Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

Happy Countdown to the New Year, Everyone! I'm spending my New Year's Eve blogging and doing some things with some friends in Copley Square, all the while hoping that Billy Crystal* is running through the city streets to tell me all the things he loves about me as the clock ticks away to midnight.

I guess I can divide my year into five categories. Someone told me once, and I don't know if this is a real thing or not, but if you have more than five categories, you have too many categories. So here is the breakdown of my 2011, in terms of school, work, church, men, and miscellaneous.

School: 2011 was a very good year for school...sort of.
  • The good: I wrote a thesis, got my Master of Science degree in Forensic Anthropology, and got to speak at my graduation ceremony.
  • The sucky: I got rejected by lots of PhD programs. Well, not lots, only two up front, and one strung me along for a few months before telling me that they had no money for me.
The end of 2011 was spent fussing over my personal statements reapplying to two of the same programs from last year in addition to two new ones. With hope, funds will be in place, my applications will be impressive, and I'll get in somewhere. With hope, that somewhere will be in Boston.

Work: 2011 was the year of all of the jobs. Let's see, there was Jewish preschool, Fran, BU Academy, law office, and BU Forensic Anthro TA. That's five jobs, everyone. Thankfully, I'm only going to have three W2's.

Church: My calling didn't kill me, and I haven't been released! I see lots of more ward-choir-related wonderfulness in the future. Also, I'm taking Temple Prep (again), and those related things are coming together well.

Men: 2011 brought about two very productive non-relationships.
  • Non-Relationship Number 1: While the actual dating part of NRN1 happened in 2010, the aftermath occurred in 2011. It taught me a lot of things about the way I handle relationships. For instance, I handle them very poorly. The door on that one is closed, but I know now how to be a little more of a grown-up and a little less of a jerk.
  • Non-Relationship Number 2: NRN2 didn't end the way that I wanted it to end at the time, but now I'm very okay with the way things are. The events therein made me realize the things that I want in a non-non-relationship.
I'm closing out 2011 as a single person, and I'm pretty fine with that (if I were speaking this instead of typing it, my voice would get all high-pitched because that's what it does when I'm lying).

  • My mom came out to visit me for my graduation. It was the first time she'd ever visited any place I lived, so it was pretty exciting and special.
  • I sang in a community choir and had an operatic solo in our concert.
  • I applied for health insurance for the impoverished.
  • I saw "Star Wars" for the first time.
  • I bought the most fantastic dress that ever existed and wore it on a non-date to a moderately swanky Christmas gala.
  • I was selected to present my thesis at a conference next year.
  • I painted my ugly stairwell.
Well, so long for the year of 2011, readers. Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind... What does that song mean? My whole life, I don't know what that song means**. Anyway, it's about old friends, and that's what you are. Wishing you a happy and safe New Year!

*If you haven't seen "When Harry Met Sally..." before, you totally should. It's rated R for language, but the edited version is on TV all the time. It's probably my favorite movie with a New Year's Eve scene.
**This is also a line from "When Harry Met Sally..." Seriously, take the time to check this movie out. Most of it is on Youtube.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Don't get me wrong, I love my family, but I'm so glad to be back in Boston. Whenever I go back to Pennsylvania I get used to being there, but there's always this weird transition vibe in the air, or a "disturbance in the force," if you will. Now that I'm back on my couch in my apartment in the Town, I feel that all is right in the world again.

Highlights of being back home:
  • I cooked and baked quite a bit. I made a Cranberry Pear Pecan pie with Pecan Streusel Topping, Orange Peel Cookies (that involved putting a whole orange in the food processor), and lots of fancy pasta dishes that were amazing. I tried to make a cinnamon pie with a recipe from the internet, but it was kind of awful and very unlike the non-awful cinnamon pies I've made in the past. I was all over the Christmas dinner with roast turkey and Pancetta Chestnut Stuffing and cranberry sauce from scratch (that's right, boys).
  • I watched way too much TV. It's not really my fault; we don't have real channels at our apartment here, so I have to get the network syndication in as much as I can. My mom and I hit up all the NCIS and Big Bang Theory marathons.
  • I got to sleep in the giant queen bed that daylights as the family room couch. Space-saving, yes, but it doesn't really give one much privacy.
  • I spent time with my sister. My sister is awesome. We spent most of the break watching old movie musicals starring Howard Keel and Christmas specials starring the Muppets.
  • I went to church in my home ward. They had their Christmas program on Christmas day, so I got to listen to tons of musical numbers using the incorrect choral pronunciation of "angel." It's a schwa, people! If you don't say "ain-jell" then don't sing it! Also, I told the choir director to tell the tenors that there's nothing shameful about falsetto. She disagreed.
That was pretty much the all of it. I'm definitely glad I had the break, but also glad that I have texting so I could keep in touch with people that aren't my immediate family.

Now that I'm back, be prepared for some amazing blogging. I've got a few things up my sleeve (and by up my sleeve, I mean, saved in my drafts) that are pretty stunning, if I say so myself!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blog Giveaway Over!

My blog giveaway has officially ended as of ten hours ago. This is not going to be an easy decision. There will be much hemming and hawing. I shall announce a winner after the first of the year! I have already compiled most of the playlist for the prize (I did this early as to not skew the theme of the mix toward any one contestant).

In other news, today is my last day in Pennsylvania before I go back to Boston. It's been a nice break; I'll fill you all in on the details a little later. For now, I'll just say that I pretty much outdid myself from a culinary standpoint.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Yesterday I succumbed to a moment of weakness. I'm very ashamed to admit it, but I cheated.

With Five Guys.

Oh my dear UBurger, would you forgive me if I said it meant nothing to me? That I was thinking of you the whole time? I was in a different zip code; hundreds of miles away from any of your three locations in the Boston area. I was laid over for nearly four hours; I had to do something!

It could have been worse. I could have gone with some cheap and classless joint like McDonald's or Burger King. The fact that I went to a place with freshly cut fries and malt vinegar should only prove how totally still into UBurger I am.

They didn't have your special sauce, UBurger, or your fancy napkins. If you can take me back, I promise I'll never look at another burger ever again.

But really, it was pretty fantastic. I'm still going to stay married to the U, but I'll keep Five Guys as my little something on the side for whenever I'm in the A Terminal of the Dulles airport.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Chrismukkuh Giveaway

Confession time, guys: I love "The O.C." Shut up, it's really well-written, and you know you secretly like it, too.

At any rate, this secretly works out well for all of you readers, as it has inspired my very first blog giveaway (because giveaways are things that blogs have to do now in order to be legit). If you recall, on "The O.C.", "Chrismukkah" is a holiday invented by half-Jewish teen Seth Cohen as a way to blend the best features of Christmas and Hanukkah. It's rumored to have "twice the endurance of any normal holiday." In the Season 1 Chrismukkah episode, Seth is torn between two girls, Summer and Anna, and decides to give them both the same gift (which, men, if you don't already know, is a terrible idea): the "Seth Cohen Starter Pack," consisting of movies, books, and CDs representing Seth's core values.

So here's the deal, readers: read this blog, and make a comment. If your comment is my favorite comment, you will receive the "But You Are Made of Bones Starter Mix," which will be a mix CD compiled of any songs that I deem necessary for you to know in order for our virtual friendship to continue (NOTE: music in this playlist may consist of tracks from any of the "My Music" posts, found here, here, or here). And just as Seth Cohen couldn't choose between Summer and Anna right away (he ended up marrying Summer), I might have two favorite comments, in which case I will make two copies of this CD.

I guess there should probably be a deadline. How does December 28th, the eighth night of Hanukkah sound? Good? Okay.

Good luck, and may the witty commenting skills be with you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A PhD in Christmas

I bet that in the universe in which Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and every year fights a secret battle against dark forces bent on destroying Christmas, one actually could get a PhD in Christmas (or Nativity Studies, or Christian December Cultural Practices, or something a little more academic sounding). I already have a dissertation idea:

"Determining the Coefficient to Calculate the Maximum Radius of the Cone of Influence of Phoradendron serotinum (North American Mistletoe)"

With such a coefficient, one could complete the following story problem and find out if our two stick figures (let's call them "John" and "Mary") are really "under the mistletoe":
Let's call the coefficient "M" (for mistletoe). There'd have to be some equation like this one:
r = M * [(Attraction Level of Party 1)(1/Attraction Level of Party 2)]^(-1)

I'm sure law students could join in the fun, as well. Check it out:
If John is standing within the cylindrical realm of the mistletoe (with diameter "d"), does he have the right to sue for sexual harassment if Mary kisses him?

The scientist in me feels the urge to buy some mistletoe and run some experiments in social gatherings, because nothing encourages holiday making out like a poisonous plant and a nerd with a lab notebook sitting four feet away.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Visions

If I were the type of person who cross-stitched, I would totally do this.
Maybe I am that kind of person but haven't discovered it yet. I guess give it a couple of years?

"Once bitten and twice shy, I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye."

Pardon me while I wax a little poetic in honor of the Christmas season. A friend and I were talking one night about our favorite things about Christmas. When asked superficially, I usually say that I don't like Christmas, but digging deeper, I do have a thing that is my favorite thing about Christmas.

[I must interject something: of course the best and important thing about Christmas is the birth of Christ, and I recognize that. However, as this is something that we (should) try to remember and honor year-round, when I talk about my favorite thing about Christmas, I mean my favorite thing about the cultural/secular/aesthetic aspects of the Christmas Season.]

The other day, walking through Downtown Boston, I had an epiphany: the Christmas season is like a hot guy (or girl, whatever your preference) that flirts with you but doesn't mean it.
You should and do know better to fall prey to the charm and the eye contact, but involuntarily, your lips curl into a smile and eventually, you stop minding. Slowly and surely you give in to the butterflies and the stolen looks and start to entertain the thought that something real and wonderful might be happening.

Such is the case with Christmas.
As one walks through Downtown Boston, one sees lights, hears holiday music blaring and the sound of the bells playing from whatever building that is with the bells across from the Macy's (the old Filene's maybe?), smells cinnamon-roasted nuts sold on carts, sees stands selling Christmas trees and wreaths and mistletoe and Salvation Army Santas on every corner. You think, "this happens every year; it's nothing special," but somehow, the combination of all of it stirs up wells of excitement and cheer and hope that maybe this year, you'll have the kind of magical Christmas you see in the movies.

And then, either literally or metaphorically, December 25th hits you and everything you built up in your head topples over and gets tossed away with the rest of the decorations on December 26th, as if none of it ever mattered.

I have this vision of a Christmas that couldn't possibly exist: I live in a house with a fireplace* and this beautiful tree and everything is color-coordinated. I sit on my couch in an off-white cable-knit sweater that also coordinates with the house color scheme. I drink tea and look out the window, watching the snow fall perfectly to the ground. Eggnog doesn't taste gross. Mistletoe fulfills its Christmas destiny. I know how to ice skate.

I have only myself (and this song, probably) to blame for my romanticized visions of a holiday that I have never remembered going well, but I still hope. I hope that one day I'll have a fireplace and a cable-knit sweater and someone to kiss me under the mistletoe and hold my hand so I don't fall on the ice. Maybe one day there will be carols and merriment and stillness and peace. This is the hope that keeps my heart from being three sizes too small† and makes me want to bake and send cards and see if maybe this is the year I've developed a taste for eggnog.

This is my favorite thing about Christmas.

*I don't have a fireplace now and never had one growing up. When I was little I used to sit in the utility closet with a book and pretend that the pilot light was a fireplace. Were I not such an odd-looking child, this would have seemed pretty pathetic.
†Actually, right ventricular hypertrophy is what keeps my heart from being three sizes too small.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Music: Holiday Edition

Because I am very strict about only listening to Christmas music during the Christmas Season, and because I went through a phase where I listened to Sarah Bareilles' "Gravity" a million times in a row this past summer, there is no Christmas music on my "Top 25 Most Played" list on iTunes.

However, because I care about you all so much, I went through all of the Christmas music in my iTunes library and found my favorites. Here are the top ten:

1) "Song for a Winter's Night" - Sarah McLachlan. If I could have one moment of extra-diegetic music in my life, it would be with this song. I already have a storyboard for it (in my head).

2) "Snow Angel" - Tori Amos. Tori's voice is just so haunting. It's gorgeous.

3) "A Snowflake Fell (and it fell like a kiss)" - Glasvegas. How could a song start out with the lyric "the breeze from the graveyard keeps murmuring death" and end up to be so beautiful and hope-inspiring?

[NOTE: I realize that these first three songs are about winter and not necessarily Christmas. They're still beautiful. Get over it.]

4) "Wintersong" - Sarah McLachlan. This is also the title of the album. It is my favorite Christmas album.

5) "The Wexford Carol" (arr. Richard Lakey) - BYU Concert Choir. Even though the accompanist comes back in in the wrong key after the a capella verse, it's still beautiful. It sounds like snow. I'm making my ward choir sing it this Christmas.

6) "The First Noel/Mary, Mary" - Sarah McLachlan. If it isn't already clear, "Wintersong" is the best Christmas Album ever, even if I don't already worship everything Sarah McLachlan does. She really shows off her vocal range in this piece. She hits low notes that I even have trouble hitting.

7) "River" - Sarah McLachlan (or Rachel Yamagata, I have both). I should probably look into procuring the Joni Mitchell version at some point in my life if I profess to like this song so much.

8) "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Mariah Carey. There are two reasons why the original will outlive the Justin Bieber version: 1) Mariah's vocals now aren't what they used to be, and 2) nobody likes Justin Bieber. Nevertheless, it brings out my dancing self.

9) "Santa Baby" - Madonna. This was my very first favorite Christmas song when I was little. I think I liked the way she said "Santa cutie."

10) "Last Christmas" - Wham! I think I really love the line, "I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye," which is a sentiment that I have toward the Christmas season in general, as well as toward other things, probably. More on that later.

Obviously this top ten list seems incomplete as I only based my ratings on songs I currently own. Maybe later I'll make a list about Christmas songs I don't own. I feel an onslaught of many other Christmas-related posts in the future, though. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"I'm not here for your entertainment..."

[Warning: Rant Ahead]

I've never had the patience to watch "Funny Girl" all the way through. I asked my mom to tell me how it ended one time, and she gave me an ending that turned out to be the ending to "Gone with the Wind." Therefore, as much as I'd like to, I can't make any legitimate allusions to "Funny Girl" with this post.

I am a funny girl (or lady). At some point I developed the ability to make the things in my head turn into things to come out of my mouth in such a way to amuse and fascinate. In many ways, it's a blessing. I've encountered lots of people who are horribly dull, people who cannot appreciate irony or wordplay or subtle nuances that make the delivery of a phrase something a little more special than just parts of speech thrown together to convey meaning.

In other ways, it's a curse. The curse of the "Funny Girl." Whether or not Barbra* ever felt this way would require me to sit through a thousand choruses of "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world" and I don't care to do that, but it's a curse nonetheless. Sometimes I wonder, do people actually hear what I have to say, or are they too busy being amused by my delivery and timing?

While I'm thinking of it, let me tell you something about my delivery and timing [Big Fat Revelation Time]: it's all a miserable accident. I hate speaking. I'm terribly shy, and the feeling of eyes and ears devoted to me does things to my sympathetic nervous system that true love has yet to accomplish. I am not Andy Kaufman reading The Great Gatsby. This presence you speak of is nothing but a poor girl's violent attempt to leave the spotlight as quickly as possible.

Not the point.

I want to stop being the two-dimensional supporting character in somebody else's story, whose sole purpose is comic relief. On the other hand, I don't want to give up my wit! Is being more boring the only way to be more real? How can I change the people in my world from an audience to be entertained to friends to be touched†?

I was hoping that this would be one of those blog posts where I would pose a problem in the beginning and by the end I would have come to an answer. No such luck. I shall continue to be clever and amusing and try to let any hints of depth break through somehow.

*Safari does not recognize this as a legitimate spelling of the name "Barbara." It also said that "Gatsby" was misspelled. What little faith I had in Apple is shaken.

†Metaphorically. Gross.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Break

Happy First Day of December, everyone! It's been a week since my Thanksgiving day of awesomeness, and I realized that I haven't updated anyone on my "vacation". Here's what happened:

1) I painted my ugly stairwell! It looks so much better (hello, much better, and soon all y'all gonna know much better!) than it did before. I did fall down the stairs and land flat on my bum (and then down to the next step after that and also on my bum), which was not very fun. My next project might be carpeting those stairs...or at least putting some adhesive ducks down.

2) Pillsbury cinnamon rolls basically just taste like Grands biscuits with cinnamon, sugar, and sugary icing. I miss Rhodes rolls. I wonder if there's a way to petition to get them sold in Massachusetts, but I'm sure a more sophisticated grocery store would have something similar. My grapefruit was red and delicious. The parade was pretty good. I didn't sit through the whole thing as I was cleaning and doing other stuff, but I was a fan of the 600 Stompers or whatever those middle-aged men in the denim shorts were calling themselves.

3) I did not get around to Legally Blonde, but Chris and I did discover a fantastic show called "The Only Way is Essex," which is basically the British version of "The Hills," only the stars are making even less of a contribution to humanity. It was fantastic on every imaginable level. There's a pet pig named Mr. Darcy and an old woman named Nanny Pat who goes to all of their clubs.

4) I made Chicken Sausage, Apple, Parsnip, and Sage Stuffing again and some yummy sweet potato casserole. I finally finished my leftovers today. They sadly didn't have pumpkin ice cream at the store (but they did have eggnog--just one more example of how Thanksgiving is being encroached upon by Christmas), so I got mint chocolate chip again, which I haven't even eaten half of at this point (if that's not progress, what is?).

5) I cleaned most of the things. And we bought cinnamon-scented pine cones at JoAnn Fabrics, so our house smells nice (much better than the Glad Odor-Shield tall kitchen bags, anyway).

6) I think we watched enough stupid movies. Chris and I watched something with the sisters Duff and the little boy from "Witness" all grown up and with a mustache. There were some really awkward kissing scenes, and coming from me, that says something.

7) I can't say that I took advantage of the holiday sleeping patterns like I should have. I was pretty much in bed by ten and up by eight the whole time.

8) Believe it or not, I was very sociable this break. I did some things with some people (I'd be less vague, but I've been sworn to secrecy). I was afraid I'd be bored and deprived of human contact, but I feel that I got the appropriate amount thereof.

In non-Thanksgiving-break-related news, I had a day off yesterday and I spent it roaming around Boston in the most sensible quest for a non-sensible thing ever. But I am in love with this non-sensible thing. Pictures to come, maybe.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How I'll Spend My Thanksgiving Break

Guys, I have three days off this week. Normally I don't like downtime, but it's due, so I'll take it gladly. Lots of people have asked me how I'll spend my Thanksgiving time. The short answer is "alone, and I'm happy that way." People often don't accept that and ask, "what could you possibly be doing to make that so enjoyable?" so here are my plans, in no particular order:

1) Paint my ugly stairwell. Whoever lived in our apartment before we did decided that nothing makes white walls more attractive than brown and grey sponge texturing detail. This makes me think that the previous tenants were cave creatures or Fraggles or something who think that water damage and mold are tres chic. After living with the ugly for over two years, I'm going to repaint the whole thing bright white. I've already spackled in preparation for this. I'm a spackling machine.

2) Eat cinnamon rolls and grapefruit for breakfast while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This was a tradition I started at BYU when I'd often spend Thanksgivings alone. I'd get the amazing Rhodes rolls that I think they only sell in Utah and other Mormon-heavy places, pop them in the oven, and eat way too many of them while watching the parade. The grapefruit stems from when I was in college and my mom sent me giant grapefruit care packages for the holidays that I didn't go home, and also, I love grapefruit.

3) Watch "Legally Blonde: the Musical." I saw this on MTV for the first time on Thanksgiving of 2007, and since then, the musical and the holiday are linked in my mind. And plus Christian Borle is sooo dreamy!

4) Make (and eat) only the Thanksgiving foods that I like. I actually don't like Turkey all that much. I was a vegetarian for a while when I was a teenager and didn't really miss it then either, so really, I can do without it. I'm going to make stuffing from scratch (that's right), gravy, cranberry sauce (I'm just going to be lazy and use the canned stuff here, but I do make a mean from-scratch version for public consumption), sweet potatoes (sans marshmallows), and in lieu of pie, pumpkin ice cream. I've really got to go to the store sometime before Thursday.

5) Clean my house somewhat more thoroughly than I've been cleaning it in the recent past.

6) Watch some stupid movies. Not sure which ones yet, but maybe I'll Redbox something.

7) Sleep in longer than anyone else on Black Friday.

Enjoy your Thanksgivings, everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Doomy Eyes

I'd call Victor von Doom an expert in this sort of thing.

I must start out by saying that I love my home teacher. He's great for all kinds of advice, but quite enjoys doling out advice on the whole men/women thing. For instance, this sage and novel piece of wisdom:

"Never underestimate what some intense eye contact can do."

Whoa, you mean you're supposed to look into a guy's eyes if you like him? Who knew?

He went on to explain how he was recently on the receiving end of some girl's (and I swear, this is what I heard here:) "doomy eyes."

I remarked that I'd never heard that before; I had heard of "bedroom eyes," though. He gave me a sort of strange look and told me that they were the same thing. We finished the home teaching lesson and afterwards I wrote the following as a Facebook status:

"Got a home teaching lesson about 'doomy eyes' tonight. Buckle up, men!"

My roommate Chris reads this and says, "It's not 'doomy eyes!'"

"What is it then?" I asked, assuming I'd heard incorrectly.

"Do me eyes!"

Much laughter and mocking followed. I had to admit that "do me" made much more sense than "doomy." I just thought that maybe the look in the eyes was like a brooding and foreboding storm of sexiness. The laughing and mocking continued.

I was granted a small* favor when Doree, meaning to say "wanton eyes," made a reference to "wonton eyes" (I tried to find a cartoon of a little Chinese dumpling with googly eyes, but my Google Image searching turned up nothing).

With this (as well as the fact that "doomy eyes" makes me immediately think of the villain from a not-great comic book franchise), I think I may be starting to pinpoint the source of my romantic problems.

*This was about as consoling as the time when Joey Tribbiani was getting mocked for getting his head stuck in a turkey and tried to mock Ross Gellar for saying "Squatternut Bosh" instead of "Butternut Squash" (Friends "The One With All The Thanksgivings").

Friday, November 11, 2011

"It Might As Well Be Spring..."

...and I don't just say this because of the wonderfully, unseasonably warm weather that we've had the past few days (which seems, sadly, to have come to an end).

This song, written in 1945 for the musical State Fair (I never know whether to italicize or use quotes with musicals) contains some beautiful lines, like...

"I am starry-eyed and vaguely discontented, like a nightingale without a song to sing"


"But I feel so gay in a melancholy way.*"

These, and a dozen other lines from a dozen other songs can only begin to describe what's going on in my brain lately. I'm not one of those who likes to scrawl every single thought or emotion all over the internet. Usually I like to have something with a plot to put on this blog. I don't even have a story to describe why my brain might be doing the things that it's doing. It's all very strange.

I have this odd sense of paradox within me, as if I'm feeling compelled by this overwhelming sense of urgency but at the same time, quite uncharacteristically calm and relaxed. I'm torn between doing what I think is expected/proper/safe/sensible and giving in to the green glowworms† crawling under my skin that make me want to run and jump and twirl, both literally and metaphorically (for whatever twirling could be a metaphor).

I want to move‡. I want to stop looking out the window and jump through it instead. I want to fast-forward through pretense and formalities and skip ahead to the good parts. I want to go ice skating. I want to kick my feet through a pile of crunchy autumn leaves.

At the same time, I just want to sit on my sofa at home and watch them fall.

It might as well be spring.

* I love internal rhyme.
† Do you remember the movie "James and the Giant Peach"? I'm talking about those little glowing green things that were in the bag that enchanted the peach and all of the bugs. I couldn't find a picture on the internet, but they're jumpy and jittery, and I imagine they have some sort of electromagnetic and tingly properties.
‡ This is absolutely metaphorical. I hate moving with boxes and stuff.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Musings at the Office: Zweiter Streich

Dear telemarketers, I've got your number. That "there's no message, is there a more convenient time I can reach him/her" of yours isn't fooling anyone.

I took a call from someone whose last name was "Mormon." I wanted to ask if his name was Jack or if he had a wife named Molly. If I took a message, would I be writing down the Words of Mormon?

I am the queen of the Konica Minolta Bizhub copy machine. I know where all of the paper jams live.

All the downtime at the office gives me time to do all of my scripture study and General Conference talk reading. This made me slip up in my phone answering today when, instead of saying "Attorney Such-and-Such's office" I said "Eternal Such-and-Such's office."

Being around people who do divorce law makes me never ever want to get divorced, and therefore kind of grateful for this whole Gospel thing that teaches us how to get married correctly.

Someone keeps turning the air conditioner on. It's not warm in here. Oh well, I guess it's not my utility bill.

I actually took the correct length of a lunch break today. Leaving the office helped. It's hard to entertain oneself in the break room for a full thirty minutes.

It's been really rainy today. I'm not wearing particularly hazardous shoes, but I almost fell on my bottom twice today--once in the lobby and once at the sandwich shop. My sincere thanks to the man standing on the stairs in the lobby for pretending that he didn't see my lack of gracefulness.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On Language

Today, on my bus ride to work, I sat in front of a group of high school students. This is a message to them:

I was appalled and saddened by your loud conversation on the bus this morning. Must you all use such offensive, crude language? There are thousands of beautiful, interesting words in the English language, and you seem to have replaced half of them with vulgar obscenities and slurs.

At one point, one of you asked another, "know what I'm saying?" and I wanted to scream, "How? How could he possibly know what you're saying? You haven't said anything!" If the FCC had censored your conversation, it would have been impossible to glean any meaning from your poorly-composed sentences. All we would hear is one steady high-pitched tone with a few conjunctions and articles thrown in here and there.

I was taught, and continue to believe, that the "n-word" is an ugly and hateful term, regardless of the skin color of the person using it. I'm not black, but hearing the word makes me cringe. I find your casual use of this word baffling: it seems to be interspersed in your dialogue with unnecessarily high frequency, almost as if you're competing over who can use it the most in one sentence. I don't know why this is acceptable. I have friends who are Jewish, Hispanic, and gay, and I have never heard them throw around their associated slurs so carelessly...or at all.

Finally, we're called "women," NOT "bitches." Think of your mothers and sisters the next time you want to call the girls in your life something so horrible. I think this was the aspect of your language that incensed me the most.

So I beg of you, open a book. Expand your vocabulary. Learn some respect for the ears of those around you. Prepare yourself to be something other than a loud, vulgar voice at the back of a bus.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Music: Part III

Because it's been a little over three months since my last post like this (and because I want to cover up the fact that my last blog post was about the contents of my sinuses), I present the latest version of my "Top 25 Most Played" songs on iTunes:
  1. "Gravity" - Sara Bareilles
  2. "Sway" - Bic Runga
  3. "It Won't Be Long Now" - Original Broadway Cast of "In The Heights"
  4. "Grace Kelly" - Mika
  5. "Come Home" - OneRepublic
  6. "Prayer of St. Francis" - Sarah McLachlan
  7. "This Year's Love" - David Gray
  8. "Fields of Gold" - Eva Cassidy
  9. "Crazier Than You" - Original Broadway Cast of "The Addams Family"
  10. "Breathe" - Original Broadway Cast of "In The Heights"
  11. "Bring On the Wonder" - Sarah McLachlan
  12. "21 Guns" - Original Broadway Cast of "American Idiot"
  13. "The Story" (Grey's Anatomy Cast Version) - Sara Ramirez
  14. "You Give Me Something" - James Morrison
  15. "Tomorrow" - Jeremy Messersmith
  16. "Skeleton Song" - Kate Nash
  17. "Thinking of You" - Katy Perry
  18. "Happy Ending" - Mika
  19. "Running Up That Hill" - Placebo
  20. "Breathless" - Corinne Bailey Rae
  21. "Maybe I'm Amazed" - Jem
  22. "Organ Donor" - Jeremy Messersmith
  23. "You Don't Know Me" - Michael Buble
  24. "Blackout" - Original Broadway Cast of "In The Heights"
  25. "Promise Me This" - Pancho's Lament
I'd say this is a pretty respectable list, despite the fact that three of these songs are featured in the first two episodes of "The Vampire Diaries" (points to anybody who knows which three!). I expect that some of my favorite winter (not necessarily Christmas) songs will be moving up in the running pretty soon.


I wish it were more socially acceptable to talk about the sheer volume of stuff that comes out of my nose when I'm at the end of a cold.

It's marvelous, really. I've seen enough cross sections of the human skull to know roughly how much space is in the sinuses, and something isn't adding up.

Unfortunately, we can't talk about these things. I do try to be fairly discreet about my bodily functions, and I don't have to show anyone anything or talk about what color things are, but after expelling everything that ever happened from my nostrils, there's just this tremendous sense of accomplishment and I just want to tell someone.

Maybe my family is just cursed with lots of phlegm. When my mom was in high school, she was sitting behind this really cute guy who turned around to talk to her just as she was in the midst of one of those volcanic sneezes. I feel like this is going to happen to me. I'll be in my third consecutive minute of nose-blowing that rivals the sound of seventy-six trombones and the man of my dreams will walk in.

He would most likely be disgusted and appalled, or, you never know, he might be like, "You have a sinus infection? Tell me all about it!" And then I'll know that it's really true love. I think in this scenario, the man of my dreams is a Jewish otolaryngologist.

We would have the most beautiful, nearsighted, valetudinarian children.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Tribute to Cindy-Face and Lielzebub

Let's go back to the Fall of 2005. I was nineteen, a semi-sophomore at BYU, one of the newest first altos in the BYU Concert Choir, and the roommate of two lovely ladies to whom I've dedicated this blog post.

I could go on about how Cindy has one of the least weird-looking babies I've ever seen (seriously--out of all the newborn pictures she posted, there was not one that looked like a terrifying lizard monster), or about how Liel has this vast cultural knowledge of all things French and fascinating, but instead, I'll post some "documents" that we drew up when we began living together, just to prove the collective awesomeness that was the three of us in 602 N 800 E #103*.


  • Cindy and Alexandra-Performance Psych until 6:50
  • Do Dinner on Own
  • FHE Night
  • Alexandra-Bio Lab until 6:50
  • Liel and Cindy make food that has leftovers
  • Gilmore Girls!!!!
  • Cindy and Alexandra-German Choir until 5:50
  • All cook something together (Easy stuff)
  • ALIAS!!!!
  • Rotate who cooks dinner each week
  • Will have dates maybe (in which case, eat something small before so date doesn’t think you’re a pig)
  • Entertain with fun parties that will show everyone how amazingly wonderful we are!
  • Will have dates maybe (see Friday)…then again, whom are we kidding? We’ll never have dates. We’re sad.
  • Eat Homemade Pizza together!
  • All cook something together
  • Bond

We actually kept the dinner schedule going pretty well. We stopped watching "Alias" because it got weird, but our Thursday night dinners were quite memorable. And we didn't really have dates that often, except for one time I turned down going to dinner with a boy I liked because we were making the homemade pizza (I got lectured because of that).

  1. Condo=Love. Love the Condo; Love your roommates; Love yourself.
  2. Don’t do drugs.
  3. All boys who will be spending excessive amounts of time here must be approved by other two roommates.
  4. No making out in the house. Do it outside, away from the window. Goodnight kisses are okay.
  5. No hair in the sinks or showers.
  6. Conserve electricity-be sure to turn off lights when not in the room.
  7. Last one up at night: turn off all lights, lock door.
  8. A good thorough cleaning job will be done at least once a month. Schedules and job divisions will be provided later.
  9. If you’re on a date with a boy you like and the two of you are at the door and there’s no kissing going on, the roommate(s) at home have every right to play “Kiss the Girl” out the window to get the point across.
  10. If you’re on a date with a boy you don’t like and he’s trying to kiss you, the roommate(s) at home have to save you by opening the door at an “inopportune” time.
  11. As is made clear by rules nine and ten, we will wait up for you if you’re on a date.
  12. Boyfriends will not interfere with our friendship.
  13. Put the toilet lid down!
  14. Don’t piss each other off. And if you do, apologize. Don’t throw things or shout obscenities. Unless it’s for comic effect.
  15. Obey all rules of common courtesy.
  16. Be flexible.
  17. Don’t pull a you know who with a you know what.
  18. Don’t burn the condo down. The condo=love. See rule one. Do you want our love to burn? Huh? Do you?
  19. Learn something new about everyone once a week.
  20. Don’t sin anymore ever. You reject from the war in heaven. Just kidding. Okay, the real twentieth rule is that we should pray together. The roommates that pray together, stay together. Until one of them gets married. Or graduates. Whichever comes first.

These were our rules. We talked about making out a lot (probably because we mostly didn't until Cindy got her boyfriend-who-is-now-her-husband in June).

Why We Should Have Boyfriends:
  1. We are dang cute!
  2. We’re funny! Hello, have you met us?
  3. We can sing…that’s hot.
  4. We’re smart. We got into BYU; that’s proof of that.
  5. We cook. Maybe not like [NAME HAS BEEN DELETED], but we can still cook.
  6. We won’t cheat on you.
  7. We have excellent and flexible tastes in movies.
  8. We will not make you do stupid things.
  9. We won’t call you strange names.
  10. Cindy is a good kisser. Alexandra learns quickly. Liel will not be conscious through it; she’ll be compliant.
  11. Cindy plays video games.
  12. Alexandra has amazing rhetoric.
  13. We speak various languages.
  14. We’re adventurous and willing to try new things.
  15. We keep the Honor Code religiously.
  16. We will take you to the temple; you want to go to the highest degree of the Celestial kingdom, right? Well, we’ll get you there.
  17. We shower regularly and brush our teeth lots.
  18. God owes us for years of sucky boys and breakups.
  19. People our age are getting married! We need to catch up.
  20. Boys make you warm. It’s cold outside. We need warm boys.
We made a list, because men respond to logical arguments better than any other form of seduction. I don't know how I was included in number 14.

*Not one of us lives here anymore, so don't bother starting your stalking there.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I'm Currently Crabby

Another famous crabby lady
I've been crabby a lot lately. Here's why:
  • I'm the ward choir director, which is a calling that I really like, and frankly, the only calling at which I think I would be any good. However, I don't feel like the people who come to choir care about choir at all, and this makes it really difficult for me to be an effective leader.
  • I dislike when I'm having a cranky choir director moment and someone suggests we pray. I know that prayer is awesome and a good and proper thing to do, but sometimes I feel like it's a little condescending, like the person is suggesting that I'm cranky because I'm spiritually unworthy rather than because there's something legitimate that's frustrating me that can be fixed without prayer.
  • I'm still sick. My cough has evolved into a cold+cough, which isn't too bad unless I have to breathe. It's also been wiping out all of my energy. I haven't stayed up past nine-thirty at all this weekend, which has caused me to miss out on anything that might even resemble fun.
  • People have been lecturing me about things I've done or haven't done, assuming they understand the inner workings of my mind or the thought process behind why I have or haven't done these things.
  • I don't feel like I have a confidante, someone to whom I can explain my thought processes, someone who will understand and listen without lecturing or expecting me to reveal any more or less than I want (apart from everyone reading this blog, I guess).
  • I don't have a boyfriend. I know that's a stupid female reason to be cranky, and a reason that will probably earn me more lectures about the fact that I'm not "open and engaging" and won't make the necessary advances in life, but it's a contributing factor to my mood nonetheless.
  • I'm suffering from another common cause of female crankiness right now. Enough said.
  • I just upgraded to Internet Explorer 9 and it's annoying. I don't like the way it handles tabs and the fonts seem too serif-y. And my internet is funky on Sundays.

Maybe on another day I'll write a list of reasons why I'm not crabby, but don't hold your breath. Now I'm going to go eat some chocolate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Jolly Jeepers, Pick Up Sticks! Alex Just Turned Twenty-Six!"

I'm not sure at what age it becomes taboo for a woman to openly proclaim her age, but I turned 26 yesterday. I was talking with a friend at church who turned 26 a few months ago, and he exclaimed in a whisper, "isn't it awful? It's all downhill now!" First of all, dude, you're a man. It's not like you have a clock that's ticking away to the day when all of your eggs shrivel up and die. And secondly, 26 isn't old. It seems that we're in the age where "40 is the new 30," and as always, people in their twenties can still play teenagers on TV. At any rate, I feel that I'm settling into 26 nicely.

Here's a summation of my birthday festivities and such:

On the Sunday evening before my birthday, I had a few friends over for "cake and reverent mingling." The cake (which I made myself) was decent, although the frosting didn't turn out the way I envisioned it. It was more gooey than fluffy, but it was still delicious. "Reverent mingling" turned into a game where I let my guests ask any probing question they wanted to ask and I promised to answer truthfully. Questions ranged from "What is your dream vacation?" (Greece, basically everything that happened in "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"), to "Do you remember your first kiss?" (No), to "Which guy* would you want holding your hand forever?" (Neil Patrick Harris).

My birthday was on a Monday, and Monday night I went to Max and Dylan's in Charlestown with Laura and Ashley. I ordered the Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese and it was yummy. Then we went to Emack and Bolio's for ice cream, where I had something with "Funk" in the title that had chocolate and pretzels and caramel in it. Then we went to FHE where there was a lesson, prayer, activity, and a rainbow cake with purple icing (and nobody else thought that was funny).

As for my "25 things to do before I'm done being 25" list, I was able to knock off a few more things. I hugged all of my people, I stayed up past midnight, I watched "Hocus Pocus," bought some "fun" cereal, and ate cake. I'm still coughing up a storm of lungs, though, so there are still some things to work on.

Presents! My mom sent me dollars, which I'll frivolously spend on my electric bill or groceries or something; Laura got me an ice tray that makes ice cubes in the shape of skulls and crossbones! Sarah gave me chocolate which I'm going to try to not consume all at once (but they're Reese's it'll be tough); from Kelly I got a scarf and a "hens and chicks" plant (which she says is very difficult to kill); and Doree gave me flowers in pretty fall colors.

All in all, it was a pretty great birthday.

*Whoever wrote this question has some odd handwriting, and so originally I read the question as "Which gay would you want holding your hand forever?" Answer: Neil Patrick Harris.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"[Do] Go Chasing Waterfalls"

Two nights ago, I had a dream. It was a pretty exciting dream--

A bunch of us were at this ward wilderness activity. There was a creek which was slightly up the hill from a larger river, and in between the creek and the river, there was a little path where couples would walk to go do couple things (i.e. to make out). I'm not in a couple, and neither is my roommate Lindsay, so I was like, "hey Lindsay, let's go walk on this trail and see what the fuss is about" (because apparently it was pretty). As we're walking along the trail, the creek up the hill starts to overflow and spill onto the path, and it washes us into the river! The river has a pretty strong current, and I remembered from somewhere that one isn't supposed to swim against the current (I checked later, apparently this is a real thing!) so I start swimming perpendicularly to the current, but Lindsay and I are still getting washed down. Chris is in the river, too, but I'm not as worried about her because I know she's a good swimmer (when I told Lindsay this part, she was offended, because she's a good swimmer, too). There's a waterfall ahead of us, so I grab onto some reeds and tree branches on the side of the river. Lindsay starts to float by, so I grab her and get her to the reeds. I'm a hero--

Or so I thought.

I explained this dream to Chris, and the little psychoanalyst replied:

"What?!? How could you? Don't you know that rivers are symbols for relationships? Not only did you not let yourself go over the waterfall, but you kept Lindsay from it as well!"

I apologized to Lindsay for subconsciously stunting her future romantic bliss; I really just thought I was doing a good thing (hey, sometimes a cigar--er, I mean waterfall--is just a waterfall). My dream also involved a guy from my ward taking me on a walk to go see this sea lion that was living in someone's basement, but I don't think that means anything.

Updates on "My 25 Things" - Part Deux

It's been a pretty productive week, folks! Here's what I've gotten done since last I updated you:

#4: Seven down, six to go. As an added challenge, I've promised my roommates (who refuse to hug me, by the way) that I would initiate the last six spontaneously, and that at least four of the six would be men.
#5: I went running on Tuesday and swimming yesterday. Even though I'm still coughing, my lungs didn't completely rebel against me for the exercise. And swimming at 4:30 in the afternoon at the Charlestown Community Center pool is fantastic. I was the only person there (aside from the lifeguard) so I could swim at my own pace and not have to worry about looking foolish. It did, however, remind me of that episode of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" where there's the creepy swimming pool with the ghost in it.
#7: The book arrived in the mail this weekend, and I've begun it, but it's longer than I thought it would be, so I don't think I'm going to have it finished by Monday.
#9: I went to the mall with the sole purpose of finding these sweaters. Sadly, the mall was having a shortage of cute sweaters. For some reason, the style is all boxy and short these days. Even Old Navy, a store upon which I can always depend for a cute cardigan, left me wanting.
#12: Haircut, check. It's a little more bangsy than I intended, but I think it works, and the woman did a really great job at making it low-maintenance.
#16: Working on it. The cough is less, in that it doesn't wake me up. I just hope that it doesn't turn into a cold.
#17: Apparently my night of eternal coughing didn't count. Still working on this one.
#20: I tried to buy fishnet stockings at the mall, but they were not on sale.
#21: My nails are finally long enough that they'll look good and not like Spike from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," so I'll try to do this tonight while I'm watching TV or something.
#22: I'm almost at the end of Mosiah, so it's looking good!
#24: I haven't run out of Special K with Fruit and Yogurt yet (you know, I didn't really look at the fiber content on this one, so I think I'm going to count it).
#25: I'm probably going to make my own cake. That seems depressing, but I have this amazing idea for a whipped cream/cream cheese icing with crushed Oreo cookies in it that I want to try out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I realize that a lot of my posts are lists of things. I have a friend who has a separate blog just for lists, but I think if I had to manage two blogs, it wouldn't go well. That said, here for your enjoyment (or, more realistically, for your information), is another list.

Musical Theatre Duets I've Performed Formally:
  • "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera (as Christine)
  • "I Still Believe" from Miss Saigon (as Ellen)
  • "In His Eyes" from Jekyll and Hyde (as Emma)
  • "Salzburg" from Bells are Ringing (as Sue)
  • "The Grass Is Always Greener" from Woman of the Year (as Tess)
  • "Written in the Stars" from Aida (as Aida)
  • "Ah, Leave Me Not to Pine Alone!" from Pirates of Penzance (as Mabel--and I know this is technically not "musical theatre" proper, but it kind of counts).
  • "The Song That Goes Like This" from Spamalot (as the Lady of the Lake)
  • "The Doctor is In" from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (as Lucy)

Musical Theatre Duets I've Sung for Fun but Haven't Performed (Yet):

  • "For Good" from Wicked (as Elphaba)
  • "As Long as You're Mine" from Wicked (as Elphaba)
  • "I'd Give It All for You" from Songs for a New World (as Woman 1)
  • "In Whatever Time We Have" from Children of Eden (as Yonah)
  • "A Little Fall of Rain" from Les Miserables (as Eponine)

Musical Theatre Duets I Want to Sing Before I'm Dead:

  • "I Know Him So Well" from Chess (as Florence)
  • "Crazier Than You" from The Addams Family (as Wednesday Addams)
  • "Legally Blonde" from Legally Blonde (as Elle)
  • "Take It Like a Man" from Legally Blonde (as Elle)
  • "Mix Tape" from Avenue Q (as Kate Monster)
  • "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent (as Maureen)
  • "Please" from Miss Saigon (as Kim)
  • "A Little Priest" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (as Mrs. Lovett)
  • "Say it Somehow" from The Light in the Piazza (as Clara)
  • "I Love You Because" from I Love You Because (as Marcy)
  • "Somewhere" from West Side Story (as Maria)
  • "The Piano Lesson" from The Music Man (as Marian)
  • "Elaborate Lives" from Aida (as Aida)
  • "Zuhaelterballade" from Threepenny Opera (as Jenny)

Musical Theatre Duets I Want to Sing but Can't Because I'm the Wrong Gender:

  • "What You Own" from Rent (as either Mark or Roger)

Well, according to this list, I've got my work cut out for me. I'd best be getting over this cough and finding myself some partners!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Updates on "My 25 Things"

I know it's only been two days, but I'm sitting at my desk and I'm bored! Here are some updates on how I've been faring with my list of things to do before my 26th birthday:

#1: Check.
#8: Check (sort-of). I've got a lot of ward music stuff going on, but I think It'll all come together nicely
#13: Holy bananas, that cat loved me! More specifically, he loved my bedroom, my bed, my desk, my oscillating fan, and my hair scrunchie (which he ate), but as long as I didn't make any sudden movements, he seemed to quite enjoy hanging out with me.
#17: Technically yes, but does it count that the reason I was awake until midnight was that I couldn't fall asleep because every time I tried to take a full breath I burst into a fit of coughing? (I guess it goes without saying that #16 is still a work in progress.)

I'd say four out of twenty-five things in two days is pretty good, right?

Here are some more musings from the office, just to fill up more blog space:

  • There's an orchid at the reception desk. I haven't killed it by looking at it yet, so that's a miracle.

  • I made my first errand involving petty cash today. I bought milk because we were out, but while I was out buying milk, someone else brought in milk, so now there's a lot of milk.

  • We were out of animal crackers and Goldfish crackers for a while there. We have them now, thank goodness. I was worried there was going to be a riot.

Also...welcome to autumn! The past few days it has been officially cold outside, which means fall coat season is upon us. I wish I had a picture of my super cute fall coat, but just know that it's super cute. It's red and has ruffles. I feel very Cosmopolitan when I wear it.

That's all for today. Until I accomplish more things!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

25 Things to Do While I'm Still 25

If I said it just occurred to me that I'm going to be 26 in two weeks, I'd be lying. I've been counting down the days to birthday time for quite a while now. I'm not sure why being 26 is a big deal. Maybe it's because I can now be categorized as someone in their "mid-to-late twenties." In forensic anthropology terms, I have entered Phase IV*. As my days of being 25 come to a close, it was suggested that I put together a list of "25 Things to Do While I'm Still 25." Here goes:
  1. Make a list of "25 Things to Do While I'm Still 25." Hey, I've only got 13 days, I have to keep things simple!
  2. Make a tarte tatin. I've done this before, but they're delicious, and I think it would be a great way to get rid of the apples I have in my kitchen.
  3. Introduce people to "Cry Baby." As previously mentioned, this is some of Johnny Depp's best work. It's like "Grease," only more ridiculous.
  4. Hug at least thirteen people. As a rule, I don't hug, but I make an exception for birthdays. I imagine most of this hugging will be done during my pre-birthday celebration.
  5. Go swimming at least once and go running at least twice. Ever since I started working every day, my exercise regime has gone downhill. Must kick off the fall-winter gluttony season with some cardio.
  6. Speak a complete sentence of words to the cute red-headed guy who works in my building and rides the bus with me sometimes.
  7. Read the book about the Luetgert Murder of 1897 (provided Amazon delivers it to me on time). I plan to become an expert in the "Formative Period" of forensic anthropology, and learning about all of the grisly cases seen by Dwight, Dorsey, et al. is an integral part of that process.
  8. Freak out less about the mass of responsibility my church calling is throwing at me this month.
  9. Buy two new cute sweaters, preferably ones with argyle or buttons and that are colors that aren't black.
  10. Attempt to have a conversation with that guy at church against whom I was initially prejudiced because I think his Peter Pan ca. 1991 haircut is ridiculous.
  11. Book a plane ticket home for Christmastime. (Hey, these can't all be life-changing goals, I do have a "to-do" list, you know.)
  12. Get a haircut that costs more than $15. I think I'm too old for the Hair Cuttery.
  13. Convince the cat that is temporarily living in my apartment that he loves me. I don't know why he growls and hides under the coffee table every time he sees me, but we will be best friends by the end of his stay (especially if he kills the mouse that is also squatting in our kitchen).
  14. Do a new restaurant review, but not necessarily about a new restaurant.
  15. Kiss a boy (or get kissed by a boy). This is low-priority/low-expectation, and I'm sure if it doesn't happen, I won't [remain a beast forever/turn into a pumpkin/fall asleep for 100 years], but it's on the list, even just to be neck-in-neck with Drew Barrymore (but then again, she got a young Michael Vartan, so no matter what, she's still ahead).
  16. Get better. I'm currently ill, with the awful, persistent cough and the achy everything and the generally being quite tired. I feel like this has to happen if I'm going to accomplish #15.
  17. Stay up until midnight one night. You may look at this and be like, "Seriously? What are you, some kind of geriatric loser?" To you, I say, "yes." I've been averaging a 10:30 pm bedtime since the fourth grade. To stay up until midnight is a feat, and since this is the end of my "younger years," it'll probably be easier now than later.
  18. Eat food at one of the awesome Townie haunts--probably either Jenny's Pizza and Subs or Grasshopper Cafe.
  19. Do something "death defying," like office-chair drag racing, or riding on a Vespa.
  20. Wear fishnet stockings to church. Actually, I don't know if I'm going to have time to do this before I'm 26. Maybe I'll just wear them to work where I sit behind a desk all day and nobody can see my legs.
  21. Paint my fingernails black.
  22. Get as far as the Book of Alma in my current round of Book of Mormon reading (I'm toward the end of 1 Nephi now, so that's feasible, right?).
  23. Watch "Hocus Pocus" with or without other people. Or maybe I'll save this one for closer to Halloween. They say "hell" in it, so it's not a kids' movie!
  24. Buy a breakfast cereal without taking its fiber content into consideration.
  25. Eat some hideously decadent dessert: one that may or may not have twenty-six candles attached to it.
This is a pretty lame list, but there's really nothing exciting about turning 26. 25 is sort of a big deal, 30 is a big deal, but all the ones in the middle are kind of "whatever." At any rate, stay tuned in two weeks for a follow-up report on which items I did and did not check off my list (though feel free to make predictions in the comments!).

*This is on the Suchey-Brooks (Brooks and Suchey, 1990) six-phase system for age-at-death estimation from the Pubic Symphysis. I'm probably still only Phase II (I haven't had any abdominal/pelvic CT scans to verify this), but those 95% confidence intervals don't lie.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I'm Watching

Ah, autumn! The changing leaves, the crispness in the air, and who can forget the new TV season? I thought I'd take a page from Laura Taylor's blog and write about what shows I'm following this season.

  • "The Sing-Off" (NBC) - BYU's Vocal Point is competing this year, and I'm a fan in general of zero instruments and coordinating outfits.
  • "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS) - If Barney marries Nora I'll cry. I'm finally glad that they're developing Robin's side of the BRo-mance. They seem to be going back to the formula of Ted actually wanting to meet the mother, but what's with resurrecting Victoria?
  • "Castle" (ABC) - Season Premiere was soooo good! And Kate's therapist is Lieutenant Worf; how great is that?
  • "Warehouse 13" (SyFy, and I actually mean Hulu, because I don't get real channels) - This show was kind of lame when it started, but now it's in the 3rd season and it's really awesome. It's a little quirky, but it has the guy who played Sully on "Bones" (only with much better hair) and the guy who played Donnie on "Frasier" (only much older) and the twin brother of the guy who plays Bobby "Iceman" Drake in the "X-Men" movies (his character is gay, because I think that every TV show has to have a token gay character these days, but he's just a regular cool guy who just happens to be gay and I actually really like his character, which is unusual because I usually hate when shows add new characters). Watch this show.


  • "NCIS" (CBS) - I've completely forgotten what happened on Season 8 of NCIS, but I'll still watch season 9 for Tiva and McAbby.
  • "Glee" (Fox) - Ryan Murphy has promised that Season 3 will be better than Season 2 by "focusing on characters not named Kurt." Here's hoping. Also, I think Noah Puckerman is the Andrea Zuckerman* of McKinley High.
  • "The New Girl" (Fox) - It seems cute, and I'll give it a try.
  • "Ringer" (The CW) - I watched this last week because it has Sarah Michelle Gellar in it and I loved "Buffy." It's my mom's new favorite show (I didn't have the heart to tell her it was awful), so I'll probably watch it sometimes. It conflicts with "The New Girl" so I'll probably watch whichever one is better that week.


  • "The Middle" (ABC) - This is a tough one. It's not on Hulu and it conflicts with Institute. I do quite like it though...maybe I'll have to befriend some people with TiVo or whatever it is now.
  • "Modern Family" (ABC) - It's just good. Must watch.
  • I feel like they've been advertising some other shows that looked interesting that are starting later in the season or something.


  • "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS) - Penny and Raj slept together. I'm really just going to watch to see how they're going to try to come back from that.
  • "Community" (CBS) - How this didn't get any Emmy nominations is beyond me. And they're doing a musical number!
  • "Bones" (Fox) - I will watch the first episode. If it is not the most amazing redeeming piece of art that I've ever seen, I will not watch any more of it. That baby crap that they pulled in the season finale was hard to be forgiven of.

Friday is when I'll watch the shows that I missed on real TV on Hulu or the appropriate network website. There's never anything good on Friday nights. I guess I'll just have to start going on dates or something.

*Andrea Zuckerman was a high school student on "Beverly Hills, 90210" back in the day. She was played by Gabrielle Carteris, who was 30 at the time and looked it.

Patterns and the Art of Roughing It: Part II

It's pretty incredible that I've been keeping up this blog for over a year now. It's late September and you know what that means: time for a review of the church camp-out.

I blogged about the first Tri-Ward Camp-out I attended in Boston last year and the theme was Patterns. I'm beginning to feel, and of course I cannot confirm after only two experiences, that my camping adventures are starting to follow some patterns of their own. One such pattern is that camping involves a certain level of grouchiness. I'll grant that this isn't a pattern that I'm trying to create, but there was rage abounding. One roommate and I took it upon ourselves to hate all of the men at some point or another, some of whom actually deserved it. I think I may have gained some type of reputation as the Angry Beast-monster of the Boston LDS Singles' scene (which, in my opinion, is better than most other reputations I could have gained).

Another pattern I'm beginning is that of participating in the camp-out talent show. This year, Colleen directed what she called the Irish/Rock version of Romeo and Juliet, but since nobody died, I feel it was actually more like "Cry Baby" (a Greaser-meets-nice-girl tale filmed in 1990, and in my opinion, some of Johnny Depp's best work). I shared top billing with some good pals (including roommate Doree), got to sing "Danny Boy" in a different context, and (after the fact) realized the wonders of the effects (and mysteries and scandals) created by choreography and lighting. At any rate, the show got rave reviews, and I learned that receiving compliments isn't my forte (though my friends enjoy watching me squirm when cornered by adoring eight-year-old fans).

I'll sum up the rest of the camp-out Dallin H. Oaks style (i.e. with bullet points):
  • Lindsay, Doree, and I rode down together with two men who enjoyed/tolerated our blasting of the "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack more than we thought they would. We took the "scenic route" (aka. the "Lindsay's GPS route") and were convinced that we were going to end up murdered by some New Hampshire maniac.
  • There was a dance party on Friday night. Eighty percent of the music didn't suck, which is pretty impressive. I even pulled out a few of my Kevin Bacon moves (yeah, I have Kevin Bacon moves).
  • I rode in a rowboat all by myself. I'd never done this before and I looked ridiculous doing it the majority of the time. By the end I actually learned how to control which direction I was going. Three different people told me I should have laid back and let some man row while I held a parasol or something (I added the parasol part), but I felt very independent rowing my own boat. (And I was also in the midst of hating all of the men at that point.)
  • I got bit by a spider. I don't know how this happened because the bite is where my socks are always. I just thought it was a mosquito bite, but Laura said that because the area around the bite is hard, it was probably from a spider. I'm quite paranoid now that it laid eggs and my foot is going to give birth to spider babies and they'll have to cut off my foot. That's probably not going to happen, but it still itches.
  • One of my male friends was wearing the most ruggedly metrosexual outfit ever. This is the best kind of juxtaposition; I may have swooned a little.
  • The food was top notch. My home teacher and I were pancake partners for Saturday Breakfast, and by the end, we were a finely-tuned machine. Saturday dinner consisted of Cafe Rio-style salad, and boy howdy, was it the best pulled pork I've ever eaten. And there was pie. Enough said. We were definitely overfed, but overfeeding is a proven method of lulling my grumpiness.
  • Sometimes people are exactly what they seem, but more on that later.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Restaurant Review: Grasshopper Cafe

An avid "Gilmore Girls" fan, one of my quests upon moving to New England was to find the real-life equivalent of a Luke's Diner. I have yet to find such a thing, but maybe a diner run by a hunky man in flannel who can cook and build me a chuppah is just too much to ask.

I was delighted, however, when Charlestown (or "The Town," as it's called by us Townies) opened the Grasshopper Cafe. A small-ish breakfast and lunch place, the Cafe balances the rustic charm of the small town with the classiness deemed appropriate for a place a stone's throw from Downtown Boston. It's definitely too well-decorated to be a Luke's diner (the walls are orange, but a nice orange), but there's nothing too bizarrely-posh listed in chalk on the menu boards.

I've been to the Grasshopper Cafe three times since it's opened (which is probably not enough, considering I could walk to its 229 Bunker Hill Street location in one breath if I tried), and I've been quite happy with it all times.

On my first visit with one of my roommates, I ordered a veggie omelet which was served with the best-tasting toast I've ever had (I don't know how toast can be that good, but it was delightful!).

My second trip was a lunch outing, where I had a Reuben sandwich (I have a rule that I always have to try the Reuben wherever I go). The meat on the Reuben was a little fatty for my taste, but the fries were very yummy. I also enjoyed that they offer a variety of different side options for the sandwiches; most other places don't boast that many.

My third trip was with two roommates for a late breakfast ("brunch" is something done by people in relationships... and we don't like those). I got the breakfast special which was Strawberry-Peach Crepes. They used fresh fruit and really great whipped cream. The crepes were topped with granola, which I thought was a little unusual, but I didn't hate (I might have asked for it on the side). The only thing I didn't love was that it seemed like the crepes were overlapping with someone else's savory breakfast order on the grill, so there was a little extra flavor that didn't quite belong. My roommates (who, to clarify, were ravenously hungry) quite enjoyed their omelettes, hash browns, and toast dipped in maple syrup.

Prices are pretty decent. Most things are in the 6-9 dollar range, so including tip it's hard to pay more than $15/person there. The service is what you'd expect for a small diner in the Town: friendly Townies with lots of local pride.

I very much recommend the Grasshopper Cafe if you'd like to be a Townie for a day and enjoy some yummy food.

Die Maus, or "Die, Mouse!"

How cute is this?

Faith is believing in something when you haven't seen it. Trust is believing in something when someone else has seen it*. I have faith and I trust that there is a mouse in our kitchen. Having dealt with rodents (and often being the cause of their demise) in my scientific career, I don't mind so much, but roommate Doree has taken every measure in the book to make sure this mouse never sees the light of another day. Doree hates the mouse.

We've set traps. The humane traps were baited with my generic peanut butter that is apparently below the refined palate of the average house mouse. The mouse has outsmarted the sticky traps. The traps move, the traps have little mouse footprints in them, but they have no mice attached. Doree read something somewhere that said that mice hate the scent of peppermint, and now our kitchen smells like the seven levels of the candy cane forest**, but we can still hear the little bugger skittering behind the pantry.

The current score is Mouse-3, Doree-0. The poor dear is too afraid to leave her room in the middle of the night for fear that she'll step on it on the way to the bathroom and contract and die of some horrible mouse disease. Of course, the mouse is just going to be sitting there, even aiming for itself to be right underfoot. The same somewhere that provided the peppermint information (i.e. the Internet) informed her that mice have poor eyesight and horrible reflexes.

Roommate Lindsay has a theory that this mouse is magic, even Santa Claus. We cannot kill this mouse, she says, or millions of Christian children will be heartbroken.

I frankly don't mind the mouse. I've always wanted a pet, and I feel like it contributes to the charm of our old house... as long as it doesn't start eating my food or chewing on any electrical wires or climbing into my laundry bin... on second thought, we need to get this thing out of there.

*And super trust is when you know something exists because roommate Doree starts screaming bloody murder at 11:00 at night because it's climbing on her crackers.

**Also, I don't recommend soaking cotton balls in 37% alcohol and throwing them behind the stove.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Musings at the Office

A few observations/vignettes from the reception desk:

  1. I think people are ashamed to take candy from the dish at the reception desk when I'm sitting there because whenever I come back from my break, it's significantly less full.

  2. In the candy dish we keep wintergreen Life Savers mints, mini chocolate bars, and assorted hard candies (including those ones that look like strawberries and have some sort of weird goo in the middle). I'm starting to memorize which staff members like which candies, as well as which ones will dump out the entire bowl/bag-under-the-desk to find the ones they like.

  3. We currently have Mars chocolates in the candy dish (Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Twix), but the new bag of chocolates are from Nestle (Crunch, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger). I'm afraid people are going to freak out when there's suddenly a whole new brand of chocolate, so I'm mixing the new stuff in gradually, kind of the way you do when you're switching dog foods.

I kind of like that a significant amount of time at my job is spent managing a dish full of candy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"See You In September" (or, My Rise to Power)

I am so excited that School is about to start because for the first time, I'm not going into it as a student. I'm going to be on the other side. The side with the power, baby.

As I mentioned in a past post, I'm going to start teaching (adjunctly) at the Boston University Academy this fall. We had our "New Faculty Orientation" exercises yesterday, and it was awesome, and not just because they had pizza. For some reason, as I'd been planning my lessons, I always thought of myself as a "messenger of education," just following the setup of the course as it had been in the past. It was only this morning that I realized that I actually am in charge of this class! I get to make the rules, and even better, the consequences for the rules!

Let's face it, I'm not the type of lady who's going to bang on desks with a meter stick or assign detentions Richard-Vernon-Style, but I've already made one pretty awesome decision: I'm going to dock participation points for students that text during lab tours (because seriously, it's just rude to be texting when you're supposed to be paying attention to this professor who has taken time out of their crazy schedule to show you their lab). I don't think it's too harsh, do you?

At any rate, this year teaching is going to be a great experience. I think I'm going to do all of the stereotypical high-school teacher things like chaperone the school dances and cheer on my kids in their fencing (yes, I said fencing... this is a pretty swanky school!) matches and school plays. (I do kind of wish I were married though, just so I could have a steady date for all of the aforementioned fencing matches and school plays, and so I could be anything other than "Miss Wink".) And I'm probably also going to do that thing where I'm a new teacher so I have to be pretty strict and intense the first year to gain the respect of my students and the other, more seasoned teachers. Hmm... maybe I'm going to need someone to rein me in so I don't get too power-hungry and start to look like this:

Though I definitely know how I'm going to come dressed to school on Halloween now.

Rock You Like a... Tropical Storm?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have survived the first stage of the East Coast Apocalypse. Well, not really. The Earth and its surrounding air have been doing crazy things for millions of years. It would be pretty self-centered to assume that one tiny earthquake and one pretty lackluster* "hurricane" meant the end of the world. That said, it has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks, and I have to say, that without my incredible roommates, I probably would have died (of boredom).

As the hurricane-turned-tropical-storm hit us late Saturday night into Sunday, the Stake Presidency (think Regional Managers for Mormons) cancelled church, leaving us all at risk for a terrible case of cabin fever. So the four of us ventured into the rain on Saturday night and bought provisions for the storm: bottled water, fixings for "Hurricane Tacos", and coloring books (an essential part of any emergency preparedness kit). On Sunday, three of us decided to take up Storm Chasing and walked around The Town to check out storm drains and falling-down trees. Obviously, we all got struck by lightning and now have hurricane-related superpowers**.

The rest of the day was spent watching Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (and realizing how creepy it seems when you're not a small child), dabbling in different forms of baked goods (Apple Fritters*** and two different varieties of focaccia), taking another walk, and of course, lots of coloring. Then Lindsay and I went to a game night with some people in the ward at which Cranky Alex made an appearance during Catchphrase. The game night deteriorated into Hippie Guitar Circle and then we got the heck out of Dodge.

So that's the story of Crazy Weather Week. I guess it's not the best story in the world, but it wasn't the best crazy weather in the world either.

*Okay, I'll admit that the hurricane wasn't lackluster for everyone. Some people did die, and lots of people were flooded and without power, but considering every news report and weather channel was treating the onslaught of Irene like it was going to be the next Katrina or something, it was kind of a letdown when Boston just had a lot of wind.

**Like the ability to show up non-dramatically, do nothing for a day, and inconvenience a lot of people for no good reason.

***Whenever I've read the Exodus story in the Bible, I've always wondered what manna was like. I think manna was apple fritters. It's delicious... until the next day and then it's soggy and gross.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"You're so vain; you probably think this [blog] is about you."

You know, some people have a lot of nerve. There. Now that I've said that to all of the Warren Beattys of the world, I give you, as promised, a post about marshmallows.

I don't know what it is about the marshmallow. Usually I try to be sensible, even with my junk food, picking things with nuts for protein, or chocolate for calcium (whatever helps me sleep at night, right?), but I can't resist marshmallows! They have no nutritional value; they're essentially all sugar; and yet...

Who can resist those open arms?  Or that sailor suit?
The Egyptians used the marshmallow plant for its medicinal properties, and even though there is nothing resembling a plant in the modern-day marshmallow, I still think they're pretty darn wonderful. Nothing makes a warm summer night better than does the sweet gooey goodness of a toasted marshmallow as you sit outside by the soft glow of a fire, and the romance lasts until the winter, as I snuggle up on the couch and watch my marshmallows melt in a steamy cup of cocoa. Of course, springtime comes and I'm betrayed by the Marshmallow Peep, an abomination if there ever was one.

Burn in Hades, you sugar-coated nightmare
I don't presume to think I'm unique in my affection for the confection, and there are a lot of places in my culinary world where one might put marshmallows that I've left marshmallow-free (Sweet Potato Casserole, the "Fluffernutter," to name a few) up until this point, so maybe I should take some more chances. Show those marshmallows I mean business. Like "Pumpkin Spiced Whoopie Pies with Ginger Cream"? I could totally step out of my marshmallow-comfort zone for that one.

One thing's certain: these summer days are drifting away, and I have yet to enjoy any S'mores. I've got to get on that.