Monday, January 31, 2011

belts, etc

Belts are most interesting.

I hate them.

Why wear a belt when you have hips? Hence, I avoided it for a while. But then came the hipster jeans. And then came the stretchy jeans. Alas. When you are running to catch the train, the last thing you want to worry about is your pants.

Belts are uncomfortable. They might perhaps help hold up your pants, but if your pants are large enough to need a belt, then the belt loops are invariably placed too far apart. Then you find yourself, like me, scrunched up with the waist of pants poking out from under the belt. That's right, Laura the scrunchie.

I went for years without ever wearing belts. I hated tucking shirts in as well. To me, belts and tucked-in shirts are in the same evil family. Shoulder pads are somewhere in that family tree as well.

I had a series of unloved belts as a child. There was the black braided one that I never wore. The navy blue fabric one that was a hand-me-down. Maybe one of my sisters wore it? I know not. Then there was the black leather belt that literally had my name imprinted on it. I think everyone in my family had one with their own name on it. I forget whose idea that was. But I rarely wore that belt either.

My dad always wore suspenders. One year for Christmas he got white suspenders with cows on them. They were awesome. One of my favorite things to do (as a child, I should point out! But to be honest, its still a favorite thing even if I resist doing it) was to tighten his suspenders while he was sitting down. They were always really loose when sitting you know, so I was only trying to be helpful. I also liked to re-adjust the loose fabric of his collar shirts so it puffed out in the wrong place. Suspenders make it really easy to design special puffs, you know.

So then I did eventually get a belt in college that was for my hip rider pants. I actually wore it too. For a while, anyway. That was years ago though. (like...7)

I was realizing today that all the jeans I own at the moment require a belt for one reason or another. In fact, I am wearing a belt at this very moment. How could this have happened?

Yesterday I was wearing pajama pants. (Pajama pants is for lack of a better word. What are they? They are NOT actually pajamas. They are loose, stretchy, and comfy. Are they lounge pants? Comfy pants? Jammi pants? I know not.) But they are way too long and were dragging on the wet sidewalk as DH and I were walking somewhere last night. As I was pulling them up a bit, DH decided it was time to sing the "pants on the ground" song.

You know I have never seen American Idol, not even once? Apparently this "pants on the ground" song is a big hit.

Apparently, belts help keep your pants off the ground.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the Egg Issue

Oatmeal cookies are my favorite cookie. Growing up, I used to make them as bar cookies by pressing the cookie dough into a cookie sheet. This is one of my mom's favorite shortcuts. She did it not only with cookies but with muffins too. Muffins were always square growing up and rarely made in muffin cups.

But now I can make round cookies. I am an adult. I can do what I want.

Yes, oatmeal is my favorite. Oatmeal Raisin, to be precise. I imagine some of you may gasp at the lack of chocolate in my favorite cookie. It seems that most people are of the opinion that chocolate chip cookies are the best. These people have somehow been lead astray.

Whenever I make oatmeal cookies, I invariably want to "consume mass quantities." (name that flick! My parents quoted this movie for years..and still do.) For this reason, I try to make a smaller batch. But one always runs up against the Egg Issue. I recently made this recipe. (Though I hardly ever make cookies anymore..)

the Egg Issue: a problem arising when only a fractional amount of any given recipe is made and the number of eggs resulting is not a whole number

How does one deal with the Egg Issue? In the recipe I made lately, it calls for 2 eggs. Thus I halved the recipe, but there were still too many cookies. What do I do if I want to make only a fourth of the recipe? How do I get half an egg? Do I just round up and use a whole egg anyway? Do I toss the extra egg bit?

My opinion is that rounding up to a whole egg is a bad idea. Extra egg white is like extra baking powder--it could make the cookie rise too much and be cakey. One solution would be to just mix an egg and use only half of it. Then you could freeze the rest or toss it. Or you could save it for an omelet or scrambled eggs the next morning. If you feel lazy, it is better to sacrifice half an egg then be tempted by too many cookies, in my opinion anyway.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

first half marathon

I am running a half marathon (13.1 miles) the first weekend in February. It goes through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

I registered for the race and have my "bib" so there is no going back! I am number 4183. I have not, as yet, come up with any special mathematical significance to this number. It is not a prime number, alas. But perhaps it will be special from now on?

This is my first real race. I've done church 5k runs in the past, but this is the first race that I've had to register and train for. I am excited!

I started training in early December and am using a training schedule from the race website. I have two short and one long run per week. It has been really interesting to see how my body reacts to running such long distances. I jumped into the schedule midweek in week 4 (or the week starting dec. 6) and did the 6 mile run. I was already used to running 2-3 miles 3x a week, but I was so tired after that first long run! I was very fatigued for the next couple days. Since then I have been taking naps on my long run days and that helps a lot. Unfortunately I have missed the last two weeks of training because I have been sick, but I am getting back into it this week.

I don't have any great aspirations for running speed or time, I just want to do a race and train for it. In fact, I'm more worried about getting to the race then running it! Driving in San Francisco is one of my least favorite activities, but parking in San Francisco is worse. I do have moderate goals for the race though. I want to run the entire race and finish in under 3 hours. We shall see!

Monday, January 17, 2011

super long titles

I have spent time lately looking through a cartobibliography for a work related project. It contains lists of old maps, some images of them, titles and other descriptive info.

I remember when I took 10th grade biology and our teacher read aloud the title of a book he'd written. It was the longest title EVER and the class sort of snickered at that. Not too many years after that I realized that a lot of academic writing and papers have ridiculously long titles. Since the title may very well be the only thing a prospective reader sees, the author wants it to be explanatory. Then there are the authors who write vague or "punny" titles. Those can be attention grabbing as well. But.

I've discovered that antique maps fall into the former category. That is, their titles are ridiculously long. So long, that the cartographer might give up halfway through and write something like this:

A Map of North America
With the European Settlements &
whatever else is remarkable in the
West Indies, from the latest and best Observations.

That is a real title from 1745! It's my favorite ever:)

I should name my future memoir in that vein:

LRH: the story of her life, love, and whatever else is remarkable in 100,000 words or less

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the heel

I made persimmon bread with some pulp I froze a while back. The recipe is here. It was very tasty.

So as you know there are two kinds of bread slices: the heel, and the middle. Each has its advantages. When the bread is old and dry, the middle is best. When the bread is new and dry, middle is best. But when the bread is moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside (which is what happens when sweet breads cool on a rack), the heel is THE BEST.

(I must point out that this is my own opinion. DH thinks the heel is the best at all times. It took me a while to believe that he truly preferred the heel and wasn't just trying to be a martyr by claiming he wanted it. My mom always did that. Yes, my mom, the heel martyr. She also "likes" cold leftovers. Whatever mom. You know you like them reheated. We both know.)

So usually I am content to let DH eat the heel. But not with warm persimmon bread. I took the heel without asking him first. I took it and took a few bites. Yum. THEN I told him that the bread was ready and did he want some? But he saw I was consuming the heel. He was just a little bit sad until I reminded him that there was still ANOTHER heel and there is no rule against eating it last. So we both ate heels first.


Monday, January 10, 2011

walking the plank

Last month the curb was replaced in front of my house. (Let me be is really more like an apartment and we rent it, but technically it is half of a very tiny house.)

I must say, having no curb is inconvenient.

No parking and no driveway access.

There were perks though.

We got to stare into the rocky depths of what used to be the curb. We got to enjoy winning the contest for most flashing barricades in front of our house. But the best part was, we got to walk the plank. It was our sole method of crossing the rocky depths. Too bad we didn't have a pirate party while construction was going on.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

i am an evil genius

So we spent Christmas in Utah this year, as usual.

University of Utah won the BYU-Utah game this year so David had to wear his brother's Utah tie to his home ward over christmas. Except I got to wear it the day before. Its odd that I don't have any pictures of David wearing it though. Maybe he removed the evidence on the sly.

We spent our days literally dashing to and fro (what a clever allusion, I must say). It was tiring, but fun. We managed to get one picture with both of us in it. We are dancing a jig.

My favorite parts about christmas this year were receiving the Popple, watching my nephews open presents christmas morning (we slept over at my sisters the night before), and discovering my nephew Luke's latest cutism. He is talking a lot now (age 2) and has a maniacal laugh. His dad has trained him to say, "I am an evil genius, mwahahahaha!"

Monday, January 03, 2011

I said four

When I was little (and likely before I was born) my grandparents used to interview us at Christmastime. My family has our biggest Christmas celebration on Dec 23rd. We have a lot of home videos from this night from previous years, and they often include the interviews. One of the most notorious interviews that went down in family history starred me, age four, being interviewed by my paternal grandmother.

Here are the highlights:

Grandmommy: How old are you Laura?
me: four.
Grandmommy: what?
me: I SAID FOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(my family likes to quote me on this. Incessantly. )
At some point during the interview I begin to pinch my nose.
Grandmommy: What are you doing that for Laura?
me: your breath is stinky
Grandmommy: What do you want for Christmas Laura?
me: a popple.
Grandmommy: what?
me: A POPPLE!!!
But no popple came that year. In fact, no popple came any year after that and I'd soon forgotten about my dearest christmas wish.

Until this year.

We had interviews again, for the first time since I can remember, and my mom interviewed me. On camera, she gives me a present. (This is strange, because we already opened all the presents--or so I thought). She tells me to open it. She said she has waited 23 years to give me this present.

I opened it to reveal....

Meet Priscilla the Popple. Now I can die happy.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.