friend. It turns out, I had an ovarian cyst rupture, combined with the after effects of dehydration (compliments of my recent trip--see post below) that can be extremely painful, especially the first one you have. Well, lesson learned. At least there's not much I can do about it but be aware that's what it is next time. You know, it could have been worse... I am really thankful for all the concerned and attentive nurses in my life.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Turn up the heat!



My ward had a brilliant idea to go to Moab in the middle of July for our annual long weekend trip. No worries...it only turned out to be the hottest weekend of the whole year so far. Oh yeah! Bring on the 110 degrees! We had a blast anyway, taking care to plan many water-involved activities during the day. We hiked up through a river to some pools/little waterfalls surrounded by red rock. Beautiful! I also found out that not many other people have this intense desire to climb up any cool-looking rock I see. Thanks to my friends that indulged me once or twice on the trail.On Saturday, we all went rafting down the Colorado river, which is pretty much just a lazy river with little rapids every once in a great while. We spent more time jumping out of the boat, pulling others off the boats, having waterfights and floating down the river beside the boat than we did actually rowing. Despite my valiant efforts to keep reapplying sunscreen, I ended up with some very burnt shoulders and thighs. I guess that's what I get for not getting out in the sun much until the middle of the summer. Ah well. Good memories with great friends.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wake Surfing!




I hadn't ever gotten into water sports much, not sure why. I guess I never had many chances or when I did-it wasn't always a pleasant experience. I did have the opportunity to go on the 4th of July in my brother-in-law's brother's new boat (equipped with everything down to little heaters for when you got out of the freezing water).
I gave an honest effort to getting up on the wakeboard but it never happened. All I got was a bunch of goose pimples from the cold, striped bruises on my forearms from the
board and a feeling that my legs were being pulled from their hip sockets. But, I did do a little wake surfing, which was awesome. Here are some pictures of my first wake-surfing adventure.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Golf!


I got my first golf lesson yesterday. I confess, I have never played golf before. (apparently miniature golf doesn't count). It was an eye-opening experience. Since "a certain someone" is practically obsessed with golf, he took it upon himself to start me off on the right foot. We went to a driving range and I practiced with a 9-iron. I think I swung twice the number of times I actually hit a ball. Some only made it 3 feet, others went a good 20 yards I think. I laughed pretty hard every time. I wanted to go past the "forbidden line" to gather all those that didn't quite make it far (gasp) ...I'm still learning about golf etiquette. Then we took some time to practice putting. I was actually not horrible at this, believe it or not. Those of you who have seen me play mini golf would be amazed at how much better I am when there aren't waterfalls, spinning wheels and other plastic toys sticking out in the way. Unfortunately, I probably had more beginners luck than anything, but I think it may have made "someone" jealous. It was pretty fun...I might even go again :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

proud new owner



Guess who is the newest proud owner of a Mac?? That's right. I have been converted. My old compaq laptop was becoming slower than snot-I have several witnesses to testify to that fact. It was time. I've been contemplating it for a while, just waiting for some trigger to send me over the edge into buying one. So far, I am totally impressed, especially as Paul was showing me all the really cool extra things it does! I got the new 13" MacBook Pro.
Here's me playing with the photobooth feature.