Monday, December 31, 2012

Awkward Moments 101

I've found, through my ponderings, that my defense mechanism to avoid feeling embarrassed by awkward personal situations is to...well...make them MORE awkward.
It's like a game. 
"Okay, life, you want to make me uncomfortable? I'm calling your bluff. And I'm going to WIN...because I'm not bluffing! Take THAT, social regulatory influences!!"

Usually, it works. My "awkward threshold" is a lot higher than many people around me (let's face it, I've had a lot of practice).  This threshold, along with my *aHEM* well-honed wit and naturally mischievous sense of humor, usually works in my favor.


A wise friend of mine told me recently "If you're going to become an expert at something, you are going to fail at it, occasionally."

This was one of those occasions. 

Once upon a recent time, I was distracted during a very busy day at work, and, as it occasionally happens with human beings, found myself in need of a bathroom. So, I took off my apron, name tag, and my chef coat, which I wear over street clothes, and headed to the store restrooms. However, being distracted, I mistakenly opened the wrong door, and took a step into the men's room.  Whoops!  Classic awkward moment, right?  No biggie. I'm sure I totally would have figured out I was in the wrong place, eventually. 

This eventual discovery was hastened, however, by the fact that I had actually stepped on someone's foot--a particularly cute, MALE someone, also wearing street clothes, who was coming out of said rest area. I was caught!

...Now, in the ensuing awkward eye-contact-and-"what-now" moment, a NORMAL person probably would have stammered some kind of blushing "um...oops...sorry!!", turned around, and gone into their own restroom, embarrassed.    

Before I even registered what was going on, I heard myself saying "Oh, haha, so sorry!  You know, ever since the surgery, I'm having a hard time remembering which door I'm actually supposed to go through!  My bad!" 
And then I grinned, winked, turned around, and walked into the women's room. 

....Where my eyes went huge, as I realized what I had said. "EVER SINCE THE SURGERY"??  What the heck??!  Where did that even COME from??

"Oh, well,"  says I, to myself, in a desperate attempt at self-soothing. "I guess I'll never see him again. And I wasn't in uniform, so...whatever, I guess. Sheesh. That was close. Idiot Self."

So, I shook it off, laughed at the Awkward, and went back to work. 

EPILOGUE turns out, the very attractive male person in street clothes was ALSO an employee, who works in Produce...a department I happen to visit a lot.   Yes, he made the connection that it was me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate

My laptop has been broken/keep re-breaking all semester. Seriously annoying. But now I have access to my mom's desk top until Coolest Guy Ever finishes fixing said laptop.

I am SO excited. I'm a little nervous about 9 credits AND a full-time job, but...I can do it.  Right?

Life certainly hasn't been working out the way my "5-years-after-high-school-plan" had envisioned it.  I frequently get the "Wait, you're still in school?  Shouldn't you be done by now?"  or the "Oh, you worked full-time, so I kind of assume you had graduated." or the blatant "Um...why haven't you graduated? I thought you were smart.I guess not!" (that last one was a direct quote...yeah...)

To those probably well-intention-ed and generally uninformed socialites, I give a MAJOR internal eye-roll (which, due to politeness and social tact, usually comes out as a smile and a nod).

Many of those voices are in my head, which, to be fair, is probably why the aforementioned comments hit so close to home.

I know why I haven't graduated.  I know why college has been such a crazy ride. And they are good reasons--not excuses.  Hind-sight is 20/20 and all that, and there are ways I could have handled things differently that would have been easier in the long run.

But the moral of the story is, it's none of society's business.  Were I a different ethnicity, or had different social connections, or made different attitude choices, I could have a pretty epic cable TV show out of my life. Or at least a news article or two. Perception is everything, I guess.

So back off, haters.

 I'm re-organizing my vision, and clarifying my life. I'm finishing up this degree, and moving on to the next one.  That'll be the next update.  I love New Year's Resolutions...especially ethereal ones that are vague enough to keep and share with the Internet.

Monday, November 19, 2012


So, I haven't written in what seems like forever (but was actually only a couple of months).  This time, it was not out of laziness or lack of desire--rather, lack of ability.  My computer is broken and my mom's computer doesn't have internet access. my smartphone doesn't do the blog-typing thing very well. 

In Summation: 

My life has been a total roller coaster.  In a strange turn of events, I am now working as an artisan baker.  I love it!  The pay is much more consistent than the Exec Chef gig I was offered. I feel much more confident, and the hours allow me to be home with mom much more than the other would have (and even date a little).

As soon as my camera works, I will post pictures of holiday goodies.  Yum. I am looking to keep selling my goodies, hats, scarves, etc., but I have not had time for decent publicity this season (new job, move, medical, boy, etc). The business has had a few setbacks from some summer gigs, but that's life. Confident that things will work out. 

I miss school. I miss campus.  I miss the social life that comes with student housing and student wards. 

I love having a car.  And a paycheck. I love how hard my family is trying to support me. I love fall. and wassail. and spices, and potatoes,, generally. Especially fall food.

I am inching my way forward in my educational pursuits, with the end goal of three degrees:  a BS in Family Studies (emphasis in Human Sexuality and Family Psychology), an associates degree in Culinary Science, and an advanced certificate in a culinary specialty (as yet undetermined).  I want to, someday, go to the Culinary Institute of America.  I keep getting there paperwork in the mail, and I get excited...until I look at the pricetag. Yikes. But, someday. Period, end of sentence. 

 I am looking to buy a guitar, so that I may practice more consistently.  

I now teach music to the Junior Primary. Boy, is that a riot. Any suggestions are welcome. I love my calling, and love sitting down with my mom and thinking of new ways to teach. 

I found a new friend who loves many of the same things I do.  Speaks three languages, wants to speak more.  Brilliantly talented songwriter, plus vocals and instrumentals (but...not drums.  Which actually works well, because that means I can play them, haha).  Likes DCI and marching band. Similar taste in music and decent amount of overlap in movie taste.  And a serious Foodie. SERIOUS foodie. And makes really tasty home-brewed soda.  Knows how to dress.  Excellent sense of humor and sarcasm. Mormon. Also, a boy. Which is super convenient. 

So, life is...intense. Luckily, not in-tents, though sometimes it feels like it (like when the weather stripping is gone from my doors and it's snowing outside and the heater isn't working). 

Maybe, someday, my life will be a little LESS intense.  It seems I pretty much just trade one intensity for another.  
 But, if it doesn't, maybe I'll just market the storyline to TLC and make enough money for culinary school.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012


When I was a child, I had to keep my hair in a boy-cut, due to my allergies being completely out of control.  It really did help me allergies a lot, until the weekly allergy shots became a routine and allowed me to grow my hair out again. After that time, I tended to keep my hair long (or REALLY long) throughout high school and into college. I got tricked into cutting my hair ONCE, my freshman year, and then grew it out again as soon as possible. The only other time I cut it off was when I had too, again, due to medical reasons (the hard-corps medicine I was on had damaged it beyond repair).  Someone once inquired as to why I kept my hair so long, as it was generally unmanageable and I look cute with short hair, anyway.  This was written in response to that occasion. 

My Mama’s Curls
“Why don’t you cut your hair short again? It’d look so cute that way!”
I looked back at you closely, not sure of what to say.
My mind’s eye sees a mem’ry, so long ago, so clear
Of my mama on the telephone, and I was standing near.
She tossed her head back and she laughed— A truly joyful sound
And on her finger, auburn-red, she twirled her hair around.
It wrapped around that finger, always just the same
A pretty fan of brown, gold, red; and never truly tame.
She rubbed the curl across, stroking gently with her thumb
Then let go and toss it back, then take another one
I snuck around behind her to try to do the same
Watching oh so closely, then went to grab my mane
Of hair.  I then remembered, with a sudden sorrowful sigh
That I’d gone to get a haircut, now my hair would not comply
As I tried to wrap my finger.  I then began to cry--
I told myself right then and there, that someday I would be
Exactly like my mama, the woman of my dreams.
That mem’ry of the phone call, and the twisted lock of hair
Stayed with me then and always, but never had I shared
The reason that I always felt a love for curled long hair.
“Hello?” you said, and waved at me, “Sabina, are you there?”
“Oh,” said I, now with a smile,  my thumb stroking my curl,
“I guess I just like it better long.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Well, folks, it's two weeks later and I haven't posted anything else about that fancy-schmancy new chef coat. Basically, the story is this:  I have been asked to be the Executive Chef at a lodge, about 25 miles south of my place of residence. The man in charge of finding the new Exec happened to be at a wedding I catered in July.  It took him about a month to track me down and discuss the possibilities. After much finagling, foodie talk, discussion, and a little bit of sass, he still decided I was what he was looking for and said we'd keep in touch. I, in the meantime, have been writing the menu drafts and trying to figure out if it was all a dream. 

I am blown away by this opportunity. Honestly, I'm hesitating just a little, especially when it comes to telling people, because I haven't actually been down there yet and I'm feeling a you say...ummm.. "OH MY HEAVENS DID THAT ACTUALLY JUST HAPPEN?"  followed up quickly with a "WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?!"--as if my brain is convinced that one day, I'm going to wake up, realize none of this was reality, and that I'm actually just a five-year-old kid who fell asleep while playing with her little toy kitchen and her little felt-and-plastic food, in a little paper chef hat.  

In the midst of figuring out this new development, my brother moved to Utah, my little sister got married, my older sister and her husband got a dog and also pregnant, my mom came to visit, and I moved to a new apartment in a different town. The next two weeks involve getting my brother totally moved IN to Provo, getting me totally moved OUT of Provo, packing up my out-of-state childhood home and moving my mother in to our apartment. I also managed to totally blow out my left kneecap during this time, and am sleeping on the floor amidst moving boxes--still packed up, as my kitchen is fully functioning and that's where I have been spending most of my time. 

So. . . that's where I've been.  

Okay, so, the interview with the guy.  It went very well, lots of cool stuff.  (I should mention, I had no idea I was going to get offered a job at this meeting.  I assumed he wanted to talk about the theoretical/business plan side of my business, and possibly a gig or two. So I was totally floored by his proposal. But I think I played it off pretty well.) We learned a lot of things over the course of the interview. Some things *I* did not realize: (1) He was offering me a real-person job (2)....yeah that was a pretty big piece that I was missing. Some things *HE* did not realize:  (1)Not only was I NOT a graduate of LCB or the CIA culinary schools, I had never even BEEN to a culinary school. (2)Not only was I not intimidated by large events or frantic wedding families, I was not intimidated by ANYone--even when maybe I should be (him, for example). And, the kicker, Number(3): I was born and raised in Northern Idaho, and most of my extended family live in Lehi, Utah. 

That last part became a very valuable asset when he informed me (with some hesitancy) that this was a COUNTRY lodge/ranch--attempting to explain that it was WESTERN food, MEAT AND POTATOES food, COWBOYS AND INDIANS food, DUTCH OVEN AND CAST IRON food.  Food "so redneck, they are tying the to-go boxes to the rifle racks hooked to the bed of their pick-up trucks!"  

I looked at him for a second, blinked, and broke out in a grin.  
"Wellsir," says I.  "Where I come from, we call that--'food.' "

So, thank you, Idaho. Thank you, garden.  Thank you, orchard.  Thank you, camping trips. Thank you, cooking my life in a cast-iron skillet. Thank you, Mom. Thank you, farm-heritage. Thank you, pioneer family.  Thank you, 25-different-kinds-of-pie-over-the-last-2-Pi-Days. Thank you, Benadryl allergy medicine. And thank you, random citizen. 

So, bring on the bison burger, the elk steak, the dutch oven peach cobbler, the green beans 'n' bacon. There will, of course, be classy, high-end, carefully plated and meticulously portioned occasions. I hope there to be many of them.  But it's nice to have to comfort zone of cast iron pans and game meats, Walla Walla onions and Idaho potatoes, dutch ovens and apple pie.

Back to menus. Praying it all works out. I'll let all my excitement loose once I'm actually standing IN the kitchen WITH the chef coat and menus and a paycheck. But for now, cautious enthusiasm is a great start. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Paid To Be a Redneck

Today was fantastic.  I'm having a bit of a hard time processing it all, actually. Many changes, really quickly.  Potentially very good changes. 

And if I wasn't me, I'd be a little scared. 

Good thing I'm me, and am totally not scared at all of anything ever. 
:shifty eyes:

As it is, I may possibly be feeling just the tiniest bit...what's the word?  Um...nervous?  Overwhelmed? Underqualified? Extremely blessed?  Shell-shocked? Dazed? All of the above?  ("One person couldn't feel all that at once!  They'd explode!" "Just because YOU have the emotional range of a teaspoon, doesn't mean we ALL have!")

The logical, "go get 'em!" side of me is trying to run forward, seeing all there is to be done and all I have to learn and trying to fit this in to the larger context of the rest of my life--seeing how it re-organizes and re-prioritizes everything, etc. 
A smaller part of me is shrinking away, hiding in a corner, afraid.
  Most of me is still a little stunned, not really sure if everything ACTUALLY happened. 
But part of me, this little voice in my head, keeps reminding me how sweet I could look in my fancy-shmancy new Exec Chef coat. 

. . . more later. :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Biting Heads Off

Sometimes, I do not appreciate my life. Well, not even so much that, as I get so bogged down with the "problems" the world throws at me, that I forget the simple joys of life. For example:  Goldfish Crackers. I mean, if you only get to eat one thing, it might as well be Goldfish Crackers. Whole grain, baked little crispy fishies that smile back at you (until you bite their heads off). The nutty goodness of the whole grain compliments the cheddar flavor, and a little extra salt rounds it out to perfection. And with approximately 693 Goldfish in this particular bag, I'm set for a while. 
Plus, the back of the bag is full of knowledge and wisdom, waiting to be absorbed by even the simplest of minds. 

Ironically, I just realized that the bag of this particular bag of Goldfish has an illustrated cartoon of our Goldfish friends Gilbert and Brooke, with the moral of the comic being "CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO FIND THE GOOD IN EVERY SITUATION!
I take it as a sign.
 Also, I'm laughing really hard right now. 

Rule #11: Always keep an eternal perspective. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Late Night Guests

Girls tend to have at least a vague image of a "knight in shining armor": the man who swoops in to save the helpless damsel  in distress.  I confess, I, too, have imagined this sort of situation at times, in a vague, metaphorical way. Many of the metaphorical imaginings vaguely included a nice boy, good conversationalist, similar interests, nice smile, solid friend and trustworthy Man-person (vs a boy-person, which is very different).

But never in those vague, metaphorical imaginings was said KSA wearing a leather jacket, carrying a large case of knives, at two in the morning.

I'm so glad real life is so much better than vague metaphorical imaginings.

Mikey, my brother, you are my hero.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Might Be Dead

 So, the last few weeks have been a total roller coaster-- the highs were really high and the lows were really low.  Which is fine, because really, what fun is a roller coaster that is just flat?  :-)  One of those highs included a really unexpected but really exciting opportunity to train in another kitchen--much less of a factory-style than many of the restaurants I've worked in; much more artisan style food, much more "Hell's Kitchen" rush times. I'm super excited about it. 

What that also means is, though, that the last few days I have been working from 1 am. o.o  On my feet the whole time-- I sat down for 6 minutes one morning at Brick Oven, I think. I don't even sit down to drive to work-- I walk. And my "lunch break" gives me just enough time to walk across the center of town, from one kitchen to the other.

So, basically that translates to 17 hours on my feet, come home, sleep sitting up (my innards are acting up again-- my roommate calls them my "injureds" haha) for a 5.5ish hours, then get up and start over again.

But not really, because I'm also in charge of the catering efforts for a 350 person wedding, next Thursday. Don't even get me started on the "unforseens" on THAT particular project--it's been a bit of an object lesson on the concept of Murphy's Law--but what that means is, I come home from work at 1am and then deal with (1)damage control, (2)putting schedules together, (3)doing math, (4)cooking, or other such things required back-stage for such an event.  [We'll just say that it's a LOT].  So the sleeping is not even close the 5.5 hours haha.

So, you'd best stake claim to any stuff's that I have because by the end of this I might be dead.

PS I would just like to note to the blogging world that my particular medical set-up prohibits me from ingesting both caffeine (which could help keep me awake) and alcohol (which might take the edge off the rest of my life). SO I get to stay awake and sane the non-artificially-augmented way:  willpower, protein and simple carbs, and (mostly) by the grace of God. Thank you, friends.  ilHamdulallah!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse

So, when the zombie apocalypse finally arrives, I believe the women in my apartment will have very different reactions.  

Jules, sensibly, will grab some sort of weapon and hide somewhere, then figure out how to sneak out and run to safety. 

Shaylee would be with her fiance and wouldn't know about the attack until months later, when she finally returns to Provo.

Margaret, not surprisingly, would grab multiple weapons and start a crazy counter attack, ripping aforementioned monsters to pieces between bouts of maniacal laughter while shouting crazed Arabic battlecries. 

Sabina, however, would probably invite the zombies in, seat them graciously, offer them brownies and milk, and inquire about the nuances of their day. 

And by "probably," I mean, that's actually what happened. 


Well, let me 'splain.  

No, it is too much. 
Let me sum up. 

Well, first, I heard weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, just outside my door.
"Crazy neighbors," says I. 

Then the first body slams against my window.
I was, naturally, in the kitchen, and was therefore, naturally, holding a very large knife. 

It took me a moment to get my bearings, but then pieces started falling together...  
 I realized that the body was actually a zombie, trying to get in to my house. 
And then I realized that there were quite a few of them.

Any normal person would have held on to the knife and blocked the door. 
But I'm . . . me I set the knife down, opened the door, and told them that there were brownies. 
MOST of them, seeming a bit surprised (it's difficult to tell the emotions on a zombie face sometimes) grunted and moaned and screeched as they pushed pass, relatively politely, and headed over to the brownies.

A particularly bold zombie-man was a bit rogue-ish and decided I was a good meal, before dessert. >.< 

Therefore, I was temporarily distracted as the zombies infected my other late-night dinner guests (fortunately, there were only 2 others...unfortunately, they have a limited sense of loyalty, and didn't resist the attack too much. They seemed pretty okay with it. :eyeroll: Men.)

As I mentioned, one of the zombies was a bit rogue-ish;
The others, after easily zombify-ing my guests, seemed temporarily placated by the gooey chocolate goodness

But then they decided to eat me anyway. 

After trying to attack Margaret....
You can imagine how well THAT worked.
(See above description)
(Now add in a bit more colorful language than you imagined a moment ago)
(And a random Michael Jackson Zombie in a fedora)
(And then add zombies bursting into song--singing Jasmine's part of "A Whole New World")
(...and then Latin dancing to Michael Buble's "Sway")
(And then coming back upstairs for brownies
and eating Sabina instead)
Seriously.  I think I got bitten 4 times. At least. 
They decide brownies weren't good enough...

Full-on attack. Part of it, anyway.

Turns out the zombie apocalypse wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated. 
...I have the coolest friends. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mafiish fotos

So, I had some really funny things happen this last month, but I cant rightly give you the blog post about them until I have the pictures.  Unfortunately, the pictures are on someone else's camera. I've been bugging him for them, but I may have to sic a roommate on him to get them in a timely fashion. 

In any case...

I have been trying, through the course of my undergraduate degree, to maintain at least some semblance of language multiplicity in my brain. I am only fluent in English, however, I am quite skilled in *understanding* languages (at least the basic gist) thanks to my continued studies and training in linguistics. Let me be clear:  there is a difference between "the gift of tongues" and "the gift of the interpretation of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:10) I feel as the though the second comes much easier for me.  I do not actually SPEAK many languages yet.  But, I do have a passion for them, and I love learning new ways to communicate with people.

I only took a few "language" classes during my undergrad (at least, classes devoted to learning how to read/write/speak a language that was not English). However, I was given the tools to LEARN languages. And that's really what an undergrad is for--give you more information, and teach you how, when, and where to obtain MORE information.  So, now that I can control my OWN curriculum, I decided imma spend my time learning wha'e'er I WANT.  Which is...languages (and cookery and family psychology and chemistry and religion and business and physics and finance and literature and fashion and make-up and knitting and fitness...but we'll focus on the languages for now).

The problem is, I can't seem to focus on one. I've many friends who served Spanish-speaking missions, and I took a Spanish class in college and I want to learn it.  It's one of the easiest languages I've tried out.  I love it! I have a couple of web-learning accounts set up, and they are pretty helpful. I sound quite awkward when I speak it, because I am grossly out of practice, but I am at the point where I can understand most of what is being said to me, and usually can respond.

Unfortunately, I don't always respond in Spanish.
My first reaction is usually Arabic. 
Now, understand--I'm not fluent in Arabic, either.  Not by a long shot. I can hold basic conversation and can understand quite a bit, but my reading comprehension is awful and I am, again, grossly out of practice.  However, many times, as I study Spanish, I find myself responding in this strange, Spanish/Arabic/English blend I have chosen to call Spanglabish. I am quite fluent in Spanglabish. Unfortunately, the pool of Spanglabish speakers is not very large. :-) Luckily for me, a recent addition to my life, we'll call him "Habibi(حبيبي)"  IS a Spanglabish speaker!!  He went to a Spanish-speaking mission, so he is fluent in Spanish, and he is a MESA major, so he's learning Arabic. I am significantly better at Arabic than he is, and he is significantly better at Spanish than I am.  It works out really well. Our mutual friend, "hmahv shly(המאהב שלי)", is actually studying Spanish and Hebrew...and another girl we work with is studying Hebrew!  So, naturally, we had this "telephone style" conversation the other day--Ali says something to המאהב שלי in Hebrew, המאהב שלי says something to حبيبي in Spanish, حبيبي says something to me in Arabic. Reverse. It was awesome. Of course, it wasn't always that simple--there was a lot of default to Spanish--but when it worked, it was super cool. The other side of the kitchen kind of just left us alone that day, as I'm pretty sure none of them knew daheck was going on. 

I love Provo. Only there would you have that kind of a linguistic situation--from a bunch of white 20-somethings, at a pizza place. jajaja (Well, حبيبي is 1/4 black, so that helps.  But still). 

Then, later in the week, a friend of mine said something to me in Hebrew, and I responded (accurately, though in English) before I realized that it WAS Hebrew. And I read a new acquaintance's shirt aloud(which was written in German) and translated it, and I was able to hold a (SHORT) conversation in ASL with another (deaf) friend from work. 

Someday, I will be better at this than Catherine Tate. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Job Security

So, the other day, I was feeling kind of down.
Happens to the best of us.
 I had a lot on my mind, as often happens to people who think. 
I've come to a major, major crossroads in my life. I was considering all the options laid out before me, and was trying to solidify in my own mind the decisions I have made and the unexpected timeline in which I had fit them. 

One of the many issues I was pondering was my life course.  Could I even make it in the food industry?  Did I even know what I was doing?  Would I be able to make enough money to fulfill my responsibilities to myself and to my near-future family? Is now the right time?  Do I even know enough to make it work?  The reality is, I am completely beyond "stepping outside the box."  I basically blasted "the box" to smithereens. Was it even worth it??

The answer came, as answers often do, from the most unexpected of places. My cousin and my roommate and I had gone to the store to pick up some bananas.  As I looked around at all of the ingredients and other foodstuffs, pondering my ponderings, my thoughts were feeling really weighted down.  I could feel myself getting discouraged, and I said a little prayer in my heart. 

Right then, my eyes landed upon...this.  In the midst of the delicious baked goods and cutsie buttercream-ed pastries--an ugly duckling amongst the swans--sat this monstrosity of a cupcake. 

I stared at it for a moment, and then realized that my initial reaction (that some bitter decorator had chosen to give a visual artistic representation of the hemorrhoidal feces of a cellulitic cat) was actually incorrect, and in fact  the cupcake was attempting to be a

After my initial gag reflex, I started to laugh. All of my worries seemed to dissolve, and I felt a little ridiculous for being so down just minutes before. 

Now, don't get me wrong--I'm sure the decorator is an extremely talented individual. All of the other cupcakes were absolutely adorable. All of the "hamburger/cat feces" cupcakes, however, were beyond my definition of "awful."  (This was not the only one--we found a chocolate one!)
So, lest I come off as haughty, proud, and mocking, let me clarify:  the moral of the story is not "I'm better than this decorator, so there!" Not even close.  
The moral of this story is: "Everyone is going to have bad days. Don't make a habit of them, and you won't get fired. You have the talent to succeed at what you do. Work hard, and you'll be fine."

The secondary moral of the story, of course, is never make cupcakes that look like disease-ridden cat poop.

Thank you, random cake decorator, for totally messing up those cupcakes. It kicked my attitude back on to the right track. 

My cousin whipped out a video camera to catch the end of my reaction. (I love modern technology. And Jake.  Well played, sir.)

PS--I bought the cupcake. 

Poem That I Wrote

It is going to take longer than I have time for to write down all of the AWESOMENESS that was today. So, I will spend what time I do have basking in said awesomeness, and will leave you to ponder this poem that I wrote. (Yes, this is a re-posting from about this time last year.  But it's still good). I will fill you in on more, later. I have two posts drafted; I suppose I have been too wrapped up in living life an have been slacking on reporting it.


Isaiah’s Christ: Shepherd, Warrior, Judge, and King
A Sestina
Jehovah comes from Edom in his might 
One by one, with outstretched arms, He gathers
Those who, with humble hearts, would call him LORD.
He, who earth and hearts hath mulled and weighted,
Assessed the earth’s great waters in his Hand
And tells the cov’nant people to behold--

To lift their eyes on high, and first behold
Then follow Him with heart and mind and might.
Oh, Israel, hath God yet shortened his hand?
Hath He grown tired? Nay, but still He gathers
Sinners’ hearts. The hills Jehovah weighted
With a scale; “The winepress,” saith Christ your LORD,

“I hath trodden alone. I am the LORD;
My crimson robes a victory to behold,
For I looked and, being alone, I weighted
Down the winepress in my fury and might.
Now with tender mercy will I gather
And cover thee in shadow of my hand.”

Yahweh shall hold thee up in His right hand,
That all the nations know I AM your LORD.
The dumb idols burn, Jehovah gathers
Those who would His covenanted be. Hold
fast to Him by whose power and might
is thy salvation, thy judgment weighted.

Your Jeshua with patience hath waited, and
borne all thy sins with the nails in His hands,
That in his latter coming, all earth might
Know that salvation cometh through the LORD.
For when the mighty angel cries “Behold,
A white horse, and He who rides shall gather

His people,” the heaven’s armies gather
Behind Him who with rightness hath weighted
And made war. Look up, oh Israel! Behold
His vesture dipped in blood, His outstretched hands.
He is called King of Kings, and LORD of Lords,
Who comes to thee in power and in might.

Raise your eyes, lift your voice, behold His might,
And blessed be those who wait on the LORD.
The shepherd gathers Israel in His hand.

Friday, June 1, 2012


My goodness. It's been almost 3 months since I've written anything that counts as a decent post.

Life has been moving forward. Sometimes much to slowly, in other ways much, much too quickly. Trying to finish some classes this summer, working as close to full-time as I can, moving, working on a couple weddings, getting my family ready to move, ignoring a couple other weddings, wishing I didn't have to move AGAIN (too many movings!!!), loving my roommates, planning parties, attending parties, meeting new people at parties, cooking for parties (lots of parties), drumming, watching DCI videos, reading books I don't want to read, reading books I love to read, riding with my roommate to the store in the middle of the night blasting really loud music and dancing...pretty typical semester "break."

My brother is graduating this weekend, so I get to visit them. I love, love, love, love the Northwest. I love my trees and my grapes and my berries and my garden the size of a college apartment and the little rabbits and squirrels and quail and bunnies and the hawks and the eagles and the mountain cats. I love how the mountains are purple, like mountains are supposed to be, and the yellows and browns and light greens and reds of the plants and trees. I love the old barn and the shed and the chicken coop, and the wood fences and the tree stumps and the forest garden down the side of the house.

I love being with my family and should-be-family-- eating chicken nuggets and watching NCIS, swapping "built it/burned it/blew it up" stories (man, my Papa has some good ones!), service projects, yard work, planning business endeavors and craft projects and weddings, telling flirting&dating stories (again, Papa is hard to beat. Robert and I give him a run for his money, though.  Mom tries to tell us that particular Gerber trait skipped a generation....:-) ), and helping each other out.  While I will miss the trees and the yard and the orchard terribly--I am SO STOKED for Robert to come down to school.  We'll all be within a few hours of each other (with the international airport, even SV isn't that far)!  I'm hoping for and planning on some really good times. As my mom fondly explained to me-- my problem when I moved away was that I grew up thinking I was normal. But, in that family, I am normal. And I love having a place where I belong.

So, the closing pages of this chapter of our lives--here's to the next one. :-)


I decided to do my 5th-grade "expert" project on cooking. I made a simple recipe book, learned some new techniques, and have dabbled in it ever since.
12 years since I started the project, with the help of my mom, I'm starting to think it's high time I finished it.

It's been a long time since I've put the full force of my brain-power behind one project.  I've been spread out very thin for the last few years, what with school, a variety of jobs (usually 2 at a time), medical shenanigans, family realignment, drumline, and a budding business or two. Not to mention various church callings, social and romantic interests, and learning new skills such as theatre makeup, guitar, dance, languages, and other such things. 

As I am not quite finished with my Bachelors, I don't know that it is possible yet to put full-force brain-power behind Epic Foodi-ness. I've been cooking for a long time, and I enjoy it. I've had pet-projects along the way, including spice exploration, cheese research, artisan breads, the Great Cake Project, and candy-bar inspired desserts. I've also had more one-time type projects, like the Bacon Cake, or the pie-inside-a-cake "Cherpumple," (that one is still in the works), Baked Alaska, Butterbeer, various Pi Day celebrations, and other  concoctions.

It's nice, though, to have a focus. And the food industry seems like a place where it will be hard to get bored.  And, I can move around a lot, if I feel so inclined  (at least to begin with).  I've had a couple opportunities to put down more permanent roots in Provo, but I'm really not sure if I want to do that...not just in Provo--I don't really want permanent roots anywhere, yet.

But it's cool to know I'm on the road to being really, really, ridiculously good at something. I'm pretty okay at a lot of things, but I'd love to see what I could accomplish with a little bit of focus. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh, dear.

Oh, my goodness, it has been so long since I last wrote!!  I suppose that happens around the end of a semester.

I've been doing a lot here, actually. I went ahead and finally decided to get a loose food portfolio going on. Turned out to be a good plan.

However, I start moving to my new condo tomorrow, on top of a business meeting, a breakfast date, a six hour work shift, and a taste-testing "party" (I have some brownies that I need to re-name).

The moral of the story is, I'm going to bed.  I'll catch you on the flip-side and fill you in on what's been going down-- it's been an adventurous few weeks.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great Day Coming to a Close

I had a pretty great day today. I was feeling a little ill last night, so I tried to go to bed.  I couldn't sleep.

And couldn't sleep...

...and couldn't sleep.

So I got up and kept working on my projects.  I was feeling ill-er and ill-er, so focusing on school work became quite difficult. So, I pulled out the old Libravox recordings (I love you, public domain. I love you, civ class which requires so much reading from books that happen to be recorded in the public domain). I listened to the writings of Charles Dickens, pondering his contribution to the 19th-century discussion on social justice, capitalism, and industrialism, whilst I pulled together my food portfolio. I decided to post it to Facebook (the portfolio, not the ponderings); you can see it here.  It's pretty fun, and I think it will be super-handy.

I finally fell asleep around 5 o'clock, and by then I felt pretty miserable.
I may have missed two classes this morning. I hate that. That's probably the worst part of being sick.

I woke up later this morning, and then went to my friend Eliza's house and began today's homework. I felt a bit better by then, but poorly enough that I knew if I didn't have a study buddy I would spend all day zoning out or browsing Pinterest or something. We worked for a while, and helped each other with some minor points of our respective assignments. We needed some things from the grocery store, so I walked to my friend Sam's house and she gave me a ride to the grocer while telling me some new business news (she had some business meetings last week regarding her cheesecakes, and three of them are quite promising, looking like more long-term situations).  While at the grocer, we found cream cheese for $1 a box. I bought some, and some juice. She took me back to Eliza's house.

Eliza and I went to a quiet dinner (as neither of us felt like cooking, or doing dishes, or anything like that) at a great little diner I used to frequent, Stan's. It's a great place. The food is fabulous, the options are seemingly endless, and the service is friendly and fast. And it's small and fairly quiet. We had a relaxing time, having leisurely but edifying dinner conversation, covering such topics as marriage theory, art history, abortion, contemporary ethics, food, politics, Church administration practices, death, family relationships, and the BYU Library.

I came home, realized just how icky I was feeling, and thought it responsible to try to find someone to cover my shift at work tomorrow (as I work in a kitchen and contagiousness is not appreciated there). Still not sure if I found anyone, but we shall see. I got myself some juice and some couch drops, and wrote this while finishing off another audio recording.  I'm hoping that I'll find someone to cover some (or all) of my shift tomorrow, so I can sleep this off without missing more class.

We shall see.

But, it was a good day. I didn't feel too great, but I also didn't have anything too demanding that would require me to feel super healthy. So, if I'm to get sick, today was a good day. I saw a wonderful friend, and finished some homework projects and worked on others.

I am pretty excited for the Kitchen page.

And, I'm ready for sleep. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Episodes of Awesome: Nutella Magic Shell

Yes, that's right. Magic Shell.  As in, the magical ice cream topping from your childhood--you know, the one that started as liquid and then turned hard when you poured way too much of it on your ice cream.

Now take that bit of magic...

and add to it the delicious culinary phenomenon that is Nutella, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.

And what do you get? 

Fabulous.  That's what. 

So, my cousin came over a little while ago. She is in a show on campus, and she she had just gotten out of a performance. She and her (very well done) old-age makeup looked very hungry.  So, I fed her some delicious Southwestern Chipotle Penne Pasta, leftover from my picnic with Milly and Lowell earlier today. While she was nomming the pasta, I found the last of some BYU Creamery Marionberry ice cream. 

So, naturally, I made some Magic Shell.  I have been meaning to try the Nutella Magic Shell idea for a while, and today seemed like good a day as any. 

It was delicious.

The coolest part was, I was able to develop a recipe AND eat the prototype on my ice cream--because I made the prototype with imitation hazelnut, to prevent unwanted cases of death. 

It will take a little tweaking, and probably real ingredients next time, but I should have it all figured out by Conference. 
 Magic Shell is not particularly difficult to make, but it's not too great to store. So, naturally, we had to pour the leftovers over some of the 10lb/$1 oranges I found earlier today. Just to prevent waste, you see. 
I would hate to be irresponsible. 

In other news, I was able to have my hand out of bandages for the entirety of the evening with very few undesirable consequences.  It's even hard to tell where all but the deepest of burns were (though it was pretty easy to tell when it was first out of the bandages).  I have always been of the opinion that my hands are quite beautiful, and I am vainly glad it was not maimed or permanently damaged in some aesthetic way.  I have some spots that are still lacking feeling, but they'll be fine. I am so, so grateful for of the Priesthood and the blessing which I was able to receive for quick healing.  

I am also grateful for all the help I've received recently and this last semester. 
And for marionberry ice cream. 
And for Caitlin Beer. 
And for magic shell in whatever flavor want!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Pi," or, "That One Time When I Read the Communist Manifesto with my Hand Stuck in a Freezer."

3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148, etc...
otherwise known as
is one of the coolest pieces of truth this world has been blessed with. Now, I am no mathematician, but I believe in pi.  This mathematical constant--in all its irrational, transcendent glory--is used in many formulae in subjects such as math (surprise), the sciences, and engineering. Its strong presence across so many parts of life makes it one of the most important constants that we know of. So important, in fact, that it has its own holiday. A couple, actually, if you count Pi Approximation Day (I don't know of anyone who does, though).  How many math and science facts can boast their own holiday?  I mean, there's Mole Day, but the only people who really care about that are the chemists. All kinds of people care about Pi Day.  Probably, because we celebrate it by eating pie.

I love Pi Day, mostly because I celebrate it by MAKING pie. 

My friend, Nathan, throws a Pi Day party every year.  I was invited this year. I helped throw the party last year, and between the party and his request to make pies for his office (anyone who spends their life in the Talmage Building deserves pie) I made a dozen pies. This year, then, it only made sense to make 13 pies. 
Fabulous ones. 
(There were other, more important reasons for making the pies--I promise I'm not crazy--but they don't really matter to the general public and I want to cut to the chase and show you the pictures now, eh)

pi Day 2012

This one is my masterpiece--Italian Meringue Blueberry.

 Pretty much every part of this pie went wrong. However, We got it--blueberry-rum compote, under lemon curd, under lemon cream, under meringue, browned with a blowtorch and topped with fresh blueberries and candied lemon peel. 

  Apple-Caramel Pie.  Probably the tastiest pie I've made. Flavored it with cardamom and some other spices, plus decided to actually make a caramel syrup instead of just coat the apples in sugar.  ^_^

Pretty classic banana cream. I did use real banana pudding and whipped cream, though, so it was super tasty. Sam marbled it really well, didn't she?

Brown-Sugar-Pop-Tart Pie.  Imade this one up, sort-of on accident (some of my best recipes come from something like that, eh)  Not actually made with Pop Tarts, but that's what it tasted like. Basically brown sugar streusel soaked into a molasses-corn syrup-brown sugar syrup, baked, coated in dark brown sugar/molasses syrup, piled with brown sugar cheesecake, topped with brown sugar....


Classic Cherry-Almond pie. After and before pictures--it cracked when it baked, but it had a great color.   I cut the honeycomb pattern out with a test tube one of my chemistry-student roommates gave me back in the day. I thought it was appropriate for the day.

Chocolate-Orange Mousse Pie.  This one was my own recipe!  I was a little nervous it would be gross--it was a total experiment--but it was Nate's favorite, and Milly's, so I guess it's a keeper. It has a marmalade sauce on the bottom with candied orange peel, marmalade, and sugar; I topped that with a dark-chocolate marshmallow mousse (I seeped the milk for it with orange peel and added orange extract), folded in some whipped cream--real stuff, not Cool Whip, I beg you--and then made it pretty. Yummy. 

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie. Pretty straight-forward.  I cooked up some coconut pudding (with some vanilla), poured it in a graham crust, and topped it with coconut whipped cream (Did you know you can whip coconut cream? Delish) and toasted coconut (I toasted it on the stove top in a non-stick pan for ease and control).
Dutch-Apple Pie. No, there are no Dutchmen in the pie (shout-out to Sweeny Todd!), though it does kind of look like a mounded grave.  It's just apple pie with a crumble topping. .

                     A delicious apple pie.
               With delicious crumble topping.
     One of my favorite things to do with dessert     crumbles is to add vanilla powder. I discovered it by accident while making dinner with my band director's wife.  But what a fantastic discovery!

Hot Fudge Pie.  Kind of a lava cake, kind of a brownie, mostly pie. Topped with toasted marshmallows and various chocolate chips. 

I think next year I'll add some toasted nut to it, for a Rocky Road pie....or maybe some grahams for a S'mores Pie....oh, the possibilities!
This pie is pretty enough for two pictures.  Also, I burned my hand pretty solidly while making the Key Lime Pie this year, so I think it should count twice (I actually made 3 key lime pies--I burned my hand making the other 2-- but the other two are not pictured. So this pie is technically innocent, but I count it as guilty for association).  But it is probably the prettiest pie I made.  Shout out to my mandolin, to Jessica, and to Kitto for making this pie possible, even while I was stuck attempting home burn-care for 5 hours or so (=running water, still water, ice, medicine, topical antibacterial cream, a blessing, hand in the freezer for over an hour while reading for class [see title of post], sleep for two hours, get up to make pie.)

This pie was the first one gone-- it's a frozen Peanut Butter Chocolate pie.  Also my recipe, though on accident. I was going to do Peanut Butter Crack pie, but this seemed like a better idea.  It's a super-dense, creamy peanut butter filling on a chocolate crust, topped with dark chocolate whipped cream, hot fudge, peanut sauce, and mini chocolate chips.

                  It didn't last long.  :-)

These were the Pi Crusts.  The one on the left starts with pi and goes through the first 8 or so digits of pi; the one on the right does the same thing in Roman Numerals (allowing the crust to fit more digits of pi, and providing a reminder for the next day's Ides of March)
Then I filled them with pumpkin custard.

And baked them into pumkin pie. The top one got a little dark.

I actually had extra pie innards--it's a common problem when I make pumpkin pie--but with some creative additions of buttermilk, eggs, baking powder, and flour, (and some leftover pecans, melted butter, and brown sugar), I had some pretty delicious pumpkin pancakes on my hands.  Top them with some of the leftover brown sugar cheesecake, and my friends got some tasty din-din.

So, there we have it, folks.  Only a few more years til Pi Day 2015 (3.14.15), which, by order of kairos and and the dictates of nerdiness everywhere, must be the most epic Pi Day of our lifetimes thus far.  That means only a few years to gather the most fantastic pie recipes--both sweet and savory, both simple and spectacular, both small and sizeable--and practice them to perfection.

Can't wait. ^_^

PS I have a personal goal of memorizing 314 digits of pi. There is no rationality to this desire, as Nate pointed out, as one needs only 30-something digits to approximate the size of anything in the known universe. However, I stick to my original goal, on the logic that pi itself is irrational. (haha I'm so punny  funny!)  This year, I made it to 116 digits.  198 more to go!

To read more about the wonder and general magical-ness that is pi, I highly suggest the well-renowned Wikipedia.