Thursday, October 15, 2015

Top Five Reasons I'll Never Marry

I'm not writing this to make a social commentary or anything, which is why it's here and not at my doctrinal blog. Even though I usually try to keep this one upbeat and light. I just needed to write out all the thoughts going through my mind, and this is the best place for me to write it outside of my handwritten journal (and it doesn't allow going back and refining ideas.) I've been going over the same problems until my brain is exhausted. Even with the "break from dating" which has been going on for two or three years, now, I still can't seem to give myself a break. Maybe if I quantify it all, I'll be able to let it go.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Experimental Mustard Dressing

Variation on standard honey-mustard dressing, because I was out of honey. Verdict? Tangy, but good. Maybe a touch more sugar, or only 1 Tbsp. vinegar? 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 2 Tbsp. white vinegar 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. plain yogurt 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste) 1/2 tsp. black pepper (or to taste) Blend in a small food processor until homogenous.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Twelfth Night

This year has been rough on me and my family. Moving as a single parent is not a picnic, particularly when the house you buy needs almost EVERYTHING replaced. With the parade of contractors and jam-packed painting, weeding, gardening, and the craziness of starting new schools and working out new commuter routes, we've had barely any time to do the fun little things I usually try to do with my kids.

Going to the theater in a town an hour away didn't really sound like much of a good idea, but it was my first real chance to do something fun with kids in a long time. Since they didn't have school the next day, I decided to go for it.

Sometimes in this world of special effects, surround sound, and TV-on-Demand, we forget that the true spirit of storytelling isn't in digital magic, but in the spirits and hearts of the storyteller and listeners. Telling a story person-to-person does more than entertain. It lets the story grow, shape itself to our lives and remind us why we live. Live theatre captures our imagination, and Twelfth Night at the Echo Theater in Provo is an example worth going out of your way to experience.

Picture a beautifully crafted stage, the colors a dreamlike mix of naturals and splashes of bright turquoise, burgundy, and yellow. Musical instruments are scattered around the stage. Music opens and closes the story. The lines are delivered in flawless Shakespearean English sprinkled with modern vernacular and phrasing.

Matthew Speer, playing Sir Toby, totally steals the stage. His "drunken" antics tie the whole typically-Shakespearian twisty plot into a smooth(er) thread. My 5- and 8-year-old couldn't stop laughing. Every movement and facial expression was skillfully and precisely sloppy. Sir Andrew (Parker Olson) plays a perfect conspirator. Feste was played by Robbin Ivie and Celene Anderson in a stroke of brilliance that harmonized the crazy flow of the entire play. I couldn't believe how they spoke simultaneously and handed the originally one-person lines back and forth without a single stumble.

While Sebastian (Carter Peterson) had absolutely no qualms about falling in with a strange (beautiful and rich) woman, his "other half" Viola/Cesario (Sarah Butler) portrayed enough qualms about the whole farce for both of them. My girls couldn't stop laughing, especially while Malvolio (Leah Hodson) read Olivia's (Sophie Determan) supposed love letter to her.

The director Eve Speer artfully brings the true spirit of Shakespeare solidly into the modern era. I'd be surprised if old William himself wasn't there to watch and applaud. I was so glad to take my kids. So long as you don't mind exposing them to the good-humored mild randiness that is the hallmark of Shakespeare's comedies, by all means take your whole family. Even my five-year-old wasn't bored for a moment, though she was sadly disappointed when it was over.

It was totally worth the drive.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Still Waters

When you don't know me,
my life seems peaceful.
I have a good house,
a good job.
Children who love me.

When you don't know me,
you see the bread I bake,
the quilts I make.

You see my knitting,
cooking, gardening,
hiking, praying,
teaching, hoping,

And you are jealous.

But you don't see
what lies beneath.
The tossing and turning
when I should sleep.

The nightmares that come
in night or day.
You don't see heartache
that never goes away
under the smile I
paint on for you.

You see all the pain
of your life,
and think that mine
must be much better
because I have learned
to smile when I want to cry.
Comfort when I want to be comforted.

You don't see how
my loneliness cannot find
what compassion creates.

How I have learned to hope,
when hope is darkest,
laugh when there is nothing funny
in life.

If you knew me,
you would see
the real things I have

How, when I despair,
I seek someone who needs
a hug.

When I ache,
I find another's wound
to bind.

And, pray for better
when I despair
of ever finding joy.

Monday, April 28, 2014

When you left...

When you left, you died.
But it wasn’t you.
It was what you could have been.
When you died,
My other children died.
The smiling faces which
Could have looked into mine.
The arms which could have
Wrapped around me.

When you left, you took
Your anger with you.
I found a new life,
One of joy and peace.
But not hope.
Because when you left,
You also took
My belief in myself.

When you left, I knew
That all of myself which
I had poured into you
Was gone.
I could make my life
New again,
But it would never be
What could have been.

When you left, you found
A new life for yourself
Someone who could shape herself
Into your shadow.
Someone who wasn’t me.
And I was glad
That I didn’t have
To be your shadow any more.

When you left, you left
The love I had tried to give you
The love I can no longer have
For anyone.
You left a new love.
My heart will never be
What it was.
It will be more.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Garden

When I first saw you,
you were burned by summer sun,
tangled in ropes of bindweed
and choked by desert weeds.
I saw something of myself.

My biography was written
in earth-packed scars left where dogs
had raced the mail trucks
barking at strangers,
in the furrows of truck tires
left seasons ago to fill with weeds,
and in tattered remnants of
once-beautiful flower beds.

It was too much for me,
I had no way to heal you,
no water to bring life.
I turned away.

But after the winter cold
was warmed by the return of the sun
your fight thrust forth in
purple crocuses and yellow daffodils.
Hyacinth spread an indigo cloak
over the bindweed of last year,
bringing beauty and color
to what I thought was utterly gone.

I again saw something of myself,
life cracking the shell of ruin,
Needing no one else to nourish it
or recognize its beauty.

I still had no way to heal you,
no way to give what you needed,
but I fought with you,
because I needed you.
Clearing what was dead
to make way for what could still live,
I planted hope with the daisies
and joy with the marigolds.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jalapeño Lime Cookies

The idea with these cookies was to elevate dessert to something more than plain sweet. Rather than spicy, I wanted these cookies to taste sweet and bright until the end of the bite when a subtle warmth hits your mouth. It took a ton of tests to make them come out just right, soft and chewy with a hint of warmth. Unfortunately, the judges liked their cookies chocolate and sweet. But I still think they are winners!

Jalapeño Lime Cookies

These chewy cookies require no electric mixers, making them perfect for little helpers. Their bright lime flavor melts on your tongue followed by a subtle, warm heat from the jalapeño reminiscent of summer days on the beach.

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1-2 roasted jalapeños, seeds and skin removed and chopped finely
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lime zest

Heat oven to 350°F, placing oven rack in middle position. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place sugar in a large bowl, cut up the cream cheese into small pieces, place on top. Melt butter and, while still warm, pour over sugar and cream cheese. Whisk to combine. In a small food processor or blender, blend egg, jalapeño, lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla, whisk until smooth. Blend into cream cheese mixture. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. With a rubber spatula, fold in cream cheese mixture until smooth. Do not overmix. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tbsp. lime zest. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, roll each piece in lime sugar and form into balls. Flatten the dough into 2-inch circles. Bake one sheet at a time until edges are slightly brown, about 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then cool on rack until room temperature.

Lime Sour Cream Glaze

  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream

Meanwhile, combine lime juice, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in sour cream. When the cookies are cooled, drizzle icing over the top, and allow to harden before serving.