Monday, December 28, 2009

Victory is mine!

There are few things in life that thrill me more than peeling an orange (a softball sized orange, not a Cutie) in one peel. (Though I will be honest and say that's part of the charm of Cuties, that I can always get the peel off in one piece.)

Check this out. I love it when I can work off a whole orange peel in one piece. I mean, I LOVE IT!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My big plans for today...

I'm gonna use this.

(Thank you, Santa.)

To make this.
(Thank you, PW, for the beautiful recipes you put on your website.)

I was cruising through The Pioneer Woman Cooks yesterday, and when I saw she had used her beautiful blue cast iron casserole to make braised short ribs... Well, I thought to myself "It's a sign! I just got a new blue cast iron casserole! ... I wonder, if I make this, if I'll find myself a Marlboro Man carbon copy", and I thought it was worth a shot.

I'll let you know how it all turns out. (Both the recipe, and the MM finding.)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just in case you've been wondering...

Here's a little recap of what we've been up to here at Casa Evans in the past week.

In addition to Rachel's wedding (the reason I came up Friday morning), and then falling sick (yet again... I'm telling you, my immune system is all kinds of shot) over the weekend, I've been having a good old time, just hanging out and doing a whole bunch of holiday-themed nothing for the last week with my fam.

On Monday (or was it Tuesday? the sugar rush has gotten to me, I'm afraid my brain's officially fried) my mom and I went visiting/caroling to some of our favorite people in the neighborhood. OF COURSE Katy U's house was at the top of our list, and for the first time in my life, people, I found the blessed pickle! Aaahhhh, the glory! I FOUND THE PICKLE!

The pickle, for those of you who are not locals to know of Katy and her pickle ornament, is an ornament that gets hidden in the tree every year. The first person who finds the pickle (that would be me, this year) gets a prize. (My prize? A bag of trail mix AND two of Beth Perkins' popcorn balls. A treat, to be sure.) I was giddy with the excitement of having found the pickle, I'll tell you that.

In addition to pickle finding... we've been caroling, my mom and I, so we could give away some lovely Poinsettias that my sister had inherited from NPC before they died on our kitchen counter. This little plant was not one of the lucky ones that made it to a new/safer/more-eco-friendly home. (Have I ever told you that, growing up, all we had were silk plants in the house? Yeah, there's a reason for that. Obviously.)

And of course (OF COURSE) I've been baking - like a crazy, mad woman. I've taken plates to everyone I can think of, because that's what I do this time of year. It's been super fun, even if it's been COLD getting to and from the car and people's doors. (My toes are ready to go back to Mesa, and that's the bitter truth. They've had it with this 20 degree weather, I'm telling you.)

Of course we've done other fun stuff - like eating tamales and cheese balls until I've been pretty sure I would burst. Also, roast beast sandwiches (I heart roast beast from Ed's) and hot dogs, as well as chips and salsa, at all times of the day and night. Last night, Dad made green chile chicken enchiladas (my dad's enchiladas are TO DIE FOR).

We've watched Christmas movies (my mom, my sister and I) and action movies (my dad, my sister and I). It's been the best of both worlds - salt and sugar foods and holiday vs. action fliks. I can't believe it's Christmas Eve and all the festivities are about to come to an end. I'm telling you, I could go on like this forever... if I thought my blood sugar and wacked-out sleep schedule could take it. Gosh, it's fun to be home for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A few of my favorite things...

Well, lookie there... It's a post that's NOT a Christmas song. (I know, weird. But it's true.)

I've been sitting here in my little house for the last 48 hours (something about having a viral infection - and a red/swollen nose that has me resembling Rudolph a bit too much for comfort - that's had me holed up, away from the general public), and while I've been sitting here, I've been looking around me and I've been grateful for all the little things in my home that remind me of the people and this season that I love so much. So... I decided to share - even if it is going to out me to my cousin for having her decorations a full 12 years after she got married and moved out on me.

These would be those very decorations. These shiny "Christmas Balls" that are actually candle holders. I love them! They were Julie's, and we always had them up in our house - for Christmas in July, and Christmas in December. The first Christmas after she got married, I was unpacking and putting up decorations in my house and I ran across them. I knew I needed to tell her that I had them... but I didn't. And when I moved back to Arizona, Christmas of 1999, I thought I should leave them out so I could return them before I left the state of Utah with them... but I didn't. And I've put them out every year since then and I've loved them. (Before any of you judge me too harshly, let me just say she has some of my baby clothes - that she's never returned. So, we're even.)

I love this nativity. Jo gave this to me the first year I was down here - and I love it. Funny, the other nativity I own is also from Jo. ... I guess she's always been one for reminding me of the reason for the season. Bless her.

I love this felt Noel sign. My mom made this .... Oh, I don't even know how long ago. I've had it every Christmas since my first Christmas away from home. (1994) I grew up with felt Noel decorations - this is one version of many that Mom would make and give to friends/family. I love it!

Speaking of things that I love that my mom made... Allow me to introduce you to my Christmas quilt. About five years ago, my mom gave me the fabric for the quilt. The next year, she made the quilt for me. It's a thing of beauty. All hand-quilted, reversible - with a Christmas scene on one scene and wintery scene on the other. I love it!

I love this silly little Rudolph! I bought this .... Oh, a good 10-15 years ago from a co-worker at Central Bank who'd make different seasonal decorations and sell them for $10. He's sat atop my vcr/dvd player for over 10 years. I love him!

Ahhhh... One of my favorite things. Ever. This is one of of the Christmas cards I bought/sent out about 15 years ago. I've always been a sucker for decorations of a Victorian nature. I remember buying these cards - I spent way more on them than I should have. I couldn't help myself, they were perfect. Six years ago, my mom gave me this for Christmas. It's the card I'd sent to my grandparents. She'd had a custom mat cut and had it framed for me for Christmas. I've always loved this card - but that I got the card back that I sent to my Grammy and Grandad? I can't even talk/type about it without tearing up. This is, truly, one of my most loved possessions.

Speaking of how much I love Victorian era Christmas decor... Check out this little beauty. Colette Bright gave me this the first year I was in BYU 3rd Ward. (1995?) It's a box that doubles as an ornament - and in the box, I still have the note that Colette put in there almost 15 years ago. Le Sigh ... I love that I've had this for almost half my life!

And saving the best for last ... I love these snowflakes. For those of you who haven't seen my tree - it's all red and white, heavy on the snowflakes and bells. My friend Jennifer gave me three crystal snowflakes years ago. I keep them in the Santa box she gave them to me in, and every year as I open the box and pull them out, I thrill. Isn't this beautiful? I love it! I love it because it's so lovely, and I love it because it reminds me of Jen.

I love having my holiday things about me. I love my wooden star that my brother Kirk made in High School wood shop, I love the Santa statue and "Believe" sign from Kathy U., I love all the pics with Katie and/or Santa that are strewn throughout my apartment. I love my stacks of books full of Christmas music and stories.
The End.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It really IS the most wonderful time of the year!

Look what they're selling in the frozen food aisle these days.

I heart the holiday season.

And because it wouldn't be right for me to put a post up without including a song for the day... voila! (I thought this was most fitting, as this is the song I was singing in my head as I was eating an ice cream sandwich whilst standing in line at the WalMart, purchasing said box of ice cream sandwiches.) Peppermint ice cream sandwiches - 12 for $3. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just another day in the life of me...

Today, I did a bunch of stuff. I mean... a whole bunch of stuff. A whole of out-of-the-ordinary-stuff. I'll tell you about it right now, because I know that's why you're here. Because you love getting the latest, the nitty gritty, the... scoop, shall we say, on my life.

I woke up at 7:13. (This was not my plan. My plan was to sleep until 8:30. I'd set an alarm to make sure I woke up at 8:30, and I woke up on my own at 7:13. Some days living in this body makes me want to scream, I tell you.)

I went to church with my brothers (well, half of them). Spencer and Brea blessed their baby while her family was still in town. I was lucky enough to sit with Kirk's family - which translates into a whole lot of fun me. And their kids. During Sacrament Meeting alone, I:

Learned the "proper way" to play the little piggies game (apparently there should be tickling and/or shrieking "wee, wee, wee... all the way home" - heaven knows how I got to be this age without that little knowledge gem).

Explained (repeatedly) to Russell (who is 5) that a blessing is a kind of prayer, and we should fold our arms, close our eyes and not talk out loud during said blessing.

Played "hide the skittle" with the same skittles so many times that the S got rubbed off - and the grody little kids that are my nephews still ate them.

After church, we headed over to Spence and Brea's, where I ate the following (until I thought I was going to die):
Biscuits &

Red-Eye Gravy (a full plate of it - because I'm an Evans and that's how we roll)
Roughly 3 lbs of turkey (I only wish I was kidding - really, I probably ate 3 lbs)
Cranberry dressing
Cranberry salad (hey, I love me some cranberry... don't mock me)
Mashed potatoes & gravy
1/4 pan of Coconut Cream Pie (again, I only wish I was kidding - Seth served me... bless him)
The Most Delicious Corn Side Dish of All Time (yeah, it deserves caps, like a proper noun - it was that good)
Pecan Pie slathered in Belly Full of Goodness (what Spencer calls his home-made whipped cream)

I ate all of this within a 45 minute time-frame, no less. It was pretty insane... (By which I mean: disgusting. But Kirk was eating, and then Spencer was eating, and then I just had to join in. "Mom, the brothers made me..." - Do you think that excuse would fly in this scenario?

After eating, I:

Looked at Seth's dinosaur book for what seemed like eternity. (Not that I'm complaining. The dinos are pretty cool, and it's awesome that he knows what they all are. But the pics of the carnivores tearing into other animals get to me after a while. I know, I'm such a sissy.)

Actually pulled a muscle in my neck, holding Kirk (my nephew, not my brother - no worries) down while I forcibly kissed him. (And before you start to feel sorry for him, trust me, the kid asked for it - literally.)

Ruined mashed potatoes forever for my niece, Hazel. I gave her coconut cream pie (because I had enough and to spare, see above) and she wouldn't eat anything good/wholesome off her parents' forks after that. (It's good to know my role as Aunt Laurie, aka: The Never Ending Source of Sugary Treats is in full force with her, and she's only 15 months old.)

Held Russell or had him clinging to my left leg (literally) for hours on end. (Odd, for a 5 year old boy, but adorable.)

Played basketball with Connor, who explained to me that in order to make a basket, you have to kiss the basketball 3 times in a row, and then shoot. (And I'll be darned if he wasn't right. Every time I kissed the ball, it went through the hoop. How funny is that?) Con is hilar. He was so into kissing the basketball that he started calling it "my female" (not girlfriend, mind you, but female). He also asked me when I was ever gonna get a wife. I kindly explained that I'm looking to be a wife, thankyouverymuch, not have one - and advised him I was more than happy to have him help me in the quest to finding someone to wife me. He just nodded, which I'm taking as an acceptance of responsibility in finding me a husband. This should be interesting...


After a good 6 or so hours of good times with my immediate family, I headed out the door to drive to Scottsdale and meet my cousin Doug and his family for dinner. As I pulled out of Spencer's neighborhood, I had the most bizarre desire to push the button and open the sunroof on my car. (I'm gonna come clean right now and tell you that the sunroof in my car hasn't worked for at least 5 years. Oh, and the sky was cloudy and looked like rain was coming. I don't know what I was thinking.) As I pushed the button to open the sunroof, I heard/felt a mechanical click and thought, "Gosh, that's weird. This thing hasn't opened in years!". And did I stop pushing the button? No. (Again, let me say... I don't know what I was thinking.) As the window was open half way, it kind of stuck and I thought "I don't know why this is working, when it hasn't in 5 years. I should probably close this right now." So I tried to close it - and it wouldn't budge. At which point, I thought "Huh... maybe I have to open it all the way to close it. I can't believe I can't remember how to work this thing, it's been so long!" (In retrospect, I can't believe that I thought opening the window all the way was the ticket to salvation. I. Am. An. Idiot.) Anyway... I opened the sunroof - all the way - and then tried to close it. And of course, I just got a dead click sound. And by now, I was on the freeway, cruising along at 70 mph, with a windstorm happening inside my car, cursing my own stupidity for opening a window that I couldn't close. (Honestly. What kind of idiot 35 yr old opens a window that she KNOWS good and well has been broken for years? Uh... this kind of idiot 35 yr old. Good grief.) But I wasn't worried. Yet. Oh, no. I was thinking that I'd just meet Doug for dinner, leave my car under covered parking in my complex that night, and then take it to a mechanic and/or a window guy Monday morning and have it fixed. That was a great thought. Until it started to rain - in my car. (Yeah. It. Rained. In. My. Car.) I kept driving, coming up with scenarios in which I could meet Doug for dinner and then take my car home (for example: I keep a blanket in my trunk that I figured I could spread across my front seats so my chair wouldn't get soaked while I was in, eating dinner) ... but after a good 10 minutes of sprinkles, it started to rain in earnest, and I knew I needed to cancel my dinner plans, act like a grownup and just go home and get someone to help me close the hole that I'd opened up in the roof of my car. So I called Doug and left a 3 minute long (somewhat hysterical) message detailing the reason that I had to bail on dinner (namely: I am his idiot cousin who had opened a window in the roof of her car that would not close and now had rain streaming into her car). He called back 4 minutes later (keep in mind, he had to listen to a 3 minute long message before he could call me back), laughing, and telling me that I should go home and "get that taken care of" and we'd have to catch up the next time one of us was in the other's state.

I was bummed.

And wet.

And cold.

And amused, amazingly enough.

I called home to tell my sister, and we laughed good and hard at my idiocy, while I held my phone in my left hand - under my hair - away from the gaping hole in the roof of my car that was letting the rainwater in. We laughed hard as we made up a whole new set of lyrics to "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". (Yeah, don't look for us to be winning any awards for our lyrical prowess, but we sure were laughing.) After a good 10 minutes of some pretty good rain, I drove out of the rainy spot and then it was just cold and windy in my car. (But hey, cold and windy is better than cold, windy and wet, right?)

After a nice and breezy 70 minute drive home, I was pulling off the freeway and wondering what in the world I was gonna do about my sunroof, aka: the big, gaping hole in the top of my car (leave it to me, to open that window and not be able to close it on one of the approximately 4 days a year that it rains here in The Valley of the Sun), when I tried the button that should have been making it close for lo these many miles... and voila! There was a creak, and a lurch, and the mechanics engaged and.... MY SUNROOF CLOSED. On its own, with no help from a mechanic and/or window repair man. And so I prayed. I prayed a great and mighty prayer of thanksgiving. And then I laughed - again.

Honestly, what a day. I think I'll go to bed now...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Me & my voicemails...

We all know that I love to hoard messages in my phone like a squirrel gathering nuts for winter. (Or maybe we don't all know that. ... But, erm, now you know. Don't judge. I don't keep all of them - just the exceedingly funny and/or sentimental ones.) Anyhoo, tonight, I came out of work and listened to my voice mails and found a new prize. My cousin Doug (Doug the elder, not Doug the younger, for those of you who know I have multiple cousins Doug and need clarification) is in town for the holiday weekend and we needed to make a plan to get together while he's here.

This voicemail is one of my new faves. Of course it's now saved in the archives in my phone. What in the world I'm gonna do when I fill all the available space in my phone and have to start deleting my fave messages, I don't know. We're not going to talk and/or think about that tonight, however. Tonight, I'm just wanting to share this with you. Why? Because it made me giggle. And I'm in the habit of sharing things here that bring me joy and/or laughter. So, without further ado, here's his very short message, transcribed for all to read:

Cousin Laurie? Cousin Doug. Just give me a call back when you can - insert phone number here. Talk to you later.

Hahaha... I love that my cousins and I call each other Cousin, like it's part of our names. Gosh, it's awesome.

This message made me especially happy tonight, because when I got out of work yesterday, I had a message from my cousin Julie, singing (to the tune of the Happy Birthday song, of course):

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Happy Thanksgiving to you... Happy Thanksgiving, dear Cousin, Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Gosh, I love my cousins. We're a nutty bunch (and I'm one of the nuttiest, posting about my voice mails... but whatever, it's what's making me laugh tonight). I'm super excited about seeing Doug & Dana and the kids this weekend (and only part of that is the giddiness over my getting to go to The White Chocolate Grill - which I love!).

That's all. You can all go back to what you were doing before you came here to read this goofy post about my cousins and my voice mails... Thank you for your time. And patience. And understanding. And for loving me in spite of the insanity. Oh, and for your funny voice mails. (Now that you know how much I love a funny message, I'll bet more of you will be taking care in exactly what you say, lest you get quoted here.)

The End.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to me!

As much as I do love a store bought pie (and I do love Marie's Razzleberry pie, as previously discussed).

I like making pie as much as I like eating it. (I know, I know. I'm a sicko and a total weirdo, but I do like to make pie. It's the crust. I like the process - the rolling, the pinching, the brushing with milk and dusting with cinnamon-sugar. Mmmm!) So, last night I made this apple pie. It's a little goofy looking, with all the juices having seeped out of the top... but I'm pretty sure it'll be delicious.

The good news about this second pie? (Since I ate the first one - all by myself - in less than 48 hours.) I'm taking it to work, so I can have people help me eat it.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May you all have (and enjoy) as much pie as I do! :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hey... This quiz called me a tart!

You Are Cherry Pie

You are a total sweetheart, but you also have a tart side to you as well. You can't help but be a little naughty.

During the holidays, you try to lighten the mood and keep things fun. You think that the holidays should be a time of joy... not stress.

Your ideal holiday has lot of laughter and good times. You definitely prefer a holiday with zero drama.

You believe that people often forget that holidays are for celebrating. You try to make every holiday event a bit of a party.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three of my favorite things

So, last night, my friend Myra came over.
(No, this pic wasn't taken last night. And no, she didn't bring Riley with her. I just ripped it off her FB profile, so I could show you all her pretty face. Here's hoping she doesn't mind...)

She came over to watch my favorite show with me.
(Monday night TV. Ya just can't beat it.)

And she brought this. (Chocolate curls and all.)

Myra's a fellow Pioneer Woman fan, and she'd wanted to do a pre-Thanksgiving trial run of this recipe. I consider myself a very lucky woman to be beneficiary of her need to do try a new recipe out before she could commit to it, publicly.

So, a recap of my Monday night: Myra, Castle, and chocolate pie that is pure heaven on a fork.

Just three things I'm thankful for this week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pie. It's what's for dinner at my house.

Seriously. This is what I'm having for dinner, and it's pretty much all I'm having for dinner.

Gosh, I love living alone - where I don't have to share the pie. (When one of these puppies comes out of the oven at my mom and dad's, you're lucky if you're one of the three or four folks who'll get some before you have to put another pie in to bake. I'm not even kidding, it's gone that fast - esp when it's warm.)

I called my mom tonight, and she told me she was making chicken noodle soup and rolls for dinner (because we Evans girls heart carbs) - then she asked me what I was making. I said "a Razzleberry pie". She said "that's my girl", which I followed with "it's Thanksgiving week, I figured I should get a head start". She then had to tell me she'd gone grocery shopping this afternoon and was $4.80 away from getting the discount on the turkey (if you spent x amount of $ on your total bill, the turkey went down to .29 a lb). When the checker told her she needed to spend another $5 to get the cheaper turkey, she said "I need another pie" - and she went back to the frozen food section and pulled out (another) Razzleberry pie. We figure she made money on that pie, what with all the money she saved on the turkey when the price per pound went down, she had to get it.

We love this stupid pie. It's the best dang thing... uhm, EVER. (And I'm a pie snob, esp when it comes to frozen pie. I won't go anywhere near any other brand of store pie and have been known to stick my nose up at homemade pies found at potlucks and such.) I'm telling you, here and now, if you are a fan of the berry family - and if you like flaky pie crust - go right out and get yourself one of these puppies. You'll never know what you're missing if you don't. I'd invite you over to have some of mine, but... erm... see the first paragraph. (I'm pretty excited to have this whole pie to myself.)

Honestly, this pie... it makes me sing, it's so good. (Not even one little bit of an exaggeration.) Go buy one tonight, you'll think you've died and gone to pie-eaters heaven.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's in a name?

Okay, so... any regular readers know I'm totally random. Oh, and more than a little sappy from time to time, too. (For those of you who haven't been here before - welcome - and I'm sorry to have to break it to you like this, but welcome to my little corner of the www, where you just never know what I'm gonna be thinking/posting about.)

This morning, for some reason, I'm finding comfort in the familiar. Last week, I was able to hang out with some old friends and it was, in a word, fabulous. There is something so comforting, so warm, so ... well, fabulous ... in spending time with people you have history with. You can't beat that. At least, I can't. And I was lucky to have a double dose of old friends, both Saturday and Sunday, last weekend.

On Saturday, before I headed out to my friend Rhonda's house, I got a text (the standard "here is my cell, and here is the home number, and here's the address - again - and really (REALLY) call us when (not if, but when) you get lost" text) from her that started with "Laur". Ahhh... Laur. That name is home to me. Home in a way that I'll never be able to explain. My mom and my brother Kirk call me Laur almost exclusively, I hardly ever hear two syllables come out of their mouth when they're talking to, or about, me. My Cousins (yup, with a capital C) call me Laur, my CB gals do, my high school friends do, as do a handful of friends both recent and past. But no one (no one) calls me Laur who doesn't know me. There is comfort in that name, there is love and history and friendship. It sounds so cheesy, I know. Something, somewhere, gets lost in the translation between how hearing it makes me feel, and how to make sense of that when I'm saying it, out loud. As I said earlier, I can't explain it - but I love it.

And this morning, it hit me - with a vengeance - all the people in my life who call me a shortened name... I'm so lucky. So lucky to have people who love me enough to shorten my name, lengthen my name, or give me a nick-name. So, to all the people who call me by these names, some of them or a combination of them, or by an altogether different name that I either can't remember right now or just can't publish (you know who you are) - I love you. Thank you for making a difference in my life, for being close enough to really know me, and to nick-name me accordingly.

Lou and/or Lulu
Little Miss
De Caca (my mom, I'm sure, is shuddering right now, even as I type the word caca)
Wah-wee (it's gonna break my heart when Luke gets the hang of the L and the R, it really is)
Mormon S-word friend (it's family friendly, so I just can't put the word, but any of you who know Christian and/or me, you would know this nickname ... it's one of my faves)
Pollyanna and/or Darth Pollyanna (a recent fave)
The Prophet Laur
Lizzie (I have two friends who call me this, actually - one as in Bennet and one as in Bordon)
Miss Laurie Evans (yeah, I know, it's my name - but one of my favorite people in the world calls me this (with the word "miss" included), and this exclusively, and I love him for it)
Oz (as in The Wizard of ... I'm not sure if that's a compliment, since he's a big fat faker, but I still love it)
La and/or Lala
Laurie Lou
Lauralee (which seems silly, since that's my actual name, but it can be so endearing ... it's one that's hard to beat, few and far between are the people who can and have pulled it off)
Sis and/or Sister (Yeah, I know, like it's my name - it's very Buster-like, but I love it)
Mrs. Nathan Fillion and/or Mrs. Rick Castle

Okay, you caught me. That last one is something I'm calling myself these days, so it doesn't really count. But still, I do like the ring of it.

Thanks, folks, for putting up with my insanity, for being my friends and/or family and for calling me names accordingly. Gosh, I love you. I love you with all of my sappy little heart.

The End.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you.

On Veteran's Day, I am grateful.

I am grateful for my life, for my freedom, for my country.
I am grateful for the soldiers, throughout American history, who have fought to preserve those freedoms for me.
May God bless them, may He continue to bless all of us.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Signings: a place for making new friends & semi-stalkerish behavior...

So... I know my last post was about the PW book signing, which was last Thursday, and it's a little boring to do two posts in a row about the exact same thing, but hey... I'm her #1 fan, (and my two new friends from the signing posted pics on FB over the weekend, which I'm now feeling the need to share with the world - or, at the very least, my own little corner of the www). That being said, sit back and I'll show you some pics - and give you some commentary - that I hope won't bore you to tears and make you never want to come back and see me again.

I'll start here with a pic of Ree and me. (Ree and me. Doesn't that have such a great sound, kind of like we're best friends? Yeah... I'm pretty sure we'd be super tight if she knew me in real life.)

Speaking of how sure I am that we'd be best friends if she knew me in real life... here's a still-life of the part of the night where I was trying to convince her that she'd love me if she really knew me. (Yeah, I'm not even kidding. I told her that I knew we'd be best friends if we knew each other in real life. I told her that I know I can come off a bit like a stalker, but it's just my natural enthusiasm - that I'm not dangerous, just excited.)

And here's where I told her about how she really (REALLY) should invite my cousin Julie and me to the ranch. I told her that we love butter, that we're super funny, and that we both really want to come and see the lodge.

You can tell, by the look on her face, that she was intrigued with my story of how much I wanted to come to Oklahoma. I'll bet she really wanted to just pack me in her suitcase and take me home with her, but she didn't want to hurt the feelings of the other 627 women who'd come to her signing and take only me home with her. (Even if I was one of the few single women at the signing. I'm talking the kind of single woman who could set up house with Cowboy Josh and be the kind of neighbor she could call whenever she wanted to borrow some butter, garlic, cream cheese and/or taragon from.) It's so sad that she didn't want to crush the other women... by now, I could be home on the ranch. (Totally just had a little song-fest here in my apartment. I know the words are "home, home on the range" - but just now I busted into "home, home on the ranch" and had to giggle. Oh, dear. I'm an embarrassment to my own self.)

Here's a shot of me and my giddy grin while she signs my book.

And here's a list of some of the things I said while I was talking to her, that I am now more than a little bit mortified about:

Ree said - "I love your hair!"
I said - "I love YOU!"

Ree asked - "How do you want me to sign your book?"
I answered - "You can say that you love my hair. Or not. You can write whatever the heck you want, I won't care. I love you that much. ... Tell you what, you write in my book that you love my hair, and when I write a book and you come to my book signing, I'll write that I love yours."

I also said:

I'm your #1 fan. No, really. I am. ... But not in a stalkery way, don't worry.
I love YOUR hair!
I want you to invite me to the ranch.
No, really, I know it's not appropriate to invite myself... but I really (REALLY) want to come.

And a bunch of other embarrassing things that I've luckily blocked. ... I'm telling you, I was giddy and I was sleep deprived. Not a winning combination, as far as me behaving like a cultured, refined, well-bred lady, if you know what I mean.

Since PW didn't invite me to the ranch, I took my sales pitch (oh, and my needing-their-autographs cookbook) to Nan and Missy. You can see that they enjoyed me. I told them, "Imagine how much you'd like having me around the ranch - get Ree to invite me, okay?". (Yeah, I only wish I were kidding. I really said that to them.)

While we were talking - and laughing (I'm telling you, we had a good time) - height came up. It turns out Missy is 5'9" and Nan is 5'10" - but Missy was wearing heels, so she appeared to be over 6'. Nan came out to measure up against my 5'10", but I got giddy and made this STUPID face and bent over like a freak of nature who had so much excitement in her body that she couldn't hold still. (I'm, even now, before I post this, regretting putting this picture online, because I look like such a freak... but hey, you all love me, right? ... Erm, maybe don't answer that right away.)

And because this post wouldn't be complete without a nod to the women I met and friended at the party - I mean signing - that night, here's an introduction to my new friends...

This is Susan and Sharon (yeah, I know, Susan and Sharon, like in The Parent Trap ... I knew we were destined to be friends forever when I knew their names). They are a mother/daughter combination, and just so much fun. Susan (the mom) learned how to cook from her grandmother and is making a blog with step-by-step pictures (ala PW) for her daughter, so the family recipes will live on. Isn't that fabulous?

Here's Carolina with Nan. Carolina's a mom to two little kids and she wishes she didn't have so much tile in her house, because she hates sweeping and mopping. She prefers laundry to sweeping. I can't imagine preferring laundry to any household chore - but I instantly liked Carolina. (It's because we're fellow PW fans, I'm sure.)

And here are my friends Monique and Missy. (Okay, so what if Missy wouldn't remember my name? ... But I'll bet she'd remember I was the tall girl who laughed loud enough to bring the house down, right? I can only hope she tells Cowboy Josh all about me.) Monique had the most fabulous sparkly eye-liner (you know how I feel about sparkles - I knew we were kindred spirits before she even talked). We're both intent on making the mushrooms on page 202. I'm gonna go out and buy some red wine tomorrow for that very purpose. I'm not even kidding.

Seriously. The. Most. Fun. Night. Ever.
I love PW.
I love making new friends.
I love my life.
The End.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Thursday night activity...

As if there are any of you who don't know how much I love Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman), please allow me to take a moment of your time and tell you what I did last night.

I went to a book signing here in Tempe. I made a bunch of new friends (the kind of friends who pitched right in and took a photo shoot of me with PW, as well as Missy and the MIL, because I'd forgotten my camera - all I had with me was my phone, so please forgive the less than stellar qualities in the pics I post this morning). They estimated there had been 600 people there (many with multiple books). PW signed/personalized for every one. I waited for about 3 hours for her signature in my book.

It was the most fun I've had in... I don't even know how long.

Here is the signing room. This was taken at about 8:30, when I got there. You can see her if you squint, signing away. (The signing started at 7:00. It had been standing room only when she spoke. Curses that I had to work until 8:00, so I missed that part.)

Three hours later - around about 11:30 PM - I took this pic when I was standing right in front of her myself. Please pardon the complete and utter stranger's arm in the picture. I was wanting to cut him out of the picture, but I didn't quite make it.

The first thing she said when I walked up to the table? "I love your hair." ... I don't know what she was thinking, my hair wasn't having its best night last night, but I've never loved that compliment more - and I told her so. And then she wrote in my book that she loved my hair and I was even more giddy.

I'm such a nerd. And I don't even care who knows it.

More to follow... I should have pics from my new PW friends to share in the next few days, so be looking for a complete blow-by-blow in the next few days.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What do I love? (Or, rather, whom do I love?)

Answer: friends who know me well enough to buy me the perfect gift. We all know that my latest tv crush is one Mr. Richard Castle ... what not everyone, I'm sure, knows is that ABC actually released the novel, Heat Wave, that has been discussed on this (and last) season of Castle.

Check it - it's a real book. And my friend Christine knew me well enough to know that this was the thing to get me for my birthday. (I so love her!)

And here's my favorite part. This is the head shot from the back of the book - with the author bio. Hahahaha that ABC had a fit of marketing genius and actually released the book, and faked that it was written by Castle, himself. AWESOME!

Oh, gosh, I love my birthday. Oh, gosh, I love Richard Castle. ... This is the best day ever!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My early birthday present...

Meet my newest little niece, Hillary Brea.

Isn't she adorable? I love her!

She was born tonight, about 6:30-ish... She was 8 lbs 12 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. (Not bad for being 10 days early, methinks.) She has a head full of hair that may or may not be curly (it's early yet), and eyes that look like they're gonna be big and round... but right now, her chubby little cheeks are helping her keep them shut. Oh, and her fingernails. They're pretty much the prettiest fingernails I ever did see on a baby. (I know, that sounds ridiculous and cheesy and more than a little bit over the top, but I swear... her hands are beautiful, and her fingernails have the prettiest shape.)

She's pretty stinking cute, right? Gosh, I love babies! :-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'd like to introduce you to my new celeb crush...

Oh, heaven help me...

Nathan Fillion, be still my beating heart.

I love him.

And this is what I know about him so far.

A) He's single.
B) He's 6 1 1/2 inches tall. (Delish.)
C) He's Canadian.
D) His parents are BOTH English teachers (so you know he has good grammar in real life).
E) He's single (which I know I've already listed, but as it translates into "available", in the world of make-believe that is Laurie Land, I felt that it merited a second mention).

My favorite Fillion character is still Castle (with the grammatical chops of Richard Castle, it would be hard for anyone to top him), but I have been grooving in a big way on Firefly this week. (Mal Reynolds is freaking hot, but his incessant use of the A word is grating just a little bit.)

In the end, here's the thing... I love him. I can't help myself. (Did you see those blue eyes? Did you SEE them?!)

I'm pretty sure Hawkeye has been dethroned... Welcome to the age of Fillion.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oh, how I miss my Stuckeyville friends...

So, this morning I went to youtube on a whim to see if they had the lucid dream scene from Ed. (I don't know why I woke up thinking about that this morning, but I sure did.) I wasn't able to find the lucid dream, but I sure did watch all 6 of the Mike & Ed's $10 bet clips - and a whole bunch of other stuff. (Honestly, youtube is so addictive!) Anyway, I'm feeling all nostalgic. Seriously, I loved this show. LOVED IT. Why, oh why, has it never been released on dvd? There is nothing (NOTHING) I'd rather do today than sit and watch Ed all day long. But alas, it is not to be. So, I'll share this little clip with the world, them I'm gonna get dressed and head on over to the Verizon store to see if they can unstick my new phone. (If I've said it once, I've said it about a bazillion times - I am completely backwards when it comes to technological things. I got this new touch screen phone that I somehow overloaded, because now the touchscreen's all white - no icons, nothing. Don't even ask...)

Gosh, I love Ed. And Mike. And Warren P. Cheswick. And Molly. And Carol. I wish I could eat at The Smiling Goat, and I wish some super cool boy from high school (preferably a bowling alley lawyer, ala Ed) would kiss me at the pond. ... As much as I do love my own life, I do think it'd be pretty fun to live a day in the life of a tv sitcom. Does that make me crazy? Maybe. And the thing is, I don't even care.

I heart Ed.

The End.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I love my cousins!

I was looking through some old photo files tonight and found this lovely shot of my cousins and me - in WalMart - in Utah (a state that only three of these people lived in at the time this shot was taken).

I'd been visiting my cousin Julie (the tall one, with her arm around over my shoulder) and she and I took Bethy (the one holding the baby to the left of Jule) to get pedicures. As we walked out of the cheapo pedi place, we saw Becca (holding bags), Rachel (holding baby), Katie (standing betwixt the two baby ladies) and Robby (obviously, the only boy in the shot) at a register on the way out of the store. Un-freaking-believable, right?!

Of course, we stopped to say hi (because that's what cousins do). About 3 minutes later, my aunt *Cindy (the mother of none of us, but aunt to all) came up and said "Laurie, I heard your laugh from a register halfway across the store. I knew it was you, because I'd just talked to your mom and I knew she was in Arizona." (Seriously... one of my favorite stories ever about my loud laugh. My loud laugh that's just like my mom's laugh, no less. I heart genetics.)

Of course, we had an impromptu photo shoot there in the store (because that's how we roll). And this photo is the fruits of that photo shoot. Every time I see this pic, it makes me giddy. Gosh, I love my cousins. So flipping much, I love them!

*It's official. I'm getting senile. I'd totally thought it was my aunt Deb who took the picture (and commented on the loud laugh) - apparently not, since Cindy left a comment saying it was her. Huh... I'm losing it. Either way, I still love my cousins (and my aunt, whichever it was, for taking the pic). Ha!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The seeing and interpretation of signs (or pictures)

So, last night after work I went to The Outback for dinner (the steakhouse, not the actual Outback ... don't you worry about me, after a 12 hour work day, I'm up for a steak dinner, not so much up for an international flight to Australia). On the way out the door, I had the thought "oh, shoot! I'd better use the restroom here, or I'm gonna be in big trouble before I get home" (those 4 Cokes ... they got me). Anyhoo, I went to the little girls' room and as I walked through the door, I caught sight of this framed picture of The Twelve Apostles and laughed out loud. It being General Conference weekend, the twelve have been at the forefront of my mind ... but still, this surprised me.

Why did that picture surprise me? Because I thought the twelve looked more like this...


Yup ... I totally just cracked myself up. A girl's gotta love a little General Conference humor every now and then. (At least twice a year, I'd say. ... Get it?)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reason #172 why I love Castle

He's a grammar nazi. This last episode, he was correcting grammar left and right, through the whole show. Oh, be still my beating heart.

"Your should be you're as in 'you are'. Whoever killed her, also murdered the English language."

Do you see why I love him? Do. You. See? (Not to mention, he's tall, rich and ridiculously good looking.) I heart Monday night tv.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My friend Ashley is ... THE COOLEST

So, a few weeks ago I was hanging out with my friend Ashley and she told me she had decided to sell her brother her nose bleed tickets to The Killers concert, and get something closer to the stage, since they were her fav band of all time, and she felt like that merited some sweet seats. I was all "Oh, that's awesome! I'm sure you'll have so much fun!". (Look at me, being such a supportive friend.) Well, it turns out that my being a supportive friends worked out pretty well for me, because Sunday night Ash texted me and asked I wanted to go with her to the concert tonight... Uhm, YEAH! (Who's gonna say no to an offer like that? I mean, really, who?!)

Here's a fun concerty clip of my favorite songs to scream along with. (I was surprised at how many of the videos on youtube had the embedding removed. Luckily, I was able to find this pretty sweet live version of one of my fav songs.) Enjoy!

Oh my word, this concert was FABULOUS. They were AMAZING. Our seats were SO CLOSE. My ear drums may never be the same, and I'm wondering how I'll ever get the smell of smoke out of my hair... but gosh, that was so freaking much fun that I had to post about it before I went to bed tonight.

There's just something about the energy at a live show. I love the music that's so loud that you can't hear the person next to you, when they're screaming right into your ear. I love the feel of the bass reverberating in my chest. (Even now, 3 hours after the show, my chest is still tingley from all the vibrating.) Gosh, that was a good time.

I. Heart. Concerts.

The End.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Dorothy!

Today, in celebration of The Wizard of Oz's 70th anniversary, there's a one night only showing of the movie. The only theater in the valley showing the movie, to my knowledge, is the theater around the corner from my house. (I know, I know... I lead such a charmed life.)

I've been in Utah all week with my cousins, but am flying back this afternoon to get home early enough to go see the 7:00 show with some of my favorite people. I'm so excited, I'm giddy!

(And on another interesting and somewhat related note... I found the most curious website today listing the last words of famous movies. I was intrigued that the last word of The Wizard of Oz is "home". Isn't that lovely? I'm tearing up, just knowing that. ... Gosh, I'm such a sap.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I can't give you anything but love, Baby...

Today, for two blessed hours, Julie and I were children free. (Whoever thought of doing pre-school for 2 yr olds is a mix of a saint and a lunatic, in my opinion. But it worked in my favor today, so I thank them.)What did we choose to do with our 2 free hours? Nap? No. Eat cake? No. Talk? No. ... We put in Bringing Up Baby and we giggled like school girls for 2 hours. Why? Because we love it so. (We can't help it, it's the Ball in us.)

If I could put up a dozen clips of this movie, I would. (I love the opening scene, when Miss Swallow is talking about how their marriage won't have any domestic trappings. Ha! If I could have found that clip, I'd have posted it. It's a classic, even if my girl Katharine isn't on the scene at that point in the story.) Seriously, this is the most hilarious screw-ball comedy of all time. (I say, until I watch Arsenic & Old Lace again. At which point, the verdict is just about guaranteed to change.)

Please don't mind the French (at least, I think it's French) subtitles here... I just love this scene so much that I had to pick this clip. Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm channeling a little Carol Burnett today...

This song has been running through my head all day. (Yeah, I'm not even 24 hours into this. And I'm already singing in my head. Great, right?)

"Little girls, little girls... everywhere I turn, I can see them."

"Some women are dripping with diamonds and some women are dripping with pearls. Lucky me, lucky me... Look at what I'm dripping with - little girls."

Gosh, I do love that I had a childhood riddled with musicals. There really is a song for everything...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do you know what we need? ... Pirate Costumes!

Happy National Talk Like a Pirate Day from Ude, Kate and me...

And here's a grumpy/more piratey version from the same photo shoot. (Yeah, I know... Who has professional pictures done in pirate costumes? The answer to that is: me, my mom and my sis. I know, we're nuts. But we're happy, so it's all good...)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My new favorite accessory

Please allow me to introduce you to my new favorite thing: The Red Bead Necklace. (Also known as: The First Birthday Present of 2009.)

I'll tell you the story of how I got this. (I love the story as much as I love the necklace, if not more.)

When I was in San Francisco with Genevra Lynn and Beal, we were walking down the street and Genevra and I stopped to admire the wares of one of those cute little sidewalk sales people out by the pier. There were scads of beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Of course, I was in love. (I do love me some beaded accessories, as anyone who knows me is well aware.) My hand reached out to touch this very necklace, and then the cute little possibly-Asian-but-maybe-not salesman asked me if I wanted to try it on. Of course I did. And try it on I did. I admired it in the mirror he gave me... but then, as it was our first day in the city and I was still living somewhat in the land of Don't Spend More Cash Than You Brought With You, I just couldn't let myself buy it. Genevra Lynn asked me two or three times if I was SURE I wasn't going to get it. I assured her that I was not, and was actually grateful when she said if I was sure I didn't want it, she did. (I mean, if I was going to lose it to someone, it may as well be a friend who I could see wear it, right?) She bought this and kelly greenish beauty and we proceeded down the hill to go to dinner. (Remind me some time to tell you about the potatoes I had with my dinner that night. Honestly - The. Best. Mashed. Potatoes. Of. All. Time.) We walked about 10 feet, and Genevra stopped, giggled and said "I just can't wait 'til October!", and she pulled the bag with the red necklace out of her purse and handed it to me. I was so giddy (and surprised) that I hugged with her joy, teared up with joy, thanked her PROFUSELY and then put it promptly on.

I pretty much wore this puppy the whole weekend, as well as the full week after I got back. After 10 consecutive days, I retired the necklace for a period of time (I didn't want to wear it out, y'know) and then today, because I wore a black and white dress and I thought it would look smashing, I pulled it out again. Oh, my good girly giddiness, I love this necklace. I may wear it every day for the next month, I love it so much.

Here's a closer look of the beads/stones (oh, and my chest, too). Aren't they fabulous? (Meaning the beads/stones... not my chest, of course.)

Thanks again, Genevra Lynn. I LOVE YOU!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years gone...

It's crazy to me, how fast time can go by. Crazy. Eight years ago, as I was getting ready for work, my mom came into the living room and said "Laur, you need to come and look at the tv". She told me what had happened, and I fell against the wall. I couldn't even stand. ... That day. Oh, my goodness. I was probably the weepiest I've been in my life. I remember exactly where I was when I heard on the radio that the Pentagon had been hit, and my mind immediately queued the 4th verse of America, the Beautiful ("O' beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years. Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears.") and I was comforted that, although the Pentagon had been hit, it still stood. As the day went by, we sat around a radio at work - not working, but listening. Listening and waiting - for news, wondering who had done this, and why.

Eight years later, I am brought to tears by the memory of that day. Tears of sadness, fear and horror, yes. But also tears of gratitude, hope, and patriotism. Oh my word, I love my country. I ache for the people around the country (and world, really) who, today, have an anniversary of loss. Please, let us never forget all of the men and women who died that day. Let us never forget to enjoy the freedoms that are ours, I pray.

To finish the 4th verse, "America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Sunday Visitors

My cousins Shelly and Scott were in Arizona this weekend, and I was lucky enough to get to hang out with them for a bit this morning. They were not, mind you, wearing these outfits or smiling like this the whole time (I can't believe that I didn't think to take a pic of them, or especially have Scott take a pic of my Shelly and me... ridiculous!), but I wanted to show you all how cute and happy they are - so here's a little flashback to Jan 2, 2009 for you all to enjoy.

Anyhoo... Scott has family here in Az, so they came to visit them. As I am widely known and accepted as the kind of black sheep cousin who would ditch her own church in favor of having some quality time with family, I missed out on my meetings so I could meet up with S&S at his brother's church - after which I brought them back to my house for a brunch of burned eggs and toast. Do I know how to entertain, or what? (And, btw, who knew that eggs could scorch like that? ... I'm wondering if it was all the cheese. I've never seen/smelled anything like that before in my life.) Between the burned eggs and the bacon, I set the smoke alarm off three times. (Which is a record, even for me.)

It was so flipping fun to see Shell (and Scott, of course). We laughed, we cried. We had cousin bonding. It was a good time! I love my cousins.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Perfect Day

Please allow me to tell you about my day today...

I woke up at 10:30. (Yeah, I woke up at 10:30. Mind you, I was all kinds of drugged up to be able to sleep past 7:00 - I heart Tylenol PM - but the thing is, I slept until 10:30 AM.)

I got online and checked out my online dating options - and then promptly posted a pic making fun of the 5'4" (I am not making this stuff up, it's so good that I don't have to...) beauty that was checking me out this morning whilst I was asleep in bed. (Again, I cannot say it enough - Tylenol PM. It is the best thing ever.)

I had one and a half bowls of Post brand Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds for breakfast/lunch (I threw the WalMart brand box away last week and life has been so much better since then... never again will I subject myself to store brand cereal).

I grabbed my new book - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - and headed to the pool.

And 2.5 hours later, feeling pruny from the pool, toasty from the sun... and awash in emotion (wishing the book could go on forever) ... I finished it. Oh, this is one of the best books I've ever read. It's up there with These Are My Words, folks. I love-love-loved this book! I almost want to read it again - TOMORROW. Oh gosh, it was fab.

Once the book was finished, I had a filling (and uber nutritious, because that's how I roll) dinner of microwave popcorn - then called my friend Myra (who recommended the book, and actually let me borrow her library copy so I could get it read - and soon!) so we could dissect and discuss the book.

Gosh, this has been just about the best day ever. The only (and I do mean only) thing that could have improved this day would be a piece of chocolate cake from Safeway. (And that's saying something.)

I love my life.