Thursday, May 31, 2007

24th of Maria

Saturday is my friend Maria's 24th Birthday. I'm going to be out of town this weekend, so the Maria Birthday Post must go up early. Last year I remember giving Maria 23 presents for her 23rd birthday. I think 24 presents is just too many, so instead, I'm going to list 24 of my favorite Maria memories:

1 When we were in D.C. you ripped your jeans, so we all went to Express and you bought new ones. Because you needed to wear them out of the store, you walked behind the counter so the clerk could scan the price tag, still attached. I think she thought we were all crazy. Especially me, because I took a picture.

2 One Sunday our friends were buzzing because there was a Laura look-a-like at church and you told me you didn’t get it because “she wasn’t even that fat.”

3 The time we snagged an Albertsons grocery cart someone left along 500 West so we could have something to carry all our groceries up the elevator and down the long Northgate halls to our apartments.

4 A couple years ago you came to the Fellowship Opening. I was really tired because I worked ten hours straight and the artists were stressing me out. You gave me a hug. I needed that.

5 That one time we were playing Apples to Apples at Jon’s house. You know which time.

6 When we went to Denver to see the Foo Fighters with your sisters, you guys drove me to Littleton so I could see my newest niece Piper. That was really nice of you, especially because it took us forever to find it.

7 Our walk/runs. I’d walk while you’d run laps around me.

8 The day I moved into 530 with you and Kaila. You moved all your stuff over to half of the bathroom. It made me feel comfortable, like you were excited to have me there.


10 A couple summers ago you and I went down to St. George to Mic’s condo and you asked what the “Fro Stop” was. As if you were high or something. Granted, it reads FROSTOP (You had to be there).

11 Same trip, we started up Angel’s Landing and I thought I was going to pass out from the heat and my little legs were tired so you slowed your pace with me till we both decided we didn’t want to go to the top that bad. So we stayed behind and chatted. I remember what we talked about too.

12 I’m not sure if it was the first day I met you, but it was one of the first times, I admired all your bags hanging on the coat rack by your table. Right then and there you gave me one of them. I still use it.

13 One summer, the ward was playing “Capture the Flag” at Liberty Park and you reached your hand right down Sheila’s pants and grabbed it. This was before I knew you, but I’ve heard the story told so many times I feel like I was there.

14 One night on the cruise, Marni and I went back to our room after dinner while you and Kaila went upstairs to the “club”. It wasn’t long before you came down again, opened the door and said, “They’re playing La Isla Bonita, you have to come up and dance with us.”

15 One Sunday, Jonathan Easterling bore his testimony and told the congregation what an awesome girl you were because of something you did for him that week. I remember being so touched that he would share that with the ward. It warmed my heart.

16 One morning when I still lived up in 619 you called me saying you and Kaila were out of milk and wondered if you could borrow some. Instead of coming to pick up the milk, you both just came upstairs with your bowls and boxes of cereal and ate there.

17 The “Win a date with Jon” contest on the Abel Hour.

18 One night Marni went downstairs to watch a movie with you and Kaila and I was upstairs watching TV at my place. You came up and said Marni told you what I was watching and you said, “A biography on Judy Garland? Are you kidding me?” And you stayed and watched the rest of it.

19 And that just reminded me of one Friday night last year. We didn’t mean to stay in all night, but we ended up watching the three-hour PBS special on Cary Grant. And all his little wives.

20 Any time you recount any story about Ted.

21 That night at Carrabbas when we spent the entire time guessing the names of all Jon's s siblings – thus birthed the guessing game. My favorite subsequent games being with Bryce (who wondered "how do I win?" -- little did he know he doesn't get to win) and then Lex, who had us guessing the name of his brother Lane for almost 10 minutes with our hint being that it had two syllables. The best part was how Lex really thought “Lane” had two syllables. You clapped it out for him like you do when you're first teaching 5 year-olds about rhythm. “Lane! One syllable.”

22 One Sunday when the ward choir (and entire congregation) was performing "Come Thou Fount" for Bishop Pohlman, I realized I forgot ALL the sheet music and had this tremendous fear that no one would know the words and no one would sing and I was stressing out. You took my car home and picked up all the sheet music so we could have it in time for the musical number. This was actually a dream I had, but still, you saved the day in my dream.

23 One night you me and Kaila talked until 3:30 in the morning about movies from our childhood that we wanted to see again and movies that make us cry (mine was the Land Before Time). We couldn't think of the name of this one Disney Movie and had to look it up later (No Deposit, No Return).

24 Two years ago, I went to Austin for the Americans for the Arts Conference. I was walking around the Capitol grounds and wanted someone to talk to, so I called you and you let me talk to you about nonsense for ten minutes.

So here I am headed off to my second Americans for the Arts Conference. This time in Vegas. I think I'll skip the Coca Cola Factory this time. I wish I could be there for your birthday Maria. I feel like I'm missing a lot of good stuff this weekend. Your birthday party, Lagoon, the Tap Recital...someone take a lot of pictures at the tap recital, please!

Happy 24th!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Good ol' Radio

I've been spending more time in my car lately. Not necessarily driving -- sometimes I'm just sitting. If there's a good song or program on, I'll just sit and wait until it's over.

Friday night I pulled into my driveway at 12:30 AM. I was really tired, but I was enjoying the Marie Antoinette soundtrack I burned that day, and I kept wanting to hear what came next. So I stayed in my car a good ten minutes until I decided I should go in.

Movie soundtracks are one of my favorite things to listen to. Not the "various artists" kind, although a lot of those are really good (Reality Bites, Garden State), but I'm talking about film scores. My all time favorites are Gosford Park, The Village, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I even have soundtracks to movies I've never seen before, like King Kong and Henry V, but James Newton Howard and Patrick Doyle are two of my favorite film composers so I'll listen to anything they write.

Lately though, I've been listening to The Age of Innocence and Iris. I've never seen Iris, but Joshua Bell does the solo violin for that soundtrack, and after the article I read about Joshua Bell a couple months ago, I wanted to hear some Joshua Bell so I raided my mom's CDs.

There's a great radio program on KBYU FM called "The Perfect Score". It's produced out of BYU Idaho actually, and every Saturday at 4 PM they play an hour of various film scores, based on a theme. Yesterday the theme was war movies, I think. One time they did soundtracks from movies about the sea or something weird. They did music from The Perfect Storm, Pirates of the Carribbean and The Little Mermaid. I just remember thinking how precious it was that they included The Little Mermaid.

I listen to KBYU FM a lot. I pretty much listen to it all day at work, and I'm becoming more familiar with their regular programs like "Thinking Aloud" and I'm beginning to listen to their "piano puzzler of the day". It's a nationally syndicated program where they disguise a familiar tune in the style of a famous composer. For example, a couple weeks ago, the tune was "I'm getting married in the morning" from My Fair Lady in the style of Erik Satie. It's kind of cool. I'm beginning to look forward to these programs as I'm working at my desk. I remember when I listened to the Abel Hour every day at 11 AM at my desk too (Abel and Jon, I kinda miss you guys).

I really like radio. I try to listen to it in the car. Unlike CDs or even my iPod, I get to be surprised at what comes next. I think these days we almost risk robbing ourselves from new experiences because with iPods and TiVos our lives are so programmable to our tastes. Don't tell me I can put my iPod on shuffle and be surprised, that's not what I'm talking about. And I'm not saying iPods and TiVos are bad. I'm just saying sometimes I'll hear something on the radio that I never would have chosen to listen to at that particular time, but because I didn't choose it, it reaches me in a way I didn't expect. And sometimes it really touches me, leaving a lasting impression. But do I end up listening to a lot of crap inbetween the good stuff? Yes, I do. So that's when I turn the CD player on, but by the time I think "Let's see what's on the radio now" I usually hit the end of a song I wish I heard the beginning to. It's a gamble.

Another radio program I try to listen to is "Showtunes Saturday Night." I never listen to Kosy 106.5, but I have it programmed in my car just for that particular show. I love Broadway Musicals, and it's kind of fun to play "name that musical" and see what comes up next. When Saturday rolls around I secretly hope I'll be in my car between 8 PM and midnight so I can tune in and see what they'll play. Last Saturday after a BBQ I had to hit the grocery store, so I tuned in. I pulled in to Smith's Marketplace in the middle of "Stars" from Les Miserables and so I just turned off my engine, turned off my lights and sat in the parking lot until it was over. It made me teary. I don't know why. I also teared up on the way home when they played "I'm Not that Girl." Great song. Great musical. In fact, that song just came up on my iTunes as I write this. It doesn't always make me cry, but for some reason, it did that night.

And then last night I went to an awful BBQ where I just didn't belong. I wasn't happy to be there and I was nearing miserable, so I finished up my conversation, hopped in my car, and I turned on Showtunes Saturday. I felt at home again. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it's nice having something to turn to that will center you. Music can really center me. It's funny because when I'm listening to something I really enjoy, I tend to drive more slowly. Instead of speeding through yellow lights, I slow down. I'll even take the long way home, or I'll go to Smith's Marketplace instead of Albertsons because it's further away. It's worth it to me to have those few extra minutes in my car to listen to my music.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sushi 101

Last night I was able to satisfy that little part of me that longs for the days before I had a full-time 9-5. I had a glimpse of what it used to be like to work a part time or summer job doing something completely opposite of office work.

I worked as a culinary assistant for Sur la Table and it was so much fun. It was kind of funny too because Melissa, who came to my cooking class last month, was there with her fiancé Brandon. (Brandon Anderson for those of you who know him).

She saw me there and said, “So you took them up on your offer, I guess!” Yes, I did. Last time I was there (see previous post), I was a student in a class and the chef Pamela talked to me about being an assistant and so I interviewed a few weeks ago and they hired me.

If you don’t mind doing dishes, being an assistant is just as great (if not better) than being a student. You learn a lot, you get to eat whatever is left over (which is a LOT) and you get paid for your time. And you get an employee discount.

Pamela is so nice and there were two other assistants there: Brian and Van. They were awesome to work with. Brian could very well be the nicest guy I’ve ever met, and he’s the perfect assistant because he’s a freaking mind reader. He just peruses the kitchen picking up utensils when you need them, moving trash cans closer to you, handing you a wet towel, etc. He would also take over whatever I was doing just in case I wanted to watch the chef so I could learn. What a great guy. Sometimes I forget there are people like that around.

Last night we learned how to make a few different sushi rolls. The picture at the top of this post is Brandon slicing his rainbow roll. I think that one was my favorite. Or there was one I liked that had “crunchies” in it (that’s what the sushi chef called them, it was basically fried tempura). His name was Wil. Well, his real name is something no one could pronounce so we all called him Wil. He was great and really cute when he didn’t know the English word for “squeeze”. The best thing about Wil was how people kept asking him questions about Japan and he would just shake his head and say, “I don’t know.” Yeah, he’s Korean.

I scheduled three days in June to work there again. I like having these little jobs on the side. It’s fun and challenging to venture outside my office job. And a little humbling. A couple years ago I did extra work for Everwood. I think I did that about three or four times. It paid better than this job, but they pushed you around (literally) and treated you like a child – a little alarming to someone used to being treated with respect. Still, I enjoyed the experience.

I did dishes for about 90 minutes straight last night. Coming home exhausted from being on my feet for several hours, my clothes smelling like cooking oil and my fingers shrunken from soapy water took me back to my Food for Thought days in Draper ten years ago. Let’s be honest, my job with the Arts Council doesn’t have me working THAT hard. I mean, it’s a thinking job. I get paid for my ideas and follow-through. Some days I work like a dog, installing shows, moving artwork, running around to meet deadlines, but that only happens two or three times a month. I have a lot of respect for people who are on their feet all day, every day.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Let me preface this post by saying that I love my dad and he does a lot for my family and me. I talk about my dad a lot because he’s one of my favorite people so what I’m about to write about is more humorous observation than anything.

So yesterday was Mothers Day, right? My mom thought it would be nice if we all went on a picnic to Liberty Park. Cute Mom brought all this stuff for sandwiches; she brought fruit, vegetables, cookies, rice krispie treats and then she brought a cute little cooler for both my sister and me to take home as our gift. I remember one Mothers Day after Lisa and I gave her a gift she said in her sweet voice, “I just want to say that I think it should be called Daughter’s Day.” She may have been medicated at the time, but regardless, it was a sweet thing to say. That’s just the way she is. Always thinking of others even on a day designated for her.

We had a lot of food and she said I should call some friends to come over. So I sent a text out to some friends I thought might be around. I had two takers: Mike and Dan.

My mom loves it when I invite friends to anything so she was thrilled to have them. Mike came first, and I think my parents and Lisa, Josh and Jack were off playing in the water somewhere. But when Dan showed up, about 20 minutes later everyone had returned. I think my mom asked Dan if he was hungry and he said he was and so I walked over to the other side of the blanket and grabbed all the food, I brought it over to Dan and told him what we had available for sandwiches. My mom said something like,

“Laura, did you make Dan a sandwich?”
“Um, I brought him everything he needs.”
“Laura!” she says in a tone that implies I was being very rude.
“What? Dan knows how to make a sandwich.”

Mike made his own sandwich just fine. I always thought people preferred to make a sandwich the way they wanted it. Personally, I thought it was nice of me to bring all the food over to them. I couldn’t figure out why she was so surprised at my behavior until I thought back about a half hour ago at my dad’s behavior. Allow me to paint you a picture.

We have two blankets laid out and a chair. While Mom, Lisa, Josh, Jack and myself crawled around the ground gathering what we needed when we wanted it, my dad reigned over us in the only chair. My mom laid out all the food and during the course of about ten minutes my dad says,

“Hey Beck, can I have some grapes?”
“Mmm…Laur…a carrot and some dip.”
“Where are the chips?”
“Are those dill pickles?”
“Hey, what’s that over there?”
“Oooh, Laur. Grapes.”

My mom said, “Tom, you might actually have to join us down here at some point.”

That was before my friends showed up. But even then, my dad started asking my friends to hand him things.

“Oooh, Mike, see that? Let’s split that lemon bread.” Mike looked truly baffled for a minute and not quite sure what to do.

When Dad was ready for a sandwich my mom asked him what he wanted on his and she lovingly built him a sandwich as he listed off his choice of meats, cheeses and condiments.

So I guess my mom is used to serving people everything they need. She has always fixed my dad a plate for dinner. I wonder if it’s different seeing how neither my mom nor my dad lived on their own before getting married (with the exception of my dad and his mission). Maybe my dad was always used to having someone serve him and my mom was brought up to be the one who serves people. But I think she always did that for him and she still does it for us on occasion.

I’m not saying I don’t like serving people, I’m just saying my friends are grown up enough to make their own sandwich. But Mike and Dan, as my picnic guests, I hope you’re not offended by my not fixing you a sandwich. I am a good sandwich maker, but I saw what you came up with on your own and I thought you did just fine.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

3 and 7 years ago...

I'm on a little nostalgia kick since I have nothing new to say. I was looking through my old journals and so I decided I would do another flashback. It's interesting how on both of these May 8ths I wasn't in Utah.

Saturday, May 8, 2004 /8:20 AM
Ohope, New Zealand

I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt that I went home and we were moving into a different house. Wait -- it was our house, but it was different. Anyway, I had to move into a different room because Lisa was getting my room. My new room was much smaller, but it was understood that I was moving out anyway, so it would just be temporary. But all of my stuff didn't fit. For some reason I had to have the stove in my room and then a baby's crib. Whose baby I'm not quite sure.

And then, my hair was cut short. But I didn't get it cut myself, it was like I was unconscious the day earlier and Mom took me and had my hair cut without my knowing it. She told me she took me to Phil (my hair guy) and told him to cut my hair like hers, but he kept cutting it and cutting it. He, himself said it was the ugliest hair cut on me that he had ever done.

Monday, May 8, 2000 /10:08 PM
Tigard, Oregon

This morning Marni dropped Ilene and me off at the Tualatin Park and Ride so we could take the bus downtown. It kind of felt like Mom dropping you off for school.

We got off at 6th Avenue. It rained all morning. First we went to find the law firm for Ilene's interview and then we went to find Action Employment Services for my interview. It was only 10 AM and our interviews weren't until one o'clock but I asked if they would take me early and they did. I decided I really, really don't like employment agencies. They want me to be proficient with all this software and know these databases. I took the typing and Microsoft Word test. I can type 84 WPM, but I only got a 64% on the Word test, which I think is excellent for never having worked with it before. I always used WordPerfect but of course I never told them that. I learned more about Word just taking that test than I ever knew about WordPerfect. Just give me an hour to fool around with software and I could figure it out. I'm a bright girl.

Ilene's interview was at Davis Wright Tremaine and that went well we think. I think she'll get the assistant to the assistant job easy. Ilene's a bright girl too.

I picked up a newspaper as we waited for our bus home. There was an ad for a bakery downtown. Now that sounds kind of fun. I liked working at Food For Thought. I like cooking. But I have a college degree now. I feel like I should be doing something more professional. Sometimes I almost wish I didn't have a degree. That way I wouldn't feel stupid applying for a job at a bakery. I know I'm paranoid, but it seems like people would look down on me for having a college degree and a job that doesn't even require a high school diploma at the same time.

The bus system works really well here, so that's good. Marni picked us up and then we went to Washington Mutual to open up new accounts, then we went home. Marni made us cookies. She'll make a good mom someday.

I can't believe I got along without a car as long as I did.

I should start keeping a journal again. I used to write everyday. Something happened a couple years ago and I stopped writing so much. Maybe with friends living far away I started emailing more and so writing seemed redundant. Maybe it was this blog. Or maybe things are just boring. That can't be it. I wrote about nothing every day. Clearly.

Friday, May 04, 2007

One Year Ago

I apologize if you've tried to watch this previously and couldn't. I changed the settings to public so you don't need special permission to view the video.

I can't believe this was a year ago. Doesn't seem like it's been that long. But this is one from the "Thursday Night Dinner" archive. I'm sure it's only entertaining to those who know us in the video. I had to put it up because I think Clint is hilarious in this clip.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Real Good for Free

This is a picture of L'Enfant Plaza Station in Washington, D.C. It was taken by a guy named Drew McDermott. I don't know who he is, I needed a relevant illustration for this post and so I Google imaged it. He should get credit for it though.

It's the first of May and I almost forgot about my tradition of a poem on the first of each month. (I'm sure you've been holding your breath, right?)

Anyway, these are actually lyrics to a song by Joni Mitchell. I'm not a big Joni Mitchell fan, I don't know her songs, but I'll tell you the story after you read it.

I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels.
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
and the children let out from the schools.
I was standing on a noisy corner
waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood, and he played real good
on his clarinet for free.
Now me, I play for fortunes
and the velvet curtain calls.
I got a black limousine and a few gentlemen
escorting me to these halls.
And I'll play if you have the money
or if you're a friend to me.
But the one-man-band by the quick lunch stand,
he was playing real good for free.
Nobody stopped to hear him,
though he played so sweet and high.
They knew he had never been on their TV
so they passed his good music by.
I meant to go over and ask for a song,
maybe put on a harmony.
I heard his refrain as that signal changed,
he was still playing real good for free.

-- Joni Mitchell

About three weeks ago, a co-worker sent me the link to an article called "Pearls for Breakfast" and the story pretty much consumed my life for two or three days. If you can take the time, the article is well worth it (right, Ilene?) Not that it draws any conclusions, but it poses a lot of interesting questions. It's an interesting study on human behavior and makes you think about your own. So after I read this article, I had to read all the comments on the article (maybe that's why it consumed two or three days of my life). One of the comments included the Joni Mitchell lyrics which touches on one aspect of the article.

Again, I recommend this article if you have the time. It's very well written and researched. If you do take the time, let me know your thoughts. And make sure you watch the video clips.