Monday, March 29, 2010

Nasty Brute and Mr. Nice

I've experienced both emotional ends of the working world spectrum today, all before 1:15 pm. Here's the juxtaposition.

This morning I got a phone call from an individual who I will refer to as Nasty Brute. This is how the conversation went:

Nasty Brute: Hi, I need the phone number for _______ (one of the higher ups whose number I am forbidden to give to anyone).
Me: Oh I'm sorry, they don't actually work at this site. Can I take a message?
Nasty Brute: Well, then transfer me to _________ (another higher-up who I can't give out any information for).
Me: I'm sorry, they don't work at this site either, and I'm forbidden to give out phone numbers. May I get your information and give them the message?
Nasty Brute: Look, what's the big deal?
Me: May I ask who's calling?
Nasty Brute: I'm a student doing a project and I need to talk to ________. Just give me the number.
Me: Okay, I'm sorry, but I can't give it out--
Nasty Brute: Don't be a silly little girl. You better just transfer me to someone who CAN give me that information.
Me: (long pause, steam emitting from my ears) Let me talk to my supervisor.

I put him on hold.

My supervisor took the call, talked to him briefly, said we couldn't help him, talked over his whining, and hung up.

There are many choice words which would describe my digust at people like that. I won't say them, but they do exist.

Then around noon I was sent to go pick up lunch per usual. Today I was sent to a Greek restaurant that's owned by the sweetest, friendliest man with a handlebar mustache. We'll call him Mr. Nice (my creativity perplexes the mind, does it not?). I was paying for the office order, and this was our conversation:

Mr. Nice: So which of these things is your lunch?
Me: Oh, none of it, I'm just picking it up for a meeting (in retrospect I should have just lied, because what restaurant owner wants to hear that you're in their restaurant, but not eating their food?)
Mr. Nice: But why aren't you getting any? Are you on a diet or something?
Me: No no, just trying to save money, you know. I have eaten here before though and I loved it.
Mr. Nice: (points to my wedding ring) Are you newly married?
Me: Yeah.
Mr. Nice: Well, what have you eaten here before?
Me: I've had the Greek pizza and the pepperoni pizza.
Mr. Nice: (beckons to one of the waiters) Hey, can you get me 2 slices of pepperoni pizza in a box please? (smiles at me)
Me: Oh my goodness, you don't have to do that.
Mr. Nice: (waves his hand at me)
(waiter brings up box with pizza, he hands it to me)

On top of that, he gave me a $5 discount on the whole order.

I thanked him profusely and felt pretty embarrassed. I was not expecting/asking for that. Next time Harry can come up for lunch, we're eating there. And ordering EVERYTHING

I wish Nasty Brute was here so he could smell my free pizza.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two recipes to fill the arteries and heart with cholesterol and love, respectively.

The weekend of Harry's birthday was spent house-sitting/baby-sitting two teenagers, and Harry’s actual “day of birth” was on a Sunday, so I decided that Harry deserved a 48 hour birthday, and that Monday (which was also the first day of spring break for the students in this family) would be fit for celebrating.

We began the day with a recipe I found randomly on the internet. It's a combo of 3 of my favorite things: apples, bacon, and pancakes. It is as follows (no pictures were taken—the early hour and my feeble efforts to prevent a late arrival to work are to blame).


  • 1/2 cup(s) apple cider
  • 3 tablespoon(s) packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup(s) nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 medium (about 1 cup) apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 slice(s) bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon(s) canola oil, divided


1) Combine cider, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

2) Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a small bowl. Whisk egg, egg white, and buttermilk in a large bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients, apples, and bacon until just combined. (The batter will be thick.)

3) Brush a large nonstick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon oil and place over medium heat until hot. Cooking 4 at a time, use about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and gently spread it to make them about 3 inches in diameter. Cook until the edges are dry and bubbles begin to form, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Reheat the cider syrup, if desired, and serve with the pancakes.

I didn’t make dinner because a few weeks ago I found out about this highly rated noodle place in San Mateo. Harry has mentioned every so often the desire to eat at a noodle bar. This one was rated 4/5 stars on Yelp (over 500 reviews!) and 91% on Urban Spoon—a good bet. To say it was yummy is a gross understatement (Hm. Using the words “yummy” and “gross” in the same sentence to convince people what you ate was delicious. Eh, I’m leaving it).


Here’s what I really wanted to show—this recipe was from our King of cook books (Cook’s Best Recipe). Were I privy to Oprah’s wealth, I would make sure everyone I knew owned one (this would come after I bought a house next door to Ina Garten in the Hamptons). The great thing about this cook book is that it’s put together by the editors of Cooks Illustrated, and they literally make a recipe 25 times until they narrow down to exactly how it should be done (what’s the best type of leavener, thickening agent, type of flour, most preferred density/moisture/flavor, etc.) with the help of incessant testing/focus groups. Needless to say, this pie made me start singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and was surprisingly simple.

Blueberry Pie


  • Pie crust dough sufficient to line and cover an 8" round pie plate
  • Flour for dusting the work surface
  • 6 cups (30 oz) fresh blueberries (rinsed unless you like dirt/germs/etc.)
  • 3/4-1 cup plus 1 TB sugar (depending on how tart/sweet you want the pie to be)
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (or just plain old ground nutmeg like we used)
  • 3-4 TB potato starch (depending on how "gummy" or held together you want the filling to be-- we opted for less)
  • 2 TB unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg white, unbeated

1) Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 500 degrees F.

2) Roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface, roll out to a 12" circle, and transfer to the pie dish.

3) Toss the berries, 3/4-1 cup sugar, lemon juice, zest, spices, and potato starch in a medium bowl, let stand for 15 min.

4) Roll out the second piece of dough to a 12" circle. Spoon the berries into the pie shell and scatter the butter pieces over the filling.

5) Place the second piece of dough over the filling. Trim the top and bottom edges to 1/2 inch beyond the pan lip. Tuck this rim underneath itself so that it's flush with the pie dish's lip.

6) Cut 4 slits in the pie dough top and brush the egg white on the top of the crust, and then sprinkle evenly with the 1 TB sugar.

7) Place pie on the baking sheet and lower the oven temp to 425 degrees F. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 min. Rotate the pie and reduce the oven temp to 375; bake until the juice bubble and the crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 min.

8) Transfer pie to pie rack, let cool for 4 hours (which is totally ridiculous, and we cut into this pie after 20 minutes, and it was amazing. We're all for only following the directions we want to follow, ostensibly).

This pie (which was celestial to the taste buds) had a strange and paradoxically wonderful and terrible effect on my subconscious.

That night I had a dream that I and all the same people who studied abroad with me in London went back for the same study abroad again. All the same people were there, hanging out in the London Center entryway. It was amazing the sense of nostalgia I woke up with. It’s strange when your brain brings back a rush of memories you thought were dormant, while you’re sleeping and vulnerable no less, and you wake up feeling like you’re 19 and irresponsible in Europe again. Almost a little unfair. Now I’m looking up round trip flights. Just for fun. And to scratch the itch that my brain put in my dream.

Thanks a lot, brain.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A quarter century never looked so good.

On this day, twenty and five years afore, in the year of our Lord One thousand nine hundred and eighty-five, a most notable and celebratory thing occurred.

The football-sized version of my very spouse made his planet Earth debut.

I’m pretty glad this happened, and owe my in-laws an exuberant display of gratitude for their genes and parenting.

Just look at that precious face.

He shares his b-day with:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • The 19th Century Queen of Sardinia
  • Mark Williams, a Welsh snooker player (the word snooker caught my eye-- did it catch yours too? It sounds a bit like a word invented to describe Adrien Brody’s nose.)

He also shares his birthday with Rosie O’Donnell… but let’s not hold that against him.

For many reasons, he deserves a 21 gun salute and a personalized banner to be flown over the Las Vegas strip. Reasons like:

1) His dance moves (You might think I’m trying to be “cute” but Harry has serious dance moves. I have believed for some time that one of Lady Gaga’s back up dancers ripped a move off him).

2) His love of sitting on the couch and reading. It’s an inherited family trait. This has become one of our favorite pastimes. Last year when we lived in Provo, I asked what he wanted to do for his birthday. I gave him 2 options: 1) A big party, 2) Dinner and a snuggle reading session on the couch. He chose the reading snuggle.

3) His fearlessness when it comes to cooking. This man makes pasta from flour, eggs, and salt, and cooks it to al dente perfection. He also makes lust-worthy pizza from scritchity scratch every Sunday night. And he makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich. While “The Bachelor” was on, my dinner every time we watched was a Harry Reynolds Original Recipe Grilled Cheese sandwich. Two words: Tobasco Sauce.

4) How genuine he is. It’s actually the first thing I really liked about him. With Harry, there are no hidden agendas, fees, or fine print. He really is that fun. He really is that kind. He really is that attractive. I can’t say enough about how much I love that.

For these and many other reasons, I’m thrilled he’s here, and that he’s 25, and that he’s mine.

Happy birthday to the best husband I could have possibly imagined (and I have a good imagination).

From: Wifey

Friday, March 19, 2010

Horses and Dreams.

I share a few key characteristics with horses.

Namely, a busy mane, brown eyes, and thunder thighs.

Today, friends, the list grows.

I have eaten my way through one of these bad boys

ENTIRELY by myself.

Yep (Whinnying with pride).

It's the perfect way to start my day at work. I get to steal a minute of alone time at my desk with a steaming bowl of nature's finest (and Black Beauty's favorite) breakfast. Something about a warm bowl of something that I can shovel in with a spoon and don't really have to chew very much in the morning steels my nerves for the day ahead.

The fact that consumption of a large container of oats is on my "recent accomplishments" list reminds me that college is over. My big accomplishments now consist of my ability to eat the same thing for breakfast for two months.

Sometimes I wish that it were normal to get at least 3 degrees in 4 years (those prodigy kids who become professors before they can drive don't count). By the time I got out of BYU, I realized there are at least 4 other programs I would have loved to try. If I could go back, I would jump headlong into the Clothing Construction program. And I would have gotten a degree in American History. And then I would have studied Graphic Design or Illustration. And then maybe I would become a nurse. I miss learning in a classrom, instead of doing the same things I do at work, which mainly numb the brain.

My job does teach me that earning money and working with people who are decent and nice are good things, and I can't knock that. Still. Is it wrong that I find myself visualizing the BYU Testing Center and I no longer break out in a cold sweat, but feel a glistening perspiration of nostalgia and longing?

Everytime we see something that dazzles me, like that gorilla playing the drums for the Cadbury ad, or read something really moving, or see something that requires a lot of skill, I think, "Oooh! Let's get a book on that!" so that I don't have to feel like all that learning is over.

I think this thought is inspired by "Good Will Hunting" when Matt Damon says to a Harvard know-it-all, "You dropped 150 grand on an education you could have gotten for $1.50 in late charges at the public library."

(Disclaimer: This is not a slight to higher education-- in case you didn't know, we've dropped a pretty penny ourselves on some hefty tuition of late.)

Case in point: I want to be someone who can do 500 things really well, and for now, I do maybe 4 things kind of well. And one of those 4 things is eating oats for breakfast.

Here's to a lifetime of reading up on how to do the other 496 things.

I'll raise a goblet of steaming oatmeal to that.

Bottoms up!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Papa Bear

March is replete with special days, but today is one of my favorites.

Today, my Dad is another year older, and 15 years wiser.

(Yes, his wisdom ages 15x the speed of his life. In wisdom years, he is 885 years old today. Sometimes I am suspicious that he is really an immortal Adelard of Bath. This has yet to be proven, and is in the works.)

Growing up, I thought everyone's Dad was like mine. It wasn't until I passed the formative years that I realized that not everyone's Dad is a self-taught Stevie-Ray-Vaughn-esque blues player, brewer of their very own apple cider vinegar and barbeque sauce, pontificator of Isaiah and Revelations like it's child's play, puller of gospel principles out of the "Godfather" movies, nor Scotts-Irish player of the bagpipes that could make a leprechaun do the Macarena.

He's also one of the most selfless men I know, who in his day has put up with a houseful of sea ponies, barbies, power rangers, *NSYNC (cue the hanging of my head in shame), and incessant Disney movies without batting an eye. He showed up to countless Cross Country meets, plays, and choir performances, sometimes driving to the most obscure corners of California to be there. He's counseled me on everything from making friends to dealing with life's disappointments, and his advice has always proven to be right.

One of the fondest memories I have of him goes back to my Senior year of High School. When I was already admitted to BYU, my parents got a little loose on the school attendance, and if I didn't feel like going sometimes, they'd kind of look the other way about it. My Dad even invented a pseudo-gang sign for it. I'd ask if I could skip class, and he'd sort of criss cross his fingers, then criss cross his arms, and then in the most rebellious voice he could muster, he'd say "DITCHIN'!"

He's the best Dad, and is revered by many, and I think we can claim to have the most delighted and adoring feelings of all.

Happy Birthday Daddio.

You are the King Bee and the favorite of the hive.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I call this scene "A Trippy Coincidence and a Plug for the iPad."

(Setting: Harry and Sarah are sitting on their stiff, gray, most uncomfortable student housing couch, each reading novels. Sun is low in the sky, night is coming on. Sound of cars creates a humming noise outside. Harry eats distractedly from a bowl of ice cream, Sarah munches thoughtfully on a graham cracker.)

Sarah: Do you know what this word means?

(Points to the word "lacunae" in the book she is reading)

Harry: No. Actually, that's so weird. I just read that word today in notes from a lecture. First time I'd ever seen it.

Sarah: Huh. Weird.

(Harry gets a twinkle in his eye, recognizes a golden opportunity to plug his most hopeful birthday gift)

Harry: You know, if we had an iPad right now, we could just push a button, it would turn on, and we could just look it up.

Sarah: Huh. (Goes back to reading)

(Two minutes elapse)

Harry: (suddenly in a fit of great shock) HA!!

Sarah: What?! What?!?!

(Harry points to a page in the book he is reading, resting his fingertip on the word "lacunae." Sarah and Harry look at each other in great shock, and the theme from "The Twilight Zone" begins playing in the background.)

Sarah: (points to the ceiling) BLOGWORTHY!

(She gets up to go to the table to get her laptop)

Harry: You know, if we just had an iPad, you could just turn it on and log in to the blog right here...

The End


For those interested--

Lacunae: –noun,plural-nae [-nee] Show IPA, -nas.
a gap or missing part, as in a manuscript, series, or logical argument; hiatus.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How do you spell "Mononucleosis?"


I would post a picture of said tonsils, but this blog does not exist for the purpose of inducing nausea.

It's actually not that bad. Just your average (and tiny) relapse, barely on the brink of misery. Also, just bad enough to cause me to be camped out on the couch today, hanging with my pals ibuprofen and H20.

I'm considering having a doctor just take out my tonsils, once and for all. And then I'll donate them to science fiction.

To segue out of that and into something else completely non-related, my car's power steering doesn't work anymore.

Have you ever been sent to get 3 grande non-fat lattes in the violently pouring rain in your non-power-steering car and driven back from Starbucks with the steaming coffee sitting in a cardboard tray on your lap the entire time without spilling? I experienced more fear during that episode that anything I felt at anytime during the movie "Drag Me to Hell."

It actually hasn't been that bad without the power steering. But, to quote Fiddler on the Roof, WONDER OF WONDERS MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, Chevrolet has just announced a recall on all Cobalts because of their power steering problems (insert exclamatory and celebratory phrase with wild and uninhibited dancing here)!

Whenever my Mom or I get something we really want for free... we like to call it sticking it to the Man.

Sarah- 1
The Man- 0

And with that, my eyelids are feeling droopy. Out of sheer exhaustion I may not even make it to the end of this blog po

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Garden variety world domination

So, we recently discovered that our names (first and last) mean “Home Ruler Supplanter Ruler” and “Princess Elf Counsel Ruler." Yes, Elf Counsel is real. I’m just saying. If we take over the world someday, you’ll all know you had it coming, so don’t get all huffy when I demand control over all your property and stuff like that.
Got me thinking.

My brother’s name really does mean “crooked nose.” But when he was young and overly impressionable we made sure he thought it really meant “Red Power Ranger” or something similarly awesome. Now that he’s a 6’4” former rugby/water-polo-playing-machine-turned-tallest-missionary-in-Ecuador, I don’t think he’s weighed down by the whole name-etymology thing. Oh, and his nose isn’t at all crooked. Or at least if it is, I can’t tell. He'll make a good assistant (hit man?) in our world-take-over plot.

I’m nervous sometimes because over the course of my life I’ve been so thankful to people for helping me out in times of great distress, that in my moment of overwhelmed gratitude I’ve promised to name my children after them. And what if they show up on my doorstep one day, demanding I follow through with my promises? Thus, I’ll be naming my children: 1) Tow truck guy from Triple A, 2) Couple who jump started our car, and 3) Waiter who snuck me a free piece of chocolate cake that one time. [Note: The chocolate cake episode may or may not have been a "time of great distress." But I am pretty sure I blurted out the namesake promise all the same.]

Towey, Jumpstart, and Freecake, for short. Our three children. All girls too, probably.

At least they make pretty good girl rapper names, right? There's a career for them. Even if they are the object of giggling and ridicule for it.
But you won't be laughing... because I'll be Queen of the World, sucka.