Friday, November 30, 2012

oh, the humanity

this video has been making the rounds on blogs much more popular and widely read than mine, so you might have seen it already. but, i thought i'd post it anyway, just in case you missed it. or in case you wanted to watch it again. and again. and again.

which, on a day like yesterday when i had to get two fillings, is exactly what i did.

(i am going to try and embed the video, but i see it's been taken down from a lot of places because of a coca-cola copyright (lame) so if the embed below doesn't work, click the link above. you won't be sorry.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the twelve dates of christmas: date one

we are bringing back the twelve dates of christmas (hurrah!) and we decided to get an earlier start this year so we aren't going to a million christmas concerts one right after the other. not that the twelve dates of christmas is a quota or anything (and not that there's something wrong with going to a million christmas concerts), but it seemed like it would be nice to not be rushed this time around. because being rushed is not what the twelve dates of christmas is all about.

for our first date of christmas, AWD and i took advantage of being in salt lake at this time of year and went to see the lights on temple square. (i guess technically this was a double date with my mom and my aunt emily. which was just fine with us).

we also wandered over to the back of the joseph smith memorial building, where they had several nativity scenes set up from different parts of the world. i had never seen that display before, and it was really lovely. it made me want to collect nativity scenes of my own. maybe some day. 

the lights had just been turned on the day before, so the place was a total mob scene but i am so glad we took advantage of being there at such a magical time of year. i love the lights on temple square. and i love going on dates with my husband (and my mom). so, win win (win) there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

the family circle

we had a hands-down, down-right wonderful thanksgiving. my only regret is that i didn't take a picture of the assembled loved ones. but sometimes you are just too busy enjoying yourself to think about that. we had grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, in-laws and friends. it was divine. and it took off the last sting of sadness i felt over missing out on seeing everyone this past summer. like i said, hands-down, down-right wonderful.

i am also sorry i didn't take a picture of my two lemon meringue pies, which came out near perfectly despite my forgetting them in the oven. and, i tackled the hellewell family roll recipe with great success as well. turns out it's pretty hard to make something with a whole pound of butter taste bad.

and i might add that all these-- and many other-- successes were managed in a kitchen with two hand mixer bases and six or seven mixing beaters, none of which matched and none of which fit in either of the bases, neither of which worked. just so you get an idea of what we were up against. makes it even more amazing, huh?

a trip to salt lake is always too short, but we squeezed in lots of family time, a trip to temple square to see the lights, a taco from barbacoa and pizza from stoneground and even some patio furniture re-upholstering. i am so so thankful we were able to go, and even more thankful for the time spent with my beloved family. i cherish my time with them more and more.

so, i am calling thanksgiving a big win. up next: christmas cheer! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the happenings

a lot of things fell through the cracks in the tragic summer of 2012, and i have slowly but surely been trying to reassemble the pieces and get back into a normal groove. i am always amazed (in a bad way) at how quickly good habits fall away, and how much work it is to get them back. but, i keep trying anyway.

so, here are a few of the things that are (getting) back on track.

1. piano. i was so sick and then so depressed (and then so in china) that i hadn't touched my keyboard in months. i've really enjoyed dusting it off (literally and figuratively). i feel like piano is one of the few things in life where i can match my effort to an outcome and see a result. that's really satisfying. i am learning christmas music right now, and i just might have a little living room rehearsal of some of the pieces i master. come, won't you? 

2. cooking. i wasn't sure how i was going to feel about "wifely" duties once i was married, given my aversion to traditional gender roles and all, but i actually really enjoy preparing meals for my little family. probably especially because AWD is always so grateful and says everything i make is delicious (it's not). and it's crock pot season again, which makes cooking even easier. last week we made mama bear's mushroom gravy, and we baked up an apple pie to boot.

3. adventuring. we have been having such gorgeous fall weather here, with soft, warm days, i hate the feeling of wasting them. sadly, there are always saturday chores and errands and tasks to be done, it seems, but we did manage a trip up to shenandoah national park, pre-hurricane sandy, to do some leaf peeping. it was lovely, as you can see for yourselves.

my next big goal is to get back on schedule with scripture reading and other matters of spirituality. it seems funny (not in a good way) that those are sometimes the first things to go just at the moment you need them most. but there you have it. i'll keep you posted. it's good to be back. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

the end of china

to take our minds off the election results (which are coming in painfully slowly, i might add), here are some more pictures of china!

our last stop was beijing and we were pretty wiped out when we got there, so we just stuck with the major attractions and ate our breakfasts at mcdonald's.

in an exciting/annoying/overwhelming twist, we were in beijing on national day. the upside of hitting beijing on a national holiday was that all the nearby factories were closed so the air quality was only terrible instead of deadly. the downside of being in beijing on a national holiday was that about 1 billion chinese people were there as well, so everywhere we went was really crowded. i mean, really crowded.

but, that's all part of the adventure, right?

tiananmen square was appropriately packed and decorated for the occasion.

{mao's masoleum, where the rumor is that it is actually a wax figure and not really the chairman on display. a rumor that's hard to verify since the building is only open for two hours every day}

the forbidden city was elbow-to-elbow. it was also the scene of one of the more interesting chinese phenomenons that we observed. chinese people love to gather around museum displays, shove people out of the way, take a photo of whatever treasure is in the glass case, and then rush off to the next display without even taking a very good look. it was weird. i made myself very unpopular by lingering in front of display cases and taking my time admiring. i did not care.

either way, the forbidden city was a vast and charming place. we closed it down, which meant we even had a few non-overcrowded moments among the splendor.

and, to get the whole imperial experience, we spent a morning in the temple of heaven park and made an afternoon escape to the summer palace.

other beijing highlights included street vendor cotton candy approximately three times bigger than my head and an awesome hotel housed on a compound that was once the courtyard residence of a high-ranking dynasty eunuch. i actually could have lived at that hotel for the rest of my life and been pretty content.

i'll admit that beijing wasn't our favorite stop, but it was totally worth it for the piece de resistance: a trip to the great wall. it has been one of my lifelong dreams to set foot on the great wall and it was so surreal to be there. surreal and awesome. we hired a car to drive us the two hours or so to the mutianyu portion of the wall, hiked our hearts out for three hours, and came home tired and happy.

and that, my friends, is a perfect trip to china.