Yesterday was Christmas, so MERRY LATE CHRISTMAS! We had a grand old time up here in Salt Lake, we got to hang out with Andersons and Blockburgers, and we got plenty of loot. I really do feel so very blessed to have so many great people in my life. I was reminded on Sunday (in Relief Society, actually) of how important friendships and family relationships are. The whole lesson was just on friendships. It really got me to thinking about all of the people that have ever had an impact on my life, and it made me really realize that there are hundreds, even thousands of people that have impacted me in one way or another. Even if they don't know it. It's just an incredible thought to think how very connected we are to one another. And so, I am grateful for all of you and all the joy I have in my life. I really do have a good life, one that is filled with small pleasures and great happinesses. I hope your holiday season is treating you well.
Since I'm on a roll with the food-related posts. . .
Our friends the Millars came to town last night. They actually went to the Las Vegas bowl, and slept on our floor. It was great to see them. And they brought us cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. I have never been to this glorious institution, but I have heard the tales. Now I have tasted the sublime cheesecake created there, and I can never look at cheesecake the same way. It was DELICIOUS. We had a slice of White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and a slice of Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple. To die for. Now I want to go to Las Vegas more often to sample of the decadent goodness.
As a side note, we are going up to Salt Lake for Christmas TONIGHT! We are excited. Unfortunately, we are going to the land of dial up, so I might not be as big of a blogger for the next week. But then, you all will be busy anyway, so you'll hardly notice. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I seem to do well with the food posts, so here is another one. Wednesday is the best day to get the paper because it has the Food section. I was reading this beloved section yesterday, when Clark looked over my shoulder, pointed at a picture on the next page and said, "What is that?" They have a picture of some steak on toast with a bowl of green stuff next to it. It did not look very appetizing. So I read the article. Turns out this stuff is called chimichurri, and it's apparently "the greatest condiment known to man." (Clark said Sabrina would be the true test of that statement) This stuff seems pretty simple, it's made of parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, cumin, salt, garlic, and crushed red pepper. It doesn't seem so fancy to me. But it seems to be getting rave reviews. This is the quote in the paper: "You could enjoy rank roadkill if there was chimichurri on it." I'd say that is rather strong language. Have any of you heard of this miracle condiment? Or better yet, tasted it?
I have become a fan of the Food Network lately. I don't know what it is about watching someone cook but it just makes me happy. I don't know if it relaxes me, or if it inspires me, I'm not sure. Maybe it's just my obsession for food being manifest in another form. In any event, I watch that channel. And I like it.
So the other day, I'm watching someone make a dessert or something, and she says, "WaLa!" Right. I know she meant "Voila!" but it disturbed me that this woman is a professional chef and says it all wrong. And then, a few days later, I heard it again! From a different person! I was dying. So, just so you all know, you do pronounce the V like a V. V-o-ahhh-laaa. No W's. It's a dumb thing to have a beef about, I know. But twice! On the Food Network!
Tonight we went to Clark's company Christmas party, which was dinner at a nice restaurant. It was nice to meet some of the people Clark works with, and the food was excellent. That is the real purpose of this post, the food. It's what I live for. Quite literally.
First of all, I had a salad with bleu cheese dressing, which was divine. When did I become an adult? I actually really enjoyed the salad, rather than just suffering through it to be polite. I also tried calamari for the first time, and while it was better than I thought, I don't think I'll be ordering it anytime soon. It's just the fact that I know what it is, ruins the whole experience for me. And finally, for the main course I had some butternut squash ravioli. I really didn't know what to expect, and I thought it was good for me to be adventurous. The food came, I took a bite, and I thought, "I must be cheating, I'm eating pumpkin pie for dinner!" It was great! Just like a pumpkin pie wrapped in pasta. I liked it. I've converted to butternut squash. I can't believe that I really am writing a post about my dinner, but it really was an adventure for me.
Over the weekend we watched quite a bit of TV. Really, we watched a movie every night. Friday it was Return of the King. Saturday it was 50 First Dates. And Sunday it was Never Been Kissed. I thought it was interesting that Clark chose all three of those movies. Apparently he wanted a Drew Barrymore weekend. But the best part is he like both of those movies! I was so proud of him, liking things I like. Just thought I'd report.
Yesterday I got out of bed at around 8:00, and thought, wow, it seems so dark still. I figured it must be overcast, so I peeked at the window to find this:
SNOW! Sure, it's not much, but we live in St George. I didn't think it would snow at all down here. Of course I woke Clark up by jumping up and down and shouting, "It's a Christmas miracle! It's a Christmas miracle!" Who knew that a 1/2" of snow could make me so happy?
Advice for the week: Do not walk around with a sharp object in your mouth, even if it is only for a minute. I have heard this advice before, but I did not heed it, much to my sorrow. I had a fork in my mouth yesterday, and I was just going to pour myself a glass of water. Unfortunately, when I was putting the pitcher back in the fridge, the other end of the fork hit the fridge door as it was swinging out, ramming those little tines into the roof of my mouth. Two actually pierced the skin, one got the hard pallet, one got the soft pallet. The worst part about it was that I was preparing lunch because I was hungry. But then I had to wait for the bleeding to stop, and even after that my mouth was pretty tender. When something affects my eating, then I really start to take it seriously. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.
WE GOT A PACKAGE YESTERDAY! It took me some time to figure out the whole package box thing (there are 2 boxes, and each box has 2 keyholes, so I was trying the key all over the place) but we got it, and it added to the excitement! It was from the Lowes! And I got to open my present yesterday (it told me to)! I got a CD! Barenaked for the Holidays! I love it! And I got it just in time for Hanukkah, so way to go Lowes! I thought you all needed to share in the Christmas joy that is mine, and that you needed some more exclamation points in your life.
Over the summer we went to the redwood forest. Those trees were magnificent! I really enjoyed that experience. The one unpleasant incident on that trip occurred at the Taco Bell in Crescent City, CA.
Crescent City is not a large town, and thus the restaurant selection left much to be desired. In the end we decided that you can't go wrong with Taco Bell. Little did we know. We went inside, I quickly decided what I wanted to order, told Clark, and made a trip to the restroom. There was no line to order, so I figured when I came back out the food would be ready to eat. WRONG. When I came back out, the first person in our party was still ordering. They would say something and it would take a good 3 minutes for her to find it on the register. In her defense, I think it was this girl's first day and she was left alone at the register, but still. Even if it was your first day, it shouldn't take that long. And in the end nobody got what they ordered, there were things missing, things nobody ordered. Oh well, we all got something in our bellies and finally got out of there.
Fast forward to yesterday. We went to the Taco Bell here in St George yesterday with my parents. Nobody was there because it was 4:30, so we're all trying to decide what we want, when the girl at the register pipes in, "Well, since you are all here, let me tell you about the promotion we are having." Then my dad had a question about a certain menu item, she answered it best she could, and then found a more complete answer. Then my mom asked another question. With every order she asked if we'd like a drink cup for water. She was almost too polite. The way she was saying things made Clark and I look at each other and say, "Is she for real?" She just seemed so excited about getting us the food we wanted. She even made sure to give my dad a senior citizen discount (which seems so bizarre to me, my parents are senior citizens?) Then we looked at her name tag: Service Champion. Now, normally I would just think that Taco Bell is trying to spice things up for their employees with some dumb phrase like that, but no, she really was a service champion, it's the best way to describe her. And it was completely the opposite experience of the Crescent City fiasco.
The moral of the story: Go to Taco Bell in St George. Don't go to Taco Bell in Crescent City. Or in the Northeast. (On a slightly different note, Taco Bell wanted to make it clear that they would not be removing lettuce from their menu. I would like to say that if they did, I would be more likely to eat there.)
I read something in the paper today that got me all riled up. It was about vaccinations. I find it so hard to believe that there are people out there who think vaccinations are bad, and yet there are. I don't even know where to begin. There are just so many arguments that are out there that are just plain dumb. I know that I'm not a leading expert in this field, but come on. "I'd rather not give my baby a cocktail because of the chance that he could have a bad reaction." Why not just say, "Bring on the measles!" And then there is the argument that everyone else is immunized, so I don't need to be. While that is somewhat true, if everyone thought that way then no one would be immunized, and we'd have problems.
I actually met a girl once who was against vaccines. This was her winning statement: "It just doesn't make sense to inject a virus into your system." Has she taken biology? (She may not have, she was going to school to be a midwife. This made me a bit more worried about the training of midwives.) Has she done her research? Because if she had, then she'd know we've been doing this for centuries, and with the desired result: less disease. It seems to be working. And we can even explain why it works. So, yes, it makes perfect sense, Midwife friend. (I will note that I didn't say any of these things to her because I had just met her and didn't want to offend. I just changed the subject as quickly as possible.)
OK, there is the rant. Good to get it out. But what good would a rant be without a push for improvement? Thus I am telling all 4 of my readers that I do hope you immunize your kids. It's really for the best. And if you don't believe in vaccinations, I hope I didn't offend you. Um. . . lovely weather we're having. . .
I was fast asleep the other night, when I was awakened by a noise. Being half asleep, I had no idea what it was, I thought maybe it was a knock on the door (no, this makes no sense because it was like 4am, again, I was half asleep). So I ask Clark if he heard a knock on the door, he mumbles something, and I go back to sleep.
Fast forward to breakfast time. I go downstairs, eat breakfast, read the paper, and as I'm putting my bowl away, I notice that one of our walls looks rather bare. This is the wall that I have been facing for the past half hour, I have no idea why I didn't notice it for so long. Turns out the noise was the picture frame collage falling to the ground (if you don't know what the picture frame collage looks like, you can look here in the dining area picture). I was very nervous to assess the damages, seeing as there are 10 individual picture frames and any or all of them could have been broken. Turns out it was just one frame that broke, the wood came apart at the joints. No broken glass. I felt very lucky of that fact. And the broken frame shouldn't be too hard to fix. I just can't find the Krazy Glue for the life of me! That's what happens when you move, you know just where everything was in your old place, but no idea where it might be in the new place.
First off, I think we all need to appreciate the beauty of the title "Coconut Kisses." I just think it sounds pretty. Rolls off the tongue.
I felt that I should post something, but really I have nothing to say. I'm sitting here trying to think of something funny/exciting/weird that happened to me over the weekend and I'm drawing a blank. We went to the ward Christmas party. It was a ward Christmas party. And we know very few people in the ward. So that's all that needs to be said there. We rented a movie, which turned out to be more of an adventure than we had anticipated, but as we were driving Clark looked at me and said, "Dibs on the blog!" So you'll have to look at his blog for that story. We went to church on Sunday, and I already told you about the coconut kisses. Oh, the Amazing Race ended. If you know me and my love for the race you would think I would be more excited about this, but no. When it was over, I was feeling quite underwhelmed. I had thought it would be a 2 hour finale, because they have been in the past. So when after an hour they were crossing the finish line, I was feeling a bit gypped. (I have never written that word down before, and it looks so funny. Gypped. It's not too PC either, but who cares. I'm pretty sure I don't have any Gypsies reading my blog.) I guess it all boils down to a rather uneventful weekend. And today wasn't much better. I'm going to have to find an adventure tomorrow. Stay tuned. . .
In Relief Society today that teacher passed out some Hershey's Kisses as a treat (the lesson was on unity and she made the point that we are all united in our love for chocolate). There were all different kinds in there, but I noticed that there were some in blue wrappers, they were coconut! I had never seen that before, so I took one, and it was delicious! Just when you think life is dull and boring they come out with something marvelous like a coconut kiss and life is good again.
I thought of something funny that I didn't blog yet. I went to the store the other day to pick up some refried beans (they just sounded so good, I had to get them). When I walked in, I noticed that they had Santa there for picture taking fun. I didn't think too much of it, got my beans, but on my way back up to the checkstands I discovered that Santa was talking to his friend: a giant hippo wearing a pink tutu. Um, what? As I was leaving the store, the hippo stopped me and offered me some candy from her basket. I have no idea what it has to do with Christmas, but it did bring a smile to my face, so it's not such a bad idea.
I'm amazed that I went a whole day without posting on this thing. But I was busy yesterday because my family was in town. They are going to San Diego, and stopped here overnight. It's a nice way to break the trip up, and they got to see me, so everyone wins.
My dear sister Kim is back from Paris, so she came down with the fam. She showed me pictures from her. . . you know, I keep wanting to call it a trip, but it wasn't a trip, it was a semester abroad. So I guess I should say pictures from her time in France. That sounds better. Anyway, it looked like an incredible experience, I was so jealous of all the amazing things she saw and did. And she was able to eat some fabulous foods, however with that came the not so fabulous (live oysters, anyone?). I would love to go to the pastry shops, but I would not be all about some of the other stuff. But still, what an experience!
One funny thing about my family is the way we all want everyone to be happy. We went out to eat last night, and just deciding where to go took like 20 minutes. If someone doesn't seem completely happy, we have to change our plans. It's actually a miracle that anything gets decided sometimes. And while it might be more helpful to have one strong-willed person just make the decision, then we would all know that at least one person wasn't happy and everyone would feel bad. It's just a funny thing we do.
I have nothing else to say. I already feel like this is somewhat boring. Maybe something funny will happen today.
Well, here it is! The couch! The Glorious Couch! And a coffee table! And end tables! There is suddenly a lot of stuff in that room. I don't really know where the love-seat will go, I'm guessing that we'll have to do some rearranging. But we finally have a place to sit! Lots of exclamation points this post! Now I think I'm going to go have some lunch. . . while sitting on my COUCH!
I was just doing a crossword puzzle online (those are great because you can always get a little cheat, even in the form of just one letter). There was one that was just bugging me the whole time. The clue was "Shrewd." It was 4 letters. I couldn't figure it out. Turns out the answer is "cute." Huh? Is there some definition that I am unaware of? Because I thought that shrewd was more like clever than cute. Weird.
Clark and I went Christmas shopping last night, which was all fun and games until we actually checked out. It's expensive to buy gifts for people! I love giving gifts, though, to me it's the best part about Christmas, finding that perfect gift and watching someone open it. It's a great feeling. I just wish it didn't cost so darn much to get gifts for everyone. Then we started talking about the Millar family Christmas tradition of drawing names. What a great idea! Each person only has to get 1 gift, and it can be a really good gift too. It's a lot less stress, and a lot less of a financial burden. I guess the one drawback is you don't get as much stuff, for all you greedy kids out there. But I still think it's a fabulous idea. Any thoughts? Other pros? Other cons?
I think I'm going to declare today National Helpful Day.
As you know, we've been having problems with getting our furniture. I called again today, and they said that they are still waiting for our loveseat to come in, and it would probably get here on the 8th. My parents and sisters are actually stopping in town on the 7th on their way to San Diego, and I had hoped that by then we would have a place for them to sit. I mentioned this to the salesman (his name is Aaron, and he is the one who actually sold us the furniture. He is one of the good people who work there.) He said, OK, let me see what I can do. I'm thinking, there is most likely nothing you can do, but oh well. He called back not 10 minutes later to tell me that he feels so bad that it has been so long of a wait for us, and he talked to his manager. They decided to deliver what they have (being our sofa and tables) on Wednesday, and then just deliver the loveseat when it comes in. How helpful is that?!
Then I called the health insurance company. This can often be a traumatic experience. I called because, since we just moved, we don't have any doctors down here, and I needed an appointment in January. First of all, she said that she would send me a Providers List. That was help #1. Then I explained to her what kind of doctor I was looking for and why, and she found a doctor with a specialty in exactly what I needed. That was help #2. Then she put me on hold and actually called the doctor's office to see if they had an appointment in January, like I had wanted. That was help #3. Then she conferenced them in so that I was able to make the appointment. That was help #4. Finally, she gave me the address and phone number of the office, and asked if I wanted to be transferred to the benefits department just so that I would know what was covered. That was help #5. 5 instances of help from the health insurance?! That is unheard of! I was impressed.
And the final helpful place is Walgreen's. You may or may not know this, but I have had no good experiences with the Walgreen's. They have always been slow and unhelpful. But I needed some pictures printed, and since the Target down here doesn't have a Photo Center, Walgreen's was it. I uploaded the pictures, and they said they would be ready for pickup in a hour. I was skeptical, but they even let me check the progress online, and indeed, they were ready in an hour. I love this day, and it's only 10:40am!
This weekend I was feeling a bit under the weather. I have a cold, which is no fun, but the worst thing is I was feeling all vomitous due to the antibiotics I am taking. I apparently have a sensitive stomach, which I always forget because it's very rare that I'm taking antibiotics. Anyway, at dinner time I had no desire to cook up what we had planned, it just all sounded so gross. Only one thing sounded good to me: grilled cheese sandwiches. So I had that for dinner. Two nights in a row. It was so wonderful. I love the grilled cheese. Only problem is now we are out of bread, and I just bought a loaf on Thursday. But it was so worth it.
First off, the upstairs of our lovely town home is very very warm, while the downstairs is rather cool. Kind of annoying.
On to the bulk of this post (not that it is exciting or anything). I went to the pharmacy today. When I was finished, I turned the corner and almost ran into the camouflage twins. Seriously, two girls who were wearing camo. One of them was wearing an entire camouflage outfit (that's right, outfit, sweatpants, shirt, the whole deal), and the other was wearing just a camo shirt. It just looked ridiculous to me, these 2 girls who are obviously friends and they are dressed alike in camo! Who does that? It killed me. Just thought I'd share.
Well, the masses have spoken. (OK, just Suzanne). But let it be known that I do take requests. This is an excellent song, and if you haven't heard it, you should listen to it. So, without further ado, the lyrics to a most fabulous Guster song:
We Gotta Be Clean Lyrics
They've got to be clean, they've got to be clean, ahhahh We wash our hands whenever we eat, And in the bath we wash our ears, our elbows and feet. We gotta be clean, we gotta be clean, It's healthy and keen, We gotta be clean. (Yes sir!)
We start each day by brushing our teeth (Brush! Brush!) And getting the plaque and stuff off the smile underneath We gotta be clean, And floss inbetween. Like the string must be green, We gotta be clean
Each day's a fight with the forces of dirt. (Dirt! Dirt! Dirt!) Battling the smudge, and the smear, and the squirt. (Squirt! Squirt! Squirt!) What do we do when our shirt is all covered with mustard? (Do they just wear it and wear it and wear it for weeks?) (NO! Not Guster!) We wash. Then we wear it.
We may be sad, We may be beat, We may be cross and tired and mad, but we'll always be neat. We gotta be clean, Like all dishes we've seen, Or a fresh nectarine, Or some laundry that's been, Through the washing machine, We gotta be clean!
(I really like the last few lines, since we now have a washing machine!)