Friday, December 26, 2008

Imposed Ambition

In the process of setting some sort of course for the next several years, this was unexpectedly comforting. (Writing anything scholarly, particularly something so patently bullshit-laced as a statement of intent, always precipitates a wide-lens reevaluation of life plans. Plus free time plus the new year's approach, you get the picture.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

(I keep playing with the formatting in the next post and it just keeps getting worse. Sorry in advance.)

St. Julia

So I've dedicated December to the patron saint of the kitchen, Ms. Julia Child. As such, I've learned:

a) how to whip up a creme patissiere without a recipe

b) how to best and most efficiently separate eggs (by hand of course, who was I kidding with the shell-to-shell deal?

c) all that hype about Kitchenaids? Totally justified. I hearby commit to only eat meringue-based foods every day for the rest of my life. The eggs just come out so beautifully.

d) more than I thought possible about eggs in general?


Tartes aux fruits. I (with a lot of very good help) make like 100 of these for a friend's wedding. Beautiful, delicious, big pain. (We made a larger one for Christmas eve dinner and it was also great. Creme patissierre without a recipe I tell you.)

French onion soup. Yes it took 2.5 hours of carmelizing onions. Yes it was worth every minute. Even more delicious than the first time I tried. (These, of course, are just remnants. There was much of rushing boiling soup covered in drippy cheese to the table for the first 5 minutes of dinner. No time for pictures.)

Chocolate souffle. The joy of cooking indeed. This time I planned for the photo and was even wearing my new cardigan (so flashy). The verdict: chocolate souffle is a genius. And would've been prettier if we were more of a sit-down formal dessert eating bunch. As it was the 2 minutes I had before everything started falling to pieces wasn't quite enough. (Fallen souffle is still delicious.)

Anyway. I felt a little like my nieces and nephew who had come prepared with a musical program. Niece #2 danced, I made delicious and high-maintenance French cuisine. But isn't that what Christmas with family is all about? Anywho. Joyeaux Noel to the lot of you. :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'd just like to point out

the secret message hidden in my archive.

Why I love my job: I lied because you would worry pea hen.


Also, movies viewed so far this break:

Nick and Norah's Endless Playlist: Meh.
High Noon: Yes (Gary Cooper? Grace Kelly? Could one go wrong?)
Maltese Falcon: Yes (how is Bogart so charming and condescending simultaneously? Hm.)
12 Angry Men: Yes (like unexpectedly and entirely riveting)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: too long, but otherwise Yes. Also, Clooney and Pitt = Newman and Redford? Anyone?

AND days are getting longer. Bonus.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Break (TMI)

Kick off:

The entirety of Breakfast at Tiffany's
Bubble bath
Box of chocolates



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I love my job:

Sometimes the class is working feverishly at the not-easy portion of my final and there's that frantic scratching buzz in the air that means hard working and hand cramps and it's snowing outside and I'm correcting vocabulary:

7. What would be the most efficient/quickest way to starta a fracas right now?
by telling Strom he's a liar, Logan he's ugly, and Grace a preppy know it all.

Maybe you had to be there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I lied.

So. I feel like I need to publish. My words make delicious pie? I'm eating it with ice cream right now.

The biggest issue is that I need to grow up and learn how to take care of myself. I know how, of course, but often make decisions that get in the way of the taking care of me. One Thursday morning when I was in the MTC I saw a very tiny looking elder eating a donut and rootbeer for breakfast and I laughed at him. How obviously just out of his parents house! Bahaha. (I was enjoying toast, cottage cheese, and mandarin oranges. As responsible as you can get on Sisco.) Moral of the story: Winterberry dear, you need to sleep.

BUT I have this theory and I think it's a breakthrough: what if there were such thing as a sleeping disorder? Not like sleep apnea or the crazy dancing legs one, (restless leg? something?), but in the same sense as eating disorders: denying oneself sleep in order to impose external order on internal turmoil? And I wouldn't be so hasty to jump to conclusions but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does it. In fact, I know a handful of you who are reading this post right now who know more about it than I do.
What do you think?

Anyway. Me hopped up on adrenaline, caffiene, and the Christmas treats that parents keep bringing, signing out. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Because You Would Worry

Upon noticing that I've spread myself too thin yet again, I've decided to give up Winterberry till life slows down a touch. Say mid-January. Hope to see you all then! ke

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pea Hen

I decided that since I don't have a door on my closet I should color-code my clothes, you know, make that side of the room that much more pleasant to look at? A design decision rather than construction oversight? What my closet looks like is this:

1.5 feet of neutrals (white-off white-brown-grey)
1 foot of color
2 feet of black

I shouldn't have been surprised. (I did choose grey as my dream color. I spent last summer convinced that I could live jeans and a black t-shirt only.) Tonight, though, I went to see a friend play at Velour. I'd just come back from the gym and slipped on some jeans and a cardigan. And I felt very underdressed.

The thing is, a couple of years ago, it wouldn't have given anyone pause, my jeans and beige cardigan. Remember when the Gap was in ascendancy and khakis were today's leggings? I was the hottest girl you knew.

Trend is not the issue even, though. I'm also at that weird straddling period that I love to talk so much about. I dress adorably for a teacher, just the right balance of professionalism and style, but my non-professional garb is pretty milk toast.

So I've brainstormed. Here are options.

a) Get an edgier hair style. (Yes I was considering buzzing my hair. No I will not. Probably. Not if I get to sleep here in the next little while at least.)

b) Buy some make up. Right now I own black eyeliner and red lipstick. Very dramatic, but I can only pull it off so often. (It still gives me pause, the make-up thing. Who are you fooling?)

c) Learn how to accessorize.

d) Buy that sweater in yellow. (Speaking of which, if anyone comes across a lemon yellow cardigan/sweater, will you let me know?)

e) Admit my pea hen status and marry this guy:

(Do you think Amy would mind?)

Christmas Help

So I've kind of fallen in love with "In the Bleak Midwinter." One of our choir classes is singing it and it's very lovely, right? The problem: I can only find terrible schmaltzy recordings of it (Sarah Brightman and Frida from Abba and awful soft-focused choir boys.) Does anyone know of anything better? Sufjan hasn't tried it has he? :) The opposite of schmaltz.


I just gave my car keys to a man named Fabian.

What I think happens now is that he loads Mandy on a truck and takes her to Sandy to get the damage gauged. And hopefully fixed.

Because Monday I was on my way to Walmart to pick up a coke and hit a very cute Civic with a very friendly woman inside and I broke Mandy's face. Half the bumper is gone (I kept this piece mostly because the curled and torn license plate seems to be a dramatic reminder), the passenger side front panel is curled, the passenger door won't open, the hood is bent off its hinges (just a little), the headlight was hanging out by its nerves and the washer fluid resevoir was showing. Pitiful.

It could've been much worse. Ashley and her husband (who came down as soon as it happened) were super friendly, no one was hurt, I have insurance and some savings. Yeah I could use the money and yeah I wish the road wasn't suddenly so treacherous, but it was an accident. I sat in the car waiting (2 hours) for the policeman to show up replaying the situation. I was dumb. It was an accident.

Anyway. Chalk it up to experience I guess. It kind of seems like one of those things on the checklist of adulthood, right? Along with finding your own dentist (check) and buying a house. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Monday!

My new favorite villanelle.

The Grammar Lesson
Steve Kowit

A noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does.
An adjective is what describes the noun.
In "The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

of and with are prepositions. The's
an article, a can's a noun, a noun's a thing.
A verb's the thing it does.

A can can roll - or not. What isn't was
or might be, might meaning not yet known.
"Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

is present tense. While words like our and us
are pronouns - i.e. it is moldy, they are icky brown.
A noun's a thing; a verb's the thing it does.

Is is a helping verb. It helps because
filled isn't a full verb. Can's what our owns
in "Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz."

See? There's almost nothing to it. Just
memorize these rules...or write them down!
A noun's a thing, a verb's the thing it does.
The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What I Read This Morning:

"Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth: consequently the shackles so superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft...
"Mormonism is truth, in other words, the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth...The first and fundamental priciple of our holy religion is that we believe that we have a right to embrace all and every item of truth without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds..."

I read this from the Joseph Smith manual (I missed the Relief Society lesson) and I was struck by a couple of things:

a) I used to know this. Like know know. I remember teaching in Armenia and being able to see the shakles that people were laboring under and I understood that a knowledge of the gospel would break them free. Would help them find purpose in their lives and structure in their families. This was a huge testimony builder for me.

b) I've been trying to teach my kids a love of learning. I hope they get it by example, but I want them to really get it. The more I learn the more I realize that everything connects eventually and that no knowledge is useless. The more you understand the world, the more you can find patterns and connections and meaning. I love the doctrine of the church emphasizes so much on learning and its role in salvation and exaltation. ("It will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave" idea. Learning to weild to power-knowledge of Godhood? Chills. Love it. Sign me up.)

c) I wonder why this seems not to happen in practice. I had an oddly atheism-themed weekend over Thanksgiving (I blew through His Dark Materials in 36 hours [not necessarily atheistic, but I was reading it through the spin of course--have you read this? You must] then caught an article on NPR on atheism [they talked about how the saying "there are no atheist in foxholes" is really offensive to atheists"] the next day. Interesting) and one of the things that I was thinking about is how certain it is. When I start talking about religion to people who believe differently than I do, I get really insecure. There are so many things that I believe without being able to explain, and things that make sense to me but only because they're the context of a lifetime of learning/understanding. I get all defensive, and it keeps me from being able to share the really fantastic truths that I know.
And on reflection, the things I'm claiming to know seem kind of ridiculous--an all-powerful being, both loving and vengeful, who insists on exacting justice, but is willing to take his/his son's death in exchange for our sins? What? If I didn't have innumerable experiences that have convinced and reconvinced me that there's something else out there, if I didn't have a framework through which to make sense of these experiences, if I didn't just happen to flip to this lesson even though I slept through Relief Society and it was just precisely what I needed to read, how could I believe something like this?
The point being that there have been many times when my beliefs haven't been liberating, but have felt confining. They've felt like superstitions.
And it seems like culturally we're (members of the church) kind of closed-minded and bigoted at times. That is, many of the people I know don't seem like great acceptors of truth-in-every-form. Myself included of course.
So what happened? (Visions of Brigham are dancing in my head, though that's probably not fair.)

d) I've troubled some over the dearth of great LDS thinkers/writers. We have some of course, but...(maybe I'm judging unfairly) the dearth of LDS theology? But I think the reason why is because the tenets of the church/gospel/whatever are a jumping off point. Our job is to take what's taught us and run with it, find the paths of truth that it leads us down, and build up our salvation with God. That is collect the knowledge that will ensure our salvation through prayer and personal study...on our own. And as we learn this stuff we, individually, grow closer to God.

Anyway. Made my day. ke

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stuff I Like

I am considering spending my Christmas budget on these.


(I saw the film Helvetica last night. A main argument was between the simplicity/boredom of Modernism and the schizophrenia/freedom of Postmodernism. I was not surprised to find that I fall pretty surely in the Modernism camp, Gill Sans girl that I am. Anyway. You should see it. A favorite quote:

“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design” - Massimo Vignelli

...which has a lot to do with the ideas of entropy that I've been kicking around, actually. Entropy and control freakiness/attention to detail.)