Friday, January 30, 2009


last night, in front of the tv.

me: is that the most recent "american idol" on your tivo?
heather: i think so.
me: can we watch it? an elder from my mission auditioned in this episode. he was the one with a big pink rabbit.
me: i mean, a man dressed as a big pink rabbit.
me: to be clear, he was the guy with the rabbit, not the guy in the rabbit suit.
kat: it's sad you even have to make that distinction.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

plan a

on a nothing but ordinary wednesday night, what you probably want to do is untie your moccasin boots, climb into bed with your heating pad and spend the rest of the evening reading a good book and/or watching tv online, all the while trying to forget that it is bitter, bitter cold outside and will be for a long time to come.

but if, instead, you decide to brave the outside world to catch a devotchka concert with amy and elliott, i can promise that you will not be sorry you did. especially because you will feel like you have been to argentina, the world's best carnival, 1920s eastern europe and heaven all within two hours. you will see a burlesque dancer, a lit-up tuba and other instruments whose names you don't even know. you will dance. and when you hear a spare, haunting rendition of this song, you will wish you could breathe in music like air and keep it with you always. and forever.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

viva la vida

when i was younger, i was under the distinct impression that being a grown-up was way better than being a kid. because, obviously, as a grown-up you had no bedtime, there was no such things as "school nights," you could eat whatever you wanted for dinner and you had your own money that you could spend on whatever you wanted. also, you didn't have to deal with all the agonizing drama of high school, with all the petty rumors and fighting and hurt feelings and really, truly, i-am-not-exagerrating-mom broken hearts. because, obviously, as a grown-up those things just don't happen to you. and if, by some fluke, a trouble did come along, you could handle it with grace and ease because you were a grown-up, after all, and knew what to do all the time.

as it happens, some of these things are true. for example, i am eating red vines right now (and right now is dinnertime), plus i today i bought a bike trainer and a sweater i don't need.

but, as it happens, being a grown-up is also sort of complicated, a fact i learn more and more the longer i am one. there are bills and car maintenance and investment accounts and work schedules and worrying about what comes next. and there is also a different kind of agonizing drama, usually in the form of a continuing realization that, in fact, i have no idea what to do most of the time. the right words, solutions to hard problems and answers to big questions don't just come out of nowhere. at least not usually. every situation, every relationship, every experience comes with a learning curve. and they never stop coming.

i'm not saying that's bad. it's not easy, but it's not bad. sure, sometimes you just get it all wrong, and misunderstandings are had and feelings are hurt and there doesn't seem to be any way of going back and making things right. but sometimes there are really great moments, like when someone calls to sort out a big mess that had you worried and insecure for ages and you hang up the phone and feel so much better and think to yourself, "thank goodness we could work that out like grown-ups." or when you get a text message in the middle of the night that says, "you are a really good person," and you realize that you must be at least somewhere close to the right track.

i am learning to let go of the idea that some day i will know it all and get everything right. and, more importantly, i am learning to embrace the idea that the people around me are just doing their best, too. it's hard to remember sometimes, but we're all just muddling through, with the lessons and information we have, trying to tackle each new curve a little better and a little stronger than the last one. because that is what being a grown-up is all about.

and, red vines aside, i think it's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

celebrate good times (come on!)

baby kyle gets a lot of screentime on this weblog, but it should also be noted that, in addition to loving him, i love his parents, holly and evan. they are still relatively new cast members on "the frances show" (yes, i will be referring to my life by that title from now on), and i am always glad to have them around.

{they look pretty excited about it, too}

so glad, in fact, that i was willing to celebrate evan's birthday in style with sushi and... wait for it... karaoke!

ok, so actually neither of those things were much of a sacrifice, but they were super-duper fun. i would like, at this time, to give two enthusiastic thumbs up to samurai sushi, its dancing chef and its bizarro korean karaoke machine, complete with incongrous background music videos. (could "buttercup" have a hidden meaning, involving korean soldiers and hand grenades? you heard it here first!)

it's hard to pick a favorite part of the night.

was it delicious sushi?

was it hanging out with these people?

the table-wide belting of "bohemian rhaspody" and "billie jean"?

or was it jake's epic rendition of "total eclipse of the heart"?

luckily, i don't have to choose a favorite (unlike colors, or children), and you don't either. though, if you're looking for more information with which to make a choice, you can check out what holly has to say about our evening of revelry. (and i'll tell you a secret. she even posted a video.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

sundance adventure(land)

the sundance film festival, that old hipster stand-by, has just wrapped up its annual invasion. as a general rule, i really like sundance and sundance movies, though i find it sort of disconcerting that films with big budgets and major stars count as "indies." i mean, i'm sorry, but if it stars mariah carey's husband, it can't be too under-the-radar. (what would parker posey say?)

all of that aside, i usually try to take as much advantage of sundance as i can, but i was way behind the game this year and it looked like i wouldn't catch a single screening (not one! what would parker posey say?) until emily g. came through with a last-minute and hipster-status-saving offer to see "adventureland."

allow me to sum up.

geeky, curly-haired recent college grad, as a result of family money troubles, is forced to work all summer in a lame (and potentially fatal) amusement park where he falls for a beautiful, complicated co-worker who drinks all the time, hates her parents and for no discernible reason, falls head-over-heels for the aforementioned geeky, curly-haired recent college grad. happily ever after, the end. (what would parker posey say?)

to be clear, i rather enjoyed the film. it had the appropriate degree of adolescent humor (mostly revolving around smoking pot and embarrassing incidents involving the male, um, member), as well as the requisite amount of squishy emotional confession. we laughed, we cried (though not really), and all of that.

but, the more i think about it the more i am bothered by poor, well-meaning "adventureland," for two major reasons.

1. that never happens in real-life. unsalvageable nerd lands bevy of hot women while wearing amusement park uniform? i think not. but, since i watched four episodes in a row of "battlestar galactica" last night, i don't think i am arguing from a point of strength when it comes to realism in entertainment. so i am just going to move on.

2. the thing that really bothers me is that "adventureland" is just one in a recent spate of similar movie plots in which a loveable but generally average nerd unwittingly but successfully woos a totally hot girl (i'm looking at you, michael cera). a heart-warming tale, to be sure, and i want happiness for nerds everywhere as much as the next girl. i would also be lying if i said i didn't have my own little crush on lloyd dobbler and paulie bleeker and the rest.

the problem is that cinema has yet to produce a female alternative to this phenomenon of which i speak. there is no such thing as the nerdy-but-nice-girl-steals-the-jock-from-hot-cheerleaders-with-nothing-but-her-innate-if-usually-obscured-charm sub-genre. for nerdy movie girls to win over the awesome dudes (who are never really that awesome), they have to undergo some major physical transformation, call it the "grease" syndrome, which, i might point out indignantly, always, always, always involves getting rid of their glasses. and so, after shedding her bad clothes and hair, personality and quirky, independent charm (and stylish eyewear), our female protagonists can finally, miraculously win over the big man on campus.


to wit, from one of the worst offenders in this category, "she's all that":

laney boggs before:

laney boggs after:

now, i don't want this to sound like bespectacled sour grapes. movies are escapist and not real and in movie-land people see each other for who and what they really are and true love conquers all and that is why we go to the movies in the first place. yes, fine. i get it.

but once, just once, it would be nice to see a truly nerdy girl come out the winner, frames and all.

parker posey would rejoice. i am sure of it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

an apple a day

i don't know this for sure, but i suspect there is a burning question on your collective mind, namely: what is going on over at the shabby apple blog?

as it happens, a lot!

for starters, there is all sorts of priceless fashion advice about scarves and tights and other odds and ends that you're not going to want to miss. we also assessed the fashion of the first family, and posted about the economy. (that's right. fashion cares about the news.)

and now you can follow us on twitter, and share the blog with all your friends! (do it! do it now!)

plus, through the end of next week, you can vote on your favorite design for a new line of shabby apple bridesmaid dresses. surely, an opportunity not to be missed.

what are you waiting for?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

frances cake, take 14: the martha, martha, martha! edition

generally speaking, i am not a fan of martha stewart, mainly for two reasons. 1. i think her pernicious brand of high-maintenance domesticity serves to do little more than make women feel badly about themselves for not doing "enough" when really, who has time to plant and nurture their own pine forest so they can harvest the cones to make wreaths? sheesh. and 2. i don't think convicted felons should get their own tv shows, unless those tv shows involve bounty hunting, tattoos and/or reality dating.

i will say, though, that martha does know her way around a cupcake, and when holly lent us a copy of martha stewart living with this feature, i knew i would have to break down and try one (or all) of the recipes.

and so it was that morgan joined me to bake some brown sugar pound cupcakes with brown butter glaze. the recipe (which i will include below) was not actually that difficult, especially if you disregarded martha's hoity toity "basic cupcake how-to," which really just confused things. the only thing worth remembering is that these cupcakes have a lot of brown sugar, which morgan and i agreed is probably the most delicious thing in the world. (and yes, we probably ate at least three cupcakes worth of batter. sue us.)

in addition to being an appreciator of fine cupcakes, morgan is a genius at all things electronic, and may or may not have a pin with a programmable LCD screen (or is it a belt buckle?) though i have one nerd leg up on him (gross?) because he has never seen "battlestar galactica." morgan is also planning a trip to spain this summer, which makes me insanely jealous. and he knows all about the emotional wheel, which is pretty sweet.

morgan is also a good person to have around if you decide to make these cupcakes, because he knows how to brown butter. i, myself, did not know that you could turn melted butter brown without also catching it on fire. turns out you can. add it to many, many cups of powdered sugar and it is de-licious. though, as usual, the glaze did give us a bit of trouble. some cupcakes had to be stripped of their glaze and refrosted.

and, despite our best efforts towards equality, some still came out looking better than others. (quoth morgan: "it looks like a bad toupee!")

but, final consensus?


wanna try 'em? here you go!

brown sugar pound cupcakes
(martha says the recipe makes 29, which is the most silly cupcake batch number ever. we made 24.)

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk

1. preheat oven to 325 degrees. cream butter and sugar. add eggs and buttermilk. combine dry ingredients and add.
2. fill each cup 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes.
3. set rack with cupcakes over a parchment lined baking sheet. spoon glaze over cupcake tops and let stand until set.

brown butter glaze
(makes one cup)

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

1. heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown (about 10 minutes). carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind.
2. add sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk to butter; stir until smooth. if glaze is too thick, add more milk. use immediately. (and that part is no joke. just warning you. but make sure the cupcakes aren't too hot, or else you'll get melty toupees.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ba-rock my world

{i couldn't have said it better myself}

i spent a lot of time tearing up yesterday. happy tears all around.

i teared up while i watched barack obama's inaugural speech.

i teared up when i read the transcript of it a few hours later.

i teared up thinking about michelle obama holding the lincoln bible.

i teared up thinking of the responsibility we all have to make this country great, or at least to make it better.

i teared up thinking about a historic election, and a historic president, who makes a lot of us want to take that responsibility a lot more seriously.

i teared up (laughing) at the final compilations of bush-isms. (he's right, you know. it is hard to put food on your family.)

i teared up thinking about two little girls who are proud of their daddy.

i teared up wishing i had hit up uncle bob sooner for primo inauguration tickets. (but he looked pretty snazzy in that white scarf, eh?)

so, needless to say, i've been pretty happy with the way things have gone down so far, presidentially speaking, and, though it's not an easy row to hoe, i have a lot of optimism about things to come.

there is just one thing missing. if only there was some way i could express how i feel through stylish and quirky footwear.

oh wait.

there is.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

operation: hot chocolate

my prayers for no snow at all ever again have been answered of late, (if only it could last forever. and if only no snow didn't also mean no clean air for as far as the eye can see), but it is still winter (sigh), which means that it is still inhumanely cold outside (sigh), which means that my hot chocolate consumption is in the gallons. daily.

(happy sigh.)

the only problem is that my little mug (which may or may not say, "the enterprise: we mean business") is not up to the challenge. gallons of hot chocolate a day mean more trips to the little water cooler, which in this case dispenses hot water (stay with me folks), than i care to count.

what is a girl to do?

well, one solution is to take a late-night trip to michael's for some quilt batting, where the damsel in distress might also discover this magical solution.

yes, that is a real, eeenoooormous mug. no, i didn't buy it. but yes, i want it real bad and i might have to go back.

it sort of reminds me of that huuuge cup of espresso that mike myers gets at the beginning of "so i married an axe murderer." i couldn't find that part on youtube, though, so you'll just have to watch this clip instead.


Monday, January 19, 2009

the doc is in

once a virile social stalwart, documentary movie night has fallen on hard times lately, brought down by the virus of my own disorganization more than anything else. (don't ever catch that virus. it's a bad one.) but, thanks to the magic elixir of on-demand entertainment from netflix, documentary movie night made a miracle comeback last weekend with a screening of "the king of kong: a fistful of quarters," an inside look at the battle for the world record in that video game favorite, donkey kong.

now, you can scoff all you want at video game nerds (i certainly do), but let me be clear when i say that these people are not joking around. the business of video game world records is a serious one. watching the whole thing unfold was way more intense than, say, watching tom cruise plotting to kill hitler. seriously.

on one side, you have steve wiebe, a mild-mannered and bad-lucked junior high science teacher whose wife thinks he's a loser and whose mother thinks he might be slightly autistic. he puts a donkey kong arcade game in his garage and sets about to take down the world record, even if it means ignoring his children while they scream for help from the bathroom. this prompts said children to say things like, "work is for people who can't play video games." amen.

on the other side you have the world record holder and hiss-worthy villain, billy mitchell, who runs a hot sauce business on the side, and has two important things that every video game champ needs: a wife with fake boobs and a time machine, which allows him to maintain a truly stunning 1980s hairstyle. (ok, i don't know if he really has a time machine, but his hair is not from this day and age.)

other than that, i don't want to give away too many details, but i will say that the human drama is unparalleled. there is subterfuge and intrigue, threats are made and tears are shed and the feuds in video game world rival anything from mobland. evil billy mitchell is like the godfather of video games, with his minnions and his flowing locks. really, you won't believe it until you see it.

i recommend that you prepare yourself carefully before attempting a viewing on your own. the mounting stress as the story twists and turns may take some time off your life, or at least cause you to stress-eat more pumpkin-oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies than you really should.

to prove my point, here is a little peek:

can you handle that?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

maybe delta isn't so bad...

delays and cancellations are annoying for sure, but i guess it could have been a lot worse.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the blog has a birthday

like the doting e-parent that i am, i am pleased to announce that a blog for frances is now a precocious one-year-old. next up, potty training!

seriously though.

this milestone was actually passed back in november, but i put off mentioning it because i wasn't exactly sure how to mark the occassion. a cake? a party? gifts all around? i think you can see the dilemma. so, i decided to go with that old stand-by, introspection.

here is what i have to say about this whole blogging business.

i started the blog because i was going to india and i was pretty sure it was going to be fabulous and i wanted everyone else to enjoy it along with me. beyond that, i wasn't really sure what was going to happen in my internet life, and i had no expectations about how the blog would work out or how long it would last.

i don't mean to sound like angelina jolie here, complaining about the guilded cage of fame, but frankly, the world of blogging is sort of a mixed bag. there is pressure to be funny, interesting and to take at least some photos without a double chin. there is worry about whether anyone is reading anyway, and if they even care that i lost the office belching contest. and sometimes i think it would be easier to just give the whole thing up.

but, every time i get anxiety about the blog, i try to remember why i started it in the first place. or, maybe more accurately, why i keep doing it. the fact of the matter is, i think most of my life is actually pretty fabulous, and i want everyone else to enjoy it along with me. i think it's valuable to have a record of one's life, of the goings-on both big and small, and since i gave up on keeping a journal ages ago, this is my best shot. and, though it can be scary to put yourself out into the web of the world wide, and though not every single thing i think and feel appears here, i really relish the chance to reflect, process and share the people, places and things that are important to me. (and that includes you!)

so, to celebrate one year of blogging bliss, i have decided to delve into the archives and choose some of my favorite moments in a blog for frances history. (another favorite thing about blogging: license for complete self-indulgence. don't like it? stop reading.)

1. the purpose of the blog is manifest. and a miracle is witnessed.
2. frances rides an elephant, advances cultural understanding and sees the taj mahal.
3. another new york adventure, there and back.
4. frances cake is born. and francey-pants is celebrated.
5. frances meets captain adama.
6. one word: hardcore.
7. frances survives zion.
8. frances takes stock of her life. and it looks pretty good. (whew.)
9. frances jumps out of an airplane.
10. frances becomes a groupie (and survives internet censorship), rides in a helicopter and makes an important step on the road to celebrity. but no making out with the killers. sigh.
11. history is made.
12. frances learns a little about love. and falls in love.

there now. wasn't that fun? and don't worry, you can get in on the self-indulgence game, too! by which i mean, indulge me! and celebrate by sharing your own favorite a blog for frances moments. it is my (blog's) birthday, after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


the other day amy and i were texting, which is, btw, our preferred mode of communication. we decided it was high-time to get together, and also high-time for another friendinner.

amy decided to make minestrone. (though she pronounces it minestron. she claims that's how italians from philly say it, but i am not convinced.)

i decided that baby kyle is getting too big and squirmy to carry around any more, so i put him in the sling. he decided to like it. at first.

{i am sorry, but if you do not love this baby, you have a heart of stone. stone!}

then he decided to hate it and cry and scream, which meant daddy evan had to come to the rescue.

shawn decided to come so we could all say good-bye before he leaves for jordan. that would be in the middle east, not the southwestern part of salt lake valley.

elliott decided to be himself.

bri decided to make a cobbler. it was delicious.

but baby kyle didn't get any. he decided to have rice cereal instead.

i decided to convince everyone that "twilight" is the best movie ever. this is how i persuaded them.

laron decided to bring his camera, thankfully, because it meant we got all these great pictures.

i decided that friendinner is one of the best things ever.

that's right. even better than "gossip girl." that's pretty good.

Monday, January 12, 2009

and the winner is...

i know the suspense is probably KILLING you, but before i make the big reveal, i have a little story to tell. it goes like this.

once upon a time (this weekend), my dear and former roommate, susan, came to visit. we had a lovely time watching movies and eating food and planning (but, sadly, not executing) snow shoeing trips and laughing a lot, and when monday morning came susan left for the airport to catch her flight home. except that her flight was cancelled. and if you guessed that she was flying delta, then you guessed right! (no prize for that one, though.)

though a royal pain, this change of plans was good news because it meant more time with susan before she left us. and it also reinforces the importance of the task we are here to honor today. so, without further ado, i present the winners!

(drum roll, etc.)

(and also i should add that my dad, who hatched this contest in the first place, helped pick the winners. he didn't even vote for himself, so you know these are unbiased choices.)

first place goes to steve for "driving every last traveler away."

for steve we have none other than a "magic rainbow drawing board" (no pens necessary!), perfect for writing secret notes about other people in the terminal while you are sitting waiting for your delayed flight. also a good tool for sending rude messages to unhelpful airline employees without actually having to talk to them.

second place goes to (codename) doovie for "doesn't ever leave the airport."

doovie will soon be the proud owner of a rubiks cube, the perfect non-electronic device to keep you occupied as you sit on the tarmac, sometimes for hours, waiting for some vague mechanical problem to be addressed. and, in case you get stumped, the clerk at walgreens gave me a tip for solving the cube. just peel off the stickers and rearrange them so it looks like you solved it. tricky, eh?

and third place was a tie between (codename) reno for "dumb employees laboring to annoy" and natalie for "doing every little thing abominably."

you lovely ladies will each be receiving a luggage tag, which will come in handy when you have to pick out your suitcase in a room filled with hundreds of other pieces of stowed-away luggage because your suitcase somehow flew the coop without you.

let's hear three cheers for our winners! actually, three cheers for everyone! because, as my mom always reminds us, we're all winners. if you are a for real winner and i don't have your address, send it along and i'll pop your prize in the mail. i'll even throw in a hand-written note, and do my best to make it legible. to the rest of you, i am sending my undying affection through the ether, which is probably the best gift of all.

and, not to worry, everyone is still invited to the mtv music video awards. i am sure brandon flowers won't mind.

Friday, January 9, 2009

haste, haste to bring Him laud

{my new nativity scene, all the way from bangladesh}

i took down the christmas decorations the other day, which is a bummer for a variety of reasons.

1. it was work, and not the good kind of work with a satisfying pay-off at the end. at the end, all i had was fake pine needles to be vacuumed. and also a big empty space in my living room.

2. the end of christmas just reminds me that there are still months of winter ahead, but no more holidays left to break them up.

3. the end of the holiday season means the end of all that deliberate kindness, togetherness and general good cheer. sure, we all say we are going to do our best to carry that special holiday feeling with us all year long, but let's be honest. i've already honked angrily at someone on the road, and used several not-nice-names, and it's only jan. 9.

mostly, though, i hate the end of christmas because it means the end of a whole month, a whole season!, of reflecting on Jesus Christ, in whom i believe and who i love very much. i love the opportunity christmas provides to think about the Savior's birth. i love the songs that celebrate His life. i love the scriptures that teach us of His ultimate sacrifice. i love the reminder to take the time to think about Him and how i am going to better follow His example. i feel close to Christ at christmas, and that is why i am always sad to see the season go.

but, unlike good will toward men, a closeness to Christ is something i believe i can (with a little work) enjoy all the year long. and, despite its failings in the historical accuracy department, i love celebrating christmas in december, because it means i can end one year and start another with my head and my heart closer to the right place.

just after the new year, a few years ago, my home teacher came over and shared a short and familiar scripture about the Savior from the book of luke. it says, "and Jesus increased in stature and wisdom, and in favor with God and man." he suggested that this verse could act as a sort of roadmap, a guide for goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, divided into four categories: physical (stature), intellectual (wisdom), spiritual (favor with God) and temporal (favor with man). i have used this framework in the years since, and my goals have taken on more meaning as i have patterned them after the perfect example.

being caught up in the living of my own life, it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees, and i am sure your experience is no different. but looking back on the year i can see some important strides, and i bet you can, too. (do you suppose a killers music video shoot counts for favor with God and man? i think it might.)

if i were to confess one shortcoming, however, it would be some neglect in my spiritual life, which i think ultimately makes growth in other areas difficult as well. as i think is human nature with anything that feels comfortable and is going relatively well, i have settled into something of a spiritual rut. a "getting by fine but just getting by" kind of attitude. a plateau. one great thing about plateaus is they give you a chance to stop, breathe, close your eyes and then open them again to look out over the expanse of what you have just accomplished. but eventually it is time to start climbing again.

and so, i have commited myself this year to live a little more boldly. to climb higher, dive deeper, explore more sincerely, and let more of the unimportant things go. i am still working out a lot of the specifics, but this will definitely include a renewed committment to prayer, scriptures and the temple. it will also include trips to somewhere in the country and the world i have never been before. i plan to get my savings up and my student loan down. i am going to run a 10k and ride my bike for many more hundreds of miles. i am going to write and write and write, read and read and read, learn and learn and learn.

it's going to be a good year.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

dear gas prices

we need to talk.

i have tried my hardest to make this relationship work. i really, really have. but, i'm not going to lie, your mixed signals are making it a little hard. frankly, i've had just about all i can take.

i heard the rumors but hoped they weren't true. and then i saw it for myself. first you were $1.39 in the morning. then it was $1.59 by the time i was coming home from work. i mean, really, can't you just commit? it's like i don't even know you anymore.

i'm not saying it's over, gas prices. i think we can both agree that things aren't nearly as bad between us as they were in the dark days of almost $4 a gallon every time we wanted to spend time together. but, it looks like we still have some things to work through. you know?

i think you do.


p.s. this is for everybody. don't forget about the delta-naming contest going on below. the deadline has been extended (it's a pretty fluid thing) and i think you're all going to want a piece of the awesome prize i am cooking up. plus, it will hurt my feelings if you don't play. i would hate to see you in the same position as gas prices.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

the first crusade

in more than a year now of blogging (more on this milestone soon), i have never held a contest, which i understand is something that dedicated bloggers searching for worldwide fame often do. the trouble is, online contests are sort of a pain, especially, i have learned, if the prize is a free dress. but my dad threw down a pretty good challenge in the comments section of the previous post, and i think it deserves a little more exposure. here it is:

OK, all of you Frances blogophiles, time for a contest. Given the less-than-stellar (but in the end beneficial for the Johnson family) performance of Delta Airlines, I think that, using Delta as a acronym, we should come up with what it means. Permit me to give you a few examples, just so you know how the contest works:

Sabena (the old Belgian airline) means Such A Bad Experience Never Again

Alitalia (the old Italian airline) means Always Late In Take-off And Late In Arrival

British Airways means Bloody Awful

You get the point.

Here is my entry for Delta: Don't Ever Like This Airline

Let the fun begin

my friend steve has already taken the challenge on with this entry:

at first blush-

Dung Everywhere - Less Than Average

Driving Every Last Traveler Away

Disastrous Experiences - Labyrinth [0f] Total Apathy

Disturbingly Evil, Like Total A**holes

I know I cheated with the "of". I'll waste my day at work thinking of more.

it's true, steve did cheat with "of," but i say well-placed swears make up for almost anything.

and now, it's your turn! my dad will be really upset if you don't join in, so get on it right away. just pop into the comments section, give it your best shot, and whenever i feel like it, i'll name a winner. let's say i'll do it on monday. as for the prize, i'll spend from now until monday thinking of something awesome. like, you get to come with me to the MTV music video awards show (do they even have that?) when i am nominated for my role in the killers' making-of-the-human-video documentary. or, you know, something like that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

home (and home again) for the holidays

despite the travel annoyances that led to my trip home being extended (not to mention approximately 10 hours of driving to and from the airport for my parents), i was really, really glad to be home for so long. it was, in fact, the longest i have been at home for probably years, and since i didn't make it home last christmas, it was especially nice.

my family has never made too big a deal out of christmas, but we do have a few traditions. one is watching "love actually" on christmas eve. (this year, or i guess i should say last year, we watched it on the 27th, but same diff.) also, my mom always makes this breakfast, which i love with all my heart.

the big highlight of the holidays this year was a trip to aspen for new year's, because sometimes we are just fancy like that.

if you are planning on visiting aspen, i recommend you invest in a large, ostentatious cubic zirconia ring, with the stone being at least the size of your eye ball. you should wear this at all times, even if you are skiing or going to the grocery store. everyone else's (elses'?) rings will have real diamonds, but if no one looks closely, a little cz will help you fit in.

the big highlight of the aspen trip was an entirely decadent and heavenly christmas present in the form of a half-day at the spa. we are talking full body exfoliation, hot oil massage, deep scalp treatment, hot packs, hand and foot massages, facial... the works. plus lots of lounging around in the steam room. and, as if it could get any better, i didn't have to wear clothes for any of it! like i said, decadent and heavenly. when it was all done i was so relaxed i literally could not stand up. my "technician" had to get me a drink of juice with extra electrolytes. now that's being relaxed. you know?

the lowlight of the aspen trip was a bomb scare that shut down the whole commercial core (aka: downtown aspen) on new year's eve. it was pretty wild. all the people staying in those swanky condos at the foot of the ski mountain had to spend the night in the high school gymnasium. (that may or may not have included paris hilton. we haven't been able to determine one way or the other.) all the restaurants and hotels and private clubs (including the famous caribou club, where our eccentric "homes of the rich and famous" tour guide, elizabeth, had invited me to join her) were shut down. so we rang in the new year with hot dogs, frozen cheesecake, "the bourne ultimatum" and carson daly in our non-swanky but also non-bomb-threatened, out-of-the-core condo. since the real highlight of the trip was being with these people, it didn't really matter what we did.

i rounded out my extra days with first-time viewings of the old "indiana jones" movies, a trip to target, that favorite suburban mecca, dinner with some of my most favorite denver friends, steve and sarah, and copious use of the "that's what she said" joke. as in, "this could last all night." "that's what she said." or, "i hate it when they pop up." "that's what she said." and, in case you were wondering, the answer is no, that joke never gets old.

Monday, January 5, 2009

delta, delta, delta cannot help ya, help ya, help ya

hello, internet friends! and happy new year! also, my apologies for a recent lack of blog posting (though judging by my recent lack of comment traffic maybe no one cares?)

the thing is, you see, i went home for the holidays. not for christmas, exactly, because i arrived in denver on dec. 27th, but because i have a rad family who loves me lots, they waited to have christmas until i got there. all together now: awww.

i know. there was also lots of watching of movies, hanging out in aspen, attempting to shop in aspen and one heavenly spa treatment (all of which i will tell you about soon) and all of that added up to a pretty perfect trip. the only trouble was getting to and from said trip. and i am not usually one to point fingers, but it was all delta's fault.

first my flight from salt lake to denver was delayed. by many, many hours. it was weather in spokane and then it was a mechanical problem. i actually watched the mechanics take apart some of the wing and work on it. this does not instill confidence. also, all that waiting in the airport makes me cranky. really cranky. at least i didn't have it as bad as the people, also waiting for the same flight, who had been trying to leave portland since the 22nd. merry christmas to them.

then, on friday, just as i had checked in and was sitting down to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in the terminal with my mom, i got a phone call from delta telling me my flight back to salt lake was delayed. by many, many hours. this very annoying information would have been useful a little earlier, but my mom and i hatched a plan to see if the ticket agent would let me change my ticket to a later day with no penalty, since my flight was already delayed. and he did! it was sort of like magic. actually, it was exactly like magic. so i got two extra days at home and an exit row seat.

which was perfect.


i got on the plane on sunday, settled in with my book and my extra leg room, and the pilot came over to PA to announce that there was a major mechanical problem and he was cancelling the flight. cancelling it. that is nothing like magic. unless it's dark magic. either way, it was super-duper bad.

so, off the plane we came and everyone rushed into line at the gate to get new flights. we were also advised to try calling delta reservations to arrange for new flights, which i did and was told they couldn't help me, which was fine until i heard other people in the gate area saying they had secured new tickets by calling.

and then i was mad.

i know it is probably hard to believe, but i can bust out "irate customer who better get what she wants" when i need to. so i did. and i got the next available seat out of denver. which didn't leave until today.

so, my indefatigable father made the one-hour trek back to the airport to get me. again. to go back to my parents' house. again. unfortunately, we made the trip without my suitcase, which had already been loaded onto another, full flight leaving for salt lake. it's cool. i don't mind wearing my underwear two days in a row. (not true.)

when i walked in the door, again, my mom said, "how can we miss you if you won't go away?" she was only kidding though.

things went a lot more smoothly today: on-time departure and my suitcase was waiting safely for me when i arrived back in slc. whew. though i have to say, after all that trouble to get here, i sort of wish i was still back where i started. i guess there really is just no place like home.