Recently, a series of disasters led me to drive my loaner car to my sister’s house, to pick up a loaner computer (although, I suppose I’m very lucky to be a part of a family that has random cars and computers lying around. The good news is, at least one of the disasters has since been resolved) After spending the afternoon and night at Sis’s house, I asked her to come to my house to continue to hang out, and she agreed–even though it meant fighting a five year old and two year old all the way down. She must like me or something.
We wanted to get a Redbox movie, but G was having none of it, and several tantrums later, we both gave up on trying to have fun out in the wilds of Utah County (whoo.) and ended up back at my house. A cooling off period, and some full bellies later, I was examining my (meager) DVD collection for a film that would both keep a five year old boy’s attention, and was fairly kid-friendly. What I came up with was “The Princess Bride”. G had never seen it before, and I have to say, it was really interesting to watch what was my favorite movie when I was his age through his eyes.
The first thing I noticed was how well the movie had held up–I mean, I know that I’ve loved it for the past 25 years and it’s considered a classic, but–how do I put this?
It’s like your old, favorite sweater. The color looks great on you, it fits well and it accentuates your bust. Then one day, while wearing your favorite sweater, you happen to be watching an early season episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and slightly chuckling at the fashions of your high school years. Then, you glance down and realize the sweater you’re wearing would not look out of place at Sunnydale High.
What, I’m the only one that’s happened to?
Anyway the point is, “The Princess Bride” is near enough to my heart that I wasn’t sure I had been watching it objectively as a teen and adult. But G loved it–I’ve never seen him that still when he wasn’t sleeping, sulking of seat belted down–even if he was up and down a bit. So, enough of my long, rambling, introduction: Here is “The Princess Bride”, via a five year old’s first viewing.
It didn’t really hold G’s attention until Buttercup was kidnapped and jumped off the boat, which, okay, there’s not a lot of action up to that point. He definitely lost interest when Peter Falk and Fred Savage were on screen, though he did understand that the action was part of the story the Grandpa was reading, at least a bit into the movie he asked “Is this still the story?”
My favorite part was when the Man in Black appeared for the first time. G declared definitively “He’s a bad guy.” I don’t ever remember wondering if the Man in Black was good or bad–but then, I guess I don’t remember the first time I saw “The Princess Bride”. G loved the sword fight, and said he was rooting for Inigo (I think that Inigo was his favorite character, or maybe Inigo is just my favorite character.)
I don’t think he understood the exchange between The Man in Black and Fezzick (by the way, you can tell that Andre the Giant had a blast making the movie) and Vizzini, though he did laugh at Vizzini’s death scene–which I still maintain to be the greatest death scene ever put on film. He was fascinated by the Fire Swamp, and wasn’t scared at all by the ROUSes–which scared the crap (not literally) out of me when I was a kid. I’m not sure if that was simply because he’s a boy, and more action/protection oriented than I was, or if he could tell that they were actors in rat suits where you could practically see the zipper. He was worried that Westley was all bloodied up after the battle with the ROUS, but didn’t die–“Why is his shoulder bloody? If he’s bleeding, why didn’t he die?” Ah, kids.
I know that he didn’t understand why Sis and I were laughing during the Miracle Max and Impressive Clergyman scenes, but he loved the storming of the castle, and was once again rooting for Inigo during his duel with Count Rugen.
When the movie was over, I asked him what the best part was, and he said “The sword fights”. Sis then asked if that was a movie they should watch at their house, and he agreed that it was.
So, I think it’s safe to say that S. Morgenstern’s (and I guess this Reiner guy had something to do with it, too) masterpiece has a new fan. And the fact that “The Princess Bride” is continually gaining fans in the new generation makes me happy beyond belief.
Of course, not that any kid I see on a regular basis would have had any choice but to watch “The Princess Bride” on a regular basis. So it’s a good thing he liked it.
I’m in the midst of a two-week break between semesters. Besides waiting less-than patiently for my summer semester grades to be posted (I’m really only worried about my Math class, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t get lower than a “B” in any of the other classes), I’ve been trying to find things to do to keep from being bored–how in the world did I manage two and a half months as a kid?
Anyway, given my sudden influx of all sorts of time, I’ve had a craving to get my watercolors out. The problem is, I’ve let my sketching taper off, and I didn’t have a clear inspiration for a painting.
To that end, I went to Temple Square in Salt Lake City yesterday. And, because I can’t visit Salt Lake without bugging Sis, I dragged her, G and E along with me.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Temple Square–and I have to say, going on a Tuesday afternoon in the summer is a much more pleasant than going at Christmas Time. I’m a cold weather kind of gal, but I’ll take 90’s and no crowds to 20’s and loaded with tourists.
The original idea was to do some sketching there, but I threw my camera in my purse as an afterthought. Which, had I been thinking, I would have just taken the camera–there was no way that I could have expected a 5-year-old and a 18 month old to wait patiently while I sketched. It was hard enough getting them to wait patiently while I took pictures.
I was more interested in the gardens than the architecture, but still:
Now, onto the gardens:
Hostas, or any plant with gorgeous greenery, really, make me think of an allegory once told me. I was taking a religion class, and my instructor was talking about having bought her first house, and putting in a garden. Her mother had suggested only plants that produced flowers or fruits, and getting rid of everything else. The point was we should fill our lives with productive things. In my literal-minded view of the world, I stopped listening to the lesson, and instead thought about all the beautiful, useful plants my instructor would miss out on if she took this advice. Like hostas. I came to the conclusion that it was a bad allegory.
And yes, hostas are technically a flowering plant, but you plant them for the beautiful leaves, not the rather lackluster flowers.
So, I’ve got plenty of inspiration, and for a handful of change for a parking meter, I had a fun outing with my sister and nephews. I think when you live close to monuments like Temple Square, it’s easy to take them for granted.
At least, I realized on the way home that I probably should have just gone to the public garden by my house for inspiration.
In other news, I’ve opened up an Etsy shop. You can find it here. Right now, I just have dog toys for sale, but hopefully, I’ll be able to expand into more artistic territories. I’ve even already made a sale–a feat made less impressive considering the buyer is my cousin and one of my product testers. (Thanks, Sarah!) Anyway, check it out.
Okay, I’m a little late, what with the spending the weekend at my parents house, with additional visitors, (I love you all, but still, ugh), trying to convince a little dog that the world isn’t going to end just because there’s thunder and/or fireworks (ugh. Also: July is a tough month for Lulu), trying to do five days worth of homework in a day and a half (see: spending the weekend with family and friends. Also, ugh) and my washing machine breaking. (expletives considerably stronger than ugh. At least things didn’t flood) So, I hope both of my American readers had a better holiday weekend than I did, and I hope that the one outside the US simply had a good weekend–you know, because it’s Wednesday now…
This is from an advertisement for a local grocery store. I’m choosing to believe that whoever put this ad together knew full well what random quotes do to a phrase, and truly meant those quotation marks around “safe” and “sane”.
After all, “safe” and “sane” fireworks are the best kind, right?
Please, tell me. I don’t remember–I’ve spent the last three Fourth of July’s trying with various degrees of success to peel a nervous little dog from off my face.
I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can start writing again–while the post-a-day is too much, I’m going to aim for a post a week. Maybe, once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll start writing more.
Yesterday, during Max and Lulu’s afternoon walk, I observed one of my neighbors in some questionable activity. It’s not what you think. (Although, I HAVE seen what you’re thinking, on various other walks. I’m not looking for it, people just don’t close their blinds.)
This woman left her apartment with a car seat and her about four-year-old son. She headed to her covered parking spot, while her son waited patiently in the row of cars closest to the building. Upon getting the car seat into the car, she sprinted the 30 feet or so separating her from her son, and picked him up. The kid quite literally starts kicking and screaming at this point, and from the way she held him at arms length, this was a normal thing.
So, holding the kid at arms length, she once again runs the 30 feet back to her car, and a few minutes later, leaves.
Grand total of vehicles entering the parking lot during this event? 0. And even if there were, she was parked after the storm drain/speed bump/giant pot hole (or possibly other storm drain; either way, it was filled with water, and I’m really careful when I drive over it) gauntlet that WILL damage any vehicle whose driver isn’t paying attention.
I watched this in a bit of disbelief. The way I see it, the mother’s method of getting a perfectly mobile child to her car put him in more danger than letting him walk himself the 30 feet to the car. The chances of her tripping seemed infinitely greater than him getting hit by a car. Heck, while I was watching this, Max and Lulu were running around off leash (which I know is a stupid thing to do, but they get more exercise that way) and the kid had a good 3 feet of height on them.
Yes, a kid is different from a dog, but her kid was well-trained enough to wait in the comparative safety of a row of cars for his mother to come and pick him up and risk his life. How much better off would he be if she taught him to look both ways, and carefully walk across while she’s putting the car seat in? Or, if that’s too “dangerous”, (hint: It’s not) than holding his hand and walking across the parking lot with him–you know, while teaching him to look both ways and proceed with caution.
I’m not a parent. I don’t know what it’s like to worry about my child’s safety–but I firmly believe that “protecting” kids from every bump or bruise or overly hyped “Stranger-danger” is, in the long run, harmful to a kid that one day will be expected to grow into a fully functioning adult.
So…I managed a couple of drama-free days, which, unfortunately, seem to translate into blog-free days. So, blog=drama, right?
Anyway, I spent a quiet morning at home, studying and composing a shopping list so I could, you know, actually eat tonight. When the time came when I could take a break from the studying, I headed down to my car, turned the key…and nothin’.
My car has been temperamental all winter, so I didn’t think much of it, it’s been taking two or thee tries to get it started.
After ten, it TRIED to turn over, but it still didn’t start. A few more tries, and a jump-start attempt later I did what any responsible grown woman would do.
I called my Daddy for help.
My wonderful father drove an hour and a half to look at my car. After doing some mechanical magic, Dad declared my battery to be fine, and my starter being what has issues. Which means, a trip to my home-town this weekend, providing I can get my car started, of course. Fortunately, every where else I’ll need to go this week can be reached easily by bus.
Dad was kind enough to drive me to the grocery store and back so dinner, at least, is right on track.
I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods. We call it tortilla casserole. I don’t know if my mom found this recipe somewhere, or if she made it up–I’ve never seen her use a written recipe to make it, and I was taught to make it without a recipe as well.
1 lb ground beef. (I used ground turkey. If you ask, it’s to save on fat and calories and in no way simply because ground turkey was 75¢ a pound cheaper than the ground beef)
1/2 of an onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom (or chicken, or celery, or whatever you have on hand) soup
1 4oz can of chopped green chilies. (er, here’s the thing about the chilies. I usually use Hatch brand green chilies, but the store didn’t have any. They did have the 4 oz cans, but in a brand I wasn’t sure of. Now, I’m not particularly picky when it comes to brand names, but I’ve had a few bad experiences with off-brand chilies. So, with great hesitation, I got a 7 oz can of the Wal-Mart brand of chilies. It worked fine, but I’d still prefer to have used the smaller can of the brand I’m familiar with.)
4-6 soft taco sized flour tortillas
Shredded cheese. Growing up, we usually used mild cheddar, because that’s what we had in the fridge. Here, I used colby jack. How much? Yeah, no clue. One of those things that, because I’ve never seen this recipe written down, I don’t know how much to tell you. I will tell you this: I love cheese. My dad doesn’t, so I’ll use more cheese when I’m making this for myself than I would if I were making this for my family.
Okay, on to directions:
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add meat (if you are using ground turkey, or some other low-fat meat, you’ll want to add a bit of oil to the pan first), onion and green chilies. Stir constantly, until meat is browned and onions are clear. Add the can of soup to the meat mixture and blend throughly. In a line the bottom of a 9×9 baking dis with a layer of tortillas. Now, tortillas are round, and the baking dish is square, and this can cause some issues.
I thought I got a picture of this next step, but apparently I didn’t. Grrr.
Anyway, tortillas are easy to crease and tear, like paper. So, take another tortilla, fold it into fourths, and tear it so that you’ve got nice little patches for the corner. The bottom is the only layer that you need to worry about covering completely.
Spoon some of the meat mixture on top of the tortillas, spreading evenly. You should use about a third of the mixture.
Next spread a generous amount of cheese over the meat mixture. Or not, depending on who your making this for.
Continue layering the meat mixture, cheese and tortillas like a lasagna, until you’ve used up all of the meat. I can usually get three layers. You’ll want to alternate what side you put the straight edges of the tortillas on, to give your casserole added support.
I like to end with a layer of cheese on top of the last tortillas.
Put the casserole in your pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and everything is heated through. Above is what it looks like before going into the oven, and below is what it looks like coming out of the oven:
And this is what it looks like after two little dogs got fed up with my not dropping food and decided that they needed to go for a walk, and I could come back in and actually sit down to eat:
This casserole will serve about six, depending upon what you’re using as side dishes.
Taste wise, the chilies give a nice little kick, but not too much of one. I’ve had people who only eat the extra-mild salsa rave about this dish.
Anyway, go, cook, enjoy! And be grateful when you put your key into the ignition of your car and it actually starts up.
Well, my first semester as a returning college student is officially over. I got a better grade than I was expecting in English, a worse (but still passing) grade than I was expecting in Art History, and as expected, I’ll be taking math over again come summer semester. I’m facing a bit of a hiccup with grades and financial aid, etc, that I need to get figured out sooner rather than later–which just might mean a trip to campus tomorrow. Ugh.
The holidays were all well and proper, filled with guilt, disappointment (my spell check wants me to put “dismantlement” there, which would fit the spirit of the season quite well, but everyone I was involved with anyway, kept all of there limbs. More or less), headaches and frustrations. Mom’s surgery went well, and she’s on track for round two in a few weeks. (For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, let’s just say, she’s the “more or less”.) The new year starts on Sunday, and the new semester starts on Wednesday.
I thought about waiting a few days before jumping back in to this blogging thing, but, why bother? I’m not big on new-years resolutions, but I do want to write more-blogging and stories as well as school papers and such–and waiting to start such things just leads to more waiting, so here we go again.
EDIT: So, I just found out that WordPress is doing this Post a Day in 2011, and this is me officially announcing that I’m going to sign up to do it. So…here goes nothing!
It’s currently 6:51 am. My alarm clock is going to go off in ten minutes, but I woke up an hour ago, and was unable to get back to sleep.
I started my intermediate algebra class this week, and am feeling overwhelmed. Math–well, I understand why people like math. I’m not one of them. I could be, but I tend to be careless with things like negative signs and distinguishing the difference between, say 34 and 43, then get frustrated when the problems I’m working on don’t turn out.
Because it’s a second block class, we have to move at double-time, which, at the moment is more than a little overwhelming. I got back from class at about seven last night, walked the dogs, had some dinner, then worked on my math homework for three hours. How did you spend your Friday evening?
I know that the feeling of drowning in a sea of integers is, like when I started school at the beginning of the semester, stemming from me being in a rut for so long, and not dealing with change well–as well as having to re-learn how to think in math again for the first time in more than ten years. I think I’m getting the hang of things, though.
Maybe. I’m behind on my homework, and it could be that when I get to the stuff that we talked about yesterday, I’ll be just as lost as I was on the first day.
It’s been a momentous week–one that feels like it’s lasted much longer than seven days, and I’m trying to think of the best way to segue without turning into a travel log (is such a thing possible if I only travel between my house and campus?)
Tuesday, upon checking the mail, I found a check from the federal reserve. Upon opening it, I discovered it was for…wait for it… $37.
Okay, so it was significantly less than what I was expecting, but obviously, I made a mistake on my taxes or else I would have gotten them back in May or June. Which also explains why my grant got hung up on the “how much did you pay in taxes last year” question…
At any rate , while I was disappointed in the amount, thirty-seven dollars is thirty-seven dollars, and, upon combining that money with the money I’d been saving for weeks, if not months, gave me enough to buy a nook–which I absolutely love. And I love that I only had to pull three dollars and change out of my bank account to purchase it. The books to go on the nook on the other hand–
No, that’s not really fair. While I have purchased books, most of the ones I’ve downloaded came either from the library or public domain, and thus were free. I’m limiting the amount of money I can spend on books each month, and am going to have to force myself to stick to my very small limit–I could easily go way overboard when I can buy books from anywhere with just a few clicks.
On a more serious note…
Back in May, one of my uncles was in a serious car accident. While undergoing surgery to repair the damage, it was discovered that he had terminal cancer.
He recovered from his injuries, and began treatment for the cancer. For a while, he seemed to be doing quite well, but last week, he went downhill, and quickly. Last Sunday, he enrolled in hospice care, and Thursday, he passed away.
Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.
And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter.And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.
I have an assignment in my English class that’s driving me nuts. When it was first handed out, I thought that it would be simple–that the paper would be fun to write and pretty much write itself.
Yeah, not so much.
The paper is a personal narrative. It’s supposed to encompass a single point in time, and have a point beyond “one time, I got bit by a shark.” type of deal. My professor warned against doing anything too emotional, because people tend to get upset when they’re graded on the quality of their writing rather than the emotion that the story encompasses.
So the story I want to tell is basically this: When I was seven, we were at a family reunion on Cedar Mountain. My extended family is huge, to the point where amongst the first cousins alone, there are about 13 girls all born within about 5 years of each other, with my sister and I smack-dab in the middle of it
I’m on the right with the pink shirt, big glasses and even bigger hair. Sis is on the left with the pink pants and white tee-shirt. Ahhh, that awkward age. Which has somehow followed me to the brink of my 30s.
Anyway, when I was seven, Something happened with this big group of girls, and I got irritated and offended, and decided I had had enough. I wanted to be alone, and needed to find a place to hide. I was smart/well-trained enough to know better than to go wandering off in the woods by myself. I could go to our camp trailer, but Mom would be in and out, and that would probably be the first place anybody would look for me. While I loved (and still do) my extended family, I didn’t feel comfortable hiding in someone else’s tent or vehicle. And so, the only logical place was the back of Dad’s pick-up truck.
The truck had a camper-shell on the back, so it wasn’t obvious to the casual observer that there was a little girl hiding in there. I had a book, and a few toys, and the truck had a mattress in the bed, along with lots of blankets, where my sister and I could sleep. I contented myself with reading and playing.
I don’t know how long I was there before I realized that people were starting to call me. I ignored them, because my feelings were hurt because of what my cousins had done, or hadn’t done, and I thought they wanted to tease me some more.
Eventually, I fell asleep. I woke up slightly when the truck started moving, but I was still smarting from whatever slight may or may not have happened, so I didn’t let the driver, my dad know I was there, and fell back asleep.
The next thing I knew, Dad was waking me up, and pulling me out of the back of the truck. Night had fallen–and it was mid-afternoon when I went to hide. All the aunts and uncles and cousins were standing around, and I was informed that everybody had thought I was lost (I was incensed by that. I didn’t get lost, I knew exactly where I was the whole time.) that’s why they were calling me. Dad had taken the truck out to look for me, and they were on their way to the ranger station to report a missing child when my cousin Seth (just older than the gaggle of girls) noticed my hair in the back of the truck.
Simple enough, right? Except I can’t stretch it to make it the length of the paper required, and I’m having a hard time tying in the “moral” of the story.
I know a lot of this has to do with the fact that I didn’t do as well as I expected on my last paper, I’m stupidly upset because I only got a B+, not to mention the fact that I had a panic attack before class last week, and ended up having to run out of the classroom in tears. And a big part of the problem is that I feel like I shouldn’t be having a problem writing this paper.
I’ve been so stressed out by this, that I’ve been losing sleep. This morning at 3am, after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, I decided to start cleaning my bathroom. After de-cluttering and washing the counter-top and sink, I went back to bed and fell asleep. Today, when the stress got to be too much, I cleaned the bathroom floor. At that point, I figured I might as well do everything else–so I scrubbed the toilet and tub as best I could (I need a pumice stone to really get things clean, but I don’t want to go shopping just for that) got the bath mats washed, and even washed the walls (gasp!).
I’m still stressing about my paper, but I feel really good about getting the bathroom cleaned–if not spotlessly, then at least to the point where I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have my grandmother see it. Instead of the mystery smells that tend to come with dogs, neighbors and two roommates who both like to cook, my house smells like Mr. Clean. It’s really rather soothing.
Now, if only I can get this stupid paper written…
For all my talk about doing better on the blogging thing, I still missed yesterday.
But then, I didn’t really have access to a computer and time at the same moment, so there’s that…
Anyway, the bread was a huge success–to the point where we’re going to make some more today–the batch wasn’t big enough to satisfy me, my sister’s family, and still have enough to share with my sister’s neighbor from Winnipeg.
The whole rye berries–well, cracked would have been better, but oh well.
G had a lot of fun “helping” make bread, even when I wouldn’t let him stand on the counter any more. Even though he’s a confirmed carnivore–no superfluous starch products for that kid! He was excited to taste it, and even more excited to make some more today.
So, here’s the recipe with my adjustments, and what I’m planning to do today:
Winnipeg Rye Bread: The Cori Version
1/3 c rye berries
1/3 c water
Soak the rye in the water until it is absorbed (I honestly don’t know how long this took. Somewhere between one and three hours. I’m upping this to 2/3 c for today’s batch)
3/4 c milk
1 c water
1 tsp salt
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3 Tbs butter
4 Tbs gluten
1 3/4 Tbs active dry yeast
Mix together until blended
1/3 c rye four (’cause I have a bunch that needs to be used)
4ish cups flour
Starting with the rye, slowly add the flour until the dough comes together. Knead. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down, let double again. Form into two loaves, place on a baking sheet, and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 350º f for 30 minutes.
I decided yesterday that I need to talk to G when I’m hesitant about going to church–except his ward starts before mine, so I can’t just call him…
However, upon finding out that I didn’t make it to church yesterday, he told me “You need to go to church. You have lots of friends at church. Like Aunt Cori, and pickles, and cinnamon toast, and Jesus, and fish, and dogs…”
Until I was 21, everything I did was because my sister did it first. She taught me how to talk–my first words were “Hi Sister!”, and she taught me how to read.
I got my first tricycle after Sis had hers for a year, and the same goes for my first bicycle. My whole life, I’d watch her do something, like learn multiplication tables, or learn to drive, or get her first job, and a year later, I’d do the same. It wasn’t until she got married at the age of 21, and, the next year, at the age of 21 I went on a mission that our paths diverged to any real degree.
I don’t know if that has anything to do with anything, but I’m blaming it on being so lost and depressed these past two days.
I mean, really, Sis, the least you could have done was taken a few classes at UVU so you could then show me the ropes, right?
Yesterday and today have been awful. I think I knew they would be, but was hoping that I’d get right back into the swing of things. As it stands, I’m self-conscious about my age, and am hating being around all the other students, and am so lost as to where I’m supposed to be.
And that’s just from my institute classes. My “actual” classes start tomorrow–and the one tomorrow is the one I’m really worried about–English 1010, Introduction to Writing.
So, here’s the thing, it’s not the writing thing that scares me–I love to write, (obviously) and, as long as I do the work I shouldn’t have any problem with it.
I should know, this is at least the third time I’ve taken this particular class.
What I’m worried about is this is a required class. And I know it’s going to be filled with the little 18-year-olds that I’m so anxious about being around as it is.
It doesn’t help that I have only a vague idea of where the building I need to go to is located, and the way you’d normally get there is blocked by construction.
So–is that true of all college campuses? Is there always construction? There was when I was at Utah State, and now it’s followed me to Utah Valley.
I hope things get easier as I get used to my schedule, and when the “week of welcome” is over–I hate all the noise and confusion and people trying to get you to sign up for stuff that may or may not be pertinent to your success as a student.
All I know it I’m depressed and frustrated.