Friday, May 30, 2008

wild wedding weekend, part two

after days of rainy, dreary weather, the wedding morning was bright and sunny and wonderful, which was such a relief. on the less relaxing side, there were also three of us to get through the shower, dressed and made up, and a last minute black tank top-related bridesmaid crisis to attend to. the last sealing i went to i barely made it in before the bride and groom, an experience i was not eager to repeat, but luckily we made it in plenty of time, and the rest of the day looked something like this...

robin, shaunna and melissa outside the temple...

the happy couple (jane asked chris not to cut his hair...)

photo madness...

and the kids aren't too happy about it...

robin capturing the action, and looking quite lovely...

we wanted to be in some pictures, too...

a man none of us recognized thrust this camera into shaunna's hands and asked her to "handle it." he was the same man trying, very loudly, to bunch the wedding party together for a photo until jane's dad came off the steps and, leading him away from the group, said, "we actually have a professional photographer to handle all of that so why don't you just stand right over here..."


waiting for the luncheon to start...

as a sidenote, while we were sitting in the lobby of the joseph smith memorial building, who should walk in but my old district leader, elder tashiro. my japanese is pretty pathetic, but i did manage to surmise that he has been living here since the beginning of the year, going to uvsc. and there was no misunderstanding when he asked if i was married. when i said no, he said, "still?" awesome.

starting the ring ceremony...

the luncheon was also a reunion with tandis, our third roommate, and another college friend, erica. i tried to get robin to switch spots with me so i could sit next to tandis and catch up, but instead she left me next to uncle scott (or richard? i can't remember), a marriage and family therapist who pretty much did nothing but ask this question: "why are there so many women of your generation in the church who don't get married?" maybe i should have introduced him to elder tashiro...

and then, after a quick rest and a costume change, it was off to the reception. with a beautiful cake...

... and adorable chocolate-covered children (we actually overheard one boy, running to the chocolate fountain shouting, "stuff dipped in chocolate, gooooood!")

the bouquet toss went slightly awry when jane launched the flowers way past where we were standing and they landed with a thud on the concrete, roses popping off everywhere. but, despite robin's best efforts to ignite my dress, the sparklers were a great, and safe, success, and off the happy couple went.

and home we went, sore feet and happy hearts, all.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

wild wedding weekend, part one

jane, my old college roommate and one of my most near and dear friends, got married last weekend. which meant a non-stop party for days on end! as you may know if you know me (or if you have been reading this blog for a while), i am not super into weddings, and i usually try pretty hard to avoid them. i am willing to make an exception to my usual wedding hiatus, however, when the blessed event involves people i really like and don't see very often coming to town and staying at my house.

like robin and shaunna. robin and shaunna were also roommates in college, and lived right across the street from jane and me. we ate almost every meal together, watched thursday night tv together, walked to classes together. robin and i even had an intense morning work-out schedule going for a while, which seems sort of amazing now that i am lucky to make it to work by 9:30a.m. i hadn't seen shaunna since her own wedding, five years ago, and robin since two summers ago, so it was about time for a reunion. we did lots of girly things, like shopping and baking and watching romantic comedies. and we enjoyed some delicious stoneground pizza with robin's younger brother, tanner, and his friend, michael. (or it might be matt. for some reason i have real trouble remembering his name.) as a funny side note, tanner called just as we were leaving the house and said, "can you bring some lotion that i can put on my face? it's really dry." when i said yes, he said, "girls are awesome!" how right you are, tanner. how right you are.

we got off to a strong start, and did our best to keep going, but it didn't take long to discover we're just not as young and energetic as we used to be.

Friday, May 23, 2008

i screamed, you screamed, we all screamed for... chocolate!

because i am sure you are all DYING to know, i am happy to report that the chocolate carnivale was a huge success! especially good news because there were a lot of obstacles along the way, and it could have been sort of a disaster. as it happened, the only major obstacle on the night of the event was the fact that my dress was nigh unto impossible to get on. i was stuck half in and half out for at least 15 minutes, panicked that i might be stuck like that forever. luckily my fellow board member tristen came into the bathroom and, peeking through the arm hole, i begged her for help. a firm tug and on it went. i won't even tell you how long it took to get it off, but at least i was in the privacy, and space, of my own home.

but, back to the event. we had hundreds of people there, raised good money and gorged ourselves on some of the best chocolate i have ever tasted. the whole event was beautiful, with classy centerpieces, gorgeous flowers, fancy dresses and stunningly displayed treats. sadly, i don't have any pictures of all of that, but here are some of the dear friends who came to support me and the event! thanks, guys! (and sorry to everyone who snuck away without a snapshot. i'll get you next time...)

christian promised a "backless" entry, but chickened out at the last minute and went with a blazer. boo. and joel took one for the team by scoping out the breaker box situation in the men's bathroom (seems like an odd place for something so important at the young WOMEN'S christian association, but what can you do?)

lovely ladies marci, sallee and misty were great taste-testers, and no one spilled, which is a success in and of itself.

denise (on my right) was one of our award winners, and was also the most darling thing. she was nominated by my old india cohort, ruby (on my left) and her friend, caitlinm (on the end). i accidentally deleted the nomination form ruby sent for me denise and yahoo support said, basically, that it could never, ever, ever be recovered. i didn't even know who the nomination had come from but, in a chocolate carnivale miracle, ruby figured out it was her and sent it again. whew!

oertel came all the way from provo, because she is awesome like that. and susan came all the way from our house. also awesome.

and nate came, even though he alleges to have had a traumatic experience with the ywca in honolulu (he has no corroborating sources so i guess i have no choice to believe him). but he agreed that a night of free chocolate was the perfect thing to heal the wound. see how happy he looks? all is forgiven.

and more lovely ladies, briana, meri and natalie.

we were all, of course, exhausted once the whole thing was over, but basking in our triumph more than made up for it. as did leftover chocolate and wine. and the icing on the (chocolate) cake? both joelle and miranda, board members extraordinaire, announced that they have buns in the oven! (flavor to be determined.) congratulations girls!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

tag, i'm it!

my friend cheryl-lynn tagged me. cheryl-lynn was my first, and sort of only, friend when my family moved to colorado right after i graduated from high school. and now we are blogging buddies! i have never been tagged before, so this is pretty exciting. here we go...

1. what were you doing ten years ago?
ten years ago i was finishing up my junior year at h.h. dow high school in midland, michigan. those were the days, eh? i was probably getting ready for some big end-of-the-year voice recital, and working on the big year-end issue of the school newspaper. and either getting ready for, or basking in the glory of, my first prom. i went with phil stump and he wore a top hat. then he married my friend michelle, but that was later. i was also getting ready to go to a fellowship program at northwestern university for the summer. the end of my senior year was more exciting. i puked in the hall in the middle of my government final. but that was only nine years ago, so i'll leave that story for later.

2. five things on your to-do list today
- buy a mother's day gift (yes, i realize that mother's day has passed and that this is pathetic)
- pick up robin from the airport
- go to a meeting at the ywca
- clean off the dining room table
- keep my tootsie roll consumption to an acceptable level (so far, so good)

3. five snacks you enjoy
- oreos, especially double stuf (yes, they only spell it with one f. i have eaten enough to know)
- cheese-flavored crackers
- granola bars
- tootsie rolls (see above)
- nuts, especially cashews or almonds

4. what would you do if you suddenly became a millionaire?
i would take at least a year off and travel all around the whole world, and stop wherever i wanted and spend as much time there as i wanted. i would pay off my student loan. and i would buy a ridiculously expensive pair of shoes, just because i could. and maybe buy a house or an apartment somewhere really exotic, like greece, so that i could say, "oh, you can use my house in greece any time!" and maybe brad pitt and angelina jolie would want to have babies there, because that seems to be their thing.

5. three bad habits
- leaving my room a total and complete mess
- running yellow lights
- being late. all the time. for pretty much everything

6. five places i've lived
- madrid, spain
- boston
- london, england
- evanston, illinois (though i usually just cheat and say chicago)
- tampa, florida

7. five jobs i've had
- cashier at the hobby lobby
- waitress at IHOP (that lasted two weeks, and i was just training for one of them)
- digital image archivist
- freelance marketing developer for the felons (this is a super good story)
- community news reporter at the salt lake tribune

8. five things people don't know about me (i am going to go with things people "may" not know about me, because i don't think i have very many good secrets)
- i have two perfectly round scars on my abdomen from my first two chicken pox
- i have never been to mexico
- i hate movies where animals talk, or save the day
- i have close to 100 pairs of shoes
- i can perfectly replicate the noise made by the bubble in the middle of the board game "trouble"

now, the rule is that i am supposed to tag five people to answer the same questions on their blogs. but, frankly, i am never sure who is reading this (except for my mom... hi, mom!... who doesn't have a blog). so, i am going to "tag" some people, but i don't make any promises about how successful it will be. i choose suvi marie, marci, miranda, nan and an anonymous blog-stalker who will reveal him or herself in the comments section below! come forward, silent rogue! we can't wait to meet you...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

frances cake, take five

in retrospect, i should have written the past two posts in the opposite order, because before marc made a heroic repair of my bike, he came over for a night of delicious frances cake. it was actually marc who introduced me to millie in the first place, so i am forever in his debt. and, he also taught me how to clip in and out of my pedals, so i really owe him my life. he is a for-real hardcore cyclist, but is willing to abide by my three rules: no judging, no making me do stuff, and no leaving me behind. so we get along just fine.

marc and i made carrot cake, and i have to say that it was possibly the most delicious carrot cake i have ever had in all my live-long days. and not a thing went wrong with the recipe. we remembered the eggs, the frosting was the perfect consistency, and we didn't bake it for too long. i think i might be getting the hang of this!

here are some things you should know about marc: he is from texas and has given up talking to his dad about global warming. he is the youngest in his family. he wants to ride his bike across central america. he has a freakishly good memory, especially when it comes to people he has met and the circumstances under which he met them, but he tries to hide it so he doesn't seem like a stalker. he has no sense of smell. he has 14 bikes in his apartment, and a sewing machine. he usually moves every six months.

he also is not super into the idea of eating cake out of people's hands.

but he is always happy to take some home.

it is a good thing we got frances cake in when we did, because marc is actually moving to alaska. as we just became friends, this makes me sort of sad. but we have squeezed in a lot of friendship since we met, so i think it might stick. it is also a good thing we got frances cake in when we did because marc returned my tupperware with a jar of homemade strawberry jam inside, and it was delicious. a perfect end to a perfect frances cake.

Monday, May 19, 2008

why yes, we are hardcore (part 2)

saturday morning and sallee and i had a plan to ride 50 miles, or thereabouts. with only three weekends left until the little red riding hood century, we are sort of out of time to mess around. plus, it was a gorgeous day, and there is little better to do on a gorgeous day than ride around on your bike. we were both a little tired from chocolate fundraisers and the return of fiancees (respectively), so we settled on a later start time and figured we might grab some lunch on our way home.

as i am walking out the door, sallee calls. flat tire. she'll call me back when it's fixed. a few minutes later, the phone rings again. she can't find the leak, so she doesn't know where to patch. we decide she should go to the bike shop down the street, get a new tube and put it in. she'll call me when she's done. a few minutes later, the phone rings again. good to go. but then a few seconds later, the phone rings again. her tire had exploded. back to the bike shop. the phone rings again. she's all sorted out, for real this time.

i hop on millie to ride up to our rendezvous point on campus. just a block and a half or so from my house, i have to cross some train tracks that sort of curve around up the hill (can you see where this is going?). i miscalculate the angle of my own turn (math has never been my thing) and my back tire lodges in that hole between the rail and the road. the bike stops and i, of course, don't. i fly instead, and take about 90 percent of the fall right on my chin. the small silver lining? i somehow, miraculously, came unclipped so my bike did not fly with me.

i call sallee. she meets me a few feet from the scene of the incident and we decide we better head back to my house to wash out my wounds and take further stock of the situation. my chin rivaled jay leno's in size, but otherwise my injuries were minor. i didn't see anything wrong with millie, either, but when i hopped on to ride home i realized that the left-side brake mount was, shall we say, askance, and the brake was being permanently applied to the front tire. less than ideal. sallee loosened the front brake so i could ride home, but riding with no brakes on the front tire is also less than ideal. i definitely needed to get it fixed before we could go much further.

briana, who was trying to enjoy a relaxing morning at home, was understandably a little surprised to see us walk through the door so soon after my departure, but she jumped to the rescue, assessing the damage (moderate), disinfecting my chin and filling me with homeopathic remedies (some of them tasted downright nasty, and i can't remember exactly what they were supposed to do... i heard the word trauma... but i am sure they helped).

meanwhile, sallee called my friend marc, bicycle psychologist extraordinaire. he said to bring millie down to the bike shop and he would take a look.

though he would probably deny this, i am pretty sure marc couldn't help laughing when he saw my face/enormous chin/dirt-and-grime-smeared shirt.

he was nice enough to confess that he, too, has crashed as a result of train tracks, though his chin was not involved. i had no idea how bad millie's injury was, or what it would take to fix her, and i was, frankly, a little nervous. marc took a look, let out a long sigh, took a firm grip on the brake mount... and jerked it back into place. with his hand.

me: that's it?
marc: that's it.
me: good as new?
marc: better than new.
me: that's embarrassing.
marc: i'm a professional.

and we were out the door.

after all our mishaps, sallee and i figured we would just ride a quick 15 mile loop, take ourselves out to lunch and call it good. but, once we were going it felt so good that we just kept on going, for pretty much our whole original route. we made it all the way to the mouth of little cottonwood canyon and then came back around. it was a pretty intense ride with a lot more climbing that we usually do, and i am not embarrassed to say that we had to stop at granite bakery on our way home for some cookies to get us through the last few miles (sallee chose the ones shaped like the temple). but, where even a month ago i would have given up after the first obstacle, or certainly the second, let alone the third and fourth, we rocked that ride and we rocked it hard. because we are...? that's right. hardcore. i would say these bruises on my leg, which appeared later in the day, pretty much prove it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

a chocolate carnivale for all!

ok, i spent the whole bike ride to work this morning trying to think of a clever way to start this post, and all i came up with was a clever way to drop in that i rode my bike to work this morning. so, i am just going to get right to the point.

i am on a board at the ywca of salt lake city, we are hosting a FREE event this friday and you should come!

the event is called, officially, "chocolate carnivale: a celebration of successful young women." you'll get to throw on your "cocktail" (i am going to say that means semi-formal) attire and make a red carpet entrance at 7p.m., with a photographer there to capture all your glory, and there will be mounds and mounds of FREE chocolate to enjoy once you get inside. there are also some pretty amazing silent auction items (including a basket full of shabby apple goodies, and some gems from the boy roommates' store) and we'll have live entertainment as well. we're also giving away awards to three incredible young women from the salt lake valley, so you can eat chocolate AND be inspired, which i think is a pretty unbeatable combination. and there's a cash bar. that pretty much sealed the deal, didn't it?

so, to review. this friday, may 16th, 7p.m. FREE event with FREE chocolate at the ywca of salt lake city, 322 east 300 south. coming because you love me is, obviously, reason enough, but coming to support the ywca and their mission of empowering women and eliminating racism isn't such a bad way to spend a friday night either.

see you there!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

connect the dots

there is a theory of social connectedness i refer to as "the theory of the 1,000 person clique." it is, essentially, that practically every person you know knows someone else you know, and that our tight "inner circle" is really a vast and interconnected network of people. example: i met adam at an 80s dance party, an introduction that would lead me to believe he was completely unconnected to anyone i already knew. but, in fact, adam worked with lauren, who volunteered with me. and lauren, in turn, was old friends with my friend suvi. so really, adam had been a part of my 1,000 person clique all the time. or, here's another one i've actually posted about already: i lived in spain with elna, who moved to new york and performed a show witnessed by suvi, and also taught a sunday school class attended by my friend ryan. not to mention that both elna and her sister, christina, grew up in seattle with oertel, who was in the mtc with me. 1,000 person clique again. figuring out all the people you know who know each other is pretty fun, and you should try it. as long as the prospect of never being able to escape your extended social network doesn't make you want to die.

a few days ago, susan sent me this article by malcolm gladwell, which takes the theory of the 1,000 person clique a step further. before i continue let me say, in the interest of full disclosure, that i have a deep and true love for malcolm gladwell. though i am 100 percent positive that he is an emotionally unavailable narcissist (something that has, unfortunately, been somewhat manifested in his writing as of late), i think he is brilliant and funny and a truly original thinker and if he asked me to have his babies i would say yes. but, i digress.

in this article, and to a greater extent in his book, "the tipping point," malcolm gladwell posits that all of that social interconnectedness is actually the work of a few uniquely talented people he calls, unsurprisingly, "connectors." connectors are the people who know everyone, and can always put you in touch with exactly the person, or kind of person, you need. an event planner in new york city? done. a manufacturer in guatemala? done. a public relations professional in tokyo? well, you get the idea.

to prove this point, malcolm engages in an exercise whereby he traces all of his good friends back to the original source. and, as you might expect, most of them came back to the same one person. this all sounded sort of fun, so i tried it myself. it would go something like this: i met jed because he went to law school with nicole, who is a clerk with jessica, who was introduced to me by dana, who i know because she and susan had mutual friends at stanford, although they had never met until they were both living in salt lake. and i know susan because she was roommates with ck, who i know because i was roommates with ck's sister jane. so, no jane, no jed, even though jane and jed have never met themselves (at least as far as i know. but let's be honest, it wouldn't surprise me if they had).

fun, huh?

but that was the best line of connectedness i could come up with. most of my other friends had shorter and much less interesting ways of coming into my life. there are, i think, two reasons for this. firstly, i think being a mormon and meeting people in a ward (congregation in the non-mormon vernacular) often eliminates a lot of these steps. ultimately, for example, i met and was roommates with jane because we were in the same ward, and the same is true for a lot of my close friends. i can trace them, in not too many steps, back to a ward or a friend from a ward. this does not mean the bizarre interconnectedness is any less; in fact, sometimes i think the mormon thing makes it worse. (like my ward friend joellen's sister being best friends with the ex-wife of my then-boyfriend, who was the ex-boyfriend of my good friend robin, who i met in my ward. got that?) but it does mean that the chain of command frequently leads back to a ward instead of a "connector."

my second conclusion is that, perhaps, i myself am a connector! i need to test this a little further, but i think it might be at least partially true. maybe not to the extent of the examples in malcolm gladwell's article (i am not friends with lenny bruce, for example), but i'd like to think my circle is wide enough to bring together a pretty good variety of interesting and necessary people. (my most recent crowning achievement in this department was when ck was frantically looking for a photographer in virginia and i remembered that my friend berto is, you guessed it, a photographer in virginia. voila!)

i am going to keep working on tracing my friends back, and maybe i will uncover a brilliant and talented connector other than myself. and how about you? what is your craziest line of connectedness, and who is the ultimate source? me? i wouldn't be surprised...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

why yes, we are hardcore.

saturday morning and the bikes are loaded up, millie for me, synergy for sallee. (sallee's old bike, jem, left us last weekend in a most dramatic and unexpected fashion. let's just say bike parts strewn on the road. she never would have made it 100 miles. but synergy is a champ!)

being hardcore, sallee had changed a flat tire by herself the night before. good as new. also being hardcore, sallee thought she could ride in a tank top. but, she was wrong. we rode a few feet and then went back and got her sweatshirt. it was cold.

this, my friends, is what we call clipping in. that's right, my shoe is actually attached to that pedal. and it is just as terrifying as it sounds. but, it means i am hardcore. and that's what matters.

thanks to a very detailed map provided by travis, sallee and i pretty easily completed a 21-mile-or-so loop out by the airport. we even rode over the boundary into north salt lake, which somehow makes it all seem so much more, well, hardcore. and, other hardcore road bikers were waving at us in comraderie, which makes me think we finally look like we know what we're doing. pretty rad. the only not-so-rad thing about the morning? a poorly aimed snot-rocket (what sallee calls a "farmer blow"). the landing spot was (unintentionally) my shoulder. gross. but clothes wash. and it was all ok because, i think as you can see here, frances+millie=true biking love.

Friday, May 9, 2008

frances cake, take four

miaken is the very definition of a friend crush. i had seen her around on facebook, linked to a lot of my friends and in a lot of pictures of things that looked totally awesome and i wanted to meet her so bad. and then i invited myself to rob's art night a little while back, and there she was! i may or may not have totally accosted her and forced her to sit next to me. or it may have just happened that way on its own. i can't quite remember. but, we traced our hands and turned the shapes into pictures, and she gave me a really great lead on a story for the paper and i invited her over for cake. friend dreams do come true!

miaken and i were meant to be friends because we were both craving some kind of lemon cake, but i didn't know she wanted lemon, too, until after i had already picked a lemon cream cake recipe. so it was like fate, you know? and we decided to make cupcakes, because lemon always tastes better in a cupcake form, i feel.

there were no major glitches in the preparation or baking. in fact, the cupcakes were practically perfect, as you will see for yourselves in a moment. the only minor snag was the frosting. we decided to eschew measuring and put in as much lemon juice as we wanted (the more the better, right?) but that made for some consistency problems that proved slightly difficult to remedy. the final product was more of a glaze than a frosting, but it was still completely delicious.

and, in the meantime, i learned that miaken is from kansas and she had her first stitches that very day (non-traumatic for her, in case you were wondering. she sort of liked it). we also talked about how she wanted to go back to school to study film, and she just found out this week that she was accepted! hurrah! it's a frances cake miracle!

susan just bought a new camera and was testing it out this particular day, so she documented the proceedings. i think she captured the divinity of these particular cupcakes very skillfully.