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. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sabs vs. The Plagues of Egypt

  • The story of Moses freeing the children of Israel from their captivity to Pharaoh is one of the most epic stories of all time (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word).  It is a story shared by many branches of many faiths. The fantastic songwriting of The Prince of Egypt combined with excellent animation to create one of the more emotional renditions of the tale. And who can forget Charlton Heston coming off of Mount Sinai, throwing the stone tablets into the Golden Calf to a shower of 1956 special effects?   
Well, fittingly enough, at the start of this Passover season, my life has shown some strange parallels (some more direct than others) to one of the most dramatic and re-told portions of the epic tale:  the Plagues. 

For those who are unfamiliar, the Lord directs Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the Israelites go. When Pharaoh refuses, some cool things happen involving snakes and walking sticks, but Pharaoh still refuses. The Lord then sends ten plagues to the people of Egypt, which culminate in Pharaoh demanding the Israelites leave, changing his mind, chasing them, and the famous parting of the Red Sea.
 Anyway. The plagues--

These did not happen in order, nor nearly to the extent of times of yore. This is not intended as blasphemy; I just found it rather humorous. I don't have all ten (some have been consolidated).

  •  Plague of blood (דָם): Ex. 7:14–25: This is one of the most obnoxious ones, so we'll get it out of the way first. For those that don't know, I've had some crazy internal bleeding business going on for some time now. Not life threatening; mostly obnoxious and painful. Add this to being a woman, and there has been a recent lack of iron in my system, eh.  

  •  Plague of frogs (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ): Ex. 7:25–8:11:No, there have not been a bunch of amphibians jumping around here. For this to make sense, I submit to you a saying of wisdom, presented to me by a loving Young Women's leader on my 16th birthday: "Remember--you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince!" (this sage advice was, of course, accompanied by a giant stuffed frog).  So, in that sense of the word--yes. Too many frogs. 

  • Plague of lice or gnats (כִּנִּים): Ex. 8:12–15 Plague of flies or wild animals (עָרוֹב): Ex. 8:20–32:  Alright, so, twice in the last month I have opened a container in my kitchen or food storage and found bugs. Now, I don't mind bugs in their natural habitat, but the minute they show up in my kitchen, I go all Exterminator on them.  And I don't stop until I've found them all and killed them dead. I replaced ALL of my powdery/granulated kitchen goods earlier this month (flours, sugars, salts) due to such an infestation; yesterday it was the pastas and cake mixes (curses on me for buying cake mix).  I could not figure it out--especially the second one--because I store everything in food safe, sealed plastic. But the bugs were everywhere, and my food storage was promptly in the trash. As I cleared everything out, I found a large crack in the floor, from which the Small Beetles of Hades were pouring forth. 
  • Spoiler:  They died. Mass insecticidal murder.  And I didn't lose a bit of sleep over it--though I did lose a lot of foodstuffs. :-/ 

  •  Plague of pestilence (דֶּבֶר): Ex. 9:1–7: "Pestilence" in this case being "Contagious disease."  My body can't decide if it's about to get sick or not; the scratchy-throat, stuffy-nose, ear-hurting-ness that often accompanies the cold keeps trying to sneak in.  Hopefully my body will win the battle this time.  See also "Locusts"

  •  Plague of boils (שְׁחִין): Ex. 9:8–12--THANKTHELORDABOVE that I am not actually dealing with real boils. Ugg those things are NOT FUN.  However, I did manage to get 2nd degree burns all over the first half of my dominant hand (thumb, index, middle fingers all lost skin and prints and fun stuff like that).  Occupational hazard; I have been blessed with accelerated healing, though. Still in bandages, but it's quite the adventure, really. The human body adapts really well--it never ceases to amaze me.

  • Plague of hail (בָּרָד): Ex. 9:13–35--IT SNOWED TODAY. It was nice and sunny and warm, and then the snow came.   Le Sigh.

  • Plague of locusts (אַרְבֶּה): Ex. 10:1–20--I'm lumping this in with the bugs mentioned earlier.  They were small and colonial like the gnats and flies, but they nommed the food like a plague of locusts. blerrg.
  • The results of these plagues included a famine throughout the land of Egypt.  The combination of my various health issues and having inflexible deadlines this week (Pi Day, for example) led me to not eat more than a piece of bread a day until about Thursday. Eating can sometimes make me sick, and I had to be sure to get things done in time...yeah...but it was fine because my house smelled awesome.  Self-imposed famine, and a very good thing,  and I got a ton done--but still famine. 

  • Plague of darkness (חוֹשֶך): Ex. 10:21–29--"Daylight Savings."  'Nuff said.

So, as I'm sitting there realizing these parallels, I start laughing.  It's just too perfect!  I laugh about it to myself for a while, then I realize the  next plague:  The firstborn dies!  Yes, technically it's the firstborn son--and I live in a house full of girls-- but as the previous plagues were properly modified to the modern time, I joked that I couldn't take any chances.  Still laughing at the humor of it all, I posted this to Facebook: 
"personal injuries, lost treasures, plagues, hoards of insects, famine, inclement  weather,darkness...I feel like I should find some lambs blood and put it on the door, so the firstborn roommate doesn't die... "

Kidding around, hardy har har. (And where am I going to find the blood of an unblemished lamb, anyway?  And there are all sorts of problems with BYU housing, and animal sacrifice laws, and what to do with the meat [seriously, there is not a single jar of mint jam anywhere to be found in this house]...anyway, all kinds of practical issues with that solution.)  

Or so I thought. 

When I came home from Church today, I found this:

They were lambs, printed off in red construction paper!  This one says "See Exodus 12," another lamb on the other side of the door post said "<3 your Facebook Friends!"

My friends are so fantastic!!

#My Life is Awesome

A bit of music to send you off: 

    "So let it be written--so let it be done."

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    What if today, we were grateful for everything?

    Sometimes, we are too busy living to actually write about it.

    The last few days definitely qualified.

    The last little while, I have managed to:

    take an exam (and study for that exam)
                      do my laundry
                                                    work 30 hours
                                                                             read The Communist Manifesto
                                                                             read Daughters In My Kingdom
                              memorize 75 more digits of pi
                                                                                             go to classes!!!!
                                                               Eat food!!
                                                            Go to a full block of church!!!!
                                                             Write a poem!
                                                              Complete 4 big assignments!
                                  Sing in a choir!
    write in my journal
                read for my Family Processes class
                                                               cleanify my room
                                                    ...significantly un-cleanify my room...
    --help make 2 cakes
                  --develop 5 recipes
                                    --make 15 pies
                                                 --meet 4 new people
                                                             --get many genuine compliments on my pies!!  made me so happy.
                        got requested to do a wedding cake...for a wedding...on my birthday
                                                           Learn 5 new chords and 2 new songs on the guitar
       burned my hand (2nd degree) and lost most of the skin on my thumb and first 2 fingers [occupational hazard; I'll be fine]
                                             go grocery shopping

                      Watch Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech

                                                                                        call my family
    order spices online
                                  saw a very good friend I don't see much anymore :-)
    saw my hometeachers
    eat some marionberry ice cream
                              read The Gettysburg Address
    pick up extra hours at work
    go with a friend while she got her hair cut
    had FlavorBlast ice cream cones (can you tell I'm happy about the ice cream thing?)
    Listen to  The  Prince of Egypt soundtrack
    Start planning my younger sister's wedding
                                 Listen to Fiddler On the Roof
    witness a miracle
    go to devotional in the Marriott center!!
    Start planning a friend's bridal shower
    learn  3 new techniques  of cooking
    Read "What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July?" 
    Played with  fire
                            sketched out a recipe for Nutella Magic Shell (I'll let you know how that goes)

    So, I suppose, long story short:  After being wiped out pretty much from Thanksgiving to Valentines, and going to a slow, puttering start after that, I FEEL AWESOME.

    Yes, most of the aforementioned activities were sedentary, but still.  I**DID** STUFF!! 

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Quotes on Love and Relationships

    Alright, everybody, here we go.  In thinking about our relationships, I have found it is usually quite beneficial to go to sources wiser than myself. Here are quotes and thoughts I have collected from various places; many of them I was able to find on I am highly appreciative of the Internet Age, in which you are able to check sources and find digital copies of virtually anything. I hope that these can inspire you to think about your own relationships. They come from a variety of places--from authors to rhetoricians to spiritual leaders to pop artists to scripture--but that just goes to show how universal love really is.
    The great philosopher Charlie Brown put it so well: Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”

    “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 

    “I finally understood what true love meant that you care for another person's happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be.” 

    “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can't even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I'm aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don't have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” 
    ― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love

    "The Gospel and Romantic Love,"  Bruce C. Hafen

    "Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon reciprocity."
    Neal A. Maxwell - Press Forward, p37.

    “It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not.” 
    ― André Gide

    “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.” 
    ― Dalai Lama XIV

    “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” 

    “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” 
    ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    “I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.” 

    “Well, it seems to me that the best relationships - the ones that last - are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with.” 
    ― Gillian Anderson

    “When I say, 'I love you,' it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are.” 
    ― Joss Whedon

    "True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of ones companion."
    Gordon B. Hinckley - Quote Book

    “You can't live your life for other people. You've got to do what's right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.” 
    ― Nicholas SparksThe Notebook

    “Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person's throat......Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.........Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation.........Forgiveness does not excuse anything.........You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely. And then one day you will pray for his wholeness......” 
    ― William P. YoungThe Shack

    "The companionship of Christlike friends deeply touches and changes our lives. We should well remember that the Lord often sends 'blessings from above, thru words and deeds of those who love'...Love is the very essence of the gospel of Christ. In this church, prayers for help are often answered by the Lord through the simple, daily service of caring brothers and sisters. In the goodness of genuine friends, I have seen the reflected mercy of the Lord Himself. I have always been humbled by the knowledge that the Savior regards us as His friends when we choose to follow Him and Keep His commandments."
    Joseph B. Wirthlin - General Conference. Oct. 1997

    “A guy and a girl can be just friends, but at one point or another, they will fall for each other...Maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever.” 
    ― Dave Matthews Band

    “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” 
    ― Donald MillerA Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

    "Love can never express itself by imposing sufferings on others. It can only express itself by self-suffering, by self-purification. The law of love knows no bounds of space or time. Where love is, there God is also. The only way love punishes is by suffering. "

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” 
    ― Martin Luther King Jr., 
    A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

    "Every noble impulse, every unselfish expression of love; every brave suffering for the right; every surrender of self to something higher than self; every loyalty to an ideal; every unselfish devotion to principle; every helpfulness to humanity; every act of self-control; every fine courage of the soul, undefeated by pretense or policy, but by being, doing, and living of good for the very good’s sake—that is spirituality."
    David O. McKay - Teachings of the Presidents of the Church

    “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” 

    “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 
    ― Lao Tzu

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 
    ― Holy Bible: New International Version

    Never underestimate the power of true love, for it knows no barriers.  --John Groberg

    And, in closing: 

    “Lucky Charms are like the vampires of breakfast cereal. They're magical, they're delicious, they're a little bit dangerous and bad for you. They initially make you feel great, but then over time you realize that maybe your relationship with Lucky Charms is just a little bit unhealthy and you start to think, 'Maybe I don't want to be in a long-term relationship with a breakfast cereal that tastes delicious but damages my health.' But then the Lucky Charms gets all stalker on you and for some reason you kind of like that. It makes you feel special. So yeah, you spend your life with Lucky Charms. That's awesome. That's a great way to... get diabetes.” 

    Further Reading:

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    When I Have Grown a Foot or Two

    Mission stories. We've heard them.  And heard them, and heard them. Sometimes it seems every other Sunday School comment starts with "When I was on my mission..." [insert eye rolls and 'here we go again' looks here]. A lot of my schoolmates would tease the RMs for only ever talking about their missions.

    But me?  I love them. (The stories, not the RMs.)  
    (Okay, maybe some of the RMs.)

    I used to hear them all the time. First, I had friends leaving on missions, so I wrote to them.  In the return letters, I heard all about Ghana, Pennsylvania, Costa Rica, the West Indies.  My friends at school would also tell me stories from their missions--Russia, Arizona, Salt Lake, New York, Canada, South Africa, the Carolinas, Washington. Then friends started coming home, and it was "Oh, it was so, so amazing! And here, let me introduce you to some of my converts on Skype..."  Last year, I had a couple friends that were recently off of their missions, and it was always "Fiji this" or "Chile that" ; "I miss Hawaii SO MUCH!" or "This one time in Trinidad..." It was great.

    Then my women-friends took off. Capo Verde, North Carolina, Provo, Croatia, Indiana, and more.  Then my younger cousins and friends started leaving. I loved getting letters and hearing about their experiences.

    Now my women-friends are coming home. Most of them ARE home, actually. The men have been home for at least a year, and the mission stories are much less frequent (either because they have other things to relate to now, or perhaps because we've heard them all?  Who knows). The women tell some mission stories, still, but many of them jumped right back into the game of life, with school and work and dating and engagements (and marriages, some).

    I realized today that I *MISS* hearing mission stories.  I didn't go on a mission--a surprise to many, including myself--and I LOVE to hear about all of the--well, all of it!!  The sharing of the  Gospel, the different cultures, the people (wow, some of the people stories), the earthquakes, the castles, the elephants, the getting-chased-down-by-a-crazy-guy-with-a-machete...all of them!

    I'm glad there's not too much longer until Caitlin gets to go, then Emily, then Robert. They all put in their papers within the year, theyll get their respective calls--then I'll get a whole new batch of mission stories. :-)

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    University Education...Perspective

    Through the course of my education, I have had many moments when my extra-curricular interests can combine with my classroom studies. The truly marvelous times are when the ECIs can combine not only with ONE class assignment, but with multiple classes. At the same time.  So brilliant.

    Last week provided one of those gems of true university education. I was instructed to write a poem imitating the style of William Blake; I could choose a "songs of innocence" perspective, or a "songs of experience" perspective.
    I was in a highly introspective mood. I chose to express some of the issues discussed in my family science studies. It is a mite more serious than much of the rest of the blog, but I hope you find it worth your while.

    I'm not really sure how else to preface a poem, so here it is.

    Songs of Innocence
    My lover smiles and holds me near—
    The morning’s wedding vows still new—
    He holds me close, and in my ear
    He sings me songs of innocence

    At first I smile, a fond embrace
     As love’s first blossoming unfolds
    And then my thoughts begin to race—
    I’ve heard this song of innocence

                                                           The mem’ries flood, I pull away—
                                                           My father’s  twisted face I see
                                                           When with a touch, oh poisonous day,
                                                           He seized my song of innocence
                                                           My mind’s eye blinds me to the touch
                                                           Of cherish’d lover’s sweet caress
                                                           And changes them instead to such
                                                           That steal the songs of innocence.

                                                           I cannot breathe—I choke, I die
                                                           And from my lover’s arms I flee
                                                           I wilt;  with flaming tears I cry
                                                           And mourn my song of innocence.

                                                           -- ©Sabina M. Säfsten 2012

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    He Who Shall Not Be Named

    I apologize for my long absence. I got to feeling a bit better, for which I was very grateful, and felt like I had returned from a long trip to Elsewhere. Unfortunately, upon my return to the world of the living, my primary welcoming party was about a month and a half of piled-up rhetoric homework. o.o I am been picking away at said pile, and therefore you, my faithful readers, got The Shaft. 
    I am currently refining my drafts of commitment and mate selection, as they are important topics and I'd like to solidify the research/get things a little more concise. 
    So, for now, an entirely unrelated anecdote

    I work in a kitchen.  On occasion, we receive "Pick-Up" orders. Instead of sitting at a table, the customer simply orders the food and waits in a little benched area while the food is prepared, boxed to go, and sent directly from the kitchen. When the food is ready, a kitchen cook walks to the window, dings a bell, and calls out "Pick-up, for __________!" (insert whatever name is listed at the bottom of the receipt in the blank).

    So, one very, very busy day last week, we get a pick-up order, and I read over it.  Pretty standard, nothing out of the ordinary. 'Good,' I thought in my head. 'We are too busy for a bunch of modifications. Standard order.'

    Then I read the name at the bottom:

     I look again.  Blink twice, my brain processing. I raise an eyebrow, and my reaction brings other cooks over to look at the ticket.  Loud conversation ensues as to who could have placed such an order. We fill it as usual, and many workers choose to wait and watch as I take it to the window. 

    My theatre instinct took over. I could not resist such an opportunity. 

     I take the order up to the window, ring the bell. 

    I call out:  "Pick up for--" my call drops down to a panicked stage-whisper as I look around furtively --"You Know Who!"  My face does a little twitch as I say the dreaded syllables. I hurriedly set the order down and back away, looking nervously around. 

    The performance was greatly appreciated (for which times every actor, amateur or professional, is grateful). Those in the pick-up area waiting for their order (turns out it was a big group of people) burst out laughing, and some called out "spells" as I scurried off.  The cooks gave me some strange looks, and laughed.  

    Everyone's day--even with how completely slammed we were--was a little brighter, thanks to some random geeky humor on the bottom of a restaurant ticket.